Sunday, April 13, 2008

Belgian Youth Championship

The last Belgian Youth Chess Championship just completed for the third times in Oostende in the hotel complex "De Kinkhoorn" (

The playing time was 90 minutes and 30 second for a move. There were many other activities during the tournament: SuperChess (, Simultaneous exhibition, Blitz, Exchange Blitz or Blitz in four or Tandem Chess, Problem Solving, etc.).

The first day, IM Bart Michiels (2436, 21y) played a simultaneous exhibition against Belgian celebrities like DJ Zaki, press journalist and author Jan van den Berghe, theater actor Bob De Moor, actor Daan Hugaert (Romain Van Deun in série Witse), actor Marc Stroobants (Rudy Dams in serie Witse) et musical actor Daisy Thys (Daisy in "Thuis"). He scored 21/24.
FM Thibault Maenhout (18y, 2287) played also a simultaneous and scored 20/21.

There were more than 300 players in the championship from 5 years old until 20 years old. The objectives were the titles and the qualification for the world and European youth chess championships, but also another tournament like European Union championship.

There were many sponsors for the tournament. The bigger was CVWarehouse but also IRS waterdicht, Option, ThyssenKrupp, Archery Dynamics, Bic, chessconsult, De Lijn, Fabricom GTI Suez, Fun, Maenhout NV, Novotea, Océ,, SIP-WELL and De Kinkhoorn.

There was a closed group named Elite with 10 players. Nils Nijs (2150) won the titel with 7/9 and a performance of 2378. In this group, there was only one walloon (French speaking side of Belgium) player: Jimmy Lafosse (1963). He scored half of the points and a performance of 2178, all of the other players had 200 points more than his Elo.

The categories under 20 year and under 18 year were in the same tournament. The best Elo, Dimitri Allaert (2099) won the category -20 year with 6.5/9 (5 draws) but cannot win
the tournament. Arno Bomans (1966) won the tournament and also the category -18 year above Adrian Roos (2096).

Tanguy Ringoir (2266) won very easy his category -14 year with 9/9. He can certainly play the Elite tournament but he want to be sure to be qualified for the world championship.

There were 30 players in the SuperChess and Sven Carlier won with 5.5/6.

The Blitz was with 96 players and FM Tom Piceu (2374) won with 8/9 above Robin Leenaerts (2256) with the same points.

The exchange chess with 71 teams was won by the pair Roy Schoemans (2181) and IM Mher Hovhanisian (2444) with 8/9.

The problem resolving was won by Dieter De Ridder (1778) in -20 years and Vadim Jamar (1150) in -12 years.

Next year, the Belgian Youth Championship will be play in the french side, the stad of Houffalize not far from Namur.

You can find all standings here :

Elite :

1 Nijs Nils (2150) 7.0/9 2 Sarrau Jelle (2197) 5.5/9 3 Vanderhallen Nicolas (2250) 5.5/9

-20/-18years :
1 Bomans Arno (1966N) 7.5/9 (first -18 year) 2 Roos Adrian (2096N) 7.0/9 3 Allaert Dimitri (2099N) 6.5/9 (first -20 year)

-16 years :
1 De Schampheleire Glen (1971N) 8.0/9 2 Larmuseau Michiel (2025N) 8.0/9 3 Schaeken Yordi (1927N) 6.5/9

-14 years :
1 Ringoir Tanguy (2266N) 9.0/9 2 Vandenberghe Jason (1791N) 7.0/9 3 Saligo Pieter (1947N) 15679 7.0/9

-12 years :
1 Beukema Stefan (1955N) 8.0/9 2 Cox Jan ( 0 ) 7.5/9 3 Lagaert Lisa (1550N) 6.5/9

- 10 years :
1 Lenaerts Lennert (1304N) 8.5/9 2 Decrop Hendrik (1299N) 7.5/9 3 Tuerlinckx Ben ( 0 ) 6.5/9

-8 years :
1 Hoop Rupert ( 0 ) 8.0/9
2 De Block Fabio ( 0 ) 8.0/9
3 Beukema Jasper ( 0 ) 7.0/9

You can find two videos on my site with one very beautifully made by the organization.
The is also 5 gallery with a lot of pictures.

