Archive for March, 2008

Kindred’s Special: Global Warning

March 23, 2008

Chess players round the world battle the elements every day. These are generally confined to the sixty-four squares but occasionally there are the battles that take place behind the scenes.

This brings to mind that political parties regularly play a type of chess game battling to acquire small advantages against all-comers.  In so doing such maneuvering for advantage can mislead the public by embracing whatever is the popular theme of the day.  In this case it is Global Warming.

Politicians from the US President on down the chain of party bigwigs have embraced Global Warming as a reality as has the UN and other national governments and international bodies. Such belief is based upon the computerized programming data supplied those monsters but one must remember that those metal and electronic brains can analyze only what is fed into its database. If important data or any fundamental scientifically evaluated world occurrence is left out, it could change entirely the findings and thus the analytical evaluations and findings could be a little wrong, somewhat wrong, a little bigger wrong, largely wrong or at worst–totally wrong.

Scientists some years ago predicted that the Earth was headed for another Ice Age. There was accumulative data to support this contention. The polar cap ice was found to be colder than previously tested; the axis relationship among the Sun/Earth/Stars was positioning toward previously known mini-ice ages, the last one resulting in millions of people starving because planting of crops was hindered and then finally impossible in much of the world’s productive areas. A most recent discovery of such a real probability is the enormous changes toward flooding, heavy rains and snowfall, sometimes far exceeding previous records and extremely severe weather patterns across the world. This observance was a preliminary to previous ice age happenings.  Finally, one might point to the ancients whose calendar foretold a great Earth shaking event in 2012 which is only four years away. I have heard that such a possible ice age with the above conditions hopefully can provide 10-20 years warning to the Peoples of the world. Shocking isn’t it! Yes, and we have the Nobel Prize Winner, Al Gore, preaching Global Warming and pointing out computer estimates of what is causing it. I say it is a natural event that historically takes place and co-lives with the ice age scenario. Man is the cause because of carbon? Ho,ho,ho. Trees absorb carbon dioxide in order to live and give off oxygen which human life depends. Any green plant such as common grass does the same thing. How odd that the world has been in existence for millions of years with horses leaving their horseballs all over the planet where ever they existed as well as other animals and birds–not just the feces of humans that provided natural fertilization of the soil and sediment of streams, rivers and lakes by providing nutrients for life-giving organisms.

Follow the money!! There is my answer to Al Gore! Oh, how convenient it is that suddenly all these groups emerge with the holier than thou attitudes that oil, gas, coal, nuclear power are somehow the cause and man is somehow the scientific catalyst that ignites the whole mess into world doom.  Well, I say it is a natural event that occurs over centuries time and again in various forms and degrees. And the sad fact is that we are wasting time devising ways to deplete further the food chain by turning our natural food sources into ethanol. Hogwash, Mr. Gore!! You are the one who is leading the fool hardy to disaster both economically, spiritually, and with scientific ignorance just as you called yourself the discoverer of the internet.

Now we find this new idea of Mr. Gore to charge for using fuels called something like carbon blah-blah. Pay a fee and use all you want! How very convenient.

Now I am not really knocking Al Gore. He has no real credentials for the book he purportedly authored and I won’t touch that at all. I would gather that some fruit cake scientists and environmentalists approached him with the idea to push their agenda. Again, follow the money!! It all boils down to making work, to making expensive and costly economic decisions that cause havoc for the capitalistic system. Praise by the socialists, communists, and liberals who Dr. Savage terms its identification as a form of mental disease. Progressive ideas are not always correct. The trouble is that those who come up with such theories as Global Warming have to justify their actions. They do this by entering the classrooms of America and worldwide to indoctrinate young minds by feeding them this crap.

I am a chess player; I do not accept theories that are full of holes, are debunked with fallacies and while such a condition as a warming trend does occur, nothing of the magnitude of Al Gore’s movie of doom that scares the hell out of young people who in their honesty and trust of adults follow the Pied Piper Al Gore much the way they follow the Pied Piper Obama. “Trust me.”  Trust me?  That is a hard thing to do.

There is a real danger facing the world in the next decade. I hope that wisdom and use of critical thinking of wise leaders will prevail and discover that oil, gas, coal, and nuclear power are needed to be developed soon in America or America is going to face a disaster where the time clock flag is set to fall and nothing can stop it.

Kindred’s Special: Women’s Open March 15th 2008

March 20, 2008

Rochester Chess Center’s Ron Lohrman over the years has encouraged chess play among the women in the Rochester area. This event is the latest which indicates that the ladies are as crazy about pawns as the men!

Judy Dean finished with a perfect 4-0 in a field of 10 players. Hot on her trail were both Margaret Thurston and Lindsey Doyle with 3 points. Both Joan Urai and Brittany Broan came out with plus scores of 2.5. Sarah Chen finished with a even 2 and both Aditi and Anjana should do better in the future.

                                

Kindred’s Special: Marchand Open Draws 132!

March 20, 2008

The 30th Marchand Open drew 132 players to brave snowstorms and chilling temperatures. Once again St. John Fisher College played host to this annual event held over the weekend of March 8th and 9th. This annual affair sponsored by The Rochester Chess Center and this year’s guaranteed prize fund of $5375 had 50 Grand Prix Points for players to vie for.

Open Section: GM Eugene Perelshteyn and Thomas Bartell shared lst/2nd prizes of $1000/550 = $775.00 each, both scoring 4.5 points. Nipping at their heels to finish with a great effort with 4 points were: Mark Paragua and Thomas Riccardi whose effort was rewarded sharing $300/175 for 3/4 places with $237.50 each.

