Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Morra Simul Tactics Quiz

Thanks to everyone who helped with and participated in this past Sunday's Morra simul. There were some fascinating games played, leading to a number of interesting tactics. See if you can find what IM Esserman did!
Questions in ascending order of difficulty




And a bonus:

Good luck!

Thanks for Making July a Great Month for the BCF!

Grandmaster Larry Christiansen, photo from Wikipedia
On the final day of July, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who helped us with a very successful Membership Appreciation Month. I know I'm probably forgetting all sorts of people who helped, so please accept my apologies in advance.  In no particular order ....

-- Thank you to International Grandmaster and 3-time US Champion Larry Christiansen, who helped make our BCF Master Challenge a success by offering fascinating and engaging game commentary.

-- Thank you to BCF Board President Charles Riordan.  Charles helped in many ways. He donated the Fide rating fee for our signature event, helped organize our Annual Summer Picnic, and worked closely with the fundraising committee to plan the entire month.
Bob Messenger

-- A big thank you to Bob Messenger, who volunteered his time to direct our BCF Master Challenge tournament.  Bob truly cares about the chess community, and we are lucky to have his service.

-- Thank you to BCF Board Member Mike Griffin, who once again handled most of the cooking duties at our Annual Summer Picnic.

-- Thank you to BCF Board Member Doc Kinne, who transmitted moves to Grandmaster Christiansen during the BCF Master Challenge so the games could be analyzed.  Doc said he always wanted to be a runner, but I think it was more stressful than he expected it would be!

-- Thank you to the entire BCF Board, including Natasha Christiansen, Bernardo Iglesias, and Dan Schmidt.  We worked together as a team and together we made July a good month for the Foundation!

We have a wonderful group of volunteers who give their time, energy and abilities to the BCF to support local chess.  We are truly blessed!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Carey Theil and Simon Warfield 
win the Reubens Landey

Carey and Simon tied with 4 of 5 points and are the 2012 BCF U2200 Champions.


Only one will initially be invited to the BCF Championship, based on tie-breakers.
Later, after the field is clearer, Bernardo may invite others from the Reubens Landey.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Year's Retrospective

by Doc Kinne
Doc playing the indomitable Harold Dondis
Incredibly, today marks exactly one year since I walked into the Boylston Chess Club, entered the $10 Open, showed Bernardo my new TD card, said I wanted to help, and then proceeded to lose all my games that day (you have to give yourself a good baseline to start from, you understand!).

I look back on the last year with both awe and some mixed feelings.The mixed feelings are tied to my performance over the last year. In a year's work, ultimately, I've risen, as of last Thursday night, a grand total of 11 rating points! On the other hand, my winning percentage in both 2011 and so far in 2012 is the best it has ever been since 1991. So, like I said, a mixed bag.

The Very Successful South Station Simuls
I have been able to participate in events that, 30 years ago in Syracuse, NY, where I grew up and started chess, would have been unthinkable. In Syracuse I played a Simul against Joel Benjamin once before he gained his GM title. Here in MA, as part of organized chess, I've found myself being slaughtered regularly against GM Larry Christiansen in his very popular South Station Simuls, and even had the privilege of driving Larry home from a tournament once this year. Larry was the first chess Grandmaster I'd ever met, and someone I'd known of since he won his first US Championship back in 1981, sharing it with my favorite Grandmaster from childhood, that "other" Larry - Evans.

I've had the chance to root for organized chess teams, the good old New England Nor'easters and the Boston Blitz - something that in central NY didn't even exist.

But the real awe has been...the people! Never in my 47 years have I found the characters that I've found in MA chess!

Bernardo, now that he has a small staff, is playing again!
The patient, solid tournament direction of Bernardo...
The always-has-his-hand-out-to-shake-yours friendliness of Seth Lieberman.
The great cooking of Mike Griffin...
The childlike great enthusiasm of kids like Eddie Wei...
The never, never-say-die playing attitude of Tom Sifter...
The indomitable Harold Dondis...
The hard mental playfulness of Chris Chase...
The always-ready-for-a-new-challenge Nathan Smolensky...

The Boylston Chess Club has been amazing!

One of the new things that came out of left field for me was getting involved in chess politics starting at the Boylston. Former BCC President Dr. Jason Rihel invited me to the Board and then shocked me by nominating me as Clerk. The Boylston Board is one of the top two Boards I've been involved in. The meetings are smooth, the discussion is civil, and the Board as a group is progressive. They're not afraid to try new things, as evidenced by such things as the BCC Members picnic, the increasingly successful South Station Simuls, trying to restart a scholastic tournament program, and organizing the very first FIDE-rated Masters tournament in the history of the City of Somerville. And that was just this year!

