I've added another pawn ending to the BCE section. Again, Fine has the assessment correct, but goes wrong in one of the variations.
On Saturday, for the second time in as many months, I played in a single day, 4-round tournament. Last month was in Knoxville, this month was in Crossville. For the second time, I was the only master and there were no experts or Class A players. In this case, there was even only one Class B player. Is the single day event becoming a thing of the past? I remember these types of tournaments from my youth and college days as generally having a good show of strength. One time, back in Hammond, Indiana, GM Dimitri Gurevich even played in one of these events. Now, we can't even seem to get Class A players to show up to claim a prize!
I'm not really sure what the explanation for this is. These tournaments don't have the largest prize funds in the world, but there haven't been any tournaments in awhile either. The Crossville tournaments, run by Harry Sabine, are at a nice playing site and always have guaranteed prize funds. Maybe, it's time to bring back the "Turkey Tour". This was a type of Grand Prix run in Tennessee which gave players a little bonus at the end of the year. It especially awarded participation, which seems to be at a low right now.
I also asked Harry about the selection of Memphis for the state championship. He confirmed that is was the only bid, and also pointed out that it was a very good bid. The prize fund is guaranteed to be a minimum of $6000 with $1000 to first. This dwarfs any of the Tennessee state championships that I have played in. Also, the profits from the tournament are going to muscular dystrophy research. So, this was an easy choice for TCA. However, I think it might have been a better idea to hold this event as a normal Grand Prix event on a weekend other than Labor Day. Many other states hold their state championships then, which will hurt out-of-state attendance (although I don't know if the states that border TN near Memphis hold theirs then). I hope the tournament is a success, but it looks doubtful to me that the tournament will hold it's own finacially. Entry fees are $60 for the open section, $40 for the amateur, and $20 for the novice. Based on the previous history of the Tennessee Open, this will not be sufficient to generate $6000 in prizes. Perhaps there is some large sponsorship for this, otherwise I don't think much will be raised for MD. Time will tell, I wish them luck.
I've added another position to the BCE section. This is a pawn ending that Fine assessed correctly, but then made an error in the analysis. I'm going to try to get back to a greater analysis to commentary ratio on this page, and one of these days finish up some of the dangling projects (Corus rook endings and my games vs. GMs).
At the quick chess tournament in Nashville I saw a flyer announcing the Tennessee Open. This year it will be held it Memphis. This is an unfortunate decision for the players in the eastern part of the state. Maybe one of the TCA officers can explain why this site was selected. Perhaps it was the only bid. I think Nashville is a good site for the state championship. It may be a little bit of a trip for the Memphis players to come to Nashville, but the 7+ hours one-way from Knoxville or Chattanooga is going to eliminate a significant number of players. I'm pretty disappointed about this since without a Tennessee Closed Championship or Tennessee Masters Invitational, the Tennessee Open is generally the only time of year most of the strong Tennessee players gather in one place. I haven't completely decided against going, but so far have found no local players who are interested in travelling that far.
Of course, in cyberspace, physical location makes no difference. Still, I've been kind of amazed at how world wide the web is. Since starting my modest site about six months ago, I've had visitors from close to 20 countries and from every continent except Antarctica.
I played in the Tennessee Quick Chess (g/15) Championship yesterday in Nashville. I usually do not play much quick chess, but I was the defending champion from last year's event held here in Knoxville, so I decided to defend my title. I also decided to try to drive to the tournament in the morning. Since it was "only" quick chess and a hotel would have cost me more than first place, I thought it would be worth trying. Although I didn't really feel tired until today, I don't think I'll drive to any more Nashville tournaments on the morning of the event.
The tournament was unsuccessful for me. After winning my first 3 games (beating eventually champion Jerry Spinrad in the 3rd round), I was completely crushed by William Bragg of Kentucky in round 4. My plan to catch up was for Todd Andrews (3.5/4 at that point) to beat Bragg in round 5 and for me to beat Todd in a final round showdown. A quirk of pairing fate destroyed that plan when I was paired with Todd in round 5. This arose because both Bragg and Andrews were white in both rounds 3 and 4. So I found myself needing both to beat Todd and to need further help from someone other than Todd to knock off Bragg. I almost achieved the first step. After a miserable opening for me, Todd blundered badly allowing me a protected passed pawn on d7. However, as the time ticked down I allowed perpetual check. Here is the finale of that game.
