Thursday, December 31, 2009


Time to start doing Simultaneous chess Exhibition Chess Matches again - this year though I will be actively engaged in giving Blindfold Exhibition games! Time to take my game up a notch and to promote this fine game. It's a hobby for some - for others it is a way of life!

- Coach Sean Tobin.


REGGIO EMILIA HEATS UP! Three more decisive games from Thursdays round four!

One win with the White pieces and two wins with the Black pieces – not bad – 3 out of 5 games decisive! Kamsky and Caruana had to play each other today but that ended in an exciting draw. It looked like, at least to me, that Kamsky had a win – I will have to spend some time analyzing this game and then the time spent will tell what secrets remain, as of now, in this game.









It is always nice to see an author win with the opening that they have just written a chess book about. Bologan has just written a very popular book on the King’s Indian Defense. I have taken a look at it and it isn’t bad but I have to be honest and say that I do prefer a different format for my Chess Books. Anyways Bologan has also done a Chessbase DVD on the KID that will be extremely interesting and a product that I hope to review.

Happy New Years! – Coach Sean.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

SWISS-SIS... Rocks the Chess World as the World's best Pairings program!

SWISS-SYS is Thad Suits chess Pairings program – that makes the lives of Tournament Directors like me a whole lot easier.

SWISS-SYS is the best pairings program that I have found! Terrific software – I was totally lost without it too. About a month back my computer crashed – I got hit by a really bad virus – and I lost my copy of Swiss-Sys. But just with an email to the ever helpful Thad Suits solved all of my problems and I am back in business running my own events. I fully intend to upgrade my copy to the newest version available during 2010.

What do I use SWISS-SYS for? I run tournaments at my chess clubs – to give my players some variety as opposed to always playing Ladder or practice games. I also run USCF Swiss style chess tournaments and non-USCF events as well and this is by far the best software that I have found.

If you are looking to run some tournaments in 2010 then this is the software for you, hands down.

- Chess Coach Sean Tobin.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

ENDGAME VITUOSO ANATOLY KARPOV - Some one that we can all learn from when our guide is the talented Mr. Tibor Karolyi


One of my gifts for Christmas was a Gift Card to Barnes and Noble - which is something Coach Sean loves to recieve! Getting to pick my own books - that makes this chess coach VERY happy! Today I picked up the second edition of "ENDGAME VIRTUOSO ANATOLY KARPOV" by Tibor Karolyi and Nick Aplin. This book is a work of love...

Tibor looks at 105 COMPLETE Karpov games with a special emphasis on duh, you guessed it, the Endgames. But wait, there is more! In the annotations to these games there are game fragments and studies to help illustrate some of the points being made or to show how the same technique can be applied in a slightly different context. Amazing!

The variations given are to the point and you should spend time going over every comment and every line given in this book. There is even a classification of endgame types given at the back of the book for those students interested in targeting in on a particular endgame theme. One thing lacking in this book though is a listing of the games by opening which could have been relevant for those students trying to look at how particular opening pawn structures effect the endgame play in specific openings. One is left to one's own devices to sort this out on our own but for those of us who like convenience it would have been nice to have this appendix available. Of course size constraints on the work - placed upon our talented author - may have factored in as far as this was concerned. My laziness aside this book is amazing...

This book came out in 2007 and is put out by New in Chess publishers - a source of very many good books on chess. Not to mention NEW IN CHESS MAGAZINE which, in my opinion, is the BEST CHESS MAGAZINE being published now in the entire world.

This book is a work that one could get lost in - for life. The lessons in this book could certainly last a lifetime and I do not intend to give up my copy - EVER! If you can get your hands on this book and if you really and truly are interested in your own chess improvement and you are willing to work at it then this book is for you.

- Coach Sean Tobin.

P.S. The first edition is pictured up above - MAKE SURE YOU PICK UP THE SECOND EDITION! It will say it along the side of the front cover of the book just underneath the "His 105 Best Endgames" and not the 100 referred to in the first edition. Printed there will be the words "Second, improved edition".

Monday, December 28, 2009


Kamsky is off to a good start at the 52nd edition of Reggio Emilia with a win in round one.

*Fabiano Caruana - Although he grew up in the states he is actually representing Italy so the American flag by his name is actually not the correct flag to be attached to his name - my chessbase was using older "player data" when I made this table. Once upon a time I got a draw against young Caruna in a World Open Side event - long ago - when he was a little kid rated almost 2000 USCF!

Interestingly enough all three decisive games were won by the player with the Black pieces - always a good sign for each of these players! Now if they can just "cash in" their games with the White pieces... Down below you will find the results from round one.

