Sunday, October 31, 2010

New England Nor'easters game featured in the New York Times

Hey everyone. The playoffs are on Monday, when the regular playoff team Boston Blitz faces Balitmore and the undefeated, record-breaking expansion team the New England Nor'easters takes on New York. It should be exciting -- be sure to tune in on ICC or LIVE at the Boylston Chess Club.

To get a quick pre-game fix, check out Sam Shankland's USCL game featured in the New York Times:

Fire off Board

At the 15th Annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival this weekend, I had a pleasant chat with Carey's wife Christine (Carey was absent, fortifying the Ramparts against Rocking and strengthening the Barricades against Storming). At the festival, I think I also caught sight of Brian Salomon, on whom I doubt I made much of an impression in 2008, when I blundered on move 7 and rapidly lost a miniature to him.

Christine mentioned the 2007 fire incident at the club, for which I was not present. I thought back to a fire alarm during my 1987 Thursday Night Swiss game against the very pleasant and friendly Expert Brad Ryan, back when the club was located at the Y.M.C.U. in Boston. Reviewing my scoresheet, I see that my memory of the timing of events was faulty.

The fire alarm sounded after move 10, far earlier than I thought, so it was not while Brad and I were outside, waiting to be let back into the building, that he asked me, "I think our position at point X was pretty even, don't you think?" He must have asked me that during the post-mortem.

Demonstrating my fine lack of chess understanding (or perhaps, my lack of fine chess understanding), my gut reaction was, "Are you kidding me? At point X, I had an extra pawn!", but I think I was rather less committal and rather more diplomatic in my reply.

Brad cleaned my clock in that game, and I was obliged to accept that a paltry extra pawn does not winneth a game (or is that a Paltrow extra pawn does not Gwyneth a game?).

I was probably playing another of my numerous rated games during a fire alarm, but no other incidents come to mind. Anyone have a memorable mid-game fire alarm tale? (I suggest avoiding replays of the 2007 club incident described above, unless they add meaningfully to the original post.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

FM Chris Chase is the new BCF Champion for 2010

FM Chris Chase is the new BCF Champion for 2010.

Chris has now been the BCC Champion 7 times, more than any other player in the history of the club, surpassing Bill Kelleher and Jacob Rasin, who have been winners 6 times each and Paul MacIntyre (4x), Alex Cherniack (3x) and Charles Riordan (3x).

If one reviews the previously winners of this championship over the years, it is apparent that this is a truly major chess accomplishment. Congratulations!

#Name/Rtng/IDSt/TmRd 1Rd 2Rd 3Rd 4Rd 5Rd 6Rd 7Tot
1Chris Williams
B 7W 6B 5W 4B 3W 2----

2207 12788759
2Gregory Kaden
B 6W 5B 4W 3----B 1W 7

2207 12000550
3Christopher Chase
B 5W 4----B 2W 1B 7W 6

2388 10010985
4Oliver Kniest
----B 3W 2B 1W 7B 6W 5

2240 12800989
5Lawyer Times
W 3B 2W 1B 7W 6----B 4

2274 12167330
6Jeffrey Hall
W 2B 1- 7----B 5W 4B 3

1939 12710491
7Carey Theil
W 1----- 6W 5B 4W 3B 2

2238 12594672

2010 FM Chris Chase
2009 FM Chris Chase
2008 FM Chris Chase, IM David Vigorito, NM Charles Riordan
2006 FM Chris Chase, NM Charles Riordan
1998 FM Chris Chase
1994 FM Chris Chase
1990 FM Chris Chase, SM Jacob Rasin
1987 FM William Kelleher, NM Alex Cherniack
1984 FM William Kelleher, NM John Stopa,
1983 FM William Kelleher
1981 FM William Kelleher
1980 FM William Kelleher
1979 FM William Kelleher, NM Joe Fang, NM John Frankle
1997 SM Jacob Rasin
1995 SM Jacob Rasin, LM Alex Cherniack
1993 SM Jacob Rasin
1992 SM Jacob Rasin
1991 SM Jacob Rasin, NM Maurice Broomes
1990 SM Jacob Rasin, FM Chris Chase
2004 FM Paul MacIntyre
2003 FM Paul MacIntyre
2001 FM Paul MacIntyre
2000 FM Paul MacIntyre
2008 NM Charles Riordan,FM Chris Chase, IM David Vigorito,
2006 NM Charles Riordan, FM Chris Chase,
2005 NM Charles Riordan
1999 LM Alex Cherniack
1995 LM Alex Cherniack, SM Jacob Rasin,
1987 NM Alex Cherniack, FM William Kelleher


BCC champion

2010FM Chris Chase
2009FM Chris Chase
2008IM David Vigorito, NM Charles Riordan, FM Chris Chase
2007IM David Vigorito
2006NM Charles Riordan, FM Chris Chase
2005NM Charles Riordan
2004FM Paul MacIntyre
2003FM Paul MacIntyre
2002IM William Paschall
2001FM Paul MacIntyre
2000FM Paul MacIntyre
1999LM Alex Cherniack
1998FM Chris Chase
1997SM Jacob Rasin
1996NM Geoffrey Gelman
1995SM Jacob Rasin, LM Alex Cherniack
1994FM Chris Chase
1993SM Jacob Rasin
1992SM Jacob Rasin
1991SM Jacob Rasin, NM Maurice Broomes
1990SM Jacob Rasin, FM Chris Chase
1989SM Arturo Anguiano
1988NM Rich Gutman
1987FM William Kelleher, NM Alex Cherniack
1986NM Rich Gutman
1985GM Patrick Wolff / NM John Stopa
1984FM William Kelleher, NM John Stopa,
1983FM William Kelleher
1982FM Sandeep Joshi
1981FM William Kelleher
1980FM William Kelleher
1979FM William Kelleher, NM Joe Fang, NM John Frankle
1978NM John Frankle
1977NM Marc Lonoff
1976NM Larry Tapper
1975IM Bill Robertie
1972NM Daniel Harrington
1971NM Harry Lyman
1948Harlow Daly
1947Harlow Daly
1921G. H. Friberg
1919H. G. Daniel 1st bcc champion
1894George H. Walcott
1893Franklin K. Young
1892C.F. Burille
1891Harry Nelson Pillsbury
1890John F. Barry

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wednesday Scholastic Lessons-- 3:00 - 4:30 PM

The Boylston Chess Foundation is happy to present:

FREE Wednesday lessons for scholastic players with National Master Chris Chase.

