Monday, April 30, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
A new Chess Life Online article recounts Derek's part in saving the lives of several of his classmates. You may have seen him in some of the early television reports mere hours after the mass shootings occurred.
Labels: chess news
Friday, April 27, 2007
2007 Samford Scholarship Goes to IM Josh Friedel
Josh is well on his way to becoming a grandmaster, with two GM norms under his belt. A brief Chess Life discussion of Josh appears here. Josh also had a number of comments for me after the initial U.S. Chess School session from January 2006. You can read about his experience there in my March 2006 Scholastic Chess column at ChessCafe.
Labels: chess news
Thursday, April 26, 2007
He Triple-Jumped Me!
This position is presented in Efstratios Grivas' latest "A Chess Odyssey" column at ChessCafe.
Watch how White wins: 4.Qa8+!! Kxa8 5.Nxb6+ Kb8 6.Nxd7+ Kc7 7.Nxf8 1–0
Is this the closest thing to a checkers triple-jump that you'll see in chess?
Grivas provides a number of similar examples where the winning side executes a beautiful combination after first driving the enemy king to an "ideal" square.
Labels: Chess Instruction
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
My Review of The Kings of New York
My review of Michael Weinreb's The Kings of New York is now online at ChessCafe. The review begins:
"Wander over to the book and equipment stall of any national chess tournament and you’ll find hundreds of books and DVDs on every conceivable opening, on tactics and puzzles ad infinitum, on mastering the endgame, on game collections and so on. It’s enough to keep the chess junkie browsing until his clock starts for the next round.
However, it is rarer to find books that investigate chess culture itself. True, there are plenty of biographies and portraits of well-known players past and present, such as the Kasparov series of My Great Predecessors books and the earlier Profile of a Prodigy. Yet in The Kings of New York, author Michael Weinreb paints a masterful portrait of the vibrant scholastic chess world as it exists in the twenty-first century."
This review can also be found in the archives at ChessCafe.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Michael Goeller's Annotated ICC Game
Labels: annotated game(s)
Monday, April 23, 2007
The post office staff told us that with standard processing, about ten weeks are needed, but with expedited processing, passports can be obtained within four weeks. If you're thinking about obtaining a new passport or extending your current one, get started early. Here is the website from the U.S. Department of State for more information.
Susan Polgar: The Importance of Proper Training
"There are a number of reasons for this," she says, "but the biggest problem is the lack of a uniform training system. In fact, there is no official system at all."
Labels: chess news
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Virginia Tech Chess Club President Recovering
The website for the Virginia Tech Chess Club can be found here.
Labels: chess news
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Jonathan Hilton: Part III of "How Wojo Won"
Friday, April 20, 2007
Josh Waitzkin Explains Why He Left Chess
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Media Reports Re: 2007 National High School and Junior High School Championships
2007 National High School Championship
- American Chronicle
- New York Times article about one of the Edward R. Murrow H.S. chess team members prior to the championship
- New York Times coverage of the Murrow team tying for the championship
- New York Daily News report
- Arizona Daily Star coverage of Tucson's Catalina Foothills team winning the championship on tiebreaks
- Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune coverage of Minneapolis Southwest High School winning the Under 1500 team championship for the second consecutive year
- Extensive Chess Life Online report by Betsy Dynako & Jennifer Shahade
- Own own Scholastic Chess Gateway reports
2007 National Junior High School Championship
- New York Daily News coverage of Brooklyn's I.S. 318 team (coached by Elizabeth Vicary) winning its third national championship in four years, following the 2007 National Junior High School Championship
- Extensive Chess Life Online report by Elizabeth Vicary of the 2007 National Junior High School Championship
- Our own Scholastic Chess Gateway reports
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
How Well Can You Count?
One problem Dan illustrates is rather straightforward, but he notes that "Quite a few intermediate players that I showed it to could not find the correct idea in a reasonable amount of time. This surprising lack of 'tactical vision' once again shows that, even for intermediate players, it greatly pays to improve your tactical vision by studying simple counting problems – along with 'single motif' problems such as removal of the guard, double attack, pins, etc."
Labels: Chess Instruction
USCF Press Release Re: 2007 National High School Championship
Here is a copy of the press release I received from the USCF office concerning the 2007 National High School Championship:
(Crossville, TN) The 2007 USCF National High School (K-12) Championship broke a record with 1447 young chess competitors in Kansas City, Missouri! The U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) held this 7 round national championship at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in their new Exhibit Hall April 13-15, 2007. Each player in the five sections: K12 Championship; K12 Under 1500; K12 Under 1200; K12 Under 900 and K12 Unrated played under a G/120 time control. In addition to individual competition, team competition was at stake in each section.
