Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Christmas day is a great day for some friendly chess games with family.  I plan to play with all my kids and my wife.  Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Times-News Interviews Us

Chess Enthusiasts Passionate But Low Profile interviewed me, Desmond, Dylan, Erwin Kett, Barry Eacker and Norman Friedman in a lovely article about chess in the Magic Valley.

Here is an excerpt:
“People believe you have to be intelligent to play chess. No, you have to have a lot of common sense and eye for detail,” said Adam Porth, Desmond’s father and the organizer of the chess club at Wood River High School, where he teaches science. He said practice and the ability to recognize patterns is more important than IQ. “The more games you play, the better chess player you can become.”

2010 Western Idaho Open

2010 Western Idaho Open
Clouds, rain, and mist enveloped Boise on Saturday when I arrived at the AmeriTel Inn in the Boise Square on Saturday morning.  Chess tournaments always excite me no matter what the weather.  What kind of games will I be faced with?  Who am I going to play?  Will my games be respectable?  Did I forget anything I will need?  I came alone to this tournament, my kids wanted to go skiing and the high school students were busily preparing for senior project presentations on Monday.  Maybe I will be able to focus more on my games without any distractions?

There were familiar faces greeting me as I entered and I immediately set upon entering birthdays, addresses and e-mails of each player for the new data base.  As Secretary/Treasurer for the ICA, I have found little to do except enhance some of the record keeping for which there is none.  I also printed out some nice board numbers, so we don't have to write the number on a scrap of paper with a sharpie.  Thankfully, the TD already had some numbers printed.  Little things make events special.   I am surprised to find that no records other than who attended a tournament are kept by the organization.  For example, who is a member and who isn't?  I am still sitting on a check from the Southern Idaho Open as there is no address or record for one of the winners.  Nobody knows where to send it.  The tournaments sponsored by the ICA try to keep things simple for players and don't even have them formally sign any forms to participate, but this causes some problems.  Sometimes little things like printed out table numbers, table clothes, number one boards set apart from the rest, and very little house-keeping for players on tournament day add an air of importance for all the players.

Jeff Roland TD, Player, Webmaster Flash!
Jeff Roland is the TD and has become a foundation for the organization through his enthusiasm for Idaho Chess History,  and his "attention to the little details" provide players with trust and competitiveness.  I hope the players of Idaho appreciate his efforts to develop an ICA archive on the web.  He is also trying to post results of  the tournament on the web in real time and also play his games.  His enthusiasm certainly rubs off on those around him.  He is very disappointed that members of our high school group did not come, however, he has limited experience with the way teenagers and children operate.  Enthusiasm for chess is not necessarily "cool" at that age and so interest becomes whimsical and second to friends.  The talent is there but not the study or practice part of Bobby Fischer's revelations.

For the first round  I am paired with Scott Featherston.  He is wheel-chair bound and also has a record-taker, Jamie Lang, with him.  I have played Scott before and he is very solid in the opening and sometimes pulls out moves that surprise me.  It is interesting that I find my thoughts wandering during the game, wondering if Jamie sees something I don't.  Or maybe, does he think I made a move an idiot would make?  I have noticed that I sometimes try to make the best moves to not embarrass myself.  I still am not the most confident player at this level of play.

Kevin Patterson and Gary Hollingsworth
I did not play my best in Round 2 against an ISU college student Gary Hollingsworth.  Gary played a strong game, but I missed an opportunity to earn a piece and take the lead on move 10.  Can you identify what I should have done instead of 10. ..Bxh4?
Answer to move 10:   ..dxe4.  This would have then deflected the knight on f3 and won a piece.  Round 3 produced more drawn positions for everyone in the Reserve section, including me.  I was paired with Carmen Pemsler, a young player in 6th grade.  Her games have improved immensely, whereas I still have not learned to play children solidly.  I play risky and try to use board positions to educate or to determine if they can visualize the possibilities.  I see the right moves and strategies but fail to execute them.  I am too soft.  For example, what should move 8 be?

