Wednesday, February 27, 2013


NOTE: ZURICH 2013, featuring Kramnik, World Champion Anand, Caruna, and Gelfand is one of the strongest professional chess tournaments of the year taking place now through March 1st.
[March 1st report: Stunning. Caruna beats Gelfand; Anand tops Kramnik. 
Caruna wins 2R QUADS in Zurich by 1 point.  See for details.]
And it's a QUAD, a double round QUAD.
So in the spirit of World Chess, you can play in a QUAD, too, right in Somerville, MA, 
at the Boylston Chess Club. And yes, don't forget it will be already the 2nd day of March, Saturday. Come and register for the Rounds: 1: at 10:00am, 2: at 12:40pm, and 3: at 3:00pm.  
Please consult the Calendar of BCC Events for more details!
The BCC QUADS is a marvelous event, preferred by kids and adults alike. Grouped into 4s by rating, you get a chance to try out your opening traps and endgame technique without worrying that you will be paired with a grandmaster in the first round. If you are a 1500 player, chances are that you will play other people with very similar ratings.  So sharpen your pencils and pack your lunch for the first BCC event of the new month.
3RR G/60 (+5" delay)
Water and scoresheets provided
See you all tomorrow for BCC QUADS!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


TD Bernardo Iglesias gives a general information speech to kick-off the first round of the premier event on the BCC calendar: the PARAMOUNT.  This is a thinking person's event: 10 rounds, double round robin.  The time control is: 40 moves in 90 minutes (+5" delay) and then G/60. A nuance in the time control is: after 3 hours of play, the game may be adjourned and resumed on a day agreed to by the players.  So this event is for players who like to think out complex combinations and strategies on the board and need the time to do so and who enjoy analyzing adjourned positions and resuming the game like was done in the "old days" . . . in the time of Bobby Fischer, for example.  Today, due to the proliferation of chess programs like Rybka (3199), Fritz (3080), Shredder (3058) and now Houdini (rating 3287) there is no more adjournment option, neither in professional chess play or most amateur club play. So the BCC Paramount may be one of the last places on earth where there is indeed an adjournment.
Section 1: Nathan Smolensky v Brian Perez-Daple; Ted Cross v Eric Godin; 
Ed Astrachan v Jonathan Lee. Section 2: Thomas Carr v Timothy O'Malley; Thomas Pendergast v Anthony Cortizas; Bernardo Iglesias (player) got the bye.
NM Eric Godin
BCC Haupturnier Champion, Ted Cross
Cross (right) vs Godin, Round 1
Pendergast (right) - Cortizas: a robust handshake.
 O'Malley v Carr, friendly beginning , . .

Perez-Daple, black vs Nathan Smolensky, BCC President
Astrachan vs Lee
Bernardo Iglesias TD and participant.
SPECIAL NOTICE: If there is a chess player who has a rating under1800 and would like to join the PARAMOUNT for next Monday's game, please notify Bernardo by phone or email. This would even up the 2 sections with 6 players each.  This is a chance of a lifetime: a 2RR 10 round tourney! Now that's getting your money's worth -- plus the very long time-controls for deep calculations!
Be in touch !
The BCC also extends invitation to all interested people who would like to come over to the Club to watch this event in progress. The only consideration to hold is that when you are in the  the tournament room, you must be silent. So watch the games and discuss them, quietly, in the Skittles Room, and/or pick up an off-hand game of chess. Come, enjoy, observe, and play chess.
PARAMOUNT: Round 1 results:
Section 1: Ted Cross v Eric Godin  adjourned; Nathan Smolensky v Brian Perez-Daple 0-1; 
Edward Astrachan v Jonathan Lee 0-1;  Section 2: Timothy O'Malley v Thomas Carr 1-0; Thomas Pendergast v Anthony Cortizas 1-0; Bernardo Iglesias (bye)


