Archive for the ‘chess wisdom’ Category

Chess Chat: Q&A with Karen Thurm Safran, Author of Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It

May 25, 2019

Many people know you as the powerful marketing force behind some amazing companies and products. Authoring a parenting book seems to be an interesting career pivot for you. What motivated you to become an author?

Thanks for including me on your blog… and for the compliment. Wow, we’ve known each other for nearly twenty years since my son started chess in elementary school. Time sure flies by quickly! 

Writing a book is definitely a career shift from managing marketing teams, working in a fast-paced high-tech environment, and driving revenue for companies. While it seems like a random career move, I decided to fulfill a childhood dream of writing a book and combine it with my love of parenting. 

Welcome, Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It, an entertaining book showing playful ways to stop struggling with your child and start having more fun. Now kids will listen and cooperate-willingly! I’m excited because already it’s been a #1 New Release in 7 Amazon categories.

How is your book different from other parenting book?

While I love reading parenting books, my book is very different. First, Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It entertains as well as inspires. The “how to” lessons are shown through entertaining, light-hearted stories. People say that reading my book is like sitting with a friend over coffee. Second, many parenting books focus on babies, toddlers, or teens. I focus primarily on elementary school-age kids (as well as toddlers). There aren’t many books for this demographic. Lastly, parents don’t have time. My gosh, there’s barely enough time in the day to tackle parts of the formidable To-Do list, nevermind read a book. So, I organized my book into short, easy to read chapters that stand-alone. Now whenever parents have a spare moment, they can easily flip to a chapter on a specific parenting challenge. My goal is to have these fictional, whimsical stories spark the reader’s own playfulness. It’s very touching hearing how stories inspire people’s own creativity for handling frustrating parenting situations.

Why did you choose to write a parenting book and specifically, Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It? 

Parenting is incredibly rewarding, but it’s also stressful. Even the best kids fuss, don’t listen, and misbehave. With the never-ending power struggles, parenting can be overwhelming. My parents had a trick. They embraced a “can do!” spirit, used their imagination, and created games to turn around frustrating moments. It was like magic! Goodbye nagging and yelling. Life became more enjoyable for our entire family.

When I became a mom, I experienced first-hand the benefits of this playful attitude and positive parenting style. I wrote Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It to help other families because this playful approach helped me as a stressed-out single parent. By creating games to deal with frustrating moments, you make parenting more fun, you empower your children, and you spend quality time connecting with your family.

This playful approach is in contrast to that stereotypically serious Silicon Valley parenting style. What are the greatest advantages of making a game out of parenting for families that live in such a competitive environment?

I know, parenting playfully seems counterintuitive, especially when your kids aren’t cooperating and you’re about to scream. Being playful is the last thing you want to do! Luckily, being playful doesn’t have to be hard, You can adopt a fun attitude in less than a minute as shown in my blog, “How to be a Fun Mom (Like Mary Poppins Not “Monster Mom”). I also wrote a blog outlining 46 Tips on How To Be a Playful, Positive Parent. While it may seem like another task to conquer, being positive and playful reduces your stress… and YOUR child’s stress. You’ll spend more quality time connecting with your family, which makes parenting more fun and empowers your child.

Whether or not you live in a competitive area like Silicon Valley, adopting this playful approach has many benefits.

  • Entertains kids when they’re bored and misbehaving.
  • Calms children when they’re upset and melting down.
  • Gets kids to help around the house with chores.
  • Teaches real-life skills like organizing school work, writing papers, and project planning to meet deadlines.

Being a Chess Mom/Dad presents unique challenges for parenting. Could you describe some of these challenges and how you handled them?

The biggest challenge was making time to attend chess tournaments. These are so important and part of the chess experience, so I made sure that my son participated in as many as possible. We even flew to several national events. If you’re going to encourage your child to play chess, realize from the get-go that this is a time commitment. However, there’s plenty of “down” time during each chess round. I recommend bringing work to keep you busy. Most importantly, have a positive, supportive attitude and consider this as time to sit and catch up on whatever.

I learned at the first national tournament, that we were there for one reason: chess. During the first break, I dragged us to the local aquarium and had plans to squeeze in fun activities throughout the weekend. Woo-hoo, we’d get to explore a new city! I quickly realized that competing is exhausting, so my ten-year old son needed to simply rest in the hotel room. These national chess tournament trips are now highlights because they provided special, connecting opportunities that also empowered my son.

How did your son choose and benefit from chess?

While visiting a relative’s house, our cousin taught my five-year-old son some basic chess. Boom! That was the catalyst. This passion continued and grew since the elementary school offered chess (which is where we met Chris!). At seven, he participated in his first tournament, second tournament, and so forth, all the way through high school. Now in his early twenties, he continues playing chess online.

