25 November, 2014

T62 Openings Summary

T62 has concluded, so just on the eve of the T63 season, an appropriate time to look again at what Amateurs play in the opening phase in TL chess.

Still nailed in first place is the Sicilian Defence : what more can be said, even Anand chose to play it in the current WCC, so one can hardly complain !

Remaining in the top ten, and more on less in the same proportions, are the usual suspects of the French Defence, Queen's Pawn Systems, and the English Opening, just like last season.

It seems we amateurs stay with what we know.

Bubbling under the top 10 are the Slav, Pirc, Grunfeld, Scandinavian, Nimzo-Indian, Two Knights and Alekhine, all in double figures for number of games played.

Bringing up the rear, with only 1 game each, are the Modern Benoni ( Black lost but was rated 100 point below White ) , Budapest Gambit ( Black won, but was 150 points higher than White) , an Elephant Gambit (Black lost, but was 200 points lower-rated than White )  and of course, the endearing Falkbeer Counter-Gambit ( a draw  this time! but Black was 120 points higher-rated ).

Does that mean that, when you get down to the the result,  the opening doesn't really matter, its just the better player ?  Answers on a postcard , please !

Shortest win ? 9 moves, White didn't miss the knight fork !

9. Nf7+ !! Black Resigns

Longest ?  102 moves, where it took 30 moves to mate from the point of R + P  vs Q. Could you do any better ?

71...c1 Queens

Below, the plain facts....

If you play e4 , prepare for the Sicilian. I'm not properly prepared, so I don't play e4  :)

                           T62 Top 10 Played Openings

B20-B99Sicilian 120 (14%)
C00-C19French Defence 97 ( 10.8%)
D00-D05Queen's Pawn ( General) 76 ( 8,4% )  
D30-D69Queen's Gambit Declined  65 (7,2 % )
A10-A30 English 61 ( 6,8 % )
B10-B13Caro-Kann51 ( 5.6 %)
C60-C99Spanish Game (Ruy Lopez)46  (5%) 
A45-A50Indian & Torre Attack 38 ( 4,2 %)
E60-E99King's Indian Defence37 (4%)
A04-A09Reti   30 ( 3.3% )

For those interested, all games were re-indexed byECO code using Chess Assistant 11,. 

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

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

21 November, 2014

Its no Sacrifice

I rarely have a chance to play this sort of move, probably because my games either end earlier, or the endganes are much closer.
Anyway. here we are.

The game is lost for Black, but gamely, he plays on, bringing the king closer, and finally, blocking the f-pawn with the knight, and leaving the White Rook blocking his own g-pawn.

Job done ? Some sort of parity ?

No, actually, a win for White....

White to play and win

Highlight for solution , if you should need it  ! [  Rd8+ , checks and clears the queening square. Obvious once you've seen it before, or are a genius : for me, its the former ! ]

16 November, 2014

Missed Tactics 5

Reviewing this blitz game, I saw a terrible miss from me ( as Black ).

So obvious in retrospect, and I am sure I would have seen it during a longer time frame, but my focus was on the pawn at d3.

Black to play and......

18. Qd1...Black to Play

Highlight for Solution if needed [  18... Qxd2 19. Qxd2 Nf3+  ]

09 November, 2014

Your Move

In game terms, I had been in a 'repeating-moves position'  a few moves previously, and had decided I didn't want to risk a draw (at move 20), so had exchanged a Rook on the d-file instead.

After some thought, I played 23. Na5, resulting in the below...

After 23. Na5....
I calculated that Qxa5 was terminal for Black ( and for that matter fairly obvious being trivial to work through ).

I also calculated a few moves on the various 23...Bxe5 lines, and noted that Rd6 looked interesting , although I didn't go so many moves down that path.

Overall, I thought it gave Black 'food for thought' and a more imbalanced game afterwards, ie moving away from the draw.

What would be your move as Black ?

Completely unrelated, but I always liked the song linked to below, especially after "discussing it" on a local train between Darlington and Newcastle sometime in the 70s. 

Hey, I was a student, that's what you did !

Probably why it came into my head when trying to come up with a title for the post. !

31 October, 2014

Missed tactics 4a ( and a chess mystery )

A previous post showed a tactic missed in a TL game. 

While working through a number of tactics exercises, I thought the below had a similar theme, but probably more obvious....

White to play
Highlight for Solution [  15. Nf5 ! If Black takes the Knight, his Queen is lost, if not, the game is lost . Equally, 15. Nxc6 and if Qxg4 16. Ne7 mate !  From Alekhine - Muñoz*, Sabadell , 1945 . ]

*However, this just reveals how fascinating a game chess is, or perhaps more accurately, how incredibly intriguing people, their history, and motives are !

This entire game "could"  be  a fabrication by Alekhine, albeit based on his own analysis of the play arising from the earlier moves of a consultation game that occurred in 1941 !

The losing player would appear not to be Muñoz ( based on good deductions ), but cannot be identified at this point.

See the always interesting Edward Winter in Chess History for the full information. 

The Holmesian in me also likes his reference "There is also the dog that failed to bark in the night argument" although that actually comes via Leonard Barden's notes that Winter quotes.

Regardless of the intrigue, it is still a neat puzzle, with more than one solution...

22 October, 2014

Chess : A State of Mind by William Hartston

I found this via an interesting blog  called mccreadyandchess, that was new to me : mainly chess, but a few other things thrown in as too. 

Here you go, a documentary on chess from 1986, created by Bill Hartston, once the "go-to" commentator and observer for the British media, when they were fascinated by the goings-on in the chess world, but needing an informed guide through it.

I have to say Tal looks very creepy (those eyebrows, that look ! ), and Spassky performs an amazing vocal imitation of a squeaky Karpov, and that it reminded me that lots of men in the 80s wore jumpers under their suits or jackets !

Fischer's is the least " American-sounding" American voice I have heard for a long time, but I recall having that thought before about American voices from the 40s, 50s and 60s. 

Enjoy, I certainly did !

Chess : A State of Mind by William Hartston