Sunday, August 31, 2008

Photos from the NJ Championship

FM Steve Stoyko and NM Scott Massey
posing "for the blog"

I dropped by the NJ State Chess Championship on Saturday to snap some pictures.  Despite the fact that it was not advertised in Chess Life, the tournament appeared to be well attended.  Besides those playing, there were also a number stopping by to browse Fred Wilson's books and see their friends.  Scott Massey came by to analyze some games with his students and ran into Steve Stoyko, who was playing.  I got these Kenilworth regulars to pose for a picture, with both calling out "for the blog" in place of "cheese."

FM Tommy Bartell

FM Tommy Bartell was also playing, though he recently moved to Philadelphia where he has set up house and is looking forward to the birth of a son (his first child).  Tommy will be playing for the Philadelphia Inventors in the US Chess League this year.

Fred Wilson's book selection

I spent most of my time browsing Fred Wilson's book tables. As always, he had an excellent selection of books, vintage sets, and clocks and will be at the tournament through Monday.

Top boards included IM Dean Ippolito (top)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

62nd New Jersey State Chess Championship 2008

The 62nd New Jersey State Championship (a.k.a. the New Jersey Open) chess tournament will run this weekend.  There was no advertisement in Chess Life, but you can find the complete details at the New Jersey State Chess Federation website.  It will be held at the Somerset Ramada Inn, 60 Cottontail Lane, Somerset NJ, Exit 12 off I-287 (Weston Canal Road). Registration is 9-11 on Saturday for the three-day schedule and the first round starts at noon.  I will definitely visit, if only to see what goodies Fred Wilson has for sale.

Here are the complete details: In 4 Sections: Open, Gold (U1900), Silver (U1600) & Booster (U1300). In 2 playing schedules: 3-day (Sat, Sun & Mon) or 2-day (Sun & Mon only). All prizes guaranteed. Open: $500-400-300-200-200-150-150-100. Top Expert & Class A, $100. U1900: $500-300-200-100. Top class B $100. U1600: $500-300-200-100. Top class D, $100. U1300: $500-300- 200-100. Trophies: Top 3 each per section, NJ Champion, Expert, A, B, D, E & Unrated. Unrated may win first prize only in Top Section. EF: Open Section: at site $85. $40 Re-entry but can’t be NJ Champion. Lower 3 Sections: At site $80. $40 Re-entry. 3-day: Reg. Aug 30, 9am - 11am. Round times Sat. 12-7, Sun 11-6, Mon. 9-4. 2-day: Reg. Aug 31, 9am - 10:30am, Round #1-#3 (G/45) starts 11am then ASAP. Both schedules merge in round 4. Byes: 2 byes allowed. Hotel info: Somerset Ramada Inn Room rates $79 with free continental Breakfast (732) 560-9880. Info: Ken, or 908.763.6468 or signup online at Notice: Players and Spectators, no ear covering or cell phones attached to the ears. NS, No Chewing Tobacco, NC, W.

NJ Knockouts Smash Kingfishers

R. Kaufman - Molner, USCL 2008
Black to play.

The New Jersey Knockouts started their 2008 US Chess League season with a convincing win over the Baltinore Kingfishers, 3-1.  I have lightly annotated the best game of the match, which was Mackenzie Molner's impressive win over Raymond Kaufman (which could well compete for game of the week honors).  The sole loss was by Joel Benjamin on Board 1 to GM Sergey Erenburg, the recent winner of the NJ Futurity.

I do not have the time this year to annotate every game from the NJKO matches, but I will definitely be following them closely, especially now that GM Boris Gulko is on the team to fill in for GM Benjamin.  Given their strong start and their new roster, the NJKO could go all the way.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Steinitz - Sveshnikov Attack in the Giuoco Piano

steinitz sveshnikov attack

I have recently been experimenting with The Steinitz - Sveshnikov Attack as an important addition to my Urusov Gambit System. The line gives me a good response to early Black deviations, and I typically reach it after 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 (or 2...Bc5 3.Nf3 Nc6) 3.Nf3 Bc5 (against 3...Nf6 I play the Modern Two Knights with 4.d4 exd4 5.e5!) 4.c3 (I also like 4.O-O!?) 4...Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5! I wish I had more time these days to offer you a long analysis, but I thought it was about time I published what I do have.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Urusov Update

Meijer - Van t' Hof
White to Play

I have posted a Urusov Gambit 2008 Update, where I analyze over ten games from the past year or so that began with 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4. I was inspired to put this together by GM Boris Alterman's "Gambit Guide" video at ICC this week, which offers Part One of a series on the Urusov. In the first of two installments, he offers a review of basic and brutal Urusov tactics against typical Black mistakes. My only criticism is that he lets pass without comment the common move order problem 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Qxd4 Nf6 6. Bg5?! rather than the superior 6. Nc3! (discussed at my Urusov Gambit System website), which seems still relatively unknown among players.

While the Urusov is very popular at club level, it remains relatively under-represented in databases. So putting together a collection of recent games can be a bit tricky. Most games that you find that open with 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 either transpose immediately to the Two Knights Defense (with 3...Nc6!? 4.Nf3 or 3...exd4 4.Nf3 Nc6 etc.) or are too poorly contested by both sides to be worthy of attention. After scouring the globe (using Google and the ICC database anyway), I turned up ten interesting games. I'd be glad to have more and invite reader submissions.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Fun with the Left Hook Grand Prix

I am back from vacation and thought I'd begin by posting some of the blitz games I've played lately with the Left Hook Grand Prix (1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.a3!?)  It's a fun line, especially in blitz.  I should be back to posting more regularly now.