Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Another silly Internet game

The loser is the hapless but long-lived N.N., who has lost 99.9% of his games over the last 500+ years.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A simple little ending

White to play
Zhu Chen-Zhao Xue, Ulanbaatar 2010

There are only four pieces on the board, but the "simple" position is still complicated enough for former Women's World Champion Zhu Chen to make a fatal blunder.  Notes based on Dejan Bojkov's comments in New in Chess 2010.7

How many of us would have made the same blunder as Zhu Chen?

Last-minute chess present

Free plug: I can't think of a nicer gift than New in Chess magazine.  If you follow the link, you can buy a one-year subscription (8 issues) for only $59.  (List price, which I just paid for my renewal, is $96.)  Offer is good only for folks who haven't subscribed in the past 18 months.

Eric Schiller update

Our friend in the Bay Area recently lost a leg to complicatons from diabetes.  Now he's lost an arm as well, and looking at an arduous recovery.

Please send Eric your best wishes!  You can friend him on Facebook here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Benesa visitation

ICA President Tom Sprandel writes:

NM Arnulfo Benesa, 2000 US Senior Champion, is gone. He had suffered from strokes for the past two years, but had continued to play chess until the last several months. The chess players of Illinois will miss him. Visitation will be this Saturday afternoon.

Drake & Sons Funeral Home
5303 N Western Ave
Chicago, Il 60625
Dec. 11, 2010
3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
With sadness,
Tom Sprandel

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sad news

Benesa poses with his portrait of Tigran Petrosian

Former Illinois state champion and US Senior Open champion NM Arnulfo Benesa has passed away.  I'll miss my Edgewater neighbor!  Please send games, photos, and memories for publication on the ICA website.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A trap in the King's Indian

In the King's Indian Defense, after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2, usual is 6...e5 7.0-0, and now Black's most popular moves are 7...Nc6, 7...Nbd7, and even 7...Na6. Sometimes Black futzes around and first plays 6...Nbd7 7.0-0, and now a waiting move like 7...Re8?! or 7...c6?!, thinking that Black need not rush to play ...e5. This is a bad idea, since 8.e5! followed by the pawn sacrifice e6! wrecks Black's pawn structure. In the game below, Black made things worse (as he/she usually does) with 8...dex5 9.dxe5 Ng4 (better is 9...Ne8!, allowing the pawn sac 10.e6! fxe6 11.Ng5) 10.e6! fxe6? (10...Nde5! is better) 11.Ng5! (diagram). I have reached this (or a similar position with Black's pawn back on c6 and ...Re8 having been played) dozens of times in Internet games. Black is already lost in light of White's threats of 12.Bxg4 (winning a piece) and 12.Nxe6 (winning the exchange). Like most of my opponents, Black responded with the "traditional" 11...Nde5?, losing a piece, and lost quickly.

Reminder: Illinois Class Championship in Skokie this Saturday!

Details here!

Greater Chicago Scholastic Championships, Feb. 5-6, 2011

,Sponsored by the Kasparov Chess Foundation and Renaissance Knights.  Details on the ICA Tournament Calendar!

Peter Svidler interview

From Crestbook, via Chess in Translation.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to beat Nigel Short in a simultaneous

Tim Nesham explains.

(In his excitement, Tim gets the date wrong: the game was played two days ago, on November 29, 2010.)

"Erik and Andrew Karklins: 143 years of chess, and counting...."

 Photo: Betsy Dynako

Ken Marshall's wonderful article is in this month's Chess Life!

This article is currently available to USCF members only: it will be available on the ICA website next month.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's not *billed* as a Hannukah tournament...

On Sunday, December 5th, Chess Scholars is holding a K-8 tournament at the Solomon Schechter Day School in Skokie. 

Details on the JUF website!

"A big feast of chess over Turkey Day weekend"

 A report on the amateur closed round robins at the North Shore Chess Center from

a cool and free iPhone app

Any chess player (absolute beginner to master) with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch should enjoy Chess Problems, a free application by PsyGames.

The interface is simple and intuitive.  One can choose from directmates (e.g., "mate in two moves"),  helpmates, and selfmates, sorted by level of difficulty (pawn to queen)

I knew the answer to the following one right away because my grandmother owned a mid-nineteenth century edition of Hoyle.  The chess section gave this problem (or one like it!), accompanied by a version of the legend of Princess Dilaram.

