Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Bishops Beat the Nimzo!

Remind me never to play the Nimzo-Indian Defense against Arnold Denker.

US Championship, New York, 1944
White: Arnold Denker
Black: Reuben Fine
Nimzo-Indian Defense

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 e6
3. Nc3 Bb4
4. e3 b6
5. Bd3 Bb7
6. Nf3 Ne4
7. O-O Nxc3

White sacrifices a pawn for a big lead in development.

8. bxc3 Bxc3
9. Rb1 Ba5
10. Ba3 d6
11. c5 O-O
12. cxd6 cxd6
13. e4 Re8
14. e5 dxe5
15. Nxe5 ....

The reason for the pawn sacrifice. White's pieces are centralized and active. Black's are crowded in a corner.

15. .....Qg5

A counter attack which White defends effortlessly.

16. g3 g6
17. Qa4 Qd8
18. Rfc1 b5

Black is crying for space and tries to return the pawn in order to continue an attack.

19. Bxb5 Qd5
20. f3 Bb6
21. Rc5! Bxc5

See Diagram

White goes with an exchange sacrifice, stopping any mate threat and maintaining a powerful bishop pair!

22. Bxc5 Rf8?!?!

Above my pay grade. Why not 22. .....Rc1 instead? Not that it changes anything. Maybe Black thought White would be content with just trading the exchange back with Bxf8. No such luck.

23. Bc4 Bc6
24. Bxd5 Bxa4
25. Bxa8 Resigns

Black thought he could counter-attack, trade off his badly placed pieces for White's powerfully placed pieces and keep that pawn for his trouble. No such luck.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another Fun Monday – LCCC by the Numbers!

Twelve players ventured out to LCCC in spite of the new cold wave. Spring is colder than the end of winter – but I digress.

We were blessed with four new players tonight!

Welcome guys to the LCCC!

This brings our club membership total to 39 players!

The number of players that have played since we moved to the Hartland Center is 21 players.

The number of players that played in the last four weeks is 18 different players.

The average number of players on any given week is 12 players.

As you can see, there is always a seat at a chess game waiting for you on Monday night at the LCCC!

Help us keep the numbers growing!

PS: At least four of our members were caught giving improvement pointers to other players! We at LCCC strive to make every member the best chess player they can be! Not only can you find a fun opponent here, but free help is always available!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

End Game Magic is Always Fun to See

2002 US Championship

White (FM Donny Ariel) has four pawns versus a Black (FM Levon Altounian) knight. Advantage White.

But how does that advantage get cashed in for a victory? That is the question.

White sees a plan of action.

47. Rxf4! Kxf4
48. f6 Rh8

Or 48....Be8, 49. f7 Bxf7, 50. exf7 Rh8, 51. Bf3!!

49. f7 Rf8
50. Bf3!!

White gets the killer move in even faster. A double deflection sacrifice. If 50. ...Bxf3, then 51. e7 wins right away, while 50. ...Kxf3, 51. g5 and the pawns steamroll.

50. .....Be8
51. fxe8=Q Rxe8
52. Bxb7 Rxe6
53. c6 Re7
54. Bxa6 Ke5
55. Bb7 Resigns

Very clever solution found by FM Ariel.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monday Night - LCCC is Still the Place to Be

Sure the weather is warm outside. But the chess action at LCCC is still red hot!

Twelve players were there to compete and practice their chess skills.

Attendance is still strong, so come on by and join in the fun.

Remember, chess lessons are available for players of all strengths and ages, including beginners.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Venture Out to the LCCC Chess Club

You may be chess royalty when it comes to playing against your friends but how about facing down a grizzled stranger hungry for battle? That’s right I’m talking about people that will meet your every threat with brow-furrowing calculation to see if they should even bother defending.

At your local club you will find players at every strength level. Don’t be intimidated! All chess players can only move one piece at a time. It just seems like the better player’s pieces are moving faster and stronger.

If you’re unsure of your strength, after a game or two, the regulars will tell you who you will have a good game against and who will “give you a lesson.” Either way, you will have a good time. Nothing but nice people at LCCC.

Here is a list of things you want to do before trying to take your game to the next level:

Know the opening that you want to play: To have success look at lines that the great players have played. Your opening has to do something positive, control the center with either pieces or pawns. You don’t need to know every line twenty moves deep but get a feel for the positions that emerge out of the opening.

You’ll eventually have to decide what to do over the board and it can be tricky if you’re unprepared. I suggest learning a system where move order doesn’t matter like The Colle System. It’s a club favorite all over the world because it gives you a good game where you can start playing without much preparation.

For black you’ll need to know one defense to e4 an d4. Other openings are rare enough so you don’t have to worry about them just yet.

When in doubt don’t reinvent the wheel: If something feels wrong it probably is. Even after playing a few games you develop instincts about what works and what doesn’t. If your opponent has all his pieces developed and you’re trying to conduct an attack with only two it’s bound to be refuted right? If you weaken the pawns around your king early that will lead to difficulties later. Sometimes all it takes to end up on top is a bit of patience.

