Saturday, January 31, 2015

Any Chess Fork You Can Do....

Paul Morphy would know what to do.
   This game was L. Foord vs Solski in the MI Class Championship - Class C Division, in the 1990's. I thought the game was interesting enough to share. 

It has - back and forth - and probably a 'too early' resignation brought on by time pressure. Maybe you and a friend can play it out from the resignation point - with no time pressure.

      1.      d4        Nf6
      2.      c4        g6
      3.      Nc3     Bg7
      4.      c5?       …..

This move has some real purpose when Black has already played ….d5, since it does grab some space. Here, when Black still has the option of …d6 to attack the advanced pawn, it doesn’t seem very good.
[Igor3000 agrees and likes 4. e4 or Nf3, where either move gives White a standard (+.4) of a pawn for having the extra move. Instead Black takes the lead (-.3).

      4.  …..     O-O
      5.  Bd2      ……..

Much too slow. Best was 5. e4 to take the center (-.1). The text move is bad because Black can now counter in the center with either 5. …..b6 or d5, or the move that was made (-.7)

5.   …….     d6
6    6.      cxd6     cxd6
7    7.      Rc1      e5

An active idea, but it must be followed up.

8.      Bg5      exd4
9.      Qxd4   Nc6

It looks very natural to take the free tempo of developing while attacking the queen, but the more active …Qa5 looks very interesting [and was suggested by Igor3000].

10.  Qd2     Be6
11.  Nf3      Rc8
12.  E4        a6?

Too slow. 12. …Qa5 is still the move. Black’s lead is gone. =

13.  Be2      Qd7
14.  O-O     b5?

[White can now take the lead with 15. Rfd1, Ne5 16. Nxe5, dxe5 17. Qxd7, Nxd7 18. Nd5, Bxd5 19. exd5 (+.7).

15.  B3        b4
16.  Bxf6     Bxf6
17.  Na4     Qe7?

Diagram after 17. .....Qe7?
Something had to go, but it was probably better to give up the weak D-pawn
. [(+1)]

   18.  Bxa6    Rc7
   19.  Bb5      Ne5
   20.  Nd4     Rxc1
   21.  Rxc1    Rd8?

Better was 21. …..Rb8 to pin the bishop after 22. Qxb4, Qb7.

22. Qxb4   Bd7?

A rather desperate trap which doesn’t work and should have backfired completely (+3.4).

  23.Bxd7    Nd3
  24.  Qd2?   …….

Needed was 24.Nc6. Now the game is EVEN again.


24.  …..    Nxc1
25.  Nc6     Qxe4

White returns with a fork of his own.

26.  Nxd8   Nxb3

A very nice try! Taking the knight allows mate.

27.  Qd1!    Resigns

[But White is only up (+.6) after
27. ….Na5!
28. Nxf7, Kxf7
29. Bg4, Qd4
30. Qxd4, Bxd4 and it is still a game.

But in time pressure, Black probably only saw
27. ….      Nc5
28. Nxc5    dxc5
29. Bc6     Qe7
30. Bb7    ……   and White is up a knight. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Twenty-One Entered the NPP Club Championship

Who will be #22? We are looking for one more player to enter to give us an even number of players. One of our players had a busy day the next day and volunteered to take a BYE for the 1st round.

That means that if someone joins the tournament now, they will be given a BYE for the 1st round also. So, the first person to let us know they want to play in the tournament, has a guaranteed spot. So …get in there!

The tournament pairings were done in a Swiss System format. This means the players were listed top to bottom by club rating. Then, a line was drawn in the middle. The top player on the list was paired with the 1st player listed on the bottom half. And the pairings went on from there.

In this format, in the first round, one player is usually a much stronger player than the other. But it all balances out in the later rounds. As the scores come in, the next round has the winners playing the other winners and the people that lost are playing the other people that lost. Eventually, in the latter rounds, people are playing people equal to their own strength. And this is a four round tournament.

Anyway, according to the Tournament Director Ken T., we only had one upset in the first round. The rest of the games went as the ratings said that they would. Well, the truth be known, we came within about 30 seconds of another upset – and a big one!

