Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Resurrection?

Back in October Dennis Monokroussos declared his blog closed. Since then we've heard nothing ... until today! Check out four new posts on schedule changes for his ChessBase shows, Blogroll changes, new products, and the current state of the World Championship.

Is this just a last gasp or has The Chess Mind been revived? Dennis, care to enlighten us?

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Chess Bitch and the Beauty Salon

A few bloggers have already commented on the Gothamist's interview with Jennifer Shahade. The Hungarian focused on her thoughts regarding what poker can teach chess about promoting itself, while The Kenilworthian was more interested in her comments on how to make the website more popular. For my part, this is the question and answer that caught my eye:
On your website, you have photos of various friends and family members modeling the same pink wig you wear on the cover of your book, and you sporting an assortment of other wigs. What's so appealing about wigs, and which one's your favorite?

Well, changing your hair changes your personality. My hair is naturally very curly, but I used to get it straightened a lot. I’d immediately feel like a different person. Neater, more organized, more together and ready to attack life.

Wigs can give you the same kind of feeling, but it’s not permanent and it doesn’t damage your hair like too many blow dries does.
Maybe my next assault on Expert/Masterdom should be accompanied by a new 'do?

I can't think of anything wittty to say

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Better wear gloves

The city of Moscow is planning a telephone match with London to be played in Pushkin Square on a chess set fashioned out of ice.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What are you doing for New Year's?

Start your new year right at the annual Herb Healy Open House on New Year's day (the Boylston Chess Club's annual party and fund raiser).
  • If you were up late celebrating on New Year's eve, not to worry - first round is 11:45

  • If you don't feel like rated games in the rated section, play in the unrated section

  • If game 30 is too quick for your taste, this year the time control is changed to G/45

  • If you are not a member of the BCF, no problem -- you do not need to be a BCF member to enjoy the tournament and food and fellowship, though it is a traditional time for many to join or rejoin

Monday, 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

Adapted from a Bob Oresick e-mail
P.S. At past years' events, more than one chess blogger has been known to show up.


Over the past couple months, I've read a few posts about the website which applies the six degrees of separation model to the 2005 Megabase to determine how many defeated opponents stand between you and Garry Kasparov. The most recent post at the Streatham & Brixton Chess Club blog finally motivated me to try it on myself.

Since I don't have any won games in the database, I approached the problem by entering the names of the best opponents I've beaten and then added one to their number. I started with Masters that I've defeated.

Shapiro, Daniel E vs. Riordan, Charles 0-1, US op swiss USA 2001
Shapiro, Daniel E vs. Kreiman, Boris 1-0, Nassau CC-ch swiss USA 1995
Yermolinsky, Alex vs. Kreiman, Boris 0-1, World op swiss USA 1997
Kasparov, Garry vs. Yermolinsky, Alex 0-1, Leningrad game URS 1975

Charles' Kasparov Number = 4; My Kasparov Number = 5

Cherniack, Alex vs. Godin, Eric J 0-1, Boylston CC-ch tourn USA 1997
Cherniack, Alex vs. Paschall, William M 1-0, Boylston CC-ch tourn USA 1994
Yermolinsky, Alex vs. Paschall, William M 0-1, New York Syracuse swiss USA 1995
Kasparov, Garry vs. Yermolinsky, Alex 0-1, Leningrad game URS 1975

Eric's Kasparov Number = 4; My Kasparov Number = 5

But surprisingly my lowest Kasparov Number comes from an expert, my friend and clubmate Alex Slive.

Slive, Alex vs. Paschall, William M 1-0, Boylston CC-ch tourn USA 1994
Yermolinsky, Alex vs. Paschall, William M 0-1, New York Syracuse swiss USA 1995
Kasparov, Garry vs. Yermolinsky, Alex 0-1, Leningrad game URS 1975

Alex's Kasparov Number = 3; My Kasparov Number = 4

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Returns

It's the age old question, naming your worst Christmas gift. 'Paintbrushes' was one response on the street Wednesday. As was 'having my truck burn,' or 'getting a Charlie Brown sweater in Grade 6' or 'getting a chess board'.
Read "Bad gifts are very personal" from Thunder Bay's Source.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Yet another list of top chess blogs

At Chess Cafe, Steve Goldberg includes chess blogs in his "Survey of Interesting Websites." His picks -- 64 Square Jungle, Boylston Chess Club, ChessBase News, Daily Dirt, Scholastic Chess Gateway, Susan Polgar, Chess Life Online, and The Chess Drum.

A few notes:
  • Scholastic Chess Gateway is his own blog (not that there's anything wrong with self-promotion).
  • The Chess Drum is a fine site, though I don't consider it a blog.
  • About Chess is included in the Instruction & Training category.
  • While I am certainly pleased to see BCC Weblog on the list, it only gets credit for "maintain[ing] an extensive set of chess links."
    (Don't worry, I'll get over it.)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Chess more challenging than watching TV

It may only be one piece of anecdotal evidence but I'm sure the long-term double-blind studies will show that it is true:
"I like to think out of the box," said Mastin as she gazed over the chess board looking for her next move. "It challenges me more than sitting around watching T.V."
Read "Mates check-in at school chess club" from the Henry (County, GA) Daily Herald.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Robert Tanner chess improvement program

Maybe I missed it, but I don't remember anyone writing about this bit of US Chess politics:
A chess coach at 10 schools in the Phoenix metro area has resigned from the U.S. Chess Federation executive board under accusations he manipulated tournament results to gain his title as a chess master....

[Current USCF Executive Board Member Sam] Sloan's complaint alleges that [Robert] Tanner achieved the titles of master and "original life master" by playing repeated games in 1991 and 1992 within a closed group of friends that moved together among remote places such as Teton, Wyo., Wendover, Nev., and Ceres, Calif....

Sloan said the players in the group shared Tanner's home address, and none of the nine men except Tanner ever competed outside the group.

"They are quite clearly fake people," Sloan said. "They don't exist."

Tanner maintains he did nothing illegal. He said the matches actually occurred, and the ethics committee supported his claim that the opponents were real people.

However, Tanner acknowledges in his Sept. 15 response to the committee that he circumvented the "spirit of the regulations" in the early 1990s while working to regain the master title he held in the 1980s. None of the opponents, he said, were legitimate masters or even expert-level players.
As distasteful as it is to agree with an convicted alleged pedophile, it does seem that Mr. Tanner got caught with his hand in the "ratings" cookie jar. Here's another more detailed article.

Arrivederci Amici Anziani

Some long-timers hit the inactive rolls this month:

From the sidebar - The Chess Mind (now a Classic), BlueEyedRook, ChessVault

Among the Knights Errant - Sancho Pawnza, CelticDeath, The Hungarian Knight

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

IM Vigorito lecture tomorrow night

The Boylston Chess Club Master Lecture Series presents:

A 90-minute lecture by IM David Vigorito

"Sneak Preview"
When: Wednesday, December 20th, 7:00 p.m.

Where: The Boylston Chess Club

Admission: Advance–$3/5 (BCC members/non-members), at the door– $4/6

IM Vigorito will be drawing on material from a new and as yet unpublished book, so here is a chance to get an early look. He will be selecting particularly instructive games and moments from the book for this lecture.

IM David Vigorito has won a number of tournaments in the US and Budapest. David has been the state champion of New Hampshire and Nevada and recently qualified for the US Championship by finishing in a tie for 3rd place at the US Open in Phoenix. David is an active chess coach for students of all ages in schools.

Light refreshments will be served.

Another reviewer of the chess 'sphere

Aussie chess blogger Chess Tyro lists his favorites. After mentioning the usual suspects -- About Chess, Susan Polgar, Boylston, and the Kenilworthian -- he moves on to the chess improvement category:
But my favourite chess blogs are those similar to this (or at least what I hope this blog will become) – patzers chronicling their journey towards chess improvement. Three of the ones whose stories I follow are Rocky Rook, Chess for Blood, and Chess Improvement by Effort (ed: aka Temposhlucker).

Friday, December 15, 2006

Are time delay and time increment the same?

Those who play online quickly become familiar with the concept of time increment. For example they might play games at 5 minutes + 5 seconds/move or 2 minutes + 12 seconds/move. In these cases the increment (say 5 seconds) is added to your time before each move; so if your clock reads 4:02 while your opponent is pondering his move, it moves up to 4:07 when it is your turn to move. Time increment has also been used over the board in FIDE tournaments with 90 minutes + 30 seconds/move a common variation.

