Monday, January 16, 2017

Meet CCCSA Blog Contributor: Grant Oen

Me and Peter at the World Chess Championship in New York, Nov 2016


I hope I am familiar to many of you as the Assistant Director of the Charlotte Chess Center, where I enjoy teaching many afterschool programs, directing weekend tournaments, and beating Patrick McCartney in blitz on Tuesday nights.  I’ve lived in Charlotte since I started working at CCCSA in September 2016.

Before that, I was a student at Emory University in Atlanta, where I ran tournaments under my own company, Southeast Chess.  I also serve on the board of the Castle Chess Camp, a very strong, non-profit chess camp in Atlanta every June which draws many campers from the Charlotte area – this camp was also where I first met Peter!  I am also an employee of the US Chess Federation since 2016, where I work as the federation’s FIDE Ratings, Titles, and Certifications manager.  Last year I became certified as a USCF Senior Tournament Director and FIDE National Arbiter.

I also spend most of my “free time” on chess.  I give private lessons as my schedule allows, spend many weeknights at the club playing blitz, follow most top chess events online, and download “The Week in Chess” every Monday to play through any games I’ve missed.  I have managed the Atlanta Kings chess team in the US Chess League and PRO Chess League since 2014 – we will be playing against the venomous-less Carolina Cobras on February 15!  I’ve also organized (remotely) a monthly scholastic chess tournament business in New Jersey since 2010.

I also play chess!

I’ve played in most of the big tournaments across the country, including events in 16 different states, and an international tournament in Montreal.  My first impressions of the Charlotte Chess Center were as a player in the first two Southeastern FIDE Championships, where I was very impressed with the club’s playing conditions.  I was not able to play in the most recent edition this past December, as I was the Tournament Director…

My rating is currently 2153, and though of course I’d like to improve it, my main goal for 2017 is to try to play lots of tournaments when I can, and to enjoy all the travel that I’m able to do as a chess professional.

Mostly, my blog going forward will be a recap of our Saturday tournaments and general CCCSA news.  Since we have not had a tournament in a while, I’d like to include the most entertaining game of my career – my former coach IM John Bartholomew has made a video about this game, and I gave a Tuesday night lecture on it.  For those who have not seen the game, it is more or less describes my results: even my most exciting games end in draws!

I remain,

Friday, January 13, 2017

José Raúl Capablanca: a chess biography

José Raúl Capablanca: a chess biography

Written by Miguel A. Sánchez. Published August 2015, 568 pp. ( - 800-253-2187)

I knew I made the right choice in getting this book for two quotes I read in the beginning, one quite profound by Botvinnik

"it is impossible to understand the world of chess, without looking at it with the eyes of Capablanca."
And the second quote, which I loved, for the reason that it dispelled the myth many amateurs have, mainly because they never study chess history. This myth is relative to Capablanca never studying chess, and being so good and talented. As we know from Kasparov, talent is studying chess 12 hours a day!

But the quote I want to mention comes from another great player of those long forgotten times Jacques Mieses, who said: "Capa practically gave all of his time to chess, from the fourth to the 22nd year of his life"

This would also explain the extreme, deep preparation Alekhine undertook in order to beat Capablanca, and detailed in the book: "On the road to the World Championship 1923-1927."
Let's return for a moment to Botvinnik's quote: "... looking at it with the eyes of Capablanca..." well let me show you what Botvinnik meant! While reviewing a Chessbase DVD on Capablanca,

 I met the following position, in the tactic training section:

This is the 9th game of the Match against Marshall. Capablanca played many times against Marshall, but I found this position quite important in showing how deep was Capablanca's thought.

Marshall just played 16.Ra4, and Capablanca continued with 16...c5; and Marshall pins the Pc5 with 17.Qa3, but there is a problem, now the White rook in A4 is trapped.

How can Black exploit it? How can Black find a way to win some material?

Please take your time, position the pieces on a chessboard, and think as long as you like.

