Saturday, August 25, 2012

Brooklyn Castle screening tomorrow

Brooklyn Castle is an award-winning documentary about the national champions at I.S. 318.  It's at the Siskel Film Center (164 N. State Street) as part of the Black Harvest Film Festival.  Only one show tomorrow, Sunday at 3:15.

Brooklyn Castle is also the final screening of the festival: this coming Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

White to play and win
(image stolen from the Brooklyn Castle homepage)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Seirawan to St. Louis!

Cut and pasted from an email:

Seirawan to Saint Louis as Acting Resident GM

SAINT LOUIS (August 24, 2012) -- Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan will arrive in Saint Louis on September 3 to serve as the acting Resident Grandmaster of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

Seirawan, a four-time U.S. Champion and former World Championship contender, came out of retirement in 2011 to play in the U.S. Championship, which was held in Saint Louis. He cited the exciting developments of the Saint Louis chess scene as a contributing factor for his renewed interest in competitive chess and the U.S. Championship.

“First, it is a great event, and I wanted to thank the good folks at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis for all their wonderful work,” he said. “Secondly, I got bored watching the young lions at play and felt the urge to join them.”

Seirawan followed the 2011 U.S. Championship with a stunning performance at the 2011 World Team Championship, where he finished with a 2773 performance rating, which was almost 140 points higher than his rating at the time.

This move will allow him to have a direct impact on the rapidly growing chess movement in Saint Louis.

For more information on the CCSCSL, visit

New CICL Bulletin online

Check it out! (pdf file)

The new Industrial League season will be beginning soon.  If you're interested in forming a team, drop the league a line!  (I'm wondering why we don't have a Google team in the league yet....with Google's Motorola Mobilty division coming to the Mart in the summer of 2013, I hope that changes soon.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Coffeehouse portraits


Albert and Angelo Sandrin remembered

Angelina, Albert, and Angelo Sandrin, 1968
For those of you who didn't know Albert, here's a nice introduction.

The 1949 U.S. Open was won by the legally blind Albert Sandrin.  His brother Angelo (a longtime expert who finally made it to 2300 after his retirement) also played in that event. On the rare occasions that Albert played (the 1989 U.S. Open in Rosemont comes to mind), Angelo would attentively monitor Albert's game and keep score for him.

Most Chicago players over age 45 or so will remember Angelo from many events at Jules Stein's Chicago Chess Center. Sometime in the mid-1980s, I was rummaging through a used bookstore in Rogers Park and came across the tournament book of the 1949 U.S. Open.  I bought it and gave it to Angelo.  The next time I saw him at Jules's, he surprised me with a bottle of Courvoisier. (Which my then brother-in-law drank in one sitting, but that's another story.)

I really didn't know Albert as well as Angelo. A couple years earlier (circa 1980-81?), I had played Albert once or twice at the ten-minute Tuesday night tournaments organized by Richard Verber at the old No Exit on Lunt. He was completely blind by this time, but could play blitz "by touch" on a standard set and clock, and beat me handily.  And in the aforementioned 1989 U.S. Open, I played on a board adjacent to Albert in an early round.  My opponent (a strong master) and I didn't pay much attention to our middlegame: we sat slack-jawed for half an hour or so as Albert dismantled his opponent's defenses in the style of Alekhine, and even exchanged a "Don't you wish you could play like this?" glance.

NM Frederick Rhine presented games of both Angelo and Albert in this 2011 post.  And Tartajubow (from whom I cribbed a good deal of this post) points us to this nice collection of Albert's games.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tactics happen

Burgess-Stamnov, Oak Brook 2004
White to play and win quickly

Truth to tell, the game's already resignable (is 1...Rxf3 really a threat? and if not, why not?)

But the finishing blow should be delivered swiftly.  Jeepers, I'm beginning to sound like Irving Chernev.

Three days of grandmaster lessons for only $150!

Such a deal at the North Shore Chess Center: each of the three training sessions is six hours long!

