Saturday, November 6, 2010

A cute trap... highlighted by Yasser Seirawan in his wonderful online commentary at the Internet Chess Club.

Tal Memorial, Round 1
White to play and win

Only one move wins: everything else appears to lose!

Tal Memorial round 2: Nakamura shares the lead

Today in the Tal Memorial, Hikaru Nakamura pulled off a cool combination:

Hikaru Nakamura - Pavel Eljanov
After 25...h6: White to play

The knight on g5 is under attack: where to put it?

26. Rxd5!


26...Rxd5 27. Ne4! 

White is temporarily down an entire rook, but Eljanov has no way to take advantage.

27...Qc4 28. Qxc4 Nxc4 29. Nxd5 Re8?! 

The engines suggest 29... Rd8 as a better defense, but 30. Ne7+ (and not 30.Nf4? Re8 embarrassing the knight on e4) 30... Kf8 31. Nf5 Rd5 32. g4 h5 33. h3 leaves White with a pleasant pawn-up ending.

30. Nef6+ gxf6 31. Nxf6+ Kf8 32. Nxe8 Kxe8 

Nakamura puts Eljanov away quickly:  crisp clean style reminiscent of Fischer. 

33. Rb1 Nd6 34. e4 b6 35. e5 Nb7 36. Rb4 Nc5 37. Rh4 Kf8 38.Rxh6 Kg7 39. Rc6 Nxa4 40. e6 1-0

The full game score is available at The Week in Chess and the official site.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tal Memorial: Nakamura draws Round 1

If you're at the office like me, you may enjoy following on  (Don't be put off by the Cyrillic!)

Today's big game: Aronian takes down Kramnik.  Wang Hao may have Shirov in trouble (game in progress: Shirov resigns).

Grischuk-Eljanov still in progress.

Karjakin wins an interesting ending against Gelfand.

Carlsen withdraws from the World Championship Cycle

Story at The Week in Chess:

To: FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov & FIDE World Championship Committee.

Reference is made to the ongoing World Championship cycle.To: FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov & FIDE World Championship Committee.

Reference is made to the ongoing World Championship cycle.

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of my decision not to take part in the planned Candidate Matches between March and May 2011.

After careful consideration I’ve reached the conclusion that the ongoing 2008 - 2012 cycle does not represent a system, sufficiently modern and fair, to provide the motivation I need to go through a lengthy process of preparations and matches and, to perform at my best.

Reigning champion privileges, the long (5 yr) span of the cycle, changes made during the cycle resulting in a new format (Candidates) that no World Champion has had to go through since Kasparov, puzzling ranking criteria as well as the shallow ceaseless match-after-match concept are all less than satisfactory in my opinion.

By providing you with 4 months notice before the earliest start of the Candidates as well as in time before you have presented player contracts or detailed regulations, I rest assured that you will be able to find an appropriate replacement.

Although the purpose of this letter is not to influence you to make further changes to the ongoing cycle, I would like to take the opportunity to present a few ideas about future cycles in line with our input to FIDE during the December 27th 2008 phone-conference between FIDE leaders and a group of top-level players.

In my opinion privileges should in general be abolished and a future World Championship model should be based on a fair fight between the best players in the World, on equal terms. This should apply also to the winner of the previous World Championship, and especially so when there are several players at approximately the same level in the world elite. (Why should one player have one out of two tickets to the final to the detriment of all remaining players in the world? Imagine that the winner of the 2010 Football World Cup would be directly qualified to the 2014 World Cup final while all the rest of the teams would have to fight for the other spot.)

One possibility for future cycles would be to stage an 8-10 player World Championship tournament similar to the 2005 and 2007 events.

The proposal to abolish the privileges of the World Champion in the future is not in any way meant as criticism of, or an attack on, the reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand, who is a worthy World Champion, a role model chess colleague and a highly esteemed opponent.

Rest assured that I am still motivated to play competitive chess. My current plan is to continue to participate in well-organised top-level tournaments and to try to maintain the no 1 spot on the rating list that I have successfully defended for most of 2010.

Best regards,

IGM Magnus Carlsen
 Carlsen provides brief comments at ChessBase.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Big test for Nakamura the Tal Memorial!  Black against Mamedyarov is not an easy way to open a supertournament!

Previews at ChessVibes and Chess Life Online

The games begin at 7 a.m. Chicago time: I'll link to updates sometime tomorrow morning.

Well, that was a bit of a bummer....

The Blaze lost to the Miami Sharks last night 3-1BUMMER!

But Miami deserved to win, and the games were interesting.  More shortly....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Miami vs. Chicago tonight at 7 p.m.

You can follow the action in person or online: find out how here!

I'll be joining the match in progress sometime around 9 p.m.

new Carlsen website

Quite logically, it's!

"It's Win or Go Home Time"

Tom Panelas previews tonight's playoff match for the Chicago Blaze.

