Friday, September 30, 2016

Casual Chess on 092616 - Quick Tournament Oct 10 - A Spassky Classic

Chess is a game for everyone.....casual or formal.
We had seven players this Monday night. And we will have open chess again next week, so stop on by.

For those looking for some tournament action, the LCCC Quick Tournament will begin on Oct 10!

The time limit will be 10 minutes per player with a 5 second delay. Two rounds will be played!

The final two rounds will be played two weeks later on October 24. If we need a final tie break round, that will be on November 7.

So if you always thought that chess was a slow game, here is your chance to experience it .....well....quick!

Its a fun tournament so be sure to sign up!

Now another classic game by Boris Spassky!



Boris Spassky – Lev Polugaevsky
USSR Championship, Baku 1961
       1.      d4                    Nf6
       2.      c4                    e6
       3.      Nf3                  b6
       4.      Nc3                 Bb7
       5.      Bg5                 Bb4
Spassky prefers the complications of this line to the early trades of the counter-fianchetto in the Queen’s Indian. [Igor3000 has the position at (+.3) of a pawn for White.]

       6.      e3                    h6
       7.      Bh4                 g5
       8.      Bg3                 Ne4
       9.      Qc2                Bxc3
      10.  bxc3                d6
      11.  Bd3                 Nxg3
A double edged position is reached after a series of normal moves. (+.2)
 
      12.  fxg3                 g4
      13.  Nh4                 Qg5
      14.  O-O!                Qxe3+
This sacrifice suggests itself. Anything else allows Black time for castling long. (EVEN)

      15.  Kh1                 Nd7!
The beginning of a very deep defense. Now if 16. Rae1, Qg5 and the White rook is misplaced on e1. (+.2)

      16.  Rf4                  Rg8
      17.  Raf1                O-O-O!
The real threat was 18. Qd1 and Re1 with a snare of the Queen. Now this idea fails to 18. ……Ne5! 19. dxe5, de     and the Bishop on d3 falls. White tries to keep the trap “on” with his next move. (+.2)

       18.  R1f2                Qe1+!
Again ….a witty defense! White would have met 18. …..Ne5 with 19. Bf1! But now, Bf1 is weak as 19. …..e5 20. Re2 and the Black Queen can hide on a1! (EVEN)

       19.  Rf1                  Qe3
       20.  Rxf7                Rdf8
       21.  Qe2                 Qxe2
Spassky visualizes that in the ending he will have a King-side majority, targets to work on and the more active pieces. In contrast, Black’s active Queen makes the middle game barren. (+.2)

       22.  Bxe2                h5
       23.  Kg1                 Be4
       24.  Rxf8+              Nxf8
Actually forced because the minor piece ending is very bad after 24. ….Rxf8 25. Rxf8, Nxf8 26. h3     and Black’s King is too far away. (EVEN)

       25.  Kf2!                Ng6
       26.  Ke3                 Bc6
Exchanging the White Knight on h5 for Black is not as good as it looks. (+.4 instead of EVEN)

       27.  Rf6                  Nxh4
The sixth rank for White is more important than the seventh. If the Knight were on d7, White would not have much. [(EVEN) White doesn’t have much now. But Igor3000 is not Spassky. Actually,  Polugaevsky stops defending like Igor3000.]

       28.  gxh4                g3!
But Polugaevsky is still defending well at this point. (EVEN)

       29.  hxg3                Rxg3+
       30.  Kf4                  Rxg2
       31.  Bxh5               Rxa2
       32.  Rxe6                a5
       33.  Bg4                 Kd8
       34.  h5                    Rh2?

 
Position after Black played  34. ..........Rh2?


This move was the error. 

[Igor3000 sees 34. …..Rf2+ 35. Kg5, Rg2 36. Re2, Rg1 37. Kh4, Rh1+ (EVEN). Instead White leads (+1.2)].

       35.  h6                    Bd7
After the pawn race begins with 35. …..a5 36. Kg3, Rh1 37. Bh3, Rg1+ 38. Kf4, Rb1 39. h7, Rh1 40. Bf5 wins easily. (+1.2) Now it is all simply a matter of Spassky technique.]

