On the chessboard: Local chess tournaments celebrate MLK day

MLK Classic Chess Tournament Premiere Section Winners: Alabama State Champion Scott Varagona, Calera, Terrence Edinburg, Montgomery and Kevin Wang, Atlanta. Both adult and school chess players participated in the one-day event. The annual tournament celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo: Xiaoning Wang)

Two chess tournaments were recently held to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Alabama State Champion Scott Varagona won first place in the Premiere section of the annual MLK Classic chess tournament. Varagona is Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Montevallo.

Bouncing back from a loss in the first round, Aaron Decord took first place in the reserve section of the tournament. Decord is in his final year at Thompson High School in Alabaster.

There were several unforeseen competitive upheavals in the Reserve and Amateur sections of the tournament. “When it comes to competition, the scores of chess players don’t win the game. It’s about who consistently hits the best moves,” said tournament director and organizer Caesar Lawrence. Chess odds are a number system indicating the relative playing strengths of tournament players.

“Chess is the great equalizer! Chess is the perfect information game. Everything is right there before your eyes,” Lawrence said.

The January 16 tournament was held in Montgomery at the Frazer UMC.

MLK Classic final ranking

First Section: 1st Place – Scott Varagona; 2nd and 3rd – Kevin wang and Terrence Edinburgh; Top under 1800 – Doug strout

Reserve Section: 1st Place – Aaron Décord; 2nd place – Wendell whitaker; Top less than 1400 – Paul chipman

Amateur Section: 1st Place – Atindrah Harishankar; 2nd place – Philippe Wang; 3rd – Randall Tew; 4-6 – Genevieve Magli; Christophe Wang; Wib Magli

Novice Section: 1st Place – Bryce prater; 2nd place – Luke strole; 3rd – Rhea Rastogi; Gold – Simon coleman; Silver – Boyce magli; Bronze – Isaac Uh and Katherine uh

K-12 event

The annual MLK Scholastic Chess Tournament was held at Riverchase Middle School in Pelham on January 18.

Young chess players from the Birmingham metropolitan area came to compete. Fifty-two students representing public, private and home schools participated.

Caesar Lawrence also organized and directed the MLK Scholastic tournament. “It was a cold day, but the kids came over to play chess,” Lawrence said. “Thanks to Riverchase Middle School principal Susan Hyatt and Riverchase chess coach Joseph Kervin for hosting the MLK Scholastic tournament,” said Lawrence.

MLK Scholastic Final Ranking

Section Rook (K-12; Classified): 1st place – Anand Viswanathan; 2nd place – Skyler robinson; 3rd – Sameer sultan; Gold – Benjamin kennedy; Silver – Nikhita chintareddy; Bronze – Chryshawn parker

Novice Section (6th-12th, Unclassified): 1st Place – Noah The; 2nd place – Landon Opitz; 3rd – Nathan Daniel; Gold – Jevontay cook; Money (shared) – Jaylon Anderson and Denzel Support; Bronze (shared) – Kaidin Cool and Fail Martin; Team: Smith Middle School – Coach Charles smith.

Primary section (K-5th, not classified): 1st place – Allen Frazier; 2nd place – Jaylen frazier; 3rd – Jhordyn porter; Gold – Dylan Palmier; Silver – A’Zavier Chapman-Foster; Bronze – Michael wicks and Sadie currie; Team: Sun Valley Elementary School – Coach Bradley Fournier.

Tournament announcements

February 13. Northern Alabama Team School Chess Tournament. Tournament Site – Rainbow Elementary School, 50 Nance Road, Madison. For more information and other Madison City Chess League tournaments, visit their events calendar.

February 20-21. Queen of Hearts Annual. Tournament site – AUM Taylor Center, 7401 East Drive, Montgomery. School and adult sections. Beginners welcome. For more information, see the Alabama Chess Federation calendar.

Support chess activities in the United States and Alabama

In recent years, the growth of American school failures has been unprecedented. Not only is chess a lot of fun, it also strengthens a child’s cognitive abilities. thinking skills.

Concentration, focus and excellent chess skills were on display at the novice section of the MLK Chess Tournament held in Montgomery. Luke Strole and Simon Coleman think about how to checkmate the King! (Photo: Marianne Strole)

Moreover, chess is one of the real “thinking games”. Many retirees and seniors are exercise their brain and enjoy the mentally stimulating benefits of playing chess online or in groups.

Your support is important to continue to promote and teach chess in Alabama and our country. Find out about the latest chess activities, chess personalities and places to play. United States Chess Federation and the Alabama Chess Federation.

Most importantly, become a member of both organizations today!

Treat yourself to a game. As a bonus, if you want to grab a quick and free online game – a 15-minute game, a 5-minute game, or a game of chess (one-minute game), go you on nexuschess.com. This site is hassle-free and requires no registration. Click, choose a time limit that you are comfortable with, and play. Try. Enjoy!

Best player wins spectacular match

The 78th Tata Steel Chess Tournament will end on January 31. The venue for this traditional high-level tournament is the town of Wijk ann Zee in the Netherlands. World Champion Magnus Carlsen and World’s Top Rated Player Yifan Hou are playing.

Chinese Yifan Hou, 21, quickly knocks on the door of the male-dominated club 2700 plus (chess odds). His victory in the fourth round of the Tata Steel tournament gives an idea of ​​his elegant yet powerful style of play.

