Archive for July, 2009

Kindred’s Special: King has no Clothes

July 30, 2009

Thirteen years ago the Yerevan Olympiad 1996 produced many games of fighting chess and the passing of time lessens nothing from the excitement of revisiting those days where the sport in chess, being team play, brings out the best in chessic spirit.

The following game, GM Vassily Ivanchuk takes on GM Jaan Ehlvest in an old Alekhin version of the OrthodoxQueen Gambit Declined. After the sparks fly wildly for 40 moves, the Black Monarch finds it has no clothes and White demonstrates once again a game where things are not always as they seem.

1.d4  Nf6  2.c4  e6  3.Nf3  d5  4.Nc3  Be7  5.Bg5  O-O  6.e3  Nbd7  7.Rc1  c6  8.Bd3  dxc4  9.Bxc4  Nd5.

This opening position was recommended by Capablanca. The great Alekhin favored for a time the following idea for White to combat it.

10.Bxe7  Qxe7.

World Champ Petrosian once tried ..Nxe7 without success.

11.Ne4  N/5f6 12.Ng3  Rd8.

Not so much an improvement over Capablanca’s …Qb4+ that led to probable drawing with correct play and took the sting out of Alekhin’s pet variation.  Rd8 is an attempt to get more from the defense. White now piles up a square-count/spatial edge.

13.O-O  c5  14.e4  cxd4  15.e5  Ne8  16.Re1  Nf8 17.Nxd4  Ng6  18.Qd2  b6  19.f4  Qh4  20.Nge2  Bb7  21.Qe3  Rac8  22.Bd3  Nc7.

Black battles the square-count by defensive measures of squares in his own territory with dyamic hope of eventually breaking out with effective counterplay.

23.Be4  Nd5  24.Qf3  Qe7  25.a3  Qe8  26.Rxc8  Rxc8  27.f5  Nxe5  28.Qg3  Nd7  29.fxe6  fxe6 30.Nc3  N/7f6  31.Bf5!

Posing Black a problem. And he responds with his own trick. Do you see the point?

31…Nh5.

Had Black simply defended with 31…Nc7, he loses the Exchange in the flurry of 32.Nxe6 Nxe7 33.Bxe6+ Kh8 34.Bxc8.

32.Qf3!

Avoiding Black’s tickle after 32.Bxe6+ Qxe6!

32…Kh8  33.Bxe6  Nhf4  34.Nxd5  Nxd5  35.Qf2  Nf6  36.Bxc8  Qxc8  37.h3  h6  38.Ne6.

Striking into the enemy camp. Reminds one of the raids conducted in the American Civil War by that pesky raider Mosby.

38…Qd7.

Neither is 38…Be6 adequate. 39.Nxg7 Kxg7 40.Re7+ Kg6 41.Qg3+ finishes Black. Now, the stage is set for the real purpose of showing you the splendor that is chess!

39.Qd4  Nd5  40.Nxg7  Qxg7.

Perhaps Black hoped to defend the bareness of the King having no clothes bringing the Queen to its defense. But the Queen is not always up to the task.

41.Re8+  Kh7  42.Qe4+.

Note the power of a centralized Queen.

42…Qg6  43.Rh8+!!

If 43…Kg7, 44.Rg8+ or 43…Kxh8, 44.Qxg6 winning easily.

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KindredSpirit’s Special: Obamamania– phony baloney

July 24, 2009

Good Lord!  Another crisis. What I am talking about is the phony baloney of a cop doing his job in answer to a 911 call about a burglary. A thought comes to mind that maybe this was a staged performance by the BO team to take some of the heat out of the kitchen while trying to use the occasion to call up that old cliche BLACKMANIA INSULTS. Just maybe it backfired if you read this and turn on your dumb thinking caps for a change! If you sense a bit of humor in this essay, then you know my disposition to tweak the nose of those who are unabashably corrupt to the core.

Look. Examine the situation. Obama is reported to go on TV to address the issue of healthcare reform. He did a lousy job at that and in answer to a reporter’s query concerning the “police brutality” of arresting a loud mouth while checking into a reported burglary taking place at the residence of Obama’s good friend who also unexplainable was nasty to the poor cop just performing his duty brought national attention with his quip that the cop used poor judgment. How does he know the cop used poor judgment or even the results of his investigation into the burglary. Best he kept his mouth shut with just “NO COMMENT”. Facts were not known but a long dissertation into explaining his understanding of the situation seemed phony to me. Did it seem phony to you?

