Archive for February, 2017

The Amateur Eye -The Endgame Effect

February 26, 2017

Perhaps the greatest effect of chess both in terms of the public as well as advancement of the public game was Jose Cuchi’s 1989 New York Open.  It was a fairyland type wonderland as if it came out of a Walt Disney classic.  It attracted the best from 29 countries and gave Americans a chance to meet the three Polgar sisters–Susan, Sophia, and Judith.  These gold medalists at the 1988 Thessaloniki Olympiad had ended Soviet domination of women’s chess.  Sophia turned in a 2930 performance rating by scoring 81/2-1/2 in a strong Rome, Italy tournament prior to this event.  The news media had a field day.

GM William Lombardy viewed the international chart to witness at the event end that 40th placed American GM John Fedorowicz picked up the $18,000 cash prize for first place. The international section boasted 47 GMs, 24 IMs including 6 FMs, 1 WGM, 2 WIMs, and 10 NMs.  The lower groups had many titled players.

In an interview, the champion noted that he had won 3 previous World Open events but less so lately.  To make good results you have to focus and concentrate on chess, need a few distractions especially at night, read the newspapers in the morning, everything non chess just to clear my mind.  Something worked because I played the best chess of my life.

Garry Kasparov, then World Chess Champion, was involved in a fighting drug campaign.  He was active in Russian politics and eventually ran against Putin for the presidency of Russia but lost.  How might the world today been different?!!  I seem to feel a similar leadership quality where enthusiasm and purpose bind a Kasparov-Trump emotional state of mind.  Each want to improve the government of his country and relationship between the USA and Russia despite the long term resentment within the political establishment of both.

In the final analysis of any problem existing between Russia and the USA is the knowledge that both are suspect of each other under Putin’s current rule of Russia.  It won’t change because Putin comes out of a KGB totalitarian regime and communist philosophy whereas Trump is strictly tied to business ventures and philosophy.  The two simply do not mix well. I doubt Putin will ever be different.  In Trump’s case, he lives in freedom where the learning process in not hampered by dogma.  And by all standards he grasps fully the ideals that make America GREAT–family, friends, work ethic.


The Amateur Eye – Russian Influence

February 26, 2017

Donald J. Trump suggests that where the USA together with or without allies might find common ground for cooperation seems a thoughtful approach to world problems.  Iran, of course is the arch enemy of mankind as ruled by a set of warmongers wherein the blunder of the previous administration so factually illustrates.  And Russia takes a stance of seeing weakness in the West, so much so that it finds self indulgence to try and rebuild something of what it was forced to abandon to so-called freedoms.  Yet, as I pointed out, these nations turned to a form of socialism which based it whole being on setting up a world-wide cooperative in every manner coming from a history of honoring “isms”.

Is there a record of cooperative adventures between the former USSR, now Russia and the USA?  For the politicos which include government agencies which had dealt with the former Soviet Union during the cold war, little has changed.  But there has been a binding together in one area–Chess.  Two angles of this story exist.

An article written in 1989 Julie Anne Desch (updated by Kindred) relates the experience at the time and what one immigrant American saw as his own prospects in life.  Dimitri S. London writes: “Chess is an important part of my life…at one time wanting to become a professional while growing up in the Soviet Union.  Now, I just want to play good chess and enjoy it. Since coming to America, I play for fun and trained in computer programming.

Computer programming is almost like chess, only I get a paycheck win or lose. You need logic in my field and also in chess.  I think people should have as many interests as possible.

The interview went on to cover many subjects but what emerged was the lack of real interest for youth chess at the time in America.  Bringing things up to date, the USCF has along with numerous clubs which developed chess instructors sort of in copying the chess programs and literature from Russian influence is not wholly in the education system of student learning in the public school systems.  It has spread widely among those schools who see the advantages of chess instruction and play in academia.  This story has been repeated many times in various parts of the country wherein our national Olympic team won top honors for the first time in many, many years.  And much credit can be given to former Soviet emigrants who settled in America and other European and Asian nations.

