Saturday, September 30, 2006

Championship Standings after Round 3

2006 BCC Championship

3.0 - FM Chase
2.5 - FM MacIntyre, NM Riordan
2.0 - NM Cherniack, Times
1.5 - NM Martirosov, NM Krasik
0.0 - Williams, Salomon, Rihel

Key 4th Round Matchup: Chase-Riordan

2006 Hauptturnier

Note: Since there are only nine players in the Hauptturnier, one receives a bye each week. Therefore, not all players have played the same number of games through three rounds. To adjust for this, the rankings below are based on the ratio of points earned to games played, not absolute points earned.

2.0/2 - Glickman
2.5/3 - Clayton, Iglesias
2.0/3 - Lee
1.5/3 - Driscoll, Gorczyca
0.0/2 - Oresick, Hager
0.0/3 - Frazier

Key 4th Round Matchup: Lee-Glickman

BCC Champ Rd. 2: Krasik-Rihel 1-0

Krasik sacrifices two pawns in the opening for a dominating position. This game was discussed earlier in the comments to another post. I've moved the relevant thread here.

Krasik,I (2202) - Rihel,J (1953) [A45]
BCC Championship (2), 18.09.2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 c5 4.f3 Qa5+ 5.c3 Nf6 6.d5 Qb6 7.e4 Qxb2 8.Nd2 d6 9.Nc4 Qxc3+ 10.Bd2 Qd4 11.Rc1 Nxe4 12.fxe4 Qxe4+ 13.Ne3 e5 14.Nf3 Be7 15.Bb5+ Kf8 16.0-0 Qg6 17.Ba4 Bd7 18.Bc2 e4 19.Kh1 Ke8 20.Rb1 b5 21.Qe1 f5 22.Nh4 Bxh4 23.Qxh4 Rf8 24.Bd1 Qf6 25.Qxh7 g6 26.Ng4 Qf7 27.Qh4 Qe7 28.Bg5 fxg4 29.Re1 Qe5 30.Bc2 Bf5 31.Bxe4 Kd7 32.Bd3 Qxd5 33.Qh7+ Kc8 34.Qe7 Bxd3 35.Qxf8+ Kb7 36.Re7+ Nd7 37.Rxd7+ Ka6 1-0

BCC Champ Rd. 2: Chase-Williams 1-0

Chase outplays Williams in the endgame.

Chase,C (2292) - Williams,C (2186) [A07]
BCC Championship (2), 18.09.2006

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 c6 4.0-0 Bg4 5.d3 Nbd7 6.Nbd2 e5 7.h3 Bh5 8.e4 Bc5 9.Qe1 dxe4 10.dxe4 0-0 11.Nb3 Bb6 12.a4 a5 13.Bd2 Bxf3 14.Bxf3 Qc7 15.Be3 Rfe8 16.Bxb6 Qxb6 17.Qc3 Qb4 18.Qxb4 axb4 19.Rfd1 Ra7 20.Be2 Kf8 21.a5 Ke7 22.f3 Rb8 23.Bc4 Rba8 24.Kf2 b6 25.axb6 Nxb6 26.Rxa7+ Rxa7 27.Be2 Nfd7 28.f4 f6 29.Ke3 Ra2 30.Rb1 Na4 31.Na5 Kd6 32.Nc4+ Kc7 33.Bd3 Ndb6 34.fxe5 fxe5 35.Kd2 b3 36.Rf1 Nxc4+ 37.Bxc4 Nc5 38.Rf7+ Kb6 39.Rxg7 Nxe4+ 40.Kd3 Nc5+ 41.Kc3 bxc2 42.Kxc2 Ra7 43.Rxa7 Kxa7 44.g4 h6 45.h4 Ne4 46.Bd3 Ng3 47.Kd2 e4 48.Bc4 1-0

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Tale of Two Matches

There is no question that watching a US Chess League match live online is a far different experience than reviewing the results and games the next day. Consider last Wednesday's matchup between the Boston Blitz and the Carolina Cobras. The Thursday morning quarterback checks the website and thinks, "Ho-hum. The two GMs won their games and Krasik had a nice attacking win to secure the match. No real surprises here. Let's see who we are going to beat next week." But Blitz fans who watched the match live on the ICC, listened to the commentary on, checked out Globular's aborted live blogging report, and read the kibitzers comments had a significantly more stressful experience.

It all began after IM Milman played 20.Qxh7 against GM Christiansen. On, GM Akobian said something to the effect of, "All Milman has to do is push his h-pawn down to the eighth rank and he wins. That will take him 5 moves, so that's how long Larry has to breakthrough on the Queenside. And I don't see how he can do that." The kibitzers were throwing out lines indicating that an immediate a3 or b3 wasn't going to achieve much. Then one suggested d5 saying, "It's probably the best option in a bad situation." Was Christiansen actually in trouble? I checked out Globular's Blog:

Larry just made me feel better by admitting while outside for a smoke that "It's a wild one. I don't understand what's going on."

Larry doesn't know what's going on?! My god, could he actually be losing? Well, it's not the end of world. Remember when he lost to Charbonneau and the rest of team won all their games? It could happen again.

So I checked out the other boards. GM Perelshteyn had the two bishops and was looking fine against FM Hoekstra. Vadim's position looked tough against NM Jones, but it was still early. On Board 4, Ilya's opponent was trying to make the case that development isn't as important as everyone says -- after 12.Nc4, NM Kirby had only one piece not on the first rank and he used his next three moves to get his Knight from e8 to a6!

Then on Board 2 the following moves were played: 30...Ne2+ 31.Kh1 Ng3+ 32.Kg1 Ne2+. Had Eugene fallen into a perpetual? What if the Blitz only get a half point from the top boards? Krasik looked fine, but Martirosov had long term problems -- bad bishop vs. good knight -- and White's outpost on d5 was unassailable. Could Boston actually lose this match after I'd gone out on a limb in my earlier post? How were those words going taste on the way down?

Thankfully, none of these fears came true. Perelshteyn continued the game with 33.Kf2 and while 35...Qd2+ looked scary to me, Eugene had everything under control and won the ending with his passed d-pawn. Milman couldn't find Akobian's 5-move winning plan (I wonder if Varuzhan could have if he was sitting in front of the White pieces?) and eventually Larry's attack broke through. It was 2-0 for the Blitz on the top boards, just like everyone had expected before the match began.

Krasik sealed the Cobras fate by punishing Kirby for his lack of development. An attack on the Kingside yielded the exchange and then several pawns. The Queens came off and Black's position was easily resignable. But Kirby played on, so Ilya traded off all the remaining pieces, including giving back the exchange to reach a King and Pawn ending any 1300 player could have won (even while playing online poker at the same time). Still, Kirby played on. Commissioner Shahade commented that surely "Krasik will complain about his opponent not resigning such a position." I'm going to save Ilya the trouble:

NM Kirby, there's no picture of you on the USCL website so I can't tell if you are actually ten years old. If you are, at least that would explain why you played the end of the game as if you were in a scholastic tournament and couldn't know for sure whether your opponent knew how to mate with King and Queen (yes, I know the game didn't actually get quite that far, but between two masters the end position in this game is essentially no different). Let's show some respect for your opponent, and for the game, next time.

On Board 3, Martirosov hung on for quite awhile and even looked to be making some headway on the Kingside. However, it was inevitable that an endgame would be reached and White's superior piece and position would prevail.

The Blitz won 3-1 and moved to 5-0 for the season. It was quite an exciting match to watch even if the result seemed predictable the next day.

