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Blitz Rivalry on Tap! Chicago vs. Cleveland

The chess community is still buzzing after the Chicago-Memphis match and a number of videos of blitz battles have circulated around social media. A lot of inter-city trash-talking and sharp-witted banter has been bounced around and the result is the second team blitz match featuring Cleveland and Chicago. There was even a scouting visit by […]

Amin tops Africa, Lake Sevan… closing on 2700

Since 2004 winning the African Juniors and earning the IM title and winning the following year, Bassem Amin has been on a steady track to become the strongest player in Egypt. He now has a chance to make history by being the first player of the African continent to make the iconic 2700 ELO mark. […]

John Hesp. Poker. Chess. Fantasy.

Last night and the previous night I watched parts of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) final table on ESPN. It’s the first time I have ever watched live poker on TV, although I have watched the “canned” broadcasts now and then in the past. Of course, whenever I watch poker I mentally compare it […]

Carlsson, Nakamura on Perpetual Podcast

GM Pontus Carlsson (Sweden)Photo by Daaim Shabazz Ben Johnson contacted The Chess Drum a month ago to ask questions in preparation for his podcast with GM Pontus Carlsson. The directory of podcasts can be found here. These podcasts feature chess personalities from around the world in about a 60- to 90-minute format. Carlsson talked about […]

Stunning Finish in U.S. Junior

After yesterday’s post in which I wrote about eleven of the top junior players in the U.S., of course I have to write about the U.S. Junior Championship, which concluded today. Six of the players I wrote about yesterday — Troff, Liang, Chandra, Li, Brown, and Tang — were in the ten-man field. Perhaps the […]

Even More Golden

Three years ago I wrote a post called The Seventh Samurai, which was motivated by the fact that I had looked at the list of the 100 top juniors in the world and saw seven Americans on the list. One of the names, Akshat Chandra, was unfamiliar to me then (though quite familiar now), and […]

Owen’s defense

It was a last round, my opponent was an old guy rated 1922, I had =1, -1 with him in the past. I got White and he played Owen’s defense. I had a difficult choice on move 10 and eventually decided to trade queens. I didn’t expect his Ke7 and the best in this situation […]

Checkmate Patterns

Some readers of Chess Skills may have been disappointed that my postings have been limited the past two months. Much of my chess time has been devoted to preparing lessons for my camp in August. A standard feature of my annual summer chess camp has a been a camp workbook that each student receives. Show More Summary

Chicago southside chess… back in business!

Chess in Chicago has a long and venerable history. Chess on the southside of Chicago has a spotted history, but with no less pride. Over the years, players on the southside have played in burger joints, parks and coffee shops, but With the vision of 10 players, persistence has led to a permanent home. Roger […]

Catalan Opening

2 weeks agoHobbies / Chess : Rolling Pawns

It was a last round in the Thursday’s tournament and my opponent was an old guy, last time I played him was in 2013 and our score was +3, -3. Our opening soon transformed to Catalan, I didn’t have much experience playing against it. On move 12 I missed a little combination: 12… Nxc5 13. Bg5 […]

Murphy’s Law: Holding Court in Chess

Tom Murphy has been known in chess circles for four decades. More familiar with those who revel in the excitement of blitz in public places, Murphy has showcased his craft giving it a higher profile. As a result he has been the subject of many interviews on the intrigue of the game. He also was […]

2017 World Open receives Triple Exclam!

Mulazim Muwwakkil, Lawrence Johnson and Peter Roberts looking through Triple Exclam during the 2017 World Open. As the summer heat is in full swing, many chess players are choosing a variety of ways to stay cool. Sometimes the best way is to stay inside and play chess. The World Open is the largest open tournament […]

Zimbabwe’s Mandizha gets 2nd GM norm!

Farai Mandizha (Zimbabwe)Photo by David Llada Over the years, IM Farai Mandizha has made strides since coming from Zimbabwe nearly a decade ago. Initially, he developed a reputation for his blitz skills, but as he developed a plan for earning his titles, he focused more on incremental improvements. In this time he has earned his […]

Three Tactics

2 weeks agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

A pin, decoy, and fork often work together to exploit an elementary error. Sometimes, exploitation of the error is complex, but it remains rooted in a fundamental pattern that should be well-known.A few days ago in an online blitz game, I had this position. Show More Summary

2017 World Open (Philadelphia, USA)

The premier chess event in America was held July 4th weekend beginning on June 30th in the iconic place of the country’s founding. Philadelphia is known for many things… Declaration of Independence, Rocky movie series, cheese steaks and soul music. For the past three decades, it has also become an institution in chess. The World […]

Blundering into Victory

2 weeks agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

On Monday, David Griffin and I met at the Spokane Valley Library to play our game in the Spokane Contenders. This six player round robin began in early May and must be completed by early August. The winner faces Michael Cambareri in the City Championship. Show More Summary

More Nepomniachtchi Genius

In my last post I showed a game between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Sam Shankland where “Nepo” played a favorite opening line of mine and won brilliantly. Curiously, this is not the first time he has done that! Here is a game that Nepo won against Anish Giri in 2013, featuring a double piece sacrifice. It’s […]

Following the old Candidates match

3 weeks agoHobbies / Chess : Rolling Pawns

I got a 1961 rated opponent and had Black. He chose French, I played Tarrasch and we went along the lines typical for the games of the Candidates match between Karpov and Korchnoi in 1974, here is one: 11. Nbd4 was a little mistake, because he could play Nxd4 getting rid of an isolated […]

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death, But Don’t Make Me Change My Openings!

This week the most exciting news in chess for me was that the American team got trounced by the Russians in the World Team Championship, 4-0. Come again? Well, the real news was the Ian Nepomniachtchi beat Sam Shankland, and while I would ordinarily make me very sad, in this case I’m happy because Nepo […]

Chicago blitzes Memphis in chess battle, 130-70

The battle brewing over the past couple of weeks spilled out onto the board in at the opulent St. Louis Chess Club last weekend when 10-player teams from Chicago and Memphis met for a all-play-all battle. After the momentum built by the epic Daniel X Jones vs. FM Jimmy Canty match, the chatter is social […]

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