Friday, September 3, 2010

Notes to Shulman - Felecan

Jeremy Kane comments on the Blaze blog.

Last call for pre-registration!

Save money: register for the State Championship before 6 p.m.!

You can even listen to more of Taimanov and Bruk while you register  (You can skip the first track if you've already heard the previous post.).

Our own NM Trevor Magness (who's preregistered!) plays Chopin, too.  (Start at about 1:50 if you don't have time to hear the whole thing..)

Music to prepare openings by...

Mark Taimanov and Lyubov Bruk play Chopin.

I could not find the final position in Mega Database 2010

...though it seems resignable.

Manic Street Preachers - (Its Not War) Just The End Of Love

Via Mig (back from hiatus?).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mathematicians and musicians

Harvard mathematics professor Noam Elkies, who's been mentioned on this blog a few times, was featured in Sunday's New York Times column.  Dylan Loeb McClain returns to the subject in this blog post.

Prodigies are found in three fields: math, music, and chess.  What's the link?

Illinois Open pre-entries

The three-day Open Section is topped by GM Yury Shulman (2715); IMs Angelo Young (2418), IM Florin Felecan (2415), FM Albert Chow (2280), and NM Jon Burges (2238) bring the total to five reigning or former Illinois state champions starting so far in the three-day field.  Kentucky Champion Davis Whaley (2224) and NM Mariano Acosta (2200) have also pre-registered.

The smaller two-day Open Section has two GMs so far: Nikola Mitkov (2571) and Dmitry Gurevich (2479). NM Audrius Macenis (2201) rounds out the top entrants.

These two sections merge into one section with Round 4 on Sunday evening.

Not up for battling Grandmasters? You can play alongside (but not against) them in the 3-day and 2-day reserve sections. There are also Saturday Scholastic events, and a Saturday Game/25 event.

Details here: preregistration closes tomorrow at 6 p.m. You can register onsite, but why not save time and money with preregistration?

trash talk

 Arch enemy?

It would appear that mUSCLe aspires to become the Onion Sports of chess.

Hmm, I have to see Yury this weekend....

Board 4: Everything but the kitchen sink

Cindy Tsai beats down the youngest Finegold's attack, and consolidates to victory.  Welcome to the Blaze, Cindy!

Board 3: Mr. Formerly Undefeated

It's never embarrassing to lose to a Grandmaster, but I liked Angelo's chances in this matchup....

Board 1: Enter the Hedgehog

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Board 2: Big upset by Felecan

Unofficial result (I was watching from the office before I had to leave): the Chicago Blaze ties the St. Louis Arch Bishops 2-2.

Blaze - Arch Bishops live now!

Live transmission, as always, on the Internet Chess Club.

A couple games are being simulcast locally here.

Blaze vs. Arch Bishops tonight at 7 p.m. (note corrected time!)

Rumor has it that St. Louis's Yury Shulman will be playing his game from the North Shore Chess Center!

More info here!

More on the universally despised St. Louis team here.

Online preregistration for Illinois Open till Friday 6 p.m.

Register now so you don't forget!

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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The hottest player in the world.... doubtless Radosław Wojtaszek, who recently finished months of work as a member of Vishy Anand's team.

Chess in Translation continues its serialization of Wojtaszek's comments on the games of the Anand-Topalov match.

Why can't a computer be more like a man?

While I was looking up something else yesterday, I stumbled across Bruce Weber's 1997 essay, written in the wake of the second Kasparov-Deep Blue match.
Positional chess, as opposed to tactical chess, involves a situation in which there are no clear objectives on the board, no obvious squares to be commandeered, no threats to be made. It is a kind of jockeying, with the two sides maneuvering for position, from which to begin long-term plans. It is the kind of chess that grandmasters generally say they play better than machines, because the power of individual moves is subtle, deeply resonant, rather than calculable.

[Frederic] Friedel tried to explain it with an anecdote about the development of Fritz. He once asked grandmaster Walter Browne about a particular position in which each side had the same number of pawns and pieces and the same number of controlled squares.

"Any amateur would have said the position was a draw," Friedel said. "I said, 'Walter, who is better here?' And he said, 'White is winning.' I said, 'Why?' and he said white controls more space." When Friedel pointed out that in fact each side controlled exactly the same number of squares, Browne continued, "Oh, these squares here don't count. They aren't important." 
How to tell important squares from unimportant squares? Friedel didn't understand.

