International Chess Day

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

We are currently one day away from the Legends of Chess tournament so today we will look at a game played by Viswanathan Anand. The game took place in 2006 when Anand took on prodigy Sergey Karjakin. Karjakin became a grandmaster at the age of 12 making him the world’s youngest grandmaster, but will he be able to hold up against the world chess champion Anand?

The game opens with the Sicilian Defense which is 1. e4 c5. Play then follows up with 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6. What started off as the Sicilian Defense quickly becomes the Sicilian Najdorf opening. Here Anand is playing as black and he plays a6 to prevent Karjakin from placing either of his knights or bishop on the b5 square.

As the game continues both players attempt to gain center control of the board. Karjakin uses his g file pawn to pressure Anand’s knight which is holding a lot of center control. Meanwhile Anand responds by sending down his b file pawn to pressure Karjakin’s knight on c3. Both of these knights are essential to center control as they both have access to squares: d5 and e4.

Then Anand makes a serious mistake as we see pictured on the right. He plays Nc7 allowing Karjakin to take his knight. However, as the game continues it appears that even though Karjakin has more pieces on the board Anand has a better end game.

 

 

 

The game ends like this with Karjankin conceding to Anand. This game shows the importance of playing a good endgame. Anand is able to pull through at the end and beat Karjankin who is up two bishops and a rook. Right now it is White’s move. How would the game end from here if it continued?

 

In addition to the Legends of Chess Tournament which is starting tomorrow, today is International Chess Day. FIDE was established on July 20, 1924. Every year on July 20th Fide hosts chess competitions around the world to celebrate the day. Unfortunately due to the current circumstances there no in person competitions. However, this year there will be an online event for chess players around the world. FIDE’s motto this year is “Teach someone how to play chess.” Perhaps in honor of the day you can teach what you know about the game to someone else and celebrate the international day from home.

Premier Chess Takes on DIG USA

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern 

This summer Premier Chess has an online chess camp for kids. Every day the campers open up their computers and are able to connect with each other online through Zoom. Throughout the day the kids play chess games against each other and also learn the strategy of the game from the excellent chess coaches at Premier Chess. On July 6, students from the camp gathered to play in a tournament against team DIG USA. Learn more about its founder Dan Pelletier on this podcast epsiode.

With 17 different matches in the tournament there was a total of 34 points that were obtainable. Although DIG USA played hard, the students at Premier Chess were able to take a win by scoring 19 points out of the 34 taking the win home. The kids were happy to show what they learned in camp in the games they played.

Let’s take a look at a game. Here Premier Chess is playing White and DIG USA is playing black. White pushes its pawn up to c4 and Black responds by playing Rxh3. White respond by applying pressure to both the rook and bishop by playing Kg2 an excellent move. Black’s rook is trapped in that column and now its bishop is trapped in its square. Black preceded to pull its rook back to h5, but White managed to take ahold of the game and give Premier Chess another point in the tournament.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kids did win the match, but the most important part was to have fun which they all managed to do. The campers felt that they learned a lot from camp and they were able to show their skills during this tournament giving them the victory.

If you want to hear more about our summer program click here.

 

It’s All About the Endgame

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

When I first started learning chess my main point of focus was openings. Generally openings are often a starter point for new chess players. Unfortunately many new players like myself forget to learn the endgame as well. This can lead to a game loss as we see in this game between Henry Terrie, playing as white, and International Master Emory Tate, playing as Black. What at first seems like a draw one of the players manages to play a fantastic endgame and take the win. (Emory Tate, May He Rest in Peace, pictured on the right).

The game begins with the English Opening. Terrie plays c4 a powerful move. This opening was first played by English Chess Champion, Howard Staunton, which is how it earned its name. Tate then responds by  playing d6. This move may appear odd as many would combat this move with e5 by taking control of the center which is what Tate does on the following move.

As the game progresses it is a bit hard to tell who is in a better position. The board seems to be in a relatively open state so it would appear that Terrie has the advantage with his two bishops over Tate’s two knights.

Eventually the game reaches a point where each player has six pawns and a rook. Unfortunately for Terrie his pawns are in a worse position as he has stacked pawns. Terrie plays Rd5 offering a Rook trade and an opportunity to unstack his pawns. But then suddenly Tate plays an impressive move. Before scrolling any further try figuring out Tate’s winning move.

Tate then plays Rd1+ sacrificing his rook. Terrie is forced to take the rook with his king and then Tate plays hxg2. Terrie is unable to move his king back to f1 due to the black pawn and resigns as Tate is about to earn a queen. This game shows how important it is to study the endgame. A game that could have ended up in a draw ended up as a win for Tate due to his ingenuity. It’s important to not just explore the beginning and middle of a game, but the end as well.

 

The Chess Champion’s Defeat

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

We are going to take a look at the Lindores Abbey Rapid Tournament. The game we will be looking at is between Magnus Carlsen, playing as black, and Hikaru Nakamura, playing as white.

