4 Best Books on Chess

Do you love reading about Chess? If so, what do you think goes into making a great chess book? We think one of the first prerequisites for a great chess book should be an inclusion of the amazing Chess Game matches played by the world champions. Another thing that would make for great reading would be instructions on various positions that a player could affect when playing a specific part of the game. Lastly, the book should be written to both inspire and teach the reader. That means it would have something to offer to every chess lover, whether they are an initiate or a master in their own right!

In the light of these points, let us look at some of the best books written on this subject:

Masters of the Chessboard by Richard Réti

Masters of the Chessboard has been beautifully written. For one, it covers all the superstars to have shone in the world of chess. Réti goes back as far as the middle of 19th century. For each player, he presents an analysis of their style and how their contributions helped the game evolve. However, that isn’t all that a reader finds in the book. There is also a whole chapter devoted to chess combinations and the scientific technique that goes into them. Lastly, the author has also included a chapter on rook endings that readers can learn a lot from.

Logical Chess: Move by Move by Irving Chernev

Chernev’s book is counted amongst the classics of chess writing. One of the best things about this work is how it provides a detailed explanation of the reasons behind the moves chosen by great chess players. That means you get more than 30 master games explained to you in complete detail with each move analyzed for you. You also understand the motivation of the masters behind the moves they chose. If you want to improve your game, then this is the book for you!

Discovering Chess Openings: Building Opening Skills from Basic Principles by John Emms

As the name suggests, this book discusses a particular kind of chess openings i.e. ones in which the pieces occupy the central position. If openings have always confused you, then reading this book might help. After all, Emms’ work discusses the basic principles involved in successful opening play, including king safety, swift development, and central control.

Chess 101 by Dave Schloss

This book is a complete guide for beginners and helpfully covers all the basics, such as the chess board and its pieces and the rules governing the game. There are sections that offer tips to the newbies on how to win their first games, as well as, other books to read. Everything is described in a simple manner that doesn’t just instruct but also preserves the enjoyment towards the game. This book would also make a perfect gift for any beginner chess players that you know!

Have any favorite chess books of your own? Know any that can help newbies learn to play Chess Online? Please share them with us by leaving a comment in the comment section below!

4 Best Openings in Chess

Figure 1. Fool’s Mate Position

On one hand, there are certain moves like the 1.e4 that are considered to be sound. On the other hand, there is the 1.a3 that isn’t as popular because it is considered to be quite poor. The only way to understand which move is the right opening move is to know the reasoning behind each. For beginners, it isn’t enough just to memorize the first few opening moves. If they are to ever succeed in chess, they must know what these moves do. Some of them will allow players to control increasingly larger parts of the board as opposed to the ones that will mean giving up control. Moreover, if they are able to wrest control in the initial stages of the game, a player will play the subsequent ones with more confidence.

Below, we look at four popular opening moves and discuss the motivation behind each of them. It should present a good starting point for amateur chess players:

The Albin Counter-Gambit

This move is used by the black when mounting a defense against the white’s queen’s gambit. It is considered highly aggressive and begins when the Black gives up the pawn on e5. This allows them to move the d pawn to d4. The latter move is just the beginning of the many traps for the white. That includes the Lasker Trap that prevents an attack on the pawn on d4 and punishes it with e3.

As mentioned, this opening is highly aggressive and would be perfect for you, if that is how you play Chess Online!

The Italian Game

This move is named after the Spanish bishop who wrote an analysis on it. The Italian game has two main objectives and one of them is gaining the control of the center quickly. To that end, this opening moves the bishop to its most dangerous square. The second objective is to get ready to defend the castle. Having been analyzed by the bishop in 1561, this move has endured a whole millennium later and remains amongst the most popular chess openings.

The French Defense

This move heads takes a different approach since in it, Black hands more control over the center to the White. However, this allows the former to a safe wall of pawns in a Chess Game. Because of this, once either player has taken position, the center becomes closed to the other.

The Benoni Defense

In the Benoni Defense, another very aggressive move, black counters white’s d4 opening move. It has the advantage of being a move that allows the black to be on an equal footing and play for the win during different parts of the game. The modern version of the game revolves around white maintaining its central control with its key pawn on d5. That means they would have to apply constant pressure. Black players should try to keep their opponent from getting any outposts on e6 and c6.

Want to share something about chess openings with us and other readers? Go ahead and drop a comment below!

