Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Knockouts Fit to be Tied vs. Champions

In week seven of the PRO Chess League, the Miami Champions landed a Wednesday punch by drawing their match against the New Jersey Knockouts, since NJKO needed a win to prevent being eliminated from the playoffs.

FM Praveen Balakrishnan avoided the usual 9.h3 against GM Bassem Amin but soon dropped a pawn and went down for the count in a queen-and-pawn ending.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Marshall Sunday Game/45 2/26/2017

On Sunday, I finished with a score of 1-0-2 plus a half point bye in the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round One: King's Indian Defense, Fianchetto Variation

Shijil Kundilakkandi (USCF 1771) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 2/26/2017

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 O-O 5.e4 d6 6.Ne2 e5 7.O-O Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Nbc3 a5 10.b3 Nd7 11.Bb2 f5 12.f3 Nf6 13.Qc2 c6

14.Rad1 cxd5 15.Nxd5 Nexd5 16.cxd5 fxe4 17.fxe4 Qb6+ 18.Kh1 Bd7 19.Qd2 Ng4 20.Bc1 Bh6 21.Qb2 Bxc1 22.Rxc1 Nf2+ 23.Rxf2 Rxf2 24.Qd2 Bg4

 25.Qg5 Bxe2 26.Bh3 Bf3+ 27.Kg1 Rc2+ 28.Kf1 Qb5+ 29.Kg1 Qc5+ 30.Kf1 Qf2#.

          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Round Two: Sicilian Defense, King's Indian Attack

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Nico Chasin (USCF 2150), Marshall Chess Club 2/26/2017

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d3 Nc6 4.g3 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.O-O Nge7 7.Nbd2 O-O 8.Re1 d6 9.a4 b6 10.c3 Bb7 11.Qc2 a6 12.Nf1 b5 13.axb5 axb5 14.Bf4 e5 15.Bd2 h6 16.h4 Qb6 17.Ne3 Kh7

18.h5 Rxa1 19.Rxa1 Bc8 20.hxg6+ fxg6 21.Qb3 Bd7 22.Qa2 Qb7 23.Qa6 Rb8 24.Nd5 Nc8 25.Qxb7 Rxb7 26.Kh2 Ra7 27.Rxa7 N6xa7 28.Bh3 Bxh3 29.Kxh3 Kg8 30.Nh4 Kf7

31.Ng2 Ne7 32.Nxe7 Kxe7 33.Ne3 Nc6, draw.

          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Round Three: London System, Dutch Defense

Nathaniel Shuman (USCF 2096) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club, 2/26/2017

1.d4 e6 2.Bf4 f5 3.e3 Nf6 4.Bd3 b6 5.Nf3 Bb7 6.Nbd2 Be7 7.h3 O-O 8.c3 c5 9.Qb1 cxd4 10.exd4 Nc6 11.O-O Rc8 12.Re1 h6

13.Ne5 Nxe5 14.Bxe5 Qe8 15.Qd1 Qg6 16.Nf3 Ne4 17.Qe2 Bf6 18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.Ba6 Bxa6 20.Qxa6 Rc7 21.Qe2 d5 22.Kh2 Rg7 23.Rg1 Kh7 24.Raf1 Rfg8 25.Nd2, draw.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hamilton Quads 2/25/2017

On Saturday, I drew this game at the quads in Hamilton.

Round Three: Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation

Eric Yuhan Li (USCF 2069) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Hamilton NJ 2/25/2017

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Qd2 O-O 9.O-O-O Be6 10.f3 Nbd7 11.g4 b5

12.g5 Nh5 13.h4 Nb6 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.exd5 Ng3 16.Rg1 Nxf1 17.Rdxf1 Nc4 18.Qf2 Nxe3 19.Qxe3 a5 20.h5 a4 21.Nd2 a3 22.b3 Qc7 23.Ne4 Rac8 24.Rf2 f5 25.gxf6 Bxf6 26.Rfg2 Kh8 27.Qd3 b4 28.Qd2 Rb8

29.Qe2 Qf7 30.Qd3 Qc7 31.Rg4 Rb7 32.Qd2 Qe7 33.Qg2 Rc7 34.Qh2 Qf7 35.Rd1 Be7 36.Rd3 Rfc8 37.Rg2 h6, draw.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017

Pix from USATE 2017

These pictures were taken by me during the USATE 2017.