U2200 Section winners were: lst $300 Ben Dean Kawamura who axed out a nice 3.5 with Carl Ademec, Victor Levine and Eddie Mark sharing $175 2nd prize in close pursuit with 3 points.

Under 2000 Section winners were: Stephen Dygert and Bob Shad who tied for lst/2nd $475 each earning $237.50.

Under 1800 Section winners were: lst/2nd place tie with Glenn Westcott and Mark Johnson sharing $590 to earn $295 each after turning in a sizzling score of 4.5! On their heels were John Mannic and Thomas Warner who shared the 3rd prize of $130, each awarded $65 for an excellent 4 point total.

Under 1600 Section: $380 was split by two sharing top honors, John-John Lambropoulos and Peter Panther Agok each taking away $190 by their nice 3 points totals.

Under 1400 Section: Daniel Johnston repeated again taking top honors with 5 points and $240. Glenn Conlin and Jack Oleksyn blasted through with 4 points each to share 2nd/3rd place $160/100 ($260) earning $130 each.

Under 1200 Section: Cash winners were Brian Barnum 4 points, Matt Slomski 3.5 points, Nolan Henrie and Rob Wagner with 3 points.

Under 1000 Section: lst and $150 to Eric Stahl with 4.5 ; 2nd/3rd with 4 points and $92.50 each went to Marcus Elia and David Markakis; 4th place tied were Dustin Zhu and Meghesh Pansari taking away 3.5 and earning $20 each.

Under 800 Section: Ryan McIntosh took lst place earning $85 and 2nd/3rd tie went to Connor Wagner and William Kodeski who each took home $45 and 3.5 point total.

 Excellent food was available from the cafeteria offered by the college during the event.

Kindred’s Special: Nature of Power

March 15, 2008

I love classic old time westerns shown on the telly because it brings back memories of going to the local theater every Saturday afternoon to see my favorite heroes out ride and out shoot the bad men that proved to me that the good guys somehow always come out on top, gets the girl just as that THE END pops up.

They had magical appeal. Good and evil were clearly defined by the hat color! The good guys always were outnumbered and outgunned and the cunning of the badmen brought chills up my spine wondering if and when the heroes would unearth the plot and triumph. The cowboy heroes and heroines would come to the rescue of the downtroddened and always made the right moves when confronting the badmen. I loved these tall tales of western folk heroes because righteousness was rewarded and wickedness found justice out of the barrel of a colt, a jail term or the hangman’s noose.  I think this basic sense of justice made me happy when I left the theater. Being right, good, respectful and helpful keeps good winning the battle while wickedness exposes and chastises the sinner.

It is only natural to believe that good will prevail over evil in the final act and neither wealth, power or cunning will defy the ultimate punishment.

NY Governor Spitzer was not my choice; my candidate did not prevail. The evil that unfolded this week was shameful. It was especially difficult for him to face the music but even harder for his wife and children.

But evil does sometimes appear on the surface to bring wealth even in the midst of such scandal for those who possess no moral value or sense of decency. The power they possess of beautiful bodies hide the immorality of a ruined spirit that finds no joy in blessings from our Heavenly Father. All the money in the world will certainly leave forever scars on the spirit so whether given immunity or whatever else each evil will persist by those who clamor to gain a piece of the action and will meet in judgment day: THE END.

I am reminded of the evil doer, who in death, is all dressed up with no place to go but down. Perhaps in the end, that is the justice that awaits those who feel they can get away with such immoral acts and thumb their noses at society’s moral values.

In chess there is the nature of power too. The player who works hardest is likely to improve, thus seeing his or her rating ever going up one class at a time until a peak is reached where no honing of skill will numerically benefit more returns. The rating achievement is recognition for attainment of a goal.

There is also the power that comes from pure enjoyment of a good fight. One of my opponents was rated nearly two classes below me and I must say he played energetically and carried out a very nice attack against my defense and which led to a superior endgame. I thought I might survive because this chap was thinking “won game” and there were still chances for me if he made an error or two. But I saw his face showing the determination of the little choo choo that said: “I think I can; I think I can.” He found the way to win without making any gross errors so I had to finally resign. Then, in his enthusiasm and wanting my opinion on the play, we went over the game. I discovered a misjudgment I made and saw a much better move (as I later verified at home) that would leave me with good winning chances for myself. However, I refrained from pointing out my idea to him. He was so overjoyed with beating me that I could not bring myself to propose it to him.  And so he left elated with the happy congratulations by his friends and sure that he would relate his experience when arriving home. For me the game meant little; I lost it. But I felt uplifted all the way home and later because I had made him the happiest guy in the world.

Kindred’s Special: England’s Czar of Chess

March 14, 2008

In my column, Am I a Chess Player, I wrote about Fischer’s listing of 10 greatest chess players of all time that appeared in the lst issue of Chessworld that went belly up after 3-issues. This is the final act in the hectic career of Howard Staunton.

We take up the match between Staunton and St. Amant at game 15 which was the final game that Capt. Wilson attended and historically recorded the individual times used by both sides. His second had to leave and return to England because of ill health and this departure may well have been a reason why Staunton was unable to win another game until the 21st duel that is published below. Not only was Wilson ill but Staunton was also ill, able only to draw or lose until the final battle in the 21st game.

               St. Amant  (White)  vs  Howard Staunton  (Black)

                                      Queen’s Gambit Refused*

*This has since been termed Queen’s Gambit Declined.

