Sunday, September 23, 2018

Meet the USA World Champ Contender - Fabiano Caruana

USA born Fabiano Caruana
LCCC still rolling along with great chess action and friendly banter every Monday night. We average 8 to 10 players a night, so there is always someone new to challenge.

Let's take a minute to meet the man that will play for the World Chess Championship against the current title holder - Magnus Carlsen of Norway - this November, 2018.

In November, Fabiano Caruana will be the first American to play for the Chess World Championship since the late Bobby Fischer back in 1973. And very few people know anything about him. Well, this post is here to change all that.
Part of the reason even chess players don't know him well is because as a young teen, he was an American, living in Italy and playing under the Italian flag.

But as an adult, he returned to the United States and joined the National Chess team. This team now boasts three of the top ten players in the world on it’s 4 boards! That is quite a strong starting line up, And of the 3, Fabiano is the only one actually born on US soil
Caruana was raised in the United States until the age of 10 before moving to Madrid, Spain in search of chess coaches for Fabiano.

They moved from there to Budapest, Hungary, for a change of coaching

Then on to Lugano, Switzerland, and then back to Madrid – while still representing Italy in international chess during all these moves.
Now Caruana has settled in St. Louis, Missouri and represents his native country.
To further solidify his return to his homeland, Fabiano played 1st board for the United States Chess Team in the Chess Olympiad on Baku, Azerbaoijan.

The USA Team was triumphant, winning the Gold Medal and Caruana won the Bronze Medal for his individual play!
On the “inside the man’ aspect, Fabiano Caruana is addicted to video games, likes rapid or speed chess, not a fan of Chess 960, loves the band Led Zepplin, and Bobby Fischer is a past player’s play he is most impressed with.

We at LCCC wish Fabiano luck against the Norwegian chess superstar in November!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

LCCC at the Michigan Open - and the Club is Still Rolling Monday Nights

Chess is great with friends! Here are two burning the midnight oil.

Forgive the lack of posting recently. Your humble scribe was preparing for the Michigan Open and also ....end of year golf outings!

With the chess season officially starting (we usually call the start of the school year as the beginning of Chess Season), we want to again invite everyone to visit the Chess Club. As the weather turns cold on the outside, the chess action will heat up on the inside of our comfortable and cozy playing area.

The Michigan Open was held in Cadillac, Michigan this year. The playing conditions were fantastic and the rounds ran on time.
LCCC had two participants in the tournament. There were 3 sections of the tournament: Open, Reserve and Booster. 

Both Sam Thompson and Mike Nikitin were in the Reserve Section. Both players won their division in the Reserve Section!

Sam won the Under 1200 section, with a 3-1-3 = 4.5 points out of 7, boosting his rating over 200 points! He also scored a draw against the winner of the Reserve Section for the only non-win for the winner. This will move his rating high into the next section.

Sam also won the Under 1200 Speed Chess section - which is a separate tournament! Great job Sam!

Mike won the under 1600 section with a 4-1-2 = 5 points, and also finishing in a 3 - way tie for second in the Reserve Section overall. This was his 3rd title in this division.

 The message here is clear; practice, learn and play at LCCC and you will win some tournament titles too! Plus have a whole lot of fun doing it.
Now for an look at an interesting endgame. This was an online Chess 960 game played by Mike Nikitin We will pick up the action on move 38, where Black has just offered his opponent a draw.

Black just offered White a draw after his 33rd move, Ra8.

White has a decision to make. We humans try to decide if taking a draw offer means our opponent is:
A) thinks the game is actually even and is afraid pushing his luck would lead to a loss.
B) thinks he is winning slightly but doesn't think there is enough of an edge to continue 'grinding' it out 
C) OR sees a loss on the horizon and is hoping his opponent doesn't see it and will accept the offer.

Black actually was thinking B when he offered the draw.

Igor3000, calculating at 2 million moves a minute and having worked for 5 minutes, declared the game virtually EVEN.

White clearly thinks C, as he now will blunder trying to push a win here. Sometimes intangibles outside the board decide the outcome. Black, quite by accident, asked for the draw at exactly the correct instance. White, by turning down the draw offer, now will feel the subconscious pressure to actually show that win he thinks he has. That sometimes causes blunders.

White thinks he c-pawn is going to queen after the future move of cxd, with all his pieced already close by to support him home. But he first needs to A) save his queen, B) protect his unprotected rook at C1 and pawn at A2 and C) get his king closer to his f,g and h pawns and centralized in the center of the board with Ke2.

34. Qb3               Bf5+
35. Kf1               .........

Already starting to push too much. 35. Kg2 was better as White is underestimating the power of Black's center pawns. Black is now up a third of a pawn (-.3).

35. ........              Be3
A powerful post that White may have overlooked as being possible to place so quickly.

36. Rc2                d4
37. Ke2?              e4
38. fxe4??           Qxe4!
White accomplished all his objectives to prepare for cxd, but he is completely lost now. 

39. Rd1               Qg2+
40. Kd3               Qxh3
41. c5+                Kf8
42. Nc7               Qxg4
43. Rb1               Qxf5+
44. Kc4               Qf7+
45. Kb5               Qxc7
46. c6                  Ra5+
47. Kb4               Qd6+
48. Kc4               Rc5+
49. Kd3               Qg6+
50. Ke2               Rxc2+