Thursday, 3 December 2009

Sharpen you tactics!

See you all on FICS! (Free Internet Chess Server)


Sicillian Defence a Tal King Hunt

Here is one of the late Mikhail Tal's games against Calvo. This is a classic King Hunt and shows that if you let an expert player in with a shout then they're more than happy to let pieces drop if they can see a mate!

Tal vs Calvo

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 d6
3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 Nf6
5. Nc3 Nc6
6. Bg5 e6
7. Qd2 a6
8. 0-0-0 h6

I think this is a fairly "run of the mill" opening, with neither player playing anything unconventional ..

9. Be3 ... (surely this entertains Ng4 ?- but obviously Tal had this covered :)
9. ... Bd7
10. f3 b5

By playing b5 black has initiated his queenside assault ...

11. g4 Qa5 (In return Tal begins a Kingside assault making the game double-edged).
12. Nxc6 Bxc6
13. Kb1 (in preparation for 13. ... b4)
13. ... Be7
14. h4 Rc8
15. Bd3 b4
16. Ne2 d5
17. e5 Nd7
18. Bd4 Nc5
19. f4 (those pawns keep on moving !!)
19. ... h5
20. f5 Nxd3
21. cxd3 hxg4
22. fxe6 fxe6 (Tal has allowed the sacrifice of a pawn, but black has a backward e-pawn ... )
23. Nf4 Rh6
24. Rdg1 (Tal has pounced on the week doubled pawns ..)
24. ... Kd7 ( bringing the King into the defence)
25. h5 Bb5 (A low league player like myself would probably have grabbed the g4 pawn immediately, but Tal plays a deeper move, creating a knight outpost)
26. Ng6 Bc5
27. Bxc5 Rxc5
28. Nf4 d4
29. Rxg4 Rxe5
30. Rxg7+ Kd6
31. Qf2 Re3
32. Qh4 (With this forcing move Tal appears to begin an encirclement of the enemy king)
32. ... b3
33. Qe7+ Ke5
34. Qc5+ Kxf4
35. Qg5+

1 - 0

and it is mate in 2

(35. ... Kf3
36. Qg4+ Kf2
37. Qg2 # )

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Sicillian Defence 2.f4 Mikhail Tal's approach

The way that Tal dealt with 2.f4 is shown in the following game. At the time that this game was played several of England's leading grandmasters, notably Hebden, Hodgson and Watson had employed 2.f4 as a means of unseating the Sicillian experts.

By playing 2.f4 White aims to steamroll down the Kingside and hold the initiative. It is certain that up until the time of playing, more theoretical advances had been made for the benefit of White after 2.f4. Although it ended in a draw this game provides some good pointers on dealing with 2.f4.

Hartson vs Tal
(Tallinn 1979)

1.e4 c5
2.f4 d5
3.exd5 Nf6
4.Bb5+ Bd7
5.Bxd7+ Qxd7
6. c4 e6
7.Qe2 Bd6
8.dxe6 fxe6
9.d3 0-0
10.Nf3 Ng4
11.Nc3 Nc6
12.0-0 Bxf4
13.Qe4 Qd4+!

(Tal always likes to find a simple win and reaches some very
tactically promising positions ... !

After 14.Nxd4 Bxh2+ White gets mated.)

The game continued ...

14.Qxd4 cxd4
15.Bxf4 dxc3
16.Bd6 Rfd8
17.c5 cxb2
18.Rab1 b6
19.Rxb2 bxc5
20.Bxc5 Rxd3
21.h3 Nf6
22.Rc1 Rad8
23.Kh2 e5
24.Bf2 e4
25.Rxc6 exf3
26.Bxa7 Rd2
27. Rcc2 Rxc2

1/2 - 1/2

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Evening Standard

If your a London commuter then remember to pick up a free 'Standard' on your way home and do the tactics puzzle! Leonard Barden has been a chess commentator for years and regularly provides a puzzle and it's solution in the Evening Standard - free newspaper. The games are up to date and some of the puzzles are quite challenging ...

Monday, 9 November 2009

A risky scarifice can shock and disarm an opponent!

I was rummaging through some old chess publications (I inherited) from the 1980's last night in an attempt to find some old Albin counter-gambit games. Instead I stumbled across this little gem of a "Budapest" ...

