Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Birthday Boy

Yesterday Fabiano Caruana, America's youngest grandmaster, turned 15 years of age.

Monday, July 30, 2007

U. S. Open in Progress

The 2007 United States Open chess tournament is underway in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Marshall Chess Club Swiss 7/29/2007

There was a game/30 Swiss today, in which I finished 2-1-2, at the Marshall Chess Club. The following were my best efforts.

Round Two: Budapest Gambit, Fajarowicz Variation

Ilye Figler (USCF 2313) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 7/29/2007

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.Qc3 O-O 10.Rd1 Re8 11.Rd5 b6 12.e3 Bb7 13.Bd3 Rad8 14.h4 Nb8

15.b4 c5 16.Rh3 cxb4 17.axb4 Bxd5 18.cxd5 Rc8 19.Qd4 d6 20.e6 fxe6 21.dxe6 Nc6 22.Bxh7+ Kh8 23.Qe4 d5 24.Qxd5 Qxb4+ 25.Kf1 Qa5 26.Qe4 Qa1+ 27.Ne1 Ne5 28.f4 Rc1 29.fxe5 Rxe1+ 30.Kf2 Rf1+ 31.Kg3 Qe1+ 32.Kg4 Qd1+ 33.Kg5 Qd8+ 34.Kg4 Qd1+ 35.Kg5 Qd8+, draw.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Round Four: Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Nelson Farber (USCF 1923), Marshall Chess Club 7/29/2007

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Bb7 9.Re1 b4 10.Nd5 exd5 11.Ba4+ Nbd7 12.exd5+ Be7 13.Nf5 O-O 14.Nxe7+ Kh8 15.Bg5 Qa5

16.Bxd7 Nxd7 17.Bf4 Qc5 18.Nf5 Qxd5 19.Qxd5 Bxd5 20.Bxd6 Rfe8 21.Bxb4 Nf6 22.Bc3 Rad8 23.a3 Be4 24.Bxf6 gxf6 25.Ne3 Rd2 26.Rad1 Red8 27.Rxd2 Rxd2 28.Rc1 f5 29.Nf1 Rxc2 30.Rxc2 Bxc2 31.Ne3 Bb1 32.b4 Bd3 33.f4 Kg7 34.Kf2 Be4 35.g3 Kf6 36.Ke2 Ke6 37.Kd2 Kd6 38.Kc3 f6 39.Kd4 h5 40.h3 Kc6 41.g4 hxg4 42.hxg4 Kb5 43.gxf5 Bb1 44.Nd5 Kc6 45.Nxf6 Bxf5 46.Nd5 Kb5 47.Nc3+ Kc6 48.Ke5 Bh3 49.a4 Bf1 50.f5 Bc4 51.Kf6 Kd7 52.b5 axb5 53.axb5 Kc7 54.Ke7, Black resigns.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

West - Truong

Congratulations to newly-elected USCF Executive Board member Paul Truong! Recently I played this game against Truong in a game/30 quad at the Polgar Chess Center, run by grandmaster Susan Polgar who also was elected to the Executive Board.

Round Two: Sicilian Defense

Jim West (USCF 2223) - Paul Truong (USCF 2283), Polgar Chess Center 12/3/2006

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 b5 7.Bb3 Bb7

Usually Black plays ...e6 before bringing the bishop to b7.

8.f3 Nbd7 9.Be3 Nc5 10.Qd2 e6 11.O-O-O Rc8 12.Kb1 Be7 13.g4 Nxb3 14.axb3?! d5!

White should have captured with 14.Nxb3 to restrain this move. In the game, Black could have been slightly better by 16...b4.

15.g5 Nh5 16.exd5 Bxd5?! 17.Nxd5 Qxd5 18.Ne2 Qxd2 19.Rxd2 Bc5 20.Bxc5 Rxc5 21.Rhd1 O-O

22.h4 Rf5 23.Rd3 g6 24.Rh1 Rc8 25.c3 Rcc5 26.b4 Rc4 27.b3 Rc7 28.Kb2 Kg7 29.Ra1 Nf4 30.Nxf4 Rxf4, draw.

A likely conclusion might have been 31.Rxa6 Rxh4 32.Rb6 Rh2+ 33.Kb1 Ra7 34.Rxb5 Rh2+ 35.Kb1 Rh1+ with a repetition of position.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Humans Beat Computer at Poker

How about this for a "man bites dog" story?

