September 15, 2012

Winning isn't everything but losing is nothing

I started to agree with Edmar Mednis on that...I have been told so many times that a loss is actually good, that you learn most of it, that you cannot become stronger if you don't taste the pain of defeat - of course I cannot question that. And yet, if winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?! Besides, don't know if you feel the same way as I do, but I guess it's quite a common emotion: a won game doesn't fully compensate for a loss. I suppose this comes from our burning desire to always win and when that happens, we think: "yes of course, it's normal. I've been working hard for it so I deserve it". This attitude leads to a perfidious result, that we actually don't trully enjoy our glorious moments. On the contrary, when a big zero appears on the tournament table, negative emotions start to bitch up the whole thing.

July 3, 2012

Chess city break in Flanders!

If you would like to travel, but feel unequal to learning at least one international language for the purpose, then play chess;) The ideal substitute for English, Spanish etc. at last has been found!
For our family, last weekend was a perfect opportunity to employ the reliable speech of chess without danger of going astray, in...Oostende! 
Probably it would have taken us some time to reach this Flemish city if it wouldn't have been the universal language of chess. Even if Erwin was busy for a couple of hours with his simul, the reason for our city break, it doesn't mean we didn't enjoy every single bit of it! And you can see for yourself the upside of playing chess further on:

June 13, 2012

Sun and chess on the Bulgarian coast!

The Golden Sands tournament, held between 4th - 12th of June on Bulgarian seacoast, finished yeasterday, having as a sole winner the Chinese GM: Lu Shanglei, (born in '95)! The 7.5 points which the winner squeezed out of 9 games are even more impressive if we think about the rather tough starting list of the event: I could count more than 45 GM's and plenty of IM's, all fighting for the 6000 Euro first prize! I forgot since an Open tournament was as rough as this one but I guess it's fully justified by the generous prize fund which the organizers put at stake: more than 50000 Euro! 224 players attended the tournament, trying to get a prize or/and as much sun as the Bulgarian seaside resort had to offer:)
As for our family, it could have been better, it could have been worse. But we did enjoy the whole experience! While we are now waiting for our bus to come and bring us back to Romania, I decided to  choose some pictures for you, to make a general impression on the tournament we just had.

May 28, 2012

Finding order in chaos

I don't know about you but I've always been quite skeptical about the utility of solving mate in two problems. I am not talking about the simple ones but about these crazy positions, where a total mess is present on the board, with a lot of pieces. It looks as if you just opened your chess box and all the pieces fell randomly on the black&white squares - 'fire on board'!

May 25, 2012

Chess: the metaphorical way

I don't like to argue, unless it's a constructive activity of course. A disagreement can bring insights into a certain subject much more than if you just think about it on your own.
Such an experience I had recently, regarding the popularity of chess terms in daily speaking. My position was that chess is by far more frequently used in metaphoric expressions than other sports for example. But because this was more of a hunch than an organized thought, I couldn't convince my interlocutor.
So here it is:

May 7, 2012


I have never liked computer games. To me it easily becomes boring, repetitive and painful for both my eyes and my back. So why bother?!
Unfortunately, nowadays we cannot really survive in chess without a computer. We have to check our lines, we have to ask the 'genius' for the best continuation and so forth. I am trying as much as I can to move the pieces on the board, to check the books I have on my shelves, but at concentration is out the window. This is happening especially when I am training alone and I become tired to ask myself questions, give the response and keep my discipline in place for many hours to come. If only it would be a little bit more entertaining, a little bit more fun - I could work for days in a row! 
Well, good news! Computer is not always an enemy for chess but an ally, if used properly. And because lately I have been literally 'obsessed' by a new way of improving my chess skills, with the help of a chess website, I see myself morally obliged to share this new discovery with you!

April 12, 2012

ChessBase collaboration

I know I haven't posted much lately, but for good reasons!
It's not that I suddenly became silent, on the contrary: I am still very active but in a different way - ChessBase!
I am very happy and grateful that I got this chance, to become an official ChessBase contributor. Thanks to our collaboration, most of my articles from the chess tournaments I am playing will be published on their websites, translated from English into German and Spanish.

March 18, 2012

Close-up: Alexander Morozevich!

I am coming back with one of my favorite labels: close-up! 
The interview has been already published in the second issue, February 2012, of the German Magazine: Schach.

February 28, 2012

Chess Fortress?!

While watching my husband's game in Bundesliga this weekend, I was stunned by another encounter, between Anish Giri and Markus Ragger. The game went on for 113 moves and I was shocked to see that Black was not able to make any progress from a position which looked to me, at the first glance, completely winning!

February 14, 2012

Happy Chess Velentine!

From the National Championship, in between today's preparation and a walk outside, confronting the winter's wrath, I wish you all a great day!
We are celebrating it by playing chess, what else?! If you have never thought that chess and romance could go together, take a look at the card underneath, from the 20th century, maybe it will change your mind:)

February 9, 2012

Invisible Chess Moves

Remember my previous book review on "Invisible Chess Moves", written while I was watching the games in Wijk, during Tata Steel 2012? I am literally warming up my brain (freezing cold in Romania) by checking the beautiful examples hidden inside.
The book received recently the Book of the Year award, on and I can see why. The two diagrams presented underneath gave me such a pleasure that I couldn't keep it just for myself and decided to challenge you:)
I hope you didn't see them before and if you did, I am sure their beauty will steal at least a smile from you! And keep in mind: the moves are surprising. That's all I'm going to say.