Answer to move 8:  exd4.  I knew that but I chose not to complete it to see if she would move her bishop.  On move 14, I chose c4 but knew b4 was better.  Suddenly, I was losing pawns and became worried about losing the game!  Don't underestimate your opponents, no matter what their age, gender, or abilities are.  Adding to my cheeky play during round 3, I continued to have fun.  I think tournaments should have cushioned chairs to undermine the juvenile tendencies of adults and kids alike.  Nothing is more distracting than some older gentlemen's flatuation on vinyl or leather chairs in a silent room of mental focus.  Of course, with the silence broken and people's heads turning to and fro, I can't help but turn to Kevin Patterson, who is sitting next to me playing Gary, and whisper, "I adjust."
"I adjust!"
As the day ends, I go Christmas shopping and wander around the stores in sort of a daze.  I am dog-tired and tend to stare at various items, straining to determine the appropriate gift for my niece.  All I see is chess boards!
"The silence can sound like thunder" Bob Dylan
Kevin and I are paired for Round 4 and as I walk into the tournament room, his evil eye is upon me.  "We have drawn once and you have beat me three times [in tournament play]," he says.  "Well I'm going to play the Caro-Kann if you open like you usually do," says I.  Later, he tells me that he spent the evening googling anti-Caro-Kann pages, knowing that was what I was going to do.  The game was almost a big whoops for me because I didn't know how to deal with 3. c4.  I proceeded to get myself in a lot of trouble on the queen-side of the board.  Just a note after 1.e4 c6 2. c4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. cxd5 don't ..Qxd5 and if you do, don't move Qd5 when the knight challenges you!  Fotunately, I was able to draw although I think Kevin could have promoted with a lot of effort.
Is there different way we should pair?
Going into Round 5, the Reserve section had  6 of 9 people vying for 1st place-all with 2.5 pts.!  I was paired with an unrated player that is new to chess and now coaches at-risk high school kids at Borah High School in Boise.  I raised a protest with the pairings as I was in the second place seat in the section and others with 2.5 pts. were paired with rated players.  If every game turned out the way it was supposed to, and I even won my last round game, I would end up in 4th or 5th place position!  As this did not seem right, I suggested repairing to better reflect the positions that each hold in the section.  Jeff refuted this and suggested that the swiss high-low pairings took precedence over ratings or rankings.  I was now on a mission to bring home a full point which I easily did.  Fortunately, the games did not turn out the way they could have and I ended up tying for first place with two others that I did not get to play, Deeban and Katie.  My overall result, no losses, 2 wins and 3 draws.
Katie covers her nose!
After a long day, I stopped at Waremart to get some household essentials and then continued through thick fog, ice, and a cloudy head the two-and-a-half hours to my mountain home in Bellevue.  That night I had a dream in black-and-white.  In the dream, I was trying to find my students so they could get on a bus for a field trip.  They disappeared to their lockers and never came back.  I was searching and stepped into the hallway in front of a herd of elephants.  The largest elephant (a bull) moved a chess piece with his trunk and continued to play me.  When he took my queen, I woke up.  Who was the bull elephant?  Did he win? or was it a draw?

Open Section
1Phil WeylandBoise1864W11W10W5L2W64$150.00
2Randall W. PellamBoise1934W14W15-H-W1D34$150.00
3Katherine Louise AbderhaldenBoise1731L6W16W9W13D2$37.50
4Paul M. JohnsonBoise1993L5W11-H-W7W9$37.50
5Caleb Paul KircherNampa1650W4W8L1L6W133
6Hugh S. MyersBoise1533W3D13-H-W5L13
7Caleb Patrick AbernathyBoise1512D8W18D13L4W153
8Jeffrey T. RolandBoise1724D7L5-H-W17W143
9Paul F. EdvalsonEagle1335D18W12L3W10L4
10Jim StarkBoise1611-X-L1D14L9W16
11Tom R. BoothBoise1567L1L4D16W18-B-
12John WatsonCaldwell1463-H-L9W18-N-W17
13Kurt P. DouglasBoise1693W16D6D7L3L52
14David Wayne StewartPayette1632L2W17D10D15L82
15John B. CarrVictor1755W17L2-H-D14L72
16Rickey D. WeathersBoise1510L13L3D11-B-L10
17Richard Robert AbderhaldenBoise1550L15L14-B-L8L121
18James H. McGarveyBoise1656D9L7L12L11-U-½

