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Newsletter: Vol. 1, Number 1, November 2009

THE CHESS EXCHANGE
The Newsletter of NYC Scholastic Tournament Chess
First Edition: Volume 1, Number 1, November 2009
Individual Copy Newstand Price – $1.28
Published by:

HOW TO LOSE A TOURNAMENT GAME:
Players Who Know How to Lose,
Know How to Win

How you lose after a game can be more important than how you win. It is easy after you win, especially in a tournament. You are happy and excited. But after you lose it can be difficult. Some players get very upset and frustrated and sometimes cry or get angry at the kid that beat them.

We All Lose

It is important to know and think after losing that all players lose and that it is part of becoming a better player and improving. All good players, from your Dad/Mom or a friend that is really good at chess, have lost many, many times. Even the greatest players of all time like Gary Kasparov, make mistakes and lose.

Kasparov

Gary Kasparov, one of the greatest players of the last 50 years, makes a careless mistake – a “BLUNDER” (See www.tristatechess.com “videos” for actual clip of Kasparov’s blunder)

Be Kind to the Other Player After Winning

There is always one student who after winning a game, thinks he is a pro football player scoring a touchdown and yells out at the top of his lungs-” Whoo Hoo-Yeah Baby-Wow I crushed him so easily, That was the easiest
game I ever played or ever will play for the rest of my life. YeeHaw.”

— Continued on page 4 —

RUSSIAN ROOKS:
Why Players from Russia are so Good at Chess

Vladimir, Anatoly, Boris, Mikhail, these are some of the first names of some of the greatest chess champions. What do they have in common? They are obviously all “Russian” sounding as 8 of the last 10 world champions going back over the last 60 years, were from Russia. Why is this? Why are the “Russians” so good at chess?

Mikhail Tal
World Champion 1960-1961

— Continued on page 3 —


Page 2

THE THREE MINUTE TOURNAMENT ROUND:
Scholar’s Mate at Tournaments

Have you ever been to a tournament where round 1 begins and then after a few minutes the game next to you and a few other games are over and the players are done with the round? How can they be done so fast?

Usually these games are over because of “Scholar’s Mate” or a type of checkmate that is possible in only 4 moves. White brings out the queen early and attacks Black’s pawn in front of its bishop on the kingside (f7)a weak pawn only defended by Black’s king. White then brings out their bishop and also focuses it on f7. In only four moves White then takes the f7 pawn and since it is protected and the king has no way to escape so early in the game, it is checkmate as shown in the diagram below.

Don’t worry if you are Black. Scholar’s Mate can only happen if Black makes mistakes and/or doesn’t 8 protect itself. It’s actually easy to stop this “instant checkmate”. After playing Nc6, Black can attack 7 the queen on h5 BY MOVING ITS PAWN IN FRONT OF ITS KNIGHT (g7) ahead one square. The attacked queen must retreat back to f3 where it again attacks f7 and threatens checkmate. But seriously, DON’T WORRY.

You can then as Black, develop your knight on g8 4 and move it out to f6. You have then completely blocked this tricky mate and the game continues. Since White has been trying to deliver checkmate, White’s position is not so great and Black can try to use their small advantage by playing Nd4 at some point.

How do you know when someone is trying to trick you with “Scholar’s Mate?” As soon as you see a bcdef g h White’s queen out so early your alarm bells should go off and your chess antennas should go up. Bringing out your queen so early is usually not such a good idea.

In general, you want to keep your queen in its
starting position until you figure out a plan and after you have developed your important pawns, knights, and bishops.

As Black, Scholar’s Mate can cause you to lose too quickly. But knowing about it and then making a few defensive moves will stop it and keep your game alive. Scholar’s Mate is a neat
trick but you can avoid it easily. Make your game a good one that lasts longer. BUT WATCH OUT FOR SCHOLAR’S MATE.


Page 3

TIMING STRATEGIES:
A Beginner’s Guide to Using Clocks at tournaments

Click, Clack, Thack, Splat. The tournament has started and it is very quiet except for those strange sounds. Oh-these are chess clocks being hit and used by some players.

