Losing hurts, and losing at chess hurts more because it's your own fault. You beat a person at chess at your peril.
“According to court documents, [Michael A.] Madden told police that after the argument broke out during their chess match, his alleged victim tried to attack him three times.
“In one instance, Madden said, he held the man down, by his throat, on a couch and used a knife to ‘flick’ the victim’s nostril, creating a small cut.
“The man was cut on the left side of his abdomen when he attacked him for a third time, Madden said. Police said the victim had a softball-sized wound.”
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
It was two years ago today, on an uncommonly warm afternoon during a post-Christmas visit to my native New York City, that I played the game below with Simon, one of the regular chess players in Washington Square Park. I didn’t realize at the time that he was homeless, though knowing the chess scene in the park it doesn’t surprise me.
As for the game, I played badly. I wouldn’t say Simon played a strong game, though he certainly played better than I did and deserved to win. I think you’ll agree that when I resigned on move 40 the game was lost.
I don’t know where Simon is today or whether he’s still homeless. I hope he’s well. He was a nice guy, and I enjoyed our game.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Phillip leads Illinois 11-year-olds; Ray shows up big at Wells tourney
Ray School sixth-grader Phillip Parker-Turner is the number-one eleven-year-old chess player in the state of Illinois, according to the latest ratings supplement from the United States Chess League. Phillip, whose rating has risen sharply this year, is now at 1631, which makes him number 65 nationally in his age group and higher than any eleven-year-old in the Land of Lincoln.
Phillip won another tournament earlier this month, finishing first in the Advanced section at the Youth Chess Foundation of Chicago meet at Wells Prep.
Ray was a big factor in that event overall, it turns out. Acquiting themselves well while being forced to play in the tournaments's combined Intermediate/Advanced section were Ray School's Abdel Raoul and George Vassilatos. The competition there is really tough, but both boys scored victories.
Making what may have been her tournament debut was George's youunger sister Angeliki Vassilatos, who also got on the board with a victory. Ray’s Oliver Jiang, a player with whom I admit I’m not familiar, scored a very impressive 3.5/5 to finish 26th among 129 players in the Beginner section.
Congratulations to all Ray chess players, and good luck in 2010.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
How the Beatles won the 1965 Super Bowl at Shea Stadium
Friday, December 18, 2009
This one goes out to Zack Fishman.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Congratulations to IM Angelo Young of the Chicago Blaze for being named an all-star in U.S. Chess League's first team. The league has first, second, and third all-star teams, and Angelo is Board 3, behind GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Boris Gulko, on the first team. With NM Eric Rodriguez on board four, that's one heck of a team.
It's hard to find anything new to say about Angelo's extraordinary performance that hasn't been said before. He won the league Upset of the Week prize twice (a record), and won a game on Board 1 against a much higher rated player in a match where Angelo was filling in at the last minute for a sick teammate. Amazing.
Cross-posted from the Chicago Blaze blog.
“Back in the 1980s, I was embarrassed when I started routinely losing to computers. Now I lose to my telephone . . .” Bill Brock, on iPhone chess
“Back in the 1980s, I was embarrassed when I started routinely losing to computers. Now I lose to my telephone . . .”
Bill Brock, on iPhone chess
From the master himself. Happy holidays, everyone.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
IM Angelo Young sends along this information about this week's blitz tournament at Touch Move Chess Center:
December 18 (Friday). TMCC (Open) Blitz Championship. 5639 N. Ashland Ave. Chicago Illinois 60660 (773 627-2759) .5-Rds Double Swiss, G/5 in One Section: Open $$ EF: $ 5 TMCC member -$10 non-member cash entries only. Rds will start 7:00pm *Promptly and successive rounds posted as soon as they are ready. No bye allowed only for late entry. Higher of USCF and Quick used for pairings and prizes. Limited to 30 players. Bring your own chess clock, No smoking.
Prizes: (based on 30)
1st - $ 60
2nd - $ 30
1st - $30
2nd -Chess book or DVD
Under 1400 (unrated)
1st - $30
2nd - Chess Book or DVD
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
In “stunning reversal of fortune,” losers are heroes in tiebreaks
Congratulations to the New York Knights, who have defeated the Miami Sharks to win the 2009 U.S. Chess League Championship. Last night's regulation match ended in a draw. As the USCL site reports:
We have been remiss, I must admit, here at the Knights of Castle Kimbark, at covering the fairly exciting post-season action in the USCL, and as it happens I don't have time to redress that neglect at the moment with a lengthy post (all the usual excuses), but go to the USCL site to see all the playoff games.
“For the fourth year in a row the USCL Finals came down to a blitz tiebreaker. Two players lost during regulation, GM Giorgi Kacheishvili and IM Alejandro Moreno Roman. In a stunning reversal of fortune, both of these players were heros in the blitz tiebreaker. Moreno Roman knocked off everyone on New York's team except for Kacheishvili. Kacheishvili then turned around and did the exact same thing to Miami, finishing things off by defeating GM Julio Becerra with the black pieces.”
In due course we'll try to bring Blaze fans up to speed on the thrilling 2009 USCL postseason.
(Cross-postd from Chicago Blaze blog)
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Your Christmas jazz fix
Nice piece, no? So much so that even the Red Sox plug at the end doesn't ruin it.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Tribune reporter Colleen Mastony had a delightful piece on page 2 of last Thursday’s paper about the sale of Leon Despres’ library at O’Gara’s Bookstore on 57th Street. The late former alderman and longtime Hyde Park firebrand, who died earlier this year at 101, was known for his progressive activism and fervent opposition to Mayor Daley the Elder, but less well known was that Len was also an omnivorous reader and polymath.
