Tuesday, May 29, 2018

2018 LCCC Club Championship Final Round Pairings are Here

The final round pairings are below. It has been another exciting and close competition. We have three players tied at the top and two more players a half point behind.

And the K-12 section of the tournament is also very close. Stop by and watch the exciting last round this Monday Night - May 7.

And don't forget our Kid's Night on May 14th. As the school year ends, many chess programs close for the summer. Not at LCCC! We are here every Monday night (except of course for holidays), and our special Kid's Night is the 2nd Monday of every night. See you at the Club! 

Here are the pairings with the player playing White listed first:

Board 1 - Don M vs Ken T
Board 2 - Mike N vs Vince V
Board 3 - Paul M vs Petro K
Board 4 - Don J vs Justin D
Board 5 - Ethan J vs Josef M
Board 6 - Brandon D vs Joey O

Good luck to all the players!

White to move and get a winning game!

And here is a puzzle for you to solve from the 2007 Isle of Mann International Open tournament. USA GM James Tarjan - playing White - found this winning line.

Can you?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Kid Night 051418 was Fun! 3rd Rd Next Week. Some Computer Chess History

We had ten players this night for casual chess, lessons and reviews of current and past games played. A very nice evening of chess was experienced by all.

Next Monday starts the 3rd round of our Club Championship. Of course there will be non-participants looking for casual chess games also. So stop on by to watch the tournament action or to play some chess yourself.

In honor of our Club Championship, here is a game from the Marshall Chess Club Championship, New York, 1946!

White is soon to be GM Larry Evans and playing Black is soon to be GM Herman Pilnik. But don't think because these player's ratings are sky high, that they don't make mistakes. They do, especially in the face of a possible 1st place finish up for grabs and the inevitable time pressure (which is why chess clocks are used in tournament play).

Besides being a very entertaining, this game was one of the games used to test chess playing computer programs to see if it would see White's 24th move! And if it did find it, how long did it take the program to find it?

The amazing fact is, White was all but lost a few moves prior to this move, IF his opponent had found the best replies prior to that point. Enough build up. Here is the game:
French Defense, Classical System
1. e4             e6
2. d4             d5
3. Nc3          Nf6
4. Bg5          Be7
5. Bxf6         Bxf6
6. e5             Be7
7. Qg4          O-O
8. O-O-O      c5
9. h4?           ........
A little too aggressive, but Mr. Evans is going for a win here. White had 9. Nf3 or dxc5 as better options. Black is up a pawn positionally now (-1).

9. ......                cxd4
10. Nce2           Nce2
11. f4                Qa5
12. Kb1            d3!

Black is threatening a double attack after 13. Rxd3, with Nb4.

13. cxd3           Bd7
14, Rh3?          Rac8
15. Rg3?          ........

Interviews after the game with the players confirmed that BOTH assumed they were winning here! But Pilnik with Black is the one not hallucinating as he has a completely won game (-4.3). Maybe it was Larry's Evan's lack of concern on the other side of the board that made Hermann Pilnik a little too timid - thinking "what am I missing here?"

15. ......             g6
16. d4               b5?

The light came on for White at this point and was thankful Black did not go the proper route with 16. ...Bb4, 17. Ra3, Ba4. Now Larry thinks maybe his attack will work blissfully unaware he is still two pawns behind positionally (-2.1). Hermann, dejected he didn't close the deal, seems to drift and throws away his advantage.

17. h5           Nb4
18. a3           Nc6?
19. hxg6       fxg6
20. Nc3        b4?
The game is back to EVEN here.

21. Bd3         Be8
22. Nf3??      ........
A serious blunder by making what looks to be a logical developing move to get more pieces in the game. However, 22. ....bxc3! 23. Qxe6+, Bf7 24. Bxg6, Qb5 25. Qxf7, Rxf7 26. Bd3+, Kf8 27. Bxb5, c2+ 28. Kxc2, Nxd4+, 29. Kb1, Nxb5 30. Rxb5, Nc7 and Black would have been up FIVE pawns! (-5.3). But Mr. Pilnik, possibly distraught over losing his advantage, decides to also throw away the draw.

22. ......             bxa3??
23. Qxe6+        Bf7
Black completely ruined a winning position, which sets up the historic computer program position! (+3.8) But....you have to be good to see it. Of the earlier computer programs, only the good ones found it after 5 minutes of thinking or so. Some took 10 minutes, others never found it.

Today's weaker programs find it in less than 10 seconds. The best ones - instantly!

24. Bxg6!         axb2
25. Bxh7+!       Kh8
And now Black is in a mating net, but plays on a few more moves.

26. Qh6              Qa1+
27. Kc2              b1=Q+
28. Rxb1            Nb4+
29. Kd1              Resigns

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Rd 2 Complete for Club Championship 050718 - Kid's Night Monday!

White to make move #31
The 2nd round of the Club Championship was completed this Monday. Pairings will be out by this coming Monday - which is (drumrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrroll!) - Kid's Night!