 

Book Review: Chess Behind Bars

It is no secret that the world is a violent place and the state of things worsens each day. Our prisons are full to bursting with criminals. Whether it is violence or drugs that have landed them in there, it is up to us to rehabilitate them. After all, our society is only as good as the population languishing in prisons! Education is one solution. Are there others?

Author Introduction

It would seem that Carl Portman has landed on a solution that could help improve matters. Portman has won the English Chess Federation (ECF) President’s award for the role he has played as the Manager of Chess in Prisons. According to him, chess is life-changing, which is why its powers should be used on the prison community. Portman thinks teaching inmates how to play chess could make a difference in their lives.

Why Chess

One simple reason why chess makes more of a difference than other games is its nature. Any chess player will tell you how it can stand as a metaphor for life. Each move we make will have consequences, which we would have to deal with ourselves. That means we must think carefully before each decision and then accept the fallout. What’s more is that chess is a good teacher; it helps us learn from our mistakes so we won’t repeat them. Additionally, by being patient in our problem solving, we adopt a disciplined approach. Lastly, when people play chess together, friendships and connections are forged.

About the Book

The book titled Chess Behind Bars hasn’t just been penned down with the aim of teaching inmates how to play chess. It deals with topics besides how the game is played. Besides the rules, it also includes the history of the game. The book opens with a list of the many benefits of playing chess. The author covers decision-making, mental health, analytical skills, and social development. It also contains chess puzzles and accounts of famous chess matches. Besides this, readers could also gain inspiration from letters written by inmates that describe how chess affected their lives.

Chess Behind Bars also describes life in prison and deals with issues that are specific to that environment. It could speak to inmates; using this book as the blueprint could make it highly possible to use chess as an educational tool in prisons all over the world. It also makes the job of the prison officials easier. It might not be wrong to call the book a good resource. However, it is a hard sell due to the absence of a well-defined target audience. Should be it marketed to everybody? That strategy has rarely worked.

Have you read Chess Behind Bars? What did you think of it? Would a book that lectures the reader about a European prison and what chess means to the inmates ever be an easy sell? Should we try to underline the commonalities between prisons around the world with its help? Leave us a comment down below!

Book Review: Chess Story

Zweig’s ‘Chess Story’ isn’t a big book but it gets its point across eloquently. Think of a counterpart to Capablanca’s chess game, but in literary terms, and you will have its measure! An Austrian narrates a “chance” meeting between a world chess champion Czentovic with one of his countrymen, Dr. B. The latter learned the rules of chess while incarcerated as a Gestapo prisoner and challenges the expert to a match.

If you have yet to read this book, here are five reasons to convince you to get started:

  1. Reading this novel is almost like playing a game of chess. There is you, the reader, who could be playing black against your opponent, the author who is playing white! Only, where the chess players would use a board and chess pieces to play, you two are facing each other through the novel.
  2. So many of us want a crack at the masterpieces written by giants like Proust and Joyce. Whether it is the girth of these literary works that keeps you at bay or some other reason, this is one masterpiece that you soon be reading cover-to-cover!
  3. If you love depressing endings and twists that you don’t easily spot coming at you, then Chess Story is just your thing! Zweig committed suicide a few after he had finished writing this book. That gives you an insight into the author’s mind, which is why such an ending might seem logical. When you begin reading, you will find yourself turned off by the boorish world chess champion, Czentovic. It would be interesting to see how your feelings towards this character undergo an upheaval and when!
  4. This book helps its readers slip into the world of isolation and solitary nature that Jews were forced to live in for so long by the Nazis. Czentovic might be an expert at chess but you will soon begin to realize that Dr. B can hold his own as well. As you continue to read, you will be exposed to the events that led Dr. B to master chess the way he did.
  5. Lastly, the Chess Story is a treasure trove for readers enjoying it for the first time. But that isn’t to say that it is any less satisfying over subsequent re-reads. The first time round, this short book seems to be about just chess. As you re-read it, you will discover additional layers upon layer that makes this such a worthwhile read. It isn’t just about the game between two opponents but also how their personalities clash with each other. The way it is written shows that the author had a deep understanding of the human nature. You will come away deeply touched not just by the book but also the fact that the author is no more.

Do you have any chess classics that you’d like to share with us? Please leave the name of the author and the book along with why the book affected you the way it did!