As Mastony reports, his books bear witness to his phenomenal life, enshrining inscriptions from fellow Chicago greats such as Studs Terkel, Lois Weisberg, and Mike Royko. She writes:
“In some ways, bookshelves are like mirrors; they reflect a person's life, revealing a mosaic of thoughts and ideals. ‘There is a certain intimacy, a view into very private things about a person that you get by looking at their books,’ said Douglas Wilson, the owner of O'Gara & Wilson. . . .That student ended up buying a copy of Chicago: City on the Make. It cost him $125, but considering it was inscribed to Len by author Nelson Algren himself, he must have thought it was worth it.
“Despres was meticulous with his library. He tucked articles and correspondence into dust jackets. He never dog-eared pages and rarely wrote in his books, except to make a small dash in a margin with a pencil. When he took notes, he put them on loose leaf.
“‘He just loved his books,’ said Despres' son, Robert. ‘Among the reasons he said he didn't want to move out of the apartment was that he loved being surrounded by his books.’
“At the end of the summer, a small sign went up in the window at O'Gara & Wilson: ‘We are honored to sell fine books from the personal library of the late 5th Ward Alderman Leon Despres (1908-2009).’
“On a recent afternoon, a young law student came into the shop. The student greatly admired Despres and marveled at the stories of his life: the time that Despres was dispatched to Mexico to deliver a suitcase to Leon Trotsky, the labor protest that Despres had helped organize in 1937, the single-minded way Despres had stood up against Mayor Richard J. Daley -- who often retaliated at City Council meetings by having Despres' microphone switched off.”
It’s a fine Hyde Park tale: books, O’Gara’s, and Leon Despres. Consume these stories while ye may: there’ll be none of them in Age of Kindle.
There’s some good news on the local chess front in the Windy City. Since my panicky post last summer about the imminent demise of the Chicago Chess Meetup Group, people have stepped up to rescue the group from extinction. Particularly active in the institution’s revival has been NM Bruce Kovalsky, who as far as I can tell moved here recently from the West Coast and has since put a lot of energy into chess organizing. First Bruce was scheduling meetups at various Starbucks on the Near North Side. Now he’s putting one together for the Iguana Café at 517 North Halsted on December 17. I’m told these get-togethers are a lot of fun. Go here for more information about the December 17 event and here to sign up for the Chicago Chess Meetup Group.
This is a good chance to get out of the house and away from the Internet, to meet some nice people, eat some good food, play some real, over-the-board chess, and support your local chess organizer.
* My apologies to those of you who are allergic to bad puns. Sometimes I just can't resist.
Friday, December 04, 2009
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
In an auspicious development for the chess blogosphere, veteran Chicago chess expert and former Illinois Chess Association President Bill Brock has just established the Chicago Chess Blog, which will focus on anything and everything related to chess locally. This is good news. Bill is a strong player, a trove of knowledge about Chicago chess from having lived and played here for many years, and an inveterate and outstanding annotator, among many other things. He’s already filled the site with a prolific assortment of game analyses in just the first few weeks.
And in a move that I think bodes well for the blog’s success, Bill has decided not to go it alone but to invite an assortment of prominent Chicago-area chess players, organizers, bloggers, and fans to join him as regular contributors. Some less prominent ones, too, like me.
Please check it out.
Photos by johnnyscars on flickr.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
See if you can make sense of this now-famous video of the Armageddon match (don't you love that term?) that decided the 2008 U.S. Women's Chess Championship. Double or triple-click on the screen to see the clip on YouTube full screen. Try to figure out who actually won and who moved out of turn. I certainly can't.
Thanks in no small part to this clip, chances are a national championship will never be decided in this way again. From Chicago's own Betsy Dynako.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Though we noted his centennial two years ago (and mentioned him again last year, come to think of it), Professor Barzun's longevity rates a mention every birthday. Today he's 102. Happy birthday, Sir.
This is worth reading.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Through the generosity of the North American Chess Association, this year's Illinois Class Championships on December 12 will be a fundraiser for the Chicago Blaze. Please come and play and help us build a team that can compete for the U.S. Chess League Championship. We can't do it without the help and support of the whole Chicago and Illinois chess community.
Details below. And here is a flyer you can print out and tack up on the fridge.
2009 Illinois Class Championships
A Chicago Blaze Fundraiser Event
Dec 12, 2009
Holiday Inn Hotel – 5300 West Touhy, Skokie, IL
$2,000 guaranteed in 6 sections:
- M/X: $400‐200, Top Expert $150, $50 upset prize
- Class A (U2000): $200‐100
- Class B (U1800): $200‐100
- Class C (U1600): $200‐100
- Class D (U1400): $200‐100
- Class E/F/Unrated: Book Prize to top 2
EF: $40 by 6pm 12/11, $60 onsite. Play Up 1 Class for $10. Re‐entry with 1/2pt bye in Rd 1 for $20. Only 2 byes allowed. Last round bye must commit by start of Rd 2.
Rds: 10, 12:30, 3, 5:30.
Mail entries with registration information to:
North American Chess Association (make checks payable to)
4957 Oakton Street
Skokie, IL 60077.
Online registration available at: http://www.nachess.org/ilclass.
ICA and USCF membership required.
Questions via email only: email@example.com .
No smoking. Dec 2009 Supplement used.
All profits from this event will be donated to the Chicago Blaze, the team that represents Illinois in the US Chess League.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Blaze draw division-leading Sluggers to end a down-and-up season
NM Eric Rosen
The Chicago Blaze finished their 2009 USCL season on November 4 with a 2-2 draw against the division-leading Seattle Sluggers, capping off a late-season mini-surge that gave the team a respectable 4-6 record on the year after a poor start in the first half of the schedule.