       36.  Kg3!!               Rh1
Taking the rook with 36. …. Bxe6 loses in all lines.

       37.  Bf3!                 Rg1+
       38.  Bg2!                Rc1
Now all the right squares are covered and the h-pawn must reach the eighth rank.

       39.  h7                    Rxc3+
       40.  Kh2                 Bxe6
       41.  h8 = (Q)+        Ke7
       42.  d5                    Resigns

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Nine Players on 091916 Monday - Quick Tournament Starts Oct 3, 2016

Chess is fun for everyone!
We had eight regular players and one new one show up this Monday.

LCCC welcomes Eric S to the club! He got in quite a few casual games this evening.

The next event on the agenda at LCCC will be a Quick Tournament. This means the rounds will have a time limit for each player of 10 to 15 minutes, with a 5 second delay for the clocks that can do that.

We will probably play two rounds a night, so this tournament will go quickly. We will play the tournament on every other Monday - starting October 3rd, 2016. First round will start as close to 6:30pm as possible.

Please join the tournament by preregistering next Monday at the club or by email. Or, get to the club at 6pm and let our tournament director you want into this fun event. As usual, the event is free!

Now another win by the Michigan Class C Champion and LCCC member - Gene McClure. Notes by Gene!

Kung (1700) - McClure (1578)
1. e4      c5
2. Nf3      Nc6
3. d4      cxd4
4. Nxd4      Nf6
5. Nc3       d6
6. Bc4     e6
7. Be3     a6
8. Qd2    Be7
9. Bb3     ........
Rybka prefer this Bishop on e2.

9. .......       O-O
10. O-O     Na5!   Game even
11. f4       Ng4
I seized the chance to gain the bishop pair.

12. f5      Nxe3
13. Qxe3      Nxb3
14. axb3       Qb6?!
This move is not as strong as it seemed here. Rybka prefers Bd7 first.

15. Qf2        Bf6
16. Nde2      Qxf2+
17. Rxf2       b5
18. Rd1?!      .........
Rybka gives 18. Nxb5! which White said after the game he considered. (-.6)

18. .......        Rd8
19. Nf4        exf5
20. Rfd2?!      ........
Rybka wanted either one of White's knights on d5 (-1.1).

20. .......        Bb7?
Rybka says fxe4, then if 21. Rxd6, then ....Bb7 (-1.8) - a pawn and position.
Position after Black played 20. ......Bb7?

21. Nfd5       Bg5
22. Re2        f4
23. Rf1        b4?!
Trying to set up a skewer of White's rooks.

24. Nxb4       a5
25. Nbd5?     ........
To prevent the skewer, Nd3 was required (-.8).

25. ........        Ba6
26. Nxf4        Bxe2
27. Nfxe2       Be3+
28. Kh1        Rac8
29. g3         Bc5
30. Nd5       Re8
31. Nec3       Re5
32. Kg2       Rf8
33. Ra1       Bb4
34. g4       Rg5?
Rybka gives 34.....Bxc3 or h5 (-.9). It was probably better to leave my Rook pressuring White's e-pawn. [Now (+.2) says Igor3000]

35. Kf3      h5
36. h3       hxg4+
37. hxg4     Re8?
Rybka said I needed the rook back on e5 (even). Instead (+.8).

38. Rd1?    ........
(-.3) Back and forth. If 38. Nb5, f6 39. Nbc7, Rb8 40. c3, Bc5 41. Rxa5, Rxb3 42. Rb5, Rxb5 43. Nxb5 (+1.5) - White passed b-pawn.

38. .......        Rg6
39. Nf4?       Rh6!
White was now in time pressure and it appears mental fatigue set in. [-.5 according to Igor3000].

