Monday, December 10, 2007
I didn't achieve my goal of raising my rating into the next class. In fact, I'm ending the year 39 points lower, but I had a good time playing. Thanks to everyone who runs and plays at the Castle. You are a good bunch who I enjoy spending time with.
I hope everyone has an enjoyable Christmas and New Year!
See you in the next year!
Friday, November 2, 2007
I was only at move 18 on the Black side of a Caro-Kann, in which my opponent made me work hard. I stepped out of the room for a moment, and when I walked in, found that we were all roughly at the same point...move 16, move 19, move 19, and...move 12?!!! Kevin Landman, a 1500+ player, was playing Black with a strong time advantage against 1900+ Reed Russell.
Roughly an hour later, after I finally resigned, Dennis McGrath finished an excellent game against Steve Turmo with a victory.
Reed was concentrating head down, with just over five minutes left. I was exhausted and couldn't stand any more tension, so I left.
But it was one of those nights where everyone seemed to be playing their best!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Second, I added a link for the US Chess League on the side. For those who haven't heard about it, it is an Internet-only league played by teams across the country. The first round of the new season will begin this evening, Monday, August 27.
Some GMs play, including Nakamura, as well as Minnesota's own IM John Bartholomew. John will be playing Board 2 as Black this coming Wednesday, August 29th.
Tags: US Chess League, U.S. Chess League, chess, Internet chess
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Friday, July 6, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
If you have an interesting game or two, please post it on this blog, or consider submitting it to the Games section of the Minnesota State Chess Association website. Thanks!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
The top two players for the month were Carl and Steve. They drew two weeks ago, and each had a score of 2.5. Steve played Black against Phil, while Carl had the White pieces against Norm. Rich had Black against Roger, while Vinnie had White against Dennis. (I had an unrated game against John.)
I got to watch the beginning of all the games before I started my game. All the games looked interesting, with Phil v Steve and Roger v Rich the most active and complicated games.
When I got finished playing John to a draw, I walked over to Phil and Steve's table. The position had gotten more complicated, in Phil's favor. He had a checkmate threat on its way, so Steve resigned.
Norm was running very low on time against Carl. Norm won an exchange in what was a semi-closed position (a Knight for a Rook), but Carl used his remaining Knight in such an effective way that Norm was not able to hold off all the threats, and Carl won, making him this month's winner at 3.5. Congratulations again, Carl!
Roger has been getting into chess again late last year after a long break from playing. He was lamenting the fact that it was tough, but I encouraged him that it takes just a bit of patience. He didn't have to wait too long. He had a tactical game going with Rich. Rich opened up a weakness in his own position which created a forced mate in two.
I ended up leaving before the end of Vinnie and Dennis' game, which still had up to forty minutes to go. I was tired, but satisfied to have played and witnessed numerous good games.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Although there was just a small number, the games were all interesting. Roger Hale, a new member to the club in January, was playing against Norm. Phil Stevenson was playing against Carl, who has been playing on Monday nights. Vinnie was playing against Steve Turmo. Carl told me that last week he and Steve drew. I did not see any of the games conclude in the hour I was there, although all three seemed to be favoring on player over the other. It was enjoyable to check the games out.
Carl encouraged me to show up for some of the Monday events, which needs some more participants.
From the Castle site:
MONDAY SPEED DEMONS
8SS, TL: G/5, Reg: 6:30-7:15pm. Clocks start 7:15pm [done by 10PM]. EF: $10.
PZ: 60% entries awarded as prizes, depending on participation.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
Friday, March 2, 2007
You may find the gallery in the Forums section under Mn Tournaments: Gallery; or you may access them directly HERE.
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Please join us for breakfast and discussion. Mr. Bill also has this information on the MSCA link on the Chess Castle website. Thanks again, Mr. Bill.
Please note that this Saturday is the Beware the Ides of March Quads. The details are:
3 RR. TL: G/60 EF: $20, PZ. $40 each Quad. Reg: 12-12:50, RDs. 1-3:30-6.
Thank you and drive safely!
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Don Hooker is the winner of the Amateur section, and Christopher Gill is the winner of the Reserve section.
(edited on February 21)
Monday, February 19, 2007
So far, the only source of published information that I am aware of is on the Chess Castle website. It provides a report on the Premier section, in which IM Victor Adler won with a score of 4.5 with his victory over Master Ed Zelkind in Round Five.
If anyone would like to add details about this section or any other sections, please email me at:
joe [dot] coffeefreak [at] gmail [dot] com
and I will add you as an author for this blog. It would be great to hear the perspective of a few players.
(I am working on my own personal report on my blog at Java Joe Chess.)
