Monday, December 28, 2009

Resolutions!

Hi Blog Readers,
I just want to draw your attention to the new year which is soon to dawn on us. 2010 is coming, and I have prepared a resolution for myself...have you thought about yours yet? Mine is to quit playing chess if my game's not its best. This resolution will cut down on my endless playing until I reach victory, if it's been a day of losses...and will stop me from playing (even if I'm winning) if I'm not performing my best, mentally. So, in addition to any financial/weight loss/etc. resolutions you make this year, I urge you to make a chess resolution as well! Happy New Year!
~Torero

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Chessmas!

Hey readers! I was perusing Alexandra Kosteniuk, the Chess Queen's, blog, ChessBlog.com, when I ran into this adorable cartoon she wrote for Christmas! And since she volunteered it for free distribution...I am reposting it here for your enjoyment! (Click the image to see a larger view)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dear Santa...

Ohmygosh, Ohmygosh! You guys are not going to believe this!!! I was looking through etsy.com's selection of chess-related merchandise when I found the perfect Christmas gift for myself!! They had loads of fun chess apparel--including ties and vests! but while those are very nice, they seem more appropriate for a real-life chess event. Since my chess life exists primarily online, there was one object that appealed to me in particular--chess PJ pants!

The seller, The Summer Palace, also sells a matching fleece chess hat! I might just have to play my own Santa this year...but I guarantee, the chess pants/hat combo will go great with my new (keeping my fingers crossed) Snuggie!! :P

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Groovy!

Hey readers! I was flipping through the channels the other day...wow, I sound like I watch a lot of TV. I swear, I play online chess, like, 10 times more than I watch TV. Anyway, I caught a portion of Austin Powers 2 on TBS (The worst A.P. movie, srsly!) and ran across this scene featuring Ivana Humpalot (Austin's Russian love interest...)and Austin himself:

Ivana: Do you know how we keep warm in Russia?
Austin: I can guess, baby.
Ivana: We play chess.
Austin: I guessed wrong.

AAAND then, they played chess!!! Briefly...but if anybody can make chess sexy, it's Austin Powers...I'll stop while I'm ahead! ;)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Kitty-Cat Chess Buddy


I thought I'd brighten you folks' days with a picture of me and my cat Percy playing chess (this is before I had Internet on my new computer so I was playing the machine!)...anyhoo, there you go. My cat loves chess as much as I do! :)

Spotted!

...chess! Again! I was chillaxing over the weekend, and I tuned in to Saturday Night Live (one of the better shows of the season, IMHO) when I saw it! Chess...in the opening credits! Can you find it?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I'm BACK....and better than ever!


I apologize for the extended absence. Most of it was due to school-related obligations...although I must admit I've been chessing it up quite a bit, with great results! Now, I've added a picture of myself and an opponent (my future brother-in-law) playing chess over Thanksgiving! We're playing on my Lord of the Rings chess set...can you guess which one's me?

In other news, I've finished my Christmas shopping already but I'm sorry to admit that I did not purchase a single chess-related item! I sure hope I receive some chess swag this year, however! We've got a little less than 2 weeks until the holiday. Maybe I'll get some good play in with different relatives this year? I have yet to teach my mom how to play! Perhaps I'll endeavor to do so this year!

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Rhyming Haiku

Readers,
If you know anything about me, then you know that I HATE playing the computer in chess. I would much rather play a fellow human. However, there are times in all of our lives when we are left without an Internet connection. If we are lucky, we have a chess program on our computers. If not, we end up playing Minesweeper...anyway, I guess I'm one of the lucky ones because when I can't access chess.com, I can fall back on my computer's chess program, even though I'm playing a computer. Without further ado, I present a rhyming computer chess haiku that I wrote myself:

Move pawn first or not?
Victory requires thought.
Must conquer chess bot!

Enjoy!
~Torero

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Good News for Sweet Teeth!

If you are a sweet tooth, then you will LOVE this fun tidbit I read (can't remember where...can't find it! I really saw this though...): your brain burns calories through mental exertion! Wow and yay! However, it only burns calories of sugar and not fat, so during the holidays, you can burn off those extra candy canes by playing a few grueling rounds of chess...the gravy, you will have to run off :(. I'm not much of a sweet tooth myself, but I sure have a chess...something. Whatever body part that would be...hand, I guess! Maybe I can entice some opponents to play a few rounds with me using this information!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Spotted!