Where: Boylston Chess Club in Davis Square

When: Wednesday 3:00 - 4:30; starts this Wednesday

Who: National Master Chris Chase is a multi-time Boylston Club Champion and a respected chess instructor.

We are hoping for a small group of dedicated students.

Please contact if you need more information.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chess at the A Bon Pain 2010 season: Goodbye Boys of Summer

photo: Tony Cortizas Jr.

I see you boys of summer in your ruin.

Man in his maggot's barren.

And boys are full and foreign in the pouch.

I am the man your father was.

We are the sons of flint and pitch.

O see the poles are kissing as they cross.

-Dylan Thomas

"Is that the mind's last, soundless, dying cry? Who will remember? There was no rustling of old crowds as my long, wrenching, joyless voyage ended, only the question, 'Who will remember?" and a sign in the renting office at New Ebbets Field apartments saying, as if about the past, "NO VACANCY. Files closed."

- Roger Kahn Boys of Summer

Chess has it's Boys of Summer: the crew that congregates outside the A Bon Pain on a daily basis. Weather this spring and summer permitted a tremendous amount of outdoor chess. My unemployment status allowed me to participate often with this group.

Typically this area is known for gambling "lessons" but there are a group of folks, a mixture of all various types and backgrounds of bright brainiacks, that converge to play chess. Or simply hang out across from Harvard Yard and absorb the ambiance of the powerful forceful Thought Karma. I was taken by the camaraderie and friendship developed with these guys who promoted the social component to a high place.

Typically players paired off in threes and played blitz, playing "risers" where the winner continues to sit and play, while the loser rises to be replaced. If a draw, then white sits.

Three highlights this summer were:
  • One Sunday afternoon for over two hours I watched Ilya Krasik
photo: Tony Cortizas Jr.

play Billy Collins photo: Robert Oresick

and Gerry Williams. photo: Robert Oresick

It reminded me of Paul Morphy games: where the superior player was a level better than two pretty good players. The way in which Illya approached each position was extremely educational. I made the comment that a particular variation played reminded me of a Fischer v Bisguier game. To which Illya called time out and reproduced from memory said game for us. Fischer unleashing a hellatious sacrificial attack from a Sozin. Illya never lost that day.
  • Throughout the summer Ben & Jainping Yuan
photo: Robert Oresick

would arrive. Ben would play blitz and attract a crowd.

photo: Tony Cortizas Jr.

  • The Marc Esserman Challenge with crazy odds of: 5 minutes to 45 seconds; an extra queen (5 to 5 mins); or piece odds created an excitement. One time Marc played thru the night and thru the second day, with bodyguard Krasik by his side. There were times when hundreds circled the chess board.

Then one Sunday after Labor Day it happened: weather was good and upon arriving at A Bon Pain there was no one. I sat for a while waiting for another comrade to appear, but it didn't happen. Alone we approach the end of the year feeling the cold, staring into the bleakness, dreaming about spring.

What are your A Bon Pain stories?

Please Comment
Thank You

Mike Griffin
(Graphics by Bob Oresick & Tony Cortizas)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chess: BCF Looking for a Permanent Home

A couple of months ago at the BCF Board meeting Carey Theil gave a presentation discussing the exploration of the option to purchase condo office space for the club. Working with Clerk Charles Riordan, President Jason Rihel, with input from Treasurer Bob Oresick they defined the parameters/model upon which the BCF could obtain a mortgage to purchase its own space. For the first time ever, this out of the box thinking defines what is needed to own the box. These guys contacted banks that specialize in loans to non profits and determined that given our current cash flow plus a $50,000 down payment we could give the BCF a permanent home. After some brainstorming during the meeting we tabled discussion to reflect on this lofty but achievable possibility of coming up with $50K.

So the BCF is looking for a many small benefactors, a few good benefactors, or one great benefactor, or all of the above. If you are writing your kids out of the will, remember the BCF. If you don't need $50k for thirty or forty years, remember us. If you are buds with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet please drop them a hint. Perhaps the board should instruct Bob Oresick to purchase one Megabucks ticket every week thus creating hope that someday we might have our own chess digs.

What are your suggestions in achieving this lofty goal? What Megabucks number should we play? Please Comment. Thank You. Mike Griffin

(Jason Rihel wishes Boylston could have a spot like the St. Louis club. Our historic club, one of the oldest in the nation, deserves it. We are part of the sports and arts culture of Boston and should be marketed as such).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Update: New England Sweep Carolina, Clinches Division!

Breaking news-- New England has officially clinched the division title and is poised to secure the best single season USCL record with just 1.5 points from next week's match!

Despite a significant ratings advantage, many prediction blogs were suggesting that Carolina could draw the match with the confident and playoff secure Nor'easters.

Instead, New England smashed the Cobras with a clean 4-0 sweep. This sends a clear message to cross-town rivals, the Boston Blitz, who scored only an anemic draw against the bottom-dwelling Cobras last week. The New England Nor'easters have continued to prove that they can win on every board, every week.

Indeed, it is only the 2nd 4-0 sweep of any team in the entire USCL. The other 4-0 victim? The Boston Blitz, all the way in week 1 against the New York Knights. Boston faces New York again next week in the last round of the season in what may turn out to be a preview of the first round of the playoffs. Although there is still some flux among New York, Baltimore, and New Jersey for the final two spots (New York is assured of a playoff spot, but which spot?), if the season ended today, New England would face Baltimore with draw odds, while Boston would face New York with draw odds. While New England is playing next week for gravy, a win in the last round by Boston could send New York to the 4 spot, where they would rematch with New England in playoff Round 1.

