Friday, June 30, 2006

Sacrifice in the Sicilian


What's the best square for White's Queen?

NM Scott Massey's game with NM Peter Radomskyj, played at top board at our recent match with the West Orange Chess Club, illustrates both bad and good sacrificial ideas in the Sicilian. Massey, playing White, gives up his Bishop for two pawns with 10.Bxb5 axb5 11.Ndxb5, but it is clear that Black can refute the idea with best play. Finding best play for Black in such positions is quite a challenge, however, and Massey does his best to create problems for his opponent, until he finally manages to gain more than enough compensation for the piece. Desperate to quell the attack, Black reduces the position to an ending with equal material, but Massey demonstrates that it is still a win for White due to his better pieces and pawns. A very interesting game in its opening, middlegame, and ending!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Simplified Pirc


White to play.

One of the more interesting games from our match with West Orange was won by Kenilworth Chess Club president Joe Demetrick against Paul Corcoran. Though Joe mishandled the ending in spots (including in the diagram above, where he missed the quickest win), he kept his cool in mutual time pressure to bring home the full point.

The opening Joe used was inspired by ChessFM's "Openings for Amateurs" lecturer Pete Tamburro, who presented the game Bronstein-Benko, Monte Carlo 1969, which was the first high level encounter where White played the following simplifying system against the Pirc: 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. e5 dxe5 6. dxe5!? Qxd1+ 7. Kxd1 Ng4 8. Ke1. Despite the early exchange of Queens, White maintains a clear spatial superiority and can create real winning chances in the ending, as Joe demonstrated in his game.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Free Book at ChessCafe

I'd like to convey a public "thank you" to Hanon Russell for publishing "Secret Matches: The Unpublished Games of Mikhail Botvinnik" by Jan Timman (direct link here) for FREE at ChessCafe.

Two Knights Sicilian, Part Two


Black to play.
What's the best way to defend the g-pawn?

The Kenilworth Chess Club team visited the West Orange Chess Club last night for a team match, which we won 6.5-3.5. My game with Victor Rosas was the only draw, but it was not a boring game and had some theoretical interest as it featured my new favorite opening, the Two Knights Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3). I will be posting some photographs and other games from the match in the coming days.

Q: "Did the Soviets Collude?" A: "Yes."

Hat tip to the BCC Weblog for pointing us to "Did the Soviets Collude? A Statistical Analysis of Championship Chess 1940-1964" by Charles Moul and John V. C. Nye, an interesting contribution to the economic study of sports. Unlike previous claims of Soviet collusion (such as Bobby Fischer's), which were based on a judgment of draw offers in potentially winning positions, this analysis tries to look systematically at drawing behavior, comparing draws in all-Soviet tournaments to those in tournaments with Western players present. The data suggest that there was definite Soviet collusion (for example, draws were shorter and more prevalent in Soviet-Soviet match-ups when facing Western opposition than they were in Soviet-only tournaments) and that some Soviet players definitely gained a tournament advantage because of it. The most interesting case was the legendary Zurich 1953 tournament, where, the authors argue, second-place finisher Sammy Reshevsky was almost certainly denied his best shot at the World Championship title due to Soviet collusion. If you are willing to wade through the dry economics stuff, there is a lot of interesting history in the article.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

ICC Miniature


White to play.

I have been working on my "Two Knights" repertoire, featuring the Two Knights Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3), the Two Knights French (1.e4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3), and now the Two Knights Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3). I can tell you, I am never behind in development, that's for sure, as dramatically illustrated in a game I played the other day on ICC with the Two Knights Caro-Kann (see diagram above).

Friday, June 23, 2006

2006 KCC Summer Tourney, Round Four


Black to play.


White to play.


White to play and gain the edge.


White to play.

Play in the fourth round of the 2006 KCC Summer Tournament was over early enough to allow us to analyze most of the games together. The most interesting of the night was Camenares-Tomkovich, where White's rather speculative piece sacrifice likely should have led to a win, though it gets quite complicated against best defense. We were all amused, however, by the way that the two players seemed locked in a struggle over the "Dragon Bishop": Black to preserve it and White to destroy it at any cost. For Camenares, the cost was too high and he ended up losing what should have been a won game.

The diagrams above, all taken from Round Four games, share something in common which should make them easier to solve as you go along....

