Friday, November 30, 2007

Chaos in Russia

After being released from prison in Moscow, Garry Kasparov gave an impromptu news conference during which he warned that Russia was heading toward chaos.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Kasparov on Hunger Strike

Garry Kasparov has been on a forced hunger strike, for fear of being poisoned, while serving his five-day sentence in a Moscow jail.

Kasparov's release is expected today.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Karpov Denied Jail Visit

When Bobby Fischer was in a Japanese prison, Boris Spassky wrote a letter to president George W. Bush in which he famously declared, "Arrest me. And put me in the same cell with Bobby Fischer. And give us a chess set."

Yesterday, in a scene that was eerily reminiscent of Spassky's letter, Anatoly Karpov attempted to visit Garry Kasparov in a Moscow jail. But Karpov was not permitted to see his old rival. He told Radio Free Europe, "In Russia right now we have, what, four world chess champions? And of course the fate of any one of them is important to other chess players, both in Russia and abroad."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Her Brilliant Brain

Susan Polgar was the first woman to achieve the rank of grandmaster. Recently, she was featured on British television in a series called My Brilliant Brain.

My favorite part is when Polgar undergoes an MRI scan of her brain while she is looking at photographs of famous chess players, and then at chess positions from games that she has played in the past. The MRI scan reveals that, in both cases, she uses the same part of her brain. This means that, for Polgar, remembering a chess position is no more difficult than recognizing a familiar face!

You can watch the program here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Kasparov in Jail

Garry Kasparov was arrested Saturday in Moscow for organizing an unsanctioned anti-government rally.

Kasaparov was sentenced to five days in jail.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Viking Quads 11/24/2007

Yesterday, at the Viking quads in Mount Arlington, I had a score of 1-0-2. These are the games.
Round One: Sicilian Defense

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Sandi Hutama (USCF 2191), Mount Arlington NJ 11/24/2007

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Qc7 6.O-O Nf6 7.Qe2 d6 8.c4 Nbd7 9.Be3 Be7 10.Nc3 O-O 11.Rac1 b6 12.f3 Bb7 13.Rfd1 Rfe8 14.b3 Bf8 15.Qf2 Rab8 16.Bf1 Rbc8 17.g3 Qb8 18.Bh3 Ba8

19.g4 g6 20.g5 Nh5 21.Bg4 Ng7 22.Nd5 exd5 23.Bxd7 dxe4 24.f4 Rcd8 25.Bxe8 Rxe8 26.Rc2 Ne6 27.Nxe6 Rxe6 28.Bxb6 e3 29.Bxe3 Qb7 30.Rd5 Qe7 31.Re2 Bxd5 32.cxd5 Re4 33.Kf1 Qb7 34.Bd2 Rxe2 35.Kxe2 Qxd5

36.Qf3 Qb5+ 37.Qd3 Qb7 38.Qf3 d5 39.Bc3 Bc5 40.Kd1 Bf8 41.Qe3 d4 42.Qxd4 Qh1+ 43.Kc2 Qxh2+ 44.Qd2 Qxd2+ 45.Kxd2 h5 46.gxh6 Bxh6 47.Ke3 Kf8

48.Bf6 Ke8 49.Ke4 Kd7 50.a4 Ke6 51.Bc3 f5+ 52.Ke3 Kd5 53.b4 Kc4 54.Be1 Bg7 55.b5 axb5 56.axb5 Kxb5 57.Kf3 Kc4 58.Bh4 Kd3 59.Be7 Bh6 60.Bd8 Kd4 61.Bf6+ Kd5 62.Bd8 Ke6 63.Ba5, draw.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Round Two: English Opening

Danny Arceo (USCF 2084) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Mount Arlington NJ 11/24/2007

1.c4 f5 2.g3 e5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Bc5 5.d3 Nc6 6.e3 f4 7.exf4 O-O 8.Nf3 exf4 9.Bxf4 Re8+ 10.Ne2 Qe7 11.h3 d6

12.Be3 Bxe3 13.fxe3 Qxe3 14.Qd2 Bf5 15.Qxe3 Rxe3 16.Kf2 Rae8 17.Ned4 Bxd3 18.Nxc6 bxc6 19.Nd4 c5 20.Nb5 Re2+ 21.Kg1, White resigns.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Round Three: Philidor Defense

