Monday, December 29, 2008

Herb Healy Open House, New Year's Day, Jan 1

Please consider coming to the open house, see some old friends, make some new ones, play some chess (rated or unrated), and enjoy a free lunch. It's a great way to start the 2009 chess year. Registration isn't until 10:45 so you can sleep in from your celebrating the night before.You might even have a chance to play Chess Hall of Famer GM Larry Christiansen or Mass. Champion IM Dave Vigorito.


Thursday, January 1st: BCF Herb Healy Open House 4SS; G/45; 2 sections: Rated and Non-Rated; Entry fee: $25, $20 BCF members if received by 12/30, $5 extra on site. Registration: 10:45 to 11:40. Rounds: 11:45, 1:20, 3:00, 4:40. Free food and drink served all day long to tournament players. Send advance entries to: Herb Healy Open House, 240B Elm St. Suite B9 Somerville, MA 02144


Herbert E. Healy was born in 1885 and died on Wednesday, January 9, 1974 in Boston. He was 88 years old and one of the original Charter members of the Boylston Chess Club at its official organization in 1919. He was Secretary Emeritus at his death.

His death occurred only days after the Herbert Healy Appreciation Tournament (New Year's 30/30 smash 15) and Testimony was held in his honor. New Years day in 1974 was a Wednesday. Boston had a 10 - 12 inches snowfall, but Mr. Healy showed up at the Young Men’s Christian Union (where the club was located) and peeked into the Chess club. He went home to his South End apartment on Brookline St. and died in his sleep.

In 1980 the New Year's 30/30 was permanently dedicated to him as Herbert E. Healy Open House. Herbert E. Healy along with Harry Lyman, Irvin Yaffee, Myer Edelstein and others customarily provided food to the participants of this event, which task has now fallen to Mike Griffin.

Photos from last year's Herb Healy Open House by Steven Stepak.

This information was taken from minutes of the club from January 27, 1974 and talking with Mr. Harry Lyman and William Lukowiak in past years. There are more testimonies about Mr. Healy that I am omitting.

Bemardo Iglesias
December 2007

Photos from last year by Robert Oresick.

Marc Esserman makes 3rd IM norm!

Marc, amused perhaps by a move like Ke2(!)
photo by Tony Cortizas

This holiday season has been a banner month for Boylston Chess Club players. Right on the heels of the knighting of our newest national master, Carey Theil, another club player and board member, Marc Esserman, has acheived his 3rd and final International Master (IM) norm with his impressive performance at the 2008 Berkeley Invitational. For those who cannot keep up with the esoteric rules of FIDE, this means he should become an IM when his FIDE rating reaches 2400. Currently at 2348 (not including Berkeley), Marc surely will reach this milestone soon.

He started out with 2 wins against grandmasters (he stood at 2.5/4 after 4 GMs in a row), and he capped it with important points against a who's who of top IMs in the country. How good was Marc's play at the start of this event? One telling tidbit -- his firey start was only quelled by an in-form IM Irina Krush (just missing a GM norm), who, in an interview at Dana's Chess Blog, stated that her best game of the tournament was her victory over Marc.

Of course, I would be remiss not to include a link to some of Marc's wins. Here is his first round win over GM Josh Friedel.

For further coverage, please read other posts at Dana's chess blog (which has extensive coverage of the event), and some more USCF articles here and here.

Congratulations, Marc, on a fine result and making that 3rd norm.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Legends of Chess - Chigorin

IM Dave Vigorito took first place with a 3.5-0.5 score in the Dec Legends of Chess - Chigorin. Visiting from Maryland, NM Alexander Barnett also scored 3.5-0.5 to share first. (ed. An earlier version of this post misstated that Barnett took second place).

Dec Monday Night Swiss, 2008

FM Chris Chase won the Dec MNS of 2008 with 3.5 points (half point bye.)
Adam Yedidia won second with 3 points.
Four players trailed with 2.5

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Broken Chess

Broken Chess

Chess has its rules and they seem not only reasonable but immutably-unchangeable and consistent throughout the whole game.

But OTB Chess is the product of humans and situations occur during a game produced by humans that eschew the rules.

Several years ago at the BU Open mother nature called and I had to use the bathroom, and rushing back to our game, after moving several moves, I noticed that my opponent had both his bishops on the same color squares?!

I put in a claim, but not soon enough according to the director. I have always had a strange feeling about whether this Bishop move was an error, intentional trick, or an accident due to the bevy of spectators hovering and moving around our board wearing heavy winter coats.

