31 August, 2010

Endgames 4

Another interesting endgame.

Yes, its from blitz, so maybe not the best play to reach it, but an intriguing position, showing that best play and a key move will draw, but missing that ( even if given many opportunities ) can be disastrous.

46. Kc6
Black continued f5.  Nothing wrong with that, but he didn't  played the key move in the next few moves either and his mistake was game-losing !

28 August, 2010

Tactics 1

I have cut back on blitz since I am not quick enough for it !

I don't think its bad to play, but you need to take care not to overdo it, and ( if using it as part of chess improvement ) review the games as well.

Here's one from today, interesting for me as I am White vs a Philidor, a defence I love to play myself.

I'm confused by 7...Nc6, as I don't play this myself and probably fall into a small trap...

7...Nc6 : threats
...as Nc6 actually transforms into an Italian game motif rather than a continuing Philidor ! Hence the threat vs f3 which I don't consider too much. Understandably, I should have met Bg4 with f3, and not worry about pawn structure !

 However, the subject is tactics, and I miss this blitz-winning move...

After 17...Bg5 18.Rxe5 : a Rook skewer would win material

...since there is a discovered check after 18.Rxe5 f3 19.Nxf6 Kg8 20. Rxg5 (or Nxh5

Although, finally I win with a discovered check that Black evidently doesn't see..

34.Rb6! wins the Rook & game 

I'm going to attribute this to my current re-reading : Martin Weteschnik's Understanding Chess Tactics, to encourage myself to keep reading it !

22 August, 2010

TL4545 T46 Round 3

Another loss, this time in a Sicilian Scheveningen ( maybe, with 2...Nc6, a Taimanov ), although not in the opening, which I play in a competent, if not inspired way.

An over-looked response, and then an inability to find a proper response after that, was the direct cause, although I think it has more to do with a failure to find a plan, and a concentration on tactics as an end, rather than a means.

So two moments of blindness, failing to see Black's response 17...Bd8 and then not finding the saving move to attack the d-pawn and  defend the Bishop with 20.Qd2,  Losing the Bishop was really the end of the game, and although it took Black some time to break through, once he did ( 35...b4), I had few opportunities left, being a full rook down !

Although it was a vain hope ( ie waiting for a mistake ) , I feel I played the endgame well, finding moves to ensure that Black had to think to win. Admittedly, though, he played it adequately and had plenty of slack with the mistakes he made, being so far ahead on material !

Critical Moments

Move 8. I chose Be2, but I think Nxc6 is equally good.

My choice is an example of not really playing the position, but rather sticking to what  I know are accepted opening moves. Lazy, really.

8:  Be2 or Nxc6 ?

Move 17. h3 ??
Move 18...Bd8

What was I thinking of with 17.h3 ? To prepare g4 with some idea of threatening the Queen. Entirely focused on my  tactics rather than thinking what my opponent can do to upset me !

Much better was 17.Qd2, attacking the d6 pawn and  ensuring the subsequent exchanges are not terminal for White.

Variation after 17. Qd2. If 17..Bd8 18. Qxd6 Bxc7 19. Bxc7 Qc6

In fact even after the terrible 17.h3 Bd8, 18.Qd2 still is a redeeming move

18.Qd2 Bxc7 19.Bxc7 Qc6 20.Qxd6 ef 21.Qxc6 bc 22.Rxf4 

Overall, not my best chess moment, but still something to take away, and a need to concentrate on plan-forming and blunder-checking next time around.

Here's the full game....

14 August, 2010

TL4545 T46 Round 2

A second loss in the tournament, but overall a satisfactory game.

I felt a little angry with myself for losing this one, after I had fought back so well. I thought I had done enough for a draw and was surprised when my offer wasn't accepted, as we were both short on time. This resulted in a drop in the 'chess factor' , and the inevitable blunder happened : unfortunately, mine !

Regardless, here is the game, a Philidor again, although with a very passive White approach in the opening in my opinion.

13 August, 2010

Endgames 4

Maybe I am obsessed with endgames....

I watched the Rising Stars vs Experience and was fascinated by the Howell - Gelfand match.

Gelfand's Petroff proved less than boring and Howell took it right to the end.

Unfortunately, in time trouble, he selected the wrong move, and although we saw 4 Queens on the board, it was already lost.

h8 was played
 The better move was Qg8+, which keeps him in the game and maybe chances of a draw.

A few moves later it was over....

White resigns : Mate in 4

... even Grandmasters make mistakes.

12 August, 2010

Endgames 3

Am I becoming obsessed with endgame mistakes ?  There are worse things...

This was a strange game. White seems to have his own 'system' based on loads of pawn moves, setting up a white-square bind ( maybe its a hedgehog-opening ), which seems to rely on White gaining lots of time, and waiting for a Black mistake.

Inevitably, I obliged, losing Rook for Bishop, but fought back , provoking a similar mistake and equality.

NxN, and the Rook goes

Other missed opportunities on both sides ( this is blitz ) and although I considered BxN in the next diagram, didn't play it. It looked right and results in White losing his King-side pawns eventually, but I couldn't calculate quickly enough. ( it should be something like 51... Bxf4 52. Kxf4
Rb3 53. h4 Kd6 54. Ke4 Rg3 55. h5 Rxg4+
to give Black a winning advantage)

..but further exchanges leaves a classic R vs R + P ending.

You'd think we should know these, but in this case my opponent makes the most basic of mistakes, allowing his rook to be skewered.

 Although he plays on, I make sure that I don't make a similar error and his pawn falls.

He resigns, not giving me a chance to practise a Rook and King ending ;-)

NH Amsterdam Tournament ( Rising Stars vs Experience )

This excellent annual tournament has just started.

Last year was a good one, so I am hoping for the same.

Opening games include Nakamura – Ljubojevic, which definitely meets the experience criteria, and Giri – Svidler which scores high on Rising Stars ( & relatively local talent in Anish Giri ).

See this for a direct link to the live games that appear to have live commentary from ICC.FM ! Currently commenting on Caruana - van Wely, which seems to be heading for a Caruana victory (update: it was a draw - so much for chess.fm and my opinions ), and now Howell - Gelfand which is a main-line Petroff until White's 17th move, when g4 is played.

17 moves ? I'm lucky to make 10, and that requires a lot of co-operation from the opposition !

I will probably go along on at least Saturday and/or Sunday to see how many other chess-heads are there and indulge in the press room commentary. In fact its tempting to go today/tomorrow as Genna Sosonko is commenting, which will probably be very good....

11 August, 2010

Endgames 2

Another interesting endgame...

A long time manoeuvring ( when my silicon friend tells me that Black is way ahead ! ) and we reach a point where the Knight sacrifice that I don't see is winning ....

Nxc3 is a win !     

But I stay focused and eventually play my own Knight sacrifice...

Ng4 finishes things off

...which leads to the obvious win....

No escape..Kxg2 and the White King is not in the Queening square 

An enjoyable game.

09 August, 2010

Endgames 1

It is probably true that endgames are the weakest part of amateur chess.

I have made a mistake here and am a piece down....

25. Rf2

...but I always play on a couple of moves in blitz just in case, and here, I realise that White does not know what to do.

In endgames, not only do you have to play to defend, but you must always keep checkmate in mind when many pieces are on the board.

Thus, 24 moves later, despite White still being ahead greatly and after barely an attacking threat, he does not spot the impending mate at all...

...and falls to a rook and lowly pawn.


Its only blitz....