Sunday, January 31, 2010

Westwood Winter Open

The Westwood Winter Open, ninth in the series of one-day events at the LA Chess Club, had a good turnout of 46, led by GM Melikset Khachiyan and IM Tim Taylor. Standings will be posted throughout the day, and possibly a few games and photos if time permits.

Robert Akopian – IM Tim Taylor [C75]

Westwood Winter Open, 31.01.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.0–0 Bd7 6.c3 Nge7 7.d4 Ng6 8.d5 Nb8 9.Bxd7+ Nxd7 10.c4 Be7 11.Nc3 h6 12.Bd2 Bg5 13.Nxg5 hxg5 14.g3 Nf6 15.Bxg5 Qd7 16.f3 0–0–0 17.Rf2 Rh5 18.Be3 Rdh8 19.b4 Qh3 20.Ne2 Ne8 21.c5 f5 22.Qf1 fxe4 23.fxe4 Nf6 24.cxd6 Qxf1+ 25.Raxf1 Nxe4 26.Rf7 Nxd6 27.Rxg7 Rxh2 28.Rc1 Rh1+ 29.Kg2 R8h2+ 30.Kf3 e4+ 31.Kg4 Ne5+ 32.Kg5 Rh5+ 33.Kf6 Ne8+ 0–1

Friday, January 22, 2010

Say not the struggle naught availeth ...

Good news for a change: the tangle of lawsuits between and among Susan Polgar, the USCF, assorted EB members and others is over. A settlement has been reached and a "Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice" has been submitted to the court. Regardless of who is to blame, the lawsuits have been a disaster for all parties, and ending them should be met with rejoicing by all except a few revanchists anxious to pursue a crusade with other peoples' money.

For the full text of the court filing, click here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Write Stuff

Want to start a chess library? You have a lot to choose from. It has been estimated that more books have been written about chess than about all other games combined.

A good place to start is Lasker's Manual of Chess, by Emanuel Lasker. Written by the philosopher-champion who held the title for 27 years, this old favorite gives a good basic introduction, chapters on combinations and planning, and some common-sense opening analysis. If the philosophizing gets too thick, skip to the games.

For opening study, multi-volume tomes can wait until you're a master. Ideas Behind the Chess Openings, by Reuben Fine, emphasizes understanding rather than memorization. Modern ideas about the middlegame are best learned from the source, My System by Aron Nimzovich. And the endgame need not be a mystery: try Chess Endings -- Essential Knowledge, by Yuri Averbakh.

Game collections should be the heart of any player's library. The best players are not always the best writers, but four world champions stand out -- My Best Games of Chess by Alexander Alekhine, 100 Selected Games by Mikhail Botvinnik, My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer, and, if you have the time and money, the multi-volume My Great Predecessors series by Gary Kasparov. (Some have suggested it be called My Predecessors Who Were Almost As Great As I Am, but that's another story.) Anthologies are legion, but two of the best are 500 Master Games by the witty and erudite Savielly Tartakover, and Masters of the Chessboard, from the great theoretician Richard Reti.

And for fun? Look up The Even More Complete Chess Addict by Mike Fox and Richard James. This collection of games and anecdotes, lists and lore, belongs on every true addict's bookshelf.

Diagram: White combines the motifs of discovered attack and the intermediate move to win a piece: 1. e6! Nxd4 (Much the same comes of 1. ... Bxd4, while 1. ... fxe6 or 1. ... Qxe6 2. Qxg7 wins easily) 2. exd7+! Kxd7 3. Nexd4. Zeller-van Parreren, Hastings 1979.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dividing Line

Instructional books will tell you that an advanced pawn may become weak in an endgame. But in the middlegame, it is a different story. A strong advanced pawn can cut the enemy position in two, and defending pieces are of little use if they cannot reach the
threatened sector.

An example is Richter-Engels, Bad Saarow 1937:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Be2 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. Nc3 g6 7. 0-0 Bg7 8. Be3 0-0 9. Qd2

White commits himself to giving up one of his Bishops for a Knight, but he will gain time to begin his attack.

