Kasparov Begins Title Defense Against Kramnik

The BBC has a story covering Gary Kasparov’s 16-game defense of his world chess champion title against Valdimir Kramnik. In the 15 years he’s held the title, the only time Kasparov has lost was to a computer back in 1997.

The match is sponsored by BrainGames.Net. The web site has will be web casting the games live, as well as providing analysis and annotated move lists of the tournament. They’ve also got a nice page full of past games, complete with annotation, between Kasparov and Kramnik (the two have met 23 times, with Kasparov winning 3 times, Kramnik winning 3 times, and 17 draws).

PGN to JavaScript – Yes!

PGN to JavaScript tool on CoolTool.Com I was so geeked I dropped everything I was doing to download and play around with it. Bottom line — this thing rocks.

For those of who are not chess fanatics, PGN is the most common format for describing chess games. It is a fairly straightforward text format describing the date of the game, the players and then a list of moves. What the PGN to JavaScript tool does is convert a PGN file into a JavaScript mini-applet that simulates a chessboard.

For example, check out this game that I played on Chessmaster 6000 over the weekend. Note that although I love chess I pretty much suck at it and I set Chessmaster 6000 to what I call the “idiot” level so even I could beat it (i.e. if you know anything about chess, this game is probably likely to make you giggle at my moves). But watching the game replayed via the web is just enough incentive to make me want to crack all those chess books I have been collecting over the years and get with it improving my game.

I wish there were more applications like this to take real world stuff and easily put it on the web.