Chess is VERY beneficial! It teaches patience, emphasizes discipline, develops problem-solving skills, trains a logical mind, improves memory, builds confidence, and provides a life-long hobby. I’m impressed how my son can focus and tune out any noise. He’s also great at math, was a stats major, and is now an actuary. Chess gave him an opportunity to be a leader when he started a chess club in high school. But the most important benefit is that chess provided countless hours of fun!

Finally, how can all the chess parents who read this blog obtain a copy of your book? 

They can visit my “Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It” website and also visit Amazon directly.

Thanks for all of your wonderful work inspiring students in chess! And thanks for interviewing me for your Chess Chat blog.

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Chess Chat: Q&A with Devanshi Rathi, UC Berkeley Student and Nonprofit Founder

April 16, 2019

Devanshi Rathi is a current undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a passionate chess player and enjoys playing and watching different sports. Her mission in life is to create a positive difference in the world around her. She is trying to do that through her foundation, the Devanshi Rathi Foundation, a registered non-profit company. In her free time, she likes to write about sports and loves to take interviews of different players because it leaves her inspired.

How old were you when you first learned how to play chess? Who taught you?

I was eight years old (in 2008) when I first learnt how to play chess. I learnt from my school coach and via self-practice in the beginning.

How has chess effected your decision making process off the board?

Chess has definitely helped my decision making process off the board. I try to strategize and plan my ‘moves’ well in advance before actually ‘playing’ them. Obviously, I don’t always go according to my original plan, but that happens most of the times in chess as well.

How did your earlier career choices lead you to where you are now?

I am not sure about this. I tried to turn into a professional chess player, or at least was working towards it for about a year and a half, but I had other interests and passions in life that always made me distracted. To become a professional, one needs sole focus on the game, and I just couldn’t do that. Moreover, my multiple interests led me to pursue a major in college that is independently designed, and I’m currently working on how I can get an effective research proposal in order to declare the same.

How would you define your chess style?

I think it would be aggressive and attacking. I don’t like to defend that much, maybe I’m not that good at it!

Does your chess style transfer over into your business decisions as well?

Yes, but I feel that I tend to be more combinatory in my business decisions. Too much aggression in the business field can cost one a lot.

What has been your worst chess mistake which has given you the biggest lesson?

My worst chess mistake would be to not participate in a number of tournaments in my earlier years. I practiced myself instead of playing in different events. It has made me realise that one must make the most of one’s current time and not think too much in advance. It is the same in chess- one shouldn’t go so deep in their calculations that we lose sight of the current position.

Do you think chess has helped you to become more resilient in life?

Yes, of course! Participating in competitions definitely helps one to get more resilient and that reciprocates into one’s personal life as well, according to my experience.

What do you hope to achieve professionally during the next couple of years?

I am currently exploring my options. I’m taking a diverse set of classes for my interdisciplinary major and can only see what happens as it happens. Not planning too much at the moment. This could be a contradiction to what I said earlier about me planning well in advance. However, this is a situation where I feel that the more ‘time’ you take, the better move you would ‘play’.

What is the biggest challenge to achieving that goal?

As I don’t know the goal yet, the biggest challenge would be to find my path.

How would you relate these goals and challenges to the chessboard?

In chess, one needs to find the real path to victory and that can take the whole game. Similarly, I’m taking my time to decide.

Could you please leave us with a favorite piece of chess wisdom to conclude this interview?

Chess is an ocean where an ant can swim and an elephant can drown.

Thanks a lot for giving me this opportunity to do this interview!

To find out more about the Devanshi Rathi Foundation and Project Checkmate, please visit: https://projectcheckmate.weebly.com/

Chess Chat: Q&A with Jessica Lauser, U.S. Blind Champion

March 4, 2019

Jessica Lauser hails from Northern California’s San Francisco Bay Area, and has been an avid participant in tournament chess, both there and elsewhere, for a number of years, playing 175 rated events throughout the country, so far.

A graduate, in History, from San Francisco State University, Jessica worked for the Internal Revenue Service—last year—and now for a nonprofit organization servicing contract(s) for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Being legally-blind since birth, chess has provided her a means to attain equality and achieve success, hopefully inspiring others, along the way.

It has not been easy, but Jessica has qualified, several times now, to represent the U.S. in various competitions, overseas. These include World Blind Olympiads, the IBCA Women’s World Championship, and, most recently, the IBCA Men’s/Overall World Championship.

Jessica’s goal is to become the first blind women’s master in the United States, and to achieve a solid ranking among the top blind players in the world.

As always, Jessica appreciates the encouragement and support of the chess community, and she looks forward to making her own contribution to the ongoing improvement of others, as well.

