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April 2010 Chess Life


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Chess Life

Editorial Staff

Chess Life Editor &

Director of Publications Daniel Lucas dlucas@uschess.org Chess Life Online Editor Jennifer Shahade jshahade@uschess.org Chess Life for Kids Editor Glenn Petersen gpetersen@uschess.org Senior Art Director Frankie Butler fbutler@uschess.org Editorial Assistant/Copy Editor Alan Kantor akantor@uschess.org Editorial Assistant Jo Anne Fatherly jfatherly@uschess.org Editorial Assistant Jennifer Pearson jenpearson@uschess.org Technical Editor Ron Burnett

TLA/Advertising Joan DuBois tla@uschess.org

Advertising inquiries: (931) 787-1234, ext. 123. All TLAs should be e-mailed to tla@uschess.org or sent to P.O Box 3967, Crossville, TN 38557-3967. Letters to the editor should be submitted to letters@uschess.org.

USCF Staff

Main Office in Crossville, TN (931) 787-1234

Executive Director/EB Secretary Bill Hall bhall@uschess.org ext. 189 Assistant Executive Director

& Director of National Events Patricia Knight Smith patsmith@uschess.org 931-200-3411 Administrative Assistant Cheryle Bruce cbruce@uschess.org ext. 147 Clubs & Membership Associate Alan Kantor clubs@uschess.org ext. 128 Chief Accountant Peggy Stephens pstephens@uschess.org ext. 131 Chief Financial Officer Joe Nanna jnanna@uschess.org ext. 150 Accounting Associate Susan Houston shouston@uschess.org ext. 136 Director of Business Operations Judy Misner jmisner@uschess.org ext. 126 Membership & Ratings Supervisor Jim Johanson jjohanson@uschess.org ext. 127 Mailing Lists/Membership Assoc. Traci Lee tlee@uschess.org ext. 143 Membership Associate Jay Sabine jsabine@uschess.org ext. 146 Director of Communications

& Affiliate Relations Joan DuBois jdubois@uschess.org ext. 123 Correspondence Chess Alex Dunne cchess@uschess.org

Fundraising/Sponsorship Assoc. Joan DuBois jdubois@uschess.org ext. 123 National Education Consultant Jerry Nash jerrynash@frontiernet.net

FIDE & Scholastic Associate Chuck Lovingood clovingood@uschess.org ext. 148 OTB Ratings/FIDE Walter Brown wbrown@uschess.org ext. 142 Computer Consultant Mike Nolan mnolan@uschess.org ext. 188 IT Director, Webmaster &

Tournament Director Certification Phillip R. Smith philsmith@uschess.org ext.134

USCF Executive Board

President Jim Berry jaberrycg@aol.com PO Box 351 Stillwater, OK 74076 Vice President Ruth Haring ruth@ruthharing.com

PO Box 1993 Chico, CA 95927 Vice President Finance Randy Bauer randybauer2300@yahoo.com

3923 - 153rd Street Urbandale, IA 50323 Member at Large Michael Atkins matkins2@cox.net

PO Box 6138 Alexandria, VA 22306 Member at Large Bill Goichberg chessoffice@aol.com

PO Box 249 Salisbury Mills, NY 12577

To subscribe to Chess Life, join the USCF or enter a USCF tournament, go to uschess.org or call 1-800-903-USCF (8723). Change of address should be sent to addresschange@uschess.org. For other inquiries: feedback@uschess.org, (931) 787-1234, fax (931) 787-1200.


This Month’s Contributors

Al Lawrence (“Looks at Books,” p. 12) is a frequent contributor to

Chess Life.

Glen Schmiege (“Cover Story,” p. 18) is a lawyer, the author of

POSTED: Property Rights, Trespass, and Recreational Land Use in

Michi-gan (Lansing: Protar House, 2005), and secretary of the Lake Superior

Chess Association.

Dr. Robert S. Graber (“Cover Story,” p. 22) is an associate professor

of finance, University of Arkansas at Monticello, and faculty sponsor

Polly Wright (“Scholastics,” p. 26) has

been a USCF life member since 1972

and is an active player, tournament

director and chess teacher.

Alex Betaneli (“Scholastics,” p. 30)

is a frequent contributor to Chess Life.

Randy Hough (“2009 N. American Open,”

p. 34) is a long-time contributor

Topalov versus


The World Championship

match will take place in Sofia,

Bulgaria from April 21 to May

12. Make your predictions

and then look for GM Ian

Rogers’ exclusive CLO reports

from the scene.

Spring Scholastic Season

The Spring Scholastic season begins with the 2010 National Junior High

Championship, set for April 9-11 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The action

continues in Columbus, Ohio where the 2010 National High School

Championship and 2010 All Girls National Championship will both be held

from April 16-18. CLO coverage from the Spring scholastics will include blogs

from a variety of perspectives, including FMs Mike Klein and Alex Betaneli.

An Open Prelude to the U.S. Championship

A month before the U.S. Championship goes down at the Chess Club and

Scholastic Center of St. Louis (May 13-25), some of America’s top players will

play in the Bill Wright Saint Louis Open (April 10-11). Participants include GM

Hikaru Nakamura, GM Robert Hess, GM Pascal Charbonneau, the club’s

GM-in-residence Ben Finegold, IM Irina Krush and WIMs Alisa Melekhina and

Iryna Zenyuk. Look for games from the Open and breaking news on the U.S.

Championship on CLO.


U.S. Chess League and

U.S. Chess School

founder IM Greg Shahade

writes about possible

improvements to current

mathematical tiebreak

systems, especially for

strong Swiss events.

Follow Chess Life and Chess Life Online on Facebook®! Get regular updates as part of your news feed,

post comments, and easily communicate directly with the editorial staff.

April on uschess.org

























































Veselin Topalov




Talking A Good Game

By Al Lawrence


Getting the Upper “Hand”

By GM Andy Soltis


The Sixth World Champion

By Bruce Pandolfini


Press On!

