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JANUARY 2013GM ALEJANDRO RAMIREZ IS A PICTURE IN PURPLE | 2008 ELECTRONIC KNIGHTS RECAP | BENKO PUZZLESwww.uschess.orgTHE ...
Starter PackageMega PackagePremium PackageWIN0015CB $229.96WIN0016CB $349.95WIN0277CB $479.95TRAIN LIKE ANAND, CARLSEN & C...
AwardsUSCFUNITED STATES CHESS FEDERATIONShow Off.Show It Off.adpage2_trophies plus_Layout 1 12/7/2012 2:11 PM Page 1
2 January 2013 | Chess LifeChess LifeEDITORIAL STAFFChess Life Editor and Daniel Lucas dlucas@uschess.orgDirector of Publi...
January Preview / This month in Chess Life and CLOEditor’s LetterNo, Jeff Foxworthy did not write our cover story this mon...
4 January 2013 | Chess LifeBelow: Sao Paulo, Brazil, hosted the first leg of the 2012 Grand Slam Final.Chess LifeJANUARY101...
www.USCFSales.com (888) 512-4377 (CHESS)Free Ground Shipping applies only to Domestic Orders in the 48 contiguous states a...
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FORMATInterviewed by Macauley Peterson in the November 2012 ChessLife, GM Maurice Ashley calls for expe...
2013 Membership OptionsChoose Between Premium and Regular USCF MembershipsPREMIUM MEMBERSHIPPRINTED COPY of Chess Life (mo...
First Moves / Chess news from around the U.S.n June of 2012, Corbin Seavers ofThe Potter’s House Scholastic ChessClub cont...
First Moves / Chess news from around the U.S.www.uschess.org 9>>> Put your favorite Face Across the Board in Chess Life! S...
Looks at Books / Amateur to IM10 January 2013 | Chess LifeBRITISH IM JONATHAN HAWKINS HASlived the chess player’s dream. T...
Looks at Books / Amateur to IMrating doesn’t mean their ability iscomposed the same way. It’s a cliché, buta true one, tha...
Looks at Books / Amateur to IM12 January 2013 | Chess Lifeblack pieces can be driven back [analysis]:37. f3! Re6 38. Re1Su...
www.uschess.org 13Now you can donate online through a securewebsite atwww.uschesstrust.orgDONATETO U.S. TRUST ONLINE!Simpl...
USCF Affairs / News for Our Members14 January 2013 | Chess LifeSPECIAL REFEREES: THE FORGOTTEN RULEBy Tim JustA quick and ...
It’s Coming.April 5-7 2013Nashville TNSee TLA on page 53SuperNationalsVsupernationals_teaser_supernationals_teaser_ad 12/1...
Chess to Enjoy / EntertainmentEONS AGO, WHEN GIANT NEWSPAPEReditors trod the earth, they would sendreporters to train stat...
On the other hand, Anand added, “Thereare other people that are so relieved athaving escaped that they cannot play fora wi...
Solitaire Chess / InstructionONE ADVANTAGE OF CASTLING ONopposite sides of the board is that theplayers are freer to move ...
Solitaire Chess / Instruction19. … Nxh6On 19. ... Bxf5, there could follow 20.gxf5 Nxh6 21. Rxh6 (1 bonus point). On 19......
20 January 2013 | Chess LifeORWAY’S BRILLIANT 21-YEAR-OLD Magnus Carlsen continuedhis stunning run of tournamentsuccess, d...
www.uschess.org 21second half in Bilbao to overcome any jet-lag, but still this was not enough toovercome Kramniks objecti...
Cover Story / 2012 Grand Slam Final22 January 2013 | Chess LifeCaruana and also beating World ChampionAnand in a key penul...
www.uschess.org 23AS THE WORLD CHAMPION DREWgame after game at the Grand SlamFinal in Sao Paulo and Bilbao, chessfans star...
CarlsenFrench DefenseGM Magnus Carlsen (FIDE 2843, NOR)GM Fabiano Caruana (FIDE 2773, ITA)Sao Paulo Grand Slam Final (6), ...
www.uschess.org 25Cover Story / 2012 Grand Slam FinalBc7 63. Kd5 Bd8 64. Ke6 Bc7 65. Kd7 Ba566. Be7!, Black resigned.(see ...
Cover Story / 2012 Grand Slam Final26 January 2013 | Chess LifeBILBAO MASTERS FINAL 2012: SAO PAULO, BRAZIL—SEPTEMBER 24-2...
www.uschess.org 27Cover Story / 2012 Grand Slam FinalSOLUTION:Vallejo played ...37. ... Qb2??... and was mated after ...38...
28 January 2013 | Chess LifeGM Alejandro Ramirez with Moira Kamgar and Elliott LiuWhen Ramirez was asked what he was weari...
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THE WORLD’S MOST WIDELY READ CHESS MAGAZINE. MAGNUS CARLSEN WITH 2861 ELO

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  1. 1. JANUARY 2013GM ALEJANDRO RAMIREZ IS A PICTURE IN PURPLE | 2008 ELECTRONIC KNIGHTS RECAP | BENKO PUZZLESwww.uschess.orgTHE WORLD’S MOST WIDELY READ CHESS MAGAZINEJANUARYFineLine TechnologiesJN Index80% 1.5 BWR PU7 925274 6463101A USCF Publication $5.952861!Magnus Carlsen winshis second Grand Slam Finalthen later breaks Kasparov’srecord for highest rating.
  2. 2. Starter PackageMega PackagePremium PackageWIN0015CB $229.96WIN0016CB $349.95WIN0277CB $479.95TRAIN LIKE ANAND, CARLSEN & COChessBase12StartYour Personal Success StoryWithThe New Chessbase 12 Program And EnjoyFantastic New Online And Analysis Features!If you are an ambitious chess player, if you want to continually improveyour chess and train systematically, if you want to prepare for your nextopponent – no matter whether for a club match, for an Open or for a TopTournament… If you are a coach or teach chess and want to find trainingmaterial, if you like to play through the best and most recent games withthe latest opening trends or if you want to enter and analyse your owngames… In short: if you have any interest in chess whatsoever, then youjust cannot do without the ChessBase program.ChessBase is the Swiss Army knife for the chessplayer – there is a tool forevery problem and an answer to every question!Now, the new ChessBase 12 is being released– and with fascinating new possibilities...ChessBase 12 is the chess database program whichhas become the world-wide standard. Get to knowyour next opponent’s weak points and exploit theadvantage of targeted preparation.USCF Sales offers FREE ground shipping on orders over $99The United States Largest Chess Specialty RetailertaNDANDANANDN LIKE ANANAIN LIKE ANAAIN LIKE AAIN LBBBh sBh ssBhessBhessBhessBhessBhessBhesshesheshesrserserssshesshessheswwwwwetastic NtastictasthehCeeeNNi Ntic NanwwheFananFFFeour PourouCCCYwwh Neeehe Nhe Nhe NTTTTTPPur PYYYYour PYour PYour PYour PtttttartartarSSSSCCCCCCCCCCTTRTRTR O2hhthEEEd EaeaeeeFs Fisissississlyalyalynanannd Ad AdndndnnAe Ae AneinelinlinnlinlnnOOddFFFndndnnAm AmylymmamaagrgrgAAAggorrPPAA1212e 1e 1seasebasebassbasbsbOOOsthititiWWWWAAAyyyorootts Srrs SssessesoooeserrcPPPcSuc22Sul Sul Sal Snalnaonasonsoso222212WW12121212yy12e1e1rore1se1settseSSSBaseBaseBaseBaseBasBasBaBaccBacucBBOOON & CEN &SENLSENARLSEARLSARA, C, C& C& CCCCDDDD, CD, CD!!s!seseseeururtututtaayyyyrrjojonjonjoEnjoEnjoaaE oohhhnnn…………sg esg egameamamotious chess plabitious chess planinaintttttuouooyfifi:ttorohohshsstrttggngropoIninninenpepeopt ostestesesethe la, i,iaiaettte tekekelikliu luouoof yif yifthth lathe lattoof yf yf………ttyyalialmenamenamnamlererntttmmamatmaymo moIIInonot – nt –tttopponennenopponeoppoTourourourTTTTourTourTouraiaamand tand trs and trh ss and trhessour chesour cheournenbitious chess plambitious chess plambitious chess plaamtrtrd trn ame an ae ane ayyyyarou arou arff yf yIII nnpahhwhawhawhasssess whaehehchccnninttsteseeereetnniyyynanaaeeevaahhuuouooyyaadddnnaarereettneeooott ttrtnantaawwuuounooyyfifivroroosdsdndnenyeertstsosomommmddndtnannat atstesetbebbenehehthwth thghguguyouoohrththy tyyylaplppoorowwwddnd wnanaasssseshehechcchhchcaceaeaetr torooh ohchcacoarhroaoocaae aaaeearau auuanaaroroofh,h,hchcttmammmbbub mauluclca ctar aroroor fererhehthetcchethewhwhwr wer wrereeepepeprppo pffor an Open or foott ttntanaaaawwu wuouooyf yifif,,llyallyalfffor a club mafor a club macaicticttmamememestssysysyttonoorcooot ttttnannaawwwuuouoof yyif yifi,eylyy, if yyeyyplaps pssessaaeshechechs cus chess platus chess playous chess plaous chess pla ctnwwyyrererr, if yyyalaghuouooyynnenehehtht,,ereeveveoeosotstaahthtnynwnwwwoorur ououor,oyyvesessylyaannwiwwwsoesememmamagayggttnenyeececeergngninnininaiaatrtddndnfinfifiooott ttnnarawppopooTTaarroroofroroonnenetpepOpen or fOOn OnwnettxTTopxeanennrur neuffor aouooyyrorooe feerarpappexevevooprpmpmmimiyylyllyalafffor yfor yuaununrtintitn vornChototnonnnj annot do without the ChessBase prju cannot do without the ChessBase prjust cannot do without the ChessBase prjust custintintitcinaascinafascinath fascinawith fa– and with fascina– and with fascinade new, the ne, the nthethm am aemembleobleoblobyase iBaseC ssBasChessBaChessBanasssesshesChew Chw Chew Caad awwwNoNoNondndaniwiwwwe Se Shey pry pry prththerererevevevs thise is SSt d oohohthitwiwwo wododd–rereeyy!dded.....sesietieitiilitbilibisibsibssiospospopw pewewnewg neg nngngnBasBasBsBnanan aan answan answaisiutououosedsesaseaealeeleeleg rgngngeineibebes bs bis2 i2 i1212e 1seasen!nonotiotisteseueruquqy qyyyereeeveveooor terereswswnsaplaplpspsssesehehchceehehrthtvvroroofetteeifninwwny ky kyymmmrAs Asss yam.mmmaarggogooprppeeffor the chessplaseasafffe ffe fBaBsBskkssesehemmhChCrrCAAe Cehehthtt tt rrroroofloloooootaas asise ieeerehertherthert–– ffortrraadaddvaanannttatagaggee oe ooff tf ttoothhisisdvvururr nnenextt oopoppppoyyooou pppthexxoomommemee tyyhhaasass beeech cBaBaasseee 112122 ibbsssBCCChCheheesta gggegeteeded pd p epepepaparaatatiotionionon.nts as anandndd ed expexpxploploitloit tit tht theheenowwwwhichichichharrooioinintntsd prprreaeakak pk pettntss wwetararrnenenenrgetrgetgoon k ppde se ststatanannddadard. Geetet too knwwd-wd-wwidwidide’’orlrldld’s wtoree we wo noowho kkm wm wht ttamamGGggradde prodd. Garrse prwwthhee chess database prchess database prchess database prhehesessss ds ddadatatatababbabasasess tth grrooprrageageageackemium PrPackega PMacker PttarS $229.96$349.95$479.95IN0277CBIN0016CBIN0015CBUSSCCFCF Saalealesless ooffoffefferffersrs Fs FRFREFREREE gEE g oououE grgrrF SSSSSUUUUSUSUS uunundnd sd shd shiphipphippppingpinging og onon on ordederders overer $9er $99$9999vvrs ooorrIFC_Layout 1 12/7/2012 2:34 PM Page 1
  3. 3. AwardsUSCFUNITED STATES CHESS FEDERATIONShow Off.Show It Off.adpage2_trophies plus_Layout 1 12/7/2012 2:11 PM Page 1
  4. 4. 2 January 2013 | Chess LifeChess LifeEDITORIAL STAFFChess Life Editor and Daniel Lucas dlucas@uschess.orgDirector of PublicationsChess Life Online Editor Jennifer Shahade jshahade@uschess.orgChess Life for Kids Editor Glenn Petersen gpetersen@uschess.orgSenior Art Director Frankie Butler fbutler@uschess.orgEditorial Assistant/Copy Editor Alan Kantor akantor@uschess.orgEditorial Assistant Jo Anne Fatherly jfatherly@uschess.orgEditorial Assistant Jennifer Pearson jenpearson@uschess.orgTechnical Editor Ron BurnettTLA/Advertising Joan DuBois tla@uschess.orgMain office: Crossville, TN (931) 787-1234Advertising inquiries: (931) 787-1234, ext. 123TLAs: All TLAs should be e-mailed to tla@uschess.org or sent to P.O. Box 3967,Crossville, TN 38557-3967Letters to the editor: Please submit to letters@uschess.orgReceiving Chess Life: To receive Chess Life as a Premium Member, join the USCF orenter a USCF tournament, go to uschess.org or call 1-800-903-USCF (8723)Change of address: Please send to addresschange@uschess.orgOther inquiries: feedback@uschess.org, (931) 787-1234, fax (931) 787-1200Saint Louis, Missouriwww.WorldChessHOF.orgWorld Chess Hall of Fame@WorldChessHOFSCREWED MOVESan interactive, imaginative, super-sized,spontaneous mixed-media arts experienceinspired by the game of chessPhoto: Juan Montana — Edited By: Jenn CarterSEPTEMBER 13, 2012 – FEBRUARY 10, 2013USCF EXECUTIVE BOARDPresident, Ruth Haring PO Box 1993, Chico, CA 95927 ruth@ruthharing.comVice President, Gary Walters Walters & Wasylyna LLC gary@wwiplaw.comShaker Finance, PO Box 20554Cleveland, OH 44120VP Finance, Allen Priest 220 West Main Street, Suite 2200 tyron316@hotmail.comLouisville, KY 40202Secretary, Mike Nietman 2 Boca Grande Way, Madison, WI 53719 mike.nietman@charter.netMember at Large, Michael Atkins PO Box 4894, Baltimore, MD 21211 Atkins@region3chess.comMember at Large, Jim Berry PO Box 351, Stillwater, OK 74076 jaberrycg@aol.comMember at Large, Bill Goichberg PO Box 249, Salisbury Mills, NY 12577 chessoffice@aol.comUSCF STAFFExecutive Director Bill Hall ext. 189 bhall@uschess.orgChief Operations Officer Patricia K. Smith ext. 133 patsmith@uschess.orgAssistant Executive DirectorDirector of National EventsNational Events Assistant Ashley Knight ext. 138 aknight@uschess.orgDirector of Titles and Certification Jerry