How old were you when you first learned how to play chess? Who taught you?

I was seven, when I first learned to play chess, although it would be a few years—by about age twelve or so—before I fully understood such things as en passant. I learned from the principal of my elementary school, who was teaching only a few students at the time, since I came along well ahead of many of the chess programs that later formed in the schools, which became popular, throughout the country.

How has chess effected your decision making process off the board?

 

While chess has certainly helped me consider cause-and-effect relationships, there are countless aspects to decision-making—besides pure logic—that an understanding of chess doesn’t begin to help unravel. Alas, Life is infinitely more complex. Emotional, moral, and ethical, considerations, for example, can go into any number of decisions one may face, as an adult, and chess, it would seem, really requires much of the emotions and other elements to be absent from the process, to be effective.  

How did your earlier career choices lead you to where you are now?

 

As for career choices, I’m afraid I’m still working on that. Having a lifelong and permanent disability—moderate blindness, in my case—has significantly delayed things, in terms of both my education and career. Though I’ve always worked, or tried to be employed while also attending college, most of my jobs were part-time and student-oriented (campus IT, Library, etc.), until I finally graduated, in 2016. After doing so, I, eventually, spent time working for the IRS, before hiring on as a civilian contractor under a nonprofit agency assisting the U.S. Marine Corps.

How would you define your chess style?

 

Concerning chess style, I would have to say I’m very tactical, but have been known to find positional weaknesses I occasionally exploit. Perhaps for this reason, I tend towards a much stronger performance with far less time, than with more, resulting in an incredible disparity between my speed and slow ratings: a peak of 2048 (Blitz), as opposed to that of 1700 (Regular). Of course, it’s especially fun to beat not only male, but also fully-sighted, opponents.

 

Does your chess style transfer over into your business decisions as well?

I would say that my chess style probably influences other areas of my life, including work, in that, more than once, I’ve made major decisions—like moving across the country to take a job, and even changing states again, several months later—for the potential future benefits that doing so could afford. A big motivator, for example, has involved student loan forgiveness.

What has been your worst chess mistake which has given you the biggest lesson?

My worst chess mistake was probably not becoming the 2011 Alaska State Champion. Despite having a much higher-rated opponent on the ropes, I allowed my fear that he had some hidden resource I simply couldn’t see, to cause me to make a more passive, defending move. Instead of playing more aggressively in the endgame, which I would have done had this match taken place on the streets of San Francisco, this mistake netted me second place, down from clear first. What I learned, however, was, should I find myself playing for a title—whether state or national—when I reach the critical position of not only the game, but quite possibly the whole event, to just stop and re-evaluate whatever it is I’m seeing. Thankfully, I used this technique to great effect, in both the 2018 Kentucky Closed Women’s State Championship and the 2018 U.S. Blind Championship. I outright won both events, and even made history, becoming the first-ever female U.S. Blind Champion.

What has been your worst career mistake that has given you the biggest lesson?

 

As for my worst career mistake, I can’t say that I’ve made one, so much as I’ve had mostly jobs and no career, so far. Even so, I’m still making continued efforts at finding a career, as there exists a huge unemployment rate among folks with blindness—anywhere from 70-90% of us do not work and most cannot support themselves without assistance—so it feels good to be among a very few who are “making it”, living independently. The biggest lesson, I suppose, involves never giving up, always having a goal to pursue. While I’m currently employed, for instance, my job is contract-based, so it will end, I just don’t know when that will be. Meanwhile, I’m inching towards my second BA, in hopes of transitioning into work that uses my ears—something involving Russian—so I can enjoy greater confidence, in the future, should I experience further vision-loss.

 

Do you think chess has helped you to become more resilient in life?

While chess has definitely helped me be more resilient in life, it is my strong Christian faith that has sustained me during the most difficult times I have known. Likewise, the support of family and encouragement from others I have met has made the journey more bearable.

Jessica Lauser after winning the 2018 U.S. Blind Championship.

What do you hope to achieve professionally during the next couple of years?

 

As for professional achievements in the next couple years, I’d have to say to GET a profession would be nice. (For now, I’m simply working, but given a number of difficult challenges I am facing, currently—lack of transportation where I live/work, the astronomical cost of Lyft/Uber twice a day, if not averaging more, and, being essentially isolated as a result—morale and budget, aren’t exactly up to par.) It would be nice to not only be well-paid for what I do, but also to not have every dime I bring in essentially eaten up with what it takes to survive and get to/from work.

 

What is the biggest challenge to achieving that goal?