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Harry Nelson Pillsbury (December 5, 1872 - June 17, 1906)

Reading the excellent piece by Garry Kasparov at ChessBase on some of Harry Nelson Pillsbury's games, I was reminded that June 17, 2006 was the 100th Anniversary of the former U.S. champion's death (an event honored in his birthplace of Somerville, MA with a memorial). Largely displaced in the annals by his successor (Frank James Marshall) upon his untimely death at the age of 33 (from syphilis), Pillsbury played some spectacular games. Yet there are relatively few books or online articles about his exploits. Jacques Pope's Harry Nelson Pillsbury, American Chess Champion (Ann Arbor: Pawn Island Press, 1996) -- reviewed favorably at ChessCafe -- may be the most current. Segeant and Watts's 1922 biography and game collection Pillsbury's Chess Career (Dover Books 1966 rpt.) may still be found used. Edward Winter is able to list only ten Books About Pillsbury at his site, most of which are obscure. So it is likely that what anyone knows about him has been pieced together from various sources. Here is a bibliography of what you can find online:

The Chess Games of Harry Nelson Pillsbury from
A collection of 400 games to view online, many with reader commentary on many.

Crandall, Terry. "Harry Nelson Pillsbury." The Game is Afoot.

Crowther, Mark. "Harry Nelson Pillsbury Memorial Ceremony June 17th." TWIC.

Edwards, Jon. "Great Players: Harry Nelsoin Pillsbury." Chess is Fun website.

Harding, Tim. "One Hundred Years Ago: Chess in 1901." ChessCafe
Looks at a Pillsbury postal game with McCutcheon to test the latter's variation of the French Defense.

_________. "One Hundred Years Ago: Chess in 1904." ChessCafe

Hilbert, John. "The New York Chess Association's Mid-Summer Meeting at Saratoga Springs 1899." Chess Archeology.
Offers up a "lost" game by the former U.S. champ.

Kasparov, Garry. "Harry Nelson Pillsbury, the American tragedy." ChessBase News.
Published to correspond with the 100th anniversary of his death, this article offers a brief biographical sketch and Kasparov's revised take on two of his better games.

Russell, Jenna. "A Move to Remember a Chess Great." Boston Globe (February 4, 2006)
Article describes the move by the Boylston Chess Club to name a square in Pillsbury's honor in his birthplace of Somerville, Massachusetts.

Tilling, Chris. Pillsbury vs. Amateur.
Annotated game.

Wall, Bill. Harry Pillsbury.
Simply a chronology of salient dates for the American legend.

Winter, Edward. "Books About Pillsbury." Chess Notes, #4104

Wikipedia. Harry Nelson Pillsbury.
Seems to rely heavily on the Crandall bio.

More Anti-Vienna


Black to move and force mate.

I remembered shortly after my last post that there was a great set of articles by Tim McGrew a while back at ChessCafe that painted an encouraging picture for White in the line 1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. f4!? (a favorite of Weaver Adams). They are still available in the ChessCafe archives as Blindsided and Shall We Dance? Reading them now, I'm reminded of how I rather miss McGrew's stuff, which was always interesting.

However, as usual, the picture he presents for the gambiteer is rather one-sided. Sure, White has practical chances, but it is not something I'd want to play -- especially after seeing the game Keogh-Emms, Dublin 1991 where White gets slaughtered in this line (see diagram above). I am more interested than ever in returning to 1.e4 e5 as Black after seeing that game....

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Vienna with Bc4 Busted?


Schlechter-Steinitz, Cologne 1898
What's Black's best move?

I have been trying out different ideas to expand my Bishop's Opening repertoire to include the Vienna Game with Bc4 (1.e4 e5 2.Nc3/Bc4 Nf6/Nc6 3.Bc4/Nc3). But I have no solution for White against 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d3 Na5! which seems to me practically a bust of the whole line. Black gains the two Bishops as a long term advantage and likely doubles White's pawns. And what has White got? I don't see anything to get excited about.

I was looking through an old issue of Chess Review the other day and became temporarily excited by the old game Schlechter-Steinitz, Cologne 1898, where White appears to use his slight time advantage to engineer a winning attack. Fred Reinfeld's notes have nothing but praise for Schlechter's play. But closer examination proved that Black has lots of defensive resources. In the diagram above, for example, Black does not even have to play 12...Be7 to defend the d-pawn (whereupon Schlechter began an attack by 13.c5! dxc5? 14.Qg3!) What has Black got that's better?

