Archive for June, 2009

Kindred’s Special: Days of Old Remembered

June 29, 2009

I miss the chess club meetings where all of us congregated on Saturday afternoons. Vintage players and newcomers alike to share the joy of a good afternoon of chess competition was the standard format while club tournaments were round robins and ran over the fall and winter months, culminating in honoring the winner with the club crown. In those days that was pretty much pre-USCF, our ratings were published on a ladder and updated weekly according to results of prearranged rated games. Chess Review was our principal magazine and Wide World News located some blocks away from the club saw numerous walks to that site to secure a copy of the latest monthly issue. Occasionally one of our master players would give a lecture and discuss an opening or one of the games published.

Dues were reasonable and entry fees to our club and later expanding Swiss system regional events that were USCF rated were $5.00 and only much later raised to $10.00.  Players came from all around the region to visit, sometimes for team match play, other times to enter our tournaments. The prize funds might pay for the trip, cost of the entry fee and a meal or two. Money was not the drawing attraction.

In those days players came to test their skill and meet with old friends, lunch together with the usual gossip of what was going on at others’ clubs and sharing ideas. It was the attraction of competition and enjoyment of a good chess battle that attracted the interest to journey sometimes hundreds of miles, often with visiting Canadian players and those from neighboring states. What they expected most were well run tournaments and the average number usually ran anywhere from the 20s through 50-60 participants if lucky.

With the popularity of the Swiss events and members to support and grow the USCF membership, the way of the round robin diminished. The last one I held was called The Winter Knights Invitational held over the winter months in the club rooms, one game a week. This schedule suited my correspondence interest and I was able to take first place in a class A-B-C-Expert entry list. At the time I think I was  1800 or 1900, certainly not the highest rated. The fact that the prize fund was meager did not lessen the interest. The times I directed tournaments I charged no fee and often spent my own funds to mail out invitations.

In those days scholastic chess was a rarity. Once I saw a photo of a group of kids who had a chess club at their school with a small paragraph in Chess Review accompanying it. Both the president and myself had tried to get chess interest through our junior members into the schools but to almost no avail. The kids came to me and wanted me to organize a junior scholastic tournament. I said I would supervise it but suggested they might like to organize, promote it and run the event themselves which would prove a fun project. It went over very well and one of the fathers, a professional photographer, came and took lots of pictures, interview with a lady reporter from the newspaper and all that was printed was an inch column naming the winning school entry. About 50 kids participated.

Today we attract some top State and National GMs or IMs to compete in the Marchand Memorial Open. What often transpires is that two will win all their games and when they meet in the final round, agree to a 5 move draw, collect the money and run so they can spend it at the gambling casino near Buffalo. That is sad because many youngsters play to get experience and get a chance to see in person these so-called famous players. In the old days, it was battle to the end. I remember the game between Theodorovitch and Marchand where the game ran on and on with neither player willing to call it a draw while chances existed in the position.  Poor Ivan missed a bus and I stayed over to have food and drink with him that seemed to please him very much. He caught to next bus but it was very late at night and not the best part of town.

Yes, those were days of old that I miss most. Of course now I am an old man and member of the over-the-hill gang where I have only fond memories of days when I, too, was a teen, a young man, and a mature and active player.

Adios for now!

Kindred’s Special: On Correspondence Chess

June 29, 2009

Occasionally I have mentioned the enjoyment of playing correspondence chess that was, in fact, my first experience at meeting opponents outside my family circle. My older brother Raymond played by mail for many years that began in WWII. How I learned to play I have reported elsewhere and my mom said I would like to play him a game. It was a real barn burner of tactics and I lost in a 40+ move French Defense he sprung on me but left him most impressed, his being a strong expert. Consequently my upcoming birthday found a package from Chess Review that contained a box of materials to conduct games by mail.  My brother had entered me into a class C social event with 3-opponents, two-games each. I won all six games and they encouraged me to enter the Golden Knights and I won 6-0 but was brought down to earth with 2.5-3.5 against a very strong field of A and expert rated players in the semi-finals that knocked me out of the contest. A later Golden Knights event I finished in the finals with a respectable score.

