Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Six Players on a Cold 112816 Monday - But 2nd Chance Tourney Entry Monday

The best United States player and world's best blitz player - Hikaru Nakamura
It was a cold and rainy night and that probably dampened the turnout.
The tournament started with 6 entries with one pairing postponed due to some scheduling confilicts.

Thats ok - cause we roll with things like bad weather and scheduling issues at LCCC.

Looks like we should have more entries this coming Monday, so some tournament action will be held this coming week, along with our usual lessons and casual chess.

It also means on Dec 5, the 2nd round will begin with the entire tourney field all together.

Round 3 is Jan 9 and Round 4 is Jan 23, so this tournament is not an every week commitment.

Be sure to get to the Club by 6:30 this Monday to make sure you get a seat in this fun event. You don't want to miss it.

So here is an interesting endgame. Early notes are by an Expert (playing Black against another Expert) and an International Master - without the benefit of a computer. [Igor3000 will chime in].

White to move.

[The notes show what was played and how Black loses the game. Igor3000 has Black actually winning right now at -.30 of a pawn in a drawn endgame if played Igor-esque. But of course what makes chess so much fun is that humans are not Igor-esque.]

39. g4!          Kc5

The right move was 39. h4!! (advance the candidate). But the text is good enough. Here is the rest of the game.

[Both moves by White actually raise Black's advantage to (-.7). The correct move order was 39. Rb1+, Kxa7 40. h4! and Black's king is even farther away from the action and stuck on the a-file. This keeps Black's advantage small.

Black's 39th move was the fatal error (+1.3). Much better is 39. .......Rxa7, 40. Rxa7, Kxa7 and Black's pawn advantage will hold the fort (-.7) until their monarch can return. Instead White rolls to victory.]

40. h4           d5?   
[Black needed d4 here to give White a passed pawn to worry about. It appears Black has quit fighting and is just trading down to a lost endgame. (+3)]

41. Kd3        e5?
[Black needed 41. .......h6. Black is falling quickly. (+3.4)]

42. fxe5?        d4
[Better for White was 42. f5! (+4.7) and it's over. But Whites lead remained the same so there is still no hope for Black without a major error by his opponent.]

43. Ra2           h5?
[Another unforced error. This is too aggressive. 43. ........h6 was still needed and better. Now White has a (+6.6) lead.]

44. gxh5         gxh5
45. Ra1          Kb5
46. Kxd4        e6??
[Not that it matters at this point but 46. .......Rd8+ was required to activate the rook. (+17.7).]

47. Ke3          Kc4
48. Kf4          Kd3
49. Ra4         Resigns

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

LCCC Action Tourney Starts Nov 28, 2016; Casual Chess on Monday 112116

Karjakin leads the Champ 4.5 - 3.5 after eight rounds!
Hi Chess Fans,

There is a World Chess Championship going on in New York City, but you would not know it due to the lack of coverage by a media that would rather cover immature college students trying to look and feel important.

But, no fear. Search and you shall find.

Meanwhile, back at LCCC, we had six players for some casual chess on the Monday of Thanksgiving week. But we swing back into tournament action next week!

2016-2017 LCCC Action (30 minute per player / 5 sec delay optional) Tournament!
Free entry
1st round on November 28 at around 6:30pm. Registration by email or at club 6 - 6.30 pm.
The other rounds are scheduled for: December 12, January 9 and January 23.

So you see, this is not an every week commitment. It is - as always - an excellent opportunity to experience 'tournament style' chess, without a ton of pressure.

LCCC welcomes players of all strengths and will help you get better - before, during and after the games!
Stop on by and check it out

Now for a look at some sharp tactical chess.

Here is a game by the Russian grandmaster chess tactics giant - Mikhail Tal - before he was a grandmaster! Here he was simply a student playing in a simultaneous exhibition against Grandmaster Ratmir Kholmov in 1949, and GM Kholmov - with White - obviously underestimated his opponent.

Notes by GM Lev Alburt with help from the computer [Igor3000].