The freaky thing was that the duel bishops helped my opponent. Such a situation shows that the rules of chess can be bent in the game: an unclaimed violation causes the game to leap into something that's not chess but still is a chess game: an Existential paradox ?!

An interesting web site called "CHESS RECORDS" by Tim Krabbé (Author of "the Vanishing") is a very interesting site and will cause most chess junkies to lose hours when they visit this site. One game has the score of the greatest number of castlings: 3.

I wonder if the guy with white who castled kingside then queenside IN THE SAME GAME was the same guy I faced at the BU Open ?. Impossible to castle three times?: Look at the game and you will see how it could happen.

And as we all know the greatest corrupter of quality in life as in chess is the lack of time. As mentioned before, the chess space time continuum melts when time goes away, and very strange things do happen. If a rook falls off the board during a time scramble, and the competitors don't hear it, does it make a noise?

What are some of your experiences in broken chess barriers? Please Comment.

Thank You. Mike Griffin 12/23/2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Congrats to BCC's newest master-- Carey Theil

Carey's USCF rating history-- he hits 2205!

The Boylston Chess Club has spawned another USCF Master -- Carey Theil. Carey climbed to 2205 with the help of a strong Boylston Club Championship and a 3-0 showing at our December edition of the Thursday Night Swiss. Impressively, his rating didn't show the dramatic upswing from ~2000 until the beginning of 2007, when the steady climb to master started for Carey. He and Greg Kaden, who accomplished the same feat earlier this year (hitting 2200 smack on the nose!), show that adult experts can still make the journey to master. Congratulations, Carey!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Harry, Chess and Me

Harry, Chess, and Me

With the Harry Lyman Memorial happening this Saturday I thought that this would be a good time for you to reflect about the influence Harry Lyman had on you, and I will talk of the influence Harry had on me personally, and Harry's effect on chess in general.

photos: Steve Stepak

In the late 60's I was a high school kid, informally coached by my great Uncle Justin "Ducky" Power (long time member of the BCC) and I stumbled into the YMCU to be taken by the enthusiasm and encouragement of Harry.

I realize looking back it was Harry that could answer my questions and feed my curiosity that made chess the most attractive game to me. At that time I was studying Backgammon and Go with my brother Jay Griffin.

From Harry I learned: to be a chess player was to be part of a society that was older than a millennium; chess could become an individual's vision quest/avocation in/for life; where your individual contributions in turn benefit the collective whole; chess was a metaphor for how a person should deal with living.

A few Harry Lyman stories:

Harry was a very strong checkers player and would beat all comers. Occasionally a real old timer checker player would come by to the YMCU and challenge Harry. I believe most of the checkers/draughts records on acid paper rotted to nothing in the back rooms at Clarendon street. BTW many of the YMCU members played all types of games and were quite good at non-chess, as we well know. This multi game legacy comes from Harry Nelson Pillsbury.

Professor Harry Lyman taught a course of endgames at the Bunker Hill Community College in the 70's based on Keres' Practical Chess Endings - attended by MG. I

n the recession of the late 70's, when the club was full of people unable to find work having time on their hands: Harry proclaimed what the BCC needed was a "club defense" against d4 and created a committee to find it for the BCC. They created a list of requirements and went out and searched. Harry would hold various meetings and the committee found that the Benoni was the best defense for BCC members against d4. They worked and found many special variations to trip up white. All in great fun. To this day, when I see some long time BCF member playing the Benoni I wonder if they were initially influenced by output of Harry's Benoni committee.

Harry and medical science: It's the early 70's one hot summer Tuesday as I walked from Park Street station to the BCC. An hour before noon I noticed the bank across the street posted 101 degrees. There were very few people at the BCC and despite fans blowing the heat was oppressive, there was no real relief. Harry sat quietly to himself, an ashen gray, clearly in a great deal of pain, as he was suffering an angina attack. We wanted to call an ambulance but Harry refused saying would be alright in a few minutes. Harry slowly got better, but given my experience with family members' heart conditions I felt Harry was not in a good way. Yet Harry survived almost 30 more years battling chronic aliments; and chess in the Boston could benefit immensely from those three additional decades beyond 1970.Harry gave everything that he could to the game, and his influence will ripple throughout many generations to come. Thank You Harry.

Do you have any Harry Lyman stories?

Please Comment .

Mike Griffin 12/16/2008

chess players meet Kafka?

I find this a really bewildering article. Can any lawyers shed some light on this?

