9 Queens: Empowerment through Chess

9 Queens is dedicated to empowering individuals and communities through chess by making the game fun, exciting, and accessible.

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Teacher Training Workshop

January 16, 2012

Are you interested in teaching chess? Good news! You don’t need to be Bobby Fischer to be an effective chess teacher or coach. 9 Queens is offering a free training seminar for anyone interested starting a chess club, working as a chess instructor or developing chess teaching skills.

Date: January 28, 2012

Time: 10 am – 2:30 pm (30 minute lunch break)

Place: Tucson Main Library, 101 N. Stone

Topics to be covered include:

  • Planning a lesson
  • Teaching strategies for instructors with limited chess experience
  • How to keep students engaged
  • Teaching the basics of chess
  • Hands on exercises
  • Making chess fun

9 Queens is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to extending the benefits of chess to under-served and under-represented populations.  If you would like to attend this seminar, please send an email to jhoffman@www.9queens.org. You must pre-register to attend; space is limited.

Categories: Uncategorized

January Family Chess Night @ Bookmans–The Poetics of Chess

December 17, 2011

January’s puzzle was created by the great novelist and poet Vladimir Nabokov. White to move and mate in two.

Bring your puzzle solution to Bookman’s on Speedway Family Chess Night, 6:30-8:30pm, first Wednesday of every month–in January, Wednesday the 4th–and win a free prize. The whole family, new and experienced players are all invited to join us to play or learn to play chess.

The Poetics of Chess

Poetry and chess teamed up at a recent Tucson event held on the lawn of the Himmel Park Library. The Emily Dickinson Tribute Chess Tournament attracted chess enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels for a three round chess tournament, gourmet lunch and reading of Emily Dickinson poems. The event was co-sponsored by Kore Press Big Read Project, 9Queens and the Tucson Public Library.

Two Emily Dickinson poems read at the chess tournament addressed mental focus:

I felt a cleavage in my mind
As if my brain had split;
I tried to match it, seam by seam,
But could not make them fit.

The thought behind I strove to join
Unto the throught before,
But sequence raveled out of reach
Like balls upon a floor.

——————————————————–

The brain within its groove
Runs evenly and true;
But let a splinter swerve,
‘Twere easier for you
To put the water back
When floods have slit the hills,
And scooped a turnpike for themselves,
And blotted out the mills!

——————————————————–

Poetics and chess cross at many junctures. Beauty, structure, precision, concentration and seeking the essential purity of a form are not all that the subjects share. The language used to describe chess concepts and play often wax poetic.

In the recent HBO documentary Bobby Fischer Against the World, Dr. Anthony Saidy speaking of Game 6 of the 1972 World Championship match between Fischer and Boris Spassky, describes the game as a “symphony of placid beauty.” Fischer’s triumph over Spassky was “a beautiful game. . .a model of precision,” says former US Chess Champion Larry Evans. About Fischer, Boris Spassky told the press, “Fischer is a man of art.”

Saidy writes in his book The World of Chess (co-authored with Norman Lessing) that, “A most felicitous definition of chess–from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia is: ‘an art appearing in the form of a game.’ For indeed, the element of beauty is its most captivating quality.” The poetics of chess explores beauty.

In the book Bobby Fischer Goes to War, the authors David Edmonds and John Eidinow write–”Genius in chess is a magical fusion of logic and art–an innate recognition of pattern, an instinct for space, a talent for order and harmony, all mixed with creativity to fashion surprising and hitherto new formations.” This is an apropos description of poetry.

The great conceptional artist and chess master Marcel Duchamp proclaimed, “Chess has the visual possibilities of art. It is a mechanistic sculpture that presents exciting plastic values. . . .The transformation of the visual aspect to the grey matter is what always happens in chess and what should happen in art.” As Duchamp more famously stated, “From my close contact with artists and chess players I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists.”

More about the beauty and art of chess in puzzles to come.

References

Bobby Fischer Goes to War, David Edmonds and John Eidinow, Harper Collins, New York, 2004

Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess, Francis M. Nauman, Bradley Bailey, Jennifer Shahade, Readymade Press, New York, 2009

The World of Chess, Anthony Saidy and Norman Lessing, Random House, New York, 1974

http://www.npr.org/2011/11/24/142729894/emily-dickinson-takes-over-tucson

http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/bobby-fischer-against-the-world/index.html

Postscript

Solution to last month’s puzzle taken from a game with Judit Polgar vs Xie Jun, Amber Rapid Monte Carlo 1996:  1.Bh7+. . .Kxh7  2.Qxf7+. . .Bg7   3.Qxg7#

Categories: Chess Event / Events

December Family Chess Night @ Bookman’s features Judit Polgár

November 12, 2011

December’s puzzle is taken from a game won by Judit Polgár. White to move and mate in three moves.

