"Unfortunately, it seems that the DCC as we knew it will not be back soon."
The heading photo is kind of where over the board chess is right now... lost in space. The DCC last played live in-person OTB chess on the 2nd Tuesday of March. April came and went. May has gone by. Now here we are at the end of June, and we are still uncertain of when we will play competitive USCF rated chess for prize money and pride over the board. Internet chess is all well and good as a pass time, but for me it is meaningless. Am I improving my game by playing one blitz game after another against anonymous opponents? I keep quite a few online correspondence games going, and there is some satisfaction in winning those games, but again I'm not playing for anything. No money to be won and no rating points that matter are to be had.
I Wonder what Bobby Fischer would have to say about the current state of OTB chess.
I don't mean to say I was only playing chess for the money or needed the money. If that was true, I'd have to find another way :-) I just mean the won money was real and I could buy food or clothes or books or any other tangible thing for free. Free because I was paying with won money. The USCF rating is also real and the difference between being a Class B player and not a Class A player is a matter of my pride and ego. I think we would all agree that moving up to the next higher rating class is a real accomplishment. Ask any serious chess player. Try to find an IM who isn't striving for the GM title. Try to find a GM who isn't looking for the next 100 rating points. You think Magnus Carlsen doesn't want to be the first human player with a 3000+ ELO rating?
Magnus Carlsen with a look of steely eyed determination.
As Gunnar Andersen said in his Lichess report the camaraderie and community of in-person chess is missing from online chess. Tuesday night games at the DCC was something I looked forward to. Knowing I could win money was motivating and anticipated. Having a USCF rating goal was something to strive for. I was proud of being part of a vibrant chess club. Where all my chess dreams (occasionally winning free money and being a Class A player) were within the realm of possibility.
It was inspiring to see such a wide range of players - men and women, young and old, from all walks of life - meeting weekly to play an ancient game in the fast-paced modern world.
A Josh Bloomer vs. Gunnar Andersen blitz match on Lichess would be great...
In my mind the most insidious thing about the pernicious coronavirus is people don't show symptoms until two or more weeks after they have been infected, but might have been spreading the virus from the get go. Meaning if we were to reopen the DCC say on the 1st Tuesday of August by the third Tuesday a couple of players might be showing symptoms and that could well mean everyone in the room over the previous weeks had been infected. Another complication is not everyone plays each week and we have new players coming in weekly. If they were casual players we may not have their name, making contact tracing nigh on impossible.
...or maybe a Sullivan McConnell vs. Brian Wall Lichess blitz match.
The DCC Treasurer shares his thoughts on reopening the DCC. - Quoting Meint Olthof: "After our last game in March Brian Wall said we will not be back until they find a vaccine for the virus. That sounded pretty dark. He knows maybe a thing or two about chess but what makes him an expert on a pandemic. Unfortunately, it seems that the DCC as we knew it will not be back soon. We all love the opportunity to play face to face over a board rather than play online, but we may be in for some more online play for a while. We are in close contact with the church and they are struggling on how to open up again.
It appears that sometime late summer we may be able to play in groups of 50. This would mean that we may have to divide the weekly group up into 2 groups. One playing on Tuesdays and one on Thursdays. We may have to require filling in a questionnaire and sign a waiver absolving the DCC and the church from any liability. And we would have to sanitize the tables. The church plans to have 2 sermons on Sunday’s and in between they have a deep cleaning."
