Monday, January 30, 2006

Round 3 of the KCC Championship

I have posted the PGN file and a first draft of the java applet page for Round 3 of the 2006 Kenilworth Chess Club Championship. I should have it revised tomorrow, when I will also include, as usual, some tactical test positions from the games.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Tomkovich - Goeller, KCC Championship 2006


diagram

Black to play and win a pawn.
Hint: think "zwichenzug."

Chess can be difficult and disappointing. Last night, I felt self-satisfied after playing what I thought was a rather nice attack against Greg Tomkovich in the 2006 Kenilworth Chess Club Championship, only to have Fritz show me this morning all of the things that we missed. In the diagram above, I closed up the game with 17...f4!? when Fritz tells me I could have won at least a pawn by force -- so long as I could see the zwichenzug! I looked at the move it recommends, but I just did not look hard enough I guess.

At least I wasn't the only one to play less than perfect chess. NM Scott Massey barely got away with a flawed Queen sac in his game with John Moldovan. And Joe Demetrick let an endgame edge turn into a loss against Ed Selling. There are no perfect games. But occasionally we string together a series of perfect moves (as I did in the final combination of my game), and perhaps that should be enough to satisfy us.

More games from Round 3 of the tournament should be up by Monday.

Trap Counter-Trap


diagram

White to play and win a piece.
Hint: not Bxh5??

In the diagram above, my opponent fell for my "trap" in an ICC game, grabbing my Knight with 12.Bxh5?? allowing mate in two starting with 12...Nf3++. But how can White really win a piece (and the game) in this position?

Age vs. Youth


Age versus Youth

"I thought you said he'd take it easy on me..."

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Topalov Tops Corus

I have to admit that my interest in the Corus 2006 tournament in Wijk aan Zee dipped dramatically when Topalov lost to Adams in one of the early rounds. But I think I will be just one member of the chorus singing Topalov's praises after his sacrifice-filled victory over Aronian yesterday in Round 10 to move solidly into first place. With the tournament coming to a close on January 29th and his game with chief rival Anand still to be played, Topalov has added a lot of drama to the event that is sure to attract the world chess press.

Unless Topalov plays a better game in the final rounds, I expect every newspaper chess column to annotate Topalov - Aronian, Wijk aan Zee 2006 in the coming weeks. And it is a game you will be seeing in anthologies for years to come. Here are some links to annotations and news you can already read:

Topalov - Aronian, Wijk aan Zee 2006 by Dennis Monokroussos
The Chess Mind blogger is fastest with the mostest on this stunning Topalov win. See also his blog entry that links to the annotations.

Wijk aan Zee Round 10 Report, GM Sergey Shipov at Chess Pro
In Russian but with frequent diagrams to help follow the comments. Good notes on Topalov-Aronian.

Wijk aan Zee round 10: Topalov - Aronian by Konstantin Sakaev
In English, with some very deep commentary plus notes on how the other games were going as this one was played. The other commentary by Sakaev on Corus is also very worthwhile.

Topalov - Aronian at Convekta
You may need to download chess fonts from the main Convekta page (where you will also find links to their other reports). Very good comments with PGN and java board for play-through.

Corus, Wijk aan Zee Round 10 by Mark Crowther at TWIC
Excellent news report and commentary on the games. Excellent notes.

Round 10: 90% Persperation by Steve Giddens
Excellent report from the BCM columnist, with good general annotations to the game (scroll down past the crosstable and report to find them).

Reaching New Heights with the Incredible Topalov by Susan Polgar
Under the picture of a balloon, you will find some brief notes from GM Polgar on the game.

ChessBase Flash Report
The page features a link to PGN and java applets of the game plus current crosstable and report.
Corus 2006 r10 by Mig Greengard
An initial posting at Mig's Daily Dirt blog about the momentous game, which is sure to attract forum postings from readers that should prove interesting.

Corus website, Round 10 Report
The game is discussed in general terms, along with the other news of the day.

I expect Malcolm Pein and InforChess to have reports by the time you read this, likely.

Continuing live coverage is available from various sites, including Chess FM and ICC, but also Playchess and World Chess Network.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

1.c4 g5!? at ChessCafe


diagram

Martinovsky - Heinola
White to play and draw.
Where do you put the King?