No matter what, the playoff picture for the two Boston-area teams is full of exciting possible matchups, with a good chance that the Blitz and Nor'easters must duke it out to earn a spot in the final. Boston is the only team to nick the Nor'easters for a half-point this season, so you know we would like to see that rematch! And at least one of these teams must go toe-to-toe with the regular Boston-area sports enemy, the New York Knights.

Stay tuned for coverage of all the action!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Boston Clinched Playoff Spot on Monday; New England Can Clinch Division Wed

Boston chess fans have a lot to enjoy, as both local teams have clinched playoff spots. The New England Nor'easters can clinch the division title-- an amazing feat for the newcomer team-- with either a draw in the next two matches or by scoring a total of 3/8 game points over the two matches. Meanwhile, the New York Knights stumbled to local rival, the New Jersey KOs, putting New York in at least some playoff danger, as Manhattan and Baltimore can still bypass them. New York's falter ensures that New England and Boston will be the 1 and 2 teams in the East division, earning both teams first round playoff draw odds.

@ - New England 7.5 0.5
@ - Boston 6.5 2.5
New York 4.5 4.5
Baltimore 4.5 4.5
Manhattan 3.5 4.5
New Jersey 3.5 5.5
X -Carolina 2 6
X -Philadelphia 1.5 6.5

One possible unusual situation could arise next week, when New England faces Manhattan-- They could play kingmaker, lose to Manhattan with a bid to avoid the ostensibly stronger New York Knights team. I've heard certain other teams consider losing on purpose to try to face New England in the first round of the playoffs. Of course, such Machiavellian tactics are just as likely to bite the team then help them out, and maybe Boston, who plays New York, will counter-sandbag.

And now a recap of Boston coupled with a preview of New England on Wednesday. Since my last two previews were of a literary nature, this week I thought I'd turn to a more accessible style for my audience-- the comment section of an internet post.
1. George M. 4AM First!

2. rihel 4:10AM If I were playing the Blitz's Jorge Sammour-Hasbun, I don't think I would have chosen to play the Marshall Attack of the Ruy Lopez. Sasha Kaplan of Baltimore was just begging for Jorge to prove that his loss last week was a fluke. It got crazy in there, but then White just ended up with a winning endgame.

3. NMIK 4:13AM Rihel you dont know what you are staking about. stoopid comment. Jorge lost the week before but he was winning easily many times. Playing te Marshall was the only choice to have a chance. Iodiot.

4. Esserman why so serious? 4:30 AM I refused to play this week, which gave Denys Shmelov a time disadvantage. Good thing he found a draw to clinch the match for Boston.

5. Mike 4:31 AM Why did Shmelov start with such a time disadvantage?

6. Erenburg sucks 4:40 AM I wonder if that boring Christiansen-Erenburg drawn game will win Game of the Week, since the GOTW judges are so dumb, it probably will. And then Erenburg will complain about how it won, and Larry will complain about how it won when it didn't deserve to win. Then the judges will change their minds, because all the fights in the comment section are so convincing that the judges just throw up their arms and say your are right comment section, we are dumb and you trolls are so smart. And then someone will complain about Jeff Ashton's diatribes, and then someone else will say that Jeff Ashton is a genius, and then Esserman will win Game of the Week for refusing to play on Board 3.

7. Mike 4:45 AM Never mind, I saw Esserman's comment now.

8. Anon 4:50 AM I bet esserman why so serious? is Marc Esserman.

9. rihel suxks 4:55 AM look at me i have a moocow and then that moocow pooped on the floor and i thought i saw a good poem to recite for chessplayers. But i'm really an idiot.

10. julius g 5:00AM This comment was removed by the administrator.

11. huh? 5:10 AM What happened on Board 4? I don't know how to use ICC or the Internet except for posting in a comment section so I couldn't find out the answer for myself. Thanks!

12. to huh? 5:15 AM Grant Xu forced a draw by repetition on move 25. Given the 200 point ranting difference, that was probably a good move.

13. to to huh? 5:20 AM No, you are an idoiot.

14. to to to huh? 5:25 AM No, you are an idiot. Learn to speel. And Grant forced a draw.

15. to to to to huh? 5:26 AM WHY DON'T YOU? LOL

16. rihel 5:45 AM Actually, several of the commenters here have made excellent points. I am glad that I wasted my time to read these, because the erudition was most informative. As a result, I have altered my thinking about my predictions for the New England- Carolina Cobra match. Orginally, I thought that Carolina has a good chance to draw, but, now that I have irrefutable proof that I and everyone I respect is an idiot, I withdraw my drawn prediction. We will now crowdsource for a real prediction. Leave a comment below how you think the New England match on Wednesday will go.

17. troll. 6:00 AM That sounds like something Hitler said once.

18. 1-800-I-hate-you 6:10 AM This comment was deleted by the administrator

19. 1-800-I-hate-you 6:20 AM Why was my post deleted? I guess there is no freedom of speech in this country anymore.

20. booked-up-lawyer 6:25 AM This is a private blog, and the admin can exercise his own freedom of speech by censoring you.

21. what?! 6:30 AM Isn't it weird what these comment sections can become? What is this crap?

22. what?! 6:35 AM And isn't it weird that everone is up at 4-5AM making these comments?

23. so what?! 6:40 AM The timestamper is broken. I am writing this at 1AM, not 6:40 AM.

24. Ashton for President 7:00AM. I hate Greg Shahade. I really like the USCL, but it stinks that Shahade actually wants to enforce rules and makes up whatever he wants for the league. I mean, where does he come off acquiring sponsors to support bloggers, volunteers to judge Game of the Week, money for Game of the Week prizes, and a website that is constantly updated with new League information? Who does he think he is banning computer analysis from the ICC games? Well, guess what? I use a computer when I am watching the game, and then I tell everyone the best moves but I lie and I SAY that I came up with it MYSELF!! Ever think of that, Shahade? Huh?! That's right, I flaunt your rule and you can't do anything about it!