The biggest challenge, of course, is the stigma of blindness that follows me into every job, school/housing situation I encounter, and even interpersonal relationships. Physically incapable of perceiving nonverbal communication when interacting with others—and being largely uncomfortable socializing outside of chess, anyway—has created marked difficulty for me, in making friends and participating socially, in general. For this reason, I experience a reality quite similar to those with Autism, and it has actually been suggested that I am on the Spectrum.

 

How would you relate these goals and challenges to the chessboard?

Relating my goals and challenges to the chessboard would be to simplify them, ridiculously, making resulting analogies inadequate, at best. For example, a large part of decisions I have made, over the years, were dependent on things was told, by others, causing all kinds of problems, if and when these facts were either inaccurate, or simply untrue. Most recently, myself and other employees were told there were buses to get around the area we each relocated to, from other states, for our jobs. This statement couldn’t be further from the truth, costing us a tremendous amount of time, or hundreds of dollars extra, each month, making us wonder if moving all this way was worth it, given how we are out all kinds of money, just for the pleasure of working.

 

Could you please leave us with a favorite piece of chess wisdom to conclude this interview?

For my favorite piece of chess wisdom, I would have to say, no matter what, be sure to keep chess in the proper perspective. While we LOVE this game, and we derive immense pleasure from practicing and playing it, ultimately it is not our devotion to the 64 squares that defines us, but rather what we do, outside of chess—in Real Life—since our Great Game is only part of all we do along the way. There are far more important things to consider, like faith and family, friends and the future. In this respect, I think the saddest thing is when we take the chess out of the player, and there is literally nothing left of that person. This is why it’s important to cultivate one’s life, in a number of different areas of interest, not only to broaden one’s horizons, but also to allow for personal growth beyond what is either familiar or comfortable.  

Chess Chat: Q&A with Evan Rabin, CEO of Premier Chess

February 18, 2019

Evan Rabin was born and raised in New York. He graduated from Brandeis University Cum Laude with a BA in Business and International Global Studies in 2012. He founded Premier Chess, which currently offers programs in 44 schools and companies.

How old were you when you first learned how to play chess? Who taught you?

I was 7 when I learned how to play; my dad and brother taught me. 

How has chess effected your decision making process off the board?

Chess translates to my business and life processes all the time. I learn how to analyze, balance between risk and reward, and compete. I was influenced by Jim Egerton’s book Business on the Board. 

How did your earlier career choices lead you to where you are now?

I worked in Enterprise Sales for 4 years at Oracle and Rapid 7. I then cofounded a sales outsourcing startup for SaaS companies. I decided I loved sales but would prefer to talk about my true passion of chess education so I started Premier Chess (www.premierchess.com) in July 2017. We are now in 44 schools and companies including Kramer Levin. 

How would you define your chess style?

Influenced by Michael Adams, I have a style that is a mix of positional and attacking. I often will perform delayed attack’s in late middlegame. 

Does your chess style transfer over into your business decisions as well?

All the time, I love looking ahead and evaluating the best moves in a given position. For example, I will ask myself if Premier Chess is going to invest $100 in marketing, should it go to Facebook, promo items, SEO, etc. 

What has been your worst chess mistake which has given you the biggest lesson?

My worst chess mistake was letting my emotions affect my Play. 

What has been your worst career mistake that has given you the biggest lesson?

My biggest career mistake was when I told my former manager that I was upset that I was only getting a little more money than someone who was a lot less experienced than me. I learned never to talk to fellow employees about salary. 

Do you think chess has helped you to become more resilient in life?

Absolutely; chess makes me more consistent and conscious of all my decision making. 

What do you hope to achieve professionally during the next couple of years?

I hope to grow Premier Chess to 100+ schools and 25+ companies. I also hope to do more volunteer trips around the world. 

What is the biggest challenge to achieving that goal?

The biggest challenge will he finding enough qualified instructors. 

How would you relate these goals and challenges to the chessboard?

On the chess board, an attack needs enough active pieces. If your opponent’s king is exposed but you don’t have any development, you won’t be able to take advantage of it. 

Could you please leave us with a favorite piece of chess wisdom to conclude this interview?

My friend and mentor Bill Lombardy once suggested to me that I follow one top-level player’s games and go over all of his games. I picked Michael Adams and have greatly benefited from this exercise. 

For more on Evan Rabin and Premier Chess please visit:

http://premierchess.com

A Friendly Rivalry: Eric Schiller VS Emory Tate

January 13, 2019
week3eight

Relaxed and highly personable, Schiller bantered amiably with the audience while presenting three of his games against Emory Tate.

