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Jennifer's Blog
By Jennifer Shahade   
September 1, 2006

Every month or so, I'll take stock of reader comments in my blog, so feel free to e-mail me with your thoughts on the site, or any particular article. We are still planning to integrate columns and forums into the site, but this has been delayed as there is some debate about the pros and cons of that step. I will keep you all posted.

In sad news, after many years of work for Chess Life, David L. Brown has decided to step down from his role in writing the "Key Krackers" column.

This leaves a gulf in the problem solving community, so if you love problems, please feel free to e-mail me with suggestions. You can help by sending me a favorite problem and explaining why you like it. When I get enough entries, I'll compile them into a Reader's Favorites gallery.

Tomorrow, September 6, is an exciting day for chess in the West Village. My team, the New York Knights will face off against the Baltimore Kingfishers, the team that stopped us from snagging a finals spot last year! U.S. Junior Champion Robert Hess will make his first appearance for the Knights, and Pascal will play against friend and fellow GM Pawel Blehm. Barring tech problems at the match, I'll stop by David Shenk's 7:30 pm book signing at the nearby Barnes and Noble (396 Avenue of the Americas (at W. 8th St.). David is the author of the Immortal Game which is reviewed and excerpted in the September issue of Chess Life Magazine. It's only a few blocks away from the Marshall Chess Club, so if you're a New Yorker, check out a double-header of West Village chess fun tomorrow night.

Dear Jennifer,
As a Virginia Chess Federation officer, I was happy to see 
the CLO coverage of Abby Marshall's win at the Polgar. I'm pleased to report firsthand from the 70th Annual Virgina Closed State Championships the clear benefits of the Polgar and Denker for the future of chess. After three rounds only three players had perfect scores in the Open section. Edward Lu, this year's Virginia Denker representative, Ettie Nikolova (past Polgar rep who would have been there this year except she was taking college
prep classes) and 14 year old Abby Marshall, the winner of the past two Susan Polgar National Girl's titles.

Abby's results really stand out as something special as she beat two 2300+ players in a row for the first time. In round 2 she knocked off 3-time Virginia Champ FM Macon Shibut and then in Rd 4 soundly defeated NM Daniel Miller winner of three in a row and four of the last six Virginia State Championships. She played a King's Gambit and Dan countered with a Falkbeer. The game ended in less than 25 moves with Abby having 2 queens and significant material advantage after the complications ended.

Michael Atkins

Ed. Note: In the end Andrew Samuelson (2229) won the tournament with 5/6. Abby Marshall(1950) and Ettie Nikolova(1937) tied for second-sixth with Macon Shibut (2323) and Daniel Miller (2339). Click here for complete crosstables.

Dear Jennifer,
The new site is great. I go to it every day now where before I went to it only to check on my rating. I hope you can keep up the pace for a long time to come.

Dear Jennifer,
When I play through games on Chess Life Magazine or Chess Life Online, the 8th rank disappears after move 30! What's up with that?

Frustrated user,
We heard reports of this bug from some Internet Explorer and aol users. (Others had no problems, and I never heard of this problem on Safari or Mozilla browsers) Because of all the inconsistencies it took a while to get rid of this bug. However, I'm happy to report that judging from recent tests, we've finally eliminated it. Please e-mail [email protected] if you still experience this problem.

I'm having trouble accessing the members only section of the site. Help!

We are still in a promotional period in which all users, member or not, can access all the contents of the site. Just click on "Member Login" in the top right corner, or use this link: Member Login and then click on the second "Click Here." However, there is an aol bug that doesn't allow entry. We are working on this. In the mean time, if you're having trouble on aol, try the "Member Login" on Explorer, Safari or Mozilla.

Just dropped by the website and decided I would let you know my thoughts so far. I know that change is always hard on most of us, and I do understand your need to improve you website, however since everything is not working yet I can't tell if it is improving, but I can say that it does look very bland with the blue/green tones.
I guess that since mostly boring people will be checking out the website bland is better then the look of the old site (sarcasm).
The USCF Shop link sure does take you to a bright/exciting page! More like this please.....

I'd suggest painting your bedroom with the colors of the new USCF website and magazine. You will get used to greenish blues and cyan in no time. (I did!)

Dear Jennifer,
Yay, teal. I like teal. Teal's a good colour.

Dear Jennifer,
Regarding the uschess.org site, I suggest having a single pgn file of all the games of the month's issue available for download, like New in Chess:
David Michel

Starting with the September online version of Chess Life Magazine, we will include a chessbase file with all the games from each magazine. This will be a members' only feature!

 Hi Jennifer,
It's not a bad website.Unfortunately there aren't many U.S. tournaments with good prizes but I guess it's not your fault.
Best wishes,
GM Vadim Milov

Not only do I like the new look--and more substantial changes--of Chess Life, I also love your new online content. I'm addicted, particularly, to Ask GM Joel.
Seriously. I need help.
Best wishes,
Peter Stokes (of Philadelphia)

I just finished reading your new Blog post from Curacao. There were two coincidences that I couldn't just let slip by me. Number one, you had a humorous monologue regarding your preparation against the French. I too have had this same struggle, I'm not quite certain how to "crack" the defense, there aren't any positions in it that are comfortable (and I see from my database that you too have tried the Nd2 line avoiding the Winawer). The other thing I found interesting about your article was the introduction of Emory Tate ("colorful and sometimes explicit analysis", lol). I met Emory at the Kentucky Open last year and although he probably doesn't remember me he did have to borrow my set to play on (I'll never clean my board again, lol).
Thanks for listening,
Anton Taylor

Dear Jennifer,
I enjoyed the article about Maurice Ashley teaching chess to the young talents Medina Parilla and Darrian Robinson.However, I thought it was overly sensationalist to include a picture of a fight. Are you saying that these girls live in sub-standard conditions?

Absolutely not! In fact, the fight took place in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country- Greenwich Village in Manhattan. Such incidents can happen anywhere, at anytime. It would present an incomplete portrait of the day not to include this unpleasant incident.

Dear USCF,
{Superman theme playing}Super job on the website, guys. It's been so long since I've seen such professionalism and progress at the USCF. The new website and magazine are such tangible accomplishments. I feel proud to be a life member.