Archive for September, 2011

Back to tactics

Every 6 month one gets doubts about how to study chess, whether one is on the right track or if it’s necessary to change something. For such periods a trainer would be good because you can rely on his/her guidance to reach your goal. Without a trainer you must believe in yourself and in the power of your program and just keep going. And that’s what I am doing.

I am back at Chesstempo with tactics training. In the last months I have only used it to practice simple tactics but I felt that this wasn’t enough. Simple tactics help you to get ideas and it’s important to increase your arsenal. In addition it’s necessary to practice calculation, to learn to visualize longer variations. Both is necessary so I decided to add solving tougher puzzles to my daily training. After the inevitable drop after such a long break my rating is now rising again and has reached 1930. Let’s see when I reach 2000 again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Regarding simple tactics and patterns, the big question is if it’s better to solve thousands of puzzles or learn by heart a carefully selected collection like Lev Alburt’s Pocket Training Book. This is #102 from the book:

White to move

I will let you find the solution on your own this time. The first 2 moves should be obvious, the third is a nice rook move. This one example tells you everything there is to know about deflection, it’s practical and with the suprising third move it will keep in your mind for a while.

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This was a chess heavy week with a lot of study and three long games. The most outrageous loss happened on Friday. In the following position White is two healthy pawns up with all advantages:

White to play

Here I uncorked the stunning 25. Qa8?? and resigned immediately. An unbelievable blunder caused by excitement and a non existing mate-in-one.

In my game last night, which you can replay here, everything was pretty even until something went wrong for me. Usually White should attack but instead I found myself in the tough position to defend my IQP. Fortunately I survived the late middlegame stage and found myself in a superior endgame with bishop + 2 pawns against knight. Here I gave my opponent the chance for a draw:

Black to move after 75. Kf6

We were both in time trouble and Black missed the chance. Nxb7 Bxb7 and stalemate! Now it was up to me to find a way to win the game:

White to move after 80...Nb8

The knight simply jumps back and forth and is ready to capture the pawn.What I had to do was to reach the same position that I had now but with Black to move. 3 moves later Black resigned.

A sweet victory and much brain food about how to play with an IQP. Usually I try to avoid it but in this game I have seen its power if you manage to coordinate your pieces in the right way.

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World Cup Round 4, Day 2

I had some time to follow the World Cup yesterday and looked with surprise at the move 26…Re2!! in the game Kamsky-Svidler:

White to play after 26...Re2!!

I saw the computer evaluation rapidly going up in Black’s favour and thought by myself, how does Black win here, what’s wrong withย 27. Qxe2?

It took me ages to see that 27…Qg3! will win in this case. What a pin and kudos to Svidler for finding this move. All attempts to save the game fail, e.g. Nc6 to block the diagonale loses a lot of material and still keeps up the mate threats. Qc3, as played in the game, allows Black to finish his mating attack and White is too slow with his counter.

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…you play through a game and suddenly see the winning attack without anyone telling you:

Black to play and win

A nice combination from Anand.

On the other hand there were a couple of moves in this game that came out of the blue for me, e.g. in this position:

Black to play after 4...Qb6 5.b3

You have to recognize that the bishop on h4 is hanging so that the pawn on d4 is actually pinned. When it moves, Black has the strong move Qb4+ winning the bishop. If you can see all this then the next move would be less surprising. 6…e5. After 7. Nf3 e4 Black enjoys a space advantage that he later exploits in a king side attack.

What I found very interesting was the concept to look for double attacks. Simple threats can be easily defended. A combination of ideas can lead to material gain or at least, if your opponent defends well, to a positional advantage. If you collect enough of these small positional advantages you will soon have a winning position. Chess can be so simple. ๐Ÿ™‚

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