Newsletter: Vol. 3 No.2 March 2012

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Henry Bird (88K)
The Angry Bird
By C.K. Damrosch

The angriest bird is named Henry Edward Bird. Why is Mr. Bird so angry? Well, 150 years after he developed his unique opening 1.f4, people call it “The Bird.” Yes, there is a tradition in Chess openings for naming them after animals (The Orangutang comes to mind), but the proper name for this opening is “Bird’s Opening.”
Here is the unique and funny story of Mr. Bird’s “invention.”

Henry was a hero before even stepping to the board, for he is one of the few chess luminaries that actually held down a day job. He took 15 years off from high level chess to earn a degree in Accountancy and write a book about the railway system in his native England.

When he returned to competitive play, he was quite nervous. He sat down to his first game, and hand shaking, he accidentally moved his f pawn instead of his e pawn! Rather than admit to his opponent that he had made such a hideous mistake, Bird continued the game with the moves e3, nf3, b3, and Bb2 and Bird’s Opening was born. Henry liked the position he obtained so much, he would play it for much of his career.


pg1 (133K)

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The Angry Bird
By C.K. Damrosch

Kibbitz (285K)

Kibbitzing is a great word that comes to us from Yiddish, from a Hebrew version of the German word kiebitzen.

Originally it just meant being an onlooker or a spectator, but over time it developed a negative connotation of being a busybody or giving intrusive, meddlesome, or unwanted advice.

Originally it just meant being an onlooker or a spectator, but over time it developed a negative connotation of being a busybody or giving intrusive, meddlesome, or unwanted advice.

Similarly in the Chess word, at one time it was a terrible insult to be called a kibbitzer, that is one who watched someone else’s chess game and made comments. In certain settings, like say Central Park on a sunny summer day where 4 players are sharing a chess table and two park benches playing blitz, a little kibbitzing just makes everything more fun.

But there has to be rules, for it can be the worst thing in the world to be playing a tough enough game against one player, only to have him peppered with moves from the peanut gallery. From giving a lot of siumuls, I can tell you its easier to beat 20 students all quietly playing their own boards than 20 students all playing one board and talking out their moves.

That being said, here are some rules for being a “good” kibbtitzer.

1. Never discuss a move that can be played. Discuss moves that are no longer possible.

example: “If you hadn’t of let him take your knight, you could have forked his king and queen on f7 with it.”

15. If you are with several kibbitzers, communicate with knowing looks, rolling eyes and don’t be afraid to whisper in someone’s ear, “do you think he sees the mate in 2?”
Never tell someone to resign. Its their game

General comments about a position are generally allowed–a little humor never hurts–
examples: “My kingdom for a white bishop.” “Black is spiny like a porcupine.” Or quietly humming the Imperial Death March from Star Wars as one player mounts an attack….

My favorite kibbitz story involves a famous African American player who was playing a tournament game against a Russian. Actually two Russians, because his opponent had a friend who was openly kibbitzing about the game in Russian–at the board! Our hero allowed this to continue for the entire game, until finally he pronounced in his own fluent Russian, “no, even if he moves his rook, I play h7 and you are lost.”

add_P5 (680K)

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GM Watching
By C.K. Damrosch

magnus  (4360K)

One the great benefits of being a chess player and living in the New York area are the numerous opportunities you have to actually meet face to face with a living Grandmaster. Although the title has gotten somewhat easier to get in recent years, there are still only a few hundred GM’s in the world.

Somedays, it seems like they all live in New York!

On one such day recently I went to hear newly minted GM Robert Hess speak at the Jewish Community Center on the upper west side. Robert was addressing a contingent of the Cross Generation Chess program started by Renee Yarzig.

“One of the easiest moves I’ve had to make in my career has been to continue my education.” Hess continued that it was no decision at all if he should go to Yale or pursue Chess full time, “Chess will always be there.”

After his talk, Hess took on all comers at blitz. After the crowd had been defeated (myself included), GM Lev Alburt took over and we were treated to several rounds of Grandmaster Blitz.

Here’s a photo of the two hard at work:

gm (2158K)

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gm (2158K)

sideb (1838K)

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The Angry Bird (continued from page 1)

The Classic Bird Formation

Actually far from angry, Bird was known as a rotund, jovial fellow always up for a game.
He suffered from ill health in his later years, prompting a colleague to remark, “His play is the same as his health,
its always alternating between being dangerously ill and being dangerously well.”

