Archive for the ‘Bay Area chess’ Category

2nd Annual Susan Polgar Foundation’s North American All Girls Championship

November 5, 2017


This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd Annual Susan Polgar Foundation’s North American All Girls Championship held by Bay Area Chess at the beautiful Biltmore Hotel in Santa Clara, California. As always, Grandmaster Susan Polgar was very personable with all the girls in attendance. The huge efforts by Chief TD Martha Underwood and organizer Judit Sztaray made this tournament a delight to attend. Hopefully this tradition will continue in the Bay Area. It is wonderful to see so many girls (including my own) playing in a such a unique chess tournament.

Photos by Paul Truong.

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Fremont Summer Chess Camp 2015

May 1, 2015
Sign up today for the Fremont Summer Chess Camp 2015 http://www.chessandmusic.com/onlineregistration/

Sign up today for the Fremont Summer Chess Camp 2015 http://www.chessandmusic.com/onlineregistration/

Chess Simul With Grandmaster Susan Polgar 

February 27, 2015

Here is your friendly reminder that the simul with Susan Polgar is scheduled for 6:00pm on Friday, February 27th. This event will be held at the Bay Area Chess Center located at 1639 A South Main St in Milpitas, California. There is no charge for attending and 5 additional seats in the simul will be raffled off to scholastic players in attendance who are signed up for the Susan Polgar National Open for Girls and Boys. If your child is not yet registered for the SPFNO, you can do so at www.ChessAndMusic.com

Susan Polgar Foundation’s National Open for Girls and Boys: FAQ

February 24, 2015

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There’s a tangible buzz in the air all around Silicon Valley because the Susan Polgar Foundation’s National Open for Girls and Boys is on the horizon. Facebook walls and Twitter news feeds have begun to highlight the coming event and of course the hundreds of talented youngsters who will be competing. Even my five minute coffee breaks aren’t immune from the last minute concerns of the young chess parents entering their child in the SPFNO for the first time. It is for these parents that I dedicate this post in which I will share my answers to the most frequently asked questions about the 2015 Susan Polgar National Open for Girls and Boys. Check back often as this page may grow!
Q: Where and when will the Susan Polgar Foundation’s National Open for Girls and Boys take place?

A: The SPFNO will take place at the San Mateo Event Center on February 28 through March 1. The address is 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo, CA 94403

Q: Can I sign my children up online?

A: Of Course! Just follow the instructions on our webpage
http://www.chessandmusic.com/susanpolgarfoundation/

Q: Is my child ready for the Susan Polgar Foundation’s National Open for Girls and Boys?

A: Whether your child has just learned how to move the pieces or is a seasoned tournament pro, the 2015 SPFNO has you covered. In addition to the two day championship event, we also are offering a one day non-rated tournament for new chess players. Every child in attendance will also have access to free instruction from the excellent chess instructors from the Torres Chess and Music Academy. We guarantee that the 2015 Susan Polgar Foundation’s National Open for Girls and Boys will be a quality learning experience for all who are in attendance.

Q: If my child loses his/her first game is he/she eliminated from the tournament.

A: Losing will not eliminate your child from the SPFNO. The tournament structure we will be using is commonly referred to as a Swiss Style. In a Swiss Style tournament all participants are allowed to play in every round and are paired based on their current score with another player with the same score.

Q: Does my child need to bring a chessboard from home?

A: No, all boards and chess sets will be provided by the tournament organizers. However, it is advised that your child bring his/her own chess clock if they own one.

Bring your own chess clock if you have one.

Bring your own chess clock if you have one.

 

Q: Are parents allowed to watch their child’s tournament games?

A: At the start of every round, parents will be permitted into the tournament hall to help their child find his/her proper seat but then will need to return to the designated waiting areas in order to ensure fair play.

Q: What is a USCF ID number and rating?

A: A United States Chess Federation identification number is required in order to play in the rated main event. All games played in this section will be submitted to the USCF for rating purposes. A USCF rating is a number that reflects the skill level of a player based on his/her past performance in rated chess play. If your child does not have a USCF Membership they may purchase one for $17 at the tournament or online at ChessAndMusic.com

Q: I see that there is also a Simul, Blitz Tournament and Puzzle Solving Competition. Can you briefly explain how these side events work?

A: Sure thing!

On February 27th, Susan Polgar will be facing 30 children simultaneously at the Bay Area Chess Center in Milpitas, California. 25 of the children have already reserved a spot in the simul and five more will be randomly chosen from any other children in attendance who are signed up for the SPFNO but didn’t get a reservation in the simul. Anyone is welcome to come and watch Susan Polgar play her games and meet her after she finishes.

