Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fournier Analyzes Genkin - Zilbermintz

At Contre Gambit Philidor, Frederic Fournier [pictured] analyzes Lev Zilbermintz's game as Black against Pavel Genkin: part one and part two.

Friday, November 29, 2013

World Open 1975 Co-winner is Billionaire

Alan Trefler, co-winner of the World Open 1975 with grandmaster Pal Benko, is now a billionaire.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Review of "Lisa: A Chess Novel"

Midway through perusing Lisa: A Chess Novel [Zugzwang Press, 2013, 231 pages] by grandmaster Jesse Kraai, I suddenly realized that I wasn't reading prose. I was reading free verse poetry, interrupted now and then by dialogue. The book might just have well been titled Igor: A Chess Poem because the late grandmaster Igor Ivanov comes across as a far more interesting character than Lisa Lena Schmied.

I can't recall the exact date, but sometime around the early 1980's I played a game against Igor Ivanov at the Bar Point in New York City. Playing White, I followed Fischer-Korchnoi, Curacao 1962 for the first 28 moves and then varied with the recommended improvement 29.Ra2, which seemed to take Igor by surprise as he spent a great deal of time looking at the position before continuing.

A few moves later, Igor offered a draw which I accepted. My elation at having drawn against such a strong player was short lived. Behind Igor's back, as he exited the room, a player gestured with thumb to mouth and head tilted back that Igor was drunk. The fictional Igor Ivanov in Lisa has mostly recovered from his alcoholism, although he still has a "big drink" occasionally.

The following chess problem plays an important role in Lisa.  See if you can solve it, as the title character is required to do by her coach Igor.

                                   White to play and draw

If you want the solution, you will have to buy the book!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

From Queens with Lev

Last month, at the Queens Chess Club championship, candidate master Lev Zilbermintz [pictured] lost this game as Black, playing his Newark Gambit variation 4...b5 in the Philidor Counter Gambit.

From the diagrammed position after 9.O-O, Fritz8 recommends 9...a5 as an improvement with the idea of 10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Qh5+ g6 12.Qe5 Rg8 13.Bxh6 Bxh6 14.e7 Qxe7 15.Qxe7+ Kxe7 16.Bxg8 Kxf8 17.Bxh7 Kg7 18.Nc3 Bf5 19.Rfe1 Bd2 20.g4 Bxe1 21.Rxe1 Bc8 22.Bxg6 Kxg6 23.h3 Be6 24.f4 Bd5 25.Rd1 Na6 26.Nxd5 cxd5 27.Rxd5 Nb4 with a slight advantage for White.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Robin Weigert as Regina Fischer in Film

In the film Pawn Sacrifice, the role of Bobby Fischer's mother Regina will be played by Robin Weigert.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Marshall Sunday Game/45 11/24/2013

On Sunday, I finished with a score of 2-1-1 in the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Two: Philidor Counter Gambit

Nicole Zlotchevsky (USCF 1584) - Jim West (USCF 2210), Marshall Chess Club 11/24/2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Nc3 e4 7.Ne5 Nf6 8.Be2 Bb4 9.Bd2 Bxc3 10.Bxc3 O-O 11.O-O c6 12.Bb4 Re8 13.c4 Be6 14.Qc2 Nbd7

15.f4 dxc4 16.Bxc4 Nxe5 17.dxe5 Qd4+ 18.Rf2 Qxc4 19.Qxc4 Bxc4 20.exf6 gxf6 21.Rc2 Bd3 22.Rd2 Rad8 23.Rad1 Rd5 24.Bc3 Kf7 25.Re1 e3 26.Rdd1 h5 27.h3 h4 28.a3 Re4 29.Bb4 e2 30.Rd2 Rxf4

31.Bc5 Rf1+ 32.Kh2 Rxe1 33.Bf2 Rd1 34.Rxd1 exd1=Q 35.Bxh4 Be4 36.Kg3 Qe1+ 37.Kh2 Qxh4 38.Kg1 Rd1+ 39.Kh2 Qf4+ 40.g3 Qf2#.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Marshall Saturday Game/60 11/23/2013

Yesterday I finished with a score of 2-1-1 in the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round One: Philidor Counter Gambit

Jason Li (USCF 1635) - Jim West (USCF 2210), Marshall Chess Club 11/23/2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Nc3 e4 7.Ne5 Nf6 8.Bf4 Bb4 9.a3 Bxc3+ 10.bxc3 O-O 11.Be2 Nfd7 12.Bg3 Nxe5 13.Bxe5 Nd7 14.Bg3 Nf6 15.O-O c6 16.f3 Be6 17.Rb1 Qd7

