July 2009


Pos2I run some of my online blitz games through Fritz, using “Blundercheck” mode.
It finds not blunders, but also any missing tactics, actually anything that’s worse
than Fritz’s preferable move by 0.75 pawn ( of course you can change that range).
Here is the combination, that I didn’t see, the position is from Caro-Kann defense,
fantasy variation that was suggested by GM Bareev in his lecture.
Pic 2
White to move, computer suggests Bh6. OK, but why the reply is Rf8?
Strange, right? What if, let’s say, Nc6? Fritz says – Rxf7!
Pic 3
If Kxf7, then Rf1+, Kg8, Qxe6+ and Bg7#.
So, after Rf1+, Black has to give up on f6 first his bishop, then his queen,
leaving Black with 2R+N vs. Q+B+N+P and score 7.45.
The second example is easier, I hope you find the solution ( just in case it’s in the comment).

I run some of my online blitz games through Fritz using “Blundercheck” mode.  It finds not only blunders, but also any missing tactics,  actually anything at all that’s worse than Fritz’s preferable move by 0.75 pawn ( of course you can change that range).

Here is the combination that I didn’t see.  I am White, the position is from Caro-Kann defense, fantasy variation that was suggested by GM Bareev in his lecture – 1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3.

Pos2

White to move, computer suggests Bh6.  OK, but why the reply is Rf8? Strange, right? What if black plays,  let’s say,  Nc6?  Fritz says – Rxf7!

Pos3

If Kxf7, then Rf1+  Kg8, Qxe6+

Pos4

Kh8, Bg7#.

So, after Rf1+ Black has to give up on f6 first his bishop, then his queen, leaving Black with 2R+N vs. Q+B+N+P and score 7.45.

The second example is easier,  White to move and win material, just in case the solution is in the comment.

Pos1

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I recently had a blitz, where having a knight + pawns vs. pawns, I drew in time trouble.
The dissapointing result attracted my attention to knight endings.
I found a section about that in the book “Theory and practice of of chess endings” by A.N. Panchenko.
Here I want to show a few examples from this book and from the game Alexander Grishuk vs. Judit Polgar.
One of the principles – knight is a very bad fighter against rook pawn.
The reason is that knight controls essentually less squares being on the rim.
In the case of K+N+RP vs. K+N the weaker side can’t survive without help of the king.
Pic 1
1. Nd4+ – fork, very typical for knight endings. 1. …Nxd4 2. Kf6 – deflection!
Pic 2
2. … Nc2 3. h5 Ne3 4. Kg5 – deflection again!
Pic 3
Nc4 5. h6

I recently had a blitz game where having a knight + pawns vs. pawns  I drew in the time trouble.  The dissapointing result attracted my attention to knight endings.

I found a section about that in the book “Theory and practice of the chess endings” by A.N. Panchenko,  great book with very easy explanations.

Here I want to show a few examples from this book and from the game Alexander Grishuk vs. Judit Polgar.

One of the principles – knight is a very bad fighter against rook pawn.  The reason is that knight controls essentually less squares being on the rim.  In the case of K+N+RP vs. K+N the weaker side can’t survive without help of the king.

knight_ending1

1. Nd4+ – fork, very typical for knight endings. 1. …Nxd4 2. Kf6 – deflection!

knight_ending2

2. … Nc2 3. h5 Ne3 4. Kg5 – deflection again!

knight_ending3

Nc4 5. h6

Another principle – quickness of the knight. It  helps to survive in the following, looking hopeless,  position

knight_ending4

1. Ne6 g4 2. Ng7 f4 3. Nh5

knight_ending5

3. … f3 4. Nf6 g3 5. Ne4 g2

knight_ending6

6. Nd2+ Kd3 7. Nxf3

knight_ending7

And here is a nice swindle from the game A.Grishuk vs. J.Polgar

knight_ending8

1. … Ng4 !!

knight_ending9

Now 61. … Nxg4 is stalemate, all other variations lead to draw, see comment here:

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1468281

In the game happened:

