Saturday, November 14, 2009

More back rank practice #8

One final pitch for the Estate of Fred Reinfeld.  This is a fun training book!

White to play and win

The pin must...not lose?

More back rank practice #7

I modified this one a little bit, as there were a zillion ways to win in Reinfeld's original position.

White to play and win

More back rank practice #6

Simple yet pleasing!

White to play and win

Friday, November 13, 2009

More back rank practice #5

Simple and pleasing:

White to play and win

One of the Amazon reviewers suggested that 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate should be read after How to Beat Your Dad at Chess. That seems like good advice to me, as the latter book is much more organized. But you should really read both!

Midway Chess Club open event tomorrow

Veterans play free: details here!

Road Trip: Open Tournament in Springfield Tomorrow

Details here!

2009 Illinois Class Championships: December 12th in Skokie!

And you'll also see me at the Illinois Class, to be held on December 12th at another familiar spot, the Holilday Inn at 5300 W. Touhy in Skokie.  Details are here!

Tim Just's Winter Open/Reserve - January 9-10, 2010

I'm planning to play in this one, also at the DoubleTree in Oak Brook.  More info here!

More back rank practice #4

Here's another exercise from 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate, considerably more complicated that the last few we saw (but still not that hard):

 White to play and win

Can you combine pressure on h7 with the idea of mating on d8?  Don't forget that White has a bishop on b1!

More back rank practice #3

Are we clear on the concept?  And buy this book

White to play and win

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Back to the Back Rank II: Reshevsky-Fischer continued

Back to yesterday's question. 

Reshevsky-Fischer, Palma de Majorca Interzonal, 1970

Black to move

In this position, you may have been tempted to play 28...Qe2??  It does threaten a back-rank mate in one move: 29...Qxf1#.  But White gets to go first: 29.Qxf7+! Kh8 leads to this position:

Analysis after 28...Qe2??: White to play and win

So what's the winning move?

28...Qe1?? is bad for a slightly different reason: do you see why?

Analysis after 28...Qe1??: White to play and win

Of course, Fischer was not naïve in matters on the chessboard.  He found the best move: 28...Qf4!

White to play in the actual game:
a critical position!

Switch sides for a minute and try to help Reshevsky save this position with White (hint: a grandmaster playing White would have real drawing chances against Fischer): what would you recommend?  The most important challenge is to avoid getting mated on the back rank!

2009 National Youth Action: Nov. 20-22 at the DoubleTree Oak Brook!

Here's a great national championship event for students in K through 12!  Each player has thirty minutes to complete his or her game.  The DoubleTree is the same quality site that has been used for the Chicago Open in past years.

See website for details.

It could happen here...

There's a story about the Executive Director of New York's Chess-in-the-Schools in yesterday's New York Times (free login required)

IN 1994, Marley Kaplan saw an ad for a half-time job at a not-for-profit organization. The pay: $25,000 a year.

That was a steep cut for a woman who had been earning a six-figure income in investment banking[....]

Today Ms. Kaplan is president of Chess-in-the-Schools, which now teaches 20,000 new children a year, with an annual budget of $3 million. Since 1986, it calculates, it has taught chess to 425,000 children on the theory that the game helps them develop basic analytical skills that lead to academic success.

More back rank practice #2

As in the previous example, the enemy king doesn't have to be castled for a back rank mate to occur.

White to play and win

More back rank practice

I hope the heirs of Fred Reinfeld will forgive me for quoting from 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate

White to play and win

A chess curriculum for beginners

It's very nice!  (Adobe Acrobat document.)  From our friend Jerry Neugarten and the Highland Park Scholastic Chess Club.

Back to the Back Rank: Reshevsky-Fischer, Palma 1970

Reshevsky-Fischer, Palma de Majorca Interzonal, 1970
Black to move

This is a position hard enough that eight-time U.S. Champion Sammy Reshevsky blundered horribly, but easy enough that a beginner can understand.  But take it one step at a time, slowly, and double-check you calculations!

Bobby Fischer is Black, and it's his move.  The position is probably only slightly better for Black, but Fischer would really like to win this qualifier so he can eventually play Boris Spassky.  He needs your help!

How many different ways can Black threaten back-rank mate?  Fischer did choose one such move: which one would you recommend?  Do you see any problem with any of the other possible mate threats?

