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Archive for June, 2013

Pick your world champion

In a very interesting post Jacob Aagaard picks up an idea from Lars Bo Hansen’s book Foundation of Chess Strategy. There are different types of players and the first step is to identify to which group you belong. I rely on General Concepts and Logic which makes me a Theorist. Players from this group would be Steinitz, Nimzowitsch, Tarrasch, Botvinnik or Kramnik. Some time ago I have looked at a couple of games from Botvinnik and found them very clear and easy to understand. Seeing that his style is close to mine it makes sense to learn GM chess from him.

Botvinnik

The same is also true for Kramnik. His moves are usually not so hard to understand unlike, e.g. Aronian or Carlsen who play much more dynamic, concrete chess.

Actually, the “style” doesn’t matter so much on my level. I still have to pick up the basics (otherwise I would be a 2000er already) and especially need to work on my calculation skill. All these things take time so strictly following my new commitment of 20 minutes daily training will have the highest priority.

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When I played through Nakamura’s fantastic game against Karjakin, I stumbled upon the following position:

diagram057

The big question here is: what prevents Black from capturing the pawn with the king? In the game he played 46…Kg6 and resigned at move 52 after being put into Zugzwang.

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Black couldn’t capture the pawn because of the blocking sacrifice 47.Bg8! He is forced to recapture with the rook and now the skewer 48.Rg1+ allows the pawn to promote. A brilliant strike which shows once again that you have to know your tools.

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Calculation matters

This is a position I reached in my round 3 game in the Team4545League:

diagram056

I had more than 8min left on the clock with 45sec increments. I felt that Nxf6 is the move here but I was unable to calculate the follow-up. This was a huge chance to win the game, instead it ended in a draw so I put special care in my post-mortem analysis why I couldn’t spot the winning combination.

  1. I didn’t work hard enough to visualize the position after the forced Nxf6, gxf6, Rxf6.
  2. I forgot that the queen had to stay around the rook to defend it.
  3. After the forced moves, Qd5 is very strong and uses the open diagonale as well as the open 5th rank so Black must give away the queen for a rook.

As long as I can identify my weaknesses and correct them I am on the right track – and the game was a lot of fun as well.

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ELO 1800 goal

It can’t be denied, in the last months I didn’t come much closer to my goal to reach ELO 1800 in chess. I can say that my general attitude and approach has changed and thanks to enthusiastic chess buddies (Paul, Andrea, Henri) I am still motivated and willing to walk the long and winding road toward mastery. It can’t be done without some work though and I haven’t found a good way to integrate a consistent trainings schedule into my daily routine. Planning to do something in the evening was a bad idea, there was a clash of other activites and things I wanted to do and too often I didn’t find the energy for a serious study session. Instead I played some mindless Blitz games…

It’s time for a change. Jacob Aagaard has a very sensible recommendation:

…decide first which day of the week is your day off, then do solving 20 minutes a day for the other six days of the week.

Simple, isn’t it? Six days won’t be possible but five should be okay. The idea is to pick up anything as long as it’s fun and work on it. I have more than enough material so it’s just a matter of finding a time that I can reserve for chess. Probably this will be in the morning before I start working, we will see. Spending only 20 minutes has the advantage that it prevents a quick burn-out.

Any thoughts?

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Sideproject for the future

Take a look at this:

pinball_diy

Full report how to build a cabinet yourself can be found here. This might be something I can build together with my father, he is the right person for such projects. It’s cheaper than buying a used pinball machine and I am really not confident that I can maintain it! A home made cabinet based on virtual tables saves a lot of troubles.

Btw, the original poster left a hillarious quote:

I’m not sure how long it took to complete but I almost forgot what my wife looked like, which was somewhat of a good thing.

Ouch!

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