I'm finally done with my college applications, and I'm eager to get back to the chessboard. Over the weekend, I played in the LVCA Scholarship Scholastic tournament and won the top prize, a $400 scholarship. I want to thank the Lehigh Valley Chess Association for their support of local scholastic players.
The following position occurred in one of my games in the tournament. Can you find the mate in five for white?
Currently my USCF rating is 2274 and I am ranked 8th of all 17-year-olds in the US, and my goal is to break 2300 rating as soon as possible. The Amateur East Team Tournament, PA State Championship, Philadelphia Open, and the US SuperNationals are all big tournaments coming up.
Solution: 16. Bxe6+ Kh8 17. Ng6+ Kh7 18. Qf5 Ne5 19. Nf8+ Kh8 20. Qh7#
Over the past summer, I updated the Chess Wizard Training Manual and published a second edition. In the meantime, I started to record a complete set of video lectures to complement the book. After 4 months, I have finished all 65 lectures. All of the lectures can be found on my YouTube channel.
The videos are meant to supplement every topic covered in the book. Students can either read the book or watch the video to get a better understanding of each theme. I have also included my thinking process to help students see how they should approach positions in their games. From openings to tactics to annotated games, the material should be instructional for a wide range of skill levels.
My goal is to make chess accessible to more people. The book only costs $5, which is pretty affordable for a 188-page book. I realize that it's (unfortunately) impossible to teach as much as I would like, given my limited time. However, these videos can hopefully provide many hours of instruction to a large amount of students.
Click here to see a complete listing of all of the videos I made.
Seven of my students and I played at this tournament at the Wilmington Central YMCA last Saturday. This tournament is really exciting because of the big trophies, and the atmosphere is really more like a festival. There was a moon bounce, an electric car racing game, and other activities for kids to enjoy between the rounds. I needed to take a half point bye in the first round because I attended the Delaware Valley Science Council Annual Regional Science Competition in the morning. I won the four games that I played and was first place in the open section. My students won three more trophies and our club received the first place team trophy again. The following is my game in the fourth round.
[Event "Fall Making the Right Move"] [White "Yang, Christopher"] [Black "Opponent"] [Site "Wilmington"] [Result "1–0"] [Date "2016.10.15"] [WhiteElo "2267"] [BlackElo "2133"] 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Nf6 3. d4 Bg4 4. Bb5+ Nbd7 5. f3 Bf5 6. Nc3 a6 7. Ba4 b5 8. Bb3 Nb6 9. Nge2 Nbxd5 10. Nxd5 Nxd5 11. O-O e6 12. Ng3 Bg6 13. f4 Be7 14. f5 exf5 15. Nxf5 Bxf5 16. Rxf5 Nf6 17. c3 O-O 18. Bg5 Qd7 19. Qf3 Rad8 20. Re1 Rfe8 21. Rf1 Qd6 22. Bf4 Qd7 23. Be5 c5 24. Qg3 c4 25. Rxf6 Bxf6 26. Bxf6 g6 27. Qg5 Qd6 28. Qh6 Qf8 29. Qxf8+ Kxf8 30. Bxd8 cxb3 31. Ba5 Re2 32. axb3 Rxb2 33. Bb4+ Kg7 34. Ra1 1-0
This year, the United States managed to win the 42nd Chess Olympiad, the equivalent of the Olympics of chess. The team came into the 11 round tournament seeded second and eventually won on tiebreaks because they beat Ukraine in their head-to-head match.
Captained by IM John Donaldson, the United States Team featured 5 Grandmasters. GM Caruana, GM Nakamura, and GM So played the top 3 boards, and from current October 2016 ratings, they are all top ten players in the world! GM Shankland was also an experienced team member, who participated in the previous tournament, and GM Robson was a young and strong player. Together, the team was undefeated through the tournament with 9 wins and two draws. Below are the pictures of the final standings and the award ceremony.
I'm glad to see that chess in the US is blossoming and attracting more talent. This result is amazing considering that America only placed 14th at the last Olympiad in Tromsø.
To end my busy summer, I directed and taught a week-long full-day chess camp to raise funds for the North Penn Valley Boys and Girls Club. Thanks to the participants, we raised a total of $750.
Just getting back from the Denker Tournament, I decided to support my former coach, Dan Heisman's charity tournament, the Holly Heisman Memorial. The tournament is named after his first wife, who died from breast cancer in 1994. Thousands of dollars of prizes are donated, and the proceeds from the tournament go towards supporting women in need, especially battered women, women with breast cancer, or runaway teenagers.
