Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Co-Champions for the 2018 LCCC Fischer Random 960 Tournament

Everyone has equal standing with the Royal Game of chess.
We had eleven players tonight for the conclusion of our 2018 Fischer Random 960 Tournament.

But first we welcome a new member to the Club - and hopefully a Kid's Night regular - Jack M.
Welcome to LCCC Jack.

The co-champions of the 960 tournament are:
Vince Valente
Ken Tack

Congratulations guys!

If you have never played 960 chess, you should try it some time. You start the game with the pieces randomly placed on the back rank - not in the standard chess placement. This throws a player's opening "book" knowledge out the window!

Below is Vince's victory game that clinched his tie for 1st place. As you will see, with the standard opening moves out the window, chess becomes more of a puzzle than ever!

We have two of the best players at the club going at it here, and there were a dozen lead changes during the game! Our chess super Grandmaster computer Igor3200 shows us things most humans would never see. All regular notes are his. Chess computers talk to humans now, you know?

Anything your humble scribe adds will be in [brackets].

This is an exciting one and the type you see at our club all the time. Even when we play regular chess!

Set up the back row White pieces from left to right:
then mirror the Black pieces on the other side. Crazy looking eh? But it's FUN!

White: Vince V
Black: Don M

1.  d4               d5
2. Bf4              b6
3. e4                Ngf6
4. h3                Nd6?
The simple 4. ...dxe4 is best. White leads in position by almost 2 full pawns (+1.8).
[Black was not afraid of 5. e5, but most players would be.]

5. Be2?            .........
White forfeits all advantage and is now a pawn down in position. (-1) Better was 5. e5  g5 6. Bxg5  Nfe4 7. exd5  Nxg5 8. dxc7+  Bxc7.
[Both players feeling the pressure of playing for 1st place in a tournament. Even a fun tournament at the club. You want a free thrill ride? Play tournament chess!]

5. ........            e6??
White is back in front (+1.5). 5. ......dxe4  6. f3

6. Ngf3??         .........
Another switch in fortunes! (-1)
[Anyone see the reason here that 6. e5 was not played here? If there is danger, neither me or Igor see it.]

7. Ba6              Bxa6
8. Qxa6            f6??
This give White unnecessary counter-play (+1.2). 8. ....Nxe4 was the move.

9. Nd3??         .........
White slows down his strong king side attack and a way to maintain the advantage, 9. exd5  e5 10. dxe5  Nc5. Now the game is EVEN.

9. .........          Nc4??
Black lets the air out of his own sails. (+1.6) 9. ....dxe4 10. Nb4  c5 11. Nc6+  Kc7 12. Nxa7  e5 13. Nxe5  fxe5 14. dxe5  Nc8.

10. O-O          g5
11. Bh2          Be7??
More ground lost. (+3) 11. ....h5 was best.

12. b3?!          ........
Nope. 12. exd5  exd5 13. Qb5  Qd8 14. Qxd5  Na5 makes things easier on White. (+2.5)

12. ......           Na5
13. c4??          ..........
This ruins a strong position (-1) Still 14. exd5  exd5 15. Qb5

13. .......         Bd6??
Another flip flop and back to a losing position. (+2.8) 13. ...dxe4 14. Rae1  exd3

14. c5??        ..........
Missed a chance to keep or gain a greater advantage with 14. e5  fxe5  15. c5 (+.6)

14. ........        Bxh2
15. Kxh2?     .........

Now White is now losing slightly. (-.6)  15. Nxh2  Qc8  16. Qxc8+  Kxc8 17. exd5 keeps the slight lead.

[15. Nxh2 is a computer move. We humans rarely like to retreat infantry. But now getting dizzy with all the lead changes .....and there is more track left on this roller coaster.]

15. ........        Qc8
16. Qb5?       .........
This weakens White's position further. (-1.5) 16. Qxc8  Kxc8 17. exd5  exd5  18. Rfe1 was better.

16. ........        c6
17. Qb4         Qc7+ ??
Black lets the small lead slip away. (+.8) 17. ......dxe4  18. Nxg5  fxg5  19. cxb6  axb6 was the play.
[The gaining tempo check by Black would look like a reasonable move to most humans.]

18. Kg1 ?
Better was 18. e5 so now Black regains the small advantage (-1) after 18. ...dxe4 19. cxb6  axb6 20. Nxg5  fxg5. But instead;

18. .......         b5??
Black ruins his position (+3).

19. a4?          a6?
Time pressure creeping in. First White missed 19. exd5 (+2) and Black missed 19. ...dxe4 20. axb5  Nb7 Now (+3.2)

20. axb5       axb5
21. Ra2?      ..........
Ruining a winning position. 21. exd5 exd5 22. Ra3 and White can relax. Instead (+.4).

21. ........      Nb7??
The game flips for the final time with this last mis-step. Needed was 21. .....dxe4 22. Rfa1  exd3  23. Rxa5  Kb7 and it's close to even. Instead, (+3.4).

22. Rxa8+     Kxa8
23. Ra1+       Kb8
24. Qa3         Kc8?
No good but nothing is at this point. (+4.6) 24. ...Qa5 was better.

25. Qa8+      Qb8
26. Nb4        Qxa8
27. Rxa8+    Nb8
28 Na6         Black resigns

Congratulations Vince on your 1st place finish! Same to you Ken.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Casual Night of Chess 031918

A bit of a slow night with only six players.  Maybe the nice Kid's Night the week before tired out some players.

Anyway, we need to finish the 3rd round of our 960 Tournament next week. So all players with a game to play need to attend or forfiet.

Also we will have our annual Club Officers meeting at the Club starting at 6pm. We will be done by 6:30 so we can get to the important stuff - CHESS!

