Saturday, November 21, 2009

Black to play: what's the best move?

GM Dmitry Gurevich - Michael Auger, 2009 Illinois Open, Black to play 

I was playing on the board next to Michael Auger when he uncorked an amazing move that forced GM Dmitry Gurevich into a 45-minute think.  Gurevich managed to win a very dubious position: look for his annotations in the Illinois Chess Bulletin, going to the printer in the next few days.

To find out what Michael played, please see the previous post.  (And if you have any problems with the embedded PGN viewer, please let me know.)

If you have any last-minute submissions, please send them to me now!

Gurevich-Auger annotations in December Illinois Chess Bulletin

Pullin-Brock, Evanston 2008

Hey, I posted one of my losses yesterday, didn't I?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Brock-Pullin, Evanston 2007

Matt's presentation is very clear and engaging: strongly recommended!

Bright and early Saturday morning: Downers Grove Chess Club tourney!

Don't miss tomorrow's action unless you're playing in another one of the several Chicagoland chess event.  You'll find the details as (almost) always on the ICA Tournament Calendar.  And here's a link to the club's website.

Illini Classic - January 9, 2010

Details for this scholastic event are here!

Scholastic tactics quiz

White (to play) played 1.O-O
How should Black respond?

See Elizabeth Vicary's blog for the answer to this and several other positions from scholastic games.

Ivanchuk tactics at the World Blitz

Ivanchuk-Gelfand, World Blitz Championship
White to play and win

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

450 Pre-Entries for the National Youth Action in Oak Brook

If you're a K-12 player or a parent, you don't want to miss the action this weekend!

See website for details.

Andrew Karklins tied for first at Kings Island

King's Island Open Chess Tournament from JW Holes on Vimeo.

The Continental Chess Association's Kings Island Open (near the site of the Ohio amusement park) is one of the biggest chess events in the Midwest. 

Andrew Karklins at the 2006 World Open
Congratulations to FIDE Master Andrew Karklins of Chicago, who tied for first in the event with GM Ben Finegold (the new Grandmaster-in-Residence at the St. Louis Chess Club), FM Peter Bereolos (known to many Chicagoans of my generation as a close friend of the late Senior Master Bill Colias), and Seth Homa.  Here's the crosstable.

"Carlsen wins World Blitz by three-point margin"

Borrowing facial expressions from his trainer?

(And yes, I broke my self-imposed moratorium on Carlsen photos.)

A famous domination study

Mark Weeks's website reminds us of perhaps the most famous knight vs. bishop domination study.

Kasparian, 1921
White to play and win

Domination for beginners

It's not what you think! When one of our pieces takes all (or virtually all) squares away from its enemy counterpart, we say that our piece dominates the enemy piece.

White to play: the Bd5 dominates the Nd8

The Kc6 dominates the Na8

The poor Na8 has no legal moves, and the White king can eat at his leisure.

So knights are weak and pathetic, right?

Black to play and win
Here's another goodie from Beginning Chess.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Morozevich - Tkachiev, World Blitz (Day 1)

White to play and win

No self-respecting GM would allow these combinations with two hours on the clock: that's why watching blitz games is fun!

MCA Fide Event at Touch Move Chess Center, December 5-6

Having eaten my turkey and returned to Chicago from Mom's, you'll probably see me at this event.  It's in my neck of the woods, too, Touch Move Chess Center.

As usual, I'm linking to the Illinois Chess Association tournament calendar, maintained by the vigilant Maret Thorpe.  Do you want your event on this calendar?  Then contact Maret to find out how!.

A cool position

From one of my games this weekend:

Dornfeld-Brock, Veterans Day Celebration
Black to move

The position is roughly equal. I saw a lot of the coming tactics, but I could have seen more....

What are some of the possibilities for both sides after 1...Nxb3?

World Blitz Championship - round 28 update

Day two is over in Moscow: Carlsen in first, with 21 points; Anand 2nd with 20, and newlywed Sergey Karjakin is third with 18.5.  Full crosstable through round 28 is here.

Checkmate in three moves

I'm one of those players who doesn't care too much for chess problems.  In the typical problem, you're given the artificial task of achieving mate in "x" moves.  I always figured that if, in a given position, I have a dozen ways to mate in three moves, why even bother looking for mate in two moves? 

White to play and mate in three moves 
Alfred de Musset, 1849 (version)

But one of the Pandolfini exercises reminded me of this famous problem by the French dramatist Alfred de Musset.  Nifty!