MACA in Classic Debate Mode!
I've been privileged to even get involved in chess at the state level, certainly an opportunity that never quite presented itself when I was in central NY. While the discussion and arguments of MACA apparently have attained the level of legend, I can say that the people involved at the state level in MA have great hearts and have devoted a good portion of their lives to try to move chess forward in the Commonwealth.

I have been impressed with the quiet leadership of George Mirijanian. Brian Mottershead has inspired me to become involved in parliamentary procedure seriously for the first time. And newly created FIDE Arbiter Bob Messenger, who recently directed the very first FIDE tournament in the history of the City of Somerville right here at the Boylston Chess Club, is far and away the hardest working chess person in New England that I've met!

So, on balance its been a heck of a year, and I'm looking forward to the next!

Thanks, Boylston!

The July Thursday Night Swiss Champs!

It is my pleasure to report that the July 2012 Thursday Night Swiss was a great success!

We had a total, over four weeks, of 24 participants ranging from an International Master to a new 3-digit-rated beginner.

Sharing 1st and 2nd Under 1800 were Alyssa Stachowski and Thomas Sifter.

Sharing overall 1st and 2nd place in the July Thursday Night Swiss were Jesse Nicholas and Alex Slive.

Congratulations to all the winners in July, and remember to come back to the board in August where your Friendly Neighborhood Tournament Director will be Nathan Smolensky!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Reubens Landey 

 - after 4 rounds with pairings for final round 5                   

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

$10 Open

Sat, July 28, 9:30am – 7:30pm

Event Organizer:  The Boylston Chess Foundation *
Event Location:  Boylston Chess Club. 240B Elm Street, Suite B9, Somerville, MA 02144   [ Click Here for Direction ]
Event Date:  Saturday, 7/28/2012
Time Control:  4SS; G/60d5
Rounds Time:  10 - 12:40 - 3 - 5:15
Prize Info:  Prizes based on entries. 
Inquiry:  Phone: (617) 629-3933
E-mail: boylstonchess@gmail.com
Event URL:  www.boylstonchessclub.org
Requirement:  USCF membership required. **  
[ back to top ]
Registration Information
Entry Fee:  $10 if received by 11/08 or by PayPal by 11/09 otherwise $27, $17 to BCF members
Registration - Online:  Available. Please scroll down to select a section to register or click here.
Registration - Onsite:  9:15 - 9:55
Registration - Mail:  Payable to: BCF. Mail Entry to: BCC, 240 Elm St., Ste B9, Somerville, MA 02144. 
[ back to top ]
Section Information
Tournament Sections:  click here to register for this section - Open
click here to register for this section - U1800

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


IM Marc Esserman Challenges YOU 
to a Morra Gambit Simul, July 29th, at 1:00 P.M. at Harvard Square
Are you ready? Are you prepared to witness the madness that spews vehemently forth from this long-overlooked and oft-underestimated pawn sacrifice? Or are you perhaps still convinced that it is harmless, confident it is completely clear of compensation? 
Either way, Marc Esserman challenges you to defeat him in the Morra Gambit this Sunday in front of Au Bon Pain at Harvard Square. Entry into the simul is $5, and all games will feature the Morra (no declines!). Winners will receive a free, signed copy of IM Esserman's new book, Mayhem in the Morra.

There will also be a book signing after the event, and it is a great opportunity to buy a copy if you haven't yet.

Event may be postponed in the case of rain. Stay tuned for updates.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Scholastic Grand Prix #4

Sunday, July 29, 2012
4SS, G/30, USCF Rated

Sections: 8 and under; 11 and under; 14 and under; High School

Registration: 10:00 – 10:20am

Rounds: 10:30, 12:00, 1:00, and 2:00pm (Parents and other children not allowed in playing room during the rounds.) Lunch: 11:30-12:00

Entry fee: $10 for BCC Members, $15 for non-Members.

Prizes: Trophies for 1st – 2nd in each age group. Medals for 3rd – 4th    in each age group. High School: Trophy for 1st & Medals for 2nd and 3rd And the very popular chess pencils to all!

Requirements: USCF Membership Required. All USCF Rules will be in effect: time controls; touch move, score keeping, good sportsmanship, etc.

Grand Prix: Points in Grand Prix tournaments will accumulate towards winning prizes in each age group at the end of the summer (August). 

