Thursday, December 20, 2012

Final LCCC Night of 2012 was a Success!

We keep setting records, and I can’t keep using those words in the title of the story or they will all look the same. Next year, I will have a week numbering system. The growth of the club is the reason for that, so that is a good thing!

With the return of Paul B and his son Matthew to LCCC, that takes our active member count up to a record 46! I think a goal of doubling that is certainly a possibility!

Twenty-four players arrived at the club for the last meeting of 2012. The Senior Center will be closed on the next two Mondays due to the holiday season. But be sure to join us bright and early on January 7, 2013 for an even better year!

Again, I must apologize for the late posting. I had two good excuses however; out of town on business and then came down with a cold on the way back! The computer screen is a little blurry as I type this.

Some ladder games were played in addition to our usual slew or casual play. In ladder play, Marcello M and Tim P were victorious. Nice job guys.

Tim benefited from a stroke of brilliant Ladderology, as he moved to the exact spot where four players dropped a spot for lack of ladder play. So Tim catapulted up quite a ways!

We have four players on the verge of dropping off the ladder completely, so January 7 is a “must play” or “must challenge” night for them.

Of course it is not exactly the end of the world if you do drop off the ladder. Simply re-sign up at the bottom and start your climb again. The journey is the fun!

I close with a game Jason M sent me that he had played on line. Time Limit: 5 min:

Jason: “Hi Mike, Glad to see that all is well with the club. Here's a recent effort on ICC.  I'm starting to beat experts and masters a bit more. This is one of my best efforts. I hope folks enjoy the tactics.”

[Event "ICC 5 0"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2012.12.10"]
[White "Jason M"]
[Black "Villian"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ICCResult "Black resigns"]
[WhiteElo "2055"]
[BlackElo "2009"]
[Opening "French: Rubinstein variation"]
[ECO "C03"]
[NIC "FR.07"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. Nxf6+ Nxf6 7. Bd3
c5 8. dxc5 Bxc5 9. O-O O-O 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Qe2 Nd5 12. Bd2 Bf6 13. c4 Ne7
14. Bb4 a5 15. Ba3 Re8 16. Rfd1 Qc7 17. Rac1 Bd7 18. Bd6 Qb6 19. Be5 Bxe5
20. Nxe5 Bc6 21. Bxh7+ Kxh7 22. Qh5+ Kg8 23. Qxf7+ Kh7 24. Rc3 Nf5 25. Rh3+
Nh6 26. Rxh6+ {Black resigns} 1-0

Thursday, December 13, 2012

League Night Brought 25 Players Out!

Sorry for the delay in this posting. Work and life sometimes interferes with chess. I hate when that happens.

Lots of casual games were played, as 12 players settled in for their serious league matches Monday night.
The winners of the league games were:
Dale K
Scott M
Elliot K
Aaron J
Terry G
Marcello M

Still to play are
Matt T - Mike N
Trent D - Tom H
Ken L - Steve H

Just a note that we will have Chess Club next Monday night, but then not for the last two Mondays of the year as the Hartland Senior Center will be closed on the Mondays 24th and 31st.

But see you next week!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Planning on Some Holiday Chess Shopping? Here is Some Help.

Its holiday shopping time - and Santa might just want to consider bringing chess equipment down the chimney this year.

With that in mind, let me review some chess equipment to consider. I consider these selections the "best value" of equipment out there. If I mention it, it is worthy of owning with pride, and it will give you years of enjoyment and service, whether at home, at the club or in tournaments.

Chess Sets - Plastic
1.  Ultimate Chess Set - 3.675 King - $15 at American Chess Equipment ($24 at Chess House)
2. Reykjavik Series - 3.75 King - $17 at USCF Sales or House of Staunton
3. Marshall Series - 3.75 King - $28 at USCF Sales or House of Staunton
4. Triple Weight Tournament Set - 3.75 King - $8 at USCF Sales or House of Staunton
5. Fischer Series - 4 inch King - $20 at USCF Sales or House of Staunton
6. Zurich Series - 3.875 King - $28 at USCF Sales or House of Staunton

Chess Sets - Wood
1. Ultimate Wood - 3.75 King - $41 at American Chess Equipment (some imperfections in the set)
2. Classic Series - 3.75 or 4" - starting at $89 at USCF Sales or House of Staunton
3. Reykjavic Series - 3.75 King - starting at $150 at USCF Sales or House of Staunton
4. Zagreb '59 Series - 3.875 King - starting at $150 at USCF Sales or House of Staunton
5. Old Deluxe Set - 3.75 King - $100 at the Chess Store
6. Grandmaster Series - 4" King - starting at $89 at USCF Sales or House of Staunton
7. Championship Series - 3.75 King - starting at $60 at USCF Sales or House of Staunton

Chess Boards - all 2.25" squares to match sets listed above - advantages - disadvantages
1. Vinyl Board - $6 - Cheap, clean easy, portable, but can't tuck a study book or magazine under it.
2. Mouse Pad Board - $9 - Cheap, won't slide, portable, harder to clean, pieces don't slide and hard to rotate board.
3. Wood Boards - Starting at $70 - Pieces slide easy, can tuck book or magazine open while studying, easy to spin, but some glare from lights, hard to carry and some worry about damaging the surface.