Daily Sta
r, Dumaguete City, Philippines Monday, December 15, 2008
Chess teacher cleared of crime by DOJ after serving sentence

The Department of Justice has ordered the Dumaguete City Prosecutor’s Office to withdraw the libel charges against a defendant for lack of probable cause -- three years after he was convicted for the crime.
“Thank you, Lord! The Lord is really good! Things are falling into place,” Florendo Zamora, a chess teacher and organizer of chess tournaments here, declared upon receiving the Department of Justice Resolution dated Nov. 19, 2008.
However, the DOJ Resolution signed by Justice Undersecretary Ernesto Pineda came too little, too late. Zamora had, in fact, served his sentence.
“This is what you call a legal comedy. On one hand, the DOJ resolution would seem to render the trial void from the very beginning but on the other hand, there is the principle of estoppel,” Saleto Erames, Zamora’s counsel for most of the trial, said.
Estoppel is the principle that precludes a person from asserting something contrary to what is implied by a previous action or statement of that person or by a previous pertinent judicial determination. [ huh? rjo ]
Zamora had been sentenced to a prison term of four months by RTC Branch 35 Judge Victor Patrimonio on Dec. 2, 2005, and slapped with a fine of P75,000 in moral damages for besmirching the reputation of chess National Master Rosendo Bandal, Jr., presiding judge of RTC Branch 34 here.
Bandal filed six counts of libel against Zamora and fellow chessplayer Alex Bangay in 2002 but only one case prospered, with Bangay cleared of all the charges.
Bandal former president of the chess team Negros Club 64 where Zamora and Bangay are also members, had left the club over some differences and formed his own Chess Master’s Club in 2002.
In May 2002, Bandal’s club hosted the Governor’s Cup Open Chess Team Tournament and Bandal placed a poster of the tournament in the Negros Club 64’s headquarters.
Zamora, the court records said, removed the poster and replaced it with a hand-written notice which, when translated into English, said, “Hey! Practice being civilized. Please ask permission before posting.”
Bandal said the handwritten notice conveyed the impression that he is uncivilized, ill-mannered or impolite.
Zamora, assisted by pro-bono counsel Erames, entered a not-guilty plea on February 2, 2004. But Erames said he was dismayed as the trial continued because “Zamora told me he wanted to change his plea to ‘guilty.’”
“I objected but he insisted. He was obviously intimidated. So, I withdrew my appearance and another lawyer assisted him. Now, I can only say: ‘I told you so,’” Erames said.
But for Bandal, the DOJ resolution clearing Zamora did not mean a thing. “The ruling of DOJ does not divest the courts of jurisdiction. The court may still decide to proceed with the case if the DOJ makes a similar resolution while the case is pending,” he said in a telephone interview.
“It has no legal significance insofar as his conviction is concerned. After conviction, Zamora was detained until he was able to process his application for probation. Zamora said his 11-day detention allowed him to teach his sport to inmates at the Dumaguete City Jail. "I was released just before we were about to organize an inter-cell chess tournament," he said.
Bandal said the decision of the DOJ is erroneous because the it was only to determine probable cause whereas the court had already convicted him beyond reasonable doubt.
"I could have filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the DOJ to point out the glaring errors but decided against it because my friendship with Zamora had been restored," Bandal said.
“The DOJ may have decided to move for the dropping of the complaint because it took more than five years to resolve a simple and obvious matter so they will not be embarrassed if the respondents claim that their constitutional right for a speedy trial has been violated,” Bandal said.*AP

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Boylston Chess Player Miniatures a GM

Jesse Nicholas, a young player who regularly battles at the Boylston Chess Club, last week played the following game against GM Arthur Bisguier at MetroWest. I understand Arthur had pneumonia recently, but a remarkable miniature game nonetheless.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. 0-0 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 f6 7. Qd5Qe7 8. Nh4 Nd8 ( 8...g6 is fine) 9. Nf5 Qc5??

10. Nxg7+ and 1-0

May this be the start of other GM scalps for Jesse.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This week in Boston Chess

This Week in Boston chess

Saturday 12/06/2008

Quads: The Quad format is one of the most popular at the BCF and helps support the club as well: club members pay $17 and non-members pay $27 winner of each quad gets $50.