Chess! I was flipping through the channels over Thanksgiving weekend (Happy Thanksgiving, by the way!) when I caught a glimpse of a reality show about prison inmates...and they were playing chess for entertainment! That's just inspiring! I think chess can definitely sharpen the mind--it's a great exercise in which people from all walks of life can participate! Maybe more prisons and jails need chess!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Advice

Dear Readers:

A little while ago, I read a very useful article that can be found here.

The key idea in the article, I believe, is that the best way to get better in chess, in the final analysis, is to go play; as opposed to reading books, studying all the time, etc. which the article makes clear is all very important, but which is all rather superimposed and secondary compared with playing.

The gist of what I took from the piece and a couple of the comments posted by users is that everyone can beat anyone else in any game. I found this to be the case. Okay, it is really easy to get it in your mind that hey, I’m going to lose this game—especially if you’re in a slump. So, just go to each chess game with a clear and fresh mind. Say, hey, I’ve got as good a chance of victory as the person on the other side of the board.

In the final analysis (to use this useful term twice), all one can do is go out and give each new chessing opportunity their best shot. What does it really matter who you’re playing?

~Torero

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Must-see?

Readers, I have been alerted thanks to Uncle Wikipedia, of the existence of a musical called "Chess." There doesn't seem to be a audiovisual recorded version of this musical, which in my opinion is a travesty--somewhere beneath chess on my list of interests is theatre! Not musical theatre, especially...but who cares, this sounds like a winner to me. Oh man, a revival would be great...it was developed with ABBA members' collaboration, so this could be a success along the line of Mamma Mia! They should do it! Or hopefully a theatre in my area will stage a production of this masterpiece...I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed*.


*Left hand fingers only...the right hand's too busy on the mouse busting some awesome chess moves up in here!! ;)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Look both ways.

Readers, I'm back! And I'm here with another chess tip! I know we all get excited about playing chess--our next move! the possibility of a win! But let me remind you that you must SLOW DOWN. I'm talking quality over quantity here...you could make your next move in record time, but DO NOT! I'm sure you are familiar with the carpentry saying, "measure twice, cut once." Well...go over possibilities for your next move before making it, as you can't take back a hasty move that ends up being a bad decision. We all know a single move can make or break a game--don't let yourself get in a hurry only to end up losing. I mean, you COULD...but I've learned not to, and it has helped my game tremendously!
~Torero

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tidbits

Here are a few fun tidbits I found while perusing chess.com:

· There are 318, 979, 564, 000 possible ways to play the first four moves of a chess game on each side of the board.

· In 1891, a group in Dublin, Ireland formed the “Club of Living Chess,” where live players were used as the pieces. The group performed for charity events.

· The shortest chess game recorded lasted for only one move. It was played between Rogoff and Huber in 1972.

Many thanks to "jojo" who originally submitted an extended version of the list in 2007.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Meow

You know how I was talking about cats in an earlier post...it's because I have two of the little scamps. Random thought of the day: name a cat Chess-ter? Queenie? Would that not be *the* *cutest* *thing* *evar*!! Personally, I think I'd go with Checkmate, so I could talk like a pirate and call it "matey" and say "arghh" or nickname it "checker." Whatever!

Post by Request

Readers,
This is a special post, dedicated to a special reader, who requested two specific posts from me, so here is one of them. Here is the request I received: "I would like to see some discussion of chess strategies and ways to size up your opponent's mental hardiness." A fascinating request, I'm sure you will agree. Well, I must say that first of all, one of the best chess strategies is distraction. When playing chess IRL, you can use all sorts of methods to achieve distraction. I like to point at a spot behind my opponent and cry alarmingly, "look at that!" This is, incidentally, a great way to size up your opponent's mental hardiness--surely, they won't be stupid enough to look? But I am a good actor...Now, in online chess, the great way to distract your opponent is to use the chat function. You can try to psych them out by bullying: "you suck!" or behaving like an automaton: "good luck!" (this is what the computer tells you if you are playing it). You can add "you're going to need it" to the end of the "good luck!" comment to combine strategies. Discussing complicated intellectual matters while playing is a good way to distract and size up your opponent, although this is understandably harder online. Of course, I have myriad strategies, and most of them I will be happy to share. In the future. Let's make this a series. I will be back soon with another installment.
Love ya,
Torero

Monday, November 9, 2009

Friendly Reminder

Chesscapades is on Twitter! Follow me @chesscapades on Twitter! See you there.

The best ideas...