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Boris Privman (USCF 2233), Mount Arlington NJ 11/24/2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Qxd4 Bd7 5.Bg5 Nc6 6.Qd2 Nf6 7.Nc3 Be7 8.Bc4 h6 9.Bf4 Bg4 10.O-O-O Nd7 11.Kb1 Bxf3 12.gxf3 Nb6 13.Bb5 a6 14.Bxc6+ bxc6 15.Rhg1 Bf6

16.e5 dxe5 17.Rge1 Qxd2 18.Rxd2 Nc4 19.Rd4 O-O 20.Rxc4 exf4 21.Rxc6 Bd4 22.Re2 Rfe8 23.a4 Rxe2 24.Nxe2 Bxf2 25.Nxf4 Bg1 26.h3 Bh2 27.Nd5 a5 28.c4 Kh7 29.Kc2 Re8, draw.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fischer in Hospital

Mig Greengard of The Daily Dirt Chess Blog reports that Bobby Fischer has been hospitalized in Reykjavik for several weeks.

Fischer's unknown ailment is not a threat to his life. Tests are being performed to diagnose the illness.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Get a Lawyer

The title of today's post is my advice to Sam Sloan in his legal action versus Paul Truong and others. As Mark Twain once said, "A man who acts as his own attorney has a fool for a client."

Having played chess over the board against both Sloan and Truong, I am not sure which side to root for in this lawsuit.

The Mottershead report indicates that there is merit in Sloan's claim that Truong impersonated him on the Internet. But it looks as if Sloan's case may be dismissed due to technical errors in his complaint.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Bust to "King's Gambit"

There is an unfortunate tendency, whenever a well-written book like Paul Hoffman's King's Gambit [Hyperion, 2007, 433 pages] is published, for reviewers to say nothing but nice things about it. Perhaps this is because such books have been so few and far between that no one wants to be negativistic, for fear of jeopardizing its chances, when a new one finally comes along.

My journalistic philosophy, to the contrary, has always been that the book reviewer's primary responsibility is to the reader and not the author. In this vein, I will now list some of the shortcomings in Hoffman's book.

Let me begin by stating that I enjoyed reading King's Gambit. The last non-fiction book on chess that made me feel this way was Searching for Bobby Fischer. In many ways, Paul Hoffman covers the same material that Fred Waitzkin did, but in reverse. This time, it is the chess son, not the chess father, who does the storytelling. But it is the inexactitude in these tales of Hoffman that worries me.

Chess masters like myself learn the discipline of putting aside our subjective feelings and analyzing with complete objectivity. Of course, we are only human and never 100% successful in our efforts. But the author, a 1900 rated player, seems to be far too undisciplined. Allow me to make the unkind observation that, if Hoffman is as imprecise with his chess moves as he is with (at least some of) his anecdotes, it is no wonder that he has never achieved a master's rating. Here are a few examples of inaccurate anecdotes, concerning people that I know.

In 1989, when I reviewed Searching for Bobby Fischer, I wrote that Fred Waitzkin's keen insights enabled me to see, as though for the first time, chess players that I had already been paired against. I can not say the same for Hoffman because the Nicholas Rossolimo in King's Gambit is unrecognizable to me. As portrayed by Hoffman, Rossolimo comes across as an alcoholic whose drinking problem may have led to his accidental death by falling down a flight of stairs in 1975.

Like Hoffman, I also played against Rossolimo in his chess salon, within walking distance of the Marshall Chess Club. In my case, it was one game for the usual $5 fee. I was accompanied by two other club members who were Class B players, as I was back then. Believe it or not, I made it to a minor piece ending with even pawns. But the pawn structure favored Rossolimo's bishop over my knight, and I soon lost. I can still recall how courteous Rossolimo was in accepting my resignation. I saw nothing to indicate that he was anything but sober.

No doubt Hoffman's footnote, pertaining to Rossolimo's untimely death, is the official version. I will give you the unofficial version as told to me, within days of the event, by a New York chess player who seemed to know what he was talking about. His story went that Rossolimo lived in a tough neighborhood. One night, in late July 1975, a couple of muggers waited for Rossolimo at the top of the stairs in his apartment building. In the ensuing struggle, Rossolimo either fell or was pushed down the stairs, suffering his fatal injury. I am not certain which version of events is the correct one. All I can say is that the chess player's story rang true when I heard it.

