Saturday, January 16, 2016

Michigan Class A Championship

Playing in the Class A Championship this weekend. Coming off 8 consecutive wins between OTB and CC chess, I lost my first game at the Port Huron CC championship to a 1400 rated player. Was easily winning and missed a pretty 4 move checkmate.

Things have continued at the Class Championship. Round 1 I was easily winning, I mean, absolutely crushing my opponent. I chose a move that allowed some counter-play and I couldn't keep up with the tactics and ended up losing! Brutal! Second round is starting here in a couple of minutes. Time to get back on the winning track.

I won in round 2, drew from a completely winning position in round 3 and just won my 4th round game. Round 5 coming up in 5 minutes. Although this tournament has been a disappointment for sure, if I win the next game, I will have new high rating. Something to play for at least.

UPDATE: Lost the last round. That's all I have to say....

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Correspondence Game

As I await the start of both the Port Huron CC club championship and the Michigan Class A Championship, here is one of my correspondence games that ended just before the New Year.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Michigan chess scene

Well, I guess it's time to give up the fight. One thing I learned when I made my last big ratings jump in 2007 was I had to play often in order to stay sharp. Nowadays, there just isn't enough chess activity in this State. Outside of scholastic events, chess is dying in Michigan. Not enough organizers and not enough adult players who still want to play somewhat regularly.

Now even I have tried and failed to organize events. I tried to setup a number of different events in December and January. The GPCC Quads that was supposed to take place today got exactly ZERO entrants signed up. My free hoped-for club matches got no interest from the clubs outside of the Grosse Pointe club. I tried setting up individual matches with people. The only person who showed interest stopped talking to me after our 3rd (of 4) game.
I thought by making $5 (or free) entry fees, I could lure people out. Nope.

The only way to get some OTB games is to go out of state to the CCA events. My problem is the entry fees and hotel fees have gotten to be so much higher for those events than they used to be. Plus, my kids are still too young to bring to chess tournaments and I really cannot afford to be away long weekends anymore.

So, what I will do is finish out two OTB events in the 1st quarter of 2016 and the 2 correspondence events I'm currently playing in, and move on to something else.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Grosse Pointe Chess Club December Quads

Title: Grosse Pointe CC Quads
Location: Grosse Pointe Woods
Start Time: 12/20/2015, 11AM
End Time: 12/20/2015. 6PM
Category: Chess Tournament
Building: Pointe Plaza (next to St John Hospital, in front of Buddy's Pizza)
Address: 19163 Mack Ave
City: Grosse Pointe Woods
State: MI
Zip: 48236
Format: Quads by rating, 3-RR
Time Control: G/60; d/5
Rounds: 11AM, 1:30PM, 3:45PM
Entry Fee: $5.00
Registration: Advanced entries only, no onsite registration. Please email entries to by 12/19/2015
Prizes: $20 1st place each quad
Entries/Info: Tony West (westtony77(AT) hotmail(DOT) com)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

What's Next?

Just returned last week from a great vacation in the Caribbean, and then proceeded to have knee surgery on Tuesday of this week. Recovery is going well, but laying around has got me thinking about playing chess.

I'm in the process of organizing/playing in a number of tournaments in the next couple of months.

1. Rated match with other chess clubs from the surrounding areas like Port Huron and Flint. It would be a 4 member team, playing all members of the opposite team. This way you get 4 rated games during each match. I've reached out to both the Port Huron Chess Club and the Genessee (Flint) Chess Club to gauge interest. The Grosse Pointe Chess Club is ready and excited about playing.UPDATE 1/10/2016 - did not happen due to lack of interest

2. Rated Quads - G/60 quads at the Grosse Pointe Chess Club on December 20th. UPDATE 1/10/2016: Ended up doing a 5 round RR instead. I went 5-0, but only gained 8 rating points due to the very low rated opponents.

3. Michigan Class A Championship - Lansing, January 16-17 UPDATE 1/10/2016 - officially signed up and ready to win!

4. Port Huron Chess Club Championship - January - March 2016 UPDATE 1/10/2016 - officially signed up. Now a 9 round RR, where I am the 2nd seed. Starts this coming Thursday

5. I'm already playing in a Correspondence Class Quads tournament UPDATE 1/10/2016 - all games still going on. I'm completely winning in a couple of games, completely losing in 1 and 1 that will almost certainly end of as a draw. First results should be coming through in the next month or so.

6. I've signed up for the E-Golden Knights correspondence tournament that will take place throughout 2016. UPDATE 1/10/2016 - event has officially started. 1 result in already as I beat a 1700 rated player. Most of the remaining games are still not out of the opening yet.

