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.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Kids Night 120919 Was a Great Night of Chess!

Chess is always fun......but it makes winter evenings much better!
There was another good crowd at the chess club this Monday for Kid's Night.
But, so far this fall/winter - the crowds have always been good.

We had 17 players this night and we have been averaging 13 players! So if you are looking for some friendly games of chess …..or even a chess lesson, LCCC is the place to be.'

We have only one more week left in 2019 and that is next Monday night. We will re-open on January 6th. 
We will have another Kid's Night on Monday January 13th.

Then we will have the first round of the LCCC Club Championship on January 20. This tournament will run every other week - skipping any Kid's Night that might come up.
The number of rounds will be 3 to 5 rounds depending on the number of entries. Stay tuned for details as the date gets closer.

Now for a very good chess lesson by International Master,  Larry D. Evans;

The correct plan for Black in the following position is to attack White on the king-side as soon as possible.
Black to move!

Why you may ask? Black has several reasons to justify this course of action:
  • > Black has a lead in development. But if not used quickly before White catches up - this advantage will evaporate away.
  • > Black is two pawns down and a defensive strategy would be difficult to maintain on the queen-side with that big a dis-advantage.
  • > Black's Queen is on the king-side and his bishop is already pointing that way. 
  • > White's King is on the king-side
  • > White's under-developed pieces are hibernating on the queen-side. So why would you try to attack there?
Does all this mean that Black's attack is a guaranteed success? Of course not!

Picture a battle between a sheet of newspaper laying flat on the ground versus the sun. The sun is infinitely more powerful but it's rays are spread too thin by the time they reach the earth to set the paper on fire. But, use a magnifying glass to FOCUS the sun's rays just to the paper and it burns almost instantly!
It's the same in chess. The first step in mounting a successful attack against a king is to select a target square - and FOCUS your forces there!
You usually pick one close to the enemy king that your forces can gang up on.

Looking at the position you can readily see that f1 and h1 are out, and h2 is defended twice. It is even worse for f2 as it is defended three times and not under even an X-ray attack by any Black pieces.

That logically leaves g2, who is under a one-to-one attack with a bonus X-ray attack from Black's bishop on b7 (so 1.5 to 1 advantage). No more call's - we have a winner! Anytime you have opposite bishop situations, obviously picking squares matching your bishop is a wise decision.
In addition, the other Black forces can easily join in the fun!

1. .......            Rg4!
2. g3               Qc6
3. Kg2            Ne5
Black never takes his eyes off g2.

4. Qxe5           Qxf3+
5. Kh3             h5!
Threatening 6. …...Qg2 checkmate!

6. Rg1             Rh4+
7. Kxh4           Qg4 checkmate.

Any other move is just as useless.
White resigns!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Chess Club Open This Monday - 111809

The weather did not cooperate with Kid's Night last week. But that is ok. It won't be Kid's Night, but it will still be a Chess Night - and all are invited to play!

So hopefully everyone will stop by this Monday night at 6pm. See you there.

Now for an interesting game I found. White makes one little mis-calcuation and his world crumbles. Ah, such is chess!

1. e4            e5
2. Nf3          d6
3. d4            f5
4. Bc4          exd4
5. Ng5          Nh6
6. O-O          Nc6
7. Nxh7?      ........
Not the best. 7. exf5, Qf6  8. Qh5+, g6  9. Re1+ is more in the spirit of the opening.

7. ……         Ng4
8. Nxf8         Kxf8
9. h3             Nge5
10. Bd5         fxe4
11. Bxe4       d5
12. Bg5         Qd6
13. Bd3         Bxh3
14. gxh3        Rxh3
Position after Black's 14th move. White to move.

It is at this point that White starts to drift. But moving the only pawn near his King to f4 is the play. It protects the bishop, gives space to his rook, give cover for the queen when she moves and takes control of a key square (e5). But de-nuding your King really looks right at first blush.

15. Kg2 ?!        …….
Now Black has 15. …...Nf3 and the King is in trouble!

15. …....            Ng4?!
16. Kxh3??       ……..
Again 16. f4 is needed. White is expecting 16. ……Nce5, 17. Be2, Qg6  18. Bxg4 with a BIG advantage for White (+6). But instead, he actually walked into a mate in 12. Now Black did not see this mate necessarily, but he doesn't have to. He only needs to see that he can now chase the king, and a mate will show up eventually.

16. ……          Qh2+
17. Kxg4         Ne5+
18. Kf5            Re8
19. Bd8           Qh6
20. Rg1           Rxd8
21. Rxg7         Rd6
Here White resigned in the face of :

22. Rg8+          Ke7
23. Rg7+          Qxg7
24. Kf4             Qh6+
25. Kg3            Qg5+
26. Kh2            Rh6+
27. Qh5            Rxh5  mate

Monday, November 11, 2019

Kids Night 11/11/2019 Cancelled Due to Snow!

LCCC closed tonight! See you next week!

Stay warm and safe at home and play chess tonight!
We are cancelling Kid's Night due to poor weather and poor driving conditions!
See you next week!

Mike Nikitin
President, LCCC