Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Chess is Fun" Series by Jon Edwards

The 10th U.S. correspondence chess champion Jon Edwards has authored a series of 20 "Chess is Fun" e-books, all available for the Kindle and the Nook, at just $2.99 or less. The e-books are advertised as "a better, less expensive way to learn" with "solid instruction, critical lines, fresh ideas, annotations move by move, complete games. The plentiful use of diagrams make these among the first chess books that you can read without a board to help."

"How to Read a Chess Book" (just 99 cents)
"Five Steps to Victory"
"King and Pawn Endings"
"The Bishop's Opening"
"The French Winawer"
"The Caro-Kann: Bronstein-Larsen"
"The Sicilian Pelikan"
"Cartier's Chess Challenge #1"
"Caro-Kann Classical"
"Pawn Masses"
"Introductions to Chess Strategy"
"Basic Checkmates"
"The Fried Liver Attack"
"The Two Knights' Defense"
"The French Classical" [pictured above, Kindle edition]
"The Sicilian Dragon"
"Irregular Openings"
"Cartier's Chess Challenge #2"
"The French MacCutcheon"
"Anastasia's Checkmate"

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thursday Night Action 12/29/2011

Last night, I drew this game in a tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Two: Pirc Defense

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Anatoly Tsinker (USCF 2025), Marshall Chess Club 12/29/2011

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 c5 6.dxc5 Qa5 7.Bd3 Qxc5 8.Qe2 Bg4 9.Be3 Qa5 10.O-O Nc6 11.h3 Bxf3 12.Qxf3 O-O 13.a3 Nd7

14.Bd2 Qb6+ 15.Kh1 Qxb2 16.Rfb1 Bxc3 17.Rxb2 Bxb2 18.Ra2 Bg7 19.Bc1 Nd4 20.Qf2 Rfc8 21.Bb2 Nc6 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.Rb2 Nc5 24.e5 Nxd3 25.cxd3 dxe5 26.Rxb7 Rab8 27.Rxb8 Rxb8 28.fxe5 Rb5 29.d4 Rd5 30.Qf3 e6

31.h4 h5 32.g4 hxg4 33.Qf6+ Kg8 34.h5 gxh5 35.Qg5+ Kf8 36.Qh6+ Ke8 37.Qh8+ Kd7 38.Qxh5 f5 39.Qf7+ Ne7 40.Qf8 a5 41.Qa8 f4 42.Qb7+ Ke8 43.Qa8+ Kf7 44.Qh8 Rxd4 45.Qf6+ Ke8 46.Qxe6 Rd1+ 47.Kg2 Rd2+ 48.Kf1 g3 49.Qh6 Rh2 50.Qa6 f3

51.Qa8+ Kd7 52.Qb7+ Ke6 53.Qa6+ Kf5 54.Qd3+ Kxe5 55.Qe3+ Kd6 56.Qf4+ Kc5 57.Qxg3 Rc2 58.Qxf3 Nd5 59.Qf8+ Kd4 60.Qg7+ Kc5 61.Qf8+ Kd4 62.Qg7+, draw.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Zilbermintz on 5.Bxg8 in Newark Gambit

Round Three: Philidor Counter Gambit

Roger Pedersen (USCF 1900) - Lev Zilbermintz (USCF 2096), West Orange Grand Prix, Game/100, 11/22/2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Bc4 b5 5.Bxg8

Alejandro Melchor gives this move a ?! while saying 5.Bb3 merits a !. I disagree, as both moves can be handled over the board against human players.

5...Rxg8 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Qxd8+ Kxd8 8.Bg5+ Be7 9.Bxe7+? Kxe7 10.exf5 Bxf5 11.Nxe5 Kf6 12.Nd3 Nc6 13.O-O Nd4 14.Nc3 c6! 15.Rfd1 Rad8

16.Nc5 Bxc2 17.N3e4+ Kg6 18.Rd2 Bxe4 19.Nxe4 Rge8 20.f3 Rxe4 21.fxe4 Nf3+ 22.gxf3 Rxd2 23.Rc1 Rxb2 24.Rxc6+ Kg5, draw.

