Sunday, March 30, 2008

White To Move

I have been playing around with the Trompowsky a bit lately, and this is a position from a recent game. Black just played e5, the position is roughly equal. What's white's best continuation? There's no spectacular tactic here, just try to figure out the best line of play to keep the game equal. The Trompowsky can offer a good game for white if played right, but I did not find the right continuation OTB and lost the game fairly quickly from here...

Highlight the text between the brackets for a line that keeps the game equal.
[13.Nxd5 Bxd5 14.exd5 Nxd5 15.Qxa5 Nxa5 16.Ne2 Nc4 17.Bc1 e5 18.f4 Bc5 19.fxe5 Nxe5]

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Weekend Tournament: Round 1

Here's my round 1 game from last weekend's tournament. I was black against what started out as a Grand Prix Attack. I didn't remember much so I deviated from the main line on move four. White didn't make it very hard on me though, it was a fairly straightforward win for me.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Weekend Tournament: Round 4

I played in a tournament over the weekend in which I lost two games and won two games. Overall, I am happy with my performance, I thought I played some decent chess. I will post two or three of the games over the next few days. I will start with my last round game, which I lost against a guy rated quite a bit higher than me. It was an interesting game where I was on the white side of a Slav Exchange Variation. I had some chances but took a wrong turn on move 19 that looked promising over the board, but I failed to see a strong continuation for black that won him the game. So here goes:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Somebody please...

...keep me from ordering any more books.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

King Hunt

Here's a fun little blitz game in which I chase white's king across the board. Very nice of him to visit me on my side of the board. In my excitement I missed 17... Bxc3 and 21...Bxc3 (and probably a bunch of other stuff) but oh well, I was in king hunt mode.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

For Your Entertainment

I have added a new little gadget to my blog - the daily chess puzzle you see on the right, courtesy of Shredder. Yet another way for you to kill a minute or two while pretending to be busy at work! :)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Why Study Chess?

I found a PDF copy of Kasparov’s 1986 book “Kasparov Teaches Chess” (B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1986) and just read through the first few pages. I thought this was a really cool little glimpse into the soul of the greatest chess player ever, so I’ll provide it in full for your reading pleasure (emphasis mine). Keep in mind that he wrote this in the mid-eighties so his comment on computers is a little outdated :)

"The proposal by Sport in the USSR magazine to conduct a series of correspondence study sessions for their readers came as a surprise to me because I am still studying the subtleties of chess myself.

After some consideration I decided that to write about my understanding and interpretation of chess basics would also be useful for me.

I love chess. I have been in love with the game for many years and this love is for life. I study chess all the time and very thoroughly; nevertheless, while analyzing what I have done and in planning for the future I cannot help but be amazed at the inexhaustibility of chess and I am becoming even more convinced about its unpredictability. Judge for yourself; millions of games have been played , thousands have been written on various aspects of the game, yet there is no chess formula or method which can guarantee victory, there are no mathematically justified criteria for evaluating even a single move, let alone a position. Chess experts do not doubt that in most situations there is no more than one strong continuation and everyone chooses his own 'strongest' move guided by his own experience, evaluation abilities, even his own character. The possibility of using computers as consultants does not seem very serious at present since no algorithm of the game of chess has been found and there is no program which can deal reliably with complications. Why talk about details, situations and stages of the game at a time when there is no answer to the question 'What is the game of chess? Is it a sport? Or is it a science? Or an art?'

Some say: 'Chess players participate in tournaments and matches, they fight to win, the result is important for them - this means that chess is sport. It develops will power and helps strengthen oneself.'

How can one convince others of the correctness of the opinion of those who are amazed at the beauty of combinations and the logic of chess tactics; for whom a smart sacrifice of the queen in a lost game is a source of pleasure while a dull, forced game leaves them indifferent. For them chess is an art that brings happiness and makes leisure meaningful.

At the same time there are many chess enthusiasts who can spend night after night trying to solve one problem: 'Why did Black move the rook to d8 instead of the knight to c6? Why is Black's position better?' For them chess is mainly a science of logical thinking.

I love chess even more for its versatility and manysidedness. It was the beauty and brilliance of tactical blows that captivated me in early childhood. First, it was the admiration of this brilliance, then the search for it in my own games, later it was an attempt to play a beautiful game - these were the stages of my growth as a captive of the art of chess. But the time came when I began to compete with others, to take part in tournament after tournament, and this meant that I had set out on the path of sporting chess. I still enjoy playing beautiful games but I am not indifferent to whether I beat my opponents or end up way down in the standings.

I want to win, I want to beat everyone, but I want to do it in style, in an honest sporting battle. The former world champion Mikhail Botvinnik, whom I consider my chess teacher, is a chess academic, whose work helped to make chess a scientific subject. He developed my love for chess research and for solving innumerable problems. In my preparations for competitions, during my game analysis of openings, I suddenly discovered that I was trying to study thoroughly and methodically with a persistence which is typical of a researcher. I am convinced today that my affection for all aspects of chess will help preserve my love for it for the rest of my life.

My parents taught me the moves of the pieces when I was only five, and I was fascinated by them. One year later I was taken to a chess group at the Young Pioneer Club in Baku where I thought I found myself in a kingdom of chess players. Our instructor in his desire to convince the novices of the paradoxical character of chess set the following position on the board at one of the first sessions.

The position, where the small pawns were victorious over the enemy, was so surprising that it seemed like a fairy tale and I was unable to live without chess after seeing it. I have admired this position ever since.

I have loved to attack since childhood. I still like to be on the offensive. But it took a lot of time to study the basics, which do not seem to have any direct bearing on the game itself. I am convinced that it is necessary for both grandmaster and an amateur who wants to improve his game and get some pleasure from his play in tournaments. To achieve this high standard of play the grandmaster has spent thousands of hours studying hundreds of games. His talent would not have developed without this amount of work. If you like to play chess but do not have enough time for an independent study of it, but want to beat your friends, you will have to spend dozens of hours over the chessboard."

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Patzerdom Redux

This Saturday, I will play the same dude that I played a few weeks ago. It’s kinda funny – he was my opponent in the very first game of this T4545 league season, and he will be my opponent in the very last game of this season. In both games, he’s got the white pieces. Well, I beat him in the first game (admittedly, with a lot of help from his side). Maybe I can do it again. Time to take another look at my new friend Canal-Sokolsky. Or might he be preparing some nice little opening surprise for me? Stay tuned…