With the Blaze officially eliminated from playoff competition by Miami’s draw against Boston the previous week, the pressure was off the Chicago squad, and they were relaxed going into the final round against the heavily favored Sluggers. That and the good turnout of fans at the Holiday Inn Skokie created a festive atmosphere for the night that helped the team hold the Pacific Northwest powerhouse.
One of the Blazers who took full advantage of the circumstances was IM Florin Felecan, who scored his first USCL victory against FM Slava Mikhailuk in a 28-move Sicilian Rossolimo.
It took NM Eric Rosen a few more moves to prevail over NM Joshua Sinanan in a Closed Sicilian, but prevail he did, and the two wins secured the draw against Seattle.
As always, here are the games:
1. GM Gregory Serper (SEA) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 1-0
2. IM Florin Felecan (CHC) vs FM Slava Mikhailuk (SEA) 1-0
3. FM Marcel Milat (SEA) vs IM Mehmed Pasalic (CHC) 1-0
4. NM Eric Rosen (CHC) vs NM Joshua Sinanan (SEA) 1-0
While the season is over for the Blaze the USCL playoffs are under way, and we’ll have some more posts in the days ahead to recap the year, so ya’ll come back now, you hear?
Posted by Tom Panelas at 9:48 AM
Friday, November 27, 2009
No sooner did Phillip Parker-Turner win his division at the Illinois All-Grade Championship than he turned around and scored big in last weekend’s National Youth Action Tournament in Oakbrook, Ill. The Ray School sixth grader tied for 3rd (8th on tiebreaks) in the K-6 division of the main tournament and 9th in the blitz competition side event. “The blue trophy is the regular tournament and the green one in the Blitz,” his father explains.
Once again, Phillip: Congratulations.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
A great, possibly the greatest, Thanksgiving tradition
The clip above is Part 1 of the song. Go here for Part 2.
Happy holiday, everyone. May you all enjoy Thanksgiving dinners that can't be beat and not get caught dumping garbage off the side of a side road. Peace.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
- 2 peeled oranges
- 1 bag cranberries
- ¾-1 cup sugar
- ½ cup crushed pineapple
- Mix together butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Slowly pour the powder ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix together until the dough is very stiff.
- Put the dough on a large cutting board and knead well.
- Refrigerate dough for 2 hours.
- Make twists and put on cookie sheets (ungreased).
- Bake on pre-heated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.
Makes about 50-55 cookies.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Laptop steering wheel desk: the perfect holiday gift for all the homicidal multitaskers on your list!
You live in a real-time world, where everything demands your immediate attention. Why wait till you get home or to the office to answer that e-mail? And what about that brilliant tweet that just popped into your head? You might forget it by the time you’re off the road. Send it now, while you’re zipping along on the Dan Ryan. The laptop steering wheel desk makes it easy!
See Amazon’s page on this product, but make sure to look at all the photos and read the reviews. See the tags, too. Hat tip: Clay Shirky.
Friday, November 20, 2009
The clockwatchers' anthem. And don't fail to note the class analysis in the lyrics.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Perennial Ray School chess star Phillip Parker-Turner is certainly starting off his senior year in grand fashion. Last weekend he defended his 2008 5th-grade title in the Illinois All-Grade Championship by winning this year’s 6th-grade trophy. For that he ventured to downstate Bloomington, a great Illinois chess mecca where the All Grade was held this year. Two weeks earlier Phillip had a great tournament closer to home—right here in Hyde Park at the University of Chicago. Among the high points of that event was Phillip’s victory over Expert Dusan Tutush (his first over a > 2000-rated player?) as well as wins over other higher-rated guys. His rating has skyrocketed of late to 1670. Congratulations, Phillip!
photo: Phillip Turner
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
Saturday, November 07, 2009
I thought the food, service, and décor were all quite good at the newly renovated Giordano’s pizzeria in Hyde Park, which reopened this week after several months of remodeling. I’ll leave it at that and let people who know about restaurants fill in the details. What struck me about the place was that the tabletops are perfect for chess. Just bring pieces, and the board’s right there. The squares are about two inches and take standard-size chessmen just fine.
Props to Giordano’s, by the way, for preserving the historically significant glazed façade of the building. Hyde Parkers of a certain age will remember that the space was once the site of the Eagle, a classic neighborhood bar that closed in the late 1970s.
photo: Michael Panelas
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
In a loss to Arizona, we learn that Angelo Young is even more amazing than we thought.
Okay, sure, we lost. To Arizona. For the fourth time in a row. And we’ve never beaten or even drawn them, it’s true. And yes, the loss puts our fading playoff hopes on life support.
All duly noted.
If you’re predisposed to negativity, those might be your impressions from Monday night’s Blaze match against the Scorpions.
But the real news of the night was this:
IM Angelo Young, who we knew was amazing, is even more amazing than we imagined.
He wasn’t even scheduled to play last night, but when a teammate took sick Monday morning he rearranged his schedule and obligingly stepped in to play Board 1, with a huge time penalty (because of the last-minute substitution) against freshly qualified GM-elect Rogelio Barcenilla, whose rating exceeds Angelo's by 258 points.
It didn’t seem to bother Angelo, either, that he was putting his undefeated USCL record on the line under extremely difficult circumstances. And I think I know why: because somehow he must have known that he was going to win.
With no time for dinner, much less to prepare for the game, Angelo played fast, played great, double fianchettoed, won material, and won the game, all while wolfing down appetizers from Tandoor India to keep his blood sugar from crashing.
True, the rest of the night didn’t go so well for the Blaze. Here are the games:
1. IM Angelo Young (CHC) vs IM Rogelio Barcenilla (ARZ) 1-0
2. IM Dionisio Aldama (ARZ) vs IM Florin Felecan (CHC) 1-0
3. IM Mehmed Pasalic (CHC) vs IM Danny Rensch (ARZ) 1/2-1/2
4. David Adelberg (ARZ) vs NM Eric Rosen (CHC) 1-0
As always, we must give special thanks to our Celebrity Tournament Director for the night, a role played ably and diligently for the second time this season by Mike Cardinale of the Youth Chess Foundation of Chicago.
Next week is Week 9, and we play the reigning champion Dallas Destiny on Monday night. We will have to win (not draw) to have any remaining playoff chances at all. Watch this space for more.
P.S. Though it has been expected for some time, a note of congratulations is in order for our very own Florin Felecan (the 2009 Illinois state co-champion, by the way), who has had his international master title formally approved by the the World Chess Federation. Henceforth, he is IM Felecan. Congratulations, Florin.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
If you haven’t been to the Touch Move Chess Center lately, it’s time to check in. IM Angelo Young has revamped the Web site, giving it a new design and new features, and he’s planning a series of tournaments and lectures. For example:
¶ A G/30 tournament today beginning at 11:00 AM
¶ Friday-night Blitz, every Friday from 7:30 – 10:00 PM.
Angelo is also beginning a series of weekend lectures both for scholastic players and adults. Stay tuned for more information here or watch the TMCC Web site.
The club is located at 5639 North Ashland in Chicago. Call (773) 293-6667 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
The Reynolds Club -- 5706 S. University Ave, Chicago, IL
USCF rated only (not FIDE rated).
4-SS G/60+10 Sec increment. $1225 b/60
(An increase of $525 over the last prize fund we offered at this site!).
EF: $30 preentry, $40 at the site. $10 discount to U of C students. IDs will be checked at site and discount given at site. All pre-entries will be put in a drawing for a Chessbase software package of your choice.
Prize Fund: (All class prizes based on 4 per section) 1st $400, 2nd $250, 3rd
$150,Expert/A $125,B $100, C $100, D + below and Unrated $75, Biggest Upset $25.
Info/Preentries: Chris Baumgartner, 9985 Linda Ln Apt 2E, Des Plaines, IL 60016
(please make checks payable to Chris Baumgartner) Phone: 847-609-2987 Email:
Monday, October 05, 2009
NM Eric Rosen annotates his victory over NM Andrew Ng
Eric’s outstanding chess summer is turning into a great fall, beginning with his thrilling victory with the Closed Sicilian in his first USCL game last Wednesday night.
Go here to see the game with Eric’s annotations.
Saturday, October 03, 2009
Knockouts squeak past Blaze 2.5-1.5
Photos: Andi Rosen
In another close contest against a league leader that looked like it could end in a draw, the Blaze ultimately came up short Wednesday night, losing 2.5-1.5 to the New Jersey Knockouts, the only USCL team with a perfect record, which now improves to 5-0.
The Blaze, by contrast, fall to 1-4 at midseason and are in serious need of victories in the coming weeks if we are to keep our playoff hopes alive.
There are always bright spots, even in defeats, and this week’s was the victory by newly minted NM Eric Rosen over Jersey’s NM Andrew Ng in Eric’s first game as a Blazer. The game marks another milestone in the annus mirabilis that has been 2009 for the Niles North High School sophomore, who this year has earned the national master title, won the U.S. Junior Open, beaten one grandmaster, and drawn another. In the latest USCF rankings, Eric is number five nationally in his age group, his highest ever.
Though it certainly would have been a better match if we’d won or drawn, it was a good one nevertheless. The toughest assignment of the night went to Chicago's IM Jan van de Mortel, who had to face the former U.S. Champion GM Joel Benjamin with the Black pieces. Jan played a strong game that looked drawish in the middle game to some onlookers, but Benjamin was able to take control and win. FM Mehmed Pasalic fell behind in time to his higher-rated opponent, IM Albert Kapengut, and Jersey was able to put that one in the W column as well. In the final game of the night to end, IM Angelo Young struggled mightily for a victory that would have drawn the match, but before his kingside attack could get underway, his opponent, SM Mackenzie Molner, found strong counterplay and hung Angelo up on the queenside. The game ended in a draw. Remarkably, however, Angelo remains undefeated in USCL competition.
Here are the games by board:
1. GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 1-0
2. IM Angelo Young (CHC) vs SM Mackenzie Molner (NJ) 1/2-1/2
3. IM Albert Kapengut (NJ) vs IM Mehmed Pasalic (CHC) 1-0
4. NM Eric Rosen (CHC) vs NM Andrew Ng (NJ) 1-0
Special thanks to Maret Thorpe, who served as our Celebrity Tournament Director for the night. It’s a short week. Monday night we play another Eastern Division team, the Philadelphia Inventors, arguably the chessical descendents of Ben Franklin. See you then.
In other developments, Blaze Manager Glenn Panner confirmed that, contrary to popular belief, he and Joel Benjamin are not one and the same person.
Here's a report on the match from the Knockouts blog and from the ever-excellent Michael Goeller.
Panner photo: Betsy Dynako
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Chicago bows to Mechanics 2.5-1.5
It was a seesaw match that seemed at first to be going our way, but the storybook ending was not to be, as the San Francisco Mechanics held on, as widely predicted, to beat Chicago Blaze last night 2.5-1.5.
The match, which went well past 11:00 PM Chicago time, ended when San Francisco’s GM Jesse Kraai succeeded in pushing an imminently promotable pawn down the g-file, against the valiant endgame efforts of Chicago’s FM Florin Felecan to prevent it, giving Kraai the game and San Francisco the edge in the match. The Blaze now fall to 1-3 after four weeks, with six matches left in the season.
As usual, there were bright spots for the Blaze. In a game that should be in the running for the league’s new Upset of the Week prize, IM Angelo Young defeated IM Sam Shankland and maintained his undefeated record in USCL play. On Board 1, where Blaze players have often struggled, IM Jan van De Mortel held the much higher rated GM Josh Friedel to a draw.