BCF Quad Winners:

Quad 1 CHRIS CHASE 3 wins

Quad 2 HOWARD GOLDOWSKY and MICHELLE CHEN tie 2 points wins

Quad 3 MARK FINS and BERNARDO IGLESIAS tie 2.5 points

Quad 4 ILYA ROZONOYER 3 wins

Quad5 ALEX FAUMAN 3 wins

After the tournament new activity ensued as people found various ways to get across Somerville to Cambridge in order to see the end of the Boston Blitz vs Dallas Destiny finals at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

HOWARD GOLDOWSKY was gracious enough to offer me a ride to the finals but when we walked to where his car was (not) parked, because it had been towed, from the Porter Station market area; Howard had to say good bye to retrieve his car. It ended up costing him $89 as a previous comment at this blog indicates. Meanwhile I decided to walk even though dark, cold, and windy, and was given incorrect directions to the Harvard Physics Center but eventually found my destination getting to the Astrophysics Center.

There I found the first phase/round still in progress, except for Christiansen's quick win. I have to say being there live is very interesting and I recommend that you visit a match sometime. The photo's (url below) say it all.

Unfortunately the Blitz came up short in the tie breaker against Dallas are still in Boston chess fan's hearts. Many thanks have to be given to the Boston Blitz this season of heroic efforts. Larry Christiansen, Eugene Perelshteyn, Jorge Sammour-Hasbun, David Vigorito, Denys Shmelov, Charles Riordan, Marc Esserman, Iilya Krasik, manager Matt Phelps, blogger Chris Bird, photographer Tony Cortizas,and Harvard University have contributed greatly to local chess. Commitment and personal sacrifice occur when one participates in team chess; and you could clearly see the effort and concentration these teammates produced. Their camaraderie to each other along with the support from chess junkies gives a return.

There was a time when team chess was very popular with many local communities, many being members of the Greater Boston Metropolitan League. Massachusetts also had a state team with John Curdo, Weaver Adams, Harry Lyman, Irving Yafee as past members. Schools and universities had chess teams as well. Personally in the 1970's and 80's I played second board for Westfield State College; played in the Met League for both BCC B Team and Quincy Chess Club. But this type of chess recreation has become rare. I'm glad internet team chess has revitalized team chess. It looks like a medium that is becoming attractive. Perhaps someday scalability will allow BCF could play Metrowest electronically!? Even if everyone is at home.

Tuesday 12/09/2008 BCF Directors meeting.

The five years of leadership by Paul MacIntyre came to an end as David Vigorito lead his first BCF meeting. Board members

Robert Oresick, Bernardo Iglesias, Chris Chase, Alex Cherniack, Jason Rihel, Charles Riordion, Marc Esserman, Cary Theil, Kent Leung, Natasha Us, William Kelleher, Mike Griffin, with members Bill McClellan, Ted Gorcyzca discussed a wide scope of ideas and issues. Many new ideas were developed and committees formed and charged to investigate proposals. New emphasis to be on leveraging the Internet, blog, and improve communication services, perhaps reaching out for expertise. Very positive overall, David and the above mentioned crew have challenges especially given the dark economic times. But nothing but good Karma came for the meeting. You can read Jason Rihel's minutes for details (when published).

Do you have any suggestions for the BCF and David?

How about in what we could do with the web page or blog? Please Comment. Mike Griffin 12/10/2008


$10 Open this weekend

Sunday, December 07, 2008

USCL 2008 Championship photo album by Tony Cortizas

You are invited to view Tony's photo album: USCL 2008 Championship

USCL 2008 Championship Dec 7, 2008 by Tony Boston Blitz v. Dallas Destiny.

Message from Tony:

I posted an album of my photos from the Boston-Dallas USCL Championship for all to see. Thanks to the Boston Blitz team and staff for a great season!

Tony Cortizas

Photo: Chris Bird

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Chess and Holiday Gifting

Chess and Holiday Gifting

Well the holidays are headed our way once again and I'm recommending that you take time out from your chess study and figure a strategy to drop subtle hints as to what might be a decent cool chess related gift.

Otherwise you might get one of these (below) from, albeit well intentioned family members that don't quite get it. What's even scarier are the marketing rocket scientists that think this stuff is really hot.

For example, my crazy brother in law would jump at getting me one of these, in horribly poor taste, t-shirts. Warning; you might get punched if you show up at a tournament wearing one of these?!

.Or perhaps my wife wins the lottery and buys me a Neiman-Marcus crystal chess set only $15,000. Great for blitz. Something my estate can donate to the BCF so they hope gets stolen, allowing money gained via the insurance claim to be used in purchasing chess books.

I could see a battle using this shot glass chess set, having to empty each piece upon capture, giving new meaning to the Scotch Gambit. Literally falling down in the end game. I wonder if black would be filled with Black Russians?

