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Friday, November 21, 2014

Graphing Chess

 
I found a blog by a fellow who is a Computer Science and Engineering Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University. His area is research in artificial intelligence, evolution, and collective behavior using artificial life and digital evolution as research tools. One of his hobbies is what he describes as “data tinkering” which he represents in the form of graphs, some of which include chess. One of his projects was answering what is the key to Carlsen’s success. Other chess related research is Elo ratings, game length and outcomes, openings, moves, captures and mates. Visit the site

Pafnutieff vs. Bisguier

     Arthur Bisguier needs no introduction but his opponent in this game is largely unknown. Vladimir Pafnutieff (born September 04, 1912 in California - died on May 12, 1999 at the age of 86) was a California master known for his sharp attacking play and his good eye for a combination that gained him the scalps of a number of GM’s. He authored one book, How to Create Combinations, published in the 1990’s. His mother was said to be a concert pianist, but I could find nothing on her. Pafnutieff himself was supposedly a gifted singer. Unfortunately, there seems to be little information on Pafnutieff the chess player either.
Pafnutieff in 1974

 
  The following game where he defeated Bisguier features enormous complications. I used Houdini 2 while playing through it and even Houdini was having some difficulties in determining the best move and the evaluations kept fluctuating. Some of the lines will amaze you!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Gambiteer’s Guild…

A Guide to Romantic Chess Openings

I recently discovered Ian Simpson's great sites on gambits. The author covers openings played by guys like Morphy and Anderssen. He has hints regarding critical lines, illustrative games (with some annotations and available for download) and links to sources that offer a more in-depth analysis.  He actually has two sites: Here and Here. Be sure to check them out.

Komodo 8 in Action



     Now that I’ve had K8 in use on Lechenicher SchachServer for a while, I can make some preliminary observations. Supposedly K8 leads to sound positional play and the discovery of ideas that are much deeper and more subtle than other leading engines. Also, the claim is that it sees deeper than any other engine. Blah, blah, blah. I don’t trust the ‘claims’ and don’t understand the technical jargon. What I want to know is, how well does it do in (non-blitz) competition?
     Komodo is known for superb positional play and I appreciate the fact that Kaufman and Dailey refused to sacrifice positional play just to score better on tactical problem and in blitz tournaments against other engines.  Positional ability makes Komodo useful for opening analysis and Kaufman has paid close attention to make sure evaluations agree with theory.  And at slow time controls in correspondence chess (where engine use is allowed) opening analysis and accurate positional evaluations are extremely important.
     As I have mentioned in previous posts, I never trust engine evaluations in materially unbalanced positions. This is not because their evaluations went against my gut instincts because I’m not good enough to make that distinction; it’s because I got burned a few times trusting the engines in those situations!
     According to the experts, Komodo is best at opening play and evaluating middlegame positions where tactics are not a factor. Stockfish is best in the endgame and in seeing very deep tactics. Houdini is the best at blitz and at seeing tactics, so they all have their areas of expertise so to speak. For all practical purposes, there’s not much difference between them, so my feeling, as expressed in an earlier post, is go for free! But, how has Komodo been performing on LSS? Here’s a position from one of my recent games (I’m black and it’s my move):


     Who’s better here? White looks to have good chances for an attack while black has a slight material advantage. My feeling is that overall white has the better chances. So, if I thought that, why did I play into this line? I wanted to test it and was willing to risk a couple of rating points in the process; they aren’t worth anything anyway.

Houdini 2: The position is equal (0.22) after 11...Kg7 or 11...d5.

Komodo initially also recommended 11...Kg7 but thought white was much better, 0.83.
In the end, it liked 11...d6 and evaluated the position as almost a Pawn in white’s favor. I didn’t understand its second choice, also evaluated at 0.83, of 11...Nb8.

Stockfish evaluations: 11...Bxf2+ and the position was one Pawn in white’s favor. Its second choice of 11...a5 (1.13) doesn’t make sense to me.