That brings to mind the story that David Bronstein once told about how to confuse the opponent by pretending to doze between moves  in hopes of throwing his opponent off guard.  This is a classic example of such skullduggery. Now if  B.O. was not a product of Chicago politics long known to be corrupt from the bootlegger days, it might be understood to just call it inexperience of a state senator who was elected to run the whole country like a dictator with the blessings of the sheep who the Pied Piper cultivated with his magical smile and propaganda. But there is a bit of larceny under this old man’s hat that suggests the whole episode was planned out for reasons I noted.

ACORN of course is another matter. That organization seems to be made up of two or more departments of its body to bring confusion and hide the criminal element and very serious voter frauds that took place as I read and listen to smarter people than I am with apparently the compliance of a willing news media that is fast proving itself to be utterly useless. One might recall the famous put down of Dan Quayle by his opponent: “I knew Jack Kennedy, Dan, and you ain’t no Jack Kennedy.” With the death of our great newsmen through the years, collectively I wonder what they would think about the junk pile we have to witness today who cannot fill the shoes of even the least of them.

God Bless America! Land of the FREE!!! Stand beside her, and guide her, through the trials of Socialist Disease. Hail o’mighty freemen and free women who set forth the national “tea party” cadence to let the weak knee Congress feel the wrath of citizens and voters upcoming in 2010. The old saying still holds true: “Throw the Bums OUT!” (Before it is too late).

Kindred’s Kaleidoscope: Gambiteer l–Hard hitting scorer

July 23, 2009

Nigel Davies has done it again with his excellent pen of his two Gambit I and Gambit II books featuring fighting chess–win or bust. I have a copy of gambiteer 1 —a product of Everyman Chess.

This book has everything a player needs to sharpen his strategy and tactics.  GM Davies, an Englishman who also is a member here with his own blog, is a highly skilled Grandmaster and trainer. His site boasts various additional interests. But enough said.

Gambiteer I is the type of book that should be a classic to follow per its excellent format and instruction nature. This one features White sorties and looks at some gambits: wing-gambit in the Sicilian, the Danish Gambit, wing gambit in the French Defense, the fantasy variation in the Caro Kann, the Nc3 variation in Alekhin’s Defense, gambit line a3 in the Pirc Defense, b4 variation gambit in the Scandinavian Defense, the Nimzowitsch Defense, and finally the Pseudo-Philidor and other Defenses.

What I find most lovely about this book is the round-up of key plays following each opening making it easy to review whenever needed.

Gambiteer II likewise shows good illustrations of Black’s chances with sharp, enterprising play.

Paperback, 176 pages, excellent format and layout makes it highly readable and study worthy.

A study of the gambit books by Nigel Davies is recommended and you will find the systems employed to be especially useful in quick play tournaments, 5-minute blitz, etc.

I would venture a ***** rating.

Kindred’s Special: Weather Folly

July 14, 2009

Don’t say I did not warn you about conditions that begin to emerge as the mini ice age I predicted begins to unfold. As a chess player, I see ahead with both fact, history, and intuitive feeling. Also, I have, as a human being, the intelligence to know when the climate is cooling–at least it is around my abode.

What prompts me to report on this again is an article in the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper about the farms that are suffering from the heavy downpours experienced this month–a normally rather quiet time with warm and relatively dry weather that is ideal for planting and developing crops following spring rains. As I mentioned in my Global Warning essay, there will be an unusual altering of weather with more rain and flooding that our recent weather conditions have verified. It would consequently be damaging to our farming industry and loss of food supplies we need to help feed both America and the world nations as a whole.

Yes, you can imagine a few put downs by people calling me a blockhead for dismissing Gore’s computer estimates that we are into Global Warming trends now and what causes man contributed to it. Let me say that CO2, as I remember from chemistry class and excellent instructor, is a gas taken in by the millions, if not billions of trees and other greens which is turned into Oxygen which sustains all life forms. I imagine I have been called a few other things too!  Of course I reside in New York State which has an abundance of lakes, rivers, forests, and tree-lined city streets as well as country roads. Thankfully I have fresh air to breathe with no smog to endure like occurs in California.

Years ago a scientist noted that California should never be developed due to the terrain conditions that he predicted would trap the carbon  emitted by commercial developments and modern city planning.  He was systematically laughed out of existence by the so-called elite politicians, one of whom was on the radio show that featured the effects and what causes them in various regions on the quality of life. He predicted the smog, etc. that his words for decades have proved so true.

