Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Aquaprofit - Polgár Chess Day 2010 in Budapest

A short summary about Saturday:

The 4th Annual Aquaprofit - PolgárChess Day was held this past Saturday. It was a great success as usual, despite the major snow storm that hit Budapest the night before. Around 500 chess fans weathered the snow storm to celebrate the now traditional “Day of Celebration of Chess and its Queens”.

I am impressed by the tremendous interest for chess and this event year after year. There was a huge amount of mainstream media interest (which is not typical for chess) including most major TV stations, before, during and after the actual event. Of course it was great timing for the publicity of the event that Judit just came back a few days earlier from Mexico City with a spectacular victory over Ivanchuk and Topalov to win the UNAM Invitational.

There was one major change from previous years. The Aquaprofit – Polgár Chess Day got extended to a full day event instead of only an afternoon spectacle. Therefore, numerous new colorful activities were added to the program.

Some of them include the two exhibition games Judit and I played in front of the live audience. In the first one, we played while sharing our thoughts by explaining our though-process during our game with the enthusiastic audience in separate rooms (I won that game). The moves were transmitted by cell phones and then we met up to play face to face in the latter part of the game. The second game was a “Trust-Chess” blitz game, (where all the pieces were silver looking, packaged in foil-paper), in which Judit nicely swindled me at the end and balanced the score 1-1.

Sofia gave an hour-long well-attended lecture for beginners, which served also as an introduction to my sisters’ new book: Chess Playground http://polgarchess.com.

The book is aimed to introduce chess to the youngest audience, and is full of chess drawing, rhymes and puzzles. The book, which is already available in Hungarian as well as in English, is being used as the manual in one of the elite Kindergartens in Budapest where chess became part of the curriculum since this Fall. Pre-K students have one hour long chess session weekly, while K, has it twice a week.

The co-authors Sofia and Judit had a book-signing of their first book together. Volume two is already on its way.

The highlight of the event (which also included a press-conference, Q/A, autograph and photo sessions with the fans) was the usual 100 board simul by the three sisters. Among our opponents were numerous celebrities such as Andrea Temesvari, Ivan Fischer, and Marci Eszterhazy, just to mention a few. Also many GMs supported the event with their presence, such as the currently top-ranked Hungarian Zoltan Almasi, chess-legend Pal Benko (82) or the nation’s newest GM and Texas Tech Knight Raider Gergely Antal, etc.

I also went on a chess show, hosted by GM Gabor Kallai, on a major Hungarian Sports TV station (similar to ESPN) in the United States. We discussed the Aquaprofit – Polgár Chess Day, Judit’s spectacular success in Mexico, including her final game victory over Topalov, as well as Texas Tech Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, the Knight Raiders, and the unprecedented success of the program, etc.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the sponsors and organizers of this wonderful day of “Chess Celebration”, and specifically the main sponsor Aquaprofit and its director Mr. Tamas Nadasi. And of course the initiative of my sister Judit whose brainchild project became a wonderful tradition.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chess tips for new / novice players

Chess tips for new / novice players

I have done hundreds of lectures to parents, coaches and young players around the world and across the United States over the years. The questions I am most often asked are about advice and tips for young players and chess parents. I have talked about it in the past in my column, but since I received many requests for a refresher, here they are again. Below are some of the most important basic things that you should know about playing in a chess tournament:

• Once the game has started, you may not interrupt, interfere, or talk to your opponent.

• You may never directly assist any player during a game. If a player raises a hand for assistance, you should immediately summon a tournament director.

• If you witness an illegal move or position, say nothing. It is the responsibility of the players to bring any complaint to the attention of a tournament director.

• You are not permitted to say anything if a player oversteps the time limit on his clock. Only the players themselves can claim a win on time.

• When a player loses a game, you must refrain from getting upset or angry or showing negative emotions. Young players need support and encouragement more than ever after a loss. They do not need scolding. Help your player stay calm and relaxed for the rest of the tournament.

• You may help your player find her correct table and board before each round.

• You should supervise your player between rounds. It is not the responsibility of the tournament director or organizer to mind your children between rounds.

• You should keep your player from distracting other players during and between rounds.

• Players should try to conserve their energy between rounds so they can be fresh for the next game.

• You should always encourage young players to practice good sportsmanship at all times, especially after losing a game.

