Monday, 30 April 2012

Never give up with your chess! 
This businessmans's attitude is one that all chess players can adopt.  Failure IS an option, but learning from it is more important.  The underlying message is that it IS OK to fail ... but exactly how much failure you can stomach, ultimately determines your success!  So remember when you lose your next chess match, although your grade has certainly dropped, you've definitely learnt more from the defeat!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Chess Improvement (20min exercise)

Petroff - Under-Developed Knight leads to White win

My colleague, Simon recently played against a Petroff in our local chess league. This game demonstrates the use of tactics against an underdeveloped knight and reaffirms the truth in the adage that as a chess player you should always aim to "get the pieces out as early as possible!".  The threat of back rank mate became very difficult to deal with ... In Simon's words:

"The theme of the game was the fact that Black's b8 knight could not get developed and so he did not have sufficient force to defend against the tactics based on the threat of mate on the back rank. The lack of development theme continued right through to the ending, when my 24 Rc8 and 25 Bc6 enabled me to win even more material and finish a rook up".

Simon eventually won on time ...

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Knowledge Necessary for a Gentleman

"CHESS, a sport without some knowledge of which no man dared to call himself of gentle blood in those chivalrous ages when the bold knight left the battle field for the tourney and the chesse, when kings looked over the board and queens were proud to grace the victor".

GEORGE WALKER (1803-79) A New Treatise On Chess, 1832.

 George Walker was a London stockbroker, whose hobby was chess and writing about chess.  A useful though not brilliant player,he admitted that men with the force of Paul Morphy or Alexander McDonnell could always give him the odds of pawn and move. But from1840 to 1847, when he gave up first class chess, he was inferior only to Buckle and Staunton among English players.

 He was a founder of the famous Westminster Club, the scene of the titanic struggle between McDonnell and Laboudonnais, and of the St George's Club, which survived until the beginnings of the 20th century.

 His chess writings had a European reputation.  A laudator temporis acti, he used to contend that a match between Philidor and Ponziani would surpass the play of any of his contemporaries.  Among the latter his special hero was Labourdonnais, whom he tended in his last illness and buried at his own expense at Kensal Green.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Chess Tactics and Combinations

Wow, I was surfing on the web last night and stumbled by accident on a little Gem; A chess tactics and combinations course in PDF format ready for you to download!

Dr Dave Regis of Exeter Chess Club has put together a number of games mainly starting 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 which of course is an ideal starting place for beginners ...

He says and I quote: "The exciting main lines of the Max Lange and Fried Liver Attacks feature throughout, and Damiano's Defence endures some terrible beatings.  There is an opening index by ECO code so you can run through several tactical ideas associated with one opening or even one variation".

Needless to say, I have already downloaded the PDF and I can't wait to get my teeth into it on the train tomorrow.  This, I am sure will be a valuable resource for chess teachers.

Visit the following link ...

and enjoy the course!

Monday, 23 April 2012

The Lion's Den: Pirc Defence (B09)

This is one of my favourite club games to date! My opponent plays the Pirc Defence. There is much jockeying for position on the Queenside in the early middlegame. I do think though, that Black was too premature with 4. .. Qa5+? 5.Nc3 Qb6 It doesn't seem to be a very economical set of developing moves, because the Queen gets driven back to c7 after 9.Na4 ... but my Knight is also misplaced and ends up back on c3. Comically, a similar thought process must have been going through my head because I played 17.Qa4 Nfd7 18.Qb3 Nc5 19.Qc2 ... I then managed to place the Queen back on a4 on move 22! I gained an important tempo though on move 26 capitalising on my opponent not castling early enough. I castled queenside and gained decisive control of the centre. I then managed to lure my opponents Queen into the Lion's Den!

I allow the capture of a pawn on 34. .. Qxe5 but then 35.Nd6+ Kc7 36.Qd3? Qd4 37.Qg3! wins my opponent's Queen for a Rook (killer discovered tactic). The remainder of the game is simply a matter of trading off all the pieces to reach a won ending. We didn't get that far though. My opponent resigned on move 44 due to my threats down the h1-a8 diagonal ...