     So, the choices are: 11...Kg7, 11...d5, 11...d6 and 11...Bxf2+. Is the position equal or in white’s favor?
     It looks to me like white is better, so which move makes it the easiest for black to try and equalize? I eliminated 11...d5 because to me it makes no sense to give up a P after 12.exd5 and the N has to go back to b8. 
     As for 11...Bxf2+ the B is immune because if 12.Kxf2 then 12...Nxe4 and black is pretty close to equalizing. But, after 11...Bxf2+ 12.Kf1 white retains his advantage and will play Qf3 next move putting a lot of pressure on black’s position.
     It made sense to play 11...d6 so as to get the B out then after 12.Qf6 Kg7 defending the N is forced. I chose 11...Kg7 first followed by ...d6 and evaluations still favor white by about a Pawn. None of the engines were giving any clear indications of how either side should proceed. In a few moves we reached this position:

Black to move
     I ran a Monte Carlo analysis using the only engine that works with this method, Deep Rybka 4 w32, and after 400 games was surprised at the result: white won 83 lost 152 and drew 165. I didn’t trust those results though because the engine is too weak and the search depth was way too shallow. I don’t even know if this method is being marketed anymore and it may have been discredited. 
     Houdini 2, Stockfish 5 and Komodo 8 were showing the position in white’s favor by only a teeny bit but were not offering anything that looked concrete. Plus, rightly or wrongly, Monte Carlo results not counting, my feeling was the ending was probably going to favor white. I didn’t see any way to threaten his K with my two pieces and was afraid that he would open up files for his R’s on the Q-side leaving me with too much to defend against...I accepted his draw offer.
     In the end, I haven’t found any difference in Komodo 8 and Stockfish 5 in actual play at correspondence time controls.
     Download Stockfish from its own site HERE.  You can also visit the Stockfish Programming Wiki for more information.

 
I was getting pretty bored with engine-assisted CC. An endless round of Najdorf Sicilians, Nimzo-Indians and Slavs…boring! Then I started experimenting with some discredited gambits: Urusov, Rousseau, Bryntse, Sicilian Wing Gambit, Boden-Kieseritsky gambit, etc. and found they can make for some interesting chess.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rousseau Gambit

     I played the following game today against some guy who thinks the idea of chess is to move as quickly as possible and play as many games as he can in one session. The result was a monstrosity, but I learned something. After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 if Black plays 3...f5 you have something called the Rousseau Gambit. I never knew that. 
     I’ve played the move quite a bit in online games because, like the Grob Attack, it often boogers up my opponent’s train of thought and they often end up trying to refute it by violent and unsound means. About the only thing I found on the defense was an article on Wikipedia that says White's best response is to support the center and develop with 4.d3. The resulting position is similar to a King's Gambit Declined with Black playing the gambit with less development -- not very comfortable for him, but White must still play carefully.
     If you’re interested in doing some home opening preparation, this gambit could be promising unless you think you’ll be meeting any IM’s or GM’s; I wouldn’t play it against them. Oh, yes. The result is correct. My butthead opponent had over 6 minutes left and when it became obvious he was going to let his clock run out, I resigned.  

Official FIDE Chess Set

     Who knew they even had one? The World Chess Set is the official chess set for the 2014 World Championship Match.

     The set was designed by internationally renowned Pentagram designer and architect Daniel Weil. I never heard of him, but he is an architect and industrial designer who was born in Buenos Aires in 1953.
 
    Earlier this year he designed a series of clocks with mechanisms suspended from wires connected to plywood frames that were presented as part of the first museum exhibition of his works at London's Design Museum. I never heard of Pentagram either. Turns out it’s a design firm with offices in London, New York, San Francisco, Austin, and Berlin.
     Back to the pieces: They are based on the proportions of classical Greek architecture (whatever that means) and the classic Staunton design (at least I know what this means!) to make a set that is both distinctive and traditional. This limited edition of the sets has been produced for the 2014 World Chess Championship. It's the only set used by the players (they are probably under the threat of death if they use anything else). The King stands 3.75” high and can be ordered with a 19.5” Rosewood and Maple board. At the moment the only place you can buy the set is from the website or, if you are attending the match, you can buy it there, too. Price for the set and board is $470 (375 Euros) and $320 (255 Euros) without the board. It’s obvious I don’t know anything about modern art and I am not real sophisticated. I prefer this set available from The Chess Store for $12:

