May 2014



A rationale for chess - "Play for sheer joy, mental stimulation and time well spent in the presence of diverse intelligences"-  Bruce Pandolfini        

           Established March, 2009                                                  Editor: Conrad Conero  


Hi Everyone,
       There were 11 adults in attendance at the club on Saturday, April 5.  The burgeoning Spring on April 12th reduced our attendance to 6.  There was no chess on April 19th since the library was closed for the Easter Holiday weekend, but this Saturday saw an increase back up to 13 players, with 9 adults and 4 younger players attending, a good turnout for a nice Spring day. I might also mention that while the election season is underway, we won't be meeting in the front rooms but will be in a different area of the library.  Check the sign when you arrive to find out just which room we're in.


      I'm always looking for club member games for the newsletter to make it more representative and interesting so I don't have to just use my own.  These can be tournament or casual games.  Most online chess sites record your moves even for blitz games, and that's a good source as well.  All you have do in the latter case is copy the PGN and paste it in an e-mail to me.  Even if you attend infrequently, we'd still like to see your games. Thanks for sending these along. 


      The latest information that I've received about the date of the Ugandan Junior Champion Phiona Mutesi's visit to the Triangle area is now Thursday, May 15.  The time and place haven't as yet been announced, but as soon as I have those I'll pass them along as well.  Keith Carson has mentioned that if you'd like a little more background on Phiona, you can go to chesscafe.com, click on the "Video Spotlight" topic, then look to the bottom of the screen for the video "Chess in Uganda", which is the Jan. 2011, ESPN magazine interview of Phiona and her coach.  It's worth a look.

       When should one resign?  As we've discussed in the past, normally when the situation seems hopeless you should gracefully retire.  All other things being equal, losing a piece will generally result in a loss.  Losing two pieces (or more) is more certain.  The following position with a two piece advantage from an early tournament game of mine will illustrate this as well as the old axiom that  "three pieces are a mate".  The winning sequence is given below.

In this 1972 Hudson Valley Chess League contest, Black mated in 3 moves by 1..., Rg3+; 2. Kh2 (if 2.Kh4, Ng2 mate), Ng4+; 3.Kh1, Re1 mate.  This was clearly a resignable position for White. 

      Perhaps "inspired" by my opponent's "do-nothing" approach in my game shown in newsletter 117, as an experiment I decided to set up a similar "pawns-only" phalanx against the computer to avoid its tactical strength and see how it would respond.  This approach worked fine up until move 14, when the computer showed it could create tactics "out of nothing" as it were, even in such a sterile combinational environment.  It was an enlightening experiment.  Irregular Opening, C.Conero vs. Chess.Com (Hard),1. f3 (This is of course not a move I would play against a human, but let's see how it works out against the computer) e5 2. e3 Nf6 3. Kf2 Nc6 4. Ne2 d5 5. g3 Bd6 6. Bg2 O-O 7. Re1 Bb4 8. c3 Be7 9. d3 Qd7 10. Nd2 Rd8 11. Qc2 b6 12. b3 (Everything looks secure yet behind a broad pawn front.) Qf5 (So far Black has just been making developing moves, but now makes an aggressive sortie.) 13. e4 (This square seems well protected enough for this push, "putting the question" to the Q.) Bc5+ (an aggressive "intermezzo") 14. Kf1? (14.d4 doesn't win a piece due to 14..., exd4; 15.exf5 [15.cxd4 leads to an complicational maze, e.g. by 15..., Nxd4, but it still looks like Black keeps an edge], d3+ regaining the Q, but it would have still held out longer for White),        
14...., Ng4! (taking advantage of the Black Q's pin on the "f" pawn, this is an unanswerable move, threatening  both a "family fork" on e3 as well as a mate on h2) 15. Nb1? (saving the Q but losing the game.  But I was lost in any case.) Nxh2 mate - Reaffirming that computers are deadly on tactics, not missing anything even in an "anti-computer" type of position.
       In the category of chess oddities, this game holds the record for the earliest K move that caused an opponent to resign.  Note that it was a correspondence game, making that result even more unlikely.  Alekhine's Defense, Den Broeder - Van der Ent, Correspondence, Netherlands, 1977, 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 e6 4.c4 Bb4+  5.Ke2!, and Black resigned since he will lose a piece, e.g. 5..., Nb6; 6.c5, Nd5; 7.a3, Ba5; 8.b4 and either the B or the N will be lost). 