To fend off perpetual threats I decided to give my king some air with 1.g4!? This is probably a bit too much air. 1.Bh2 was much more patient, but we had already had that position once and time was starting to become a big factor. 1...f4 2.Qb6 Ng3+ 3.Kg2? I don't see anything for Black after 3.Kh2! now Black gets to use his rook. 3...f3+ 4.Kxf3 Rf8+ 5.Kg2 Ne4 with many threats beginning with 6...Qg3+, I didn't see anything better than 6.d8Q pinning Black's rook. Todd spent most of his time trying to find a mate, but ended up giving perpetual check with 6...Qg3+ 7.Kh3 Qf3+ 8.Kh2 Qg3+ etc. 1/2-1/2
That put me out of the running for first. The final round pairings (courtesy of our old friend PairPlus) also looked fishy with the 3 players with 4 (Spinrad, Nilsson, and Andrews) all playing outside of their score group (Bragg[5 vs. Spinrad], Bereolos[3.5 vs. Martin Nilsson] and Brian Smith[3 vs. Andrews]) I didn't see any reason the pairings Nilsson-Bragg and Andrews-Spinrad shouldn't have taken place. I didn't look at it in alot of detail and didn't really have the motivation to argue the point (although I probably would have finished 3rd then). Until someone shows me otherwise, I'm going to assume the PairPlus pairings were wrong. I managed to beat Martin in the final round to get a bit of revenge from the Land of the Sky tournament (see 2/7/00 and subsequent entries). However, Bragg, who had cruised through the first 5 rounds was destroyed by Spinrad's Kings Gambit, losing his queen in about 10 moves. Andrews also won leaving a 3-way tie between Spinrad, Bragg, and Andrews, which Spinrad won on tiebreak. I'm not sure which tiebreak was used. It seems like the player who won his first 5 should have had the best tiebreaks, but with the goofy pairings the last couple of rounds, anything is possible. Congratulations to Jerry Spinrad.
I have two suggestions if this event is held in Nashville next year. First, make the starting time a little later to accommodate players who have to travel. It seemed a bit silly to me to start a 3.5 hour event at 9 in the morning. Second, do the pairings by hand. I know the computer makes in more convenient to report the results, but it is more important to get the right pairings. With a small field the amount of time spent entering the results into the computer can be used to do the pairings by hand. This would also save time between rounds not having to explain the pairings to the players.
The event was held at the Nashville Chess Center. This was my first time playing there. Like the Atlanta Chess Center and the Michiana Chess Studio, it is a converted old house. It seemed like a reasonable enough site. It will remain to be seen if there are any problems playing there in the heat or cold as there are in Atlanta. I'll certainly play there again. My only complain was the size. There is only room for (or maybe the fire code only allows, I think they could squeeze a few more boards in) 40 players. This probably excludes them from consideration for large events like the Tennessee Open (although they could start a new Tennessee Closed event and hold it there). For those who are wondering, I did sign the guest book and remembered to put this web address in it.
In the March 2000 issue of Chess Life, the grandmaster clash between Frenchman Joel Lautier and the Spaniard Miguel Illescas Cordoba received alot of attention. It was the featured game in both the Byrne and the Rhode columns. I'm not quite sure why this game got 3+ pages in a magazine where space has become a precious commodity. While both are strong GM's, neither would be counted as among the "elite" (although Lautier is a member of the very small club of players who has beaten Garry Kasparov more than once). Their performances in Pamplona were nothing special either; Lautier was =4th and Illescas was 8th in the 10-player field. Nevertheless, I did find the opening play somewhat interesting from a personal point of view.
In the Budapest Defense, Lautier employed a sideline, which, as pointed out by Rhode, was based on order of moves. What drew my attention to the game was the fact that I had employed a very similar plan against Jim Mills in the 1987 Indiana State Championship. My result was much less sucessful that Lautier's, but by examining the differences, much insight can be gained into the sublties of the opening. I'll take my game as the stem game and compare it to Lautier-Illescas in the notes.
