Sunday, May 15, 2022

LCCC Meeting Monday, May 16 from 4 to 9pm. BWW in Brighton, MI - and GM Rubinstein

Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW)for those of you not in the know of our acronym world. See you there.

We are averaging 12 players an evening, so come on by for some casual chess or lessons if you prefer.

Now this is a second article your humble scribe has posted about Grandmaster Akiba Rubinstein (left). He had an eventful and tragic life. There is an excellent search bar on this site in the upper left corner if you wish to read that article and look at a game or two of his. 

Now on with GM Rubinstein's story:

Born December 12, 1882 in Stawiski - a ghetto in Russian-Poland. For generations, his ancestors had been rabbis and scholars of the Hebrew classics, but not ones to chase wealth or even middle class.

A few weeks before his birth, his father died, leaving behind a wife and TWELVE children! Akiba was moved to live with his grandparents, and they raised him and started his education to become a teacher of the Talmud and a full student of Hebrew, as his father and his father before him. And that is all Akiba wanted to do.

But at age sixteen, by chance he saw two children playing chess and was fascinated immediately. He found the only chess book in Hebrew at the time and devoured it. His grandparents mourned Akiba's new love.

At 19 Rubinstein learned that in the nearby town of Lodz, George Salwe lived. A chess champion who had crossed swords with the great Tschigorin. He left immediately for Lodz to see how he would fare. But even given rook odds, he was no match for Salwe. He was told by that local chess club that being a chess professional was out of his reach. No one had any faith in Rubinstein's chess ability, but Rubinstein.

Akiba returned to Lotz six months later and asked to play George Salwe again. Salwe said fine and Rubenstein won! The leaders of the chess club huddled together, and a 10-game match was agreed to take place between Salwe and Rubenstein.

The first match ended 5 to 5. A second match of 8 games was quickly agreed to, and Rubinstein won it with a 5 to 3 score! A new champion was crowned!

A year later in 1905, Rubinstien went to Kiev, Russia to play with the grandmasters of the day and he finished 5th. He had arrived as a chess player. He went then to Germany to play in that Championship and finished 3rd. In four years, he went from losing with rook odds to a grandmaster, to becoming one!

Next at Ostend, Belgium he finished 3rd over 36 entrants behind only Schlechter and Maroczy ahead, and Bernstein, Teichman, Marshall and Janowsky behind him!

The next year at Ostend he tied for 1st with Bernstein and at Karlsbad he won his first clear 1st! He now was mentioned in the same breath with Capablanca, Niemzowitch, Spielmann, Tarkakower and Vidmar. In St. Petersburg in 1909 he tied for first with the world champion Lasker while actually going 1-0-1 in their games in the round robin tournament.

Then in 1912, Rubinstein won five tournaments, all untied. A feat no grandmaster has done before or since. 

Inexplicably, in 1914 Rubinstein had a horrible tournament in St. Petersburgh. But none the less, a world championship match between Lasker and Rubinstein was scheduled.

Then, World War I broke out.

More next time. 

PS: The next meeting for LCCC at BWW will be on June 6th, as we skip the Memorial Day weekend.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

LCCC Meeting Monday May 2, 2022 from 4 pm until 9pm


The CLUB will be meeting this Monday at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Brighton, Michigan located in the Green Oak Shopping Mall. It is off of Lee Rd and US-23.

The time will be from 4pm until 9pm. It is free and players of all ages, strengths and experience are welcome. So are people who would love to learn the game. Lessons are also free. Stop on by.

Our more life seasoned members of the LCCC participated in the Michigan Senior Open.

Charlie S. (Top photo) finished 2nd in the Under 1400 division, with Jeff Solski and Paul Mills (bottom photo) finishing tied for 4th.

In the vaulted Open division, Don Mason and James Karkos finished tied for 11th.

Well done all of you and please send your humble scribe your best games for posting.

Hope to see you all at the BWW tomorrow!


Sunday, April 17, 2022

LCCC Meeting at BWW in Brighton on Easter Monday - 2022 from 4pm - 9pm

Sorry for the late post and the actual lack of a post. No time to research an article. Sometimes life has the nerve to interfere with chess blogging. The HORROR!