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Budapest: Kieninger Trap

An old chestnut, but great to remember for Blitz ...

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Portsmouth Chess Congress, Feb

My final result in the Portsmouth Chess Congress in February:

1 Win
2 Draws
3 Losses

2 / 6 - not very good but OK for the Major ... !

Badly played endgame leads to defeat

It was Sunday afternoon and the final game.  Having played 1.e4 as White I realised of course, that Black had the opening choice.  He chose 1. ..c6 The Caro-Kann.  Again, I'm not sure of the theory but I'm very aware that the standing joke in chess is that many Caro-Kann battles lead to draws!  There is a sharpish line that I have been advised to play by an IM in the London Chess Centre and that is the 'Advanced Variation' (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 h5 5.c4).  Whilst I have had a lot of success with this variation in Blitz I wasn't confident enough to play it at this tournament.  Not sure why? -  Instead I elected to play the 'Classical Variation'.  I made one or two beginner's errors - For instance, taking the Knight on f6 wasn't entirely necessary - I could have simply played 6.Bd3 instead.  

Interestingly I thought I had the game completely wrapped up with a passed 'b' pawn that I considered unstoppable!  - Not the case :(   It turned out that I completely overlooked his 'unstoppable' capture of my pawn on d4 and his own threat of queening the 'd' pawn.  He ends up with a passed pawn and a won game.

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Blunder costs me dearly!

It was Sunday morning and I was ready for the penultimate game.  My opponent had a grade of 153 so I was in for a difficult ride!  My opponent played 1.d4.  I played 1. ..Nf6, hoping he'd play 2.c4 and I'd be able to play 2. ..e5 and get into my favourite response - The Budapest Defence.  No such luck - he played 2.Nf3 immediately snuffing out my chances of a Budapest ... :(  I think we ended up in a Tarrasch?  I'm not sure what to do exactly in a Tarrasch, so will need to investigate with Fritz when I have more time - anyway, I ended up blundering my Bishop!  (Also 11. ..Qc7 was  very dubious - probably premature)

By my usual standards the game was a disaster - I lost a pawn due to poor calculation and so as to compensate I tried to get into a tactically sharp position, but the blunder cost me dearly and I really had no hope from then on ... Perhaps I should have considered 22. .. Rg6 and the game would certainly have taken a different course!

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Go Phone Wise

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Monday, 9 April 2012

French Defence 'Exchange Variation' leads to draw

My next game in the congress was a French. I haven't investigated the 'Winawer Variation' enough yet to be confident enough to play it - but I knew that the Exchange Variation would be solid enough to hold at least a draw (although a colleague mentioned to me after the game that he had never lost with a French Exchange Variation online as Black ...) The draw suited me fine as it was late on Saturday and I needed to save my energy for Sunday!

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Dragon: Exploiting White's early pawn pushes

In my next game a Dragon, I was determined to improve on a poor club game I had played with the Dragon where I hadn't castled and ended up losing. Over the last year I have learnt some interesting techniques when playing the Dragon as Black - two of which stand out in this game - one is exploiting tactics against early pushes for White on the King side. The second is sacrificing a pawn on b5 with a view to regaining it with attacks on the b2 pawn (the threat is seen below)! This was my first win in the tournament ...

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Center Counter - I let Black's Knight in!

The next game was a Center Counter. I have to confess I was slightly nervous and got psyched out (my opponent was 12 yrs old and already graded 143)! I played too hastily and my mistake was to allow my opponent's Knight to c4 forcing me to trade a Bishop for the Knight with great prospects for Black. In hindsight I should have played b3 first of all, keeping the Knight out of c4 ... I could have then played c5 with better chances. My opponent finished me off in the end with a few sound tactics ...

PGN Viewer courtesy of