Playing Blindfold Chess

May 19, 2019

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a photographic memory to be proficient at blindfold chess. The basic visualization required is really not all that different from the kind of mental exercise chess players commonly experience while calculating long endgame variations. In fact, if you’ve ever had a vivid chess dream while sleeping (quite common among my friends), you have already played blindfold chess!

Playing a chess game blindfolded (or at least facing opposite the chess board) against a class of young chess players is a sure fire way to raise the excitement level of the classroom or camp. Generally, I save such exhibitions for midway through a long camp or series of difficult lessons to add a little spice to the curriculum. In addition to adding energy to the room, a blindfold chess performance might just inspire a student to pick up the skill for his/herself which will greatly benefit their chess in the long run.

Below is my best ever such game played during the Fremont Summer Chess Camp in 2016. Enjoy…

 

[Event “Blindfold Game”]
[Site “Fremont, California (USA)”]
[Date “2016.7.13”]
[Round “”]
[White “Chris Torres”]
[Black “Intermediate Students”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Eco “C50”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]
[Source “”]

{[ ITALIAN GAME & HUNGARIAN def.,C50] [ ITALIAN GAME & HUNGARIAN def.,C50]}
1.e4 {I practice what I preach: “Open With a Center Pawn.”} e5
2.Nf3 {Knights Before Bishops.} Nc6 3.Bc4 {For a blindfold game, I chose my most comfortable structure (The Italian.)}
Qe7 {Perhaps my opponents were trying to confuse me by choosing the rare Qe7 sideline.}
4.Nc3 Nd4 {
My students have already broken two opening rules. They brought their queen out
early and now they have moved the same piece twice. Normally punishing these
mistakes wouldn’t be too difficult. But playing foreign positions with no view of the board is stressful.}
( 4…Nf6 5.Ng5 d5 6.exd5 Na5 7.d6 cxd6 8.Bxf7+ Kd8 9.Bb3 Nxb3
10.axb3 d5 11.O-O h6 12.Nf3 Bg4 13.d3 a6 14.Re1 Rc8 15.Bf4 Nd7
16.h3 Bh5 17.g4 Bf7 18.Nxe5 Nxe5 19.Bxe5 Qh4 20.Qf3 Bg8 21.Qxf8+
{1-0, Zhotev Jasen (BUL) 2086 – Ivanov Oleg (RUS) 2425 , Sofia 8/ 8/2009 It “Hemus Open” (3)}
) 5.Nd5 {In order to punish mistakes you must attack. Here, I know that their queen must
retreat to d8 in order to stop the knight from capturing on c7 with a fork.}
Qc5 {?!} {Honestly, I did not anticipate this move at all and was forced to repeat all the moves to myself outloud and calculate.}
6.Nxe5 {!} {“Whenever you’re aggressive, you’re at the edge of mistakes.”-Mario Andretti}
d6 {I hear excited chatter from my students about “winning a piece.”}
7.b4 {!} {Even when blindfolded, it’s hard to miss this obvious threat!}
Nxc2+ {Black had no choice that did not involve losing a piece or more.}
8.Qxc2 {I gain a knight without losing the initiative.} Qd4 {The queen may look threatening, but, really, she is all alone against an army.}
9.Bb5+ {At this point I couldn’t quite see the forced mate in 4 but this check seemed very promising.}
c6 10.Bxc6+ {!} {Looks impressive but really it is just the result of analyzing checks, captures and threats.}
bxc6 11.Qxc6+ {Forcing black’s king to d8 and a nice finish.}
Kd8 12.Nxf7# 1-0

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So I was just playing a game of #chess and then this happened! 27

May 5, 2019

Probably my favorite finishing mate of the year! My opponent has just captured my rook on f1 with his bishop. White to move and mate in 2. (Not too hard to spot but very satisfying play!)

White to move and mate in two.

