May 2009

Some time ago I found an interesting option in ChessBase Light 2007.  Now I started to use it quite a bit, so I decided to share the experience.   If you have a pgn file, containing your games (with standard header),  you can analyze the effectiveness of your openings.  You open pgn file in ChessBase , sort it by ECO code, select the files with required opening, then go to Tools/Statistics.

I used the blitz games from FICS. Here are the stats for Ruy Lopez, White, Old Steinitz defense. It’s considered hard for Black and I feel comfortable playing it, which is confirmed by my performance rating, +100.

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Another sample – French, Black. Performance rating doesn’t look very exciting – ~-40.

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But just a second –  it’s a new opening for me, which I started to study this year.  So, let’s see how I progressed. Here is my first month, performance rating – ~-75:

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Here are my May’s games, result – ~+30. So it’s ~100 improvement in 3 month, 400 in a year, looks like 3 more years studying/playing and I’ll play the French like GM 🙂 .

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Of course, there is random factor for blitz, where the result could be decided by 
blunder, but I think if you have enough games, this factor would be eliminated because the mistakes are mutual.

Of course there is random factor for blitz, where the result could be decided by blunder, but I think if you have enough games, this factor would be eliminated because the mistakes are mutual.

What happed on Sunday in my regular G/90 game reminded me the song “All screwed up” by my favorite AC/DC – 

“… you’re out of luck 

Yes you are 

It’s all screwed up 

All screwed up”.

I was 10 minutes late and the boy was waiting for me.  Suddenly I see these 10 minutes on my clock.  Formally we begin at 1pm, but usually only 1, max 2 games begin right away.  I myself wait at least 10-15 minutes before starting the clock,  others the same.  It kind of ticked me off, since the format is G/90.  

How will I deal with Botvinnik rule? I hurried to get on time and now this – I felt like when you are late,  run and then you can’t catch your breath.  The same happened with my concentration and it was so until end of the game.

Anyway,  I am White,  Caro-Kann – first time OTB.

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 – new line for me, usually (online) I get 4. … Bf5. 


6. Nf3 Bd6 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O Bf5 9. b3 Qc7 


10. Bb2 Nd7 11. Re1 Rfe8 12. g3 c5 – g3 played against Bf4


13. Qd2 Rac8 14. c4 Bh3 15. d5 – I thought I am better after that, Crafty – 0.43.



15. … Ne5 16. Nxe5 Bxe5 17. Bxe5 fxe5 18. Bd3 f5 19. f3 – Crafty – 0.98


19. … Qe7 20. Re2 Qf6 21. Rae1 Re7 22. Re3 Qg5 23. Qf2 f4




24. R3e2 fxg3 25. Qxg3 Qxg3+ 26. hxg3  – I thought Black’s fxg3 was a mistake, Crafty agrees – 1.72




26. … Rf8 27. Be4 Bf5 28. Kg2 Bxe4 29. Rxe4 Ref7 30. R1e3


30. … Re7 31. Rxe5 Rxe5 32. Rxe5 Kf7 33. f4 Re8 34. Rxe8 Kxe8 – here I decided that the game is won


35. Kf3 Ke7 36. g4 Kd6 37. g5 b5 38. Kg4 b4 39. f5?? – if the guy with whom I played yesterday night lightning games 2/1  could see it, he would change his mind. After winning 5 out of 6 games (and we played before ~ two dozen with about 50/50 result)  I suddenly read a chat message – “you are computer”. I laugh, feel flattered and send a message – “I am not”, but then see that I am censored.

39. … Ke5!  The combination of non-concentration and being sure that protected passed pawn guarantees me a win brings me here


40. g6 h6 ?? – Black should play hxg6 with a draw – Crafty – 0.43.

So I decide that I am losing material and it’s a draw,  since black king should guard “d” pawn. The boy looks at me at the same moment and says – “Draw?”.  I agree.  He says – “Now, as we agreed to a draw, I’ll show how White wins here” and moves “d” pawn –  

41. d6! Kxd6 42. f6! – and White gets a queen.  Pawn breakthrough,  looks familiar :).  


I am stunned. Then he asks me about my rating and tells me his – 280 lower than mine. The whole evening I was very upset, didn’t have a time to look at it, next morning I look – and feel better. Crafty says, that if I don’t play 41. d6 ( which I didn’t see), all other moves cause losing both “h” and “g” pawns and it’s not a draw, it’s a win for Black,  at least estimate was – -3.