Sunday, November 30, 2008

QC Grand Prix 11/30/2008

Today's Game 10's Galore #3 Grand Prix tournament became a double round robin when only five players showed up at the Dean of Chess Academy in Branchburg. Many of the regular participants, including IM Dean Ippolito, were playing in Philadelphia at the National Chess Congress.

The quick chess event was won by IM Richard Costigan with 9 points out of 10. In second and third places were NM Leroy Dubeck and myself, with 8 points and 5.5 points respectively. The field was rounded out by Atlantic Chess News editor Steve Ferrero with 4 points and by tournament director/player Ken Thomas [pictured above] with 3.5 points. Each player sat out one round with a bye, for which he received 2 full points.

Although the players were not required to keep score, I reconstructed the moves to my draw against Dubeck, which was my most memorable game of the tournament.

Round Five: Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Leroy Dubeck (USCF 2200), Branchburg NJ 11/30/2008

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Be3 O-O 10.f4 b4 11.Na4 Nxe4 12.f5 d5 13.fxe6 fxe6 14.Nf5 Bf6 15.Nb6 Bb7

16.Nxa8 exf5 17.Nb6 Bxb2 18.Nxd5 Kh8 19.Bd4 Bxa1 20.Qxa1 Nc3 21.Bxc3 bxc3 22.Nxc3 Qd4+ 23.Kh1 Nc6 24.Ne2 Qxa1 25.Rxa1 Ne5 26.Nf4 Rd8 27.h3 g5 28.Re1 Be4 29.Nd3 Nxd3 30.cxd3 Rxd3 31.Bc2 Bxg2+ 32.Kg1 Rd2 33.Bxf5 Bd5

34.a4 Kg7 35.Be6 Kf6 36.Bxd5 Rxd5 37.Rb1 a5 38.Rb6+ Kf5 39.Kf2 h5 40.Ke3 h4 41.Rb8 Ke5 42.Re8+ Kd6 43.Rd8+ Kc5 44.Rb8 Kc4 45.Ke4 Rc5 46.Rb1 Kc3 47.Rb5 Rc4+ 48.Ke3 Rxa4 49.Rxg5 Ra1 50.Rg4 a4 51.Rxh4 a3 52.Ra4 Kb3 53.Ra8 Rh1

54.Rb8+ Ka2 55.Kd2 Rxh3 56.Kc2 Rh2+ 57.Kc1 Ka1 58.Rb3 a2 59.Rb8 Rh1+ 60.Kc2 Rb1 61.Ra8 Rb7 62.Rh8 Rc7+ 63.Kb3 Rb7+ 64.Kc2 Rc7+ 65.Kb3, draw.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Viking Quads 11/29/2008

All three games of mine ended in draws at today's Viking quads in Somerset.

Round One: Sicilian Defense, Paulsen Variation

Jim West (USCF 2203) - Anna Matlin (USCF 1922), Somerset NJ 11/29/2008

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Bc5 6.Nb3 Be7 7.c4 d6 8.O-O b6 9.Nc3 Bb7 10.Be3 Nd7 11.f3 Ngf6 12.Rc1 h5 13.Qd2 h4 14.h3 Nh5 15.Rfd1 Nc5

16.Nxc5 bxc5 17.Bc2 Qc7 18.Ba4+ Bc6 19.Bxc6+ Qxc6 20.Bg5 Rd8 21.Bxe7 Kxe7 22.Re1 Nf6 23.Qg5 Kf8 24.Rcd1 Rh5 25.Qe3 Nd7 26.b3 Ne5 27.f4 Nd7 28.Rd2 e5 29.f5 Nf6 30.Red1 Rd7

31.Rd3 Rh6 32.Kf2 Nh5 33.Nd5 Nf6 34.Kf3 Rh5 35.R3d2 Nh7 36.Kf2 Rg5 37.Qe2 Nf6 38.Rd3 Nh5 39.Qd2 Ng3 40.Re1 Rh5 41.f6 g6 42.Rf3 Qb7 43.Qd3 Qc6 44.Qd2 Qb7 45.Qd3 Qc6, draw.