25. back to the topic 7:30 AM. Here's a prediction: Chase and Cherniack blow away their opponents on boards 3-4 and then Hungaski and Van de mortel immediate resign (since New England clinched 1st) so they can start their 2 hour drive home early and get some sleep for a change after the match.

26. more predictions 7:45 AM. New England must be cheating. no way they are this good.

27. rihel 7:50 AM. That's right. They must be cheating, but all the people watching the matches live somehow haven't noticed it yet.

28. New England! New England! 8:00AM Go NE! Beat the snakes! Hungaski over Schorer, van de Mortel draws with Simpson (the only drawback to the draw offer was that van de Mortel took it!), and Chase wins over Agner but forgets that there is a 30 second increment. He starts blitzing, accumulates 40 minutes on his clock, and then gets too tired to continue the rest of the game. Finally, Cherniack switches back to d4 and can only draw, having forgotten that he was playing with the Black pieces.

29. CindyXXX 8:10 AM I was reading your hot story and want to send you a pic of me! Give me your bank account information and I'll send you my hot pic and we can be friends or more!

30. NE sucks! 8:20 AM Carolina is going to tear you up! Simpson is going to drawback method all over you and collect another tee-shirt from Endgame Clothing.

31. bad concept. 8:30 AM Jason, I liked your literary posts better. This one is boring and too easy to understand. And predictable! Your heart isn't in this one.

32. rihel 8:35 AM I agree. What can you do? Can't please everyone. And I'm not a kid and not a USCL manager or player, so you can forget any Blog Post of the Week award!

This post is now closed to future comments.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Evan Rabin reports on National Chess Day at the Boylston Chess Club

Evan Rabin made a rapid report for the National Chess Day event at the Boylston Chess Club this past weekend.

The article was featured on the US Chess Federation website and can be viewed here:

Computer Beats A Top Shogi Player

Top female 'shogi' pro falls to computer
Kyodo News

The top female "shogi" player lost a match against a computer system Monday in Tokyo, 35 years after work started on developing software that could beat a human player.

read more here.

Like chess before it, for shogi, the writing is on the wall--computers will be better than humans soon.

Will Go be next... to go?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Predictions as a tribute to Vladimir Nabokov

This week the Boston Blitz face cellar-dweller Carolina Cobras, while the NE Nor'easters face one of the strongest lineups fielded in the league this year -- a statement making New York Knights. New England is assured of 1st place for one more week, and they have already clinched a playoff spot. Yet it is clear that New York has something to say, with 2 GMs, an IM, and a near-master.

To preview the action, I turn this week to Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire, a tale in which a poem is heavily annotated by a madman. Nabokov was also a lover of chess. He composed many chess problems and wrote, "The Defence", a novella about a chess player (Luzhin's Defence was the movie version.) Given his chess-passion, I write in the style of Pale Fire, annotating a chess game instead of a poem.

The following chess game was played in the year 2010 as part of the Boston Blitz, New Jersey Knockouts chess struggle. Those dull names alone would quell the enthusiasm of any Caissa-ic soul, but, as is my wont, I sat down to the wooden frame this crisp Autumn weekend and commanded my tiny White and Black armies to recreate the encounters. Halfway through the chore, my feeble desk could barely contain the slaughter of innocents that littered the sides of the board, and, when I became especially preoccupied, the floorboards. Thrilling as that sounds, I was merely half-heartedly engaged until around move 10, when a spark of recognition fired in my hippocampus and my first inkling that this struggle was actually a tale of the deep past, my devoted friendship, a prediction for the future, and a warning to those whose limpid minds, like my own, could serve as a chalice to receive the pour of truth from the amphora of the coded game. How devilish of them. And how risky, for all of humanity trapped on this watery, ellipse-tracking orb, only I could decipher their message, and if only I had foregone my ritual chess annotation, the message would remain hidden! But, as my very good friends undoubtedly knew, I was as likely to drop forever the game of Kings for draughts as I was to abandon my precious rituals.

So the message is preserved, and I, the vessel, report.

Anthony Fressenfrau (A)
Camrbidge, MA
Oct 10, 2010

The Game
Christiansen,Larry (2665) - Benjamin,Joel (2614)
Notes by Fressenfrau

1.e4 c6 (B)
2.d4 d5
3.Nc3 dxe4 (C)
4.f3 Qb6 (D)
5.fxe4 e5
6.dxe5 Bc5 (E)
7.Bc4 Bxg1
8.Qf3 Be6 (F)
9.Bxe6 fxe6
10.Bg5 Qf2+ (G)
11.Qxf2 Bxf2+
12.Kxf2 Nd7
13.Ne2 Nxe5
14.Nd4 Nf6
15.Rhe1 Kf7 (H)
16.Nf3 Nxf3
17.gxf3 e5
18.Red1 Rhd8
19.a4 Ke6 (I)
20.Be3 Ne8
21.Ke2 Nd6
22.b3 Rd7
23.h4 a6 (J)
24.h5 Rf8
25.Rg1 Ne8 (K)
26.Rg3 Nf6
27.Rg5 h6
28.Rf5 Nh7 (L)
29.Rxf8 Nxf8
30.Bf2 Nh7 (L)
31.Bh4 Kf7 (M)
32.Rg1 Rd6
33.Ke3 Rd7
34.a5 Ke6
35.Rg6+ Kf7 (M)
36.Rg1 Ke6
37.b4 Kf7 (M)
38.c3 Ke6
39.Rg6+ Kf7 (M)
40.Rg1 Ke6
41.Ke2 Kf7 (M)
42.Ke3 Ke6 (Game drawn 1/2-1/2)

The Annotations

(A) Let me dispense with the awkwardness between myself and every chess-playing reader and assure you that any similarity of my name to another member of the Boston Blitz is entirely a coincidence. That Marc Antony was a famous Roman, that 'fressen' means "to eat like an animal" in German while 'Essen' means "to eat", that Man and Frau are mirror images, a Trinity of happenstance, nothing more.