Here are the games, by board number:
1. IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC)vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1/2-1/2
2. GM Jesse Kraai (SF) vs FM Florin Felecan (CHC) 1-0
3. IM Angelo Young (CHC) vs IM Sam Shankland (SF) 1-0
4. NM Yian Liou (SF) vs IM Mehmed Pasalic (CHC) 1-0
Special thanks to NM Len Weber, who served as our Celebrity Tournament Director for the evening. Thanks also to GM Nikola Mitkov and Betsy Dynako, neither of whom had official duties with the team last night, for showing up and cheering the Blaze all the same. As always, we were honored to host Professor Gary Alan Fine of Northwestern University, who is following the Blaze and the USCL as part of a larger study on the sociology of chess. Finally, personal thanks to Chessdad64 (Brad Rosen), for a tough and interesting G/40 game.
Our next match is a week from Wednesday against the New Jersey Knockouts, who are jabbing their way through the league this year with a one-two combination of superb chess and bad puns. They’ll be tough, but we’ll be ready. Please join us next week and lend your voice to the cheering section. Go Blaze!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
First there was Boomer the Wonder Dog. Now this. Four minutes of Zen.
Hat tip: Ms. Averill, Room 413.
By the artist Jaime Hayón. Want to play? Details here.
Posted by Tom Panelas at 12:03 AM
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Chicago finally gets on the board with a 2.5-1.5 victory over Tennessee
Photos: Daniel Parmet
It’s good to win. That was the sentiment at the Holiday Inn Skokie last night as the Chicago Blaze finally posted their first victory of the 2009 season, beating the Tennessee Tempo 2.5-1.5 and breaking a five-match losing streak that extended to the end of last season.
As might be expected, it was the ever-reliable IM Angelo Young, still undefeated in USCL play, who hit the Volunteer State crew first, with a victory over FM Todd Andrews to spur his teammates and even the score, after FM Florin Felecan, with the Black pieces and a near-impossible match-up against Jaan Ehlvest on Board 1, had fallen to his super-GM opponent.
That left IM Mehmed Pasalic on Board 3, and NM Jon Burgess, Board 4, with the burden of determining the outcome of the match. Both games looked iffy, and a somber mood momentarily descended on the venue until both players rallied, Mehmed to victory over FM Peter Bereolos and Jon to hold FM John Bick to a draw.
Here are the games:
1. GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs FM Florin Felecan (CHC) 1-0
2. IM Angelo Young (CHC) vs FM Todd Andrews (TEN) 1-0
3. FM Peter Bereolos (TEN) vs IM Mehmed Pasalic (CHC) 0-1
4. NM Jon Burgess (CHC) vs FM John Bick (TEN) 1/2-1/2
Tennessee was one of the weaker teams in the league last year, but with Ehlvest and former U.S. Champion GM Alexander Shabalov now playing for the Nashville cats, they started this season strong and, as the USCL site put it, look like “a different team” this year. Last night’s match was their first defeat of the season. It came harder, and is in some ways more satisfying, than the two Blaze victories over the Tempo last year.
Special thanks to Larry Cohen, who served as our Celebrity Tournament Director for the evening’s match. Kudos also to Blaze Assistant Manager Daniel Parmet, who ran the match superbly in the absence of Manager Glenn Panner.
It’s a short week, and there won’t be much time to celebrate. We come back and play the mighty San Francisco Mechanics on Monday. Tune in to the Internet Chess Club, or watch the live coverage by Chicago’s Midway Chess Club.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Another subject on which the vile Fox News know-nothing propagandist purports to be an expert.
“OK. Any doubt in your mind that they're just going to throw these people — you know, I was thinking about — you and I were talking before I went on the show. And I asked somebody to go get a chess set, and a very nice one at this. Can we get a shot at this chess set?What did Philidor know, anyway?
“This is like ACORN. I keep thinking of these people, because I play chess — poorly, but I play chess. And the pawns don't matter. They just don't matter to me. When you're playing chess, it doesn't matter. You can take all the pawns. Who cares? It doesn't matter.
“The only thing that really matters is the king, and in this case — in ACORN — the king is a white guy, sitting there. I mean, it doesn't matter if everybody else is mowed down as long as he gets his cash.”
Saturday, September 12, 2009
This is a game I played with a pleasant chap named Eddy at the Starbucks on Lincoln & Wilson in Chicago, across from the Old Town School of Folk Music. I resigned on move 24 because I had to pick up my son from his guitar lesson, but Eddy was up a pawn, clearly better overall, and I was headed for defeat anyway.
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 d6
This was my crucial blunder, I think. Developing the king's knight was clearly the thing to do here, and may failure to do so invited White's next move, which caused me much grief.
5. Ng5 d5
I misread the position; I thought it was like the Fried Liver Attack, but it wasn't.
6. Bxd5 Be6 7. Nxe6 fxe6 8. Bxe6 Qf6 9. Bf5 Nge7 10. O-O Nxf5 11. exf5 Qxf5 12. Be3 b6 13. Bxc5 bxc5 14. Nc3 Rd8 15. Nb5 Qf7 16. b3 a6 17. Nc3 Nd4 18. Rc1 O-O 19. Ne4 Ne6
A generally weak and mediocre level of play on both sides, but White has had an advantage since early in the game, and Black has dome nothing to change the balance.
20. Qg4 Rd4 21. Rce1 h5 22. Qg3 Nf4 23. Nxc5 Qf6 24. Ne4 Black resigns 1-0
Posted by Tom Panelas at 11:53 PM
Thursday, September 10, 2009
But IM Young comes through again
Angelo Young always shows up.