Nash ext. 137 jnash@uschess.orgFIDE TitlesTD CertificationInternational Youth EventsIT Director & Webmaster Phillip R. Smith ext. 134 philsmith@uschess.orgDirector of Quality Control Judy Misner ext. 126 jmisner@uschess.orgDirector of Affiliate Relations Joan DuBois ext. 123 jdubois@uschess.orgDirector of Marketing Robert McLellan ext. 126 rmclellan@uschess.orgChief Accountant Peggy Eberhart ext. 131 peberhart@uschess.orgOTB and FIDE Ratings Walter Brown ext. 142 wbrown@uschess.orgScholastic Associate Susan Houston ext. 136 shouston@uschess.orgComputer Consultant Mike Nolan ext. 188 mnolan@uschess.orgMembership Services Supervisor Cheryle Bruce ext. 147 cbruce@uschess.orgMailing Lists/Membership Assoc. Traci Lee ext. 143 tlee@uschess.orgMembership Associate Abel Howard ext. 146 ahoward@uschess.orgMembership Associate Jay Sabine ext. 127 jsabine@uschess.orgCorrespondence Chess Alex Dunne cchess@uschess.orgFinancial Consultant Joe Nanna jnanna@uschess.orgLETTER OF INTENTA Promise For TomorrowIn future support of the work of the U.S. Chess Trust, I want to provide for futuregenerations and to ensure the continuity of services by the U.S. Chess Trust.Therefore,o I have made provision o I will make provisionto support the U.S. Chess Trust by:o making a bequest or endowment provision in my Willo creating a charitable remainder or lead trust namingthe U.S. Chess Trust as a beneficiary.o establishing an endowment or special fund at theU.S. Chess Trust.o directing the trustees or directors of my foundationto continue beyond my lifetime making an annualgift to the U.S. Chess Trust.o Making an outright gift to the U.S. Chess Trust duringmy lifetime in the sum of $_____________.This Letter of Intent represents my commitment to the work of the U.S. Chess Trust.It does not represent a legal obligation and may be changed by me at any time.Whatever the amount of your gift, when you leave a legacy for the future of theU.S. Chess Trust, you are an important part of the Promise for Tomorrow.Please send with your name, address, phone, and email contact informationand email Barbara DeMaro at bduscf@aol.com (845-527-1167)*Please note that there is a required amount in order to be listed as a Future Legacy Donor.Write or send an email to Barbara DeMaro, bduscf@aol.com for this amount. Donationsto the U.S. Chess Trust are tax-deductible. A 501(c)(3) organization. BD:08/03CL_01-2013_masthead_JP_r5_chess life 12/7/2012 11:46 AM Page 2
  5. 5. January Preview / This month in Chess Life and CLOEditor’s LetterNo, Jeff Foxworthy did not write our cover story this month, “Are you smarter than a SUPER GM?” Our roving international reporter GM Ian Rogers stands in ashost as he presents some of the key moments in games from the Bilbao Grand Slam Final (see page 20) and asks you to see if you can come up with a betterplan than did the world’s best. This includes world-number-one and our cover boy, GM Magnus Carlsen. Of course, you get to make your decision in the comfortof your own home, without the clock ticking and without the whole chess world watching your decision in real time over the Internet. Carlsen seems immuneto these distractions though, for as we were finalizing this issue, we learned that he had reached an unofficial rating of 2864, breaking Kasparov’s record by13 points. Suddenly Kasparov’s earlier prediction that Carlsen could reach 2900 doesn’t look as unlikely as when he first made this (outlandish?) prediction.With storylines such as these, this should be an exciting year in the chess world, so here’s to your chess life, and happy new year! -Daniel Lucas, EditorCHESS LIFE ONLINE PREVIEW: JANUARYAmericans AbroadIn January, many of our top players go abroad, occasionally to escape frigid weatherbut more often to participate in elite chess competitions. Reigning U.S. ChessChampion Hikaru Nakamura will be playing in Tata Steel in Wijk aan Zee (January11-27, 2013), along with World #1 Magnus Carlsen and Italian-American GMFabiano Caruana. GM Gata Kamsky and our top two female players, Anna Zatonskihand Irina Krush, will be at the 2013 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival (January 22-31). Reigning U.S. Women’s Champion Krush will be taking on a new role ascommentator in Gibraltar along with GM Simon Williams. Look for coverage of bothevents on CLO.Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Chess: Look for U.S. Chess Scoop coverage of the LibertyBell Open over the long January 18-21 weekend and subscribe to USChessFederationat YouTube to be the first to catch all the new videos. Also find coverage of theGolden State Open, held the same weekend in northern CaliforniaGreg on Chess: Find new exclusive editorials by U.S. Chess League founder IM GregShahade, including a piece on the improvement of our latest generation of youngrising chess masters, such as World Youth Champions Sam Sevian and Kayden Troff.Both gold medalists are part of the Young Stars program in partnership withKasparov Chess Foundation and the Saint Louis Chess Club.CLO Countdown: Because of the hurried pace of the chess news cycle, it’s easy tomiss some of the most interesting articles on Chess Life Online—last year’s Bestof CLO winner was “Choosing to Break 2200” by Matan Prilleltensky. Count downthe top ten articles from 2012 and let us know if you agree.CONTRIBUTORSHoward Goldowsky Our interviewer of IM Jonathan Hawkins is the author of Engaging Pieces: Interviews and Prose for the Chess Fan andthe editor of Masters of Technique: The Mongoose Anthology of Chess Fiction. His next book, part memoir, will be about the challenges ofimproving at chess as an adult, as well as the relationship chess has with, among other things, science, psychology, Zen, and sport.GM Ian Rogers Our Bilbao reporter is our regular contributor to both Chess Life and Chess Life Online of international events.Betsy Carina Dynako GM Alejandro Ramirez is profiled by Dynako, a Chicago based event and portrait photographer with credits in chesspublications world wide as well as the Wall Street Journal and Sports Illustrated.Al Lawrence “Faces Across the Board” is compiled monthly by Lawrence, the former executive director of both USCF and the World Chess Hallof Fame. He is currently director of the Texas Tech University chess program. His latest book, with GM Lev Alburt, is Chess for the Gifted and Busy.www.uschess.org 3GM Gata Kamsky and our top two female players, Anna Zatonskih andIrina Krush, will be hanging out with the Barbary monkeys at the Rockof Gibraltar for the 2013 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival (January 22-31). Photo by Cathy RogersFollow Chess Life and Chess Life Online on Facebook! Get regularupdates as part of your newsfeed, post comments, and easily commu-nicate directly with the editorial staff.CL_01-2013_CLO_AKF_r7.qxp_chess life 12/11/12 4:25 PM Page 3
  6. 6. 4 January 2013 | Chess LifeBelow: Sao Paulo, Brazil, hosted the first leg of the 2012 Grand Slam Final.Chess LifeJANUARY10161842443689144650707172COLUMNSLOOKS AT BOOKS / AMATEUR TO IMMaking the LeapBy Howard GoldowskyCHESS TO ENJOY / ENTERTAINMENTA Heart As Big As A PeaBy GM Andy SoltisSOLITAIRE CHESS / INSTRUCTIONGetting There Firstest With The MostestBy Bruce PandolfiniBACK TO BASICS / READER ANNOTATIONSThe Pin Is The AnswerBy GM Lev AlburtENDGAME LAB / INSTRUCTIONBasic BlundersBy GM Pal BenkoDEPARTMENTSJANUARY PREVIEW / THIS MONTH INCHESS LIFE AND CLOCOUNTERPLAY / READERS RESPONDFIRST MOVES / CHESS NEWS FROMAROUND THE U.S.FACES ACROSS THE BOARD / BY AL LAWRENCEUSCF AFFAIRS / NEWS FOR OUR MEMBERSKNIGHT’S TOUR / TOURNAMENT TRAVELTOURNAMENT LIFE / JANUARYCLASSIFIEDS / JANUARYSOLUTIONS / JANUARYMY BEST MOVE / PERSONALITIESCover Story / 2012 Grand Slam FinalAre you smarter than a SUPER GM?By GM Ian RogersCarlsen adds a jewel to his crown; our reporter offersChess Life readers a chance to equal or better theworld’s best players.Personalities / GM Alejandro RamirezStoked!Text and Photos By Betsy Carina DynakoAlejandro Ramirez, the first grandmaster from CentralAmerica, is adding color to the U.S. chess scene.Correspondence Chess /2008 Electronic Knights ChampionshipThe Staff of LifeBy FM Alex DunneThe 2008 Electronic Knights ChampionshipProblems / BenkoSaluting BenkoBy Stephen B. DowdProblemists offer a tribute to Pal Benko and45 Years of Bafflers20283438PHOTO:CATHYROGERSON THE COVER Late in our press cycle we found out that GM Magnus Carlsen had broken Garry Kasparov’s record forhighest rating by reaching 2864 at the London Chess Classic (before settling at 2861 by the end of the event). All thisafter just having won his second Grand Slam Final, which GM Ian Rogers covers for us beginning on page 20.Photo by Ray Morris Hill taken at the London Chess ClassicCL_01-2013_TOC_DLF_r7.qxp_chess life 12/11/12 10:12 PM Page 4
  7. 7. www.USCFSales.com (888) 512-4377 (CHESS)Free Ground Shipping applies only to Domestic Orders in the 48 contiguous states and excludes Shipping/Taxes.USCFwww comalesFS (888) 512 43 CHESS)77 (.USCFwww .comalesFS (888) 512-43 CHESS)77 (01-2013_USCFSales_inside1_Layout 1 12/7/2012 2:40 PM Page 1
  8. 8. WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FORMATInterviewed by Macauley Peterson in the November 2012 ChessLife, GM Maurice Ashley calls for experimentation at the organi-zational level of major chess events. The aim would be to attractmore sponsorship and generate favorable publicity. Tournamentsdo this better than matches, the GM aver, as do I. The prestigiousmatch tournament events of St. Petersburg 1896 and WorldChampionship 1948 did exactly that.So, in this inventive spirit, what can, what should, be done aboutfuture world championships?The advantages of a world championship final of three playersinstead of two are worth enumerating. A single game playedeach day of a six-day week. A week comprising a full roundwith each player playing each opponent twice, once with whiteand once with black. Each player has two free days. The venuehas activity every day—with an option of Sunday for adjournedgames—and the arbiter will be fully employed, so sponsors getguaranteed value.Journalists and commentators have a field day for gossip and vari-ety of technical content. With a final of three players instead of twothe elimination preliminaries will be less protracted.Drawbacks? If players object to the preparation load, this will bethe same for each and should encourage emphasis on live over-the-board skill at the expense of labor-intensive searching fortheoretical novelties and over-reliance on memory: energies mustbe conserved. The players will soon come around when they seepublicity and sponsorship soar.John RoycroftLondon, United KingdomCHESS LIFE’S NEW LOOKPraise! Kudos! WOW!As a reader of Chess Life for about 50 years, I love your stellarimprovements! “The Sicilian Defense” fiction piece by DarinKennedy was outstanding (October, 2012). The Chess Journalistsof America should have this on their radar for an award already.It is this fiction addition that forced me to write this letter. I amthrilled that Chess Life took the leap to chess-related fiction!Fiction is art and the chess covered in Chess Life magazine some-times reaches further than logic and is also art. The games shownare so often martial arts of the mind or mathematics in motion, butthen there are the games that are inspired, somehow moved by somedeeper aspect of the human character that touches our sense of won-der—and they are art!For the last several months, I have been looking forward to eachnew issue as never before. Full color makes your copy the equalof every other magazine being printed today. The technical andtechnique of magazine publishing now matches anything else outthere in monthly printed journalism.The content changes have been spectacular. The “Faces Acrossthe Board” is brilliant and helps bind the entire U.S. Chess com-munity together. The “My Best Move” column comes across as a“last word” or a “Now for the Rest of the Story” at the end of themagazine and is fresh, personal, fun, funny and revealing.Revitalized—absolutely. Fresh, clear and bold—I’ve never been hap-pier to be a life member! Please keep it up and a sincere, “ThankYou!” to the dedicated USCF Publications Department.Peter SpizzirriCary, IllinoisCounterplay / Readers RespondSend your letters to letters@uschess.org or post on the Chess Life Facebook group page. If Chess Lifepublishes your letter, you will be sent a copy of Test, Evaluate and Improve Your Chess (see ad below).6 January 2013 | Chess LifeCORRECTIONSIn the November issue, we listed GMMaurice Ashley as becoming the firstblack master in 1993. Unfortunately,we left out the word “International.”As Daaim Shabbaz, webmaster ofthechessdrum.net wrote us:“Maurice was preceded by many playersas national master, but he was the firstblack international master (1993) in theU.S. Walter Harris was the first [blackmaster] and he got the title sometimein 1963. He was in the 1959 U.S. JuniorOpen and 1959 U.S. Open and was aFischer contemporary.”We had some missing photo credits inthe November issue: The photo of BillHall and Chouchanik Airapetian on page4 was taken by Al Lawrence. The photo ofGM Viswanathan Anand on page 9 wastaken by Chris Roberts.Chess Life regrets the errors.CL_01-2013_Counterplay_AKF_r6.qxp_chess life 12/11/12 12:58 PM Page 6
