Thursday, 31 January 2013

A French with counter-play for White

Just lately my club chess has gone from 'very average' to 'catastrophic' to 'downright diabolical' all in the space of about a month! This evening I turned up for my game, mindful that another loss would make me have serious doubts about whether or not I ought to take up tiddly-winks instead ...?

I want to reach 130 Bcf by the end of the season but the fact is, I need to play a lot better than I have been to get anywhere near it ... In my game this evening I was faced with the French. My opponent cleverly managed to trade off his bad light squared Bishop by playing it to a6 early on ... After that I got into a tactically sharpish position (for me) and overlooked a simple enough combination from my opponent allowing him to win a pawn. My head went down - another loss maybe?

I think it should have been a loss for me, but I've always said that you have to cling on to any glimmer of hope you might have ... It is best to remain poker faced when you're losing, advisable not to show your emotions - I.e. shaking of head, grimacing, snorting, whimpering, maniacal laughter - there all off limits! My opponent went on to win the exchange (nothing much I could do about that, 'snort') but bizarrely, he only had a Queen in play with two passive rooks and my Knight was destined for a greater future on b5 ...

Incredibly, my opponent seemed to overlook the safety of his King and presented me with a chance for counter-play ... In the final position it looked like a draw by repetition was probably the best option for him, and when he offered it I practically bit his arm off !!!

(I found out after the game that my opponent was graded almost 300 Elo points above me at 1848 Elo. It paid me in grading points not to give up the fight!)

As usual, any comments welcome ...

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Myself and a colleague have recently completed the development of a new free online chess server:

Visit the above site to register and view Chess Tactics Puzzles, Videos, Game of the Month and play chess online.  Look forward to seeing you all on there ... !

Thursday, 17 January 2013

An emphatic win with a breathtaking rook sac!

My favourite game of late is between an old chess colleague of mine, Steve Milford and a player from his local league who is at least 10 or 15 BCF grading points above him. The opening is E60 — King's Indian: 3.g3. This is a very emphatic win for Steve with a breath-taking Rook sac on move 29! He kindly agreed to annotate this game for us ... Enjoy!

As usual, any comments welcome ...

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

I made a right 'Royal Hash' of it !!

Hi All
I made a right 'Royal Hash' of my club game last night. I was confused after only a few moves into the game and totally unsure of what plan to use to get any advantage? My opponent is a very solid player and often plays the same d4 system as White, which appears to be a difficult nut to crack ... The issue for me in this game was that I got the opening wrong, and the question is, what should I have done instead?

I think, had I not fianchetoed my bishop, my opponent would have played the Colle System. I remember looking at this with a colleague and I think I need to confront the Colle System with the Zuckertort variation but I couldn't remember how any of this should go? I will look on YouTube, particularly at the following video ...

Anyway, this latest game wasn't a Colle but more of a Pirc with 4..d6. I'll be ready with an anti-Colle system next time, instead of the confused set of opening moves that I played last night ... Let's hope he doesn't play 1.e4 next time I play him !!

I have only supplied the moves up until the last 5 minutes each. I managed to lose the game in a time scramble, falling for a simple tactic that allowed my opponent to promote his pawn with check before I could promote my pawn. This proved to be decisive ...

As usual, any comments welcome ...

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Monday, 14 January 2013

A blog for anecdotes, openings and advice

For those improvers out there, the following blog is well worth a visit:

I stumbled upon it today and it's a real gem. It contains:        

  - Free Chess Downloads
  - Hardcore Chess Guides
  - Openings for Beginners
  - Videos
  - A top collection of chess links

Why not have a browse?

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Chess is about winning tempi !!

For those players unsure of how to tackle a game of chess - try and see it as a battle for development and don't leave your pieces on squares where they can easily be attacked, especially the Queen ... In this model game, a Budapest declined, I gained no less than 6 tempi against my opponent's Queen. On Qc2 I suspected that my opponent was attempting an early Queen foray ... Having consulted my 'Chess Bible' recently - 'My System, Nimzowitsch', 'First Part - The Elements', 'Chapter 1', 'On the Center and Development', Page 4 - there is a section dedicated to gaining tempi, which is all I needed to be aware of to win this game comfortably.

As the onslaught ensued my opponent lost his concentration after my move 25. .. Nxd2+ but he was obviously "punch drunk" at this stage! He'd become befuddled by all the tactical possibilities at my disposal ...

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Friday, 11 January 2013

Castle Chess Interviews

What makes a chess player stronger?  There are a number of interviews with GM's IM's and FM's that have undertaken a great deal of study and practice to become stronger chess players ...!  Checkout the following website under the 'Chess Biographies' section ...

Thursday, 10 January 2013

New plan for 2013

I have a new plan for 2013 - "don't play too much (any) blitz - instead read 'My System' by Nimzowitsch, learn as much as possible from it ... then play more online after that ...." After reading just one chapter I was getting advantage out of the opening when playing online ... but playing online is a huge time waster and can be sole destroying - I have learnt to begin enjoying chess again and not get hung up about my ever decreasing / increasing grade ... this has led me to play much better chess to the extent that even my rivals have noticed that I'm becoming a stronger player as a result.  My new study regime has certainly helped!

Talking of chess enjoyment - I had time to attend the London Chess Classic in December and watch Anand draw with Carlsen. This means of course that Carlsen has attained the highest chess grade ever recorded by FIDE. I also saw Judit Polgar for the first time - On the whole it was a great day out !! (I even didn't by a new book!!???)

For me now in 2013, the key is "learning and enjoyment" NOT "paranoid grade chasing online" !!!!