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17 Nov 2016

C62 Spanish Game: Steinitz Defence (9 moves of theory)

C62 Spanish Game: Steinitz Defence (9 moves of theory)
[Event "Tournament 28038750"] [Site "online arena"] [Date "2015.03.18"] [Round "2"] [White "Vierjoki, Timo"] [Black "saviola"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C62"] [WhiteElo "1803"] [BlackElo "1054"] [Annotator "Stockfish 8 64 POPCNT (30s), TV"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nc6 4. Bb5 Bd7 5. O-O Nf6 6. Nc3 exd4 {Spanish Game: Berlin Defense, Closed Wolf Variation} (6... Be7 7. Bg5 {Spanish Game: Berlin Defense, Closed Bernstein Variation} (7. Bxc6 {Spanish Game: Berlin Defense, Closed Showalter Variation}) (7. Re1 O-O {Spanish Game: Berlin Defense, Tarrasch Trap})) 7. Nxd4 Nxd4 8. Bxd7+ Qxd7 9. Qxd4 {C62 Spanish Game: Steinitz Defence} a6 (9... c5 10. Qd3 Be7 11. Rd1 Rd8 12. b3 O-O 13. Bb2 Qg4 14. Nd5 Rfe8 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. Nxf6+ gxf6 17. f3 Qg5 18. Qd2 Kg7 19. Qxg5+ fxg5 20. Rd5 Re5 21. Rad1 Rxd5 22. Rxd5 f6 23. Kf2 Kf7 24. Kg3 {Pisk,P (2305) -Nisztuk,M (2080) Litomysl 1996 1-0 (41)}) 10. Re1 (10. b3 c6 11. Bb2 Ng4 12. Rad1 f6 13. Ne2 Rd8 14. Ng3 Nh6 15. c4 Be7 16. h3 O-O 17. Rfe1 Rfe8 18. Bc1 Nf7 19. Nf5 Ne5 20. Qc3 Qe6 21. Qg3 Bf8 22. Nd4 Qf7 23. f4 Ng6 24. f5 Ne5 { Kulhanek,T (2371)-Kasparek,I Czechia 2012 1-0 (60)}) 10... c5 $146 (10... O-O-O 11. Bg5 Be7 12. Qa7 Qc6 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. Nd5 Rde8 15. Nxf6 gxf6 16. Qd4 Re6 { 1/2-1/2 (16) Hanzel,M-Dzuganova,K Slovakia 1993}) (10... Be7 11. Nd5 $14) 11. Qd3 $16 O-O-O (11... Be7 $5 $16) 12. Bg5 $18 Be7 13. a3 (13. Rab1 Rhe8 $18) 13... b5 $2 (13... Kb8 14. b4 $16) 14. b3 (14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. Nd5 Kb7 $18) 14... h6 (14... Rhe8 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. Nd5 $18) 15. Bf4 (15. Bxf6 $5 Bxf6 16. Nd5 Kb7 $18) 15... g5 16. Be3 (16. Bg3 $142 Kb7 17. Rad1 $18) 16... Ng4 $2 (16... d5 $142 17. exd5 Nxd5 18. Nxd5 Qxd5 $16) 17. Nd5 $18 Qb7 {[%cal Yb5b4] Black intends b4} 18. c4 b4 (18... Rhe8 {the last chance for counterplay} 19. cxb5 Qxb5 $18) 19. axb4 cxb4 (19... Rhe8 {a fruitless try to alter the course of the game} 20. Ra4 Ne5 21. Qe2 $18) 20. Bd2 (20. Ra4 $142 {seems even better} Ne5 21. Qe2 $18) 20... Qb8 (20... Ne5 {there is nothing else anyway} 21. Qh3+ g4 $18) 21. Bxb4 (21. Nxe7+ $142 {might be the shorter path} Kd7 22. Nd5 Qa7 $18) 21... Rhf8 22. Rxa6 Rd7 23. Rea1 Qxb4 (23... Ne5 {doesn't change anything anymore} 24. Qe3 Rfd8 25. Ra8 Rb7 26. Rxb8+ Rxb8 27. Qa7 Rd7 28. Nb6+ Rxb6 29. Qxb6 Rb7 30. Ra8+ Kd7 31. Qxb7+ Ke6 32. Qd5+ Kd7 33. Ba5 f6 34. Ra7+ Ke8 35. Qg8+ Bf8 36. Qe6+ Be7 37. Qxe7#) 24. Nxb4 (24. Rc6+ Kb7 25. Nxb4 Ra8 26. Rxa8 Kxa8 27. Rc8+ Kb7 28. Qd5+ Kxc8 29. Qa8+ Kc7 30. Nd5#) 24... Kc7 (24... Rb7 { hardly improves anything} 25. Qd5 Ne5 26. Ra7 Rxb4 27. Ra8+ Rb8 28. R1a7 Nf3+ 29. gxf3 g4 30. Rxb8+ Kxb8 31. Qa8#) 25. Ra7+ Kb6 (25... Kc8 {is no salvation} 26. Ra8+ Kb7 27. R1a7+ Kb6 28. Qd4#) 26. R1a6+ (26. Qd4#) 26... Kc5 27. Rxd7 ( 27. Rc6+ Kxb4 28. Ra4#) 27... Rb8 (27... Rc8 {does not solve anything} 28. Rb7 d5 29. Qxd5#) 28. Nd5 (28. Rc7+ Kxb4 29. Ra4#) 28... Bf8 (28... Bd8 {doesn't get the bull off the ice} 29. Rxd8 $1 {Deflection: b4} h5 30. b4+ Rxb4 31. Rc8# ) 29. Rc7# 1-0 [Event "Grand Seven Fourteen"] [Site "http://www.redhotpawn.com"] [Date "2014.08.11"] [Round "1"] [White "Vierjoki, Timo"] [Black "OneThird"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C62"] [WhiteElo "1813"] [BlackElo "1363"] [Annotator "Stockfish 8 64 POPCNT (30s), TV"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 d6 {Spanish Game: Steinitz Defense} 4. d4 exd4 (4... Bd7 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Bxc6 {Spanish Game: Steinitz Defense. Nimzowitsch Attack}) 5. Nxd4 (5. O-O {Spanish Game: Steinitz Defense. Center Gambit}) 5... Bd7 6. O-O Nxd4 7. Bxd7+ Qxd7 8. Qxd4 Nf6 9. Nc3 {C62 Spanish Game: Steinitz Defence} a6 ( 9... c5 10. Qd3 Be7 11. Rd1 Rd8 12. b3 O-O 13. Bb2 Qg4 14. Nd5 Rfe8 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. Nxf6+ gxf6 17. f3 Qg5 18. Qd2 Kg7 19. Qxg5+ fxg5 20. Rd5 Re5 21. Rad1 Rxd5 22. Rxd5 f6 23. Kf2 Kf7 24. Kg3 {Pisk,P (2305)-Nisztuk,M (2080) Litomysl 1996 1-0 (41)}) 10. Bg5 (10. b3 c6 11. Bb2 Ng4 12. Rad1 f6 13. Ne2 Rd8 14. Ng3 Nh6 15. c4 Be7 16. h3 O-O 17. Rfe1 Rfe8 18. Bc1 Nf7 19. Nf5 Ne5 20. Qc3 Qe6 21. Qg3 Bf8 22. Nd4 Qf7 23. f4 Ng6 24. f5 Ne5 {Kulhanek,T (2371)-Kasparek,I Czechia 2012 1-0 (60)}) 10... c5 $146 (10... Be7 11. f4 c5 12. Qd3 h6 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. Nd5 Qc6 15. Nxf6+ gxf6 16. Rae1 O-O-O 17. Qd5 Qxd5 18. exd5 Rde8 19. Kf2 Kd7 20. Rxe8 Rxe8 21. Kg3 Rg8+ 22. Kf3 f5 23. Re1 b5 24. Re3 b4 25. h3 { Okus,M (1842)-Buyukasik, D Izmir 2006 1-0 (65)}) (10... Be7 $5 $16) 11. Qd3 b5 $2 (11... Be7 $5 12. Rad1 $16) 12. Rfe1 (12. Bxf6 $142 {and the result of the game is clear: White will win} gxf6 13. Nd5 $18) 12... Be7 13. e5 (13. Rad1 $142 $5 Qc7 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. Nd5 $18) 13... dxe5 $16 14. Rxe5 O-O $4 (14... Qxd3 $142 15. cxd3 Kd7 $16) 15. Qe2 (15. Qxd7 {and White can already relax} Nxd7 16. Rxe7 Rfd8 $18) 15... Rfe8 $4 {ignoring the path to victory} (15... Bd6 $142 16. Rd1 Bxe5 17. Rxd7 Nxd7 $15) 16. Rd1 $18 Qc7 (16... Qc6 {is the last straw} 17. Rxe7 Kf8 $18) 17. Bxf6 gxf6 18. Qg4+ (18. Re3 $142 {nails it down} Red8 19. Nd5 Rxd5 20. Rxd5 $18) 18... Kh8 19. Rh5 Rg8 (19... Bf8 20. Qh4 Bg7 21. h3 $18) 20. Qf5 (20. Qe4 $142 {it becomes clear that White will call all the shots} f5 21. Qxf5 $18) 20... Rg7 21. Rd7 Qc6 22. Ne4 (22. Qd5 $142 $5 { seems even better} Qxd5 23. Nxd5 Bd8 $18) 22... Re8 23. g3 Qe6 (23... c4 24. Qd5 Qxd5 25. Rhxd5 $18 (25. Rdxd5 $143 Bd8 $16)) 24. Qxe6 (24. Kg2 $5 Qc6 $18) 24... fxe6 $16 25. Nxc5 (25. Nd6 $142 Bxd6 26. Rxd6 $16) 25... Bxc5 $11 26. Rxg7 {White has a mate threat} Kxg7 $4 {a transit from better to worse} (26... Bxf2+ $142 {and Black could well hope to play on} 27. Kxf2 Kxg7 $11) 27. Rxc5 $18 e5 28. Kf1 Re6 29. Ke2 h5 30. h4 Kg6 31. c3 f5 32. Kf3 e4+ $4 {leading to a quick end} (32... Kf7 $18) 33. Kf4 Kf6 (33... Rd6 {the last chance for counterplay} 34. a4 bxa4 35. Rxf5 Rd2 36. Rg5+ Kh6 $18) 34. Rxf5+ Kg6 35. Re5 ( 35. Rg5+ $142 {keeps an even firmer grip} Kh6 36. Re5 $18) 35... Rxe5 (35... Rd6 {praying for a miracle} 36. Rxe4 Kg7 $18) 36. Kxe5 a5 (36... e3 {doesn't get the bull off the ice} 37. fxe3 Kf7 38. Kd6 a5 39. a4 bxa4 40. c4 a3 41. bxa3 a4 42. c5 Ke8 43. c6 Kd8 44. c7+ Kc8 45. e4 Kb7 46. Kd7 Kb6 47. c8=Q Ka7 48. Qc5+ Ka6 49. Qb4 Ka7 50. Kc6 Ka6 51. Qxa4#) 37. Kxe4 Kf6 38. f3 (38. f4 Ke6 39. f5+ Kf6 40. b3 a4 41. bxa4 bxa4 42. a3 Kf7 43. Ke5 Ke7 44. c4 Kd8 45. f6 Kd7 46. c5 Kc6 47. f7 Kxc5 48. f8=Q+ Kc4 49. Ke4 Kb3 50. Qb4+ Ka2 51. Kd4 Ka1 52. Kc3 Ka2 53. Qb2#) 38... Ke6 39. g4 hxg4 40. fxg4 Kf6 (40... Kf7 {cannot change what is in store for White} 41. Kf5 b4 42. h5 bxc3 43. bxc3 Kg7 44. g5 a4 45. h6+ Kh7 46. Kf6 Kg8 47. h7+ Kxh7 48. g6+ Kg8 49. g7 a3 50. c4 Kh7 51. Kf7 Kh6 52. g8=Q Kh5 53. Qg3 Kh6 54. Qh4#) 41. b3 (41. b3 a4 42. bxa4 bxa4 43. c4 a3 44. g5+ Kg7 45. c5 Kf8 46. h5 Ke7 47. h6 Kf8 48. h7 Kg7 49. g6 Kf6 50. h8=Q+ Ke7 51. Qg7+ Kd8 52. c6 Ke8 53. Kf4 Kd8 54. Qd7#) 1-0

