♘ WCC Web Site Notes ♞
♜ Due to a series of unfortunate events unrelated to chess, I have decided to withdraw from this year's WCC Championship tournament. My situation has become so overwhelming that I have no resources to devote to chess at this time. I hope to resume active competitive play sometime later this summer.
♘ Special thanks to John Bastarache who helpeed greatly & Arthur, Emily & Debbie for their continued support.
♞ In the wake of the "Great Syatem Crash of 2016" [actually it was more of a minor inconvenience], during which I lost no data, Ed Harris of Marlboro, NH & operator of the Keene Knights Chess Club graciously provided me with a second hand laptop computer (complete with a fresh install of Linux Mint) to use as a backup & development system, I have finally ported the WCC web site & my homemade development tools onto the backup computer. This should provide a bit more margin for unexpected hardware &/or software failures form now on. I'm also hoping to streamline the PHP tools & use some Linux Bash scripts for additional automation of repetitive programming tasks.
All this of course will have no perceptible effect on any part of the web site unless you're involved in programming. However, it should make things more reliable & eventually easier to program.
♔ Many thanks to Ed Harris!
♟ NOTE: Dave Thomas no longer wishes to be a contact person for the WCC, so if you are running late & wish to be paired, please contact someone else.
Starting with round 1 of this year's Harlow B. Daly Memorial tournament, Dave Couture & I will be doing all the club statistics.
Please contact Dave Thomas [not any more] if you are running late & wish to be paired.
Starting with round 1 of this year's Harlow B. Daly Memorial tournament on July 6th, Dave Couture & I will be compiling all the weekly club statistics. For the past decade or so, Ken Gurge has been performing this task as well as being the contact point for late arrivals. Ken has expressed a preference for participating in the club as a player only from now on & we are grateful for his past service.
Dave Thomas has agreed to take over the responsibility of being the one to call if you're running late, & you'll now see Dave's contact info in the weekly reminder section for each round.
Dave Thomas is new contact person for late arrivals.
It's been a while (over nine months!) since I've added any juicy comments here, but it's not as if there haven't been lots of things going on in web development world. In fact since my last entry back in October of 2015, I've made so many minor changes & improvements that it's now impossible to recall them all & as you might expect, I don't usually keep notes about such things.
♙ For starters, I just got done adding matching captions to the random pictures that appear on the upper left of the main page. I'll sinclude it (literally, because it's done with an "include" statement) here, so you'll know what I'm talking about:
Randy McLaughlin, Gail Lingner & Larry O'rourke
♜ Roger Cappallo now posts a video each week wherein he comments on his latest game at the club (unless of course he feels that's too boring, in which case he may post someone else's). I've added a separate page containing links to & pertinent information for each of these videos & of course Roger lists them all on his YouTube channel.
on Roger's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgxEXavHbFnSXbOeyZ99KeQ.
While the explanations are primarily aimed at beginner to intermediate level players, Roger provides many clear & concise insights to his thoughts on planning & other advanced concepts, so whatever your rating is, you're likely to learn something from these videos.
♗ I'm now listing ratings for players in the Billerica, Keene, & Worcester clubs along with both active & inactive WCC players. These are linked on the Main Menu in the "Statistics" section under "Local Clubs" as:
♔ In the "too numerous to mention" department, I've made quite a few additions & corrections to the programs I use for posting weekly results, updating rating lists, etc. & I've combined all these functions into a somewhat user friendly menu driven script that eventually will be so simple even I won't get confused. Most of these improvements are invisible to the casual observer, but they make the process of updating & maintaining the web site much easier.
♝ The FATV Chess Chat programs are being preserved in an archive that will eventually be much more easily accessible.
♞ As of June 3rd, thanks mainly to the efforts of Ed Harris at the Keene Knights Chess Club, the Keene Knights Chess Club now has direct links to the FATV Chess Chat programs hosted by George Mirijanian.
This means you can select from a list by topic & watch them online.
Of course you can still do that here on the WCC site, but it's nice to have choices. Plus they use a nifty drop down menu which makes the selection process eall the more fun.