18.Rb4 b5 19.a4 a5 20.Rb1 bxa4 21.Ra1 Nh5 22.Be5 Nf4 23.Rxa4 Nxe2+ 24.Qxe2 exf3 25.Rxf3 Rxf3 26.Qxf3 c5 27.Ra1 cxd4 28.cxd4 a4 29.Qa3 h6 30.Rf1 Bf5 31.Rf2 Be4 32.Re2 Rf8 33.Qa2 Qf5 34.Qb1 a3

35.h3 a2 36.Qa1 Qf1+ 37.Qxf1 Rxf1+ 38.Kxf1 a1=Q+ 39.Re1 Bxg2+ 40.Kf2 Qc3 41.Re3 Qxc2+ 42.Re2 Qg6 43.Re3 Be4 44.Rg3 Qf7+ 45.Kg1 g6 46.Ra3 Qb7 47.Ra5 Qb1+ 48.Kf2 Qc2+ 49.Ke1 Qc3+ 50.Kf1 Qxa5

51.Ke2 Qa2+ 52.Ke3 Qb3+ 53.Ke2 Qd3+ 54.Kf2 Qf3+ 55.Ke1 Qxh3 56.Ke2 Kf7 57.Kd2 Ke6 58.Ke2 Qh5+ 59.Ke3 Qxe5 60.dxe5 Kxe5 61.Ke2 Kf4 62.Kf2 d4 63.Ke2 d3+ 64.Kd2 h5 65.Ke1 Ke3 66.Kd1 Bf3+ 67.Kc1 d2+ 68.Kb2 d1=Q

69.Kc3 Qc1+ 70.Kb4 Kd4 71.Kb5 Qb2+ 72.Ka6 Kc5 73.Ka7 Qb7#.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

World Champion Magnus Carlsen

[photo by Reuters]

Magnus Carlsen has lived up to his name!

Friday, November 22, 2013

GM Jesse Kraai at Marshall CC on Sunday

Please join us this Sunday, November 24th, at 7:30pm for an evening with grandmaster Dr. Jesse Kraai.  GM Kraai who earned a doctorate in philosophy from Heidelberg University took a three year hiatus from tournament chess to write the chess novel Lisa, a book that has been received with stellar reviews. 

After the reading, Jesse will analyze key positions of the world championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen which is currently being held in Chennai, India.  Last month GM Kraai demonstrated that his understanding of chess was not diminished by the long break when he won the Western States Open.

The event takes place following the Marshall Sunday Game/45 tournament, a four round event in two sections (Open & U1500) starting at noon. Refreshments will be served. 

Marshall Chess Club 
23 West 10th Street 
New York, NY 10011 
Phone 212-477-3716 
Fax 212-995-9281 

Please refer to this press release for more information about Lisa.

Lisa, a Chess Novel 

“Two thumbs up. This is the most realistic chess novel ever.” Full review here. - chess writer Dana Mackenzie

The debut novel by chess grandmaster Jesse Kraai tells the story of a 13-year-old California girl who defies her mother and her school to study chess with Russian master Igor Ivanov. Lisa is an exploration of what it means to get an education in chess, and a meditation on what makes the game so compelling to those who play. It is a fantastic story with a cast of characters that will be familiar to anyone who’s ever set foot in a tournament hall.

Lisa is available in ebook and paperback. 

ISBN 978-0976848905

For more about her story please visit:

Excerpts can be read here:

Lisa will give non-chessplayers a glimpse into what living in this bubble is really like.” - grandmaster and chess writer Josh Friedel

About the author: 
Jesse Kraai is an American chess grandmaster with a PhD in philosophy from the University of Heidelberg.
Phone 510-717-6434

Thursday, November 21, 2013

FIDE Mondays 11/18/2013

On Monday evening, I won this game at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Five: French Defense, King's Indian Attack

Jim West (FIDE 2089) - Paul Rachlin (FIDE 1855), Marshall Chess Club 11/18/2013

1.e4 e6 2.d3 c5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Nf6 5.Bg2 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.Nbd2 d6 8.a4 Qc7 9.Re1 Bd7 10.c3 Rfd8 11.Qc2 Rac8 12.Nf1 e5 13.Bd2 h6 14.Ne3 Be6 15.Nh4 Na5

16.c4 Nc6 17.Nf3 Qd7 18.Nd5 Nd4 19.Nxd4 cxd4 20.f4 Bg4 21.Nxf6+ Bxf6 22.f5 h5 23.h3 h4 24.hxg4 Qe7 25.Qc1 g5, Black resigns.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Yahoo Sports" Article on Magnus Carlsen

Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen is featured in this article by Martin Rogers.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Marshall Under 2300 11/17/2013

On Sunday, I finished with a score of 2-1-1 plus a zero point bye, in the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Four: Sicilian Defense, King's Indian Attack

Jim West (USCF 2210) - Jonathan Kim (USCF 1900), Marshall Chess Club 11/17/2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 d6 6.O-O Nf6 7.Nbd2 O-O 8.Re1 e5 9.a4 Be6 10.c3 h6 11.Qc2 Rc8 12.Nf1 a6 13.Bd2 Na5

14.c4 Nc6 15.Ne3 Nd4 16.Nxd4 cxd4 17.Nd5 Bxd5 18.exd5 Nd7 19.a5 f5 20.f4 g5 21.b4 g4 22.Qb3 Kh8 23.Rac1 h5 24.fxe5 Nxe5 25.c5 Ng6 26.Re6 f4 27.Rxg6 f3 28.Rxd6 Qe8 29.Re6 Qf7 30.Bf4 fxg2 31.Kxg2 Rce8 32.Rce1 h4

33.Rxe8 Rxe8 34.Rxe8+ Qxe8 35.Qd1 h3+ 36.Kf2 Qd7 37.Qe2 Qxd5 38.Qe8+ Qg8 39.Qh5+ Qh7 40.Qxg4 Qxd3 41.Qxh3+ Kg8 42.Qe6+ Kh8 43.Qe2 Qf5 44.Kf3 d3 45.Qe8+ Kh7 46.Qe4 Qxe4+ 47.Kxe4 Bc3 48.Kxd3 Bxb4 49.Bc7 Bxc5

50.Ke4 Bg1 51.h4 Bf2 52.Kf3 Be1 53.Ke2 Bc3 54.g4 Kg6 55.Kf3 Be1 56.Bd8 Bd2 57.Ke4 Be1 58.Kd5 Bb4 59.Ke6, Black resigns.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Marshall Under 2300 11/16/2013

On Saturday, I won this game at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Three: Ruy Lopez, Exchange Variation

Jim West (USCF 2210) - Julie Flammang (USCF 1769), Marshall Chess Club 11/16/2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.O-O Bd6 6.d4 Qe7 7.dxe5 Bxe5 8.Nxe5 Qxe5 9.Nc3 Nf6 10.f3 O-O 11.Be3 Qh5 12.Qe1 Be6 13.Qg3 Rac8

14.Qg5 Qxg5 15.Bxg5 Nd7 16.Rfd1 f6 17.Be3 Ne5 18.b3 Rcd8 19.a4 a5 20.h3 g5 21.Kf2 h6 22.Ke2 Kg7 23.g4 Bf7 24.Bf2 h5 25.Bg3 h4 26.Bxe5 fxe5 27.Rxd8 Rxd8 28.Rd1 Rd6 29.Rd3 Kf6 30.Nd1 Be6 31.Ne3 Kf7

32.Nf5 Bxf5 33.exf5 Kf6 34.Ke3 Ke7 35.Ke4 Kf6 36.c3 Ke7 37.c4 b6 38.c5 Rxd3 39.Kxd3 Kf6 40.Kc4 Ke7 41.b4 Kd7 42.cxb6 cxb6 43.bxa5, Black resigns.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

From ICC with Lev

At Contre Gambit Philidor, Frederic Fournier analyzes candidate master Lev Zilbermintz's game as Black against a FIDE master, from the Internet Chess Club.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"Mikell's Plot" on Asbury Park Radio

Michael O'Connor [pictured] is the lead singer and songwriter for Mikell's Plot

The rock band has applied for an invitation to audition for America's Got Talent.

Their music can be heard on Asbury Park Radio.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Conrad Pla Joins "Pawn Sacrifice" Cast

In the film Pawn Sacrifice, Conrad Pla [pictured] has been cast as Carmine Nigro, the first chess teacher of Bobby Fischer.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

ASE Chess Class at Harrison School

Tomorrow I will start to teach the after school enrichment class on chess, conducted by Enrich and Grow Academy, at Harrison Elementary School in Livingston.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rahway Swiss 11/10/2013

On Sunday, I won this game in the tournament at Chess Mates.

