The Amateur Eye – In the News

December 1, 2016

26-year-old Magnus Carlsen has successfully defended his world title.  He won using a problem like Queen sac.  Games will follow.

GM Mark Taimanov passed away at the age of 90.  He was Bobby Fischer’s first opponent in his run of famous matches winning 6-0. He was as terrific with music being a concert pianist.  He was a product of the cold war era and played many of the world-class players.

27th NATO Chess Championship was won by Poland ahead of Germany and Denmark.  The USA team finished in 4th place.

A new giant catalog featuring many beautiful sets,  boards, and tables was just completed and mailed to USCF members.

The Amateur Eye – What is a Hijab?

December 1, 2016

A hijab is a veil traditionally worn by Muslim women in the presence of adult males outside of their immediate family which covers the head and chest.  The term can further refer to any head, face, or body covering worn by Muslim women that conforms to a certain standard of modesty.

IM Nazi Paikidze apparently did research on this whole issue to discover that our state department, Canada and the United Kingdom has issued travel warnings to Iran because Iran continues to detain and imprison US citizens including students, journalists, academics on charges of espionage and posting a threat to national security.

With this published information she protested FIDE’s decision on the site, authoring a petition for this cause and offered two possible solutions for FIDE: 1. Change the venue or postpone the competition until another organizer is found to host the championship in a no conflict venue. 2. Require that wearing a hijab be optional and guarantee no discrimination based on gender, nationality, or any other human rights as pointed out in the FIDE handbook.

The petition was signed by 16200 signatures as of 10/21/16.  It has the support of US Chess president Gary L. Walters.  Garry Kasparov, a chess legend and the chairman of the human rights foundation on Twitter writing: “I fully support the US woman champion, N. Paikidze in her protest….Women’s rights are human rights.”

As a columnist, I do not want to become embroiled in lengthy discussions about this situation. I am not familiar with all the arguments but those expressed within the pages of Chess Life and New In Chess provide sufficient airing.  I have no control over what any government policy or ruling by powers within chess such as FIDE, USCF, or any other national entity wishes to pursue. None pay me any attention so my views remain my own. I do hope that some resolution can be found so that this great women’s tournament can be played and remain in force for all to enjoy.–Don.



The Amateur Eye – World Junior Chess

December 1, 2016

It has been 19-years since an American has won the World Junior Chess Championship. I remember getting my copy of Chess Life with the announcement that William Lombardy swept the field to win 11-0!  That was 1957. Bill Lombardy went on to represent the USA in a number of Olympiads playing for the USA, and was active in the New York City area.

A host of American talent followed.  Mark Diesen topped the field in 1976.  Yasser Seirawan  in 1979;  Maxim Dlugy in 1985;  Ilya Gurevich in 1990; Tal Shaked in 1997.  An Argentine émigré won in 1967, Julio Kaplan who played under the Puerto Rican flag per FIDE rules as it was listed as a separate national federation from the USA.

Chess Life, Dec. 2016, carries the story of our new World Junior Champion, written by himself.  GM JEFFERY XIONG is the new champion, featuring pictures, and games he provides for readers.  He writes: I fought very hard to win the U.S. Junior Championship which was held earlier at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, Mo. and to represent the USA in Bhubaneswar, India.  I have  always liked playing in international junior tournaments since I get the opportunity to travel to countries that I have never been to, making now friends with young players from other continents. I get to know their culture, and the fun things they do on a daily basis. My fellow young players are all very talented, and are rarely afraid to taking risks and playing interesting ideas, which make the tournament very exciting.”(Young people make good ambassadors in a world, sometimes gone???).

Several games appear in Chess Life annotated by GM  J. Xiong.

The Amateur Eye- Seek Originality?!

November 29, 2016

The following interesting game play gives you a taste of originality and view of planning from move one.  Here, the play is the thing.  At this stage, look at the participants like mere ghosts.

l.  d4  Nf6  This is probably best because it doesn’t give White any idea of exactly how the defense will be administered.

2. Nc3  d5  3. Bf4  e6  4. Nb5  Taking the fight to the enemy is all right because it poses problems.  Another idea is to go 4. e3 c5  5. Nb5  Na6 6. c3  Be7  7. h3  O-O   8.Nf3  Bd7 9.a4  Qb6 10. d:c5 Q:c5 11. Nfd4  Rfd8  12. Be2 Be8 13. O-O  Bf8 14. Be5  Nd7  15. b4  Qe7 16. Bd6  Qf6 17. f4  Qh6  18. Bd3 continuing the initiative.