In tournaments for grown-ups, chess clocks are always used. In our tournaments and many NYC tournaments they are optional if both players agree. So you have a choice whether to use them or not. If your opponent brings out a chess clock you have to use it. But if you both decide to use it and you are new to using a clock, how do you do it? Here are some tips for beginners:

(1) Where does it go?
Since White moves first Black chooses on which side he/she wants the clock.

(2) Setting the Time
For Tri-State Chess and most NYC scholastic tournaments each round is “G/30” and clocks must be set for 30 minutes for each player. Most digital clocks are set by hitting the adjust button for each side and then using arrow control buttons to move the minute digits. A final set button usually locks the time in place.

(3) Using It: Hitting the Clock
One way to start the game with clocks is to have Black hit the clock first without moving. White then thinks as his time starts counting down. When he is ready he makes the first move of the game and then hits the clock. Black’s time now starts running down and he makes his move and then hits the clock. This continues. Both players need to keep their hands away from the clock while they play, and the clock buttons should be touched and pressed gently.

(4) Clock Strategy
With a clock there is one more way to win. If you run out of time you lose as long as the person you play has mating material or enough pieces to deliver a checkmate. When digital clocks run out of time they usually beep, or at tournaments you turn this off, and when one person runs out of time the digits usually show 0:00.
Because running out of time loses the game, at a tournament, you should not help your opponent with their half of the clock. If they do not hit their button after moving it is their fault. You will use up their time until you move!

— Continued on page 4 —

RUSSIAN ROOKS

— Continued from page 1 —

Russian Tradition
Chess is part of the history and traditions of countries from the former Soviet Union. Unlike in the USA, in Russia chess players can become very famous. In the USA most kids have heard of and can talk about football baseball or other pro sports, teams, and players. In Russia chess is so popular that kids talk about famous chess players along with their conversations about pro sports.

For most Russian kids chess is viewed more as an after-school-like enjoyable activity and has been taught for many years in a YMHA/YMCA setting. The instructors at these locations are often famous chess players themselves. One of our instructors remembers being taught at a “Y” when he was 5-6 by one of Anatoly Karpov’s (world champion 1975-1985) assistants.

In Russia, people that lived in smaller towns remember seeing family and friends playing outside on the steps of buildings. Today on the Upper Westside or in Brooklyn in an area like Park Slope, both with many beautiful buildings, you don’t really see people playing outside on the steps.

In these countries, chess is seen often as more of a sport than a game. People get excited about chess championships and tournaments. The chess writer Lev Khariton describes the 1960 world championship match between the two players Tal and Botvinnik in Moscow:

–Continued on page 4 —


Page 4

HOW TO LOSE A TOURNAMENT GAME — Continued from page 1 —

This is not how good chess players behave and it is not in the spirit of the game. You should not brag after winning instead when you win or lose try the following:

How to Win or Lose in 3 easy steps:

1) SHAKE HANDS: All players do it after a game no matter what happens

2) SAY “NICE GAME” or “THANKS FOR THE GAME”: After all many games are long and tough and
the person you play may be on your level or better than you but lost because of mistakes.

3) BE MODEST: All of us have a long way to go before becoming Kasparov or other great players. Even if your game was your best ever, don’t get too excited – there is more to learn!

RUSSIAN ROOKS

— Continued from page 3 —

“This match played in Moscow in the spring of 1960 is forever . . . in my memory. Hundreds of chess fans who couldn’t get an entrance ticket stayed outside the Pushkin Theater watching on a big demonstration board the games of the match. I will never forget the famous 6th game in which Tal . . . sacrificed a knight . . .Tal was pacing to and fro on the stage, and his famous opponent . . . confronted with a surprise sacrifice was taking all possible pains to refute Tal’s daring decision . . Botvinnik had only a few minutes left on his clock when . . . the match was moved backstage. The spectators were so excited that the atmosphere in the playing hall was like a football game!”

Family
Just like here, in Russia, many kids learn to play chess from their family, like from, their father or mother, or a grandparent. However, according one Russian teacher we spoke to, here only about 5-10% of kids learn chess this way. In Russia, the % of kids who learn and have a family member that plays chess is as high as 50-60% of all kids! This is about numbers but it is important as about 1 out of every 2 kids plays chess in Russia, but here in the USA only about 1 in 15 play. Chess in Russia is as popular with kids as soccer is here.
So if you hear Russian spoken at a tournament, or have a club with a teacher from Russia, think about why they are so good at chess. When they were kids they probably played chess all the time, inside and outside!