"Right now the DCC is on the sidelines and just waits for direction from the church. We hope to be able to start at 50% capacity two nights a week in September but nothing is certain. So in the meantime play Tuesday evenings online in Alayne Wilinsky's DCC on LiChess tournaments."- Meint Olthof
My analysis when I'm playing blitz or slow chess for that matter :-)
Speaking of the DCC on Lichess, Ms. Wilinsky has wrote up how the tournaments came to be. Saying, "The idea to hold regularly scheduled blitz events with prizes came from the disappointment I, as well as my fellow chess friends and acquaintances, felt about the lack of over-the-board chess tournaments for the foreseeable future. With the dire prospects of chess, I felt there needed to be an online outlet for the Denver/Colorado chess community to flex their proverbial muscles and compete in a fun atmosphere. So, these Shut-in Showdown tournaments were born. Now that it has been 14+ weeks (wow, has it really been that long!?), I wanted to share what I have learned from regularly hosting and playing in these events." - Alayne Wilinsky
Please take the time to read her further comments
where Alayne shares her thoughts on: 1. "You can’t make everyone happy" 2. "The online Colorado chess community is a friendly bunch" 3.
"The need to temper my competitive expectations as a mediocre blitz player" 4. "
It is no replacement for longer time control OTB chess" Let me just say that diagrams #9,#10,
in the Games Section
below show that Alayne is most definitely not a "mediocre blitz player".
...or maybe a Chris peterson vs. Richard Shtivelband Lichess blitz match
It is vexing and so frustrating that there is still not a clear timeline on when it might be safe to return to normal. Conflicting news reports about COVID-19 abound. - "COVID-19 on the wane" - "COVID-19 resurging in several states" - "state health guidelines can shift at any moment" - "another COVID lockdown may be on the horizon" And always in the news reports there is some kind of qualifier. - might, maybe, could be, probably... Politicians are saying everything is fine. Health officials are saying we are entering "a new and dangerous phase" - "Confusion reigns" says it best. Consequently, at this time it is not possible to say when the DCC will again play over the board chess on Tuesday nights without fear of COVID-19...
...but when we do return it is going to be a celebration.
Since NM Gunnar Andersen is ruling the DCC on Lichess tournaments, let's start the Games Section with several of his games. Gunnar selected the positions. Any mistakes in the captions are mine. Also note that Mr. Andersen selected the Lichess berserk option in all of these games even though all of his opponents here are strong Experts or Masters.
1) Brian Wall vs. Andnar. (Gunnar Andersen) After 25. Bd2-f4 how does Gunnar win material in this position?
2) Andnar vs. CamelClutcher
(Daniel Herman) White has just sacrificed a Bishop on h5. Black recaptured with 23...gxh5. How does Gunnar continue the attack?
3) Andnar vs. fleetfeet
(Mark Krowczyk) In this position Gunnar plays 17. Nf3xd4 and Mark attacks the White Queen with 17...Ne7-g6. Does NM Andersen automatically move the Queen or play...?
4) Andnar vs. Zefcat
(Sara Herman) White checked the Black king with 22. Nd5-f6. Can Sara play 22...Bxf6? If not, why not?
5) Andar vs. Zefcat
A similar position. Sara again has the Black pieces and has just played 16...Bf6-g7 and again Gunnar conducts a Kingside attack. Beginning with...?
Alayne Wilinsky (PseudoQuasi) is the DCC on Lichess tournament organizer and director. We can't thank her enough for all she is doing for the Denver Chess Club. Here are a few of her favorite games.
10) PseudoQuasi vs. coffeebreak
(Billy Wilson) In this position did White just blunder the Knight with 31.Nf3xg5? Mr. Wilson may have thought so. Find the sweet combination Alayne plays after 31...Nf7xg5.
11) PseudoQuasi vs. Chezhmate1972
(John Brezina) Alayne had sacrificed a Bishop with 30. Bxg6 to reach this crushing position 6 moves later. Mr. Brezina, facing a multiplicity of threats, lost on time.
Emulating Gunnar Andersen, Will Wolf (brokenarrow69) has been dominating the U1900 players. Alayne has selected a few of his games.
12) brokenarrow69 vs. slimedog
(Anthea Carson) Uh-oh. After 8...dxc3 Is Black grabbing material with a dangerously exposed King. I'd say so. How does Mr. Wolf begin a winning attack in this position?
