Saturday, July 24, 2010

The one that got away (umpteenth edition)

Brock-Vibbert, Oak Brook 2010
White to play

If only I could play chess, I would be a strong chess player.

Attackers are reminded to bring all their pieces to the party!

letter from Kayseri

Sevan Muradian is an arbiter for the 2010 World School Individual Championships in Kayseri, Turkey.  He sent his impressions to Chessdom.

Edit: check out the cool venue!

Has anyone here used sports arenas for events with (say) 300 participants?  I'm thinking these might paradoxically be easier to get than hotels....  More pix at ChessBase.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Another From's Gambit trap

Here's another From's Gambit miniature. I first saw this game many years ago in Irving Chernev's classic 1000 Best Short Games of Chess. I actually managed to win the same game, move for move, in an offhand game in 1974 or so. Note that after 3...Bxd6, Black threatens immediate mate with 4...Qh4+ 5.g3 Qxg3+! 6.hxg3 Bxg3#. White's 4.Nf3! is the only good response. After 4...g5!? (the more solid 4...Nf6!? is another line), White's only decent responses are 5.g3 g4 6.Nh4 and 5.d4 g4 6.Ne5! (6.Ng5?! is interesting but unsound). As Bier demonstrates, 5.e4? is a lemon, losing material (or White's king) by force.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not all Bads are Equal

At, Dan Heisman has a terrific article with the above title. He makes the profound point that inexperienced players often lose games because they have learned a lot of chess principles, but not their relative importance. He observes that, "Lower rated players have little trouble valuing most material issues, but many are absolutely clueless when assessing issues that are generally not quantified." For example, after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7!? (the Fried Liver Attack) Kxf7 7.Qf3+, the only move is 7...Ke6! with an unclear position that has been debated for centuries. Instead, most inexperienced players will retreat with 7...Ke8?, leaving them down material with a lost game, explaining that "I didn't want to expose my king." True, exposing one's king is bad, but being up a piece (as Black is after 7...Ke6!) is good, while being down material for nothing (after 7...Ke8?) is terrible. Another example he points out is that low-rated players will sometimes avoid exchanging pieces when they are ahead, yet will blithely trade off into dead-lost endings when they are behind. It's a very worthwhile article for anyone who is a low-rated player or teaches low-rated players.

From Denmark with Love

The From Gambit (1.f4 e5!?) is named for Martin Janus Severin From (1828-95) of Denmark, one of its early advocates. I have played it many times with great success, mostly in blitz games but also in my shortest-ever tournament win (1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.h3?? Bg3# Napetschnig (1722)-Rhine, Gompers Park Fall Championship 1977). It often leads to sparkling play, as in this brilliancy, won by the great Carl Schlechter. Schlechter drew a match for the world championship against Lasker in 1910, and edited what David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld call "the eighth, last, and best edition of Bilguer's Handbuch (1912-16), a classic of more than 1,000 large pages." Tragically, he died of pneumonia and starvation at the end of World War I.

More fun with smothered mates

A smothered mate is a lot of fun, as long as you're not the hapless player who falls into it! In the game below, White was a strong player who won the Danish Championship the following year, and was awarded the IM title four years after that.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Magnificent Trap in the Trompowsky

The Anglo-Swiss GM Joe Gallagher pulled off the elegant trap given below against the Trompowsky Attack (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5). All of White's moves are very plausible. Best may have been the retrograde 5.Bc1!?, arguing that the queen doesn't really do much on b6, and intending to drive back Black's knight with f3 and e4. White played 7.Bxb8 because he was worried about 7.cxd4 Nc6 8.Nf3 Nb4. After 7...dxc3!, 8.Be5?? seemed to hold everything, but Gallagher's glorious 8...Rxa2!! annihilated White. On 9.Rxa2, 9...c2! would threaten both 10...cxb1(Q)# and 10...c1(Q)#. says that the game ended after 8...Rxa2!!, but Gallagher says that White unsportingly played on, even though it is difficult to hold his losses to "only" a rook and knight. This game is reminiscent of the famous Schlechter-Perlis game, except that in that game Black avoided the worst with 8...Nxc6!, leaving him just a pawn down.

Addition to the blogroll

Check out interesting perspective from the parent of a local player.

Erik Karklins is my hero (continued)

For those of you new to the blog, please note that the player of the white pieces is 95 years old!

Betsy Dynako covers the Chicago Class

Timur Aliyev upset Dmitry Gurevich in the final round
(photo Betsy Dynako)
At Chess Life Online.

E. Karklins - Pullin

The null move I had to use created some major issues for ChessFlash. Basically, there was no 43rd White move but I wanted to enter in two options for White's 43rd move. If anyone knows a better way to do this please edit the post and delete this comment. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A cheap but effective trap

The trap below was played in Keres-Arlamowski, 1950 and also, as I recall, in a game between Alekhine and four(!) amateurs. There are 12 games with the trap in ChessBase's Big database. In two of them, White missed the mate in one! Back in my 1.e4-playing days, I routinely played 5.Qe2!? in blitz games. More often than not, my opponent fell into the trap! The correct response is 5...Ndf6!

Yang-Rosen, round 9, U.S. Junior Invitational

Eric Rosen had a USCF performance rating above 2450 (and a FIDE performance rating above 2400): one local master told me this weekend that in his opinion, Eric has distinguished himself from the other top juniors in Illinois. (OK, other top juniors: time to rise to the challenge!) 

The quality of Eric's play was as impressive as his results. For example, this final round game reminded me of Rosen-Robson in the first round: both players played interesting, aggressive chess, both players played well enough to win, and a draw was a fair sporting result.

Like Rosen-Robson, the game was important to the tournament standings. Had Yang managed to win this last-round game, he would have tied for first with Robson, Sam Shankland, and Parker Zhao. 

Mount Prospect kids' event

From the Daily Herald:
Chess challenge
Calling all youthful chess players! The Mount Prospect Public Library hosts its Open Chess Tournament for players going into kindergarten through eighth grade. Trophies will be awarded to winners in two divisions: kindergarten to third grade and fourth grade through eighth grade. Ilya Korzhenevich, a 1993 Russian junior chess championship prize winner and candidate for U.S Chess Master, will serve as the tournament director. Participants must be familiar with the rules of the game. The library provides lunch.
Info: 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, July 24, at the Mount Prospect Public Library, 10 S. Emerson St., Mount Prospect. Free admission. Advance registration is required. Indicate any dietary restrictions for lunch when registering. Call (847) 253-5675 or go to

Monday, July 19, 2010

"A new place on the chess continuum"

It's hard for people who don't play chess to "get" chess.  Andi Rosen gives her personal account of the problem and reports on what the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis is doing about it.

Adarsh Jayakumar at U.S. Cadet Championship (final)

Story at Chess Life Online. Adarsh has to be somewhat disappointed with his -2 score (one win, three losses, three draws), but it's a very respectable result.

Eric Rosen at U.S. Junior Invitational - Round 8

Chicago Class - Master Section

Happy Monday!

GM Nikola Mitkov won the Master Section (link to crosstable) of the Chicago Class, held this weekend at the DoubleTree Oak Brook, with 4½ points.  Timur Aliyev took clear second with an impressive 4 points (Aliyev upset GM Dmitry Gurevich in the last round).  Gurevich, Erik Santarius, Owechukwu Iwu, and Gopal Menon tied for 3rd with 3½ points.

More on the other sections in the next day or so: please send an interesting game if you have one to share!

Yours truly did not play so well, but I had fun!