Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Pinnacle of Manly Chess

Surely the above is an apt description of the King's Gambit. (If "Manly Chess" is too sexist, please substitute "Swashbuckling Chess" or some such.) If you don't believe me, take a look at Spassky-Bronstein, USSR Championship 1960. And of course the Immortal Game. But then again, there's yawners like Ivanchuk-Nakamura, Cap d'Agde 2010, an endgame grind.

In my old age I have belatedly taken up the gambit, at least in unrated Internet blitz games against random players. Very manly, I know. Here is one such example. Since I usually prefer Pusillanimous Chess, I didn't know book against the Falkbeer Counter Gambit. Although my 6.Be3 has been played, it turns out that the main line is the picturesque 6.Nf3 Bc5 7.Qe2 Bf5 8.Nc3 Qe7 9.Be3!, when 9...Nxc3 is met by 10.Bxc5!, as in the brilliancy Bronstein-Tal, 1968. Later in the game continuation, my 10.Be2? got me in trouble; correct was 10.Qe2! playing for a favorable ending. They do such things in the modern King's Gambit (is that an oxymoron?). Despite my weak opening play I managed to mate my opponent off the board in traditional KG fashion.

Friday, June 22, 2012

IM Florin Felecan camp at Northside Prep, June 25-29!

If you're a student looking for something to do this summer (or a parent looking for something for your kid to do), this sounds like a great way to start the summer!  $225 is a very reasonable price for five days of instruction.

Problem: June 25th is Monday, so you'd better ask Mom and Dad now!

Avoid rook endings at all costs...

...if you're playing Jim Duffy.  When Jim won the second section of last month's CICL Individual Championship (Larry Cohen won the first section, with the same 3-0 score as Jim), I asked him to send me his effortless first-round game.  He pointed out that he had won an even more seemingly colorless game in the second round.

Some players have a modest rating, but are exceptionally strong in one phase of the game.  If you are strong in the endgame, you will save many lost games and win most of your "hopelessly drawn" games. Cultivate your strengths!

Active rook + active king = won game.  Jim provides some light notes.

Mark your calendars for the Illinois Open, Sept. 1-3!

Come join us Labor Day weekend: it's a great event for grandmasters, serious amateurs, and folks who just want to have a weekend of fun.

Note that the thirty-second increment begins at move 1.  So the time control of 40 moves in 90 minutes, followed by sudden death is 30 minutes, is only slightly faster than the "old" 40 moves in 2 hours followed by sudden death in 1 hour.  And you are guaranteed a minimum thirty seconds for every move, no matter how long the game!

FIDE Rated!
60 Grand Prix Points
Sep 1 - 3, 2012

2012 Illinois Open State Championship

Oakbrook, IL
6R-SS. Open Section (40/90 SD/30 + 30/sec incr).
Reserve and Booster Sections (G/90 + 30/sec incr).
Doubletree Hotel 1909 Spring Rd., Oakbrook, IL 60523 - Phone 630-472-6000.
$8500 Guaranteed + $250 Isaac Braswell Fighting Chess Award in Open Section. 3 sections: Open, Reserve (U1800), Booster (U1400).
Prizes (non-IL players eligible for max 3rd place in Overall Prizes and 2nd place prize for rating bracket prizes):
Open - Overall: $1600-1000-300, (2399-2200): $350-275-200; (2199-2100): $250-200; (2099-2000): $200-100; (1999-1900): $200-100; (1899-1800): $200-100;
Reserve (U1800) - Overall: $750-450-225; (1699-1600): $250-200-150; (1599-150): $150-100; (1499-1400): $150-100;
Booster (U1400) - Overall: $250-125-75; (1299-1200) - $100-50; (1199-1100): $100-50.
Open & Reserve FIDE Rated.
Free Entry for IL FIDE titled players (WFM & above).
EF: $64 by 08/04/2012, $96 by 08/18/2012, $128 thereafter and on-site.
No checks at site, credit cards ok.
Online registration preferred.
No phone entries.
Re-entry: $60 with 1/2 pt in first two rds only.
Rd 6 bye must committ by end of Rd 2 otherwise zero pt.
Players in contention for prizes must play final rd or have 1/2 pt bye committed to by the end of Rd 2 otherwise ineligible for prizes.
Special Rules for Playing Up: $10 more if 150 pts or less from cut off of section, $25 more if 151-300 pts from cut-off, $50 more if 301+ pts from cut-off (Example: 1620 wants to play in open, 180 pts from cut-off, pay $25 more to play up).
NOTE: Playing up fee paid in cash at the door - players will be registered in their normal rating section unless you come to the TD room to request playing up.
Schedule: 10am and 4pm each day.
Mailed entries: North American Chess Association, 4957 Oakton Street, Suite 113, Skokie, IL 60077.
All mailed entries must be received by 8/24/2012.
No Phone Calls.
Advance entries and online registration at:
Hotel: $91/night + tax.
Ask for Chess Rate.
Boards, Sets, Clocks Provided.
Must use organizer provided equipment.
Chess vendor onsite.
August Rating Supplement.
Special Workshops: Chess in Education plus TD/Rules Workshop. 1-day Scholastic Event.
See website for details on Workshops and Scholastic Event.
USCF and ICA mbrshp required for main event.
Chess Magnet School JGP.

The information shown above is based on information in USCF records prior to publication of the TLA in Chess Life (or Chess Life for Kids.)
As such, the information shown above is subject to change. 
Please check the TLA in Chess Life (or Chess Life for Kids) for any corrections, updates or other changes. 
In special cases, changes that are made after the publication of Chess Life may be found on theTournament Listings by State page. 
Sponsoring Affiliate: A6021470, NORTH AMERICAN CHESS ASN.

July 14th: Evanston Tri-Level

I was chatting on Facebook last night with NM Jon Burgess: he'll be there, and I'm hoping to be there, too.

$5, such a deal!  The play is serious, the atmosphere is casual and congenial.

Details here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

2012 Chicago Class in Wheeling July 20-22

Another mail cut-and-paste: (kids, this is what the internet looked like in 1994).  The Chicago Class is an Illinois Tour event!

5th annual

July 20-22 or 21-22, 2012 - Wheeling, Illinois
July 20-22 or 21-22   Illinois
Trophies Plus Grand Prix Points: 120 (enhanced)
5 round Swiss, 40/2, SD/1, d5 (2-day option, rounds 1-2 G/75, d5).
No residence requirements.
At the luxurious Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel, 601 North Milwaukee Avenue, Wheeling IL 60090. From Chicago, I-294 north to US-45 north; from Milwaukee, I-94 to Lake Cook Rd to US-45 south). Free parking.  
In 8 sections; no unrated allowed in Master or Expert.  Rated players may play up one section.
Master Section (2200/up): $2000-1000-600-400, clear win or 1st on tiebreak $100, top U2400 $800-400. FIDE rated.
Expert Section (2000-2199): $1400-700-400-200.
Class A Section (1800-1999/Unr): $1400-700-400-200.  No unrated may win over $900.

Class B Section 
(1600-1799/Unr): $1400-700-400-200.  No unrated may win over $700.
Class C Section (1400-1599/Unr): $1200-600-400-200.   No unrated may win over $500.
Class D Section (1200-1399/Unr): $1000-500-300-200.  No unrated may win over $300.
Class E Section (Under 1200/Unr): $1000-500-300-200.  No unrated may win over $200.
Under 1000 Section: (Under 1000/Unr): $200-100-60-40, trophies to first 5, top Under 800, Under 600, Unrated.  No unrated may win over $100.
Balance of any limited prize goes to next player(s) in line.
PRIZE LIMITS: If any post-event rating posted at 7/19/11-7/19/12 is more than 30 points over section maximum, prize limit $500.
Top 7 sections entry fee: 3-day $103, 2-day $102 mailed by 7/11, all $104 ONLINE at by 7/16, $110 phoned to 406-896-2038 by 7/16 (entry only, no questions), $120 at site. No checks at site, credit cards OK.
Under 1000 Section entry fee: $70 less than top 7 sections entry fee.
Online late entries accepted from 7/17 to 2 hours before your first game (same fee as on site late entries).

Online or mailed entry fee $5 less to ICA members; join/renew at An ICA Tour event.

Special 1 year USCF dues
 with paper magazine if paid with entry.  Online at, Adult $30, Young Adult $20, Scholastic $15.  Mailed, phoned or paid at site, Adult $40, Young Adult $30, Scholastic $20.  Re-entry $50; not available in Master Section. GMs free, $80 deducted from prize.
Unofficial ratings usually used if otherwise unrated.
3-day schedule: Reg. ends Fri 6 pm, rds. Fri 7 pm, Sat 11 am & 6 pm, Sun 10 am & 4:30 pm.
2-day schedule: Reg. ends Sat 10 am, rds. Sat 11 am, 2:30 pm & 6 pm, Sun 10 am & 4:30 pm.

