Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Week 25 13 Saw Chess Action and a Club Meeting

Fourteen players made it to LCCC on a hot Monday night. The highlights were some chess instruction by Terry G and some fine casual games played. In addition, Tom H became a voting member of LCCC. Thanks Tom.
We ended the evening a little early to hold a Club Meeting. All three Board members, two other Officers, and four other members were in attendance. Here are the highlights
> To replace the Ladder Tournament, The “Challenge Chess” concept was discussed as a new club “rating” method that would play as a more serious tournament type game & facilitate club ratings for members.  All seemed to be in agreement with the concept. Action items include Mike K and Terry G will e-mail draft copies of the proposed rules to the rules committee members for review & consideration.
> Team Challenges (challenge other clubs to matches) are being considered. Matt T discussed the history of this activity from 2 years ago. Ken L will lead the action to determine other clubs that will accept team challenges and develop a list of volunteers that want to play in these games.
> LCCC holding USCF rated tournaments were also discussed. Ken T  Will continue with necessary steps to become USCF certified as a “club tournament Director”, and will also be the lead person to coordinate all the activities of the first club hosted open tournament. Matt T volunteered to assist as a consultant who has the actual experience.
> Getting some guest speakers to come to LCCC was also discussed. Mike K suggested that other club presidents might consider coming by to discuss club building strategies. Mike N will research this possibility.
> A Club bank account is needed. Treasurer Vince V will research this for availability of a free checking account, and what might be required by a bank or credit union.
> As always, gaining new members is the focus of any club that wants to survive. Mike N will lead this effort starting in a couple of weeks. Paul M came up with some great suggestions as to how to contact the schools and let them know of the benefits of LCCC. Mike N would like to hear more suggestions on how to get free advertising for LCCC.
Benefits of playing chess at LCCC:
Free lessons for most skill levels by Terry G, Jason M and Mike N primarily. But all club members have - and will - help the less experienced players gain knowledge. It's what LCCC does.
Your games can be posted on the Web Site by sending Mike K a PGN file or on the Blog if you send Mike N a copy of your game sheet.
Free Club Forum on the Web Site or free Blog Posts – open to any attending member of LCCC (
Free Member's Chess League.
Free Club Rating (via the LCCC League and hopefully Challenge Games), so an estimate of your USCF rating is possible without entering tournaments. Mike K volunteered to process the ratings and include on the web site.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Amateur’s Mind – Part 1

This is a re-print of an article by IM Jeremy Silman (JS) that appeared in Chess Life in January 1993. I think it is a great article that looks at the fascinating differences between how the different level of player evaluates the same position. We will watch a grandmaster (2400+) work, then see how a 1500, a 1700, an 1800 and a 2100 see it.- MN
Starting position - White to move.

JS: “All examples will start from the following diagram:
I presented this position from a game between Alehkine – Marshall (editor’s note: uh…neither one a wood pusher), Baden-Baden, 1925 to various students and asked them to figure out what was going on. Once that was done, we would finish the game with them playing White and me playing Black.
But, let’s first see how Alehkine took care of business:
1.       Qd2
A flexible move. White prepares to make use of his king-side majority with f4. He also now has the option of castling queenside.
1.       ….  Bd7
2.       Qe3!   
A very fine idea. Black is prevented from castling queenside (a-pawn would be hanging) and the Black queen is kept out of the d4 square (restricting Black’s play). Keep that square in mind as we look at how the amateurs handled this position.
2   …..   Bc6?!
Black decides to castle king-side, but it is rarely a good idea to castle into your opponent’s strength (pawn majority side). Better was 2. ….Qa5, then 3. ….O-O-O.
3.       O-O-O
With his king safely tucked away on the queen-side of the board, White can now advance his kingside pawns without safety concerns.
3           …..    O-O
4.       f4   Qe6
5.       e5   Rfe8
6.       Rhe1   Rad8
7.        f5     ……
White takes over the initiative because his advancing pawns gain tempos by attacking Black’s pieces. White’s assault is in full swing, while Black’s counter-attack has not even started.
 7    ….    Qe7
8.       Qg5   Nd5
9.        f6   Qf8
10.   Bc4!   ……
After 10. Bc4!
 From this point on every move is a hammer blow. Alekhine doesn’t give his opponent a moment’s respite.
 10   …….   Nxc3
11.   Rxd8   Rxd8
12.    fxg7!    …..
Taking advantage of the fact that the Black queen is the only defender of the rook on d8.
13.   Kb1!   …..
The “automatic” 13. Bxa2 would give Black a saving check at c5.
 13   …..    Qe8
14.   e6!   Be4+
15.   Ka1   …..
Of course 15. Kxa2??? Allows 15. …..  Qa4 mate!
 15 .  ……      f5
White wins in boring fashion after 15. …..   fxe6, 16. Bxe6+  Qxe6, 17. Qxd8  Kxg7, 18. Qd4+ followed by the capture of Black’s bishop.
16.   Ee7   Rd5
17.   Qf6   Qf7
18.   Ee8(Q)+   
Black resigns as it is mate in two moves.
This powerful performance by the legendary Alekhine was accomplished due to his insight into the possibilities of his opponent. He didn’t just note that his kingside majority was strong. He also looked into consideration the weaknesses that it’s advance would leave him with.
By shoring up these weaknesses before he advanced his pawns, he was able to force the Black army back into a passive stance.”
In the next post, we will look at how mere mortals handled this same position against an IM.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Monday #24 – 2013 – Thirteen Players on a Beautiful Monday Night