       That's not the first time that that King maneuver has been used to advantage though, as we've previously seen in the following famous miniature game between Henry Bird and Emanuel Lasker.  Danish Gambit, H.Bird vs. E.Lasker, 1.e4, e5; 2.d4, exd; 3.c3, dxc; 4.Bc4, cxb; 5.Bxb2, Qg5; 6.Nf3, Qxg2; 7.Rg1, Bb4+ ; 8.Ke2! (deja vu' all over again! - in this case so as not to block any of White's attacking lines by interposing a piece.), Qh3; 9.Bxf7+!, Kd8 (If ..., Kxf7; 10.Ng5+ forks the K & Q); 10.Bxg7, Ne7; 11.Ng5! (molesting the Q, but with a deeper motive), Qh5; 12.Ne6! mate.

       Here's an interesting parable that I recently found which illustrates the nature of chess competition. There were two chess players traveling through the African savannah when they unexpectedly came face to face with a hungry lion.  As the lion began to circle them, the first chess player sat down on a nearby rock, took off his hiking boots and started putting on a pair of sneakers which he had been carrying in his backpack. The second chess player looked puzzled and said, "What are you doing, you'll never be able to outrun a lion".  The first chess player looked up and replied, "I don't need to outrun the lion, I just need to outrun you!"  The moral of the story is that in order to win a chess game, you don't need to play perfect chess, you just need to be a little bit better than your competition.
         Proving  once again that even the best players are human, here's an elementary blunder by world-class GM Levon Aronian against fellow GM Peter Svidler.in the 2006 Moscow Tal Memorial tournament.
                                           Position after 23...., exd4

In the diagram, Aronian mistakenly played 24. exd4??, opening up the e-file for Black's rook. After Svidler played 24... Re1+!, Aronian was forced to resign, because Black's move forces the reply 25. Rxe1 (or 25. Qf1 Qxf1#), after which White's queen is undefended and therefore lost. This particular type of sacrifice has also been called the "Hook and Ladder Trick", for the White queen is precariously at the top of the "ladder", while the rook is at the bottom supporting it. 
        The solution to newsletter 118's first problem is  1.Kf5, Be5; 2.h8Q)+, Bxh8 (if 2..., Bb8; 3.Qh1 mate) 3.f8(Q) mate
         White wins a piece in problem #2 with the following combination - 1.Bxd4, Nxd4 2.Qa1, e5; 3.Rxe5+, K moves; 4.Qxd4         
        And in issue 118's novice problem Black wins a piece by 1..., Qxe2, since the Knight supporting this Knight is pinned to the White Queen on b2, which will be lost to the Black B on g7 when White captures it by 2.Nxe2.  If White doesn't make this capture then Black is simply ahead by a Knight.
        This issue's first problem is an endgame with Black to move.  What's the result with best play by both?
                                                    Problem #1
                                        Your Generated Chess Board
      It's also Black's turn to move first in problem #2.  Can he counteract White's strong center presence of two heavy pieces on the semi-open "e" file?
                                                    Problem #2
                                       Your Generated Chess Board 


                                                 NOVICE NOOK
       Most games that don't reach an ending are decided tactically (by pins, forks, skewers, discovered attacks, etc.).  In this game that is still in its opening stages, can you find a sharp tactic for White?
                            Your Generated Chess Board
Chess Curiosities: Paul Keres, who never won the title himself, was the only player in chess history to defeat nine undisputed world champions (Capablanca, Alekhine, Euwe, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky & Fischer). 


Chess Quote: "Without error there can be no brilliancy." - Emanuel Lasker
Yours for Chess,

All Welcome!

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Sets and boards are provided.
Players of all skill levels are welcome.

Club Hours

Every Saturday Afternoon
2:00 pm - 4:30 pm for casual play


North Durham Regional Library
221 Milton Road
Durham, NC 27701


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Club Director
Conrad Conero