 

There’s an ancient Hebrew proverb that goes something like, “The Rivalry of scholars advances wisdom.” And such was the case of the rivalry between Eric Schiller and Emory Tate. So it was a very special occasion at the Fremont Summer Chess Camp when when Eric Schiller did a two-hour lesson on his three games against Emory Tate while Tate was in the room to interject his opinions. To this day, I still receive “thank you’s” from the young chess players in the room who greatly benefited from the wisdom of these two masters.

 

img_6477

Emory Tate inspiring the next generation at the Fremont Summer Chess Camp.

Below is part 2 of the trilogy of chess battles between Eric Schiller (March 20, 1955 – November 3, 2018) and Emory Tate (December 27, 1958 – October 17, 2015) with notes by Schiller.

[Event "Western States Open"]
[Site "Reno, Nevada (USA)"]
[Date "2004.10.16"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Emory Tate"]
[Black "Eric Schiller"]


1.e4 {Notes by Eric Schiller.} 
1... e5 
2.Nf3 Nc6 
3.Bb5 Nge7 
4.O-O a6 
5.Ba4 b5 
6.Bb3 Ng6 
7.c3 Be7 
8.d4 O-O 
9.a4 {A new move in this rarely explored opening. It caught me off-guard and I did
not react properly.} Bb7 {?! 9...b4 was surely the correct
plan. 9...Rb8 looks dubious because of 10.axb5 axb5 11.d5 +- }

ts1

Position after 9. a4

10.d5 Nb8 { This retreat is not justified. I simply was afraid
of the plan of maneuvering my knight to c4, because I feared
that after a capture by the bishop, and recapture with my
d-pawn, that the pawn at c4 would then be a serious
weakness. 10...Na5 11.Ba2 c5 12.b4 Nc4 13.Bxc4 bxc4 14.bxc5
Bxc5 15.Na3 +0.27 would not be so bad for Black. } 

ts2

Position after 10… Nb8

11.Qe2 bxa4 { I was thinking along the lines of my game with Nicholas
Yap. that's what happens when you win a nice game, it carries
over and the next time you use the opening you tend to play
the same way, whether or not it is appropriate.} 

ts3

Position after 11… Bxa4

12.Rxa4 d6

13.Be3 {+/= No doubt about it, White has a small advantage
here. Nevertheless, Black can whip up some serious counter
play.} 

ts4

Position after 13. Be3

13... Bc8 {?! This bishop is destined to stagger drunkenly
all over the board, without having any serious effect on
White's position. 13...Nd7 would've been a much better plan
and in that case White's advantage would not have been so
significant. } 

ts5

Position after 13… Bc8

14.Nbd2 Bd7 

15.Ra3 f5 {At this point there
really isn't any other source of counterplay.} 

ts6

Position after 15… f5



16.exf5 Bxf5
17.Bc4 Bg4 
18.h3 Bc8 
19.Ne4 h6 
20.b4 {! +/- White has a dominating position and Black is suffering under the weight of
a large number weaknesses.} 

ts7

Position after 20. b4


20... Qe8 
21.Nc5 {! A powerful move! The sacrifice cannot be accepted.} 

ts8

Position after 21. Nc5


21... Bd8 { 21...dxc5 ? 22.d6+ Kh8 23.dxe7 Nxe7 24.Bxc5 is a miserable 
for Black. } 

ts10

Position after 21… Bd8

22.Ne6 Rf6

23.Nd2 Bxe6 {!? Of course that this is not the best move,
objectively. I made the capture simply because it allowed me
to develop a plan to win White's new weakling at e6, and
possibly get some counter play going by advancing central
pawns. Other moves would have left me with a miserable
position with no real chances to establish any sort of counter
play.} 

ts11

Position after 23… Bxe6

24.dxe6 Ne7 { All I have to do is somehow advance my
pawn from d6 to d5 and everything will be fine. Unfortunately
my opponent doesn't allow me to do that..}

ts12

Position after 24… Ne7

 

25.Ne4 {!} Rf8

26.Ba2 {By the way, did I underestimate this move. At the very
end of the game you will see the point.} 

ts13

Position after 26. Ba2

26... Qg6 

27.Bc1 Kh8 

28.b5 a5 

29.f4 {!} d5 { Finally! At this point, however, the move
doesn't have much of an impact and allows the knight to take
up an even better post at c5.} 

ts14

Position after 29… d5

30.Nc5 c6 

31.Qxe5 Bb6 

32.Be3 Nf5 {? Right square, wrong piece. I could have kept the game
close by moving my rook to the square. 32...Rf5 ! 33.Qd4 Bxc5
34.Qxc5 Qxe6 35.bxc6 Nbxc6 +/= } 