ChessCafe posts their newest articles on Wednesdays, which generally helps me get over the "hump" in my week. Stefan B├╝cker's "Over the Horizons" column is a relatively new addition to the rolls there and features off-beat opening analysis from his Kaissiber columns (including a recent series on the Vulture). Today's piece--focused on the surprisingly playable 1.c4 g5!?--makes a fun read. At the very least, if you ever venture the English opening you will be prepared for that crazy 1...g5 player. And it is a line worth some study. Of all the varieties of the so-called "Borg" (the Grob 1.g4 reversed) it seems the most rational, since the idea is to play on the dark squares with c5, d6, Bg7, and h6 -- a plan that White's 1.c4 actually facilitates to some degree. Black also often plays Bxc3+!? to double White's pawns and shut down his play on the queenside.

The article focuses on the game Joel Benjamin-Kari Heinola, Honolulu 1996, and mentions that Heinola played two others with 1.c4 g5 at the same 1996 US Open in Hawaii. I tried to find the other games in my databases but could only turn up one, which I liked enough to annotate. The diagram above comes from that game, with White to play and actually rescue a draw from what seemed like (and soon became) a loss. (Martinovsky chose the wrong King move; what's the right one?) In my search, I also stumbled across the game Hanley -Yuan which also seemed to deserve some notes. It's a fun line for speed chess, that's for sure.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Legends of New Jersey Chess


diagram

Cohen-Stoyko
Black to play after 26.Nxg5.

The Westfield Chess Club is holding a tournament called "Legends of New Jersey Chess" directed by NM Todd Lunna (who was apparently too modest to play himself). Our own FM Steve Stoyko and NM Ed Allen are playing. Other participants include life masters Arthur Feuerstein, Peter Radomskyj, and Leroy Dubeck and well-known organizers / tournament directors Ken Thomas, Herman Drenth, and Bill Cohen. There may be a few more players but my information is incomplete.

The position above comes from the first round game Cohen-Stoyko, Westfield 2006. Black to play and finish things quickly. As Steve described it: "He was expecting a jab but I surprised him with a right hook that knocked him flat."

I can find no further details about the tournament online, but I assume there will be another round on Sunday beginning at 2 at the YMCA at Ferris Place if you're interested in checking it out.

Cute ICC Game


diagram

Black to play after 24.Bb2?

Regular readers of this blog know that I don't make a habit of publishing my ICC games. But I played a cute one this morning that I thought you might enjoy. It's especially nice to refute the impudent 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.g4? pawn thrust.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Round 2 of the KCC Championship


diagram

Pelican-Mazzillo
White to play after 27...Re7?



diagram

Wojcio-Minkov
Black to play after 37.h4.



diagram

Stoyko-Tomkovich
White to play after 25...Rb8.



diagram

Wojcio-Minkov
White to play after 5...Nxe4?



diagram

Wojcio-Minkov
White to play after 16...Ne7.



diagram

Moldovan-Kernighan
White to play after 21...g6.

Round 2 of the Kenilworth Chess Club Championship saw a lot of tactical fireworks, both on and off the board. It is often difficult to find the most forcing lines with the clock ticking and nothing written under the diagram saying "White to play and win." In Mike Wojcio's game against Ari Minkov, for instance, there were at least half a dozen missed opportunities on Mike's part (I've diagrammed the two cutest) before Ari finished the game with a nice combination (see second diagram above). You can play over the games in a java applet or download the PGN file.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Baker-King, BCF 1996


diagram

Hypothetical position from Baker-King.
White to play.

I was looking through some games with the Sicilian Grand Prix variation and came across Baker-King, BCF 1996, which attracted my analytic eye (and engines). As in many high-level encounters, most of the fireworks take place in the hypothetical lines. In the diagram above, from a position that could have arisen near the end of the game, it is White to play and win. I think I have this right.... In any event, I have the right idea and it is pretty cool.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Round One Games from KCC Championship


diagram

Minkov-Kernighan
Black to play after 38.Rxa4?


diagram

Wojcio-Goeller
White to play after 25...h5?

I have posted the games I have received from Round One of the 2006 Kenilworth Chess Club Championship Tournament (which you can also download in PGN format). Despite the mismatches typical of the first round, all of the games were tightly contested.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Round 1 of the KCC Championship

I have posted the crosstable for Round 1 of the 2006 Kenilworth Chess Club Championship online. I lost to Mike Wojcio in a shocking upset (at least shocking and upsetting for me anyway). Mike surprised everyone last year by beating FM Steve Stoyko in Round 2 of the championship, after which Steve went on to win every game. I suppose it is now a tradition that someone must lose to Mike. I hope I can turn it around as well as Steve did last year....