Monday, February 12, 2007
2nd - Alex Betaneli - $150
3rd - Jeremy Kane* - $50.00
3rd - Ron Dieke - $50.00
U2000/1800 - Kevin Gaustad - $75
U2000/1800 - Sam Stegmann - $75
2nd - Nathan Amundson - $100
3rd/1400 - Christopher Gill - $55
3rd/1400 - Dennis Zuo - $55
U1200 - Joshua Anthony $50
2 Maor Locker
3 Mark Painter
4 Mike Munson
5 Odong Ojulu
6 Christine Pulido
1 Charlotte Gill
2 Emily Lekah
3 Rory Li
4 Dalton Dahle
5 Arriel Ballew
6 Andrew Hough
2 - Nick Lawrence (Premier-175)
3 - Michael Lust (Amateur-271)
4 - Ben Sparks (Amateur-638)
5 - Sam Stegmann (Premier-301)
Adults: Michael Larson
Students: Alex Betaneli
Todd Miller - Jeremy Kane
Rochester Winter Open 2007
1:0, 2/ 3/2007
1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. d4 O-O 6. a3?!= b6 7. Bd3 Bb7 8. Qc2 c5
[8... dxc4! 9. Bxc4 c5 10. O-O Nc6 11. Rd1 Qc8 12. Qe2 Na5 13. Ba2 Qc6 14. d5 exd5 15. Nxd5 Nxd5 16. Bxd5 Qc7 17. Bd2 Bxd5 18. Bxa5 Bxf3 19. Bxb6 Bxe2 20. Bxc7 Bxd1 21. Rxd1 Rac8 22. Be5 Rfd8 23. Rxd8 Rxd8 24. g3 Bf6 0-1, Westrik Erik - Luco Alain (FRA) 2161, Fouesnant (France) 2001]
9. cxd5 exd5 10. O-O
This move is considered best by the Computer Analysis Project (C.A.P.) database. However, no humans have played this move and I don't believe they should. In this same position, GM Larry Christiansen played
[10... Nc6! 11. b3 Re8 12. Bb2 h6 13. Rad1 cxd4 14. exd4 Bd6 15. Rfe1 Rxe1 16. Rxe1 Rc8 17. Qd1 Qf8 1/2-1/2, Bisguier Arthur B (USA) 2455 - Christiansen Larry M (USA) 2485, Greenville (USA) 1980]
11. Bf5 g6?
Black's 10th move locked the center, which makes it easier for either opponent to attack on the wing. His 11th move weakens his kingside, although this move is also suggested by C.A.P. As I see it, Black has already put himself in a very difficult position as Black has no reliable plan. In contrast, my plan is rather simple and clear. I will put my knight on e5 and push my f pawn to f5 in an effort to open lines on the kingside where my opponent has weakened his king position. Rather simple, and yet I believe that many strong players make such mistakes rather frequently. On each move, one has to ask oneself what is my long range plan and what are the plans of my opponent.
12. Bh3 a6 13. Ne5 Nc6 14. f4 Qd6
For the most part, my computer suggests playing similar moves or the same moves as my opponent, which suggests to me that the computers that suggested this strategy for Black were in error. Black is relegated to defense. He does have a queenside pawn majority but White's attack is much faster. There is little Black can do but wait for the inevitable.
15. Bd2 b5 16. Be1 Bc8 17. Bxc8 Raxc8 18. f5!?
Perhaps this is a bit premature. I could have first played Rf3 as the tactics surrounding my weakened e3 square are not as effective when the rook is protecting this square. Below, I give a sample game I generated with the help of my Rybka computer program to illustrate that White can obtain the same sort of attack after this move as I do in the game.
[18. Rf3 Nh5 19. g4 Ng7 20. f5 Bf6 21. Nxc6 Rxc6 22. Qg2 gxf5 23. gxf5 Rd8 24. Bg3 Qd7 25. Kh1 Kh8 26. Raf1 Rg8 27. Be5 Bxe5 28. dxe5 Qc7 29. f6 Ne6 30. Rg3 Rxg3 31. Qxg3 and White is winning.]