France - 5th International Open of Ales:

Castel vs Quintana

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 e5
3. d5 Bc5 (White elects to push the pawn instead of capturing on e5)
4. h3 ... Now Black seizes an opportunity ...
... Bxf2+ (LOOKS RISKY?!)
5. Kxf2 Ne4+
6. Ke3 f5
7. Nf3 d6 (releasing a sacrificial Bishop)
8. Nc3 f4+
9. Kxe4 Bf5+
10. Kxf5 Qf6+
11. Ke4 Qg6 mate!

A corker of a King Hunt !!!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Simple tactics lead to a simple win ...

Often, simple tactics lead to a win. Here is an example of a Rapidplay Internet game played on where some tactical shots are employed to convert a drawn game into a win ...

Sicilian Defense

greg_b vs A.N. Other

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 d6
3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 Nf6
5. Nc3 a6
6. Be2 Nbd7
7. Be3 e6
8. Qd2 Be7
9. 0-0-0 Nc5
10. f3 e5
11. Nf5 Bxf5
12. exf5 Qc7
13. g4 e4
14. g5 exf3
15. Bxf3 Nfd7
16. Nd5 Qd8
17. Nxe7 Qxe7
18. Rhe1 0-0
19. Bxc5 Qd8
20. Bxd6 Re8
21. Rxe8+ Qxe8
22. Bxb7 Ra7
23. Bc6 Qc8
24. Bg2 Nb6
25. Bc5 (miscalulating back rank mate in haste ... !)
25. ... Qxc5
26. Qd8+ Qf8
27. Qxf8+
27. ... Kxf8 (Qxb6 was the correct move ... !)
28. f6 gxf6
29. gxf6 Nd7
30. Bc6 Nxf6
31. Rd8+ Ke7
32. Rd3 Rc7
33. Bf3 Rc5
34. b4 Rf5
35. a4 Rf4
36. c3 Rh4
37. Rd2 Rh3
38. Rf2 Nd7
40. Rd2+ Kc7 (Black has now opened himself up to a simple tactic ... !
41. Rxd7+ Kxd7 Bg4+ wins rook & game!!)
41. Rxd7 Kc8
42. Rd3 Rxh2
43. Rd2 Rh3
44. Rd3 Kb8
45. b5 axb5
46. axb5 Rh4
47. Kc2 Ra4
48. Kb3 Ra1
49. Kc4 Rb1
50. Rd7 f5
51. Rxh7 Rf1
52. Bd5 Rf4+
53. Kc5 Ra4
54. Kb6 (if black is not careful a simple mate follows ... )
54. ... Kc8
55. Be6+ Kd8
56. Bxf5 Rc4
57. Rh3 Ke7
58. Re3+ Kf6
59. Bd7 Kg5
60. Ka6 Ra4+
61. Kb7 Rc4
62. b6 Kf6
63. Kb8 Rc5
64. b7 Kg7
65. Re7+ Kf6
66. Re6+ Kf7
67. Rc6 Ra5
68. Kc7 Ra7
69. Rb6 Ke7
70. Kc6 Ra3
71. b8=Q Rxc3+
72. Kb5 Kxd7
73. Rb7+ Ke6
74. Qe8+ Kd5
75. Rd7#

Friday, 23 October 2009

Ray Cheng - Practical Chess Exercises

This comes highly recommended ...

Roman's Lab

The following DVD is thoroughly worth investing in ...

I have picked up many ideas from Roman's DVD's ... After all he is a grandmaster and has pioneered some interesting traps for both sides ... This particular DVD contains traps from some of the common openings.

Learning Openings the Easy Way Traps & Novelties

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Albin Counter-Gambit : Lasker's Trap

The Albin CG is rarely seen at the higher echelons of the chess world, presumably because black is not adjuged to have enough for the pawn with correct play. At club level however, pretty much any opening you can get a book on will prove sound enough - this is certainly true of the Albin.

The Albin Counter-Gambit begins:

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e5!?
3. dxe5 d4

The cramping effect of the d4 pawn upon White's position is the basis of the gambit, which Black will usually attempt to justify by castling queenside and launching a kingside attack. Should White not appreciate the potential of this pawn, the following disaster might befall him/her...