No doubt the most exciting chess photo I have ever taken has to be the one from a Game/30 event at the Armenian Cultural Center, Watertown in 1990, where we see the tops of the field facing off against each other in the last round. On the left, playing the black pieces is NM Girome Bono {24 yrs old} (USCF: 2453), Harvard '88 vs GM Alex Sherzer  {19 yrs old) (USCF: 2602; FIDE 2504) playing the white pieces.  If I had to title this photo I would call it simply: "Tension" The backstory to this slice of time in chess history is that Bono had stopped writing down his moves and Sherzer had insisted that Bono keep writing (neither player was, technically, in time-pressure, defined as under 5 minutes, but Bono was clearly closer to time-forfeiture than Sherzer). Bono continued not writing and Sherzer continued insisting. Words were exchanged. The TD, George Mirijanian was summoned and appraised of the situation by the spectators. George in his cool and impartial fashion, instructed master Bono to continue writing down the moves until reaching the 5 minute mark, and master Sherzer should proceed playing the game without further delay. There was, by the time the dispute had been resolved, a rather large crowd gathered around this chess table, yet you could hear a pin drop. The tension was so intense (thick) you could cut it with a knife, as the expression goes. Sherzer went on to win the game and the next year became US Junior Chess Champion (under 20 yrs old).  Rumor has it that the reason for the dispute was that Bono was surprised and somewhat dismayed by how strong Sherzer actually turned out to be. One might say Bono underestimated Sherzer. And as the game proceeded, Bono was taking more and more time, just to maintain equality until it was clear that Sherzer was forging ahead with an advantage on the board and the clock. Sherzer did indeed win this game on time, with a won position on the board as well.
Sherzer (right) vs Bono, 1st Mass Game 60, Watertown, 1990.                Photo: Steve Stepak
Familiar faces from left to right: IM Bill Paschall, long-time BCC Master, NM Jim Dracup, Harvard Square summer chess scene denizen, and TD George Mirijanian (glasses). There are other familiar faces in the crowd but I am not remembering their names at the moment.
GM Alexander Ivanov vs FM Bill Kelleher, Blitz event, circa 1988. Photo: Steve Stepak
This piece of BCC chess history in pictures documents that the Club had a weekly blitz chess tournament.  The location of the BCC at this time was the City Club of Boston, on Boylston Street, Boston, the place where Harry Nelson Pillsbury was said to spend many an evening playing chess. It is also the venue where the great World Chess Champion Mikhail Tal gave a 30 board simul in 1988, traveling for the first time to the USA(Boston and Framingham) from his winning the World Blitz Chess Championship (ahead of Kasparov, Karpov and Vaganian) in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada at the "World Chess Festival"
GM Alexander Ivanov vs GM Maxim Dlugy, US Open, (blitz) 1988
Lafayette Hotel, Boston. Dlugy won the game on time in an equal position and won the event.
Spectators included Doug from the Harvard Square Chess Scene, Arline Young, Mrs. Dlugy and Mrs. Ivanov (NM Esther Epstein). Photo: Steve Stepak
MACA Tournament, at the Armenian Cultural Center. Master Table: from left to right . . . NM Jacob Rasin (Chess Teacher and Chess Camp Director) GM Alexander Ivanov (US Champion), FM John Curdo, most successful tournament chess player of New England (specialist in the bishop endgames) and GM Alex Sherzer, 1991 US Junior Chess Champion. Photo: Steve Stepak
GM Ilya Gurevich plays black vs GM Patrick Wolff, match. Boylston Chess Club, City Club of Boston location, 1986. Photo: Steve Stepak [chess set and wooden board provided by Steve Stepak].
[Time and History. Clearly each photo I present is a slice of time and space in a perpetual universe.] Neither Gurevich nor Wolff was a GM at the time of the photo. But the chess talent was indeed there.
Wolff won the match with Gurevich. A few notes on the players: Ilya Gurevich was born in Odessa, USSR, in 1972 and grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts, attending Yeshiva Academy. Ilya played and won many tournaments in the Greater Boston Area. He won the World U14 Championship in Argentina in 1984 and the World Junior Chess Championship in Chile, in 1990, receiving his GM title. He graduated New York University and earned an MBA going on to make a nice living as a stock options trader on wall street (who said that the chess skills of strategy and planning ahead are not generally applicable for practical purposes like earning a living!) Patrick Wolff was born in Massachusetts in 1968, to parents who were university professors. He won the US Junior Championship in 1987 and the US Championship in 1992 and 1995. Wolff attended Yale University and transferred to