Although computers have surpassed humans at chess, checkers, and backgammon, we still have the upper hand when it comes to poker.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Marshall Swindle

Ordinarily I would not post a victory against an eight-year-old kid. But when he later becomes America's youngest grandmaster, I make an exception. This Philidor Counter Gambit was played at the Marshall Chess Club. The time control was game/60.

Fabiano Caruana (USCF 1780) - Jim West (USCF 2228), Marshall Chess Club 3/25/2001

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 f5 4.d4 Nc6 5.Ng5 Nh6 6.d5 Nb8

In light of White's next move, it may have been better for Black to interpolate 6...f4 before retreating with 7...Nb8.

7.f4! fxe4 8.O-O Bg4?!

Worthy of consideration is 8...Ng4!?.

9.Qd2 Nf5 10.h3 e3 11.Qd3 e2 12.Re1 h6 13.hxg4 hxg5 14.Qxf5 c6 15.dxc6??

White wins easily after 15.Qg6+.

15...Qb6+, White resigns. 

This forgettable game makes both players look bad: me, for getting outplayed in my favorite defense; and Caruana, for allowing a swindle in a winning position.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

108th Annual U.S. Open

The 2007 United States Open chess tournament begins this Saturday, July 28th, at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ferrero Plays PCG

At this year's U.S. Amateur Team East tournament, Atlantic Chess News editor Steve Ferrero won in round two with the Philidor Counter Gambit. Ferrero was my teammate and captain on Insufficient Losing Chances. Actually, the game started out as a Latvian Gambit before transposing into the PCG.

Eric Mattelson (USCF 1771) - Steve Ferrero (USCF 1886), USATE 2/17/2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Nc3 d6 4.d4 fxe4 5.Nxe4 exd4

Ferrero avoids the complications following 5...d5 6.Nxe5 or 6.Neg5.

6.Qxd4 Nf6 7.Bg5 Be7 8.O-O-O O-O 9.Nxf6+

Another line, giving White a slight plus, is 9.Bc4+ Kh8 10.Nxf6 Nc6 11.Qe4 Bxf6 12.h4.

9...Bxf6 10.Bxf6 Qxf6 11.Bc4+ Be6 12.Rhe1 Bxc4 13.Qxc4+ Qf7 14.Qxf7+ Rxf7 15.Re8+ Rf8 16.Rde1 Nc6 17.Rxa8 Rxa8

Perhaps White has a tiny advantage in this position.

18.c3 h6 19.b4 a6 20.Kc2 Kf7 21.Kd3 b5 22.Nd4 Ne5+ 23.Kc2 g5 24.Rf1 Nc4 25.Re1 Ne5 26.Rf1 Re8 27.f4 gxf4 28.Rxf4+ Kg6 29.Kb3 h5 30.a4 c6

Now the position is equal. But, after White's next move, it is Black who stands slightly better.

31.Re4?! Rf8 32.Ne6 Rf2 33.Rd4?

White needed to play 33.Re2, relying on 33...Rxe2 34.Nf4+ followed by 35.Nxe2.

33...Nc4 34.Rxc4 bxc4+ 35.Kxc4 Rf7 36.Nd8 Rc7 37.Ne6 Rc8

Black has a clear advantage.

38.g3 Kf5 39.Ng7+ Kg4 40.h3+ Kxg3 41.Nxh5+ Kxh3 42.Ng7 Kg4 43.Ne6 Kf5 44.Nd4+ Ke4 45.Nc2 d5+ 46.Kc5 Kd3 47.Nd4 Kxc3 48.Nxc6 d4, White resigns.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Zlotnikov - Zaichik

Here an international master outplays a grandmaster in a rook-and-minor-piece ending, from round six of the New Jersey Futurity International 2007.

IM Mikhail Zlotnikov (FIDE 2367) - GM Gennadi Zaichik (FIDE 2473), NJ Futurity International 7/10/2007

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.e3 c5 4.Nbd2 Nc6 5.c3 cxd4 6.exd4 Bg4 7.h3 Bh5 8.Be2

Eighth move alternatives for White include 8.Qa4, 8.Bb5, and 8.Bd3. The position is similar to the exchange variation of the Caro-Kann.