  9. 9. 2013 Membership OptionsChoose Between Premium and Regular USCF MembershipsPREMIUM MEMBERSHIPPRINTED COPY of Chess Life (monthly)or Chess Life for Kids (bimonthly) plusall other benefits of regular membership.REGULAR MEMBERSHIPOnline-only access to Chess Life orChess Life for Kids; TLA Newsletterwill be mailed to you (Adults: bimonthly;Scholastic: 3 per year)WHAT YOU GET AS AREGULAR USCF MEMBER:The right to play inUSCF-sanctioned tournamentsand be assigned an official ratingAccess to member-only contenton uschess.org, including our USCFforum discussion group. (9)Online access to Chess Life& Chess Life for Kids.WHAT YOU GET AS APREMIUM USCF MEMBER:All of the above plus a printed copy ofChess Life or Chess Life for Kids!PREMIUM USCF MEMBERSHIP RATESCATEGORY 1 YEAR 2 YEAR 3 YEARADULT $46 $84 $122SCHOLASTIC (1) (6 ISSUES CL4K) $24 $43 $61YOUTH (2) (6 ISSUES CL) $28 $51 $73YOUNG ADULT (3) $33 $61 $88REGULAR USCF MEMBERSHIP RATESCATEGORY 1 YEAR 2 YEAR 3 YEARADULT $40 $72 $104SCHOLASTIC (1) $17 $30 $42YOUTH (2) $22 $40 $57YOUNG ADULT (3) $26 $47 $67OTHER USCF MEMBERSHIP RATESCATEGORY 1 YEAR 2 YEAR 3 YEAR 4 YEARSUSTAINING (4, 8) $95 $190 $285 $380(started prior to 2003)SUSTAINING (4, 8) $120 $240 $360 $480(started after 2002)SENIOR (5) $40 $72 $104 N/AFAMILY PLAN 1 (6) $75 N/A N/A N/AFAMILY PLAN 2 (7) $47 N/A N/A N/ASENIOR LIFE (5, 8) $750 ONE TIME CHARGELIFE (8) $1,500 ONE TIME CHARGEBENEFACTOR (8, 10) $3,000 ONE TIME CHARGEBENEFACTOR,EXISTING LIFE MEMBER (8, 10) $1,500 ONE TIME CHARGEA $3 affiliate commission will apply to all memberships submitted by affiliates.OR08-2012_membership_ad 12/7/2012 7:03 PM Page 1
  10. 10. First Moves / Chess news from around the U.S.n June of 2012, Corbin Seavers ofThe Potter’s House Scholastic ChessClub contacted me regarding theclub’s upcoming benefit dinner (whichwas held on November 9, 2012) and itswebsite, www.pottershousechess.com. Fromweb surfing, I learned that Corbin was activein the anti-apartheid solidarity movement.Now he is the co-founder and director of ThePotter’s House Scholastic Chess Club. Iinterviewed Corbin via e-mail to find outhow his past influenced his decision tobecome involved in chess organizing.What inspired you to start The Potter’s HouseScholastic Chess Club?During the summer of 2010, I taught 13young people chess at The Potter’s Housesummer camp. The summer camp is spon-sored by Cable Missionary Baptist Churchand has been running for over seven years.The response to my chess classes was suchthat Dr. Anthony Middleton, senior pastor atCable Missionary Baptist Church, stronglyurged me to turn The Potter’s House Scholas-tic Chess Club into a full-time scholasticchess program. That is exactly what I did inSeptember 2010 (our official founding monthand year).The Potter’s House Scholastic Chess Clubwas a dream come true. Before that time, Itaught chess in other places around Louisville,Kentucky. I often hoped for the resourcesnecessary to build a full-time scholastic chessprogram. My role model was Chess-in-the-Schools, located in Manhattan, New York.All I needed to get started was a base of oper-ations and that is exactly what Dr. Middletonoffered me. It easily can be said Dr. Middle-ton inspired and motivated me to start ThePotter’s House Scholastic Chess Club.My other inspiration was my daughter,Sarah, my first and only child. At 7-years-old, Sarah started competing in rated tour-naments, including weekly open (cash prize)tournaments organized by local chess icon,Steve Dillard.At local scholastic chess tournaments Inoticed far too few black students, partic-ularly too few black females, competing.Out of 150 players, you could count onone hand with two broken fingers the num-ber of black students participating andmore often than not there would be noReaching Fighting CapacityFrom anti-apartheid activist to chess organizerBy DR. ALEXEY ROOT, WIM8 January 2013 | Chess LifeIParticipants in the Louisville Metro Police Department Chess Classic, held on July 7, 2012 at the downtown Louisville police gym. This match was between the LMPDand the Chess Ambassadors; other teams also competed. This tournament was sponsored by L&N Federal Credit Union, the LMPD Credit Union, The Fraternal Order ofPolice, and The Potter’s House Scholastic Chess Club.PHOTO:COURTESYOFCORBINSEAVERSCL_01-2013_FirstMoves_AKF_r6.qxp_chess life 12/11/12 12:51 PM Page 8
  11. 11. First Moves / Chess news from around the U.S.www.uschess.org 9>>> Put your favorite Face Across the Board in Chess Life! Send thename, reasons, and your contact info. to faces@uschess.org.FACESACROSSTHE BOARDBy AL LAWRENCEBILL CHENPENNSYLVANIA$1,000,000 in pokerwinningsChen,ananalystfortradingfirm SIG, is also a world-famous poker player andco-author of The Mathematics of Poker. But whenI phoned him, he was competing in the North Amer-ican Bridge Championship. “It’s one of my things,”he said. Chess is now another. Studying with pokerstar and former U.S. Women’s Chess Champ JenShahade, he’s taking our game seriously for the firsttime. “It’s much like poker. You can be dynamicand creative for a long period. Then, one mistake,and you lose all your chips.”STEVEDILLARDKENTUCKYDirected 3,000tournamentsNTD Dillard teaches sixchess-for-creditclassesaday,involving more than 100 Kammerer MS students. Hedirectsweeklylocaltournamentsandisindemandatnational events. At the National High School Cham-pionship in Lexington, he was Kasparov’s designatedgreeter. Running late, the two of them rushed into astandingovationfromthecrowdofmorethan1,000.“Garry turned to me and said, ‘Mr. Dillard, I didn’trealize you were so famous!’”ED SCIMIACONNECTICUTCurler andFreelance AuthorIntrigued by its strategiesafter watching curling in theWinter Olympics, Ed is aregular on the ice. “I know of no doping scandals inthe sport,” he laughed. Professionally, he provides allthe chess content for About.com, writing 10 articlesa month. A graduate of Syracuse University journal-ism school, he fills up his work schedule writingabout a wide range of topics. Another of his interests,laughably bad movies, inspired Scimia’s new book,So Bad, It’s Good, now available at Amazon.black females other than Sarah.What is your chess background?My chess background is rather modest.My late father taught me chess when Iwas 12 years old. I played on the highschool chess team for a year. My recordwas one win, one draw and one loss.During college I stopped playing. I wasmore interested in pursuing other inter-ests, namely girls and campus politics.I never even thought about chess muchuntil my daughter, Sarah, came into mylife. I taught Sarah chess when she was6-years-old. She participated in her firstrated tournament at the age of 7. Shecontinues playing to this day.My father really got caught up in thewhole Bobby Fischer era. He bought afancy set with Roman figures and sev-eral chess books. At the time Fischermeant nothing to me. My sports heroeswere Muhammad Ali, Pete Rose, andJoe Morgan.I only cared about chess because my fathercared about chess. I only learned the gamebecause my father taught it to me. That iswhy today I tell fathers chess is one wayyou can build a common interest andhobby with your child. It brought my fatherand me closer together, and I can say thatit has definitely helped me in building acloser relationship with my daughter.I saw how chess helped Sarah. It madeher more confident and, according toSarah, helped with her math too. Thispast year Sarah got straight A’s in math!The year before Sarah scored above thestate average on a math competency test.Just as chess helped my daughter, Ibelieve that chess can help other lowincome and minority youth. The missionof The Potter’s House Scholastic ChessClub is to reach those youth.How many children has the programreached?Since September 2010 we have easilyreached over 150 youth (during the schoolyear). We have taught 20 youth in ourchess camps. My goal is to reach over 180youth during the 2012-2013 school yearand 75-100 youth during the 2013 sum-mer months. One particular youth,“Mike,” stands out in my memory.At an annual Martin Luther King, Jr.tournament, a group of my students said,“Coach, Mike needs you.” When I foundMike he was crying. He was upset overhaving lost his first three games. Mikeinsisted on my taking him home! He hadno interest whatsoever in playing the lasttwo rounds of the tournament.I spoke with Mike, encouraged him,coached him, and said, I simply could notleave the tournament at this time. Hewould either have to sit out the last twogames or play the last two games. Mikedecided to play the last two games. I wasvery proud of him! Here are some excerptsfrom a letter Mike recently sent me: “I’vewon so many trophies. Listening to youradvice in chess. I know what I’m capableof when playing chess. You have con-tributed to me a lot.”Success is not always about winning orlosing. It often is just hanging in thereand never giving up. That day Mike wasa champion in my eyes because hedecided not to give up. Today Mike hasseveral trophies in his bedroom becauseof that decision he made that fateful daynot to quit.What is your background in the anti-apartheid solidarity movement?I am one of six founding members of theBerea College Students United AgainstApartheid. As I remember it, we startedthat solidarity campus organization inSeptember 1979 in commemoration ofSteven Bantu Biko’s assassination whilein South African police custody.I later was a co-founder of The BishopTutu Refugee Fund based in Hartford,Connecticut in June 1985. The other co-founder was Nontombi Tutu, a stalwartPan Africanist who amongst other anti-apartheid heroes personally introducedme to Winnie Mandela, Johnson Mlambo,and Zwelakhe Sisulu.I also self-published a small book,Apartheid: The untold story, back in 1992.Sometimes you can find copies of it atwww.alibris.com. My long-time, deep,and intimate involvement in the anti-apartheid solidarity movement taughtme several things. One was the impor-tance of offering struggling peoples theskills and the education they require toincrease their fighting capacity to changetheir lives, and the lives of their lovedones, for the better.What I am doing through The Potter’sHouse Scholastic Chess Club is very sim-ilar in that objective. It is more thanabout the sport of chess, it is about offer-ing young people the skills and the toolsthey will need to successfully compete ina globalized 21st century economy. AtThe Potter’s House Scholastic Chess Clubwe also use the sport of chess as a con-duit to teach character development andthe value of higher education.PHOTO:COURTESYOFCORBINSEAVERSCL_01-2013_FirstMoves_AKF_r6_chess life 12/11/12 12:51 PM Page 9