This is one manner of cooperation seen since the Soviet Union was broken up and Russia remains as the sole potential enemy of the West which Putin appears to have tried to reinvent the past.  My point is, the Russian people are no longer duped into believing the propaganda spewed by the Communists.  Putin’s success depends upon his government causing a breach in our belief system and it has certainly eroded the Democrat Party, which as I pointed out makes its membership appear more insane since losing the election.  He loves it that our freedoms are being undermined by a news media that is more beholden to the reliance on “isms” in our nation and throughout the world body. When I witness Senator McCain viciously attack of media bias by President Trump reflects Putin’s cunningness in driving a wedge in our body politic.  And our so-called leaders in various walks, too many of whom voice a temperament for an agnostic if not atheist view of a value system foreign to our Christian-Jewish heritage.  That is the danger that Putin and like dictators thrive to bring upheaval on the world.


The Amateur Eye – World Blitz

February 26, 2017

Who was the greatest blitz player?  Both Tal and Fischer are dead.  Petrosian  “the tiger” held that spot in the minds of many.  So going back into history, I will relate only what is perhaps the greatest blitz championship ever held–St. Johns, a double 12-round event which resulted in a remarkable triumph for Robert J. Fischer who scored an amazing 19 points.  The field:  Tal 14.5/ Korchnoi 14/ Petrosian 13.5/ Bronstein 13/ Hort 12/ Matulovich 10.5/ Smyslov 9.5/ Reshevsky 8.5/ Uhlmann 8/ Ivkov 7.5/ Ostojic 2.

Fischer lost only one game, to Viktor Korchnoi but axed the second game with this splendid win with the black pieces.

White:  Korchnoi   Black:  Fischer    King’s  Indian Defense  31 moves.

l. d4  Nf6  2. c4  g6  3. Nc3  Bg7  Fischer cut his teeth on both the KIA and KID. White goes after a solid central structure.

4. e4  d6  5. Be2  O-O  6. Nf3   e5  7. O-O  Nc6  8. d5  Ne7  9. Nd2  c5  10. a3  Ne8  11. b4  b6  12. Rb1 f5  13. f3  f4  14. a4 g5  15. a5  Rf6  16. b:c5?  b:c5  17. Nb3  Rg6  18. Bd2  Nf6  19. Kh1  g4

Fischer launches a typical assault on the King-side.

20. f:g4  N:g4  21. Rf3  Rh6  22. h3  Ng6  23. Kg1  Nf6 24. Be1  Nh8!! Checking the square count, we can see that black square count is gaining force over the position. But for the novice, it might be asked why does Fischer retreat one of the active Knights that add to that square count?  The answer is similar to the earlier Fischer analysis seen in efficiency.  He is going to retreat the Knight two squares so with repositioning it, it will actually grow square count from it new perch and with greater impact on the position at the same time. This plan which shows jump moves (as I had described in other articles) where a short range plan is almost or is unstoppable.

25. Rd3  Nf7  26. Bf3  Ng5  Note that the Knight grows ever closer to the king-side white forces and made available another square for the Rook.

27. Qe2  Rg6!  28. Kf1  N:h3  29. g:h3  B:h3+ 30. Kf2  Ng4+ 31. B:g4  B:g4  White resigns.


The Amateur Eye -A Fischer Study

February 24, 2017

My interest in the Fischer era has never ceased but to tell the truth reemerged at the genius I see in Magnus Carlsen’s maturing style of efficiency of a plan.  So, I uncovered a long forgotten game of Fischer versus Czerniak  which emerges from the mothballs and talent of Hans Kmoch/CL’89.  After 1. e4  c6  2. d4  d5  3. e:d5  c:d5  4. Bd3  Nc6  5. c3  Nf6  6. Bf4  g6  7. Nf3  Bg7  8. Nbd2  Nh5  9. Be3  O-O  10. O-O  f5  11. Nb3  Qd6  12. Re1  f4  13. Bd2  Bg4  14. Be2  Rae8  This is the position reached which illustrates the economic efficiency of movement coming out of the Caro Kann Defense.  Note the manner in which both players in the most original way creates a dynamic position.  Black enjoys 9/11 square count edge.

So!  Black because of the dynamic potential …e5 central pawn attack, it appears black forces are on the march leading to dire straights for Fischer’s setup.  Yet, Fischer has played just as efficiently.  He sees the immediate problem of the b3 Knight somewhat stuck on the Q-side so he brings it back with 15. Nc1 intending Nd3.  On the surface, it appears the maneuver is a bit late.  Black’s attack continues: 15…B:f3  16. B:f3  e5  17. Qb3! This square count move sortie by the Q to the Queenside is a brilliant study in the art of efficiency in a planned operation.  Fischer calculates that 17. …e4  18. R:e4! Na5  19. R:e8  N:b3  20. R:f8+ B:f8  21. a:b3  a6 22. Nd3 Bh6 23. Nb4  Nf6 24. Ra5 (Kmoch).

