News and Notes: Cabin Fever, SwissSys, Drinking My Own Bath Water

  • Tactics Time is featured in this week’s Sunday Chess Column by Stephen Dann, Worcester MA, Telegram & Gazette

    The puzzle is a really good one, which I really like.  Answer at the bottom.


    Black to Move – Problem 258 from Tactics Time


  • This past week I was the tournament director for the “Cabin Fever Reliever” Tuesday Night tournament here in Colorado Springs.

    I had received an email from the USCF stating that my “local TD” certifications had expired, but that I could extend my certifications by directing some events. So I asked Dean Brown and Paul Anderson if I could direct this tournament

    The tournament was a four round G/30 played over 2 weeks, with 2 games per week.

    To get ready for the tournament, I had to download the latest version of SwissSys, and update my license. I uploaded the latest database from USCF and was ready to go.

    I played in the tournament as well, and ended up doing REALLY well. I won all four of my games, 3 of which I was paired against higher rated opponents!  You can see the final tournament results here:

    I picked up 85 rating points, which is quite a lot for one tournament, and set an all time high rating!  30 of the rating points were “bonus points”, which the USCF gives when you have a really good performance.  My performance rating for the tournament was around 2400.

    My favorite game of the tournament was my game upset win against Paul Anderson, which you can play through here:

    Here is the kill shot from that game:


    White to Move Tim Brennan vs Paul Anderson, Cabin Fever Reliever Feb 2013

    So the whole tournament was a lot of fun!  I haven’t had a lot of time for tournament play recently, since I have been working on the Tactics book, and the newsletters, and this blog, etc.

    But I have been “drinking my own bathwater” doing a lot of tactics problems, and it really paid off in this tournament!


  • I am going to be the Assistant Tournament Director at the Colorado Springs Open, March 2-3 in Manitou Springs.  Buck Buchanan will be the head TD, and Paul Covington will be the other Assistant.  I am going to meet with Paul on Wednesday night at Panera Bread, to show him some tips and tricks on using SwissSys.

  • Paul Covington told me that he is planning a big chess road trip this summer, where he is going to be playing chess in as many states as possible.  It sounds like a lot of fun!  He has a mobile home, and will be touring the East Coast.

  • I had some difficulty using SwissSys to rate the Cabin Fever tournament.  I could not get the results to save to my hard drive.  I contacted the developer, thinking that it might be a bug.  It turns out that SwissSys was trying to save the files in the “Program Files/SwissSys” area, but Windows 7 no longer allows people to save files in this area.  So you have to save it in a “safe” area like “My Documents”.  Personally I think that the default area for the program to write to should be one that works, but this is also bad on Microsoft for not giving any explanation about why the files aren’t being saved.

  • I found some good videos on YouTube for using SwissSys by Tim Just, who wrote the USCF Rule Book, on using SwissSys.  He calls himself the “80/20 TD”, which I like.  In my experience most tournament directors do not use all of the capabilities of SwissSys.  They either don’t use the database from USCF, or they manually submit the reports at the end of the tournament, etc. Here is a sample of one of the videos.


10…Qxa5!! is a brilliant Queen sacrifice deflecting the White Queen from her protection of the c2 square, threatening 11. Nc2#.  There are no safe squares for the White Queen, and she will be lost or White will be checkmated.

Even very strong players have missed this type of tactic, such as in the game GM Alexander Yermolinsky (2654) -. IM Emory Tate (2425), Western States Open, 2001, which went 1. d4 c5 2. d5 e6 3. Nc3 exd5 4. Nxd5 Ne7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 Qa5+ 7. c3 Nf5 8. Qa4 Qxa4 9. Nc7# 1-0, and you can play through here:

Variation missed from the game Drumlizardo (961) – Dogfish44 (954), Open Invite,, October 8, 2010.

 You can play through this game and download the PGN here:

Answer to the Brennan- Anderson game:

24. Rxf7+! is a crusher.  Paul played 24…Rxf7 and I forked his King and Queen with 25. Nxe6+

Want to Improve Your Chess Game?

Join my free e-mail newsletter today for tactics, tips and tricks!

Related posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>