Come at such odd times! I mean, I was just standing outside, leisurely peeing in the crisp autumn air as the breeze...well, never mind, but a fabulous idea struck! I love chess! Why not sign up for a chess.com platinum membership! Check this out: http://www.chess.com/membership.html
I feel great now that I can support chess.com! So for you serious online chess players out there, consider one of the subscription membership levels--you *can* play for free...but with benefits and the knowledge that you're supporting a thriving chess community...well, it's just fabulous!!
XO,
Torero

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I mean this in the nicest way possible...

If you don't play chess, then YOU DO NOT KNOW! You do NOT know!! So there.

If you do play chess, then you're cool and it's all good! Let's play...

Monday, November 2, 2009

I haven't forgotten you, reader

Dear Reader,
I haven't forgotten. I have been playing chess, trending ever upward. Please forgive my absence from cyberspace lately. I will return at the earliest possibility, hopefully with good chess news to report. Don't be mad. ;)
Love ya,
Torero

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quick Update

Dear Readers,
I have been on a roll tonight! I'm not sure whether it's my beret, my yellow jacket, my rolled-up jeans, or my multi-colored socks, but I must be wearing some article of clothing that is acting as a sort of chess talisman. Perhaps I have a new uniform? Although nothing beats playing chess in one's jammies from the comfort of one's own home. Well, it could just be in the air tonight...but I've been patting myself on the back for many chess games well-played. I hope I didn't just jinx myself!
Love ya,
Torero

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Chess Man!

Well, I was going to put something in the title about cats, but it sounds way cooler to put chess. I mean, this is a chess blog. But the reason I bring up cats is that I'd like to find a way to teach a cat to play chess. Maybe I'm talking out of my head here, but sometimes I get a hankering for a good 3-dimensional chess game and I need an opponent. I could play against myself but that seems a little odd. I'll give it a try and report back. I was just kidding about the cats, by the way. Everyone knows only dogs can learn complicated logical thinking processes. Just kidding. Monkeys. Or dolphins. No, definitely monkeys. Then I could make them wear funny hats. Or distract them with bananas.

Good News!

Attention, loyal blog reader! I have, by request, enabled anonymous comments on all posts. Please be mindful that this should not be considered free rein to unleash malice. Not that you would. But you could. ;) I hope you're all doing well out there in blogland, and I apologize for the light posting lately. I've been playing intermittently with mixed results. Sometimes, however, homework and other duties take precedence over online chess. But small consolation, I've added a fun footer to the blog, so scroll away and let me know what you think. But only if it's good. :) Feel free to post chess tips, if you've got good ones! XO, Torero

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Life-Size!

If I ever have enough money to buy a mansion, I think I will forego the tennis court and swimming pool and put in a life-size chess board. I've never had the privilege of playing on a life-size chess board, but I imagine it would be pretty awesome!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chess and Weddings...or just chess?

I am lucky enough to say, that despite my voracious appetite for online chess, I have managed to hang onto my dear, sweet fiancee, who is very beautiful. Unfortunately, she won't stop talking about weddings! And she does it even when I'm trying to play! With headphones on! Women! Anyway, one of the only ways I think the wedding could become an accurate reflection of our lives is if it incorporated my love of online chess. My two loves, in one spot. Can I bring my laptop to the wedding? Honeymoon? You could really chess up a wedding, you know. Look at this awesome invitation from Wedding Paper Divas--I think I might try to persuade old A. to agree to a chess-themed event. I mean, what's not to love? Wow, enough wedding blabber...I'm headed to the old chess website, chess.com!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Reality

You know, what with all the reality shows out there, I'm just waiting to see how long it takes to make a chess reality show. Have they already made one? I don't watch a lot of TV, but I think I would have heard of it. I'm not sure it would appeal to everyone...but I'd sure be watching, to see what I can learn. Well, that's my random thought of the day!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Concentration

Well, anyone who's played chess can agree, the game requires a lot of concentration! Focus is the name of the game. Now, it might seem silly...but I think we all have ways of helping ourselves focus. We might not be aware of them. You know people who jiggle their legs while studying or chew gum while working...well, here's my quirky chess concentration thing: I hold my forearm in front of my nose while I play and stick the teeny-tiny hairs in my nostrils. I don't even know I'm doing it half the time! And I do it while driving, too. (Don't worry, one of my hands is on the wheel--and my arm hairs aren't so deeply entrenched within my nose that they can't be called upon to seize the steering wheel when necessary). It might appear crazy to onlookers, but guess what? It helps me focus. And in chess, players need all the edge focus provides. =:{) (this is an emoticon trying to depict a smiley putting his or her arm hairs in his or her nose). =:{)