9. ... Ng4 10. Bxg4 Bxg4 11. f4

White threatened 12. f5, followed by 13. h3 and 14. g4, trapping the Bishop.

11. ... Bd7 12. Rad1 Rc8 13. Qf2 Na5 14. f5 Nc4 15. Nd5 Nxe3

Two Knights against two Bishops, and in an open position -- but the Knights have taken up strong posts in the center, and they will not be easy to dislodge.

16. Qxe3 Re8

Black cannot afford to go pawn-hunting with 16. ... Bxd4 17. Rxd4 Rxc2, since 18. Qh6! sets up the dual threats of 19. Nxe7+ Qxe7 20. f6, and 19. e5 followed by 20. Rh4. A bit better than the game would be 16. ... e6, but White has a big edge after 17. f6 exd5 18.
fxg7 Kxg7 19. exd5.

17. Qf2 e6 18. Ne3 Kh8 19. f6 Bf8 20. e5!

White wants to bring his Knight from d4 to g5 via f3, without losing the f6-pawn. With the opening of the d-file, the White Rook joins the battle, and the Black Queenside pieces will be spectators for the rest of the game.

20. ... dxe5 21. Nf3 Qc7 22. Ng5 Kg8 (diagram) 23. Nxh7!

White begins an elegant mating combination, based on the thorn at f6.

23. ... Kxh7 24. Qh4+ Kg8 25. Rf3!

Black is defenseless against the threat of 26. Rh3 and 27. Qh8 mate.

25. ... Bg7 26. Rh3 Kf8 27. Qh8+ Bxh8 28. Rxh8+ mate.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Century West Open final

Four players tied for first in the powerful Open section of the CWO. GM Melikset Khachiyan and IMs Andranik Matikozyan, Enrico Sevillano, and Panchen Wang all scored 4-1 to split the top money. Both of the other sections had clear winners, as Michael Taylor scored 4½ in the Premier (U1900), and James Holder 4-1 in the Amateur (U1500). David Meliksetyan also had 4-1, but could win only the Unrated prize. Below is a list of prize winners, or click here for complete standings af all section.

Prize winners


1st-4th: GM Melikset Khachiyan, IM Andranik Matikozyan, IM Enrico Sevillano, IM Panchen Yang, 4-1; 5th: IM Jack Peters, Alexander Kretchetov, 3½-1½; U2400: IM Emory Tate, 3½-1½;U2300: Ron Hermansen, 3½-1½; U2200: 1st-2nd: Konstantin Kavutkskiy, Ankit Gupta, 3-2; 3rd U2200: Takashi Kurosaki, Samuel Sevian, 2½-2½; U2100/U2000: Bobby Hall, Austin Cambon, Benjamin de Vera, 2-3.


1st: Michael Taylor, 4½-½; 2nd: Daniel Mopusseri, Numan Abdul-Mujeeb, 4-1; 4th: David Minasyan, 3½-1½; U1700: 1st: Richard Martin, 3-2; 2nd: Alexander Garber, 2½-2½; 3rd: Jonathan Gunn, Joshua Sheng, 2-3.


1st: James Holder, 4-1; 2nd: Beverley Woolsey, 3½-1½; 3rd: Mehul Prakash Oswal, 3-2; U1300: Robert Bryan Martin, 2-3; Unrated: David Meliksetyan, 4-1.

Scholastic Open: Karl Tolentino, 5-0

Scholastic Reserve: Matthew Poh, Bryan Goldenberg, 4-1

Hexes: Albert Lu, Tony Kukavica, 2½-½

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Century West Open

This new event (I've used the name before, but not for quite the same thing) had a somewhat anemic turnout of 60, though things could still pick up with tomorrow's scholastic. The top section is very strong, however -- already in round 2, Khachiyan battled Joel Banawa, Sevillano faced Kretchetov, and Peters squared off with Tim Taylor. Photos are from round 3, as IM Puchen Wang faces Khachiyan, and Sevillano, Peters. Complete standings (and pairings when time permits) will be posted here.