I must admit that I didn't see the solution. I didn't see how to trap the Ra4. But Capablanca did, and here his original solution!

Capablanca plays 17...Bd7; but this is not the idea behind since White can block the attack to the Rook in A4 playing 18.Bb5,

can you see how Capablanca continued? The beautiful and aesthetically pleasing idea that Capablanca found in order to take advantage of the trapped Ra4?

He continued with 18...Bf5; leaving the D7-A4 diagonal for attacking on the F5-B1 diagonal.

Thanks to this move he won a vital tempo. But can you see what Black does after White plays 19.Rb2.

19...a6; 20.Be2,Bd7 and Black wins the exchange, because White cannot put anymore the light squares bishop in B5.

Now, if you saw all of this congratulations, you can see with Capablanca eyes. I didn't, and I was pleasantly surprised when I realized how deep Capablanca was.

Now let's return to review this great book.

In chapter 1, entitled: Havana the El Dorado of Chess, the author does an amazing job in outlining Cuba as a golden place for playing chess. He begins showing Morphy's games in Cuba, passing then to other players like Zukertort who sojourned on the island, and then of course the famous matches between Steinitz and Chigorin, in 1889 and 1892. This is an important background, because Capablanca the chess player didn't come out from a country which didn't play chess, but from a country which loved chess so much to guest two world championships. And then of course there would be the world championship of 1921, which would crown Capablanca. Practically it's impossible to create a champion out of a vacuum. This is confirmed always in the book at page 69, on the third chapter when Alekhine thoughts on Capablanca are paraphrased by GM Pomar from Spain: "Alexander Alekhine was justified in thinking that many years of chess promotion in Cuba, and in particular the Steinitz-Chigorin matches, had created an environment very conducive to the emergence of a first rate champion."  

Chapter 2 outlines the ancient past origins of Capablanca's family from Spain. A good work on genealogy, which must have been quite complicated to find, since we are speaking of the 1800, and all the wars between Spain, France, and other European imperialist powers, must have destroyed many records.

In chapter 3: "the boy prodigy," we can find what is considered the first game published, which was played by Capablanca when Capablanca was 4 years and 10 months old. It is a game Capablanca wins, but White gave him the advantage of the queen.

This chapter is quite interesting because portrays the first years of Capablanca playing chess, what were the conditions, or how his parents were afraid it would damage his health to play chess. Just this chapter contains 20 games played by Capablanca, many early pictures. Then pictures of the academic results by Capablanca, and the house where he lived.

Chapter 4 is Champion of the Americas.

This chapter begins to tell us the sad story of Marshall, whose career unfortunately coincided with the raise of two of the best players of all times, one is obviously the main character of this book: Capablanca, and the other, as you can imagine was Alekhine.

This is also part of what I call luck or fate in chess. There are some historical periods in which one could be the best, but there are two or three other stars who obfuscate, and destroy whatever one can achieve. In some case historical events, can be quite damaging. For example Alekhine was damaged by WWI and WWII. Lasker was definitely helped by WWI in keeping his reign for so long. Rubinstein is another name of a player, who was damaged by the Great War.

However, this chapter shows that by 1909, Capablanca was more famous in the Americas, and especially US, than Marshall was.

I'm briefly outlining most of the chapters, because I think the reader of the book shouldn't be spoiled all the surprises he can find in the book itself.

But if one can take something from this chapter, and is really fond of learning about Capablanca, then one should also read the book: My Chess Career, written by Capablanca. It's an out of print book, I found a copy for 88 cents! But the average price was around 3$. However the advantage of this book, compared to "my chess career" is the games are in algebraic, and in my opinion there are more annotations in this book, than in Capablanca's one.

