Muzychuk wows in the FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship


One of the coolest games I have come across this year was played recently in Sochi at the FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship – check it out below! Mariya Muzychuk finds not one, but two awesome moves in which her unprotected queen challenges a rook on a file and yet cannot be taken due to Black’s back rank weaknesses.

Majur Juac featured in the Washington Post!


Our own Majur Juac is featured this week in the Washington Post, and an interesting and moving article about the talented master from Sudan. If you haven’t already checked out this article, it is definitely worth a read- and the video in the Marshall Chess Club is also worth checking out!

Read it here!

Chess on the Daily Show

Wow… so the Daily Show has picked up on this weird story that was in the NYTimes several days ago and misrepresented/blown it out of proportion. Adding insult to injury, they do a comedy routine with a board set up incorrectly.

Essentially, the controversy revolves around Rex Sinquefeld’s offer to pay Fabiano Caruana to switch federations and play under the American flag so that, ostensibly, we may win future olympiads. Both the New York Times article and this odd Daily Show piece neglect to mention that Fabiano, who currently plays under the Italian flag, grew up in New York City playing at the Marshall Chess Club and has dual citizenship. What’s more, he currently lives in Spain and does not even speak Italian particularly well- compared to his fluent English. What’s more, in the world of chess it is extremely common for players to switch federations, thus to anyone in the know the real curiosity is that this is being publicized as a controversy at all. Ours is an international game and talent isn’t restricted like in the NBA or NFL where contracts bind players to playing for certain teams for certain amounts of time. Players frequently move from one country to another and switch federations accordingly. What’s more, with the impressive investment in chess that is currently taking place in America -and in St. Louis in particular- it would be a very wise career move for any top chess player to relocate or at the very least switch federations to the United States. I for one support Rex in this gesture to attain more top talent to play under the U.S. Flag and hope that he is not discouraged by this strange NYTimes/Daily Show mischaracterization of his generous offer to raise the profile of American chess.

It has been noted by several observers that perhaps the article by Dylan Loeb Mclain, who is a left leaning NYTimes journalist, may have been motivated by politics as Rex Sinquefeld is an unabashed right-winger who makes an easy target for the likes of Dylan and his ilk. In any case, it would be nice to see a major chess news outlet like chessvibes or chessdom put this story into context so that it doesn’t seem like the U.S. is trying to buy top talent. Besides, if we were trying to buy top talent, why wouldn’t we buy Magnus? He is both a better player and more easily swayed by money. Who else do you see playing chess with corporate logos embroidered on their suit jackets?

Most embarrassing of all- the producers of the Daily Show set up the chess board incorrectly- this can be seen clearly at 4:39. It hurts my eyes to see the king and queen on the wrong color squares. If they’re making the argument that america should develop it’s own top talent, they could have at least shown a little respect for the game and set the board up correctly. In Russia, taxi drivers have an ELO of 2000. Until major american television shows take chess seriously enough to learn how to set up the board, it seems unlikely that we will produce a gold medal winning Olympiad team.

FIDE Social Action Commission at the Marshall Chess Club


Tuesday, March 24th, please join us at the Marshall Chess Club at 7pm for a presentation from members of the FIDE Social Action Commission. The discussion will focus on their Smart Girl Program in Uganda and their Alzheimers Chess Program. The Social Action Commission is an advocate for the use of Chess as a tool for social change through action as an equalizer for gender, social & economic development. Refreshments will be provided!

For details on the exciting things that the FIDE Social Action Commission is working on, visit their website.

If you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em.


An article by Dylan Loeb Mclain in the NYTimes this morning outlines a plan by the preëminent financial supporter of chess on the planet, Rex Sinquefield, to lure top players into switching federations to the U.S. in order to compete in the olympiad on our behalf and ostensibly, to live in the U.S. and raise our profile internationally.

While the article is itself an enjoyable read (such a pleasure to see chess coverage in the times!)- the comments are just as interesting.

Mate in 3-

I showed this pattern to my kids in chess club last week – only to have it appear before me in a blitz game over the weekend. It’s a pretty simple mate but a satisfying find OTB in blitz. White to move.

Continue reading »

Irina Krush or My Mom

I stumbled across this great video on chess life online and thought I would reblog it. A lot of friendly faces in this video! I was in DC during Amateur Team East this year but next year I’m assembling a 2199 dream team and Parsippany will be mine!

Amateur Team East


I was in DC all weekend feasting on delicious food (shellfish mostly: mussels, belon oysters, lobster, scallops, shrimp, more mussels) while everyone else was in Parsippany doing battle at Amateur Team East. While I definitely received some interesting games from friends of mine, the below game from Jay Bonin is one of the more interesting games sent my way. The clever Nd5 sac is the kind of move I would never conceive of- and to think the middle game complications expire into a straightforward ending!

