Friday, May 31, 2013

Recap of Chess Class 5/25/2013

On Saturday morning, I gave a one hour class at for Columbia Academy on "Piece Values" in chess.

What many players fail to realize is that the values of the pieces are not fixed.  Just because a pawn is worth one point at the start of the game does not mean that its value can't increase or decrease as the game progresses.  This is true for all the chess pieces and is the essence of positional chess.  As opposed to the tactician who knows only how to win by having more quantity of pieces, the positional player wins by having better quality of pieces, even if it means sacrificing material in order to accomplish this goal.

Think of opening a savings account at the bank with $100.  A year later, you want your initial deposit to have grown in value, let's say to $105; and you definitely don't want your money to have decreased to $95!  All of the positional maneuvering in chess, which beginners don't understand, is done for the purpose of obtaining better quality or, in other words, to grow the value of the chess pieces from their initial values at the start of the game.  

To illustrate how this is accomplished, at the demonstration board, I showed a recent game of mine as White against a player with a USCF 2100 rating.  My strategy from move one was simple: to promote my e-pawn to the queening square, by the indirect route of e4 to d5 and eventually to d8, at which point my opponent resigned.  

There were several obstacles in my path.  First, I needed to weaken the d5 square.  Next, I placed my knight on d5, where it was too strong.  When my opponent exchanged his knight for mine, I recaptured with the e-pawn.  Now, his pawn on d6 was in the way.  I removed it by a pawn fork at c5, forcing Black to capture with his d6 pawn, thereby opening a path for my newly created passed pawn on d5.  Then, I used a discovered check and the threat of a knight fork to advance the passer to the d7 square.  Needless to say, my opponent blockaded at d8 with one of his rooks.  Finally, how to divert the enemy rook from its blockading square?  Why not a mating attack! To prevent checkmate, Black had to move his rook from d8, enabling my d-pawn to queen and win the game.  

In this illustrative game, I used tactics (such as forks and discovered check) not to gain a material advantage, but to carry out my simple strategy of queening the e-pawn, which moved to e4 to open the game.  Simple chess!  

Before the class ended, I gave the solution to the homework assignment, involving three different tactical weapons: a double attack, followed by a fork, made possible by a pin.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tournament Results at Collins School

On Wednesday, the spring 2013 session concluded at Collins Elementary School, in the after school enrichment class on chess that I coach through Enrich and Grow Academy.

Once again, for two straight sessions, Peter Falchetta won the tournament.  Taking second honors, Sam Israel finished a half point behind.  Lucas Zhu and Kevin Chen ended in third and fourth, respectively.

Each of the seventeen students received a copy of Chess Life for Kids magazine.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Frederic Fournier Analyzes Hari - West

At Contre Gambit Philidor, Frederic Fournier analyzes my game as Black against Yasasvi Hari.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Marshall Chess Club Swiss 5/27/2013

On Monday, I finished with a score of 1-1-4 in the game/30 tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round One: Philidor Counter Gambit

Grant Wang (USCF 1582) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 5/27/2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 f5 4.d3 c6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.O-O f4 7.d4 Qc7 8.Bb3 Bg4 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Nbd7 12.Bd2 O-O-O 13.Rfd1 g5 14.Ne2 h5 

15.Kf1 g4 16.hxg4 hxg4 17.Qd3 Nc5 18.Qc4 Rh1+ 19.Ng1 Rd4 20.Qc3 Nfxe4 21.Qa5 Nxd2+, White resigns.

          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Round Four: Philidor Counter Gambit

Ed Kopiecki (USCF 2028) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 5/27/2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Bc4 exd4 5.exf5 d5 6.Qe2+ Qe7 7.Bxd5 Qxe2+ 8.Kxe2 Nf6 9.Bb3 c5 10.Re1 Bxf5 11.Kf1+ Be7 12.Bf4 Nc6 13.Na3 O-O-O

14.Nb5 Nd5 15.Bxd5 Rxd5 16.Nxa7+ Nxa7 17.Rxe7 Rd7 18.Rae1 Bxc2 19.Re8+ Rxe8 20.Rxe8+ Rd8 21.Re7 Rd7 22.Re8+ Rd8 23.Re7 Rd7 24.Re8+, draw.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Marshall Chess Club Swiss 5/26/2013

