India's first chess features print magazine published quarterly from Lucknow since 2004 by Aspire Welfare Society.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Escape from Covid to Chess Planet: Play with CCBW

No stopping the chess, but parents must counsel kids to not go overboard and stay safe online, writes Shilpa Mehra

Lucknow: While the world shut down, the chess community went berserk. The world's top chess websites saw traffic treble in just a few hours.

The scene here in Lucknow on first day of lockdown: We quickly created a WhatsApp group, set up an online page, pinged our friends at chess clubs in Dehradun, Chennai, Madrid and London, got zoom meeting app going and life was set.



By 5 pm a serious tournament with Anna Nagar Chess Academy (ANCA) Chennai was on. Right after that at 7 pm the gang headed to the Etlantis Club Dehradun blitz evening practice session and midnight was for show of strength in Mexico City at the Ajedrez en lĂ­nea event. The gang included 6-70 year olds with Silentman and Lizzyosmond leading the boys and girls charge.

For once, no school, no work and we could play into forever.

While the rest of the world wondered what to do with tension, fear and questions, we had escaped to another planet under the guidance of idiamin100!

Arbiter and professional chess trainer, Naveen Karthikeyan would know: "As a chess trainer I can tell you, every single chess kid is happy right now anywhere in the world. We study chess professionally in Chennai even during school days but this is full steam ahead. We are practicing and studying almost round the clock and with chess players of all strengths across the world."

Karthikeyan says, "The best part is our kids at the ANCA and CCBW are not only competing among themselves and with kids in other cities, but are also getting a chance now to grab games with Grandmasters and International Masters who are all also playing online in lockdown."

The schedule is set.
CCBW friend, journalist and chess player from Chandigarh, Jupinderjit Singh, tunes in via zoom for banter blitz of crazy fun with kids shouting out moves to his opponents on video chat. Banter blitz is when a senior player takes on one opponent at a time and plays while explaining his thought processes aloud as a chess teaching method.


International Master Nubairshah Sheikh tunes in from Mumbai for serious chess study with intermediate students of CCBW even though it's fasting time in Ramzan. Just 21 with GM norms, Nubair is sure to be Grandmaster as soon as mortar-n-brick venue tournaments resume. The children already call him GM!
Tiger201, aka Rohit Rana, holds our place at the evening blitz at Etlantis Chess Club in Dehradun. Our in-house organiser, Resistiré scourges the net for chess events on the hour. There are tournaments of varying time controls happening every minute. We don't want to sleep.

Yet, it's an online world so quick tips to stay safe:
- keep security settings safe in WhatsApp group so as not to be added automatically to random chess groups mushrooming all around
- be careful about playing tournaments with entry fee as online payment gateway needs to be used; plenty of great free tournaments around though
- discuss with your coach how and what chess activities to join in as there's a boom in choices
- discuss time controls and specific events with your trainer lest you catch an online playing addiction
- discuss all privacy issues with your kid about online behaviour including not divulging private and contact details to strangers online
- rationing online time and checking eye strain
- draw up specific schedule for eating, sleeping and exercise otherwise this may get a tad out of hand
- online cheating is a reality, face it without anger. Choose to hang out with the right people as real chess lovers don't cheat. If you suspect someone of cheating, submit their name to the website online moderator for evaluation

Meanwhile, this Sunday 8 pm we are at the Ajedrez con Cabeza Club in Madrid on a special invitation by Pedro M. Vincente to compete with chess teams from Spanish-speaking countries Cuba, Argentina, Spain, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Mexico. After the 5 +2 one hour tourney, we will do a ten minute zoom session to cheer everyone and plan to meet in person when the magic returns to the real world.



Want to join Chess Club Black and White team for the Sunday tournament?

Join here on lichess and send real name to resistire in lichess for approval.
https://lichess.org/team/chess-club-black-and-white-ccbw-lucknow

The tourney link will be sent to you after Id approval.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Moscow Chess Olympiad: Anand, Humpy to Lead India

Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand will be back to head the Indian team in the 44th Chess Olympiad to be held in Moscow, Russia in August this year.