2. Nd3 Nh2+ 3. Ke4 Ng4 4. Ne5 Nf6+ 5. Kf3 Ng4 6. Nc4 Nh2+ 7. Ke4 Nf1

knight_ending10

8. Ne3 Nxg3+ 9. Ke5 Kh2 10. Kd6 Nh5 11. f5 Ng7 12. f6 1/2-1/2

knight_ending11


I played in the big tournament last Friday-Sunday, in U1800 category, with time control 30/90, SD/60.
Did some preparation before, got the games from the online DB played in 2008/2009 in the country –
most of the players in my category were present there. Made some kind of matrix for the openings.
Friday evening, Game 1 – I play with the guy from the local club, rated ~1525, I am White.
I played with his brother, won twice in Sicilian.
Surely enough, the boy plays Sicilian, same 2. Nc6. I play same Bb5, we get the same line as with the brother.
The guy starts to think heavily. Move by move it looks like on FICS when your opponent is behind by time more and more
and you know he will be in trouble. I have initiative, he is behind by an hour at some point. On 18th move he loses a pawn,
and then has to blitz. He exchanges queens, then loses another pawn, and while thinking on 30th move his time expires.
The endgame is lost anyway.
Saturday – I wake up at 6am, think about my possible future opponents, can’t sleep anymore.
Not that I am not accustomed to sleep 5 hours, but to play 2 possibly 5-hour games?
Game 2 – 10am, I play with the boy whom I know – though didn’t play before, rated ~1500.
He was the country champion U8 in 2008.
I saw his games, he played once against French – chose Advanced variation, Milner-Barry gambit.
I know his coach too, he is a French expert. We start, of course he plays the same gambit.
I suddenly decide that I am not in the mood to defend, maybe just don’t feel very fresh or feel not ready  –
I played it before only couple of times blitz online.
Ok, I decline and chose the line that actually has stats – +2 (White), =1.
But I don’t know that, so I get rid of my “bad” bishop and slowly develop.
Suddenly he makes a mistake – I see a combination and funnily enough win that pawn that he offered
for free in the opening. But the situation is completely different. I get strong pawns in the center,
but he gets a pawn on f6 (h7,g6,f7), which I don’t like. Each of us has a queen and 2 rooks.
So, I move my central pawns and he tries to create some counterplay on the kingside.
Suddenly he makes a move Rh3 and I just shake my head. This move  creates the threat of queen moving to h6
with Qxh7/Qg7 mate. I look and look, and in order to defend give up one of my central pawns.
The queens get exchanged, then 2R vs. 2R endgame looks even worse for me, but I make a good counter-attacking move
by rook. One couple of rooks will be exchanged, equal rook endgame – he offers a draw, I agree.
I am  a bit upset, though find some consolation in the fact that drawing with the boy champion not that bad –
considering how one our fellow blogger does against these boy/girl champions :).
These kids can be really good, quite a few of them beat the crap out of some 1700+ in our category.
After I came home I found out that I didn’t have to give up the pawn, after his queen was moving on h6
my queen was taking pawn f6 and liquidating the threat Qg7#.
I saw it in one of the lines, but since I wanted to put one of the rooks on 4th-5th line,
I thought that I will lose another rook after Qh8+ …. The thing is I didn’t have to take the rook from 8th.
Then that threat of double mate again hypnotized me and I forgot about all this.
There is a lot of time remains until 3rd round, I look at the games that others play and
see how one master tries to mate another with knight and bishop.
It’s not easy, the king escapes and I lose patience. Later I check the result, it’s a win.
Game 3 – 4pm, I slept 15 minutes in the chair and feel better than in the morning, this time I am in the fighting mood.
Again, the guy from the local club, I won twice against him. I am White, he plays the same Sicilian 2. …d6 we played before,
I play the same Moscow variation, Bb5. He develops, then suddenly plays d5. That’s what Black supposed to
do, but not now ! The plan is different from the 1st game, but also wrong.
I had one similar correspondence game, where after d5 the play opened up, but it was to my advantage
since I was better developed. Here happens the same thing.
“c”, d”, “e” verticals open and I create a pressure along them. He defends, pressure gets stronger,
he blinders a piece and resigns.
2.5/3 after first 2 days, I start to get some high hopes.