Another night in our back up room at the Hartland Senior Center as dance competitions took over our usual location. Well, actually the Dancers took over the Music Room for a dressing room and the musicians took our room. But the result was the same…...different room, but still very nice for chess.

One of the pleasures of the LCCC is our playing location. It is one of the finest around for a chess club. If we get re-located, we are no worse off. We are blessed.

Some of our visitors tonight were …..more or less just that…..visitors. But we are hoping they will become permanent attendees and members.

Jason M brought his son Mack for the first time.

Tom, who has stopped by a few times to take in the action, hung around even longer this time. Maybe next week he will sit down for a game. We sure hope so.

And Luke H brought his friend Matt who is considering taking up the game. Well Matt, you sure came to the right place! Like taking lessons from a golf pro before taking up golf, coming to LCCC to learn to play chess is a jump start! Hope to see you here again soon.

Next week we hope to have a Club Meeting for all those interested. I will post the agenda. I don’t expect the meeting to take very long and I want to start it about 8:30pm – not at 6pm. That way some chess can be played and some lessons taught.

Not to mention that tired, hungry and thirsty meeting members tend to keep the meeting moving toward a quick ending. I will be all three of those by 8:30.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Twelve Players at LCCC on a Rainy Monday Night

Some chess was played, some instruction given by Terry G and game reviews of Jason M’s games from decades ago – analyzed by Jason himself. It was quite educational and as usual – entertaining also! Thanks Jason.
Our room at the Hartland Senior Center was changed temporarily due to a dance competition going on. We will be in that same “different room” again next week. Don’t worry new arrivals or members that missed last week, because we will have a greeter there to direct you to the room and the players. The room was just fine for chess, but just a little harder to find.
On a sad note, one of our strongest chess playing members – Scott M – is moving to Arizona! The club will miss him as a player, a competitor and a friend. Good luck Scott in all your endeavors and don’t forget about us back in Michigan. We will be here if and when you return from the state with one season – summer – for the state with two seasons – winter and road repair.
There is a Bottom Half class tournament in Grand Rapids scheduled for the week of June 22 and 23rd. See details on the right side of the blog. Some LCCC’ers are thinking of making the trip. Think about joining us there.
See you next week at LCCC!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Twenty-One Players on a Cool Monday Night

It was a nice turnout as maybe the one week layoff kind of re-kindled desire for live chess action. Lots of casual chess was played and a fun time was had by all.

Luigi M, his wife and four sons brought pizza for the entire club! What a nice gesture! Thank you!

Mike S. returned to the LCCC action after a long absence. Great to see you back and we hope you get here a little more regular.

Terry G. gave some chess instruction to our younger players – between bouts of pizza munching and pop of course. Thanks Terry.

Club News:
LCCC now has a non-mandatory club membership fee and we are up to 15 paid members, with a few more soon to join.

LCCC has another 25 “associate members” that are regular and semi-regular attendees.

LCCC also has over 50 inactive members and quite a few on-line members from other states.

Summer time is usually a slower chess time, but the Club President would like to propose a membership push in August. This would be good timing as it is:
  • Before school starts – so we can contact schools and let them know we are here.
  • Before the LCCC League starts – so we can offer league play to new members
  • Before The Michigan Open – in Livonia! - starts – and we can promote team camaraderie and help for new tournament players. And a few weeks at LCCC to prepare with lessons and tourney training.
  • Before indoor winter activities begin at churches and other clubs and we can contact them as an option for their members – either as new members here or as a Team Chess Challenge.
  • The time when festivals and fairs are happening and we can look to be a presence at a couple of them.
Let the discussions and planning begin! I think fifty weekly attendees on occasion is possible. We average 18 now. Doubling that average is the goal!