Wednesday, July 21, 2010

USCF Election: Doomsday postponed

On July 21, ballots were counted in Crossville for the USCF special election to fill two one-year terms on the Executive Board. Results were: Mike Nietman 1517, Gary Walters 1472, and the unspeakable Sam Sloan 693. So Nietman and Walters are elected, and Sloan goes back under his rock.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beauty is truth ...

The competitive side of chess is not the only one there is. Players who have never pushed a pawn in anger can still enjoy the art of chess, through the realm of composition.

There are two basic types of composed positions. In problems, the player must mate in a specifed number of moves. The positions are often rather unlikely from a practical point of view, but the "themes" -- blocking, interference, attraction -- can be quite impressive.

Studies, on the other hand, set a task, to win or draw, and are usually more "gamelike." Endgame studies have only a few pieces on the board, and feature subtle maneuvering. More complicated studies often resemble middlegames, and illustrate such tactical ideas as diversion and overloading.

The study above, first published in Deutsche Schachzeitung in 1914, was composed by the great A. A. Troitzky, one of the giants of the field. It illustrates the theme of domination --
though it seems Black has the whole board to roam, his King and Queen will be forced into a fork.

The solution begins with the improbable 1. Rb7!. Now if 1. ... Qxb7, 2. Nd6+ picks up the Queen, as is also the case on 1. ... Qc8 or 1. ... Qe8. The try 1. ... Qf8 fails to 2. Ne5+ Kc5 3. Nd7+, and 1. ... Qa8 2. Ne5+ is similar -- 2. ... Kc5 3. Rb8! Qxb8 4. Nd7+. So only 1. ... Qg8 remains, and after 2. Ne5+ Kc5 3. Rb8, the Queen seems to escape with 3. ... Qh7. Then comes the final point: 4. b4+ Kd6 5. Rh8!, and Black is brought to bay -- 5. ... Qxh8 6. Nf7+, and White wins. It would never have occurred in a game, but the game is richer for it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

PSW final

Prize Winners

1st: GM Melikset Khachiyan, 5½-½; 2nd: IM Tim Taylor, 5-1; 3rd-4th: IM Jack Peters, Christian Tanaka, 4½-1½; 5th: Yian Liou, Konstantin Kavutskiy, Takashi Kurosaki, 4-2; U2200: Joshua Gutman, 4½-1½; 2-3 U2200: Vincent Huang, Eric Zhang, 4-2, U2000: Dennis Saccuzzo, 3½-2½; 2nd-3rd U2000: Cheston Gunawan, Alicia Bolm, Numan Abdul-Majeeb, 3-3

1st: Alfred Ong, 5½-½; 2-3: Michael Chaney, Robert Barker, 4½-1½; U1600: Chantelle Field, 4-2; 2-3 U1600: Cijo Paul, Annie Wang, Jerry Qu, 3-3; U1400: Leo Creger, 4-2; 2-3 U1400: Aman Madhav, James Holder, 3-3; U1200: Young Hong, Gia Peterson, 2-4; Unrated: Bhanu Narayana, 5-1.

Scholastic Open: Karl Tolentino, 5-0. Scholastic Reserve: Brian Santoso, 4½-½.

Hex 1: Alexander Pearson, 3-0; Hex 2: Stephanie Shao, 3-0.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pacific Southwest Open, day 3

As we enter the final stretch, GM Melikset Khachiyan remains in the lead with 4.5/5, after drawing with young master Yian Liou (see photo). In the final round Khachiyan will face High School star Vincent Huang, while Liou will meet IM Tim Taylor on board 2. In the U1800 section, Alfred Ong stands alone in first with 5-0, though three players have a chance to cath up. Click here for complete standings.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Pacific Southwest Open, day 2

With all schedules merged, GM Melikset Khachiyan leads the field with 4-0. A surprising 2nd is young master Yian Liou with 3.5, who will face Khachiyan in round 5. In the Amateur section, Alfred Ong leads with 4-0, followed by Brian Glover and Michael Chaney (who took byes in the last two rounds) on 3.5. In the one-day Scholastics, Karl Tolentino scored 5-0 in the Open, and Brian Santoso topped the Reserve with 4.5. Click here for standings, or here for round 5 pairings,

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pacific Southwest Open, day 1

The 3-day schedule of the 50th Annual Pacific Southwest Open is under way with 56 players. Another 30 or so are expected to join the 2-schedule tomorrow, including (probably) top-rated GM Melikset Khachiyan, Standings will be posted here, and pairings (as time permits) here.

Cheston Gunawan - IM Tim Taylor

[C58] Two Knights Defense

Pacific Southwest Open, round 1

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Bd3 Bc5 9.0–0 0–0 10.Nc3 Bb6 11.Be2 Nd5 12.d3 Nb7 13.Bf3 h6 14.Nge4 f5 15.Ng3 Be6 16.Re1 Bc7 17.Nf1 Qf6 18.Qe2 Rae8 19.g3 Nc5 20.Bg2 e4 21.Nxd5 cxd5 22.d4 Nd7 23.c3 f4 24.Bxf4 Bxf4 25.gxf4 Qh4 26.Ne3 Rxf4 27.f3 Nf6 28.Rf1 Qg5 29.Kh1 Rh4 30.f4 Qg3 31.Kg1 Qxh2+ 32.Kf2 Ng4+ 33.Nxg4 Rxg4 34.Rg1 Qg3+ 35.Kf1 Rxf4+ 0–1