Saturday, August 28, 2010

Leonid Bondar ties for 4th in U.S. Senior

So more than one person in the family can play chess!

NM Mariano Acosta also had a very nice event: his only loss was to IM Emory Tate in Round 5. Tate got killed by the pairings: he lost to GM Kudrin and the tournament winner, GM Alexander Ivanov.

Check out the coverage at Chess Life Online.

Chess Fundamentals: king and two bishops against king

Example 3—Now we come to two Bishops and King against King.

Example 3
White to move

Since the Black King is in the corner, White can play 1.Bd3 Kg7 2.Bg5 Kf7 3.Bf5 and already the Black King is confined to a few squares.

Example 3—After 3.Bf5
(Black to move is already confined to the six yellow squares)

If the Black King, in the original position, had been away from the last row, White should have advanced his King, and then, with the aid of his Bishops, restricted the Black King's movements to as few squares as possible. We might now continue 3...Kg7 4.Kf2 In this ending, the Black King must not only be driven to the edge of the board, but he must also be forced into a corner, and, before a mate can be given, the White King must be brought to the sixth rank, and at the same time, in one of the last two files; in this case, either h6, g7, f7, or f8, and as h6 and g6 are the nearest squares, it is to either of these squares that the King ought to go. 4...Kf7 5.Kg3 Kg7 6.Kh4 Kf7 7.Kh5 Kg7 8.Bg6 Kg8 9.Kh6 Kf8

Example 3—After 9…Kf8
(Black is limited to three squares)

White must now mark time and move one of the Bishops, so as to force the Black King to go back. 10.Bh5 Kg8 11.Be7

Example 3—After 11.Be7
(Black is now limited to two squares)


Now the White Bishop must take up a position from which it can give check next move along the White diagonal, when the Black King moves back to g8. 12.Bg4 Kg8 13.Be6+ Kh8 14.Bf6 mate.

It has taken fourteen moves to force the mate and, in any position, it should be done in under thirty. 

In all endings of this kind, care must be taken not to drift into a stalemate.

In this particular ending one should remember that the King must not only be driven to the edge of the board, but also into a corner.  In all such endings, however, it is immaterial whether the King is forced onto the last rank, or to an outside file, e.g. h5 or a4, e1 or d8.

Don't forget to preregister for next weekend's Illinois Open!

I just did: see you there!

2010 Illinois Open

Time Running Out for Pre-Entries
USPS: $79 postmarked by 8/30/10
On-Line: $79 until 9/3/10, 6 pm
$10 extra to play up into Open Section with rating of 1799 and below.
Register at:
Two prizes have been added to the prize list:
-- Plus Score certificates worth $20 in merchandise will be awarded.
-- Free three month memberships (or extentions) will be given to all main event registrants who send us an email with their contact details and USCF number.
GM Yuri Shulman, GM Dmitry Gurevich, GM Nikola Mitkov, IM Angelo Young and IM Florin Felecan will all compete for the title of Illinois Open Champion for 2010. A group of dedicated Illinois chess patrons has put together a modest support fund to pay the entry fees and offer a bit extra to these outstanding players. If you would like to join us in supporting the titled players of Illinois contact Carl Dolson or Tom Sprandel.
September 4, 2010 - September 6, 2010
Two Day and Three Day Schedules Available
DoubleTree Hotel: 1909 Spring Road , Oakbrook, Illinois 60523
(630) 472-6020, (630) 472-6000 (code C-CHE)

$11,000 (based on 250 entrants)

Open Section
Reserve Section
Saturday Scholastic U1000 Trophy Tournament (side event)
Saturday Evening G/25 (side event)

Entry Fees for main events: $79 pre-entry, $90 at door.
For full details see

Illinois Chess Association

ICA recently revised its Constitution and Bylaws.  There's currently a link on the homepage; here's a permalink (pdf format).

Interested in serving as a USCF Delegate?  Beginning with 2011, Delegates are again to be chosen by the state associations.  You can learn more about ICA's process for selecting delegates on the homepage or here (pdf format).

