Saturday, October 3, 2009

Eliskases - Gruenfeld, Mahrisch Ostrau 1933

Here is a nice game I played through tonight from 500 Master Games of Chess. The ending is particularly nice.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

500 Master Games of Chess

I recently picked up a copy of this classic, and I wish I had not waited so long to get it. Everyone always speaks highly of it. It contains 500 games from the 19th and early 20th century. It is organized by opening system, with the games presented chronologically within an opening.

The annotations are pretty brief, but it seems like a good book for brushing up on early chess culture and working through a bunch of games at a brisk clip. I have just started to work through the book, and have been using it to work on playing through a game blindfold although I am using the crutch of staring at a blank board while I do it.

If you have not bought the book because of descriptive notation I would highly recommend you take the time to learn descriptive, and you will be greatly rewarded by this book and the many others in Dover's library.

Here is a game I played through tonight that contains a pretty finish. I was happy that I saw 27..Ng4+ while playing through it blind.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Beatiful Position posted by Susan Polgar today

Susan has the following position on her website from a game between Kraai and Kavutskiy this weekend in the So Cal Open in San Diego.

I spent time this afternoon analyzing it from a printout of the position, and when I got home I set it up on a board and analyzed it some more. Very fun position to work on.

Some analysis below:

1.Ne7+ Kh8 2.Q:f6

A) 2..Qg4 3.Qc3 {my earlier idea of 3.Bf3 pretty much gives up the advantage gained since the N is guarding g4 and can prevent f6 from being taken g:f6 B:g4 N:g4 f3 Ne5 f4 Nd7} Nd7 4.Bf3 {White can play it now though} Qg5 5.h4 Qf6 6.Q:f6 g:f6 7.f:e3 {and white is up 2 pieces}

B) 2..e5 3.B:e5 Qg4 4.Qd6 Re8 5.Rc8 R:c8 6.B:c8 Qd1+ 7.Q:d1 N:d1 8.Bg4 {this line was found by Rybka after I did my analysis. I didn't even consider e5 as a response.}

C) 2...Q:b2 3.Q:b2 {and white has a nice material advantage.}

D) 2..Nf5 3.N:f5 Qg4

D1) 4.Q:f7 {another line found by Rybka after I completed my analysis and a nice mating net to boot} h6 5.B:g7+ Kh7 6.B:f8+ Kh8 7.Bg7+ Kh7 8.Bf6+ Qg7 9.Q:g7#

D2) 4.Rc4 Nd7 5.Q:g7+ Q:g7 6.B:g7+ Kg8 7.Rg4 {this is the line I analyzed}

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Thoughts on training from Botvinnik

Probably one of the greatest players ever at training and preparing for competition was Botvinnik. Supposedly he discussed his methods in both the Flohr - Botvinnik match book, and in the book he authored with Ragozin about the 11th Soviet Championship. The discussion in the Flohr match book consists of about 4 pages of text, and I will probably translate it sometime in the near future. There is a bit about his methods in The Dover publication of Botvinnik's 100 Selected Games.

I am in the process of tracking down a translation of the tournament book for the 11th Soviet Championship to see if it has more insights to offer than the 2 pages in 100 Selected Games. It would be an interesting book to have anyways as this was the tournament where Kotov displayed the results of the training regimen put forth in Think Like a Grandmaster.