A Grob Attack on Chess Hotel

     I had forgotten about Chess Hotel. On this free site you can play regular chess and chess960 in real time.
     I think my opponent in the following game was rated around 1400-1500 on the site and his play was not bad. I really like playing the Grob Attack in online games! It's always surprising how it often leaves even some pretty decent payers a little befuddled. None more so than my 1600+ rated opponent in an OTB event though. Play went 1.g4 Nf6? 2.g5 d5?? 3.gxf6 and at this point my opponent looked at the board for a while before asking me, “What did you do?” I replied, “I took your Knight.” “How?” he asked. After demonstrating how I did it, he looked at the board a few seconds then resigned.
     Looking over the game with an engine left me surprised because I didn’t realize how complicated things were getting around move 12 and the drastic drop in the engine’s evaluation of almost 0.00 to 2.5 P’s in white favor after his 15…f6 was surprising…I didn’t realize it was that bad. Then of course there’s the little matter of the missed mate in 25 at move 28!
 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hanks vs Purdy Slugfest

Hanks


Purdy

    Everyone knows the name Purdy, but few will recognize his opponent in this game. John Hanks, who passed away at the age of 83 in 2009, was an Australian Master and one of the county’s leading players from the late 1940’s to the 1970’s. He was runner-up in the 1949 Australian Championships and played board two for Australia at the Havana Olympiad in 1964. You can read an interesting article on about him ChessKids. ChessChat also has some information. In the following game I’ve only give the ‘meaty’ part. If you want to play out all the move you can do so on ChessTempo.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Return of Chesshood

From my post of April, 2013 on Chesshood…it may be coming back

Evaluating a Position the Levenfish Way

   G. Y. Levenfish (1889-1961) was a Russian GM who scored his peak competitive results in the 1920s and 1930s. He was twice Soviet champion, in 1934 and 1937 he drew a match against future world champion Mikhail Botvinnik. He also had a career as an engineer.
     Levenfish was a well-regarded end-game specialist and chess writer. As an author he wrote many books: Chess for Beginners, First Book for the Chess Player, Modern Openings, Izbrannye Partii I Vospominanya – his autobiography that was published after his death and his most famous work, Rook Endings which he co-authored with Vasily Smyslov.
     Some of his observations: he said tactical vision was a “gift of nature” which explained how young players became GM’s so quickly. This was also Alekhine’s opinion. In fact when I was learning how to play chess the positional players ruled the chess world and there were few books available on tactics. I guess it had to do with the belief that tactical ability was something you were born with.  Nowadays the pendulum has swung the other way and all I see on the forums are lower rated players parroting the saying ‘chess is 99 per cent tactics’ so that’s all most of them ever bother with, except for openings; openings are still a popular subject.
     Levenfish once proposed a system to evaluate the positional merits of a position that could be pretty handy. The method he advocated, even if it does not give you a precise estimate of the position or a strategic plan, does have some merit. It helps you notice things you might otherwise miss. Levenfish’s method should only be carried out after you first make sure there are no sound tactics available. I emphasize sound tactics because occasionally I play on line and quite often run into players who will play unsound tactics because they read 'chess is 99 per cent tactics.'  I have news for them. I am not very good at tactics but I am most likely no worse at tactics than they are. What that means is just sacrificing something for the sake of playing 'tactically' is not likely to work.  There is a difference between playing tactically and simply tossing away pieces.
     Since it takes a little time, Levenfish's Method is probably best done on your opponent’s time. If nothing else, it’s better than sitting there thinking, “If I play 13.Ne3 he plays 13…Be6 then I go 14.b4” etc. Chances are unless both players are pretty strong they’re thinking along completely different lines anyway. The main advantage to Levenfish’s system is that it forces you to think in a methodical way and as a result, you may see important details you might miss using a haphazard thinking process or no process at all.
     The Levenfish Method: Compare each of your pieces with its counterpart of the other color. You start with the Kings to see if they are faced with any threats. Then the pieces…are they developed? What are they attacking? What are they defending? Are they being attacked? Finally you would check the Pawns. That's all there is to it. Like I said, by taking a quick gander at the individual pieces and comparing them to their counterparts will often lead to seeing something that would otherwise be missed. And it's really quite simple to do.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Off the Wall Chess Magazine


Bill Wall, American chess author and journalist is the executive editor and writer for White Knight Review.   This e-zine has articles, links and downloadable items including back issues of White Knight Review.  Good reading.

A Fish Who Makes a Lemon Is Busted


The Students’ Olympiad 1967 by W. R. Hartston.