1. Saitek Competion Pro - $50
2. Saitek Competion Digital - $40
3. DGT North Americn Digital - $50
4. Diamond Quartz Analog Clock - $30
No wind ups suggested, but still a servicable choice for home or club play.

Chess Carry Bags
1. Deluxe Chess Bag - $14 - Any chess distributor

Books - Jason's List of "Must Haves"
So, just in time for is my Top Ten Lost on a Desert Island Chess Library Picks.  Get any one of these under your tree, and I guarantee you that you won't be disappointed. - JM

1.  Pawn Structure Chess - GM Andy Soltis
This and #2 were responsible for me going from USCF 1800 to 2000, and it made so much sense of what the opening was all about. If you're having trouble finding middle game plans, studying how to play the various pawn structures will improve your game.

2.  The Art of Defense in Chess - GM Andy Soltis
"Most games are not won, they are lost!" - Soltis. Whether one side crashes through often depends on one key tempo, and knowing when and how to throw a spanner into your opponents plans can make all the difference between winning or losing. IMHO the first step in becoming a winning player is becoming much harder to beat, and all great players are noted for how well they defend, too. (e.g. Karpov, Fischer, Carlsen, etc.). If you change your mindset that there are only two results in chess (winning and not losing), you will increase your rating.

3.  The Art of Attack in Chess -  GM Vukovic
A concise encyclopedia of the main elements of attacking play with classic game examples.

4.  The Games of Robert J. Fischer -  Wade & O'Connell
No Fischer Fan's library is complete without this book.  This is THE Fischer book - 700+ games, many fully annotated.

5.   500 Master Games of Chess -  Du Mont
Pull up a chessboard and sample this buffet of the great masters, all organized by opening. The weath of annotations makes this a great source of opening ideas for you games.

6.  The Sorcerer's Apprentice - GM David Bronstein
Ounce for ounce, Bronstein was one of the most imaginative and creative players ever. Narrowly missing winning the World Championship from Botvinnik, he pretty much single-handedly resurrected the King's Indian Defense into a powerful weapon. If you love deep combinations conjured from thin air, this is a treat!

7.  My Best Games of Chess, 1908 - 1937 -  GM  Alexander Alekhine
An unparalleled master of combination play, Alekhine's genius coupled deep strategy with eagle-eyed tactics.  See his games from the San Remo tournament for an example of his dominance.

8.  Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953 - GM David Bronstein
A treasure-trove of first-hand accounts and annotations by Bronstein elevated this to classic status among serious chessplayers. Many liken it to a textbook on how to play the middlegame.

9.  100 Select Games - GM Mikhail Botvinnik
Few modern GMs write down their thoughts and chess understanding like Botvinnik did. Here, you get 100 lessons in modern positional play and some sense of the depth of analysis required to be a top master.

Morphy's Games of Chess - P. Seargant
Few modern GMs are as deadly in their understanding of the inititative and it's coupling to quick development as was Paul Morphy. If you love to see pieces and pawns sacrificed with laser-like logic, these games will be immensely entertaining and instructive.

And to let you know, Terry G. may have standard sets for sale at the club!

Also Mike N. has a standard weight plastic set, the Reykjavik and Marshall Plastic Set, along with an Ultimate Wood set for sale. Also chess bags and vinyl boards can be added. I have extra. Mike also has a 4” Classic wood set with a beautiful wood board if interested. I just have too many sets and I need to find a few of them a good "chess home."

And if you want an order from any chess site, see Mike N as some club discounts may be available.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

LCCC Tourney for Beginners a Success!

Twenty-one players this Monday night, including one new member – Zach R! Welcome Zach. He jumped right into the spirit and challenges all comers and posted his name on the Ladder Tournament! Fantastic!

The tournament was won by Eman P in a tough game with Luigi M. Congratulations to Eman.
Everyone who participated in the tournament won either a Chess Life or a Michigan Chess Association magazine to help with their chess “homework.”

The Ladder Tournament fired up again, sparked I hope by our Beginners tournament. We added five more rungs!
Anyway, Tim P won his game to move up two spots. Nice job Tim.
The Top Dog on the ladder for quite a while was Scott M. He has fought off numerous challenges and it sure seemed like he was never going anywhere. And rightfully so, because Scott is a great chess player.
Scott defended the first game, and graciously agreed to a Quick 10-minute game with yet another challenger – Mike N – who took the victory on a possibly too quick resignation from a tired Scott.

So Mike N is the new Top Dog, but really is only keeping the throne warm for the rightful owners who will be back to claim it shortly! But that is the fun of the Ladder.

A reminder that the LCCC League Night resumes next week at 7pm. If you are on a Team, be there or make arrangements with TD Terry G.

If you are not on a Team, show up anyway to substitute or watch the action, or play your own Ladder game or just play and study for fun.

Either way, be here!