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.