Also in this chapter is mentioned the book written by Marshall: "My fifty years of chess" which I bought too, for writing another article, and it was more expensive, around 13$

Chapter 5: the prodigal son

The title of the chapter is pretty self-explanatory. Capablanca is now top of the chess world famous, and returns to Cuba, where they are waiting for him to celebrate. The chapter also shows a mature Capablanca playing against Corzo, the local champion. This is quite an interesting point, because one can compare the way Capablanca played 8 years before with now. In this sense the author makes this important comparison for those who don't have a database, and shows the most important games.

I'd like to show an example of annotated game from this chapter, to show the quality of the games, for those who are not interested only in the biographical work:

Chapter 6: the New Conquistador

The chapter begins describing the numerous simultaneous exhibitions Capablanca played in many different places: Paris, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Munich, and shows some games played Buenos Aires. The chapter also discusses the correspondence relative to challenging the world champion Lasker, and the many tournaments Capablanca played and won, like the following one:

Chapter 7: In Morphy's footstep

I find most of these chapters of extreme interest both at human historical level, here for example, at the end of the chapter is described the beginning of WWI, and how Capablanca luckily escaped, taking a ship which will bring him back to the Americas. But also at historical chess level, what he had to do to become the challenger to the world champion. The chapter also shows the many games Capablanca played in that period.

The book continues with 11 more chapters. They are all fascinating.

Chapter 8, a king in waiting, also tell us about the romantic life of the gifted cuban!

Obviously chapter 9, on the world championship of 1921, and chapter 13, on the world championship of 1927, can be of interest also to chess players who don't like chess history.

Please note also how the author dig deep into different historical sources, and found even caricatures with Capablanca.

Chapter 13 "Smiling again," begins showing the tournament in Moscow 1936, where Capablanca beats Botvinnik, Lasker, Flohr and other strong players of that period!

By the way, I'd like to show the thoroughness of the author in his search upon Capablanca's life. For example, Capablanca traveled many times to Moscow: 1925, 1935, and 1936, but the FBI denied they ever investigated Capablanca. This can sound strange for us in this modern period, but also Fischer and his mother were investigated by the FBI, which had dossier, and agents actively following them.  

Appendix I shows Capablanca's ideas on four of his predecessors.

Appendix II can be interesting for those suffering of high blood pressure, because the neurologist which wrote such chapter, did a good work in exposing the problems of hypertension, and inserted a lot of images of the brain. Capablanca likely died of a massive hemorrhagic stroke.

In conclusion: I counted around 170 games in this book, making it a good book also for those who are more interested in games than a biography. However, the book is supreme for the biography section, because in the biography we can see the huge amount of research the author has done. Throughout the book is possible to find images of the period, satirical cartoons, quite ancient documents whose access is generally given only to scholars.

In the end the book shows the scholarly level with the indexes. There is an index for everything! Opponents, Openings, Images! This is quite important for me, because I write many articles during the year, and these professional indexes, help me find the material I'm looking for in the over 500 pages of this great book, in seconds!

Clearly this is the book an amateur interested in chess history wants to have in his own library. I'm quite proud of this volume, because I wanted to know more about Capablanca's life, and to have some of his games in book format, and this book satisfied both these desires.  

By the way, for those interested in Capablanca, McFarland also published another book, by the famous Chess Historian: Edward Winter:

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Week 1: PRO Chess League Begins

Hi everyone! I am LM Aaron Balleisen, and I am excited to begin a series of weekly reports on the Carolina Cobras' performance in the PRO (Professional Rapid Online) Chess League (PCL). The Cobras were one of the founding members of the old United States Chess League, and will continue to field a local team under the new league format. PCL matches feature sixteen rapid games at a g15 time control, in which each of a team's four players compete against all four opponents. The faster pace is intended to make the games more accessible to audiences, who can view all games live on

One interesting wrinkle in the new league format is that teams can choose to supplement their local players with "free agents" from around the globe. Many of the top players in the world, including Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, have taken advantage of this opportunity to join the PCL. Carolina is proud to field an all-local team, giving our up-and-coming players a chance to gain experience against some really strong competition.

