Saturday, December 11, 2010

Paulsen – Tarrasch , Hamburg Chess Congress 1885

I played through another game in Tarrasch’s 300 Games tonight. Paulsen played a gambit, but then seemed to give Tarrasch the initiative. I would love to know what the thought was behind playing 32.Nd6. I would have preferred 25.B:f8 followed up with 26.Qd3 since that Knight is a valuable defender for black’s king position.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Threefold Repetition

I was playing through another Tarrasch game from the Hamburg Chess Congress of 1885, and noticed it had a threefold repetition in it, but play continued on. I thought that was interesting so I did a quick search on google and found out that the rule didn't really reach its present form until after the match between Steinitz and Zukertort. There had been rules for competitions where they discussed series of moves being repeated, not positions, such as at the London tournament in 1883 and the match between Steinitz and Zukertort in 1886. I have included the game below.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Calculating forcing lines

Here is a fun problem that came up on chesstempo this morning.

White has just captured a N with f:e5. There seemed to be 2 candidate moves to check, Qc1+ and Bc1+. Qc1+ seems to be a deadend after Kd3, so that leaves checking the line for Bc1+. The solution is 11-ply deep, but it is all forced so it is fairly easy to calculate and keep straight in your head. Solution after the break.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Spassky, 1 Year Later

Here is Spassky playing at age 12.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Boris Spassky at age 11

Here is a game played by Boris Spassky when he was 11. He learned to play chess when he was 5 while on a train during the evacuation of Leningrad in World War II. He recently suffered a stroke, but appears to be recovering according to latest reports. Hopefully he will spend a bit more time with us mortals before moving on.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A couple more Tarrasch games

A couple more Tarrasch games that I have worked through the past couple of days. These are games from a match against Reimann in Leipzig in 1883. I did more work on candidate move selection with both of these games, before going through my normal process of working on an annotated game.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Studying Chess Made Easy - Andrew Soltis

After seeing some good responses to this book on some different forums, I decided to order it. When I first had heard about it, I had mistakenly been put under the impression it was a collection of sayings like Lev Alburt's Chess Rules of Thumb. I'm not sure where it was that came from, but it was wrong. This book is a nice collection of ideas on how to train efficiently to get better at chess. There is nothing new or groundbreaking here, but it is nice to have all this collected under one cover.

Soltis starts about by pointing out that chess isn't school, meaning that studying chess properly isn't like studying for a course at the university. I had been in the middle of reading Rowson's Chess for Zebras when I started in on this, so there is some nice overlap of thought on this between the 2 books. One of the main things is with chess you learn by doing. So practice, practice, practice. You also need to keep it fun, to keep yourself motivated.

Soltis goes on to discuss things such as cultivating your chess sense, the biggest study myth in chess, how to study openings, working on visualization and evaluation, studying endgames, dealing with the information overload of chess, and how to learn from master games. He gives lots of practical advice on how to work on specific parts of the game such as: visualizing and evaluating, planning, spotting threats and tactics, learning endgames, and learning common middlegame patterns. I think it is advice anyone could benefit from to make their chess improvement more efficient, and for people looking for help in this area I'd recommend this book.

There are some minor typos throughout the book, but that is always the case with chess books. It is a Batsford book, so the physical qualities aren't quite as nice as I'd like, but it seems to be durable which is good because it will probably be getting a lot of use.

Tarrasch - von Scheve, 1883

Another Tarrasch game that I played through tonight. I was working on selecting candidate moves. Andrew Soltis in his latest work Studying Chess Made Easy suggested a method of using master games for candidate move training. Play the game from 1 side, and each time it is that side's turn to move, come up with a list of candidate moves that quickly come to mind and write them down. You are not supposed to analyze! After writing them down, take a couple more minutes and look and see if there is something you missed. Then play the move in the game, rinse and repeat. I kept slipping into analyzing instead of just selecting CMs. It was interesting training though. It was interesting to see what moves I didn't have in my lists, and always fun when the move was in my list. I love the ending to the game.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Another nice problem from Chess Today

This one comes from the Yerevan Olympiad in 1996. The game is Stefanova - Xie Jun.

