Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Coasting in to the finish

Wednesday night marks the end of the US Chess League regular season for the Eastern Division Champion Boston Blitz.

With no GM in this week's lineup, it looks like the Blitz have decided to take it easy and not be proactive about trying to spoil Baltimore's playoffs chances. Of course this doesn't mean that Boston can't win or draw the match, but they have ceded the Kingfishers an average rating advantage of 2407 vs. 2369.

Here are the match-ups; Boston has White on boards 2 & 4:

IM Igor Foygel - 2533 vs. GM Pawel Blehm - 2593
FM William Kelleher - 2402 vs. FM Tegshsuren Enkhbat - 2414
NM Charles Riordan - 2283 vs. IM Larry Kaufman - 2359
NM Vadim Martirosov - 2259 vs. WGM Katerina Rohonyan - 2260

Monday, October 30, 2006

Severine Speaks

The Lowell Sun has published a rather lengthy letter which Severine Wamala sent to Sun court reporter Lisa Redmond. Here are a couple of excerpts:
What happened to innocent until proven guilty? America was founded on the premise of innocent until proven guilty. Those who are criticizing Dr. (Karla Brooks) Baehr and Lowell High School for hiring me need to get facts straight.

Being arrested does not mean one committed a crime. One can be arrested for a number of reasons. False charges is one of them. Thirteen years ago as claimed in the newspapers I was arrested numerous times for false charges. During the period 1992 to 1994, my ex-girlfriend filed 36 false charges in nine different Massachusetts courts....

This is for those who don't know me. I have never assaulted anyone sexually or otherwise. My record at Lowell High School for four years stands clean. Also my record in New England for six years as a premier chess organizer in hotels where there are a lot girls stands clean. I believe that all the girls that stand for the truth will come in full force to my defense. I am an innocent man falsely accused....
Read Severine Wamala's entire letter.

Update (10/31): The entire letter is no longer available online. In its place is an article by Lisa Redmond based on the letter's contents.

Related Post: Wamala waives probable cause hearing

An idea to reduce truancy

There is no longer a need to skip classes and studying in order to play chess. Symbiosis University in Pune, India has launched a three-year diploma in the royal game. The course of study is being developed with the support of "Grandmaster Abhijeet Kunte, Mrunalinee Aurangabadkar, Chandrashekhar Gokhale and yoga experts Dr Nitin Unkule and Dr Bhaskar Shejwal..." As for the teaching staff, "...students [will] learn ... from reputed chess players..." Unfortunately, The article doesn't explain the hiring criteria for "reputed chess players."

If you still have more to say

ChessUp.net, the "official" chess diagram maker of BCC Weblog, announces the launch of ChessUp forums.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 6: Williams-Martirosov 1-0

Chris wins the exchange for a pawn and then plays well to score the point in the ending.

Williams,C (2186) - Martirosov,V (2270) [B33]
BCC Championship (6), 16.09.2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 h6 7.Nd5 Nxd5 8.exd5 a6 9.Nc3 Nb8 10.d6 Qb6 11.Bc4 Qxd6 12.Qf3 Qf6 13.Qxf6 gxf6 14.Nd5 b5 15.Nc7+ Kd8 16.Nxa8 bxc4 17.Nb6 Bb7 18.Nxc4 Bxg2 19.Rg1 Be4 20.Be3 Bxc2 21.Rc1 Bb4+ 22.Ke2 Bg6 23.Bb6+ Ke7 24.a3 d5 25.Ne3 Bd6 26.Nxd5+ Ke6 27.Nc3 Nd7 28.Be3 f5 29.f3 Rb8 30.Na4 f4 31.Rc6 Rb3 32.Bc5 Nxc5 33.Nxc5+ Kd5 34.Nxb3 Kxc6 35.Rd1 Bc7 36.Rc1+ Kd6 37.Nc5 a5 38.Ne4+ Kd7 39.Nf6+ Kd8 40.b4 axb4 41.axb4 Bb6 42.Rc6 Bg1 43.b5 Bf5 44.h4 Bd4 45.b6 Bc8 46.Ne4 Ba6+ 47.Ke1 Kd7 48.Rc7+ Kd8 49.Ra7 Bc8 50.Ra8 Bxb6 51.Nd6 Kc7 52.Nxc8 Bc5 53.Ke2 f5 54.Ra5 Kc6 55.Kd3 e4+ 56.fxe4 f3 57.exf5 h5 58.Rxc5+ 1-0

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Championship Standings after Round 7

2006 BCC Championship

With Riordan's loss to Martirosov, the race has tightened up with two rounds to go. All scores are out of seven games unless otherwise indicated.

5.5 - NM Riordan
4.0/6 - FM Chase, NM Krasik
4.5 - Times
4.0 - FM MacIntyre, NM Cherniack
3.5 - NM Martirosov
3.0 - Williams
1.0 - Rihel
0.5 - Salomon

Key 8th Round Matchups: Riordan-Salomon, Cherniack-Krasik, Chase-Times

2006 Hauptturnier

All scores are out of six games unless otherwise indicated.

5.5 - Glickman
4.0 - Lee, Iglesias
4.5/7 - Driscoll
3.5 - Clayton
2.0 - Oresick
1.5 - Gorczyca
2.0/7 - Frazier
0.0 - Hager

Key 8th Round Matchups: Gorcyzca-Glickman, Iglesias-Clayton, Hager-Lee

Check out the News section of the Boylston Chess Club website for the complete crosstables for both events.

Friday, October 27, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 6: Chase-Rihel 0-1

Jason demonstrates one way to beat a master: Step 1 - play so badly that you give your opponent an overwhelming Kingside attack; Step 2 - Give your opponent so many winning moves that he can't decide which one to choose; Step 3 - Encourage your opponent to sacrifice material to open up lines to your King; Step 4 - When your opponent makes an inaccurate move, consolidate your material advantage and win!

Chase,C (2292) - Rihel,J (1953) [B82]
BCC Championship (6), 16.09.2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f4 e6 7.Bd3 Be7 8.Nf3 Qc7 9.a4 Nc6 10.0-0 0-0 11.Qe2 Rd8 12.Kh1 b6 13.e5 Nd7 14.exd6 Bxd6 15.Ne4 Bf8 16.Neg5 g6 17.Nxf7 Re8 18.f5 gxf5 19.Bxf5 Nf6 20.Bd3 Qxf7 21.Ng5 Qe7 22.Bd2 Bg7 23.Bc3 e5 24.Bc4+ Kh8 25.Nf7+ Kg8 26.Ng5+ Kh8 27.Rxf6 Bxf6 28.Nf7+ Kg7 29.Qh5 Be6 30.Qh6+ Kxf7 31.Qxh7+ Kf8 0-1

BCC Champ Rd. 6: Krasik-MacIntyre 1-0

Beats me what the idea behind 28...Rxc3 was, but Ilya convincingly refuted it.

Krasik,I (2202) - MacIntyre,P (2334) [E70]
BCC Championship (6), 16.09.2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 0-0 5.f3 c5 6.d5 e6 7.Nh3 a6 8.a4 d6 9.Nf2 exd5 10.cxd5 Nbd7 11.Be2 Rb8 12.0-0 Ne8 13.Be3 Nc7 14.Qd2 Re8 15.Rab1 b5 16.axb5 Nxb5 17.Nxb5 axb5 18.b4 c4 19.Ng4 Ra8 20.Bd4 Bxd4+ 21.Qxd4 h5 22.Nf2 Qb6 23.Qd2 Bb7 24.Kh1 Ra3 25.Nd1 Ne5 26.Nc3 Bc8 27.f4 Nd7 28.f5 Rxc3 29.Qxc3 Rxe4 30.fxg6 fxg6 31.Qc2 1-0

Highbrow Tactics

Most everyone knows that there is a strong connection between the Knights Errant and Cervantes' Don Quixote. However, how many Knights actually integrate parts of the story into their posts?

Welcome to the fold the Literary Knight, Fierabras.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Boston preps for playoffs with "practice" draw

Surely it was Boston Manager Matt Phelps' plan all along. Having secured the top spot in the East and the draw odds in the second round of the playoffs which comes with it, Phelps wanted to see if the Blitz could achieve a draw under tough circumstances. So he had his lower boards throw their games and put all the pressure up top. Christiansen and Kelleher came through giving Boston confidence that the Finals are easily in reach.

Plausible? Maybe not. How about this? Boston's plan to throw the match to Carolina and make an even bigger mess of the Eastern Division playoff race went awry when someone forget to tell LarryC he wasn't supposed to win.