  12. 12. Looks at Books / Amateur to IM10 January 2013 | Chess LifeBRITISH IM JONATHAN HAWKINS HASlived the chess player’s dream. Ten years ago,as an 18-year-old 1700-player, he decided toget good—and then he did. He got very good.He recently broke the 2500-rating barrierrequired to earn the grandmaster (GM) title,and now, with two recent GM norms underhis belt, this self-taught once fledgling playeris one norm, one nice performance, awayfrom a miraculous achievement.“I am often asked by people to give advice…” wrote Hawkins in his query letter toMongoose Press, “… so I began to reconstructthe path I took [to international master].” Thispath was laid out in instructive detail for hisnew book, Amateur to IM: Proven Ideas andTraining Methods (Mongoose Press, $29.95).Jam-packed with discussion about theendgame, one could argue that its subtitlemisleads. Yet Hawkins writes ostensiblyabout the final phase of the game. Theendgame positions merely serve as ameans for a more general discussionabout thought process and systematictraining methods. The strength ofHawkins’ writing lies in how he systemat-ically builds up the reader’s under-standing of chess from simple ideas tocomplex ones. Through this approach hedraws important connections between theendgame, middlegame, and opening.Hawkins leads the reader along the samepath he himself took.Hours of deliberate practice along thispath produced for Hawkins a unifiedperspective of chess not often seen inplayers who train isolated skillsindependently. Isolated work on openingsand tactics were necessary for his growth,he says, but certainly not sufficient. Hefirmly believes that his unified approachto chess training, with the endgame at itscore, places every aspect of his chessability on a rock-solid foundation.Amateur to IM includes three main parts.Part 1, “Thinking Techniques,” includes asample of “basic” positions that Hawkinsbreaks down using fundamental thinkingtechniques (“calculating with a goal inmind,” “planning,” “building-blockpositions,” and more). Part 2, “Principlesand Essential Theory,” builds upon Part 1,using a slightly more technical approach.(For example, Hawkins explains how subtlevariations in the Lucena and Philidorpositions relate to building blocks andfocused calculation.) Part 3, “EndgameExplorations,” covers advanced topics thatbecame interesting to Hawkins as he gotstronger. One such topic is how theCarlsbad pawn structure can evolve into anendgame, and for Queen’s Gambit Declinedplayers this chapter alone is worth theprice of the book.In October, I took the opportunity tointerview Hawkins by e-mail. I wanted tolearn more about his ideas, especiallythose regarding the interdependencebetween the three phases of a chess game.To my delight, Hawkins agreed tosupplement his answers with a lengthyand illustrative excerpt from his new book.The interview and excerpt follow, below.Howard Goldowsky: Why do you feel that theendgame is important for an aspiring playersdevelopment? JONATHAN HAWKINS: Ingeneral, players are well prepared in theopenings, tactically quite proficient, knowthe standard middlegame themes, but havea gap in their endgame knowledge. Thosefirst things I listed aren’t so difficult tostudy, but the endgame is. If your endgameis below the standard of the other facets ofyour game, you will be turning wins intodraws and draws into loses. [The endgame]also improves your understanding as awhole. For instance, [by studying theendgame] you will start to see the long-termconsequences of your decisions in theopening and in the middlegame.How should a class-player divide his trainingtime between work on the opening,middlegame, endgame, tactics, and otherareas? Obviously it’s different for everyone.Just because two players have the sameIM Jonathan Hawkins photographed at the 2012 London Chess Classic by Ray Morris-Hill.Making the LeapIM Jonathan Hawkins shows how to studyefficiently using the endgame as your foundation.By HOWARD GOLDOWSKYAmateur to IM: Proven Ideas and Training Methodsby Jonathan Hawkins372 pages (Mongoose Press, 2012) Available fromUSCF Sales (catalog number B0089EU), $29.95CL_01-2013_books_AKF_r9_chess life 12/11/12 12:08 PM Page 10
  13. 13. Looks at Books / Amateur to IMrating doesn’t mean their ability iscomposed the same way. It’s a cliché, buta true one, that in general players spendway too much time on openings. Don’t fallinto the trap of convincing yourself thatonce you organize your openingscompletely, then you will move onto otherareas of study. That day will never come.At least it still hasn’t for me. In terms ofmemorizing variations, especially [forplayers rated] below about 2000, I wouldtone [opening study] way down, maybe10% of your study time or less.Tactical puzzles/analytical training isquite important. I would give 20% of timeto this. The remaining 70% is the partplayers find difficult. You need to study acombination of master games, your owngames, and be a student of the endgame.How is the endgame linked to the opening andmiddlegame? Can you give an example fromAmateur to IM where you explain how endgameknowledge helps evaluate an opening ormiddlegame position? Decisions taken inthe opening (for instance, creating a certainstructure, creating a certain materialimbalance) create consequences often notfelt until the endgame.I will show you a nice example from mybook, which comes to mind. It’s actuallyquite a good positional lesson too.We start with a challenge for the reader.The rules of the challenge are thefollowing:Place a black bishop on any(unoccupied) square on the board. Oncethe bishop is placed it will be White toplay. You can put the bishop on anysquare, d4, f4, c6, h1, wherever you like.The challenge is to find a square for thebishop which creates a drawn position.The obvious answer is Bd4:The unit of e5+Bd4 looks very solid, butthere is a problem. The bishop iscondemned to a purely defensive role.Moreover, Black has no counterplay andno hope of fighting for the light squares.He must sit and wait. Black’s defensiveplan will be simple (keep the bishop andpawn connected and move the king) butnot necessarily successful.In fact, the position is a relatively easywin for White. For example, with White tomove the game may proceed:1. Kc4 Kd6 2. Rh3 Ke6 3. Rh6+ Ke7 4. Kd5The light squares are extremely weak,and White has no problem advancing intothe Black position.4. ... Bc3 5. Rh5Threatening Rxe5(+), after which theresult of the exchanges would be a lostking and pawn endgame.5. ... Kf8 6. Kd6 Ke8The most stubborn, after 6. ... Bd4 7.Kd7 Bc3 8. Rf5+ Kg7 9. Ke6 White willcapture the e-pawn next move, and reachthe key square on d6.7. Ke6 Kd8 8. Rh7 Bd4 9. Rg7!White waits until the bishop moves to anunprotected square. The reason for this isgiven in the next note.9. ... Bc3 10. Rd7+!The point is that after 10. ... Ke8 11.Rc7! wins the bishop, so Black’s king isforced into a fatal cut.10. ... Kc8 11. Rd5Followed by 12. Rxe5 and the whiteking will reach the key square on f6. Whitewins.What about placing the bishop on alight square such as d7?(see diagram top of next column)This time the bishop can attack the e4-pawn and cover light squares when thewhite king attempts to approach. This ismuch more important than the apparentweakness of the e5-pawn. Of course, ifWhite can attack e5 with both king androok the pawn will fall, but as we will seethis cannot be favorably achieved.1. Rb6+ Ke7 2. Kc4 Be6+ 3. Kc5 Bf7Already it is apparent White is experi-encing much greater difficulties this time.The bishop, pawn, and king work togetherto cover both light and dark squares.4. Rb7+ Kf6 5. Kd6Initially it seems White is doing verywell, but the weakness of his e4-pawnprevents him from any further progress.5. ... Bg6! 6. Rb4 Bh7 7. Kd5 Bg8+ 8. Kc5 Bf7In fact, the position is a draw. By combiningcounterattack against the e4-pawn withrestricting the white king, Black is able to holdthe position. Note how the active bishopcombines with the pawn to work as a unit,controlling squares of both colors.Keeping all of that in mind, let’s jumpinto this position:This is a game Krishnan Sasikiran-Magnus Carlsen, Bosna Sarajevo, 2006after White’s 36th move. Black is down aclean Exchange (in material), but clearlyhas some compensation. The black piecesare actively placed, apart from the bishopon f7. The bishop on f7 does not combinewell with the black kingside pawns. Whiteis tied to the defense of the d4-pawn andhis bishop does not have an effective post.Both kings are exposed, but White’s moreso. If the black bishop could effectivelyroute to c6 then White could have someproblems. Weighing all of this up, it seemsBlack has reasonable play; however, I stillthink Black is happy to draw this position.White’s material could easily tell once theblack pieces are evicted from their posts.The logical attempt to improve the bishopwith 36. ... Be8 shows how quickly thewww.uschess.org 11CL_01-2013_books_AKF_r9_chess life 12/11/12 10:37 PM Page 11
  14. 14. Looks at Books / Amateur to IM12 January 2013 | Chess Lifeblack pieces can be driven back [analysis]:37. f3! Re6 38. Re1Suddenly Black must give up the e-fileor allow exchanges.38. ... Bc6 39. Rxe6 Qxe6 40. Rc3 Bd541. Bf4White’s pieces begin to find good squaresand Black has no threats. Black retainssome chances as White’s king will alwaysbe weakened, but clearly the black positionhas gone downhill.Let us follow the game:36. ... f4!An excellent move. Black realizes hisbishop must stay on the kingside, so hebegins building a strong structure in whichthe bishop will thrive. He will continuethis work with ... h7-h6 and ... g6-g5,constructing a bishop and pawn unitsimilar to what we have already seen.37. Qg2 h6Preparing ... g6-g5.38. f3To make progress White has to playthis advance sooner or later.38. ... Re3Showing another point to 36. ... f4,preparing to exploit the weakness thatmay appear on e3. Black embarks onfavorable exchanges starting with thistemporary sacrifice.39. Bxe3It was also possible to decline thesacrifice with a neutral move such as 39.h4. After this Black had prepared thetactical response 39. ... Rxd3 40. Rxd3Ne5! After which either the d4- or f3-pawnwill fall.39. ... Nxe3This is the type of position Black wasaiming for with 36. ... f4.40. Qf2 Nxd1 41. Rxd1 g5The plan beginning with 36. ... f4 hasbeen a complete success. Black’s pawnstructure maximizes his pieces. Noticehow Black insisted on this structure,preparing himself for the endgame. Hisbishop and pawn unit gives rise to twoimportant trumps in his quest to draw:• If only the f3 and f4 pawns remain on theboard, the rook versus bishop endgame isa draw. Compare with the correct solutionto the ‘riddle’ earlier in this chapter.