Our recent tournament winner and your humble writer Mike Nikitin, almost dropped his game against Marcello Milani! And Mike had White! But, when one player loses his concentration in chess, and the other player battles on – turnarounds can happen. This could have been one of those times.

1. e4                e5
2. Nf3              Nc6
3. Nc3             Nf6
4. Bc4              Be7
5  d3                O-O
6. O-O             d6
7. Be3              a6
8. d4                b5
9. Bb3              Bg4
10. d5              Nb5?

Black has played well until this move. He has developed his pieces to stay even with White and castled early. But the last move traps his knight. In addition, the more aggressive move of 11. ….c5, after 11. a3, c5 12. axb4, cxb4 is better for Black than what happened.
White is up the equivalent of (4) pawns. Three for the knight and one for White’s better position. The c5 move instead of what happened only leaves White at (2.5).
After 11. a3

11. a3        ..........


11.  ........        Nxc2?
12. Bxc2          Qc8
13. Bd3            c6
14, Rc1            a5?

The move for Black is still ….c5. This gives white a stronger position and is now up (5.9).

15. dc              Qxc6
16. Nxb5         Qe8?

This grows White’s lead to (7.2), but 16. …Qd7 would have shrunk it to (5.4). Now White has the killer pin of 17. Nc7, but he doesn’t see it.

17. h3?             Bxf3
18. Qxf3          Bd8 (Black saw it)
19. Bg5            d5?
20. Bxf6           Bxf6

After Black’s 19th move and White’s 20th, Black had the awful choice between 20. …gxf6 which blows open his king’s protection. That is why he made the better choice of Bxf6, but it still left Black down (9)! That is the equivalent of White having another queen on the board!

21. Nc7           Qe7
22. Nxa8          Rxa8
23. ed              Bg5?
24. Rc4?!         Rf8

White had killer move 24. d6! (12.5) as both Black’s queen and rook are attacked. After 24. …Qf8, 25. d7, Rd8 26. Qf5, g6 27. Qxg5 it is all but over. But White plays lazy with this big lead and allows Black some chances.

25. Qe4?          f5!

White plays “hope chess”, hoping Black won’t see his mate in one on h7. But this allows Black a little counter striking.

26. Qe1           e4
27. Bb1            Qe5
28. Qxa5          Be7
29. b4?             Bd6
Position after 29. ......Bd6

Make no mistake – Black is way behind in material and position at (8.3). But he does have a mate in one threat now of his own at h2! Black can try hope chess being down so much. Maybe White will be over confident and overlook the threat.

Truth be told – your author did overlook it for about 30 seconds. I was considering b5???, but decided to take one last look to see where Black’s pieces could move.

Ohhhhhh……hello! I’m about to lose this game! So I had to spend another five minutes figuring out how to save myself.

30. g3              h5
31. b5              h4
32. Qc3           Qxd5
33. Rd4            Qe5
34. Qc4+         Kh7
35. Qd5           ……

Once the forced trade of the queens, Black is out of chances.

The lessons here are …..never think your game is won until it’s won….and never ever quit trying!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

14 Players on the Week Before the Club Championship!

It was a nice night of casual chess and even some Bughouse Chess for our usual Monday Night meeting.

Casual chess night will be every other week now because:


Everyone – at all playing strengths - are welcome to join!
Free entry!

Swiss System tournament
Players listed high to low by club rating.
If you don’t have a rating, we will estimate one for you.
List is then cut in half and top of top half plays top of bottom half – and so on, for the first round.

2nd Round – the winners play, the draws play and the losers play.
Eventually, everyone finds an opponent of their own strength. Meanwhile, most players get to play a mixture of tougher and weaker opponents. It’s great practice…..and fun!

4 Rounds – Played ever other week (site scheduling allowable)
1st round January 26, 2105

Round starts at 7pm.
Registration ends at 6:45 – please try and get there by 6:30m

Time limit for each round: G/60 minutes (per player) or G/55 with 5 second delay.

This is a great opportunity to meet nice people who play chess, and to get your ‘serious’ chess on – at low pressure.
Black to move and win!

