Saturday, May 19, 2012

Vanity Catalan (or, "Kids, don't do this at home")

Granted, I missed stronger continuations, and my opponent was fully equal after the Exchange sac. But if Petrosian had been a coffeehouse player, he'd have approved.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Oh yes, the U.S. Championship

It's Kamsky-Nakamura in the penultimate round: Kamsky leads by ½ point.  A Nadjorf Sicilian (6.a4 variation) is on the board.

Link to live coverage here.

Nakamura (with Black) just won a clean pawn.  The average rating of Nakamura and Kamsky is roughly equal to the average rating of Anand and Gelfand: just sayin'.

Update #2: Nakamura just won a great game. After today, he should unofficially be at least #5 in the world, and possibly #4 (ahead of World Champion Anand).     Oops, still one win short of the #4 spot.

Oh yes, the World Championship

Game 6 in progress: right now, Kasparov and Svidler are discussing Gelfand's and Anand's chances on the live site.

U.S. Championship Round 9

Kamsky takes the lead with a brilliancy:

2012 U.S. Championship, St. Louis
White to play and win

So why didn't Black play 23...Nd7, one asks?  The answer is not hard to find, but it's very beautiful.

Kamsky-Seirawan (variation after 23...Nxd7?)
White to play and win

"IM Felecan Appointed Coach at Northside College Prep"

Story on the ICA website: Michael Bologna reports.  Florin is a good person, a great player, and a great coach.

I'm not sure that Northside can produce a state champion in the near future (selective enrollment has its disadvantages, and I believe that Northside has the smallest student body of CPS's selective enrollment schools).  But if anyone can do it....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Interview with Cándido Tirado

From (where else) Washington Square Park Blog.

Cook County Criminal Courts Building renamed in honor of Judge George N. Leighton

The Honorable George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building
This happened a couple months ago, but I missed the story.

Sun-Times story here.  October 22nd will be Judge Leighton's 100th birthday: when he's in town on June 29th, perhaps we can get him to play an exhibition match with Erik Karklins.

Nakamura-Shulman going on right now

Follow the game at

Silly Internet game #671

Beware the "free pawn" that isn't free! The tactical motif seen in this game (12.Nxf7! with the idea of 12...Kxf7 13.Bg6+, winning the queen) also occurs in some traps in the Caro-Kann, for example 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Ng5 Ndf6 6.Bd3 Qxd4? 7.Nxf7! and wins.

More from CICL Playoffs

My teammate David Franklin annotates his loss to a formidable opponent, NM Tenzing Shaw of St. Charles CC:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Shipov on Anand-Gelfand

Hard to keep up with the World Championship in Moscow (let alone the U.S. Championship in St. Louis) with so much going on in Chicago!

English translation here (completed games) and here (live game).

The score after three games is 1½-1½: Gelfand has White in Game 4 (Tuesday, 6 a.m. Chicago time).

Fundraiser blitz event for Braswell Memorial prize

From the Evanston Chess website:

Blitz tournament will fund Braswell Memorial High School chess prize
The Evanston Chess Club and the Illinois Chess Coaches Association (ICCA) are very pleased to announce the Isaac Braswell Memorial Prize. This new prize will recognize achievement in IHSA (Illinois) high school chess competition by an African American high school senior, and will be awarded in 2013.
Evanston Chess Club will hold a USCF-rated blitz tournament on Saturday, June 9, 2012, to raise funds for the Braswell Memorial Prize. All entry fees ($5 at the door) and free-will donations beyond the entry fee will go to the prize fund.  Registration for the tournament is from 9:00-9:30 a.m. and it will be held at the Levy Activity Center, 300 Dodge Ave., Evanston. For more information, click here. Those who cannot attend the tournament but would like to make a donation should contact Maret Thorpe.
The Braswell prize will be awarded to the African American high school senior with the highest IHSA chess rating following the IHSA State Chess Team Championship in February 2013. The winner will receive a cash prize, a plaque and recognition on the ICCA and Evanston Chess Club web sites.
Evanston Chess hopes to hold the tournament annually and continue funding the prize.
Isaac M. Braswell (1979-2012) was one of the strongest active African American chess players in the Chicago area. He reached a peak USCF rating of 2104 (expert level), in spite of poverty, disability and health challenges. Everyone who knew Isaac remembers what a friendly, funny, enthusiastic and kind person he was, even as he was a fierce competitor over-the-board. Isaac’s friendships crossed all lines of race, age, class and profession, and chess was one of many ways he connected with others. Isaac probably played chess everywhere in Chicago; he was a regular at Evanston Chess Club, and in February 2012 played for an Evanston Chess Team at the US Amateur Team-North championships. He also played in the Chicago Industrial Chess League.

Use your fingers and toes

Nik Goncharoff of the Motorola Kings has played 612 (!!) games in the Industrial League.  So it's not surprising that he knows how to count reserve tempi.  Create zugzwang in a pawn ending, and the player who has more pawn moves in reserve will usually win:

Downers Grove CC wins 2012 CICL Title

Every team's goal: to add its name to the trophy underneath First National Bank, Western Electric, the Argonne Knights....

The trophy has a stylish traveling case:

The players had a panoramic view of Chicagoland from the 16th floor of Concord Place in Northlake (the Loop's skyline is barely visible in the picture below).

Yes, that's the Chicago skyline barely visible on the horizon

Round 2: Motorola Kings vs. DRW Trading Group

Round 2: Wombats vs. Motorola Knights

Final playoff standings per

Left: 2012 CICL Champions, Downers Grove CC
Downers Grove Chess Club 3-0 League Champions
Rogue Squadron 2.5-.5 2nd place
South Suburban Chess Club Wombats 2-1 3rd place
DRW Trading Group 1.5-1.5
St. Charles Chess Club 1-2
Motorola Knights 1-2
Motorola Kings 1-2
Citadel / U of Chicago 0-1 (dropped out) 

Members of 2nd place Rogue Squadron in action against St. Charles CC

Alex Bian ties for K-6 title in Nashville

Congratulations to sixth-grader Alex Bian (2052), who finished in a four-way tie for first in the 190-player K-6 section of National Elementary Championship, held this past weekend in Nashville.  Alex was paired up twice in the event and finished at 6-1.  Anshul Adve (1853)  was in contention for the national title until the final round: he finished with an undefeated 5½-1½.

Fourth-grader David Peng (1966) was the top Illinois finisher in the 284-player K-5 section, finishing with an undefeated 5½ -1½.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May CICL Bulletin

The May CICL Bulletin is out! 

Tom Friske has retired as the Industrial League's webmaster and games editor: thanks to Tom for his years of service from someone who knows what it's like....