Vadim Kudryavtsev (2275) – IM Puchen Wang (2531) [D16]

Century West Open (2), 09.01.2010

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c6 3.d4 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Na6 6.e4 Bg4 7.Bxc4 Bxf3 8.gxf3 e6 9.Rg1 Nb4 10.Be3 g6 11.Qb3 Qc7 12.0–0–0 Be7 13.Kb1 0–0 14.Bh6 Qxh2 15.Bxf8 Rxf8 16.Rgf1 a6 17.a5 Qc7 18.Qa4 Qf4 19.Be2 Rd8 20.Qb3 Qc7 21.Qa4 Qf4 22.Qb3 Qc7 23.Qa4 b5 24.axb6 Qxb6 25.e5 Nh5 26.Rd2 Rxd4 27.Qd1 c5 28.Rg1 Ng7 29.Rg4 Nf5 30.Bc4 Kg7 31.Ne2 Rxd2 32.Qxd2 Qc6 33.Re4 h5 34.Ng3 Nd4 35.Qd1 a5 36.Re3 Bg5 37.Ra3 Qc7 38.Re3 Bxe3 39.fxe3 Qxe5 40.exd4 Qxg3 41.dxc5 Qe5 42.Qg1 h4 0–1

Ryan Porter (2318) – John Daniel Bryant (2453) [A43]

Century West Open (3), 09.01.2010

1.d4 c5 2.d5 e6 3.e4 d6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.Nxd5 Nf6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Nxe7 Qxe7 8.f3 Nc6 9.Qd2 Be6 10.c4 h6 11.Bh4 Nxe4 12.Bxe7 Nxd2 13.Bxd6 Nxf1 14.Bxc5 Bxc4 15.Ne2 0–0–0 16.Rxf1 Rhe8 17.Rf2 Ne5 0–1

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Eternal Election

It's been confirmed that Gary Walters and Mike Nietman will be running for the Executive Board. Both are perfectly decent candidates, though I want to see some position statements before saying anything more. Reports are that Sam Sloan also wants to run (again) but has so far been unable to find thirty signatures. We can only hope.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

End of the tunnel?

It appears that a settlement may be near in the Polgar v USCF money pit. Wick Deer has some sensible things to say about it at his USCF Poltics Blog.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Left your Queen en prise, did you? Overlooked that mate in one? No need to be depressed; it happens to the best of us. A game of chess is a struggle, not a mathematical exercise. Under pressure of the opponent and the clock, errors are inevitable.

Some blunders are due to overconfidence. A notorious example is the first game of the Spassky-Fischer match in 1972. In a quite equal position, Fischer captured a pawn, allowing his Bishop to be trapped. He had seen a way out, but stopped his analysis one move too soon. (That Fischer’s confidence not misplaced can be seen from the final score – despite this gift he won the match 12½-8½.)

Others result from relaxing too soon. In 11th game of their 1986 match, Anatoly Karpov had just about equalized against Garry Kasparov. One careless move allowed a flashy, but not very difficult, Queen sacrifice to end the game. (As a sidelight, Karpov devoted several pages in one of his books to proving that his blunders were better than the blunders of other world champions.)
And still others result from the character of the player himself. In his 1951 match with Mikhail Botvinnik, challenger David Bronstein sought to prove that Botvinnik’s scientific approach to the game was not the only one – for Bronstein was a creative artist more than a competitor. In the sixth game, after a fierce struggle, White at the 56th move had only to return his Knight to play, with a check, to eliminate Black’s last pawns and make a draw. But then Bronstein began to think about the position back at move eight. He thought for 45 minutes and ... touched the wrong piece. He soon had to resign. The final score of the match: 12-12 ...

Diagram: From a game von Popiel-Marco. Monte Carlo 1902. Black, seeing that he could no longer defend his pinned Bishop at d4, resigned. But after 1. ... Bg1!, the doomed Bishop makes a powerful discovered attack – threatened with 2. ... Qxh2 mate, White would have to lose his Queen.