     This event was held in Harrachov, Czechoslovakia in July and Cambridge University provided two members of the English team. On board two I scored two wins, nine draws and one loss in soporific style while on board three R.D. Keene made the fine score of five wins, five draws and one loss. (Basman and Whiteley played on boards one and four respectively -Ed.) England had her best ever result in this tournament, finishing in third place behind the USSR and USA.
     These are the brief facts summarising the tournament, but they cover up a long tale of intrigue and bad chess. I shall restrict myself to discussing the intrigue. Before continuing, however, I must give a glossary of Americanisms that may appear in the following paragraphs. Since the Americans were one of the more interesting teams this is essential for understanding what follows. Firstly a ‘lemon’ is a blunder or a mistake; a ‘fish’ is a rabbit, i.e. a weak player; and finally ‘busted’ means having a lost position. Thus a fish who makes a lemon is busted...Read the rest of the article in Kingpin Magazine.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Not Feeling Like Playing Chess

  
   For the past couple of weeks I have not felt like playing chess. This is especially bad because I had just entered a couple of server tournaments. The problem is, I ended up in the emergency room because the diuretic I was on to keep my blood pressure down got me dehydrated and, no kidding, I thought I was going to croak. The doctor took me off the diuretic and put me on something called Losartan. This stuff is bad. It did not work plus the side effects are downright nasty. Not only did it not lower my BP one whit, I have shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, loss of appetite, a stuffy nose, extreme tiredness and my sleep pattern is whacked out. Another side effect is confusion. Driving home the other night I had a hard time navigating to the point my wife offered to drive. More importantly, I think the drug may be responsible for a couple of stupid errors I made in two of my server games. I really need to get off this crap.
     The idea that chess players should be subjected to drug testing has always been controversial. I thought it was a stupid idea, but now, after my experience with Losartan, I got to checking one thing and another and that lead me to this nootropics thing and FIDE’s anti-doping rules. Maybe they are not so stupid after all.
     Nootropics, also referred to as smart drugs, memory enhancers, neuro enhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers, are drugs, supplements, nutraceuticals, and functional foods that improve one or more aspects of mental function, such as working memory, motivation, and attention. At present, there are only a few drugs which have been shown to improve some aspect of cognition in medical reviews. The most commonly used class of drug is stimulants. Many drugs are marketed on the Internet as having enhancement applications but that’s probably all hype.
     In the academic world Modafinil has been used to increase productivity, although its long-term effects have not been assessed and stimulants such as dimethylamylamine and methylphenidate are used on college campuses and by young people. These stimulants are supposed to give one a cognitive edge. The main concern is adverse effects. In the United States, unapproved drugs or dietary supplements do not require safety or efficacy approval before being sold which just sounds wrong.
     The 2013 World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list and monitoring program can be found HERE.
     The most relevant banned substances for chess are: Amphetamines, Ephedrine and Methylephedrine and Pseudoephedrine. Substances not on the Prohibited List but represented in the Monitoring Program includes caffeine and Codeine, common ingredient in cough medicine and stomach upset medicine, but any dosage is highly unlikely to be significant when taken in normal therapeutic quantities.
     The notion of ‘cognitive enhancing’ drugs have the potential to be of benefit in chess. Modafinil, Adderall and Ritalin are possible drugs.  Modafinil is primarily prescribed for the treatment of shift work sleep disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness – its main function is to improve wakefulness. However, it has been seen to produce apparent cognitive enhancement effects in healthy non-sleep-deprived people though it is unclear whether these effects are sufficient or durable enough to consider it to be a cognitive enhancer. Modafinil has been shown to improve some aspects of working memory, such as digit manipulation and pattern recognition memory (essential to chess players!), the results related to spatial memory, executive function and attention. Adderal and Ritalin are primarily prescribed for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – Adderall is primarily a mixture of four amphetamine salts while Ritalin is a psychostimulant with some similarities to cocaine.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Does Any of This Make Sense?