1.d4  d5  2.c4  e6  3.e3  c5  4.Nc3  Nf6  5.Nf3  Be7  6.Bd3  b6  7.0-0  0-0  8.b3  Bb7.

A word here. Fischer stated that the England-France match created many modern style games where many in the chess world at the time was more enthused by wild gambits and sharp attacks. It prompted many of that day to criticize the quality of the games. However, as I noted, the conditions were rather deplorable to conduct play and it is amazing that these two giants of chess were able to achieve the quality they did. They both embraced the more modern positional concepts as well as skill in carrying out attacking and defensive operations.

9.cxd5  exd5  10.Qc2  Nc6  11.a3  a6  12.Rd1  cxd4.

This capture closes the diagonal a1-h8, isolates the d-pawn and opens the c-file and e-file where Rooks do their best. Both sides have identical 3 pawn islands.

13. exd4  h6  14.b4  Bd6.

Improves the scope of the Bishop and pressures the dark sq. diagonal, all in keeping with my square count theory.

15.Re1  b5  16.h3.

Like h6 previously, both act defensively in sqct to guard g-file squares g4/g5.  Such moves can prove weakening if either side can conjure up an assault against the King position.

16…Rc8  17.Qb3  Qc7.

Now 18.Nxd5? would be disastrous. Do you see why?

18.Bd2  Qb6  19.Be3.

Perhaps it is this jockeying for position that many who saw the printed games felt suggested weak and inert play. In reality it was cunning on the part of both to out maneuver the other without really giving away anything in terms of chances.

19…Ne7  20.Rac1  Nh5.

While this looks to be a mistake, it lures the Q to its home square which is really an excellent move by St. Amant. Besides it was always possible that g3?! might be played further weakening the K-side. It also has a psychological effect on the thinking of St. Amant, see move 22.

21.Qd1  Nf6  22.Nh4.

A Knight on the rim looks dim unless used as a jump off richoche to attack into the enemy territory; in this case it is f5.

22…  Rc7!  23.Qd2  Nh7.

Hoping for 24.Bxh6  gxh6  25.Qxh6?? Bh2+! winning the Queen!

24.Qc2  Nf6  25.Kh1.

White removes the King from a possible Bh2 check.

25…Ne8  26.Nf5  Nxf5  27.Bxf5   a5!

Staunton’s plan is to play both sides of the board where he can transfer easier than his opponent heavy units in the battle to come.

28.Qb3  axb4  29.axb4

The game was adjourned as play had taken several hours to this point and to give players and onlookers a rest.

29… Rc4!

A star move but as much for the shock as for the quality of the concept.

30.Na2  Nf6  31.Bd3  Qc6!

A Fischer type move!  Naturally if 32.Bxc4 dxc4 wins major material.

32.Qb2  Qd7  33.Kg1  Nh5  34.Qd2  f5  35.f4  Ng3  36.Bxc4  dxc4  37.Qb2.

St. Amant aims to redeploy his Knight so protects the b-pawn.

37…Rf6  38.Nc3  Ne4  39.Re2  Rg6  40.Rd1  Nxc3  41.Qxc3  Bf3.

Possible only because of the pin on the g-pawn but most effective.

42.Rde1  Bxe2  43.Rxe2  Qe7  44.Qb2  Re6.

Creating a battering-ram of pressure on this important e-file.

45.Kf2  Re4  46.Qa2  Kf7  47.g3  Qb7.

Eying a future penetration along this diagonal to h1 once the Rook vacates e4.

48.Qa3  Re8  49.Qc3  Qh1  50.h4  g5

Forcing open lines by pawn exchanges.

51.Qe1  Qh2+  52.Kf1  Qh3+  53.Kg1  Qg4  54.hxg5  Bxf4!  55.Bxf4  Qxe2  56.Qxe2  Rxe2.

Staunton eliminates any Queen counterplay by this exchange and the win is just a matter of techique now.

57.gxh6  c3  58.Kf1  Re4  59.Bc1  Kg6  60.d5  c2  61.Bd2  Rxb4 62.d6  Rd4  63.Ke2  Rxd6  64.Ke3  Kxh6  65.Ke2+ Kg6  66.Ke1  b4  White resigns. (0-1).

Thus the match ends: 11 wins, 6 losses, 4 draws in favor of Howard Staunton.  St. Amant issued a challenge for a return match since while losing in the early games had managed to recover somewhat and post some wins in his own column. However, the match was never to take place because of the decline in Staunton’s health and his very active role in drama theatre and his chess column.

The Great Exhibition of 1851 in England was ripe for inclusion of a great invitational tournament of which Howard Staunton was its Secretary.  His efforts created the lst International Tournament. I will do a future column on this great event someday.

Hope you enjoy the columns. I try to write one every day so readers can view my posts regularly.

Kindred’s Special: A New Riga Variation View

March 12, 2008

Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch authored THE GAME OF CHESS, my first chess book. While ancient as instruction books go, I believe the meat is tasty now as when it was written. The good doctor differed in opinion about hypermodern chess theory espoused by Dr. A. Nimzowitsch whose MY SYSTEM and CHESS PRAXIS elevated chess thought to new highs.