17. … e:d4  18. Nd3!  Ala Nimzowitsch:   Thou shalt blockade thine enemy pawns by a Knight. But the real zonko plan is to connect the Rooks after 18. …d:c3 19. R:e8 R:e8 20. B:h5 g:h5  21. B:f4.

18. … Rd8!  19. c4!!  Brilliant concept to a super plan.  Now Black sees that his dream goes up in a puff of smoke.  White’s Knight indeed blockades the pawn.  Was it just Fischer’s way of finding his own way to achieve a winning position?  Indeed.  Black makes no mistake for several moves, but suddenly finds himself in a hopeless position resigning after another 38 moves.

The value of learning the secrets possessed in the bosom of Cassia admittedly is shown here in what wasn’t played but locked in the mental focus of both players.  We learn all about the elements of the opening, middle game and endgame from some very good chess literature.  The problem is to play with a plan that can emerge in part from experience of chess theory which I have tried to convey, visualizing the efficiency factor of movement that Larry Evans called “space, time, force.”

I always attack a problem of how to convey to my readers in a practical way. I hope I may in this off-beat attempt show the joy of adventure to analyze and pull apart your own game adventures on the 64 squares.




The Amateur Eye — Golf links & Chess

February 23, 2017

I was watching a golf tournament on TV and it dawned on me just how much the game is like chess.  Now I could write a 2000 word essay on it but I shall simply look at just a point or two for you, my reader, that looks at tournament play.  In each case, there is one winner: one in chess and one in golf.  In both cases, the field may have great talents but there is only one winner to emerge victorious at the top of the heap of also-rans. Why?

Emotion plays a great part.  But it is a mental preparation approach to both games where I find a pattern that defines the art of both.  We might ask, “What differentiates those who consistently win?”  A golfer winces when the shot goes in the drink or winds up in a grove of trees.  Chess players feel this when a move just played brings on the realization that it was not so good.  In both cases, the exasperation brings about a feeling of kicking oneself in the pants with the ire that it cannot be taken back.  In chess it can be the luck of the draw in pairing or in golf it could be the time of day to start play, both of which are out of the players’ hands.

What attracts the mighty and the novice:  both enjoy the opportunity to test their mettle against the field.  In the end, isn’t that the ultimate high everyone experiences in playing these games of skill.

The Amateur Eye – On Walls/Ins Vs. Outs

February 23, 2017

I have to almost laugh at the democrat talking points I get on the news almost every time the talk of building a wall is brought up.  The democrats and their allies in the news media have begun to compare the wall Donald Trump talks about to secure our southern border with Mexico and the wall that the Russians built to separate East and West Germany with the objective of preventing anyone crossing the border: that act was to prevent anyone leaving the communist sector.  It  was a bone in the throat of the communists to witness people fleeing through East Germany into West Germany and “freedom”.  It also was the tragic shootings of anyone attempting to cross the heavy barbed wire territory located on the east side of the wall.

My wife and I were in Germany when the wall came down and I managed to secure a bit of history.  At the time, the Russians still controlled East Germany but it was fast becoming clear that the Russians were packing up to leave on a train scheduled for Moscow.  We saw families boarding the only train to that destination and the sad faces of those people gave both of us a recognition that those Russians would have preferred to remain in Germany.

The news media talks about politics and the ‘left-wing’ democrats with so much praise. Students who know little about history seem to be wholly indoctrinated into that poison. But some good Russian emigrants I know have confided to me that America should never be conned into believing the communist-socialist systems work. Europe was roped into it’s propaganda which led to a type of open borders which led into the problems most of those nations today face.

Teen Talk On President’s Day

February 20, 2017

What is on the minds of our junior and senior teens these days suggests teachers have a lot to do with formulating maturing thought processes when debating issues.

“Try your best not to judge someone. A lot of factors go into someone’s position, who someone is and why they have that stance.”

“You must understand point of view in order to have a better understanding of the culture or the problems that affect other people. You need to hear them, not just yell at each other but actually listen to what they need to express, even if you disagree with it.”

“People are afraid to be wrong.  I want people to understand that it’s okay to not know everything. I feel like in this society we’re raised to always have to know.  Life is not like that. It is important to open our minds to new information. that is what life is about.”

“The only way to truly persuade somebody is to remain calm and listen to their point of view and counter it in a civil way.  When you become too loud or too argumentative, it doesn’t do anything to help your case.”

