Archive for April, 2009


Saint Louis Chess Club

Saint Louis Chess Club



Kamsky, Nakamura and Onischuk – 3 of the players in this tournament. Click on images for a larger view.
Please click here to read more player-info.
Follow the tournament on Twitter

Players confirmed for the US Chess Championship 2009
Please click here for the official site of the US Chess Championship 2009
All links in this post will open in a new window.

I usually blog tournaments from Europe as I do know some of the GM’s and have played through a few games of some of them. Kamsky is one of my favourite players and I do hope that I will have time to follow his games in the US CC. As I’m busy with studies too, – an assignment due in two weeks! – I know I won’t be able to blog games intensively like I used to do, but let’s cross fingers! MTel is also coming up and hoping to do at least an entry about it. You can follow the first link on my sidebar with MTel’s logo for player information, etc.

 The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis is scheduled to host the U.S. Chess Championship May 7-17, less than a year after the center opened in a 112-year-old building in the city’s Central West End.

Competitors are to include the “Big Three” of chess in America – Gata Kamsky, Hikaru Nakamura and Alexander Onischuk, along with current U.S. champion Yury Shulman. The female medalists in the Chess Olympiad, Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih, also are competing.Top players are gearing up, both mentally and physically. Shulman said exercise is helpful before or after play. He also regularly teaches chess, works with a chess database which stores millions of games, and reads chess books.
At the championship, live commentary will be provided on the lower level by grandmasters Jennifer Shahade and Emil Sutovsky
Please click here to read the complete article.

Image: saintlouischessclub.org



ST. LOUIS, February 19, 2009 — A $64,000 bonus in memory of late chess champion Bobby Fischer and a jackpot bonus for a “clear” first-place winner have been added to the prizes being awarded at the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship. The tournament, which will be held May 7-17, 2009 at the new Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, will offer a purse of more than $130,000 in prize money.

Any player who scores a 9-0 sweep will be awarded the Fischer Memorial Prize, a $64,000 bonus in addition to the first-place award. The prize is in remembrance of the late American world champion Bobby Fischer, who died in 2008 at age 64. Fischer scored an 11-0 victory in the 1963-64 U.S. championship, the only perfect score in the event’s history.
Read complete article
US Chess facts
Pairings: Round 1
pairings round 1
Kamsky round 1 move 8
Ibragimov vs Kamsky round 1 move 8
Friedel vs Onischuk round 1 move 8
Friedel vs Onischuk round 1 move 8
Kamsky move 15
Kamsky – round 1 move 15
Onischuk end position

Onischuk – End position – 1/2
Kamsky end position
Kamsky End position – 0-1

Friedel vs Onischuk Round 1

Friedel vs Onischuk Round 1

Robert Hess Round 1

Robert Hess Round 1

Ibragimov vs Kamsky Round 1

Ibragimov vs Kamsky Round 1

Shankland vs Benjamin Round 1

Shankland vs Benjamin Round 1

Yury Shulman

Yury Shulman

Melikset Kaidanov Round 1

Melikset Kaidanov Round 1

 pairings round 2
Pairings round 2
standings after round 1
Standings after round 1 — first 10 places
 Round 2 Kamsky move 16
Kamsky vs Akobian round 2 move 16
Varuzhan Akobian
Hughues vs Onischuk round 2 move 15
Hughues vs Onischuk round 2 move 15

Onischuk move 16
Onischuk move 16 –
Kamsky round 2 end position

Kamsky vs Akobian round 2 – end position – 1-0

[Event “2009 U.S. Championship”]
[Site “St.Louis”]
[Date “2009.05.09”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Kamsky, Gata”]
[Black “Akobian, Varuzhan”]
[Result “1-0”]
[WhiteElo “2798”]
[BlackElo “2664”]
[PlyCount “81”]
[EventDate “2009.05.??”]
[EventType “swiss”]
[Source “MonRoi”]

 [[1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. Bd3 c5 7. Nxf6  Nxf6 8. Be3 Nd5 9. Ne5 Bd6 10. Qh5 Qc7 11. Bb5  Kf8 12. O-O-O a6 13. Bc4 Nf6 14. Qf3 Rb8 15. Bf4 b5 16. Rhe1 cxd4 17. Rxd4 Rb6 18. Bb3 Bb7 19. Qh3 a5 20. Rxd6 Rxd6 21. Nxf7 Kxf7 22. Qxe6  Rxe6 23. Bxe6  Kg6 24. Bxc7 Re8 25. Bxa5 Bxg2 26. f4 h5 27. Re5 Kh6 28. Bd2 Bc6 29. Rc5 Bd7 30. Bxd7 Nxd7 31. Rxb5 Re2 32. h4 Nf6 33. f5  Kh7 34. Kd1 Rh2 35. Be1 Ng4 36. Rb3 Rh1 37. a4 Rf1 38. a5 Rxf5 39. a6 Rf7 40. Ra3 Rd7  41. Kc1 1-0]
[Event “2009 U.S. Championship”]
[Site “St.Louis”]
[Date “2009.05.12”]
[Round “5”]
[White “Nakamura, Hikaru”]
[Black “Kamsky, Gata”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[WhiteElo “2757”]
[BlackElo “2798”]
[PlyCount “69”]
[EventDate “2009.05.??”]
[EventType “swiss”]
[Source “MonRoi”]

[[1. c4 g6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Qa4+ Bd7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 a6 7. d4 b5 8. Qb3 c5 9. dxc5 Bg7 10. e4 O-O 11. Be2 Be6 12. Qc2 Nbd7 13. Be3 Rc8 14. c6 Rxc6 15. Nd4 Rd6 16. Rd1 Ng4 17. Bxg4 Bxg4 18. f3 Ne5 19. Bf2 Nc4 20. Nc6 Bxc3+ 21. bxc3 Qc7 22. Nb4 Be6 23. O-O Rfd8 24. Bd4 a5 25. Nd3 b4 26. Nf4 Qd7 27. Rc1 Na3 28. Qf2 Nb5 29. Bc5 Rd2 30. Qh4 f6 31. cxb4 axb4 32. Qh6 Rxa2 33. Nxg6 hxg6 34. Qxg6+ Kh8 35. Qh6+ 1/2-1/2]]

Standings after round 2: Top 16 players

Standings after round 2: Top 16 players

Pairings Round 3

Pairings Round 3

 News update from Saint Louis:

Saint Louis, May 9, 2009 — The second day of the U.S. Chess Championship was a repeat of the first, with big upsets and teenagers making the biggest buzz. While it’s hardly a surprise that No. 1 ranked Gata Kamsky of Brooklyn, N.Y., is undefeated after round two, it’s shocking that one of the two other undefeated players in the 24-competitor championship is Robert Hess, a 17-year-old from New York.

