Saturday, January 30, 2010

An Annotated Game from Pobo and a Tactic from Sebastian

Oghenakpobo Efekoro

I'm starting a bi-weekly assignment of asking kids to annotate one of their own games. Here's last week's very entertaining homework from IS 318's Student Body President, "Pobama" Efekoro:

[Event "Grade Nationals"]
[Date "2009.12.??"]
[White "Kaita Saito, 1544."]
[Black "Pobo Efekoro, 1865."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B02"]
[Annotator "Pobo Efekoro"]

So it was grade nationals and here is another game that i played. It was the sixth round and i was hot off the last game that i played the day before. I won this game rather easily but it would be nice if we take a look at strategies throughout the game. Lets go!!!!!

1. e4 d5
2. exd5 Nf6
3. Nc3

I was lost here. The opening was out of my knowledge. So let us take a look and see what i was supposed to play. It is apparent that i got myself into a Alehkine position. Gosh i hate that defense. Acccording to chessbase im supposed to play 3....Nxd5 4. Bc4. Wait does this look familiar??? Its a line i just learned!! Black then plays Nb6 and his set up goes Nc6 then Bf5 then g6 followed by Bg7 and 0-0. Black should have a pretty good game after this.

3... Nxd5
4. Nxd5 Qxd5
5. Nf3 Bg4
I thought Bg4 is a great move because it develops a piece with an intention immediately and it also pinned the Knight on f3 to the Queen.
6. Be2 Nc6
7. h3

7. d3 e5 8. h3 Bh5 9. Be3 O-O-O 10. O-O f6 11. c4 Qd7 12. Qa4 a6 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. Qxd7+ Rxd7 15. Bxh5 Rxd3 16. Be2 Rd8 17. Rfd1 Be7 18. Rac1 Rhe8 19. Kf1 g6 20. Rxd8+ Rxd8 21. f4 Nd7 {Solic,K (2121)-Leventic,I (2453)/Borovo 2003/EXT 2005/0-1 (46)

7... Bh5
8. O-O

Lord knows whats coming.

8. c3 O-O-O 9. d4 e5 10. O-O exd4 11. cxd4
Nxd4 12. Nxd4 Bxe2 13. Qxe2 Qxd4 14. Be3 Qe5 15. Rac1 Bd6 16. f4 Qe6 17. Rfe1
Rhe8 18. Qf2 a6 19. Bc5 Qf6 20. Rxe8 Rxe8 21. Bxd6 Qxd6 22. Qa7 c6 {
Scholze,R (2050)-Harzer,P (2125)/Dresden 2006/CBM 111 ext/0-1 (54)}

8... e6

9. d4
9. c4 Qd7 10. Qb3 Rb8 11. Re1 Bc5 12. Qc3 O-O 13. Ne5 Nxe5 14.
Qxe5 Bxe2 15. Qxc5 b6 16. Qb4 Qd3 17. b3 Rfd8 18. Bb2 Qxd2 19. Qxd2 Rxd2 20.
Be5 Rc8 21. Kh2 Bh5 22. f3 Bxf3 23. Rg1 f6 {Dethlefsen,O-Wisnewski,C/Germany 1993/EXT 2002/0-1}

9. b3 Bd6 10. c4 Qe4
11. Bb2 Bxf3 12. Bxf3 Qf4 13. Re1 Qh2+ 14. Kf1 O-O 15. Qc2 e5 16. Bxc6 bxc6 17.
c5 Be7 18. Bxe5 Qh1+ 19. Ke2 Qxg2 20. Rg1 Qxg1 21. Rxg1 f6 22. Bxc7 Rfe8 23.
Kd1 Bd8 {Lafortune,G-Tardits,A/St Chely d'Aubrac 2002/CBM 089 ext/1-0}


This is typical me. I castle on opposite sides and play for the attack. Right now in the position everything is going right for black. All pieces are developed or can be easily developed. Black also has pressure on d4. Whites pieces look very passive. All of his pieces are not really active. He can easily develop his pieces but his postion just lokks clumped up.
10. c3

I think that he is losing now after this because he wasted two tempos on pawn moves in the last 5 moves or so. According to Mr. Sher i would be up a pawn now.


Everybody obviously knows my intentions. I intend on attacking my opponent to death. This is typical Pobo.

11. Be3 Finally!!!! g5 The attack is slowly forming.

12. Nd2?
This move is a very passive move. I give this move a question mark becauseit just gives me an extra tempo because of Bxe2 then Qxe2 then h5.

