Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Great Night of Casual Chess on Monday 042516

Bobby Fischer at work in his prime.
We had a great night of chess at LCCC. Nine players made it in on a warm spring night.

We even had one member we had not seen in a while [because of his work schedule] Ken L. Nice to see you Ken.

Just a reminder, our Club Championship - Round 4 returns next Monday. But there will be casual chess too. So come on by.

Now for a little history:

It is a well known fact that losing a chess game .....hurts. Bobby Fischer said he always felt like he "died a little" with any loss.

The question was asked of GM Larry Evans, Bobby's Olympic teammate and second at many of his chess matches, including his match with Boris Spassky: "How did Bobby look when he resigned? Was he ever known to throw pieces or do anything outrageous?"

GM Evans answered this way:

"They say there are two kinds of losers; bad sports and good actors. Bobby rarely lost, but when he did, his manners were impeccable.

When he lost to Boris Spassky at the Olympiad in 1970, he shook hands and had already shrugged it off by the time we had dinner.

But he also never gloated when he won and usually reviewed the game with his opponents.

His reaction to winning Game 6 against Spassky and seeing Spassky's reaction to the loss left him in awe.

When Spassky resigned, he extended his hand and they shook hands. Spassky then rose from his chair and joined the audience in the applause for the brilliance of the game.

Bobby was so moved by this gracious gesture that he later told us on his seconds team; 'I had to go away.'

Fischer was afraid he would lose his killer instinct by feeling any sympathy for his opponent.

In the car back to the hotel, Bobby said over and over again, "Did you see what Spassky did? Did you see him applaud? That's real sportsmanship. That shows he is a true sportsman."

There is a lesson there for all of us. Sometimes you just have to tip you hat to your adversary. They are trying to win and play the best game they can. Sometimes they succeed.

Be gracious when that happens.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Round 3 of 2016 LCCC League Championship Complete

Even Doctor, Bobby Fischer second, IM Anthony Saidy still studies!
Fourteen players in attendance - including two new players!

We welcome Heidi and Rob to LCCC tonight. And of course they found players to have a casual game with while our tournament was going on.

The winners in the league games tonight:
Vince V - (tournament leader!)
Luke S
Paul M
Ken T
Riley B

Congratulations to the winners. The pairings for round 4 will be published here as soon as they are out.

 Instead of a puzzle or a game this article - how about a little chess trivia?

It's been asked of this chess instructor "Where did the point system for evaluating the strength of the pieces originate? (ie, queen = 9, rook = 5, pawn =1, etc.)"

Howard Staunton rated bishops higher than knights and two rooks ahead of a queen in his 1847 handbook. But he never gave pieces a numerical value.

The Oxford Companion to Chess says, "The point values was devised in the early 19th century by Peter Pratt, an English player and author.

Pratt put a
pawn at 1,
a knight at 3.05,
a bishop at 3.5,
a rook at 5.48
and a queen at 9.94.

Today's standard is
Pawn = 1
Knight = 3
Bishop = 3
Rook = 5
Queen = 9

But remember - piece value is relative and really changed based on their placement and the type of position or structure of the position. For example, knights are usually better in cramped positions over bishops.

The first computers had to use numerical values in the programs. One popular system used was:
Pawn = 2
Bishop = 7
Knight = 8
Rook = 14
Queen = 27
King = 1000 (so the computers would not exchange it for another piece - ever!)

So that is the early history as described by GM Larry Evans in the December 2003 issue of Chess Life.

See you Monday at LCCC for casual chess night!

Friday, April 15, 2016

This Monday is Round 3 - 6pm - But Casual Chess is Available

The LCCC Club Championship continues this Monday.

But we will have casual chess available also. We always do. So stop by to see the great tournament action or play yourself!

Here are the pairings for the 3rd round:

Board 1: Vince V (W) - Gene M (B)

Board 2: Luke S (W) - Don J (B)

Board 3: Paul M (W) - John R (B)

Board 4: Mike N (W) - Ken T (B)

Board 5: Riley B (W) - Dave K (B)

See you all Monday!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Casual Chess Monday 041116 had Eleven Players

"Nimzowitsch Defense? Whatever dude!"
We did have one LCCC Club Championship make-up game. Ken T and Luke S drew their match. Nice game guys.

The rest of us played some casual chess and discussed upcoming tournaments found in the Michigan Chess Association chess calendar - that can be found on the right side of this blog.

I present a lively game played last week in the Club Championship.

1. e4     Nc6
2. Nf3     d6
3. d4      Nf3
4. Nc3     Bg4
Black plays the Williams variation of the Nimzowitsch Defense (so Stockfish says).

5. Be3     a6
6. h3      Bxf3
7. Qxf3      e5
8. d5      Ne7?!
Too passive for Black. Better was 8. ....Nd4 (.5 lead for White instead the now 1.8),

9. Bd3     Ng6
Black is overloading the king-side, so White should consider queen-side castling. Black's cramped position would restrict any real threat to White on that side.

10. a4?     Nh4
11. Qg3     Nh5
12. Qg4     Nf4
The Black knights look scarier than they are. The simple 13. Bf1 holds well (.7 of a pawn still for White).
13. Bxf4     exf4  [consider 13. .....h5]
14. O-O     Ng6?
This natural looking move is too passive. 14. .....g5! keeps the pressure on White. (.4 instead of .8)

15. Ne2      Qf6?
Now 15. .....h5! is called for and not just a consideration. White is now up over a pawn positionally (1.2)
Position after Black played 15. .....Qf6?