Be humble: Don’t expect to win all of your games. Chess is a game of pure skill without any of the forgiveness of games in which luck is a factor. A better player will stomp you over and over until you want to fold up your board and hit the road.
However, when you do crack their vaunted defense or stop one of their attacks cold not only do you win a chess game but you get vindication as well!

If you lose don’t forget to ask one of them to help you with your post-mortem analysis. Chess players are lifelong learners and many of them get as much of a thrill out of sharing information they do out of absorbing it. The players at LCCC
always will help another player out.

That is how we roll at LCCC! See you on Monday!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ladies Can Play Great Chess Too!

White: Laura Ross (2043)
Black: Eugene Yanayt (2158)
Sicilian Defence – Dragon Variation

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 d6
3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 Nf6
5. Nc3 g6
6. g3 Bg7
7. Bg2 O-O
8. O-O Qb6

Black’s last move is not bad, but somewhat not explored.

9. Nde2 Nc6
10. h3 Bd7
11. Rb1 h6
12. Nd5 …..

This is often the key move in this variation.

12. ….. Nxd5
13. exd5 Ne5
14. Be3 Qa5
15. b3 g5
16. a4 Bf5
17. Nd4 Bh7
18. Rc1 Rac8
19. c4 Nd3
20. Rc2 Nb4
21. Rd2 …..

White is comfortable with her position because her pieces are well developed and had an attack ready to commence.

21. ….. a6
22. f4 gxf4
23. Bxf4 Qc5
24. Be3 Qc7
25. Qg4 Bg6
26. Be4 …..

The bishop at g2 finally gets involved.

26. ….. Kh7
27. Ne6 Qa5
28. Rxf7 Black Resigns

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

LCCC is Growing! Looking for YOU!

We had thirteen players this Monday. That ties the record at our new location. Room #54 handles it spaciously and we have room for plenty more. Come join the fun.

We have members Mike and Jason working on a new LCCC website! This blog will be a part of that, but this blog master is looking forward to the launch of the new site.

LCCC members are discussing joining the US Chess Federation as an affiliate and hosting tournaments. A club tournament is also being discussed. When LCCC gets this done, we will be the one stop place to join the Michigan Chess Association, the USCF and get an established national chess rating.

There is nothing but an upside to stopping by and checking us out, no matter what your chess experience level.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Mother of all Chess Puzzles!

Ok, this one has us all stumped at LCCC.

White to mate Black in 3 moves!

Now, no cheating! Try to figure it out. It looks like there is no way out for Black, but looks can be deceiving.

Try this one, then take some aspirin for your headache.

Good luck!

Friday, March 2, 2012

The World Chess Hall of Fame is in St. Louis, Missouri …..for Now.

Although founded in 1984 by USCF President Steven Doyle and supported by the US Chess Trust, the charitable arm of the US Chess Federation, it relies today on the generousness of someone for the location. It started out in New Windsor, NY.

Opened in 1988 in the basement of the USCF’s then-headquarters the small museum contained a modest collection, including a book of chess openings signed by Bobby Fischer a silver set awarded to Paul Morphy, American chess player and unofficial World Champion; and cardboard plaques honoring past grandmasters.

Cardboard? Really?

In 1992, the U.S. Chess Trust purchased the museum and moved its contents to Washington D.C. location from 1992 to 2001, the hall featured America's "big four" chess players: Paul Morphy, Frank Marshall, Samuel Reshevsky and Bobby Fischer.

It displayed the World Chess Championship trophy won by the United States team in 1993 as well as numerous chess boards and chess pieces. The museum also gave visitors the opportunity to play against a chess computer. That was quite an honor at that time.

By 2001, the collection had grown to include numerous chess sets and boards and plaques commemorating inductees to the U.S. and World halls of fame.

In the late 1990s, Sidney Samole, former owner of Excalibur Electronics, proposed to move the hall of fame to Miami, where it would be located in a rook-shaped building constructed by Excalibur.

Although Samole died in 2000, the U.S. Chess Trust accepted the proposal the following year. Reopened in 2001, it was renamed the World Chess Hall of Fame and Sidney Samole Museum. The museum continued collecting chess sets, books, tournament memorabilia, advertisements, photographs, furniture, medals, trophies, and journals until it closed in 2009.

Rex Sinquefield soon afterward agreed to pay for moving the museum to the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center and renovating its new building.

I wonder if that chess club is wealthier than LCCC? It is located at 4652 Maryland Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108.

The website is now on our site list.

The World Chess Hall of Fame is located across the street from the club in St. Louis’ vibrant Central West End neighborhood. It displays artifacts from the museum’s permanent collection and temporary exhibitions highlighting the great players, historic games, and rich cultural history of chess as well as the U.S. and World Chess Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame collaborates with the Chess Club and Scholastic Center to provide programming, instruction, and outreach to an international audience of novices and experts alike. Its collection includes pieces such as a 500-year-old piece from an Egyptian game called Senet, the earliest known board game; a custom-made set of chess furniture that belonged to Bobby Fischer, and the first commercial chess computer.

Rotating exhibitions feature items from the permanent collection; the museum also mounts two temporary exhibitions per year. The Hall of Fame also commemorates the careers of its members.

So you now know of a must-see stop if you are ever in St. Louis. Donations must be needed. Paul Morphy deserves better than a cardboard plaque.