• Black has constructed the makings of oneof the ‘fortress’ positions with the pawns ong5 and h6. In a rook versus bishop endgamewith, for example, f3, h3 versus g5, h6,Black should be able to hold the position.42. Qe2 Be6 43. Kh2 Qf5Encouraging White to exchange queens.44. Qxe5+ Qxe5 45. dxe5 Kg6 46. Rd8Attempting to hold the e5-pawn willlead to a position such as 46. Ra1 Kf547. Ra5 Bd7 48. Kg2 Bc6 where Whitewill be tied forever to the weak pawns onf3 and e5.46. ... Kf5 47. Rh8 Kxe5 48. Rxh6 Bf5 49. Kg2Be6 50. Kf2 Bf5 51. h4Attempting to improve the king with 51.Ke2 Be6 52. Kd2 Bf5 53. Kc3 Be6 54. Kb4is also fruitless. After 54. ... Bd5 Whitecannot hold the f3-pawn.51. ... gxh4 52. Rxh4 Be6 53. Rh5+ Kf6 54. Rc5Bb3 55. Ke2 Ke6 56. Kd3 Bd5The bishop finds a strong diagonal. Withf3 under attack White cannot make anyfurther progress. Although some accuracyis still required, the position is drawn.How do you pick specific training positions likethese? How do you incorporate and work withan engine? What are the engines strengthsand weaknesses? Well, you don’t need tomemorize that many specific theoreticalpositions. Some are important. I detailwhat I consider to be vital in the book.Mainly it’s about amassing knowledge ofpatterns and principles.But let us say I have a specific position(or class of position, such as a specificmaterial balance) that I want to master. Myusual method is to play the position severaltimes against a playing partner or anengine, without studying the position at all.In this way you see the problems in theposition really clearly. Afterwards I wouldstudy the analysis of the position andthen play it several more times.It’s tempting to say engines are weak in theendgame, but in reality the best engines arejust very strong at chess, period. They willevaluate the vast majority of positions verywell. Of course they have a weakness inpositions where the static evaluation is lessimportant than whether or not one side canmake progress. For instance, in an opposite-colored bishop endgame the computer maytell you the side with an extra pawn is +1.50,which means very little. Similarly it maystruggle with a very technical position whenit cannot calculate to the end.What kinds of metrics do you use to evaluateyour training progress? Certainly there are noendgame-specific ratings. True, but you cansee fairly easily whether or not you aremisplaying endgames and whether or notyou are converting winning positions andsaving drawing positions. Also you will knowyourself if you understood what you weredoing or not during the game.The goal is to become a better player ingeneral, anyway, so we want our overallrating to improve, thanks to our increasedchess knowledge and confidence.Besides your book, what training tools orreference works would you recommend to aclass-player interested in endgame training?Endgame theory is fairly static, and there areplenty of good reference books out therewhich will give you the theoretical positions.Personally I enjoy the old works likeAverbakh’s Comprehensive Chess Endings,and Rook Endings by Smyslov and Levenfish,but there are modern books which will givethe same information. I wouldn’t recommendusing these to try to memorize a lot oftheoretical positions all at once, though.One position at a time and in sufficientdepth to be able to use it in a practical game.Otherwise it’s not very useful.Most of your time should be spentincreasing your ‘feel’ for positions. I foundShereshevsky and Slutsky’s Mastering theEndgame series very useful. For thosestronger players who are willing to workhard, Lutz’s Endgame Secrets is awonderful book.Where do you see your future as a chess player?I’m pretty close to the GM title, so that’s mygoal for the moment. Beyond that, I don’treally think too much about it. I wouldcertainly like to write again. I have a lotmore to say on all kinds of chess topics.What motivated you to write Amateur to IM?A lot of the book is based on positions andideas that I’ve studied myself over theyears, so in a way the project has been inproduction for a long time. Compiling thebook itself was a natural progression.I thought I had interesting things to say.I thought I was filling something of a voidin chess literature, and I thought I couldhelp guide players to improvement.What were your most and least favorite partsof the writing process? Sometimes what youwant to write is crystal clear in your mindand you can’t type it fast enough. Thoseare the enjoyable parts.Several times I got really bogged downin analysis because you have to get theassessment correct, and the computer isno help. You can spend two days analyzinga position, then on the third day you finda refutation which ruins everything. It’stough because all this time you havesomething completely different in yourmind that you really want to write about,bursting to get out.CL_01-2013_books_AKF_r9_chess life 12/11/12 12:08 PM Page 12
  15. 15. www.uschess.org 13Now you can donate online through a securewebsite atwww.uschesstrust.orgDONATETO U.S. TRUST ONLINE!Simply click onDonateand then on theMake a Donationbutton!BECOME A BENEFACTORBE A USCF BENEFACTOR!Help promote American chess by becoming a USCF Benefactor Member.Benefactor Membership includes Life Membership, a special membership card, and recognition on a benefactor pageof our website and periodically in Chess Life. The cost is $3,000, or $1,500 to existing Life Members. Half the fundscollected will go to the USCF Life Member Assets Fund and half to assist USCF operations. Become a Benefactor atuschess.org, by phone at 1-800-903-8723, or by mail to USCF, PO Box 3967, Crossville TN 38557.THANKS TO OUR BENEFACTORS!USCF BENEFACTOR MEMBERS AS OF DECEMBER 7, 2012:JIM BEDENBAUGH (OK)JOSEPH BOYLE (TX)JEFFREY DAVIDSON (CA)MARTIN DEAN (VA)BILL GOICHBERG (NY)IN MEMORY OF: DAVID KAPLANDAVID KOCHMAN (NH)CHRISTOPHER LEWIS (VA)PARKER MONTGOMERY (VT)PHILLIP SMITH (TN)HAROLD TORRANCE (PA)CHARLES UNRUH (OK)EDWARD WYCOFF (CA)PROMOTE AMERICAN CHESSadpage1_composite1_Layout 1 12/7/2012 7:32 PM Page 13
  16. 16. USCF Affairs / News for Our Members14 January 2013 | Chess LifeSPECIAL REFEREES: THE FORGOTTEN RULEBy Tim JustA quick and easy way for tournament directors to deal with a player appeal, while still atthe tournament site, is to use a Special Referee. Special Referees are one phone call awayand can be used in place of an on-site Appeals Committee. A contact list of those expe-rienced national tournament directors, volunteering their time and expertise, is a buriedtreasure hiding in plain site on the USCF web page.Phil Smith, USCF IT Director and Webmaster, suggests two really good ways to access thatlist: www.uschess.org/content/view/11939/668/ or alternatively, click on Clubs & Tournaments >Tournament Directors > Special Referees.I suggest downloading and printing this list to keep with your other tournament supplies,like in your rulebook. If you have computer-adverse tournament director friends, do thema favor and print them a copy for their records. By the way, Special Referees on that listalso make pretty good consultants even when a player appeal is not on deck.Special Referees—rule 21J—were invented in the latter half of the last century as an alter-native to the cumbersome on-site Appeals Committee process. In the pre-digital age thatlist of volunteers appeared in the printed Ratings Supplement. When the supplements ceasedpublication, and morphed into the downloadable monthly files we have today, we displaceda lot of extras including that list of Special Referee volunteers.2012-2013 USCF COMMITTEE CHAIRSSee executive board liaisons, office liaisons and members of these committees here: main.uschess.org/docs/gov/reports/CommitteeListAudit Bill Brockbillbrock1958@gmail.comAwards John Donaldsonimwjd@aol.comBarber K-8 Jon Haskel, co-chairTournament of jon@bocachess.comState Champions Stephen Shutt, co-chairstephenshutt@yahoo.comBylaws Harold J. Winston, co-chairHJWinston@aol.comGuy Hoffman, co-chairschachfuhrer@hotmail.comChess in Education F. Leon WilsonFLeonW@chesslearn.comClubs Bob Rasmussenbob.ras101@yahoo.comCollege Chess Russell S. Harwoodrussell.harwood@utb.eduCorrespondence Brad RogersChess bradleyrogers22@msn.comCramer Awards Frank Bradybradyf@stjohns.eduDenker Invitational Dewain Barber, co-chairAmChessEq@aol.comJon Haskel, co-chairjon@bocachess.comElections Ken Ballouballou@crab.mv.comEthics Richard (Buck) Buchananbuckpeace@pcisys.netFinance Randy Bauerrandybauer2300@yahoo.comHall of Fame Harold J. WinstonHJWinston@aol.comHall of Records Steve Immittchesscntr@aol.comInternational Affairs Michael Khodarkovskymkhodarkovsky@yahoo.comLMA Dr. Tim Redmanredmanink@yahoo.comVice-chair Dr. Leroy Dubecklwdubeck@aol.comMilitary Chess Mike Hoffpauirmhoffpauir@aol.comOutreach Myron Liebermanazchess@cox.netPPHB John Donaldsonimjwd@aol.comPublications Ramon Hernandezrahernan@optonline.netRatings Mark Glickmanglicko@gmail.comRules David Kuhnse4e5@hughes.netScholastic Council/ Jay Stallings, co-chairCommittee coachjay@cycl.orgSunil Weeramantry, co-chairpawntunes@gmail.comSenior Charles HatherillKingsgambit50@earthlink.netStates Guy Hoffmanschachfuhrer@hotmail.comTop Players no chair namedTDCC Tim JustMrjust@yahoo.comVice-chair Jeff Wieweljwiewel@ntnusa.comU.S. Open Hal Terrie IIIhalterrie@comcast.netWomen’s Chess Isabelle Minoofarbhchessclub@hotmail.comCOMMITTEE / CHAIRPERSONCOMING IN2013!THEPAUL MORPHYGRANDPRIX!LOOK FOR DETAILSCOMING SOON, AND CHECKwww.uschess.org/ratings/MorphyGP/FOR CURRENT INFORMATION.CL_01-2013_USCFAffairs_AKF_r7_chess life 12/11/12 10:42 PM Page 14
  17. 17. It’s Coming.April 5-7 2013Nashville TNSee TLA on page 53SuperNationalsVsupernationals_teaser_supernationals_teaser_ad 12/11/12 4:12 PM Page 1
  18. 18. Chess to Enjoy / EntertainmentEONS AGO, WHEN GIANT NEWSPAPEReditors trod the earth, they would sendreporters to train stations, steamshipdocks and airports when word leaked outthat a celebrity, even a minor “celeb,” wasdue to arrive. That’s how I ended up atKennedy Airport one afternoon waiting tointerview a passenger named ThomasAustin Preston Jr.Preston was a folk hero, at least amongpoker folk, who knew him by his handle,Amarillo Slim. He was renowned for,among other things, this advice to ama-teurs who choose to risk their own cashmoney: “Look around the table,” Slim said.“If you don’t see a sucker, get up—becauseyou’re the sucker.”Slim was happy when my photographeroffered him a ride with us into Manhattan.But as we cruised along the Van WyckExpressway and I peppered him with ques-tions, he refused to give me anythingnewsworthy. “I’m here to see Santy Claus,”he said.So, I decided to use this unique oppor-tunity to seek professional advice. Iexplained that I was always getting bluffedwhen there was a big pot. Slim narrowedhis eyes as he looked at me and said,“Well, then your heart isn’t as big as a pea.”That’s how I confirmed my official sta-tus in the world of games: I’m a wimp. Inpoker, I get bluffed. In chess, I offer draws.A draw?GM Andy SoltisGM Roman DzindzichashviliBoston 1988(see diagram top of next column)But I didn’t dare offer a draw in thisposition. I was dead lost: Two pawns downand with three minutes (compared withBlack’s half hour) to reach move 50. Thegame headed to its natural result with 35... Qc2 36. Qf3 f5 37. Qd5+ Kg7 38. Ne3.But instead of 38. ... Qxb2! and 39. ...Ra2, which would have sealed the deal, heplayed 38. ... Qc6? 39. Qe6 d5? 40. Qxd5Qxd5 41. Nxd5.Suddenly Black’s edge has evaporated.He wouldn’t have anything after 41. ...Ra7 42. Nxb4, for example.Instead, he played 41. ... Re6??. I replied42. Bxb4—along with a draw offer.He accepted and it wasn’t until the post-mortem that I understood why: Black islost, e.g. 42. ... Rc6 43. Ne7! followed by44. Nxc6 or 44. Rxd7.Okay. I can find excuses for that one.After all, I might not have seen that 42. ...B-moves 43. Nc7! with the seconds I hadleft. But what about the games like this,I asked myself?Modern Defense (B06)GM Jon ArnasonGM Andy SoltisLone Pine 19811. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. f4 c6 5. Nf3Bg4 6. Be3 Qb6 7. Qd2 Nd7 8. 0-0-0 Qa5 9.Kb1 b5 10. e5 d5 11. Bd3 b4 12. Ne2 e6 13.Nh4 c5 14. dxc5 Nxc5 15. Bxc5 Qxc5 16. h3Bxe2 17. Qxe2 Ne7 18. g4 Nc6 19. Nf3 0-0 20.h4 a5 21. h5 Rfe8 22. hxg6 hxg6 23. Ng5 Nd424. Qf2I was only probably lost this time and Ihad a luxurious 10 minutes to reach move40. It was time to get desperate—24. ... b3!25. cxb3 Nxb3 26. Qe1? Nd4 27. Qf2 Rab8 28.Rh7 Rb7 29. Bxg6 Reb8! 30. Bxf7+ Kf8 31. Qxd4.Next came 31. ... Rxb2+ 32. Qxb2 Rxb2+33. Kxb2 Qb4+ 34. Kc2 Qc4+ 35. Kd2? Qxf4+ 35.Kc2 Qxg5 37. Bxe6 Qxe5.Black threatens to mate (38. ... Qc3+and ... Qb2 mate) or win the bishop (38. ...Qxe6) or a rook (38. ... Qe4+). White mightbe able to fight on after something like 38.Rf1+ and 39. Rxg7 but Black has all thewinning chances. But I offered a draw.Wimpiness reveals itself at muchstronger levels than I played in. Super-grandmasters are so afraid of the MarshallGambit in the Ruy Lopez these days thatthey avoid it with scaredy-cat moves likeh3, a3 and d3. Some do the same in theSicilian Defense.After Peter Leko played passively asWhite in a 2000 game, Garry Kasparovsneered, “As long as Leko plays a3, h3 inthe Sicilian Defense I cannot leave big-time chess!”Boris Spassky said to excel in chess youneeded a quality he called “spine.” In aJuly 20, 2001 interview with Izvestia henamed Alexei Shirov as the most creativeand talented young player of the day. “ButShirov has insufficient spine,” he added.Some would argue that wimp-out drawoffers are the result of psychological inflex-ibility. It’s the inability to reset yourselfemotionally when a lost or bad positionchanges dramatically.World Champion Vishy Anand toldChess magazine in 2010 that there areplayers like Anatoly Karpov who haveplenty of resetting ability: “He could havea really bad position for the first 30 movesand then his opponent would make onemistake and Karpov will start playing fora win immediately.”A Heart As Big As A PeaIt’s not as bad as losing a drawn position but ...By GM ANDY SOLTIS16 January 2013 | Chess LifeCL_01-2013_soltis_JP_r7_chess life 12/7/2012 12:47 PM Page 16