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

Round Five: Philidor Counter Gambit

Ian Mangion (USCF 2016) - Lev Zilbermintz (USCF 2096), West Orange Grand Prix, Game/90, 12/13/2011

To begin with, the tournament started late because the room was being used for another function. This was reflected in the subtraction of some time off the clock for both players.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Bc4 b5 5.Bxg8 Rxg8 6.dxe5 dxe5 7 Qe2!?

My opponent surprised me by playing this move instead of the more widely played 7.Qxd8+ (see Pedersen-Zilbermintz, above). Thankfully, I did some analysis of 7.Qe2 with my computer at home! Thus, I was not caught completely off guard when my opponent played his move. After some thinking, I played...


Now my opponent decided to get his king to safety and bring the heavy artillery into play.

8.O-O Ba6!

Really, my only chance for tactics here. The threat is 9...b4, skewering the queen to the rook on f1. Of course, the move is also deeply psychological. Mangion went into a long think here. After about ten minutes, he played...

9.Rd1 b4 10.Qe3 Qe7 11.Qb3 Qf7 12.Qa4+ Qd7 13.Qb3 Qf7, draw.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Frederic Fournier Analyzes Two PCG Games

At Contre Gambit Philidor, Frederic Fournier analyzes my recent games as Black against Ed Kopiecki and Nicole Zlotchevsky.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Brooklyn Castle" Funded Successfully

Hi, backers:

Thank you all so much for supporting Brooklyn Castle! We reached our goal yesterday afternoon just in time for our 11pm deadline. The last 60 days have been exciting, suspenseful, surprising, and insightful -- pretty much an encapsulated version of the last 3 years of making this movie!

The climax came yesterday morning when we received an e-mail from Elliott Neff who runs Chess4Life. He was so moved by the project that he and his brother Raphael, owner of The Chess House, pledged $5,000, taking us over the finish line just in time. Elliott and Raphael have a passion and love for chess and believe deeply in the potential chess has to change kids' lives. We look forward to working with Elliott and Raphael on partnership ideas for our screening campaign.

We also just received an inquiry e-mail from a board member of Change for Kids, a non-profit organization that "believes every student deserves a quality education, and every school needs the proper resources to deliver it." Change for Kids also wants to talk to us about ways we might be able to work together -- another great potential education partner for our campaign.

A film's fundraising campaign is, of course, about raising the money; but it's also about something just as important -- reaching out to all of you and building our audience, finding new partners, and discovering how Brooklyn Castle can have an impact out in the world.

Tomorrow we head back into the edit to put the finishing touches on our Tribeca Film Festival submission, and we are energized and inspired to get to work finishing the best movie possible.

Thanks, you guys!! We will keep you posted on our progress over the next few months.

And please keep in touch with us at

Happy New Year!

Katie, Nelson, and Brian

Monday, December 26, 2011

Marshall Chess Club Swiss 12/25/2011

On Sunday, I finished with a score of 2-0-2 in a game/45 Swiss at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round One: Caro-Kann Defense, Exchange Variation

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Kevin Marin (USCF 1650), Marshall Chess Club 12/25/2011

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Qc7 6.Ne2 Bg4 7.f3 Bd7 8.Na3 a6 9.Nc2 e5 10.dxe5 Nxe5 11.Ncd4 Nxd3+ 12.Qxd3 Bd6 13.h3 Ne7 14.Be3 Ng6 15.O-O O-O 16.Rad1 Rfe8

17.Bf2 Ne5 18.Qc2 Nc4 19.Qc1 b5 20.b3 Ne5 21.f4 Nc6 22.Qd2 Re4 23.Nxc6 Bxc6 24.Bd4 Rae8 25.Rde1 Qe7 26.Rf2 Bxf4 27.Rxf4 Rxe2 28.Rxe2 Qxe2 29.Qxe2 Rxe2 30.Rf2 Re4 31.b4 f6 32.Kf1 Kf7

33.Re2 Ke6 34.Rxe4 dxe4 35.Ke2 Kf5 36.Ke3 h5 37.g3 Ke6 38.h4 Kf5 39.Bc5 g5 40.hxg5 fxg5 41.Be7 Bb7 42.a3 Bc6 43.Bd8 Bb7 44.Be7 Bc6 45.Bd8 Bb7, draw.

