In tonight’s live chess stream, California chess coach Chris Torres uses the infamous “center fork trick” in a training game against a talented student. The chess game takes on a surprisingly tactical flavor and both players are forced to avoid threats of checkmate while in time trouble.
Samuel Loyd was one of the greatest creative geniuses of nineteenth century puzzles, both on and off of the chess board.
Born on January 30th of 1841, Samuel (Sam) Loyd was a contemporary of Paul Morphy (1837-1884). In fact, Loyd moved from Philadelphia to New York City which means he was occupying the same space as Paul Morphy for much of 1857. They met for the first time that year at the American Chess Congress. There Sam took note of Morphy’s brilliance at the chessboard while Morphy was impressed by Loyd’s creative chess compositions. Though not as strong of a player as Morphy, Sam Loyd established himself as the preeminent chess composer of his era and now is fondly remembered as “The Puzzle King”. This is in stark contrast to Paul Morphy’s legacy who, after proving himself to be the best chess player of his time, is now remembered as “The Pride and Sorrow of Chess.”
Below is a famous Mate in 3 first published by Samuel Loyd in 1857. It is likely one of the chess puzzles Sam would have shown to Paul Morphy or at the least, a problem Morphy would have seen in the newspaper while staying in New York.
Today is the late IM Emory Tate’s Birthday. If still alive today, Emory Tate would be turning that most special age for chess players: 64.
Born on December 27th means that Emory shares his birthday with the second day of Kwanzaa. (Kwanzaa is a yearly celebration of African-American Culture from December 26 to January 1.) The second day of Kwanzaa focuses on Kujichagulia (Self-determination). Anyone who knew Emory Tate knows that he chose his own path, spoke his opinions freely and achieved greatness at the chessboard with his own style. So I think it is wonderfully fitting that the birthday of Emory Tate, one of the greatest figures in African-American chess, coincides each year on the second day of Kwanzaa which focuses on Kujichagulia
In tribute to E.T. on his birthday, I am sharing this wonderfully played victory where Emory overpowers his opponent with a nicely executed attack in the Sozin-Najdorf!
[Event “US Open”]
[Site “Framingham, MA USA”]
[White “Emory Tate”]
[Black “Tom Braunlich”]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6
7. Bb3 b5 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 Be7 10. Qf3 Qc7 11. O-O-O Nbd7
12. Rhe1 Nc5 13. Nf5 Nxb3+ 14. axb3 exf5 15. Bxf6 gxf6 16. Nd5
Qd8 17. Nxe7 Kxe7 18. exf5+ Be6 19. fxe6 fxe6 20. Qb7+ Qd7
21. Rxe6+ 1-0
My analysis of the above game:
I had a blast attending the 2022-23 CalChess Grade Level Championship hosted by Bay Area Chess. From the enthusiasm of the young competitors to getting to hear from many fans of my Daily Chess Musings YouTube Channel, I could not have ask for a better way to spend my birthday weekend. I look forward to publishing a thorough article on the CalChess Grade Level Championship in the forthcoming Winter Issue of The California Chess Journal. In the meantime, please enjoy the photo gallery from this historic event below and keep emailing your chess games to DailyChessMusings@gmail.com for possible inclusion in the next CalChess Journal.
Photos from the 2022-23 CalChess Grade Level Championships in Milpitas, California.
As is my annual tradition, I took an opportunity to play several young chess players in a simultaneous exhibition to celebrate my birthday. This year’s Birthday Simul took place on December 20th (not December 18th) so as not to conflict with The Calchess Grade Level Championships which took place on my actual birthday. The event began at 7:30 pm Pacific Time and was scheduled to be broadcast on chess(dot)com’s ChessTV from 8:00 until 9:00. At five boards, the simul took just under 1 hour and all participants had their games appear on ChessTV!
