Saturday, September 11, 2010

Interview with Cindy Tsai

Photo: Betsy Dynako

On the Blaze blog!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Carlsen vs. the World - tomorrow at 11 a.m. CDT

Here's the site!  My guess is that the game will take three to five hours....

U.S. Chess League standings

Here's the link.

With two wins and a draw, the Chicago Blaze is half a game behind the Arizona Scorpions. 

Board 4: Yea Team!

Was this Gauri Shankar's first game for the Blaze?  When I went to bed, I assumed that there was no way in the world he could draw a double rook ending two pawns down.

Fortunately, I was wrong!

Terror on Board 1

Correction: the Blaze drew won! a winnable match against San Francisco last night 2.5-1.5.  On Board 1, Dmitry Gurevich continued his hot streak. Early g4, pawn sac, rook sac, mate!

A silly knight trap

It's always amusing when you can trap your opponent's knight with pawns in the opening. One example is 1.d4 e5? 2.Nf3? e4 3.Ne5? d6 4.Nc4 d5 4.Ne5?? f6. Here's another, similar trap:

I was surprised to see that even though 4...Ne4?? was played thrice in BigBase's 3.5 million games, White only found 5.f3! in one of those games. Perhaps White feared 5...e6, threatening 6...Qh4+, but Black's queen can't mate by herself, and it takes too long to call up the reserves. Simply 6.fxe4 Qh4+ 7.Kd2! wins easily after (a) 7...Qxe4 8.Nf3 Bb4+ 9.Nc3 Nc6 10.Qe2! or (b) 7...g6 8.Nc3 Bh6+ 9.Kc2 Qf2+ 10.Qe2.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blaze vs. San Francisco Mechanics starts at 7:30 tonight!

Follow the action on the Internet Chess Club (subscription required). 

Or stop by the North Shore Chess Center at 5500 West Touhy Avenue, Suite A, in Skokie!

Andi Rosen recaps the Illinois Open

 Albert Chow (photo Betsy Dynako)

Great story by Andi (including annotations by 2010 champion Dmitry Gurevich and 2009 co-champion Florin Felecan) at Chess Life Online!

Illinois Open, day three vanity post (part two)

Gopal Menon - Bill Brock
[Scotch Game, C45]
Illinois Open, Round 6

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.Bd3 d5 7.e5! 

Objectively toothless: practically, the perfect choice!  I knew that Gopal's preparation in main lines was deep: I was about to find out how deep it was in sidelines.  And as Albert Chow observed, why should White fix Black's pawn structure?


I "knew" this move was considered best, but that's all I knew!

7...Nd7!? Chow strongly advocated this positional alternative. 8.0–0 Nc5! Kicks the bishop and controls e6. 9.Be2 Be7 Black has defended his weak squares: develop now, attack later.  This may not be the theoretically best continuation, but it would have been the best practical choice!

8.0–0 Bc5 9.Qe2!

9.Bf4 f6!? (9...g5! was Lasker's choice) 10.exf6? (10.h3 fxe5 11.Bg3 Nf6 12.Bxe5 0–0=) 10...0–0 is a line suggested by Keres.

Black to move

How are certain chess positions like singles bars?  Intoxicated with dreams of mating quickly, I make a aggressive move against my better judgment.


White's score after Black's "aggressive" move in tournament play is over 80%!

Much better is 9...Qe7! I "knew" this was the right move (Black scores 63% of the points in tournament play!), but I saw the possibility of ...Qg3 in the "attacking" line and got carried away.   After 10.Bf4, I didn't know what to do in the post mortem until Michael Auger came up with 10...g5!  (which is indeed the book move) 11.Bd2 (11.Bg3 h5 is a big mess) 11...Nxe5 12.Re1 Nxd3 13.Qxd3 Be6.  Black has a pawn and two bishops: White has a heathy pawn structure.  But it doesn't seem to me that White should be too afraid after  14.Qc3 Kd7 (this much has been played before by humans) and now the laptop suggests 15.Bxg5 Bxf2+ 16.Kxf2 Qxg5 17.Nd2 and it's a game.   So even Black's "best" continuation is perfectly playable for White.

10.h3 h5?

The losing move?

10...Qg3 Under the influence of von Scheve - Teichmann, Berlin 1907, I'd planned 11.hxg4 Bxg4 but now I realized...