4. e3? Bb4+
5. Bd2 dxe3
6. Bxb4?? exf2+
7. Ke2 (7. Kxf2 Qxd1)

7... fxg1N+!!

This underpromotion secures the win as....

8. Rxg1 fails to 8...Bg4+ winning the Queen


8. Ke2 fails to 8...Qh4+ followed by Qe4+ winning the Rook (if 9. g3) or Qf2+ and Bf5 (if 9.Kd2)

Instead of 4. e3?, White would do better do better to simply develop with Nf3 followed by kingside castling. A typical line might run as follows:

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e5!?
3. dxe5 d4
4. Nf3 Nc6
5. g3 Be6
6. Nbd2 Qd7
7. Bg2 0-0-0
8. 0-0 h5
9. a3 Bh6
10. e6! Bxe6 (10...Qxe6 fails to 11. Ng4!)
11. Qa4

and the position is sharp and double-edged, though we might give a slight advantage to White based on the potential of the g2 bishop and the impending b2-b4 advance ________________________________________________________________

Alternatively, White may wish to try the Spassky Variation.

4. e4 Bb4+
5. Bd2

....where the en passent capture is no longer available and white has staked a powerful claim in the centre.

Hope this is helpful (or at least interesting!). Cheers.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Caro-Kann Advanced Variation (Trap#1)

1. e4 c6
2. d4 d5
3. e5 Bf5
4. h4 e6? (Black should really consider h6 or h5 here ... instead they've set themselves up for a cheap Noah's Ark trap)
5. g4 Be4
6. f3
(Black can now play for time with 6 .. Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Qa5 8.Nc3 but if 8 .. Bxc3 9. Bxc3 Black's Queen must retreat and Black's white squared Bishop will fall with 10. fxe4)
6 .. Bxf3 Nxf3 or
6 .. Bg6 h5! (Noah's Ark trap)
7. Bxh5 gxh5

Queens Gambit Declined (Trap#2)

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e6
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. Bg5 Nd7
5. Nf3 Bb4
6. Bxf6 Nxf6? (when Black plays Nd7 they often do it to protect the Knight on f6 - but this doesn't work here ... )
7. Qa4+ (wins Bishop on b4 - White should win now)

Queens Gambit Declined (Trap#1)

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e6
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. Bg5 Nd7
5. cxd5 exd5!
6. Nxd5 (White thinks they've won a pawn ... )
.. Nxd5 (This will win a piece for Black)
7. Bxd8 Bb4+
8. Qd2 (this is the only move ... )
.. Bxd2
9. Kxd2 Kxd8 & Black should have comfortable game with the extra piece.

Closed Sicillian (Trap#1)

1. e4 c5
2. c3 d6
3. d4 cxd4
4. cxd4 Nc6
5. Nf3 Bg4?
6. d5 Ne4
7. Nxe4 (White wins a piece here ...)
.. Bxd1
8. Bb5+ Qd7
9. Nxd7 Bg4
10. Nxf8+ Kxf8
11. O-O & White will win with the extra piece. Black cannot castle and will experience difficulties developing the Castle on h8.

Queens Gambit Accepted (Trap#1)

1. d4 d5
2. c4 cxd4
3. e3 b5
4. a4! c6? (greedily defending the pawn)
5. axb5 cxb5?
6. Qf3 (wins Rook on a8 because neither Knight or Bishop can intervene - and the Black Queen cannot offer help .... )

Monday, 15 June 2009

French Defense

Recently at the Golders Green rapidplay tournament I was faced with:

1. e4 e6
2. d4 d5
3.Nc3 (.... hoping for a Winawer ! 3..Bb4 4.e5)
.. c5

Does anyone have any ideas about how White should reply to 3..c5
perhaps 4.Nf3 ?- any suggestions would be welcome ...

Friday, 12 June 2009

Golders Green Rapidplay

On Saturday the 13th June 2009 Adam Raoof hosts another of his monthly rapidplays (you get half an hour per player for the game) at Golders Green.

The event is six rounds, so you get six games. They start promptly at 10.30am, finish at 5.45pm at the latest and you can even enter online now and save yourself some money at - you can also find complete crosstables from events going back four years!