Saturday, April 14, 2018

Kids Night 040918 Was a Great Night of Chess!

The ladies can play some great chess also.

The Kid’s Night this April of 2018 was a big success! We had 13 players!
We also welcome five new players to NPP! So a big welcome to

Kyle and Matt L,  along with

Matt, Nick and Ken S.

Many of our ‘kids’ are planning to show up most Monday nights and not just the 2nd Monday of the month – Kid’s Night. So there is no reason not to show up any Monday night – and no matter what your age might be.
On any Monday, casual games and lessons are always available. But as an added bonus – starting on Monday April 23, we will start our LCC Club Championship!
This is a free tournament! This will allow players of all strengths to practice their tournament skills. The time limit will be 1 hour per player - with a 5 second delay – if you use a clock with a delay. Otherwise it will be 1 hour per player.
This gives players new to tournament style play plenty of time to think and even practice writing down the moves of their game.
Recording all your games is a great way to get better. You can then show your game to a better player who can probably give you insights to better moves you missed – regardless of whether or not you won that game. But doing that certainly helps you improve!
To register for this tournament simply let us know at the club this coming week, send an email to the club email – show up at 6pm the night of the tournament and register prior to the 6:30 pm start.
Now here is a game played by a member of the club on line on Chess .com. If you do not have an account there, get one.
The game opening is called the French Defense. It has stood the test of time and is a reasonable answer to White playing e4. However, Black must understand his positional weaknesses and counter attack White’s strong center soon, lest he become buried under the weight of his own army. Notes by the computer Igor3000

1.      e4                          e6
2.      d4                          d5
3.      e5                          c5
White takes center control with what is called the Advance Variation of the French Defense.
4.      Nf3                        Nc6
5.      c3                          Qb6
6.      Bd3                       Bd7
7.      Bc2                        cxd4
8.      cxd4                      Be7
9.      Nc3                       Qc7?
Black is not being aggressive enough. Igor suggests 9. ….h5.
10.  O-O                       f6
11.  Re1                        a6?
While White slowly build his position by protecting his King and placing his rook in the center, Black wastes time by not starting to break down White’s center with 11. ….fxe5, 12 Nxe5, Nf6. Instead White takes an almost 2 pawn positional edge (+1.9).
12.  a3                          Rc8
13.  Nxd5!                    exd5
A beautiful and forceful move by White. 13. …exd5, 14. E6 and a passed pawn. Other moves by Black wins White material.
14.  e6                          Bxe6
15.  Rxe6                      Nd8?
Black needed the ugly 15. ….Kf7. White is (+3).
16.  Re2                        g6
17.  Bd3                       Qd7
18.  Bd2?!                    Kf7?
White had a shorter path to victory with 18. Qd3. Black needed 18. ….Kf8 instead. (+4)

White to make move #19

   19.  Re5!!                     Kg7
The perfect shot. White has so many ways to win now.
   20.  Rxd5                     Bd6
   21.  Bb4                       Nf7
   22.  Ne5!                      fxe5
   23.  dxe5                      Qc6?
There is nothing much anyway.
   24.  exd6                      Nf6
   25.  Bc3                        Nh6??
   26.  Qd4                       Rhf8
   27.  d7                          Nf5
   28.  Rxf5                      gxf5
   29.  dxc8 (Q)+             Qxc8
   30.  Re1                        Kg6
   31.  Re6                        Qd8
   32.  Qxd8                     Rxd8
   33.  Rxd8                     Kg5
   34.  g3                          Resigns

Friday, April 6, 2018

Kid's Night Next Monday - 040918 - Fabiano Caruana to Play for the World Title!

Meet the next American to challenge for the World Title - Fabiano Caruana

We look forward to a big crowd at the next Kid's Night this Monday.

The Club is open to all every Monday night, but on the 2nd Monday of the month - its all about the kids!

Bring the young chess players - of any strength, including beginners - and they will find another young player to play against.

Or they can get lessons from any of the club regulars, especially our own "Coach Terry".

See you this coming Monday, starting at 6pm to 8pm.

Now for the story of our country's own World Championship challenger, Fabiano Caruana!

From The Guardian:

American Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana will challenge for Magnus Carlsen’s world chess championship in London this fall after winning the candidates tournament in Tuesday’s final round of competition in Berlin.

