Saturday, June 30, 2012

The trapper trapped

My opponent in the following game responded to my King's Gambit with the bizarre 2...f5? The Symmetrical Defense to the Queen's Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 c5?!) is dubious enough, but the same thing on the kingside really should lose by force. I won a rook with the little tactical trick 3.exf5 exf4 4.Qh5+ g6 5.fxg6 Nf6 6.g7+! Nxh5 7.gxh8(Q), and was quite confident of victory. Sure, he can try to trap my queen on h8, but that never works in these positions, right? To my dismay, however, I couldn't figure out how to extricate my queen, and managed to lose the game!

I later learned that Chigorin-Hruby, Vienna 1882 had continued 7...Qh4+ 8. Kd1 Nf6 9. Bc4 d5 10. Nf3 Bg4 11. Be2 Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Nbd7 13. Re1+ Kf7 14. b3 Rb8 15. Bb2 Bh6 16. Bxf6 Qxe1+ 17. Kxe1 Rxh8 18. Bxh8 c6 19. Nc3 1-0. My opponent deviated with 7...Qe7+ 8.Be2 Nf6, intending to trap the queen with an eventual ...Bg7. One possible improvement is 11.Bxc7!?, when 11...Qxc7? would be met by 12.Qxf6. Another improvement is 12.0-0 (rather than my 12.0-0-0), when the rook on f1 X-rays Black's pieces on the f-file. Yet another improvement is 13.Nf3 0-0-0 14.Ne5! Then 14...Bg7 would be met by 15.Nxc6!, winning spectacularly (15...bxc6 16.Ba6#; 15...Rxh8 16.Ne7+ and 17.Nxf5; 15...Qxe2 16.Nxa7+), while 14...Nxe5 15.dxe5 Bg7 (or 15...Nd7 16.e6!) would allow me to get a lot of wood for my queen with 16.exf6 Qxf6 17.Qxd8+. Instead, my 13.Bc7? was an eccentric idea, intended to prevent him from castling. I continued my weak play by overlooking his 15...Bh6+ winning my queen, and resigned. Embarrassment city.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chicago chess players: "There are many good ones, but no club"

This Chicago Tribune story is hot off the presses (belated hat-tip to Keith Ammann).

P.S. 7/5/2012: the original link didn't work, so I uploaded the image of the 1887 newspaper article, thinking that one could click on it to magnify it.  Oops!  If you're dying of curiosity, you can download the image to your desktop, open in Windows Paint, and resize to (say) 250% to read.

But it ain't *that* interesting :-)


ugly HTML, beautiful event

The Chicago Class is an Illinois Tour event!

5th annual

July 20-22 or 21-22, 2012 - Wheeling, Illinois
July 20-22 or 21-22   Illinois
Trophies Plus Grand Prix Points: 120 (enhanced)
5 round Swiss, 40/2, SD/1, d5 (2-day option, rounds 1-2 G/75, d5).
No residence requirements.
At the luxurious Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel, 601 North Milwaukee Avenue, Wheeling IL 60090. From Chicago, I-294 north to US-45 north; from Milwaukee, I-94 to Lake Cook Rd to US-45 south). Free parking.  
In 8 sections; no unrated allowed in Master or Expert.  Rated players may play up one section.
Master Section (2200/up): $2000-1000-600-400, clear win or 1st on tiebreak $100, top U2400 $800-400. FIDE rated.
Expert Section (2000-2199): $1400-700-400-200.
Class A Section (1800-1999/Unr): $1400-700-400-200.  No unrated may win over $900.

Class B Section 
(1600-1799/Unr): $1400-700-400-200.  No unrated may win over $700.
Class C Section (1400-1599/Unr): $1200-600-400-200.   No unrated may win over $500.
Class D Section (1200-1399/Unr): $1000-500-300-200.  No unrated may win over $300.
Class E Section (Under 1200/Unr): $1000-500-300-200.  No unrated may win over $200.
Under 1000 Section: (Under 1000/Unr): $200-100-60-40, trophies to first 5, top Under 800, Under 600, Unrated.  No unrated may win over $100.
Balance of any limited prize goes to next player(s) in line.
PRIZE LIMITS: If any post-event rating posted at 7/19/11-7/19/12 is more than 30 points over section maximum, prize limit $500.
Top 7 sections entry fee: 3-day $103, 2-day $102 mailed by 7/11, all $104 ONLINE at by 7/16, $110 phoned to 406-896-2038 by 7/16 (entry only, no questions), $120 at site. No checks at site, credit cards OK.
Under 1000 Section entry fee: $70 less than top 7 sections entry fee.
Online late entries accepted from 7/17 to 2 hours before your first game (same fee as on site late entries).