Best Regards,
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Battle of the borders

South Carolina Champion Timur Aliyev won the four game match against Chris Mabe, North Carolina's reigning chess champion. The first two games of the match were played in Charlotte April 5-6, with each player winning a game. The final two games were played in Greenville, South Carolina, April 12-13. Game three was drawn. Aliyev won the fourth game and the match 2.5/1.5. Check out "Border Battle 2008: Games 1-4"

Special thanks to Mr. David Grimaud for the picture and report. By the way, Mr. Grimaud and his wife Maureen are two of the new bright shining stars in our chess community. They have done a lot for chess in South Carolina. We need more people like David and Maureen to boost chess in this country.

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Ural team wins super Russian Team Championship

The team from Ural easily wins the super Russian Team Championships. Here is the line up for the Ural team:

Board 1: Radjabov
Board 2: Shirov
Board 3: Kamsky
Board 4: Grischuk
Board 5: Malakhov
Board 6: Akopian
Reserves: Dreev and Motylev

Final Standings:

1. Ural (Yekaterinburg) 16 (36½)
2. Economist-1 (Saratov) 13 (33½)
3. Finek (St Petersburg) 13 (32½)
4. TPS (Saransk) 12 (33½)
5. Spasio-Swiss (Moscow) 12 (32)
6. Shatar (Buryatia) 12 (31½)
7. '64' (Moscow) 11 (30)
8. SHSM (Moscow) 8 (29½)
9. Tomsk-400 (Tomsk) 8 (27)
10. Politekhnik (N. Tagil) 7 (27), etc.
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Smeets wins Dutch Championship

GM Smeets defeated tournament leader GM Stellwagen in the final round to capture the 2008 Dutch Championship.

Final Standings:

1. GM Smeets (2578) 7½
2-3. GMs Stellwagen (2621), Reinderman (2526) 7
4-5. GMs Ernst (2559), L'Ami (2600) 6½
6-7. GMs Nijboer (2558), Tiviakov (2634) 6
8. GM Visser (2477) 5½, etc.

Official website:
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The two sides of genius

I am a big advocate for chess and education. I strongly believe that chess can help people of all ages, especially at a younger age, in so many ways. However, I am not and I would never advocate being single dimensional. As evident in this blog, I cover quite a number of topics and issues. It is more important to me to sacrifice a hundred or two Elo points but be a much more rounded and happy individual than to be obsessed with just one thing. I value the importance of education, intellect, physical fitness, and much more. This is how I raise my children and this is what I promote daily. Chess to me is a great tool to give children a wonderful jump start in their lives. Here is a very interesting article about the two sides of genius. What is your opinion?

Child prodigy: Two sides of genius
Stories by S.S. YOGA

Child prodigies may have a headstart compared to their more average peers – but how will they turn out later in life?

...Is it right then to call a child prodigy, gifted?...

...Australian pianist David Helfgott, had to deal with an abusive and overbearing father; Helfgott suffered a major mental breakdown. But he rose above his circumstances and carved a career of popular acclaim. If it sounds familiar, it may be because it inspired the Oscar-nominated movie, Shine.

But that could also be the conventional view of how child prodigies eventually turn out – lives broken and unfulfilled. And there is also the widespread belief that young geniuses are pushed and prodded to extremes by one or both parents.

Just what is a child prodigy, though? According to American developmental psychologist Dr David Henry Feldman, typically it is a child younger than 10 who is performing at the level of a highly trained adult in a very demanding field of endeavour.

Very few scientific studies have been done on prodigies; Dr Feldman and his colleagues did one in 1991.

He notes that there are some fields in which child prodigies are more frequently found. Music is the most common, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has been hailed as the most gifted. Chess has contributed some names, too. The late American chess master Bobby Fischer (who unfortunately fell into the “troubled” category of prodigies) is seen as the most astounding proponent of the discipline. Another science noted for producing prodigies is mathematics.

