Saturday, January 30, 2010



~ Not all youngsters are ready for tournaments.


In Gilbert - fairly close by! - Coach Sean.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Looking for a "Chess" themed Birthday Cake? Look no further than to Ted Scutti's SUGAR SUGAR CAKE STUDIO!

Well here is an example of the kind of thing that some people can do when it comes to making cakes!

Now that is what I call a cake!


I went to the Birthday party for my student Mitchell today – and THIS was his Birthday cake! WOW! Now that is a Birthday cake for a serious chess player! If you need/want to know who the artist is that produced this Birthday Cake then here you go:



Ted Scutti – President and Sugar Artist

Business office:
387 N 2nd Avenue, Unit 1G
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Phone: 602.300.2625

And don’t forget to save me a slice of cake! : P – Coach Sean.

Saturday, January 16, 2010



Solutions to chess puzzles will always be posted as a "Comment" in the comments box. So if you want to check your answers against the solutions that I have provided then just wait about a week and they shall appear. Unless of course our young players should solve the problems ASAP - As Soon As Presented!

The solutions to the first problem set have been posted in that postings' comment box. To access the solutions just click on the "Comments" line within and at the end of that particular posting. Then feel free to post your own comments!

Your Brisas Geckos Chess Coach Coach Sean Tobin.

DIONISIO ALDAMA - GM Quality Player and a true Chess Artist.

For those of you not in the know Dionisio Aldama is the second highest rated player in Arizona – as of this writing his rating is 2519 USCF Standard. He is probably as strong as most Grandmasters are – minus the G and the M in front of his name. During the final round of the most recent edition of the weekly Friday Night Adult Action chess tournament, held down at the Chess Emporium, I had the pleasure of watching Dionisio sacrifice his Queen - to force checkmate. A sure sign of chess artistry.

If you are looking for an opportunity to play Dionisio then you have your chance this Sunday – the 17th of January – as he will be giving a 12 board clock Simultaneous Exhibition at the Paradise Valley Mall Borders Bookstore. The fun starts at 2PM and continues until around 8PM that evening and the entry fee is $5.00 – paid to the man with a plan – Dionisio Aldama. You will have 30 minutes to match wits with one of the nations top players – and he will have only 30 minutes to move back and forth from board to board as he gives lessons to one and all takers. This is a benefit to help support one of our strongest players – so be there or be square!

To warm up for the clock Simultaneous Exhibition Chess Match this Sunday here is a tactic from one of Dionisio’s games played this past Friday night down at the Chess Emporium. I am saving his Queen Sac game for a club lesson! This game didn’t last long – he takes the measure of a 2150 rated player in only 16 moves! In fact when I played over the game I had to sit there for a minute or two before it dawned on my why the player of the white pieces was resigning his game. Enjoy this little gem brought to you by the letter D as in Dionisio!




As Sherlock Holmes might say “Elementary, my dear Dr Watson”

But as all chess players know – the devil of a combination is hidden in all of those chess board details!

Ok, so let us talk about the extremely complicated position position up above for just a little bit. For the 16th move Dionisio's opponent has played his Knight to the e5-square. Why was 16. Ne5 such a big mistake? Hmm....

HINT #1: Forcing moves help clarify the chess board chaos. Captures are forcing - especially when they threaten a more valuable piece. No moves threaten the White Monarch here - so threaten something else.

HINT #2: The main sting in the tail of the combination is the Queen forking move played at the end of it all. The lady knows how to dance on the dance floor - even when looking over at the opposing King's door.

HINT #3: In all lines White losses a piece - or more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now we would never resign our games during Ladder time or at Scholastic Chess Tournaments - but for players at this level who can use a little something called "technique" then an early resignation is an acceptable way to bow out of the game gracefully. I myself never resign and force my opponents to show me the quickest win. If they cannot do this then maybe I save half a point - or even win the game!

See you this Sunday at the Simul or for our next exciting meeting of the Geckos Chess Club! – Coach Sean Tobin.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010



David Hall is my opponent from the game that our Chess Puzzle Posting comes from. David loves to play chess and plays in numerous chess tournaments as well as at several different chess clubs. He is an active member of his local Chess Association and he is also an avid Chess Book collector.

