Monday, November 27, 2006

one more book done...

maybe i should follow my coach's advice and do nothing but tactics for the next four months...the books don't seem to help me from dropping material ;)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

November London Open

November Open London, ON (1), 25.11.2006
B03 - Alekhine : Four Pawns Attack

Not the greatest game for me. My excuse is that I was tired from the "long drive" but realistically I spent too much time going through books and not enough time doing tactics 1.e4 Nf6 [I had played the Caro against this guy at a previous tournament but I noticed in a later round he had the Caro and played 1...c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Bd3?! I tried the Alekhine for a few reasons. One, it always gives an interesting game. Two, Kirk wasn't there and he's the arch-duke of the Alekhine. Three, Hans said that I needed a couple of "must-win" lines so I decided that the Alekhine would be that. Ironically, Kirk pointed out that when I really needed a win in the third round I played the Caro] 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.d4 d6 5.f4 dxe5 6.fxe5 Bf5 [A line that me and Kirk (and others on had looked at previously was 6...c5 7.d5 g6 I wasn't too sure, and the mainline gives Black good play;
6...Nc6 is the main line so if 7.Nf3 , 7...Bg4 can be played in one move] 7.Nc3 Nc6 [I ended up transposing back to the mainline but 7...e6 was playable as well] 8.Nf3 [8.Be3 is the normal move] 8...e6 [I was worried about getting developed, so I didn't even look at the strong 8...Nb4! This puts him in a tough spot, but I wonder if it's worth it without any development 9.Kf2 Nc2 10.Rb1 Nb4 11.Ra1 e6 and I always have the perpetual if I want it] 9.Be3 Be7 10.Bd3!? [10.Be2 is the mainline] 10...Bg4 [I had 10...Nb4 again 11.Bxf5 Nxc4! with the same idea as Hans' below] 11.Qe2? Qd7 [11...Nxd4! wins a pawn. My excuse is that I didn't want to go pawn grabbing and wanted to castle, but really I missed it;
11...Bxf3 12.Qxf3 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Qxd3 14.Bxb6 Qxf3 15.gxf3 axb6 was also good for me] 12.h3 Bh4+! I was happy with this after all the junk, so I decided to (finally) grab a pawn 13.Bf2 Nxd4 14.Qe3

14. ... Bxf2+?! [I'm so better here. I need to take a closer look at this position here 14...Bxf3 15.gxf3 Nxc4 16.Qe4 (16.Bxc4 Nc2+) 16...Nxe5 17.Qxe5 (17.Rd1 0-0-0) 17...Nxf3+] 15.Qxf2 Bxf3 Very strong line by Hans. I think that I overestimated the strength of the knight on d4 - ["In the first game I would have rubbed him out with 15...Nxf3+ 16.gxf3 Qxd3 17.hxg4 Nxc4 but even so what you probably missed is the effects of Ne4 and you got confused." (HJ)] 16.gxf3 c5? [Why not 16...0-0-0 first? Now I'm just a pawn up.] 17.0-0-0 0-0-0 18.Ne4 Nf5 ["But even so 18...Qa4! and the queen and two knights should do well against the white king position. " (HJ);
18...Kb8 19.Nxc5 Qc7 20.Ne4 Qxe5 and I'm fine. My opponent did a nice finish] 19.Nxc5 Qc6?? [19...Qc7 20.Be4 Qxe5 21.Bxb7+ Kb8] 20.Be4 Qc7 21.Bxb7+ Not a strong performance practically, but I did have a great position. Maybe I won't bury the Alekhine 1-0