U1400 Reserve Section
1Deeban RamalingamBoise1204D4L5W7W8W6$75.00
2Adam PorthBellevue1255W8D6D5D4W9$75.00
3Katie Rae PattersonMeridian956-B-L4W9-H-W7$75.00
4Kevin R. PattersonMeridian1263D1W3D6D2D53
5Carmen PemslerBoise1122-H-W1D2D6D43
6Gary M. HollingsworthPocatello1215W9D2D4D5L1
7Jay L. SimonsonIdaho Falls657-H-L8L1W9L3
8Scott FeatherstonBoise803L2W7-H-L1-U-
9Michael HealyBoiseUnr.L6-B-L3L7L21

More news and results can be found at the Idaho Chess Association.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I won, I won, I won - a major award!

Mongoose Press The WINNER of the weekly contest is...

Well, we have received so many correct answers that we decided to give away two copies of the book this week. (Can't promise that it will ever happen again, don't count on it :)

So, the two winners are:

Adam Porth and Robert Morrison

Thanks for participating and congratulations to the winners. Stay tuned for the next question tomorrow.

It is Anatoly Karpov signing an autograph for Alexandra. (Little did he know that only in 12 years he will playing against her in a tournament!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

4-person chess variant

I don't know if I'd recommend this for Christmas!  The star in the middle makes it difficult to figure out how to move through it.  If anybody can share how, I'd appreciate it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Alzheimer's Avoids Chess Players like the Plague

PET scan showing a) distinguishing pieces and b) evaluating a capture
     A report filed in 2003, in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science showed that chess and other brain activities, like crosswords and reading, delays the onset of Alzheimer's Disease, dementia, and other mental illnesses (ABC).
     Alzheimer's Disease is a debilitating disease that affects the elderly and the families that need to care for them.  Pre-senility actually begins in the 40s and 50s and progresses to dementia and total senility, or helplessness (Princeton)
    Alzheimer's Disease is the leading mental illness in elderly and the number of cases is expected to rise sharply in the near future as baby-boomers approach retirement age between 60 - 70 years old. The need to prevent and treat the disease is a priority for medical scientists that will be caring for these people.  Currently, there are 5.3 million people with Alzheimer's Disease in the U.S. and 26 million worldwide.  By 2050, the number will quadruple and nearly 1 in 85 people will be affected (MSnbc).
Neuron affected by Alzheimer's
     Symptoms include memory loss that disrupts daily life, planning and problem solving challenges, time and place confusion, difficulty completing common or routine tasks, speech difficulties, misplacing items, social withdrawl, poor judgement and emotion/mood changes (Alzheimer's Association).  Brains of Alzheimer's patients have plaques and tangles, or a protein build-up between nerve cells and protein build-up inside nerve cells, respectivly (  Plaques and tangles tend to develop as people age, however, patients with Alzheimer's have many more than average.  