(B) 1...c6 Moving this pawnlet signals the Caro-Kann defence, already a sly wink, but one that even I missed until moves later. As I would soon recognize, they are trying to remind of an incident that occurred a decade before, when, trapped in a prison cell in my home country, I eked out a similar pawn advance against my cagemate, which was beautifully labeled 23... c6 mate! The signficance of that game, once evoked, was immediately obvious to the one who lived it, for the other occupant of that squalid concrete home had a prominent King Cobra tattoo on his jugular (Who could forget how, when his neck bulged in anger after the elegant pawn-mate, that cobra seemed to unfurl its neckskin and spit.) that contrasted smartly with the Christian cross also dangling from that sinewy cylinder of tendon, veins, and skin. The very same neck that spasmed its death-rattle when, as a necessary means for my escape into exile, I strangled both the man and his pet snake with his own religious trinket. Why bring that painful memory up again to the fore, my friends, when it merely brings good tidings to Boston's Board 1 match this week?

(C) 3.Nc3 dxe4 I'll admit that I have switched the move order here. Surely my good friends would recall that, as their neighbor, I lived at 3. North Cedar Apt. 3, not 4. North Cedar? That it was 10 years ago may account for their mistaken recollection. That they would invoke this address, my first out of exile from my home country, has no predictive value but is only another placeholder clue that I should be paying attention. If they hadn't messed up the move order, I would have spotted their little encrypted ruse even sooner than move 10.

(D) 4. f3 The Fantasy Variation of the Caro-Kann. This could explain the mixup of the moves, for my best buds had on more than one occasion jocularly exclaimed, "You're insane," and "You are living in la la land." How else to mention both the variation and my first exile apartment? Pardon the reference to inside jokes among friends, I recognize how tedious obscure jests can be, but I must include it for a complete record of all the coded secrets.

(E) 6. dxe5. The doubled center pawns are a visual clue that immediately made me chuckle, for, in my home country, we also called the pawns, farmers, (in Zembla, bobber, not unlike the German, bauer), and doubled pawns, "dobber bobber", which also meant in the youthful slang, "to line up for our daily food ration at the Farmer's Food Ministry", leading to the Zemblan joke roughly translated, "Why bother to dobber bobber when the bread is just as stale as my position?" Only after the memory laser of move 10, did I also recall, as my inner circle of American friends like Larry and Joel would never have forgotten, the name of my prison guard, George Sams, and how I called him "dobber bobber bobble" for the awkward way he would hobble on his broken leg when he sidled into my cage to have our weekly chat about the rationality of the human mind. George Sams of course is so clearly an Americanization of Jorge-Sammour Hasbun that I am sorry if I insulted you, dear reader, by pointing out the startling parallel. That he plays for the first time this year in the League will be no impediment, much as old, dear George Sams, despite his, in my memory, perpetually broken limb, had no impediment to walking into my cage and pressuring me with his mental psychological warfare.

(F) Qf3 ignores the loss of the knight on g1 and threatens the f7 pawn. Pedestrian moves only required to encapsulate the core of their message on move 10 and the rest of the game.

(G) Qf2+ knocked me dumb and blind, and I almost toppled from my chair in my dumbstruckery as the images of that fateful escape from my prison cell came flooding back to me. For, didn't my inmate roommate, when we were assigned to taking out the trash unattended in the back alleyway, did he not say, laughing, "Check with the Queen" when I asked him if he knew if any of the other inmates might be able to acquire for me some actor's makeup to cover the blemishes that were breaking out all over my face and that felt like tiny crawling insects ripping into my flesh? And did I not misunderstand him to be insulting the Queen of Zembla, who, I had heard from a radio transmission not only a fortnight before, was gravely injured by an attack on the home of her house arrest and was likely to perish at any time? And did he not, as I was raining blows down upon his meaty head and snatching the life out of him with his own chain, squeak, "F-U", which, when elided and cut off by the rasping of his choking, sound distinctly, distinctly, like "f2"? Oh, to remember it, and how I sloshed his massive bulk into the trash bin and then sauntered off down the alley and to potential freedom! Painful, that memory, and invigorating! When I saw Qf2+ (the check is everything, without, the hidden meaning is gone), my molecules sang, the clasp to my mind was undone, and I could see everything my friends wanted to impart to me, for, like a decade prior, I was free!

(H) Rhe1. Instead of Rae1 which would mean nothing, Rhe1 is a '1' replaces the 'l' shorthand for "Rihel", one of our esteemed colleagues shortly after my exile to this country. That I had an unfortunate run-in with his cat (read, "Katz", and she clawed me, the little beastling) one evening when I came calling to inquire about his reference to "Alex the astrodog" in one of his blog posts may be read as coincidence by the agnostic were it not for the fact that a one Alexander Katz was playing Alex Cherniack, the selfsame Alex that Jason parodied as an astrodog, on Board 4 for the New England Nor'easters this week. The prediction belies any claim to chance.

(I) ...Ke6 How I miss Zembla, such a homeland of exquisite beauty! My heart yearns for those snow-covered mornings, when I would trudge to the lake, glimpse a red cardinal flitting through the naked oak branches, and, in a fit of whimsy, crack the ice off the water's top, remove my shoe and woolen sock, and numb my foot in the crystalline blue depths. I remember vividly the last such wintry ritual, on the day of my arrest, the same day our King was deposed by villainous forces led by Traitor Shankmakov from the Zemblan Underground. January 6th (in Zemblan, Elloseve 6th, hence the move King on e6), a date I, nor my intimate friends, could ever forget, even if the toppling of my country, my arrest, and my eventual imprisonment and exile did not happen, for, on Elloseve 6th, e6, was also the day that I met Irina, a woman I was fated to love for only a single day in the flesh but in my mind for life.

