Posted July 25, 2021 in Game Analysis

Game Analysis – Chipping Away

I’ve lost quite a few disappointing games in the past couple of weeks, so this was a welcome and refreshing victory that gave me insight into some common problems I’ve been having. Given its (albeit brief) instructional value for myself, I felt it was worth a surface analysis and commentary. I hope you enjoy!

Posted July 20, 2021 in Community, News

Happy International Chess Day

Good morning, campers! Today is International Chess Day and there are celebrations going on all around the world to honor our game! Not sure how to celebrate the day? Here are a few suggestions to get you going:

  • Play chess online via Chess.com, lichess, chess24, or any of the myriad of online platforms available.
  • Join your local chess club. If you’re not sure how, just do a Google search for your city/town + “Chess Club” and you’ll most likely find something to get you started.
  • Play in a local over-the-board tournament.
  • Play with a friend.
  • Watch a chess movie! Pawn Sacrifice, Dangerous Moves, Searching for Bobby Fischer, or the Knights of the South Bronx come to mind.

Whatever your passion, there’s plenty to do today to celebrate chess!

Posted July 10, 2021 in Famous Players, Tournaments

Karpov to Attend 2021 US Open

We’re just a few weeks away from the start of the 2021 U.S. Open and US Chess has announced that legendary World Champion GM Anatoly Karpov will be in attendance on August 4th for a lecture, Q & A session, and book signing. Here is the official release info from the US Chess Federation:

Mr. Karpov will deliver a lecture, to be followed by a question-and-answer period.  Then, Mr. Karpov will appear at a book signing in the US Open bookstore.  He’ll be joined there by a former World Junior Champion, GM Maxim Dlugy!  This special event is happening thanks to the combined generosity of the New Jersey State Chess Federation, Chess Max Academy, and US Chess Sales.  US Chess thanks all of these partners for helping to provide our attendees with this great visit!

According to US Chess, the Crowne Plaza, which is hosting the event, is almost out of rooms but the federation has secured local hotels at the same discount rate. For details, visit the official website for the 2021 US Open.

Posted July 6, 2021 in Game Analysis

Personal Analysis – A Closed Conundrum

One of my favorite parts of playing daily chess is how the battles unfold over several days. There are some positions that go fast and others that seem to drag on forever. Then there are those moments where it seems that both sides are ready to lash out. I find myself constantly checking to see if I’ve received a notification that it’s my turn to move when there are tight positions and it’s all hanging by a thread. The game that follows is one such game that I recently played. It was a close battle for most of the game with blunders and mistakes on both sides, but ultimately, I pulled out a very nice win.

Complete Chess Scholastic Tournament

Complete Chess in San Antonio is holding an online tournament for scholastic chess players (K-12) from any state on Friday, June 25th and Saturday, June 26th. Registration is limited to 50 people, so hurry now to register if you’re interested. See the release below from Complete Chess for details:

Complete Chess Scholastic Tournament – Saturday, June 26th

This is an unrated chess tournament open to all students(K-12) in San Antonio and nearby areas. We will play on Saturday at 10a.m. until finish (usually around 1p.m). Registration online only, no registration on site. Registration ends at 8:00pm on Friday.

FREE TOURNAMENT – LIMIT 50 PEOPLE FOR THIS EVENT.

Register Here

Complete Chess Grand Prix Tournament – Friday, June 25th

This is our weekly online rated Swiss Scholastic arena tournament on Lichess. The tournament will run on Friday, June 25th and the first round will start promptly at 5:15 pm CST. Any K-12 players from any state are allowed to participate in the tournament. By the end of the tournament, a running total of points will be collected, based on the number of wins/draws, and it will be recorded on the website. The 2021 Complete Chess Summer Season will continue to have weekly tournaments until the second week of August. By the end of the Season, the top 10 players with the most points will each receive an individual trophy.

Entry fee: $15 if received by June 24th, and $25 on tournament day.

Register Here

Posted June 16, 2021 in Game Analysis

Personal Analysis – Pushing and Discovering

Since I returned to writing about and playing chess regularly, I’ve tried to center myself more on developing a comprehensive study plan and maintaining some sense of focus. Previously, I was obsessed with openings, but these days I’m trying to focus more on positional play and strategic level positions in the middlegame. I’m finding myself more able to find discovered checks and push my pawns forward with more momentum and purpose.

The game above was played against an internet opponent on Chess.com on the Daily Chess function. The time control was 1 move per day, but we finished it much sooner than that. I decided to annotate this game because while it’s filled with amateur mistakes, I believe it’s representative of my improvement in the middlegame and my growing ability to identify key moments that can turn a losing position into a winning steamroller. My opponent played hard, but I was fortunate that the chess gods shined their light on me for this one.

Posted June 15, 2021 in Movies

Endgame – A Movie Review

Up against the border between the United States and Mexico is the town of Brownsville, Texas, where the residents get much of their past and contemporary culture from a mixture of the two nations. Jose, the unlikely protagonist of Endgame is an elementary school student who is struggling to find his way in a world where he feels disconnected, unappreciated, and unwanted. When he’s not getting into trouble at school, being lectured by the most insufferable movie Principal in history, or arguing with his mother, Jose spends time with his grandmother playing chess.

Endgame does its best to mimic many of the feel good chess movies that have come before it. There are times it tries to channel Searching for Bobby Fischer with a mix of Knights of the South Bronx. Although it certainly doesn’t come close to the beauty of Searching, there are moments that make Endgame a worthy family movie.