This post has been renamed February 19th, 2017 in order for it to be as accurate as possible. It turned out that when I checked the opening played in this game with Deep Fritz 14, this game followed theory up to the move 9.Qxd4. Actually, Deep Fritz 14 classifies this opening as C62 Spanish Game: Steinitz Defence, but because it gives the same name to some other lines, I had to include the number of moves in the title and try to get the games divided correctly into the posts. The game below was played in the second round of the WORLD OPEN RAPID tournament. The tournament was played at the FIDE Online Arena on March 18th 2015. My start was quite good, two wins in two games, so everything went according to plan at that time. I may be happy with the results so far but not for some of the moves I played in these two rounds. I would like to play accurate moves and not give my opponents chances to win, but that is sometimes too much to ask, especially in a rapid game.

My opponent was able to hang on in the game up to the position below, but then saviola played 9...a6 and he or she ended up in some real trouble. Black does not have time to play these kind of slow moves. I do not know the purpose of the move since b5 is already covered with the queen and my knight is prevented from jumping there. Maybe the move allows to move the a-rook. However, preparing the move O-O-O is unlikely since it seems to be a horrible idea because the king is not actually safe on the queenside, at least in my opinion.

It would have been a better idea to play 9...Be7 and prepare castling kingside. I should have played one of the following moves, 10.Bf4, 10.Rd1 or 10.Bg5 in reply, but I played 10.Re1 instead, which was a bit sloppy reply. I remained on the better side of the board, of course, but only slightly. Saviola then played 10...c5, starting the positional downhill once again. This time, however, I was up to the task of taking the advantage with the move 11.Qd3. Saviola's 11th move, O-O-O, only made things worse for my opponent. After castling to the queenside saviola's position was lost. While I did not play the best possible moves after that I did not allow my opponent back into the game again. I have to admit, I missed a mate in one once again in the position below.

