Category: Chess Club News

Chess Club News
Steinitz Open Round 4: Larry Stevens wins again

With his forth win Larry Stevens secured his first place. He defeated Hamlet Tovmasyan from the black side of a Queen’s Gambit accepted. Hamlet went for an unconventional treatment of the IQP position that arose out of the opening and his aggressive play on the kingside backfired. Larry extinguished white’s initiative with a timely exchange sacrifice and soon started chasing Hamlet’s king across the board. Hamlet returned material and ended up two pawns down in a double minor piece ending. After 43 moves we reached the following position:

How should white proceed? Accept the invitation to enter an opposite colored bishop ending or keep the pair of bishops? Should the white king go for the queenside pawns or should he stay centralized and defend? Difficult questions and with less than 2 minutes on the clock Hamlet went astray.

Gerald Ruiz sacrificed his queenside pawns to install a powerful knight on d3. Soon afterwards his heavy pieces used the open files and forced John Wright’s resignation. Next round Gerald has the chance to catch up with Larry by beating him. I’m sure we will be treated to an exciting battle.

Kyan Hsu played a nice attacking game against Arturo Armagnac and was rewarded with the full point. He too can catch up with Larry if he beats Lisa Willis in the last round.

Randy Hough answered Chris Stychinsky’s with the Caro Kann and got a very promising position. After white’s 14. Qd2 black had to made a decision on how to continue.

Black is better, but what is the right plan? Randy decided to release the tension in the center and play e4. The ensuing simplifications left white’s remaining pieces in very active positions and Chris’ attack was decisive. Randy’s last move was a mouse slip but this didn’t have an impact on the result. As far as mouse slips are concerned, Randy is in good company

Lisa Willis tried her luck with a Hedgehog against Artem Aleksenko. Hedgehog’s are cute little critters, but you can get hurt when you try to go after them. Artem must have regretted throwing his e and f pawns at black’s position. Lisa made excellent use of the weak dark squares and the weak white king and emerged victorious.

David Faulkner chose a quiet setup against Manu Prasad’s King’s Indian Defense. The position soon resembled a Benoni and black was ok but after some inaccuracies in the middle game it was white who took over and David converted successfully.

Russel Keating played his trademark Jobava London against Patrick van Haeren. Patrick picked a strong setup against this system, but after losing a central pawn Russel had no problems winning the game. In the end Patrick allowed Russel a picturesque checkmate with two knights.

Richard Reid volunteered to be the house player for this round. He had the white pieces against me. After a pretty one-sided battle the game ended in a draw. After my poor opening treatment we arrived at the following position:

I just played 16. … b5. How should white react?

You can play through the games with annotations below.

You can find pairings and standings here:

https://caissachess.net/live/878

For this round we decided to award prize money to first and second place as well as to the top two players rated under 1800. The prize money is: $60, $40, $40, and $30. Ties will be broken in a 2h arena blitz tournament on December 4th. The games will be G6+1. More details will be posted after the last round is concluded.

Chess Club News Chess Tournaments
Steinitz Open Round 3: Friday 13th adventures

Disaster struck early on boards 1 and 4. Larry Stevens showed his deep understanding of the French. The subtle 8. Bd3 gave him a great position against John Hale, a lifetime French player. John erred a few moves later and the game was over. Chris Stychinsky got steamrolled by Gerald Ruiz Morra gambit:

Chris just played 6 … Nf6. How does Gerald punish him?

Hamlet Tovmasyan found himself in a difficult position against me. The opening clearly didn’t go his way. But he defended tenaciously and we reached the following position:

How should black proceed?

Artem Aleksenko and Arturo Armagnac fought a battle with many ups and downs. But it was Artem who made the last mistake

Black has a huge advantage, how can he finish the game?

Russel played a fantastic game against Lisa but stumbled just before forcing Lisa to resign.

Kyan Hsu mounted a ferocious attack against Manu Prasad weakened dark squares and delivered a picturesque checkmate.

David Faulkner and Patrick van Haeren chose the queen’s gambit accepted as their battle ground. David didn’t allow much counterplay by skillfully exploited black’s queenside weaknesses.

Randy Hough and John Wright had one of their ongoing discussions in the exchange Slav which ended in John’s favor this time.

Here are the games with some annotations. Feel free to comment.

Standings and pairings for round 4 can be found here:

https://caissachess.net/live/878

Chess Club News Chess Tournaments
Steinitz Open Round 2: Reversal of Fortunes

John Hale and Larry Stevens took the lead after winning their round two games. Gerald Ruiz unleashed a ferocious attack against John Hale’s king and chased him all across the board but with Gerald’s time running low John was able to get in a tactical shot that reversed the course of the game. Against Arturo Armagnac Larry opted for a romantic version of the King’s Gambit with 3. Bc4 and soon he got a dream position, total central control, the bishop pair and no queens to harass the misplaced white king. Arturo made good use of his two knights to launch a counter attack which Larry was able to fend off. Eventually, the players reached an equal knight ending that was a bit easier to play for white and eventually Larry reached a winning pawn ending.

Chris Stychinsky knew that my protected passed pawn was not enough for me to win the pawn ending with a couple of accurate moves he shut my king out and soon afterwards we had a threefold repetition.

Hamlet Tovmasyan sacrificed an exchange early in his game against Randy Hough. Eventually, his pair of bishops and an advanced passed d-pawn proofed to be sufficient compensation. Randy acknowledged this and returned the exchange for the d-pawn to reach a dead-drawn rook and minor piece ending. The evaluation didn’t change after the minor pieces came off. But after trading the rooks Randy was suddenly lost.

Feeling that he didn’t deserve the full point Hamlet played 67. Kf5 to draw the game.

Patrick van Haeren got a great position against Artem Aleksenko’s Alekhine Defense. But after winning the e4 pawn Artem was able to throw all his pieces against Patrick’s castled king and eventually broke through.

Stanley Zezotarski kindly agreed to play Manu Prasad as the house player. Stanley opted for a King’s Indian Attack setup against the Manu’s Pirc Defense. Manu eventually won the e4 pawn at the cost of piece coordination. In the ensuing struggle to reactivate his pieces Manu missed a tactical shot and resigned soon afterwards.

Kyan Hsu played the somewhate offbeat 2. b3 variation against David Faulkner’s Sicilian. But after a dozen moves we reached a relatively normal looking Sicilian position. Kyan was able to tempt David to weaken the d5 square. Kyan used this square as the launchpad for his irresistible attack.

Here are the games with some annotations:

As usual, the pairings for the next round can be found here:

https://caissachess.net/live/878

Clubs League Season 3
Chess Club News Chess Tournaments Club Matches: Live
Chess.com’s Clubs League Season 2 About to Begin!

First round match starts this Saturday, November 7, at 10:00 a.m. PST, against LA Fortress. There is an important change from Season 1: There are now two segments to the match, a Rapid 15/2 time control and a Blitz 3/2 time control.  You can play in both or just one if you prefer.  The Blitz match will start at 11:15, following the conclusion of the Rapid segment.  Both segments count the same for total score.  So, if the Rapid is a tie, then the Blitz could decide, and vice-versa.  We are expecting about six players on the LA Fortess side.  Registration for each segment starts one hour before the start of that segment. Again, you can join in for the Rapid, Blitz or BOTH segments. Hope to see many of you join us!

Chess Club News Chess Tournaments Club Matches: Live
Steinitz Open Round 1: Doom in the endgame

The first round of the Steinitz Open is in the books and the rating favorites prevailed. Russel and Kyan each came in striking distance of an upset. They outplayed their higher rated opponents but stumbled in their endgames. Gerald reminded everyone why his Lichess username is Gambit_Guy by winning a very nice Morra Gambit game.

Below are the games with some annotation.