By GM Lev Alburt



By GM Pal Benko


62nd Russian Championship

By GM Larry Evans













On The Cover

Sure, in this Internet age,

running a chess club can

be a challenge. But what if

you add to the difficulty by

trying to run a club away

from a major population


Chess Life



The Country Club: Rural America Plays Chess


How to build a chess club away from

a major population center.

Chess In Rural Arkansas


College chess clubs are making a splash

in major metro areas like Dallas and Baltimore.

How can a rural college keep up?



OMG! Ong Is Big Winner

at National K-12


Our annual look at the grade level

championships includes a look

at the NYA championships,

penned by Alex Betaneli.



Five Say, “Viva Vegas!”


Five GMs top mammoth

Vegas tournament.


| 2009


2009 Annual USCF Yearbook

Our annual listing of all things USCF.



Carlsen Wins in Wijk aan Zee


Nakamura stars in Grand Slam debut.



New Membership Options!

Premium and Regular USCF Memberships Now Available



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or Chess Life for Kids;

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(adults: bimonthly, scholastic: 3 per year)


What you get as a REGULAR USCF member:

The right to play in USCF-sanctioned tournaments and be assigned an official rating

Access to member-only content on uschess.org, including our USCF forum discussion group. (9)

Online access to Chess Life & Chess Life for Kids.

What you get as a PREMIUM USCF member:


Carlsen versus Kramnik

Did Kramnik miss good winning

chances against Carlsen in London 2009?

(Game annotations on p. 32 of March 2010

Chess Life.)

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5.

cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nb6 7. 0-0 Be7 8. a3 0-0 9.

b4 Be6 10. Rb1 f6 11. d3 a5 12. b5 Nd4 13.

Nd2? Qc8?

After 13. ... Qc8

White has played a “universal

posi-tion,” normally a good idea (Karpov is

the best at playing them), but he overlooks

the fact that the white knights are mere

spectators should Black begin a kingside

attack; thus White should accede to

equality with maybe 13. Nxd4 unless

Black stands better after 13. ... exd4 14.

Na4. After 13. Nd2, the position is =/+ (a

slight advantage). So why not:

13. ... Bc8!!

The retreat of the bishop is the

tough-est move in all of chess to see.

14. Nf3

What else; Black plays 14. ... Ne6

any-way after 14. e3? (Permanently weakening

the d3-square.)

14. ... Ne6!

This knight dominates the board and

defends the backward c-pawn on the

open file; hits c5, d4, g5, and g7; and

clearly establishes that the white knights

are poorly placed.

15. Bh3

The threat is just ... Bd6/... f5/... g5/...

Qe8/... Qg6 with an overwhelming attack.

White’s king is underdefended and he

cannot allow the knight to sit on e6

for-ever—it paralyzes White’s entire army.

15. ... Nd5 16. Qb3 c6 17. bxc6 bxc6 18.

Na4 Nc5 19. Nxc5 Bxh3

Analysis after 19. ... Bxh3

Losing the white squares on the

king-side is bound to be fatal in the long term.

Richard Moody, Jr.

Schoharie, New York via e-mail


In Problem I of “ABCs of Chess” on

page 17 of the March 2010 issue of Chess

Life, the solution on page 71 is given as

“The advance 1. ... b5 wins the white


Why doesn’t Black just play 1. ... Bxa4,

since the white bishop on a4 is hanging?

Timothy Brennan USCF life member, via e-mail

Thank you to Mr. Brennan and other

sharp-eyed readers for pointing this out.

The diagram is missing a white pawn on

b3 and the black pawn should be on c7

and not c4 or else White will draw due to

insufficient mating material. Here is the

cor-rect diagram:

Black to play and win

The correct solution now runs: 1. ... b5

2. Bxb5 Bxb5 and Black wins with an

extra piece.

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Chess Life welcomes letters from its readers. Letters are subject to editing for content and length. Send

your letters to letters@uschess.org, and include your full name and a telephone number. If Chess Life publishes your letter, you will be sent a copy of Test, Evaluate and Improve Your Chess (see ad below).


In association with


The Seventh Annual All-Girls Open National Championships

April 16 –18, 2010 – Columbus, Ohio

6-SS, G/90, Sections

8-years-old and younger

10-years-old and younger

12-years-old and younger

14-years-old and younger

16-years-old and younger

18-years-old and younger

Main Event

Friday, April 16

6:00 PM–Opening Ceremony

6:30 PM–Round 1

Saturday, April 17

10:00 AM–Round 2

2:30 PM–Round 3

6:30 PM–Round 4


The University of Texas at Dallas,

www.utdallas.edu, has established an

Academic Distinction Scholarship to the

winner of the 18-years-old and younger

section. The scholarship is valued at

$68,000 for an out-of-state student.

Trophies to top 15 individuals and top

3 teams in each section. 3 or more

players from the same school to make

a team (top 3 scores added to give

team final standings). Every player

receives a souvenir medal.

Entry Fee

Side Events

Bughouse Tournament

Friday April 17, 1:00 PM

Entry fee: $25 per team

Blitz Tournament (G/5)

Friday April 17, 3:00 PM

Entry fee: $15 if p/m by April 4,

$20 on-site

Online registration


tournament.php?wkevent=2010AG or



Hyatt Regency Columbus

350 N. High Street

Columbus, OH 43215

$50 if postmarked by March 21, 2010,

$70 if by April 4, 2010. On-site

registra-tion is $90. USCF membership required.

All events will be hosted at Hyatt

Regency Columbus, 350 N. High Street,

Columbus, OH.



im McGrew of McGrew Woodwork in Columbia, South Carolina

has always been someone unafraid to tackle something new.

In fact, his entering into the woodworking business happened

partly because he was approached by someone in desperate need

of a sailboat mast when the original one was broken.

He far exceeded his goal of architecting his own carvings for the

purpose of enhancing his woodworking skills and giving himself

a design edge in his woodworking craft. He now had something that

has fascinated people across the country.