The Cobras' season kicked off Wednesday, January 11 with a 5.5/16 performance against the Philadelphia Inventors. It was a solid effort by our local players against a team that featured two GMs along with strong masters on the lower boards.

Carolina's lineup for the match featured NMs Peter Giannatos, Steve Wang, Daniel Cremisi, and myself. We all played some very interesting games, some of which I have highlighted below with annotations and analysis.

NM Peter Giannatos scored a very respectable 2/4 in the match, taking care of business against Philly's two lower boards and losing tough games to GMs Erenburg and Vovk. Below is a clinical victory against FM Dov Gorman, which illustrates the lasting power of the bishop pair. At several moments during the game, Peter could have cashed in his bishops for a small, concrete advantage. Waiting for the right moment to turn a dynamic advantage into a concrete plus is always a challenge, and Peter waits until a nice tactic allows him to force a clearly winning endgame.

NM Daniel "let's just play chess and not embarrass ourselves" Cremisi did just that with a 2/4 performance. Like Peter, Daniel went 2-0 against the lower rated opponents, only losing to the two top GMs. In the following game, Daniel builds up a nice attack from an opposite-colored bishop middlegame, culminating in a nice tactical breakthrough.

NM Steve Wang had a tough night, losing all four of his games. He had some definite unlucky moments, most notably against NM Peter Minear, when a mouse-slip in time pressure dropped a queen and cost a full point. His game against GM Erenburg was extremely back and forth, and could have gone either way until the very end.

My games were all quite tense, a definite byproduct of the short time control and online playing environment. I scored 1.5/4, notching a win against NM Matthew O'Brien and a draw against GM Erenburg. Both games featured interesting endgames, and time pressure scrambles. In the game against O'Brien, I found a direct tactic which transformed the position into one where only two results are possible, win or draw. Positions like this are especially desirable in rapid time controls where there is an added advantage in being able to play "safe" moves quickly.

 My draw against GM Erenburg involved a difficult, pawn down rook ending. In the position below, I am already significantly worse, with weak light squares and passive pieces. Qd3! simplifies to a rook endgame at the cost of a pawn, where I have good chances to hold.

I hope you enjoyed this recap, and I look forward to continuing this article series throughout the PCL season! Our next match is Wednesday, January 18 at 6:40pm against the Columbus Cardinals. Games can be viewed live on

Until next time,
LM Aaron Balleisen

Simple Chess: Tactics (Top 5 Training Methods)

Today is Thursday and that means another Simple Chess post. I've decided to name my section of the CCCSA blog: Simple Chess.When teaching material of any kind, I like to make things as simple as possible. As an adult trying to improve at chess, the simpler the better.

Since the start of 2017 (okay not really that long but long enough), I have been solving tactics for 30 minutes a day on's Tactics Trainer. This has been a great training method for tactics (frustrating, but great). I use the rated method during this 30 minutes and the goal is to be as accurate as possible. That means I could solve 1 puzzle or I could solve 100 puzzles in those 30 minutes. There has only been one day that I got 100% accuracy. The other days I played too fast and just didn't analyze correctly, hence the frustrating part mentioned earlier. I have noticed the same weakness in my own games which is:

Playing without fully calculating all the lines. The same is especially true for all positions that have multiple in-between moves or different move orders.  

This got me thinking about what this post should be about. Of course any strong player is going to tell you that to improve one needs to get better at tactics. This is great advice but how to get better is the key element that seems to always be missing. Should you solve 100+ tactics a day? Do you need to solve every position in your head? Can you move the pieces around to learn? Should you be getting the puzzles correct or learning from the puzzles? Well, to keep it simple here are the top five methods that I have used. These methods have greatly improved my tactical abilities.