[Event "52nd It"][Site "Reggio Emilia ITA"][Date "2009.12.28"][Round "1"]
[White "Vocaturo, D."][Black "Kamsky, G."][Result "0-1"][ECO "B42"]
[White Elo "2500"][Black Elo "2695"][Ply Count "100"][Event Date "2009.12.28"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Ne7 {Paulsen variation of the Sicilian Defense - a more positional or strategical treatment as opposed to some other highly aggressive and tactical variation - like let us say the Najdorf Sicilian.} 6. O-O Ng6 7. Kh1 Bc5 8. Nb3 Ba7 9. f4 Nc6 10. Qe2 O-O 11. Be3 d6 12. N1d2 Re8 13. a4 Qc7 14. c3 Bd7 15. Bxa7 Nxa7 16. g3 Rad8 17. h4

Exchanging off the dark Squared Bishop seems a little off to me and White's 17. h4 seems quite a bit too loosening. Risky for sure against a solid player like Kamsky - who in this position has the safer King.

17. ...Nf8 18. Kh2 Nc8 19. a5 Re7 20. Nf3 e5 21. f5 d5 22. Nfd2 dxe4 23. Nxe4 f6 24. g4 Bc6 25. g5

The V-man has gone all in against Kamsky - so I give him full credit for his aggressive intentions. However playing over this game leaves one with the impression that Kamsky saw many moves further ahead of his adversary. Kamsky's endgame is phenomenal too so you really do need to be able to see what will happen very far off in the "distance" against Gata. Even after his long lay off this is one aspect of his game that has not gotten weak. The only chink in Gata's armor is his opening repertoire right now and the more he plays the tighter this facet of his game will become.

25. ...Nd7 26. Rad1 Kh8 27. Rd2 Ree8 28. Rfd1 Ne7 29. Qg4 Nd5 30. Rg1 Rf8 31. Rg3 Nf4 32. Bc2 Bxe4 33. Bxe4 fxg5 34. hxg5 Nc5 35. Rxd8 Rxd8 36. Nxc5 Qxc5 37. Qf3 Qxa5 38. Rg1 Qb6 39. b4 Rd2+ 40. Kh1 Qd8 41. Bb1 Ne2 42. f6 Nxg1 43. fxg7+ Kxg7 44. Qf5 Nf3 45. Qxh7+ Kf8 46. Qh8+ Ke7 47. Qf6+ Kd7 48. Qxf3 Kc7 49. Be4 Qxg5 50. Bxb7 Qh4+ 0-1

Clearly a game all about "depth of calculation" - Kamsky just saw much further into the possibilities than did his opponent. Of course this is only round one and the rest of the tournament yet remains. The two players I would like to see battle it out for first in this event are Kamsky and Caruana. I would prefer Kamsky over Caruana - not that I have anything against Fabiano. It is just that I have been following Kamsky for quite a while now and would like to see him get back into the World Championship mix and a good result in this fine Italian tournament would be a good step forward, in that direction, for him.


Here lines like 51. Kg1 Qe1 + 52. Qf1 Qxf1 + 53. Kxf1 Kxb7 just leaves Kamsky up a whole Rook with a totally won endgame. In such an overwhelming position checkmate does not loom far off so Mr. Vocaturo threw in the towel.

For excellent coverage of this event please visit:________________

_____or visit the organizers website at:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::------>

I don't know about you but I am most certainly looking forward to round two! Go Kamsky and Caruana!!

- Coach Sean Tobin.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A PROBLEM FROM MY PAST - Now I know where John got it from!

Ok... so a long long time ago a fellow chess enthusist showed me this problem and neglected to tell me where they had come across it. Well now I know! One of my two favorite websites - - is having a puzzle contest to celebrate the Holidays. And guess what turned up there!!!!!!!!!!! Aha!!!!!!!!!!!!

Having forgotten about this gem for a long time - it has been something like 14 years now - it is nice to run across this old friend and to be able to now share it with you! Enjoy - Coach Sean.

LOGIC IN THE ENDGAME - Watching a student at play in the fields of forcing lines!

From the Game:
Mitchell Steddom vs Mason McCoy

I was watching this game and right out of the opening Mitchell got himself into some trouble and should have been checkmated in the early middlegame. But he played on and after his opponent had tired - Mason began to make a lot of errors - it was Mitchell that came out swinging. So in the above position Mitchell played the move that wins the Rook on d1 which was what?

Getting young players to read the board and to control squares is the biggest challenge to any chess coach and I felt fantastic as Mitchell played the winning move. His opponent - a thoroughly stunned Mason McCoy resigned after White's next move.

More about this later on though.

Enjoy - Coach Sean.

Monday, December 21, 2009

On vacation - not permenently!

So I have just started my short two week vacation - and in addition to visiting with family and friends I hope to get in a little quality time with the chess board. Some time to work on my game at last and I am also hoping to prepare the next Super Group lessons far in advance of when I will need them - no more being behind the eight ball!

I will be posting an interesting endgame position on my blog later on today or tomorrow - on that one of my students won well after he should have been checkmated. But such is Scholastic chess - we can't always expect our students to play perfectly but sometimes they surprise us with the winning ideas they do entertain. I will share one such idea with you later on.

Yours in chess - Coach Sean.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Year's Resolution #1

Ok, here it is...

My number one resolution for the year 2010 is to keep publishing material - both for my students and for the general chess audience here on my blog. So far this blog was just used to create diagrams mostly... very little content unlike my previous effort from Central Oregon. Time to get back to it!

- Coach Sean.