One of the more humorous anecdotes told by Paul Hoffman is his victory against Noah Siegel, a 2300 rated player, who was the highest rated opponent ever beaten by Hoffman, at least until he defeated FIDE master Asa Hoffmann in a tournament at the Marshall Chess Club. I got a kick out of Hoffman's failure to realize that Siegel was acknowledging checkmate, not offering a draw, at the end of the game. What I found less amusing was Hoffman's describing the opening as a French defense against which Hoffman played the exchange variation, just as Bobby Fischer had done.

This story is wrong on two counts. From my own experience against Siegel, I know that he favors the Caro-Kann defense. And Bobby Fischer never played the exchange variation against the French, although he did play it against the Caro-Kann. The likely explanation for this confusion is that Siegel played the Caro-Kann, not the French, against Hoffman. What this would mean is that, not only was Hoffman unaware that he had checkmated his opponent at the game's conclusion, he did not even realize what opening had been played!

Admittedly, just because there are a couple of less than accurate tales, this is not to say that all the other anecdotes are inaccurate as well. But, ironically, I find myself in approximately the same position as the author when it dawned on him that his father had lied about the milkshakes at Baskin-Robbins, of all things. In other words, there is a suspicion that the stories in Hoffman's book are not as objectively correct as they should be.

To a chess player, the words "King's Gambit" conjure up an opening that is entertaining, albeit slightly unsound. Alas, the same holds true for Paul Hoffman's book by the same name.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

PCG Clamp

Many thanks to yet another fellow blogger!

Yesterday, I said "Thank you!" to Atomic Patzer. This time, I say it to Michael Goeller of the The Kenilworthian, for annotating my victory in the Philidor Counter Gambit against FIDE master Steve Stoyko.

Goeller has coined the expression "Philidor clamp" to describe the game position after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 f5 4.d3 c6 5.O-O f4. But I can not take credit for this line. Actually, it was analyzed by none other than Philidor himself in 1749!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Philidors Gegenangriff

To Atomic Patzer, I would like to say, "Danke schone!"

My fellow blogger has provided me with links to an article by Maurits Wind on the Philidor Counter Gambit in the April-June 2007 issue of the German chess magazine Kaissiber.

You can click here on the first page, the second page, and the third page. On the third page, Atomic Patzer has highlighted a reference to the second edition of my book on the PCG.

Auf wiedersehen!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Kasparov on "After Words"

An October 16th interview of Garry Kasparov aired this weekend on After Words, a program on C-Span 2 that features authors of recent books. I watched the 6 o'clock broadcast last night.

Of all the anecdotes told by Kasparov, my favorite one pertains to game 24 of the match in Seville between the two K's. Karpov needed only a draw to regain the title. Kasparov obtained a winning position but blundered it away after the referee startled him by tapping his shoulder, reminding him to write down the moves on his scoresheet. Karpov should now have drawn the game and won the match, but he blundered in return!

If you missed the interview, you can catch it here.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Viking 4-County Open 11/17/2007

At yesterday's Viking 4-County Open in Mount Arlington, I won a couple of games as Black with my favorite defenses.

Round One: Budapest Defense, Fajarowicz Variation

Wayne Burmett (USCF 1509) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Viking 4-County Open 11/17/2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.Nf3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Nxd2 6.Nbxd2 Nc6 7.a3 Bxd2+ 8.Qxd2 Qe7 9.e3 Nxe5 10.Nxe5 Qxe5 11.Be2 O-O 12.O-O d6 13.Rac1 a5

14.Rfe1 a4 15.Qd4 Re8 16.Bd3 Qxd4 17.exd4 Bd7 18.Re3 Rxe3 19.fxe3 Re8 20.Re1 h6 21.Kf2 b6 22.Ke2 f6 23.Kd2 Kf8 24.e4 c5

25.e5? dxe5 26.dxe5 Rxe5 27.Rxe5 fxe5 28.Be4 Ke7 29.Kc3 Kd6 30.b4 axb3 31.Kxb3 Bc6 32.Bxc6 Kxc6 33.Kc3 h5 34.a4 e4 35.Kd2 Kd6 36.g3 Ke5 37.Ke3 Kf5 38.h3 g6