The entire game is given after the break

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Another Tarrasch Victory at Nurnberg Congress

Continuing to work through Tarrasch's 300 Games. Tonight was Game 47 which is a French Defense against Barthmann.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nice Finish

Here is a position that was featured as a problem in issue 3640 of the internet daily chess newspaper Chess Today:

Xiangzhi - Karpov
Trophee CCAS GpA Cap d'Agde
White to move

This is another example of why I will always love chess. Seeing a position like this and even more importantly solving it is just a beautiful as any piece of art in a gallery.

Chess Today is a newspaper that was founded by GM Alex Baburin in Ireland. You can find it here . With at least 1 annotated game and a problem to solve every issue, I highly recommend subscribing. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back to studying

It has been a few months. The last time I think I was working on chess was around the time of my nephew's graduation in May. Most of that time was helping Joel with his book, Formation Attacks. My daughter just turned 1 on the 8th of October. It has been rough finding time to consistently work on chess, but I always find myself coming back to it.

I did some tactics work last night on chesstempo. Tonight I plan on playing through a couple of Tarrasch games. Tomorrow I have a vacation day, so maybe I will spend some time on chess there as well.

Back in May I had kind of come to the conclusion that I probably wouldn't be able to achieve everything I want to with regards to chess ability and maintain a family and my job and have them happy with me. So part of the interim time has been spent trying to make myself okay with that so that I can just enjoy chess and whatever I achieve be happy with that.

By the way Joel published his book through Lulu. You can find it here. It seems to be outpacing Nikolai Minev's works on Lulu by quite a bit. I helped with proofreading the book, mostly the 1st 1/4 of the book. My greatest contribution I think was to find the finish detailed in this earlier post.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another Tarrasch game from the Nurnberg Chess Congress of 1883

Here is one of the games I played through last night. Tarrasch sacs the exchange to force a winning endgame.

One thing I have been doing is following some advice from the book Developing Chess Talent. It talks about going through a game 3 times. I have heard that before from Bronstein, but this time they say to do predict-a-move on the 3rd time through the game. What I have found is that by the 3rd time I can play through the whole game for both sides. There are other things you are supposed to do, such as state a reason why that move is good. I have been surprised at how easily some of the games are staying with me. They haven't been very long, this one here probably being the longest so far. The first time a game stuck with me like that was when I played through Short - Timman from Tilburg 1991. It is an Alekhine's Defense game where Short ends up marching his king up the board to help his Queen mate Timman, and there is nothing that Timman's forces can do to stop it. It struck me as a humorous game. Anyways, back to scheduled programming.

A nice mate

While working through a section of Joel's book I was playing through this game:

1. d4 b5 2. Nf3 Bb7 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 e6 5. O-O Be7 6. Nbd2 d6 7. c3 Nbd7 8. Re1
c5 9. e4 c4 10. e5 dxe5 11. dxe5 Nd5 12. Nd4 a6 13. Qg4 g6 14. N2f3 h5 15. Qe4
Nc5 16. Qc2 Nd3 17. Rd1 Qc7 18. Bf1 Nxe5 19. Bd2 h4 20. Nxe5 Qxe5 21. Re1 Qd6
22. Rad1 hxg3 23. fxg3 O-O-O 24. a4 Nf6 25. Bf4 Qb6 26. axb5 axb5 27. Bg2 Nd5
28. Bd2 Rh7 29. Re2 Rdh8 30. Bf3 Bd6 31. Be1 e5 32. Bf2 Rxh2 33. Bg4+ Kb8 34.
Nf3 Rh1+ 35. Kg2 Ne3+ 1-0

I was looking at position after 34.Nf3

Obviously the person playing Black already had in their mind a plan to mate with the rooks, but I was thinking that Rh1+ Kg2 Ne3 would be a cute mate except for the fact the bishop on f2 and rook on e2 are guarding e3, which led me to  34..Qxf2+! Rxf2 35.Rh1+ Kg2 36.Ne3# .

