Three Ways To Learn Chess Strategy

By Mark Beljaars

Many of us, we play a game of chess now and then, we really enjoy the game, but we never really took the time to sit down and actually learn chess strategy. It's not that we're not passionate, it's just... Well, maybe we've got too much going on or we never really knew where to look, so the inner Sun Tzu stays dormant. If this is you, if you really want to know how to think and play like a pro, here are three things you can do that should help you to hone your strategic thinking and really know what you're doing on the checkered board...

Get a Teacher

Join a chess club or group in your area, play a few games, and see if anyone there is willing to show you the ropes. You can learn a lot on your own, but chess is... Like Karate. You don't become a black belt by punching a heavy bag forever, you need to get a sensei and actually learn what it's all about. The same goes for Chess. You can learn a lot being self taught, but having proper guidance will really help you.

Play Every Day

Start a chess club at the office, play online during your lunch hour, find some people at the park to play with, teach your wife or roommate how to play. Just make sure you get a game in every single day, even if it's you vs. You. If you don't play every single day, you won't remember what you've learned. And remember, you learn more from losing than you ever do from winning, so try to go up against people at a skill level slightly higher than your own.

Read Up

Get some books from the library, read online, and learn all the standard tricks and tactics. Obviously, the strategies you learn won't, alone, be enough to always guarantee a win, but having a good vocabulary of the common strategies, and their counter-strategies, will be a big help in getting you on your way and helping you learn how to think like a chess master. - 31483

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Old Fashioned Board Games

By Tim Frazier

Board games are a great source of entertainment on days when kids cannot play outside, yet often teach valuable skills. Think back to the board games you played as a child and may still play now. Scrabble is an incredibly popular board game and now you can give your children, grandchildren or even your students a chance at playing with Bananagrams. It is simple and easy for young children to enjoy all of the fun of combining letters into words without worrying about points or such.

When you see the package for Bananagrams you quickly realize where the name comes from. The tiles come in a banana shaped and colored bag. The game is really simple to learn. It is just like Scrabble in that you have to use the tiles you have to create words in a crossword puzzle shape. It really does help kids learn to think quickly and creatively.

It is the ability to see random letters and form words that is so important. It teaches the mind to quickly see correlating letters. The more your child plays this game, the faster he or she will learn to put words together. It is absolutely fantastic for teaching them new words as well. The quicker they complete the game, the more points they win. It really is simple to master and the rules are incredibly easy to follow.

Another great thing about this game is that even adults can play. One user wrote a review and made the suggestion that if adults are playing with kids, they should change the rules about getting new tiles a bit. Let the child draw one time but when it comes your turn and you need to draw from the tile pile, draw two instead. This game can provide countless hours of fun or it can be used for a small distraction such as at the doctor's office. It is very portable and can be played quickly. That is definitely a plus when you consider that games such as Monopoly can take hours to finish.

Let's face it...there are a lot of board games on the market these days. Some are exclusively for small children and some are for older kids. Bananagrams is a game that is for any age group. You and your adult friends can have as much fun playing this game as your children do with their friends. When you play this game with your children you can help them increase their vocabulary and even improve their spelling skills. Add in the fact that it is really inexpensive and you have a winning combination. - 31483

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Text or Not to Text with the LeapFrog Text and Learn

By Tim Frazier

If you own a cell phone, then you may have heard of text messaging. Text messaging has really become a popular way for many people to communicate with other people. You can even get weather updates, Facebook updates and notifications about bills through text messaging. By far the largest user group is teens. Teens easily send thousands of text messages each month. It is natural for small children to want to experience that as well but you do not want to hand them a cell phone. You can try the LeapFrog Text and Learn.

The LeapFrog Text and Learn is not a cell phone nor is it a real texting device. The truth is that it is a hand held gaming device that allows small kids to pretend to text. It even features a QWERTY keyboard just like your own cell phone has provided you have a newer model cell phone that is designed for texting. Your child gets to pretend to text.

The games your child can play on the Text and Learn are primarily focused on them learning the alphabet, improving their typing and learning rhyming. Those are beneficial as long as they do not pick up the "text talk" that is so prevalent among text users. An example of texting language is "U R gr8" which translates to: you are great. It may not seem like a big deal for some but for many it really does hamper spelling skills.

A huge downside of this toy is that it is specifically designed to communicate with the LeapFrog My Pal Scout. Scout is a stuffed puppy that receives the texts and the child can have online adventures with but you have to know up front that the Text and Talk does not come with this pal. You will have to pay an additional $20.00 to own him.