As any Blaze fan will tell you, the popular international master and seven-time Illinois champion plays hard and always gives the team 100 percent. True to his reputation and record, Angelo came through again last night, posting an impressive victory with the Reti/King’s Indian Attack against NM Eric Rodriguez of the Miami Sharks to give the Blaze a lift and maintain his undefeated record in USCL play.
That, however, was the good news, and unfortunately, there wasn't anymore of it, as Angelo’s teammates, GM Nikola Mitkov, IM Jan van DeMortel, and expert Trevor Magness each fell to their Miami opponents. The Sharks won the match 3-1, handing the Blaze their second consecutive defeat of the new season and leaving us with an 0-2 record heading into the third week of the ten-week season.
Here are the games.
Board 1. GM Nikola Mitkov (CHC) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 0-1
Board 2. FM Bruci Lopez (MIA) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 1-0
Board 3. IM Angelo Young (CHC) vs NM Eric Rodriguez (MIA) 1-0
Board 4. Miguel Recio (MIA) vs Trevor Magness (CHC) 1-0
Special thanks to Mike Cardinale of the Youth Chess Foundation of Chicago, who served as our celebrity tournament director for the evening. Mike will be back with us again later in the season.
Next up, the Tennessee Tempo:
Wednesday, September 16th
Tennessee Tempo vs Chicago Blaze
7:00 PM Central Time
Posted by Tom Panelas at 9:34 AM
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
I won this three-minute (G/3) game on time, with nine seconds left on my clock when my opponent flagged. The Computer says the position is dead even. Does this qualify as a Wacky Wednesday game?
Al Franken and I were born on the same day, both of us in New York City, but the recently seated U.S. senator from Minnesota has used his long life much more productively than I have, at least when it comes to mastering the art of map-making on the fly. Here he draws a map of the United States -- freehand and from memory. Very impressive.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Congratulations to FM Florin Felecan of the Chicago Blaze, who finished in a tie for first place with IM Mesgen Amanov in this weekend's Illinois Open. The two players, who both went 5.0/6 for the weekend, are now the co-champions of Illinois.
Other Blazers playing in the tournament were IM Angelo Young, Trevor Magness, NM Eric Rosen, and Assistant Manager Daniel Parmet. Special congratulations to Blaze tech guru Sevan Muradian, who went undefeated in his section and raised his rating to 1744. Sevan's rating has spiked about 250 points in the past year. Is he doing de la Maza?
Left: Florin Felecan ponders his position in last year's Blaze match against the Baltimore Kingfishers.
photo: Betsy Dynako
Thursday, September 03, 2009
In the short rivalry between the Chicago Blaze and the Arizona Scorpions, there really hasn’t been much of a rivalry at all. In fact, the “rivalry” can be summed up easily: they own us.
Aside from the fact that both teams joined the U.S. Chess League at the same time last year, there are few similarities between them, especially when they go head to head. The Blaze dropped both of their matches to Arizona last year, and last night the Scorpions’ streak against the Windy City squad went to three as they handed us our most lopsided defeat ever, 3.5-.5. For the second year in a row, the Blaze lost their opening match of the season to the same team.A Few Bright Spots
There weren’t many bright spots in last night’s match, but there were a few. FM Florin Felecan managed to hold IM Levon Altounian for a draw. And as Blaze Manager Glenn Panner sees it, the remaining three games, which the Blaze lost, could have gone either way for most of the night.
There was no shortage of excitement. Trevor Magness, this year’s Illinois Denker champion, playing in his first game for the Blaze, gave a sharp and aggressive response to David Adelberg’s Sicilian. IM Mehmed Pasalic of the Blaze blitzed valiantly against FM Robby Adamson, as both of them drew short on time for about the last twenty moves of their game. GM Nikola Mitkov of the Blaze made GM Alejandro Ramirez work and sweat to grind out a victory in the last game of the night to end.
“I think we can be about as happy as you can be after a 3.5-.5 defeat,” said Glenn optimistically at the end of the night. Here are the games:
Board 1. GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) vs GM Nikola Mitkov (CHC) 1-0
Board 2. FM Florin Felecan (CHC) vs IM Levon Altounian (ARZ) 1/2-1/2
Board 3. FM Robby Adamson (ARZ) vs IM Mehmed Pasalic (CHC) 1-0
Board 4. Trevor Magness (CHC) vs David Adelberg (ARZ) 0-1
The Blaze as the Object of Scholarship
Off the board, we had a distinguished guest at the Holiday Inn Skokie, where the Blaze play their games. Professor Gary Alan Fine of Northwestern University, a leading expert on the sociology of leisure and popular culture, was on hand in his capacity as a researcher studying chess. That’s right: the Blaze have attracted the attention of scholars, so have a little respect. Happily, Gary will be with us a good part of the season.
Of course we were delighted to have our celebrity tournament director Betsy Dynako on hand. Betsy not only officiated during a mouse-slip in one game but as always took great pictures, this time doing it with my ancient point-and-shoot camera and despite technical difficulties with her own. We were also joined by the new Blaze assistant manager, Daniel Parmet, about which you'll be hearing more. He knows alot about chess, Indian food, and apparently many other things.
Props also to William Shehan of the Midway Chess Club, which did a webcast from their perch on the Southwest Side to which several people tuned in and NM Len Weber provided excellent play-by-play. I'd also like to thank the Internet Chess Club for providing me with access to the lives games, which enabled me to give real-time commentary on Twitter, such as it was.
It’s good to have our ignominious defeat for the season out of the way. Now the Blaze can concentrate on winning, which we’ll do beginning next week when we take on the Miami Sharks. And we get another shot at the Scorpions later in the year. So things are looking up. Stay tuned: the Blaze have not yet caught fire.