12... Bxe2
13. Qxe2 h5
14. Qf3
I thought this was a very good move by opponent. He wants to force me to trade queens or else i lose the pawn on f6.

14... Qd7

This is a powermove because i essentially told him take it and watch what happens.

15. Qxf6 And he took it.


Im down a pawn but up two tempos on my opponent.

16. Qf3 g4

This is the best move of the game played by me. It opens the position on the king side and attacks the queen at the same time.

17. hxg4 hxg4
18. Qxg4

My opponent was a very greedy person.

18... Rh4

One more tempo! Rh4 is a powerful move because it doubles up the rooks in a hurry wasting no time.

19. Qe2 Rdh8

Another tempo!! The best move for white her was to play f3. Black responds with Rh1 check and white has the escape square f2. The white king runs to f2 where the king is safe.

20. g3 Rh1+
21. Kg2 Qd5+

He resigned. His greediness is what got him into this mess. 0-1

a cute tactic from Sebastian

Sebastian was black in the above position today against Eriberto Guzman. White just played 23. Bd6, skewering the queen and rook. Black to move. ...

another picture of Pobo to cover the answer

23. Bd6! Qxd6 24. Rxd6 Rxc1+ 25. Bd1...

25... Bc2! (25...Rfc8!! -/+) 26. Qxc2 Rxc2 27. Bxc2 Rc8 28. Rd2 Kf8 29. f3 Ke7 30. Kf2 Nd5 31. e4 Nb4 32. Bb3 Rc1 33. Kg3 Nc6 34. f4 Re1 35. e5 Re3+ 36. Kg4 Rxb3 *

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I win Best of CLO #2

hurray. I was pretty surprised to win anything, honestly. I've stopped writing for chess magazines (I ran out of things to say and I prefer chatting on the blog anyway), so it seems now like a long time ago. But good for me and here's the article.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

lazy eyes get blacklisted

Sorry it's been so dead here recently. I've been spending a lot of the spare time with the new boyfriend. That's going extremely great and I'm really happy about it, except when I look down and then I get panicky.

I feel like I had a lot of stories to tell you all from the last month. but they lose their energy when they sit around, sadly. but here's two:

I went to the optometrist last week to get more contact lenses. She says to me "Do you know you have a lazy eye?" I'm pretty excited by that idea, so I say "No, show me!" to which she replies "Unfortunately, you'll never be able to see it. But your friends have never told you?"

You always wonder, right, all your life, whether there is something wrong with you that no one will say: you have bad breath, or you smell bad, or everyone thinks of you as Interrupting Girl and despises you for it. And now here's a trained medical professional insisting that it's true.

I didn't know what to think, but gave a lot of my friends a hard time about being cowardly liars, just in case.

I should add that this same optometrist office, although a totally different optometrist, insisted to me a few years ago that I had a hyperactive thyroid (because of my wide, starey eyes) and should go to my doctor immediately, right now, today. I pointed out that I didn't have weight fluctuations or bouts of weird sweatiness, but he seemed very sure of himself. Then I went and my doctor said "I think you just have big eyes."

Next story: I am blacklisted at grade nationals.

This story is almost too ridiculous to tell. I'm at grade nationals, maybe Friday night, I'm minding my business, having a drink (I'm so cheap I brought it from my room in a plastic cup) with some nice people in some terrible Mexican restaurant, when a colleague of mine joins us and says to me:

"Elizabeth, I like you. I am your friend. But I want to tell you what other people are saying about you. You are being blacklisted by other scholastic coaches for your overly aggressive recruitment practices." He goes on to accuse me of a) trying to get a kid who lives 2 hours away from my school to transfer there and b) that some of the kids in my school live outside the district.

I don't even know where to start. First of all, there is nothing unethical about recruiting kids, as far as I can see. But it's totally false--I have never spoken to this child or his parents about attending my school, because he lives two hours away in an area with excellent public schools. I mean, if I were a mother living in a nice area, I wouldn't make my kid commute two hours each way every day to attend a title 1 public school in a (frankly) dangerous area, even if Kasparov taught there.

So I laughed and asked my accusatory colleague to please ask the child's father whether I had ever spoken to him. At the end of the weekend, my colleague said he had not had time to ask.

But he did later request that the Scholastic Council investigate where my students live. Now I have no idea where my students live, since I don't follow them home. ButI'm pretty sure you have to present a gas bill or a lease or something that is not so easy to fake when you do register a child for school. maybe some parents out there would know?