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cute miniature from Tarrasch at Nurnberger Chess Congress of 1883

Here is a cute little mating attack by Tarrasch against Jacques Schwarz at the Nurnberger Chess Congress of 1883. Schwarz thought the safe thing to do was castle, but castling walked right into a nasty attack.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Nice endgame from Schlechter at Karlsbad 1911

I have moved on to Karlsbad 1911 as my next tournament to play through after Cambridge Springs 1904. Already the 1st 2 games I have played through this afternoon have been very interesting. Here is a nice win by Schlechter with the Black pieces, as he converts a nice Rook Ending after having a very advanced passed pawn.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Battle Continues

The struggle between Bernhard Richter and Siegbert Tarrasch continues. In this game Tarrasch exchanges off a bunch of material with a line that is similar to the mating attack where it looks like the player is just giving up his Queen by moving a Knight pinned to the Queen by a Bishop, but his Knights and Bishop have a mating attack on the Black King. In this line Tarrasch doesn't have a mating attack, but at the end he stands better with an attack in progress against the Black King, and Black's pieces not cooperating with each other at all.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Richter Strikes Back!

I continued to work through the Halle section of Tarrasch's 300 Games. Once again he was facing Bernhard Richter, and he underestimated his opponent's attacking chances after opening up lines in the position. Richter quickly punishes him with a deadly attack.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Training Update

I have managed to continue getting in my daily dose of tactics problems on I broke the 2500 level for the 1st time the other week. My success rate has started to fall since I reached that level though. Most of my chess time lately though is involved with going through a book NM Joel Johnson is working on, and looking for mistakes, both with editing and with chess. It is interesting work, and the book is about attacking chess so it is fun material as well.

I have also been reading through Dan Heisman's Elements of Positional Evaluation.

I will probably play through some more of Tarrasch's games today, and maybe finish off the last part of Kotov's work on central pawn formations.

I still need to spend some time working on my opening repertoire, and start playing some blitz online to help work on it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tarrasch gets his revenge

I played through a another game from Tarrasch's 300 Games tonight. This time Tarrasch gets his revenge on Richter. This game looks to be a good example of a game with an open center. Black's pieces are all active and attacking White and it ends quickly with the pretty Nb3.

Cambridge Springs 1904

I just finished going through the games from Cambridge Springs 1904. Below is the cross-table for the event.

Cambridge Springs  1904

                                1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 
1   Marshall,Frank James        * ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 1  13.0/15
2   Lasker,Emanuel              ½ * 1 ½ ½ 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 1  11.0/15  76.75
3   Janowski,Dawid Markelowicz  0 0 * ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1  11.0/15  69.75
4   Marco,Georg                 ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 1   9.0/15
5   Showalter,Jackson Whipps    0 ½ ½ ½ * ½ 1 1 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1   8.5/15
6   Schlechter,Carl             0 1 0 ½ ½ * 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½   7.5/15  50.75
7   Chigorin,Mikhail            ½ 0 0 0 0 1 * ½ 1 0 1 1 ½ 1 0 1   7.5/15  48.75
8   Pillsbury,Harry Nelson      0 1 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ * 0 1 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 1   7.0/15  47.50
9   Mieses,Jacques              0 0 0 1 0 ½ 0 1 * 1 1 1 0 ½ 1 0   7.0/15  45.75
10  Fox,Albert Whiting          0 0 1 0 ½ 1 1 0 0 * 1 0 1 1 0 0   6.5/15  47.25
11  Teichmann,Richard           0 0 0 1 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 * 1 ½ 0 1 1   6.5/15  42.50
12  Napier,William Ewart        ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 0 1 0 * 0 1 1 ½   5.5/15  37.50
13  Lawrence,Thomas Francis     0 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 0 ½ 1 * ½ 0 ½   5.5/15  35.50
14  Barry,John Finan            0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 0 1 0 ½ * 0 1   5.0/15  35.25
15  Hodges,Albert Beauregard    0 0 0 0 ½ 0 1 ½ 0 1 0 0 1 1 * 0   5.0/15  32.25
16  Delmar,Eugene               0 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 1 1 0 ½ ½ 0 1 *   4.5/15

The resort where they played reminds of this large wooden resort on Coronado Island in San Diego ( It is a shame that the owner died the following year, and his resort burned to the ground in 1931. I imagine they would have had some more great tournaments.

