Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pascal Blogs Again!

Bhat-SF - Charbonneau-NY [D37]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Qc2 c5 8.dxc5 Nxc5 9.Be2 dxc4 10.Bxc4 a6 11.a4 b6 12.0-0 Bb7 13.Ne5

White's opening has not been the most dangerous, and black should be able to equalize without any problems. However, I made this move too quickly, and realized that I was forcing myself to get out of trouble by tactical means after 13...Rc8 14.Rfd1 [14.Qe2 Nd5 15.Nxd5 exd5 16.Rfd1 Bf6] 14...Qe8 15.Qe2! thankfully, and somewhat luckily, the clumsy move I now make allows black to parry ideas of b2-b4 (and of general paralysis otherwise) adequately. 15...Rd8! 16.b4 Rxd1+ 17.Nxd1 Ncd7 18.Bxa6 Bxa6 19.Qxa6 Bxb4 20.Nc6 Bc5 21.Nc3 

 The game has been well played by both sides so far, and now I saw the most obvious move would lead to a drawn position: 21...e5 [21...Qa8 was natural and better, but I thought our situation was dicey on board 3 - so I decided to keep chances for both sides ... only to land in a position that is much more difficult for black to play than white. 22.Qxa8 (22.Qb5 Rc8 and only black can be better) 22...Rxa8 23.Rd1 Ba3 24.Bg5 Bb2 and white can draw by finding 25.Bxf6 Nxf6 26.Nb5 followed by Rd8+] 22.Bg3 Qe6 23.Qb7 A strong queen move that I underestimated. I somehow thought my queen would get too active, but in fact white's position is too solid here, and I have to find a way to draw. With little time, we both played the final part reasonably well. 23...Qb3 24.Nb5 Qb2 25.Rf1 Qc2 26.Nxe5 Nxe5 27.Bxe5 Qxa4 28.Nc3 Qd7 29.Qf3 Be7 30.Bxf6 Bxf6 31.Nd5 Be5 32.g3 b5 33.Rb1 Rd8 34.e4 h6 35.Qb3 Rb8 36.Kg2 Kh8 37.Qb4 Qe6 38.Qb3 Bd6 39.Qd3 b4 40.Rb3 Qe5 41.Ne3 Be7 42.Nd5 Bf8 43.Qf3 Qe6 44.Qd3 Re8 45.Nxb4 Rb8 46.Nd5 Rxb3 47.Qxb3 Qxe4+ 48.Qf3 Qxf3+ 49.Kxf3 Bc5 1/2-1/2

Herman-NY - Naroditsky-SF [B86]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Nbd7 8.Bg5 Nc5 9.0-0 Be7 10.Re1 0-0 11.f4 h6 12.Bh4 Qd7 13.Bf2 Matt's preparation in this game was good - although it was also clear Naroditsky expected to see the position before ...Qd7 on the board. 13...Nxb3 14.axb3 b6 15.e5 dxe5 16.fxe5 Nd5

A very interesting situation has arisen, and it seems that white should be much better with the intended 17.Nxd5 [17.Nf5 however, black can uncork the cool and collected 17...Bb4! 18.Nxd5 (18.Nxh6+ may be best 18...gxh6 19.Qg4+ Kh7 20.Qe4+ is a computer line that actually seems to be white's best play. 20...f5 (20...Kh8 is more human 21.Qh4 Kh7 22.Be3 Nxe3 23.Qxb4 with a crazy mess) 21.exf6+ Kh8 22.Nxd5 Qxd5 23.Qxb4 Bb7 24.Qg4 Rg8 25.c4 Qc6 26.Qh3 Rxg2+ 27.Kf1 Rg6 28.Bd4 with a complex position the computer thinks is drawn!) 18...Qxd5 19.Nxh6+ gxh6 20.Qg4+ Kh7 21.Qxb4 and unleash a deathly counter attack 21...Bb7; 17.Ne4 also deserved attention] 17...Qxd5 18.c4 Qd7 19.Qg4 Bb7 white may not be much worse but positionally he has to be very careful. Short of time, Matt overplayed his hand. 20.Rad1 Qc7 21.Rd3 Rfd8 22.Rg3 Bf8 23.Qh5 Kh7 24.Be3 Be4