Dr. Tarrasch championed the Tarrasch Variation or Open Defense to the Ruy Lopez. It has stood the test of time, being practiced for many years by such stars as Dr. Eduard Dyckhoff, Dr. Euwe, Karpov, and Korchnoi just to name a few. The normal variation goes: 1.e4 e5  2.Nf3  Nc6  3.Bb5  a6  4.Ba4  Nf6  5.0-0  Nxe4  6.d4  b5  7.Bb3  d5  8.dxe5 (or Nxe5, a sub line).  The modern theorists Khalifman, Kortchnoi and Flear have reexamined the Riga Variation of the Ruy Lopez as did many earlier chess greats and all considered it falling short, while Flear in his Open Ruy Lopez treatise considered it sound if controversially complex. Now, after all, isn’t that the nuts and bolts of most opening variations? What is good one year might be put in the trash heap the next due to some remarkable analysis conjured up by theorists.

Such is the case of the recent New In Chess Yearbook 85, starting on page 114-121. by Paul Talsma and Peter Boll, titled Better Than Its Reputation.

As I suggested in my opening column, Openings: A Foundation, it is a good idea to stick to 1.e4 and reply e5 because in that way you gain insight into the needs of the opening moves necessitating development, threats, defense, and counterattacks. You gain experience by playing various gambits or defending against them. It develops your tactical skills and ability to visualize pending positions arising.

1.e4  e5  2.Nf3  Nc6  3.Bb5  a6  4.Ba4  Nf6  5.0-0  Nxe4  6.d4  exd4 7.Re1  d5.

The Riga (6…exd4) according to Keres leaves white with the better chances. And Dr. Euwe thought it was not good but not that bad.  One has to wonder just what these giants of chess meant exactly! In modern terms it may mean: “covering one’s ass” so as not to appear foolish in their assessment. But chess is truth and that truth can sometimes be ornery and fickle.

The common established analysis goes:

8.Nxd4  Bd6  9.Nxc6  Bxh2+ 10.Kh1  Qh4 11.Rxe4  dxe4  12.Qd8+ Qxd8  13.Nxd8  Kxd8  14.Kxh2  Be6.

This continuation was made famous in the Jose R. Capablanca-Edward Lasker, 1915 tournament game that the great Capa managed to produce one of his masterpieces of the chess board. There have been numerous tries by both sides from this position.

Dr. Euwe suggested a continuation I like because it strikes at the center (8.c4) NCO gives 8…Bb4 9.cxd5  Bxe1  10.Qxe1 Qxd5 11.Bb3  Qf5 12.Nbd2  0-0  13.Nxe4; or 10…0-0 11.dxc6 Nc5  12.Qb4 whereas YB85 suggests 11.Qxe4 Re8  12.Qf4  Qxd5 13.Nbd2 a cc game Podkrajsek-Van Perlo, 1994.

Berger’s 1909 analysis of the Riga turned up what I think has perhaps stood the test of time. Again, my sqct theory points to 8.Bg5 because it bites into the enemy position and also follows Capablanca’s belief that one should combine development whenever possible, that is to reach into the guts of the enemy position as much as possible safely.

8.Bg5  Be7 This has been the standard move for over 100 years but now YB85 suggestion is 8…f6.

Two great ICCF GMs Palciauskas-Berliner in 2003 tried instead of either of these possible moves 8…Qd6 but was met with 9.c4  dxc3  10.Nxc3  Be6  11.Nxe4  dxe4  12.Nd4  Qd5  13.Nxe6! (Previously played 13.Nxc6 is weaker.)  If now, Qxe6 14.Qc2  f5 15.g4! Hans took 13…fxe6  14.Qh5+ White adds to his sqct. and forces some structural damage to the King’s position.14…g6  15.Qh4  Bc5  16.Rad1 Not only does sqct prompt this but so does Point Count Chess! 16…Qf5  17.g4!

Now, on 8…Be7  9.Bxe7  Kxe7  10.Bxc6  bxc6  11.Qxd4! Centralization of the Queen ala Chess Praxis! This move gives white the edge because Kf8? 12.Rxe4 wins a piece because of the pin on the d-pawn.  11…Be6  12.Qxg7  Qd6  13.Nbd2  Rag8  14.Qd4  f5  15.b4! h5.  I leave the game at this point which continued with 16.Nb3 but I think a stronger move might be simply 16.Nxe4 to be rid of that outpost Knight. Black seems to me to have problems after either pawn takes the Knight with Ne5!

Finally after 8.Bg5 f6  9.Nxd4  Bc5  10.Nxc6  Bxf2+  11.Kf1  Qd7  12.Nc3  bxc6  13.Nxe4  Bxe1  14.Nxf6+  gxf6  15.Qh5+  Kf8  16.Bh6+  Ke7  17.Rxe1+  Kd8  18.Qf3 With plenty of play and chances for both sides.

For many of you this opening is complex but rich with interesting ideas and should help you improve your analetical ability.  There is a great deal of meat in all but much of the conclusions drawn come down to about equal chances in most cases from the examples presented in YB85.

The amateur eye often looks at chess differently from that of the GM stars that continue to grow on the chess tree of life. Most of us do not have time to devote many hours to honing our skills. The Riga Variation is one which I feel is valuable most because it offers plentiful opportunities to dig into the positions arising after 6…exd4.

Kindred’s Special: Openings, A Solid Foundation

March 8, 2008

A solid foundation of principles help to direct operations in a chess battle. Years ago it was established that White (since 1929) was officially to open a game with the lst turn. This is suppose to represent a slight edge because white has an early on direction of development that black normally responds to in meeting threats and trying to equal development of forces so as not to lose time. White’s strategy is to obtain a spatial edge, thus securing some advantage for maneuvering, finding good squares for pieces and either gaining a strong center or at least one of equal sharing. Likewise, black’s task is to try and obtain equality through efficient development of his own forces. In simple terms, white aims to keep pressure on black while black retaliates with creating an equalibrium. For many years this was the status quo and normal thinking of the masters. Chess openings became normal through the practice of masters who set the standards for such opening names as The Ruy Lopez, The Giuoco Piano,  Queen’s Pawn Game that led to such offshoots as Queen’s Gambit Accepted or Declined, and various sub titles within the general systems that emerged from practice and theorists.