World number two in Women and going great guns in her second innings, Grandmaster Koneru Humpy will lead the Indian women team for a maiden medal aspiration in the biennial event that is likely to see participation of around 180 countries.

Anand participated in the last Chess Olympiad at Batumi, Georgia and even though the Indian team remained in the medal hunt for a long time in the 11-round swiss event, we missed out on the medal finally.

This time renewed energy will be put on performance as the plans are to have now-retired former world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia as the trainer for the men team for at least two camps.

The trainer for the women team is still being debated but the AICF will ensure that they also get the best of facilities.

Apart from Anand, Grandmasters P Harikrishna and Vidit Gujrathi remain a certainty for the men team. It’s going to be a close race for the remaining two spots in the five-member team with B Adhiban having the best chance currently to hold the fourth spot. K Sasikiran, S P Sethuraman, Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Aravindh Chithambaram are the remaining four in contention for a spot in the team.

Amongst the Women, Humpy and Harika qualify themselves while for the remaining three slots, Tania Sachdev, Bhakti Kulkarni and R Vaishali have a strong case as on date. However, the finally decision will be based upon how the perform in the coming months. According to rules the final decision on the composition can be taken only on May 1, 2020.

Speaking about the new development, AICF secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan said that this will be our best chance. “I think this could be our chance to show the world that we are indeed the new power in Chess, we have a string of young grandmasters waiting to be world class players in the years to come and at the top we have some of the finest players today”, he said adding "and we have to thank Microsense India for agreeing to support the training program with Mr Kramnik."

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Mind Training Chess App: Psychologist Bjarne Eiholt, WFM Louise Fredericia

Improve your chess by mental training 
Introducing the MindMaster App


For decades it has been common practice in physical sports to use mental training as a means to improve performance. In some mental sports as well, like bridge and poker, mental training has become a common training tool. In chess however, the benefits of mental training are uncommon and underestimated.
Until now, a mental training program for chess players hasn´t been available, but with the recent release of the MindMaster App, it is now! Chess players now have the opportunity to use mental training just like other athletes in physical and mental  sport have done for years with good results. The purpose of the MindMaster App is to provide chess players with strategies to feel more at ease, focused, self-confident and motivated when they play chess. In this introduction, we will give you an insight into mental chess training and why we believe you can improve your chess by mental training using the MindMaster App.

Why mental chess training?
A wise man once said: The most dangerous weapon of a chess player is his mind. To this he could have added: The only weapon of a chessplayer is his mind. It follows that the more you work on the mind the better it will work for you, just as a sword must be sharpened before a battle.  No matter how many chess books you read, or how many hours you spend preparing your opening, such work cannot prevent you from losing your confidence and nerves, or help you to rebound after a defeat and focus and concentrate during your game.
In certain situations, a chess player’s mind can trick him to the point where he misses moves that he would easily have seen in a blitz game. In situations where there are high stakes at risk chess players tend to miss mates, give away pieces, lose track of time or lose focus on the board.
Sometimes you can hear statements like these from chess players before a game:
- I always play badly against a lower rated - or higher rated - player.
- When I lose, I cannot motivate myself to move on for the next game, and then I tend to lose that one too.
- I can already see myself mess it up in the middle game because my opponent is such an annoying player.
- I’m so nervous – how can I focus and concentrate?
- I haven’t slept all night because I lost yesterday.
- I gave away a piece yesterday, so I’m an easy victim today

Now the interesting question with regard to mental training is:
Who is surprised when these scenarios actually come true and the one who stated them losses?
The list is – almost – endless on how chess players’ expectations to the game, preparations and sleep can be disturbed and affected. No matter how long the list above may become, the bottom line is the same: in situations where you perform way below your normal level, it is not because you suddenly have become a bad chess player and lost your chess skills. You perform below average level because of your poor mindset.
Now the answer to the question above shouldn’t be that difficult – should it?