Scientists are at a loss as to what the actual cause is. reports that age, family history, diet, and lifestyle factors increase the risk.  Recently, Dr. Robert Friedlander, lead scientist of this report suggested television is also a risk factor among other passive brain activities!  Without a specific cause, therapy can only address the symptoms and also delay the onset.
      Chess seems like a treatment that works.  In fact, people over the age of 75 that partake in leisure activities that stimulate the brain were less likely to develop signs of dementia (Healthy Living).  Research shows that chess affects specific areas of the brain and the stimulation will shift with the problems that a chess player faces during the game.  And the game lends itself to a variety of complexities from various patterns to complex calculations that stimulate players' brains.  Dr. Friedlander says that people who don't exercise their gray matter stand a chance of losing brain power when they age.
Interview with Shenk on Chess and Alzheimer's (click to go to video)
     A five year study with 488 participants showed that involvement in at least 11 mind exercising activities per week versus a control group that engaged in 4 or less activities per week, delayed by 1.3 years (Dr. Charles B. Hall, PhD, author of the study and Saul R. Korep Department of Neurology professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine).  A further analysis demonstrated those that played only games reduced their risk by 75% and those that played musical instruments reduced theirs by 64%.   Crossword puzzle enthusiasts get a 38% lowered risk.  
     Scientists are still at a loss to determine the actual cause of Alzheimer's Disease but with nearly 100 million future Alzheimer's victims in development, we best start writing prescriptions for chess sets for Christmas.

Of course, you can support the WRHS Chess Club by purchasing one of ours and help us get to a national tournament.

From the June 19, 2003 New England Journal of Medicine:

Use It or Lose It — Do Effortful Mental Activities Protect against
Joseph T. Coyle, M.D.

Chess Magic Trick

Embedding is disabled on this video so a link is provided.  Derren Brown plays 9 top players including some grandmasters and wins half his games.  I am sure you will appreciate it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dwyer played a Grandmaster!

Chess is sometimes a covert activity, and a quietly held secret by many people.  Some people are hesitant to play over-the-board games, unwilling to admit that they enjoy playing, afraid to ask about it, and have even poo-pooed tournaments without realizing what a tremendous activity it is.  I am continually surprised to find out from my students some of the activities they have participated in, including chess activities.  Typically, it is a unique and one-time experience that they share with me privately or in passing because they know how excited and enthusiastic I am about their experiences.  Chess has somehow become un-cool, but with me it changes chess for them.   I champion the game and make them proud to be involved in some way.  Chess is cool!
Julia Dwyer, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Kathrine Dwyer at simul with GM Alexandra Kosteniuk
One such student from my Anatomy and Physiology class allowed me to interview her about her one-time game of fame with Grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk on May 14, 2003.  Kathrine Dwyer, a Wood River High School Senior, was thirteen and was attending the Anglo-American School of Moscow.  She attended intermittently while visiting her father over a seven year period while he worked managing Russian operations for The Dannon Company, Inc.  Her step-mom is Russian and it was she that prompted Kathrine and her sister, Julia to enter a simul with Alexandra Kosteniuk.  Kathrine was unaware of what she was really participating in.  To her, she was going to "just play a game of chess."   In this particular event, she was about to play a Grandmaster.  Alexandra Kosteniuk played - simultaneously - 20 students from the school, including some of the faculty.
Alexandra Kosteniuk plays a simul in the Chicago Scholastics, 2003
(I used this picture without permission, so it may disappear soon)
Do you remember anything about the tournament?
I bought a souvenir book and the date says May 14th, 2003.  You see, she [Alexandra] signed it right here [pointing].  I remember the tables were in a big square and she moved around.  It took her like a minute to destroy everybody and she won every game.

No, but about two hours.  The last game was with my teacher.

"How I Became a Grandmaster at age 14", by Alexandra Kosteniuk
What was Alexandra like?
She was sketchy at first - she is very intimidating, almost like meeting a President.  She was very quiet and focused.  She was also polite and shook all our hands.  She seemed nerdy but attractive.  Her outfit was really weird, though.

What color were you?
I think we were all black.  I don't remember much of the game other than I had to think so hard on what my next move was.

Did your school teach you chess?
I just knew.  I have always known how to play chess and I don't know how I learned.  My school common room had sofa's and chessboards, though.

Were you involved in any other chess tournaments?
No.  I just play my brother now.  We have a chess table at my house.

