CHESS COLUMN: Don't bite on things you can't chew – Stillwater News Press


Chess Corner: Don’t bite on things you can’t chew

General MacArthur’s strategic approach to taking the Philippines away from the Japanese during World War II proved decisive. Even though the Japanese anticipated McArthur’s penetration strategy, they were unable to thwart it. A penetration attack seeks to “break up or penetrate a selected sector of the defender’s main line of position and move into his rear area.”

Black attacks and penetrates white’s position this week. With this hint in mind, please try to find black’s best move, or, if white missteps, black’s five-move mating line.

Black’s knight is under attack from white’s c4 pawn. The knight escapes by leaping over to e3 and gobbling white’s e3 pawn. The knight threatens white’s bishop on d8. If white wins the knight with its f2 pawn, black’s queen re-takes on e3 with check.

The white king either flees to h1 or f1. If h1, the black queen checks from e1. White’s knight temporarily blocks the queen check. But white’s “rear area” has been penetrated, and the queen takes the knight, mating white. Not a pleasant feeling.

If the white king avoids the queen check from e3 by stepping onto f1, black’s bishop joins in the attack and checks from d3. From here, mate is forced. White’s bishop blocks the check on e2; the black queen takes the white bishop with the support of its d3 bishop; the white king retreats to g1; and, the black queen checks from e1.


Chess Corner: Don’t bite on things you can’t chew

As diagram 2 demonstrates, the knight sacrifice has allowed black to penetrate the back rank – white’s “rear area.” Now all white can do is block the check with its knight, which the queen takes with mate.

White’s best plan is to ignore the knight and move its bishop to e2 or f3. From there, the position is roughly equally.

The lesson this week is if you don’t want to lose your rear in a game, don’t bite on things you can’t chew. General MacArthur is famous for saying “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” They don’t die because they don’t bite on things they shouldn’t.

Bevin shrugs off questions about his plans, draws comparison to Trump – Courier Journal


Kentucky’s governor talked to reporters about the chess club, the governor’s race and whether he’ll attend Fancy Farm.
Louisville Courier Journal

FRANKFORT, Ky.  – For the first time in weeks, Gov. Matt Bevin on Wednesday availed himself to questions from the capital press corps. Here are some topics he was asked about:

West Louisville Chess Club

Early this month the governor posted on his social media sites a video of the West Louisville Chess Club in which he said chess is “not something you necessarily would have thought of when you think of this section of town.”

Related: Gov. Matt Bevin’s ‘disturbing’ West End comments spark outrage

The governor was asked Wednesday about criticism of his comment by some African-American leaders and others. Bevin said, “Ask me serious questions … If somebody wanted to be offended they could have been offended.”

Re-election and Fancy Farm

The governor again declined to say whether he will seek re-election in 2019, though many Republican leaders believe that he will.

Also: The 2019 Kentucky gubernatorial race looms over Fancy Farm

“I will make a decision sometime between now and January. I’ll make an announcement, let’s put it that way,” Bevin said.

Asked if he will attend the annual political speaking at Fancy Farm on Aug. 4, Bevin said, “We’ll see.”

His Medicaid waiver

Bevin said his Medicaid waiver, which was struck down by a federal judge last month, will eventually prevail. 

Part of the waiver eliminates basic vision and dental care for able-bodied adults but allows them to earn points to pay for such care through a “My Rewards” program. It gives points for activities such as volunteer work and taking online classes.

Read this: Bevin will reverse cuts to Medicaid dental, vision services, state says

“Understand this, and understand it completely, it is the absolute intent that this …  waiver upon being approved — and it will be — is going to result in the exact same thing, which is people accessing their eye and oral care for working aged, able-bodied people on Medicaid through the ‘My Rewards’ program.”

Pension reform law

The governor said the administration is still planning to appeal a ruling striking down Kentucky’s new pension reform law.

Earlier: Judge rejects Gov. Matt Bevin’s request to revisit pension ruling

“We’re getting to it. There’s a whole lot of legal things. I’ve got so many cases going on right now, I’ve got a limited amount of bandwidth on the part of our general counsel. But it’s coming.”