Tactics Training Method #1

  • Get better at seeing simple tactics and simple mating patterns. For this I recommend the following books:
    • Chess Tactics for Students by John Bain
      • I put all of the positions into Chessbase so that I could quickly go over them even when I just have my laptop. I created a separate database for each chapter. Then I also created a database where I combined all the other databases. This way I could focus on a specific theme or I could just go through all of them if I want. In fact, I will still spend once a month going through all the different motifs at one time. It becomes not so much about knowing the solution as it does about being able to spot the pattern (this is the ultimate goal). 
    • Chess by Laszlo Polgar
      • I would do 50 Mate in One puzzles a day. For the Mate in Two puzzles I started off with the same ambitious goal, but that has dropped down to about 6 or 12 a day. There are 5,334 puzzles so this is a book I am still working through. Even though mating a king in a tournament game is not as likely as winning a piece or a pawn, this really helps to develop your calculation and visualization skills. 
    • Chess Tactics for the Tournament Player by GM Sam Palatnik and GM Lev Alburt 
      • I worked through this book only after I became confident in my knowledge gained from Volumes 1 and 2 of the Comprehensive Chess Course (you can read why I recommend these books in this blog) and the two books mentioned above. For this book, I worked from the book itself, never setting any pieces up. I followed every main line and analysis in my head. This was extremely difficult because I didn't just think that I got it. I forced myself to see every position clearly in my head before moving on.  


Tactics Training Method #2

  • Once seeing the simple tactics becomes easy, then it is time to move on to more advanced materials. Seeing the simple tactics doesn't just mean in books, it means in your own games as well. If you are no longer missing a simple knight fork or discovered check in your games then you are ready to move on. If you are still missing simple tactics then don't move on. Some of my recommendations here would be:
    • Improve Your Chess Tactics by Yakov Neishtadt
      • I recommend actually setting up a board or using Chessbase to play over the instructional material. For the exercises I would set a chess clock up for 10-20 minutes and try to solve each exercise at the end of the chapters. Write down your own solutions, then compare to the author's solutions. If you are wrong, DO NOT be upset. Just play over the analysis (every single line) and try to figure out why you didn't see the correct moves. Was it move order error? Did you just not see the solution at all? Did you not see the resourceful defense by the opponent? These are the questions you need to ask about your tactics during study and during a post-game analysis. Finding out why you missed something is more important that figuring out what you missed. Fixing the why in your chess will give you better rewards than just trying to solve more tactics. 
    • Forcing Chess Moves by Charles Hertan
      • I recommend the same study method as Improve Your Chess Tactics


The goal of studying tactics should be to learn, not beat yourself up if you don't find the correct solution (you are probably going to do enough of that after your games). This was the hardest lesson for me to get. Studying is just that, studying. Perfection is not as important as understanding.


Tactics Training Method #3

Since time management is also a practical skill that most adult players need help with this method is perfect. It allows you to combine tactics training with time management. Thus fully maximizing your study time.
  1. Get 4 chess positions that you want to solve (I use Chess Training Pocket Book by GM Lev Alburt as the positions are already 4 to page). You can also use positions from my Tactics Training Method #5 in an effort to combine multiple training methods. 
  2. Set your chess clock to 20 minutes (You may adjust this more or less depending on your abilities, I just wouldn't make it too long unless you are adding more positions). 
  3. Set the first position up, start your clock and try to find the best move(s). 
  4. Write your calculated lines down (don't ever move the pieces during this training session). 
  5. Stop the clock and compare your analysis with the solution.
    1. If correct, set up the next position and repeat steps 3 through 5. 
    2. If incorrect, go over the answer until you understand it and try to understand why you missed it. Then deduct a time penalty from your remaining time (I deduct 5 minutes for every position I get wrong even if I got the answer correct but I didn't analyze a defense that the author provides). Then repeat steps 3 through 5 until you finish all the positions.
  6. Repeat on a weekly basis. This training method will greatly improve your chess intuition, visualization, calculation, and time management. These are all skills that will improve your chess faster than knowing more opening knowledge.  