Anyway, we are meeting this Monday for casual chess. Be there even if you have a full stomach from your Easter ham or turkey dinner. Chicken wings still taste good!

Here are the actual standings from the 2022 LCCC Fischer Random Tournament:

1st - Vince V

2nd - Paul M

3rd - Ken T, Pete B, Sam T, Mike N

7th - Jeff s, Jim G 

9th - Leo B

10th - AJ, Charlie S, Frank F, Levi T, Mary B

It was four rounds of fun. Even though my opponents cheated playing better than I did! 

Hope to see you all tomorrow!

Sunday, April 3, 2022

LCCC Meeting in Spite of NCAA Basketball 2022 Final - Vince V Wins the 2022 Fischer Random Club Title

2022 Fischer Random Club Chess Champion Vince V., giving a chess lesson to an aspiring Grandmaster at our old location.

We will be at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Brighton MI at the Green Oak Shopping Center until they need tables for college basketball slappies.

[Ed. Note: Slappie - noun - A person who is an un-apologetic fan of a team or activity. Sentence: "He plays golf even in a cold rain because he is a golf slappie." Or, "He sure slaps it up for the fill in Team Name here."] 

Not positive, but I think the term started because you will see these types of folks 'high fiving' each other every time their team does anything positive. Wolverine football slappies actually pop Dom Perignon champaign corks, after high fiving for every 1st down. Spartan slappies, high five, then add to or change their tobacco chaw every time they see the Sparty mascot. But I digress.

Anyway, us chess slappies (we slap chess clock buttons) will start casual chess night at 4pm and run until 9pm or so. Stop on by!

Now a word about our 2022 Fischer Random Club Chess Champion Vince V. He used what is known in chess circles as the Swiss Gambit to win this tournament. That, and some fine chess playing. 

He took a bye in the first round getting him a half point. 

What this does, is it USUALLY gets you slightly lower ranked players for the rest of the rounds. You never have to play an undefeated player until the very last round, because you are not undefeated. Then, if you win that last round, you catapult over the top of the undefeated player by that sneaky half point.

 It works, unless there is another undefeated player that also won the last round, or you lose the last round. 

There wasn't and Vince didn't. Congratulations Vince!

Friday, March 18, 2022

Two Great Players You Never Heard Of - and LCCC Random 960 Final Monday!


LCCC will be back at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Brighton, MI this coming Monday March 21, 2022 from 4pm until 10pm. Stop by for some chess! There will be players available for a casual game.

But our Fischer Random 960 Tournament final round will also be played. Here are the final pairings. The first player listed is playing the White pieces;

Board 1 – Paul M – Vince V

Board 2 – Sam T – Pete B

Board 3 – Mike N – Ken T

Board 4 – Jeff S – AJ E

Board 5 – Jim G – Leo B

Board 6 – Frank F – Levi T

Board 7 – Mary B – Charlie S

Thank you to all the participants!

Now a little remembrance article. I like to call out great chess players that faded away from even most of even the most ardent chess players. And there are many of them. Here are just two.

About 188 years ago was the last match between two of the best players of their era – Louis de Bourdonnais of France and Alexander MacDonnell of Ireland. Their matches were a rivalry of styles and of countries. Each nation behind their guy completely.

In all, there were six individual matches over a span of less than 6 months in 1834. 85 games in all. MacDonnell has a variation of the King’s Gambit named after him as he introduced it in these matches.

Match 1: Louis de Bourdonnais 16      MacDonnell 5          Drawn 4

Match 2: Louis de Bourdonnais 4          MacDonnell 5         Drawn 0

Match 3: Louis de Bourdonnais 6        MacDonnell 5          Drawn  1

Match 4: Louis de Bourdonnais   8       MacDonnell 3          Drawn  7

Match 5: Louis de Bourdonnais   7        MacDonnell 4          Drawn  4

Match 6: Louis de Bourdonnais   4          MacDonnell 5          Drawn  0

The sixth match was not completed as MacDonnell was hospitalized with kidney disease and he died. How much the health of the frail MacDonnell played in his losses is open for debate. But both men were considered the two best at that time.

