Saturday, December 31, 2011

A nice New Year's present

If you're rated over 1700 (or want to be!), or if you enjoy endgame studies, or simply enjoy beautiful chess positions, here's the PGN file for you!

Dr. Harold van der Heijden, the editor of EG magazine, sells his collection of over 76,000 endgame studies for 50 EUR. I've had HHdbIV, the fourth edition, for a couple of days, and am really enjoying it!

M. Kleiman  
Chess Life and Review, 1968 
White to play and win 

This one is very amusing!

Final standings, 27th North American Masters

Unofficial, with FIDE ratings (hat tip to Keith Ammann).  GM Mesgen Amanov wins the Schiller System event comfortably, while FM Gauri Shankar and NM Adarsh Jayakumar score IM norms.  I believe that one doesn't get the IM title until one gets one's FIDE rating over 2400, so both Gauri and Adarsh have their work cut out for them.

Official results (with USCF ratings) are now up on MSA!

 #    Name            Rtng Rd1  2   3   4   5    6  7   8   9   Tot
 1 Mesgen Amanov      2524 W3  D2  D4  W12 D10 W11 W6  W8  W9  7.5
 2 Adarsh Jayakumar   2197 W5  D1  W7  L6  D8  D9  W12 W10 W11 6.5
 3 Gauri Shankar      2274 L1  D7  W5  W9  W6  D8  W10 D11 W12 6.5
 4 Eric S Rosen       2305 L7  D5  D1  W8  W9  W6  D11 D12 W10 6.0
 5 Angelo Young       2350 L2  D4  L3  W11 W12 D10 W8  D9  D6  5.0
 6 Aung Thant Zin     2300 D10 W11 D12 W2  L3  L4  L1  W7  D5  4.5
 7 Arjun Vishnuvardan 2308 W4  D3  L2  D10 D11 W12 D9  L6  D8  4.5
 8 Nikhilesh Kumar    2249 W12 D10 W11 L4  D2  D3  L5  L1  D7  4.0
 9 Trevor S Magness   2154 D11 W12 D10 L3  L4  D2  D7  D5  L1  3.5 
10 Albert C Chow      2205 D6  D8  D9  D7  D1  D5  L3  L2  L4  3.0 
11 Dan Wolf           2259 D9  L6  L8  L5  D7  L1  D4  D3  L2  2.0 
12 Matthew Waller     2257 L8  L9  D6  L1  L5  L7  L2  D4  L3  1.0

No cigar

FM Albert Chow has beaten his share of grandmasters over the years.  He can't quite reel in GM Mesgen Amanov in this game:

Nakamura leads Reggio Emilia

...and is currently #5 in the world on the "live" list!

The gap between the top four and the closely bunched pack at 5 through 10 is substantial, but Hikaru is making progress. for more details and full list

 Mark Crowther reports on today's wild Nakamura-Ivanchuk game.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Congratulations to NM Adarsh Jayakumar!

Adarsh also made it to the magical 6½-2½ necessary to earn an IM norm, his first!

Here's the crucial Round 9 game.White wins material out of the opening, but has to deal with the "meh" bishop vs. good knight conversion issue.  Adarsh finds an energetic solution to the problem.

Congratulations to FM Gauri Shankar!

It's not yet official, but Gauri appears to have earned his second IM norm at the 27th North American Masters!

Later today, NM Adarsh Jayakumar will play his postponed Round 5 game. A draw in that game will give him his first IM norm!

From Facebook: "I won and I played one of the best chess games I've ever played today!"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Liz Garbus's Fischer documentary on YouTube

Here's an embedded link to the BBC 4 documentary Genius and Madman (released in the USA by HBO as Bobby Fischer Against the World).

Essential viewing!

Another good fight

FM Nikhilesh Kumar neutralized Eric Rosen's anti-Grünfeld system and had a pleasant middlegame advantage. But if you have to trade punches with Eric Rosen, try to stay out of the endgame. Very impressive play by Eric!