In the meantime, here are two puzzles for your enjoyment.
The first one is not easy.
The second one is even harder!
Answers will be provided in the Comment section if requested.

White to move and win

White to move and win!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Kid's Night 031218 - A Success!

A game of chess at your favorite pub is always a good time.
Fourteen players were on hand for this week's Kid's night - including newcomers - Jack, Moe, Kathee and Doug. Welcome to LCCC!

Our Fischer Random 960 tournament - Round 3 will continue next week (we hope). Two games yet to be played in Round 3:

Board 1: Vince V vs Don M
Board 2: Jake P vs Ken T

We look forward to those big games! Be at the club to watch first hand or play the other members hanging around waiting for Round 4.

Here is the end of an entertaining game played by a club member against Niko from Russia - on line. The loser shall go nameless due to the un-grandmaster like moves played. Even the initials (MN) of the loser will not be disclosed.
Nope, sorry, begging won't help. Journalist never reveals any information about their sources.

Position after Black's 17th move.

18. b4?          ........
The first outright blunder of the game. White had maintained his positional advantage based on having the first move - up until this point. But now Black has the equivalent of a one pawn lead positionally (-1).
White would have served himself well to take the time to move his King out of the X-ray pin of Black's rook on g8 with 18. Kh1 and equality.

18. ......          cxb4
19. cxb4        Bxb4
20. Rec1        Kb7
21. Rab1        Bd6
Black misses the better 21. Bxd2, 22. Qxd4, Nf5. But time pressure has both players missing the best moves here.

22. Nb3           Ka8
23. Nc5           bxc5
24. dxc5          Be7
25. c6              Qe8??
This move spoils Black's game and a sure draw or possible win due to time pressure and a slightly better position. Now White cleans up quickly (+4).

26. Rb7           Bd6??
Black obviously shaken, does not find the only hope in 26. .....Rb8.

27. Rxa7         Kb8
And 27. .......Kxa7 will not save Black either - mate in twelve.

28. Qb2+         Black resigns

Oh well. Set them up again!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

2018 Fischer Randon Tourney Continued 030518 - Kid's Night Next Week!

Chess is relaxing.....and challenging at the same time!
Another fun night of chess at the Club. We had ten players visit tonight - including the return of John R!, who has been missing due to a new house purchase and other life issues.
Glad to see you back 'home' at the club John!

Be sure to bring the young ones to the Club next Monday - as it is Kid's Night. All members will be available to coach or instruct beginner players - or just play chess games.It's always a good time for the kids and the parents! Stop on in.

Now for an interesting game played at the 2016 Washington International Chess Tournament. The 15 year old American International Master (IM) Nicolas Checa is facing Grandmaster (GM) Ilya Smirin of Israel in the third round!
The Belarus born and Russian trained Smirin moved to Israel, and has won an Olympic bronze medal. His rating peaked at 2701 in 2001, and has been a tough opponent at the highest level of chess competition.
This would be a daunting challenge for any player to face. Let's see what happens:

White: (IM) Nicolas Checa, USA
Black: (GM) Ilya Smirim, Israel
Opening: King's Indian Defense: Classical

1. d4            Nf6
2. Nf3          g6
3. c4            Bg7
4. Nc3         d6
GM Smirin is a legendary expert in the King's Indian Defense and has written a best selling book on this very opening!

5. e4            O-O
6. Be2         Nbd7
Smirin goes for a side line. The main line is 6. ...e5  7. O-O, Nc6 8. d5, Ne7

7. O-O         a5
8. Be3         h6?!
Not normal and not the best. Smirin may not have been eager to see how well his young opponent is prepared for his pet line. Never the less, Smirin is very well aware he is making a risky decision.  The move prevents an intrusion to g5, but it doesn't help Black's cramped position. 8. ....Qe7 was best. Will Checa see that? White has a lead of one pawn (+1).

9. dxe5        dxe5
Position after Black's 9th move.

This move by Black is forced or Smirin is in deep trouble. The other capture 9. ....Nxe5? 10. Nxe5, dxe5 11. Qc1!

10. h3?!          c6?
This move by White prevents ....Ng4 but it was a serious waste of time that should have cost him his advantage. But Black plays the wrong queen-side pawn forward. Correct was 10. ....b6 to free the bishop. The text move doesn't help Black's position. White's lead grows to (+1.6).

11. Qc1        Kh7
12. Rd1       Qe7
13. c5!         Nh5
14. Rd6?      Nf4?!
15. Bc4       Nf6
16. Bxf4      exf4
17. Qxf4      Nd7
18. Qe3       b6?

This is definitely a serious mistake by Smirin, which returns White's advantage to close to (+2). Necessary was 18. ....Ne5 to hold the game.

19. Rad1     Nxc5
There was nothing wrong with White playing 19. Rxc6, Bxc3 20. e5 and White is a healthy pawn up.

20. e5          Qc7
21. Ne4       Nxe4
22. Qxe4     Bf5?
The game is just over now. White has a (+2.5) lead, which is nuclear in the hands of a chess master. Smirin needed to play 22. .....Qe7.

23. Qh4!      Rae8
24. e6!         fxe6??
Panic in a lost position. White's advantage is now (+8.5).

25. Rd7       Qc8
Position after Black's 25th move

 The final blow is next in the form of a deflection of Black's queen.

26. Ba6!      Qxa6
27. Ng5+      Resigns

In lieu of
27. ......        Kh8
28. Rxg7!    Kxg7
29. Rd7+     Kf6
30. Nh7+     Ke5
31. Qd4 ++

A memorable game early in the career of this emerging American prodigy. It is not everyday a player of Smirin's caliber loses a game like this.