Saturday, August 24, 2013

See twelve moves ahead at a glance

Kreitchik-Laitgeb, Vienna 1951
White to play and win

One move wins, everything else loses.

 I cannot give enough praise to the book I found this example from, Artur Yusupov's Boost Your Chess 1: The Fundamentals.  It's the second book in a nine-book (!) series of training manuals.  If you read them in order, the first volume is Build Up Your Chess 1: The Fundamentals, and the third volume is Chess Evolution 1: The Fundamentals.  Forget the confusing names, and run out and buy these three orange books.  Each book consists of twenty-four tightly focused lessons with a related test.

Roughly, Yusupov's goal is in these first three books is to give the under-1500 ELO player the knowledge needed to make it to 1800.

The three-book "Beyond the Basics" series (all with blue cover) is intended to bring our knowledge up to 2100...

Build Up Your Chess 2: Beyond the Basics
Boost Your Chess 2: Beyond the Basics
Chess Evolution 2: Beyond the Basics

...and the three-book "Mastery" series (green covers) gets even harder.

Build Up Your Chess with Artur Yusupov: Mastery
Boost Your Chess 3: Mastery
Chess Evolution 3: Mastery

My peak USCF rating (so far!) is 2172, and I'm still slowly working my way through the orange books!  As Yusupov argues in the introduction, "The reader will benefit from the methodical build-up in this book, even if some of the material is familiar, as it will close any possible gaps in his chess knowledge and thus construct solid foundations for future success."  So in a given chapter, I might be able to solve 80% to 90% of the problems easily, but I'm finding some chapters surprisingly difficult.  (We chess autodidacts can fill gaps in our education, and these books are an amazing teaching resource.)

Yusupov studied with Dvoretsky, but these books are far more accessible than any Dvoretsky book I've ever picked up.

Just buy the darn things!

Angelo Young in Iowa City

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Department of hmm

As of this afternoon, we've got a whopping total of seventeen preregistrants for the 2013 Illinois Open.  With three grandmasters entered, it's true that your odds of winning the state title are low.  But with generous cash prizes and an incredibly strong field, your chances of having fun and bringing a little money home are high!

Or maybe you're a procrastinator like me?  (I was waiting till payday to enter....)

If you want to save the $3 convenience fee, Tim Just needs to RECEIVE your entry by August 26th.  Enter by mail here (this link is for non-ICA members).

ICA members, enter online here and save $5!  Or get your darn entry in the mail today and save another $3 (less postage): enter here (members only).

Enlightened by Houdini

It's always educational to analyze one's games, even "stupid" games like online blitz games, with a strong engine like Houdini. In the following game, for example, I made a major tactical hiccup on move 10, which should have dropped a piece - to which I, and apparently also my opponent, were oblivious. Then I did something right, exploiting his inaccuracy on move 15, and got "an easily won game." I blundered on move 23 with a "loose" move, which he exploited with a tactic that should have left me scrambling for a draw. But just two moves later he fell into a back-rank trap that left me in an ending an exchange up. Thanks to the wonders of premove, I was able to convert it into a win despite the dearth of time on my clock.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Play chess at Julius Meinl, 7 p.m. tonight!

To be more specific, the Julius Meinl on the southwest corner of Lincoln and Montrose...see you there!

We play blitz

Beware of this sort of thing - White pieces converging on c7 - in the Sicilian.

Lean precociously forward

More from the Trib: "I got the sense, reading this, that soccer and chess are for the ruling class of the future and dance is for the servants."  The book under discussion is Hilary Levey Friedman's Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture.

We all want our children to flourish, but sheesh, dance is cool, too.

"I ain't never heard the truth to be inconclusive"

From today's Tribune: did playing chess develop Mr. Savory's long-range planning skills, and help one execute a thirty-six-year plan to potentially clear his name?