I will be posting annotated games in the coming week, at least before Round 2 is played next Thursday. I hope to use my game against Mike as a chance to think about flaws in my thinking (using some of the ideas from Rowson's Chess for Zebras). At least something good might come out of it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Chess for Zebras

I have been reading Jonathan Rowson's absolutely paradigm-shifting book Chess for Zebras, which I heartily recommend and therefore feel compelled to share. I should title this post "Chess for Zebras, Part I," because it is certainly a subject to which I'll return in the coming months, as this book is so profound that it will take at least that long to read, absorb, and reflect upon (and I don't intend to write much at the moment). The book will surely be receiving very positive and lengthy reviews from many sources in the weeks ahead, as initial reviews (from Fred Wilson at ChessFM, BCM and Geoff Chandler at Textualities) and a Jennifer Shahade interview in Chess Life suggest it will be well received. Blog entries by Druss and The Chess Mind were also positive. When everyone (including myself) finally has a chance to work their way through this very deep book and writers like John Watson weigh in, it should get the chess press rolling and everyone will acknowledge it as a classic of the first order...

...or, I hope that will be the case, anyway. It's possible that Rowson is just too smart for his readers and it may take decades, it's sad to think, before we are ready to absorb Chess for Zebras (whose odd title--which may put a lot of readers off, as Rowson himself acknowledges-- is intended to resonate with many things, including the recently re-issued classic Chess for Tigers). That's true of all great paradigm-challenging works, from Einstein to Kuhn. I'm also not certain that this book is for everyone. I may, in fact, be its ideal reader, as an academic who works with theories of education and has a 2000+ rating that has not changed in decades (and which he would sorely like to improve). For me, it is a masterpiece of the first order that relates to practically everything I think about intellectually, including the teaching of writing. But I also recognize that not all other chessplayers share those interests and may be put off by the heft of its ideas concerning a topic (chess) that they might take rather lightly. They might also not be willing to read a lot of prose that is not specifically geared toward annotating games or reviewing opening theory, and Rowson's writing may strike them as a bit dense. Personally, I find Rowson's style not only readable but intellectually entertaining, and his examples are extremely well chosen and connected to his topic. Others may find his writing a bit more academic and abstract than they prefer. Most chess books, after all, are written so that even children can understand them (since a large part of their audience is probably children). Rowson's work really is intended for adults with a college education (or at least a college-level reading ability). I assume that most chessplayers fall into that category (as obviously did his publishers), but I may be wrong.

Like Shahade's groundbreaking feminist chess history, Chess Bitch, Rowson's recent work (including his Seven Deadly Chess Sins) is part of a trend of applying what academicians term "Theory" (with a capital "T") to chess. Unlike 7DCS, however, it does make some concessions for a more general reader. For one thing, it has a tendency to try multiple modes of explanation (or "different ways of saying the same thing"). It also often frames a discussion of ideas with the story of a real chess lesson that Rowson has given to a developing player, thus presenting readers with a point of identification and entry into the text. This works very well, and also makes the book an especially useful read for chess instructors, especially those working with adult players of 1800-plus rating range, since the scene of instruction is never far off. It also makes readers feel that we are getting the same service for which he likely charges at least $50 per hour for the wonderful fixed rate of under $30. That's a bargain in my view, though again, like the quirky title, it is a surface detail that may keep Chess for Zebras from gaining as much popularity as it's entitled to have with the mass of chessplayers.

Well, I've written at much greater length than I had intended when I first sat down, yet I have said nothing specific about the book or its contents. I suppose that will have to wait for another time. For now, though, let me quote from a passage that I found helpful and which I will keep in mind tonight when I play in the 2006 Kenilworth Chess Club championship -- in part to help prepare for the upcoming U.S. Amateur Teams East:

"if you want to get better at chess you need to place much less emphasis on 'study' whereby you increase your knowledge of positions, and place more emphasis on 'training,' whereby you try to solve problems, play practice games, or perhaps try to beat a strong computer program from an advantageious position" (25).

Enough abstract study and discussion. Let me turn my sights back to practice and to reading this wonderful book.... I'll tell you more when I finish it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Chessplayer Ads

Mig has posted some great links to an English ad for milk showing Korchnoi playing a cow and an old ad (which I never saw) where a kid uses AltaVista to put Kasparov to the test. Worth a look.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Kenilworthian "Index"

I had been thinking of putting together an "index" to Kenilworthian postings, but then discovered that a search for The Kenilworthian or my name at Google Blog Search makes an excellent substitute. Meanwhile, I have been putting links to many opening-related posts at our Articles page.