Hess came into the tournament ranked 37th in the United States. He has defeated grandmasters in both rounds: sixth-ranked Larry Christiansen, of Cambridge, Mass., on Friday, and seventh-ranked Julio Becerra of Miami, Fla., on Saturday.

Other Round 2 winners included Missourian Michael Brooks. The 91st-ranked Brooks, from Kansas City, beat 15th-ranked Alexander Shabalov, a grandmaster from Glendale, Calif. The youngest player in the tournament, Ray Robson, 14, of Largo, Fla., was victorious over the oldest player, 12th-ranked Boris Gulko, of Fairlawn, N.J., who is ranked 12th.
Defending champion Yury Shulman, of Barrington, Ill., the fourth-ranked player, remained unbeaten. But the second-ranked player in the country, Hikaru Nakamura, lost his chance at an undefeated tournament, when he played to a draw with Jaan Ehlvest, of Baltimore, who is ranked 11th.

Any player going undefeated over nine rounds will receive a $64,000 prize named for Bobby Fischer, the only player to accomplish that feat. In all, there is nearly $200,000 of potential prize money available.
The nine-round tournament continues Sunday, May 10th from 2pm-8pm., and will conclude Sunday, May 17. The club also will host the 2009 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship from October 2-12

Click on this link of my blogger-blog and play through the game of Kamsky in Round 3. The link will open in a new window.

Standings  after round 3  – first 10 
   1. GM Kamsky, Gata        2.5    
   2. GM Nakamura, Hikaru        2.5    
   3. GM Shulman, Yury    2.5    
   4. GM Friedel, Joshua       2.5    
   5. GM Onischuk, Alexander     2.0    
   6. GM Becerra, Julio       2.0    
   7. GM Akobian, Varuzhan       2.0    
   8. GM Ehlvest, Jaan      2.0    
   9. IM Hess, Robert      2.0    
  10. GM Kaidanov, Gregory    1.5 

Pairings Round 4 – Monday, May 11, 2:00 pm
1. GM Gata Kamsky (2½) 2798 – GM Joshua Friedel (2½) 2568
2. GM Yury Shulman (2½) 2697 – GM Hikaru Nakamura (2½) 2757
3. GM Alexander Onischuk (2) 2736 – IM Robert Hess (2) 2545
4. GM Varuzhan Akobian (2) 2664 – GM Julio Becerra (2) 2672
5. GM Gregory Kaidanov (1½) 2662 – GM Jaan Ehlvest (2) 2649
6. IM Michael Brooks (1½) 2419 – GM Joel Benjamin (1½) 2650
7. GM Melikset Khachiyan (1½) 2632 – IM Irina Krush (1½) 2496
8. IM Enrico Sevillano (1½) 2549 – IM Samuel Shankland (1½) 2464
9. GM Larry Christiansen (1) 2681 – GM Alexander Shabalov (1) 2620
10. IM Ray Robson (1) 2542 – GM Ildar Ibragimov (1) 2628
11. Tyler Hughes (1) 2293 – Charles Lawton (0) 2350
12. GM Boris Gulko (0) 2631 – Doug Eckert (0) 2278

Please follow this link to follow Kamsky’s game live – Round 4 – or to play through it if you’re too late for the real time game.

US chess flag
News-update from Saint Louis:

Defending Champ Yury Shulman Clashes with Gata Kamsky At Round Three of U.S. Chess Championship
St. Louis, MO May 10, 2009: It’s the big clash of the contenders and rivals in round three of the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, with the early top board pairing of the defending champion, Yury Shulman from Illinois, and the #1 seed and favorite for the title, Gata Kamsky from Brooklyn. 
The top two are on full points and leading the chase for bonus $64,000 Fischer Memorial Prize for any player with a perfect sweep of 9-0.  The prize is in recognition of the phenomenal feat of the late American world champion Bobby Fischer, who won 11-0 to take the 1963/64 title – the only player in the long and distinguished history of the U.S. Championship to win with a sweep.
The only other player on full points and in contention for the Fischer Memorial Prize is the 17-year-old newly-minted American Grandmaster Robert Hess from New York, who in round three plays a grudge match against former U.S. champion and second seed Hikaru Nakamura, also from New York.  Last month, the two met in the Foxwoods Open in Connecticut with Hess easily winning and the result counting for his third and final grandmaster norm.  Nakamura, who broke every Fischer age group record in U.S. save for that of youngest U.S. Champion, will be going all out for revenge.
The U.S. Championship is being played in a spirit of sportsmanship and professionalism throughout, and this could be witnessed in the pairing between U.S. Women’s champion Woman’s Grandmaster Anna Zatonskia and Grandmaster Gregory Kaidanov from Kentucky, another of the top seeds. 
Due to a minor ailment, WGM Zatonskih, the only mother in the 24-player field on Mother’s Day, had to attend St. Louis University Hospital for treatment for a minor ailment.  Unfortunately this meant she was unable to play her round three game and would have had to automatically forfeit the loss to her opponent without a move being played – but, in a true act of sportsmanship, Kaidanov – who could easily have claimed a win by default – magnanimously offered to postpone their match-up until the official rest day on Friday, when they will both play catch-up on the day the rest of the field are on a break. In a footnote to yesterday’s round two, local player Charles Lawton discovered the hard way the difference between the standard of play at the U.S. Championship and local tournaments he’s more used to ruling the roost in. In a time scramble when he was down to his last 5 minutes, he opted to save valuable seconds by stopping to score his game, only to flagged for an infringement of the rules by chief arbiter Carol Jarecki as she warned him he had to continue to keep a score of the game. 
But Lawton lost on time in the ensuing dispute with the arbiter as he tried to keep his score up to date as he fell foul of International FIDE rules (which govern all national championships) and local USCF rules.  With FIDE (the French acronym of the governing body of world chess), if you have 5 minutes or less on your clock you still have to keep a score of the game, with USCF rules you do not have to do so.

