Sunday, September 24, 2006

excelling at chess

i just finished Jacob Aagaard's excellent book Excelling at Chess this evening. i've been putting a ton of time in working on chess and hopefully it will pay off this weekend in London

"Pretend It's For Fun"

All summer Bev Turner ran an unrated active "Grand Prix" with kids and adults. This was the last (I played in the first one as well). Before the tournament, a little girl started crying and said she just wanted to play for fun, not a tournament and my opponent said to her "Just pretend it's for fun". It made me chuckle.

KP - C
September Grand Prix Owen Sound, ON (1), 23.09.2006
B12 - Caro-Kann : Advanced Variation

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.c3 e6 5.Bd3 Bxd3 6.Qxd3 Ne7 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.Nbd2 c5 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Re1 Be7 11.Rb1 0-0 12.b4? cxd4 13.b5 Na5 14.cxd4 Rc8 15.Nb3 Nc4 16.Nfd2 Ndb6 17.Nxc4 dxc4 18.Qe4 cxb3 19.Rxb3 Nd5
[There's not much to be said about this game. I wanted to put the knight on d5 (best square on the board) but maybe I should've played 19...Qd5 if 20.Qxd5 (and if 20.Qg4 Rfd8 21.Bh6 g6 i'm just a piece up and maybe even more) 20...Nxd5 and I have the same positiona s the game except no queens] 20.Rh3 g6 21.Bh6 Re8 22.Rh5 Bf8 [22...gxh5 Of course! I missed that he couldn't check me on the g-file. The silliest things you miss. I need to focus] 23.Qf3 gxh5 24.Qg3+ Kh8 25.h4 Bxh6 0-1

C - K
September Grand Prix Owen Sound, ON (2), 23.09.2006
D80 - Grünfeld : Stockholm Variation

I always hate playing K in tournaments. Luckily that was an unrated so we could "really" play (normally we just play like a Slav Exchange or a Zaitsev Ruy Lopez or a Larsen Alekhine and get a repetition of moves or a lifeless draw). This was not the greatest game by me, but I did win due to a huge blunder. K mentioned just before the game that he wanted this to be our next game of the match. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3?! [I can try and punish him for the funny move order with 3.cxd5 Nxd5 4.Nf3 -- 5.e4 etc., but I was curious to see what he had in mind.] 3...g6 I was kinda surprised because he mentioned playing the King's Indian before. 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bh4 Bg7 6.e3 [I couldn't have grabbed the pawn here as the king is still guarding the e-pawn 6.cxd5 Nxc3 7.bxc3 Qxd5 8.Nf3;
and 6.Nxd5 g5 is fine for Black] 6...c6 7.cxd5?! [A more natural plan would have been something like 7.Nge2 then f3 so i could kick the knight and (eventually) move my bishop off the d8-h4 diagonal as he has done his job there] 7...Qa5 8.Qc2 [Again 8.Nge2 was better] 8...Nxc3 9.bxc3 [9.Qxc3 was better, as if he avoids the queen trade 9...Qxd5 10.Nf3 Bg4 11.Bc4 and I get a tempo on his queen as well as I can develop 11...Qd6 (11...Qd7 12.Ne5!) 12.Qb3! of course all this is easier to see at home. Again I need to try and work harder over the board] 9...cxd5 10.Nf3 Bf5! I'm in a tough position here. I wanted to recapture on c4 with the bishop but I never was able to play c4 11.Bd3 [11.Qd2 was stronger allowing me to play c4 and if 11...-- 12.c4 Qxd2+ 13.Nxd2 allowing me to play f3 again. Going over this game has really opened my eyes to what I've been doing wrong in this line (v. blitz games and others where I don't analyze)] 11...Bxd3 12.Qxd3 Nd7 13.0-0 e5! I found this move to be strong...maybe at a higher level this would be weak, but I missed this altogether. Now, possibly, my bishop is the weakest piece on the board once he castles and he threatens e4. Also, a capture with the pawn would isolate my c-pawn, which will drop once the bishop gets involved. This is my reasoning for 14.e4 [Fritz likes 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Nxe5 Bxe5 16.Rad1! of course! I missed that the d-pawn would be hanging and the "useless" (to paraphrase myself) bishop is guarding d8 so it's just a trade. I need to look deeper. 16...Bxc3 17.Qxd5 Qxd5 18.Rxd5] 14...0-0 15.Be7? I want him to make the first move in the center, but this "idea" by me is just horrible. My reasoning is that I want to get the bishop to a better diagonal, so my idea was to play Be7 then Bb4 "tempoing" his rook and queen. The main point was to tempo the queen as I didn't like defending that c-pawn. The problem with my idea is that it moves my bishop to a weaker square (what happens when he plays ...a5) *and* moves his rook and queen to more aggressive positions. Again, it was an active game, but I should have had enough time to figure that out [15.Nd2 dxe4 (15...f5 16.exd5 e4 17.Qe3) 16.Nxe4 with the idea of f3] 15...Rfe8 16.Bb4? Just brutal 16...dxe4! 17.Qxe4 Qc7 18.Nxe5 [What do I play here? 18.Rac1 maybe 18...a5 19.Ba3 exd4 (19...Nf6 20.Qc2) 20.cxd4 Qxc1 (20...Qxh2+ 21.Kxh2 Rxe4) 21.Qxe8+ Rxe8 22.Rxc1] 18...f6?? [18...Nxe5 19.dxe5 Bxe5 20.Qf3 and I lose something (h-pawn or c-pawn);
18...a5 19.Ba3 and the same sort of thing] 19.Qd5+ [and he resigns not allowing the smothered mate. 19.Qd5+ Kh8 20.Nf7+ Kg8 21.Nh6+ Kh8 22.Qg8+ Rxg8 23.Nf7# Not a strong game by me, I mixed it up where I shouldn't necessarily have and got a horrid position. But I learned a lot about playing the 4.Bg5 line in the Grünfeld so it was worth it.] 1-0

