The Marshall Spectator
November 1, 2023 Edition
In This Issue: From The Skittles Room King's Kibitzes, by FM Alex King Chess Toons En Passant Problems, Problems, curated by Alexander George Editor's Note
Welcome back, fellow chess players, to this edition of the Marshall Chess Club's fortnightly bulletin, The Marshall Spectator.
Just in time for the holiday gift giving season, we have created a new online gift certificate! You do not need to be a member to purchase a gift for a friend or family member. The gift will be redeemable for club memberships, tournaments, and events. Gift certificate balances will automatically be applied to the gift receiver upon purchase of a membership or registration to a club event.
In other exciting news, Marshall Chess Club board member IM Sal Matera visited the Saint Louis Chess Club recently and was interviewed by GM Yasser Seirawan during the 4th round of the 2023 U.S. Chess Championship.
Looking ahead to exciting upcoming events on our club’s calendar, we are once again thrilled to welcome GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave back to our club for a reception, lecture and simul on Thursday, November 9. MVL is currently No. 21 in the world with a 2727 Fide rating, and he recently pulled off the impossible mission of beating world number-one Magnus Carlsen in two matches to win the 2023 AI Cup and qualify for the Champions Chess Tour Finals in Toronto. There will be a reception at 4pm, followed by a lecture at 5pm and a 32 board simul at 6:15pm; $225 per board, with a $200 credit towards membership! You can register in advance for this incredible event here.
GM Alex Lenderman and IM Sal Matera will be providing joint commentary downstairs on the top four boards of the simul during the event. The reception, lecture, commentary and simul are open to non-members as well.
On Saturday, November 11th we will have a 3 round, adults only tournament beginning at 10 am. This tournament is open to all members who are at least 21 years old. The tournament will be followed by a book signing and lecture by Ben Johnson, host of the Perpetual Chess Podcast. Ben will be discussing his soon to be released book “Perpetual Chess Improvement: Practical Chess Advice from World-Class Players and Dedicated Amateurs”. This event is open to all members, regardless of age.
Looking further ahead on our calendar, we have a lot of special events coming up. In addition to our historical Jerry Simon Memorial and Amateur Championship as well as the 107th annual Edward Lasker Memorial and MCC Championship events, we are thrilled to host the first annual Mona Karff Memorial, November 17-19. This will be the Women’s Club Championship, 5 rounds, 90+30, FIDE rated event with $5,000 in prizes and the title of 2023 Marshall Chess Club Women’s Champion going to the highest placing club member. WIM Beatriz Marinello, WFM Laura Ross and WIM Dorothy Teasley are confirmed participants, with additional strong players expected! This event is open to all women and girls rated at least 1500 USCF.
The 107th edition of the Edward Lasker Memorial and MCC Championship will be a 6 round tournament held over one weekend - December 7th through 10th - with a guaranteed prize fund of $10,000.
In November, we have an exciting first-of-its-kind educational offering at the club: an exclusive weeklong Night Camp geared towards advanced adult players, helmed by our very own GM Djurabek Khamrukalov! Many of you may recognize him as a club regular, while others may know him as a 3-time National Champion of Uzbekistan, former Marshall Club Champion, and the 2023 New York State Champion. GM Khamrukalov will lead an intensive class from 7-9pm M-F, Nov 13th-17th. It will be open to players ages 16+ who are rated 2000+, and the camp fee is $250. This is a unique opportunity to receive ten hours of world class instruction, and to keep the experience more personalized the camp registration will be capped at 20 players (so register while there are still spots).
We’ve had a plethora of rated chess tournaments at our historic club over the last two weeks.
The Sunday Rated Beginner Open on October 29 had 25 players registered and finished with a 3-way tie. Robert Babbage, Phoenix Bennett and Jeffrey Romer all scored a perfect 3 out of 3 to win $104.33 each.
The Ironman is Back! On October 28 had 39 players registered and concluded with a 4-way tie for first. GM Michael Rohde, IM Justin Sarkar, IM Jay Bonin and Spencer Chin finshed with 3.5 out of 4 to win $120.25 each.
The Under 2000 Morning Action on October 28 had 45 players registered and concluded with 4 players getting a perfect score of 3 out of 3. Daguy Vaval, Takki Tanaka and Cameron Baez won $131.67 for their perfect score, while David Ologunleko won a $169 class prize for his perfect 3 out of 3 performance, and also saw his rating skyrocket by 175 rating points!
The Friday FIDE Blitz on October 27 had 35 players registered and was won by GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez who scored 8 points to win the $175 first place prize. IM Nico Chasin came in second place, scoring 7.5 out of 9 to win $87.50. FM Aaron Jacobson, Aakaash Meduri and Max Mottola scored 6 points winning $29.17 each, while Nkosi Nkululeko won a $43.75 class prize for the same score. Wan Qin Li also won a class prize of $43.75 for her 4.5 out of 9 performance.
The Nagib Gebran Action on October 26 had 39 players registered and was won by Joseph Zeltsan who scored 4 out of 4 to win the $179 first place prize. FM Aaron Jacobson and Aditeya Das scored 3.5 to win $90 each. There was a six-way tie for the remaining class prize funds. Nasir Rasheed, Cameron Hull, Zane Fisher, Alexander Wang, Rai Mukherji and Yash Shah won $15 each for their performance.
The Rated Beginner Open on October 22 had and even 40 players registered and finished with a 4-way tie: Edward Yoon, Mattingly Taveras, Andrew Iparraguirre and Jonathan Hsieh all scored 3 out of 3 to win $112.50 each.
