Monday, August 31, 2015

e-mail from Ginny Hoffmann


Thanks for coming to the film.  The film people would like feedback. Can you please review the film?  How many points would you give the film out of 10?  What are your general impressions of the film?


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At my blog, I have already posted my impressions of the film (Facts Sacrificed in "Pawn Sacrifice").  Because of the many factual errors, I would rate the film 9 out of 10.  I really liked Pawn Sacrifice.  It captured Bobby Fischer's genius while, at the same time, showing his psychological problems.  Liev Schreiber gets a perfect 10 for his portrayal of Boris Spassky.  A lower mark of 8 out of 10 goes to Tobey Maguire.  His best scenes took place on stage during games one and six.  His complaining to the referee about the camera noise and his incredulity at Spassky's leading the applause looked authentic.   I felt as if I was watching the real Bobby Fischer.  But the scene on the beach where he shouts at Spassky was overplayed and struck a false note.  In all fairness, the role of Bobby Fischer would have been a difficult task for any actor.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pix from Sunday Game/45 8/23/2015

During last Sunday's tournament at the Marshall Chess Club, I photographed the players.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Facts Sacrificed in "Pawn Sacrifice"

Last night, Bruce Pandolfini [pictured] was one of the spectators at a private showing of Pawn Sacrifice, along with the likes of GM Andy Soltis, GM Irina Krush, IM Jay Bonin, IM Renato Naranja (who once drew against Bobby Fischer), and FM Asa Hoffmann.

According to the movie's credits, FM Richard Berube was the chess consultant for this film.  At least, the kings and queens were set up on the right squares!

Among the many factual errors were these:
1) Paul Morphy did not kill himself;
2) Boris Spassky was not yet the world champion in 1966 at the Second Piatigorksy Cup;
3) Games 4 and 5 of the 1972 world championship match were not played in the ping pong room.

In spite of all this, I enjoyed the film.  I will be surprised if Liev Schreiber does not get an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.  His portrayal of Boris Spassky was spot on.

Although Bobby Fischer was taller, Tobey Maguire gave a credible performance in the lead role.  His finest moments were on stage during game one (when Fischer lost his bishop) and game six (when Spassky stood up and clapped).

How well Pawn Sacrifice will do at the box office remains to be seen. It will be released in select theaters on September 16th.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Pix from Saturday Game/60 8/22/2015

On Saturday, these pictures were taken by me during the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

NJKO Punch Drunk after Hitting the Sauce

In week one of the USCL, the New Jersey Knockouts and Manhattan Applesauce traded knuckle sandwiches, resulting in a drawn match.

Every game was a smash hit on boards one, two, three, and four.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Josh Waitzkin on Garry Kasparov

According to Josh Waitzkin [pictured] in The Art of Learning, Garry Kasparov "would pretend to feel confident, and hopefully trigger the state."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Marshall Sunday Game/45 8/23/2015

On Sunday, I finished with a score of 3-1-0 in the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Two: Philidor Counter Gambit

Grant Wang (USCF 2013) - Jim West (USCF 2208), Marshall Chess Club 8/23/2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 f5 4.d3 Nf6 5.Be2 Be7 6.b3 O-O 7.Bb2 c6 8.O-O Qc7 9.Re1 f4 10.d4 Bg4 11.Ng5 Bxe2 12.Qxe2 Qa5 13.Ne6 Rc8 14.Qc4 Qa6 15.Qb4 c5 16.dxc5 dxc5 17.Qc4 Qxc4 18.bxc4 Nc6

19.Nd5 Bd6 20.Rad1 Nd4 21.c3 Nxe6 22.Nxf6+ gxf6 23.Rxd6 Rc6 24.Red1 Rxd6 25.Rxd6 Rd8 26.Rxd8+ Nxd8 27.f3 Nc6 28.g3 fxg3 29.hxg3 Na5 30.Kf2 Nxc4 31.Bc1 Kf7 32.f4 exf4 33.gxf4 Ke6 34.Kf3 b5

35.f5+ Ke7 36.Kg4 b4 37.Kh5 a5 38.Kh6 Nd6 39.cxb4 cxb4 40.Kxh7 Nxe4 41.Kg6 a4 42.Bb2 a3 43.Bd4 Kd6 44.Bb6 Kd5 45.Kg7 b3, White resigns.