  19. 19. On the other hand, Anand added, “Thereare other people that are so relieved athaving escaped that they cannot play fora win anymore.”This is probably a form of the phenom-enon called Loss Aversion that I wroteabout some time ago. When you survive anear-death experience you can becomeso elated by the prospect of a draw that itnever occurs to you that you can play formore. For example:King’s Indian Defense,Classical Variation (E95)GM Helgi GretarssonGM Andy SoltisBermuda International 19991. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 Nbd7 4. e4 e5 5. Nf3g6 6. Be2 Bg7 7. 0-0 0-0 8. Re1 c6 9. Bf1 a610. h3 exd4 11. Nxd4 Re8 12. Bf4 Ne5 13. Rc1Nh5 14. Be3 c5! 15. Nc2 Be6 16. Na3 Nc6 17.Rc2 Be5 18. Rd2 Qf6 19. Rxd6! Bxd6 20. Qxd6Ne5 21. Qd2 Qd8 22. Nd5 Rc8? 23. Bg5 Qd724. Be2 Bxd5 25. cxd5 f6 26. f4! fxg5 27. fxe5Qd8 28. Bg4 Rb8 29. e6 Nf4Amarillo Slim used to say he didn’t playcards, he played people. At this point wewere both in time pressure and we weren’tplaying chess, we were playing clock.30. Nc4 h5 31. g3? b5? 32. Ne5 Nxe6? 33.Nc6! Qc7 34. Bxe6+ Rxe6 35. Nxb8 Qxg3+ 36.Kh1 Rf6 37. Rg1 Qh4Now instead of 38. Qe3! g4 39. Rg3, thegame went 38. Rg2?? Rf3! 39. Nc6? Rxh3+ 40.Rh2 Qxe4+ 41. Qg2.The strange thing is I knew I hadreached 40 moves, the time control. I couldhave taken 40 or 50 minutes to look formore than the perpetual check staringme in the face. So, instead of 41. ... Rf3!,winning, I played 41. ... Qe1+? 42. Qg1 Qe4+... and offered a draw.But there was one example that wasworse. It was played back in the days ofadjournments, so I could have sealed mymove and ...U.S. versus USSRVitaly TseshkovskyAndy SoltisWorld Student Team Championship, Dresden 1969It was in a U.S.-USSR match, always abig deal during the Cold War. I had beendaring my opponent to find a mate in ourmutual time pressure. He could havedrawn by perpetual checks at variouspoints. But he never lacked spine andplayed 34. Qe3+? g5 35. Qf2 Qe4 36. Rf6+ Rg637. Rf8.His attack was over and I was threepawns up. I could have given a few checksand sealed my 40th move. I’d have at least24 hours to find the win.But by now you know what happened.I made the checks, 37. ... Qh1+ 38. Kd2 Qd5+39. Ke1 Qh1+ 40. Kd2 and offered a draw.Why? The only explanation I can thinkof is ... Well, I already had one, from Amar-illo Slim.Archival Chess Life PDFs and .pgn files areavailable on uschess.org, Chess Life Magazine,Downloadable Files.www.uschess.org 17Draw?Now it’s your turn to win drawnpositions. In each of these sixpositions the player whose turn it wasto move accepted a draw—or offeredone that was immediately accepted.Your task is to find what they missed.In each case there is a move thatleads to a forced win of a decisiveamount of material—or, in one case,a mate. For solutions see page 71.Problem IAchim LongwitzHans Peter LohsseBLACK TO PLAYProblem IVGM Istvan BilekIM Teodor GhitescuWHITE TO PLAYProblem IIIM Victor CiocalteaIM Wolfgang PietzschWHITE TO PLAYProblem VIM Ricardo CalvoIM Svend HamannBLACK TO PLAYProblem IIIGM Sam ReshevskyFotis MastichiadisBLACK TO PLAYProblem VIGM Garry KasparovGM Zoltan RibliWHITE TO PLAYChess to Enjoy / EntertainmentCL_01-2013_soltis_JP_r7_chess life 12/7/2012 5:40 PM Page 17
  20. 20. Solitaire Chess / InstructionONE ADVANTAGE OF CASTLING ONopposite sides of the board is that theplayers are freer to move the pawns on theside lodging the enemy king, since thatdoesn’t necessarily expose the player’sown king to attack. In such cases, winningis often a matter of beating the other playerto the punch. That is, by getting therefirst, one stops the defender in his or hertracks, and the counterattack never getsgoing. An example of that kind of one-sided battering is the game George AlanThomas versus Mario Monticelli (Black)from the encounter between England andItaly in the 1933 Folkestone Olympiad.Once Thomas began his assault, it was asif Black’s play stopped completely. Thegame began:Ruy Lopez, Deferred Steinitz (C73)George Alan Thomas (ENG)Mario Monticelli (ITA)Folkestone Olympiad 19331. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 d6 5.Bxc6+ bxc6 6. d4 f6 7. Be3 Ne7Now make sure you have the above posi-tion set up on your chessboard. As youplay through the remaining moves in thisgame, use a piece of paper to cover the arti-cle, exposing White’s next move only aftertrying to guess it. If you guess correctly,give yourself the par score. Sometimespoints are also rewarded for second-bestmoves, and there may be bonus points—or deductions—for other moves and vari-ations. Note that ** means that the note toBlack’s move is over and White’s move ison the next line.**8. Qd2 Par Score 5White could also play 8. Nc3. Eitherway, White is getting ready to castle queen-side.8. … Ng6The move, 8. ... Rb8, seizing the halfopen b-file, could be answered by 9. Nc3Rxb2 10. dxe5 fxe5 11. Nxe5, since 11. ...dxe5 runs into 12. Qxd8+ Kxd8 13. 0-0-0+, gaining the Exchange. Accept 2 bonuspoints if you saw it.**9. Nc3 Par Score 5White develops, still with the possibilityof queenside castling.9. … Be710. h4 Par Score 5In anticipation of Black castling king-side, White commences kingside operations.Of course he could have castled himself, onthe queenside, which gets full credit.10. … 0-0Monticelli castles kingside, allowing hisknight to be driven to the corner, inas-much as he sees how he can bring it backinto play. All the same, he might havetried to hold his ground with 10. ... h5.**11. h5 Par Score 511. … Nh812. 0-0-0 Par Score 5There we have it. Both sides have cas-tled on opposite wings of the chessboard.Let’s see who musters a stronger attackfirst.12. … Nf713. Rdg1 Par Score 5White wastes no time. He repositions hisqueen-rook to support a g-file advance, fig-uring to follow with a subsequent g2-g4and then perhaps to g4-g5.13. … Bd7On 13. ... Bg4, White plays 14. Ne1,followed by f2-f3 and g3-g4 (1 bonuspoint).**14. g4 Par Score 514. … exd4Black looks to meet White’s flank aggres-sion with counterplay in the center, just asrecommended in the books. That policydoesn’t always work. Here Black gets thee5-square but it proves temporary.**15. Nxd4 Par Score 415. … Ne5Black doubly attacks g4.**16. Qe2 Par Score 5And not 16. f3? (Deduct 2 points)because of 16. ... c5 17. N-moves Nxf3.16. … Qc817. Nf5 Par Score 5White threatens a big knight fork on e7.17. … Re8Black avoids 17. ... Bxf5 18. gxf5, hand-ing White the open g-file.**18. f4 Par Score 5This drives back the enemy knight whileopening the second rank for the queen toreach h2.18. … Nf719. h6 Par Score 5One way or another, this last movebrings about a breach in Black’s castledposition. Notice that Black hasn’t exactlymustered an attack of his own on thequeenside.Getting There “Firstest”With The “Mostest”Did your opponent just castle on the opposite side of the board? It’s on!By BRUCE PANDOLFINI18 January 2013 | Chess LifeCL_01-2013_pando_JP_r7_chess life 12/7/2012 12:11 PM Page 18
  21. 21. Solitaire Chess / Instruction19. … Nxh6On 19. ... Bxf5, there could follow 20.gxf5 Nxh6 21. Rxh6 (1 bonus point). On 19.... g6, White has 20. Nxe7+ Rxe7 21. Bd4,winning the f-pawn (1 bonus point). Thesame goes for 19. ... gxh6, when White fol-lows with 20. Nxe7+ Rxe7 21. Bd4 Kg7 22.g5 hxg5 23. fxg5 (1 bonus point).**20. Nxg7! Par Score 6Accept only 5 points part credit for 20.Nxh6+ gxh6 21. Rxh6. Black’s position ispretty shaky, but he can still offer adefense by ... Be7-f8 and ... Bf8-g7. Afterthe knight sacrifice, Black is hard pressedto ward off mate.20. … Kxg7If 20. ... Bxg4, then 21. Nf5 and Whiteis winning. For example, if 21. ... Nxf5,then 22. Qxg4+ Kh8 23. exf5 Rg8 24.Rxh7+ Kxh7 25. Qh5 mate (1 bonus point).Or if 21. ... Kh8, then White has suchdelightful possibilities as 22. Nxh6 Bxe223. Nf7 mate (1 bonus point); or 22. Rxg4Nxg4 23. Qxg4 Rg8 24. Rxh7+ Kxh7 25.Qh5 mate (1 bonus point). But Whiteshouldn’t continue 22. Rxh6 because of22. ... Bxe2 23. Rg7 Qxf5!. Incidentally, 21.... Kf8 could be met by 22. Nxh6 Bxe223. Rg8 mate (1 bonus point).**21. Qh2 Par Score 521. … Nf7Possibly, this is Black’s best. Alternativesmight have been 21. ... Nxg4 22. Qxh7+Kf8 23. Qg6 (among others) 23. ... Bd8 24.Rh7 and mate coming up (1 bonus point);or 21. ... Ng8 22. Qxh7+ Kf8 23. f5, fol-lowed by Bh6+; or 21. ... Rh8 22. Qxh6+Kg8 (on 22. ... Kf7 23. g5 follows) 23. g5fxg5 (23. ... f5 24. g6) 24. Bd4 Qf8 25.Rxg5+ Bxg5 26. Qxg5+ Kf7 27. Qf6+ andQxh8 (1 bonus point).**22. Qxh7+ Par Score 522. … Kf823. f5! Par Score 5White threatens 24. Bh6+ Nxh6 25.Qxh6+ Kf7 26. Qg6+ and mate next move(1 bonus point).23. … Bd8Black vacates e7 for the king.**24. Qg6 Par Score 5This is a good practical choice, threat-ening 25. Rh7 and, if 25. ... Re7, then 26.Qg7+ Ke8 27. Qg8 mate (1 bonus point).You may take full credit for 24. g5, with lotsof good contingencies available. You mayalso take full credit for 24. Bh6+. Butaccept no credit for 24. Qxf7+ Kxf7 25.Rh7+ Kg8 26. Rgh1 Rf8 27. Rh8+ Kf7 28.R1h7+ Ke8, and the black king escapes.24. … Ke7If 24. ... Re7, then 25. Rh8+ Nxh8 26.Bh6+ Rg7 27. Qxg7+ Ke8 28. Qf8 mate (2bonus points).**25. Rh7 Par Score 5The noose is tightening.25. … Rf826. Bh6 Par Score 5White threatens to take first the rookand then the knight.26. … Be827. Qg7 Par Score 5The rook is indefensible at f8. If it goesto g8 or h8, White just removes it. And on27. ... Kd7, there follows 28. Qxf8 Be729. Rxf7 Bxf7 30. Qxf7, leaving White apiece ahead. So ...27. … Black resigned.www.uschess.org 19ABCs of ChessThese problems are all related to keypositions in this month’s game. In eachcase, Black is to move. The answers canbe found in Solutions on page 71.January Exercise: Set up whatever pawnconfiguration you’re interested in. Placingthe kings in neutral posts, analyze or playout against a partner or software theposition until you get a sense for it. Thenbegin adding pieces, minor pieces first,making sure to try out all possibilities(knight versus knight or knight versusbishop, and varying with light or darksquare bishops). After working minorpieces, move to situations of rook versusrook and queen versus queen. Try to avoidinitial setups where immediate tacticsdecide. Study enough of thesearrangements and you should begin tograsp some of the positional essentials ofparticular pawn structures.Problem IDouble AttackProblem IVMating netProblem IIForkProblem VMating netProblem IIIPinProblem VIMating netTOTAL YOUR SCORE TO DETERMINEYOUR APPROXIMATE RATING BELOW:Total Score Approx. Rating95+ 2400+81-94 2200-239966-80 2000-219951-65 1800-199936-50 1600-179921-35 1400-159906-20 1200-13990-05 under 1200CL_01-2013_pando_JP_r7_chess life 12/7/2012 12:12 PM Page 19
  22. 22. 20 January 2013 | Chess LifeORWAY’S BRILLIANT 21-YEAR-OLD Magnus Carlsen continuedhis stunning run of tournamentsuccess, defeating U.S.-born Ital-ian Fabiano Caruana, 20, in a blitz playoffmatch in Bilbao, Spain, to take his secondGrand Slam Final title.The 2012 Grand Slam Final featuredthe winners of the most elite tournamentsof 2012: Carlsen (Tal Memorial winner),Levon Aronian (winner of Wijk aan Zee),plus Caruana and Sergei Karjakin, jointwinners of Dortmund 2012. Add the win-ner of the 2012 World Championshipmatch, Viswanathan Anand, and theGrand Slam Final became a serious end-of-season event.The only big name missing was VladimirKramnik (winner of the London Classicin December 2011), because the formerworld champion refuses to play in tourna-ments split between continents. (In 2012the organizers gave a 10-day breakbetween the first half in São Paulo and theNGM MAGNUS CARLSENText by GM IAN ROGERS | Photos by CATHY ROGERSAre you smarter tCarlsen adds a jewel to his crown; our reporter offers Chess Life rCL_01-2013_Bilbao_AKF_r10.qxp_chess life 12/11/12 3:02 PM Page 20
