Anatoly Karpov at the Marshall Chess Club
By Jarret Petrillo
(Photos courtesy of George K. Wang)
In the downstairs tournament hall of the Marshall Chess Club, hanging on the wall next to board 5, is a framed poster. In huge letters it reads: “Karpov.” A beginning chess player learns that name by association. It appears on books with intricate titles (The Semi-Closed Openings in Action) or mysteriously vague ones (Chess is My Life). It is a name whispered after tournament games against an unusually resilient opponent. For more experienced players Anatoly Karpov is known for moves played in legendary games. Yet for forty members of the Marshall who were present on Tuesday, that name will forever be associated with one more thing: a living encounter with the man himself.
On August 15th Grandmaster Karpov presented a lecture on winning endgames with opposite colored bishops. En route, describing each of his demonstrative games from move one, Karpov treated listeners to ideas described with the confidence and fluidity that only could come from a World Champion.
GM Maxim Dlugy, who helped organize this event, facilitated the informal lecture. Everyone in attendance was encouraged to participate. As the games were presented, many suggestions came from GM Irina Krush, sitting in the front row, but alternative moves and ideas seemed to spill forth from the audience’s excitement. With lightning alacrity, GM Karpov discussed each idea in an active dialogue. His responses were simple, spoken definitively, and often surprising. Unwavering in his views, he suggested moves that appeared to be outside the main theater of the board’s tension, before moving on to leave the nuances open to interpretation. For a class player, independent analysis was impossible at that speed, but Karpov’s explanations were sui generis, rife with thought-provoking insight.
An intimate Q and A period followed the lecture. Karpov was candid, telling stories and laughing at peculiarly posed questions: “Are there any other chess coaches as good as Mark Dvoretsky?” Spassky’s coaches made the cut, in Karpov’s view. Karpov was also glad to discuss his own development. He learned chess at the Botvinnik School, and improved his game by forging a strong opening repertoire. He enjoyed finding himself in complicated positions and defending them, always looking for new ideas. As a student, he enjoyed playing blitz—and has no qualms against any aspiring master indulging in that pastime—but he sees no merits in bullet chess. Asked about Aaron Nimzowitsch’s My System, Karpov said he still considers it a masterwork, and necessary literature for today’s aspiring players. Questioned why he switch from playing 1. e4 early in his career to 1. d4, Karpov said, “It gives white more control on the board than any alternative.” Could he have won his match with Fischer in 1975? “Yes,” Karpov is adamant, “I was well prepared.” But it wasn’t until later that year at Riga, after his win against GM Boris Spassky, that he was certain.
The self-portrait Karpov painted was of a dedicated man that had committed himself to serious study. GM Andy Soltis, who was also present, asked Karpov how often he sees a move made by GM Magnus Carlsen and is surprised by it. Karpov’s response? “Not often.”
Our 10th New York International was full of intense, combative play that culminated in an exciting final day.
With two rounds to go, GM Axel Bachmann of Paraguay (ranked #102 in the world) was in clear first. GM Yaroslav Zerebukh (ranked #127 in the world, and the current Marshall Champion) and IM Raja Panjwani of Canada trailed by half a point with scores of 5.5/7. Having already played these proximate foes, GM Bachmann appeared on his way to an easy tournament victory. But things got messy.
GM Irina Krush (the seven time US Woman's Champion) sat a harmless full point behind the leaders at 5/7. She was paired with white against GM Bachmann. Their game (a bogo-indian) started off tame and was more or less level by move 20. Astutely, GM Krush cemented a Knight on the important e5 square before blasting the game open with a timely d5 pawn push. Before he knew it, GM Bachmann's position had collapsed. He resigned on move 35.
The four aforementioned players were now log jammed in first place, sharing scores of 6/8. GM Krush's strong play continued in the final round. She was now paired (fortuitously with white again) against GM Zerebukh. After her 1. d4 was met with the less than common response d6, a slow positional buildup ensued. GM Krush slowly worked the queenside, managing to create a huge weak point on the d6 square, which she proceeded to patiently exploit. Her infiltration of the black camp was complete by move 44 when GM Zerebukh threw in the towel.