However, over the board in the U.S. (and perhaps elsewhere?) we use time delay instead. In this case, the 5 seconds are not added to our time but instead the clock pauses for 5 seconds before continuing to count down. Obviously this has implications for the type of chess clock one might consider purchasing since some have time delay, others time increment, and still others both modes.
Given this, I was surprised to read this post at NYChessKids about the DGT 2000 Chess Clock. Since this clock only offers time increment it has not been particularly popular in the states. However, the poster notes that:
...the current (5th edition) of U.S. Chess Federation rules state that DELAY and INCREMENT are considered equivalent: not only do few players know this, probably the majority of tournament directors do not realize this either, given the lack of uniformity in training and qualifications of TDs who direct events.

In summary: the DGT is the official clock of the International Chess Federation, and is perfectly acceptable in USCF-rated events.
Hey tournament directors: Is this really true? Can I use time increment at the next tournament I play in where time delay is in use?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's hard to find good help

The Barrista of Bloomfield Ave. - a favorite of Don Q - mentions the installation of a couple of granite chess tables in a Montclair, NJ park in memory of a local chess player. Regrettably, as several commenters point out, it looks like the tables were installed with the boards in the wrong position (black square in the lower right-hand corner).

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hot Stove Chess League

ESPN's Buster Olney on the negotiations between the Boston Red Sox and Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka's agent Scott Boras:
Boras is extraordinary at what he does, at extracting a volume of dollars from places that you never would've imagined. He is like a chess master, and every negotiation is a match to be won.
Hat Tip: Sports Media Review by Jonathan Weiler

Some "mainstream" recognition

Excite Mix's WebTwitcher Amanda Lorenzani makes her chess blog feed recommendations:
And of the blogs to follow for chess enthusiasts? Visit Chess Lodge (ed: aka Chess News & Events) and The Closet Grandmaster for all things chess flavoured and add their RSS feeds to your MIX if you fancy a dabble at the risque game yourself.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Seeking Higher Ground

With all the discussion of drug testing in chess, have you ever wondered what sport has the highest percentage of its athletes testing positive for banned substances? Cycling? Baseball? Au contraire, the answer is Billiards. Others high on the list include Sumo Wrestling, Golf and Bridge(!).

Read "Billiards pockets doping record" from The Toronto Star.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Boylston Chess & Poker Club

Former BCC president and current poker professional Bryan Clark sent me a link to this Two Plus Two Internet Magazine interview with former club Champion and current poker tournament superstar "Action" Dan Harrington. There isn't very much chess content, but Caissa does get a brief mention or two:
deacsoft: After attending Suffolk University you had a career as a bankruptcy lawyer. What lead you away from that career and into the poker world?

Dan Harrington: I just got sick of that and just drifted into it. I’d always played backgammon, poker, and chess. I’d noticed that I had a natural ability for games, and I just got lucky. I drifted into it....

deacsoft: Prior to your success in the poker world you were a champion backgammon and chess player. There seems to be a number of successful poker players who were accomplished backgammon and/or chess players first. Are there skills that can be learned in backgammon or chess that can help in a players’ development in poker?

Dan Harrington: Yes, definitely. I think there’s cross-pollination between games....
By the way, it turns out that Bryan is the current editor of Two Plus Two Internet Magazine -- some "legitimate", albeit part time work, to supplement his poker income.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Chess and Gender

Jo22 writes about the unique pressures she faces as a female chess player:
It reminded me of every Tuesday evening, when I play chess with various people at a local pub. I am nearly always the only woman playing. Every time I play a newcomer, or when men (they are usually men) are watching my games, I invariably feel an intense pressure not to lose...

The pressure I feel is that if I lose, my opponent or the people watching won't think, "she can't play chess", but "women can't play chess". It's a very uncomfortable pressure and it annoys me that men don't have to experience it.

1% inspiration, 99% perspiration

Best of luck to Java Joe on his new project - Chess Castle of Minnesota Blog.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Blitz shut out of USCL All Star teams

The US Chess League Champion San Francisco Mechanics secured three of eight spots in the 2006 USCL All Star team selections, with the remaining spots going to players from Carolina(2), Miami, Dallas and Philadelphia. Outside of San Francisco, it seems that overall team results were not a major factor with neither the Eastern Division regular season champion Boston Blitz nor the Western Division runner-up Seattle Sluggers receiving any spots.

As for the Blitz, three of their players did receive some consideration:
Board 1 (2nd Team) - "This was a more difficult decision for the judges. Boston's GM Larry Christiansen had a higher performance rating, but Josh was the one who came through huge for his team in the playoffs, with a key win over GM Serper in the SemiFinals and the tiebreaker win over GM Charbonneau that gave San Francisco the League Championship. Friedel is also over 100 points lower rated than Christiansen, which may have given San Francisco the extra points to use on the lower boards that helped them win the Championship."

Board 2 (2nd Team) - "Other candidates were William Kelleher, who also had a high performance rating of 2595, but he only played 5 games and thus couldn't reasonably get the nod over Bhat."

Board 3 (2nd Team) - "Charles Riordan was also a very serious candidate with a very nice performance rating of 2534 after 6 games. Again his lack of games played was what held him back.... An extra half point for ... Riordan ... would have almost surely given [him] a place on the All Star Teams."

Don't teach terrorists how to play chess

At the American Chronicle, Dale Netherton describes the war on terror as a battle between Chess-masters and Tantrum Throwers.

These two antagonists have reappeared over and over in history and the result of their clashes is overwhelmingly in favor of the chess-master.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More Chess Theatre

If they can make a musical out of "Legally Blond", then why not Paul Morphy - The Play?
It's quickly clear area playwright Noah Sheola has great respect, and a fondness for his subject. When he's done with you, you'll feel the same. Morphy, an American, was a chess prodigy in the mid 1800s. He is considered one of the greatest players of all time, the first ever American to be given this distinction.

It's a tragic story of a man who most likely found his talent trivial, perhaps simply unchallenging.... His portrayal of the man is subtle yet deeply moving.

"Morphy," is an incredibly clean premiering script, needing little more than a touch of the pen for refinement. Its dialogue is clear, at times approaches poetic -- without the side of syrup. There's also a lot of humor, both sweet and broad, giving balance to the angst, insecurity, and sadness.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Next Evolution

There's tactics, there's strategy, and now there is abstraction:
Abstract Chess is a game of collaborative, competitive art-making.

Play consists of two players sitting on opposite sides of a canvas (usually an index or recipe card) taking turns making abstract marks until they are both satisfied with the result.

A new recruiting tool for college athletics

From Checkmate: Wolverines bond through chess at The Michigan Daily:
Ever wonder the real reason running back Mike Hart decided to come to Michigan?

Ask Leon Hall, and he'll point to a game they played when Hart visited Ann Arbor on his recruiting trip.


"(When Leon pulled out the board) I thought he was real smart, but then I learned he didn't really know how to play," Hart joked at Michigan Media Day. "He thought it was checkers."

Hart emphasized the fact that he beat Hall. But the cornerback spins a different tale from their first match.

"He beat me once, but I won the series," Hall said. "We played three games. I know I won the series. He beat me. He's not lying to you, he beat me, but if he was 1-4, what was that? He won a game, but he lost the other four."
The NCAA has promised an investigation into how Hart went 1-4 in three games.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Wamala indicted on 34 counts

From The Lowell Sun:
Former Lowell High School Math Department Chairman Severine Wamala has been indicted by a grand jury on 34 counts of felony sexual-assault charges involving three women.

Wamala, 45, was scheduled to be arraigned this morning [ed: December 1st] in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua. He is currently being held in the Manchester House of Correction on $1 million cash bail.

Wamala was arrested Sept. 12 and charged with 30 counts of rape and incest after three young women, ranging in age from their teens to early 20s, accused him of sexually assaulting some of them over a period of seven years.

One set of charges involve a 15-year-old girl who accuses Wamala of raping her at least twice a month from October 2005 to August 2006....

Wamala is currently on paid administrative leave, but that status will change to unpaid leave with his indictment....