Comparisons to Trump

In commenting on President Donald Trump’s controversial moves on international trade, the governor said, “What the president is dealing with at the federal level is the same thing I’m dealing with at the state level. … That is, cleaning up years and decades worth of other people’s disregard of what needed to done. … Here in Kentucky, I’m cleaning up the mess that was left behind by the previous governor and governors that preceded him and legislatures that have not done what they should have done as it relates to the pension crisis, as it relates to health care, as it relates to the drug problem, as it relates to education, as it relates to tax structure.”






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How To Watch Caruana vs Aronian Speed Chess Championship Today –

What better way to begin the Speed Chess Championship main bracket this year than with one of the biggest names in chess today?

Fabiano Caruana, the top chess player in the United States, will challenge Magnus Carlsen this fall for the world chess championship. First, though, he has to deal with a tough first-round opponent in the Speed Chess Championship: Levon Aronian.

Watch the match live today, Tuesday, July 24 at 10 a.m Pacific time (1 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. UTC).

The following viewing options will be available:

  • the official broadcast with IM Daniel Rensch and GM Robert Hesswatch here to see the Twitch chat.
  • watch here to see the chat.

caruana vs aronian speed chess

The match is the first of 15 action-packed events in the main Speed Chess Championship bracket.

speed chess championship bracket

The match format:

  • 90 minutes of 5/1 blitz.
  • 60 minutes of 3/1 blitz.
  • 30 minutes of 1/1 bullet.
  • 3-minute breaks between segments.
  • Higher seed starts with White, and colors alternate thereafter.
  • Highest cumulative point total wins. If points are tied after the bullet segment, a four-game 1/1 tiebreaker match will be played.
  • If the match is still tied after the additional four 1/1 games, a single armageddon game will be played: White 5+0, Black 3+0, Black gets draw odds. The player with the highest blitz rating at the start of the Armageddon chooses his color.
  • Full match rules are available here. 

The match prizes:

  • Winner: $1,000 and advances to round two of the SCC.
  • An additional $1,000 split by win percentage.

scc prizes

Who’s the favorite to win today? 

While Caruana is slotted higher in the bracket as a 5-seed facing the 12th-seeded Aronian, the Armenian grandmaster might be the favorite on the chessboard.

The SmarterChess predictions give Aronian a 67 percent chance to defeat Caruana. The statistical model bases its predictions on prior performance by the players in selected events.

The SmarterChess predictions give Aronian a 68 percent chance to defeat Caruana. The statistical model based its predictions on prior performance by the players in selected events.

Be sure to read FM Mike Klein’s in-depth news preview of the Caruana-Aronian match, complete with interviews of the players.

Next up for the Speed Chess Championship is the 1-vs-16 matchup between Hikaru Nakamura and Hou Yifan this Thursday, July 26, the second match of a jam-packed opening week for the SCC.

scc opening week

You can find all the information on the 2018 Speed Chess Championship here, including rules, format, players, and complete schedule. 

Let us know your match predictions in the comments or on Facebook. 

Liang Repeats At US Junior Championship; Yip Wins Girls' Title –

The 2018 U.S. Junior Championship is now stronger than ever. At the tournament running July 11-21 at the Saint Louis Chess Club, five out of 10 players held the GM title. But for all of these upstarts, winning the event is one of their only paths into the U.S. championship, where the qualification rating keeps creeping higher.

GM Awonder Liang coveted the automatic (re-)entry into America’s national championship, so he returned to defend his junior title from 2017.

“The main goal was definitely to qualify to the U.S. championship,” Liang told, “although winning the U.S. Junior Closed itself was a nice bonus as well.” 

Awonder Liang

GM Awonder Liang (right) just before IM Praveen Balakrishnan’s blunder late in their pivotal eighth round game. | Photo: Austin Fuller/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Meanwhile, the 14-year-old FM and WIM-elect Carissa Yip took a “break” from her ChessKid article writing to win the U.S. Junior Girls’ Championship. She also needed a last-round draw, but unlike Liang, she faced the second-place contender (WGM Jennifer Yu) head-to-head in that ninth round. But like Liang, she got the job done and her draw made the final margin one full point (7.0/9).

