World Chess Federation - FIDE

Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Greek Gift - Sacrifice on h7

On the subject of the f7 and h7 targets, I thought I'd look at some sample games with such attacking themes. Here is an example of a sacrificial strike on h7 with the French Winawer.












PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Friday, 30 December 2011

Gross Miscalculation

In my latest club match I thought I had it all sown up on move 6! My opponent made an opening 'faux pas' by moving his Bishop to g4 on move 5 supposedly pinning my Knight on f3? I was hoping he might try something nonsensical like this because I have a simple three move combination 6.Bxh7+ Kxh7 7.Ng5+ Ke8 8.Qxg4 winning the piece back and gaining a pawn. My opponent has now forfeited his right to castle and the game should be routine.

My opponent had a few tricks after 15.g3 Qg5, but on 19.Qe2 Kd7? 20.Qb5+ Kd8 21.Rf7! (which stupidly I didn't play - but looked at for 15 minutes!) the Bishop on g3 is won ... I confess that I got rather spooked after the thought of the Rook move 21.Rf7 because I thought my opponent could simply play 21...Qg4 preventing the checkmate, but then I can simply take the Bishop on g3 ... and he cannot recapture the pawn but he has a check on d1 - but the Queen retreats to f1 blocking the check - and White runs out of checks rapidly here !

This was a position that demanded a clear and cool head - something I hope to gain with more practice - the lesson learnt is to be more objective rather than subjective and fearful. It was stupid of me to 'bottle out' of a winning attack, just because my opponent had a (losing) check!









The game ended up in a time scramble which I lost!




PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Blindfold chess

I have found an interesting Blog with a short article on Blindfold chess. It is a difficult skill to master but I'm reliably informed that it is very important to be able to visualize moves and variations in your head as well as having continual sight of the board ...

http://superconscious1.blogspot.com/2008/01/learning-blindfold-chess-playing.html

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Deflection

Here is an example of a deflection on the back rank to deliver a simple mate ... The game was a blitz of 5 mins each and was NOT a model opening for either player concerned!  I was playing Black and have been studying these type of tactics a great deal - on my android phone ...












PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The 'approach to study'

http://roadtograndmaster.com/
This guy's blog is a very interesting read. From reading it, he appears to face a dilemma. Should he continue practising lot's of varying material within a 7 hour period or should he concentrate on one particular area? Nimzowitsch seems to think that concentrating on many chess disciplines in one day will only lead to confusion ... Therefore a choice is made. The guy on the road to grandmastery will now concentrate on just 'one' subject area until he's totally nailed it! I'll try and take the same approach ...!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Mine's a double-Scotch!

My latest club game was a Scotch. I know a little about the Scotch opening - so I got a little lucky there ... I'm pleased to report, to my utter relief that I managed to win convincingly - a Kingside attack, followed by a Bishop sacrifice on g6, which incidentally I spent some time looking at just in case of tricks! Here is the game ...












PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Friday, 2 December 2011

Draw? It never even started ...

My opponent seemed to be somewhat cagey - once out of the opening he offered a draw, just when the game was getting interesting. I exclaimed that it was a little early to accept a draw, but given the circumstances - it made perfect sense for me to accept it!

1) My colleague had just won the first game for the team - we were 1 up
2) My opponent is a higher graded player
3) I had the Black pieces

It summised that had he wanted to play on he would have played Bd4 in an attempt to rid the game of dark squared Bishops. This strategy might well be the right one - if all minor pieces come off and he beats me to the 7th rank in a rook and pawn ending then I'd be fearful of not being able to hold on - he may get a passed pawn on the 'a' file and promote before me?! I haven't put this game through Fritz yet - but that is exactly what I MUST do! All will be revealed. As per usual, any comments welcome ...












PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Grand-Prix Attack and a draw

My latest club game was a Grand Prix Attack - but with an early e5 ... It turned out that we both got our moves wrong and my opponent was more than happy to take a draw ... !












I parked the game there - too aware of the tactical possibilities for both sides ... Just one example: 24. Qxh6 Qxg3! 25. hxg3 gxh6 and Black wins the pinner and a piece outright! It was probably wrong to walk away from this with such a strong position though ... ! Truth is I got the jitters! The following day at the cafe my chess playing colleague found loads of great lines for White that I really didn't see during the game. I need to get accustomed to properly analyzing the lines that look promising rather than relying on intuition all of the time!

I feel pleased to get a draw against a player with an ELO rating of 1832 though :). It's the way forward !

PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Who wants to improve their chess tactics?

If the answer is yes, then I have just the thing for you -

Chess Exam and Training Guide: Tactics by Igor Khmelnitsky - International Chess Master

This is a training resource written with the same ideas in mind as Ray Cheng's 600 Practical Chess Exercises ... You need to look at both the tactics for and against you to be sure that the tactic you 'think' you have is sound.

You are presented with 60 tactics problems. After completing several of these and keeping your score you are given an interim report (a bit like at school!) My tactics have consistently been around 1700-1750, but I would really like to improve on this!

On the whole - I feel I am improving - why? - because I am getting into the habit of assessing ALL candidate moves and looking at as many continuations for BOTH sides. I have experienced many 'Eureka' moments in doing this - e.g. when I was just about to discard a tactical idea because "it looked wrong" - I forced/trained myself to look a little further each time - and sure enough - the reasons/evidence popped out showing me that I COULD play the tactic afterall - the tactic was sound in fact!!

The same is true of the tactics you DON'T want to discard because they "look right" ! - I trained myself to look a little further and found out that with scrutiny, the tactic that originally looked great turned out to be completely unsound !!

This technique, I have found can be learnt and is down to self discipline and habit as much as anything ... I recommend this book to help you train!


Chess Exam - Igor Khmelnitsky

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Sicilian Defence with a pin on b4

This was an interesting game - I thought my opponent wanted to play the Grand Prix Attack against my Sicilian - but he opted for 3.Nf3 instead of 3.f4 ... As it turned out we wandered unwittingly into a very sharp line that neither of us were 100% with!

I had the edge throughout the game, purely due to confidence rather than anything else ... Solid development moves were all that was required from Black - keeping the queen and Knights at bay and away from key squares!










PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Sicilian Defence (Trap #4)

Here is the Magnus-Smith Trap which is good for White ...










PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Sicilian Defence (Trap #3)

Here is a very simple Trap in the Smith-Morra that is good for White ...










PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Friday, 28 October 2011

Simul with Nigel Short - 26th Oct

Last night I took part in a simultaneous display against the UK's No.2 Nigel Short. He played 14 of us at a time. I played in the 7pm session, Short had 50 minutes on his clock and I had 40. I tried to play my usual Dragon as Black but Short played a Maroczy bind with c4 on move 5.  I have to confess that I have never faced this over the board before and didn't have a clue how to play against it. I have included the game here and would appreciate any comments from readers of this Blog. I have to admit that I was a little overcome by playing such a brilliant player and wasn't thinking AT ALL when taking Short's Knight on d5. I found a way of getting some compensation so as not to be a whole piece down but this involved sacrificing my queen ... I exchanged my Knight and Queen for his knight, Bishop and Rook, so the comparison in points was 12 - 11 in his favour. The thing I overlooked though was the won endgame that he had! I was the last guy to finish in the group - (typicially clinging on for dear life).  Finally I had the privilege of facing him over the board as he was urged to sit down in the chair opposite me to play the final moves that crushed me!

Steve also took part and really enjoyed himself - but I understand that he left a Rook hanging which was unfortunate!

Here is a photo of myself and Nigel, kindly taken by Steve on my mobile ... :)












At this point I got into time trouble and played a few more weakening moves without writing them down - it was a great experience though!!

PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Friday, 14 October 2011

The London System

Here is my game from last night ... My opponent opted to play the London System. I found that as the game progressed there were fewer and fewer chances to make a tactical breakthrough. I just had to hang on, dig deep and defend. I find the London System quite frustrating to play against - so any advice and comments concerning this game will be very welcome!









PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Reading about chess

If you enjoy reading about chess as well as playing it - then you ought to have these two books on your Christmas list:

King's Gambit - Paul Hoffman

Counterplay - Robert Desjarlais

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Here is Steve's game from this week ... A great mixture of strategy and tactics combining in his favourite opening as White - "The Catalan".  By his own admission he missed Bxd5 on move #23 but the position and pawn advantage indicates that the game was virtually won at this juncture ... Well done Steve for winning your first game of the season!  Here it is ...









PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Monday, 10 October 2011

Sicilian Defence - Intermezzo Tactics

I got lucky in this game a couple of seasons ago.  It shows how a lost game can be turned into a won game by clinging on to whatever hope still exists!  My opponent hadn't lost a game all season up until this game ... I managed to swindle him with an intermezzo (in-between) move exploiting a pin on move #33.  The lesson is - "never give up - your opponent can still make a mistake ... "









PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Android Chess ELO Converter

Here's a handy little Android App to convert ELO to/from BCF and USCF. This is available from the Android Market and FREE!

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.greg.chess&feature=search_result

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Dragon's Discovered Diagonal is Devastating!

Here is my latest club game. This game is quite instructive because it demonstrates how tactics can be formulated down the long diagonal (a1-h8) where the 'Dragon' bishop is operating. I have the option of uncovering a nasty discovered check if my opponent takes the offer of my rook on move 18. I have been practicing this novel opening for a few months online (play early h5, defer castling), but never attempted it in a club game - I got the idea from Charlie Storey's excellent book on 'The Sniper'.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sniper-Charlie-Storey/dp/1857446437/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317937457&sr=8-1

Evidently this style of opening has been used by Carlsen on a number of occasions.

Here is the game ...(My opponent was rated about BCF 140). My Knight on d3 turns out to be a killer!









PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Monday, 3 October 2011

Chess: Why we lose and how to fix it!

Time Trouble
If you're constantly getting into time trouble then it is advisable to play at a quicker time control than you normally would in order to acclimatise to playing quickly under pressure. For instance if you normally play 90 minutes each on the clock and you are experiencing time trouble, then it is advisable to play some 15 minute games to adjust to thinking quickly and making some timely decisions. Certainly it is useful to analyse where in the game unnecessary time is being spent. If too long is spent getting out of the opening, then it is advisable to learn some openings that rely on a few hard and fast rules - rather than loads of theory. Those players that have prepared their openings invariably have the advantage of time. If you are spending too much time looking for tactics in the middlegame, then perhaps you need to spend more time in training solving tactics according to Michael De La Maza's 7 circles study plan, which will sharpen up your calculation speed.  Too much time spent on the ending means more practice in training specifically on endgame tactics puzzles only.


Hanging Pieces
Everyone does it! We all leave pieces hanging from time to time, but if this is a frequent occurrence, then it is necessary to consciously pause before every move you make and perform a 'blunder check' - a check to see whether or not the piece you are about to move leaves another piece undefended or whether the piece you are about to move will itself be 'en-prise'. Top players rarely need to blunder check because they have excellent 'sight of the board' and instinctively know how to coordinate their pieces and pawns.

Failure to see checkmate against you
Mate against you is easy to overlook. Really it is necessary to check for mates against you on practically every move. Mate can occur on move 2 in chess (Black can mate White) therefore it is necessary to remain vigilant from the outset. Mates against you commonly occur when you move a piece away from a square that had previously been guarding against a mate threat. E.g. Nf3 guarding against mate on h2 etc. It is advisable to play through the exercises in the following book to get into the habit of checking a situation first of all before being tempted into moving a piece or pawn that you shouldn't. I reviewed this book on Amazon some time ago.

Practical Chess Lessons: 600 Lessons from Tactics to Strategy - Ray Cheng
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Practical-Chess-Exercises-Lessons-Strategy/dp/1587368013/ref=cm_cr-mr-title


Failure to see checkmate that you could have played
As a chess player you should always be looking out for mating combinations. It is quite unlikely in long-play that your opponent will reward you with a mate in one, however, a forced mate in two or three should not be overlooked! Practice by running through mate in 2 and mate in 3 problems. Solve several of these for between 10 to 20 minutes per day. You will find great improvement in solving these if you stick to a daily regime.

http://www.chesspuzzles.com/mate-in-two



Failure to see a tactical combination against you
I chatted to chess colleagues in the car recently on the way to a match about how they look for candidate moves without blundering. The overall concensus or opinion and advice is this: When you are looking for a candidate move - check and double check what your opponent can do once that candidate move has been played first and foremost. In fact you should spend as much time analysing your opponents possible combinations as you should your own! There is a strong grandmaster that recommends looking at "squares you leave behind" once you move a pawn or a piece. This is a kind of retrospective way of looking at the situation but nevertheless very effective.