The game opens up with a Ruy Lopez, 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5. Here Nakamura moves his knight out to attack Carlsen’s pawn on e5. Carlsen fires back by protecting his pawn with his knight. Nakamura then moves out his bishop to B5 putting pressure on Carlsen’s knight, the sole defender of Carlsen’s pawn on e5.

Carlsen then moves a6 applying pressure to Nakamura’s Bishop and Nakamura pulls back with Ba4. Carlsen plays Nf6 and Nakamura Castles. Carlsen then plays Nxe4 taking Nakamura’s pawn. Nakamura follows up with d4. Nakamura is trying to open up the e file as Carlsen’s king is in the open while Nakamura’s own king is safe.

Eventually they get to this position and Nakmura moves c4 applying pressure on the d5 pawn. With the d5 pawn gone the black Knight on e4, which is holding center control, is no longer protected.

The game continues and we reach a unique position. According to chess commentator and chess Grandmaster, Simon Williams, Magnus then makes an error in his moves with Nb2.

Williams then mentions how great a game Hikaru plays after Magnus makes this move. The game progresses and the players trade queens at one point. Magnus takes the pawn on e5 with his rook and Hikaru follows up brilliantly with Rxa6. If Magnus plays Rxa6 in response Hikaru threatens checkmate because of his pawn on e6.

Unfortunately Magnus is unable to turn this position into a draw and after a few more moves he resigns. Even the best players make mistakes and that is how they learn. At Premier Chess’s camp, students are encouraged to look at the games they lost to learn from their mistakes and to play better next time. If you would like to learn more about our camp and how your child could become a better chess player please click here.

A Reflection on Virtual Camp Day 1

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

Premier Chess began its virtual camp yesterday and it was great! The day began with an introduction where the kids got to know each other. After that Brian taught an interactive lesson with the campers on Paul Morphy’s famous Opera House Game

The game opened up like this:

Brian then asked his students what is the best move for white. As answers were given Brian explained what would happen if that move was made. Finally Noah answered that the correct move for White would be dxe5. Now if Black plays dxe5 White takes Black’s queen, Black takes White’s queen and then White’s Knight takes Black’s pawn on e5. This move allows for white to get a “free” pawn and it would look like this:

Brian then showed that Black does not take White’s pawn and instead plays Bxf3. White follows up with Qxf3 and then Black plays dxe5 and White is no longer able to capture Black’s pawn.  White then moves Bc4 and now Black is in trouble.

The kids quickly noticed the trouble Black was in and knew if they stood by Black would be in checkmate the following turn if White moved its Queen to f7 where the bishop would be protecting it. The kids decided to move the Black Knight to Nf6 which prevented White from winning the game. Everyone really enjoyed the lesson and the students got into the game as it went on and were excited to help make a move and then analyze that move.

Later in the day the kids played in a tournament on Lichess and they thoroughly enjoyed that. Every so often Brian and Evan would take breaks with the kids so they could stretch and move around. The kids seemed to really enjoy playing and learned a lot as well.

Larry Evans Versus Samuel Reshevsky: A Throwback to the Past

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

Samuel Reshevsky was a Polish Chess prodigy who became a chess grandmaster. Although he never won the World Chess Championship Tournament he did win the US Championship eight times. Here we have a picture of a young Samuel playing against multiple opponents.

Larry Evans was an American chess player. However, he only won the US Chess Championship five times. In addition to being a chess grandmaster, Evans was also an author and over his lifetime he wrote several books on chess.

In 1963 these two grandmasters played against each other in the US Chess Championship in New York. Reshevsky played as black and Evans played as white.

The game began with 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3. Here we see Samuel playing the Indian Defense. The Indian Defense allowed for white to take control of the center of the board and then Black will ultimately destroy White’s presences in the center. When Samuel moves his Bishop to attack Evans’ Knight and hinder his board presence Evans responds by pushing up his pawn so that his bishop can get out and take control.

By the 12th move it seems that Reshevsky’s Indian defense did not work as well as he would have liked. Evans still has a strong presence in the center. Evans pieces have more access to the board while Reshevsky’s pieces are caged in.

Midway through the game we see that Evans has two bishops while Reshevsky has two knights. In general knights are stronger in closed positions while bishops are stronger in open ones. It seems here we have a more open positions and thus Evans is in a better position.

They eventually get into this position where they are now in a closed position and Reshevsky’s knight has the advantage of a closed position.

Reshevsky goes Re2+ Kh1 Qxg3 Qg8+ Kxg8 and then Rxg7+ which results in a stalemate. It seems that Rashevsky had the upper hand at the end here and perhaps there was another way to prevent a stalemate.

Although I am no grandmaster, National Master Evan Rabin hosts a lecture every Sunday from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM and he could provide insight into the unfortunate ending of this game. Click here to learn more about Evan’s lectures.