Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Your Opinion Requested

The Snap previews on the active links are a colorful, if unnecessary little touch that I added a few weeks back; anybody have an opinion for or against?

Over at the Boylston Chess Club Weblog the comments were mostly negative, so I am interested to see if it's aroused any strong feelings among my readers one way or the other.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Pearson-Kesti Match Game 2, 1-0

Victory is sweet.

I evened the match with Steve Kesti at 1-1 (Game 1 here) last night for the Reno CC Class B Ch. in a rather strange, long and tiring game that I don't have time to get into postable form right now; but some highlights:

The game began 1. d4 c5 2. d5 b5 3. e4 Ba6--my opening preparations have zero to do with the match so far! :)

Around move 15 he had a chance to force a repetition with a perpetual knight attack on my queen, which couldn't break the pattern without disadvantage, but he chose to avoid it, which allowed to me gain some space on the kingside. Pushing forward, I blundered--he could win a piece, and my attack was not enough compensation. However, after he took the piece and I played gxh7 ++, instead of just hiding on h8, which should win, he took the h7 pawn and I was able to win back the piece and eventually reach a rook ending two pawns to the good. With the second, sudden death, time control approaching, I'm sure I didn't play perfectly, but I played fast enough and well enough to bring home the point.

So despite the flaws and mistakes, of which I'm taking careful note, this is my best victory since my return to tournament chess 15 months ago, in terms of rating (he's at 1764).

On to game 3 next Thursday!

UPDATE: Here's the game:

[Event "Reno CC Class B Ch."]
[Site "Reno, NV"]
[Date "2007.02.22"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Pearson, Robert"]
[Black "Kesti, Steve"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1600"]
[BlackElo "1764"]
[ECO "A43"]

1. d4 c5 2. d5 b5 3. e4 Ba6 4. Nf3 d6 5. Be2 Nf6 6. Nbd2 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. c3
O-O 9. b3 Nfd7 10. Qc2 b4 11. Bxa6 Nxa6 12. Bb2 bxc3 13. Bxc3 Nb4 14. Qb2 Nd3
15. Qc2 Nb4 16. Qb2 Nd3 17. Qc2 N3e5 18. Nxe5 Nxe5 19. f4 Ng4 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21.
Qc3+ Kg8 22. Qg3 Nf6 23. f5 Qb6 24. Kh1 Qb4 25. fxg6 Qxd2 26. gxh7+ Kxh7 27.
Rf4 Nh5 28. Rh4 Kh6 29. Qh3 Rg8 30. Rxh5+ Kg7 31. Qf5 Kf8 32. g3 Qd4 33. Rf1
Qg7 34. Rh7 Qf6 35. Qxf6 exf6 36. Rxf6 Rg7 37. Rh8+ Rg8 38. Rxg8+ Kxg8 39. Rxd6
Re8 40. Kg2 Rxe4 41. Kf3 Rd4 42. h4 a5 43. Ra6 Rxd5 44. Rxa5 Kf8 45. Ke4 Rd4+
46. Ke5 Rg4 47. Rxc5 Rxg3 48. Kf4 Rd3 49. h5 Kg7 50. Ke4 Rd1 51. a4 Re1+ 52.
Kd3 Rf1 53. a5 f5 54. b4 f4 55. Ke2 Ra1 56. Kf3 Rf1+ 57. Kg4 f3 58. Rf5 f2 59.
Kg3 Rb1 60. Rxf2 Rxb4 61. Ra2 Rb5 62. a6 Rb8 63. a7 Ra8 64. Kf4 Kh6 65. Ke5
Kxh5 66. Kd6 Kg6 67. Kc7 Kf5 68. Kb7 Rg8 69. a8=Q Rxa8 70. Rxa8 1-0

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Homer Nods (IV)

It's been awhile since I highlighted a great chessplayer playing badly; here is an example sportingly provided by GM Chris Ward in his excellent book Unusual Queen's Gambit Declined. Ward calls it "possibly my most humiliating ever encounter."

