Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Both I and Ahyan won prize money in Summer 2017 Tuesday Night Marathon at Mechanics

Last night was the last round of Summer 2017 Tuesday Night Marathon. I was playing in second board against the top seed Tenzing Shaw (2310) while each of first 4 boards were deciding the final standings of the tournament. Derek O'Connor won against Romulo in first board being sole champion with 7 points while I luckily drew a 2 pawn down rook end game against Tenzing. Elliott won a competitive game against Condra Diaz being sole runner up. With this draw I became jointly 3rd with 4 others with 6 points out of 8, also grabbing best Under 2200 performance and $120 prize money. My son Ahyan Zaman won a very long and drawish end game against my ex-colleague and friend Bruce Ricard with best Under 1400 performance and $115 prize money! Also in that group with Ahyan the other best Under 1400 performance with the same 4.5 score was my another ex-colleague and friend Ganesh Mathroobutham. A tense night ended with dreaming results for us.

This week's TNM newsletter mentioned the results here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Attended the seminar by Garry Kasparov on Future of Artificial Intelligence

Last Thursday (8th June) I attended Garry Kasparov's seminar promoting his latest book Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins. The event was organized by The Commonwealth Club at Marines' Memorial Theatre, San Francisco. This one hour event started at noon and was moderated by Holly Kernan, VP of news editing of San Francisco Chronicle, followed by a book signing session in stage by Kasparov. The event was sold out and I am fortunate that I purchased the ticket earlier. In this semiar he discussed about Putin's terrible regime in Russia and gave an optimistic view of artificial intelligence assisting human creativity in future.

I ordered the book from Amazon ahead of time and hence was able to get an autograph of Kasparov on this book along with getting the above picture taken by the photographer. It was a great moment for me as I regard him as the strongest chess player of all time. I have studied his games, his biography, his famous series of chess books - My Great Predecessors, his mammoth clashes over the board with another legend Anatoly Karpov. A lot of my love for chess may be sourced from the enthusiasm from this great chess player.

Book signing photos: The book signing Facebook album is here

Video: Watch the Facebook live stream of the event here

Saturday, April 22, 2017

XCell Chess Club Runner Up in USAT National 2017 Playoffs

We, XCell Chess Club, became runner up in the United States Amateur Team (USAT) 2017 Championship. We won the semi-final against North by 3-1. I lost in third board with White against Michael Auger rated 2268 (almost 300 more than mine) but all our other boards won. In the other semi-final game, East defeated South by 2.5-1.5 margin. South's first board couldn't play due to a personal emergency and hence they had to play up with 3 boards.

In the final we faced the current champion East. I won my game with Black against Warren Wang rated 2198 (again more than 200 points above mine). Arul and Ashrita lost in fourth and second board respectively. In first board Hayk had better position against Ethan Li but drew in time pressure as the game prolonged. Well, we were very close but couldn't make it. We will have to be happy with the runnner up. But this was a great experience and good team work. Kudos to team manager Tigran and XCell Chess Club owner Eshwaran for arranging everything for us. There is always a next time!

This playoff along with the original west zone team championship is the most significant team competition I have ever played!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - A New Chess Web Site In Town

I got notified by a web developer John McNeil from my blog about a new chess web site he developed. It's . Being a developer and a chess player myself, I was very appreciative of it. What a clean idea! You can see any FIDE rated player's chess rating history in graph for all 3 formats - classical, rapid and blitz - since 1967 till date! You can select single or multiple players and would be able to visually compare their progress year over year. I quickly checked my graph and see that I am stuck just above 1900 for several years now.

I thank John for undertaking such a visually stunning and useful project for chess players.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Simon Williams on Dragodorf - The New Sicilian Dragon

Along with GM Simon William's Dutch Defence, I have also picked up his Sicilian Dragodorf opening after watching a series of videos by him in Before this I was using the Accelerated Dragon variation by GM Roman Dzinzhichashvilli from the book Chess Openings for Black, Explained. In fact almost all my opening repertoire are from this book and its companion book Chess Openings for White, Explained.

The New Sicilian Dragon was published by Simon at 2009 from Everyman Chess and hence is a bit outdated compared to the fascinating developments made by him in recent years that you can learn from his Killer Dragon DVD pairs. Although I have went through the DVDs twice, I have started reading the book to better internalize the rational and the development of the Dragodorf from its root (relatively speaking). Also I have found Simon explains chess very well, if not as good as Roman, mixing humor all along the way. So its fun reading him or watching his videos. I have also picked his Hillybilly attack against Caro-Kann, King's Gambit with 3. Nc3 variation, Sicilian Grand Prix attack to name a few. His playing style is attacking and hence his openings often have a touch of a pawn sacrifice to gain tempo in development and attack. This I assume will help me master open games.

Simon explained different variations and the theories with the help of 62 full games. Here are those games.

Game # 1

Game # 2

Game # 3

Game # 4

Game # 5

Game # 6

Game # 7

Game # 8

Game # 9

Game # 10

Game # 11

Game # 12

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fund Raising Quad Held By S.H.A.F and NorCal House of Chess for San Jose Flood Victims

The S.H.A.F Inc., in collaboration with NorCal House of Chess held another successful kids chess quad tournament in NHC premise at Fremont on Saturday, March 26 featuring 36 participants. It is the fourth S.H.A.F chess event and the biggest turnout thus far. Several first-place trophies and medals were handed out as kids battled out in long, tough matches for the first place spot in their respective quads. 

The main goal of this fundraising event was to gather resources and donations for the victims of the recent San Jose flooding and underprivileged children in Bangladesh. Gratefully, they received donations of canned foods, warm clothes, and some toys which will be donated to the San Jose flood victims. Overall, it was a wonderful showing of skill and determination of the players, all for a great cause.