The Bad News and the Good News

The Bad News

Take a look at this diagram.  The play that followed, if it is true, sets chess back centuries.

White to play

It occurred in the 2011 US Women’s Championship according to a e-mail report I received from the always timely and excellent “Chess Today”, edited by GM Baburin.  My first reaction was this was a joke and Baburin must have gotten the position wrong.  I haven’t checked yet, but he goes on to say this was Krush-Zatonskih, a competitively important game, and that white lost the diagrammed position(!).   “How?” Baburin rhetorically asked.  “White moved her bishop twice randomly and allowed black’s king to a2.”

Are there any readers that can shed light some more (for example, time left, other information) light on this bizarre incident?  After all, it would only take a second or less to understand that 1. Bxb4 draws (among other things).  Worse yet, are there any unkind videos of this shipwreck?

The Good News

The iPhone ChessU App is born

After a year of group effort, my Chess “App” (it is called Chess University, or ChessU for short) is about to be approved by Apple and enter the iTunes store.  It is a set of guided quizzes with all the fancy visual interface features you expect in an iPhone.  The users gain “points” and can print out a diploma when they pass a course.  We will offer courses in Attacking, Playing Like Anand, and Basic Rook Endings for starters.

The Settings Screen

Take a look at the main announcement page    or the product page  for more details.

When the product is on iTunes, I will update this post! (hope it is very soon).  So far, we have the app (which you can download for free) along with a starter Course (also free) called Attack 101.  Once inside the App, when you graduate from Attack 101, you will have the opportunity for “in-app” purchase to move on to Rook Endings 101 (Rook 101 for short).  We are also finishing up another paid Course, called Playing Like Anand 101 (Anand 101 for short).  The paid courses will be available directly from iTunes or as an in-app purchase inside the quiz environment.

The target audience is scholastic kids who are used to the iPhone anyway and also people of any ages who wish to improve.   We will port to the Android later; we wanted to get the iPhone version first.  It runs on the iPad too.

This was a true international effort with programmers from Taiwan, Vietnam, and Australia.  The result is a platform that can play over any PGN feed or handle custom PGN marked up with Quizzes and answers.

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6 Responses to “The Bad News and the Good News”

  1. dfan Says:

    “Are there any readers that can shed light some more (for example, time left, other information) light on this bizarre incident?”

    Krush was playing on the increment by this point, but it was a 5-second increment. I expect she was pretty frazzled at this point after an hours-long game and moved instantaneously, as people often do even when they have 5 seconds, but on the other hand I guess IMs are supposed to be past that point.

    Nobody’s immune to tiredness but two things stand out (psychologically) about increment:

    a) the first instinct of any player with no time is to sack the bishop (or think about it)

    b) it is also instinctive to get the King to b1 to stop the pawns. If on increment, getting the King to b1 (after one random bishop move) builds up some time to “think about it” (well, nothing to think about,
    black cannot do anything).

    The fact that this occurred does not argue well for the trend to faster time controls and random finishes like this.

  2. Adrian Petrescu Says:

    Eagerly waiting for ChessU to show up in the US iTunes store :)

  3. Problema 35: Juegan blancas y Entablan Says:

    [...] [Fuente| A personal Chess History] [...]

  4. coelacanth Says:

    Congratulations on your app! I look forward to trying it out.

  5. Adrian Petrescu Says:

    Looks like it’s out now :) Downloading it as we speak!

    I’m still working on the content (on the server). Some extra explanations, some last minute fine-tuning, and so on.

    To refresh content, go to Course Table of Contents screen, press Edit,
    this resets the Course. You will then, next time you start the Course, fetch the new content from the server.

    May 17th News: Version 1.02 queued up for Apple Approval. Fixes some bugs. Rook Endgames 101 content complete.

  6. Christian OConnor Says:

    Doc when will new courses be available? I’ll buy all of em and tell my friends to buy em too!

    Anand 101 in pipe, others following.

    Main categories:

  7. Openings
  8. Endgames
  9. Famous Players

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