May 28

ChessBase’s 25th Birthday

ChessBase is an extraordinary piece of database software that is sold on a website of the same name. The software dominates the chess market, particularly at the stronger end. ChessBase recently celebrated its 25th birthday and published a story regarding its origins, which involves a science journalist, an exceptional programmer and a world champion.

The world champion himself writes several paragraphs about how he came to be involved in the ChessBase project. The article also includes images of some vintage machines such as a BBC Acorn home computer, an Epson Z80 system with modem and dot matrix printer, and an Atari ST (based on Motorola’s 68000 processor) available back in 1987.

See the full article “ChessBase is 25“.

May 14

Chess Lessons with Grandmaster Efstratios Grivas

Apologies, I haven’t published articles in a while. I have been busy with some other projects.

Efstratios Grivas is an author, highly experienced trainer and a chess grandmaster. He recently presented a highly informative series of articles on the world’s most popular chess website, ChessBase. I am going to summarise his tips as well as give my own take on the issues he discusses…

See the rest of the article “Chess Lessons with Grandmaster Efstratios Grivas“.

Mar 24

Korchnoi’s Birthday and Super-Strong Amber Tournament

Viktor Korchnoi is a marvel of human ingenuity. He is one of those exception-to-the-rule people who is able to maintain an extraordinary level of chess ability despite the apparent limitations of old age. Korchnoi has just turned 80 years old and has a FIDE rating of 2557. Click here to see ChessBase’s tribute article for Korchnoi’s 80th.

One of my favourite tournaments of the year to watch is the Amber tournament, which is currently taking place. The blindfold section of the tournament is particularly interesting and while many of the games are ‘spotless’, a handful show that even the world’s greatest players have occasional blind spots! (Note: blindfold play is where players are given an empty chessboard and must communicate their moves via coordinates while visualising where the pieces are.) There is a star field in this year’s Amber with names like Anand, Carlsen, Aronian and Topalov. Aronian is currently going into the final round with a full point lead. See this ChessBase report on the Amber as well as a link down the bottom to download all the games played so far.

Feb 21

New Format for Official Homepage

If you’re a regular visitor, you may have noticed that the official homepage for the GeniusProphecy Chess website has changed in format. I believe the new format is more visitor-friendly and makes the articles easier to navigate. It also prevents that annoying occurence where text stretches all the way out to the very edges of your screen. You may notice that these days, many websites have text running down the middle, e.g. Blogger blogs.

I have also added the new format to some of my most popular articles, for example, Free Chess Programs.

Feb 10

Journey into Correspondence Chess

Given I have been inactive in over-the-board (OTB) chess for a while now, I thought I would take up some extra chess apart from my usual online blitz. This extra training comes in the form of correspondence chess, a topic which I have previously written on and given a positive review about. I thought I would walk my talk and actually give CC a go.

There are several correspondence chess organisations to consider. My original intention was to join the most ‘official’ organisation which is the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF). The ICCF is directly affiliated with FIDE, the official organisation for OTB chess. However, I came to realise that I am rather strapped for cash – ICCF tournaments cost money, both in the yearly national organisation fee and a separate entry fee for every tournament commenced. I will need to earn some money first before I can join.

For the moment, I decided to go with a free alternative called Lechenicher SchachServer (LSS). The International Email Chess Group (IECG) is a long-running correspondence chess server which virtually transferred all of its business to LSS after it shut down in December 2010. LSS is programmed by one of the original founders of IECG and IECG also transferred its rating system over to LSS. IECG previously offered titles such as grandmaster, senior master and international master, although I am not sure how LSS is going to organise its titles. Unlike some other popular correspondence chess websites, LSS (and ICCF, as a side note) allows the use of chess engines to aid in analysis. This is fair enough because a non-computer rule is practically impossible to police anyway.

I have commenced my first tournament on LSS, playing in a double round robin server tournament in a field of 7 players with average rating 2061. The time limit is 40 days/10 moves and I am currently playing 6 games simultaneously.

