Chess does not take a holiday in Holladay, Utah (by chess tutor Jonathan Whitcomb)

At least when school is in session, the royal game does not take a holiday in this community up against the mountain foothills in the eastern Salt Lake Valley. It’s no news that chess has been promoted at Morningside school, with active annual participation in Utah’s state elementary school championship. Chess instructor Jonathan Whitcomb, who photographed the 2016 championship, is now promoting activity in the game during the summer months, offering both a free tournament and $25 private chess lessons.

Where many kids play chess: Morningside Elementary School in Holladay, Utah

Morningside Elementary School, Holladay, Utah

Whitcomb is looking for a sponsor for small trophies to be awarded to the top players in a tournament, in the Salt Lake Valley, for chess players of all ages. (Details to be announced but probably to be held between July and October of 2016, not necessarily in Holladay but very likely in the valley).

Private Chess Lessons

The tournament is not directly related to the tutoring service offered by Whitcomb: private chess lessons in the Salt Lake Valley. In contrast to the upcoming free competition events in Utah, which he promotes or encourages, his private lessons are $25 each.

He’s the author of the instructional book Beat That Kid in Chess, which is for beginners who already know the rules of the game but who know little about how to win during competition.

For more information about personal chess lessons or about free chess tournaments, contact Jonathan Whitcomb at 801-590-9692 or send him an email.


Student from Morningside Elementary School, Holladay, Utah

Morningside student just before the start of the 2016 state championship tournament




Chess Lessons in Holladay, Utah

If you’re reading this, you may have considered taking private chess lessons. If so, what first caused you to consider that way of learning chess? . . . I, Jonathan Whitcomb, can help you learn modern chess notation [which can greatly help in improving your chess-playing ability]

Chess Tutor in Salt Lake

Chess lessons are available in many communities in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah, from chess coach Jonathan Whitcomb, who lives in Murray. . . . For most chess players, improving basic tactical ability is very important.

Utah Chess Instruction or Private Tutoring

I’m the author of the beginner-book Beat That Kid in Chess, which uses a new teaching method of chess instruction: NIP (nearly-identical instructions). . . . Each chess lesson will be tailor-made for where you stand (assuming you take private lessons instead of group sessions).

Salt Lake Valley Chess Coach – Whitcomb

Regular competition in a chess club can help a player improve in his or her abilities in the royal game. Learning to improve quickly, however, is more likely from private lessons with a good tutor, a chess-instructor specialist, in combination with playing experience.

Sixth Grader at Morningside

Friday afternoon, Nicholas Shifrar, a sixth grader from Morningside Elementary School [Salt Lake Valley, Utah], delivered dozens of knitted caps to the U Hospital’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit.


Two Chess Books for Advanced Players

Modern Chess Openings (14th edition) versus Fundamental Chess Openings

These two large books on chess openings are both broad in their coverage. They include the following openings (but are not at all limited to them):

  • Alekhine Defense
  • Austrian Attack (Pirc)
  • Benoni
  • Bishop’s Opening
  • Blumenfeld Counter Gambit
  • Cambridge Springs Variation
  • Caro-Kann Defense
  • Catalan Opening
  • Center Game
  • Danish Gambit
  • Dutch Defense
  • English Opening
  • Evan’s Gambit
  • Four Knights Game
  • French Defense
  • Giuoco Piano (Italian Opening)
  • Grunfeld Defense
  • Hedgehog System (of the English Opening)
  • King’s Gambit (Accepted and Declined)
  • Latvian Gambit (Greco Counter Gambit)
  • Max Lange Attack
  • Muzio Gambit (of the King’s Gambit)
  • Nimzo-Indian Defense
  • Petroff Defense (AKA Petrov’s Defense)
  • Pirc Defense
  • Queen’s Gambit (Accepted and Declined)
  • Reti Opening
  • Ruy Lopez (Spanish Game)
  • Scotch Opening
  • Slav and Semi-Slav
  • Stonewall Variation (of the Dutch Defense)
  • Three Knights Game
  • Torre Attack
  • Two Knights Defense
  • Vienna Game

Modern Chess Openings (MCO)

As of November 2, 2015, it has 38 customer reviews on Amazon:

34% five-stars

39% four-stars

16% three-stars

8% two-stars

3% one-star

Fundamental Chess Openings (FCO)

As of November 2, 2015, it has 62 customer reviews on Amazon:

55% five-stars

32% four-stars

7% three-stars

6% one-star


The Amazon readers reviews appear to favor FCO over MCO. Combine the top two ratings (those with favorable reviews):

MCO=73% and FCO=87% — that favors FCO

Combine the lowest two ratings (those with poor opinions of the books):

MCO=11% and FCO=6% — that favors FCO



Chess Book for a Beginner to Win Games

If you already know the rules of chess but losing has cut down some of the fun, “Beat That Kid in Chess” puts back the fun. . . . See where you can get a checkmate and where a position is not quite set up for checkmate . . .

Review of Some of the Best Chess Books

How is any publication a “best chess book?” That’s too deep a subject to cover well in this post. What does the reader want from the book? That’s easier to answer.


New Method in a Chess Book for Beginners

How does an average non-genius learn how to win a game of chess? The tradition method for a beginner is quite simple: Play chess games and learn by experience. Reading a chess book is the second most popular way for a novice to learn, but that does not usually work as well, for most chess books are not for beginners but for players of mid-level abilities at least.

The new paperback Beat That Kid in Chess may be the first publication to systematically use the teaching method called “nearly-identical positions” (PIN). It was also written especially with the “early” beginner in mind.

back and front covers of the chess book

Beat That Kid in Chess – published by Createspace on September 2, 2015 –  for beginners

Nearly-identical positions can help chess students catch onto tactics in a natural way, allowing novices in the royal game to gradually see tactical opportunities and avoid the pitfall of overly-simplistic strategic generalities in their thinking.