25.Rf1 [25.Nf3! was a great opportunity to complicate things 25...Kg8 26.Kh1 Bg6 27.Rxg6 fxg6 28.Qxg6 with a messy position still] 25...Rd7 26.Qg4 Qxe5 27.Bxh6 a blunder in a difficult position 27...Qxd4+ 28.Be3 Qe5 29.Qh4+ Kg8 30.Rh3 f6 31.Qh8+ Kf7 32.Rg3 Rad8 33.Rg5 Qxg5 0-1

(7) Lee-SF - Chandra-NY [B22]

1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nf3 e6 6.cxd4 d6 7.exd6 Bxd6 Playable but I may prefer to take with the queen and put the bishop on e7 8.Bd3 0-0 9.0-0 b6 10.Nc3 Nf6 11.Bg5 Bb7 12.Qe2 Nbd7 13.Rad1 Qb8 [13...Be7 appears safer to me intending ...Nd5 at some point] 14.Rfe1 Nd5 15.Ne5 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Be7 leads to a difficult position for black, but it was not easy to suggest something better. 17.Bxe7 Nxe7 18.Qh5 g6 19.Qh4 Nd5 20.Nb5 Ba6 21.Nd6 Bxd3 22.Rxd3 f5! 

 23.Rxd5!? very interesting sacrifice. White has more than ample compensation for the exchange. However, I'd have been tempted to be more prosaic and control the c-file [23.Rc1 and who knows, the opportunity to sacrifice may arise again after all - while white can move his queen to c4 and play h4-h5 to nudge black a bit] 23...exd5 24.Qd4 [24.Qe7!?] 24...Qc7 25.Qxd5+ Kg7 26.e6 This natural move really lets black off the hook, as the knight on d6 loses his stability [26.h4 would have asked black whether they want to play ...h5 - and kept the pressure] 26...Qe7 27.Qe5+ Kg8 Without stability for the knight, white searches for another outpost, but the worst is over 28.Nb5 [28.Nf7 would have been the practical decision, forcing a drawn but very slightly better endgame after 28...Rxf7 29.exf7+ Qxf7 30.b3 And white's king is a bit safer] 28...Rac8 29.Nc3 Rfe8 30.h4 now Akshat starts playing like a strong grandmaster. 30...Qg7 31.Qb5 Qd4! 32.h5 Qd6!

33.Qb3 Kg7 34.Nb5 Qd2 35.h6+ Kxh6 36.Re3 Rc1+ 37.Kh2 Qxf2 38.Rh3+ Kg7 39.Qa4 Rxe6 40.Qxa7+ Kf6 41.Rf3 Qh4+ 42.Rh3 Qf4+ 43.Rg3 Rh1+ 44.Kxh1 Qxg3 0-1

AKing-NY - Panchanatham-SF [E69]

Nico and Alex prepare before the game

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.Nc3 d6 6.Nf3 Nbd7 7.0-0 e5 8.e4 Re8 9.h3 c6 10.d5 Nc5 11.Re1 a5 12.b3 Nh5 [12...cxd5 13.cxd5 b5! I think poses the question about whether d4-d5 (which is not a common move in that position) is the correct approach.] 13.Be3 now white has a stable edge 13...Na6 14.dxc6 bxc6 15.Qd2 f5 16.Bg5 Qc7 17.Rad1 very well played by Alex. Black is poorly positioned to meet the opening of the lines 17...Bf8 18.exf5 gxf5 

 19.Nh2 [19.Nd4 not easy to spot but very strong 19...Bd7 (19...exd4 20.Rxe8 dxc3 21.Rxf8+ Kxf8 22.Bh6+ Kg8 23.Qg5+ Ng7 24.Re1 (D)

winning, very nice variation) 20.Ndb5 winning] 19...Be6 20.g4! Ng7 21.gxf5 Nxf5 22.Ne4 All of white's pieces are coming to life 22...Bg7 23.Ng4 Nd4 24.Nef6+ Bxf6 25.Nxf6+ Kf7 26.Nxe8 Rxe8 27.Qc3 Nf5 28.Qf3 Rg8 29.Qh5+ Kf8 30.Kh1 Qg7 31.h4 h6 32.Bxc6 Nc7 33.Bd8 Bf7 34.Qxf5 Ne6 35.Rg1 very solid win by Alex King 1-0

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pascal Blogs!