But such cases are rare in creative fields like writing, dance and philosophy, or even business and law. Dr Feldman has proposed that children are more likely to compete in fields that are highly structured with clear established rules, like music and mathematics. So for those who have more open-ended goals, disciplines such as writing, which require experience and abstract thinking, would be more difficult to master.

Here is the full story.
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Kaidanov, Lie lead Gausdal

Norwegian GM Lie won the last 2 games to catch up with GM Kaidanov for the lead with 3 rounds to go. Here are the leaders after 6 rounds:

1-2 Kaidanov, Gregory USA 2596 gm 4.5
Lie, Kjetil A NOR 2558 gm 4.5

3-5 Kotronias, Vasilios GRE 2611 gm 3.5
Gopal, Geetha Naraynan IND 2562 gm 3.5
Sandipan, Chanda IND 2585 gm 3.5

6-7 Ikonnikov, Vyacheslav RUS 2578 gm 3.0
Macieja, Bartlomiej POL 2599 gm 3.0

8 Krush, Irina USA 2479 im 2.5 (Irina has to defeat GMs Sandipan 2585, Kotronias 2611, and Gopal 2562 in the last 3 rounds for a GM Norm)

Official website:
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General Trivia

Hailed by many as the greatest automobile ever made, it features a four-turbocharged, 8-liter, 16-cylinder engine that creates 1001 horsepower and a complicated 7-speed transmission and AWD system.

MSRP: $1,500,000
Horsepower: 1,001 hp

What is the name of this car?
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Sunday classic chess tactic

Wilhelm Steinitz - Curt von Bardeleben (Hastings 1895) by Andreas

White to move. White has better piece placement but Black is up a pawn. How do you assess this position? How should White proceed?

r1r5/pp1qnk1p/4Npp1/3p4/6Q1/8/PP3PPP/2R1R1K1 w - - 0 21
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Clatskanie chess

Chess takes hold in Clatskanie
Sunday, April 13, 2008 1:06 AM PDT
By Stephanie Mathieu

CLATSKANIE, Ore. - Forget Guitar Hero or MySpace. There's something unexpectedly old-school gripping the attention of kids in this small town: Chess.

The Clatskanie Chess Club is one of the largest in Oregon, its members estimate. The highly strategic board game is taught to second- and third-graders in the city's public schools, and club leader Kate Taylor said roughly 600 out of Clatskanie's 1,000 students now play chess.

Taylor and her son Michael, whom she home schooled, have organized funding, brought the game into the schools, staged clever tournaments and engaged the whole town in a classic, mentally challenging activity.

In fact, 22 of the 200 finalists for the Oregon Scholastic Chess Federation State Championship in Seaside on Saturday - more than 10 percent of all the players who squared off - are students from Clatskanie. And one of those competitors is 7 years old.

"This is one of the best things that has happened to Clatskanie," said Melody Skirvin, mother of two children in the club.

Learning the game helps students' math skills, teaches them how to be good sports and is a inexpensive hobby that children of all ages and income levels can play, Skirvin said. "It builds up their self-esteem and their confidence."

Here is the full story.
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Picture of the day

'The Lost Gardens of Heligan
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Kasparov turns 45

April 13, 1963
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Florida representation

Chess: A Knight's Tour
April 13, 2008

Floridians qualify: For many years, players aspiring to become U.S. champion had to possess a rating very near the top of the U.S. rating lists. Exceptions have been made for various title-holders such as the U.S. Open, Senior and Junior Champions. In general, though, if you had not earned enough points from competitions, even though you happened to be very strong, you were simply not invited into the closed championship. Now, "dark horse" potential stars may compete in a tournament open to everyone for a chance at one of seven slots in the closed tournament.

At the U.S. Championship Qualifier, recently completed in Tulsa, Okla., Miami Grandmaster (GM) Julio Becerra finished in a five-way tie for first. Amusingly, it was revealed to be unnecessary because a number of high-rated U.S. GMs who had rating invitations to the championship declined their invitations. That made Becerra next in line for a rating invitation. Needing and getting his slot from the Open event was Florida teen star Daniel Ludwig (17) of Orlando. Though he was in a large tie for 6th, he had performed so well that he hit the tie break points jackpot to qualify.

