Newsletter: Vol. 2,No2 Februay 2011







Ramaz Chess Team Flexes Muscles at Nationals








BY MARK KURTZMAN


Each year, thousands of scholastic players descend upon a different location in the U.S. to compete at the National Scholastic Chess Championships. This year’s Grade School Nationals event was held at Lake Buena Vista, Florida (at Disneyworld) with 1350 students participating.
The tournament is divided by grades and produces a National Championship individual and team for each grade. Playing up into a higher grade is not allowed. Teams of at least 3 players from the same school must be in the same grade to create a team.
The Ramaz Chess Team has a great history of competing successfully at Nationals. This year was no exception. The 7th grade team from Ramaz captured the 2nd place team honors in the USA, by scoring brutal victories over some very powerful opponents.
—- Continued on page 3 —-











Staunton and the Elgin Marbles:


How a Famous Ancient Greek Sculpture Became the Model for the Knight

BY DANIEL TAUBENBLAT


Imagine if you were playing in a tournament and your opponent sits down, takes out a bag of pieces and says “let’s use my set”. You look at the pieces and you can’t tell the difference between
the queen, a bishop or a pawn. When you ask your partner for help and set up the pieces the king is so skinny it keeps falling over. This might have happened 200 years ago before chess pieces had the same design.

—- Continued on page 3 —-




-1-















“Why Can’t He Let Me Win?”:



Why Chess Teachers and Parents Should Always Do Their Best

BY DANIEL TAUBENBLAT


Beginners see it getting in the way of the game every tournament.
Some kids who just learned what chess notation is a few weeks ago are so involved with writing down and recording their game that they don’t mind so much if they lose!
Chess notation or the system for recording your game should help you as a tool and not become so difficult that you spend energy and focus on writing your moves rather than planning to checkmate your opponent and win.
Chess notation is optional in the Beginner and Novice sections at our tournaments, but is mandatory in all other sections.



Notation often helps immediately with questions or issues players might have with the game.
At a recent tournament at P.S. 9 in December, tournament directors noticed many students in the beginner section raising their hands with questions about the accuracy of their opponent’s moves. In several cases the notation,
usually from the student not raising the issue, showed precisely what had occurred and was evidence for how players moved, eliminating any argument!
—– Continued on page 5 —-


Chess Notation at Tournaments: How to Make Notation Your Friend
and not your Enemy BY DANIEL TAUBENBLAT

Beginners see it getting in the way of the game every tournament. Some kids who just learned what chess notation is a few weeks ago are so involved with writing down and recording their game that they don’t mind so much if they lose!
Chess notation or the system for recording your game should help you as a tool and not become so difficult that you spend energy and focus on writing your moves rather than planning to checkmate your opponent and win.



Chess notation is optional in the Beginner and Novice sections at our tournaments, but is mandatory in all other sections.
Notation often helps immediately with questions or issues players might have with the game. At a recent tournament at P.S. 9 in December, tournament directors noticed many students in the beginner section raising their hands with questions about the accuracy of their opponent’s moves. In several cases the notation, usually from the student not raising the issue, showed precisely what had occurred and was evidence for how players moved, eliminating any argument!

—- Continued on page 5 —-



-2-








Ramaz Chess Team Triumphs (Continued from the front page)


Team Superstar, Jacob Berman, who has continuously led his team to victory, came through once again with a staggering 5.5 out of 7 points. Berman, whose only loss was to an Expert rated player in round 3, improved his rating to 1852. As of December 2010, Jacob Berman is ranked 28th in the country for players aged 11 and under, rated at 1807!

Of course it is not enough to have one great player to win as a team at Nationals. The team has 3 other players who have consistently played well and scored upsets over higher rated players. Sarah Ascherman is one of them, scoring 4.5 out of 7 and achieving a draw in round 4 against a player rated 1902! In addition, Alex Eisenstein got his rating back over 1500 by beating a 1758 in round 4 and finishing with 4 points. Alex has finished in the top 25 of his grade at the Nationals numerous times in the past! Matthew Levy, the final member of the winning Ramaz Team also finished strong with 4 points, including 2 victories over players rated in the high 15 and 1600’s. After the tournament, Levy, Ascherman and Eisenstein had all raised their ratings to go above 1500. Joshua Berman and Daniel Levy also represented Ramaz with excellent results, but not in the same grade.
Two years ago when this same team competed in the 5th Grade Nationals, they tied for 1st place and earned the title of US Co-Champions for 5th grade in 2008! Congratulations to the Ramaz Chess Team!!

Staunton and the Parthenon Marbles Continued from the front page)
In 1849, John Jaques and his brother in law Nathaniel Cook of the games company John Jaques of London, realized this problem of different chess sets and decided to come up with a new chess set. They used a style based on the art and buildings of Ancient Greece that was very fashionable at the time.
Fifty years earlier Thomas Bruce,”The Lord of Elgin” who was England’s ambassador to Turkey, decided to draw the magnificent sculpture built around the top of the Parthenon, the greatest remaining building of the Ancient Greeks located in Athens, the capital city. Greece at the time was under Turkey’s rule so he had no problem getting access to the building. But he made a decision to take away the actual sculptures and bring them to England. Some people think he got permission from the Turkish government.



