Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nakamura Beats the World Champion!

Hikaru Nakamura defeated Vishwanathan Anand in the 4th round of the 3rd London Chess Classic to become the first American to defeat a world champion in 19 years. Here's how he did it:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hou Yifan Wins

Hou Yifan has defeated Humpy Koneru with a score of 5.5-2.5 to retain her title as the Women's World Chess Champion.

Find out more at the official match website.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Need Help!

I.A. Horowitz

I've been putting together all of the game scores from the Chess Review series called Solitaire Chess by Horowitz. I am missing 3 issues (or the relevant pages from those issues) and so don't know the gamescores for those. Could anyone please help me to find which gamescores were used, or even better, a copy of the column?

April 1945 (probably Yates and MacDonald)
February 1948 (probably Nimzowitsch and Stahlberg)
November 1948 (probably Colle and Tartakower)

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Get Ready for T4545

It's time to get ready for T4545 league chess on the ICC! T51 will begin on Tuesday night, November 8, at 10pm with the posting of pairings for the first round.

I'll be playing regularly on 2 teams this season as well as substituting when needed on another. My under-1600 team is Knights of Ni, the team that I began the league with. I'm playing 3rd board again this season. I've also started a new team in the under-1400 league: Knights of the Square Board. I'll be captain and playing the 1st board. When needed, I'll also be playing again as a substitute on the under-1800 team: Don't Throw in the Tal.

Two of my Saturday study partners are also playing this season. Sir-Sinister will be playing 1st board on the under-1800 team: Masakatsu Agatsu. And nosir will be playing on two teams, as 3rd board on the under-1600 team: The Untouchables, and as 1st board on the under-1400 team: Golden Pawns F. Our under-1400 teams are in the same division so we will likely play 2 games against each other this season!

If you haven't joined the league yet, then get in there! But if you'd rather watch, that's great fun too! Find the games available to see each week here.

Serious chess. Serious fun!

The 3-1/2 Minute King's Gambit

Want to get started with the King's Gambit in just 3-1/2 minutes? IM David Pruess gives it a go!

Check out other free videos from Chess.com. You can subscribe, or watch for the latest in the right-hand column at the Pied Chessman.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Maroczy and Vidmar follow Morphy and Max Lange

Geza Maroczy
Milan Vidmar
Today's puzzle on Chessgames.com came from this interesting game between Geza Maroczy and Milan Vidmar. A straightforward Italian Game opening is answered with a Two Knights Defense and Morphy's push with d4 leads to the standard starting position of the Max Lange Attack. Classic stuff. Accurate play is absolutely necessary for Black to hang in, and Vidmar's 11...Bf8 leads to ruin. Follow along with the gamescore below:

Paul Morphy
Max Lange

Chess From Europe

Get a European perspective on chess with weekly videos from ChessTV.eu.

Get the latest tournament news, explanations of the chess openings, chess puzzles, and a look at the historical side of chess (the last in Swedish with English subtitles). Find all the latest episodes listed here at the Pied Chessman, or subscribe for yourself to their channel on YouTube.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Can I Have That Chess 2 Go?

Did you know that The Pied Chessman is mobile-friendly now?

Yep. You can check out the blog from your mobile device such as an iPhone or Android and it is automatically formatted for the smaller device.

Blogger is still working on getting features such as our video links in the right-hand column to work, but reading our posts is easily done now.

So when you are on the go, take The Pied Chessman with you!

Free from Chess.com

Have you checked out our video links? One of the great finds there is a new series of free chess videos from Chess.com.

You don't have to be a member to see these (not even a free member). You can go right to YouTube to see these. The easiest way is to go right to their channel. Make it easy on yourself and use the Subscribe button there to keep up to date with all of their latest videos. Or you can just keep a check on the list here at The Pied Chessman. You'll find grandmaster games, quick tutorials on openings, basic tactical ideas, and much more.

Get In There!

Did you know that in the last T4545 League tournament there were 469 players from 48 countries playing on 124 teams? Did you know that there are no entry fees? Did you know that there are sections for every skill level from beginner to expert? Did you know that you only have to play one game per week? Did you know that you get to schedule your games when it is convenient for you? Get in there!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Team is Born

Well, I've taken the plunge and decided to start a new team for the T4545 league. I've discovered that the limiting factor in the number of under-1400 teams is the availability of lower rated players, and so players in the 1500+ neighborhood are abundant, but are seldom asked to join a team. The solution? Start a new team!