My introduction to the Correspondence Chess League of America (CCLA) was from my club friend Marcy Shupp who was studying music at the Eastman School of Music and a very strong player. We shared the job of editing a regular club newsletter and he said I would like CCLA play because it was devoted 100% to correspondence play and you could enter ICCF events, CCLA being the official affiliate of the ICCF in North America. So, in September 1958 I became a member of CCLA and have been a member ever since.

The history of CCLA is quite interesting and is the oldest chess organized body in American chess. It boasted some of the very best players in America. At some point it had affiliated itself with the over the board organization that became the United States Chess Federation and actually had more members than USCF. The premier chess organ though was the commercial magazine, Chess Review which had a readership of over 11000.  In those days, USCF had about 1000 members and CCLA some hundreds more.  Some in the USCF decided that USCF should be strictly  over the board chess and dissolved its partnership with CCLA partly to accommodate the wishes of Al Horowitz who operated Chess Review and to avoid conflict of interest with them as USCF felt their readers would rally to USCF if no conflicting postal group existed to attract its own members to join CCLA. Consequently, CCLA – USCF relations soured and great effort was put on allowing Chess Review players to participate in ICCF events contrary to ICCF rules. Benjamin Koppin stated to me that he did not intend to rock the boat by trying insist on CCLA membership. The fact is however that CCLA had to pay for the membership of Chess Review in its affiliation dues according to then secretary Dick Rees. That really caused unnecessary turmoil in the organs that be. The fact is that in chess, rules are meant to be bent, broken, have no principle for truth and written bylaws.

In reality these events proved probably the best for each of the three main groups and other groups formed later on like Helen Warren’s APTC and a military run postal group. Knights of the Square Table (NOST) was founded in Penfield, New York which offered numerous board games by mail and had an annual convention. Most were MENSA members.  Over time NOST dissolved and joined the Fred Miller Chess Group that combined the two and eventually disbanded finding essentially few who could or would be willing to carry the burden of administrative duties.

Correspondence play goes back over a hundred years and in the span of time boasts such a star player as Alekhin who, as World otb Champion, supported fully the founding of the ICCF.  A great many strong masters and GMs have participated in this form of play, and many national federations field teams for the correspondence chess Olympiad. An interesting experiment between a team of otb IMs, GMs vs those representing cc IMs, GMs was fought otb and the correspondence players won the match. The otb team agreed that the reason was that the cc players seemed to understand the openings somewhat better and equal for the general struggle. As a result, many today suggest that more books should be written by cc players devoted to chess study and game examples.

Some interesting books have appeared in print which are part of my library.  Journal of A Chess Master by Stephan Gerzadowicz is a wonderful book that SG wrote about his favorite opening moves for either side of 1.g3 or 1…g6 systems. It is a delightful book that not only fills your cup with chess but also with humor and other tidbits of the very nature of what brings out the spark in such an aesthetic and beautiful game and its effect on devotees, exploring the Thoreauvian world of this cc master as he journeys over the planet via his postcoards, his library, and his imagination.  Highly recommended.

Perhaps my favorite is My Chess Adventures by the English player Charles W. Warburton edited by Tim Bogan. Secrets of a top postal chess player says it all but covers a host of rememberable experiences before, during and after play along with some personal views concerning adjudications and numerous tidbits of interest to the average cc and otb enthusiast.

C. J. S. Purdy: His Life, His Games, and His Writings by J. Hammond and R. Jamieson is a classic collection of both the life and chess battles he waged in both his perfection in writing and game play. He won the lst World Correspondence Chess Championship and his reporting on Australian and Asian chess experiences, the relationship chess had on his marriage and family life. He died at the board while playing in a tournament and had a winning position.