7. I might sprinkle in a couple Grosse Pointe mini-swisses or quads once a month or once every coupe of months. UPDATE 1/10/2016 - I plan on running another 1 day event in February

8. Sometime in 2016, I will run a Grosse Pointe Chess Championship and a GP club championship. UPDATE 1/10/2016 - still up in the air....

9. NEW: Will be playing in a 5 round swiss at ATKM in late February or early March.

Wish me luck!


Thursday, November 19, 2015

West-Marson Match - Game 3

Game 3 was a disaster for me, but I still managed to win somehow. I missed almost every one of my opponent's moves. I was extremely lucky that all of his tactical attempts ended up winning for me! I'll post the game some time tomorrow or Saturday.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Match vs Marson - Game 2

Game 2 went much better for me. Well, the end result anyway. The first 25 moves or so led to a stalemate, then I was given an opportunity to win and I found it and play it. Running it quickly through the engine showed that I didn't make any serious blunders and actually played pretty good again. And, most of all.....I played much faster! No time trouble in this game at all.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Rated Match

I'm currently playing a rated match with Mike Marson at the All the Kings Men chess store. We are playing four games, on various days of the week, with  time controls (G/90 & G/75).

Game 1 - Sunday        11/8   White; G/90  Result 1/2-1/2
Game 2 - Friday         11/13  Black; G/90  Results 0-1
Game 3 - Thursday    11/19  Black; G/75  Result 0-1
Game 4 - Sunday       11/21  White; G/75

In the first game I played pretty well, but used up far too much time. We ended up in a Rook endgame, where Mike blundered a pawn, giving me a winning position. I ended up with a K+R+g-pawn vs K+R ending where my Rook was blocking his King on the f-file. All I had to do was reach the Lucena's position and the game would have been over. Problem is I was down to less than a minute left on my clock and when I finally reached the winning position with 7 seconds left (plus delay), I blundered the pawn away resulting in a draw. Oh well....lesson learned, move faster.....

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fall Festival results

The 5th Fall Festival began last night. There are three events taking place simultaneously. The first is a GM tournament, led by one of the greatest American chess players of all time, GM Gata Kamsky. There are a number of Cuban GMs playing also, plus a number of strong local players like Seth Homa. Even IM Rufeng Li, who used to frequent the Grosse Pointe Chess Club before moving to Texas to become a great chessplayer, is playing. In my eyes, this is very cool to be able to witness a GM tournment live in person.
The 2nd event is a giant scholastic tournament run by the iconic Detroit chess coach, Kevin Fite. This event has by far the most players.
And finally, the event I'm playing in is the 5th annual Fall Festival. The turnout was more than a little disappointing. I didn't see a wall chart last night, but there couldn't have been more than 8 boards in the open section. By not supporting events like this, Michigan chess players are showing that they don't care to see Grandmasters come here to play. After this year's turnout, what will motivate the organizer, Alan Kaufman to do this again? Oh least I understand why Goichberg doesn't bring his CCA events to Michigan.

Allow to step down from my soapbox now and tell you about the tournament. Top seeds were
1. GM Alex Lenderman
2. IM Martha Fierro
3. NM Ameer Ghobrial
4. Manis Davidovich (2200)
5. John Brooks (2185)

Perhaps a couple stronger players will join in the 2 day schedule.

I played IM Fierro on board 2. We played a typical KID where she was attacking on the kingside and I was pushing forward on the Queenside (as white). I played very well and managed to repulse her strong attack and even had a long term advantage of good knight vs bad bishop. However, before I had my chance to take advantage of the situation, I blundered into a devastating attack by letting her queen get into h3 (I could have easily prevented this, but completely underestimated how strong the move was. Too bad.....)

The other games that finished before my saw GM Lenderman, Ghobrial, and Brooks all win. 2 day starts at 9AM this morning, while my next game isn't until 1PM. I will get some pictures today of each event. Also, Alan Kaufman has promised to introduce me to GMs Gata Kamsky and Irina Krush (who is here to support the scholastic event).

Round two saw mostly mismatches again. However, GM Lenderman did get a Master in Davidovich. IM Fierro only managed to draw Mike Clark (1865). I won against  1400. A second Master, Ghobrial lost to Drkulec (2100).

Round 3 was an absolute heart breaker for me. The kind of game that crushes your spirit and makes you want to quit the game forever. I got my second black in row and got paired up against NM Ghobrial (2276). We played a rather even game until he made some questionable moves that allowed me to attack his king and I ended up a pawn up in 2 Rooks + Bishop ending. It was a position that you think there is zero chance to lose. But somehow this guy managed to screw it up! Man, even as I write this the next morning, it stings. Lately, I've been pretty cool about losing, but man this one hurt!