Bring your puzzle solution to Bookman’s on Speedway Family Chess Night, 6:30-8:30pm, first Wednesday of every month–in December, Wednesday the 7th–and win a free prize.

The whole family, new and experienced players are all invited to join us to play chess.

Judit Polgár: World’s Greatest Female Chess Player

Judit Polgár was born in 1976, Budapest, Hungary. Her father trained Judit and her sisters, Susan and Sofia, to be chess prodigies. Laszlo Polgár’s belief that “geniuses are made, not born” was tested and proven by his daughters, two chess grandmasters and one international master.

Judit Polgár 2008

Judit became grandmaster in 1991 at the age of 15, beating Bobby Fischer’s record by a month. She is the only woman to enter the World’s Top Ten Chess Players. She has defeated nine Men’s World Champions. Polgár seldom plays in women-only chess events. “I always say that women should have the self-confidence that they are as good as male players,” she said.

Former world champion Garry Kasparov has written, “if to ‘play like a girl’ meant anything in chess, it would mean relentless aggression.” Judit’s style promotes aggressive openings and play. She excels in tactics by maximizing the initiative and developing complication.

Former US Champion Joel Benjamin describing Polgár–”it was all-out war for five hours. I was totally exhausted. She is a tiger at the chess board. She absolutely has a killer instinct. You make one mistake and she goes right for the throat.”

The debate over female chess capability may continue but Polgár’s aggressive style and accomplishments disprove the argument that in chess, women lack the patricidal urge.

Putting the title “strongest woman player ever in chess” to test, Polgár, as a mother of two, has said, that a chess tournament now “feels like a vacation.”

More about great chess moms in puzzles to come.

Reference

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judit_Polgar

Photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Judit_Polgar.jpg

Postscript

November’s Bobby Fischer puzzle solution

1. Rxf8+  Kxf8  2. Qd8+  Ne8  3. Qe7+ (or Be7+)  Kg8 4. Qxe8#

Categories: Chess Event / Events / Women in chess

Dickinson Chess Tournament in the Park

November 8, 2011

Join 9 Queens, Kore Press, and the Pima County Public Library for a Dickinson Chess Tournament on the Himmel Park Lawn on November 19, 2011! This event is a part of the Big Read Tucson. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Categories: Chess Event

November Family Chess Night @ Bookman’s features Bobby Fischer’s “Game of the Century”

October 17, 2011

Can you solve this month’s puzzle? White to move and mate in 4 moves.

novpuz

Puzzle from the book Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess.

Bring your puzzle solution to Bookman’s on Speedway Family Chess Night, 6:30-8:30pm, first Wednesday of every month–this month Wednesday, November 2–and win a free prize. The whole family, new and experienced players are all invited to join us to play chess.

Remembering Bobby Fischer’s 1956 “Game of The Century”

When asked in an interview the year before he died which of his games he thought the best or most beautiful, Fischer replied his game with Donald Byrne in 1956.

At the age of thirteen Robert James Fischer was invited to play with eleven other top Americans in the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament in New York City.

Playing black, Fischer forced mate at move 41, establishing him as one of the greatest chess prodigies. Because of Fischer’s age, precision and daring the game has been labeled the Game of the Century.

The game demonstrates young Fischer’s understanding of the hypermodern system and use of the Grunfeld Defense that quickly develops his pieces, hooking up his rooks and placing a rook in a center open file.

ByrneFischer

In the unexpected and powerful 11th move, Fischer brilliantly exploits white’s weak position. Fisher’s famous move 17. . .Be6!!  sets up a surprising queen sacrifice that results in a fierce attack with his minor pieces, allowing multiple discovered checks.

Lessons to be learned from this game–develop pieces quickly, castle early; a large pawn center (here, white pawns) can be a liability; an open file in the middle attacks a king in the center.

More about great Bobby Fischer games in puzzles to come.

References:

Fischer, Bobby (with Stuart Margulies and Donn Mosenfelder), Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess, Bantam Books, 1972

Brady, Frank, Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy, Dover, 1965

Verwer, Renzo, Bobby Fischer for Beginners, New in Chess Press, 2010

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Game_of_the_Century_%28chess%29

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1008361

http://youtu.be/Vqbq_bPCzN8 (a YouTube commentary of the game)

http://chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3434# (game commentary, history)

Categories: Chess Event / Events