4. … Na6  5. a3  c6  6. Nc3  Bd6  7. e3  Nc7  8. Nf3  B:f4  9. e:f4  Qd6  10. Ne5 b6  11. Qf3  c5  12. h4.  Take into mind, square count.  Double-edged play but challenging  for both sides which make for an interesting game.

The Killer Book mentioned earlier can further elaborate on unusual deployment of forces.  And may enlighten your spirits to seeking originality in your play.

The Amateur Eye – It’s Ideas !!

November 22, 2016

Put another way,  I would have liked to say  COMPUTER DEPENDENCY but it was just too long for my heading.  Living in this high tech world seems the wave of the future.  I see it in the eyes of youngsters who, instead of using their little minds now developing into making their lives a cherished walk through life, submit to pushing a button to see just what the computer recommends.  Chess educators weigh in on giving out trophies as rewards for participation rather than for achievement.  It has become a ritual too widely seen from this perspective. It all ends up in the relatively new term in this past century final page called dependency.  You see it in this world championship taking place in NYC. You see in the tweets by kids who say: What does the computer say about this position? That is just one of a number ?? asked.

We are talking about chess as an educational tool in academia but the result is often turned, not to originality of thought as seen in historical records of the players from earlier times, where we see individual achievement adding to the record of chess skill in paintings of individual style, of talent that sprung from the pages of great chess writings enabling all who read to enjoy the flavor of such talent.  That is the essence of personal achievement and respect seen in the styles and historic records of those who achieve mastership and joy for all who have come to embrace it.

Skill at chess does come from natural talent but it also must embrace hard work to achieve mastership of its fundamentals and modern ratings have given us a gauge for results of such effort and practice.  In a sense, this is the real benefit of computers for the individual and for the organized groups and clubs to provide quality tournaments and records.  The joy of chess can be achieved regardless of rating class.  Each player, regardless of rating class, man or woman, girl or boy can aspire to grow into a higher class by achievement. And we also see this in competitions among computer programs.

We do live in perhaps the final stage of chess development but enjoyment and play remain in the realm of the individual, the team, the club, the nation.

Computers will never destroy chess, such destruction comes only from the human heart. So long as chess pieces adorn the board of 64-squares and the spirit of a good fight exists, the values seen from its practice will endure for eternity.

The Amateur Eye – Olympiad 2016 Baku

November 20, 2016

Another great Olympiad is concluded and 2016 saw Team USA coming first in the men’s event and China topping the Women’s event.  Both sections were hotly contested.  In the men’s event, Team USA edged out Ukraine, each tallying 20 points but tie-break was 413.5 to 404.5 while Poland and Ukraine scored an equal 17 but Poland took 2nd on tie-break 427.5 /404.5 (NIC coverage with many games and highlights 2016#7).  157 teams.

Iran’s Chess Pandemonium

November 18, 2016

FIDE Cover Up is how some express it.  Why do we Americans have to suffer chess horrors by the dress code of this warmongering terroristic state?  Our US Women’s Champion, Nazi Paikidze, decided in an interview that she trashes the whole idea.  Bravo!! You betchum!!

It all started with the FIDE naming Iran as the host of the 2017 World Ladies Chess Championship. What shocked many girls I’m sure is that the ladies won’t be able to show off their beautiful hairdos and fashionable dress I’m sure they bought for the occasion.

My point is simply this: women should have the right to dress to fit their comfort zone. After all, they are playing chess, not attending some socially dictatorial government policy program.  Of course the question exists as to whether we bend to that will or if, as Americans, we believe in freedom to worship as we please and that sure doesn’t mean having a strict dress code to conform with some religious practice.  Bowing down to Iran, FIDE is ignoring the members who won the right to compete in this great chess tournament for women!  Perhaps FIDE should change the country to one that fosters no religious restrictions on participants. Life is tit for tat.  When it comes to chess, it is universal, not restrictive by rules foreign to it’s participants.



Two Old War Horses Meet At Murmansk

November 18, 2016

They met during their chess careers, battling (and not counting blitz) 91 classical games.  The centenary celebrations of the city of Murmansk had again brought Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman together, two old fighting chess lovers of this noble game, scheduled for a three game match.

We stayed in the Park Inn Hotel and because the music had been curtailed, the young people had abandoned much of the city during the event.

White :   Anatoly Karpov  vs.  Black:  Jan Timman  Opening: K-Indian, Fianchetto Var.

l. d4  Nf6  2. c4  g6  3. Nf3  Bg7  4. g3  O-O  5. Bg2  d6  6. O-O  c6  7. Nc3  Bf5. This is the Larsen Variation and has a solid reputation.  Square count 10/8.