Seattle post-mortem

16-year-old Alex Guo talks trash:
OK, Now, the match with Chicago. Yeah, we lost. The match score was 1.5 – 2.5, Chicago, but everybody else’s predictions were 1-3, so we beat expectations. As for how Seattle lost the match…to be frank, I’m not sure.
The loss might have something to do with the losses on Boards 1 and 2 and the draw on Board 3, Alex.

But hey, he's sixteen.  And his comments are interesting.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A little birdie sent this to me

Ad in craigslist (where you can find just about any service under the sun):

Enthusiastic Chess teachers wanted. Start date Sept. $37 AND UP. (Chicago)

 Do your own due diligence before applying!  No warranties, express or implied. 

I would note that $37/hour for part-time chess gigs often works out to half that or less because of commuting.  But hey, teaching kids chess is a fun thing to do!  If you have to work, you might as well work at something you enjoy.

Another cool Acosta game

Mariano is undefeated through four rounds: a commenter pointed out that he drew GM Larry Kaufman in Round 3.

More coverage at Chess Life Online.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Emory Tate, Honorary Chicagoan

Here's Emory's game from Round 2:

Nice crush by Leonid Bondar

Fresh from the U.S. Senior! Close your eyes: this one gets nasty.

Mariano Acosta at the U.S. Senior Open

If the Monroi report is correct (the score looks slightly glitchy), National Master Mariano Acosta just held the draw against the well-known International Master John Watson.

Crescat scientia, vita excolatur

"With the growth of learning, life is enriched."  That's the motto of a certain Hyde Park institution.

One of its distinguished alumni was featured on recently.

Before matriculation: Shmulik der vunder kind

And don't forget the club!

Ad majorem Dei gloriam

If you're the right person, this would be a lot of fun!

Chess Coach

Type: Athletics/Activities : Coach
Posted: 8/16/2010
Available: 2010-2011 School Year Closes: When Filled
Saint Ignatius College Prep, Chicago, Illinois

Position Details About Saint Ignatius College Prep
Saint Ignatius College Prep, a co-educational institution in the Jesuit tradition, is seeking a moderator for the school's chess team. The moderator of the chess team is a stipended position open to both employees of Saint Ignatius and non-Ignatius candidates. The moderator develops relevant chess skills and strategies within the team through modeling and direct instruction. The moderator is present during weekly practice sessions after school and accompanies the team to competitions. The chess team moderator reports to the Director of Student Activities. Interested candidates should complete the online application and send cover letter, resume, and references to
attn: Peter Corrigan
Saint Ignatius College Prep
1076 W. Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL 60608

2010 Illinois Open: Oak Brook this Labor Day Weekend!

The following copy was shamelessly swiped from the ICA's homepage!


September 4, 2010 - September 6, 2010

Two Day and Three Day Schedules Available
DoubleTree Hotel: 1909 Spring Road , Oakbrook, Illinois 60523
(630) 472-6020, (630) 472-6000 (code C-CHE)


b/250 paid entries: Guaranteed $$$ increase to maximum as attendance increases
  • The ICA offers Plus Score Prizes! All players scoring at least 3.5 can claim a $20 book store gift certificate.
  • Free 3 month ICA membership bonus! All players get a free three month membership or extension. Sign in on our website after the tournament and claim your bonus.
  • GM Yury Shulman will play.
  • GM Dmitry Gurevich will play.
  • GM Nikola Mitkov will play.
  • IM Angelo Young, 7-Time Illinois Open Champ/Co-Champ, will play.
  • IM Florin Felecan will play.
  • Open Section
  • Reserve Section
  • Saturday Scholastic U1000 Trophy Tournament (side event)
  • Saturday Evening G/25 (side event)


$1200 - $800 - $600
Under 2400
$500 - $400 - $350
Under 2200
$300 - $290
Under 2100
$280 - $270
Under 2000
$260 - $250
  • Unrateds qualify for top prizes only.
  • Open to all players rated 1800 and above.
  • 1799 and below must pay the extra $10 "play up" fee.
  • Players may be paired with any other player of any rating.


$1200 - $800 - $600
Under 1600
$500 - $400 - $350
Under 1500
$300 - $290
Under 1400
$280 - $270
Under 1200
$260 - $250
  • Unrateds qualify for top prizes only
  • Open only to players rated 1799 and below.
  • Players may be paired with any player rated 1799 or below.

