30 December, 2011

Playing against the Caro-Kann with Qf3

Its always good to play against someone who "sticks to their guns", consistently playing ( and believing ? ) in the same openings : you can look forward to a testing game.

In GM terms, a clear example must be Sveshnikov with his c3 against the Sicilian, and the same man with the Sicilian "Sveshnikov Variation" against 1.e4 !

I have no idea if my opponent is quite so principled as Sveshnikov in his chess beliefs, but he does seem to stay with the Caro-Kann against 1.e4, so when facing him. it gives me a choice of sticking to main lines ( and probably his better preparation ) or going with something different.

In this game, I chose something different ( after reading about it on the brooklyn64 site ), and played 2.Nc3 and 3.Qf3 against his expected 1...c6 and d5 and ended up here a few moves later...

11. 0-0-0
What appealed to me about the variation in question, was that it didn't seem like the normal Caro-Kann style, plus it has a long-castled king, something I am used to in other openings that I play.

I had in mind a king-side pawn attack, with the likelihood that Black would attack on the queen-side. Who would be quickest and most effective, is the question usually posed in such situations ?

26 December, 2011

T51 Summary and Openings

Team League T51 has reached the playoff stage, but Magnum Ignotum are not there, having ended in third place in their section  (congratulations to Scotch Yeti, whose team makes it again ! ).

Personally, my record this time is +3=0-5, that's 37%.  Not the best, and less than my overall TL record of 50%.  

Teacher's Report ? Could do better !

As White, I stayed with 1.e4, and ended up facing:

The Sicilian twice, one of them heavily questioned by an attack against my Queenside castling that just ran out of steam, collapsing to the counter-attack, and the other almost lost in the opening, but due to Blacks' passive play I managed to fight back to equality finally losing to a missed game-winning check-fork !

The French twice, both wins, one decided in the middle-game with Black over-looking a White capture that gives check and loses him a piece, the other an endgame grind, and most enjoyable, even including the psychological time tactics of my opponent. In both cases, I avoided mainline French lines with the fun-filled Réti Gambit.  I really don't like the French !

A Caro-Kann completed the roster, where my timidity proved my undoing, missing a neat pin in a counter attack, and putting me on the back foot unnecessarily. I missed the correct response, going on to lose.

As Black, twice I had long games in the Spanish losing one in a Rook and pawns ending, and in the other, again a timid plan lost me the initiative and the game.

Lastly, a Centre Game as Black was lost after I was surprised by an attack and just did not stay calm enough to give a good defence. I really should have done better here, and of all my losses, this one bugs me.

Conclusions for next season are evident.

How does my openings experience compare to Team League overall ?

11 December, 2011

1000 Games

This weekend, I reached 1000 games of chess played at ICC.

Not 1000 standard games, but all sorts if chess, so a large number of blitz and only 96 long games, mainly in Team League.

My 1000th game was a loss. An early mistake, but with some compensation where the back-and-forth of the game gave me another chance.

Sadly, I misplayed that and ended up on the losing side, but it was close !

That game, I will present in due course, but instead, here is a win that I needed, just to prove that I can still win !

A blitz game, but a nice mate.

It switched from a Queen's pawn game to a sort of Philidor, ( but without e4 !! )....

8... gxf6
...where I have no issue with playing a queenless middlegame : I've done it a few times now.

Normally, Bxa2 is quite safe for White, since b3 is a neat trapping move.

Unfortunately, this was an exception !

18. b3 ??
18....Ba3 mate !

If only I could do this in Team League !