What do you think of this experience now?
I didn't realize how cool it was until now.  This was an awesome experience.  I guess it really is a big deal.

Despite the fact that Kathrine is not planning on any future tournaments, it was clearly evident that her game with Alexandra Kosteniuk was one she will always fondly remember.  Talking to students about their experiences and challenges always surprises me.  For example,  Kathrine is also a cancer survivor, has always been an outstanding student, and lived in American Embassies.  She plans to live in Russia when she graduates, and I suspect she has an apartment already picked out.   Hopefully, she will get to play some more chess in Russia.  Chess is Cool!
Morgan Rust and Kathrine Dwyer 
Interview by Adam Porth  
Novemember 11, 2010


Woot!  My 100th win on Gameknot.  Hopefully I won't timeout on anymore games!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Anatoly Karpov

Question: Why should children play chess?

Anatoly Karpov: Chess can develop very important characteristics, individual characteristics.  First of all, chess develops logic, memory, and then with chess you can easily understand the necessity of plan.  then you can learn how to make strategy, which is important for normal life, for any profession and that’s why chess is entering school programs in many countries because teachers realize that with help of chess you can give this knowledge much easier than with the help of other subjects.

Why do you want to lead the World Chess Federation?

Anatoly Karpov: So this is a unique opportunity now to change the, change the situation. And chess is in danger as profession and so federation which is lacking now in leadership and so they made many mistakes and so now we have feeling that professional chess players have difficulties in financing and such prizes going down and then it’s difficult to keep this profession.  And, internationally, we have a very good situation now because we have grandmaster, Magus Carson from Norway who is one of the best chess players and most probably he will be next world champion, and then we have, we have American player, Hikaru Nakamura, who is also on the top, and then we have Sergey Karjakin in Russia, and then we have good players in China, in Holland, in India, and so it... and then Indian grandmaster, Vishy Anand, he just defended his title in match in Sofia against Bulgarian player, Topalov, and so he’s world champion for many years already and then this is very international view.  And chess, from a time it was just privilege of mostly Soviet players, and later Russian players, but now it became very international so it gives a lot of opportunities.  And these opportunities could be used with new team and I will have top professional team representing, of course different parts of the world.

Recorded on May 17, 2010
Interviewed by Paul Hoffman

from "Big Think" website

New Website

Here is a link to a new website I made for my brother-in-law:  SPASH Basketball

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Illegal Moves: Chessmen fined and pinned!

The evidence keeps growing - chess prejudice is clearly part of American culture.  "Drop that bishop and come out with your hands up!"  Seven men were arrested for playing chess in a park in New York.  Some people just don't like the idea that normal people enjoy chess. Under the guise that alcohol and drugs were a problem, police officers ticketed the men whom now have to appear in court to defend themselves.  Chess players don't fit the mold that most people believe describe chess players - i.e., nerds, weirdos, paranoiacs, crazies, old men, schizos, etc.  and now pedophiles and druggies? Whenever something doesn't fit a paradigm, then individuals in denial try to beat the observations and actualities into submission so they do fit.  I think it is time to shift ideas and paradigms since the perceptions are different from the reality.  Maybe more people should play chess and enjoy the benefits of developing thinking skills?  Clearly, this is a case of not thinking.  (click this link to read more)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Calender

If you are interested in staying informed of upcoming chess events, please visit our Calender.  Also, you are welcome to add an event by clicking on the date and creating a chess event.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow Day : )

I hope you all study or play some chess today.  Please see the updates to the WRHS Chess Club website and The Chessnut.  Please make sure to sign the guest book and indicate where you are from.  Appreciado.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chess Club going well but gets ripped off

We had twelve students stop in to play some games tonight, and I think Ms. Wolfram was tempted to even play a game.  Nick Bruck and Esdras Santigao played three games with each other.  Max Mihalic played me and another new student, Emmett Say, and Alex.  Julia Broderick engaged in games with Alex Bates.  Miles Hendrix was able to play Alex as well.  There were also quite a few observers.  With my kids wrestling or at dance, the end of the semester crush with AP students missing, and Senior Project students scrambling to finish before their deadlines, it was a quiet night.  Check out the newly organized WRHS Chess Club site or stop in at the parent site, The Chessnut, to sign my guest book.

