Saturday, November 12, 2022

2022 LCCC Championship Starts Monday - Free to Enter! Also The Rise Of a Great Chess Club!

 No, not LCCC. A different great chess club! The Manhattan Chess Club in New York, New York.

But first, let's talk about the LCCC Club Championship, which begins on Monday, November 14 at 6:30 pm. IT IS FREE to enter. The club starts at 4pm for warm up games and conversation. We are playing at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Brighton, MI at the Green Oak Shopping Center.

Our target start time for the first round it 6:30 pm. If you arrive a little late and want to enter, that will be no problem. You will either receive a 1st round bye (1/2 point draw) or get paired with another late arrival. 

Our tournaments are player friendly, as much as possible. We play one round a week, and the time limit for the games are 45 minutes per player, with a 5 second delay. Clocks and "touch-move" are in effect.

This tournament will last 3 or four rounds (3 or 4 weeks), depending on the number of entries we have. 

It is a great opportunity to experience 'real' tournament chess, without the cost or pressure. We hope to see many of our new players enter for the first time!

Now for a quick history of happenings at one of the biggest, best and most important chess clubs ever formed anywhere in the world;

The Manhattan Chess Club was formed in 1877.

1886 - The club hosted the World Chess Championship (Steinitz-Zukertort)

1890-91 - Steinitz played Gunsberg in a world championship match at the Manhattan Chess Club

1894 - The club hosted the first 8 games of the Lasker-Steinitz world championship match.

1895 - Emanuel Lasker joined the Manhattan Chess Club. In 1895, the first cable match was played between the Manhattan Chess Club and the British Chess Club.

1901 - members of the Manhattan Chess Club defeated the Franklin Chess Club of Philadelphia.

1905 - Jose Capablanca joined the Manhattan Chess Club at the age of 17 and beat its champion.

1905 - the Manhattan CC defeated the Berlin CC in a cable match, with the score of 4-2. The trophy was an autograph portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt.

1909 - the Manhattan CC organized a chess match between Frank Marshall and Jose Capablanca. Capablanca won with 8 wins, 1 loss, and 14 draws.

October-November 1918 - the Manhattan CC sponsored an international chess tournament. It was held at the club’s parlor in the Sherman Square Hotel. Five countries were represented including the United States, Cuba, Canada, France, and Serbia. The event was won by Capablanca.

1924 - The club organized the New York international tournaments (won by Emanuel Lasker) and 1927 (won by Jose Capablanca).

March 7, 1942 - Capablanca suffered a stroke at the Manhattan Chess Club while analyzing a chess game. He died the next day at the age of 53.

1945 - the Manhattan CC was the site of the American team in the USA vs USSR radio match. The USSR won 11 out of 20.

1947 - the Manhattan CC lost to the Club of La Plata in Argentina in a radio chess match by the score of 3.5 to 6.5. The Manhattan CC team included Reshevsky, Kashdan, Denker, Horowitz, Kevitz, Pinkus, Pavey, Kramer, Shainswit, and Donald Byrne. Only Reshevsky was able to win

1951 - the Manhattan CC hosted the Wertheim Memorial, won by Reshevsky.

1952, William Lombardy joined the Manhattan CC.

1953 - Gisela Kahn Gresser (1906-2000) was a regular at the Manhattan CC, always taking lessons from Hans Kmoch. She won the U.S. women’s championship 9 times and was the first woman to become a U.S. master. She died in 2000 at the age of 94.

June 1955, Bobby Fischer joined the Manahttan Chess Club. He soon won the 'C' section, then the 'B' section.

April 1956, Bobby Fischer won the Manhattan Chess Club 'A' Reserve championship. Fischer won the Manhattan Chess Club Rapid Transit with the score of 10 out of 10.

1973 - the club boasted over 400 dues paying members.

1976 - the Club sponsored the first New York International since 1951. The winners were Norman Weinstein, Anatoly Lein, and Leonid Shamkovich.

No one could have predicted, but this was the last major event ever held at the Manhattan Chess Club. Why is the subject of the next article.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

This is Scary! LCCC is Still Meeting at BWW on Halloween Night - 2022

Picture from the movie "Nightmare"

Sorry for the lack of articles. Your humble scribe will be back at it soon. Time is at a premium right now.

Hope my readers will be patient.

However, the chess action will continue on this Monday night, and every Monday night thru the spring - from 4pm until 10pm at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Brighton Michigan. 

The BWW is located in the Green Oak Shopping Center off of US-23 at the Lee Rd. Exit 58, just south of I-96.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, October 2, 2022

LCCC Now Going Weekly at the BWW in Brighton! - See you there on Oct. 3 2022

Until 4pm until 9pm or so. Stop on by for some casual chess and great restaurant server service from the lovely, talented and friendly Sydney.