ts15

Position after 32… Nf5

33.Bf2 {? A serious error which allows me to get back into the game, 
but both of us mis-analyzed the position and missed the finesse at the
end. 33.Bd4 ! Nxd4 34.cxd4 cxb5 35.Bxd5 Bxc5 36.dxc5 Ra7 37.f5
was the correct plan. White's passed pawns and dominating
bishop provide a winning advantage. } 

ts16

Position after 33. Bf2

33... Re8 {? 33...Nh4 ! was the saving plan. I spotted the move, of course, 
but simply didn't date indeed enough into the position. Both players 
saw the same continuation [34.Bxd5 ! cxd5 35.Qxd5 Ra7 ! 36.Bxh4 (but here 
we both failed to spot Rf5 !) 37.Qe4 Bxc5+ 38.Bf2 Qf6 
[38...Bxa3 39.Bxa7 ] 39.Bxc5 Rxc5 40.Rxa5 Rxa5 41.e7 Rc8
42.e8=Q+ Rxe8 43.Qxe8+ Kh7 44.Qxb8 Qxc3 with a difficult but
not hopeless position for Black. } 

ts17

Position after 33… Re8

34.Bb1 {! +- The bishop slips onto the long diagonal and finishes 
off the game.} 

ts18

Position after 34. Bb1

34... Bxc5

35.Bxc5 Nd7 {I allow Emory Tate to finish the game with a
flashy tactic. Why not? He played very well.} 

ts19

Position after 35… Nd7

36.exd7 Rxe5

37.fxe5 {I resigned. My opponent at long last got his revenge
for my upset victory in the 1997 United States Masters.} 1-0

ts20

Position after 37. fxe5

 

Eric Schiller VS Emory Tate Game 1

 

What are the Advantages/Disadvantages of Castling in Chess?

October 26, 2014

My answer as posted on Quora here: http://qr.ae/DyzTt

Castling is the only time in chess when a player is allowed to move two of his/her own pieces simultaneously. The rearrangement that occurs when a player castles is beneficial because the king usually finds increased safety away from the dangerous center files while the rook boosts its attacking potential by moving out of the corner. Some common reasons to avoid castling include:
1) If castling will expose your king to greater danger.
2) If your opponent’s most threatening pieces (especially the queen) have already left the board.
3) If your rook is supporting an important advance of a flank pawn.
4) If you have powerful tactics available immediately and castling will cost you the initiative.

IMG_1439.JPG

Why is Fabiano Caruana Dominating the Strongest Chess Tournament Ever?

September 4, 2014
Fabiano Caruana dominating performance in the 2014 Sinquefield Cup is made possible by a combination of his rare talent, passion for the game, hard work and experience.

Fabiano Caruana’s dominating performance in the 2014 Sinquefield Cup is made possible by a combination of his rare talent, passion for the game, hard work and experience.

 

Yesterday in chess class, one of my students asked me, “How is it possible for Fabiano Caruana to play chess so well?” I answered her by saying that it is a,”Combination of talent, passion for chess, hard work and experience.” When another child asked me about his experience, I explained that, “It takes learning from thousands of losses to become any good at chess.” I then set up the position below in which Torres Chess and Music Academy coach Emory Tate provides a valuable learning moment to the young Fabiano Caruana.

 

Position from Fabiano Caruana vs Emory Tate. Black to move and win!

Position from Fabiano Caruana vs Emory Tate. Black to move and win!

 

Here is the game in its entirety:

 