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

Round Two: King's Indian Attack

Guido Kampel (USCF 1961) - Jim West (USCF 2203), Somerset NJ 11/29/2008

1.Nf3 d6 2.g3 e5 3.d3 f5 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Nc3 O-O 7.Bd2 c6 8.a4 a5 9.e3 Na6 10.Ne2 e4 11.dxe4 fxe4 12.Ng5 d5 13.Nd4 Nc7 14.Bh3 Bxh3 15.Nxh3 Qd7 16.Nf4 Bd6

17.Kg2 Bxf4 18.exf4 c5 19.Nb3 b6 20.c3 Rae8 21.Be3 h5 22.h3 Qf5 23.Nc1 Ne6 24.Ne2 Rf7 25.b4 g5 26.bxc5 bxc5 27.fxg5 Nxg5 28.Bxg5 Qxg5 29.h4 Qe5 30.Nf4 Rg7 31.Qd2 d4 32.cxd4 cxd4

33.Rab1 e3 34.fxe3 dxe3 35.Qa2+ Kh8 36.Ne2 Qe4+ 37.Kh3 Qg4+ 38.Kh2 Qg6 39.Rb5 Ne4 40.Rf3 Rd8 41.Rxe3 Rd2 42.Qb3 Qg4 43.Rxe4 Rxe2+ 44.Rxe2 Qxe2+ 45.Kh1 Qf1+ 46.Kh2 Qf2+, draw.

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

Round Three: Sicilian Defense, Accelerated Fianchetto

Jim West (USCF 2203) - Vinko Rutar (USCF 2064), Somerset NJ 11/29/2008

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bg7 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 Qa5 8.O-O O-O 9.Nb3 Qc7 10.Be2 d6 11.f4 b6 12.Bf3 Bb7 13.Qd2 Na5 14.Nxa5 bxa5 15.Rad1 Qc4 16.Qd4 Qxd4 17.Bxd4 Rfd8 18.Rf2 Nd7

19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.e5 Bxf3 21.Rxf3 Nc5 22.exd6 exd6 23.b3 f5 24.Nb5 Kf6 25.Rxd6+ Rxd6 26.Nxd6 Rd8 27.Nc4 a4 28.bxa4 Rd4 29.Nb2 Nxa4 30.Nxa4 Rxa4 31.a3 Rc4 32.Rb3 Rxf4 33.Rb4 Ke5 34.Rb5+ Kf6 35.Rb4 Ke5 36.c4 Rd4 37.c5 Rd1+ 38.Kf2 Rd2+ 39.Kf3 Rc2

40.Ra4 Rxc5 41.Rxa7 g5 42.Re7+ Kf6 43.Re3 Rc4 44.Rb3 Rc2 45.h3 h5 46.Kg3 f4+ 47.Kf3 Kf5 48.Rb5+ Kg6 49.a4 Rc3+ 50.Kf2 Rc2+ 51.Kf3 Rc3+ 52.Kf2 Rc2+ 53.Kg1 Rc1+ 54.Kh2 Rc2 55.Kg1 Rc1+ 56.Kf2 Rc2+ 57.Kf3 Rc3+, draw.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Exciting Fajarowicz Draw @

My drawn game against Boris Privman in the Fajarowicz has been posted at Jim West Talks Chess.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"How Life Imitates Chess" and Vice Versa

Before reading How Life Imitates Chess [Bloomsbury, 2007, 224 pages], I was skeptical about Garry Kasparov's basic premise that life imitates chess. For me, the chessboard has always been a parallel universe, separate and apart from the real world. I was somewhat reassured when, in the preface, Garry answered this question "So, Mr. Kasparov, how does life imitate chess?" by saying, "It doesn't!" As the author further explains, his book is not about how learning chess can make you better at making decisions but "about the tools chess gave me to analyze and improve my thinking and my decisions in all situations."

Kasparov's book might have just as easily been titled How Chess Imitates Life or, as Yogi Berra might have called it, How Life Imitates Chess and Vice Versa. In an ingenious way, Garry gives example after example from real life where decisions were made that bear a striking resemblance to those made by chessplayers during a game. Or is it the other way around?

Some of these examples include those made by Winston Churchill, Emanuel Lasker, John Kerry, and the French cavalry at the Battle of Agincourt. George Washington and Ulysses Grant are also mentioned briefly.

But, for us chessplayers, the really interesting parts of the book occur when one of the all-time great world champions reveals what was going through his mind when he played against the likes of Anatoly Karpov and Tigran Petrosian. How did Garry respond to adversity when he lost three straight games to Karpov? How did Garry finally defeat Petrosian after losing his first two games against the Armenian? As an occasional chess teacher, I tell my students that how you handle defeat will determine how successful, or unsuccessful, you will be as a chessplayer. So it was instructive to me when Kasparov described how he had handled it.

