Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Twenty-Two Players at LCCC on Pre-election Monday

Next week is the annual meeting of club officers. But don't worry, as plenty of chess will be played, as well as discussed.

We had a nice crowd and alot of mixing of players paired up for some casual games.

Jason M went over several games with all who chose to listen. He gave us all great insight as to how to analyze positions and pawn structures. Well done, Jason!

The Ladder tournament lost two more rungs, due to inactivity. It's really a shame too. But as Sparky Anderson so Yogi Berra-ly said, "If they don't want to go......nobody's gonna stop em'!"

As the Ladder Leader, I have to say that I have heard the expression "It's lonely at the top." But this is ridiculous!

The Ladder looks like the curb holding Walmart shopping carts inside their corral. In other words - it's not very high! The Ladder rung standings are posted on the right side of the blog!

Anyway, some LCCC's will be playing in this weekend's Great Lakes Chess Open in Battle Creek - either in the beginners tournament on Saturday or the main event Fri - Sun or Sat - Sun, at the McCamly Plaza Hotel. Stop by if you get a chance.

Reports will be posted at the end of day's play at some point. Be looking for that!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Game of the Week #1: Magnus Magic

Hi All LCCCers!

This is Jason Morris, and welcome to my inaugural Game of the Week column as a guest blogger for LCCC!

In 1957, at the Rosenwald Tournament in New York, Bobby Fischer had his Game of the Century against IM Donald Byrne. Already of master strength at the time, Fischer showed a frightening glimpse of his tactical ability against the veteran IM with a salvo of combinations. The current FIDE World Championship challenger and highest rated player of all time, Magnus Carlsen, showed the same early tactical genius coupled with a very mature positional sense. Here we see one of his very first combinational explosions.

[Event "Politiken Cup 2003"]
[Site "Copenhagen"]
[Date "2003.07.23"]
[Round "9"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Magnus Carlsen"]
[Black "Hans Krogh Harestad"]
[ECO "C98"]
[WhiteElo "2385"]
[BlackElo "2249"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Be7 7. Re1 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Qc7 12. Nbd2 Nc6

An important strategic moment for white in a more or less standard Ruy Lopez opening. Magnus decides to close the center and attack black's king. To do that, he first starts a queen-side skirmish to tie up black's pieces...

13. d5 Nd8 14. a4 Ra7

Bad was 14. .. Bb7 when the bishop has no scope. Better was 14. .. Rb8, conceding the a-file, but not any penetration points. Practically best was 14. .. Qb8 keeping some queenside tension as a source of counterplay. A bad positional mistake would have been 14. .. bxa4 15. Bxa4 when white would have had a strong positional advantage against black's weak, isolated a-pawn on the open file. Thus, with black a bit discombobulated, Magnus begins a kingside re-grouping.

15. Nf1 g6 16. Bh6 Re8 17. Ng3 Nd7 18. Nh2 f6 19. Be3

There was a danger of 19. .. g5 and 20. .. Nf7 trapping the bishop, so Magnus retreats. However, his first sortie into black's camp has managed to loosen one of black's pawns (f6). The Be3 also discourages any queenside play with c5-c4 or b5-b4. Notice what a bottleneck the black d6 pawn has become. It essentially acts as a funnel, restricting the flow of black's pieces to the kingside through the 7th and 8th ranks only. Note how this is due to the cramping effect of the white d5 pawn.

19. .. Nb6 20. axb5 axb5 21. Bd3

A small slip. 21. Qe2 connecting rooks was more accurate.

21. .. Bd7 22. Qd2 Nf7 23. Rxa7 Qa7 24. Qe2 Qa6

The position has now equalized itself out, and Magnus has to fight for some initiative all over again.

25. Ng4!? Kg7 26. Bc1 Na4 27. Bc2 Ra8 28. Qe3 c4

Some serious alternatives were 28. .. Bxg4 knocking out one of the dangerous knights and 28. .. h5 driving back the Ng4.