Bonus Socius manuscript, circa 1266 (!)
White to play and mate in two moves

Helpmates are fun!  In a helpmate in two moves, Black moves first, and the two sides work together to allow White to checkmate Black on White's second move.

Lind 1941
Helpmate in two moves
(remember that Black moves first in a helpmate!)

Selfmates are fun, too!

 Widlet, 1982
Selfmate in two moves
(White to play and force Black to checkmate White on Black's second move: unlike the helpmate, the two sides are not cooperating)

Some of the positions are easy enough for absolute beginners to solve.  But the simple king and queen vs. king position below took me 1:18 to solve.  I guarantee that anyone who knows the rules of chess and has a little patience should be able to solve it.  Some of you will see the solution at sight, others might need five minute to explore all the possibilities.

Courtenay, 1868
White to play and mate in two moves

And I sat staring for almost 17  minutes at this famous Mansfield two-mover even though I knew I'd seen it before.  As soon as one sees the key move, one slaps one's head and says, "Of course!"  But the trick is to find the key move...

I think that chess problems are of more than marginal benefit to practical players: they force us to understand the powers of the pieces, they push us to think outside the box, and they train us in brute-force calculation in bizarre positions.

Mansfield 1933
White to play and mate in two moves

I have one trivial complaint about this app.  When you find the key move, only one defense is offered, no matter how many times you play through the solution.  (Part of the beauty of these problems is that various defenses to the key move lead to various mates.)  But that's a quibble.

Strongly recommended!

North Shore Chess Center - Amateur Closed events

Jon Burgess reports on the ICA website!

Congratulations to Matt Pullin (the runaway winner of Group A), and to Aakaash Meduri, Sam Schmakel, and James Wei, the joint winners of Group B.

Final results from St. Louis

Chicagoans Dmitry Gurevich and Yury Shulman tied for first with fellow American grandmasters Alexander Onischuk and Gregory Kaidanov.  Young John Veech of Wisconsin tied with GMs Nigel Short and Ray Robson for fifth place.

Crosstable here!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"IESA Launching Major Middle School Chess Event in February"

Jerry Neugarten reports on the ICA web site.  The inaugural IESA Championship will be in Bloomington on February 18-19, 2011.  It's a two-day event for 5th through 8th graders.

The registration deadline is January 12, 2011.  Registration must be made through the school, and the school must be an IESA member.  Find out more here (pdf document).

Kasparov & Short in St. Louis this coming Monday

Another cut-and-paste from my email.  One correction to my earlier post: the under-$100 entry fee for this weekend's tournament is only available to club members: it's $20 more for non-members.  In the weekend tournament, GMs Gurevich, Shulman, and Amanov, and IM Young will be among those representing Chicagoland.

Kasparov and Short in St. Lou after Thanksgiving Tourney

SAINT LOUIS, November 23, 2010 – Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, widely recognized as the world’s greatest chess player, has announced he will be making an appearance at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis on Monday, November 29, just one day after the conclusion of the Thanksgiving Open tourney featuring renowned GM Nigel Short and an $11,000 prize fund.

Kasparov, who is coming to Saint Louis to deliver a political lecture, will make an appearance at the CCSCSL from 4-5 p.m. The club has arranged a special setting in which club members and the general public can meet and greet the living legend.

Short, who was already scheduled to conduct a special lecture and simul beginning at 6 p.m., will also be in attendance. His lecture is free for club members but will cost the general public $10. The simul, scheduled to follow the lecture at 7:30 p.m., has been capped at 30 participants, but those interested can still submit their name for the wait list.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet two of the best players in the world, who once battled one another for the World Chess Championship title in 1993.

The festivities follow the largest prize fund tournament ever offered by the CCSCSL excluding a U.S. Championship event. The Thanksgiving Open, which takes place November 26-29, features an $11,000 prize fund, and two-day and three-day options are available to make the tournament easily accessible for all.