Don't buy that either? I guess we'll have to default to the parity excuse. 2-0 above and 0-2 below -- not that unusual when two relatively evenly rated teams in the US Chess League match up against each other. As has been the pattern this year, Boston's opponents got out to the early lead.

It was time trouble which caught up with NM Riordan. After several weeks of excellent play with just minutes left on his clock, Charles finally succumbed to the never-ending march of time. He and FM Zaikov were playing a very interesting game in which White had a couple of pawns for the exchange. However, with the last few minutes winding down Charles starting making inaccuracies. Small ones at first, like avoiding the Queen trade on c4, led to a big one at the end and suddenly it was 1-0 Carolina.

NM Riordan-NM Zaikov after 24...Rc8
An interesting struggle before time took its toll

Vadim's game against NM Jones offers the best evidence for one of the above conspiracies. Who plays the Benoni and realistically expects to win!? White's position just kept getting better and Martirosov's counterplay never really materialized. Two games down and no points for Boston.

NM Jones-NM Martirosov after 1...c5
Evidence of a conspiracy?

Boston's comeback began with FM Kelleher who just decimated FM Hoekstra's Exchange Slav. It's a line I'm definitely going to remember as Black; White's moves seemed pretty natural but then all of a sudden Matt was lost.

FM Hoekstra-FM Kelleher after 12...Nc5
The Knight is heading for d3 with a big advantage

With the score at 2-1, GM Christiansen needed to win to secure the drawn match. However, the prospects were uncertain with most of the gallery claiming that his endgame was a draw. Larry seemed to have a nice attack going earlier in the game. However, it petered out and the best he could find was a pawn up rook ending. Someone who knows more about these things can tell us whether it was a theoretical win or draw. In any case, Christiansen played as though it was a won position and it wasn't obvious to me what Milman could have done better. Larry's win closed out the match at 2-2.

GM Christiansen-IM Milman after 45.Rxb5
Theoretically, a win or a draw?

Next week the Blitz close out the regular season against Baltimore. The Kingfishers are fighting to secure a playoff berth and will undoubtedly come ready to fight. What about Boston? Well, they do have a couple sources of motivation. Since they could very well meet Baltimore in the playoffs, the Blitz may not want to give them any confidence going in. Then, there's always the matter of choosing colors in the Finals. I'm not sure how much of an advantage that really is, but I suppose it's better to have it than not.

Chess gets an update

Something had to be done to rekindle excitement in the game. Now it has:

The World Chess Federation today unveiled the new chess piece that they hope will revive flagging interest in the ancient board game....

After much controversy and anticipation, the new piece will be known as 'The Monk'....

"It is very exciting," said [Former Grand Master Uri] Yelanov, "the monk can move three spaces horizontally or diagonally and occupies the starting positions of the middle two pawns... Suddenly chess is [as] exciting as Playstation!"

Read "New chess piece introduced" from NewsBiscuit.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 6: Riordan-Times 1-0

Charles finishes it off with a nice tactic. In the final position 24...Qxg4 is met with 25.Qh6 and mate is unstoppable.

Riordan,C (2330) - Times,L (2139) [B04]
BCC Championship (6), 16.09.2006

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 dxe5 5.Nxe5 g6 6.c4 Nf6 7.Nc3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Ne8 10.Be3 Nd6 11.Qb3 Nf5 12.Rad1 Nc6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bf3 Bd7 15.Ne4 Rb8 16.Qc3 Nxe3 17.fxe3 e5 18.dxe5 Qe7 19.Nf6+ Bxf6 20.exf6 Qe6 21.Qd4 Rfd8 22.b3 Be8 23.Qf4 Bd7 24.Bg4 1-0

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

USCL Fracas Redux

I thought it was over, but today Clint decided to fire another shell.

Update (10/25): ...and another one on his own site. Read "Boston's Ilya Krasik accuses Slugger manager of being insane" at Slugfest7.com.

Related Post: USCL Fracas

Where rocking horse pieces eat marshmallow pawns

About Chess has been blog tripping again.

They mention several blogs that are providing US Chess League coverage -- BCC Weblog, JG's Master Quest, Globular's Chess Blog, and Shakmaty Bereolos. For the sake of completeness, you can also find chess blog coverage of the league at San Francisco Mechanics and Jennifer's Blog at Chess Life Online. OnlineChess.ca seems to have abandoned his Pascal-only coverage.

BCC Weblog also received a mention in the "Just for fun?" category for the piece on the 2006 CJA Awards -- Pete Tamburro chess journalism awards announced. Looking back at it now, I realize I missed the boat on The Chess Mind. While Dennis was certainly deserving of the award he received, a better choice might have been "Best coverage of Fighting Irish football in a chess blog."

Blitz keep fighting to the finish

If Carolina was hoping that Boston might coast the rest of the way through the US Chess League regular season then they must have been disappointed when this week's line-up was posted. The Blitz are bringing out another strong foursome led by GM Christiansen and anchored with NM Martirosov. With an average rating of 2395, they outrate the Cobras by 13 points per board. Of course, the disparity is primarily at the top with close competition on the other boards.

Here are this week's matchups; Boston has White on Boards 1 & 3:

GM Larry Christiansen - 2633 vs. IM Lev Milman - 2523
FM William Kelleher - 2402 vs. FM Matthew Hoekstra - 2401
NM Charles Riordan - 2283 vs. FM Oleg Zaikov - 2325
NM Vadim Martirosov - 2259 vs. NM Craig Jones - 2280

Monday, October 23, 2006

Chess ties Big Dig death toll

The Opryland Hotel has been named as a defendant in a federal wrongful death lawsuit...

The civil action claims [that Rosanna] Lane died as an indirect result of injuries she sustained when an Opryland Hotel conference table suddenly collapsed on her lap.

Lane was attending a chess tournament held at the Opryland Hotel April 2005 when, according to the complaint, a conference table “suddenly and without warning” broke and fell directly on Lane’s lower body.

Her injuries required surgery to her knee, the lawsuit says. And as a result of that surgery she developed an infection that ultimately killed her.

When are chess players going to stand together and demand safer working conditions?

Hat Tip: Rex Hammock's Weblog

BCC Champ Rd. 5: Rihel-Riordan 0-1

Jason traps Black's Queen but from that point on gets thoroughly outplayed by Charles.

Rihel,J (1953) - Riordan,C (2330) [B57]
BCC Championship (5), 2006, 09.10.2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 Qb6 7.Nf3 Bg4 8.h3 Bh5 9.Nd5 Nxd5 10.Qxd5 Bg6 11.Be3 Qb4+ 12.c3 Qxb2 13.0-0 e6 14.Qd3 d5 15.Bb3 a6 16.Ng5 Be7 17.Rae1 0-0 18.Bc1 Qa1 19.Ba3 Qxe1 20.Rxe1 Bxa3 21.Qe3 dxe4 22.Nxe4 Bxe4 23.Qxe4 Rfd8 24.Bc2 g6 25.h4 Rd5 26.f4 Rad8 27.Rb1 R8d7 28.Re1 Be7 29.g3 Bf6 30.Qf3 Rd2 31.Bb1 Bd8 32.h5 Bb6+ 33.Kh1 Rf2 34.Qg4 Rdd2 35.Qh3 Ne7 36.hxg6 hxg6 37.a4 Kg7 38.Rf1 Rfe2 39.g4 Rd8 40.f5 exf5 41.gxf5 f6 42.fxg6 Rh8 43.Qxh8+ Kxh8 44.Rxf6 Re1+ 45.Kg2 Rxb1 46.Rf7 Bc5 47.Kf3 Nxg6 48.Rd7 Ne5+ 49.Ke4 Nxd7 0-1

Sunday, October 22, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 5: Times-Williams 1-0

Lawyer gave up the exchange for Kingside attacking chances. He eventually secured another piece for his investment and went on to win.

Times,L (2139) - Williams (2186) [D05]
BCC Championship (5), 2006, 09.10.2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.e3 c5 4.Bd3 d5 5.c3 Be7 6.Nbd2 0-0 7.0-0 b6 8.dxc5 bxc5 9.e4 Nc6 10.e5 Nd7 11.Re1 Qc7 12.Qe2 Rd8 13.Nf1 Nf8 14.Bf4 a5 15.Rad1 a4 16.h4 c4 17.Bb1 a3 18.h5 Ba6 19.bxa3 Bb5 20.Nd4 Nxd4 21.Rxd4 Bc5 22.Qg4 Bxd4 23.cxd4 c3 24.Ne3 Ba4 25.Bh6 Ng6 26.Bg5 c2 27.Bxc2 Bxc2 28.Rc1 Qb7 29.Rxc2 Rdc8 30.Rxc8+ Qxc8 31.hxg6 hxg6 32.Qh4 Ra4 33.Be7 Qc3 34.Bb4 Qc7 35.g3 Ra8 36.Kg2 Rc8 37.Bc5 Qa5 38.Ng4 Qe1 39.Nh2 Rb8 40.Nf3 Qe2 41.Ng5 Qh5 42.Qf4 Rb7 43.a4 1-0

Championship Standings after Round 6

2006 BCC Championship

Rihel's surprising upset win over Chase eases Riordan's path towards back-to-back Championships.