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Round Four: Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation

Benjamin Medina (USCF 1887) - Jim West (USCF 2208), Marshall Chess Club 8/23/2015

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Be2 Be6 9.O-O Nbd7 10.a4 O-O 11.a5 Rc8 12.f3 Qc7 13.Qd2 Rfd8 14.Rfc1 d5

15.Nxd5 Nxd5 16.exd5 Bxd5 17.c4 Be6 18.Qc3 Nc5 19.Kh1 Nxb3 20.Qxb3 Bc5 21.Bxc5 Qxc5 22.Qxb7 Rb8 23.b4 Qxb4 24.Qxb4 Rxb4 25.c5 Bc8 26.c6 Rd2 27.Bf1 Kf8 28.c7 Ke7 29.Bxa6 Bxa6 30.c8=Q Bxc8 31.Rxc8 Rbb2 32.Rg1 Ra2 33.Ra8 Rd5

34.Ra7+ Kf6 35.Ra6+ Kg5 36.Ra7 Kg6 37.a6 Rda5 38.h4 Rxa6 39.h5+ Kf6 40.Rxa6+ Rxa6 41.g4 Kg5 42.Kg2 Kf4 43.Rf1 Ra2+ 44.Rf2 Rxf2+ 45.Kxf2 e4 46.fxe4 h6 47.e5 Kxg4 48.Ke3 Kxh5 49.Ke4 Kg5 50.Kd5 Kf5 51.Kd6 h5 52.Ke7 Kxe5 53.Kxf7 h4, White resigns.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Marshall Saturday Game/60 8/22/2015

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

Round Two: Pirc Defense

Ed Kopiecki (USCF 1959) - Jim West (USCF 2218), Marshall Chess Club 8/22/2015

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 c6 5.Qd2 b5 6.f3 Nbd7 7.a4 b4 8.Nd1 a5 9.c3 e5 10.Nh3 d5 11.Nhf2 bxc3 12.bxc3 exd4 13.cxd4 Bb4 14.Nc3 dxe4 15.fxe4 Qe7 16.Bd3 O-O 17.O-O Ba6

18.Bxa6 Rxa6 19.Qd3 Raa8 20.Ne2 Rfe8 21.Bg5 h6 22.Bxh6 Nxe4 23.Nxe4 Qxe4 24.Qb3 Qd5 25.Qxd5 cxd5 26.Rf2 Nb6 27.Raf1 Ra7 28.Nf4 Rd7 29.Bg5 Nxa4 30.Nd3 Nc3 31.Nxb4 axb4 32.Bf6 Ne4 33.Rb2 Nxf6 34.Rxf6 Rb8

35.Rb3 Kg7 36.Ra6 Rb5 37.Ra4 Rdb7 38.Kf2 f5 39.Kf3 Kf6 40.h4 g5 41.g3 gxh4 42.gxh4 R5b6 43.Kf4 Ke6 44.Kf3 Rh7 45.Raxb4 Rxb4 46.Rxb4 Rxh4 47.Rb6+ Ke7 48.Ke3 Re4+ 49.Kd3 f4 50.Rb5 Re3+ 51.Kd2 Ke6

52.Ra5 Re4 53.Kd3 f3 54.Ra8 Rf4 55.Ra1 Kf5 56.Rf1 Kg4 57.Rg1+ Kh3 58.Ke3 f2 59.Rf1 Kg3 60.Ke2 Kg2 61.Ke3 Re4+, White resigns.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Private Showing of "Pawn Sacrifice"

Asa and Virginia Hoffmann have arranged for a free private showing of the new movie Pawn Sacrifice for Marshall Chess Club members.

There are 60 places available on a first come, first served basis.

Please respond directly to Ginny by Wednesday, August 26th, if you would like to attend.

No tickets are needed, and they will admit anyone whose name is on the list.