“I wanted to do something to prove I could have complete

con-First Moves

First Moves

By Peter Hildebrandt


Chess Looms



ing example of this hit me the other night when I was shopping at a

big electronics store. With all the technology and countless games the

store has to offer customers, there in the corner sat two guys quietly

playing a game of chess. It is still extremely popular.”

McGrew’s chess pieces are actual 3D replicas of a Renaissance chess

set with pieces four inches tall. They were scanned into 3D files. From

those files they were able to manipulate the pieces through something

called a tool path and carve the chess set.

The sections of each piece were cut from 24 pieces of inch thick

medium-density fiber board (MDF). This in turn created a thickness

of 24 inches, sliced in three inch increments. Making the pieces

from solid wood was cost-prohibitive. Crafting the pieces in sections

also helped to keep the weight of each chess piece to a minimum,

though each piece still weighs in at 250 pounds. The completed

pieces are sealed with a lacquer before being marbleized.

So far McGrew has made a king, queen, bishop, knight, rook and

pawn. At this point he is working on obtaining the funding to complete

the set. He is also having a new CNC machine made that will allow

McGrew to carve the remaining chess pieces in one piece.

Once the set is completed it will be used for play in the city of

Colum-bia, South Carolina as well as on tour. “People are really attracted to

the pieces and the set,” says McGrew. “It’s quite a conversation

point we’re not really under any constraints because the set is

ours,” adds McGrew. “And though we’re not really sure where all this

will lead us, we’re having an awful lot of fun and the knowledge I have

gained from building the chess pieces has spilled over into my

reg-ular woodworking.”

On the opposite side of the U.S., MegaChess General Manager Peter

Shikli is similarly enjoying the possibilities that accompany chess on

the grand scale. Like McGrew, Shikli came into dealing with larger

chess pieces serendipitously.

Shikli escaped with his parents from Hungary during the 1956

rev-olution. He received an engineering degree from UCLA and an MBA,

worked in software development and high-tech business

develop-ment and project managedevelop-ment. But his starting MegaChess came much

later, born out of a desire to wean his son, Tyler, away from video games,

violent and otherwise. A viewing of Harry Potter gave Peter a “big

idea” as he heard audience sighs during play of the giant chess set.

Demand for large sets led to his finding places that sold such

pieces. Indonesian artisans were all Shikli could find. “They made

me a deal I couldn’t refuse,” explains Shikli. “They told me if I

bought two sets, they would send me three. That ‘twofer’ was the

entire business plan for us. By the time they arrived all three were

already sold. I had to order more.”


Certified Chess Coach Program

The USCF Certified Chess Coach

Pro-gram has been underway since it was

first introduced in April, 2009 at the

SuperNationals. It has been a resounding

success. For more information please

look at the links on the Scholastic page

of uschess.org.

The Chess Coach Newsletter has also

been reborn into an online format. You

will find the first issue link on the

Scholas-tic page of the USCF website. Anyone

may submit a topic and then the Certified

Chess Coaches will respond with their

suggestions. Check them out!

Affiliate E-mailing Service

The USCF has begun testing a new

pro-gram to do e-mails on behalf of USCF

affiliates. We’re still working out the

details and a few bugs, but we will use our

e-mailing service (the same one that we

use to send out TLA Mail and

promo-tional offers from USCF Sales) to send out

e-mailings for USCF affiliates about their

upcoming tournaments.

The fee for these mailings will be five

cents per unique e-mail address selected,

with a minimum of $20.00.

We have done two test mailings so far

(through March 4th) and hope to be in a

position to open this service to all USCF

soon, though we should be able to do

some additional e-mailings as part of our

testing process. However, during the

test-ing period we may have to limit the

number of e-mails sent and there may be

times during which we cannot send out

any e-mails.

Until we get the interfaces in place to

work on the selection criteria and the

formatting of the e-mail messages,

affili-ates will need to submit fully formatted

HTML files and indicate the criteria for the

members to be e-mailed.

Members may opt out of this service

by using the link at the end of each

e-mail or by logging in using their

USCF ID and PIN to the USCF e-mail

pref-erences page at



. This link

can also be used to sign up for TLA Mail

or to sign up for alerts when an event

played in has been rated.

U.S. Women’s Championship/

U.S. Junior Closed

ST. LOUIS, February 26, 2010—The

USCF has awarded the 2010 U.S.

Women’s Championship and the 2010

U.S. Junior Closed Championship to

the Chess Club and Scholastic Center

(CCSCSL) of St. Louis. The two events will

be held concurrently July 9-19.

The U.S. Women’s Championship will

feature a prize fund at least as large as

last year’s record-breaking, $64,000

purse. The tournaments will take place

simultaneously, and each will feature a

10-player field.

The invitees will consist of the following: (1)

the defending champion for each event, (2)

the U.S. Women’s Open Champion/the

U.S. Junior Open Champion, (3-9) top

play-ers by rating (list will be announced soon),

and (10) a wild card for each event.

“Encouraging more women and juniors to

play chess are both vital goals of the

Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St.

Louis,” said Executive Director Tony Rich.

“So we are very excited to host the

tour-naments simultaneously.”

The announcement of these two major

tournaments is another step toward

cementing St. Louis as the premier chess

destination in the country.

Anna Zatonskih will return to defend her

title after winning the 2009 U.S. Women’s

Championship. That victory earned her a

bid to compete in the 2010 U.S.

Cham-pionship, scheduled to be held at the

CCSCSL May 13-25.

The three most prestigious tournaments

in United States chess are being held in

St. Louis this year, giving the Chess Club

and Scholastic Center of St. Louis the

triple crown of chess.

Stay tuned to




for more details.

Training seminars

Many in the USCF community have

spe-cialized knowledge in areas such as

teaching, tournament directing, etc. If

you are interested in sharing your

knowl-edge with others, please contact Joan

DuBois at



800-903-8723, ext. 123.