Blitz is chess lingo for speed chess. The SPFNO’s Blitz Chess Tournament is scheduled for 5:45PM on Saturday, February 28th at the San Mateo Event Center. All participants will be placed in one section and play five games each with 5 minutes on each side of the chess clock. After all five rounds, trophies will be awarded to the top ten players with the highest total score.

Solving chess puzzles is an important part of every chess players studying routine. At the Susan Polgar Foundation’s National Open for Girls and Boys solving chess puzzles is an event unto itself. Any child signed up for the puzzle solving competition will be given a limited amount of time to solve chess problems of varying difficulty levels. Trophies will be awarded to the top ten performers as well as the top under 1600 and top under 1000.

Q: What time should I arrive?

A: I advise chess players to arrive a half hour before the tournament starts and double check their name and section placement. Since round one starts at 9:00am on February 28, I recommend showing up to the tournament hall at 8:30am.

Q: Do I need to bring food?

A: You can but the Event Center also has a great restaurant with affordable priced kid friendly food.

The San Mateo Event Center has a great selection of food on site!

The San Mateo Event Center has a great selection of food on site!

 

Q: I need a hotel. Where can I stay?

A: The Sofitel San Francisco Bay is a modern luxury resort located next to the Event Center. Susan Polgar, the entire tournament staff and many of the participants will be staying at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay If you decide to stay at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay be sure to ask for our special chess rate for a price that’s almost too good to believe!

 

the Sofitel San Francisco Bay will offer chess families the beautifully appointed accommodations of a French luxury hotel at a “chess rate” that is unbelievably affordable.

the Sofitel San Francisco Bay will offer chess families the beautifully appointed accommodations of a French luxury hotel at a “chess rate” that is unbelievably affordable.

 

Q: When will it be done?

A: The award ceremony for the unrated sections starts at 6:45 on Saturday, February 28th and will be over around 7:30. For the rated section in the Main Event, the award ceremony also begins at 6:45 but on Sunday, March 1st. I imagine that all the awards will be distributed by 8:00pm.

Q: My child is not getting a trophy. Do I need to wait for the award ceremony?

A: I have ordered custom medals for all participants in the main event who do not qualify for a trophy. The medals have the State of California cut into them as well as the official SPFNO logo.

Q: Can my child participate in the Unrated Section if they already have a USCF rating.

A: No, any rated players who are accidentally signed up for the unrated section will be automatically moved into the appropriate Main Event category.

Q: The San Mateo Event Center is really large. Where will the tournament be exactly and where should I park.

A: the tournament will take place in the Fiesta Hall at the San Mateo Event Center. You should park in the East Parking Lot by gate 7. We are in the Fiesta Hall. See the diagram below

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Q: Are there midday lunch breaks?

A: Of course, anytime that your child is not involved in a tournament game he/she may enjoy a snack or meal. I would recommend eating lunch around 11:30am.

Q: If we can’t attend both days can we just enter the simul or blitz and what requirements are there for participation?

A: I highly recommend treating the simul, blitz and puzzle solving competitions as added bonuses. However, any child who knows how to play chess may enter the side events regardless of if they are participating in the main event.

Q: What time does tournament play end each day… What restaurants can you recommend for dinner?

A: On both Saturday and Sunday the main tournament rounds will be concluded before 4:45 pm. If your child is playing in a side event, I recommend taking advantage of the restraint on site at the San Mateo Event Center. If not, there are numerous restaurants in the area.

Q: What activities are available on site or nearby for families to enjoy?

A: During the SPFNO, we will be providing free chess instruction, musical performances and demonstrations from the designer of Coach Jay’s Chess Academy. After the event, your family will have access to all the great entertainment the San Francisco Bay Area has to offer on any given weekend!

Q: Must parents remain on site while their children compete?

A: I always recommend that at least one parent stay on site to support their child. However, if your child has an adult (such as a chess coach or parent of a friend) who is willing to watch your child, you may make arrangements for them to do so. Please make sure your child knows who is supposed to be watching them and when you will return.

Q: What advice should I give my child before they play at the SPFNO?

A: Most important is to take their time. Next every time it is their turn they should analyze all checks, captures and threats. Also, if they have a question about the legality their opponents move they should pause their clock and raise their hand to signal a tournament director. Finally, once they agree to a result of a game it is over, regardless if it was truly checkmate or not. So again, remind your child to take their time.

Q: How do I know who my child is supposed to play?