"But two years later," he said, "I was driving with the former world champion, Max Euwe, and I had the position in my pocket, and I asked him, and he said: 'White's winning. White's better. It controls more squares.' I counted them for him. And he said, 'Oh, these squares are not important.' "
The intuition of grandmasters is not mystical.  But it's difficult to put into words, let alone program.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Illinois Chess Association: Youth Chess Resources

Wow! I just got an email from Maret Thorpe that the long-awaited ICA Youth Chess Resources site has gone live. 

If you're involved in scholastic chess (coach, parent, player, volunteer...), you'll benefit from the many helpful articles (learning chess, chess programs, competition...) on this site.

Youth Committee Chair Jerry Neugarten writes:
ICA’s Youth Committee has just posted on our website a considerable amount of new material on youth chess in Illinois.  The new content, put together by a team of more than 20 people from throughout the state, is designed to foster the development of new clubs, provide an overview of youth chess in the state, and provide resources for parents, principals, coaches, and club directors. 

You can scan a list of the new material by clicking the “Youth Chess” button on our home page ( and then reviewing the list on the left side of our “Welcome and Overview” section.  Some of the items have sub-menus, and the longer pieces all have internal Tables of Contents.  The contents are also summarized in the text on the Welcome page.

The new material includes detailed guides on starting a youth chess program and on tournament play; a list of recommended curricula, including software and websites; an updated summary of the research on the value of chess; profiles of community-wide programs in Illinois; a summary of the major youth tournaments in the state; and lists of Illinois’ past youth champions.  (Top current players are listed in the Warren Program section.)  But there’s much more, and we’re at work on a few additional sections we hope to finish within a few weeks, including lists of clubs (with contact information) throughout the state. 

All the new content can be downloaded in pdf format.

Special thanks to Kevin Bachler, Chuck Beach, Jay Dembsky, Betsy Dynako, Louis Fogel, Hector Hernandez, Paul Kash, Colley Kitson, Mike Leali, Herb Lichtman, Brad Rosen, Andi Rosen, Garrett Scott, Joe Splinter, Jennifer Stevens, Maret Thorpe, Leo Vilker, Phil Yontez, Mike Zacate and Pattie Zinski.  

We hope you find this material helpful
 And thanks to Jerry for making it all happen!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chess Fundamentals: king and queen against king

Example 4—We now come to Queen and King against King. As the Queen combines the power of the Rook and the Bishop, it is the easiest mate of all and should always be accomplished in under ten moves. Take the following position:

White to move

A good way to begin is to make the first move with the Queen, trying to limit Black's mobility as much as possible. Thus: 1.Qc6 Kd4 2.Kd2 Already Black has only one available square.

Black to play has only one legal move

2...Ke5 3.Ke3 Kf5 4.Qd6 Kg5

Should Black play 4...Kg4 , then 5.Qg6+.

5.Qe6 Kh4

If 5...Kh5 , then 6.Kf4 and mate next move.


After 6.Qg6: the Black King is confined to four squares

6…Kh3 7.Kf3

King moves, and Queen mates.


Or 7...Kh4 8.Qh6 mate.

8.Qg2 mate.

In this ending, as in the case of the Rook, the Black King must be forced to the edge of the board; only the Queen being so much more powerful than the Rook, the process is far easier and shorter. These are the three elementary endings and in all of these the principle is the same. In each case the co-operation of the King is needed. In order to force a mate without the aid of the King, at least two Rooks are needed.

Blaze blog updates

NM Jeremy Kane annotates Florin Felecan's win.

Tom Panelas profiles Wednesday's Blaze opponent, the St. Louis Arch Bishops.

Coming soon: new edition of a Silman classic

Former Chicagoan Jeremy Silman will be publishing the FOURTH edition of his classic How to Reassess Your Chess. It's already available for pre-order on Amazon (though Silman warns that the actual publication date may be a couple weeks later than the listed September 21st):

[The Fourth Edition] turned out to be a monster - 650 (oversize) pages!! It's incredibly rich in instructive content, yet is also extremely entertaining (why can't someone learn and have fun at the same time?). Patience please ...... I think you'll find that it's worth the wait.

Strongly recommended for all adults and ambitious juniors from advanced beginner to 2000 and beyond!