Ivanchuk-Carlsen, World Blitz (Day 1)

Black to play and win

For absolute beginners

White to play and win

From Bruce Pandolfini's Beginning Chess: Over 300 Elementary Problems for Players New to the Game.  (These "simple" positions make it easier for us to understand the relations between the pieces; enabling us to avoid blundering into mate in one.)

2010 U.S. Amateur Team - Valentine's Day Weekend in Milwaukee

Details are here.  Call up your friends and pick a corny team name....

Anand-Ivanchuk, World Blitz Championship (Day 1)

White to play and win

Monday, November 16, 2009

Martinovsky Memorial, November 27-29 in Elgin

Details here.  This MCA FIDE event will be rated by both FIDE (the World Chess Federation) and USCF.  It's an excellent chance for  amateurs to try to earn a FIDE rating.

Did Ben Kingsley ever discuss this position?

White to play and win

With obligatory plug for Bruce Pandolfini's Beginning Chess.

eBay Giving Works

Do-gooders and Scrooges unite!  You can save a few bucks and help a charity by buying used beginners' books through eBay Giving Works.  For example, Pandolfini's Beginning Chess currently sells for a reasonable $11.70 plus shipping on Amazon.  However, Goodwill Grand Rapids is currently selling a copy for $4.99, postpaid.  (My copy came from the Goodwill in St. Paul, Minnesota, also for $4.99.)

Such a deal, and the proceeds go to a worthy cause.

Bruce Pandolfini's Beginning Chess

If you're looking for chess books for beginners this holiday season, Bruce Pandolfini's Beginning Chess: Over 300 Elementary Problems for Players New to the Game definitely belongs in the mix.  It's a good first, second, or third book for young players..

My sister-in-law's brother (who's not a patzer) had the good sense to give this book to our nephew the beginner.  So Nephew and I spent a couple hours this summer working through several  chapters.  Even I enjoyed Pandolfini's selections: he has a gift for boiling ideas down to their simplest tactical elements.  These are simple shots (some are crude en prise exercises, others are aesthetically pleasing), but all of them are shots that win games.  Bright preteens will not find this material too difficult:.  A few may even find 90% of the positions too trivial.  That's OK: they'll discover that chess will get hard enough soon enough, and they need to practice the 10% of positions that they can't solve on sight.

White to play and win

White to play and win 

 White to play and win

Anand, Carlsen lead World Blitz after Rd. 11

Crosstable here.   Karpov is having a good event; I believe he just beat Carlsen (round 12?)  UPDATE:  After 14 rounds, Anand has a phenomenal 12-2 score, followed by Carlsen at 10 points and Karpov (!) at 9 points in sole third.

World Blitz Championship in Moscow, Nov. 16-18

Watch online for free!   Early results include Alexandra Kosteniuk beating Magnus Carlsen.  More info here

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chicago Chess Academy, 6044 W. 63rd St.

It's a good location for a chess center: an old-timey commercial strip in an otherwise residential area in Chicago's Clearing neighborhood, less than one mile west of Midway.  As you stand in front of the club, you'll see a plane take off every two minutes, but the noise wasn't noticable inside. And I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I could make it to the site from my far North Side home faster than I can make it to Midway.

The space?  Until recently, the building was a former bakery (maybe 2100 SF) on a standard-ish Chicago lot (long and narrow).  The front section is the playing area, which will hold 32 adults comfortably.  For a scholastic event, one could squeeze 48 into the front area.

The playing area

Immediately behind the playing area is a spot for a coffee counter (there was a broken water main that day, so no coffee yesterday) and two bathrooms, one of which looks to be ADA-compliant.

And this is what the skittles area looks like:

Skittles area
This is looking towards the front.  The skittles area is somewhat rawer than the rest of the space (no carpeting), but it's clean and it's more than adequate.  The loading area for the bakery trucks is not in this photo: if Mikhail renews the lease, that space will probably be converted to chess use.

The Midway Chess Club meets here on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m.: I strongly recommend that you stop by to check it out!

Coulda woulda shoulda...

Left to right: Dr. Mikhail Korenman, former World Champion Anatoly Karpov, 2008 U.S. Champion Yury Shulman 

Mikhail Korenman may hang out with strong players, but yesterday, he was who I thought he was, and I let him off the hook.

Chicago Chess Academy: Veterans' Day Celebration
Black to play

What is Black's worst move, and why?  Bonus question: what move did I play? ;-)

I had one minute plus three seconds per move delay left, but that's not an excuse for moving without spending at least one second thinking about my opponent's best reply.

And why did I only have one minute left?  Because Mikhail did not get discouraged when he found himself in a lost position, but kept applying pressure by playing moves that offered the maximum resistance possible.  That's what the Bears did to the Cardinals in 2006, and the outcome of that game was logical, too.