Broward champions: The first-place winners listed in tie break order at last month's Broward County Scholastic Chess Championships held at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale were: Jason Jacobs and Cassidy Robertson (Kindergarten/1st grade); Suganth Kannan (K-3); Alec McCue (K-5); Jared Lassner, Steven Buzgon, Drew Stone (K-8) and Nicholas Rosenthal (K-12). Winning the school team titles were: Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale) (K-1 and K-5), University School (K-3 and K-8), and Archbishop McCarthy and Pine Crest (K-12).

Here is the full story.
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Vermont chess growth

Chess tournament quiet, but enthusiastic
Published: Sunday, April 13, 2008
By Matt Sutkoski
Free Press Staff Writer

RICHMOND -- State championships in most school sports or events tend to be raucous affairs, with fans screaming, horns blowing, cheerleaders twirling and bands booming.

Except, that is, for the Vermont State Scholastic Chess Championships, held Saturday at Camels Hump Middle School in Richmond.

There, kindergarten-through-grade-12 competitors from all over the state leaned wordlessly over chess sets, brows furrowed. Small clots of spectators watched games in absolute silence. The only sounds came from competitors periodically punching table-top clocks to time their turns and a barely audible flock of birds chirping outside.

That's not to say it was a sober, glum affair. Participants said they were having a blast and their enthusiasm was obvious: they traded tips, wore team T-shirts, and during breaks, sparred in quick practice sessions.

"It's the most refined of board games. It's just a really elegant game," said Steven Tatum, 18, of Derby, a senior at North Country Union High School in Newport. His brother, Owen Tatum, 15, is equally taken by the game.

"The interesting part of it is the decision-making process. That's sort of the big part of it. It tests your judgement really well," Owen said.

The Tatum brothers and the two other students from the high school wore black T-shirts emblazoned with a picture of a falcon, the school mascot, and the words "North Country Chess Falcons."

The 150 or so competitors fanned out into classrooms throughout the school. In each room several games progressed simultaneously.

Under tournament rules, each game could last no more than an hour, with each player given a total of 30 minutes to contemplate his or her moves. A double clock rested on each table. A player would turn his or her clock on when mulling a move, then shut it off as the opponent played. That way, players could track how far into their 30-minute allotment they were.

Here is the full article.
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New Smart Chip?

A New Smart Chip?
by John B Henderson

"Live like a man. Die like a dog," is the mantra for Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (NECF-InSchools), who proved that lightning does indeed strike twice by winning the 2008 Dos Hermanas Internet Blitz tournament here on ICC.

The former Brazilian prodigy, who now plays under the Palestinian flag and lives in the U.S., battled his way through the record 2,167 players taking part in the week-long 12 qualifiers for a place in the final 32. And despite being untitled, he again defied the odds by unceremoniously beating-up on GMs Timur Gareev, Jobava Baadur, Dmitry Kononenko and Ronen Har-Zvi in the KO finals to claim the top prize of $3,400 (2,000 Euro) and online blitz bragging rights for another year.

Comparisons with Jorge are now being made with the legendary Soviet Blitz player Genrikh Chepukaitis (see the excellent NIC bookSmart Chip from St Petersburg). The little-known Russian welder was an untitled player and virtually unknown in the west - but he was the most revered Blitz player in all of the USSR, who was feared by the likes of Tal, Petrosian, Korchnoi, Spassky and Bronstein!

Chepukaitis put his many Moscow and Leningrad Blitz titles down to being simply “a lucky guy with a roguish hand.” In his latter years, before he died, aged 68 in 2004, he became extremely successful playing on the ICC (over 27,000 blitz games using the handle "SmartChip"), defeating many ‘stronger’ titled players who were unaware of his legendary status.

The ultimate compliment on Jorge's performance in winning Dos Hermanas for the second successive year came from Israeli speed ace GM Ronen Har-Zvi, who lost 3.5-0.5 in the final. "The last player to beat me like this at blitz was Vladimir Kramnik!"
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