Next club match July 2nd

Reminder: Those interested in playing online as a club (not USCF rated), please join our team here: https://lichess.org/team/vassar-chadwick-chess-club (when you request to join, please share your real name so that we know you are a member).

The Westchester chess club has been running tournaments with neighboring clubs online, and last month invited us to our first one, which was well received – and our club put in a good showing, giving Westchester a run for their money. The next tournament is scheduled for July 2nd (8pm start, 10+5 games), and (once you join our online team) you can reserve your spot here:
https://lichess.org/tournament/nV8CPGFS

At the team page you will find a chat and forum feature, to ask questions and converse with your fellow Vassar-Chadwickians. Hope to see you at the tournament!

Note: The online event has some rules unlike those you may be familiar with in over the board tournament play. If you go to the tournament link above and scroll down, you will see a nice overview of the “arena” style tournament format, including the “beserk” mode.

Chess Camp for Kids

The following is being shared on behalf of NM Natan Prilleltensky, an invitation to participate in what looks to be an incredible chess camp experience:

I am working with some of the best-known coaches in the country to offer two sessions of online summer chess camp: The first session is August 3rd to 7th, the second is August 10th to 14th. The staffing of the camp makes this a unique learning opportunity.


The strongest students rated 1500+ will work with Grandmaster Alex Stripunsky.

Alex is former coach of the US Women’s National Team and personal coach to elite young players through the International Master level. Alex has won or tied for first in numerous world-class events, including the US Championship and the World Open. 


During the morning sessions, Alex will be teaching theoretical material, according to the lesson’s theme. Afternoon sessions will be dedicated to practice. Students will either solve exercises or play special training positions.

Students rated 1000-1500 will work with me and Elizabeth Spiegel.


I am a National Master with an academic background in Gifted and Talented Education. I have coached numerous students who qualified to represent the United States in the World Youth, and multiple school programs that won National Championships.


Elizabeth and I will focus on typical middlegame strategies students can apply in their own games, including but not limited to: * Open Files
* Opposite Colored Bishops * Bishop vs. Knight * Typical Pawn Structures * Attack on the King * Initiative * Sacrifice

Elizabeth is the famous many-time national championship winning coach of IS318k featured in the movie “Brooklyn Castle”. She is also an accomplished player who competed in multiple US Championships. 

Intermediate students will also have the opportunity to work with Grandmaster Alex Stripunsky. 

Students rated up to 1000 will work with Paul Swaney, a US Chess expert and superb classroom teacher whose school programs have won multiple state titles in Virginia. 

They will also have the opportunity to work with me and Elizabeth Spiegel.

The schedule for a typical day is as follows:
9:30 AM – 12:00 PM: Theoretical Instruction – tactics, typical middlegame themes, endgames, etc. Opportunities to practice will be included.

12:00 PM – 2:45 PM: Lunch Break – kids should go outside and step away from their screens to prepare to focus again.

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Practical Component – tournament games, analysis, etc.
The coaches will be able to challenge and instruct students of all levels.

Each student will receive individual recommendations for further study – our goal is for them to be inspired to continue their chess journey with renewed dedication. 

We are already accepting registrations by PayPal at mprilleltensky@gmail.com. The fee is $500 for one week of camp. Half-day (morning only) is also available for $375 for the week. Register by sending your child’s name, age and USCF rating to mprilleltensky@gmail.com


Coaches will be using original material for the second week, so returning campers will be learning new things every day.


I hope your child will come study with us! They can expect serious learning, but also serious fun.

Hudson Valley Online Tournament

We were recently invited to join a multi-club online tournament, and will be playing members of the Westchester and Rockland clubs on lichess.org. The tournament is scheduled for Thursday June 4th starting at 8pm.

Link to the tournament: https://lichess.org/tournament/1Q1JOwr1

If you have not joined lichess yet, please do so – and just as importantly, you need to request to join the Vassar-Chadwick team. Link here: https://lichess.org/team/vassar-chadwick-chess-club

When you request to join, PROVIDE YOUR NAME so that we know who you are (we want to keep invites to actual members of the club, past and current).

lichess team setup and club matches

If you are a current/former member of the Vassar-Chadwick club and you are interested in playing some online matches against some of the other clubs in our region (such as Westchester and Rockland), then please follow this process:

  1. Sign up at lichess.org (it is free)
  2. Go to our club page and request to join: https://lichess.org/team/vassar-chadwick-chess-club
  3. Important! before your request can be processed you have to solve the simple chess position that appears at the bottom of your request. This is to prove you are a human to lichess
  4. Important! before your request can be approved, you have to let us know what your lichess username is (so that we do not approve random people, but actual Vassar-Chadwick members). The easiest way to do this is go to our Facebook page and send a message: https://www.facebook.com/VassarChadwickChessClub/

Chess puzzle

In lighter news, political polling website FiveThirtyEight has presented a chess puzzle: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/can-you-solve-the-chess-mystery/

Thanks to Mark Courtney for alerting me to this puzzle.