[It would have been much better to play 18... Nxe5. I will give some detailed analyses to show that White is still on top and that is only natural as I have followed a logical plan of opening lines on the kingside. I have often found that if I play a strategic idea that I believe is logical and consistent with principles of chess then even if I have overlooked something at times is has worked out for me. This is another bonus of attempting to play logical chess. Aagaard notes in his book on Excelling at Chess that Kasparov is not as good a tactician as Shirov. However, his tactics follow from his striving to place his pieces on the best possible squares and to play within a logical framework. This may explain why Kasparov had such a good record against Shirov. His attacks are based on logic and principles so even if he doesn't see everything, his attacks usually work. It is this keen sense of chess judgment that Aagaard believes put Kasparov of top. Kasparov has also argued that his gift is in knowing where to put his pieces and not in calculating. 19. Bg3 Nfg4! (or 19... Qd7 20. Bxe5 Ng4 21. Bf4 Nf6 22. Qe2 a5 23. Bh6 Rfe8 24. Bg5 b4 25. axb4 axb4 26. fxg6 hxg6 27. Bxf6 bxc3 28. bxc3± Rybka) 20. Qe2 Qd7 21. Bxe5 Nxe5 22. dxe5 d4 23. exd4 Qxd4 24. Kh1 Rc5! (24... Bc5 25. Ne4 Kh8 26. Nf6 Qe3 27. Qg4 Qxe5 28. Qh4 h5 29. Rae1 Qxb2 30. Qg5 Kg7 31. Nxh5 Kh7 32. Nf6 Kg7 33. Ng4 Kg8 34. f6 Rfe8 35. Rxe8 Rxe8 36. Qh6 Bf8 37. Qxg6 fxg6 38. f7 Kh7 39. fxe8=Q; 24... Qd3 25. Qe1 Qc2 26. Nd5 Rce8 27. Rf2 Qd3 28. Rd1 Qb3 29. Qe2± and White's attack can proceed as in the last variation.) 25. Rae1 (The idea of 25. e6 is appealing. However, Re5 26. exf7 Rxf7 27. fxg6 hxg6 28. Qc2 Qd3³) 25... Qd3 (25... Bh4 26. g3 Bg5 27. Qe4 Qd7 28. Kg2 Qd2 29. Re2 Qd3 30. Qb7± Rybka) 26. f6 (Not 26. Qg4?? Rxe5 27. Rxe5 Qxf1#) 26... Qxe2 27. Rxe2 Bd8 28. e6 fxe6 29. Rxe6 a5 30. g4 (30. Ne4 Rf5 31. Kg1 Rd5 32. h4 b4 33. axb4 axb4 34. g4 Rd3 35. Rf2 c3 36. bxc3 bxc3 37. Kg2 Re3 38. Rc2 Rf7 39. g5± In this variation, White used his space advantage on the kingside to create a highly favorable pawn structure. 39... Ba5) 30... Kf7 31. Rd6 Re5 32. Nd5 h5 33. gxh5 gxh5 +0.23d12 Rybka]
19. g4 Ng7 20. Bg3
Black has not committed any tactical errors. Nevertheless, he now has to lose material. In Jacob Aagaard's Excelling at chess, he argues that chess players excel not due to superior calculating abilities or imagination. Rather, they are able to understand positions in terms of what are viable plans and ideas. Personally, I believe many people already have sufficient positional knowledge to incorporate ideas of piece placement and positional judgment into their games. They merely need to incorporate it into their thinking process during the game. That is, many players get lost in the opening or tactical variations and do not see the big picture, which they would be fully aware of if they took the time to notice but in the heat of battle they forget about the big picture and focus on tactics.
20... Qd8 21. Qg2 Nxe5 22. Bxe5 Bd6
[Better would have been 22... f6 23. Bg3 gxf5 24. gxf5 Kh8 and Black's king position is considerably better than in the game, although Black still has to lose a pawn. ]
23. fxg6 hxg6
24. Bf6! Qd7 25. Nxd5
Now, Black will continue to lose material because his king position is too vulnerable. Was this all a result of locking the center and playing the weakening move 11. ... g6? I will let the reader decide.
25... Rc6 26. Be5
[Time trouble was now approaching for both of us. More accurate was 26. Bg5 which threatens ¤f6+ Ne8 27. Bh6 Kh7 (27... Ng7 28. Nf6 Kh8 29. Nxd7) 28. Bxf8 Bxf8 Rybka]
26... Bxe5 27. dxe5 Rd8 28. Rad1 Qe8
White can win the exchange any time he wants to because the knight at f6 is too strong. For example, White will have mating threats with £h3 after ¤f6. Therefore, I decided to consolidate my position a bit before winning the exchange. [More double edged is 29. Ne7 Qxe7 30. Rxd8 Qxd8 31. Qxc6 Qd2 32. Qf3 Qxb2 33. Qxf7 Kh7 34. Qe7 Qd2 35. Qh4 Kg8 Rybka]
No better was29... Rxd5 30. Rxd5 c3 31. bxc3 Rxc3 32. Qd1 Ne6 33. Rd7 Rxe3 34. Qd6 Re4 35. Rfxf7 Rxg4 36. Kf2 Rd4 37. Qe7 Rybka]
30. Nf6 Rxf6 31. Qxf6
[31. exf6! Ne6 32. Qc6 Rd8 33. Qxe8 Rxe8 34. Rd5 Rb8 35. h3 g5 36. Rd7 Rc8 37. Kg2 Nc5 Rybka±/ This is line is better because the side with the material advantage has managed to trade off more pieces. If you're ahead in material it's usually a good idea to trade off as many pieces as possible. ]
31... Ne6 32. Rd6 Nf8
[Better would have been 33. Rxa6 Rc7 34. Rd1 Nd7 35. Qh4 Rc8 36. e6 +2.32 d10 Rybka]
33... Rxd6 34. Rxd6 Qc8 35. Qf3 Ne6 and White eventually won in a time scramble. [1:0]
My conclusions are from this game and several others that I have played since I began playing chess is that players in general are much better tactically than they were when I played before. However, I believe that at times that improvement in tactics allows us to forget about the importance of incorporating long-range strategic objectives into one's thinking.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Be advised the new website for the Mankato Chess Club has changed.