What I see in comparison with chess strategy that is the basis of my writings–to establish some relationship to life that the great writers and exponents from the past penned: ” Chess is like Life itself !”  To illustrate this, I present the following game that shows what happens when one follows the themes of principles that are hard to break but for those with imagination and creative thought lay aside the collective beliefs that such booked up principles must always be right. NOT SO!!

White: V. Tregubov   vs  Black: M. Belov

St. Petersburg 2002,  French Exchange Variation

1.e4  e6  2.Nf3  d5  3.exd5  exd5  4.d4  Nf6  5.Be2

David Bronstein said of an old Russian trick was to pretend to be half asleep to bring on carelessness by the opponent.  In other words, you can see here the zealousness of Gore’s blindly accepting the dictates of his environmental feeders that fed the computer with only data they wanted added while ignoring this and that which might cause the computer to burp too often.

Note that White enjoys the benefit of a symmetrical position where he has added Be2 with Black to play.

5. …. Bd6  6.O-O  O-O  7.Bg5

A pure Kindred’s ‘ square count move ‘ pressuring the enemy position causing Black to decide to chase the Bishop but loosening the pawn structure on the King-side.

7. …. h6  8.Bh4  Bf5

This good-looking move seems logical but what is the rush when a more prudent reply would have been to play …Re8 to stop the Knight sortie to e5.  In reality, it is the beginning of carelessness and desire to boost his aggressive intentions.

9.Ne5  g5 ?!  10.Bg3  Ne4  11.Nd2  Nxg3  12.fxg3!?

Hey! Did not the greats say you should capture toward the center? So, that case scenario would indicate hxg3. Oh, how Black must have cherished this thought!  Ah, the computer program would certainly tip his hat with his own trick to find an isolani with his next turn.

12. ….Bxe5  13.dxe5  Bh7  14.Bd3!

Another ‘ sqct’ theme which challenges the only defensive piece in Black’s camp while unleashing the power of the Queen along the d-h5 diagonal.  Black suddenly finds himself the sad bearer of being tricked, forcing him to exchange due to the threat of 15.Bxh7+ Kxh7 16.Qh5 followed by Rf6.

14. …. Bxd3  15.cxd3  Qe7

This move reminds me of wind turbines giving us green power–too little, too late.  No good is 15…Nc6 16.Qh5  Nxe5 17.Qxh6 that is hard to swallow but even worse would be 16…Kg7 17.Rf6.

Emmanuel Lasker said that the first object of a King hunt is to create strong points into the enemy camp where usually the major units of Rook and Queen can muster dire threats.

16.Rf6  Qxe5  17.Rxh6  Nd7

Time is a big element in chess. Likewise, do we have time to putter around with wind turbines to meet expanding electrical needs and what of the enormous cost? Nuclear power plants are needed; oil is needed; and this could be supplemented by green policies. But greenies will not suffice to meet the world needs for energy.

18.Qh5  Rae8

There is no time to bring the Knight to the defense of the King.  Kasparov has demonstrated along with numerous other chess elites that one should bring to the battle as many pieces as possible.

19.Nf3  Qxb2

With this capture, Black hopes he might be able to find a winning endgame if the White forces foul up the attack.  So, should White capture the g-pawn giving Check?

20.Rf1

No, because on 20.Qxg5+ Qg7 kills the attack.

20. …. Qg7  21.Nxg5  Re5

Defending with 21…Re7 is better but still no good because of 22.h4!  Ne5 23.Nh7! wins. So, 22…c5 23.Rh7 Qe5  24.Kh2! threatening to let loose the Knight to take on f7 if 24…Qd4. After something like 24…c4  25.Re1!!  and we witness an “over-worked piece” described in various books.  The text loses in pretty fashion.

22.Rxf7!!

What a shot and it points out the fallacy that Black had a winning position possible without this resource. Of mice and men, let the creative juices flow forth to honor the conqueror. Here we have a square guarded 3-times, yet the axe falls thus…

22. …. Rxf7  23.Rh8+! Qxh8 24.Qxf7 mate.

Checkmates equal elimination of squares the attacked King can move to. So, if you find any such situation applying itself to this rule, then you have the potential of uncovering such elegant moves yourself!

For me to suffer through the whims of Al Gore being some sort of savior of the Earth, I simply point out that flaws on the chessboard cannot be covered up with cheap and shallow forms of using theories that are often exposed to Folly.

