Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jeopardy, Fischer, anthropology, phone-a-friend

Random links....

Stanley Fish discusses Hubert Dreyfus's critique of AI.  And Kasparov opines...

White to play
Can you evaluate this position more accurately than Rybka?
If so, why?

Sevan Muradian told me that Robert R. Desjarlais's Counterplay: An Anthropologist at the Chessboard looks like interesting reading.

Garry Kasparov reviews Frank Brady's Endgame.  Mig discusses that review, too.

And guess who was on the Georgian version of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?

2011 Warren Scholars announced

Warren Junior Program director Andi Rosen (who's been busy this week!) announces the 2011 awards on the ICA website.

First Illinois Elementary School Association championship results!

Mike Zacate reports at the Illinois Chess Association website!

Forty-three teams at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington

U.S. Amateur Team North results!

Andi Rosen reports at Chess Life Online.

 The team finished 2nd on tiebreaks
Next year, why not "Straight outta Quadrangle"?

Beginners' trap?

Local Class A player Dean Arond plays many objectively dubious openings.  But he knows them very well, he has fun playing these sharp lines, and more than one master has fallen into his snare.  In the following game, Dean equalizes against Whitney Young's Sam Schmakel with an opening best known as a beginners' trap.

White to play
Sam Schmakel-Dean Arond, Skokie 2011

I thought the ending was interesting, too!  You can play through the game on the interactive board below:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Secrets of a Mind-Gamer"

Essential reading: the section on techniques for breaking through plateaus is of particular interest to chess players.

Santarius wins Blitz, Angelo Young wins title

NM Erik Santarius won the ICA Blitz Championship with an excellent 9-1 score against very tough competition.    As Erik is a Wisconsin resident, the second-place finisher, IM Angelo Young, adds the title of 2011 Illinois Blitz Champion to his five "slow" titles.  Anglelo scored 7½-2½.  Two-time US Game/30 champion Michael Auger, NM Eric Rosen, NM Atulya Shetty, and Matthew Wilber tied for third with 7-3.

NM Gopal Menon, who's one of the strongest "bullet" (one-minute game) players on the Internet Chess Club, didn't win a prize this year, nor did NMs Stamnov or Karagianis.

Results are here!

Frank Brady on CSPAN2 tonight

Mr. Brady will be discussing Endgame at 7:15 Central Time.  The interview is about 40 minutes.  (Hat tip to Ken Marshall for the heads-up.)

1001 Deadly Checkmates

I recently got John Nunn's new book 1001 Deadly Checkmates. It's a collection of (you guessed it) 1001 positions from actual play (mostly in the last few years) where the player on move can checkmate by force in a few moves. It is a great book, which I think will be useful to a wide range of players, say from 1400 to 2400. I'm 2200 OTB and can solve most of the problems pretty quickly (197 out of the first 200), but still find them useful for honing my tactical skills. They should be even more useful for lower-rated players, who will find a lot of mating ideas that are new to them. Chess is largely a matter of pattern recognition, so exercises like these are useful to everyone. It's reasonably priced, too - only $15.75 at

Here is a position, from Kotrotsos-Stiri, Iraklion 2005 (No. 640 in Nunn's book) that surprised me. I solved it quickly enough, but might not have if I hadn't known that there was a mate to be found. White, on move, must force mate.

A trap in the Slav

This trap is similar to several others where a player plays B-KN5 (i.e. Bg5 or Bg4, depending on color), then follows it up with P-K3 (e3 or e6), allowing the opponent to win the unprotected bishop with Q-R4+ (Qa5+ or Qa4+). These include (a) the notorious 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c6 3.e3?? Qa5+ 0-1, Z. Đorđević-M. Kovačević, Bela Crkva 1984; (b) 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 Bg4 4.c4 e6 5.cxd5 cxd5?? 6.Qa4+ Bachler-Van Meter, Midwest Masters 1985; and (c) 1.g4? d5 2.Bg2 Bxg4 3.c4 c6 4.Qb3 e6 5.cxd5 cxd5?? 6.Qa4+ Van der Heijden-Van Ranwooy, Walwijk 1978. These games offer further evidence for GM John Nunn's "LPDO" (Loose Pieces Drop Off) principle.