In fact, all chess teachers might do well to have their students read this book. It explains how chess is a mixture of art and science, and the difference between tactics and strategy, in understandable ways. One word of caution: if you can't find this book in the chess section at your favorite bookstore, try looking in the business and investing area, which is where I found it. The reason for this is because, in addition to being a learning tool for chessplayers, Kasparov's book can also help those of you who are trying to get ahead in the business world. Kasparov cites bad business decisions made by Pan Am and AltaVista, as well as farsighted ones made by General Electric and Boeing.

A great deal of the book's easy readability is due to the fact that its English translation was done by Mig Greengard, who writes a popular blog by name of The Daily Dirt Chess Blog. Greengard's informal and casual style of writing prevents How Life Imitates Chess from becoming stodgy and boring. The chapters are the right length, neither too long nor short. They might make for good homework assignments, one a week, for your chess students.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Opening Report on PCG

From a database of more than 4 million games, this website has found 343 Philidor Counter Gambits. My 11 PCG's make me the most frequent player as Black. Tied for second place at 5 are Paul Morphy and Frederic Fournier.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

PCG Played by Max Lange

At Rybka Chess Community Forum, there is a recent comment which includes this Philidor Counter Gambit, won by Max Lange.

Dr. Beek - Max Lange, 1861

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.dxe5 fxe4 5.Ng5 d5 6.e6 Nh6 7.f3 Bc5 8.fxe4 O-O9.exd5 Rf5 10.Nc3 Re5+ 11.Nce4 Rxd5 12.Bd2 Bxe6 13.Nxe6 Qh4+ 14.Ng3 Re5+ 15.Be2 Rxe616.Bxh6 Na6 17.Bd2 Rd8 18.Qc1, Black announces mate in 7.

Although Fritz8 could not find the announced mate, it gives the winning variation for Black starting with 18...Rxe2+ 19.Kxe2 Qg4+ 20.Ke1 Re8+ 21.Be3 Bxe3 22.Qd1 Bd2+ 23.Kf2 Qd4+ 24.Kf1 Qc4+ 25.Kf2 Be3+ 26.Ke1 Nb4.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tournament at "Red Badge of Courage ReVisited"

On Saturday, November 29th, a chess tournament will be held at the Red Badge of Courage ReVisited exhibition in Newark . In addition to the cash prizes listed below, each winner will receive one of three handmade chess boards as a plaque.

The tournament will start at 12 noon. Registration will start at 11a.m.

To participate in the tournament, e-mail your name and contact phone number to

1st place $150.00
2nd place $100.00
3rd place $50.00

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Marshall Chess Club Swiss 11/22/2008 - 11/23/2008

Playing in the two-day schedule, I finished this weekend's Swiss tournament at the Marshall Chess Club with a score of 2 wins, 1 loss, and 1 half-point bye.

Here is my victory in the final round.

Round Four: Philidor Counter Gambit

Sarathi Ray (USCF 1993) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 11/23/2008

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.dxe5 fxe4 5.Ng5 d5 6.e6 Bc5 7.Qe2 Qe7 8.Nf7 Bxe6 9.Nxh8 Nf6 10.Nc3 c6 11.Bg5 Nbd7 12.O-O-O O-O-O 13.f3 Bb4 14.Bd2 Rxh8

15.h3 Nh5 16.Qf2 Bc5 17.Be3 Rf8 18.Bxc5 Nxc5 19.Be2 Qg5+ 20.Kb1 e3 21.Qg1 Ng3 22.Rd4 Nxh1 23.Qxh1 Rf4 24.Qd1 Qf6 25.Rxf4 Qxf4 26.Bf1 Na4 27.Ne2 Qb4 28.b3 Qd2 29.Qc1 Nc3+ 30.Nxc3 Qxc3 31.Bd3 d4

32.f4 g6 33.g4 Kc7 34.Qf1 Kb6 35.f5 Bf7 36.h4 a5 37.h5 gxh5 38.g5 a4 39.bxa4 Qb4+ 40.Kc1 Bxa2, White resigns.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

July-September 2008 "ACN"

On pages 16-17, you will find my column on the Nimzo-Indian Defense/Dutch Defense, in the July-September 2008 issue of Atlantic Chess News. Lev Zilbermintz's article, on the Newark Gambit in the Philidor Counter Gambit, appears on page 21.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fischer Photos in "Life"

Mark Weeks mentions that Google has put together an archive of photos from Life magazine. Here are some pix of Bobby Fischer. I am guessing that the subway passenger next to Fischer is Arthur Feuerstein.

