News and Notes: Vegas, Pawn Promotions, Hank Anzis, TT Bday

  • Vegas Baby!

    I am heading to Las Vegas this weekend for the Las Vegas International Chess Festival and National Open.  I am meeting my “wing man” Francisco Baltier there.  Should be a good time!

    VegasChessFestivalI have played in the National Open several times in the past, and it is always a good time.  I am glad to see that it is back at the Riveria on the strip, and I am looking forward to seeing what the renovations look like. 

    I am going to be playing in the “A” section, so should be a good challenge.

    I am flying out Thursday evening from Denver, and flying back early morning on Monday.

  • Pawn Promotions – can you spare a square?

    ConfusedPawnAn interesting “controversy” came up at the 5 round G/30 tournament that was held over memorial day weekend in Denver.

    One guy was telling me that his opponent called him for an “illegal move” based on the way that he promoted his pawn.  This guy picked up the pawn from the 7th rank, and set down a Queen on the 8th rank.  His pawn did not literally “touch” the 8th rank before he set the Queen down.

    His opponent claimed that the pawn needs to touch the 8th rank, and ONLY then can a pawn be placed down.  The tournament director, Randy Reynolds, actually agreed with this player, and awarded him two more minutes on the clock.

    Personally I did not think that this was the correct call.  I don’t think that this is the intention of an “illegal move”.  An “illegal move” should be when a player is in check, and doesn’t notice it, and makes a move that doesn’t get them out of check.   Or moves a knight from g1 to h4, or something that is clearly not legal.

    Here is what the USCF rule book says:

    9D Pawn Promotion. In the case of a legal promotion of a pawn, the move is determined with no possibility of change when the pawn has been removed from the chessboard, and the player’s hand has released the new appropriate piece on the square, and completed when the player pressed the clock. If the player has released the pawn on the last rank, the move is not yet determined, but the player no longer has the right to play the pawn to another square.


    4.4 If a player having the move: d. promotes a pawn, the choice of the piece is finalized, when the piece has touched the square of promotion.

    It turns out that this isn’t the first time this issue has come up – there is a fairly lengthy discussion on the USCF forums –

    Starting July 1st 2013, the following sentence is being added to rule 3.7(e) of the FIDE rules of chess.

    “The pawn can be removed from the board and the new piece be put on the appropriate square in any order.”

    The rule was being applied inconsistently by arbiters and FIDE wanted to make things clear. Also, players were becoming extremely upset from losing blitz games (illegal move means automatic loss) in this fashion.Source:

    So, FIDE is making an effort to clear this up, and probably the USCF should also.

     Here are the final results of the tournament,

    Brian Wall left vs Tim Brennan

    Brian Wall left vs Tim Brennan at the Denver Memorial Day, 5 round G/30 tournament

  • Happy 2nd Birthday to the Tactics Time email newsletter!

    I recently celebrated the second year of sending out my Tactics Time email newsletter! You can read the newsletter that I sent out here,

    I received a lot of nice emails from chess friends all over the world, who told me that they really enjoy the email newsletter a lot!

  • Colorado Chess Facebook page

    This group has been quite active lately. There was a lot of discussion and debate about the above mentioned pawn promotion challenge. There has also been a lot of debate recently about the use of electronic devices for notating games. So if you are in Colorado, and interested in these kind of debates (which can be fun, but also tend to have a lot of “beating dead horses”), be sure to join!  It is also a good place to get results, and find out about upcoming tournaments. 

  • Hank Anzis guest newsletter

    HankAnzisChessHank Anzis of Iowa recently wrote a guest email newsletter for me, and did a really great job! You can read it here.

    I love having people write guest newsletters, so if you are ever interested in doing one, let me know! I will do all the formatting stuff, you just have to provide the content! One of the best ways to learn is by teaching others, so can be a fun way to help others, and improve your own game.

  • Tactics Time featured in Sunday Chess Column

    Several positions from the Tactics Time Kindle Chess Book have been used recently in Stephen Dann’s Sunday Chess Column, in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette Corp.

    I also recently wrote a profile of Stephen in my newsletter, which you can read here.

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