A: Before each round we will post pairings that are alphabetical by name as well as pairings listed by tournament rank. In addition, we will post tournament standings for each section regularly during the event.

Q: Is this tournament played with the touch move rule?

A: Of course! The SPFNO is played following all of the rules of chess according to the United States Chess Federation rule book. If your child touches a piece that he/she does not intend to move he/she needs to announce, “adjust” immediately before placing his/her hand on the piece.

Q: In the description of the tournament, I saw “In all sections the top 3 teams win trophies.” Is the team the school used at the time of registration for USCF or can it also be a club where the kid is getting chess coaching from?

A: The team trophies are for the school chess teams. To play for a school chess team, a child must attend that school for his/her overall education.

Q: I registered my son for the 2015 Susan Polgar Foundation’s National Open Championship for Girls and Boys. I haven’t received a registration confirmation. How can I check to see that he is registered in the appropriate events and age categories?

A: Simple! Just go to www.ChessAndMusic.com and check the lists of preregistered players. If you notice anything wrong, please send corrections to chesslessons@aol.com

Q: What’s the best way of getting updates during the tournament without slowing down the tournament directors?

A: Follow us on twitter https://twitter.com/torreschess or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ChessAndMusic. We will be posting updates and pairings with the hashtag #SPFNO.

 

Only Two Weeks Until the Susan Polgar Foundation’s National Open for Girls and Boys

February 15, 2015

www.ChessAndMusic.com

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List of Pre-Registered Players for the SPFNO

January 6, 2015

The list of pre-registered players for the Susan Polgar Foundation’s Nationwide Open for Girls and Boys is now available at www.ChessAndMusic.com

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2015 Susan Polgar Foundation’s Nationwide Open for Girls and Boys

November 10, 2014

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Sign up today!

Chess Classes in Fremont, California

August 22, 2014

FREMONT ACHIEVER CHESS TEAM: August 23rd through October 25th

Brought to you by The Achiever Institute and the Torres Chess and Music Academy, a non-profit organization

 

Children at Achiever Institute focusing hard at chess.

Children at Achiever Institute focusing hard at chess.

 

The Fremont Achiever Chess Team chess program meets every Saturday from 1:00 until 3:00, beginning August 23, 2014.

Held at The Achiever Institute.

43475 Ellsworth St. Fremont, CA 94539

Register at Achiever this Saturday

 

The Fremont Achiever Chess Team has a very special chess program taught by the nationally renowned chess instructors from the Torres Chess and Music Academy.  This course will provide experienced tournament players with instruction that will quickly increase their ability and understanding of chess. In addition, we will also teach newer students the skills necessary to excel in competitive chess. Participants will begin their afternoon by participating in an exciting chess class taught by the top chess instructors from the area. Students will then play 1 USCF rated chess game as part of the ongoing tournament and receive 1-on-1 analysis of their play. Lower rated players will play at g/30 time controls while higher rated players will be using g/45. Every five weeks, the tournament will be reported to the USCF in order to be rated. All participants must be members of the USCF. If your child is not a member, your child can join or renew their USCF membership at the first meeting.

The tuition for this program is $180 for ten weeks.

Drop-In for a single class for $20.

If you miss the first week or inform us during registration that you will be missing a week we will prorate the tuition. No refund will be given for unscheduled student absences.

An American in Tromso

August 12, 2014

Sam Shankland is sensational in his Chess Olympiad debut.

 

After eight rounds against a difficult international field, Grandmaster Sam Shankland of the United States remains undefeated in Tromso, Norway. Those of us from the United States and especially California couldn’t be prouder of our representative at the 41st Chess Olympiad. Below is my personal favorite from Sam’s play and I invite you to enjoy the game while raising a glass to the United States of America’s newest international chess star.

 

Sam Shankland has a lot to smile about. (photo from: www.fpawn.blogspot.com)

Sam Shankland has a lot to smile about these days. (photo from: http://www.fpawn.blogspot.com)

 

[Event “41’st Chess Olympiad”]

[Site “Tromso, Norway”]

[Date “2014.8.8”]

[Round “6”]

[White “Guillermo Vazquez”]

[Black “Samuel Shankland”]

[Result “0-1”]

[Eco “B12”]

[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

 

{[ CARO-KANN,B12]} 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 {Guillermo Vazquez chooses a very aggressive line as white. The idea is to add to his control on the kingside while creating threats against Shankland’s Bishop on f5. Many amateur players have allowed white to trap their bishop with pawn advances to g4, h5, and f3.}