Call for ADMs

Advance Delegate Motions (ADMs) for the

Delegates’ meeting at this year’s U.S.

Open are due before June 1, 2010.

They can be sent to Cheryle Bruce,

c/o USCF, P.O. Box 3967, Crossville, TN

38557 or e-mailed to

cbruce@ uschess.org.

USCF Election

Any Youth category member who wants

the May candidates statements may

receive them on request. This applies

only to Youth members who will be 16 by

June 30th, since otherwise the Youth

member will not be receiving a ballot.

In addition to the 150-word candidate

statements that appear in this issue of

Chess Life, there will be 500-word

state-ments in the May and June issues. Youth

members are not scheduled to receive

the May issue.

Election ballots

Ballots will be available to USCF members

who are current members for the entire

day on May 5th and who will be 16 by

June 30th. More details about the ballot

will be available in a future issue.

USCF Affairs


The USCF Mission


mem-USCF Affairs

Gary Walters

I’m Gary Walters, an active OTB

player and a devoted

correspon-dence chess player. I began playing

chess scholastically in Columbus,

Ohio in the late ‘6Os.

I am a retired Army officer. I served

as an infantry company

com-mander during DESERT STORM in

Kuwait, where I was awarded the

Silver Star.

I am currently a lawyer in Cleveland,

Ohio, where I practice complex civil

litigation in a large firm. I have a

B.A. from Auburn University in

English, a Masters of Military Arts

and Sciences from the School of

Advanced Military Studies at Fort

Leavenworth, KS, and a law degree

from Cornell University.

My reasons for running for the

Executive Board are that I love

the game, and I would like to help

the Federation grow chess

follow-ing a period of substantial

instability due to several lawsuits.

The best way to know me better is

to visit my blog at



Sam Sloan

The USCF has lost money every year

since 1995 except for the one year

that I was on the board. The USCF

has lost membership every year since

1999 except for the one year that I

was on the board. The one year that

I was on the board was the only year

that the USCF reported a surplus in

real money and also the only year that

membership went up.

Why? Because I keep riding herd on

wasteful and ridiculous spending.

Some may not like my style but

I get results.

I have specific plans and proposals to

cut costs and expenses and to increase

revenues to return the USCF to the

surplus years of the distant past.

Somebody needs to be minding the

store. I seem to be the only one who

is doing that.

The delegates, in their wisdom, have

voted to give me 100 words to

explain my court case in Virginia.

I have eight children. One of them is

Shamema, whom many of you met

when I used to bring her to

interna-tional chess tournaments. When

Shamema was eight years old, she

was kidnapped by persons unrelated

Mike Nietman

Being a USCF Executive Board

member is a privilege. I hope my

candidacy will earn your support.

My chess experience is substantial.

First joined the USCF in 1976, I’ve

served on the Wisconsin Chess

Association Board of Directors since

1984, and President continuously

since 1987. During my tenure

Wisconsin hosted two national

scholastic championships, the 1990

World Youth Championships, two

Yasser Seirawan Chess Schools and

seventeen State Scholastics

averag-ing 400 players; I was Chief Local

Organizer on each.

I’ve been a USCF delegate since

1987 attending eighteen delegates’

meetings. My USCF Committee

experience includes: Co-Chair of

the Scholastic Council that is the

chair of the Scholastic Committee,

the Chess in Education Committee,

the States Committee and various

MIS committees.

Professionally, I am a senior

programmer/analyst for a large

non-profit hospital working with

the Finance, Payroll and HR


USCF Executive Board Candidate Statements


Looks at Books

Looks at Books


opponent’s mind? (Are both of us

think-ing about lunch, perhaps even the same

Philly cheese steak with fries?) What

would a master likely be thinking about

if I got this same middlegame position

against him?

Popular writer and teacher Dan

Heis-man gave me some answers in his

instructive new book, The Improving

Chess Thinker. He examines how we think

about a chess position—and how the

thoughts of stronger players differ from

for two main reasons: “tactical ability

and a better thought process.”

Heisman’s is one of the rare books to

focus on that better thinking process.

Two excellent chapters, by themselves

worth the price of the book, explain

effec-tive over-the-board thinking techniques

in detail. Sandwiched in between are

ses-sions of “think-out-loud” chess by class,

from F right on up to experts and masters.

Heisman has used think-out-loud chess

to help his students for 40 years,

con-fronting his pupils with a position and

asking them to speak their thoughts aloud

as they analyzed. The approach isn’t new.

Both Jeremy Silman’s wonderful Complete

Endgame Course and GM Jacob Aagaard’s

Inside the Chess Mind use the technique.

But the mother of all think-out-louds

is Dutch chess master and psychologist

Adriaan de Groot’s 1946 doctoral

disser-tation (published in English in 1965 as

Thought and Choice in Chess), recording

the individual stream-of-consciousness

sessions of luminaries such as Alexander

Alekhine, Max Euwe, Reuben Fine, Salo

Flohr, Paul Keres and Savielly Tartakower,

as well as lesser masters, experts, and an

array of class players.

In fact, Heisman relies heavily on a

position known as “de Groot A,” the most

famous think-out-loud position of all

time. Here it is, with White on move.

that if White does not move and Black

plays 1. ... Qxb2, then 2. Nc4 traps the

queen! So 1. ... Qxb2 is not really a threat

at all.”

As interesting as it is that two former

world champions and other all-time greats

didn’t mention the idea, actually 2. Nc4

walks into the one-mover 2. ... Bb5! (3.

Nxb5 Qxb5). After ... Qxb2, only one line

prevents Black from enjoying an advantage:

2. Bxf6 Nxf6, and then 3. Nc4, when now

the pinning 3. ... Bb5 levels the game, but

in an unbalanced, piece-for-three-pawns

way. Rybka gives 1. ... Qxb2 as best if

Black were on move (making it the threat);

then: 2. Bxf6 Nxf6 3. Nc4 Bb5 4. Nxb2

Bxd3 5. Nxd3 Bxa3 6. Rc2 Ne4 7. Nc5

Bxc5 (7. … Nxc5 also works) 8. Nxe4 Bxd4.

