Saturday, September 3, 2011

Zugzwangs I missed this summer (part II)

My opponent in this game, NM Kevin Cao, is one of the strongest young players in the Midwest.

Kamsky wins 1st game of World Cup Round 3

Gata Kamsky drew a very tough pairing for the Round of 32: many put the 20-year old Ian Nepomniachtchi in the same class as Carlsen and Karjakin.  Great win!

Judit Polgar won her first game against Karjakin.  Ivanchuk has to win with Black to avoid elimination.

Are you playing in the State Championship this weekend?

You can still make it to the DoubleTree in Oak Brook by 11:30 Saturday morning. And even if you slept in, you still have time to do battle with three Grandmasters, plus many masters and patzers, and win the State Championship title if you show up before 10:30 tomorrow, Sunday 9/4/2011.

Details here!

A "simple" pawn ending

Position after 45.Ka3: does conversion to a pure pawn ending with 45...Rxb5 draw?
In the last round of the CICL summer league tournament graciously hosted by the gurus of capital at Citadel Group, Mack Smith and I played a fun game with several interesting points. Learn from my mistakes! 

Beginners may wish to play around with the trébuchet position first to better understand what's going on in the pawn ending. You'll find a brief explanation in the Wikipedia article on zugzwang.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Still time to enter the Illinois Open and Scholastic!

(Counts on fingers) 119 players have preregistered for the Championship and 48 preregistered for the Scholastic: nice!

Haven't registered yet? Online registration is closed, but please come to the DoubleTree in Oak Brook: you can still register at the door!

For the three-day schedule, be there before 11:30 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday 9/3/11: the entry fee is a reasonable $90. If you register after 11:30, the price goes up to $100.

For the two-day schedule, be there before 10:30 Sunday 9/4/11: the entry fee is again $90. If you register after 10:30, the price goes up to $100.

If you are rated under 1799 and playing in the Open Section (a good thing to do for ambitious players rated above 1600, but probably a bit much for the rest of us), there's a surcharge of $10.

If you are registering for Saturday's scholastic event, be at the site before 10:30: the price is $30 cheap. After 11:30 a.m., $35.

U.S. Chess Federation membership is required for these events. You can join or renew online or onsite.

Judge Leighton profiled in this month's Chess Life

Check out Tim Redman's profile (subscribers only).

Judge Leighton was profiled on this blog last year. He beat me twenty years or so ago at the National Open in Chicago. I seem to have conveniently misplaced the scoresheet.

104 preregistrants for Illinois Open: this weekend in Oak Brook

You know you want to play: register today, save money, and have a more leisurely breakfast!

FM Nikhilesh Kumar Kunche, NM Kevin Cao, and NM Jon Burgess are also in the three-day schedule.

More info in this earlier blog entry.

Salt of the Earth

Keith Richards loves to play chess on his iPad. (Hat tip: Jim West on Chess.)

More Blaze coverage

More coverage of the Blaze's 3½-½ win over the Seattle Sluggers in the Skokie Review and on the team blog.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

84 preregistrants for Illinois Open

Are you coming to the DoubleTree in Oak Brook this weekend? The State Championship begins at noon Saturday (three-day section) or, if you're too busy to spend three days playing chess, 11 a.m on Sunday (two-day section). If you haven't preregistered, I'd suggest that you arrive a full hour before the game starts.

Mail registration is closed, of course, both online preregistration is still open until 6 p.m. tomorrow: why not do it now? You can sleep in a bit later on the day of the tournament and save money!

As always, there's a reserve section if you don't feel up to facing the big guns, although Michael Penway, who picked up 96 ELO in August by winning the Under 1800 section of the Chicago Class, is a big gun in his own right (thanks for the eggroll)!

The 3-day Open section is FIDE-rated, and clocks, sets, and boards are provided by Sevan Muradian of the North American Chess Association. The bookseller, Checkmate Chess, has a new owner, our own Mikhail Korenman. Checkmate Chess and ICA are providing a $20 gift certificate to all who finish the event with a plus score!

Here are the GMs, IMs, and NMs in each section so far:


Mesgen Amanov 2592
Dmitry Gurevich 2555
Aleksandar Stamnov 2283
Albert C Chow 2217
Tenzing W Shaw 2210
Sam A Schmakel 2202


Nikola Mitkov 2603
Angelo Young 2395
Eric S Rosen 2359
Aung Thant Zin 2260
Ken Wallach 2222

Don't forget your other playing options: the Game/25 event this Saturday evening (open to all), and the five-round scholastic event on Saturday afternoon. Register here!

The prize structure is interesting: there are generous Under 2400, Under 2200, Under 2100 (!), and Under 2000 prizes; in the Booster, there are Under 1600, Under 1500 (!), Under 1400, and Under 1200 prizes.

You'll find detailed information for all three events on the Chess for Life site and on the ICA Tournament Calendar.

See you this weekend!

