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How would you spend your downtime in space?

For entertainment during their mission, astronauts often pack games in a personal locker. Astronaut Greg Chamitoff packed this chess set with added fabric fasteners so the pieces wouldn't float away. During his rest time, he played with flight controllers around the world. (photo credit NASA International Space Station) Eventually a "Space vs. Earth" chess match was set up in which Chamitoff in space faced off against the third grade U.S. national chess championship team on Earth. People voted online on possible moves the team posted. Earth won. You can view Chamitoff's chess set up close if you make a visit to the Space Center Houston in Texas. This chess set was once speeding at five miles per second, 210 miles above the Earth, on shuttle mission STS-124. Chamitoff added Velcro to the chess pieces to keep them from floating away in weightlessness. He played long-distance chess during his mission in his off time with station control centers around the world.  Chamitoff was undefeated until he played a down-to-earth meeting with his opponents in Bellevue, WA. Ten students from Stevenson Elementary had recently achieved high rankings at the National Scholastic Chess tournament. The students would select 4 possible moves together, and put them out to the public for vote, the process facilitated by the US Chess Federation. Eventually Earth won. Although, Chamitoff did not know the students personally, but they became friends over video. Six months and 21 days after the match began, they finally met in person. “Oh boy, you guys are amazing,” Chamitoff said after he strode into a small ballroom to greet his opponents, from Stevenson Elementary School in Bellevue. Their elevated chess play was largely thanks to Chess4Life which enabled the kids to not only excel at the game but train and develop key life skills.

Renewing the Finish of your JLP Hardwood Games

Would you like to renew the magnificent appearance of your JLP line chess games from Chess House? This two-step process will renew and revitalize these hardwood products. In fact, minor scratches will often disappear as a result. With this method, you'll get a streak free water-based cleanser that removes fingerprints, residue, and much more from surfaces. It prevents splotching on Maple and Walnut wood including varnished finishes.  By simply maintaining the luster of your furniture, you are ensuring it's heirloom quality to last for generations to come. Cleaning and maintaining with Heirloom Essentials will extend the life and beauty of your wooden products. Whether chess board as shown above, a box, or another product, the attractive, vibrant look can be restored. You might be started with a dusty or well used item that looks like this. With the right cleanser/polish combination, you can get great results in 5-10 minutes. Soon it will be looking like this. This two-step cleanser and polishing formula is recommended, along with a microfiber towel. It's the Heirloom Essentials Spotless Cleanser and Fine Furniture Polish by Woodwright products. This cleaner and polish is a water base formula that performs well, does not deteriorate finished wood, and contains no silicone ammonia or wax. The “Spotless” Cleanser easily removes oils and other residues. After this, polish to a rich luster with the Fine Furniture Polish. It comes in a small, affordable quantity and is quite readily available. Avoid silicone or wax. Silicone is a good oil but seems to degrade quicker. Wax is susceptible to watermarks, rings, and is visibly damaged with direct heat. Wax and silicone prevent easy repair.    Removing Scratches and Restoring Finishes JLP board games are finished with a multi-coat catalyzed conversion varnish. For medium scratches that do not penetrate the finish into the wood itself, you can prepare the surface with a lacquer thinner or acetone, then apply a water based poly-urethane. Note in particular though that when the water based poly-urethane is applied, it should be wiped on and then off relatively quickly. Don't allow it to stay in place for any length of time. For deeper scratches reaching wood itself and where a completely renewed finish is desired, sanding down the entire surface is necessary with appropriate woodworking tools before reapplying the conversion varnish. If you’re not sure which step of restoration, each one can be applied in order without damaging the board.  For example, start with Renewing the Finish. If that is not sufficient, try the Medium Scratch method with water-based polyurethane. If that still is not sufficient, you can remove the finish of a surface, sand it down, and reapply the appropriate varnish. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to the Chess House support team. The JLP Hardwood Games are an exclusive product line of Chess House.

Finding an attractive chess set for the home

Are you looking for a chess set that will be appreciated for many years? One that's aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting? With so many choices on the Internet it can be a little overwhelming to know which one is ideal for you. Here are Chess House, we have discovered what people appreciate most about an ideal chess set. Style, material, and build quality are crucial. Just as important however is availability of replacements pieces should one be lost. That's one of the reasons it's a good idea to buy your sets from Chess House where you're reassured you can easily receive a replacement part in the future. A chess set for your home Playing chess with others at home may be a highlight of your week. Often, kids enthusiastically participate. It can be a needed break from electronics and positive time to connect with each other other. Here's the ideal wood chess set for your home that fits most budgets and needs for play. The Championship Chess Set is a wonderful wood chess set for casual chess play at all levels and ages. 19" front to back, it's a comfortable size to reach over and play. Durable hand-carved, full-size (3 3/4" tall) wooden chessmen are produced by skilled craftsmen in India and felted for a smooth playing experience on the European made wooden chess board. The alpha-numerics are a nice added touch, extra helpful for beginning players or those who appreciate the ease of identifying squares during replay of recorded games using chess notation. Although the mahogany board is shown, there are a variety of board materials for you to choose from.   For an absolutely stunning set at home, upgrade the board to a U.S. handcrafted JLP style board. This Heirloom Chess Set is extraordinary. The tournament pieces slide effortlessly on the ultra-smooth wooden surface. An Heirloom Chess Set is one that will be treasured by your loved ones.   Attractive chess set for solo play Often someone enjoys chess yet doesn't not have a suitable playing partner. Electronic chess computers fill this need well! A chess computer provides a chess opponent at any time. With advances in software, the latest chess computers are quite interesting and fun to play. The Millennium Exclusive Chess Computer is PERFECT for all chess enthusiasts to enjoy the game at home. While you play and move the pieces naturally, they are automatically recognized and the responses are shown directly on the board for you to play.  It's one of the best ways to relax and enjoy the game of chess. Just sit down and play. It can be play at any level to give a challenging or easy game or to progress with growing skills! And it has many ways to configure and play the game. It's equipped with two of the most famous chess engines ever: The King and Chess Genius. If you want to look further, here's guidance to help you find the ideal Electronic Chess Computer.