Entry Fees for main events: $79 pre-entry, $90 at door.
For full details see

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another trap in the Englund Gambit

In the weak but trappy Englund Gambit, after 1.d4 e5? 2.dxe5 Nc6 3.Nf3 Qe7, White's two best moves are 4.Bf4! and 4.Qd5! In either case, however, White must know what he/she is doing. As the game below shows, combining the two ideas can be disastrous. On White's fifth move, correct was 5.Nc3! Bb7 6.Bg5, forcing Black to make his pawn sac permanent with 6...f6 7.exf6 Nxf6. Instead, 5.Bf4?? lost material to 5...Qb4+!, forking White's bishop and b-pawn. If White had responded with 6.Qd2 Qxb2 7.Qc3, 7...Bb4 would win the queen for starters. In the final position, White loses either his rook (after 9.Nxc3 Qxa1+) or king (after 9.Qxc3 Qc1#).

Note that the player of the White pieces reportedly died three years ago. Apparently, as with Mark Twain (and Elvis?), the rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated. Or perhaps there is life, and Internet access, after death.

Midwest Class Championships, October 15-17

Straight from our email inbox, ugly colors and all!
19th annual

October 15-17 or 16-17, 2010 - Wheeling, IL (Chicago area)


Top 6 sections:
5 rounds, 40/2, SD/1 (2-day option, rds 1-2 G/75). 
Class E Section:
5 rounds, G/75, Oct 16-17 only, separate schedule with early finish Sunday.  At Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel, 601 North Milwaukee Ave, Wheeling IL 60090. Free parking.  From Chicago, I-294 north to Milwaukee Ave; from Milwaukee, I-294 south to Lake Cook Road. 
In 7 sections; no unrated allowed in Master or Expert.

Master Section (2200/up): $2000-1000-500-300, clear or tiebreak win $100, top U2300 $800-400.  FIDE rated, 100 Grand Prix Points (enhanced). 
Expert Section (2000-2199): $1500-700-400-300.
Class A Section (1800-1999/Unr): $1500-700-400-300.
Class B Section (1600-1799/Unr): $1500-700-400-300.
Class C Section (1400-1599/Unr): $1400-700-400-200.
Class D Section (1200-1399/Unr): $1200-600-300-200.
Class E Section (Under 1200/Unr): $600-300-200-100.  Trophies to top 7, first 800-999, 600-799, Under 600, Unrated.
Rated players may play up one section.
prize limit: E $150, D $250, C $400, B $500, A $700. 

Top 6 sections entry fee: 3-day $103, 2-day $102 mailed by 10/7, all $105 online at by 10/12, $110 phoned to 406-896-2038 by 10/12 (entry only, no questions), $120 at site. No checks at site, credit cards OK.  Re-entry $60; not available in Master Section. GMs free, $80 deducted from prize. 
Entry fee for Class E, and unrated in Class D: $52 mailed by 10/7, $55 online at by 10/12, $60 phoned to 406-896-2038 by 10/12 (entry only, no questions), $70 at site. 
ICA membership ($15, scholastic $10) required for rated Illinois residents.  Join ICA online at together with your advance entry and save $2!

Special 1 year USCF dues with magazine if paid with entry.  Online at, Adult $30, Young Adult $20, Scholastic $15. Mailed, phoned or paid at site, Adult $40, Young Adult $30, Scholastic $20.  USCF membership required.
3-day schedule: Reg. ends Fri 6 pm, rds. Fri 7 pm, Sat 11 am & 6 pm, Sun 10 am & 4:15 pm.
2-day schedule: Reg. ends Sat 10 am, rds. Sat 11 am, 2:30 pm & 6 pm, Sun 10 am & 4:15 pm.
Class E schedule: Reg. ends Sat 10 am, rds. Sat 11 am, 2:30 pm & 6 pm, Sun 10 am & 1:15 pm.  Half point byes OK all rounds, Master must commit before rd 2, others before rd 3. 
Hotel rates: $98-98-98-98, 800-937-8461, 847-777-6500, reserve by 10/1 or rate may increase.
Questions:, 845-496-9658. Advance entries posted at  $15 service charge for refunds.