Here are some of the things Botvinnik had to say in 100 Selected Games:

  • Begins preparation with a review of the chess literature to acquaint himself with new and interesting games, making notes on questions which are of interest to him as he reads.
  • Studies the games of his rivals in the upcoming competition. He studies their peculiarites of play, and their opening repertoire.
  • Studies the lines he intends to employ in the competition. For a competition he usually employs 3-4 systems for each color, and is thoroughly prepared in those systems.
  • Next is to try out these systems in training games.
  • He champions the use of training games to work on all aspects of your chess, using the games to focus on a certain deficiency and to continue training games with that deficiency being the focus until it is eradicated. An example being that if you get into time trouble, you should play training games where the first consideration is the clock, not the quality of play or the result. This continues until you can play at peak strength without time trouble in the time control being trained.
  • He champions resting the final few days before competition to be fresh when it starts.
  • More than anything else to reach top potential you must master the art of analysis. To this end you should publish your analysis so that others can find the faults within it. I imagine you could also use a chess engine to critique your analysis. He makes an interesting point that you should not analyze games in the first hours immediately after it is played, because such analysis will most likely be purely negative and can become a bad habit.

Chess Hero, a chess training program

I just came across this program in a forum post on today. It is a program that presents you random positions selected from pgn files that you provide it. You choose your move for the position and then it scores it against a chess engine's analysis.

Somewhat of a variation on the guess-the-move feature at, which has you play as 1 side through a whole game, and scores your play based on engine analysis (using toga or fruit I believe). In this case you can use either uci or xboard engines and customize the init commands. You can create different training profiles that contain a selection of pgn files to be used in that training. You can set some as being books, so it can also train you on your knowledge of an opening, and not penalize you for not playing what the engine determines is the best move. Apparently it likes the modern variation of the Alekhine's best, not the exchange variation which leads to the voronezh, which is what I am studying. Once you add a pgn file with the lines that are your book it will no longer present those positions from non-book pgn files, and it won't score them when presented from book pgn files, just tell you whether you are correct or wrong.

It seems to be a fairly new program, so it will be interesting to see how he evolves it. I had considered trying to build something like this at one time, so I am glad someone else has taken on the task. I still have some other ideas for chess training programs that I might try putting together at some point. Right now I'd rather study and play chess in my free time than program :).

Monday, August 31, 2009

Ivanchuk - Kamsky, Wijk aan Zee 2006

Continuing to work through McDonald's The Art of Planning in Chess tonight. Just played through this nice win by Ivanchuk against Kamsky. Very instructive to see how Ivanchuk converts his advantage to a won minor piece endgame. Played through it twice, the 1st time doing guess-the-move and using the CB training tab, and the 2nd time playing through reading McDonalds annotations of the game in the book.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Opening Preparation according to Aagaard

Jacob Aagaard has a nice, little section in Excelling at Chess where he discusses a method of preparing an opening.

To start with filter the games in the lines to be studied to only those where the players are rated 2350+. First you will look at the endgames that occur and study those. He recommends printing them out and playing through them on a board. After the endgame he looks at the middlegame. You start by taking the 100-150 highest rated games and play through them. Maintain a list of positional concepts, adding to the list each time you encounter a new positional concept. Then play through 7 or 8 games where a concept occurred. Make a file of your favorite examples for later study and repitition. Finally, look at the actual theory for the opening.

It will take some work, but it sounds like you would have a solid grasp of the opening afterwards.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Interesting Position from Practical Chess Analysis

I worked on this interesting position last night while working through some of Buckley's Practical Chess Analysis.

You are supposed to visualize the position after gxf5 gxf5 Nxf5, determine who stands better, analyze and come up with the variation to be played.

Answer given below.

Though White has forked Black's Queen and Rook, he is in fact lost in this position.

Qb7+! d5 Qxd5+ Rf3 Qxf3+ Qxf3 Rb1+ Qf1 Rxf1#

Something to look out for when using Peshka

When using Peshka and ChessOK training modules there is something to look out for. If you are not using a course that is a bunch of problems, say for example the Strategy 2.0, go into tools, options, play, and uncheck the random vertical mirror and random horizontal mirror options. If you do not, this will lead to some very odd interactions within the course, with game fragments being mirrored and the commentary making no sense whatsoever. Those options are useful when doing something like CT-ART 3.0, or perhaps some studies, but for things like Encyclopedia of the Middlegame or Strategy 2.0 it is confusing when you run into it. It would be nice if you could set options at the module level. I'm not sure if that is currently possible. I guess I need to buy another course and find out. :D

Karpov - Mazukevich Thought Process

I have started to work through Herman Grooten's Chess Strategy for the Club Player. In it he gives the following thought process the origin of which is a book by Karpov and Mazukevich. Grooten has modified it slightly.