Round Two: Pirc Defense

Lev Zilbermintz (USCF 2143) - Jim West (USCF 2204), Rahway NJ 11/10/2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Nc3 Qa5 7.Bh6 Bxh6 8.Qxh6 Qh5 9.Qd2 O-O 10.Nge2 Kg7 11.Ng3 Qa5 12.Bc4 b5 13.Bb3 b4 14.Nce2 Ba6 15.O-O e5

16.a3 exd4 17.axb4 Qb6 18.Kh1 Nbd7 19.Rfd1 c5 20.bxc5 dxc5 21.Ba4 Ne5 22.b4 d3 23.Nf4 dxc2 24.Bxc2 cxb4 25.Rdb1 Rab8 26.Ra4 Rfd8 27.Nd5 Nxd5 28.exd5 Bb5 29.Raxb4 a6 30.Qc3 f6 31.Be4 Rbc8 32.Qd2 Qc5

33.h4 Qc3 34.Qf4 Nd3 35.Bxd3 Qxd3 36.Re1 Rd7 37.Rd4 Qc3 38.Re6 Qc1+ 39.Kh2 Qxf4 40.Rxf4 Rxd5 41.Rexf6 Rd7 42.Ne4 Rc4 43.Ng5 Rxf4 44.Rxf4 Re7 45.Ne4 Rf7 46.Rg4 Bd7 47.Rg3 Rf4 48.Kg1 Rxh4 49.Kf2 Rh1

50.Rg5 Bf5 51.Nc5 Ra1 52.Rg3 h5 53.f4 Ra2+ 54.Kg1 a5 55.Rb3 a4 56.Rb7+ Kf6 57.Ra7 Bc2 58.Ra6+ Kf5 59.Ra8 Kg4 60.Kh2 h4, and Black wins in ? moves.

Here is the final position.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

GM-elect Irina Krush at Marshall CC Tonight


It’s official!

Please join us for an evening with grandmaster-elect Irina Krush.

Irina Krush, who recently attained the highest title available to male and female chessplayers alike, will discuss her climb to the top, presenting key games and analysis.

Don’t miss the celebration of this historic event!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Reception at 7pm

Lecture at 7:30pm

Refreshments will be served.

Marshall Chess Club
23 West 10th Street
New York, NY 10011
Phone 212-477-3716 
Fax 212-995-9281

Monday, November 11, 2013

Rahway Quads 11/9/2013

On Saturday, I drew this game in the quads at Chess Mates.

Round Three: Sicilian Defense, Closed Variation

Art Macaspac (USCF 2234) - Jim West (2208), Rahway NJ 11/9/2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Nge2 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.d3 e6 7.O-O Nge7 8.f4 O-O 9.Kh1 f5 10.Ng1 Rb8 11.Nce2 b5 12.a3 a5 13.c3 b4

14.axb4 axb4 15.Be3 bxc3 16.bxc3 Bd7 17.Qd2 Qc7 18.e5 dxe5 19.Bxc5 exf4 20.gxf4 Rb5 21.Qe3 Rfb8 22.Bxe7 Nxe7 23.Ra7 Qc8 24.Nd4 Bxd4 25.Qxd4 Nc6 26.Qxd7 Nxa7 27.Qxa7 Qxc3 28.Qd7 R5b6 29.Nf3 Qg7

30.Qa4 Rb1 31.Ne5 Rxf1+ 32.Bxf1 Qb7+ 33.Kg1 Qb5 34.Qc4 Qb6+ 35.d4 Rd8 36.Nc6 Rd6 37.Bg2 Kf8 38.Qa4 Qb1+ 39.Kf2 Qb2+ 40.Kg3 Qc3+ 41.Bf3 Qe1+ 42.Kg2 Qd2+ 43.Kg3 Qe1+ 44.Kh3 Qf1+ 45.Kg3, draw.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

My Recollection of Jerry Bilbud

At the 1990 world chess championship in New York City, I got to know the late Jerry Bilbud.

Before the match, I waited in line to apply for journalist's credentials, but they were all gone by the time I arrived. Instead I applied for and received photographer's credentials, not knowing the first thing about photography. At a store, I purchased a film camera, about the size of a pack of cigarettes.

One thing I learned from my experience at the chess match is that, for photographers, camera size matters! It seemed like the bigger the camera, the more arrogant the photographer. Before one game, a photographer with a large camera started talking disrespectfully to me in front of his fellow paparazzi.

I will never forget how Jerry came to my rescue. Holding his camera high for emphasis, Jerry said, "Jim is a national master. I would trade in my camera right now if, for one day, I could be a national master like Jim!" 