I was rooming with Greg, who of course found it hilarious that I was being "blacklisted" (there is absolutely nothing in the scholastic community that anyone could blacklist anyone from, as far as I can tell) and promptly began blacklisting me from all kinds of things: choosing the movie, using the shower, getting to eat the ice cream.

But really, what is wrong with these people? I would understand if I gave private lessons or ran for-profit school programs and was somehow a threat to their income. but I don't and I'm not. I'm a public school teacher who has nothing to do with their world, other than my students occasionally play theirs. of course maybe it's my creepy lazy eye....

my students are unbelievably good at chess

Here's D'Andrea in ceramics class after another student put a clay-encrusted hand on the back of his head.

I.S. 318 Top Rated Players
Jan 21, 2010

1. Justus Williams 2095
2. Alexis Paredes 2049
3. Jehron Bryant 2014
4. James Black 1924
5. Nigel Bryant 1914
6. Isaac Barayev 1889
7. Azeez Alade 1881
8. Shawn Swindell 1848
9. Pobo Efekoro 1834
10. Miguel Garcia 1816
11. Danny Feng 1781
12. Rawn Prowell 1771
13. David Kim 1750
14. Myles Foster 1746
15. James Ovando 1701
16. Joel Ogunremi 1692
17. Randy Rivera 1688
18. Rashawn Williams 1685
19. Mr. Galvin 1653
20. John Paul Garcia 1594
21. Sebastian Dabrowski 1583
22. Jakob Kobajlo 1547
23. Aleem Awan 1544
24. D’Andrea Dey 1511
25. Brittanie Uddin 1497
26. Lukasz Fron 1468
27. Jermaine Cooper 1465
28. Kenneth Martin 1417
29. Talitha Santana 1391
30. Rhoda Lynch 1377
31. Matthew Kluska 1365
32. Vaughn Soso 1346
33. Karol Wadolowski 1313
34. Jayvann Cox 1312
35. Sekou Prowell 1280
36. Lisa Laundry 1277
37. Joel de la Cruz 1265
38. Mariah McGreen 1256
39. Emmanuel Ogunremi 1243
40. Richard Wu 1241
41. Lequasiah Lawrence 1241
42. Giovanni Quinones 1233
43. Mr. Murnieks 1223
44. Alex Cueva 1222
45. Mitasha Palha 1214
46. Kevin Dominguez 1209
47. Ameer Williams 1214
48. Kamil Chmielewski 1198
49. Alex Bradford 1130
50. Anthony Ovando 1126
51. Henry Cali 1118
52. Keith Leary 1087
53. Rashawn Baldwin 1073
54. Anita Maksimiuk 1070
55. Chris Caraballo 1052
56. Ronavia McMillian 1050
57. Maya McGreen 1029
58. Qi Yuan Huang 987
59. Usman Hussain 986
60. Otto Schatz 977
61. Brian Flores 939
62. Christian Marte 914
63. Cedric Brown 901
64. Hector Martinez 888
65. Warren Zhang 877
66. Myles Baron 865
67. Manuela Ortiz 879
68. Jessy Ramirez 854
69. Matthew Jacome 772
70. Xonatia Lee 765
71. Aru Banks 738
72. Jorge Quiroz 659
73. Patrick Johnston 656
74. Avery Jonas 636
75. Edgar Zanabria 593
76. Charley Wu 577
77. Michael Osseniov 486
78. Jonathan Rai 482
79. Brian Chen 380
80. Angelo Manatu 329
81. Zanea Seymour 288
82. Szymon Krasnicki 285
83. Anwar Mapp 265
84. Austin Tang 224
85. Brian Aguirre 101
86. Jakub Jurski 101

Sunday, January 24, 2010

new documentary teaser!

watch this!
I really like it, although I notice that I tilt my head in a weird way and need to try to stop doing that on camera.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

razor blades

could someone please explain to me why I have to replace my razor blade after 4-5 uses? it's made of metal-- why should cutting hair be such a depleting task? can't they just make razor blades out of stronger metal?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chess Life Online article about Alexis/MLK

Shaun Smith wrote a nice article about Chess in the Schools' MLK day tournament; Alexis Paredes won the championship section.

warm sunny photos from the Bahamas!

I thought you might like to see some more holiday photos!

