20 December 2007

Kramnik vs. Anand 2008

The venue and dates have been announced for Kramnik's effort to regain his title as World Chess Champion. See www.uep-worldchess.com/. Although I would prefer to see a match lasting 16-24 games, this official announcement is good news.

Postscript: 14 October 2008
Game 1 is now posted on Chess Skills

Postscript: 28 October 2008
In the past fourteen days this blog has dramatically increased its traffic due almost exclusively to my daily and extensive blogging about the World Chess Championship now nearing its conclusion in Bonn.

19 December 2007

Practical Play / Correct Play

In a recent game I had White on move in this position.

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I played 41.Qxe6!? to create a simple winning king and pawn endgame. At this point in the game I was spending minimal time and effort despite the time control of three days per move. Had I spent a little bit of effort, I might have concluded the game more rapidly. I overlooked a forced checkmate in seven moves from the diagram position.

Earlier in this same game I overlooked another forced checkmate.

White to move

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26.Bxf5?! seemed simple enough, but it led to an imbalanced position where White's decisive advantage required demonstration of some technique, and there were pitfalls.

The black queen is not going anywhere, and in the meantime the white rook is well placed. Some attention to the aggressive posture of White's pieces might have revealed the forced checkmate in ten moves. It was a practical decision to capture the black queen and continue with a decisive material advantage, but it was not a decision fully thought through.

The heart of this game begins with the combination I found earlier in the game. Once I achieved a clear advantage, I became lazy and no longer sought out the best lines. In the position below, Black has just captured a pawn.

White to move

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Black's 20...Re8xe5?? was the game losing blunder, although it appears to win a pawn. Black should have played 20...Ba6, winning the exchange.

Winning material often seems practical, but well coordinated pieces might facilitate a better process towards victory.

13 December 2007

Sergei Rublevsky

Sergei Rublevsky has cracked into the top 25 on the FIDE list several times, almost earned a berth to the Candidates tournament to qualify for Mexico City 2007 (losing to Grischuk), and has defeated both Karpov and Kasparov in tournament play.

In 2005 he unleashed a beautiful combination against Alexander Riazantsev that chess engines rarely find.

Position from Riazantsev - Rublevsky, 2005
Black to move

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This game was selected as one of the best games published in Informant 94, but placed twelfth in the voting. Hence, it is an easily overlooked brilliancy.

12 December 2007

Chess Informant

This morning's email brought in an announcement from sales@sahovski.co.yu.

Dear Chess Friend,

We have lived to be 100.

Please check us at www.sahovski.com (update: now http://www.chessinformant.org/).
Chess Greetings
Chess Informant Team

I've been reading their books and using their software for almost eleven years. I started with Informant 64.

64/7 is the game Ribli - Sherzer, Magyarorszag 1995, which after white's move 12 reached this position

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I spent a few hours studying this game, seeking to understand the overall strategy of White's attack. I came to the conclusion that the point of White's 12.Bc3 and the game's novelty 14.Qb2 was a long-range plan to attack along the a- and b-files on the one hand, and along the a1-h8 diagonal, on the other.

Ribli - Sherzer continued (from the diagram)
12...b5 13.cxb5 cxb5 14.Qb2 Qb6 15.b4 axb4 16.axb4 Rfc8 and White eventually won.

I was playing a USCF correspondence game as I was beginning to learn the treasures of Informant, and of the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings, published by Chess Informant. One of two games I was playing against Faneuil Adams, Jr. reached the position in the diagram above. That game continued
12...Qb8 13.b4 axb4 14.axb4 Rxa1 15.Rxa1 e5 and White eventually won.

So, I say today, congratulations Chess Informant on issue 100. Thanks for all the years of high quality chess information. Thanks for aiding me in my win against the saint of scholastic chess (Fan Adams was a major impetus behind the rapid growth of chess in the New York City public schools in the late twentieth century).


06 December 2007

Solutions to "Solve This"

Fox in the Chicken Coop

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White plans to march the king over to the a-file, capture Black's pawn and promote the a-pawn. White will abandon the g-pawn to keep the black king occupied long enough for the white king to capture the black pawn and then take up position on the b-file--shouldering to protect the a-pawn's advance.

If Black runs to the queenside to capture the white pawn, then White will push the g-pawn and win the pawn race.

When I played this position against Hiracs 10 this morning, it became necessary to push my g-pawn on move 11 because the black king confined my king to the a-file.

Stripes,J - Hiarcs 10

1.Kh2 Ke5 2.Kh3 Kf5 3.Kh4 Kg6 4.Kg4 Kf6 5.Kf4 Kf7 6.Ke5 Kg6 7.Kd5 Kf6 8.Kc5 Ke5 9.Kb5 Kd4 10.Kxa5 Kc5 11.g4 Kd4 12.Kb6 Kd5 13.a5 Kd6 14.a6 Ke5 15.a7 Kf4 16.a8Q Kxg4 17.Kc5 Kf4 18.Kd4 Kf5 19.Qc6 Kf4 20.Qf6+ Kg3 21.Ke3 Kg2 22.Qg5+ Kf1 23.Qg8 Ke1 24.Qg1# 1–0

Fighting the Pig

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27.Bg5! would have been far better than my 27.Be7

This game marked an important moment of success for a promising young player from Mead High School--I coach their team. I mentioned this game to a news reporter during a chess exhibition that he and other youth players put on, and the reporter confused two Mead players in the published article.