Truly, the venerable “de Groot A” keeps

on giving, even after a lifetime of analysis!

Heisman’s book is a fast, heady read

even without a board. But I felt a few

speed bumps. Heisman evidently doesn’t

like the convention of distinguishing

between “Exchange” and “exchange”;

they’re both just “exchange.” And a

spe-cial note to the plain-English inclined:

Heisman’s background in engineering

occasionally constructs a verbal bridge

to nearly nowhere. (The careful editing of

Alexey Root normally brings us back

safely.) “Using the null move process”

turns out to mean pretending it’s your

opponent’s move when it’s actually yours.

Another noun-cluster of jargon,

“quies-cence error,” evidently indicates that a

player thinks a position is placid when

there are actually tactics afoot. “A rough

integer value” means simply a round

num-ber! Heisman is at least careful to use

his favorite terms consistently. I also

would have appreciated more diagrams of

the six positions he uses throughout,

three from de Groot and three of his own.

Nevertheless, I highly recommend The

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The Improving Chess Thinker (2009) by Dan Heisman. Mongoose, 220 pages, $19.95 from uscfsales.com (catalog number (B0043EU).

Talking A Good Game

How the thoughts of good players differ from those of weaker ones


Chess to Enjoy

By GM Andy Soltis

Experience, they say, comes with age. But so do other attributes,

both positive and negative, in the way you play chess.

Getting the Upper “Hand”

Some good things happen to your

chess as you get older. You learn

patience. You find you can handle more

varied middlegames. You stop hating

endgames ... so much.

But there’s another side, as a few of the

dreadful games from the recent Anatoly

Karpov-Garry Kasparov reunion match

showed. So it’s worth considering what

you can expect as you age:

You acquire clock sense.

Then you gradually lose it.

When you’re young, the chess clock is

your friend. How many minutes you have

left usually doesn’t seem nearly as

impor-tant as how many the other guy has

because he’s more likely to get into time


But as you get older, it’s your time that

seems to matter more, and this is where

clock sense comes in. In its purest sense,

it’s the “intuitive feeling that experienced

players have of time, without looking at

the clock,” to quote Karpov. They sense

how much they are spending on a move

and when it’s too much.

Mikhail Tal showed splendid clock

sense when he won the World Blitz

Cham-pionship in 1988. The spectators

marveled at how the 51-year-old Tal never

looked away from the pieces to see how

much time he had left.

They marveled in part because a

player’s clock sense usually reaches a

peak around the age of 35 and then

GM Bent Larsen (FIDE 2620, DEN)

GM Lajos Portisch (FIDE 2640, HUN)

Montreal, 1979

After 37. ... Qh3

With three moves to reach the time

control, Larsen played 38. Bg2? and was

shocked that Black could afford to grab

a pawn, by 38. ... Qxd3! 39. Qc8+ Kg7.

There wasn’t enough time to calculate

lines such as 40. Bf8+ Kf6 41. Qd8+ Kf5.

But Larsen tried anyway and forfeited

before making his 40th move.

The moral is: When your clock sense

begins to weaken, make sure you always

have five minutes to play the last few

moves of a time control.

You develop “the hand.”

After Vishy Anand won the FIDE World

Championship tournament of 2007 he

was asked how he seemed to make moves

without thinking. “Sometimes my hand

itself makes the move,” he said. Anand

and compensate for it. “The last thing to go

is the hand,” as the Russians say.

This helps explain why some older

play-ers can beat kids in speed games. “In a

classical (time control) it’s hard for me to

outplay youngsters,” GM Evgeny Bareev,

44, said after last fall’s World Blitz

Cham-pionship. “But in rapids, which requires

making skillful decisions quickly and

doesn’t allow for calculating a lot, I can still

win,” he told Chesspro.com. Here’s how he

dealt with a grandmaster who was 18

years younger and nearly 100 points

higher rated.

GM Evgeny Bareev (FIDE 2634, RUS)

GM Dmitry Jakovenko (FIDE 2736, BLR)

World Blitz Championship, 2009

After 18. ... Rd8

White has the two bishops but it seems

Black is the one who can improve his

pieces more easily, such as with ...

Ng6-h4 and ... Ne4. However, “the hand” told

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resigned in a winning position).

You second-guess yourself more often.

This is a consequence of developing

“the hand.” When you rely less and less

on calculation, you’ll occasionally miss

something tactical. And once you’ve been

burned by this, you may distrust your

intuition and spend more time

recheck-ing the move you want to play.

GM Jan Timman (FIDE 2625, NED)

GM Yuriy Kuzubov (FIDE 2535, UKR)

Gothenburg, 2005

After 11. exd4

But at 43, Timman had doubts. He

spent a lot of time asking himself what

would happen after 12. ... Nf5.

In the end Timman rechecked enough,

pushed the pawn and developed a

win-ning position soon after 12. d6 Nf5 13. Bf4

Qf6 14. Be5 Qh6 15 Nc3! Nxd6 16. d5 Nf5

17. d6.

Of course, second-guessing isn’t

neces-sarily bad. It will save you from a lot of

blunders. So get used to it and learn

when to stop re-checking.

And there’s one more way in which

you’ll age: You forget your own games

and analysis.

Even players in their 20s can

experi-ence this. They vividly recall games they

played in their first tournaments. They

may even remember which chair they sat

in and at which table. But they have only

a vague recollection of games they played

last year.

Forgetting is annoying but hardly fatal.

When Viktor Korchnoi faced Peter Svidler

at St. Petersburg 1997, his young

oppo-nent had prepared an improvement on a

game that Korchnoi had played 13 years

before. But Svidler didn’t get to spring it

because Korchnoi had forgotten the old

Sicilian Defense,

Najdorf Variation (B94)

GM Leonid Stein

GM Mikhail Tal

USSR Team Championship, 1961

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5.

Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 Nbd7 7. Bc4 Qa5 8. Qd2 e6 9.

0-0-0 b5 10. Bb3 Bb7 11. Rhe1 Nc5? 12.Bxf6!

gxf6 13. Qf4 Be7 14. Qg4 0-0-0 15. Bd5!

Tal had recommended White’s moves in

his article but they hadn’t been tested over

the board until this game. Unfortunately

for him, his opponent remembered the

published analysis that Tal forgot.

15. ... b4 16. Bxb7+ Kxb7 17. Nd5! exd5?

Tal could have gotten roughly even

chances with 17. ... b3! and then 18.

axb3 Qa1+ 19. Kd2 Qxb2.

18. exd5 Rd7 19. Nc6 Qxa2 20. Qxb4+ Kc7

21. Nxe7 Rb8 22. Qa3 Qc4 23. Nc6 Rb3 24.

Qa5+ Rb6 and Black resigned on move 32.

It’s not just moves—you can forget your

strengths as you age. This game was

played some months after Tal lost his

world championship title. The match

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Dake’s takes

Arthur William Dake of Oregon,

one of the heroes of America’s

gold-medal Olympiad teams of the 1930s,

would have turned 100 this month.

Three years after Dake learned how

the pieces move, at age 17, he won

the Marshall Chess Club

Champi-onship. His brilliant but short career

included scoring a phenomenal 75.6

percent in three Olympiads.

Al-though he played infrequently after

he was 28, he was finally awarded a

grandmaster title in 1986 for past

accomplishments. This month’s quiz,

which is a bit easier than usual,

fea-tures six of his finishes. In each

position you are asked to find the

fastest winning line of play.

For Solutions, see page 79.

Problem I

Arthur Dake Hans Mueller White to play

Problem IV

Arthur Dake Jim Schmitt White to play

Problem II

Ilmari Solin Arthur Dake Black to play

Problem V

Arthur Dake Alexander Alekhine White to play

Problem III

Arthur Dake Austin De Burca White to play

Problem VI

Arthur Dake C.H. O’D. Alexander White to play

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In his heyday Mikhail Botvinnik

(1911-95) was a force. For two decades he was

the game’s best player and its leading

writer and teacher. In his books and

arti-cles Botvinnik unselfishly explained his

winning training methods. He also

trum-peted the merits of the Soviet school.

While some of it was propaganda, the

results of that movement speak for

them-selves. The following game from 1940

played in Moscow against Grigory

Leven-fish (Black) comes from the period just

before Botvinnik’s 1948 ascension to the

top, when it seemed nothing would stop

him. The game began:

English Opening,

Four Knights Variation (A28)

Mikhail Botvinnik

Grigory Levenfish

Moscow, 1940

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. d4 exd4 5.

Nxd4 Bb4 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 Bxc3+

Your starting position

Sometimes points are also rewarded for

second-best moves, and there may be

bonus points—or deductions—for other

moves and variations. Note that

** means

that the note to Black’s move is over and

White’s move is on the next line.




Par Score: 4



Black’s plan is to break the pin and

trade off the enemy dark-square bishop.




Par Score: 5


full credit

for 9. f4. Accepting the

pawn sacrifice 9. ... Nxc4 10. e4 Ne3 11.

Qe2 Nxf1 is reckoned too dangerous for

Black after 12. e5 0-0 13. Nf5 Re8 14.

Bxf6 Qxf6 (14. ... gxf6 15. Qg4+ and 16.

Qg7 mate) 15. exf6 Rxe2+ 16. Kxe2,

net-ting a rook as the f1-knight is trapped.

Thus, after 9. f4, Black would have to

play 9. ... Ng6, leaving White with some




This breaks the pin, one way or the





Par Score: 5



And this gets back the bishop and

knight ratio to where it started.




Par Score: 5

White forces the issue.



earlier game versus Vladimir Nenarokov,

1933, he played 13. Rd1, which here is


4 points part credit




The attack on the e3-pawn misplaces

the queen. It was better to start

rerout-ing the knight to c5, i.e. ... Ng6-f8-d7-c5.




Par Score: 5

White would have played this in any

event, since it helps connect the rooks


1 bonus point

for realizing it).



Good one move before; this now runs

into Botvinnik’s vaunted opening





Par Score: 5

A sac designed to open attacking lines,

the d-file and the diagonal a4-e8.

Botvin-nik had examined it in his game with

Nenarokov, but the setting was slightly

different and the sac unconvincing.



Levenfish accepts. If he’s going to

suf-fer he may as well have a pawn for his

troubles. Otherwise he might try 15. ... d5,

but that’s another game.




Par Score: 5

This check is not so easy to meet. If 16.

... c6, then 17. Nxc6 bxc6 18. Bxc6+ and

19. Bxa8

(1 bonus point)




If instead 16. ... Kd8, then 17. Rad1


bonus points)

, sacrificing to open

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Solitaire Chess

The Sixth World Champion

By Bruce Pandolfini

Mikhail Botvinnik was the poster boy for the scientifically-based Soviet chess

school. Here he dismantles Grigory Levenfish with cool precision.


The knight gets out of danger by

attack-ing the queen, which is one of the

drawbacks of 13. ... Qe7.





Par Score: 5

The right rook. The h1-rook might still

come into play along the h-file. Add


bonus point

if you so realized. The threat

is 19. Qe4+ Kd8 (19. ... Qe6? 20. Nxg7+

or 19. ... Kf8 20. Bxd7, winning a piece.)

20. Bxd7 Bxd7 21. Qxb7 Rc8 22. Rxd7+

Kxd7 23. Rd1+, mating or winning the


(2 bonus points)




His best chance is counterattack on

the knight or bishop.




