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May 05, 2012

Sat. Nite Chess Thread 05-05-2012 [OregonMuse]

Welcome back once again to the legendary Saturday Nite AoSHQ Chess Thread

Igor and Gleb

These guys crack me up. We all know there's a metric buttload of instructional chess videos available on Youtube, and elsewhere on teh interwebs. But I really like these guys. The way they interact with each other is very entertaining. For example, listen to the taunting ("take your time, take your time!") that goes on in this blitz game while both are offering commentary on what's going on as the game progresses.

Here is another one, a discussion of the position from a famous study by Reti.. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, I would recommend you pause the video and try to solve it yourself before you listen to Igor and Gleb explain it. This position is one of the great "optical illusions" of chess; you look at it and think that there's no way that the King is going to catch that pawn -- until you see the solution.

I have no idea who these guys are, I think one of them may be an Israeli NM or IM, but I don't know for sure.

Unfortunately, Igor and Gleb only made 3 or 4 other videos. Which is a shame, because I think they're entertaining enough that they probably could have cranked out a whole series of instructional topics and their schtick wouldn't have gotten old.

I can't say that about this next bit.

Extreeeeeme Chess!

I love chess very much, but I am realistic enough to know that it is never going to be a spectator sport. Not for large audiences, anyway, and definitely not in America. Even though the largest audience in PBS history was the one they got for the Fischer-Spassky WC match. I think this was an outlier. The fact is, some things just don't work well on TV. What could be more antithetical to the zap and pow that modern television demands than a bunch of geeks and fat guys hunched over chessboards for a couple of hours?

So I have to give these guys credit for at least trying to make it exciting, and for trying to communicate the struggles that go on in a chess game. I'm not sure if what they're doing actually works, so judge for yourself. It's the X Chess Championships, Episode 1. Other episodes are available.

One thing that I think detracts from this effort is that the primary woman commentator has a voice with a "Valley Girl" quality that makes it really, really annoying. Also, and this is just a technical note, they should make all the games available online in PGN format. I would have liked to have taken a closer look at that second game, for example, where White was on the ropes and in severe time trouble, and yet somehow managed to come back and win.

There are other episodes available to watch, but the main question is, can this format work, or is it just too silly?

Game of the Week

This week's famous chess game is Petrosian vs Gligoric, Zagreb 1970. Watch as Gliga brilliantly sacs a knight which enables him to launch a ferocious king-side attack. Petrosian tried to defend, but after about move 22, it's basically rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

You can play through it yourself here

Thanks to those of you who have sent me tips for this thread. They may be sent to me at

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Added [rdbrewer]: Chess, anyone? Add "AoSHQ" to the end of your name, so we can tell who's who.

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posted by Open Blogger at 07:35 PM

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