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Below are the 19 most recent journal entries recorded in Parents of Chess Kids' LiveJournal:

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006
3:35 pm
Many thanks!
Many thanks to those of you who filled out my surveys on Baby Sign Language and on Spoken English. My project was a success. I have posted my paper for those of you who are interested. Thanks again!
Thursday, November 30th, 2006
10:53 pm
Poll on First Language Acquisition
I'm working on a project for my linguistics class, and I'm wondering if anybody out there would be willing to help me out. If you have children that have already learned how to talk, can you follow the links over to my journal to take a poll?

The first poll is for parents who have taught their children spoken English only.

The second poll is for parents who have taught their children spoken English and baby sign language

I sincerely appreciate your help with this.


Current Mood: hopeful
Monday, July 31st, 2006
1:04 pm
I'd hate to revive this community for such a negative reason, but I am increasingly disgusted with what I read about Sam Sloan. This is not the man we want to represent our kids.

If Susan Polgar can't save the USCF, I will have to encourage my chesskids to participate outside of the USCF.

visit susanpolgar for more information.
Sunday, May 1st, 2005
9:29 pm
The case against chess
This week's Time Magazine has a pretty critical article on competitive chess.

Krauthammer's article on Bobby FischerCollapse )

What do you think?
Wednesday, February 16th, 2005
3:35 pm

I finally reentered the world of competative chess a couple of weekends ago.  I played in the 2005 Cajun Chess Georgia Peach Open in Marietta, GA on February 5th & 6th.  It was a five round Swiss event, but I ended up only playing three rounds proper.  More on that below.  I would have preferred getting my feet wet with a few of the Atlanta Chess Club's monthly "Game in 45 minutes" four-round mini-tournaments, but the timing was not right.  The Open section of the tournament was stronger than I expected, with FM Emory Tate, Jr.; "IM-Elect" FM Stephen Muhammad (I have to assume "IM-elect" means that he has only to make one more IM norm to get the title of International Master from FIDE), IMs Ron Burnett and Carlomagno Oblitas, and a last-minute surprise, GM Alexsander Wojtkiewicz...although in hindsight that shouldn't be a suprise, "Wojo", as he is casually referred to in chess circles, has been known to play in *A LOT* of these mid-sized weekend Swiss tournaments, and he makes a fair amount of money doing so, as he usually is the strongest player there and usually wins.

The two highest-rated players in the tournament, Wojo and Burnett, agreed to a *very* quick draw...I think the game did not even go five minutes!  To be honest, I think that Wojo was rather tired, he appeared to come in on a "red-eye" flight or something and needed the rest so that he could later crush the weaker opposition.  Well, in hindsight, perhaps he should have played on!  As it turned out, he was tied for first with Burnett going into the final round when he lost to Stephen Muhammad!  Burnett won his round and clear first in the tournament, and Wojo had to settle for third place behind Burnett and then Muhammad.

I found a results table for the tournament online HERE

I have not transcribed any of my games yet in PGN, much less annotated anything...but here is a brief rundown of my tournament performance:


2005 Cajun Chess Georgia Peach Open
Marietta, GA
Saturday, February 5th 2005

Round 1

Carey A. Hudson vs. William C. Kargel

I drew Black for my first game back in the saddle (yay).  I told my opponent before the game started that this was my very first "over the board" tournament game in 13 years...perhaps that actually made him a bit hesitant and changed his strategy, because he actually started out playing quite conservatively.  I chose to meet his 1.d4 with my "first string" defense in that situation, the King's Indian Defense.  As I just mentioned, White played very conservatively, and was rather slow in development, even allowing me to set up a double fianchetto of my Bishops!  I appeared to have a solid setup against White going into the middle game...very "Petrosian-esque", if I may say so.  I was in fact very confident in how I was doing up to that point.  White then made his pawn break on the Queenside as I expected...but in hindsight I should have either just dealt with that threat directly, or at least if I was going to start my own attack, play a better move than I did (a pawn break of my own on the Kingside that in hindsight suddenly really weakened my defenses, my pawn structure in particular).  Later, in desperation, I made a speculative Rook sacrifice that really backfired, but I think that Black was already lost anyway.  I soon resigned.   1-0


Round 2

I drew a full-point bye.  Yippee.

Round 3

William C. Kargel vs. Mark Solt

Mr. Solt was from Jacksonville, FL, seeking escape from the Superbowl Madness!  He played a variation of a Robatsch/Modern defense, answering my 1. e4 with g6.  There are a lot of similarities in the strategic themes of the Modern and Pirc Defenses, but the main difference between the Modern and the Pirc is the delaying of development of the Kingside Knight.  Being an experienced Pirc player in correspondence chess on both sides of the board, I basically played a common setup for White against the Pirc, very similar to the "150" or "Caveman Attack" against the Pirc, with 5. Be3.  I soon had managed to place an enormous amount of pressure on Black's Kingside with both of my Rooks in early deployment, and I was giving Black fits as he really had no place to go or to counter-attack.  But, as usual, I made a tactical mistake that made my Kingside attack fizzle out, and then allowed Black to counter-attack and place a Knight behind my Queenside pawns...Black then proceed to pick them off one by one until he had a massive pawn phalanx in center...we both at this point only had a Knight left as pieces...I fought on, and actually managed to snipe two of the pawns before he inevitably promoted the e-pawn to a Queen and I then resigned.  Black could have finished me sooner, but he was making inaccurate moves in the endgame and allowed me a bit of counterplay (i.e. my lone Knight sniping a couple of pawns from his endgame majority).  My opponent seemed rather annoyed that I played on for over 50 moves and not resigned way back when we entered the endgame.  Oh well...I don't give up so easily!  0-1



