Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pictures and Puzzles from 150Q

Aaron Idemudia
Aaron Idemudia and his twin brother Sean are extremely talented new 6th graders. We have been working on resisting the urge to trade whenever possible, a common theme in getting from 1100 to 1500 when you are 11 years old.

Let's see Aaron's game from yesterday against Katherine as he clearly struggles with temptation. Black is to move in the next three positions. Answers are at the end, or will be by tomorrow.

In the position above, sixth grader Lennin Antunish is black against former 318 player James Ovando. We learned the Panov on Wednesday in early morning, so Lennin does not have much experience in it yet. Name 4 reasonable candidate moves for black.

5. In this continuation of the above game, white just played 18. Nf4. Aside from moving the bishop, which rook moves protect against losing a piece?
Kirk Jobe

6. Kirk played 11...Re8 in this position against former 318 player Maya McGreen. Why is it bad?
Mikael Mongroo

7. Mikael just played 4...Bf5 as black. How should he have been punished?



8. Nasir is black in the above position. Which move is better, 5...h5 or 5...h6?

9. Nasir just played 10...Nbd7. What happened next?

Jayvon Bullock

top 6th grader, Nancy Wang

Markus Pond, top 8th grader??

Mengnan Chen, 6th grade 1350

Calvin Yang
tilt your screen way back and look at the door handle
Eldridge Calixte

top 7th grader Tristan Dalhouse

706 friends: Michael Yu and Stefek Yurgel


1. Black should not trade queens, because that just repairs white's pawn structure and gives him the open a file. Instead, black could play 1...Nc6 or 1...Rc8 2. Qxb6? Nxb6. White should not trade queens because it just develops black's knight towards its outpost on c4.

2. Black has a number of reasonable moves, including
      * 14...a5!, planning ...b5, ...a4, making a passed pawn
      * 14...h5! preventing g2-g4 and securing the f5 square for the knight
      * 14... f6!, trading off white's good central pawn, and getting black some space (i.e. 15. exf6 gxf6 and 16...Rg8)
      * 14...Nb6 defending d5 in case of c3-c4xd5.
But the trade 14...Nxe3 is not good: the knight is better than the bishop in this closed position, it opens the f file for white; d4 is now defended. But it is also a mistake because black can make this trade any time he wants to, so he should keep the tension and wait for a more favorable moment.

3. 16...Nb6 makes more sense than 16...dxe4, since the first move develops our knight and the second one develops white's. Houdini doesn't agree with me, it thinks they are about equal, but I think from a teaching standpoint I'm right.

4. Four reasonable ideas for black:
12...Nb4 13. Qg3 Rc8
12...Nd5 to exchange some pieces 13. Bxd5 (13. Nxd5?? exd5 -/+; 13. Bxe7 Ncxe7)  13...Bxg5
12...h6 why not

Lennin played 12...Qc7, which is not a great square for the queen because it gives up control of d5 and the queen can be attacked with Bf4, Rc1 or Nb5/d5.

5. Moves like 18...Rfd8 obviously defend the bishop. 18...Rac8 works in a slightly trickier way, 19. Nxd5 Qxd5 20. Qxd5 Nxd5 21. Rxc8 Rxc8 22. Rxd5 Rc1+. But even 18...Rfe8 defends the bishop, since 19. Nxd5 Nxd5 20. Qxd5 Re1! wins!

6.  11...Re8 loses the d5 pawn to 12. Bxd5 exd5 13. Rxe8 Qxe8 15. Nxd5

7. White could have won a pawn with Ob3, attacking f7 and b7.

8. 5...h5 is much better, but kids get confused with the advanced variation, where h5 is hard to hold, so ...h6 is better. Black got punished in this game after 5...h6 6. h5 Bh7 7. e6 fxe6 8. Bd3 Bxd3 9. Qxd3 Nf6 9. Nc3 Nbd7 (next diagram)

9. 10. Qg6#!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

a lot is happening!

a lot of amazing exciting things are happening to me.... Brooklyn Castle is coming out Oct 19 at the Landmark Sunshine. Please go see the movie if you haven't yet and live in New York. The receipts for opening weekend determine if it's going to open in other cities, so it's kinda important!

I love these new posters....

more here
       Jon Hamm (=Don Draper) is hosting a small, exclusive screening at Soho House this Tuesday. I was invited, but initially said "no way, I'm very busy managing a critical USCL match vs. league leaders the Dallas Destiny" but then Jon Hamm called the publicist and said he is a big fan of me (!!!!!) and is there any way I could make it, so obv. now I'm going. I love Mad Men. 1000 thanks to Marcus Fenner at the Marshall for covering for me!
        I'm excited that the NY Knights are 3.5-1.5, although I'm exhausted beyond belief the next day --my normal bedtime is 9pm.
        I started IVF treatments. I'm proud to say I gave myself an intramuscular injection with a 1.5 inch needle in the Marshall bathroom during a USCL match. Go Knights!
       I love Paul Tough's book, (How Children Succeed) although a couple people have commented on the disconnect between how nice I am in the movie and how hardcore critical I am in the book. I think both are true in their own way, both are obviously also edited versions of me, in the sense that when you become a character, people want you to mean something. and I have my bad days, obv. But I also think that I am different to different kids and in different situations. Some kids need discipline from me, while some kids are hard on themselves and someone to tell them it's ok and it's a game. Definitely, if you see me at nationals, chaperoning 55 kids, 45 of them boys, I'm more on edge, more of a drill sergeant than in my classroom, but I know there is some real chance they might think it's funny to set the hotel on fire.
       There was one unforgettable awards ceremony where they tried to dump a huge water cooler on Galvin and missed and poured 50 gallons of ice water on the hotel ballroom carpet. Galvin beat a quick retreat, leaving me to frantically pick up ice and apologize. Various other coaches and USCF types pointed out what a bad chaperone I was and that my kids should be banned from these tournaments. sucked.

Jonathan and I talking with Paul at his recent GothamSchools talk.
School is going very well--  In my classes, I'm doing my best to do a great job every day, and that keeps me focused and happy. I have 110 students in my afterschool; between 50 and 70 come on any given day. It's a complete and total madhouse, but I'm excited to be reaching so many kids. I do a lot more giving directions than going over games, but I guess that's the price of it.