Because my Birthday Simul concluded before my ChessTv broadcast finished, I was able to use my last half hour of scheduled programming time to present a special Emory Tate game you have to see to believe! Fast forward to the last 30 minutes of the YouTube video below to watch the “out of this world chess moves” that occurred during the battle between Robert J Kermeen and Emory Tate at the 1989 NATO Chess Championship in Germany. With the late International Master Emory Tate’s birthday exactly one week away, tonight’s Twitch broadcast fittingly turned into a special dual birthday celebration. And what better way to celebrate getting older than to share a chess themed birthday party with my good friend, the legendary IM Emory Tate.
When I was a younger man, I didn’t need to take a day off to rest on my birthday (December 18th). I much preferred going to work, which for most of my adult life, means playing chess with young people.
I turned 35 on December 18th 2012 and went to my after school chess class in Cupertino, California. There, my birthday took second honors to recognizing the recent tournament achievements of Collins Elementary School chess players at the CalChess Grade Level State Championship. One student in particular, Andrew Peng finished top five in his section. (See my report on the 2012 CalChess Grade Level State Championship for more California chess history.) Additionally, Andrew played a most interesting game in my Birthday Simul, which for 2012, consisted of 7 boards where I played at rook odds against my elementary school-aged opponents.
[Event “Chris Torres Birthday Simul”]
[Site “Collins Elementary School in Cupertino, Ca”]
[White “Chris Torres”]
[Black “Andrew Peng”]
[FEN “rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/1NBQKBNR w Kkq -“]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nc3 Qa5 6.d4 Nf6 7.Bc4 Bb4 8.Qe2+ Be6
9.O-O Nc6 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Qxe6+ Kf8 12.Bxf4 Bxc3 13.bxc3 Qxc3 14.Bh6 Re8
15.Qxf6+ Kg8 16.Qxg7#
This year, I am taking my birthday off to recharge my batteries. My only birthday wish is that fans of this chess blog consider making a donation to The Eade Foundation so that they can continue to build communities through chess.
This week’s submission comes from a student in Fremont California and deals with the age old question of which is better, a queen or two rooks. Generally a queen is stronger against uncoordinated rooks and especially so with pawns on both sides of the board. However, in our feature position, black’s rooks are already working together, black has a monster bishop and white starts the position in check. I break down the best strategies for both sides and my conclusion even surprised me.
A queen can be stronger than two rooks if the rooks are not well coordinated and there are enemy pawns on both wings for the queen to target. Younger Players with less endgame experience tend to score better in these situations with the lone queen as since a simple plan playing well with the queen is making sure she is active, attacking and looking for tactics. Overpowering a queen with two rooks takes technique but there is a reason two rooks are worth ten points while a queen is only worth nine.
In today’s position, there are pawns on both sides of the board but unfortunately for white, they are evenly distributed. An asymmetrical pawn structure with pawn islands on both sides of the board would be ideal for the side with the queen. Adding to white problems are the fact that blacks rooks are already working together, black has a monster bishop and white starts the position in check.
The holiday season can be a little daunting, whether it’s due to the commotion of shopping, hosting get-togethers or traveling. Rather than adding to this extra stress with the high intensity of online bullet chess, I recommend enjoying the slower pace of chess puzzles. Why not fill a mug with your favorite hot beverage, cozy up in front of your favorite chess set and spend a winter evening solving a beautifully composed chess puzzle such as the one below? Better yet, make a habit of solving chess puzzles by working through the other seventy installments of this series freely accessible in the Daily Chess Musings’ “Betcha Can’t Solve This” Category Archives.
The FIDE World Team Championship for 2022 consisted of 12 nation teams and included many illustrious players who are recurring stars on the Daily Chess Musings blog including Anish Giri, Vasyl Ivanchuk, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Teymur Radjabov, Nihal Sarin, and Alexei Shirov. However, the best finishing move of the event did not occur in one of these headliners games but rather during the round 5 battle between GM Shamsiddin Vokhidov and GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek.