Harvard to graduate in 1996. To date he is the only person to have played on both the Yale and Harvard chess teams. Patrick, in an Exhibition Game in New York City, versus World Champion Garry Kasparov, beat the then reigning champion (1988) in an English Opening, playing the black pieces, in 25 moves: 1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 c6 4.d4 ed4 5.Qd4 d5 6.cd5 cd5 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.Qa4 Be7 9.0-0 0-0 10.Be3 Ng4 11.Bd4 Nd4 12.Nd4 Qb6 13.Nc3 Qh6 14.h4 g5 15.Nd5 Bd8 16.Rac1 gh4 17.Rc8 hg3 18.Nf3 Nh2 19.Rfc1 Rc8 20.Rc8 Nf3 21.ef3 gf2 22.Kf1 Qd2 23.Nf6 Kg7 24.Ne8 Kh8 25.Qe4 Bh4 0-1   My information has it that Patrick Wolff is now living in the San Francisco bay area, managing his own hedge fund: "Grandmaster Capital" .  Yes, another successful chess master story.  Bravo, Patrick!
Intercollegiate Chess League: PanAmerican Games   Photo: S. Stepak
 Harvard v Rhode Island College. For Harvard: Board 1: IM Vivek Rao (PhD, physics; professional activities in finance, computer science); Board 2: IM Danny Edelman (business executive, organizer of Kasparov, Karpov Harvard simuls and Polgar Sisters-Boston Chess Festival); Board 3: NM Andrew Serotta, (Kasparov master clock simul, last to fall); Board 4: NM Mark Glickman (PhD statistics; Prof. Health Policy, BU).  For RIC: Board 1: GM Sherzer; Board 2: NM Leonard Johnson; Board 3: WIM Sharon Burtman; Board 4: Jim Dela-Selva; (background) NYU Board 1: GM Ilya Gurevich; Board 2: IM Mark Ginsburg . . . Venu: Charles Hotel, Cambridge MA, Dec. 27-30 1990. Harvard won the team event 6-0. [Story published in Chess Horizons, March-April, 1991, page 13.]
Erez Klein (New York) vs Robert Seltzer (Boston) Boylston Chess Club,  Photo: Steve Stepak
FM Erez Klein [USCF 2435 (highest) FIDE 2229], b.1976 (NY) vs NM Robert Seltzer [USCF 2336 (highest) FIDE 2251], b.1975 (West Roxbury, MA). Match organized by Harry Lyman at the Boylston Chess Club, City Club of Boston, George Mirijanian, TD. The match was called "the Aspis Prize"; after 4 rounds of regulation play [30/90, 20/60, 20/30], the score was tied 2:2. A tie-break was called for, Game 15. Seltzer won. It was $1250 to the winner, $750 to the loser. 
The date: August 29th - 30th, 1987. [Reported in Chess Horizons]
World Chess Champion Mikhail Tal, Boylston Chess Club, Boston, 1988 Photo: Steve Stepak
World Chess Champion Mikhail Tal played all-comers 5-2. He won all his games, checkmating most of his opponents as his flag, on an old BHB analogue clock, in suspended animation so ready to fall at any unpredictable moment--but never did. Boston was Tal's first time in the USA, just after winning the World Blitz Championship in St. John New Brunswick, Canada (1988). Tal gave a 30 board simul at the Boylston Chess Club, City Club of Boston where he amazed the crowd and endeared them eternally. 
Dennis Seawald, World Chess Champion Tal, Ken Ho, chat.          Photo: Steve Stepak
Dennis Seawald [USCF 2318 (highest)] who played Searching for Bobby Fischer Josh Waitzkin at the Armenian Cultural Center, Watertown, MA circa 1990 -- game drawn, talks to World Chess Champion Misha Tal and Ken Ho [USCF 1936 (highest)]. Ken uses this photo on his blog: "Ken Ho's Chess Corner" where he describes an all-night chess party he attended where Tal continued to wow the people with his deep chess wisdom. Ken dates this event as "3/7/88". It was at this simul that I spoke with Tal, who had arrived early to the BCC Simul, for over an hour. My questions were mostly on why Tal didn't take a "medical recovery break" in 1961, as Botvinnik had agreed to: Tal's reply: I was young then. All I wanted to do was to play chess. The other key question I asked Tal was: who would have won the match between Fischer and Karpov in 1975. Tal replied emphatically: Fischer. 1978 (?) Tal spoke with his hands to indicate: not clear. Karpov was getting stronger and stronger. By 1978, Karpov would have been a formidable opponent for the Brooklyn boy. Yet one will never know. 
I must make this note: Tal in all his interactions with the Greater Boston Chess Community, spoke fluent and erudite English.  Misha Tal was truly a gentleman and a scholar, as well as a great chess fighter and commentator.
Bobby Seltzer watches as World Chess Champion Tal makes his move. Photo: Steve Stepak
This was Tal's 2nd US city visited: Framingham, MA for a 40 board simul. 1988.
The game was a Sicilian Defense, known Queen sacrifice on Tal's part. Seltzer figured out all the puzzles to the position and won the game, producing Tal's only defeat in the event.
28 years ago!
GM Susan Polgar, Women's World Chess Champion, [USCF 2590] age 16 at the time, plays a simul at the Boylston Chess Club, City Club of Boston, 1985. Seen in photo is Jonathan Myers [USCF 2055] and Jim Dracup [USCF 2230] Photo: Steve Stepak, appearing on cover of Chess Horizons (1985/86) publication of the Massachusetts Chess Association.