An Instructive Tahl vs. Botvinnik Game

     Right after Botvinnik regained his title by defeating Smyslov in their 1958 rematch the charismatic young Tahl was making a name for himself. He won the 1958 Interzonal at Portoroz then helped the Soviet Union win first place at the Chess Olympiad. Then he won the 1959 Candidates Tournament with 20 out of 28 points and earned the right for a world championship match against Botvinnik.
     Tahl was always willing to sacrifice material for the initiative and as a result often created vast complications and many players found it impossible to find their way through the problems they were presented with. Ex-World Champion Vasily Smyslov scorned Tahls’ play as nothing more than tricks, but Tal continued to beat everybody.
     His first match with Botvinnik played in Moscow in the spring of 1960 was won of the most exciting ever played, and in my mind rivals the Fischer – Spassky match. He challenged Botvinnik in every game and the match, like the return match, featured both players hammering away at each other with every weapon at their command. The deep strategist Botinnik played sacrifices and the tactician Tahl played positional chess and exhibited excellent endgame technique. The same with their rematch that was won by Botvinnik.
     In the following game, the seventh from their first match in 1960, we see an interesting ending with a R vs. 2N’s. It’s always a question, how and when should you trade a B and N for a Rook and a pawn, or what is the value of 2N’s or 2 B’s compared to a R? The elementary rule is two minor pieces are worth about 6 pawns and so are a Rook and a pawn. But like all rules of thumb, there are other factors involved. Experience shows that in endgames, especially if a passed P exists, the player who has a Rook has the advantage.  In the middle game things are different; it is easier to create an attack with the two minor pieces.
     Botvinnik committed an oversight on move 25 that allowed Tahl to win 2N’s for his R which resulted in an exception to the general rule; the two pieces had the better ending. The moral: if you have two minor pieces the essential elements are 1) coordination of forces against the R and 2) pay great attention to the general security of you position. The R is handy for picking up stray P’s but in their absence, it may become inactive. The same can be said of assorted material imbalances, say R+B+P against a Q. The side with the pieces has to be careful not to lose any material.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bryntse Gambit

     Wladyslaw Krol is a veteran ICCF Senior International Master from Bialystok, Poland. The line in the Ruy Lopez 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Ng4?! is named after him, the Krol Defense. The idea is that after6.h3 h5 then 7. hxg4? hxg4 where black has very good tactical possibilities after ...Qh4. Of course, if white plays something like 7. d4 or 7.c3 black may find himself with a misplaced N. There's not a lot of theory on the opening. 7.hxg4? hxg4 8.c3 gxf3 9.Qxf3 Qh4 and black should win. I discovered this interesting line because in one of my CC tournaments I am playing Krol (I am white and opened 1.d4) and looking at his games lead to my discovering the Bryntse Gambit.
     The Bryntse Gambit, a subvariation of the Grand Prix Sicilian where White sacrifices his queen on move six (1. e4 c5 2. f4 d5 3. Nf3!? de 4. Ng5 Nf6 5. Bc4 Bg4?! 6. Qxg4!) is another Krol favorite. This gambit was invented by a Swedish correspondence player named Arne Bryntse who won the Swedish correspondence championship in 1972. He even used the “if move” option to suggest the move 5. … Bg4 to his opponents! He would write, “If 5. … Bg4 6. Qxg4.” Krol has scored +6 -1 =3 with it.
     Here’s one of his best games using the Bryntse Gambit. I give the game with only light notes by Stockfish 5. It was interesting going through this game with SF because it shows the difficulty of engine analysis that good CC players have to deal with. In many positions SF kept bouncing back and forth between what it considered the best move and the evaluation sometimes changed drastically the deeper it got into the position.
 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Interesting Articles on Chess Players and War

Batgirl’s article on chess during the American Civil War Read
New York Times article on chess during the cold war Read
Huffington Post: chess in times of war Read
Putin’s secret KGB chess tactics outwit the US (not too hard considering US politicians) Read
Union officers diverted by chess Read
War Crimes leveled at Karlis Ozols-article by William Winter. I remember seeing this on the US television program 60 Minutes many years ago.Read
The Taliban’s war on chess Read
Impact of war on Soviet Chess Read
Bill Wall’s article on WW2 and chess Read
Chess players and spies Read

Old Chess Magazines

     There are a lot of old chess magazines available for reading (or downloading) online at Chess Archaeology Library. Some can't be viewed but many can and not all issues are included. Great browsing for games and chess history. Note: games will be in Descriptive Notation, but don’t let that stop you; if you don’t know it, take 10 minutes and learn it.
     What makes these so fascinating is that you never know what kind of nuggets you are going to find and sometimes it’s just fun to step back in time and read about history as it was being made. Years ago when I was in the military and stationed at Camp Lejeune North Carolina I wandered over to the base library one Saturday afternoon and discovered a large pile of Life magazines dating from 1940 to the mid-1950’s. 
     I spent many weekends browsing them. Especially fascinating were the magazines during the years of WW2.  Remember, at the time they were written nobody knew the outcome! Maybe I am the only one who does it, but I almost always read movie credits as they scroll by at the end. I like to read the names of gaffers, grips, animal wranglers, drivers, lighting people…all that. I don’t know any of them and don’t know why I like to read the credits. I read a lot of history books and when names of the crew members of a ship that was lost at sea or names of those killed in battle are listed, I always read them. The same with chess history; the names and games of long forgotten players about whom I know nothing, makes interesting reading.

