Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chess: The BCF Donut Hole

My wife and one of her friends (who is on Medicare) have a very expensive migraine headache medicine that costs $1000 for 6 pills. People on Medicare who have exceeded their $2,800 initial coverage have to pay out of pocket for drugs until the next level of coverage kicks in: they are said to be in the donut hole. My wife's friend hits the donut hole in record time.

In June my rating was 1815 making me ineligible for the 2010 Weaver Adams. But by July my published rating will be 1793 thus placing me in the BCF Championship Qualifying Series Donut Hole technically making me ineligible for the Rubens Landy. Fortunately with intelligent flexibility RL directors Bob Oresick and Bernado Iglesias, with the support of President Jason Rihel, have made an allowance in letting me register for the RL.

The Board is working on reworking the entry requirements for the whole championship series in the fall to be ready for next year. Tradition has the final stage of the Club Championship to be a round robin of 11 of the top masters plus the winner of the Rubens Landy. But the BCF suffers with the pretty cool problem that we now have more than 11 masters thus another potential donut hole situation.

And not only is there a BCF Donut Hole but there is a Donut Munchkin: What happens if someone has a rating below 1800 in June above 1800 in July? They can play in the Weaver Adam's and Rubens Landey.

But we shouldn't become too upset by these things. Always remember the ancient Chinese saying attributed to Homer Simpson's ancestor by Bob:

"Don't curse the hole -- eat the donut."

What are your feelings about this Donut Hole/Munchkin?

Please Comment

Thank You

Mike Griffin (with contributions from Bob Oresick)


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Reubens Landey 2010

This is a very special tournament - it is traditionally a very competitive, prestigious, yet friendly tournament. Only club members can enter, but if you aren't a member, this is the perfect excuse to join or renew.

In reviewing our membership and playing list over the last year, I noticed that there are about 220 expert and A players who are eligible for this event. In last year's tournament, 21 strong players competed.

Please consider playing - starting Monday, July 12.

The 2010 Reubens Landey begins Monday, July 12. It is the second component of the club championship cycle.

The winner becomes the BCC U2200 champion and moves into the club championship to compete against club masters.

Monday, July 12, 19, 26 August 2:

Reubens/Landey BCF Qualifier U2200 Championship
4SS; 40/90 G/20; Open to BCF members rated under 2200 and at least 1800 published for July 2010.

Entry fee: $20:
Winner receives free entry into the BCF Championship beginning in Sept.
Registration: 6:00 to 6:30 or email
Rounds: 7:PM


Below is some context for this tournament: two biographical articles by Bernardo Iglesias and a listing of past winners.


by Bernardo Iglesias

"....Chess appeals to our emotions and brings us joys and sorrows."

Emil Reubens was born in a beautiful land very far away, in Yelisavetpol (Kirovabad) Russia, in 1886, on September 23 and, died in Massachusetts in Norwood Hospital in 1973, on August 29 after a brief illness. Emil Reubens was 86 years old when he died, an extraordinary man who believed that mankind could become rehabilitated through Chess. Chess is more than life and can change a person to benefit Society.

He was a chess master emeritus and one of the founding member of the United States Chess Federation, a member of the Boylston Chess Club, the Brockton Chess Club and his dear Sharon Chess Club.

Reubens received his formal education at the University of Prague. In 1906 he immigrated to the United States and worked for a time in steel mills in Detroit. Eventually he moved to Boston and graduated from Boston University in 1922 with a degree in business administration. Much later, in June of 1973 he received his Master's degree in business administration, he was the oldest person in the university's history to obtain such a degree at 86.

He lived in Sharon, Mass. for many years. Emil Reubens was a U.S.C.F. life director and authored a wonderful book on chess play, entitled Chess - Trick and Treat in 1965. This book is a treasure, a precious jewel for any novice player. At the end of the book he recommends that every young player should “Join a chess club. Meet chess players of differing skill and style. Subscribe to a periodical that will keep you abreast of the important events in Chess world."

In 1964, he helped to bring the U.S. Open to Boston. He was an honorary Chairman of the Committee, along with a lot of the great chess organizers of the time: Robert Goodspeed (Brockton C.C), Harold Dondis (Johnson C.C.), Eleanor Goodspeed, Eleanor Terry, Frank Ferdinand (Harvard C.C.), James Burgess (Boylston C.C. ),Harry Goober (Clarendon C.C.), Beverly Jarnigan and Joseph Hurvitz (Boylston C.C.). That year, the U.S.C.F. was celebrating the silver anniversary of its foundation, in which Emil Reubens had been a strong force in promoting chess in this country.

