Sunday, December 30, 2012

Empire City Open (II)

I tied for 1-3 for the U2000 prize in the U2200 section at the Empire City Open. In the final round I swindled my opponent from a bad position out of the opening. This is the game:

I was lucky to see the following wild ending played by FM Alex Ostrovskiy and Andrew Ding. Congratulations are in order to both for such a great game:

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Empire City Open

I got off to a reasonable start at the Empire City Open in NYC with 2.5/4. This is a game I lost:
I made an interesting draw in round 4 of the tournament:
Bishop endgame for analysis: My rating should currently be over 2000 for the first time ever. No small achievement. I thought I would be here years ago. The one advantage I see I have vs. those with greater chess talent is that I have a good sense of training regimens that work well and which work less well. I tried so many of them. I look forward to helping other adults reach their chess goals.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

T55 Round 5

I lost ignominously in round 5 of the T55 tournament. This is the game with comments.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Luvizminda Machan IX

I played in the Luvziminda Machan open at ChessMates in Rahway NJ. I scored 2-1-1 in the 4 round g/40 d5 tournament. My rating moved up to 1997! I'm now just 3 points away from my goal of a 2000 rating. I lost to Rodion Rubenchik in this tournament on the Black side of a Kings Indian. I did not know the variation played by Rubenchik very well and ended up in a bad situation. This is my chance to learn the opening.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

T55 Round 4 Game

I was matched with Greedy-Reedy again in round 4 of the ICC T55 Tournament. This is the game.

White must have been better for much of the game. I think this game indicates an important quality I lack to be a chess master is technique. I will comment on improvements in a subsequent post.

Where I went wrong:
Looking over the game it seems to me 23. Rec1 was a lost tempo... I should consider 23. Ra5 right away. Another improvement maybe instead of 26. Bc3 I should consider 26. d4. I was too happy to just win a pawn here. The opposite color bishops turned out to be more of a factor than I thought even with rooks on the board. The ending is the type of thing that no player in the world would want to face vs Magnus Carlsen for sure. I think this is the type of position to make an in-depth study of and find similar master games to study.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How to Write a Chess Blog Post

Writing a worthwhile chess blog post is time consuming. My goal is to make this easier for myself and others technology wise. I find that the available tools for showcasing games on a blog are a bit cumbersome and on occasion completely stop working. Just in the last day the pgn4web site stopped functioning. There has got to be a better way to
1. Upload complete games
2. Upload diagrams
This blog post is my scratch pad for solutions. If nothing fits the bill I pledge to fill the void with free and easy to use tools. No red tape.
Current methods:
To get the FEN string for a position from a complete game I tend to use quite handy Game Editor feature on to set up the board. I find that the diagrams I can get links to from do not fit well into a blogger blog. Instead I take that FEN string and run it through's FEN tool which I find to be a better solution. If you think that's cumbersome you don't know the half of it.
I think there are enough chess bloggers out there to justify a direct blogger widget for this purpose. I don't currently have the skills to make that happen but I am planning on making a go in my spare time.
Please drop me a line if you already know a better way to do this. Thanks.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bishop Pair Utilization

Kasparov obtains the bishop pair vs the former World Champion and utilizes this advantage to help create a passed pawn. I'm mostly interested in the play after all the rooks are off the board. I'm still trying to grasp why Smyslov seemingly just blundered a pawn.

I will analyze the ending when I have time.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Exchange Sacrifice for Containment

I found a great game by Kasparov where he sacrifices an exchange to contain a piece. Kingcrusher has a nice video so I will link to that rather than inputting the game myself. I will focus on an analysis of sidelines in upcoming posts. Kasparov - Shirov Horgen 1994
This is a very popular game and features highly in many top games lists including Informant's best games of all time collection. Link at
Now lets get to analysis. I will start with the position after 22...Qb8:

