Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fred Bartell Simul


When asked, "Which openings do you play?" by a curious student.  Fred replied, "I just play what looks natural."  Fred was true to his nature on Tuesday, January 14 at the Magic Valley Chess Club meeting at Barnes & Noble in Twin Falls.  Mr. Bartell played seven students ranging in abilities from the Blaine County School District Chess Rage Club simultaneously and played a different opening against each student challenging him.  One student was from the Twin Falls area for a total of eight players.  This type of tournament is commonly referred to as a Simul.
Playing a different opening against each challenger is a great strategy for a simultaneous exhibition where a chess guru plays multiple players at the same time to display his chess dominance and prowess.  The challenging players can't look at the adjacent boards to see how other challengers are coping with an opening when the simul-giver does changes his opening.  During the tournament, the exhibitor moves from board to board, making one move at a time down a line of challengers.  The challengers must refrain from moving until the simul-giver returns to their board - the challenger moves and simul-giver immediately replies. 
Fred Bartell is known locally as a brilliant rapid chess player and a fierce competitor in long games and is quite entertaining to his opponents.  Fred grimaces, smiles, chuckles and even talks some great smack when he becomes comfortable.  Fred attacks immediately and has enjoyed a long history of playing in California and in Idaho to perfect his flexible style.  Fred began tournament play in Idaho in 2006 and was a near expert from the get-go.
Usually a simul takes time and the giver continues to stand over his opponents as they move from board to board.  After fifteen minutes, the first player succumbed to a queen and a bishop working diligently for checkmate.  It only took another hour and a half before Fred finished the final competitor.  He won all the games.  Afterwards, Fred obtained a quick drink and then sat down with students to continue teaching them through rapid games.

Fred is critical member of the Magic Valley Chess Club which meets at Barnes & Noble in Twin Falls every second and fourth Tuesday of the month and is open for casual play to players of all abilities.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tata Steel Chess 2014

It's that time of the year again when the most active and prestigious chess players gather in the Netherlands in a port town, Wijk aan Zee, to attend the former Corus Chess Tournament, now called Tata Steel Chess Tournament.  Browse the participant list and choose your favorite Grandmaster to follow.  My favorites include:  Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2812), Hikaru Nakamura (United States, 2789), and Anish Giri (Netherlands, 2734) in the Master Section.  In the Challengers section, Anna Muzychuk (Slovenia, 2566) and Ivan Saric (Croatia, 2637) are my picks.

The time control is:  100 min./40 moves, 50 min./20 moves, 15 min./30 sec. inc. for each move.

The tournament began on Saturday, January 11 (the day of the Mountain Home Open) and will continue until January 26.  Though 3 rounds have already been played, there is plenty of time to follow the games and the progress of the tournament.  The games begin at 1 pm (Holland Time) meaning that locals (Mountain Time) need to rise at 5 am to view the live games.

Master's Results:
Levon Aronian (2.0/3)
Hikaru Nakamura (2.0/3)
Anish Giri (2.0/3)

Challenger Results:
Anna Muzychuk (2.0/3)
Ivan Sarik (2.0/3)
* Current Leader:  Benjamin Bok (2.5/3)


My three picks from the Master's Section each scored at least one win.