SP - C
September Grand Prix Owen Sound, ON (3), 23.09.2006
B18 - Caro-Kann : Classical Variation

1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nf3 Nd7 7.Nh4 Ngf6 8.Nxg6 hxg6 9.Be3 e6 10.Bg5 Qb6 11.Bc1 Bd6 12.b3 Bxg3
[12...Bb4+ 13.Bd2 Qxd4] 13.fxg3 Ne4 14.Qd3 Qb4+ The reason why I did this was that I wanted to aim for some endgames this tournament... 15.Bd2 Nxd2 16.Qxd2 Qxd2+ 17.Kxd2 Nf6 18.Bd3 0-0-0 19.c3 Ng4 20.h3 Nf2 21.Rhf1 Nxd3 22.Kxd3 f6 23.Rae1 e5 24.Ke4 exd4 25.cxd4 Rhe8+ 26.Kd3 Rxe1 27.Rxe1 c5 28.Re4 f5 29.Re7 Rxd4+ 30.Kc3 Rd7 31.Re6 Kc7 32.Rxg6 b6 33.Rg5 Rf7 34.h4 Kd6 35.h5 Ke5 36.g4 Kf4?? [36...Ke6 37.gxf5+ (37.Rg6+ Ke5 38.g5) 37...Kf6 38.Rg6+ Kxf5] 37.Rg6? [37.Rxf5+! Rxf5 38.gxf5 Kxf5 39.Kc4 1-0] 37...fxg4 38.h6 gxh6 39.Rxh6 Rg7 40.Rf6+ Kg3 41.Kc4 Kxg2 42.Kb5 g3 43.Rh6 Kg1 44.Rf6 g2 45.Ka6 Rh7 46.a4 Kh1 47.b4 cxb4 What can I take from this game? I won but he absolutely blundered after I blundered. 0-1

JL - C
September Grand Prix Owen Sound, ON (4), 23.09.2006
B10 - Caro-Kann : Hillbilly Variation