A skilled chess player, Wamala coached the LHS chess team and boosted its membership from 10 members to 150. The team has done well at tournaments, and Wamala's own children are nationally ranked players....
From The Nashua Telegraph:
Wamala was indicted last week on 34 felony sexual assault charges, including 23 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault. Each of the 34 charges carries a maximum of 10 to 20 years in prison....

Most of the charges against Wamala involve a 15-year-old girl. Wamala is charged with raping the girl at least twice a month from October 2005 through August. He also is charged with raping two older women, each repeatedly.
Related Post: Severine Speaks

Friday, December 01, 2006

Sirloin Chess

Surely vegetarians will be disgusted, but even a protein-lover like me thinks this is pretty weird. It's a sculpture entitled "cutting board."
Two butchers play an unusual game of chess [on] a board made with steaks sliced into squares. The steak is cut into 2" by 2" pieces, with 64 pieces cut total, 32 of them kissed by a frying pan and hence enhanced in color. The meat is then arranged on a 16" x 16" platform of clear acrylic and placed on top of a podium. On either side of the sculpture are LCD panels hung from the ceiling in portrait orientation. Each panel plays a 20-minute loop of a butcher contemplating his next move.
Be sure to check out the video clip.

Hat Tip: we make money not art

"He taught me chess and saved my life"

Orrin C. Hudson has been traveling the country teaching children love, honesty, respect, responsibility and patience all by playing a simple game of chess.

Hudson was an Alabama State Trooper who saw one too many kids killed. He finally turned in his gun and badge and examined ways he could make a difference. Rather than deal with the effects of bad choices, he decided he needed to teach children to make the right ones from the beginning. He wanted to do something that would encourage children to do something positive with their lives instead of doing nothing at all.
Read "Chess Prepares for the Game of Life" from the Cedar City Review.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Making the case?

At sparks, Martin posts a negative review of MDLM's book and improvement approach.
I bought this book in the hopes that I would learn a few tips on improving my game. Of course, what I really mean is that I wanted to see my own chess rating go up. The book did nothing for me, except show me the lengths to which some people will go to achieve their dreams, even if the dream is nothing more than a number....

I enjoy chess, and this method of study would have been anything but enjoyable.
While there is much to critique about the book, especially if you've already read the earlier articles, Martin's post seems to say more about him than the MDLM method.

Bobby Fischer visits Massachusetts

OK, it was 42 years ago but who's counting?

Dave Couture, webmaster for the Wachusett Chess Club, pointed me to several rare photographs from Fischer's March 1964 visit to Fitchburg. He played a 56 board simul scoring 49-5-2, including this famous loss to BCC member and Boston Globe columnist Harold Dondis:

[Event "Fischer tour simul"]
[Site "Fitchburg, MA"]
[Date "1964.03.??"]
[White "Fischer, Robert James"]
[Black "Dondis, Harold"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Eco "C27"]
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Qh5 Nd6 5.Bb3 Nc6 6.d4 Nxd4 7.Nd5 Ne6 8.Qxe5 c6 9.Nc3 Qf6 10.Qxf6 gxf6 11.Nge2 Nf5 12.g4 Nfd4 13.Nxd4 Nxd4 14.Be3 Nxb3 15.axb3 d5 16.Rxa7 Rxa7 17.Bxa7 Bxg4 18.Bd4 Be7 19.Kd2 c5 0-1

To view the photos, go to the Wachusett Chess Club website and click on "History" and then "Bobby Fischer at the Club."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Not your ordinary drinking chess set

It's the Jack Daniels chess set -- not...
"...a whiskey version of those vodka-shot chess sets that were popular a couple of years ago.

Instead, it's a regular chess set, with 32 hand-made resin pieces based on ingredients from JD. So a Belle Of Lincoln – the drink's original name – decanter is the Queen, corn cobs are the bishops, hard sugar maple wood is the castles, and little Jack Daniel's bottles are the pawns."
Hat Tip: Brandish

A very tough opponent

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More picturesque than Davis Square

Brian at New York Daily Photo shares his pictures of the Marshall Chess Club.

Is it safe?

The story goes that Greg Shahade thought up the idea for the US Chess League while sitting in a dentist's chair. Whether it's true or not doesn't really matter since it's exactly the kind of stuff legends are made of. Perhaps Greg shares the same dentist with Robert Caple, of the Greensboro (NC) News & Record, who recently left the chair with several new chess pie recipies in hand.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Play chess with the President at Christmas time

I just received the following e-mail from the US Chess Federation:
Dear USCF Member,

Due to a Chess Life error, the following Grand Prix Tournament Life Announcement was omitted from the November issue of Chess Life. We are sending this announcement to USCF members to make sure you are aware of this major event.

Chess Life regrets the error.


Daniel Lucas
Editor, Chess Life
USCF Director of Publications


December 27 - 30 GPP 100
District of Columbia

33rd Annual Eastern Open. 8-SS. $14,000 Guaranteed Prizes. No 'based on' prizes! Wyndham Washington Hotel, 1400 M St. NW, Washington, DC. TC: 40/2, SD/1. Rds: Wed: 1 - 7:30, Thur: 11 - 5:30, Fri: 11 - 5:30, Sat: 10 - 4:30. EF: $98 if by 12/11, $110 at site. Reg: Wed, 12/27, 10 - 12 noon. 3-Day schedule for OPEN Section only with advance EF of $99: Reg. Thursday until 6:30. Rds 1 - 4: TC: G/30, 7 - 8:10 - 9:20 - 10:30. Join 4-Day at Round 5.

$$G Open Section: 1,500-1,100-750-500-300, Under 2400/Unr. $750. Under 2300 $725. Under 2200 Section $1,000-500-250. U2000 $300-150. Under 1900 Section $1,000-500-250. U1700 $300-150. Under 1600 Section $1,000-500-250. U1400 $300-150. Under 1300 Section $750-375-200. U1100 $300-150. Note that U2000, U1700, U1400 & U1100 are prizes but not separate sections. No unrated player may win more than $800 in Under 2200, $400 in Under 1900, $200 in Under 1600 or $100 in Under 1300 Section. No credit cards accepted. GMs free, $80 deducted from prize.

Special EF: $40 less to juniors (under 20) in Open Section or playing up. $50 less to unrateds in 4 lower sections. Re-entry: $80. Byes available any round but rds. 6-8 must commit before rd. 3. Limit 2 byes for class prizes. HR: Only $73! Call 202/429-1700 by 12/3 for this very low rate. Ent: Make checks payable to Eastern Open. Mail to U.S. Chess Center, 1501 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20005. Info (no entries) 202/857-4922. W, FIDE

So close, yet so far

Can you imagine 2006 Boylston Chess Club Co-Champion Chris Chase as a software billionaire?

BCC Hauptturnier Rd. 4: Lee-DG 0-1

We'll finish off our coverage of the 2006 BCC Championship season with one contest from the Hauptturnier -- my game against 2nd place finisher Jon Lee.

Lee,Jon (1801) - DG (1991) [C12]
Hauptturnier Somerville, MA (4), 29.09.2006

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.e5 h6 6.exf6 hxg5 7.fxg7 Rg8 8.h4 Nc6 9.hxg5 Qxg5 10.Rh8 Qxg7 11.Rxg8+ Qxg8 12.Qd2 Bd7 13.0-0-0 0-0-0 14.f4 f6 15.Nf3 e5 16.fxe5 fxe5 17.a3 Bxc3 18.Qxc3 e4 19.Nd2 Re8 20.Re1 Qg5 21.Re3 Rg8 22.Kb1 Qf6 23.Qc5 Qxd4 24.Qxd4 Nxd4 25.c4 Nf5 26.Re1 c6 27.cxd5 cxd5 28.Rc1+ Kb8 29.Rc5 Ne3 30.b3 b6 31.Rc1 Nxf1 32.Nxf1 Rxg2 33.Ne3 Rd2 34.Re1 Be6 35.Kc1 Rd3 36.Kb2 d4 37.Nc2 e3 38.b4 Rd2 39.Kc1 Bf5 40.Na1 Be6 41.Nc2 Bb3 42.Na1 Ba4 43.Rg1 Rf2 44.Re1 d3 0-1

Friday, November 24, 2006

Boylston players in the press

Two recent articles in local papers make mention of players associated with the Boylston Chess Club. The first is an article from the MetroWest Daily News covering Chess Studio on the Hill/Chess Corps and includes this:
Today, and next Sunday, Nov. 19, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Chess Studio on the Hill will meet at Surreal Image Cafe in the Atrium Mall, Brookline, for ice cream, chess, and public exhibition play by Chess Corps faculty, led by International Master Satea Husari, Harvard Chess Club Coach.
I apologize to all ice cream lovers for posting this after the fact.

