zondag 2 juli 2017

Call for help: how to get out of passive play?

Recently I was wondering, trying to find out, why I am not already a 2000+ player. If I may believe my friends, also chess players, I have the capacity and knowlegde to easy get to 2000+. There are two things holding me back according those who can know. Namely that I play to fast and that I play to passivly.

Playing to fast was, and is, always my problem. Don't ask me why, maybe because I grew up in chess by playing blitz and rapid? Only at age 16 I joined a chess club and came into contact with long time control games. That my first rating was 1683 elo (and still my lowest rating until this day) and my highest 1969 elo could also be a stumbling block, I got there with my fast play, so why ... ?

Personally I think the real reason is that I am to scared, that I play to passivly at long time control games. I dont dare to go all out, full steam ahead, attack or die.

My ex-teacher, IM Yelena Dembo, always made comments that I didn't dare to play forward. That I made my calculation short by the first sign of trouble instead of calculate a little bit deeper so that I saw the line was still good for me. That each of my moves must have some attack instead of defending against threats that weren't there.

Anyhow, I noticed that it was more fun to play active during my club's blitz- and rapid championship. My opponents talked about how good I played and spectators talked about interesting and wonderfull games to watch. I won both tournaments. I was very pleased with my performance.

Helas, in long time control games I refall in my old habbits. I dont know what to do anymore. Anybody of you, dear readers, have good tips to help me out of this bad habit? Please help!

Have fun while playing!


vrijdag 30 juni 2017

Result! Result? Nah, its love that counts!

Time to write again. I dont know what but I hope it's interesting.

Every three months a new rating list is published in Belgium. Last time I lost 5 rating points, this time I gained 5 points, with other words, I am back at 1843 national rating. One could say a 6 months stand still. No gain, no loss, equality.

The last month I read books, not chess books but books about coaching. Like "Development of chess talent". from Karel Van Delft. A good book, if you are a trainer / coach certainly  a must read. I give chess lessons on sunday at my chess club so ... .

But it learned me also something else. Something I, and I guess also Chris Wainscott, am doing wrong. Namely that we put to much emphasis on result and not on our love for the game. Improvement has nothing to do with result, 1-0 or 0-1 or 1/2-1/2 doesn't matter.

What matters is that one loves the game. Love means doing your best, play a wonderfull game of chess, putting it all out there, doing the hard work that is necessary. Forget about results, forget about rating. If you improve to a certain strenght your rating will follow. So love chess while working on improving and the rest will follow.

Have fun!

maandag 12 juni 2017

Lichess

I made an account on Lichess so that I can test how quick I can get to 2000+ rating, if I can get to 2000+ that is.

Any bets on how quick, or not at all, I will reach my goal?

Have fun playing chess!

maandag 5 juni 2017

The never ending study

What do you do when it's a heatwave, when even lifting a finger breaks you out in sweat? How on earth could you then focus on chess when your brain is fried by the sun? Praying your home owner gives you airconditioning? Will not help at the moment you need it namely right now.

So with the braincells who still wanted to work, many were on heat strike, I thought why not rewatch the broadcasts of the US Championship 2017 on you tube? That way you wont have to move and you still get great chess entertainment.

So for hours on end I have been seeing Hikaru, Fabian, Wesley, Ray, Var, Nazi, Irena, Anna, Tatev, ... at work while their labour was picked at by Yasser, Jennifer and Maurice. Interesting analysis of positions by a human (Yasser) and a machine (Maurice explaining). It makes me wonder how some become so good at it while many can only shake their head and wonder why they not have that skill?

Practise makes perfect they say. play a lot and even more. But a human cannot base his chess moves only on brute force analyse the entire game like a computer can. He needs knowlegde to base the soundness of his moves and we know that there is plenty of chess knowlegde. So to become good one has to do lots of work, not only during the game but also when not playing.

Studying chess theory for many hours, not only openings- but also middlegame- and endgame techniques, You can study them out of books, or with video lessons or by the explanation of a chess teacher. Doesn't matter how you study as long you do study and try to learn al those techniques so you can remember them by heart.

You will not need  every technique all the time. Sometimes it can take ages before you can apply a learned technique during a chess game. But when the time is there you must know the technique and apply it correctly.

I am lacking in both fields, I have plenty of chess knowlegde, like many of us patzers do, but still there is plenty to learn.  I am also lacking in applying it all the right time and in the correct way, when the position on the board demands it.