On e6, as I was crushing the ice for my foot-dip, Irina came ambling along the same frozen lakeside. As she approached, her breath coalesced into tiny water droplets in the sub-zero air, masking her intense eyes and delicate features. "What are you doing there?" she called out across the lake, as I had, in my reverie, wandered quite far from the shore and now stood breaking the ice some 20 yards from the safe land. I had managed to remove my sock and my shoe, but, the sweet song of her voice distracted me, and putting my foot down, not in the energizing waters but instead straight onto the slimy ice nearby, I yelped. "Maybe you should come over here and talk to me." More sweet singing, so I slipped on my sock, my shoe, and went slowly sliding over to where she stood safely on the shore.

We shared wit and mirth along the lake-passageway. We shared intimate details about ourselves. I told her about my rituals, and she told me about her work. Some kind of social work, but I was so lost with the nuances of her smile that those details are lost to me forever. Also, the rapidity of her intimacy was boiling my blood! She suggested first that we should get something to eat, innocent enough, but then she casually mentioned that we should also have a shower! Thinking back now more than a decade later, I suppose the upheaval of Zembla's political and social structure left Irina with such uncertainty of the future that only the heart's here and now could or should be followed, but I was so delirious with the thought of her love that such dispassionate appraisals were lost on me.

Tragically, as I swooped in to take that delicate mouth in my own, two uniformed Zemblan Officers, clearly Shankmakov turncoats working to overthrow the peaceful government that very day, pulled me away and marched me to the Zemblan Prison. I never saw Irina again.

Why would my friends torture me with the memory, which I recounted to them countless times? I was at a loss- why Ke6, paining me so? Only that evening, drained from my discovery of this game's secrets, did I see- an Irina Krush (the girl! the ice!) is playing Bournival in the Nor'easters Board 3 this week. Predicting the future is filled with only painful memory.

(J) ...a6 makes a little triangle. Knowing me to be an amateur mathematician, this is their crude way of alluding to Pascal's Triangle. To the maths aficionados among my readers, who undoubtedly think this a6-b7-c6 configuration cannot possibly be a symbol of Pascal's Triangle, allow me to rebut: Only good friends of mine would know how I toiled for hours a day in the local Starbucks shoppes scribbling out Pascal's triangle to ever-longer tiers. Because of that passion, coupled to my feverish chess annotation lust, my friends wouldn't dare such a tri-angular setup in this espionage-laden game of double meanings unless the reference were intended. That a Pascal Charbonneau is playing Charles Riordian of the Nor'easters this week again stamps my observation with the indelible smudge of fact.

(K)... Ne8. Traitor Shankmakov, knowing the love of chess in the hearts of the rabble, had named his horse "Knight" ("Nobbler" in Zemblan), and on Elloseve 8th (e8), he declared himself the new King. I see a Sam Shankland is playing a New York Knight Kacheishvili for the Nor'easters this week. I'm told he is also a traitor of sorts (once he played for the San Fran Mechanics), but to think on the ravager of my home country any longer is too painful for me. Undoubtedly, this Shankland will pull a cheap trick swindle like his Zemblan namesake. Given how the knight sneaks back to the first rank with Ne8, the double meaning is glaring to the duel student of chess and Zemblan history.

(L) 28...Nh7 30....Nh7. Only a duffer or a dear friend to Fressenfrau would move his Knight to the awkward h7 square twice in two moves, for it was on the Night of Helloseve the 28th and the Night of Helloseve the 30th (October 28th and 30th to those unfamiliar with the Zemblan calendar) that I made my successful midnight runs into the safe borders of my exile home, America, following my harrowing escape from the Zemblan prison (Helloseve the 29th, a holy day where travel is forbidden, I spent hidden in a homeless shelter, quietly working my chess board and patiently building a new Pascal Triangle). Helloseve is the start of Autumn, and the careless reader may believe that this alone is a reference to Herbst (Autumn in German, which shares some language similarities to Zemblan), who is playing Evan Rabin in the Blitz match this week. Surely, such a juxtaposition is to be chalked up to a happy randomness, even though this very game is foreshadowed in the moves.

No, the true meaning of this dobber knight hop is this: on those Nights of my escape, I was aided and abetted by a one Richard Evans, a rabbi who, upon seeing the sorry state of my health from the abuses of the Zemblan Prison, was compassionately moved to help me with bus fare so that I could return to my relatives in America, who would take great care of me. For this confabulation, I apologize, Herr Docktor Richard Evans, for I had no relatives in America, save for a niece who lived in Dallas, Texas, but my final destination of Cambridge, MA was as alien to me as Zembla would be to you. That my friends even remembered your name startles me, but, noting that Richard Herbst and Evan Rabin (Rabbi-n? you sly dogs!) were playing on Board 4 for the Blitz, perhaps they had a lightning jolt of sudden re-memory as they constructed this message. Given the urgency of their message to me (which will be clear, dear reader, in a minute), perhaps they were moved to find only the most subtle references to my past that would signal to me, like a clarion call, to take immediate and decisive action.

(M) 31...Kf7, 35...Kf7, 37.... Kf7. 39....Kf7, 41....Kf7 The repetition of this move is a reference to my past (a long night, a fistful of wine, and a deeply profound chess joke, but no matter) that even my closest friends would not know. No, only the Zemblan Secret Police would know about this, monitoring my transmissions and rituals like they do, even here in America. That my friends have included the reference in this game, it is obviously a warning that the Zemblan Police have infiltrated America through secret channels and are coming to re-capture me. I cannot bear to be Re-Educated, so I must flee my humble Cambridge abode, with its free to sit chessboards, bathrooms in coffee shops, and street corner napping stations. And the white, bitter cold winters! Zembla, you are not, dear Cambridge, but you have been most welcoming.

I should have been more suspicious when Vadim Martirosov asked me about my past. "Who are you?" he said in the Square when he overheard me waxing poetic about Zembla. I knew that Vadim was preparing for his game against Bapat of Carolina this week, so I should have been alerted by this sudden obsession with my past. Was Vadim a spy for the Zemblan Secret Police? Possible, possible, I always am alert, always alert, always watching, always ready to be snatched up and dragged back to that Zemblan Prison, where people are driven insane.