Board 4: Rosen-Golub 1-0

9...e4 looks intimidating, but it weakens the d4 square. Eric Rosen took advantage.

Board 3: Kelley-Young 0-1

I just Googled "Filipino disciples of Nimzowitsch": Angelo Young is the top-ranked search result.

Board 2: Felecan-Cozianu 1-0

IM Florin Felecan transforms play against hanging pawn into play against pawn islands, then to a smooth tactical finish.

Board 1: Akobian-Gurevich ½-½

Here's the Board 1 game from last night's win over Seattle. Dmitry drew easily with the Black pieces, and could have played for the full point if the match score had required him to do so.

Hmm, White seems to be weak on the light squares in the diagrammed position.

Stolen from Facebook

Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen plays 1.c4 for IM Florin Felecan.
via Daniel Parmet
Brad Rosen writes:
Blaze come out smoking in week one with a 3.5 -.5 win over the Seattle Sluggers. Wins for Florin Felecan, Angelo Young, and Eric. Dmitry Gurevich draws. Go Blaze!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Catching up on the World Cup

Regular readers of this blog might have noticed that I try to report good news quickly, but I'm not exactly punctual with bad news.

Yury Shulman has had excellent World Cup performances in recent years, but this year, he was eliminated in the first round by reigining European Individual Champion Vladimir Potkin:

Check out the insanely good tournament site: there's a live video feed with master commentary in Russian and English!  This morning, I enjoyed watching Ivanchuk grind out a win from a dead drawn position and Bruzon win a hopelessly lost position against Vallejo.

Chess Life Online has regular coverage of the remaining USA players.  Yes, Sam Shankland eliminated Peter Leko!

Chicago Blaze open season tonight against Seattle

The lineups have been posted: the feature game is Varuzhan Akobian vs. Dmitry Gurevich.

The match begins at 8 p.m.  You can watch the action on the Internet Chess Club (membership required) or in person at  the North Shore Chess Center. 5500 West Touhy Avenue, Skokie.

August CICL Bulletin is out!

Check it out!  More annotated games from the CICL playoffs.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Zachary Holecek at K-8 Nationals

Zachary represented Illinois at the Barber K-8 National Invitational in Orlando.  He was kind enough to report on his (very solid) tournament experience for the Illinois Chess Association website. 

I began to annotate Zachary's interesting endgame with Sean Vibbert, then I got confused.  Let's see if I can post this analysis by Tuesday night....

Sunday, August 28, 2011

More on World Cup Round 1

Stories at The Week in Chess and US Chess Online (membership required).  I didn't get up early this morning to see the games live, but I'm told that there's English language commentary on the official site.

Tomorrow's action begins at 4 a.m. Chicago time (yawn).

Chicago Chess Meetup Group

Every Mondays at 7 p.m., the venue is Iguana Café, 517 N. Halsted.  I've been there (though not for chess): it's very nice.  The restaurant reviewers on UrbanSpoon give it a 92% rating , and the average entrée price is under $10.

For more info, join the meetup group.

Café owners tend to get annoyed with chess players who hang out all evening and only spend $2 for a cup of tea.  If too many chess players do this, the owners eventually ask the chess players to leave.  If, on the other hand, the players patronize the restaurant, the owners may start looking for ways to bring more chess players in.

Illinois Open in Oak Brook Labor Day weekend!

Here's the calendar listing.  I just checked the preregistration: GMs Gurevich and Amanov head the three-day schedule, while GM Mitkov and IM Young top the two-day schedule.  Both schedules merge after the third round.

The time control for all rounds of the three-day schedule is game/90 plus 30-second increment (that is, each player has 90 minutes to complete the game, plus 30 extra seconds added to the clock with each move made).  You'll never have a crazy time scramble with this control!  In fact, those of you accustomed to blitz play will need to learn to think prior to moving.  Minor downside: restroom breaks after move 40 must be efficient pit stops.  I'd like to see the time control for next year's championship be something like 40/90, sudden death/30, still with the 30-second increment from move 1.  But this is a quibble: the thirty-second increment is a big improvement over five-second delay.

Save a few dollars and enter now: I just did!  $79 for three days of play is incredibly reasonable.  If you're entering by mail, play it safe and enter today (mail entries must be postmarked by Tuesday). 

Big win for Sam Shankland

Sam drew one of the toughest possible opponents in Round 1: Peter Leko, who came within a few moves of winning the World Championship in 2004.  But Shankland won!  Rook and bishop vs. rook and knight endings are maddeningly difficult, even for endgame virtuosos.

When I was preparing for my first classical game against IM Florin Felecan a couple years ago, I was suprised to find that he had played several games against Peter Leko when both were teenagers.

World Cup Round 1, Game 1

Yury Shulman has had great success in previous World Cups. But his first round pairing is the formidable Vladimir Potkin, winner of this year's European Individual Championship.

Yury has a quiet draw with White. Now he has to hold with Black and win the tiebreaks.