Author: Axel Müller

Chess Club News Chess Tournaments
Close calls dominate the start of the Lasker Open

The first round of a Swiss tournament is always special. The upper half of the field plays the lower half and the resulting pairings can be quite lopsided. Be that as it may, the rating favorites still need to win their games. And so they did, but some of the matches could have gone easily the other way.

On board one Arturo Armagnac with the black pieces completely outplayed yours truly. Arturo punished me for mishandling his Leningrad Dutch and was rewarded with the following position:

White’s position is pretty hopeless here. After 22 … b5 white will perish. (Un-)Fortunately, Arturo took on d5 and allowed counterplay on the b1-h7 diagonal.

On board two David Faulkner put up a good fight against John Wright. A Caro Kann yielded the following situation:

The bishop on b2 looks pretty sad. David had the chance here to transfer the bishop to the g1-a7 diagonal. Once the bishop appears on e3 black needs to watch out for sacrifices on b6. 26. Bc1 would have given white the upper hand.

On board three Russel Keating faced Randy Hough. Russel stayed faithful to his Jobova London and could have wiped the black pieces off the board:

Randy just played 15. … e5 hoping for 16. dxe5 Nxe5 which would solve all of black’s problems and this is what happened in the game. Can you spot how white could have punished black for opening up the position while being far behind in development? (You find the solution at the end of the post.)

When you saw this post you might have wondered why I picked a picture of an old Latin book. This book is actually a chess book from 1500 (give or take a couple of decades) and one of the openings it discusses features in our game of the week played on board four between Chris Stychinsky and Patric van Haeren, a truly epic battle.

It’s not too late to join us for round 2 this Friday.

Solution for the Russel-Randy game:

Emanuel Lasker
Chess Tournaments
5 Round Lasker Tournament Starts Friday, September 18

Our second 5 round double Swiss starts September 18. Each Friday we will play one double round. The players face each other in a two game minimatch with a time control of G25 and a 10 second increment starting at move 1.

The rounds start Fridays at 7.10 pm. All games will be played on Lichess and players are required to join our Lichess team. Prior to the start of the match all players must log on to lichess, visit our team site and make their presence known in the team chat.

If you haven’t already done so, submit a join request here:

The registration fee for this tournament is $20. Families can contact us for a reduced entrance fee. 50% of the collected registration fees will be paid out in prize money.

To register head over to

or contact us by email and provide your name, email address ,lichess username, and USCF ID (if available). Your most recent USCF rating will be used for pairing purposes only. The tournament will not be USCF rated.

Update 9/15/20: You can pay the registration fee at the link above, or via Paypal by clicking the “Buy Now” button below

or make a cheque payable to the San Gabriel Valley Chess Club and send it to our HQ at:

1010 N Chester Street, Pasadena, CA 91104

The deadline for registration is Friday, Sept. 18 at 5 pm.

First round pairings will be announced by 6.30 pm.

A Fantastic Benoni player
Chess Tournaments
Member Analysis: The Son of Sorrow

Our first online Swiss tournament produced a lot of interesting games. I went over a few games in my last post already. This post features one of the games played in the Randy-Lisa match.

Randy, the rating-favorite, started the game with 1.d4 and Lisa immediately started to fight back by choosing the King’s Indian Defense. Randy killed any hopes of a black pawn storm against the white king by picking the fianchetto system and soon afterwards the game entered Benoni territory.

The game offers a number of instructive moments. Randy was determined to show why this opening is called “Son of Sorrow”, hurled his d, e, and f pawns forward, and eventually crushed through black’s defenses. But in the process the white king got pretty exposed himself and black was not without counter chances.

Anybody who would like to learn more about counter chances in the Benoni should have a look at the games of the late Vugar Gashimov. One of the few elite players that consistently played the Benoni.

I hope you find my comments somewhat useful. If you want to see one of your games featured here, please let me know.

But now without further ado

Chess Club News
Instructive moments from our first online Swiss

We managed to play 56 games in our first online event. I’m very pleased that we got to see some very interesting fighting chess. The lower rated players certainly made their higher rated opponents work for every half point. I certainly got lucky more than once.

Below you can find some of the interesting positions that occured. You can find the solutions to the questions and more here on lichess.

Black took command of the position. What’s the best way to proceed?

In the next game black got a very good position out of the opening unfortunately the tide turned and we reached this position:

How should white proceede?

After a tough struggle we reach the following position. White to move and win:

White didn’t go for the kill in the previous position and a few moves later we reach this point:

Can black escape his fate?

In my game against Raphael I got a better position but suddenly we reached this position:

Raphael just played Qd4 threatening everything. Should white resign?

I just took a pawn on e4

Which knight should black take? Or should he play something different all together

There were many more interesting games played in this tournament. If you want to see one of your games published here please let me know. For more analysis head over to lichess. Once there become a member if you aren’t already and join our San Gabriel Valley Chess Club lichess team.

You can also play through the complete annotated games here.

Don’t forget next Friday we will have a 2h Arena blitz tournament on lichess. More on this soon.

Chess Club News
First San Gabriel Valley Chess Club Online Tournament Finished

Last night we played the 5th and final round of our first online Swiss. Each round the opponents faced each other in two games one with each color and a time control of G25 and a 10 second increment. Most of the games were played on the rest was played on Lichess.

Here are the final standings:

Our second 5 round double Swiss will start on September 18th. Rounds will start Friday nights at 7.10 pm and the tournament will be held at More details will be posted soon.

On Friday, September 11th, we will have a 2h G5+5 event on lichess. If you haven’t already done so, join our lichess team:

Pasadena & Sierra Madre Chess
Chess Tournaments
Sierra Madre Open Has Started

Feb 21 BlitzPasadena chess

Friday, 02-28-2020, was the first round of our Sierra Madre Open. We are playing in two sections, rating cutoff is at 1700.

If you haven’t joined the tournament yet, there is still time to do so, just send an email to
Also email us for bye requests.

Round 2 will be on Friday, 03-06-2020. Clocks start at 7.00 pm.