Thursday, June 3, 2010

Another $5 Swiss at the Evanston Chess Club this Saturday!

Details here!

Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave., Evanston, IL 60202
Evanston Chess Presents:
Jun 12, 2010
Swiss Groups, 3SS G/70
Multiple Sections, USCF Regular Rated

ICA President Tom Sprandel and his wife Marie will be emulating Kerouac this summer (but Tom will still be running the ICA show via phone and the Intertubes).  If he's not too busy with last-minute packing, you may have a chance to wish Tom bon voyage!

Victor Mikhalevski quiz from the 2010 Chicago Open

The Israeli GM presents several of his positions from the Chicago Open and asks you to find the best move. 

Statistics utility for USCF members

Wayne Zimmerle wrote this nifty application to access your records in the U.S. Chess Federation's Member Services Area.

Works like a charm!

2010 Chess Camps: Chess Education Partners

The kids are getting out of school soon, and Chess Education Partners has wonderful camps taught by masters to keep their mischievous minds (ages 6 to 14) occupied:
  • June 14-18 - Hinsdale
  • June 21-25 - Latin School, Chicago
  • June 28-July 2 - Mount Prospect (with GM Nikola Mitkov!)
Follow this link for more information!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Noah's Ark on the Kingside?

In the previous post, I mentioned the silly trap 1.e4 c5 2.Bb5?! a6 3.Ba4?? b5 4.Bb3 c4 and Black wins a piece. As you can see from the game below, the mirror image of this on the kingside is also a trap - but for Black! Pushing all the pawns in front of your king is dangerous!

Noah's Ark Trap

If you play the Sicilian on the Internet, sooner or later you'll run into someone who plays 1.e4 c5 2.Bb5?! a6 3.Ba4?? against you, losing the bishop after 3...b5 4.Bb3 c4. The Noah's Ark Trap in the Ruy Lopez (supposedly called that because of its antiquity) is a slightly more sophisticated version of this. The game below shows Endre Steiner falling into it against Capablanca at Budapest 1929. White's 5.d4 is considered inferior to 5.0-0, 5.c3, and 5.Bxc6+ if White is playing for a win. After Capablanca's 6...Nxd4! 7.Nxd4 cxd4, it is a little awkward for White to regain his pawn, as Steiner discovered to his chagrin. He could have done so safely with 8.Bd5 Rb8 9.Qxd4, or played 8.c3, when after 8...dxc3 he could choose between gambitting a pawn with 9.Nxc3!? and forcing a draw with 9.Qd5 (threatening both the rook and Qxf7#) Be6 10.Qc6+ Bd7 11.Qd5 Be6 12.Qc6+. Instead, poor Steiner fell into the trap with 8.Qxd4??, allowing Capa to trap his bishop with 8...c5! 9.Qd5 Be6 10.Qc6+ Bd7 11.Qd5 c4!

Betsy Dynako covers the Chicago Open

Photos and story at Chess Life Online.

Tatev Abrahamyan earned an IM norm at the Chicago Open
Photo: Betsy Dynako for Chess Life Online

Chicago Open class sections - Illinois winners

Chess is not all about the Benjamins (there are much easier ways to make much more money), but when a class player wins a large prize, that usually means the player has made exceptional improvements in his or her game.  Here are some local players who did very well this weekend:

In the Under 1000 Section, Jim Nowak tied for third with a score of 5.5.  $366.67: nice!

In the Under 1300 Section, Evanston Township High School grad Ashok Raife won a cool $4,000 towards his college education with a very impressive 6.5.  Jack Mallers, Dimitar Stanatov, and Imtiaz Al Garcia scored 6 points and took home $1,500 apiece.  Kyle M. Frapolly and Santiago Mata scored 5.5, good for $533.34 to each.

In the Under 1500 section, Todd M. Scarlett and Christian Kavouras earned $2,500 apiece for their 6-1 score.  Adele Padgett (who tied for first in the Illinois Girls Invitational), Rob Eaman of CICL fame, and Alexander Bologna each won $650.

In the Under 1700 section, Eric Emer won $1,675 for his 6-1 score; Robby Hecht, Benjamin Hutter, and Jeremy Berman won $500 each, finishing tied at 5.5.

In the Under 1900 section, Gwayne Lambert won $3,333.34 (nice!) for his undefeated 6-1 score; Hazim Malkoc and Oleg Trivonov took home $640 for 5.5.

And in the Under 2100 section, Matthew Wilber, Andrew Hubbard, and Mark Robledo Jr. each took home $1,075 for their 5.5 score.  (I have to play Mark on Friday: hmm.)

Congratulations to our local prizewinners and to all who played well!

2010 Illinois Open State Championship, September 4-6 in Oak Brook

More info here!

The Illinois Chess Association will be offering conditions to Illinois GMs and IMs.

6th Annual Yury Shulman Chess Camps

The 2008 U.S. Champion and second-place finisher in the 2010 U.S. Championship is offering three separate day camps:
  • June 14-18, Barrington
  • July 12-16, Barrington
  • August 2-6, Palatine
You'll find a link to registration and contact info at this link.

Erik Karklins is my hero

The elder Mr. Karklins is 95 years old, and he scored 5-2 this weekend in the Under 2100 section, winning $150!  Erik closed out the event with three straight wins against players with ratings solidly above 1900.

I believe Erik Karklins will now become the top Illinois player over age 65--he's spotting the field thirty years!

Congratulations to Loek Van Wely!

The Dutch grandmaster recently wrote an article for New in Chess about his American travels: playing in US events was a good way to spend time with special Facebook friends, but not an especially good way for unlucky Loek to make money (I'm paraphrasing from memory).

This Memorial Day weekend, however, Van Wely won six games and drew three: 7.5 points was good for 10,000 and clear first in the Chicago Open!

The event was strong enough to attract attention in Armenia.  (Translation here.)

My general impression: aside from tournament visitor Yury Shulman (who's been doing his part lately), we in Chicago need to up our level of play to compete with the rest of the world.  GM Mesgen Amanov was the top local finisher with 6 points out of 9.

Among local juniors in the Open Section, Adarsh Jayakumar drew GMs Ehlvest and Lein, and could have drawn GM Finegold (coulda woulda shoulda), NM Eric Rosen dropped IM Daniel Fernandez.  Tommy Ulrich had an even score after five rounds and gained a ton of rating points.

I scored 2 points out of 7 and appear to have gained a few points!

More results from the other sections as soon as I recover from my "chess hangover."  Full results here!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Classic Michael Adams

It's interesting that a top GM is willing to use the Four Knights to avoid the Berlin Defense, and interesting that 4...Bd6!? has become a perfectly respectable line in the Four Knights.

Enjoy Adams's Capablanca-like technique!

Caïssa giveth and Caïssa taketh away.... a fancy way of saying that chess luck tends to even out.  Dana Mackenzie demonstrates the wins he missed against Gavin McClanahan and me.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Real-life tactics (or, when good combinations go wrong)

I have yet to beat Andrew Karklins.  On Saturday, I botched my best opportunity to date:

A. Karklins - Brock, 2010 Chicago Open
White to play
Although I was feeling optimistic here, I'm struggling for equality if Karklins shuts down my bishop with the natural 24.c5.  Instead, he erred with another natural looking move, 24.Re3?

I found the first move of the (probably winning) combination but went wrong in the complications (there are several cute points, one of which Karklins used to turn a probable loss into a well-deserved win).

See if you can do better than me!  Use your brain, not the computer!