Tactics Training Method 4:

This training method was already discussed earlier in this blog but here it is again. I prefer this method because it allows you to track your progress over time (shown in the pictures below). The trainer adjusts the skill level of the problem on your rating:
  • Spend at least 30 minutes a day solving tactical problems on's Tactics Trainer (or you can use any of the other sites that have tactics training). 
  • Set a chess clock for 30 minutes, start the first position, and start your time. 
  • Don't focus on speed, focus on accuracy during this training method.

My overall performance since January 1, 2017 with just 30 minutes per day.

Daily Breakdown For Problems Correct vs. Incorrect as Well as Rating Ranges

My Top 5 Tactic Categories

My Bottom 5 Tactic Categories



Tactics Training Method #5

  • Once you get your information breakdown from the 4th training method you can then use the tactics trainer to focus on specific categories. 
    • Go into tactics trainer and select "Custom (Unrated)"
    • Now you can select your rating range for the problems. Set the rating low to get better at pattern recognition. Set the rating higher to work on calculation skills. For example if I wanted to get better at pattern recognition I would set the max rating at 1000. If I wanted to work on my calculation I would set my minimum rating at my current tactics rating and my max rating 400 points higher. 
    • You can include all problems or just the problems you failed previously.
    • You are able to select specific themes.
      • I usually select the bottom 5 themes as shown before. This allows you to tighten up on any areas you are weaker in. 

Improve Your Tactics 

Good luck in your quest to become better at chess tactics. I hope you found this information valuable and that you can implement at least one of my methods in your training plan. I look forward to seeing you over the board soon!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

An Open and Shut Case

22 players showed up to compete in the 4th round of Tuesday Night Action 29. The top board is our feature game this week, where Sulia Mason(1981) took on Patrick McCartney(2053) in what starts off with a line in The Classical Fianchetto System of the Nimzo-Indian Defense where White attempts early expansion on the Queenside. Black tries to shut down White's attack, but in return he must give White one opportunity to open the position on move 14, and once White decides not to take, Black immediately locks the Queenside shut and at the same time, creates a protected passed pawn that White must keep an eye on all through the game. The next stage of the game sees a lot of maneuvering until Black finally shuts the position down completely with a Good Knight versus Bad Bishop scenario, and only then proceeds to open up once again, on the other side of the board that is with White's problem being that it's significantly easier for Black to rapidly get his heavy pieces across to the King side after it's opened up than it is for White's heavy pieces to get across, and when all is said and done, White's pieces are all bundled up on the Queen side and are unable to come to the rescue of their majesty in time. The game can be viewed below.

The win gives McCartney a half point lead with a round to go.

Elsewhere in the top section, Michael Uwakwe(2082) played an offbeat Anti-Sicilian (2...d6 3.Bc4) and proceeded to take down Vishnu Vanapalli(1960). Pradhy Kothapalli(1867) snagged a couple of pawns and it proved to be too much for William Clayton(1811) while Aditya Shivapooja(1750) defeated David Blackwelder(1706).

In the Under 1700 Section, section leader Daniel Boisvert(846) was defeated by Marnzell Hand(1607), but still has a one point lead while Ali Shirzad(1463) beat Andrew Jiang(1438) in order to be the only other player within a point of the leader. The upset of the night goes to Richard Trela(1118) who pulled off a draw against Ervon Nichols(1615). The other winners include David Richards(1673), Segun Kamara(1617), and Monish Behera(1228) while Aditya Vadakattu(1076) and Samuel Reiman(Unrated) declared peace.

The cross table can be viewed here.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Meet CCCSA Blog Contributor: Gary "Chess Bully" Newsom

Meet CCCSA Blog Contributor:
 Gary “The Chess Bully” Newsom

Hello! For those of you who don’t know me I am Gary Newsom, affectionately ( I hope…) known as “The Chess Bully” around these parts. We won’t go into how I received the moniker; just know that it was well deserved.