All five sections for individuals ended in a time and a variety of tie-break systems were used to determine who would receive the trophy. Players that tied do share the section title of Co-Champions!
K12 Championship: Alex Lenderman (NY) won the tie-break against Alexander Barnett (MD) and Michael Zhong after a tied score of 6.5 points.
K12 Team Championship: Catalina Foothills H.S. from Tucson, AZ won the trophy after a tie-break with the Edward R. Murrow H.S. from NY. Tied score was 22.0 points. Catalina has won two of the past three National High School Championships!
K12 Under 1500: Nick Graves (MN) took home the trophy after a tie-break with Joshua D. Miller of WI. Tied score after seven rounds was 6.5.
K12 Team Under 1500: Minneapolis Southwest secured the title of Team Champion, second year in a row, with a final score of 20.5!
K12 Under 1200: Dominique Myers and Alfonso Chie tied with 6.5 scores. Myers secured the trophy after tie-break.
K12 Team Under 1200: Archbishop McCarthy H.S. from Ft. Lauderdale, FL took the title and trophy with a score of 20.0.
K12 Under 900: Mark A. Salita (MD) tied with Deborah Simoes also from Maryland with 7.0 scores. Salita took home the trophy.
K12 Team Under 900: Northwest H.S. from Germantown, Maryland secured the title with a final score of 25.5.
K12 Unrated: Justin Bernard Braddy of Illinois won the tie-break with Fedor M. Titov also from Illinois to secure the trophy. Braddy and Titov tied with 6.5 scores.
K12 Team Unrated: Mcclintock High School from Tempe, Arizona won the K12 Team Unrated title with a final score of 22.0.
MyChessPhotos.com (official photographer) awarded a $250.00 scholarship to Caleb Molitoris of California for the biggest upset prize. Caleb rated 1073 beat his opponent rated 2016!
Co-champions Daniel Schwarz of CA, Corey B. Acor of FL and Landon Brownell of AZ tied with 11.0 scores in the 2007 Blitz Championship. Schwarz won on tie-break. The tournament crosstable can be found at: http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?200704126081
The 2007 Bughouse Championship was won by Bughouse Team D. McNall [actually D. McNally - Goldberg] and I. Meerovich who scored 11.0.
The USCF congratulations all participants on their outstanding accomplishments. A complete list of all players can be found at: http://www.uschess.org/tournaments/2007/hs/ and click on "Results" for section winner and standing listings. Crosstables for each section can be found at: http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?200704156731
Results for the Parents & Friends (Non-rated, Rated and Combined) will be available soon.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
2007 National High School Championship - Some Random Thoughts
- I found the tournament staff to be helpful and courteous, if not always completely knowledgeable (one USCF staffer I spoke with had never heard of the ChessCafe website, and the poor announcer at the awards ceremony had a terrible time with player and school names).
- The tournament hotel had two major events going on at the same time - the National High School Championship and a girls' dancing group. I saw chess boards and sets strewn all over the place, with kids (and adults) conducting post-mortems and playing blitz, but I didn't see too many ballerinas twirling around the hallways (actually I didn't see any).
- I met a chess mother from Brownsville, Texas who was touting the universality of chess. "Not everyone has brawn," she said, "but everyone's got brains!"
- The school coaches definitely appeared more stressed than the players, at least the ones I spoke with. "Chess is tough, man," Catalina Foothills coach Robby Adamson told me during the final round. His team was in the position of having to come from behind to catch the team from Edward R. Murrow after leading the tournament most of the way. "It looks like it could be another heartbreak."
- At the same time Murrow coach Eliot Weiss paced from board to board, monitoring his players, Catalina Foothills' players, and doubtlessly calculating the various possible outcomes.
- Despite this tension, there was outstanding sportsmanship displayed. On his way out of the tournament hall following the finish of his last-round game, Sal Bercys of the Murrow squad went directly to opposing coach Adamson and had a pleasant conversation about the last round or two of the tournament. I asked Adamson about this and he replied, "I'm friendly with a lot of the guys. I try not to make it personal unless the other guy makes it personal, and even then, I prefer to just walk away."
- While waiting for the award ceremony to begin, I spoke with Alex Lenderman of Murrow, and he had only nice things to say about the Catalina Foothills team. I noted that this year was similar to 2005, when Murrow and Catalina Foothills also tied, with the Arizona team winning the title on tiebreak points. "No, this is much better this time, because they have a great team," noted Lenderman.
