Sunday, December 31, 2006
Stoyko Still Kicking
I visited FM Steve Stoyko the other day and he showed me a couple of his most recent games. Despite his occasional health problems, Steve still plays with vigor and is able to conduct a nice attack, as he did against NM James West in a recent Westfield Quad (see diagram above). I look forward to seeing him in action at the U.S. Amateur Teams in February.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Jennifer Shahade Interview
"My first goal is to create an attractive, interactive website that forms a community of chess lovers. I want to keep it light and keep people coming back--heavy on photos, humor, and simple chess tactics and strategies. I want to promote our top players to increase their visibility and their chances to make a living at chess.
I have a blog there, and I want to connect things like what I ate for breakfast, or the movie I just saw to chess. I think that with all the energy being poured into the redesigned magazine, Chess Life, and the website, raising the number of USCF members from 80,000 to 100K+ should happen naturally."
You can read the full interview online. Hat tip http://www.e4c5.net/.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Corus 2007 Preview
Articles List Update
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Kenilworth Chess Club Championship Website
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Jim West on Chess
Monday, December 25, 2006
Princess Natasha, Episode 303
Hat tip: Scholastic chess Gateway
Thomas Frère and the Brotherhood of Chess
McFarland & Company has added another book to the chess history shelves: Thomas Frère and the Brotherhood of Chess: A History of 19th Century Chess in New York City, by Martin Frère Hillyer (one of his descendants). It receives favorable mention in Lubomir Kavalek's chess column today and is available from Amazon for $39.95. I suspect it will fit my definition of a social or cultural history of chess, since it discusses the development of "liesure society" in the 19th century as the back-drop for the game's popularity: "Enjoying numerous technological advances, people had free time to indulge in a variety of pursuits. An assortment of board games flooded American homes. By the middle of the century, chess had surpassed all other games with its popularity. The author of three important chess texts, Thomas Frère was instrumental in the growth of chess as a significant American pastime" (McFarland). Another for my wish list. Too bad Santa has come and gone....
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Reading chess books is like lifting weights....
Here's a heartwarming Christmas tale where a beach bum does the same with chess:
"On Christmas Day a local guy named Al Dukes, who lived up on top of the hill above Pupakea, invited myself and another surfer named Johnny Fain to have dinner with him and his wife at their house.
Johnny was a hot surfer and a good tennis player from Malibu at the time and had a great sense of humor. He and I used to hang out together surfing and playing tennis a little bit.
It was a beautiful meal, and we had eggnog, and everything was fantastic. Al's house was set way back up in the pine trees and was a mountain cabin-style A-frame.
After dinner we were sitting around talking, and Johnny spotted a chess set sitting on a shelf. He asked Al if he played chess, and Al said he loved chess, and they proceeded to get involved in what seemed like an eternity of what actually was only one game.
I knew nothing about chess at that time. But it looked interesting.
After they finished, Johnny briefly showed me how to play, and we had a few games. He gave me both his castles and knights and still kicked my butt. But it hooked me on the game. I liked it.
After that we went back down to the beach and found perfect 6- to 8-foot waves with nobody out at a spot called Kammieland. A great way to finish off a nice Christmas Day.
The next day I went to town and bought two books on playing chess and a plastic chess set. I read the books and started practicing on Rodney Sumpter, who I was sharing a house with that year.
Rodney knew how to play a little bit and at first beat me every time. But I kept reading the books and practicing moves on my own, and within days I had him dead each time.
Two weeks later I was finished with the books and had thumped Rodney over and over. Now I was ready to play Johnny Fain...."
Read the rest online at the ocregister.com.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
The Kenilworthian's Apple Chess Tarts
- 12 ready made mini pie shells (I used two packages of Keebler® Ready Crust® Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crust)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups peeled and grated Granny Smith apples (about 3-4 regular sized apples)
- 1 tsp. lemon juice (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- Cream butter and sugar using a hand-mixer.
- Add eggs and flour and mix until well-blended, but do not over-mix.
- Grate apples using a standard cheese grater, trying to avoid getting too much apple juice into the mix. You want nice shreds of apple, loosely measured at about 2 cups. I recommend Granny Smith apples, but any relatively firm and tart apple will do.
- Mix in lemon juice (for added tartness) and cinnamon. Both are optional. Some people prefer the taste of the apple to come through. I like most of all to accentuate the tartness of the apples. The cinnamon just makes it seem more like good old apple pie.
- Fold grated apple mixture into the batter. Don't worry if it gets a little runny with the lemon and apple liquid.
- Divide mixture equally among 12 mini pie shells.
- Bake on a cookie sheet (or foil) for 8 min. at 400 degrees, then 35-40 minutes at 325 degrees or until lightly browned on top.
