Posts Tagged ‘california chess’

Chess Chat: Q&A with Aamir Ali Azhar, Data Engineer

April 7, 2019

Recently I had an opportunity to catch up with my friend and former student, Aamir Azhar. I first met an elementary school aged Aamir at my Saturday chess class in Milpitas during the Summer of 2003. Since then I have had the pleasure of watching Aamir mature into a strong chess player and an impressive young man. A recent Duke graduate, Aamir is now a data engineer at Capital One. As you will see from our conversation below, Aamir sports a wisdom beyond his years and will no doubt have many more successes in the near future.

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

I was 6 when I learned to play chess (which is considered late in the competitive scholastic chess world). My cousin taught me one evening during a family dinner party. I picked up the rules fairly quickly and started playing more. In addition, my dad used to play quite a bit of chess in his teens, so we started playing together too (after his 20 year hiatus).

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

Chess has taught me how to become a meticulous critical thinker, always looking into the future and observing how things unfold several steps ahead. It’s a gift and a curse.

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

I took an interest in computer science fairly early in my childhood because both my parents were computer science majors. I pursued it further career-wise, though I was always interested in the arts and humanities since I was a kid. I’ve been writing since I was young, and I continue to write on the side during my engineering day job, hoping to turn it into something bigger down the line.

The Azhar family.

How would you define your chess style?

When I was a kid, playing competitively, I was the overly analytical type. I would examine every possible viable move several moves in advance and spend lots of time trying to find the ideal move. I relied on my intuition heavily to tell me if a move looked good or probable, but I would also deeply analyze and quadruple check the move to make sure it was the best one.

I’m still largely like that, though I’ve grown less patient over time. Now I only double or triple check, and I tend to take a leap of faith with my intuition more frequently when moving.

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

I would say so. Again, I think through each decision several steps into the future, though at the end of the day my intuition makes the final decision.

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

I think my worst mistake happened when I was competing for the 3rd grade California chess championship. I had an upset against someone 300 rating points above me which led me to the championship match, where I faced the only other person with a perfect score in the last round. During that game, I was winning, and had a clear path to victory, but crippled by a combination of greed and fear, I offered a draw. That draw led me to tie for 1st place in the championship. We played a tiebreaker game and he got to take home the 1st place trophy.

I had a similar experience in 6th grade when I was competing for the California grades 4-6 championship. I was the only one with a perfect score, and going into the last round, I was facing someone with half a point less than me. I played the whole game looking for a draw (as a draw would give me first place). However, this led to me playing too passively that game — My opponent didn’t accept my constant draw requests, played for the win, and I and lost the championship in an upset.

The lesson here is fairly obvious. Play the game, and play to win. All the glitz and glamour are nothing but distractions.

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

I’m still fairly young, so I can’t say I have many horrible career mistakes. However, I do remember after my SWE internship at Google, I was so sure I was to return to Google that I didn’t look into other internship opportunities. I wanted something different, but was too lazy to interview for other companies, so I listed 3-4 teams at Google I wanted to get on for the next summer. I got positive internship feedback, but unfortunately, none of those teams reached out to me.

Since I didn’t want to do the same SWE work I did the last summer at Google, I had to find an internship last minute. I was both picky and didn’t plan correctly. Luckily, I found a good internship, but it taught me a valuable lesson to not get cocky or entitled, and to always plan for different possibilities.

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

Yes, definitely. Being in that competitive of an environment that early on in my life taught me a lot of lessons, and made me into a tougher, more determined person overall. Though it did come with its fair share of insecurities and stress.

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

I generally am looking for an impactful, interesting way to apply my CS background to answer big questions about society. I hope to further explore tech and data, learn as much as I can, and build up a writing career on the side as well. My dream is to either become a writer or an engineer-journalist (like a writer/reporter who uses in-depth data analytics for their stories). If none of that works, I’ll go back to grad school in the social sciences (like economics). I’m sure I can utilize my CS/data background there as well.

Amir with his father Salman Azhar.

What is the biggest challenge to achieving that goal?

The biggest challenge is really just figuring out where to start, and how to make a plan moving forward. My interests are still a bit abstract, and the path I’m looking to go down isn’t particularly clear or easy. It’s also a matter of meeting the right people and finding the right opportunities.

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

It’s more often that chess teaches me lessons about life, but occasionally life teaches me about chess. For example, right now, I’m giving myself some time and space to explore my interests and experiment with my career. That kind of mentality applies to chess too. Let yourself experiment, let yourself have fun. Don’t rush in trying to figure out all the big questions. My chess style nowadays reflects that. I play a lot more loosely, and I’m more willing to take risks. Not everything has to have a 20-step plan behind it.