Hans Berliner’s The System–A World Champion’s Approach to Chess is his effort to tell the story of his system for winning the world championship.  I was not sold on it when I studied the content as I was sure it would meet with a critical commentary by viewers. He explains it as a theory of how to integrate board control and development into a unified whole. To be fair, I think he comes as close as possible to define his own thinking as it relates to many principles and evaluations that make up much of his system. What I mean by critical analysis of his theories is just this: Time is on the side of chess history when it comes to dictating a specific or final assessment of how to play the game.  One cannot assume that every game played is a final word. Fischer learned this when he wrote his Bust to the King’s Gambit which, after several KG players offered their ideas, Fischer never responded. Today the King’s Gambit still is played with the same freedom of thought and speculative lines as ever. The System approach is worthy of study and much can be seen in a variety of games that make up modern chess. But there is no final word on anything in chess. Hans Berliner has made a valuable contribution to the advancement of chess theory.

Here I might be forgiven to provide that my own development of square count chess enriched my own manner of chessplay throughout much of my life especially as applied to correspondence games and to a lesser degree in otb play due to the time clock and faster time controls. The principles though can still be applied to most positions and or plan jump moves in defense or attack motifs.

The books I mention are entertaining, instructive, and can lend themselves to the enrichment of theory, exciting moments on the chessboard, and expansion of your knowledge and enjoyment of chess.  Collectively as well as independently they offer the reader the flavor of chess rarely covered with such reflection about the art of chess play!

Chess provides people having a curiosity for problem solving situations to exercise their minds and relieve them of the tensions of the day. In this, it acts as a tool of creating a playground for imagination to soar, reflect, and see on the board the creativity of adversaries as they map out a battle on the 64-squares.

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: Individual Freedoms versus State Socialism

June 26, 2009

During the development of the Soviet Chess Machine (that is to say the system was set up to recognize youthful talent ala the young Pioneers) where coaches and instruction advanced those having the talent for chess play and disposition to its aesthetic appeal engendered the fiery drive to achieve mastery of a varied intellect. It created a host of aspiring talents having individual styles that covered the spectrum of opening, middlegame and endgame diversity for ideas, strategy and tactic motifs.

The Soviet system was superior to how the West took chess study in that it had in place the early recognition for potential talent and was willing to invest in building a cadre of talent not possible or seen as worthy in Western societies. Thus, when the USSR joined the family of chess nations (FIDE) it did so with a huge national membership and the many literary contributions that began to emerge gave it power to give sway over many issues; so enter politics. With Dr. Max Euwe’s elevation to the FIDE Presidency and his personal socialist views, the USSR simply dominated the chess political scene although he tried to soften the dictatorial aspect of Soviet propaganda and in aggressive influential matters.

A narrow following of interest in that of composition that encompass studies and problems of various sorts. The name of GM Pal Benko stands out among the American chess audience through his thorough biography and articles in Chess Life. His wonderful problems and endgame studies have enriched all who absorb his talented brush strokes for entertaining and educating the chess public.

There was, however, another such genius talent born in 1900 by the name of Alexander Iosifovitch Herbstman. His expertise in compositions for both studies as well as problems, trod virgin soil to make substantial contributions to this art form. He was an avid supporter and propagandist for the Soviet School of Chess that embraced his own concept of realism. Later on he turned his attention more to romantiscism and this field of endeavor gave him even greater freedom in composition.  His literary works include his first in 1925, has over 300 compositions to his credit where he won numerous prizes. Perhaps his most famous books are The Chess Study of the USSR, 1934, The Modern Chess Study 1937, and Selected Chess Studies, 1964.

A distinctive feature of his themes is often the use of a synthesis of two ideas in both White and Black  play.

One of the evils of technology advances in chess lies in the loss of individual spirit and enterprise.  Today individual analysis of published games and even preparation for tournaments depend not on individual ideas so much as on computer savvy. Such dependence can have the ill effects of lost enthusiasm. Their use in correspondence play has caused many to drop out of that game.  Young children who play games of the internet no doubt will suffer. Lost is the “getting outside to play with friends” if they become too glued to the tube or internet use. That is why I stress getting plenty of sleep, rest, exercise and outdoor sport activity to supplement study habits and practice of chessplay.

Adios for now!

Kindred’s Special: Rochester Chess Center Announces Summer Chess League

June 26, 2009

June 29th through August 31st 2009 will see the summer league officially kick off with closing all unfinished games by 9/12.

