Tuesday, 31 January 2012

GM John Emms - Simul

My colleague Steve played in a simultaneous last Saturday against GM John Emms. According to John, Steve had the better of the opening which was a Closed Sicilian but unfortunately for Steve, John had a better positional game, hoovered up some pawns and Steve had to resign on move 30.

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

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Attacking with the initiative!

Here is my colleague Steve's latest club game. This guy is what I would describe as a STRONG chess tactician. Although currently graded 149 I think that his playing strength is about 160 ... This is very instructive from the point of view of keeping the initiative in a promising position. It is an example of someone playing with the attitude of attack - Steve has kindly annotated the game ...

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

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Budapest bamboozles my opponent !

I had all the luck in my club game last night. It is hard to believe that my opponent went horribly wrong on move 4 by developing his Bishop to g5 instead of his Knight to f3 first! This allowed for an early Bxf2+ picking up a pawn and following that with Ne4+ recapturing the Bishop ... (I won with the same thing online once).

I wanted to test my opponent this time rather than bottling out - to show who had the initiative and this proved to be the correct attitude - due to incorrect analysis my opponent technically through the game away on 11.Qd3?? (instead if moving his King back to e1) allowing a simple Knight fork winning his Queen! He valiantly played on and some of my colleagues say I made a bit of a meal out of the finish, but I came away happy with my first win for a while ... !

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

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Powerplay 10 Calculation - GM Daniel King

I'm always looking for fresh ways to study tactics ... As the tactics puzzles I attempt to solve get more difficult I realise I am still lacking considerably in my calculation skills! To remedy this, I recently purchased a copy of Dan King's Powerplay 10 Calculation (DVD).

The lesson's start with Dan introducing 5 complex chess positions where the student is asked to choose between a course of action. E.g. "In this position, is it safe for White to take the knight on a6?" The student is then asked to go away and spend some time solving the problems. Dan advises you to use a board (as he does) to play through the positions. I personally thought it might be a useful discipline to play through the variations in my head as far as possible, because this is what I will have to do in a real game. I managed to spot most of the tactical ideas in the positions shown, but made a couple of astoundingly bad oversights! I therefore need to practice looking at EVERYTHING! I am also very guilty of stopping my analysis after 3 or 4 moves for each player which really isn't good enough for some of these positions.

Having done my own analysis - it was refreshing to see how a Grandmaster i.e. Dan King went about solving the same set of problems. He was totally thorough and objective - a lot more so than me. Like a dog with a bone he persisted in analysing each variation and some subvariations in great detail leaving no stone unturned. It was also quite interesting to see what extent intuition played in his analysis as well ...

So far as I can see, these lessons from a Grandmaster are excellent at making you think with the right mindset. There are over 4 hours of study on this DVD and I think that if you need to improve calculation as most of us do, then this is a great training tool. I thoroughly recommend Powerplay 10 - Calculation !


Saturday, 21 January 2012

Tactics Problem #4

Here is a tactical finish from a Tal vs Larsen Match. Try and find the finish ...

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

White to move ...

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

Friday, 20 January 2012

FIDE World Rankings

Just out of interest, here is a list of the world's top players at the FIDE homepage: http://ratings.fide.com/top.phtml

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Scotch Draw

In my latest club game I thought I had a reasonably good opening out of a scotch, but any advantage I had seem to fizzle away ... I had to defend to keep the draw ... There was surely more to play once the draw was agreed though? I was happy enough because the team won 3-2 overall!

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

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Shredder for Android

I bought and installed a copy of Shredder for my Android phone on the weekend and I'm not disappointed -

Like any chess computer, it gives you a rating and advises and assists you when you have played the wrong move (coach). There is also a tactics module thrown in (1000 problems). For £5.99 in total I think it is a worthwhile investment ... (should be available on Apple iPhone as well)


Monday, 16 January 2012

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Grand Prix Attack with sound pawn structure

I walked away with a few more grading points last night when my opponent offered me a draw on move 18. It wasn't really a drawn position because there were opportunities for both players to capitalise - but on further analysis with my chess playing colleague Steve at lunchtime, it is quite possible that I had some better prospects in the final position reached ... It was just getting exciting at this point - I accepted the draw because I couldn't see a way forward at the time, but if I recapture d4 with cxd4 then I should be able to post either a Rook or even better a Knight to c5!

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

Monday, 9 January 2012

Budapest played correctly after 3.e3

Following on from the last post, here is a master level game I dug out which demonstrates how to play the opening correctly after 3.e3 and Black following up with 3. ... e4, as in my latest club game. This games shows how the strategy of initially attacking the Queen with a5 and Bishop on a4 result in a full scale attack against the castled King. The White Queen has to be sacrificed or a mate will surely follow ... The game ends with a neat Nf4 (to allow Nxf4 Qf3+ winning the Rook on h1)

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

Friday, 6 January 2012

I can do better !

I made a beginner's mistake last night and blundered a pawn in the opening - I tried a Budapest - but he didn't accept the pawn on e5 and played e3! I played e4 but then had to think of ways of supporting it (the pawn)! I ended up blundering the pawn on e4 by a sequence that I wrongly (stupidly) assessed ... I played d5 to get a central pawn in - but of course he can play ... cxd5 I play Nxd5 he plays Nc3xe4! I felt like a right MUG ...!

I played well after that but my position was compromised (to say the least). My opponent is a solid tactician - I managed to pose him a few problems but - but then (in time trouble) I blundered a Bishop (by that time I'd already lost really)!!! I wasn't too upset - the pressure of having a long run of victories and draws is finally off - distant memory ! Funnily enough - neither my opponent or his colleague had heard of the Budapest !? - you have to laugh!!

I have become more determined now - I will play another club match on Monday! (Ave Grade is 140)

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

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Double Rook & Queen Sac !

I have managed to beat Level 8 out of 10 on the free Chess App on my Android phone(second attempt)! I'm not really sure how strong it is but, like a greedy kid in a sweet shop it went for whatever treats it could get it's hands on as quickly as possible and munched on them while I was busy concocting a tactical device to blow it away! Who says that you can't learn tactics from books? :) Most of my tactical ideas have come through a dedicated study routine, and this game proved that the tactical motifs can be learnt by familiarisation and the process of reading through them. I'm the first to admit that I'm NOT the most gifted chess tactician - far from it - but tactics can be learnt - hence this Blog!

You can easily see from the game that with a Queen on f7 (Move 26) White can't really finish off Black with a brute force combination ... but remember Philidor's Legacy and it is all quite easy to spot. There should be a Knight on h6 with the Queen giving herself up on g8 - Therefore to make this happen I need to retreat the Queen to b3 (Black gobbles up another Rook at this point) to allow Nf7+ Kg8, Nxh6+ Kh8, Qg8+ Nxg8 (Knight must capture because King cannot of course) Nf7# - instead of a smothered mate I have a neat little Knight and Bishop mate - easy when you know what to look for ... Of course this combination had to be forcing otherwise it would have been mate against me on the next move. Here is the game ...

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

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Van 't Kruijs Opening

Having lost abysmally at Blitz chess against Steve lunchtime, I decided to take my frustration out on the Chess App on my Android phone. I played on Level 7 out of 10 as Black. I have looked up the opening moves on wikipedia ... it is Van 't Kruijs Opening. Here is the game that I managed to win - I will try and beat it on Level 8 tomorrow as White.

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