5.5 - NM Riordan
4.0 - FM Chase, NM Cherniack, NM Krasik
3.5 - Times
3.0 - FM MacIntyre
2.5 - NM Martirosov
2.0 - Williams
1.0 - Rihel
0.5 - Salomon

Key 7th Round Matchup: Krasik-Chase

2006 Hauptturnier

4.5/5 - Glickman
4.0/5 - Iglesias
4.5/7 - Driscoll
3.0/5 - Lee
3.5/6 - Clayton
1.5/4 - Gorczyca
2.0/6 - Frazier
1.0/5 - Oresick
0.0/5 - Hager

Key 7th Round Matchup: Lee-Iglesias

Check out the News section of the Boylston Chess Club website for the complete crosstables for both events.

BCC Champ Rd. 5: Salomon-Krasik 0-1

Black takes advantage of White's overworked Queen.

Salomon,B (2005) - Krasik,I (2202) [B70]
BCC Championship (5), 2006, 09.10.2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Kh1 Nc6 9.Be3 Bd7 10.Nb3 Qc8 11.f4 Bg4 12.Bf3 Rd8 13.h3 Bxf3 14.Qxf3 Qe6 15.Rfe1 Nb4 16.Re2 Qc4 17.a3 Nxc2 18.Na5 Qc7 19.Rxc2 Qxa5 20.Qf2 Rac8 21.Bd4 Nxe4 0-1

Saturday, October 21, 2006

My 3 Memorable Books

I had a few chess books when I was a kid, which I would reread obsessively, as kids do. The one in particular that I remember as being my real introduction to chess culture was a book that my father had bought a while earlier, Edward Lasker's Chess Secrets I Learned from the Masters. It's an anecdotal autobiography sprinkled with games and positions, and what anecdotes! I don't care if half of them are apocryphal or embellished. Lasker shares his personal experiences with all of the great chess players (and many memorable second-tier ones as well) of the first half of the 20th century, starting with his friend (no relation) Emanuel Lasker. It's the book that got me fascinated with the history and people of the game, not just what happens on the board. It's out of print now, but hopefully this mention will spur you to pick it up if you see it in a used bookstore.

The other books I remember in particular from my childhood were Chernev's Logical Chess Move by Move (like everyone else) and Reinfeld's Great Brilliancy Prize Games of the Chess Masters (which I'm sure was nothing special, but all those sacrifices got my blood flowing). Even thirty years later there's a game in particular I remember from the latter in which Black gets his queen trapped on g2, surrounded by his own pawns, but I can't seem to find it now. Does anyone recognize it?

I'd be curious to hear what books others of you found inspiring when you were starting out. What book would you give a kid who was starting to get excited about chess?

BCC Champ Rd. 5: MacIntyre-Chase 0-1

Not a stellar display from either player... Paul's combination giving up two pieces for a Rook and pawns wasn't really to his advantage. Then Chris gave the advantage back with 22...Bh4 (22...Bxg2+ was probably better). However, Paul failed to take advantage; 24.Rxf8 Bxg2+ 25. Kg1 Qxf8 26.Qd4! would have been winning.

MacIntyre,P (2334) - Chase,C (2292) [B86]
BCC Championship (5), 2006, 09.10.2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 Qc7 8.Bb3 Be7 9.Qf3 0-0 10.Qg3 Nc6 11.f4 g6 12.0-0 b5 13.f5 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 b4 15.fxe6 fxe6 16.Nd5 exd5 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.Bxd5+ Kg7 19.Bxa8 Qa7+ 20.Kh1 Qxa8 21.Qxd6 Bb7 22.e5 Bh4 23.Qd7+ Kh6 24.Qh3 Kh5 25.Rxf8 Qxf8 26.Qe3 Qf5 27.Qe2+ Kh6 28.Rf1 Qe6 29.Rf4 Be7 30.Qe3 Kg7 31.h4 Bc5 32.Qg3 Qxa2 33.Qe1 Qe6 34.Qg3 Qd5 35.Qf3 Qxf3 36.gxf3 Bd5 37.Kg2 a5 38.b3 Be6 39.h5 Be3 40.Re4 Bd2 41.hxg6 Kxg6 42.Kf2 Bc3 43.Kf1 h5 44.Kf2 0-1

Friday, October 20, 2006

USCL Fracas

These things are so much more fun when the insults aren't being slung at you.

Now the protests begin

In what has become the typical pattern at Boylston Chess Foundation officer elections, there were no contested races on Wednesday night. I think we're all just happy when the incumbents agree to stay on.

Here are the results:

President - Paul MacIntyre
Vice President - Bernardo Iglesias
Treasurer - Robert Oresick
Clerk - Ed Foye

Board of Directors - Chris Chase, Alex Cherniack, Natasha Christiansen, Rachel Dillon, David Glickman, Mike Griffin, Jon Lee, Dan Schmidt

Immediately following the election, the President appointed Charles Riordan to the Board.

BCC Champ Rd. 5: Martirosov-Cherniack 1/2

Two closely matched players play a game which stays about even from beginning to end.

Martirosov,V (2270) - Cherniack,A (2264) [D39]
BCF Championship (5), 2006, 9.10.2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bg5 dxc4 6.e4 c5 7.e5 h6 8.exf6 hxg5 9.fxg7 Rg8 10.dxc5 Qxd1+ 11.Rxd1 Rxg7 12.h4 g4 13.Ne5 Nd7 14.Nxc4 Nxc5 15.Ne5 f6 16.Bb5+ Ke7 17.Nd3 Nxd3+ 18.Rxd3 a6 19.Ba4 b5 20.Bb3 Bd7 21.a3 Ba5 22.0-0 Bxc3 23.Rxc3 Rc8 24.Rxc8 Bxc8 25.Rc1 Kd8 26.Rc6 Re7 27.Kh2 Kd7 28.Rc5 Re8 29.Kg3 Kd6 30.Rc1 f5 31.h5 Bd7 32.Rd1+ Ke7 33.Kf4 Rh8 34.Kg5 Be8 35.Rh1 Rg8+ 36.Kf4 Rh8 37.Ke5 Rh6 38.f4 gxf3 39.gxf3 Rxh5 40.Rxh5 Bxh5 41.Bxe6 Bxf3 42.b4 Kd8 43.Bxf5 Kc7 1/2

Oy Canada!

The Boston Blitz didn't need to beat New York on Wednesday night and they didn't. Furthermore, should they meet the Knights again in the US Chess League playoffs, they won't have to beat them then either.

Boston's draw with New York combined with Baltimore's 0-4(!) loss to Dallas guarantees the Blitz the top seed in the East with two weeks to go. With Boston the only team in the Eastern Division with a winning record, it is very likely that at least one team with a losing record will make the playoffs. This seems a sufficient indictment of the decision to invite 60% of the league to participate in the post season tournament (not to mention the inevitable comparisons to the NHL).

A drawn match is likely to generate similar amounts of good and bad news, and that's certainly the case here. Let's start with the bad:
  • Boston simply has no answer for Pascal. GM or IM, Black or White, Baltimore or New York -- Charbonneau wins, Blitz lose. GM Perelshteyn's Alekhine's Defense was no solution. And beating up his girlfriend on board 2 isn't likely to help either.

  • While he's had an excellent season so far, against the Knights we caught a glimpse of the 2005 version of Ilya Krasik -- a reasonable position blundered away. We'll all be looking for a reversion to his 2006 self starting next week.
And now for the good:
  • I never fail to appreciate how well IM Foygel plays -- few flashy tactics or daring attacks, just one solid, strong move after another. Take a look again at his game with IM Krush. While she didn't seem out of it until the end, in retrospect she never seemed in it at all.

  • Charles Riordan surely has ice water in his veins. He doesn't even bear down and get serious until he's under five minutes on the clock. How many people play better with time pressure than without it? With the Blitz losing 2-1, Charles convincingly outplayed IM Bonin in what certainly appeared to be an equal endgame.
With the division crown clinched, Boston has some interesting decisions to make in the next couple of weeks. Take it easy and cruise the rest of the way in or play hard and maintain the momentum? With matches against division foes Carolina and Baltimore coming up, their choice could have a significant impact on who captures the remaining playoff berths. You didn't hear it here... but if both opponents were to do well over the next two weeks, New York might find themselves on the outside looking in. That might be one solution to Boston's pesky Pascal problem.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

If at first you don't succeed...

