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!





Tuesday, April 11, 2017

ChessGraphs.com - 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 ChessGraphs.com . 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.

http://www.chessgraphs.com/


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 chess.com. 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The New Sicilian Dragon was published by Simon at 2009 from Everyman Chess and hence is a bit outdated compared to the fascinating developments made by him in recent years that you can learn from his Killer Dragon DVD pairs.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.

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.

https://www.thechessworld.com/supercharge/

https://www.thechessworld.com/supercharge/


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.