Thursday, April 30, 2015

Chess Pieces Made of Ice

FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has suggested that chess players use pieces made of ice to get chess into the Winter Olympics.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"WSJ" Article on Paul Hoffman

Paul Hoffman [pictured], author of King's Gambit, is featured in this article from the Wall Street Journal.

By SOPHIA HOLLANDER April 24, 2015 8:19 p.m. ET 

Fun had been officially removed from the mission statement of the Liberty Science Center by the time Paul Hoffman arrived to run the Jersey City museum 3½ years ago.

He had other ideas. “I’m a big kid,” said Mr. Hoffman, 59 years old, who typically wears bright sneakers, jeans and a black T-shirt to museum meetings—and its gala. “This place should be playful.” 

So far, Mr. Hoffman has brought in a resident magician, David Blaine, who is scheduled to perform May 1 at the annual Genius Gala Mr. Hoffman instituted (this year’s honorees include Amazon founder Jeff Bezos). He oversaw the installation of the so-called infinity climber—a suspended jungle gym—that hangs over the museum’s three-story atrium. 

Now Mr. Hoffman is embarking on a more serious project: Earlier this year, Liberty Science Center, one of the largest cultural institutions in New Jersey, won the rights to develop 16 adjacent acres into a science and technology campus dubbed SciTech Scity. 

Plans include a K-12 science-focused school, a science-themed hotel, visiting scholar residences and a business incubator. Museum and city officials estimate the project will cost around $250 million, with an initial target of raising $80 million. 

Mr. Hoffman has been a restaurateur, tournament chess player, professional puzzle-crafter under the alias Dr. Crypton, science pundit, encyclopedia president, author and an adviser to Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center (when he was editor of Discover magazine, then owned by Disney). 

He hasn’t been a master developer, but he is undaunted. 

“I don’t need to know about hotel economics—I know who to talk to about that,” he said with a smile.

SciTech Scity may be different from anything Mr. Hoffman has done—but there is a precedent for that, friends said. 

“He’s able to convince people through his passion and his intellect—he’s a hard-driving guy,” said David Fishman, who worked with Mr. Hoffman at Discover magazine. “He gets ideas and he does them. This Jersey City thing is obviously another kind of example of that kind of legacy.” 

But it can sometimes take time to warm to his approach, they said. 

“He really shows up with the aspect more of what you would expect from an extremely enthusiastic intern as opposed to someone at the head of an organization,” said Will Schwalbe, an executive vice president at Macmillan who edited some of Mr. Hoffman’s books. “The jeans, the sneakers, the kind of wild hair and the kind of restless energy.” 

Mr. Hoffman’s appetite for information made him a natural choice to lead Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. And it also means he never runs out of topics at parties. 

“One second you’re talking about Rubik’s Cube and the next second you’re talking about brisket,” Mr. Schwalbe said. 

Julian Brizzi, managing partner at Rucola, a Brooklyn restaurant where Mr. Hoffman is an investor, said: “There’s very few conversations he can’t jump into and provide at the very least an interesting anecdote.”

There was the time they were discussing chess and Mr. Hoffman shared a story about being locked in a room by the Libyan government during a chess tournament when they suspected he was a spy. 

“That was certainly a story no one else has provided any corollary to in my experience,” Mr. Brizzi said.

Jersey City donated the land to the museum for SciTech Scity—and pushed museum officials to make their plans more ambitious, both sides said. 

Mayor Steven Fulop said he was impressed by Mr. Hoffman, who quickly began assembling a broader board and embraced Jersey City with a new enthusiasm. 

During the previous museum administration, the city council renamed the street Jersey City Drive “so they would have no choice” but to acknowledge a connection with the city, said Mr. Fulop, who was then a council member. 

“The nature of the relationship has changed quite significantly and as a result of that I kind of felt, let’s do something big,” Mr. Fulop said. 