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

My favorite quote, which rings true to me (and is apparent in my previous answers), is by Capablanca.

“You may learn much more from a game you lose than from a game you win. You will have to lose hundreds of games before becoming a good player.” – José Raúl Capablanca

The vast majority of my memories and lessons in playing competitive chess are heartbreaking losses. Very few are wins. I’ll say, and this applies to chess as well as life, embrace the losses. Play your best, try hard, plan appropriately, but accept that at the end of the day, we don’t know what will happen.

Don’t try to plan every single thing out and then get disappointed when they don’t unwind the way you want them to. Embrace the unknown, and when we experience loss, embrace it, learn from it, and even be grateful for it. At the end of the day, experiences will teach us more than thinking and planning ever will. So experience!

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Saturday Chess Class in Fremont

April 4, 2019

FremontChess.com‘s Saturday Chess Classes with Rated Tournament and Analysis

Brought to you by the US Chess Mates under the auspices of the Torres Chess and Music Academy.

We invite all young chess players to a uniquely exciting experience in the world of rated chess competition!

Each week students will take part in an engaging chess class, play USCF rated chess games and receive personal attention needed to rapidly increase their understanding of chess.

Join us as I seek to provide the highest quality rated chess club in Fremont at the spacious and conveniently located Learning Bee Learning Center.

Class Details

Day and time:

Saturdays 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Held At: Learning Bee

Start Date: Apr 6, 2019

End Date: Jun 15, 2019

Class Dates:

Apr: 6, 13, 20 **NO 27

May: 4, 11, 18, 25

Jun: 1, 8, 15

Fee:

10 weeks for $180.00

*We accept cash, checks and credit

Financial scholarships are available. Please call 209.323.0197

Classroom Format

This course is designed to provide experienced tournament players with instruction that will quickly increase their ability and understanding of chess. We will also teach newer students the skills necessary to excel in competitive chess.

Participants will begin their class by participating in an hour long chess lesson. Students will then play 1 USCF rated chess game as part of the ongoing tournament and receive analysis of their play.

All participants must be members of the USCF.

If your child is not a member, they can join or renew their USCF membership at the first meeting.

Or go to: new.uschess.org/join- uschess to join online.

A USCF ID number is required in order to participate in the tournament.

Please make all checks payable to US Chess Mates and bring to the first day of class

Learning Bee Learning Center

39977 Mission Blvd., Fremont

To Register Online Please Visit

www.FremontChess.com

About the Teacher:

Chris Torres has been teaching chess in Fremont since 1998. For over 20 years his meticulous approach has paved the way for the success of his students regardless of their entry skill level. A true leader in Fremont chess, Chris Torres creates unique a curriculum perfectly suited for each and every class he teaches.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Learning Bee Learning Center, 39977 Mission Blvd., Fremont, CA 94539

The chess program will be offered every Saturday except when notified otherwise.

The tuition for this program is $180 for ten weeks. Drop-In classes are $25 and do not require prior registration. No refund will be given for unscheduled student absences. Sign Up online at FremontChess.com

Please call 209.323.0197 or emailChris@uschessmates.com if you have questions.

ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST BE MEMBERS OF THE USCF TO PARTICIPATE IN THE TOURNAMENT.

Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship a Success

March 25, 2019

FremontChess.com held it’s annual Scholastic Chess Championship on March 16th and 17th at the Learning Bee Learning Center in Fremont, California.   Nearly fifty children participated in the event to share their passion for chess while competing for the title of Fremont Chess Champion.

The tournament which was a combined effort between US Chess Mates and the Torres Chess and Music Academy had an entry fee of only $20 thanks to the generous sponsorship of Grace Wong (Director of the Learning Bee Learning Center) and Joe Lonsdale (The Head Coach for Mission San Jose Elementary School Chess Team).

The K-1 section provided Fremont’s newest chess players a stage to show off their impressive skills on. And impress they did! Pranavi Pramod and Suhas Indukuri led the way with 3.5/4. Other players who performed admirably are Karanveer Singh Saran, Davin Lazar Vinod, Eayon Hsu and Emmett Zhao.

The largest and most competitive was grades 2-4. Joshua Huang won first place with 4.5/5 followed closely Dhruv Sheth with 4/5. From a tournament director’s standpoint, this group was a pleasure to watch. There was at least one interesting game to watch every round. It was wonderful to see so much up and coming talent.