The team is called Knights of the Square Board and the core 4 players are now in place. The line-up looks like this:

Board 1 - SirIvanhoe
Board 2 - LeanSixSigma
Board 3 - drsigmund1
Board 4 - lawth3

Our team is rather international and represents 3 countries: the U.S., Brazil, and Argentina. I will still be playing as the 3rd board on my original team in the under-1600 section, Knights of Ni. I will also be available as a substitute player for Don't Throw in the Tal in the under-1800 section and will be playing the first week. Games begin on November 8. It's going to be a busy season!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Opponent vs SirIvanhoe - Team 4545 League Play

Joust enough for a draw

I drew the black pieces for round 6 of the T49 tournament and decided to try the Caro-Kann again against my opponent, especially as he had recently played the Classical Variation at least twice, and I rather fancied that. I was delighted when my c6 was met with a standard d4, but was surprised when my opponent offered the Advance Variation, not only because I knew he had played the Classical Variation, but also because I had played the Advance Variation twice before in this season earning a win and a draw, a fact which I expected that my opponent might have discovered. But the good news for me was that I was comfortable with the line and was ready to play. My team already had one loss against it in the round and needed to score 2 points in the last 3 games to assure a playoff berth. Check out the game score with my analysis below.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sir Ivanhoe vs Opponent - Team 4545 League Play

Round 5 of T49 has found the Knights of Ni in a position to win a playoff spot with any match points earned in the last 2 rounds of regular play. My teammate had been thwarted in our first game of the round, so I especially had an incentive to pitch hard for a win in my matchup.

Knights Duelling, by Eugène Delacroix

I thought that I might try and offer an Urusov Gambit via Ponziani's 3.d4 in the Bishop's Opening for the first time in slow play and put up with Two Knights Defense lines if my opponent went that way. I had observed that my opponent was practicing Philidor lines against 1.e4 in recent games, so I made a point of researching and analyzing positions involving setups with d6, especially the night before the game.

I was rewarded with 3... d6, a move which I knew to be a mistake and that I knew how to take advantage of. But having secured extra material, I was reminded that league players usually play their toughest when they are down material. And so I kept my eye open for another tactical opportunity, hoping to avoid a long slog through an endgame.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nakamura Blitzes the ICC

GM Hikaru Nakamura got online in Madrid, Spain to claim the win and the $600 top prize at the 1st ICC Open from June 3-5, 2011. Check out the link for results and PGNs.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Timely Tactic #11 - SirIvanhoe vs. Opponent

This position is from my latest game in the Team4545 league. My opponent has just played 42... Qf6 blocking the check, probably the only move that doesn't lead immediately to a forced mating line. To be sure, White has an overwhelming advantage here. But of course, it doesn't matter if you don't know how to execute the win. What single motif tactic is the best move in this position?

You can see the full game score after the break.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nakamura Defeats Ponomariov

Waiting to Begin (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
GM Hikaru Nakamura came through with a brutal win with the black pieces in the 3rd rapid round to defeat GM Ponomariov in their match in St. Louis. Having previously won the regular match (3.5-2.5), this win seals the victory in the rapid match (putting the score out of reach at 2.5-0.5) and makes a clean sweep for the full meeting. The players may yet face off in one last rapid game which had been scheduled for today. Tornado warnings have delayed the action today.

Gelfand Will Face Anand for Title

GM Boris Gelfand won with the white pieces against GM Alexander Grischuk in today's final round of the 2011 Candidates Matches to earn the right to face GM Viswanathan Anand next year for the world title. After 5 straight draws, the win in the 6th round sealed the deal for Gelfand.

After drawing twice with the opening move 1.Nf3, Boris switched to 1.d4 when a Grunfeld ensued and revealed a chink in Grischuk's armor. It was an interesting strategy as Grischuk had opened with d4 on all 3 occasions himself. Alexander chose the move 11... Bg4, a favorite of Fritz but not so popular in practice. The game seemed to be in reach for both players until the fatal 32... Qc7. And then the panicked 33. Nxc6 left Gelfand all alone in the driver's seat.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I'm Back!

The view from my daughter's deck!
I've been away: company, back and forth to the hospital (not for me), and a vacation to see my daughter. But now I'm back! Stay tuned ....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day One Is Drawn Out

A view of Kazan from the middle ages.
The first day of play at the 2011 Candidates Matches being held in Kazan, Russia for the 2012 World Championship cycle ended in draws all around. Notable was the fact that Vladimir Kramnik played only 24 moves with the black pieces in his game against Teimour Radjabov! America's Gata Kamsky drew against Veselin Topalov while Shakhriyar Mamedyarov drew against Boris Gelfand and Lev Aronian drew against Alexander Grischuk.

