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
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.
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.