Car rental: Avis, 800-331-1600, use D657633, or reserve car online at
Bring set, board, clock if possible- none supplied.
Ratings:  October official USCF rating list used. Unofficial ratings usually used if otherwise unrated.   Foreign player rating info.
Entry: Continental Chess, Box 249, Salisbury Mills NY 12577.  Chess Magnet School Junior Grand Prix points available.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The French Defense was Fischer's bête noire, too

So now we all know what to play against Eric until he solves his opening problem!  Seriously, it's common for 1.e4 players to have difficulties with certain semi-closed openings.  The extra tempo isn't as valuable as the specialist's knowledge that the player of the Black pieces often has.

Black to play

18...Rd5!? was a very creative Exchange sacrifice by Guo!

Board 3: A quiet Neo-Grünfeld

Felecan rolls

The Illinois co-champion attacks and wins on Board 2:

White to play

Dmitry wins on Board 1

What looked like a normal Grandmaster grind-down became hairy, as Mikhailuk threw up stiff resistance.  Chess is hard!

Chicago beats Seattle 2.5 to 1.5

Hmm, why not popularize it for the 10 p.m. sports shows and call it "5 to 3"?  Do you think Mark Giangreco wants to do fractions on the air?  Oh yeah, chess....

Chicago Blaze Wins Season Opener

The Chicago Blaze kicked off our third year in the US Chess League on Monday night at 8pm Central Time.

We took on the Seattle Sluggers, who this year are without their superstar GM Hikaru Nakamura (he's playing for St. Louis). The board by board results were:

  • FM Slava Mikhailuk (SEA) vs GM Dmitry Gurevich (CHI): 0 - 1
  • IM Florin Felecan (CHI) vs FM Michael Lee (SEA): 1 - 0
  • NM Joshua Sinanan (SEA) vs "Mr. Undefeated" IM Angelo Young (CHI): 1/2 - 1/2
  • NM Eric Rosen (CHI) vs Alex Guo (SEA): 0 - 1
And at the end of a long night the new formula for the Chicago Blaze paid off with us defeating the Seattle Sluggers 2.5 - 1.5. This was the first time in Chicago Blaze history we won our opening season match!

We also ran a small fundraiser tournament which brought in $120 to the Chicago Blaze. Many thanks to Leo Vilker, Jae Lim, Bruce Potratz, Tim Grassel, Chris Baumgartner, and Jonathan Neumann for playing! Jae Lim won the event with the score of 3-0!

Our match next week will be against the St. Louis Arch Bishops who lost their inaugural match against fellow newcomer the Los Angeles Vibe. St. Louis ran a 2 GM lineup (Shulman and Finegold) with an IM on board three and an A-player on Board 4.

The match with St Louis will be at 7pm Chicago time and we will be at the North Shore Chess Center at 5500 West Touhy Avenue Suite A Skokie, IL 60077. We will have another fundraiser that night and I hope to see more players there!

If you would like to help the Chicago Blaze with a small sponsorship please visit our website at

For more information on the Chicago Blaze please visit the website at

Sunday, August 22, 2010

ChessVibes: "FIDE elections: Karpov suggests link between Ilyumzhinov and Yudina murder"

Interesting reading. One is reminded of Sayre's Law: "The politics of the university are so intense because the stakes are so low." Had Prof. Sayre ever met "chess politicians," he might have proposed a corollary.

However, I don't wish to imply that Karpov's suggestion is unfounded: this 2006 profile of Ilyumzhinov provides some context.

I feel unclean. Back to chess itself....

The Defamation of Damiano

Apart from the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+?? Kxf7 5.Nxe5+) and the Chicago Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nxe5??), the weakest opening that has a generally accepted name may be Damiano's Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6?). It was named for the Portuguese master Pedro Damiano (1480–1544). What a fish this Damiano must have been, you say, to advocate such a horrid opening!

Au contraire. Damiano rightly condemned 2...f6? as weak, and advocated 3.Nxe5!, which has for about 500 years been accepted as its refutation. George Walker, one of the most popular British writers on chess in the mid-19th century, accordingly wrote of 3.Nxe5!, "This constitutes the Damiano Gambit." George Walker, The Art of Chess-Play: A New Treatise on the Game of Chess (4th ed. 1846), p. 236. Later writers failed to draw the distinction between the move Damiano advocated (3.Nxe5!) and 2...f6?, so today poor Damiano is blamed for the whole defense.

