Saturday, April 28, 2018

Big Crowd for the 2018 Club Championship

Playing great players is fun - win or lose. You have a story either way.
We had twelve players this Monday Night. Only ten entered the tournament, and two stayed and played some casual chess.
Of course all the chess at the Club is casual really. It's a laid back and a very friendly atmosphere at all times here.

We have two players that will play their 1st round of the Club Championship this week (a normal casual night and not a tournament night), so there is still time to get in this FREE tournament. We will be taking registrations for this tournament until 7pm this coming Monday! Stop by to sign up and play in the tournament or just to play some casual chess!

Here is a game that was featured in the Michigan Chess magazine in December of 1996. I will let the best writer in Michigan chess magazine history - David Moody - tell the story of this game:

With the rating difference of over 700 rating points, you would not expect much of a game in round 1. But there were some moments of interest:

Cadillac Open, 1996, Round 1
Opening: Grunfeld Defence, D93
White: Mike Nikitin (1528)
Black: Erik Ronneberg (2252)

1. d4           Nf6
2. c4           g6
3. Nc3        Bg7
4. Nf3        O-O
5. Bf4        d5
6. e3           c5
7. Nb5        Na6
This forces the Black knight to a bad square, but this move is not in the spirit of the position and releases a lot of the pressure on Black's somewhat rickety center. And of course there is the chess axiom of never moving the same piece twice in the opening - or as my chess coach once said in broken English, "Never move a chess piece twice until you have moved it once."

 8. a3               Bg4
9. Be2              dxc4
10. Bxc4          cxd4
11. Nbxd4       Nd5
Now Black has pressure on the long diagonal, not to mention the threatened advance of the e-pawn.

12. Bg3            e5
13. Qb3?          Nc5
[Igor3000 says that 13. Bxa6 was a much better move. White is now down -1.5).

14. Qa2           exd4
15. Bxd5          Nd3+
16. Kf1?            Rc8
Black is threatening 17. ...Nc1 and driving off the White queen away from supporting the bishop. (-2.5)

17. Bxb7??          Nc1?
18. Bxc8??          ........
The move of 18. Qd5 was better for White, but he is still in trouble at (-4). He apparently hopes to trap the knight with 18. ...Nxa2 19. Bxg4, but Black finds something much better, (-8) which is why White's last move was such a clank.

18. ........              Qxc8!
19. Qd5               Qa6+
What do you know? It is our old friend - the smothered mate! White resigned here but let's show the ending anyway.

20. Kg1                Ne2+
21. Kf1                Nxg3+
22. Kg1                Qf1+
23. Rxf1               Ne2++

The Swiss System - used for almost all American tournaments has several functions, besides the obvious one of accommodating large fields of players and still rendering winners in a small number of rounds.
But we chess players and writers notice what the Swiss System always accomplishes without even trying. Here are three:
1. The Swiss System will always pair two people with perfect legible writing together and they will deliver a perfect score sheet of a boring game.
2. The Swiss System will always pair two people with terrible illegible writing together every round and those games will be the best of the tournament.
3, The Swiss System will automatically pair people from the same club, city, school and state, while never  allowing pairings of people who will never have a change to ever play each other again.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Club Championship 2018 Starts Monday - and Boris Kostic

Chess tournaments are fun!
Our club championship tournament starts this Monday - and it is free!
We will offer some chess medals to our young players who play in every round of the tournament.

The tournament will play one round per week, and will go 3 to 5 rounds, depending on the number of entries. The time limit will be a generous 1 hour per player, with a 5 second delay - if the clock you use has one. 
Our tournament will be played every other week, so no need to make a commitment for that many weeks in a row.
Also, our Tournament Director Ken, allows players to skip a week and play on off weeks if the actual night of your game is not open for you.

So there is no reason not to try your hand at "real" tournament chess in an ultra friendly atmosphere.
See you at the club a 6pm for registration and we will try to get the tournament started around 6:45 or so.

While many tournament players do become famous, at least in chess circles, many excellent players end up toiling away in anonymity. Probably the best player you never heard of is Boris Kostic (1887 - 1963). We will let GM Andy Soltis tell the story.