Failure to see a tactical combination that you could have played
Really there is no substitute for practice. Again, dedicate up to 20 minutes per day solving tactics problems and stick to a training regime that gauges your improvement and encourages you to 'speed up' progressively (E.g. De La Maza - 7 circles). Mates will come easy once you know the patterns to look for and the type of position where you can help to bring that pattern about. I train during the week with a strong intermediate player who, when solving chess tactics, advises me to "look for all the crazy sacrifices" even if they look ridiculous - they may actually work!

Queen sacrifices for instance, are often overlooked by most amateur players because their mind is telling them "never lose your queen - it's your most valuable piece" - but if losing their queen leads to mate in their favour - then why worry?  I recommend the following books strongly:

Sharpen Your Tactics - Arkhangelsky & Lein
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharpen-Your-Tactics-Anatoly-Lein/dp/1880673134/ref=cm_cr-mr-title
(reviewed on Amazon)


Find the Checkmate - Gary Lane
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Find-Checkmate-Batsford-Chess-Book/dp/0713488611/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1227616840&sr=8-1
(Reviewed on Amazon)


Inferior Opening leading to weak position
Great advantage can be gained from having a deep understanding of the openings. Relying on tactics alone in chess can get you into hot water when faced with someone who is clued up and has an encyclopedic understanding of the opening that you are playing. Lack of understanding of the opening WILL lead to an inferior middlegame. Please read this post for a study plan and advice on the openings ...

http://chess-tactician.blogspot.com/2011_05_01_archive.html


Inferior Middlegame Strategy
Middlegame strategy is an extremely difficult subject to master.  Indeed some players are brilliant combative tacticians while others are defensive, strategic 'diehards' who like nothing more than to to fight in the trenches until the last man!  Whatever your style, it is important to know the subtleties and characteristics of a position.

Read the following books if possible for a complete study program:

Mastering Chess Strategy - Johan Hellsten
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mastering-Chess-Strategy-Johan-Hellsten/dp/1857446488/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317395109&sr=8-1

Reassess Your Chess Workbook Imbalances - Jeremy Silman
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reassess-Your-Chess-Workbook-Imbalances/dp/1890085057/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317395181&sr=1-7

Inferior Endgame Technique
The chess endgame concepts can be grasped from CM9000 at amateur / intermediate level.  Knowledge of chess endgames is essential if you want to improve ...

http://chess-tactician.blogspot.com/2011/09/chessmaster-9000-for-endgame-tactics.html


Please read this post as well if you are fairly new to chess endgame technique.

http://www.mychessblog.com/endgame-tactics-rook-and-pawn-endings-%E2%80%93-part-1/


Monday, 26 September 2011

Reviewing Lost Games

It is very important to write down all the moves from the games that you lose and get Fritz or Chessmaster etc. to suggest alternative variations if you can't find them yourselves. I write down the moves of my "lost games" in a special "Lost Games Book" (must include 'Opponent', 'Date' (when game was played), 'Position' (move # where I went wrong) and the alternative variation(s))

Example:
Opponent:
Date:
Colour:
Opening:
Position where lost (Move #):
Reason for Loss:
Alternative Variation: 

Hopefully after reviewing the "Loss Book" after 3 - 6 months, trends will start to appear regarding how you lose most often.  Whatever the reason, it is up to you to take remedial action and look at ways of correcting your play ...  This can be dealt with directly by taking the common reasons for losing and consciously working on those areas until improvements are made.


Reasons for losing
- Time Trouble
- Hanging Pieces and / or Pawns
- Failure to see a checkmate against me
- Failure to see a checkmate that I could have played
- Failure to see a tactical combination to win opponents piece and / or pawn
- Failure to see a tactical combination that caused me to lose a piece and / or pawn
- Inferior Opening leading to weak position
- Inferior Middlegame Strategy
- Inferior Endgame Technique

Only by admitting to yourself that you have weaknesses (even against lower graded players) and taking remedial action by reviewing your games, will you become a better chess player in the long term.  In the next article I will examine ways in which you can study and train to improve on the above areas.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine

Great docufilm

Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine

http://documentarystorm.com/game-over-kasparov-and-the-machine/

Worth a watch...

Kasparov in Clichy - analysis by IM Andrew Martin

A chess colleague has just informed me that Kasparov recently had 2 convincing blitz wins against Vachier-Lagrave, a top talent rated over 2700. It just goes to show that unlike many sports, with chess you can still make a comeback and challenge the worlds elite, despite being out of the spotlight for years!

Commentary by IM Andrew Martin

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Golders Green Rapidplay

Here are some photos from the most recent Golders Green Rapidplay organised by Adam Raoof.

Golders Green Photos - 10th September

I recognise many of the players - but it's nice to see some new faces appearing!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

What Good Play Is Not

"Whoever sees no other aim in the game than that of giving checkmate to one's opponent will never become a good chess-player".

Machgielis ("Max") Euwe (b.1901),
Strategy and Tactics in Chess, 1937.

Tactics Problem #3

Here is an intermediate tactics problem ... (fairly easy)

(Careful not to scroll too far - you'll see the answer ... !)

White to move ...








PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Sunday, 11 September 2011

What Good Play Is

"In CHESS, as played by a good player, logic and imagination must go hand in hand, compensating each other".

JOSE RAOUL CAPABLANCA (1888-1942),
Chess March 1938.

Tactics Problem #2

Here is an intermediate tactics problem ... (fairly tricky)

(Careful not to scroll too far - you'll see the answer ... !)

White to move ...








PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Tactics Problem #1

Here is a tactics problem to get everyone started ...

(Careful not to scroll too far - you'll see the answer ... !)

White to move ...








PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Chessmaster-9000 for Endgame Tactics

What do we need to know about chess endgames? A few months back I played at a 'rapidplay' event and got talking to a colleague about chess software. I told him that I thought that "surely the only serious option is Fritz?". "Well .. ", he replied, "havent you got a copy of Chessmaster 9000? - It has all the principles in there that you need to know ... " We played a quick 5 minute blitz game and he mercilessly wiped the floor with me! (He swears by CM-9000)

That's it, I thought - the next opportunity I have - I'm buying a copy of CM-9000 !!



I bought a copy the following day (at another chess competition) !! Although I payed more than I should have done, I have to say that I am not disappointed at all ...

This has so far proved to be a great study aid for openings, tactics in the middlegame and endings. The ending training (quizz) is very useful ... !