It is somewhat embarrassing that I did not see the move 26.Qd4#, but luckily I was not the one defending the position, so I got my chance to end the game a few moves later in my favor. The game ended in mate with the move 29.Rc7#. I have added one game to the post C41 Philidor Defense. I have also added some of the commentary to the other games in that post, to maybe improve the quality of the post a bit.

Game number two. This is from the 2014 August Grand Seven Fourteen II tournament that is still in progress at Red Hot Pawn. This group of 21 players is a really mixed group of beginners and advanced skill level players. The lowest rating that a player has in this tournament is 922 and the highest is 1913. It does take interest off from some games as there can be really huge gaps between the skill level of the two players that are playing in this tournament. Luckily there are players closely rated to both the weakest and strongest player so that there might be some interesting games to be seen.

The game started to go wrong for my opponent in the position below where OneThird played 9...a6. OneThird should have played 9...Be7 in order to stay in the game.

OneThird's position went further downhill with the move 11...b5 in the position below. Playing 11...Be7 would have been the recommended move once again. Stockfish 8 64 POPCNT thinks that I should have a winning advantage after the 11th move played by OneThird. At first I responded with a decent move 12.Rfe1, but my next move 13.e5 in reply to 12...Be7 threw most of my advantage away.

The next blunder that could have allowed me to take the winning advantage was played in the position below. My opponent castled short, which would have allowed me to play 15.Qxd7 and follow it up with 16.Rxe7 winning a piece. While that idea seems obvious to me now, I did not play that in the game for some reason. I played 15.Qe2 and I ended being slightly worse because of that.

OneThird made a huge mistake in response with the move 15...Rfe8 and I managed to find the strongest reply 16.Rd1, after which I had the winning advantage again. OneThird's 15th move was not the losing move because I threw my advantage away in the position below by playing 25.Nxc5. The move that I should have played was 25.Nd6. It is the strongest move according to the engine.

The game continued with the moves 25...Bxc5 26.Rxg7 Kxg7? The 26th move by my opponent was the starting point for the final downhill for OneThird. My opponent resigned after 41.b3 in a position where I had five pawns and a king and my opponent had two pawns and a king.

1 Nov 2016

Phase 1 complete

Phase 1 complete

Yesterday I finally finished making the necessary changes to the blog that allowed the posts to work properly in the HTTPS version of the blog. When it was done, I made it so that even if you use a link to the HTTP version, you will be redirected to the HTTPS version. I am aware that some of the pages load rather slowly now because of the large number of Chess.com game viewers used, but I am not at the moment sure how I want to fix the problem. I did look for other game viewers, but changing to another viewer almost right after I changed to Chess.com's does not seem appealing to me. Therefore I might change the way I make my posts instead.

If this is your first time visiting this blog today, I have also changed a few other things, which you might notice if you have come here before the change. Maybe the most important change was that on the mobile version of the blog, you can now access the links to 3 check statistics, Chess960 starting positions in this blog, list of opponents, Openings covered in this blog, My YouTube channel, Chess basics and Shakin alkeita. That being said, the mobile version does not currently look the way I would want, so a few more changes are required in that department.

Phase 2 has started, it consists with more improvements and updates to the blog. When I finish the things I want to do in this phase, I will start doing the blog in a more normal way again. I have also taken some time off from doing videos to my YouTube channel, but I will start doing the videos probably next week again. That most likely will not mean that I would be able to upload them next week, but as soon as I think that I have enough videos prepared, they will be appearing on YouTube again. I have added a game to my post Chess960 SP76 today. I am going to be taking a deeper look to my older posts in the future whenever I add a game to my old posts. I will compare the games already posted to the game I am adding and maybe I will be able to determine what is my best game in the opening variation or starting position.

9 Sep 2016

Chess960 SP207

Chess960 SP207

I think the time has come to do some serious maintenance to the blog again. This time, however, I can't say for certain when it will be done. I will go through all my old posts where I have used Chessbase 12 to publish my chess games and republish those games using the Chess.com game viewer. This is necessary because the old posts will not work properly in HTTPS otherwise. I previously thought that I would have enough time to do the maintenance in addition with the normal posts, but in practice I have not really been using that time for maintenance, but for other things. Therefore I need to take the time to finish what I have started in this way. When it is finished, I can publish all the games that I have missed in chronological order because they have been from a previously published opening variations. Those skipped games have been bothering me for some time now and now there are so many of them that I feel its something that is long overdue. While I can't say for certain how long it will take me to do all the updates I want to do, it is unlikely that I would be able to get back to regular posting schedule next week. As soon as I have done all the updates, I will start doing these blog posts again.

Now for this short game you can view below. I did not think during the game that 2.c3 is a good move, but it still was a playable move. I dislike the move 2.c3 because the pawn just gets in the way of White's other pieces. It takes a good developing square away from the b-knight and it blocks the long diagonal and therefore may be in the way of the queen that resides on a1. The first time my opponent really went wrong was after 3...d6. In the position below, my opponent, GStratZ played 4.Bd4. It was an interesting idea in my opinion. I thought about taking the bishop for some time, but then realised that it probably was not a good idea because it would open up the c-file for the rook and allow my opponent to develop a knight to c3. Therefore I did not take on d4 as it would only help GStratZ. The move I played in reply, 4...e5, seems to be the best alternative according to Stockfish 7 64 POPCNT.

The position should only slightly favor me, so draw would be still the result with accurate play. The position below is taken after 5...Nd7. GStratZ played 6.b4, a move that continued the positional downhill that my opponent was on. I could not properly understand the reason behind this move when I saw it played during the game, but the idea behind it may be to prevent Nc5 and get some room for the queen to activate itself.

The game probably was not completely over after 6.b4, but the situation for my opponent became quite dire. With the next two moves by GStratZ, 7.h3 and 8.c4, the game went to become really hopeless for my opponent and the game quickly ended after that. I have added a mate in one puzzle 529, a mate in two puzzle 757, a mate in three puzzle 676 and mate in four puzzles 539 &540 today.

8 Sep 2016

Chess960 SP652

Chess960 SP652

When I play Chess960 at lichess.org, everything just seems to go my way. I play there weekly some rapid games of the variant and so far my winning percentage is 72, the average rating of my opponents being 1680.13. When I play correspondence Chess960 games at Chess.com, my interest to the games is rather low at the moment and it does show in my rating, which is only 1677. However, my Live 960 rating is 1893, so when I play the games at one sitting, I am these days better concentrated and interested about the games than when I play my correspondence games. I have tried my best to completely get rid of my correspondence games, but I still have 32 of them in progress. Maybe some day I will finally end all of those games, I will not lose any game on purpose, but I may not give my best effort to fight for the win either. There is no reference game in the notation because no engine had played the horrible move 1.c4 in my Chess960 reference database.

