Saturday, January 28, 2012

Silly Internet game du jour

The Black Knights' Tango (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6!?) allows Black to get a big attack effortlessly if White plays passively. A case in point:

Gata makes Magnus say a bad word

Kamsky plays brilliantly in the opening, and the frustrated Carlsen admits he [messed] up, using a Norwegian dialect phrase not suitable for work. Cover your ears, children.
But Magnus buckles down and holds the draw: check it out at The Week in Chess. (Postscript 1/30/2012: GM Ian Rogers hits the highlights of this game in his article for Chess Life Online.)


Nakamura beats Van Wely and moves to number six in the world. Aronian beats Gelfand with Black, and will win Wijk aan Zee tomorrow if he can draw Radjabov with the White pieces.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Game of the year?

Carlsen may be #1 on the ratings list, and Anand and Gelfand may be playing for the FIDE title, but Levon Aronian gets my vote for "People's Champion."  Yesterday's win against Anish Giri was extremely cool:

The adventures of Isaac Braswell

Christopher Girardo - Isaac Braswell
Swiped from the Evanston Chess homepage 

My friend and CICL teammate Isaac Braswell rarely backs down from a tactical exchange!  (Also, this game gives us an excuse to refresh our memory of the Tarrasch Trap.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Names omitted to protect the guilty

Checkmate is a little death: "shah mat," the king is dead.  (Pedantic footnote: Wikipedia says I'm wrong.  But please don't let facts spoil the following shtick.)

And when we think our own king is about to die, we may experience a series of emotions analogous to Kübler-Ross's five stages of grief. I deny that I'm getting mated (skepticism is healthy!), I'm angry that I'm getting mated (this gets the adrenalin flowing!), I'm desperately trying to avoid getting mated (seeking any possible escape), I'm depressed about getting mated (but hey, it's only a game), and then I finally accept reality and congratulate my opponent for her good play.

And whenever we have to deal with a surprising move, we may go through a miniature version of this drama: "I'm not losing this pawn, I'm angry at myself for blundering this pawn, I'll find a way to avoid losing this pawn, I'm depressed that I have to lose this pawn, ...hmm, maybe I can lose the pawn and stll draw this position."

In any case, these are typical emotions I try to manage during play: perhaps your experience is different! ;-)

With this in mind, let's look at a game from last weekend's Evanston event:

Black to play

Black played the inventive 1...Rd3.  White ate the free rook with 2.Bxd3, which Black answered with 2...Ng4, reaching this position.

 White to play

White to play sees that there's no way to prevent both 3....Nxe3 and 3...Qxh2 mate, and therefore resigned.  Your thoughts?

In chess, unlike life, the bargaining stage may be more productive than the acceptance stage.

January chess roundup

Dan Leroy highlights the action on the ICA website.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Evanston Three X Three results

FM Albert Chow swept the Gold section of Saturday's three-round event with a 3-0 score.  Chow beat Isaac Braswell with seconds to spare in the final round.  Jack Xiao scored 2½-½ against higher-rated players and picked up over 100 ELO in the process.

There was a logjam for first in the Silver Section: Sritej Vontikummu, Tae Moon, Hanson Hao all posted an undefeated 2½-½.

Matthew Ward took the Bronze honors with 3-0.

Maret Thorpe directed the 39-player tournament for Evanston Chess.

Monday, January 23, 2012

FM Albert Chow annotates games from Tim Just's Winter Open

Enjoy!  This is the first of several installments.  Players featured in this installment include Vince Hart, NM Sam Schmakel, Andy Applebaum, Jiahua Zhang, Jonathan Kogen, and David Peng.

Albert will be annotating games from all events of the 2012 Illinois Tour.