- Early into the awards ceremony, a loud announcement rang through the hall. "An emergency has occurred. Please leave the building." Over and over again. People looked around, wondering if this was real or not, but the hall cleared quickly and in an orderly manner. When it was determined that someone had (accidentally??) pulled an alarm switch, the tournament staff jokingly announced that the mass of trophies were up for grabs. "It's first come, first served!" they announced.
- It was only after the conclusion of the tournament that I took a close look at my press badge. "2007 National Junior High School Championship," it read.
- I was VERY impressed with the conduct and demeanor of the nearly 1500 kids in attendance. I found them to be respectful to each other and to the adults, and well-behaved. Black kids, white kids, hispanic kids, asian kids, Indian kids, boys, girls, pre-teens and teenagers all intermingled, enjoying the intellectual challenge of chess and enjoying even more the social interaction that the tournament provided. The chess community can be very proud of such competitors.
Monday, April 16, 2007
2007 National High School Championship - Photos # 3
2007 National High School Championship - Photos # 2
2007 National High School Championship - Photos # 1
Qualifiers for 2007 World Youth Chess Championships
Qualifying players include:
Girls Under 18
NIKOLOVA, ETTIE VA 2041
MATYSZEWSKA, MAGDALENA MI 2031
KATS, ELINA NY 1977
KERR, JULIA K NY 1953
Girls Under 16
MELEKHINA, ALISA PA 2186
MARSHALL, ABBY VA 2052
JAMISON, COURTNEY TX 2034
LIVSCHITZ, LOUIZA CA 1987
Girls Under 14
DAI, YANG VA 1956
LIU, JENNIE S NJ 1865
VEMPATI, GAYATRI TX 1837
Girls Under 12
KUZNIATSOVA, ALENA NY 1883
YANG, SYLVIA TX 1827
MATLIN, ANNA NJ 1784
Girls Under 10
CHIANG, SARAH TX 1736
XIANG, ELLEN TX 1714
CHEN, MICHELLE XUEYING MA 1692
Girls Under 8
XIANG, EVAN TX 1484
LEE, FEI-TZIN NY 1449
LIAO, SIMONE CA 1266
LIU, HANNAH TX 1263
Boys Under 18
BERCYS, SALVIJUS NY 2512
LENDERMAN, ALEX NY 2487
LUDWIG, DANIEL J FL 2400
BANAWA, JOEL CHOLO B CA 2394
LIU, ELLIOTT CA 2357
Boys Under 16
HESS, ROBERT L NY 2457
ARNOLD, MARC TYLER NY 2340
HARPER, WARREN TX 2288
JU, EVAN D NJ 2279
BRYANT, JOHN DANIEL CA 2266
YEAGER, DANIEL A PA 2243
SHANKLAND, SAMUEL L CA 2240
Boys Under 14
ROBSON, RAY S FL 2332
HEIMANN, MARK A PA 2269
LEE, MICHAEL WA 2230
SHEN, VICTOR C NJ 2221
ZHAO, PARKER BI GUANG NY 2212
HEIMANN, ALEXANDER C PA 2203
GETZ, ALEC NY 2198
Boys Under 12
NARODITSKY, DANIEL A CA 2145
YOUNG, GREGORY CA 2073
YANG, DARWIN TX 2064
HEUNG, CHRISTOPHER FL 2030
Boys Under 10
LUO, BRIAN J WI 2059
NIP, NICHOLAS CA 1966
VELIKANOV, ALEXANDER WI 1903
WANG, KEVIN MD 1897
KRISHNAN, VARUN CA 1872
Boys Under 8
CHIANG, JONATHAN TX 1652
SUN, RAYMOND TX 1591
LIN, DACHEY TX 1575
POLGAR-SHUTZMAN, TOM NY 1564
Sunday, April 15, 2007
What a Tournament!
In a nail-biting turn of events and mishaps, Catalina Foothills High School of Arizona and Edward R. Murrow High School from Brooklyn traded leads and ended in a tie (again!) for the national championship. As in 2005, Catalina Foothills was declared the winner on tiebreaks.
From my vantage point, the competitors played tough but fair and displayed the essence of courtesy and good sportsmanship when all was said and done.
After the awards ceremony concluded, Murrow coach Eliot Weiss was being interviewed in a quiet corner by a television reporter and declared, "We'll be here at the end again next year, and so will the Arizona team." Despite both teams losing major players next year to graduation, I wouldn't be surprised if Weiss' words come true.
