As for the principles of how to improve your game, they can be stated very simply:
a) Immerse yourself in chess culture
And that's it.
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News 2) USCF EB Candidates 3) Nakamura vs. Polgar Chess Exhibition 4) Pal Benko My Life, Games and Compositions wins BCF Award 5) Registration Deadline Extended for HB Global Challenge 6) Here and There 7) Upcoming Events
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
The past week has been a busy one at the Mechanics'. Last night was the start of the nine round Winter Tuesday Night Marathon. It is still possible to enter this FIDE-rated event with a half point bye for the first round.
IM Vinay Bhat leads the Michael Franett Memorial, a 12-player IM norm roundrobin, with 6.5 from 8 followed by FM David Pruess with 5.5. Complete standings and games can be found at http://www.chessclub.org/Franett05.html . Here is the most critical game so far in the race for first place.
Pruess (2394) - Bhat (2410)
The 5th Annual Bob Burger Open held this past Saturday featured plenty of upsets. IM Ricardo De DeGuzman was defeated by Slovak Master Peter Zavadsky in round four and Zavadsky was defeated in turn by Anthony Rozenvasser in the last round. Rozenvasser's 5-0 score puts him very close to earning his USCF Master title. Tying for second at 4 in the 44-player field were Zavadsky, Victor Ossipov, Keith McDaniel and Sam Shankland. Anthony Corrales directed for the MI.
2) USCF EB Candidates
The January 10 deadline has passed and 9 Candidates have collected their 30 signatures and paid a $250 filing fee to run for the USCF Executive Board. Four spots are open on the Board for the nine Candidates. Bauer, Shutt and Shaughnessy are incumbents, Goichberg is a former EB member. Tanner, John and Sloan have run before but not been elected. There are two new faces running. Joel Channing is a businessman from Florida and a member of the USCF Chess Trust. International Master Gregory Shahade is by far the strongest chessplaying member of those running for office. The past few years he has cut back on his playing to start up and run the New York Masters, a weekly tournament featuring participation from many Grandmasters. This event has been consistently successful in attracting a variety of sponsors, an area where the USCF has always had difficulty. The mail ballot election, in which all USCF members age 16 and over are eligible to vote, will be this summer. Ballots will appear in Chess Life.
3) Nakamura vs. Polgar Chess Exhibition
17-year-old U.S. Chess Champion Hikaru Nakamura and World Women's top-ranked Grandmaster Susan Polgar have agreed to play a unique exhibition game during the Millennium Chess Festival on February 26, 2005, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, it was announced today.
The unique annual event is called the GM Dinner / Exhibition Match, and features two grandmasters playing each other from separate rooms before a live audience with moves relayed by radio. As they play, the GMs explain for the audience what they are thinking about and why they are choosing certain options. For the average casual player it is an opportunity for insight into the amazing mind of a chess grandmaster. (The GMs play on ?wallboards? that allow the audience to follow along with the moves he/she is discussing.)
This year's event, the fourth in a popular series started in 2002 at the Millennium Chess Festival, features two very famous players:
GM Susan Polgar was a child prodigy in her native Hungary, and became the first woman to earn the men's chess Grandmaster title. She taught her two younger sisters how to play and they also became grandmasters (the youngest, Judit, now ranked #9 on the world men's rankings list.). Susan won her 4th World Championship title in 1996 before retiring to have a family. Now a U.S. citizen she returned to chess in 2004 to lead the USA to a first-ever medal in the prestigious World Chess Olympiad. In addition to the team Silver medal, Susan also captured 2 additional individual Gold medals and 1 Silver medal including best overall performance of the Women?s Olympiad bringing her total medal count to 10 (5 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze). In addition, she has a 56 consecutive Olympiad game scoring streak without a single loss (this is comparable to Joe DiMaggio's incredible 56-game hitting streak in baseball). In fact, she has never lost a single game in the Olympiads.
GM Hikaru Nakamura last month won the U.S. Chess Championship, at just age 17. At age 10 years and 2 months, he became the youngest American master, shattering Bobby Fischer's record. He was born in Japan and now lives in New York. Nakamura is regarded by many experts as the best American talent since Bobby Fischer to have a chance to one-day challenge for the World Championship. He is known for hyper-aggressive and imaginative tactical play and has been shooting up the world rankings. On January 1, 2005, Hikaru for the first time broke through the world?s top 100 ranking.