Standings after round 4-Top 6
  1. GM Kamsky, Gata (1)………..      3.0
  2. GM Nakamura, Hikaru (2)…….      3.0
  3. GM Shulman, Yury (4)……….     3.0
  4. GM Akobian, Varuzhan (7)……      3.0
  5. GM Friedel, Joshua (15)…….        3.0
  6. GM Onischuk, Alexander (3)….       2.5

Pairings Round 5 – Tuesday, May 12, 2:00 pm
1. GM Hikaru Nakamura (3) 2757 – GM Gata Kamsky (3) 2798
2. GM Joshua Friedel (3) 2757 – GM Yury Shulman (3) 2697
3. GM Jaan Ehlvest (2½) 2649 – GM Varuzhan Akobian (3) 2664
4. IM Samuel Shankland (2½) 2464 – GM Alexander Onischuk (2½) 2736
5. IM Robert Hess (2½) 2545 – GM Melikset Khachiyan (2½) 2632
6. GM Julio Becerra (2) 2672 – IM Michael Brooks (2) 2419
7. IM Ray Robson (2) 2542 – GM Gregory Kaidanov (2) 2662
8. GM Joel Benjamin (2) 2650 – Tyler Hughes (2) 2293
9. IM Irina Krush (1½) 2496 – GM Larry Christiansen (1½) 2681
10. GM Alexander Shabalov (1½) 2620 – IM Enrico Sevillano (1½) 2549
11. GM Ildar Ibragimov (1) 2628 – GM Boris Gulko (1) 2631
12. FM Doug Eckert (0) 2278 – Charles Lawton (0) 2350

Round 5 – Results – top 5
1. GM Hikaru Nakamura (3) 2757 ½-½ GM Gata Kamsky (3) 2798
2. GM Joshua Friedel (3) 2568 0-1 GM Yury Shulman (3) 2697
3. GM Jaan Ehlvest (2½) 2649 0-1 GM Varuzhan Akobian (3) 2664
4. IM Samuel Shankland (2½) 2464 0-1 GM Alexander Onischuk (2½) 2736
5. IM Robert Hess (2½) 2545 1-0 GM Melikset Khachiyan (2½) 2632

Pairings – Round 6, Wednesday, May 13, 2:00 pm- top 5

1. GM Varuzhan Akobian (4) 2664 – GM Yury Shulman (4) 2697
2. GM Gata Kamsky (3½) 2798 – IM Robert Hess (3½) 2545
3. GM Alexander Onischuk (3½) 2736 – GM Hikaru Nakamura (3½) 2757
4. IM Michael Brooks (3) 2419 – GM Joshua Friedel (3) 2568
5. GM Melikset Khachiyan (2½) 2632 – GM Joel Benjamin (3) 2650

Standings Top 6

   1. GM Shulman, Yury (4)……….      4.0
   2. GM Akobian, Varuzhan (7)……        4.0
   3. GM Kamsky, Gata (1)………..     3.5
   4. GM Nakamura, Hikaru (2)…….        3.5
   5. GM Onischuk, Alexander (3)….      3.5
   6. IM Hess, Robert (17)……….        3.5

Kamsky vs Hess Round 6

Kamsky vs Hess Round 6

Players Round 6

Players Round 6

Yury Shulman Round 6

Yury Shulman Round 6

Photos of players by: Betsy Dynako, Official Event Photographer

Results: Round 6 (May 13, 2009)                                                                              
Lawton,Charles – Gulko, Boris F 0-1 36 B43 Sicilian Paulsen
Shabalov, Alexander – Eckert, Doug D 1-0 25 B80 Sicilian Scheveningen
Hughes, Tyler B – Ibragimov, Ildar 0-1 34 E20 Nimzo Indian
Krush, Irina – Becerra Rivero, Julio 1-0 40 D44 Anti-Meran Gambit
Christiansen, Larry M – Robson, Ray 0-1 36 D31 Semi-Slav Defence
Sevillano, Enrico – Ehlvest, Jaan ½-½ 69 C64 Ruy Lopez Classical
Kaidanov, Gregory S – Shankland, Samuel L 1-0 49 D45 Anti-Meran Variations
Khachiyan, Melikset – Benjamin, Joel 0-1 49 C50 Giuoco Piano
Brooks, Michael A – Friedel, Joshua E 0-1 40 C69 Ruy Lopez Exchange
Onischuk, Alexander – Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ 43 E43 Nimzo Indian Rubinstein
Kamsky, Gata – Hess, Robert L ½-½ 35 B72 Sicilian Dragon
Akobian, Varuzhan – Shulman, Yuri ½-½ 33 D45 Anti-Meran Variations

Standings After Round 6 – Top 10
1.  GM Shulman, Yury (4)…….  IL 2697    4.5
2.  GM Akobian, Varuzhan (7)…  CA 2664   4.5
3.  GM Kamsky, Gata (1)……..  NY 2798   4.0
4.  GM Nakamura, Hikaru (2)….  NY 2757   4.0
5.  GM Onischuk, Alexander (3).  VA 2736   4.0
6.  GM Benjamin, Joel (9)……  NJ 2650   4.0
7.  GM Friedel, Joshua (15)….  NH 2568   4.0
8.  IM Hess, Robert (17)…….  NY 2545    4.0
9.  GM Kaidanov, Gregory (8)…  KY 2662  3.5
10. IM Robson, Ray (18)……..  FL 2542  3.5

Newsupdate from Saint Louis Chess Club


St. Louis, Mo., May 13, 2009 — Defending champion Yury Shulman, of Barrington, Ill., and Varuzhan Akobian, of North Hollywood, Calif., continue to hold the lead of the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
As overnight leaders, the two were matched up Wednesday in round six of the $135,000 championship. A win would have given the victor sole possession of first place, but Shulman and Akobian played to a draw. They share the top of the leader board with 4.5 points.
A pack of six players is a half-point back, including the top three ranked U.S. players coming into the tournament:  New Yorkers Gata Kamsky and Hikaru Nakamura,  and Alexander Onischuk, of Baltimore. Also in the group is 17-year-old Robert Hess, of New York, who played to a draw Wednesday in his match with Kamsky.  
The youngest player in the field, 14-year-old Ray Robson, of Largo, Fla., beat three-time U.S. champion Larry Christiansen, of Cambridge, Mass., as the young phenom took a big step in his quest to becoming the country’s youngest chess grandmaster. Also breaking down the barriers in the game was another outstanding performance from Irina Krush, of Brooklyn, N.Y., the sole woman player in the championship after the illness-related withdrawal of Anna Zatonskih of Long Island, N.Y. Krush turned in the best performance of the day by beating Julio Becerra, a grandmaster from Miami, Fl.

