Monday, March 30, 2020

LCCC Still Closed - But Come Join Us On-Line!

Monday Night is Chess Night!
The Club is closed due to the quarantine effort. But you can still join us for chess action on line!

We at LCCC have some innovative members. They have set up a Monday Night Tournament on a site called Li Chess!

All you need to do is make an account on Li Chess. It is completely free!

Then head to the LCCC page on Li Chess:

and join us by clicking on the "Join Team" button.

Then in the center of the LCCC page you will see a listing of our previous and future tournaments. The next one will be at the top.

Sign up or sign up Monday night before 6pm and get ready for a couple of hours of chess action!
The tournament runs from 6pm to 8:30pm
Time control is 15minutes with a 5 second increment.
During the tournament, you will be paired with the next available player.
You can be there at the start, you can come late and you can leave whenever you wish with no penalty.
You can also take a break and watch other games
There is also a chat feature so feel free to ask questions if you have any problems, or if you just want to say hello!
After the tournament has finished at 8:30, the site will announce the winner, 2nd and 3rd.
But this is just really for fun and to keep the Club going.

See you Monday Night!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

LCCC Shut Down Until at Least April - and an Interesting Game

If they can do it, you can!
LCCC is at the mercy of the State of Michigan, the State of Michigan Board of Education, and the Hartland School System. 
The Hartland Senior Center graciously allow us to use their facility on Monday evening. But as the school system goes, so goes the Hartland Senior Center. School is closed, so the Senior Center is closed, so we are closed.
When we get the green light to re-open, this site will let you know.

But feel free to play chess on line. Chess .com and Lichess .com are great sites on which to play. Both have a Livingston County Chess Club to join on their sites. Register and sign up for our chess club. Then you can challenge club members to games!

Now for a game I found on the internet. In an actual tournament game, a 3 year old beat a 6 year old! This game you can actually search on You Tube and see it for yourself. Very cute video. But here is the game with my commentary.

1.   e4          e5
2.   Qh5?
Which is a terrible move as Black can develop with tempo (an extra move) with 2. …..Nf6 attacking the queen and making her move again. White is up the equivalent of 6 pawns already (+6).

2.   .......            g6??
3.   Qxe5+        Be7
4.   Qxh8          d6??
Black just leaves the knight there to die. (+9)

5.   Qxg8          Kd7
6.   Qg7            Kc6?
Letting another pawn fall.  (+10)

7.   Qxf7           Bd7?
Black walks into a mate in three: 8. Qc4+, Kb6  9. Qb4+, Kc6 10. Qb5 mate. But these are very young beginning chess players. Missing this is understandable. But moving your queen for 9 straight moves is not understandable or acceptable. White has a huge material and positional advantage. He needs to bring those extra resourses into the battle AND get his king out of the center of the board. Ohterwise, his king may end up as exposed as Black's king is right now.

8.   Qf4?            h6  
9.   Qxh6          Na6
10. Qxg6          Bh4?  (+12.5)
11.  g3              Be7
12.  Qh6?         Bg5    (+10)
13.  Qh7           d5
14.  exd5+        Kxd5?  (+15.5)
Black is completely lost with his king in the center of the board. White just needs to bring some of his vast army advantage into the fight. Beginning chess players often fall in love with their queen and can't stop moving her every or nearly every move! 15. Nc3 and Black has no hope at all.
15.  Qd3+         Kc6    (+12)
16.  Qf3+          Kb6
17.   h4             Be7
18.   Qb3+        Nb4?
19.   c3             a5
20.   cxb4         axb4
21.   Qe3+        Bc5
22.   Qf3?         Bc6
White has no plan at all. (+9.5)

23.   a3??          Qe8+ ??
24.   Be2           Bxf3
25.   Nxf3         Qe7
Black has something up his 3 year old sleeve, which is fine because the best move for Black 25. ….Bd6 doesn't save anything after 26. d4. (+10)

26.   axb4?          Re8?
(+3.5) after White's move and then (+14.5) after Black's move. But a trap is set.