Some commentators have pointed out 22...Ra2 as a possible improvement. I will look at that position later on. Now it is White to move:
Minor Pieces: White has an extra one at the expense of a rook. The d5 knight is quite well placed. The c4 knight is also threatening. The key to the position is the restriction of the Black knight on b7. The d3 bishop is there just to be out of the way. The Black bishop on g5 is Black's best minor piece.
Pawn Structure: White has a passed b pawn which can become of use towards an ending. The Black d6 pawn is backward and is one of the features of the position restricting the b7 knight.
Space: A slight edge to White in overall terms but the key feature here is the lack of squares for the b7 knight except for d8 which was just vacated by 22...Qb8. This is probably why Shirov selected that move. A routing such as Nb7-d8-e6-d4 solves all of Black's problems. White has to move quickly to keep Black from unravelling.
Material: Not to state the obvious but Black is up an exchange for a well posted knight on d5 and a restricted Black knight on b7.
Files/Ranks: Black has control of the a file.
Development: White is a bit behind as White has not castled yet. This is not however a position for ordinary moves. White needs to make some hay before Black solves the story of b7 knight.
Initiative: Each side I would say is fighting for this. Black is looking to unravel and White is looking to get some concrete threats in.
What problems does White have to solve?
1. Keep Black bottled and restrict opportunities for Black to get the rooks into the game.
2. Attend to king safety
I confess 23. h4 as played would probably not be my first choice of move. Given that White is down material I would probably consider this as a possible way to get the rook into the game via a rook lift. I do see the point now about making the Black bishop move off the confluence of two active diagonals. 23...Bh6 was played in the game. What if 23... Bf6 or 23... Bd8 ? Let's have a look:
After 23... Bf6:

24. Nf6 is tempting but that gives up White's best piece. The idea of playing 24. g4 and continuing an attack is interesting. Some concrete variations would need to be evaluated given the awkward situation of the White king. Also worthy of consideration and a move to me which feels correct intuitively is 24. Ncb6. That move especially seems worthy of a deep think. White threatens to win back the exchange but Black has some shots down the a file. A worthwhile practical analysis task. I will take a hard look and post my evaluation in an upcoming post.
Evaluation of 24. Ncb6:
24. Ncb6 Ra3 25. Nd7 Qa7 26. Nf8 Ra1 27. Bb1 Kf8 28. O-O Nd8 29. Qh5 the bad position of the b1 bishop limits White's game here. I can see some play trying promote the h pawn but all very unclear. The Black knight can dominate if it gets to d4 or f4. I would say an edge to Black or unclear.
24. Ncb6 Ra3 25. Nd7 26. N5f6 gf6 27. Qg4 Kh8 28. Nf8 but this f8 knight is awkward enough that I cannot find a convincing line for White. 28... Ra1 29. Ke2 Rh1 30. Now what? Black is about to play Qa1 and start driving the White King. The d3 bishop cannot assist much. If this is all White can get I'm going to look at other lines before looking deeper here.
The problem with the routing of the knight via b6 seems to be that it does nothing for king safety. White needs a plan to make use of pieces where they are as much as possible and especially the h1 rook. More lines upcoming.