Shamsiddin Vokhidov may not be a household name yet but he is on the fast track to becoming a famous chess player. In 2015, Shamsiddin became a World Youth Champion (U14), at 16 he defeated Magnus Carlsen at the FIDE 2018 World Rapid Championship, he earned the Grandmaster title in 2020 and in 2021 he took first place at the Asian Hybrid Championship. For 2022, GM Vokhidov was selected to represent his home country of Uzbekistan during the 13th World Team Championship in Jerusalem.
Grandmaster Shamsiddin Vokhidov Round 5 game at the World Team Championship concluded with an absolutely stunning move. The position below occurs after GM Wojtaszek of Poland moved the black king out of check by playing 28…. Kh8. What was GM Vokhidov 29th and game winning chess move?
Chess Dad & Coach Arun from Fremont California asked me to break this complex endgame down for his students. Watch below to see how this position plays out.
Last night I Played a 5 move miniature with the black pieces that would fit nicely into Irving Chernev’s 1000 Best Short Games of Chess. Enjoy…
Today marks the first anniversary of Magnus Carlsen’s incredible Game 6 victory over Ian Nepomniachtchi during the 2021 World Chess Championship Match. As you may recall, the first five games of the Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi were drawn. Their sixth game, however, was an epic battle where both players took risks for a decisive result. Magnus Carlsen’s talent was on full display as he created meaningful imbalances, turned the initiative into a slight advantage and then pressed ahead for a win. The game concluded after Carlsen marched his two white pawns pawns forward in harmony with his rook and knight while maintaining a shield against checks from his opponent’s lone black Queen. When Nepomniachtchi resigned, a 136 moves had been played (the longest world championship game ever). Nepomniachtchi played his heart out and was never able to recover from this devastating loss. During the remainder of the Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi Match, Ian was a shadow of his former self, losing another three games and drawing just two.
Throughout the course of history, there have been many remarkable chessboard performances by the great players, so choosing which ones were the best is no easy task. After aging for a year, this game only keeps improving and I now believe that Magnus’ Game Six victory, taken in the context of occurring on the stage at the World Championship, represents the highest achievement possible on the chessboard. This is likely a contributing factor in Magnus’ decision to not defend his FIDE World Championship title. He has accomplished all he can on this stage and will likely never surpass his opus in Game 6 of the 2021 World Championship Match.
Since it’s inception in 2018, the Tata Steel Chess India tournament has invited five of the most talented Indian Grandmasters to compete in their home country against an equal number of top international competitors. The annual event features the strongest rapid and blitz chess on the subcontinent. For 2022, the Tata Steel Chess India event doubles the amount of top notch chess by adding a Women’s tournament with an identical structure.
Today’s puzzle worthy position comes from round 2 of the 2022 Tata Steel India chess tournament. GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who is fresh off a disappointing result at the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals in San Francisco, has bounced back quickly in Kolkata. In particular, his victory over GM S.P. Sethuraman concluded with a nice tactical combination. In the position below, Grandmaster Sethuraman (black) has just played 29… Qd5. Can you spot the combination that GM Mamedyarov used to win the game?
The 2018 US Championship was an action packed event. The San Francisco Bay Area’s own Grandmaster Sam Shankland stole the spotlight by taking first place over such pre-tournament favorites such as Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura. Norcal chess enthusiasts weren’t exactly shocked by GM Shankland’s championship run as we have long since grown accustomed to his winning ways even dating back to when he was competing in CalChess scholastic events. However, GM Shankland may have taken first place but the prettiest finish was recorded by the player who placed second.
GM Fabiano Caruana, who finished the 2018 US Championship only a half point behind Shankland, had a second round victory which featured a game winning move that instantly became a classic. In the position below, Grandmaster Aleksandr Lenderman (black) has just played 22… a5. After GM Fabiano Caruana’s 23rd move, GM Lenderman resigns. What is Grandmaster Caruana’s (white’s) game winning move?