Emil had a long time interest in prison reform and was instrumental in assisting many prisoners get back into society. In his book, mentioned above, he thought that “When I was drafted into becoming a "leader" in youth clubs, I employed chess and chocolate bars to lead the youth into the paths of righteousness. There are no available data to estimate the effect of chess on juvenile delinquency, nor are there statistics to gauge the collateral effects of chocolate bars freely rewarded for chess merits."

Reubens combined a lifelong interest in better prisons, rehabilitation and parole systems with chess activities. He organized many teams of players who visited several penal institutions to play against teams of inmates, or just to play simultaneous exhibitions against the inmates. On one occasion, he took Steve Frymer, John Curdo, and R. Gleason to Norfolk Prison, delighting one inmate in particular so much that he became an active player and organizer in Norfolk area.

Emil Reubens loved the youth, kids of all ages, -- they are our future joys and sorrows in life. The second Brockton Open, on September 25 & 26, 1971 in Brockton, Mass. William Lombardy, former World Junior Champion, had agreed to participate in the selection and awarding of a special Lombardy - Reubens “best played game” trophy to some player under the age of 21 (Harry Lyman was present in this ceremony). The winner of the award trophy was won by the young John Peters. The third Brockton Open, on September 23 & 24,1972, the Lombardy-Reubens award trophy was won by John Stopa. For the Boylston C.C. member’s information, at this event Alex Slive and Andrew Anisimov, two new youngsters showed up in the chess arena. After this event, it seems that such award stopped being awarded by the Brockton Chess Club, since he became sick and died shortly.

The "MASS STATE JUNIOR CHESS CHALLENGE TROPHY PRESENTED BY EMIL M. REUBENS " is a silver trophy cup at the Boylston Chess Club to preserve his memory for future generations. In 1988, William Lukowiak, treasurer of the Boylston Chess Club and long time an officer on the board of MACA, introduced a motion to the Executive Board of MACA that the winner’s name of the Junior Scholastic Champion from Massachusetts be inscribed in this trophy and that MACA will help to pay for traveling expenses to the National Championship whenever it was to be held. The MACA board turned down this motion, and denied youngsters of this State such an honor.
After his death, the Mass State Chess Association, organized a one time "the Emil Reubens Memorial" at the Massachusetts Open at the new Brockton High School in 1974. The winner of this event was John Peters.

Emil founded the Steinberg-Reubens Educational Foundation. The Boylston Chess Club Board of Directors decided that in 1986 to pay tribute to Emil Reubens and Ben Landey by naming a qualifier cycle of the B.C.C. championship qualifier in their honor, for players rated 1800 to 2199. The winners of the Reubens/Landy move on to play against the club’s masters for the club championship.


by Bernardo Iglesias

Benjamin Landey was born in 1912 and died on January 20, 1981 in Quincy. From his high school days he worked for the Sharon Bolt and Screw Company founded by Emil Reubens, reaching the position of board chairman, which he held at his death. According to Harry Lyman, Benjamin married Reubens’ daughter.

For many years, he was the ceremonial chess leader of New England: Landey was President of the MSCA, the Boylston Chess Club, the Boston Metropolitan Chess League, the New England Chess Association, and the USCF Regional Vice-President.

He was a truly regional chess entrepreneur, a notable chess organizer, a man of remarkable poise and intelligence, a master of parliamentary procedure and a skillful politician, that is, a leader among leaders in the region. He worked for long hours at his job and then spend evenings and weekends on numerous chess projects and clubs.

While Ben Landey was a tournament director for M.S.C.A., he brought to Boston the U.S. Open in 1970 and the U.S. Junior Open in 1965 and 1969, held at Northeastern University. Ben Landey's most active years were from 1965 to 1970; after this year his health impeded more time in his passion for the royal game of chess. Despite his failing health, he was an extremely successful teacher of chess for beginners, though he himself was rated only about 1500 during most of his over the board career; he also, worked with the Massachusetts Association for Retarded Citizens and several local groups.

Along with Emil Reubens, Landey was a major sponsor of prison chess programs, and the two of them sought the parole of a number of inmates who were avid chess players. In addition to being a regular tournament player, Ben Landey was very active in postal chess with the Nights of the Square Table (NOST).

Landey was the first person to compete with a computer in chess at a U.S. Chess Federation rated tournament. He lost.

Landey’s most glorious moment in the spotlight as an organizer was winning the bid for the 1970 US Open for Boston. It was Ben Landey’s rhetoric that easily won the bid at the 1969 U.S.C.F. meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was unfortunate that the then M.S.C.A. was not ready to host such a major event. The host site, Boston's Parker House, was a less than welcoming host, and a great number of participants complained about the space designated for the playing room, that the light was not good enough for many, etc. Also, Ben Landey got sick a few months before the event along with his co-organizer Lewis Icenogle. It was not Landey's shining hour. `

Ben was treasurer of the Greater Boston Committee of the U.S. Peace Council, past President of the South Shore Assn. for Retarded Citizens. He was the President of the Boylston Chess Club at the time of his death.