Evaluation of 24. g4: I like this move because it opens a square for the White king on g2 and makes ...Nd8 for Black awkward since White has g5 trapping the Black bishop. Black can consider playing that as a sacrifice in some situations. Also in White's favor here is that the White rook can be used directly on the h file. The c4 knight can be routed via e3 to f5 or just posted on e3 for defense. Black's second rook is still cut off on f8 and Black has to solve the problem of the b7 knight. Some concrete variations:
24. g4 Ra2 ( for argument's sake ) 25. Kf1 Qa7 26. Qf3 Black may be able to afford playing with a rook for 2 pieces after 26... Nd8 27. g5 Bg5 28. hg5 Ra1 ( 28... Ne6 is playable also and may be a better move. I originally thought this was not possible but now I see that it is since the Black queen on a7 covers the e7 square and prevents Ne7. The whole line seems quite playable for Black honestly. ) 29. Kg2 Rh1 30. Kh1 since material is reduced and there is no specific threat in the position. I give White an edge but Black has solved the problem of the b7 knight and the White king is a bit exposed, the d3 bishop needs something to do. I feel White is ok here and given that 24. Ncb6 didn't seem to generate anything specific I may have to play into the unclear complications of this line. Another possible move here is simply to route the c4 knight to f5 via e3 now that the Black bishop is off of the c1-h6 diagonal. I will come back to that another time.
Position after ...Qa7:
This is my next analysis task. If I got this position in a game 15 game on ICC I would be very tempted to play something like Bb5. That gets the bishop out of a possible pin after ...Qa3. If I had more time I would consider Kasparov's move Nd7 and not that I would have played it. Since I now know it atleast draws let me try and calculate it out. Analysis in the next post.
Analysis after 27. Nd7 Ra8:
I know this is covered in the kingscrusher youtube video. I tried to visualize the line and I was just missing one bit of the puzzle for a while:
28. Ne7 Kh8 29. Qf7 Rd3 30. Nf8 Qa2 31. Nfg6 hg6 32. Ng6 Kh7 33. Nf8 and here I was asking myself why not 33... Rf8? And it took me a bit to realize that after 33... Rf8 White has 34. Qa2 which by no means is all that clear in any case but probably ok for White. Black has 3 pieces for the queen but the Black king is a bit exposed, the b7 knight needs a few moves to be useful and White has some counterplay with the b4 pawn. Black I think can certainly play that way for a win. If Black eschews that then White has a perpetual check w/ Nf8-g6-f8.
Position After 29...Qa3: This is the beginning of a series of unexpected moves:
30. Qf5 With the threat of Qd7. The bishop at d3 cannot be captured. 30... Ke8 ok perfectly understandable 31. Bc4 Rc2 32. Qh7 Why allow the bishop to be captured now? Because it sets up a knight fork collecting the exchange. Can Black do better than lose the exchange after 32. Qh7 ? This is my next analysis task.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

T55 Round 2

I obtained a draw in round 2 of the T55 tournament on ICC. I consider that something of an achievement as I was defending for most of the game. Here's the game with some comments.
Time to learn the opening a bit better.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Passive Exchange Sacrifice For Attack

Here's a nice example of a passive exchange sacrifice vs the long castle position.

I will post my analysis of how Black can play after 2. Bc1 and 3. Bc1 in upcoming updates. Analysis of Black to Play After 2. Bc1:
Here's my Reassess Your Chess style analysis of the position.
1. Minor Pieces - The Black knight on c4 is the star of the show with the Bf6 making a good performance in a supporting role. The White bishops are an endgame advantage but are currently quite defensive and not striking at much. A clear edge to Black here.
2. Material - Currently equal 3. Development/Time - Black is better coordinated.
4. Pawn Structure - An edge to White in an endgame but once again Black is well positioned to advance on the a and b files. The d5/d6 duo cuts down the influence of the White bishops. Black will try for a KO in the middlegame. White has some chances in an ending of drawing or winning.
5. Files/Ranks - Black can make good use of the c file. White has the e file on which there is nothing much to strike at. Edge to Black.
6. King Safety - Edge to Black for the moment. White should try and complicate with a possible Rf1, Rxf6 idea.
My assessment - A small advantage to Black but White is not without defensive resources and chances to win an endgame.
How to Proceed for Black: 1. Keep White from untangling. To this end ...Rfe8 comes to mind. Drive the White queen off a strong square and prevent Bd3 w/ Qh7# ideas. The White Queen most likely moves to g4 which seems to lead to a queen trade which favors White. This is now revealed to be a key resource for White in the position. Qg4 for is an annoying move to deal with. So an immediate Rfe8 and Black has to deal with a queen trade most likely which would seemingly end any chance Black has of an attack. 2. ...Ne5 cutting out Qg4 ( Bg4 also ) is an interesting idea. Black needs to avoid some exchanges and keep White bottled a bit longer to get a more significant advantage. Black can then proceed with Rc7 and Rfc8 ideas but White will not be idle in that time. White should try and target f6/f7 with Rf1 and make the above plan a bit awkward for Black. A line such as 2... Ne5 3. Rf1 Be7 4. Qf5 and White is well on the way to equality or better. So 2...Ne5 while interesting is a bit slow. 3. The pawn sacrifice ...g6 is also an interesting move but I cannot find a line which improves Black's edge. Black simply does not have sufficient development to justify a pawn sacrifice. If White captures Bh6 then ...Rfe8 Qf3 ...Be5 Bc1 and now I cannot find anything for Black which justifies a pawn down situation. 4. I'm starting to feel that Black's edge here is optical. The Bc1 is a nice defensive piece but also targets h6 in some lines. White can trade the knight on c4 if needed and the bishop on f6 is threatened in the short term with an exchange sacrifice. Black has to spend some time preventing that which should give White time to unravel enough to force off some pieces atleast. Time to look for a favorable route to a better or atleast equal endgame. There's no direct path I see to a continued edge in a middle game. 5. 2... Rfe8 3. Qg4 Qg4 4. Bg4 is a bit awkward for Black. 2... Rce8 ( sad but so ) 3. Qg4 Qg4 4. Bg4 Be5 with the idea of f5 and mobilizing the kingside majority is a possibility worth considering. Black should not be worse here I don't think but probably not better. 3. Qg4 is not forced but White doesn't have any seriously meaningful squares for the queen. I think this is a safe option to play.
2... Ne5 3. Rf1 Bg5 is worth a thought. If 4. Bg5 hg5 5. Bd3 Black may have to weaken the kingside pawns a bit to make sense of the whole idea of playing 2...Ne5 and 3...Bg5. This doesn't feel comfortable. Lets see. 5... g6 the g5 pawn is weak but on the other hand Black is setting up a powerhouse knight on e5. The White bishop is somewhat restricted by the d5 pawn but still has some scope. Black needs to keep the queens on to play this way. The Black rooks have scope to attack on the c file and my sense is that White will win the g5 pawn and then it will be a race. Could be exciting chess.
After the deliberation I am of the opinion that Ne5 is Black's best chance to continue the attack. In that line White has a safe continuation in 3. Bg4 which seems to force some simplifying exchanges unless Black wishes to risk an exchange sacrifice for some uncertain complications. In this line Black can play safe by playing 3... Ng4 4. hg4 Rfe8 5. Qf3 Re1 6. Re1 and now Black needs to choose a safe option such as Rce8 or a more aggressive idea such as Qc7. 2... Rce8 seems to be a safe way to simplify and/or reach an endgame.