Given the story’s setting, the producers do take time to address some of the contemporary political discussions surrounding illegal immigration in the United States and the consequences that come with it for the families involved. Without giving too much away, there is a subplot involving one of the chess team members who’s parents are illegal immigrants. The way in which the film deals with this subplot is very interesting because it has a resolution, but not in the way that one would expect for a film that seems to be geared toward a family friendly audience.

As the world around him seems to crumble, Jose finds himself immersed deeper into the world of scholastic chess. He’s encouraged by the eccentric tutorage of his chess coach, Mr. Alvaredo, who is based on the real life Brownsville chess coach J.J. Guajardo. Mr. Guajardo was a teacher at Brownsville (Russell) Elementary School in the 1980s when he took a group of kids given detention for allegedly destroying a school record collection and taught them to play chess. Since then, Brownsville has been overrun by curious media and chess fanatics curious about its incredibly strong scholastic teams.

Through his effort to win on the board, Jose faces a myriad of challenges that mirror the movement of his pieces. Friends come and go just as though they were nothing more than pieces on the board. There is deep symbolism in chess, which requires little effort from any competent producer or director to bring out in a film. Endgame does a good job of juxtaposing the challenges of daily life and the struggles around us with the endless struggle to checkmate our opponent’s King.

How does Endgame stack up against the increasingly crowded field of feel good chess movies and feel good sports movies in general? Well, for me, it’s a mixed bag. There are some interesting characters, for sure. The Principal is one of the scummiest people I’ve ever seen in a film. Very rarely has a character created a sense of physical rage inside me, but the school’s smug Principal certainly did the job. My main issue with this movie was the character of Jose. It’s obvious that the producers wanted to create a character who was realistic and relatable, but he’s often an obnoxious and annoying boy who’s eventual victories are sometimes overshadowed by his overall attitude and demeanor.

Endgame is not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination. It has its fun moments and it has some legitimate tear-jerking moments. You can’t go wrong with giving it a try if you’re looking for a lightweight chess film or something for the family to sit down and enjoy over a bowl of popcorn one evening.

Verdict: ♟︎♟︎♟︎♙

Posted June 14, 2021 in News, Tournaments

Mamedyarov Victorious In Romania

The Superbet Chess Classic came to a dramatic end earlier today with GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov claiming ultimate victory in this leg of the Grand Chess Tour. All games in the final round were drawn, but Mamedyarov finished the tournament a full point ahead of Levon Aronian after forcing a draw against Anish Giri.

#PlayerRtg12345678910Pts
1Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar2770*1½½½½½11½6
2Aronian, Levon27810*½1½½1½½½5
3So, Wesley2770½½*½½½½1½½5
4Grischuk, Alexander2776½0½*½½1½1½5
5Giri, Anish2780½½½½*½½½014.5
6Radjabov, Teimour2765½½½½½*½½½½4.5
7Deac, Bogdan-Daniel2627½0½0½½*½½14
8Caruana, Fabiano28200½0½½½½*1½4
9Lupulescu, Constantin26560½½01½½0*½3.5
10Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime2760½½½½0½0½½*3.5

There will be very little rest for many of the players as they travel from Romania to Paris for the second event in the Grand Chess Tour, the 2021 Paris Rapid and Blitz tournament. Participants include Levon Aronian, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, and Peter Svidler. In the meantime, you can replay all of the games from the Superbet Chess Classic in Romania below.

Posted June 10, 2021 in News, Tournaments

Leader Standings Challenged in Superbet Round 5

GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan is quickly gaining ground on GMs Alexander Grischuk and Wesley So going into the fifth round of the Superbet Chess Classic in Bucharest with a score of 7.5 to So’s 8 and Grischuk’s 7.75.

#PlayerRtgPerf1234567890PtsSB
1Wesley So27702825½½½½13.0/58
2Alexander Grischuk27762808½½½1½3.0/57.75
3Shakhriyar Mamedyarov27702789½½½½13.0/57.5
4Teimour Radjabov27652781½½½½½2.5/56.25
5Bogdan-Daniel Deac26272771½0½½12.5/56
6Levon Aronian27812758½½½½½2.5/55.75
7Fabiano Caruana282027510½½½12.5/55.5
8Anish Giri27802660½½½½02.0/55
9Maxime Vachier-Lagrave27602651½½0½½2.0/55
10Constantin Lupulescu265627110½01½2.0/54.25

After getting off to a sleepy start, the games have started to get more interesting as well. It’s obvious that Anish Giri’s loss the other day affected him severely as he’s fallen to 8th place in the standings with a score of 5. Mamedyarov’s game and performance from Round 4 has certainly been of interest given his quick rise and challenge to the tournament’s current leaders.

Today was a rest day for the players, but tomorrow we get back to business as So and Grischuk work to maintain their leads. But…in chess, like life, anything can happen. You can read more in-depth analysis on Chess.com or The Week in Chess.

Posted June 7, 2021 in News, Tournaments

Giri Smoked in Superbet Day #3

I spent a good portion of this morning with the boards from the Superbet Chess Classic up while I worked my day job. I watched the full game between Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian. It had a few good moments, but was mostly a sleeper that ended in a draw. It wasn’t until I switched to Anish Giri’s game that things got very interesting.

In this position, Giri blundered with 31…Qc5, which allowed White a win with 32.Re7. I missed the move when it was originally made, but it was apparent when the inline analysis tool on Chess.com’s events viewer went from balanced to completely White. It was obvious that the game was over with no real way for Giri to escape. This is an interesting win, especially given that Constantin Lupulescu, the GM who beat him, was chosen to participate as part of the tournament’s local talent pool.

Obviously, Giri is human and nobody’s perfect. He’ll certainly shrug off the blunder and move on to the next drawn game… See the game itself on Chess.com or more commentary on today’s round from The Week in Chess.