The event is open to all chessplayers. Non RCC members fee is $25; RCC members $17. A $2 discount is subject to those either RCC members and or have played in the previous 2008 Team League event.

Ten weeks: 6/29 >7/6 >7/13 >7/20 >7/27 > 8/3 >8/10> 8/17>8/24 > 8/31 >(9/7 Labor Day-NO GAMES.)

The start of the Fall Team League will begin on 9/14/09.

Those interested should sign up or if you have questions, please call the chess center at (585)  442-2430 or visit the club at 221 Norris Drive, Rochester, NY 14610 reached either from Culver, south of the expressway490. Norris Drive is in the park. Follow road to left at turn. Big sign can be seen from 490 on the building. If from Winton going south you cannot turn on to Norris Drive but go up one street, turn right and go down two or three streets, turn right to Norris Drive and then left on Norris.

                H U M B L E    P I E    B Y T E S

Sunday July 5th,  4-rounds, entry $50.00, time limit Game in 60 with time delays and lunch period . Register by 9:15 a.m. Based upon 20 entries $800 prize fund. Winner of each game gets 16, winner of each of the 4  quartiles –lst, 6th, 11th, and 16th places gets $40 each. Ties will be broken lst Modified Median, 2nd Solkoff, 3rd Cumulative, then finally 4th Cumulative scores of opposition.

This is not a USCF rated Tournament.

Random Pairings among those in each score group

(You can play the same opponent more than once.)

All games are draw for color.

Prizes per number of entries: Prize to winner of each game (draw $8 each) or $16 to winner. Prize to winner of each Quartile in final standings.

Rochester Chess Center phone (585) 442-2430

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: Mission Possible cycled into Mission Impossible

June 26, 2009

Well, folks! Don’t say I did not warn you about USCF socialistic tendencies and novice operations of the body as political leverage of a few who came to dominate the United States Chess Federation to the detriment of all members and chess enthusiasts living in the USA or abroad.

I was one of the original grass roots supporters, officials, and organizers dedicated to local club activities and later on branching out into regional tournaments as conditions changed but always in a movement upwards.  My discontinued active involvement I have mentioned previously but have followed the good and bad vibes for many years as a continuing Life Member.

Recent comments in Chess Life articles by the powers that formulate both short and longterm planning reflects the lack of brainstorming sessions and rescuing from those ideas and suggestions meaningful benefit to USCF policies that certainly have changed drastically over the years but whose early voices of those long gone from the scene come forth to haunt the likes of those in charge today.

Those who wield the power, the propaganda espoused by numerous folks in USCF today has cost the USCF tons of money wasted because it was easy come, easy go with little personal effort by the lack of true leadership of decades ago.  The lack of foresight is amazing and developing new programs aside from just tournament rated game play and trial balloons that regardless how interesting the concept often got buried in personal whims and tastes of what USCF should be.

What interests the USCF member is a quality magazine sadly lacking for many years. Various name changes certainly did not help. USCF mishandled the whole Fischer problems wishing him out of sight for his outlandish views expressed about Jews when everyone knows the illness he suffered was the likely cause of his growing weird behavior. And somewhere I got the impression that Sammy Reshevsky too was pushed out of the picture.  Obviously there are people in USCF positions who do not belong there especially those who wield such caustic progressivism whether they realize it or not.  Socialism is not a cup of tea for America regardless of what many seem to favor today and spouted largely by our current President Barak H. Obama.

A bit of irony about progressivism is its shadowy position as a dictionary term. The word itself suggests “progressive movement” which could not be further from the truth. It is a reversal of what America was made from–individualism and free spirit to achieve or fail. Life has many wins and losses and that is why chess is likened to life itself. We do not win all the time and have to accept failure as a value to work harder to succeed.

Frankly I have never been discouraged about the USCF until it has acquired a hatred and distrust among leaders who deem it their right to carry the chess banner throughout their existence and so long as interest for the game clicks in their little brains.