This game started with my inaccurate first move 1.c4. While the intention behind the move was good, to open the b1-h7 diagonal for the light-squared bishop, it was a bit hasty and bad move. It is not bad enough to give me any serious trouble, but there are certainly better alternatives like 1.f4. The first real mistake was played my opponent on move 3 in the position below. Stirlits played 3...Ng6, ignoring my threat to the c-pawn. Maybe the idea was that when I take the pawn, the move Be5 would be possible, getting the rook from the corner.

For a brief moment I thought that I was lost after 4...Be5, but then I realised that I can take on g6 with my bishop, threatening the rook on e8, which saved me and showed that my opponent's plan was flawed. It was all downhill for stirlits after that. I was able to checkmate my opponent on move 34. I have added mate in two puzzles 754 - 756 and mate in three puzzles 674 & 675 today.

This game can also be viewed in the video below.

7 Sep 2016

D03 Queen's Pawn Game: Torre Attack, Gossip Variation

D03 Queen's Pawn Game: Torre Attack, Gossip Variation

This game was played in a club tournament in 2011. Both players did some small mistakes during the first 23 moves, but when we reached the position below we started to make bigger mistakes. The move my opponent made in this position was 24.Qc5, which was a horrible decision, but because I played 24...Qe5 in response, the tables turned clearly in favor of my opponent.

That did not last for very long though. Already after 25...fxe5 my opponent took a wrong path and played 26.f4, allowing me to get back in to the game. The game was then played rather evenly until we came to the next position you can see below. It is taken after my opponent played 32.gxf4.

I played 32...Ne5+, which became the losing move of the game. I only managed to make things worse for me later on, for example with the move 34...Ra8, which was too passive defense and doomed to fail. I have added a mate in one puzzle 528, a mate in two puzzle 753, a mate in three puzzle 673 and mate in four puzzles 537 & 538 today.

6 Sep 2016

C33 King's Gambit Accepted, Bishop's Gambit

C33 King's Gambit Accepted, Bishop's Gambit

It is time to take a look at another variation of the King's Gambit. This is one of the variations that should be losing for White with best play according to the extensive research done on the subject about a year later after this game was played. This game was played between two human players, so the moves were far from perfect. Then again I do realise that even between two stong engines the moves are not perfect either. The game below was played in a weekend tournament that was held at Tampere over five years ago. This is taken from round 5, which was the last round of the tournament. Before this game my opponent had lost the round one game, but then he had won all other games. I had won all my four previous games, so this could have been the tournament where I finally won with a perfect score 5 out of 5. However, the opening my opponent chose was something that I have really struggled with. In the future I will most likely play 3...Nf6 instead of the move 3...d6 that I played in this game. Because I lost this game I was on second place in the final standings of group B and the opponent I faced in the game below was on first place.

My third move is actually an okay move, the position should be roughly even after that. The position below is taken after 5.h4. I played 5...Bh6 in reply, which was the starting point for the disaster of a game that this was for me. While my opponent did some inaccurate moves, he never let me back in to the game.

I have never been able to win all five games in a weekend tournament like this, I think the closest I have been is half a point away from the perfect score. That I have been able to do a couple of times. I have been able to get 5 out of 5 in an online tournament though, most memorable one is the one World Open Rapid tournament I played at the FIDE Online Arena. My performance rating was 2413! The highest performance rating I have ever been able to get. I have added mate in two puzzles 750 - 752, a mate in three puzzle 672 and a mate in four puzzle 536 today.

5 Sep 2016

C89 Spanish Game: Marshall Attack, Main Line

C89 Spanish Game: Marshall Attack, Main Line

This game was played at lichess.org on August 28th, 2016. This game has appeared also on my Youtube channel. There I posted the game on August 29th. In this post I offer a deeper look at the game that I could offer in the video. This was my first chess game that I played at lichess and this turned out to be a really promising start. We followed a theoretical path up to the move 13.Re1, but then my opponent played a move I had not seen played before in that position. While 13...Qf6 is not really a bad move, 13...Qh4 is a better option. I played 14.Be3 in order to get the bishop out of the way, so I could develop my knight to d2. The position below is taken after I played my 14th move.

My 14th move is not actually the best move and the position became roughly even with that move. I like to develope my pieces as soon as possible, so Be3 seemed like the way to go, even though it can give up the bishop pair. Actually my opponent did not take the bishop, but instead played 14...Bf4, a move that started the downfall for joachimmueller. I did not really understand that move during the game and it is hard for me to see the idea behind it. I guess taking on e3 and pressuring the e-pawn was the idea, but it can't be accomplished so easily. I played 15.Nd2 in response and while it may not be the most accurate move, it was good enough to secure a clear advantage for me. My opponent's next move was the final nail in the coffin. 15...Qg6 is horrible because I end up at least two pawns up and after that I am clearly in a winning position. In the game my opponent sacrificed a whole piece in desperation, but did not get any counterplay because of it, so the game was basically over after that. I have added mate in one puzzles 526 & 527 and mate in two puzzles 747 - 749 today.

2 Sep 2016

E01 Catalan Opening

E01 Catalan Opening

This game was played on the third round of a weekend tournament that was held at Loimaa in February, 2011. On the previous two rounds I had lost to a player who was rated 1965 and drew against a player who was rated 1891 at the time. On the fourth round I received my only win in the tournament against a player who was rated 1848. On the last round I lost again, so I managed to gather only 1.5 points against higher rated opponents, on the last round I faced an opponent who was rated 1884. Because I can't seem to find the results of this tournament anywhere anymore, I have no idea what my final standing was.

The game below was a rather straightforward one, my opponent never gave me a fighting chance. Well, the only exception might have been the position after 10.Nc3. Had I replied with 10...Bxf4, I might have been ever so slightly better. I played 10...e5, which leads to a slightly favorable position for my opponent.

After I handed over the advantage on move 10, my opponent never let it go. I was able to maintain a decent position until I made things worse for me and played 19...Rd8. The position below this paragraph is the position where I played my 19th move and started my final descent into the loss.

My last move of the game 31...Re8 was also the worst move of the game and of course my opponent took full advantage of my mistake and played 32.Rxe6! After that there was no point of me continuing the game, so I resigned. I have added a mate in two puzzle 746, a mate in three puzzle 671 and mate in four puzzles 534 & 535 today.

1 Sep 2016

C33 King's Gambit Accepted: Bishop's Gambit, Maurian Defense

C33 King's Gambit Accepted: Bishop's Gambit, Maurian Defense

The theoretical move order for this variation is 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Nc6. If we would have followed the theoretical move order, I think I would not have played 3...Nc6. I definetely would not play that after the old post I came across yesterday. The post I am referring to was published April 2nd, 2012 titled "Rajlich: Busting the King's Gambit, this time for sure". It can be found at the Chessbase website. In that post Vasik Rajlich claimed that the King's Gambit had been solved. According to that extensive project he did, the best move against 3.Bc4 is 3...Nf6 and White should lose with best play. The project was inspired by Bobby Fischer's claims that he had refuted the King's Gambit. Interestingly enough it seems that Fischer was right about 3...d6 being the best answer to 3.Nf3. What is also interesting about this project is that the only move after 2...exf4 that keeps White in the game is 3.Be2 and with best play it is a draw. In practical play human players can still make bad moves, so it is not like you could get a guaranteed win in the lines that should be winning from this early on.