Here is an entertaining puzzle. Black to move and win!

See you next Monday Night. We open for fun at 6pm.

Monday, January 12, 2015

LCCC Shines in the MI Class Championship – and a Good Monday

Luke Sergott shows his 1st place hardware!
On another cold snowy Monday night, but it was comfy cozy in the chess club.

Twelve players were in attendance, which is pretty amazing considering it was right after a major chess tournament. More on that in a second.

We had two new members in attendance this evening. Rich T found us on Chess dot com. He is joining us on line, and then made an appearance at the club in person tonight.

Also joining us is Kevin N, who saw our card at the MI Class Championship. Kevin is a real chess master.

Welcome gentlemen. This swells our ranks to a record 47 current active members, averaging 15 players per evening! Thank you to all of our members.

There was a concern we would be closed next Monday for Martin Luther King Day, but we will be OPEN!

Stop on by and get ready for the next week – when:

Our Club Championship starts January 26, 2015 at 7pm. Show up at least by 6:30 to assure a spot in the tournament. It will run usually every other week for four rounds.

Mike Nikitin wins his 6th USCF tourney
   It is a free tournament – 1 hour per player time limit or 55 min/5 second delay – and will be club rated only. It will be a fun time, so be sure to sign up. It is open to anyone!

  Now for LCCC bragging time!

  Nine players represented LCCC at the Michigan Class Championships.

   But our nine players only covered four of the seven classes in this tournament as two players were in two section and four players were in another section!

  Well it did not stop our club from hogging a lot the hardware as three players took 1st place honors!

   Luke Sergott took 1st place in the Class E section, going an impressive 5 – 0!

Mike Nikitin tied for 1st place in the Class C section, so a co-champion, but did beat the other 1st place player in the game they played! But Mike’s 3-0-2 finishes second in tie breaks to his opponents 4–1-0, as they both finish with 4 points.

Tom Hosmer with his 2nd USCF tourney prize score.
Tom Hosmer took 1st place in the Under 1100 section! Tom must love this event as he was a past 2nd place winner of the Novice tournament in this same Class Championship.

The other participants for LCCC were Pat K, Emily K, Gene M, Vince V, Paul M,  and John R.

Congratulations to our winners, and thanks for the free advertising that LCCC improves your chess!

Be here next week and the week after for the start of the Club Championship.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The First LCCC Night of 2015! - LCCC Championship Date Set

We had three new players show up to make the total go to nine, on a cold snowy night.
It was a small - but enthusiastic group, led by a completely new player to chess – Otin M.

Otin has been a checkers player his whole life and now wants to try chess. Once he gets the hang of chess, he might rise thru the ranks very quickly. Did you know many checker masters have become chess masters – but no chess masters have ever become masters in checkers? Something to think about.

Also returning to LCCC were Dan C and Geoff O. Both had attended LCCC for the Seth Homa simultaneous exhibition, and decided to start the year off at LCCC. Great to see you again guys.

2015 LCCC Championship Schedule
The exciting news announced at the club last night is that the 2015 LCCC Championship will begin on January 26th at 7pm! Be there by 6:30 to guarantee a spot in this tournament. There is no entry fee and the event will be club rated. But all are welcome to join.

The time limit for the game will be Game/60 minutes each player or Game/55 minutes with a 5 second delay for each player. Games will be held every other week or every third week as the school schedules allow. It will be a four round tournament.

It will be a lot of fun and a great way to practice playing in a real chess tournament setting, without the cost or pressure. Just email the club that you want to register or be at the club by 6:30 on Monday, January 6th, 2015.

Black to move and win!
Now an interesting puzzle to tide you over until the next article. Although, this isn’t a puzzle per se.

It is an actual position in a game that was played in……1903! It was Arturo Reggio vs Jacques Mieses in the Monte Carlo Chess Championship.

This is just one of the examples of what makes chess such a great game!

Black to move and win. The material is even, but since Igor3000 says Black has a -1.5 advantage positionally, there has to be something there…..right? Find the best move for Black. Take your time on this one.