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Member since Feb-25-09 · Last seen Feb-26-19
Phil Van Dusen, USCF member for a long time, current OTB rating 2040. I started playing rated tournaments after entering high school, breaking even in my first, then gradually improving results until I made a 2nd place finish at the Washington-Baltimore HS championship of 1972.

Over the next three years, I lived in England, playing regularly at the Scarborough Chess Club and in inter-scholastic events as my school's first board. One memorable success in this period was getting a win against Bent Larsen (1 of only 4 achieved) when the Great Dane conducted a 74-board simultaneous exhibition in Teesside, England. A less enjoyable, but similarly memorable encounter was getting crushed in the first round of a tournament by top-10 GM-to-be Jonathan Speelman.

After returning to the states, I continued playing rated chess tournaments, but started shifting my focus to weekend table tennis competitions, seeking physical exercise as an offset to a mostly sedentary IT job. It's interesting that USA Table Tennis uses the Elo rating system, borrowed from chess. During this period, when I was generally curtailing active tournament chess play, I got one of my best results. A lucky last-round draw against GM Niaz Murshed allowed me to finish in a tie for 2nd at the 1990 Maryland Open, but the more accomplished and deserving Allan Savage (NM) won the Maryland State title on tiebreaks, even after losing a heartbreaker to GM Max Dlugy in the last round.

In 2007, I started to run some small days camps that combined chess and table tennis. The camp was designed primarily for kids, but some adults participated and enjoyed it. This was the derivation of the handle CHESSTTCAMPS, which I'm keeping even though I'm unlikely to try running one again.

In 2015-2017, I started part-time chess teaching with Silver Knights Enrichment and also Curie Learning Center. SKE focusses on elementary schools in Northern Virginia, D.C., and Maryland. I found it a very satisfying experience and met some great teachers.

In 2017, I moved to Vermont. Here, I look forward to playing and teaching more chess, but also making time for other hobbies (especially various puzzle-solving, cross-country skiing, birdwatching, hiking, and gardening).

   CHESSTTCAMPS has kibitzed 2032 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Sep-10-18 R Safar vs I Agrest, 2008 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: Spoiler Alert: It's not a queen sac Monday from the diagrammed position. In all seriousness though, if you are relatively new to the game and are just starting to solve mate-in-two problems, these provide the pattern-recognition building blocks that lead to bigger and better ...
   Aug-27-18 T Oyunbaatar vs I Chahrani, 2008 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: Material is even, with both sides pursuing aggressive attacks. However, black has left the king much more exposed. White can exploit this with 23.Rxg5+ (breaking the pin by the bishop, with tempo) winning big material: A.23... Qxg5 24.Qxe6+ K moves 25.Nxg5 winning a queen. ...
   Aug-24-18 Nakamura vs Iturrizaga Bonelli, 2017
CHESSTTCAMPS: In my preamble, I missed that 28.Qxe5? Qc8(??) is met by 29.Nd6 and that 28... Qd8 is the one feasible path to salvage a draw. Congrats to those who found this without engines.
   Aug-19-18 P Delekta vs Geller, 1992 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: I forgot that I posted a solution to this one in June.
   Aug-17-18 Gleizerov vs Krasenkow, 2016 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: White has an extra pawn, but the advanced black pawns exert a crushing vice on the white castled position. It's easy to find the winning idea, so long as black is alert to tactical tricks: 34... Qa3! 35.Re8+! (ba b2#) Kf7! (35... Rxe8?? 36.Qf5+ (36.Rxb8 Qxa2#) Kxe8 ...
   Aug-16-18 S Platzack vs J van Baarle, 1967 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: White has three pawns for a piece and threatens 25.Qh7# in addition to a pretty x-ray checkmate-in-2 starting with Qh8+. However, both points are moot, because black is on the move and has a prettier x-ray checkmate beginning 24... Qxb2+. Originally a Monday puzzle I would ...
   Aug-14-18 Topalov vs So, 2016 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: The 21.Ra4 defense (which leads to more complex play) did not occur to me.
   Aug-12-18 Y Chan vs E Galvez Dastin, 2008 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: White is down by N+P for a bishop, but the white major pieces are coordinated against the black king, while the black rook is effectively out-of-play. A simple demolition of the king's pawn protection is in order - 24.Bxc6! leaves no viable defense: A. 24... bc 25.Rxc6+ Kd8 ...
   Aug-11-18 Topalov vs T Paehtz Sr, 2017
CHESSTTCAMPS: Material is even, but white's bishops and queen are more active than their black counterparts. White's strong queen position suggests a breakthrough sac at d5 to penetrate with the rook. 15.Bxd5+! cxd5 (Kh8 16.Bxc6 wins two pawns with a much stronger position) 16.Rc7 gets back ...
   Aug-10-18 J Salomon vs Vachier-Lagrave, 2017 (replies)
CHESSTTCAMPS: Black has B+P for a knight. White's discovered check threat of 30.Nxe6+ is not compelling, but against nervous opposition might draw losing blunders 29... Kh8??? or 29... Kf8???. In fact, white has overloaded his rook, which can be exploited with 29...f5! 30.Rh4 Bxg5 31.Rxh5 ...
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