The position after 4. h4

The position after 4. h4

 

h5 {Of course, there is nothing amateur about GM Sam Shankland’s chess and he chooses the best line to avoid white’s plans.}

5.Bg5 {This early bishop move gives black a nice target on “b7.” Nc3 is a fine alternative here and can be seen in the game below:}

( 5.Nc3 e6 6.Bd3 Bxd3 7.Qxd3 Qb6 8.Bg5 Qa6 9.Qd2 c5 10.Nf3 cxd4

11.Ne2 Nd7 12.O-O Ne7 13.Nexd4 Nc6 14.a4 Nxd4 15.Nxd4 Qb6 16.a5

Qa6 17.c4 Qxc4 18.Rfc1 Qb4 19.Qc2 Nc5 20.a6 Nxa6 21.Rxa6 Qxd4

22.Qc7 Bb4 23.Rxe6+ fxe6 24.Qxg7 Rf8 {…1-0, Zelcic Robert (CRO) 2564  – Bartels Hans A (NED) 2297 , Caorle 1993 It (open)})

Qb6 {Sam Shankland develops with a threat and grabs the initiative. So much for trying to play a peaceful Caro-Kann.}

6.Bd3 {!?} {Guillermo Vazquez is willing to pay the price of a pawn on “b2” or “d4” in order to gain a strong attack. In a sense, he is allowing Sam Shankland to pick his own poison.}

The position after 6. Bd3

The position after 6. Bd3

 

Qxd4 {Sam chooses the pesto rather than the hemlock.}

( 6…Bxd3 {was Alexei Shirov’s choice in a nice victory over Anand.}

7.Qxd3 Qa6 8.Qf3 e6 9.Ne2 c5 10.c3 Nc6 11.Nd2 Nge7 12.Nb3 cxd4

13.cxd4 Nf5 14.O-O Be7 15.Bxe7 Ncxe7 16.g3 b6 17.Nf4 g6 18.Nh3

O-O 19.Qf4 Qe2 20.Rfd1 Rac8 21.Rd2 Qg4 22.Qxg4 hxg4 23.Ng5 a5

24.f3 Rc4 25.Kf2 Rfc8 26.fxg4 {…0-1, Shirov Alexei (ESP) 2713  – Anand Viswanathan (IND) 2817 , Leon  6/ 5/2011 Match “Leon Masters”}) ( 6…Qxb2 7.Bxf5 Qxa1 8.e6 {Is probably what Guillermo Vazquez was hoping for.})

7.Nf3 {Vazquez develops with a threat and is still hoping Shankland plays Qxb2.}

Qg4 {Sam Shankland avoids his opponent’s plans while simultaneously placing the queen in a very dangerous position for white.}

( 7…Qxb2 8.Bxf5 Qxa1 9.e6 Nh6 10.exf7+ Kxf7 11.Bc8 Na6 12.Bh3

e5 13.O-O Bd6 14.Nfd2 Ng4 15.Bxg4 hxg4 16.Qxg4 Nc5 17.Nb3 Qxa2

18.Qf5+ Kg8 19.Nc3 Qa6 20.Nxc5 Bxc5 21.Qe6+ Kh7 22.h5 Qc4 23.h6

Rhg8 24.Qf5+ Kh8 25.Qh3 g6 26.Bf6+ Kh7 27.Qd7+ {…1-0, Kislinsky Alexey (UKR) 2495  – Krutul Piotr (POL) 1854 , Warsaw 12/16/2006 Ch Europe (active)})

The position after 7... Qg4

The position after 7… Qg4

 

 

8.O-O {White’s best move is to castle into danger. Below is fine example of strong play for black had white chosen to play Nc3 instead.}

( 8.Nc3 e6 9.O-O Nd7 10.Bxf5 Qxf5 11.Re1 Be7 12.Nd4 Qg4 13.Qd2

Bc5 14.Nb3 Be7 15.Nd4 Bxg5 16.hxg5 h4 17.f3 Qh5 18.Rad1 Ne7 19.Ne4

O-O 20.Nf2 a6 21.b4 Qh7 22.Ng4 Nf5 23.c4 Rfd8 24.c5 a5 25.bxa5

Nxd4 26.Qxd4 Rxa5 27.Re2 Rxc5 {…0-1, Malykh Yuriy A (RUS) 2140  – Airapetian Gor (RUS) 2451 , Lipetsk  3/28/2010 Ch Region})

Bxd3 {Sam decides to exchange the bishop which lacks scope for his opponent’s most active piece.}