Results: Round 7
1. GM Yury Shulman (4½) 2697 0-1 GM Alexander Onischuk (4) 2736
2. GM Hikaru Nakamura (4) 2757 1-0 GM Varuzhan Akobian (4½) 2664
3. GM Joel Benjamin (4) 2650 0-1 GM Gata Kamsky (4) 2798
4. GM Joshua Friedel (4) 2568 0-1 IM Robert Hess (4) 2545
5. IM Enrico Sevillano (3) 2549 1-0 GM Gregory Kaidanov (3½) 2662
6. IM Ray Robson (3½) 2542 0-1 IM Michael Brooks (3) 2419
7. GM Jaan Ehlvest (3) 2649 1-0 IM Irina Krush (3) 2496
8. GM Ildar Ibragimov (2½) 2628 1-0 GM Melikset Khachiyan (2½) 2632
9. GM Boris Gulko (2½) 2631 ½-½ GM Alexander Shabalov (2½) 2620
10. IM Samuel Shankland (2½) 2464 0-1 Tyler Hughes (2) 2293
11. FM Doug Eckert (1) 2278 0-1 GM Larry Christiansen (2) 2681
12. GM Julio Becerra (2) 2672 1-0 Charles Lawton (0) 2350

Round 8, Saturday, May 16, 11:00 am

1. GM Gata Kamsky (5) 2798 – GM Alexander Onischuk (5) 2736
2. IM Robert Hess (5) 2545 – GM Yury Shulman (4½) 2697
3. IM Michael Brooks (4) 2419 – GM Hikaru Nakamura (5) 2757
4. GM Varuzhan Akobian (4½) 2664 – GM Joel Benjamin (4) 2650
5. GM Joshua Friedel (4) 2568 – GM Jaan Ehlvest (4) 2649
6. IM Ray Robson (3½) 2542 – IM Enrico Sevillano (4) 2549
7. GM Gregory Kaidanov (3½) 2662 – GM Ildar Ibragimov (3½) 2628
8. GM Larry Christiansen (3) 2681 – Tyler Hughes (3) 2293
9. GM Boris Gulko (3) 2631 – GM Julio Becerra (3) 2672
10. GM Alexander Shabalov (3) 2620 – IM Irina Krush (3) 2496
11. GM Melikset Khachiyan (2½) 2632 – FM Doug Eckert (1) 2278
12. Charles Lawton (0) 2350 – IM Samuel Shankland (2½) 2464

Standings: Top 10
1.  GM Kamsky, Gata (1)…….. NY 2798   5.0
2.  GM Nakamura, Hikaru (2)…. NY 2757    5.0
3.  GM Onischuk, Alexander (3). VA 2736     5.0
4.  IM Hess, Robert (17)……. NY 2545   5.0
5.  GM Shulman, Yury (4)……. IL 2697     4.5
6.  GM Akobian, Varuzhan (7)… CA 2664   4.5
7.  GM Benjamin, Joel (9)…… NJ 2650    4.0
8.  GM Ehlvest, Jaan (10)…… NY 2649    4.0
9.  GM Friedel, Joshua (15)…. NH 2568   4.0
10. IM Sevillano, Enrico (16).. CA 2549    4.0

News-update from Saint Louis Chess Club:


St. Louis, Mo., 15 May, 2009 — The leaderboard flipped Thursday in the seventh of nine rounds of the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. At the end of the day, the three top seeds coming into the tournament, and a 17-year-old rising star, shared first place.

No. 1 seed Gata Kamsky, of Brooklyn, N.Y., No. 2 Hikaru Nakamura, of White Plains, N.Y.,  No. 3 Alexander Onsichuk, of Baltimore, and Robert Hess, 17, of Brooklyn, N.Y., have 5 points apiece. There is $135,000 in prize money at stake. Defending champion Yury Shulman, of Barrington, Ill., and Varuzhan Akobian, of North Hollywood, Calif., who shared the lead after the sixth routh, fell into second place with 4.5 points after losing to Onischuk and Nakamura, respectively. Kamsky defeated three-time U.S. champion Joel Benjamin, of New Jersey, and Hess defeated Josh Friedel, of New York.
Michael Brooks, of Kansas City, Mo., had a dramatic turnaround in his game, putting him closer to earning grandmaster status.  Brooks, 47, beat the youngest player in the field, 14-year-old phenom Ray Robson, of Largo, Fla., to end the day with 4 points.  Not only will his above-par performance raise his chess rating, but if he manages to score 1.5 points over his final two games, he will be on course for a grandmaster norm. No Missourian has become a grandmaster.
Friday is a rest day.  Round eight of the nine-round championship will be on Saturday. The tournament concludes Sunday.

 Round 8: Results
If you click on my blogger link here, you can play through the games of the top boards in Round 8. The link will open in a new window.


Round 8 Kamsky vs Onischuk end position 1/2

Round 8 Kamsky vs Onischuk end position 1/2

Round 8 Akobian vs Benjamin move 42

Round 8 Akobian vs Benjamin move 42

Round 8 Hess vs Shulman move 42

Round 8 Hess vs Shulman move 42

Round 8 Lawton vs Shankland final position 1/2

Round 8 Lawton vs Shankland final position 1/2

Round 8 Robson vs Sevillano move 41

Round 8 Robson vs Sevillano move 41

Round 8 Kamsky vs Onischuk

Round 8 Kamsky vs Onischuk

 NEWS-update from Saint Louis Chess Club:


Saint. Louis, May 16 — After eight rounds of tense competition at the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship, two young players enter the final round tied for the lead and the title.
Former champion and second seed Hikaru Nakamura, 21, of White Plains, N.Y., who in 2004 became the youngest player since Bobby Fischer to win the national title, was the first to take the lead in the penultimate round by beating Michael Brooks, of Kansas City, Mo. He has six points.Nakamura was followed later in the day at the top of the leader board by rising star and high school football linebacker Robert Hess, 17, of New York. Hess capitalized on an endgame error from defending champion Yury Shulman, of Barrington, Ill., to score a win when a draw seemed the more likely result.  
Three players are a half point behind Nakamura and Hess: No. 1 seed Gata Kamsky, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Alexander Onischuk, of Baltimore, (who drew with Kamsky); Varuzhan Akobian, of North Hollywood, Calif., who beat three-time U.S. champion Joel Benjamin, of New Jersey; and Josh Friedel, of New York, who beat Jaan Ehlvest, of Baltimore. In the final round, Nakamura will play Friedel and Hess will meet Akobian.  If more than one player finishes with the same number of points at the top of the leader board, there will be a playoff for the title and prize money on Sunday evening.
Despite losing to Nakamura, Michael Brooks’ dream of achieving a grandmaster norm late in life at 47 still lives on.  But to do so, he faces the tough task of having to win his last round game against Ildar Ilbragimov, of New Haven, Conn., to become the first Missourian to attain a grandmaster-level performance. 

