08 November, 2015

White to play, and not make the obvious mistake : a cautionary tale

This has echoes of a previous post on focusing on material too much...

White to play
Has Black made a mistake ? The knight has played in front of the Queen ready to be pinned.

But if White obliges with Re1, then the knight has a diversionary job to do... Nf3+ !

White loses the exchange and the game

31 October, 2015

Black to move, with a killer blow

I always enjoy it when White opens with 1.d4.

Replying e6 and seeing 2.e5 appear on the board, allows me to steer straight to the French Defence, and find out if White really intended this or not.

Here's what I saw today....

3. Qg4 ?!
Never seen that so early in a French ( and my database agrees : only two games found, both played in Junior competitions ).

I know why it is played at later times ( often after Bb4+ ) to force the weakening g6 or the return of the Bishop to f8, with the loss of a tempo, but on move 3, it just doesn't work. 

It probably means that White does not know the French Defence, and this was proved true in a short space of time.

Here is the critical position after Black has developed and won material, by chasing the Queen. 

Black to finish White with a killer blow, and not difficult to find.

Black to play and win

25 October, 2015

T66 Openings

Below, the top 10 T66 Openings so far ( Playoffs are ongoing) ...

4 e4 openings, 4 with d4, and 2 others ( Réti/English).

Hardly much of a change in major openings played, nor on the split between King- and Queen-pawn, with 1.e4 grabbing 53% of the games.

Oddest opening was 1.a3, which lost, although the opening can hardly be blamed for the tactical oversights in the game.

One Falkbeer Counter-Gambit, and also nice to see 1.Nc3 appearing twice, once transposing to a Philidor and the other remaining independent. Dirk van Geet would be pleased to see it still in action !

Seven games less than 10 moves, but no traps, just over-looked tactics at fault.

                           T66 Top 10 Played Openings

B20-B99Sicilian 116 (15.6%)
C00-C19French Defence 64 (8.6%) 
D00-D05Queen's Pawn ( General ) 54 (7.3%)
A10-A39English  48  (6.5%)
D30-D69 Queen's Gambit Declined44 ( 6.0 % )
B10-B19Caro-Kann39 (5.3 % )
C60-C99Spanish Game ( Ruy Lopez)36 (4.9 %)
A45-A50Indian & Torre Attack32 (4.3 %) 
A04-A09Reti30 ( 4.0 % )
E60-E99King's Indian  28 ( 3.77 % )

All games were re-indexed by ECO code using Chess Assistant 11,. 

The Opening classification ranges ( ie grouping ECO codes), I based on those from Chessville (many thanks, although it seems to have disappeared :(

See also T56 Summary,  T55 SummaryT51 Summary,  T50 Summary and T47 SummaryT57-59 Summary , T61 SummaryT62 Summary and T63 Summary

09 October, 2015

Black to Play...again

A recurring theme...blitz, what is is good for...

The answer not being 'absolutely nothing, say it again ! ''

It's fine for a bit of relaxation, maybe for trialling and gaining some experience in a new opening, but the most frustrating part is going over the games afterwards and finding that you missed a great combination or sacrifice, which you may well not have missed in a 'proper game' with more time.

Here's an example.

Black to Play

I know why I missed it ( I'm Black, by the way ) as I had been focusing on defence around the king. threats down the h-file, threats of knight and Queen versus h7, etc, plus the fact that it was 'second time around', since it had been on show a couple of moves before.

But I did, I missed a lovely riposte that would have switched Black to attack.

Nevertheless, I managed a draw,which was a satisfying result for me.

Any ideas ?

Solution [ Nxd4 ! ]

...."What is it good for ? Absolutely nothing "

26 August, 2015

Focus on Material ?

We are always warned of being greedy with material captures, and in hindsight its always easy to spot mistakes.

These occur in standard as well as blitz, but the latter gives rise to more of them.

Here's a few from recent games....

In the first White just played QxR on h2

Black to play : should he re-capture with Rxh2 ?

In the second, no capture, but Rc6 threatens the Bishop, leaving Rf8 en prise
White to play : should he play Bxf8 ?
Here White has captured a pawn, with Nxa3. Should Black take the knight ?

Black to play: should here re-capture with bxa3 ?

Not difficult decisions, but in the heat of the moment, and with the focus on your own plans, mistakes can be made !

The secondary point, is to bear in mind spotting mating patterns. 

An obvious one in the first example,in the second its clear, but maybe not obvious.

The third is also less obvious, but quite straightforward.

In fact, the third example could have been much easier for White...

White to play
Black has played c6, what is White's best move ( and its not Nxa3 ) ?

12 August, 2015

Bishop to the rescue

A neat way out here...

White to play

Although at first glance it looks bad for White, in fact the precarious position of the Black King offsets his passed pawn !

I would be extremely happy to be able to find such a combination in a match situation !

Highlight for solution [ 1.Bg5 c8=Q 2.g4+ fxg 3. Bxc1 g2 4.Be3 ]