Now, of course, we are told that regular life members no longer will receive hardcopy of the magazine and perhaps only tournament announcements in the future  if I read it right.  The cry is that there are other chess periodicals that can provide international chess news and perhaps as the old British Chess Magazine used to carry–tidbits of play and news from the good old USA of national tournaments. The magazine is a far-cry from days gone by when it could boast with truth of being among the best in the world.

That comes to my final thought. I wonder just what portion of the total membership get involved in entering national or large regional affairs?  What portion enjoy local club activities and mainly play in events soley close to home?  What is the state of military chess? and opportunities for expanding that base? What effect does the internet have on our national organization and what steps might be taken to benefit from it by having USCF and or State Team Matches perhaps carrying the flags of many of our successful corporations?If you  study and think, then I guess I will have lit the spark toward ideas about the need for support and building blocks necessary for a continued prosperity of chess interest and play for all.

Donald P. Reithel, Life Member, aka KindredSpirit

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: So You Hated George W. Bush?

June 24, 2009

Human Events has just reported that Attorney General Eric Holder has dismissed charges against the American Black Panther Party of voter intimidation. Well, just add that one to the ACORN scandals, the appointments to the cabinet of folks who just don’t seem to remember to pay their income taxes. And most recently the latest scandal about the auto bailout that proved to be a payback to the UAW due to their enrichment to the coffers of the Democrat Party. One might assume of course that all is fair in love and politics. But Obama’s latest wrinkle of deception comes in the form of cuts to America’s security.  And if that is not enough to raise your wonderment about the honest Congress Ms. Pelosi bragged about when taking charge as the first woman boss of the House, the USPD has raised rates aimed at conservative news outlets like HUMAN EVENTS so high that the organ is threatened out of existence. Tom S. Winter has a special insert actually begging readers and supporters of this excellent Washingtonian organ to cough up big donations to meet the huge increase cost. I figure it is just another way to kill off responsible Conservative Opinion, Conservative Fact-Finding Reports and just how the Congress votes on issues of citizen concern.

As a chessplayer and one who advocates that both the general public and especially those who have inquisitive minds and independent thought aside of political leanings or otherwise, take the time to learn about chess history, learn to play the game and be part of the history of American chess players like Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey Bogart, Marcel DuChamp, Benjamin Franklin, and a guy nobody thinks about (Me) not to mention Morphy, Pillsbury, Franklin K. Young, and many military guys who used chess to entertain themselves and keep from going crazy in German or Japanese prison camps during WWII. They crafted sets and boards with great imagination since neither German nor Japanese hospitality ever equalled that of the Americans.

Frankly I do not care about Waterboarding Documents. It worked and by no stretch of the imagination is it as horrifiable injustice like that used by Islamic fighters who cut the heads off their captors and slaughter innocent folks of that faith with bombings–the latest killed 61 at a market in Iraq. How lovely is this peace loving religion!!  It has a long way to go to equal the greatness of Christianity, Judism, Buddism, various Indian sects, and even that of the American Indian Tribes in North and South America.  Simply put, you do not see any other religion but Islam that murders its own people or puts death notices out on anyone who exposes their insane temperment and 7th Century values. The good muslim populations need to kick butt whereever these insane nuts can be found.  Clean up your mess!  Islam is a great religion but the greatness of the Arabs and other Middle Eastern peoples of all faiths, once the envy of the whole world for its many useful developments in science, art and architecture was put on the backburners of history.

The Congress is filled with insane members who believe in the use of windmills to save America. Well, according to Human Events study and reporting, it would take 270 square miles filled with wind turbines to generate what just one nuclear power plant would and require less than a square mile of territory.  Our needs for energy would require about 100 nuclear power plants in the next 20 years to meet our energy needs. Maybe you want to live in a tent? How about sending your kids out to find some wood to burn so the family can eat hot food? or warm the house? Remember, coal is out of the language of the new green platform of usable resources. How about putting a bike peddling system in small cars or go back to the horse and buggy days of old? Realistic planning isn”t it!!

Well, I got news for you. Wind turbine advocates do not take into account the migration of birdlife. I would rather surmise that the birds would not care too much for wind turbines. Consequently, their migrating patterns may change drastically and large portions of territories now kept clear of many insects by birds will soon find such insects becoming a real sore problem for humans and many other living things. No, you won’t hear this from anyone except me. When it happens, then the cry will be: “Why didn’t somebody forewarn us.”  I just did. But who listens to me anyway. I am a dumbhead. Right?