One last note: if there is anybody out there in chess land who can identify any of the spectators in the photos I am presenting here, please leave the information in a comment to this post or call in the information to the Boylston Chess Club, Somerville, MA. Also, if there are any errors or inaccuracies that I have published in this post, please alert me of them, also in a comment or a phone call to the BCC.  Thanks. And good chess to all.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Jesse Nicholas Clinches BCC February Grand Prix

Expert Jesse Nicholas secured first place in the BCC Grand Prix with a perfect 4-0 score.
Marc Esserman and Eric Godin tied for 2-3rd with 3 points.
BCC Grand Prix Round 2: Emmanuel Mevs, Arthur Tang (foreground) Arthur Nugent shakes hands with IM Mark Esserman (background)  . . . 
Michelle Chen played very well in the Open Section, scoring 2.5 points, good for 4-5th place.
Michelle's rating reached the "chess expert" category (2001).  Brava, Michelle!
Mateo Sahakian (right) playing Aidan Sowa in Round 3 scored 2.5 points in the Open Section, good for 4-5th with Michelle Chen, as his rating continues to climb--in this even 12 points--to 1918. 
Keep up the great work, Mateos!
Crossing Hands: Michelle Chen (right) in post mortem discussion 
with NM Andrew Wang after their Round 2 game. Jesse Nicholas observes.
There were 22 players in the Open Section.
Harold Dondis, 90 + oldest active chess player in the USA faces off with youngest BCC player, 
Eddie Wei. Second game: Chen Bai (red pullover) white vs Larry Jin. Third game: William Wisdom (blue) plays black pieces vs Richard Alan Chen. Game Four:  Eddie Wang plays David Zhu Sun. Dondis, Eddie Wei, Bai Chen and Eddie Wang each scored 3 points good for 1st-4th in a field of 15 players.
BCC Grand Prix: Full House!
Katharine Gasser, oldest woman veteran chess player in Massachusetts plays her 2 round game with Joel Wald.  Gasser scored a perfect 2-0 before withdrawing from the event in Round 3.
Kate Gasser started playing tournament chess in Massachusetts in 1970.
Lucy Cai Jiaying scored 2.5 in the U1800 section for a 45 point rating increase. Brava Lucy!
Carissa Yip scored 1.5 points in the Open Section, playing with creativity and wit.
Edward Chiu vs Mark O'Brien in U1800 R 2.
Post Mortem and blitz in the skittles room.
A good time was had by all, as you can see!
Bernardo Iglesias did a fantastic job as TD in a total participation of 37 GP players and 4 extra games.
Mike Griffin plays Jerry Williams (best dressed in tournament) in Round 2.
Grand Prix, Round 2: Alan Wang v Luke Lung; Katharine Gasser v Joel Wald;
Walter Driscoll v Ryan Sowa; Loring Lauretti v Carissa Yip . . . 

Friday, February 22, 2013

14th annual Paramount

For some people spring is signaled by the start of Red Sox reporting to spring training, by groundhog day, by the returning swallows to Capistrano...

But for many of us it is the Paramount.

This will be the 14th annual edition of the popular tournament, a ten-round, double round-robin. Initiated by Bryan Clark, this format [generous time control with two try's against known opponents bunched in competitive groups] remains popular. And it is one of the few tournaments left that incorporate adjournments.