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

Round Two: Philidor Counter Gambit

Nicole Zlotchevsky (USCF 1505) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 12/25/2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.dxe5 fxe4 5.Ng5 d5 6.e6 Bc5 7.Qd2 Nf6 8.Nf7 Qe7 9.Nxh8 Bxe6 10.Qf4 Nc6 11.Bb5 O-O-O 12.Bxc6 bxc6 13.c3 Rxh8 14.b4 Bb6 15.Be3 Rf8

16.h3 Ng4 17.Qg3 Bxe3 18.fxe3 Nf2 19.Rf1 Nd3+ 20.Ke2 Rxf1 21.Kxf1 Qf6+ 22.Kg1 h5 23.h4 Bg4 24.Nd2 Qxc3 25.Nb3 Qe5 26.Qxe5 Nxe5 27.Nc5 Nd3

28.Nxd3 exd3 29.Kf2 d2 30.g3 d1=Q 31.Rxd1 Bxd1 32.Ke1 Bg4 33.Kd2 Kd7 34.Kd3 Kd6 35.Kd4 Bf5 36.a3 a6 37.a4 Bc2 38.a5 Bf5 39.Kc3 Ke5 40.Kd2, White forfeits.

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

Round Three: Philidor Defense

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Boris Privman (USCF 2205), Marshall Chess Club 12/25/2011

1.e4 d6 2.d4 e5 3.Nf3 Nd7 4.Bc4 c6 5.O-O Be7 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Ng5 Bxg5 8.Qh5 Qe7 9.Bxg5 Ngf6 10.Qh4 Nc5

11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Nc3 Be6 13.Bxe6 Nxe6 14.Ne2 O-O-O 15.Rad1 Ng5 16.Qg4+ Qe6 17.Qxe6+ fxe6 18.f3 Rxd1, draw.

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

Round Four: Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation

Wesley Hellner (USCF 1910) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 12/25/2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.O-O O-O 9.Be3 Be6 10.Bf3 b5

11.Qd3 Bc4 12.Qd2 Bxf1 13.Rxf1 Nbd7 14.Rd1 Nb6 15.Qc1 Nc4 16.Bg5 b4 17.Ne2 Qc7 18.Ng3 a5 19.Nd2 Nxd2 20.Qxd2 g6 21.Be2 Rfc8 22.Bd3 Rab8 23.Qe3 a4 24.Qf3 Qd8 25.b3 axb3 26.axb3 Ne8 27.Bh6 Ng7 28.Bxg7 Kxg7

29.Bc4 Rxc4 30.bxc4 Qc8 31.Qd3 Qc5 32.Nf1 Rc8 33.Ne3 Bg5 34.Rf1 Bxe3 35.fxe3 Rc6 36.Qe2 Qxc4 37.Qf3 Qe6 38.Rf2 b3 39.cxb3 Rc1+ 40.Rf1 Rxf1+ 41.Qxf1 Qxb3 42.Qf3 Qb1+ 43.Kf2 f5 44.exf5 Qxf5 45.e4 Qxf3+ 46.Kxf3 Kf6

47.h4 h5 48.g3 Ke6 49.Ke3 d5 50.Kd3 dxe4+ 51.Kxe4 Kd6 52.Kd3 Kd5 53.Ke3 e4 54.Ke2 Kd4 55.Kd2 e3+ 56.Ke2 Ke4, White resigns.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Marshall Chess Club Swiss 12/24/2011

On Saturday, I drew this game at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Four: Philidor Counter Gambit