In chess play we learn that what was good last year may be no good this year. Man’s desire to explore, to test and to find truth results from hard work and sense of achievment. Preconceived ideas are often shown to be ashes to enrich the soil for new plants to grow. The ideas we discover through study and research are always subject to either short term or long term duration but can never be construed as a permanent fixture of our social existence.

Why do religions hate? Why do people hate? The answer is that people love and there is a constant hate-love relationship toward many things that arise in this lifetime. Jesus came upon a woman who was about to be stoned for sinning. He simply said to the crowd: “Let him who has no sin caste the first stone.” This must rank as one of the greatest statements to a hateful crowd ever spoken.

Lets examine a little game to quench your thirst for some invigorating tactics.

1.b4  e5  2.Bb2  f6  3.e4

White is willing to gambit the b-pawn inorder to expedite his development and here time is a key attack motif.


GM Larry Evans once said the best way to defeat a gambit is to accept it.  That statement is a bit of a premature appraisal and optimistic.

4.Bc4  Ne7

Passive play follows energetic “prove your gambit sound”. Much more to the point I think would be jump moves like 4…Nc6 >5…d6 > 6…Nge7 with the hope of hitting the center with a timely d5 once he better developed.

5.Qh5+ Ng6  6.f4  exf4  7.a3  Bd6  8.Nf3  Nc6  9.Nh4

Knights only make good use of the a or h files when it is used as a springboard to invading deep into enemy territory.

9…Nce7  10.Nf5  Kf8  11.Bxf6!!  gxf6  12.Qh6+ Ke8  13.Ng7+  Kf8  14.Ne6+ Ke8  15.Qf8+ Rxf8  16.Ng7 check and mate.

I find this game so instructive for a number of features. First the King gets caught in the center. Second, the squares available for the King to run or even mount a bike is overcrowded so mobility is limited. Third, the Queen sacrfices herself to draw the Rook to f8 where the Knight can then deliver the knockout blow.

Mostly I find this encounter to bolster what my previous message relates to and hope you find it likewise so. Faulty plans rarely allow recovery when in the hands of the expert and shock tactics not fully appreciated ahead of time.  Amateurs playing the game are rarely foresee the consequences of poor planning or lack thereof.

Adios for now!!

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: I am a Conservative

June 19, 2009

If I were a candidate for Governor I confess it would be on the Conservative Party of New York. Currently the state has a number of parties but only one need apply–the Democrat Party because it is quite evident to me that the Republican Party and Democrat Party co-exist like two bitter fruits where neither exhibit anything but distain for each other and both have distain for the citizens of New York.

My platform would be a commonsense approach addressing the family unit where my proposals fit to their individual needs.

  • Replace current tax law with either the concept of a flat tax or the sales tax with elimination of red tape and IRS.
  • Require a timely annual budget with the aim for it being in balance with State revenues.
  • Promote home schooling concept.
  • Extend school year 7 /12 for students wanting to expand their knowledge in math, language, science, biology, music and art. This would require volunteer service by competent instructors with reimbursement for expenses for food and travel. Excellent opportunity for retirees whose expertise would enrich our youth development and maturity.
  • Encourage critical thought by game play like chess, checkers, which has proved beneficial especially in pattern recognition and intuitive insight and time management.
  • I abhor abortion and recognize it’s need only when the woman’s life is in danger. Wonder how many potential brilliant people were snuffed out by the likes of Dr. Tiller? Shame on America.
  • I support traditional marriage between a man and woman.
  • Work with the medical community experts and other officials toward improving services, dependable-timely service and hospital care when necessary. This would include the proper maintenance of modern equipment that is very expensive to repair or adjust.
  • Under my program most taxes would be uniform for all citizens as well as to simplify the tax code. Our educational system would be geared to those wanting to learn, go to college, or to learn a useful trade. We need educated and skilled tradesmen today as well as for those who helped forge the title “The Empire State.”
  • Promote understanding and opportunities among those with physical or mental disabilities to build self-worth and support through community activities.
  • Work with local governance to fund services of police, fire departments, libraries, and recreational community centers.
  •  Form a commission to study a modern approach to the needs of State run pension funds, distributions, years of service.
  • Continue to assure our parks and environmental quality continue to make living in New York State a major attraction for immigration and less export of our citizens to distant lands or ports.