1. c4            e6
2. Nc3         d5
3. d4            c6
4. Nf3          Nf6
5. Bg5         dxc4
6. e4            b5
7. e5            h6
8. Bxf6       .........
The one good move here is 8. Bh4 [+.5]. Perhaps Kholmov, playing in a simil, did not want to get into the long, sharp line of the Botvinnik Variation. But now Black is a pawn up and White only has partial compensation [-.2].

8. ........       gxf6
9. exf6        Bb4?!
[Black needed 9. .....Qxf6 - here and not later - to keep the small advantage. Instead +.2]

10. Be2       Qxf6
11. O-O       Bxc3
12. bxc3      Nd7
13. a4          Bb7
14. Ne5?     ........
[GM Alburt, without the help of a computer called White's next move the error, but it was actually this move - #14 for White - that was the blunder. White needed 14. Rb1 to keep the game close to even. Now the tactics master, Tal can get to work. (-1)].

14. ........      Nxe5
15. dxe5      ..........

[ Lets see.....I am facing one of the strongest tactical chess players that has ever played the game of chess.

He has an open file (g-file) to place a rook on to stare at my king, a bishop and queen aimed right at my king, and another rook poised to take over the d-file and harass my queen. worry?]

15. ........      Qxe5
16. Bf3        Rd8
17. Qc2       Rd3
18. axb5      Rxf3!
19. Rxa7     Qxb5
20. gxf3      Qg5+
21. Kh1       Rg8
White resigns

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Seven Players on Casual Chess Night 111416 - Action Tournament Date Decided

Magnus Carlsen is defending his World Title in New York City
It was a fun and laid back night of casual chess at LCCC.

We were hoping for an influx of new players tonight, but that did not materialize. Mr. Terry, our in house instructor, was ready and waiting. Oh well. We are here when new players want to stop by - to learn, train or play!

Players, our Action Tournament (30 minutes per player with optional 5 sec delay) will start after Thanksgiving on November 28, 2016 at around 6:30. Get to the club a 6pm to make sure you get a seat.

This is great tournament practice or a great way to get familiar with serious (semi-serious) chess. Be sure to get in the action.

Meanwhile, here is a battle from the 1998 Chicago Open between GM Gilberto Hernandez (W) and GM Nigel Davies (B) in the third round. Someone snatches a poison pawn which leads to a queen sacrifice.

Not any old queen sac where one side gets mated, but one where the game stays close to even with chances for both sides after the smoke clears. Enjoy.

Notes by GM John Fedorowicz prior to computer assistance. [Igor3000 helps with the computer analysis.]

Position after White's last move - 17. Bxc5

[The game is even at this point. Black to move.]

17. .......         dxc4!
Unexpected and powerful!

18. Rxd8       Rfxd8
19. Nd4?       .........

[Igor sees that 19. Nxc4 and White could play on after .......Bxc4 20. Bxb4, Rxb4 21. Qc7 = , instead (-.7) for Black.]

19. ........       Nxa2
20. Kb1        Nc3+
Now the Black pieces become hyperactive.

21. Ka1       Ncxe4!
22. fxe4       Nxe4
23. Qc7?      .........
[Igor3000 suggests 23. Qf3, Bd5 24. Bxa7 and Black's lead is about a pawn instead of (-2) two.

23. .......        Nxc5
24. Nc6??    ..........
What else? After 24. Nxe6, Nxe6 25. Qxc4, Rxb2 - I don't like White's survival chances.
[Igor3000 says that John's suggestion is better (-3.4) than the move played (-6.6), and White's chances are indeed bleak. But 24. Ndb5 keeps the game at a two pawn deficit for White. The end is near for White.]

24. .......       Bxb2+
25. Ka2        c3+
26. Kb1       Ne4
White resigns as the Black troops are swarming.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Ken T Wins the 2016 LCCC Rapid Tournament

Ken Tack in tournament action
Congratulations to our tournament director Ken Tack on his victory in our 2016 Rapid (15 min) Tournament.