[Event “Tournament ‘New York Masters'”]
[Site “New York (USA)”]
[Date “2003”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Caruana Fabiano (ITA)”]
[Black “Tate Emory (USA)”]
[Result “0-1”]
[Eco “B22”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]
[Source “Chris’ Portable Treasury of Chess Games”]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.d4 c4 {Emory Tate chose a different path in his fine victory over Mechem.}
( 5…Nc6 6.Nbd2 Be6 7.Bd3 c4 8.Bc2 b5 9.Nf1 Bd6 10.Ng3 Nf6 11.Nf5
Bxf5 12.Bxf5 Qe7+ 13.Qe2 Ne4 14.Ng5 Nxg5 15.Bxg5 f6 16.Be3 g6
17.Bc2 O-O 18.Qf3 Qf7 19.O-O b4 20.Bf4 Bxf4 21.Qxf4 bxc3 22.bxc3
Rab8 23.Rab1 Rxb1 24.Rxb1 Qe6 25.Kf1 {…0-1, Mechem P – Tate Emory (USA) 2370 , Illinois 1996 It (open)}
) 6.Be2 ( 6.b3 cxb3 7.axb3 Bd6 8.Bd3 Ne7 9.Nbd2 Bf5 10.Nf1 O-O
11.Ne3 Bxd3 12.Qxd3 Qd7 13.O-O Nbc6 14.Ba3 f5 15.Bxd6 Qxd6 16.c4
f4 17.Ng4 Ng6 18.Rfe1 Rae8 19.h4 Qd7 20.Rxe8 Rxe8 21.h5 Nge7
22.Nge5 dxc4 23.bxc4 Nxe5 24.Nxe5 Qf5 25.Rxa7 Qxh5 {…1-0, Rublevsky Sergei (RUS) 2683 – Simonian Hrair (ARM) 2473 , Warsaw 12/18/2010 Ch Europe (active)}
) Bd6 7.O-O a6 ( 7…Ne7 8.b3 cxb3 9.axb3 Nbc6 10.c4 O-O 11.Nc3
Be6 12.Bg5 Qd7 13.Bh4 Rfe8 14.c5 Bc7 15.Nb5 Bg4 16.Nxc7 Qxc7
17.Bg3 Qd7 18.Ne5 Bxe2 19.Qxe2 Nxe5 20.dxe5 Nc6 21.f4 d4 22.Qc4
Qe6 23.Qxe6 fxe6 24.Rfd1 Red8 25.Ra4 a6 26.Rd3 Rd5 27.b4 {…0-1, Chakurira S (ZIM) 2171 – Lautier Joel (FRA) 2365 , Adelaide 1988 Ch World (juniors) (under 20)}
) 8.Ne5 {+0.07 CAP} ( 8.b3 cxb3 9.axb3 Ne7 ( 9…Nf6 10.Bb5+
{+0.48 CAP} ) 10.Re1 O-O 11.Ba3 Nbc6 12.Bd3 Ng6 13.Bxd6 Qxd6
14.Bxg6 hxg6 15.Ra2 Bf5 16.Rae2 Rac8 17.Re3 a5 18.Nbd2 b5 19.Ne5
b4 20.Nxc6 Rxc6 21.c4 a4 22.c5 Qf6 23.bxa4 Qxd4 24.Nb3 Qxd1 25.Rxd1
Ra8 26.a5 Bc2 27.Rxd5 Re6 {…1/2-1/2, Timmermans Ivo (NED) 2247 – Pavlovic Milos (SRB) 2531 , Vlissingen 8/ 6/2011 It (open)}
) ( 8.Re1 Ne7 9.b3 cxb3 10.axb3 Nbc6 11.Bd3 O-O 12.Ng5 g6 13.h4
h5 14.Nd2 Bg4 15.Qc2 Rc8 16.Qb2 Qd7 17.Ngf3 Nf5 18.c4 Rfe8 19.Ne5
Bxe5 20.dxe5 Nxh4 21.cxd5 Qxd5 22.Ne4 Qxd3 23.Nf6+ Kh8 24.Nxe8
Be6 25.Nd6 Nd4 26.Be3 Ndf3+ 27.Kh1 Nxe1 {…0-1, Flaquer Luis (DOM) 2274 – Stanojoski Zvonko (MKD) 2485 , Khanty Mansyisk 9/23/2010 Olympiad}
) Ne7 {This move deserves more attention and is yet another invention by Emory Tate.}
9.Bf3 Nbc6 10.Re1 O-O 11.b3 cxb3 12.axb3 Be6 13.Bg5 Qc7 14.Bxe7
Nxe7 15.Qd2 Rac8 16.h3 {This move unnecessarily creates weakness around white’s king.}
Ng6 {The only thing Emopry doesn’t like about his position is Fabiano’s knight on e5, so he is fixing that.}
17.Nxg6 hxg6 {Black’s position is now better.} 18.Qg5 {?} {
Fabiano makes a strategic and tactical error. The strategic mistake is
attacking when he is not in a superior position. Emory will show us how to
punish the tactical mistake of placing the queen on g5.} Bf4
{!} {The queen is a dead woman walking.} 19.Qh4 g5 {!} 20.Qh5
g6 21.Qh6 g4 {!} {And that my friends is how it’s done! Once again, Emory Tate uses creativity and precise tactics to bust his opponent.}
0-1

 

Solution: After Emory plays 18...Bf4, Fabiano's queen is a, Dead Woman Walking!"

Solution: After Emory plays 18…Bf4, Fabiano’s queen is a, “Dead Woman Walking!”

Fremont Summer Chess Camp: Week 3

July 18, 2014

The Torres Chess and Music Academy is constantly at work making sure the events we offer your children are the very best in California. Below are some images from week 3 of the 2014 Fremont Summer Chess Camp. There is still one more week left in our chess camp at Mission San Jose Elementary School which will feature instruction from International Master Emory Tate and Grandmaster Susan Polgar.

 

Click here to register for week 4!

 

Our camp is filled with a diverse group of students who all love chess.