3. Bc1:
This is already too late. Black wins after 3...Na3 because 4. ba3 Qc3 wins. So 4. Ka1 Qc2 ( or Nc2 ) I believe wins.
3. Qd3 seems to be a better defensive try. Black can continue with 3...Ne5 when White should probably offer some exchanges with 4. Re5 Be5 5. Bc8 Rc8 and good defensive changes due to the reduced material.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Interesting Piece Sacrifice

I found the piece sacs in the following game fun to evaluate. I didn't use a computer to check everything but I do think the ideas are sound because the Black pieces are out of position.
Now I posted this because I decided to analyze 3...Kf7 in detail. If you like try it out and compare notes with me. Remember I'm not using a computer to do this. I will post my analysis below in a few days. I'm setting up the position as above and writing out my ideas for how to respond to any of numerous moves Black can play after 4. Bh6 which I think is the best follow up.
First Try:
3... Kf7 4. Bh6 Rg8 The Rook defends the bishop and prevents immediate material losses. 5. Nf4 g5 I'm sure there's a better move but this is interesting. 6. Qg6 Ke7 ( Life is much easier for White if Black tries 6 ...Kf8 7. Bg7 Rg7 8. Ne6 Ke7 and now I like 9. Qg7 and if 9... Ke6 10. Rf1 causes Black some unsolvable problems. ) 7. Bg7 gf4 8. Bf6 I think this is a key move. This Bishop is needed on a diagonal which can reach d8 later on in my critical line. 8... Kd7 ( 8 ...Ke6 9. Qf5 Kf7 10. Bg5 Kg7 11. Qf6 Kh7 12. Qh6# If 10... Ke8 then 11. Qe6 wins ) 9. Qf7 Kc6 10. Qg8 I could not find a direct win but White is now ahead 2 pawns. 10... Rc2 There may be better moves but I think Black is worse even when recovering a pawn. 11. Rc2 Nc2 12. e5 Kb6 12. Qb8 I think that's the key move. The threat is to play Bd8 and win the bishop.
FYI I did all that from the initial position in the diagram above without moving the pieces. I did take notes while analyzing. More lines upcoming.
Next Try: 3... Kf7 4. Bh6 and now I really cannot find a better move than 4... Rg8 5. Nf4 and now just for arguments sake 5... Bc8 6. Qg6 Ke7 7. Bg7 Qb7 8. Nd5!
Black's pieces are just terribly misplaced in the starting position and White is able to take numerous liberties as a result. My take away from this is that crazy looking sacrifices ( Nf7 ) should be looked at if I have a feeling my opponents pieces are on bad squares. I will post more exchange sacrifice games I find of value to my chess development as I find them.