We had 21 players last meeting, so it will not be hard for you to find an opponent, no matter what your skill level.

We were also honored with the presence of the #2 female player in Michigan - Alicia Paans!

Welcome to the Livingston County Chess Club family Alicia!

Your humble scribe is a little under the weather, so look for an article later this week!

Hope to see you this Monday at the Brighton BWW in the Green Oak Shopping Center.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

LCCC Returns OTB Monday Sept. 12 at the BWW in Brighton - also meet Nimzo's Galloping Knights


We will be meeting again this coming Monday night, Sept. 12, at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Brighton at the Green Oak Shopping Mall.

Stop on by for some friendly chess games and conversation. We start at 4pm and go until 9pm usually.

Your humble scribe hopes to have reports of how our members faired in the recent Michigan Open tournament.  Please bring your games and your stories to me this Monday night please. 

The Galloping Knights

No chess piece is more troublesome for the chess beginner to learn and manage than the knight. It’s strange hoppings from one color to the other and vise-versa, and adding to that, has the ability to leap over friend and foe alike, makes the knight difficult to learn, let alone master.

But knights in the hands of the masters can do some sparkling dancing. 

Your humble scribe refrains from reviewing games because you can find volumes of that stuff elsewhere, and with much better analysis and banter.

But this caught my attention (see diagram). It was a game from a tournament in 1926 between IM Karl Gilg with White, who takes on GM Aron Nimzowitsch with the Black pieces. We pick it up in mid-game for your enjoyment:

Black has just played 19. …..g5! which prevents White from playing Nf4.

20.    Ng1?       Ne4

White needed to play Kg1 with equality.

Meanwhile, Black played "hope chess" with the second-best move hoping to be able to play the pretty mate combination of 21. ……Qxh2+, 23. Nxh2, Nxg3 mate!

The best is the stunning 20. …..Nf2+  21. Qxf2, Ng4  22. Qxf8+, Rxf8  23. Nh3, Qf7  24. Re2, Re8  25. Nxg5, hg  and Black is up 4 pawns!

21.  Nh3          Ngf6

22.  Bxe4?       Nxe4

White blunders here under the panic of Black’s dominating knights compared to his uncoordinated ones. Correct was 22. g4  to allow the move 23. Re3 to defend the knight on h3.

23.  Ng1?        Nf2+

As we soon see, White needed to play 23. Qd3 which would have allowed the return capture of a knight after 23. ……Qxh3 with 24. Rxe4. But instead, the f3 square is clear for the Black Queen to invade.

24.  Kg2           Bh3+

25.  Nxh3         Qf3+

26.  Kg1            Qh1 mate

Sunday, August 21, 2022

No Decoder Needed - LCCC Meets Monday August 22 at BWW in Brighton, MI


4pm until 9pm or so. Stop on by for some casual chess and great restaurant server service from the lovely, talented and friendly Sydney.

Our club numbers are growing as we approach chess season (fall /winter). We had 18 players last meeting, so it will not be hard for you to find an opponent, no matter what your skill level.

Hope to see you this Monday at the Brighton BWW in the Green Oak Shopping Center.

Now, meet another great chess player and human being most people have never heard of:

Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander, 1909 to 1974, was one of Britain’s greatest cryptanalysts ever and certainly one the most brilliant chess players of his generation.  A Cambridge educated mathematician, he soon found himself recruited by the government when the second world war broke out. Alexander worked on the German Enigma machine at Bletchley Park during World War II and was later the head of the cryptanalysis division at GCHQ for over 20 years. He was so well known was he in his field, that when he retired Alexander was sought out by the NSA to work for them, but he declined. 


Chess was Alexander’s passion, and he was twice British Champion, the last time being in 1956. He was awarded the International Master title.  Alexander’s style of play was very sharp and his real strength was revealed in complicated and messy positions. 


He played many of the best players of his day, including Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Smyslov, Botvinnik, Bronstein, Keres and Fine. He defeated Botvinnik and Bronstein once each.  


Alexander represented England at 6 Olympiads (it would have been more, but he was prohibited to play behind the iron curtain lest he be kidnapped and was non-playing captain of the English team after he stopped competing from 1964 until the early 1972.  Alexander was also a well-respected chess author.

Alexander represented Cambridge University n the Varsity chess matches of 1929, 1930, 1931 and 1932.  He was twice a winner of the British Chess Championship, in 1938 and 1956. Alexander represented England in the Chess Olympiad six times, in 1933, 1935, 1937, 1939, 1954 and 1958. At the 1939 Olympiad, Alexander had to leave part-way through the event, along with the rest of the English team, because of the declaration of WWII, since he was required at home for codebreaking duties.