Next is a piece on the BU Open from The Daily Free Press, Boston University's independent student newspaper. Not surprisingly, BU Associate Dean and BCF Treasurer Bob Oresick received some copy:
Chess Club adviser Robert Oresick said he was "thrilled by the turnout."

Our event has become quite a well-known New England chess tournament," Oresick, a College of General Studies associate dean, said. "It's a lot of fun."

Searching for BCC Weblog

Sorry, but this post does not star Ben Kingsley as Bruce Pandolfini....

November 13th marked the two year anniversary of this blog. As a result, I now have access to quite a bit of data on visitors, referrers, and search terms. Today, I thought I might share the search related information.

As the blog's content has continued to grow and its page rank increased, more and more visitors have arrived through search engine queries. During the first year or so search engines accounted for less than 15% of visitors; more recently, the number is definitely above 25%. For the full two years, searches account for 23.3% of visitors with known referrals.

The top 5 or so search terms that lead surfers to BCC Weblog bring few surprises, but as you continue down the list interesting insights emerge as to what attracts visitors here. Here are the top 25 search terms for this blog over the past two years:
  1. chess (19.0%) - I bet this came as a shock!

  2. club (3.5%) - No surprise.

  3. boylston (3.0%) - ditto

  4. blog (2.7%) - ditto

  5. and (2.5%)

  6. the (2.3%)

  7. beauty (1.3%) - Finally things get more interesting. Beauty and the Geek first made these pages when the show's production company called the club looking for "chess geeks" to try out for the show. Then, as you may recall, one of the show's contestants -- Joe Block -- was introduced as a chess champion and chess was included in several episodes. Well it turns out that a mediocre FOX reality series has much broader appeal than chess to the point where it can become a major driver of visitors to a chess blog.

  8. geek (1.3%) - See "beauty"

  9. bcc (1.0%) - Surprised this wasn't higher?

  10. erikson (0.9%) - I have one post which includes a picture of a statue of Leif Erikson. I never realized he was so popular.

  11. tricks (0.8%) - The blog gets a lot of searches for "chess tricks." They must be disappointed when they click on the link in this post.

  12. pastrami (0.8%) - Maybe Philadelphia should have renamed their team the Pastrami. Masterminds is nowhere to be found in the list.

  13. wamala (0.7%) - Given that this story broke only a couple of months ago, it is amazing how quickly it has shot up the list.

  14. leif (0.7%) - See "erikson"

  15. boston (0.7%) - People searching for "chess club boston" often find their way here.

  16. severine (0.6%) - See "wamala"

  17. blogs (0.6%) - Not much to say here.

  18. rules (0.6%) - Many people search for "rules and regulations of chess." I'm sure they are not particularly happy when they get this.

  19. weblog (0.5%) - Just goes to prove that "blog" is more popular than "weblog."

  20. knights (0.4%) - Mostly "Knights Errant", but the chess piece itself generates some traffic.

  21. regulations (0.4%) - See "rules"

  22. krasik (0.4%) - Either he's the most popular member of the Boston Blitz or this is how he usually linked to the blog during the 2005 season. You decide.

  23. dedijer (0.4%) - Everyone likes to look at a pretty face.

  24. lief (0.4%) - A lot of people have trouble spelling the Viking explorer's first name.

  25. sanja (0.4%) - See "dedijer"

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Time to learn the rules

This guy thinks he's finally caught Microsoft red-handed. He posted a video that he believes proves that Microsoft's chess program cheats. How does he know this? Well apparently the program moved two different pieces during the same move.

That's right, Einstein. Black moved his King from e8 to g8 and his Rook from h8 to f8 all in the same move.

Facing the facts

Thanks to Las Aventuras de Sarakhatkhan I happened upon MyHeritage's Celebrity Look-alike tool. No doubt we'll be having hours of fun with this going forward. As my first foray I uploaded the infamous NY Masters photo of BCC Champion Charles Riordan. Now we've learned that his USCL photo should be replaced with one of the legendary actor Gary Cooper.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Before the storm

Severine Wamala watches his son play at the 2004 Herb Healy Open

BCC Champ Rd. 9: Cherniack-Chase 0-1

Chris ground down Alex in an ending to tie for first in the Championship.

Cherniack,A (2264) - Chase,C (2292) [B06]
BCC Championship (9), 11.6.2006

1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.c3 c6 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nd2 Nh6 6.Ngf3 f6 7.Qe2 Nf7 8.0-0 0-0 9.c4 dxe4 10.Nxe4 Bg4 11.Nc5 e5 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Qe7 14.Qe2 Re8 15.Re1 Nd7 16.Nb3 a5 17.Bd2 Qd8 18.Bc3 a4 19.Nd2 f5 20.dxe5 Bxe5 21.Bxe5 Rxe5 22.Qd1 Nc5 23.Rxe5 Nxe5 24.Bf1 Qd4 25.Qc2 Rd8 26.Nf3 Nxf3+ 27.gxf3 a3 28.Rb1 Qd2 29.Qxd2 Rxd2 30.b4 Rb2 31.Re1 Rxb4 32.Re3 Ra4 33.h4 Kf7 34.Kh2 Ne6 35.Rb3 Ra7 36.Kg3 Kf6 37.Rd3 Ke7 38.Rd1 c5 39.Rb1 Kd6 40.f4 Nd4 41.Rd1 Ra4 42.Rc1 Rb4 43.Rc3 Rb1 44.Kg2 Ne6 45.Rxa3 Nxf4+ 46.Kg1 h6 47.Re3 g5 48.hxg5 hxg5 49.f3 Rb2 50.a3 b6 51.Kh1 Rb1 52.Kg1 Ng6 53.Kf2 Ne5 54.Rc3 f4 55.Be2 Rb2 56.Kf1 Nc6 57.Bd1 Nd4 58.Ke1 Ke6 59.Rd3 Ra2 60.a4 Rb2 61.Rc3 Kf5 62.Kf1 Kg6 63.Ke1 Kh5 64.Rc1 Rb4 65.Rc3 Kh4 66.Kf2 Rb2+ 67.Ke1 Kg3 68.Rd3 Rf2 69.Rc3 Nxf3+ 70.Bxf3 Rxf3 71.Rc2 Rb3 0-1

Monday, November 20, 2006

More truth than we probably want to hear

So we play chess. Who would reason logically to do such a thing? It's an expression and an art form. A way for folks without control over their lives to exert control. A small short lived psychologically structured world in a physical world of chaos.
Read "Reason alone is never a motive to action" from Knight Skewer.

BCC Champ Rd. 9: Martirosov-Times 0-1

The battle for third place produced a very entertaining encounter with interesting material imbalances. While observing the game, I thought White's two Rooks were better than Black's Queen before Vadim lost his remaining pawns. However, Fritz does not agree. In any case, Lawyer did a nice job of showing that he could continue to make progress against his opponents attempts to engineer a perpetual check.

Martirosov,V (2270) - Times,L (2139) [B02]
BCC Championship (9), 11.6.2006

1.Nc3 Nf6 2.e4 d5 3.e5 Ne4 4.Bd3 Nxc3 5.dxc3 c5 6.f4 Nc6 7.Be3 e6 8.Nf3 Be7 9.h4 h6 10.Qd2 Bd7 11.Qf2 Qa5 12.Qg3 0-0-0 13.Qxg7 Rdg8 14.Qxf7 Rxg2 15.Kf1 Rg3 16.Kf2 Rxf3+ 17.Kxf3 Nxe5+ 18.fxe5 Rf8 19.Qxf8+ Bxf8 20.Rhg1 d4 21.b4 Qd8 22.Bf2 Be7 23.cxd4 Bxh4 24.Bxh4 Qxh4 25.b5 Qxd4 26.Rae1 Kc7 27.Rg4 Qc3 28.Kf2 Kb6 29.a4 Be8 30.Rh4 Qd2+ 31.Re2 Qg5 32.Ree4 h5 33.Rh3 Bg6 34.Rg3 Qd2+ 35.Re2 Qf4+ 36.Rf3 Qh4+ 37.Kf1 Be8 38.Rf6 Ka5 39.Rf8 Qe7 40.Rf6 Bd7 41.Re4 a6 42.Rh4 axb5 43.axb5 Bxb5 44.Bxb5 Kxb5 45.Rxh5 Kc4 46.Rf4+ Kb5 47.c4+ Kb4 48.Kf2 Qd7 49.Rfh4 b5 50.cxb5+ Kxb5 51.Rh8 Qd2+ 52.Kf3 Qc3+ 53.Kf2 Qxe5 54.R8h5 Qb2+ 55.Ke3 Qc3+ 56.Ke2 Kc6 57.Rh8 Qg3 58.Rc8+ Kb5 59.Rch8 c4 60.Rh3 Qe5+ 61.Kd2 Kb4 62.Kc2 Qe2+ 63.Kc1 Qe5 64.Kc2 Qc7 65.R3h7 Qd6 66.Rb7+ Kc5 67.Rh5+ e5 68.Rbh7 Qd3+ 69.Kc1 Qa3+ 70.Kc2 Qa2+ 71.Kc1 c3 72.Rh2 Qa4 73.R7h4 e4 74.Rh8 Kd4 [...and Black won in a time scramble] 0-1

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The c3 Sicilian?!