TIMING STRATEGIES

— Continued from page 3 —

Also, some players try to give themselves an extra buffer of time by moving very quickly at the start of the game, if they know their opponent is slower. By moving so quickly they only use a few seconds, widening the number of minutes ahead they are and adding to their buffer.

If you are planning to use a clock for the first time in a tournament, practice first with a chess teacher or relatives or friends outside the tournament. Using a clock can make a game much more exciting, as how long it takes you to play becomes an important part of the game.

If you are using a clock more often you will soon be very comfortable as it becomes second nature. Like riding a bike, you will shortly be using a clock, winning games as if you always played chess this way.

As you become a better player you will see that anyone serious about chess uses a clock. From very young students to the world champion-all of them, use clocks. You can use one TOO!!


Page 5

TRI-STATE CHESS INTRODUCES GRAND PRIX PRIZES:
Huge Bonus Certificate ($1,350 TOTAL) Prizes for Top Tournament Winners

To promote tournament chess in the New York City area, Tri-State Chess will introduce new “Grand Prix” prizes where top 5 finishers in ALL sections of Tri-State Chess tournament receive special “Grand Prix” points. At the end of the season players can turn their Grand Prix points into prizes as if they were cash at Tri-State’s concession stands at tournaments or at the Chess Exchange store at 288 3rd Avenue (Between Carroll and President Street) in Park Slope Brooklyn (718) 645-5896.

For every section of each tournament the top five finishers will get the following “Grand Prix” points:

Section Rank (Finish) Grand Prix Points Awarded/Tournament
1st Place 10
2nd Place 6
3rd Place 4
4th Place 2
5th Place 1

If players are tied in rank they will evenly split the total points for the tied finish.
For example, three players tied for first would split the total points for 1st-3rd place (20) and each would get 6.7 points.

Top 25 Grand Prix point leaders will be listed in each newsletter. Grand Prix Point Standings can always be found online at our website. At the end of the season, the top five players with the most Grand Prix points will be presented with:

GIANT $$-CASH-$$ certificates to be used at Tri-State stores in the amounts of:

1st $500 BONUS Certificate
2nd $350 BONUS Certificate
3rd $250 BONUS Certificate
4th $150 BONUS Certificate
5th $100 BONUS Certificate

PLUS

A special personalized Grand Prix engraved plaque

Plaques and a book prize of the players choice also will be awarded for 6th -1Oth place finishers

These awards will be presented at the first 2010-11 tournament

So if you are finishing in the top 5 of your section keep track of those Grand Prix points. They add up quickly and might become serious cash to get you some great chess stuff at the end of the season!!


Page 6

THE CHESS EXCHANGE PUZZLERS {Solutions in the next issue!}

MATE IN ONE: White to Move MATE IN TWO: White to Move
 

MATE IN THREE: White to Move

(from 202 Checkmates for Children. Fred Wilson and Bruce Albertson)


Page 7

THE CHESS EXCHANGE SCHOLASTIC TOURNAMENT CALENDAR

November 2009-January 2010

NOVEMBER 2009

SAT 14

Horace Mann Chess Tournaments
231 West 246th St Riverdale, NY 10471
Sophia Rohde | rohderats@aol.com | (212) 749-6200 x151

SUN 15

PS 158 CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP XI
1458 York Ave. NYC Between E 78 St & E77 St.
MKurtzman@TriStateChess.com | www.TriStateChess.com | (718) 645-5896

Hunter College Elementary School
71 East 94TH Street NYC between Park & Madison Ave
Sunil Weeramantry | www.NSCFChess.org

FRI 20

National Youth Action Championships
DoubleTree Hotel 1909 Spring Road Oak Brook, IL
www.USChess.org

Columbia Grammar & Preperatory School Friday Chess Tournaments
5 West 93rd Street NYC Between CPW and Columbus Aves.
www.kidschess.com | Sophia Rohde | rohderats@aol.com | (212) 749-6200 x151