On Sunday, I finished with a score of 2-1-1 in the game/45 tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round One: Philidor Counter Gambit

Justin Chen (USCF 1803) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 5/26/2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Ng3 e4 7.Ne5 Nf6 8.Bg5 Bd6 9.Nh5 O-O

10.c4 Bb4+ 11.Bd2 Bxd2+ 12.Kxd2 Nxh5 13.Qxh5 Rxf2+ 14.Ke3 Rf5 15.Qd1 Qg5+ 16.Ke2 Rxe5 17.Qb3 Nc6 18.Qc3 Bg4+ 19.Ke1 Rf5 20.cxd5 Qf4, White resigns.

          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Round Four: Philidor Counter Gambit

Ed Kopiecki (USCF 2037) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 5/26/2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.dxe5 dxe5 6.Qxd8+ Nxd8 7.Nxe5 fxe4 8.Nc3 Nf6 9.Bg5 Bd6 10.f4 Ne6

11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Ng4 f5 13.Ne3 O-O 14.O-O Bc5 15.Rae1 Kh8 16.Kh1 Bxe3 17.Rxe3 Nd4 18.Bb3 c6 19.Ne2 c5 20.Rd1 Nxb3 21.Rxb3 b6 22.Kg1 Be6 23.Ra3 a5 24.Kf2 Rad8 25.Nc3 Rxd1 26.Nxd1 Rd8 27.Ne3 h5 28.h4 Kg7 29.Ke2 Kf6 30.c4 Rd4 31.Rc3 a4

32.b3 axb3 33.axb3 Rd8 34.g3 Ra8 35.Rc2 Ra1 36.Nd1 Ra3 37.Rb2 Rxb3 38.Rxb3 Bxc4+ 39.Ke3 Bxb3 40.Nc3 Ke6 41.g4 hxg4 42.h5 Kf6 43.Nb5 Bf7 44.h6 Kg6 45.Nd6 Be6 46.Nxe4 fxe4 47.f5+ Bxf5 48.Kf4 Kxh6, White resigns.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Marshall Chess Club Swiss 5/25/2013

On Saturday, I finished with a score of 2-1-1 in the game/60 tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round One: Sicilian Defense, Lowenthal Variation

Jim West (USCF 2201) - Wesley Wang (USCF 1735), Marshall Chess Club 5/25/2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 a6 6.Nd6+ Bxd6 7.Qxd6 Qf6 8.Qd1 Qg6 9.Nc3 Nge7 10.h4 Nd4 11.Be3 Nec6 12.h5 Qf6 13.Nd5 Qd8 14.c3 Ne6

15.h6 g6 16.Qd2 d6 17.Bb6 Qg5 18.Nc7+, Black resigns.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Speed Chess for Sixteen

Bennett Foddy [pictured] has created a game of speed chess that requires sixteen players.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Free Chess Lesson Tomorrow Morning

Tomorrow, from 9am to 10am, I will give a free chess lesson on "Piece Values" at the website of Columbia Academy.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Video from Tournament in Lanoka Harbor

Watch this video from last month's Christopher M. Blozen chess tournament in Lanoka Harbor NJ.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Analysis of English Opening by Moldovan

Blogger John Moldovan [pictured] analyzes a game that he played against me in 1991 at the Kenilworth Chess Club.

Round One: English Opening, Dutch Defense

John Moldovan (USCF 1781) - Jim West (USCF 2247), Kenilworth NJ 11/5/1991

1.Nf3 f5

1...c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e3 Bg7 5.d4 d6 6.Be2 Bg4 7.O-O Nf6 8.d5 Bxf3 9.Bxf3 Ne5 10.Be2 O-O 11.f4 Ned7 12.Bd2 Ne8, Moldovan-West, Kenilworth NJ 11/10/1990; 13.Bd3+/- (Fritz8).

