National Chess Day Part II: From Memphis to Los Angeles
October 19, 2012
Our second round-up of National Chess Day activities include chess festivals in Tucson and Memphis, World youth training in the Bay Area and in-depth annotations from the 22nd Metropolitan Invitational by Kostya Kavutskiy, our regular US Chess League reporter.    

See our first round-up here and find more National Chess Day tidbits on our facebook page.

by Jean Hoffman

Tucsonans partied with cupcakes, crowns and chess lessons in celebration of National Chess Day with local nonprofit organization 9 Queens and Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange. Throughout the day chess enthusiasts enjoyed:
•      Beginner chess lessons.
•      A twenty-five person simultaneous chess match with National Master & Women’s Fide Master Amanda Mateer. Mateer won twenty-two of her games and drew three.

•      Chess arts and crafts

This marks the fourth year that 9 Queens and Bookmans have partnered to promote chess literacy teaching hundreds of Tucsonans to play the game of strategy.

Los Angeles

by Kostya Kavutskiy

I played the following game at the 22nd Metro Invitational, in Downtown Los Angeles, hosted by the Metropolitan Chess Club, and although I was aware it was National Chess Day, I wasn't planning on doing anything particularly romantic, but after the opening moves that mindset quickly changed...

Duckworth,William Mark - Kavutskiy,Kostya

1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 c6 4.Be3 Nbd7 5.Qd2 e5 6.Nge2 Be7 7.f3 0–0 8.d5 Nb6 9.b3 Re8 10.h3 cxd5 11.exd5 Bf5!?
A very provocative move, inviting my opponent to start throwing pawns at my king, and here I was already anticipating that the game was going to get very messy very fast.
12.g4 Bg6 13.h4 Rc8!
I was originally planning on playing 13...h6 with the follow-up of Rc8, and if White ever played the standard Ne2-g3 I could respond with Rxc3 Qxc3 and Nxd5, trading off White's dark squared bishop and seizing the initiative. But then I started calculating the consequences of the immediate 13...Rc8 and suddenly 13...h6 just felt too slow, especially since after 14.g5 hxg5 15.hxg5 Nh7 16.Rg1 White seems to be further along with their play.
White must push forward!
This is the point of 13...Rc8. At first I didn't really believe in it, thinking White must have an easy refutation, but the more I started to calculate the more I realized that White was in serious trouble! Bxc2 lures the white Queen to a vulnerable square, and after Nbxd5, followed by e5-e4, Black's pressure along the e- and c-files will be quite dangerous.
It was not to find the right continuation after the immediate 15.Qxc2 and the right move is 15...Nbxd5! It is important to take with the b-knight, which might otherwise be out of play. Also after the natural 16.Bd2 Black's other knight joins in with 16...e4! With threats of Nb4-d3-f2 and exf3, Black is breaking open the center and White cannot hope to survive, a key line is 17.0–0–0 Nb4 18.Qb1 Nd3+ 19.Kc2 Nd5–+ with a devastating attack;

I was very concerned about the simple 15.Rc1!? After all Black's bishop is still trapped, and so White gets their a1–rook into the game and bolsters the c3-knight. I was ready to scrap the whole sacrifice until I humored myself by taking a look at 15...e4! And although my intuition thought this couldn't possibly work out for Black, I also couldn't find a good way for White to continue! And as it turns out Black is getting a very serious attack, based on a few tactical nuances. For example 16.g5! The critical try! (16.Rxc2 exf3 17.Ng3 Nxg4 Followed by Nxe3 and Bg5, Black wins back their sacrificed material with interest: 18.Kd1 Nxe3+ 19.Qxe3 Bg5 20.Qxf3 Re3–+) 16...exf3 17.gxf6 Bxf6 18.Rxc2 fxe2 19.Bxe2 Bxc3! With this simple combination Black wins all of the material back, plus 2 pawns 20.Rxc3 Rxc3 21.Qxc3 Nxd5 It is because of the vulnerable position of the Be3 that many of these lines end in Black's favor.

Also interesting was 15...Nfxd5 16.Nxd5 Nxd5 17.Qxd5 Bxg5 18.Bxg5 Qxg5 Where Black has three pawns for the piece and White's king is staying in the center for the rest of the game, but I felt this position was kind of simplified and would be easier for my opponent to play. Hence I went for the complications of 15...e4
Logically this move makes a lot of sense, as White shuts down the e-file for good, and for the time being Black's Re8 and Be7 will not play a significant role in the attack. The drawbacks of this move, however, are the concrete problems posed to White after 16...Ng4 [16.gxf6 Bxf6 17.fxe4 Bxe4! Both rooks are unprotected! Meanwhile Black's bishops and rooks are at full power 18.Nxe4 Rxe4 19.Rc1 Rxc1+ 20.Qxc1 Nxd5 21.Bd2 Qe8 Black has three pawns for the piece and their pieces are perfectly coordinated. Practically this position is much harder for White to play. ]
I spent a lot of time thinking about 17.Bxb6 Qxb6 18.Qxc2 Qf2+ 19.Kd2 Qe3+ 20.Ke1 and here I figured that since I have a perpetual with Qf2-e3, that I should stop here and look at  more challenging lines where White could perhaps consolidate with extra material. But then I decided to look a little deeper (since I didn't sacrifice a piece just to settle for a draw), and found the fantastic move 20...Bd8!
Instead, my opponent played...