29. Rf1 Nc5

Black could have discouraged f2-f4 with 29. .. Bd8, or actively warded off the white queen with 29. .. Qa7, but he sticks with his idea to get the knight to c5. Also, it was still not too late to pick off the Ng4.

30. Nh6 Ng5?

Black makes a mistake, handing the initiative to Magnus. Far better was just 30. .. Nxh6 31. Qxh6+ Kg8 and Magnus's pieces cannot penetrate further.

31. f4! exf4 32. Qxf4 Bh3?

Black gets greedy, pilfering a pawn, but this unleashes a flury of tactics that lays him out cold. Watch!

33. Qh4 (Obviously not 34. gxh3?? Nxh3+ winning the queen.) Bd7 (33. .. Nd3 was better, but already it's tough to suggest moves for black.) 34. e5! dxe5 35. Nh5! gxh5

Retreating with Kh8 just prolongs the game a few more moves. No doubt black saw what was coming next, and much like Donald Byrne did against Fischer, he chose to let the youngster polish him off.

White to play and mate.

36. Qxg5!! fxg5 37. Rf7+ Kxh6 38. Rh7# 1-0


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Another Big Turnout at the LCCC!

The final night of our inaugural league night had a great turnout. Statistics show that the league nights gave us better attendance than non-league nights. More on that later.
We got to welcome two new members to the club this evening; Luke H. and Scott R. Welcome gentlemen!
This brings our club to 39 active members and 50 inactive members. Ten weeks of no shows gets you on the inactive list. It seems every time we add new members, some others are moved to the “inactive” list. We are stuck at around 40 active members all the time. It’s amazing to me.
Of the inactive members, a dozen or so players we truly expect to walk back thru that door any week now.  People get busy, school and job commitments all can interrupt any plans for a chess night. So our real club membership stands at around 50 true-blue LCCC’ers. That is a nice club size, but doubling that is a nice goal to have! That would truly make us a force in Michigan Chess!
Remember, there is LCCC on line at Chess .com, and if you cannot make it to us on Monday nights, at least join us on line for correspondence games! It is lots of fun there and a great way to stay in touch with club members when you cannot make Mondays. Simply join Chess .com – for free or pick a dues rate – and then send your screen name to the LCCC email and you will receive an invitation to join LCCC on – line.
Back to the league: Terry G. will publish the final standings and our League Champs will be listed on the side of this blog for a year! Congrats to the winning team!
Your humble writer and VP - proposes to Terry G for next year;
·         Strictly enforced forfeit and make-up game rules. Season two has to be more structured.
·         If you forfeited twice or more this season, you are only eligible to sub next season,
·         a Game/60 time limit,
·         a slightly longer league season with a double round robin format a three-week interval when possible. Since the League increases attendance and gives most members practice playing a little more serious chess games, let’s add rounds.

But now that the League is over, for any serious or semi-serious tournament chess game practice, attention should be given to the Ladder! If you are not currently on the Ladder, sign at the bottom and challenge any of the four above you. It is that simple. If you are currently on the ladder, start making challenges – and if you get challenged, play some games! Ladder Tournament rules are available - on ONE sheet of paper – every single week. It is an easy way to improve your chess and mingle with all the club members.
And a special thanks and congratulations to our Ladder Iron Man, Elliot K. He may have more Ladder Tournament games played than the rest of the club combined!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Everybody Plays the Fool.......Sometimes!

Okay, so your position is lost and broken.
You sit around mopin',
Cryin' and dyin',
You say you`re even thinkin' about quitting'.
Well, before you do anything rash, dig this:

Everybody plays the fool sometime
There's no exception to the rule
Listen friend, it may be factual, may be cruel
I ain't lyin', everybody plays the fool.

Falling into opening traps is such an easy thing to do.
And there's no guarantee that the tactics you see
Are gonna lead you to a victory.
Oh-oh-oh, tacticians' eyes they cannot always see,
A certain checkmate could never be.
Analysis can run deeper than any ocean.
And you can cloud your mind with emotion.

Everybody plays the fool, sometime.
There's no exception to the rule.
Listen, man, it may be factual, may be cruel.
I want to tell ya
Everybody plays the fool.