Here are some examples of Bird being dangerously well:


Bird vs. Amateur, London 1886

angrebird2 (665K)

William Steinitz vs Bird, London 1866

angrebird3 (659K)

Bird could also play black, and in fact has another opening named after him, Bird’s Defense, a response to the Ruy Lopez.
Here he uncorked a potent attack on Steinitz: Finally, for the advanced class, check out this crazy position. Somehow Mr. Bird and Mr. Pitschel have managed to obtain a pawn structure so bizarre, it had to trigger a fabulous finish.

1.f4 d5 2. e3 Nf6 3. b3 e6 4. Bb2 Be7 5. Bd3 b6 6. Nc3 Bb7 7.Nf3
Nbd7 8. 0-0 0-0 9. Ne2 c5 10. Ng3 Qc7 11. Ne5 Nxe5 12. Bxe5

Position after 14 …. Nxh5–let the fireworks begin!!!
15.Bxh7+ Kxh7 16. Qxh5+ Kg8 17. Bxg7 Kxg7 18. Qg4+ Kh7 19.
Rf3 e5 20. Rh3+ Qh6 21. Rxh6+ Kxh6 22. Qd7 Bf6 23. Qxb7 Kg7
24. Rf1 Rab8 25. Qd7 Rfd8 26. Qg4+ Kf8 27. fxe5 Bg7 28. e6
Rb7 29. Qg6 f6 30. Rxf6+ Bxf6 31. Qxf6+ Ke8 32. Qh8+ Ke7 33.
Qg7+ Kxe6 34. Qxb7 Rd6 35. Qxa6 d4 36. exd4 cxd4 37. h4 d3
38. Qxd3 Black Resigns.

(continued on page 7 )

Lasker/Bauer Amsterdam
angrebird3 (659K)

add_P5 (680K)

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(continued from page 6)

pg7 (271K)

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pg8 (193K)

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Black to move
         White to move

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By Mark Kurtzman

In the diagram below, the game appears drawn. In almost all cases, when serious tournament players compete, they agree to a draw when there are no winning chances.

Black played Rg2+ in this position. White replied with Rf2 hoping for a rook trade, but black played his rook back to g7. The position continued with similar rook moves being played by both sides leading nowhere. White, realizing he would lose the game on time if this would continue, started saying “draw, it’s a draw.” Black said nothing and did not acknowledge his opponent. The Chief Tournament Director then appeared to observe the final moves of the game. They continued to play and when white realized he had only seconds left, he started to scream, “Draw, you can’t win this position. It’s a draw!” The opponent continued to play and the White player turned to the tournament director expecting him to intervene, but he did not.
In this game, however, it was the final round of an important championship tournament. And there was a lot of prize money at stake.$7,600 to the winner!

Everything seems equal, except White had 1 minute left on the clock in sudden death and black had almost 2 minutes.

27th National Chess Congress
Philadelphia, PA
December 20, 1996

This game clearly should have been a draw, in which case both players would have received a little over $5000 sharing 1st and 2nd place.

Once the clock is stopped, the player can then make a claim to the tournament director, and the director will then rule on whether or not the claim will be upheld.

Since White never stopped the clock, he never officially made a claim, and had to watch the final seconds slip away on his clock without any recourse.It was an expensive lesson!

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© Tri State Chess, All Rights Reserve

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To promote tournament chess in the New York City area, Tri-State Chess has introduced 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 325 E. 88 Street
between 1st and 2nd Ave. New York, NY (212) 289-5997

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

  Awarded Grand Prix Points /Tournament
1st place SECTION RANK (Finish)
2ndt 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 10 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

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

A special personalized Grand Prix engraved plaque. Plaques and a book prize of the players choice
also will be awarded for 6th – 10th place finishers
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!!


Sean Sookram
M.S. 15 Bronx
$500 + 1st Place Plaque 52.92 POINTS
Adam Avnet
Rodeph Sholom NYC
$350 + 2nd Place Plaque 20.71 POINTS
Ottavio Pasquini
Lycee Francais de NY
$250 + 3rd Place Plaque 18.00 POINTS
Ericbern Martinez
P.S. 279 Bronx
$150 + 4th Place Plaque 16.25 POINTS
Benjamin Cole
Ramaz Lower School NYC
$100 + 5th Place Plaque 15.91 POINTS
Kenneth Rodriguez
P.S. 226 Bronx
Book+Plaque 15.17 POINTS
Michael Levinson
IS 278 Brooklyn
Book+Plaque 14.67 POINTS
Meyer Levinson-Blount
SAR Academy Riverdale
Book+Plaque 14.08 POINTS
Eitan Genger
Heschel School NYC
Book+Plaque 13.33 POINTS
Angel Mejia
P.S. 226 Bronx
Book+Plaque 13.00 POINTS

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