With the chesslog.de experiment off to less than a stellar start, I thought I might offer another game viewing alternative.

Please provide feedback and report problems in the comments.

More Knight Moves

A summary of recent activity in the Knights Errant listings:
  • New additions: Board Scholar, LuckyBobby

  • Placed in hiatus: Phorku, Generalkaia

  • At risk for hiatus: Sancho Pawnza, CelticDeath, Montse

  • Back from hiatus: Guru
Speaking of Guru, this article from Barbados' Nation News makes mention of her decision not to defend her Women's National Championship crown.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 1: Riordan-Krasik 1/2

Here is a game from Round 1 for which I just recently received the moves. Charles wins a pawn but isn't able to convert it into a full point.

Click here to play through the game.

Riordan,C (2330) - Krasik,I (2202) [B37]
BCC Championship (1), 15.09.2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Nc2 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Nd7 10.Bd2 Nc5 11.b4 Ne6 12.Rc1 a5 13.a3 axb4 14.axb4 Ned4 15.Nxd4 Nxd4 16.Be3 Nxe2+ 17.Qxe2 f5 18.exf5 Bxf5 19.Bg5 Bf6 20.Bxf6 Rxf6 21.Rfe1 Re6 22.Qd2 Qe8 23.Qd5 Qf7 24.Qxb7 Rf8 25.Qd5 Rc8 26.c5 dxc5 27.b5 c4 28.Qb7 Rd8 29.b6 Rd3 30.Qc8+ Kg7 31.Rxe6 Qxe6 32.Qc5 Qd6 33.Qxc4 Qxb6 ½-½

Note: In place of the ChessViewer, this post contains a link to the game at chesslog.de for replay. While it is not as elegant, it shouldn't crash anyone's system. Please feel free to provide feedback on this new approach. Unless there is significant dissatisfaction, I plan to convert all the Championship games to chesslog.de.

Bereolos on Bereolos-Riordan

FM Peter Bereolos analyzes his game with NM Charles Riordan from last week's US Chess League match between the Boston Blitz and Tennessee Tempo.
This was my worst game in a long time, I was totally unrecognizable.
Note: Bereolos' blog doesn't have links to specific posts. Go to the entry dated 10/17/06.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Drawing conclusions from a limited data set

Chess blogger run down in the breakdown lane of the interstate in the midst of composing a post.

It's just a hypothesis on my part.

Update (10/19): Humor is all about timing. I'm sorry to report that the post linked above has been taken down.

They say chips instead of fries

California chess kids travel to Ireland, beat up on the locals, get their butts kicked by the isle's resident Soviet GM, and learn that not all money is green.

Read "Ireland fun and games for student chess gurus" from the Contra Costa Times.

And in the end...

Dennis Monokroussos has made it official. The Chess Mind is no more.

J'adoube's grassroots campaign? It generated one comment of support... well two, if you include his original post announcing the campaign... ok maybe three, if you include my post pointing to J'adoube's post... but we are really stretching things now. So Dennis' audience which is several times larger than the one here at BCC Weblog could generate only one to three voices of encouragement for him to continue on -- a fairly sobering statistic, I think. Sure, people are leaving comments now, but that's like joining the Army after the war is over.

I've said before that in the chess blogging business the benefits one accrues need to be internally generated. There's no money in it after all; no chess blogger groupies are begging to hang out with you; and no chess players agree to draws in superior positions because of your status as a chess blogging star. So, when one reaches the point where further blogging no longer addresses some personal need, I suppose it is time to go. Dennis surely entered the 'sphere for all the right reasons, but two years later he apparently is able to walk away with those needs addressed. As a counter example, consider this chess blogger who looks more likely to quit in disgust, than in satisfaction.

I've expressed my praise for Dennis' blogging efforts several times previously, so I won't repeat it again here. Besides, my views should be evident from the fact that from this point forward you will find the link to The Chess Mind listed under Classic Chess Blogs.

Godspeed Dennis!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Heat or Light?

Apparently there was some controversy swirling around the US Chess League last week. I happened upon it somewhat inadvertently.

You may have noticed this line of text under last week's Blitz-Tempo match results:
Tennessee will have a 5 minute penalty on each board for submitting the lineup after the deadline.
Since I wasn't fully conversant with the rules governing this infraction, I checked them out. And, to be honest, having reviewed them I'm still not really sure where the 5 minute penalty came from.

Rule A9 covers the case where a team makes a change to their lineup after the Sunday night deadline. However, I didn't see a rule which specifically addresses the penalty for not submitting any lineup at all by the deadline. If A9 had been applied, i.e., if the late line-up was viewed as a change in lineup after the deadline on all four boards, then according to the rules each member of the Tempo should have been penalized 1/6th of their time (~12 minutes since they were playing G/75). So unless the league office does its mathematics in base 3, it's hard to figure out how 12 became 5.

While it probably would have been helpful for the Commissioner to provide a clarification on all this, since there didn't seem to be any complaints from Boston or Tennessee I figured there really wasn't much of a story here.

However, since I had now made a study of the rules, I became further perplexed when I noticed a related ruling in the San Francisco-Seattle match.
The lineup for this match has changed, and the time control on both boards 2+3 will be 85 minutes for San Francisco and 65 minutes for Seattle, due to the late lineup change by Seattle.
Obviously Seattle made a change to their lineup which affected boards 2 & 3. According to rule A9 if the change occurred prior to Monday 9:00pm then Seattle should have lost 1/6th of their time (~12 minutes) on these two boards, if by Tuesday 9:00pm, then 1/4th of their time (~19 minutes). So why did Seattle lose 10 minutes on these two boards and San Francisco gain the same amount? I suppose it might have been deemed the most appropriate way of docking Seattle 19 minutes, but nevertheless this approach to adjusting the clocks is not discussed in the rules.
While I was hung up in the mathematics of it all, it turns out that charges, counter-charges and accusations over the substance of the infractions were flying around elsewhere. Here are some relevant links for your reading pleasure:
I've read through all this material and, quite honestly, I still don't really understand who did what, who's right and who's wrong, what the current rules are now, or how the 5 min and +10/-10 min penalties were calculated. I certainly think it would be helpful if the Commissioner laid out his position on these matters and explained his rulings since none of this is currently covered on the official website. At the same time, I think Clint needs to get a grip. Making accusations about East Coast bias hardly helps his cause. The Sluggers were playing San Francisco after all, not New York. And if the Commissioner is trying to help the Knights this season, he's doing a pretty pathetic job of it.
Speaking of New York, the Knights are under great pressure to win this week's match with the Blitz in order to maintain their slim hold on the last playoff spot in the Eastern Division. Here are the matchups - Boston has white on boards 2 & 4:

GM Eugene Perelshteyn - 2614 vs. GM Pascal Charbonneau - 2500
IM Igor Foygel - 2533 vs. IM Irina Krush - 2445
NM Charles Riordan - 2283 vs. IM Jay Bonin - 2354
NM Ilya Krasik - 2162 vs. Matthew Herman - 2172

Since LarryC has had his troubles with Pascal in past matches, Boston is substituting in their other GM (what a luxury!). I also like Boston's chances on the other three boards as well. Of course, by now it should be clear to everyone that waiting for JG's prediction before putting down your money is the prudent thing to do.

Boylston Chess Foundation Annual Meeting

The annual membership meeting to elect officers for the Boylston Chess Foundation will take place this Wednesday, October 18th at 7:00p.m. Hope to see you there!

Stepping into the breach

Boston Globe columnist Harold Dondis reports that the Northeast Getaway tournaments may not become a casualty of Severine Wamala's legal troubles after all. Apparently Ken Ballou has decided to run the next one this coming weekend October 20-22. The event has been renamed the Sudbury River Chess 2006 Fall Classic and is still being held at the Courtyard Marriott in Marlborough (formerly known as the Hotel Marlborough).

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Championship Standings after Round 5

2006 BCC Championship

Chris Chase kept pace with the leader by defeating Paul MacIntyre. Lawyer Times has been quietly moving up the board.

