Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Yaacov Norowitz Earns IM in Reykjavik

Norowitz (2432) – Kuzubov (2622), Round 10
White to play and win the Exchange after 20...Qxc7
Oleksienko (2568) – Norowitz (2432), Round 5
Black to play and win after 39.Ne3
The Chess Coroner reports that 2009 Kenilworth Chess Club Champion Yaacov Norowitz has earned his final IM norm with an excellent performance at the Reykjavik Open, where he played some wonderful games.  The positions above are taken from his games, all of which can be found online for the solutions.  Congratulations Yaacov!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Black Jet in the Steinitz French

Position after 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6
4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 h6 8.Qd2 g5!?

FM Steve Stoyko annotated an interesting game from the recent World Amateur Team Championship in Parsippany, New Jersey that featured a "Black Jet in the Steinitz French."  The idea is that Black plays a sort of “mirror Benko Gambit” -- or “Black Jet” as GM Victor Moskalenko likes to call it -- challenging White’s center on all fronts by advancing with ...h6 and ….g5 (see diagram).  Steve came up with the idea on his own and had tried it a number of times in blitz games on ICC, unaware that it had been played once before back in 2005 at the HB Global Chess Challenge.  Steve’s success in Mo - Stoyko, World Amateur Team 2013, suggests that it is definitely worth a look.

This game was critical to helping Steve’s team, “Knightmare III,” to win their Round 5 match and they went on to play for the championship against the only other team with a 5-0 record going into the final round, “Princeton A.” In that final match, Steve drew his own game against a 2500-player, but the team lost and had to settle for “Best New Jersey Team.”

Note: I have updated the PGN file to include some additional games I have found with this line.

Ken Thomas's Birthday Grand Prix Saturday

Ken Thomas has been a fixture of New Jersey chess for as long as I can remember.  I personally played my first tournament at one of his Quads in Hackettstown, and I have always had good experiences at his events.  So what better opportunity to offer our appreciation than by playing in his upcoming Grand Prix Swiss on his 75th birthday on Saturday, February 23rd at the Somerset Holiday Inn?  Ken writes: "If you can’t play then stop by for some [skittles], maybe coffee and cake too."   Registration is by 10 am.  Besides the Swiss, Ken is running Under-1701 Quads and two scholastic tourneys.  Here is the announcement:

"Happy 75th Birthday Ken" Swiss
February 23rd -- 15 Grand Prix Points  
Somerset Holiday Inn, 195 Davidson Ave. Somerset NJ (exit 10 off I-287).
Grand Prix: 4-SS, G/45;d5. G$$: 250-150-100. And Guaranteed minimum $50 to top Expert, Class A, B, U1600 Only. No pooling.

EF: $30 online, (where you can also see who has entered). $40 at site.

U1701 Quads: G/60, d5, EF: $20 at site only. $40 to winners.
Two Scholastic Sections:
Viking U1300 K-8: and U0700 K-8:
5-SS, G/30:d5, Trophies top 10.
EF: $18 online; $25 at site.

Other details:
Registration: Saturday before 10 am,
First Round: 10 am then ASAP wi/ lunch break.

Info: 908-619-8621, or W, WEB.

Save money with online entry fee deals.
1. If "Gang of 3" enters, the lowest EF will be refunded. 
2. You may Play 3 times for 2 EF's. pay two highest EFs.
3. Join the Club $1 online only. Members get $5 cash refund at tournament.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Praveen Triumphant

White to play.
Balakrishnan - Phelps, World Amateur Team 2013

Black to play.
Levina - Balakrishnan, World Amateur Team 2013

I have annotated three recent games of NM Praveen Balakrishnan, who is playing board two on FM Steve Stoyko's "Knightmare 3" team this weekend at the 2013 World Amateur Teams in Parsippany, New Jersey.  I was hoping to play board four on the team, but it was discovered that my recent rating gain would have sent us over the 2200 average by one point! So Expert Ian Mangion is playing bottom board while NM Scott Massey is playing board three. I fully expect them to win the championship this year (they are 4-0 going into Round 5), which makes it a shame that I couldn't make the team. But I got to enjoy a relaxed day visiting the tournament on Saturday to check out the games, chat with friends, and browse books.  And I will not have to stress about a last round game for all the marbles. 

Praveen has had a rapid rise over the past year, going from a Class-A player to Master in what seems like the blink of an eye.  It did not surprise anyone that he won the Kenilworth Chess Club Championship earlier this month (I have included his exciting win over NM Mark Kernighan in the final round).  I have already taken an interest in his career -- see "Praveen at the World Youth" for example -- and look forward to his continued success.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ian Simpson's Chess Site

Ian Simpson's Chess Site is worth a visit if, like me, you are interested in playing the Open Games as White in the most open way possible, by gambiting a pawn with d4 and playing Bc4, as in the Danish, Scotch, Italian, and Urusov Gambits.  Simpson (aka "SWJediknight" on the forum) offers you a useful repertoire in these complex lines based on research and his own insights.  His comments on the Urusov, which take issue with or build on my own analysis in places, were especially interesting to me as I have been re-examining the opening since my lecture last year.  More in a future post.