Kindred’s Special: 39th annual Continental Open, the good and the bad

July 12, 2009

Welcome to the world of modern chess fairs. Yes, I say “fairs” because that is really what the modern chess tournaments have evolved into and been carried over since the Fischer Boom.  The mastermind behind this series of national open tournaments is Bill Goichberg who registers these well organized and run tournaments, making them first class events where those so inclined usually finds the menu to include a most hospitable and vacation mecca under the banner Continental Chess, Box 249, Salisbury Mills, NY 12577. Hence, the 39th in this long series takes place from August 13th thru August 16th with a projected $30,000 prize fund with a $24,000 minimum!

The prize fund is impressive and covers a wide range of ratings with the open section listing $3000 lst, $1500–700–400; top under 2300 rating/unrated is $1800–1000. FIDE rated. 150 Grand Prix Points (enhanced). If not brave to go for the Open, you have a section that fits your rating class from Under 2100–1900–1700–1500–1300–1000, all with handsome prizes to vie for.

Where is this event taking place?  Host Hotel at Cedar Lake, 366 Main St. (Rte 20 west) Sturbridge, MA 01566 (I-84 Exit 3, near I-90). This is a historical early American site where you can experience 1790-1840 America at Old Sturbridge Village, swim in the lake, visit the many shops and galleries. So, while Pop and Kids who play at chess are engrossed in such duels, the rest of the family can partake of such enjoyments away from chess.

Cards detailing additional info are mailed to USCF members. If interested you can contact Continental Chess at the above address. I do not want to give details other than above because of the host of conditions and variations of entry information and would not want to misguide you should I make an error.

Hotel rates: $84-84-84-84 daily for the 4 day event. You can phone 800-582-3232 to reserve by 7/30 or rate may increase.

Now, to the good!  Any Continental Chess event is exceptionally well organized, with experienced TDs.  Bring your own sets, boards, clocks is a standard request for all chess tournaments. For the serious student, class player, master, IM, or GM, the event is an excellent opportunity to show your mettle against others as in any Swiss Style tournament. If you want to grow your rating, this event will provide you the opportunity.

What are the bad vibes to experience from such national play? Well, you have to take into consideration COST. The entry fees are not cheap so that the prize fund is huge enough to entice the ardent chess practitioner some hope of  financial reward.  You have to be willing to gamble if your bank account beckons care in expenditures. Of course if you won the lottery–no problem!  Looking at the entry fee, the cost is reasonable topping out at $150 maximum per entry. All players must become USCF members and a special rate at $30 if paid at on line at chesstour.com or $40 if mailed, phoned, or paid at site.

Have a great vacation, tournament, and enjoy yourselves. After all, remember that you can’t take it with you.  And you will get a chance to most likely see some of the top players competing with special activities perhaps thrown in.

Kindred’s Special: Living Life It Was Meant to Be

July 4, 2009

Life is a struggle;

Were it otherwise,

Would we be happy?

Tranquility, joy, goals met–all sounds good.

Without the rigors of life’s trials,

There would be no need of God or Prayer.

And loved ones would be thought not so much of,

Or find their safety and health before our bed.

Some turn to drugs to achieve a High!

God’s way is to fast and in that way,

Find true meaning of health and vitality.

For the Spirit and Soul comes pure,

Only by living life as our mindful thoughts say– obey.

A bit of sun; a bit of rain; a bit of warmth; a bit of cold.

Gives our landscape, our abode, a garden throne!

Most of all, it is riches to our being!

Poem by Donald Reithel–God Bless Everyone and Happy 4th!!

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: More Chess & Checker Stars

July 2, 2009

My earlier column noted the exploits of Newell Banks who was a splendid player of both chess and draughts. Another star who had championed the art of both games was Harry Nelson Pillsbury. He was of course more famous as a great chess player and his relatively early death most likely shadowed his potential for setting new records in both games. Here I give an example of his checker talent. The game was one of 12 played simultaneously blindfold.

  1. 11-15  ….  23-19
  2. 7-11    ….  22-17
  3. 11-16  ….  26-23
  4. 8-11    ….  17-14
  5. 9-18    ….  23-7
  6. 16-23 ….  27-18
  7. 15-22 ….  25-18
  8. 3-10   ….  29-25
  9. 5-9     ….  25-22
  10. 12-16….  31-26
  11. 4-8    ….  26-23
  12. 16-20…. 22-17
  13. 20-27…  18-14
  14. 9-18  ….  23-7
  15. 11-16 …  32-23
  16. 2-11  ….  23-18
  17. 16-19…. 30-26
  18. 8-12  …. 17-14  ?  Scully misses a possible draw by 18-14.
  19. 1-5    ….. 21-17
  20. 12-16…. 28-24
  21. 19-28…. 26-23
  22. 28-32…. 17-13
  23. 5-9    ….. 14-5
  24. 6-10  ….  5-1
  25. 10-15….  18-14
  26. 32-27….  B-wins

One critic reported to have  said of Pillsbury that his draughts play was as pretty as a pink shirtwaist on a handsome woman.