Friday, November 16, 2012

T55 Round 1

I was recently invited to play in the team 45 league on ICC and I played my first game today. This is the game with some brief comments. I felt like I was playing Black with the White pieces in that game. I need to look up 1. c4 b6. I clearly don't have any clue as to what to play for. I got into something like a pirc/modern position I would be all too happy to play with Black. Hanging tough and realizing I was playing Black with the White pieces helped me keep that game together. BTW I would suggest T4545 League Game of the Week as a worthwhile collection of games to look through.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What the !

Every so often I look at a game where the annotator awards an exclamation for a quiet retreating move that neither starts or continues an attack nor defends a position in some clever way. This often happens in Chess Informant. When I have the time I try and make an effort to understand why the annotator awarded the praise and most of the time I don't get it. Luckily some of the games are also available in other games collections. Here is a case in point:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Back in the Game

Hello my friends. Thanks for visiting and I hope to publish more frequently than in the last few months. After a busy few months of chess during the summer I took a brief recess of a few weeks. I attended the US Open in Vancouver Wa, in August. What a great location for that tournament! My chess was so-so at this event and I have more than a few suspicions that my opponents were receiving extra cranial assistance during the games. Beyond that I have to admit the location itself was distracting. My rental was upgraded from a lunchbox to a Chevy Malibu: A great great touring car. I put 421 glorious miles of use into it in various jaunts in Oregon. Some pictures to follow. I was fortunate to see the boardwalk at Asbury Park NJ during the Boardwalk Open in October before Sandy busted through with a crushing combination of wind and surf. To all those affected please accept my deepest wishes for a speedy recovery. I'm taking a brief pause from tournament play for the next several months. I failed to achieve my goal of a 2000 rating but I think I would have succeeded minus the computer assistance. I'm going to focus on opening play and my favorite strategic theme the exchange sacrifice in the off months. Here is a nice game by the late Svetozar Gligoric from 1967: Here are some pics from Oregon: Oswald West State Park Rose Test Garden My Chevy Malibu Rental Multinomah Falls Oregon is fully worth the visit. Definitely on my list of places to visit every few years. Hey USCF please have a tournament in the Portland, OR area again soon!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Recent Successes

I am on a good chess streak recently. I tied for 1st at the NorthEast Open in the U2050 section and scored a respectable 3/6 at the National Open in Las Vegas in the under 2200 section. And in the spirit of Bobby Fischer here are some of my memorable games from the recent events. To keep the end of the post upbeat lets start with a loss. In this game I was actually doing ok and came up with a brilliant scheme to rid myself of a problematic bishop near the end and just played a bad move.

I liked my idea of pseudo sacrificing pawns to open the position for my bishop pair in this next game. I got a bit careless and let my opponent's knight into a post on e4 and had to settle for a draw.

I generally prefer not to present my wins. I think I do better by focusing on the losses and once those are exhausted the draws. I'll show this one because I have been working very hard on my tactics and I got to play a nice combination in this game. Objectively White may have been better in this game out of the opening. I'm not a King's Indian theoretician and fortunately for me I think my opponent was not either.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

IM Winning!

Now that my New York Rangers have been dispatched to the golf links for the summer I can think about chess again.  There's actually some benefit in this regard to the Rangers being be-deviled in the conference finals.

Once in a while in a game 15 on ICC I do manage to best a titled player now and again.   In this game my titled opponent dared what is probably an unsound sacrifice.  I believe I played the resulting defense imaginatively and stumbled into checkmating the IM on an open board.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cutting The Board

Not long ago I watched a series of interviews by James Plaskett of Garry Kasparov on The videos are quite cheap to rent online and are well worth the price of admission for the cultural and chess value. Just search for Garry Kasparov under the Movies/TV category on for the videos.