Anyway, I am not too downhearted. After all, I now have a good line to use against the Vienna as Black in my 1.e4 e5 repertoire (as recommended by Nigel Davies, for example).

Friday, June 16, 2006

Lasker's Defense Again


Lasker's Defense

I have posted notes to the recent game Puri-Stoyko, Las Vegas Masters 2006, featuring the Lasker's Defense to the Queen's Gambit Declined, which usually arises by 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 O-O 6.Nf3 h6 7.Bh4 Ne4. The opening has been very popular at our club ever since FM Steve Stoyko himself lectured on it last year. Among games between our members where it was featured, I can easily list Stoyko-Massey (KCC Ch 2006), Kernighan-Tomkovich (KCC Ch 2006), Kernighan-Tomkovich (Summer 2005), and Kernighan-Stoyko (Hackettstown 2005). I imagine these players could name several more...

Stoyko's game with Puri was very well played by both sides and features a very interesting endgame, where White's activity made it difficult for Black to win despite being a pawn up. NM Scott Massey, NM Mark Kernighan, and I analyzed it at the club last night and were unable to find a clear win for Black, though there are several interesting tries.

I will be looking at several more games by our New Jersey players from the Las Vegas Masters tournament early next week. I posted previously about this tournament on June 12 , June 13, and June 15.

2006 KCC Summer Tourney, Round Three


Black to play and win.


Black to play and win.


White to play and at least draw.

There were several interesting games played last night, not all of which were officially part of our Summer Tournament. The most interesting position occurred in the game Demetrick-Tomkovich (see first diagram above), where Black uncorked a classic Dragon combination to win the game. Meanwhile, in Moldovan-Kernighan, White resigned as the only way to prevent a nice finish by his opponent (see second diagram). And in Wojcio-Moldovan, White was down the Exchange and two Pawns but could have gotten at least a draw (see third diagram).

Ten-year-old chess sensation Anna Matlin arrived too late to play a Game-60 match in the Summer Tournament and so accepted the kind offer of a Game-15 contest with NM Scott Massey. Though Anna says she devotes little time to studying openings (something we will have to change), she has certainly been getting lessons on the rare Nimzovich Defense from the members of our club. In this game, Massey developed a winning attack and was up a pawn, but both players were in severe time pressure. In the end, with Anna having just hung her Queen, both flags fell simultaneously and the game was recorded a draw.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Meštrović Variation of the Nimzovich Defense


The Meštrović Variation

I had been planning for some time to write a piece on the Meštrović Variation of the Nimzovich Defense (1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d6!?) as a follow-up to my articles on The Panther (which can begin 1.d4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6!?). So I was pleased to watch the game Stoyko-Taylor, Las Vegas Masters 2006, as it unfolded live on my computer the other day, knowing full well that I'd be happy either to see my friend FM Steve Stoyko win as White or the Meštrović emerge victorious for Black. In the end it was the Meštrović.

Kramnik and Aronian at Turin 2006

The Turin Olympiad may be old news (well covered by Wiener Zeitung and ChessBase), but the games are still being digested. I found that those of Aronian and Kramnik received the most attention from annotators, so I have compiled a collection of annotations to their games. I always find it helpful to look at several writer's notes to get the best picture of what's really going on, especially when it comes to recent games.

Kramnik - Aronian
Lubomir Kavalek, Chess (Washington Post, May 29)
Boris Schipkov, Russian Chess website
Leonard Barden, Barden on the 37th Olympiad in Turin (The Guardian, June 3)
Dennis Monokroussos, The Chess Mind
Jorge Luis Fernandez, InforChess

Aronian - Navara
Lubomir Kavalek, Chess (Washington Post, June 5)
Andrei Devyatkin, ChessPro website
Jorge Luis Fernandez, InforChess
Dennis Monokroussos, The Chess Mind

Sokolov - Aronian
Lubomir Kavalek, Chess (Washington Post, May 29)
Jack Peters, "Armenia Wins as Russia Falters" (LA Times, June 11)
Andrei Debyatkin, ChessPro website
Hector Leyva Paneque, InforChess

Kramnik - Naiditsch
Jonathan Speelman, Jonathan Speelman on Chess (Guardian Unlimited, June 11)
Jack Peters, "Record setting team event in Turn" (LA Times, June 4)
Play over the game and read the forum.