39.Kf2 h4 40.gxh4 Kf4 41.Ke2 e3 42.Ke1 Ke4 43.Ke2 Kd4 44.h5 gxh5 45.h4 Ke4 46.Ke1 Kd3 47.Kd1 Kxc4, White resigns.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Round Three: Philidor Counter Gambit

Steve Stoyko (USCF 2273) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Viking 4-County Open 11/17/2007

1.Nf3 d6 2.e4 e5 3.Bc4 f5 4.d3 c6 5.O-O f4 6.c3 Qf6 7.d4 Ne7 8.b3 g5 9.Ba3 Ng6 10.dxe5 dxe5

11.Bxf8 Rxf8 12.Nfd2 g4 13.Be2 f3 14.gxf3 gxf3 15.Bxf3 Bh3 16.Re1 Nd7 17.Re3 O-O-O 18.b4 Nh4

19.Kh1 Qg5 20.Qg1 Qxg1+ 21.Kxg1 Rg8+ 22.Kh1 Nxf3, White resigns.

This game won the biggest upset prize of $3.65 (5 cents for each rating point!) in round three.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mainstream Media Analysis

In his Blog Trekking, October 2007 post, Mark Weeks refers to my entry about David Remnick's article on Garry Kasparov in the The New Yorker.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Knights Strike Out

The movie version of The Natural concludes with a game-winning home run for the New York Knights. But, in the book version, their season ends with a strike out.

Unfortunately, for the New York Knights of the U.S. Chess League, their semifinal match on Wednesday night followed the book and not the movie, as they were eliminated from the postseason by the Boston Blitz. The Knights lost the match by a score of 1-2-1.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

New Site for Viking 4-County Open

Please be advised that the Viking 4-County Open, scheduled for November 17th at the Stardust Diner in Hackettstown, has moved to a different location.

The new venue should be familiar to players who have participated in the Viking Last Saturday Quads. It is the Courtyard Marriott in Mount Arlington, off exit 30 on Interstate 80.

You can reach tournament director Ken Thomas on his cell phone number 908-763-6468. Or e-mail him at

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Boston versus New York

In the sports world, the cities of Boston and New York are natural rivals. Tonight that rivalry carries over into the chess world as the Boston Blitz, who have draw odds, play the New York Knights in the postseason semifinals of the United States Chess League.

The Knights play their USCL matches via Internet at the Marshall Chess Club. Follow the action, starting at 7 o'clock, on the Internet Chess Club website.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Paul Hoffman Q & A

If you enjoyed reading King's Gambit by Paul Hoffman (or are in the process of reading it, as I am), you will have an opportunity this evening to meet the author at the Marshall Chess Club.

Here is editor Mitch Fitzko's article from Marshall Lore, the club's newsletter.

Paul Hoffman. You’ve read him in the magazines. You’ve seen him on TV and heard him on NPR. Now you can see him live at the Marshall Chess Club for a special evening on Tuesday, November 13, for book signing. Dr. Frank Brady, President of the Marshall Chess Club, will lead a question and answer session with Hoffman at the event. Paul Hoffman, a Marshall Chess Club member, is rated over 1900. I first knew him as an author, when I heard him on the radio promoting his bestselling book The Man Who Loved Only Numbers. Later I saw him on TV: first on ESPN analyzing one of the Kasparov-computer chess matches, exchanging insights with grandmasters Maurice Ashley and Yasser Seirawan; then on a Nova episode based on his second book, Wings of Madness. His latest book, King’s Gambit: A Son, a Father, and the World’s Most Dangerous Game, is a memoir of his childhood and his own chess experiences, as well as an exploration of international chess. Publisher’s Weekly has called it a “winning book about the ‘royal game’ that will satisfy the general reader, kibitzer, and grandmaster alike.” Books will be on sale at the event. For more information, visit our website or, better yet, visit Paul’s

Monday, November 12, 2007

Kurt Landsberger's New Book

In yesterday's Newark Star-Ledger, there was a feature story on Kurt Landsberger whose great-great uncle was William Steinitz.

Landsberger has written a new book Prisoners of War at Camp Trinidad, Colorado, 1943-1946: Internment, Intimidation, and Country Club Living.

His first book, published in 1993, was William Steinitz, Chess Champion: A Biography of the Bohemian Caesar.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Marshall Lore"

Mitch Fitzko is the editor of Marshall Lore, the newsletter of the Marshall Chess Club. Here is an article from the Fall 2007 issue, which is volume one and issue one.