27.   bxc5+        Kxc5
28.   Ra5+         Kb6
29.   Ra4???      Qxe2++
And one of the greatest come from behind victories ever videoed is complete!

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Chess Club Kid's Night March 9, 2020 - and Chess Ethics

This coming Monday is Kid's Night at the chess Club. It is the night once a month where we focus on the younger chess players.
Bring your aspiring Grandmaster to the club for friendly games with players more his age, or against more seasoned opponents. Or maybe your child wants a chess lesson. Either way, the club is here for you every Monday night. But especially on Kid's Night.

Ethics Questions

Let’s check your chess ethics shall we?

Problem I – You are a spectator at the last round of a weekend Swiss tournament. The pairings go up and you see Player A – a friend of yours – is paired with Player B. You suggest what opening he should play. Is there anything wrong with that?

A no-brainer right? Not a problem. Your friend can take your advice or ignore it. Ok, let’s tweak it a bit.

Problem II – You are not a spectator but playing in the tournament. If Player B loses, you get a prize. You don’t know Player A very well.

Should you give him opening advice if he asks you?

Should you offer the advice if he doesn’t?

It’s getting a little troublesome now.

Problem III – It’s very late in the last round of a major tournament. The A vs B game is adjourned by the tournament director and the two players will resume playing in the morning. You want that prize so you go uninvited to Player A’s hotel room and offer to study the position with him.

Is that ethical?

This situation actually happened in the 1962 Candidate’s Tournament to determine who would play Mikhail Botvinnik for the World Championship. Paul Keres was tied with Tigran Petrosian in 1st place with one round to go. Petrosian drew his game and Keres would pass him with a victory over Pal Benko. The Benko-Keres game was adjourned until the next day.

That evening Petrosian and his friend GM Yefim Geller went up to Benko’s hotel room and offered to help analyze the position. Benko was disgusted and told them to leave.

The game resumed in the morning, Keres lost, Petrosian was crowned the Candidate and he went on to defeat Botvinnik for the title.

Like most people, your humble scribe was offended by Petrosian and Geller’s actions, and was very proud of my fellow American Pal Benko. The thinking is no third party should provide help. However, at the world class level, when games were adjourned, it was considered normal.

Let’s put a human face on it like Problem II. What if Keres best friend GM Max Euwe had gone to Keres room to help him?

So let’s ask an expert in Ethics studies, who is also an international chess player – IM Dr. Stuart Rachels.

The verdict is that despite their dubious motives, Petrosian and Geller did nothing wrong. As Dr. Rachels puts it, saying that Petrosian and Geller acted for bad reasons is not exactly to say that what they did was wrong – because the same thing, if done for different reasons, could have been just fine.

Life is confusing sometimes.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

LCCC's past president Matt Trujillo in tournament action
Great crowds and chess action at the Club. Winter is hard - chess is fun!

Need something to do on those cold Monday nights? A friendly game of chess or two with fun people is a great way to spend an evening.

Our 2020 Club Championship is in full swing and round 3 starts this week. Here are the pairings for Round 3:

Mike N

Peter B

Paul M

Vince V

Ken T

Sam T

Heymo V

Petro K

Charlie S

Josef M

Stop by the Club to watch some tournament chess action, or play some casual chess. There is always always someone there who is not in the tournament looking for a casual game.

Now for an interesting game:
White to move!

This is a Ladder Tournament game played at the Club.
To give you a little more information, it is not a normal chess game, but a Chess 960 or Fischer Random game.

This means that the pieces on the back row are not in the normal chess positions at the start. Instead, they are randomly placed in the back row. It takes opening preparation completely out of the game.

This game has been going on for 27 moves. It has been a positional battle with both sides trading a slight positional lead. Right now Black actually holds a (-.3) lead, according to the computer Grandmaster Igor3000.

That lead is basically the same lead White has at the beginning of a chess game with the first move. So thru all of the 27 moves, Black has been able to wrestle only a tempo (move) away from White. This was a timed game and both players still have over 30 minutes on their clocks. Time is not a factor …….yet.