Many impartial chess experts said that MacDonnell was starting to turn the tide in their rivalry, even with his declining health. But posterity seems it was justifiable to heap most of the praise on de Bourdonnais, and that really cannot be argued with the results given.

MacDonnell was buried in London’s Kensal Green Cemetery. When Louis de Bourdonnais died penniless 6 years later in 1840, leading chess players made arrangements for him to be buried near his rival.

If you get a chance to, play over some of the games between them. Two men, the best at their craft at that time, playing mostly for the love of the game.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

LCCC Meets This Monday - 960 Tournament Continues - And Meet the 14th Chess World Champion!


Come on by the Buffalo Wild Wings, in Brighton, Michigan for chess! Casual chess will still be played this Monday, March 7, starting at 4pm until approximately 10pm. However, we also have a Fischer Random 960 tournament going on! It will start at 6:30pm or earlier, if the players are there and want to get started. Or a little later if folks can’t make exactly at 6:30. Our club is very player friendly! Here are the pairings for Round 3. The player listed first is playing the White pieces:

Board 1: Mike N – Paul M

Board 2: Ken T – Levi T

Board 3: Sam T- AJ E

Board 4: Pete B – Jeff S

Board 5: Vince V – Mary B

Board 6: Frank F – Leo B

Board 7: Jim G – Charlie S

Stop on by to play or to watch the action!

Now meet the 14th Chess World Champion!

Alexander Valerievich Khalifman (see photo) was born on January 18, 1966, in Leningrad. Khalifman is of Jewish descent. When he was six years old, his father taught him the game. From there, he became the FIDE World Chess Champion from 1999-2000.

Khalifman studied in the mathematics and mechanics department at Leningrad State University. He served in the Russian army. He is married and has a daughter.

His first trainer was Vassily Byvshev. Later he worked for many years with a Honored Trainer of the Russian Federation, Gennady Nesis. Alexander achieved his first major successes in youth chess. He was the two-time junior champion of the USSR (1982, 1984) and junior champion of Europe in 1985. Among the titles he has won in official competitions are: two-time champion of Saint Petersburg in 1996-97, champion of Russia in 1996, member of the winning Russian world championship team in 1997, and a member of the winning Olympiad teams in 1992, 2000, and 2002.

He achieved the title of International Master in 1986 and became a Grandmaster in 1990. His highest FIDE rating was 2702 (October 2001, January 2003, April 2003). His current FIDE rating is 2625.

He was a participant in the Candidates’ matches in 1994. He has been the victor or a prizewinner in many international tournaments, among them Plovdiv 1986 (3), Dordrecht 1988 (1), Moscow 1990 (1), Groningen 1990 (1), New York Open 1990 (1), London 1991 (1), Ter Apel 1993 (1), Rakvere 1993 (1), Elenite 1994 (1), St. Petersburg 1995 (1), Hastings 1995 (1), Bad Worishofen 1996 (1), Ischia 1996 (1), St. Petersburg 1997 (1), Aarhus 1997 (1), Hoogoven 2000 (1), Kazan 2005 (1) (sharing first place in the premier league of the Russian championship) and others.

His greatest success was his victory in the FIDE World Championship in Las Vegas (USA) in 1999, a tournament in which practically all of the strongest players in the world participated, with the exception of Kasparov and Anand. The tournament was conducted by the knockout system.  After winning the title of FIDE World Champion the Petersburg grandmaster admitted, “I always knew that someday I would be first!”

Alexander Khalifman is a famous chess theoretician and writer. He is the author of the popular series of opening books, “The Opening for White According to Anand” (analysis of the move 1. e4, in 12 volumes) and “The Opening for White According to Kramnik” (analysis of the move 1. Nf3, in 3 volumes), which have also been translated into English.

He is the co-author, with G. Nesis, of the books “Tactics in the Grunfeld Defense” and “Tactics in the French Defense“. He has written numerous columns, which have been published in practically all the leading chess periodicals of the world.