Chess & Spirituality

Life is complicated, which means separating what your past impressions have taught you from the truth can be difficult. Moreover, meeting the challenges it throws in your path constantly can make it harder to discover life’s true nature for yourself.

So, what can be done? Is there a rulebook that simplifies the true nature of life and the perception that we need to adopt to see it? Many experts have tried to distill the essence of life into a single sentence. As if, living in the now could teach you anything about it! Life isn’t supposed to be simple or straightforward like a game of checkers. In fact, it is like Chess Online with many twists and turns.

While some historical accounts place the origin of the game firmly in India, others think it was constructed in China. Still others name Persia as the cradle where chess was born. Regardless of where it came into being, the game of chess mirrors our relationship with life. The many transformations that are a part of a Chess Game represent the constant state of flux that our lives are in. Best of all, the two players have to make moves and try to win on a restricted field of action.

Each move on the chess board is an action that comes with a consequence. Much as our actions have results in real life, so they do in this game. Whether it is a new job that we are deciding in favor of or a vacation that we decide against, we constantly make decisions. Being intellectual games, chess and life both require for us to use our decision making skill and intellect to succeed.

Of the 32 pieces in a chess match, half of them are black and the rest are white. They face each other when they are placed on respective colored squares. It isn’t just the black and white colours that bring yin-yang to mind. The fact that neither of the sides can be annihilated or overpower the other makes the similarity to the yin-yang philosophy stick. Part of the discipline, Taoism, this theory maintains that the one cannot exist without the other, so yin and yang must coexist.

For some people, a deeper significance is attached to the way a chess piece moves on the board. According to them, when one of the players makes a square move, the action can be considered earthly. On the other hand, a triangular move is seen as an alignment with the divine spark within us. It is only through this arrangement that someone is able to think creatively.

Another point of view regarding chess and how well it lends itself to spirituality is related to evolution. When we play chess, we have to be conscious of each move we make. Things are similar when we are playing the game of life. Only through conscious evolution of each action we take can we exercise our conscience. Conscience is considered a higher, more evolved state of consciousness. It helps us decide between what is moral and what isn’t intuitively.

Do you think chess is a metaphor for life? Why or why not?

Pattern Recognition in Chess ­ – Fact or a Myth?

Some experts say that the more experience a chess player has, the more positions they would be familiar with. It is thought the more games of chess you familiarize yourself with, the better you become at it. That means the more effort you put into studying chess or playing it, the more skilled you will become at finding the best moves in positions. But is it true that pattern recognition is related to the strength of a player?

Is Pattern Recognition Even Important?

On the one hand, it has been seen that a grandmaster will play and win match after match of chess if they are pitted against someone a few classes below them. Does that mean they won because they could see how the game would end? That every move they made was made with holding that ending position in their mind? On the other hand, consider the fact that it is impossible for a grandmaster to predict their opponent’s next move. The only exception is a single reply position. Does that mean even a grandmaster can only see their own move? Does being able to stay one move ahead of your opponent remove any need for pattern recognition?

Does Pattern Recognition Even Exist?

Some experts will say that pattern recognition is behind a person’s chess prowess. Let us assume that is true but then how do you explain the age-based decrease in chess prowess? Grandmasters in this event should be able to recognize patterns and keep their performance at peak. Shouldn’t they? Or, does their prowess decrease because of a decreasing ability to recognize patterns in a game of chess? Doesn’t seem like being good at mechanically reproducing patterns should be the criterion for producing high-quality moves. After all, chess boosts creativity and original thoughts unlike most games out there! Does that mean pattern recognition doesn’t play any role in chess expertise?

Let us look to this research for answers. This study observed the perceptual component in chess prowess as a function of the eye movements in expert and novice chess players. Both groups were given a chess-related visual search task. The task tested if being able to visualize the knight piece moves could be the difference between novice and expert prowess in chess. The participants had to observe a target board and lure boards. In the latter, the knight’s path was blocked on either the first or second move. Results showed that the experts were able to distinguish between complex chess-related visual patterns four times as fast as the novices could. How fast they were or how good they were depended on their chess skills. Their performance was related to parameters like numbers of practice hours and official chess ratings. So, pattern recognition is important but the jury is still out on just how important it might be!

Thus, it is evident that chess prowess is at least partially the result of a chess player’s ability to rapidly recognize complex visual patterns. Do you agree with this conclusion? Leave us an answer in the comments section below!