The GM Dinner / Exhibition Match will take place Saturday, February 26, 2005, at 7:30pm, at the Millennium Chess Festival at the Ramada Plaza Oceanfront Resort, 57th & Atlantic Street, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The Millennium Chess Festival (Feb 25-27) is sponsored by the consulting firm of Booz Allen Hamilton and is presented by Beach Events and the city of Virginia Beach.
The Festival also includes the main tournament, in which many GMs and other players of all strengths will compete in various class sections, plus other special events including a lecture by Susan Polgar and a Fischer-Random Chess blitz tournament.
For more information, see http://www.geocities.com/millenniumchessfestival
Contact: Tom Braunlich
4) Pal Benko My Life, Games and Compositions wins BCF Award
BRITISH CHESS FEDERATION
The choice this year came down to two books of contrasting but great merit. The first is:
My Great Predecessors 2 by Gary Kasparov Everyman £25.00 continues the high standard established in volume 1, which won last years Book of the Year Award. Indeed if anything it is even better as Kasparov is on more familiar ground as he met and played most of the champions discussed in the second volume, which considers Euwe, Botvinnik and Smyslov and Tal, with vignettes on Bronstein and Keres. He is particularly good on his early coach and mentor, Botvinnik writing with great sympathy about that remarkable mans strengths and weaknesses. As before the book is beautifully produced.
The second book is quite different as it concentrates at great length- 668 pages in all-on one player.Pal Benko My Life, Games and Compositions GM Pal Benko and IM Jeremy Silman Siles Press £31.50. It is further subtitled Opening Survey by IM John Watson and Foreword by GM Susan Polgar. This is a remarkable work. Silman explains that he was dissatisfied with the conventional best game collections and wanted to create a chess biography of a man that he "admired, who was part of chess history, who played many beautiful games, and who lived a colourful life that transcended mere chess concerns-life death struggles, sexuality, financial stability etc". All this and more can be found here and the book paints a vivid picture of Benko's eventful life and times by means of interviews, photographs and stories of the personalities met on the way.
The chess side is also very well covered with 138 annotated games, a description of the evolution of the Benko Gambit by the founder himself and a 132 page survey by John Watson on Benko's contribution to opening theory. Last but not least, the book includes 91 pages on Benko's worldwide reputation as a problem and end game study composer.
No wonder, then, that this book is one of the heaviest chess books the judges have seen- but it is also one of the best.The choice then was a difficult one; but the judges unanimously selected the Benko volume as it exemplified a new and refreshing approach to chess biography. Gary can console himself that he has another 3 volumes coming out in his My Great Predecessors series, which will surely be in contention for the Book of the Year award in the future.
5) Registration Deadline Extended for HB Global Challenge
HB Global Chess Challenge For Immediate Release
Registration Deadline Extended for $500,000 Tournament;
Due to the already blistering pace of registrations, sponsors of the HB Global Chess Challenge have decided to extend the discount period for signing up for the event. The new deadline, now pushed back to March 1st instead of the original January 1, 2005, affects two major specials: the Register with a Friend offer and the 5 plus 1 Club deal. The group savings range from $100 to as much as $595.
"This is the biggest thing to hit the chess world in decades and we want to give people every possible chance to be a part of this epic event," says Brian Molohon, Executive Director of the HB Foundation, the organization that is the major contributor to the event. "This extension gives many more chess players and clubs time to organize themselves to attend this history-making tournament. We thought it was the right thing to do."
Early registrations are already well past the 600 mark, says Molohon, putting the event on pace to shatter previous participation rates of other top open chess tournaments. The World Open, long held as the giant of opens in world chess, normally brings in 1,200 to 1,400 paying participants. According to major tournament organizers, early registrations usually account for about 15% of the final tally, putting the HB Global Chess Challenge on pace to seeing well over 4,000 players. Such a number would go a long way to debunking the myth that chess is not a hugely popular sport.
"We are looking to change the image of chess," says International Grandmaster and CEO Maurice Ashley whose company, Generation Chess, is organizing the event. "We want the public at large to understand that chess tournaments are spectacular occurrences, held in grand convention centers for huge cash prizes. The only way that will happen is if chess players show up in record numbers in support of the HB Global Chess Challenge."
Chess has been like a ship lost at sea, says Ashley, with no steady direction coming from the top. The HB tournament, with its potential to galvanize the mass of chess players from all levels under one roof, could go a long way to bringing back to chess the luster it once held in the post-Fischer era and even up through the championship years of Garry Kasparov.
"It's the fans who make a sport successful," says Ashley. "Of course every sport needs its stars to shine brightly. But without the fans, no sport will thrive. It's like playing a violin in the desert. That's why what the sponsors are doing for this event is so great because they're making it easier for thousands of fans to throw their hat into the ring for the good of our sport."