SAT 21

National Youth Action Championships
DoubleTree Hotel 1909 Spring Road Oak Brook, IL
www.USChess.org

SUN 22

National Youth Action Championships
DoubleTree Hotel 1909 Spring Road Oak Brook, IL
www.USChess.org

PS 6 Chess Tournaments
45 E 81ST St. NYC Between Park & Madison Aves.
Michael Poukchanski | michael@chesskingdom.com

DECEMBER 2009

SUN 6

Hunter College Elementary School
71 East 94TH Street NYC between Park & Madison Ave
Sunil Weeramantry | www.NSCFChess.org

FRI 11

Grade School National Championships
Hilton Anatole 2201 Stemmons Freeway Dallas, Texas
www.USChess.org

DECEMBER 2009 CONTINUED

SAT 12

Grade School National Championships
Hilton Anatole 2201 Stemmons Freeway Dallas, Texas
www.USChess.org

Browning School Chess Tournaments
52 E. 62nd Street Between Park and Madison Aves.
Shernaz Kennedy | ShernazKennedy@aol.com | (516) 991 7509

SUN 13

Grade School National Championships
Hilton Anatole 2201 Stemmons Freeway Dallas, Texas
www.USChess.org

SUN 20

PS 116 Chess Tournaments
210 East 33rd St. NYC Between 2nd and 3rd Aves.
Saudin Robovic | www.NYChesskids.com | (315) 849-3332

JANUARY 2010

FRI 8

Columbia Grammar & Preperatory School Friday Chess Tournaments
5 West 93rd Street NYC Between CPW and Columbus Aves.
www.kidschess.com | Sophia Rohde rohderats@aol.com | (212) 749-6200 x151

SAT 9

Browning School Chess Tournaments
52 E. 62nd Street Between Park and Madison Aves.
Shernaz Kennedy | ShernazKennedy@aol.com (516) 991 7509

SUN 10

Hunter College Elementary School
71 East 94TH Street NYC between Park & Madison Ave
Sunil Weeramantry | www.NSCFChess.org

MON 18

PS 116 Chess Tournaments
210 East 33rd St. NYC Between 2nd and 3rd Aves.
Saudin Robovic | www.NYChesskids.com | (315) 849-3332

SUN 24

SAR ACADEMY CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP VIII
655 West 254th Street -Riverdale, NY
www.TriStateChess.com | MKurtzman@TriStateChess.com | (718) 645-5896

PS 6 Chess Tournaments
45 E 81ST St. NYC Between Park & Madison Aves.
Michael Poukchanski | michael@chesskingdom.com

FUTURE ISSUES OF THE CHESS EXCHANGE WILL LIST:
TOP 3 FINISHERS IN EVERY SECTION OF ALL NYC TOURNAMENTS


Page 8

SPEAK YOUR MIND
ON TRI-STATE’S ONLINE DISCUSSION FORUM

Do you have strong opinions about scholastic chess tournaments?

Want to share your ideas?

Have an opinion on scholastic chess competition or the Nationals?

How can you find out what other people are thinking about these ideas?

Speak out on our new discussion forums at www.tristatechess.com
Separate forums for kids (13 and under) and adults
Check out our online discussion forums and let your ideas go…

Classified Ads

UPCOMING Tournaments

SAR ACADEMY CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP VIII
SUNDAY JANUARY 24, 2010
655 West 254th Street Riverdale, NY
www.TriStateChess.com | MKurtzman@TriStateChess.com | (718) 645-5896

RODEPH SHOLOM CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP III
SUNDAY MARCH 7, 2010
7 West 83rd Street (Central Park West) New York, NY
www.TriStateChess.com | MKurtzman@TriStateChess.com | (718) 645-5896

CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP XII
SUNDAY MAY 16, 2010
1458 York Ave (77-78th) New York, NY
www.TriStateChess.com | MKurtzman@TriStateChess.com | (718) 645-5896

SAR ACADEMY CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP IX
SUNDAY JUNE 6, 2010
655 West 254th Street Riverdale, NY
www.TriStateChess.com | MKurtzman@TriStateChess.com | (718) 645-5896

 

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