Fischer at entrance to Playland arcade in New York [1962]

U.S. champion Fischer playing pinball [April 1962]

Fischer eating cotton candy [April 1962]

Fischer riding on subway [April 1962]

Fischer studying chess on New York subway [1962]

World champion Fischer on airplane with David Frost [1972]

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Rocky" with Rooks

Described by the BBC as "Rocky with rooks", chessboxing is fast becoming a worldwide phenomenon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Book Bazaar and Bizarre Book

At PaperBackSwap, one of the books that you can exchange for is my second edition The Dynamic Philidor Counter-Gambit. Another of the books being offered is Philidor Countergambit, which not only has the same publisher as my first edition but almost the exact title. Apparently the authors, or editors, have the same last name as mine! Is this book for real?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hey, Bobby Fischer Wannabe!

This television commercial for Rubik's World has the memorable line, "Hey, Bobby Fischer wannabe!"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pix from Hamilton Quads 11/15/2008

Here are some photos from Saturday's quads in Hamilton.

In quad one, you will see NM Boris Privman with the black pieces against NM Mark Kernighan, in the first round.

Next, there is a picture of NM Dragan Milovanovic playing Black against Kernighan in round three, while Privman watches.

Finally, there is a photo of quad two where Vinko Rutar is defending against David Grasso.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hamilton Quads 11/15/2008

I drew two minor piece endings at the Hamilton quads today. In each game, I had the knight against my opponent's bishop.

Round Two: Petroff Defense

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Mark Kernighan (USCF 2221), Hamilton NJ 11/15/2008

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nd7 7.O-O Be7 8.c4 O-O 9.cxd5 Nef6 10.Nc3 Nb6 11.Qc2 h6 12.Bd2 Nbxd5 13.Nxd5 Nxd5 14.a3 Be6 15.Rac1 Bd6 16.Rfe1 Nf4

17.Bf1 Qf6 18.Bxf4 Qxf4 19.Qe4 Qxe4 20.Rxe4 Rfd8 21.Bc4 Bxc4 22.Rxc4 Re8 23.Rxe8+ Rxe8 24.Kf1 f6 25.Rc2 Kf7 26.Re2 Rxe2 27.Kxe2 Ke6 28.Kd3 b5 29.g3 Be7 30.Nd2 f5 31.Nb1 a6 32.Nc3 c5

33.dxc5 Bxc5 34.f3 g5 35.h3 Bd6 36.g4 Be5 37.Nd1 Bg7 38.b3 Bf8 39.a4 bxa4 40.bxa4 fxg4 41.hxg4 Kd5 42.Ne3+ Kc5 43.Kc3 Bg7+ 44.Kb3 Bf8 45.Nf5 Kd5 46.Kc3 Ke5 47.Nd4 Bc5 48.Ne2 Kd5 49.Kd3 Bf8 50.Ng3 Ke5

51.Ne4 Kf4 52.Ke2 Bb4 53.Nf2 Bf8 54.Nd3+ Kg3 55.Ke3 h5 56.gxh5 g4 57.fxg4 Kxg4 58.Kd4 Kxh5 59.Nc5 a5 60.Kc4 Kg6 61.Nd3 Kf7 62.Kb5 Bb4 63.Nxb4 axb4 64.Kxb4 Ke7 65.Kb5 Kd7 66.Kb6 Kc8, draw.

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

Round Three: Budapest Gambit, Fajarowicz Variation

Boris Privman (USCF 2210) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Hamilton NJ 11/15/2008

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.c4 e5 4.dxe5 Ne4 5.Nbd2 Bf5 6.Qa4+ Nc6 7.Nxe4 Bxe4 8.exd6 Bxf3 9.gxf3 Bxd6 10.Bd2 Qe7 11.O-O-O O-O-O 12.e3 Kb8 13.f4 Bb4

14.Bg2 Bxd2+ 15.Rxd2 Rxd2 16.Kxd2 Rd8+ 17.Kc1 Nb4 18.Rd1 Nd3+ 19.Kc2 Qb4 20.Qb3 Qxb3+ 21.Kxb3 Nc5+ 22.Kc2 Rxd1 23.Kxd1 Nd3 24.Bd5 f6 25.b3 Nxf2+ 26.Ke2 Ng4 27.Bg8 Nxh2 28.Bxh7 Ng4

29.e4 c6 30.c5 Nh6 31.Kf3 Kc7 32.Bf5 Nxf5 33.exf5 Kd7 34.b4 Ke7 35.Kg4 Kf8 36.Kh4 Ke7 37.Kg4 Kf8 38.Kh4, draw.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Staunton - Morphy

In reality, it was a consultation game involving Staunton and Owen as White versus Morphy and Barnes as Black. The opening was a sharp line in the Philidor Counter Gambit. Recently it was featured as the "Game of the Day" at

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ziping 3-0 at Westfield Quads

With a perfect score of 3-0, Ziping Liu won quad six at Westfield on Sunday, advancing his USCF rating to 1737. Here is his victory from the first round.