2 missed chances against IM: Part 1

Recently, I’ve noticed two large failings in my chess play:

1. My opening knowledge, while possibly getting wider and/or deeper, has become inaccurate. Even in openings I am familiar with, I have started inserting moves from other variations or otherwise inaccurate or inapposite moves.

2. Some form of tactical blindness. I’ve always felt that tactics were a weak spot for me, and although I try to remedy that, I am not sure if improvement has been seen.

An example of both can be found in the game against IM Ilya Figler below. An inaccurately played opening, and then a missed tactical opportunity that should have been obvious.

To be continued.

Race to 2000 update!


I was more or less certain that I had lost the race to 2000. Boris, against whom I have been racing for the last year, blew past me reaching 1940 while I was wallowing all the way back at 1820. However, a few tournaments later and I have surged ahead to 1916 while Boris has taken a step backwards to 1893. It would appear to be anyone’s race at the moment, with a top shelf bottle of scotch on the line, I’m going to hit the books hard and try to cross the finish line before the end of the year.

Below, find a game that we played recently in which I ventured the tried and true 1…Nh6!

New York Times Discontinues its Chess Column


After more than 50 years- the NYTimes ended it’s chess coverage with a tiny note at the end of the page : Read After Rocky Start, Grand Prix Finds a Favorite in the Lead.

Harlem Shake Round 2


My game this week in the swiss event I’ve been playing in Harlem was a French Winawer. I used 1.Nc3- one of my favorite surprise weapons- to try and avoid any opening knowledge that my opponent may have had- only to find myself in the thicket of a winawer. Luckily, I was able to get a quick kingside attack and go home early. The two moves I’m most proud of are Rh3- which holds the c3 pawn as well as threatening the uncastled king- and Nxd5 which was a nice find that required some calculation.

Harlem Shake Swiss


This weekend I spent some time in harlem, and had the pleasure of playing in a G/60 as part of my professional development. The game was a miniature, in which I was able to quickly pressure my opponent’s king.

If you’re bored, google “harlem shake chess.” Among many other things… I found this interesting game.

Ajedrez en Buenos Aires


I apologize for not posting much lately. Today Jim West asked me directly why I hadn’t written anything in a while and I had to concede I have simply dropped the ball. As you guys know, I was in Buenos Aires all summer enjoying the cold weather and trying to learn some Spanish. However, maybe you didn’t know that chess is also huge in Argentina. I made the rounds at the various chess clubs and even encountered a few games on the street.



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Club Torre Blanco is pretty awesome- i stopped by there my first night in Buenos Aires and immediately was welcomed by a hipster in his 20′s named Igor who showed me around and suffered through my terrible Spanish. It reminds me of the Marshall: a bit dirty, but rich with history and full of loyal members who show up late into the evening for both rapid and slow events 7 days a week. While I was there I played a few casual blitz games and even enjoyed a beverage from their cafe.

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Another amazing club I discovered in the upscale hood known as “Recoleta” was the Club Argentino de Ajedrez. The building itself is gorgeous, replete with a winding wooden staircase and cafe that serves everything from espresso and empanadas to media lunes and Quilmes. I played in several Open rapid events, achieving a performance rating of 2060 with 4/7 and won the $130AR class prize, which I spent the next morning on a “bife de chorizo” for breakfast.

In any case, now that I am back in town I promise to write more regularly and perhaps to even play in a few tournaments and post my games here. Word on the street is that Boris Izrayelit is hosting a BBQ swiss event in his garden this weekend.

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A Chess Parody- Eviscerating My System: The Immortal Overprotection Game

To the incredulous, the above game was published in the February,
1928 issue of the Wiener Schachzeitung under the editorship of Hans
Kmoch admired and esteemed Nimzovitch as a great player and a
profound and original thinker. Yet he could not help poking sly fun at
Nimzovitch’s often pompous and bombastic manner. Luckily this
rollicking parody is so good-natured, with a few grains of sense artfully
concealed in a farrago of nonsense, that Nimzovitch expressed himself
as vastly amused by it. – Ed. [I.A. Horowitz]
A strange commentary on the parody was written by R.E. Fauber on page 209 of Impact of Genius (Seattle, 1992):
‘My System is a peach of a book, ripe both for adulation and parody. When Hans Kmoch’s parody of Nimzovich was reprinted in Chess Review in 1951, readers took the nonsense as serious instruction. Reading that “the move is strong because it is weak!” after the moves 1 e4 e6 2 h4!! caused not a ripple. Some agreed with another note in which “Herr Sistemsson” wrote, “The fact is that I’m a marvelous player, even if the whole chess world bursts with envy”.
One reader wrote, “Sold one copy [of My System], Nimzovich’s system seems to me really good.” Another reader diffidently wrote, “I hope I don’t offend anyone. But I think Aaron [sic] Nimzovich went wrong by 23 Q-R7 …” and demonstrated that “Sistemsson’s fictitious opponent overlooked a mate in six”.
Even in jest it was Nimzovich’s fate to be misunderstood. The public applauded his teachings only after they had been carefully distorted …’