Meanwhile, the youngest player in the 24-player field, Ray Robson, 14, of Largo, Fla., needs only a draw against his coach, Alexander Onischuk, to also score his first grandmaster norm.  
Standings after round 8 – Top 6
1.  GM Nakamura, Hikaru (2)…. NY 2757…6.0
2.  IM Hess, Robert (17)……. NY 2545…6.0
3.  GM Kamsky, Gata (1)…….. NY 2798…5.5
4.  GM Onischuk, Alexander (3). VA 2736…5.5
5.  GM Akobian, Varuzhan (7)… CA 2664…5.5
6.  GM Friedel, Joshua (15)…. NH 2568…5.0

Pairings: FINAL
Round 9, Sunday, May 17, 10:00 am
Board White Rating Result Black Rating
1. IM Robert Hess (6) 2545 – GM Varuzhan Akobian (5½) 2664
2. GM Hikaru Nakamura (6) 2757 – GM Joshua Friedel (5) 2568
3. GM Alexander Onischuk (5½) 2736 – IM Ray Robson (4½) 2542
4. GM Jaan Ehlvest (4) 2649 – GM Gata Kamsky (5½) 2798
5. GM Yury Shulman (4½) 2697 – GM Gregory Kaidanov (4) 2662
6. IM Enrico Sevillano (4) 2549 – GM Larry Christiansen (4) 2681
7. GM Joel Benjamin (4) 2650 – GM Alexander Shabalov (4) 2620
8. GM Ildar Ibragimov (4) 2628 – IM Michael Brooks (4) 2419
9. IM Samuel Shankland (3) 2464 – GM Boris Gulko (3½) 2631
10. GM Julio Becerra (3½) 2672 – GM Melikset Khachiyan (2½) 2632
11. Tyler Hughes (3) 2293 – FM Doug Eckert (2) 2278
12. IM Irina Krush (3) 2496 – Charles Lawton (½) 2350

Round 9 – 17th May 2009

Round 9 Nakamura vs Friedel 1-0

Round 9 Nakamura vs Friedel 1-0

 A trapped Queen in this game if you ask me!

The winner of the US Chess Championships 2009....

The winner of the US Chess Championships 2009....

NEWS-update from Saint Louis Chess Club


Saint Louis, May 17 — Hikaru Nakamura, 21, of White Plains, N.Y., won the the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship after winning in the ninth and final round at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
Second-seeded Nakamura, who also won the title in 2004, when he was just 16, won the venerable 164-year-old title and first prize of $40,000 ($35,000, plus a $5,000 outright winner’s bonus) after beating Josh Friedel, of New York. Nakamura finished with seven points over nine games, and never lost a game.
He was assured the title after 17-year-old Robert Hess, of New York, managed only a draw in his last round game with Varuzhan Akobian, of North Hollywood, Calif. Hess and Nakamura entered the final round tied with six points. Hess tied for second with Alexander Onischuk of Baltimore, who defeated the youngest player in the tournament, Ray Robson, 14, of Largo, Fla.

Akobian and Gata Kamsky, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who was the No. 1 seed coming into the tournament, tied for fourth. Nakamura, who as a junior broke every age-group record set by Bobby Fischer, except that of youngest U.S. champion (Fischer did this at age 14), played confident and assured over the 10 days of tense competition.  

“I was very happy with my play throughout and relieved to have won the title again,” said Nakamura moments after being confirmed champion.  “This is a title that means so much to me and the U.S. chess community — and I have to thank the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis for putting on such a memorable championship.  Winning the second title feels better to me than the first.”
Nakamura will officially be crowned the 2009 U.S. chess champion Sunday evening by championship sponsor Rex Sinquefield — founder of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center — during a closing ceremony at the Zodiac Room of the Chase Park Hotel in St.  Louis’ trendy Central West End.

Round 3 – comments

Comments: Round 6

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Fook Gallooper

Image: artthrob.co.za artist:Norman Catherine

I’m not a big fan of  Walter Battiss, but do like some of his art. He got his inspiration from Picasso – some of his art appeals to me and other…well…appeals to other people…The art in this post is what appeals to me. What I really like about him, is his imagination! He created the fook characters and fook island, a fookian passport, fookian banknotes! His fookian drivers license was accepted in the USA , his colourful fookian passport has stamps from Australia, Britain and Germany and he exchanged a fookian banknote at the airport at Rome…hehe..I think it’s so funny. In these credit crunch days, why not trying your luck! You might just be lucky and your fookian banknotes will be accepted too..good luck!! This second piece of art is a self portrait by Battiss and I quite like the “fook gallooper” – done by another artist. He also created a fookian language, I wish I could see what that is like! Read what Wikipedia says about him in this post. Links in this post will open in a new window.

Image and read more about Battiss here

Image here: A self portrait by Walter Battiss

Walter Battiss: Zwartkrans

Walter Battiss: Streetmarket


Somerset East is named after Lord Charles Somerset.[ image]
here about Somerset East and things to do and see.

Walter Wahl Battiss (January 6, 1906 – August 20, 1982) was a South African artist, generally considered the foremost South African abstract painter and known as the creator of the quirky “Fook Island” concept.

Born into English Methodist family in the Karoo town of Somerset East, [South Africa], Battiss first became interested in archaeology and primitive art as a young boy after moving to Koffiefontein in 1917. In 1919 the Battiss family settled in Fauresmith where he completed his education, matriculating in 1923. In 1924 he became a clerk in the Magistrates Court in Rustenburg. His formal art studies started in 1929 at the Witwatersrand Technical College (drawing and painting), followed by the Johannesburg Training College (a Teacher’s Diploma) and etching lessons. Battiss continued his studies while working as a magistrate’s clerk, and finally obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts at University of South Africa at the age of 35.

Battiss was a founding member of the New Group and was unique in that he had not studied overseas. In 1938 he visited Europe for the first time, and in 1939 he published his first book, “The Amazing Bushman”. His interest in primitive rock art had a very profound impact on his ideas and he regarded San painting as an important art form. He was also influenced by Ndebele beadwork, pre-Islamic cultures and calligraphy.

In a 1949 trip to Europe he befriended Picasso who would have an influence on his already quirky style.

