Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Today's post is a milestone for me.

It marks the 120th consecutive month (10 years) in which I have posted on every single day!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Marshall Sunday Game/45 1/29/2017

On Sunday, I finished with score of 1-1-1 plus a half point bye in the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Two: Larsen's Opening

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Brian Arthur (USCF 2068), Marshall Chess Club 1/29/2017

1.b3 Nf6 2.Bb2 d5 3.e3 Bf5 4.f4 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Be2 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.a4 c5 9.Na3 Rc8 10.h3 Ne4 11.Qe1 Bf6

12.Bxf6 Qxf6 13.Bb5 Nb8 14.Ne5 a6 15.Bd3 Rfd8 16.a5 Nc6 17.Bxe4 Bxe4 18.d3 Bg6 19.Nxc6 Rxc6 20.Ra2 e5 21.f5 Bh5 22.g4 Qg5 23.Qg3 f6 24.Rf3 Bf7 25.h4 Qh6 26.g5 Qh5 27.Ra1 e4 28.dxe4 dxe4 29.Rff1 Rd2

30.Nc4 Bxc4 31.bxc4 Rcd6 32.Rab1, draw.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Severe Case of "Asp"erger's for NJKO

In week three of the PRO Chess League, the Carolina Cobras were kings of the "hood" in their match against the New Jersey Knockouts.

National master Joshua Mu used a Wing Gambit formation to wriggle past grandmaster Alexander Stripunsky.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

"WSJ" Article on Blindfold Chess

The Tricks of Blindfold Chess

Playing chess without being able to see the board is an astounding feat - and a window into the human mind.

By Christopher Chabris Jan. 27, 2017 9:08 a.m. ET

Chess has the reputation of  being a very hard game.  But a simple tweak can make it even harder:  taking away the pieces and board.

In blindfold chess, moves are communicated verbally, and one (or both) of the players must keep track of the locations of all the pieces by memory alone.  With 32 pieces to start on a 64-square board, that is no easy feat.  The world record for the most simultaneous games of blindfold chess was set last December by a grandmaster who played an astounding 48 opponents at the same time.

Blindfold chess is nearly as old as chess itself.  Accounts of individual blindfold games go back more than 1,000 years, according to the book Blindfold Chess by Eliot Hearst and John Knott.  A Middle-Eastern player named Buzecca is said to have played the three best players in Florence at once in the 13th century, two of them while he was blindfolded, and scored two wins and a draw.  (It's unclear which two were blindfold games.)

The Frenchman Francois-Andre Philidor, a leading 18th century orchestra composer, was the first chess master to gain fame for blindfold play.  He took on three opponents at once on several occasions, prompting his contemporaries to worry that the mental exertion would cause him to go mad.  Alfred Binet, the psychologist who invented the concept of IQ, investigated blindfold chess in the 1890s.  He found that players didn't keep a photographic image of the board in their memories but instead visualized patterns of fuzzy, schematic forces.

Early 20th century players gradually increased the record for the most simultaneous games.  In 1947 the Argentine grandmaster Miguel Najdorf set a mark of playing 45 at once, winning 39.  Interest in massive blindfold exhibitions declined after that.  Najdorf's record held until the German master Marc Lang topped it in 2011, playing 46 games.

In December, the American grandmaster Timur Gareyev played 48 blindfold games at once at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, but he did it a bit differently from previous record-setters.  First, he wore an actual blindfold; it is more common for the player to keep his eyes open but to face away from the boards.  Second, the health-conscious Mr. Gareyev pedaled a stationary bicycle throughout the event.  Third, and perhaps most important, he chose to take the black pieces against half of his opponents.

White moves first in chess, and in an ordinary simultaneous exhibition, when all boards are visible, the grandmaster often takes white in every game.  That advantage makes up for the burden of walking from board to board while playing so many opponents at once.

The main problem for the blindfold player is interference - the possibility that his memories of the different games will overlap with one another, causing him to lose track of where pieces are.  It's easier to keep track of your positions if you're playing white in half the games and black in the other half - an advantage that more than makes up for the slight handicap of having to move second.  After almost 19 hours, Mr. Gareyev had won 35 games, lost just six and played seven to a draw.