New or unrated players are Welcome!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Somerville's Boylston Chess Club holds international tournament July 21

The main room of the Boylston Chess Club is not fancy. It’s windowless, lined with bookshelves and sporadic chess themed poster art. Long tables, pre-set with chess boards and flanked by mismatched chairs, dominate the room.

On July 14, that room contained a group of eager chess enthusiasts waiting for tournament director Bernardo Iglesias to put up the matchups for the first round of tournament games on a bulletin board.

“The pairings have been posted,” he announced, and the games began.

The chess club, located for the past decade in Davis Square, has tournaments for members every week. On July 21, though, the club will host Somerville first international chess tournament as part of its member appreciation month. Directed by World Chess Federation (FIDE) accredited arbiter Robert Messenger, the two-day tournament will feature an Internationally rated Masters Challenge and a Nationally rated Summer Open.

“We wanted to do a special month of events, to thank our members,” said Carey Theil, the club’s vice president.

The chess club has an active schedule all year long with weekly nationally-rated chess tournaments and open play days for club members. Club members also promote chess in schools with an active scholastic program and run a youth chess camp.  But tournaments are really their big draw.

“Usually we run a series of tournaments on Thursdays and Saturdays and people come and play,” said club president Charles Riordan, “Saturday tournaments are the most popular.”

The atmosphere was competitive and friendly last Saturday as the players set up their timers, took out their play books, and quietly settled into the rhythm of their matches. After starting the clocks and calling for cell phone to be turned off, Iglesias had other duties to perform. As tournament director, Iglesias was responsible for knowing all the US -Chess Federation rules and serving as arbiter should there be a need to settle a dispute. Not that the club frequently sees outbursts.

“It takes a lot of patience to play chess,” Iglesias said. “It really exercises the mind.”

With close to 200 members, the chess club is a community of passionate and dedicate chess players of varying ages and skill levels that has earned itself a national reputation as one of the foremost chess clubs in the United States.

“It’s one of the top five chess clubs in the country,” Theil said.

As the club’s name suggests, the Boylston Chess Club has not always been in Somerville. The club began on Boylston Street in Boston in 1919 and has been organizing nationally and internationally rated competitive chess matches ever since. Relocating to 240 Elm Street in Davis Square in 2003 marked a new era for the club.

Read more: Somerville's Boylston Chess Club holds international tournament July 21 - Somerville, Massachusetts 02144 - Somerville Journal http://www.wickedlocal.com/somerville/news/x558822869/Somervilles-Boylston-Chess-Club-holds-international-tournament-July-21#ixzz21PQg9lS9

“The change has been great,” Riordan said. “We love Davis Square.”

The Tournaments
The Masters Challenge is open to Masters level club members with a rating of 2200 points or higher.  Spanning two days, there will be four rounds of matches, two on Saturday and two on Sunday, starting at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The event will feature world class chess playing as well as live commentary by Chess Masters and three time US Champion and Grand Master Larry Christensen.

For club members who aren’t ranked at 2200 and above, but who would still like to play, there will be a separate nationally rated Summer Open tournament, running concurrently with the Masters challenge.
                                                                                                                                  IM Jonathan Yedidia won the BCF Master Challenge                                                               

TD Bob Messenger reports:
Prize winners at the BCF Master Challenge were:

1st Jonathan Yedidia    3.5/4   $200
2nd Chris Chase          2.5/4   $100
3rd  Greg Kaden         1.5/4     $75


IM Yedidia,   photo:  Steve Stepak

         BCF  Master Challenge and Summer Open                                                                                                                                          

History in the making. BCC, from the time of Pillsbury way back in the day, to the 21st Century, we are witnessing the first FIDE rated event of the Boylston Club in its very long and illustrious history.

[ Editor's not:  Bernardo Iglesias points out that while this is the first FIDE event held at the Somerville location, some rare events were FIDE rated both at Boylston and Clarendon.]
Charles Roirdon President of BCC and Cary Theil, Organizer of first BCC FIDE Master Challenge plus Jianping Yuan (father of Ben Yuan, both from Shanghai, China, visiting Boston for the summer) snapping a photo of GM Larry Christiansen analysing the Cherniak Yedidia game.  

Round 1 of BCC first FIDE rated event in club history (Bob Messenger, Director):

FM Chris Chase v NM Gregory Kaden; and FM Alex Cherniak v IM Jonathan Yedidia, held under the portrait of Harry Lyman.