“We can change it by leading by example. If we have one person who is willing to take the time and show how a conversation should be held, then more people will follow suit.  No one wants to be the left out person who doesn’t know how to have a conversation.”

What the comics say:

Blondie:  Elmo is visiting Dagwood who stretched out on his favorite chair. Elmo says, It is probably just as well that Abraham Lincoln lived in the times he did.  Whadaya mean, Elmo?  Well, his Gettysburg address wouldn’t have been as effective if he had sent it out as a mass e-mail. Have you ever wondered about that, Mr. B?  Not often, Elmo.

The Amateur Eye -A Bit of Coffeehouse

February 17, 2017

Former World Woman Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk shows in this game from the Khanty-Mansiysk 2016 that feathers can fly with a return to what appears as for years was looked upon as “coffeehouse chess play”.  Against Bela Khotenashvili (black) the interesting somewhat rare line shows up like a rattlesnake bite –a mean venom.

l. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5  a6  4. Ba4  Nf6  5. O-O  N:e4  6. Re1!  Nc5  7. B:c6  d:c6  8. N:e5  Be6  9. Qh5!  Be7  10. N:f7!  Hey!  This is not supposed to happen like this but remember my thought about the f7 square being a weak link at the start of play.

10. … B:f7  11. Q:c5  Qd6  12. Qg5! Hey!  What gives?  This Queen has flighty feet.  A strange conflict with what we learn from the books.

12. … Kf8  13. Qg3  While this seems okay, if she wants to roam around, another idea would be 13. Qa5  b6 14. Qa4 looking at aggressive ideas on the Q-side.

13. … h5  Black avoids a Queen swap being a pawn down for the endgame.

14. d3  h4  15. Qh3  Rd8  16. Nc3  Qd7  17. Q:d7 R:d7  18. h3  Rh5  19. Ne4 c5  20. b3  White eventually converted the extra pawn to win the point.

Of course all the books say best is 6. d4 (instead of Re1) b5 7. Bb3 d5  8. d:e5  Be6 leading to most usual positions of the Open Defense.  But even here, 6. Re1  Nc5  for example gives white a pull. But a shocker comes if Black tries to return to the Open Defense idea by 6…b5  7. Bb3  d5  8. Nc3 N:c3  9. d:c3  Be6 10. a4  Na5  11. Bg5 leads to good chances.

The point is it seems to offer a sideline (6. Re1) that contains a lot of poison in the hands of attack minded players especially with home preparation and perhaps testing either with a friend or computer review.


The Amateur Eye – Turkish Upheaval

February 15, 2017

Well, American Woman Chess Champion certainly rocked the boat in more ways than one.  Suddenly the appearance of another Muslim televangelist created concerns in Turkey over  who dared to play chess. (Refer to the wearing of the hijab I reported on earlier.)

Ahlmet Mahmut Unlu raised eyebrows with his New Year message that claimed playing chess to be more sinful than gambling and eating pork.  And he added salt to the wound of what the Turkish Chess Federation has so long striven to popularize the game.  He declared that chess is a sin and that people who play chess are more prone to lying than others.

A prominent government official, Omer Celik, came to the defense of chess saying that he plays chess and finds it to be a joy of wisdom. He added that chess has attributed value by eastern culture.  The Federation is launching legal proceedings against the religious leader Unlu for defamation.

The Amateur Eye -Cartoon News

February 15, 2017

Just got my New In Chess magazine and find colorful coverage of the upcoming TV broadcast of Homer Simpson’s gang titled HOMER’S  MATE.  Famous for its guest stars, The Simpsons–the cult show from Matt Groening that puts the “FUN” in a dysfunctional family– have featured cameos from celebrities the likes of Mick Jagger and Lady Gaga to Leonard Nimoy and Dr. Stephen Hawking. Soon the first ‘chess celebrity’  will be added to that list by making his cameo appearance: World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen!  In the season 28th episode ‘The Cad and the Hat’, that will air in the USA on February 19th 2017, channel 7 at 8pm est.  Homer is something of a chess savant who enlists on line assistance of Magnus on his lap top to boost his game.  Even the regulars at Moe’s Tavern in between swigging their Duff’s beer get in on the chess fever that is set to sweep Springfield.

So tune in to see chess receiving a major pop culture hit as our game gets set for the big leap from Simpson’s (in-the-Strand) to The Simpsons!!