Ed Kopiecki (USCF 1997) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 12/24/2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.dxe5 dxe5 6.Qxd8+ Nxd8 7.Nc3 fxe4 8.Nxe5 Nf6 9.Bg5 Bd6 10.f4 Be6 11.O-O-O O-O

12.Rhe1 Bxc4 13.Nxc4 Bb4 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Rxe4 Bxc3 16.bxc3 Nc6 17.Re3 Rad8 18.Red3 Rde8 19.Rg3+ Kf7 20.Ne3 Rd8 21.Rd3 Ne7 22.Rh3 Kg7 23.Rg3+ Kf7 24.Rh3 Kg7 25.Rg3+ Kf7 26.Rh3, draw.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Chess Mates" Winter Camp

Next week, Chess Mates in Rahway will be holding a winter camp. The chief instructor is grandmaster Leonid Yudasin.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Winter 2012 Teaching Schedule

The following is my winter 2012 teaching schedule, in the after school chess program conducted by Enrich and Grow Academy:

Mondays, at Shongum School in Randolph;

Tuesdays, at Lafayette School in Chatham;

Wednesdays, at Collins School in Livingston;

Thursdays, at Wyoming School in Millburn;

Fridays, at Briarwood School in Florham Park.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

E-mail from "Brooklyn Castle"

Yesterday I received this e-mail from Brooklyn Castle.

Dear Jim:

5 Days Left to Reach Our Kickstarter Goal

As the year winds down, so does our Kickstarter fundraising campaign. We have until 11:08pm EST on Monday, December 26th, to reach our goal of $20,000. If we don't reach $20k by then, sadly, we don’t get to keep any of the pledges that have already been made. That's the way Kickstarter works – it's all or nothing, and we are currently at $12,256.

Please, if you can, help us get over the finish line by making a pledge today. Visit:

Google + I.S. 318 Chess Team + Brooklyn Castle = Unbeatable Field Trip.

The I.S. 318 chess team went head to head with Google's own chess brainiacs on December 2nd and left with a 45-9 win.

“It just reinforced our belief that our kids are the intellectual equals of anyone. They’re proud of what they’ve accomplished and they’re proud to show it off.” - John Galvin, chess coach.
(more from the NY Times SchoolBook article here).

For more photos from our field trip and a peek inside what might be the coolest place to work, check out the entire Google album at:
(Don't forget to click the "like" button!).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pix from Hamilton Quads 12/17/2011

On Saturday, I took these pictures at the Hamilton quads.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chess Novel by GM Andy Soltis

The chess novel Los Voraces 2019, by grandmaster Andy Soltis, is reviewed in The Boston Globe.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gary Sheaf - Vrithik Umapathy

A couple of months ago, I started giving chess lessons to seven-year-old Vrithik Umapathy [pictured, playing Black against Gary Sheaf].

At the time, Vrithik was rated below 900. Already Vrithik's unofficial rating has climbed above 1300.

On Saturday, he won the following game at the quads in Hamilton.

Round Two

Gary Sheaf (USCF 1311) - Vrithik Umapathy (USCF 937), Hamilton NJ 12/17/2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 d6 4.O-O Be6 5.d3 Be7 6.Nbd2 Nf6 7.Re1 Qd7 8.Nf1 O-O 9.Bg5 a6

10.Bd5 b5 11.Bb3 Na5 12.Bxe6 fxe6 13.c3 Nc6 14.a4 b4 15.d4 bxc3 16.bxc3 exd4 17.Nxd4 Rab8 18.Qd3 Nxd4 19.cxd4 Ra8 20.Reb1 Ng4 21.Be3 e5 22.d5 Qe8 23.f3 Nf6 24.Ng3 Nh5 25.Nf5 g6 26.Nxe7+ Qxe7

27.Rf1 Qh4 28.Bf2 Qg5 29.Qe3 Nf4 30.Bg3 Nh3+, White resigns.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hamilton Quads 12/17/2011

Yesterday I drew all three games at the Hamilton quads. These two were nearly losses.