To say it with the words of the great chess trainer of India, GM RB Ramesh:

" Progress in chess involves continuous self-introspection, learning new skills and unlearning bad qualities in our thinking process"

Especially the word "continuous" is important here. It"s a never ending chess study, there is always room for improvement.

Have fun playing chess.


donderdag 25 mei 2017

Consistency

Consistency

How come that I one day beat a 2000+ elo rated player and the next day I have it extreme difficult to draw a 1400+ elo rated player? How comes that my playing strenght fluctuates so hard?

Where is the consistency? How does one be consistent? Is there a handy tool to learn to be consistent?

Is there a book that handles this topic consistency?

Please help!

Have fun playing chess.

maandag 15 mei 2017

Question Time

Last friday evening nothing stood on the program of my chess club. So we gathered just to play some blitz and have some conversation between a pint of beer or some cool beverage or some coffee or hot chocolate.

I saw my chance and ask our best players the question we, patzers, want to know.
What does it take to become a 2000+ rated player. Our 2394, 2180, 2028 and 1980 rated players answer the question. What follows is a summary of what they said.

1. Make no one move blunder

Think always minimum 1.5 moves ahead. Your move, the BEST answer of your opponent, your BEST reply. 

2. Boardvision

Always know where the pieces stand and what they are doing.

3. Patern recognision

Knowing paterns, like for example the basic mates, helps you to come up with best moves. They are you guidance to find the best moves.

4. Know the tactical devices

Knowing the tactical devices like pin, skewer, double attack, magnet, luring, ... makes your play more active and makes it easier for you to find combinations.

5. Last but not least ... don't be affraid and have fun

Don't be affraid, play your game no matter against who you are playing. Have fun playing chess.

Have fun playing chess!!!

maandag 8 mei 2017

My new favorite chess author

Forget about Jeremy Silman. Forget about Dan Heisman. Forget about John Nunn, Forget ...

Here is ...

Charles Hertan


Fide master from Massachusetts who has been teaching kids for more than thirty years. He has written a chess book for advanced players called Forcing Chess Moves: The key to Better Calculation, which was shortlisted for the Guardian Chess Book of the Year Award and won the Chesscafe Book of the Year Award.

Charles Hertan is the perfect chess teacher for kids. He has a great grasp of the material and, even more importantly, he makes learning chess fun, and understandable for kids of all ages.

Many of his books may have "for Kids" in the title but are also very readable for adults aswell. I as a 44 year old adult love his writing. Maybe I am still a big kid. Or it is the fact that my motherlanguage isn't english that makes his books so intresting and funny to read.

Have fun playing chess!

woensdag 3 mei 2017

Help wanted

A. Team competition is over

My chess club, Rokade Westerlo, has had a good team competition season this year. 

Regional team championship

In the regional competition (I think US players can compare this with a state team championship) the first team ended second in first division. The second team, the team I played in, became champion in the third division and promotes to second division. Our third team ended third in the fifth division.

National team championship

Here we only had one goal, namely to promote the first team to second division. 

The second and third team played in fifth division. Third team, our youth team, ended seventh. Not a bad result knowing that this was the first time that 3 our of 5 players played games longer then 30 0.

The second team ended fourth. Which is ok, but maybe next year we must think of playing for promotion to fourth division from the start of the competition.

Our first team didn't start that good. Losing 3 matchpoints in the first four rounds didn't give a good feeling. However, from round 5 to 10 all matches were won and so the team stood first after ten rounds. The final round our first team had to play against the second team in the standings. A draw match result was enough for our team. Helas, a draw was never in the books. Our first team didn't look back and got a surprisingly and big win of 5,5-0,5. Promotion to second division is a fact. The celebration party afterwards was fun!

B. Help wanted

Preparing for tournament


Now that the team competitions are over, and I am not playing in the club championship, I have plenty of time to prepare myself for the 40th Eastman Open International chess tournament Ghent  in july. 

However, I am not sure how one prepares for such tournament. I need your help.  Please put your answers on the following questions in the comments.