In general I advise starting out learning all you can about King Pawn Openings (1.e2-e4). The nature of these openings is more tactical featuring attack, defend, conjuring up more threats, defend or initiating some form of counterattack by black.  Contrarily speaking, the QP openings generally are more positional in nature and for the student learning it is more complex to understand the systems employing such operations.

The fundamental principles regarding the opening are deployment of forces and the center. The center is the geometrically small square e4/e5/d4/d5 and the central squares that abridge those on the c and f files which I call the central complex.

How to assure a decent opening position in readiness for the coming middle game is important and various steps can be taken to reflect upon for carrying out such opening plans:

  1. Secure some control of space in the center by at least one pawn unless you are allowed to grab more center with additional pawn moves (usually e/d pawns but also c and f pawns might participate to that end). Remember that on the lst time you move a pawn it can advance either one or two squares.
  2. It is customary to develop a Knight before a Bishop. The reason being is that the Knight can pressure the center with both attack and defense whereas the Bishop is geared more for digging into the enemy camp on the b5 square but often well placed depending on the situation on c4, d3, e2 or g2. The same is basically true for the Queen’s Bishop on its own diagonal. Thus you can see the desirability of holding back a Bishop deployment for a move or two after the Knight is played forth.
  3. Pick out a good square the minor pieces to be developed and  square count can assist you because often the more you can increase sqct the better the chance of inhibiting the opponent’s own forces, create threats, and benefit from maneuvering space within your own lines.
  4. Early Q moves should be avoided until the minor pieces are developed and perhaps castling has taken place. Such a plan for the Q might be to support the defense of a center square from being occupied by the opponent or to support a pawn advance, to backup a Bishop’s pressuring a diagonal, and lastly to utilize it as a pinning factor usually against a Knight or pawn.
  5. Play to get control of at least a portion of the center.
  6. Castling should fit the need of the position. It is safer to castle on the K-side (0-0) than on the Q-side (0-0-0) as the King in (o-o-o) remains somewhat in the central complex files (c-file) and often requires an extra move to go to the b-file for safety.
  7. A King caught in the center files for any reason is vulnerable and often subject of a dangerous mating attack.
  8. Try to maintain at least one pawn in the center.
  9. Pawn formations are subject to attack by enemy pawns; an example: 1e4 e6 2d4 d5 3e5 c5 4c3, a standard line in the French Defense.
  10. Always examine possible moves, checks on the King, loose pieces or pawn not adequately defended which can be swiped and put in the box. Such occurances might uncover loose pieces, a surprise checkmate usually brought about by a sharp sacrifice of material. But it might also entail nothing more than grabbing control of a file, rank, diagonal. Creating an isolani or pawn islands is a positional feature resulting from such assessment aimed at an advantage in the endgame and occasionally even in the middle game.
  11. Do not sacrifice without good reason. This involves a combination to secure a mating attack, win of material, a positional advantage, or to remove a dominate piece that inhibits your own forces or threatens to win the game.
  12. In addition to the above, a pawn sacrifice is often essayed in a game and should be done only with specific goals: 1. secure superior development of forces; 2.deflect the enemy Queen; 3.contain the enemy King in the center; 4.create a breakup of the center defense or breakthrough of heavy forces in the center or central complex. 5.In cases where the King has castled, to open lines for heavy units to invade the King’s defensive squares.

Beware of counterattacks that usually involve a sharp entry by a Pawn to initiate it. Often it involves the attempt to smash a center or to react against a Kingside pawn roll up or attack. An attack should not succeed without some control of the center.

As the knowledge, skill, and numbers of players increased throughout the decades, the beauty of chess as evolved in kind. Brilliant attacks, clever defensive resources, superb strategical battles featuring more and more imbalance as a weapon culminating in splendid tactical motifs makes it an ongoing learning process. Competition has enriched the game and widened the aesthetic beauty to ever new highs.

In the simpliest of terms however a move boils down to two questions which has remained as a guiding tool: 1. How does it affect the center? 2. Does it fit in with development of my other pieces and pawns and with my general strategic plan? And this should be asked about the opponent’s move as well. As you find your thoughts proving right more and more, that is a sign that you are becoming an able practitioner of the chess pieces!

My concept of square count I have given elsewhere in my lessons. An interesting book called POINT COUNT CHESS was authored by Geoffrey Mott Smith and Al Horowitz with a forward by GM Samuel Reshevsky. I mention it because it is also based upon a type of numeric point count that relates to various strategic and tactical motifs that when applied appears to have practical application. As I remember when reaching a total of 4 or 5 points, the game was close to winning. Open files, half-open files, outpost, weak squares, QP isolani, castling, active versus defensive roles for the Kings all played a role in such point count. Geoffrey Mott Smith was a brilliant player of games and his system is worthy of attention. For the novice player, it is a book that can add a couple hundred points to your rating.