Sunday, February 6th 2005


Round 4

Matthew D. Beard vs. William C. Kargel

This player was ultimately a no-show.  I later found out that the other members of his family had all asked for fourth-round byes, so I have to assume that this player just forgot to do the same.  I would have much rather played and tried to have actually earned the full point!  As it was, I think it led to disasterous consequences for my final round.  I was pacing all over the place like a hungry jaguar or something, just about salivating with anticipation to pounce on my next opponent over the board!

Round 5

Kevin D. Meng vs. William C. Kargel

My last opponent was a quiet Chinese boy of about thirteen or so.  He acted rather timid over the board, and in fact played into a Giuoco Piano/Italian Opening, rather the Giuoco Pianissimo ("quiet game") variant with 5.d3, which I was not happy about at all.  I twiched and played 5...d5.  Not the smartest move!  To make a long story short, my position imploded and the quiet kid then quietly and methodically ground me down.  My only real disappointing loss!  1-0


I chalk up my poor results in the tournament to two things:  1) lack of "over the board" tournament experience, especially since I am still not used to the 3-D environment of OTB chess as I am to the 2-D environment of Correspondence chess.  2) bad tactical assessments.  No surprises here...I need to work on tactics, tactics, tactics!

I really didn't expect to light up the boards, and overall I was pleased with how I played...much better than I did 13 years ago, that's for sure!  Back to practice, practice, practice!




Current Mood: crappy
Saturday, October 16th, 2004
1:21 am
Early accolades for A First Book of Morphy
"[E]very bit as good as I hoped, a superb piece of work. ... [I]t's good to encounter an author who is logical, organized, coherent, thoughtful, conscious of wordplay, mindful of details, and knows how to spin a useful metaphor. It's a pleasure to read. ... A lot of thinking went into the planning of this book, and [the author has] distilled that thinking into a simple framework that anyone can appreciate. "

"A signal accomplishment … the best book on Morphy I've ever seen. .... An instant classic."

"It's a thing of beauty, and [the author] ought to be proud."

"My wife likes [the] book, and she's not even a chessplayer."

Examine moves that smite. Use inactive force. Play chess like a genius.
Thursday, October 14th, 2004
6:03 pm
What's the difference between Nationals and Supernationals?
Wednesday, October 13th, 2004
7:12 pm
An introduction
Oh, since I posted, I might as well introduce myself, too.

Saluton!Collapse )
6:09 pm
Question about nationals

I'm not a chess parent, but this community turned up when I did a search for Scholastic chess. I'm a chess coach for a high school--a relatively new high school program, and relatively inexperienced. This is our third year competing in Arizona (where chess is under the organization of AIA, like other sports such as football, basketball, etc.), and for the first time, my kids here are relatively successful. Not as good as some of the big-city schools (we're a tiny, private, Catholic school on the Navajo reservation in northern AZ), but good enough to compete among other northern AZ schools.

Some of my best players are now seniors--they're the ones who have been with me for the last 3 years, competing and growing and learning. After another northern AZ school mentioned going to Nationals (in Nashville this year), I thought we might consider that--we're at about the same level as they are.

Does anybody have any experience with Nationals? I don't want to take them there only to embarass them not do well. (And I want to see them get more serious about the study of chess, too.) What kind of talent range is there at Nationals? I guess I'm just trying to decide whether it's worth the effort of fund-raising and missing a couple days of school.
Wednesday, September 29th, 2004
1:51 pm
Friday, September 17th, 2004
7:31 am
Karpov & Polgar
So for yesterday's meeting I prepared flyers. All they had on them were a picture of Susan Polgar, a picture of Karpov, and the text: "Who will win? Find out next week".

Of course this caught all the students' interest & I told them about this weekend's exhibition in nearby Lindsborg. Several students took the flyer home, and nearly everyone wants to know who will win.

One student, a wide-eyed, optimistic 7-year old, raised his hand and asked "Is it going to be on TV?"

Awww.. Great question. But sorry, you were born in the wrong country.
Sunday, August 8th, 2004
8:49 am
teaching kids to play chess
Hi everyone,

I was wondering if anyone had some good resources on beginner's chess kits, game sets, and/or teaching tips.

Last year I saw a first grade teacher who had her kids playing chess and I was so amazed! I can barely play and here are these six year olds fighting over who plays the winner! I would love to have this in my classroom.