1. Openings

A. Openings are not important at our level. Only when you have more then 2100 elo it's time to study openings.

B. With the three golden opening rules, development, centre and King safety one get already far at our level.

C. Update the openings you already play with the newest theory.

D. Create an entire new opening repertoire.


2. Endgame

A. Just learn the basic endgames.

B. Learn the book 100 endgames you must know.

C. Learn the book Silman's complete endgame course.

D. I suggest you read ........chess endgame book.


3. Middlegame

A. Play over as much titled player games as possible

B. Play over as much titled player games as possible which start with the openings you play.

C. Read Reassess your Chess or another chess book that learns you a good chess thought proces.

D. Just learn tactics.


4. Playing Games

A. Don't play games while preparing for a tournament.

B. Play blitz games online, 5 a 10 games a day/week.

C. Play rapid games online. 5 a 10 games a day/week.

D. Play only correspondence games online.

Have fun playing chess!


woensdag 19 april 2017

Straight from the newsroom

Chess study

I have to admit that my chess study is almost nihil. One reason is that I am trying to implement what I learned so far from the book How to tune your chess tactics Antenna. I must admit, I am a slow learner. But this book has opened my eyes concerning my chess play, learned lots. The author Emmanuel Nieman is a very good teacher and writer. So far I can only give this book an A+, a must buy/read.

Another reason is that I got extra work at work. I am now also responsable for acountancy and human resource. Not easy jobs to get on your plate, certainly not if you know almost nothing about it and have to start learning those things from scratch. But it's fun learning those things so I dont complain much.

And third and last reason is that I feel very tired when I come home from work. If I dare to sit on my couch for a few minutes I fall asleep. But sitting in front of my computer I also notice that I drift of to dreamland instead of being focussed of what I am doing.

New rating

In Belgium a new rating list comes out every three months. The rating list of march made me drop three points from 1841 to 1838. Only three games were calculated since one of the team tournaments I played in ended to late to be calculated.

With a score of 2.0 out of 3 (wins against 1551, 1583 and a painfull loss against 1805) I expected to be about equal, but helas it seems that a win against 1550+ gives me considerably less points then that I loose points with a loss against 1800.

So now I am in doubt if my 7.0 out of 8 score I had in the team tournament that ended to late will be enough to win some ratingpoints. Will wins against not clasified, 1555, 1605, 1622, 1657 and 1703 rated players be enough to gain more rating points then I lose with draws against 1555 and 1747 rated players? Fingers crossed.

Rapid tournament

The past weekend I played in the rapid tournament (groups of 8 players, single round robin, 15 minutes per game per player) organized by my club. The groups are made by rating points, meaning that the highest eight ratings form group 1, the following eight the second group, ... .

With 1838 elo rating (national rating) I was second seed of group three (ratings between 1850 - 1720) which ment that I had good chances to end first or second in my group and get one of the two prizes for this group (first prize 40 euros, second prize 20 euros). I started well with 3,5/4 and got the sole lead. I misplayed a pawn endgame against the lowest rated player.

A drink and eat break of 15 minutes followed.

As usual, after the break I played a miserable game. Lack of focus? Still kicking myself when I think about it. Helas, this was against the co-leader and so my chances to win my group became very small. With another draw and win I ended my tournament with the score of 4 wins (against seed 1, 3, 6 and 7) 2 draws (against seeds 5 and 8) and 1 loss (against seed 4). A total of 5,0 out of 7. Not a bad score but helas a half point to short for first place. But good enough for second place and the 20 euro prize.

Have fun playing chess!!




dinsdag 11 april 2017

Playing against lower rated opponents

Back online

My computer is back from hospital. After many tests the diagnose was that the hard disk had problems. The doctors had to perform major surgery, handling the scalpel with great precision. I am lucky my computer still fell under the 5 years assurance I got when I bought it. So it didn't cost me a penny to get it fixed.

I am happy I can get this blog rolling again. Not that what I write is so schocking or world changing. Just want to follow the rules of the book challenge as good as I can and is possible.

Playing against lower rated opponents

The last three months I only played against lower rated opponents. In every game I had atleast 100 rating points more. Easy points for you I hear you say. But nothing is further from the thruth. 

Rated below 2100 elorating everybody can win from everybody, it's that simple. It's only when one goes above 2100 rating that a different kind of chess is played. One sees rarely that a 2100+ rated player loose of a 100 points lower rated player while it's not so exceptional that players with a rating below 2100 rating lose of players 100 ratingpoints below them. Atleast that is my experience.

