Archive for April, 2011

Not much to report this time. I had a relaxing vacation around the Easter time without computer and chess, focussing on the important things in life…

  • 2 days of Chesstempo, rating still at 1980. I have added a new set to my training: simple puzzles rated <1300 with a quality of 4 or 5. I don’t know how much I will benefit from them but at least I will see a lot of patterns.
  • Lost my game in the TL finals.

During my vacation I read the witty and cynical Cat’s Cradle from Kurt Vonnegut jr., a fantastic ride with sharp insights. The impact must have been much higher in the 60s when the danger that weapons like the atom bomb would actually be used was real. Long live Bokononism.

(I have read the Kindle edition, which is available for just 4 bucks.)


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Stopped in the finals

A tough match last night that I finally lost. Congratulations to the DevoteeCaissa U1600, the strongest team in the U1600 section of the Team4545League.

I had a very complicated position and missed to play b5-b4 at an early stage. This is one of the common plans for Black in the Sicilian and I prepared it well enough. Next time I know better and will not lose time.

We reached the following critical position at move 17:

Position after 17. f5

If you need a complicated position to train your calculation skill, don’t look any further. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time left on the clock for a full analysis. Being used to the OTB time control, I have spent 4-5 minutes per move in the middlegame and was now down to 16:13 (+ 45sec increment).

The best move seems to be exf5 (I actually didn’t consider it during the game) but it’s very tricky.

The finish was very nice, my opponent missed a slightly faster way to mate so the question goes to you, dear readers: White to play and mate in 3.

White to move and mate in 3

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Weekly Progress #15 – 2011

This was a rather relaxed week. My big focus is still on tactics, I have added simple puzzles to my daily training to increase my arsenal of tactical patterns.

  • A long (90+30) game on Monday, lost with the Black pieces. The opening wasn’t very good and my opponent had a strong attack. I tried a swindle, exchanged a rook + pawns for 2 minor pieces and got a complicated game but to no avail.  Defending an exposed king with queen+rook+bishop+knight vs. queen + 2 rooks was a good experience.
  • Winning streak on Chesstempo with 16/16, boosting my rating to 1980. Even today on my black monday I managed to solve 3/5. Consistency is the key and the blog helps to keep up with my trainings schedule.

Tonight is my playoff final game and I need to win to keep us in the race for the title. The excitement is great and I really enjoy it without feeling pressure. These are the big moments where one single game decides the outcome and being in such a situation is special. Wish me luck!

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The Dreadful Knights are in the finals of the Team4545League T48, U1600! A great achievement and a big thanks to my fellow players justice02, sbaker831, cepheid and farbror. Now we want to become champion of course. It won’t be easy, our opponent DevoteeCaissa U1600 has played a successful season so far with strong results at board 2-4.

Last week was very productive:

  • I played two long games in the Team4545League, and won both. The first game was drawish in the end but my opponent made some over-optimistic moves and it was over. In the second game I first won a pawn and was later able to use the bad placement of the minor pieces, queen and rook to win the exchange. The resulting endgame was rather simple despite the many pieces.
  • CT rating now at 1947.
  • Finished the theoretical part of the Chessbase strategy course 2. Next there is a test with multiple questions in 10 games and after that I can move on to part 3.
  • My chess buddy farbror found an interesting link. I applied for the course (it’s not what you would normally expect) and might write a thing or two. With still one “day” to go it was a welcome change.
  • Looked at some games from Botvinnik and was surprised by his clear style.

On the non-chess side I used the great weather (25°C / 77°C, quite unusual for early April)  to go swimming in a lake near the mountains. The water was pretty cold, around 13°C (55°F), but to see the faces of my friends was priceless. 🙂

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Playoff semi finals!

What a TL game last night. A tense and thrilling battle where I was lucky that White didn’t find the right continuation against my king in the center. The endgame was first unclear, then drawn and after a blunder from my opponent won.

The bloody part started at move 8. Usually White plays 8. fxe5 but my opponent played 8. e4:

Position after 8. e4

I took my time but was unable to calculate the outcome of all the variations. I dismissed dxe4 too easily and played the dubious 8…fxe4 instead, giving White the chance to start a strong attack. Bc5 also looks very interesting and is probably the best move here. An analysis of all the variations after White’s 8th move is a good excercise in calculation.

Fortunately White couldn’t find the strongest continuation and this is something that you will notice when you study attacking games. When the complications start, there is often only one path for the attacker that leads to an advantage. Once the pieces are activated, the reverse is true. The defender needs to find some only moves to keep the balance. This is exactly what happened.

After 19…Bc5 I thought that Black is doing fine and started to prepare some threats with a possible knight manoeuver Ng4-Nf3:

Position after 19...Bc5

White immediately exchanged pieces, one of the plans to play against an isolated queen pawn, but the position is not so simple and White could have made it very difficult for Black. After more exchanges we reached a very interesting endgame.

Position after 26. c3

White’s bishop controls an important diagonale, both kings are on the first rank and we have 4 pawns vs 2 pawns majorities on the queen and on the kingside. There wasn’t enough time to calculate everything to the end. My biggest problem was to bring the bishop to a better square. On b6 it was doing almost nothing. After 32. h4 I finally had a big chance:

Position after 32. h4

Rybka likes 32…Bd8 here and if White plays 33. Be5, a rather natural move to me, the stunning reply is 33…b5!! 34. cxb5 Kd5. White will soon be in Zugzwang and loses his d+b pawn. Instead of 33. Be5 White could play Bg5 but this is dead drawn.

In the game I couldn’t see this. Instead I planned to exchange the bishops and played 32…Kd7. White missed the idea, the game continued 33. c5 Bc7 34. Kd2 Bxf4 35. gxf4. The position is completely drawn now because the kings easily block the advanced pawns. Maybe Black could try something on the kingside, exchanging the pawns and advancing slowly, but as a draw was enough to win the playoff match I wasn’t unhappy.

My silicon friend showed me that after 33. c5 Black had the strong idea 33…Bd8! Very interesting, it shows how important it is to centralize the bishop in the endgame.

As it turned out, it wasn’t dead drawn yet and the only way for White to stay in the game was to play 35. d5 immediately to stop Black’s king. All other plans lose and after 35…Kc6 it was over.

A very interesting game with the luck on my side.

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Training goes on as usual, nothing really exciting to report.

  • CT rating is now at stable 1940. The calculated FIDE rating is 1597 which is almost right – at the moment my entry rating into the Austrian ELO list for July 2011 has been calculated with 1601. This means that my goal must be to reach at least 2200 on CT before I can consider my tactical skills good.
  • Continued with the strategy course
  • played 1 embarrassing OTB game on Sunday. I had a wonderful position and threw it away with a rather simple miscalculation. What did I wrote in my last blog post? “…avoid any premature attack.” Annoying…

The next weeks will be less chess intensive. I can completely focus on my training and will try to play more 15min games instead of long games. Let’s see how it goes.

While watching the stronger players on Sunday I noticed how much a 1900+ player is better compared to a 1800er. His moves make more sense and he creates problems for his opponent, putting pressure on him. It’s very inspiring.

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