Sunday, March 26, 2017

Alfredo De La Cruz vs Ladia Jirasek

A few weeks back Coach Ted Castro of NorCal House of Chess hosted a meet a grit with GM Susan Polgar who was visiting bay area on her chess promotion trip. A few of us followed that with dinner where I got introduced to Fide Master Alfredo. At one point he mentioned about a nice game of his which I was interested to see as I have played with his young opponent in the past - Ladia Jirasek. He sent me the game along with his own detail comments and analysis. I enjoyed this firing game full of attacks and counter attacks and I hope you will enjoy the same. I am giving the  rest of the commentry of the game in Alfredo's own notes below.

A live composition for Memorial Day. Not everyday you have the chance to play a game that outstands itself. From the several recipes for such notable games, not strangely, in this case it required the cooperation from a talented 14-years old player, who simply refused to be positionally crushed by the more experienced master (i.e. me). The following game took place in the last round the recent Best of West tournament, during Memorial Day in the US, in San Jose, CA. Having lost against one of the participating IMs in the 3rd round, due to an incorrect sacrifice from my side, I needed a win in this game to finish in one of the first positions. Despite the formal USCF rating difference, I had seen my young opponent display resourceful games during the tournament, so I expected the game to be interesting. But the best was about to come, yet...

Thursday, March 2, 2017

21 Days To Supercharge Your Chess by Yury Markushin

I recently bought the training program 21 Days To Supercharge Your Chess by Yury Markushin.

Both me and my son are spending approximately 1 hour each day to go through the book and their web site for theoretical and practical sessions. The recommended allocation of time is -
  • Reading the theory = 10 minutes
  • Studying masters’ games/ Working on the attacking chess = 20 minutes
  • Solving tactics = 20 minutes
  • Endgame clinic = 10 minutes
In Day 3, I learnt how to analyze a position. I knew each of those separately but its nice to get it in a bullet point together.
  1. Material on the board
  2. Presence of Threats
  3. Position of the Kings
  4. Presence of open files and diagonals
  5. Pawn structure, weak and strong squares
  6. Center and space
  7. Development and Pieces Activity
In Day 9, I learnt how to analyze a chess game.

Opening: Develop Your Pieces
  • Was it a home preparation line or you had to diverge from it?
  • What other variations of that opening line you have previously played?
  • Did the opening lead to the type of position you want to achieve?
  • Did you obtain any positional/material advantage out of that opening?
  • Overall, whose position was better after the opening?
  • Write down the problems you might have faced in the opening (Development of pieces, Space, King safety, Pawn structure etc)

Middlegame: Realize A Plan
  • Formulate a plan (Minority attack on the queenside, Taking control of the center, Preparing attack on opponent’s castled king etc)
  • What are the tactical and positional possibilities in the position?

Endgame: Count Every Advantage
  • Prepare an endgame plan (winning or drawing) to make every little advantage count
Day 13 teaches to always evaluate the most forcing continuations first in complex situations when a lot of calculations need to be done.The order should be checks, then captures and then threats and this will help reducing the number of variations to caculate.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

We - XcellCHESS Club - Became USA Amateur Team West Champion 2017

Somehow this happened. We became champion in US Amateur Team West Championship held at Santa Clara Convention Center during February 18th to 20th! Out of 6 rounds, we won first 5 rounds straight and drew the last round. Hayk, Ashrita, Arul and Akshithi - all played wonderfully and delivered at critical moments. I am surprised with my own performance as well. My personal score was 4 win and 1 loss. With this my rating jumped up from 2000 to 2097. So now we will play the winners of other 3 zones - East, North and South  in April 22nd for the title of National Amateur Team Champion!

Below is top 4 standings out of 65 teams. Click here for the full list and here for individual performances. Also here is the event summary from us chess site. I noticed a common pattern that the teams who were well balanced, did better than the top heavy teams (as by nature their 4th board has to be weak). 

GM Christian Chirila wrote a news coverage for US chess on this event titled - Grandmaster Amateurs: XcellChess Prevails in Competitive Team West.
1XCELLCXcellCHESS Club (2104.5) - Cnt: 5 W41 W17 W20 W10 W9 D35.517.561.25
NM Hayk Manvelyan (2295) 4.5
Aksithi Eswaran (1664) 1.0
WIM Ashritha Eswaran (2252) 3.5
Ashik Uzzaman (1974) 4.0
Arul Viswanathan (1897) 4.5
2BCC-BISHThe Berkeley Bishops (2172.0) - Cnt: 4 W36 W12 W8 D3 W49 W95.51653.75
IM David $m Pruess (2408) 4.0
NM Bryon Doyle (2203) 4.0
Michael Lei Wang (2177) 4.5
Michael Anderson (1900) 3.5
3BCWEEKThe Berkeley Chess Weekenders (2184.5) - Cnt: 4 W28 W13 W15 D2 W11 D15.01770
NM Jack Qiji Zhu (2399) 2.5
FM Ladia Jirasek (2343) 5.5
NM Gabriel Jame Bick (2280) 5.5
Kevin Yanofsky (1716) 3.5
4BAC-WARBAC Warriors (2164.3) - Cnt: 4 W32 W18 D6 D7 W13 W105.01660.5
FM Konstan Kavutskiy (2445) 4.0
Vinesh Ravuri (2133) 4.5
Theodor Biyiasas (2121) 3.5
Manas Manu (1958) 4.0

Here are the games I played.
  • Round 1 - I didn't play so that our fifth player Akshithi could play.
  • Round 2 - I won against National Master Richard Koepcke (2200)
  • Round 3 - I won against Jamieson Pryor (2015)
  • Round 4 - I won against National Master Annie Wang (2276)
  • Round 5 - I won against Derek O'Connor (2167)
  • Round 6  - I lost to National Master Gabriel Jame Bick (2280)