After his death in 1981, M.A.C.A. organized a memorial tournament at the Mass. Open in April; the winner of this tournament was the young James Rizzitano in North Darmouth.

The Boylston Chess Club has honored Ben Landey since 1986, when the Board of Directors dedicated a qualifier tournament to those members of the club rated 1800 to 2199 plus the winners of the Weaver Adam's; the winner to participate in the fall championship. His memory will endure for ever at the Boylston Chess Club along with that of Emil Reubens.


(U2200 Champion)

Weaver Adams

(U1800 Champion)


Alexander Paphitis


NM Greg Kaden

Frank Frazier


Simon Warfield

Johnathan Lee, Adam Yedidia


Gregory Kaden

Alexander Paphitis


Brian Salomon

Alexander Paphitis, Jonathan Lee, Lior Rozhansky


Kenneth Newman, Carey Theil

Robert Oresick, Joshua Blanchfield


Simon Warfield

Mike Griffin


Edward Astrachan

Robert Oresick


Simon Warfield

William MacLellan


Edward Astrachan, Kimani Stancil

Mike Griffin


Simon Warfield

Stephen E. Smith


Daniel J. Woods

Bryan Clark


Paul Mishkin

Bryan Clark, Charles G. Alex


Robert Armes

Walter A. Driscoll III


Larry Schmitt

Hector Perez, Jared Becker


Miguel Angel Santana

Miguel A. Santana


Alex Slive

Andrew L. Yerre


Timur Feinstein

Charles G. Alex


Daniel J. Woods


Larry Schmitt


Alex Slive


Thomas Durnan


Thomas Durnan


Harold Dean Lawton


Charlie Mays 1st



Monday, June 28, 2010

Alexander Paphitis is the BCF U1800 Champion

Alexander Paphitis with 4 of 4 won the 2010 Weaver Adams. So, he qualifies for the Reubens Landey and is the 2010 BCC U1800 Champion.
In the final round, he defeated Larry Eldridge, who was under time pressure. Frank Frazier and Seth Lieberman who had both entered the last round with 2 points and hopes that Larry with 2 would knock off Alexander and yield a 3 way tie. Seth and Frank drew and Alexander controlled his own destiny.

Congratulations. Well done.

#Name/Rtng/IDRd 1Rd 2Rd 3Rd 4Tot
1Bernardo IglesiasB 7W 9B 5W 3

1784 122142700.
2Alexander PaphitisW 8B 5W 6B 4

1761 124365401.
3Khikmet SadykovB 9W 7B 11B 1

1731 138976470.
4Larry EldridgeW 10B 6B 9W 2

1726 100172971.
5Brian CostelloB 11W 2W 1B 7

1708 142685771.
6Frank FrazierW 12W 4B 2W 11

1691 100142801.
7Thomas SifterW 1B 3W 10W 5

1689 124114720.
8Harold DondisB 2W 11B 12W 10

1680 100187650.
9Robert OresickW 3B 1W 4----

1546 126595191.01.51.5U1.51.5
10Steven Philip StepakB 4W 12B 7B 8

1542 124373390.
11Seth LiebermanW 5B 8W 3B 6

1508 126048950.
12Jason TangB 6B 10W 8bye

1265 142175710.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Free Adult Beginner Chess Classes

Tuesdays, July 6 to August 10: Adult Beginner Classes 7:00 to 8:30 pm. This Boylston Chess Foundation course is for adult beginners who would like to learn the rules and improve their chess. The classes emphasize practice over theory, and offer many opportunities to play complete games.
The course is free to the general public and is a wonderful opportunity to learn the game from a terrific teacher and master.
The course covers the following topics:
  • How the pieces move
  • Basic checkmates
  • Tactics and strategy
  • Elementary endgames
  • Overview of openings
  • How to find the best move in a position
  • Suggestions for improving on your own
About the instructor:

Alex Cherniack is a national chess master and a 3-time champion of the Boylston Chess Club. He has over 30 years experience teaching and playing in chess competitions.
In 2008 he tied with two other strong players to become one of the

68th New England Open 2008 Champions:

FM Alex Cherniack, FM Denis Shmelov, and GM Alexander Ivanov

Cover photo: Tony Cortizas

For more informa
tion, email Alex at

Larry Christiansen's US Championship Chess BCF Lecture 6/23/2010

The only adjectives used around GM Larry Christiansen's name at the US Championship spoke about the aged "old man" of US chess. People were recycling language from the latter day descriptions of Joseph Henry "Black Death" Blackburne who played 50 years of professional chess. Come to think of it, looking at Larry's career I estimate he has 2 years to hit his 50th USCF chess playing anniversary.
Popular opinion gave Larry Christiansen (three times US champ) little chance to do well at the US championship as Larry was the oldest competitor in the year's event. Some gave odds of 200 to 1 of him winning the tournament. When in fact Larry came within one quiet move of getting into the Finals.

