Friday, March 28, 2014

LCCC Summer League Update

Some chess in the outdoors may be part of the Summer League.
Hello LCCC'ers. Sorry for the gap in posts, but sometimes life gets in the way of chess.
Wait a minute is chess! So, let's get bact to life.

LCCC had 15 players in attendance last week and 21 the week before. Lessons continue to be a priority, as well as plenty of casual games and even some Bughouse Chess! Fun stuff.

Thursday night at Teekos Coffee Shop, we had 6 players two weeks ago and 8 players this week. Included last night was a new player - a young man named Tom who stopped by. Tom is a very strong player for his age and we hope to see him at the club on Mondays also.

LCCC Summer League:
If the league leading Rabid Squirrels clinch the Winter League this coming Monday, we will start the Summer League a little earlier. We will announce the schedule ahead of time so everyone can plan their summer.

Please let the Tournament Director, Ken T - or Mike N know if you cannot play in the summer league. We will assume everyone wants in unless we hear otherwise.

As usual, it should be a competitive and fun league - and excellent practice for tournament like conditions (clock, keeping score and quiet (relative quiet - at least we try) while games are going on.

There is no cost to join the league and it is open to everyone. Also, the League does not run every week. There is a week or two gap between league nights - for casual chess, lessons or a night off. So don't think every Monday will be tied up. And as mentioned, the scheduled dates for the league will be given ahead of time so players can plan their summer.

If you would like to give chess a try at a little more of a competitive nature - at no cost - please email or stop by the club for more details.

We look forward to seeing you here at LCCC!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

LCCC’s In-Vince-able Draws Seth Homa in Simul

The public can wait no longer! Here is THE game of the Simultaneous Exhibition given by FM Seth Homa at LCCC back in December of 2013.
Vince was the only one to not lose to Seth – earning a draw as it was Seth that actually played the drawing line. Very nice!
Vince's notes are there. Your scribe's feeble attempt at Fritz analysis is in [  ].

FM Seth Homa vs Vince V – in a simultaneous exhibition against 13 players.
Catalan Opening

1. Nf3    Nf6

I didn't know what to play against Nf3 so I decided to play it safe. I want to keep him guessing as to my plans as long as possible.
2. d4    d5

I'm familiar with this and ok with the Black side of the Queens Gambit Declined.
3. c4    e6
4. g3   

What the heck is this? Not normal QGD. Now what? I don't know the Black side of the Catalan at all!

5. .....    Be7

[Black has a slight advantage after 4. ….dxc4.]

5. Bg2   O-O
6. O-O   Nd7
7. Qc2   .......

My thought was 'that's an odd move.' Why not Nc3? Well, with my knight on d7, I don't have Nb4 and he is eyeing the e4 square. And with the bishop on Bg2, there is pressure on my c6 square if he starts a minority attack.

7.  ......    c6

Now if cxb5 then cxb5 and I'll avoid the minority attack and put a rook on c8 opposite his queen and sneak in a discovered check against it and win the queen. Everything is fine.
8. Nd2   Re8

Hoping to get e5 in to open up my Queen's bishop. So I hope he doesn't play e4 and seriously cramp my queen-side.

9. e4   dxe4
10. Nxe4   Nxe4
11. Qxe4    Bf6
12. Re1   Nb6

At this point I needed to get either a e5 or c5 pawn break and I figured c5 was better because of the pressure along the e-file against my e8 rook, and the e5 break would not be as effective because it is pinned.
[White is the equivalent of +1.2 pawns at this point. Moves like 12. …. c5, h5, h6, Qb6 or Qe7 gave Black more counter play. But then again, counter-playing against a FIDE master may not be such a great idea.]

13. b3    c5?!

Taking advantage of the pin of his d-pawn.
[Move order is important. Now this move is too late and expands White’s lead to 1.5.]

14. Bb2   Qc7
15. Ne5   Bxe5?!

I couldn't live with that knight on e5. But, d6 is looking like a good square for a White rook.
[Better for Black was Nd7. White now is at 2.0!]

16. dxe5   Rb8

Hopefully, allowing the Bc8 to get to d7 and c6. Yeah, right!
17. Qh4 ?!  …..

Oh NO! That is a move I wish he had not made. My danger radar is blaring in my head now!
[A time waster. Rad1 takes the open file. White is now at 1.1.]

17. …   Qe7 ?!

Seth (White) can't attack as well without his queen. I'll suggest a trade.
[Back to 2.0. Should have activated the bishop with Bd7. White should exchange queens and take the d-file.]
18. Qh5?!  ......

He's being stubborn.