I made these for our Annual Holiday Party on Thursday and they were a big hit. I adapted the recipe from one for chess pie that I have seen posted several places on the internet. There actually is no connection between "chess pie" and the game of chess, by the way: likely the name derives from a corruption of the word "cheese," either because cheese was often added to the recipe (it was popular among Southern farmers) or because the solids tend to "cheese up" at the surface of the pie, no one really knows. Even if the name has no real connection to the game, though, it is fun to make for a chess-related function.
I've been playing around with apple "chess" recipes of late (see here and here, here and here). I decided to go with apple chess tarts over chess pie because the pie gets rather gooey and is not easy to slice up without making a mess. I definitely do not recommend the pie version if you are going to share it at a social function. But the tarts or mini-pies are really perfect for parties. The only tricky part is figuring out how best to eat them.... Likely I should have removed them from the foil before serving, since people ended up either using a spoon on them (not the best solution) or plopping them out onto a plate (hardly very elegant).
Here's a recipe for "chess cake" that I've been meaning to try. I wonder if that can be made in mini-form? Chess cupcakes, anyone?
2006 Holiday Party
The Kenilworth Chess Club's Annual Holiday Party was a great success. No special events were planned, so everyone enjoyed a night of casual play and socializing. Mike Wojcio attempted to introduce a new tradition of "Christmas song karaoke," but since none were willing to join him the idea seems unlikely to be revived next year. Joe Demetrick baked his annual puzzle cake. And I introduced The Kenilworthian's Chess Tarts (recipe to follow shortly), which were a great hit, especially with a particular NM who will remain nameless....
Monday, December 18, 2006
2006 Annual Business Meeting
At the Annual Business Meeting, most of the current slate of club officers were approved for another term, including Joe Demetrick as President, Greg Tomkovich as Vice President, and Geoff McAuliffe as Treasurer. I stepped down as Secretary, nominating John Moldovan (The Chess Coroner) to take my place, which met with unanimous approval. I will remain as Webmaster for the club. We also approved the same rules as last year, including the same rules for the Club Championship, which will begin the second week of January. Shortly before the meeting began, John and I played a blitz game (I'll try to post a better version of that photo soon!) You might title it "The Coroner and the Kenilworthian."
2006 Kenilworth Chess Club Year in Review
To the Members of the Kenilworth Chess Club,
The Club had an extremely productive year in 2006. I have included a summary of our activities below:
The Annual Club Championship was split into two sections this year, an Open section and an U1800 section. This format appeared to be well received by the members, and produced a fair number of exciting games (see Rounds 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and Final). For the second straight year, Steve Stoyko claimed the Club Championship (after a G30 playoff with Mark Kernighan). Bob Pelican won the U1800 division, and Pat Mazzillo claimed the U1400 prize. Other tournaments held by the Club included our annual rated Game-30 tournament (see Week One, Week One Updated, and Week Two results), a Theme Tournament featuring the Reversed Dragon, and a blitz tournament.
The Club partially sponsored two teams in the U.S. Amateur Team East Tournament held in February (see games here, here, and here). The Kenilworth A Team, consisting of Steve Stoyko, Ed Allen, Scott Massey, Michael Goeller, and Brian Meinders finished 21st out of 272. The Kenilworth B Team of Greg Tomkovich, Joe Demetrick, Ray Massey, and Michail Kruglyak finished in 179th place overall. Member Glen Hart scored an impressive 6 out of 6 in the tournament.
Lectures provided learning opportunities for our members. This year, we featured three main lectures. In late May, Ari Minkov gave a talk on music and chess and Mike Wojcio organized a lecture given by Yaacov Norowitz on the Stonewall Attack. In October, Scott Massey lectured on Paul Keres. We also had a study group on the French Defense that was held in the Spring (see French Defense Repertoire, Parts One and Two).
Team matches with local Clubs have now become a major activity for us. This year featured 5 matches, the most in recent memory. These included home and away with West Orange, home and away at Holmdel, and an away match with Roselle. For all of these matches we were able to get together 10 boards, in and of itself an impressive feat given that some of the matches were held on nights other than our ordinary meeting night of Thursday and often involved travel. Despite our overall record of 2-3 in these matches (including a crusher to Roselle), these matches have become an excellent way for members to meet others in the NJ Chess community.
We held a couple of new events this year. The Consultation game that we held in the Fall spanned two weeks. This game gave lower rated members insight into the thought processes of stronger players. In the Spring we featured a theme tournament. The opening selected, English – 4 Knights – Kingside Fianchetto (or Reversed Dragon), was new to many (especially me) and thus gave members an opportunity to expand their opening repertoires. These two events were very well received by everyone and are likely to be repeated in the future.
