World Chess Federation - FIDE

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Grand Prix Attack - No Plan, No Prep, Nil Point

Last week I played a club game against Basingstoke. I confess that I had not properly prepared for Black's 4th and my 5th move response! I didn't have a plan after 6.Bb5, I simply wanted to match my opponents early lunge in the center by giving my Bishop an early exchange and hoping to castle soon afterwards. I thought that by giving Black doubled pawns I'd have a slight advantage?

My opponent was wise and played 7. .. Qc7, a kind of Kan setup. I then went on to blunder a pawn after misplacing my Queen. My opponent finshed me off with nice little tactic against my h3 pawn, winning 2 more of my pawns and the game was up. The lesson for me here is that I well and truly lost the oppening and my opponent kept his advantage ... According to Fritz 13 it is not necessary to take the pawn on d5 (5.exd5), instead Bb5+ can be played on move 5 not move 6.

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Thursday, 15 November 2012

ChessTempo for Tactics!

Just lately I have decided to start using ChessTempo for tactics training, particularly endgame tactics study. If you are not a premium member, then you are only permitted 2 x endgame tactics per day. This however is sufficient for one day, given that you need to fully absorb the concept that you are being tested on ... Believe me, these problems are certainly challenging!

Chess Tempo Endgame Problem

Grand Prix Attack -

Here my two Knights proved to be much better than my opponent's two bishops ... As can be seen from the game, White seems to hem both his Bishops in and as a consequence they are both bad ...

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The formula for a better chess blitz grade

Not an easy one - but some players would love to see their internet grade soar through the roof! I think that there is no easy solution to this, but with a strict framework in place, self discipline and with a little help from Fritz 13 I reckon it is indeed possible to see your grade increase by 200 - 400 grading points in one season. Here is my formula:

1) Play only 6 games (10 minutes each will be a maximum of 2 hours Blitz per day) in one session. Any more than this and your concentration will lapse and your grade will start to plummet.

 2) When you lose one game - STOP. Analyse the game on Fritz immediately, even if you blundered ... This is an excellent habit to get into because a computer can highlight all the weaknesses in game, and indicate exactly where either you or your opponent started to stray.

3) When you have lost just one game don't play any more games that day. Instead take the time to either -
 a) 'google' the opening and preferred plans for both sides,
 b) Play the game through on Fritz 13 and perform a 'Full Analysis'.
 c) Look a similar game up in a book to get and idea for the plans ...
 d) Do all of the above ... (preferable)

Fritz is an excellent tool when used to perform a full appraisal (Full Analysis) of the game.  I particularly appreciate the English Language commentary set alongside the moves that have a major impact on the game ... This helps me to put into perspective exactly where I went wrong.  I am gradually building up a database of 'losses', which over time will indicate how most games are being lost.

I think that by sticking to this strict training regime unwaveringly, you will start to see a steady improvement over time ...  

Monday, 12 November 2012

Sicilian Dragon, White castles Kingside

Here is this evening's club game - a Dragon (B73 Classical System without Nb3). I have attempted to revisit the quirky (and early) h5 for Black. According to Charlie Storey's book on the Sniper, Black can have some successful games against White by deferring their castling until such time as it is needed ... Problem is that I have been studying games where White castles Queenside. I must confess that I was not prepared for White's Kingside castling, however I played a similar game a year or two ago so there are no excuses for my poor performance!! I have used Fritz 13 to analyse this game (an abysmal loss)... Interestingly after my a6 move Fritz appears to favour White already! (Back to the drawing board I think ...)

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Thursday, 8 November 2012

English Opening leads to a dubious draw ...

Here is this week's club game - an English. I don't know a lot about the strategy behind this opening other than the fact that Botvinnik has pioneered some sound theory on it ... I need to look this up! (I may even have gone wrong on move 2 ??) I thought I had the edge throughout the game, however a draw was agreed on move 38 after Kf8.

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Budapest Gambit Declined - poor strategy and no tactics!

Here is last week's club game - a Budapest declined. In this game I made two fundamental errors. 1) I blocked my dark-squared bishop's diagonal. 2) I opened the 'h' file without actually needing to ... (the result of being 35 minutes behind on time and having only 5 minutes left on the clock). I have performed some analysis on Fritz 13 - this showed that I could certainly have played f5 and sacrificed my Bishop for a win! I wonder if White would have spotted that? Anyway I got mated foolishly on the back rank in the end - should have sac'ed my Queen for the two Rooks (hindsight is wonderful isn't it?)

PGN Viewer courtesy of