Tamarkin’s Perfect Chess Vision

“This is the last night Jay Bonin and those other masters are going to beat up on me,” Larry Tamarkin said. “I’m getting Lasik done next week, so I’ll be able to see.” It was August 16, and Larry was getting ready to play in the Thursday Night Action tournament. With that attitude, I thought, he’s lost even before the first game. Next time I returned to the club, I found out that Larry swept all four games, winning the tournament by a full point. Larry was kind enough to annotate several games for this newsletter, computer assisted by Fritz 10 and HAL 9000. We will limit ourselves to just one game this issue. If you can’t wait to read more of Larry’s blend of philosophy, humor, and chess analysis, check out his Memoirs of a Chess Fish series on

Larry Tamarkin (USCF 2067)—Moshe Uminer (USCF 1951)
(Notes by Larry Tamarkin)
Queen’s Gambit Declined

I played this guy once before and won a nerve-wracking game. This game was almost as crazy because I didn’t understand his ‘nonstandard’ moves.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bf4 Be7 6.e3 0–0 7.h3 Bb4!?

A very weird move—I tried not to get upset. 7...c5 8.Rc1 a6 9.cxd5 Nxd5 10.Nxd5 exd5 11.dxc5 Nxc5 12.a3= is one of the book-lines.

8.Qb3 a5 9.Bd3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Nb6= is also perfectly fine for Black.


I have discovered that players rated below 2000 usually play anti-positional moves like this. My problem is that I am still too weak to take advantage of those moves. (I’m also weak against other kinds of moves too.)

9.Bd3 f5 10.cxd5

Castling seems good also, with the following possibilities: 10.0–0!? Bxc3 (10...Nb6 11.Nb5! dxc4 12.Bxc4 Bd6 13.Bxd6 cxd6 14.Nc7! d5 15.Nxa8 Nxc4 16.b3+-) 11.bxc3 c6 12.Rab1 is rated by Fritz as a clear advantage for White. I like this position too.

10...exd5 11.0–0 c6 12.Ne5?!

Showing my own lack of understanding of the position, after which Black is at least equal again. A better try would be 12.Qb3!? Bxc3 13.bxc3 Nb6 14.c4 dxc4 15.Bxc4+ Kh8 (15...Nxc4 16.Qxc4+ Kh8 17.Rab1±) 16.Bd3±. White maintains a healthy positional advantage.

12...Nxe5 13.dxe5?!

13.Bxe5 is safer, when 13...Be6 14.Ne2 maintains equality. I rolled the dice here hoping my opponent would mess up first.


Of course! The bishop will go to c7, where it will eye the e5-pawn. However, 13...Nc5! looks better. It’s not easy even for a master to find this move because it removes the knight from its lovely perch. I think the brutal honesty of computer evaluations is succeeding in making chess a much uglier game! Fritz’s line goes 14.Be2 Ne6 15.Bd3 Nxf4 16.exf4 Qh4 17.Ne2 Be7. I feel the position is about equal, though Fritz says it’s +0.37 in Black’s favor.

14.Rad1 Qe7 15.Bh2?!

Another mistake—of course mistakes are allowed in a 30–minute game—LOL. Better is 15.Na4 Qh4 16.f3 Ng5 17.Nc5 with equality.


Another mistake. After 15...Bc7, best is 16.Bxe4!? (I was intending, 16.f3 Nc5 17.Be2 Bxe5 18.Bxe5 Qxe5 19.Nxd5 which is equal, but all these crazy moves were getting me confused.) 16...fxe4 17.Rxd5! Bxh3 (17...cxd5? 18.Nxd5 Qf7 19.Nxc7 Rb8 20.e6! wins.) 18.Rd2 Be6 19.Nxe4 and White is slightly better.


With the clock ticking away, we are making enough lemons to make lemonade for the whole club.


Black cracks. He wants to attack here but maintaining the horse on e4 is not enough justification for this anti-positional move. He should’ve tried 16...Bc7!? 17.f3 Nc5 18.f4 Ba5 19.Nd4 Nxd3 20.Qxd3 Bb6 and Black is better because of his two bishops and less rigid pawn-structure.

