Sunday, February 28, 2010
James and Myles
quick funny story: I'm chatting with the kids before round four, and Joel is telling me about a game he won in an opening we had looked at together. Danny Feng is listening, and breaks in, "Oh yeah, Miss Vicary, I looked that line up and you're wrong about the move g4. White is supposed to play Ne4 instead." So I ask how he knows that, where he looked it up, and he says ...
....wikipedia. I died laughing.
Check out the UFT (teacher's union) website, especially the revolving banner photo at the top!
Some photos from yesterday's CIS tournament in Queens:
Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
there was an article in the economist 2 weeks ago (I'm still catching up: they get delivered to school and I was away):
New dangers for the world economy
When the crisis started, governments helped save the world economy. Now they are the problem
Feb 11th 2010 From The Economist print edition
LAST year it was banks; this year it is countries. The economic crisis, which seemed to have eased off in the latter part of 2009, is once again in full swing as the threat of sovereign default looms.
oh my god.
on a higher sanity note, take a look at this senatorial candidate's website devoted to abolishing filibusters. I hadn't considered it before, but I think I agree with him. you guys?
It's just a restless feeling by my side
Early dawning, sunday morning
It's just the wasted years so close behind"
Amateur Team East, Sunday morning, 9 am, round five, Philip Shin, a 1700 kid, a ruy lopez, the worral attack (5. Qe2). He played something like a marshall, and I took the pawn when I wasn't supposed to. Already it's annoying:
So I think, ok, maybe 16. Bd2. This has the advantage of not allowing 16... Bd6 (I take on e8 and the bishop hangs). It's a little lame, but I screwed up so I deserve it, plus I'm up a pawn.
But then I think maybe 16. Bh6 is a little improvement, he's going to play probably 16...Bg6, and then 17. Bd2. Now he won't have moves like ...Bg4 or ...B(x)h3 later.
So I play 16. Bh6, my opponent makes one move, and I resigned. The worst thing is to lose quickly when you've already checked out.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Jean runs a non-profit, 9 Queens, that brings chess to "under-served populations" (women and low income kids). That might sound like a slightly confused mission, but it works out nicely in practice. The great thing about Jean, especially about working with Jean, is that everything she does professionally is quality. you know what I mean?
if you don't, here's a glimpse:
While I was in Arizona, I spent a day with Jean and chess instructor Andy Roth at an elementary school and gave a two hour workshop on teaching chess at a SACA (Southern Arizona Chess Association) tournament. I was super-flattered that they hosted me and that 22 adults came and listened to me for a couple hours. (my kids have to). My talk was mostly about the importance of a student-practice-centered curriculum, and how to use different chess puzzles and exercises to address specific learning problems. The text of the talk (I wrote it out, but then couldn't bring myself to actually read it) is here.
Jean and I made nice big binders for attendees, but for you here, a brief overview of the puzzles and what they are good for:
double whammys A huge thank you to Jeff Coakley*, for his permission to use his these puzzles from his forth-coming "orange book." (Winning Chess Puzzles For Kids, Volume 2!) If you don't already know this, I'm obsessed with Jeff Coakley's chess teaching books [Winning Chess Strategy for Kids (green), Winning Chess Puzzles for Kids (red) , Winning Chess Exercises for Kids (blue)].
I love double whammys particularly because they directly teach the most effective thinking strategy for anyone rated 100-1200: "If I go there and then there, it's checkmate!" (almost no one under 1000 ever defends anything)
White makes two consecutive moves. The first move cannot be check. The second move must be checkmate. I include four problems here, because I adore series of similar puzzles: I don't have to look like a fool scrambling to set up a new position, plus it demonstrates for kids that details are important in chess: small changes make big differences and they need to be careful.
Here, checkmate is a6, stalemate is a8, and mate in one is a4 (Qb4#)
Who's the goof? These are great for getting kids to think broadly about chess and its possibilities and to troubleshoot for rules violations. For each position, you have to say why it is illegal.
update! : Jeff Coakley's website: http://www.coakleychess.com/
*in fact, all of the puzzles are from Jeff's books. If you teach chess and you don't own them all, you're ridiculous and should order them immediately. Later, you will love me for this.
** I stole this idea from Miron Sher
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
So I wanted to play ...b5, but I expect white will first take on c5, and then retreat the knight to e3. I definitely would prefer to recapture on c5 with the knight, so I am proud to have found the correct move order:
15. Ne3 g6
I decided here that white's bad light squared bishop means I should be playing on the queenside, because I will essentially (I hoped) be a piece up there. Also, my knght wasn't doing anything on f6. Also, white probably played Bg2 to play f4 next, and I intended to meet this with ...f6.
21...a4 and I think that attitude is fine, because 21... b4 seems to be almost as good: 22. cxb4 (22. c4 a4) 22... axb4.
22. b4 Nb7
I was kinda pleased with my position here. I know I am going to get attacked, and in general I often underestimate the danger to my king, so I was a little worried, but I felt like I had a lot of moves to improve my position, and that cheered me up. Nothing like having things to do to keep you happy, you know? I wanted to play: Rag8(-g7), Nc4, Nb7-d6 (-e8 if needed), and either Qa7-e3/f2 or Qf7-g8 (after Ra8-g8-g7).
28. Rf2 Nc4
33... Rxg4! 34. Qh5 Ne3+
35. Kh2 Nxd1
now there are a few wins here. Simply 36... Nd6 is great and after 37. Bxd1, 37... Qf2+ and 38...Nxe4. I played a more checky one:
37. Kh1 Qe1+
Now I have to be careful, because white has some tricks too. For example, if I play something careless like 37... Qf1+ 38. Kh2 Nf2?? 39. Qxe8+ Rg8 40. Rxh7+! Kxh7 41. Qh5+ Kg7 42.
Qg6+ Kf8 and I am losing!!
38. Kg2 Qd2+
39. Kg1 Qe3+
40. Kh2 Nf2
and my point here is that after Rxh7 and Qh5, I will have Qh6, trading queens.
41. Rh4 Nxg4+
42. Rxg4 Qe2+
43. Kh3 Qxg4+
44. Qxg4 Rxg4
45. Kxg4 Kg7
46. Kf3 Kh6
(in fact, she played until checkmate)
Sunday, February 14, 2010
some pictures of students, former students, friends and teammates: (more here)