Thursday, February 23, 2017

"NY Times" Theater Review of "Fish Men"

Neil Genzlinger reviews the off Broadway play Fish Men.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Knights Stampede Past Knockouts

Week six of the PRO Chess League found the New Jersey Knockouts tilting at windmills in their match against the New York Knights.

Brandon Jacobson imagined that 3.Qe2 would exploit the weak link in GM Leonid Yudasin's armor, but the game ended abruptly when the white queen got trapped.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

USATE 2017, Day 3

On Monday, I won this game at the USATE.

Round Five: Sicilian Defense

Jonathan Subervi (USCF 2285) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Parsippany NJ 2/20/2017

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.Bxc6 Bxc6 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Bg5 e6 9.O-O-O Be7 10.Rhe1 O-O 11.Qd2 Qa5 12.Kb1 Qb6

13.Nd4 Rfc8 14.f4 Be8 15.e5 dxe5 16.fxe5 Bb4 17.Bxf6 Bxc3 18.Qc1 gxf6 19.exf6 Kh8 20.Rd3 Bxd4 21.Rxd4 Qc5 22.Qh6 Qxc2+ 23.Ka1 Qg6 24.Qh4 Rc5 25.g4 Rac8 26.Rdd1 Ba4 27.Rb1 Bc2 28.Rbc1 Bd3

29.Rxc5 Rxc5 30.Qg3 Rc8 31.h4 Be2 32.g5 Qc2 33.Qe3 Bd1 34.a3 Qc1+ 35.Ka2 Qxe3 36.Rxe3 Bh5 37.Rd3 h6 38.Rd7 Rb8 39.Kb3, White forfeits.

Monday, February 20, 2017

USATE 2017, Day 2

On Sunday, I played these games at the USATE 2017.

Round Three: Philidor Counter Gambit

Davis Zong (USCF 2043) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Parsippany NJ 2/19/2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.dxe5 dxe5 6.Qxd8+ Nxd8 7.Nxe5 fxe4 8.O-O Nf6 9.Nc3 Bd6 10.f4 Be6 11.Bxe6 Nxe6 12.Be3 O-O

13.Rad1 a6 14.a3 Rad8, draw.

          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Round Four: Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Brianna Fontak (USCF 1785), Parsippany NJ 2/19/2017

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Be7 8.f4 Qc7 9.Be3 Nc6 10.O-O O-O 11.Qf3 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 13.a3 Bb7 14.f5 e5 15.Bf2 Rac8

16.g4 Nd7 17.Bd5 Nb6 18.Bxb7 Qxb7 19.Bxb6 Qxb6+ 20.Kh1 Bg5 21.Nd5 Qa7 22.c3 Rc4 23.Rae1 Rc5 24.Qf2 Qb7 25.Rd1 Rc4 26.Rfe1 Re8 27.h4 Bf4 28.g5 a5 29.Qg2 Kh8 30.b3 Rc6 31.h5 Rec8 32.Rd3 b4

33.axb4 axb4 34.c4 Ra6 35.Red1 Rd8 36.Nxf4 exf4 37.Qf3 Re8 38.Rxd6 Raa8 39.R6d5 Qe7 40.Qxf4 Qxe4+ 41.Qxe4 Rxe4 42.Rd8+ Re8 43.Rxa8 Rxa8 44.Rd5 Rb8 45.Rb5, Black resigns.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

USATE 2017, Day 1

Playing for my team Ferrero Forever [pictured left: Jim West, Ron Saylo, Michael O'Connor, Joe Salvatore], I drew this game yesterday at the USATE tournament.

