Saturday, July 9, 2011

So what's Chicago's Immortal Game?

The Illinois Chess Database  (updated earlier today by Tom Sprandel) gives us a good excuse to ask this question: what's the best game ever played in Chicagoland?  Your nominations are welcome.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Chess Fun at Rudy Lozano Public Library

 If you're in Pilsen (18th and Loomis) on a Friday afternoon between 2 and 4 p.m., drop by the library!  Get free lessons, or just play.

Details here.

"A teen with many interests"

Albert Alfano (Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media)

Read about Albert Alfano, a senior at St. Rita, in the Southtown Star.

He's considering a philosophy major in college.  As a refugee from academia, I would advise him that the big bucks are in comparative literature.

Where to play this weekend?

On Saturday, there's the Lincoln-Way West Open in New Lenox.  Outside the metro area, there's the Route 20 Rated Beginners' Open/Open Swiss in Freeport.

And we've already mentioned the Blaze fundraiser in Skokie.

On Sunday, there's the 67th Knights Quest in Northbrook.

Next weekend, it's the 4th Annual Chicago Class in Wheeling.

As always, look to the ICA Tournament Calendar for info on upcoming events!

And of course, there's always the Chess Pavilion.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Pinoy ties for 1st in Philadelphia chess"

A Touch Move Chess Club member and frequent player at the Evanston Chess Club gets notice in the international press.  Fom the Phillipine Daily Inquirer:
FILIPINO Rene Ancheta defeated American Raynard Simmons in the ninth and final round to finish tied for first place in the 39th Annual World Open Chess Championships last July 4 at the Sheraton Philadelphia in Race Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

The Makati City pride Ancheta, who is currently based in Chicago, tallied 7.5 points, the same output of Aaron Jing, Arnold Fuchs, Aakaash Meduri and Robby Hecht in the [Under 2000] Division.  All of them received $5,521.60.
And we're proud of him here in Chicago, too!

"Zing 'em With Zugzwang"

A classic column from my favorite Nixon Administration speechwriter explains zugzwang to non-chessplayers by quoting GM Arthur Bisguier: ''When standing in a traffic island, with cars going in both directions, one is most assuredly in Zugzwang.''

Hat tip to former USCF Executive Director / Facebook friend Al Lawrence.

Also: Zugzwang  does not rhyme with "bug thang."   But in standard English usage (contra Safire), use the lower case.

Illinois Database project

Tom Sprandel recently posted the first version of the Illinois database on the ICA website.  It's got just over 10,000 games.

The current version of the database (not yet live on the ICA website) is almost 20,000 games: it begins with an 1858 Louis Paulsen simul in Chicago and ends with games from the 2011 Chicago Open.  The collection draws heavily from ChessBase, CICL, and the ICA archives.  We'd like to include as many annotated games as possible, but we don't want to infringe on any copyrights.  

What games belong in the database?  I'd like to err on the side on inclusiveness without being silly.  Any game by an Illinois master (no matter where in the world it was played), any master game played in Illinois, any interesting amateur game (you probably have hundreds of your own games!), and games played by "honorary Chicagoans" (Bill Martz, Emory Tate, Bill Colias).  The database also includes games of immigrants to Illinois from "the old country."  Simul games and postal games are most welcome.  (Maybe even endgame studies? The Lasker-Reichheim position was first published in the Chicago Tribune.) And please don't be bashful: send wins, losses, and draws!

Bobby Fischer was born at Billings Hospital Michael Reese (not the first time I've published this misinformation) and Sammy Reshevsky went to the University of Chicago, but one has to draw the line somewhere: I've only included Reshevsky's games from his Midwest years (roughly 1924-34) and essentially excluded Fischer unless he was playing someone from Illinois.

If you have a collection of games that you'd like to contribute to the project (clean PGN or CBV files strongly preferred: ask me about data formatting), please drop me a line!  Perhaps we can swap files....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blaze fundraiser - Grandmaster workshop this Saturday

Another email cut-and-paste

Introducing the 2011 Chicago Blaze Team!

Hello everyone! 3 years ago many people came together to form the Chicago Blaze. We were kindly supported by the local chess community and each season we challenged ourselves to do better, eventually reaching our first post season in 2010!