Replay the day's other scores after the break.

Endgame Study #15 - Kubbel 1937

This study by Leonid Kubbel comes from 200 Brilliant Endgames by Irving Chernev. This is the sort of study which I like as it has an uncluttered board and it depends on the solver's knowledge of simple technical endgames (where the result is known). Here you must know what is mating material, and what is insufficient. Can you find the drawing line?

Find all of the endgame studies posted on The Pied Chessman here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Zatonskih Wins 4th Title!

Uscc finals r103 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

IM Anna Zatonskih earned a draw in the Armageddon tiebreak against WFM Tatev Abrahamyan to win her 4th Women's U.S. Chess Championship. At the end, Anna built a fortress that Tatev just couldn't break. See the score below.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kamsky Repeats As U.S. Champion

Uscc finals r105, by jstrand

GM Gata Kamsky successfully defended his U.S. Championship title today with a draw against GM Yuri Shulman after a win in the first match game yesterday. The same two players came down to an Armageddon game last year before Kamsky took the title with a draw in a draw-odds game. GM-elect Sam Shankland had to win in an Armageddon game to secure 3rd place after drawing the 2nd match game against GM Robert Hess.

The 2011 Women's Championship is still undecided as IM Anna Zatonskih and WFM Tatev Abrahamyan drew again. They will play an Armageddon game tomorrow to settle the title. IM Irina Krush held for a draw today against WGM Camilla Baginskaite which was good for a 3rd place finish after her win yesterday.

See today's other games after the break.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kamsky and Krush Win First Games

Uscc finals r102 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

Defending U.S. Champion GM Gata Kamsky won with White against GM Yuri Shulman to take a lead in their match. Kamsky won the title last year against Shulman in an Armageddon match. The first game in the battle for third place between GM-elect Sam Shankland and GM Robert Hess ended in a draw.

Uscc finals r101 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

In the women's tournament, WFM Tatev Abrahamyan drew against IM Anna Zatonskih in their first game in the title match. But IM Irina Krush pressed hard to win with the black pieces in her bid for third place against WGM Camilla Baginskaite.

2011 10k blitz 07 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

Yesterday saw World #8 GM Hikaru Nakamura take top honors at the $10,000 Blitz Open played at St. Louis University's Busch Student Center. Hikaru reprised his win from last year.

Replay the other scores from today after the break.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Timely Tactics #10 - Krush vs Zatonskih

Uscc semifinals r2playoffs 06 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

In this position from their Armageddon game, IM Irina Krush has mis-stepped by playing 28. Kd3. What problem does this create, and what move will put the game away?

You can see the full game score after the break.

Kamsky vs Shulman / Zatonskih vs Abrahamyan

Uscc semifinals r2playoffs 04 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
 IM Anna Zatonskih defeated IM Irina Krush with the black pieces in an Armageddon game (see the score below) to earn the chance to play for the women's title against WFM Tatev Abrahamyan who had won her tiebreak against WGM Camilla Baginskaite. GM Yuri Shulman defeated GM Robert Hess in their tiebreak which will send him into the title match against defending champion GM Gata Kamsky. Kamsky won last year's title in an Armageddon tiebreak game against Shulman.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kamsky Will Play the Final

GM Gata Kamsky cruised to a win over GM-elect Sam Shankland today to win their match and advance to defend his title in the final. GM Robert Hess and GM Yuri Shulman shook hands and will need to play for tiebreaks tomorrow. In the women's tournament, IM Irina Krush avenged yesterday's loss with a commanding win over IM Anna Zatonskih, forcing them into tomorrow's contests. WFM Tatev Abrahamyan seemed to come from behind to stun WGM Camilla Baginskaite, also forcing a playoff. Check out video of the games from the Latest Chess Videos page. Catch today's game scores after the break.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Men Draw, Women Fight

Uscc semifinals r102 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
Today's semi-final matches in the 2011 U.S. Chess Championships ended in draws for the men and wins for IM Anna Zatonskih and WGM Camilla Baginskaite. GM-elect Sam Shankland held a draw with the white pieces against defending champion GM Gata Kamsky and GM Robert Hess did the same with the black pieces against GM Yuri Shulman. Zatonskih snipped a pawn against IM Irina Krush to win with the white pieces and Baginskaite prevailed with the black pieces against WFM Abrahamyan. Tomorrow the colors will reverse in the matches. Check out today's full game scores after the break.
Uscc semifinals r104 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

