Introduction: From The Skittles Room
Feature: King's Kibitzes
WGM Jennifer Shahade Book Signing
Marshall Events: Mishra Simul
Chess Toons En Passant
Problem of the Week Editor's Note
From The Skittles Room
This issue of the Spectator has some fresh new content and contributors for your reading pleasure. We are thrilled to announce that NM Alex King will be writing a monthly column for our newsletter titled "King's Kibitzes," and his first one below is so original and unusual that I had to read it twice. Talulah Marolt is also joining the Spectator Staff as our Events Correspondent, and will be contributing regularly on the tournaments, lectures, simuls and other events that we have at the club.
In other club news, our tournament participation has been growing and we hit a new post-Covid high in tournament attendance in April. Tournament attendance has been back in the range of where it was pre-Covid since January, but we are still trending higher. We already reported recently that we now have over 1,000 full dues-paying members, which is a record. We are told that the previous high during the Fischer chess boom in the 1970's was around 800 members. It's hard to say if the numbers are directly comparable, but that's OK. We will take the 1,000+ and we will call it a record high! Pre-covid, our memberships were also hovering at their highs in the 500-550 range.
Our Rated Beginner Open, one of our most popular events pre-covid continues to be popular after reopening. We are seeing many more adult beginners participate in this event than in the past, so if you are an adult beginner, come on out and play! Just last week on April 24, there was a 4-way tie for first place with 4 perfect scores and each winner walked away with $58.50! Not bad for a morning's work.
The April Marshall Masters on April 19 was also a hit with member FM Max Lu winning $220 for first place and FM Akira Wood Nakada taking home $132 for second place.
At the Monthly U2400 tournament on April 17, we had 48 players. CM Rachel Miller won that one and took home $360!
Our Premier Open and U2000 continues to be one of our most popular events and they do get sold out quickly, so register as soon as you can if you know you are going to play. We had 39 players in the Premier Open on April 3 and a 4-way tie for first place with each winner taking home $525! The winners were GM Khamrakulov Djurabek, IM Alexandr Ostrovskiy, CM Brewington Hardaway and Ansh Shah. The U2000 section also had 36 players.
We love to see our members (and nonmembers) improve and we love being a part of that. Finn Abbott McKeinle gained 184 points to reach 1200 at the Sunday G50 on April 24, Owen Minkes gained 184 points to 595 at the Rated Beginner Open on April 24, and quite a few others gained more than a 100 points at our recent events. The aforementioned CM Rachel Miller gained an impressive 133 points to reach 1937, a new high, at the Monthly U2400 tournament.
See these and other ratings winners (and losers) here.
And finally, as we have announced via email and social media, we are now open full time to fully vaccinated members. Due to Covid, we were only open by appointment during the day. If you want to come by to read the newspaper, work, do your homework, or give / get lessons, come on by!
— Greg Keener, Editor of the Spectator
Organ Pipes: Dead Weight or Deadly Weapon?
In 1859, problemist and huckster Sam Loyd published the following mate in 2:
Not threatening anything, but putting Black in zugzwang - any reply will allow mate on the next move:
Notice the configuration of Black’s pieces - BRRB - in which bishop moves (e.g. 1…Bd7) obstruct a rook (the Re8 is no longer controlling d5), and rook moves (e.g. 1…Rd7) obstruct a bishop (the Bc8 is no longer controlling f5). This intricate blocking pattern became known as the “Organ Pipes,” after the stopping mechanism of a pipe organ.
The Organ Pipes configuration occurred by chance (?) in a 2016 game I played at the Marshall:
Alex King (2353) - Jeremiah Smith (2164) Marshall Masters (1), 19 Apr 2016
18…Rcd8 19.Bd3 Bc8! (Organ Pipes!) and Black remains solid; Jeremiah eventually beat me after some further adventures.
“OjaiJoao” (2426) - “pastpawns112” (1949) lichess.org, 31 July 2017
23.Bc1! (Organ Pipes!) and White was clearly better and went on to win.