In addition to Short, a host of other titled players have committed including:

    * Resident GM Ben Finegold
    * GM Yury Shulman
    * GM Alex Onischuk
    * GM Ray Robson
    * GM Gregory Kaidanov
    * GM Dmitry Gurevich
    * GM Timur Gareev
    * GM Mesgen Amanov
    * IM Michael Brooks
    * IM Istvan Sipos
    * IM Angelo Young
    * IM Raja Panjwani
    * WGM Sabina Foisor
    * WIM Alisa Melekhina

Registration costs $119 for the three-day option and $118 for the two-day option. There will be a re-entry option available for $60.

This event will be a FIDE-rated, six-round, G/120 event in three sections: Open, U1800 and U1400. The prize breakdown is as follows:

    * Overall: $1,600-$1,000-$600-$400
    * U2400: $550-$450
    * U2200: $500-$300
    * U2000: $450-$250

    * Overall: $1,000-$500-$300
    * U1600: $450-$250

    * Overall: $1,000-$500-$300
    * U1200: $250-$150
    * U1000: $225-$125

Don’t miss your opportunity to meet two living legends and play in a fantastic tournament in Saint Louis. For more information, please call 314.361.CHESS (2437) or visit

Monday, November 22, 2010

Judit Polgar beats Topalov & Ivanchuk to win in Mexico City

Story at ChessVibes.

Cool Thanksgiving tournament in St. Louis

Join legendary GM Nigel Short along with GM Yury Shulman, GM Ben Finegold, GM Dmitry Gurevich, GM Gregory Kaidanov and others in helping us start a NEW tradition, November 26-28. The CCSCSL presents the 2010 Thanksgiving Open featuring an $11,000 prize fund!
Info here!  The entry fee is under $100 under $120, and the hotel rates are reasonable enough for an impromptu family vacation.  If you're looking for a ride, I might be able to play matchmaker (no warranties, express or implied).

I won't be able to play because of family commitments, but I've extracted an oral commitment (my hopeful interpretation of "maybe") from Claire for 2011.

2010 Illinois Class Championships

Snipped and pasted from my email:
2010 Illinois Class Championship
Saturday December 4, 2010
Holiday Inn Chicago North Shore --- 5300 West Touhy Ave --- Skokie, IL 60077
847-679-8900 --- Google Map
ICA will pay the entry fee for FIDE titled players (FM IM GM WFM WIM WGM) who list Illinois as their residence on their USCF registration.
Free 90 days added to all players' ICA memberships. All they need to do is send their name, section, USCF number and contact details to by Feb 28, 2011.
$2,000 Prize Fund Details at:
Time control will be Game-60 with a 5-sec delay. All equipment provided. All you have to do is show up, register (or pre-register), and play! --- Register On-line
Round Times: 10:00am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm, 6:00pm (extra 30 minutes provided between Round 2 and 3 for lunch)

Dr. Nunn's guide for the perplexed

From chapter 8 of Nunn's Chess Endings, Volume 2 (I haven't gotten around to buying Volume 1):

8.2 Rook vs Pawns

There are a surprising number of subtleties in endings in which a lone rook faces enemy pawns, and here we shall focus on those which are of greatest importance in over-the-board play.

8.2.1 Hesitation checks

By hesitation check I mean that a piece traveling from square A to square B gives an intermediary check on square C before moving to B.  The point is that if the enemy king is already on its best square, the hesitation check forces the king to an inferior square.  It might seem unnecessary to give a special name to such an elementary concept, but it often helps to have a label to refer to a particular theme.  Hesitation checks play an important role in rook endings and are often overlooked in practice.
 Have another go at it!

Rook endings (or, the love that dare not speak its name)

If you enjoy rook endings as much as I do, you'll love Nunn's Chess Endings, Volume 2.  John Nunn's books are always full of top-rate material, but unfortunately, much of it has often whizzed over my head.  (For example: Secrets of Rook Endings.)  But Nunn has put a lot of work into organizing his mind-bending examples thematically and giving the reader guidance.  The examples are still difficult, but Nunn has never been this reader-friendly before!

For example, here are the first three diagrams in Nunn's book:

Fries Nielsen-Plachetka, Rimavska Sobota 1991
White to play and win
Usually when I get such a position, I have three minutes left on the clock and am reduced to counting on my fingers: "I go here, he goes there, I go here..."

Analysis diagram
White to play and draw

Hey! Didn't I learn in one of my beginners' books that two pawns on the sixth rank always win against an unassisted rook?  And indeed, 1.Rxh3? does lose.  Why?  And where's the darn draw?