He visited Greece in 1966-1968 and the Seychelles in 1972, which inspired his make-believe Fook Island.

Battiss published nine books, wrote many articles and founded the periodical “De Arte”. He taught Pretoria Boys High School students for 30 years at the Pretoria Art Centre, of which was the principal from 1953-58. He also taught at UNISA where he became Professor of Fine Art in 1964 and retired in 1971. In 1973 he was awarded a D. Litt et Phil (honoris causa) from UNISA.[University of South Africa]

In 1981 he donated all his work to the newly opened “Walter Battiss Museum” in his birthplace of Somerset East.

Walter Battiss died in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal of a heart attack on 20 August 1982.

Walter Battiss’ long career as an artist has been devoted to the study of man in his environment; first in the context of Africa and rock art, then, later, in the interpretation of this concept in its broadest sense. His versatility and influence as in innovator, and the incentive he has provided for many aspiring artists, have secured him a very special place among leading South African artists.

Walter Battiss was a legendary figure – to such an extent that Professor Neville Dubow of the Michaelis School of Art, University of Cape Town, once remarked that had Battiss not existed, we would have had to invent him!

Battiss’s weird and wonderful appearance, his colourful and eccentric persona, his insatiable curiosity about life, and his remarkable work ethic, continue to challenge intellectual exploration of his work and capture the imagination of art lovers both at home and abroad.

Fook Island
This “island of the imagination” was a materialisation of Battiss’ philosophy for which he created a map, imaginary people, plants, animals, a history as well as a stamps, currency, passports and driver’s licences. He created a Fookian language with a full alphabet as well. This utopian ‘island’ was a composite of the many islands he visited – which included Zanzibar, the Seychelles, Madagascar, Fiji, Hawaii, Samoa, the Greek Isles and the Comores – blended together in his customary imaginative fashion. In Battiss’s words, “It is something that does not exist. I thought that I would take an island – the island that is inside all of us. I would turn this island into a real thing … I would give it a name”.

Fook was a result of his fertile imagination as well as his opposition to the Conceptualist Art movement of the 1960s and 70’s, in Europe and America. The movement espoused that the construction of art was confined to the ‘moment’ in which it was created. He believed on the contrary that all art exists in the now and this he argued to represent with Fook Island, which was always in the now and always an essential part of reality.

South Africans such as actress Janet Suzman, artist (and Battiss protegé) Norman Catherine, writer Esmé Berman and many others embraced the philosophy of Fook Island. The journalist Jani Allan interviewed Battiss in 1982 and also agreed to his request of becoming a ‘resident’ of the imaginary island.[1]

Battiss’ Fookian Driver’s License was accepted in America and the colourful pages of his Fookian Passport has official stamps from Australia, Britain and Germany. A Fookian banknote was also exchanged at a Rome airport for $10!

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live-games-nalchik-2009 Nalchik Live Games 2009

 It’s time for a chess entry! One of my favourite players, Ivanchuk is again playing and how can I miss this man if he’s playing! One other favourite  is Kamsky, although I haven’t played through more than a few games of him. Kamsky is an American player. I like the opening ceremony pics! They look spectacular! On the official site you can see even more. I think the players must have enjoyed all the attention they got from those beautiful girls!  Boris Spassky has been invited to comment the games of these chess masters in this FIDE Grand Prix Tournament. Click on the image-link for live games. All links will open in a new window. Click on images for a larger view.

Please click HERE for the Official site of Nalchik 2009.

Fourth FIDE Grand Prix in Nalchik – The fourth FIDE Grand Prix Series Tournament has started on the 14th April and will continue till the 29th April in the Intour Hotel Sindica in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia. The fourteen participants include Ivanchuk, Aronian, Mamedyarov, Leko, Kamsky, Svidler, Karjakin and Grischuk. Average rating: around 2725 points. The total prize fund is 162,000 Euros.

The fourth FIDE Grand Prix will be the strongest in the series, and one of the strongest tournaments of the world this year. New functions on the FIDE website allow us to see the current rating changes of top-grandmasters. The average rating of the tournament in Nalchik will be around 2725 points based on the April 2009 list to be published soon. Previously the highest average rated tournament was held in the third stage of the series, Elista (2715 points).

The top-rated player of the competition is the World Cup 2005 and Olympiad winner Levon Aronian. Two players have also shown excellent results this year: Alexander Grischuk – the winner of the Linares and Elista super tournaments, and Sergey Karjakin, who won the Corus tournament in January in Wijk aan Zee. The World Cup 2007 winner Gata Kamsky this year has shown also a good performance during the Challenge match against Veselin Topalov. The tournament is so evenly balanced that every one of the 14 participants who comes to Nalchik is in a good position to win the tournament. Resource: Chessbase. All pictures of players in this post are from the official site.




Ivanchuk vs Svidler


Kamsky vs Bacrot (from France)


Boris Spassky, an old “friend” of Bobby Fischer.






All the players


Image: Chessbase

The entry hall of Hotel “Sindica”, where the games of the Grand Prix are being played.


Image: Chessbase

The city of Nalchik is situated at an altitude of 550 meters (1,804 ft) in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. It covers an area of 131 square kilometers (50.6 sq mi). Population: 275,000. The city is named after the Nalchik River, on the shores of which it is located. The word “Nalchik” literally means “small horseshoe” in Kabardian – it is a diminutive of nal, the Turkic and Turkish word for “horseshoe”. Nalchik was chosen the “second cleanest city of Russia” in 2003….Chessbase





Round 5 results: click on the image for  a clear view


Standings after round 5

Nalchik round-9-ivanchuk-vs-akopian 1/2

Nalchik Round 9 Ivanchuk vs Akopian end position 1/2


Nalchik Round 9 Grischuk vs Kamsky end position 0-1


Nalchik Round 9 Bacrot vs Mamedyarov end position 1-0


Nalchik Round 9 Gelfand vs Aronian end position 1/2


Nalchik Standings after round 9 – click on images for a larger view


Nalchik Pairings round 10 and round 11 – click on images for a clear view


Nalchik Pairings round 12 and round 13


Nalchik Round 13 – Bacrot vs Alekseev – final position


Nalchik Round 13 – Gelfand vs Sergey – final position


Nalchik 2009 : Final standings – click on images for a larger view

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We visited Boscastle on Friday before we left Cornwall. Click here to read about our visit to Hawker’s hut in Cornwall at Morwenstow. On the map you can see where Boscastle is. Morwenstow is about 15 min from Bude. Boscastle is a beautiful fishing village with a tiny harbour, about 15 miles from Bude on the A39.The village was flooded in 2004, we watched tv-news and couldn’t believe what we were seeing on the news. Click on the mosaic-image to see a larger view of the images in the mosaic. Click here to see images of how Boscastle village was flooded in 2004.