Both Liang and Yip were second-highest rated in their respective sections when sorted by FIDE rating.

Liang’s title defense was clinched after a last-round draw with GM Akshat Chandra put him at 6.5/9 and just out of reach of the surprising result of IM Advait Patel. Despite starting the 10-player round-robin with three straight draws, Liang said his second title wasn’t as taxing as his first, when he was an IM in 2017.

“I think it was a little bit easier this time because I already had the experience that came from winning the junior championship last year,” Liang said. “I played more solid and had fewer up-and-down moments this time. Although there were a few games in which I was worse or close to lost positionally, I never really felt in serious danger in any particular game. In other words, I remained calm and confident all the time during the entire tournament, whereas the same cannot be said of the previous year.”


These are kids, so post-tournament bughouse is practically a must. | Photo: Austin Fuller/Saint Louis Chess Club.

He said the final-round draw wasn’t really the moment the title was in hand. Instead, it came in round the day before, and it ended up being his biggest hurdle.

“The game against Praveen (Balakrishnan) was definitely the toughest game for me in the event. I came into the round playing Black against Praveen, who thus far had been undefeated. Leading by half a point, winning this game essentially would mean winning the championship as I had white the last round.”

The grandmaster decided his best bet was to mix it up from his normal routine: “I decided to play a slightly dubious opening in order to avoid my well-performing opponent’s preparation. And in doing so, I quickly got into a worse position.”

The opening was just the beginning of the story, as Liang then dug himself out of the hole. He persevered to win the game, and essentially, the championship. 

“Praveen played very well even in time pressure, and we reached a drawn endgame,” Liang said. “I chose to continue the game even with the vastly reduced material on the board. Eventually the persistence paid off as he blundered in time trouble.”

Just as he thought, the following day’s draw as White came without issue (Liang had forced all but one pair of bishops off the board by move 30). Liang therefore punched his ticket back to St. Louis in 2019 for another U.S. championship.

He said he plans take what he learned in April and apply it next year.

“I think the main thing that I learned was that although every player was very strong, it was still possible to beat them,” he said. “It was also important to keep calm and play the next game well even when things didn’t go well in the previous round.”

Also notable this year was the participation of FM Annie Wang, one of only a handful of girls to play in the U.S. Junior in the last few decades. While she finished last, the delight of the 2018 U.S. Women’s Championship did scalp the tournament’s top player, GM Ruifeng Li.

Next up for Liang? The U.S. Open! He practically has to play—it’s in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin (“an exceptionally beautiful city”). He will also compete in the World Junior Championship in Turkey in Istanbul.

He said he still remembers GM Garry Kasparov’s inscription in a book given to him: “The sky’s the limit.” Liang said that, despite the metaphor, any “limits” in his career have been caused by lack of funding. But with the $6,000 he just won, the support of the Sinquefields, and the Samford Fellowship share that just began this month, he said he hopes that will allow him to achieve his full potential.

“I will keep fighting in chess for sure. If I have the backing, I believe that I can do anything that others can in chess.” 

Annie Wang

“Hi Annie, are you lost?”—”No, I’m supposed to be on this side of the room.” | Photo: Austin Fuller/Saint Louis Chess Club.


Image courtesy Spectrum Studios.

Unlike Liang, Yip likely didn’t need to win the U.S. Junior Girls’ in order to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Championship next spring, but now it’s all academic anyway. Consequently, she said that wasn’t her main motivator like it was for Liang (Yip qualified but couldn’t play in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Championship; such are the demands of entering high school!).

Curiously, Yip dropped a game, but still ended up with more points than Liang. Starting 4.5/5 will do that for you. After a sixth-round loss, she picked up where she left off with two more wins, none more important than in round eight, where she faced FM Maggie Feng.