Round One: Pirc Defense

Michael Chu (USCF 1878) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Parsippany NJ 2/18/2017

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.Be3 c6 5.f3 b5 6.Qd2 Nbd7 7.O-O-O b4 8.Nb1 a5 9.g4 Nb6 10.h4 h5 11.g5 Nh7

12.f4 Bg4 13.Be2 Bxe2 14.Nxe2 d5 15.e5 e6 16.Qd3 Nc4 17.Nd2 Nxd2 18.Kxd2 Qb6 19.c4 Be7 20.cxd5 cxd5 21.Rc1 O-O 

22.Rc2 Rfc8 23.Rhc1 Qb7 24.Rxc8+ Rxc8 25.Rxc8+ Qxc8 26.Qc2 Qb7 27.Qa4 Qc7 28.Qc2, draw.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pix from Thursday Night Action 2/16/2017

On Thursday, I photographed the players during the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Thursday Night Action 2/16/2017

On Thursday, I finished with a score of 2-2-0 in the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Four: Sicilian Defense, Sozin Attack

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Garth Palmer (USCF 1765), Marshall Chess Club 2/16/2017

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Be7 8.Be3 a6 9.f4 O-O 10.Qf3 e5 11.Nf5 Bxf5 12.exf5 Qc7 13.O-O-O Na5

14.g4 Nxb3+ 15.axb3 Rac8 16.Rd2 Qa5 17.Kb1 Qc7 18.g5 Ne8 19.Nd5 Qd8 20.Rg1 f6 21.h4 Kh8 22.fxe5 fxe5 23.Qg4 b5 24.f6, Black resigns.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

My Book Review of "Active Pieces"

International master Jay Bonin and Greg Keener have co-authored Active Pieces (Mongoose Press, 2016, 254 pages).  The title of the book refers to the fact that Jay may very well be the most active chess player in the history of the planet!

On Monday, I picked up my copy at the post office on my way to give a private chess lesson.  I brought it along with me to my student's house where we spent the better part of two hours looking at Jay's games (including a win against me).

We were amazed at the brilliant tactical combinations that Jay played, many of these beginning with one of the "Bonin knights" (as players at the Marshall Chess Club call them).  

Maybe you will find the following anecdote as humorous as I do.  A few years ago, I went to a student's house on a Friday afternoon for his weekly lesson.  The conversation went like this.

Student: "Let me show a game that I played last night in the Thursday tournament against Jay Bonin."
Me: "Were you White or Black?"
Student: "I was White."
Me: "Is that the game where Bonin retreated his knight to b8?"
Student: "Oh, you've already seen the game."
Me: "No, I haven't seen the game."
Student: "Then how did you know that Bonin retreated his knight to b8?"
Me: "He always plays that move."

Okay, not always! It just seems that way.

The game that my Monday student and I liked the most was Jay's victory over Robert Byrne, one of three grandmasters that Jay defeated in the tournament (which I also participated in).  By coincidence, Jay and I generally arrived at the hotel around the same time and took the elevator up together.  Jokingly I would ask him: "Which grandmaster are you going to beat today?'  And he did!

From the Forward, written by chess legend FM Asa Hoffmann, I was surprised to learn that Jay claims never to have studied chess, other than playing through games from the Chess Informant!  

Asa fails to mention that Jay is an avid sports fan.  Like me, Jay lives and dies with the Mets and Jets. But unlike me, Jay also follows the Yankees and Giants.  A truly universal fan!

From Chapter 6 "The Endgame", this is my loss against Jay.  My h-pawn killed me!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Knockouts to Apes: Go Climb a Tree!

In week five of the PRO Chess League, the New Jersey Knockouts threw a monkey wrench into the plans of the Apeldoorn Apes by defeating the team from the Netherlands.