What to gain with mental chess training?
When you start mental chess training, the aim is that your average level of performance will increase. The increase in performance is caused by an improved mental condition and mindset.
Our users tell us in feedback that they sleep better, that their loses affect them less and that they are able to focus better on the next game. Others have sensed a good feeling of mental preparation and fewer nerves, which has lasted throughout the game. Others tell us that they have felt in a strong winning mode, which has made them play with more energy and belief in themselves.
The mental training sessions in the MindMaster App have different themes. It is therefore the user’s choice what to focus on, and thereby what to gain. Focus, concentration, increased confidence prior to an event, the proper mental state for competing – there are many different effects of the mental chess training. The effect will depend on how often, how much and how the training is used. The more you use it, the better it will work.

What does the MindMaster App contain?
The MindMaster App is developed for tournament players, regardless of strength. It contains no opening theory, no advice on the latest novelty in Ruy Lopez, no explanation of chess technicalities, strategy or structure. It can be used by any chess player.

The app contains 15 sessions of spoken text, with optional background music, spread over three categories of themes of mental training:



Optimise your thought processes – 6 sessions
Deal with distracting thoughts – 6 sessions
Achieve mental wellness – 3 sessions

Each session has its own specific aim well recognised by tournament players. Examples are:  move on after a defeat, regulate your use of time, control your nervousness,  play your game when it is best, prepare mentally for your game.
The sessions in the first two categories incorporate three elements, each serving their own purpose:
Physicality: Breathing and deep relaxation of body and mind. The relaxation will get you in the right state of mind.
Visualization: You visualize different scenarios, based on the idea that if you can imagine it, you will be able to do it.
Repetition of a statement: You make a statement, based on the idea that if you can tell it to yourself, you can also make it happen.
The sessions in the third category (achieve mental wellness) are mainly about getting your mind to be calm so that you can stress down or get help to fall asleep.

If you are interested in the idea of improving your chess by mental training you can visit our homepage: http://mindmasterapp.com/ Here you can try a free sample of a session Prepare mentally for your game. On the homepage you can also find details and further information.

The MindMaster App has its own FB-page: Mental Chess training. Here you can post questions or commentaries.
The MindMaster App is available on App Store and Google Play and costs 7 Euro.
The authors of the app are Bjarne Eiholt, who is a chess player and psychologist, and WFM Louise Fredericia, who is a chess player and mental trainer.

-- By Bjarne Eiholt and WFM Louise Fredericia

Friday, July 12, 2019

Chess train runs Oct 11-15: Prague - Carlsbad - Cesky Krumlov - Brno - Trencin - Prague

Medieval pearls by Chess Train 2019: Chess train, a unique project of Prague Chess Society and Czech Railways, will take place again! The Chess Train 2019 will run from October 11th to 15th on the route Prague - Carlsbad - Cesky Krumlov - Brno - Trencin - Prague. On the train, a 11round tournament in rapid chess will be played.



As it is clear from the itinerary, this year the real medieval pearls are waiting for the participants of the event - beautiful cities of the Czech Republic and Slovakia with picturesque historical centers. And two of the cities have the extraordinary chess tradition also. Rembember famous tournaments Carslasbad 1907, 1911, 1923 and 1929 or Prague Olympics 1931. In the capital of the Czech Republic was born the 1st World Chess Champion Wilhelm Steinitz and in the present days there live several top-class grandmasters of different chess federations – David Navara (Czech Republic), Pentala Harikrishna (India), Sergey Movsesian (Armenia), Pontus Carlsson (Sweden) or Maxim Rodshtein (Israel).





If you want to attend this extraordinary event of the Chess Train 2019 and meet chess-tourists from around the world, do not hesitate to book a place on prazska.sachova@gmail.com. The number of seats on the train is limited. The ticket to the Chess Train and the tournament fee cost 199 Euro, the ticket for a non-playing partners costs 149 Euro. Accommodation can be booked by the organizers in the selected hotels in 3 categories (3*, 4* and 5*hotels), or you can arrange for it yourself.

Details of the Chess Train 2019 can be found here.


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