  23. 23. www.uschess.org 21second half in Bilbao to overcome any jet-lag, but still this was not enough toovercome Kramniks objections.)Despite the rarefied field, Carlsen andCaruana dominated the 2012 Grand SlamFinal with no other player finishing abovea 50% score—Aronian and Anand wononly one game between them!Carlsen’s title was a new jewel in analready glittering crown. Since 2009Carlsen has won 10 super-tournaments,winning every tiebreaker in which he hasbeen involved during that period.Carlsen also moved his rating to withinfour points of Kasparov’s long-standing2851 record—though rating inflationmakes rating comparisons over time mis-leading, with even Kasparov admittingthat his 2851 may not have been superiorto Bobby Fischer’s 1972 figure of 2785.In Bilbao, Carlsen managed to overhaulthe big lead Caruana had established dur-ing the first half of the tournament in SãoPaulo, avenging his first round loss toGM FABIANO CARUANAt han a SUPER GM?readers a chance to equal or better the world’s best players.CL_01-2013_Bilbao_AKF_r10.qxp_chess life 12/11/12 3:02 PM Page 21
  24. 24. Cover Story / 2012 Grand Slam Final22 January 2013 | Chess LifeCaruana and also beating World ChampionAnand in a key penultimate round game.“I felt I played really well,” was Carlsen’ssummary—rare self-praise from the Nor-wegian who is always one of the biggestcritics of his own play.Despite eventually losing the Grand Slamtitle to Carlsen, Caruana also walked awayfrom the tournament with great honor.Over the 10 rounds Caruana scoredvictories over the top two players in theworld, Carlsen and Aronian; the latter vic-tory in round nine enabling Caruana tokeep pace with Carlsen.Going into the last round Caruana andCarlsen were level on points but Carlsenfaced the formidable Aronian while Caruanawas paired against tailender Paco Vallejo.Yet, to the astonishment of the specta-tors, after 25 minutes of play in the finalround Caruana had allowed Vallejo, 30, toforce a draw leaving the way clear forCarlsen to draw his own game and thenwin the playoff.Only later it emerged that the previousnight Vallejo—depressed by his poor form—had announced his retirement and wasplanning to go back to his home island ofMallorca and reassess his life.Though Caruana did not say it openly,all indications are that the chivalrous Ital-ian did not want to beat Vallejo in whatmight be his final game and, at the possi-ble cost of the Grand Slam title, gaveVallejo a chance to end the tournamentwith an honorable draw.Some criticized Caruana’s lack of killerinstinct, but many more offered praise,for the Italian’ performance off and on theboard.Canadian GM Kevin Spraggett evendared to suggest that 20-year-old Caruanamight be the man to take ViswanathanAnand’s world title—though Caruana willhave to wait at least three years since heis not placed in the 2013 Candidates tour-nament. Certainly after a great result inthe Tal Memorial, a win in Dortmund andnow success in the Grand Slam Final,Caruana has established his place amongthe world elite; now ranked as numberfive in the world yet almost two yearsyounger than Carlsen.••••••••••••••Are You Smarter than aSuper-Grandmaster?From the very first round, the armchaircritics, with computer programs such asHoudini running by their side, werescathing about the number of errors madeby the competitors in the Grand SlamFinal.Certainly the world’s best players makemistakes—they have blood, not silicon,in their veins—but many of the so-calledblunders were far from obvious to non-computers.Test yourself on the following positions—can you find the correct move and dobetter than the world’s best?São Paulo Grand Slam Final Round 1GM Fabiano Caruana (FIDE 2773, ITA)GM Magnus Carlsen (FIDE 2843, NOR)Carlsen, pushing hard for a win withBlack over the past 40 moves, has allowedCaruana to complicate matters with anExchange sacrifice—just at the point whenCarlsen had only two minutes left on hisclock (plus 10 second increments) to fin-ish the game.Indeed, Carlsen tumbled to defeat fromhere—can you do better?SOLUTION:81. ... Rb2?Carlsen misses one last chance to hold thegame, with the unlikely 81. ... Rb3+!! 82.Kxe4 (82. cxb3? cxb3 actually wins forBlack.) 82. ... Rc3! when Black can take thec-pawn and survive.82. d5! Rxc2 83. d6!Now Black’s rook cannot get behind thepassed d-pawn quickly enough.83. ... c3 84. d7 Rd2 85. d8=Q Rxd8 86. Bxd8 h4!“The only chance,” said Caruana, whoused most of his remaining time to makesure of a clear path to victory.87. gxh4!87. Bxh4? c2 88. Kd2 e3+ 89. Kxc2 e2would be an unfortunate accident.87. ... g3 88. f6! c2 89. Kd2 e3+ 90. Kxc2 e2 91.Ba5!, Black resigned.After 91. ... Kh3—the king cannot step onto the f-file without allowing White to queenwith check—92. Kd2! g2 93. Bb6—Whitehas succeeded in covering all the blackpawns and his f-pawn will be the winner.That was tricky, I agree. How aboutsomething easier?(see diagram top of next column)São Paulo Grand Slam Final Round 5GM Levon Aronian (FIDE 2816, ARM)GM Fabiano Caruana (FIDE 2773, ITA)Aronian (White) is two pawns up, with15 minutes left and “completely winning”as the Armenian grandmaster said. Sohow should White finish the job?SOLUTION:55. h6+?“I had too many ways to win,” was Aroniansexplanation for this failed combination. 55.Rf5 would hold the extra pawns with a slowbut sure win.55. ... Kxh6 56. Rf5A humble admission of error. Aronian hadintended 56. Nxc6!? but realized too latethat after 56. ... Kg5! 57. Rg4+ Kf5 58.Nd4+ Ke5 his pieces are so tangled up thathe must lose one of his extra pawns.56. ... Kg7 57. f4 Rb1+ 58. Kc3 Rb3+ 59. Kd4Rb4+ 60. Ke3 Rb3+ 61. Kf2 Rc3Now White can make no progress and Aron-ian gave up trying a dozen moves later.62. Nd7 Kg6 63. Rf8 Ra3 64. Nb6 Be4 65. Ke2Bf5 66. Rd8 Be4 67. Nc4 Rc3 68. Rd4 Bd5 69.Ne5+ Kf5 70. Nd7 Be6 71. Kd2 Rf3 72. Nb8 Bd573. Na6 Rxf4, Draw agreed.OK—that one wasn’t fair. Who wantspuzzles where the boring move is correctand the combination is wrong? So here’ssomething completely different:Bilbao Grand Slam Final Round 9GM Magnus Carlsen (FIDE 2843, NOR)GM Viswanathan Anand (FIDE 2780, IND)continued on page 26CL_01-2013_Bilbao_AKF_r10.qxp_chess life 12/11/12 3:03 PM Page 22
  25. 25. www.uschess.org 23AS THE WORLD CHAMPION DREWgame after game at the Grand SlamFinal in Sao Paulo and Bilbao, chessfans started wondering whether theywere watching a form slump by GMViswanathan Anand or something worse.The bare statistics of Anand’s recentresults are worrying enough. The Indianhas not won a classical tournament forfour and a half years and had only wontwo classical games since the 2011 GrandSlam Final twelve months ago— a periodwhich included his successful world titledefense against GM Boris Gelfand.Statistics can be misleading—Anand,42, also only lost three games in theperiod—but his percentage of draws hasreached worrying proportions, especiallyin an era with anti-draw regulations.Last November Anand completed theTal Memorial tournament in Moscowwith nine consecutive draws and his runof draws from the end of the world titlematch through to Sao Paulo and Bilbaohas been even longer, capped off in roundnine by a loss to GM Magnus Carlsen.The chess world has not seen suchpoor tournament results from a worldchampion since GM Tigran Petrosian inthe 1960s.Anand dismisses some of the routineexplanations for his mediocre results,such as being distracted by having ayoung child.Yet Anand does admit, reluctantly, thatage may be becoming a factor, though notin the sense that he can no longer calcu-late with clarity and depth.Rather, Anand has struggled to find away to use the initiative which is sup-posed to come with the white pieces andthe first move in an era of computerenhanced preparation.When asked at a Sao Paulo press con-ference immediately after a lacklusterdraw against GM Levon Aronian whenwas the last time he had broken downAronian’s opening choice, the Berlin Wall,Anand was forced to admit, sheepishly,“2003.” (“The Berlin Wall is really killing1. e4,” Anand said later. “Can you believethat ... Be6-c8 is the latest fashion andWhite cant seem to do anything?”)Indeed Anand has expressed his admi-ration for the way Aronian, alone of thetop players when playing White, con-tinually comes up with new ideas tocreate problems for his opponents. (Cer-tainly Anand’s remarkable statementthat he felt he would learn a lot from aworld title match against Aronian orCarlsen shows just how far ahead hefeels his two most likely challengers arein playing 21st century chess.)The following game extract, from thefirst leg of the Grand Slam Final in SaoPaulo, shows one of Anand’s currentproblems—an uncharacteristic impetu-ousness when passively placed.Sao Paulo Grand Slam Final Round 3GM Fabiano Caruana (FIDE 2773, ITA)GM Viswanathan Anand (FIDE 2780, IND)Caruana, with White, has just played17. Rc1, with the obvious threat of 18.Nd5.After long thought, Anand decided tocall Caruana’s bluff:17. ... Re8?! 18. Nd5! exd518. ... Qd8 was safer.19. cxd5 Qb6 20. Bf2! Qxb2 21. dxc6 bxc622. Rxc6Anand had calculated this far andwanted to play 22. ... d5 23. Bd4 Qb7 butupon reaching the position noticed 24.Qc2 “when I have to resign” said Anand.(An exaggeration, but 24. ... Nh5 25.Rb1 Qa8 26. e5! is indeed ugly.)Instead Anand was forced to try thehumble ...22. ... Rdd8... but after ...23. Rxa6... found himself a pawn down fornothing, after which the World Championneeded all his defensive skills to hangonto a draw, and ultimately finish infifth place of the six players.What’s eating Viswanathan Anand?Cover Story / 2012 Grand Slam FinalCL_01-2013_Bilbao_AKF_r10.qxp_chess life 12/11/12 3:03 PM Page 23
  26. 26. CarlsenFrench DefenseGM Magnus Carlsen (FIDE 2843, NOR)GM Fabiano Caruana (FIDE 2773, ITA)Sao Paulo Grand Slam Final (6), 10.08.2012Prior to this game, the first to be playedin Bilbao after the Sao Paulo leg of theGrand Slam Final, Carlsen was trailingCaruana by a point and a half, and onlya win would do for the Norwegian.1. e4 e6 2. d3“I was a bit surprised by his choice ofthe French and so avoided main lines,”said Carlsen. “Sometimes in order to cre-ate a fight you need to choose lines thataren’t necessarily the most thoroughlyanalyzed.”2. ... d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. Ngf3 Nc6 5. c35. g3 would allow Black to equalizeimmediately with 5. ... dxe4 6. dxe4 Bc57. Bg2 0-0 8. 0-0 e5.5. ... Bd6 6. Be2 0-0 7. 0-0 a5 8. Re1 e5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10. Nc4 Re8 11. Bf1 Bg4 12. h3Bh5 13. g3 Nb6 14. Nxb6 cxb6 15. Bg2 b5Criticized by Carlsen, who was moreworried about 15. ... a4, though Caruanawondered how he was supposed to fol-low up after 16. a3.16. a4! b4?!Now Caruana drifts into a difficultposition. Black should have tried 16. ...bxa4 17. Qxa4 Bc5, or perhaps better 15.... Bc5 a move earlier, since then Be3would enable Black to exchange a piecewhich causes him trouble later in thegame.17. Be3 Bc7 18. Qb3 h6 19. Qc4 bxc3 20.bxc3 e4Carlsen thought that this mini-combi-nation was almost forced, but felt thatthe resulting endgame would be tricky forBlack.21. dxe4 Bxf3 22. Bxf3 Ne5 23. Qe2 Nxf3+24. Qxf3 Qd3 25. Kg2 Qxe4 26. Bd4 Qxf3+27. Kxf3 b6 28. Rab1 Rac8“I thought I should be able to holdthe endgame,” said Caruana. “It doesn’tseem like a losing position.”29. Re4 g6?!A few moves later Caruana realizedthat he should not have allowed White topush h4-h5 but the moment to nipWhite’s kingside expansion in the budwas now, via 29. ... h5! since an attemptto win the h-pawn with 30. Rh4 g6 31.g4 fails to 31. ... Bd8.30. g4! Kf8 31. h4 Rxe4 32. Kxe4 Re8+ 33.Kd3 Re6 34. Be3 Kg7 35. Rb5 Bd8 36. h5!(see diagram top of next column)“Now Black is tied down to the defenseof his h- and b-pawns and the win is amatter of technique,” said Carlsen.36. ... Rd6+ 37. Kc4 Rc6+ 38. Kd5 Re6 39.Bd4+ Kf8 40. f4! Bc7 41. f5 Rd6+ 42. Ke4Rc6 43. Rb1 Ke8“43. ... g5 loses to 44. Kd5 Rd6+ 45. Kc4Ke7 46. Re1+ Kd7 47. Bg7,” explainedCarlsen.44. hxg6 fxg6 45. Rh1 Kf7 46. Kd5 Rd6+ 47.Kc4 gxf5Now Carlsen finishes the game with aforcing sequence but after 47. ... g5 48.Re1! the white king will walk to b7 andend any resistance.48. gxf5 Bd8 49. f6! Bxf6Hoping for solace in a bishop ending,but in any case 49. ... Kg6 50. Rg1+leads to an invasion on g7.50. Rxh6 Be7 51. Rxd6 Bxd6 52. Kb5 Ke653. Bxb6 Kd7 54. c4 Kc8 55. Bxa5(see diagram top of next page)This endgame has been known to bewinning for White since a famous Fis-cher-Keres game from Zurich 1959.White’s only task is to avoid Black giv-ing up his bishop for the c-pawn.55. ... Kb7 56. Bb4 Bf4 57. c5 Ka7 58. c6 Kb859. a5 Ka7 60. a6 Ka8 61. Bc5 Bb8 62. Kc424 January 2013 | Chess LifeCover Story / 2012 Grand Slam FinalThe titans meet for their São Paulo game.CL_01-2013_Bilbao_AKF_r10.qxp_chess life 12/11/12 3:03 PM Page 24