Masters Schedule:
Round 1 - Saturday the 11th
Dominguez, L. - Giri, A.½-½
Van Wely, L. - Karjakin, S.0-1
Harikrishna, P. - Aronian, L.½-½
Caruana, F. - Gelfand, B.1-0
Rapport, R. - So, W.0-1
Nakamura, H. - Naiditsch, A.1-0
Round 2 - Sunday the 12th
Giri, A. - Naiditsch, A.1-0
So, W. - Nakamura, H.½-½
Gelfand, B. - Rapport, R.0-1
Aronian, L. - Caruana, F.1-0
Karjakin, S. - Harikrishna, P.½-½
Dominguez, L. - Van Wely, L.½-½
Round 3 - Monday the 13th
Van Wely, L. - Giri, A.½-½
Harikrishna, P. - Dominguez, L.1-0
Caruana, F. - Karjakin, S.1-0
Rapport, R. - Aronian, L.½-½
Nakamura, H. - Gelfand, B.½-½
Naiditsch, A. - So, W.½-½
Round 4 - Wednesday the 15th
Giri, A. - So, W.
Gelfand, B. - Naiditsch, A.
Aronian, L. - Nakamura, H.
Karjakin, S. - Rapport, R.
Dominguez, L. - Caruana, F.
Van Wely, L. - Harikrishna, P.
Round 5 - Friday the 17th
Harikrishna, P. - Giri, A.
Caruana, F. - Van Wely, L.
Rapport, R. - Dominguez, L.
Nakamura, H. - Karjakin, S.
Naiditsch, A. - Aronian, L.
So, W. - Gelfand, B.
Round 6 - Saturday the 18th
Giri, A. - Gelfand, B.
Aronian, L. - So, W.
Karjakin, S. - Naiditsch, A.
Dominguez, L. - Nakamura, H.
Van Wely, L. - Rapport, R.
Harikrishna, P. - Caruana, F.
Round 7 - Sunday the 19th
Caruana, F. - Giri, A.
Rapport, R. - Harikrishna, P.
Nakamura, H. - Van Wely, L.
Naiditsch, A. - Dominguez, L.
So, W. - Karjakin, S.
Gelfand, B. - Aronian, L.
Round 8 - Tuesday the 21st
Giri, A. - Aronian, L.
Karjakin, S. - Gelfand, B.
Dominguez, L. - So, W.
Van Wely, L. - Naiditsch, A.
Harikrishna, P. - Nakamura, H.
Caruana, F. - Rapport, R.
Round 9 - Thursday the 23rd
Rapport, R. - Giri, A.
Nakamura, H. - Caruana, F.
Naiditsch, A. - Harikrishna, P.
So, W. - Van Wely, L.
Gelfand, B. - Dominguez, L.
Aronian, L. - Karjakin, S.
Round 10 - Saturday the 25th
Giri, A. - Karjakin, S.
Dominguez, L. - Aronian, L.
Van Wely, L. - Gelfand, B.
Harikrishna, P. - So, W.
Caruana, F. - Naiditsch, A.
Rapport, R. - Nakamura, H.
Round 11 - Sunday the 26th
Nakamura, H. - Giri, A.
Naiditsch, A. - Rapport, R.
So, W. - Caruana, F.
Gelfand, B. - Harikrishna, P.
Aronian, L. - Van Wely, L.
Karjakin, S. - Dominguez, L.

Mountain Home Open Results


Round 5.  Shane Taylor vs. Barry Eacker, Board 1 (left)  and Christopher Pentico (Left)
Morning came early for our trip to Mountain Home for the tournament.  We were slated to leave at 7:30 am and I found myself sitting on the bus in front of the school still waiting for players at 7:45.  Our valley is not known for punctuality, especially the teens which will also show up to classes just as late.  The roads were typical of mountain country this morning with fog, ice, blowing snow, and very little traffic.  I was feeling pressed to get to Mountain Home (nearly 1 1/2 hours on good roads) because I was running the loosely put together tournament.

While at a coffee shop in Hailey playing chess with a former student during winter break, I heard a neighboring table critiquing my experimental Sicilian opening and looked up to see Christopher Pentico.  After some "nicety" exchanges, I suggested that Mountain Home should hold another tournament like last summer.  Chris agreed.  Many Mountain Home players don't travel to tournaments and the air-base oriented community is half-way between Boise and Twin Falls where most of Idaho's tournament players reside.  We whipped out a date only a few weeks away and hammered out a flyer for the local schools and sent out e-mails to the usual suspects. Barry Eacker and Jeff Roland, Idaho Chess Union organizers allowed for a joint sponsorship:  The BCSD Chess Rage and the ICU present . . . the Mountain Home Open.

We arrived a bit late, but Idahoans are quite relaxed toward life and chess players are patient, so nobody was getting too upset.  The event was going to be a full day endeavor, anyway with 4 rounds of G/60 d0.  Meaning, each game could approach two hours and many did.
Round 5.  Wesley Brimstein vs. Chris Pentico.  I can't wait to see the scoresheet for this endgame.  Wesley came back from the brink and promoted just before Chris did.  The game ended in a draw and provided Wesley with 1st place for the scholastic section.

Round 3.  Jeff Roland (right) vs. Shane Taylor (left) plays to full time and draws a large crowd as the time ticks away.  Shane Taylor scored a perfect tournament score and won this game.

Darwin starts to wane as the endgame battle ensues between Jeff Roland and Shane Taylor.  You have to stay alert in the endgame!
The Wood River contingent included my two boys, Desmond and Darwin, and my standard chess clubbers, Andre Murphy, Wesley Brimstein, and Keegan Crowson.  Jose Blanco is a student in the chess class and decided at the last minute to play in his first chess tournament with classical time controls.  Barry Eacker and Fred Bartell traveled from Twin Falls and Jeff Roland, Shane Taylor, and Jamie Lang traveled from Boise.  Mountain Home locals included Thomas Westcott, Nathanael Winchell, and Christopher Pentico.  Dena Marchant came from Glenns Ferry to her first tournament, too.
Dena Marchant plays Darwin Porth in Round 2.

The Mountain Home Library and the Stage Coach Cafe hosted us and it was nice to dive into coffee or lattes whenever I needed a fix.  Jose drank nearly four Frappucinos and two or three Italian Sodas!  The hostess, Jennifer Preuss also made sure food was readily available and after my game with Jeff, sauer kraut on a sausage really hit the spot.  Darwin finished his games early and participated in the library program that had a book reading and a movie with many other kids, "Despicable Me II."  Library patrons were highly interested in "what's going on?" and I was surprised to see how busy the library was compared to ours.  With the Cafe embedded in the library, people came just to hang out, use the computers, participate in the programs, or get lost in the stacks.