Monday, February 25 – April 29: 14th Annual Paramount

  • Monday, February 25, 2013
  • Monday, March 04, 2013
  • Monday, March 11, 2013
  • Monday, March 18, 2013
  • Monday, March 25, 2013
  • Monday, April 01, 2013
  • Monday, April 08, 2013
  • Monday, April 15, 2013
  • Monday, April 22, 2013
  • Monday, April 29, 2013
Time Control: 10 Rounds, 2RR 40/90;d5 SD/60;d5
Rounds Time: 7:00 PM
Byes: No byes.  (Games can be rescheduled by mutual agreement.)
Prize Info: 50%EF
Inquiry:    617-629-3933

10 Rounds, 2RR, Players divided into six player sections by rating; 40/90;d5, G/60;d5 Adjournments are allowed after 3 hours of play; Entry fee: $25, $20 to BCF members; Prizes: 50% EF Registration: 6:00 to 6:45 PM Round at 7PM.

TD Bernardo Iglesias


  • What happens if I have to miss a round? May I reschedule with my opponent? (Will we know the pairings ahead of time to allow that?)
Bernardo uses SwissSys to make pairings for the entire tournament on the first evening. So, you know your opponent and can prepare for him or her, except, of course, in that first round. If you need to reschedule a round, you just notify the TD and work it out with your opponent. All rounds should be completed by the end date of the tournament.

  • I see that there are ten rounds and six players in each section (unless I'm misreading). How will the players be divided into sections? How are pairings determined? As in a Swiss?
The top six rated players will be in group one. If there are another six, they will be in group two. If there are more, another group of six or four will be formed, to maintain the double round-robin format.

  • What level of participation do you usually see? What level players, approximately, and how many? Do you expect anything to be different this year?

We don't know what to expect this year, but in the past several years, we have had 2 or 3 groups.
In 2012, three groups were:
  • Theil, Astrachan, Bodwin, Eldridge, Lee, Ho
  • Kim, Raymond, Frazier, Driscoll, Sadykov, Mossey
  • Oresick, Gorczyca, Blomerth, Turcotte
Scholastic Grand Prix

Sun, February 24, 10am – 3pm
4SS. G/30 USCF Rated; 
  • 8 and under, 
  • 11 and under, 
  • 14 and under. 
Registration: 10:00-10:20 AM Rounds: 10:30 –12:00 – 1:00 and 2:00 PM. 
Entry fee: $10 to BCC Members, $15 for non- Members. 
Prizes: Trophies for: 1st - 2nd in each age group. Medals for: 3rd - 4th in each age group. And the very popular chess pencils to all! 
Requirements: USCF membership required. All USCF rules of play will be in effect: time controls; touch move, score keeping, good sportsmanship, etc. 
Grand Prix: Points in Grand Prix tournaments will accumulate towards winning prizes in each age group at the end of June.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


The BCC Grand Prix: a 4 round swiss in two sections: 
Open and U1800
IN PRIZE CATEGORIES: U2400 / U2200 / U2000 / U1800 / U1600 / U1400 / U1200
The Standings for the BCC Grand Prix to date are as follows:
Rating Class U2400: M. Esserman 4, A.Wang 3, E. Godin 2; U2200: E. Mevs 3, P. Nutzman 2,
T. Blum 1.5;  J.Nicholas 1; A. Nugent 1; U2000: M. Sahakian 3; C. Yip 2; N. Kavi 2; M. Griffin 2;
O. Traldi 1.5; J. Tang 1.5; L.Lung 1.5; N. Smolensky 1; R. Eldridge 1; L. Lauretti 1; U1800:
R. Holmgren 1.5; U1600: E. Feng 2.5; C. Bai 1.5; Eddie Wei 1.5; U1400: M. Manzo 3; B Wu 2.
The field looks very competitive.  We hope to see all the GP Rating Class leaders at the Club this Saturday to protect their leads and all those in the running as well, to strive to catch up with the leaders in each Rating Class group. In this light, the BCC Grand Prix is not only a chance to practice your chess but especially to be motivated and inspired to win your games to advance in the GP Standings.
So See you all this Saturday, February 23, 2013!

Bring your favorite lunch treat. Water provided by BCC.


Chess Master and Teacher Jacob Rasin shows the class a game 
of the former World Chess Champion Alexander Alekhine.
BCC Chess Camp goes from today thru Friday.
Assistant Teachers, Winston Huang and Michelle Chen
work with the very young and the very beginners.
5 to 6 year olds ready for chess and to pose for the camera.
Michelle watches over two kids who are having lots of fun playing chess.
In BCC Chess Camp, we learn to write down our moves.
BCC Chess Camp squeezes the brain and the youngsters
are fascinated at all the possibilities which are set before them.