Certain characteristics always ring true in any type of ending and the Chessmaster 9000 CD contains just the right balance of subject matter to keep you focused and attentive without boring you stupid.

Here are some of the endgame topics that are covered in the Chessmaster tutorial section:


1) Queening a pawn by understanding the principle of 'the opposition'.

2) Understanding the principle of 'the distant opposition' (includes maintaining an odd number of squares between kings)

3) Confinement: keeping the enemy king on the 1st or the 8th file.

4) Three pawns against three pawns.

5) Outside passed pawns.

6) Correct calculation for pawn advancement / promotion. Includes accurate counting of squares and taking tricky tactics into account wherever possible!

7) Rooks on the 7th rank (and the prevention of!).

8) Knight and pawn vs pawn endgames.

9) Knight and Bishop and pawn endgames.

10) Opposite coloured Bishop endgames.

11) 'Under-promotion' to win the game.

12) Rook and pawn against Rook endings - includes 'winning skewers'.

13) Rook and pawn endings in general.

14) Queen and pawn against Queen endings.

If you are serious about chess then I consider the above endgame topics to be a 'staple diet' for your endgame training ... If you can honestly say that you are competent with all of the above then you are well on the way to becoming an expert chess player ... !


Endgame training is often neglected by most casual players, but the grounding that the CM-9000 software provides, will provide you with a huge advantage if you take the time and effort to learn from it ...

CM-9000 - Amazon Link
CM-Grandmaster Edition
You-tube Intro to CM-9000



Friday, 2 September 2011

Grand Prix Attack-2

Here is my second game in PGN Viewer published earlier in this blog.







Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Chess for Galaxy gt-i5500 android phone

Although I thought the day would never come, I finally succumbed to temptation and bought a Galaxy Android smartphone.

I haven't been disappointed - there are many free apps to indulge in on the android market website. My favourite chess apps so far are iChess for tactics training and Chess Free for playing chess against the computer.

When I'm on the train, I find that solving the tactics puzzles on the phone is so much easier and less cumbersome than bringing in a large tactics volume, pen and paper! Also the app keeps a record of your score giving you some indication of how tactically adept you are.

Here are some other android chess apps available for download in the google marketplace most of which are free:

Chess-Presso

Chess Grandmaster

Rival Chess

Chess Pad

Chess ELO

Chess

Chess

Chess Clock for Android

Chess genius Lite

chess.com

Friday, 19 August 2011

PGN Viewer available to publishers on Chess Tactician






Grand Prix Attack - 1

Or placed inline:


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Next in the series - Chess Champs Part II

Here is the next in the series of the "Chess Champs" from Steve M ... 

Emanuel Lasker was the 2nd official chess world champion and held the title for a staggering 27 years, winning the title from Steinitz in 1894. Born in Berlinchen in Prussia in 1868, events shortly after his birth mean that Lasker is now referred to as German. Whether or not he saw himself as German or Prussian is an interesting tangent (indeed at the time many Prussians regarded ‘Germany’ as simply the new name for the Prussian empire) and I’d recommend a little Wikipedia action looking up the 1871 unification of Germany and the Franco-Prussian war. At the very least we can all get a little chuckle out of good ol’ fashioned French military incompetence.

Anyway......Having won the title from an ageing and increasingly desperate-for-cash Steinitz, Lasker set about meticulously avoiding the most serious challengers to his crown. Lasker was dismayed at the poverty in which Steinitz had found himself after losing the title and was determined to avoid the same fate. Consequently, he demanded high fees for his matches and appearances and made the best use of the perks which came with being the champ.....the odd cruise, stays in the best hotels, etc. Having high fees for matches also had the effect of keeping the dangerous younger generation at bay, as they were not yet famous enough to raise the sponsorship they would need. Even so, he came perilously close to losing his title to a chap called Schlechter, only retaining his title by scraping a win in the last game, drawing the match overall and so keeping his crown.

Before I give the impression that I’m sceptical of Mr Lasker’s talents, I should mention that his tournament performances were second to none. Lasker won major tournaments throughout the 1900s and early 1910s, including the London 1899 and Paris 1900 events. A true polymath, Lasker was also a tireless publisher of chess works, mathematical treatises and philosophical booklets. In 1914 Lasker won the exceedingly strong St Petersburg tournament and had the inaugural title of ‘Grandmaster’ bestowed upon him by Tsar Nicholas II who, like Lasker, was in for a few shaky years. In early 1914, Lasker was facing increasing pressure to defend his title against a real heavyweight and discussions were held with both Akiba Rubinstein (one of the great players who never got a title shot) and Capablanca (more on him later). Nonetheless, the outbreak of the Great War put a stop to any thoughts of gentlemanly pursuits and proved to be largely responsible for the decline of many a great player, including Lasker himself.

In the aftermath of the assassination of a certain Mr Hapsburg in Sarajevo, Lasker displayed a Steinitz-esque sense of financial intuition and invested every penny he had in German war bonds. Needless to say, this did not turn out well. By the end of the war, Lasker was a largely broken man and was unable to stop Capablanca from wresting the world championship from him in 1921. Although Lasker continued to win the odd tournament here and there, his loss to Capablanca was essentially the end of his great career. Unfortunately, Lasker did not get a particularly peaceful retirement however. Lasker fled Germany after Hitler’s ascension in 1933 and took up Soviet citizenship, only to have to run away again as Stalin began his own purges in 1937. This movement cost Lasker both financially and physically and despite his strongest efforts to avoid Steinitz’s fate, Lasker died in relative poverty in New York in 1941 leaving a wife and sister behind.

A bit depressing all that, but I’ll leave you with a quote from some scientist or other:

“Emanuel Lasker was undoubtedly one of the most interesting people I came to know in my later years. We must be thankful to those who have penned the story of his life for this and succeeding generations. For there are few men who have had a warm interest in all the great human problems and at the same time kept their personality so uniquely independent” (A. Einstein, 1952).
Cheers all ......
Steve

Friday, 15 July 2011

Sicilian Grand Prix Attack - Gawain Jones

I was searching for a book on the Grand Prix Attack and I wanted something up to date ... I found this book by Gawain Jones to be one of the most recent publications ...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sicilian-Grand-Prix-Attack-Starting/dp/1857445473/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1310727330&sr=8-1

This guide covers the most popular lines for White and Black and is worth investing in to gain a better understanding of the attacking chances for both sides and the pitfalls. I bought the book over a year ago ... I haven't finished running through all the material just yet, but what I've read so far has given me some very nice ideas!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Grand Prix Attack - Basics

I think that the Grand Prix Attack is a great system for launching attacks on Black's King in the Sicilian! These blitz games I played recently are 5 mins each - The ideas for White in the Gr.Pr. are the following:

1) Aim the White squared Bishop down the a2-g8 diagonal biting on the f7 pawn.