Sunday – I sleep better, learn about my opponent still being at home, rated same as me, he plays White.
The last game he played was 1. c4, 2. Nc3, I quickly learn how I can play here my much rehearsed Grunfeld.
It’s called Anglo-Grunfeld defense.
Game 4 – 10am, we start and I get that Anglo-Grunfeld. I play the trappy line (which is the best too),
he doesn’t bite, but plays the line with worse stats for White. I try to play positionally and get some advantage.
Move by move, he manages to equalize. I have less than 40 minutes for 13-14 moves and don’t quite like it.
He offers a bishop exchange, it’s unavoidable, but I don’t want to follow with possible queen exchange,
so after Qc4+ I don’t move Qf7, but quickly go Kh8 and suddenly to my horror he skewers me with Bc5 and I lose exchange.
I had this square under control before, but his queen gets to c4 with the check and then controls it too…
I am devastated, needlessly lose another 2 pawns and after forced queen exchange resign.
Again lots of time, even more than yesterday :), so I watch the game between Russian GM and
IM, 2008 Canadian champion.
GM’s attack looks very strong, he sacked the knight on g6 and IM doesn’t take it.
Another few attacking/defending moves, suddenly I see that GM can sac the queen for the rook on g7 and then
fork queen and king with the kight, winning exchange. It doesn’t look very obvious since
the “fork” square is controlled by Black’s knight, but the knight is pinned.
The fact of finding combination consoles me, I share this idea with another guy, he confirms that I am right.
I say – “Why don’t I see this stuff in my own games?” He laughs.
GM thinks and makes another move, I am surprised. Suddenly IM starts giving checks,
GM is in the time trouble, he has less than 2 minutes, though they have 30 seconds increment.
Another check and it’s a mate! GM shakes his head, he can’t believe it.
They start to look at the game, it’s still after that possible sac.
I tell them in Russian about that sac, they don’t pay attention.
When they finally reach that point, I tell it to GM again, he says something like he knows (knew) that.
I think maybe he thought the mate is here, that’s why he didn’t do it.
OK, I realize that I got too excited about it and leave.
3pm – 5th round is in an hour, I am still mad at myself.
Looking at the table I decide that my opponent will be 1400+ rated boy,
who already beat one 1700+ and drew with another.
I don’t care, I want to tear him apart and since I should be White even think about playing Smith-Morra
(most of the kids play Sicilian).
Game 5 – pairings come and I see that I play against the leader, 20-something guy, rated a bit higher than me, with Black.
Change of plans :). Saw him playing French, so supposedly he knows this shit, even from other side.
Also, I feel that intermittency is better for me, so I decide if 1. e4 e5.
Sure, 1. e4, Scotch. I never had it OTB before and don’t like it when get it online.
Anyway, first book moves, then he suddenly offers a queen exchange.
He is ahead by 0.5 of a point, and as the following shows wants to play safely (not necessarily wanting a draw).
I exchange the queens. At home I find out, that Qf3 it’s a novelty and a bad one.
Crafty says, that White should give up a pawn or go into a crazy line, where Black gets 3 pieces for a queen and White
king goes to d3! Crafty evaluates it as -3.00. I try to attack on the queenside after his O-O-O,
but without queens it doesn’t look very dangerous. We exchange both rooks, and the position becomes drawish.
I make a move and offer a draw. He looks somewhat confused and refuses after some thinking.
I am surprized a bit, but say OK and continue, after a few moves offering another knight exchange.
After that the position looks even more drawish. He looks at me with another type of confusion,
says something confirming that and we agree to a draw.
I quickly learn that my shared 3rd place with 3 points out of 5 doesn’t equal to 3rd by people
(there are at least 4 people that will have/have 3.5/4 points ) and I won’t get any money.
OK, it’s not that I make a living doing this.
I kind of hoped for more, still 3/5 and performance rating ~1700 is not that bad.
I clearly see that in order to progress I should play more with the people of my rating (and higher).
Also I see that dynamic evaluation (which is done at the end of each analysis line,
after you have tried to determine a potential sequence of moves) still remains my Achilles tendon.