Bereolos-Mills 1987 Indiana State Championship 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 The Budapest is a rare bird in GM circles. Black's position is solid, but he must spend alot of time recapturing the pawn. 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Nf3 Another popular alternative is 4.Bf4 4...Bc5 5.e3 Nc6 6.Nc3 Lautier chose the more forcing 6.a3. I have mixed feelings about this move. It may be a lost tempo since Black will play ...a5 anyway. However, in this game I suffered alot for not having control of the b4 square. All in all, though, I think White can safely delay a3. 6...0-0 Rhode recommends the immediate 6...Ngxe5 since White can now create chaos with 7.a3 a5 8.Qd5 7.Be2 Re8 8.b3 a5 I think White has gotten a better position compared to what Lautier reached. Indeed we could transpose to the game Lautier-Illescas via 9.Bb2 Ngxe5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.a3, but still the question remains if a3 is absolutely necessary. White could try, for example, 11.Qc2 instead. 9.h3?! 9.Bb2 or 9.0-0 is certainly better. Black cannot really do without ...Nxe5, so it just wastes time for White to make him go there. 9...Ngxe5 10.Bb2 more direct is 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Bb2 10...Nxf3+ 11.Bxf3 Ne5 12.Be2 This is the same position as in the note to White's 10th move 12...Ra6 We've now reached the same position as in the Lautier game, except that instead of a pawn on a3, I have one on h3. In that position, Lautier played the immediate Nd5 13.Qc2 Rd6 14.Ne4?! A poor move. White's gives up some control of the d5 square (his main trump in the position). The exchange of dark-squared bishops also favors Black since White's has a nice diagonal while Black's is biting on the e3-f2 complex. White's should probably bite the bullet now with 14.a3 intending 15.Nd5. (The immediate 14.Nd5 could be met by 14...c6 15.Nf4 Bb4+ (which wasn't possible in the Lautier game because of the pawn on a3). Black would probably need to go for 14...Rg6 (Ne4 was now a threat) trying to provoke further king-side weaknesses, but White is probably going to succeed in his plan to castle queen-side. Again, we see the subtle differences in the position. In Lautier's case he was able to replace the pointless h3 with Nd5. Then, there is no worry about ...Rg6 which could be met by Nf4. White's seemingly innocent ninth move has had reprecussions through the remainder of the opening. 14...Bb4+ 15.Bc3 Perhaps I should have "taken the move back" with 15.Nc3!? (see 3/31/00). 15...Bxc3+ 16.Nxc3 at least regaining some influence over d5, but White has wasted too much time with his King stuck in the middle. 16...Rg6 17.g4 17.0-0 d6 just gives Black an easy attack, yet another fault with h3. White is probably flat busted here. 17...Qf6 18.f4 Nc6 19.0-0-0 completing the plan just in time to have the hammer dropped on my head. 19...Nb4 oh why didn't I play a3 20.Qd2 Qxc3+ and Black won easily
A press conference is scheduled for Wednesday to announce the first BGN (Brain Games Network) World Championship between Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik. Yet another organization for Garry Kasparov to destroy. I guess the good news for chess fans is that we will finally see Kasparov defend his title (first time since 1995). The bad news is that he is playing the wrong player (Shirov beat Kramnik for the right to challenge Kasparov in 1998). I wonder if Shirov will come out with another letter. When it looked like Anand was going to play Kasparov, Shirov wrote an open letter calling Anand a "thief".
The details will be finalized tomorrow, but it looks like it will be a 16-game match scheduled for October. Looks like the traditional 24-game match is a thing of the past. I haven't seen any online odds yet, but would guess that Kasparov will be a heavy favorite.
As a bit of housekeeping, I've temporarily turned off the font streamer on this page. The site was timing out over the weekend and causing my page to be very slow in loading. I've also archived March at the bottom of the page. Finally, I've dropped remarq.com as an affiliate. They canceled their program without paying sites that had not accumulated at least $25 in click through revenue.
Vishy Anand has declined the offer by an English group to play a world championship match with Garry Kasparov in October. The group is now approaching Vladimir Kramnik who is next highest on the rating list. If we keep our fingers crossed maybe Vlady will also decline and the offer will drop to the next player, the rightful challenger, Alexi Shirov. (For those keeping score at home, Shirov beat Kramnik 6-4 for the right to challenge Kasparov, but the match never came off.) Alternatively, maybe the next 4000 or so players will decline and I'll get a call from England 8-). Actually, Kramnik declining might not be completely out of the question. He has pulled out of events in the past because of the conditions. For example, he did not play in the first FIDE KO event in Groningen.
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