40. Kg3?       ........
This loses the e-pawn. 40. Ncd5 holding on. Instead (-1.8)

40. ......          Bxc3
41. bxc3        Rxe4
42. Rd5?       Rxe3+
Resigns

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Gene McClure Wins at the Michigan Open 2016

Gene McClure (left) playing James Karakos
LCCC had seven players play in the Labor Day Michigan Open this year. We also had three former club members in attendance also - Emily and Pat K and Eric Wright - president of the Ann Arbor Chess Club.

Our contingent was:
James K - 3-0-4
Tom H - 2-2-3
Mike N - 2-2-3
Nick D - 2-4-1
John R - 1-2-4
Paul M - 0-2-5
and also the winner of the Class C Division for the State of Michigan - Gene McClure!

Gene finished with a score of 5-1-1 - for SECOND in the overall Reserve Section Tournament and FIRST in the C Division. Congratulations Gene!

LCCC seems to have a lock on this division - in both the Michigan Open and the Michigan Class Championships. Just take a look at our Hall of Fame!

Here is one of Gene's games from the Open. Gene's comments - no brackets. Igor3000 in [  ].

McClure vs Evans
1. e4      c5
2. c3      d6
3. d4      cxd4
4. cxd4     e6
5. Nf3     Bd7
6. Nc3      Be7
7. Bd3      h6?!
8. O-O      Nf6
9. h3      O-O
10. Be3      Nc6
11. a3      Rc8

Position after move 11. White to move.


12. Bc2     Na5
13. Qd3      Nc4!
The correct move order for White was 13. e5 and 14. Qd3. Black took 25 minutes before making this last move.

14. e5 ?!    ........
The move 14. Bc1 prevents 14. Nxb2, but neither player saw this move at the time.

14.  .......    Nxc3?
[Black forgets about the h7 mate threat once his knight is threatened or taken.(-3.5)]

15. fxe3?!     dxe5
[+2.9 - but the better line for White was 15. exf6, Nxc2 (to prevent mate) 16. fxe7, Qxe7 17. Qxc2 (+3.5)]

16. dxe5      Rxc3??
and Black resigns ten moves later.
[ (+5) 16. ....  g6 would at least gives some hope.]

Monday, September 5, 2016

Michigan Open 2016 This Weekend in Livonia - at the Marriott

Michigan Open action - Gene M in the center in the green shirt.
Labor Day weekend is a BIG weekend. Normally the last big summer weekend of the year. Thoughts and plans return to the grind of work and school - with no vacations to look forward to. And no one is thinking about Thanksgiving - - - -  yet.

But the long weekend allows for a BIG chess tournament (7 rounds!) - with longer time limits for the game and with at least some break/meal times in between rounds. For those not familiar with the 'grind' of one or two day tournaments, a tournament like the Michigan Open seems almost humane to the players.

But, there are different schedules you can play also. You can opt for the 4-day, 3 day or the all too familiar 2-day format, with all the groups merging on Day 4.

Eight LCCC players were there.
Gene M
John R
Emily K
Pat K
Mike N
Nick D
Paul M
Tom H
White to move and take over the game!

It was great to see the high turnout of youngsters (ages 7 thru teens) at the event. Emily K was one fo them - and can they play some great chess!

Your humble scribe will post the results and some games as soon as they are available.

Until then, here is a puzzle for your enjoyment.

GM Judith Polgar with White vs GM Viswanathan Anand with Black. Anand is only the former world champion, but Judith played well this day.

White to move and get the advantage - and later win.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Valente Strikes Again!

Valente Strikes Again!
By Dr. Jason Morris

How do you play against an opponent that outrates you by 900 points? That was the question posed to our members who faced FIDE master Seth Homa in a simul on August 15. 


One of the best treatises on such advice can be found in IM Simon Webb's excellent "Chess for Tigers", Oxford University Press (1978). According to Webb, "tigers" are average club players and "heffalumps" are ... well.. like Seth... opponents who outrate you by 500 points or more. Webb writes, "...Heffalumps are mighty strong - stronger than Tigers. On open territory, a Tiger doesn't stand much chance against a Heffalump; he can't even dig a Very Deep Pit to trap it, because Tigers aren't much good at digging. What he can do, however, is to entice the Heffalump on to swampy ground and hope it falls into a bog and gets sucked underground by the quagmire."

