Saturday, August 11, 2012

Equalizing is only the beginnning

NM Sam Schmakel of Whitney Young High School reaches a completely equal middlegame against former US Champion Alexander Shabalov. Sam tries for a little bit more than equality, and gets punished...this time.

U.S. Open, round 7 update

It's been a great weekend for Mexico in the Olympics, so perhaps it's appropriate that GM Manuel Leon Hoyos is leading the U.S. Open with two rounds to go. Nice coverage by Al Lawrence at Chess Life Online.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: you really don't want to defend a drawish endgame against Dmitry Gurevich.

At 6-1, Dmitry needs to pick up half a point in the last two rounds to contend for the qualifying spot in the U.S. Championship.

Mesgen introduces Vishy


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Travel photos and woodpushing

FM Michael Langer of Austin, Texas (the grandson of Lev Abramov, who captained the Soviet team in the famous USSR vs. World match in Belgrade) drove me to Mount St. Helen's on Tuesday. I was amazed that the devastation wrought by the 1980 eruption is still so evident: a dozen miles away, the remains of entire forests effaced by the eruption indicate the direction of the lateral blast. Closer to the volcano, stumps remain where the rest of the tree was vaporized.

The blast zone, many miles away:
everything in the valley was devastated on May 18, 1980
As bad as 1980 was, the Mount St. Helen's eruption was small potatoes compared to prehistoric volcanic eruptions in the Cascades.  One doesn't want to be around when Crater Lake blows again. (I've always wondered what Strangelovian continuity-of-government plans are in place for the Yellowstone Caldera "event": but we chess players do tend to be paranoid.)

Oh yes, chess.


Sam Schmakel equal third at Denker

Our high school representative, Sam Schmakel of Whitney Young, also did Illinois proud.  The final crosstable is here, and Chess Life Online has a nice feature on the winners of the Denker and the Barber.

Sam has a perfect score in the early rounds of the U.S. Open (six-day schedule), and will be playing "behind the ropes" against GM Alexander Shabalov.  You should be able to follow the action at action begins at noon Pacific, 2 p.m. Chicago time.

Both Sam and Sean Vibbert of Indiana (who also had a great event) came out swinging in the following game from Round 5. As often happens in Golden Gloves, they neutralized each other without doing damage.

George Li equal fifth at Barber

Congratulations to George Li and his family for the sixth-grader's wonderful result at the 2012 Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions!

Final results are here!

Checkmating the queen

On Tuesday night at the U.S. Open, Dmitry Gurevich made it look easy.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Greetings from Vancouver, Washington

Looking west from the I-5 bridge: Columbia River and Mt. Hood
The US Open might as well be in the Loop: I keep running into Dmitry Gurevich and Harold Winston.  Former ICA President Al Losoff (whose Sears Tower office used to be around the corner from mine, and who lived across the street from my brother-in-law before moving to Nevada) is working the event, as is Wayne Clark.

"I've played ...a6 and ...h6, I must be winning..."
Our Illinois representative, NM Sam Schmakel, won his first two games in the Denker Tournament of High School Champions, then lost to #2 seed SM Atulya Shetty of Michigan.  The game is featured on Chess Life Online.  (Denker standings are here.) 

Sixth-grader George Li has an even score in the Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions and is paired against a fellow expert: no easy pairings in either scholastic event!  Barber standings are here.  Thanks to both George and Sam for representing our state so well.

Oh yes, the US Open.  Here are the standings after round two.

I had an excellent adventure last night: almost got mated twenty different ways, fianchettoed my rook, and was offered a draw while I was an Exchange and pawn up.  It didn't take me more than a minute to accept....