Saturday, January 27, 2018

Start of the 2018 LCCC 960 Tournament 012218 - Casual Chess Next Week

Our "960" tournament has started. There is still time to enter as we did have one entry with no opponent. So be here Monday and take that last spot!

If you have never played 960 chess, you will find it exciting. The difference is - the pieces on the back ranks are randomly mixed up! So it takes any opening knowledge a player might have over you and throws it out the window.

Come give it a try.

Now for a chess lesson on the separate skills of the chess pieces:

One of the first things we learn about chess is that it is a game of war. A battlefield in miniature. And one of the hardest things to learn after that - is the nature of the weaponry.

As in war, chess weapons can be primarily offensive or defensive. But some are better at one than the other.

For example, the Queen is a great attacker, but a lousy defender. This is true because the Queen can be driven away simply by being threatened by ANY piece your opponent decides to or can use.

After 1. .....Qc7, Black's defense against the c-pawn queening is busted with 2. Qb7 and now the pawn gets there whether Black trades queens or not - because after 2. .....Qxb7, 3. cxb7 and the pawn queens next move.

Or 2. ...Qd7 or Qd8, then 3. c7 and the pawn can't be stopped.

But what if we use our Queen as the attacker she is made to be?

1. ........          Qf4
2. Qb7?         ........

White thinks the game is over and doesn't see Black's offensive threat of:

2. .......           Qc1+
3. Kh2           Qf4+
and Black has a perpetual check to to save a draw from a lost position.

If White tries:

3. g3              hxg+
4. fxg             Qf2+
and White cannot escape continuous checks.

At the end of the food chain is the pawn. It makes the best defender.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Casual Chess Night 011518 - Chess 960 Tourney Starts Next Week!

Here is LCCC member Paul Mills in tournament action.
Our FREE Chess 960 tournament starts next week Monday January 22. Be here for all the fun!

Casual chess was played after some games from the 2018 Michigan Class Championship were reviewed.

These reviews of your own tournament games with members of the Club are half the fun of having played in the tournament. And it is very educational for the entire club to review them.

In addition, you get to show off your wins and get some friendly advice about your losses.
We will see some of the games from this tournament posted here for your education or in the case of my games ...laughter.

The tournament results from Club members will also be given after the tournament results are officially revealed.

Here is a game from the 1946 US Championship. I think it was a later round game with no bearing on the final standings as both players played a little off beat. But that is why it has found it's way here.

1. Nf3              d5
2. c4                d4
3. e3                Nc6
4. b4?              .......
Hardly a sound move but it does provoke a mistake by Black. At this point Black is ahead, but not as much as one might think. His lead is a slim (-.3) of a pawn. Just a simple reversal of the universal edge White has with the first move.

4. .....               e5?
Edge thrown away. Now White is up (.8) of a pawn positionally.

5. b5!               e4
6. bxc6            exf3
7. Qxf3            bxc6?
Black down (1.5) as 7. ......Rb8 8. Na3, Ne7 would have kept the game as it was.

8. Qxc6+         Bd7
9. Qe4+           Be7
10. Qxd4!        Bf6
11. Qe4+         Ne7
12. Nc3           Bc6?
Black now down 2 full pawns. Castling was needed here.

13. Qc2           Qd7?
White is safe and two pawns ahead. He should play 14. d4 now - or in a few moves. But Black still is not moving his king to safety and getting his sleep rook on h8 into the game. Now Black is down (2.7).

14. d3?            O-O
A change in the flow of the game in just one move from each. White needed 14. Rb1. Now (1.6)

15. Rb1           Nf5
16. Ne2?!        h6
17. e4              Ba4
18. Qd2           Nh4
19. Qe3??       .........

White pieces have a cramped position. 19. d4 was required. A half pawn lead (-.5) for Black now!

19. .........        Rfe8
20. g3             Rxe4?
Black returns the lead to White (1.4) as 20. .....Bc2 21. Rb5, c6 is an even game at least.

21. Qxe4         Re8
22. Qd5??       Qxd5
White had better chances after 22. Qxe8, Qxe8 23. gxh4. Now Black has a mate in hand!

23. f3               Nxf3+
24. Kf2            Bd4+
25. Nxd4         Qxd4+
26. Be3            Qxe3+
And White resigns in the face of

27. Kg2           Nh4+
28. Kh3           Bd7+
29. Kxh4         Qg5 ++

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Lucky 13 Turn Out for Kid's Night 010818 and a Grandmaster's Advice to Players

The calm before the individual tournament battles.

We had thirteen players for the first Kid's Night of 2018, welcoming five new players - George M and his father along with Violet, Grant and Greg K. Great to see you here at LCCC!

Our next Kid's Night is set for February 12. 

Our next free Club Tournament will be an Action 960 tournament! If you have never played Chess 960 - also called Fischer Random Chess - here is your chance!

Also there is a BIG tournament in Lansing this coming weekend! It is the Michigan Class Championships where 8 state titles are on the line. Check out the article about the tournament posted a few posts down on December 16, 2017.

There are one day tournaments on both Saturday and Sunday for beginners and players that say 'I'm not that good'. The regular tournament is a 5 round - two day affair.

Even if you don't decide to play, stop on by and check out what a real chess tournament looks like.
Jeff Aldrich is the Tournament Director and he just does an outstanding job. You will be impressed with the entire event.

Now sound advice from a Grandmaster for players of all levels:

Four Time US Champion GM Yasser Seirawan gives some advice to chess players – both young and old:

If you are a GM/IM/Master or even Expert, you probably need to spend most of your time on opening theory.

If you are a Club Player (A thru C/D), you should work on your middle game play – pawn structure, position and tactical awareness.

If you are a Class D thru novice, you should concentrate on the endgame.

The Endgame is the most important. Learning endgames is like cheating on an exam. You know you will always be asked certain questions and you will have the answers ready.

Speaking of pawn structure, the Isolated Queen Pawn (IQP) is the most popular as many openings end up there. It is important to know the ins and outs of this pawn structure – from both sides.

And Endgame study – Rook and Pawns is the most common. Study those.

Finally, do not lose sleep over a loss. Instead be critical of your own play and see where you need to improve.