For her efforts, GM Krush pulled to within even of GM Bachmann, and they shared first place with scores of 7/9. IM Panjwani and IM Andrey Gorovets of Belarus settled for shared 3rd with scores of 6.5/9. GM Zherebukh's late defeat sent him home empty handed.
The tournament resulted in another applause-worthy accomplishment. The young FM David Brodsky, who finished with a very respectable 6/9, surpassed the FIDE rating threshold of 2400 after round 3. In addition to earning a 4th IM Norm for his performance, this constituted his fulfillment of the final requirement for the International Master title. Congratulations to IM-elect Brodsky!
$9,000 in prizes, unconditionally guaranteed.
Last year 3 GM/IM norms were achieved!
9-SS, 40/90, SD/30 +30.
Open to players currently rated 2000+ (USCF or FIDE).
Entry Fee: $200. Players not rated USCF or FIDE over 2200: $300. GMs/Foreign IMs: Free.
Local IMs: $125. $25 less for MCC members. All $50 more after June 15.
Foreign players who play all 9 rounds receive $75.
U2200 Section June 8-11, 2017
$8,000 in prizes, based on 70 paid entries.
7-SS, 40/90, SD/30 +30.
Open to all players rated U2200 and unrated. (No FIDE ratings over 2200.)
Entry Fee: $200; $250 in June. $25 less for MCC members.
Schedules: 4-day: Thurs. 7pm, Fri.–Sun. 12:30pm & 6pm.
2-day: Sat. 9-10:10-11:20am (G/25 d5) then merge with 4-day.
THE MARSHALL CHESS CLUB
REGISTER NOW! CREDIT CARD OR CHECK
70 PLAYERS PER SECTION
An intriguing and important photo exhibition, "Into the Human Light: Uganda," is currently on display in the Tournament Room and in the entrance hall of the Marshall Chess Club until December 5th. There is a story attached to the exhibition that is worth reading below. If you miss this brilliant show, however, you can see most of the photos on the following link: www.LensEthics.org
A young woman named Phiona Mutesi was raised in one of the worst slums on the planet, the area of Katwe, in the city of Kampala, in the poor country of Uganda. She dropped out of school at age nine because of her father's death, and her mother could no longer afford the tuition. Being virtually illiterate, Phiona sold corn and other products on the streets of her town to help her mother and siblings eek out a living. Because of the severe rains that plagued Katwe, she and her other family members slept in hammocks - raised as high as possible so they wouldn't drown - as the raging waters flowed through the dirt floor of their shack. It was a bare existence, more than just economically impoverished, it was a sad life.
Then she found chess.
A young missionary, Robert Katende, began to teach chess to the children of Katwe, and Phiona stumbled upon the class. She was about ten years old and within a short while became intrigued and showed both talent and promise of becoming a strong player. The rest is chess history as they say: she learned to read chess books (and other things) because of her fascination with the game and a few years later became the chess champion of Uganda, and represented her country at the Chess Olympiad held in Russia. She had never flown before, never before seen snow, and met and played people from all over the world.
All of Phiona's story is chronicled in a well-documented book, The Queen of Katwe and in a major motion picture of the same name, recently released. Phiona has become an international celebrity, certainly of chess. "A young star," proclaimed Gary Kasparov.
Phiona's story intrigued Marshall Board member Beatriz Marinello, who is Chairperson of FIDE's Social Action Commission, and as a result she started the "Smart Girl" program in Uganda in order to give young girls the opportunity to learn the game, and eventually improve themselves academically as well. She raised funds, encouraged the children, and shipped chess sets and boards abroad. She visited the country several times to help organize the program with Katende, who was named the General Secretary of the Social Action Committee. Eventually the program was expanded to include the chess education of boys as well as girls. Marshall Club member Virginia Hoffmann also began to sponsor a young chess player from Katwe, Mirriam Apiyo, paying her annual tuition to attend school, and supplying her with chess equipment.
In 2013, Beatriz Marinello asked visual artist and photographer Dora Leticia Martinez if she would consider going to Uganda to document the progress of the program.