Round One: King's Indian Attack

Ziping Liu (USCF 1594) - Diego Roldan (USCF 1568), Westfield NJ 11/9/2008

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.g3 Bc5 4.Bg2 d6 5.d3 h6 6.c3 Bg4 7.a4 a5 8.Nbd2 Nf6 9.h3 Bh5 10.Qc2 Bg6 11.O-O O-O 12.Nc4 Nh5 13.Be3 Bxe3 14.Nxe3 Nf6

15.Nh4 Bh7 16.Nhf5 d5 17.exd5 Nxd5 18.Nxh6+ gxh6 19.Bxd5 Qd7 20.Ng4 Qxd5 21.Nf6+ Kh8 22.Nxd5 Rac8 23.Nf6 Bg6 24.f4 exf4 25.Rxf4 Ne5 26.Ne4 Rcd8 27.d4 Nc4 28.Qe2 Nb6

29.Rh4 Kg7 30.Qe3 Rh8 31.Qf4 Nd5 32.Qe5+ f6 33.Nxf6 Nxf6 34.Rf1 Rd6 35.Qe7+ Bf7 36.Rg4+, Black resigns.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Analysis of Ng - West

At his Contre Gambit Philidor blog, Frederic Fournier suggests that fear of the PCG explains why Andrew Ng was content to play for a draw against me on Sunday. Fournier gives 16.Qg3 Nh5 17.Qh2 Nxf4 18.Qxf4 Qe7 with compensation for Black. Now 19.Qxc7 Rc8 looks too risky for White. Play would likely have continued 19.O-O-O Rf8, with a roughly equal position.

An interesting queen sacrifice might have occurred after 16.O-O-O when it is too dangerous for Black to play 16...hxg5 17.hxg5+ Nh7 18.g6 Bh6 19.Rxh6 Kg7 20.Rxh7+ Kxg6 21.Rdh1 winning for White. Instead Black should play 16...Bg4 when both White's queen and rook are threatened simultaneously.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Game Over

At 7 o'clock this evening, the Marshall Chess Club will feature a special screening of the film Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine, in which Garry claims that his match against the IBM computer Deep Blue was "fixed" in favor of the machine.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Brooklyn Master Wins $3.75 Million at Poker

Brooklyn chess master Ylon Schwartz (USCF 2304) has finished in fourth place at the World Series of Poker, earning more than $3.75 million.

This calls to mind "The Professor" Howie Lederer, who used to play chess at the Bar Point in the 1980's.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Westfield Quads 11/9/2008

At today's quads in Westfield, I drew the following game.

Round Three: Philidor Counter Gambit

Andrew Ng (USCF 2190) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Westfield NJ 11/9/2008

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Nxe5 dxe4 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Nxg6 Nf6 9.Qe5+ Kf7 10.Bc4+ Kg7 11.Nxh8 Nc6 12.Qg5+ Kxh8

13.c3 Bg7 14.h4 Bd7 15.Bf4 h6 16.Qg6 Be8 17.Qf5 Bd7 18.Qg6 Be8 19.Qf5 Bd7 20.Qg6, draw.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Fajarowicz Gambit

Here is a recent post at on the Fajarowicz Gambit, giving a brief history of this line in the Budapest Defense.

Friday, November 7, 2008

QC in NJ

Tournament director Ken Thomas has been running a series of Grand Prix quick chess tournaments, at the Dean of Chess Academy in Branchburg. Here is Atlantic Chess News editor Steve Ferrero's account of the first one, held on October 19th.

Last Sunday's QC tournament was won by IM Dean Ippolito, with a perfect score of 7-0-0.

The Game 10's Galore #3 event is scheduled for November 30th.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Meet the Mets of the USCL

GM Joel Benjamin tries his best to explain the late-season collapse of the New Jersey Knockouts, in the U.S. Chess League.

Like the Mets of baseball, the NJKO have been eliminated from the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, two years in a row!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Kasparov on Obama

Here are Garry Kasparov's views on President-elect Barack Obama.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Marshall CC Photo Gallery

On Sunday, I arrived early at the Marshall Chess Club for the game/30 event because I had anticipated heavier traffic, due to the New York City marathon, than actually happened.

Consequently, I found the club virtually empty when I arrived. This afforded me the opportunity to snap these photos of the club's interior, as well as a shot of the rear courtyard seen through a window.

There are also a couple of later pix, showing the players in the tournament.