4.5/5 - NM Riordan
4.0/5 - FM Chase
3.5/5 - Times
2.5/4 - NM Krasik
3.0/5 - FM MacIntyre, NM Cherniack
2.0/4 - NM Martirosov
1.0/5 - Williams
0.5/5 - Salomon
0.0/5 - Rihel

Key 6th Round Matchup: Riordan-Times

2006 Hauptturnier

4.0/4 - Glickman
3.5/4 - Iglesias
3.5/5 - Clayton
3.5/6 - Driscoll
2.0/4 - Lee
1.5/4 - Gorczyca
2.0/6 - Frazier
0.0/3 - Oresick
0.0/4 - Hager

Key 6th Round Matchup: Iglesias-Glickman

Saturday, October 14, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 4: Chase-Riordan 0-1

Charles takes over the lead in the Championship with this win. Chris won a pawn early but seems to lose the thread beginning with 26.Re7 (Fritz prefers the plan of advancing the extra pawn a2-a4-a5).

Chase,C (2292) - Riordan,C (2330) [A00]
BCC Championship (4), 02.10.2006

1.g3 e5 2.Bg2 f5 3.d3 Nf6 4.Nc3 d5 5.Bg5 c6 6.Nf3 e4 7.dxe4 fxe4 8.Nd4 Bc5 9.Na4 Be7 10.f3 exf3 11.exf3 0-0 12.0-0 Na6 13.Qe2 Nc5 14.Nxc5 Bxc5 15.c3 h6 16.Be3 Bd7 17.Rfe1 Qe7 18.Qd3 Qf7 19.b4 Bd6 20.Nb3 Rad8 21.Bxa7 h5 22.Bc5 Ne8 23.Qd4 Bxc5 24.Nxc5 Bc8 25.Qh4 Nd6 26.Re7 Qg6 27.Bh3 Nf5 28.Bxf5 Qxf5 29.Rf1 b6 30.Qd4 Qg5 31.Rc7 bxc5 32.bxc5 Bh3 33.Re1 Rxf3 0-1

Note: Some readers using Firefox have been having problems with the site since I started posting games using ChessViewer. Therefore, this will be the last Championship game posted until I find a viable alternative. Your suggestions are welcome.

Note(2): I am currently converting all the previous Championship game posts from ChessViewer to Chess Publisher

Friday, October 13, 2006

Before you ask...

Mark Glickman

No, I am not related to USCF Ratings Committee chairman Mark Glickman whose interview with Howard Goldowsky is featured on the cover of the October 2006 issue of Chess Life magazine. Of course, I was disappointed that Howard didn't ask him if he was related to me.

While we both play chess, we don't
share the same gene for hair growth.

Same old story - Blitz win, Tempo lose

Tennessee, Tennessee
There ain't no team we'd rather see
Shahade, thanks for schedulin' the B's
against Tennessee

[To the tune of "Tennessee Jed" as performed by The Grateful Dead]

It's not unusual for an expansion team to have difficulties during their first year in a league, but it's still hard to fathom the Tempo's malaise. After all, the US Chess League's maximum average rating rule is intended to make the matches competitive and bring some level of parity to the league. Sure, Tennessee can't trot out two GMs like the Blitz can, but they did bring an average team rating of 2332 into Wednesday's match.

For a season and a half Philadelphia has been fielding teams with 100-150 point average rating deficits and while they haven't been a playoff contender, they've won several matches and kept most of the others close. Not Tennessee -- they lose 4-0, 3.5-0.5 and 3-1 regularly and they never ever win. It's as if 2300 doesn't mean the same thing in Tennessee that it does in the rest of the country.

Now before the Northerners start spouting the ridiculous stereotypes about the South that they still teach in our public schools, stop and think for a minute. As someone who lived down South for several years (not that far from Tennessee, in fact), I can assure you that they have chess clubs, tournaments, computers and even high-speed internet access just like you and me. And they have cars too, so it's not as if they only play tournament games against other Tennesseans.

Frankly, I'm at a loss to explain what's really going on. So instead, I'll just present the facts -- positions from this week's match between the Blitz and the Tempo.

Board 1. IM Burnett-GM Christiansen after 31...Rh5

White to play and lose a pawn

Board 3. FM Bereolos-NM Riordan after 16.Ncb1

Black gained the upper hand right out of the opening

Board 4. NM Krasik-NM Wheeler after 27.Rb1?

Black misses an opportunity to stay in the game

In the interest of completeness, here is a link to the draw on Board 2, FM Kelleher-FM Andrews.

Needless to say, Boston won the match in a rout 3.5-0.5. More importantly, they lengthened their overall lead in the standings over both Baltimore (who drew with Philadelphia) and New York (who lost to Carolina). As a result, the Blitz have all but locked up 1st place in the Eastern Division. Dare we start discussing lineups for the playoffs?

Board 1. In this ostensibly equal position, White played 32.Qg2? allowing 32...Rxh4+. If gxh4, then Qxh4+ followed by Qxe1. Burnett lost a few moves later.

Board 4. 27...Kf7! 28.Kh1 (if 28.Rxb7?? then Black has a mate in 3 beginning with Rg8+) 28...Rg8 29.Rg1 Rxg1+ 30.Qxg1 Bg2+! 31.Qxg2 Qxb1+ 32.Nxb1 Rxb1+ 33.Qg1 Rxg1+ 34.Kxg1 Nxd5 with excellent chances to draw the ending.

BCC Champ Rd. 4: Williams-Rihel 1-0

In the battle to escape the cellar, Chris sacrifices with abandon, chases Jason's King around the board and then trades everything off to reach an easily won King and Pawn ending. It is quite an exciting game, actually.

Williams,C (2186) - Rihel,J (1953) [B87]
BCC Championship (4), 02.10.2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.Bg5 Nbd7 10.0-0-0 Be7 11.e5 Bb7 12.Qg3 Nxe5 13.Bxe6 fxe6 14.f4 Nc4 15.Nxe6 Qa5 16.Nxg7+ Kf7 17.Rhe1 Be4 18.Qh3 Kxg7 19.Rxe4 Nxe4 20.Bh6+ Kg6 21.Nxe4 Raf8 22.Qe6+ Bf6 23.Nxf6 Rxf6 24.f5+ Kxh6 25.Qxf6+ Kh5 26.Qxh8 Qxa2 27.Qxh7+ Kg5 28.Qg6+ Kf4 29.Rd4+ Ke5 30.Rxc4 Qxc4 31.Qe6+ Qxe6 32.fxe6 Kxe6 33.b4 1-0

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Take a mulligan

Rocky Rook discusses the merits of takebacks. He, himself, is a hardliner:

...my take on it is that unless it's an unrated game or if I know my opponent (if he's a personal friend or on-line acquaintance) then I don't ask or give takebacks....

I ... found that one of the variables on FICS is takeback. If it is set to 1, then any takeback request will automatically be declined. I set mine to 1.

What's your view?

Chess' ambassador to the mass market

Mainstream media coverage of Clint Ballard's GM Slugfest Tournament and the BAP scoring system...

Read "It worked for poker: Can chess make it on TV?" from The Seattle Times.

BCC Champ Rd. 4: MacIntyre-Salomon 1/2

Brian is the first of the Reubens-Landey qualifiers to nick one of the masters. As a result, Paul remains a half-point off the pace.

MacIntyre,P (2334) - Salomon,B (2005) [A04]
BCC Championship (4), 02.10.2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.g3 Nf6 4.d3 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.0-0 0-0 7.h3 Nc6 8.Re1 d5 9.Nbd2 e5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.c3 Nc7 12.Nc4 f6 13.Be3 b6 14.a4 Be6 15.a5 Nd5 16.Bd2 Qd7 17.h4 b5 18.Ne3 Nde7 19.Nc2 Qxd3 20.Bf1 Qd7 21.Bxb5 Rab8 22.Qe2 Bd5 23.Bc4 Rxb2 24.Ne3 e4 25.Nxd5 exf3 26.Nxf6+ Kh8 27.Nxd7 fxe2 28.Nxf8 Rxd2 29.Ne6 Bxc3 30.Rac1 Bxa5 31.Rxe2 Rxe2 32.Bxe2 Nd4 33.Rxc5 Nxe2+ 34.Kf1 Bb6 35.Rc4 Nxg3+ 36.fxg3 h5 37.Ke2 Kg8 38.Kf3 Kf7 39.Ng5+ Kf6 40.Re4 Nf5 41.Re6+ Kg7 42.Re8 Kf6 43.Rf8+ Ke7 44.Rf7+ Ke8 45.Rb7 Ne7 46.Kf4 Bc7+ 47.Kf3 Bb6 48.Ne4 Kf7 49.Nd6+ Ke6 50.Nb5 Nc6 51.Ke4 Bf2 52.Nc7+ Kd6 53.Nb5+ Ke6 54.Rc7 Ne7 55.Kf3 Bb6 56.Rb7 Nc6 57.Rg7 Ne5+ 58.Kf4 Kf6 59.Rb7 Nd3+ 60.Kf3 Nc5 61.Rb8 Nd7 62.Ra8 Ne5+ 63.Kg2 Nc6 64.Kf3 Nd4+ 65.Nxd4 Bxd4 66.Kf4 Bf2 67.Kf3 Bd4 68.Rc8 Kf5 69.Rf8+ Ke6 70.Rg8 Kf6 71.Rf8+ ½-½

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Make someone's day

Sean offers 8 simple rules for creating a chess brilliancy ... for your opponent, that is -- very funny and probably educational at the same time.