8. Ne1  Be6  9. d5  c:d5  10. c:d5  Bd7 11. h3  Na6  12. Nd3  Qc8!  13. Kh2  Nc5  SC 7/11.

Here, square count is less important.  White has the strong d5 square with a pawn aiming at c6 and e6 deep into enemy territory and the e-pawn has yet to move broadening the scope of the Queen.  This must be now in White’s plan to develop the QB and Q.

14. Be3  N:d3  15. Q:d3  Bf5 16. Qb5  For square count purpose; 16. Qd2 was a bit better as it functions for either Q/K-side action.

16. … h5  17. Bd4  a6  18. Qb4  b5  19. Rfc1  Qb8  20. e4  Bd7  21. Nd1  h4! 22. g:h4  e5! Black hits the center d4/f4 to open some lines.

23. d:e6 e.p. B:e6  24. Kg1  Qd8!  Taking charge of the dark squares and now sets his sights on …Bh6 and that long diagonal attack on the Rook.

25. Be3   Too slow and lessens the punch into black territory.  Better was 25. Ne3  moving toward the enemy position. So, if 25. … Bh6 26. Qc3  Rc8 27. B:f6  R:c3  28. B:d8 R:c1  29. R:c1 R:d8 with play about equal.  White has a pawn up but doubled; Black’s bishop pair is bothersome. Each has 3-pawn islands.

25. … Qd726. Kh2  d5  27. e5  Nh5  28. f4  Rad8  29. Nf2  a5  30. Qe1  d4  31. Bd2  Bd5  32. Rc5 B:g2 33. K:g2  Rfe8  34. Rac1  Bf8  35. Rc7 Qd5+ 36. Qe4  Q:a2  37. Nd3  It is a blockade, stupid!  That pawn has to be handcuffed.

37. … Nf6 ! 38. Qf3  Nd5  39. Rb7  Ne3+ 40. Kh2 The  Knight is immune.

40… Qb3  41. Qe2  Rc8 42. Rbc7   R:c7  43. R:c7  a4  44. h5  Qe6  45. h:g6  f:g6 46. Qf3  Rc8 47. R:c8  Q:c8   48. B:e3  d:c8  49. Qd5+ Kh7  50. Q:b5 Qc2+  51. Kg3  e2  52. Ne1 Qd2 53. Kf2  Q:f4+ Draw.

After the game it was heard by a spectator or more that perhaps we had arranged the draw ahead of time.  Apparently they could not imagine that old geezers like us would still be capable of a real fight. They changed their mind when they saw our daggers both at it at the end.  Game two was also drawn and the third game Jan Timman won.


Mayors in Major Cities Defy Trump’s Call

November 15, 2016

I am so pleased that rational conservative values are winning the day; I regret democrat mayors see  it differently.  What better name than S.O.B.s when you see officials put blinders on to corrupt  vote getting tactics.

The 2016 World Championship

November 15, 2016

World Championship match play seems to have fallen on hard times.  At least in the good old USA, specifically New York City.  I missed both games one and two.  The third I got to witness from move one.  The Rochester Chess Center had the game on the wall for easy following of play.  I was missing.  I was home.  I tuned in to the internet where I got an evening of sheer joy and entertainment–no thanks to the amateurish coverage.  Oh, what a strange opening for Carlsen to choose.  Let me see if I can recall the opening moves. 1.d4 Nf6  2. Bg5. They called it the Thrompsky Opening.  And some guy on Tweeters comically called it the Trumpsky after Donald J. Trump.  No one mentioned the idea of 2. Bg5 was to get the bishop outside the pawn wall which developed after 3. e3.  The same would be true for 2. Bf4. It would have been nice and educational to tell the viewers this feature of the opening.

Both players played sound and powerhouse positional chess with Carlsen having a big space/my square count advantage given White.  Everyone kept appraising what the computer had to say which was kind of boring, let alone the weird comments voiced by the tweeter group.  Pieces kept moving about on the demo-board with comments that the whole game looked drawish.  Well, I thought different as I usually do.  Carlsen vs. Karjakin had some really brilliant strategies for what I call power chess which often develops out of positional considerations rather than all-out attacks.  Suddenly the draw long predicted turned into a hot bed of brilliant play by both players.  In the end, Carlsen managed to win a piece but nearly lost to brilliant defense at the hands of Karjakin.  Of course the computer told the reviewers that the game was a draw.  But what  a fighting powerful exchange of brilliant concepts exhibited by both players.  It was a well deserved finish of splitting the point once again. Yep.  The computer predicted a draw.  The commentators agreed.  But the two in this royal battle did not.  They proved themselves worthy of being called great fighters and true champions of chess!–Don (KIndrespirit).