No player born in the United States has won or even competed for a world championship since Bobby Fischer in 1972.

The Miami-born, Brooklyn-raised Caruana draped himself in an American flag amid applause from the gallery at the K├╝hlhaus after winning as black over Russia’s Alexander Grischuk to complete the 14-game double round-robin with nine points, one better than Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Russia’s Sergey Karjakin, who finished on eight apiece. Ding Laren, China’s first ever candidate, was the lone competitor to finish the fortnight undefeated with one win and 13 draws, good for fourth overall with 7.5 points.

“I am absolutely thrilled,” Caruana, the world No3, said afterward. “Coming into today, I wasn’t sure what would happen and things couldn’t have gone better. A few days ago, I thought the tournament was already out of my hands, but somehow things just came together perfectly at the end. I really couldn’t be happier.”

Caruana, 25, led the eight-man field from start to finish, weathering a shaky two-game period over the last week and holding off a dogged fightback by the resilient Karjakin, whose dramatic win over the American in 48 moves on Saturday briefly thrust him atop the leaderboard beside the leader with two rounds to play.

But Caruana, benefiting from an extra rest day, bounced back on Monday to defeat pre-tournament favorite Levon Aronian of Armenia, while Karjakin was held to a draw by Wesley So of the United States.

That set the stage for Tuesday’s final round in which four competitors entered with a mathematical shot at the title. But after Karjakin drew with Ding, Caruana outlasted Grischuk over 69 moves and more than six hours to book his place across the board from Carlsen, who will be making his third defense of the world championship in the best-of-12-games match from 9-28 November in London at a venue to be determined.

“It’s still so far away, but I’ll prepare very seriously for it,” said Caruana, who earned the winner’s share of €95,000 ($117,827) with Tuesday’s candidates win. “I’ll come well-prepared. It will be a tough fight, but right now I’m not even thinking about it.”

Caruana, who is a dual US-Italian citizen but spent his childhood in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, competed internationally for Italy from 2005 until 2015, when he changed federations to compete as an American. He represented the United States on the first board at the most recent Chess Olympiad in 2016, leading his nation to their 1st gold medal at the tournament since 1976.

The lone other American to compete for a version of the world title since Fischer’s 1975 abdication was Russian-born grandmaster Gata Kamsky, who played under the US flag when he lost a 20-game match to Russian star Anatoly Karpov in 1996, when the championship was fractured between rival governing bodies and Garry Kasparov was generally recognized as the world’s strongest player.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Co-Champions for the 2018 LCCC Fischer Random 960 Tournament

Everyone has equal standing with the Royal Game of chess.
We had eleven players tonight for the conclusion of our 2018 Fischer Random 960 Tournament.

But first we welcome a new member to the Club - and hopefully a Kid's Night regular - Jack M.
Welcome to LCCC Jack.

The co-champions of the 960 tournament are:
Vince Valente
Ken Tack

Congratulations guys!

If you have never played 960 chess, you should try it some time. You start the game with the pieces randomly placed on the back rank - not in the standard chess placement. This throws a player's opening "book" knowledge out the window!

Below is Vince's victory game that clinched his tie for 1st place. As you will see, with the standard opening moves out the window, chess becomes more of a puzzle than ever!

We have two of the best players at the club going at it here, and there were a dozen lead changes during the game! Our chess super Grandmaster computer Igor3200 shows us things most humans would never see. All regular notes are his. Chess computers talk to humans now, you know?

Anything your humble scribe adds will be in [brackets].

This is an exciting one and the type you see at our club all the time. Even when we play regular chess!

Set up the back row White pieces from left to right:
then mirror the Black pieces on the other side. Crazy looking eh? But it's FUN!

White: Vince V
Black: Don M

1.  d4               d5
2. Bf4              b6
3. e4                Ngf6
4. h3                Nd6?
The simple 4. ...dxe4 is best. White leads in position by almost 2 full pawns (+1.8).
[Black was not afraid of 5. e5, but most players would be.]

5. Be2?            .........
White forfeits all advantage and is now a pawn down in position. (-1) Better was 5. e5  g5 6. Bxg5  Nfe4 7. exd5  Nxg5 8. dxc7+  Bxc7.
[Both players feeling the pressure of playing for 1st place in a tournament. Even a fun tournament at the club. You want a free thrill ride? Play tournament chess!]