There are also some good notes on Dominguez-Yusupov from InforChess (Fernández and Defez and also by Paneque), which is a game worth a look.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

7th World Student Team Chess Championship, Leningrad 1960

Boris Spassky vs. William Lombardy

Boris Spassky - William Lombardy, 1960

When the U.S. team took first place at the 7th World Student Team Chess Championship in the summer of 1960, they recorded the first U.S. international championship in 23 years! Most astonishing, they won it at the Palace of the Pioneers in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), practically the very heart of the Soviet chess machine. Yet, as far as I know, their achievement has been largely forgotten today. I think it would make a good storyline for a Hollywood film (if Susan Polgar is still looking for a vehicle), and certainly more uplifiting than the Bobby Fischer saga.

Whether or not their story gets told by Hollywood, though, we can still recreate their moment of triumph by playing over some of their better games from that tournament which I've posted at the Kenilworth site.

Perhaps we have forgotten our 1960 student olympians because the five players on the team never pursued the game professionally and therefore never rose into the pantheon of the greatest American players. First board William Lombardy (above) is best remembered today as Fischer's second in the 1972 World Championship match. Perhaps sensing that he would always be second to Fischer, he largely gave up the game to become a Catholic priest.

Charles Kalme

Charles Kalme vs. Momo

Second board Charles Kalme (1939-2003) also largely gave up the game in order to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics and make a career as a professor. His games from the Student Olympiad are among the most fascinating and his combinations (see diagrams below) the most stunning and deeply conceived.

Raymond Weinstein

Szabo vs. Ray Weinstein

Third board Raymond Weinstein (1941- ) unfortunately developed schizophrenia in the mid-1960s and went on to commit a murder that has kept him incarcerated ever since. His sad story is told by Sam Sloan and he is often cited in lists of chessplayers who ran afoul of the law (usually placed second to Norman Whitaker).

Fourth board Anthony Saidy (1937- ), who played a lot of chess and even authored a few books (including the much admired "Battle of Chess Ideas"), became a medical doctor (M.D.) and is recently retired. You can see a recent picture of him with Susan Polgar at her blog as a "mystery man."

Alternate Eliot Hearst (1933- ) received a Ph.D. in Psychology and was a professor for many years at the Indiana University and now at University of Arizona.

For a bunch of "amateurs," they sure played great chess! There are quite a few great combinations worthy of a diagram among the games I've posted. Here are just some of the more interesting ones (from easy to difficult).


Spassky - Lombardy
Black to play and win.


Kalme - Augustin
White to play and win.


Keto - Lombardy
Black to play and win.


Weinstein - Bertholdt
White to play and win.


Kalme - Momo
White to play and win.


Kalme - Drimer
White to play and win (very difficult).

Alvarez - Stoyko, Las Vegas 2006


Alvarez - Stoyko
Black to play and win.

After showing Kenilworth Chess Club champion Steve Stoyko's early losses at the Las Vegas Masters tournament, I thought it was only right to show his win in Round 5 against Franklin Alvarez. The game, a Tarrasch French, is worth comparing to Grasso-Stoyko, KCC 2005 from last year's match with Roselle CC.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Las Vegas Masters


Black to play and win.

Several New Jersey players (including Steve Stoyko, Ed Allen, and Dean Ippolito) are participating in the Las Vegas Masters FIDE rated tournament that runs from June 10-14 at the Schoolhouse Chess Center. The tournament website is excellent and includes live broadcasts, complete PGN file of games, and a daily bulletin (Rounds 1-2 and Rounds 3-4 so far). I have put three of the more interesting NJ player games online in a java applet.

The key to success in these tournaments is to play carefully and wait for your opponent to slip up. Overly risky or aggressive play is usually punished. Steve Stoyko told me this long ago, so it is something he knows well. But before he left for Las Vegas, Steve revealed that his tournament strategy was to do the opposite -- taking risks and playing aggressive chess to put his opponents to the test. So far his opponents have passed the test and that strategy has (predictably) backfired. In the first round, Steve got easy equality out of the opening as Black but decided to go for a kingside attack that left his pawns overextended on that wing and his own King exposed. In the second round, he made a speculative piece sac that his opponent defended against precisely to win. After losing his first two games, Stoyko made day two a rest day, taking quick draws (including one against Ed Allen) to regain his footing.