The second round Hamlet Tovmasyan and John Hale will join us. The games start Friday, November 6th at 7.10pm.

Head over to https://caissachess.net/live/878 for pairings and standings.

Chess Club News Chess Tournaments Club Matches: Live
Steinitz Open Starts 10/30/2020

Our next 5 round Swiss starts this Friday. Time control for all games will be G60+10. On December 4th, the Friday after the last round we will be holding a 2h Blitz Arena on Lichess with a time control of G6+1. The final standings of the Blitz Arena will serve as tiebreakers for the main event.

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.

After round 1 I will post the pairings on Tuesdays. It is strongly encouraged that all games are played at the scheduled time. For rounds 2, 3, and 4 players can arrange an alternative date and time. The games must be played before Tuesday so that there won’t be a delay in announcing the next round payments. For the last round rescheduling your game is not permitted. Half point bye requests also need to be made before Tuesday. Bye requests for the last round have to be made no later than Monday before the Round 4 game.

Missing a game without notifying your opponent and the TD in advance will result in disqualification without refund.

If you haven’t already done so, join the team here here:

https://lichess.org/team/san-gabriel-valley-chess-club

The registration fee for this tournament is $20 before Wednesday and $25 from Thursday onwards. Families can contact us for a reduced entrance fee. 50% of the collected registration fees will be paid out in prize money.

The tournament will not be USCF rated. Online registration still requires an USCF Membership ID. It is ok if your membership lapsed. The main reason for registering with your USCF membership ID is for identification purposes. It also allows us to use your over the board ratings rather than online ratings for the pairings. If you have never been a member of the USCF and don’t plan to join either, please, contact us, you are still welcome to join this tournament.

To register head over to:

https://caissachess.net/online-registration/index/878

Contact us if you are experiencing any problems with the registration.

To start the games white players have to challenge their opponents. Lichess makes this process easy, but detailed instructions will be send out together with the pairings for round 1.

The deadline for registration is Friday, October 30th at 5 pm.

First round pairings will be announced by 6.30 pm.

Chess Club News Chess Tournaments Club Matches: Live
Lasker Open concludes with decisive battles for the prize money spots.

Round 5 featured a tough fight for the top spots. Hamlet had the chance to catch me in the final round to win the tournament but an opening surprise in game one and a relentless clock in game two thwarted his efforts.
Randy also employed an opening surprise in his match. Facing John’s Slav he played 4. Nbd2. A tricky move, if black doesn’t play energetically this knight will get access to powerful squares. John reacted well and soon his queenside pawns were storming ahead. In game two Randy was under some pressure and used a positional exchange sacrifice to stop John in his tracks. In the end John was down to 6 minutes against Randy’s 18 minutes and decided not to tempt fate and acquiesced to a draw by repetition.
Chris needed a strong showing against Arturo to secure a top-3 spot. In game 1 Chris got a fantastic position out of the opening. Arturo chose a very passive d6 in the classical Ruy Lopez that gave Chris a free hand to build up a dominant position across the board. Arturo put up a creative resistance and managed to trick Chris into repeating moves. To avoid the draw Chris’ King had to leave safety, pick up a pawn in the middle of the board and return to safety. All this with black’s potential mating combo of queen and knight in the vicinity. With a minute left this is a tough call. In game two Arturo stayed true to his opening convictions and started with 1 f4. On the one hand a narrow opening repertoire allows the opponent to prepare for the match and Chris picked the combative Fromm’s Gambit (1. … e5) to counter Arturo’s Bird opening. On the other hand people that play the same openings all the time tend to know their lines and it’s difficult to really surprise them. Arturo declined the Fromm’s Gambit with 2. e4. In the resulting King’s Gambit Chris mixed up two lines and Arturo got a King’s Gambit dream position which he easily converted to a full point. After their match Chris and Arturo were clearly not done with each other and started an epic blitz match, not a bad way to spend a Friday night.
As a result of these three matches we have clear first, second, and third places.
Congratulations and many thanks to all the players that helped to make this tournament a success.

