ChessBase show: James Tarjan, the librarian GM

by ChessBase
2/10/2010 – Many of America's best players have abandoned the game and gone into other fields – like GM James Tarjan who in 1984, while still in his early 30s, became a librarian. He was an exceptional player, and in this week's Playchess presentation by Dennis Monokroussos we get to see two games which will rivet your attention.

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Playchess training with FM Dennis Monokroussos

Sadly for American chess fans, many of our best players have given up the game and gone into other fields. One such player is grandmaster James Tarjan, who stopped playing competitive chess in his early 30s, in 1984 – and became a librarian. This is some library's gain, but definitely our loss! He was a player with a very attractive style, and more than that was one of the nicest people I ever met or faced over the chess board. I played him once, in my early teens, and don't recall putting up much of a challenge. Nevertheless, he was very gracious and we looked at the game afterwards for what seemed like a long time in my youthful memory. There were no airs, no "I'm a GM, so listen up and take me at my word" sort of attitude, just a very gentle manner that I remember to this day. This doesn't mean he wasn't a fighter at the board – he was! But there was no sense that he was trying to beat the person on the other side of the board.

Personal qualities aside, he was also an exceptional player – he was (and is) a GM, after all. So in this week's show, we'll take a look at two very entertaining games of his, both played in the mid-1970s when he was an up-and-comer. Both games are short, but have very different characteristics. One is an ultra-sharp Dragon Sicilian, the second is a Modern, and both games will rivet your attention.

To watch, just join me on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET (or 3 a.m. Thursday morning CET) in the Broadcast room of the Playchess server. You'll find it under the Games tab – just look for "Tarjan-Games" and you're there. Hope to see you then!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). You can find the times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date, with exact times for most larger cities here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures.

Monokroussos in Mexico: World Championship 2007

Dennis Monokroussos is 43, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and has worked as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

Playchess Training with IM Merijn van Delft

Everyone is invited to join this weekly training hour on Wednesday evening. Together we will have a look at the most recent grandmaster games. Recurring themes during our analyses and discussions are the latest opening developments and how to work on your own chess.

A word about myself: I was born (March 13, 1979) and raised in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands. In 1995 I won the Dutch U16 Championship and played the European Championship in Poland and the World Championship in Brasil. In 1998 I moved to Amsterdam to study psychology and had a great time there. In 2003 I met my wife Evi Zickelbein and ever since we've been living together in Hamburg, Germany. In 2004 I made both master titles: one at the university and one in chess. Since 2005 I've been working fulltime in the chess world: training, coaching, writing, organizing and still actively playing myself. By now I have about fifteen years of experience as a chess trainer. Together with my dad I wrote a book about chess training (Schaaktalent Ontwikkelen), of which the Dutch version is already available and the English version will follow April 2010.

IM Merijn van Delft's lecture starts at 20:00h Central European Time (Berlin, Paris, Rome), which translates to 19:00h London. You can find the times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. The lecture is in the "Broadcast" room of Playchess. It is free for Premium Playchess members (50 Ducats for others).


The lectures are broadcast live on the chess server If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!

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