Ed Allen has demonstrated a more careful strategy, which should have paid off for him in his second round game. Ed played the opening conservatively as Black, taking no risks, and got into an interesting Rook ending where he could demonstrate his excellent technique, which should have won for him (see diagram above).

Well-known NJ chess instructor Dean Ippolito, meanwhile, has played carefully to hold the draw in every game, waiting for his opponent to make a mistake. He drew in rounds 1-3 but finally got a win in Round 4. It looks like he has a good tournament going and I may look at some of his games more closely in the coming days.

Best of luck to all our players--at chess and at cards!

Friday, June 09, 2006

2006 Summer Tourney, Round Two

I have posted the games from Round Two of the 2006 Summer Tourney. Ten-year-old Anna Matlin's game with NM Mark Kernighan drew some spectators, especially as it was the last to finish. Mark rewarded the onlookers with a rather spectacular final move (see diagram below), which he played with under a minute left on his clock. Anna may be 0-2 so far in the tournament, but she has certainly worried some of our strongest players and impressed everyone with her calm resolve at the board.

Mark Kernighan vs. Anna Matlin

Kernighan vs. Matlin

Here is the position just before Mark played his final move:


Black to play and win.

And here are more photos from last night's round. Play continues next week.

KCC Summer Tourney, Round 2

Play in Round Two

Recording Chess Games with Fritz

Devin helps record some games.

1933 Folkestone Olympiad

The recently concluded Turin Olympiad (where the U.S. men's team finished a respectable third) prompted me to visit the wonderfully revamped Olimpbase website, which must be one of the best chess history resources on the web. Like everyone else when it comes to "Olympic" competitions, I succumbed to nationalist pride and was most curious to know how my own nation has done over the years. I was not surprised to find that the Soviets and then the Russians had completely dominated chess team events since WWII, but I was surprised to find the U.S. teams doing well on occasion. Of course, the 1976 Haifa Olympiad, which the Eastern Bloc countries boycotted, was something of a fluke first place finish. But the second place finish in the 1966 Havana games certainly seems worth exploring further. If I recall correctly, that's where Fischer famously threw an exhibition game with Castro -- maybe the only man in the world with a bigger ego in need of gratifying.... But I was pleased to be reminded, in looking down the list, that there was once a period of total U.S. dominance, during Frank James Marshall's captaincy at Prague 1931, Folkestone 1933, Warsaw 1935, and Stockholm 1937. Fortunately, I was able to find the wonderful Book of the Folkestone 1933 International Team Tournament by Isaac Kashdan at our library, which prompted me to analyze some Games from Folkestone 1933 showing all of the U.S. players at their best.

Folkestone 1933

The U.S. Team at Folkestone 1933
(l-r) Dake, Kashdan and his wife,
Simonson, Marshall, and Fine.

Enjoy the games. I will likely be posting some more from team related events in the coming weeks as I continue to explore the Olimpbase site.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Makes Chess Seem Sexy...

British GM Danny Gormally's fight at a nightclub with Super-GM Lev Aronian (FIDE) over the beautiful WIM Arianne Caoili at the recent Turin Olympiad has done more to put chess in the headlines than any story in recent years (including the Olympiad itself, of course). Some may see this as a sad state of affairs, but all I can say is "any publicity is good publicity." At least people are talking about chess. As Stephen Moss of the Guardian Unlimited puts it in his amusing essay "Sex by Other Means," the incident "is probably the best thing to have to have happened to this much-mocked pastime in a generation." And would it really be such a bad thing to have chess associated with beautiful women like Arianne? For the gossip minded, the story is also covered by the Telegraph, London Times, Sun Star, and Manila Standard. If we are lucky, it will make Entertainment Tonight....

Two Knights Sicilian, Part One


1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3

Not satisfied with my results playing the Grand Prix Attack against an early ...e6 by Black (e.g.: 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6! 3.f4 d5 =), I have lately begun playing 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 when 3...d5?! is something of a mistake (and transposes to lines I know from the Two Knights French). If Black plays 3...Nc6, then I might play 4.Bb5 or 4.g3 and if 3...a6 (which I see most often) then 4.g3 and 5.Bg2, delaying a decision on whether to play d3 or d4. I have been thinking of switching completely to this new line, which I like to call the Two Knights Sicilian, and so began doing some research.