Below you find all the games of round 5 with some comments.

On Friday the 23rd of October at 7pm we will be hosting a 2h blitz arena. The name of the tournament is Soltis Arena and the password to join is: Lasker
On the 30th of October we start our next tournament, the Steinitz Open, a 5 round Swiss tournament with a time control of G60+10. Please note, this will be a classical Swiss tournament with only 1 game per round. Also note the change of time control.

Take advantage of the early bird sign up and register here:
https://caissachess.net/online-registration/edit/878
Let me know if you have any issues signing up.

Chess Club News Chess Tournaments Club Matches: Live
Lasker Open: The race stays tight

In round 4 we were treated to some exciting chess. On board 1 Chris had the chance to take over the lead. True to his style he went for the combative King’s Indian defence in his first game against me and faced yet another 6. h3 as we did in our last encounter. As it happens so often in the King’s Indian, white gets a fantastic position but black doesn’t seem to mind too much and just attacks. The fact that my king remained in the center added to the complications. 

Black is ready to play f5. How should white continue? I decided to play Nb3 and to get ready to take everything on c5. I can’t say that I was overly confident as this leaves my dark squares pretty vulnerable. 

Luckily the queen on c5 is not only a good attacking piece but is also well positioned to take over some defensive tasks. 

In game 2 Chris surprised me with a 5. Qe2 Ruy Lopez. The opening was dominated by mutual inaccuracies and yielded a position in which Chris was a pawn up and I had some compensation. An unusual position for Chris. If you look at his past games you will see that he is the person that is a pawn down and looks for the initiative to justify his play. 

Hamlet and Arturo liked the opening of their first game so much that they went on to play it again with reversed colors. 

The center is blocked, what should black do?

Reagan and John both won their black games. In game 1 Reagan played the rare 2 Bf4 against John’s Slav. John reacted very well and soon got a dominant position. In game 2 Reagan was fighting back with a Benoni and got a Benoni-dream position after white commited a couple of inaccuracies.

Patrick gave Randy a good fight. But it’s difficult to overcome someone with Randy’s experience. 

Patrick just played 3. … Nd7. In the Slav or Semi-Slav the queen’s knight is often developed to d7. Often, but not always. In contrast to other games chess is a game where both players have access to all information. That doesn’t mean that we have to give our opponent even more information. By playing 3. … Nf6 black keeps his cards close to the chest and retains a maximum to flexibility to react to white’s plans. The text move commits the black queen’s knight too early. Randy didn’t have to be asked twice and played 4 cxd5. Now we have an exchange Slav and black wishes the knight could go to c6. 

Robbie and Russel reached the following position after a wild game.

Black just played Kc5-b6. Are white’s split pawns a match for black’s connected passers? How can white save the game? 

You can replay all games of round 4 below.

This Friday, round 5, is the last round of the Lasker Open. The prize money for the winner is $55, second place $33, and third place $22. Next week Friday we will host a 2h blitz arena on Lichess. This blitz tournament will serve as a tiebreaker for the Lasker Open. There won’t be any split prizes.

Here are the pairings for round 5:

Pairings Round 5

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Lasker Open Round 3: Painful oversights and lucky escapes

The third round of the Lasker Open concluded Monday night with John and me fighting our match.
The first game started with an opening blunder can you spot how John could have punished me on move 9?


The position after 9. e4??
Hamlet faced Russel in his first game here and he was lucky to escape in game 1. In the diagram position below Russel threatened mate with 38. … Rg1 and after 39. Rc2 exd5 it was Hamlet who had the mating attack. Do you see how Russel could have built a deadly mating net with his 38th move?


David and Reagan reached the following position after a tough fight:


Reagan just played Kc3xc4. Kc2 didn’t offer much hope either. How should white continue?
Friday we meet for round 4 you can find pairings and standings here.