Her e-mail address is

The event will take place on Friday, August 28th, at 6pm in the Dolby 88 Screening Room/1350 6th Avenue (ground floor)/ New York, NY 10019 (entrance on 55th Street).

You must arrive early, around 5:45pm, as the film starts promptly at 6pm.

It runs 116 minutes.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Pix from Marshall August Under 2300

Last weekend, I photographed the players during the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.



Friday, August 21, 2015

Mechanical Turk

[photo by Marcin Wichary]

Slate explores the hidden wonder of the Mechanical Turk.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

"Pawn Sacrifice" Featurette

This featurette goes behind the scenes at the filming of Pawn Sacrifice.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Maguire as Fischer in "Pawn Sacrifice"

How well did Tobey Maguire portray Bobby Fischer in Pawn Sacrifice?

One reviewer feels that "Maguire captures Fischer’s intensity and delivers, ultimately, a moving portrait of the complicated Fischer."

Another reviewer writes that "Tobey’s portrayal of Bobby Fischer was a total miss."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Marshall August Under 2300 8/16/2015

On Sunday, candidate master Sarathi Ray [pictured] won the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club with a perfect score.

Round Four: Sicilian Defense, Alapin Variation

Kevin Yan (USCF 1883) - Jim West (USCF 2213), Marshall Chess Club 8/16/2015

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.Qxd4 e6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Qe4 d6 8.exd6 Nf6 9.Qe2 Bxd6 10.Nf3 O-O 11.Bg5 Be7 12.Nbd2 Qc7 13.Rd1 Bd7 14.Bd3 Rae8

15.h4 Nd5 16.g3 f5 17.Nc4 Bf6 18.Kf1 b5 19.Ne3 Nxe3 20.Qxe3 a6 21.a4 Nb8 22.Bxf6 Rxf6 23.axb5 Bxb5 24.Bxb5 axb5 25.Ne5 Qb7 26.Qf3 Qxf3 27.Nxf3 Nc6 28.Rd6 e5 29.Rxf6 gxf6 30.Ke2 Rd8 31.Rd1 Rxd1 32.Kxd1 Kf7

33.Nd2 Na5 34.Ke2 Ke6 35.Nf1 Nc4 36.b3 Na5 37.Nd2 Kd5 38.Ke3 Nxb3 39.Nxb3 Kc4 40.Na5+ Kxc3 41.Ke2 b4 42.Kd1 b3 43.Kc1 b2+ 44.Kb1 Kd3 45.Nc6 Ke2 46.Ne7 Kxf2 47.Nxf5 e4, White resigns.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Marshall August Under 2300 8/15/2015

On Saturday, I played this game in the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Three: French Defense, King's Indian Attack

Jim West (USCF 2213) - Samuel Zhang (USCF 1818), Marshall Chess Club 8/15/2015

1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.dxe4 e5 5.Ngf3 Bd6 6.g3 Nf6 7.Bg2 O-O 8.O-O Nc6 9.a4 a5 10.c3 h6 11.Qc2 Be6 12.Re1 Bc5 13.Nf1 Qd6

14.Be3 Bxe3 15.Nxe3 Qc5 16.Bf1 Rfd8 17.Red1 Rd7 18.Rxd7 Nxd7 19.Rd1 Nb6 20.Nd2 Nb8 21.b3 N8d7 22.Ndc4 Nxc4 23.Bxc4 Qe7 24.Bxe6 Qxe6 25.Nd5 Rc8 26.Qd3 c6 27.Ne7+ Qxe7 28.Qxd7 Qxd7 29.Rxd7 Rb8 

30.Re7 f6 31.Rc7 Kh7 32.h4 h5 33.Kg2 Kg6 34.Kf3 Kh6 35.Ke3 g5 36.hxg5+ fxg5 37.Re7 h4 38.Re6+ Kh5 39.gxh4 gxh4 40.Rxe5+ Kh6 41.Kf3 Rg8 42.Re6+ Kh5 43.Re7 Kh6 44.Rd7 Rg1 45.Rd8 Kh7

46.e5 c5 47.e6 h3 48.e7 h2 49.Rh8+, Black resigns.