The plans for SciTech Scity have Mr. Hoffman’s signature touches of whimsy. The buildings are layered like planetary rings (“wacky science shapes,” Mr. Hoffman said). 

Visitors to the 135-room Thomas Hotel (as in Edison) could see robots delivering room service, he said. Guests might be able to choose the (digital) wall art or (virtual) fish-tank species with a click of a button. Wearable technology might track their sleep patterns. 

The proposed school more directly reflects the history of the Liberty Science Center. 

About 35 science educators work with more than 200,000 students a year, operating under the philosophy that “I shouldn’t just tell you what gravity is,” Mr. Hoffman said. “I should just start dropping objects.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Nakamura - Onischuk at "Inside Jersey"

At Inside Jersey, the game from the recent United States Championship between GM Hikaru Nakamura [pictured, top left] and GM Alexander Onischuk [pictured, bottom right] is analyzed.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Marshall Sunday Game/45 4/26/2015

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

Round Three: Philidor Counter Gambit

Ted Belanoff (USCF 2248) - Jim West (USCF 2204), Marshall Chess Club 4/26/2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.exf5 e4 5.Ng5 Nf6 6.Qe2 Qe7 7.g4 h5 8.Bg2 d5 9.h3 Nc6 10.c3 hxg4 11.hxg4 Rxh1+ 12.Bxh1 g6 13.fxg6 Bxg4 14.Qe3 Bh6 15.Qg3 Bf5 16.Qh4 Bg7 17.Bg2 O-O-O 18.Bh3 Qd7

19.Nf7 Bxh3 20.Bg5 Qf5 21.Nxd8 Nxd8 22.Nd2 Ne6 23.Be3 Bg4 24.Nf1 Qxg6 25.Kd2 Qh5 26.Qg3 Ng5 27.Kc2 Nf3 28.Nd2 Bh6 29.Nxf3 Bxf3 30.Rg1 Bxe3 31.fxe3 Ng4 32.Kb3 Qh2 33.Qe1 Qf2

34.Qxf2 Nxf2 35.Rg8+ Kd7 36.Rg7+ Kc6 37.Rg6+ Kd7 38.Rg7+ Kc6 39.c4 dxc4+ 40.Kxc4 b5+ 41.Kb4 Nd3+ 42.Kc3 b4+ 43.Kc4 Nxb2+ 44.Kxb4 Nd1 45.Rg6+ Kb7 46.Kc5 Nxe3 47.d5 Nf5 48.Re6 Nd6 49.a4 a5, draw.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Vancura Position

At Jim West Talks Chess, I have posted a game that features the Vancura position in a rook and pawn ending.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

2015 Grand Chess Tour

The three events in the 2015 Grand Chess Tour will be:

Norway Chess 2015;
Sinquefield Cup;
London Chess Classic.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Summer Camps at "Chess Mates"

Chess Mates will be running six weekday camps during July and August.

See the flyer for dates and camp rates.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

New International Chess Circuit

The establishment of a new international circuit of the world's leading chess players will be announced tomorrow in a press conference at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pix from "Chess Mates" 4/18/2015

Pictures taken by me during the 3rd Saturday quads have been posted at the Chess Mates blog.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Spring 2015 Teaching Schedule

In the spring 2015 session of Enrich and Grow Academy, I am teaching after school enrichment classes on chess, as follows:

Mondays - Washington Avenue School;
Thursdays -Torey J. Sabatini School.

Starting in May, I will teach a Saturday afternoon class at the Police Athletic League in Parsippany.

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Inside Jersey" Chess and Radio Interview

Link to Inside Jersey chess columns dated:

Then listen to a radio interview of Inside Jersey chess columnist Pete Tamburro [pictured].

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Rahway Quad 4/18/2015

On Saturday, I won this game in the game/60 quad at Chess Mates.