Another downside is that you cannot download or buy any additional games. So this makes this toy pretty much a one shot wonder. It is not expensive, though, which is the bright side. You can easily find this toy for around $24.00 which makes it pretty inexpensive as far as electronic gadgets are concerned.

It really is a toss up on whether the LeapFrog Text and Learn is truly an educational toy. Granted it does have games that teach your child his or her alphabet but truth be told...there are a lot of educational toys that do the same thing. Leap Frog has a wide assortment of toys that may be better suited and far more practical than pretending to send text messages. Your child will have ample enough opportunity when he or she gets older to send plenty of text messages. - 31483

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Backgammon Set, Best Place To Buy

By Walt Peterson

There are hundreds of games that are popular all over the world. One of the most-played is definitely backgammon as it is entertaining for people from the age of five and up. It is actually one of the oldest board contests out there. It's a game for two players who roll dice and move their pieces on a backgammon set.

The first player that can successfully move their checkers around the board and get them removed, is the winner. This game comes in many different forms,but is actually played most often as a table game. With the advent of computers, this game has migrated to the Web. It is now played online as well.

Many people play online, which they can play others or compete against computers. This has caused an explosion of players that can play anytime they get a few spare minutes in their day. Over 10 years ago, the first backgammon online tournament was held. Now every level of player can compete against others around the world for cash prizes.

Backgammon sets come in many price levels, including very ornate hand crafted heirlooms. Many are made by craftsmen from around the world of various woods, including oak,mahogany and walnut. Some of these sets are felt lined and hand carved pieces. The smaller set are leather bond cases to take along with you. Often some of these sets are made of plastic , leather and magnetic.

The enthusiast will really enjoy playing at a table, rather than a board. Most of these tables incrporate other game in them. Chess, checkers are the most common games that can be played at these tables. These tables usually have storage for backgammon set pieces and are made of fine woods with leather, marble and oxo-teak incorporated into the playfields.

Hand carved legs with inlaid wood tops are commonly used. Storage drawers are common for protecting your chess, checkers, dice and chessmen. Many table styles and sizes are available and resemble your living room end tables, but are a little shorter to make game play more comfortable.

Backgammon sets are available at department stores with game aisles and specialty game stores.. Garage sales, flea markets and eBay may offer older sets. Performing a search online will suggest many other locations where one of the oldest most enjoyable game of the ages can be found.

Many price ranges for a backgammon set are available. Size, material used, wher it was made are all factors in its price. Compare prices online will quickly give you an idea what set is right for you. There are many sellers of board games, but some cater to beginners and others to the enthusiast and tournament players. If you purchase a high end set, it's a good idea to insure it against damage in shipping and know your sellers return policies. - 31483

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While Travelling With A Magnetic Chess Set, Learn To Play Chess

By Walt Peterson

Chess is considered by many as the oldest of all board games. It is revered in many areas of the world as much more than just a game. Chess is a game that reqires alot of thought and stradegy and is enjoyed by many leaders of nations. Napolean was known to play chess and his chess set can be seen in a North Carolina museum. Today chess is being played across the web, in family rooms, at schools and with magnetic chess sets, you can even play while travelling.

There are all types of chess sets and some of them are extremely popular. While magnetic chess sets and other low end chess sets are very affordable there are some sets that are rare collector's items. The low end sets are typically plastic and manufactured by major toy companies. Many of these sets are actually part of a bundle of board games that are packaged together.

Low end chess sets, that may include a magnetic chess set, is what most people learn to play on. As you learn and your interest grows, most people look to buy a more expensive chess set. Learning to play by joining a chess club or just playing with friends, allows you to see many different sets and soon you will know what set is right for you.

When playing in different locations, magnetic chess sets are thought to be the most desirable. These sets allow you to play outside or on trips without problems of the pieces being blown around or tipped over. Many chess clubs and youngsters choose this type of sets.The magnets are placed in the bases of the board pieces and assist in keeping them in place until they are ready to be moved.

When the desire for a better set arrives, there are many outlets where chess sets can be purchesed. They can be bought in specialty stores and at fine online dealers.You will soon find out that the optrions are many as to material used and the level of quality in craftsmenship.

As you grow in the game of chess and want to move up from the travel set, the next step is usually wood.Wood chess pieces also vary in type and quality.Some are artisticaly hand carved and others machine made. The choices of materials used are many if you decide you want something other than wood. Some of these higher end sets are crafted from materials such as pewter, marble, oxo-teak, alabaster and leather.