2.g3 b6 3.Bg2 Bb7 4.O-O Nf6 5.c4

5.d4 e6 6.c4 Be7 7.b3 O-O 8.Nc3 Ne4 9.Qc2 d6 10.Ne1 Nc6!? (10...d5=)
       a) 11.Bxe4 fxe4 (11...Nb4?! 12.Bxb7! Nxc2 13.Nxc2 Rb8 14.Bc6+/-) 12.Qxe4+/=;
       b) 11,e3?! Nb4 12.Qb2 c5 13.a3 Na6 14.Nd3 Qd7, Moldovan-West, Kenilworth NJ 4/13/1991; 15.f3= (Fritz8);
5.d3 e6 6.e4 fxe4 7.Ng5 Be7 8.Nc3 O-O 9.Ngxe4 Nxe4 10.Nxe4 Nc6=, Euwe-Tartakower, Bad Kissingen 1928.

5...e6 6.b3 Be7 7.Bb2 O-O 8.d3

8.Nc3 Qe8 9.e3 a6 10.Ne2 c5 11.d3, Pontius Courtney-Moldovan, Springfield NJ 8/28/2005; 11...Nc6=.

8...a5 9.Nbd2 Na6 10.a3 Qe8 11.Qc2 Nc5 12.Rab1

A bit slow.  An immediate 12.b4 is better, e.g. 12...axb4 13.axb4 Na6 14.b5 Nc5 15.Rxa8 Qxa8 16.Ra1+/=.

12...Qh5 13.Bc3 g5 14.b4 axb4 15.Bxb4?


15...g4 16.Ne1 Bxg2 17.Nxg2 Qf7 18.f3 Qg7 19.e4??

Correct is 19.d4 Nb7 20.fxg4 Bxb4 21.axb4 Nxg4 22.e3 Nd6+/=.  Now Black gets a clear advantage.

19...gxf3 20.Rxf3 fxe4 21.dxe4

At this point, with my opponent in a lengthy think that must have lasted twenty minutes, it became obvious he was onto something.  I was able to foresee his reply and prepare the entire sequence of moves through my 30.gxf4, a total of 18 plies.


Played because White would otherwise have "the better middlegame" (West).  But 21...Ng4-+ is winning.

22.Rxf8+ Rxf8 23.Nxe4 Qd4+ 24.Nf2 Ne4 25.Nf4

25.Qb2! Qxf2+ (25...Bc5? 26.Bxc5 Qxc5 27.Rf1+/-) 26.Qxf2 Nxf2 27.Bxe7 Nh3+ 28.Kh1 Nf2+ 29.Kg1 Nh3+ is =.

25...Nxf2 26.Qxf2

Fearing discovered check, I overlooked 26.Bxe7 Ng4+ 27.Kh1 Ne3 28.Qb2 Qe4+ 29.Kg1 Nxc4 30.Qa1 Qe3+ 31.Kg2 Qe4+ 32.Kg1 Qe3+ 33.Kg2=.

26...Qxf2+ 27.Kxf2 Bxb4 28.axb4 e5 29.Ke3 exf4+ 30.gxf4

30...Ra8 31.Ke4

White has only a slight edge here because Black's rook is too active.  Unfortunately, I was in "major upset" fantasy land, believing that my passed f-pawn gave me winning chances.

31...Ra2 32.Rd1 d6 33.Rg1+

Beginning an unbelievably rapid decline.  33.h3 is still +/= (Fritz8), e.g. 33...Ra4 34.Rb1 c5 35.bxc5 Rxc4+ 36.Kd3 Rxc5 37.Rxb6 Rh5 38.Rxd6 Rxh3+ 39.Ke4 Rg3 40.Kf5.

33...Kf7 34.h4

One square too far.  Now my rook can't protect the h-pawn.

34...Rh2 35.Rg5?

Better is 35.Ra1 with the idea of 35...Rxh4 36.Ra7 or 35...Ke7 36.Rg1 Kf6 37.Rg8 Rxh4 38.Rf8+ Kg6 39.Rf5.

35...Rxh4 36.c5?

36.Rf5+ Ke6 37.Rf8=/+.

36...dxc5 37.bxc5 Rh6 38.cxb6 cxb6 39.Rb5 Rc6 40.Kf5??