In the interviews Kasparov analyzes some of his best games from various periods of his career. One of the main concepts Kasparov talks about in these videos is the idea of local superiority of pieces and cutting the board. These terms are rarely used if at all in most of the instructive books I have on chess. I think I definitely learned a bit about how to approach the analysis of tactical situations from these interviews.

I was really befuddled by the combination in this game. Ivanchuk - Van Wely 2006 When I started to think about this in terms of local superiority and pieces being cut off on the other side of the board it started to make a lot more sense to me. The Black bishop at b7 is just a passive observer. The same for the rook on c2 and to some extent the bishop on e7 and even the queen on c7 cannot really influence the play where it matters. I'm still amazed by how Ivanchuk saw all of that blindfold.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Exchange Sacrifice

Recently I've been trying out an exchange sacrifice in my games to get a feel for when this is possible and when I really should hold on to the rook. I randomly came across Kramnik - Kasparov from Linares 1994 where Kramnik sacrificed an exchange for compensation that did not involve a structural component. I think the play is very instructive. This is one of the games I plan to study in depth when I get a chance. My initial impression is that the sacrifice was forced because White did not have a good square to place the Queen on when Black played ...Bf5. In any case this is the type of move that cannot be played in CCA tournaments in the bigger venues where there's a room for parents to set up shop with their IPads because kids will surely run off and check Rybka or Fritz's ideas more than occasionally. Kramnik - Kasparov Linares 1994

Here are some of my exchange sacrifice efforts:

Exchange sacrifice for the fianchettoed bishop

Sicilian Style Rxc3

There's more examples including situations where the sacrifice may not have been justified or only marginally so.  I will update the post with some of these later on.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Philadelphia Open

I played at the Philadelphia open Easter weekend in the under 2200 section. I think I played well overall but that did not reflect in my final score of 1-4-0. I have one main idea as to why this happened. I will not elaborate on this in this post and will refer you to my very first blog post from December 2011 for more details.

My plan from now on is to play in the open sections of the larger tournaments where there's invariably a gathering place for parents to set up shop with their IPads. My advice for older players such as myself ( with lower USCF IDs ) is to play in the open sections of the larger tournaments. This is practically a multi-hour lesson with better human chess players for much less than the equivalent cost of taking private lessons with a GM. I see this as my opportunity to present a chess problem to a GM or other strong player and see the solution.

I will play next at the New York State Open. This is a smaller tournament where I hope I will be playing human players and not cyborgs.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Modern Defence According to Kramnik

I was fortunate to read this great interview with Kramnik done by Vladimir Tkachiev. I was very impressed with Kramnik's responses and his personability. Afterwards the main question that kept coming to my mind was "Does Kramnik ever play the Modern Defence?" And the answer is yes though not that often.

Here is one of his efforts vs Grischuk:
Grischuk vs Kramnik
Kramnik tries really hard to win that rook ending but even I can probably hold that.

Kramnik plays the pirc vs Nakamura.

That gives me confidence to try that type of position with two pieces and pawns for the queen. Definitely on my list of positions to analyze. Check back in a few days and I may have that posted.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Long Island Open 2012

I played at the Long Island Open in Ronkonkoma New York 3/16-3/18 this year. Over 100 players attended and this turned into a great tournament. Thanks to Paul McCormick who I played in round 1 for the great chess set he gave me. I plan to use it in all my upcoming tournaments.

My chess was so so at this event. I still managed to gain a few rating points. What became clear is that my opening prep needs much work. The following is probably my best game from the tournament.

