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Youth Chess
Chess Club News
Youth Chess Classes

Below are some after school and weekend youth chess programs in the San Gabriel Valley & adjacent areas. All information is current as of May 2022.

Arcadia Parks and Recreation – Even if you see a message about how the Summer / Spring classes are “full” still go ahead and click on the catalogue icon on upper left and filter by keyword “chess” to see the “Introduction to Chess” class offered by the Arcadia Community Center:

https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-arcadia/catalog/item/4268/119413/1729541

Diamond Bar – Wings Chess Academy

https://www.wingchess.com/

La Canada/Flintridge Community Center – Click on catalogue icon on upper left and filter by keyword “chess” to find the “Chess Nuts” class led by Clint Cooper in La Cañada Flintridge:

https://secure.rec1.com/CA/community-center-la-canada-flintridge-ca/catalog/group/11398/183323/4b7d44f7e49f1a08d1825aed99012967 

Rowland Heights – Beyond Chess – Founded by IM Ben Deng and WIM Sarah Lu, both professional chess players and former members of China’s national team:

https://www.beyondchess.net/english

ChessKids 1-on-1 Virtual Chess Coaching

https://www.chesskid.com/chess-coaching

Chess Feature
Positional Finesse (1) – Opposite Colored Bishops

10th world chess champion Boris Spassky was on record for saying he and his first wife Larissa “were like bishops of opposite color.” Indeed, opposite bishops in chess act as if they live in parallel universes- neither one intrinsically better than the other, they follow similar movements only to never actually meet or share a common long term goal (Boris would marry three times, and unfortunately ended all three in divorce).

Boris and Larissa Spassky
(Photo by Harry Benson. Courtesy LIFE Magazine, Time Inc.)

Ok enough of the sappy stuff.

The mark of a good chess player has always been the ability to churn out winning ideas from a level playing field-given a similar amount of resources and time. How then, does one take the imbalance of opposite bishops and turn that into a winning advantage? After all, a light squared bishop can never hope to contest the same squares as its dark squared counterpart, and vice-versa. Do they invariably cancel out?

Let’s take a look at three instances where such a situation arises, first from Aaron Nimzowitsch vs Jose Raul Capablanca:

Second, let’s look at a game from the Magician of Riga-Mikhail Tal- and Ivan Radulov, in a pure bishop of opposite color face off:

Now for the third, and what I consider the apex, example. The following game is between two absolute legends: Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov (white) and Garry Kimovich Kasparov (black) during their titanic 1985 world championship match. In a clash of opposing styles (Kasparov is known for his tactical prowess and opening preparation with flashy attacks and sacrifices. Karpov is known for his positional grinding and exploiting small wrinkles in the position with minimal risk.), what better way to end on the topic of opposite bishops? It’s one of my personal favorite games and is appropriately dubbed: The White Key Symphony.

Kasparov (left) and Karpov (right) in their 1985 match

Absolute masterclass by Karpov! Despite this brilliant game, Garry would continue on to win a thrilling 24 game match which was a nail biter till the very end (for those interested, I would recommend The World Chess Championship, Karpov-Kasparov: Moscow 85 by Y. and Mark Taimanov Averbakh).

So what can be gleamed from this? In general terms, it’s fair to assess the following:

  • Opposite colored bishops favor the attacking side, since the defender essentially has one less piece to participate on key squares.
  • Use the uncontested color complex to induce positional weaknesses in a slow, gradual manner.
  • Keep heavy pieces on to maximize winning chances. Avoid trades/simplification until a tangible advantage is present.

I intend to continue this “series” with topics intended to broaden chess knowledge, cherry-picking ideas from chess lore and history. See you in the next one!

Chess Social Returns March 2022
Chess Club News
Echo Mountain Open Analysis – NM Karl Tolentino

Hey everyone!

On behalf of the SGVCC I wanted to share the games that I had played in the somewhat recent Echo Mountain Open (January 2022), along with annotations denoting my thought process and post-mortem analysis. This is my first post on the site, so any criticism is more than welcome! I intend to be semi-regular about this as far as unorthodox hobbies go.

I was more than lucky to win that last one! Ryan sure gave me a run for my money. I can’t promise that all my subsequent posts will be this detailed as I was working off a backlog. I also fully intend to post my losses as well. Regardless, I hope that analysis was some combination of entertaining / instructive. Good luck to all participants in the upcoming Bunny Hop Open!