The best thing I've found so far is Joel Benjamin's great set of articles on "Anti-Sicilians" at the Jeremy Silman website. I hadn't visited Silman's excellent site in a while since it is updated rather irregularly and so I had overlooked Benjamin's articles. Silman has an incredible collection of materials, especially on Opening Theory, but the site has no clear business model, so it is hard to imagine how it can be sustained long term (except by the generosity of IM Silman and his friends.) But the articles there by Benjamin and others are first rate. I was most interested in the last pieces of the Anti-Sicilian series, especially Part Six covering 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Bb5; Part Five covering 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 a6 4.g3 (focusing on lines with d3 followed by the provocative Ng5!? to play f4); and Part Four covering 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 a6 4.g3 b5. Since I still like to play 2.Nc3 and still indulge in the Grand Prix against Black's 2...d6 and even 2...Nc6, I was less interested in the earlier articles on the Moscow (with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+).

Books have also been useful. A nearly identical repertoire to that offered by Benjamin is discussed by Chris Baker in his often useful A Startling Chess Opening Repertoire (Everyman 1998). He even covers the 4.g3 lines (see pp. 114-124). I rather like the idea of playing 4.g3 and 5.Bg2 and keeping Black guessing about whether I'll play an open or closed system. For this reason, two other handy books have been Gary Lane's The Ultimate Closed Sicilian (Batsford 2001) where he discusses Nf3 lines blocking the f-pawn in the Closed with d3, and Nigel Davies's Taming the Sicilian (Everyman 2002) which covers early g3 and Bg2 systems in the Open lines with d4.

I am still at the experimental stage of learning this new system and so have been trying things out. One recent experiment in games on ICC has been 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.Nge2!? as an odd way of playing the Moscow variation. I could find only one game in the databases I have, which was quite interesting despite being by two unknown masters: Kamber-Bartolini, Zurich 1991.

What do you think? Any book, article, website, or game suggestions are welcome....

Monday, June 05, 2006

10-year-old Anna Matlin (ELO 1565) Enters Summer Tournament

Anna Matlin

Anna Matlin

The annual Kenilworth Chess Club Summer Tournament began Thursday, June 1, with ten players entered so far and three games played in Round One. The most surprising game of the night (at least for me) was my near-loss to our newest member, 10-year-old Anna Matlin, rated 1565. That would have been considered prodigy level when I was a kid, though we recall that Hikaru Nakamura made master by that age. If she breaks 1900 by age twelve, though, then she will be on the same pace as Bobby Fischer! She has already demonstrated that she can beat an Expert with just a little more care at the critical moment (see diagram below).


White to play.

I look forward to seeing Anna's games in the coming weeks. She expects to attend the Kenilworth Chess Club regularly this summer to gain more experience against higher-rated opponents. All I can say to the rest of you is, "watch out!"

It was also a pleasure to welcome Rutgers student Devin Camenares back to the club after a semester-long absence. I hope his loss to NM Mark Kernighan (and a few losses to Anna in 5-minute games!) will not discourage him.

It is still possible to join the Summer Tournament. Games are unrated and played at Game/60 time control. Entry fee is $3 for the entire summer. Prizes for first, second, and third are awarded at the end of August to those players who accumulate the most points, with only wins and draws counting. Matches each night are by mutual arrangement with the lower-rated player getting White in the first game and alternating colors in any subsequent games. Complete rules are given to all players who join. Speak to TD Greg Tomkovich for more information and to report results.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Return to "Planet Kirsan"

Hat tip to ChessBase News for pointing us to the just-released online version of Michael Specter's report for The New Yorker titled "Planet Kirsan." I was wondering when the rest of the chess press would pick up on this bitingly critical piece about the current FIDE president, about which I wrote way back on April 20.

Janowski's Brother Indian


1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Bf5!?

Reading Asa Hoffmann's excellent game collection, Chess Gladiator, I came across the interesting line 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3!? Bf5!? I'm not sure whether this line has a name, but it reminds me of the so-called Janowski Indian (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Bf5!?), which I wrote about back in November 2005 in a piece titled Tal's Janowski-Indian Games. Perhaps we can call it Janowski's Brother?

As you know, I like to play The Panther from time to time (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nf3 d6 4.Nc3 e5), but lately I've been plagued by opponents seeking transposition to the Pirc with 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3. So you can see the appeal to me of having this interesting new option.