Dora traveled to the country three times and became creatively and emotionally involved in what she found there:
"In the far reaches of this planet, there is a village that really does raise a child. I hope to shed light on this human struggle."
She found chess students everywhere, most of whom were inspired by the success of Phiona who had become known as one of Uganda's most famous citizens.
The photos that are on display at the Marshall are not merely documentary proof of the chess activity in Uganda, but are distinctive works of art in themselves: beautifully crafted, clearly composed, colorful, meaningful, enduring. They speak of how children can pull themselves out of the dredges of poverty and work though chess, a discipline that was heretofore totally foreign to them.
The chess world and the Marshall Chess Club are indebted to Dora Leticia Martinez and Beatriz Marinello for the work they are doing in helping to bring the children of Uganda into the wonderful world of chess, and to improve their possibilities of having a fuller life.
We are pleased to announce that Paul Rachlin was recently elected President of the Marshall Chess Club. Paul has been a member of the Marshall for many years, serves as a member of the Board of Governors, and participates at the club as an active tournament player.
For thirty years Paul practiced corporate and finance law at a major law firm in New York City. Currently, he is the CEO and founder of a medical technology start-up company.
We also extend our deepest gratitude to Stuart Chagrin, who stepped down as President in June. Stuart's leadership was instrumental to the Marshall's growth over the past four years. His efforts put the club on its currently sound financial footing, led to the expansion of our chess educational programs, and, together with Vice President Larry Price, led to substantial improvements in the Club premises.
Thank you, Stuart!
Chess Education at MCC
Endgame Course - NEW!
Instructor: IM Raven Sturt (above, left photo)
This new 12 week, college-style course is aimed at ambitious players (~1800+) who have a basic understanding of endgames. The lessons will take heavily from Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual (Chapters 1-7) and will primarily cover pawn endings, knight endings and bishop endings. Take home materials and problems will be provided.
The course will be conducted in 2 hour classes on Tuesday nights (8:00-10:00pm) starting September 13 and running through December 13. (There will be two breaks in the middle of the term.)
Enrollment is limited and costs $500 ($400 for MCC members).
To request a spot please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. [Your spot is not reserved until: 1. You have paid a non-refundable deposit of $200 and 2. Your rating (~1800+) is confirmed.]
Adult Chess Classes Instructor: NM Eric Balck (above, right photo)
This class is perfect for unrated players who have a basic understanding of chess.
Class are taught in 2 sessions: Tuesday nights from 6-7pm and 7-8pm. Players of every level are welcome to join either or both sections. Classes run each Tuesday and students are welcome to drop in week-to-week as the lessons stand alone.
Registration is available online by following the link below. The fees for attending one or both sections are $30 and $40 respectively. Club members receive a $10 discount each session. 10 class packages are also available at a discount!
FIDE World Chess Championship Comes to NYC! The three week long Championship Match, to be held from November 11th to 30th, will be contested by 25-year-old reigning champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and his challenger, 26-year-old Sergey Karjakin of Russia. The Match arena will be built within the Fulton Market Building, a five minute walk from Wall Street. It will feature dedicated spectator and VIP lounges with panoramic views of the Brooklyn Bridge as well as retail space, a restaurant, TV studios and much more. The World Chess Championship will also include the wide scale Public Program, with chess competitions, events in the parks for all New York chess fans, master classes, and entertainment at the main venue for kids and adults.
The Marshall Chess Club will be holding special tournaments and lectures as well! For more information please visit: nyc2016.fide.com
Congratulations to our 2015 Marshall Chess Club co-champions: GM Gata Kamsky and GM Zviad Izoria. The two elite players finished with scores of 7.5/9, a full point ahead of the field. Neither player suffered a defeat over the two weekend event.
GM Kamsky has won back-to-back club championships. He is yet to win the title outright though, having shared the crown in 2014 with GM Mark Paragua. This was also the 2nd co-championship for GM Izoria, after he shared the title with GM Giorgi Kacheishvili in 2008. Given the high rate of shared titles in recent years, the club might consider introducing a tie break starting next year.
