American Chess Magazine #31: The Mind of a Champion
100 pages, February 2023.
American Jon Edwards has just reached the pinnacle of his chess career by winning the 32nd ICCF World Championship and becoming a Correspondence Chess Grandmaster!
For decades, Jon Edwards has been teaching chess, writing chess books and columns, conducting a website for aspiring players, and playing in correspondence chess competitions – constantly exploring the use of technology in chess and writing his regular column about it for American Chess Magazine. Our dear columnist shares his first-hand experience of the final stage of his long journey to winning the World Correspondence Chess Championship, offering some extremely valuable advice for cutting-edge players. That human guidance is still the key to success in correspondence chess is claimed in Jon’s own words: “Computers today are tactical monsters and positional masters, but they fall short in positions that involve long-term planning within fixed structures...”
FM Grayson Rorrer has prepared an overview of the U.S. junior chess scene, bringing to the forefront the best American youngsters of the present day – many of whom haven’t previously been properly introduced to a wider audience.
GM John Burke follows with a report from the 2023 Pan-Am Intercollegiate team tournament, where his Webster University side celebrated their ninth victory in 11 years – with a perfect score!
Then, in his regular column, GM Sarunas Sulskis annotates two amazing victories by the Ukrainian No.1 player GM Pavel Eljanov, accompanied by a hard-fought battle of his own from the Hastings Chess Congress, where he was awarded as an outright winner!
GM Jacob Aagaard introduces a completely new masterclass in 2023, where he challenges readers to train with his best student – one of the top American grandmasters, Sam Shankland. A dozen examples will be offered in each issue of ACM, divided equally into two categories – tactics/calculation and strategy/positional play.
Similarly, a new column on threats in chess and how to deal with them has been prepared by GM Nikola Nestorovic. After thorough explanations through selected examples, Nestorovic presents six positions for readers to solve. This time, all the examples are from the recently finished 2023 Tata Steel Masters and Challengers held traditionally in Wijk Aan Zee.
ACM endgame expert, GM Alex Fishbein, continues with another of his instructive lessons. This time it concerns the famous “Do Not Rush” rule where, by means of a variety of examples, Alex does his best to explain when to apply it and when not to.
An American whose achievements in chess may have been unjustly forgotten is William Shinkman. Our intention was to do justice to Shinkman by asking our Senior Editor Pete Tamburro to undertake some historical research so that by going through his article, readers will henceforth always remember the name of this outstanding chess composer, thanks to acquiring knowledge of his extensive work.
Local and state chess is covered by a report from the 2022 U.S. Masters in which IM Dean Ippolito annotates a game by the winner, GM Christopher Yoo, together with one of his own masterpieces from the event. Further to the north, readers will be guided through a chess festival in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, as reported by NM Roger Langen, and enriched with games commented on by the players themselves.
ACM guest contributor Sean Hennessy has reached out to two sports psychologists to find answers on how to maintain one’s mental composure and cope with challenges during a chess competition. Additionally, financial consultant and avid chess player Luca Barillaro starts a new column on chess and finance, highlighting numerous similarities between the two. All of this is supplemented with examples of AI use in both worlds – competitive chess and financial trading.
Sadly, the chess community lost two valuable members at the end of 2022 and early 2023 – grandmaster Dr. Alex Sherzer and prolific chess writer Alex Dunne. We have prepared farewell obituaries for these two outstanding chess contributors.
In the previous issue #30, the cover featured a photo of Bobby Fischer sitting at the chessboard and analyzing a certain position. We asked our readers by email what it was that attracted Fischer’s attention – which opening and what game? We now publish the names of all the winners who successfully solved the puzzle, and FM Josip Asik provides an extensive explanation of the background behind this photoshoot and more.
To close our issue #31, ACM Features Editor FM Grayson Rorrer documents significant tournaments played both in the U.S. and abroad while also presenting interesting games and fragments that have caught his eye. Devadeep Gupta reviews his selection of the ten best fictional books related to chess, published over the past decade. Our guest speaker in the 5x5 Q&A is GM Alexander Baburin, author of the classic chess book "Winning Pawn Structures."
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