Blindfold chess can be a window into human possibilities.  In a 2003 study, Mr. Hearst, a psychologist and chess master, and I used computer analysis to study 396 double-blindfold games, where two grandmasters play each other with no pieces, just an image of a chessboard.  Surprisingly, they made barely more mistakes than they did when playing under normal conditions.  This is because most of a game of chess - indeed, most of any game that involves thinking ahead, like checkers, backgammon or modern "Eurogames" such as Carcassonne - happens inside the minds of the players.  For each move that is played, dozens may be visualized, evaluated and discarded without ever being seen on the board.

Timur Gareyev has been working on his blindfold game for just a few years, but he has made it his specialty.  His website calls him the "Blindfold King."  His world record is indeed an astounding chess feat, but it is also just an extreme form of the game as it is normally played.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Performance Enhancing Drugs in Chess

Scientists have identified modafinil (15%) and methylphenidate (13%) as two stimulants that boost the performances of players during a chess game.

Caffeine (9%) also helps.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Pix from January Under 2300 1/22/2017

These pictures were taken by me on Sunday during the weekend tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

John Eidinow Lecture on C-SPAN2

On March 29, 2004, John Eidinow, co-author of Bobby Fischer Goes to War, gave a lecture on C-SPAN2.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Marshall January Under 2300 1/22/2017

Playing in the one day schedule on Sunday, I finished with a score of 1-1-1 plus two half point byes in the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Two: Caro-Kann Defense

Jim West (USCF 2207) - Vladimir Polyakin (USCF 2100), Marshall Chess Club 1/22/2017

1.e4 c6 2,d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nf3 Nd7 7.h4 h6 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6 11.c4 Ngf6 12.Bd2 Bd6 13.O-O-O Qc7 14.Ne4 Bf4 15.Nxf6+ Nxf6 16.Kb1 Bxd2 17.Nxd2 O-O-O

18.Ne4 Nxe4 19.Qxe4 Rd7 20.Qe5 Qxe5 21.dxe5 Rhd8 22.Kc2 Rd4 23.b3 Re4 24.Rde1 Rdd4 25.f3 Rxe1 26.Rxe1 Rh4 27.g4 Rh2+ 28.Kc3 Rxa2 29.Re4 Kd7 30.c5 b6 31.cxb6 axb6 32.Kd3 Rb2 33.Kc3 Ra2 34.Kd3 Ra5

35.Kc3 Rd5 36.f4 b5 37.b4 f6 38.exf6 gxf6 39.Re1 e5 40.fxe5 Rxe5 41.Ra1 Re3+ 42.Kd4 Rb3 43.Ra7+ Kd6 44.Rg7 Rxb4+ 45.Kc3 Rc4+ 46.Kb3 Rf4 47.Rg6 Ke5 48.Rxh6 Rxg4 49.Rh8 c5 50.h6 Rg3+ 51.Kc2 Rh3 52.h7 Kf5

53.Rc8 Rxh7 54.Rxc5+ Ke4 55.Rxb5 f5 56.Kd2 f4 57.Ke1 Rh2 58.Rb3 f3 59.Rb8 Ra2 60.Re8+ Kf4 61.Kf1 Ra5 62.Rf8+ Ke4 63.Re8+ Kf4 64.Rf8+ Kg4 65.Rg8+ Rg5 66.Rxg5+ Kxg5 67.Kf2 Kf4 68.Kf1 Kg3 69.Kg1 f2+ 70.Kf1 Kf3, stalemate.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Pix from MLK Game/30 1/16/2017

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

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pix from Sunday Game/45 1/15/2017

On Sunday, I took these pictures during the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Fat Lady Sings for NJKO vs. Sopranos

In week two of the PRO Chess League, it was the same old song for the Montclair Sopranos as they won their second match in a row, this time against the New Jersey Knockouts.

It must have been music to Rozman's ears when Balakrishnan hung a rook on move 61, but the endgame was lost for Black in any event.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hans Berliner Obituary in "NY Times"

Former world correspondence chess champion Hans Berliner [pictured]. who played one of the greatest games of the 20th century, passed away last Friday.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Marshall MLK Game/30 1/16/2017

On Monday, I won this game in the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Three: Philidor Counter Gambit

Eric Yuhan Li (USCF 2065) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 1/16/2017

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.Nxh8+ Kg7 11.Bg5 Be7 12.O-O-O Kxh8 13.Bxf6+ Bxf6 14.Qxe4 Nc6 15.Bd3 Qg8 16.c3 Bd7 17.Kb1 Re8