Every silver cloud has its dark lining

Frequent readers of The 64 Square Jungle may come away with the notion that there is nothing better for young minds than healthy chess competition. While that's certainly true for many kids, we rarely hear the perspectives of those who did not find competitive success and for whom tournament chess became a life-defeating, not life-affirming, event.

The worst feeling in the world is finding out you’re not as special as you think you are.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Maybe we should start calling it the BCL

I know we are a little bit self-occupied up here in the northeast, what with all that Boston - Hub of the Universe stuff. Nevertheless, it seems that every conversation about the USCL ends up being about Boston and the Blitz.

Here are some excerpts from Commissioner Shahade's interview with San Francisco Mechanics IM Benedict Arnold ... er, I mean, Josh Friedel:

2. In Boston you are considered to be an arch-villain, having left the Boston Blitz to play for the San Francisco Mechanics in one of the biggest free-agent moves of the offseason. Why did you move across the nation? How does it feel to be so despised by such a large city?

Please. I lived near Boston for over 19 years, and the only thing I fear there are the drivers. Also, as you can see by their record, the Blitz hardly need me. In fact, they paid me more to leave this year than to play last year!

4. Ok let's get more serious, talk to us about the league. What teams/players have impressed you the most?

I have one word for everyone. Ilya Krasik (That's two words - editor's note). The guy is amazing. They should put him on board 1 instead of board 4, switching him up for that Joker LarryC. Rxe4? Did anyone see that? True, d5 was most likely easily winning, but that Krasik had to play Rxe4 just to show to the world he's a badass.

6. Tell us the difference between the team and match atmosphere in Boston and San Francisco.

The support in both places was amazing. In Boston, I had the treat of driving through downtown Natick to get to the match. That really prepped my head. Also, having come all prepared for my game, I'd have LarryC tell me to play this random, unsound piece sacrifice instead....

And what do you suppose is the centerpiece of Chessville's most recent article on the USCL? Ilya Krasik's Week 3 Game of the Week.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Chris Chase win streak stops at 20 games

My favorite baseball statistical feats are the streaks -- hitting streaks, scoreless inning streaks, winning streaks. So, looking over the crosstables of the BCC chess club, I happened to notice that Chris Chase has had an impressive September run of 20 consecutive wins, including his 3 wins in the BCC championship. This streak was broken by a draw against Foygel in the last round at the Metrowest tournament. During this time, Chris has captured first place in 5 tournaments in a row, a streak that is still alive. During this time, he has beaten 8 experts and 2 masters. Not too bad.

Now, what I would really like to know is -- what is the longest BCC win streak we know about? How about tournament wins? We can include only events held at the BCC if you want, or include results from other tournaments (like at the MCC). Anyone have any insight? I took a quick peek through old crosstables of usual suspects, but this is not so easy to do without more research.

Quick! Trademark the initials

I don't think many of us worry about people thinking that "BCC" stands for the Biloxi Chess Club, or Burlington, Burlingame, Bend, Boynton or Bremerton for that matter. But this might prove to be a real threat -- Drawing The Lines' Neil G. is taking a hand in resurrecting the historic Brooklyn Chess Club.

Check out their new website (the webcam is a pretty cool idea!).

Wamala waives probable cause hearing

A Lowell High School math teacher declined to appear in Nashua District Court on Tuesday and waived his right to probable cause or bail hearings on the 30 felony sexual assault charges against him.

Severine Wamala ... has been jailed since his arrest Sept. 12, unable to post $1 million bail....

Wamala had been scheduled for a probable cause hearing Tuesday in Nashua District Court, at which prosecutors must show a judge they have enough evidence to support the charges. Wamala and his lawyer, public defender Scott Rankin, also could have argued to reduce his bail, but opted to waive the hearing entirely.

Wamala’s case now will be sent along to the Hillsborough County Attorney’s office to be presented to a grand jury in Hillsborough County Superior Court.

Lowell High School Math Department Chairman Severine Wamala, accused of 30 counts of rape and incest, refused to face the cameras yesterday in Nashua District Court.

Wamala, 45, waived his right to a probable-cause hearing, choosing not to appear beside his attorney Scott Rankin, a New Hampshire public defender.

Rankin told the judge his client did not want to appear publicly in court, but had waived his right to a hearing that would have forced the district attorney to outline the charges against Wamala and the evidence linking him to the crimes....

Two young women sat quietly in the back of the court room during proceedings, accompanied by two representatives from Bridges, a Nashua-based nonprofit agency dedicated to helping victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

They were the only people in the courtroom gallery at the time of Wamala's hearing, excluding members of the media.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 1: Martirosov-Chase 0-1

A tough game for Vadim who had the advantage more than once and certainly wasn't losing on the board when he lost on time.

Martirosov,V (2270) - Chase,C (2292) [B15]
BCC Championship (1), 15.09.2006

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.h3 Nf6 6.e5 Ne4 7.Nxe4 dxe4 8.Ng5 c5 9.c3 cxd4 10.cxd4 Nc6 11.Be3 Qa5+ 12.Qd2 Qxd2+ 13.Kxd2 0-0 14.Bc4 h6 15.Nxe4 Rd8 16.Kc3 Bf5 17.Ng3 Rac8 18.Nxf5 gxf5 19.a4 f4 20.Bxf4 Nxd4 21.Rhe1 Nc2 22.Bg3 Nxa1 23.Rxa1 b6 24.b3 a6 25.Kb4 e6 26.Bxa6 Bf8+ 27.Kb5 Rc2 28.Kxb6 Rb8+ 29.Bb7 Bc5+ 30.Ka6 Rc3 31.Rb1 Bb4 32.Kb6 Rcc8 33.Bf4 Bc5+ 34.Ka6 Rc7 35.Rc1 Rcxb7 36.Rxc5 Rb6+ 37.Ka5 Rxb3 38.Rb5 Ra8+ 39.Kb6 Ra3 40.a5 Rb8+ 41.Kc5 Rc8+ 42.Kb4 Rac3 43.Rb8 Rxb8+ 44.Kxc3 Rb5 45.Bxh6 Rxa5 46.Kd4 Kh7 47.Be3 Ra4+ 48.Kd3 Rh4 49.Bg5 Ra4 50.Be3 Rh4 51.f4 Kg6 52.Ke4 Rh8 53.Kf3 Rh4 54.Bf2 Rh8 55.h4 Rb8 56.g4 Rb3+ 57.Be3 Ra3 58.h5+ Kg7 59.f5 exf5 60.gxf5 Ra4 61.Bf4 Ra1 62.h6+ Kh7 63.Kg4 Rg1+ 64.Kh5 Rg2 65.Bg5 Re2 66.Bf4 Rg2 67.Kh4 Rf2 68.Kg3 Ra2 69.Bg5 Ra6 70.Kf4 Ra4+ 71.Kf3 Rc4 72.Ke3 0-1 on time.

Playing chess at work

One area of competition which gets little to no coverage in the mainstream chess press is Corporate Challenges. Wouldn't it be great if your boss asked you to represent the company in a chess tournament and gave you work time to use for training and preparation?

In this post from Deloitte in Malaysia, they profile their chess team and discuss its prospects in an upcoming tournament. Those PriceWaterhouseCoopers weenies better watch out!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Boston Blitz Notebook

Boston Blitz logo
The US Chess League website notes that the Washington Times published an article covering the league. While that is technically true, it would be more accurate to say that the piece reported on the Boston Blitz. The article is entitled "Boston blitzes into lead" and starts out as follows:
The Red Sox may be fading, but the Blitz are doing their best to uphold Boston's honor in the never-ending rivalry with New York.