A position from the U.S. Game/30 championship

Black to play
Mark Robledo, Jr.-Bill Brock, Skokie 2010

It was a mutual time-scramble, but both players had more than one minute plus delay remaining when the above position was reached.  Black sees that White's king on c4 and pawn on d5 are both on the diagonal of the bishop on f7, and gets an idea.  Is it a bright one?

Evaluate the position: you are invited to use your computers!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A letter from Tom Sprandel

  Illinois Chess Association
Dear Chess Friend:

GM Dmitry Gurevich, GM Yury Shulman and IM Florin Felecan will be at the banquet to honor Helen Warren. We'd love to have you there too.

Below is an invitation to the 2010 Illinois Chess Association banquet honoring Helen Warren, founder of the ICA Warren Junior Program. I hope you’ll be able to attend.

Helen’s vision and tireless work has helped foster the growth of the state’s top youth chess players. Be sure to read Bill Brock's tribute to Helen Warren. It's on the front page at I think you'll enjoy it.

The Warren program has a simple mission: to identify nationally ranked Illinois chess players ages 7 to 18, and provide them with opportunities to study with masters and grandmasters and to participate in high-level invitational events. The program nurtures the highest-potential Illinois students so they can compete on a national and international stage, and provides students with an opportunity for rigorous study that will give them skills to become leaders in other fields as adults.

The program serves more than 35 Illinois children who are currently ranked among the top U.S. chess players for their age in the country. Many are academically gifted, and benefit greatly from the in-depth study required to learn chess at an advanced level. The program funds intensive individual instruction for those with financial need, organizes group instruction, and sponsors state high school and girls invitational competitions, with prizes for winners to attend U.S. national championship tournaments.

If you can’t make it to the banquet, I hope you’ll consider making a contribution in Helen’s honor to this worthwhile cause. You may purchase tickets online at or, you may mail your ticket order or donation to: ICA Warren Junior program, c/o Andrea Rosen, 8214 Keystone Ave., Skokie, IL 60076. Thank you.

Sincerely, Tom Sprandel, President Illinois Chess Association, Inc.
ICA Banquet
Honoring Helen Warren
Former ICA president and founder, Warren Junior Program
Recipient of the ICA's Broughton Award for outstanding service to chess in Illinois.
Sunday, November 7, 2010, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Buca Di Beppo, 90 Yorktown Road, Lombard
Dear Illinois Chess Association Members and Friends, We hope you’ll join us at a luncheon honoring Helen Warren, one of the ICA’s original founding members and founder of the Warren Junior Chess Program. Back in 1992, Helen recognized that the state’s top junior chess talent needed mentoring and support in order to develop their full potential. Eighteen years later, the Warren Program continues to provide the top junior players in Illinois with financial assistance for private and group instruction, and sponsors invitational events for the state’s top high school and female junior players. MENU (Served Family Style): Apple Gorgonzola Salad Caesar Salad Ravioli al Pomodoro Chicken Limone Cheesecake Soft Drinks, Coffee and Tea PROGRAM: Remarks by Fred Gruenberg Blitz chess with Warren Scholars Note: The ICA annual meeting will take place at the restaurant from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., immediately preceding the banquet. All ICA members are welcome to attend.
$30 Regular $60 Patron $100 Benefactor $250 Sustaining
To reserve your place, go to Banquet Tickets or send check made payable to Illinois Chess Association, Inc. and # of tickets desired to:
Andrea Rosen 
ICA Warren Program Director
8214 Keystone Ave
Skokie, IL 60076.
Be sure to include your email address to receive confirmation.
All proceeds will benefit the ICA Warren Junior Scholar Program. Individuals or companies who purchase tickets at the Benefactor level or above will be acknowledged on the ICA website.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Loose ends

Jeremy Kane and Trevor Magness annotate the Blaze's wins from last week (so I don't have to !)

All Grade at Whitney Young November 13th!

Entry Fee: $125 per High School until Nov 10th. BRING Everybody for the fee of five.

Coaches can pay team registration fee at the tournament or online.

Register your teams at 

USCF Membership required--However, we can provide a one day membership that is valid for this event only. The fee for the one-day membership is $7 per player.

USCF Memberships can be purchased at We recommend a yearly membership for each player. 

Presented by  Whitney Young Magnet High School, Chess Education Partners, and the Youth Chess Foundation of Chicago

Individual entry fee is $25/player until Nov 5th.
If you have any questions, contact Paul Kash at or 773-512-2811

Ivanchuk beats Nakamura in Cap d'Agde finals

Two King's Gambits!  Although Ivanchuk tricked Nakamura into a good-vs.-bad-bishop ending in the first game, Nakamura's anti-King's Gambit system is utterly respectable and fun!

1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 f5!?

Coverage at The Week in Chess (games are in drop-down box above the board) and Europe-Echecs.