Taylor Coles, my opponent, played a nice game. Although he lost a piece when he overlooked some tactics, he won it back when I missed something later. He then outplayed me in a rook and pawn endgame.

Shirov Test

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Topalov,V (2740) - Shirov,A (2710) [D85]
Linares (10), 04.03.1998

this sacrifice mobilizes Black's king and creates a new passed pawn [ 47...a3 is selected by most engines; 47...Be4 is selected by Hiracs after longer analysis] 48.gxh3 [ In Informant, Shirov gave the line 48.Kf2 Kf5 49.Kf3 Bxg2+ 50.Kxg2 Ke4–+] 48...Kf5 49.Kf2 Ke4 50.Bxf6 d4 51.Be7 Kd3 52.Bc5 Kc4 53.Be7 Kb3 the white bishop is powerless to stop both the a-pawn and the d-pawn 0–1

05 December 2007

Opening Disaster

It doesn't happen often, but it happens. Sometimes a reasonable player overlooks an obvious and elementary tactic.

Stripes (1569) - Overrated (1943) [B21]
rated blitz match Free Internet Chess Server, 05.12.2007

1.e4 c5 2.f4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Bb5 a6 6.Qe2

How should Black play?

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Black made a bad decision:

6... axb5 7.Nd6# 1–0


03 December 2007

Shirov Test

Alexei Shirov found the winning ideas in a position that often has stymied chess engines. The game was Topalov - Shirov, Linares 1998.

Black to move

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02 December 2007

Fighting the Pig

In a game this fall, I had White and the move in the position below.

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I played 27.Be7+ thinking to trade off some pieces and be ahead a knight. The game continued 27. ... Bxe7 28.Rxe7 Rc5 and I was in trouble.

Did I miss a win with my 27th move? What would have been better?

If you think you have the answer, or are ready to give up, view the solution.


01 December 2007

Fox in the Chicken Coop

I created the position while reading Jeremy Silman's Silman's Complete Endgame Course and thinking about how I might teach his "fox in the chicken coop" idea to young chess novices.

It is White's move.

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Of course, we are not just looking for White's best move because 75% of the legal moves from this position lead to a win. Rather, what is White's plan. What must be done, and what must be avoided? What action by Black could alter this plan?

30 November 2007

What was I thinking?

. . . and why did I get away with it?

Stripes,J (1627) - Copeland,C (1555) [E07]
Turkey Quads Spokane (3), 15.11.2007

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 d5 3.c4
The Reti

3...e6 4.d4
no longer the Reti

4...c6 5.Bg2 Nbd7 6.0-0 Be7

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[ 7.Qc2 is the correct move, as is known by everyone that plays the Catalan]

7...0-0 8.Bf4
seemed like a reasonable move, and it is certainly thematic in the Queen's Gambit, but I have almost always regretted this move--this game is no exception.

8...dxc4 9.e4
Staunton and Steinitz would be proud of me for getting this nifty pawn center--but Chris will not let it stand long

the novelty of our game, and not a particularly good one. But why? What is wrong with a move that attacks the pawn nearly always laced with poison?

10.Qe2 c5 11.Qxc4

[ 11.d5 occupied most of the time I spent thinking about my move, and may have been a better choice]

11...cxd4 12.Nxd4

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giving White the advantage that should have been his birthright
[ 12...Qxb2 was possible]

13.Nf5 Re8?
two inaccuracies by Black, and White now has a good game
[ 13...exf4 14.Nxe7+ Kh8 15.gxf4 Qxb2 seemed better for Black to me, but my engine disagrees;
13...Bc5 is the move Hiarcs prefers]

14.Nxe7+ Rxe7 15.Be3 Qe6
[ 15...Qxb2 was still possible, and would make White fight for the win]

[ 16.Qxe6 seems simple enough]


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[ 16...Re8]

17.Rac1 b6 18.Rfd1 Nxd5?
it is not easy to play a position such as Black has created for himself
[ 18...Bb7]

19.exd5 Qd6 20.Qxc8+ Re8
[ 20...Rxc8 is suicidal 21.Rxc8+ Re8 22.Rxe8+ Nf8 forget about the queen as she is helpless against two rooks and two bishops]

21.Qc7 Qxc7 22.Rxc7
I like pigs!

22...Nf6 23.d6 e4 24.d7 Red8 25.Bg5 Rxd7 26.Rdxd7 Nxd7 27.Rxd7 f6 28.Bxe4


This badly played pseudo-Catalan gave me a much needed but undeserved win.

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