Photos: Betsy Dynako
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Not all that different in some ways, though I don't see any palm trees at Oak Street Beach. And don't expect to see the North Avenue Chess Pavillion: that was built in 1957.
The Chicago Blaze, Illinois’s very own chess team, is about to begin its second season in the U.S. Chess League. Our first game of 2009 takes place tonight, and I would like to invite all chess fans in Chicago and Illinois to follow the team, root for it, enjoy it, and support it.
Chess at the Ballpark
Also part of the season opening will be a scholastic tournament to raise funds for the team on Saturday, September 12, at U.S. Cellular Field. Here is a flyer with the details that you can tack up on the fridge. Please help spread the word about this tournament to kids and the parents of kids in grades K-12 who play chess. We need a good turnout, and it should be a lot of fun. Every kid who plays in the rated tournament will get a spiffy, new Chicago Blaze t-shirt.
Here’s how you can follow the Blaze.
- First, go to our main Web site to find out more about the team. In particular, take a look at the season schedule. The regular season runs through early November, and since we hope to make the playoffs this year, we expect to be playing beyond that. (Please bear with us if portions of the site aren’t entirely up to date; the Blaze is a volunteer effort, and we’re doing our best.)
- Come back regularly to this blog as we post news.
- Follow us on Twitter. We’ll be posting news about the team and the league, and if we can manage it we’ll be doing some live tweeting during the matches.
- Become a fan of the Blaze on Facebook.
- Attend the matches at the Holiday Inn Skokie, 5300 West Touhy. Fans are welcome to attend the games at no charge.
- If you can’t make it to the games, follow them live on the Internet Chess Club.
First Match Tonight Night
The first match is tonight, 8:00 Central time, against the Arizona Scorpions. The Blaze will gather at the Holiday Inn and play the Scorpions online, via the Internet Chess Club. I hope you can join us either in person or virtually. (If you don’t have an ICC subscription, tune in to Twitter.)
The Blaze has the blessing and support of the Illinois Chess Association, along with many individual people whom we hope to thank profusely in due course. (And one person I'd like to thank right now: Maret Thorpe, for creating the gorgeous flyer for the Celluar Field tournament)
Please let me know if you have any questions. The goal of the Blaze is to be a contributing part of the Chicago and Illinois chess communities and to help chess grow and prosper in the Windy City and the Prairie State. Please join the fun. Thanks.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Underdogs vs. Arizona, not for the first time
The pairings for this season’s first match, between the Chicago Blaze and the Arizona Scorpions, have been posted on the U.S. Chess League site, and as the teams get ready for the opening salvos of their 2009 title quests, the Windy City squad finds itself on familiar territory: as underdogs.
Here’s the lineup, in which Arizona has a ratings advantage on every board:
GM Alejandro Ramirez vs. GM Nikola Mitkov (Chicago)
FM Florin Felecan (Chicago) vs IM Levon Altounian
FM Robby Adamson vs. IM Mehmed Pasalic (Chicago)
Trevor Magness (Chicago) vs. David Adelberg
This is not a new situation for Chicago. The Blaze were underdogs in many if not most of their maiden-season matches last year, yet they managed to draw or win several of those contests. As a result, the team came that close to earning a playoff berth in its expansion-team season, staying in contention until the final game of the final match. Being down is nothing new for the Blaze, yet they've managed to carve out an impressive record of success despite the odds.
It’s a good thing, too because in the Scorpions, we face a formidable opponent. The Blaze faced Arizona twice last year and lost both times. This year they may be stronger, having added GM Ramirez to their roster. The Scorpions have a lot of resources, too, having just added the popular Chess.com site to its prodigious list of corporate sponsors. No wonder the team's manager, FM Robby Adamson, predicts victory for the Scorpions over the Blaze.
But to paraphrase the late Bobby Fischer, sponsorships don’t win chess games; strong moves do. The Blaze will be ready Wednesday night. The action begins at 8:00 Central time at the Holiday Inn Skokie (5300 West Touhy). Fans are welcome, so please come and cheer the team or follow them on the Internet Chess Club. We’ll also try to post reports on Twitter.
Hope to see you one way or another, either virtually or in person, as the 2009 Chicago Blaze season gets under way.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Veteran chess player and blogger Polly Wright invented Wacky Wednesday, the idea of devoting one day a week to the posting of abolutely ridiculous, blunder-laden games, many of which end in the opening because someone has flamed out in epic fashion. With decades of tournament play under her belt, Polly has a huge personal database from which to pluck suitably absurb games, and she sprinkles them throughout her blog now and then for a laugh.
I don't have Polly's vast experience, but I do have two things going for me that are helping me catch up in the accumulation of crazy games: (1) I play a lot of fast blitz (often G/3); and (2) I play badly. These two factors conduce to the creation of truly bad games, one of which I am happy to present for your entertainment today.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.Nc3 Qc6 5.d4 exd4 6.Qxd4
The center counter gambit isn't the strongest defense in the world for Black. White already has a big lead in development.
Duh! What am I thinking by attacking Black's queen with my bishop? Black can just take the prelate without fear of recapture by my knight, which is pinned to my king. Just because the N on c3 often protects the c5 bishop doesn't mean it always does. A huge blunder on my part, and I am apparently about to lose my bishop.
7. . . . Bc5???
Double Duh! Then again, maybe not. Black misses the easy capture. Even worse, he must think we're about to exchange queens, but it is not to be, for my queen capture will also put his king in check.