I replied, "You know who I am, Fressenfrau. Fressenfrau. How many times do I have to tell you? Stop bothering me, I'm showing Larry my Pascal triangle and how it relates to my Fressenfrau Attack in the Zemblan Defence (known as the Petroff in English)." Then, Vadim mentioned this TV show he saw the other day, about a guy wanted for murder in Fresno, and how I kind of reminded him of that guy. Since I had never been to Fresno, and I never murdered anyone, I laughed him off. "Funny, how coincidences happen like that all over the place." Then, casual, "Do you happen to remember the name of my murderous doppelganger?"

"Ha, yeah, funny thing, coincidence. The name was something like, Dr. Z____."

I replied, "We mustn't spend too much time worrying about such lucky happenstances, must we?"

He shrugged, eyed me a little queerly, and then laughed it off. "No, of course not."

It was all I could do to hide the quivering in my knees, the lump in my heart. For he had named my middle name, also known only to me.

That was last week. I told myself that it had to be a funny kind of chance, for my home countries' police wouldn't dare risk the political fallout to hunt me down in America. Of that I was convinced, until I saw this game and its message.

Goodbye dear reader, and dear friends. I must pack my chessboard and go away. Thank you, my friends, for the clever warning.

President's Statement about BCC plans

Dear Chess Players,

As the new President of the Boylston Chess Foundation, I first want to thank the members for putting their faith in me to lead our chess club in the coming year. Second, to recap the past year—whew! Without help from the members, we would have survived neither the recent economic financial disaster that crippled so many other non-profits nor the spring floods that threatened our space in Somerville. Thanks to the members, we have withstood both.

I would like to outline my vision for the club. I have three major goals. The first two goals are straightforward and I hope will be accomplished in the coming year. The last goal is more challenging, and I expect it will take a five year plan and a lot of work.

My first goal for the club is to expand the scope of the chess club beyond playing tournaments. We have already added several activities in this vein. Tuesday Night casual/beginner night, led by Sean Ingham, and hosting the US Chess League New England Nor’easters represent two of our non-tournament events. I would like to see more of this activity. Some ideas include non-standard chess events, like Chess-960 (Fischer-random), more GM/IM lectures, and Internet matches with other clubs. With just a few volunteers, we can radically expand the events, both tournaments and non-tournaments for members.

My second goal, related to the first, is to expand the scholastic chess opportunities through the Boylston Chess Foundation. In particular, I would like to emphasize young players within our regular tournaments, scholastic events, lessons, grants, scholarships, and lectures. I want more publicity and support for our young members who shine in both championships and development. I am happy to work hard with any parents, coaches, and players who want to expand our scholastic chess outreach.

Finally, my long term goal for the club is to acquire a permanent space. The flood of the past spring has highlighted how precarious our situation in Somerville, or any rental space, is. I would like to see our club have a permanent home for years and years into the future. This past year, we have examined some long term options for our club, and we believe that with a concerted fund-raising effort over the next five years, we would be in the position to acquire a permanent home. It will not be easy, but with more help from the members, I think we can achieve this. Imagine—a permanent home for the club.

Chess in the Boston area is as strong as ever. I see the Boylston Chess Foundation playing its integral part this coming year and many years into the future.

Jason Rihel
President, Boylston Chess Foundation

Friday, October 08, 2010

New Boylston Chess Foundation Board elected Sept 28th

On September 28, 2010 the BCF held its annual membership meeting to elect a new board of directors. They are as follows:

President: Jason Rihel
Vice-President: Natasha Christiansen
Treasurer: Robert Oresick
Clerk: Charles Riordan

Board of Directors:
Bernardo Iglesias
Carey Theil
Alex Cherniack
Mike Griffin
Ted Gorczyca
Marc Esserman
Seth Lieberman

Thursday, October 07, 2010

National Chess Day Oct 9th!

The Boylston Chess Club is having a chess tournament on October 9th to celebrate National Chess Day. No excuses-- you should come. For details, click here.

Here are the details of the Senate Resolution:

Senate Resolution 672:

A resolution designating October 9, 2010, as "National Chess Day" to enhance awareness and encourage students and adults to engage in a game known to enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Sen. John Rockefeller [D-WV]

Kay Hutchison [R-TX]

This resolution has been passed in the Senate, which is the end of the legislative process for simple resolutions. The resolution now takes effect. [Last Updated: Oct 1, 2010 8:05AM]

Sep 29, 2010: Submitted in the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.

Sep 29, 2010: This resolution passed in the Senate by Unanimous Consent. A record of each senator’s position was not kept.

Nor'easters remain undefeated! Blitz draw all four games to remain 2nd

Breaking news:

With a scary but successful 3-1 win over Philly Inventors, the New England Nor'easters have moved to 6.5/7 to take a 1.5 point lead in the USCL East Division. They have become the first team to CLINCH a playoff spot. With three weeks to go, that is excellent news. Now at stake for the newbie Nor'easters are playoff draw odds.

Meanwhile, the Boston Blitz, on the verge of winning the match with the New Jersey KOs, instead had draws on all four boards to earn 0.5 points and remain in 2nd place in the East.

The Boston Blitz and New England Nor'easters pages will undoubtedly continue to bring great recaps of every game, so instead I will simply recap my predictions from Monday-- how did I do?

First, I was trying to channel James Joyce, but half the time I think it sounded more like Faulkner. Only parts of Portrait of the Artist (I mention a moocow in the first line, for example), the streamy of consciousness parts, bear any semblance to the original. Score, maybe 0.5 points? Are all the stories in the post real Rihel events? Again, about 0.5 points.

New England Nor'easters vs. Philadelphia Inventors

From my post: "....and one day we saw rain pouring down about 60 yards away before it hit the dark rain finally caught us and turned our clothes to droopy tears."

I was talking about a storm (a Nor'easter, perhaps?), but the storm made our clothes cry. I clearly meant that New England was going to make us unhappy this week.

