Author Archive

Branch Office Swiss!

This Sunday’s Branch Office Swiss was our best turnout yet, though we had a few chess players flake out at the last moment we still had 7 players show up to do battle – crosstable can be found here.

I have to hand it to my former AT Peter Paul who really had me on the ropes in this game. I decided to play for a cheap attack against his caro-kann and he swiftly punished me for disrespecting him. Lukcily, at a key moment he erred and I was able to escape with my dignity and rating intact.

This Sunday the Branch Office will be closed due to the holiday, however, we will be meeting up to do battle in Boris Izrayelit’s garden at 1pm! Seating is limited so if you’re interested in playing this Sunday please send us an email at admin@brooklyn64.com asap!

Puzzle of the Week

Ok – 3 different people found winning variations to last week’s puzzle which was a tad messy as it was taken from a real game- though the way the game ended was quite nice. I’ve promised for a cleaner puzzle this week with hopefully a more narrow solution. The first person to reply in the comments to this post with a winning solution with any sidelines gets a free drink on me this Sunday at the Bushwick Invitational (details to come!).

WHITE TO MOVE

Puzzle of the Week

In this week’s puzzle, Black has just played …Rb2, pinning White’s Queen to the weakness on g2. How did white save the game?

Same as last week, first one to email me a correct winning variation gets a free round at the Branch Office Sunday!

**Update**

Several people emailed me with winning variations (you know who you are!) and if any of the 3 of you show up to Branch Office for our Swiss event I am happy to put your first round on my tab.

This position is from an actual game, and while there are different paths to winning- including Rb1 as pointed out by George Wang, Alapin found a nice line with the cooperation of his opponent that I enjoyed: 1.Rd1 Qa8 2.Qe4 Rb8 3.Rb1 c2 4. Rxb8 Qxb8 5.a7 Qc8 6.a8=Q c1=Q 7.Qe8+ Qxe8 8.Qxe8# – There are some interesting sidelines as well and while this line isn’t forced I thought it was the prettiest.

Liam Murphy Wins the Manhattan Open (U1400)

I chatted with Liam, who is a new colleague of mine, about his recent results in the Manhattan Open. I asked him to send along his games with some notes and his thoughts on the tournament so I could share the with you all here.

Friday – I attended a dinner party in Brooklyn. The theme was finger food. I mixed wine, tequila shots, and beer. …bad call.

Saturday – I woke up hungover, with quite the migraine, dehydrated and only an hour and a half before the tournament began. I thought I had read it would be ok to register online until an hour before the tournament began. This was wrong. Registration ended two hours before the tournament began. Luckily Tamar was onsite, registered me for the tournament and registered us for mixed doubles.

Round 1: With coffee, gatorade, banana, and muffin in hand I sat down moments before clocks started for round 1. I could be seen massaging my head often during the game. Calculating deeply was a struggle and required breaks. I felt fortunate to eek out the win.

Round 2: Needing some air after round 1 I found a smoothie place. A smoothie and another banana was all I felt I could stomach but I was starting to feel minorly better. I was finding calculating easier and after taking a “free” cpawn early I took another tough victory.

Round 3: I was able to stomach solid food! Also my migraine was all but gone but I was still feeling tired. I grabbed another coffee and headed back to the hotel for round 3. I saw I was playing a 2-0 player who was rated <1000. I knew the player would be much tougher than his rating. Fun fact my opponent's uscf rating was so low because he was from Mexico and this game was played without a clock. Round 4: Saturday Night I attended a birthday party of a friend who came to town. Luckily I stuck with only beer this time and woke feeling much more refreshed but still a bit tired. I grabbed the same breakfast as the morning before and prepared for a tough game. I would say this was my toughest game and was only able to eek out a positional win late in the game after my opponent, low on time, blundered.

Round 5: The championship round. I had seen several of my opponents games and from what I had seen he had almost always out developed and beat down his opposition. I was prepared for a tough game in store. This is also the game I am most proud of from the weekend. Grabbing my second coffee before the game I was feeling very alert. My opponent made a mistake early and I was able to punish it out developing and eventually cruising to a relatively easy win.

Results: 5-0. 6 way(i forget the number) tie for 3rd in mixed doubles.