• Official tournaments are smoke-free.

• You should view your players’ game only from behind them or in the aisle to avoid eye contact with them.

• Keep a distance between yourself and your player. In some large tournaments, you may not even be allowed in the playing room during a game.

• If you see a player or a team playing the wrong opponent, you should notify the tournament director right away.

• Only tournament officials can record information on the wall charts. Parents, coaches and players should never write on them. However, players may record their results on the pairing charts.

• You should make sure that your players’ results are reported in a timely manner.

• If you detect that a prize has been erroneously awarded after the end of a tournament, bring this to the attention of a tournament director.

The following are generally accepted rules of etiquette that should be observed by all chess players:

• It is considered rude and inappropriate for a player to eat or have a meal at the playing table.

• Basic refreshment such as water is OK.

• If you chew gum, chew quietly.

• Smoking at the playing table is prohibited.

• Refrain from singing while playing.

• There should be no communication with your opponent until after the game, except to resign, offer a draw or announce J’adoube (adjusting your pieces).

• Don’t make a draw offer to your opponent after every move once it is refused or rejected.

• Don’t listen to music / MP3 player during the game.

Although the following are not rules, it is recommended to do the following:

• Try to show up to your game in a timely manner.

• Don’t adjust the chess pieces with each move. It is quite annoying for your opponent.

• It may sound too basic to even mention, but don’t cough or sneeze at your opponent.

• Shake hands before and after the game. It is customary.

• Have you ever seen the sign: “No shirt, no shoes, no service”? The same rule holds true in chess. Proper attire should be worn while playing.

• Don’t whistle while you are playing.

• No trash talking before, during or after the game.

• Don’t do anything to annoy your opponent or other players who may be sitting next to you.

Here are some very important chess principles that will help you become a better player:

• Control the center: The center of the board includes the squares e4, d4, e5, and d5. When you start a game, place your pawns in the center to occupy and control as many of these squares as you can. Location, location, location!

• Develop your pieces as soon as possible: Get your knights and bishops out right away. This should be done during the first six or seven moves, before you try to checkmate your opponent.

• Castle as soon as possible: Castle early to keep your king safe. Remember, you can’t win if you get checkmated first. So, don’t forget to castle! After you castle, connect your rooks by developing your queen.

• Keep your pieces protected: Don’t leave your pieces en prise (unprotected). Each and every piece is very valuable, so don’t forget to protect them. Protecting a piece means that if your opponent can take your piece, then you can capture back.

• Have fun: The most important thing in chess should be to have fun, whether you win or lose. My motto in chess is “Win with grace, lose with dignity.” When you win, be a good sport. When you lose, be an even better sport. Shake hands and congratulate your opponent. This will go a long way in making good friends.

Besides the five valuable principles above, there are others that you should try to remember. Chess is a game with logic, strategy, planning and tactics. Keep the following principles in mind as you play.

• Every move should have a purpose.

• Try to discern the idea behind your opponent’s move.

• Always think before you move.

• There is no take back in chess. So make your decision carefully.

• Planning is one of the most important elements of the game.

• Analyze your games and learn from your mistakes: Every player, from beginner to world champion, makes mistakes. It is very important to review your games to find your mistakes and learn from them.

• Pace yourself wisely: There are many different time controls in chess. Use your allotted time wisely. Whatever the time control, use your time to find the best plans and moves. Don’t rush just because your opponents play fast.

These and many more tips can be found in my best-selling chess instructional book “A World Champion’s Guide to Chess” and “Learn Chess in 30 Minutes” DVD, which can be found at www.PolgarChess.com. You can also improve with http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/2009/10/polgar-chess-university.html.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Aquaprofit Polgár Chess Day


Mind a három Polgár-lány kétszeres olimpiai bajnok. Mádl Ildikóval csapatot alkotva 1988-ban Szalonikiben és 1990-ben Újvidéken is megtörték a szovjet sakkozó nõk hegemóniáját. Mind a három Polgár-lány kétgyermekes anya. Érdekes megjegyezni, hogy a 6 gyermekükbõl az elsõ 5 fiú, és csak Judit második gyermeke leány. A világ minden táján tartanak bemutatókat és adnak interjúkat, ahol büszkén vallanak magyarságukról, budapesti gyermekéveikrõl. Igaznak tûnik a mondás: „A Polgár-lányok felérnek három külügyminiszterrel!"