2) Having played e4 and f4 get an early push in with f5 ... if you manage to exchange the pawn on e6 then this takes an enemy pawn off of the above mentioned diagonal exposing f7 even more!

3) Castle Kingside and aim the f1 Rook at f7.

4) Try and swap off Blacks long range Bishop on g7 - this removes a defender of the King ...

5) Play Qe1 with the plan to place her on either g3 or h4 with kingside attack in mind ...

6) Support the Queen with a Knight placed on g5 ready for attack on f7 and h7.

7) Instead, aim for a more closed position by hemming in the g7 Bishop with e5 and f6.

8) Get the rooks onto the 3rd rank in readiness to switch to the h & g-files to bolster the attack.

In subsequent posts I will fish out some simple tactics that I have used in attacking positions ...

Note: these are only ideas for White and may well NOT be possible - it really depends on what your opponent allows you to do.  Here are some sample games to play through ...

Grand Prix Attack - 1
[Event "Live Chess"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2011.07.04"]
[White "greg_b"]
[Black "A-Player"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1492"]
[BlackElo "1490"]
[TimeControl "5 0"]
[Termination "greg_b won by checkmate"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.f4 d6 4.Bc4 e6 5.Nf3 Bg7 6.O-O Bd7 7.d3 a6 8.a4 Nc6 9.Bb3 Qc7 10.Qe1 Nd4
11.Nxd4 cxd4 12.Ne2 Ne7 13.Bd2 Rc8 14.h4 h5 15.Ng3 Rf8 16.f5 gxf5 17.exf5 exf5 18.Nxf5 Bxf5 19.Rxf5 Be5 20.Rxh5 Qc5 21.Bf4 Ng6 22.Bxe5 dxe5 23.Qf2 Rc6 24.Re1 Nf4 25.Rhxe5+ Qxe5 26.Rxe5+ Re6 27.Qxf4 Rxe5 28.Qxe5+ Kd8 29.Qd6+ Ke8 30.a5 f5 31.Ba4+ Kf7 32.Qd7+ Kg8 33.Bb3+ Kh8 34.Qxd4+ Kh7 35.Qd7+ Kh6 36.Qd6+ Kg7 37.Qe5+ Kh6 38.d4 f4 39.Kf2 f3 40.gxf3 Kh7 41.Qh5+ Kg7 42.d5 Rd8 43.Qe5+ Kf7 44.d6+ Kf8 45.Qe7# 1-0


Grand Prix Attack - 2
[Event "Live Chess"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2011.07.04"]
[White "greg_b"]
[Black "A-Player"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1501"]
[BlackElo "1536"]
[TimeControl "5 0"]
[Termination "greg_b won by checkmate"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 d6 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.Nf3 e6 6.O-O d5 7.exd5 exd5 8.Bb5 Bd7 9.d3 Be7 10.Bxc6 Bxc6 11.Ne5 O-O 12.a4 Rc8 13.Nb5 Bxb5 14.axb5 Qb6 15.c4 dxc4 16.dxc4 Rfd8 17.Qc2 Bd6 18.b3 Re8 19.Nf3 Re6 20.Ng5 Re7 21.Qf5 Rce8 22.Bb2 h6 23.Nh3 Ne4 24.Rf3 Nd2 25.Rg3 Ne4 26.Rxg7+ Kf8 27.Qh7 Nf6 28.Qh8+ Ng8 29.Qxg8# 1-0

Friday, 8 July 2011

News & series on 'The Greats' from Steve !

In terms of chess news, it appears to have been rather a quiet week. So much so that despite a few tournaments rumbling on, the headline story is the revelation that Peter Falk – better known to many as Colombo – quite liked chess. A far cry from the wild tales of political corruption and alien abduction of my last update. Rather than trying to hash together some tortuous links between a scruffy detective and the game of chess, I figured I’d look back and begin my series on some chess characters of years ago. This week, Wilhelm Steinitz:

Steinitz was the 1st chess world champion, and held his title between 1886 and 1894. In the early stages of his career, Steinitz rose to the top by playing the all-out attacking chess which was almost mandatory at the time. Refusing any sacrifice or even trying to defend against an attack was regarded as unsporting, if not downright cowardly, and many chess games of this period are a bit like a Rocky Balboa fight with players just flaying wildly at each other in utter disregard of their own safety. Not always the best idea, but it certainly makes for entertaining chess.

Later on in his career, however, Steinitz became the catalyst for a dramatic revolution in how chess was played and understood. By using a slow and subtle positional style, he was able to efficiently manoeuvre his pieces into good positions and jab away at his opponent without ever risking too much. Steinitz’s approach proved too much for the rough and ready attack-minded brawlers of the time, who reports suggest would often later attribute their loss to a damaged pinky finger which meant they weren’t able to move their pieces as well. Eventually, however, the world caught up and Steinitz would lose his title in 1894 to one of the greats of chess history, Emanuel Lasker.

On a personal level Steinitz, like many other chess players that will feature in this series, was a little odd. He is generally held to have had a rather violent temper and was quick to insult others around him, possibly due to acute ‘short-man syndrome’. He also didn’t quite seem to understand the concept of money, making various dodgy decisions and eventually dying as a pauper leaving his wife destitute. On the plus side, he had a cool beard.

Finally, for those who picked up on the boxing references and have time to spare, have a search for chess-boxing on youtube.

Strange......

Cheers

Steve

Dragon Basics

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 d6
3. d4 cxd4 (open sicilian)
4. Nxd4 Nc6
5. Nc3 Nf6
6. Bc4 g6 (White play Fischer's favoured placement of the Bishop)
7. Bg5 Bg7 (Black plays the Dragon)

8. Qd2 Bd7 (White would ideally like to swap off the Dragon Bishop on h6 or g7 because this piece becomes stronger generally speaking the longer it is left on and kept alive!)