While there are traditional forms of the playing pieces there are many different styles of play pieces that have been crafted over the years. The official chess type that is used in tournaments is referred to as the Staunton chess style. This name derives from the original grandmaster of chess. In many cases the magnetic chess sets will be made in the Staunton style.

Beyond the Staunton style there are many other styles of playing pieces. One popular type of chess pieces are those that are crafted to represent armies, such as the confederate and Union armies of the Revolutionary war. No matter what type of pieces you aspire to eventually collect you will probably always cherish that magnetic chess set. - 31483

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Board Games for All

By Zeeman Haus

Hey it's family night again and you are all looking at one another like "what do we do now?" As cheesy as it sounds; board games are still fun. Picking the right board game for family night or a group is important, so here are some tips to help you out some.

You have to ask yourself a few questions first off. These would be; How many players? What age group are we talking about here and what kind of players? These are important questions to consider. If you don't believe me, at the next buddy gathering, pull out a Chutes and Ladders game and see what happens.

The number of people is a huge factor in choosing a game. Monopoly is a classic that will never go away. Why? Because if you ever played it with just one other person it can last for days! If you find that you have to break up into groups to play a board game, try making sure that you come up with a fair way to divide up the teams. Usually drawing names or something to that affect is helpful.

Age would be the next factor. Playing High School Musical: the board game with your 10 year old would be neat. Playing the same game with your 10 year old and your 17 year old would try your patience some. If you end up playing a game that is beyond the youngest person there you might have some problems unless you can divide your time between helping them or figure out a way to get them to help you. Usually, getting your young one to roll the dice is enough.

Who you are playing with is a factor as well. Friends and family might have different board game needs. That is to say that your friends might get a little more rowdy than your kids. Keep that in mind when picking out games.

Make sure you pick at least three games to choose from and plan on a heated campaign from everyone. People have their favorites and they will always try to get those in as THE game to play. Sometimes maybe having a runner-up game or a "we'll play this one next game" is a good idea. This will mix things up a bit and at least satisfy a majority of the players.

Get some gag prizes and hide them away. This is a great way to keep your guests interested. The first time you give a novelty gift to the winner of the first round and announce "PRIZE NIGHT!" everyone will want to play to see what other goofy gags you have purchased.

Family or friend game night is an old fashioned and fun way to spend the evening from time to time. It forces us to interact with each other in a scale we seldom do while watching movies and playing video games. Without getting too misty over it, let's just say it's fun. - 31483

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Creating New Magic Tricks with Old Tricks

By James Wong

It is said creativity is about giving old things new uses. When it comes to magic, same principles applies. Many creative magic tricks are actually derived from old tricks or effects. Let's take a look at the appearing handkerchief in decanter trick. The original effect is a handkerchief quickly appearing inside a decanter achieved by the pulling of an invisible thread. This can become totally different in appearance if milk bottle is used instead of decanter, or any other kind of bottles. Or you may try to use a tie instead of handkerchief. The possibilities are unlimited.

Sometimes a very little change made in an old magic effect can make a huge difference. The change may be even smaller than using a different container. We now compare another trick that look completely different from the decanter trick, but in fact utilizes the very same thread pulling principle.

The Spider Web Trick is also to produce something by pulling the object quickly into view just as the decanter trick. The spider web trick still uses a thread which is the most important part of the trickery. But Orrin switched a card for the handkerchief. A cool spider figure is used instead of a transparent decanter. A disc decorated to look like a spider web is used instead of a plain table.

But instead of pulling the thread, he pulled the pocket away. This was made possible because of the distance the pocket moved in spinning around the shaft, as it wrapped the thread. For the decanter, of course, the figure of the spider was substituted. Moving the place of appearance rapidly took the place of moving the appearing object rapidly. There is another important change Orrin made in the old trick. Instead of an assistant or a weight pulling the thread, the performer pulled it himself. But he applied the force in an indirect manner. He applied the force in spinning the web, a perfectly plausible and, therefore, a perfectly deceptive action.

We are not saying that the magician Orrin created the effect by substituting the objects like that. We are just illustrating how this principle can be used to produce an innovative effect from an old trickery.

The steps to change the old decanter trick into the spider web trick may be as the following. First, we make a different object to appear. We use a card instead of a handkerchief. Second, we change the appearing location from a transparent decanter to a spider figure. Third, we change the pulling method from application of a direct straight line force to a turning torque force. Forth, the appearing location is moved instead of the appearing object. Fifth, a disguising background is used to conceal the thread which allow the trick to be performed more close up.

From the spectators' point of view, the two magic performance maybe very different. But in fact, they use the very similar principle in substance. - 31483

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