Sackcloth and Ashes

While he dropped hints at his own blog awhile back, Dennis Monokroussos has now all but officially announced the end of The Chess Mind here at BCC Weblog.

TCM will almost surely go poof very soon - right after next Monday's ChessBase show is probably a good moment.

First off, by "poof" I hope he means that he will stop posting, not actually delete the site. Over the past two years, Dennis has produced an amazing amount of quality chess material and it would be a shame if were not available as a searchable archive.

In addition, it goes without saying that I have always been a big fan of Dennis' blog(s). The fact that The Chess Mind sits atop the list on the sidebar of this blog is no accident or quirk of history. Quite simply, Dennis has produced the best analytical chess blog in the 'sphere bar none. I can't think of a better candidate for "Instant Classic" status. If/When he goes, he will be sorely missed in these parts.
Dennis Monokroussos

For those still struggling through the denial stage, J'adoube has dangled a straw. You might consider joining his grassroots campaign to convince Dennis to stay on.

BCC Champ Rd. 4: Cherniack-Times 1/2

Both players looked to be winning at different points, so a draw was probably a fair result.

Cherniack,A (2264) - Times,L (2139) [A26]
BCC Championship (4), 02.10.2006

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 d6 4.Bg2 g6 5.d3 Bg7 6.Rb1 a5 7.a3 Nf6 8.b4 axb4 9.axb4 0-0 10.b5 Nd4 11.e3 Ne6 12.Nge2 Re8 13.h3 Nc5 14.e4 h6 15.0-0 c6 16.Be3 Nfd7 17.Qd2 Kh7 18.f4 Qe7 19.f5 Ra3 20.Rf3 gxf5 21.Rxf5 Nf6 22.Rf2 Ne6 23.Rbf1 Rf8 24.Qb2 Ra8 25.Qc1 Nd7 26.h4 Ndc5 27.Bh3 Nxd3 28.Bf5+ Kg8 29.Qd2 Nxf2 30.Rxf2 Ra1+ 31.Kg2 Nf4+ 32.gxf4 Bxf5 33.exf5 Qxh4 34.Ng3 Rfa8 35.Nce4 cxb5 36.cxb5 Qg4 37.Qxd6 h5 38.fxe5 R1a2 39.e6 h4 40.exf7+ Kh8 41.Qg6 Qxg6 42.fxg6 hxg3 43.Rxa2 Rxa2+ 44.Kxg3 Ra3 45.Kf2 Rd3 46.Nc5 Rd6 47.Nxb7 Rxg6 48.Nd8 Rd6 49.Bg5 Kh7 50.Ke3 Kg6 51.Be7 Rb6 52.f8Q ½-½

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Multi-channel distribution

You can also play through the games from the 2006 BCC Championship at the Games section of the BCC Website (of course, you'll miss out on my witty little introductions).

The competition heats up

When I read J'adoube's post about Space, I was certain that I was looking at next year's winner of the "Best coverage of theoretical physics in a chess blog" bloggie award. However, since then physics seems to have become a recurring topic in the chess blogosphere. At this point in time there are at least three contenders for the prize:
Feel free to register your vote in the comments.

BCC Champ Rd. 3: Riordan-Williams 1-0

Charles managed to win the exchange by queening a pawn in the middlegame. There must have been a bit of a time scramble at the end, as he missed several chances to pick up Chris' Bishop with Re5+ (though it didn't have any impact on the outcome).

Riordan,C (2330) - Williams,C (2186) [B37]
BCC Championship (3), 25.09.2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 d6 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Nc2 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 a5 10.Be3 Nd7 11.Qd2 Re8 12.Rfd1 a4 13.Rab1 Nce5 14.Nd5 Nc5 15.Bg5 Nc6 16.f3 Be6 17.Kh1 Bxd5 18.cxd5 Ne5 19.Na3 Qa5 20.Bb5 Ned7 21.Rbc1 Qb6 22.Rc2 Kf8 23.Qe1 h6 24.Be3 Red8 25.Bxd7 Rxd7 26.e5 Qd8 27.Bxc5 dxc5 28.Rxc5 b6 29.Rb5 Rc8 30.f4 Rc5 31.Rxc5 bxc5 32.Qe4 Qa5 33.Nc4 Qd8 34.g3 Kg8 35.e6 f5 36.Qg2 Rb7 37.d6 Rb4 38.d7 Rxc4 39.Qc6 Rb4 40.Qc8 Rb8 41.Qxb8 Qxb8 42.d8Q+ Qxd8 43.Rxd8+ Kh7 44.Ra8 Bxb2 45.Rxa4 Kg7 46.Ra6 g5 47.Kg2 g4 48.Rc6 Ba3 49.Ra6 Bb4 50.a3 Be1 51.Rc6 Kf6 52.Rxc5 Kxe6 53.a4 h5 54.a5 h4 55.a6 h3+ 56.Kf1 Bxg3 1-0

Monday, October 09, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 3: Rihel-Cherniack 0-1

Another French Tarrasch with 3...Be7 from Alex, he played the unusual move 4...Nh6 after 4.e5. Instead of 5...b6, Watson mentions 5...Nf5 (safe) and 5...Nd7 (interesting). Jason reached a King and Pawn ending that he looks to have misplayed into a loss.

Rihel,J (1953) - Cherniack,A (2264) [C03]
BCC Championship (3), 25.09.2006

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Be7 4.e5 Nh6 5.Ngf3 b6 6.c3 0-0 7.Bd3 Ba6 8.Nf1 Bxd3 9.Qxd3 Nf5 10.h4 h5 11.Bg5 c5 12.Ne3 Nxe3 13.fxe3 Nd7 14.Bxe7 Qxe7 15.Ng5 g6 16.0-0 Kg7 17.e4 f6 18.exf6+ Nxf6 19.exd5 Nxd5 20.Rae1 Nc7 21.Qg3 Kh6 22.Qe3 Kg7 23.Nxe6+ Nxe6 24.Qxe6 Rxf1+ 25.Kxf1 Rf8+ 26.Kg1 Qxh4 27.Qe7+ Qxe7 28.Rxe7+ Rf7 29.Rxf7+ Kxf7 30.dxc5 bxc5 31.Kf2 Ke6 32.Ke3 Ke5 33.b3 g5 34.Kf3 Kf5 35.b4 cxb4 36.cxb4 Ke5 37.Ke3 Kd5 38.Kd3 h4 39.Ke3 g4 40.Kf2 h3 41.gxh3 gxh3 42.Kg3 Kc4 43.a3 Kb3 44.b5 Kxa3 45.Kxh3 Kb4 46.Kg3 Kxb5 47.Kf3 Kc4 48.Ke3 Kc3 49.Ke2 a5 50.Kd1 Kb2 0-1

Blitz player acknowledges "local media"

In US Chess League Commissioner Greg Shahade's "10 Questions with Ilya Krasik," Boston's 4th Board mentions BCC Weblog ... well, sort of.

10. Please tell us your thoughts on the US Chess League as a whole, and how the experience has been for you both this season and last.

....Last year I personally struggled winning won positions and I faced a lot of pressure from the local media [that's us! -DG], it was even suggested that I be traded to Vancouver because it was alleged I was selfish in trying to win a game in which a draw was enough, lucky USCL didn't have a team in Vancouver and I remained in Boston uniform....

Fair is fair. Given how well Ilya has been playing this year, had Blitz manager Matt Phelps made such an arrangement, we'd undoubtedly be complaining about his Bagwell-esque blunder.
Speaking of Phelps, while I'm sure he'll explain that it was all because of availability, I am inclined to quibble just a bit with this week's line up against Tennessee. Although both of Boston's "K's" have been playing well this season, it seems that this week's team could have been strengthened by replacing Kelleher with Foygel on Board 2 or Krasik with Martirosov on Board 4. The Blitz will be favored in any case, but why give the Tempo any hope at all?