Matches Made in St. Louis

The Commentators (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

With the tiebreaks decided, players head into the semi-final matches today in the 2011 U.S. Chess Championships. Pairings will be: Kamsky and Shankland, Shulman and Hess, Krush and Zatonskih, and Baginskaite and Abrahamyan. Check here for live coverage with WGM Jennifer Shahade and GM Maurice Ashley starting at 3pm Eastern today.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Shankland and Zatonskih Move Ahead

Uscc prelims 04 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
GM-elect Sam Shankland drew his first tiebreak game and won his second with the white pieces against GM Alexander Onischuk to qualify for the final rounds in the 2011 U.S. Chess Championship. In the women's tournament, IM Anna Zatonskih defeated WGM Sabina Foisor in both tiebreak games to move ahead. The game scores follow after the break.

Uscc prelims 01 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

Some Will Rest, Some Will Play Tiebreaks

Uscc round seven 19 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
After seven rounds of play in the 2011 U.S. Chess Championship, GM Gata Kamsky and GM Yuri Shulman earn an advance in group A with a quick draw and GM Robert Hess moves on from group B after his draw against GM Yasser Seirawan. Also agreeing to a draw, GM-elect Sam Shankland and GM Alexander Onischuck will play tiebreaks today to decide who will go on.

Uscc round seven 03 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
In the women's tournament, IM Irina Krush and WGM Camilla Baginskaite agreed to a draw and guaranteed their advancement. WFM Tatev Abrahamyan secured her place with a draw against WIM Irenya Zenyuk. IM Anna Zatonskih defeated IM Sabina Foisor to send the two into a playoff match for the final spot.

See the latest crosstables and results along with PGN's of the games to download here.

See more game scores after the break:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hess Joins Shankland at the Top

Hess and Shankland, Postgame Day 1 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
GM Robert Hess scored a win against GM Alexander Shabalov in the 4th round to join GM-elect Sam Shankland with 3 points for the lead in the B group at the 2011 U.S. Chess Championship. Defending champion GM Gata Kamsky and GM Yuri Shulman are at the top of group A with the same score.

In the women's tournament, WGM Sabina Foisor bested WIM Iryna Zenyuk to go for 3.5 points out of 4 and remain a half point ahead of her nearest competitor, WGM Irina Krush. Foisor had upset Krush in the 1st round. Check out some of the game scores below:

More scores after the break:

Timely Tactics #9 - Kaidanov vs. Shankland

Shankland Bags a Win (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

GM Gregory Kaidanov has erred here with 17. Bc1 (the safer offer of a trade with Qf2 might have still left a chance). GM-elect Sam Shankland grabbed his sword and threatened to storm the castle, making the loss of material imminent and soon causing his opponent to resign.

You can see the full game score after the break.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shankland Storms the Barricade !

After drawing against GM Robert Hess and defeating GM Gregory Kaidanov, GM-elect Sam Shankland pulled off a win against GM Larry Christiansen to take the best score so far of 2.5 at the 2011 U.S. Championships! Larry moved his queen to the b8 square twice, a mistake both times, and Sam grabbed the opportunity to  put the game away (game score follows).

Christiansen and Hess are right behind with 2 points in Group B. GM Gata Kamsky, GM Yuri Shulman, and GM Alexander Ivanov lead Group A with 2 points. WGM Sabina Foisor keeps her grip on the lead in the Women's Championship with a draw against WFM Tatev Abrahamyan.

Foisor Earns a 2nd Win

Piercing Stares (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

Proving the determination that you can see here in her eyes, Sabina Foisor went 79 moves against a King's Indian Defense to win a second point against Alisa Melkhina in the 2nd round of the 2011 U.S. Women's Championsip. While the point seemed in hand for most of the game, it took a lot of hard work to prove the win. Though she might have missed a chance to end it on move 41, Sabina's 72. Rh8 seemed to close the door on Alisa.

Christiansen Perfect Against Seirawan

Staring Down the Barricades (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

GM Larry Christiansen only made 22 moves, but they were enough to defeat GM Yasser Seirawan and keep a perfect score after 2 rounds of the 2011 U.S. Championship being held at the St. Louis Chess Club. The two grandmasters already hold 7 U.S. Championship titles between them (Larry has 3 and Yasser has 4). If you are unsure about snatching pawns on b2 with your queen, perhaps this game will provide some guidance.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Timely Tactics #8 - Krush vs. Foisor

Krush v Foisor, Day 1 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
Even at the U.S. Women's Championship, single motif tactics can be found. Here's a position from the first round game with IM & WGM Irina Krush facing WGM Sabina Foisor. Irina has erred with 30. Bb3, dropping the coverage of the queen that the bishop had provided from the c2 square. Can you see what motif wins the game for Sabina?