I'm not one of those people who has nothing but disdain for the Alapin Sicilian. In fact, it's just the opposite. I've been playing 2.c3 for most of my tournament career. It's the only move I play against the Sicilian (unless I'm absolutely sure you play 2...Nc6, in which case I might play 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3!). One of my most memorable wins occurred on the White side of the c3 Sicilian. I keep the Rozentalis & Harley book on my night table and I have a poster of Sveshnikov over my bed. Well the part about the poster isn't actually true, but if I didn't think my wife would divorce me I might just try to put it up.

Despite all this...

Larry! What were you thinking playing 2.c3 against Pascal? The line is the antithesis of the "Storming The Barricades" approach to chess. Strong GMs play it as White when they want to draw, but the Blitz' strategy for the match really depended on a win on Board 1.

I know what people will say, "Christiansen lost his last two encounters to Charbonneau in the Open Sicilian. He needed to try something else." First off, everyone seems to forget that Larry had an easy draw in last year's encounter and lost only when he tried to win an unwinnable position because the overall match score required it. Second, I can't believe that Pascal has actually refuted 3.d4 in the Sicilian (one would think that New In Chess would have had an article about it). Surely there must have been improvements for White in the earlier games. Among the GM class, if you need to generate winning chances against 2...c5, isn't an Open Sicilian the best chance? Lastly, even if I grant that Charbonneau has managed to get into Christiansen's head in such a way that Larry believed he needed to try something else, I just can't believe that 2.c3 was the best choice for trying to achieve the kind of attacking positions he thrives on.

I know what people will say, "It didn't matter anyway. Another half point from Board 1 wouldn't have changed the outcome." I certainly grant that Foygel's loss to Krush inflicted great damage on the cause. Had you told me in advance that New York would score a full point on Board 2, I would have had to agree that New York would be favored to win the match. Nevertheless, as things turned out a win on Board 1 could have made all the difference in the world because Riordan came out of the opening with a strategically superior position against Hess. Whether Charles would have actually scored the point will never be known (it's not as if he played perfectly after 15.c5), but he might have and with draw odds that could have been enough to propel Boston to the finals.

At this point, journalism professors everywhere are adding this post to their folder of examples of 'burying the lead'. So for those of you who didn't watch the match or don't actively follow the league, let's start over...
It turned out to be a Boston-New York matchup where the team from the Hub played the role of the 2006 Yankees. After dominating the Eastern Division during the US Chess League regular season, the Blitz fell 3-1 to the Knights in the second round of the playoffs. Instead of playing the San Francisco Mechanics in two weeks for the USCL Championship, the guys will be at home watching New York, a team that finished the regular season with a losing record, take a shot at the crown.

How could this have happened? Let's take a look at some key positions.

On Board 1, the first critical moment occurred after move 1 when GM Christiansen responded to GM Charbonneau's Sicilian with 2.c3. Oh wait, I think we've already covered this... The fact is that Larry did get some attacking chances when Pascal chose reasonable, if not the best, continuations. For example, instead of 7...Nc6 Black might have tried the plan Bc8-d7-c6 with Nd7 and 8...dxe5 9.dxe5 g6 is a good alternative to 8...Be7. Larry had options as well like 10.Re1 in place of Qc2 and/or somehow finding time for h2-h4-h5 to loosen up Black's Kingside. In the end however, while it's hard to find fault with Christiansen's play the position just never offered him enough to generate real winning chances. This, I believe, can be traced back to the choice of opening.

GM Christiansen-GM Charbonneauafter 7...Nc6 8.Bd3

With no win on Board 1, the result on Board 2 became crucial for the outcome of the match. To her credit, IM Krush played well to avenge her previous defeat at the hands of IM Foygel. The key position in this game occurred after 20.e4. Igor's 20...f4 allowed White to begin exposing Black's King by taking the h7 pawn (after 21.e5 Nxe5 22.Bxh7+) but more importantly, made it difficult for Black to defend the white squares on the Kingside. Ultimately these factors led to Foygel's demise. For the record, our silicon friend Fritz prefers 20...Rae8.

IM Krush-IM Foygelafter 20.e4

I can't move on to the next board before responding to Jennifer Shahade's comments at Since I'm about to complain about being taken out of context, let me quote her comments in full so I won't be accused of the same:
As manager of the New York Knights, it's my job to rile up my team. So, I sent them a link to a blog by Boston team supporter [DG] including predictions such as:

LarryC is overdue for a win against Charbonneau....Their (The Knights) most likely winning strategy against it is securing a half point on Board 1 (surely they can't expect Charbonneau to defeat Christiansen three times in a row) and sweeping the lower boards 2-0.

After reading this, Irina Krush said: ""It's like he thought there was a freaking vacancy on board 2 for the Knights." In quiet retaliation, Krush spent all of Monday and half of Tuesday studying to avenge her earlier loss against Igor Foygel. Her preparation paid off, and her game clinched a spot in the playoffs for the Knights.
If you read my original post carefully, you will notice that my comments refer to the strategy New York should pursue if facing Boston's two GM lineup, not the lineup they actually faced in the match. In that case, Krush would have been up against GM Perelshteyn and while anything can happen of course, in my view depending on Irina to score against Eugene would not have been the Knights' best plan of attack. I stand by this point. Nevertheless, kudos to Shahade for finding any edge she could for her team even if it was based on misinterpretation. And while I'm at it, let me say that now LarryC is really overdue for a win against Charbonneau!

The one bright spot of the evening for the Blitz was Board 3. NM Riordan clearly got the best of FM Hess in the opening and with 15.c5 secured a position which was probably winning from a strategic point of view. Nevertheless, Robert did well to generate some counterplay through piece play and may very well have equalized the position when a draw was agreed. However, had the match still hung in the balance I'm sure Charles would have continued and Black's split pawns on the Queenside surely would have given him something to work on. Besides, (and I know this will be confusing to those of you who haven't followed Riordan this year) he was in time trouble and that's almost always the precursor to good things for Boston.

NM Riordan-FM Hessafter 15.c5

Board 4 went quite badly for the Blitz when Herman showed that New York didn't need a 2300 player in order to secure the point. During the game I thought Krasik just played badly. And while he did make some really poor moves near the end, he was already in trouble at that point. In point of fact, his counterattacking ideas with 16...d5 and 17...Bc5 almost worked. In looking for an improvement, I had to go all the way back to 15.f5 where Fritz suggests that passive defense with 15...Bc6 16.g4 h6 17.h4 Nh7 is the way to go. It was certainly a tough night for Ilya, but no one should make the mistake of thinking that this match was lost on the lower boards.

Herman-NM Krasikafter 15.f5

Off the boards, Team Manager Matt Phelps has expressed the concern that fans might hold him accountable for the loss because of his lineup choice. In my view this would be misguided. Both the two GM lineup and the one Matt chose were perfectly reasonable. Even if Perelshteyn were on Board 2 and did beat Krush, who's to say that Hess wouldn't have taken care of Martirosov? No, the manager did his job just fine; unfortunately, for one of the rare times this season his players let him down. Too bad it happened during the playoffs.