He was also the non-playing captain of England from 1964 to 1970. Alexander was awarded the International Master title in 1950 and the International Master for Correspondence Chess title in 1970. He won at Hastings 1946/47 with the score 7½/9, a point ahead of Tartakower.

 Alexander's best tournament result may have been first equal (with David Bronstein) at Hastings 1953/54, where he went undefeated and beat Soviet grandmasters Bronstein and Tolush in individual games.

Alexander's opportunities to appear abroad were limited as he was not allowed to play chess in the Soviet bloc because of his secret work in cryptography.[4] 

He was also the chess columnist of The Sunday Times in the 1960s and 1970s.

Many knowledgeable chess people believe that Alexander had Grandmaster potential, had he been able to develop his chess abilities further.[5] Many top players peak in their late twenties and early thirties, but for Alexander this stretch coincided with World War II, when high-level competitive opportunities were unavailable.

After this, his professional responsibilities as a senior cryptanalyst limited his top-class appearances. He defeated Mikhail Botvinnik in one game of a team radio match against the USSR in 1946, at a time when Botvinnik was probably the world's top player. Alexander made important theoretical contributions to the Dutch Defense and Petroff Defense.  

Sunday, August 7, 2022

LCCC Meeting Monday August 8th - And That's a Fact!


We will be meeting again this coming Monday night at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Brighton. Stop on by for some friendly chess games and conversation. 

We start at 4pm and go until 9pm usually.

It is the height of summer and chess is more of a winter indoor activity. Or is it? If you have never tried playing chess outside, give it a try. Fine a shady spot in the summer and set them up. I think you will like it. 

Speaking of summer, your scribe has been busy doing summer things like playing golf and getting the shed and the outside of the house ready for winter. Oh, and researching these little nuggets of useless information.

Some curious chess facts;

Two of Paul Morphy's strongest critics (although they were not interested in playing against Morphy) were Howard Staunton and Willian Steinitz. Both Staunton and Steinitz died on Paul's birthday.

In the 11th game of the World Championship match between Capablanca and Alekhine, FOUR Queens appeared on the board.

Harry Pillsbury played a 'blindfolded' exhibition where he played ten chess games and ten checker games simultaneously while participating in a whist card game.

Geza Maroczy played many simultaneous chess exhibitions in Europe from June of 1927 thru March of 1928 and compiled an unbelievable score in 943 games of 825 wins, 113 draws and only 5 losses!

Dr. (Phd in Electrical Engineering) and GM Milan Vidmar played in chess tournaments across Europe for 28 years before ever finishing first in one, for the one and only time in his life. Even that one, he shared the title with Salomon Flohr. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

LCCC Next Meeting Monday July 25, 2022 - and Meet Sir George A. Thomas

 No, not meet him at our next meeting! Your scribe meant meet him here by reading about him.

And speaking of meetings, LCCC met on July 11 at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Brighton, MI. It was at our usual time from 4pm until 9pm. And the same time will be for July 25. 

Your scribe missed a post due to some health issues (noting serious, but a broken fingertip does make it more difficult to type. HINT: When setting brick pavers with a big rubber sledgehammer, remember to look before striking and move fingers out of the way before striking the paver. 

Good thing to know.

Out July 11 meeting was successful and fun. We had 12 players for the evening for casual chess. Hope to see you all on July 25.

Now for the story of a fine gentleman and an excellent chess player. But chess was just one of his talents for which he excelled! I will let him introduce himself!

"I am Sir George A. Thomas. I was born on June 14, 1881, in Constantinople. I starred at chess as a young boy but had very limited opportunities for practice or play. We lived in a small provincial town with no strong players. So I concentrated more on tennis, badminton and hockey in my youth.

I never played in a serious chess tournament until 1905. But I won the City of London Chess Club Championship 12 times, the first time being in 1907. I also won the British Championship in 1923.

Chess was my 'what might have been' career, but owing my fondness of other games probably stood in my way. I have captained English teams for three different games; chess, badminton and lawn tennis. Badminton was my best game as I have won over 300 first prizes in open tournaments."

What he did not mention is that he won the British Championship again in 1934 and represented England in the Chess Olympiads of 1927, 1930, 1931, 1935, 1937 and 1939, and scored an impressive 80% in the matches!

In international tournaments his greatest successes were 1st at Spa (ahead of Tartakower) and =1st at Hastings 1934/5 (tied with Euwe and Flohr, ahead of Capablanca and Botvinnik).

During his career he has beaten Capablanca, Botvinnik (in consecutive rounds at Hastings 1934-35), Flohr and and drawn with Nimzowitsch, Rubinstein and Capablanca. He been noted for his sportsmanship and for his interest in and encouragement of young players.

He was the author of the book, The Art of Badminton, in 1923.

He died on the 23rd of July in 1972 in a London nursing home.