Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Make or Break Game: Broken

Well, I was leading the Nov - Dec tournament (one round per week) going into this round, but lost. I didn't play the person I expected to play, but instead played someone I'd never played before (non-blitz) who plays in a quite similar style as I do. He's very tactically strong, as well, but he also has a stronger command than I of the endgame and overall conduct of the middlegame. I am doing some heavy analysis of the game, and I will publish it as soon as it's completed. He is rated 1594, so that makes my current rating around 1530 or so. Looks like 1600 is only a remote possiblity this year. On the plus side, with my analysis, I will become intimately familiar with the opening variation played (Scandinavian - Portuguese Variation).

Monday, November 28, 2005

New Chess Blog: Qxh7#

Thanks to some reaching out by its creator, I'd like to welcome Qxh7# to the blogosphere. He's got some interesting posts and a neat-looking blog, so I'd recommend my fellow Knights Errant and other caissaphiles to check it out.

The Make Or Break Game: Prelude

Tomorrow, I will be playing in what I think will be a make or break game for achieving Class B status this year. The person I will most likely play is rated 1747.

On the plus side, I have beaten him before, although it was only once.

On the minus side, he is higher rated (with LOTS of OTB experience), and he plays queen pawn games (and I will most likely have the black pieces against him).

So, tonight, I am skipping ju-jitsu practice for chess study. I will drill with CTS as my main focus, with some opening study against queen pawn games.

The way I have it calculated my rating will finish out this month in one of 3 ways:

Win 1608 (and Class B - 2005 goal achieved)
Draw 1575 (with the possibility of achieving 1600 in December)
Lose 1542 (with a slim possibility of achieving 1600 in December)

I will analyze and post the game after tomorrow's battle.

Tonight...I prepare for war....

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Won Again Last Night

I won't post the game unless there's interest in seeing it. I was paired up with a 945 rated player, so I caught a break compared to the last two weeks. It was an interesting game, but it was pretty one-sided for most of its 29 moves. My performance for the tournament is 1990 so far, and my rating should now be around 1560 (highest ever). I was concerned about not meeting my goal of making 1600 this year, but perhaps I shall at least get close to it (and there's still a chance I could achieve it).

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Ju-jitsu Musings #1

I've begun to see a lot of similarities in my martial arts training and in my chess learning. So, I plan to start a series of articles based on some similarities that I note and some learning that transfers readily to my chess training.

Today, I want to discuss something I learned from someone at my dojo who is much more skilled than I in ju-jitsu. I have been having trouble grappling from the bottom. What that means is that when I am on my back, I have trouble knowing what to do. To remedy this, I explained to my friend that I had been researching submission techniques from the bottom (from the closed guard position). He flat out told me that submissions were NOT my first priority. My first priority should always be to get into a position of control. Only then, should I look for submissions.

What this tells me when applied to chess is to have building my position into one strength as my primary goal. Of course, there may be opportunities for tactics along the way, but that shouldn't be my main focus at that point in the game. Once I have a strong position, then I should begin the look for "submission moves" or tactics.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

On Evil, Wicked Scandy Players - The Game

Ok, here's the game. I've provided some of my own analysis, but have also included Fritz's take on it. Please note that ?'s and !'s are per Fritz and not my own take on them! I say this because one of my moves was awarded !! by Fritz from which I have only gotten on only a couple other games of the many of mine that I have submitted to Fritz for analysis.

NN (1818) - CelticDeath(1493) [B01]
TCCC Normal, IL, 11/15/05
B01: Scandinavian Defence

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.c4

My opp usually plays Nc3, but has here dared me to play the Icelandic Gambit. I gladly oblige him. 3...e6 4.dxe6 Bxe6 5.Nc3 I like 5. d4 better here, and Fritz agrees. 5...Nc6 I always develop the Nc6 first, but Fritz prefers Bc5. 6.Nf3 Bc5 7.Be2

I thought for a while here. I didn't want to allow 8. d4, but this doesn't bother Fritz. 7...Nd4 [Fritz: 7...0–0 8.d4 Nxd4 9.Nxd4 Bxd4 10.Nb5 Bb6 11.Qxd8 Raxd8] 8.d3 0–0 9.Nxd4 Bxd4 10.0–0

The best move here seemed to be 10 ... c6. The purpose of the move was multi-functional. First, if White develops the bishop to f3, it will bite on granite. Also, the bishop on d4 is safe from an attack by White's Nb5, forcing it to move from it's primo post. Finally, it allows my queen to have access to the queenside. 10...c6 11.Kh1 I think Kh1 was too passive a move. 11...Qd7 12.f3 Rad8 13.Bg5 Qc7

14.Qe1 [My opp didn't like the following line, which is still about equal. 14.Ne4 Nxe4 15.Bxd8 Nf2+ 16.Rxf2 Rxd8 17.Rf1=] 14...Rd7 15.Rb1 a5 16.Ne4 Nxe4 17.dxe4 Qe5 18.Qc1 f5 19.Bf4 Qf6 20.Qc2 fxe4 21.fxe4 Qg6 22.Bg3 Rdf7 23.Rxf7 Rxf7[Fritz: Weaker is 23...Kxf7 24.Bd6 Rd8 25.c5±] 24.Rd1 c5 25.b3 Rf6 Short on time, my opp makes a critical error. 26.Bd3?? [Fritz: 26.Rf1= was possible]

And now, the critical position (from my last article)