My last episode of rapid chess at the Allegheny Chess Congress did not go so well, but this time it would be different. I managed my time well, and managed to take advantage of my opponents' blunders. I went 4/4, beating 2 masters, a 2198 rated player, and an 1800. However, I dropped my last game because of a positional error caused by a miscalculation. I still need to be sharper! Still, 4/5 was good enough for tying the first place and a Life Master norm. It was also good to see my students again at this tournament after being away the whole summer.
Because I won the PA State High School Chess Championship, I qualified to represent Pennsylvania in the Denker Tournament of High School Champions again. This year, the tournament was in East Indianapolis, a rather desolate area. However, the field was stronger than before, as I came in only as the 15th seed.
Round 1: I was playing an 1800 rated player as Black. I played a small sideline in the opening, but it backfired, giving my opponent a good amount of space. However he was too eager to push his pawns to attack my king, letting me undermine his dark squares and win three pawns.
Round 2: I was playing on board 1 against the second seed after the first seed was upset in round 1. I played a quiet line and had a good position, but was too tempted to attack, failing to see that I could lose a pawn. I continued to defend into a rook and knight endgame, which definitely had drawing chances. However, my opponent outplayed me and eventually won.
Round 3: My opponent was a 2100 rated player, and I had Black again. I developed my pieces way to slowly in the opening, letting my opponent obtain a crushing position. However, he blundered in time pressure and allowed me to win the game.
Round 4: My opponent was the 2100 rated player who upset the first seed. I had a small positional edge and a good grip on the position the whole game. My opponent sacrificed his bishop for two pawns in the endgame for counterplay. It was almost successful because both players missed a chance for him to draw. At the end, I was able to sacrifice my extra piece for his promoting pawn and promote my own pawn.
Round 5: I played the defending champion from last year. I had a slight edge out of the opening and agreed to a draw 20 moves later in a relatively equal position.
Round 6: If I won this game, I would tie for second. If I lost, I would get 14th. A draw would earn me a Life Master norm. I made a dubious opening choice, but recovered and exchanged into an equal endgame. However, I missed one of his resources and simply blundered a pawn and the game.
Overall, I had a successful tournament though my score was the same as last year's (3.5/6). I gained 12 rating points, putting me back at 2250. There definitely were some lucky breaks, and I can see where I need to improve on next.
As a side note, I did end up visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400 are held. The tradition is to kiss the bricks at the finish line if the driver wins the race. Maybe kissing the bricks this time will give me enough luck to get first place next time!
I spent five weeks of my summer in Pittsburgh at the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences (PGSS) at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. PGSS is a selective summer program for Pennsylvania Students who are interested in getting a broader education in science and learning topics not covered in school. About two students are selected per intermediate unit (county) to attend this program and have the chance to explore subjects ranging from Java to Special Relativity. The curriculum also includes real labs (We worked with radioactive cesium!) as well as guest lectures. Best of all, this program was funded by the state government of Pennsylvania, making it free for all students!
The program was designed to give high school students a taste of college life. Therefore, there was a decent amount of unstructured time in the evenings and weekends to do homework, play sports, call home, or go out to eat. I really enjoyed using some of this time to explore Pittsburgh. However, since I knew that the Denker Tournament of High School Champions started the day after the camp ended, I needed to stay sharp. It happened that the Allegheny Chess Congress took place on one of the weekends so I decided to get some practice there. Unfortunately, I did not perform too well, going 2.5/4 and being upset by a much lower rated player in the last round. The position below is from that game. I missed a chance to win easily here because of time pressure and miscalculations.
Answer: 1...Bg4 2. Rde1 Bf3 wins a pawn. I'm not too sure why I was afraid of 2. Bxd6:
1...Bg4 2.Bxd6 Qxe4+ should win easily.
In less than a month after my first tournament there, I came back to Washington Dulles International Airport to play a second one, the 5th Continental Class Championships.
Looking at my games after the tournament, I found that I wasn't very tactically alert. I missed two winning opportunities in round 4 and 5. Can you spot the winning moves here?
1. Nc5 attacks the White Queen. When the Queen moves, Nb3 will win an exchange.
2. White wins the exchange or the bishop: 1. Nb6 Rc7 2. Nd5 Rc6 3. Ne7+ Kf7 4. Nxc6 Bxc6
or 1. Nb6 Rd8 2. Rd1