So that's it. Congratulations to the Blitz for a great regular season that kept chess fans around here highly entertained for the past several months. And congratulations to the New York Knights who played a strong match to earn their shot at the Championship. Who will I be rooting for in the finals -- the divisional rivals who vanquished Boston's dreams or the Friedel-led car fixers? I'll take the traditional, parochial Bostonian point of view -- What Championship match? Isn't the 2006 season over?
On a personal note, I hope you have enjoyed the 2006 coverage of the Boston Blitz and the US Chess League here at BCC Weblog. Even if you're one of the people who thought the coverage often conflicted with your opinion or pissed you off let me still say, "Thanks for reading and leaving comments." I hope you'll keep coming by this little corner of the blogosphere as we shift back to our regular programing schedule and we'll see y'all next year for the 2007 US Chess League season.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Trans Fat Open

Nothing really goes together quite as well as chess and fast food -- just look around the skittles room prior to the start of the afternoon round of any large Swiss. Around our neck of the woods, Gus Gosselin runs a series of scholastic tournaments in Burger King restaurants. Now, the New Haven (CT) Register reports on the goings-on at the "McCheckmate" chess club. As they so aptly put it, "To the victors go the fries."

BCC Champ Rd. 9: MacIntyre-Riordan 0-1

Paul's sacrifices didn't work out and as a result Charles captured his piece of the Championship.

MacIntyre,P (2334) - Riordan,C (2330) [B87]
BCC Championship (9), 11.6.2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 b5 8.Bb3 Bb7 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.f4 b4 11.Na4 Be7 12.f5 e5 13.Ne6 fxe6 14.fxe6 Nf8 15.Nc5 Bc6 16.Rxf6 Bxf6 17.Ba4 Qc7 18.Qd5 Rc8 19.Nxa6 Qb7 20.Nxb4 Qxb4 21.Bxc6+ Ke7 22.a3 Qxb2 23.Rd1 Qxa3 24.Rd3 Qb4 25.c3 Qb8 26.c4 Nxe6 27.c5 Rxc6 28.Qxc6 Qb1+ 29.Kf2 Qxd3 30.Qb7+ Ke8 0-1

Thursday, November 16, 2006

And now for something completely different

To be honest, now that my listings of chess blogs are hovering around 400, it is fairly uncommon that I come across one that is truly unique. I love a new chess improvement blog as much as the next guy but at this point I pretty much know how the story is going to go. Therefore, I was quite interested to come across a chess blog which really is something different. Semyon Gelfer has posted his Chess Stamps and Envelopes Collection which includes the autographs of Lasker, Capablanca, Euwe, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal and several others.
I've added about twenty chess blogs to the listings over the past few days. Fans of The 64 Square Jungle may want to check out Scholastic Chess Gateway written by ChessCafe Scholastic Columnist Steve Goldberg. There is also a new training blog from Down Under (Improve Your Chess!), yet another blog from a member of our neighbor the Metrowest Chess Club (Strong Among the Weak), and of course, several new chess improvement blogs.

Francophiles will notice eight new listings in the French chess blogs category including one who looks to be trying to capitalize on Dennis Monokroussos' departure from the 'sphere. Hopefully this will compensate to some extent for the large number of non-English chess blogs that were recently moved to the Inactive listings, including former sidebar residents Duveltje's Schaakweb, Der Schachneurotiker, and Sjakkforum (although now that I'm thinking about it, there really is no reason to believe that readers of Dutch, German or Norwegian chess blogs have any particular interest in French ones).
I came across a blog I was hoping I would get to list but unfortunately it's not about chess. Nevertheless, it does have a good title -- The Coffee & Chess Guy.

BCC Champ Rd. 9: Krasik-Williams 1/2

Another NM draw...

Krasik,I (2202) - Williams,C (2186) [D17]
BCC Championship (9), 11.6.2006

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 e6 7.f3 Bb4 8.e4 Bxe4 9.fxe4 Nxe4 10.Bd2 Qxd4 11.Nxe4 Qxe4+ 12.Qe2 Bxd2+ 13.Kxd2 Qd5+ 14.Kc2 Na6 15.Nxc4 0-0 ½-½

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Chess Bouquet


Great Masterpieces of Chess Theatre

The Smithton Middle School in Columbia, Missouri is putting on an updated version of a Shakespeare classic. Romeo and Juliet at Verona High ... "replaces the 16th century leading man with a modern-day football player and the starry-eyed Juliet with a chess club president."

Read "Chess, football twist a tragedy" from the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 7: Krasik-Chase 0-1

One more game from Round 7...

By popular demand, Ilya's "gem against Mr. Chase." I hope I have the correct moves this time.

Krasik,I (2202) - Chase,C (2292) [A67]
BCC Championship (7), 2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Bb5+ Nfd7 9.Nf3 0-0 10.0-0 a6 11.Bd3 b5 12.a3 Nb6 13.f5 N8d7 14.Bg5 f6 15.Be3 Re8 16.Qd2 Nc4 17.Bxc4 bxc4 18.Rae1 Rb8 19.Rf2 gxf5 20.exf5 Rb7 21.g4 Ne5 22.Nxe5 Rxe5 23.Rfe2 h5 24.h3 hxg4 25.hxg4 Bf8 26.Kf2 Rg7 27.Rg1 Qe7 28.Ke1 Kf7 29.Kd1 Rh7 30.Bf4 Rxe2 31.Qxe2 Qxe2+ 32.Kxe2 Rh3 33.Bg3 Bb7 34.Kf2 Be7 35.Rd1 Rh8 36.Ne2 Rg8 37.Kf3 Rb8 38.Nc3 Ba8 39.Rd2 Rb3 40.Rh2 Bxd5+ 41.Kf4 Bc6 [...and Black went on to win] 0-1

Ready, set ...

So we are not going to see the two GMs from Boston after all. The lineup for the US Chess League Eastern Division playoff match is out and team manager Matt Phelps opted for the alternative to the two GMs mentioned in my previous post. Matt was quick to point out that the post and related discussion was not a factor in his decision, and there is no reason to think that this isn't true. Nevertheless, his choice to characterize the piece and the opinions of his team's fans as "wild rantings" is rather surprising. A kinder, and I think more plausible, description would be that reasonable people looked at the same data set and came to similar conclusions.

[Note: Matt would like to clarify that the phrase "wild rantings" was intended to be a joke.]

Here are the matchups versus New York; the Blitz have White on Boards 1 & 3:

The Knights' decision not to put a 2300 player on Board 4 is rather surprising given the ratings disadvantages they face on the top two boards. This is not to say that New York can't win the match. In fact, from a fan's perspective the match should be quite exciting with competitive games on every board.

Monday, November 13, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 8: Cherniack-Krasik 1-0

Alex had the advantage early but gave it away by move 25 or so. However, Ilya missed a couple of winning combinations (28...Qc5+ 29.Kh1 Bf4 and 48...Rf1+ 49.Kxf1 Qxe3) and then went on to lose a Rook and Bishop ending.

Cherniack,A (2264) - Krasik,I (2202) [E80]
BCC Championship (8), 10.30.2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 a6 6.Be3 c6 7.c5 0-0 8.cxd6 exd6 9.Nge2 Nbd7 10.Ng3 b5 11.Qd2 Re8 12.Be2 Bb7 13.0-0 Qe7 14.Rfe1 Rad8 15.Bf1 Qf8 16.a4 b4 17.Na2 c5 18.Nc1 h5 19.Nb3 h4 20.Nh1 cxd4 21.Bxd4 d5 22.Na5 Ba8 23.e5 Nh5 24.Bxa6 Nxe5 25.Nf2 Re6 26.Bxe5 Bxe5 27.Bf1 Qd6 28.Ng4 Bxh2+ 29.Nxh2 Rxe1 30.Qxe1 Qc5+ 31.Qf2 Qxa5 32.Qxh4 Qa7+ 33.Qf2 d4 34.Ng4 Nf4 35.Ne5 Re8 36.Nd3 Nxd3 37.Bxd3 Re3 38.Bc4 Qc5 39.Bf1 Qg5 40.Rd1 Rxf3 41.Qxd4 Kh7 42.Rd2 Rf4 43.Qd6 Qg3 44.Qd3 Qe1 45.Qe2 Qg3 46.Rd3 Qg5 47.Rh3+ Kg7 48.Qb5 Bd5 49.Rd3 Rf5 50.Qxb4 Qc1 51.Qc3+ Qxc3 52.Rxc3 Rf4 53.Rc5 Bb3 54.a5 Ra4 55.Rb5 Be6 56.b4 Ra1 57.Rc5 Kf6 58.a6 Ke7 59.Kf2 Kd6 60.Rc2 f5 [...and White went on to win in a time scramble] 1-0

Couldn't say it better myself

I've written several times about the development of community within the blogosphere, particularly when trying to promote cross-linking. In the chess blogosphere there is no better example of this than the Knights Errant, still growing and evolving more than two years after Don and Sancho started their lonely quest.