There was a packed house at the BCF of chess fans in attendance at the lecture. The self-effacing Larry was very open and honest in describing and assessing his performance. Brutal honesty is the most common trait that Masters and above possess: always seeking the truth, always probing for the best move. Always questioning.
An interesting sidebar was Larry’s discussing about the reliance of today’s players on computers for preparation.
In great detail Larry reviewed the Round one game: Christiansen/Dimitri Gurevich a Richter-Rauzer Sicilian where Larry squeeze his opponent into making bad moves.
Larry also presented round two Ray Robson/ Alex Yermolinsky same Richter-Rauzer but white played it a little more poorly than Larry and black played in super aggressive precise attacking fashion.
He also reviewed his Round four game Alexander Shabalov/Christiansen where Larry played a Bogo-Indian Defense and described how he recovered from over extending his knight to tie up Shabalov to win.
Round seven Christiansen/Hikaru Nakamura was a French Defense Tarrasch where Larry had the advantage throughout the whole game but on move 34 missed the quiet Qe5 which would have given him the win and Nakamura the loss. That result would have placed Larry in the Finals.

Old man Larry put down his walker and got the joy of squashing all the kids finishing second in the US blitz tourney with Nakamura winning.

I think Larry was too hard on himself. His openness to share his feelings and approach to the US Championships was very cool as we got to realize that at all levels the emotions, dreams, frustrations, joys and sorrows are the same for all of us who love the game.
Thank You Larry for a special evening.
Mike Griffin


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chess and Flopping

Intently the players are fighting a fierce battle slamming on the analog clock with flags hanging on their edges. When all of a sudden the slamming of the clock caused the button to pop up against the opponents’ hand; when he is seen flying to the ground grabbing his ankle writhing in pain.
The TD imposes the new Armageddon penalty shot: two minutes on each clock, the fouled player with the King, and the offender with King Bishop and Knight. A mate is needed in two minutes or the fouled player wins.

Watching the World Cup has been entertaining except for all this flopping. Who would ever have thought that good acting would be part of a players arsenal. I wish that flopping would be regarded as bad sportsmanship. Chess is so tough that going to the bathroom is suspect.

What do you think should be the appropriate penalty if caught flopping?

Please Comment.

Thank You

Mike Griffin


Monday, June 21, 2010

Reminder-- GM Larry Christiansen lecture this Wednesday, June 23rd

Just to remind everyone that GM Larry Christiansen's lecture is this Wednesday, June 23rd, at the Boylston Chess Club. Don't miss it!

More info here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Billy the Magician shocks Boylston Chess

"Local Harvard Square chess personality William "Billy" "The Magician" Collins shocks Boston Chess with a 4-0 victory in last Saturday's Somerville Open. Rated only 2044, Billy defeated NM Cherniack (2301), IM Vigorito (2532) and FM Chase (2378) all in succession to take the title! Senior Master Denis Shmelov took clear second with 3.5 points. Congratulations to Billy, who gained nearly 100 points in only 4 games!
Look for more on Billy's achievement later in the month at the blog when I annotate how he pulled off these amazing upsets."

IM Marc Esserman

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Larry Christiansen on the 2010 US Chess Championship

The Boylston Chess Foundation’s Master Lecture Series Proudly Presents:

International Grandmaster

Larry Christiansen

will speak on the games and players of the 2010 U.S. Chess Championship and the direction of U.S. chess.

Read Harold Dondis and Patrick Wolfe on Christiansen's play in the Championship in their Globe column:


WHERE: The Boylston Chess Club
WHEN: Wednesday, June 23rd at 7:00 P.M.
HOW MUCH: For BCC Members: Free
Non-members: $7
OTHER: The format of the evening will allow for questions from the audience.

For more information contact Paul MacIntyre: TEL:781 322 7936


Larry Christiansen is a Southern California native who now resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife, Natasha. One of the greatest attacking players in the history of the United States, Larry was a star of the Bundesliga (a German league of chess teams) and was U.S. Champion in 1980, 1983, and 2002.

A major figure in international chess for over two decades, Larry is also the author of several books on the game: Storming the Barricades was published to universal acclaim in 2000, followed by the equally well-received Rocking the Ramparts in 2003.

The Boylston Chess Foundation
240B Elm St., Suite B9
Somerville, MA 02144 web:
(617) 629-3933 e-mail: