"...a Chessmaster should be a combination of a beast of prey and a monk."

Sunday, August 13, 2017

St. Louis tournament

I visited the US this summer, and as I did two years ago I took the opportunity to play a slow time control tournament. This time I played one in St. Louis at the chess center there.

 It was cool to be playing in the same place where the greats play. I saw Caruana, Kasparov, and Akobian (separately) hanging out near the chess center.

It was supposed to be four rounds in one day. Unfortunately, the last round I was assigned a full point bye. Then they apparently found a player to join for just that round and play me. Somehow between the time that he signed up (and joined the USCF) and game time, he changed his mind and decided he didn't want to play.

So, I'm embarrassed to admit I went 0-3. Which was disappointing. But on the whole I'm glad I did it.

Reviewing these games makes me cringe. I'm still very low level.

me - tournament winner

Result: 0-1
Site: Chess Center St. Louis
Date: 2017.07.22
[...] 1.e4 b6 2.d4 ¥b7 3.¤c3 e6 4.¤f3 ¥b4 5.¥d3 ¤f6 6.£e2 d5 7.e5 ¤e4 8.¥xe4 So although I had tried to work on my openings before the tournament, I definitely hadn't looked at 1...b6. My opponent showed me after the game that I was following theory till here. This is obviously a blunder as he showed quickly. Apparently the proper move was Bd2. Then he will take with the knight as this gives him the bishop pair and I accomplish what I wanted to do with my move, that is getting rid of the knight on e4. 8...dxe4 9.¤d2 £xd4 10.a3 ¥xc3 11.bxc3 £xe5 12.¥b2 O-O 13.¦b1 f5 14.c4 £f4 15.£e3 I actually played this thinking he would want to keep the queens on and that he would move his queen. 15...£xe3+ 16.fxe3 ¤d7 17.O-O ¦ad8 18.¤b3 ¥a6 19.¤d4 ¥xc4 20.¦f2 ¥d5 21.¤b5 c6 22.¤d4 My threat was empty. If I take on a7 my knight is trapped. 22...¦fe8 23.¦c1 b5 24.¦f4 I remember Dan Heisman saying somewhere that you should either resign or play at full strength. Don't continue if you aren't going 100%. Here is where I failed to do this. I was beaten mentally as well as on the board but kept playing until this blunder. 24...e5
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little girl - me

Result: 1-0
Site: Chess Center St. Louis
Date: 2017.07.22
[...] 1.e4 e5 2.¤f3 ¤c6 3.¥c4 ¥c5 4.O-O ¤f6 5.¤c3 d6 6.h3 O-O 7.d3 h6 8.a3 a6 9.¥a2 ¥e6 10.¤d5 ¥xd5 11.¥xd5 ¤xd5 12.exd5 ¤e7 13.c4 f5 14.¥e3 ¥a7 15.¤d2 f4 16.¥xa7 ¦xa7 17.¤e4 ¦a8 18.¤c3 ¦f6 19.¦e1 ¦g6 20.c5 £d7 21.¢h2 ¦f8 22.cxd6 cxd6 23.¤e4 ¤f5 24.¦c1 ¤h4 25.¦g1 (25.£h5 too early 25...¦xg2+ 26.¢h1 £xh3#) 25...£b5 26.b4 (26.£h5 £xd3 27.¤c3 h4 knight is lost) 26...£xd5 27.£e2 (27.£h5 £xd3 28.¤c3 h4 knight is lost) 27...£f7 28.f3 (28.£h5 ¤f5 it doesn't work anymore) 28...d5 29.¤f2 ¦e8 30.¤g4 ¤f5 31.£e1 ¦ge6 32.¤f2 ¤e3 33.¤d1 d4 34.¤f2 £g6 35.¤e4 ¤f5 36.¦c2 ¤d6 37.¤f2 ¤b5 38.¤e4 ¤xa3 39.¦c7 ¦b6 40.g3 ¤b5 41.gxf4 £h7 42.¦xb7 ¦g6 (42...¦xb7 43.¤f6+) 43.fxe5 ¦xg1 44.£xg1 ¦xe5 (44...¢h8 45.¤f6) 45.¤f6+
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me - teenager

Result: 0-1
Site: Chess Center St. Louis
Date: 2017.07.22
[...] 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.¤f3 ¤c6 4.d4 ¤f6 5.¤c3 ¥b4 6.¥d3 O-O 7.O-O ¦e8 8.e5 ¤h5 9.¤d5 ¥a5 10.¤xf4 ¤xf4 11.¥xf4 ¥b6 Komodo gives me north of +7 here based on 12. Ng5. At the time I considered Bxh7 and komodo gives that north of +5. 12.c3 (12.¥xh7+ ¢xh7 13.¤g5+ ¢g8 14.£h5) 12...¤e7 13.¥g5 d6 14.£e1 c5 15.£e4 g6 16.¥f6 ¥f5 17.£e3 ¥xd3 18.£h6 ¤f5 I missed this move. When I played Qh6 I thought there was no way to stop mate. 19.£h3 £d7 20.¤g5 h6 21.¦xf5 h5 22.¦f3 £xh3 My attack is over and I am worse according to komodo 23.¦xh3 ¥f5 24.¦h4 cxd4 25.cxd4 dxe5 26.¥xe5 ¦xe5
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Friday, August 4, 2017


I used to think blitz was basically evil. Kind of like the junkfood of chess. No nutritional value.

Lately I have come to change my mind about that. I now think of blitz more like a sandbox. A place where you can try things out and see how they work. Because the games are shorter and less intense than a slow time control game you can feel free to experiment more.

I think it also promotes board vision, basically just staying aware of the basics of not blundering pieces (at least at my blitz level). I think this is useful for me because I still blunder even in long time control games getting distracted and thinking of my plans instead of checking what the opponent can do.

I still think of slow chess as the thing I want to get good at, but I am coming around on the value of blitz as practice.

Chess Status

Overall picture: My current rapid rating on chess.com is 1497. This is where I play all my slow chess league games so it is a reasonable estimation of my true strength.

One of the big problems I have encountered in my chess pursuit is getting distracted and pursuing other things.  The biggest distraction comes from the game of go. I seem to go in phases where I will pursue one for a while and then switch to the other.  The result is that I don't make progress at either.

So, I have been putting some thought into the question of how serious I am about chess. I think I am serious about improving. So, one important thing for me to try is to stay consistent with chess instead of switching off to other things.

A second way consistency comes into the picture is in terms of the things I study. I have about 125 chess books but I have only worked my way through 1 book completely. I have worked most of the way through 2 or 3 others. On the other hand I have read parts of almost all of the books. It also goes the same for studying aspects of the game. I set a goal a long time ago of studying attacking chess but kept getting distracted into other aspects of the game.

A third way consistency comes into the picture is in terms of actually playing. I am very inconsistent in how I play. I think the most important thing for me to practice is actually looking at the opponents possibilities more. As it is I tend to fall into tunnel vision just thinking about my plans and desires and forget to think about things from my opponents perspective. This is particularly true when I get excited or when I get worried about time.

Chess Blogging

It has been about a year and half since I posted to this blog. Basically, I kind of gave up on blogging.

I think blogging takes some effort and I didn't seem to be willing to put in much effort into the blog.

There's a question in my mind about the worth of blogging. Part of me feels that when I spend time blogging that is time I could be spending on chess. I also sometimes feel that when I talk or write about something it gets less likely that I will follow through instead of more likely. So blogging seemed a bit like it was talking instead of doing.

On the other hand, I feel it is nice to have a place to post some of my games and interesting stuff that I come across.

So, tentatively I am starting the blog up again. Hopefully if I can put a better effort into posts and focus on things actually accomplished I will feel better about it.  We'll just have to see how it goes.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Queen Sac Boden's Mate

Here's a blitz game where I executed a nifty mate.

Opponent could easily have parried the mate but obviously didn't see it.

Just happy that some of those patterns can occasionally show up in my games.

JabotScrob (1083) - velandy (1065)

Result: 1-0
Site: Chess.com
Date: 2017.06.06
[...] 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 £xd5 3.¤c3 £e6+ 4.¥e2 £g6 5.¥f3 c6 6.¤ge2 e6 7.¤g3 ¥b4 8.O-O ¤a6 9.¥e4 £f6 10.d3 ¥xc3 11.bxc3 ¥d7 12.¥a3 O-O-O 13.¥d6 £xc3 14.£e2 ¤f6 15.¥f3 £d4 16.¥e5 £c5 17.d4 £e7 18.£d3 g6 19.¥e2 c5 20.£xa6 bxa6 21.¥xa6#
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Monday, February 15, 2016

King's Gambit Win

Globulon - D

Result: 1-0
Site: Chase Chess School
Date: 2/11/16
[...] 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.¤f3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.¤e5 ¤f6 6.¥c4 d5 7.exd5 ¥g7 8.d4 O-O 9.¥xf4 ¤xd5 10.O-O ¥e6 11.£d3 £xh4 12.¥g3 £g5 13.¥xd5 ¥xd5 14.¦f5 £c1 15.¢h2 £xb2 16.¦h5 h6 17.¤xg4 f5 18.¤xh6 ¥xh6 19.¦xh6 ¥e4 20.£e3 ¦f7 21.¥e5 f4 22.£xe4 ¤d7 23.¦h8#
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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Current Status

Well this journey has some real ups and downs. The last few months have been very personally tumultuous for me. This led me to withdraw from a lot of my online chess activities. I stopped playing my regular games and withdrew from all the leagues I was participating in. I also stopped most of my chess activities in general such as reading or tactics training.

Recently however I have been feeling more able to get back to it. I ended up playing a tournament here in Taipei this last week. It was a 2 day event with slower 45 - 30 time control. The entry fee was higher than usual and the prizes were as well. The hope was that this would draw more serious players. For whatever reason it didn't end up changing much. Still pretty small and mostly kids from the chess school hosting the event.

So in the time before the tourney I started spending significant time training again. Doing tactics and studying openings. I decided to make some substantial changes to my repertoire. This had some negative effect but I had fun with it anyway.

Overall, I scored 2.5 out of 6. I was fairly satisfied. The draw was a good game. The two wins were against weaker players. 1 loss was against a strong kid who ended up taking 2nd behind a strong German adult player. That one I mostly attribute to an opening disaster. I decided to play the Sicilian in the tourney but didn't successfully memorize a reply to the Morra, so I got blown off the board in less than 20 moves. Playing too fast was also a significant factor.

The second loss I attribute to pursuing the wrong plan of a kingside a attack in a position with the queen's traded and not enough weakness to justify this approach. The last loss was being distracted by stuff in life and not having my head in the game, playing to fast and screwing up my opening.

One win was a kind of model game in a king's gambit where he let his queen get sidelined in a quest for material and I delivered checkmate. The other win was weak. I blundered away my attacking pawns but the opponent blundered away a piece. The win was easy from there.

As usual, the tournament has lit my spirit for chess activities again. One problem seems to be that I don't have enough tournaments so I sort of lose spirit in between and stop training much. So one thing I have done is to look to see if I can schedule more tourneys this year. There is the Asian Dragons tourney here in Taipei which is actually a more serious FIDE rated tourney. I might get a chance to travel also to some nearby Asian location with bigger tourneys like Hong Kong or Japan. I will also see about keeping my hand in with some of the smaller school tourneys here as well.

As far as training goes, been watching Daniel King Power Play 2 on building an attack. Been working through Fischer's 60 Memorable Games. Doing tactics at chess tempo. Other miscellaneous. Am trying to be more focused and regular. I want to work on finishing one book or DVD before moving on to the next and gradually working through the library of materials I have accumulated.

Hopefully, this go around I can keep more focused and serious if have real tourneys to look forward to.