2 Advantages of Teaching Chess to your Child

Recently, I have come across a good piece of advice. After trying it out for myself and realizing that it works, I thought I’d pass it along! I went to visit a friend of mine who let us say isn’t the world’s best chess player. To my surprise, I found him engrossed in a chess match with his seven-year-old. While it is true that the boy was soundly beating his dad at the game, that isn’t the point! My friend was happy to be beaten while his son found it all a big laugh to beat his old man at chess.

Once the game was over, we got around to talking. My friend told me aside from the many benefits associated with chess; the biggest was that he got to connect with his kid. It was food for thought. In today’s digital age, anything that gives parents an excuse to spend quality time with their kids is a good idea. Luckily, chess has other things goings for it!

Chess Increases Creativity

At school, teachers use different activities that encourage a child to exercise their creativity. What if you could lend the teacher a helping hand by doing the same at home? Chess is a wonderful way of encouraging completely original and creative thoughts. When you play chess with your kids, their creative side naturally kicks in. It might seem as they are just having fun but it goes so much deeper than that.

Moreover, as you play along with them you too reap some of the benefits of chess. It can give your brain a much-needed mental work out. The more you exercise those mental muscles, the less likely you will be to get Alzheimer’s disease!

Chess Encourages Decision-Making

If you are at all familiar with chess, you’d know that each of the pieces in it has a certain value. The capabilities they possess and how they can be used differ from piece to piece. For instance, the Queen is given 9 points but the knight is assigned 3 points. That means in order to play chess, the players must be familiar with those roles. If you play with your kid, they must remember these rules to maintain the balance on the chessboard. Moreover, they must use that knowledge and apply it to play successfully. Each time they make an assessment about a piece and use their analytical ability to make a move, they make a decision.

Decision-making is an important trait that could help your child in many other areas of life. It is a skill that might help them overcome peer pressure one day. It could also be helpful when they need to decide which major to pick.

Play chess with your child and you will boost the spark of creativity in them. If you are looking for a place to sign your kids up at, then try a local chess club. Most of them are low cost, so they won’t set you back by much. Alternatively, you can also get a chess club started at their school!

Chess is All-Weather Fun – Here is Why

Chess is All-Weather Fun – Here is Why

Chess is a great game. You can enjoy it in your bedroom, in the lounge, in your basement, and even outside sitting on a table in a public park. The game requires just a board and a few pieces, and therefore, it is ideal to play in a variety of environments. Playing chess is fun, and here are a few reasons why:

The Competition

Chess offers the ultimate competition. You go against a singular component and only battle on the wits of your brain. There is no physical advantage that can handicap you and it is all about competing on a level playing field. This spirit of competition brings the best in you when playing chess. In fact, you will find that you develop a closer relationship with your chess playing partners.

The competition is also what brings fun for numerous people. If you have that competitor in you, you will find that there is no greater joy than winning a chess game against a clever opponent. Another excellent advantage of playing chess is that it is nearly impossible to cheat in this game, ensuring that you are always satisfied that each game achieves a realistic conclusion.

The Bets

Chess is all-weather fun, with all the side details that you can add in your games. You can experiment and place fun bets when playing chess with your friends and family. These bets are possible in all weather conditions. If it is cold outside, you can stay indoors, get some food for your friends and start enjoying some amazing games.

There are various fun elements that you can enter in a chess game. You can set up difficult targets for yourself, implement a clock, and involve others in providing you chess suggestions. This increases the fun that you can have from this beautiful game and you can remain hooked to your chess sessions for hours at an end.

The Parties

When the serious talk is over, playing chess is great for evening parties that are indoors. Some days will not permit you to enjoy an amazing outdoor experience. However, you can always use chess to vent out some frustration and have a fun time with your visitors. In fact, you can take your chess set to parties as well, and set up small tournaments on the fly. We believe that you will quickly become a famous personality in the parties, where everyone gathers around, especially for fast chess sessions.

Playing chess is fun because you can quickly incorporate it in any environment. All you need is a stable platform, like a table with some chairs. You can then get a combination chess set that contains the playing board as well as the chess pieces. The convenience of setting up chess is an ideal reason for enjoying the game under all types of conditions.

 

Chess Baron offers various chess accessories. You can buy combination chess sets, theme sets, chess clocks, and other products to complete your full package of all-weather fun. These are the reasons why playing chess is an excellent option to enjoy time with friends and family!