  1. What is the material balance?
  2. Are there any (direct) threats?
  3. How is the safety of both Kings? (# attackers, # defenders, pawns)
  4. Pawn Structure (where are the open lines & diagonals, Are there any strong squares, who is controlling the center, who has more space and where on the board does he have it)
  5. Which pieces are active and which are not? (compare the activity of the same types of pieces)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Learn something new every day

I'm not sure what I had done previously when I tried it, but last night I was able to successfully save a Chessbase opening report to a database other than the reference database, complete with it's games. I am guessing I had missed the save text as option before, which allows you to choose a database to save to and queries you on whether you want the games and keys exported to the database as well.

A nice feature to have for organized opening study.

Screenshots of Aquarium and Peshka

Since I was talking about these applications the other day, I thought I would post screenshots of the new interfaces, and a screenshot of one of the old training programs.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kramnik - Sadvakasov, Astana 2001

A lively finish from Kramnik in this game.

ChessOK/Convekta Leaps into the 21st Century

Chess software producer ChessOK, formerly Convekta, have finally decided to update the interfaces for their software products. In the past year they have developed the Aquarium interface for doing chess analysis with an engine, mainly Rybka, and now they have updated the interface to be used with their training courses.

The new training software is called peshk@, peshka is Russian for pawn. They have changed the courses so that they are modules that are loaded into this one interface, making it easier for end users to keep track of their courses and work on areas they need improvement in.

It remains to be seen whether Chess Assistant will get a facelift, or if it will be overtaken by the Aquarium interface. If I remember correctly from reading on the Aquarium forums, the plan is that Aquarium is the future.

To play with the Peshka interface I went ahead and purchased the module for Chess Strategy 2.0. They offer upgrade prices for people that have older versions of the training products, so I will probably see about getting CT-ART and the other programs I have upgraded to the new interface. It is much more pleasing to look at and use.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bareev - Volkov, Moscow 2005

A nice win by Bareev. I am really enjoying the games that Neil McDonald has selected for The Art of Planning in Chess: Move by Move.

New Arrivals

I got a couple new chess books in the mail today. The first I have ordered in a while. It looks like the next book in Kasparov's series just came out so I will be purchasing that in the near future. I see that New In Chess has also released a new edition of Bronstein's Sorcerer's Apprentice. Considering what a wonderful work that is and the nice quality of books published by NiC, that might be a neccesary purchase even though I have an older copy.

The books I got today are Herman Grooten's Chess Strategy for Club Players from New in Chess, and Colin Crouch's Chess Secrets: Great Attackers from Everyman Chess. I didn't realize Crouch had suffered through a severe illness sometime after publishing his book How to Defend in Chess, which left him partially blind. I am looking forward to working through both of these books, but to be honest I have shelves full of chess books I am looking forward to working through. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Istratescu - Ftacnik, Khanty Mansyisk 2005

Another game I played through tonight as I continue to work through The Art of Planning in Chess.

Nice win by Ponomariov

Played through this game tonight. Topalov's prepared move of N:d4 doesn't work out for him like he planned.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another King March

I was looking at some lines in the Caro-Kann Panov-Botvinnik Attack the other day, and I ran across this game by John Nunn that has a King march that reminds of the one in Short's game against Timman. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Short - Timman, Tilburg 1991

Testing how posting a game using the game replayer looks. This game is a favorite of mine.

I first played through this game while working through John Nunn's Understanding Chess Move by Move.


This is my blog where I will talk about my attempts to improve at chess and anything else involving chess that I feel like talking about.