17.Nd4 Bb6 18.f3 Nc5 19.Bxf5!

So I win a pawn. The rest is, relatively speaking, smooth sailing.

19...Nd7 20.f4 gxf4 21.exf4 Qf7 22.g4 Nc5 23.Kh1 Bxf5 24.Nxf5 Ne4 25.b4 h5 26.Qb2 hxg4 27.hxg4 Qh7 28.Rd3 Kg8


A weak move even though White is still winning. Better would have been 29.Qg2! Rae8 30.Rh3!

29...Rxf5 30.gxf5 Qxf5 31.Qg2+ Kf8 32.Rh3 Ke7 33.Qg7+ Kxe6 34.Rh6+ Nf6 35.Re1+, Black resigns.

I intended to answer 35...Kd6 with 36.Rxf6+!? Better, though less fun, would’ve been 36.Qe7#.

Larry also beat FM Asa Hoffmann on the road to perfection.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Cherry Hill Swiss 11/10/2007

Of the ten players in today's game/30 Swiss at Cherry Hill, seven including myself were masters. Under the circumstances, playing four masters in a row, I finished with a respectable score of 3-2-0. Here are my two wins against masters.

Round One: English Opening

Zakhar Fayvinov (USCF 2200) - Jim West (2200), Cherry Hill NJ 11/10/2007

1.Nf3 d6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 Nc6 6.O-O Nf6 7.d4 O-O 8.h3 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Bd7 10.b3 Qa5 11.Bb2 Rfc8 12.e3 a6 13.Qe2 Rab8 14.a3 Nh5

15.Nd5 Qd8 16.Rfd1 Nf6 17.Nxf6+ Bxf6 18.Nxc6 Bxc6 19.Bxf6 exf6 20.Rd2 Bxg2 21.Kxg2 Qb6 22.Qd1 Rd8 23.Kg1 Qc6 24.Rc1 Rbc8

25.c5 Rd7 26.Rc4 d5 27.Rc3 Qe6 28.Qg4 h5 29.Qxe6 fxe6 30.b4 Rdc7 31.Rcd3 f5
32.g4 hxg4 33.hxg4 Kf7 34.g5 Rh8 35.f4 Ke8 36.Rh2 Rxh2 37.Kxh2 Rh7+ 38.Kg2 Kd7 39.Rb3 Kc6 40.a4 d4 41.exd4 Kd5 42.b5 axb5 43.Rxb5 Kxd4 44.Rb6 Re7 45.c6 bxc6 46.Rxc6 Kd5 47.Rc2 Ra7 48.Ra2 e5 49.Rd2+ Ke6 50.fxe5 Kxe5 51.Ra2 Kf4 52.a5 Kxg5 53.a6 Kf6 54.Kf3 g5 55.Ke3 Kg6, Black wins.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Round Four: Ruy Lopez, Exchange Variation

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Jim Gwyn (USCF 2200), Cherry Hill NJ 11/10/2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.O-O Qd6 6.d4 Bg4 7.dxe5 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Qxe5 9.Nc3 Bd6 10.g3 g5 11.Qf5 f6 12.Qxe5+ Bxe5 13.Nd1 O-O-O 14.Ne3 h5 15.Nc4 Bd4 16.c3 Ba7 17.Be3 Bxe3 18.Nxe3 h4 19.Rad1 Re8 20.f3 hxg3 21.hxg3 Nh6

22.Rf2 g4 23.Rd4 gxf3 24.Rxf3 Rhg8 25.Kf2 Re6 26.Rf4 Rf8 27.Ng4 Nxg4+ 28.Rxg4 f5 29.Rf4 c5 30.Rc4 Rh8

31.exf5 Rh2+ 32.Kf3 Ree2 33.f6 Kd7 34.f7 Ref2+ 35.Kg4 Rxf4+ 36.Rxf4, Black resigns.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Knights in Semifinals

The New York Knights advanced to the semifinals in the postseason of the USCL by defeating the Philadelphia Inventors on Wednesday night, by a score of 3-0-1.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Brief Biography of Philidor

At Sarah's Chess Journal, I found this brief biography of Francois-Andre Danican Philidor.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Knights vs. Inventors

Last week, the New York Knights qualified for the playoffs in the U.S. Chess League by eliminating the New Jersey Knockouts.

