30 November, 2012

Pawn down and winning ?

Puzzle time...

I've seen this a few times in various books, generally from Soviet sources, with the players given as Fuchter - Balogh or Fuster-Balogh, from Budapest, 1964.

I've never found the full game, so don't know which of the many Baloghs it could be, or even if this is actually a study, rather than from an real game.

Regardless, its a neat position.  I've been in similar ones, but never quite the same. For me, its a sort of position that says "There are 3 rooks and a Queen together : so much power ! I must be able to do something good here" , but obvious moves don't seem to work.

Black to move and win....what would you do ?

Fuster-Balogh, Budapest, 1964

27 November, 2012

T55 Round 2 : Missed opportunities

I missed out on Round 1 because of incompatible times, so this was my first standard game in a while.

I could give the excuse that I lost because I wasn't 100% fit ( echoing  Zsusza Polgar's remark that she "never won a game against a healthy man" according to her sister, Judit's recent interview :)  but that wouldn't be entirely true.

I have to confess that recently ( er, read last couple of months ! ) I have not put much effort into keeping up the key part of chess improvement at my level ( ie tactics ), but there again I've done quite a few other things outside of chess in "real life".

That means it's not just "work-home" balance to strive after, but "chess-others", or even more accurately chess as part of a range of things I want to do that are not work : sometimes that quite a few things !

So reasons to lose ? Plenty, and mainly around missing tactics.

Reasons to win ? Not too many, and mainly around knowing the opening and resultant positions better than my opponent.

Here's a "win reason"...

9. Qf3
Not really sure why Qf3 was played here. At the time, I assumed it was to allow prompt Queenside castling, with the added benefit of defending e4, but since he castled King-side later, I wonder !

Better would be Nf3 or even 0-0.

I didn't capitalise on this, which leads neatly to a reason to lose ( or maybe one not to win, being slightly pedantic :)
10. h3  What should Black play ?
Considering my plan with Nc5 was targeting e4, how come I didn't follow through ?

Much later in the game (move 40 ! ) I have a chance, not only to regain the pawn I am down, but also to strike a rapier-like psychological blow, just when White must feel he has me on the ropes.
40. Qd4 Black to play and at least equalise !
Its obvious in hindsight, but I missed it at the time.   I'm sure all my avid readers will spot it in under 2 seconds and embarrass me !

Never mind. Make an effort to play through the game and see what can be learned.

Next round, I will be more ready !

25 November, 2012

Judit Polgár Interview

This caught me by surprise, but I dare say its a combination of her new book and her forthcoming appearance at the London Classic that has prompted it.

An interview in the London Independent with Judit Polgár , who turns out to be a more than interesting person, as well as a great chess player.

Enjoy it, I did !