Match of the Millennials

This summer, some of the top youth talent in the U.S. assembled in St. Louis (where else?) for the opportunity to play against their counterparts from all over the globe for a prize fund of $30k. While the world team won the match, this provided our homegrown talent with a rare chance to face such competition on our own soil and also created a nice selection of sharp games for spectators like us to enjoy – I was delighted to receive an annotated pdf of the games from GM Grivas in my inbox this morning- and wanted to share it with you guys as well: Match of the Millennials – Book

Details of the Match can be found here.

End Of Summer Chess Book Sale!

Fred Wilson’s Chess Book Store is holding an “End of Summer” SALE on SATURDAY, AUGUST 19th, from noon until 7:00 PM. 20% off on ALL books in stock (not sets, clocks or boards), but CASH & CARRY only!

He has acquired a couple of very good collections this Summer
certainly has more (a lot more!) good books in the shop than usual.

FREE 90 minute instructional chess video (for a VCR!) with every
purchase of $10.00 or more on sale day!

Fred Wilson Chess Books
80 East 11th Street
Suite 334
New York, NY 10003

PHONE: 212-533-6381
email: fred@fredwilsonchess.com

Otherwise, I hope to see many of you at the fabulous NJ OPEN, at the
Morristown, NJ Hyatt Hotel, Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 2-4th!!

Branch Office Swiss!

The first weekly event held at the Branch Office had 7 players show up! Not bad considering this was our first event and several more players have signed up for next Sunday as well despite the conflict with the Manhattan Open. If you’re not playing in the Manhattan Open and would like to chill while playing a few rated games in a peaceful garden, shoot us an email at admin@brooklyn64.com by 6pm this Friday and we will confirm a spot for you in Sunday’s 3 round G/25;d5 Swiss. Again, there is no entry fee and there are no prizes, this is just rated chess among friends over beverages – details here. .

Also – A big Shoutout to organizer and Chief TD Robert Leonard! The event was not only his idea but also his first of many as a Chief TD!

The USCF Crosstable can be found here.

While I had two wins and one loss, the loss is really the only game worth looking at. I knew that I had to give up a central pawn in this line but completely forgot the correct way to do it. The brave 6…Nc6 was called for, when Black would be ok and White likely shouldn’t accept the pawn sacrifice right away.

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Puzzle of the Week

White to move! The game continued like the famous Saavedra position after 1.Rxb3? When the black king is able to advance his remaining pawn and then retreat his king all the way to c7, thus avoiding any possible skewers of the new queen. What should White have played instead? The first person to email me an answer at admin@brooklyn64.com gets a free round at Branch Office next Sunday.

Branch Office USCF Rated Games

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This Sunday at 4pm will be the first of what we hope will be a continuing weekly event – a 3 round G/25;d5 chess tournament at Branch Office 225 Rogers Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225.

Thank you for bringing a board and a clock. There is no entry fee but there is a 2 drink minimum in exchange for our use of the garden.

In order to play, please RSVP by emailing admin@brooklyn64.com by 9pm on Friday 8/11 so we can reserve the correct number of tables for Sunday.

As the games will be rated, we ask that all participants ensure that their USCF memberships are current.

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Lichess Studies – brief tutorial

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Over the last few years I have skipped around using various online platforms to play blitz and study chess, including the obvious ones like ICC, FICS, playchess and chess.com. But lichess.org has really impressed me lately for a number of reasons. It’s been around for several years but never really had a robust platform that could compete with the previous sites I mentioned until recently. First of all, you do not need to download a client to play on the site- as all of it’s features run in the browser. As an open source, free online service it is a totally different animal than say- chess.com which is a site like so many others that is designed to separate you from your money. Instead, the lichess developers are focused more on building a community of like-minded people who just want to make a great platform for chess players to come together and share their ideas, teach one another, and play.

One of the most useful features on lichess is “studies.” I have been investing a lot of time and energy into building “studies” on lichess over the past year. I’ve converted several of my favorite chess books into lichess studies and continue to add new material all the time.

here is a lichess demo video on how to use the various functions in the study feature. If you make a cool study and want to share send me a link in the comments.

Active Pieces: Practical Advice from America’s Most Relentless Tournament Player

Active Pieces

Finally, the collection of Jay Bonin’s off-beat thoughts and interesting ideas on how to win tournament games is coming out on Feb. 7th. I’ve already received several emails from bookstores asking to pre-order the book, and I hear through facebook that the pre-orders are stacking up on Amazon as well. It’s no surprise, few players have the name recognition in the U.S. club tournament scene that Jay Bonin does. As one of the most active tournament players alive in the U.S. today, it’s often joked that if he were to write a book titled “My 10,000 best tournament games” it would still not be enough to encompass the majority of his tournament career.