( 8…e6 9.Be2 Qb4 10.c4 Ne7 11.Nc3 dxc4 12.Nd2 b5 13.a4 Nd7 14.axb5 cxb5 15.Nxb5 Nd5 16.Nxc4 Be7 17.Nbd6+ {1-0, Robson Ray (USA) 2466 – Rowley Robert (USA) 2234, Tulsa (USA) 2008.03.30})

9.Qxd3 {Vazquez recaptures while developing rather than attempting to restablish a pawn on “d4” by playing cxd3.}

e6 {Sam Shankland creates a standard Caro-Kann pawn structure in route to playing Be7.}

10.Nbd2 {The knight is better placed here rather than on “c3” because white will want to have the ability to move his c-pawn soon.}

Be7 {Shankland is a solid pawn up but will have to defend accurately in order to achieve victory against Vazquez’s dynamic style.}

11.c4 {Guillermo Vazquez is a very bold chess player.}

The position after 11. c4

The position after 11. c4

 

11… Bxg5

12.Nxg5 Ne7

13.Qb3 {The real reason behind “11. c4.”}

b6 {Shankland is playing very accurately when it counts the most.}

The position after 13... b6

The position after 13… b6

 

14.cxd5 cxd5

15.Rac1 Nbc6 {Sam’s defensive skills are exceptional.}

16.f4 {Vazquez is striking furiously on all sides of the board.}

The position after 16. f4

The position after 16. f4

 

Rc8 {Shankland is performing perfectly under heavy fire.}

17.Qd3 Nf5

18.Ndf3 O-O {Sam Shankland has survived unscathed! Unfortunately for Guillermo Vazquez, his brute-force attacking style has left plenty of holes in his position.}

The position after 18... 0-0

The position after 18… 0-0

 

19.Nh2 Qg3 {At this point, trading queens is no longer an option for white.}

20.Qd1

 

The position after 20. Qd1

The position after 20. Qd1

 

20… Nxe5 {!} {Now it is Shankland’s turn to attack.}

21.Rxc8 {if} ( 21.fxe5 {then} Qe3+ 22.Rf2 Rxc1 {!} )

Rxc8 22.fxe5 {There are alternatives for white but they would just elongate the misery.}

Qe3+ {!} {Now Vazquez can either drop a queen, get checkmated or resign. He chooses the latter.}

0-1

0-1

 

 

 

 

 

Fremont Summer Chess Camp: Week 4

July 28, 2014

Below are photographs of my favorite moments from week four of the Fremont Summer Chess Camp. I wish to thank all of our students, coaches, Steve and Kate’s Camps,  the Wild Cat Education and Conservation Fund and Grandmaster Susan Polgar. It takes a lot of great people to make the Fremont Summer Chess Camp as successful as it is and without these great groups and individuals many kids from Northern California would have missed out on an experience of a lifetime.

 

Thanks to Coach Tans for being awesome for everyday of camp.

Thanks to Coach Tans for doing a great job teaching our youngest campers.

 

 

For four straight years, Coach Francisco has been teaching our campers confidence through attacking chess.

For four straight years, Coach Francisco has been teaching our campers confidence through attacking chess.

 

 

International Master Emory Tate managed to greatly improve the chess skills of every child advanced group.

International Master Emory Tate managed to greatly improve the chess skills of every child in the advanced group.

 

 

Coached James proved daily why he is the Director of Instruction for the Torres Chess and Music Academy.

Coach James proved daily why he is the Director of Instruction for the Torres Chess and Music Academy.

 

 

James Pacquette also managed the technological aspects of our Special Guest Series.

James Pacquette also managed the technological aspects of our Esteemed Guest Series.

 

 

MSJE Head Coach Joe Lonsdale was always available to help kids review their USCF rated chess games.

MSJE Head Coach Joe Lonsdale was always available to help kids review their USCF rated chess games.

 

 

The Wild Cat Education and Conservation Fund put on a great show for our kids.

The Wild Cat Education and Conservation Fund put on a great show for our kids.

 

 

Everyone in attendance will never forget the day Susan Polgar showed them patterns in attacking a castled king.

Everyone in attendance will never forget the day Susan Polgar (The World’s Top Chess Trainer) challenged every mind in the room with an extremely thought provoking chess lesson.

 

 

Most of all, it was all the awesome young chess players that made the 2014 Fremont Summer Chess Camp so fantastic.

Most of all, it was all the awesome young chess players that made the 2014 Fremont Summer Chess Camp so fantastic.

 

Want to see more?

Fremont Summer Chess Camp: Week 3

Fremont Summer Chess Camp: Week 2

Fremont Summer Chess Camp: Week 1

 

 

 

 


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