Another Bogo-Indian

Illinois Co-Champion FM Aung Thant Zin knows how to make his opponent suffer!
Stop by the North Shore Chess Center to catch the action! Rounds are at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Fighting chess

Congratulations to NM Adarsh Jayakumar, who became a United States citizen yesterday! 

Adarsh and IM Arjun Vishnuvardhan had a fun brawl on Tuesday.  Arjun makes me want to start playing the Bogo-Indian: he was very close to putting the game away.  But Adarsh slipped away to a tenable ending, Arjun pushed too hard, and....

(Updated to correct scoresheet transcription error.)

Mitkov leads North American Open

Local Grandmaster Nikola Mitkov is tied for first with four other GMs (including Spanish super-GM Vallejo) at the North American Open at Bally's Casino Resort in Las Vegas. 

Standings are here.  FM Aleksandar Stamnov is tied for first in the Under 2300 section, and Jim Egerton has a perfect 4-0 in the Under 1900 section.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More from Monday: Young 0 - Jayakumar 1

NM Adarsh Jayakumar won two games and drew GM Mesgen Amanov.  A round four loss doesn't help his hunt for an International Master norm: he needs to score 4-1 in the final five games.

Here's how he beat IM Angelo Young in the first round:

Updated to correct scoresheet transcription error: Adarsh writes, "I played 7...Qc7 against Angelo. Qe7??? haha."

Play continues Wednesday at the North Shore Chess Center, with rounds at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

More of Monday's action

NM Matthew Waller plays a critical modern continuation, then improvises.  Only a couple moves out of theory, NM Trevor Magness gets a winning position with the Black pieces.  Fear the Marshall Gambit!

Play at the 27th North American Masters resumes tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Today's Round 1 action: 27th North American Masters

Black against Grandmaster Mesgen Amanov is the second-toughest pairing possible in Illinois!  FIDE Master Gauri Shankar almost made it to a tenable endgame.  But not quite....

Round 2 is wrapping up right now; Round 3 begins at 1 p.m. tomorrow.

More holiday puzzles

Ottó Bláthy, The Chess Amateur, 1922
White to play and win

NM Adarsh Jayakumar showed me this problem when he was ten years old.  (His teacher, IM Stan Smetankin, had given it to him for homework.)

If you enjoy this problem, Steven Dowd's latest column in Chess Life Online has similar fun stuff!  As you've doubtless already learned from your PlayStation or Xbox, sometimes a king and one other piece can take out an entire army.

Yule enjoy these puzzles

It's time for the ChessBase Christmas Puzzles 2011!

I found the "obvious" (and cute) solution to today's puzzle, but I admit to being stumped by the "Black's best defence" hint.  There is no way for Black to lose a tempo, is there?

Aha: NM Pete Karagianis posted a link to the answer on his Facebook page.  I didn't take the variation deep enough.

Tkachiev interviews Anand

World Champion Viswanathan Anand
Photo: Irina Stepaniuk for WhyChess

Another great WhyChess interview!  (Hat tip to Chicago's strongest vegan, NM Gopal Menon, who was disappointed that Vishy isn't a true vegetarian.)

Still another silly Internet game

Black in this blitz game played the dubious Symmetrical or Austrian Variation against the Queen's Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 c5?!). My 5.Nc3! is a well-known trick leading to a White advantage after either 5...Qa5 6.Nxd4 or, as played, 5...Qd8 6.Qxd4, heading for a favorable ending. Black's 7...a6? is a known blunder, allowing the very strong 8.Nd5! At move 10, possibly even stronger was 10.Be3, when Hook-Marumo, Novi Sad ol 1990 continued 10...e5 11.Nc2 Bf5 12.O-O-O+ Ke8 13.Nd5 b6 14.Bxb6, winning a pawn for starters. In my game, Black's 11...Nxb6?? gave me a choice of amusing mates.