Lasker-Marshall, St. Petersburg 1914


diagram

White to play after 16...a6.

The game Lasker-Marshall, St. Petersburg 1914 features Lasker's trademark 5.Qe2 against Marshall's trademark Petroff. I had never given this line much consideration (and I imagine most Petroff players have not either), but I suddenly think it is worth trying from time to time, especially against higher-rated opponents or against anyone who avoids Queen exchanges like the plague. Lasker shows that Black can get into a lot of trouble if he does not trade and seek stable equality. In some ways, the line challenges Black to a game of chicken, placing the onus on him to avoid the draw and encouraging him to swerve wildly at some point and drive right into a ditch. BTW: I began looking at this game (and Capablanca-Marshall, shown in the notes) because of the serial novel Zugzwang, mentioned in my previous post. It was a very strong tournament, with an interesting horse race in the final tournament between Lasker and Capablanca. I hope the novel is as suspenseful.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Zugzwang, a Serial Chess Novel

The Guardian's Observer Review has begun a serial chess novel by Ronan Bennett titled Zugzwang, with the first two chapters yesterday. It is a murder mystery set in St. Petersburg in 1914 during the great tournament of that year, which featured Lasker and Capablanca. You can find the Crosstable of St. Petersburg 1914 at Storia Scacchi. You will notice that no Rozental played in the event, though Bennett's story says "he is the favorite" -- an unfortunate use of creative license IMHO. For those interested in the real tournament, you can download a zipped PGN file of all games from the Pitt Archive or download a PGN file of 25 lightly annotated games from the event from the Supertournaments webpage. The tournament book is available from USCF Sales. Kasparov discusses the Lasker-Rubinstein encounter in volume 1 of My Great Predecessors and offered a follow-up at ChessBase on that analysis. Hat tip to The Closet Grandmaster.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Free Chess through Google Books

Hat tip to ChessSmith at OnlineChess.ca for pointing us to Steve Rubel's blog entry on using Google Books to get free access to books online, in much the way you'd be able to browse in a bookstore (with the added benefit of being able to capture your experience using screenshots). As ChessSmith points out, the method can also be used to access Chess Books. I would suggest trying even more specific searches in Google Books, including "King's Indian Attack" or "Benko Gambit." A search on "Urusov Gambit," for instance, revealed that there is some coverage of the line in Chess Strategy by Nikolai Kalinichenko and Eduard Gufeld, and I was easily able to locate and read those pages so I can add that book to my bibliography. Who would have thought....

By the way, I may be wrong, but I do not think that this is a "hack" of Google Books, exactly, but a basic feature to the service as it now stands. In looking through a number of books, I discovered there was a limit on how many pages of any specific book they would allow me to view and that some critical pages were not available at all for viewing. It may be that there are some problems with the ways they are displaying some books (for example, I had no trouble seeing all the pages I wanted of Kmoch's book on Rubinstein, which I can never bring myself to re-purchase after having lost my copy years ago, but could get only a few of McDonald's book on the King's Gambit), but I think that they intended to make this service available to everyone (at least for a limited time, before they have a mechanism to charge for it) and not just until they fix some "hack" that Rubel has found.

After using the methods that Rubel describes to retrieve all of the "Nimzovich Defence" games from It's Only Me, I suddenly see where Google (and, apparently, Amazon.com) is likely going with all of this. Some day soon, you will be able to buy only the specific content you want from books without paying for every page. After all, why buy an entire book that annotates the games of Tony Miles when you really only want his games with the Nimzovich? Or why purchase Chess Strategy when all you really want is those three pages of outdated Urusov theory? Or why have a book sitting on your shelf gathering dust when you might only want to play through one or two games from it on one lazy Sunday afternoon in June? If you could pay pennies (or even dimes or quarters) per page to get exactly what you wanted (much the way you can download specific songs rather than buy the whole album or xerox pages of a book at the library--with all of your money going into those dreadful copy machines rather than into Google's coffers), wouldn't you do it? After all, who reads whole books anymore anyway? :-) If the price structure is set up correcty, it may even end up making better economic sense to sell pages than to sell books and I can think of numerous economic benefits to doing so (not least of which are an increase in free advertising through viral referencing and the ability to sell pages from books that are no longer in print).

