Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Presidents play chess

...including one U.S. President from Chicago.

Take the quiz now on ChessBase.  Answers Monday.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Labor Day Scholastic at 2011 Illinois Open

Kick off the 2011-12 scholastic season in Oak Brook this September 3rd with a great new four-round event held in conjunction with the Illinois Open State Championship.  Read all about it here!  You'll get to see grandmasters and masters play for the state championshp.

You can register for either the one-day scholastic event or the two-day or three day sections of the Championship here.

And here's the listing for both events in the ICA Calendar.

Events this weekend

In Skokie Aug 19-21st, it's the 6th North American Amateur Open at the North Shore Chess Center.  (Check the rating requirements, however: if your rating is below 1600 or you don't have a FIDE rating, you may not be able to play.)

In Northbrook on Sunday the 21st, it's the 3rd Coast Challenge XIII.

As always, check out the ICA Tournament Calendar to find out what's going on!

The Black pieces?

white pieces from Kenya Robinson on Vimeo.

Thanks to equestriancdr.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Things I learn from beginners' books

Or in this case, a CD for beginners, the incredibly good Chess Tutor - Step 1.

Can you answer these three questions in less than five seconds?
  • How many ranks does a chessboard have?  (I bet you know that.)
  • How many files does a chessboard have?  (I bet you know that, too.)
  • How many diagonals does a chessboard have?  (I had no idea!)

The Illinois Chess Tour Is Back!

Another email cut-and paste!


The ICA is excited to announce the resumption of  the Illinois Chess Tour for the coming year 2012.

 The new format features 10 premier chess events and begins with the 26th edition of the Tim Just Winter Open this January.

ICA Metro Vice President Mike Cardinale has spearheaded the effort, and will serve as the inaugural Tour Commissioner, with assistance from some dedicated volunteers. Any ICA members who are interested in aiding the effort may contact Mike at

Stay tuned to our website for further details about the new Tour, including a kick-off event planned for this fall.

Play in the 2011 Illinois Open in Oak Brook this Labor Day weekend!

From the Illinois Chess Association's email newsletter:

2011 Illinois Open
Come join us at the 2011 Illinois Open. We expect to have GM Dmitry Gurevich, GM Mesegen Amanov, IM Angelo Young, FM Aleksandar Stamnov, FM Nikhilesh Kumar Kunche, FM Timur Aliyev! There will be plus score prizes, and all players can claim a three month extension to their ICA membership.
  • September 3, 2011 - September 5, 2011
  • $11,000 prizes based on 250 entries
  • 3 day schedule and 2 day schedule
  • 6 Rounds
  • Increment: G/90 + 30 seconds
  • Pre-entry $79, At-the-door $90
  • DoubleTree Hotel; 1909 Spring Road; Oak Brook, Illinois 60523
  • Side Event: Individual Scholastic Trophy Tournament
  • Side Event: Saturday G/25
Details at:

Chess for Life Website:

Online Entry at:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Eric Rosen article in Chess Life

The author is Eric's mother Andi, so expect the piece to be hard-hitting.  Eric also annotates the win against IM Marc Arnold that gave him the National High School title.

PDF here!  The article originally appeared in the August 2011 Chess Life.  Our thanks to CL editor Dan Lucas for giving the Illinois Chess Association permission to republish.

Call for CPS technology donations: Carter G. Woodson School

Trevor Scott gave me permission to republish this email:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I know that even with budgets tightening, technology upgrades are still done in corporate and federal entities, therefore, I am asking that any old equipment that is recycled or trashed to be donated to Carter G. Woodson School South, 4414 S. Evans.  We are directly next door to a charter school with the same name so the address is of extreme importance to know the difference between the two schools.  We are a windows based school with wireless capabilities and kids who just want a fair chance to succeed.

Our immediate needs are:

  • Laptops
  • Network/individual printers
  • Desktops (preferably windows based and no older than 5 years)
  • Flat screen monitors
  • Copy machines
  • LCD projectors
Any other technology that is available will surely be appreciated. If you know of another professional body that is in a position to donate old technology that is not on this e-mail list then please feel free to pass this message on.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.  If you need any further information then please feel free to reply to this e-mail or call the school directly and ask for Trevor Scott at your earliest convenience.

Trevor Scott
Technology Coordinator, Carter G. Woodson South

Hardware is not just needed for the classroom: with the right software, it's invaluable for turning absolute beginners into strong players.

Your local public, parochial, or private school could also use some help, too.  If you're a teacher or volunteer seeking donations for your school, or if your business is swapping out XP machines for Windows 7 machines, I'd be happy to facilitate the matchmaking process!

Cognitive blind spots

As we get "better" at chess, we see the board more quickly, but we may also stop seeing certain things.

In the following position, White can sacrifice his queen profitably.  How?

And here's the question I couldn't answer when Mesgen Amanov told me to look for a queen sac: how many ways does White have to sacrifice his queen?  I only counted three squares, and literally could not see the best move!  The confusion eventually cleared.

Answer here.