 Variation after 10...Qg3 11.hxg4 Bxg4
White to play and win

....that  12.Qd2!! Bf3 13.Qg5! refutes the attack.

10...Nxf2 11.Rxf2 is forced (strangely, I don't see this move in MegaBase 2010) 11...Qg3 12.Nd2 (or 12.Qf3 Qxf3 13.gxf3 Bxh3) 12...Bxh3 13.Qf3 Bxf2+ 14.Qxf2 Qxf2+ 15.Kxf2 Bg4 nominally, Black is up material, but the minor pieces are very good here because the d5-c6-c7 complex is so weak (c5 and d4 are ideal squares for minor pieces). 16.b4! a5? (16...h5 is much better) 17.bxa5 Rxa5 18.a4 and uh-oh.

11.Nd2 Be6 12.Nf3 Qg3

 White to play
Gee, it looks nice!  But chess is not checkers: the Ng4 doesn't have to be taken.  Bishops cannot hop over knights, and rooks need open files.


13.hxg4? would be terrible defense, but White's position is so good that it probably draws: 13...hxg4 14.Qe3! Bxe3 15.Bxe3! the queen is trapped! 15...Qxf3 16.gxf3 gxf3 17.Bf4.


13...Bxf2+ 14.Rxf2 Qxf2+ 15.Qxf2 Nxf2 16.Kxf2 and this endgame is not even close to tenable.  It's unspeakably miserable for Black, point-count notwithstanding.  There are great squares for all White's pieces, while Black's rooks are pathetic.

14.a4 Nh2

14...Nxf2 15.Rxf2 Bxh3 (threatens mate!) 16.Be3 (kills attack!);

14...a5 15.bxa5 Rxa5 (15...Ba7 (Menon) is a better practical try, but there's nothing there) 16.Bd2 (yuck);

14...Nh6 15.Be3 Bxe3 16.Qxe3 and the queen is trapped!

14...Resigns was a viable alternative.

15.Nxh2 Bg4 16.Nxg4

16.hxg4 hxg4 17.Nxg4 Qh4 18.Nh6 is another win: I saw the game refutation, but missed that one.

16...hxg4 17.Qxg4 Qxg4 18.hxg4 and I'm embarrassed to say I made another two or three moves before resigning....

Brilliant preparation and nice execution by Gopal Menon! 1–0

Shirov wins Shanghai Masters

..with one round to go!

Wang Hao - Shirov, Shanghai 2010
Black to play

Coverage at ChessBase.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Illinois Open, day three vanity post (part one)

I managed to extract a win and a draw from two lost positions in the first two days of play, so I'd made it all the way to Board 3 for the fifth round.

GM Dmitry Gurevich wins Illinois Open

Congratulations to Dmitry, the 2010 Illinois state champion!  After downing two experts, Dmitry beat GM Nikola Mitkov and Wisconsin state champion NM Jeremy Kane, drew 2008 U.S. Champion Yury Shulman, and beat IM Angelo Young in the final round.

Alan Lee Davenport won the Booster section with 5.5 out of 6.

The event was rated last night (fast service!): crosstables are here!

Thanks to Tim Just and Wayne Clark of Chess for Life LLC for organizing another smoothly-run event. Sevan Muradian and the North American Chess Association lent sets, boards, and the absolutely essential 30-second increment clocks. Special thanks to Carl Dolson and the Illinois Chess Association for making the appearance of so many titled players possible!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Scholastics and side events

Nathan Holzmuller and Leonard Liu tied for first in the Labor Day Scholastic U1200 with 4 wins and a draw.

Matthew Blanton and Sherya Mangalam shared first in the Labor Day Scholastic U700, also with 4.5 points each.

NM Audrius Macenis and NM Aleksandar Stamnov blanked the field in the Game/25 side event with perfect 4-0 scores.

Illinois Open, day one

Two state champions bit the dust in round 2: Michael Auger beat defending co-champ IM Florin Felecan and Aakaash Meduri beat FM Albert Chow.   5-1 won the tournament last year, so who knows....

On a personal note: it was a pleasure to see NM Mariano Acosta back at the board after a period of ill health.  It was not a pleasure to be defending an endgame against him!  (I drew, but only with a little luck.)

Open and Reserve standings are here.

chess player, nuclear physicist

Interview with Vladimir Malakhov at Chess in Translation.