I believe in a simple commonsense approach much, if not more, than years past. Experienced and skilled workers have been around in New York State and  problem solving and brainstorming sessions within committees to make ideas and plans fruitful attests to the talent of many residing in our State. It is the responsibility of the Governor to extract the best ideas and practices of our State  senate and legislature body of citizen representatives.

Kindred’s Special: Humor is good for the soul and spirit

June 18, 2009

Ever wonder what happens

when a cowboy is bucked

from a horse he is breaking

and he finds himself at

the hospital bill paying desk?

A possible scenerio might go

like this: “Yes, you are covered

being bucked off your horse

you were breaking. However,

if you read the small print on your policy,

you will find it does not cover those

caused by hitting the ground.

Cheer up, though!

We will have you back on your feet

and back in the saddle again.

After all, you can’t pay all these bills

flat on your back!


When his kids came back from a chess

camp hosted by a famous Grandmaster,

his children reported their experiences.

“You mean to tell me that he advised you

to get plenty of sleep, lots of exercise,

a healthful diet, and consume plenty of liquid

prior to an upcoming tournament?

Shucks!!  Your mama gives you that advice

for FREE!!


The hall was filled to overcrowding

Chess public and reporters filled the gallery.

How would ex-champ Botvinnik meet

powerhouse and new World Champion, Tal?

Many stood along the walls,

hoping their feet would not grow tired.

Champ and challenger emerged

to seat themselves at the board.

Tal, with white, Botvinnik with black.

Thousands of games past, openings tried.

How would Botvinnik respond to Tal’s

opening move of 1.e4.

The crowd grew tense

Botvinnik took the c-pawn in hand

The crowd looked surprised

thinking the Sicilian Defense.

Pawn to c6!

The crowd grew tense

For the ex-champ chose

the Caro Kan Defense!

He beat back the attack

with solid defense

and won the promised

favorable endgame.

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: Rubinstein’s Masterpiece

June 2, 2009

Akiba Rubinstein could exhibit some very profound and deep combinative play that brought admiration and a strong feeling among his peers that the world title was in reach only to see it time and again elude him that I must call a ‘quirk of fate”.

Lets return to one of the greatest

I annotated this game earlier. The chess lesson here is to study this game, provide your own notes, and then check out the column where I provided analysis and notes. This will give you some indication of the progress you are making in understanding chess positions. Good luck!!

Adios for now!!

Kindred’s Kaleidoscope: When and when not to apply principles of pawn structure

June 1, 2009

Did you ever sit at the board and think how to retake given an exchange option? This column presents two games that exhibit such choice.  Both games are Queen Indian Defenses that feature two independent ways to handle the opening from both sides. It gives you a good learning experience both in strategic and tactic motifs.

1.d4  Nf6  2.Nf3  e6  3.c4  b6  4.Nc3  Bb7  5.Bg5

Capablanca’s principle of “compound development” that says strong usually is digging deep into enemy territory so long as it is safe to do so.

5…h6  6.Bh4

6.Bxf6 would offer a different course with the idea to save time and eliminate the pesky Knight from central influence and defense of the Kingside.

6…g5  7.Bg3  Nh5  8.e3  Nxg3?!

Is time an element here? I believe it is for this reason: both sides have moved the pieces for exchange 3-times but on the capture of the Knight, White will be left with double pawns but also a half-open file regardless how the Knight is taken off.  Why, you might ask do I give the capture a ?! mark. Should the capture take place at this point in the game? Black need not be in a hurry with it and could have just as easily played 7…Bg7 keeping the option of the exchange open for the moment. Here, critical thought carries sway with two different ideas but in the latter case, the Bg7 might be looked upon as in-between-move to the capture. Thus, after 8…Bg7 White is required to move.  Now, if 9.Qc2  Nxg3 10.hxg3  g4!? kicks the Knight out of f3. Just a thought.