I have been involved in the game of chess for 40+ years. I, like many others in my age group, caught the fever when Bobby Fischer was making his march to the world championship title back in 1972.  I was 12 then. There used to be a feature on Saturday mornings called “In The News” in which a snippet of some news story that might appeal to kids was aired between Bugs Bunny and Scooby Doo. One fateful Saturday morning my brother and I caught a report on the Fischer-Spassky match and the rest is history. That afternoon we went to the library and came home with “Hoyle’s Book of Games” which included the rules of chess. We figured it out…mostly…on our own. For some reason we had the knights moving two squares diagonally and forward only but I think we got the rest right. That was the beginning.

Some of my best moments in chess include winning the Jr High School unrated tournament that allowed me to be one of the representatives at the Tennessee State Championship in 1974 (heck yeah that was one of my best moments….). Getting my first serious (with a clock) game published in the newspaper. It was a queen sac and I won in less than 10 moves. Qualifying for the Tennessee Invitational (adult..not scholastic) at age 18. Achieving the expert title for the first time at age 20. Achieving the title of Memphis City Co-Champion in 1988. Achieving the highest rating of my life (2141) at the 1994 Ohio Chess Congress with a 4-2 score vs all masters and wins vs Aviv Friedman (2400+) and George Umezinwa (high 2300) Winning the 2000 West Virginia Open. Winning the 2001 US Amateur South. Starting the long running "Reverse Angle" tournament series. Founding (along with Peter Giannatos and Mike Eberhardinger) the Queen City Chess Association, which eventually morphed into the CCCSA which Peter has done such a great job of developing.  Qualifying for the 2007 North Carolina Invitational. Being President of the NCCA from 2009-2012. Working with Walter High on developing chess in our region by first building the NC Open into a big event and then assisting Walter as it morphed into the chess festival we enjoy today.

Maybe you got bored reading all of that but the Cliff Notes version is that I have been around chess a long time. I have done a lot and seen a lot. There’s your takeaway.

My blog, which will be titled “The Bully’s Blog. 45 Years of Chess Intimidation” will be an eclectic hodgepodge of stories, opinions, observations on the chess scene and its culture, along with some actual chess board action occasionally. Basically wherever my head is at the time. I hope to keep it light,snarky and irreverant. We'll try to keep it PG, though I may have to sit on my hands occasionally. I will definitely entertain myself. We’ll see if it entertains the prospective reader.

OK out for now. Hope to see you at the board soon!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Learn from the Champs: Nicolas Rossolimo

Hi Everyone! I am excited to write my first blog post for the all new CCCSA blog! I have enjoyed reading the most recent articles by David Blackwelder, Patrick McCartney and Davide Nastasio. I heard through the chess-vine that known "Chess Bully" Gary Newsom will be writing for the blog as well, that should be entertaining!

On with the man of the hour, GM Nicolas Rossolimo. I knew of Rossolimo vaguely as I played his line of the Sicilian for many years (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5). Every Thursday at the CCCSA I give a lecture on champions of the past and stumbled across the games of Rossolimo. What a tactician! His game were a lot of fun to analyze especially with the great group of animated lecture goers on Thursday evenings.

Rossolimo was an Russian born Greek(yay!) and French Grandmaster! He later emigrated to the US and was a familiar face in the New York chess scene and played a few US Championships, even winning one in 1955!

The following quote by Rossolimo may tell you more about his style:
"What am I supposed to do, trade in my romantic style and become a hunter of points at any price? No, I will not do so. I will fight for the art of chess. I shall not turn into a monster"

Below are game fragments that I find to be fantastic:

The first example may remind you of the famous "Gold Coin Game":

The next example is a very well conducted attack from start to finish. Rossolimo never lets his opponent recover from his very poor opening play:

I hope you enjoyed this great games from Rossolimo!

Until Next Time,

NM Peter Giannatos

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