We don't know how Black feels about his game at this point. But we do for White as your scribe played over the game with him. White is very worried about Black's attacking chances against his king with both of Black's rooks aiming at him. He is concerned about the lack of active squares for his knights. And he is concerned about the forward position of Black's c-pawn. It is not a factor yet, but if the intense defensive struggle starts on the king-side, White is worried Black will have an endgame advantage there.

Did White calculate all the variations scenarios and come up with the correct answer that he was indeed in trouble? No - he just 'felt' he would be fighting for a draw the rest of the way.
White told this writer that he usually likes to play these types of positions for draws, while waiting for his opponent to over-extend or make a mistake. But he says with this particular opponent, he did not feel confident he could 'defend' and hold, or that his opponent would make any kind of meaningful mistake.

White knew what his problems were. So he turned his attention to problems Black has: His rooks cannot cover the queenside. White is out-manning Black on the queen-side, and can get his pieces over there faster than Black can. Black has committed to a king-side attack.

But how does White open up the queen-side?
28. Ndxc4          dxc4
29. Nxc4            Be7?!
Note that Igor3000 did not give White's knight sacrifice a ! (good move) because 28. Bxg5 was best with perfect defense. However, we already know that White did not think he would play perfect defense. And this surprise aggression by White seemed to have panicked Black slightly.
There is psychology in chess at time and White took 12 minutes of his 30 remaining to make move 28. Black must have felt White found something he did not see yet. Black needed 29. …….Bxf4 to open the lane for his rook. The move played was too passive, as a deeper study by Black might have revealed that White still had nothing. This defensive move allowed White to regain the tempo lead in position (+.2).

30. Nd6+           Bxd6
31. exd6             Nd5
32. Be5              Rh7
33. Bf3               Kc8??
With White getting a little short of time, Black tried to just hold on and let White get in severe time trouble. But in making what looks like a logical move quickly, he gives White a chance to move is pawns forward. 33. …...b5  34. axb5   axb5 was required. White is way ahead now (+5)

34. c4            Nc3
35. Rb3         Ne4
36. Bxe4       fxe4
37. c5            bxc5??
This allows a pretty finish.

38. bxc5        Be8
39. Rb8+       Kxb8
40. d7+          Ka7
41. dxe8(Q)   Rb7
42. c6             Black resigns
The 'sac' was unsound, but still worked.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Club Championship 2020 Started - and Endgame Book Suggestions

The Club is open and the chess action if fantastic! Join us Monday for casual chess OR join our Club Championship tournament, in which Round 1 will continue. We have one player looking for an opponent.

This tournament runs every other week, so if you cannot make the first night of the round starting, you can make it up on the second week. It is a great way to practice real tournament conditions, without the pressure of a big formal tournament.

The tournament is free so come on in at 6pm and register for the 6:30 start of Round 1 B!

Now for a little example and some advice:

The chess endgame decides many chess games. Here is a case in point from our own Club Championship action last Monday;

Game EVEN. White to move.
The game at this point is dead even. Black has had the advantage but let it slip away. White has been on the defensive for quite a while and still may have that ‘I’m behind’ mentality. Igor3000, the microchip Grandmaster says the position is even. How the two players playing see it could be completely different. Both may think they are losing! Anyway, time pressure is now an issue for both players.

46. Qxc7??          …….

The losing move! There are several issues at play here. White had been down the exchange (a knight for a rook) for most of the game. He just swindled it back and was feeling relieved. With time pressure growing, White sees an opportunity to ‘liquidate’ and limit the power of Black further. The only problem is, the game is even simply because of White’s active queen. Trading off his best piece hands the advantage back to Black. White needed 46. Qe8+, Kh7  47. Rf2 and White holds the draw. Endgames are so delicate to handle.

46. ……..             Rxc7

47.  d5                  Kf6

48. Rd4                Rd7

49. Nd2?              Rdg7

50. Nxc4              Rxg2+

51. Kh1                Rg1+

52. Kh2                R1g4

53. d6                   Rh7++

Luckily there are many chess books written to help you with this part of the game.  These books come in three different varieties;

Theoretical encyclopedias, like Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual

 Manuals dealing with specific material, like Secrets of Pawn Endings by Karsten Muller and Frank Lamprecht, and

Technique instead of theory books, like Endgame strategy by Mikhail Shereshevsky

Here are some other suggestions for Endgame books, not grouped in any order.