Kindred’s Special: Chess Kids Wake Up

March 4, 2008

What are the fundamentals of growing up that makes a youth find enjoyment, challenge, love of life, and a life to look upon in old age that reflects meaningful purpose and what God intended for all of us? Today I see a social malfunction of teaching our youth that mystifies me greatly. Before getting to the meat of my column, let me first of all say that as far as learning and playing chess is concerned, it is a time of joy, challenge, the making of friends, and developing early on the merits of discovery in critical thinking where making decisions, judgments, and forming strategies put the chess student leaps and bounds ahead of discovering and practicing these maturing functional experiences earlier than most who do not play chess at all.

What disturbs me about modern society, educators, and  government and industrial professionals, from scientists to CEOs of major corporations is the narrowness of valuing the school years that develop young minds. From No Child Left Behind to intellectual leaders crying for science, math, and technology be concentrated on makes me shudder to put it mildly.

I have not the credentials of an educator, professional, nor am I a PhD as many professors, school administrators, and teachers can boast and probably deserve for the years dedicated to achieving those dreams. But too many of them fall flat on their face when it comes to the importance of education of young minds and their writings and voices often shortchange the real value of public or private education.

I have lived a long life and I am very sad to say this but there has been a total lack of educating our young people toward real living and substituting a drive for a college degree as the ultimate aim while ignoring the basic tools children need after school years whether it be high school or college.

Yes, we need talented groups to enter the workforce in many fields. And for most jobs today, it is almost mandatory to have a degree or at least some higher education beyond high school. Those dropping out and lacking a high school diploma have two strikes against them unless they are brilliant and discover wealth because of their talent and drive to achieve. Lets call it the percentages of success going up with the levels attained.

The importance of understanding that No Child Left Behind, for all its wonderful goals, is self defeating. What children need is quality instruction, teachers who love their profession (reminds me of Goodbye Mr. Chips), who work with children to instill good study habits, for schools to provide well rounded education in both the general subjects of the 3-Rs but also in music appreciation and playing an instrument, developing to their potential the English language and to select a foreign language to study as this, like music, builds mental discipline.

Beyond this, I must say that I had an American History teacher, Mr. Nolan Powell, who taught not only the basics but gave to his children a wealth of the importance of the stock market, how to balance a checkbook, a bit of how economics worked in our society, and how limited taxation benefited growth of business, employment and family wealth.

It really boils down to adolescent attitudes and governance of their tiny lives in a big world. There is no substitute for earnest effort to achieve dreams. You can go to the mall, have fun, and there is nothing occasionally wrong with this because it helps to create relationships with friends out of school and to meet interesting people your own age who may attend other schools. There is a time to play; there is a time to study; there is a time to develop your personality; there is a time to talk with parents; there is a time to discuss with peers or adults you admire things that interest you or have questions about.

Life is a long journey. It passes by so, so slowly the younger you are. But as you mature, then time seems to speed up. And finally you look and realize that you are no longer a child but a grownup. What have you accomplished in preparation? Have you set goals and have they been achieved scholastically? Have you used your time to develop your potential as a student and mature enough to start down life’s walk with confidence and joy of pursuing those things that interest and challenge your mental capacities?

Lets face it. Playing poker, betting on games and spending time as some chess nuts do that are satisfied to earn crumbs from blitz chess stakes and looking at opponents as “the suckers” will do what for you? Studying chess for 6-8 hours daily with the hope of achieving a title will achieve what in your life?

Don’t get me wrong! Chess is a great joy. But few manage to benefit from it to the degree that they can proclaim at the end of their life: “I fulfilled my ambitions and goal.” Chess is a wonderful experience and know and play it with a certain degree of expertise is a rare benefit of your prowess for strategy and tactics. For you, above all others, can experience the joys of the aesthetic beauty of chess that only those who attain some expertise at the game can really appreciate.

Take it from this lover of chess and one who has achieved a sense of happiness: Life is wonderful in all its aspects!

Kindred’s Kaleidoscope: PiedPiper of Politics

March 3, 2008

Liberalism has been termed by conservative radio host Dr. Michael Savage as “a mental disorder.” I do not know about the big L as some refer to it but it seems to me that liberalism is a young folks state of mind whereas as they age and work for a living, they become more conservative, especially those who want to achieve success in their lives and with a feeling of independence.

Hard working Americans with families want freedom to get the rewards of work, ingenuity, be good citizens or legal residents built on that work ethic that made Americans the prosperous people they became from its beginning.

The current political scene reminds me of the biblical saying that in the latter days people will wonder “where are our leaders?”  Truth of the matter is that there is indeed a gap between what is now termed “political camps” with slogans like leftists, the right, the middle, the greens, the pinkoes, all under the umbrella of LIBERALISM and CONSERVATISM.

As I see it we do not have a Democrat Party or a Republican Party any longer. Perhaps that is why we have such a low turnout in elections: People just don’t give a hoot anymore because they see no difference between them.

On asking New Yorkers met in the street political questions, no one knew the answers or even that they knew who the candidates were.  The fact is that most Americans have no clue what any of them really stand for or what their proposals mean were they adopted.

That brings me to the subject of the PiedPiper. There is one candidate, Barack Obama, that I know a little about. He wrote one or two books; he worked with folks in Chicago which I am sure was for a noble cause and got elected to the state legislature and then to the US Senate. Some of the bills he has written or supported have gone nowhere in terms of passage or if they have are like most bills as my papa once told me: “Better left in the trash heap of history.”

Personally I find him fascinating and probably a really nice family oriented and dedicated humanitarian. But I must tell you that he scares the HELL out of me with his proposals if elected president.  You have all heard the term: Follow the money.  Well, this candidate reminds me of my mother’s oft told fairytales told me one, which as I recall was about the Pied Piper who lead the young children and folks in the community astray with his gift of speech, promises, etc.