Carissa Yip

FM and soon-to-be WIM Carissa Yip (right) in her key game against FM Maggie Feng. | Photo: Austin Fuller/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Just like Liang, Yip’s eighth-round clash was her key win, also as Black. She annotated the game for

That win set up a final round with Jennifer Yu, the top seed (according to FIDE ratings; in US Chess ratings, Yip is slightly higher). Despite being ahead one full point, that still meant Yip needed a score of some sort on the final day.

“I needed not to lose, which brought a lot of stress, and I was tired as well since it was at the end of the tournament,” Yip told She ceded the bishop pair but not the initiative, and after some trades, Yip got the needed draw without any issues.

Yip said her winnings with either go to her parents or to her college fund, but there’s a good chance they are one and the same! She’s now going into 10th grade, but she’s not yet sure the role chess will play as she progresses.

“Chess will always be a huge part of my life,” she said.


Image courtesy Spectrum Studios.

Carlsen Steals Show With Queen Sacrifice As Biel Begins –

In the first round of the Biel Chess Festival, Magnus Carlsen stole the show with a long-term positional queen sacrifice vs David Navara. The other winner was Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who beat Nico Georgiadis in typical style.

The concept of giving up the queen always sounds a bit magical. To do without the most powerful piece on the board is counter-intuitive because, a queen down, you’re not supposed to win, are you?

If you can win back lots of material or give checkmate right away, it ain’t so special. In fact, you could even argue whether it’s a sacrifice in such a case, but that’s a question for philosophers. But what if the game just goes on?

The long-term, positional queen sacrifice is rare, so when a top grandmaster goes for it, it’s exciting. It’s what Magnus Carlsen did vs David Navara in Sunday’s first round in Biel.

Carlsen Navara Biel 2018

Magnus Carlsen vs David Navara with, in the background, the playing hall where many more chess events will take place in the coming days. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

The world champ got a rook, a knight and a pawn for her majesty, and active play—exactly the value of a queen. He said, matter-of-factly:

“I thought I wasn’t risking much. I wasn’t very optimistic either. There are still serious drawing tendencies but it keeps the game going and without a humongous amount of risk, which was really what I wanted.”

Except for move 20, Carlsen didn’t really get a chance for more than a draw before the time control. Navara’s 31…Nc4 seemed to be forcing the draw, but with 32.Rd7! Carlsen could still continue the game a bit more.

Navara played well until move 48, when he blundered his h-pawn (although it might still be a draw there!). He said: “It was a tough game and Magnus is a stronger player so he won. I mean, he kept his high level also after the first time control whereas I didn’t.”

David Navara  Biel 2018

David Navara was humble as always. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

Carlsen thought the endgame with RN vs Q was equal: “I thought it was just a draw. I expected the scoresheets to be signed at any minute. I thought David just missed something there. That’s really it; I had no business winning this game. I was just worse.”


Carlsen Navara Biel 2018

The post-mortem of Carlsen-Navara. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

Against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov‘s English with Nc3, Nf3 and e3, Nico Georgiadis tried the subtle 4…a6 which was first played by the famous Soviet trainer Alexander Tolush and later by e.g. Vishy Anand. 

The Swiss GM was rather unfortunate to walk straight into excellent home preparation by Mamedyarov, which started with the new move 8.Rc1.

“I didn’t expect this at all,” Georgiadis admitted. “I thought it was not so bad, but when I realized that all the moves do not work…”

Biel Chess Festival playing hall 2018

Biel always has a nice and spacious podium for the top grandmasters. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

With powerful moves, Mamedyarov demonstrated both the strength of his bishop pair and the weakness of Black’s queenside pawns.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Biel 2018

A great game by Mamedyarov to start with. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Peter Svidler continued their theoretical discussion in the 6.d3 Ruy Lopez. Svidler had played it nine times before as Black, including earlier this month in Jerusalem, and the last time against MVL was last year at the Sinquefield Cup.

“I am much happier about what I did today than about what I did in St. Louis when we played this line for the first time,” said Svidler. “But I’m still not entirely sure why I’m subjecting myself to this all the time!”