Nice example of Anastasia's Mate

I worked through some more games in Tarrasch's 300 Games tonight. The game below contains a nice example of the Anastasia's Mate motif. Tarrasch, surprisingly, was on the losing side of this encounter. It is a funky move order for a Dutch Defense.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Another test

This is a test of the chessflash game viewer using the Kotov game where he successfully stops white's mobile pawn center.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Testing Chess Viewer

I used to use an app called Chess Viewer to display games when I ran my blog inside drupal. It looks like Nikolai Pilafov, , the author of chess viewer now has made it pretty simple to use within a blog. So this is a test to see how it looks.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stopping a mobile pawn center

I have been reading through 'various pawn positions in the centre' from Art of the Middle Game, and Kotov uses the following game to illustrate stopping the mobile pawn center.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Training Update for weekend of 4/4/2010

I didn't spend that much time this weekend on chess. I did continue my daily tactics problem solving work on I have gotten my rating back to around 2250 on there.

I have been reading the chapter on various pawn center structures in the Kotov & Keres work, The Art of the Middle Game. Kotov discusses different types of pawn centers and the kind of plans that are usually involved when they exist.I have gone through the sections on closed and open centers, and I am starting in on the section on mobile pawn centers. I saw this chapter mentioned in another book, so I thought I'd read through it, and then continue working through Chess Strategy for Club Players.

I finished playing through the Berlin chapter of Tarrasch's 300 Games with a board and pieces. Next up is the chapter on his time in Halle.

I also played up through round 9 of Cambridge Springs 1904 on the computer.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Training Update for 3/31/2010

Today I spent some time working through Silman’s Endgame Course. I got back through all the sections up to class C. I was ready to start class D when I working on this before my daughter was born in October. The class C section is a decent size so it will take some time to work through that again.

I also worked through the 1st 2 sections of chapter 6, passed pawns, in Chess Strategy for Club Players. I am liking this book so far.

I am somewhere in round 6 of the Cambridge Springs 1904 games that I am playing through quickly for pattern recognition.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Training Update

I have made it up through game 32 in Tarrasch's 300 Games. I have been playing through them fairly quickly over the board. There was a funny game he played against Willhelm Cohn I believe that went something like (recalling from memory): 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.e4 d:e4 5.c3 d:c3 6.B:f7+ K:f7 7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Q:c5 Qe7 10.Q:c3 Q:e4+ Kd1 1-0. I played through the 1st 2 rounds of Cambridge Springs 1904 on the computer and part of round 3. I have finished chapter 5 about weakened King position in Chess Strategy for the Club Player. I have continued to do my daily tactics problem solving as well and managed to keep myself from spending too much time on it.

The biggest thing I have done for my training has been changes regarding life outside chess. I have changed my sleeping schedule to make sure I am getting a full night's sleep, and have been eating better. I am also starting to work out again with a plan of dropping around 50 pounds in the next year. This should help a lot with being sharper mentally, and having more energy which should be a good thing for chess. As a result of this I will also be forced to be more efficient in how I spend my chess study time. I have plenty of time to spend on chess each week, I just need to utilize it better.

Lasker - Napier, Cambridge Springs 1904

I have been quickly playing through the games of Cambridge Springs 1904 for the pattern recognition training suggested by Jeremy Silman on One of the games in round 3 was Lasker - Napier. I've seen it before somewhere, but it wasn't until the end that I recognized it. Now I need figure out which book it was that contained it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Back in training

Well it has been about 6 months now since our daughter was born, and this past month I have finally gotten back into the routine of studying chess.

I followed some recent Jeremy Silman advice of playing through lots of games very quickly on the computer for pattern recognition. This past week I played through all 19 rounds of St Petersburg 1909. I plan on going through a lot of tournaments this way.

I finished working my way through McDonald's The Art of Planning in Chess. I started over from scratch in Silman's endgame course, but it should only take a few days to get back up through the class C section.

The main thing I am working on right now is working through Chess Strategy for Club Players. I have continued my daily tactics problem solving on as well. It is nice to know that my horrid streak in form on the solving right after Julia was born was mostly likely a combination of stress and exhaustion, and not the result of something breaking in my brain which is what it seemed like at the time. I need to make sure I moderate my time spent tactics problems. It gets addicting to sit there and work them one after the other. I think 25/day at most is more than enough. Wherever I end up for the day is where I end up. I don't need to keep trying to raise my score if I had a bad run. It will most likely just cause more frustration and a further drop. Better to wait and get the points back on the next session.

R.I.P. Vasily Smyslov

Former World Champion Vasily Smyslov passed away in Moscow today at the age of 89.

A game of his that I recently played through while studying is given below.