Anyone who ever plays 1.e4 should learn the bust to the Damiano. After 3.Nxe5!, Black's best move is 3...Qe7!, which eventually led to a draw in Fischer-McGregor, simul 1964 after 4.Nf3 (4.Qh5+? g6 5.Nxg6 Qxe4+ 6.Be2 Qxg6 wins a piece) d5 5.d3 dxe4 6.dxe4 Qxe4+ 7.Be2 Bf5 8.Nd4 Nc6 9.Nxf5 Qxf5. However, as Dennis Monokroussos' analysis shows, Black is still in very bad shape in that line. Another possibility for White is 8.0-0 Qxc2 9.Qe1 Be7 10.Nc3 Nc6 11.Bb5 0-0-0 12.e3, threatening to trap Black's queen with 13.Ne1 - a line that, as Edward Winter observed in Chess Note No. 1934, the Weiner Schachzeitung advocated in 1912.

Instead, Black usually plays 3...fxe5?, allowing the obvious and strong 4.Qh5+. Then Black could try to trap White's queen with 4...g6 5.Qxe5+ Qe7 6.Qxh8 Nf6 (threatening 7...d6, 8...Kd7, and 9...Bg7). Unfortunately for Black, White gets to play moves too, e.g. 7.d3 intending 8.Bh6 or 8.Bg5. The main line is 4...Ke7 5.Qxe5+ Kf7 6.Bc4+, when 6...Kg6 would run into 7.Qf5+ Kh6 8.d4+ g5 9.h4 and wins. Instead, Black's best is 6...d5, allowing 7.Bxd5+ Kg6 8.h4! The key move, threatening 9.h5+ Kh6 10.d4+. Black must play 8...h6 or 8...h5, leading to similar play in either case. Then White, who already has material equality in addition to a raging attack, wins still more material with 10.Bxb7! (attacking Black's rook), when 10...Bxb7? falls into 11.Qf5#. Instead, Black's only real try is 10...Bd6, when White's best response is 11.Qa5!, preserving White's threats. Since 11...Bxb7? still gets mated, the only way Black can save his rook is the abject 11...Nc6 12.Bxc6 Rb8. Now White, who has just recovered the sacrificed piece, can gain a five-pawn advantage with the greedy 13.Qxa7 (not 13.d4?? or 13.d3??, Bb4+). Rybka instead recommends 13.e5 Bf8 14.Be4+ Kf7, assessing White's advantage as equivalent to 4.7 pawns. Unfortunately, in the only published game in this line (given below), White (rated 1677) played the somewhat inferior 13.Nc3 and managed to lose. Although White's position is a little loose, reasonably careful play should allow him to convert his enormous material advantage.

Nakamura earns spot in Melody Amber

Tough break for Anish Giri (who lost his first game in the final round).  Congratulations to Nakamura!

NH Chess homepage is here: Chess Life Online is working on a report now...

And don't miss the great (and FREE) video analysis of selected games on!  Edit: GM Miguel Illescas's commentary on Nielsen's win over Giri is outstanding.

Chicago Blaze Match & Fundraiser Tomorrow: Note New Location!

Another email from Sevan Muradian:

Chicago Blaze

The season is once again upon us when the Chicago Blaze will take on the rest of the teams in the US Chess League. This year the US Chess League will see 3 new additional teams in the forms of LA, Saint Louie, and a New England area team.

The first game will be tomorrow (Monday) night at 8:00pm Central Time. We will be taking on the Seattle Sluggers, who this year are without their superstar GM Hikaru Nakamura (he's playing for St. Louis). The board by board match-ups are:
  • FM Slava Mikhailuk (SEA) vs GM Dmitry Gurevich (CHI)
  • IM Florin Felecan (CHI) vs FM Michael Lee (SEA)
  • NM Joshua Sinanan (SEA) vs "Mr. Undefeated" IM Angelo Young (CHI)
  • NM Eric Rosen (CHI) vs Alex Guo (SEA)
We will also be running a quick rated fundraiser tournament the same night to help fund the Chicago Blaze. The specifics are:

4R-SS G/15 + 10/sec increment. All equipment provided. $20 entry fee at the door. Blaze gear and book prizes only. Quick rated only. Everyone plays in a single section only. Registration from 6:45-7:15pm. Round 1 at 7:30pm and subsequent rounds paired as the previous rounds completes.