The 5-8’th grade featured many excellent players but none played as well as eighth-grader Arjun Ganesan who achieved the only perfect score in the entire tournament. Second place went to Hemanth Kumar Merugu whose only loss was to Arjun. I have no doubt that all of the competitors in this section are destined for great things in Middle School, High School and beyond.

As the organizer for the Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship, I want to take one more moment to thank all the players, chess parents and sponsors for making this tournament possible. As a Fremont native, it was a special privilege for me to serve Fremont’s up and coming chess stars.

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 Ashik Uzzaman

February 26, 2019

Ashik Uzzaman was born and raised in Dhaka, capital city of Bangladesh. He finished his post-graduation in Economics from University of Dhaka while completing diploma in software engineering from NIIT. He came to USA with job as a java developer in 2005 and currently working as a Senior Software Engineer at Roku. He, along with his son Ahyan Zaman, is a regular participant in chess tournaments on the west coast.

How old were you when you first learned how to play chess? Who taught you?
– I was about 8 years old when I learned to play chess. I learned it from my cousin.
How has chess effected your decision making process off the board?
– Chess makes you efficient considering many possible outcomes in parallel. This helped me consider pros and cons of making any decision carefully. Chess also helped me learn when to take time, observe and weigh in detail before making any conclusions. So I think it helped me in my career choice, my education and my social skills. 
How did your earlier career choices lead you to where you are now?
– To accommodate my chess tournament schedules, I picked relatively easier subject (Economics) during under graduate program. But later I focused on building my career as a Computer Programmer leaving chess for a long period of time.
How would you define your chess style?
– I was initially very aggressive attacking player. But as I started reading lots of chess books, I progressed to be a strategic positional player. I like Capablanca or Karpov’s style of accumulating small positional advantages.
Does your chess style transfer over into your business decisions as well?
– Yes. I often make decisions that are good for my team in the long term instead of looking at the immediate task in hand. Also I do a lot of trade off comparisons while deciding which option to choose while solving a problem.
What has been your worst chess mistake which has given you the biggest lesson?
– My biggest mistake was not focusing on the end game which resulted in loosing lots of games despite having advantages in the middle game.
What has been your worst career mistake that has given you the biggest lesson?
– My worst career mistake was not moving into Engineering Management roles despite getting several opportunities. I have been comfortably working as a software engineer in individual contributor roles for 19 years now. I am glad to share that I have amended the mistake and joining a company next month as an Engineering Manager.
Do you think chess has helped you to become more resilient in life?
– Yes. Chess teaches us perseverance and endurance. When I am stuck with a problem, I dont give up easily. I patiently continue to retry until I succeed. This is a direct habit learned from playing long games chess with intense struggles.
What do you hope to achieve professionally during the next couple of years?
– I want to see myself making good impact in my new project and hopefully take the pre-IPO company I am joining to public.
What is the biggest challenge to achieving that goal?
– Meeting continuous aggressive deadlines of multiple software projects; hiring and retaining the best engineers of bay area.
How would you relate these goals and challenges to the chessboard?
– In chess we have to keep eyes on our own weak squares and king safety and at the same time exploit our opponents’ weaknesses all throughout the game without slipping. Just as challenging in life.
Could you please leave us with a favorite piece of chess wisdom to conclude this interview?
– “Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do; strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do.” – Savielly Tartakower

Be sure to check out Ashik’s chess blog: https://dragonbishop.blogspot.com/

Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship | Fremont, CA Patch

February 25, 2019

Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship – Fremont, CA – The Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship will take place on March 16-17th at the Learning Bee Learning Center in Fremont.
— Read on patch.com/california/fremont/fremont-scholastic-chess-championship

Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship 2019

February 16, 2019

The Learning Bee, US Chess Mates & the Torres Chess and Music Academy, Inc. Present:

The Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship!

March 16 & 17, 2019

Where: Learning Bee Learning Center, 39977 Mission Blvd., Fremont, CA 94539

What: Scholastic (K-12) 5 Round Swiss, Kindergarten (G/30) 1-4 (G/30) & 5-12 Section (G/60)

Cost: Thanks to a generous donation from Joe Lonsdale Sr., the early bird entry fee for this event is only $20!

Trophies are awarded to the top 10 in each section, top school team per section, and the top boy & girl in each grade. All other players will receive medals for participating.

Registration: Each time control (G/30 & G/60) will be limited to only the first 100 applicants. Please do not delay in registering as there is no guarantee that there will be room to register the day of the tournament.