So I must give the title: Pied Piper of Politics to Senator Obama.

AMERICANS WAKE UP!  Demand oil drilling, nuclear, R&D, and stop this radicalism that is causing the world food shortages, higher prices, higher taxes and government waste. Demand moral values be upheld for good citizenship that was an aim of the Boy Scouts, and fight the nut cakes like the ACLU and those who want tolerance by the masses for every hairbrained idea and social fix. HELP SAVE AMERICA OR YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE IT!

Quite frankly I consider myself an avid reader, student of government, history, a poet of sorts (my sister is the poet in the family), and most of all a chess amateur who embraces it with a passion. I believe chessplayers need to speak out and use their brainpower in critical thought when it is needed.

Kindred’s Special: Am I A Chessplayer?

March 3, 2008

As a young child I was lured to the game much the way most kids get attracted. The basic ideas and strategy were taught to the Reithel brood, I being the youngest, by my oldest brother Raymond who was a chess expert. We played each other in a variety of board games and had lots of fun but chess was the game we enjoyed most. I remember reading about the new pending magazine called CHESSWORLD (still have the copies, few as they are!) with all the faith in the world that it was destined to be extremely popular. It failed.

In the first issue Robert J. Fischer presented his list of the ten greatest chess players of all time: Morphy, Staunton, Steinitz, Tarrasch, Tshigorin, Alekhine, Capablanca, Spassky, Tal, and Reshevsky. And of course you can imagine the response!!

Lets look at the list and never mind his own comments when asked about his selection because he was never very good at explaining himself and often responded to queries with some rather odd replies. The group as a whole suggests to me a walk down the road of history. It also suggests that the list is partly a reflection of the contributions made by these individuals. He was especially criticised for naming Howard Staunton among the ten best.

As a kid I was always asking questions: How, What, When, Where and Why. It drove my teachers and family crazy sometimes I suspect. I was a rebel of sorts like the song about doing it my way. This seemed to stay with me throughout my life. For example my dad thought I should study music (sang bass in the school choir and he taught me to read music and to play drums. I also played the echo harp organ) and for exercise golf, tennis and helping him with farm chores. Dad was a professional musician and photoengraver. Games I did for fun and exercise. Chess was a waste of valuable time in his view. We were relaxing in the yard having lemonade that mom prepared towards the end of his life and he told me that I had  talent for the game and both of them were proud of my accomplishments in chess. “Maybe I  was wrong to try to push you into being like me.” I remember as vividly today as then and those words are really the only ones I remember of our conversations.

There has been extensive coverage of the list and I did considerable research on the group finding the contributions by Howard Staunton to be most lucidly penned by historians. For those who crave knowledge and a historical perpective about personalities and their effects on chess, read on and be enlightened.

Perhaps the most misunderstood player of all time was  Howard Staunton. Writer, player, organizer and visionary are terms to describe his genius. Born in 1810, he was thought to be the illegitimate son of Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle. He was largely self-educated being neglected as a child and had received at age 21 a few thousand pounds from his father’s estate. His love of writing and his passion for excellence brought him to the pinnacle in scholarship and personal reputation.

He possessed great passion for the theatre and he became acquainted with chess rather late by today’s standards not learning the game until he was in his early twenties. Hence forth he was devoted to both chess and Elizabethian drama.

A prolific writer, his literary works included:

  1. 1841-1862 Founded and edited The Chess Player’s Chronicle.
  2.  1845-1874 Chess column in the Illustrated London News.
  3. 1847            The Chess Player’s Handbook
  4. 1849           The Chess Player’s Companion 
  5. 1849           The Chess Player’s Text-Book
  6.  1852          Book of the Chess Tournament
  7. 1857-1860 Edition of Shakespeare in monthly parts
  8. 1860           Chess Praxis
  9. 1864           Reproduction of 1600 Quarto of Much Ado About Nothing
  10. 1865-1869 Owned and edited Chess World
  11. 1865 Great Schools of England
  12. 1866 Facsimile of the lst Folio of Shakespere
  13. 1866 Memorials of Shakespere
  14. 1872-1874 Series in the Athenaeum on “Unsuspected Corruption of Shakespere’s Text”
  15. 1876 Theory and Practice of Chess  

Staunton’s fame grew as an authority and English chess benefited by attracting many to Caissa. Upon his death, Queen Victoria gave his widow a pension based upon his many literary achievements aside from chess.

In Championship Chess, Sergeant notes that Staunton was content to be known as the best player in the world. The title of World Champion was eventually self claimed by Steinitz upon defeating Zukertort in their multi-city match in America.

His chess playing career started in earnest in 1836 at the age of 26. He frequented chess havens around London, steadily improving his game and knowledge. In 1840 he defeated Popert, a leading player in England, in a match. Within 2-years he was regarded as the leading player in England partly due to his skill at giving odds and for his writing talent. Then, in 1841-2 he bested by two to one in a long series of games John Cochrane who was supreme against England’s leading players except Staunton.

In 1843 a match between England and France was arranged between their champions Howard Staunton and St. Amant. It is difficult now to understand the importance of this great match up. Both countries were bitter generational enemies. The Battle of Waterloo was only 28 years earlier. France had been the top country in chess for over 100 years and now this relative upstart was challenging that supremacy.

How the match came about is interesting. Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint Amant had used his own magazine to boast of beating England’s Staunton in six games 3-2-1 at the St. George’s Club (Staunton said they were just casual games for one guinea a game) and St. Amant was asserting he was the top player due to his triumph. At that, Staunton challenged St. Amant to a match recognized as being between England and France of 21 or 41 games to be played for a stake of either 50 or 100 guineas each.