I played in the big tournament last Friday-Sunday, in U1800 category, with time control 30/90, SD/60.  Here is the story,  red titles are the links to the chessflash games.

Did some preparation before, got from the online DB the games played in the country in 2008/2009  – most of the players in my category were present there.

Friday evening, Game 1 – I play with the guy from the local club, rated ~1525, I am White.  I played with his brother, won twice in Sicilian.  Surely enough, the boy plays Sicilian, same 2. Nc6. I play same Bb5, we get the same line as with the brother.  The guy starts to think heavily. Move by move it looks like on FICS when your opponent is behind by time more and more and you know he will be in trouble. I have the initiative, he is behind by an hour at some point. On 18th move he loses a pawn, and then has to blitz. He exchanges queens, then loses another pawn, and while thinking on 30th move his time expires.  The endgame is lost anyway.

Saturday – I wake up at 6am, think about my possible future opponents, can’t sleep anymore.  Not that I am not accustomed to sleep 5 hours, but to play 2 possibly 5-hour games?

Game 2 – 10am, I play with the boy whom I know – though didn’t play before, rated ~1500.  He was the country champion U8 in 2008.  I saw his games, he played once against French – chose Advanced variation, Milner-Barry gambit.  I know his coach too, he is an expert in French . We start, of course he plays the same gambit.  I suddenly decide that I am not in the mood to defend, maybe just don’t feel very fresh or feel not ready  – I played it before only couple of times blitz online.  Ok, I decline and chose the line that actually has stats – +2 (White), =1. But I don’t know that, so I get rid of my “bad” bishop and slowly develop. Suddenly he makes a mistake – I see a combination and funnily enough win that pawn that he offered for free in the opening. But the situation is completely different. I get strong pawns in the center, but he gets a pawn on f6 (h7,g6,f7), which I don’t like. Each of us has a queen and 2 rooks.  So, I move my central pawns and he tries to create some counterplay on the kingside. Suddenly he makes a move Rh3 and I just shake my head. This move  creates the threat of queen moving to h6 with Qxh7 or Qg7 mate. I look and look, and in order to defend give up one of my central pawns.  The queens get exchanged, then 2R vs. 2R endgame looks even worse for me, but I make a good counter-attacking move by rook. One couple of rooks will be exchanged, equal rook endgame – he offers a draw, I agree.

I am  a bit upset, though find some consolation in the fact that drawing with the boy champion is not that bad.  These kids can be really good, quite a few of them beat the crap out of some 1700+ in our category.

After I came home I found out that I didn’t have to give up the pawn, after his queen was moving on h6  my queen was taking pawn f6 and liquidating the threat Qg7#.  I saw it in one of the lines, but since I wanted to put one of the rooks on 4th-5th line, I thought that I will lose another rook after Qh8+ …. The thing is I didn’t have to take the rook from 8th.  That threat of double mate again hypnotized me and I forgot about all this.

There is a lot of time remaining until 3rd round, I look at the games that others play and see how one master tries to mate another with knight and bishop. It’s not easy, the king escapes and I lose patience. Later I check the result, it’s a win.

Game 3 – 4pm, I slept 15 minutes in the chair and feel better than in the morning, this time I am in the fighting mood. Again, the man from the local club, rated a bit higher than 1500,  I won twice against him. I am White, he plays the same Sicilian 2. …d6 he played before, I play the same Moscow variation, Bb5. He develops, then suddenly plays d5. Yes, that’s what Black is supposed to do, but not now !  I had one similar correspondence game, where after d5 the play opened up, but it was to my advantage since I was better developed. Here happens the same thing.  “c”, d”, “e” verticals open and I create a pressure along them. He defends, pressure gets stronger, he blunders a piece and resigns. 2.5/3 after first 2 days, I am starting to get some high hopes.

Sunday – I sleep better, get pairings from the Web,  my opponent is rated same as me, he plays White. He played 1.e4 in the past , then the last game was 1. c4, 2. Nc3.  I quickly learn if I can play here my much rehearsed  (never played OTB) Grunfeld. I can, it’s called Anglo-Grunfeld defense.

