Wednesday, November 21, 2007

World Youth Chess Championship 07 : Well, this event opened on Nov. 17th, and it will run through the 29th at Antalya, Turkey. It's no small fry since 1450 players from 103 different countries are playing in 12 different categories. If you add the support groups, you've got 2600 people in three different hotels. Instant Boom Town, I'd say.

Let's take a look at how the Philippine team is faring. After three rounds, the Girls Under8 hopeful, Samantha Glo Revita, has two losses and a win. Below is her endgame, playing black, against Kahliogullari of Turkey:

On her move, Revita played 34...Kd6 and proceeded to march her E pawn and king down the board while her opponent's king tried to block its way. When the white king was fully engaged on the first rank in front of the E pawn, Revita began turning her kingside pawn majority into a win with 43...g6. Score one for Revita in 50 moves.

Ok, for the Girls Under10, we've got Mira Mirano with 1.5 points out of three. Mira got an unbelievable break when her opponent hung a knight on the 25th move. Below is the position at white's 37th move which was 37. b5. In a nutshell, Mirano created a passed A pawn and simplified the position after the exchange of her knight for the bishop, and an exchange of one set of rook as well. Pushing her A pawn to the a7 square, Mirano won over Pinar Aktas in 55 moves.

As for the Boys Under18, there is Paolo James Florendo with one point out of three. His only win, so far, came in the first round against Espen Forsaa. Their game was a complicate stew of pieces, a slam bang affair that ended (29 moves) in a position that I thought was not clearly a win for white. Could it have been a time forfeiture by Forsaa? And, here's another cunumdrum for me :

Here, Florendo played 25. Bb6. I can't make sense of this move. Maybe the PGN is wrong. Play continued with 25...cb6 26. Nd5 Qd6 27. Qb3 f4 28. Kg2 Rd8 29. Ra8 1-0.

I will report on the other members of the team in my next post.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Distracted but not Out : I have to admit, I haven't been posting as aggressively as before. Till a couple of weeks ago, I posted an average of twice a day and scoured the web for more news on chess like a tiger after a gazelle. Not that I have given up the game, but it is more like rubber necking an accident on the other side of the highway. My attention shifted to what I consider a more serious matter---Animal Welfare. I have other interests besides chess like cycling and aviation ( I am a licensed pilot ), but Animal Welfare is urgent, controversial, and every bit of fighting game like chess.

Only yesterday, on my other blog, I wrote about a vet in Ohio who believes that hanging pigs, using a steel chain and a forklift, does not constitute inhumane slaughter. It took an average of 10 minutes for pigs to die. Neither is it inhumane, according to him, to drag them and drop them from a ledge. This was his testimony as an expert witness in court in Ohio. On my home front of New Jersey, there is Congo, a 2 1/2 yr old German Shepherd who leaped into action after a landscaper tackled his master to the ground while his ( the landscaper's ) partner was hitting the other dogs ( Congo's pups ) with a rake. Believe it or not, Judge Russell Annich of Princeton declared Congo a viscious dog and sentenced him to death. Congo's case is under appeal in a higher court. These are just a couple of cases, not very gory ones, that have taken my attention from chess.

About chess, I am, at the present time, one round away from concluding a club championship. My performance has been dismal since I have not played a serious tournament game in a while. Out of four rounds, I have two loses, a bye, and a draw. Last night's game proved that I did not have the will to win nor the energy to give it a good think. Out of the G/90, I used up only 30 minutes for the entire game ( a draw ) while my opponent was down to his last 8 minutes. I gave the position a once-over, and made my move. It's amazing I didn't lose.

Oddly, when I went back to ICC and played a few games, I earned approximately 100 rating points in five games including a win over a player rated nearly 1900. At ICC, that's a good rating. These games are all 5-min blitz. It seems that my time away from chess actually helped my speed chess.

Here's an example of how one of my opponents painted himself into a corner:

The position above isn't particularly sinister, but with my opponent's help it became so. Black moved 21...Qf5, an aggressive-looking move that backfired. Play went on with 22. f3 Bc2 and black won a pawn. Nice? Well, then came 23. g4! and the bishop was lost.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Zurich, 1953: Let's go back to David Bronstein's highly regarded book on the Zurich Tournament of 1953. It was Round 8 between Reshevsky and Kotov, Game 51 in the book. Kotov had just played the strong-looking move 34...Qd3-e2. The obvious threat is 35...Qe1 mate. White was unable to capture the queen on e2 because of 35...Rd1+ and mate in the next move. According to Bronstein, Kotov's move also had the dangerous threat of 35. Rf1 Rd1 36. Nd2 Qd2 and only 37. Bc4 can save the day for white.
Reshevsky came up with a lightning bolt of a move 35. Qf8+, a move Kotov probably never considered. Boom! Bronstein's side note said that at this point Reshevsky asked how many moves have been made ( not acceptable GM practice ) to which a spectator responded ( illegal ). Interesting. Anyway,play continued 35...Rf8 36. Re2 Rc6 37. Re7 and Reshevsky went on to win the game in 42 moves.