Kindred’s Special: Chess Talent has no Age Limit

Years ago learning to play chess was not recommended for kids until they reached their teenage years.  It was a era where it was thought that kids should be seen but not heard. How times change!  It changed with the emergence of parents teaching their young girls to play chess and home schooling let them experiment using chess as a means of gauging a learning curve.

Chess play has been used by such power houses in the computer tech age as IBM and to investigate and create a groundwork for artificial intelligence.  From a raw beginning, these little monsters that grow smaller through the years have emerged as king beaters of the highest order while enriching the field with ever increasing breakthroughs in both size and speed.

I remember learning the game as a kid at a time when great chess teachers advised chess was for adults and old men.  Clubs did not want kids around as a rule.  Now, seeing youth entries outstripping the adult signups is not uncommon.

Such an event was the 74th New England Open in Leominster, Massachusetts, where 10-year-old Carissa Yip defeated GM Alexander Ivanov in the first round.  She joins an elite list of young talents:  Awonder Liang (age 9), Sam Sevian, Fabiano Caruana, Hkaru Nakamura were aged 10 to lift scalps of Grandmasters.  The youngest female USCF master is Annie Wang and Carissa has until June 2015 to surpass Annie Wang as the youngest female USCF master.

White:  Carissa Yip (2126)  vs. Black:  GM Alexander Ivanov   Opening:  Modern Defense “The Rat”

1. e4  g6  2. d4  Bg7  3. Nc3  c6  4. Be3  Qb6  5. a3  d6  6. f4  e5  7. Nf3  e:d4  8. N:d4  Qd8  9. Qd2  Nf6  10. O-O-O  O-O  11. Nf3  Qe8  12. e5  Ng4  13. Bg1  d:e5  14. h3  Nf6  15. Bc5  e:f4  16. Q:f4  Nbd7  17. B:f8  N:f8  18. Bc4  Ne6  19. Qh4  b5  20. Bb3  a5  21. Kb1  Rb8  22. Rhe1 b4  23. Qg3  Rb7 24. a:b4  R:b4  25. Ng5  Nd5  26. Re4  N:c3+ 27. b:c3  Rb5  28. Qh4  a4? Thinking only …Q:h7+ with seconds left to reach the time-control of 30/90.  29. N:e6 B:e6  30. Rd8  Q:d8  31. Q:d8+ Bf8 32. R:a4  Black resigns.

GM Ivanov recovered to win the tournament.

Our hats off to Michael Ciamarra who hails from Alabama. He teaches chess to seniors in hopes of avoiding Alzheimer’s disease and to veterans afflicted with blindness.  As a classical music fan, Michael enjoys pieces by 18th-century composer and chess champion Francois-Andre Philidor.

FM Asa Hoffmann was taught to play chess at age 3 by his father David Hoffmann, an attorney, and strong chess player and well known chess organizer and USCF official.  As a teen Asa played in the London Terrace Chess Club and in Central Park.  He was fortunate to meet and know some of the greats of chess–Ed Lasker, Abe Kupchick, Al Horowitz, Hans Kmoch, Herman Helms, and artist Marcel Duchamp as well as those of his own era.

I close with this from the older generation.

White FM Asa Hoffmann (2379)  vs. Miles Hinson (2115)  Opening: French Defense

1. Nc3  e6  2.d4  d5  3. e4  d:e4  4. N:e4  Be7  5. Nf3  Nf6  6. Bd3  Nbd7  7. c3  O-O  8. Qe2  b6  9. O-O  Bb7  10. Re1  Rc8  11. Ng3  c5  12. Bd2  c:d4  13. c:d4  The control of c/e5 squares compensate for the isolani.  13. … Nd5  14. a3  N7f6  15. Rad1 Qd6  16. Ne5  Rfd8  17. Nh5!? Probing for weaknesses. 17. … g6  18. Ng3 Bf8  19. h4 Bg7  20. h5  a5  21. Qf3 Ba8  22. Ne4  N:e4?  23. Q:f7+  Kh8  2. R:e4  Rf8  25. h:g6  Nf6  26. Bh6!! A devastating line-clearance combination involving the sacrifice of a bishop, the g-pawn, knight and rook. 26… B:h6  27. g7+! B:g7  28. Ng6+ h:g6  29. Rh4+ Nh5  30. R:h5+ and Black resigns.

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