"I wanted to catch him one day, so I invented me a crawdad catcher out of an old Saltine tin, which I punched holes in with some awl...."

and earlier: "I dream of grandmas sometimes, and she invents things for me, like a little wooden man that sits on the end of a stick...."

Clearly, I had positive thoughts about inventions, reinforcing my prediction that the Inventors were going to surprise New England this week. Even though, looking at the embedded game predictions, this is clearly at odds with my individual predictions.

Prediction Score, team result: 0
Internally consist?: 0

Board 1. Hungaski vs. Bonin
I clearly thought that Hungaski was going to win, as I had Bonin getting grilled: "The bonin's were stickin' out of one side of the juicy meat sizzling' and cookin' up..."

Actual Result: Draw.
Prediction Score: 0

Board 2. van de Mortel vs. Dehmelt
I said, "like I was invincible, immortel. He didn't fall down or nothin'...." and " abject failure to even cause a tear to come to that eye of his just dehmelt me such a blow...."

A nod to Dehmelt.

Actual result: van de mortel wins
Prediction Score: 0

Board 3. Riordan vs. Costigan
"...there is a Charles in that Joyce book they make some of us read in college. A Mrs. Riordan, too. With a fortuitous coincidence like that, I don't see how anyone else has a chance..." and "...there was a Costigan in the Departed, but I'm pretty sure it don' turn out none too good for that Costigan, either."

No doubt--I predicted a Charles victory

Actual result: Draw
Prediction Score: 0

Board 4. Cherniack vs. Wilson
"I was hiding from him [Mr. Wilson] on account of my dog, Alex the astrodog, had reared up and bitten him in the behind...."

I think biting on the butt is an obvious signal for victory.

Actual result: Cherniack wins
Prediction Score: 1

Total for this half-- 1

Boston Blitz vs. New Jersey KOs

For the overall team result, I predicted: "...we can all lay down and have lightning pass through us and ferry us to the other side."

Lightning = Blitz. The [Blitz] will ferry us to the other side.... i.e. win.

Actual Result: Draw
Prediction Score: 0

Board 1. GM Christiansen vs. GM Benjamin
"She was a Christian, with a big C, and those aliens she saw were dressed in white, just to make sure she would know they are angels on the side of good."

Kooky to see aliens, but like Larry, they had the White pieces. I thought Larry's attacking game would finish the job this week.

Actual result: Draw
Prediction Score: 0

Board 2. Shmelov vs. GM Gulko
"-Gulk, Gulk, Gulk, went that Crawdad Catcher as the air passed through the perforations and let my saltine can sink to the bottom. I scooped him up and the sound of concrete mixed with the mud that accumulated over how many decades made a -SHM-ELOV kind of scrape and glop as I caught that little crawdaddy."

Hmmm, a little cryptic. On the one hand, Gulko is escaping from a trap. On the other hand, Shmelov is a bunch of mud. Anyone still reading this post will agree- I thought it would be a draw.

Actual Result: draw
Prediction score: 1

Board 3. Martirosov vs. Kapengut.
"I felt real sick in my guts, after that, for I was sure..."

A win for Kapengut was the feeling in my guts.

Actual Result: draw
Prediction score: 0

Board 4. Krasik vs. Matlin
" ...and lightning came krasiking down on us like the finger of the dead and we thought for a moment we were all struck dead. We remained matlin'ed to the ground...."

Krasik as lightning that strikes death and mats Matlin to the mat. Clear enough.

Actual Result: draw
Prediction score: 0

Total for this part: 1
Total for both matches: 2

Not a very good prediction, but I hope everyone enjoyed it. Stay tuned next week when New England plays New York and Boston plays Carolina.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Chess BCF volunteers: a few good men and woman needed

President Jason Rihel has been reaching out asking for more volunteers to direct tournaments. This would allow the BCF to improve it's flexibility and create even more events.

At the annual board meeting people discussed why Metrowest appeared in google searches before the BCF in the search "Boston chess." Coincidentally my daughter Melissa Griffin
(an expert in information systems and records management) is on this very project at her company. I asked her to check our situation out and advise.

Her findings (which I,m keeping secret) are surprising to me and involve much not dealing with the web page itself !?

But we need geek types of a certain inclination and some nerd kids who like to tweet as well to help the bcf.

Do you have any time to help the BCF? Please comment.

Thank You

Mike Griffin


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

You are cordially invited to play in the

16th annual

Boston University Open

(in association with the Boylston Chess Foundation)

Sat., Nov. 6, 2010


4-SS; G/60; 3 Sections: Open; U1900; U1600

Boston University,


George Sherman Union

775 Commonwealth Ave. Boston 02215

MACA information:


Email registration

To register by email and get the $20 entry fee, simply fill out the info below and return.

You can bring cash or a check to the site on the morning of the event.

Name ____________________________________________

Section ___Open ___ U1900 ___U1600

send email to

phone: 617 794 -1200



Parking is across University road just before the BU bridge on the same side of Comm. Ave. as the George Sherman Union. You must pay the attendant $7 for the day.

E F:

  • $15 for BU students (BUID)
  • $20 if check received by Nov 5
  • $20 by email by Nov 5
  • $30 for all others at site
  • GM's, IM's, and past winners of the Open Section play for free.

Cash Prizes: based on Entries. In past years the prize fund has been more than $1000 and the first prize around $300. Because prize checks will be mailed by Boston University, winner must provide home address and social security number to receive a check.

Open section: 1st & 2nd / Top under 2200

U1900 section: 1st & 2nd

U1600 section: 1st & 2nd l/ Top under 1200

Allan Ong Prize for the top undergraduate college student:

Trophies for 3 player teams: Top college / Top high school / Top elementary or middle school

NC, NS, W.

Reg: 9:00 - 9:45 am

Rds: 10:00, 12:30, 2:45, 5:00

Entries: send name, section desired, USCF number and check made out to the BU Chess Club to

BU Open Entries

c/o Robert Oresick

Boston University

871 Commonwealth Ave.

Boston, MA 0221

An account of last year's BU Open is at