Thursday, February 3, 2011

Andi Rosen reports on the Illinois Girls Championship

K-3 winner Caitlin Hong

See the ICA website for the story!  Also check out Eric Rosen's photos of the event.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How to cheat at chess (freeware version)

  • Load the open source program Stockfish on your quad core at home; you now have a beast that will beat any human.
  • Install GlaurungServer on the same machine.
  • Download the Stockfish for iPhone app.
  • Configure your app to talk to your home computer with Stockfish's "remote engine" interface.
  • At your next tournament, use the toilet strategically.
And even if the connection with your home computer were to go down, there are several native iPhone apps (tChess and Shredder are both excellent alternatives to Stockfish) that offer master-level tactical advice.

Human nature being what it is, I would wager that a handful of unethical players are already doing this.  (Something similar may have been committed by a member of the 2010 French Olympiad team and two accomplices: bravo to the French Chess Federation for commencing a painful investigation.)  This is one reason for FIDE's cell phone ban.  If you know a tournament director who has worked major national events (we are fortunate to have more than our share of these good folk in Illinois), he or she may share some horror stories with you.  And these are the bad guys who were caught, bad guys using yesterday's technology.

So could someone please explain to me the wisdom of continuing to have big entry fee, big money class events for amateur players?  Amateurs include masters, too; most of us with ratings below USCF 2450 or so play for the love of the game.  I don't think this is as big an issue at higher levels, as strong players have an idea of what other strong players are (and aren't) capable of.

I should add that Stockfish is an amazing engine and that GlaurungServer (which I haven't bothered to test-drive) looks like it could be incredibly useful for serious (and ethical!) players (amateur and pro) who want to consult it during kibitzing sessions..

Escape from Snowmaggedon, part 2 - 1st North American Amateur Open

There's a five-round event at the North Shore Chess Center, 5500 W. Touhy, Skokie, this weekend (Friday night, Saturday & Sunday afternoons). 

No prizes to speak of, but this looks like a very cool event--the time control is particularly friendly to serious amateurs.  But note the qualifications before you show up!  You must have either an established FIDE rating (you can check here if you're not sure) or a USCF rating above 1599.

Details on the Illinois Chess Association website!

Escape from Snowmaggedon, part 1 - Greater Chicago Scholastic Championships in Wheeling

Four one-day scholastic events in Wheeling this weekend presented by the Kasparov Chess Foundation and Renaissance Knights. 

Details on the Illinois Chess Association website!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Kavalek on Nakamura's victory

The veteran grandmaster annotates two games in the Caro-Kann Advance Variation from Wijk aan Zee: Nakamura's win with Black against Nepomniachtchi and Carlsen's win with White against Wang Hao.

Column is here!

Shayna Provine wins Illinois Girls' Championship

Shayna Provine & Cheryl Liu each scored an undefeated 3-1 in Saturday's event; held at Niles North High School in Skokie.  I have unofficial word that Shayna won on tiebreaks.  Congratulations!

Annie Xu scored an undefeated 4-0 to take the K-8 section; Maya Malecki and Rithika Kyaw shared second with 3-1 scores.

Caitlin Hong and Samantha Moyer split the K-3 honors with 3½-½.  Nuha Mosunder, Erin Costigan, and Isabella Rhee shared third with 3-1 scores.

Crosstables here;  Betsy Dynako directed for the Illinois Chess Association.   Organizer Andi Rosen is working on a story for ICA.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Nakamura wins! Nakamura wins!

Nakamura and Wang Hao drew in 22 moves this morning in the category 20 Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee. In the final position, Wang Hao could have won an exchange with 23.Bxb4?! cxb4!, but that would have left him in a passive position and given Nakamura a very strong pair of connected passed pawns, supported by the two bishops.

World Champion Vishy Anand, who trailed by half a point going into the round, also drew, against Nepomniachtchi. Nakamura thus won the tournament outright with the impressive score of 9-4 (6 wins, 6 draws, and a loss to Carlsen). Anand was second with 8.5. Aronian can tie with Anand if he succeeds in grinding out an endgame win against Smeets. Carlsen drew against Grischuk, finishing with 8 points.

With this extremely impressive and gutsy performance, Nakamura establishes himself as a member of the world elite. The last time an American won a tournament of this caliber was Gata Kamsky's win at the 2007 World Cup. To find the last time an American other than Kamsky won a remotely comparable tournament, you'd have to go back a very long time, maybe to Yasser Seirawan's victory at Haninge 1990. Congratulations to Hikaru Nakamura on his well-deserved win of one of the strongest tournaments ever!