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

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Odds and Ends

I've had some various distractions and troubles keeping me from the kind of training I would optimally like to do, but on the other hand, I have been doing chess stuff every day, so it's not too bad.

For a time we were in Europe.  In Budapest I got this nice hand-carved wooden chess set which I am pretty happy with.

Lately, I've been playing over the games from the Zurich 1953.  I am using both Bronstein's book and Najdorf's which is quite interesting as the commentaries rarely overlap and so you get two different views of each game.  I also think that going over the games twice myself really gives me more of a chance to see things and ask questions about the game.  These games don't really fit in with the attacking chess ideas that I have been studying but they are quite interesting and I am enjoying the experience quite a bit.

As far as the attacking chess goes I am wanting to get back to that as a focus of my study.  Not to the exclusion of all else but maybe as the primary focus of my study time.  On the other hand, I still think training in the form of tactics and mate puzzles are the best for me right now.  But, I don't want to kill my enjoyment of the game.  I do enjoy tactics puzzles and mates but if that's all I am doing I will tend to get a bit bored.  I like to learn about other aspects of the game.

Another thing is I've been viewing chesslecture.com lectures and can quite recommend them.  In particular I have watched some Valeri Lilov videos on attacking chess, and Jesse Kraai videos as well as reading his chess novel "Lisa".  (I recommend it, and enjoyed reading it, but it's not super amazing, just pretty good).  One thing he emphasizes is doing the mate in 2 problems from Laszlo Polgar's massive work.  Not every day but fairly often I do an hour's worth of these.  I think this goes along with the attacking chess theme because you need to be able to finish the job :)

Another thing I am trying to do is work some more endgame study into my routine.  Another thing Jesse Kraai recommended was learning the Bishop plus Knight vs Lone King checkmate.  I spent some time working on it yesterday, reading the relevant sections in "Pandolfini's Endgame Course" and the brief write up in Dvoretsky, then I spent a good while trying to practice against the computer.  The results were not good.  I will have to spend some more time learning this.  If anyone knows a good tutorial on this it would be appreciated.  I know chess.com has a video on this topic but I am no longer a paying member.  Other than that, I am trying to do some of the problems from Polgar's "Chess Endgames" book which is pretty cool and starts pretty simply so the problems aren't too challenging at the beginning.

On the playing front, I got a new regular partner to play with.  I also want to step up my playing and get more games in.  Of course I mean long time control.  Right now I am in three tourneys on chess.com for slow time control games. That's a good source, but still not really as much as I would optimally like to play.

I also started back to taking lessons from Rabren an IM on ICC whose rates are quite reasonable.  I like his method which is primarily to analyze my games with me.  The only negative is that I feel some pressure to play enough high quality games to provide material for the lessons.  The main problem with this is that even with long time controls a lot of the games are decided by blunders of either my opponent or me which most of the time ruins the game for serious analysis.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A success

Sometimes I feel I post a lot of failures here. Here's a game where I succeeded. I'm quite happy with it because I had a textbook lead in development and was able to carry off a successful attack. This seems like a big stride forward for me because I see plenty of examples of this kind of thing in teaching materials but always felt like I didn't think I would be able to pull such a thing off myself.  It seems like I successfully recognized a situation where an attack was called for and pulled it off.  Of course, it should be said that I didn't really see anything ahead all through the attack.  I was just playing the move that looked most like an attacking move in each instance.  I'm ok with that.  Anyway, here it is.

globulon - Retiornot

Result: 1-0
Site: Internet Chess Club
Date: 2014.9.12
[...] 1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 d6 3.d4 exd4 Technically I believe black is not supposed to take here as it is "the surrender of the center" leaving white with a strong central pawn as opposed to black's more modest one on d6. Still, it seems all the Phillidor players take here. 4.♘xd4 ♘f6 5.♘c3 ♘bd7 6.♗c4 a6 7.O-O ♘e5 Up until here I was just playing simple developing moves without a plan but now I start thinking about the fact that I have a lead in development and his king is in the center. 8.♗b3 b5 9.f4 I think one reason that this move occured to me was as a result of a crushing defeat I suffered in a voja simul on ICC the night before. It was a similar situation in that I got tangled up and my king was stuck in the center and he used f4 to start his attack. Of course the other is that it looks great to get another pawn in the center and kick that knight. 9...♘g6 10.e5 My idea here is just to open lines to the king while he's still in the center. Looks like black could have played this part better though. 10...♘d7
10...dxe5 I didn't have any of the following worked out before, but this is what I expected him to play. Not sure about best play but there seem to be a lot of ways for him to go wrong. 11.fxe5 ♘xe5 This seems to lose a piece but it's hard to see where to put the f6 knight otherwise.
11...♘g4 12.e6 ♘f6 13.exf7 ♔d7 (13...♔e7 14.♘c6#) 14.♘e6 ♔c6 15.♘xd8
(11...♘d7 12.♗xf7 ♔e7 13.♘d5#) 12.♖e1 ♗d6 (12...♕d6 13.♗f4) 13.♘c6 ♕d7 14.♘xe5 ♗xe5 15.♕xd7 ♗xd7 16.♖xe5
11.exd6 I'm successful in opening his king. 11...♗xd6 12.♖e1 ♔f8 Now he's lost the right to castle. This often seems to be a key feature of the attack on the king in the center. (12...♗e7 13.♘c6 wins the queen) 13.♘c6 Moving the knight deeper into enemy territory with an attack on the queen. The queen doesn't really have anywhere good to go, but it seems to me Qf6 was probably better than what was chosen. I could hit it there with the other knight but only at the expense of blocking one of my attacking pieces. I thought about playing g3 instead when Nc6 wins the queen since it's trapped, but that seemed to be playing for a trick and I figured it gives him a free move instead of keeping up the pace of the attack. 13...♕h4
13...♕f6 14.♘e4 ♕h4 (14...♕f5 15.g4) 15.g3 The queen ends up sidelined anyway, but the knight's blocking the e-file now. (15.♘g5 Another possibility.)
14.g3 Here I was trying to figure out what to play and looked at sac'ing the bishop on f7 to see if anything would happen. Then I noticed that simply Qd5 is pretty threatening. Unfortunately, Qd5 immediately allows Qxe1#. At least I can play g3 with tempo. 14...♕h3
14...♕f6 This seems like it might be better at first sight because it seem it will do more defensive work here, but the queen is trapped after Ne4. 15.♘e4 ♕f5 16.g4
16.♘xd6 Looks good at first because of the result if cxd6 but the queen check wins the knight. 16...cxd6 (16...♕c5 17.♔h1 ♕xd6) 17.♕xd6 ♔g8 (17...♘e7 18.♕xe7 ♔g8 19.♕e8 ♘f8 20.♘e7#) 18.♘e7
15.♕d5 Threatens mate in one, the only way to avoid it is to shed material. 15...♘de5 16.fxe5 ♗e6 17.♕f3 Keeps the queen in a more attacking position. 17...♗xb3 18.axb3 ♘xe5 Obvious blunder loses a piece.
18...♗c5 19.♔h1 ♕c8 Better, but I remain a piece up and still have some initiative.
19.♘xe5 ♗c5 (19...♗xe5 20.♕xa8 ♔e7 21.♕xh8) 20.♔h1 Mate in 1 still hovering. 20...♕e6 21.♕xa8 ♔e7 22.♘d5 ♕xd5 23.♕xd5 Retiornot resigns
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