Here are this week's matchups; Boston has White on Boards 2 & 4:

Sunday, October 08, 2006

FM Chris Chase takes the BCC Legends - H. E. Atkins

FM Chris Chase took first place in the BCC H. E. Atkins Open, one of the "Legends" series events devised by ubiquitous TD Bernardo Iglesias.

With 4 of 4 points, Chris topped the field of 25 players and edged Scott Didham...

...who had 3.5 due to a draw with Vikas Shiva, nominally 1493, suggesting one must always be careful playing anyone named Shiva, the "destroyer."

Posted by Picasa

I'm rooting for Kasparov to come back

Don Q's chess club -- The Kaissa Chess Club of Richmond, Virginia -- is offering a poll where you can indicate whether the off-the-board shenanigans at the Kramnik-Topalov World Championship match have influenced your rooting interest.

BCC Champ Rd. 3: Martirosov-MacIntyre 1/2

Paul looked to be slightly better through most of the game, though he was never able to put Vadim away.

Martirosov,V (2270) - MacIntyre,P (2334) [C55]
BCC Championship (3), 25.09.2006

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.e5 Ng4 6.Qe2 Qe7 7.Bf4 f6 8.exf6 Nxf6 9.Nbd2 d5 10.Bb5 Qxe2+ 11.Kxe2 a6 12.Bd3 Kd7 13.Nb3 Bd6 14.Bxd6 Kxd6 15.Kd2 Rf8 16.Rae1 g6 17.Nbxd4 Nxd4 18.Nxd4 Ng4 19.f3 Nf2 20.Rhf1 Nxd3 21.cxd3 c5 22.Nc2 a5 23.d4 b6 24.Re5 Bd7 25.Rfe1 Rae8 26.Rxe8 Bxe8 27.Re3 a4 28.b4 axb3 29.axb3 Bb5 30.dxc5+ bxc5 31.b4 cxb4 32.Nxb4 Rf4 33.Nc2 Rh4 34.h3 Bf1 35.Ne1 Ra4 36.Re8 d4 37.Rh8 Ra2+ 38.Kd1 d3 39.Nxd3 Bxd3 40.Rd8+ Ke5 41.Rxd3 Rxg2 42.Rd7 h5 43.Rf7 Rh2 44.Ke1 g5 45.Kf1 h4 46.Kg1 Ra2 ½-½

Championship Standings after Round 4

2006 BCC Championship

Defending Champion Charles Riordan defeated Chris Chase to take the lead by half a point. The Krasik-Martirosov game was postponed.

3.5/4 - NM Riordan
3.0/4 - FM MacIntyre, FM Chase
2.5/4 - NM Cherniack, Times
1.5/3 - NM Martirosov, NM Krasik
1.0/4 - Williams
0.5/4 - Salomon
0.0/4 - Rihel

Key 5th Round Matchup: MacIntyre-Chase

2006 Hauptturnier

3.0/3 - Glickman
3.5/4 - Clayton, Iglesias
2.5/4 - Driscoll
1.5/3 - Gorczyca
2.0/4 - Lee
0.0/3 - Oresick, Hager
0.0/4 - Frazier

Key 5th Round Matchup: Glickman-Clayton

Saturday, October 07, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 3: Salomon-Chase 0-1

Brian's faulty combination beginning with 21.f6 nets Chris a piece and the game.

Salomon,B (2005) - Chase,C (2292) [B15]
BCC Championship (3), 25.09.2006

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.Be3 d5 5.e5 Nh6 6.f4 Qb6 7.Na4 Qa5+ 8.c3 0-0 9.Nf3 Bg4 10.Nc5 Qc7 11.h3 Bxf3 12.Qxf3 Nd7 13.Nd3 e6 14.Be2 f6 15.exf6 Nxf6 16.0-0 Ne4 17.Nc5 Nxc5 18.dxc5 e5 19.g4 Rae8 20.f5 Qe7 21.f6 Rxf6 22.Bg5 Rxf3 23.Bxe7 Rxf1+ 0-1

BCC Champ Rd. 3: Times-Krasik 1-0

A game where not having his Rook ultimately led to Ilya's demise.

Times,L (2139) - Krasik,I (2202) [A46]
BCC Championship (3), 24.09.2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.c3 g6 4.e3 Bg7 5.dxc5 Qc7 6.b4 b6 7.cxb6 Qxb6 8.Bb2 0-0 9.Be2 a5 10.b5 Ne4 11.Qc2 d5 12.Nbd2 Bf5 13.Nxe4 Bxe4 14.Qd2 a4 15.Ba3 Rc8 16.Rc1 Ra7 17.0-0 Rac7 18.Bb4 Nd7 19.c4 dxc4 20.Ba5 Qxb5 21.Bxc7 Rxc7 22.Bxc4 Rxc4 23.Rxc4 Qxc4 24.Qxd7 Bf6 25.Nd2 Qb4 26.a3 Qb7 27.Qxb7 Bxb7 28.Rb1 Bc6 29.Rb6 Bd5 30.Ra6 Bc3 31.Nb1 Be1 32.Rxa4 1-0

Friday, October 06, 2006

All good things must come to an end

With two GMs on the roster the Boston Blitz are, if nothing else, a top-heavy team. Therefore, as a general rule, they look to score strongly on the upper boards and then put away matches when one or the other of their lower boards plays well. While there have been exceptions, this is largely the recipe the Blitz have used in jumping out to a 5-0 start in the 2006 US Chess League season. Given this, it should come as no surprise that Boston's first loss of the year (against the Baltimore Kingfishers) came on the same night that they scored 0-2 on the top two boards.

Too bad really, as I had already been thinking of some nice plays on words (names, actually) to describe the team's victory. For example ... GM Christiansen had a cold and began the game somewhat congested, but by the end of night he had managed to cough up the offending Blehm ... or ... Stevie picked on Bruci in the playground. Unfortunately, when it was over, Larry had died of asphyxiation and it was Steven who was lying unconscious in the sandbox covered in blood.

FM Winer fell first to FM Lopez and it was a massacre. I'm not sure whether Winer walked into preparation, but it turns out that the first 20 moves had been played before in a correspondence game (Nordfjord-Klausen, Nordic Cup T 3rd B17 corr, 1997). Black's position is just hopeless.

Lopez-Winer after 20.Qg3

The next game to finish, my favorite of the night, was FM Kelleher vs. IM Kaufman. After 17 moves, the average player might have taken a superficial look and thought the position was = or +/= (equal material, opposite color bishops, passed IQP for Black, lead in development for White). Nothing could have been further from the truth. Kelleher demonstrated model play for the position; his moves and plans were simple, straightforward, clear (even to me) and deadly. I can't wait to get a similar position in one of my games.

Kelleher-Kaufman after 17.Qxd4

On Board 4, Krasik's rematch with WGM Rohonyan produced an exciting, fighting draw. Ilya continued to show disdain for his rooks, this time sacrificing the exchange for attacking chances. A few moves later, Katerina annexed a pawn but this allowed Krasik to draw by perpetual check. I'm interested to hear whether the post-mortem found any way for Ilya to continue the attack.

Rohonyan-Krasik after 16.Bd2
Ilya says goodbye to his Rook, then takes on c4

With the match tied at 1.5 each, most Blitz fans were probably feeling good about their chances. Larry might not win, but surely he wouldn't lose. Well, I'm sorry to say that there's just no point in betting against JG's predictions -- if he says you're going to lose, then you will. The Commissioner called the GM Christiansen-GM Blehm encounter a "wild game", so don't expect any great insight from me. I will mention a couple of moves that had the gallery in a frenzy and you can check them out for yourself. Several kibitzers thought that 19...Nxa3 (instead of Bd7) was better for Black and many claimed that 28.Ba3 (instead of Bb2) would have kept White ahead.

Christiansen-Blehm after 27...Bxa5
Was 28.Ba3 better than Bb2?

So Boston's undefeated season is history. The good news is that their 5-1 record still leaves them two points ahead of both Baltimore and New York in the Eastern Division. And, the schedulers were kind as well, offering up the winless Tennessee Tempo in Week 7.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Yeah, we get it; it's a chess match

Either Major League Baseball is using chess to brand a series of articles on the playoffs or the writers at MLB.com could use some coaching on composing creative headlines:

Chess Match: A's get best of Twins - In tightly contested matchup, strategy plays big role in outcome

Chess Match: Yanks halt Tigers early - Missed chances catch up with Detroit; New York capitalizes

Chess Match: Gambles pay off for Cards - Saving Carpenter, sending Belliard prove good decisions

Chess Match: Don't play for one - A's don't get cautious in Game 2, and it pays off for them

The most expensive chess team in history

From "The games before the games" at The Journal News:
There was quite a game at Yankee Stadium last week. It started off a bit one-sided until some aggressive strategy made it close at the end. Then a bold stroke proved to be decisive.

