Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Attack on an Uncastled King, Polgar - Mamedyarov Bled Ol. 2002

Another nice game from Giddin's 50 Essential Chess Lessons. Polgar sacs a piece to keep the King in the center and gives us a nice miniature.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Geller - Kotov, USSR Ch 1955

Another game from Steve Giddin's 50 Essential Chess Lessons. Particularly nice is Bxg7! by Geller.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Averbakh - Sarvarov, USSR chT 1959

I was taking a break from Tarrasch tonight, and decided to start working through Steve Giddins's game collections. 50 Essential Chess Lessons is a styled as a modern version of Chernev's Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played.

This first game features opposite castling, followed up with pawn storms at the Kings. Averbakh sacrifices material to break open black's position, and black has to give it back plus interest in fighting off a deadly attack.

Monday, April 15, 2013

GM Jacob Aagaard's latest training blog post

This week's entry is about desparation. Another interesting read. Normally Monday is something to not look forward to as it means the weekend is over, but I always look forward to seeing what new thing GM Aagaard is going to write.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Kramnik's advice on analyzing chess positions

I just read this post on the chessblogger blog that talks about Kramnik using a chess engine to evaluate the position, but positions the window so that the moves are hidden from view. An example is the picture below that I did with Chessbase 12. The engine window is undockable and you can resize it so that it doesn't show the current move being searched next to the eval, and then you can position it so that the variations are offscreen.

This way you have to come up with the moves, but the engine tells you when you have gone off the correct path. I've put a red box around the visible part of the engine window in the image below.

Breaking the seal

I finally played some live chess last night, playing in a 3 0 tournament on chess.com. Since I have been on such a prolonged break I think I was hesitant to jump back in, but last night I decided what the heck I need to start at some point.

I ended up in 4th place with a score of 4/7. My first game I flagged badly, which jumping into blitz I guess should be expected. Then I won 3 games in a row, blundered a piece away in a drawn endgame against the tournament winner, and flagged in a won endgame against the runner up. The most disappointing game was against the runner up. I had a winning position and even a mate at one point, but didn't see it. As far as openings went the other side deviated first, which is funny because my knowledge of openings suck. Overall though it was fun, and I was happy that I did it. Now to keep the blitz to a limited amount and to get in slow games.

 Below is the position I had in the final game that I should have converted easily.


 I was surprised at how well the live chess is working on chess.com, and the number of people on there, 8000+, dwarfs ICC and playchess. There are even titled players on there as well. I am curious to try chesscube as well and see how well that works.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Guess the Move Training with Chess Hero

Here is a short video showing how you can use Chess Hero to do guess the move training. I apologize that the audio isn't the best. I need to work on the setup a bit more. This was partially a test to figure out how to use Open Broadcaster Software so I can create videos in the future. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mackenzie - Tarrasch, 1887 Frankfurt Tournament

Tarrasch continues his poor start to the tournament, missing both 13.e6! and the fork at the end. Game #73 from 300 Games.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Setting Goals

GM Jacob Aagaard's latest post on training:

Goal Setting

Knowledge vs. Skill

This has come up in a few places recently. I have been revisiting GM Andrew Soltis's Studying Chess Made Easy, to refresh my memory of the various exercises he recommends for studying. I have also been reading GM Jonathan Rowson's Chess For Zebras at bedtime. Both them make compelling arguments that people make the mistake of trying to absorb vast amounts of information when learning chess, but they should be focusing on skill instead of knowledge or as Rowson put it in another way, know-how vs know-what. To that end I have begun focusing more on practical exercises, what that translates into is spending a majority of time playing games, and analyzing positions.

I also like Aagaard's and Rowson's suggestion to view a game of chess as a series of problems to be solved. Your goal is to successfully solve the problems that appear before you on the board.

Taking all this together along with Aagard's suggestion of starting doing 20 minutes of work a day for a few months and then building that up to build up your endurance for work without burning out, I am spending my 20 minutes analyzing a position each session from Israel Gelfer's Positional Chess Handbook. Once I am done I look at what is in the book, and then I also load the position into Fritz and score both my line and the book line using the Calculation trainer. Tonight I used a small analysis board to set up the problem, but I might alternate that with just loading the position in Fritz, starting the calculation trainer and going from there.

Here is tonight's position from Nudelman - Justo, 1980 Women's Olympiad

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tarrasch - Schallopp , 1887

Continuing to play through Tarrasch's 300 Games. Tonight was game #72, a loss for Tarrasch. He allows his Bishop to get pinned after a questionable trade of Queens.

Aagaard on Failure

The 2nd post in GM Jacob Aagaard's training series.

The Problem with Failure

Good food for thought. I look forward to the next post in the series tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Kickstarter for GM norm tournament

GM Norm Kickstarter

I ran across this on Sean Marsh's blog. It is a kickstarter to fund norm generating tournament for young British masters. It will be interesting to see if it makes the funding. If I was still single I'd consider going for the big pledge and have the tournament named after Tony Miles, the first British GM. Alas, these days I have a wife, a daughter, and another daughter on the way. Hopefully they will make their goal, but I would think that British players should be able to get to norm generating tournaments on the continent. Certainly they have easier access to them than players here in the US, which is one of the great things about the tournaments that Sevan Muradian has been running in the Chicago area.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Aagaard's 3 Questions


I recently received 1st 3 books of Aagaard's latest series Grandmaster Preparation in the mail this weekend. I'm at not at a point where I will be able derive the full benefit of these books, but I did look through the introductory parts to see what GM Aagaard had to say.

One thing I thought was interesting was his training method for developing intuition. He has a set of 3 questions (pared down from an initial 9) that he has his students ask when looking at a position prior to selecting candidate moves and analyzing.

1. What are the weaknesses? (potential targets)
2. What is the worst piece? (improve position)
3. What is my opponent intending? (prophylaxis)

For training ask and answer these before doing anything else and it will help you focus on the proper things. Eventually you will do it automatically without even thinking about it.

So while I am not ready to work through these books, I plan using this training method immediately. My path to these books currently consists of working through Yusupov's 9 volume set, Aagaard's earlier excelling series for Everyman, his attacking and defense books, and then finally this latest series. After that it will be time to take a crack at Dvoretsky, but that is a long way off.