Arrangements were made and agreed upon for 21 games with a purse of 100 pounds a side. It was to begin on November 14th 1843 in Paris, France. Eleven wins would decide the winner.

What drama! One can imagine the 6’3″ St. Amant, a prosperous wine merchant, having a host of supporters congregated waiting for Staunton, a big, bright, bustling individual with two seconds accompanying him from England. Staunton was noted for his bulk and large head and he appeared confident when entering the playing area.

There can be no doubt that Staunton was starting at a disadvantage. Picture this: A room full of spectators, most seated and those close by standing next to the board. With each turn there were vocal expressions with occasional applause at the moves played mostly by their champion. And the nature of the games were different from today. The lst move could be played by either black or white. Rules were not changed officially until 1929! when white always makes the lst move in a game.

The first time St. Amant tried black on opening was the 5th game and he lost a tough battle by Staunton’s superior pawn play. He had to wait until the 9th game before winning when Staunton made a mistake on his 32nd move.

Certainly match conditions were not healthful and Staunton came down severly ill from it catching pnemonia and developing a heart condition from which he never fully recovered.

The final game lasted 14-hours when St. Amant resigned on the 66th move. The final score of the 21-game match was Staunton 11, St. Amant 6 and with 4 games drawn. This was truly a match which might be a spark of how eventual championship matches were to take place.

                                               ***

The lst game saw St. Amant taking the white pieces and opening with his favorite 1.e4 and Staunton defended with the Sicilian Defense.

             St. Amant                  vs              Howard Staunton

             White           Sicilian Defense             Black

1.e4  c5  2.f4  e6  3.Nf3 Nc6.

These opening moves seemed to be a favorite of St. Amant.

4.c3  d5  5.e5  Nh6  6.Na3  Be7  7.Nc2  f5  8.d4  0-0  9.Be2  Bd7  10.0-0  Rc8  11.Kh1  cxd4  12.cxd4  Nf7.

Aiming to play g5 so white reacts to prevent that.

13.Rg1  Kh8  14.g4  fxg4  15.Rxg4  Nh6  16.Rg3  Be8  17.Bd3  Bh5  18.Qg1  Bh4  19.Nxh4.

Had he played 19.Rh3  Bg4 20.Nxh4 Bxh3.

19…Qxh4  20.Ne1.

Staunton recommends 20.Qg2 as more apropos here.

20…Nb4  21.Bd2.

Again somewhat questionable; better would be Ng2. Kibitzers suggested 21.Bf1 but then Rxc1! is a pleasant shot that wins.

21…Nxd3  22.Rxd3  Bg6.

An excellent diagonal for the bishop! It increases square count and carries with it numerous potential threats.

23.Qg3  Qh5  24.Rb3  Qe2!

Coming into thy guts to look around.

25.Qe3  Qf1+  26.Qg1  Be4+.

There are just too many threats. White could safely resign but battles on perhaps for appearance sake.

27.Rf3  Bxf3+  28.Nxf3  Qxf3+  29.Qg2  Qxg2+  30.Kxg2  Rc2 31.Rd1  Rxf4  32.Kg3  Rxd4  33.Bxh6  Rxd1  (0-1). White resigns.

This shocking defeat at the hands of Staunton who arrived by sailing ship from England ready to do battle and facing a rather hostile environment makes one wonder if the mere fact that St. Amant was playing with his admirers looking on had the light turned off when Staunton upstaged the opening act.

I present here game 2 of the match and will present additional games if interest is shown as I have the complete set of battles.

                 Howard Staunton          vs     St. Amant

                       White                               Black

1.d4  c5  2.d5  f5

This somewhat bizarre defense derived from Benoni, oder Vertheidigungen die Gambitzilge im Schache, &c. Von Aaron Reinganum, Frankfort, 1825. St. Amant perhaps was looking to surprise Staunton but he was up to the task.

3.Nf3  d6  4.Nc3  Nf6  5.Bg5  e5  6.e4  a6.

St. Amant devoted 17 minutes to deciding on this and also when he played move 8 a total of 19 minutes.

7.exf5  Bxf5  8.Nh4  Bc8  9.Bd3  g6  10.0-0  Be7  11.f4  c4.

This was a good move but he misses the right idea.

12.Bxc4  exf4?!

Black misses a chance to play Qb6+ which would increase square count and relieve some of the problems of defense. St. Amant had to think about f5 coming was reasonable.

13.Rxf4  Nbd7  14.Qd4!

Centralization of the Queen!

14…Ne5  15.Re1  Nfd7  16.Bxe7  Qxe7  17.Ne4  Rf8  18.Rxf8+ Qxf8.

Perhaps slightly better was Kxf8 when I can find nothing better than 19.Qf2+ maintaining a slight edge.

19.Nxd6+ Kd8.

Black could capture with Qxd6 but 20.Nf3 snips off the N on e5 as the Knight is pinned and cannot be adequately protected from capture.

20.Rxe5  Qxd6  21.Re3  Kc7 22.Bb3.

Freeing the c-pawn to advance and take part in the operations.

22…a5  23.Nf3  Nf6  24.c4  b6  25.Ne5  a4  26.Bc2  a3  27.Nf7  Qc5  28.Qf4+  Kb7  29.b4  Nh5  30.Nd8+  Ka6  31.bxc5  Nxf4 32.Rxa3 checkmate.