Scholastically plugged in!


The games were really enjoyable and I found some really interesting positions that had me on the edge of my seat.  In one such game against Jeff Roland,  we were both running out of time (about 2 minutes to 4 minutes) and it very much looked like Jeff was going to win.   After 27. ..Kxf2, my offer was accepted.

Porth vs. Roland (2014).  Move 25.  Black to move.  It is not looking good for white, however the Qd8+  and Qe7 threat kept Jeff on edge too.  I didn't really see 1. Qd8+ Kg7 2. Qf8# until after the game when Jeff and I were wiping the sweat off our brows.

Porth vs. Roland (2014).  Move 26.  Black to move.  When Jeff took f2, I was really nervous and then I thought to move a5.  I figured I'd lose a bishop and a pawn but gain one of the rooks.  I really expected Jeff to take on a5 or Rxf6+ on this next move.

Porth vs. Roland (2014).  With Jeff's 26. ..Qa7, I think he expected me to take his rook with my queen, but his bishop would have pinned it (absolutely), so I took with my king and offered a draw and at this point it was accepted.





Dog Pile!


In this game against Fred Bartell, I struggled with his opening but fought back and threatened 3 move repetition in a couple of different places during the endgame.  Can you find them?  Fred was very alert and avoided this like a computer engine!  This game displays the hazards of an exposed king . . .my king!


Jeff Roland shows off one of my lithographs, Stonehenge.
Barry Eacker brought three excellent artist prints to donate as prizes and I submitted three of my own, as well.  Winners were able to choose what they wanted.  Dan Looney, artist and chess player, occasionally donates unsold prints to the ICU to use as prizes.
Dan Looney is an artist from McCall and donates prints to chess players at tournaments.

Tie-breakers
Place
Name/Team
Rate
Score
Solk
CumOp
MMed
Cum
Prize
1
Taylor, Shane (6)
1374
4
8
21.5
8
10
Looney Prt.
2
Bartell, Fred (1)
1772
3
10.5
26.5
8.5
7
Porth Prt.
3
Eacker, Barry (3)
1634
2.5
11.5
29.5
9.5
8
Porth Prt.
4
Roland, Jeff (2)
1690
2.5
10
25
9
6.5

5
Pentico, Christopher (5)
1455
2.5
8
20.5
7
5.5

6
Brimstein, Wesley (12)
1000
2.5
7
17
6
5.5
Looney Prt.
7
Porth, Adam (7)
1262
2.5
7
15.5
6.5
6.5

8
Lang, Jamie (4)
1494
2.5
4.5
14
4.5
8

9
Porth, Desmond (8)
1058
2
9.5
22
4.5
6
Looney Prt.
10
Marchant, Dena (14)
1000
2
6
17
3
4

11
Murphy, Andre (15)
1000
2
5
11.5
2.5
3
Porth Prt.
12
Westcott, Thomas (10)
1013
1
8.5
20.5
5.5
4

13
Crowson, Keegan (13)
1000
1
8
20
5
2

14
Winchell, Nathanael (9)
1015
1
6.5
16
4
3

15
Banco, Jose (11)
1000
1
5.5
12.5
3
0

16
Porth, Darwin (16)
1000
0
9
19
5
0

Thomas Westcott works against Jamie Lang in Round 2.  

Cross Table
No.
Name
Rate
Pts
Rnd1
Rnd2
Rnd3
Rnd4
1
Taylor, Shane
1374
4
W16
W2
W3
W4
2
Bartell, Fred
1772
3
W10
L1
W7
W9
3
Roland, Jeff
1690
2.5
W8
D7
L1
W12
4
Eacker, Barry
1634
2.5
W6
W9
D5
L1
5
Lang, Jamie
1494
2.5
W15
W13
D4
-N-
6
Pentico, Christopher
1455
2.5
L4
W11
W13
D8
7
Porth, Adam
1262
2.5
W14
D3
L2
W15
8
Brimstein, Wesley
1000
2.5
L3
W15
W12
D6
9
Porth, Desmond
1058
2
W11
L4
W10
L2
10
Marchant, Dena
1000
2
L2
W16
L9
W13
11
Murphy, Andre
1000
2
L9
L6
W14
W16
12
Winchell, Nathanael
1015
1
L13
W14
L8
L3
13
Westcott, Thomas
1013
1
W12
L5
L6
L10
14
Banco, Jose
1000
1
L7
L12
L11
-B-
15
Crowson, Keegan
1000
1
L5
L8
W16
L7
16
Porth, Darwin
1000
0
L1
L10
L15
L11

Andre and Wesley

Desmond, Jose, and Keegan.  Keegan is a pool shark!

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