40.Rh5 h6 41.Rb5 Re6+ 42.Kd4 Kf6 43.f5 Rc6=/+ or 40.Kf3 Ke7 41.Kg4 Kd7 42.f5 h6 43.Rb3 Rf6 44.Kf4 Ke7 45.Kg4 Kd7=/+ (Fritz8).

40...Rc5+ 41.Rxc5 bxc5 42.Ke5 h5, White resigns.

The Kenilworth Chess Club held five 2nd Saturday Swisses in the fall of 1990 and spring of 1991.  But, during the spring 1991 event, an onlooker leaned on a ping pong table, knocking it over.  My opponent complained to the New Jersey State Chess Federation, and there were no more tournaments.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"NY Times" Obituary of GM Lothar Schmid

In The New York Times, chess columnist Dylan McClain writes the obituary of grandmaster Lothar Schmid [pictured with Bobby Fischer].

Monday, May 20, 2013

Marshall May Open 5/19/2013

Playing in the one day schedule at the Marshall Chess Club, I finished the tournament on Sunday with a score of 3-1-0.

Round Three: Philidor Counter Gambit

Benjamin Levy (USCF 1808) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 5/19/2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 f5 4.d3 c6 5.Bxg8 Rxg8 6.Ng5 h6 7.Nf3 Na6 8.c3 Be7 9.exf5 Bxf5 10.Qb3 Kf8 11.d4 Qd7 12.Be3 e4 13.Nfd2 d5 14.Na3 Bxa3 15.Qxa3+ Qe7 16.Qb3 Kf7 17.h3 Rge8 18.g4 Bg6 19.g5 h5 20.O-O-O Kg8 21.Rde1 Kh7

22.f3 exf3 23.Nxf3 Qe4 24.Nd2 Qd3 25.Bf4 b5 26.Re5 Rxe5 27.Bxe5 Rf8 28.c4 bxc4 29.Qxd3 cxd3 30.a3 c5 31.Rf1 Rc8 32.Kb1 c4 33.Rc1 Nb8 34.Ka1 Nc6 35.Re1 Re8 36.Nb1 Nxd4 37.Ka2 Nf3, White resigns.

          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Round Four: Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation

Jim West (USCF 2200) - George Berg (USCF 2100), Marshall Chess Club 5/19/2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.f4 Bb7 9.f5 e5 10.Nde2 Nbd7 11.Bg5 Be7 12.Bxf6 Nxf6 13.Qd3 O-O 14.O-O Rc8

15.Ng3 b4 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 Bg5 18.Ne4 f6 19.a4 bxa3 20.Rxa3 Qb6+ 21.Kh1 a5 22.Rfa1 Ra8 23.c4 Ra7 24.Qc3 Rfa8 25.c5 dxc5 26.Nxc5 Bd2 27.d6+ Kh8 28.Qxd2 Qxc5 29.d7 Qd4 30.Rd1 Qxd2 31.Rxd2 Rd8 32.Be6 Raa8 33.Rc3 g5 34.Kg1 Kg7 35.g4 Kf8

36.h4 h6 37.hxg5 hxg5 38.Rh2 Ke7 39.Rh7+ Kd6 40.Rd3+ Kc5 41.Rh2 Kb6 42.Rh6 Kc5 43.Rc3+ Kd4 44.Rc4+ Kd3 45.Rh3+ Kd2 46.Rh2+ Ke3 47.Rh3+ Kd2 48.Rcc3 Rh8 49.Rcd3+ Kc2 50.Rxh8 Rxh8 51.d8=Q, Black resigns.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Kasparov on Education

Inspired by Phiona Mutesi's success, Garry Kasparov discusses the power of education.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Rahway Quad 5/12/2013

On Sunday, I drew this game at Chess Mates.

Round Two: King's Indian Defense, Saemisch Variation

John Moldovan (USCF 1811) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Rahway NJ 5/12/2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 O-O 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Nbd7 8.g4 Nc5 9.f3 a5 10.h4 h5 11.g5 Nfd7

12.Nh3 Na6 13.Nf2 Ndc5 14.b3 Bd7 15.a3 b6 16.Rb1 f5 17.b4 axb4 18.axb4 Nb7 19.Bf1 fxe4 20.fxe4 Qe7 21.Bh3 Bxh3 22.Rxh3 Qd7 23.Rg3, draw.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Pix from Rahway Grand Prix 5/11/2013

On Saturday, I snapped these photos during the grand prix tournament at Chess Mates.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Optical Character Recognition for Chess

Dr. Gerhard Roth has written an Android app, called ChessOcr, that does optical character recognition (OCR) on chess figures.

