Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Belfast Immortal

My former graduate school / barroom colleague Paul Catterson plays the game of his life.  I have vowed revenge.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Warm up for the big event at the Illinois Class Championships!

This year's Illinois Class is an affordable one-day event in Lisle.  Have fun, warm up for the Midwest Class Championships, win Tour Points, and support the Illinois Chess Association.  See you there!

A State Championship Event
Sunday, November 24, 2013
2013 Illinois Class Championships
An Illinois Chess Tour Event
4SS: G/60, 5 sec. increment. Location: Hilton Lisle/Naperville; 3003 Corporate West Drive; Lisle, Illinois, 60532; USA TEL: 1-630-505-0900, $89 + tax room rate if reserved by 6pm Nov 15th, mention Illinois Chess Association. 
Six Sections: Master & Expert, Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, U1200. For a fee, you may play up one section, but you must be an E player to play up into the Class D section. November rating supplement determines section eligibility. 
Prizes: Master & Expert (one section): $500-$200-$50. Classes A, B, C, D (four sections): $150-$75-$40 each section. U1200: Trophy-Medal-Medal (no cash prizes, tie breaks apply). Cash prizes based on 90 entries in MX through D sections.
EF: MX through D $40, U1200 $20, plus $5 for non-ICA members, plus $10 after Nov 17th. Play-up fee $20 cash, payable on-site. Free entry to GM, WGM, IM, WIM, FM, WFM FIDE titleholders who list Illinois as their state of residence with the USCF. Contact Tom Sprandel,, to register.
Registration: On-site 8:30 - 9:30am. Online (ends 9:00pm, Nov 23rd). Or, mail check, name, USCF#, and phone number to: Class Championships; Illinois Chess Association, Inc.; 150 N Wacker Dr, Ste 3100; Chicago, IL 60606. (Must arrive by Nov 16th.) Round Times: 10:00am, 12:30pm, 3:00pm, 5:30pm. 
Other: All special rules, details, and tournament conditions are subject to change without notice and will be posted ASAP at the site or on-line.

$10,000 in prizes at Greater Midwest Class Championships in Rosemont 11/29 to 12/1!

Yes, folks, that's $10,000!

You can choose between three-day and two-day schedules, too.

Details here.

Enter here!

Monday, November 11, 2013

XX1 Chicago Latino Championships in Pilsen on November 30th

Thanks to Hector Hernandez for running the 21st edition of this labor of love!

5SS G/30. Non-rated. Chicago Public Library Lozano Branch, 1805 S. Loomis Street, Chicago, IL 60608. Schedule: Registration is from 9-9:30 am on the day of the event only. Time: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm 5. Rounds: 10:00 am, 11:15 am, 1:00 pm, 2:15 pm, 3:30 pm. Sections: Section I: Open to players 15 years of age and older. Section II: Open to players 14 years of age and younger. Prizes: 10 trophies awarded in each section. Entry fee: Free. For more information: or (312) 746-4329

Hmm, November 16th is a busy day....

Two nice events at Whitney Young (but a bit of a scheduling snafu), as there's a great unrated scholastic event in the city and a great USCF-rated state championship event in the Twin Cities.  Oh well: there are only so many weekends in the year, and stuff like this happens.  The trick is to minimize the calendar conflicts....

But note the Winter Camp on January 2-3, 2014.  Michael Auger is simply wonderful with children!  (He's not bad with AARP members like me, either.)

K-8 Chess Tournament:
Date:  November 16th, 2013

Place:  Whitney Young High School (2nd Floor Library)  211 S Laflin, Chicago
Schedule:  4 rounds, Game 30, Check in 9:00-9:45am, 1st round begins at 10am, last round ends around 2pm
Sections: All USCF Rated: K-2, K-8 Open, and K-8 U1000; USCF membership is required and can be purchased at the event.

Entry Fee:  $20 online registration by 11/15, $25 on site.
Awards are given to the top 5 individuals and top team (3 players) in each section.

Register at

Winter Camp Details:

All Camps run from 9am - 2pm, feature master level instruction, include lunch, both casual and tournament play, including blitz and bughouse, and recess usually in a gym or outside.

January 2-3 @ Whitney Young High School

211 S Laflin, Chicago, IL 60607

Featured instructors:  National Master Michael Auger and State Champion Chess Coach Paul Kash
Entry Fee $50 per day

All-Grade Championship this November 16th in Bloomington!

Mark Nibellin and the Bloomington-Normal crew always run a great event.  My personal opinion: if your child has USCF tournament experience at any level and is grades K-8, a road trip to the All-Grade is not to be missed!

(For high school students, it's skippable. Again IMO.)

ICA announcement here.

The  Illinois All Grade state championship is coming up on November 16th.  This is one of the two most important events for Illinois’ scholastic players in grades K-12.  
Event Details: Bone Student Center, Illinois State University, 100 N. University St., Normal, IL 61761
Schedule: Arrive by 8:30 Rd 1 begins at 9:00 am.  Subsequent rounds begin a minimum of 15 minutes from the last game completed in each section’s previous round.

Sections: 10 sections by grade, K-8, and 1 combined high school section, 2 if numbers warrant:
K-3: 5 rounds, Swiss system, G/30 
4-5: 5 rounds, Swiss system, G/45
6-12: 4 rounds, Swiss system, G/60
Players must come from the state of Illinois. Top three players count toward team score. No Club Teams. No byes last round. Byes for any single round must be requested before the end of the first round. Only one bye allowed for tournament. All other rules/regulations shall be in accordance to ICA By-laws and the USCF Rulebook.
Each grade K-1 and 6-8 10 individual trophies and 3 team trophies.
Each grade 2-5 15 individual trophies and 5 team trophies.
Each grade 9-12 3 individual trophies and 3 team trophies.
Entry Fee and Registration: Online registration at or directly at  Entry fee $25 if received by Nov. 9, $40 if received after Nov. 9. No registration on site.
Contact cell: 309-532-7815

"Anand-Carlsen duel fires up chess fervor in India"

Story in the Tribune.

I'm glad that parents support their chess-playing children, but stuff like this makes me slightly suspicious:
Tamilarasi and her husband, a government official, gave it a shot, even letting their children take time off school to concentrate on chess.
Although chess sets are cheap, travelling to other states for tournaments can cost anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 rupees ($160 to $800).
"We don't plan leisure trips or buy the latest clothing. Instead we direct our money towards the game," said Tamilarasi. "It is a risk but we are hopeful that our plans for our children to become chess champions will click."
Parents will do anything for their children.  Yes, for a middle-class person in India or the USA, spending $800 on the kids' chess isn't crazy.  But when parents prioritize chess over school (and to be fair, I'm not sure Ms. Tamilarasi is doing that: could be an overemphasis by the reporter), then I get suspicious.

Becoming a chess champion is a longshot. Transferring the skills learned in chess (both soft skills and cerebral firepower) happens all the time.

Oh yes, the world championship: games 1 and 2 have been non-events (I got up at 5 a.m. twice this weekend, and was back in bed by 5:30 both days).  ChessBase is one of many free sites with excellent coverage.