NM Greg Kaden vs FM Chris Chase, photo: Stepak

FM Alex Cherniak vs IM JonathanYedidia, photo: Stepak

GM Larry Christiansen provides analysis of game: Cherniak v Yedidia; Richard Kinne records moves of games at front tournamet table and delivers them to GM Larry for update on game, in skittles room.

And simultaneously: BCC Summer Open (Bernardo Iglesias, Director and participant).  So for BCC playing area: A FULL HOUSE Considering the absolutely beautiful weather outside, the BCC activity is remarkable and exciting.

Boylston Summer Open 2012, photo: Stepak

Thanks for your assistance in posting this historic event.
All the best.
(Steve Stepak)

Ben Yuan. BCF member from Shanghai, photo: Stepak

Friday, July 20, 2012

ANNOUNCEMENT: Grandmaster Larry Christiansen to provide commentary during first round of Master Challenge

3-time US Champ Larry Christiansen, photo from Wikipedia
I'm happy to announce that International Grandmaster and 3-time US Champion Larry Christiansen will be providing commentary and analysis during the first round of the BCF Master Challenge.

The first round will take place tomorrow, Saturday, at 10:00 AM.  Please come and listen to free analysis by one of strongest players in the country!

Also, the BCF Master Challenge and Summer Open are taking place in Davis Square, Somerville at the same time as a fun festival called Artbeat

According to the official website Artbeat is "one of the area's largest and most innovative arts festivals, complete with two stages of music with over a dozen bands, dance troupes, 75 craft vendors, food and migration-themed activities."

If you're not playing in the Summer Open, you might consider coming to watch some of the Master Challenge games, and then enjoy Artbeat.  What a great Saturday!

Please do note that parts of Davis Square will be closed to traffic for the festival.  You can still park, but you might need to find a spot a few blocks away.  Also, you should consider taking public transportation if possible.  One option is to drive to Alewife T station, park your call in their all-day lot, and take the train one stop to Davis.

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

This Weekend's Events and ArtBeat Festival

This weekend, we will be hosting the Boylston Chess Foundation Master Challenge, a two-day, FIDE rated tournament open to BCF members rated 2200 and above. Live commentary will be provided by Grandmaster Larry Christiansen and National Master Carey Theil. It should be a fun event! On Saturday, we will also be holding our Summer Open, a G/90 swiss. Players in both tournaments should be aware that the City of Somerville will be holding its annual ArtBeat festival on Saturday -- while this can be an added attraction between rounds, it does mean that much of Davis Square will be closed to street traffic. The city has sent out the following e-mail: "[T]he following streets in the Davis Square area will be closed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 21st: Elm Street from Grove St. to Davis Square; Holland Street from Buena Vista Road to Davis Square; and Day and Dover Streets within one block of Davis Square." Davis Square is still fully accessible by T, and some street parking should still be available.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dave's Not Here

Nope, I'm not talking about Dave Glickman, inventor of the BCC Blog Gambit. Nor am I talking about the Dave with whom Mike Griffin and I are so familiar ("Who is it?").

Back in 1985, I organized a friendly simul that FIDE Master Dave Glueck gave in this area. Young Bob Seltzer, who eventually became a master himself, and his father Richard both played in that simul, along with me and a small number of other amateurs.

I knew relatively little about chess in those days, having only recently joined USCF, and having been playing rated games for less than a year. Some people may say I still know little about chess (and they'd be right!); my rating has barely gone up since then.

Young Bob won his game (the only player not to lose, I think), and excitedly exclaimed "I beat him!" to his father.

Honestly curious, I quietly asked Dave after the event, "Did he really beat you?", to which Dave replied with mild amusement, "No, I let him beat me." Dave was also a master of the child-encouraging finesse.

Some time later, reviewing my own game score, I was surprised to discover...Dave had also given me the chance to beat him (or at the very least gain quite a favorable ending) as well. Unfortunately, I was not as clever as young Bob Seltzer....

Back in those days, there were periodic evening blitz tournaments at Harvard. An all-play-all crosstable was drawn up with colors assigned, and over the course of the evening you just had to search out every opponent, in any order, play them, and mark the result.

One evening both Dave and Harvard Square chess master Murray Turnbull were playing, and I remember being amused to hear Dave cheerfully accost Murray with "Oh, goody, goody, do I get to play you now?"

Murray was rather less enthusiastic, rebuffing Dave with, "Oh no, I'm not ready for you yet.", then headed off in search of easier game.