Round Three: English Opening, Symmetrical Variation

Ari Minkov (USCF 1991) - Jim West (USCF 2204), Rahway NJ 4/18/2015

1.c4 c5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.O-O e6 6.Nc3 Nge7 7.b3 O-O 8.Bb2 b6 9.e3 Bb7 10.Qe2 d5 11.cxd5 Nxd5 12.Na4 Bxb2 13.Nxb2 Qf6 14.Nc4 Rad8

15.e4 Ndb4 16.a3 Nc2 17.e5 Qe7 18.Rac1 N2d4 19.Nxd4 Nxd4 20.Qe3 Bxg2 21.Kxg2 Qb7+ 22.f3 Nf5 23.Qf4 Rd4 24.Qg5 h6 25.Qf6 b5 26.Nd6 Nxd6 27.exd6 Rxd2+ 28.Kh3 Qd5 29.d7 Qh5+ 30.Qh4 Qxh4+ 31.Kxh4 Rxd7 32.Rxc5 Rb8

33.Kg4 Rd4+ 34.f4 Rb7 35.Rf3 f5+ 36.Kh3 g5 37.fxg5 hxg5 38.Re3 Rd2 39.Rc8+ Kf7 40.Rc6 Re7 41.Rc8 Kf6 42.Rf8+ Rf7 43.Rxf7+ Kxf7 44.g4 f4 45.Re5 Rd5 46.Re4 Rd3+ 47.Kg2 Rxb3 48.a4 a6 49.axb5 axb5 50.h4 Rg3+ 51.Kf2 Rxg4 52.hxg5 Rxg5 53.Rxf4+ Rf5, White resigns.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pix from Sunday Game/60 4/12/2015

On Sunday, I snapped these photos during the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Photos from "Chess Mates" 4/11/2015

At the Chess Mates blog, I have posted photos taken Saturday during the Dr. Luzviminda Machan Open.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ironia School Tourney Results, Winter 2015

On Wednesday, the winter 2015 session ended at Ironia Elementary School in the after school enrichment class on chess, taught by me for Enrich and Grow Academy.

The tournament finished in a first place tie between Juliette Jewusiak and Evelyn Matias.  Third place went to Drew Hull.

Because the preprinted certificates did not allow for a tie, the first place certificate was awarded to Juliette, while Evelyn received the second place certificate plus the first place medal.  Drew got the third place certificate.

Chess medals were handed out to all six students.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"Pawn Sacrifice" Wallpaper

You can download Pawn Sacrifice wallpaper.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

GM Benjamin Lecture Tonight at Marshall CC

Are you an endgame addict in need of your fix?  GM Joel Benjamin's lecture "Amazing Pawn Endgames" promises to deliver the goods!

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A and book signing of GM Benjamin's latest book, Liquidation on the Chess Board: Mastering the Transition into the Pawn Ending!

Tuesday, April 14th


Refreshments will be provided.

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

Monday, April 13, 2015

Marshall Sunday Game/60 4/12/2015

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

Round Four: King's Indian Defense, Exchange Variation

Hans Niemann (USCF 2310) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Marshall Chess Club 4/12/2015

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Bg5 Re8 10.O-O-O Na6 11.Ne1 Nc5 12.f3 a5 13.Be3 Bf8 14.Nc2 c6 15.Rd2 Kg7 16.Rhd1 Be6

17.b3 Be7 18.Kb2 h6 19.a3 Nh5 20.g3 a4 21.Bxc5 axb3 22.Bxe7 bxc2 23.Rxc2 Rxe7 24.Rcd2 Ree8 25.a4 Nf6 26.Ka3 Kf8 27.c5 Reb8 28.Rd6 Ne8 29.R6d2 Nf6 30.Rd6 Ne8 31.R6d2 Nf6, draw.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Rahway Swiss 4/11/2015

On Saturday, I finished with a score of 2-1-1 in the tournament at Chess Mates.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

Pix from Marshall April Grand Prix

Last weekend, I took these pictures during the tournament at the Marshall Chess Club.