Ken went undefeated (4 - 0) to win our annual Rapid tournament over 10 other participants.
Ken won this tournament last year also! Ken also won our speed tournament!
Ken's solid and common sense chess works well in speed chess.
congratulations Ken!

2nd - 3rd place - Mike N and Vince V
4th - 7th place - Gene M, Luke S, Jason M and Larry W
8th - 10th - Paul M, Roy M and Petro K

The next tournament up on the schedule is our Action Tournament (30 min per player - 5 sec delay optional). Our tournaments are usually free, but discussions are in the works to charge and small entry fee to give away small prized and/or get the tournament rated by the United States Chess Federation.

Stay tuned for details.

GM Veselin Topalov vs GM Anatoly Karpov - White to move

In the meantime, here is a puzzle for your enjoyment.

White to move and win.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween Chess in 2016 - Tournament Pairings - and a Lesson from Capablanca

Some chess players go all out for Halloween.
It was a bit of a slow night at the chess club on Halloween Monday - 2016 as six players were in attendance. Now that is scary!

But some fun casual chess was had by all.

Here are the tournament pairings for Round 3 in our Rapid (Quick) Chess Tournament that starts back up this coming Monday. But never fear chess fans. There is always someone who was not in the tournament hanging around to play casual chess with you. So stop on by!

Round 3 - White listed first:

Board 1 - Jason M - Ken T
Board 2 - Gene M - Paul M
Board 3 - Luke S - Mike N
Board 4 - Roy M - Vince V
Board 5 - Larry W - Petro K

And now for a Jose Capablanca chess lesson (with our thanks to "Think Like a Grandmaster" - by Alexander Kotov). Igor3000 gives his computer 2-megabytes in [ brackets ].

Black to move after White's last move of 14. Q(a7)a6?
St. Petersburg Grandmaster Tournament - 1914

Nimzovich - Capablanca

 "White is a pawn up, but it is of no significance. Black's rooks will soon occupy the a and b-files and his bishop will cut the board in half. In just a few moves, Capablanca not only forces White into a hopeless position, but literally smashes the apparently safe position of White's queen-side pieces."

[Not an obvious error, but 14. f3 was best, and White remains only a (+.5) pawn ahead. As Kotov pointed out, Black has the positional advantage. By not protecting the e-pawn to free his knight from guard duty, the tables abruptly turn. Oh, the subtleties of Grandmaster chess - even in 1914!]

14. ........        Rfe8
15. Qd3         Qe6
16. f3            Nd7
17. Bd2?       .........
[White wants to activate his bishop and connect his rooks - all noble pursuits. But White's advantage is in his passed pawn on the a-file and the old adage of "passed pawns must be pushed" applies here. Black is up (-.4), which is all Capablanca needs to squeeze a win out of a position.]

17. ........       Ne5
18. Qe2        Nc4
19. Rab1      Ra8
20. a4           Nxd2?
[The great Capablanca missed 20. ......d5! growing his advantage to (-.7). This capture actually evens the game. Which brings us to another old adage - "to take is a mistake!"

21. Qxd2      Qc4
22. Rfd1?     Reb8
[Nimzovich wasted time as this rook does nothing on d1. Capa uses this tempo to re-gain the lead and momentum (-.9)]

23. Qe3       Rb4
"Capablanca is not prepared to exchange his positional pressure for a measly pawn. His aim is to destroy the enemy's queen-side."
[Nimzovich helps out with his next move. White needs 24. Rd3 to hold out. Instead,  Black will lead by two full pawns positionally.]

24. Qg5?      Bd4+
[Obvious follow-up move and good enough to win. But 24. ..........Rab8 - immediately was stronger (-3.5 rather than the text at -2).]

25. Kh1       Rab8
26. Rxd4?   .........
"There is no longer any defense against the threat of Bxc3 so Nimzovich gives up the exchange."
[26. Nb5 holds longer at (-2.4) instead of (-3.1)]

26. .......       Qxd4
27. Nd1       Rxa4
White resigns