Thanks for your help!

Current Mood: curious
Thursday, August 5th, 2004
5:30 am
I'm a chess teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. During the school year, I typically teach seven classes and about 10 private students per week. I edited the California Chess Journal for three years from 2001-2003, during which time the magazine won awards for general excellence and analysis. For the past year, I have been working on A First Book of Morphy, which illustrates the teachings of Purdy and Fine with Morphy games -- Trafford Publishing ought to have that on the street in time for fall classes. I have directed scholastic events in Northern California, Southern California, and Arizona.
Thursday, July 22nd, 2004
7:20 pm
Do's and Don't's of the First Year of Chess Club
I'm now entering Year Two of our elementary school's chess club, and it's time to reflect on some lessons learned from Year One.

Read more...Collapse )
Comments welcome.
Sunday, June 20th, 2004
8:53 pm
Monday, June 7th, 2004
9:53 pm
Orrin Hudson
Bill, with your being in Georgia, plus your desire to teach chess in the inner city, I wonder if you are familiar with Orrin Hudson, and his organization, Be Someone. He was featured on a local radio program a few months back, but apart from his website, I know very little about him.

Tuesday, June 1st, 2004
1:20 pm
I just thought that I should properly introduce myself here!

Here is the Reader's Digest Condensed Version of how I came to be here and my chess playing experience, for what it is worth...

I learned how to play chess when I was six years old...both my father and (maternal) grandfather taught me how to play. When I say that, I mean the board, what the pieces are, and how they all move. That was about it.

I liked playing throughout high school, and even joined the USCF to try and play in a couple of tournaments. That was when I found out how woefully out of sync I was with everything chess-related. I knew how the pieces moved, yes, but I had no idea about the actual concepts behind the game. Needless to say my experiences playing in tournaments were far from satisfactory.

At this point, I went to college, and chess mostly disappeared from the radar. I was more heavily involved in classes, music, girls and partying! ;-)

Fast-forward to the present day. In the past year, my interest in chess has resurfaced. My motivations in improving my play are for the purpose to teach chess to children, particularly underprivileged children. If I had that kind of experience between six and ten years old, I could have very well become a much stronger player. At the very least, my test scores (and grades) in school would have certainly been better. Learning and studying chess at that age has proven to improve test scores, concentration, critical thinking, etc. I have the attention span of a gnat...borderline ADHD, I guess. But, I digress.

My logic is that in order to be an effective teacher, I should also be an effective player...I don't have to be a master-strength player, but I should always be striving to improve my play, and learn new things about the game, and new ways to teach it to others.

I have recently renewed my membership in the USCF, and am also now a member of the Georgia Chess Association. I am working on getting my Certification from the USCF to be a Certified Chess Coach.

Sadly, my current work schedule requires me to work weekends, so playing in tournaments at this time is not possible. I would not begin to do that anyway, however, until I have beefed up my playing ability to a level that I am comfortable with.

In the meantime, I am studying the opening, middlegame and endgame parts of chess equally. I am trying to focus on the concept of strong opening play without having to delve deeply into opening theory at this time, though it is fun to find out what opening line variation I am playing actually is...the internet has been wonderful showing me this! For the middle game and endgame, I am simply trying to solve chess middlegame and endgame puzzles, both online and with chess computer programs that I now have.

I have no idea what my true playing strength actually is at this time. My last actual USCF rating was 1052, but that was also in January 1992 when I had no real idea what I was doing, and I feel that I am a much better player than I was back then, considering all that I have learned in just this past year alone!

I hope to develop some dialogue with others, here!


Current Mood: productive
Monday, May 31st, 2004
10:57 pm
A little about me
My story:

I began playing chess against an Apple ][ at age 7. Dabbled with it until I was 13. That's when my physics teacher encouraged us to play each other after class. I spent that year getting consistently whipped by A)the other kids in my physics class, and B)Sargon III.

While I never embraced chess obsessively, I was encouraged to pursue the sciences through that teacher; whether chess is responsible for my becoming an engineer, I can't say. At the very least my mind associates the two.

I played occasionally in college, although frankly most "chess people" gave me the willies, and I had better things to do.

My nephew asked me to start a chess club at the start of last school year, and I've spent the past year teaching a group of 30-40 elementary school kids. Now I'm hooked.

My group of kids don't play competitively, and I'm not particularly pushing them that way. Later, if anybody shows up here (*sniff*) I might talk particulars of our first year at chess club. Thanks for dropping by.

7:30 pm
Welcome to chessparents; a family-friendly community for parents to discuss their children's chess hobby. I hope for the members to range from the novice to the expert, from the tournament kids to the non-competitive.

Possible topics include:

---How to start a club at your child's school
---A primer on tournaments
---Recommended Resources, Equipment, etc.

If, for some bizarre reason, this community receives frequent posts, expect me to be a bit dictatorial in enforcing etiquette. But be polite, and we'll get along fine.

Please start by telling us a little about yourself.
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