Friday, October 22, 2010

Pearl Spring, Round 3: three decisive games in Nanjing

Carlsen 1 - Wang Yue 0 (Google translate of annotations at

Topalov 0 - Anand 1 (another QGD Lasker variation: ouch!)

Gashimov 0 - Bacrot 1

Or you can play through the games via ChessBase.  Insomniacs only: ICC is covering the event live.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Two NATIONAL one-day events in Skokie this weekend!

This Saturday, October 23rd, it's the US Game/60 National Championship. Details on the ICA tournament calendar! The concept is simple: each player has sixty minutes (plus five seconds delay per move) for the entire game!

On Sunday, October 24th, it's the US Game/30 National Championship. Details on the ICA tournament calendar! As you might guess, each player has thirty minutes (plus five seconds delay per move) for the entire game! It's rumored that at least one of last year's National Co-Champions will be there to defend his title.

The site for both events is the congenial Holiday Inn on 5300 W. Touhy in Skokie.

Sets, boards, and clocks are being provided by the organizer, Sevan Muradian's North American Chess Association.  Bring your lucky pen, show up, and play!

Please note the sizable discounts for preregistration and for playing in both events: for one event, the cost is $60 if you register by 6 p.m Friday; for both events, it's a very reasonable $100. But if you don't preregister, the onsite cost is $20 per event higher.  (Also note that there are multiple sections based on rating: it's possible to play up one section for an additional fee.)

Free registration is avaiable to FIDE titled players!

You can register online here!

Another opinionated Russian

Kasparov on Carlsen's relative poor form, FIDE, and life in general, courtesy of ChessVibes.

At the end of this article, you'll find thirty games from a recent Kasparov simul against Belgian players: the 30-0-0 shutout was possibly bloodier than Waterloo.

Post-Bilbao interview with Kramnik

From Chess in Translation.

First CICL bulletin of the 2010-11 season!

The PDF file is here!  There's nice coverage of the CICL match against the Warren Junior Scholars.

Nanjing - Pearl Spring round 1

This is the first tournament ever with three 2800's participating!  Wang Yue (China's #1) and Gashimov (a young player formerly in the top ten) are logical picks, but I'm surprised that Bacrot was invited instead of someone like Vachier-Lagrave.

Sidebar: Topalov has fallen well below 2800 on the unofficial but widely quoted live rating list, but Levon Aronian now joins Anand and Carlsen now above 2800, so there are still three 2800s in the world.  Signs of the time: none of the four are Russian, and only one of the four current / recent 2800s (Aronian) was born in the former Soviet Union.  But Kramnik is over 2790 with a bullet....

Back to Nanjing: the games begin at something like 2:30 a.m. Chicago time, so check them with your morning coffeeCarlsen wins in round one and will probably reclaim the live #1 spot later today....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Amanov Unstoppable at the Midwest Class "

Round 5 showdown: GM Mark Paragua vs. GM Mesgen Amanov

Andi Rosen reports at Chess Life Online!  Check out Mesgen's notes, especially the Paragua-Amanov ending!

Forget about the GMs and the child prodigies for a second, and give another round of applause to Erik Karklins, who (officially) gained 25 rating points at the age of 95!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Black is OK! Blaze is OK! Sharks are OK!

There's a famous opening book by the Hungarian Grandmaster Adorjan titled Black Is OK!  Adorjan advocates the opening philosophy popularized by Fischer: don't grovel for the draw, don't play to equalize, but try to win from move one!

Even though White typically scores 56% of total points in master play, the player of the Black pieces won all four of tonight's games, and in tonight's U.S. Chess League match, the Chicago Blaze drew the Miami Sharks, 2-2.  Now could someone please explain what this means for the Blaze's playoff hopes?

Board 1: Gurevich-Becerra

The Chebanenko Slav (4...a6) is notoriously hard to beat. Dmitry Gurevich (who really really wanted to win tonight!) opted for a slow positional squeeze, and came close to converting against fellow GM Julio Becerra. The match situation required Becerra to play for a win to tie the match, and he found a good move (35...f5!) in mutual time pressure.

Dmitry still would have been better if he had played the consolidating move 36.Be3: 36.Kh3? was just too risky. Even in the game, 39.Qb1! kept the pressure on Black.

41.Bxf4? lost by force: kibitzers pointed out that Dmitry probably rejected 41.Qb7!? because it doesn't really threaten anything: the Re8 covers the back rank, and the Ng5 and Bd4 protect the sensitive squares in front of the Kg8. But the queen-rook battery on the seventh would have tied down several Black pieces to the king's defense: for example, 41...Nxf3 allows 42.Qh7+ Kf8 43.Qh6+ with a perpetual check.

Easy for a computer!

Board 2: make a wish

You've probably heard this one before. When you don't know what to do in a closed position, identify your worst placed piece, then imagine what square you would like that piece to be on. 

First, use your imagination, then see if you can find a plan to make your dream come true!

Perhaps with the help of this technique, GM Mesgen Amanov beats his third grandmaster in three days....

If you had had the Black pieces, what would your plan have been after 24.Ra2?

Board 3: Creative attack and counterattack

Florin Felecan played the Sozin against the Najdorf, and had very good practical chances to break through with the attack.  But all credit to the opponent: Marcel Martinez was a cool customer!

Board 4: Eric Rosen crushes the Smith-Morra Gambit

If you play the Black side of the Sicilian, you need to have something prepared against the Smith-Morra.  In this game, we get a glimpse of Eric's preparation. 

But I suspect that White's move order was suboptimal: why not play 7.O-O and see how Black chooses to develop?  7.Bf4 is unnecessarily committal.

It's nice to get the first point on the board!

Backlog catchup: Blaze lost a heartbreaker last week

Jeremy Kane reports on the Blaze website.  It's easy for us spectators to see, especially when we're running an chess engine during play.  But making the moves is another thing...

Blaze play tonight!

Tonight at 7 p.m., the Blaze take on the Miami Sharks! After two consecutive losses, we could use a win tonight!

GM Dmitry Gurevich 2481 – GM Julio Becerra 2628

GM Renier Gonzalez 2540 – GM Mesgen Amanov 2508

IM Florin Felecan 2415 – FM Marcel Martinez 2475

Nicolas Rosenthal 2047 – NM Eric Rosen 2227

Read Daniel Parmet's blog entry here.

The games begin at 7 p.m. Chicago time.

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.

GM Mesgen Amanov wins Midwest Class

This was not your typical weekend Swiss: in the last three rounds, Mesgen had to beat current Illinois State Champion GM Dmitry Gurevich and four-time U.S. Champion GM Alexander Shabalov, then draw Filipino GM Mark Paragua.

95-year-old Erik Karklins tied for second in the Expert section and gained an estimated 21 rating points, for a net gain of 85 points this decade

10-year-old Warren Scholar Conrad Oberhaus won the Class B section with a perfect 5-0 score and is now an A player!  Warren Scholar James Wei (age 10) and grizzled veteran Zachary Holecek (age 11 or 12?) scored 3½ in the Class A section: both gained a bucket of ELO.

Crosstable here!  (USCF hasn't rated yet: I'll edit the post to add when it does.)