by Webmaster on May 5, 2011

Welcome to Chess Game Improvement! This is a website that gives information and advice about chess. Chess is respected among enthusiasts for its combination of strategical deepness, tactical beauty and apparent simplicity. I hope to share with you the rich theory and culture that encompasses the ‘royal game’.

If you have not learnt the rules yet, see this Wikipedia chess guide or the more formal FIDE Handbook Laws of Chess. Software, DVDs and books I recommend throughout this website often also include an explanation of the rules of chess, such as the chess program Chessmaster or Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan’s Pro Chess DVD. Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) is the official international governing body for chess, although most countries also have their own national governing body.

For practical examples, check out my YouTube channel.

See here for more information about the webmaster.



The Rise of Chess.com

by Webmaster on November 22, 2017

For chess players, Chess.com is clearly the premium domain name for the game. When I first started playing chess, the domain belonged to a company that marketed the chess software Chess Mentor. The software was a training software that was designed with the help of American International Master Jeremy Silman (Silman is most famous in popular culture for being the consultant for the chess scene in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone).

In 2005, entrepreneur Erik Allebest bought the domain at auction. He brought in Jay Severson, whom he had collaborated on chess ventures before.* For years, I had thought that this was part of a well-funded and thoroughly fleshed-out business plan. However, it turns out that the owners did not originally have a big vision for the website. Instead they had three goals for the website – being a landing page with a bunch of links, possessing a forum to create a chess community and offering @chess.com email addresses.

Later on, the brand became a hit when it gained momentum on Facebook, becoming the most used chess app on the social media website. In fact, the technology is even integrated into Facebook Messenger – simply type “@fbchess play” into a private conversation. Chess.com hired many strong chess players to write articles, including Gregory Serper, Bruce Pandolfini, Rafael Leitão, Dan Heisman, Jeremy Silman, Petar Genov, Daniel Naroditsky, Natalia Pogonina and Daniel Rensch. Australian Grandmaster David Smerdon often posts on his Chess.com blog.

Chess.com now hosts a number of high-profile competitions and matches. This year, it even usurped the official United States Chess League, which has now been renamed the Professional Rapid Online Chess League (PRO Chess League). In its inaugural season, the PRO league comprised 48 teams, whose members included some of the highest-rated chess players in the world, including the reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen plus over 100 other grandmasters. One direction where the culture of the game is headed is faster-paced online play and Chess.com has really capitalised on this.

You can see the evolution of Chess.com using The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Here are three sample dates:

Feb 04 2005 – Domain still belonged to Chess Mentor
Nov 26 2005 – Chess.com has been bought, but is mostly a landing page, linking to a few other websites*
Jun 04 2007 – Chess.com up for the first time, featuring chess news and playing chess against the computer; later, email chess is introduced and Chess.com gets featured on TechCrunch
Feb 14 2009 – The website resembles what it looks like today, including the introduction of ‘live chess’ (which happened before 2009, but for some reason those archived pages don’t display properly)

Earlier this year, Chess.com celebrated its 10-year anniversary (when the website ceased to be mostly a landing page) and you can catch an interview with the creators.


* One of these was Wholesale Chess, a highly successful discount chess shop. Even I used to order from this US-based website because it was cheaper than buying from local retailers. In fact, it rose to become the most successful online chess shop in America according to Allebest.



Police Officers Play Chess in the Community

October 13, 2017

A great initiative in Saint Louis called ‘Chess Cops’, as discussed in an interview with Lt. Perri Johnson conducted by Grandmaster Maurice Ashley.   Main links Full press announcement: https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4j3lIv1d0Q Lt Perri Johnson revisits several months later: https:// youtu.be/Oc611Dm3S2g?t=1h40m20s Chess.com blog: https:// www.chess.com/blog/Aarao/chess-program-bridges-gap-between-cops-and-youth Lt. Perri Johnson on police work: https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7cCdfuGa58   Other chess […]

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Best YouTube chess channels

July 5, 2017

Here are a number of YouTube chess channels hosted by grandmasters   Saint Louis Chess Club – lots of videos and broadcasts, often by teams of grandmasters Chess24 – often features videos by probably the highest rated chess commentator in the world, former world number 4 (and currently in the top 20) Peter Svidler ChessBrah […]

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Undevelopment in Chess

November 17, 2016

Basically continuing on from my previous article on ‘breaking the rules’, the mentioning of Kramnik’s cryptic exchange sacrifices reminded me of another anti-intuitive technique that you usually shouldn’t do. Obviously some situations call for ‘undevelopment’ of one’s pieces. In the position below, ‘undeveloping’ the knight and re-routing it to d5 is a logical way to […]

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Breaking the Rules

November 15, 2016

An old saying in chess goes something like: “You have to know the rules before you can break them.” Of course, similar quotes appear in many other fields and they are attributed to a number of people, including Pablo Picasso. In chess, the phrase is a reference to how we should understand the reasoning behind some […]

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A game against Nigel Short

April 8, 2016

To commemorate Melbourne Chess Club’s 150th anniversary and coinciding with his tour of Australia, English grandmaster Nigel Short (former world number three and current top 100 player) gave a lecture and a simultaneous display in Melbourne. In the simultaneous display, Short played against 30 players at the same time, of which I was the top […]

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Why, Chess and Life

January 16, 2016

Does the process of thinking in chess help in daily life? This is an issue I discuss in my article entitled Chess and Life, a piece that aims to capture the psychological essence of chess as a learning tool. I have published this article previously, but have finally placed it on my own website. The writing is inspired […]

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Kasparov’s Commencement Speech

June 4, 2015

On May 16th, Garry Kasparov delivered the commencement (graduation) speech at St. Louis University. Kasparov utilises some impressive analogies, although his emphasis on the English politician Thomas More was a little puzzling to me. I would think that it is difficult for American students to relate to a foreign figure from so long ago. That being said, it might be […]

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Using chess as an analogy for physics

February 25, 2015

This video involves the well known theoretical physicist Richard Feynman comparing and contrasting physics research with the rules of chess. Discovering this video for the first time (using a link provided by ChessBase) was a pleasant coincidence, as I am about to start my honours year in applied mathematics, attempting a project in general relativity.

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Carlsen achieves triple crown

June 21, 2014

Not only is 23-year old Norwegian Grandmaster the World Champion and the highest ranked player in the world (by a significant margin), but he recently just became the World Rapid Champion and the World Blitz Champion. The traditional World Championship is played in long time controls of “120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 […]

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