November Open London, ON (2), 25.11.2006
A22 - English Opening

I wanted to try the English before the game because I wanted to avoid the QGD for some reason. Plus I wanted to try something different 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3?! [3.Nf3 is the strongest move, which I wanted to avoid because of 3...e4 but afterwards I took a look and 4.Ng5! seems okay to me because he can't protect the pawn with 4...d5 (I was flipping through Simon Webb's "Chess for Tigers" at the World's Biggest Bookstore in Toronto this weekend and noticed the gambit 4...b5 as played by Polugayevsky-Esteves-Morales as an example of mixing up the position v. a stronger player ) ] 3...Bc5 [3.g3 isn't that strong because of 3...c6! ] 4.Bg2 0-0 5.d3 [5.e3;
were also options] 5...Ng4? 6.Ne4 Bb6 7.c5 f5 8.cxb6 fxe4 9.Nh3 [9.bxc7 was better 9...Qxc7 10.Nh3 and so forth] 9...axb6 10.0-0 [10.Qb3+] 10...exd3 11.Qxd3 Nf6 12.Bg5 d6 13.f4 Nc6 14.Bxf6 Rxf6 15.Ng5 i have threats too ;) 15...Bf5? [15...g6 16.Qc4+ Kg7 17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.Qxc6] 16.Qc4+ Kh8 [16...Kf8 17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.fxe5+-] 17.Nf7+ Rxf7 18.Qxf7 Nd4 19.e3 [19.fxe5 Be6] 19...Nc2? [19...Bg6! and i have to fight for equality as all his things he had previously are still there] 20.Qxf5 Nxe3 21.Qe4 [21.Qf7 Nxf1 22.Rxf1] 21...Nxf1 22.Bxf1 exf4 23.Qxf4 d5 24.a3 [to try and free up my rook but I probably should have took immediate action 24.Re1 ] 24...d4 25.Bd3 c5 26.Qe4 g6 [26...Qg8 27.Qxb7 Rb8 28.Qc7] 27.Qxb7? [I missed a mate 27.Qe5+ Kg8 28.Bc4+ Kf8 29.Rf1+] 27...Rb8 28.Qe4 b5 29.Qe5+ Kg8 30.Qxc5 [The idea is to get his king to the f-file...I missed this idea again with 30.Be4! ] 30...Qb6 31.Qxb6 Rxb6 32.b4 Kf7 33.Re1 Ra6 34.Bxb5 Rxa3 35.Rd1 Ke6 36.Rxd4 Ke5 37.Rd3 Ra1+ 38.Kg2 Rb1 I missed this actually 39.Be8 Rxb4 40.Rd7 Rb8 41.Rd1 Kf6 42.Rf1+ Kg5 43.h4+ Kh6 44.Bc6 Rb2+ 45.Kh3 Rb3 46.Kg4 Rb4+ 47.Rf4 Rxf4+ 48.Kxf4 [48.gxf4] 48...Kh5 49.g4+?! Kh6 [49...Kxh4 50.g5 and i just go get him] 50.Bf3 Kg7 51.Ke5 Kh6? 52.Kf6! g5 53.hxg5# Again not a great game, but I took what he gave me. Before the tournament I wanted to take things slow, but I think I took things *too* slow this game 1-0