Penrose-Perkins, British Championship, 1972
White to play and draw
I found the first position hard and the third position mind-numbingly difficult.  Back with Nunn's guidance in a little bit.

GreenCastleBlock on rook endings

I always learn a lot from Matt Pullin's videos on endgames. He relies on his brain, not a computer engine or database, and he's a very good explainer.

But it just so happens that James Fagan and I had this very ending in 1997. I think Matt misses a win for Black at one moment in his video.

You really should be subscribing to Matt's YouTube channel, GreenCastleBlock!

Kavalek remembers Evans

Mark Taimanov-Larry Evans
USSR-USA match, New York 1955
Black to play

Taimanov has just sacrificed material with 19.Rxc7.  If Black plays the natural 19...Qxc7, White plays the powerful 20.d6.  What to do?

Kavalek annotates this beautiful win by Evans.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Even my good games are bad...."

Matthias Pfau and I played an interesting opening variation in our Chicago Industrial Chess League game last night.

Interested in submitting games to the ICA's chess blog?  Contact Maret Thorpe to find out how!  (The current publishing process is a little tricky, so if you want to send PGN to me, I can help you publish until we get the process smoothed out.)

Levon Aronian wins 2010 World Blitz Championship

Crosstable here!

In the field of eighteen, Aronian, Radjabov, Carlsen, Gelfand, and Nakamura were the top finishers.

The field was amazingly strong: Fabiano Caruana (top player in the world age 18 and under) and Ruslan Ponomariov (former FIDE World Champion) finished at the bottom of the crosstable.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Three tournaments to choose from on Saturday 11/20!

For scholastic players, there's the 37th Kumbaya event in Skokie.

The McHenry Chess Club will be running quads at the Elgin Holiday Inn open to all.

And there will be a swiss system and pizza (but no Swiss cheese?) in Orland Park.

We report; you decide.

K-8 event (three sections) at Whitney Young this Sunday 11/21

Three sections: K-2, K-5, and K-8.  Details on the ICA Calendar!

And welcome to Dynamic Chess, Inc.!

Kings & Queens CC Event on Sunday, 11/21

Cut & pasted from the Internets: please note that this event is NOT USCF-rated! [nor are the rules of the uscf followed -mp]

Academy of Intellectual Games

Kings & Queens Chess       

 Chess Tournament

OPEN to ALL players – Novices to Masters – are welcome!

                            (USCF membership not required)

SUNDAY, November 21, 2010.  1st round will start at 10:00 a.m.

At Temple Judea Mizpah:  8610 Niles Center Road, Skokie, IL 60077         
Doors will open at 9:00 a.m.
     5 rounds Swiss - time control G/25 (or G/22 +3 sec)
             Please bring your own chess clocks, if you have them !!!
                   There are 3 separate sessions – ALL PLAY 5 Rounds SWISS:
        OPEN and 2 Scholastic: Advanced and Beginners

$300 in Prizes is guaranteed to the first 5 places in OPEN session: 
1st - $120; 2nd - $80; 3rd – 50; 4-$30; 5- $20.
Top three in each advanced and beginner sessions will receive trophies.
 Family team prizes will be distributed as well across all 3 sessions.
Any number of players from the same family may enter -- the top two individual results will be counted.
The entry fee:
$35 per player at the door
Register in advance by Internet or phone and save money:
The field is limited to 200 players. FREE Parking.  Food will be available for purchase 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. [...]
You may obtain further information by calling these numbers:
(847) 657-9686, (847) 207-2819, 847-778-5259 or (847)-414-3730

Evans-Opsahl, Dubrovnik 1952

I'd guess that this is probably Evans's best-known game.  Nothing flashy here, but I don't know of a better introduction to the minority attack in the Queen's Gambit Declined.  You'll find beginner-friendly annotations of this game by Evans himself in Chess Catechism and by Irving Chernev in The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played.

GM Larry Evans, 1932-2010

Larry Parr pays tribute at Chess Life Online.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I, Robot

Hat tip to Daniel Parmet, who found this on Natalia Pogonina's blogNat:

Magnus Carlsen is one of the spectators.

Twitter posts....