Hello everyone!  This is my first blog post in a long time - and before posting, I had to make sure I remembered how to play - the first three games of the season have been the first three in almost a year for me, and I'm somewhat happy with my play so far.  In the first game, I fell victim to Joel Benjamin's GOTW effort, but I thought the game was quite reasonable.  When we both got low on time, I purposely provoked him to go for an attack, in the hope I could show off my blitz skills in a complicated position.  This backfired completely, as I got into big trouble quickly, and he wrapped things up nicely.  In the second week I took my GOTW revenge as I was able to play a nice combo to win against Hungaski, in a game that was altogether more unclear than clear.  The game vs Sam this week, which I annotate below, was fairly well played, with a couple of inaccuracies from both sides.  It also illustrates a difficult thing in team play, balancing what the team needs with what the position needs. Ultimately, I feel my decision to repeat was wrong, as the position was without risk and it would not have been long for me to realize Bodek's win had evaporated. So I should have tried, for better or worse.

Charbonneau-NY - Shankland-NE [A34]
1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 d5 5.0-0 e5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Nc3 Nc7 8.a3 Rb8 This move has been played by strong players, and while it looks weird, it stops for the time being white's idea of playing b4 9.Rb1 [9.b4 would not work out too well since the intended 9...cxb4 10.axb4 Bxb4 11.Nxe5 Nxe5 12.Qa4+ Nc6 13.Bxc6+ bxc6 14.Qxb4 and white's queen is hanging!]
9...f6 10.Ne1 More habitual would be d3 followed by Be3. The move in the game is probably too slow - by the time white gets in b4, black is well enough developed to more or less equalized. 10...Be7 11.b4 Bf5 [11...cxb4 12.axb4 Bxb4 is too dangerous, white has many moves here that should give him at least a slight edge 13.Nd3 a5 (13...Bxc3 14.Bxc6+) 14.Ba3 being one possibility] 12.Nc2 0-0 13.d3 Qd7 Black has played logical but good moves, and here, I overestimated my chances a bit, mostly by spending too much time. I should have admitted the position was just about equal and made moves. 14.bxc5 [14.Be3 was natural and probably better 14...b6 (14...Ne6 15.Ne4) 15.bxc5 bxc5 and while white's pawn structure looks better, I think black is too active for white to show anything] 14...Bxc5 15.Ne4 [15.Nb4 Nd4 16.e3 Nde6 17.Nbd5 would have been a cleaner way to steer the game towards equality] 15...Be7 16.Be3 Nd5 17.Bd2 b6 white's last few moves have been indecisive, and showed that I was already low on time. Now I realized it was time to make sure I did not fall worse 18.Nb4 Ncxb4 19.axb4 Rbc8 20.b5

 I played this sound positional move quickly, but neither of us noticed the tactical flaw in it 20...Rc7 [20...Be6 this idea came about later in the game, but here it's especially annoying, ...f5 Ng5 Bxg5 Bxg5 Nc3 is threatened with a fork, and it's not easy for white to prevent it without weakening his position, black is better.] 21.Qb3 now white can breathe again and if anything, his position is a bit better because of black's fixed pawns 21...Be6 22.Qb2 Rfc8 23.Rfc1 h6 24.Rxc7 Rxc7 25.Nc3 Bc5 26.Nxd5 Bxd5 27.Bxd5+ Qxd5 28.Rc1 all played with little time, but I managed to play this part well. Now black's move helps white's cause. I think Sam thought my time pressure could show, but the move only helps white turn his slightly better pawn structure into an even slightly better pawn structure. It's not much, but :) 28...e4 29.dxe4 Qxe4 30.Be3 Solidly played 30...Qd5 31.Qb1 ideas of Rd1 31...Qf7 32.Rd1 Rd7 33.Rc1 Rc7 34.Rd1 Rd7 35.Rc1 Rc7

and I agreed to a draw, mostly because I saw our board 3 had a winning position, and board four was worse but it was random enough I thought there were chances. Turns out my evaluation was less than optimal. In reality there is little risk for white here, and if not for the team I would have played on. White's goal will be to push pawns on the kingside, one fine day :) 1/2-1/2

The Knights have a lot to look forward to this season. Nico lost a game this week - but his play has been full of poise. 