Polgár Zsuzsa

A magyar sakkozás egyetlen felnõtt világbajnoka. Négyszer játszott sakkolimpián, ahol (egyéni érmein kívül) csapatainak két aranyérmet és egy ezüstérmet szerzett Magyarországnak, majd 2004-ben, Calviában a sakktörténelemben elõször dobogós amerikai csapatot segítette ezüstéremhez! A Texas Tech Egyetem

díszdoktora, az egyetem sakk tanszékének vezetõje. Több mint 10 éve New Yorkban él. Az amerikai sakkozás mára talán legismertebb és legelismertebb alakja, emellett a magyar sakkozás és Magyarország hûséges képviselõje.

Polgár Zsófia

Igazi mûvészlélek! Gyönyörû támadójátszmái és taktikai megoldásai legszebb gyõzelmeit halhatatlanná teszik. 1989-ben Rómában minden idõk egyik legértékesebb teljesítményét nyújtva 2928-as performanszot ért el. Ezen a versenyen 9-bõl 8,5 pontot szerzett, a torna egy szakaszában, zsinórban három szovjet nagymestert gyõzött le. A közelmúltig családjával Izraelben élt, ahol korábban a Kaszparov Sakkakadémiát vezette. Mintegy egy éve a férje munkája miatt Kanadába költöztek. Manapság ritkábban játszik, „civil" végzettsége belsõépítész.

Polgár Judit

Minden idõk legerõsebb nõi sakkozója. Abszolút világrekord, hogy immár huszonnyolcadszor vezeti a nõi világranglistát! (Kaszparov a saját kategóriájában csak 23-ig jutott). A világ legjelentõsebb férfi versenyeinek legkedveltebb résztvevõje, melyet nem csak azzal érdemelt ki, hogy a férfi világranglista elsõ 10 játékosa közé

küzdötte magát, hanem bátor, megalkuvás nélküli sakkstílusával is rengeteg barátot szerzett. Fiatal kora ellenére élõ sakklegenda! Tavaly hozzá hasonló sakklegendákkal, Kaszparovval és Karpovval együtt ünnepelhette Korcsnoj és a Swiss Bank születésnapját. Judit egymaga a világ sportjának külön kategóriája, szerte a világban a legismertebb magyar hölgy. Példa arra, hogy a nõk az élet minden területén felvehetik a versenyt a férfiakkal. A férfiak döntõ többségének azonban jobb, ha a sakktáblán nem versenyez Judittal! Budapesten él, a 2002-es sakkolimpiai ezüstérmes férficsapatunk „hõse", az Aquaprofit sakkcsapatának tagja!

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Tech-proposed UIL chess puzzle-solving competition to be statewide pilot program

A Tech-proposed UIL chess puzzle-solving competition to be statewide pilot program
Posted: November 13, 2010 - 12:11am
By Joe Gulick

Chess, one of the most competitive games in the world, will be the subject of a University Interscholastic League competition next year for elementary and middle school students in a pilot program proposed by Texas Tech and designed by Susan Polgar, Tech’s chess grandmaster.

The competition will not involve actual games of chess but solving chess puzzles designed by Polgar, who is the founder of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) at Tech.

Students in grades 2 through 8 will have 20 puzzles to solve in a 30-minute period, Polgar said.

“Every single move in chess is problem-solving,” she said. “Each move is a new problem to solve.”

Polgar and Lynn Elms, the UIL regional director, noted the pilot program is a historic moment for Texas Tech, which has been associated with UIL for at least 75 years.

“This is the first competition that Texas Tech has ever proposed. We are pleased Susan and something as exciting as chess is involved,” Elms said.

The Chess Puzzle Solving competition will be presented in diagrams similar to the ones that appear in Polgar’s weekly Avalanche-Journal column, but the puzzles will be ones designed for younger players, Polgar said.

The elementary students will choose from multiple choice answers in which white can checkmate black in one move. Older students will have some puzzles that are checkmates in one move and others that are checkmates in two moves.

“I believe chess can help children improve their thinking skills in general. It can help their discipline and improve their self-confidence. Chess is a wonderful tool in building relationships,” Polgar said.

Last January, Polgar presented the proposal to the UIL State Legislative Council in Austin. That resulted in a mini-pilot program this year in Lubbock, Laredo and Corpus Christi.