I will try to update the links for the new address as soon as possible. Be advised the Mankato site is being consolidated with the Texas website. The reason for the consolidation arose out of necessity and convenience. The consolidation will be hosted at new site.
My zhat.net domain expired on Feb. 8 2007, without my knowing the expiration was approaching. Said domain was purchased several years ago using a yahoo email which I no longer use. Consequently, I could not be reached to be informed of the impending expiration. Furthermore, I have been thinking of purchasing a more appropriate domain.
Why Italian? Flores is Spanish for flowers and fiore is Italian for flower. Hence, I decided to use the Italian language as I have mulled opening a pizzeria where patrons could enjoy great pizza and a good game of chess.
I invite you to visit our new sight and consider registering so you can be a part of our chess growth. More importantly, I respectfully request that you please help us spread the word of our new website.
Thank you for your indulgence and kind attention!
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
I encourage you to add to the discussion here. I have the perspective of a Class C/D player who enjoys writing about my own games and observing other games. It would be interesting to hear from others, whether they are just beginning with their chess development, or from those who are seasoned experts, masters, or beyond in the Minnesota chess community. Feel free to discuss particular games, events, books, etc. that you have found to add to your enjoyment and understanding of the game.
Drop me a line at joe [dot] coffeefreak [at] gmail [dot] com to be added as an author to this blog.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
Well, this month was no exception. Last week, Femi (White) played Steve (Black) in a Sicilian. Steve, our resident Expert, described that Femi had a strong advantage by move 12. Femi went on to win the game.
Dave, who I lost to in round one, played Femi to determine this month's winner. Their game got finished before my game against Norm, and Femi won with a score of 3.5 out of 4. Congratulations, Femi!
My game with Norm was interesting. To me, this was one of those games that demonstrated that winning a won game is difficult. We started out fairly evenly in a Closed Ruy Lopez. On move 16, however, I retreated my Knight without protecting a Pawn adequately, and I lost my Pawn. I repeated my error at move 33. In fact, I was three Pawns behind by move 36. However, as we were running lower on time (Norm had less than 8 minutes by move 44), I presented him with a series of difficulties with my Knight and Rook. I'm sure there were simplifications in the position, but they were not found during the game. I offered a draw at move 46 or 47, but Norm played on. He made his last seven moves with 11 seconds left, and during the intense time pressure, hung the Queen with four seconds left.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Pretend I am new to the club but really enjoy chess. How would you sell this event to me?
Send me an email to the address on my profile, and I'll add you as a writer.
Friday, January 12, 2007
We have two new members to the club, Roger, who I played last night, and Femi, who played Will last night. After I finished my game, I found them analyzing their game, a win for Femi.
Note for tomorrow: There is a Speed Demons event.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Tonight is round two of the Thursday Knighter. People can join tonight with a half-point bye for round one. We have eleven people in the tournament currently. Our strongest player is Steve Turmo, an expert.
If anyone is interested in writing up reports for these events, please let me know.
Monday, January 8, 2007
I walked in the back door and saw a full room of people playing bridge. I don't know much about the game, but the people looked like they were having fun. I went downstairs where I saw Kevin and the owner of the club, Teri. The space that we are sharing with Scrabble Club 42 is spacious and inviting. Basements don't usually have that feeling, but there was a good vibe that night.
People slowly gathered before the 7:30 start of round one. Many regulars were here. Besides myself and Norm (the tournament director), in came Steve, Dave, Mike, Dennis, Vince, and a few others pictured below in the preceding posts. All told we had ten people for the first round, with an eleventh person joining for the remaining rounds.
As more people walked in, the more excited I felt. I was not sure how many would show up this first day, but eleven is a great number for a Thursday night. (My excitement didn't helped me at the board in my game against Dave. I made a very amateurish mistake about a dozen moves in which kept my dark-squared Bishop trapped behind enemy pawns for most of the game. I felt bad about playing lousy, but I didn't lose any sleep over it either.)
I want to thank everyone who came to help make this first round a good one.
Friday, January 5, 2007
Thursday, January 4, 2007
Tonight is the first round of the January event. I will be attending, and I hope many of you join as well. Good luck!