Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jacques Barzun

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

Blaze Fundraiser December 12

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.

Registration: 8:30am‐9:30am.
Rds: 10, 12:30, 3, 5:30.

Mail entries with registration information to:
North American Chess Association (make checks payable to)
4957 Oakton Street
Suite 113
Skokie, IL 60077.

Online registration available at:
ICA and USCF membership required.
Questions via email only: .
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

That’s All, Folks!

Blaze draw division-leading Sluggers to end a down-and-up season

IM Florin Felecan

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

Thanks for the umpteenth time to our Celebrity Tournament Director for the night Betsy Dynako, who has been a godsend to the Blaze the past two years. Also attending the game was IM Angelo Young, who, though he wasn’t scheduled to play that night and wasn’t feeling well, came out to cheer his teammates.

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?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Phillip Scores Big in National Tournament

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.

Ready, Set, Go!

This is your cue, folks. Go to it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Your Arlo Fix

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

Alli's Cranberry Relish Recipe

  • 2 peeled oranges
  • 1 bag cranberries
  • ¾-1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup crushed pineapple
Grind up the oranges and cranberries together. Add the sugar and crushed pineapple and mix.

Aunt Mary’s Greek Cookies

1 cup butter – softened (2 sticks)
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda


  1. Mix together butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. Slowly pour the powder ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix together until the dough is very stiff.
  4. Put the dough on a large cutting board and knead well.
  5. Refrigerate dough for 2 hours.
  6. Make twists and put on cookie sheets (ungreased).
  7. Bake on pre-heated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.

Makes about 50-55 cookies.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Surf the Web While You Drive!

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

Your Easybeats Fix

The clockwatchers' anthem. And don't fail to note the class analysis in the lyrics.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Phillip Does It Again

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

Stewart Nails Fox for Fake Rally Footage

Sean Hannity Uses Glenn Beck's Protest Footage
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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Chess-centric Restaurant Review

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