Like chess finally recognizing the title of World Chess Champion, checkers took its time to establish a World Checker or Draughts Champion.  The lst World Champion was Andrew Anderson who defeated James Wyllie in 1847 in a match organized for that purpose. The score was 9-wins, 6-losses, 31-draws.

Along came Robert D. Yates, who in 1876 dethroned the mighty Wyllie and successfully defended his title until his early death at age 28 while on a sea voyage. The title then reverted back to Wyllie.

Of the early age of checker players, besides Banks probably the most interesting character was Robert D. Yates.  He was born at Blairadam, Scotland on August 31st 1873.  He learned to play at an early age and at age 18 managed to draw a match with Wyllie, each winning one game and drawing the rest. Like Earl Anthony in bowling, Stewart set records in Scottish play that will likely never be equalled. After losing one game in the 1901 Scottish Championship, he went 21 years without losing one game. That event occurred in the match with Banks which Stewart won 2-1-37.  He excelled at blindfold simultaneous play and never lost a single game in exhibition play. What was most remarkable was the brilliant tactics unfolding in combinations that sparkled and seem to give life to the men on the board!

In future columns I hope to provide you with interesting facts and data that should raise your spirits to try this mentally stimulating game and of those players who have been bitten by the checker-bug.

Adios for now!

KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: A Common Link to Chess & Checkers (Draughts)

July 1, 2009

Historical evidence exists in the oft times verbal or written words of devotees for their favorite game known both as checkers and draughts with pride when comparing their board game with that of chess. In due respect to my own thoughts, the famous draughts player Marion Tinsley once said of both games, that chess was like the light of day with strategy and tactics displayed by various units having different measurements for the player to consider who was on the move as well as the opponent who likewise could anticipate a continuation with some degree of a move’s importance. This was not so with draughts where each piece has one square to play to or is forced to make a capture or more on a single turn. The difference is that for the draughts player, each move is like looking down a deep dark well.

Grandpa taught me to play; he was very good. He even originated a practice problem game that he taught me and I still enjoy an occasional attempt to solve where the trick is to capture all the men but one. Leaving two or three is relatively easy but it requires a keen eye to set up the pattern that allows all but the one man to remain. I have done it a number of times but then–don’t ask me how I accomplished it!

Both games are wonderful teasers in strategy and tactics and have those nasty software programs that tend to test the ordinary mind, often in vain. Still, the fun of playing with friends or family gives me the most joy especially when finding or stumbling on a cute twist enabling a pretty win or save for a draw.

Who are the players who jointly have excelled at both games? Less famous for my reading audience is Newell W. Banks who was born in Detroit, Michigan on October 10th 1887. He was acquainted at age 5 with checkers and by age 7 had emerged as a child prodigywhere he gave a 20 board simultaneous exhibition, winning 17 and drawing 3.  His long career in draughts achieved his fame in that sphere. At age 60 he set an endurance record by playing 6-games blindfold simultaneously daily for 45 days achieving 1131 games won with 54 draws and only 2 losses. During this display he achieved a speed record of blitz blindfold games by playing 62 games in 4-hours , winning 61 with one draw.  But most amazing is that Newell Banks was a powerhouse at chess as well!  He defeated in a Chicago chess tournament both Frank J. Marshall and Isaac Kashdan in 1926. There he set a speed record of simultaneous mixed games with 75 draughts games, 25 chess games while also conducting 6 games of draughts blindfold. In 4-hours he had won 65 games with 10 draws of draughts and lost none; on the chess side, he axed 22 games while yielding 2 draws and losing only one chess battle.  He took 4 games in the blindfold play while drawing the remaining 2 games.

With all this success and achievement in promoting both games he never won an American tournament. However, he was recognized as the  Draughts Match Champion of the United States and successful against all the top players in the world in his era save one. In 1922 he challenged and played Robert Stewart for the World’s Championship but lost to Stewart 2-1-37. In literary terms, he wrote Bank’s Scientific Checkers where he presented and annotated 105 of the finest checker games played to that time.

Like Capablanca and Reshevsky, Banks was a child prodigy who made game play, study and writing about checkers his lifelong interest and career. Perhaps in the field of simultaneous board play, he had few if any equals and it was largely due to his displays which made the game so popular.

Adios for now!