The second season of the U.S. Chess League is in full swing after a highly promising inaugural campaign won by the Baltimore Kingfishers. The Boston Blitz, anchored by GMs Larry Christiansen and Eugene Perelshteyn, have taken the early lead in the tough Eastern Division by winning their first four matches.
The article also offers annotations to Ilya Krasik's Game of the Week win over New York's FM Privman.

Sure, some of the other teams in the league are mentioned in passing, but you can easily skip over those parts. :)
Globular's Blog announced the Blitz's intent to bring out the double-barreled shotgun line-up this week. While one can hardly complain about a team with two GMs at the top, I was wondering if Carolina might counter with a balanced line-up that could offer them significant rating advantages on the lower boards. Unfortunately for them, their roster doesn't really offer that kind of option.

As a result, this week's matchups look quite favorable for the Blitz (Boston has White on Boards 2 & 4):

GM Larry Christiansen - 2633 vs. IM Lev Milman - 2523
GM Eugene Perelshteyn - 2614 vs. FM Matthew Hoekstra - 2401
NM Vadim Martirosov - 2259 vs. NM Craig Jones - 2280
NM Ilya Krasik - 2162 vs. NM John Kirby - 2222

While anything can happen when the games are played on Wednesday evening, it's difficult to see in advance how the Cobras win this match. Even if they manage to nick one of the GMs for a draw, it seems highly unlikely that they could shutout Vadim and Ilya on the lower boards.

Well, now that I've gone out on a limb, let's hope the team doesn't do anything that would force me to eat my words.

Update #2: The two "official" USCL prognosticators pick Boston 2.5-1.5 and 3-1 respectively.
Clint Ballard began the silliness by claiming that having a non-Master team manager was the key to success in the USCL. Now Jen Shahade suggests that the great starts of Boston, Seattle and San Francisco can be attributed to the fact that each team receives full-time coverage in the chess blogosphere. To improve the prospects of her team, the New York Knights, she has committed to posting about them every week.

Of course, it's not hard to poke holes in Jen's theory -- just consider the Blitz's 2005 campaign or this 2006 example. Boston should be in excellent shape to capture the division title if New York's comeback strategy depends on voodoo.

Do top collegiate athletes go to class?

I went to college at a Division 1 Hockey school. It should come as no surprise that we often speculated about whether the players actually took classes, particularly because they weren't in any of ours. Our suspicions were further raised by the fact that many of them were Québécois and, as far as we knew, the school didn't offer any classes taught in French.

While these kinds of concerns are probably prevalent at many major universities, I'm happy to report that we now have anecdotal evidence that it's not a problem at one of the Division 1 Chess schools.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker

Those of you with a copy of the September issue of Chess Life can turn to page 42 for "G8 Predecessors Win Amateur Team Championships" by CJA Chess Journalist of the Year Pete Tamburro. The article covers the improbable run of four Boylston Chess Club members who won the 2006 US Amateur Team Championship. The piece includes a picture of the team at the club, but regrettably, the associated caption at the end of page 43 does not list the team members in the correct order. For the record, left to right in the picture are Charlie Mays, NM Alex Cherniack, Lawyer Times and NM Charles Riordan.

To me, one of the most interesting aspects of the article were the mentions of the jobs three of the four players hold. While I've been involved with the club for many years and know these guys and many other members pretty well, I must admit that I don't know that much about what most do outside of chess.

I know we have one member who is in the construction business since his name always comes up every time we talk about doing something structural to our space. A few work at local universities -- a Dean, a Librarian, a Researcher, and probably others. There are several lawyers who come in handy when we need to renegotiate our lease, and at least one MD whose services were actually required during a tournament some years back.

As for the G8 Predecessors, the article states that in addition to the GM-killer on Board 1, the team was comprised of a technical writer, a postal worker, and a homeless shelter counselor.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Chess. Not Chess.

Thom Lawrence and his friends found traditional chess a bit too limiting and frustrating, so they introduced five new rules to spice things up.
  1. Shuffling
  2. Kamikaze Kings
  3. Limited Pawn Moves
  4. Taking Your Own Pieces
  5. Stacked Castles
Now you might think that these are just variations on variants you are already familiar with (and maybe they are), but it's not quite that simple. For example Shuffling is not quite the same as FischerRandom:

...we chucked our pieces on the desk and then sorted them: the leftmost would be placed on the A-file, the rightmost on the H-file. Pretty random, although your Queen likes to roll a long way so usually ends up on the A- or H-file.

And, I'm not familiar with any precedent for Kamikaze Kings:

At any time, a player may attempt to flick his king into his opponent's. If it knocks the king over without harming any innocent minions, the game is stalemated. Otherwise the flicker loses.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Blitz ride tactical oversight to another win

While most of us are taught not to take pleasure in the misfortune of others, it's going to be hard for many class players not to take at least a bit of solace from the fact that even experienced Masters can make absolute howlers now and then. One such blunder by Philadelphia's FM Rogers turned a tight US Chess League match between the Masterminds and the Blitz into a relatively easy win for Boston.

Continuing this season's trend, the Blitz let their opponents take the early lead. On Board 2, IM Costigan played a strange set-up against FM Winer's e6-Sicilian involving b3 and Bd3 (perhaps it might be called the hybrid Kopec/Queenside Fianchetto variation?). After weakening the dark squares around his King, failing to break a pin and getting his minor pieces lined up on the d-file facing doubled rooks, Winer fell victim to a nice combination/mating attack.

Further up the line, Philadelphia's newest player FM Smith was no match for GM Perelshteyn. Facing the King's Indian, Eugene won a key central pawn (a d-pawn of the passed variety), traded down into an ending and pushed the passer right down his opponents throat -- a remarkably efficient display.

With the match tied at 1-1, the outcomes on the lower boards would prove decisive. On Board 4, NM Martirosov countered NM Wilson with the Exchange Variation of the Gruenfeld. Vadim managed to win a pawn and trade down to a Rook and Bishops of opposite colors ending. However, before the whispers of "MVP" could reach an audible level, the Rooks were exchanged and the game petered out into a dead draw. Perhaps Martirosov might have taken more risks by keeping the Rooks on if things had not been going so well on Board 3 by this time?

And so, we've arrived at the game which undoubtedly left Philadelphia fans scratching their heads. An Accelerated Dragon (by transposition), NM Riordan seemed to be building a nice initiative around move 15. However, he didn't seem to be able to do much with it and by move 25, he may have been better but not decisively so. In the meantime, Charles had managed to get into significant time trouble with about two minutes remaining for the rest of the game (plus, importantly, a 30 second increment per move). All the talk in the gallery was about how Riordan often gets into time pressure before finishing off his opponents. One kibitzer claimed it was an intentional strategy on his part.

Intentional or not, time may well have played a role in what happened next. Perhaps FM Rogers was trying to keep the pressure on Charles by moving quickly himself or maybe he just had a moment of tactical blindness. In any case, with 30...Rf6 he sacrificed a Knight for a checkmate that wasn't there. Riordan took the piece, defended the mate threat, dispatched his opponent and won the match for Boston 2.5-1.5. This outcome was certainly a disappointment for the Masterminds who otherwise had very good chances to at least draw the match.

For the Blitz the win brings them to 4-0 for the season, now two match wins ahead of their nearest competitors in the Eastern Division. Next week they look to continue their winning streak against the Carolina Cobras.

My name is John Doe

Now, I always thought that the author of Chess News & Events had an appropriately unique and obscure name given that he came from a place most us know little about (except when we decide to use their cities and bridges for target practice). Instead, it turns out that there was little chance that a Serbian chess blog could be written by someone with a different name.