The spectators nodded approvingly when it was over, and the players shook hands.

Not baseball. It was a chess match between right-hander Cory Lidle and backup first baseman Craig Wilson....

When the Yankees were in Kansas City earlier this month, Lidle checkmated Alex Rodriguez. The third baseman was spotted at his locker the next day reading a book about chess strategy.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

David Shenk podcast

Nextbook's Sara Ivry interviews author David Shenk about his new book, The Immortal Game. David discusses the "...evolution [of chess], and its role in Jewish life and lore from Moses onward."

Little did I realize that it actually took only ten days on Mount Sinai to carve the ten commandments. The other thirty days were spent studying the intricacies of the Moeller Attack.

Playing Chess on the Gridiron

Virginia Tech linebacker Xavier Adibi credits chess with helping him improve as a football player.
A 6-2, 221-pound junior out of Hampton's Phoebus High, Adibi said dealing with the mental part of football is as much a part of his success as his physical gifts. Chess has helped him become more of a forward thinker....

"You have to understand the game, the possibilities, be able to put that all together. The mental part of football is really important, and I think last spring is when I really started to notice how much it helped the game slow down."
Read "Tech's Adibi plays chess to hone his thought processes on the field" from the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 2: Cherniack-Riordan 0-1

Riordan on Cherniack-Riordan: "I won sloppily in a Q vs. R+N endgame."

The mate at the end which prompted Alex to resign is nice -- 53.Kh5 Qxh3+ 54.Kxg5 f6 mate.

Cherniack,A (2264) - Riordan,C (2330) [E73]
BCC Championship (2), 18.09.2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Bg5 Na6 7.Qd2 e5 8.d5 Nc5 9.Bf3 a5 10.Nge2 c6 11.Ng3 cxd5 12.cxd5 b5 13.Nxb5 Ba6 14.Be2 Rb8 15.Nc3 Bxe2 16.Qxe2 Rxb2 17.Qf3 h6 18.Bc1 Rb7 19.0-0 a4 20.Ba3 Qa5 21.Rfc1 Nfd7 22.Rab1 Rfb8 23.Rxb7 Rxb7 24.Nge2 h5 25.Rc2 Nb3 26.Rb2 Nd4 27.Rxb7 Nxf3+ 28.gxf3 Nc5 29.Rb5 Qa7 30.Nc1 Qe7 31.N3e2 Qg5+ 32.Kf1 Bf8 33.Bxc5 dxc5 34.Rb2 Bh6 35.Rc2 Qf6 36.Kg2 Qb6 37.h3 Bf8 38.Nc3 Qb4 39.Nd3 Qd4 40.Nb2 a3 41.Nbd1 c4 42.Ne3 Qd3 43.Ne2 Bh6 44.Nc1 Qd4 45.Nxc4 Qd1 46.Ne3 Bxe3 47.Rc8+ Kg7 48.fxe3 Qd2+ 49.Kg3 h4+ 50.Kxh4 Qf2+ 51.Kg4 Qg2+ 52.Kh4 g5+ 0-1

Blitz Bitz

It looks like a fair fight this week against Baltimore. In fact, the Kingfishers actually outrate the Blitz by an average of two points per board (2410 vs. 2408). You'll notice that both teams have exceeded the 2400 average rating limit this week -- Boston benefiting from the round down to 2590 rule and Baltimore taking advantage of the ten points for girls bonus.

Here are the matchups; the Blitz have white on boards 1 & 3:

JG continues to kick butt on the "official" USCL prognosticators. Maybe it's time for the commissioner to give him some space on the website? On the other hand, he may be losing his touch. How else do you explain his picking against Boston this week?

Update: The power of the press -- the commissioner gave JG a mention in this week's official picks article.

Can't play? Read. Can't Read? Listen.

The following is from an Ed Kostreba e-mail. While he doesn't specifically note which University of Massachusetts campus he's referring to, I'm fairly sure it's Amherst.
Histor(ies) of Chess: A Two-Author Book Reading
Sponsored by UMass Department of English, The Five-College Medieval Seminar, and Five Colleges, Inc.
Thursday, October 5, 2006, 5:00 p.m.
Memorial Hall, University of Massachusetts

David Shenk, author of The Immortal Game: A History of Chess, or How 32 Carved Pieces on a Board Illuminated Our Understanding of War, Art, Science and the Human Brain

In his wide-ranging examination of chess, David Shenk unearths the hidden history of a game that seems so simple yet contains infinity. From its invention somewhere in India around 500 A.D. to its twenty-first-century importance in the development of artificial intelligence, chess has been a remarkably omnipresent factor in the development of civilization.

"Fun, factual, and a good read... Not a reference book to be stored on a shelf [but] a book to be read and enjoyed, and even read again... buy this book!" - Chess Life magazine

"Shenk, a spry writer... [offers] a strong case for the game's bewitching power." - The New York Times
Jenny Adams, author of Power Play: The Literature and Politics of Chess in the Late Middle Ages

Power Play is the first book to ask why chess became so popular so quickly, why its pieces were altered, and what the consequences of these changes were.
There will also be a post-talk reception afterwards to which all are invited.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

BCC Champ Rd. 2: Salomon-Martirosov 0-1

Vadim demonstrates the proper technique in a Knight vs. Bishop ending.

Salomon,B (2005) - Martirosov,V (2270) [B36]
BCC Championship (2), 18.09.2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Bg5 0-0 10.Qd2 Be6 11.0-0 Qa5 12.Rac1 Rfc8 13.b3 a6 14.f3 b5 15.Nd5 Qxd2 16.Bxd2 Bxd5 17.cxd5 Nd7 18.Rxc8+ Rxc8 19.Rc1 Bd4+ 20.Kf1 Rxc1+ 21.Bxc1 Nc5 22.Bh6 f6 23.Bd2 Kf7 24.Bd1 Be5 25.b4 Nd7 26.f4 Bd4 27.a4 Nb6 28.axb5 axb5 29.Bb3 f5 30.exf5 gxf5 31.Ke2 Na8 32.Kd3 Bg1 33.h3 h5 34.Bd1 Kg6 35.g4 hxg4 36.hxg4 Nc7 37.gxf5+ Kxf5 38.Bf3 Bh2 39.Be4+ Kg4 40.f5 Be5 41.Kc2 Bd4 42.Bh6 Ne8 43.Bd3 Nc7 44.Be4 Bf6 45.Be3 Bg5 46.Bxg5 Kxg5 47.Kc3 Kf4 48.Kd4 Na6 49.Bd3 Nxb4 50.Bxb5 Nc2+ 51.Kd3 Ne3 52.Bc6 Nxf5 53.Bd7 Ke5 54.Be6 Ng3 55.Bf7 Ne4 56.Kc4 Nf6 57.Be6 Ke4 58.Bf7 Nd7 59.Kb5 Kd4 60.Be6 Ne5 61.Kb6 Nd3 62.Kb5 Nf4 63.Kc6 Nxe6 64.dxe6 Ke5 0-1

BCC Champ Rd. 2: MacIntyre-Times 1-0

Lawyer had the best of it against Paul but lost the thread (along with all his pawns).

MacIntyre,P (2334) - Times,L (2139) [B03]
BCC Championship (2), 18.09.2006

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6 cxd6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Rc1 0-0 9.b3 h6 10.h3 e5 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.Qxd8 Rxd8 13.c5 N6d7 14.Nb5 Nc6 15.Nf3 e4 16.Nd2 Nde5 17.Be2 Nb4 18.0-0 f5 19.Nc4 Ned3 20.Rcd1 Nxa2 21.Ncd6 Nab4 22.Bd2 b6 23.Bxb4 Nxb4 24.Bc4+ Kh7 25.Nc7 Rb8 26.cxb6 axb6 27.Nxc8 Rdxc8 28.Ne6 Rb7 29.Nxg7 Kxg7 30.g4 b5 31.Be6 Rc5 32.gxf5 gxf5 33.Rd6 Kf8 34.Rfd1 Nd3 35.Bd5 Rg7+ 36.Kf1 Rc2 37.Rf6+ Ke7 38.Rxf5 Nc5 39.b4 Na6 40.Bxe4 Rc4 41.Re1 Kd7 42.Rxb5 Rxb4 43.Rxb4 Nxb4 44.Rb1 Na6 45.Rb6 Nc5 46.Bf5+ Ke7 47.Rxh6 Rg5 48.Bg4 1-0