16. c3?      .........

This is the first outright blunder of the game. White leaves his bishop unprotected as the Black knight eyes the e5 square with 16. ....Ne5! 17. Qxf4, Nxd3 18. Qxf6, gxf6 (-2.2 for Black).

16. ......       h5?
17. Qf3?     Ne5
White blunders again after Black gave him a reprieve. 17. Qf5 gives White the advantage (.6), instead of the text which has Black up (-2.2).

18. Qxf4     Nxd3
19. Qd2      Nc5
20. Nd4     Be7
21. Rae1?     O-O?!
Pawn grabbing with 21. .....Nxa4  was perfectly fine here.

22. a5       Rae8
23. b4         Nd7
24. Re3      Ne5?
This natural looking move makes the knight a target for the f-pawn and allows White counter play with a strong center. 24. ......Qf4 was best.

25. Qe2       g6
26. f4        Nd7
White to move after Black made move #26.

 Position after 26. .......Nd7
 What is the best move for White?

27. Kh2?    .......
A time waster as you will see shortly.

The direct 27. e5! reduces Black's advantage from the current (-2.3 to -1.6).

27. ......      Qg7
28. Qd3     .........
White misses 28. Nf5 as the knight is immune from capture due to 28. .....gxf5? 29. Rg3! and Black's Queen is pinned!

28. ......       Kh8
 The move 28. ....Bf6 makes the game easier for Black.

29. Kg1      Bf6
30. Nf3      Re7
31. Rfe1      Rfe8
32. Qc4      Nb8?! [Nf1 was better]
33. Qe2??      Bxc3   [-5]

White resigns

A very entertaining game!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Round Two Completed in the 2016 LCCC Club Championship

White to make move #21
Another great night of chess action at LCCC. Four games played and one moved to next week due to work commitments.

Congratulations to the winners: Gene M, Vince V, Mike N and John R.

Next week is casual or open chess night, so come on by, play some chess and have some fun.

Round 3 match ups will be posted as soon as your humble scribe receives them.

Lets pick up the Board #1 game at move 21. It is Gene M (W) vs Paul M (B). Notes by Gene M and your [humble scribe].

21. Qf3 Bxe5? 
Rybka says (+1.6 for White)  Rybka:  21...Qb6! (-0.3 advantage for Black)

22. fxe5 Qb6? 
Rybka says (+3.3):  22...Ne4, 23. Qxf7+ and still (+1.6) for White.

23. Rcd1? -1.0
I underestimated the potential impact of Black's Queen pinning my d-pawn, and missed Paul's next move until I'd moved.  I considered 23. exf6, Qxd4+, 24. Kh1 (Rybka +3.5), but although Black's Queen didn't seem dangerous in the short term, I was concerned about opening up too much space for it.
[Igor 3000 sees it this way: 23. exf6, Qxd4+ 24. Rf2, Rc3 25. Rd1, Rxf3 26. Rxd4, Rxf6 27. Rxf6, gxf6 28. Nxg5 (+4.6). White way ahead!]

24. Kh1 Rg5
25. Rfe1 Qd6
26. Re5? ...........
Rybka says (-3.5) Correct was 26. Kg1 (-1.1) [White was searching for a plan and that was not a good one.]

Rybka has it at (-2)  26........Ng4! (-4)

27. dxe5 Qxe5
28. Nxd5 Nxd5
29. Qxd5 Qxb2
Paul and I agreed after the game that an immediate Queen exchange might've been better, allowing Black to be a pawn up in a simpler endgame.  However, Rybka thinks grabbing the b-pawn is okay with proper play.

30. Qd6 Re8
31. Qxa6 Qe2
32. Rg1 Qf2
33. Qa5 Re2
34. a3 Rd2?! 
Rybka says the game is EVEN now.  34.....Kh7 -1.4, keeping the tension on White's King and starting a King-side advance.

35. Qxb5 Qe2?!
Both Paul and I had under 10 minutes on our clocks by this time.
White to make move 36.
36. Qxe2 Rxc2
37. Ra1 Re5!
38. a4 Ra5
39. Kg1 f5
40. Kf2 Kf7
41. Ke3 Ke6
42. Kd4 Kd6
43. Kc4 Kc6
44. Kb4 Ra7
45. a5 g5?!
Rybka says (+1) 45.....Re7 =

46. Rc1+ Kb7
47. Kb5   f4??
Rybka says (+4.6): 47.....Ra6 (+0.2)

48. Re1! Kb8
49. a6? 
[The game is now even as this completely gives away White's advantage.]
Rybka says 49. Re8+ (+4.9)  Apparently losing the advantage.  Paul and I were trying to make our best end game judgments under [severe] time pressure.

50. Kc6 Rf7
51. Re6 h5
52. Kb6 g4?? 
Black Resigns 1-0
(53. Re8#) Rybka: 52.....Rf8 = where Black can turn his f-pawn into a passer, countering white's passed a-pawn and a draw.

[But time pressure is a killer for any player!]