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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Interview with New National Master Abby Marshall

Abby Marshall

From my Chess Examiner site:

Following the conclusion of the recent U.S. Chess School session in St. Louis, Abby Marshall was kind enough to share some of her thoughts from the chess camp:

Goldberg: What were some of the more important things you learned from the camp?

Abby: Kaidanov emphasized that it’s difficult to play good moves when you are focusing on the result, especially with that half point lead because “draw” is always on your mind. He advised choosing a specific aspect to focus on to counteract that focus on results. It can be on time management, calculating deeply, trading, pawn structure, candidate moves, anything to do with good chess moves. We also talked about women’s chess. One of the funny things I learned was if someone is acting really condescending to you, like when you’re analyzing the game afterward and the guy is acting like he was winning the whole game when you actually crushed him easily and are being nice to go over the game, a good strategy is not to argue with him, but agree with everything. Secretly you are making fun of him for being so wrong. You sometimes have to pick your battles. We also did exercises on intuition and prophylaxis, topics I’ve never studied deeply before.

Goldberg: Gregory Kaidanov mentioned that it will be very difficult to really absorb everything presented that week immediately - it will take time to do so. Has the chess camp altered how you plan to approach your chess in coming months? Anything in particular you feel you need to work on to reach even greater heights?

Abby: I need to work on openings. Kaidanov said that when you make a big rating jump, normally openings lag behind. Mine have lagged behind for years. Also, Greg (Shahade) talked about how important it was to review the opening right after you play a blitz game.

Goldberg: At this camp, you were the highest rated of all the participants, by a large margin. Did this prove to be a problem at all?

Abby: No, not at all. I was really impressed by Darrian and Rochelle, who had lots of great suggestions that I hadn’t considered or hadn’t found as quickly. The lessons were complex and open ended enough that everyone had something to add.

Goldberg: It appeared to me that all the girls seemed to get along nicely, both at the camp sessions and at the recreational activities away from the club. Is this an accurate read on things? Were you especially close with any of them prior to this camp?

Abby: Yeah, we all got along really well. A lot of us knew each other before the camp, so that helped. I’ve known Linda and Darrian for a couple of years.

Goldberg: How were the accommodations at the hotel? Were things handled okay by Greg and by the chess club to take care of everyone pretty well?

Abby: Yeah, it was all great.

Goldberg: Any comments on the private session at the end with Kaidanov?

Abby: We talked about openings and strengths and weaknesses.

Goldberg: How were Kaidanov and Shahade as instructors?

Abby: They are the best. I felt that they really respected everyone’s chess.

Goldberg: Any other thoughts you care to add?

Abby: I hope Greg organizes a similar camp in the future, maybe for the many many younger girls who are ridiculously good.

For more information, see the extensive U.S. Chess School 10th session reports at the Chess Examiner site. I have also profiled Abby in my September 2009 Scholastic Chess column at ChessCafe.


Friday, September 11, 2009

The Rabbi, the shofar and the dog

This video has nothing to do with chess, but with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana coming up, it's timely and very funny. See what happens when a dog is intrigued by the sound of the shofar.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Review: Endgame Workshop

Endgame Workshop, by prolific writer and instructor Bruce Pandolfini, consists of lessons developed by Pandolfini over the past thirty-plus years. More specifically, five specific courses taught by the author, to classes consisting of players with USCF ratings between 1600 and 2000, served as the impetus for this text.

Basic but crucial endgame material is presented, although much of what is here has relevance to earlier portions of the game as well.

You can read the entire review here, or you can access the permanently archived review.


Two New National Masters

Eric Rosen; photo: MonRoi

Abby Marshall; photo: MonRoi

This month, in my ChessCafe Scholastic Chess column, I discuss two of America's newest national masters - Eric Rosen and Abby Marshall. Some great games are included - see the entire column here. It is also permanently archived here.


Monday, September 07, 2009

Breaking news about Magnus Carlsen

I've reported over at the Chess Examiner site about a ChessBase article regarding a Norwegian media outlet discussing Magnus Carlsen and his famous new trainer ...


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Jason, Danny and Josh

This picture was shown repeatedly at the Rams-Chiefs football game this evening on the Jumbotron above the field in St. Louis.

Rams first-round draft choice Jason Smith is flanked by my son Danny (left) and Josh (right). Go Rams, and go video board!

P.S. Smith was especially nice - he took the hat off of his own head and gave it to my young son Josh (hat not shown here).

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Review: Build Up Your Chess: Vol. 2, Beyond the Basics

The Build Up Your Chess series of books is
intended to be a “complete course of chess
improvement,” and this volume is the second to
appear in this series. In his introduction, Yusupov
clarifies the broad outline of the text, stating that
is designed for “players whose playing level lies
between Elo 1500 and 1800. The readers will
receive the necessary basic knowledge in 6
different areas of the game – tactics, positional
play, strategy, the calculation of variations, the
opening and the endgame.”

These six core facets of the game are covered over a span of twenty-four
chapters and a test section...

For the full review, go to the ChessCafe book review archives.


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