I was starting to wonder whether the Organ Pipes might actually be a strong setup, despite Loyd’s original conception of it as portending helpless zugzwang. The bishops and rooks don’t actually get in each other’s way when they’re side-by-side - in fact, they could be rather harmonious.
I searched for historical games where the Organ Pipes setup was used by strong players. The following is one of the earliest examples:
James Mason - James Hanham British Chess Association Congress (2), 13 July 1886
Juan Miguel Cubas Pons - Andy Soltis (2410) Baleares Open (3), 1989
17.Bc1! (Organ Pipes!) 17…Bc8 18.g3 Bf8! (Organ Pipes!) and the position was, naturally, balanced, but Black eventually won.
I hope I have inspired you to try out the Organ Pipes in your own games. If you feel you need more practice to learn how to handle this configuration, try your hand at one final mate in 2 from 1953 by Luigi Ceriani:
For the solution as well as more inspiration, check out Steven Dowd’s 2012 article in Chess Life Online about the history of Organ Pipes problems. And listen to some actual pipe organ!
Until next month...
— NM Alex King, Spectator Chess Columnist
The Marshall Chess Academy
The Marshall Chess Club is delighted to announce the formation of The Marshall Chess Academy, a partnership with Impact Coaching Network designed to provide an intensive scholastic training program and led by their team of ICN Master coaches.
The Marshall Chess Academy will focus on high-level training for scholastic players who have reached an approximate rating of 1000 + USCF or higher. Training Sessions will run during school holidays and summer vacations.
The sessions provide a perfect combination of USCF-rated match play, group analysis, individual coaching opportunities, daily themed lectures, social play and much more.
Each participant who purchases a full week at the Marshall Chess Academy will receive a complimentary one-year Scholastic membership to the Club, a 200 dollar value. Enrollees who are already members of the club will receive a complimentary one-year extension to their current membership. (Memberships are limited to one per attendee.)
Players will be grouped based on their appropriate level.
Approximate rating of 1000 + USCF required.
All players and visitors to the club must be vaccinated.
Additional sports, activities and social play will be included throughout each day.
Pizza lunch & snack included. Players are welcome to bring lunch as well.
All sessions are peanut-free!
Open to all players from Kindergarten -12th grade.
Park play will be held at Washington Square Park.
Enrollment is based on a first-come basis.
Approximate Daily Schedule:
8:45 AM - 4:00 PM
8:45 - 9:45 - Gather & Social Play
9:45 - 11:30 - Team Groupings, Lessons & USCF Rated Games (G45, D5)
11:30 - 1:00 - Lunch, Park Play, Social Chess Play, Individual Coaching Opportunities.
1:00 - 3:30 - Lessons & Group Post-Mortem Game Review.
3:30 - 4:00 - Snack, Social Chess Play, Daily Contests
4:00 - Pick-up
Daily Rate = $125
Full Week = $550
Approximate Session Groupings:
1500 + USCF
The Marshall Chess Club - 23 W Tenth St, New York, NY 10011
June 27th - July 1st
July 5th - 8th (4 days)
July 11th - 15th
July 18th - 22nd
July 25th - 29th
August 1st - 5th
August 8th - 12th
August 15th - 19th
August 22nd - 26th
We will cap player registration each week (first-come first-served).
Vaccinations are required for all players.
Players will be required to wear masks at all times while attending Academy sessions.
Players are required to have a mask on at ALL times except during meals and water breaks. During lunch and water breaks, campers will be assigned to designated areas.
We will have hand-sanitizing stations and air-filtration units throughout the club.
Parents will be required to check in and drop-off at the main entrance. Only attendees and staff will have access to the camp facilities.
— Greg Keener, Editor of the Spectator
Marshall Events: Mishra Simul
On 22 April 2022, twenty-nine members of the Marshall Chess Club studied their positions meticulously as they waited in nervous anticipation for a singular opponent to arrive, make his move, and continue.