Round One: Dutch Defense

Dragan Milovanovic (USCF 2261) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Hamilton NJ 12/17/2011

1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 e6 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Nf3 Qe7 8.Qd2 b6 9.O-O-O Bb7 10.Qf4 O-O 11.Qg4 Nc6 12.a3 Nd8 13.Bd3 Nf7

14.h4 Nh6 15.Qh5 Nf5 16.Neg5 g6 17.Qg4 h5 18.Qf4 Bxf3 19.Nxf3 c5 20.Bxf5 exf5 21.Rhe1 Qg7 22.g3 Rfe8 23.Qd6 cxd4 24.Rxe8+ Rxe8 25.Nxd4 Re4 26.c3 Bxd4 27.cxd4 Kh7 28.Kb1 Qe7 29.Qxe7+ Rxe7 30.Rc1 d5 31.Rc8 Kg7

32.Rd8 Re2 33.Rd7+ Kf6 34.Rxa7 Rxf2 35.Rb7 f4 36.gxf4 Rxf4 37.Rxb6+ Kf5 38.a4 Rxh4 39.a5 Rxd4 40.b3 Re4 41.a6 Re8 42.b4 h4 43.Rb7 h3 44.b5 h2 45.Rh7 Rb8 46.Rxh2 Rxb5+ 47.Rb2 Ra5 48.Ra2 Rb5+ 49.Rb2 Ra5 50.Ra2, draw.

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

Round Two: Petroff Defense

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Mark Kernighan (USCF 2249), Hamilton NJ 12/17/2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d3 Nf6 6.d4 Be7 7.Bd3 O-O 8.O-O Bg4 9.Re1 Nc6 10.c3 Qd7 11.Nbd2 Rae8 12,Nf1 Bf5 13.Ng3 Bxd3 14.Qxd3 Bd8 15.Bd2 a6

16.Kf1 Ne7 17.Re2 Ng6 18.Rae1 Qa4 19.a3 Rxe2 20.Rxe2 Re8 21.Rxe8+ Qxe8 22.Qe2 Qa4 23.Ne1 d5 24.f3 Kf8 25.Nd3 Nd7 26.Nf4 Qc2 27.Nxg6+ hxg6 28.Be1 Qb3 29.f4 Nb6 30.f5 Nc4 31.fxg6 fxg6 32.Qf3+ Bf6 33.Ne2 Qxb2 34.Nf4 Qb1 35.Kf2 c6 36.Qg4 Qf5

37.Kg3 Qxg4+ 38.Kxg4 Kf7 39.Nd3 Nxa3 40.Nc5 Nc4 41.Nxb7 a5 42.Nc5 Be7 43.Na4 Ke6 44.Kf3 Kd7 45.Ke2 Ba3 46.Kd3 Kc7 47.g4 Kb7 48.Bf2 Ka6 49.h3 Kb5 50.Nc5 Bxc5 51.dxc5 a4 52.Kc2 g5 53.Bd4 g6 54.Bf6 Kxc5 55.Bxg5 Kd6 56.h4 Ke6 57.h5 Kf7

58.Bf4 Kf6 59.h6 Kf7 60.g5 Kg8 61.Kb1 Kh7 62.Kc2 c5 63.Bb8 a3 64.Kb3 d4 65.cxd4 cxd4 66.Ba7 d3 67.Bd4 Nd2+ 68.Kc3 Nf3 69.Bf6 d2 70.Kc2 a2 71.Bg7 Nxg5 72.Kxd2 Ne6 73.Bf6 g5 74.Kc2 g4 75.Kb2 g3 76.Bh4 g2 77.Bf2 Kxh6 78.Kxa2 Kg5

79.Kb3 Nf4 80.Kc2 Kg4 81.Kd2 Kf3 82.Ba7 Ng6 83.Bb6 Ne5 84.Ba7 Ng4 85.Bg1 Nf2 86.Ke1 Nd3+ 87.Kd2 Nf4 88.Ba7 Kg3 89.Be3 Nd5 90.Ba7 Kf3 91.Bc5 Nf6 92.Ba7, draw.