Tonight, at the Marshall Chess Club, the Knights will play via Internet against the Philadelphia Inventors who have draw odds in this postseason match. You can follow the action, beginning at 7 o'clock, on the Internet Chess Club website.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ziping Wins Quad in Randolph

Two weekends ago, my chess student Ziping Liu won quad 1 at the King's Chess Club Quads in Randolph with a score of 2-0-1. Here is his third round draw which clinched first place.

Round Three: King's Indian Attack

Ziping Liu (USCF 1348) - Grant Oen (USCF 1282), Randolph NJ Quad 10/20/2007

1.e4 e5 2.d3 Nf6 3.Nd2 d5 4.g3 c6 5.Bg2 Bc5 6.Ngf3 Bg4 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Na6 9.c3 d4 10.a4 Qb6 11.Nc4 Qc7 12.O-O O-O 13.Bg5 Be7

14.Qe2 Rae8 15.f4 Nd7 16.Bxe7 Rxe7 17.cxd4 exd4 18.Qf2 Nb4 19.Qd2 a5 20.e5, draw.

Monday, November 5, 2007

How Not to Play the PCG

At Frederic Fournier's blog Contre Gambit Philidor, there is a good example of how not to play the Philidor Counter Gambit. Games like this give the PCG a bad name!

The correct way to handle this sharp variation was shown in Piorun-Markowski, Polish Championship 3/25/2006.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Westfield Swiss 11/4/2007

In today's Game/40 Swiss at Westfield, held in honor of Ernesto Labate, I finished with a score of 3-2-0.

Here is my best game as Black.

Round Three: Philidor Counter Gambit

Arthur Shen (USCF 1840) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Ernesto Labate Grand Prix 11/4/2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.dxe5 fxe4 5.Nd4 d5 6.Bf4 c6 7.Be2 Bc5 8.c3 Ne7 9.Bg4 O-O 10.Bxc8 Qxc8 11.Bg3 Nf5 12.O-O Nxg3 13.hxg3 Na6

14.f4 exf3 15.Rxf3 Qe6 16.Re3 Qh6 17.Qe2 Rae8 18.Nd2 Nc7 19.a4 a6 20.Re1 Ne6 21.N2f3 Rxf3 22.Nxf3 Bxe3+ 23.Qxe3 Qxe3+ 24.Rxe3 Nc5

25.a5 Nb3 26.Nd4 Nxa5 27.e6 Nc4 28.Re2 Nd6 29.g4 g6 30.Kf2 c5 31.Nb3 b6 32.Re5 Kg7 33.g5 Nf7 34.Rxd5 Rxe6 35.Nd2 Rd6 36.Rxd6 Nxd6

37.Kf3 Kf7 38.Kf4 Ke6 39.g4 b5 40.Nb3 Kd5 41.Ke3 Nc4+ 42.Kd3 Nxb2+ 43.Ke3 Nc4+ 44.Kf4 a5 45.Nc1 b4 46.cxb4 cxb4 47.Nb3 a4 48.Nc1 b3 49.Ne2 a3 50.Nc3+, White resigns.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

PCG Analysis in Shibut's Book

While searching on Google, I came across Macon Shibut's book Paul Morphy and the Evolution of Chess Theory which includes some of my analysis on the Philidor Counter Gambit.

Friday, November 2, 2007

NJKO Hit Canvas

Their inaugural season in the USCL ended with a resounding thud for the New Jersey Knockouts as they were...well, knocked out of the playoffs by the New York Knights. The final score of the match was 1-2-1.

Congratulations to the Knights on their qualifying for the postseason!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ernesto Labate Grand Prix

Todd Lunna has mailed a letter to all persons who have played at the Westfield Chess Club this year asking for their participation in the Ernesto Labate Grand Prix which will be held on Sunday, November 4th, at Westfield.

As of Monday, October 29th, only 7 players had entered in advance. There is guaranteed prize money of $2,000. In addition to the advertised prizes, Lunna will add an under-1500 prize if there are at least 3 entries below 1500. The entrance fee is $75 at the site, but you may qualify for the early entrance fee of $60 if you e-mail Lunna at

The tournament is a 5-round Swiss with time control of game/40. The first round starts at 12 noon, which will feel like 1 o'clock in the afternoon because daylight savings time ends in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Don't forget to turn your clock back! You will need ID to enter the building.