You can see the full game score after the break.

Christiansen Scores in the 1st Round

Larry Christiansen, Day 1 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

GM Larry Christiansen scored a win in the first round of the 2011 U.S. Championship in St. Louis against GM Alexander Shabalov to give him a leg up on a shot at this year's title. Christiansen is already a 3-time winner of this title in 1980, 1983 and 2002. Shabalov is himself a 4-time winner of the title. Check out the game score below.

Also winning in the 1st round was the 2006 titleist GM Alexander Onischuk with the black pieces against the local favorite and resident GM Ben Finegold. In the U.S. Women's Championship, winners were WGM Sabina Foisor with the black pieces against 3-time Women's U.S. Champion IM & WGM Irina Krush and WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (tying for a win in 2005 but missing the title in a tiebreak) with white against WGM Camilla Baginskaite (winner of a share of the title in 2000).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Endgme Study #14 - D. Joseph 1922

This study by D. Joseph was found in 1234 Modern End-Game Studies by Sutherland and Lommer. The board is filled with stalemate possibilities. Can you sort them out and find a path to win?

The photo is from the British Chess Magazine 1922 where the study was first published showing the October issue. The illustration shown is of Philip H. Williams, a problem composer and author of the book The Modern Chess Problem. He was also known to pen a bit of music. Thanks for the photo by Adam Raoof. You can see more of his work here.

Find all of the endgame studies posted on The Pied Chessman here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Judith Polgar Takes Third

Judith Polgar showed that she's still a top world chess contender with a third place finish at the European Championships 2011, nearly overshadowing 1st place Vladimir Potkin and 2nd place Radoslaw Wotjaszek by becoming the first woman to claim a top spot ever at this tournament.

Entering at a rating of 2686, her performance will likely take her back over the 2700 mark and into super-grandmaster status. The performance also earns her a spot at the World Cup 2011 which will be held at Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia from August 26th-September 21st.

She played boldly in this game against Viorel Iordachescu's (2626) Caro-Kann in the 10th round, and it paid off with a commanding win.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Random Game # 19 - Asztalos vs. Breyer 1918

The Random Game feature at chessgames.com is a handy way to broaden your chess education. You never know what's going to pop up. You may see a famous classic, or maybe a subtle modernity, or maybe a true obscurity. You might even find a diamond in the rough that nobody else has spotted.

Revolution in Budapest in October 1918
Today's game introduces us to Lajos Asztalos with the white pieces against Gyula Breyer. The Vienna Game was originally called Hamppe's Game after Carl Hamppe. In the line known as the Vienna Gambit, White plays 3. f4 in order to reach a prefered line in the King's Gambit Declined. Though this line with Be7 by Black is called the Breyer variation it was certainly played long before Gyula tried it against Bernat Steiner in 1912, perhaps first by Wilfried Paulsen in 1888. A believer in the hypermodern theory of openings, Breyer also loaned his name to a variation in the Closed Ruy Lopez.

Though chess is a game of war, certainly 1918 was a tumultuous time to be playing chess in Budapest!

If you enjoy the random game idea you can try it yourself here.

Find all of the Random Games posted on the Pied Chessman here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Timely Tactics #7 - Giri vs. Aronian

Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort

Lev Aronian forshadowed his first overall at the 2011 Amber Rapid and Blindfold Tournament with this win over Anish Giri in the 1st round of the rapid (G/25) section. Aronian played a Dutch Defense and had to defend for a bit against a passed d-pawn, but apparently had the path to a win in hand when Giri erred with 37. Rh1. How did Lev swoop in to claim his prize?

See if you can spot the move, then play over the whole game score after the break.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Timely Tactics #6 - Kramnik vs. Nakamura

Hikaru Nakamura

Lev Aronian took first overall at the 2011 Amber Rapid and Blindfold Tournament today. Aronian was first in the Blindfold section while Magnus Carlsen had the top score in the Rapid section.

In their rapid game (G/25) in the 11th and final round, Hikaru Nakamura played this knockout to force Vladimir Kramnik to resign in a few moves.

See if you can spot the move, then play over the whole game score after the break.