Archive for May, 2011

If you have followed my blog you know that I like Chesstempo very much. There is one thing that bothers me though: for the difficult puzzles I spend too much time. In a real game you can’t afford to look 30min for a combo that might not even exist. 10-20 minutes is fine to not let the advantage slip away, everything else will lead to time trouble later on and decisive blunders at the worst moment.

Psychologically it’s hard to hit the “Give Up” button but to make the training more practical I will have to set myself a time limit. Failing to find a solution in time means that my thought process isn’t correct yet and that I need to adjust it.

Chess is pretty hard to the ego. Whenever you think that you are on the right track there is something that brings you back to the bottom of reality. At the end of the day only the rating (ELO, ICC, …) will tell you how good you really are, and you suddenly realize that having a superior position is worth nothing if you allow a drawn rook ending…


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  • Chesstempo fought back last week and pushed my rating down to 1988. I get more of the difficult puzzles (2000+), which is really good. Much better than the ones where you click without thinking.
  • The candidates matches are running and are fun to watch. For me it will be interesting to analyse the round 3 win of Boris Gelfand. I sometimes reach similar middlegame positions and it was very instructive to see how he defended against the king side attack.
  • Last Friday I played a couple of Blitz games. I found a willing victim (kruno) and won 4 out of 5 games.  The tactics training is bearing fruits, I don’t blunder a piece so easily anymore. Blitz is Blitz though and can’t be taken very seriously.
  • Last night I played round 3 in my 90+30 tournament. The advantage of these matches is that you can prepare for your opponent. This time I had White and faced the Alekhine defense. When I got out of book at move 14, the position looked pretty good for me:

Position after 15...Nf6

White has a space advantage and controls the center. The big question is which piece should be put on d4 – the knight or the bishop?

I missed a great chance later to win material and the game could have ended in a drawn rook ending but instead my opponent exchanged pieces and the pawn endgame was completely won:

Position after 35. Rc6

35…Rxc6?? loses on the spot. Keeping the rook in the game would have made my life very difficult. There is always the threat to enter the 7th rank and the king can’t prevent it on his own.

The next weeks will be more or less chess-free. I will be back in June, stay tuned!

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Hugo 2011 nominees

For all SF fans: it’s Hugo time again and a nice list with links can be found at SF Signal. Last year I didn’t manage to read a lot of the stories, but this year I am in a good mood and will try again. All novelettes and short stories are available online and from the novellas only 2 are missing.

I have already read the novella The Lifecycle of Software Objects but wasn’t much impressed. It’s well written with some good ideas but the plot was too thin. I missed the mind blowing stuff that Ted Chiang is able to deliver, what a pity.

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Back on track, at least with the tactics training. I hit a milestone on Chesstempo with the new rating of 2000. Now I have to prove that it is adequate and not a fluke. 🙂

I also played another long game in a 90+30 chess tournament. We ended in a rather normal Sicilian and my opponent challenged me with 14. f4.

Position after 14. f4

To find a good response wasn’t easy and my move 14…exf4 brought me some trouble. Rybka says that I should ignore the pawn and start immediately to play on the queen side with 14…a5.

There is so much to learn in the Sicilian and it’s clear why it’s not an opening for the beginners. Knowing the counter plans is one thing, executing them with the right moves something completely different. Fortunately I was able to reject the attacks and my chance came when we reached the following position:

Position after 30. Ne6

There are a lot of potentials here because of the pinned g2-rook. Black could simply capture the pawn on f4 now (I missed this move) or increase the pressure. Rybka already evaluates the position with -2.4.

The game continued with 31… Be6 (threatening to win the exchange in one of the next moves) 32. Nf5 Rd2 (starting to exploit the pin) 33. Ne3 Rfd8 (prepare to bring in the rook after RxR) 34. f5 Rxg2 35. Nxg2 Rd2

I liked my position and was a bit worried about a long endgame but this is completely winning for Black now.
Question: what happens after Re2?

Position after 35...Rd2

36. Re2 (This blunder ends the game quickly.)
Better was 36. Rg1 Bd5 37. Qg4 The point is that the king is trapped in the corner and that the piece
on g2 is pinned. Black has the terrible threat of Rd1.

37… Bf3 38. Qg3 Bxg2+ 39. Qxg2 (39. Rxg2 Rd1+ 40. Qe1 Rxe1#)
39… Rxg2 40. Rxg2 Qe4
The queen will eat some pawns. This is won for Black.

36… Rd1+ 37. Re1 37… Rxe1#

A fine attack and another interesting middlegame that I need to study.

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