 Below Khalifman is interviewed for a Russian chess magazine.

 To promote children’s chess – what applied skills of chess education do you consider the most significant?

Chess is fairly unique for the precise reason that it teaches you to think. Most subjects taught in school only weigh your memory down with information, without giving you the skills of independent mental work. Even the solution of physical or mathematical problems most of the time can be reduced to one standard algorithm or another.

But chess teaches you to think, and not only that, does it in a playful form that is very natural for children. And at the same time, it brings you face to face with a very concrete result.

Your most memorable game?

Now I have to talk about missed opportunities after all. I was 20 years old, and several rounds before the end of the USSR Championship (Kiev, 1986) I played a good game and had a simple win against the respected GM Vitaly Valerievich Tseshkovsky. If I had won, I would have moved into first place. Alas, I lost the game, and after that I fell apart at the finish. You would think that was all long ago, but it still bothers me to this day.

Tell us, please, about your most memorable victory and most painful loss!

The most painful loss was against Tseshkovsky (USSR Championship, 1986), and the most memorable victory was my draw in the 6th game of the match with Akopian (Las Vegas, 1999). For several days after the defeat against Tseshkovsky I would even wake up, as in “Groundhog Day”, hoping that it was only a bad dream, and today I would play the game as it ought to be played. Unfortunately, it was not a dream… But after the game with Akopian, such a feeling cannot be described. I was happy that this happened to me.”

Is your style more tactical than positional? How would you assess your style of play in chess (brilliant tactician, strategist, attacker, defender, etc.)?

My style is more universal than either of the categories you just named. The absence of even the smallest apparent talent always forced me to play off my opponent, in other words, to play in that style that would be most uncomfortable for that particular opponent in that particular game. That’s difficult work, of course, but at times it didn’t work out badly. I tried to be a universal player and act in a fashion that would be maximally uncomfortable for the concrete opponent.

After this victory, did you consider yourself an equal classical champion in the line beginning with Steinitz-Lasker- … up to Kasparov, or did you somewhere in your heart of hearts understand that it wasn’t so? [Ed. Note: Brutal question. The interviewer is asking, ‘do you rightfully consider yourself the weakest World Champion of all time, or are you lying to yourself?’]

Thank you for your undoubtedly good intentions, but it never even came into my head to consider myself the equal of Steinitz. He defeated Zukertort, but I had to master Kamsky, Gelfand, and Polgar. Now compare. In my perhaps uneducated opinion, a world chess champion should prove his superiority not only over one outstanding challenger, but over others who are, perhaps, equally outstanding.

I do not idealize the knockout system and I do not even have any thought of considering myself a great chess player, but nevertheless the ideal system for awarding the world championship has not yet been invented. [Ed. Note: An absolutely beautiful answer to a boorish question.]

Whose games, among the former world champions, created the strongest impression on you?

You can learn something from all of them, but if I had to choose the absolute favorites, it would probably be Fischer and Tal.

Friday, February 18, 2022

LCCC Meets This Monday - and Happy Birthday Boris Spassky!

Come on by this Monday at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Brighton, Michigan for our next meeting. Casual chess is still available from 4pm until 10pm. But our 2022 Fischer Random 960 tournament continues. You can still enter this tournament (no cost) and we do have a player without an opponent for the next round so, there you go!

Here are the pairings for the next round. You have White if you are the first name:

Board 1: Paul M – Ken T

Board 2: Pete B – Mike N

Board 3: Levi T – Vince V

Board 4: Mary B – AJ E

Board 5: Sam T – Jim G

Board 6: Charlie S – Jeff S

Board 7: Leo B -  TBD or Bye

Stop by to play or to watch some alternative chess action!

In honor of Boris Spassky's birthday, here are some insights into a great chess player and human being!

Boris Spassky turned 87 on January 30th. One of the finest chess players to ever live and a true sportsman in every sense of the word. Even Bobby Fischer, who hated the Russians, praised Spassky as a true champion and great man. I have played over many of his games and am amazed at his talent.

