A spin around the blogs

by admin on January 1, 2009

Happy new year! On this first morning of 2009, I decided to take a walk around the blogs to see what the neighbors are up to.

Michael (fpawn) Aigner writes about the Pan-Am Intercollegiate Championship, at which Stanford finished third. The Pan-Am should really have two divisions: Division I for schools with chess scholarships and lineups packed with international masters, Division II for schools that just have normal students. This would be like the difference between Division I and Division III college football. Division I, of course, would consist of UMBC and UTD. They could play six rounds against each other. Division II would be everybody else, and Stanford would have won that division.

This is also the right place for me to announce (off-topic alert!) that my nephew, Stephen, just got accepted early decision into Stanford next year. Hooray! Stephen is not into chess; I think he is more into computers and making a gazillion dollars before he reaches age 30, then supporting all of his ne’er-do-well uncles and aunts off the interest. Isn’t that right, Stephen?

Elizabeth Vicary is currently fascinated by the Uncyclopedia. I have only one comment: Why?

Vinay Bhat analyzes his games from the recent Berkeley International and discusses the difference between hand dishwashing liquid and dishwasher detergent. Compelling reading. The games are pretty good, too.

Mark Ginsburg dissects the recently completed North American Open in his unique and pithy style. Also, hip hip hooray, he comments on my “Bird by Bird” series, although it’s not finished yet. This is excellent news, because (unlike my Caro-Kann series, which he torched after I was done with it) now I will have a chance to reply to his analysis as part of the series itself. Against 5. … g6 he advocates 6. c3 Bg7 7. cd Bxd4, not realizing that Black’s plan is NOT to recapture on d4 (a very key point!), and he also suggests the rather dubious-looking 7. Qa4, which Josh Friedel played against me. So there will be plenty for me to talk about!

Ginsburg also annotates his game with fpawn from Las Vegas, thereby showing that it’s a very, very small chess world.

One thing that neither Ginsburg nor fpawn tells us is who actually won the North American Open, but of course you can find out that information on the USCF website or at CCA Chess Tournaments, where Chris Bird has a nice round-by-round account. The winners might sound curiously familiar to people who followed the Berkeley International tournament. Giorgi Kacheishvili finished first and Zviad Izoria finished second, just as they did in Berkeley! Memo to all American grandmasters: if you want to win the North American Open next year, you might want to consider playing in Berkeley as a warmup.

Finally, I’d like to point out that Jesse Kraai has recorded a very nice, though rather short, ChessLecture about David Pruess’s masterpiece in the Cochrane Gambit against Dale Haessel. He made some of the same points that I did in my blog entry, particularly about how Black’s pieces all step on each other’s toes, and also how Black was moving only his “pretty” pieces, so that all the other pieces were just stuck at home. Note that Jesse’s comment about “pretty” pieces is my current Chess Wit & Wisdom entry. If you are reading this entry sometime in the future, you can still find Jesse’s comment by clicking “Read previous” under “Chess Wit & Wisdom.”

Posts to this blog may be rather sparse for the next week, because I am going on an out-of-town trip: visiting my parents back in Virginia, and then attending the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Washington, DC. No, that’s not a meeting where mathematicians sit around smoking joints. It’s a meeting jointly organized by the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society. Because part of what I do for a living is write about math, it’s the one meeting every year that I can’t miss.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Ginsburg January 1, 2009 at 1:52 pm

I’ve always been interested in the Cochrane.

See http://nezhmet.wordpress.com/2008/02/18/the-fabulous-80s-the-mighty-cochrane-gambit/ for a representative game and analysis.

I alerted GM Boris Alterman to this and he incorporated some of my stuff in his ICC Video Gambit Lecture Cochrane Segment.

I agree with Kraii that 5….c5 looks best.


SonofPearl January 2, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Thanks for the Mathematics website links. I’m a maths graduate, but I haven’t done much with what I learned. The links on the those sites look really interesting. 🙂


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