Now, Samurai Pawn poignantly articulates the value of this community and the impact it has had on him.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 8: Rihel-Martirosov 0-1

An unevenly played game for both sides which led to a relatively equal Rook ending. However, Jason again found a way to lose.

Rihel,J (1953) - Martirosov,V (2270) [B30]
BCC Championship (8), 10.30.2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.c3 Nge7 5.0-0 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bc2 Bb7 8.d4 cxd4 9.cxd4 Nb4 10.Re1 Nxc2 11.Qxc2 Rc8 12.Qd3 d5 13.e5 Nf5 14.Nbd2 Be7 15.Nf1 Qc7 16.g4 Nh4 17.Nxh4 Bxh4 18.Ne3 h5 19.g5 Bxg5 20.Nf5 Be7 21.Nxe7 Qxe7 22.Qg3 Kd7 23.Bd2 h4 24.Qb3 Rc4 25.Qd3 h3 26.b3 Rcc8 27.Re3 Qh4 28.a4 Bc6 29.Rae1 bxa4 30.bxa4 Bxa4 31.Qxa6 Qg5+ 32.Rg3 Qxd2 33.Qxa4+ Ke7 34.Rd1 Qc2 35.Qa3+ Ke8 36.Ra1 Rh6 37.Rxh3 Rxh3 38.Qxh3 Qg6+ 39.Kf1 Qh6 40.Qg3 Kf8 41.Kg2 Kg8 42.Qd3 Qf4 43.Ra4 Qg4+ 44.Qg3 Qe4+ 45.Qf3 Qxf3+ 46.Kxf3 Rc3+ 47.Kg4 Kh7 48.h4 Rc4 49.Ra7 Rxd4+ 50.f4 Rd1 51.Rxf7 d4 52.f5 Rg1+ 53.Kf3 exf5 54.e6 Rf1+ 55.Ke2 Rf4 56.Kd3 Kg8 57.Rd7 Re4 58.Rd8+ Kh7 59.Rxd4 Rxe6 [...and Black went on to win in a time scramble] 0-1

Saturday, November 11, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 8: Riordan-Salomon 1/2

Surely a disappointing result for Charles who seemed to have the advantage the entire game. He was forced to give perpetual check in order to counter Brian's mate threat at the end.

Riordan,C (2330) - Salomon,B (2005) [B91]
BCC Championship (8), 10.30.2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.g3 Bg4 7.f3 Bd7 8.g4 e5 9.Nf5 Be6 10.Bg5 g6 11.Ne3 h6 12.Bxf6 Qxf6 13.h4 Nd7 14.Ncd5 Qd8 15.Qd2 Nb6 16.0-0-0 Nxd5 17.Nxd5 Be7 18.Kb1 Rc8 19.h5 g5 20.Qb4 Bxd5 21.Rxd5 Qc7 22.Bd3 0-0 23.Rc1 b5 24.Qd2 Qb6 25.c4 b4 26.c5 Rxc5 27.Rcxc5 dxc5 28.Bc4 a5 29.Rxe5 Bf6 30.Rd5 Rd8 31.e5 Be7 32.Qd3 Qc7 33.Rxd8+ Qxd8 34.Qg6+ Kh8 35.Qxh6+ Kg8 36.a3 a4 37.Qg6+ Kh8 38.Qd3 Qb8 39.axb4 Qxe5 40.b5 Bf6 41.Qe2 Qc7 42.h6 Kh7 43.Qe8 Kxh6 44.Qxf7 Qe5 45.Qh5+ ½-½

Friday, November 10, 2006

Choosing what cards to play

Whatever the sport, it seems that achieving Boston's aspirations always requires going through New York. With the US Chess League first round playoff matches decided, the discussion of lineups can now move from general to specific.

Poker offers a useful framework: Some people play their own cards; others play based on what they believe their opponents are holding; and the best players make their decisions based on what they think their opponents believe they are holding.Playing your own cards - Especially given that they hold draw odds in the match, this is fairly straightforward for the Blitz. The two GM lineup of Christiansen, Perelshteyn, Martirosov and Krasik rates out right at 2400. If ratings mean anything, then LarryC is overdue for a win against Charbonneau. That, combined with the fact that the Knights don't really have anyone who matches up well with Perelshteyn on Board 2, means that Boston should be favorites to advance to the Championship just based on the top boards. Should the GMs surrender a half point, they can still fall back on the lower boards where both Martirosov and Krasik have been able to score points against higher rated competition.

Playing based on your opponent's cards - In setting their lineup, New York has to assume that they will be facing the two GM lineup. Their most likely winning strategy against it is securing a half point on Board 1 (surely they can't expect Charbonneau to defeat Christiansen three times in a row) and sweeping the lower boards 2-0. Given this, one has to expect them to choose the two 2300 players who they think are most likely to win on Boards 3 & 4 from among Hess, Molner, Bonin, Privman, and Shahade (I know they've been using Herman on Board 4 from time to time and that he did beat Krasik earlier in the season, but I think it would be very risky for New York to give up the 200 rating points on a board they must win). Hess and Molner are not a feasible combination (on Boards 3 & 4) based on ratings and a few combinations work only if Krush doesn't play Board 2. Given this, here are some likely New York lineups:
  • Charbonneau, Krush, Bonin, Privman - 2409
  • Charbonneau, Krush, Hess, Shahade - 2408
  • Charbonneau, Krush, Molner, Shahade - 2408
  • Charbonneau, Hess, Molner, Bonin, Molner - 2398
  • Charbonneau, Hess, Molner, Privman - 2394
If the Knights are not committed to the Pascal-Irina "coupling", I wouldn't be surprised if they chose to sacrifice Hess on Board 2 to make Bonin Molner a force on Board 4.

Playing based on your opponents beliefs about your cards - Here's where things might get interesting for the Blitz. If they think there is a good chance that New York might be weak on Board 2, they could consider a lineup of their own which trades off some strength on Board 2 for more power on the lower boards. One possibility would be Christiansen, Foygel, Riordan and Krasik (avg. rating 2389). IM Foygel ought to be able to handle Hess as well as Perelshteyn would. And just in case the Knights do keep Krush on Board 2, keep in mind that Igor did beat Irina convincingly when they met in Week 8. In return, Boston's hottest player would get a shot on Board 3.

Would I go with this lineup? I'd think about it! Yea, but would I actually submit it to league headquarters on Sunday night? Fortunately, that's Globular's problem, not mine.

Of course, the poker game doesn't really end there. If New York thinks that the Blitz might actually put Foygel on Board 2 then surely they will keep Krush there. This is turn will influence Boston to stay put with the two GMs, at which point the Knights need to think about Hess on Board 2 again ... and on and on it goes.

He doesn't look that big in the pictures

While most of the chess world is paying attention to the Tal Memorial, the Armenian press has chosen to report on the results of its nationals at another tournament in Moscow named after the lesser known player Michael Tall.

BCC Champ Rd. 8: Chase-Times 1-0

Chris makes a speculative pawn sacrifice which pays off when Lawyer errs with 16...Kf8 (Fritz prefers 16...Nd7). Not that it mattered, but at the end White missed 28.Qf4#.

Chase,C (2292) - Times,L (2139) [B02]
BCC Championship (8), 10.30.2006

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.Nc3 e6 4.Nxd5 exd5 5.Qf3 c6 6.Qg3 d6 7.d4 dxe5 8.dxe5 Bf5 9.Nf3 Bxc2 10.Be2 Bb4+ 11.Kf1 Rg8 12.Nd4 Bg6 13.h4 h6 14.h5 Bh7 15.Rh4 Qe7 16.Rg4 Kf8 17.Rxg7 Rxg7 18.Bxh6 Nd7 19.Qxg7+ Ke8 20.Qh8+ Nf8 21.Bxf8 Qxf8 22.Qxh7 Bc5 23.Nf5 Rd8 24.Bg4 Kd7 25.Ng7+ Ke7 26.Qh6 f6 27.exf6+ Kd6 28.f7+ 1-0

Thursday, November 09, 2006

That was quick

The USCF rating reports for the BCC Championship and Hauptturnier are now available.