5. ........            e6??
White is back in front (+1.5). 5. ......dxe4  6. f3

6. Ngf3??         .........
Another switch in fortunes! (-1)
[Anyone see the reason here that 6. e5 was not played here? If there is danger, neither me or Igor see it.]

7. Ba6              Bxa6
8. Qxa6            f6??
This give White unnecessary counter-play (+1.2). 8. ....Nxe4 was the move.

9. Nd3??         .........
White slows down his strong king side attack and a way to maintain the advantage, 9. exd5  e5 10. dxe5  Nc5. Now the game is EVEN.

9. .........          Nc4??
Black lets the air out of his own sails. (+1.6) 9. ....dxe4 10. Nb4  c5 11. Nc6+  Kc7 12. Nxa7  e5 13. Nxe5  fxe5 14. dxe5  Nc8.

10. O-O          g5
11. Bh2          Be7??
More ground lost. (+3) 11. ....h5 was best.

12. b3?!          ........
Nope. 12. exd5  exd5 13. Qb5  Qd8 14. Qxd5  Na5 makes things easier on White. (+2.5)

12. ......           Na5
13. c4??          ..........
This ruins a strong position (-1) Still 14. exd5  exd5 15. Qb5

13. .......         Bd6??
Another flip flop and back to a losing position. (+2.8) 13. ...dxe4 14. Rae1  exd3

14. c5??        ..........
Missed a chance to keep or gain a greater advantage with 14. e5  fxe5  15. c5 (+.6)

14. ........        Bxh2
15. Kxh2?     .........

Now White is now losing slightly. (-.6)  15. Nxh2  Qc8  16. Qxc8+  Kxc8 17. exd5 keeps the slight lead.

[15. Nxh2 is a computer move. We humans rarely like to retreat infantry. But now getting dizzy with all the lead changes .....and there is more track left on this roller coaster.]

15. ........        Qc8
16. Qb5?       .........
This weakens White's position further. (-1.5) 16. Qxc8  Kxc8 17. exd5  exd5  18. Rfe1 was better.

16. ........        c6
17. Qb4         Qc7+ ??
Black lets the small lead slip away. (+.8) 17. ......dxe4  18. Nxg5  fxg5  19. cxb6  axb6 was the play.
[The gaining tempo check by Black would look like a reasonable move to most humans.]

18. Kg1 ?
Better was 18. e5 so now Black regains the small advantage (-1) after 18. ...dxe4 19. cxb6  axb6 20. Nxg5  fxg5. But instead;

18. .......         b5??
Black ruins his position (+3).

19. a4?          a6?
Time pressure creeping in. First White missed 19. exd5 (+2) and Black missed 19. ...dxe4 20. axb5  Nb7 Now (+3.2)

20. axb5       axb5
21. Ra2?      ..........
Ruining a winning position. 21. exd5 exd5 22. Ra3 and White can relax. Instead (+.4).

21. ........      Nb7??
The game flips for the final time with this last mis-step. Needed was 21. .....dxe4 22. Rfa1  exd3  23. Rxa5  Kb7 and it's close to even. Instead, (+3.4).

22. Rxa8+     Kxa8
23. Ra1+       Kb8
24. Qa3         Kc8?
No good but nothing is at this point. (+4.6) 24. ...Qa5 was better.

25. Qa8+      Qb8
26. Nb4        Qxa8
27. Rxa8+    Nb8
28 Na6         Black resigns

Congratulations Vince on your 1st place finish! Same to you Ken.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Casual Night of Chess 031918

A bit of a slow night with only six players.  Maybe the nice Kid's Night the week before tired out some players.

Anyway, we need to finish the 3rd round of our 960 Tournament next week. So all players with a game to play need to attend or forfiet.

Also we will have our annual Club Officers meeting at the Club starting at 6pm. We will be done by 6:30 so we can get to the important stuff - CHESS!

In the meantime, here are two puzzles for your enjoyment.
The first one is not easy.
The second one is even harder!
Answers will be provided in the Comment section if requested.

White to move and win

White to move and win!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Kid's Night 031218 - A Success!

A game of chess at your favorite pub is always a good time.
Fourteen players were on hand for this week's Kid's night - including newcomers - Jack, Moe, Kathee and Doug. Welcome to LCCC!

Our Fischer Random 960 tournament - Round 3 will continue next week (we hope). Two games yet to be played in Round 3:

Board 1: Vince V vs Don M
Board 2: Jake P vs Ken T

We look forward to those big games! Be at the club to watch first hand or play the other members hanging around waiting for Round 4.

Here is the end of an entertaining game played by a club member against Niko from Russia - on line. The loser shall go nameless due to the un-grandmaster like moves played. Even the initials (MN) of the loser will not be disclosed.
Nope, sorry, begging won't help. Journalist never reveals any information about their sources.

Position after Black's 17th move.

18. b4?          ........
The first outright blunder of the game. White had maintained his positional advantage based on having the first move - up until this point. But now Black has the equivalent of a one pawn lead positionally (-1).
White would have served himself well to take the time to move his King out of the X-ray pin of Black's rook on g8 with 18. Kh1 and equality.

18. ......          cxb4
19. cxb4        Bxb4
20. Rec1        Kb7
21. Rab1        Bd6
Black misses the better 21. Bxd2, 22. Qxd4, Nf5. But time pressure has both players missing the best moves here.

22. Nb3           Ka8
23. Nc5           bxc5
24. dxc5          Be7
25. c6              Qe8??
This move spoils Black's game and a sure draw or possible win due to time pressure and a slightly better position. Now White cleans up quickly (+4).

26. Rb7           Bd6??
Black obviously shaken, does not find the only hope in 26. .....Rb8.

27. Rxa7         Kb8
And 27. .......Kxa7 will not save Black either - mate in twelve.

28. Qb2+         Black resigns

Oh well. Set them up again!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

2018 Fischer Randon Tourney Continued 030518 - Kid's Night Next Week!

Chess is relaxing.....and challenging at the same time!
Another fun night of chess at the Club. We had ten players visit tonight - including the return of John R!, who has been missing due to a new house purchase and other life issues.
Glad to see you back 'home' at the club John!

Be sure to bring the young ones to the Club next Monday - as it is Kid's Night. All members will be available to coach or instruct beginner players - or just play chess games.It's always a good time for the kids and the parents! Stop on in.

Now for an interesting game played at the 2016 Washington International Chess Tournament. The 15 year old American International Master (IM) Nicolas Checa is facing Grandmaster (GM) Ilya Smirin of Israel in the third round!
The Belarus born and Russian trained Smirin moved to Israel, and has won an Olympic bronze medal. His rating peaked at 2701 in 2001, and has been a tough opponent at the highest level of chess competition.
This would be a daunting challenge for any player to face. Let's see what happens:

White: (IM) Nicolas Checa, USA
Black: (GM) Ilya Smirim, Israel
Opening: King's Indian Defense: Classical

1. d4            Nf6
2. Nf3          g6
3. c4            Bg7
4. Nc3         d6
GM Smirin is a legendary expert in the King's Indian Defense and has written a best selling book on this very opening!

5. e4            O-O
6. Be2         Nbd7
Smirin goes for a side line. The main line is 6. ...e5  7. O-O, Nc6 8. d5, Ne7

7. O-O         a5
8. Be3         h6?!
Not normal and not the best. Smirin may not have been eager to see how well his young opponent is prepared for his pet line. Never the less, Smirin is very well aware he is making a risky decision.  The move prevents an intrusion to g5, but it doesn't help Black's cramped position. 8. ....Qe7 was best. Will Checa see that? White has a lead of one pawn (+1).

9. dxe5        dxe5
Position after Black's 9th move.

This move by Black is forced or Smirin is in deep trouble. The other capture 9. ....Nxe5? 10. Nxe5, dxe5 11. Qc1!

10. h3?!          c6?
This move by White prevents ....Ng4 but it was a serious waste of time that should have cost him his advantage. But Black plays the wrong queen-side pawn forward. Correct was 10. ....b6 to free the bishop. The text move doesn't help Black's position. White's lead grows to (+1.6).

11. Qc1        Kh7
12. Rd1       Qe7
13. c5!         Nh5
14. Rd6?      Nf4?!
15. Bc4       Nf6
16. Bxf4      exf4
17. Qxf4      Nd7
18. Qe3       b6?