♟ The WCC News Archives going back to 2015 are now directly linked in the Main Menu under "History", "News Archives".
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For those who can never seem to get enough rating updates, I've developed a program that displays the most recent rated event, along with pre-tournament & post-tournament ratings for whatever players you select from the WCC member list. For now they're listed in descending order of most likkely to undergo a rating update based on my wild guess from past update traffic. The entire active club membership is now included along with some of the inactive members, but this is still in the testing phase. Keep in mind that the USCF site where all this info comes from is notoriously slow (and even completely unavailable at certain times), so if you get a time-out error, just select fewer players & try again. Good luck!
Click here to look up the latest ratings for one or more WCC members of your choice!
I'll be posting intraweek rating updates on a regular basis which will usually include weekend &/or Monday night activity by club members. Click here to view the list of the latest events & ratings for all WCC members.
(These functions are also available directly from the main menu at the top of each page in the "Statistics" section as "Updates by Choice" & "Updated Ratings List" respectively.)
♖ The weekly WCC tournament results for memorialized players now contain a small circular cameo image of the player being honored. Clicking on this cameo will link to that person's biography in the Biographies Section
So far this year, we've had tournaments honoring:
Rocco Pasquale, John Grefe, Harlow Daly, Marty Laine, Evert Siiskonen, George O'Rourke, & Reggie Boone
This month marks the beginning of the 2015 Wachusett Chess Club Championship which consiste of a nine-round ten-player round robin tournament which will run through July 1st. There have already been a few surprises & quite a few noticeably more intense contests than the typical Wednesday evening chess. I chose not to play in the championship this year because I'm expecting to have schedulling conflicts on at least four or five of the allotted Wednesdays & it looks like that will indeed be the case.
Improvements & additions to the WCC web site are continuing all the time, but most of this month's progress has been made in the areas of expanding or enhancing existing structures already in place, unlike last month when several new concepts were implemented for the first time. Let's summarize a few.
♜ By popular request (i.e. Arthur asked for it), the random chess quotes at the top of each page are now displayed in their own banner with their own unique color scheme. You can now also find out how many quotes are in the random chess quotes file.
♞ The "Other Chess Events of Interest" section at the top of the WCC home page has gotten so much favorable response that I've decided to make it a permanent feature, at least until I run out of news to post there. I also plan to archive all the non-current links posted there so that you'll be able to look back & review or research those topics.
♖ In the "Glitzy New Look & Feel" department (in addition to the rounded corners & thin borders on thumbnail images), you'll notice that dated postings on the home page are now displayed under a snazzy new date & round tag banner with slick green outlines & a highlighted background. I think it not only looks a lot better than plain or even bold text, but also makes things generally easier to find. Isn't science wonderful?
Doesn't this look swell?
♕ Despite her spending a lot less time at the club lately than she has in years past, Carissa Yip continues to make headlines everywhere from local to national & international media outlets. This means that you can expect to see continued coverage of our youngest ever (& only female) WCC Champ right here on the WCC web site. Pictures & stories of her accomplishments will be posted or at least linked as they become available because although we are all quite accustomed to seeing her & her family, she is rapidly becoming an internationally famous chess star & we have front row seats for the majority of her performances.
♔ In the wake of the 2015 WCC Championship, I have revised & updated the "Club Champions" page in the History section with color coded tables & links to the tournament crosstables going back to 1992 which is the beginning of the USCF's archive. Pictures will be added soon, & eventually most or all of the earlier WCC Championships will be documented by supplemental clippings from the Fitchburg Sentinel as they become available.
♟ The WCC Statistical Archives (a.k.a. "Stat Leaders") page is currently under revision & should have a completely new look & feel soon. This should include all the statistical recognitions such as the "Bobby Fischer Award" & "Carl Schlecter Award" going back to 2006, which I believe is the first year that Ken Gurge &/or Dave Couture generated those statistics.
♚ As the WCC web site expands in scope & volume of information, I endeavor to organize & present this information in an elegant, concise & useable form. One of my conceptual & inspirational predecessors in this regard is none other than everyone's favorite early 19th century cartographer, Charles Joseph Minard, who is most famous for his map (pictured & linked below) of emperor & chessplayer, Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign of 1812.