Normally all Chicago Blaze matches and fundraiser tournaments will be held at the North Shore Chess Center but since the carpeting hasn't been installed yet, the August 23 opening match and fundraiser will be held at the Holiday Inn North Shore hotel at 5300 W Touhy Ave in Skokie. We will be in the Devonshire room which is to the immediate right of the hotel registration desk.

For more information on the Chicago Blaze please visit the website at

Capablanca's Chess Fundamentals

I had the pleasure of reading Ken Marshall's interview (forthcoming in Chess Life) with one of the oldest active players in the world, 95-year-old National Master and Hyde Park resident Erik Karklins.  When Erik was a teenager in Riga in the 1920s, he learned German so he could read and understand his first serious chess book, Capablanca's Chess Fundamentals.  Decades later in Chicago, Erik's son Andrew became interested in chess, so Erik gave Andrew a copy of Chess Fundamentals. The book seems to work: Andrew became one of the twenty strongest American players of the Fischer era.

Capablanca's classic is no longer in copyright: I hope to put a version of it on the Illinois Chess Association website.  In the meantime, I'll post selections here: the first selection appears below.

Chess Fundamentals: Rook and King against King




First Principles: Endings, Middle-Game, and Openings

The first thing a student should do, is to familiarize himself with the power of the pieces. This can best be done by learning how to accomplish quickly some of the simple mates.


Example 1. — The ending Rook and King against King.

The principle is to drive the opposing King to the last line on any side of the board.

 Example 1: White to play

In this position the power of the Rook is demonstrated by the first move, Rh7, which immediately confines the Black King to the last rank, and the mate is quickly accomplished by 1.Ra7 Kg8 2.Kg2 

The combined action of King and Rook is needed to arrive at a position at which mate can be forced. The general principle for a beginner to follow is to

keep his King as much as possible on the same rank, or, as in this case, file, as the opposing King. 

When, in this case, the King has been brought to the sixth rank, it is better to place it, not on the same file, but on the one next to it towards the center.  

2...Kf8 3.Kf3 Ke8 4.Ke4 Kd8 5.Kd5 Kc8 6.Kd6

Not 6.Kc6 , because then the Black King will get back to d8 and it will take much longer to mate.


If now 6...Kd8 7.Ra8 mates at once. 

7.Rc7 Ka8 8.Kc6 Kb8 9.Kb6 Ka8 10.Rc8 mate.

On move 5, Black could have played 5...Ke8 , and, according to principle, White would have continued 6.Kd6 Kf8 the Black King will ultimately be forced to move in front of the White King and be mated by Ra8. 7.Ke6 Kg8 8.Kf6 Kh8 9.Kg6 Kg8 10.Ra8 mate.

Example 2: White to play

Since the Black King is in the center of the board, the best way to proceed is to advance your own King thus: 1.Ke2 Kd5 2.Ke3 As the Rook has not yet come into play, it is better to advance the King straight into the center of the board, not in front, but to one side of the other King. Should now the Black King move 2...Ke5, the Rook drives it back by 3.Rh5+. On the other hand, if 2...Kc4 then also 3.Rh5 If now 3...Kb4, there follows 4. Kd2, but if instead 3...Kc3 4.Rh4 , keeping the King confined to as few squares as possible.

Now the ending may continue 4...Kc2 5.Rc4+ Kb3 6.Kd3 Kb2 7.Rb4+ Ka3 8.Kc3 Ka2 It should be noticed how often the White King has moved next to the Rook, not only to defend it, but also to reduce the mobility of the opposing King. Now White mates in three moves thus: 9.Ra4+ Kb1 10.Ra8 Or Rook to any square on the a-file, forcing the Black King in front of the White. 10...Kc1 11.Ra1 mate.  It has taken eleven moves to mate, and, under any conditions, I believe it should be done in under twenty. While it may be monotonous, it is worthwhile for the beginner to practice such things, as it will teach him the proper handling of his pieces.