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.