Par Score: 5

With the knight hanging on f5, this

looks more surefooted than 19. Qe4+ Kf8

etc. White picks up the sacrificed pawn,

threatening 20. Ng4 Qg7 21. Rxh8+ Qxh8

22. Qe4+ Kd8 23. Bxd7 Bxd7 24. Ne5.



This is safer than moving the queen. If

19. ... Qe6, then White wins by 20. Nxf7

Rxh1 21. Ng5

(1 bonus point)



more play than he deserves. Better to

keep Black bottled up. As he tries to

unravel his pieces new weaknesses are

sure to be created and White can then

take advantage.





Par Score: 5

Black gains a tempo on the queen to

further his plan before moving the

attacked bishop.





Par Score: 5



Black tries to get out his pieces, even

if it means turning over f6 to the enemy.

On 22. ... f5, to control g4, White has

23. Bf3, 24. Rhe1 and 25. e4, blasting

open the e-file.




Par Score: 5



Here Black anticipates Nf6+, when the

king has to go to e7 anyway. The

alterna-tive was to return the knight to d7, but

nobody plays like that.




Par Score: 5

White threatens 26. Qxg6

(1 bonus



Full credit

for 25. g4, stopping






Par Score: 5





Par Score: 5

If the bishop moves, say 27. ... Bc4,

then 28. fxg6 followed by g6-g7

(1 bonus


. On 27. ... gxf5 28. exf5 the open

e-file comes into play: (a) 28. ... Bd5 29.

Nxd5+ Nxd5 30. Qe4+; (b) 28. ... Bc4 29.

Bxc4 Nxc4 30. Qe2+; (c) 28. ... Bd7 29.

Bf3 Qb5 30. Qe4+ Kd8 31. Rxf7 Rxf7 32.

Qe8 mate. So …


Black resigned


ABCs of Chess

These problems are all related to

key positions in this month’s game.

In each case, Black is to move. The

answers can be found in Solutions

on page 79.

April Exercise: Suppose you’re

studying an opening and reach an

impasse. Let’s say published

analy-sis is exhausted and you need new

ideas. It’s time to use software. Setup

the position needing infusion and

play a hundred speed games or so

from there against the program. As

ideas are generated the best ones

stand out by success. If you’re really

wise you’ll then play another

hun-dred games with the other color,

adding perspective from the

oppos-ing side. This reinforces key moves

and rounds out the picture. Indeed,

to see what opponents see it often

helps to sit where they sit.

Problem I

Mating net

Problem IV

Mating net

Problem II

Multiple attacks

Problem V

Mating net

Problem III


Problem VI

Mating net

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“Solitaire Chess” scores:

Total your score to determine

your approximate rating below:

Total Score

Approx. Rating






Cover Story

How to build a chess

club away from a major

population center


Rural America Plays Chess



he October 2008 edition of Chess Life included an announcement about the host club

for the 2009 U.S. Championship. The announcement was accompanied by a picture of

the awe-inspiring Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis with its custom-made

chess tables, multiple LCD-screen televisions, and finely adorned chess-piece windows. I wanted

to be there. Then I made a mental comparison to the club where I play, the Sugar Island Chess

Klub in rural northern Michigan—and I had to laugh. Our facilities differ slightly. We have

a few roll-up boards that we set up on tables in a corner of the Hilltop Bar, the only bar on

the island. The bar has an old TV that kind of works.

The June 2009 edition of Chess Life included an article featuring the Fresno Chess Club,

per-haps the fastest growing chess club in the nation, with 270 paid members out of a population

base of 427,652. In contrast, we have no paid members and no membership list, but we get a

respectable turnout from our population base of under 800. On a good evening, we might get

eight people to play, but we usually get three or four. We have been playing Thursday night “SICK

Chess” (Sugar Island Chess “Klub”) for about three years now, and over 50 different island

res-idents have played on at least one occasion. And we have fun. We consider this to be a success.

Sugar Island is very rural. It is located at the northeast end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

in the St. Mary’s River, the waterway that connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron. Sugar

Island is on the U.S.-Canada border and can be reached only by ferry from the nearby city

of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Because of geographic and demographic differences, the

approach to chess in rural communities like ours tends to differ from that in urban areas.

Rural areas have smaller, more dispersed population bases, and they usually have no

ready-made base of tournament-caliber players. Since most people in these areas do not even think

about chess, let alone have any desire to seek out or join a chess club, a rural club may

need to take an approach that makes chess obvious, convenient, and readily accessible to

them. With limited job opportunities and economic hardship, dues are a problem. On the

other hand, positive attributes like a sense of community, a social network, a local

newslet-ter, and a common gathering place can be used to the advantage of the club. Without large

shopping malls, theaters, sporting arenas, and other entertainment venues, people in

rural areas tend to get together to play pool, cards, horseshoes, darts, and other games.

So why not add chess to the mix?

If you live in a rural area and are so inclined, then start a chess club that is designed for

the attributes of your rural community. The factors noted above lead to the conclusion that

a rural club should put chess forward as an inexpensive, leisurely social activity (as opposed

to a competitive active pursuit) and make it available at a place in the community where

peo-ple already gather (preferably for fun and leisure). Chess can be promoted as an activity by

focusing on “chess night,” instead of membership in a “chess club.” The following

sugges-tions may help you to develop a specific approach that will make your rural club or rural

chess night a success. But be aware that some of these suggestions are in direct

contradic-tion to concepts that have been recommended for big city clubs.


Cover Story

1. A Dedicated Founder

Anyone thinking about starting a rural club is probably

pas-sionate about chess, which is good since a dedicated founder

is an essential club asset. The founder of a rural club must be

willing to recruit, organize, promote, and run the club.

Some-one needs to show up consistently on chess night and stay at

the boards for hours, regardless of the turnout. While larger

clubs may be able to rely on a small group of organizers, the

success of a small club may depend on one person.

2. Location

Play at the most obvious location where people in the

com-munity gather together for fun and leisure. It may be a bar/

restaurant or another similar site. In our case, it happens to

be the Hilltop Bar, a friendly watering hole that also serves food.