The game below was played in a second division, group 4 match between AS and SalSK 2 in 2010. I played on board 4 for SalSK 2 in this match. I was not unfortunately the only one who lost on our team, we also lost on boards 1 and 3. On board 2 we drew and the only win we got from our board 5 player. This meant that the final score was 3 - 1 in favor of AS. While this game started in a promising way for me, the longer the game went, the more the game started to gravitate in favor of my opponent. The position below is taken after my 7th move g5. My opponent played 8.Nc3, after which I should be clearly better. The best option for White to stay in the game is to play 8.d5 here.

I remained only clearly better until in the position below my opponent blundered and played 12.Bd3. Had I played 12...Nxd5, I might have been in a position that is close to winning, but alas I played 12...Re8 and I remained only clearly better.

The game went on being either clearly favorable or winning at times for me, up to the move 35.Kh2, but then the game started to slowly become favorable for my opponent. In the position below I played 35...Rf1, which gave my opponent a golden opportunity to punish me from my mistake and play 36.Bg4+. It would have resulted in a position where I need to sacrifice my bishop and even though I would only have a pawn for the bishop, I should have enough counterplay to compensate for the material. Especially since I would be likely to get a second pawn for the bishop from a2.

My opponent did not go for that plan and the position remained roughly even, with both players making some inaccuarete moves until we reached the position below. On move 40 my opponent moved his rook from e2 to d2. This was one of the turning points of the game. I played 40...Rc1, which at long last gave my opponent the advantage. I should have played 40...h5 in order to maintain equality of the position. Maybe also 40...b5 was a move to consider instead of the move played in the game.

Blunders did not end there of course. I was still hanging on in the game in the position below, I was only slightly worse at the time. With the move 44...Rb1 my position went down the drain, now it was my opponent who had the winning position. The correct move for me was 44...fxg2. While the move that my opponent chose was not the most accurate, he should still be winning after 45.Bd7+.

Even though I drifted into a position that seemed completely lost, for some reason I continued the struggle. Perhaps because this was a team match, I continued the game longer than I normally would. The fact that I did not give up, might have frustrated my opponent enough so that he made a mistake that allowed me to get into a position that was drawish. I should be completely lost in the position below, but one blunder can change that. My adversary played 61.Ke6, which with correct play is only good enough for a draw. 61.h4 was the best move for White. Stockfish thinks that White should be up by 24+ pawns after 61.h4. An advantage that should be enough for everyone to convert into a win.

The final mistake of the game came in the position below after my opponent had played 71.h6. The only move that could have drawn the game for me was 71...a2. For some reason I thought that move order is not important in this position and I played the horrible blunder 71...c4 before playing a2, but that was a judgement error that cost me the game.

71...a2 was much better because it forces 72.Bf6 and then I could have played 72...c4. I was so close to a draw, but still so far away. I did offer my best resistance in the game continuation, but it was in the end futile and I needed to resign after 81.Bxc3 as my pawns were forcefully removed from the board. I have added mate in one puzzles 524 & 525, a mate in two puzzle 745, a mate in three puzzle 670 and a mate in four puzzle 533 today.

31 Aug 2016

B20 Sicilian Defense: Wing Gambit

B20 Sicilian Defense: Wing Gambit

The game I am sharing today was played at Loimaa in a weekend tournament that was held there in February 2010. This game is from the 4th round and this was my second win in a row. On the first two rounds I lost my games, so after a rough start things were looking up again. On the last round I suffered another loss and it meant that I only managed to get 2 points out of the possible 5. I have not been one to like gambits, but when I am able to refute them, I feel quite happy. I will only go through some moments of this game and you can then view the full game with the game viewer. The first position I am going to take a look at arised after my fourth move 4...Nf6. In the position below my opponent played 5.f4, which is a first real mistake of this game. 5.c4 was a better alternative.

Then just a couple of moves later I played 7...Qa5 in the position below, briefly bringing the game into balance, or at least close to it. My opponent replied with 8.Nd2, making his position clearly worse again. 8.Ne2 was the better choice. I continued with 8...Be7, which is only good enough for a small advantage, 8...b3 was the right way to go and I would have been clearly better, had I chosen to play that move.

When we reached the position below, all of my advantage was almost gone. It was my move and I played 28...Na3, after which there was nothing left of my advantage.

It did not take long, however, until my opponent made the blunder that lost the game. In the position below my opponent played the horrible 30.Ng3, after which the game is lost for White. The correct move was 30.Rc1. To the move played in the game I replied with the strongest move 30...Rc3.

The game was not even close to being over just yet, because the game ended to my opponent's resignation after 51...Kf8. I have added a mate in two puzzle 744, mate in three puzzles 668 & 669 and mate in four puzzles 531 & 532 today.

30 Aug 2016

B08 Pirc Defense: Classical Variation

B08 Pirc Defense: Classical Variation

I am taking a look at my old over the board games this week, since there seemed to be enough never before covered opening variations to last for this week. Well, opening variations that have not seen the light of day in this blog that is. This game was played in a weekend tournament at Turku in April, 2009. The tournament consisted of four groups and I played in group D with 11 other players. The game below was played on round two and it was my first loss. I had won my first round game against a player who was rated 1643. On the next two rounds I was able to win my games again, but on the last round I suffered my second loss. With a score of 3 out of 5 I shared third place in the group, but due to tie-break I was 5th in the fianl standings of group D.

The first position of interest appeared after my opponent played 6...c6. These days I would almost always castle in that position without much thought, but in this game I chose for some reason to play 7.d5, which seems a bit premature since my king is still in its original square in the center. 7.d5 was a really bad idea and the first clear mistake of the game.

It was not the start of my downfall just yet though, because a few moves and some inaccuracies later we reached the position after 12.O-O. You can see that position below. My opponent replied with 12...Rae8 after which the position was even once again. 12...Nc5 was the best option to keep the advantage.

The next clear shift in the balance came in the position below after I had played 24.Bxc4. My opponent was slightly better in that position, but then he played 24...a4, which gave me a chance for a clear advantage. Unfortunately I did not play 25.Ba6, which meant that instead of being the one in a favorable position, I gave the favorable position to my opponent with the move 25.Ne2.

The game then went on without big mistakes until we reached the position below. It is taken after my 33rd move Nxc5. My opponent played 33...Qf8, which is a huge blunder according to Stockfish 7 64 POPCNT. The engine thinks that I am in a winning position after 33...Qf8. The correct move was 33...Qb6 and the position would have been even after that. Again I missed the strongest move, which in this case would have been 34.Ne6. The move I chose, 34.Be2 is good enough to a clear advantage, so I should have been doing quite well at this point in the game.

Two consecutive blunders changed the outcome of the game. In the position below I was on the clearly favorable side, but I went to grab the a-pawn with the knight instead of the possibly winning move 36.Ne6 and suddenly the position was more even again. Especially after my opponent played 36...Qh4. The other option to keep the equality was to play 36...Qa5.