Svidler isn’t planning to play it again: “I doesn’t really feel like I am enjoying it very much!” “Once you get a liking to a line, it’s difficult to get rid of it,” Vachier-Lagrave said.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Peter Svidler Biel 2018

After their match in 2016, MVL and Svidler met right away in the first round. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Biel International Chess Festival.

Biel 2018 | Round 1 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Carlsen,Magnus 2842 3541


1.0/1 0
2 Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2801 3326

1 1.0/1 0
3 Vachier-Lagrave,Maxime 2779 2753


0.5/1 0.25
4 Svidler,Peter 2753 2779


0.5/1 0.25
5 Navara,David 2741 2042 0

0.0/1 0
6 Georgiadis,Nico 2526 2001


0.0/1 0

Games via TWIC.

Earlier post:

Nepomniachtchi Maintains Dortmund Lead In Dramatic Round –

By surviving a lost position, Ian Nepomniachtchi kept his lead going into the last round of the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund. 

Vladimir Kramnik suffered his second straight loss. He overpressed, and got outplayed by Anish Giri in an endgame. Georg Meier scored his first win, vs Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu. 

It was a narrow escape for tournament leader Nepomniachtchi, who had been outplayed by Duda, was two pawns down and basically waiting for his opponent to deliver the decisive blow. But it didn’t come.

A tough one for Duda, who had played like Karpov in his best 1.e4 days up to that point.

Duda Nepomniachtchi Dortmund 2018

An important save by Nepomniachtchi. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Duda was not the only one leaving the round with a bitter feeling. Vladimir Kramnik suffered an unnecessary loss as well, after avoiding the draw a few times. Anish Giri had played a good game, and around move 30 it was time to call it a day.

Instead, Kramnik continued playing aggressively, but it all backfired. Giri ended up with two connected passed pawns on the queenside, and after defending accurately against White’s threats, this pawn duo decided the game.


Kramnik Giri Dortmund 2018

Kramnik might have been over-optimistic again. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Georg Meier had started with five solid draws, and his tournament got even better as he won in round six. At the same time, this edition of Dortmund has become a disaster for Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, who lost his fourth game. 

Thanks to excellent preparation Meier got a clearly better position out of the opening. “I didn’t want to have to settle for draw so easily, like against Kovalev, so I decided to look at the main line a bit more in the last few days.”

That worked out well, and with an early tactic he won material. The technical phase was no problem either.

Meier Nisipeanu Dortmund 2018

A disastrous tournament for Nisipeanu. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Radek Wojtaszek and Vladislav Kovalev played a Catalan that turned into a kind of Tarrasch Queen’s Gambit after Black played the new move 8…c5. White got the better pawn structure and managed to keep an advantage, but Wojtaszek said that he missed the move 30.Bf3! after which things petered out into a draw.

Wojtaszek Kovalev Dortmund 2018

Wojtaszek vs Kovalev. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Dortmund 2018 | Round 6 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pt SB
1 Nepomniachtchi,Ian 2757 2848 ½ ½

½ ½ 1 1 4.0/6
2 Kovalev,Vladislav 2655 2776 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½

½ 3.5/6 10.75
3 Duda,Jan-Krzysztof 2737 2764 ½ ½ ½

1 0 1 3.5/6 9
4 Meier,Georg 2628 2786

½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.5/6 8.75
5 Giri,Anish 2782 2765 ½ 0

½ ½ 1 1 3.5/6 8.5
6 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2733 2667 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½

2.5/6 8.5
7 Kramnik,Vladimir 2792 2660 0

1 ½ 0 ½ ½ 2.5/6 7
8 Nisipeanu,Liviu-Dieter 2672 2446 0 ½ 0 0 0

½ 1.0/6

Pairings last round, Sunday, July 22 at 1 p.m. (4 a.m. Pacific, 7 a.m. Eastern): Nepomniachtchi-Meier, Giri-Duda, Kovalev-Kramnik, Nisipeanu-Wojtaszek. You can follow the games in Live Chess.

Games via TWIC.

Earlier posts: