Saturday, January 17, 2009


I was playing a blitz game earlier today against a guy rated about 200 points higher than me. I'm white and we reached the following position after he just played Qe4, with each about a minute and a half left on the clock:

I'm thinking about my move, and after about 5 seconds he offers a draw. Here's what went through my head, all within a few seconds: "I can't castle to protect my rook on b1 since he will just take my queen with his bishop. Ne7+ obviously doesn't work. Oh he's offering a draw? Well he's higher rated and probably doesn't see any win for either side. Screw it, just take the draw." Duh. Stupid blitz. I'm such a patzer.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Questions of Modern Chess Theory

Last week I listed my resolutions for 2009. So the first book I will be going through, from cover to cover, is Isaac Lipnitsky's "Questions of Modern Chess Theory". The back cover says it's “the lost masterpiece of Soviet chess literature … Russian experts say it is one of the most influential chess books of the 20th century.” Boy, this has to be good right?

Well, I just saw that Chess Cafe posted a review, and reading it got me all excited about the book. I will be posting impressions as I go through it, but since I am just getting into it, I will quote a piece of the review for now. I chose the following partly because of the recent discussions on BDK's blog (and other places) about Watson vs. Aagaard, rule independence etc:

Chapter 7 (“The Concrete Approach”) is only seven pages long, but it may be one of the most important sections of the book. Lipnitsky demonstrates how dogmatic adherence to general principles can lead a player to defeat without his realization of what actually happened. “In any particular position,” he states, “the rejection of some laws (directives) merely makes way for the affirmation and success of others.” A player must be able to accurately assess, Lipnitsky states, “which laws – maxims, principles, rules – are valid in a given, specific case.” Here’s an excellent example, a practical case faced frequently:

It is White to move, and Lipnitsky addresses two opposite approaches regarding how White should capture the bishop on b3:

(a) The superficial, dogmatic decision: White must capture towards the centre with a2xb3, since c2xb3? would open up the king, which is on the same file as the black rook. Besides, after c2xb3? Black would be left with an easily won king-and-pawn endgame if all the pieces were exchanged. Therefore, a2xb3!.

(b) The concrete, creative decision: in this position the chief, determining principle is the all-out attack on opposite wings. In the event of 13.axb3? Nb4!, threatening Qd8-a5, Black obtains an extremely strong attack. On the other hand after 13.cxb3! Black’s attack is very hard to develop, despite the placing of the rook and king opposite each other (For example: 13…Nb4 14.Kb1!).

White for his part will be able to continue his successful storming of the opponent’s kingside. In these circumstances Black’s extra pawn in the centre has no special significance.
Thank you Chess Cafe for this detailed review. I am really looking forward to sinking my teeth into this classic and posting my own impressions. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chess Stud

I spent some time on the Playchess server last night, and the mysterious player "Raffael" was playing 4+1 blitz against some other GM. Many believe that Raffael is Kasparov. Well, I would not question it after seeing his performance. I saw four games, and he just took the other GM apart. It was awesome to watch. Ahhh must be nice to be that good...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tournament Game

Ok so I finally had some time to go over one of my tournament games... I looked at my last round draw. Right after the game, I felt like I had given away the full point. However, looking at it now, I think I should be happy with the draw. This is definitely not my best game - I fell asleep in the middle game and made some bad moves, which should have allowed black to win the game. He allowed me to regain a small advantage, but in the resulting endgame my edge was not as big as I thought that day. A draw is not a bad result here.

Chessaholic tourney game.pgn

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Resolutions for 2009

1. No more than 3 ICC blitz games a day, and at least 4 games per week with time controls of G/30 or longer

2. Renewed focus and discipline in doing tactical drills daily – I’ve been a real slacker on this one. Shame on me, as it was the reason to start this chess blog.

3. Stop jumping from chess book to chess book without really finishing. Focus on one book at a time and get through it, no matter how long it takes. In other words, cure my chess ADHD :)

That’s it for now. It may not sound like much, but I believe it won’t be easy to pull this off - it’s hard to break certain habits :)