Another Great Way to Improve Your Game

Cover of World's Most Instructive Amateur Game Book
NM Dan Heisman showcases a great tool to help you improve your chess.

September 28, 2022. I was recently looking over a chess book from our library, but ran into difficulty following along in the text because there were so many sidelines. After setting up the board, making the alternative moves [several times] and then trying to get back to the mainline position, I sometimes lose track and need to start over. I ran out of time with all the digressions (so never finished that game in the book). Purely by accident, I just happened to discover a video by NM Dan Heisman that mentioned Forward Chess. I got it for my iPad immediately [it is also available for Windows, but not for the Mac] and bought one of his books (the one mentioned in the video). I have my eye on a book about Mikhail Tal, too, but that will have to wait until I finish Dan's book first. The live diagrams in the book make following the sidelines extremely easy.

If you liked the video, here are a few more; I will be adding them to the Chess Videos page (along with many more) in the near future.

Think First, Move Second

Four Simple Steps to Blunder Less
Before making your next move in a chess game, it pays to do a few quick things.

September 10, 2022. In a recent conversation with Ed at our Monday chess club meeting, he made a suggestion to help me avoid making some of the blunders I made during our 4-game session [he won all 4 games]. Before I move, he said, ask yourself what your opponent's last move was intended to accomplish and then ask yourself what kind of move you should make (so you don't hurt yourself by missing a good move or avoiding a bad move). "These two things can save you a lot of grief." My memory is not so hot, so I might have garbled his advice (and if so, I will correct it here after I talk to Ed again), but it reminded me of advice along the same lines from NM Nelson Lopez, which you can check out for yourself.

Chess History

Zooming from the Tropics
Zooming from the Tropics

September 4, 2022. Between the hot temperatures (and humidity) and all the other medical conditions, accidents and political events, it is no surprise that our online presence has been severely disrupted. The image above shows the tropical Zoom background I have used for the last couple of online Thursday night sessions; these were solo events, so I have made Thursday evening chess optional for me for the time being, unless I hear from you. Send me an email if you want to play at 6 pm or 7 pm and I will reply with a Zoom link.

YouTube video about the origins of chess
Chess has been around for a very long time; Irving Finkel, curator at the British Museum, provides a detailed account of the origins of chess in a lengthy video interview [about an hour and a quarter] with the Portico Library from 2021. There is a great discussion about chess pieces (with images). If you are short on time, The History Guy does "A Brief History of the Game of Chess" [about 14 minutes].

YouTube Chess.com video about world chess champions
Chess champions are a more recent phenomenon. Chess.com has a great video telling the whole story from the very first world chess champion [Wilhelm Steinitz in 1886] right up to the current world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen. Narrator Jonathan Corblah begins with a brief history of chess. If you enjoy watching or reading about some of the famous games in chess history, you will really enjoy this documentary.

Schedule and News

Usually Refreshed on Sundays

Next in-person meetings in this area:

  • Mondays. We will be meeting on Monday afternoons at the Dunkin' in Oakland [848 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Oakland, Maine] at 1 pm;

  • Tuesdays. We will be meeting on Tuesday evenings at Five Guys in Waterville [373 Main St., Waterville, Maine] at 5:00 pm;

Next scheduled online meeting(s):

  • Thursdays. The Waterville Chess Club online games are available this week [at 6 pm].

    Let me know if you want to play and which platform you prefer (lichess.org, chess.com or itsyourturn.com); I will reply with an acknowledgement and a link to the Zoom session.

  • Fridays.
    Online Camden Chess Club Announcement
    The Camden Chess Club meets online every Friday at 4 pm.

Ad hoc online meeting(s):

  • Thursdays. The Waterville Chess Club online games are available by arrangement.

    Let me know when you want to play and which platform you prefer (lichess.org, chess.com or itsyourturn.com); when we reach an agreement on the date and time, I can also provide a link to a Zoom session [if needed].


I usually send an email to our regular mailing list shortly before the beginning of a week with information about when, where and how we will meet; we typically use the Camden Chess Club community team at lichess.org; online meetings at other times are also available by request [see Contact and FAQ]. The optional Zoom link is in the weekly email; participation by Zoom is optional. Drop me a line if you want to play without being on Zoom. You can also participate on chess.com or itsyourturn.com by special arrangement. If you have a different online chess presence, let us know!