That's clearly the direction things are moving: content is being disaggragated and made available for smaller purchase by niche users. TIVO and the IPOD have transformed how entertainment can be used by consumers. Even cable channels will soon be available a la carte. This will lead to many changes in society.... Most immediately, at a time of falling interest in traditional advertising, this is a marketer's dream, because you will be able to reach very specific target readers and give them exactly what they want at point of contact. Case in point: I used Google Books to search for Rowson's Chess for Zebras (which I absolutely must buy, based on its reviews). They did not list the book, but an ad pointed me to Overstock.com's page on it, where I saw that they would offer it for a 15% discount on Amazon. I say "would" because they did not have it in stock, which led me to just pick it up through USCF Sales instead (one of the few times they actually BEAT Amazon, and I must say that I much prefer the service and speedy delivery of the USCF / Chess Cafe people anyway). If they really had the book, I guarantee Overstock would have gotten my business. And I have never before clicked on one of those targeted ads in Google, let alone made a purchase through one.

There are many benefits already to Google Books, and I'm glad that ChessSmith's post got me to explore the service. I think DG is going to have a field day plumbing all of the references to chess in books, for example. From The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Bcome the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs comes this quote: "The Marshall Chess Club, as I had expected, has lots of chess tables and stacks of chess magazines. But I was a little surprised by the makeup of the crowd, which is an odd and varied lot. You've got a minyan of old pot-bellied Jewsh men with their pants hiked up to their armpits; a handful of twenty-something black men; a smattering of Eastern European guys; and a dash of cocky, knapsack-toting chess prodigies in the third grade" (39). Sounds like most of the clubs I've visited over the years. The rest of that chapter looks really interesting also, yet I don't think I would have ever been interested in the Jacobs book if it had not been listed by Google under the keyword "chess."

I suggest you enjoy the service while it is completely free and get all of the material you have been wanting. And I recommend that if you have not already picked up a copy of the wonderful SnagIt screenshot program from TechSmith (which I've mentioned as a great tool for making chess diagrams), that you use this as a great reason to justify doing so....

Opening Analysis in Chess Life

I finally opened the latest issue of Chess Life (January 2006) to discover some surprisingly useful discussion of the currently popular Berlin Defense to the Ruy Lopez / Spanish (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6) in two articles. GM Susan Polgar's "Opening Secrets" column (pp. 36-37) does a good job of covering some of the basic lines, especially where White avoids the standard endgame that follows 4.O-O Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8. Then GM Pal Benko's "Endgame Lab" column (pp. 48-49) picks up the ball to discuss the endgame line, using the two Topalov games from the recent San Luis tournament as his examples. I have been interested in the Berlin myself and rather like the endgame line, where Black's well-placed Knight, two Bishops, and solid position give him at the very least an improved version of the Exchange Variation (with 3...a6 4.Bxc6 etc.), so I was pleased to see this coverage to help me review. Anyone interested in learning more about the line should definitely read Larry Kaufman's The Chess Advantage in Black and White, where he makes it a central part of his repertoire for Black.

Seeing some useful opening analysis in Chess Life reminded me of a piece by John Hillery titled "Changes in Chess Life" that I had read on the net a while back. In it he writes: "Chess Life reader surveys going back to the 1960s have always produced similar results. The most popular features are annotated Master games and opening analysis, followed by tournament news and info... The least popular are chess art, chess movies, chess problems, human interest, etc. " It's good to see the USCF doing something that their readers want. It also makes good business sense, as the rest of Hillery's piece details. After all, attempts that Chess Life has made to appeal to the casual chessplayer have not been very successful. Meanwhile, they could easily do a lot to recapture the business of people who have dropped out of serious competition (and have therefore allowed their USCF membership to lapse) by having more interesting content for rated or previously rated players--especially opening analysis.

I know a lot of players who will only join USCF when they want to play in a USCF-rated tournament, which is increasingly rare for them with so much good action on ICC and so little time for weekend tournaments. And it's not just because they are cheap, since they spend a lot of money on books, ICC membership, and other chess magazines (such as the excellent New in Chess). They simply do not see the value in the Chess Life subscription and they recognize that the other supposed "benefits" of membership are pretty much worthless: they get better discounts on chess books through Amazon or Overstock or any number of other online outlets than they do at USCF Sales; they would prefer ICC to USChessLive even if they were members; and they value their ICC ratings as much as their "official" USCF ratings these days. In fact, if the USCF does not do more to recover lapsed members, they may very well allow the cache of the official USCF rating to completely erode in the face of alternative ratings for average players (meaning those below master).