The 2011 season which begins at the end of summer will introduce our most vibrant lineup yet. As such I'm pleased to announce the 2011 Chicago Blaze team:

Grandmaster Yury Shulman
Grandmaster Josh Friedel
Grandmaster Mesgen Amanov
Grandmaster Dmitry Gurevich
International Master Florin Felecan
International Master Angelo Young
FIDE Master Jim Dean
National Master Eric Rosen
National Master Gopal Menon
National Master Sam Schmakel

As done last season, all games played by the Chicago Blaze will be done at the North Shore Chess Center in Skokie, IL. Supporters are welcome and we will have quick rated fundraising tournaments running in parallel.

Here's to a championship run in 2011!

Best regards,

The Chicago Blaze Management Team
Sevan A. Muradian, Daniel Parmet, Jae Lim, Brad Rosen, Tom Panelas, and Glenn Panner


Chicago Blaze Fundraiser - Train with 2 Grandmasters!

Chicago Blaze Fundraiser

4-hour training session with
GM Dmitry Gurevich and GM Mesgen Amanov

Saturday July 9th 11:30am - 3:30pm

Hosted at the North Shore Chess Center

100% of proceeds to benefit the Chicago Blaze!

Must be rated above 1600 to participate as we will break up into groups of 10-12 during the training session

Only $75 advance entry or $100 at the door

Spend 4 hours with two Chicago Blaze team members, as they review all aspects of the game from openings, to middle game planning, to endgame technique.

Lunch is included with this training session along with a simul with another local area master at 4pm.

Entry Fee: $75 received by 7/8 9pm online; $100 onsite

(onsite entries are not guaranteed and based on available space)

Questions: or call 847.423.8626

Register online:

The Chicago Blaze is the representative for Illinois in the US Chess League.

The Chicago Blaze is entering its 4th season of competition.

Last season we made it to the playoffs for the first time. With your support we can build a team that will aim for the championship this season!

The North Shore Chess Center is located at
5500 W Touhy Ave Suite A Skokie, IL 60077

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stamnov wins All American Double Class

NM Aleksandar Stamnov scored an impressive 4½-½ to take clear first in Larry Cohen's All American Double Class, held July 2-3 in Oak Brook.  IM Angelo Young, FM Albert Chow, NM Peter Gilruth, and NM Kevin Cao tied for second, a full point back.

Zhaozhi Li and Andrew Pheasant tied for first in the A/B section with 4-1 scores.  Rudy Padilla and Jordan Nach shared B/C honors, also with 4-1.  And Andrew Hochstadt's undefeated 4-1 score was good for clear first in the E/Unrated diviision.

Crosstable here!

Sapozhnikov-Amanov, Round 2, World Open

It's official: Mesgen tied for third place. 

"Youth Committee Sends Expanded Chicago Proposal to New Leaders"

Read the story and the proposal itself on the ICA website!

Beta version, Illinois Chess Database

Hard-working ICA President Tom Sprandel just gave us a new toy to play with: check it out!

It's a beta version, so your constructive criticism would be most appreciated.  I have another version of the database coming with more than 5,000 additional games.  It would be incredibly cool to get more complete collections of the games of Illinois masters and amateurs (is Alan Watson lurking somewhere??), it would be cool to get annotations online live, it would be cool to get a more robust search function.

Seeing this database makes me think of friends who are gone.

Bring back the Illinois Chess Tour!

Nothing's official yet, but the ICA Board is very excited about Mike Cardinale's proposal.  The spiffy logo means T-shirts (and substance) are soon to follow!

P.S.  Look for more coverage of this weekend's events shortly: I'm waiting on game scores, MSA, and (not least) the delivery of a new DSL wireless router.

Monday, July 4, 2011

More unofficial congratulations... Grandmaster Mesgen Amanov, who just beat fellow GM Tamaz Gelashvili, an anchor of Georgia's Olympiad team. (Gelashvili beat Amanov earlier this year at the Philadelphia Open.)

Looks like a dropped flag in a position where Black's edge may be slight. All wins are good!

Mesgen should tie for third or fourth. Supergrandmasters Adams and Kamsky tied for first, with games still in progress.

Unofficial congratulations.... the newest National Master in Illinois, Sam Schmakel of Whitney Young High School!

Sam was the top Illinois finisher at the Continental Americas Amateur Class Championships, held July 1-4 in Rosement.