Greg Tomkovich ran the Summer tournament with great success (see news of Rounds 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 and wrap ups one and two). Now an annual tradition for the Club, the Summer Tournament brings an impressive number of people weekly at a normal slow time due to vacations.
We continue to have a strong presence on the Internet. Mike Goeller’s blog, The Kenilworthian, has gained a substantial following on the Internet. It has been mentioned on About.com, and now gets approximately 6,700 hits per month (with a peak of 11,665 in September). John Moldovan now contributes to the Web Site as well via his blog, The Chess Coroner. The Internet remains a strong way to communicate to members between meetings, to keep less active members informed as to current goings-on, and to attract new members to the Club.
To meet members’ ongoing fashion needs, we ordered golf shirts featuring a newly designed Club logo this year. With the design now made and paid for, we have the option of ordering other items (e.g. bags, hats, shirts, etc.) in the future. (NOTE: We have a couple shirts left over for those interested.)
The Club continues to benefit from having a diverse rating distribution in its membership. Members range from unrated to 2300+, giving everyone someone of similar ability to play or to analyze their games with. Having people new to chess is an important part of the Club. Our fiscal situation remains strong due in large part to the free availability of the Kenilworth Community Center to us. As a result, our low annual dues generally do not make financial considerations a hindrance to joining the Club.
It has been my pleasure to serve as your Club President in 2006. I thank everyone who assisted in suggesting, running, and organizing the various events during the year. I wish you all a Happy Holiday season and look forward to another year of chess in 2007.
President, Kenilworth Chess Club
14 December 2006
The position above comes from the game Thorfinsson - Gunnarson, which was broadcast live on Icelandic TV. In time pressure, Black briefly picked up his King and was forced by the touch move rule to play 37...Kg8?? upon which the game ended 38.Qxg7#. After picking up his King, Gunnarson had tried to play instead 37...Qd7?! There was a much better move, however, than either of these. It was discovered by the most famous American exile turned Icelandic citizen, Bobby Fischer, who phoned in to describe it to the commentators shortly after the game concluded. Can you find Fischer's solution? Full story and game at ChessBase News.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Chess and Death in the News
Russian 'Crazy Chess Killer' Charged (multiple other articles via Google News)
A Moscow man has been formally charged with murder in connection with a killing spree where he claimed 62 victims. He was stopped two shy of his goal of 64: one for every square on a chess board.
Father of British Chess Prodigy Cleared (multiple other articles via Google News)
In the sad tale of Jessie Gilbert (mentioned here previously in August), chess was aligned with suicide and charges of rape and incest.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Peter Doggers recently posted a commentary on just how superior Rybka is (it's rated at least 100 points higher than its nearest competitor). He includes a brilliant Shredder-Rybka game to illustrate its ability to see material sacrifices. You can see a great illustration of its endgame technique in the game Rybka-Christiansen at Goran's website. And more of Rybka's games can be seen at Chessgames.com.
I think I know another present I want from Santa....
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Two Knights Sicilian, Part Five
The game Rublevsky-Alekseev, Moscow 2006 from the Russian Superfinal (going on now) offers an excellent illustration of White's latent attacking possibilities in some of the Rossolimo-type positions that can arise from the Two Knights Sicilian. In some ways, the positions resemble those that can emerge from Sutovsky's Anti-Rubinstein line in the Spanish Four Knights, demonstrating the kinship that makes both part of the Knightmare Repertoire.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Counter-consensus on Kramnik vs. Deep Fritz
Suggested solutions to the human error problem include giving the human more time, the ability to move pieces around on an analysis board (which the computer is basically allowed to do), or access to a database (which the computer has built in). All this points to the idea of pitting an unaided correspondence player against the computer. Though this would hardly be as interesting for the audience, it may be the best challenge for the computer programmers and something they are more likely to learn something from than the inevitable blunder-fest that staged matches have become.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Chess and Sex
There is an excellent essay by Sarah Beth Cohen titled "Chess: Romance, Love, and Sex" at her blog. It offers a wide-ranging survey of the ways chess has been associated with relations between men and women, both throughout history and across all sorts of media (from medieval poems to contemporary films). The collection of advertising images alone is worth the visit. Of course, Cohen might add how Gormally-gate made us ponder chess as "sex by other means," or how the Britney Spears / Kevin Federline debacle gave us the phrase, "They did nothing all day but have sex - and play the odd game of chess." But she makes her case, and suggests why women might be put off from attending a chess club: playing with men just seems a bit too intimate. If only they knew the truth... As Cohen quotes Bobby Fischer: "Chess is better than sex."
