Chess in the Arizona desert

11/23/2004 – What does GM Gregory Kaidanov, America’s strongest grandmaster do between playing the Chess Olympiad and the U.S. Championship? He teams up with prolific chess author IM Jeremy Silman to lecture, do game analysis, play blindfold exhibitions and multi-board simuls – all to inspire and energize the kids to better chess at the Phoenix Scholastic Championship.

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2004 Best of Phoenix Scholastic Chess Championship

Tournament Report by Leopold Lacrimosa

This year the event was held at the beautiful Carefree Resort, Villas and Spa in Carefree, Arizona, 22 miles north of Phoenix. Located in central Arizona, its 8.5 sq miles are bordered by the Tonto National forest in the North and East and by the Sonoran desert to the south.

The town sits at an elevation of 2,500 feet above sea level in the North Valley and has a population of 2,300. It is a small town planned as a community where you can take in the Western style of life. It is also the location of the Western World’s largest Sundial.

The tournament itself was held in the spacious Carefree Opera House on the grounds of the resort, the entrance to which is overlooked by a sculpture of an American Indian Dancer in Eagle costume.

Almost four hundred kids competed in five sections, Kindergarten, 1st-3rd grade, 4th-6th grade, Jr. High School 6th -8th grades and High School 9th-12th grades. They played eight grueling rounds, five on Saturday at Game in 40 and three on Sunday at Game in 60.

After playing, the kids could have their games analyzed one on one by either GM Gregory Kaidanov or IM Jeremy Silman.

Between rounds three and four on Saturday, the kids watched with interest as 60 year old Bosnian Master Milan Chorkovich took on American Master Matt Guthrie in the first blindfold exhibition match.

Milan Chorkovich – Matt Guthrie
Blindfold Exhibition, November 20, 2004, Carefree, AZ
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 Qe7 4.f3 d5 5.cxd4 dxe4 6.fxe4 Qh4+ 7.g3 Qxe4+ 8.Qe2 Bf5 9.Qxe4+ Bxe4 10.Bd3 Bxh1 11.Be3 Bb4+ 12.Nc3 Nf6 13.O-O-O Bxc3 14.bxc3 Be4 15.Re1 Bxd3 16.d5 O-O 17.Kd2 Bc4 18.Nf3 Re8 19.h3 Nxd5 20.Bd4 Rxe1 21.Nxe1 Nc6 22.Bf2 Bxa2 23.g4 a5 0-1

The second match took place between rounds four and five between GM Gregory Kaidanov and NM Sonny Kamberi.

G. Kaidanov-S. Kamberi
Blindfold Exhibition, November 20, 2004, Carefree, AZ.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c6 4.Qc2 Nf6 5.g3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 b5 7.Qb3 Bb7 8.Bg2 Nbd7 9.O-O a6 10.a4 Be7 11.Rd1 O-O 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bxf6 Bxf6 14.Nc3 Qb6 15.Ne4 Be7 16.Ne5 Nxe5 17.dxe5 Rfd8 18.Nd6 Bxd6 19.exd6 c5 20.Bxb7 Qxb7 21.axb5 axb5 22.Rxa8 Rxa8 23.Qd3 Qd7 24.e4 c4 25.Qc3 Qc6 26.e5 Rb8 27.Qb4 Qd7 28.Ra1 Qc6 29.Qa5 b4 30.Rd1 Qd7 31.Qc7 Rd8 32.Qxc4 Qb7 33.Rd4 Ra8 34.Qc1 Qb6 35.Rd1 Qb5 36.d7 Rd8 37.Qc7 Rxd7 38.Qxd7 Qxe5 39.Qd4 Qe2 40.Qd8+ Kh7 41.Qd3+ 1-0

After round five, the kids were treated to lectures first by IM Jeremy Silman (above) who’s main topic was check mate patterns and then by GM Gregory Kaidanov who treated them to a recent win from the 2004 Olympiad where he helped the American men’s team to fourth place by scoring six wins and four draws in his individual games.

Eight pm Saturday night was when the kids and some parents came to play the Simuls. Forty players took on IM Jeremy Silman who scored +38 -0 =2 whole 36 players tried there hand at contesting GM Gregory Kaidanov who came away with a score of +35 -0 =1.


Kaidanov allowed one draw, to Donald Prem (1564)

Sunday brought rain for the day, but this did not dampen the spirits of the kids as they sat down to play round 6, 7 & 8 to finish off the tournament. The Blindfold Exhibition continued with IM Nikolay Andrianov out playing NM Matt Guthrie between rounds six and seven. IM Silman and GM Kaidanov continued to analyze the kids games as they finished each round.

Between the last round and the award ceremony was the main Blindfold match between GM Gregory Kaidanov and IM Nikolay Andrianov.

GM Kaidanov-IM Andrianov
Blindfold Exhibition, November 21, 2004, Carefree, AZ.

1.d4 c5 2.d5 Nf6 3.Nc3 d6 4.e4 g6 5.Nf3 Bg7 6.Be2 O-O 7.O-O e6 8.h3 exd5 9.exd5 Na6 10.Bf4 Nc7 11.a4 b6 12.Bc4 a6 13.Re1 b5 14.axb5 axb5 15.Rxa8 Nxa8 16.Nxb5 Nb6 17.b3 Nxc4 18.bxc4 Ne8 19.Na7 Bd7 20.Qb1 h6 21.Qb7 g5 22.Bd2 g4 23.hxg4 Bxg4 24.Nc6 Qf6 25.Nh2 Qd4 26.Nxd4 1-0

An exciting event as all watching gasped in shock as the local favorite, Coach Andrianov made the fatal mistake of losing his queen and the game to GM Kaidanov.

The award ceremony took place shortly after this spectacular demonstration. The winners of each section are as follows:


Kindergarten: Co-Champions Max Banister and Andrew Zhao (both five)


K-3rd Grade: 2nd Grader Brennen Lee


K-6th Grade: 4th Grader Ryan Mead


Jr. High School: 3rd Grader, Richard Ding


High School: 9th Grader Amanda Mateer (co-champion with Ethan Winter)



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