The graphic is notable for its representation in two dimensions of six types of data:
- the number of Napoleon's troops,
- the latitude & longitude,
- direction of travel, and
- location relative to specific dates.
Modern information scientists say the illustration may be the best statistical graphic ever drawn. French scientist, physiologist and chronophotographer Etienne-Jules Marey first called notice to Minard's dramatic depiction of the fate of Napoleon's army in the Russian campaign, saying it "...defies the pen of the historian in its brutal eloquence".
A mild example of some of this eloquence, perhaps with only a hint of the brutality, is the newly created (C. J. Minard inspired) WCC Championship Standings Table which in color coded tabular form, & without clicking anything (so far), displays ten(!) types of data (eleven with clicks):
- each player's first & last name (listed in order of initial rating) [far left column]
- each player's first name [mouse rollover top row]
- each player's initial rating, [far left column]
- a recent or cumulative major accomplishment of each player, [mouse rollover far left column]
- the result of each game, [text in the boxes]
- the board number of each pairing, [mouse rollover each box]
- the round number of each pairing, [mouse rollover each box]
- the current total score of each player, [far right column]
- the current leader or co-leaders of the tournament. [mouse rollover far right column & larger font with different background color for leader]
- a thumbnail image of each player, [long diagonal] &
- a full size image of each player, [long diagonal with mouse click]
♟ Once again thanks to Arthur Barlas, duplicate scoresheets are now provided for the games of the 2015 WCC Championship. These games will be collected after each round & published after the championship tournament is completed unless there is desire on the part of the majority of the participants to see them published sooner. Sadly, aside from the same small group of players (most notably Dave Couture, Dave Thomas & Walter Niemi), there still haven't been many game scores from regular weekly games submitted for publication.
"Am impressed to find details (and results) of the ongoing IM norm event in Manchester, NH on the Wachusett CC website.
♖ Thanks, Stephen, I'm mostly just trying to connect some of the things that aren't quite connected & keep up with the WCC news as things happen or shortly thereafter in an intresting & occasionally amusing way. We have a great club with lots of resources in the form of dedicated generous & talented members. -PG
If you haven't been here lately, you haven't been here!
Despite the first of April being celebrated as that most venerable of holidays, "All Fool's Day", I chose to release the new web code today just so it would get out there in some reasonably functional form before the next snow day shut down.
While the site continues to be a bit of a work in progress, it won't be too difficult to notice many new updates & additions, but I'll list a few of the most recent high points:
♚ At long last, a new two dimensional touch responsive menu/navigation bar that gets you where you're going in a single click. In fact over 95% of the content on this site is now logically organized by topics & directly accessible from the main navigation bar with a single click from any of thirteen topical pages. Even if you don't know where you're going, you'll enjoy getting there!
♕ C o l o r s & s t u f f !There are 140 hyperlinked animated colored tiles in the main menu that appear as thirteen linkable topics across the top of each page. Main topics were chosen based on content & at last count, 41 of the hyperlinked tiles are visually enhanced by the addition of relevant thumbnail pictures.
The clear impliction for chess players looking to sharpen their "re-entrant knight's tour" skills of course, is that now there are approximately 140 to the 13th power of paths to start at the main page, visit each main topic once & once only, & end up back at the main page. [Note: That's actually something like 140 x 139 x 138 x 137 x 136 x 135 x 134 x 133 x 132 x 131 x 130 x 129 x 128, for those who haven't yet successfully completed 6th grade math, such as NM Carissa Yip.]
♖ Another major breakthroughor possibly a new all time high - Joe Bennet has designed an official Wachusett Chess Club logo which now appears in several places on the site. I personally like the elegant simplicity & distinctive character that this logo provides to any surface it embraces. We can hardly be all that far away from WCC bumper stickers, T-shirts & full body tattoos. The club has been around for over 55 years, it's about time we had something resembling our own WCC logo. Maybe we could have one of those birthday cakes with the WCC logo printed in food coloring on the frosting when the actual 55th (or probably 56th) anniversary rolls around.