Game 4 – 10am, we start and I get that Anglo-Grunfeld. I play the trappy line (which is the best too), he doesn’t bite, but still plays the line with worse stats for White. I try to play positionally and get some advantage. Move by move, he manages to equalize. I have less than 40 minutes for 13-14 moves and don’t quite like it.He offers a bishop exchange, it’s unavoidable, but I don’t want to follow with possible queen exchange, so after Qc4+ I don’t move Qf7, but quickly go Kh8 and suddenly to my horror he skewers me with Bc5 and I lose exchange. I had this square under control before, but his queen gets to c4 with the check and then controls it too… I am devastated, needlessly lose another 2 pawns and after forced queen exchange resign.

Again lots of time, even more than yesterday :), so I watch the game between Russian GM and IM, 2008 Canadian champion (speaks Russian too).  GM’s attack looks very strong, he sacked the knight on g6 and IM doesn’t take it.   Another few attacking/defending moves, suddenly I see that GM can sac the queen for the rook on g7 and then fork queen and king with the knight, winning exchange. It doesn’t look very obvious since the “fork” square is controlled by Black’s knight, but the knight is pinned. The fact of finding combination consoles me, I share this idea with another guy, he confirms that I am right.  I say: “Why don’t I see this stuff in my own games?”  He laughs.

GM thinks and makes another move, I am surprised. A few more moves, suddenly IM starts giving checks. GM is in time trouble, he has less than 2 minutes, though they have 30 seconds increment.  Another check and it’s a mate! GM shakes his head, he can’t believe it, he had him on the ropes. They start to look at the game, it’s still after that possible sac. I tell them in Russian about that sac, they don’t pay attention. When they finally reach that point, I tell it to GM again, he says something like he knows (knew) that. I think maybe he thought the mate was there, that’s why he didn’t do it.

OK, I realize that I got too excited about it and leave.  3pm – 5th round is in an hour, I am still mad at myself. Looking at the table I decide that my opponent will be that 1400+ rated boy who already beat one 1700+ and drew with another. I don’t care, I want to tear him apart and since I should be White  I even think about playing Smith-Morra (most of the kids play Sicilian).

Game 5 – pairings come and I see that I play against the leader, 20-something guy, rated a bit higher than me, with Black. Change of plans :).  Saw him playing French, so supposedly he knows this shit, even from the other side.  Also, I feel that intermittency is better for me, so I decide if 1. e4 then 1. … e5.

1. e4, Scotch. I never had it OTB before and don’t like it when get it online. Anyway, first book moves, then he suddenly offers a queen exchange. He is ahead by 0.5 of a point, and looks like wants to play safely (not necessarily wanting a draw). I exchange the queens. At home I find out, that Qf3 is a novelty and a bad one. Crafty says, that White should give up a pawn or go into a crazy line, where Black gets 3 pieces for a queen and White King goes to d3! Crafty evaluates it as -3.00. I try to attack on the queenside after his O-O-O, but without queens it doesn’t look very dangerous. We exchange both rooks and the position becomes drawish. I make a move and offer a draw. He looks somewhat confused and refuses after some thinking. I am surprized a bit, but say OK and continue, after a few moves offering/forcing another knight exchange. After that the position looks even more drawish. He looks at me with another type of confusion,  says something confirming my position estimation and we agree to a draw.

I quickly learn that my shared 3rd place with 3 points out of 5 doesn’t equal to 3rd by people (there are at least 4 people that will have/have 3.5/4 points ) and I won’t get any 1st-3rd place prize  money. OK, it’s not that I make a living doing this.

Well, I kind of hoped for more,  still 3/5 and performance rating ~1700 is not that bad. I clearly see that in order to progress I should play more with the people of my rating (and higher).  Also I see that dynamic evaluation (which is done at the end of each analysis line, after you have tried to determine a potential sequence of moves) still remains my Achilles tendon. And always think before making an obvious move, sometimes it’s the worst one, like mine in the 4th game or GMs before he got mated ( at least he was in the time trouble). I will try to post my games today/tomorrow,  too many pictures for 5 games, looks like will have to use the chessflash that linuxguyonfics uses.