An unexamined life is not worth living.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
One of the most dramatic moments of this year’s World Cup happened early on, in the first rapid playoff game in Felgaer – Malakhov match. The Russian grandmaster is known as an endgame expert, but and here he found a miraculous defensive resource in what kept looking like a hopeless endgame.
Black to move. His position looks completely hopeless, but since the king is stalemated, he can try to play for a draw with 116. ... Rb5+!? Of course White does not accept the sacrifice, which would have lead to immediate draw.
117. Kc7 Rd5!
White to move
118. Rh7 ?? One move before victory, Felgaer crumbles under immense pressure. The rook is unprotected on ‘h7’ and this makes all the difference. Correct was 118. Re7! Rd7+ 119. Kb6!, and White wins.
118... Rd7+ !
White is forced to take the rook, since otherwise his own rook on h7 falls. But now this is stalemate.
119. Kxd7 1/2-1/2
Malakhov just played Re7+, and you can see that GM Alekseev is the first one of the spectators to react with a grin, all others are still trying to figure out what’s going on for another couple of seconds.
A few seconds later – Felgaer can’t believe that 120 moves into this game, victory just escaped!
The shock of this draw had an interesting effect on the two players, as in the second game Malakhov lost quickly as White and was eliminated.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
White to move and win in all positions
Starting off with the World Championship game, another collection of queen sacrifices!
Monday, November 14, 2011
I have already written about motivational books such as Getting Things Done and How Life Imitates Chess and using their guidelines to increase one’s discipline and chess motivation. As I was reading the book “Think and grow rich”, I came across several principles that should drive a person whose goal is to make a lot of money:
- Be definite as to the amount. (There is a psychological reason for definiteness which will be described in a subsequent chapter).
- Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. (There is no such reality as "something for nothing.)
- Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.
- Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.
- Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.
- Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. AS YOU READ-SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY.
These principles are good motivational guidelines in general, and can be applied to any goal, including achieving success at chess. To translate them into chess goals is not too hard:
- Be definite about your chess goal – rating, title, tournament victory
- Determine exactly what you need to improve to achieve that goal. What is the difference between my current level, and that of an IM, skillwise?
- Establish a date, for example - 5 years from now. Make it realistic!
- Establish a plan for achieving the chess goal, including a training (opening, middlegame, endgame) and tournament schedule
- Keep reviewing your goal on a regular basis (daily!), encourage yourself
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Simple chess tactics of the day, White to move in all positions:
The video shows me solving these and other puzzles:
Friday, November 11, 2011
DDT3000 – perikitosax, ICC, 2009, 15 minutes per game
I posted several days ago a great game by Tiviakov, where the rook sacrifice on the ‘f’ file was the winning idea after White played ‘f4-f5’ in Sicilian Scheveningen. I then remembered having played something similar myself on ICC not that long ago. Well, such games do stay in the chess player’s memory and warm his heart at night, so that’s indeed what has happened, and I was easily able to find that game.
Black made a similar mistake in my game, underestimated White’s initiative and captured with 23…fxe4?? (23…Nc2!? 24. Rxc2 Qc4! was correct). After 24. Rxf7! he had to resign on the next move.
Black really has to watch out for this theme in this line of the Sicilian, if it works, it is usually quite deadly!
Thursday, November 10, 2011
To improve your tactical vision, there is no need to buy expensive chess software, it can be done with free copy of ChessBase Light and database that can be downloaded from this page – the one under “Over 3500 tactical training positions from actual games”.
In the video I then follow these steps:
- Load a game and change board to use “Training mode”
- guess which move should be played, hit “forward” key
- If my guess is correct, mark the game in the database as “deleted”
- Load next game with “F10” shortcut
Here are few simple positions for you to solve. It is White to move in all of them.
The video shows the setup and solutions:
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Tiviakov – Van Wely, 1995
In this typical Sicilian Scheveningen, White has developed pressure on the kingside, and had just opened up the ‘f’ file via f4-f5-fxg6. But then Black also has some threats, and his knight has just grabbed on ‘c2’ (which actually was a mistake). How can White unleash his potential on the ‘f’ file in the most aggressive manner?
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
I wrote about the diagram: “This type of positions is considered to be a theoretical draw because the Black rook is behind the ‘a’ pawn.” Well, I forgot about the entire chapter on this type of positions that I had read in Mark Dvoretsky’s “Endgame Manual” . Apparently in 2003 a few very important ideas were found for White, that give him many additional winning chances. Wikipedia describes the plan as follows:
Recent theoretical analysis of this position shows that White has a strong manoeuvre:
- advance the pawn to the sixth rank
- move the king towards the queenside
- when the black rook takes a kingside pawn, switch the rook to guarding the pawn from the c-file, i.e. Rc7 then advance the pawn to a7.
- Switch the white rook to the a-file with gain of tempo. Thus Black is forced to sacrifice his rook for the pawn without White having to move his king all the way to a7. These many extra tempos make the difference between winning and drawing or even losing.
The point of White’s play is that when the Black king advances – White threatens to give a check and block the ‘a’ file with the rook:
Black to move. White threatens with Rc5+, followed by Rc4-a4, or Rc6-a6, all with tempo.
In Bacrot – Robson, White had a good chance to play for a win in this position:
White to move.
Bacrot played 60. Ra8?, but better was 60. Kd4!, giving up the pawn with the rook on a7 (where it attacks the pawn on f7).
The position in Wikipedia article is the exact one as in Bacrot – Robson, and it is given as winning! So Bacrot missed his win first, before Robson blundered in the clearly drawn position in the very end. It appears from the way Bacrot played this endgame, he had not known or remembered about this endgame research by Dvoretsky!