26...Qxg3!!–+ 27.e5 [Fritz: 27.hxg3 Rh6# A classical mating theme] 27...Rh6 28.Bxh7+ [Fritz: 28.h3 doesn't do any good 28...Bxh3! Demolishes the pawn shield 29.Bxh7+ Kh8 30.Rxd4 Bxg2+ 31.Kg1 Rh1#] 28...Kh8 [Fritz: 28...Rxh7?! is easily refuted 29.Qxh7+ Kxh7 30.hxg3–+] 29.h3 Bxh3! 30.Rd3 [Fritz: 30.gxh3 Rxh3+ A beautiful mate combination] 30...Bxg2# 0–1

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. dxe6 Bxe6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bc5 7. Be2 Nd4 8. d3 O-O 9. Nxd4 Bxd4 10. O-O c6 11. Kh1 Qd7 12.f3 Rad8 13. Bg5 Qc7 14. Qe1 Rd7 15. Rb1 a5 16. Ne4 Nxe4 17. dxe4 Qe5 18. Qc1 f5 19. Bf4 Qf6 20. Qc2 fxe4 21. fxe4 Qg6 22. Bg3 Rdf7 23. Rxf7 Rxf7 24. Rd1 c5 25. b3 Rf6 26. Bd3 Qxg3 27. e5 Rh6 28. Bxh7+ Kh8 29. h3 Bxh3 30. Rd3 Bxg2# 0-1

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

On Evil, Wicked Scandy Players - Critical Position

Here is a position from the end of my game against an 1818 rated opponent. He has just played 26. Bd3. What happened next?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

On Evil, Wicked Scandy Players (or how I bagged my first Class A Player)

J'adoube has discussed his travails against evil, demonic Scandy players. There is maybe another person to join him tonight in this assessment. I just won a game against the highest rated player in our club (and one who has given me plenty of grief over the board in the past) with the black pieces using the Icelandic Gambit. He is rated a full 325 pts higher than I. This was my first master level performance at 2218, per the USCF rating calculator. My rating now (after last week's draw against a 1776 rated player) will be about 1536. If I can cross the 1550 barrier (if memory serves), I will have a floor established at 1400. I am still in shock and exaltation after this win. It is late here, but you can definitely expect to see some analysis of this game in the near future.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Back Over 1500, pt. II

Here is the game I referred to my previous post:

CelticDeath (1493) - NN (1776) [B07]
TCCC Normal, IL, 11/8/05

B07: Pirc Defence: Miscellaneous Systems 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 c6 I wasn't quite sure what type of opening this was, but it sure seemed like a Pirc to me. No king's fianchetto, though. After the game, I asked my opp what it was and if it was a Pirc. I forget what he called it, but Fritz sure calls it a Pirc (miscellaneous line)!4.f4 Normally, I play a Byrne variation, bringing my darksquare bishop to g5 before moving my pawn to f4. However, with my opp's last move, I knew he intended on bringing his queen to a5 to pin my Nc3.

4...Qa5 5.Bd2 e5 I didn't really calculate at this point, because I liked the opportunity to remove a my opp's Nf6, which I felt maintained my initiative while strengthening my control of the center.

6.Nd5 Qd8 7.Nxf6+ Qxf6 8.Nf3 Bg4 [Fritz: 8...exf4 9.Bc1=] 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.fxe5 ...

10. ... Bxf3?! Fritz prefers Qe7 11.exf6 [Fritz: 11.gxf3?! Qh4+ 12.Ke2 Nd7] 11...Bxd1 12.fxg7 Fritz judges Rxd1 and my move as equal (+1.03). 12...Bxg7 13.Rxd1 Nd7 [CD: ‹13...Bxb2 14.Rb1] 14.Bd3 Ne5 15.0–0?! Fritz prefers to keep the bishop with Be2. 15...0–0–0 16.Bc3 f6 17.Bxe5 fxe5 18.Rf7 Rd7 19.Rxd7 Kxd7 20.Ba6+?!

Trying to get cute with tactics. Fritz prefers beginning king centralization with Kf1. 20...Kc7 21.Bxb7 Rb8 22.Ba6 Rxb2 23.Bc4 [Fritz: 23.Rf1 Rxc2 24.Rf7+ Kb6 25.Rxg7 Kxa6 26.Rxh7 Rxa2 27.g4 Ra1+ 28.Kf2 Ra2+ 29.Kg3±] 23...Rxc2 24.Be6 Bh6 25.Kf1 Rc1 [Fritz: 25...Be3!? is an interesting alternative] 26.Rxc1= Bxc1 27.Bg8 h6 28.h4 Kd6 29.Ke2 Kc5 30.Kd3 Kb4 Fritz: Active king in the endgame 31.g4 c5 32.h5 Bf4 Draw agreed. ½–½

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 c6 4. f4 Qa5 5. Bd2 e5 6. Nd5 Qd8 7. Nxf6+ Qxf6 8. Nf3 Bg4 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. fxe5 Bxf3 11. exf6 Bxd1 12. fxg7 Bxg7 13. Rxd1 Nd7 14. Bd3 Ne5 15. O-O O-O-O 16. Bc3 f6 17. Bxe5 fxe5 18. Rf7 Rd7 19. Rxd7 Kxd7 20. Ba6+ Kc7 21. Bxb7 Rb8 22. Ba6 Rxb2 23. Bc4 Rxc2 24. Be6 Bh6 25. Kf1 Rc1 26. Rxc1 Bxc1 27. Bg8 h6 28. h4 Kd6 29.Ke2 Kc5 30. Kd3 Kb4 31. g4 c5 32. h5 Bf4 1/2-1/2

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Back Over 1500

Last night at chess club I drew a game against a 1776 rated player, so my USCF rating is back above 1500. Using the USCF calculator, I estimate my rating to be at 1506. Fritz showed me that I could have maintained an early advantage that I had in the game if I would have allowed counterplay. Very interesting to note that. Usually you want to stifle opponent counterplay, but there are situations when you can actually stifle your own chances by doing so.