Home Page arrow Chess Life Online arrow 2007 arrow October arrow Reflections on Summer Camp
Reflections on Summer Camp Print E-mail
By NM Leo Martinez/DoreenTanaka   
October 27, 2007
Darwin Yang, Aleksander Ostrovskiy,Alec Getz and Brian Luo at the U.S. Chess School. Photo Dujiu Yang.
Now that we are deep into fall, it's time to start reminiscing about summer. CLO offers lesson excerpts from two of the most exclusive camps in America, the Western Invitational Chess Camp (July 15-19,2007, Tucson, Arizona)  and the latest session of the U.S. Chess School (July 23-27, Lexington, Kentucky.)

First we have a real treat for CLO readers, the following video, courtesy of the U.S. Chess School (USCS) and Doreen Tanaka. 
The Western Invitational Chess Camp is organized by Robby Adamson. The camp's top group had an average of 2197, and included one IM (Robert Hess) and five NMs. Of course such a strong group required the following top heavy pool of instructors. (Nicknames provided by Brian Kostrinsky.)  Yuri “The Cat” Shulman and Gregory “I cant believe you are using Fritz 5” Kaidanov, International Master Levon “The Solid” Altounian, and Fide Masters Daniel “The Tool” Rensch, Robby “The Bulldog” Adamson and Ken “Spring Santa” Larsen.

Leo Martinez shares highlights from Yury Shulman and Gregory Kaidanov's lesson plans at the Western Invitational Camp. Incidentally, Yuri will lead the next session of the U.S. Chess School, scheduled for San Francisco in January.

One popular lecture for the camp this year was Yuri Shulman’s review of Lasker – Capablanca.


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d4 exd4 6.Qxd4 Qxd4 7.Nxd4 Bd6 8.Nc3 Ne7 9.0–0 0–0 10.f4 Re8 11.Nb3 f6

Position after 11...f6

Yuri gave us this position to analyze but none of us found 12.f5 because we did not want to weaken the dark squares. Our minds were used to playing a more natural move like Be3 or g3. However, we needed to look deeper into the position and find that this move diminishes black's piece play and actually improves white's space advantage and eventually helps utilize white's kingside pawn majority.
12...b6 13.Bf4 Bb7 14.Bxd6 cxd6 15.Nd4 Rad8 16.Ne6 Rd7 17.Rad1 Nc8 18.Rf2 b5 19.Rfd2 Rde7 20.b4 Kf7 21.a3 Ba8? 22.Kf2 Ra7 23.g4 h6 24.Rd3 a5 25.h4 axb4 26.axb4 Rae7 27.Kf3 Rg8 28.Kf4 g6 29.Rg3 g5+ 30.Kf3 Nb6 31.hxg5 hxg5 32.Rh3 Rd7 33.Kg3 Ke8 34.Rdh1 Bb7 35.e5 dxe5 36.Ne4 Nd5 37.N6c5 Bc8 38.Nxd7 Bxd7 39.Rh7 Rf8 40.Ra1 Kd8 41.Ra8+ Bc8 42.Nc5 1–0
This game illustrated how to think not so rigidly about general principles, and look for exceptions to general rules and analyze the position more deeply and concretely.
IM Levon Altounian and GM Yuri Shulman find time to play bughouse with John Williams and Amanda Mateer.

The following instructive lecture from Kaidanov focused on how to analyze your own games in an objective manner, and to properly assess your weaknesses. 

I was impressed that Kaidanov shared so many of his losses and that his approach was to learn as much as possible from such setbacks
1...e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Be3 Be7 10.Nbd2 Nc5 11.c3 Nd3
According to Kaidanov, this was a novelty at the time.
12.Qc2 Ndxe5 13.Nxe5 Nxe5 14.Bd4 f6 15.Rfe1 Qd6

Kaidanov thought he was up a pawn for little compensation, but failed to approach the position more objectively.
 16.Rad1 Rd8 17.Bxe5 fxe5

Position after 17...fxe5

 18.c4!! Bg4 19.cxd5!
 Kaidanov underestimated the power of the exchange sac; White's play was very thematic.
19...Bxd1 20.Qxd1 c5
 Kaidanov again thought he was winning, but failed to look deep enough.
 21.dxc6! g6
21...Qxd2 22.Qh5+ g6 23.Qxe5 winning
 22.Qe2 Bf6 23.Nf3 Kf8 24.g4 e4 25.Qxe4 Kg7 26.g5 Bxb2 27.Qc2
 Kaidanov finished the lecture by listing his weaknesses by comparing this game as well as his other losses. He observed that he was too materialistic and overestimated his position, completely failing to take into account his opponent's resources. The fact that such a strong player looks at his games in such a critical manner makes it easier for players of our status to learn in the same manner. 

Click on the following links for more information on the U.S. Chess School and the Western Invitational Camp.