Here's me, sleeping in the sun, waiting to go parasailing

Here's me, parasailing. I discovered that if you lean all the way back, the sea is on top of the sky.

ah, men with towels.... This is at a beautiful and completely deserted national park. We rented a scooter to drive there, which was extremely fun, until we got caught in a torrential, freezing cold tropical rain storm on the way home. It was raining so hard we couldn't see to drive, so we had to pull over and huddle, shivering, in the bushes by the side of the road. Honestly, that bit was also kinda fun.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Strawberry Ice Cream and Humpday

I worked in a Baskin Robbins as a teenager (I can write in cursive icing!), so I feel I know something about ice cream flavor demographics. Old people: butter pecan and pralines 'n cream; men: strawberry. It's that simple. Women do not order strawberry (why? there's chocolate) and children do not order pralines 'n cream (what's a praline?).

Have you seen the movie Humpday? (spoiler alert) I watched it with Jonathan on Saturday night. It's a strange film, I thought Anna's character was quite well done, but I felt like where they went with the main characters (especially Andrew) could have been much more interesting/ more explored.

Towards the end of the film, after they decide not to have sex, Andrew orders himself a burger and strawberry milkshake from room service; Ben also orders a burger, but gets his shake half strawberry/half chocolate. Right after ordering, Ben remembers his abandoned wife, is overcome with guilt, and departs before the food arrives.

The next day, Jonathan and I were discussing the film.

I said, "I think Ben's milkshake was intended to symbolize his sexual (/identity?) conflict, since it is well known that strawberry is an exclusively male flavor of ice cream."

Jonathan: "What I like about discussing movies and books with friends is that you can think so many things and see things in so many different ways, and it's all equally valid."

It's one of my favorite things, at the beginning of a relationship, when neither of you is sure how much the other one is kidding. And now it seems like maybe I was wrong about the strawberry. do you think it's plausible that I have 17 female readers?

In other news, I played paintball for the first time. It doesn't hurt at all; I don't know what everyone was talking about. But I learned that I would not be a good soldier; I get too easily confused.

also, please suggest some funny team names for my amateur east team! (Ana Izoria, Ben Katz, Stephen Moore and me)

Scholastic Chess Update

Congratulations to Alexis Paredes for winning the Championship (over 1800) section of Chess in the Schools' Martin Luther King Day Tournament! Alexis went 4-0, including a win over former Miami Shark Matan Prilltensky.

Randy Rivera, David Kim, and Rawn Prowell tied for first (4-0) in the open section of the tournament. Randy won the blitz playoffs.

Despite all my promises, I have no positions for you. Mostly I spent my day threatening children with no nationals if they do not learn their stupid openings already. I'm so sick of teaching kids openings and then they forget and play something else.

Overall, the kids are doing ridiculously well. Justus won the Empire State Open and is over 2100. James, Alexis, and Jehron all broke 2000. James' games are absolutely incredible sometimes-- I just play through them, ask him a few questions, listen as he explains, and shake his hand. Alexis won the tournament today, so he should gain a bunch of points, and he's also had a number of great unrated wins against good players in the Bankers League. Isaac Barayev and Nigel Bryant broke 1900.

Also, Evan Rabin has a new blog! Go read it and leave him a comment.





Nigel (or maybe Jehron)




Jehron (possibly Nigel) Jasmine

James B.

James O.




documentary filmmakers Nelson and Katie

Sunday, January 17, 2010

strawberry ice cream poll

Do me a favor, please, and vote on my gender-and-strawberry-ice-cream-poll. Please do not vote twice or vote in the wrong poll. I am testing an important personal hypothesis, one which I will share with you just as soon as the results are in.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm back, Two Shout-Outs, Two Adverts and Aerial Yoga

Hi again everyone! I got my new laptop today, my first laptop ever, and so now the blog resumes. Sorry to disappear on you like that. I have so much to tell you.... might not get to everything today, but I want to talk about Shaun Smith and Kosteniuk, brag about the kids, make a couple announcements/requests about tournaments, and tell you about the Bahamas.
oh yeah, and happy new year.

part one: two people I want to give some props to

I keep being impressed by Alexandra Kosteniuk. I had gotten a good impression a year ago, when she did a benefit simul at the British International School and played Alexis and Ezequiel. I saw her again at her book signings at Grade Nationals.

For the most part, I think introducing kids to strong players usually results in awkwardness. The kid has never heard of the strong player; the strong player doesn't have any interest in talking to the kid, and they have absolutely nothing in common anyway.

But if the kids get a chance to meet a world champion, I figure of course I should make them. I'm a teacher, right? So I go up the elevator and round up the first ones I see, and bring them to the bookstore to meet her. On the ride down, I ask them to think what questions they want to ask her, on the grounds that you don't get too many chances in life to ask a world champion anything you want.