Our camp is filled with a diverse group of students who all love chess.

 

 

Joe Lonsdale is a legendary chess coach who brings decades of teaching experience to our camp daily.

Joe Lonsdale is a legendary chess coach who brings decades of teaching experience to our camp daily.

 

 

International Master Emory Tate enjoys teaching as much as his students enjoy learning.

International Master Emory Tate enjoys teaching as much as his students enjoy learning.

 

 

The Fremont Summer Chess Camp features a USCF rated chess tournament with prizes so that our star students have an opportunity to shine.

The Fremont Summer Chess Camp features a USCF rated chess tournament with prizes so that our star students have an opportunity to shine.

 

 

When the kids finish their rated games they are treated to personalized analysis from the best minds in the business.

When the kids finish their rated games they are treated to personalized analysis from the best minds in the business.

 

 

Famed chess author Eric Schiller stopped by on Thursday and presented seven of his best chess games to our students.

Famed chess author Eric Schiller stopped by on Thursday and presented seven of his best chess games to our students.

 

 

After his brilliant performance, Eric graciously handed out our weekly awards and signed autographs.

After his brilliant performance, Eric graciously handed out our weekly awards and signed autographs.

 

 

Our Fremont Summer Chess camp even had its own book fair.

Our Fremont Summer Chess camp even had its own book fair.

 

Take a moment to check out my report on weeks 1 and 2.

Fremont Summer Chess Camp: Week 1

 

Fremont Summer Chess Camp: Week 2

Fremont Summer Chess Camp: Week 1

July 5, 2014

The first week of the Torres Chess and Music Academy’s Fremont Summer Camp was a smashing success. One parent even asked me why our camp was so much better than the other chess classes in the Bay Area. I answered, “The real secret is in enthusiasm. It is the magic we use to transform challenges into accomplishments.”

 

Students learn more when they are having fun.

Students learn more when they are having fun.

 

 

 

TCAMA Director of Instruction, James Paquette, teaches his students the secrets to Paul Morphy's success.

TCAMA Director of Instruction, James Paquette, teaches his students the secrets to Paul Morphy’s success.

 

 

 

Tans Hylkema taught our youngest campers how to play chess and notate their moves.

Tans Hylkema taught our youngest campers how to play chess and notate their moves.

 

 

 

Students at the Fremont Summer Chess Camp were constantly challenged.

Students at the Fremont Summer Chess Camp were constantly challenged.

 

 

 

Joe Lonsdale has been doing this for nearly thirty years!

Joe Lonsdale has been overlooking chess games at MSJE for nearly thirty years!

 

 

 

Francisco Anchondo teaches his students how to turn chess advantages into stunning combinations.

Francisco Anchondo teaches his students how to turn chess advantages into stunning combinations.

 

 

 

Our campers learn first hand why International Master Emory Tate is a chess teacher of the highest quality.

Our campers learn first hand why International Master Emory Tate is a chess teacher of the highest quality.

 

 

 

After just one week, our youngest players understand the most important endgame positions.

After just one week, our youngest players understand the most important endgame positions.

 

 

 

Every game played at our camp is turned into a custom lesson for the children who played it.

Every game played at our camp is turned into a custom lesson for the children who played it.

 

 

 

All of our hard work pays off during the next school year.

All of our hard work pays off during the next school year.

 

 

How important are chess ratings for children?

May 22, 2014

A chess rating is just a number used in chess to estimate the strength of a player based on his/her past performance. For years, I have been advising chess coaches, parents and kids to avoid becoming preoccupied with ratings as doing so creates unnecessary problems for children. Some common problems I see regularly from over emphasizing chess ratings are: 

1) Avoidance of tournaments for fear of losing rating points

2) Avoidance of tournaments out of embarrassment from having a low rating

3) Being overly confident because his/her rating is higher than his/her opponent’s

4) Playing in a self-defeating mindset because his/her rating is much lower than his/her opponent’s

5) Dropping out of chess because of too much pressure to maintain a high rating.

 

So it was a real pleasure when I read a recent blog post by Susan Polgar where she offered her wisdom on chess ratings for scholastic players:

Q: How important are chess ratings for children?

A: My answer may be unpopular but ratings are not very relevant at an early age. The problem is that many parents are so concerned about the ratings their children become too timid to play “proper” chess in order to improve. They are so afraid of losing that they play not to lose instead of playing to win and this can seriously hinder the development of their children.

While in the short term ratings can satisfy one’s ego, it is better to look at the long term outcome.

Source: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/2014/05/some-important-questions-about-chess.html

 

I will be teaching with Susan this summer at the MSJE Fremont Summer Chess Camp.

 

Sign up today!

 


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