The former option was probably better for practical reasons as it seems like the harder one to make a good move against. I was not able to find a good answer to 36...Qh4 and made the game losing move 37.Bf1. The only move that could have kept me in the game was 37.g3, all other moves were losing for me. I did play a few more moves, but had to accept my defeat after 42...Rxf7. I have added a mate in one puzzle 523, mate in two puzzles 742 & 743, a mate in three puzzle 667 and a mate in four puzzle 530 today.

29 Aug 2016

B31 Sicilian Defense: Nyezhmetdinov-Rossolimo Attack, Fianchetto Variation

B31 Sicilian Defense: Nyezhmetdinov-Rossolimo Attack, Fianchetto Variation

The game below was played over seven years ago at Espoo in a weekend tournament. This game is from round 4. I played in group B and before this round I had only managed to get one draw, so the tournament continued to go downhill for me with this game. I lost also my last round game, so I only got 0.5 out of 5, which is one of my worst results to this day. My rating dropped 58 points because of this really bad result. I ended being on last place in the group of 20 players. My opponent finished 16th in the group.

It did not take long for me to be in a lost position in this game, in fact after my 8th move my position was completely hopeless. However, the position below is taken after 7.Na3. At that point the position is roughly even.

My reply was 7...a6 in order to prevent 8.Nb5. It was actually a huge mistake and the only move that could have kept me in the game was 7...Nge7. I did get another chance to hold the position when my friend played 8.Re1. It does leave White in a slightly better position, but 8.Nc4 would have been the move that has the possibility to fight for a clear advantage. Unfortunately for me, I did not use my last chance and played the horrible 8...d6 for some reason. I can't really remember the reason for that move anymore. My best option was to play 8...Nge7. After the gigantic blunder 8...d6, Tomi was able to find a strong continuation that should have resulted in my resignation, but for some reason I wanted to suffer a bit longer and only resigned after the move 22.Nc5. I have added a mate in three puzzle 666 and mate in four puzzles 528 & 529 today.

26 Aug 2016

Chess960 SP497

Chess960 SP497

The chess960 filled week is coming to its end, though I still have to publish the last video of the week after this post, but other than that I am getting very close of preparing things for next week again. Especially this week the videos I have shared to YouTube have been of games that I have shared the previous day in this blog, which is in some ways a problem. To me, it is obviously convenient to share the games in this way, but if someone who follows both this blog and my YouTube channel, things can get a bit repetitive. While I think both ways are exploring the game in different ways, I might need to do something a bit different for next week and in the future.

While I played this game, I did not really like the way I started the game, but today when I added the reference game into the notation, I saw that the game followed a game between two strong engines up to my move 3.Ngf3, which made me think that maybe the start of the game was okay after all. That being said, the problem I have with the move 2.d3 is that it blocks the natural development square of my e-knight. I actually kind of liked the way that my opponent developed his or her pieces. Especially the bishop pair that my opponent had seemed more dangerous than their counterparts. Well, my light-squared bishop was my problem bishop and maybe the dark-squared bishop for my opponent was maybe a big pawn. However, the dark-squared bishop had at least the potential of being a strong piece in case that the c-pawn advances and the bishop would then target f2. It never became a reality and I was actually the one to play c4 blocking the a7-g1 diagonal for the bishop after which it became just a big pawn. Small inaccuracies by my opponent, 10...h6 and 11...Qd7 allowed me to gain a small advantage. The position after 12.Rd1 is seen in the diagram below.

Here danishdog's position started to fall apart. My opponent played the move 12...Bc6, which is a really bad move. After the reply 13.Ne5 I should be winning according to Stockfish. I did complicate things by playing 16.Qc3 in the position below. After I had moved the queen to c3, it did not seem like a good place for it and there indeed is some problems with it. The queen can be easily driven away from c3, for instance. I should be clearly better even after the queen move because my pieces are better developed and the bishop on b6 is a really bad piece.

My opponent did go for the right idea at first by moving the knight to e4 on move 16 and harassed my queen. The queen went to d3 and after that 17...N8f6 was played. At that moment I thought that I had to go to b1 with the bishop in order to give the square c2 for my queen after my opponent plays Rd8. I was wrong, it seems and I could have actually taken the rook with my queen and with precise play I would have a winning advantage. In the game I followed my plan and played the queen to c2, giving away most of my advantage. Of course, I was not aware of that during the game. Some inaccuracies later we reached the position below. It is taken after my 22nd move h3.

For me the game became really easy because my opponent blundered with 23...Rh6. It was a desperate move in the time trouble my opponent was in. Well, danishdog had a bit over a minute left on the clock when he or she played that move. I had a bit over 3 minutes left on my clock at that time. I think my opponent wanted me to take on g4 with my h-pawn, but instead I took on e4 with the queen and had easily winning position in front of me. I think hxg4 would have been good enough for a win too, but 23.Qxe4 was the simpler way to go. I have added mate in two puzzles 738 - 741 and mate in four puzzle 527 today.

The game above can also viewed in the video below.

25 Aug 2016

Chess960 SP343

Chess960 SP343

This short game was played at lichess.org. This is so short that the reference game in the notation is actually a lot longer and perhaps more interesting because of it. There is nothing wrong with the moves 1.d4 g6, but already with the move 2.c4 my opponent gets into trouble. While the loss of a pawn might seem rather bad this early, my opponent, gftklmt, did get minimal compensation for it in view of more space. Apart from the pawn sacrifice, I think gftklmt played reasonable moves until my opponent played 5.Ne5. The move does not make any sense at all to me. My opponent can't afford to waste moves like this if he or she wants to get a good result from the game. The final blunder came in the form of 9.Ndxc5 in the position below.

Of course this game would have been quite easy to play even if my opponent had not sacrificed the queen, but since it resulted in gftklmt's resignation, it helped a lot in ending the game. I have added mate in one puzzles 521 & 522 and mate in three puzzles 663 - 665 today.

This game can also be viewed in the video below. In the video I discuss my thought process during the game and also offer some analysis after the game.

24 Aug 2016

Chess960 SP529

Chess960 SP529

This game, like the one I shared yesterday, were played last Sunday, though this one was played at lichess.org. It was also the day when I played in a simultanenous exhibition against a FIDE Master Kalle Niemi, against whom I managed to get a draw. It was the second simultaneous exhibition I had played in this year, in the first one I played against Grand Master Heikki Westerinen and that game I lost. These chess960 games I played in the evening of last Sunday and I was quite tired when I played them. When I am tired or otherwise can't properly concentrate on the games, it has a very noticeable effect on my playing strength, I play a lot worse than I would normally play.

I really struggled to find a good way to develop my pieces from the move 4 onward. I think I should have played 4.c4 and put my light-squared bishop to c2 and move my knight to c3 via e2. It seems to me the best way to handle the development at this moment. The moves I went for in the game seem overly complicated and bad to me. For instance, the move 6.Nb2 was intended to be the starting point for its journey to e3 via c4. I ended up in even bigger problems when I played 9.c4, in the position below. Had I played 9.Re1, I might have been still fighting for a draw in a slightly worse position. While my opponent did not find the strongest reply, pancake should still be favored after 9...Bc7.