That I scored a result of 9.0/11 is special and unexpected. But I had prepared myself to get a good result. Not by studying 1000 lines of opening theory or studying in great depth the endgame or know by heart all tactical possibilities or ... . No, I just prepared myself mentally.

Don't be stupid, play chess!

Keep in mind that these tips are for players rated under 2100 elo rating.

1. Use your time. Chess is a marathon, not a sprint. Finding good moves, moves dictated by the position dont come immediatly, one has to search for them.

2. Keep it simple! In complicated position it can be that your opponent feels like a fish in water while you have troubles finding good moves and so it's you who make the blunder(s) and not your opponent. If you are really higher rated then your opponent you should be able to out calculate him/her.

3. Never underestimate your opponent! Rating doesn't say everything. Having a lower rated opponent doesn't mean that you will have an easy time at the chess board. Expect a long and hard battle.

A lower rated opponent doesn't mean that you know more about chess then your opponent. His or her knowlegde of chess might be even bigger then yours. I have had lower rated opponents that were better booked in openings and endgame then me. I have played against lower rated opponents that were tactically much better then me. Only when it comes to implementing this knowlegde into playing chess you might be a bit better and hence get a higher rating.

Or it can be that your lower rated opponent just had a bad string of results making his rating lower then yours. Or your opponent is a youth player, who had bad results at the beginning of his chess career but is now taking big steps in improvement with his/her rating swings up to 150 points. Or it can be that your lower rated opponent is an older guy who is slowly going down in rating but in his highdays had a rating of 2100+, who still has the occasional good day of high quality chess playing, but who mostly gets tired around the third hour and then starts to blunder.

So just always play your A-game! Play the best you can! If you then loose you cant blame yourself anything. You did your best but your opponent was stronger. Beter luck next game.

Have fun!













woensdag 15 maart 2017

To much energy .... are you superstitious?


Last friday I went to my chess club to play an official game. As second board of Westerlo 2 I would have the black pieces against somebody of team Oude God 2. Full of energy I arrived at the club to see nobody was there. What the hell was going on? Nobody to setup the boards and clocks? A quick check on my cellphone revealed that I was one week to early.

Darned, here I was, full of energy, how to release that energy? Lucky for me one of the higher rated players of my chess club, who arrived a little later, wanted to play some 5 minutes chess. I began good with two victories, then lost six games in a row, to come back with two victories before I lost four games again, and so lost this little match with 4 against 10.

Sunday the match Chesslooks 1 versus Westerlo 2 stood on the program. I was first board player. So much confidence by our general team leader, high honours.During the drive towards Lier, hometown of Chesslooks, I pepped myself up to have a high energy.

When ariving at the playing hall the captain of Chesslooks had bad news about there first board. He was rushed to the emergency room twenty minutes before the start of the game with pain in the chest. We hope that he recovers quickly. But it ment that I would win by forfait. With other words, me, full of energy but no way to release it since I would win by forfait. After the official hour was over and my game was declared win by forfeit I took a little stroll into Lier while releasing so now and then a curse word. Energy lost.

Afterall a very disapointing weekend. Ready to play two official chess games and non played. Not what I expected it to be.

So when I started this blog post I wondered what to write about? The only thing I could think of is the question "Is a chess player superstitious"?

I have heared about, seen, smelled, players who didn't changed clothes during a nine days tournament as long they didn't lose no matter how warm or wet the weather was. Others had the same pre game routine as long they didn't lose. Some continued to eat the same breakfast day after day until their first loss. Some would drink the same beverage (bier, cola, lemonade, water, ...) until their first lost game and then change to another beverage until ... .

For some the knights and bishops had to stand in a certain way on the board. Some used the same pen until ..., once the first loss a new pen was used until ... . Certain players used long notation until they lost a game, then short notation was used. And so on and on and on.

Are you superstitious? Answer in the comments!

woensdag 8 maart 2017

QC vs NIC BOOK CHALLENGE: In sickness...

In sickness...


The last week and half I was sick, battling the flu. All I could do was


and


Chess wasn't on my mind, never thought for a second about it.


... and in healt


TYCTA: Signal 2: Unprotected Pieces


Today was the first day back in 100% healt. Time to study again. in an earlier post I described the first signal namely King Position. The second signal is Unprotected Pieces. Now what can we do with this signal?