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South Africans outside South Africa voted today. In some of these photos you can see Saffas in London waiting to cast their votes at South Africa House, Trafalgar Square. Other photos show the hustle and bustle of  the- every-day-Trafalgar Square. Click on the images to have a clear view.

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(click on the mosaic to have a clear view of the images in the mosaic – Hawker’s Hut is in the first image) 

Photo updates

As I promised this morning, I’m back to tell you about Hawker and his hut. Hawker was a vicar, very famous and the same time eccentric. He built the Rectory Farm with his own money – as the previous one was beyond repair. The Rectory has five chimneys which represented the five parishes where he served previously. He cared for education and built the local primary school – St Mark’s School. The school was built in the shape of a cross.  As a result of the Rectory and school, he was a poor man for the rest of his life. Hawker was not only a vicar, but also a poet. He also introduced the Harvest Festival like we know it today. On the cliffs of Morwenstow – he built a hut from driftwood. In his hut he used to read his mail and write his poems. Apparently he enjoyed getting mail and was quite sad/upset when the postman didn’t bring him any mail. What made him eccentric, – apart from other likes/dislikes –  is the fact that he smoked opium!  He was married twice and his first wife was about 20 years his senior. On his death-bed, 14 August 1875, he was received into the Catholic Church.

We stayed at a B&B in Morwenstow, a tiny hamlet. Shop is about 1,5 miles from Morwenstow towards Bude.  Shop is a tiny village where you will find a primary school, a tiny local shop with a post office and a few houses. Walking distance from the B&B – towards the cliffs of Morwenstow –  is Crosstown, also a tiny hamlet. It is when walking towards Crosstown, that you experience the fresh breeze blowing inland from the jagged coastline and this is where you will find Hawker’s hut, the smallest property of the National Trust. I borrowed a small booklet about this corner of Cornish-land from Carol at the B&B and will need to contact her in order to get the title of the booklet. I think I got distracted by Hector, their dog and I didn’t even finish all my writing about Hawker from the booklet. I’m going to quote what I have  for you to enjoy. I’ve also found some of his poems and a ballad, which is almost like a national anthem for the people of Cornish-country. In my next entry I will have pictures about Boscastle, a beautiful coastal fisherman’s town.  In 2004 Boscastle was flooded and I was surprised to see how the town has recovered.

Robert Stephen Hawker began his priesthood at Morwenstow in 1834. He became one of the best-known, most talked-about clerics in the kingdom. His exploits coping with shipwrecked sailors alone made him a legend in his lifetime. His parish had a background of smuggling and wrecking, non-conformity and a degree of poverty. His people were mostly farmers and labourers and many of the labourers were poverty stricken. He immediately identified himself with the people and the place and put himself on the map and in the history books as one of the most colourful figures of all time in the West country. “Footprints of Former Men” is one book written by him. He had long hair but loathed beards and was proud of his ears which had no lobes – saying the Duke of Wellington had such ears and that the same features could be traced in all the acurate pictures of Our Lord. Oscar Wilde said “One should always be a little improbable.”  R. S. Hawker was more than a little. He had quirks and passions – strong dislikes. Hawker perpetuated the legend (some say he invented it) that the saint Morwena was the daughter of Breachan, a Celtic King who lived in the ninth century. He claimed that he had seen the ghost of saint Morwena. Morwenstow origins from the Celtic word “Morwen” –  which means “white or fair as the sea” – and the Saxon word “stow” which means “Church”. John Betjeman visited the parish in the 1930’s and wrote in his research notes: “Out of the trees rise the vicarage chimney stacks in the form of miniature church towers, part of the Gothic fancy of the builder, the Rev RS Hawker, its poetic and Tractarian vicar…”

Are they not all Ministering Spirits?
By Robert Stephen Hawker

We see them not – we cannot hear
The music of their wing –
Yet know we that they sojourn near,
The Angels of the spring!

They glide along this lovely ground
When the first violet grows;
Their graceful hands have just unbound
The zone of yonder rose.

I gather it for thy dear breast,
From stain and shadow free:
That which an Angel’s touch hath blest
Is meet, my love, for thee!

The Butterfly
By Robert Stephen Hawker

Bird of the moths! That radiant wing
Hath borne thee from thine earthly lair;
Thou revellest on the breath of spring,
A graceful shape of woven air!

The glories of the earth are thine,
The joyful breese, the balmy sky;
For thee the starry roses shine,
And violets in their valleys sigh.

Yet was the scene as soft and bright
When thou wert low in wormy rest:
The skies of summer gushed with light,
The blossoms breathed on Nature’s breast.

But thou that gladness didst not share,
A cave restrained that shadowy form;
In vain did fragrance fill the air,
Dew soften and the sunbeams warm.

Dull was thy day – a living death,
Till the great change in glory came,
And thou, a thing of life and breath,
Didst cleave the air with quivering frame!

My son! my son! read, mark, and learn
This parable of summer skies,
Until thy trusting spirit yearn,
Like the bright moth, to rush and rise.

Lo! round and near, a mightier scene,
With hues that flesh may not behold;
There all things glow with loveliest mien,
And earthly forms have heavenly mould!

Oh! for that place of paths divine,
By the freed soul in rapture trod;
The upper air, the fields that shine,
For ever in the light of God!

‘The Song of the Western Men’.

A good sword and a trust hand!
A merry heart and true
King James’s men shall understand
What Cornish lads can do!

And have they fixed the where and when?
And shall Trelawny die ?
Here’s twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!

Out spake our Captain brave and bold
A merry wight was he;
‘If London Tower were Michael’s hold’
We’d set Trelawny free

‘We’ll cross the Tamar, land to land:
The Seven is no stay:
With ‘one and all’, and hand in hand;
And who shall bid us nay?.

‘And when we come to London Wall,
A pleasant sight to view,
Come forth! Come forth!
Ye cowards all;Here’s men as good as you

‘Trelawny he’s in the keep and hold:
Trelawny he may die
But here’s twenty thousand Cornish bold
Will know the reason why!
by Robert Stephen Hawker 1825


Crosstown, where there is a 13th Century pub, “The Bush-Inn”. Crosstown is about 500m from the B&B. It’s also the road towards Hawker’s Hut. The Rectory Farm is about 500m from the Bush-Inn. The Rectory Farm is the 2nd image top-left in the mosaic-image.