The UIL Legislative Council in October determined Chess Puzzle Solving would next be a statewide pilot program, which means all schools will have the opportunity to compete, said Elms. All of the Houston schools have committed to the competition, and they are expecting good participation from other schools in the state, she said.

If it is successful, the pilot program could become an annual UIL event by September 2012, Elms said, and they are also hopeful Chess Puzzle Solving competitions for high school students would be added later.

College scholarships for skilled chess players are available, Elms said.

“It can be a way for kids to get more dollars to come to school — to compete in college. But that’s way down the road. We have to take care of second through eighth grades first,” Elms said.

Chess is a natural subject for competition among students because it is a great educational tool and an equalizer, Polgar said.

“In chess, children are forced to think before they act,” she said.

The game is also an inexpensive activity, Polgar said. Rather than activities that require expensive equipment or musical instruments, chess can be played on a very modestly priced set.

Source: Avalanche Journal
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chessdom SPICE Cup wrap up

SPICE Cup 2010

GM Alexander Onischuk takes the trophy in the main A-group

The 2010 SPICE Cup was held from October 28th to November 7th at the beautiful campus of Texas Tech University in Lubbock. This was the highest rated international invitational tournament in U.S. history to date.

The format of the A group was a six-player double round robin (category 16) event. The average FIDE rating of the A group was 2631, which is equal with the 2009 SPICE Cup A. The B group was a 10-player (category 10) round robin event, and SPICE Cup FIDE Rated Open was played over 6-round Swiss on 5-7th November.

To make the tournament a lot more exciting, the SPICE Cup committee has unanimously voted to adapt the following new rules for the A group:- No draw offer allowed prior to move 30- A win = 3 points, a draw = 1 point, and loss = 0 point.

The main event saw an interesting chase between the former US Champion Alexander Onischuk and German talent Georg Meier. Meier enjoyed a one point advantage prior to the final act, but he couldn't make more than a draw in the last round, while a crucial victory against the future star Ray Robson propelled Onischuk to the clear first place in the 2010 SPICE Cup GMA.

Final standings:

1. Alexander Onischuk - 18 points
2. Georg Meier - 17
3-4. Wesley So and Zoltan Almasi - 14
5-6. Ray Robson and Eugene Perelshtein - 7

GM Anatoly Bykhovsky and IM Gergely Antal shared the first place in SPICE Cup GMB with 6.0 points each. This tournament was a 10-player round robin.

GM Georgi Kacheishvili (Georgia) won the 2010 SPICE Cup FIDE Open with the score of 5.5 / 6.

More information on the official website. Over 1.100 photos from the SPICE Cup 2010 are available from this list.

Susan Polgar kindly provided the event summary for Chessdom

I am very happy with the fighting spirit at this year's SPICE Cup. With the 3 point for a win scoring system and no draw offer allowed before move 30 in the A group, the intensity on all three boards was very high as anything could still happen in the final round. The outcome was only decided in the final game of the tournament. I am proud to be able to provide excellent playing opportunities for many players. The SPICE Cup will get stronger and better each year. The A group next year will be at least category 17.

Texas Tech University and the Susan Polgar Foundation are proud to support this important annual event. I believe that it is essential to build a solid chess culture in America. Since November 2007, the SPICE Cup has established itself as one of the most important and prestigious round robin annual events in U.S. history. I am confident that this will inspire more top level round robin events in the U.S. in the future.

The Texas Tech Knight Raiders also have the biggest success to date in the SPICE Cup, with GM Anatoly Bykhovsky (1st year student at Texas Tech) and GM-elect Gergely Antal (just graduated from Texas Tech) winning the B group. I am a strong advocate for chess and education. I realize that it is not easy for everyone to establish strong security as professional players. It is also not easy to receive proper chess training to maximize one’s chess ability and potential.

This is why I jumped at the opportunity of establishing SPICE (Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence) at a major university like Texas Tech in 2007. Because of SPICE, we are able to offer players a fantastic college education while getting the chance to improve their chess with serious coaching. Last year, members of the Texas Tech University Knight Raiders chess team gained on an average 90 rating points per player while maintaining a 3.28 / 4 grade point average.

Last but not least, I would like to thank all our sponsors and supporters for making the SPICE Cup a success.

Monday, November 01, 2010