Here we must learn about that tactic "double attack". What is a double attack? Is the tactic in which one attacks two targets threatening to make a benificial capture on the next move since all attacks cannot be met. Beginners mistakenly think that both targets are pieces. Wrong offcourse.

Targets of attack

1. The king (check or mate threat)
An attack on the king always forces the opponent to react at once.

2. Material is the target
An attack on a piece is less forcing than an attack on the king. An attack on material (pieces and pawns) makes sense when they are: unprotected, pieces with higher value or insufficient protected pieces

3. A square is the target
The third target is an attack on a square. It must be an important square! For example a mating square. It's not important wheter these squares are empty or occupied.

Some examples

? - ?

Result: *
Site: ?
Date: ?
[...] 1.£e4Threatens mate on h7 as well as 2. Qxe7 so the black bishop is lost because

? - ?

Result: *
Site: ?
Date: ?
[...] 1...£g5

? - ?

Result: *
Site: ?
Date: ?
[...] 1.¦d1 The rook attacks the bishop. However the bishop cannot move because it would be mate in two.
1...¥b5 2.¦d8+ ¥e8 3.¦xe8#
Have fun!

dinsdag 28 februari 2017

Really? a Yusupov Challenge?

Sometimes you must see what the opponent is up to. So I surfed to the Quality Chess blog and discovered that Jacob Aagaard is promoting a Yusupov Challenge (click link to read what it is all about). I may not join this challenge, like stated in the rules of QC vs NIC BOOK CHALLENGE.

Like commentartors on this Yusupov Challenge blog post I find Jacob Aagaard's plan rather ambitious. I would never expect me saying this but I am in disagreement with a grandmaster. Me, a chess patzer, lover of the game of chess, worshipper of Caissa, disagrees with a person that propably saw Caissa face to face.

Jacob writes that one must read one book a month. Which is about one chapter per day which is easily done. He gives twenty minutes for reading the theory and about 40 minutes to solve the twelve exercises. So only one hour a day to spend on chess. Who can be against that?

I am not against the methode, but I think there is a big problem with it. Jacob only speaks of reading, not learning. With other words, I wonder if people who use this proposed methode still know after chapter 10 or 15 what they have read the first three to five chapters? It's easy to read, it's much more difficult to really understand it and correctly use it during a chess game.

So while the persons stepping into the Yusupov Challenge will probably improve in chess because they are busy for an hour per day with chess but it will be little. They occasionally will pick up some of the stuff Yusupov describes in his books but the majority will be lost after a short period of time.

Offcourse, I hope that many Yusupov Challenger contestants will prove me wrong. I hope that I will hear many succes stories. People raising their ratings with 200 points. People showing wonderfull combinations on the chess board. People looking at me and showing of their brand new FM title.

I can only give one advise, have fun! That is always the most important part of any challenge you will undertake.

Good luck and may Caïssa be with you!

vrijdag 24 februari 2017

QC vs NIC BOOK CHALLENGE: TYCTA: Signal 1: King position

Looking for signals
After my disasterous chess weekend it was time again to dive back in the book Tune your chess tactics antenna. To stay on topic of the antenna, author Emmanuel Neiman, talks about signals instead of weaknessess. There are seven signals, today we gonna speak about signal 1: King Position.

The king is the most important chess piece on the board. A succesfull attack against the king ends the game. This is the only signal that can lead to a forced win, the other signals, which we will talk about in later blog posts just point to ways of gaining material. We cannot sacriface more then we hope to get back, while in order to deliver checkmate, we can afford to give anything.

Lets move on to an example.



The position of the black king is not that good, it's blocking the rook on h8. The knight on d8 is poorly placed, it hampers the rook on a8. But the most important point is that there is a checkmate when the white rook reaches e8.

This is how we have to think!!!

We have picked up the signal, which is the most important point. We can now examine the forced continuations that may allow the mate to come on the board.


Gligoric, Svetozar - Rosenstein, Julis

Result: *
Site: ?
Date: ?
[...] The mate on e8 is defended by the bishop on e7 and the queen on d7. Our plan is clear now. We now can examine the forced combinations (elimination, deflection, decoy, pin, ... ) that remove those two pieces from their defensive task..1.£xe7+ £xe7One obstacle removed, now only the queen defends.We might take it, this is good enough by the way, but not the strongest, because the black king would get some breathing space on d7. Another idea is to deflect the black queen from the defence of e8, and we can do so with2.¥d6 Making use of the pin 2...£xd6 Black would also be lost after all other moves, because he cannot defend the queen. 3.¦e8#


A Chess player should know all the classical mating patterns (Arabian or Arabic mate, mate of Anastasia, Boden's mate, ...) by heart so he will be able to spot them by anticipation, before the position might allow their realization.

