Goldchess – Quest for Beauty
Chess is a beautiful game and that is why we love it. Beauty in chess can take many forms – as I have grown in strength and understanding I find beauty in little moves like h3 or a3 or Carlsen’s endgame technique. But even for me beauty in chess is first and foremost associated with sacrifices and mating attacks.
The idea behind the Goldchess project is to promote beauty in chess in its most widely accepted form, but things do not stop here – there is a very 21st century sweet detail. Apart from delivering a crushing checkmate, what would be the greatest pleasure for any modern chess player? I think, without a doubt, that would be beating a computer! But we all know that this is practically impossible! So where is the catch?
The founders of Goldchess found a solution and their concept is the following. You get to play a computer (called CEEC, which stands for Chess Elite Educational Computer), whose strength is between 1800-1900, from a position where you are given a task. The tasks are something like “White to play and deliver mated on move 24 with a queen from e8” so it’s not that easy to beat the machine! You have to download the CEEC (for free, of course) as its interface is also used for saving and submitting solutions. See here for detailed instructions on how to play.
It is not only beauty that is attractive with Goldchess, there is also quite a lot of cash flying around. The weekly problems can net you $200 while the monthly puzzles can make you richer for several thousand dollars! There are different conditions for different puzzles – sometimes you need to be fastest, sometimes you need to be lucky (to be drawn from the pool of people who have submitted the correct solution) and sometimes you have to beat the author and deliver the mate one move earlier (in which case the prize may become 10 times bigger)!
The best part of the whole idea is that it’s free and you can “cheat” by taking moves back and trying various lines and options against the computer – as long as you eventually solve the task it doesn’t matter how many times you have tried. And in order to play for the really big money there is a licence that can be bought for only $25 and you can fight for the total prize fund of $25,000 – 5 problems with prizes of $5,000 each. Similarly lush, Goldchess has a World Cup with a first prize of $10,000, it is open for registration as you read this and it will take place in 2017.
Here I have grouped the links where you can find more information about the specifics.
Goldchess Zero – no fee required and for amateurs only, $50 weekly prize, the fastest to submit the solution wins.
Independent Chess Department – the fastest one to solve the problem wins (time is measured by the CEEC), weekly puzzles.
Information on the prizes – range from $50 to $50,000. You can also check the list of winners and see the amounts they have won.
Goldchess Express – the latest introduction.
World Cup – with first prize of $10,000 it is definitely worth attending!
It is notable that the whole project is under the patronage of GM Aleksander Mista, triple World Champion in team problem solving. In my opinion this is a very exciting project and I invite you to give it a try. For starters, here’s the position for the month of August (worth $200) to whet your appetite (since for the detailed instructions you will have to visit the official site tomorrow after 5pm CET):