18 April 2012

Lesson of the Week

End of Season

This week is the last one until October for most of my school chess clubs. The 2012 Washington State Elementary Chess Championship will be held on Saturday. Washington's elementary championship is the largest state championship in the United States. I might have been organizing this year's event as I did in 2009 (see "Advice for Organizers"), but the Spokane bid lost to the Tri-Cities bid put together by the organizers of the 2003 and 2006 event. Yesterday, I told the organizer of this year's event that I was relieved when he won the bid. My week is less stressful than it might have been.

Yesterday afternoon, I took a group of young children through a batch of games from Irving Chernev, The 1000 Best Short Games of Chess (see "My First Chess Book"). In most cases, the position in the diagram comes just before the last move of the game.

These are not particularly difficult. They are instructive, as each game featured a fatal error by one player that the other player exploited. It is likely that there will be similar knockouts on Saturday. My hope is that the players in my clubs will be on the winning end.

Meek -- Amateur [C36]
New Orleans, 1855

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bg4 6.Qe2 Bxf3

White to move

Muhlock -- Kostics [C50]
Cologne, 1912

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 4.Nxe5 Qg5 5.Nxf7 Qxg2 6.Rf1 Qxe4+ 7.Be2

Black to move

Imbusch -- Goring [C27]Munich, 1899

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nxe4 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe4 Nc6 6.Qf3+ Kg8

White to move

Kraus -- Costin [A43]
Correspondence, 1914

1.d4 c5 2.dxc5 Qa5+ 3.Nc3 Qxc5 4.e4 e5 5.Nf3 d6 6.Nd5 Ne7

White to move

Amateur -- Goetz [C33]
Strassburg, 1880

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.b3 Qh4+ 4.g3 fxg3 5.h3 g2+ 6.Ke2 Qxe4+ 7.Kf2

Black to move

Borochow -- Fine [B02]
Pasadena, 1932

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.d4 Nc6 5.d5 Nxe5 6.c5 Nbc4

White to move


  1. I saw at Rockyrook's site that you stated Playchess is your main internet site. Is that still true? If so, why? I am curious about Playchess but am still hanging in at ICC.


  2. Playchess was my main blitz site for several years from 2004 (I mentioned that I stopped playing at ICC because of Playchess), but the past two years I have mostly played blitz at Chess.com. Chess.com does not have any particular merit for blitz (it is marginally better in some aspects, and clearly worse in others that FICS IMO), but I am a paying member for other features of the site: Tactics Trainer and correspondence chess mostly. I also play correspondence at ChessWorld, which I consider the best for that style of play. In my experience, Playchess and ICC are a clear cut above all the others for live online play. Currently, I'm back to playing at ICC (even though their iPad app leaves much to be desired).

    For blitz on the iPad, I've found three choices: FICS through Chess-Wise, Chess.com through their app, and ICC through their app. Of these three, Chess.com has the best app, but the quality of players at ICC is generally better.

    I played three games at FICS at lunch today. I lost the first badly, won the second, and lost the third on time from a clearly superior position against an opponent whose clock suggested extreme lag. At ICC, such players are not allowed in the 3 0 pool. That's easy for a server to implement, but FICS has steadfastly refused to do so. I asked frequently back in 2005-2006. None of the iPad apps permit premove, which is one way that I compensate on my PC for laggers hanging on in dead lost positions.

    My rating at ICC now is about 300 below what it was in 2004. I suspect it will rise in time. I always seem to start low. At least FICS did not delete my account after a year of inactivity.