Times-NE - Checa-NY [D05]

Nico is a great young player - but in this game, his lack of experience hurts him in the opening.
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 c5 4.c3 Nc6 An invitation to play a "noteboom" or a "slav" down a tempo. While this may not be so bad, it needs to be handled very carefully. 5.dxc5 a5 6.Bb5 e6 7.b4

7...axb4 This move helps white a lot - and was based on a miscalculation. [7...Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qb3 Bd7 And while I'd rather be white, black does have compensation here.] 8.cxb4 Bd7 9.Bxc6 Bxc6 10.Nc3 now white's position is easy to play. Nico tried his best to complicate the position, but white's advantage was too stable. We know he's going to bounce back! 10...Be7 11.Bb2 0-0 12.0-0 Qb8 13.Qc2 e5 14.Ne2 A very strong plan 14...e4 15.Nfd4 Ng4 16.Ng3

16.. Bd7 [16...g6 taking the f5 square away from the knight and intending h5-h4, may have been black's best chance] 17.Qe2 f5 18.f4 exf3 19.Qxf3 Rf7 20.h3 Nh6 21.Nge2 Qe5 22.Nf4 The knights are too strong 22...g5 23.Nd3 Qc7 24.Qxd5 Bf6 25.Rf2 Re8 26.Re1 g4 27.Nxf5 Nxf5 28.Bxf6 Be6 29.Qe5 Qd7 30.Nf4 Bxa2 31.Qc3 Be6 32.Nh5 Bd5 33.Be5 gxh3 34.e4 Bxe4 35.gxh3 Qc6 36.Nf6+ Rxf6 37.Bxf6 Re6 38.Be5 Rg6+ 39.Kh2 Nh4 40.Ref1 Rg2+ 41.Rxg2+ Bxg2 42.Qg3+ Qg6 43.Rf6 Nf3+ 44.Rxf3 Bxf3 45.Qxf3 Qe6 46.Qg4+ Qxg4 47.hxg4 Kf7 48.b5 Ke6 49.c6 bxc6 50.b6 Kd7 51.b7 1-0

Matt - whose work schedule looks a lot like mine, has not managed to stay out of time pressure, but he's managed to stay out of trouble for the most part.

Winer-NE - Herman-NY [D30]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 e6 4.e3 Nd7 5.Bd3 Bd6 6.0-0 f5 7.b3 Nh6 8.Ba3 Bxa3 9.Nxa3 Qf6 10.b4 0-0 11.b5 dxc4 12.Bxc4 cxb5 13.Nxb5 Nb6 14.Be2 Nf7 15.Qb3 Nd5 16.Na3 b6 17.Rfc1 Bb7 18.Nc4 Rfd8 19.Na5 bxa5 20.Qxb7 Nd6 21.Qa6 

Black is on the verge of being in trouble but Matt plays the resourceful 21...f4! 22.exf4 Nxf4 23.Bf1 Nh3+ [23...Rab8 24.Qxa5 (24.g3 Nd5 25.Bg2 Rb2 26.Qxa5 Ne4 with close to enough counterplay) 24...Nh3+ seemed to be a better move order for black] 24.gxh3 Qxf3 25.Bg2 Qf4 26.Qe2 [26.Bxa8 Rxa8 27.Qe2 in hindsight this capture looks like it is safe enough for white, who must have had knightmares landing on f3.] 26...Rab8 the worst is over for black, and matt manages to handle the rest of the game precisely despite low time 27.Qxe6+ Kh8 28.Qe5 Rf8 29.Qxf4 Rxf4 30.Rab1 Rbf8 31.Rc5 Rxf2 32.Rxa5 Nc4 33.Rg5 h6 34.Rg3 Rxa2 35.Bd5 Ra4 36.Bxc4 Rxc4 37.Rb7 Rc1+ 38.Kg2 Rc2+ 39.Kg1 Re8 40.Kf1 Rxh2 41.Rgxg7 at this point I was not sure who was trying to win, but it ended as it should anyway 41...Rxh3 42.Rh7+ Kg8 43.Rbg7+ Kf8 44.Rxa7 Kg8 45.Rag7+ Kf8 1/2-1/2

Bodek looks like he should win every game!

Bodek-NY - Brattain-NE [B72]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h3 g6 7.Bc4 Bg7 8.Bb3 0-0 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Be3 Bd7 11.Re1 Na5 12.f4 Nxb3 13.axb3 Rc8 14.e5 Ne8 15.Bf2 dxe5 16.fxe5 Nc7 17.Qf3 Nb5 18.Ncxb5 axb5 19.Qxb7 Rc7 20.Qb6 Qb8 21.Qxb8 Rxb8 22.b4 e6 23.c3 Rcc8 24.Nb3 Bc6 25.Bc5 Bd5 26.Nd4 Ra8 27.Bd6 Bc4 28.Ra5 f6 29.b3 Bd5 30.Nxb5 Rxa5 31.bxa5 Bxb3 32.a6 fxe5 33.a7 Bd5

Bodek has played very well to obtain a winning advantage. His play has been so steady I assumed he would not let this one slip, but it turned out to be more slippery than it looked: 34.Bxe5 [34.Ra1 Ba8 (34...e4 35.Nc7) 35.Nc7 Bf8 36.Nxa8 Bxd6 37.Nb6 was the most "human" way to win] 34...Bxe5 35.Rxe5 Ra8 36.Nc7? [36.Rxd5! exd5 37.Kf2 Kf7 38.Ke3 Ke7 39.Kd4 Kd7 40.Kxd5 Rf8 41.Kc5 is completely winning - but it's easier for a computer to be willing to give up an exchange than the human; 36.Re1 Bc4 37.Nd6 Ba2! is not so simple; 36.g4 Kg7 37.g5 is very human and should be close to winning too] 36...Rxa7 37.Nxd5 exd5 38.Rxd5 Rook endings are never easy! 38...Rc7 39.Rd3 Kf7 40.Kf2 Ke6 41.Ke2 Ke5 42.Re3+ Kf5 43.Kd3 Rd7+ 44.Kc4 Kf4 45.Rf3+ Ke4 46.Rg3 Rd2 47.Kb3 Kf4 48.Rg4+ Kf5 49.c4 Rd3+ 50.Kc2 Ra3 51.c5 Ke5 52.Kd2 Kd5 black has played well and the draw is near 53.Rg5+ Kd4 54.h4 Ra2+ 55.Kd1 Ra6 56.h5 Rc6 57.hxg6 hxg6 58.Ke2 Rxc5 59.Rxg6 Ke4 60.Kf2 [60.Rf6 had to be played - and while it's a draw, black would still need to be careful with his king cut off] 60...Kf4 61.Rg8 Rc2+ 62.Kg1 Rb2 63.Kh2 Rb6 64.Rh8 Rg6 65.g3+ Kg5 66.Kh3 Kf6 67.Rh7 Kg5 68.Rh4 Rc6 69.Rg4+ Kh5 70.Rg8 Rc3 71.Ra8 Kg5 72.Ra5+ Kg6 73.Kh4 Rc4+ 74.g4 Rc6 75.Ra8 Kg7 76.Rd8 Rc5 77.Rd7+ Kg6 78.Rd6+ Kg7 79.Re6 Rb5 80.Kg3 Rb4 81.Kf3 Kf7 82.Re4 Rxe4 83.Kxe4 Kg6 84.Kf4 Kf6 85.g5+ Kg6 86.Kg4 Kg7 87.Kf5 Kf7 88.g6+ Kg7 89.Kg5 Kg8 90.Kh5 Kg7 91.Kg5 Kg8 92.Kf6 Kf8 93.Ke6 Kg7 94.Kf5 Kg8 1/2-1/2

  And some of our players have yet to make their debut.

Having to play for the Knights brings back something in me - and so I've also been dabbling on chess.com and ICC - blitzing a fair bit to get back into tactical shape.  2013 has been a year for me to get back into shape - but chess-wise, I clearly still have work to do!  It's still difficult to come play at the Marshall after having been at work for nearly 12 hours - but somehow, I can't stay away from it. 

Until next time...

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As always, a big thank you to our sponsors, ChessNYC, and a special thank you to our new
Technical Director, Jonathan Spiegel
for deftly solving all our internet problems.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Nico Checa in the Wall Street Journal!

  • The Wall Street Journal
It's Checkmate, and Then Back to School for 11-Year-Old State Champ
Some Say the Dobbs Ferry Youngster Could Someday Be U.S. Champion
·                     MARIA LAMAGNA
Adrienne Grunwald for The Wall Street Journal

     New York state's new chess champion, 11-year-old Nico de T. Checa.
When Nicolas de T. Checa was pronounced New York's state chess champion after the tournament ended earlier this month, he was asleep. After all, the next day was the first day of school.
The 11-year-old Dobbs Ferry resident had competed in Albany over the Labor Day weekend against rivals decades older to become the youngest champion in the tournament's 135-year history.
But for Nicolas, news of the big win had to wait. "When we say school is first, school is first," said his father, who is also named Nicolas. "We didn't want him to be tired."
The middle schooler's accomplishments would be notable for a chess player of any age. Nicolas, a slight, brown-haired sixth-grader who goes by Nico, reached a national master rating that places him in the top 1% of all competitive chess players in the U.S.
He also won the New York State Middle School Championship this year and was New York's representative in the Barber Tournament in Middleton, Wis., a competition between 50 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. He placed sixth in that tournament.
The winning formula: years of practice, with people and computers. Nicolas began playing chess when he was 4, and spent hours at it, taking advantage of chess software programs, and studying masters and their strategies.
"He's one of a handful of kids under 12 years old right now who could one day be U.S. champion," says Greg Shahade, an international master of chess and former National High School Champion.
Mr. Shahade founded the U.S. Chess School, which hosts invitation-only chess instructional camps for young players in locations including San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Nicolas has attended three times.
Attaining advanced-player status at a young age is becoming more common, Mr. Shahade says. Parents are increasingly exposing their children to the game as early as age 4 or 5, a time of life Mr. Shahade says isn't too early to grasp the game's complexities.
Starting young isn't their only advantage. For many of today's best young players, the prevalence of online chess-playing and computer software make playing and studying easier.
In the past, players could use textbooks or play at a chess club, but most of the time relied on being geographically close to other strong players, Mr. Shahade said.
Technology has also made it possible for players in remote areas to become competitive. "Now, you can log onto the Internet and play against other people at all times of day," he said.
Nicolas attributes online games and evaluations with helping him improve quickly after he started using them consistently when he was 7 years old.
There can be a downside to the online access.
Chess players' games are logged online, and can also be watched in real time. That means opponents of Nicolas can study his moves—just as he is studying theirs.
On a typical day, he spends one to two hours studying chess, and closer to four or five hours a day during the summer.
Nicolas is a member of the Marshall Chess Club in Manhattan, where the late world champion Bobby Fischer played. The young master competes there now with his team, the New York Knights.
His win at the New York State Championship, which is run by the Continental Chess Association, came after some late-night number-crunching.
Although some other competitors placed higher than Nicolas, he was named the winner because due to tiebreaks he had the highest score of any New York resident in the tournament.
He also became the national champion this summer for his age category in an online tournament sponsored by the U.S. Chess Federation.
Thee next big challenge is a tournament in Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates, in mid-December. Before then, he is hoping to fix problems in his openings and add to his repertoire of moves.
For now, since the school year has started, Nicolas is back to his studies and taking part in other outside activities, including soccer and karate.
He says his friends know he is a talented chess player, but it hasn't been a frequent topic of conversation.
"Chess is a hobby for me, and I'm going to continue playing it as a hobby," he says.
It has been a profitable one so far. He has made several thousand dollars from tournament winnings, but his father says any cash goes right into a bank account.
A version of this article appeared September 13, 2013, on page A15 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: It's Checkmate, Then Back to School.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Week 2: Back from Holiday!

The New York Knights defeated the Manhattan Applesauce 3.5-0.5, behind FM Michael Bodek's crushing victory on board 3 over NM Rico Salimbagat and GM Pascal Charbonneau's crafty defeat of GM Robert Hungaski on board 1.  FM Aravind Kumar, making his Knights' debut, capitalized on NM Ryan Goldenberg's blunder to win on board 4.  The GOTY rematch between IM Eli Vovsha and SM Matt Herman ended in an exciting draw.

Move of the Week:

(Charbonneau-Hungaski, Diagram after 30. ..ab)

Pascal's slow maneuvering paid off with 31. Ng5! and Hungaski's position collapsed.

GM Pascal Charbonneau

Good Decision of the Week:

(Bodek-Salimbagat, Diagram after 7. ..d5)
Playing at the Marshall Chess Club, Bodek improved on Kvicala-Marshall/Prague 1908 with 7. Bc4! d5 8. Bb3!N (taking the bait allows black close to full compensation after 8. Bf6 Qf6 9. Bd5 Ne5 10. de Qe5 11. 0-0 c6 12. Be4 0-0 13. Qd3 Bd6!) and went on to overwhelm Salimbagat.

NM Michael Bodek

Trap of the Week:

(Vovsha-Herman, Diagram after 27. ..Bd2)
In mutual time trouble, Vovsha avoided a nasty trap by playing 28. Rg2! Bh6 29. Bc5 Rd8 30. Bd3 Nc6 31. Ba3 Ne5 32. Be2.  If he had gone for the piece with 28. Rd2 Rd8 29. Re2 (preventing ..Rd4 with the back-rank mate threat), black wins with 29. ..g1Q 30. Bg1 Rd1#!

Blunder of the Week:

(Goldenberg-Kumar, position after 21. ..Be6)
Goldenberg had a very favorable position and sought to prevent black from castling queenside with 22. Nf4?? (if 22. ..0-0-0 23. Rae1 Qd4 24. Rf2 and white is much better), but forgot about 22. ..Rg8-h8! trapping his queen.  Kumar converted 25 moves later.

Aravind Kumar
The Knights play the New England Nor'Easters on Wednesday, September 11th.

Thanks, as always, to our generous sponsors, CHESSNYC!!

--Matt Herman

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

NY Knight Nico Checa is Youngest NY State Champion EVER!!

Nico Checa scored 4.5/6, losing only to GM Alex Stripunsky, to become the youngest player ever to win the NY State Chess Championship!

Two of his games:

(84) Nicolas De T Checa - Lonnie Kwartler
 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.0–0 0–0 7.Nc3 d5 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Ne5 Nbd7 10.Qa4 Nb8 11.Rd1 c6 12.Bf4 Nh5 13.Bd2 Nf6 14.Rac1 Nfd7 15.Nd3 f5 16.b4 a6 17.Qb3 Kh8 18.a4 Nf6 19.Bf4 b5 20.Nc5 Bxc5 21.dxc5 Re8 22.f3 Qe7 23.e4 fxe4 24.fxe4 Nxe4 25.Nxe4 dxe4 26.Re1 Nd7 27.Rxe4 Qf8 28.Bd6 Qg8 29.Qxg8+ Kxg8 30.Rce1 Rxe4 31.Rxe4 bxa4 32.Re7 a3 33.Bf1 1–0

Nicolas De T Checa - Barry Davis (2200)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 Bd6 6.Nc3 0–0 7.Bg5 Re8 8.e3 a6 9.a4 Bc7 10.Be2 Ba5 11.0–0 d6 12.Nd2 Re5 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Nc4 Bxc3 15.bxc3 Rg5 16.f4 Rg6 17.Nb6 Bh3 18.Bf3 Ra7 19.Kh1 Nd7 20.a5 Nxb6 21.axb6 Ra8 22.gxh3 Qxc3 23.Qe1 Qb2 24.Rb1 Qf6 25.h4 Re8 26.h5 Rh6 27.Qf2 Qf5 28.Rg1 Rf6 29.Rbe1 h6 30.Qg3 g6 31.hxg6 Rxg6 32.Qh4 Kh7 33.e4 Rxg1+ 34.Rxg1 Rxe4 35.Qg3 1–0