18.  ......      Nd7

Heading for f8!
19. Re4  .......

Where is he going with that rook?

19. .......   Nf8
20. Rh4   ........

I figured Be4 is coming next and I have to do something immediately to get my Q-Bishop out to challenge his at g2. I thought b6 and then Bb7 but that is too slow. After b6 he is just going to play Be4 and then I am going to have to move a pawn in front of my King [weakening his defense]. If I move g6, he's going to play Bc1 and then Bg5 and then Bf6 and I am doomed! So, b6 doesn't give him anything to think about and I need to give him something to think about. Something to distract him. So, I decide I'd throw the b-pawn out there to see if he'd take it. If he does, I'm a pawn down, but at least I'll survive a little while longer and maybe stir up trouble on the Queen side.

20. .....    b5?

[Nobody wants the d-file! Rd8 was best as 2.4 is now White’s lead.]

21. cxb5   .......

The distraction worked! I'll play Bb7 now, .....but wait! What if I just take back on b5 with the rook? Do I really need to go a pawn down? Let's see, Rxb5 and what can he do? ......Oh yeah, probably Bc6 winning the exchange. Ok, no Rxb5. Back to the original plan.

21. .......    Bb7
22. Bf1   Red8

Keeping the bishop from going to d3.

23. Rc1?  …..

[Ra4 keeps the lead high instead of it dropping to 1.0. Black now gets some counter play as the rook enters White’s back rank.]

23. …..    Rd2
24. Ba3   Rc8

I'm protecting the c5 pawn indirectly here, intending to take advantage of my Bg7 and the d5/d4 square for a mate threat with the queen and an attack on c5 if he goes for the c5 pawn.
25. Rhc4   Qd7

Come on! Take the pawn. I dare you!
26. Bg2    .......

If. 26. Bxc5, then Rxc5 27. Rxc5, Qd4! If 26. Rxc5, then Qd4!

26. .......    Bxg2
27.  Kxg2   Rxa2
28.  Bxc5   Qxb5
After 28. .....   Qxb5
[White has worked the advantage back up to 1.8. The line 29. Qf3, h6 30. Bd4, Rxc4 31. Rxc4, Nd7 32. Rc8+, Kh7 33. Qe4+, g6  34. Qa8, Nxe5 is suggested by Fritz for White. There is an old chess adage which says “To take is a mistake”. So is the following two moves by White return the game to EVEN!]

29. Bxf8?   Rxf8
30.  Rh4?  Qd3?!

I got my pawn back and my position is solid. I still refuse to move a pawn in front of my king and I like my queen on his side of the board.
[Fritz suggests 30. …. Qd5+ 31. Kg1, h6  32. Rhc4, a5  33. Rd1, Qb5  34. Qf3, Rb2  35. Qe4, Rxb3  36. Qg2, Rb4 and Black is up -.6 instead of +.6 for White with the move played.]

31. Rc3   Qb1
32. Rc1   Qd3
[Seth, Vince is just not going to fall for the rook sac mate.]

33. Rd1   Qg6
34. Qf3   h6

Finally giving my king a flight square.
35. Rf4   Ra5
36. Qc3   Ra2
I wanted to keep my rook on the second rank opposite his king, just for kicks.
[Fritz says 36. …. Qh5 has more sting. But with Seth coming around faster and faster, who has the time for that kind of analysis?]

37. Rd3   Qg5

I have to get my queen out before she gets stuck on the king side.
38. h4  

I thought Rd7 - then h4 was better for Seth, keeping my queen stuck. Then he would have a queen and a rook against my lone rook.

38. ......    Qe7
39. Rdf3?   …..
[Qc6 keeps some advantage for White. Now it is looking like a draw if Vince can hold it together.]

39.  …..   Qb7

Pinning the rook on f3 but the real intention is to get my queen on the a-file and see if I can get her on White's first rank with my rook. That will give him something to think about.
40. b4   Qa6
41. Qd4  .......

He sees what I want to do and he is setting me up.

41.  ......    Ra1
42. b5   ........

This move took me by surprise. He is a tricky player.

42. .......  Qa2

Continuing with my plan.
[Looks scary for both sides but Fritz has it drawn with correct play.]

43. Rxf7   Rxf7
44. Qd8+   Kh7
45. Rxf7   Qb1
46. Rxg7+   Kxg7
47. Qe7+    Kh8
48. Qf8+    Kh7
Great job by Vince V to draw FIDE Master Seth Homa.
Seth Homa was a great guest also!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

League Night Round 9 - 2014 has Twenty Five Players

League action foreground - Casual chess and lessons in the background.
Let’s get right to the league results. The league leading Rabid Squirrels took care of business defeating the Thunder 3 – 1. Those 2 match points move the Squirrels to 14 match points – and either a 3 or 4 point league lead with only two rounds to go.

The Tigers defeated the 49’ers 3.5 - .5, and that moves the Tigers to 10 points and in second place – maybe temporarily.

In the last match – it is the Flames 2 and the Sonics 0 with two games still to be played. Health issues postponed the other two games until next week. It’s always best to keep the flu bug at home!

But the Flames have 2 points “in the clubhouse” - as they say – and that gives them 10 match points minimum, and keeps them in 2nd place with the Tigers.

The Flames also guaranteed to keep their undefeated season intact and can take 2nd place alone with another team point out of the two remaining games. Good job Flames!

A sign up sheet for the LCCC Summer League will be started next week. With the Squirrels possibly clinching the League title early, we may want to start the Summer League a little earlier.

The plan is for the Summer League to be a little lighter than the Winter League. Teams might be smaller - or bigger - and at least one week will be a Chess960 game.

Black to move and win in 3 moves.
Other ideas for different rounds are; Blitz match - 6 games (5 minute), Rapid Match - 4 game (15 min), or 2 games at G/30, etc.

Of course - if a majority of the players that sign up want to keep the same format - we will do that too.

In the mean time, here is a Black to mate in 3 moves puzzle. I’m sure someone will post the answer in the Comments eventually.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Game Corner: Ebb and Flow – part two

Everyone at the Club was discussing this game position.
Well sometimes a post goes viral! This post has hits quadruple of any other post – and growing! Why? Like the guy on Seinfeld at the city dump who is not accepting Kramer’s muffin stumps said – “That’s what I want to know about it.”

 Chess is such a beautiful game. As a self confessed wood pusher, I don’t have the chops to analyze anything but simple positions. This diagram is not. So, with the help of the software – Fritz 13 – I let the program sort out the ‘best’ moves.

In that Ebb and Flow game, Black blundered at move 20. But analysis showed an interesting range of possibilities at Black’s move 19.

Black to play move 19
It is the pivotal point of the game. The four best 19th move for Black can take him from an advantage (-1.8 pawns positionally) to a disadvantange (+2.3 disadvantage).

Here are the four lines. Of course, as you review each line, you may see different sub-lines. If readers want analysis on a sub-line, simply post a request. Something like: “in Line 2, instead of the move #X, what happens if he makes move Y?

 Line #1 (Black advantage -1.8 pawns)
19. ….    Nxh3
20.  Kf1   Qf4
21.  d5    Qxc4+
22.  Bd3   Qxd5
23.  gxh3   Qxf3
24.  Qxf3   Bxf3
25.  Bxh8   Rxh8
26.  Be4    Bh5

Line #2 (Actually played in game - White advantage +.4)
19.    ….   Bxf3
20.    Qxf3   g4
21.    Qe3   Rhg8
22.    d5   Qh4
23.     g3   Qxh3
24.    Be4   exd5
25.    Bh1   Ng6
26.    Bf6   Rc8
Line #3 (White advantage +1.0)
19.      Bb4
20.  Bxb4   Nxh3
21.  gxh3   Bxf3
22.  Be7    Bxd1
23.  Bxf6   Bxc2
24.  Rac1   Bf5
25.  Bxh8   Rxh8
26.  Kg2   Rd8

Line #4 (White advantage +2.3)
19.      g4
20.  d5   Qe7
21.  hxg4   Rhg8
22.  g3    Bd7
23.  Ne5   Bxe5
24.  Bxe5   Nh3+
25.  Kg2   f6
26.  Bc3    e5
Still a lot of game to play no matter which line is played! This is why chess is the greatest game in the world! Here is a position analyzed by a computer program rated at close to 2900 – and the four best moves find no quick decision.

Have fun with it, but learn from it. Go thru all the lines and try to see what squares the computer is taking, covering or is worried about.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Monday Chess 030314 Featured an Upset Loss and Bughouse!