November Open London, ON (3), 25.11.2006
B10 - Caro-Kann : Breyer Variation

An interesting game, probably the best one I played at this tournament. I had a little extra incentive here, me and Chris both drove down together and he was rated lower than me. My tournament was going not so great because of the first round, so in order to get a tough matchup the last round I had to win. I mentioned to the TD that we were from the same club could he change the pairings (there were many people there) and he said something along the lines of "it works for the computer". I just assumed he was a moron and went from there 1.e4 c6 [THe night before the game I was going through some of his books and he had the Voronezh line highlighted v. the Alekhine which is strong 1...Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6 cxd6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Rc1 etc. I couldn't remember what he played against the Caro-Kann, so I figured I'd trot out the old reliable] 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 e5 4.Ngf3 Bg4 5.g3 [McClelland-C.Sadler 2005 went 5.c3 Nf6 6.Qb3 Qc7 but Christian wanted to play it closer to a King's Indian Attack than a Colle] 5...Nd7 6.Bg2 Ngf6 7.0-0 Bd6 [7...dxe4 8.Nxe4 Nxe4 9.dxe4] 8.b3?! [8.h3 trying me to get away from the pin instead of trying to move the bishop on the other diagonal] 8...0-0 9.Bb2 Re8 [I could've played 9...d4 but I didn't want to encourage him to play c3] 10.Qe1 a5 I wanted to play d4 and keep him from trying to outflank me with a b-pawn push if i tried something like ...d4, ...c5 11.a4 d4 12.c3 c5 13.c4 [I wasn't so sure about my move after I made it becae of 13.Nc4 but he avoided that 13...Nb6 14.Nfd2 (14.Nxd6 Qxd6 and his bishop is not the strongest) ] 13...Nb8 Aiming for b4 14.Nh4 Qd7 15.f4 [15.f3] 15...Nc6 16.Ba3 Prophylactic as he will be happy to trade off his crappy bishop for my strong knight on b4 (if i put it there) 16...b6?! [I had to play 16...exf4 here] 17.f5! I didn't see how strong this was until he played it 17...Be7 18.h3 Bh5 [18...Bxh3 19.Bxh3 g5! 20.Nhf3 (20.fxg6 Qxh3) 20...g4] 19.Bf3? [This move lets me out 19.g4 Bxg4 20.hxg4 Nxg4 would have been stronger for him] 19...Bxf3 20.Ndxf3 Bd8 I can't remember what the idea was here. Probably to let the rook cover the e-pawn. 21.g4 h6 22.Qg3 Nh7 23.Ng6? Not a good sacrifice. Just drops material in my opinion 23...fxg6 24.fxg6 Ng5 [24...Nf8 just grabbed the pawn. I don't know why I just didn't play that. I guess i missed that the h4 was guarded by the bishop 25.Nh4 Bxh4] 25.Nh4 Ne6 26.Rf7? [He missed the tactic. The line he played traded material. Probably something like 26.Bc1 would have been better] 26...Bxh4 27.Qxh4 [27.Rxd7?? Bxg3] 27...Re7 28.Raf1 Rf8 [The computer liked 28...Nf4! disconnecting the rooks, attacking g6 and d3] 29.R7f5 Nf4 Better late than never ;) 30.Rxf8+ Kxf8 31.Bc1 Kg8 [31...Qd6 32.Qh5 Kg8] 32.Bxf4 exf4 33.Rxf4= he offered a draw. I couldn't in good conscience take it, even though we're friends and he gave me a ride down. His pawns are weak and I'm up material. He is going to drop the g-pawn and likely the d-pawn as well. Once his d-pawn falls the game is over 33...Nb4 34.Rf3 Qe8 35.Qh5 Re6 [35...Re5 36.Qh4 Qxg6 But i wanted to tie up all loose ends and defend the b-pawn] 36.Qh4 Qxg6 37.Qg3 Rf6! 38.Qb8+ Kh7 39.Rf5 Nxd3 It's tough now 40.Rd5 Qxe4 41.Qg3 Qe1+ [41...Rf3 42.Qxf3 or mate] 42.Qxe1 Nxe1 43.Rf5?! Funny decision trading off rooks 43...Nf3+ 44.Kf2 Rxf5 45.gxf5 Nd2 46.Ke2 Nxb3 47.h4 Kg8 48.h5 Kf7 49.Kd3 Kf6 50.Kc2 at this point i don't care about the knight 50...Kxf5 51.Kxb3 Kg5 52.Kc2 Kxh5 The most interesting game I played all tournament 0-1

November Open London, ON (4), 25.11.2006
D15 - Slav Defense

And now for my worst game of the tournament. I can give the usual excuses, but once again, I just missed something obvious. Tactical training is what I need 1.c4 c6 2.d4 [For about two seconds I thought about going for the Panov after 2.e4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.d4 but really if I wanted to play 1.e4 i should've played it on the first move] 2...d5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 b6?! NEver seen this before. It doesn't make much sense with the pawn on c6 unless he goes to a6. Was he worried about me playing cxd? 5.Bg5 e6 [5...dxc4 6.e4 b5] 6.e3 Be7 [6...Ba6 was interesting here] 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Ba6 9.Bxa6 Nxa6 I'm very happy with my position here. I could always tempo the knight, but there was no need to make him move to a better square. There was always the threat of a double attack as well 10.0-0 0-0 11.Rc1 Rc8? 12.a3? Missing a free pawn. [12.Qa4 Nb8 13.Qxa7;
12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Qa4 Nc7 14.Qxc6
] 12...c5 13.Qe2 [13.Qa4 may have been more to the point] 13...Nb8 14.dxc5 Rxc5 15.Rfd1 Qc7 16.Nb5 [16.Bf4] 16...Qb7 17.Rxc5 Bxc5 18.Bxf6 gxf6 Now again I have a better position. Notice that the only thing I have to worry about it mate on g2 19.Nbd4 ["Interestingly in the last game you also had the queen and two knights and your opponents weakened king position. Instead of 19.Nbd4 quite quickly I came up with 19.Qc4 with the idea of first swinging the queen over to the h or g file and then after b4 the rook to d4 and h4. It makes me wonder if you are still doing problems (this is what problems do for you - help you zero in on the target - in this position the BC5 and the weakened black kingside are targets;
A positional player would concentrate on owning the c-file with perhaps 19.Rc1 first, and then pawn to b4 to kick the bishop but the queen is much more active on c4" (HJ);
I wasthinking about maybe 19.Nd6 Bxd6 20.Rxd6 and again his knight is not the best piece on the board] 19...Kh8 20.b4 Be7 21.Qb2 Rg8 The threat now is ...e5. White to play and lose