Boris Kostic was one of the top ten players in the world in his day and was the first chess world globe trotter. He introduced chess all over the world with his simultaneous exhibitions. He visited every continent on the planet.

In New York, during World War I, people who knew nothing about chess were amazed by his 20 board match that he played - blindfolded! And he did not lose a game!

He took a tour of the United States. playing an incredible 3281 games! He also won the US Open in 1918.

His career reads like a Hollywood script. He taught chess in a military school in Buenos Aires, gave chess lessons to opera star Enrico Caruso and was held in a German  concentration camp because he refused to play in the Nazi Chess Championship.

 Kostic played in over 2000 tournament games and yet few of his games are stored in databases.

You won't find a record of his victory over US Champion Jackson Showalter with a 7-2-5 record, or his victory over another US Champion Frank Marshall 7-1-2.

His best tournament was when he undefeated but finished 2nd to Jose Capablanca in the New York Championship in 1918.

Kostic are the 5th rated player in the world in 1921 - ahead of immortals Alexander Alekhine, Max Euwe and Aron Nimzowitsch.

He enjoyed a long career. So why is he forgotten today? The answer is that it takes more than that to achieve lasting chess fame. He didn't win any famous tournaments. He didn't win any 'brilliancy' prizes for his wins. He didn't even lose a 'famous' game.

And even some obscure players are remembered for an opening variation named after them, but alas there is no "Kostic Variation". And there is no good Kostic game collection books either.

He had to settle for the annual Kostic Memorial Chess Tournament held annually in his hometown of Vrsac, Serbia.

Chess owes him so much more.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Kids Night 040918 Was a Great Night of Chess!

The ladies can play some great chess also.

The Kid’s Night this April of 2018 was a big success! We had 13 players!
We also welcome five new players to NPP! So a big welcome to

Kyle and Matt L,  along with

Matt, Nick and Ken S.

Many of our ‘kids’ are planning to show up most Monday nights and not just the 2nd Monday of the month – Kid’s Night. So there is no reason not to show up any Monday night – and no matter what your age might be.
On any Monday, casual games and lessons are always available. But as an added bonus – starting on Monday April 23, we will start our LCC Club Championship!
This is a free tournament! This will allow players of all strengths to practice their tournament skills. The time limit will be 1 hour per player - with a 5 second delay – if you use a clock with a delay. Otherwise it will be 1 hour per player.
This gives players new to tournament style play plenty of time to think and even practice writing down the moves of their game.
Recording all your games is a great way to get better. You can then show your game to a better player who can probably give you insights to better moves you missed – regardless of whether or not you won that game. But doing that certainly helps you improve!
To register for this tournament simply let us know at the club this coming week, send an email to the club email – show up at 6pm the night of the tournament and register prior to the 6:30 pm start.
Now here is a game played by a member of the club on line on Chess .com. If you do not have an account there, get one.
The game opening is called the French Defense. It has stood the test of time and is a reasonable answer to White playing e4. However, Black must understand his positional weaknesses and counter attack White’s strong center soon, lest he become buried under the weight of his own army. Notes by the computer Igor3000

1.      e4                          e6
2.      d4                          d5
3.      e5                          c5
White takes center control with what is called the Advance Variation of the French Defense.
4.      Nf3                        Nc6
5.      c3                          Qb6
6.      Bd3                       Bd7
7.      Bc2                        cxd4
8.      cxd4                      Be7
9.      Nc3                       Qc7?
Black is not being aggressive enough. Igor suggests 9. ….h5.
10.  O-O                       f6
11.  Re1                        a6?
While White slowly build his position by protecting his King and placing his rook in the center, Black wastes time by not starting to break down White’s center with 11. ….fxe5, 12 Nxe5, Nf6. Instead White takes an almost 2 pawn positional edge (+1.9).
12.  a3                          Rc8
13.  Nxd5!                    exd5
A beautiful and forceful move by White. 13. …exd5, 14. E6 and a passed pawn. Other moves by Black wins White material.
14.  e6                          Bxe6
15.  Rxe6                      Nd8?
Black needed the ugly 15. ….Kf7. White is (+3).
16.  Re2                        g6
17.  Bd3                       Qd7
18.  Bd2?!                    Kf7?
White had a shorter path to victory with 18. Qd3. Black needed 18. ….Kf8 instead. (+4)