Answers (and more questions) tomorrow evening....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2009 Illinois All Grade champions!

Thanks to the good folks at Bloomington Normal Area Scholastic Chess for another wonderful event!  There were 330 players in 10 sections: by grade from K through 8, and one combined high school section.

Here are the 2009-2010 champions:

  • high school: Frankie Swindell, with a perfect 4-0.
  • 8th grade: Shawn Xun Lu, with a perfect 4-0.
  • 7th grade: Nathaniel Kranjc and Chase Walbert, each with a perfect 4-0.
  • 6th grade: Phillip Parker-Turner, with a perfect 5-0.
  • 5th grade: Sritej Vontikommu, with 4½-½.
  • 4th grade: Alex Bian, Anshal Adve, and Rachel Ulrich, each with 4½-½.
  • 3rd grade: William Radak, with a perfect 5.0, and a post-tournament rating of 1618!
  • 2nd grade: Vincent Do, Henry Curcio, and Ranadheer Tripurameni, each with 4½-½.
  • 1st grade: Jason Daniels, with a perfect 5-0.
  • kindergarten: Ivan Mitkov (uh-oh! we're all in trouble...) with a perfect 5-0.
You'll find the full crosstables here.  Players, proud parents, coaches, TDs, and organizers are invited to send material to me (stories, photos, games, annotations) for publication on this blog, the Illinois Chess Association forum, and the forthcoming Illinois Chess Bulletin (going to press the Monday before Thanksgiving).

Ivanchuk at the Tal Memorial

Hilarious, and you don't need to speak a word of Russian.  The players as they appear on stage: Levon Aronian of Armenia, Peter Leko of Hungary, Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine, Magnus Carlsen of Norway (the laughing person seated in the preview above), Peter Svidler of Russia (joined by Aronian), Vishy Anand of India (seated), and our hero, Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine.

H/T to mishanp in the comments at the Daily Dirt.  OK, no more Carlsen photos for awhile.

Magnus Carlsen's new blog

It's here!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New in Chess Magazine

A subscription to New in Chess is frightfully expensive, and worth every penny.  I just received this issue last night (the cover story is Magnus Carlsen's victory at China's Pearl Spring supertournament; Carlsen and his trainer Kasparov are interviewed). 

The previous issue had a great interview with U.S. champion Hikaru Nakamura.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Adams-Torre, part 7

23.Qxb7!! is the killer. (23.Qxa5 and 23.Qb6 also eventually win, but only if White finds this idea.)

After 23.Qxb7!! 
Black to play: the queen can't escape

Here's the complete game.

Felecan wins in Evanston

International Master Florin Felecan, the 2009 Illinois State Co-Champion, won the top section of Evanston Chess's November Bi-Level yesterday.  For more on this event, visit the Evanston Chess blog.

Adams-Torre, part 6

Carlos Torre Repetto, 1925

When Adams and Torre played this game in 1920 (or, more likely, when Torre created the conclusion of this casual game from post-mortem analysis with Adams), Torre (born in 1904) was only about 16 years old!

Let's look at moves that don't work.  22.b3 is a very logical try:

After 22.b3?: Black to move

White makes a threat that must be answered, and 22...Qxb3?? loses for the usual reason.  But Black can simply reply 22...Qb5!, and I don't see a way to drive the Black queen off the a4-e8 diagonal.  For example, 23.Qc4 Qd7! 24.Qg4 Qb5! rewinds the tape of the game, except that White has lost the a-pawn.

22.Qa5?! is a better idea, and it gives White real winning chances:

After 22.Qxa5?!: Black to move

Black's only reply is 22...Qd7, and White can press Black with 23.Qc7! Qb5 24.Rxe8+ (24.Qxb7?? loses for the usual reason: do you see why?) 24...Rxe8 25.Rxe8+ Qxe8 26.Qxb7, with excellent winning chances in the endgame.  (The helpful knight on f3 guards the e1 square, so Black has no back rank mate.)  But White has better....

After 22.Re4!!: Black to move
22...Qxe4 loses to a version of a trick we saw in the Bernstein-Capablanca game.  23.Rxe4! and Black can't take both unprotected pieces at once.  So Black must return the queen to b5:

After 22...Qb5: White to play and win

There are a couple moves that win, but there is only one winning idea!