In my opinion, a location like this is the key to success in rural

areas. The idea here is that a rural chess club needs to

recruit players (to the game and to the club)—not that there

are already willing players just looking for a place to play. Do

away with the notion that you need a nice quiet facility

where, once you publicize, people interested in chess will show

up just to play chess—that’s a big city notion that won’t work

in a rural area with a smaller population base. You need to

take chess to the people where they go, when they are there,

and when they are inclined to try something that may

enter-tain them.

Locations like bar/restaurants can work for rural clubs

since these locations usually have a fairly steady stream of

customers who may be looking for ways to have fun, like

play-ing pool, darts, or foosball or splay-ingplay-ing karaoke. You can

make chess available to them as an alternative leisurely

activ-ity. Bars also are open in the evenings, which is usually the

best time to play to get a good turnout.

One possible downside is that bars are not very family-friendly

locations, and therefore the location might act to limit the

number of students who will participate. Realistically, however,

it is difficult to recruit students in rural areas due to travel

dis-tance and other activities that keep their interest. If there is a

group of students who play because of a program in the

schools, then they already have a place to play and are not likely

to show up at your club on school days. There is nothing

wrong with having a chess club that caters primarily to adults,

and older adults seeking an outlet for their time may form a

sta-ble base of players at the club.

If you dislike the bar idea or if there is another location

where there are lots of people who like to gather and

have fun, then try that location. Private clubs, such as

fraternal and veterans organizations, may have facilities

that are feasible alternatives, but then your on-site

recruit-ing is restricted primarily to the members. You will never

find a place that will attract or be acceptable to everyone

in the community—so pick a place that seems to be

pop-ular that you will enjoy.

3. Time

If you adopt the “chess night” concept, then you will need

to pick a day and time that fit with other activities at the

cho-sen location, preferably later in the week and in the evening

when turnout will be better. Try to make it as much like pool

night, karaoke night, or other regular events as possible.

4. Chess Sets

While city clubs have players with their own chess sets, it is

unlikely that anyone in a rural area, other than you, will have

a chess set suitable for a club setting. It is essential for a rural

club to provide sets for use on chess night. Setting up a few

boards makes it convenient and inviting for potential

play-ers. Players who are being recruited cannot be expected to

have their own equipment, and you don't want them

bring-ing in non-traditional equipment that would make others less

willing to play. Inexpensive weighted sets are available at

www.uscfsales.com. This is a necessary expenditure, but one

of only a few that must be made.

5. Printed Materials

A few simple fliers or other promotional materials can

eas-ily be created on a home computer to help publicize

chess night. They can be posted at the playing location

and in public areas that allow them. Unlike urban clubs,

a rural club will find it difficult to afford a banner or to

find sponsors to support events. We just print out

differ-ent types of fliers or posters and always include our

slogan, “SICK Chess for Sick Minds.”

6. Fun

A rural club should not only try to make chess fun for

those playing but also attempt to show other potential

play-ers that it really is fun. Small things can contribute to a

positive image, such as focusing on “chess night,” instead

of a “chess club.” Use of the term “club” sounds nerdy and

reminds people of high school. Better is: “Thursday Night Is

Chess Night! Join the Fun for Free!” Also, avoid the use of

strange or foreign chess terms and do not talk over people’s

heads. Anything you can do on chess night to get the

play-ers laughing and having a good time may get the attention

of others.


7. Recruit Players and Treat Them Well

When you are at your venue on the chosen night, don't

be afraid to ask people if they know how to play chess and

are interested in a game. The general public is a pool of

potential players. You may be surprised by the number

of people who at least know how to play or how the

pieces move. It is my belief that the vast majority of the

American public has been introduced to the game at

some time. Many just have not played in years. You also

may find that some had a decent skill level at one time.

However, it will take them a few games to do simple

things, like seeing pieces that can be captured, before they

can see tactics and strategy once again. It is important

to not embarrass them and to try to keep them playing.

When recruiting fairly inexperienced players who do not

often play, it is important to be helpful and to make it

enjoyable for them so that they return again. They will

not be encouraged if they sit down for their first game in

years and you crush them with your awesome chess

skills! Be polite and help them with their games.

These suggestions should be enough to get a rural club

started. However, even more can be done inexpensively

to promote the club as you move forward.

Publicity and perceptions are important and impact

peo-ple’s willingness to play. If your community has a local

newsletter or newspaper, your club can get free publicity

by submitting monthly articles describing events taking

place on chess night. If you choose to have a club name,

try to come up with something modern and non-nerdy.

Consider developing a brochure for display at events and

distribution to local businesses. Other materials with the

club name and information can be displayed on chess

night, such as small “tip sheets” for inexperienced players

to help with the relative value of the pieces and a few

gen-eral opening principles.

In order to enhance the playing experience of your

customer-players, consider having a short “topic of discussion” each

week to talk about a particular rule, tactic, strategy or opening—

do not call it a “lesson” or “lecture” since that does not sound

fun. Another entertaining activity is what we call “Silent

Part-ners,” sometimes referred to as tandem chess, where two

players team up and alternate in making moves without

dis-cussing them. In addition to seeing just how “silent” people

will be (or not be), it is a good way to get lower strength

play-ers involved with higher strength playplay-ers. With fewer playplay-ers

than urban clubs, it is difficult to hold club tournaments,

but enough players may be interested to have an occasional,

very small quad or tournament.

Other things to consider are selling club shirts and hats,

holding special weekend events with food and prizes,

set-ting out chess books and magazines on chess night,

preparing chess puzzles for the community newsletter, and

listing the club with chess associations. Be creative.



Dues and official membership lists probably will not go

over well in most rural areas. It is common for citizens in rural

communities to NOT want to be a member of an

organiza-tion or to give out personal informaorganiza-tion, and dues would

discourage people from playing. If there is a need to raise

some money, the best option may be to do it through

tour-nament entry fees. But the fees will likely need to be low

(perhaps $3) so that inexperienced players are willing to play.


The Hilltop Bar is the location of the Sugar Island chess klub.

Continued on p. 25


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