This was the other guy who was 3/3 at the tournament 1.e4 c6 2.Bc4 Hillbilly Variation 2...d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bb3 Nf6 5.d3 h6?! Not helping my development, but I wanted to end up protecting my d-pawn with ...e6, so i was hoping for something like [5...h6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.-- e6;
Realistically I should've punished him for not playing d4 and just responded with 5...e5 ] 6.h3 Bf5 7.Qf3 Bg6 [Maybe 7...e6 instead?] 8.Bf4 e6 9.Ne2 Nc6 10.Nd2 Bd6 11.d4 Bxf4 12.Qxf4 0-0 13.c3 Rc8 Slowly improving my pieces. 14.g4 Ne4 15.Nxe4 Bxe4 16.f3 Qh4+ 17.Kd2 Bg6 18.Qg3 Why trade? Look at his position? 18...Qe7 19.h4 e5 20.Rae1 Na5 [I totally "forgot" that the d-pawn was hanging. I should've just carried on with 20...Rfd8 After 20. ...Na5 I figured I would trade off the bishop or he'd have to play Be1 and his king is stuck in the middle of the board.] 21.Bxd5 Rcd8 22.Qxe5?? Qxe5?? [22...Nc4+! won on the spot. ] 23.dxe5 Rxd5+ 24.Nd4 Nc4+ 25.Kc1 Nxe5 26.h5 Nd3+ 27.Kd2 Nxe1 28.Rxe1 Bh7 29.Re7 Rb8 30.f4 Kf8 31.Rc7 Bb1 32.a3 a6 33.Kc1 Ba2? Again like I said in all the other games, I won but I didn't particularly play well 34.b3 Rxd4 35.cxd4 Bxb3 36.Rd7 Be6 37.Rd6 Bxg4 38.Rd5 Ke7 39.Kd2 Rd8 40.Re5+ Kf6 41.Ke3 Rd6 42.d5 b5 43.Kd4 Bf3 44.Kc5 Rd8 [44...Rxd5+ 45.Rxd5 Bxd5 46.Kxd5 Kf5 47.Kc6 Kxf4 48.Kb6 Kg5 49.Kxa6 f5 50.Kxb5 and I win the race] 45.d6 g6 46.hxg6 fxg6 47.Re7 h5 48.Ra7 Be2 49.Rxa6 h4 50.d7+ Kf5 51.Kd6 h3 52.Ke7 Rxd7+ 53.Kxd7 h2 and Black eventually won. 0-1

C - BT
September Grand Prix Owen Sound, ON (5), 23.09.2006
E33 - Nimzo-Indian : Classical

[Kirk had White against him earlier in the tournament and played 1.e4 d6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.d4 against him, so I was hoping for a King's Indian] 1...d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 [I realize that 4.Nf3 is the "mainline" but Qc2 is what I play v. Nimzo so I wanted to try and transpose if possible] 4...Nc6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.cxd5 Bxc3+ 7.Qxc3!? [I missed that he could tempo my queen with ...Nxd5 (I only saw he could tempo it from ...Ne4). If I was awake and saw ...Nxd5 I would've just played 7.bxc3 and got on with it. I guess the idea is that with the knight on d5 I can push e4 in one move with little preparation] 7...Nxd5 [7...Ne4 8.Qc2 exd5] 8.Qc2 Qd6 9.a3 [I was worried about 9.e4 Ndb4] 9...Bd7 10.e3?! 0-0-0 11.Bd3 h6 12.b4 e5? 13.b5! Nce7 14.Nxe5 Be6 15.0-0 f6 16.Ng6 Nxg6 17.Bxg6 h5 18.Bd2 h4 19.Bf5 g5 20.Rac1 b6 21.Bxe6+ Qxe6 22.e4 Rd7 23.exd5 Qxd5 24.Qc6 Qxc6 25.bxc6 [25.Rxc6] 25...Rxd4 26.Bc3 Rd6 27.Bb4 Rd3 28.Rfd1 Rhd8 29.Rxd3 Rxd3 30.Be7 h3 31.Bxf6 hxg2 32.Kxg2 Rxa3 33.Rd1

So I ended up with 5/5. I guess I need to work on tactics? 1-0

Thursday, September 21, 2006

ICC 15+2

C - NN [C's rating-40]
E73 - King's Indian : Averbakh Variation
ICC 15 2 Internet Chess Club, 21.09.2006