Chess fans around the globe were excited to watch some of our game’s biggest stars competing in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals in San Francisco. The prestigious event took place on November 14-20, 2022. The format was a round-robin featuring eight elite chess competitors (GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda, GM Arjun Erigaisi, GM Anish Giri, GM Liem Quang Le, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, GM Rameshbabu “Pragg” Praggnanandhaa and GM Wesley So). Each of the seven rounds consisted of four-game rapid (15 minutes with a 10-second increment) matches.
The San Francisco Bay Area is no stranger to top level chess. FM James Eade organized a famous super tournament tournament in San Francisco in 1995 and the “City by the Bay” has several active chess clubs including one that is the oldest continuously running chess club in the United States. However, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour brings a different kind of energy by treating chess as an e-sport and its rapid paced structure captured the interest of a new generation of chess fans who enjoy watching chess streamers.
I had the pleasure of attending the 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour in person at Shack15 in San Francisco and am currently writing a feature article on the event for the upcoming Winter Edition of the CalChess Journal. While working on my article, I began compiling a list of my favorite chess moments from the event. Of course, such a list will undoubtedly vary greatly depending on the individual tastes of the list creator and I am sure my list is especially unique because of my role as a professional chess coach in Northern California. So, I am sharing my personal favorite Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals highlights with the Daily Chess Musings community from this perspective as an educator. Think of it as an appetizer for the CalChess Journal’s complete coverage of the event from my perspective as a chess journalist attending a truly historic chess tournament for California.
7) Tactics, Tactics, Tactics…
r1b2rk1/ppp2pp1/3b1Bn1/7Q/q3p1N1/4P2P/PPP2PP1/R3KB1R w KQ – 6 18
6) Masterful Maneuvering
5r2/p2q1p1k/5Pp1/6r1/4QRp1/1Bp5/Pb2R1KP/8 b – – 4 41
5) Punishing a Crime
6k1/5pp1/2NQ1nn1/1pPp4/1P1P3p/4PP1q/4NK2/8 b – – 1 32
4) Costly Mistakes in the Endgame
8/k1K5/5p2/4p1p1/1P1pP1P1/8/8/8 b – – 2 57
3) Mate in 3 Finish
4r2k/5p1q/2Q5/2p5/3b1B2/3p2RP/PP2r1PK/5R2 w – – 4 33
2) A Beautiful Combination to Win
8/p4np1/2p1k3/4r3/2P1p1PB/1P2K3/P3R3/8 w – – 1 36
1) Mate in 11!
2r2rk1/ppR5/1n1n4/3PNP2/3q3p/5Qp1/P5PP/1B3R1K w – – 2 28
See why I chose all of these memorable chess positions and watch them explained in the video below.
The Fall 2022 issue of the CalChess Journal is a whopping 33 pages filled with California chess news, Bay Area chess results and annotated games from NorCal chess players.
Today’s puzzle worthy position comes from one of the many great battles between GM Anatoly Karpov and GM Jan Timman. Both chess geniuses were born in 1951 and their chessboard rivalry stretched for a half century from 1967 until 2016. Karpov had a winning record against his Dutch contemporary with a score 30 to 8, with 63 draws at classical time controls. Despite the Russian’s dominating record, games between GM Anatoly Karpov and GM Jan Timman were almost always hard fought struggles and this, of course, was especially true in their 1993 FIDE World Championship Match in which Karpov triumphed.
Today’s puzzle of interest is a mate in 2 with many carefully placed ingredients. I was struck by this chess problem’s modern design and surprised by the fact that it was composed over a century ago in 1920. Not only is this chess puzzle a beautiful reminder of how much is possible on the chessboard but it also reminds us to respect the efforts of chess composers who created complex chess positions before the computer age.
The action at the Chess Bundesliga is always worth checking out! A recent Bundesliga game between GM David Navara and GM Luke McShane reached a most remarkable position before concluding. In the position below, black (McShane) has just moved his pawn to b2 on his 34th move. GM David Navara (white) responds to the promotion attempt in the most accurate fashion and black immediately resigns. What was GM Navara’s 35th move?
October 29, 2022 – The first night of the Extravaganza!
October 30, 2022 – Night two of the Extravaganza!
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