The Register with a Friend special allows players to deduct $50 from the normal entry fee of $345 if they register with one other person. The 5 + 1 Club special gives a free entry to a sixth person if five friends pay the Register with a Friend price, a cost savings of $595, or almost $100 per player. After March 1st, the entry fee jumps to $345 per participant, with door registrations going for as much as $400 per entrant.
"The time to take advantage is now," says Molohon. "Once this second deadline passes, we'll have the hottest ticket in town."
Generation Chess, LLC
Register Today for the HB Global Chess Challenge http://www.hbfoundation.org/gcc/index.shtml
6) Here and There
The annual Rilton Cup, held in Stockholm over the New Year was won by GMs Sergey Volkov and Evgeny Gleizerov of Russia and the Swede Emanuel Berg with 7 from 9. The Bay Area's Nick deFirmian was among those tied for fourth at 6.5.
The January 2005 FIDE shows some changes at the top with Bulgaria's Veselin Topalov moving into the number three spot the most prominent. Gary Kasparov showed how tough it is to pick up points when you are rated over 2800. His 7.5 from 10 score in winning the Russian Championship netted him only 5 rating points while he dropped 14 in the European Club Championship. Meanwhile Viswanathan Anand picked up 5 in the Chess Olympiad. I believe the 18 point gap is the narrowest ever between these players. If results were only counted in for the past few years Anand would be number one.
1. Kasparov - 2804
The US has five players in the top 100 - Onischik is =46 at 2652 to top the list. Others are:Seirawan at 69 (2631), Kaidanov at 71 (2629), Goldin at 73 (2628) and Nakamura at 99 ( 2613). The US Championship which ended close to the FIDE rating deadline was not counted and will be included on the April list as will two other Nakamura successes - the Western States Open ( 3.5 from 4 vs. 2550 GMs plus two other wins) and the match with Karajkan (4.5-1.5).With these events counted he should be in the 2640s, close to 2650.
To ten women:
Zsuzsa Polgar returns to the list and takes the top spot after her great result in the Olympiad. Notice the huge gap between the top two and the rest. Other US players in the top 50 include: Irina Krush at #17 (2466) and Anna Zatonskih at #29 (2435).
7) Upcoming Events
Henry Gross Memorial - February 5th
WESTERN CLASS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Jan 14-17, 15-17 or 16-17, 2005 - Martin Luther King weekend at Los Angeles Airport Hilton
$15,000 GUARANTEED PRIZE FUND- REDUCED ENTRY FEES!
Jan. 14-17, 15-17 or 16-17 Southern California
ChessCafe.com Grand Prix Points: 60
12th annual Western Class Championships. 6SS, 40/2, SD/1 (2-day option, rds 1-3 G/50), Los Angeles Airport Hilton, 5711 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles 90045. $15,000 prize fund, all unconditionally guaranteed! In 7 sections.
Master (over 2199): $1400-700-400-200, clear winner bonus $100, top U2300 $500. If tie for first, top 2 on tiebreak play speed game for title & bonus prize. FIDE rated.
Expert (2000-2199): $1200-600-400-200.
Class A (1800-1999): $1200-600-400-200.
Class B (1600-1799): $1000-500-300-200.
Class C (1400-1599): $1000-500-300-200.
Class D (1200-1399): $800-400-200-100.
Class E (Under 1200): $700-400-200-100.
Rated players may play up one section. Unrated must play in A or below with maximum prize A $500, B $400, C $300, D $200, E $100; balance goes to next player(s) in line.
4-day entry fee, if mailed by Jan 6: Master, Expert or A $109, B or C $89, D or E $69.
Special entry fees: All $30 less to unrated. Re-entry (except Master) $50. Advance EF $10 less if paid with $49 USCF dues. SCCF memb. ($14, jrs $9) required for rated Southern CA residents. Advance EF minus $5 service charge refunded for withdrawals who give notice at least 1 hour before rd 1 (no service charge if fee applied to future CCA tmts).
4-day schedule: Reg. Fri to 6 pm, rds Fri 7, Sat 6, Sun 11-6, Mon 10-4:15.
Hotel rates: $89-89-89-89, 310-410-4000, reserve by Jan 7 or rate may increase. Parking $6/day. Car rental: Avis, 800-331-1600, use AWD #D657633. Questions: 845-496-9658 or 845-234-0386.
Entry: Continental Chess, c/o Goichberg, Box 661776, Arcadia CA 91066. Advance entries will be posted at chesstour.com 1/13.
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