The closest thing I've played to a "real" game in a while. 15 minutes + 2 seconds on ICC. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 c6!? Interesting. Never seen this before 4.e4 d6 [Kamsky played this once v. Kasparov and I figured my opponent would too 4...d5 ] 5.Be2 [5.Nf3 was "theoretically" stronger but I wanted to practice the Averbakh] 5...Bg7 6.Bg5 0-0 7.Qd2 This transposes to a relatively common line of the Averbakh (3. ...d6 4.e4 Bg7 5.Be2 O-O 6.Bg5 c6 7.Qd2) 7...e5 8.d5 Qb6 couldn't make the tactics work so I just played 9.f3 maybe I'll take up the Samisch in the future...this kind of setup (against the castled king mind you) works fairly well ;) I'm happy with Qd2 actually because now I don't have to worry about the b-pawn [9.dxc6 bxc6 10.Nf3 was recommended by Fritz, but that opens up the b-file for him to attack. Again I'm looking for a position that I'm able to play more than a theoretically advantageous one] 9...Nbd7 10.0-0-0 Threatening to play dxc6 now and win the d-pawn. 10...c5 11.h4 a5? Giving up a big hole on b4 for my knight, but how can he free himself? [11...Ne8 12.-- Ndf6 13.-- Bd7 is slow. It's time for me to attack;
11...Nh5 12.g4 Ng3 13.Rh3 Nxe2+ 14.Ngxe2 f6 may have been tougher] 12.g4 Qb4 13.Bh6 Nb6 [13...Bxh6 14.Qxh6 Nb6 15.h5 Nxc4 16.Bxc4 Qxc4 looks pretty similar to the game] 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.h5! I don't care about the pawn. Checkmate ends the game 15...Nxc4 16.Bxc4

Trading off his best piece which he moves three times, for my crappy bishop (look at all my pawns on the white squares) 16...Qxc4 17.hxg6 fxg6 [17...hxg6 18.Qh6+ Kg8 19.Qh8#;
17...h5 18.gxh5 looked tough too. The game's basically over now that I have the h-file open] 18.Qh6+ Kf7 [18...Kg8 19.g5 Nh5 20.Rxh5 gxh5 21.g6] 19.g5 Nxd5 [19...Nd7 20.Qxh7+ Ke8 21.Qxg6+ Kd8] 20.Qxh7+ Ke8 21.Qxg6+ Rf7 22.Rxd5 [22.Rh8+ doesn't work quite yet.] 22...Qf1+ 23.Rd1 Qc4 24.Rh8+ Black resigns It's kinda poor form to put a nice easy win up on the site, but normally I'm negative about my chess so here's a nice win ;) I have a tournament in 2 days as well so I want to keep positive. 1-0

Friday, September 08, 2006

well it's not over yet so i can't tell if it's going to be the BEST day ever, but it's not even 10:30 and it's pretty damn good...

take a look at what came in the mail today 4 days early (!)!11!!11!!!1!!!!

oh yeah! oh fuckin' yeah!

so i'm curling up with some rum and 22 episodes of smallville this weekend :)

i love you Chapters, i love you Canada Post

non-chess related

well i guess this is kinda chess related. a couple years ago on ICC i won second prize in the U1400 Marshall Attack tournament or something, so i wanted to put an ASCII belt on my profile. i googled and googled but nothign was to be found.

today i have fixed that problem.

here is my belt

the original picture is here

i think it turned out pretty good. the original website was and you can link or upload a picture and they will convert it to an ASCII image.

in a related note, i have found that they make an ASCII version of quake that can be played on dumb terminals. a link is here and here's a screenshot

i think it looks cool

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

one more down...two (or three) to go?

today i finished Averbakh's Tactics for Advanced Players

i picked up Tal's life and games, but Hans said "Well you are allowed to enjoy yourself and there is nothing more fascinating than Tal's life and games - highest class of chess entertainment - but dont expect to learn much - however do read and enjoy!

I expect you are ready for Aagaard - try his Excelling at Chess first and then when you are done that try: Excelling at Positional Chess - those two books should take you well into the New Year."

so i might just work on Aagaard till 2007. that's why i'm paying him the big bucks ;)