Friday, April 29, 2011

Women's Championship

Wow!  What an ending in Game 2 of the Women's Championship playoffs.  Congratulations to Zatonskih for winning her fourth title.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chess in DC Schools

My favorite part about the chess program in Washington, DC, described here is that it gets the kids to teach the faculty about the game.  Brilliant.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Joe Renna's Photos from Ippolito Simul

Dean Ippolito vs Joe Renna
Joe Renna has posted a very nice Picasa web album of pictures from Dean Ippolito's World Chess Record simultaneous.  Updated: Joe posted a comment to say he wrote about the event in the April issue of his Peterstown Newspaper (see pages 14-15), which included "brutal" annotations of his own game by Kenilworth CC president John Moldovan.  John also posted his notes online in java replay.  The game featured Marshall's 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nf6!? line discussed here previously.  But, as John points out, Joe did not play it like Marshall....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sidney Bernstein's Dragon Ideas

Soltis - Bernstein, New York 1965
Position after 13...h5!
I have analyzed the game Soltis - Bernstein, Marshall CC Championship 1965, which features an interesting innovation from Sidney Norman Bernstein (1911-1992).  I have already written about Bernstein in these pages (see "Sidney Bernstein Plays 1...Nc6") and have long been impressed by the many original ideas in his book Combat: My 50 Years at the Chessboard (still in print thanks to Ishi Press).  It's a shame that not more of Bernstein's games have made their way to the databases. 

Reading Dan Heisman's "Learning from Andy" at ChessCafe, I was reminded that Bernstein had some interesting ideas in the Dragon, including a early ...h5 advance that he played against a young Andy Soltis.  The fact that Bernstein tried out his ...h5 advance against Soltis in 1965 is ironic because Soltis himself would go on to develop a similar idea which has since become known as the Soltis Variation of the Dragon.   In his wonderful history of recent opening theory, Revolution in the 70s, Garry Kasparov suggests that this line truly originated in Larsen - Westerinen, Halle 1963, though he acknowledges that it was clearly Soltis's use of the idea in the early 1970s in several high profile games that was the impetus for its widespread adoption.  Heisman shows, of course, that Soltis was clearly using it even before that in more local contests.  Is it possible that Soltis had a local inspiration for the idea in Bernstein?  You be the judge.  In any event, Bernstein had some interesting ideas in the Dragon, many of which seem to presage Simon Williams's approach in The New Sicilian Dragon (Everyman 2009).  There is nothing new under the sun.  But chess history has a way of ignoring the larger pool of players who contribute to new ideas.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

World Record Simul in Raritan on April 9th

Just a reminder that IM Dean Ippolito will attempt the simultaneous Chess World Record this weekend, on Saturday April 9th, beginning at 10 a.m.  The event will take place at St. Ann School at Anderson Street and Second Avenue in Raritan, NJ, and there will be prizes throughout the day for participants.  Originally, Dean's website suggested an 1800 ELO limit for participants (presumably to help him satisfy the Guiness win ratio requirement), but that upward rating limit has now been removed.  See the Dean J. Ippolito Chess World Record website for more details and to register as a participant.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Anderssen - Lange, Breslau 1859

I think I truly fell in love with chess when, as a teen, I first played over Anderssen - Lange, Breslau 1859, which I saw in The Golden Treasury of Chess.  It is a truly spectacular game and probably my main inspiration for taking up Bird's Defense.  I was very disappointed to learn, years later, that Lange's entire combination was flawed and that Anderssen could have won with 10.Qe1! (see notes by Bob Basala, for instance, who expresses having a similar disappointment upon learning that).  So you can imagine how much more disappointed I am to learn today in "Edward Winter's Chess Explorations (61)" at ChessBase that the game itself is almost certainly nothing more than "analytical exploration" between the players in question.  All of the romance of chess seems to evaporate into air...