8.Bxc6+ Nxc6 9.Qxc5 1-0
Black is down a queen and resigns. It's a game that's just as well over and one truly worthy of Wacky Wednesday, since not one but both players made horrendous blunders.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
It isn't often a player of my limited ability sees a real tactic in a game, but in this one I spotted a discovered check (19. Bg5+) that won me my opponent's queen and shortly thereafter the game. This is when chess is the most fun. Time control was game in 10.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Remember, kids: be on the lookout for threats from your opponent, and when you see 'em deal with 'em; don't just keep pushing pawns.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Michael's tribute to Woodstock
Friday, August 14, 2009
Here was a fun three-minute (G/3) blitz game. I was about to mate this much higher rated player when I flagged. He had no mating material, so it's a draw rather than a win for him.
And yes, I know, 58. Qg2# and I win. Time pressures.
Posted by Tom Panelas at 4:06 PM
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I just got an e-mail notifying me that the Chicago Chess Meetup Group, which has been a force in the local chess scene for the past three years, is currently without a coordinator and will be shut down automatically by Meetup.com on August 26 if no one steps forward to pick up the reins. Will anybody out there volunteer to keep the group going?
Is there anyone out there who can take this on board? Go here if you're interested. And thanks.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Chicago-area junior beats GM, earns master title at U.S. Open
Several years ago some creative, young chess players of the kind New York City has in abundance put on an act at the Marshall Chess Club entitled "Being John Fedorowicz," an allusion to a popular movie of the day about experiencing the bizarre thrill of actually "being" the actor John Malkovich, even if only for a few minutes.
The exact context all that may be fuzzy to us a decade later, but it remains nevertheless clear that John Fedorowicz, the well-known East Coast grandmaster is, like John Lennon's working-class hero of lore, someone to be.
On this particular Monday, however, an equally cool person to be is Niles North High School sophomore, Blaze player, and newly minted chess master Eric Rosen, who beat GM Fedorowicz in a miniature yesterday at the U.S. Open.
Young Eric, with the Black pieces, kept his powder dry while the grandmaster's early kingside pawn push created an open diagonal for Eric's queen, which he thrust with alacrity onto White's sixth rank, there to wreak havoc. The senior player resigned on move 16.
It was the first victory against a grandmaster for the rapidly advancing young chess star and came just days after Eric achieved a draw against GM Jesse Kraai at the same tournament.
Oh, yes, and by the way: The game capped off an impressive 6.5/9 performance for Eric at the Open, which will put his rating over the 2200 mark. He is now a national master. Congratulations, Eric.
See the Fedorowicz game below.
Friday, August 07, 2009
Are Republicans proud of the insanity they've unleased? I guess so.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Congratulations to one of the newest members of the Chicago Blaze, Niles North High School sophomore Eric Rosen, of Skokie, who played GM Jesse Kraai to a draw at the U.S. Open in Indianapolis yesterday. Eric, a strong expert playing at a deficit of several hundred rating points vis-a-vis the New Mexico grandmaster, hung on to force a stalemate.
Though down a pawn in the endgame, Eric, with the Black pieces, managed the exchange of rooks in a way that prevented GM Kraai from promoting his last remaining pikeman. Congratulations, Eric.
See the game below.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
For a blog that aspires to cover chess in Hyde Park, we're doing a pretty pathetic job of it, I must admit. I only just now spotted this three-month-old article in the Chicago Maroon about strong chess expert Jeremy Kane, captain of the University of Chicago Chess Club. He's 13 rating points shy of national master. Let's root for him to make it to 2200. Please read the article, and kudos to the Maroon for covering chess.
Incidentally, I think I have some photos from the spring chess tournament at U of C mentioned in the article, and I'll try to get those up here in due course. Yes, I know; I should've done it a long time ago. All the usual excuses.
The 2009 U.S. Chess League season begins in less than a month, and the Chicago Blaze kick off this year's campaign, same as last year, with a match against the Arizona Scorpions. The whole schedule appears below.
The Blaze play their matches at the Holiday Inn Skokie, 5300 West Touhy Avenue, Skokie, Illinois. Fans are welcome to attend the games free of charge, so please come and cheer your team. If you can't make it to the Holiday Inn you can tune in to the matches live on the Internet Chess Club (membership required). You can also follow the team on Twitter.
Week 1 - Wednesday, September 2nd
Arizona Scorpions vs Chicago Blaze
9:00 PM ET (8:00 Central)
Week 2 - Wednesday, September 9th
Chicago Blaze vs Miami Sharks
8:00 PM ET (7:00 Central)
Week 3: Wednesday, September 16th
Tennessee Tempo vs Chicago Blaze
8:00 PM ET (7:00 Central)
Week 4: Monday September 21st
Chicago Blaze vs San Francisco Mechanics
8:30 PM ET (7:30 Central)
Week 5: Wednesday, September 30th
New Jersey Knockouts vs Chicago Blaze
8:00 PM ET (7:00 Central)
Week 6: Monday, October 5th
Chicago Blaze vs Philadelphia Inventors
8:00 PM ET (7:00 Central)
Week 7: Wednesday, October 14th
Chicago Blaze vs Tennessee Tempo
8:00 PM ET (7:00 Central)
Week 8: Monday, October 19th
Chicago Blaze vs Arizona Scorpions
9:00 PM ET (8:00 Central)
Week 9: Monday, October 26th
Dallas Destiny vs Chicago Blaze
8:00 PM ET (7:00 Central)
Week 10: Wednesday, November 4th
Seattle Sluggers vs Chicago Blaze
9:00 PM ET (8:00 Central)
Sunday, August 02, 2009
L.V. Banks and His Swinging Blues Band kicked off the umpteenth season of the annual Nichols Park Concert Series this afternoon.
August 9 - Vance Kelly and the Backstreet Blues Band
August 16 - Walter Scott
August 23 - Super Percy
August 30 - Vance Kelly and the Backstreet Blues Band
September 6 - Curtis Black Quartet
September 13 - Akasha
September 20 - Julia Huff-Heath and the Company Band
September 27 - (to be announced)