22.Ne2?? [Probably even 22.Kh1 would have been sufficient] 22...Qxf3 A poor ending to an indifferent tournament 0-1

i did relearn a lesson this tournament - if they go out of theory, normally it's not theory for a tactical reason. i need to look harder all the way through, but just as much once they go out of theory as any. also i need to look at the board (see games 1 and 4)

Monday, November 13, 2006

wilt v. bobby

i read this on

Wilt & Bobby: Not a Random Encounter

NBAE Getty David Friedman

Chess is a matter of delicate judgment, knowing when to punch and how to duck."—Bobby Fischer
“Not unlike Mike Tyson, a later world champion from Brooklyn, Bobby Fischer loved to intimidate.”—Dick Schaap

“Where there’s a Wilt, there’s a way.”—Wilt Chamberlain

In his memoir Flashing Before My Eyes, Dick Schaap recounts having dinner with Wilt Chamberlain at the Hall of Fame center’s palatial Bel Air home. Schaap, the only person ever to serve as a voter for both the Heisman Trophy and the Tony Awards, loved to bring together eminent people from different fields and watch the sparks fly. He became acquainted with Bobby Fischer in the late 1950s and knew that the World Chess Champion was in the area, so he asked Chamberlain to invite him over. Schaap writes that Fischer expressed a great interest in seeing Chamberlain’s house but ultimately declined the invitation. Of course, much of Fischer’s post-1972 activities are shrouded in secrecy. At least one account suggests that he did in fact join Chamberlain that evening, just after Schaap had left…

Wilt Chamberlain was known to the general public as “Wilt the Stilt,” a nickname that only an unimaginative hack could love (or write). His friends called him “Big Dipper,” or “Dipper,” or even “Dippy” in reference to how the 7-foot, 300 pound basketball playing legend had to dip his head to go through doorways that were only designed to accommodate mere mortals.

Like the Greek gods who lived atop Mt. Olympus, Chamberlain resided in a sprawling pleasure palace with a majestic view. While the Olympians took their name from the mountain where they dwelled, Chamberlain named his house after himself: Ursa Major, the constellation containing the group of stars called the Big Dipper.

Ursa Major sat on a hilltop overlooking Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. The house’s most famous feature was the 10-foot long, triangular section of the roof that was retractable, providing an impressive view of the sparkling California sky. Bobby Fischer once dreamed of living in a house shaped like a rook and containing spiral staircases, so how could he resist an invitation to Chamberlain’s house, with its chrome spiral staircase, 20-foot high ceiling and one of a kind furnishings?

Chamberlain, who favored comfort over formality—particularly when he was at home—was barefoot and wearing only shorts and a tank top when he greeted Fischer. The World Chess Champion, clad in a tailor made suit from Argentina that had seen better days, gripped Chamberlain’s huge, outstretched hand a bit tentatively, his eyes guardedly taking in the mammoth basketball legend and the elegantly decorated home. They walked inside. Fischer looked around the house in silent appreciation.

"Hey, my man,” Chamberlain said enthusiastically. “Check this out.” Chamberlain directed Fischer’s attention to a one of a kind chess set: handcrafted pieces made out of real ivory sitting atop a gorgeous wooden board. Fischer picked up one of the pieces, delicately held it with his long, pianist-like fingers and nodded approvingly: “This is really first class.”

Chamberlain—an avid chess and backgammon player—challenged Fischer to a game. Fischer was reluctant but Chamberlain, whose eagerness to master new challenges was only exceeded by his boastfulness about his prowess, persisted: “I’m undefeated here. I never lose at cards or backgammon and I’ve yet to find a good challenge in chess.”