32 Interesting Chess Facts to Impress Your Friends

Do you enjoy chess? If so, you'll love these 32 interesting chess facts! These facts will impress your friends and make you seem like a chess expert. Did you know that... - chess is the most popular board game in the world? - chess was invented in India? - there are over 700 million chess players in the world? Learn more about this fascinating game with these amazing facts! #1 Initially, the Queen could only move one square at a time, diagonally. Later, she could move two squares at a time, diagonally. It wasn't until Reconquista Spain, with its powerful queen Isabella, that the Queen became the strongest piece on the board. #2 The number of possibilities of a Knight's tour is over 122 million. #3 A computer called DeepThought became the first computer to beat an international grandmaster in November 1988, Long Beach, California. #4 The word "Checkmate" in Chess comes from the Persian phrase "Shah Mat," which means "the King is dead". #5 The longest chess game theoretically possible is 5,949 moves. #6 If you put one grain of wheat on the first square of the chessboard, two on the second, four on the third, eight on the fourth, and so on, how many grains of wheat do you need to put on the 64th square? The answer is 9,223,372,036,8 54,775,808(approximately 9.22x10^18) grains of wheat. #7 The new pawn move, where pawns were allowed to advance two squares on their first move instead of one, was first introduced in Spain in 1280. #8 The longest chess game ever was I.Nikolic - Arsovic, Belgrade 1989, which ended in 269 moves. The game was a draw. #9 According to America's Foundation for Chess, there are 169,518,829,100,544,000,000,000,000,000 (approximately 1.70x10^29) ways to play the first 10 moves of a game of chess. #10 There are 400 different possible positions after one move each, 72,084 different possible positions after two moves each, and over 9 million different possible positions after three moves each... 318 billion different possible positions after four moves each. #11 Chess clocks were first used in 1883, and the first world chess championship was held in 1886 #12 The first printed chess book was completed three years after Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas - in 1495. #13 Chess was invented around 550 AD in Northwestern India. Its early form was called chaturaṅga, literally "four divisions of the military" - infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and chariotry. These forms are represented by pieces that would become the modern pawn, knight, bishop, and rook. #14 600 AD is the first clear reference to chess, in a Persian manuscript that describes chess coming to Persia (Iran) from India. #15 From the starting position, there are eight different ways to Mate in two moves and 355 different ways to Mate in three moves. #16 Dr. Emanuel Lasker from Germany retained the World Chess Champion title for more time than any other player ever: 26 years and 337 days. #17 In 1985, the Soviet player Garry Kasparov became the youngest World Chess Champion ever at the age of 22 years and 210 days. Magnus Carlsen nearly beat this record at 22 years 11 months 24 days November 23, 2013. #18 The first Chessboard with alternating light and dark squares appears in Europe in 1090. #19 Albert Einstein was a good friend of World Chess Champion Emanuel Lasker. In an interview with the New York Times in 1936 Albert said, "I do not play any games. There is no time for it. When I get through work I don't want anything which requires the working of the mind." He did take up Chess in his later life. #20 Rookies, or players in their first year, are named after the Rook in Chess. Rooks generally are the last pieces to be moved into action and the same goes for Rookies. #21 Blindfold chess is an impressive skill that many stronger chess players develop. It requires a keen ability to visualize the board clearly. National Master Elliott Neff played 12 games blindfolded simultaneously, winning 11 of them. #22 There are well over 1,000 different openings, including variations within larger openings/defenses that one can learn. #23 Chess sets normally have 32 pieces. But it has become popular to include 2 extra queens making it 34. The two spare queens can be used in pawn promotion. #24 Notable American mathematician Claude Shannon calculated the number of sensible chess games to be around 1040 games. For comparison, the number of atoms in the observable universe is roughly estimated to be 1080. That may be the reason it's the most timeless game #25 Though affected by several factors including time allotted, it has been calculated that the average number of moves in a tournament game with professional players is roughly 40. #26 The term "zugzwang," describes a situation in chess where a player would prefer not to move at all when it's his turn because moving any piece would worsen his current position. A player who is forced to make a move in this situation is said to be "in zugzwang". #27 While playing a game of chess in France, Benjamin Franklin reportedly took his opponent's King after she inadvertently put it in check. When she said, "Ah, we don't take kings so" Franklin replied, "We do in America." #28 In 1770, a man invented a machine that could play a strong game of chess against a human opponent. This mysterious player was nicknamed The Turk (as was the machine itself). It wasn't until 1857 that it was revealed to be a hoax (a chess master was hiding in the machine). #29 The word “gambit” is specifically a chess term, now generalized to mean a "sacrifice for advantage". #30 In 1999, chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov played The World in a game of chess that lasted over four months. Over 50,000 people from more than 75 countries participated in the game with moves being decided by majority vote. Garry ended up winning on turn 62 when 51% of The World decided to resign. #31 Before 1600, a game of chess could be won by capturing all of the opponent’s pieces, leaving a bare king; a style of play known as "annihilation". In Medieval times, players considered it nobler to win by checkmate, so annihilation became a half-win for a while until it was abandoned. #32 The longest recorded tournament chess match lasted 20 hours and 15 minutes and resulted in a draw.