It uses the camera in an Android device to convert a picture of a chess figure in a book or magazine into a fen string, basically doing OCR on the figure, which can be transferred easily to a chess app.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

More Awards for "Brooklyn Castle"

The documentary film Brooklyn Castle has been adjudged "Best Generation Next" at the Documentary Edge Awards and "Best Documentary" at the Golden Trailer Awards.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Erez Klein 1976-2013

FIDE master Erez Klein passed away on April 24th.

Round Three: Benko Gambit

Erez Klein (USCF 1905) - Robert Seltzer (USCF 2045), Boston MA 8/30/1987

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Nf3 Bb7 5.a4 bxc4 6.Nc3 g6 7.e4 d6 8.Bxc4 Bg7 9.O-O O-O 10.Bf4 Nbd7 

11.a5 Ng4 12.a6 Bc8 13.Bb5 Rb8 14.Qe2 Qb6 15.Rfb1 Nge5 16.Nd2 f5 17.exf5 Rxf5 18.Be3 Qd8 19.f4 Nf7 20.g4 Bxc3 21.gxf5 Bg7 22.fxg6 hxg6 23.Bd3 Nf6 24.Bxg6 Nh6 25.Qg2 Nfg4 26.Nf1 Qb6 27.Qe4 Bxa6 28.Qxe7 Nxe3 29.Nxe3 c4 30.Kh1 Bb7 31.Rg1 Kh8

32.Be8 Qd4 33.Rg5 Qf6 34.Qe4 Qf8 35.Ba4 Ba8 36.Bc2 Qg8 37.Rxg7 Qxg7 38.Rg1 Qxg1+ 39.Kxg1 Rg8+ 40.Kf2 Rg7 41.Qe8+ Rg8 42.Qe7 Rg7 43.Qf8+, Black resigns.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Norowitz Breaks Even at U.S. Championship

Tied with GM Sam Shankland and ahead of eight other grandmasters, IM-elect Yaacov Norowitz [pictured] of New Jersey finished the U.S. Championship with an even score of 2-2-5.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Rahway Grand Prix 5/11/2013

Yesterday I finished with a score of 2-0-2 in the grand prix tournament at Chess Mates.

Round One: Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation

Joseph Salvatore (USCF 1705) - Jim West (USCF 2204), Rahway NJ 5/11/2013

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.Re1 O-O 10.Qf3 Qd7 11.Qg3 Nc6 12.Nf3 Kh8 13.Be3 Qc7 14.Rad1 Bb7

15.Ng5 Qc8 16.f4 h6 17.Nf3 Na5 18.e5 dxe5 19.fxe5 Nh7 20.Kh1 Nxb3 21.cxb3 Bc5 22.Bxc5 Qxc5 23.Ne4 Bxe4 24.Rxe4 Rad8 25.Qe1 Rxd1 26.Qxd1 Rc8 27.Re1 Nf8 28.Qd6 Qxd6, draw.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rahway Quad 5/5/2013

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

Round Three: Larsen's Opening

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Lev Zilbermintz (USCF 2132), Rahway NJ 5/5/2013

1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 d5 3.Bxe5 d4 4.e3 Nc6 5.Bb5 dxe3 6.dxe3 Qxd1+ 7.Kxd1 Bg4+ 8.Kc1 O-O-O 9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.Nf3 Nf6 11.Nbd2 Ba3+ 12.Bb2 Bd6 13.h3 Bd7 14.Nc4 Ne4 15.Nxd6+ cxd6 16.Rf1 f6 17.Nd2 Nxd2 18.Kxd2 Be6 19.Rad1 Rd7 20.Kc1 d5

21.Bd4 Kb7 22.Bc5 Bf5 23.g4 Bg6 24.Rd4 a5 25.Rfd1 Rhe8 26.Ra4 Ra8 27.f4 f5, draw.