LA Chess Social
Chess Club News
Next Chess Social April 22nd

The grand return of the LA Chess Social last month was spectacular! It was great to see everyone after so long! This month’s event will be at Griffins of Kinsale in South Pasadena, where the original Chess Social was established in 2017. There will be live music on both floors throughout the night! 

  • 1007 Mission St. South Pasadena CA 91030
  • 8:00pm-12:00am
  • Free & Plentiful Parking
  • Very close / half-block from South Pasadena station (Gold Line)
  • $10
  • 18+

See you there!!!!

(courtesy @chess_social)

Los Angeles Chess Social Returns
Chess Club News
LA Chess Social Returns Sunday March 20th to Old Towne Pub

(via @chess_social) — Ready to show off your chess ability and make some friends?
Get ready for the grand return of Los Angeles Chess Social. An incredible live music lineup at Old Towne Pub, located at 66 N Fair Oaks Ave. in Pasadena. For those unfamiliar, Old Towne Pub is located in a courtyard within the block between Fair Oaks and Raymond Street, accessible from an ally off Holly Street. Event starts at 8pm; $10 at the door; 21+

An incredible live music lineup!

8-9pm Squid and the Elephant (IG @squidandtheelephant)
9-10pm Sugar Rum Tantrum (IG @sugarrumtantrum)
10-12am The Flamenco Souls (IG @theflamencosouls)

Additionally, there will be a Philly Cheesesteak stand with food available for purchase in the courtyard.

Please bring proof of vaccination and a mask!

Chess Tournaments
March Madness Starts March 15th

The next over the board tournament is March Madness, it’s a 4-round Swiss played in two sections. The rating cut off is 1400. Time control is again G85 D5.

The link for registration is and additional information can be found here:

https://caissachess.net/online-registration/index/1453

Alongside the tournament we offer free participation in our Ides of March online tournament. This tournament will be held on Lichess, games are played Friday nights starting at 7.10pm. The time control is G60+10.

The link and additional information can be found here:

https://caissachess.net/online-registration/index/1455

Players wishing to play only in the online tournament are encouraged to pay a $10 registration fee.

LA Chess Social
Chess Club News
Social Chess at Odyssey Games in Pasadena

For those looking for casual and a social atmosphere, come to Odyssey Games Sat. night in Pasadena — 1795 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106 (formerly Game Empire). All ages welcome. This is unrated, social play, no membership required. Meetups are planned for Sat. Feb. 26th, March 5th, March 12th, March 19th and March 26th. Bring your board and clock. Hosted courtesy of Odyssey Games and administered by Jimmy D via Meetup.com at: https://www.meetup.com/odyssey-games/events/283784823 I went Saturday Feb. 19th and it was pretty fun. Come meet new friends!

Chess Match
Chess Club News
King of the Mountain!

Top rated Karl Tolentino won the Echo Mountain Open, a five round event that concluded on February 1, 2022. He went an undefeated 5-0 but had to fend off a last round challenge that made things interesting. It’s the National Master’s second clear first in just three events. Expert (and 5 time NM) Randall Hough was clear second at 4-1, only losing to Tolentino. Thirty-one players participated.

If you follow the results for our events you’ll notice that “fighting chess” is a hallmark of SGVCC and there are usually very few draws. With an ever increasing number of talented youngsters and under-rated adults, the top players get no rest. This event was no exception when in Round 1 twelve year old Benjamin Teng (1689) took down Will Webster (2165), who barely got a chance to savor the fruits of his recent Holiday Open Championship. Always the realist about his play, Will took it in stride and almost managed to climb back into contention but for needing a second round bye (check out Will’s blog on this game and others at this site).

As usual there were a number of good storylines. David Faulkner continued his good play from our last event and was 2.5 in his first three rounds, having defeated a player 300 points above his own rating and also drawing one 500 points higher. This landed him on Board 1 in Round 4 against Tolentino. Did we say Karl was undefeated?! Also, ten year old Ashley Lin (1303) put together a three game winning streak in Rounds 2 through 4, setting her up for a last round showdown with Hough where she put up a tough fight.

As has been the case, we continue to pick up new members and appreciate the continued support of all who have been playing. The Millard Falls Open is currently underway and you can track the results at this website. Our next event will start March 15th, so stay tuned for details!