David Hall was the first Chess Tournament player that I ever met. For that first Summer he defeated me in HUNDREDS of games. I never got tired of learning from David and learning all of his tricks. However I had a lot to learn - that first Summer I only drew one game and it was because David Stalemated me!

I never got too badly frustrated and because I was determined to eventually defeat David, and other skilled players like him, I kept on playing the royal game. I ended up playing in my first USCF rated chess tournament that next year and wouldn't you know it - in one of my first few tournament appearances I had to play David! I scored my first victory against David and it was at a chess tournament which made that first win all that much more special. As with a lot of things in life - Persistence and Perseverance pays off!

As you can see from this weeks posting David is still capable of playing a strong game of chess. When I first played him his rating was about 1500ish. As of the time of this posting his rating is now 1697 which places him firmly in the realm of a solid B-player. Last year David lost on time in a game against Grand Master (GM) Igor Ivanov - a game in which both players had to play their best during the sudden death blitz phase of that game. In the final position the game was a level draw and when David timed out his opponent - a GM! - only had one minute left on his clock. David knows how to play a great game of chess!


Worth 1 Expert point


Win a Queen for a small investment of points
- only one move will do the job right!

This was from the game DAVID HALL versus COACH SEAN. I am lost here and I noticed this after I had played my horrible move 14. ...Qxf6?? I was dreading and expecting the move 15. Bg5 - which David then played - and then I knew I was doomed in this game as I now have a lost position on the board. But would my opponent find the right move?

When we find ourselves in a losing position we should play on - perhaps our opponent will not see the winning move? We should never make any sounds or say anything that will indicate to our opponent that there is a winning move for them to be played while they are looking at the chess board. I was as quiet as a mouse while waiting for David's move in this position. Can you find the move that he overlooked?

Worth 2 Expert Points

All of my pieces are under attack
Black to play and deliver Checkmate in Two!

This was from the actual game - after my friend and opponent blundered away his winning position - I was obliged to win the game. It wasn't easy setting up this position and it took a lot of quiet discipline on my part and some help from my opponent to get to this grand finale! Can you find both moves here?


Worth 25 Expert Points!


A "What if" position from the actual game. "What if" or variations, if you will, are the unheard melodies from a chess game. Because any one game is rich in possibilities there are always other ways we could have played - other ways we can improve upon our play for future games. This is one reason why it is important for our player(s) to record their chess games - we can learn from these games and become better players.

ENJOY - Coach Sean Tobin.

Welcome to the Brisas Geckos Chess Community Blog!


This blog is about Scholastic Chess - and more specifically about the Kyrene de las Brisas Chess Community! I will be posting puzzles and articles that are meant for members of this chess community and for any other chess players that may or may not stumble upon this excellent Scholastic Chess Resource. More than likely other students and their family members from some of my other Chess Clubs.

In future postings on this site you will find a weekly Chess Puzzles posting that has been taken from one of my own games. The first is up now! So take a look at the above problem - this one is actually taken from a game that I played over this past Winter Break - a game that I should have lost! That is what happens when you play too quickly - a lesson that I should know well!! But my opponent missed his opportunity during this off hand game to score a big upset win - perhaps some of our Geckos can find the move that David Hall missed?

Each Chess Puzzle posting will contain an "easy" problem and then a more difficult exercise for advanced players or those looking to sharpen their skills. Sometimes there may even be more than two positions to solve. These puzzles will very often come from variations that either did take place during one of my games or that could have happened during the game in question.

Each posting will also have a general piece of advice for my players - something that they can hopefully learn from - something that they will find useful and be able to apply during one of their own games with you at home. Something that will help them to play better chess moves no matter whom they are playing against. My postings here might even allow you - their Parent(s) to play better chess! If you have just but 5 minutes you will learn from these postings as well.

Your Kyrene de las Brisas Chess Coach
Coach Sean Tobin.