May 14th is Kid's Night, and not a tournament night. So come on by with the younger chess players in the family for some casual chess or lessons if that is what is requested.

Kid's Night focuses on our younger members, but there is still some casual chess available for the adults of all ages. So come on by!

Now take a look at how not to play an endgame.

Here we have a double rook endgame. A quick look tells us Black is up one pawn (-1). But a closer look shows us his advantage might be bigger still! After all, he has a super majority of pawns on the queen-side and his rooks are doubled for maximum strength.

But Black has some negatives also. His rooks are what is known as 'biting on granite' as they cannot yet do much on the f-file they are concentrated on. And the Black King is a long way from getting in this endgame struggle right now.

As for White, to offset his pawn deficit, his rooks are more active, his King is closer to the action, and he has a small majority of pawns on the king-side.

Tally it all up and Igor3000 says Black is indeed winning, but by only by  (-.7) and not a full pawn.

To try and push this to a win, Black must active his rooks and king to better squares so he can quickly start moving his queen-side army forward. To hold a draw, White must keep Black's rooks pinned down protecting the backward c-pawn. And if White can somehow keep Black's king out of the game, White's own king could be the drawing difference. Let's see what actually happened in tournament time pressure.

31. Re1           R8f7
32. Re8+         Kh7
33. Rdd8?
White wants to avoid trading pieces as that is normally the best way to hold a draw in these situations, but 33. Rxf7, Rxf7 34. Kf2, Rf4 was a better plan. (-1.2)

33. .......           Rf5?!
Not the best as 33. .....Rf4, 34. Rc8, R7f6 holds the bigger advantage (-.8).

34. Rc8            R7f6
35. Rh8+          Kg6
36. Rc7?          .........
Keeping control of the e-file was necessary with 36. Rhe8. Instead Black can take a winning edge with 36. .....Re5, 37. Kf2, Rfe6 (-1.4). But Black misses his chance!

36. .........           d4?
37. Rg8             Rf7
38. Rxc6           R7f6?
Endgame play is always tricky and when you add time pressure, it becomes much more difficult. Then once you realize you tossed your advantage away, panic sets in and the board becomes a blurry mess. 38. ...... R5f6 was needed. Now White leads (+.8).

39. Rc7             d3??
Total collapse as the dream of queening a queen-side majority pawn blocks the nightmare of the Black King now being under assault. White is up (+14).

40. Rcxg7+        Kh5
41. g4+              Kh4
42. gxf5             Rxf5
43. Rg4+           Kh5
44. Rd8             Resigns

Thursday, May 3, 2018

2018 Club Championship Round 2 This Week - USA Wins Chess Gold Medal

TEAM USA - Top board - Fabiano Caruana
We had 10 players this Monday night as Round 1 of the 2018 LCCC Championship concluded.
Although the tournament entries are closed, there will still be players looking for a casual game. So don't be shy - show up to play or watch the tournament action.

Now a quick article about the best news in US Chess in decades! Well, we had the story that Fabiano Caruana will play for the World Title in November of 2018. But this story should have been posted before that one.

Our United States Chess Team beat 180 other nations in the 2016 Chess Olympiad! Bet you did not know that!

Bet you didn't know our Women's Olympic Chess Team finished 5th. This is in spite of the fact that other nations support women in chess a lot more than the USA does. Actually every nation on the planet supports their chess players better than the United States does.

I could go into a diatribe about the pathetic state of our nation's journalism, their standards and their priorities, but I will refrain. Let this article be about our great - but completely ignored - chess team.

Here are the players and their record in their individual matches (Win-Loss-Draw:
Fabiano Caruana   4-0-6
Hikaru Nakamura  5-1-5
Wesley So              7-0-3
Samuel Shankland 4-1-3
Ray Robson           2-1-2

Each team consists of 4 players (or boards). Here is our team's record (seeded #2) versus each opponent (and their seed in tournament) - round by round;
1 - Andorra (95) - Won 4-0
2 - Scotland (47) - Won 3.5 - .5
3 - Argentina (32) - Won 3 - 1
4 - Czech Republic (18) - Draw 2 - 2
5 - Serbia (15) - Won 3 - 1
6 - Ukraine (5) - Won 2.5 - 1.5
7 - India (9) - Won 3.5 - .5
8 - Russia (1) - Draw 2 - 2
9 - Norway (12) - Won - 3 -1
10 - Georgia (11) - Won - 2.5 - 1.5
11 - Canada (20) - Won - 2.5 - 1.5

This gave the US team a 31.5 match points and a record of  9 - 0 - 2 - and 1st place overall!

Chess is bigger in the United States than the pathetic media coverage it receives. There is plenty of blame to go around. But it starts with chess players themselves. If we are not going to promote chess, why should we expect anyone else to?

Promote this result. Promote this blog. Promote the game. Write and call the media outlets and ask why this result was not published or broadcasted? Tell them about the scholastic events happening all over this state - and the nation!

Chess is still growing but the word needs to be spread. Get out there!