8...Qc7 9.0–0 e6 10.Ne5 Nxe5

Black should have swapped bishops by 10...Bxe2 11.Qxe2 before exchanging on e5.

11.Bxh5 Nc6 12.Be2 Bd6 13.Bd3 0–0 14.Nf3 Rab8 15.Qe2 Rfe8 16.Re1 e5

Black would like to start a minority attack, but 16...b5? loses a pawn to 17.Bxb5.

17.dxe5 Nxe5 18.Nxe5 Bxe5 19.Be3 Bh2+ 20.Kh1 Bf4 21.Qf3 Bxe3 22.Rxe3 Qb6 23.Rb1 Rxe3 24.Qxe3 Qxe3 25.fxe3 Re8 26.Re1 Kf8

Now both players have a weak center pawn.

27.Re2 Re5 28.Kg1 Ke7 29.Kf2 Nd7 30.g4 h5 31.Bc2 Nf6 32.Kf3 Kd6 33.Rd2 g6 34.Rd4 Nh7 35.gxh5 Rxh5 36.h4 Nf8?

Black should have played 36...Nf6 with an equal position.

37.c4 Ke7 38.cxd5 Kd6 39.Rf4 f5 40.e4 fxe4+ 41.Bxe4 Nd7

Now White forces a winning rook-and-pawn endgame.

42.Bxg6! Ne5+ 43.Kg3 Nxg6 44.Rf6+ Kd7 45.Rxg6 Rxd5 46.Rg7+ Kc6 47.Rf7 Rd8 48.h5, Black resigns.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Know When to Fold Them

Computers have already surpassed human opponents at chess, checkers, and backgammon.

Now they are trying their hand at poker.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Cherry Hill Swiss 7/21/2007

At today's game/30 Swiss in Cherry Hill, I finished with a record of 1-1-3.

Two of my draws were as Black against masters.

Round Two: Philidor Counter Gambit

Leroy Dubeck (USCF 2242) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Cherry Hill NJ 7/21/2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 d6 3.Nf3 f5 4.exf5 Bxf5 5.d4 e4 6.Qe2 d5 7.Qb5+ Nc6 8.Ne5 Nge7 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Bxe7 Bxe7 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Qxc6+ Kf7 13.Nb5 Bd6 14.Nxd6+ cxd6 15.Be2 Qe7 16.O-O Rhc8 17.Qa4 Kg8

18.c3 Qg5 19.f4 Qh6 20.Qc2 Rf8 21.Qd2 Rf7 22.Qe3 Rb8 23.b3 Rbf8 24.g3 Bh3
25.Rfe1 Qg6 26.Bf1 Qe6 27.Bg2 g5 28.Rf1 gxf4 29.Rxf4 Rxf4 30.gxf4 Bxg2 31.Kxg2 Qg4+ 32.Qg3 Rxf4 33.Rf1 Qxg3+ 34.hxg3 Rxf1 35.Kxf1 Kf7 36.Ke2 Ke6 37.Ke3 Kf5 38.c4 dxc4 39.bxc4 h5 40.a4 a5 41.c5 d5 42.Kf2 Ke6 43.Ke3 Kf5 44.Kf2, draw.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Round Three: Sicilian Defense

Boris Baczynskyj (USCF 2232) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Cherry Hill NJ 7/21/2007

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.O-O-O Nbd7 10.Bd3 b5 11.Rhe1 Bb7 12.Qg3 O-O-O 13.Bxf6 Nxf6 14.Qxg7 Rdf8 15.Qg3 b4 16.Na4 Rhg8 17.Qf2 Nd7

18.c4 Qa5 19.Bc2 Nc5 20.Nb3 Qxa4 21.Nxc5 Qxa2 22.Bb3 Qa5 23.Nxb7 Kxb7 24.e5 Rd8 25.Qf3+ Kb6 26.g3 dxe5 27.Rxe5 Qa1+ 28.Kc2 Qxd1+ 29.Qxd1 Rxd1 30.Kxd1 Bf6 31.Rh5 Bxb2 32.Kc2 Bc3 33.Ba4 f5 34.Rh6 Rg6 35.Rxh7 e5 36.fxe5 Bxe5 37.Rf7 Rf6 38.Rxf6+ Bxf6 39.Bd7 Kc5 40.Kb3 a5 41.Be6 Be5 42.Bxf5 a4+ 43.Kxa4 Kxc4 44.Be6+ Kc3 45.Bf7 Bd6 46.Kb5 Kd4 47.Kc6 Be5 48.Bg6 Ke3 49.Kd5 Bxg3 50.hxg3 Kf3, draw.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Checkers Solved

A computer program Chinook has solved the game of checkers. With proper play, the game should end in a draw. It took Chinook eighteen years to arrive at this conclusion.