Ideally, playing this tournament will help my OTB chess (that is, when I choose to return to it). I am planning to use a combination of human intuition along with engine assistance to hopefully play some high quality games.

Jan 31

Houdini tops the list

A couple of months ago, I reported on a new freeware chess engine called Houdini, which overtook Deep Rybka 4 in a major computer chess rating list, the IPON Rating List. It took a couple of weeks for Deep Rybka to edge ahead of Houdini and reclaim the number 1 position. However, with the release of the new Houdini 1.5a, this elusive engine again tops the list with a massive 3012 rating, above Deep Rybka by a nifty 54 points. Houdini also tops the popular CEGT rating list. Houdini is a free download and will work on your UCI-enabled chess database programs (ChessBase, Fritz, SCID, Chess Assistant, Aquarium, etc.).

In other news, well known American Grandmaster (often considered to be one of the world’s top blitz players) Hikaru Nakamura took out the 2011 Tata Steel Chess Tournament held in Wijk aan Zee. Nakamura scored 9/13, placing in front of giants like Anand, Carlsen, Aronian and Kramnik. His performance rating was a whopping 2879.  Click here to download the games from the 2011 Tata Steel Chess Tournament.

Jan 07

New Year’s Eve Game 2

I recommend watching the YouTube video first and then seeing the analysis of the game. If you are reading this post via email, you may not see the YouTube video below, please go to www.geniusprophecy.com.

For analysis of this game, see the new DGT Chess Theatre. (Depending on your browser, this second link may be more effective.)

For the most comfortable experience, I recommend you download the game and view it in the free high-definition software ChessBase Light. There is an option to download the game on the top navigation bar of the DGT Chess Theatre.

Jan 03

Powerful Online Resources

Here is an overview of some interesting chess websites that I have recently come across.

365Chess is the poor man’s dream. Rather than forking out €150 for ChessBase’s comprehensive Mega Database, 365Chess is free online database with over 3,500,000 games. This makes it the “biggest chess games database online”, according to the website – a very useful tool in study and preparing for opponents.

Sometimes searching for a particular player can be tricky. If the homepage does not work, try searching the following in Google: site:365chess.com (player’s name)

The English Chess Federation has come up with a unique concept called the Certificate of Merit. To claim your certificate, register on the website and pass the practical examination!

Chess in Translation provides distinctive information that would not otherwise be available to the English-reading public. The webmaster mishanp translates news and interviews from Russian. Russia, being a chess powerhouse, has lots of information to provide to the chess world.

Jan 01

New Year’s Eve 2-Game ICC Chess Marathon

Normally I only write about chess on this website. As a special treat, on New Year’s Eve, I played two 3-minute autopairing games on the Internet Chess Club. You can see the games live as I played them below.My first game is against “not-onform”.

I recommend watching the YouTube video first and then seeing the analysis of the game. If you are reading this post via email, you may not see the YouTube video below, please go to www.geniusprophecy.com.

For analysis of this game, see the new DGT Chess Theatre. (Depending on your browser, this second link may be more effective.)

For the most comfortable experience, I recommend you download the game and view it in the free high-definition software ChessBase Light. There is an option to download the game on the top navigation bar of the DGT Chess Theatre.

I will be uploading my second game in due course. The second game is against a Romanian Grandmaster.

Dec 31

Preparation and Intimidating Opponents

The majority of chess players go into a tournament game without any sort of prior preparation. However, when there is adequate time to do so, preparation can be very effective in improving your results. This is especially applicable in round robin tournaments where your opponents are known well in advance.

Before the preparation progress begins, the dedicated player will need a range of tools at his disposal…

See the rest of the article “Preparing for Opponents“.

As with almost any form of competition, occasionally you will face intimidating or even downright unethical players. It is disappointing that this occurs in chess too, but keep in mind that only a very small minority of players are dishonourable. First of all, note that trying to distract the opponent is blatantly illegal according to the official rules of over-the-board (OTB) tournament chess. However, this will not stop rude and overly-ambitious players from trying to distract you…

See the rest of the article “Intimidating Opponents“.

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