Saturday, January 2, 2010

Chess Meetup Tomorrow

At the Starbucks at Ohio and State, 3:00 PM. Details here. Beat the post-holiday blues: Play chess.

Reposted from The Knights of Castle Kimbark.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chess at McCormick Place

See Larry Cohen's article on the USCF website.

yet another TIME feature on Carlsen

Copyright TIME Inc. 2009

Follow the link.

I am absolutely stumped!

A mindbender from GM Sandipan Chanda is today's ChessBase Christmas puzzle
Compose a position where White has only a bare king and Black has king and three pawns (no double pawns). It is Black to play and the result is a draw.
And no, tripled h-pawns don't count, either.

My best idea (I thought) was to have a formation like this

Black to play; several moves win
 or this

Black to play; several moves win
or this

Black to play; only 1...f2 wins

But none of these work.  Any ideas?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Chicagoans in Las Vegas

Several Illinois players are doing well in the ongoing North American Open at Bally's in Las Vegas.

With his round 4 win (see last post), GM Amanov is now tied for second with 3.5 out of 4 (FM Daniel Naroditsky of California knocked off GM Shabalov in a model Najdorf and leads with a perfect 4-0). FM Andrew Karklins has 2 points and is still playing round 4. In the three-day section, GM Dmitry Gurevich began with a perfect 2-0.

In the U2100 section, Zach Kasiurak has a perfect 3-0 going into round 4.

In the U1300 section, Harris Sefo and Nick Xiao each have 2.5 going into round 4 (and are paired with each other). In the three-day U1300, Lester Leong has 2-0.

GM Mesgen Amanov at the North American Open

This game just finished:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fischer birth certificate

I've been meaning to contact the Department of Vital Records in Springfield.  If  you'd like to beat me to it, this might be useful.

 If you do, I'd appreciate a copy!

rest in peace, Ralph Elliot

I would like to keep the tone light on this blog.  Senseless murders on Christmas Eve have a way of catching one's eye, however.  (While the murder was in Bronzeville, Mr. Elliot was a Hyde Park resident.)

In retirement, [Mr. Elliot] was an avid chess player. "If he couldn't find a chess partner, he'd play advanced chess with the computer," she said. He liked to fish off Hilton Head, S.C., one of his favorite vacation spots. He was also a bowler.
I used to play at Harper Court in the 1970s, and even at a little chess & backgammon club not too far from Mr. Elliot's home on 55th St.    Perhaps some readers of this blog played Mr. Elliot more recently at the Hyde Park Borders?

Deepest condolences to Mr. Elliot's family and friends.

a note from the WWE (formerly WWF)

I've gotten some strange junk mail in my online life, but I'm particularly amused by this sender (who always changes his handle and never seems to hit my spam filter). The following is typical of emails I've received in the past year or so:
"Rugged" Ronnie Garvin (2475) vs. "The Conquistador" (2075)

[Wrestler: "Ronnie Garvin" 2475]

[Wrestler: "Conquistador" 2075]

[Date: "12.??.1989"]

[Location: "Fort Wayne, IN"]

[Site: "???"]

[Event: "???"]

[Result: "*"]
(links to spam video removed)
Questions: So how do professional wrestlers get ELO ratings? Whose idea was it to use PGN headers for wrestling matches? Was the toilet controversy in Kramnik-Topalov real or kayfabe? And doesn't Topalov's manager Silvio Danailov remind you of Vince McMahon?

a note from Prof. Elkies

A commenter on [...] may have found a blockade draw after all: 1.Nd7+! Kf5 2.d4 [...]

Yes, this was noted by several people on chessbase too, see the last paragraph of I've seen at least one case before where a study contains both a refutation of the intended solution and a dual solution, so formally they cancel each other out and the study is sound, but rarely of nearly as much interest as the intention. Here the new fortress of some interest (in that the g-file comes into play as well), but we lose the spectacular self-stalemating point 4 Rh1! ... 7 Kg1!, and the move order in the introductory play is still not unique (2 Nf7 works too).

Perhaps Nunn should have found this, since he was tasked with vetting soundness and so might have looked for alternative solutions once he agreed that the intended solution works. For myself I might claim the excuse that I recognized the intended solution and, having found that it seemed unsound, stopped analyzing for further flaws...

Happy 2010,
--Noam D. Elkies

On the third day of Christmas, I retracted second thoughts....

Reader "Jo" may have found an nice "cook to the cook" of the Rodriguez study.  (I'd found the same idea back on December 25th, but I wrongly assumed that it wasn't good enough because Black had an h-pawn to push.)

The Ne5 is the best piece on the board, and the Black bishop is useless, so a draw wouldn't be that surprising. I had trouble believing that Black couldn't exploit the open g-file to hit h2 or f2. Jo doesn't see a way, and I don't, either.