First Steps: Fundamental Endings by Cyrus Lakdawala

Mastering Complex Endgames by Adrian Mikhalchishin and Oleg Stetsko

How to Play Chess Endgames by Karsten Muller and Wolfgang Pajeken

Sharp Endgames by Eshen Lund

Chess Calculation Training- Volume 2: Endgames by Romain Edouard 

There are other books available also. I like the updated and corrected version of the old classic:

Basic Chess Endings by Rueben Fine

Friday, January 17, 2020

LCCC Open on MLK Day - Club Championship Starting!

We will be open for chess action on Monday January 20th. In addition to casual chess or chess lessons, we also have a fun event starting.

It is the 2020 LCCC Club Championship!
Entry Fee: FREE

Rounds; Three, four or five - depending on number of entries.
Rounds scheduled - one every TWO weeks! This allows for make-ups, so don't feel it ties you into showing up for up to 10 weeks in a row. You get 2 Mondays to get your round in.

Time Control: Game in 45 minutes/with 5 second delay. Or 50 minutes with no delay. That means each player get 45 minutes to play the game, so each game can last a little over an hour and a half.

Its a fun event and a great opportunity to play real tournament action without the pressure or expense. It is a great way to practice the game management skills needed to play tournament chess. Things like: chess clock management, writing down the moves of the game, the 'touch-move' rule and just general sportsmanship in a competitive - yet laid back - atmosphere.

See you Monday for the sign up and start of the tournament.

Puzzle #2 - Black to move

Here are some puzzles for you to enjoy and to answer. I will put the solutions in the comment section.

Puzzle #1 - White to move and win.

Puzzle #2 -  White has 1. Qb7 and if ….Qxb7 then 2. cxb and White's pawn queen's easily.

A queen is a very expensive defender. And in this position, the Black queen is not able to defend White's threat.

What if you change your thinking and use the queen for what she is really designed for; Attacking the enemy king!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

LCCC Closed Until January 6th, 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all the chess players out there.

Our location is closed until the school sessions resume in January. Until then, here is an interesting game to look at:

White to make move 21
Black has just played 20. …..b6 when Bd6 was a better idea. Let us take stock of the situation:
The material is even and the remaining minor piece bishops are of the same color. Opposite color bishops make for a more draw-ish game as each side has the exact same power over half the squares on the board.
But in this situation, the side with more space and the more active pieces will have the advantage.
White has active rooks and a better placed Queen. Igor3000, my laptop Grandmaster agrees by giving White a full 1 pawn advantage here.
But how to convert that to a win?

21. Rd7        Qe8
22. Rcd1 ?!   …….
Igor was not a fan of this, sighting that 22. Qd5 not only guarded the rook at d7, but still attacked the rook at a8, and now attacks the bishop at e5 and X-rays the King on g8. White's advantage slips slightly to +.8.

22.  …..         h6
23. Qg4         Qe6
24. Qxe6       fxe6
25. Re7         Rfe8
26. Rdd7       Kf8?
Black needed to break up White's battery on the seventh rank with 26. ….Rxe7 27. Rxe7, Bf6 28. Rxe6, Rc8 and a draw was still possible. Instead White is now up 2 pawns!

27. Rf7+        Kg8
28. Rxa7        Rxa7
29. Rxa7        Rd8
30. g3             b5
31. Kg2          Kh7 ?!
Black needed to trade his less effective bishop for White's with 31. …..Bd4. White up +2.2

32. Ra6          Rd6??
Black lost his nerve, which is understandable when you consider how bad his situation was. White is +5.

33. Rxd6        Bxd6
34. a4             bax4
35. bxa4         Bc7
36. Bd2          Black resigns
Black knows he cannot simultaneous guard his isolated e-pawn and watch White's a-passed pawn.