Quoting Createspace

According to the publisher’s page for this chess book, Beat That Kid in Chess gives these advantages:

1) Simple – It really is for the early beginner

2) Concise – no chess history or reciting the rules

3) Huge Diagrams – no magnifying glass needed

4) Win-focused – quickly learn to win a game

5) Two levels of exercises – learn at your pace

6) Reviews – appropriate repetition, as needed

7) Internal references – find things quickly

8) Two indexes – general and exercises

9) All three phases – opening, middle, end game

10) Critical tactics – pin, knight fork, etc

11) Checkmates explained – attack and defense

12) Common pitfalls explained – avoid errors

Quoting the Introduction in the book Beat That Kid in Chess

“If you know the chess rules but almost nothing about how to win, this book is for you. We’ll keep to the basics that you need most . . . I must tell you something I’ve learned over the past half century: If your opponent has both a greater natural ability at chess and a greater drive to win, expect to lose at least a few games. . . . If you have a greater drive to win, however, you can combine that with what you learn in these lessons, and you can expect to beat a raw beginner more often than you lose, even if that person has more natural ability than you have. What better lesson to teach your opponent than humility?”



Chess Books for the Novice and Post-Beginner

Three chess books compared

How to Play Chess to Win

Winning consistently comes not from stepping through a chess game as if it were dancing . . . It’s more like dinosaurs attacking.

Beginner Chess Book

I’ve read and studied dozens of chess books in the past 53 years. I don’t recall any of them that included nearly-identical positions for training. [aside from Beat That Kid in Chess]


Another Voice for the Benefits of Chess for Children

Susan Polgar, a former Women’s World Chess Champion, has said:

“According to research, [academic] test scores improved by 17.3% for students regularly engaged in chess classes, compared with only 4.6% for children participating in other forms of enriched activities.”

She has been promoting chess for children for many years in the United States, a nation that actively promotes sports for the physical development of students but promotes intellectual competition (like chess) much less than European countries promote the game in schools.

She has also said the following:

“You have to be responsible for your actions, you make a move, you had better think ahead about what’s going to happen, not after it happens, because then it’s too late. Chess teaches discipline from a very early age. It teaches you to have a plan and to plan ahead. If you do that, you’ll be rewarded; if you break the rules, you will get punished in life and in chess.”

It’s hard to object to that kind of logic.



Chess for the Early Beginner

“This 194-page paperback was written with a modest goal: Teach and prepare the raw beginner to win a game of chess, even if it’s against another raw beginner.”

Susan Polgar Foundation

“In approximately 30 nations across the globe, including Brazil, China, Venezuela, Italy, Israel, Russia and Greece, etc., chess is incorporated into the country’s scholastic curriculum.”

Chess Benefits New York City Children

“Chess dramatically improves a child’s ability to think rationally”


Scientific Dating and Young Dinosaurs

A number of pieces of dinosaur bones found in North America have been dated in recent years. So how many millions of years old are those fossils? Well, they’re not actually that old, apparently, dated at tens of thousands of years old, according to carbon-14 testing.

Scientific dating that shows that some dinosaurs are young? Precisely.

What kinds of dinosaurs?

  1. Acrocanthosaurus (as recent as 23,760 + 270 years ago)
  2. Allosaurus (living 31,360 + 100 years before present)
  3. Apatosaurus (living only 38,250 + 160 years ago)
  4. Hadrosaurus (as little as 22,380 + 800 years BP)
  5. Triceratops (alive as little as 24,340 + 70 years ago)

Where are Young Dinosaurs Bones Found?

The fossils dated by C-14 were excavated in Alaska, Colorado, Montana, and Texas.

Details of the Carbon-14 Dating

Between 2007 and 2011, the Paleochronology group sent eleven dinosaur bone samples to be carbon-dated by a respected laboratory: the Center for Applied Isotope Studies, University of Georgia. The scientist Alexander Cherkinsky directed the pretreatment and processing of the dinosaur bones, using the Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS), the most advanced kind of equipment for radiocarbon dating.

Reaction from Scientists

The facility that did the carbon-14 radiometric dating has refused to date any more dinosaur bones, although they have not given any reason for the shocking young ages that they have given. In 2014, the director of the facility, Jeff Speakman, was told that they had unknowingly dated dinosaur fossils and that Biblical young-earth creationists were publicizing the results to demonstrate that dinosaurs lived much more recently than was commonly thought.

That was the end of dinosaur dating at the Center for Applied Isotope Studies, University of Georgia. Anything that suggests recent living dinosaurs does not fit well with many scientists, apparently, even with scientists who did the preparations and carbon-14 dating of dinosaur bones themselves. So if you happen to uncover any dinosaur bones in you basement, don’t bother sending them to the University of Georgia; they have had their fill of young dinosaurs.


Carbon-14 Shows Dinosaurs Lived Recently

So why is this discovery not heralded in Western newspapers worldwide? After all, the censorship was only in that one conference, in 2012, in Singapore, right? Wrong. These scientists have been blocked from giving presentations elsewhere, including the 2009 North American Paleontological Convention, and the American Geophysical Union in both 2011 and 2012.

C-14 Dating Dinosaurs

The carbon-14 (14C) method of dating biological material was developed by the American physicist Willard Libby in the mid-20th century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for that achievement. This scientific method for determining ages of specimens is also called radiocarbon dating, abbreviated RC.

Radiometric Dating of Dinosaur Bones

It was two chairmen of the Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting in Singapore, a five-day conference held in August of 2012. They apparently gave no objection, during the conference, to any of the materials presented by the Paleochronology group.