Magazines available: American Chess Bulletin 1904-1921, American Chess Journal 1876-1878, Journal, American Chess Magazine 1846, 1897-1898, American Chess Monthly 1892, American Chess Weekly, 1903, Brentano's Monthly two editions 1880, British Chess Magazine 1881-1922, British Chess Review 1853, Brooklyn Chess Chronicle 1882-1886, Brownson's Chess Journal, Ceské listy 1896, 1901-1903, Checkmate 1901-1903,Chess Amateur 1907-1908, Chess Monthly 1859-1896, Chess News 1916, Chess Player 1851-1853, Chess Player's Chronicle 1841-1889, Chess Player's Magazine 1863-1867, Chess Player's Quarterly Chronicle 1868-1874, Chess Player's Scrapbook 1907, Chess Weekly 1908-1909, Chess World 1865-1869,City of London Chess Magazine 1875-1876, Columbia Chess Chronicle 1887-1889, Corsair 1907, Deutsche Schachzeitung 1882-1922, Deutsches Wochenschach und Berliner Schachzeitung 1880-1902, Household Chess Magazine 1865, Huddersfield College Magazine 1873-1880, International Chess Magazine 1891, L'Échiquier d'Aix 1878-1884, L'Échiquier Journal D'Echecs 1889, L'eco degli Scacchi 1914-1916, L'Italia Scacchistica 1913, Lasker's Chess Magazine 1905, Magdeburger Schachzeitung 1849, Maryland Chess Review 1874, Neue Berliner Schachzeitung 1864-1871, New Zealand Chess Chronicle 1887, Nordisk Skaktidende 1873-1881,Nouvelle Régence 1860-1863, Nuova Rivista degli Scacchi 1875-1893, Oesterreichische Lesehalle 1881-1890, Oesterreichische Schachzeitung 1874, Pablo Morphy, El 1891, Le Palamède 1836-1847,Philidorian 1838, la Régence 1849-1851, al Revista de Ajedrez 1889, Rivista degli Scacchi 1859, Sachové Listy 1900, Schaakblad 1912, Schaakcourant 1908, Schachzeitung 1847-1870, Schweizerische Schachzeitung 1910,Sissa 1847-1874, Sonntags-Blätter für Schachfreunde 1861, Southern Counties Chess Journal 1893, Le Sphinx 1865, St. Patrick's Chess Club Pamphlet 1885, La Stratégie 1867-1868, Sussex Chess Magazine 1882, Süddeutsche Schachblätter 1907-1908, Tijdschrift van de Koninklijke Nederlandse Schaakbond 1893-1914, Westminster Chess Club Papers 1868-1878, Wiener Schach-Zeitung 1855-1907.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Stay Alert!

I recently played a server game where I had been winning right out of the opening when we reached this position with black (me) to play:


I was looking at a game by a couple of near-beginners on Youtube yesterday where the guy presenting the game beat a higher rated player with the same tactic white has here if black plays 1...Bxg4, namely mate by 2.Nf7-Nh6-Qg8 and Nf7. It's one of those tactical tricks you see in books but never come up in your own games.  Odd that I should see the same thing two days in a row.  I saw it here though, avoided it and won quickly.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Just a Real Time Server Game

Yesterday I played three server games at 15 minutes per side. I lost one to a 2300+ player who was ‘using.’ How do I know he was and engine user? All his moves were the engine’s first or second choice. In one of the other games my opponent was rated a hair under 1700 and must have read that chess is 99-percent tactics because he set up the Colle formation, sacrificed a P, then the exchange and then a B, all in the first 10 moves and left himself with a Q and N with which he attempted to conduct an ‘attack’ before disconnecting a few moves later. The other game was more interesting and the ending was quite funny. My opponent realized his game was lost so after his 29th move, being one of those dog pukes who simply disconnects when he’s losing, he disconnected instantly when I played 30.Ra7+ which blundered a whole R!