  27. 27. www.uschess.org 25Cover Story / 2012 Grand Slam FinalBc7 63. Kd5 Bd8 64. Ke6 Bc7 65. Kd7 Ba566. Be7!, Black resigned.(see final diagram top of next column)CaruanaRuy Lopez, Archangelsk DefensesGM Sergey Karjakin (FIDE 2778, RUS)GM Fabiano Caruana (FIDE 2773, ITA)Sao Paulo Grand Slam Final (2), 09.25.20121. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 7. c3 d6 8. d4 Bb6 9. Be3“I had not played this line for a while,and I predicted that he would play the 9.Be3 system, since it is quite fashion-able,” said Caruana, who had come wellprepared.9. ... 0-0 10. Nbd2 Bb7 11. Re1 exd4!? 12.cxd4 Nb413. Qe2“The critical move,” said Caruana.“After 13. Qb1 (the main line) 13. ... c514. a3 Nc6 15. d5 Ne7, the queen is notso well placed on b1 because I have theplan ... h7-h6, ... Nh7 and ... f7-f5.”13. ... c5 14. a3 Nc6 15. d5 Ne7 16. h3 Re817. Bc2 Ng6 18. b3?!“White should play on the queensidewith 18. a4,” explained Caruana, “whenI was going to play 18. ... c4, threaten-ing to take on e3 and d5. Then Whiteshould play 19. Qd1, intending Nf1-g3and later making use of the d4-square.Maybe Black is slightly worse but it is notvery clear.”18. ... Ba5 19. Rab1Karjakin later regretted allowing thebishop to come to c3, saying “I shouldhave played something like 19. Qd3.”19. ... Bc3 20. Rec1 b4Caruana’s first serious think of thegame—until this move he had used only11 minutes to 45 for Karjakin. “I willhave to play ... b5-b4 sooner or laterafter 21. Bd3,” explained Caruana.21. a4Both players agreed that White shouldhave tried 21. axb4 after which Caruanawas intending 21. ... Bxb4 22. Bd3 a5“and if 23. Qd1 I again have 23. ... Ba6,”explained Caruana.21. ... a5 22. Bd3 h6 23. Qd1?“A horrible move,” said Karjakin. “Icompletely forgot about 23. ... Ba6, whenmy position is terrible. “Caruana was sur-prisingly optimistic for White, saying “After23. Qf1 I thought that it should be objec-tively equal, although I like my position—itis very comfortable. However I didn’t seeany clear plan for Black—maybe ... Ra7followed by ... Bc8 and ... Rae7. BasicallyWhite can’t move; the only question is ifBlack has an active plan.”23. ... Ba6! 24. Bc2A humble retreat, after which Black’sa6-bishop dominates the board and toadd to his woes Karjakin had only 18minutes remaining. However 24. Bxa6Rxa6 25. Qc2 Ra7 followed by 26. ...Rae7, leaves the e4-pawn doomed.24. ... Ra7! 25. Kh2 Rae7(see diagram top of next column)26. g4“A mistake,” said Caruana, “thoughhis suggestion 26. Kg1 was hardly inspir-ing.”26. ... Nxe4!26. ... Qd7 was also strong but “Iwanted something more forcing,” saidCaruana, who used only seven of his 48remaining minutes deciding on thisExchange sacrifice.27. Nxe4 Rxe4 28. Bxe4 Rxe4 29. Qc2“29. Rxc3!? bxc3 30. Qc2 was kind ofinteresting,” said Caruana, but I thinkthen 30. ... Ne5!! is winning, e.g. 31.Qxe4 Bd3 32. Qf4 Ng6 33. Qg3 Bxb1while if 31. Nxe5 I just play 31. ... Rxe532. Qxc3 Rxd5 and his king is veryweak.”29. ... Qe7 30. Rg1In growing time trouble, KarjakinCL_01-2013_Bilbao_AKF_r10.qxp_chess life 12/11/12 3:03 PM Page 25
  28. 28. Cover Story / 2012 Grand Slam Final26 January 2013 | Chess LifeBILBAO MASTERS FINAL 2012: SAO PAULO, BRAZIL—SEPTEMBER 24-29, OCTOBER 8-13PLAYERS RATING COUNTRY 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 POINTSGM Fabiano Caruana 2773 ITA 3 3 1 3 1 0 1 1 3 1 17GM Magnus Carlsen 2843 NOR 0 3 1 1 1 3 3 1 3 1 17GM Levon Aronian 2816 ARM 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 11GM Sergey Karjakin 2778 RUS 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 1 10GM Viswanathan Anand 2780 IND 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 9GM Francisco Vallejo-Pons 2697 ESP 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 6Bilbao Rule: Win 3 points, Draw 1 point, Loss 0 points.Carlsen has justplayed the very effective positional move24. g4!, cutting the black knight out of thegame. However 24. g4 also created athreat—if you work out what it is and stopit, you will be doing better than the WorldChampion.SOLUTION:24. ... Rc6? 25. Nh3!!Not the world’s most obvious attackingmove, but once you see the threat of 26.Qh6 followed by 27. Ng5, the power isobvious—in fact both Carlsen and Anandagreed that Black is now doomed.It was small consolation to Anand thateven without 24. ... Rc6 Black was probablyalready close to lost since against betterdefensive moves (such as 24. ... Rf8 or 24.... Qd6) White can double on the e-file, playNd3, Kg2 and slowly advance on thekingside, while Black’s only conceivableactive plan ... a7-a5-a4 is likely to be toolittle, too late.25. ... Ne8 26. Qh6 Nf6 27. Ng5 d3Black can avoid mate with 27. ... Qa6 28.Re5 Qc8 but after 29. Rfe1 Qf8 30. Qxf8+Kxf8 31. Nxe6+ White wins two pawnsand the game.28. Re5! Kh8Otherwise 29. Nxh7! would win.29. Rd1 Qa6 30. a4, Black resigned.Despite the playing session being littlemore than two hours old, Anand saw noreason to continue as he cannot preventRxd3, Rde3 and Nxe6. “That was reallyfun!” said Carlsen to the Norwegian mediasoon after the game; “A big disappoint-ment,” said Anand, who was losing aclassical game to Carlsen for only the sec-ond time. “Sometimes you feel like ascientist, sometimes you feel like an artistand sometimes you feel like an imbecile!”Its true—attacks starting with a back-wards knight move are not exactly easy tosee. Can’t one of these guys miss some-thing simple—like a forced checkmate?Now that you mention it ...Bilbao Grand Slam Final Round 9GM Sergey Karjakin (FIDE 2778, RUS)GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (FIDE 2697, ESP)(see diagram top of next column)In this crazily complicated position,Vallejo (Black) had only seconds left onhis clock for four moves. He could trythe fancy 37. ... Qxc5!? 38. dxc5 Re7, orthe direct counter-attack 37. ... Qb2.Which should he choose?rushes to his doom by allowing a sec-ond Exchange sacrifice. “He should play30. Re1 but it looks pretty awful,” saidCaruana. “I can play 30. ... Bxe1 31.Rxe1 Qe8! (avoiding 32. Bg5!) and later... c5-c4.”30. ... Rxe3! 31. fxe3 Qxe3A remarkable position where Black’sbishops dominate White’s rooks.32. Rbf1 Be2! 33. Qf533. Qc1 Qxc1 34. Rxc1 Bxf3 is hope-less for White.33. ... Bd3“Now his queen is cut off,” said Caru-ana. 33. ... Nh4 34. Nxh4 Be5+ was alsovery strong.34. Qd7 Be5+! 35. Kh1On 35. Nxe5 Qxe5+ 36. Kh1 Be4+ 37.Rg2 Nf4! cuts out all counterplay.35. ... Be4! 36. Qe8+ Nf8, White resigned.continued from page 22CL_01-2013_Bilbao_AKF_r10.qxp_chess life 12/11/12 3:03 PM Page 26
  29. 29. www.uschess.org 27Cover Story / 2012 Grand Slam FinalSOLUTION:Vallejo played ...37. ... Qb2??... and was mated after ...38. Qc8+, Black resigned.No doubt you were able to do better, but suchwas his shame at missing such an obviousmate that he announced his retirement thatevening on Facebook.Admittedly Vallejo was already despondentabout his performance in São Paulo andBilbao, having missed another mate in thefollowing game ...São Paulo Grand Slam Final Round 3GM Levon Aronian (FIDE 2816, ARM)GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (FIDE 2697, ESP)The question is simple: Should Vallejo(Black) take a draw by checking with hisrook on a1 and a2 or can he try for morewith 30. ... Qxh2!?SOLUTION:Vallejo, running short of time, took therepetition of moves with ...30. ... Ra1+ 31. Kg2 Ra2+ 32. Kf1 Ra1+ 33. Kg2Ra2+... and the game was drawn.Vallejo admitted that he had also beentempted to play 30. ... Qxh2, which hebelieved would oblige Aronian to force adraw with 31. Rg7+ Kxg7 32. Qe7+ whenBlack cannot escape the checks.At the post-game press conference,Brazilian GM Gilberto Milos pointed outthat 30. ... Qxh2 would actually haveallowed 31. Ne5+!! fxe5 32. Rc7+, withmate to follow.Vallejo looked shocked that he had almostwalked into this, but Aronian was equallysurprised, since he had intended 31. Rg7+and was not at all sure that he would havenoticed the forced mate. “I saw that I wasmaking a draw,” said Aronian, “but maybeI would see the mate.”“Actually, I was very lucky,” admittedVallejo, “since I was not sure whether toforce a draw or let him do so with 30. ...Qxh2 31. Rg7+.” (He was even luckier thatthe online spectators never realized that hecame so close to blundering.)Apart from Caruana’s upset win in roundone, the biggest howls of disapproval by theonline chess fans came when the two topplayers in the world were going head tohead ...São Paulo Grand Slam Final Round 4GM Magnus Carlsen (FIDE 2843, NOR)GM Levon Aronian (FIDE 2816, ARM)Carlsen (White) was well ahead on theclock—40 minutes to 13—and he spent 11minutes on the clock before playing thesurprising ...27. Bf4!!?... answered quickly by Aronian withthe equally remarkable ...27. ... Bc3!!?Your question—what were they thinking,and can you find any improvements?SOLUTION:Carlsen’s move had the idea 27. ... exf4?28. Qxf3 but, as the world number onerealized as soon as he had made his move,something was terribly wrong.Aronian briefly looked at 27. ... R8xf4!?28. gxf4 Nxf4 and saw that it was refutedby 29. Ra8+ Kh7 30. Ng5+. So, somewhatshort of time, Aronian quickly replied ...27. ... Bc3!?... with the aim of making the previousvariation playable by decoying the knightaway from control of g5.However by now every chess computerwas screaming out that 27. ... R8xf4! ...would have won, since after 28. gxf4 Nxf429. Ra8+ Black has 30. ... Bf8! and matewill be forced after 31. Rg1 Qxh2+!! 32.Kxh2 Rh3.Carlsen admitted that after his mistake hewas shaking for the rest of the game, whichconcluded ...28. Qxf3 Bxa1 29. Qg2 Qf5 30. Bd2 Bd4 31. h3Bc5 32. Bc3 Be7 33. Re1 b5 34. Kg1 b4 35. Bb2Bd6 36. h4 Be7 37. Kh2 Ra8 38. Ra1 Rxa1 39.Bxa1 Nc5 40. Nd2 Bf6 41. Bb2 b3 42. Nxb3Nxb3 43. cxb3 Qxd3 44. Qxc6 Qc2 45. Qe8+Kh7 46. Qxh5+ Kg8 47. Qe8+ Kh7 48. Qh5+,Draw agreed.The scorn on chess comment boardswas palpable—“Blunder of the month,”“Shocking,” “Embarrassing,” etc., etc.,though one or two people defended theelite grandmasters on the grounds thatthey were fallible humans.Yet there was two places where the play-ers were fully appreciated—at IbirapueraPark in São Paulo as well as the Alhóndigain Bilbao.Without the tyranny of the computerassessments, the players’ ideas were admiredand appreciated by the commentators andthe hundreds of fans who watched the gameslive every round (including during an unsea-sonal cold spell in São Paulo).The players did their part; exposingtheir flaws at post-game press conferenceswin or lose, while also posing for multiplephotos with fans—no doubt soon to bedisplayed as a modern form of autographon Facebook.At the conclusion of each half primarycommentators Gilberto Milos (in Brazil)and Leontxo Olasagasti Garcia (in Spain)made a point of thanking each of the play-ers for competing hard and fearlessly. Thethanks were amplified by the audiencewith rousing rounds of applause.The armchair critics may not have beenimpressed, but you can see from thesesix examples that, without computer help,it is not so easy to prove yourself smarterthan a super-grandmaster?Read more about the final at: www.bilbaomastersfinal.com/en/home/ and more from GM Ian Rogerson Chess Life Online, uschess.org, September andOctober archives.CL_01-2013_Bilbao_DLF_r11.qxp_chess life 12/11/12 10:38 PM Page 27
  30. 30. 28 January 2013 | Chess LifeGM Alejandro Ramirez with Moira Kamgar and Elliott LiuWhen Ramirez was asked what he was wearing, he gave hissuit lapel a proud tug and announced it was his “pimp suit.”CL_01-2013_Ramirez_AKF_r8_chess life 12/11/12 4:06 PM Page 28

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