Friday, June 17, 2011


And if your father is an übergeek, the strongest chess engine in the world is absolutely free!  Download here.

You will need a UCI-compatible chess graphical user interface.  ("A thingie that allows you to look at the game.")  I use ChessBase, but both Arena and Winboard are free.

From the Houdini homepage:
Houdini is appreciated by many players including top Grand Masters and the current chess World Champion. After his match against Alexei Shirov, chess World Champion Vishy Anand was asked "OK, three: Fritz, Rybka or Houdini?". Anand's reply: "Houdini" (read the full interview).   In another recent interview, when asked the question "If you had to pick one player to represent earth in a chess game vs. aliens, which active player would it be? You can pick different active players for the white and black side, if you feel it necessary", super GM Peter Svidler had the same simple reply: "Houdini".

Fathers' Day Emergency?

A few last-minute book recommendations.  Links are provided, but they ain't gonna arrive Sunday morning!

If Dad is a amateur who regularly plays in clubs, tournaments, or the Web, the fourth edition of Jeremy Silman's How to Reassess Your Chess is great.  And a classic by the late GM Larry Evans was recently republished, New Ideas in Chess.

If Dad just wants to read about chess, Frank Brady's Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall - from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness is a page-turner.

If Dad is into photography, Harry Benson's Bobby Fischer (just published this week: I haven't seen a copy yet) might be great for the coffee table.
If Dad doesn't mind the occasional reference to Bourdieu and Foucault, he may well enjoy Counterplay: An Anthropologist at the Chessboard (I just started reading this today).  (Fathers' Day P.S.: I finished it yesterday: refreshingly intelligent discussion of what it's like to be an serious amateur player.)

For the semi-serious player, Yakov Neishadt's Improve Your Chess Tactics: 700 Practical Lessons & Exercises is very good (I carry this with me on the train).  And if Dad likes to bore his opponents to death, Grandmaster Chess Strategy: What Amateurs Can Learn from Ulf Andersson's Positional Masterpieces is another book that's good for commuters.

If Dad wants to learn to play chess, then Bruce Pandolfini's Beginning Chess: Over 300 Elementary Problems for Players New to the Game is a fine start.

Last-minute shoppers might be able to find these books at the Barnes & Noble or Borders on State Street.

Nakamura-Carlsen: Spanish torture at Bazna Kings

Doesn't look like Hikaru got very much today with the White pieces.  World #1 Carlsen (still two years younger than the amazing Rory McIlroy) and child groom Sergey Karjakin are a full point ahead of Nakamura with four rounds to go: the rest of the field trails.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Niles North recruiting video

One hopes IHSA doesn't go overboard on sanctions ;-)

Click this link to view: I removed the embedding because it was loading automatically.

Seriously, fun stuff! Could we get a list of the actors in order of appearance?

Monday, June 13, 2011

FIDE Continental Americas Amateur Chess Championship, Rosemont, July 1-4

This too is a cut-and-paste from my email.  In case you were wondering, the venue is the InterContinental Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont.

Hmm, two friends of mine are running events against each other on the July 4th weekend.  I'll most likely be playing in one of them, but I sure as heck am not going to tell you folks which one to play in.

As with the previous post, no endorsement, express or implied! 

$15,000 Prize Fund Guaranteed

FIDE Continental Americas Amateur Chess Championship

The only 4th of July tournament in Chicago with a Guaranteed Prize Fund!

7R-SS Game 90 + 30/sec increment

Only $75 until 6/18

The FIDE Continental Americas Amateur Chess Championship is brought to the US for the first time in the tournaments history. The event will provide the opportunity to meet and compete against international chess players from North, Central, and South America.
The $15,000 prize fund is guaranteed and will increase in accordance to participation. All participants will compete in a single section with prizes available based upon rating classes:
Overall: $2000-1250-750; Top Female: $800-400
Top 2199-2100
and 2099-2000: $500 each
(Under 1400):

To be eligible to participate you must have a FIDE rating below 2200 and no title or no FIDE rating at all. This makes the event eligible to almost all players!

To get the lowest entry fees REGISTER NOW or visit our website for full details.
Round times that are easy to remember, spacious enough to have a great meal between rounds and are holiday conscious:
Rds 1 and 2 - July 1st @ 12pm and 6pm
Rds 3 and 4 - July 2nd @ 12pm and 6pm
Rds 5 and 6 - July 3rd @ 12pm and 6pm
Rd 7 - July 4 @ 12pm or take a bye!

As with all North American Chess Association organized events, all equipment is provided for you to make your chess playing experience the simplest and most enjoyable that it can be!

You have the chance to create fireworks over the board and then head to Navy Pier to watch a fireworks celebration over Lake Michigan! Or spend time at the world famous Taste of Chicago and try out multiple mouth watering cuisines from local restaurants!

July 2-3: All-American Double Class in Oak Brook

Cut and pasted from my email (exclamations and all).  Mailed entries save several dollars over online entries: deadline is Friday.

Note the innovative/weird schedule of play (ideal for out-of-towners and members of Reform congregations): two games on Saturday at 2:15 and 7:15, three games on Sunday, 9:45 a.m.-2:15 p.m.-7 p.m..
FREE RAFFLE for BREWER-CUBS Tickets [or Pirates-Cubs].

In 4 sections rating restricted. M/X [1900 & higher],
A/B [1500-1999], C/D [1100-1599], E/U [Unrated & Under 1200]
At the Doubletree Hotel in Oak Brook, site of 2006 US Open.

UPSET PRIZE in EACH SECTION of $100 on 7/2, and $50 on 7/3.


Go to for credit card entry
and tournament details, or e-mail for
more information and any questions.

EF: M/X $97, A/B $86, C/D $75, E/U $64 if mailed by 6/17/11.
Unrated players $30 off, but Unrated can ONLY play in E/U section!
Mail Entries to: Lawrence Cohen P.O. Box 6632 Villa Park, IL 60181.

Details also available in JUNE Chess Life,& JUNE Chess Life for Kids.