Serbia has this weird thing: 47.8% of the men are named Goran .... in Belgrade phone list you can find 75,976 Urosevic, G. .... In his first year of school there were 17 Gorans in his class. Our hero arrived in School, said "Hi, Goran!" and 16 other boys answered "Hi, Goran!" .... there are 25,324 Urosevic, G. registered in Serbian Chess Federation.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 1: Rihel-MacIntyre 0-1

Jason holds the balance with FM MacIntyre all the way into the endgame, but loses due to the previously mentioned underpromotion debacle.

Rihel,J (1953) - MacIntyre,P (2334) [C77]
BCC Championship (1), 11.09.2006

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.c3 g6 7.0-0 Bg7 8.Re1 0-0 9.d4 exd4 10.Nxd4 Bd7 11.Nd2 Re8 12.f3 d5 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.Bxc6 bxc6 15.exd5 Rxe1+ 16.Qxe1 cxd5 17.Nb3 a5 18.Be3 a4 19.Nc5 Qd6 20.Qf2 Nd7 21.Nxd7 Qxd7 22.Bd4 Qb5 23.Bxg7 Kxg7 24.Qd4+ Kg8 25.Re1 c6 26.Qd2 Rb8 27.Re2 Qc4 28.a3 c5 29.Kf2 d4 30.cxd4 cxd4 31.Re4 Rd8 32.Qe2 Qc6 33.Qd3 Qd6 34.g3 Qc5 35.Kg2 h5 36.Re2 Qd5 37.Re4 Kh7 38.Re7 Rb8 39.Re2 Kg7 40.Rd2 Rd8 41.Kf2 Kg8 42.Re2 Rb8 43.Rd2 Rb3 44.Qe4 Qxe4 45.fxe4 d3 46.Ke3 Kf8 47.h4 Ke7 48.Rxd3 Rxb2 49.Rd4 Rb3+ 50.Rd3 Rb5 51.Rd4 Ra5 52.Kf4 Ke6 53.Rb4 f6 54.Rb6+ Ke7 55.Rb7+ Kf8 56.Rb8+ Kg7 57.Rb7+ Kh6 58.Rb6 Rc5 59.Rxf6 Rc3 60.Rf7 Rxa3 61.Ra7 Ra1 62.e5 a3 63.e6 a2 64.e7 Rf1+ 65.Ke5 a1Q+ 66.Rxa1 Rxa1 67.Ke6 Kg7 68.e8N+ Kf8 69.Nd6 Ra6 70.Ke5 Ke7 71.Ne4 Ra5+ 72.Kf4 Ra4 73.Ke3 and Black won in a time scramble. 0-1

BCC Champ Rd. 1 : Times-Salomon 1-0

Black loses a pawn and then sacrifices the exchange for a perpetual check that isn't quite there.

Times,L (2139) - Salomon,B (2005) [E60]
BCC Championship (1), 13.09.2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.0-0 d6 6.c4 Qe8 7.Nc3 e5 8.Re1 Nc6 9.Nb5 Qe7 10.d5 Nb8 11.h3 a5 12.Be3 Na6 13.Rc1 Nd7 14.Qd2 b6 15.b3 Ndc5 16.Qc2 f5 17.a3 f4 18.gxf4 Bf5 19.Qc3 Ne4 20.Qb2 exf4 21.Bd4 Bh6 22.e3 Nac5 23.Rcd1 Ng5 24.Nxg5 Qxg5 25.exf4 Qd8 26.Qc3 Bxf4 27.Re2 a4 28.b4 Nb3 29.Bh8 Qd7 30.Nd4 Nxd4 31.Qxd4 Bh6 32.Rde1 Bg7 33.Bxg7 Qxg7 34.Qh4 Qf6 35.Qg3 Rf7 36.c5 bxc5 37.bxc5 Rb8 38.cxd6 Qxd6 39.Qc3 Rbf8 40.Rc1 Qf4 41.Rd1 Qd6 42.Rd4 Bd7 43.Rb4 h5 44.Rb7 Bc8 45.Rb4 Bd7 46.Qd2 Kh7 47.Qc1 Rf4 48.Rxf4 Rxf4 49.Rc2 Rf7 50.Rxc7 Qf6 51.Qe3 Qa1+ 52.Kh2 Qb2 53.h4 Qf6 54.Qg3 Kg7 55.d6 Qe6 56.Bh3 Rxf2+ 57.Qxf2 Qxh3+ 58.Kg1 Qg4+ 59.Kf1 Qd1+ 60.Kg2 Qg4+ 61.Qg3 Qe2+ 62.Kg1 Qd1+ 63.Kg2 Qe2+ 64.Qf2 Qg4+ 65.Kf1 Qd1+ 66.Qe1 Qf3+ 67.Kg1 Qg4+ 68.Kf2 Qxh4+ 69.Ke2 Qh2+ 70.Qf2 Qe5+ 71.Qe3 Qh2+ 72.Ke1 Qh1+ 73.Kd2 Qg2+ 74.Kc3 Qg4 75.Qd4+ Kh6 76.Qxg4 Bxg4 77.d7 Bxd7 78.Rxd7 h4 79.Kd3 Kg5 80.Ke3 Kg4 81.Kf2 Kh3 82.Rg7 Kh2 83.Rxg6 h3 84.Rh6 1-0

BCC Champ Rd. 1: Williams-Cherniack 0-1

I was sitting next to this board and saw all the craziness firsthand. The game was a French Tarrasch with the currently trendy 3...Be7. Alex allowed Chris to offer a well-known pawn sac by playing 8...Qb6 (a perfectly reasonable line) rather than the more recently popular moves 8...g5 or 8...a5. From there the game turned into a sac-fest with pieces flying everywhere.

Williams,C (2186) - Cherniack,A (2264) [C03]
BCC Championship (1), 11.09.2006

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Be7 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bd3 c5 7.c3 Nc6 8.0-0 Qb6 9.Re1 cxd4 10.cxd4 Nxd4 11.Nxd4 Qxd4 12.Nf3 Qb6 13.Qa4 Qb4 14.Qc2 Nc5 15.Bxh7 g6 16.Bxg6 fxg6 17.Qxg6+ Kd7 18.Bd2 Qc4 19.Qg7 Re8 20.Rac1 Qb5 21.Nd4 Qxb2 22.Be3 b6 23.Qg4 Bb7 24.Re2 Qb4 25.Rec2 Rg8 26.Qh3 Rh8 27.Rxc5 Rxh3 28.Rc7+ Ke8 29.gxh3 Rc8 30.Rxc8+ Bxc8 31.Rxc8+ Kd7 32.Rc6 Bc5 0-1

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Out-thinking yourself

Later this week I'll be putting up Round 1 games from the Championship and Hauptturnier. In the meantime, Jason Rihel couldn't wait to share the humorously, disastrous end to his game with FM Paul MacIntyre.

Rihel-MacIntyre Initial Position

Jason, playing White, was ready to promote his e-pawn. Panic set in as he analyzed that after 1.e8=Q Re1+ 2.Kd7 Rxe8 3.Kxe8 he would lose the ensuing endgame due to the poor position of his King. With the seconds ticking away, he searched frantically for another idea and hit upon the notion of underpromotion. If he promoted with check, then Black couldn't force the King and Pawn ending he was so worried about. So, Jason played 1.e8=N+. Of course as the game progressed, the Knight was no match for Paul's Rook and Jason eventually went down to defeat. Not so bad, Jason thought. He got to underpromote for the first time in a tournament game and at least it was better than going down quickly with 1.e8=Q.