White to make move #19

   19.  Re5!!                     Kg7
The perfect shot. White has so many ways to win now.
   20.  Rxd5                     Bd6
   21.  Bb4                       Nf7
   22.  Ne5!                      fxe5
   23.  dxe5                      Qc6?
There is nothing much anyway.
   24.  exd6                      Nf6
   25.  Bc3                        Nh6??
   26.  Qd4                       Rhf8
   27.  d7                          Nf5
   28.  Rxf5                      gxf5
   29.  dxc8 (Q)+             Qxc8
   30.  Re1                        Kg6
   31.  Re6                        Qd8
   32.  Qxd8                     Rxd8
   33.  Rxd8                     Kg5
   34.  g3                          Resigns

Friday, April 6, 2018

Kid's Night Next Monday - 040918 - Fabiano Caruana to Play for the World Title!

Meet the next American to challenge for the World Title - Fabiano Caruana

We look forward to a big crowd at the next Kid's Night this Monday.

The Club is open to all every Monday night, but on the 2nd Monday of the month - its all about the kids!

Bring the young chess players - of any strength, including beginners - and they will find another young player to play against.

Or they can get lessons from any of the club regulars, especially our own "Coach Terry".

See you this coming Monday, starting at 6pm to 8pm.

Now for the story of our country's own World Championship challenger, Fabiano Caruana!

From The Guardian:

American Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana will challenge for Magnus Carlsen’s world chess championship in London this fall after winning the candidates tournament in Tuesday’s final round of competition in Berlin.

No player born in the United States has won or even competed for a world championship since Bobby Fischer in 1972.

The Miami-born, Brooklyn-raised Caruana draped himself in an American flag amid applause from the gallery at the K├╝hlhaus after winning as black over Russia’s Alexander Grischuk to complete the 14-game double round-robin with nine points, one better than Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Russia’s Sergey Karjakin, who finished on eight apiece. Ding Laren, China’s first ever candidate, was the lone competitor to finish the fortnight undefeated with one win and 13 draws, good for fourth overall with 7.5 points.

“I am absolutely thrilled,” Caruana, the world No3, said afterward. “Coming into today, I wasn’t sure what would happen and things couldn’t have gone better. A few days ago, I thought the tournament was already out of my hands, but somehow things just came together perfectly at the end. I really couldn’t be happier.”

Caruana, 25, led the eight-man field from start to finish, weathering a shaky two-game period over the last week and holding off a dogged fightback by the resilient Karjakin, whose dramatic win over the American in 48 moves on Saturday briefly thrust him atop the leaderboard beside the leader with two rounds to play.

But Caruana, benefiting from an extra rest day, bounced back on Monday to defeat pre-tournament favorite Levon Aronian of Armenia, while Karjakin was held to a draw by Wesley So of the United States.

That set the stage for Tuesday’s final round in which four competitors entered with a mathematical shot at the title. But after Karjakin drew with Ding, Caruana outlasted Grischuk over 69 moves and more than six hours to book his place across the board from Carlsen, who will be making his third defense of the world championship in the best-of-12-games match from 9-28 November in London at a venue to be determined.

“It’s still so far away, but I’ll prepare very seriously for it,” said Caruana, who earned the winner’s share of €95,000 ($117,827) with Tuesday’s candidates win. “I’ll come well-prepared. It will be a tough fight, but right now I’m not even thinking about it.”

Caruana, who is a dual US-Italian citizen but spent his childhood in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, competed internationally for Italy from 2005 until 2015, when he changed federations to compete as an American. He represented the United States on the first board at the most recent Chess Olympiad in 2016, leading his nation to their 1st gold medal at the tournament since 1976.

The lone other American to compete for a version of the world title since Fischer’s 1975 abdication was Russian-born grandmaster Gata Kamsky, who played under the US flag when he lost a 20-game match to Russian star Anatoly Karpov in 1996, when the championship was fractured between rival governing bodies and Garry Kasparov was generally recognized as the world’s strongest player.