On the fund-raising front, Max sold a board and we have been selling lot's of snacks to students.  Today, we made $6 in sales and when I went to my desk to get the money to deposit in the office, it was gone!  Somebody stole money from our club!  I hope their conscience causes there genitals to shrivel up like a walnut!

I also advertised for Caleb Kircher's and Extreme Chess' camp offered this Christmas break.  Alex Chua is rated 2300+, a Life Chess Master, National Chess Master, 2010 Texas State Championship Runner-up, Texas Collegiate Individual Chess Champion, The University of Texas at Dallas Chess Team.  He is planning on teaching, conducting a simul, organizing a tournament.  Details can be found at ICA.
Alex Chua with his College Team

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Alex Bates wins KMVT Academic Achievement Award

Alex plays in the Ogden Scholastic Chess Tournament this past month
I don't have all the details, yet, but Alex Bates, senior at WRHS, won an Academic Achievement Award from KMVT in Twin Falls.  They did a feature video this past week that is to be aired the day after Christmas.  Our club is proud of Alex's achievements and even prouder that KMVT donated $100 to the WRHS extra-curricular activity of his choice, the Chess Club!  We all thank you for your kind thoughts and efforts to improve the Chess Club.

Support Us

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This might be the end!

Is anyone out there reading this blog??? Google analytics says there were only 2 visits since June.  If this is the case I might be done with this blogging business. . .

Monday, November 15, 2010

SIO: Toitey Tourney

The 2010 Southern Idaho Open
The Southern Idaho Open on Saturday, November 13 was a success for the Wood River contingent.  We arrived, awake, and awaiting the start of the first round.  We all had used the toilet before the trip began at my house.  One of my students, Nick Bruck, my son, Desmond, and one of his friends, Jake Whitlock all looked forward to what the games would offer us.

Once the chess matches started in the morning hours, the mammalian circadian rhythms took over and like clockwork the one-stalled bathroom of the Obenchain Building began to see more activity than the chess room.  As the men try their best to not eat 15-20 minutes of their G/60 time, they rush to void themselves of the ultimate chess distraction.  It sometimes looks like the march of the penguins with heads bowed in thoughts of the next move.

As the low-flush capacity of the facilities could not withstand the onslaught of chess players in very regular intervals, the toilet had had enough by round 2 and regurgitated its last load.  The offender must have had very little time left on his clock as he neglected to tell anyone, and further did not take the moment to stop the flush.  It continued to flush and empty onto the floor.  I was the first on the crime scene and had to rectify the situation.  I stopped the flow but there was already inches of water covering the entire floor and seeping under the wall to the adjacent rooms.
Me and Des paired for Round 1
During Round 1, I was paired with Desmond and decided to open with b4.  The orangutan.  He gave me a look of disgust as I moved, but by move 4 I snaked a bishop because he did not block the check with his knight and used his pawn instead.  After that blunder, he slowed down and was much more of a challenge.  Barry put a sign on the door of the bathroom, "Closed due to stupidity."
Nick Bruck, my protege'
During Round 2, it was my turn to blunder.  In the end game, I offered a rook exchange with Nick which he happily accepted.  He was a pawn up and my king was two files away.  His king began threatening my chain of pawns and all I could do was hope he messed up as many scholastic players do in end game.  Nick would not have anything to do with mistakes today.  I now felt constipated.