Club regular Vince
Valente managed a draw against Seth two years ago. Could he strike twice? Let's see how he fared with his Heffalump this time!

[Event "2016 Seth Homa Simul"]
[Site "Livingston County Chess Club"]
[Date "2016.08.15"]
[White "Homa, Seth"]
[WhiteUSCF "2425"]]
[Black "Valente, Vince"]
[BlackUSCF "1562"]
[Opening "English opening"]
[ECO "A10"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]

1. c4        Nc6!?

Though unorthodox, this move is not a blunder. As a matter of principle, black should be concerned not to let white dominate the center in the next few moves, so challenging the center directly with 1. .. e5 (inviting a reverse Sicilian) or 1. .. c5 (a Symmetrical English) is more common. If black wants a queen pawn opening, he can even delay a bit by playing 1. .. Nf6 or 1. .. e6 until white shows more of his intentions. If black is intending to play the King's English, the normal route is by 1. c4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6, when the most common position is the Four Knights variation after 3. Nc3 Nf6. The move chosen has independent paths that get really crazy though. For example, black has the Black Knight's Tango after 1. c4 Nc6 2. d4 Nf6, popularized by Washington IM Georgi Orlov. 


An example:Spiller - Orlov, Los Angeles, 1991
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.d5 Ne7 5.e4 Ng6 6.Be3 Bb4 7.f3
Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 d6 9.c5 O-O 10.g3 Nd7 11.cxd6 cxd6 12.Bd3 Qa5
13.Ne2 Nc5 14.Bc2 f5 15.O-O fxe4 16.fxe4 Bh3 17.Rxf8+ Rxf8
18.Qd2? Qxa2! 19.Rb1? Qxb1+ 0-1

2. d4        e5
3. d5        Bb4+
4. Bd2       ..


The first big decision point. Perhaps white’s intuition was that his lead in development would be sufficient for an advantage. He could have kept his space and tried for the bishop pair with 4. Nd2. After the best 3. .. Nce7, play could have then continued:

(a)  The direct 5. a3 Bxd2+ 6. Bxd2 d6 looks dodgy after 7. Qc2 c6! 8. e4 f5 9. f3 Nf6 10. Bd3 O-O 11. Ne2 fxe4 12. fxe4 cxd5 13. exd5 b5! 14. b3 Qb6.
(b)  On the positional 5. Qa4 (mainly to interfere with d7-d6) a5 6. a3 Bxd2 7. Bxd2 Nf6 8. Qc2 d6 9. e4 Ng6 10. Bd3 0-0 11. Ne2 Nd7 12. 0-0 Nc5 13. f3 Bd7 and black is doing OK.
(c)  Best appears to be the developmental 5. Nf3 Ng6 when the game sharpens after 6. h4 (probing the Ng6) h5 7. g3 Nf6 (not 7. .. f5?! Ng5!) 8. Ng5 0-0 9. Bg2 Ba5 10. 0-0 d6 11. Qc2 Ne7 12. a3 Bb6 13. b4 Bd4 14. Rb1 a5 15. e3 Bb6 and white is getting a pull.

4. ..         Bxd2+ 
5. Qxd2    Nb8
(5. .. Nce7 is more active) 
6. d6        cxd6


As GM Igor Smirnov says in this video (https://youtu.be/EmJcUI_wSy8), "To take is a mistake!". Here, black breaks that principle, and in so doing makes his position much more vulnerable to white's pieces. Just 6. .. Nf6 was better.

7. Nc3      d5

Again, 7. .. Nh6 or Nf6 were better. With the self-inflicted wounds on d5 and d6, white is absolutely no hurry to recover his material, and he can calmly build on d-file.
  
8. Qxd5     ..

Pragmatic. White could have chosen the sharper 8. Nb5! d4 9. Nd6+ Kf8 10. Nf3 Nc6 11. b4! Qf6 12. c5 Nge7 13. Ng5 Nd8 14. Nge4 Qg6 15. e3 when white has a bind (0.51 according to Houdini).