IM Alexander Katz used "gorilla" warfare tactics in checkmating IM Stefan Kuipers.

Monday, February 13, 2017

My Book Review of "The Rookie"

It would be "fake news" if I were to report to you that my purchasing of The Rookie (Bloomsbury, 2016, 408 pages) had nothing to do with my being mentioned in it.  

No sooner did the book arrive by mail than I did what every narcissistic person does: looked in the index for my name, found that I was on pages 249 and 250, and read these pages with a big smile on my face.  Then I put the book on the shelf where it collected dust for several weeks.  

Eventually I said to myself: since I bought the book, I might as well read it.  Which I did in fits and starts at first - a chapter here and a chapter there.  A week ago the book grabbed hold of me, and I finished it in a matter of days.  

Its subtitle is An Odyssey through Chess (and Life).  But The Rookie is more than just the story, often told with self-deprecating wit, of an amateur's attempt to attain chess mastery, . The book also chronicles the history of the game of chess and its decline since the glory days of the Fischer Boom in 1972.  

Along his journey (from England to Amsterdam to Moscow to New York City to Saint Louis to Chicago and back home to England again), the author finds time to touch base with - and interview - many of the biggest names in the chess world.  

These interviews were my favorite part of the book (well, except for maybe pages 249 and 250!).

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Rahway Quad 2/11/2017

On Saturday, I played this game in the quad at Chess Mates.

Round One: Philidor Counter Gambit

Ken Cohen (USCF 1200) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Rahway NJ 2/11/2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 f5 4.d3 c6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Qd2 h6 8.Bxf6 Bxf6 9.Bb3 Na6 10.a3 Qe7 11.O-O-O g5 12.Kb1 f4 13.h3 Nc5 14.Ba2 Be6 15.Bxe6 Nxe6 16.Qe2 O-O-O 17.Qe1 Kb8

18.Ne2 h5 19.d4 g4 20.hxg4 hxg4 21.Rxh8 Bxh8 22.Nfg1 Nxd4 23.Nxd4 exd4 24.f3 g3 25.Ne2 Qf6 26.Qb4 c5 27.Qb3 d5 28.exd5 Qe5 29.Ng1 Qxd5 30.Qxd5 Rxd5 31.Nh3 Rf5 32.Re1 Be5 33.Ng1 Kc7 34.Nh3 Kd6

35.Kc1 b5 36.b3 a5 37.a4 b4 38.Kd2 Kd5 39.Kd3 Rh5 40.Re2 Rh8 41.Re1 Rc8 42.Re4 c4+ 43.bxc4+ Rxc4 44.Nxf4+ Bxf4 45.Rxf4 Rc3+ 46.Kd2 b3 47.cxb3 Rxb3 48.Rg4 Rb2+ 49.Kd3 Rxg2 50.Rxd4+ Ke5

51.Rg4 Kf5 52.Ke3 Rg1 53.Ke2 Ra1 54.Rxg3 Rxa4 55.Rg8 Ra2+ 56.Ke3 Ra3+ 57.Ke2 a4 58.Ra8 Kf4 59.Ra7 Ra2+ 60.Ke1 Kxf3 61.Kd1 Ke3 62.Kc1 Kd3 63.Kb1 Ra3 64.Kb2 Rb3+ 65.Ka2 Rb4 66.Ka3 Rb1 67.Rxa4 Kc3

68.Ka2 Rb2+ 69.Ka1 Rb8 70.Ra3+ Kc2 71.Ra2+ Kc1 72.Ra7 Rc8 73.Ra2 Rc7 74.Rh2 Ra7+ 75.Ra2 Rb7 76.Rh2 Rb1+ 77.Ka2 Rb8 78.Rh1+ Kc2 79.Rh2+ Kc3 80.Rh3 Kd4 81.Rb3 Rxb3 82.Kxb3, draw.