Hikaru Nakamura
Sometimes it is much more enjoyable to read Stieg Larsson and drink green tea than playing stress filled chess which destroys your nerves!

Hikaru Nakamura
One of the single most disappointing oversights in my whole career. However, I am going to destroy Grischuk like a baby in the blitz.
14 Nov

For the context, see Chess can be a cruel game or, even better, the wrap-up report at Chess Life Online.

Is this calcuation or pattern recognition?

This one is for Maret Thorpe, who thinks I've gone off my rocker!

Felix Zemdegs set a Rubik's Cube solving record in Melbourne this weekend. Trust me, you have time to watch.  (If you give one to me, I should be able to solve it in five minutes or so: there was a time when I was much faster....)

The more interesting question: how does Felix (who is the best of many lightning-fast expert solvers) do what he does?  I'd suggest that the answer might be of interest to chess players, and others.....

Jason Rihel has a wonderful first-person account at the Boylston Chess Club blog.

I'll post the high school results later....

...but in the meantime, you might enjoy this link to event photographer Betsy Dynako's website

November Chicago Industrial Chess League bulletin

Read it while it's fresh!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

All Grade results (6th, 7th, and 8th grades)

There was a three-way tie for first in the 42-player 6th-grade section: Alec Feygin, Akash Mattu, and Colton Longstreth, all with 4-0 scores.  Steven Do, Brayden Estes, Riley Brands, Nate Tracy-Amoroso, Matt Szarkowicz, Abraham Cornejo, Barry Brookins, and Harrison Burns tied for fourth with 3-1.

Joey Bikus and Allen Guo tied for first in the 47-player 7th-grade section.  Phillip Parker-Turner, Jason Kitson, Samuel Heil, Ryan Toepfer, Justin Wang, Jonathan Hrach, Niresh Kuganeswaran, Narayan Karthik Karra, Elliana Faletsky, Alexander Pilia, Mark Jungo, and Michael May all scored 3-1 to tie for third.

Maximilian Zinski and Chase Walbert went 4-0 to tie for first in the 8th-grade section, which drew 48 players.  Nathaniel Kranjc and David Dlott drew each other in the final round to finish with an undefeated 3½-½.

More photos:

Chess can be a cruel game

You can play like a genius for 84 moves, and throw it all away in time pressure:

Grischuk-Nakamura, Tal Memorial 2010
(finished just a few minutes ago)
Black to play and win

There are two reasonable ways to threaten mate on g3: 84....Qe1 and 84...Qf3.  Both moves have problems: after 84...Qe1, White can try to set up a stalemate defense by allowing ...Qxg3 and running the king to h1.  After 84...Qf3, 85.Nxe5+ seems to force a draw: or does it?

Which move would you choose?

Grischuk-Nakamura continues

Both players are close to playing on the 30-second increment alone.  Nakamura is probably winning, but Grischuk has serious drawing chances.

Jonathan Speelman is commenting live on ICC.

All Grade results (4th & 5th grades)

First, a few more pictures:

Miranda Liu won the 67-player 4th-grade section with a perfect 5-0.  Chetan Reddy and Jonathan Tan drew with each other and won the rest of their games to take equal second with 4½.  Matthew Stevens, Jack Xiao, Nikhil Kalghatgi, Cassie Parent, Adarsh Mattu, Ricky Roman, Brian Chung, and Andrew Lim tied for fourth with 4-1 scores.

Anshul Adve and Jack Curcio tied for first in the 58-player 5th-grade section with a draw against each other and wins in their other four games.  James Wei, Abe Sun, Haoyang Yu, Shayna Provine, Lorenzo Barbin, Andrew Fei, Daniel Bronfein, and Mihir Bafna tied for third with 4-1 scores.


Nakamura (playing right now!) is on the cusp of tying for first in the Tal Memorial.  (Mamedyarov lost to Gelfand...)

Great live video stream here.

All Grade results (Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, & 3rd)

Unofficial nose count was 505 players!

Kindergarten: Nikolai Rhodes scored a perfect 5-0; Huaye Jeffrey Lin took second with 4-1.

1st Grade: William Zhu swept the field 5-0; Ivan Mitkov, Aydin Turgut, and Noah Greenberg tied for second, again with 4-1.