18.Qf4 Bd8 19.Rhg1 Rf8 20.Qd2 Be6 21.b3 a5 22.Bc2 Bg5 23.Qe2 a4 24.Qb5 axb3 25.axb3 Rxf2 26.Qxb7 Na5 27.Qxc7 Bxb3 28.Qxa5 Bxc2+ 29.Ka1 Bxd1 30.Rxd1 Rf8 31.Kb2 Rb8+ 32.Kc2 Qb3+ 33.Kd3 Qxd1+ 34.Kc4 Qb3+ 35.Kd3 Qb5+ 36.Qxb5 Rxb5

37.c4 Rb8 38.c5 Rc8 39.Kc4 Be3 40.Kd3 Bg1 41.Kc4 Bxh2 42.d5 Bd6 43.c6 Kg7 44.Kb5 Kf7 45.Kb6 Ke7 46.Kb7 Rc7+ 47.Kb6 h5 48.Kb5 Kf6 49.Kc4 Ke5 50.g3 Rg7 51.Kd3 Kxd5 52.c7 Bxc7 53.Kc3 Rxg3+

54.Kb4 Bd6+ 55.Kb5 Rb3+ 56.Ka5 Bc7+ 57.Ka6 Rb6+ 58.Ka7 Kc6 59.Ka8 Rb8+ 60.Ka7 Rb1 61.Ka8 Ra1#.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Marshall Sunday Game/45 1/15/2017

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

Round One: Philidor Counter Gambit

James Lee (USCF 1868) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club, 1/15/2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Bxe7 Nxe7 6.dxe5 fxe4 7.Nfd2 d5 8.c4 c6 9.Nc3 O-O 10.cxd5 cxd5 11.Qb3 Qb6 12.Qxb6 axb6 13.Rd1 Nbc6 14.Nb3 Be6

15.Nd4 Nxd4 16.Rxd4 Nc6 17.Rd2 Nxe5 18.Nxd5 Bxd5 19.Rxd5 Nd3+ 20.Bxd3 exd3 21.Rxd3 Rxa2 22.O-O Rxb2 23.Rd7 b5 24.Rxb7 b4 25.g3 b3 26.Kg2 h6 27.h4 Rf7 28.Rb8+ Kh7 29.Rb6 h5 30.Kg1 g6

31.Kg2 Kh6 32.Kg1 Kg7 33.Kg2 Rf6 34.Rb7+ Kh6 35.Kg1 g5 36.hxg5+ Kxg5 37.Rb5+ Rf5 38.Rb6 h4 39.gxh4+ Kxh4 40.Kg2 Kg4 41.Rb4+ Rf4 42.Rb5 Rf5 43.Rb4+ Rf4 44.Rb5 Rf5 45.Rb4+, draw.

          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Round Three: Philidor Counter Gambit

Nathaniel Koyfman (USCF 1619) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 1/15/2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Nc3 e4 7.Ne5 Nf6 8.Bg5 Bb4 9.Qh5+ Nxh5 10.Bxd8 Kxd8 11.Nf7+ Ke7 12.Nxh8 Nc6 13.O-O-O Bxc3 14.bxc3 Be6 15.c4 Rxh8

16.cxd5 Bxd5 17.c4 Bf7 18.d5 Ne5 19.Re1 Bg6 20.f3 Nf4 21.Kd2 Nfd3 22.Bxd3 Nxd3 23.Re2 Nc5 24.Rhe1 Kd6 25.fxe4 Ke5 26.g3 Rf8 27.h4 h5 

28.Rg2 Rf3 29.g4 Ra3 30.Kd1 hxg4 31.Rxg4 Bh5, White resigns.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Krakens All Wet versus Knockouts

In round one of the PRO Chess League's inaugural season, the New Jersey Knockouts handed the Buenos Aires Krakens a monstrous defeat.

In this game, IM Ernesto Real De Azua could not keep his head above water against GM Alex Fishbein.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Pix from January Weekend FIDE

Last weekend, I snapped these photos during the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.



Friday, January 13, 2017

Chess Coach Errol Singh

[photo by Sean Conklin]

Errol Singh [pictured, right] is the coach at two new chess clubs in New Jersey.

The Scotch Plains-Fanwood club had its inaugural meeting on Wednesday, January 11th.

On the third Saturday of each month, the Edison club holds a morning class followed by an afternoon tournament at STEM Academy.

You can contact Errol by phone at 908-205-1044, or by e-mail at errol.singh@gmail.com.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Top 30 Chess Blogs

Just barely, Jim West On Chess is on the top 30 chess blogs list.