Dave is currently a chemistry professor at Dartmouth, where he seems to retain a cheery outlook:


despite the fact that...
Dave's not here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mayhem in the Morra!
A complete anti-Sicilian repertoire
by Marc Esserman

 photo: Tony Cortizas, Jr.

photo:  Robert Oresick

IM Esserman is a member of and player at the Boylston.  At last his book on the Morra is available -- check it out.

 Our Price: £ 19.99 (Paying in GBP £ only for customers in the UK) Publisher: Quality Chess, 2012
Edition: Paperback medium
Expected release: July 2012
ISBN: 978-1-907982-20-0
Pages: 360
Language: English

Add to cart
The Morra Gambit is a popular weapon at club level, but can it be effective at GM level? Marc Esserman believes so and he has 2700-rated scalps to back up his view.

Mayhem in the Morra offers a complete fighting repertoire for White against the Sicilian with 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3.

Esserman is the world's leading expert on the Morra Gambit and he shares all his secrets and many novelties in a lively witty style. The Morra leads to exciting gambit play, so some players decline the offer with 3...Nf6 - Esserman also shows how White can attack this cautious defence.

Don't be afraid of the Sicilian - unleash Mayhem in the Morra!

• A complete anti-Sicilian repertoire
• Ideal for attacking players
• Hundreds of novelties and improvements

Marc Esserman is an IM from the USA who has played and analysed the Morra Gambit for most of his life.

Three-times US Champion GM Larry Christiansen:
"In 2011, when preparing for the US Championship, I decided to employ the Morra Gambit as a surprise weapon if given the chance. Marc supplied me with a vast amount of analysis and novelties for that tournament and I became convinced that the gambit was not only dangerous, but perfectly sound. There is no greater authority in the world on this line than Marc Esserman and he lays it all out there in this book."

GM Loek van Wely:
"I thought: Is he serious? Are we going tp play coffeehouse today? Now I know the answer, and the answer is yes! I got crushed in an impressive way, leaving me both groggy and completely mad, forcing me to consider the Morra seriously for the first time in my life.."
Add to cart
        Reubens Landey after 3 rounds

After three rounds the Reubens Landey U2200 championship has tightened up.  Carey leads with 2.5 of 3 points, but six others are close on his heels with 2.0 scores.  Two rounds to go.

        A great time out in the big green room.

Everyone enjoyed the 2nd annual BCF picnic, as you can see from the photos by Tony Cortizas, Jr. (view the entire album in the post below.)

A special thanks to Charles Riordan and especially to Mike Griffin, who were the organizers and prime movers.  

Mike planned the event, worried about the permits and locks, did the grocery shopping, did the transport to and from, and did the chef duties non-stop all afternoon.   Many thanks to Mike!


Monday, July 16, 2012

             IM Marc Esserman Extravaganza            

I got this great crowd shot as IM Marc Esserman performs his lightening speed moves for all comers.  Here he is playing a rather strong player (candidate master).  Billy Collins and Alyssa Stachowski, part of the BCC family of players, watch with anticipation.

The event took place at the outer edge of the Au Bon Pain Cafe chess plaza, Harvard Square, Cambridge, USA.
Thanks again for your help in getting this photo onto the Boylston Blog.
Steve Stepak

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Maintaining the Boylston Club

Because we are an all-volunteer, non-profit organization, it can be difficult to maintain the Boylston Chess Club.

Last night, Board President Charles Riordan and I spent a few hours cleaning up our space.  Please help us keep the club clean and neat.  If you bring food in the club, for example, please clean up after yourself.

Finally, we have many items in our Lost and Found box including clothing, sunglasses, and a helmet.  Please take a moment the next time you are at the club to go through the box, which is in the TD room near the second door, and see if any of these items belong to you.

Because the Lost and Found is taking up so much space, we will have to dispose of the items on August 1.  If you think you might have an item there, please look before this deadline.

I know we all love our club, so let's work together to take care of it!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Reubens Landey after two rounds.

 Billy Collins                                                                       

I'm sending you this series of photos for publication on the Boylston Blog.  The players: IM Joe Fang and Expert (working hard to become Master) Billy Collins.
Billy is training in chess every evening at the Au Bon Pain Chess scene in Harvard Square. He plays all comers, from beginner to strong master.  He told me that in his series with IM Joe Fang, he actually won 3 games.  I am happy to make the effort to promote Billy Collins because of his demonstrated dedication to chess. He is a fighter. He studies chess and he plays strong and creatively.

Billy is a current member of the BCC. He said he will be playing tournaments with us soon.  I find his enthusiasm for chess exciting and inspiring.
Best,  Steve Stepak