2019 Lathrop Mayor’s Cup Chess Tournament

May 1, 2019

Dear Parents,

It is my great pleasure to invite your children to participate in the 2019 Lathrop Mayor’s Cup chess tournament at River Islands Technology Academy. Many of your children enjoy chess and will be excited to compete against other young chess players from around our region.

The date of this tournament is May 11 and round 1 will begin at 9:30am. All participants will play four rounds and Lathrop’s Mayor, Sonny Dhaliwal, will arrive at 2:00pm to hand out awards. Because of a generous donation from the River Islands Development Team and our tournament staff donating their time, there is no cost to register for this exciting event. Additionally, we will be selling lots of tasty treats and pizza slices to raise funds for the Torres Chess and Music Academy’s other projects in the area.

Sincerely,

Chris Torres

President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy

Register online at

www.ChessAndMusic.com

So I was just playing a game of #chess and then this happened! 26

April 29, 2019

White to move and mate in 6.

White to move and mate in 6.

Betcha Can’t Solve This #Chess Puzzle! 45

April 23, 2019

White to move and mate in 3 (Samuel Loyd, 1858).

White to move and mate in 3 (Samuel Loyd, 1858).

Chris Torres Offers Online Chess Lessons

April 23, 2019

and would love to help your child play better chess now!

Reasons to try an Online Lesson with Chris:

1.  Follow up to in-person chess lessons to check on your child’s understanding.

2.  Live too far away to come often for private instruction.

3.  Preparing for a major tournament with a coach who has taught numerous national champions!

4.  Very cost effective. For $40 per online lesson, you can have your child learn chess from one of California’s most sought after chess coaches.

How it Works

1. Chris Torres harnesses the power of Chess.com and Wyzant to create the ultimate 21st century chess classroom.

2. After each lesson, Chris Torres will provide you with customized feedback and a study plan to take your child’s game to the next level!

3. All of Chris’ students are welcome to play slow paced (1 move per day) games with him during the week at no extra charge.

Sign up today

via https://is.gd/u5bIVd

Or by emailing Chris Torres (chesslessons@aol.com)

So I was just playing a game of #chess and then this happened! 25

April 22, 2019

How can black win white’s queen?

How can black win white’s queen?

An Eggs-tra Special Easter Chess Lesson

April 21, 2019

happyeasterchess

In today’s chess lesson, we examine GM Julio Becerra Rivero’s egg-citing victory over IM Justin Sarkar played on Easter Sunday, 2009.

[Event “Foxwoods Open”]
[Site “Mashantucket, CT”]
[Date “2009.4.12”]
[Round “9”]
[White “Justin Sarkar”]
[Black “Julio Becerra Rivero”]
[Result “0-1”]
[Eco “D17”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

{[ QUEEN’S gam. SLAV def.,D17]}

1.d4 d5

2.c4 c6 {The Queen Gambit Declined, Slav.}

3.Nf3 Nf6

4.Nc3 dxc4

5.a4 {White interferes with black’s plan to play pawn to b5.}

Easter1

Position after 5. a4

5… Bf5 {The Czech Defence line of the Slav.}

6.Ne5

{Here white had two major choices. 6. e3 is the popular and solid Dutch
Variation. However, Sarkar chose the more egg-streme Krause Attack (6. Ne5).}

Easter2

Position after 6. Ne5

6… e6

7.f3 Bb4

8.e4 Bxe4

9.fxe4 Nxe4

10.Qf3 {?}

{10. Qf3 move is overly ambitious. Better is 10. Bd2.}
( 10.Bd2 Qxd4 11.Nxe4 Qxe4+ 12.Qe2 Bxd2+ 13.Kxd2 Qd5+ 14.Kc3
O-O 15.Qe3 b5 16.Be2 Nd7 17.Nxd7 Qxd7 18.Rhd1 Qe7 19.Kc2 a5 20.Bf3
Rac8 21.Qe5 g6 22.axb5 cxb5 23.Qxb5 Rc5 24.Qd7 Qg5 25.Qd4 Rfc8
26.Ra3 Rb5 27.Rd2 Rb4 28.Kd1 Rcb8 29.Ke2 Qb5 {…1-0, Bacrot Etienne (FRA) 2716 – Anand Viswanathan (IND) 2800 , Nanjing 10/23/2010 It “Pearl Spring” (cat.21)})