People forget history or are not correctly taught it (so we are doomed to repeat it, but I digress). But Bobby Fischer lost to Boris Spassky in the first game of the biggest World Chess Championship the world has ever seen. Then, Fischer being Fischer did not show up for game two.  He claimed there was too much noise in the playing hall from the television cameras and does not show up for Round 2. Spassky leads 2 – 0.

Fischer demanded that from now on, the games be played in what was basically a closet off the main stage for privacy and silence. This of course was out of the question to the sponsors, the organizers and of course the Russian government! It looked like Spassky would go up 3 – 0 and probably win the match on forfeit. All he had to do to remain world champion was show up at the chessboard as scheduled.

But Spassky told them all he would not win that way and would play Fischer in that back room! Not only making everyone mad at him but defying the KGB! All of the then Soviet Union wanted and needed this victory over the West. Spassky could be actually putting his life on the line!

Fischer won that game, and they returned to the stage for the rest of the match. Fischer won the match against a now frazzled opponent. How different the world, and the chess world would be if Spassky was not a true gentleman and sportsman? We will never know.

Walter Dobrich (Vlad to his friends) is no stranger to Canadian chess. Vlad is a master level player. But more important, Vlad was an excellent chess promoter and organizer.  He disappeared into the world of backgammon in the late 1970’s and became a great player there also! Today Vlad has opened a club in Toronto and he organizes blitz tournaments every week and writes this tribute to Boris Spassky:

I’ve had some personal interaction with him when he was World Champion. He played in the Canadian Open in Vancouver in 1971. I was there as well, and we both arrived at round six with 5-0 scores and consequently were paired for round six. Showing no respect, I played what I later learned was his pet line in the Nimzo-Indian against him (I had no respect!). After some 30 or so moves I was ready to resign but I saw a chance for a futile attack where I would get to check him once or twice – I could one day tell my grandchildren “I checked the world champion Boris Spassky!" I saw I would have to resign after four moves.

For some reason he appeared to be lost in concentration before making his next move which was forced. I looked up, “Why is he looking? This is trivial.” At which point I saw his eyes were bright red! I thought "I am insulting him when he is clearly tired from last night.” His next two moves were slightly different from what I expected, and I was forced to resign in three moves instead of four!

Some ten minutes later, in the post-mortem room, we played out the opening where he told me that I had misplaced my QB at which point I looked up to see his eyes were bright white. I said,  "Boris, your eyes were red like a rabbit’s 10 minutes ago, now they’re white again!" His answer was “Caruso was a great singer, he sang beautifully, effortlessly. But in between performances he always had to change his shirt!” What a compliment to me! Especially when I recall that he played sitting sideways to the board as if he had only a passing interest in the position.

A day or two later we were walking the UBC campus and entered the student’s common room where there was a group of some dozen or so crowded around a chess board going over the days game from the tournament. Boris casually squeezed into the group and suggested some play. At that point, whoever was the chief expounder on the game swatted him away as if he were some annoying bug. Smiling broadly, Boris retreated. The students never knew who it was that tried to make a suggestion!

After the tournament, we happened to be strolling a main avenue in Vancouver. I said “We have a major tournament in Toronto this weekend (the Labour Day Open at the CNE) perhaps you would like to play?”

“Unfortunately, my flight goes from here to Ottawa and then to Moskva” said Boris.

"Well, we can always change the ticket at a travel agency” said I, just as we approached a travel agency!

“You can do that?” said Boris.

Ten minutes later we were leaving the travel office with a rerouted ticket by way of Toronto.

“This will not cause some problem for you?” said I.

“The KGB has 100 files on me, 101 will make no difference.” said Boris.

And so, we ended up having a great Labour Day Open with five other GMs as well as the reigning World Champion. The GMs were (if I recall) Larsen, Benko, Browne, Byrne and Bisguire. There was a tie for first with Spassky and several of the GMs. I was the tournament director and can say that I directed the only weekend Swiss tournament in the history of chess to boast a reigning world champion as a participant!

Walter (Vlad) Dobrich