An enterprising idea which suggests a possible exception to the rule of pawns capturing toward the center.  With the black Knight far from the Kingside area for the moment, White hopes to make use of this after castling to use the f-file for his Rook.

9…Bg7  10.Bd3  d6  11.O-O  Nd7  12.Bc2

With this move White aims to play Qd3 that might lead to a Kingside mating attack using the theme of Queen backed up by the Bishop on the diagonal eying the h7 square.

12…Qe7  13.Qd3  a6

Defending b5 ala using my sq/ct theory to defense of squares in your own camp. Still, the move is slow and come hell or high water would personally go in for 13…O-O-O. Maybe he thought the 13th move might prove unlucky, too!

14.Nd2  c5?

Loosening the compact pawn structure when your opponent has a good position where future pawn exchanges will favor the one having a spatial edge is hardly recommendable.

15.Nde4  f5

Black suddenly finds himself with little safe haven for his own King whereas White has a secure King position. This pawn sally however seems bad but what can Black do here?  The Knight’s occupation of e4 must be challenged but now White comes up with a tactical combination that if you have discovered it on your own is worthy of a gold star!

16.dxc5!  Nxc5

Absolutely no good is 16…fxe4 17.Nxe4 Bxe4  18.Qxe4  O-O-O  19.Qc6+  Kb8  20.cxd6.

17.Nxd6+  Kf8

Work out for yourself what happens if 17…Kd7 instead. Also, note how my sq/ct operates with the next moves almost pointing out the right course of action move after move.

18.Nxf5  exf5  19.Qxf5+  Kg8  20.Nd5  Qe8  21.Rad1  Rc8

If you noticed that …Rd8 leads to mate your progress is excelerating and my lesson columns are helping. 22.Ne7+ Qxe7 23.Rxd8+ Qxd8 24.Qf7mate!

22.b4  Ne6

If he tries to bring the Knight to d7, then 23.Ne7+ Qxe7  24.Rxd7  Qxe3+ 25.Kh1  Rf8 26.Rxg7+ Kxg7 27.Qg6mate.

23.Nxb6  Rc7  24.c5  h5  25.Rd6  (1-0).

              ***             ***             ***

1.d4  Nf6  2.c4  e6  3.Nf3  b6  4.Nc3  Bb7  5.Bf4  Be7  6.e3  Nh5  7.Bg3  d6  8.Bd3  Nbd7  9.Qc2  h6

Here again is a judgment call. One look at the position and knowing that the h-file will become half-open would suggest …g6 as better.

10.Be4  Bxe4  11.Qxe4  Nxg3  12.hxg3

Here White chooses correctly to take back with the h-pawn which gives White a half-open h-file.

12…c5  13.d5  Nf6  14.Qd3  exd5  15.Nxd5  O-O??

Here the exchange of Knights would be in keeping with my sq/ct theory. Another point is that Black lacks defensive skills in that he is castling right into the attack.


Oh, those pesky Knights. Years ago, I used to play skittles (friendly games either with or without a clock) with a chess buddy who loved his Knights over everything else. Every-so-often I would fall prey to his zealous nature.

At this point Black may have seen 16…g6 doesn’t help because of 17.Ne6 or 17.Rxh6.

16…Re8  17.Rxh6! (1-0).

There is no defense. After 17…gxh6  18.Nxf6+ Bxf6 19.Qh7+.

The difference in chess strength among these players, expecially this second illustrative game is stark. To always study the games of the great masters can sometimes discourage a player who might think he or she will never become good enough to play with enjoyment.

Play for enjoyment of the battle. Fischer said he liked to see his opponents squirm. He certainly got his share of enjoyment from that! You are lucky because you have a place to grow in the game. Those at the top have to work hard just to maintain their position in the chessworld. You have the good fortune to ever look upward to the stars and see improvement in your individual performance as you wage a non-lethal battle.

Adios for now!