9. f3 h5 (White's move is designed to stop Ng4, but Bishop has already moved to g5 therefore White maybe planning a g4 push - but that would leave f3 weakened? Black has decided to defer castling with h5 to avoid an exchange of Bishops)

10. 0-0-0 a6 (Now Black has castled Q-side - Black must start operations on this side of the board)

11. a3 Rc8 (I guess that white plans to stop the Knight hopping to b4, but the White Queen already controls this square so that 'extra' move may cost White!)

12. Ba2 Ne5 (I think that White preempted the Knight's move to e5, which is a standard line in the Dragon)

13. h3 Nc4 (Again, a pawn move without a real purpose! The better move is to attack Black's kingside and make him think ... h3 is too slow! )

14. Bxc4 Rxc4

15. Rde1 Qb6

16. Nb3 a5 (Black wants to dislodge the Knight on b3)

17. Kb1 a4 (Black achieves his objective)

18. Nc1 Nxe4! (Sacrificing the Knight for the game! The diagonal is clear for the Dragon Bishop to support mate on b2 and Queen is en-prise - the ideal Sicilian Dragon position for Black ... and a win)

0 - 1

Note: the above game was played at an amateur level (5 mins each on the clock). Stronger lines for White and Black are obviously playable but the character of this game provides great instruction for the amateur player who wants to aquaint themselves with the plans in the Sicilian Dragon.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Controversy surrounding Rybka ...

I read an interesting article in the Metro this morning about Rybka ...

Rybka Metro Article

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Here's a wild bishop sacrifice!

I played this one last night ... I never know quite what to do against 3.Bc4?  Any ideas would be appreciated ...

[Event "Live Chess"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2011.06.30"]
[White "Am*****"]
[Black "greg_b"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1580"]
[BlackElo "1518"]
[TimeControl "5|0"]
[Termination "greg_b won by resignation"]

1.e4 c5
2.Nf3 d6
3.Bc4 e6
4.h3 a6
5.d3 d5
6.exd5 exd5
7.Qe2+ Be7
8.Bb3 b5
9.a3 Nf6
10.O-O O-O
11.Bg5 Re8
12.Qd1 Nc6
13.Nc3 Be6
14.Rb1 c4
15.Ba2 cxd3
16.Qxd3 b4
17.Ne2 g6
18.a4 Bf5
19.Qd1 Qd7
20.Ned4 Nxd4
21.Nxd4 Rac8
22.Bb3 Bxh3
23.gxh3 Qxh3
24.Qf3 Qxf3
25.Nxf3 Ne4
26.Bxe7 Rxe7
27.Rfd1 Nf6
28.Ne1 Re4
29.f3 Re2
30.Kf1 Rh2
31.Kg1 Rh5
32.Kg2 Re5
33.Nd3 Re2+
34.Kf1 Rh2
35.Nxb4 h5
36.Nxa6 h4
37.Nb4 h3
38.Nd3 Rg2
39.Nf2 Rg3
40.Bxd5 Nxd5
41.Rxd5 Rxc2
42.Re5 h2
43.Re8+ Kg7
44.Nh3 h1=Q+
0-1

Imagination in chess

Here is my latest review on Amazon.  I think that it is wise not to be fooled by the title of this book - I found it somewhat misleading ... nevertheless it contains some wonderful sacrifices :)

Imagination In Chess

NB: You have to be 1800+ ELO to get real benefit from this book which is why I struggled ...!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

For those parents interested in chess for their children ...

I found an interesting article on the BBC website recently ...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-13343943

I wonder if chess in schools will ever take off SERIOUSLY in the UK? Apparently some countries are planning to make chess a compulsory part of the school curriculum!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Bishop sacrifice in Kings Indian Defense

One of my colleagues recently won a game on chess.com with a nice bishop sacrifice. It appears that the mate was unstoppable after 12.Ng5. Has anyone got any ideas as to how Black should have played before the sacrifice?

IrishJon versus a-player .
1.d4 g6
2.e4 Bg7
3.c4 d6
4.Nf3 Nf6
5.Nc3 O-O
6.Bd3 Re8
7.h4 h5
8.Qc2 c6
9.e5 Ng4
10.Bxg6 fxg6
11.Qxg6 dxe5
12.Ng5 Rf8
13.Qh7#

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Lichess

This looks like an interesting site to meet up with friends for the odd game. Certainly less hectic than some of the more popular ones. Why not give it a go?

http://lichess.org/

Monday, 13 June 2011

World Chess News 2011

Here is a quick update from Stephen M on what is going on in the world of chess ...

"In terms of recent chess news, the last couple of weeks saw the emergence of a new challenger for Vishy Anand’s world championship. Boris Gelfand from Israel somewhat unexpectedly won the candidates tournament, beating Grishuk in the final, and will go on to face Anand in 2012. Anand and Gelfand are relatively old in the elite chess-playing world, both in the early 40s. This match may well be the beginning of the end for the old guard of the chess world as the current crop of youngsters will soon supplant them, but it should be a good fight between very contrasting styles. After the challenger is announced, there is normally a protracted period of contract negotiations where both players argue over the terms and conditions of the match and play a few mind games. These two players might be relatively quiet on this front I’m afraid, but keep an eye out for the classic 'his chair looks comfier than mine' and the Fischer favourite 'he’s employing psychics to climb inside my brain' "

You can follow all the recent chess news on www.chessbase.com which also lets you flick through some recent games and has a decent shop as well.

Cheers all,

Steve

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Chess Training Pocket Book: 300 Most Important Positions & Ideas

My latest chess tactics training has involved working through this little pocket book by Lev Alburt. I reviewed it on Amazon ...

Here is the link ...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chess-Training-Pocket-Book-Comprehensive/dp/1889323225/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The key to becoming a better chess player

Some improvement tips that worked for me
Finally on 14th May 2011 approx. 1 year after becoming a member of chess.com rated 1200 I achieved an ELO rating for online chess of 1602. An increase of 402 points in 1 year! To get there I had to prepare openings, study tactics and analyse my games.


Openings
Here are a few of the openings you might choose to adopt in your games.

GP Attack: When playing e4 decide on a system for confronting c5. An example might be the Grand Prix Attack because it is quite good for surprise value and avoids well trodden lines such as the Sveshnikov or the Dragon.

Scotch: When playing e4 decide on a system for confronting 1 .. e5 2. Nf3 Nc6. An example might be the Scotch game or even a sharper tactical line such as the Scotch Gambit or the Goring Gambit.