Le Touquet, 1992
Queen's Gambit, Baltic Defense

1. d4 d5 2. c4 Bf5 3. Qb3 e5 4. cxd5 exd4 5. Nf3 Bc5 6. Nxd4 Bxd4 7. Qa4+ Nc6 8. dxc6 b5 9. Qxb5 Ne7 10. e3 Rb8 11. Qe2 0-0 12. Nc3 Nxc6 13. g4 Bxc3+ 14. bxc3 Be4 15. Rg1 Ne5 and Ward's comment:

It's simply horrendous!

The game concluded 16. Bg2 Nd3+ 17. Kf1 Nxc1 0-1

He annotates the game in detail in the book, but I think the lesson is clear here; if one plays the most 'critical' moves at every turn and neglects development, even a GM can end up looking like "NN" as in NN-Morphy, New York 1857!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Chess Blogging in a More Mainstream Venue

Francis Porretto at Eternity Road, an excellent blog that usually deals with matters like politics, religion and saving Western Civilization, presents a chess game for our perusal:

It’s an offhand game between club players, not a contest between grandmasters, but the rolling evolution of the thing, marred only by a couple of indifferent moves in the early middle game, still struck me as instructive (from his comments).

He also notes that: I’m a devotee of the Larry Evans approach to chess and chess analysis, and his four-part treatment of the game (time-space-force-pawn structure) has always been my favorite way of approaching the game.

He has also annotated the game from this perspective. An interesting appearance for chess outside of the 'chess blogosphere.'

Friday, February 16, 2007

New Links!

Streatham & Brixton Chess Club

Sword and Shield

Chess Patzer Theories (Also home of Chess Publisher)

All interesting takes on the great game of chess--have a look!

Kesti-Pearson Game 1, 1-0

I lost the first game of my match with Steve Kesti for the Reno CC Class B championship last night. I did feel some rust after six months without a tournament game, but it was actually a fun and interesting game, overall, and I don't feel too badly about the loss. There are still five games to go in the match.

An interesting note--on my 28th move I'd planned Rxa2, which would have preserved some hope, but when the position was on the board, I got the bright idea to play Rxe2 and moved it over without releasing the rook before noticing that it was a blunder...moved it back, but my opponent said that under the rules I had to make that capture, since the rook had touched the e-pawn. I always thought that the move wasn't completed until you released the piece, but according to the TD this is the current rule, so I immediately resigned. No hard feelings for the opponent--it was up to me not to make such a bull move in the first place!

Anyway, a very interesting opening--well over 500 tournament games and I don't think I've ever had anyone play g3 on move 2. Of course, I've played the King's Indian most of the time for over 20 years, but that's another story...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Chess Graphics, an Excellent Resource

If you'd like to spice up the ol' chess blog, check it out.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

And Now, Some Chess for Blood

Well, after six months of tournament inactivity I'm back in action this coming Thursday in the Reno CC Class Ch., 'B' section. Interestingly, it will be a match with Steve Kesti, who last year took the B section with 5 straight wins (and a double forfeit in the final round). That's because there are four Experts, four A players, seven C and five D-E signed for the Class Championships, but only us two lonely B players.

Kesti is rated about 1760 to my 1600, but I'm feeling pretty good about my prospects in the match--despite the tournament inactivity, I've been studying at least a little most every day and have done some work on the two games we played last year. I don't necessarily expect him to repeat the same openings, but I do think I've got a good idea of the kind of positions he likes.

About half of my study time has been devoted to the endings, using Muller and Lamprecht's Fundamental Chess Endings, and I am also feeling more confident in this part of the game.

Finally, I've recently reread Jonathan Rowson's Seven Deadly Chess Sins for inspiration and psychological prep, and I think it's been a real help to getting into the spirit of things despite not having played in a rated tournament for about six months.

Whatever the final score of the upcoming contest, I feel that I've done my best to prepare in the time available, so now I'm just going to go out and enjoy the match.

I just recalled, too, that I won the Reno Class C title back in 1985 by winning a match. I know how to do this!