You need to provide a legal game score whereby the white knight has moved exactly 8 times to reach the diagrammed position.

I could find many ways for the knight to make an odd number of moves (7, 9, etc), but so far the solution is eluding me. If you think you have one, submit it and you may get recognized.

Don Schulz

It has been reported by Al Lawrence that former USCF president Don Schulz has passed away from complications due to the awful COVID virus.

He was also a member of the Chadwick chess club, the precursor to our current incarnation, and he wrote a book, Chess Don, that had numerous references to the club and his time here.

No additional details are available at this time; updates may be posted to our Facebook page.

Matan’s Virtual Chess Class on April 6th

With everyone (except essential workers) asked to self-quarantine and stay at home as much as possible, our weekly club meeting has been suspended. But one of the benefits of chess (compared to other social activities) is the ability to enjoy the game online. From playing, tactics training, learning openings and viewing the games of the masters, there is a whole world of chess to experience from the comfort of your home.

Our resident NM, Matan Prilleltensky, has graciously offered to provide club members with their own virtual chess class. He recently competed in an IM norm tournament at the Marshall club and would like to go over these games – this promises to have high instructional value, to get into the thought process of a Master level player.

The plan is to offer this virtual class on Monday April 6th at 7pm (same time that our club would meet). He will use Zoom, a web-based video meeting tool that has free access to join (so it will not cost anything for you). Because he would like to have a manageable audience (at least for this first class), it will be limited to current Vassar-Chadwick members. If you are interested, please send a message to the club page on Facebook, providing your email address. When the time approaches, Matan will send the Zoom meeting link to your email. Then all you need to do is make some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy a Master class – and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

If this is successful and well-received, we might have more of these sessions in the future. So if you can make it, I think it would be well worth your time.

DCC Warm Up Results

UPDATE! I got my hands on the Courtney – Johnson game, see below…

Remember long ago when we felt safe to leave our homes? Let’s take a journey back to that time, oh about 5 days ago, when the 3 round (G/75) Swiss acting as the warm-up to the now suspended Dutchess County Championship, was just wrapping up.

The top board in that final round featured two Experts, the current DCC Champ Mark Courtney, and the perennial DCC Champion Ernie Johnson. I would pay good money to get the score-sheet for that game (hint, hint), but all I know is the end result…

Here is the game in PGN format:

[Event "DCC Warm Up"]
[Site "Poughkeepsie NY"]
[Date "03.09.2020"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Courtney,Mark"]
[Black "Johnson,Ernie "]
[Result "0-1"]
1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 Nf6
5. Nf3 Bf5 6. Bc4 c6 7. Qe2 e6 8. Bd2 Bb4
9. O-O-O O-O 10. Bb3 Nbd7 11. h3 Nd5 12. Nxd5 cxd5
13. Nh4 Bxd2+ 14. Rxd2 Bg6 15. Nxg6 hxg6 16. h4 Qd8
17. c3 Re8 18. f4 f5 19. h5 g5 20. g4 Nf6
21. gxf5 exf5 22. Qd3 Ne4 23. Rg2 g4 24. Kb1 Kh7
25. Qb5 Qd6 26. Qxb7 Rab8 27. Qxd5 Qxd5 28. Bxd5 Nxc3+
29. Ka1 Nxd5 30. Rc2 Re4 31. Rc6 Rbe8 32. a3 Re1+
33. Rxe1 Rxe1+

The final moves are missing, but at that point Black has a large advantage. Interesting game. I encourage you to copy/paste the PGN into an online tool, such as lichess and turn on Stockfish to analyze it as you work through the moves.

Ernie captured first place, with 3 wins and a perfect score. Congrats, and hopefully the club will be able to resume tournaments (including DCC) before too long.

Click HERE for the full crosstable results.