Tough defense! I overlooked this move a few moves earlier, thinking that If I could play Nxe3 my position would be all right no matter what, but things are not so simple, as the position is likely to remain closed and my dark squared bishop doesn't seem to have much of a future. However, after spending about 20 minutes looking at various alternatives and worrying that my "brilliancy" was about to be refuted, I was able to find the only winning line...
17...Nxe3 18.Bxc8 Ng2+! 19.Kf1 Nxf4!

It's hard not to feel like Tal when playing a move like this, destroying White's kingside, temporarily sacrificing a rook and finally, finally activating my dark squared bishop! Once I saw a few lines here I was sure that this was the right way to proceed. The point is that after 20.Nxf4 Bxg5 I'm threatening Qf6, And White's undefended a1–rook is again a major headache which practically guarantees the tactics to work out for Black. [19...Qxc8 20.Kxg2 Qg4+ 21.Ng3 Rc8µ is not as clear but Black definitely has the upper hand here] 20.Bg4 [20.Nxf4 Bxg5 21.Qxc2 Qxc8–+ Black will end up with a bishop and a couple of pawns for a rook, not to mention White's completely exposed king.] 20...Bxg5 21.Qxc2 Qf6 22.Rh2 [White loses everything after 22.Kg1 Nxe2+ 23.Bxe2 Be3+ 24.Kh2 (24.Kg2 Qg5+ 25.Kh3 Bf2 26.Bg4 Qh4+–+) 24...Qh4+ 25.Kg2 Qg5+ 26.Kf1 Qg3–+] 22...Nbxd5!–+
Finally the b6 knight comes into play and lands the decisive blow, threatening Ne3+. After this White loses a piece and Black ends up with a bishop and four pawns for the rook. To be perfectly honest, I'm a bit embarrassed by how long it took me to convert the advantage, time trouble or no time trouble: 23.Kg1 Nxe2+ 24.Bxe2 Nxc3 25.Rf1 Qe5 26.Kh1 Nxe2 27.Qxe2 d5 28.Qg4 f6 29.h6 e3 30.Qd7 Qe4+ 31.Kg1 gxh6 32.Re2 Re7 33.Qc8+ Kg7 34.Rd1 d4 35.Qc4 Rd7 36.Qb5 Qg4+ 37.Kh1 a6 38.Qc4 Qh5+ 39.Kg1 Qg4+ 40.Kh1 Qf3+ 41.Kg1 Qd5 42.Qd3 Qb5 43.Qxb5 axb5 44.Rd3 Kg6 45.Kg2 Kf5 46.Kf3 Ke5 47.Rc2 Kd5 48.Rc1 Re7 49.Ke2 f5 50.Rc8 Re4 51.Rc7 Rh4 52.Rd7+ Ke5 53.Rd1 Rh2+ 54.Kd3 f4 55.Rf7 Bh4 56.Rxb7 f3 57.Rxb5+ Kf4 0–1
It's games like this that keep players from ever leaving chess, and if you appreciate the aesthetics of chess as much as I do, then you're probably hooked for life.

National Chess Day Extravaganza: "Fit for the King"
by Arlene Kleiman

Memphis has long been known as the home of celebrities but the most famous of them all is the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis. In songwriter Marc Cohn's song "Walking in Memphis”, he even claims to have seen the ghost of Elvis in Memphis.
Chess was King in Memphis for National Chess Day as well as for the entire weekend.  Shelby County Chess', "Fit for a King" was heralded in Friday night with a simul at the Friday Knights Chess Club.  Club manager, "King" Rafi Chowdhury, also the founder and  President of the current University of Memphis Chess Club, shook hands with his first opponent and the games began.  No wins were recorded against "King" Rafi, but if winning was measured in smiles and concentration, then all challengers in the simul were winners too.

Saturday, National Chess Day saw Shelby County Chess taking the chess show on the road for the second year in  a row, bringing chess to Wolfchase Galleria, Center Court, with free chess clinics for the public, face painting from a menu of chess icons, and a free 7 round blitz tournament for all ages and all levels.  As expected in Memphis, there was indeed an Elvis sighting. Look closely to see what we mean.
 National Chess Day Extravaganza festivities concluded on Sunday with a Cajun Chess Tournament at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn.  Costumes were encouraged and even a little Elvis showed up and was seen "taking care of business" on the chess board. 

LittleElvis.jpg Yes, folks, Memphis was a Rocking and a Rolling all weekend long for National Chess Day from Shelby County Chess with assistance from Cajun Chess and ZBT Fraternity at the University of Memphis.

