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 !

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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!

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