 

USCF Rated SWISS Format: All players must be USCF members. All players must understand USCF tournament rules. USCF Membership fee is $17, per year. SWISS Format – a non-eliminating tournament format which features a set number of rounds of competition, each competitor does not play every other. Competitors play opponents with a similar running score, but not the same opponent more than once. The winner is the competitor with the highest aggregate points earned in all rounds. All competitors play in each round unless there is an odd number of players. Sets and boards provided. Clocks will be provided, but players are encouraged to bring their own.

*Round Times*

K & 1-4 G/30: 3/16 * R 1 @ 9:00am * R 2 @ 10:30am * 3/17 * R 3 @ 9:00am * R 4 @ 10:30am * R 5 @ 12:00pm

5-12 G/60: 3/16 * R 1 @ 1:00pm * R 2 @ 4:00pm *R 3 @ 7:00pm * 3/17 * R 4 @ 3:00pm * R 5 @ 6:00pm

Trophies: K & 1-4 awarded @ 2:00pm on 3/17, 5-12 Trophies awarded @ 8:30pm on 3/17

Register Online at:

http://www.fremontchess.com

‘Tis the Season for Chess in Fremont

December 12, 2018

FREMONT, CALIFORNIA – 12/12/2018 (PrDistribution.com)

It’s the Most Wonderful time of the year for young chess players in Fremont, California. FremontChess.com has announced their winter schedule and it’s chock full of rated tournaments, holiday chess camps and fun chess classes that are sure to inspire all who attend.

The winter program kicks off on December 15th with the FremontChess.com Chess Quads. This round robin tournament is a great choice for young chess players because the format is non-elimination and all the participants are broken into groups of four (a quad) to ensure players of the same skill level are paired against each other. For only $25 ($20/quad if you sign up for 3), children will play three rated games, receive 1-on-1 instruction with professional coaches and be awarded a prize at the end of the tournament.

The FremontChess.com Winter Chess Camp is a special chess program designed and taught by nationally renowned chess instructor Chris Torres.  Due to the popularity of this camp, this year Chris Torres will be offering two unique three day chess camps each with a full day’s focus on opening, middle game and endgames. The FremontChess.com Winter Chess Camp will meet December 26-28th from 12:00 pm until 4:00 pm and then again January 2-4th from 12:00 pm until 4:00 pm. Both camps will have their own unique lessons and tournaments so students can attend both programs without any repeating material. The tuition for each camp is $150 and a child can both session for $250. All children who attend at least three days will receive an award and a certificate on their final day of camp.

The longest running Saturday chess class in Fremont reconvenes on January 5th. The FremontChess.com Chess Team is a very special chess program designed and taught by twenty-year professional chess coach Chris Torres. This class will provide experienced tournament players with instruction that will quickly increase their ability and understanding of chess. Participants will begin their afternoon by participating in an hour long chess class taught by Chris Torres. Students will then play 1 USCF rated chess game as part of the ongoing tournament and receive analysis of their play. The FremontChess.com Chess Team will meet every Saturday from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm and tuition for this class is only $180 for 10 classes.

Signing up for all of these events is easy at www.FremontChess.com. While you’re there, be sure to take advantage of the 100’s of free lessons and chess puzzles on FremontChess.com this Holiday Season. Finally, check out our online chess store for special deals on the perfect chess stocking stuffers.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Chris Torres

1-209-323-0197

www.FremontChess.com

chesslessons@aol.com

Source: https://www.prdistribution.com/news/tis-the-season-for-chess-in-fremont/3880199#

Attacking Chess, Diabetes and the Aging Process: A Candid Discussion with Francisco Anchondo

July 27, 2018

Left to right: Anatoly Karpov, the late Grandmaster Pugly and Francisco Anchondo.

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with my good friend Francisco Anchondo to discuss chess, health and happiness. Francisco has been playing chess for over five decades and teaching chess for the past 40 years. A regular coach at Torres Chess and Music Academy camps, Coach Francisco has recently been sidelined due to complications of diabetes.

Chris: Hey Francisco. I’m sorry to see you having such severe health problems. I know it must be difficult but are you still finding enjoyment in chess?

Francisco: Severe? Well l wouldn’t call it that. Diabetes is a matter of diet, stress, and lifestyle changes. I have kept up with keeping my sugar readings down, but one slip up and boom you lose a toe. The ulcers can take months to heal. In an infection gangrene can set in within 8- 12 hours. To you diabetics run to the hospital. Do not let get to the bone.

Enjoying chess… I will always have a passion for the royal game. It excites me. My greatest joy is teaching chess to children. They are the future.

Chris: I am happy to hear that. As soon as your out of the hospital and feeling better we’ll have to teach a class together again. Are you going to try and play in any upcoming tournaments?

