Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Last-Minute Gift Guide

Finally, the gift guide! This is a short list of products I have found to be/look interesting. However, these are only some of many ideas...I encourage you to look around for more (or for similar items)! If I come across anything else, I'll add another list later on. Got to go holiday shopping now :S

My high school teacher introduced me to Blokus. It's a great game, especially for chess players. This is the portable version. $16.99.
For scheduling all your tournaments! $16.95.

Now you can really "eat" the pieces! Special order.

Can't go wrong with these!

Still thinking about the game? Now you can sleep on it! $24.50.,378857414

I love the detail! $61.60 and up.

Can I have a pet chessfish? Poster $5.00.

Never lose them again! $11.00

Perfect for kids. $19.99.

Who says players can't speak their minds during the game? Turn towards the interrupting person, and point at your t-shirt. So simple! $30.00 and up for the value version, $46.25 and up for the regular version.

Now you can really master those imbalances! $32.95

Too cute! $195 for the complete set.

Such a great series! $29.95, or special pricing with other editions.

I'm Back!

Final countdown questions? - Yes, more coming December 23 and extended until December 31 due to the unexpected delay.

Answers? - The answers for previous countdowns and their point breakdown are posted below:

Countdown #1 - Mystery Image

- Up to 5 points available

Image 1:
(1 point)

Image 2: was on on the day countdown #1 was posted (as a promotion for Heather's Picks)
(1 point)

Image 3:
(1 point)

Image 4: (side bar)
(1 point)

Image 5:
(1 point)

Countdown #2 - Cryptograms

- Up to 6 points available

Cryptogram #1:
“It is the aim of the modern school, not to treat every position according to one general law, but according to the principle inherent in the position." (1 point)
- Richard Reti (1 point)

Cryptogram #2:
“What is the object of playing a gambit opening? To acquire a reputation of being a dashing player at the cost of losing a game.” (1 point)
- Siegbert Tarrasch (1 point)

Cryptogram #3:
"A good sacrifice is one that is not necessarily sound but leaves your opponent dazed and confused." (1 point)
- Rudolph Spielmann (1 point)

Countdown #3 - Pawn Groups

- 2 points available

The key is to group the pawns together, yet spread the groups apart. One possibility is to place the pawns on a5, a6, b5, b6, c1, c2, d1, d2, e7, e8, f7, f8, g3, g4, h3, and h4. (2 points)

Countdown #4 - Piece Scales

- 2 points available

1 P + 2 R = 3 N
2 N = 1 N + 4 R

2 P + 1 N = ? R


Since 2 N = 1 N + 4 R,
1 N = 4 R

Since 1 P + 2 R = 3 N and 1 N = 4 R,
1 P + 2 R = 12 R
1 P = 10 R

So 2 P + 1 N = 2 (10 R) + 1 (4 R) = 24 R

Therefore, twenty-four rooks are needed to balance the third scale. (2 points)

Countdown #5 - (No answer required)

- No points available

Countdown #6 - Mystery Image II

- Up to 5 points available

Image 1:
August 26, 2009; top ten things chess players are good at (or think they're good at!)
(1 point)

Image 2:
September 1, 2009; joke about where chess players go to eat
(1 point)

Image 3:
September 22, 2009; mate in 21
(1 point)

Image 4:
November 30, 2009; pictures involving chess and snow/ice
(1 point)

Image 5:
March 7, 2010; Ontario Team Tournament results
(1 point)

Countdown #7 - Your Turn at Top Ten

- Up to 9 points available

1. Ten movies that mention the word "chess" (2 points, answers may vary)

This site contains a long list:

2. Ten songs that mention the word "chess" (2 points, answers may vary)

Check out this forum for ideas:

Learn more about music and chess history:

3. Ten pieces of literature that mention the word "chess" (2 points, answers may vary)

A great list:

(1 additional point for completing all top ten lists above)

Bonus: Ten interesting things (street names, facts, etc.) associated with the word "chess" (2 points, answers may vary)

Many possible answers, such as a street called "Chess Drive" according to

Countdown #8 - Would You Rather? x5

- Up to 5 points available

1. Would you rather play chess with Santa over candy canes and a steamy cup of hot chocolate, or play chess with Frosty over a tasty plateful of cookies and a cup of milk/chocolate milk (that you obviously took from Santa!)?

Playing chess against a snowman seems more like a 'once in a blue moon' opportunity. Plus, I'm not a huge fan of eating candy canes. (1 point for any appropriate answer)

2. Would you rather go ice skating or snowboarding after a weekend chess tournament?

Ice skating! Snowboarding is too intense after a hard set of games. (1 point for any appropriate answer)

3. Would you rather participate in a tiebreaker involving a snowball fight or a snowman-building competition?

Depends on my opponent. Against a more aggressive/less patient opponent, I would choose snowman-building. Against a passive/more patient opponent, perhaps a snowball fight! (1 point for any appropriate answer)

4. Would you rather take chess advice from an elf or a reindeer?

Neither...they're all working for Santa... (1 point for any appropriate answer)

5. Would you rather drive two hours through a blizzard to get to a chess event or walk in the cold for fourty-five minutes?

Usually I like to walk, but seeing that I can't really play a chess game as an icicle, the drive would have to do. (1 point for any appropriate answer)

Countdown #9 - Joke!

- Up to 5 points available

Why did Frosty the Snowman use icicles at the beginning of his chess game?

Answer: He wanted to play a 'sharp' opening! (5 points for correct guess, 2 points for any creative guess)

Countdown #10 - Joke II

- Up to 5 points available

Why is Santa Claus a bad chess player?

Answer: He gives away a lot of games! (5 points for correct guess, 2 points for any creative guess)

Countdown #11 - 13 - Words in Words

- Points will vary based on # words

Here are some of the words I found:


at, am, me, he, eh, em
mat, eat, tea, ate, hem, cat, hat, eke, cam, ace, tee, ham
mate, mack, tack, each, tame, hate, meet, meek, mace, meat, heat, hack, team, ache, came, etch, make
check, cheek, cheat, cache, teach, catch, match


at, pa, la, up
ape, are, ale, put, rep, let, lap, eat, tea, ate, pet, perm, rut, tee, eel, rap, par, pep, ear, ule, pal, ere, tap
tape, lute, pulp, peer, late, pale, peel, leap, teal, tale, tarp, part, prep, reap, pear, lure, true, rape, rule, trap, purl, tree, pupa
taper, paler, later, alert, alter, pearl, upper
pulper, repeat, retape


So many possibilities! I'm not going to list them all here :D

What did you find???

Countdown #14 - Joke III

- Up to 5 points available

Why doesn't Rudolph like to play speed chess?

Answer: He always loses to Blitzen! (5 points for correct guess, 2 points for any creative guess)

Countdown #15 - 16 - Top Ten

- Up to 7 points available

1. Wrap is too small (1 point), and you must squeeze it tightly together to fit.
2. Wrap tears/breaks (1 point) while wrapping, so you have to rewrap or tape up the hole.
3. The gift itself has an odd shape (1 point), such as pointy or rounded ends.
4. Running out of tape/wrap.
5. Finding out someone used all the ribbon (1 point) for an art project. Now how will you be able to decorate the gift?
6. Realizing you wrapped the wrong gift (or gave it to the wrong person).
7. The wrap indents or creases and is hard to tape as a result.
8. Getting stuck wrapping too many gifts late (1 point) at night.
9. Throwing (1 point) away the mounds of waste wrap/tape.
10. For some people, gift wrapping (1 point) altogether!

Last minute gift guide? - post later today :D