Long Live the king in Memphis!

World Youth Prep in the Bay

The day after National Chess Day, NorCal House of Chess celebrated chess festivities by offering free training for all the World Youth Qualifiers in Northern California. NHC has produced several World Youth Qualifiers every year for the past 5 years! This year, we have more than 10 kids who qualified to represent USA in Slovenia.

Ted Castro, coach of most of these top kids & the driving force behind NHC, conducted a free training at NHC headquarters from 11 am – 4 pm. Several NHC in-house coaches took time out from their busy schedule to help out these kids. They all did it for free. Last year, NHC also sponsored a kid and offered free coaching/training with a GM! With the burgeoning cost of the World Youth trip: coaching, hotel, etc., our main goal is to sponsor a kid for next year’s event!
IM Ricardo De Guzman (2425) went over games with the kids and prepared them on some opening lines. IM-elect Ronald Cusi (2307) played some serious games with the kids on specific openings. FM Alfredo Dela Cruz (2700) scrimmaged with the kids and analyzed their games. NM Emmanuel Perez (2246) played a few games with the kids and worked on some tactics. WFM Uyanga Byambaa also stopped by to play a game against Ashritha Eswaran (who is playing in Girls U-12). I also discussed with the kids & parents the differences between FIDE and USCF rules. This was very important since all the kids are not familiar with some FIDE rules. Overall, the kids learned a lot and had so much fun since pizza was provided. At the latter part of the training, a few of them played some blitz games. We also invited couple of kids who qualified in the previous years: Alisha Chawla & Chenyi Zhao to provide some insights and practice games.

Many thanks to all the coaches! Please check our website: for future events and find the full press release on the World Youth qualifiers from all around the nation.


Siddharth Banik (U-12)
Vignesh Panchanatham (U-12)
Kevin Moy (U-12)
Ashritha Eswaran (GU12)
Joanna Liu (GU10)
Kelvin Jiang (U-8)
Balaji Daguppati (U-8)
Agnesh William (G-U8)
Alisha Chawla (2-time World Youth Qualifier for G-8 under)
Cheny Zhao (qualified last year in Brazil's G-U8 & qualified for next year’s World Youth!)


By Alan M. Kirshner, Ph.D.

I have organized the Weibel Fall Scholastic Chess Quads since 1998, mainly during the middle of October, November and December.  When I sent in my TLA (Tournament Life Announcement) for this Fall’s Quads, Joan DuBois, the U.S. Chess Federation’s Director of Communications, reminded me that my event was being held on National Chess Day. She told me that if I listed my tournament as a National Chess Day event I would get a free Chess Life listing as well as having it rated free.  I, of course, was not about to pass up saving a few bucks. In my usual manner, I decided to expand my tournament to include numerous chess activities.

I asked for the help of Carl Moy, the Weibel Chess Team’s Chess Parent Coordinator, and Ted Castro, owner of the very popular NorCal House of Chess Club to help me set up the activities.  The first thing we decided to do was to create an over-1300 Quad section with Game/75 time controls. Due to the time constraints at Weibel Elementary, we decided to hold the over-1300 Quads at Ted’s NorCal House of Chess, which is about a half-mile down the road from Weibel Elementary.  

Since two of Weibel’s former players qualified and decided to go to the World Youth Championships in Maribor, Slovenia between November 7 and November 19, we thought they might like to have a bit of extra practice in a simul.  

The two former Weibel players going this year are National Expert Kevin Moy (2049) and Joanna Liu (1793).  Kevin, who is competing in the Under 12 section, tied as National Champion in the Elementary School Division back in May of this year, helping Weibel Elementary bring home the K-6 Team Championship.  

Joanna, the Girls K-3 National Champion in 2011, while at Weibel in 2nd grade was a scoring member of the Weibel K-3 National Primary School Championship Team in 2010.  

Two of other team members from that group also went to the World Youth tournament - Michael Wang (also a key member of the 2012 K-6 Elementary School Championship team) went to the World Youth in 2011, and Alisha Chawla went in 2008 and 2009.

Over 600 people attended for the second largest crowd I’ve had at Weibel.  Results of the tournament and photos taken on National Chess Day celebrated at Weibel can be found here.  l

We were able to get a number of the top players in the South Bay area to go over games, provide free chess lessons and give chess lectures with a massive demo board. Thanks to the following for volunteering their time to improve the chess skills of those who took advantage of these activities: International Master Ricardo DeGuzman, International Master-Elect Ronald Cusi, National Master Hayk Manvelyn, Woman’s FIDE Master Uyanga Byambaa, National Expert and chess author Frisco Del Rosario, National Expert Francisco Anchondo and A Player Vikram Ganesh.The President of the Weibel PTO is also a parent of two of our chess players.  He, Rob Chan, using his IT expertise, set up a Weibel Chess internet network so those attending had a free connection.

See our first wrap-up of National Chess Day events from Orlando to Des Moines to and  chime in on our facebook page.