Lately I think that the most important target of any marketing campaign to increase chess participation should NOT be new players but instead old players who have retired from the game to pursue careers, families, and other interests. As the Fischer-boomers begin to retire or reach plateaus in their careers that will allow them more time to participate in fun activities like chess (perhaps with their kids--who are probably the new members you want anyway), they begin to represent a ripe market for the game. More opening analysis in Chess Life is a start. I'm not sure what should be the next step, except perhaps a campaign to track down old members and try to woo them back, in much the way that high schools and Universities try to track their alumni. Perhaps that is the model for growth in chess: building an office of Chess Alumni Relations. It's worth a shot.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Pairings Are Up....

...No, not for the 2006 Kenilworth Chess Club Championship, which does not start until January 12, 2006 (at 8:30 p.m., with registrations through 8:15 p.m. that night). But FIDE has posted pairings for the first cycle of Candidates Matches leading up to the next World Championship:

Levon Aronian (2752)-Magnus Carlsen (2625)
Peter Leko(2740)-Mikhail Gurevich (2633)
Ruslan Ponomariov (2723)-Sergei Rublevsky(2665)
Boris Gelfand(2723)-Rustam Kasimjanov(2670)
Etienne Bacrot(2717)-Gata Kamsky(2686)
Alexander Grischuk(2717)-Vladimir Malakhov(2694)
Judit Polgar(2711)-Evgeny Bareev(2698)
Alexei Shirov(2709)-Michael Adams(2707)

"Sixteen players will participate in the Candidates Matches and four of them will qualify for the final tournament of the World Chess Championship 2007," according to FIDE. The other participants in the final Championship tournament will include the top four finishers from San Luis: Morozevich, Anand, Svidler, and-of course-current World Champion Topalov.

Kramnik and Kasparov were invited to play in the Candidates matches but declined. More details about the whole complicated process can be found at ChessBase -- which also has posted a detailed article by Jeff Sonas titled "Making Sense of the FIDE World Championship Cycle."

Meanwhile, in the much simpler world of the 2006 Kenilworth Chess Club Championship: 5 players have registered for the Open section (including NM Scott Massey, NM Mark Kernighan, expert Mike Goeller, and correspondence expert John Moldovan) and 8 for the Under-1800 section. With at least two other masters likely to play in the Championship, that should make for a very interesting event. Remember to register early next week if you plan to play.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

2006 Kenilworth Chess Club Championship

Just a reminder that the 2006 Kenilworth Chess Club Championship gets underway next Thursday, January 12, at 8:30 p.m. I strongly encourage any who expect to play to come by the club tonight and register so that we can get a better sense of the expected turnout. Registrations will be accepted until 8:15 p.m. on January 12, with the first round pairings made immediately after. Word has it that several masters and experts will be participating.

This year, due to the growth of the club, the championship will be broken into two sections: an Open section with players vying for the championship and an Under-1800 section with players vying for the Under-1800 title. The format will otherwise be the same as last year's event: a time control of Game-90, with 5-second-delay upon request. Trophies for Club Champion, second place, and third place, Under-1800, and Under-1500. The event will be Unrated. Entry Fee: $25, plus a $10 deposit toward excessive byes (returned at the completion of the event). Club membership ($15 adults) required. Bye Policy: Two free byes, after which players are charged $5 for each additional bye up to four. More than four byes results in forfeit. Tournament Director: Geoff McAuliffe (TD). For a sense of the tradition behind the tourney, check out our club history and last year's championship website.

Petrosian-Pachman, Bled 1961


diagram

White to play and win.

I have been playing over some of Petrosian's games, especially with the King's Indian Attack, in the book by P.H. Clarke. That's where I found the wonderful miniature Petrosian-Pachman, Bled 1961 (see diagram above). It took me a long time to discover Petrosian, I must confess, and it is only as I mature into positional understanding that I begin to appreciate his games. Euwe's great The Development of Chess Style talks about how the development of the individual player's knowledge parallels the development of chess knowledge through the ages ("ontogeny recapitualtes philogeny"), and I think that explains why I was so fascinated by the players of the 1920s for so long: I had only progressed to that level of understanding. Maybe some time within the next decade I will understand Kasparov...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Chess Blog List Update Underway

I began updating the Chess Blogs listings at the Kenilworth Chess Club website today. Any additions or suggestions are most welcome. Judging by how much has changed in the blogosphere in the past four months, I'll probably be at this all week in dribs and drabs. I don't know how DG keeps so current at the Boylston Chess Club Weblog with a job and family (not to mention chess!) At least some more useful tools now exist, including the Blogshares: Chess list and Google's Blog Search.