Turns out that there was one small problem -- that King and Pawn ending he was so concerned about?

Rihel-MacIntyre analysis after 3.Kxe8

It's a draw!!

Putting 2 and 2 together

Several weeks back an experimental theatre group moved in across the hall from the club. Early on we had a few problems with them since their primary activity seemed to consist of loud group yelling and grunting sessions. Fortunately a couple of conversations with the landlord and with them appears to have amicably addressed our concerns.

In any case, when I arrived at the club at about 6:15 pm last evening, I noticed several members of the theatre group milling about in the hallway. Since there was still 45 minutes to go until games were scheduled to begin, the club was fairly empty. Charles Riordan was sitting at a board in the main playing room reading; I headed into the back room and started talking with Bernardo.

A few moments later one of the aspiring thespians peeked into the playing room, looked around a bit and said, "You sure have a lot of chess tables in here."

"Yes," Charles replied, "We've managed to collect quite a few over the years."

Mr. Perceptive followed up, "Wow! Is this like some kind of chess club or something?"

Bernardo and I could barely contain ourselves.

New York Jets play the Italian Game

From "Jets Building From Ground Up" at the Hartford (CT) Courant:
Chess masters have been producing and refining their opening moves for centuries. In the game of strategy and stamina, the earliest moves sometimes have the greatest repercussions.

One of the earliest openings, and still one of the most popular, is called Giuoco Piano. Devised in the 15th century, it literally translates to "the quiet game" and eschews flashy arrogance for patient discipline.

When Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Eric Mangini approached their first NFL draft as ultimate decision-makers, they probably did not reference the famed Encyclopedia of Chess Openings, which catalogs thousands of early maneuvers. But when they used their No. 4 overall pick to take offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson from Virginia - skipping past former Heisman Trophy quarterback Matt Leinart as well as a chance to trade up for Heisman Trophy running back Reggie Bush - the quiet game was in full effect.
It's still too early to tell how the Jets are going to do this season. Though, in the meantime, let's not tell them that 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5, as often as not, leads to a lively struggle.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Seattle's Ballard Looks East

US Chess League Commissioner IM Greg Shahade interviewed Seattle Slugger's Team Manager Clint Ballard. Here are a few excerpts that may be of interest to Boston Blitz fans and BCC Weblog readers:

7. Tell us your thoughts about your top 2 players, GM Serper and IM Orlov. Do you ever plan on using them both in the same match?

Having both Orlov and Serper on the team is like having two GM's on the team and allows us to matchup against any other team, even Boston's Christiansen/Perelshteyn duo....

Drinking a double shot of half-caf espresso is like having a double espresso, but it isn't having a double espresso, is it?

9. Aside from Seattle of course, which team do you think is the strongest team in the league?

Certainly Boston, the only other team with only 1 draw so far and a non-master manager, is one of the teams I wouldn't be surprised to meet in the finals. However, if Baltimore beats them in week 6, then anything can happen. If they don't how can anybody else in the East catch up to them?...

No doubt Matt will agree that having a non-Master manager is the primary driver of Boston's success this season.

And finally, where do you suppose Greg might have come up with this question?
8. What are the chances that there will be cheerleaders at a Sluggers match this season?

Until the games are televised, I don't really see the need for cheerleaders, plus it could distract our players. I was thinking of setting up a webcast from the other room that the other teams could watch :)

Line-ups for this week's match against the Philadelphia Masterminds are out and, on paper at least, the Blitz look to be in good shape to maintain their unbeaten streak (Boston has White on Boards 1 & 3):

GM Eugene Perelshteyn (2614) vs. FM Bryan Smith (2442)

FM Steven Winer (2422) vs. IM Richard Costigan (2287)

NM Charles Riordan (2283) vs. FM Norman Rogers (2270)

NM Vadim Martirosov (2259) vs. NM Elvin Wilson (2240)

Current BCC Champion Charles Riordan makes his 2006 debut and giant-killer Vadim Martirosov drops down from Board 3 to 4.

The Eastern Goldfinch Attack

Not [even] popular as...playing chess, but...can be fun.

That's what The George Report has to say about bird watching.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Blitz's Krasik wins Best Game honors

US Chess League correspondent NM Arum Sharma has selected NM Ilya Krasik's win over FM Privman as the Week 3 Game of the Week. Moves like 17...Rxe4!? are sure to get the attention of spectators, especially when followed up by strong endgame play to secure the point.

FM Privman - NM Krasik after 17...Rxe4!?

No one has yet mentioned what would have happened if White took the Rook, perhaps because it might be obvious to really good players. For the rest of us, here is some analysis from Fritz: 18.fxe4 Nxe4 19.Qc2 (if 19.Qe2, the computer announces mate in 11 beginning with Bh6+) Nxc3 20.Nxc3 Bh6+ 21.Rd2 Qa1+ 22.Qb1 Bxd2+ 23.Kd1 Qxb2 -+.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Notetakers, your days are numbered

Don't celebrate yet, but we're almost there!

The USCF has proposed adopting the new FIDE standard on recording moves only after they have been made on the board.

Update: According to Globular, the change has been approved and will be effective on January 1, 2007.

Hat Tip: Java Joe

Related Posts: Surprise! Surprise! - Notetakers Rejoice! - No writing moves in advance at the US Championship! - Put your pen down ...

A man after my own heart (and stomach)

GM Lubomir Kavalek talks about chess and smoked salmon.

Hat Tip: Chessology

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Moving the line

Given this piece at Chessbase (WARNING: R-rated material), I think it no longer makes sense for people to give Clint Ballard a hard time about using bikini-clad models to promote chess.

More on the Wamala case

From CBS4 Boston: Two video reports including footage from the bail hearing (upper right side of the page).

For Massachusetts chess lovers, Severine E. Wamala was a beacon, organizing local tourneys that drew internationally ranked masters to play the game that the Ugandan immigrant revered.

Lowell High School students knew the 45-year-old math teacher as a nattily dressed taskmaster who insisted on excellence and could explode in rage when he caught students slacking off. Earlier this month, he was named head of Lowell High's math department.

But for three young women, New Hampshire police and prosecutors said yesterday, Wamala was a terror.

Authorities allege he repeatedly sexually assaulted and molested the women, who range in age from 15 to 23. One victim said Wamala began assaulting her when she was 10, police and prosecutors said....

Wamala, who recently moved to Nashua from Lowell, told police he gave the alleged victims "special hugs" and extra affection, but never engaged in sexual activity with them, according to court documents....

Court documents say some of the alleged assaults happened at an August 2005 chess conference in Phoenix....

...Wamala had a misdemeanor conviction in 1993....

From the Nashua (NH) Telegraph:

Wamala also has an extensive history of arrests for "serious family-related charges" in the early 1990s in Lowell including stalking and restraining order violations, police prosecutor Eden Gallant told Judge Paul Moore....

"His family is in fear," she said....

Wamala asked to apply for a court-appointed lawyer, and said he will dispute the current charges, describing himself as "a law-abiding person."

"I know I’m going to be vindicated," he said....

Wamala’s 16-year-old son called police later Monday night, soon after one of the victims disclosed the alleged abuse to him, according to police reports filed in court. The victim later told police Wamala first raped her when she was 10 years old, police reported.

As detectives continued to investigate, two other victims also described frequent assaults, police reported....

This is just unbelievable, and unbelievably sad.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Please tell me this is some mistake

I hear stories like this all the time, but thankfully I never know the accused or the alleged victims. Not this time...
NASHUA, N.H. --A high school math teacher and prominent chess player has been arrested on felony rape and incest charges.