I hate to admit it but I'm on the verge of shelling out for the Monroi gadget to record my games. Copying off a paper score sheet into this blog and my database of games is starting to become a hassle. I've been putting off on this post because I've been too lazy to do the transcription. More on that soon.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Superior Bishop vs Knight Model Game

I recently discovered Fischer - Taimanov Vancouver 1971. I think this is a really nice example of how to handle this type of game even though Taimanov does not play the best defense. GM Melikset Khachiyan has a video on the ending of this game on ( Must be a paid member to access the video there. )

Fischer - Taimanov Vancouver 1971

Incidentally, Fischer played several other games vs. Taimanov with a similar endgame theme.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

USATE 2012 Wrap

My team had a great time at the Amateur Team 2012. Kola Adeyemi, Brian Karen, Michael Raphael and I played excellent chess for the most part. Our only loss was to a team rated 2199. We scored points in all our games including the one we lost. The organization was excellent. Rob Garcia ( who did not play ) came to watch us play on 2/18 and took some pics which he posted here:
Amateur Team 2012 Pics

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Game w/ Hanon Russell ( formerly ) of

I played Hanon Russell in round 2 of the USATE 2012. Mr Russell used to run I had a better position somewhere in the middlegame and could not convert the advantage. I was probably worse if not losing during some moves of the endgame and my opponent missed the best continuations. The game ended in a draw. More pictures etc. from the tournament later.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Analysis of Round 6 Game from LBO 2012

I finally got down to analyzing my games from the Liberty Bell Open 2012 ( with some encouragement from Rob Garcia ).

Here's my round 6 game with computer analysis. I think I can keep coming back to this one game for a very long time

Monday, January 16, 2012

One for the Road

I played a really fantastic chess epic before heading home on Monday in round 6 at the LBO 2012. ( I took a bye for round 7 b/c I did not want to drive back late as I would be doing this by myself potentially in bad weather. )

The final sequence is something worthy of a Batsford Chess endings or the like. Did I miss a win in there somewhere? Probably. No matter. This is the game I will remember when I look back on the Liberty Bell Open 2012.

If anyone wants to learn fighting spirit go talk to one Dwayne Wilson.

Round 3 at Devon Seafood Grill

My friend Tony Strauss and I made a draw with the Devon Seafood Bar and Grill in RittenHouse Square, Philadelphia during round 3 of the 2012 Liberty Bell Open at the expense of a bye at the board. A fully rewarding exchange.

Here's Tony evaluating his beer.

And here's my Weyerbacher

I'm willing to hazard that the Belgian beers really are the best. Devon was a delightful experience. Fully worth the somewhat pricey menu.

Schacher in Round 2

Here's one of my candidates for my upcoming book "My 100 Greatest Losses":

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Round 1 game from Liberty Bell Open

I'm playing tournament chess after 2 years! Here's my first round game from the Liberty Bell Open. Apologies for the small board size. I wrote extensive comments to the game and the pgn4web controller cannot handle the resulting long url.

My round 2 game was a real shocker. I won all the battles and then made some really horrible moves at the end and lost the war. Credit to my opponent also for making things tough. I will post that game later today or tomorrow.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A line vs. Bf4 in the Kings Indian

Recently GM Fabiano Caruana won on the black side of a Bf4 ( I believe this may be called the Keres line ) King's Indian. I have always struggled vs the Bf4 King's Indian mostly due to a lack of understanding of the ideas. The line is played fairly infrequently and I have never been able to get in enough practical experience in the line to understand the ideas for both sides.

In the game Ivanchuk self destructed and lost quite badly. I'm interested in the game more for the opening and middle game ideas upto about move 20.

Ivanchuk - Caruana Reggio Emilia 2011

I plan to study this game in detail and make this a model game in my opening repertory vs a Bf4 King's Indian system.

I actually have an interesting story to share about GM Caruana. I had the fortune of playing a few games vs Fabiano when he was about a 2300 player at the Marshall and Manhattan Chess Clubs in New York. He won most of the games but I did manage to draw with the black pieces in one game. In that game I was actually winning at some point and hung perpetual check. After the game I ended up somehow in a discussion with Fabiano about the game and he commented, in forgivably youthful bravado, something to the effect that I can never beat him. I was rather chagrined and did manage to retort that there's atleast one way that I can beat him and that is if he failed to show up to play the game that I would win by TKO. Strangely, some months later, I was paired with Fabiano in the first round of that year's Bruce Bowyer memorial tournament. Fabiano took ill and did not attend and I won by TKO!

So that's my story about Fabiano. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to have played him when I even remotely represented competition. And now I get to improve by studying his games at the pinnacle of chess. The universe is a most interesting place.