Alekhine’s Defence: When faced with 1.e4 decide on a system. For instance, learn a sharp line for Alekhine’s Defense. This can prove tricky for White to break down because there is a tendency for them to leap into the “chase” variation and become undermined by making one too many tempo losing pawn pushes.

Latvian: Be prepared for opening novelties such as the “Latvian” 1. e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5!

Reti/English: Be prepared to play a strategic battle against openings such as 1. g3 the “Reti”.
1. c4 the “English”.

Budapest/KID: Look for ways to confront 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 examples: 2. ...e5, Budapest
2. ...d6, Kings Indian Defence
2. ...g6, Pirc

Generally speaking if there is a gambit line in any of your chosen openings then it is necessary to learn it, whether that be for or against you. It is up to you how you approach this. Some players like to buy books and learn that way while others prefer to learn the hard way by playing hundreds of games and learning by repetition. Online discussions through email, blogs and forums can also be beneficial. It is simply a matter of what works best for you.

Bullet Chess
I was always advised not to play bullet (1 min) chess. I don’t agree entirely with this advice. I would say that there are occasions in Rapid-Play games when you may have only a minute left on your clock and your opponent might have considerably longer. You need to be able to ‘play out’ the remaining minute as quickly as possible to have any chance of victory. I have found that playing quickly in an ending can sometimes give you a significant psychological edge and throw your opponent off guard. I maintain that if you are only quick enough to find 3 good moves in the last minute, then unless it’s checkmate, what hope have you got of winning?!

Analyse your games
I have only recently started analysing the games I lose. In the past, this was always too much trouble, but now I realise it is absolutely paramount. If you don’t spend time looking at mistakes, then there is a very strong likelihood that you will repeat the same mistakes again and again. Use computers where necessary and always play the game back to yourself to find the move(s) where the error occurred.

Tactics
I have to admit that my increase of 402 rating points in 1 year was mainly due to an awful lot of tactics study! I would say that 80% of my wins revolve around superior tactics. The remaining 20% is either due to advantage gained in the opening or superior endgame knowledge. I think, to make a similar gain of 402 ELO points in 1 year, you have to be VERY regimental about solving tactics on a daily basis for 3-4 month periods. This solving should amount to a minimum of 1 hour per day. In some cases I have spent 3 hours per day both on the train and in the cafe solving tactics problems – and this has been a very hard slog. Note: I have reviewed several tactics books on Amazon (see previous posts on this Blog).

Strategy
I would say that the most inferior aspect of my game is that I am guilty of not conceiving of the correct plan, or indeed not having a plan at all. Hence I will be concentrating a lot more in future on strategy. The connection between tactics and strategy of course being that tactics are born out of good strategy!

Summary
So, having cracked this goal, I will now set the bar higher and aim for 1700 ELO. In summary, a year ago I was a weak player. I promised to myself that if I set myself a goal, I would do whatever means necessary to accomplish it! If I had to play more games, I would. If I had to study more tactics, I would. If I had to analyse my mistakes, I would etc. It’s been a long year of ‘trial and error’. During the rocky periods when my grade went down instead of up I felt like throwing in the towel, but now I’m a far, far more confident chess player than I was a year ago.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Scotch Game

I played a Scotch game recently which soon got out of the book! There are two points worth stressing here - 1) passed pawns have to be pushed and 2) there are always tactics lurking on the back rank!!

This was a fun game!

[Event "Live Chess"]
[Site "-"]
[Date "2011.05.14"]
[White "greg_b"]
[Black "A-Player"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1602"]
[BlackElo "1650"]
[TimeControl "15|0"]
[Termination "greg_b won by checkmate"]

1.e4 e5
2.Nf3 Nc6
3.d4 exd4
4.Nxd4 Bc5
5.Be3 Qf6
6.c3 Nge7
7.Bc4 O-O
8.O-O Nxd4
9.Bxd4 Bxd4
10.cxd4 d5
11.e5 Qg6
12.Bd3 Qg5
13.Qf3 f6
14.Qg3 Qh6
15.Nc3 c6
16.Rfe1 Nf5
17.Bxf5 Bxf5
18.e6 Rfe8
19.e7 Qd2
20.Qc7 Qxb2
21.Rac1 Rac8
22.Qd6 Bg6
23.Nxd5 cxd5
24.Rxc8 Rxc8
25.Qd8+ Rxd8
26.exd8=Q+ Kf7
27.Re7#
1-0

Monday, 4 April 2011

Alekhines Defence

I hadn't really tried Alekhine's Defence before but I'd been caught out with it plenty of times with the White pieces... It seems that, in both games that I've played as Black - I get to a Rook and Pawn ending (including the one with Steve). Tonight I played a player graded 1652 (who incidentally I think was playing too quickly) and got a simple win ... Here is the game ... :

1.e4 Nf6
2.e5 Nd5
3.Nf3 d6
4.c4 Nb6
5.d4 Bg4
6.Be2 g6
7.O-O Bg7
8.Bf4 O-O
9.h3 Bxf3
10.Bxf3 Nc6
11.Bxc6 bxc6
12.c5 dxc5
13.dxc5 Nc4
14.Qe2 Qd5
15.Rd1 Qe6
16.Re1 f6
17.b3 Nxe5
18.Bxe5 fxe5
19.Qe4 Rf4
20.Qe3 Raf8
21.f3 e4
22.Nc3 Bxc3
23.Qxc3 Qf6
24.Qc4+ Kg7
25.Rad1 exf3
26.Qe6 f2+ (intermezzo move - why exchange Queens now!)
27.Kh1 fxe1=Q+
28.Rxe1 Rf1+
29.Kh2 Qf4+
30.g3 Qf2#

Simple!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Budapest Endgame

I thought I'd put this Budapest Gambit game on the blog just so I can refer back to it! It was a blitz game - 7 minutes my opponent graded 1604 ELO. The endgame, I think favours me ... An example of a bad trade off in the middle game for White.