The road to Shop…at this fork – which is about 800m from the B&B – you turn right…


Inside Hawker’s hut.


The roof of Hawker’s hut.


The church of St Morwenna and St John the Baptist at Morwenstow. There are more than 40 graves –  mostly from shipwrecked sailors.


The church from a different view.


A ship’s figurehead serves as a grave marker in the churchyard at the church of St Morwenna and St John the Baptist, Morwenstow.



St John’s Well

If you look closely, you will see the graves of the soldiers.


This is Hector, the B&B-dog,  he is about 12 years old.
here for the route and details. This walk is about 2-3 miles. The link will open in a new window.

This incident happened on Friday and we were there Friday till 11 am before we left the area. See the  original news article here. The link will open in a new window.

Sea search called off for missing man

Sunday 12th April 10:00

THE search has been called off for a man who went missing off the Cornish coast. A massive rescue operation was launched on Friday evening after two men got into difficulties on cliffs in North Cornwall. One person was rescued by emergency services halfway down the cliff face at Hawker’s Hut at Morwenstow, north of Bude. He was winched to safety by the helicopter crew from RNAS Culdrose.
The search, which included Bude lifeboat crews, the Bude Coastguard team and officers from Devon and Cornwall police, continued for the second man on Friday night and Saturday before it was abandoned yesterday afternoon. The name of the missing man, who is in his early 20s, is not known at this time.
The circumstances surrounding the rescue operation are still unclear. Speaking on Firday, a spokesman for Bude Lifeboat Station said: “We found clothes belonging to the second casualty at Hawker’s Hut. I don’t think the two people were swimming – it’s more likely that they were climbing down the cliff to see the rock pools and then got into trouble.
“We have a big spring tide at the moment which is very powerful – we are just hoping that he’s not in the water.”

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 I’ve had enough! Ask me anything, but not about Assessment, Formative Assessment, Summative Assessment, Assessment FOR Learning, Assessment OF learning, Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognitive Levels and
Kolb’s learning styles, reports, curriculum, levels, attainment levels, reflective learning, targets, etc. etc. etc. everything done and dusted for my assignment!


Image: Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognitive Levels


Update: Great site about Assessment Click here and the link will open in a new window.
Formative Assessment

Whereas Summative Assessment involves measuring what has been learned in formal assessment, Formative Assessment in its widest sense refers to any process by which pupils are made aware of how they can make progress. The “Black Box” literature has been extremely influential around the world (see Selected References below). This was because it identified key strategies which had been shown to improve pupils’ learning. Whereas Summative Assessment requires careful record-keeping, much of the Formative Assessment process will not be recorded by the teacher, though it may be an aspect of Personal Learning Planning.

Assessment is for Learning and Formative Assessment
This paper focuses on themes arising from the Black Box research. However, the term “Formative Assessment” is used in a very wide sense. Many strategies can be said to help pupils understand where they are in the learning process, what progress they should aim for and how to make that progress. Other Toolkit papers go into such strategies in some depth; indeed, key elements of this paper (Questioning, Peer Assessment, and Feedback) are also dealt with in greater depth in other papers. Thus, it may be that studying the issue of Gender may be particularly helpful in some situations, in consideration of Formative Assessment strategies with boys, for example. Or perhaps an understanding of Emotional Intelligence, or Learning Styles or use of Praise or any of the other issues covered in Toolkit papers may be more fruitful for certain teachers.

This paper should be understood as an introduction to the topic of Formative Assessment, which has an absolutely central role in AifL developments. Other Toolkit papers should be read for suggestions as to how the principles of Formative Assessment can be extended in the widest sense.

For Formative Assessment to be most effective, there should be a whole-school approach to it, with colleagues sharing best practice and planning for improvement.

Points Arising from Research
Research indicates that an emphasis on formative assessment has the following effects:
Pupils learn more effectively

Some pupils feel more involved in the schooling process and become less disaffected

Teaching is focussed more effectively on the individual pupil

Positive effects may be particularly evident in the less able

Learning in the wider (not subject-specific) sense can be enhanced

Key Elements of Formative Assessment (Based on the Black Box research)

The Task:
The task should take account of prior learning and should be clearly understood by the pupil

The way in which they will be judged should be clearly understood by pupils

Pupils should be aware of where they stand at the beginning of the task

They should have a clear understanding of the goal and how to achieve it

They should be given opportunities to set their own goals

They should have opportunities to make real decisions and choices

Models of good work should be provided for pupils


“Take-up time” should be allowed for the pupil to formulate a response

The pupil’s articulation of understanding is vital, even if it is incorrect

According to research, teachers very often answer their own questions – this should be avoided

Answers should not be taken just from those who put their hands up (we need to know why others haven’t put their hands up)

Pupils should be encouraged to ask questions

Opportunities should be given for collaborative attempts at answering questions

Pupils should be encouraged to think about the process of their learning (“metacognition”)


Tests at the end of a teaching block are too late to be used for formative assessment

Tests should be short and relatively frequent (new learning should be tested within a week). The formative use of summative tests has been recognised as a very powerful aspect of formative assessment.

Assessment should be geared to what the pupil is capable of

Questions should be carefully worded and should be seen to be relevant by pupils

Pairs and groups can explore questions and report back to others (eg “think-pair-share”)

The teacher needs to understand the abilities and needs of individuals in observation exercises

The teacher should adapt the teaching and learning process to react to what has been observed


It should be given promptly

It should give the pupil a sense of what has been achieved as well as improvement still to be achieved

Marks/grades are not helpful in a formative sense and may demotivate

Comments should be limited in number and should give specific advice as to how goals can be achieved

Oral feedback (including discussion) is the most effective type

Targets and progress should be discussed with pupils while they are working on the task

Pupils should be encouraged to reflect on the feedback and should be given time to work on improvements

Where appropriate, attempts should be made to involve parents in the learning triggered by feedback

Peer and Self-Assessment:

Pupils need good understanding of the criteria for success

Pupils should make judgements themselves about their progress towards targets

Low achievers and pupils with learning difficulties can benefit from self-monitoring

The discussion process in peer assessment gives valuable opportunity for pupils to talk about their developing understanding

Reflection and Discussion

How does your current practice relate to the advice from research?

Can you identify aspects of your current practice which show some of the principles at work?

Can you see ways in which you could incorporate some new aspects of the advice into your classroom work?
A great video on Teachers’ TV about discipline in school – according to the new government.

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