A Post About Milk, Copper, World Cups, and World Opens

by admin on July 7, 2010

I’ve kind of hit a momentary lull in things to write about here. My latest translation for Crestbook, part two of the Alexander Khalifman interview, will probably go up early next week. The reason for the delay is that Khalifman has asked to read over the translation first.

I’m recording a ChessLecture today that will presumably go up later in the week. It will be number 24 in my series on “Learn From Your Fellow Amateurs,” a very nice submission that I got from South Africa. I’m going to refrain from making any comments about the soccer World Cup.

My upcoming tournament schedule is still very much up in the air. I would really like to play in the U.S. Open in August, because it doesn’t come to California all that often. But I feel as if I need to be better prepared, and my preparation time lately has been very limited. Isn’t that always the way it is? I also have a major, major deadline for my writing (non-chess) work in the middle of August, and if I’m not done with that work it will be hard to finish it in Irvine. Tough decision ahead. I hate it when real life gets in the way of my chess …

When there is a lack of news, the last refuge of the blogger is to link to other blogs. Michael Aigner, aka fpawn, has been even quieter than me: he hasn’t posted in a month. Elizabeth Vicary has resorted to writing about a milk-drinking bet with her boyfriend. Oh, dear. Mark Ginsburg been quiet for a while, too, but his last post was a really great one. He wrote about  the Copper State International, a big tournament in Arizona. (Apparently, Arizona is the Copper State even though the world’s largest copper mine is in Utah.)

Mackenzie Molner, who is no relation to me but is nevertheless an honorary member of Team Mackenzie (see this post), achieved an IM norm at the Copper State International. Ginsburg’s post includes a couple of fabulous gambit games by Molner, an Evans Gambit where he destroys John Bartholomew and a Blumenfeld Gambit where he bedazzles Sam Shankland. The first one is such a massacre that one almost has to avert one’s eyes when playing it over. The second one is a real gem, though, where Molner keeps the attack going with creative sacrifices while Shankland (who is two pawns up) desperately tries to buy him off by offering the exchange. It’s a great lesson in the importance of initiative over material. I would like to do a ChessLecture on it, if one of the other lecturers (like Jesse Kraai, who was there) doesn’t snatch it first.

So, is that really all there is to earning an IM norm? Dust off some gambits from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and watch your ultra-sophisticated, booked-up twenty-first century opponents crumble under the pressure? If only!

Oh yes, there’s one other thing I should mention — the World Open, which is only the biggest Swiss System tournament of the year. The results are at www.worldopen.com, where you can see that GM Viktor Laznicka won, by bolting out to a 6-0 start and coasting to the finish line with three draws. It’s kind of interesting to see how the heroes of May and June faded in July. Loek Van Wely, who won the Chicago Open, tied for fifth in the World Open. That’s not so bad. But Sam Shankland, who lost to Van Wely on board one in the final round of the Chicago Open, withdrew after six rounds in Philly with 3½ points (74th place). Mackenzie Molner, who vanquished Sam so beautifully in Mesa, withdrew after seven rounds, also with 3½ points (75th place).

Also finishing out of the money, although with a decent result, was sort-of-blogger par excellence Brian Wall, who scored 5½ points out of 9 in the under-2400 section.

OMG, I just realized that I need to do a followup to this entry, to talk about Sam Shankland. But that will be another post…

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