This book tries to achieve something different in scope than simply cataloguing Jay’s games. Instead, the authors have tried to piece together how Jay thinks and plays in a way that can be understood by the reader using this games as examples. While he may be a tricky tactician who is good at calculation, below the surface there are a few formulas that guide his decision making process from the opening into the endgame and this book aims to enumerate what exactly those formulas are as well as how and when to apply them.

While there are many interesting games that I could select from, the following is one of my favorites from the chapter titled: “Keep it Complicated, Stupid.”

You can order a copy here.

Park Heights Avenue Chess Club in Baltimore

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I recently met with Alan, one of the organizers of a new chess club in Baltimore, which is seeking to establish a scholastic chess program and regular tournaments in the Baltimore MD area. They need help getting off the ground and have set up a gofundme page. I don’t expect you to donate (for full transparency I only gave $10), but if you might spread the word via facebook/twitter perhaps your help in getting the word out will be pivotal in getting the funding that they need to succeed. Details for their inaugural event can be found here.

I know it’s a bit awkward of me to ask but the gentleman I met with seemed dedicated to bringing chess to the youth of Baltimore and to have a genuine desire to build a quality organization in his community. Thanks for taking a moment to share the above link on social media.

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Scholastic Chess

Chuck Close Painting at Avenues School

This Sunday I had the pleasure of taking a team of 12 scholastic players to compete in the Fall Scholastic Chess Tournament at the Avenues of the World School on the west side of Manhattan. The school itself was a draw for some of my team’s parents, who wanted to see what the inside of the school where Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise send their daughter Suri had to offer. An incomplete list of the differences between this school and an average NYC public school would have to begin with the the presence of an elevator, and the Chuck Close self portrait that greets you when those elevator doors open on the 8th floor.

In any case, one of my students played the following game, in which he beat a much higher rated opponent. Ian had been a King’s Gambit player for more than year, but after only a week of studying the Evan’s Gambit was able to pull off a 229 point upset with his new opening. After struggling with playing the Evan’s Gambit online for a week, his remark following this victory was “It finally worked.” With my team scattered across several sections, I was glad with our performance overall: 1st place in the Reserve section, 5 players who only lost a single game in the event.

Aside from the Chuck Close painting and elevator what other differences did my chess team notice? Not many. “They use the same math book as us.” One student remarked.

Die Stammkneipe Invitational

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A good friend of mine from college pinged me the other day looking to play a little chess. He was interested in getting into chess more seriously, joining the USCF, playing tournaments, and even starting a scholastic program for the kids at the school where he teaches.

After chatting a little about the weather and Donald Trump, I finished my first of several Jevers and set up a chess board to do battle. I had assumed my friend would likely make some inaccuracy in the opening and allow me to win a pawn and then play casually without too much effort. I was wrong. I completely missed the move Qh3 and then again missed that after Bxd4 I could play Bxd4 because there was no mate threat, as the Bishop still covered the h8 square. What followed was a long and tortuous evening in which I suffered- down material- hoping for some tactical reprieve which thankfully arrived on move 23 when all of a sudden things didn’t look so bad for Black anymore.

“A Bust to the King’s Gambit” By Bobby Fischer in Algebraic Notation

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I wanted to review some ideas in the King’s Gambit before showing it to some of my students, and accordingly looked for Fischer’s famous article A Bust to the King’s Gambit and had no trouble finding a PDF of it. However, it was in descriptive notation, which I can read though it is a pain- without any diagrams or clear delineation between the mainline and the sidelines.

After searching the internet for a few minutes I couldn’t find it in algebraic notation anywhere- nor could my more web-savvy friends who have access to nearly any printed thing within a moments notice it seems (where exactly do you find all of these chess books, Boris?).

In any case, rather than waste another minute trying to find the document I wanted, I decided to make it myself. In the link below you can download a copy of the famous article by fischer entitled “A Bust to the King’s Gambit,” in algebraic notation and with a few diagrams and formatting changes to make it easier to read for the 21st century chess player. Here it is: a bust to the king’s gambit

No thanks necessary, but a smiley face in the comments would make me feel like it was time well spent.

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