Turndown

Well, it sure puts me in a good mood to sleep when I can turn in with a fresh victory. I think I'd keep myself up all night playing just to end on a good note. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pawnz

Every pawn is a potential Queen.
- Mason

A Passed Pawn increases in strength as the number of pieces on the board diminishes.
- Capablanca
_________________________________________________________________
Well, guess what? Pawns have been inspiring me recently. I think many chess players consider pawns expendable and don't give them much thought. The lowly pawn is a valuable piece in chess, but it is underappreciated. The pawn is the first line of tiny wooden/plastic/virtual chess pieces to go into metaphorical battle, and often the first piece sacrificed. But one little pawn advancing across the board can, with reference to the quotes I added above, redeem a lost piece of higher worth if it completes its journey. Pawns may be tiny and adorable, but they are stronger than we give them credit for. My playing has improved in light of my newfound veneration for the meek and humble pawn. Well, the pawn may be the "weakest and most abundant" chess piece (thanks, Wikipedia!) and his name may be derived from the word "peon," but skilled chess players understand that the pawn's movements can determine the game's trajectory from the very first move! Perhaps you are playing on a chess board in which some of the pawns have been lost, like a certain someone I know who uses correction fluid bottles in place of a few pawns who've gone astray somewhere and at some time unknown. Well, regardless of what you're using to play your chess, please, for the sake of your game, be mindful of the pawn.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Photographic Inspiration

Such an inspiring image of all the chess pieces lined up ready to play. I particu- larly enjoy the beginning of every game, because it has potential to become what you make it. Hmm, perhaps chess is rather postmodern in that sense? And for a game with such old roots, it still has relevance today. In fact, it's my opinion that more people should play chess, as it's such a great mental workout.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

On a winning streak!

Well, I have been on a winning streak lately (save a particularly distasteful loss last night). My score is up and I've been doing well! Here's hoping this trend continues!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Follow me...

Chesscapades is now on Twitter! Follow me @chesscapades
~Torero

Cogs and Machines

Okay, we're cogs in the great machine of life, but we're still humans. And that brings me to something I've been thinking about lately. I really can't stand playing computer chess against the computer. There's got to be a person on the other side of the screen somewhere for me to really feel challenged. I'm sure everyone's got their own opinions and preferences on this matter, but it feels so much better to engage in a chess game with a person instead of a machine. Hmm...perhaps it is just reassuring that there are other people out there who enjoy online chess as much as I do?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nothing like it!

I just wanted to add a quick post before I get going for the day. My online chess day has already started! There is really nothing like a morning online chess victory to get me going! It really lifts the spirits!! I WON!

Monday, October 12, 2009

This is your brain...on chess

Chess is just one facet of my multi-faceted plan to head off Alzheimer's or another similar disease in the future. The blimits of my plan haven't been fully worked out yet, but suffice it so say that playing chess keeps one's brain young. I also take fish oil supplements every morning, and try to eat as much brain food as possible, including blueberries, fish, and a variety of vegetables. It's important to stay healthy mentally, and chess is definitely a great way to enjoy yourself while doing it! So, grab a bowl of blueberries topped with ground flax, and roll up your computer chair, and play a round of online chess. Your brain will thank you later!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

On a roll

I often find that the first game of my online chess day is a harbinger of the trend of the day. If I lose, then I'm probably going to keep losing. If I win, well, I am on a roll, baby! Ain't nothin gonna stop this train to victory! Hey, I might not be able to take a shower or make it to class on time, but woo, am I doing good! The only problem is that sometimes, I keep playing after I lose once, and my score plummets. :( You'd think I would have learned by now...and I do want to keep my score at the top...but sometimes I just can't tear myself away from the keyboard and monitor (with CPU, of course!) regardless of how many times I lose. Am I just trying to prove I can win if I keep playing long enough? Probably. Well, there's a peek into the inner thoughts of your neighborhood online chess aficionado. TTFN, y'all!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Welcome to my blog

Hi,
I'm Torero, a 20-something online chess player. I do play 3-d chess from time to time, but the extra dimensions throw me off! I'm on my way to Chessmaster, I hope, so check on in from time to time to see how it's going. And maybe I'll even play chess online with you one day?
~Torero