So the kids are all very bashful at first, and then Justus blurts out "What's it like to be a world champion?"

not a great question, right? Really, a hilariously bad question. I'm about to interrupt and apologize, and scold Justus for being stupid, but then Kosteniuk says something like, (and I'm very loosely paraphrasing a whole month later) but something like this:

It felt fantastic when I won, and I was really happy for a while, but the thing is, it's not like you win the world championship and then ok, you're done, you can relax. The next tournament you play in everybody tries to beat you, and you have to play well in every game and prove that you really deserve to be world champion. You can lose at any moment, to anyone, so it's a constant struggle, you have to always try to improve yourself, to raise your level. But this is also what's exciting and it gives you a lot of energy.

I was blown away by this answer. I thought it was a fantastic thing for a talented kid to hear, that, as hard as it is, you have to get used to putting yourself on the line in every game because you will never stop having to do so. And that you can and should use competitive emotional energy to push youself to work on chess: that doing this both helps your chess and gives you something positive to do with the feelings.

Then Azeez asked Alexandra what chess books she liked. At first, she started talking about how when she was a kid, she liked reading stories about chess players, more than instructional books, but Azeez just gave her a blank stare, and then she said she had really enjoyed Jesus de la Villa's 101 Endgames You Should Know and had made flashcards out of the 100 positions. One side of the card had the position; the solution was written out on the reverse, and she quizzed herself on them until she knew all 100.

I'm equally amazed by this second display of question-answering virtuosity: in two sentences, she turned studying technical endgames into a fun activity with cards. wow. I casually say to Azeez, "I'm pretty sure we have that book in our classroom library; let's make flashcards and learn all 100 endgames when we go home," and he says "yeah! great! that sounds like fun!"

She's like an interview magician.

Her publisher very kindly sent me a review copy of Diary of a Chess Queen. I'm probably too lazy to review it, seeing as how I'm not close to finished and I've had it for weeks, but I like the parts I've read, especially this bit:

T. Chalabashvili - A. Kosteniuk 1994
1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Qe7 (long comment omitted about how, as a child, she studied middlegames and endgames, not openings)
3. Nc3

Black's plan is as follows: ...c7-c6, ...d7-d6, ...g7-g6, ...f7-f6, ...Bg7, ...Nd7, ...Nh6-f7. I recall that, when I was young, I believed the plan of b2-b3, Ba3, and d2-d4 would refute this system."

I thought that was pretty funny.

And the second awesome person of the day is Shaun Smith. I'm psyched about him every Saturday when I leave the Chess in the Schools tournaments at 3:45 (before Shaun they used to drag on until 5 or 6).

This guy runs a free rated tournament of 50o kids every Saturday, with only high school kids to help him, in which 4 rounds of game 30 take place with only 15 minutes between each round. The rounds are never late; they make basically no mistakes, and he never gets upset with the insane parents (or coaches/assistant principals).

I do not know how he does it, but my hat is completely off. Also, he's very generous to the kids with time, help, rides, money, and his willingness to try out new ideas, which brings us to....

An Advertisement for the Championship Section at the CIS MLK Day Tournament

Are you rated over 1900, live in the NYC area, and interested in playing in a free 3-SS, G/45 tournament next Monday (Jan 18) or the following Saturday (Jan 23) with cash prizes? Get all the info and preregister by emailing ( or calling (212) 688- 0725 Shaun Smith. Last time, the section had 17 players, including local adult experts Mikhail Sher, Jonathan Corbblah, and Benjamin Katz. so you should come play; it'll be good chess.

Anybody Willing To Play a Match with a Kid?

I've arranged a couple matches for my students, and they have thoroughly enjoyed them and learned a great deal , so I'd like to organize more. I'm looking for players rated over 1800 who are interested in playing a rated match of 4-8 games, something between game 60 and game 120, at the Marshall on weekends, against a kid rated 200 points less than you. The child will be polite, on time, and not annoying. What's in it for you? free chess, an enormous supply of instant karma, and I'll post all your wins on this blog.

ok, I'm stopping now to catch up on some episodes of the office and correct some chess workbooks. more coming soon. please leave me some comments.

tomorrow: I try a fun aerial yoga class:

I almost forgot! I need team name suggestions for an Amateur Team. I'm playing with Ana Izoria, Ben Katz, and Stephen Moore. Thanks!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

sorry I've been so quiet!!!

I'm great, but my computer broke and I have yet to replace it. As soon as I do, blogging will resume fully. I have a lot to tell you all: lots more on Grade Nationals, the kids are doing amazingly, plus I went to the Bahamas and found a boyfriend! hurray!