Chess Clocks – How You Can Incorporate Them in Your Chess Fun

Chess is a great game, and you can enjoy several varieties of this excellent game. One of the excellent ways in which you can enjoy chess, is to play speed chess. This is a variety where you set up a fixed time either for the whole game, or for the individual chess moves. There are unique ways in which you can incorporate the use of chess clocks to your chess fun. Here are some excellent ways in which you can employ these clocks:

Speed Chess

As we have already explained, chess clocks are required to play speed chess. These clocks can support the time play of multiple players and this allows you to enjoy a competitive game, which is marked up to an individual second. This is a beautiful game which is perfect to offer you competitiveness, wit, and the use of cognitive abilities, all occurring simultaneously during the game.

Speed chess is fun in a number of ways. You should try playing the different varieties. All you need to do is use an ideal chess clock in different ways. This will give you immense playing pleasure, also greatly improving your chess skills. Being always on the clock will improve your decision-making and help you make better decisions even in your everyday life.

Custom Games

Another way to employ chess clocks is to create your own set of custom games with your friends and family. Set up times on the chess clock according to your availability and try to finish your chess games within the stipulated time, by employing the clock. You can also ask multiple players to enjoy chess by creating teams and going one after the another in a successive group setting.

Playing customised games with your friends is certainly fun. You can also create your own conditions and enjoy bets when you have the ideal chess clocks to provide you the support that you need to play such chess games.

Game Practice

Are you looking to improve your chess? If yes, then chess clocks are excellent for chess practice and ensuring that you can make the right decisions in a limited period of time. You can practice from the start or set up some famous game situations first to practice yourself playing the game from both sides. Adding the time limit to your game will improve your performance and help you carry out more with less available resources, when you go for a competitive game.

Chess clocks often have other options as well, such as colour codes and options to accommodate multiple players. You should also experiment with your friends to have some amazing evenings that are filled with chess playing fun. You can also ask your friends to come up with amazing chess playing ideas, by sharing that you have clocks that offer a variety of speed chess options.

 

Visit the Chess Baron Chess Clocks page and you can find a suitable clock that will offer you the ideal playing experience. We offer a variety of products and selecting the right one will allow you to further enhance your chess fun!

Here are the Top 3 Games to Help You Take a Break from Chess

Chess is a great game that you can enjoy at any time. However, it is an intriguing game and it demands your complete attention. Here, we aim to present information on three excellent games that you can enjoy when taking a break from chess. These games are backgammon, checkers, and cribbage, which are all wonderful in their own rights. Here are more details on the fun that you can have with them:

1.    Backgammon

Chess Baron Canada understands that you need other avenues to keep your mind fresh when playing games. Backgammon is a perfect game for two players, where the roll of the dice is carried out to determine the possible moves on a board. The aim of the game is to remove all your pieces from the board, before your opponent can do the same.

This game combines strategy with luck and is therefore, an ideal way to take a break from the rigours of playing chess. If you are interested in artificial intelligence, you will surely take interest in this game, as computer scientists have often used this game to create improved algorithms, that can combine the luck of a game, with strategic decisions that are based on comparing the available moves on the board.

2.    Checkers

If you want to have quick fun with any family member, then checkers or draughts is a great option. This game is simple and can be played on the chess board, with identical pieces. It is fun because it does not have a steep learning curve, and anyone can enjoy the diagonal moves that you must make when playing this game.

The game has an important concept of a promotion. Although your main aim to remove all the opponent pieces from the board, a key objective is to reach the opposite side of the board. This promotes your simple piece (man) into a special piece (king) which can move in both directions and capture pieces. Checkers is amazing and can allow you to enjoy hours of playing time.

3.    Cribbage

Chess Baron also suggests cribbage as a top game away from chess. This is a traditional card game, which also uses a board. It is a distinct game, which can be played by multiple players. Two players enjoy this game, where they employ a deck of cards. The customised experience is with the cribbage board that has pegs. This setup offers a cool playing experience, when you can enjoy a fun time with your friends and family.

The crib is often termed as the kitty here, and offers a great visual playing experience. The game consists of three stages of the deal, the play, and the show. The counting occurs at two different stages, where the players attempt to create combinations of cars to score value in the game. The pegs move around the board and reach the end to declare the winner.

 

If you are looking for the top three games away from chess, then these three games are certainly the ones that you should get! Chess Baron offers you these games in a variety of products that are perfect to enhance your playing experience.