There is no need for chess players to worry. It would take eons for computers to solve chess.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Month by Weeks

In recent days, two of my blog posts have received mention by Mark Weeks in his review of chess blogs from the month of June.

The first was USCF Executive Board Election.

And the second was Michael Goeller Interviews Me. I would like to correct an error. In the interview, I mistakenly told Goeller that Ken Potts was the New Jersey state champion in 1985. According to the NJSCF website, it was actually Orest Popovych. Ken Potts won the title in 1980. My memory is good, but short!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


International master Dean Ippolito earns his living as a chess teacher. Here Ippolito gives a lesson in tactical chess, from round two of the New Jersey Futurity International 2007.

IM Dean Ippolito (FIDE 2395)-NM Mackenzie Molner (FIDE 2293), NJ Futurity International 7/8/2007

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.d4 c5 5.Bg2 0–0 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.dxc5 Qa5 8.0–0 Qxc5 9.b3 d6 10.Bb2 Qh5 11.Qd2 Bh3 12.Rad1

In hindsight, it may have been better to develop the other rook with 12.Rfd1 Bxg2 13.Kxg2, as in Kavalek-Ghinda, Bochum 1981 which White won in 43 moves.

12...Bh6 13.Qe1 Ne5 14.Nd5 Nfg4?

Correct for Black is 14...Nxd5 with an equal position.

15.Nxe7+ Kg7 16.Rxd6 f6 17.Nh4 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Rae8 19.h3 Rxe7 20.hxg4 Nxg4 21.Rd5 Re5 22.Rd7+ Kh8 23.Bxe5 fxe5 24.Qb4?!

This move lets Black off the hook. After 24.Rxb7, White has an easy win.

24...Ne3+! 25.Kg1 Qxe2 26.Qxf8+ Bxf8 27.fxe3 Bc5 28.Rff7 Qxe3+?!

Now it is Black's turn to go wrong. He should have played the simple 28...Kg8 when a drawn ending results from 29.Ng2 Bxe3+ 30.Nxe3 Qxe3+.

29.Kg2 Qg1+ 30.Kf3 Qe3+ 31.Kg4 Qe4+ 32.Kh3 Qh1+ 33.Kg4 Qe4+ 34.Kg5 Kg8 35.Rg7+ Kh8 36.Rxh7+, Black resigns.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Very Good Year

It has been a very good year for FIDE master Tommy Bartell. Before the New Jersey Futurity International 2007, he had already beaten grandmasters Yudasin (USATE) and Shulman (World Open). Here he defeats one more grandmaster in round eight of the Parsippany event.

GM Magesh Panchanathan (FIDE 2486) - FM Tommy Bartell (FIDE 2398), NJ Futurity International 7/11/2007

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 c5 4.0-0 Nc6 5.d4 Bf5 6.b3 e6 7.Bb2 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Be4!?

Usually Black plays 8...Nxd4.

9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.Bxe4 Nxe4 11.Nd2 Nf6 12.c4 Be7 13.Qc2 0-0 14.Rfd1 Qb6 15.e3 a5 16.Bd4 Bc5 17.Bxf6

Although there is nothing wrong with this move, it seems ill-advised in light of what follows. White's knight keeps moving around aimlessly, trying to find a good square.

17...gxf6 18.Rab1 f5 19.Nf3 Be7 20.Ne5 Qc7 21.Nd3 Rfc8 22.Nb2 Bf6 23.Na4 Rab8 24.Rbc1 Qd8 25.Qe2 Qf8 26.Rc2 Rd8 27.Kg2 Rd7 28.Qf3 Rbd8 29.Rdc1 Qa3 30.g4 Bg5?! 31.gxf5 d4

Black should have pushed this pawn one move earlier.

32.Rg1 Kh8 33.Kh1?!