Online or mailed entry fee $5 less to ICA members; join/renew at An ICA Tour event.

Special 1 year USCF dues
 with paper magazine if paid with entry.  Online at, Adult $30, Young Adult $20, Scholastic $15.  Mailed, phoned or paid at site, Adult $40, Young Adult $30, Scholastic $20.  Re-entry $50; not available in Master Section. GMs free, $80 deducted from prize.
Unofficial ratings usually used if otherwise unrated.
3-day schedule: Reg. ends Fri 6 pm, rds. Fri 7 pm, Sat 11 am & 6 pm, Sun 10 am & 4:30 pm.
2-day schedule: Reg. ends Sat 10 am, rds. Sat 11 am, 2:30 pm & 6 pm, Sun 10 am & 4:30 pm.

Half point byes: OK all rounds, Master must commit before rd 2, others before rd 3.
Hotel rates: $103-103-103-103, 800-937-8461, 847-777-6500, reserve by July 6 or rate may increase.

Room sharing:
 If you want to share a room to save money, see or post this on the CCA FORUM, or email us and we will post it for you.

Car rental: 
Avis, 800-331-1600, use AWD #D657633, or reserve car online.

Bring set, board, clock
 if possible- none supplied.
Ratings:  July official USCF rating list used.  Foreign player rating info. 
 Continental Chess, Box 249, Salisbury Mills NY 12577. $15 service charge for refunds. No smoking.,, 845-496-9658. Advance entries posted at Chess Magnet School Junior Grand Prix Points available.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's not easy making norms

Not only does the master have to win against 2400+ players, he or she also has to find a way to beat well-prepared experts who play active, solid chess.  (And all the young players today seem to be well-prepared...)  The stronger player needs to find winning chances, preferably without creating losing chances....

Adarsh proves up to the task, but the modestly-rated Sarah Chiang had chances of her own until late in the game.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Michael Adams annotates...

...his simul win against Steffen Klug of the Downers Grove Chess Club.

Daniel Parmet's report on the simul (with scores of all ten games) can be found here.  At the risk of repeating myself, I had a wonderful evening, as I'm sure that those who attended GM Adams's lecture and simul at the North Shore Chess Center also did.  He's a really nice guy!


How many people do you suppose have blundered with ...Nxc4??, dropping a piece to Qa4+? I'm thinking that the number is literally in the billions. Note, incidentally, that Black's 1.d4 d6, an opening without a name, can already be considered a little bit of a trap. The best responses are 2.e4 (with a possible transposition to a Pirc after 2...Nf6 3.Nc3 g6, although 2...e5!? and 2...Nf6 3.Nc3 e5!? are also reasonable) or 2.Nf3, as in this game. If White plays the natural 2.c4?!, 2...e5! already gives Black a plus score, especially if White trades queens with 3.dxe5?! dxe5 4.Qxd8+. Instead, 3.Nc3 is still OK for White, transposing to a line of the English that arises after 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 d6 3.d4!? - as long as he doesn't follow Hübner-Kasparov, Hamburg 1985, a crushing win for Black.

GM Karsten Müller annotates endings from Chicago Open

Good stuff on ChessBase.  Don't miss the endgame between GMs Shabalov and Sargissian, beginning at move 75.  (It's hard to win clear first in the Chicago Open unless you win at least one drawn ending!)

I'd just happened to see GM Yermolinsky's instructive comments on the Shabalov-Sargissian game on ICC this past Sunday.  It's the June 3rd entry in Yermo's "Every Russian Schoolboy Knows" series, "Bishop vs. Knight - Part 1."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Adarsh Jayakumar wins second IM norm

The International Master title requires three norm performances: the 5th New York International Open is Adarsh's second.  He scored 6-3 in a strong field.  Congratulations to Adarsh!

FM Eric Rosen just missed a norm with 5½-3½.  Another veteran of the Illinois Chess Association's Warren Junior Program is IM Zhe Quan, who is now a Canadian citizen and who plays top board for New York University.  Zhe Quan scored 6-3 and was in contention for a Grandmaster norm.

All rook endings are drawn...

...except for the ones that aren't. The comments to Jim Duffy's game made me take another look:

Fabijonas-Duffy, CICL Individual Championship
After 33...Ke6
White to play and draw
(more than one solution, but there's a simple route)

After 46.g4
Find Black's best move

After 48...Rxa1
Find White's best move