Severine Wamala, 45, of Nashua, faces 19 counts of incest and 11 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, Detective Lt. Richard Sprankle said. Wamala heads the math department at Lowell High School in Lowell, Mass.

Wamala was arrested Tuesday and was being held on $1 million cash bail while awaiting arraignment Wednesday in Nashua District Court, Sprankle said. Each of the 30 charges carries a maximum of 10 to 20 years in prison.

Wamala is accused of sexually assaulting three young women, ranging in age from their teens to early 20s, Sprankle said.

Nashua police began investigating him after getting a report of the alleged abuse Monday night, Sprankle said. Lowell police also are investigating, Sprankle said.

In addition to teaching, Wamala also organizes NorthEast Chess tournaments around the region, and runs the high schools chess club. His daughter and two sons all are nationally ranked chess players, according to various chess Web sites.

Wamala is a native of Uganda who became a U.S. citizen after immigrating in 1988 to get his doctorate at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, the Boston Globe has reported.
I know Severine. He and his family are members of the club. He comes by the BCC and the Metrowest Club all the time. I've played him; I've played his kids (in fact, his daughter took a nice chunk of my rating points away back in April). I've played in his tournaments.

I'm shocked; I hope it's some mistake. I keep reminding myself, "innocent until proven guilty." I'm still shocked.

We don't care about no stinkin' ratings

If someone told me before Monday night's US Chess League match between the Boston Blitz and the New York Knights that GM Charbonneau was going to beat GM Christiansen again with the Black pieces, I would have told them that Boston had no chance to win the match. I would have been wrong. While most of the names and faces on this year's team are the same as 2005, the 2006 edition of the Blitz bears no resemblance to its predecessor. Last year's team often snatched defeat from the jaws of victory; this year, they refuse to lose (or even draw for that matter).

Christiansen's loss on Board 1 turned out to be of no consequence, as the Blitz rolled up wins on all three other boards. While this was of no surprise on Board 2 with GM Perelshteyn holding a significant rating advantage over his opponent, I don't think anybody expected the Blitz to go 2-0 on the lower boards where they were facing rating disadvantages. Boston's team manager Matt Phelps has been saying for awhile that he has underrated players on the lower boards. This match will undoubtedly be Exhibit #1 when he lays out his case. For Vadim Martirosov, this makes him 2-0 for the season against higher rated opposition on Board 3; none of his future opponents will be taking him lightly.

Since I didn't get to watch the match live, I don't know in what order the games were completed or whether there were any other interesting dynamics or events which occurred outside the moves themselves. As such, I'm offering links to games below with relatively brief commentary. If you are looking for more, Globular has promised an insider's report in the near future.

Board 1: GM Christiansen-GM Charbonneau 0-1

A Sicilian in which Black seemed to equalize quite quickly. Black won White's e-pawn on move 24 and nursed his extra pawn all the way to victory in a Bishop and Pawn ending.

Board 2: FM Hess-GM Perelshteyn 0-1

A King's Indian where White seemed to develop his Knights rather passively (on d2 and e2). Black applied Kingside pressure, opened up White's King position and finished things off nicely with a Rook sacrifice.

Board 3: NM Martirosov-NM Molner 1-0

A Pirc which looked a lot like a hedgehog by move 11. White blasted away in the center, won an exchange with a nice combination and used the extra material to win an endgame.

Board 4: FM Privman-NM Krasik 0-1

A Saemisch King's Indian in which White won (Black sacrificed?) a pawn on move 14. White then seemed to make an error by castling queenside into a ready made attack. Black won his pawn back and then offered a rook sacrifice, 17...Rxe4, which White declined (what would have happened after 18.fxe4?). After an exchange of Queens, Black was able to bring strong pressure to bear on a backward pawn on the half-open b-file. The game reached a rook ending where Black had the further outside passed pawn. Whether it was a won position or not I'm not sure, but 45.c5 was definitely a bad move which gave Black a clear winning plan.

So, Boston defeated New York 3-1 and is now 3-0 to start the season. Next victim: Philadelphia (a rematch of week 2)
Those of you who read the USCL website are probably aware that they have correspondents who try to predict the results in advance. What you may not know, is that the chess blogosphere offers an independent prognosticator. See how JG stacks up against his "official" competitors.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

BCC Championship Participants

Last night the 2006 Boylston Chess Club Championship kicked off. Here are the ten players competing for this year's crown:
  1. FM Paul MacIntyre (2334)
  2. NM Charles Riordan (2330)
  3. FM Chris Chase (2292)
  4. NM Vadim Martirosov (2270)
  5. NM Alex Cherniack (2264)
  6. NM Ilya Krasik (2202)
  7. Chris Williams (2186)
  8. Lawyer Times (2139)
  9. Brian Salomon (2005)
  10. Jason Rihel (1953)
The participants include:
Over on the junior circuit, nine players are competing in this year's Hauptturnier:
  1. David Glickman (1991)
  2. Kyle Clayton (1939)
  3. Jonathan Lee (1801)
  4. Walter Driscoll (1732)
  5. Bernardo Iglesias (1717)
  6. Frank Frazier (1707)
  7. Robert Oresick (1600)
  8. Ted Gorzcyca (1494)
  9. Greg Hager (959)
Both tournaments are single round robins with a time control of 30/90, SD/45.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Steal This Blog!

From "Burglars are on a par with 'expert' pilots" at The Observer UK:
Burglars are so good at robbing people's houses they deserve to be regarded as experts in their field on a par with pilots, academics have concluded.

They go about their business with such speed and efficiency they should be classed along with those who perform complicated tasks automatically, such as musicians and chess players, according to Claire Nee and Amy Meenaghan, psychologists at Portsmouth University.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

We need TIVO for the ICC

The officials at US Chess League headquarters couldn't possibly be aware of all the other chess events planned across the country, so they can hardly be blamed for scheduling this Monday's Boston-New York match head-to-head with the first round of the Boylston Chess Club Championship. While the league is growing in popularity in its second year and the local excitement level has increased with the Blitz's 2-0 start, we Bostonians remain a parochial, tradition bound bunch. Keep in mind, we're talking about 87 years of official history (116 including the "informal" days).

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that current BCC Champion Charles Riordan won't be playing for the Blitz this week; he'll be defending his title. On the other hand, BCC member GM Christiansen will be on the squad. Even the reigning Champion knows who the best player in the room is when Larry stops by the club.

As for your trusty reporter, I'll be playing in the Hauptturnier -- our concurrent poor-man's championship for non-masters who do not qualify for the main event. As a result, this week's coverage won't include any live blogging or crowd reaction descriptions. Sure, one can play over the games after the fact, but at least for me, it's not the same experience as watching live on the internet. That's why we need ICC TIVO -- can you hear me in Pennsylvania?

As for the match itself, there are a couple of story lines to look for:
Here are the line-ups for the match (Boston has White on boards 1 & 3):

GM Larry Christiansen - 2633 vs. GM Pascal Charbonneau - 2500

GM Eugene Perelshteyn - 2614 vs. FM Robert Hess - 2369

NM Vadim Martirosov - 2259 vs. NM Mackenzie Molner - 2367

NM Ilya Krasik - 2162 vs. FM Boris Privman - 2338

That's right, the Blitz are sending out both their big guns this time. As a result, we have a classic clash between a top heavy and a balanced line-up. In my view, the match will likely be won or lost on Boards 1 & 3 and since Boston has White on both I'm inclined to give them a slight edge.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Caption Contest XII

While the other kids at school often made fun of him,
William found having arms of different lengths particularly
useful when playing long range moves on the chess board

Post your caption in the comments.