Lots of analysis and discussion this Monday!
The Feb 10 8th round finally finished the final “make up” game. Work schedules, health issues and weather delayed some games. But sportsmanship prevailed and people waited until their opponents could play the game without distraction – rather than take a forfeit win.
The League leading Rabid Squirrels lost their first match of the year to the hard – charging 49’ers.
This closed the gap to the Squirrels in the standings to 3 points (teams get 2 points for a won match) with 3 rounds to go! It also bunched the rest of the league together.
That leaves the Flames as the only undefeated team. They have SEVEN drawn matches, but no losses.
Here are the standings:
Rabid Squirrels – 12 points
Flames – 9 points
Tigers – 8 points
Sonics – 8 points
49’ers – 8 points
Thunder – 3 points
It is safe to assume that the entire rest of the league will be rooting for the Thunder next week when they play the Squirrels! Can a thunderbolt shake a squirrel off the top branch? We shall see.
The Flames play the Sonics and the Tigers have the 49’ers. Very exciting stuff.
Be at LCCC next Monday - March 10 - for the exciting chess league action.
Meanwhile, LCCC welcomed a new member Ted G tonight. He got some chess lessons in with Mike N. and a game or two in with Zack R. Welcome Ted.
Club Treasurer Vince V also was giving instruction to LCCC’s youngest members - Layla W and Rachel P. Good job Vince!
There were quite a few casual games going on also.
But what was that they were playing over there on Table 4?
This is a chess variant where two players play as a team against two other players on two boards at once. Normal chess rules apply with each side has a player playing white and black. Except, the captured pieces on one board are passed to your teammate on the other board! And then the teammate has the option of putting this piece on his board.
This game is usually played in a fast time limit with a clock used for each board – usually 15 minutes or less – but I’m sure any agreed to time limit is fine. Clocks are placed on the outside so all players can see all clock readings.
Also, the touch move rule is usually not used in Bughouse, but clock move is. When you hit your clock button, then your move is final.
Partners are allowed to talk, suggest moves, ask for certain pieces or instruct to hold certain pieces, and even to delay moving, but they cannot make moves themselves on the other board.
The usual suspects were involved in this event; Aaron J, Scott M, Tim R, Ken T and Luke S. It looked like they had fun giving this spin on the old game a try.
Hope to see you Thursday at Teekos or back at the Hartland Senior Center on Monday March 10 for League Night!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Game Corner: Ebb and Flow

This game was submitted by Zack R. for analysis. Thanks Zack.

1. d4 e6
2. e4 Nc6
3. c3 d5
4. Bd3 dxe4
5. Bxe4 Bd7
6. Be3 Nf6
Anytime you can develop your pieces and force your opponent to move back, it is advantage YOU!
Black is up .2 of a pawn positionally. Or (-.2). When White has an advantage it will be shown as a (+).

7. Bc2 Be7
8. Nf3 h6
9. O-O Bd6

The double move of the bishop puts Black down (+.5) positionally (half a pawn). Simple mistakes lose chess games too.

10. Nbd2 Ne7
11. h3 g5

After Black's move 11. .....   g5
Black voluntarily opens up his King side for a pawn storm, but with no support from his army. All of Black’s pieces are sitting at home cramped together. Now Black is down (+1) - with the correct next move, that is.

12. Ne4 ……..

Wrong knight – Ne5! Is the move.

12.  ………   Ned5
13. Bd2 Bb5

Black’s last move chases White’s rook to a better square. (+1.5)

14. Re1 Nxe4
15. Bxe4 Bc6?!
The un-natural move of Nf6 was needed. Then after 16. Bxb7, you have Rb8 followed by 17. …….Rxb2 and Black gets the pawn back with a dangerous rook in enemy territory. Black would be down (+1.3) instead of (+2.6) with the actual move.

16. Bd3 Qf6

A passive move by White and a strong move by Black makes the positional advantage wither to (+.6). The energetic c4! - drives the advantage to almost (+3) for White!

17. c4 Nf4
18. Bc2 O-O-O
19. Bc3 Bxf3
20. Qxf3 Qe7?

Black retreats when the offense he wanted on move 11 can now materialize. The Queen has entered the attack zone, the knight and bishop are poised on good squares – and both Black rooks have semi-open files to control (g and h).

Black gets back in the game after 20. ….g4!, 21. Qe3, gxh3 22. d5, e5 23. Bxe5, Bxe5 24. Qxe5, Qxe5 25. Rxe5, Nxg2, - and White is only up (+.4) positionally.

21. c5 Nxh3??
The final losing move.

This is why chess is such a great game. There was lots of back and forth of advantage in this struggle.

White didn’t make bad moves, but didn’t seem to find any “good” moves, and that would let Black back in the game. If Black had stayed aggressive and looked for opportunities, the outcome might have been different.

This is a good game to play over to try and understand positional advantages such as;
Your opponent is cramped
Lost tempos by double moves by the same piece
Gained tempos by opponent ‘forcing’ your pieces to better squares, or developing while making your opponent back up
Rooks on opponents back ranks
Weak squares made by unsupported pawn advances
Many pieces near or directed at the enemy king
Open and half open files rooks can easily get control of