13) CamelClutcher vs. brokenarrow69
Mr. Wolf played a great game against a much higher rated player and had reached this position at move 83...Nf6 when White lost on time.
14) Termenoil (Rhett Langseth) vs. brokenarrow69.
At move 31. Ke1-d1. Find the move
that Mr. Wolf plays in this position
that forces another much higher rated player to resign. Will has stomped me every time we've played. I don't feel so bad now :-)
Let's be fair to Rhett and show a couple of his better games that he selected and sent to Alayne.
15) shtivelband vs. Termenoil
In this position NM Shtivelband played 21. Bxg6, a discovered attack on the Black Queen. What did he overlook?
16) Termenoil vs. Guppster
Throughout the game Rhett just kept picking off pawns to reach this position with 52. cxb5 and Black resigns.
Everybody knows who this is: Brian Wall, Mr. Colorado Chess
Of course no DCC report is complete without some "Super GM Brian Wall" games. Let's start with a couple of games from the excellent CSCA Lichess tournament -"CO Chess checkmates COVID-19". This was a great idea from Paul Covington and Brad Lundstrom that raised well over $3000 for the Salvation Army. (see the news article on the CSCA homepage
18) afish (GM Alex Fishbein) vs. Brian Wall.
NM Wall put up a terrific fight against the Grandmaster but here had to give up his Bishop to stop the pawn, yet still nearly held the draw. Brian comments, "We were the only ones 5-0. I have also played blitz with Alex's Father Gregory Fishbein and son Mitch Fishbein. (diagram #20
20) Brian Wall vs. Guppster
(Mitch Fishbein) After 32...Qf6-h4, White plays 33. Nf7+ . Black has a choice of 33... Kg8 or,,, Kg7. Which is better?
21) slimedog vs. Brian Wall.
Black to move and force resignation. Brian's comment: "The Toxic Badger is home brew. It was good to "see" Anthea again." (note: Anthea Carson is a long time Colorado player now living in California.)
22) Brian Wall vs. sami-o
(Sami Q Al-Adsani) Did Mr. Al-Adsani blunder his Queen when he played 22...Nxg4, or did he sacrifice it to reach this position? Above my paygrade :-) Brian's comment: "trying my new woke Irene opening against the main Colorado Alekhine's defense fanatic" See Brian Wall rip apart the Kings Gambit
with "Jack Young's Raccoon defense"
See more interesting games from Life Master Brian Wall: vs. brokenarrow69
"I have been trying out Joel Johnson openings while reading Attacking Chess:101, Volume 5" - vs. Zefcat
"Andrew Eskenazi found a win in the final position... Sara resigned early due to no time" - vs. DarkPhantum
"DarkPhantom fell for one of my Queen trap tricks from a Jack Young opening" - vs. SRLM
"After two games like this SRLM said, "I have new respect for the Wing Gambit" - vs. Fishingformate
- "Two Knights Tango Fishing Pole" - vs.nicolidus "Nothing better than an aquarium full of Fishing Pole virgins"
- vs. shtivelband
"Shtivelband King 'nuff said" - vs. linuxguy1
(Brian Rountree) "Sunday nights are the Colorado Springs tournaments. I went 4-0 in my last one" - vs. "cschessnews
(Paul Anderson) "Paul has drawn me every other Sunday game in the series" - vs. Zefcat
"21 h7+ was a super painful mouse slip intending hxg7!! winning. Sara might have been live streaming.Two weeks later I finally beat Sara with a Joel Johnson type Grand Prix" - vs. shtivelband
"Typical Shtivelband King game. 18. Qxa6 fiddling while Rome burns. After whipping up a winning Kingside attack the rest was time pressure nonsense" - vs. slimedog
"Anthea has been playing the London almost as long as Kamsky so I utilize my own anti-London opening the Toxic Badger"
Finally in closing let me just say that I think there will soon be a subset of psychology based on what players choose as their usernames and maybe also Brian Wall's chess opening names. :-)
Thanks to all,