In the 50-player 2nd Grade section, Jason Daniels and David Wallach tied for first with 5-0; Ricky Wang, Vishal Chandrasekar, Shreya Mangalam, Owen Power, Christopher Gora, and Stevan Kamatovic tied for third with 4-1.

Vincent Do (USCF rating of 1643!) won the 69-player 3rd Grade section with a perfect 5-0.  Nathaniel Sobery took clear second with an undefeated 4½-½.  Harrison He, Ranadheer Tripuranaeni, Eric Gan, Henry Curcio, Ishaar Ganesan, Allan Lopez, Ezra Boldizsar, Christopher Yang, and Brian Suganraj tied for third with 4-1

Tamara Golovey knows a little bit about teaching chess:
she was the first teacher of Boris Gelfand, who just led Israel to a 2010 Olympiad bronze

The younger players played in the school library

Deep study of the initial position pays dividends

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Let's be less obscure....

Chess is certainly not a substitute for a liberal education (see the sad example of Bobby Fischer), just as, contra Wagner, a healthy culture requires a lot more than opera.  But chess, like music, adds immensely to a liberal education.  

One small example: in this information age, chess gives us insights into both the tremendous value and the sharp limits of computing operations.  My friends and I can't hope to compete with Rybka, but there's lot of chess understanding that we have--that YOU have, gentle reader--that hasn't be programmed into Rybka. and won't be, for years to come.  The human brain is uncannily good at "instinctive" knowledge: recognition of "fuzzy" patterns that computers can't interpret.  A simple example: CAPTCHA.  Experts often find it difficult to articulate the nature of their expert knowledge: see Jonah Lehrer's How We Decide for a wonderful introduction to this topic.

So what was the link to protein folding in the previous post all about?  Molecular biology is an information science, one in which computers are essential to research.  But humans can sometimes outperform computers in protein folding!  Keep in mind that the computers, as in chess, can calculate millions of more "variations" per second.  

And now I must do my football picks for the office pool....I picked New England, Detroit, and Buffalo last week, and finished dead last in a field of nineteen.

"Top Titled Players Endorse ICA's Program for Chicago Public Schools"

Jerry Neugarten reports on his group's proposal to bring free chess instruction to all of Chicago's Title I public schools.  

Bringing the joy of creative thinking to disadvantaged children is one of the greatest things we can do as a community!  Chess education will never be as popular as music education, another medium for prodigies.  And if you'll permit me a bit of heresy, chess education shouldn't be as important as music education.  (I rest my case.)  But I know from personal experience that chess introduced me to certain new ways of thinking that are particularly important in an information economy.

Of course, Chicago will soon have a new mayor, and Chicago Public Schools will soon have a new CEO, so it's hard to say how this proposal will play out.   (Did you know that the outgoing Ron Huberman is only 38 years old?  He probably knows something about developing prodigies....)

Check out the endorsement letter itself: cool signatures!

Original blog entry edited to correct hyperlink errors....any remaining weird hyperlinks are deliberately obscure. :-)

Oh, let's go ahead and embarrass Trevor

Follow the link for the charming explanation....Mom looks great then and now.  

Your present blogger, on the other hand, needs to lose weight AND grow hair.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Blaze Game of the (final) week"

NM Jeremy Kane annotates a creative struggle between Grandmasters Gurevich and Becerra.

Calling all computer gurus

If one were looking for a meat-and-potatoes laptop mainly for chess (ChessBase / Rybka, etc.), is this Toshiba a reasonable choice?  There's already an AMD Toshiba in our family: price (about $450) and features (4 GB RAM) seem just fine .

But I was wondering if there was a better price/performance sweet spot.

Helen Warren honored at ICA banquet

From left: Les Bale, Tim Just, ICA president Tom Sprandel, Vince Hart, honoree Helen Warren, Jerry Neugarten, Jim Warren, 40% of Jim Brotsos...
Photo Betsy Dynako

Banquet organizer Andi Rosen reports....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Chicago Poised to Shine at Illinois All Grade"

Mike Cardinale previews this Saturday's event on the ICA website.  Rumor has it that preregistrations are already over 450 players!

Register here!   No onsite entries!
This event is free for the first 300 K-8 children on the Illinois Free and and Reduced Lunch Program. Verification from participating schools is required.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nakamura may have missed a win against Kramnik today....

Hikaru Nakamura
Insane game against Kramnik today. Gotta love how we both didn't know what was going on and Rybka is like, "haha, you stupid idiots!"

Nakamura breaks into top ten on live ratings list

How about that!

We had fun yesterday!

Check out Betsy Dynako's photo gallery (you may need to enter your email first).

Our condolences to the Taylor family

To lose a loved one is always painful.  But to lose such a fine young man as Choice Taylor, who was a senior at Maine West....there are no words.

Story here.  Our condolences to the Taylor family and to his friends at Maine West.

"Florida Hurricane"

Tom Panelas wraps up the Blaze's playoff loss to Miami (so I don't have to...!)

Evanston Chess Club Tri-Level

Thirty players turned out for Saturday's Tri-Level.  NM Ken Wallach, NM Jon Burgess, and Robby Hecht tied for first in the Gold Section with 3-1 scores.  Eduard Baev, Mark Spitzig, and Haoyang Yu tied for first in the Silver/Bronze section with 3½-½ scores.

Crosstable here!

North Shore Chess Center Game/45

Miomir Stevanovic won yesterday's four-player quad at the North Shore Chess Center. Crosstable here.

Best game prize: 1982 Midwest Masters

The Midwest Masters tournaments are one of Helen Warren's great legacies.  Here's Erik Karklins's amazing game that won the best game prize in the inaugural event.  Look for notes to this game (based on the gracious loser's annotations in the Illinois Chess Bulletin) in the December 2010 Chess Life!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

If you're not going to the banquet today....

G/45 + 10/sec increment tournament
We are holding a G/45 + 10/sec increment tournament today at the North Shore Chess Center. Based on numbers this can be a series of quads (3-rounds) or a regular swiss tournament (4 rounds). 
Entry fee is $20 for non-chess center members and $15 for chess center members. 
Registration starts at 12:30pm with Round 1 @ 1pm. All equipment is provided. 
  • 1st place - Free entry to the 2010 Illinois Class on 12/4/2010 and a 3-month extension to a 1 year chess center membership
  • 2nd place - 50% off entry fee to the 2010 Illinois Class on 12/4/2010 and a 3-month extension to a 1 year chess center membership
  • 3rd place - 3-month extension to a 1 year chess center membership
The North Shore Chess Center is located at 5500 West Touhy Ave Suite A, Skokie, IL 60077. You can visit our website at or our Facebook Page at for more details on memberships, events, etc. 

Quad tournament in Elgin November 20th

Details on the ICA website!

Leonid Bondar posts an even score at the World Senior

Chicagoland's Leonid Bondar scored 5½-5½ at the World Senior Championship in Arco, Italy.  The 11-round event just ended yesterday.  Crosstable here.

Larry Kaufman tied for first once again, placing fourth on tiebreaks.  He reports at Chess Life Online.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A cute trap... highlighted by Yasser Seirawan in his wonderful online commentary at the Internet Chess Club.

Tal Memorial, Round 1
White to play and win

Only one move wins: everything else appears to lose!

Tal Memorial round 2: Nakamura shares the lead

Today in the Tal Memorial, Hikaru Nakamura pulled off a cool combination:

Hikaru Nakamura - Pavel Eljanov
After 25...h6: White to play

The knight on g5 is under attack: where to put it?

26. Rxd5!


26...Rxd5 27. Ne4! 

White is temporarily down an entire rook, but Eljanov has no way to take advantage.

27...Qc4 28. Qxc4 Nxc4 29. Nxd5 Re8?! 

The engines suggest 29... Rd8 as a better defense, but 30. Ne7+ (and not 30.Nf4? Re8 embarrassing the knight on e4) 30... Kf8 31. Nf5 Rd5 32. g4 h5 33. h3 leaves White with a pleasant pawn-up ending.

30. Nef6+ gxf6 31. Nxf6+ Kf8 32. Nxe8 Kxe8 

Nakamura puts Eljanov away quickly:  crisp clean style reminiscent of Fischer. 

33. Rb1 Nd6 34. e4 b6 35. e5 Nb7 36. Rb4 Nc5 37. Rh4 Kf8 38.Rxh6 Kg7 39. Rc6 Nxa4 40. e6 1-0

The full game score is available at The Week in Chess and the official site.