On my 10th move I made an even bigger blunder with d4. It seemed like a good idea to try to open the e-file, since pancake's king was still at e8. However, I had not seen all the possible replies by my opponent and pancake had for a couple of moves a completely winning position. Until we reached the position after 12.bxc4. In the position below pancake went off the winning path by playing 12...e4.

Pancake's 12th move gave me an opportunity to seize the advantage, but horrible moves continued both from me and my opponent and in the end pancake was the one who stopped blundering first, which meant that my opponent was the one who ended up being on the better side of the board. I was in huge trouble in the position you can see below. I was down the exchange and very likely to lose the game, but then my opponent decided to play 24...b5, which gave me some much needed counterplay. Enough in fact that I had full compensation for the material lost. I continued with the correct idea 25.c6 in order to give my dark squared bishop a square on c5. Pancake replied with 25...Bd6, which I thought to be a good move during the game and lessen the impact of the move Bc5. However, I was wrong in my assumption. It was actually a bad idea to play 25...Bd6 and had I moved my bishop to c5, I could have been on the driver's seat for the rest of the game.

I went for the pawn on a7 instead and the chance to take the advantage passed me by. Then with my 27th move, Bc5, I handed over the advantage to pancake. My opponent was able to maintain the advantage until we reached this position. In this position pancake unwisely played 31...bxc4 and allowed my knight to jump to c4. I think this was already the time trouble phase of the game. It also explains the huge blunder 32...Rc8. After that I was, of course, completely winning, but I was very low on time and it was hard to make good moves.

My opponent was even kind enough to step into mate in one, one or two seconds before my time ran out. Unfortunately I was unable to find 42.Bd1. Had I seen the idea early enough, I would have had time to play that move and win the game. I have added mate in two puzzles 735 - 737 and mate in three puzzles 661 & 662 today.

This game can also viewed in the video below and you can hear my live commentary and after game analysis. There are also some comments added in the video editing phase.

23 Aug 2016

Chess960 SP626

Chess960 SP626

Last Sunday I played my 5th chess960 game at FICS in a sleep deprived state. It was not a good idea to put my rating points in jeopardy, but for some reason I thought it would go well. For one thing, I did not expect to get a clearly higher rated opponent, because it is something that almost never happens. This is not because my rating would always be all that high when compared to the ratings of other people, however, my Wild rating at FICS was 1995 before this game, which is a reasonably high rating. That Wild rating means in my case a chess960 rating, since it is the only chess variant I have played there. Due to my long period of inactivity when playing chess960 at FICS, my ratings deviation or RD had become quite high, which meant that my rating dropped 112 points because I lost this game. Maybe with the next game I can get back over 1900 and start chasing the 2000+ rating once more.

When I finally got an opponent to play a game, it seemed to take forever, I moved quite fast, so that my opponent would not abort the game. I had already at this point tried to get a game at lichess.org, but there nobody was interested in playing against me with the time controls I would have liked to play with. I spent a few minutes waiting for an opponent there and then switched to FICS. The problem with moving rather fast was that I had not properly looked at the starting position. This had the unfortunate result of me playing a horrible and ill-advised first move against 1.Ng3. The move I chose, 1...g6, is quite bad in my opinion because it blocks the natural development square of the h-knight. I played 1...g6 in order to get my dark-squared bishop to g7, but I realised after the reply 2.b3 that moving the bishop to g7 would be stupid immediately and therefore I had to prepare it by blocking the long diagonal with 2...e5. Had I played 1...e5 and developed my bishop to the f8-a3 diagonal, I might have not wasted so much time to make my silly first move to make some sense. My awful first move had made the development of the kingside pieces much harder than it should have been.

Regardless of the bad start, I should have been only slightly worse and draw could have been still within my grasp. My real problems started when we reached the position below. In that position I wanted to defend the e-pawn with my d-pawn because had I played 5...f6, the bishop on g7 would have seem like a really bad piece. What I did not realise in my sleep deprived state was that defending the e-pawn with the d-pawn can be really bad for me, since it might lead to the opening of the d-file where my king resided. Of course my opponent was more awake and took his or her opportunity to open the d-file with devastating consequences for me. Anandkvs played 6.dxe5 and at this point in the game I had my last chance of saving the game. Had I played 6...O-O-O and sacrificed the e-pawn, I might have survived.

I replied with 6...Bxe5, which turned out to be the losing move. I did unintentionally make the winning easier for my opponent than I should have a few moves later when I played 10...f5. It was answered with the move 11.Bc4, which wins more material by force. I should have maybe resigned at that point, but wanted to prolong my misery for some reason, but a few moves later I had to accept that there was no way I could get even a draw from this game, so I resigned after 15.Qxe5. I have added mate in two puzzles 732 - 734, mate in three puzzle 660 and mate in four puzzle 526 today.

22 Aug 2016

Chess960 SP815

Chess960 SP815

The pawn structure I went for in this game is not something I like to repeat if I get into this or similar starting positions in the future. I have played in similar way before when my bishops have also been located in g8 and h8 in the starting position. In all of them my bishops have been somewhat out of play. Especially the light-squared bishop has been a real problem piece because I have needed to play both e6 and d5 for some reason or the other. In the future I would like to start these kind of starting positions by moving the g-pawn one square forward and the f-pawn two squares forward. I should also avoid playing d5 and or e6 if possible. It might be better to go for the g6, f5, e5, d6 pawn formation if allowed by the opponent in order to keep the position as open as possible for the two bishops.

The first move of mine that I did not really like, but played anyway was 12...Nb4. I did not like it because I thought that it would be replied with 13.a3 and I would not have accomplished anything except maybe to slightly weaken the queenside pawn structure. However, it was not really a mistake to play the knight to b4 as the position remained roughly even after that. The idea behind Nb4 was not only to attack the pawn on a2, but also protect a6, so that I could play b6 and drive the knight away. Since my opponent did not drive my knight away with a3, I was able to execute my plan. The position below is the one that was on the board after 13...b6. In that position my opponent made a bad choice and traded the knights on e4. It is a bad move because I can take back with my d-pawn and my light-squared bishop has a bigger scope because of it.

It was only the start of the problems my opponent, pancake, faced. Pancake made things worse for himself or herself with his or her next move 15.g4. I should have replied with 15...Qd5 and my position would have been the clearly favorable one, but I played the move 15...a5, which let my opponent off the hook a bit. During the game the move 18.c4 looked dangerous for me, but it is actually dangerous for the side who played it. The position below is after pancake had played 18.c4. Because I had a defensive mindset and focused on playing defensive moves, I did not even consider the correct move 18...a4. The move I played 18...e6, gave up a lot of the activity that my light-squared bishop had. I only played my 18th move, because I thought that it would be necessary to stop the advance of the d-pawn. My passive play meant that the position became more evenly fought again.

A few moves later we reached the next position. The last move played in the game was 21.c5, which was a mistake. The problem was that I made a huge mistake in reply and allowed pancake to take the driver's seat. I should know better to play for activity instead of passivity, but for some reason I still do these kind of moves. I played 21...Qf8, which was probably the worst move up to that point. Then my opponent played 22.cxb6 and I replied with 23...cxb6.