Round 4 saw me paired down to a very young fellow with a big rating. I actually played this kid at the 2014 MI Open, when he was about 1400 rated. His rating now is close to 1800. I did manage to win, but I was clearly worse at one point in the game before I counter attacked and won nicely.
The two titled players played on board 1. Both titled, but still 400 rating points separated them.

Round 5 saw me paired down again, with a chance to at least tie for the U2000 money. We played a classic minority attack vs kingside attack. My opponent gave me a chance to win, but I played too fast and missed my opportunity. Not being able to see how to win, I forced a perpetual check and went home.
Board 1 saw Ghobrial play against the GM. Board 2 was Davidovich playing against Drkulec. Board 2 saw young Justin Liang playing the IM. Board 4 had Brooks playing the every improving Mike Clark. I was on Board 5. Not sure who won any of those games as my game was the first to end.

Below are a few pictures that I snapped during the event. Didn't get a chance to take more as I rarely get up during my games, especially at these relatively fast time control.
GM tournament pairings

GM Kamsky vs IM Ruifeng Li (Draw after a wild game)

Michigan's Seth Homa (white) vs Canadian/Chinese IM Yaiqi Yang

In background, Two of Michigan's youngest and brightest - Ben Li vs Edward Song

A look at the very poor turnout

Fall Festival - Some of Round 2 results

GM Lenderman at the beginning of Round 4 vs Ecuador's IM Martha Fierro

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

5th Annual Fall Festival (plus International Friendship Tournament)

 Fifth Annual Fall Festival

Organized by Michigan Chess Festival LLC.
Royal Dearborn Hotel & Convention Center
600 Town Center Drive, Dearborn, MI 48126
Rates: $109 (Group Code: 3887)

Special Guests
International Grandmaster - Irina Krush: 1998, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 U.S. Women's Chess Championship winner. 
Grand Master Alex Lenderman: 2015 FIDE team championship Gold Medal winner and 2015 World Open champion.

                            October 30 - November 1, 2015

5 Round Swiss / 2 Sections (Open and Reserve)
Time Control: G/90 d3

3 Day Schedule: Friday 7 p.m. / Saturday, 1 p.m., 5 p.m./ Sunday 9 a.m., 2:30 p.m.
2 Day Schedule: Saturday 9 a.m., merge with 3 day schedule.

Onsite registration for the 3 day schedule begins at the Hotel at 5:30 p.m., and ends at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

Onsite registration for the two day schedule begins at the Hotel at 7:45 a.m. and ends at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Open Section ( 50 Grand Prix points, enhanced): $950, $550, $350, $200. U2200: $300, $150.  U2000: $300, $150. U1800: $150, $50. If more than two unrateds play in the Open Section, the prize for the best unrated will be $100.  
Reserve Section (MUST BE RATED UNDER 1800): $500, $300, $200, $100. U1600: $250, $150, U1400: $250, $150, U1200: $250, $150. If more than two unrateds play in the Reserve Section, the prize for the best unrated will be $75. 

Plus happening at the same time and same hotel:

The Friendship Games

Acknowledging and celebrating the improved relations between the USA and Cuba; several leading Cuban players are expected to compete. 9 Round Swiss, FIDE rated, norms possible. IA Hal Bond. International Arbiter Bond is an experienced and distinguished arbiter. For instance, he was Deputy Arbiter at the Anand-Kramnik World Championship Match in 2008. The tournament is being organized with an eye towards being a “super swiss” under the FIDE rules.
October 28 – November 1, 2015, Royal Dearborn Hotel, Dearborn, Michigan (same location as two prior Fall Festivals, the name of the Hotel has changed)


Royal Dearborn Hotel & Convention Center
600 Town Center Drive, Dearborn, MI 48126
Rates: $109 (Group Code: 3887. Call: 313-592-3622 to reserve room, make sure to use the group code.)

Entry Fee:

$240.00 until September 22, 2015, $260.00 until end of October 27, 2015, $300.00 thereafter.
Online registration at:
Onsite registration begins at the Hotel at 4:30 p.m., and ends at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Time Control:

G90, increment 30 seconds.


1st: $4,000, 2d: 2,000, 3rd: 1,100, 4th: 900, 5th: 750, 6th: 500, 7th: 250, 8th: 100. U2400 (FIDE): 1st: 600, 2d: 300; U2200 (FIDE): 1st: 500, 2d: 250


Wednesday, October 28:1st round: 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 29:2nd round: 1:00 p.m. 3rd round: 7:00 p.m.
Friday, October 30:4th round:  1:00 p.m. 5th round: 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 31:6th round:  1:00 p.m. 7th round: 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 1:8th round: 1:00 p.m. 9th round: 7:00 p.m.