8. ..         Qe7 

8. .. Nc6 is better. This just invites 9. Nb5. White’s move is OK too. Note that 9. Nb5 Qb4+ 10. Qd2 Qxd2 (not 10. .. Qxc4?? 11. Nd6+) 11. Kxd2 Na6 is just a long-term positional bind for black with the weaknesses on d6 and d5.

9. Nf3       Nf6?

This just drops a pawn for nothing. Why not 9. .. Nc6?
 
10. Qxe5    Nc6 
11. Qxe7+  Kxe7



Position after move 11. .. Kxe7.

 
In addition to being a pawn down, black has a weak d-pawn on an open file and little counter-play. Ahead a healthy pawn with no structural weaknesses, white should have a winning advantage. The practical question is how best to prosecute that advantage? Since black would like to at least engineer a trade of his weak d-pawn for say the white c-pawn, it makes sense to nip that in the bud with 12. Rd1 or 12. e4 immediately. However, the move played is not bad.

12. e3      d6 
13. Be2    Be6 
14. O-O    ..


A small slip allowing black to unload his weak d-pawn. White was better off nailing d5 down with 14. Rd1 Rhd8 15. e4.

14. ..        Rhd8
15. Rfd1    Ne5


Consistent was 15. .. d5.
 
16. b3        Rc8 
17. Nxe5    ..


Again, "takes is a mistake!" Why repair the black structure when white has a plethora of good temporizing moves? For example:
17. Rac1 to discourage d7-d5 further;
17. h3 to limit the scope of black’s pieces; or
17. e4 to clamp on d5.

18. Bf3      b6
19. h3       Bf5


The bishop is exposed to a g4-g5 thrust here, driving the Nf6 from the center. Better was 19. .. h5 fighting for space.

20. Bb7     ..

Another inaccuracy from white. 20. g4 Bc2 21. Rxd8 Rxd8 22. g5 Nd7 23. Nd5+ Kf8 (not 23. .. Ke8? 24. Nb4 Bf5 25. Nc6 wins another pawn, nor 23. .. Kd6? 24. Nb4 Bf5 25. Rd1+ Kc7 26. Nd5+ Kd6 (26. .. Kb8; Kc8; Kb7; and Kc6 all lose immediately to 27. Ne7+)) would have been better.

20. ..        Rxd1+ 
21. Rxd1   Rc7
22. Ba6     ..


The idea is to blockade the a-pawn and win it with Nb5 at some point. Simple and better was 22. Bd5.

22. ..        Rd7
 
23. Rxd7+ Kxd7  (To be considered was 23. .. Nxd7 and 24. .. Nc5)
24. Kf1?! ..

Hastening slowly with 24. f3 gets the position under control again. The game now bounces around until a final mistake throws away the win.

24. ..        Nd8
(24. .. Ne4 would have caused white more problems.)
25. Bb5+   Kd8 
26. Bxe8   Bd3+


White misses an opportunity to effect the minor piece trade under better circumstances by interpolating 26. g4 first; and black, for his part, makes his drawing chances worse. Relatively better was 26. .. Kxe8.
 
27. Ke1    Kxe8 
28. Kd2?   ..


A rather serious miscalculation that tosses the lion share of white’s advantage. A pawn is temporarily lost, and in recovering it, white's forces lose coordination. Rather than the white king assisting the knight to produce a queenside passed pawn, the white king must stay on the kingside to stop black's passed pawns.

28. ..        Bf1 
29. Nb5    Bxg2
 
30. h4       a5          (30. .. Kd7)
31. Nd6+   Ke7 
32. Nc8+   Kd7 
33. Nxb6+ Kc6 
34. Na4     Bf3


And now white has one last chance to play for a win with 35. Kd3. The h5 trick doesn’t work. After 35. Kd3 h5 36. e4 g5 37. Ke3 we have:

(a) 37. .. Bd1 38. Nc3 Bg4 39. f3 gxh4 40. fxg4 hxg4 41. Kf2 and black is stymied while white’s queenside will promote by force.
(b) 37. .. Bg2 38. hxg5 h4 39. f3 h3 40. Kf2 and white is in time.
(c) 37. .. Bh1 38. hxg5 h4 39. f3 h3 40. Kf2 h2 41. Kg3 Bxf3 42. Kxh2 Bxe4 43. Kg3 and white should win.

35. a3?!     h5!

But now, it’s a strong threat.
 
36. b4?    g5!

And poof! .. just like that, the winning chances are gone. In fact, white has to be careful that he doesn’t actually lose this position!
     
37. b5+    Kb7 
38. Ke1    gxh4 
39. Kf1     h3 
40. Kg1    Be2 
41. Nc5+  Kc7 
42. b6+?   Kxb6


A miscalculation by white and the tables have completely turned. Black now has serious winning chances. Holding the draw was 42. a4 or 42. Kh2. 

43. Nd7+   Kc7! 
44. Nxe5   ..


A critical position. Can you spot the best move for black?

 Position after 44. Nxe5.

With the heffalump in his cross-hairs, black needed to find 44. .. f6! 45. Ng6 Kb6! 46. e4 Bxc4 47. e5 fxe5 48. Nxe5 Be6. 




 Position after 48. .. Be6 (analysis).

This instructive position is worth studying:


  1. Black can eventually force the win of the white knight and a-pawn for his own a-pawn. 
  2. Black’s remaining bishop will be able to stop the white f-pawn while guarding the vital h5 pawn at a distance. 
  3. White cannot advance his f-pawn to win the bishop because if he ever moves his king to the 6th rank, he won’t be able to catch the h5 pawn. 
  4. Once he wins the white f-pawn, black still has the "right rook pawn", supported by his bishop to make a queen.

One illustrative variation might be:

49. Kh2 Kb5 50. f4 Ka4 51. Nc6 Bd7 52. Ne5 Be8 53. Kxh2 Kxa3 54. Nc4+ Kb4 55. Nxa5 Kxa5 reaching the key winning position.



 Position after move 55. Kxa5 (analysis).

 Unfortunately, black played...


45. ..       Kb6?

Saving the f-pawn was critical. Now, after the ensuing carnage, there is nothing left.
 
45. Nxf7   Bxc4 
46. Ne5    Bd5 
47. f3       Kb5 
48. e4      Be6 
49. Kh2    Ka4 
50. Nc6    Bd7 
51. Ne5    Be6 
52. f4       Kxa3 
53. f5       Bg8 
54. f6       Kb3 
55. f7       Bxf7 
56. Nxf7   Kc4 
57. Ne5+   Kd4 
58. Nc6+   Kxe4 
59. Nxa5   1/2-1/2


Congratulations to Vince on hanging tough and thanks to Seth for visiting our club!

- JCM

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Fun Seth Homa Simil .....and Casual Chess on 082216 Monday

Seth Homa in his LCCC shirt ant cap before the simil!
Sorry for the lack of articles lately. Sometimes life gets in the way of chess. But the lack of posting does not mean a lack of activity at LCCC.

On August 15th the members of LCCC were treated to a fun night of chess as FIDE Master Seth Homa stopped by to give a similtaneous chess exhibition. As always, Seth was a gracious player and even allowed 3 passes per player to allow them to think a little longer. Later in the simil he allowed the players take as long as they wanted to move. Everyone tried to move in a reasonable amount of time, but it is difficult to do when you are trying to hold on against one of the very best players in Michigan!

Seth disposed of eight of his nine opponents - with only Vince Valente holding Seth to a draw! This was no fluke as Seth was held to a draw by Vince about two years ago when Seth did his first simil here at LCCC!

According to Vince the game was eerily similar with Seth getting an opening advantage, then Vince sacrificing a pawn to at least giving himself some play. Seth admitted to a blunder a short time after that - and the game ended fairly in a draw.