The words "national master" clearly meant nothing to the paparazzi, but the size of Jerry's camera impressed them enough that they backed down.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

Garry Kasparov in "Business Insider"

In Business Insider, Garry Kasparov describes Magnus Carlsen as "a type of Harry Potter, a super-talent destined to become one of the greatest."

Thursday, November 7, 2013

GM Ken Rogoff on CNBC

On CNBC, grandmaster Ken Rogoff discusses the upcoming championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tuesday Night Action 11/5/2013

On Tuesday, I finished with a score of 2-1-1 in the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Two: King's Indian Defense, Exchange Variation

Jay Bonin (USCF 2409) - Jim West (USCF 2210), Marshall Chess Club 11/5/2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 O-O 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bg5 Re8 10.Nd5 Nxd5 11.cxd5 c6 12.Bc4 cxd5 13.Bxd5 Nd7

14.Nd2 Nc5 15.Ke2 Ne6 16.Bxe6 Bxe6 17.Rhc1 Rac8 18.Be3 a6 19.b3 Bf8 20.Nc4 Bxc4 21.Rxc4 Rxc4 22.bxc4 Rc8 23.Kd3 Bc5 24.Rb1 Bxe3 25.fxe3 Rc7 26.Rb6 Kf8, draw.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Title Match Prediction

This is .44 Magnus, the most powerful chess player in the world, who would blow your pieces clean off the board.

You've got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?"

Well, do ya, Vishy?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Marshall November Grand Prix 11/3/2013

On Sunday, I finished with a score of 2-0-2 in the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Round Three: Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation

David Brodsky (FIDE 1969) - Jim West (FIDE 2089), Marshall Chess Club 11/3/2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Be3 Be6 9.O-O O-O 10.Qd3 Nbd7 11.Nd5 Rc8 12.Rad1 Re8 13.c4 Bf8

14.Nd2 Bxd5 15.cxd5 Nc5 16.Qb1 g6 17.f3 Bg7 18.Bd3 Nh5 19.g3 Rf8 20.Bc2 a5 21.Rc1 Na6 22.a3 Qd7 23.b4 axb4 24.axb4 Qb5 25.Bd3 Qxb4 26.Bxa6 Qxb1 27.Rxb1 bxa6 28.Rb6 Rc3 29.Re1 Rd8 30.Rxa6 f5

31.Rc6 Rdc8 32.Rxd6 Bf8 33.Rc6 R8xc6 34.dxc6 Rxc6 35.exf5 gxf5 36.Bf2 Bb4 37.Rxe5 Bxd2 38.Rxf5 Ng7 39.Rd5 Bb4 40.g4 Ne6 41.Bg3 Rc2 42.f4 Bc5+ 43.Kf1 Nd4 44.Rd8+ Kg7 45.Rd7+ Kg8

46.Rd8+ Kf7 47.Rd7+ Kg6 48.f5+ Nxf5 49.gxf5+ Kxf5 50.Rxh7 Kg6, draw.

          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Round Four: French Defense, King's Indian Attack

Jim West (FIDE 2089) - Wesley Hellner (FIDE 1813), Marshall Chess Club 11/3/2013

1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.Ngf3 Nc6 5.g3 Nf6 6.Bg2 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.e5 Nd7 9.Re1 b5 10.Nf1 Bb7 11.h4 Qc7 12.Bf4 h6 13.N1h2 Kh7 14.h5 Rh8 15.Qd2 d4 16.a4 a6

17.Ng4 Kg8 18.axb5 axb5 19.Rxa8+ Bxa8 20.Ra1 Bb7 21.Qe1 Nb4 22.Qe2 Bd5 23.Ne1 Qb7 24.c3 dxc3 25.bxc3 Bxg2 26.Nxg2 Na6 27.Qa2 Ndb8 28.Ne1 Bg5 29.Qd2 Bxf4 30.Qxf4 Kh7 31.Nf3 Rf8 32.Nd2 Rh8 33.Ne4 Kg8 

34.Nd6 Qd7 35.Ra5 b4 36.cxb4 cxb4 37.Rb5 Qe7 38.Rb7 Nd7 39.Qc4 Nac5 40.Rxb4 Nxe5 41.Qxc5 Nxd3 42.Rb8+ Kh7 43.Rxh8+ Kxh8 44.Qd4 Ne1 45.Ne5 Kg8 46.Qb4 Qc7 47.Ndxf7 Nf3+ 48.Nxf3 Qxf7

49.Qg4 Qf6 50.Kg2 Kf8 51.Qf4 Qxf4 52.gxf4 Ke7 53.Ne5 Kf6 54.Kg3 Kf5 55.f3 g5 56.hxg6, Black resigns.