PGN Viewer courtesy of http://chesstempo.com/

Friday, 18 February 2011

1.Nh3 The (Paris) Amar Opening

I decided to have some fun last night and try an unorthodox chess opening: 1.Nh3, The Amar (Paris) Opening. I don't have much idea how the game should progress after 1.Nh3, but have found some interesting publications dating from the 1980's to refer to for ideas. Unconventional openings are known to be great for, if nothing else, their novelty value, and in this game, although he blundered, my opponent got over-confident early on and failed to develop his pieces. Sometimes, when a player is forced "out of their opening book" and forced to rely on their "Over the Board" skills they become intimidated...! Here is the game :-

1.Nh3 e5
2.g3 e4
3.Bg2 d5
4.c4 c6
5.O-O Bc5
6.d4 Be7
7.Nc3 Be6
8.cxd5 cxd5
9.Nf4 Bd6
10.Nxe6 fxe6
11.Qa4+ Nc6
12.Bh3 Qf6
13.Nb5 a6 (my opponent blunders ... )
14.Nxd6+ Ke7
15.Bf4 g5
16.Qa3 Kd7 (Simple tactic to win my opponents Queen if the Bishop is snatched!)
17.Be5 Nxe5
18.dxe5 Qxe5
19.Nf7 Qd4
20.Qd6+ Ke8
21.Qxe6+ Kf8
22.Nxg5 Nh6
23.Qxh6+ Ke7
24.Qe6+ Kd8
25.Qd7#

1-0


I intend to propose some better ideas for Black when facing this unusual opening in my next post on this Blog. As per usual, constructive comments are welcome.

For those interested in this opening here is a link.

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Chess_Opening_Theory/1._Nh3/1...e5

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Sveshnikov Trap #1

Following on from Steve's post on the subject of the Sveshnikov Sicillian, I thought I'd contribute a basic trap that Black can fall into.

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 Nf6
5. Nc3 e5 (this is a Svesh)
6. Nb5 d6
7. Bg5 a6
8. Na3 b5 (looking at springing a knight fork)
9. Bxf6 gxf6 (Better than Qxf6 Nd5, Qd8 etc.)
10.Nd5 f5 (dominating the centre)
11.c3 fxe4 (a greedy pawn grab?)

Here comes a neat little sacrifice for White in the Sveshnikov that can be played in this position ...

12.Bxb5 axb5
13.Nxb5

Black is now concerned about losing the exchange so moves the a8 Rook out of
the line of fire but alas, it's too late ...

14. .. Ra5
15.Nc7+ Kd7
16.Qg4+! f5 (the only move ...)
17.Qxf5#

A nice mate with Queen and two Knights!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

My Oponents

I do play chess a little bit at school at lunch time against my friends but I mostly play against a teacher called Mr Crew.He is grade 90 and he normally beats me but I have beat him once.He is a very good chess teacher and he teaches me stuff throughout the game when we are playing a game. Perhaps my dad should ask him to follow this chess blog.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Sicilian Sveshnikov

Hi all,

It's been almost exactly a year since my last post here, so about time I got back into it I think.

I've been trying to learn the Sveshnikov for a while now, but never seem to encounter it over the board. My last game, however, gave me just the opportunity to try it out - against a higher rated player as well. Here goes:

White : N.N.
Black: S.M.

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 Nf6
5. Nc3 e5
6. Ndb5

This is the most common move. 6. Nb3 and 6.Nf3 are both met with 6...Bb4 with a solid game for black (so the books tell me), whilst 6. Nf5 is a tricky try best met with 6...d5! 7.exd5 Bxf5 8. dxc6 bxc6 9.Qf3 Qd7!. There is also Nde2...but thats another story...

6...d6

I have to stop the knight coming into d6.

7. Bg5 a6
8. Bxf6 gxf6

Although it might look natural to take on f6 with the queen, after 9. Nd5 the queen will have to move again. The double pawns really aren't too much of a problem, as I can use on of them to pressure e4, then play f5 again after the exchange. Or I could play f4 then the other f-pawn up behind it to get an attack rolling.

9. Na3

The poor placement of this knight vs the weakness of the d5 square in blacks camp is one of the defining features of the sveshnikov.

9...b5 (threatening b4 forking the knights)

10. Nd5 f5
11. Bd3 Be6
12. c3!?

This is interesting - but perfectly sound I think. I had expected the more usual 0-0 or Qh5 to played here.

12...Bxd5?

The moment I played this I realised it may be a mistake. As after....

13. exd5 Ne7

There is 14. Nxb5 and if 14...axb5, 15. Bxb5 wins the queen! However, I figured that maybe Rb8 or Bg7 would give me some decent play for the pawn - and in this sort of aggressive opening, the loss of a flank pawn is not really the end of the world. Either way, 12...Bg7 was the move to play!

14. c4?!

A relief!! I was surprised to see this move, as the c-pawn has now moved twice to get to a square it could have got to in one move.

14... e4
15. Be2 Bg7
16. Nc2!?

Offering a pawn. Having run it through Fritz, the pawn looks ok to capture. I suppose I am old fashioned (or just scared/nervous) and don't like to go pawn-grabbing in the opening.

16... 0-0

It's not perfect, but it can't be a disastous move either.

17. cxb5 axb5
18. a3

I was surprised by this one as well - the pawn is still on offer, and with my king a bit safer I can't help myself anymore. Note that 18. Bxb5 failes to 18...Qa5+

18... Bxg2
19. Rb1 Bc3+
20. Kf1

With the white king awkwardly placed and the h1 rook going nowhere just yet, I figure I'm doing ok.

20...f4

So I go into aggressive mode.

21. Bxb5 Kh8

I had wanted to play 21...Nf5, but the thought of 22. Qg4+ Ng7 23. g3 soon changed my mind on that one.

22. Qg4 Be5

22...f5 23. Qxf5 Nxd5 would also have been fine I think, but I suppose I didn't like the idea of pressure against the c3 bishop after a Rb3 later on.

23. Re1 Qc7
24. Qe2 Qc5!?

I like this move - it attacks the b4 bishop, the d5 pawn and keeps pressure on the c2 knight.

25. Nb4 Nf5
26. Bc6?

This looks like a mistake. Moving the bishop of the f1-a6 diagonal only weakens the king. 26. Ba6, however, looks pretty good and stops...

26...Rxa3
27. Qxe4 Nd4!

This move cuts off the queen from the b4 knight and, perhaps more importantly, the c4 square from where the queen can give a nasty check.

28. Rb1?

Protecting the knight, but black had to give up the exchange with Rxd4 here.

28...Qc4+ 0-1

White resigned due to...

29. Kg1 Ne2+ 30. Kf1 Ng3++ picking up the queen.

Or

29. Kd1 f5! trapping the queen.


Hope you found that interesting. Any questions/comments welcome.

Cheers

Steve