Now that I tempted you with this game - IT WILL BE annotated and posted here! Just as soon as LCCC's resident Expert - Jason Morris gets back from vacation, he will post it here. Your humble scribe will let the Expert handle this game for our readers.

On August 22, we had a casual chess night and eight players showed up for that. We even got a new member to our club as Sam G. stopped by for the first time! Welcome Sam!

We will have another casual chess night on August 29th. Some of us will use that night to do some final preparations for the Michigan Open chess tournament being played over the Labor Day weekend.

It will be held at the Detroit Marriott Livonia - 17100 Laurel Park Drive. You have your choice of a 4 day event, a 3 day event or just a 2-day event. Either way, state titles are on the line as well has chess club honors!

LCCC has finished no worse than 4th in Club points in this event and would love to finish 1st this year!  

Black to move and win!
Be sure to register for this tournament by clicking on the Michigan Chess links on the right side of this blog. Or at least stop by to see the great chess action and check out the latest in chess books and equipment at the local sellers that will be at the event.

Here is your puzzle to help you prep for the upcoming State tournament!

Black to move and win!


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The 2016 Fischer 960 Tournament Finishes With an Upset!

Ken Tack wins the LCCC 2016 960 Tournament!

He won it with a last round victory against Jason Morris, who is the highest rated player in the club right now.

Your humble scribe does not have the game yet, but hopes to have it for you soon.

White - Jason Morris - Black - Mike Nikitin
To give you an idea of what a great game Ken had to play, here is an earlier 960 effort by Jason Morris. This will give you an idea of what Ken was up against.

But as mentioned in previous columns, 960 chess can almost force 'blindness' because your mind will picture pieces in their regular start places, instead of where they really are. This phenomenon bites Jason here, but he plays solid positional chess to turn the tables on his opponent with a material advantage.

1. c4       Ng6
2. Nb3      c6
3. e3?        Bxh2
4. d5         e6
5. Bd3       d5
6. Bd2        Qe7
7. O-O-O     O-O
8. f4       f5
9. g4       Bxg1
10. Qxg1     ......
Position after 10. Qxg1
  
Lets review here. White may have allowed the rook and pawn for the bishop exchange in order to "handicap" the game - since Jason is at least 500 rating points better than his opponent. Or - he fell for the 960 blindness that made his mind assume a rook was on h1.
Either way, White has improved his lot in life positionally and is less than a pawn down at this juncture - says Igor3000 - the chess computer.

10. .......         a6
11.  gf?         ef
12.  cd?         Qd6?
Black is seeing ghosts while facing this stronger opponent -fearing both a possible skewer he could maybe fall into along the c4-g8 diagonal if he played the correct Qxd5 or that cxd5 will open up the c-file for White (-3). Neither concern is real and Black's advantage stays minimal instead of growing in light of White's less than optimal last few moves (-.8).

13. Ng3      Ne7
14. e4       cd
15. e5       Qg6
16. Qf2     Nc6?!
Getting the other knight into the game with Nb6 was a better option (-.6).

17. Rg1       Qe6
18. Na5       Na7?
19. Kb1      b6
20. Bb4       Rfe8?

Position after Black's 20. .........Rfe8
Now Black is actually losing in spite of his material advantage. Just a simple check of real estate shows White has every piece in active squares and Black has only his queen in a good spot.
The best move for Black was actually to trading one of his sleeping rooks for two of White's well posted minor pieces with 20. ....bxa5  21. Bxf1, Rxf1 with a nice advantage for Black (-2).
Instead, Jason uses his positional advantage now!

21. Nb7!!      Bxb7? (Nc6)
22. Nxf5       Rd7
23. Qh2!       g6
24. Nh6+      Kg7
25. Bxg6       Kh8
26. Bxe8       Qxe8
27. Qh4        Rd6
28. e6          Rxe6
29. Qd8       Rg6
30. Qxe8+        Rg8
31. Qxg8 mate

Beautiful chess games come out of 960 games too! Great ending Jason!

And again, congratulations to Ken Tack on his fine tournament win!