February 5, 2012

World School Chess Championship 2012

Iaşi. Whenever somebody asks me: 'Where do you live?' and hears the name of my hometown 'Iaşi' (pronounced 'yash') I can see in their eyes they have absolutely no clue where that should be on a map:) That's ok, even our capital Bucharest is quite confusing, being oftenly misplaced with...Budapest, or the other way around - a common mistake that children make during their geography lessons. And this is not the only tough part in school, imagine you have to study chess! Not everybody likes it, but in time, when you reach adulthood, you start realizing how good in fact that was. If you become a professional chess player, maybe you get slightly different feelings sometimes, but this is not the point of today. What I want to share with you is a simple, honest and warm invitation, for the World School Chess Championship, held in Iasi, between 27th April until 7th May 2012!

January 30, 2012

Tata Steel Chess 2012

Farewell pictures...
Congratulations to the winners and see you again for the jubileum (75th edition) in 2013!

January 26, 2012

Tata Steel Chess 2012 - Highlights

If before we saw the mistakes that even the best of the very best make, it's time to learn from the same players. No wonder they are so good!

January 25, 2012

Tata Steel Chess 2012

Pictures from the last two rounds and a bonus: the chess struggles seen through Pia's eyes!

Invisible Chess Moves

'Discover your blind spots and stop overlooking simple wins'

authors: Emmanuel Neiman & Yochanan Afek

Have you ever lived the miserable moment of total astonishment, when you realized, back to your room and with en engine on, that your game was in fact winning at some point and not losing?! I bet you did. 
But I am not talking about blunders, which are evident and spotted out almost instantly after you made the 'fantastic' and fatal move. The mistakes I am referring to are more subtle and more difficult to correct. No matter how much the engine jumps from one estimation to another, it's not a sign of how easy or difficult the idea was. Of course, if we tend to dramatize and if we judge by the computer's conclusion, we will get depressed and cought in the vicious circle of blaming the others, ourselves and eventually give up looking for the real reason behind the missed chance.

January 24, 2012

Free day in Den Haag

Days are flying, especially if you are in Wijk aan Zee, for the Tata Steel Chess Tournament. Don't ask me how and when, but it's almost round number 10! A lot of work and efforts are put into the games, so it's normal to have some free days, especially for such a long tournament of 13 rounds. Yesterday the players had the chance to relax, to recharge the batteries and, if they felt like, to join the organized excursion to The Hague! Let's see how it was:

January 22, 2012

Tata Steel Chess 2012

More pictures!

Humans are not machines

There is no such thing as perfection. Without intending to enter the endless philosophical discussions, I would like to share with you just a few samples (all from Tata Steel 2012) of how human mind works. We are not machines, we get tired, annoyed, distracted and thus, we cannot have a 'perfect' game. Not always at least!
As you will see underneath, even the best of the best make mistakes. You can try for yourself to find the correct moves, which Grandmasters missed:

January 20, 2012

Tata Steel Chess 2012

Round 6
Wijk aan Zee is back, with its hard winds and unpleasant weather. Nevertheless, who cares?! We didn't come here to go on the beach, but to play our great game. Indoors! Not everybody agrees though, as you can see at the end of today's post...

January 19, 2012

Tata Steel Chess 2012

Round 5!

After the well deserved rest and the traditional football match, it's time to get back on board and burn a few more neurons. To warm up, some players choose to enter in the 'chess zone' by solving Afek's daily challenge, with literally a couple of minutes before the game is supposed to start! 

January 18, 2012

Tata Steel Chess 2012

Wijk aan Zee
Free day in Tata Steel Chess tournament. Time to relax, recharge the batteries and move on. And because there are no games to follow today (yes, I know...I also regret that), let's take a tour around, to see where everything happens.

January 17, 2012

Tata Steel Chess 2012 - Portraits

And more...
If your favourite player didn't make the winning move yet, you can spare your nerves by taking a look into today's photos!

January 16, 2012

Tata Steel Chess 2012 - more pictures

More pictures from Wijk aan Zee!

Tata Steel Chess 2012

Today's pictures: youngest, oldest and the ladies!

Many things have changed over the years in Wijk, contributing to the worldwide known atmosphere of this special tournament. But there is one detail, one tradition, which will stand forever, hopefully: hitting the gong! Let the 'fun' begin!

The Swedish Grandmaster Ulf Andersson was the one who did the honors today, announcing the start of the third round.

The games are still in the opening phase, so we can take a look into the 'theme' of today, as mentioned in the title:

January 15, 2012

Tata Steel Chess 2012 - Second round

Second round is ongoing and I cannot wait to go back to the livegames section. Before I do that, here are today's pictures:

January 14, 2012

Tata Steel Chess 2012 - First round

First round pictures! Many interesting and decisive games from the very beginning - time is flying here...

I'll come back soon with a few more details on the photos you can enjoy right now.

Tata Steel Chess 2012 - first pictorial impression!

In less than an hour, the first round in TataSteel Chess tournament will start! Get your computers ready to watch the live games, it will surely be as interesting as always! Meanwhile, you can take a look into the opening ceremonies of the A, B and C groups.

Click on the images to enlarge! 

January 7, 2012

Reykjavik Open 2012

We have a saying in Romanian language: it is important to enter the New Year with the right foot, so that all our actions will go into the...right direction:)

There is now great news for Dutch players, for a memorable 2012, from a chess, cultural and historical point of view: a special package for the Reykjavik Open, held between 8th and 13th of March 2012!

The President of the Icelandic Chess Federation, Gunnar Bjornsson, tells us more: