Friday, December 21, 2012

Groucho and Kashdan

Evanston Chess update

Bill Smythe vs. FM Albert Chow
How many times have these two played each other?
Maret Thorpe writes:
Evanston Chess Club usually holds open chess for high school age and over on Tuesday evenings. Problem is, this year Christmas Day and New Year's Day both fall on Tuesday. But we have a solution! For two weeks only, Tuesday night chess will migrate to...Wednesday night. That's right, you can come to the Levy Activity Center on Wednesday, December 26 and Wednesday, January 2 and play chess from 6:30-9:00 p.m. As always, sets are supplied and there is no entry fee. On January 8, we'll be back to our usual Tuesday night schedule. Look forward to seeing you all there.
Follow the link for a report on last month's Tri-Level.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A trap in Philidor's Defense

Philidor's Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6) has experienced a resurgence of popularity in recent years. However, Black often tries sophisticated move orders, such as 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7, to reach the main line. The traditional 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nd7, the Hanham Variation, seen in the game below, has tactical problems. After 4.Bc4!, Black must already be careful. Then 4...Be7? loses a pawn to 5.dxe5 Nxe5 (5...dxe5?? 6.Qd5!) 6.Nxe5 dxe5 7.Qh5!. So does 4...Nf6?, after 5.dxe5! Nxe5 (5...Nxe4?? 6.Qd5!; 5...dxe5? 6.Ng5!) 6.Nxe5 dxe5 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qxd8 Bb4+ 9.Qd2 Bxd2+ 10.Nxd2. Also bad, though complicated, is 4...h6?, when White has 5.dxe5 dxe5 (5...Nxe5 6.Nxe5 dxe5 7.Bxf7+) 6.Bxf7+! Kxf7 7.Nxe5+! Kf6 (best) and now White's best is 8.Nc3!, offering another piece. Instead, Black usually plays 4...c6!, when the main line is 5.Nc3 Be7 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Ng5! Bxg5 8.Qh5!, winning the bishop pair, which scores very well for White.

An unusual but promising alternative is 5.Ng5!? Nh6 6.a4. Then 6...exd4 may be best, although White won crushingly in Blehm-Popek, 2000. Also possible is 6...a5, although Black fared badly in Pavasovic-Barle, 1997. Nimzowitsch played the eccentric 6...Qf6?!, got a horrid position, but somehow managed to draw in Leonhardt-Nimzowitsch, match 1911.

The most plausible move is 6...Be7?. Amazingly, however, it loses Black's queen by force! After 7.Bxf7+! (again this shot!) Nxf7 8.Ne6! Black has only two squares for the queen. Best is 8...Qa5+ 9.Bd2 Qb6 10.a5! Qxb2 11.Bc3!, trapping the queen, as in Philidor (!) -NN, 1795. Even worse is 8...Qb6 9.a5!, also losing the queen, but for less material. In our subject game, Black resigned after 9...Qb4+ 10.c3! Qc4 11.Nc7+ Kd8 12.b3!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Mate in 196"

Daniel Parmet reports from behind the scenes at the London Chess Classic for Chess Life Online.

Thirty Days

Imagine yourself playing chess in an attractive and comfortable gathering place, surrounded by players of all ages and backgrounds, knowing that you're part of a community and a larger scene. One of the things you love about it is that there's a rated tournament going on whenever you're in the mood, on weekday evenings as well as on weekends, including events for beginners and players new to tournament chess. Another is that, whatever your strength, there's a class you can take that will help you reach the next level. And it's not in New York, San Francisco or St. Louis, but right here at home in Chicago.

You can donate now to the Chicago Chess Center, because you'll be giving to support the creation of a new civic and educational institution.


Your donation will help the Chicago Chess Center secure a site, open its doors, and begin holding classes and tournaments starting this coming May. To make this happen, we're starting a 30-day fundraising campaign to raise $30,000 by Jan. 18, 2013. We're ready to fulfill our promise to you, and we need your support right now:

  • Make your tax-deductible donation now for 2012, or send us an e-mail and pledge the amount you'll give after the new year in 2013.

  • If you've already donated -- and even if you haven't yet -- share our message with family and friends, along with other chess enthusiasts, curious beginners, and anyone who supports education or civic improvement causes.

  • We've announced our membership rates and benefits! Have you thought of giving a Chicago Chess Center membership as a gift? Whether you join as a member yourself or buy a membership for a friend or family member, all memberships purchased before we open our doors will include free entry to up to three tournaments.

    In addition, whether you buy a regular membership or donate $250 or more and join our Founders' Court, you'll receive discounts on classes, lectures and tournament entry fees; eligibility to compete in the annual Chicago Chess Center championship tournament; free admission during open play hours; and wireless Internet access on-site.

Thank you for your interest and your support. As always, please feel free to e-mail us with any questions you may have.

P.S. Thirty thousand dollars in 30 days . . . that's $1,000 a day! We can do this with your help. Please give now and show that after 22 years without one, Chicago is ready to support a centrally located metropolitan chess club again. And please spread the word to everyone you know.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

2013 Winter Open Scholastic

If your child is new to tournament chess and you feel that playing in Tim Just's Winter Open might be a bit too challenging for her or him, there's a nice one- day event running alongside the TJWO on Saturday, January 5th.

Play begins at noon and you can be home in time for dinner: info here.