Jacques decided to start making and producing the new chess sets. He had Howard Staunton, a famous chess player, attach his name to the set and help sell them.
Staunton got a fee for each set sold. The design became so popular it spread around the world and the Staunton design remains the standard chess set we use at schools, tournaments, and sell at The Chess Exchange store. The argument for returning the marbles is still continuing today. Despite whether Elgin, and the British government did the right thing, what remains in your hand, every time you move Nf3 at the start of a game, are mini-sculptures of amazing detail and beauty based on some of the greatest art of the ancient world.


The “Elgin Marbles” were then in 1816 supposedly bought by the British government and placed in the British Museum where they still are today.
Many argue that the marbles should be returned to Greece.
Even in 1849 this argument was going on. Cook, meanwhile, decided to base the knight from the new set on the horses from the marbles and


-3-



Bughouse: How to Play the Controversial Game

BY DANIEL TAUBENBLAT

As students make progress in chess, especially at a higher level, they begin to experiment with pieces on the board and often ask if they can play with 4 queens in a different starting arrangement or with two full sets on a larger board. These changes to the standard game are called chess variants. “Bughouse” is by far the most popular variant and often, especially in a club atmosphere, more advanced kids when they hear the slangy name and learn how it is played, will soon ask their instructor “Hey, can we play bughouse?” Bughouse is played by an even number of players, with the most popular version involving 4 players and two boards. The boards are set up side by side with one player of the first team using the black pieces and the other member of the team with white pieces, sitting next to his teammate.

During the game, the rules of chess apply but when a piece is captured it is passed to the team member next to you. Captured pieces are then either held in reserve or placed on the board of your team member. Placing a piece costs the player one move and pieces can be placed so they check the king or attack another piece. The game is over when checkmate is delivered on one board. Other modifications to standard rules are that pawns cannot be placed on the first or last rank, that promoted pawns can revert back to pawns when captured, and pieces can be placed where they deliver check or checkmate. Also, bughouse is usually played with clocks. Students love bughouse because of its catchy name, fast pace, and radically different rules that seem to go against some of the established rules of chess. But some chess educators are against allowing students to play the game because they feel it leads to bad habits and can destroy some of the intuitive ways chess players see the board. After playing lots of bughouse, players often forget that in regular chess, when they sacrifice, there isn’t anyone to feed them more pieces for their attack. A less severe approach that recognizes more gray than “black and white” might be to only allow the strongest clubs or classes to play and to offer it as a type of reward if students do exceptionally well in class/club. As long as it isn’t played too often , as with many things, having a balanced amount of
bughouse play in class or club, can be very fun for kids and lead to more interest in the game overall.


-4-









Why Parents & Teachers Should not let you Win


(Continued from page 2)


Even more than winning, how to lose is critical for kids to learn. How to learn from mistakes is a lifelong lesson we can help impart to them by playing a real game at the level you hope someday they will achieve.





It is also dishonest to fake losing in a serious way.
Kids can be misled into thinking chess is so easy because they beat their dad right away and he has a 2200 level rating. Chess like most rewarding activities takes years of hard work but pays off big providing an unusual mix of fun and learning for the rest of your life. Often I ask students in front of their parents “Oh do you play with Mom,” they often answer “Yes, but I never win,” -sometimes in a wavering, sad voice. “Well” we can answer, ‘”you don’t win NOW but you will eventually win against Mom and maybe beat me too!”
So keep in mind that though we want our kids to win, they want to win even more and can shy away from things when they lose. How to learn from losing and to push on despite losing and say “Lets play again”, to stay determined in the face of adversity are very important ideas for kids to learn right away. By being honest with ourselves and our children we can better prepare them for a truthful and successful life.

Chess Notation
(Continued from page 2)


Most importantly, notation can help you to figure out your mistakes and those of your opponent by reviewing the game afterwards with your coach or a higher level player.
As Garry Kasparov recently said, the only difference between him and other high level players is that he made fewer mistakes than those he played. For close to 20 years he was able to work especially hard to figure out his mistakes and then use that to correct his flaws. According to Kasparov and all high level players, “every game has mistakes!”
So practice notation in the safe setting of chess class or club first, till you are good enough to not have it take away from your game. Then, when a tournament comes around, you can also notate in a relaxed way, in the background of the game without


-5-



-6-

.