Keeping the faith

I can't say that I spend any time following the intricacies of Mormon intra-church politics, but I was interested to discover that one writer found Chess Club politics to be an apt analogy. Read "The Parable of the Chess Club and Anti-Mormons" from Meridian Magazine.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Blitz take care of business

With a very strong line-up in comparison to many of their competitors, the US Chess League's Boston Blitz could go very far this season if they just win the matches they are supposed to win. That's exactly what happened last night in Week 2 action against a Philadelphia Masterminds team they out-rated by an average of 120 points per board.

The Masterminds never roll over in the face of strong competition and this match was no exception. Nevertheless, while some Boston fans may have had flashbacks to last season when Philadelphia jumped out to an early 1.5-0.5 lead, in retrospect, the Blitz were never in serious danger. It just took some time for Boston's top two boards to grind down their lower rated opponents (both ultimately in rook and pawn endings) and secure a 2.5-1.5 victory.

The scoring began on Board 3 with a relatively quick draw between FM Shahade and FM Kelleher. Early on the game transposed into a fairly innocuous line of the Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6 2.c4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.cxd5 Nf6) -- White temporarily wins a doubled isolated queen pawn and hopes to build up some initiative while Black gathers up the extra material. 8.Bxa6 was a new, though not particularly promising, move in this rather rare line. Four previous encounters had continued 8.Bc4 Rc8. After the exchange of Queens on move 11, Black had a lead in development and some initiative though White retained the extra pawn. Kelleher's combination which netted him the pawn resulted in a series of exchanges which left the players in an ending with few prospects for either side.

On Board 4, NM Krasik was looking to avenge his loss to NM Wilson in Week 2 of the 2005 season. Unfortunately, it was not to be. The combatants left theory in the Old Benoni behind by move 6. White proceeded to build up what appeared to be a promising attacking position while Black developed defensively. Krasik then sought to break open the position by sacrificing his e-pawn with 16.e5 and following up with the thrust 17.f5 [This maneuver reminded me of a similar idea Ilya played as Black last season against Dallas' Suarez (12...e4 13.fxe4 f4)]. Wilson was ready for it and after 17...Nf6, 18.Qxe5 allowed Black to uncover his fianchettoed bishop with great effect. Through several creative moves, Krasik managed to limit the initial material damage to one pawn, but by then his exposed King was no match for Wilson's active Queen and Knight. Krasik fought on valiantly for quite awhile with only a minute or two left on his clock, but this time no swindle was to be found.

One kibitzer on the ICC noted that Wilson did not move his Bishop on c8 until the 42nd move of the game. Perhaps he has experience on the Black side of the French Defense?!

The news was better for the Blitz on the top boards. On Board 2, FM Winer faced FM Roger's King's Indian. Steven secured the two bishops (16.Nxc8) and an extra pawn (20.Qxf5) without allowing Black any real counterplay. He then proceeded to trade off pieces into a won ending. After that it was, as they say, just a matter of technique -- nothing flashy, just a solid workman-like effort to secure a win for Boston.

Over on Board 1, IM Foygel did what he does almost every week at the local clubs -- grind down a lower rated opponent and score a full point. It was certainly nice to see the "old" Igor after the difficulties he had last week.

As Black, Foygel essayed the Pirc Defense against IM Costigan and to this patzer's eye not much happened over the first nineteen moves. The position reached a critical point with Igor's 20...c5 and after Richard's 22.e5 a series of exchanges left Black up a pawn and in control of the open e-file. Foygel used the open file to good effect with 25...Re2 and after White parried the threat to his f-pawn with 26.Qf4, Foygel proceeded to destroy his opponent's pawn structure through a couple of exchanges. Still up a pawn, the resulting ending was clearly winning for Black. While it had no impact on the outcome, I did like Costigan's 39.Re3 to remove the dangerous passed a-pawn. Unfortunately for him, it just traded one lost rook and pawn ending for another.

With the win, the Blitz are off to a 2-0 start this season, tied for first in the Eastern Division with the 2005 Champion Baltimore Kingfishers. Up next for Boston is a Monday night match with their division rivals from New York -- another Christiansen-Charbonneau clash, perhaps?

What will they think of next?

Oh sure, you've completed 3000 tactical problems in the past 4 weeks; but admit it, sometimes you are sitting at the board and can't remember exactly how the pieces move. Fear not, my friend, for the solution is at hand.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Chess Musician

Al Cisneros from the San Francisco band Om lists his occupation as chess instructor.

Who says you can't make a living from chess? You can if the alternative is potentially less lucrative.

Blitz heavily favored against Masterminds

It's often much easier to be the underdog with nothing to lose, but the US Chess League's Boston Blitz won't have that luxury in tonight's matchup with the Philadelphia Masterminds. Even without either of their Grandmasters playing, the Blitz will outrate their opponents by an average of 120 points per board (2380 vs. 2260). On the top three boards they have 2400 and 2500 players facing off against 2200's. As a result, the folks at Pinnacle Sports have made the Blitz the most prohibitive favorite on this week's USCL board (-350, i.e., bet $350 on the Blitz to win $100). Now before you put your rent money down on the Blitz, you might want to review Philadelphia's 2005 record. Often as not, the Masterminds never let their rating disadvantage get in the way of strong performances at the board.

Here are tonight's matchups (the Blitz have White on Boards 2 & 4):
  1. IM Foygel (2533) vs. IM Costigan (2287)

  2. FM Winer (2422) vs. FM Rogers (2270)

  3. FM Kelleher (2402) vs. FM M. Shahade (2242)

  4. NM Krasik (2162) vs. NM Wilson (2240)
A win will allow Boston to keep pace with the winner of the New York - Baltimore match atop the Eastern Division (or take sole possession of first in the event of a New York - Baltimore draw).
In other news:

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Silent Knights

Seems we lost a full scouting party in the jungles of chess improvement. Druss, Gregory, Guru, Dr. Munky and Daland have all been placed in hiatus.

Also have not heard recently from sidebar residents DreadPirateJosh and Alberto Dominguez along with ten other blogs who now all reside in the Inactive listings.

Two marginally related topics:
  1. A BCC Weblog welcome to our newest knight, Samurai Pawn (previously introduced by Tempo). We haven't been naming the new Knights for awhile, so I think it's time to revive that tradition. I dub thee - The Imperial Knight.

  2. The Hungarian Knight has renamed his blog He continues to provide consistently interesting content, though I'm not sure it really falls within the Knights Errant realm anymore.

Blitz's Perelshteyn in the spotlight

Earlier it was GM Christiansen, now Chessville has turned their USCL spotlight on GM Eugene Perelshteyn:
After sharing first place in the 2006 Foxwoods Open, Eugene Perelshteyn ... earned his third GM norm, thus giving him the well deserved title of Grandmaster. At only 26 years old age, the future is bright for Eugene, and Boston is hoping that he picks up where he left off last year, with a fine 2.5/3 result while playing first board.
The piece also includes Eugene's annotations to his 2005 win over the New York Knights' GM Stripunsky, as well as a new photo which I haven't seen on the web before.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Boylston Chess Club Championship

As the fall Monday night sports excitement looms, and anticipation grows for this year's championship, Dan's earlier post prompted me to update the photo set of BCC Champions. BCC Photo Gallery

I have been trying to recover the historical record, which seems to have slipped into the mists...

The Boylston Chess Club has a long tradition of really competitive championship tournaments and strong club champions, who in some cases have become state or national champions as well.