The Monthly Under 2400 on October 22 had 66 players registered and was won by IM Justin Sarkar, who scored 4.5 out of 5 to win the $473 first place prize. Matheu Jefferson, George Berg and Ciprian Solomon scored 4 out of 5 to win $210.57 each. Leo Shen and Nicholas Belenky scored 3.5 out of 5 to win a class prize of $118.50 each, while Raben Goel and Robert Fanjun Wei scored 3 out of 5 to win a class prize of $118.50 each as well.
The Under 2000 Morning Action on October 21 had 60 players registered and concluded with a 5-way tie. Davin Chen, Lucas Fugate, Milana Ward, Logan Freiman and Grant Carlson scored perfect 3 out of 3’s to win $150 each.
The Nagib Gebran Action on October 19 had an even 40 players registered and was won by IM Kevin Wang, who scored a perfect 4 out of 4 to win the first place prize of $174. FM Leif Pressman and IM Jay Bonin both scored 3.5 out of 4 to win $43.50 each. Aditeya Das and Andrew Colwell both scored 3 out of 4 to win a class prize of $43.50 each. The remaining class prizes were shared by Jithu Sajeevan, Joseph Otero, Jeremy Graham, Lucas Moina and Chris Weldon who all scored 2 points to win $17.40 each.
The Marshall Masters on October 17 had 24 players registered and concluded with a three way tie between Chenxuan Ling, FM Aaron Jacobson and Ironman IM Jay Bonin. All three players finished the event with a score of 3.5 out of 4 and won $133.33 for their effort. Toshinori Underwood won a class prize of $80 for his 3 out of 4 score.
We look forward to seeing you at the club soon!
King’s Kibitzes: The Null-Move Hypothesis
One of the most productive questions you can ask about a position is “What if it were my opponent’s move?”. Sometimes the answer is obvious, because your opponent has a threat:
Sometimes the opponent is not threatening anything, so you can afford to play a slow move:
Garry Kasparov - Evgeny Pigusov
26.h3!? (No rush!)
More rarely, the opponent can sometimes lack not only a threat or a useful move but any good move at all, and so would be in zugzwang if we could simply play a “null move”, i.e. pass without making a move. This situation usually only occurs in very simplified endgames:
Paul Fiebig - Savielly Tartakower
(Note that this position is wrongly given as “Fahrni-Alapin” in many endgame textbooks.)
Fiebig failed to apply the “null-move hypothesis”, and simply repeated moves with 59.Kd6 Kd8 60.Kd5 Kc8 draw agreed.
But White wins by making it Black’s move - not by literally passing, of course, but by triangulating:
59.Kd4 Kd8 60.Kc4 Kc8 61.Kd5 and Black is in zugzwang and loses: 61…Kd8 62.Kd6 Kc8 63.c7 +-
50…g5+? 51.Kf5! g4 52.Kg6! and White forced a draw.
Correct was 50…Kh3! 51.Kg5 h4! -+ with a position of zugzwang - mutual zugzwang, in fact.
One of my students had a similar fumble:
52.Kg6? (52.Kg7! f5 53.Kg6! was winning - which you would only find by employing the null-move hypothesis!) 52…f5! 53.Kf6 f4 53.gxf4 Kxf4 and Black made a draw.
Here’s another example from a student’s game, although here the correct path is much more complicated:
Black played 52…Kg5? +-, but correct was 52…h5! with the idea of 53.Kf2 h4! 54.gxh4 Kg6!
Amazingly, even with two extra pawns White cannot avoid a mutual zugzwang: 55.Kg2 Kh6! 56.Kg3 Kh5! 57.f4 g6! and Black wins back one of the pawns, although he will need to employ the null-move hypothesis several more times: 58.Kh2 Kxh4 59.Kg2 Kh5 60.Kg3 Kh6 61.Kg4 Kh7! 62.Kg5 Kg7! 63.h4 Kf7! 64.Kh6 Kf6 65.Kh7 Kf7! 66.Kh8 Kf8! =.
As a final exercise, try your hand at this Lichess puzzle I came across:
You can try it interactively and check your solution here.
Regarding whether this column has any actual benefit for your chess ability, see here.
Until next month…
-FM Alex King, Marshall Spectator Columnist and confirmed Nullard
-Hikaru Nakamura of the US and Alireza Firouzja of France, the world Nos 3 and 4, are among the favourites in the 114-player Fide Grand Swiss event at Douglas, Isle of Man. The event offers a $460,000 prize fund from the Scheinberg family, which has sponsored international events on the island since 2014.
-Every now and then you come across a game that is not just grandmaster level, but extraordinarily creative. In the German Bundesliga Frederik Svane, now rated 2626, played such a game against Tigran Gharamian, who is an experienced strong grandmaster.
-A Wu-Tang Clan member makes an appearance at Albuquerque chess tournament
-Chessboards now sit outside Dundee Elementary, thanks to some forlorn tree stumps, a lonely little boy and a concerned dad.
Problems, Problems, curated by Alexander George
T. Kardos, 1971
White to mate in 2 (five solutions)
This is an interesting exercise for the OTB (especially blitz!) player, since all of these different maneuvers are good to have at one's fingertips.
Solution to last issue's problem:
White to mate in 3
Solution: 1.Ke4 Kh7, 2.Qf7+ Kh8/h6, 3.Bc3/d2 mate. Or if 1...Kg5/h5, 2.Qf5+ Kh4/h6, 3.Be1/f8 mate. Four different mates with the bishop!
As always, if you have any feedback, comments, or would like to submit an article please contact us directly at email@example.com.
Enjoy, and thanks for reading!
The Marshall Chess Club
23 West Tenth Street New York, NY 10011