-7-



-8-



-9-


HUNTER TOURNAMENT

November 7, 2010

120 Players

FM
JONATHAN BACCAY 2.5

KAI KRONBERG 2.5

CHAMPIONSHIP

LIAM S FLANAGAN 4.0

RESERVE

DYLAN NAGEL 4.0

BOOSTER

CHRISTIAN CHANDY 4.0

PRIMARY

BRAM ELLANT 4.0

PHILIP HOOVER II 4

PS 77 TOURNAMENT

November 15, 2010

97 Players


CHAMPIONSHIP

RAVEN M STURT 3.0

OPEN

ETHAN S JOO 4.0

CLASSIC

WILLIAM CHIN 4.0

RESERVE

AUGGIE BHAVSAR 3.5

SAMUEL PADWA 3.5

DYLAN ZHANG 3.5

PRIMARY

PHILIP HOOVER II 3.5

AKIRA NAKADA 3.5

K-1

COLIN MANDL-CIOLEK 3.5

CAROL CHEN 3.5

COLUMBIA GRAMMAR

FRI TOURNAMENTS

November 19, 2010

116 Players


PREMIER

ROBERT FRANTS 3.0

CLASSIC

NOAH HARRISON RUBINSTEIN 4.0

RESERVE

OWEN HIGGS 3.5

3rd GRADE

INIGO RIVERA 4.0

2ND GRADE

NICHOLAS

RUDIN 4.0

1ST GRADE

BLAKE
MARGOLIS 4.0

PS 6 TOURNAMENT

November 21, 2010

90 Players


OPEN 3

MATTHEW MIYASAKA 3.0

OPEN 2

STEFAN JELENKOVIC 3.5

OPEN 1

SHAI SLAV 3.5

K-8 U1000

RYDER HENRY 3.5

ABIGAIL LEE ZHOU 3.5

K-8 U600

AILSA RACHEL CRAVEN 4.0

QUENTIN CHEN 4.0

PS 158 CHESS

CHAMPIONSHIP XIII

November 14, 2010

154 Players


OPEN
ERICBERNE MARTINEZ 4.0
DANIEL MINTZ 4.0

PRIMARY
CHRISION WYNAAR 4.0
ARMANDO NEGRON 4.0

RESERVE
KENNETH RODRIGUEZ 4.0
DAVID GUBER 4.0
MICHAEL LEVINSON 4.0

NOVICE
CAMERON COOPER 4.0
LIAM RUST 4.0

BEGINNER
GAVRIEL GURGOV 3.5
DAVIDE MURILLO 3.5
DYLAN CHALLENGER 3.5

bordercolor= #99FFCC
CELLSPACING=1
CELLPADDING=7
WIDTH=700
DIR=”LTR”
align=”center”>


HUNTER TOURNAMENT
DECEMBER 5, 2010
134 Players


FM
KIERNAN MCVAY 2.0
MAXWELL BEEM 2.0
MAX EVERETT 2.0

SARAH HUGUETTE ASCHERMAN 2.0

CHAMPIONSHIP
TRISTAN SOLLECITO 4.0

RESERVE
STEPHEN MOON 4.0

BOOSTER
AUGUST ALEXANDER 2.0
MAUDE LECHNER 2.0

PRIMARY
HARRIS LENCZ 4.0
JULIANA AVEDISIAN 4.0

QUAD 1
JULIE E FLAMMANG 3.0


Columbia Grammar
FRI TOURNAMENTS
December 17, 2010
74 Players


PREMIER
ZACHARY D MARTIN 2.0
STEPHEN MOON 2.0
NOAH HARRISON RUBINSTEIN 2.0
CLASSIC

EITAN GENGER 3.5

RESERVE
THEO GEORGE KOGAN 3.0
NATHANIEL CHIN 3.0
AARON CHIN 3.0

2ND GRADE
JASON KURSMAN 4.0

1ST GRADE
NICHOLAS DINGLE 4.0

K
JULIAN DANIELS 4.0


PS 9 CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP II
December 19, 2010
198 Players


OPEN

SEAN SOOKRAM 4.0

PRIMARY

JOHANN HATZIUS 4.0

RESERVE

BOUBACAR BALDE 4.0

MICHAEL LEVINSON 4.0

NOVICE

DANIEL JINLIN YIN 4.0

ETHAN RABI NILI 4.0

SHUBH KHANNA 4.0

BEGINNER

RONALD PAUL ARVEY 4.0

MAX RABIN 4.0


PS 116 TOURNAMENT
December 19, 2010
93 Players


CHAMPIONSHIP
RAVEN M STURT 3.0
ALEX SPINNELL 3.0

OPEN
MATTHEW MIYASAKA 4.0

CLASSIC
ALISA KIKUCHI 3.5

RESERVE
NATHANIEL KUE 3.5
THOMAS PANNETT 3.5
BENJAMIN YAO 3.5

PRIMARY
WYATT COLBURN 4.0
CHRISTOPER C VINCENT 4.0

K-1
AARISH IDNANI 3.5


HUNTER TOURNAMENT
JANUARY 9, 2011
114 Players


QUAD 1
DMITRY LEVKOV 2.5

CHAMPIONSHIP
GEORGE DAVIDSON CHACHKES 4.0

RESERVE
INKO BOVENZI 4.0

BOOSTER
COURTNEY L DENNISTON 4.0

PRIMARY
JAMES Y LEE 4.0
GIL SONDHEIMER 4.0

QUAD 2
BRANDON HUANG 2.0
MAX EVERETT 2.0

QUAD 3
DANNY JIN 2.5


-10-


-11-



-12-


 

Both comments and pings are currently closed.