A good way to start is by going to the blog of James Stripes named Chess skills. In the right sidebar (scroll a little down) you will find his pamphlet "Checklist of checkmates" which contains a great deal of all classical mating patterns.

Have fun!








woensdag 22 februari 2017

QC vs NIC BOOK CHALLENGE: A strange weekend, games that learned me plenty

Last weekend I had to play two official games. The first game was for the silver rook competition. A team championship  at the provincial level. I guess it's comparable with what americains call a state team championship.

The game follows for a long time the draw path although it doesn't look that way. I learned that I have to improve my board vision. I have to see the whole board instead of only the kingside like in this game.

Verduyckt, Johan (1841) - Guldentops, Pierre (1670)

Result: 1-0
Site: ?
Date: 2017.02.17
[...] 1.d4 e6 2.¤f3 f5 3.¥f4 ¤f6 4.¤bd2 ¥e7 5.h3Played to put the bishop away if black plays Nh55...O-O 6.e3 d6 7.¥c4 £e8 8.c3 ¥d8
8...¢h8 9.£e2 ¥d8 10.O-O ¤c6 11.¥h2 a6 12.¦fd1 e5 13.dxe5 ...0-1, Korosparti Sandor 2116 - Ladanyine-Karakas Eva, Hungary 1992 Ch Hungary (team)
8...h6 9.£c2 ¥d8 10.O-O-O ¤c6 11.¦dg1 ¤e4 12.g4 d5 13.¥d3 ...1-0, Pilny Jiri - Kaiser Rudolf 1945 , Ricany 24/ 8/2011 It (open)
9.£c2 ¢h8 10.O-O ¤c6 11.¥h2 £h5 12.¥g3 Dont ask me why I keep playing on the kingside and not try to attack on the queenside, I dont know. Probably my old weakness playing up, seeing only one part of the board instead of the whole board. (12.b4 a6 13.a4 g5 14.b5 ¤e7) 12...¤e4 13.¤xe4 fxe4 14.¤h2 (14.¤d2 Is probably better) 14...£g6 15.¥e2 ¤e7 16.£d1 No plan, just wanted to chase the black queen around 16...¤f5 17.¥f4 £e8 18.¢h1 Still playing on the kingside, it's as if the queenside doesn't exist. 18...e5 19.dxe5 dxe5 20.¥g3 ¥f6 21.¤g4 ¤xg3+ 22.fxg3 ¥xg4 23.¥xg4 ¦d8 24.£c2
24.£b3 £c6 25.¦ad1 is a little bit better for white then the played move
24...¦d3 Didn't even see this move coming. So many blind spots in my board vision. 25.¦ae1 ¥g5 26.¥f5 ¦xe3 27.¦xe3 ¥xe3 28.£xe4 ¥b6 29.¦e1 ¥f2 30.¦d1 ¥xg3 31.¥xh7 £h5 32.£d3 ¦f6
32...£xh7 33.£xg3 Is maybe better for black to get the e-pawn promoted?
33.¥e4 ¦d6 34.¦f1 ¥f4 35.£b5 b6 36.£a6 Totally missing (36.¦xf4) 36...¦d8 37.£c4 c5 38.¥c2 £g5 39.£e4 £h6
39...g6 is a little bit better because the black king gets more freedom
40.£f5 +0.77* 40...¢g8 And my opponent's flag fell. So game over. Nevertheless I would win black's bishop here by playing 43. g3
The second game I played good for 17 moves. Then took my malicious mind over and it got from worse to deadly wounded.