Half point byes: OK all rounds, Master must commit before rd 2, others before rd 3.
Hotel rates: $103-103-103-103, 800-937-8461, 847-777-6500, reserve by July 6 or rate may increase.

Room sharing:
 If you want to share a room to save money, see or post this on the CCA FORUM, or email us and we will post it for you.

Car rental: 
Avis, 800-331-1600, use AWD #D657633, or reserve car online.

Bring set, board, clock
 if possible- none supplied.
Ratings:  July official USCF rating list used.  Foreign player rating info. 
 Continental Chess, Box 249, Salisbury Mills NY 12577. $15 service charge for refunds. No smoking.,, 845-496-9658. Advance entries posted at Chess Magnet School Junior Grand Prix Points available.

GM Maurice Ashley at North Shore Chess Center this Saturday!

Maurice Ashley is a wonderful "explainer" and very entertaining.  His broadcast persona is the "John Madden of chess," breaking down difficult concepts into easy-to-understand chunks for the general public.  But just like John Madden, GM Ashley understands his game at a much deeper level.

Info here!  The lecture and simul is at 5500 West Touhy in Skokie this Saturday.

Upcoming lectures include GM Loek Van Wely on July 28th and GM Alexander Onischuk on August 11th.

Carlsen in NYC August 20th-24th

So if you have a place to crash in the Village, you might be able to do this for less than $1000.  

Very cool, very pricey.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

From the Twitterverse

How Not to Play Chess

In this game, White thoughtfully gives up his dark-squared bishop for a knight, weakening his dark squares and giving Black the bishop pair. He then allows Black to occupy e3, completely blockading White's position. A queen trade doesn't stop Black from developing a mating attack. White should have played 17.Bg2 Rhd8 18.Nf2 Rxc4, when he is busted but at least avoids immediate loss. Instead, he stumbled into mate.

Monday, June 18, 2012

"CCSCSL Partners with KCF on Elite Training Program"

Press release cut and pasted. Congratulations to the recipients, especially Midwesterners Awonder Liang and Kevin Cao!

SAINT LOUIS, June 18, 2012 The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) is partnering with the Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) on a five-year grant program to help develop several American chess prodigies from across the United States. The program, called Young Stars – Team USA, will begin with a kick-off training program in Saint Louis at the CCSCSL from June 18-20. Program participants range in age from nine to 15 years old.

The program’s players include:

Awonder Liang, age 9, from Madison, WI – Won a gold medal in the under-8 section of the 2011 World Youth Chess Championship in Brazil.
Ruifeng Li, age 9, from Plano, TX – Won the 2011 Arkasas State Championships and a silver medal in the under-10 section of the 2011 World Youth Championships.
Jeffrey Xiong, age 11, from Coppell, TX – Recently, Xiong received a four-year scholarship to the University of Texas at Dallas.
Sam Sevian, age 11, from Santa Clara, CA – Is currently the youngest-ever American chess master.
Kevin Cao, age 15, from Saint Louis – Named to the 2010 All-American Team at the age of 12, participated in the Kings vs. Queens tournament in Saint Louis
Kayden Troff, age 14, from West Jordan, UT – Troff participated in the Junior Championships at the CCSCSL in 2011.
Sarah Chiang, age 15, from Southlake, TX – Tied for third place at the World Youth Championship in the girls U-14 division in 2011

“This inaugural group features some of the top young chess players in the country,” said CCSCSL Executive Director Tony Rich. “By fostering their talent now, we’re hoping to position the United States as a future chess super power.”

World Chess Champion and KCF Chairman Garry Kasparov personally coach the young players in the training program, which will be held at the CCSCSL every summer and in New York City each winter. The CCSCSL and KCF have established a five-year educational program for extraordinarily talented children to maximize their potential to achieve the highest level in chess and become members of the U.S. Olympiad Teams. The grant also provides individual coaching for each participant.

“The joint effort of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and the KCF provides these promising players a tremendous advantage,” said Michael Khodarkovsky, president of the KCF. “Their time spent in these training sessions will help prepare them for the demands of a career in chess – and hopefully the demands of winning championship tournaments as well.”