Hou used the Short Variation against the Caro-Kann Defense. The Short Variation relies on the extra space given by the e5 pawn and presents Black with a few issues that have not been fully resolved.

International Woman Grandmaster Jovanka Houska, Caro-Kann Defense Specialist, recommends in her new book The Caro-Kann (Everyman Chess, 480 pages, 2015) 3 … c5 as a way around the very popular Short Variation. “Our approach is designed to challenge White immediately and get him out of the mentality of building a slow advantage with a stable cross,” writes Houska.

Yifan Hou is the best chess player in the world. The 21-year-old Chinese grandmaster competes regularly on the international circuit and against the top 25 male players in the world. (Photo: TataSteel Chess)

That said, Hou’s opponent, Czech grandmaster David Navara Navara is considered one of the best prepared professionals on the international circuit.

At his peak, former World Champion Anatoly Karpov would defend the Black position with 5 … Ne7 6. OO c5 7.c4 Nbc6 seeking an immediate confrontation in the center.

Striving to open the lines, Yifan hit the center with 13.c4! The game might have taken a different course if Navara kept her black square bishop with 13 … Be7, although 15. nxd5 nxd5 16. Bb5 White has more space but black is solid. The 13 … a5 from Navara ?! was a scramble to create a counter play and Hou stopped it with 14.a4 and corrected the weak spots in Black’s position.

Hou explained that his 15.g5 provided for the Ra1-c1-c3-h3 tower lift to attack the stuck black bishop.

You are 20 years old. Rc6! Methodically improves its position and its mastery of critical squares. Navara made a mistake with reflex 20 … Tc8? believing that White could not capture the pawn with Txe6. After the game, both players thought the best was 20 … Bf7 then challenged the tower with Tc8.

Hou convincingly broke the barricades with 21. Rxe6 !! Bf7 22. Rd6 Fe7 23. Bd3 Black could not retreat with 23 … Bg8 24. Rg6! Kxg6 25.Dg4 + (queen cannot be captured because of the pin) … Rh7 26. Tg1 Kf7 27.e6 winning.

As precarious as it might sound, 25 … h5 was seen as a way to stubbornly hold the game. All complications favor White, for example 26.h3 Nf6 !? 27.exd6 Rb8 28.d7 Rb7 29. Nc1 Rxd7 30.Nd3! with a plus. Hou also demonstrated this line 25 … Rg8 26. Qh3 Bf8 27. Bxd7 Bg6 (threat of Fe4 +) his advantage would be enormous after 28. Bf5 Rc6 29. Bxg6 Rcxg6 30. f5 Qc8 31. Fe3.

With 28.Fe6, Hou’s plan was simply to push his f4-f5 and Bf4 pawn. Navara could not soften her position during the rally as 28 … Bxe6 29. Qxh5 + Kg7 30. Kg1 + Kf6 31. Qg6 is mat.

Former United States Champion Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan once said that when you attack your opponent’s king, “Invite everyone to the party!” That is, get all of your pieces to participate in the pressure and attack of your opponent’s weakened position. Hou’s 34. Nc1 !, followed by Nd3-f4-g6, will join the other white pieces in the attack.

After 37.Cf4, Black’s lost tower is trapped, its position in ruins, and he gives up after three more hits.

An impressive and offensive game by the number one player in the world!

Yifan Hou vs. David Navara, Tata Steel Masters 2016

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Nd7 6. OO Bg6 seven. Nbd2 Nh6 8. Nb3 Nf5 9. Bd2 Be7 ?! ten. g4 Nh4 11. Nxh4 Bxh4 12. f4 f5 ?! 13. c4! at 5 14. a4 OO 15. g5 h6 16. gxh6 gxh6 17. Kh1 Kh7 18. cxd5! cxd5 19. Rc1 b6 20. Rc6! Rc8? 21. Rxe6 !! Bf7 22. Rd6 Be7 23. Bd3 Bxd6 24. Bxf5 + Kh8 25. Qg4! Rc7 26. Qh3 h5 27. exd6 Ra7 28. Be6 Nf6 29. f5 Qxd6 30. Bf4 Qd8 31. Be5 Bg8 32. Qxh5 + Rh7 33. Qg5 De7 34. Nc1 Qg7 35. Qxg7 + Rxg7 36. Nd3 Kg4 37. Nf4 Kh7 38. h3 Rg3 39. Ng6 Rxh3 + 40. Kg2 1-0

Chess challenge – Winning moves

Solution to al.com’s latest puzzle: 1. g4 !! Bxb6 2. Rc5 + Bxc5 (or 2 … Kxc5) 3. Qc4 mat. Or 1 … bxg4 2. Qf7 + Tde6 3.d8 = R mat. Or 1 … Re6 2. Re4 fxe4 3. Qf7 mat. Or 1 … Re4 2. Td4 +! Rxd4 3. Qxf5 mate. Or 1 … Bxb8 2. gxf5 Rxb6 3. Qd4 mat.

It’s your move!

Juri Krupenski v Boris Gelfand, Keres Rapid Memorial Open, Tallinn, Estonia, 2016. In one of the first major upheavals of 2016, a little-known Estonian master beat one of the best players in the world – Grandmaster Boris Gelfand. White had just moved his pawn to f6 (threatened Qxg7) forcing black to Bxf6. Now the Whites (to play) have finished the game in a stunning way. Can you do the same?

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