  • Saturday September 22, 2012 - Grandmaster Yury Shulman 
  • Saturday  October 20, 2012 - Grandmaster John Fedorowicz 
  • Saturday November 17, 2012 - Grandmaster Larry Christiansen

I've had the pleasure of listening to all three analyze (Christiansen post-mortemed one of my games in a Montréal dormitory back in 1974: makes me feel old).  Yury, Fed, and Larry are all excellent communicators and nice people.  This is a really great deal, so register now!

Like a bad soap opera?

Spassky's sister speaks.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Beat a world champion at the Illinois Open

OK, so the world champion is nine-year-old Awonder Liang, the reigning FIDE 8-and-under world champion: this year may be your last best hope to take Awonder down!  Hey, GM Larry Kaufman probably had Awonder busted before Awonder managed to win somehow, and Awonder didn't even come close to beating GM Joel Benjamin, who held Awonder to a comfortable draw.  A player who shall remain nameless (rhymes with "Nad Nosen")  already thinks it's too late for me... (blogger arches eyebrows).

Grandmasters Gurevich and Mitkov are among the preregistrants: action begins Saturday, September 1st!

Sept 1-3. 2012 Illinois Open State Championship. 6R-SS. Open Section (40/90 SD/30 + 30/sec incr). Reserve and Booster Sections (G/90 + 30/sec incr). Doubletree Hotel 1909 Spring Road Oak Brook, IL 60523 - Phone 630-472-6000. $8500 Guaranteed + $250 Isaac Braswell Fighting Chess Award in Open Section

3 sections: Open, Reserve (U1800), Booster (U1400). Prizes (non-IL players eligible for max 3rd place in Overall Prizes and 2nd place prize for rating bracket prizes: Open - Overall: $1600-1000-300, (2399-2200): $350-275-200; (2199-2100): $250-200; (2099-2000): $200-100; (1999-1900): $200-100; (1899-1800): $200-100; Reserve (U1800) - Overall: $750-450-225; (1699-1600): $250-200-150; (1599-150): $150-100; (1499-1400): $150-100; Booster (U1400) - Overall: $250-125-75; (1299-1200) - $100-50; (1199-1100): $100-50. Open & Reserve FIDE Rated. Free Entry for IL FIDE titled players (WFM & above). 

EF: $64 by 08/04/2012, $96 by 08/18/2012, $128 thereafter and on-site. No checks at site, credit cards ok. Online registration preferred. No phone entries. Re-entry: $60 with 1/2 pt in first two rds only. Rd 6 bye must committ by end of Rd 2 otherwise zero pt. Players in contention for prizes must play final rd or have 1/2 pt bye committed to by the end of Rd 2 otherwise ineligible for prizes. Special Rules for Playing Up: $10 more if 150 pts or less from cut off of section, $25 more if 151-300 pts from cut-off, $50 more if 301+ pts from cut-off (Example: 1620 wants to play in open, 180 pts from cut-off, pay $25 more to play up).NOTE: Playing up fee paid in cash at the door - players will be registered in their normal rating section unless you come to the TD room to request playing up. 

Schedule: 10am and 4pm each day. Mailed entries: North American Chess Association 4957 Oakton Street Suite 113 Skokie IL 60077. All mailed entries must be received by 8/24/2012. Questions: No Phone Calls. Advance entries and online registration at:

Hotel: $91/night + tax. Ask for Chess Rate. 

Boards, Sets, Clocks Provided. Must use organizer provided equipment. Chess vendor onsite. August Rating Supplement. Special Workshops: Chess in Education plus TD/Rules Workshop. 1-day Scholastic Event. For registration on the 1-day scholastic event please visit

USCF and ICA mbrshp required for main event.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Homo Ludens

The first chess book I read was a wonderful and typically eccentric (it's not oxymoronic to say "typically eccentric" when the authors are English!) beginners' manual, The Chess Apprentice. I still remember the epigraph:
The little angels of Heaven
Each wear a long white dress,
And in the tall arcadings
Play ball and play at chess;
To be human is to be creative, and we're at our most creative when we're playing games. Here's a mental health break that you might find timely in more than one sense:

I hope to see many of you at the memorial service for Jon Burgess tomorrow!