Anyone who gifts with this golf motif chess set has such bad taste I bet has a purple cat clock in their kitchen along with 1000'ds of ticky tacky nick knacks spread through out their home.

These are considered COOL chess gifts?!

If GM is in trouble in this recession, what kind of shape are these guys in: chess motif night lights?!

Actually I have received a couple of cool sets as Christmas gifts, and also have received Grinch tee shirts twice: not a very subtle message from my kids and their feelings about dealing with The Crazy Old Man.

And please note it looks like our ever busy Bob Oresick is moonlighting (glad to see our defense money going to peaceful ends):Norad Santa?! Where is Santa/Bob now located since the North Pole ice cap has melted?

Well here's your chance to perhaps drop a hint as to what your dream/nightmare holiday gift would/wouldn't be.

Please Comment; Happy Holidays or Bah Humbug,

Mike Griffin 12/04/2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Boston Blitz vs. Dallas Destiny- FINALS!

We have a repeat between Boston and Dallas in the US Chess League Finals. The Blitz were admittedly quite lucky (and a little resourceful!) to make it past Carolina last week, but they did it. They now have a chance to take revenge on the team that battled the Blitz into the wee hours of the morning last year and ultimately took the prize away from the local team.

This match has been discussed at length by other people already. I was inspired by Alex Cherniack's lengthy computer research into a Knight and Pawn endgame. I also enjoy when the ESPN guys predict the Superbowl by playing a Playstation football game (NFL GameDay is the weapon of choice, but others work, too). I understand the virtual Superbowl prediction is almost always right. So I decided to pit the Boston Blitz vs. the Dallas Destiny in a computer match and see what happens.

The Rules-- To simulate the higher level of play (ehem?!) of the top two boards in general, I gave each side 5 minutes using the same computer engine. On the lower boards, to mix it up a bit more, I gave each computer program 1 minute. Before the games, I renamed all the engines as members of the Boston Blitz vs. the Dallas Destiny.

The Matchups:

Dallas has chosen White on Boards 2 and 4. A tie goes to an elimination playoff.

Boston Blitz Dallas Destiny
GM Larry Christiansen: 2670 IM Marko Zivanic: 2552
SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun: 2576 IM Davorin Kuljasevic: 2528
SM Marc Esserman: 2307 FM Igor Schneider: 2396
NM Ilya Krasik: 2144 WFM Bayaraa Zorigt: 2217
Avg Rating: 2424 Avg Rating: 2423

Board 1. GM Larry vs. IM Marko. In the first simulation of this matchup, computer Larry won Black's queen in 15 moves. Realizing I had made a mistake in my setup, I tried it again.

The play-by-play: Computer Larry got a slight plus out of the opening and converted it into an exchange up endgame. However, Computer Marko found a drawing try and held the position for 70+ moves! Computer Larry had a significant contempt factor built in, however, and so Computer Larry kept avoiding repetition. Finally, Computer Marko blundered a key tempo in the time scramble at the end, and C. Larry C. won! Blitz are ahead 1-0.

Board 2. Sammour-Hasbun has black against Kuljasevic. I used the same settings as on Board 1, and let it rip.

The play by play: The play was complex, with White maintaining a slight pull out of the opening. Jorge played an unusual setup (Kg8, Rh8), with the idea that h6 followed by Kh7 connected the rooks. Although slow, h7 was a safe square for the Black King, and eventually White's advantage dwindled to equality and a draw was agreed at bare kings. Blitz are ahead 1.5-0.5

Board 3. Esserman has White against Schneider. To enhance the similarity to reality, I gave Marc's game a time control of 1 minute.

The play-by-play: Much to my amusement, Computer Esserman played a gambit out of the opening! White quickly got into trouble, and at one point was evaluated at -2.5! However, the mutual time pressure was too much for Computer Schneider to handle, and Computer Marc stumbled into an extra piece and a mating attack. Blitz are ahead 2.5-0.5! It is official, Computer Blitz win!

Board 4. Krasik has white against Zorigt. Even though the Computer Blitz had already prevailed, I decided to play this game out to see what would happen.

The play-by-play: Again to my satisfaction, White jumped out to an early advantage because of inaccuracies in Computer Krasik's play. Yet somehow, Computer Krasik righted the ship, traded down into a pawn down opposite colored bishops endgame, and drew.

The Final predicted Computer Matchup is Blitz 3.0- Dallas 1.0. A Finals Blowout!

(I swear I kept the settings the same and did not give the Blitz an advantage during this simulation.)