A wealth of young talent paced the rest of the field. FM Nicolas de Checa finished in 3rd place with an impressive score of 6.5/9. Half a point behind this rising star, former club champion GM Sergey Kudrin finished alongside Raven Sturt, Hans Neimann, and FM Joshua Colas. It seems a safe bet that at least one of these junior players will someday achieve our clubs highest honor, and have their name ingrained beneath GMs Kamsky and Izoria! In other news:
The Amateur Championship was won by George Berg and Robert D. Olsen.
The Junior Championship was won by Ethan Li, who scored a perfect 5/5!
Puzzle Night @ MCC
Join us for our newest event: PUZZLE NIGHT!
Puzzle Night will be held the first Tuesday of each month, starting February 2nd. Every month the puzzles will feature a different theme. From mating attacks to promotion tricks, we promise not to disappoint!
Come join us and sharpen your game while having fun. Prizes will be awarded to top performers and refreshments will be provided.
Admission to play: $15, MCC Members: $10.
Hosted by NM Alex King. In addition to teaching the Marshall's long running Saturday Junior Class, Alex is the committee-of-one who chooses and annotates the club's "Game of the Month." For an archive of this work, or to submit a game played at MCC for this Internet prestige, visit: http://www.marshallchessclub.org/gameofthemonth
GM School Winter/Spring Workshops! @ the Marshall Chess Club!
with GMs Tamaz, Irina, and Georgi
Formerly known as "camps," our workshops offer 3 levels of instruction for junior players from beginner to 2000!
8:30-9:45am: Drop off / supervised chess play.
10-12pm: First lecture / supervised play.
12-1pm: Lunch (daily pizza lunch included, as well as juices and snacks).
1-2:30pm: Free time / blitz / bughouse tournament.
2:30-4:30pm: Second lecture / supervised play.
4:30-5:30pm: Snacks / free play / pick up.
$120 per day.
Sibling Discount (2nd child): 50% off original price
10% discount for GM School attendees
10% discount for whole week registration
Pizza lunch, juices, and snacks are provided!
Registration and Inquiries
To register and for any inquiries, please email program director Irina Krush at email@example.com. Advance registration required. Space is limited and not guaranteed without advance registration. Minimum age 6 to attend. Payment (cash or check) on site; checks should be made payable to "GM Chess, Inc."
Last week we had the privilege of being joined by Master Dr. Leroy Dubeck and Dr. Frank Brady for a special lecture as part of our centennial programming, made possible through the generosity of the US Chess Trust. These scholars captivated the club with stories surrounding the 1972 World Chess Championship match between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer. They also helped set the record straight with respect to the facts and inaccuracies in the new movie "Pawn Sacrifice."
Dr. Dubeck, who was serving as president of the USCF leading up to the 1972 match, surprised us by describing the political wrangling involved in determining playing locations, negotiating with the Soviets, and assuring that Fischer had a level playing field. He also had some surprising secrets about the personal life of Spassky! Dr. Brady, who is Fischer's biographer, picked up at the start of the match in Iceland. He contextualized the stakes of the event, the enormous odds against Fischer, and painted a vivid picture of what it was like to hide in an air vent as he spied on game 3!
This was just one in a string of events at the club in the past month. We want to thank all of our guests and supporters who have made our centennial truly special!
The club is gearing up for our 99th annual Edward Lasker Memorial/ Marshall Chess Club Championship in December. This year we have added $3,000 to the prize fund and anticipate the event being a "Super Swiss" with GM and IM norms possible! Last year's Champions GM Gata Kamsky and GM Mark Paragua are slated to return and defend their titles.
Not a master but want to compete!? Join us the first weekend of December for the Jerry Simon Memorial/ Amateur Club Championship. Top finishers will be invited to the big event beginning the following week.
In November the club is bringing back the previously defunct Junior Championship. We are very excited for this event, which will feature trophies and awards for 7 age groups. You must be a Marshall Junior Member to play!
Join us Tuesday, October 20th at 7pm for our final BBQ of the year. We will be saying goodbye to the warm weather but not without one last hurrah! There will be food, drinks, raffles, and chess! Youngsters and their parents are encouraged to attend!
This event is made possible through the generosity of club member, chess mom, and birthday woman Lisa Hershfield - Happy Birthday, Lisa!