The first official champion in 1919, the official founding year of the club, was H.G. Daniel. In 1921, G.H. Friberg won. I have references to early champions during the club's informal days at the YMCU. 1890 - John Barry, 1891 - Harry Nelson Pillsbury, 1892 - C.F. Burille (one of the "Adjeep" players), 1893 - Franklin K. Young, and 1894 - George H. Walcott. After 1921, we have a long gap, with good records back only to 1971. (If anyone can help fill in the gaps in the record, it would be appreciated.)

Bill Kelleher dominated the 1980s.
Jacob Rasin
ruled the 1990s.
Paul MacIntyre is working on a hegemony in the 2000s.

Chris Chase and Alex Cherniack are both three-time champions.
  • FM Bill Kelleher 1987, 1984, 1983, 1981, 1980, 1979
  • SM Jacob Rasin 1997, 1995, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990
  • FM Paul MacIntyre 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000
  • FM Chris Chase 1998, 1994, 1990
  • LM Alex Cherniack 1999, 1995, 1987
Over the years, the championship has been won by very capable and interesting players.

Patrick Wolff went on to win the United States Championship twice.

Dan Harrington became a professional poker player, winning the World Championship of Poker in 1998 ($1 million), 2nd in 2004 ($1.5 million), 6th in the World Poker Tour in 2005 ($620,00), bringing his total poker winnings to $4.8 million. (Chess prize totals unknown at this time.)

Bill Robertie who in 1994 won the US Speed Chess title, emphasized backgammon over chess and won world titles in backgammon in 1983, 1987, and 1994.

For as complete a list as we have, visit the BCC Photo Gallery. And if you are not invited to the championship, play in the hauptturnier, which allows you to play in a similar format and observe the championship games.

Pete Tamburro chess journalism awards announced

Thanks to About Chess for pointing us to the announcement of the 2006 Chess Journalists of America (CJA) awards. Here's a small sampling:
  • Chess Journalist of the Year: Peter Tamburro

  • Best Review: Peter Tamburro (Honorable Mention)

  • Best Analysis: Peter Tamburro (1st)
Oh by the way, it just so happens that the Chief Judge of the CJA and Chairman of the Awards Committee is none other than Pete Tamburro. Draw your own conclusions.

Our friend, Howard Goldowsky, won again (for Best Interview) but as he has pointed out in the past, it is getting harder and harder to take these things seriously.

[In the spirit of full disclosure, I should point out that I received an Honorable Mention in 2005. Now, if I could just remember what I did with that certificate.]

So I was thinking, if Pete can create an awards committee and hand out accolades to himself and his friends, then so can I. Presto! The 2006 Chess Bloggies.
The entire awards committee (that's me) met in my shower this morning and are now prepared to announce the winners:
  • Best Scholastic Chess Blog focusing on the Midwestern U.S.: The 64 Square Jungle

  • Best Chess Blog based in a former republic of Yugoslavia and authored by an internet playing site admin: Chess News and Events

  • Best Chess Improvement Blog by a maniacal Dutchman on a quest to solve over 70,000 chess problems on CTS: Temposchlucker

  • The Don Q award for most humorous Chess Improvement Blog based in a tornado prone region: J'adoube

  • Best coverage of fishing in a Chess Blog: Pale Morning Dun (1st), Central Oregon Chess Journal (Honorable Mention)

  • Best Canadian Chess Blog by someone named C.: C's Chess

  • Best Canadian Chess Blog by someone not named C.: Online

  • Best coverage of otherwise unremarkable female chessplayers brought to world attention through the actions of boorish Englishmen: The Closet Grandmaster for Arianne Caoili (1st), BCM Blog for Jessie Gilbert (Honorable Mention)

  • Best coverage of Dennis Monokroussos' shows on The Chess Mind

  • Best Chess Improvement Blog with a rotating Jared from Subway looking head on the banner: Blue Devil Knight

  • Best Chess Blog representing a club in Somerville, Massachusetts: It was a close vote, but BCC Weblog squeaked it out. A recount has been demanded.
Think an award is missing? No problem, just list your own categories and award recipients in the comments. Don't feel shy about awarding yourself -- Pete didn't.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

An active August at the Boylston

What an active August at the club, thanks in large part to the good ideas, hard work, and generosity of Paul MacIntyre.

Almost 200 chess fans played or learned at August club events. Paul booked back to back Wednesday lectures with NM Riordan and newly minted GM Perelshteyn which were interesting and good draws -- at least 7 were new faces at the club.

Paul initiated, publicized, organized, supervised daily, and funded the late-August week-long day-camp where students were taught by the master teachers NM Jacob Rasin and NM Steve Winer. 17 young players participated (several coming after camp to the evening Perelshteyn lecture). It was Paul's idea to have the camp fee (a reasonable $100) constitute a membership fee, so members got a free summer camp as a benefit. Consequently, 8 new members joined. Paul then wrote a check to the club for $1,060 to sponsor the camp.

Thanks Mr. President ... Well done.

Friday, September 01, 2006

650 posts later

That's what Bloglines greeted me with when I returned from an 8-day internet-free, chess-free holiday in SoCal. Needless to say, I am now flush with new information and topics to cover. Here's a sampling:
  • I hope my recent absence from these pages wasn't misinterpreted given all the "I might be leaving the blogosphere" talk. I just don't think it is a good idea to be announcing my vacations in advance on publicly accessible websites.

    Regarding the pronouncements from Dennis and Michael, let me say that I am more than sympathetic to their plight and have been in the same place many times before. So far, I've been able to rekindle my interest and enthusiasm through new sources, topic areas and other experiments. Nevertheless, it is certainly understandable that one might want to move on to new projects after a year or two of pouring intense effort into a blog, as these two obviously have. Perhaps things would be different if the rewards were more than just psychic?

    Of course my theoretical solution to this problem -- my utopian ideal -- is having a number of different club members posting on BCC Weblog. While we are no where near achieving that vision, the signs are as encouraging now as they have ever been -- four posts by three different posters while I was gone. I particularly enjoyed Dan's piece on BCC championship participants; Bob's photos continue to enhance the visual appeal of the blog and thanks to Jason for maintaining the blog's reputation as the preeminent site for independent coverage and discussion of the USCL.

  • Speaking of the league, the blogosphere offers insider views of the action from the perspectives of Boston Blitz team manager "Globular" and Tennessee Tempo player FM Peter Bereolos (see the 8/30/06 post). You can also find information on the Seattle Sluggers at Clint Ballard's Slugfest7 site (no cheerleader pictures, I'm sorry to say).

  • While we are still talking about Clint, the blogosphere has been abuzz again with discussion of his BAP scoring system. The Chessmill offers some mathematics to highlight its limitations. Meanwhile at The Chess Mind, Dennis and his readers (including Clint) have been engaging in a largely philosophical debate across several posts (see here, here, and here).

  • I noticed the announcement for the new (relaunched?) Chessville Free Playing Zone in their newsletter a few weeks back but didn't have a chance to check it out. Edwin Meyer did and he likes it. It's always good to have more free options when others are locking down the hatches.

  • Pale Morning Dun takes us on a sometimes hilarious tour of the super-GM class. There is an old saying: "Never trust a Montana fisherman wearing chess piece print boxers." Granted, I coined the saying, but I think it holds true here.

Feigning smarts

"A chess player once told me that a good memory is a cheap trick that creates a deceptive aura of intelligence around an otherwise ordinary intellect." - From "Why I Can’t Stop Starting Books" by Joe Queenan, New York Times, August 6, 2006.

Hat Tip: Hongkie Town Redux