More on Chess Lobsters and Maine

Apparently Susan Polgar is in on the act. She has this post about a rare genetic anomally found on a Maine Lobster.

FYI -- Jeff and Qxh7# are one in the same. I've changed the way I post to make it easier to coexist between here and another blog.


Club Night! Or..

How to get beat up by "old men" and lose your lunch money.

It started out poorly.. when the Illustrious Sci-Fi author, Kinzel, ridiculed my taste in fantasy literature then pounded me with his obscure opening.

I'd analyze but I think you can see I just frankly stunk the joint up and lost badly within 15 moves.

Then in the night cap (since the first game was so fast) Ed showed me how not to play the French Defense. I think in retrospect I shouldn't have played c4.. even if it did when a tempo at the time I played it. I made mistake after mistake tonight.

We post mortemed the game afterwards and think I possibly had drawing chances if I play the ending right, but thats ONLY after he missed the killer rook fork on my queen and bishop.

Just think.. I paid a dollar to sit in a cold church and take this abuse!

A Real Chess Post

When I was about 13 or so I used to play chess daily with a school friend. We both played on the chess team and we were very competitive with each other. We both wanted to be "first board" at the annual state championship. I can admit today that he was a stronger player than I was, (still is today too) but at the time I refused to admit it. What I do remember is he was certainly a better tactical player than I was. At the time I didn't recognize it that way. I remember thinking he was better at the "king pawn" openings. He liked to play the "Sicilian" and the "Ruy Lopez" and he would probably beat me 90% of the time in those openings.

Refusing to believe he was better than me, I adapted by learning to play "closed" openings. I would counter his 1. e4 with the French Defense, and I played 1. d4 to avoid the sharp and tactical Sicilian play. Perhaps he still won 90% of the games, but the games took longer and I felt like I won more often although I don't have any real record of what our score was. We literally played 1000 games from 7th grade till I graduated a year before he did.

I think the fact that he beat me so handily so many times has kind of handicapped me in a way. Because I never really practiced playing "open" tactical games since then. I've played games that I refer to as races. With pawn structures like.

Chess Diagram of FEN position 8/pp3ppp/4p3/2ppP3/3P4/2P5/PP3PPP/8


Chess Diagram of FEN position 8/pp3ppp/2p5/3p4/3P4/4P3/PP3PPP/8

The goal in games with pawn structures like this.. closed centers.. is almost always to mobilize your forces to one side of board, break through and conquer before your opponent does the same on the other side of the board. There's really nothing wrong with this and it can be exciting chess at times. However its often very strategic and not very tactical. Its about maintaining tempo and attacking the "right" square to make your break through before your opponent does.

When I started blogging and reading the "Knights Errant" blogs, and came into first contact with the MDLM credo I realized that I would need to play more "open" games in order to improve at chess. Its a tough process for me because opening play does make a difference at 1600 level. Not a huge difference, but you can lose in the openings. So learning all new lines of play has been as tough as studying tactics. Anyway I have been experimenting with the Benko as one opening that seems slightly more "open" without being completely outside my comfort realm. A typical Benko pawn structure looks like this

Chess Diagram of FEN position 8/4pp1p/3p2p1/3P4/4P3/8/P4PPP/8

Which still has a closed center but open play for both players on the queen side of the board. I hope to post a couple annotated games in which I played the Benko soon.

I still can't make that leap to playing 1. e4 though. I've tried it here and there in blitz and OTB but it feels too awkward for me. Like trying write with the wrong hand. Anyone else struggling to incorporate strong tactics into closed game play? I read all your comments so let me know.


Chess Players Key to WWII Codecracking

Churchill thought chess players had the right stuff.

Good chess players and those skilled at completing crossword puzzles were viewed as having the potential to turn their abilities to cracking codes. The Daily Telegraph was asked to organise a crossword competition to help them identify potential recruits.

I found this while looking at some Pearl Harbor related information and thought it an appropriate day to pass it on. Having spent 4 years of my own life on board ship I have an appreciation for those sailors in Hawaii that day. Fair winds.


Prawn to King 4?

It seems Olympia Snowe is all fired up about Red Lobster's and other bloggers are relegated to chess puns.


Not exactly Magnum PI

I'm no Dick Tracy, but this Maine PI has a hot & sexy chess playing partner. Looks like an interesting tandem.

Maine Chess Champions

Maine Chessplayer of the Year
2006 Leroy Doucette
2004 Ralph Townsend
2001 Ruben Babayan
2000 Ruben Babayan
1999 Jon Buxton
1998 Joe Wrba
1997 Ruben Babayan
1996 tie Gary Mitchell, Ruben Babayan
1995 Michael Moore
1994 Joe Robillard

Maine Closed Champions
2006 Joseph St. Pierre
2005 Joseph St. Pierre
2004 tie Jarod Bryan, Ruben Babayan
2003 Jarod Bryan
2002 tie Ralph Townsend, Ghezai Menelik
2001 Timothy Bishop
2000 Ruben Babayan
1999 Stanley Elowitch
1998 Jarod Bryan
1997 Ruben Babayan
1996 Chandler Yergen
1995 Aaron Lewis
1994 tie Timothy Bishop, Chandler Yergen

Maine Open Champions
2001 tie Henry Terrie & Braden Bournival
2000 tie Stanley Elowitch & Roger Pedersen
1999 Stanley Elowitch
1998 John Curdo
1997 John Curdo
1996 Jarod Bryan
1995 April Yergen
1992 Jarod Bryan

Maine High School Team Champions
1992 Monmouth Academy
1991 Monmouth Academy
1990 Monmouth Academy
1989 Monmouth Academy

Maine High Individual Champions
2004 Vassil Kakaradov
2001 Sean O'Brien
1999 tie Isaac Marnik, Josh Clapp
1992 tie Stephen E. Smith, Micheal Rickert
1990 Adam J. Schaff

Maine Junior High School Team Champions
1988 Monmouth Academy
1987 Monmouth Academy

Maine Junior High School Individual Champions
2006 Andrew Babbitt
2001 tie Kevin Townsend, Nick Ciomei
1999 Ben Mohlile
1992 Gary Hooper
1988 Adam J. Schaff

Maine Elementary School Team Champions
1985 Monmouth - HL Cottrell School

Maine Elementary School Individual Champions
2004 Keji Xu
2001 Amy Ouellette
1999 Michael Ennamorati

Maine Chess League Champions

Please provide more information if you have it. I've put in what I was either part of, or able to find. Links to other documents (USCF Tournament Crosstables, Newspaper Articles, etc) are appreciated.


Side Bar Maintenance

I removed a couple of 404 blogs from the sidebar. Sorry guys.
Some of the "less active" got moved back up to the normal blogroll, and some of blogs got moved down to "less active". I will spend some time soon figuring out if I am missing any of the blogs I see frequently from my lists. Obviously, I'm not as dedicated to maintaining my links as DG.

If you have a chess related blog and you'd like to be linked to from here leave me a note and I will check your site out.

Additional Side Bar Links

I've added a section for links to Maine Chess Player's blogs. Your blog doesn't need to be chess specific to get a spot. If you want to be on my sidebar and you play chess in Maine let me know!