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Saturday, January 31, 2009

"The Pride and Sorrow of American Chess"

ChessCafe has a five-part video documentary series about the life of Bobby Fischer. It apparently was produced before his death, but covers his time as a child prodigy through his later years. One of the more poignant comments in the documentary aptly described him as "the pride and sorrow of American chess." Here are the links to the series:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Details Regarding 2009 U.S. Championship

The United States Chess Federation has released additional details about the upcoming 2009 U.S. Championship. Here is the press release:



Two dozen contestants will vie for $130,000 in prizes at new venue

ST. LOUIS, January 27, 2009 -- Two dozen of the nation's best chess players will be invited to participate in the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship, which will be held at the new Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The tournament, which dates back to 1845, will take place from May 7 through 17, 2009 and will offer a purse of more than $130,000 in prize money.

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, which Steve Goldberg of United States Chess Federation (USCF) Online calls "certainly one of the most impressive chess centers" in the country, opened in July 2008. Founded by retired investment fund manager Rex Sinquefield, it already has nearly 500 members, surpassing its original goal of 300 for its first year of operation by 67 percent.

The 24 invited players will include:

the top 12 American players by rating, using the April rating supplement;
the top two female players by rating, using the April rating supplement;
the 2008 U.S. Junior Closed Champion;
the 2008 U.S. Open Champion;
the 2009 U.S. State Champion of Champions;
a total of seven wild card spots, to be determined later.

The winner will receive $35,000, with additional cash prizes awarded to all participants, including $2,000 to the last-place entrant. Cash prizes will be divided equally among tied competitors. Additionally, top youths from throughout America will be invited to compete. Spectators will be welcome at the event.

The championship will be a 9-round event, using the Swiss system with one round per day and a rest day between rounds 5 and 6. Time controls will be the classical 40 moves in two hours, with one hour allowed for all remaining moves. Guest commentary will be provided by two world-class Grand Masters throughout the event.

"We are delighted to host the prestigious U.S. Chess Championship in our first full year of operation," said Tony Rich, executive director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. "It is exciting and gratifying for us to bring together the nation's best players at our first-class facility."

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

More Good News for St. Louis Chess Club

On the heels of the announcements that both the U.S. Championship and the U.S. Women's Championship for 2009 are coming to St. Louis, the St. Louis Chess Club reports that Chess Life Online editor and Women's Grandmaster Jennifer Shahade is visiting St. Louis soon. Here's the notice from the club:

WGM Jennifer Shahade, two-time U.S. Women’s champion, will be visiting the club on Thursday, February 5th! We expect Jennifer to start playing skittles around 8pm, but you are welcome to hang out and play eachother beforehand. If there is enough interest that night, we may even start a blitz tournament around 6:30. The cost? Well, it’s FREE for members!

Jennifer’s style and opening repertoire are aggressive. She excels in open and attacking positions, and now is your chance to see how you stack up. So, come one, come all.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Your Move

No, this has nothing to do with chess, but for those of you who are football fans, and even for those who are not, I think you will enjoy this video:

Thanks to my brother Jon for sending this to me!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Note from Bruce Pandolfini

Legendary chess coach and writer Bruce Pandolfini sent me a note following the publication of my review of the Soviet classic Questions of Modern Chess Theory. He commented that seeing the review of the book brought back some fond memories for him.

"As I recall, Fischer really liked the Gawlikowski endgame books, Lisitsin's big tactical work, and especially the Lipnitsky, which supposedly he carried around with him for a full year and, according to Bobby's own claims, helped make him a grandmaster. I was able to get all of the above books, in fact, Fischer's very copies, when I was a teenager myself. His worn and tattered copy of the first edition of Lipnitsky's classic, which Bobby signed in his characteristic printed scrawl at the time, is one of my most prized possessions."

I'm glad to see that Bruce agrees that Questions of Modern Chess Theory, originally published in 1956, remains a book "every serious chess player should know about."

Thanks, Bruce, for the informative comments.


Review: Questions of Modern Chess Theory

Haven't heard of this book? That may be because this is the English-language version of the book originally published in 1956. It is said, however, that both Botvinnik and Fischer, among many others, simply devoured the contents of this text.

I was very impressed - you can read my review for the next week at the ChessCafe main book review page. It is also permanently archived here.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

January 2009 Scholastic Chess column now online

That's me at the Disney Animal Kingdom park

Well, it's been awhile since I've been able to write. Our family spent a week at the beautiful Coronado Springs Resort, part of the Disney World complex near Orlando, Florida. This was the site, just two weeks prior, of the National K-12 Championships, which I write about in my January 2009 ChessCafe Scholastic Chess column.

Also covered is the Pan American Intercollegiate Championship, held in Fort Worth, Texas.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Great Photos from the U.S. Chess School in Arizona

Elizabeth Vicary has some great photos from the 8th U.S. Chess School session, currently taking place in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona.

Our family just returned to St. Louis from the Coronado Springs resort at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, site of the recent "grade nationals." It looks to me like a great place to hold a chess tournament, or any other event!


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