How can you help it when the match starts to play
And your ability to reason……..ebbs away?
Oh-oh-oh, wood on a board is all you can see.
You're out of touch with reality.
And now you cry but when you do,
Next time around someone cries instead of you!

Everybody plays the fool, sometime.
Chess will use your heart like a tool.
Listen, baby, they never tell you so in school.
I want to say it again,
Everybody plays the fool!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fifteen Players at LCCC on NCAA Championship Night – and Let’s Fix the Ladder!

Not a bad crowd when you consider we were up against a college basketball championship that had the University of Michigan in the final game! Michigan didn’t quite get there, but congratulations to them on their fine season.

Back to chess.

Casual games were played and our Expert/Master Jason M went over some very entertaining games for us. He first went thru them with the adults and then some of our younger members. All of us enjoyed the education and kibitzing opportunity.

It’s that time of year, so the Club By-Laws Committee and Nomination Committee were hard at work for part of the evening. Elections will probably be held either the 22nd or the 29th of April because….

Next week is the last round of our inaugural League Night and so be sure to be here for that. Terry M did a fine job as TD, and we are all looking forward to next fall’s League.

Meanwhile, back at the weekly Ladder Tournament, we are losing rungs! If you are inactive in the Ladder Tourney for six consecutive (non-league) nights, you drop off the Ladder. Well, our Ladder used to be long, but now it is starting to look like a step-stool. Your Vice-President is not a happy camper.

When I found this Ladder concept and adopted it from other clubs, it seemed like the perfect venue to have in a club. If used by club members, eventually everyone will end up pretty much in their order of strength within the club.
I know – that is probably the drawback of the Ladder.

Some players do not want their true strength as a player made so public. [Public? It’s a little county chess club for crying out loud! But I digress.] But everyone in the club pretty much knows everyone's level anyway, don't you think?

Members should look at the benefits of the Ladder to the Club and stop worrying about their own egos.

First off, it promotes play by all members with all other members because everyone starts the Ladder on the bottom. You can still play with your best buds, but at least other members get a chance to interact with each other on occasion.

Second, players will always find games close to their own level of skill. This is where the game is the most fun! How can you not want that??

Third, seeding for our League would be much easier should new players enter or substitute in the League. It helps Terry out tremendously.

Fourth, any new players joining the Club starts at the bottom also. I know of one instance where a new player showed up at the club and sat down and played games with probably the two best players in our club – and got crushed every game! He has not returned.
I know this is the fault of the ego of the new member, but still, any new member of any environment needs a little easier welcome than that.

Fifth, our trainers, Terry G and Jason M can target training sessions to specific members based on their Ladder location.

I strongly feel that the benefits of the Club's Ladder tournament are just too numerous to be ignored.
Ok, I’ve ran my last commercial  for the Ladder Tournament. I say, be there or be square.

Last bit of news – Jason M has graciously offered to post a “Chess Game of the Week” on this blog! This is what I want the series to be called as it will draw hits from engine searches. This blog is already read world-wide, and this additional posting will increase readership tremendously.

Look for this exciting posting soon!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Eighteen Players at LCCC This Cold Monday

I wish this Global Warming would hurry up already! It’s cold outside.

Good casual games were played, some Ladder Tournament challenges were made and…..of course lessons were given.

Terry G, Aaron J, Scott M, Ken L and Mike N all helped the youngsters with some pointers and by reviewing their tournament game with them. I have to tell you, helping the next generation of chess players is almost as much fun as playing!

We also got another new member as Tommy H and his dad stopped by. Welcome to LCCC Tommy.

Details are in the last post, but just a reminder, LCCC is now on-line at Chess. Com. Just send the club an email with your Chess. Com handle and you will be sent an invite. Ken L is the Site Administrator, and Mike N the Assistant Administrator if you have any problems.

Also, Mike N will be joining ICC (Internet Chess Club) and will write reports on his experience there.

See you here for articles and see you next Monday at the Hartland Senior Center!