Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kasparov Leads 2-0

Hell yeah! Nice start for Kasparov, taking both games today. Here's the official website.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dream Team

This is a few days old, so most of you will probably have seen it by now but I'm just so excited about the news that Kasparov is now Magnus Carlsen's personal trainer. I mean how cool is that? The best player in the history of chess coaching the biggest talent out there. My two favorite players as a team, how friggin cool. Now there's no doubt in my mind that Magnus will be the next world champion.

Friday, August 28, 2009


In one of my games during the recent tournament, I missed the most beautiful mate I have ever had the chance to deliver. This is straight out of a puzzle book. Dammit! I can’t believe I didn’t see this during the game, it’s so obvious… sigh. Chess blindness I guess. So in the following position, I am white and I already have a crushing advantage. Black just played Rxe5, and after taking his rook I’m up the exchange plus a pawn, and a vicious attack with a discovered check. So it’s all good. Or not.

Instead of taking his rook, I should of course have played 1…Nf8+ Kh8 2.Qh7! Nxh7 3.Ng6#

I was thinking there must be a mate somewhere but somehow I couldn’t see it clearly in my mind, always thinking that his knight was covering the h7 square. Of course I missed the fact that I could sac my queen, because by taking on h7, he would allow the smothered mate. I guess the lesson here is, forget about material, always look at forcing moves when mate is in the air.

I won the game anyways so it’s not a huge deal, but I might not have another chance anytime soon to sac my Queen for a pretty smothered mate. Now I can’t even show off at my club. Crap.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Life could be worse...

I had a successful tournament and scored 4/5 points, much better that I expected. I was surprised how well I played, given that my work/life schedule doesn’t really allow for much time spent on studying chess. I went into the tournament thinking that I’d probably get my ass kicked quite a bit, but at least I was looking forward to learning a thing or two from my mistakes. But I did not lose a single game! I still took away a few key points that I will try to remember going forward:

● Play aggressively! Don't shy away from complications; don’t settle for dull “safe” positions. I started the tournament with a bishop sac in my very first game, making it a very exciting game. I went for the kill in every game except one, where my brain was just way too tired to calculate and I didn’t want to make mistakes brought on by complications. It ended in a draw.

● Initiative is key - keep it by all means, and don't allow counterplay. Sounds simple, but it certainly isn’t. I kept looking for moves that put me in charge, and I think it worked out ok . More often than not, it was my opponent reacting to my threats rather than the other way around.

● Calculate, calculate, calculate! Don't be lazy, don't move fast even when it's tempting. Don’t think a move that looks “simple” doesn’t require much calculation. I think for most of us patzers, there just is no such thing as a simple move. I often find myself getting lazy in later rounds, when fatigue starts setting in… But whenever I noticed it, I forced myself to be disciplined and calculate every single move, making sure I took advantage of the long time controls. I got up pretty much after every single move, got some fresh air, or just walked around to get my heart rate up a bit. Sometimes I would splash water in my face. Whatever it takes, just don’t settle for half-assed calculations.

Will try to post some games soon, stay tuned!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

In other news....

It's been awfully quiet around here... I just haven't really had much to post about I guess, and I don't want to bore anyone with daily "I did 10 tactics puzzles" type updates. But hey, there's light at the end of the tunnel! I am currently preparing for a big tournament at the end of the month, you know, one of those tournaments with actual tournament time controls of 40/2, SD/1 (for non-nerds: 40 moves in two hours, and one hour for all remaining moves). I'm planning to make the most out of it and analyze all games in detail, which I will of course post about here. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

ChessFlash Goes Mainstream

Our beloved fellow blogger Glenn Wilson aka Tacticus Maximus has finally reached the exposure he deserves for his outstanding ChessFlash widget: it is now being used at the UK Guardian's chess column (see here, here, or here for example). I've been using ChessFlash since the early days and still think it's the best PGN viewer available. If you haven't tried it yet, please do check it out.

The Guardian? That's pretty friggin impressive Glenn. Congrats!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Kasparov vs. Karpov - Hell yeah!

This is awesome. Kasparov and Karpov will be facing off in a match in Spain in September to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their first match. I've always been in awe of both of these players, but in particular of Kasparov, whose style I like much more than Karpov's. Good old Garry is a killer, and his emphasis on initiative makes for the most exciting chess I can imagine. He's the master of complications with a ruthless ferocity. I just hope he's still in good shape after all these years.

Can't wait to see this...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

1.d4 Kicks Ass

If you're one of those people who thinks 1.d4 always leads to dull, positional games, check out the following gem between Steinitz and Lasker at the 1896 St. Petersburg tournament. Annotations by Kasparov (this is from Chessbase's excellent DVD "Kasparov: How to Play the Queen's Gambit". If you play 1.d4, I highly recommend getting the DVD).

This is a very exciting game :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mighty Magnus Did It Again

I think I have a man crush or something like that. This kid is just so cool, I really hope he becomes world champion one day. For now, he continues to prove his strength with wins like this in the first round of the M-Tel Masters in Bulgaria, against Topalov.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Greek Sacrifice Miniature

Here's a cute blitz game I played tonight, with a Greek sacrifice. These sacs work particularly well when your opponent doesn't have much time to calculate :-)

Friday, April 24, 2009

NBA & Chess

Ok this is seriously cool:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ah yes, chess blogging.

I almost forgot that I have this blog. Too many things going on in my life… I haven’t been playing much in the last 2 months except for the occasional blitz game and a few casual games against friends and family, without a clock. Not much happening in terms of studying…

So I did manage to go to my chess club last night for the first time in months, and I actually played pretty decently. Here’s a position from a casual, untimed game that stuck in my head:

I am black, and it’s my opponent’s move. I had gotten my rook into an unpleasant spot on e4, but there were some tactics looming that I thought would keep my opponent from trying to chase the rook with Nf1-d2. Well, he played 1.Nd2 anyways, which allowed me to play the cute 1…Nxd4, threatening to take his queen. Play continued 2.cxd4? Qxd2, and white seems to be lost in all lines. I’ve got a mate threat on e1 and plenty of other options. If, for example, 3.Bc3, I can simply take the knight with Qxf4.

That was fun :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekend Tournament

I played in another small tournament this weekend. I felt like I played pretty shitty, I wasn't happy with the quality of most of my games. I still managed to get 2.5/4 though so the result wasn't too bad. My main problem this weekend was impatience. I just didn't feel like taking time on my moves... Time control was G/45, but in most games I was 10-15 moves into the game after 10 minutes. Anybody have any suggestions as to how to train against impatience? :)

Will try to post a game later.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I want this chess table!

From TI's music video, "What you know"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I wish I'd studied chess as a child

Got my butt kicked twice at the club last night, from two brothers - one aged 9, the other 8. Arrgh.

Must... improve.

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 :)