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
David Bronstein, 1924-2006
There are some wonderful tributes on the web to David Bronstein (who passed away yesterday in Minsk), including by Mark Crowther at TWIC, Peter Doggers at his Doggers-Schaak blog, and Ben Finegold at his blog. Today there is an obituary in The New York Times by Dylan Loeb McClain. There will likely be others in the coming days.
Jeremy Silman Discusses a Black Approach to the English
Silman's site is full of treasures for any willing to take the time to poke around in his archive. Among my favorite pieces have been those by Joel Benjamin on the Tango and Anti-Sicilians (often mentioned here), a free Chigorin Defense e-Book by Dr. Manuel Gerardo Monasterio, Larry Christiansen's "How to Attack" series, Georgi Orlov's articles on the Middlegame and Endgame, a great collection of articles on opening theory, an incredible collection of book reviews, and too much other good stuff to mention -- all by noted players and authors.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Two Knights Sicilian, Part Four: Guseinov's Anti-Paulsen Gambit
I recently posted my analysis of Guseinov's Anti-Paulsen Gambit complete with a PGN file so that you can continue on your own (which you will need to do in some lines where things remain a bit murky for me). The position above arises after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.Nc3 (I typically reverse the order of the Knights with 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 to allow the Grand Prix against some Black choices) 3...a6 4.g3 b5 5.d4 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Bb7 7.Bg2 Nf6 8.O-O! b4 9.Na4 Bxe4 10.Bxe4 Nxe4 11.Re1 d5(?) 12.c4! dxc3 13.Nxc3 Nxc3 (see diagram). And now GM Gadir Guseinov has analyzed a stunning novelty to a clear advantage for White (at least a pawn plus against perfect play by Black, but often much more).
Can you imagine what that move might be?
My analysis of this line is an important addition to my notes on the Two Knights Sicilian (see Part One, Part Two, and Part Three). I think you'll find it fits nicely with the Grand Prix Attack (see my Grand Prix Attack Bibliography and Grand Prix Attack, Explained) as part of the overall Knightmare Repertoire as a way of meeting some of Black's better anti-Grand Prix set-ups.
Against Black's Paulsen move order (with 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 or 2...a6), the Grand Prix Attack does not work out so well, so White needs some other system to supplement it. I had previously relied upon a transposition to the traditional Closed Sicilian (as illustrated in my game from last year against Ken Chieu), which is often recommended when Black plays an early ...a6, since that move is usually not necessary in the Closed and therefore looks like a wasted tempo. But it's hard to take advantage of a wasted tempo in a closed opening and, more recently, I have had trouble finding an edge for White against the Instant French Set-up with 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.f4 d5! followed by ...dxe4.
Finding little in the Grand Prix against 2...e6, I began playing 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3, when White gets a nice edge against the frequently-played 3...d5?! after 4.exd5 exd5 5.Bb5+ etc. and can transpose to some interesting lines of the Bb5 Sicilian after 3...Nc6 4.Bb5 or play the fianchetto lines with 4.g3--only later deciding whether to go into Open Sicilian territory with d4 or to stay in a sort of Closed Sicilian with Nf3 (as described by Joel Benjamin in Part Four and Five of his Anti-Sicilian series at the JeremySilman website).
Of course, if Black plays 3...a6 (or even 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 followed by 3...e6, which I see frequently) then I more or less have to fianchetto the Bishop if I want to avoid Sicilian main lines. And since I do find I prefer the open games to the slow maneuvering of the Closed Sicilian, I generally try to play an early d4. Hence my interest in Guseinov's Anti-Paulsen Gambit, which seems an absolute necessity to master if I am going to continue on this course.... For those put off by the murkier lines, I have included some coverage of Benjamin's recommended lines, but you'll have to see his articles to supplement my notes if that is your choice.
If anyone has some additional analysis they would like to share (either in the Comments section or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org), I welcome it since some lines have me stumped.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Mikhail Tal Remembered
Black to play.
The recent Tal Memorial Tournament marked the 70th Anniversary of Mikhail Tal's birth (November 9, 1936), and there have been several remembrances of the great attacking genius and former World Champion, including a nice article yesterday by Dominic Lawson ("Computers have power but they can't dance.") There was also a nice birthday remembrance by Frederic Friedel at ChessBase News ("The Immortality of Mikhail Tal") and the classic online bio by Terry Crandall ("Mikhail Tal, The Game is Afoot") -- the latter of which recounts Tal's famous story of trying to calculate a deep piece sacrifice only to find himself imagining what it would be like to drag a hippopotamus out of the marsh....
Here is a trio of intuitive Knight sacs by the Magician from Riga from Chessgames.com:
- Gurgenidze-Tal, Moscow 1957 (see diagram above)
- Tal-Vasiukov, Kiev 1964 (the hippopotamus game)