Grandmaster Abhimanyu "Abhi" Mishra made headlines on 30 June 2021, when at twelve years, four months, and twenty-five days old, he clutched the title of Grandmaster and officially became the youngest GM in history.
For the duration of his Simul exhibition, the whole of the club was utterly silent, yet the undercurrent of energy was electric. Spectators looked on in awe as the thirteen-year-old prodigy made his way around each board in a cyclical pattern. Players, however, gazed down in horror as he collapsed their position with a flick of his wrist and moved steadily onward.
Abhi had a near perfect performance, allowing three draws while losing only a single game to Michael Bamford who annotated his victory for the Spectator.
GM Abhi Mishra vs Michael Bamford
Simul – Apr 22, 2022 (Annotations and comments by Michael Bamford, play through the game here.)
This game occurred in the simul against GM Abhi Mishra who played with the White pieces. I was lucky enough to be the only player to beat him that day, and this game immediately became, literally and figuratively, the most memorable one of my chess career so far (evidenced by the fact that it's also the first game I've fully committed to memory).
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5
The Caro-Kann: Advance Variation. I feel comfortable with the opening ideas for Black, so I was happy to play this variation.
3... Bf5 4. Nd2
In all honesty, I have never played against 4. Nd2 before but the idea seemed clear - move the knight to b3 to discourage Black's c5 push. I was constantly looking for opportunities to break with c5, but that moment only occurred on move 16.
4... e6 5. Nb3 Nd7
Still fighting for the c5 square.
6. Nf3 h6 7. Be2 Ne7 8. O-O
Interestingly enough, the board next to me played the exact same variation until my next move Bh7 (he had instead played 8... Nc8).
8... Bh7 9. a4
Pushing the a-pawn was another move in the opening that I found noteworthy. I had considered responding with a5 to stop the queenside expansion but eventually decided it was better to ignore it, develop, and castle.
9... Nf5 10. a5 Be7 11. g4
I felt as if I was provoking this move, so I was excited when Abhi played it. He clearly had plans to attack on the kingside, but the weakening of his own king seemed like a concession.
11... Nh4 12. Nxh4 Bxh4 13. f4 O-O
Castling right in front of the oncoming pawn storm was not a decision that I took lightly, but his lack of development gave me some comfort.
14. Bd3 Be7
The engine disagrees with Be7 here and prefers pushing the f-pawn or just trading off light-squared bishops. My fear (misplaced, says Stockfish) was that White at some point might play g5 followed by Qh5, threatening to trap the dark-squared bishop, which is why I simply opted to retreat.
15. Bxh7+ Kxh7 16. f5 c5
I've always heard that the best response to a kingside attack is counterattacking in the center, so I thought 16… c5 was a key move. Most replies seemed tame, besides the provocative 17. f6 which I had to calculate more concretely. 17. f6 gxf6 18. Qd3+ (18. exf6 Nxf6 19. Qd3+ Ne4) 18... Kg7. I also thought that after 18. Qd2 Rh8 Black would be fine, but I underestimated White's initiative following 19. exf6.
17. c3 Rc8
The biggest sigh of relief in the game was seeing 17. c3 instead of 17. f6. I trusted my own analysis of Abhi’s potential kingside assault, but playing 17. c3 gave me confidence that I had time to respond with 17... Rc8. Like a tree falling silently in a forest, if a GM didn't see the attack, then it did not exist.
18. Be3 cxd4 19. cxd4 Bg5
In my mind, trading off the dark-squared bishops quelled any looming kingside threats.
20. Qd3 Bxe3+ 21. Qxe3 Qh4
With the open c-file and my queen invading White's exposed kingside, I actually started to feel good about my position.
22. Qf3 Rc2 23. h3
The only move that maintains equality. Instead, if 20. Qg3 Qxg3+ 21. hxg3 Rxb2 I would've been perfectly happy heading into this endgame with a slight advantage.