Stay tuned for more details shortly.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Catalina Foothills and Edward R. Murrow Battle It Out
Catalina Foothills has 11.5 out of a possible 12 points, and Murrow is close behind with 10.5 points. On their heels is Stuyvesant High School of New York, at 10.0 points.
There appear to be some twenty players with perfect 3-0 scores so far in the championship section. This major national scholastic event ends Sunday evening - we'll keep you posted as results are available. You can access the official USCF website for further information.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Endgame Technique from Fred Reinfeld
This instruction comes from Fred Reinfeld's 1953 book The Complete Chessplayer. In this starting position, White has a rook and five pawns to Black's bishop and six pawns.
Reinfeld explains that the task for White "is to give the rook mobility, and increase that mobility." He continues, "What will be achieved thereby? The goal will be: weakening Black's pawns to the point where they can no longer be guarded adequately. Once this happens, White will win one or more pawns. It will then become possible for him to obtain passed pawns."
Reinfeld notes the following about the starting position:
(1) Black has three weak pawns - his king pawn [e6] and knight pawns [b6 and g7]. They are weak because they cannot be guarded by pawns. They must be guarded by the Black king. This obligation imposes severe limits on the Black king's freedom of action.
(2) White's rook has at present three [semi-]open files. Nevertheless, he will strive to put even more open lines at the rook's disposal.
(3) White's king must operate more aggresively and find some way of penetrating into Black's position.
This steady increase of one's mobility and command of terrain is standard position in any ending…Hence White must rely on the simultaneous increase of his own mobility and the cutting down of Black's command of the board.
Reinfeld further notes that although White's pawns "are useless for fashioning a passed pawn," nevertheless "they can play an important role in creating new open lines for White: by playing c4 and f5 at the right moment, White will enormously increase his mobility." Here is how Reinfeld accomplishes these goals:
17.Rxh6 and Black resigns, since White can then play 18.Rxb6, sacrificing the exchange for an easily won ending.
Labels: Chess Instruction
Puzzles 41 - 60
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Anna Ginzburg Wins 2007 Foxwoods Under 1800 Section
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Latest Scholastic Chess Column Now Online at ChessCafe
Those of you who will be at the 2007 National High School Championship in Kansas City can find most of the subjects of this book (the Edward R. Murrow chess team) at the tournament. I'm planning on being there as well on the final day, Sunday, April 15.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
A Tournament With 70,000 Players
In the article, Jonathan Sandall writes:
"In the first stage of the tournament, pupils compete against their friends in school and are awarded points for victories...The players who have progressed to the next round will compete against other top players from across the region and fight for the right to progress to a north versus south event and, eventually, the grand final...More than 70,000 young people across the country take part in the event every year making it the biggest chess tournament in the world."
A one-minute video accompanies the article.
Goeller writes: "It was in R.N. Coles's book Dynamic Chess where I first came upon the idea that chess is a game of four dimensions: material (based on the relative value of the pieces), time (development and initiative), space (control of the board), and position (meaning structural or dynamic weaknesses and strengths in your pieces, pawns, coordination, or king safety). Players typically understand them in that order."
Seirawan's Inside Chess Column
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Junior High Nationals at Chess Life Online
Friday, April 06, 2007
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Follow Foxwoods Live at MonRoi
Follow the games of Sal Bercys, Ray Robson, Robert Hess, Josh Friedel and Daniel Rensch as well as GMs such as Kamsky, Nakamura, Ehlvest, Shabalov, Shulman and others.
Labels: 2007 Foxwoods
How Many Polgar Sisters Are There, Again?
2007 U.S. Chess Championship Website
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Problem # 39
In this position from Fred Reinfeld's The Complete Chessplayer, it is Black to move. Reinfeld notes that "The pin on Black's knight is extremely troublesome and seems to condemn him to lasting passivity after 1… Rd6." Can you find another path for Black to take?
For the solution, click here.
Monday, April 02, 2007
6-Way Tie at Nat'l Junior High Championship
Despite the final round loss, however, Alec won the title based on tiebreak points, just ahead of Breckenridge, whom Getz defeated in round 6.
As a consolation, Steven Breckenridge finished a full point ahead of his closest competitors in the blitz side event.
Congratulations to the more than 1000 players! Next up - the 2007 National High School Championship in Kansas City, April 13-15.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
2007 National Junior High School Championship
For more information, see this USCF website.