Friday, February 09, 2007

A Quality Chess Video by "One of Us"

That's right, not hosted by some uppity IM--Patrick at Chess for Blood has produced this excellent video of one of his tournament games. Recommended!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Pale Rider

My friend (and across-the-board "enemy") Eric Shoemaker of the Reno Chess Club has renamed his blog Pale Rider (formerly The Sage in the Tower) and redone the theme and contents to reflect a Clint Eastwood-like 'gunfighter' approach to chess. Very interesting, Eric!

He also has a blog of his best games, but since it's not linked anywhere except his profile page it's probably gone unnoticed by the chess world--until now.

He has some interesting stories to tell about his chess career, and competing in the U.S. Amateur Teams on a squad that included the superb chess writer IM John Watson and the noted IM Cyrus Lakdawala. I hope I can get him to share some of them on the blog.

My Queen Sacrifice!

Well, I don't know if you'd really call it a sacrifice, since I get more than enough for the queen. From my game with Qxh7# at Red Hot Pawn. He's a very gracious opponent.

I'll bet he was pretty shocked by 18. ... Nxc4, and even if it wasn't a real sacrifice I think it has a certain aesthetic quality.

The finish was 19. Bc5xe7 Bg7d4 20. Kg1h1 Nc4e3
21. Qc2a4 Bb7xg2 22. Kh1h2 Bd4e5 23. Kh2g1 Bg2xf1 24. Be7c5 Be5xc3
25. Bc5xe3 Bf1xh3 26. bxc3 Re8xe3 27. Qa4c6 Ra8e8 28. Qc6xc7 Re8c8
29. Qc7xa7 Rc8xc3 30. Qa7b8 Kg8g7 31. Qb8b2 Kg7h6 32. a4 Re3g3 33. Kg1h1 Bh3f5
34. Qb2d2 g5 35. Qd2d6 Kh6h5 36. Qd6e7 Kh5h4 37. Qe7b4 Kh4h3 38. Ra1g1 Bf5g4 0-1

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Most Fantastic Moves Ever

Via Dennis Monokroussos' outstanding Chess Mind, we found Tim Krabbe's Top Ten here. Explore the whole great Chess Curiousities site--we'll be adding it to the sidebar shortly.

I think every chessplayer has an affinity for moves that look ridiculous, crazy or 'impossible' and turn out to be excellent. The very best are the ones that look like the worst move on the board, but turn out to be the best move on the board...

'Fantastic' has the same root as fantasy, and we could all do with some development in this area, except perhaps for Alekhine, Marshall and Kasparov and their ilk. So here are a couple that didn't make the Top Ten, but that I found particularly enchanting:

21. Qa8!! and Black resigned (1-0)

Panczyk-Schurade, Zakopane 1978

1.Bg5!! h1Q 2.Qe8+ Kg7 3.Qg6+ Kf8 4.Qxf6+ Kg8 5.Qd8+ Kg7 6.Qe7+ Kg8 7.Qe8+ and Black resigned (1-0)

Simagin-Bronstein, Moscow 1947

If you don't find these inspiring, there are 108 more over at the link. You'll have to go there to see #1, as well.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Missed Opportunity (?)

From a game against Expert Ernie Hong at last year's "Hot August Knights" tournament:

I looked at Nxc1 for a long time, and somehow was afraid of Qxa5; but in that case doesn't Nxd3 cause White a lot of problems?

I don't have the killer software available right now, so if somebody can shed a little light on this position with their computer or their excellent analytical skills, I'd appreciate it.

LATER, "AFTER FURTHER REVIEW": I was able to spend some more time with the position and it seems to me that after 23. ... Nxc1 24. Qxa5 Nxd3 25. ed Bxd3+ 26. Kg1, Black probably has to play Qd7, because all the beautiful tactics don't work--the White Queen guards e1.

In the game I finally played 23. ... Bxb2, which was okay, but eventually lost. Still, it was a pretty good effort, but I kept feeling later like there ought to be something in the diagram for Black.