Lagendijk, Ivo (1802) - Verduyckt, Johan (1841)

Result: 1-0
Site: ?
Date: 2017.02.19
[...] 1.¤f3 d5 2.g3 ¤f6 3.¥g2 ¤bd7 4.d3 e5 5.O-O ¥d6 6.e4 dxe4 7.dxe4 O-O 8.¤c3 h6 9.¥e3 b6 10.¤h4 ¦e8 11.¤f5 ¥f8 12.£e2 ¥b7 13.¦fd1 £c8 14.¥h3 ¥c6 15.£f3 £b7 16.¤d5 ¥xd5 17.¦xd5 ¤xd5 18.exd5 And here my malicious brain took over. Malicious: Develop your knight to it's natural developing square No need to think about it, natural is good. So I lashed out 18...¤f6 19.¤xh6+ Do not panic, it's a knight for a knight. 19...gxh6 20.£xf6 Malicious: Grab that pawn, it's free, it's delicious, a pawn is a pawn. 20...£xd5 Normal me: (20...¥g7 Is offcourse better then the move played) 21.¥g2 Malicious: Woops, a skewer. But we will not go down. We can defend with 21...e4 22.¥d4 Eeeks, threatening mate. Ah, we can run, but can we hide? 22...¢h7 23.£h8+ ¢g6 24.£g8+ ¢h5 25.g4+ Malicous: Alright, he didn't see that
25.¥f1 leads always to checkmate, maybe I can get out of this and still win the game. Normal me: I will let my opponent checkmate me, as punishment that I listened to Malicious. Next time keep thinking, each and every move!
25...¢h4 26.¥f6+ £g5 27.¥xg5+ hxg5 28.£h7+ ¢xg4 29.¥h3+ ¢f3 30.£f5+ ¢e2 31.¥g4+ ¢d2 32.£d5+ ¢xc2 33.£b3+ ¢d2 34.¦d1# And my opponent thanked malicious mind.


Now I only have 4,5/6.0 instead 5,5/6.0 . There goes my rating gain. I hope this will not let me loose the challenge.

woensdag 15 februari 2017

QC vs NIC BOOK CHALLENCE: Tune your chess tactics antenna - Part 1: Introduction

Beep! Beep!

When I gathered my material (notebook, pen, New in Chess chess book, board and pieces) to start todays chess study my mind made a strange jump. It seems that Chris has another advantage in this challenge. Not only may he use Quality Chess books but his mother tongue is english, the language in which most chess books are written. My language is dutch, so I have to translate what I read. So maybe I must ask Chris to read only books in german? 

Jokes aside, I hope Chris has fun with this challenge. I am having a blast of a time. Never thought I would put so much energy into chess. Time flies. Dont even miss TV.

Andrew Soltis wrote in one of his books that for a good chess study you have to do three things:
  1. Use every diagram as a lesson.
  2. Identify your weaknesses and make them your strenghts
  3. Practise practise practise

My weakness is that my playing style is not active, attacking. I am rather a passive, positional player. Nothing wrong with that, but when I became this year rapid champion of my chess club everybody spoke praising words of my active, attacking style of play. When I became this year blitz champion of my chess club I got again praise about my active, attacking style of play. When I play long time control games everybody talks about my boring, positional play, putting my opponents to sleep, ... .

So my first goal is to get an attractive, active, attacking style of play in my long time control games aswell. This means that I have to improve my tactical play. I could do so by solving hundreds, thousands of tactical puzzles. But I sought another way. I think I found it with the New in Chess book: Tune your chess tactics antenna.

In the 25 page introduction one gets already a nice diagram on the first page which I will give later in this blog post as an example. First I want to talk with you about the thinking process that Emmanuel Neiman discusses in these pages.

THINKING PROCESS

1. Global vision
Take a paroramic view without trying to grasp all the details, try to get a general impression.

With other words, just get a feeling (some may call it intuition) of the position. What impression does it give you? Do you prefer white or black? Does it remind you of a simular position you know?

2. Analysis of the position
The dissection of the position.

This you can compare with Silman's imbalances or for the older players, the elements of Steinitz. Once you picked one or two, you can try and look for a combination, with the relevant theme in mind.

3. Looking for the theme
For example, in step two you have detected that the only defense against the threat Qxh7# is the knight on f6. Therefor the theme is elimination, deflection or decoy of the defender

With other words, time to make a plan!

4. Looking for candidate moves
Time to make choices

The selection of candidate moves should be made according to the general idea. We will choose the most forcing way to execute first, and then the second most forcing, ... .
(Forcing: Checks - Mate patterns - Captures - Threats)

5. The calculation of variations
To check our ideas

Previous examinations required good vision of the board. The final stage is just one of sweating. When we deal with forced moves (only moves) the calculation is easy. Sometimes we can find positions that are more complicated, and in this case, at each step, we have to return to step 4.

Easy, isn't it? :-)

Now lets give you an example. Here is the diagram I spoke of earlier. (If you want to solve it yourself first then dont read further until you found the solution).

White to play and win


So lets try our new thinking proces.
1. Gobal vision: not hard, white is winning
2. Analysis of the position: white is ahead in material. All his pieces are on white squares so the black bishop can do no harm. The black king has no legal moves thanks to the knight and pawn.
3. Looking for the theme: Plan: to checkmate the king
4. Looking for candidate moves: Since the black king has no legal moves one must just put the black king in check.We can do this with the bishop, so we must find a route for the bishop to get to b7 without moving knight or pawn.
5. The calculation of variations: Only one variation one has to calculate knowing the above. 

? - ?
Result: *
Site: ?
Date: ?
[...] 1.¥h3 g2 2.¥c8 g1=£ 3.¥b7#

Did you find the solution?

 Now I will give you an exercise to solve, I will give the answer in a later blog post.


White to play and win 
Happy solving!

maandag 13 februari 2017

QC vs NIC BOOK CHALLENGE: First official chess game (not yet analysed)

This is the first official game I played during the Chess Book Challenge. I must admit, I was more focussed because I knew I had to publish this game on my blog for everybody to see. Gave me a little extra stress, kept me on the tips of my toes.

My opponent, Bleuze Kobe, is a young player,(almost) 16 years old. Problem with youth is that they improve rapidly. The last new rating list of january (games played between oktober first - end of december  2016) he raised his rating with 92 points to 1551 elo.So I knew I had to take my chance to beat him now because in the future I will have it very difficult, maybe even impossible , to beat him.

 I didn't analyse the game yet, I will update this post later when I find the time to do so.
For now, enjoy the game, just the moves, but believe me, it did cost me blood, sweat and tears.

Verduyckt, Johan (1841) - Bleuze, Kobe (1551)

Result: 1-0
Site: ?
Date: ?
[...] 1.d4 d5 2.¤f3 ¤f6 3.¥f4 e6 4.e3 ¥e7 5.h3 O-O 6.¥d3 c5 7.c3 ¤c6 8.¤bd2 ¥d6 9.¤e5 £c7 10.¤df3 ¤e4 11.O-O cxd4 12.cxd4 f6 13.¤xc6 bxc6 14.¥xd6 ¤xd6 15.¦c1 ¥d7 16.¦c5 ¦ab8 17.£c2 h6 18.¦c1 ¦b6 19.b3 ¤f7 20.¥h7+ ¢h8 21.¤h4 ¦fb8 22.¥g6 ¥e8 23.¤f3 ¦c8 24.e4 dxe4 25.£xe4 ¤d6 26.£c2 ¥xg6 27.£xg6 ¤f5 28.d5 ¤e7 29.£f7 ¤xd5 30.£xe6 ¤f4 31.£e3 £d6 32.¦5c4 ¤d5 33.£d2 ¦e8 34.¦e1 ¦xe1+ 35.£xe1 ¦b4 36.£e8+ ¢h7 37.£xc6 £xc6 38.¦xc6 ¦b7 39.¦a6 ¤b4 40.¦a4 a6 41.a3 ¤d3 42.b4 ¦b6 43.¦a5 ¤b2 44.¦c5 ¦d6 45.¦c2 ¤d3 46.¦d2 ¦d5 47.¢f1 ¤f4 48.¦xd5 ¤xd5 49.¤d2 ¤c3 50.¤b3 ¤b5 51.a4 ¤c7 52.¤d4 ¢g6 53.¢e2 f5 54.¢d3 ¢f6 55.¢c4 ¢e5 56.b5 axb5+ 57.axb5 g6 58.b6 ¤e8 59.¤b5 ¤f6 60.b7 ¤d7 61.¤c7 ¢d6 62.¤a6 ¢e5 63.b8=£+ ¤xb8 64.¤xb8 ¢e4 65.¤d7 h5 66.¤c5+ ¢e5 67.¢d3 h4 68.¢e3 g5 69.¤d3+ ¢f6 70.f4 g4 71.¤f2 gxh3 72.gxh3 ¢e6 73.¢d4 ¢d6 74.¤d3 ¢e6 75.¤e1