23... Rfc8 24. Rac1 Rxc1 25. Nxc1
25. Rxc1 would have been a mistake because of 25... Rxc1+ Nxc1 26. Qe1+.
25... Qg5 26. Nd3 Rc4
This seemed like a great home for the rook, keeping pressure on White's center. In my view, if the d4 pawn falls White's position would quickly collapse.
This felt like the critical move in the game, as Black gives up defense of his own king and, instead, attempts to harass the queenside and undermine White's center. I calculated the line that occurred in the game 31. Qf3 Qxb2 32. Qf7+ Kh7 33. Ne7 Qxd4+ and evaluated that at the very least I could secure a draw because of the White king's exposure.
31. Qf3 Qxb2
This was mentally the most difficult move I made in the game. 31... Qxb2 is certainly the best one in the position, but it also claims that White's threat is simply a phantom, and calling a GM's bluff was a decision I made with great hesitation.
32. Qf7+ Kh7 33. Ne7
White has successfully created a checkmate threat, but Black's queen and rook swarm the White king in time.
33... Qxd4+ 34. Kh1
There were many possible variations here. If 34. Rf2 then 34... Rc1+. If 34. Kg2 then 34... Qe4+. In my view, the key ideas were to check with the queen along the diagonals and to recognize that trading pieces should practically leave me with a winning endgame, even against a GM.
34... Qe4+ 35. Rf3 Rc1+ 36. Kg2 Rc2+ 37. Kg3
This was the final mistake that allowed me to secure the victory. The best move was 37. Kh1, which is responded to with 37... Nf6! 38. Qg6+ Qxg6 39. Nxg6 Kxg6 40. exf6 gxf6, although Nf6 would have been difficult to find and calculate concretely. At the very least, there would have been perpetual checks to claim a draw.
Over the board I felt a great swell of disbelief, evidenced by softly mumbled expletives, once I realized I could force a queen trade and win the rook against a GM after 38. Rf2 Qg1+ 39. Kh4 Qxf2+.
38. Rf2 Qg1+ 0-1
Abhi resigned in this position. While it wasn't my most complex win, it was (and likely will remain) my most memorable one.
--Game annotations by Marshall Chess Club Member Michael Bamford.
Curious to know what else is happening at the Marshall? Check out our full calendar of events online and don't miss the upcoming book signing and lecture by WGM Jennifer Shahade on June 14th at 7pm! Also, starting on Monday May 9th, NM Taghian Taghian will be holding an online positional class from 6pm-8pm.
Wondering who is playing at the Marshall lately? See all of our recent tournament results here, our most active players list here and see live pairings on our website's homepage by simply clicking on "live pairings." Also, keep an eye open for more details on our new casual blitz and pizza social the last Tuesday of each month!
Last night's Simul with GM Sam Shankland will be covered in the next issue!
— Talulah Marolt, Spectator Events Correspondent
Chess News En Passant:
– The 55th edition of the Capablanca Memorial took place on April 19-28 at the historic Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana. Hans Niemann from the United States dominated the Elite group, scoring 7½ points in the 10-player single round-robin.
– Jan-Krzysztof Duda leapfrogged Praggnanandhaa and Magnus Carlsen in the final round of the Oslo Esports Cup.
– Tanitoluwa Adewumi, better known as Tani, is 11 years old and has just grabbed his first IM norm at the New York Spring Invitational.
Notice anything new? The Spectator would like to welcome Talulah Marolt as our new Events Correspondent and we're also thrilled to announce NM Alex King's new column "King's Kibitzes," which will be featured once a month going forward! We are also happy to have a new feature, "From The Skittles Room", where we will announce tournament results and mention upcoming events at the Marshall Chess Club!
As always, if you have any feedback, comments, or would like to submit an article please contact me directly at email@example.com.
Enjoy, and thanks for reading!
—Greg Keener, Editor of the Spectator
The Marshall Chess Club Address:23 West Tenth Street New York NY 10011 Contact:212.477.3716; firstname.lastname@example.org Hours:M-F 1pm-Midnight; S/Su 9am-Midnight