Friday, February 5, 2010

benefit tournaments Saturday day and Saturday night!

During the day Saturday, February 6, 2010, the Illinois Chess Association is holding benefit tournaments (open and scholastic) to benefit the Chicago Blaze and the ICA Warren Junior Program.

Fundraiser details here! Registration ends at 9 a.m.: please arrive a half-hour early!

Saturday night, it's the 2010 Illinois Blitz Championship!! Registration ends at 6 p.m.: please arrive a half-hour early! Both events are at the Student Union of Northeastern Illinois University, close to both the Edens and the Kennedy. You'll find detailed directions here.

View Larger Map
And here's a campus map.

Parking is free if you park on the 3rd or 4th floor of the campus parking garage only. If you can't make it on Saturday (as I write, that's tomorrow!) please consider making donations to both these worthy causes. You can donate to the Chicago Blaze on their homepage. Glenn Panner tells you why you should.

To donate to the Warren Junior Program, make checks payable to: Illinois Chess Association, Inc. and mail them to:

ICA Warren Junior Program 
Carl Dolson, ICA Treasurer 
6021 N Wickwood Rd 
Peoria, IL 61614

Do you prefer credit cards?  I'll put up a link to the ICA's PayPal address shortly.

Donations to the Warren Junior Program may be tax-deductible; donations to the Chicago Blaze won't be deductible in the general case.  As always, ask your tax advisor.

This tax advisor will make a donation in lieu of attending the daytime fundraiser.  But you'll see me there tomorrow night, pushing pawns at the blitz!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Karsten Müller annotates Shirov-Kramnik

Shirov-Kramnik, Corus 2010
White to play
You can read and play through GM Müller's explanations at ChessBase.  Shirov may only have taken second place, but he played the most spectacular chess at Wijk aan Zee.  Don't try to understand all the moves: just enjoy the fireworks!

Oh yes, this is supposedly a Chicago chess blog....

What Your Body's Thinking About

 From ChessVibes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cool podcast - St. Louis Chess Club

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis recently started regular iTunes podcasts, available here. The January 26th podcast is an interview with IM John Donaldson, captain of the silver medalist US team at the World Team Championships.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Spassky at Gibraltar

This video is a whopping five hours long! To go directly to the spot where former World Champion Boris Spassky begins analyzing with GM Stuart Conquest, skip directly to 3:35 (that's 3 hours and 35 minutes remaining). Hat tip to ChessBase.
Watch live streaming video from gibraltarchess at

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fire on Board

If you're rated at least 1600 and haven't already read Fire On Board: Shirov's Best Games, please do yourself a favor and buy a copy. Even though Shirov has reached the ripe old age of 37, he hasn't lost his touch. His last round game against Dominguez (agreed drawn in a crazy time scramble) was pure genius.

Shirov-Dominguez, Corus 2010
After 21...h6; White to move

Black has the two bishops, the small pawn center (e6 and d6) that Sicilian players love, and a natural plan of attacking White's king.  White has a monster pawn on g6 and the semi-open h-file, and it's his move: every move is vital in these opposite-side castling positions.

White's problem is that a direct sacrifice like 22.Rxh6?! gxh6 23.Qxh6 (threatening mate on h7) fails to 23...Bc8).  

White can simply grab the d-pawn, but Rybka tells me that Black gets good activity for the pawn after 22.Qxd6 Qxd6 23.Rxd6 b4.  It's possible that this is objectively the best line:--as of today, who knows?

So what move did Shirov find?
And if you can't stand the suspense, the full game is here.

tactics from Corus: So-Giri

15-year-old Anish Giri's mother is Russian, his father is from Nepal, so naturally he plays for the Dutch federation.  He'll be playing in the A section of Corus next year!

Anish Giri: winner of the Corus B section

Here's the crucial position from Giri's game against another prodigy, Wesley So of the Phillipines:

So-Giri, Corus 2010
White to play: what's the best move?
A) 36.Ne2  B) 36.Qxd1 C.) 36.Qxd4 D) 36.Ra2

White is up two bishops (!) for a bunch of pawns.  But getting mated would be bad.  

Hint: one move probably wins, one move probably draws, one move definitely draws, and one move definitely loses.

Carlsen wins Corus

Carlsen takes a stroll

Here's the report from the organizers' fabulous website.  And US Chess Online has a nice report up, too.

Carlsen overextended against fellow teenager Fabiano Caruana (who plays for Italy, but is also a US citizen).  He bailed out and drew a very ugly knight ending with accurate defense.  Caruana's -2 is an excellent début in a tournament of this caliber.  We now expect Magnus to win every event.

Alexei Shirov played another amazing attacking game against Lenier Dominguez of Cuba.  With two seconds left for each player, Dominguez offered a draw in a position where he was a piece up, yet losing by force by a combination neither player had time to see.  So with another minute on the clock, Shirov would have been the co-winner.  Great tournament for Shirov!

Vladimir Kramnik got nowhere against Karjakin: he too had a great event.

Vishy Anand (who seemed to be playing in Petrosianesque safety-first mode for much of the event) has to be somewhat disappointed with his undefeated +2 score.  But if you're Veselin Topalov looking for a weakness in Anand's game, you've got to be worried about facing Anand in match play.

Hikaru Nakamura beat Sergey Tiviakov demonstrated the power of the two bishops in a beautiful textbook ending (two bishops vs. bishop and knight): his +2 shows he has the potential to crack the top ten very soon.  (Once today's games are rated, Nakamura should move to #18 on the live rating list.)