Pancake continued by playing 23.Rc1 and I did not stop playing bad moves just yet, I had to blunder once more and play 23...Rc8. I should have been quite lost and I actually waited for my opponent to play the crushing moves. We reached the position below after I moved my bishop from f7 to e8. It was a huge blunder, which I only realised afterwards. Had my opponent played 25.Nc5+, it would have ended this game right there, becuase I would be completely lost, no matter what I would have played. It was the move I expected pancake to play, but luckily he or she blundered the gave away instead with 25.Red1.

I was not actually sure during the game that I was winning after 25...Nxd4, but I thought it to be my best chance to fight for that possibility. I thought that my pieces were still less coordinated than those of my opponents and had I not moved my king to the right square after 26.Nxa5+, I would have lost this game. The rest of the game was just a matter of technique. I have added mate in one puzzle 520, mate in three puzzle 659, mate in four puzzles 524 & 525 and mate in five puzzle 187 today.

The game can also be viewed in 1080p 60fps in the video below.

19 Aug 2016

A40 Pterodactyl Defense: Queen Pterodactyl, Quiet Line

A40 Pterodactyl Defense: Queen Pterodactyl, Quiet Line

This is one of those opening variations where the name for it depends on the source you are looking it up from. The name I chose is the one that lichess.org uses. If you look this up using the Chess.com openings explorer, then the name is Modern Defense: Pterodactyl, Quiet Line. Interestingly enough they have removed the ECO codes from the opening names on the new version of Chess.com, which means that I have no longer any use for it... It was a very useful tool for me in the past and now it is completely useless. I even made a bug report of it, to which I got a quite quick reply to and the person who replied seemed to agree with my point, but because that person was not the one who can make such chances, only to pass the information to someone who can change it, it has not changed to the useful tool that it was yet. I am starting to think it never will. When I use the analysis board at lichess.org, it can detect the name of the opening, whether or not the moves are made in the theoretical order. That is a feature I like a lot. However, I do not think there is a way to check the theoretical move order anywhere at lichess. If there is and you know how to find it, please leave a comment. It is probably the only complaint that I can think of about the site, because for a site that offers you all of its features for free, is really awesome. The theoretical move order is 1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c5 4.e3.

Now for the game below. I am going to take a look at some of the key moments of the game and then you may look through the whole game using the game viewer provided by Chess.com. The position below is taken after my opponent castled on move 13. Usually castling is a good thing, but sometimes it is a very bad move, like it was in this game. Actually there have been many times in my games where playing either O-O or O-O-O has been a bad move and you may see examples of that in some of the games that I have already shared. The best option for my opponent would have been to play 13.c5 and not allow me to take on c4. After 13.c5 my bishop on e6 would have been a bad piece.

Taking on c4 with the d-pawn was the only way of taking advantage of the mistake of my opponent. My 13th move dxc4 was replied with 14.Nxc4, which could have been the losing move if not for my horrible reply 14...Qc7. The correct move was 14...Bxc4, which I did not play because I wanted to keep my bishop pair. I should have realised that the bishop on e6 is not at all a good piece and trading it to the more active knight would have been a good idea. These days I am not as afraid to give up the bishop pair if the position requires it. I still prefer to have the bishop pair over the pair of knights though. Moving my queen to c7 was just too passive. However, I still was on the better side of things after my 14th move, but only slightly. The next position of interest is after White's 17th move f5.

The idea behind the move 17.f5 is to open some lines for the rook and for the dark-squared bishop. The problem was that the move does not tactically work and I could have won a pawn by taking on d4. In the line that you can see in notation, White can't take the bishop on c4 on move 21 due to Qb6+. I did not see that possibility during the game, but my response to 17.f5 was also clearly favorable for me. Then after 20.Qe1 we reached this next position. I went for the right idea in the wrong way. I played 20...Qb6 in order to put more pressure towards the pawn on d4. The problem with the move I chose is that Nc2 is possible and my opponent may be able fight for a draw. Had I played Be4, it would have still accomplished putting more pressure towards the pawn on d4, but it would have also prevented the move Nc2 defending the pawn.

My opponent did not go for the right defense and made a huge blunder instead with the move 21.Rf4, which is a good candidate for a losing move, but it turned out later in the game that I had to make things a lot harder for me than they should have been. Everything went quite well for me until we reached the position below. This position is taken after my opponent played 30.Qg5. There was a lot of things to think about and I decided to offer a trade of queens by playing Qf6. It is a rather desperate looking move to try and make the game easier for me to play. Unfortunately 30...Qf6 handed over the advantage to my opponent and then it was me who tried to even things up.

My opponent played 31.Qc5, threatening both my knight and rook at the same time, both pieces were undefended. There was no good way to defend against the threats, but I tried my best and played 31...Nc6. Had my opponent just played 32.Qxc6, I would have been on my way to a loss. However, my opponent played 32.d5 instead, turning the tables for the last time during this game. I have added mate in one puzzles 518 & 519, mate in three puzzles 657 & 658 and mate in four puzzle 523 today. Until Monday, my fellow chess enthusiasts!

18 Aug 2016

D78 Neo-Grünfeld Defense: Classical Variation, Original Defense

D78 Neo-Grünfeld Defense: Classical Variation, Original Defense

This game was played on the fourth round of a tournament that was held at Salo almost eight years ago. On the first three rounds I was able to win all my games, so this was the first loss I suffered in the tournament. This also turned out to be the only loss I suffered in this five round tournament. I finished the tournament with a score of 4 out of 5. It was enough for me to secure the second place in group B. My new rating because of this good result was 1764.

This game featured only small inaccuracies until we reached the position below. Last move that was played in the position was 24.Bf1, the bishop moved there from g2. It was not the best move in the position either, but the move my opponent played 24...Qb6 was the worst move that had been played up to that point. 24...Qa4 would have been the right idea to go for. The problem with the move 24...Qb6 was that I can trade queens and after 25...Nxb6 I could have played 26.Bc5, forcing the reply 26...Rb7. After that my a-pawn could have gone up the board more freely.

I did not trade queens for some reason or the other, obviously I did not see the benefits it could have given me. The decision to play 25.Qc3 made playing the game more difficult for me. I think it would have been much easier to play after the trade of queens. That being said, I think I managed to play reasonable moves in the line I chose. Well, up to the point it came time to play my 34th move that is. In the position below I moved my queen to d1, which was clearly the most awful move that had been seen in the game up to that point.

The move was so bad that I should have been completely lost after that. Luckily for me, my opponent did not use the light square weaknesses around my king to full effect, so I could have ended up with a fighting chance if not for the fact that I immediately blundered and threw away my best chance to hold a draw. Then with the move 35...Nf3+ my opponent gave me a last chance to play well and hold the draw, but I was not up to the task and made the move 36.Kg2, which became the final mistake of the game and the reason I lost. I have added mate in one puzzles 516 & 517, mate in two puzzle 731, mate in four puzzle 522 and mate in five puzzle 186 today.