Friday, May 6, 2011

"How best to stimulate hair growth?"

At least that's what seems to be on the mind of the player in the foreground, who looks vaguely familiar.  Citadel offers one of the nicest playing sites in the city (check out the view!).

Matthias Pfau reports on Round 1 of Citadel's summer 2011 event on the Citadel Investment Group Chess League Blog.

My AMA Rogue Squadron teammate Jim Duffy may have missed some chances after pressing in the knight ending, but he won an objectively drawn pawn ending (the PGN appears to be wrong on the Citadel site):

The final two rounds of the CICL playoffs will be held next Saturday, May 14th, at the North Shore Chess Center. Details to follow.

Worst iPhone chess app ever?

It would be rather harsh to call ChessBase Online 1.1 (ChessBase GmbH, $4.95 in the iTunes Store) a bad application, because, strictly speaking, it achieves its modest and useful goal.

I can enter a position that I reached in a recent game...

..and discover the most popular replies and their performance...

...and load individual games to learn how top players handled the line.

Select one of the above games, and it loads painlessly.  So far, so good.  (Very handy for the bathroom stall at the Chicago Open, the cynic thinks.) 

But on the iPhone 4, the chess board interface is so buggy and annoying (compare the interfaces for iPhone engines such as tChess Pro, Shredder, and Stockfish, all of which are excellent), that I really can't recommend this app.

Perhaps this works better on the iPad (I don't own one), but if I'm at home, I'm going to be looking at ChessBase on a laptop with Rybka running.  That's not yet an option on the iPad..

The concept is great, and I love ChessBase products in general. But not this one: hold out for Version 2.0.

4th North American Amateur Open begins tonight

4th North American Amateur Open - 5R-SS G/90 + 30/sec increment. North Shore Chess Center, 5500 West Touhy Ave Suite A, Skokie, IL 60077. 847.423.8626.  Open to players with any established FIDE rating or an established USCF rating of 1600+. Max 50 players. All participants compete in a single section.  EF: $40 for non-members of the chess center, $30 for members of the chess center received by 5/5. All $10 more onsite. Onsite registration - up to 15 minutes prior to round 1 or round 2. If registering prior to round 2, you will receive a half-point bye for round 1. Round times: Friday - 7:00pm, Saturday 12pm and 6pm, Sunday 11am and 5pm. Half-point byes available in any round. Prizes: 1st - $60 Best Buy Gift Card, 2nd - $30 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, 3rd - $15 Starbucks Gift Card.  Parking: Free self-parking. Mail entries with registration information to: North American Chess Association (make checks payable to), 4957 Oakton Street Suite 113, Skokie, IL 60077. Online registration preferred. Additional questions email to: . USCF and FIDE rated. For online registration and list of more events please visit -

Kamsky blows Topalov off board with Black

Topalov's Exchange sac on move 23 looked scary, but Kamsky counterattacked quickly and accurately.  Gata leads, 1½-½.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Candidates Matches underway

Eight players play knockout matches this month: the survivor will challenge Vishy Anand for the World Championship next year.

Follow the action live at

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Catching up with the ICA website

Lots of good stuff on the ICA website just in the past week!
If you go to the main ICA page and scroll down to "Chess in Philly," you'll be able to play through Aramil-Amanov in Chess Flash (sorry, no permalink available).  Mesgen showed me the game afterward: he explained that William blundered a pawn in the opening (the right idea is to play Nh4 before Qb3, as in the game continuation, 8...Bc2! just wins a button).  But after that inaccuracy, Aramil defended flawlessly (when pawns are on one side of the board, R+N are much stronger than R+B).  33.Re5! is a particularly good defensive move.  

Eric Rosen wins National High School Championship!!

Stolen from proud father Brad Rosen's Facebook post:

It's official--- Eric won the 2011 National High School Chess Championship this weekend in Nashville scoring 7.0/7.0, including a final round victory over IM Marc Arnold. Pretty amazing....thanx to Deren Getz for the photo and keeping Andi and I posted during the final.
The crosstable has already been posted: there were 1134 players in six sections, including 294 players in the Championship Section.  Eric's rating went from 2274 to 2333. Performance ratings involving perfect scores are very misleading, but I'm calculating a 2700 performance rating for Eric in this event!

Two Illinois teams finished in the top ten in the nation (click on "Team Standings:" to see details).  Led by Rosen, Niles North finished fourth.  But all four players had outstanding events: based on pre-event ratings, Rafeh Qazi's 4½ points was a phenomenal performance.

ROSEN, Eric S (7.0,2278)
QAZI, Rafeh (4.5,1621)
SPIEGEL, Evan (4.0,1767)
GUPTA, Saagar (3.5,1809)

Whitney Young finished tenth, led by Sam Schmakel and National High School Blitz champion Michael Auger, each with an excellent 5-2 score.

SCHMAKEL, Sam A (5.0,2099)
AUGER, Michael W (5.0,2111)
SWAN, Charles (3.5,1930)
WAECHTER, Mark Woodbury (3.0,1617)
MEI, Brian (3.0,1309)
CHAN, Kessidy (3.0,1617)
PENA, Cristian (3.0,1431)