♟ Still more automation in the programming tasks. OK, this will be a bit arcane to all but the more savvy computeristas among you, but here goes. I'm now generating the weekly results, standings & projected pairings tables presented on the main news page after each round of each tournament (semi)-automatically by using some hand written PHP scripts, yay me. In addition to that, the intermediate rating updates that appear after Ken has already compiled his statistics spreadsheet used to require a long string of complicated steps, such as sorting the active players according to newest ratings, formatting the colored stripes on the stats page, & converting the whole thing to another file type so that no one confuses it with the original spread sheet. Not any more, that's now automated down to a single click! The hardest part is typing in the new ratings generated by players' participation in rated events outside the club, which normally number fewer than five. This type of automation tends to make things much quicker & less error prone for me & that means more consistent & faster updated rating reports for you.
♞ At the top of each page in the white space just under the main menu bar a random quotation will be appearing. Most of the quotes selected are attributed to famous or not so famous chess players. Occasionally someone else says something that I felt was particularly relevant or helpful to chess players, so a few of those are included as well. If you refresh the page you'll generate another quote, so just this feature alone could easily provide hours of enjoyment, whether you play chess or not. At the moment, the quotation source file contains over 300 chess quotes & is constantly growing.
If you haven't been here lately, you haven't been here!
Well I was hoping to release a new updated version of this web site on March 2nd to commemorate the 51st anniversary of Bobby Fischer's visit during his 1964 simul tour, but events intervened in many ways such that that may not be possible. For starters, I don't know if anyone else noticed, but we've had way too much snow this season. Snow in itself doesn't make that much difference, but between the added time shoveling & just getting around plus the few days when going anywhere was next to impossible, there was far less time available for the project than I'd expected. Then we have that little detail otherwise known as Carissa Yip, who decided to become a USCF rated master just this weekend when the Billerica February Swiss tournamnet report was published on the USCF web site. Communications & postings related to that story pretty much consumed most of my remaining time Saturday night. The good news is I've been able to get a lot of the tricky programming done anyway & it looks like it all works though I'd like to tidy up a few things & do some more testing. There's still time to switch over to what I call "version 2.0" of the WCC web site later today, so it may yet happen. If not, it'll be very soon.
Some recent updates to this web site that I have already implemented include:
♛as each An extra headline story about Carissa, complete with highlighted crosstable for emphasis. The format directives for posting crosstables are included in the main style sheet, so while I may be tweaking the layout & color scheme a bit, they should all look the same from now on.
♕ More information & better presentation of the recently added Women In Chess Section.
♖ A major breakthrough in the "More games needed to make this section come to life!" section. I couldn't wait 'til the end of the month, so here it is, a simple online tool for entering chess games. I even broke down the instructions into a step by step procedure. Submitting games has never been easier.
♟ Note: This web site may appear differently depending on which browser you're using. I developed most of the code using Mozilla Firefox, so if you're viewing it with Internet Explorer or another browser, some things may not look quite right. Fear not! I'll be improving the cross browser compatibility little by little, but in the meantime, if you want to see what I'm seeing, you can download Mozilla Firefox for free directly from the Mozilla Firefox web site at: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/all/.
Despite being battered & buried by another now all too typical New England winter complete with concomitant cancellations, chess still continues in Fitchburg & the surrounding communities.
Recent updates & additions to the Wachusett Chess Club web site include:
- Addition of separate page for FATV Chess Chat Episode listing with links to each video & PGN/text game
- Chess Chat games now available in PGN format or for online playing in "Games" section
- Live action pictures (thnks, Dave C.) with puzzle position diagrams from tournament in progress
- Gradually expanding "Games" section with pictures & some brief background info
- Gradually expanding "Biographies" section as time permits & info becomes available
- Addition of the crosstable from the 1072 WCC Championship, thanks to Dave Couture for unearthing this one
- "Fitchburg State University students FREE!" now in prominent place on each page (except the ones I haven't gotten to yet)
- Other miscelaneous tidbits & corrections such as more details in the "Rules" section
The big news in international chess this month is the Australian Chess Championship Open Tournament, where despite his deep preparation for his recent winning game against Hikaru Nakamura in the The Petrosian system of the King's Indian Defense, it appears that former world champion Vladimir Kramnik (pictured in the link to the left) still hasn't read the manual on his new DGT Official FIDE Game Timer! (Here's a hint, Volodya, it's posted RIGHT HERE in easy to read .PDF form in English, German, French, Russian, Spanish & Dutch on the WCC Web Site!).