Instead, White could have obtained a huge advantage by 33.exd4 Rxd4 34.fxe6 fxe6 35.c5!

33...Qe7 34.fxe6 fxe6 35.exd4 Rxd4 36.Re2 Rh4 37.Rg4 Rf8 38.Qg3 Rxg4 39.Qxg4 Rf4 40.Qg3 Qf6 41.Nc3 Bh4 42.Qd3 Rf3 43.Re3 Rxf2 44.Nd1 Rd2, White resigns.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Brilliancy Prize

The brilliancy prize at the New Jersey Futurity International 2007 was awarded to Mackenzie Molner for winning the following game in round four.

IM Mikhail Zlotnikov (FIDE 2367) - NM Mackenzie Molner (FIDE 2293), NJ Futurity International 7/9/2007

1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 c6 4.Nf3 e4 5.Nd4 d5 6.cxd5 Qxd5 7.Nc2 Qh5 8.h3 Qg6 9.Nc3 Bd6 10.Ne3 0-0 11.Qc2 Re8 12.b3 Na6 13.a3 Nc7 14.Bb2?!

Zlotnikov should have chased the dark-squared bishop with 14.Nc4 Bf8, as in Johansen-Steedman, Norwegian Championship 2006, won by White in 40 moves.

14...Ncd5 15.Nexd5 cxd5 16.Nb5?

This move loses, but it is difficult to suggest anything better as 16.O-O-O runs into 16...Bf5, 17...Rfc8, and 18...b5.

16...Bxg3! 17.fxg3 Qxg3+ 18.Kf1 e3 19.dxe3 Ne4 20.Bxe4 Rxe4 21.Bd4 Bxh3+ 22.Rxh3 Qxh3+ 23.Ke1 Qh1+ 24.Kf2 Qh2+ 25.Kf1 Rxd4, White resigns.

After 26.exd4 Qh1+ 27.Kf2 Qxa1, Black will be up an exchange and a pawn.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Kanevskiy - West

This game was played earlier today in a game/30 Swiss at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Two: Budapest Defense, Fajarowicz Variation

Boris Kanevskiy (USCF 2011) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 7/15/2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.Nd2 Bb4 5.Ngf3 Nc6 6.e3 Qe7 7.Bd3 Nxd2 8.Bxd2 Bxd2+ 9.Qxd2 Nxe5 10.Nxe5 Qxe5 11.Qc2 h6 12.c5 O-O 13.O-O b6 14.Rac1 Bb7 15.cxb6 cxb6 16.Qd2 Rac8

17.a3 Qg5 18.f3 Rxc1 19.Qxc1 Rc8 20.Qe1 h5 21.Qe2 h4 22.Kh1 h3 23.gxh3 Re8 24.e4 Rc8 25.Rg1 Rc1 26.Rxc1 Qxc1+ 27.Kg2 Qg5+ 28.Kf2 Qh4+ 29.Kg2 Qg5+ 30.Kf2 Qh4+, draw.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hamilton Quads 7/14/2007

At today's Hamilton Chess Club Quads, I competed in quad one where I finished at 1-1-1. The following is my best game.

Round One: Caro-Kann Defense

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Mark Kernighan (USCF 2200), Hamilton Quad 7/14/2007

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Nf6 6.Bf4 Qb6 7.Qc2 Bg4 8.Nd2 e6 9.Ngf3 Be7 10.O-O Nh5 11.Be3 g6 12.Rae1 Bf5 13.Bxf5 gxf5

14.Nc4 dxc4 15.d5 Qa6 16.dxc6 Qxc6 17.Nd4 Qd5 18.Qa4+ Kf8 19.Bh6+ Kg8 20.Qd1 Nf6 21.f3 Bf8 22.Qd2 Ne8 23.Qg5+ Bg7 24.f4 Qd8 25.Qg3 Qf6 26.Bg5 Qg6 27.Qf3 Nd6 28.Nc6 Bf8 29.Ne5 Qg7 30.Nd7 Ne4 31.Rxe4 fxe4 32.Qxe4 f6 33.Qxe6+ Qf7 34.Nxf6+ Kg7 35.Bh6+ Kg6 36.f5+ Kxh6 37.Qxf7 Bc5+ 38.Kh1 Raf8 39.Qh5+ Kg7 40.Nd7, Black resigns.