Easter3

Position after 10. Qf3

10… Qxd4

11.Qxf7+ Kd8 {What an egg-citing position!}

Easter4

Position after 11… Kd8

12.Qxg7 {??} {For peeps sake!}
( 12.Bg5+ Nxg5 ( 12…Kc8 13.Qxe6+ Nd7 14.Qxd7+ Qxd7 15.Nxd7
Nxc3 16.bxc3 Bxc3+ 17.Kd1 Bxa1 18.Nc5 b6 19.Ne6 b5 20.Be2 Be5
21.Re1 {-0.15 CAP} ) 13.Qxg7 Bxc3+ 14.bxc3 Qxc3+ 15.Ke2 Qc2+
16.Ke1 Qc3+ {1/2-1/2, Ftacnik Lubomir (SVK) 2608 – Khalifman Alexander (RUS) 2667 , Istanbul 2000 Olympiad})

Bxc3+ {!} {Punishing white’s mistake is easy like Sunday Morning}

13.bxc3 Qf2+ {White resigns.}
0-1

 

14th Annual SPFNO– 4/27-28/2019 (Santa Clara, California)

April 20, 2019

Dear Chess Parents,

As many of you are aware, in 2015 I helped to bring the prestigious Susan Polgar National Open for Girls and Boys to California. I may no longer be the organizer for this event, but I still support its mission 100%. Because of this, I strongly encourage all of my fellow California chess families to attend this wonderful tournament.

Sincerely,

Chris Torres

The prestigious annual Susan Polgar National Open Championship for Girls and Boys (SPFNO) was created in 2006 and is sponsored by the Susan Polgar Foundation (SPF) to give more opportunities to young chess players in the United States.

The top player of each championship section in the SPFNO will be awarded:

• Qualifications for the Prominent Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls (Girls sections only.)

• $100,000 in prizes and scholarships to Webster University (U16/18 sections only.)

• $250 cash scholarship to the winner of each section if they go to the World Youth / Cadet (issued upon receipt of their flight ticket.)

14th SPF Nationwide Open for Girls and Boys – APR 27-28, 2019

$100,000+ in Prizes (lots of trophies, chess prizes & scholarships)

CHAMPIONSHIP SECTIONS: U8, U10, U12, U14, U16/18 in separate sections for Girls and Boys. 2 day event!

$1,000 Triple Crown Bonus!

PRIZES: Trophies to Top 15 players, Top 3 School Teams & Club Teams.

TIME CONTROL: G/60;d5

ROUND TIMES: Sat 9:30am, 12:30am, 3:30pm, Sun 9:30am, 12pm, 2:30pm

RESERVE SECTIONS: K-Gr4 u500, K-Gr8 u800. Saturday only event.

PRIZES: Trophies to Top 10 players, Top 3 School Teams & Club Teams.

TIME CONTROL: G/30;d5

ROUND TIMES: Sat ONLY 9:30am, 11am, Lunch, 12:30pm, 2pm, & 3:30pm.

Event Venue: Santa Clara Convention Center

Address: 5001 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara, CA 95045 (map)

Free Parking!

Sign up at http://www.spfno.com

‪ #DontSpoilTheEndgame‬, Petrosian vs. Korchnoi (Moscow, 1963)

April 17, 2019

This position is from Petrosian vs. Korchnoi, Moscow 1963. Viktor Korchnoi (Black) has just played 34… Rf8.

White to move. Position after 34… Rf8.

Now Tigran Petrosian has serious winning chances and plays 35. Rxh6. Was this a good move?

Position after 35. Rxh6.


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