Play online chess

Last game with only seconds left on Jay's clock
Round 3 was exciting for me.  Not for my game, but for Desmond's and Nick's.  Desmond played a very solid game against Jay Simonson through the end game.  Black Bishops and equal numbers of pawns.  Jay only had seconds left to Desmond's 15 minutes.  At one point, in a display of great sportsmanship, Desmond reminded Jay to hit the clock.  I don't think most of the players watching would have been so gracious.  Or, maybe they would, as everyone is very friendly?  I was very proud of Desmond playing one of the longest games he ever has, nearly 2 hours.  Nick also made me proud to be his coach and friend.  He beat Jamie Lang in a long but decisive game.  Barry took his sign down and there were sighs of relief.
Kevin, Jay, and I hold an informal ICA meeting
In the last round, I faced off with Scott Featherston.  After losing my game to Nick, I was a bit competitive and decided to go on a queen hunt when Scott snatched one of my offered pawns with her.  I checked him with my knight and forked his queen.  And then rampaged to the end.  I finally got to use the bathroom and then watched Jake offer his rook to Jay in order to remove a guarding bishop.  Jay took the bait and Jake got checkmate.

Jeff Roland and Tom Booth
Nick ended with a perfect tournament and $63 in pocket.  I tied for 2nd place (actually got 3rd due to tie-breakers) with 3.0 pts.  Desmond scored 2.0 pts. and Jake got his first win in an ICA event.  Caleb Kircher wins > 1400 with a perfect score, as well.  To experience more of the games go to the ICA results link.
Caleb Kircher
Open Section
1Caleb Paul KircherID1650W6W2W8W541st
2Gene L. TatomID1600W9L1W7D42nd-3rd (tie)
3Tom R. BoothID1567D7D4D5W82nd-3rd (tie)
4Barry D. EackerID1600D5D3-H-D224th
5Glen Buckendorf, Jr.ID1800D4D7D3L1
6Hugh S. MyersID1533L1L8W9D7
7Jeffrey T. RolandID1724D3D5L2D6Book
8Fred BartellID1618-H-W6L1L3
9Aleksandr VereshchaginID1296L2-B-L6-N-1

U1400 Section
1Nick Jon BruckID1097W9W3W5W241st
2Kevin D. NessID1290W6W10W4L132nd-4th (tie)
3Adam PorthID1255W7L1W8W632nd-4th (tie)
4Kevin R. PattersonID1243W12W5L2W732nd-4th (tie)
5Jamie LangID1376W8L4L1W102Book
6Scott FeatherstonID803L2W11W10L32
7Desmond PorthID669L3W9W12L42
8Katie Rae PattersonID956L5W12L3W92
9Dan Lee Daggett, IIIDUnr.L1L7W11L81
10Carmen Elizabeth PemslerID1122W11L2L6L51
11Jake WhitlockID218L10L6L9W121
12Jay L. SimonsonID657L4L8L7L110

Friday, November 12, 2010

Essay from a student

How chess has changed my life
            My life was completely changed the first day I played chess in eighth grade. Within one year I began playing chess competitively and have never stopped. My life was utterly changed by the way chess helped me slow down and think about all the possibilities before jumping into a task. Chess also helped me build a strong team bond with all of my teammates. Lastly, chess taught me strong leadership abilities while I was president of the chess club.
            If you learn one thing from playing chess, it is take your time and look over every possibility before acting. This is why many jails and community correctional institutes offer chess to the inmates at the institution. “It forces you to think in difficult situation, you can’t just react,” said Davis an inmate serving in Howard County Detention Center. Making people slow down and think not only helps people play chess, it can help people make wiser decisions in everyday life like financial investments and choices that might lead them into trouble.
            Creating a strong team bond is one of the most important traits you can acquire because no matter where you work or what you do, there is always a team of people around you helping you with the task. Over the course of four years that I spent in my high school chess club I have met new people and have created friendships that will never go away. A strong team bond is like having a second family. No matter what happens, you can always count on your team to be there and support you during tough times.
            The last thing that I developed while in chess club is leadership skills. I served as the president of the Wood River High School Chess Team during my junior year, 2009 – 2010. While president some of my many responsibilities were to show up early to home tournaments to help set up, teach people how to play chess while in club, and to always support the team and keep a positive outlook within chess club. This skill will be invaluable while being in charge of a project.
            The way chess has changed my view and way of life is immeasurable and will have lifelong effects. Chess has taught me to slow down and consider all my options has kept me out of trouble and has led to many wise investments. I will never forget the friends that I have made in chess club and the way we all bonded and worked together as one during chess tournaments. The greatest contribution that chess has made to my life is the experience that I gained from being the president of my state winning chess team.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate."                           - Isaac Asimov

