Friday, February 1, 2013

Knight forks tutorial

Since we're on the subject of forks, here's an amusing game. White's play was execrable, but the game features two knight forks, one in a variation, the other in the game continuation. White played a sort of demented Kopec System against my Sicilian. Houdini 3 doesn't like my 5...Ne5, winning the bishop pair but exchanging off my opponent's bad bishop, preferring 5..Nf6 with a small advantage. White should have responded to my 6...Bh6!? (see diagram) with 7.Qe2, when the position is about equal. After his 7.Qg3??, I already had a winning advantage! Do you see how?
After 7...Bf4! the bishop was immune since 8.Qxf4? Nxd3+ would fork White's king and queen. So 8.Qh3 was forced, when 8...d5! discovered an attack on White's queen. Now the only way to save White's bishop would have been the abject 9.g4 Bxg4 10.Qf1. He missed this, playing 9.Qh4??, when 9...Nxd3+ won a piece and left White's queen in mortal danger. He fell into a knight fork with 10.Kd1? g5! 11.Qh5 Bg4+! 12.Qxg4 Nxf2+, and resigned.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Not a random shot

Albert Chow was already a strong player in 1979 (he won the Class B prize at the U.S. Open), but he was not yet a match for Erik Karklins. Chow counts on the "fork trick" 6.Nxe5 followed by 7.d4 to regain his piece, but Black has a different fork trick in mind.

Hat tip to Frederick Rhine.

"Meet the Champs"

As Nicholas Kristof goes on sabbatical, he leaves us with thoughts about Elizabeth Vicary Spiegel and I.S. 318 .

O brave new world

The Illinois Chess Association will soon be retiring its too-easily-hacked online forum.

Its replacement? A Facebook page, of course. Thanks again to Tom Sprandel!

Reeling in the big fish

Many have tried; few have succeeded.

Our own Carl Boor took down former U.S. Champion Alexander Shabalov last weekend:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Swiped from Carl Boor originally posted on the Chicago Area Chess Facebook page:
Chicago Masters Dmitry Gurevich, Carl Boor, Gopal Menon, and Zach Kasiurak played this past weekend at the Cardinal Open in Columbus Ohio. Gurevich and Boor shared 2-3rd place behind Brazilian champion GM Andre Diamant. The tournament was excellently conducted with generous prizes and a higher attendance than projected. In addition to GM Gurevich and Diamont former US champions Alex Yermolinsky and Alexander Shabalov (upset by Boor in the final round) competed.
Menon lost only to GM Gurevich (he nicked GM Shabalov for a draw), and Kasiurak lost only to Shabalov.  The local competition is getting rather intimidating....

Nine-year-old David Peng also played and lost a few rating points: he's still comfortably higher rated than your 55-year-old blogger.

Crosstable here!

Illinois Chess Association affiliate upcoming events

Hot off the e-mail press, courtesy of ICA Secretary (and Immediate Past President) Tom Sprandel.

This Saturday in particular looks like a great day for players and students at all levels.  The North Shore Chess Center is hosting GM Robert Hungaski for a lecture and simul (great for adults and advanced students), William Aramil and Carl Boor are teaching in Oak Park (great for all young players), and UNAM Chicago in conjunction with the Chicago Chess Center is hosting Super Bowl quads with a $10 entry fee (such a deal).

Whether it's sixty degrees or six below, play chess this weekend!

Highlights later this month include the U.S. Amateur Team in Schaumburg on Feb. 15-17 and the Illinois Blitz Championship on Saturday the 16th at the same site.  Travelers should mark their calendars the K-8 Championship in Bloomington and the Greater Peoria Open (an Illinois Tour event).

For more events, see the ICA Tournament Calendar.

Affiliate Events

DateTitle with ICA LinkLocation
2013-02-02NSCC - GM Robert Hungaski Lecture and SimulSkokie
2013-02-02Dynamic Chess Oak Park Monthly LectureOak Park
2013-02-02Super Bowl Quads at UNAM ChicagoChicago
2013-02-03North Shore Chess Center Game-45 - Plus Score EventSkokie
2013-02-09North Shore Chess Center Game-60 - Plus Score EventSkokie
2013-02-09Village of Park Forest Chess Challenge?New LocationHomewood
2013-02-09Wheaton Christian Scholastic Chess TournamentWinfield
2013-02-102nd NSCC ScholasticSkokie
2013 U.S. Amateur Team Championship -- North and Illinois Blitz CSchaumburg
2013-02-16Scholastic Class: Studying GM Lev AronianSkokie
2013-02-16Central Illinois Holiday Scholastic Chess TournamentJacksonville
2013-02-16Illinois Blitz ChampionshipSchaumburg
2013-02-16Dynamic Chess Unrated Tournament in Oak ParkOak Park
2013-02-18IECS Naperville Scholastic Chess TournamentNaperville
2013-02-23Thomas Middle School Chess Tournament for Grades 6-7-8Arlington Heights
2013-02-241st Skyrocket Chess TournamentGlenwood
2013-02-241st Skyrocket Chess TournamentGlenwood
2013-03-03North Shore Chess Center Game-45 - Plus Score EventSkokie
2013-03-09NSCC - GM Alexander Shabalov Lecture and SimulSkokie
2013 Illinois K-8 Chess ChampionshipsNormal
2013-03-10North Shore Chess Center Game-60 - Plus Score EventSkokie
2013-03-173rd NSCC ScholasticSkokie
17th North American Amateur - Plus Score EventSkokie
2013-04-06NSCC - GM Nick de Firmian Lecture and SimulSkokie
2013-04-07North Shore Chess Center Game-45 - Plus Score EventSkokie
2013-04-13North Shore Chess Center Game-60 - Plus Score EventSkokie
2013-04-144th NSCC ScholasticSkokie
Greater Peoria Open -- ILLINOIS CHESS TOURPeoria
18th North American Amateur - Plus Score EventSkokie

"The Grandmaster in the Corner Office"

Between tax season and a couple chess projects I'm working on, I might not be blogging too much in the next few days.

In the course of researching one of the chess projects, I came across this blog entry on deliberate practice (a buzzword among business gurus and chess trainers).  How do experts become expert at the thing they do? And why aren't we experts? I think I've previously recommended Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers as a fun read.

For the pedantic, K. Anders Ericsson's famous paper is available here (hosted on the Freakonomics blog).

Back to work!