Chris Torres and Francisco Anchondo enjoying a lunch break at the Calchess Scholastic State Championships.

Francisco: As l have aged my desire to play in tournaments has become a very difficult struggle. Not only am l in close combat with my opponent, but with another foe. My health.

Chris: That’s tough. Can you describe the unique challenges facing diabetics who play competitive chess?

Francisco: In order to play a competitive game l must ensure my blood sugar is close to normal range that being 80-120 as it reads in the glocose meter. At 240 the body starts to be affected. Your concentration is decreased, you become drowsy and overall it is a hassel just bringing it down. Out of pure love for the game l play because l love it.

We allow ourselves of what we allow in life. Don’t eat after 7pm. Check your feet everyday. Get a large mirror. Vegetables is a must . Baked fish and chicken in small servings. Walk 15 min a day. Avoid stress and confrontations with everyone. If a person is trying to annoy you or upset you walk on. Get away. Do not say anything. Drink alkaline water. Absolutely no greasy food. Especially pork. You should only eat a portion. Of the size of your fist. Fist and a half at most.

Chris: Recently some other players your age have retired from tournament chess. Do you have any advice for older chess players who chose to remain competitive?

Francisco: Those of you who are older (i.e.above 50 years of age) I have have one good advice. Play lines you are familiar with. If you can make it tactical and put your opponent away quickly so much the better. Play for the fun of it. Enjoy it. If you play in hopes of winning money and getting upset with yourself when you don’t win then you have no business sitting down at the table. Be calm, be cool and collect ,the game will come to you along with the victories. Ok? Learn some very deep and difficult openings that will shock your opponent. However in order to do this you must do your homework. Preferably sharp tactical and difficult to defend. You have to know it backwards and forwards to the tee. Ok? 

Chris: That’s some solid advice. Before I go, can you show me a recent victory or two that you are especially proud of?

Chris Torres and Francisco Anchondo taking on all challengers at the Fremont Arts and Wine Festival.

Francisco proceeded to show me these fine victories on a small chess board near his hospital bed:

Dec 2017 Anchondo, F vs Aguayo M.

1.e4 c5, 2.Nf3 Nc6, 3. b4 Nxb4, 4. C3 Nc6, 5. d4 cxd4,6. cxd4 g6, 7. Bc4 Bg7, 8.Bg5 Qb6, 9. Nc3 Nxd4, 10. O-O  Qc5, 11.Rc1!? NxNf3+ 12. QxNf3 QxBc4 13. Nd5 Qxa2, 14. Nc7+ Kf8, 15. NxRa8 Nf6, 16. RxBc8+ Ne8, 17. Nc7 1-0.

Dec 2017

Hernan L. Montillo vs Francisco Anchondo

1.e4 e5, 2. Nf3 Nc6, 3. Bb5 Nd4!?, The infamous Birds Variation against the Ruy Lopez. 4.Nxd4 exd4, 5. O-O c6, 6. Bc4 d5, 7. exd5 cxd5, 8. Re1+ Ne7, 9. Bb3 Be6, 10. d3 Qd7, 11.a4 O-O-O, 12. Na3 Nc6, 13. Bf4 Bd6, 14. Bxd6 Qxd6 , 15. a5 a6, 16. Ba4 Ne5, 17. h3 h5, 18. Qd2 Bxh3, 19. RxNe5 QxRe5, 20. gxh3 Rd6, 21. b4 Rg6+, 22. Kh1? Qf5, 23. Kh2 Qf3, 24. Rg1 Rxg1, 25. Kxg1 Rh6, 0-1 White resigns

Chris: Those are some fantastic games. How would you describe your style?

Francisco: I come from Richard Shorman school of chess thought. I love attacking chess. Tactics ,Gambits, and that is what I teach. Follow the following players. Paul Morphy, David Gedult, Mikhail Tal, Rashid Nehzmetdinov,Emory Tate and Francisco Anchondo.

Chris: Would you like to give a shout out to anyone before we conclude our interview?

Francisco: Well I’m happy to have taught at Elizabeth ‘s Berkeley Chess School along with her son who is a gifted teacher. Dr Kirshner’s Weibel Elementary chess program with an excellent second to none program. With excellent talented teachers Demetrius Goins, Jason Cruz. These two l have known 15/20 years respectfully and l couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments. The Torres Chess and Music Academy with Chris Torres and my years with him. Wonderful attacking material excellent program. Mr. Shorman and l only bring his name up because he showed me the way of what and how chess is to be taught. And of course Joe Lonsdale’s program at MSJE.

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July 25, 2018

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