Monday, November 8, 2010

An Idaho Chess Icon passes

January 19, 1930 - November 7, 2010
I am very sorry to find out that Dick Vandenburg passed away last night at around 5:30 p.m.  Dick has been fighting a spreading cancer for quite sometime and his health has not been very good as he told me last March at the Scholastic Championships.

Dick was a very important figure in Idaho chess history and in the success of the Idaho Chess Association.  Dick was the trustee for Scholastic Development which he had held since 2005.  Previous to that he was past President, Vice President, and Secretary and Treasurer from 1957 until 1988 of the ICA, and he began Idaho Scholastics and successfully ran it during the 1980s for roughly 12 years, as well.  He was President of the Boise Chess Club for about 20 years and wrote a quarterly newsletter during the 1950s - 1960s for the ICA.  These are uploaded on the ICA website.  Another passion was the Correspondence Chess League of America and he was President for 10 years of that organization - Vice President until last year.  During this time he organized international tournaments and was also captain of many teams.  Last year, the ICA gave him a lifetime achievement award as Scholastic Trustee Emeritus of the ICA.

Dick Vandenburg was a very successful player as well as organizer and supporter.  He held the Idaho State Championship for 6 years and in 1965 he won both the Idaho Closed and the Idaho Open Championships.    I noticed no other player has successfully done that.  He began playing chess in high school in 1945, and participated in the first organized Idaho Championship with Glen Buckendorf in 1947.  "So I've been around it for around 65 years (I'm 80 now)," he indicated in an informal interview with me in August.  He was the first chess player in Idaho to have a lifetime membership in the ICA.   He continued, 

"C. H. Stewart, who was the strongest player in Idaho since he moved here somewhere in the teens - maybe about 1916?  He was about 60 years old at the time."  Dick says he won his first Idaho title in 1955 and "was kind of lucky to do it, at age 25.  I was playing an experienced fellow from Utah or Nevada who figured I would screw up the end game.  I offered him a draw, but he refused it.  Finally, he was the one to make a mistake and I won the game and the tournament."

"I don't really have a favorite opening and have been playing only correspondence chess these past many years, where you can consult opening books.  Possibly the Sicilian Defense might be my favorite, but I play others.  At the moment, I'm fighting advanced prostate cancer and am not playing any games."

Dick loved chess and chess players.  "Glen Buckendorf has been almost a lifelong friend," Dick confided in me in one e-mail.  I remember watching him tool around the skittles room with his chess team from Washington Elementary as he helped players find their boards.  After the games were done, I witnessed the little chess players run into the room and actively search Dick out to tell him of their triumphs.  Dick sat with kids and helped them with their games, as well.

I hope the void that has now formed for the chess community of Idaho is filled by someone with the same kind of love, care, and patience that Dick provided everyone.  Dick's wisdom invariably transcends chess when he wrote, "we all have different interests, time and energy, and none are superior to what someone else may be doing."  We will all miss you, Dick!
In the Skittles Room at the Idaho Scholastics, 2010
Dick gives Dylan her first trophy at her first chess tournament, Idaho Novice, 2006
Dick is helping my daughter at the Girl's Scholastic Championship, 2007
Dick with his players at the Girl's Scholastic Championships, 2010
Please also see the Idaho Chess Association website.

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