This is definitely a serious mistake by Smirin, which returns White's advantage to close to (+2). Necessary was 18. ....Ne5 to hold the game.

19. Rad1     Nxc5
There was nothing wrong with White playing 19. Rxc6, Bxc3 20. e5 and White is a healthy pawn up.

20. e5          Qc7
21. Ne4       Nxe4
22. Qxe4     Bf5?
The game is just over now. White has a (+2.5) lead, which is nuclear in the hands of a chess master. Smirin needed to play 22. .....Qe7.

23. Qh4!      Rae8
24. e6!         fxe6??
Panic in a lost position. White's advantage is now (+8.5).

25. Rd7       Qc8
Position after Black's 25th move

 The final blow is next in the form of a deflection of Black's queen.

26. Ba6!      Qxa6
27. Ng5+      Resigns

In lieu of
27. ......        Kh8
28. Rxg7!    Kxg7
29. Rd7+     Kf6
30. Nh7+     Ke5
31. Qd4 ++

A memorable game early in the career of this emerging American prodigy. It is not everyday a player of Smirin's caliber loses a game like this.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fischer Random 960 2018 Tourney Continued - 021918

IM Almira Skripchenko thinks 960 chess is wild!
We had ten players tonight at the Club and four played in the 2nd round of our 2018 Fischer 960 Random Tournament.

This is a fun event! For those of you not familiar with 960 Random chess, it was a game invented by Bobby Fischer in order to "save" chess.His idea was to take the back rank of the pieces and randomly mix them up.

There are actually 1320 different combinations of mixed up positions, but Bobby wanted to save the idea of castling. So in order to do that, the 360 positions where the king is not in between the two rooks were eliminated.

There are now apps for phones which will do the random generating for the placement of the pieces. We use them at the Club. We turn the app on and roll a six-sided die and hit the random generator button the number of times the die tells us to, in order to get the starting position of the back row pieces.

But if you don't have an app, that single six-sided die will be able to do the randomization for you. Here is the formula:

A common one is that proposed by Ingo Althoefer in 1998, which requires only one six-sided die:
  1. Roll the die, and place a white bishop on the black square indicated by the die, counting from the left. Thus, 1 indicates the first black square from the left (a1), 2 indicates the second black square from the left (c1), 3 indicates the third (e1), and 4 indicates the fourth (g1). Since there are no fifth or sixth positions, re-roll a 5 or 6 until another number shows.
  2. Roll the die, and place a white bishop on the white square indicated (1 indicates b1, 2 indicates d1, and so on). Re-roll a 5 or 6.
  3. Roll the die, and place the queen on the first empty position indicated (always skipping filled positions). Thus, 1 places the queen on the first (leftmost) empty position, while 6 places the queen on the sixth (rightmost) empty position.
  4. Roll the die, and place a knight on the empty position indicated. Re-roll a 6.
  5. Roll the die, and place a knight on the empty position indicated. Re-roll a 5 or 6.
This leaves three empty squares. Place the king on the middle empty square, and the rooks on the remaining two squares. Place all white and black pawns on their usual squares, and place Black's pieces to exactly mirror White's (so, Black should have on a8 the same type of piece White has on a1, except that bishops would be on opposite-color squares).

Garry Kasparov, one of the world champions considered by some to be the greatest player of all time, gave his opinion of Fischer Random 960 chess:

"From my viewpoint, Fischer Random chess is entirely acceptable. But I propose that instead of 960 possible positions, most of which are positions that hurt the eyes of serious chess players, downsize the number of positions to 20 or 30. It goes without saying that in several years theory will be developed. To entirely exclude opening preparation is unimaginable."

Especially when that preparation is to your advantage as a GM!

Your humble scribe disagrees completely with GM Kasparov. The randomness is exactly what makes this type of chess a blast to play. And a genius like Kasparov and other GM's could easily memorize several patterns in 20 or 30 positions - and we would be right back to what Bobby Fischer was trying to eliminate - volumes of opening preparation.

Standard chess is challenging enough for us mere mortals. However, if you have an opponent who has some pet openings you cannot seem to crack, Fischer 960 may even the playing field for you.

And besides - it's FUN!