BCC Champ Rd. 8: Williams-MacIntyre 1/2

Black equalizes easily in an Open Ruy Lopez and the players agree to a quick truce.

Williams,C (2186) - MacIntyre,P (2334) [C80]
BCC Championship (8), 10.30.2006

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Nbd2 Be7 10.c3 Qd7 11.Nxe4 dxe4 12.Bxe6 Qxe6 13.Nd4 Qd5 14.Nxc6 Qxc6 15.Qg4 0-0 16.Re1 Rad8 17.Be3 f5 18.exf6 ½-½

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A different kind of chess book

Rowena Cherry writes romance novels with chess-oriented themes. "I like chess. I think it's sexy, intellectually stimulating and fun" - Rowena Cherry

Break out the slide rules

Here is some input for those of you contemplating what lineup the Boston Blitz should employ in the US Chess League playoffs. Below are regular season statistics for each member of the team sorted by the differential between their Performance and USCL Rating (Data format: Player Name, Score, USCL Rating, Performance Rating, Differential):

NM Riordan, 4-1, 2272, 2565, +293
FM Kelleher, 4-1, 2402, 2595, +193
NM Krasik, 4.5-2.5, 2162, 2330, +168

NM Martirosov, 3-3, 2259, 2307, +48
GM Christiansen, 4-2, 2633, 2669, +36
GM Perelshteyn, 3-1, 2614, 2628, +14

IM Foygel, 2-2, 2533, 2443, -90
FM Winer, 1-2, 2422, 2189, -233

Conventional wisdom says that the Blitz will be using their two GM lineup (Christiansen, Perelshteyn, Martirosov, Krasik - avg. rating 2400) throughout the playoffs, and that may very well turn out to make the most sense. However, notice that this lineup does not include either of the best performing players on the team. In addition, while NM Martirosov does have a positive performance differential for the year, he has only two draws in his last four USCL contests. Further, if opponents know exactly what Boston's lineup will be in advance they can carefully select their own lineup in a way which improves their chances, e.g., using a balanced lineup against a top heavy one or guaranteeing a specific matchup on a particular board.

With that in mind, let's consider different lineups which include the top performers and still maintain a high overall average rating. There appear to be two feasible alternatives, though each has its drawbacks:
  1. Either GM, Foygel, Riordan, Krasik - 2389
  2. Either GM, Kelleher, Riordan, Martirosov - 2381
Whether either of these makes any sense will depend on specific matchups. For that, we need to wait for the outcome of tonight's contest between New York and Carolina.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Postal Chess (An artist's view)


Riordan and Chase Crowned Co-Champions

Charles Riordan and Chris Chase both won their games last night finishing tied for first in the BCC Championship with 7 points. Charles overcame FM MacIntyre early in the evening, but Chris had to sweat out his game with NM Cherniack until 11:30pm finally grinding down his opponent in a pawn up ending. Lawyer Times defeated NM Martirosov in an interesting Q+2P vs. 2R endgame to secure third place. Congratulations to the winners!

2006 BCC Championship - Final Standings

All scores are out of nine games.

7.0 - NM Riordan, FM Chase
5.5 - Times
5.0 - NM Cherniack
4.5 - FM MacIntyre, NM Martirosov, NM Krasik
4.0 - Williams
2.0 - Rihel
1.0 - Salomon

2006 Hauptturnier - Final Standings

All scores are out of eight games.

6.5 - Glickman
6.0 - Lee
5.5 - Clayton
4.5 - Driscoll
4.0 - Iglesias, Oresick
3.0 - Frazier
2.5 - Gorczyca
0.0 - Hager

Final crosstables for both events
are posted at the BCC website.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Charity Simul at the BCC

A Simultaneous Chess Exhibition with
Grandmaster Eugene Perelshteyn
to raise money for the Aleksander Wojtkiewicz Funeral Fund

Sunday, November 19th at 3:30 PM
Admission: $20 ($10 for BCC Members)

In honor of Grandmaster Aleksander Wojtkiewicz, whose untimely passing shocked the chess world earlier this year, Grandmaster Eugene Perelshteyn will face all comers in a simultaneous chess exhibition to raise money for the Aleksander Wojtkiewicz funeral fund. Don'’t miss this rare opportunity to face New England's newest grandmaster in this charity event.

Anyone who wins against the grandmaster will receive a signed copy of both of his recently published repertoire books, Openings for Black, Explained and Openings for White, Explained. For a draw with the grandmaster, choose either one of the books as a prize.

All ages welcome. Spectators welcome. Boards and sets provided. Players must move when the GM gets to their board, or use a "“pass." Players are allowed three passes. No USCF membership required.

Players fee: $20 (a $10 discount applies to BCC members.) Spectators can watch for free.

To sign up, send your admission fee to:

The Boylston Chess Club
240B Elm Street, Suite B9
Somerville, MA 02144

Entries at the door will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, so enter in advance if you can.

For more information call: Paul MacIntyre (781) 322-7936

Adapted from the event flyer

Game of the Week honors for Kelleher

FM Kelleher's attacking win over FM Enkhbat was selected as the US Chess League Game of the Week for Week 10.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 7: Salomon-Williams 0-1

White sacrifices a pawn for development and the initiative, but then follows up with sacrifices of a bishop and the exchange which only led to his own resignation.

Salomon,B (2005) - Williams,C (2186) [B41]
BCC Championship (7), 2006.10.23

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Be2 Nf6 6.Bf3 Qc7 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Bg5 Qe5 9.Be3 Nxe4 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bd4 Qf5 12.Re1 Nf6 13.Re5 Qg6 14.h4 h6 15.h5 Qh7 16.Be2 d5 17.Bd3 Qg8 18.c4 c5 19.cxd5 cxd4 20.dxe6 Bxe6 21.Bg6 fxg6 22.Qa4+ Kf7 23.Rxe6 Kxe6 24.Qc6+ 0-1

BCC Champ Rd. 7: Martirosov-Riordan 1-0

This is the game that made it a tournament again. I'm not sure how much of this was theory, but White got into Black's Kingside with his heavy pieces fairly quickly. 20...Qc7 was the losing move though Black was already under significant pressure.

Martirosov,V (2270) - Riordan,C (2330) [B53]
BCC Championship (7), 2006.10.23

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Bd7 6.Bxc6 Bxc6 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Bg5 e6 9.0-0-0 Be7 10.Rhe1 0-0 11.e5 Bxf3 12.exf6 gxf6 13.Rd3 fxg5 14.Rxf3 d5 15.Rh3 Bf6 16.Qd3 Re8 17.Qxh7+ Kf8 18.Rf3 Rc8 19.Qh6+ Bg7 20.Qg6 Qc7 21.Nb5 Qe7 22.Nd6 Rc7 23.Rxf7+ Qxf7 24.Nxf7 Rxf7 25.Rxe6 Rc8 26.f3 Rfc7 27.Re2 1-0

Saturday, November 04, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 7: MacIntyre-Cherniack 1-0

Alex essays another obscure line in the French, 5...b6 vs. the Winawer. However, Paul is able to build up overwhelming force on the Kingside and then break through with 27.e6.

MacIntyre,P (2334) - Cherniack,A (2264) [C16]
BCC Championship (7), 2006.10.23

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 b6 5.a3 Bf8 6.g3 Ne7 7.Bh3 Ba6 8.Nce2 c5 9.c3 Qd7 10.Nf3 Nbc6 11.0-0 Ng6 12.Be3 Be7 13.Nd2 Na5 14.b4 Nc4 15.Nxc4 Bxc4 16.f4 cxd4 17.cxd4 0-0 18.f5 exf5 19.Bxf5 Qb5 20.Rf2 a5 21.bxa5 bxa5 22.h4 a4 23.h5 Nh8 24.Nf4 Bg5 25.Qg4 Bxf4 26.Bxf4 Ra6 27.e6 fxe6 28.Bxe6+ Rxe6 29.Qxe6+ Nf7 30.Re1 Qb7 31.Bd6 1-0