By the way, Vladimir Kramnik's Official Web Site claims:
"Currently rated over 2800, Kramnik is still a serious contender to the WCC title."
However, I doubt Kramnik will succeed Carissa Yip in 2015, because he hasn't played a single game at the WCC yet, & there's only 15 left to go, which means he won't be able to play the 20 games needed to qualify. Of course neither has Carissa, so she won't be defending her title this season. The 2014-News Archive shows how that race is going up to January 6th 2015. Starting with this year's Reggie Boone Memorial, which begins on Jan. 7, 2015, things could change.
Read the full story & find out what you can do to save the Boston Globe Chess Column on the BCC blog http://boylston-chess-club.blogspot.com/
Work is progressing steadily on the new version of the Wachusett Chess Club web site. The changes & improvements implemented in just the past week or ten days are already too numerous to mention, but with a little snooping, you'll find that some of the recent highlights include:
- Moderately slick navigation menu on each page (except for the pages where it's not there yet)
- Full year's schedule for 2015 now posted & linked in the box on the top left on the main page
- Links in the section on "Other Organizations" (with club logos) now mostly working
- Additional biographical information gradually getting filled in
- Lots of typos & misspellings corrected
- This page now linked on the main page in the News & Announcements section
Greeting message from the new Webmaster of the WCC ♞
For the past decade or more, Dave Couture has been performing all web site related tasks for the WCC. Due to a combination of other demands on his time & my recent availability for such activities, I will be assuming the role of Webmaster for this site starting now. The Wachusett Chess Club has an unusually long and rich history both in terms of creation & support of significant events in the chess world, and interesting characters who over the years have produced amazingly brilliant chess mixed in with an abundance of memorable improbable situations. I hope to honor that tradition by making it a little more accessible to both members & non-members alike, while generally raising the level of chess consciousness for all. While I fully expect the continued assistance & support of people such as: Ken Gurge, Larry Gladding, Arthur Barlas, George Mirijanian as well as Dave Couture & others, I also intend to provide:
- Additional content, particularly games played at the WCC with & without annotations.
- Consistent functional & visual layout to material now on the site as well as new additions.
- General background educational material such as relevant or interesting excerpts from the latest USCF Rules.
- Easy to access documentation on as many electronic digital chess clocks as possible.
- Some guidance in the areas of chess software including databases, playing engines, game capture systems & online play sites.
- More efficient access to all web content.
- Improved integrated presence in the greater chess community.
- Expanded historical perspective based on additional details of people & events.
- Most likely a whole lot of other stuff I'm considering or haven't even thought of yet.
Yours in continued chess success,
Paul G.[Last name intentionally left blank.]
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Note that while Paul appears somewhat surprised & dismayed,
Dave is quite happy with the transition.
However don't be fooled by initial impressions or outward appearances, there's lots of great things to come. ♔
♔ For example, click here to see if this server is running PHP.
♔ Or better yet, click here to see what time it is at the server.
Read what people online may already be saying: ♟
"Feel free to go crazy." -Dave Couture
"It's a half decent chess club, it ought to have a half decent web site." -PG
"Every chess player should visit the Wachusett Chess Club at least once in their life, but probably not all at the same time." -Statistician Prof Hans Rosling
"The WCC Web Site is so fast & easy to use that I now have more time for studying chess, or even just sleeping." -Dieter E. Orata
"I didn't play chess then & I don't play chess now, but with this new web site, I'm enjoying it much more & I am unanimous in that." -Mrs. Betty Slocombe
"The WCC is actually on the brink of becoming a trending hashtag, whatever that is." -E. Mailer