Fischer agreed to play, but said that to make things fair he would turn his back and announce his moves without sight of the board. He took white and played his customary e4. Chamberlain responded with d5, employing the Center Counter, his favorite defense.

The game unfolded rhythmically, a dance of the minds punctuated by each player calling out his move. Fischer declared his moves quickly and with great self assurance. Chamberlain was equally self assured, but deliberated over each move like a gourmand reading a restaurant menu*.

White: Fischer, Bobby
Black: Chamberlain, Wilt

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd8 4.d4 g6 5.Bf4 Bg7 6.Qd2 Nf6 7.O-O-O c6 8.Bh6 O-O 9.h4 Qa5 10.h5 Nxh5 11.Be2 Nf6 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.Qh6+ Kg8 14.g4 Rd8 15.g5 Nh5 16.Bxh5 gxh5 17.Rxh5 Bf5 18.g6 fxg6 19.Re1 e6 20.Qxh7+ Kf8 21.Qh8+ Ke7 22.Rh7+ Kd6 23.Nb5+ cxb5 24.Qe5+ Kc6 25.Qc5# 1-0

Chamberlain shook his head. “I’ve never lost so quickly at anything.”

“You didn’t have a chance against me with that line,” Fischer replied. “I refuted that whole variation more than 10 years ago. One guy tried 10…gxh5 against me, but he didn’t last any longer than you did.”

Chamberlain, never one to either easily accept defeat or avoid a debate, considered this for a moment and said, “You just played this whole game from memory. You didn’t really outthink me. If we set the pieces up at random, I’ll bet I could beat you because you couldn’t use any of your pet lines.” Granted, that might not sound logical to an outside observer, but if you spent your whole life doing outsized things that nobody else could come close to doing then you might be able to convince yourself that beating Bobby Fischer can be accomplished by changing the starting position of the pieces.

Chamberlain set up the board to start another game, but after putting the pawns on their usual squares he put the rooks where the knights should go, put the bishops on the rooks’ home squares, placed each knight on bishop one and transposed the king and queen. “Let’s play again.” Fischer looked at the new formation for about 10 seconds, then turned his back and announced his first move. Within minutes Chamberlain’s position looked more bedraggled than the New York Knicks did when he scored 100 points against them. Chamberlain looked at the board silently. Chamberlain knew what Schaap would say: “Maybe you should play blindfolded. Then at least you won’t have to see the carnage.”

Undaunted, Chamberlain set up the board with yet another different starting alignment and the two men resumed combat. What happens when two stubborn insomniacs are determined to prove that they are right? In this case, an all night session of a variant form of chess. Chamberlain was right that shifting the starting formation rendered Fischer’s knowledge of book openings useless—but that actually increased Fischer’s advantage, because he could fully utilize his well honed creativity and positional understanding. Chamberlain, on the other hand, could neither play the opening lines that he knew nor could he devise suitable alternatives.

Chamberlain grew more and more frustrated but Fischer saw the light—and it wasn’t just the rays of the early morning sun shining through the retractable roof: this type of “shuffle chess” had real possibilities. Chamberlain never did win a game, so he shifted the contest to a different level: what the new game should be called. Chamberlain favored “Dipper Chess” or “Ursa Major Chess.” Fischer retorted, “Who is going to play something called ‘Dipper Chess’? Besides, I’m the World Champion and I won every game, so it should be named after me.”

When Fischer left Chamberlain’s house, no one knew that—other than an unscheduled engagement in a Pasadena jailhouse—he would not be seen in public for nearly two decades. When he came back, he was heavier, had more facial hair and was a little more (ahem) eccentric and he also spoke of a new version of chess that would stump computers, eliminate pre-arranged draws and revitalize the sport: Fischer Random Chess.

So how come Chamberlain’s autobiography didn’t mention his role in creating Fischer Random Chess? The answer is simple: he did mention it in the first draft but one all-nighter of chess versus Bobby Fischer inexplicably did not make the cut over 20,000 other “nights” that Chamberlain enjoyed. Oh, one more thing--that digital clock that Fischer patented and has become standard fare at chess tournaments—there is a great story about its creation, but that will have to wait for later…