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30 Jan 2016

A46 Indian Game: London System

A46 Indian Game: London System

This post is only done in order to correct a mistake I did in the past. Sometimes I find a game where I have wrongly categorised the opening. This does not happen all that often, but I have corrected similar mistakes also in the past. The reason why I even look at my older posts is that I have found something in the game I am currently looking at that makes me think that I may have done a mistake in naming the opening variation in the older games. This time I looked a recent game from Red Hot Pawn which was played against someone who I had faced before and because that player had played a similar opening against me, I knew that at least that game is under the wrong post. I also found other games in that same post and there are still some work to be done before I have corrected all that were wrongly placed in my post A45 Indian Game: General. The new opening explorer at the new Chess.com site version has been very helpful tool to me lately. It is much better than the old version of the opening explorer in my opinion. In order to be perfectly clear, I have only done some maintenance today, I have not added new games or puzzles today. The normal posts will continue on Monday. The move order in theory for this opening is 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4.

This was played in the second round of the only 20 minute tournament I have ever played at the FIDE Online Arena and probably the last one too. The only reason I will not play in that tournament again is because there are no official elo games played in it. I do not see any reason to play at the FIDE Online Arena if the games are not official. That is because you can only achieve something by playing official games. After two rounds I had two wins and despite the nature of the games I always play to win. It does not work all the time obviously but the will to win is always there.

29 Jan 2016

Chess960 SP186

Chess960 SP186

The game below was played at ChessRex between December 25th 2015 and January 17th 2016. Both players had 4 days to use for each of their moves. This was the 8th game I have played at the site and I have so far finished 9 games there, four chess960 games and five chess games. I have won all of them, but I think my first loss is fast approaching. Currently I have three games in progress there, two of which are chess960 games. The first move by both players could be seen also in a lot of chess games, but on my second move anyone seeing just the notation would realise that this is a chess960 game. There are probably a lot of good options to develop the pieces in this starting position, but I think that I moved my a-knight to the best square it can go from its starting square. I am not sure if my opponent's second move is a good one. I know that it is aggressive and tries to take the iniative by attacking my pawn on e4. The reason why I have my doubts about this move is that it blocks the pawn on d7 and may interfere with the bishops or at least restrict their options a bit. I reply to the threat to the pawn by moving the g-pawn to g3 and open the diagonal for my queen to protect the pawn. My opponent increases the pressure on the pawn with the move f5, to which I do not answer in the best possible way according to Stockfish anyway. The line it offers in this analysis to be better than the one I played is not really convincing to me. Even though Stockfish thinks that after 6...Qxf5 the position is equal, I would slightly prefer black at least with my first glance of the position.

The move 4...c6 made by ALZ112, did not make much sense to me in the game continuation especially when it took a long time for him to play the a-kinght to c7. Only after he had moved the c-pawn the second time on move 26, did he play his knight to c7. 4.fxe4 that the engine suggests does seem to be a better way to continue. Had ALZ112 taken on e4, he could have gotten the bishop pair and my queen would end up on potentialy shaky square e4. The game continues in rather balanced way until ALZ112 plays 7...Nf7 after which I start to gain some real advantage. I am mostly able to maintain my advantage as clear or winning until I play the rather weak and sloppy move 16.Bh3. The game continuation allows me to gain some advantage again, but I am almost throwing it away again when I play 18.Qf3. From move 19 onwards my play gets more consistent and I did not lose my advantage during the rest of the game anymore. I have added one mate in two, two mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today. Until Monday, my fellow chess and chess960 enthusiasts!

28 Jan 2016

Chess960 SP444

Chess960 SP444

Time for some chess960 again, this time I will share two games that were played at lichess.org ten days ago. The rating difference between these two players does show in both of these games as they both were pretty much decided in less than ten moves. The second game did continue longer than the first one, but it featured a similar blunder by my opponent around the same move number as in the first game.

This game starts with both players trying to control the center with their pawns. Perfectly reasonable way to start the game in my opinion. Then I played 2.h3 in order to develop my bishop to h2. The other option is to develop the bishop along the g1-a7 diagonal, but that would require me to move the f-pawn and that is something that I do not like to do in this position. After three moves my opponent has grabbed more space than me due to his pawn moves, but I have developed a bishop and I am also prepared to castle now. On move 4 I play a3, intending to develop my other bishop to a2. I did not want to commit to castling to kingside just yet, but instead keep my options open as long as I can. After 5...f6 I traded the light-squared bishops, I am not sure why I did that because it is not necessary to do so. I have used two moves to trade a bishop that has not moved in the game, usually not a good idea unless there is a clear purpose behind it. After bishop takes on g8, my opponent can't castle short anymore. I am not sure that he or she would have wanted to do so anyway after weakening his or her kingside. After the trade, I continue with my piece development, but my opponent ignores development and plays Nd4, which might have been an annoying move if my knight would not have defended c2. I just play 8.Ne2 in response and maybe on the next move trade knights on d4 or ignore that knight for now and castle. My decision on what to do is made easy after my opponent blunders with the move 8...Nxc2 which I happily take with my knight and be up a piece for a pawn. I have added one mate in two, two mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

Game number two. This one has a similar start to the first game except that my opponent is one move ahead. Similarities continue for the first three moves. After 5.f3 it is clear to me once again that my opponent does not prioritise development for these pawn moves. I am, however, one of those players who like to get their pieces developed as soon as possible and I had my bishop and a knight developed in that position after 5.f3, where my opponent had in my opinion wasted time and just moved his or her pawns. On move six, my opponent finally develops a piece. I answer that by a clumsy looking Bd6, with the idea of just to control c5 with my pieces and besides I did not find a better square for my dark-squared bishop. The bishop is clumsy there because it stands in front of the d-pawn which I may want to play to d5 at some point. Not immediately of course because I would lose a pawn after 6...d5 7.exd5 cxd5 8.Nxe5. All things considered, this second encounter went a lot better for my opponent than the first encounter. Well, until the self-destruction that my opponent started on move 9 anyway. After that the game went clearly in my favor to the end.

27 Jan 2016

C78 Spanish Game: Closed Variations, Martinez Variation

C78 Spanish Game: Closed Variations, Martinez Variation

The game below was third loss in a row for me in correspondence chess at Chess.com. Out of the last ten games there I have lost five, played one draw and won three, though two out of those three wins can't really be counted because my opponent did not move in either of those and lost therefore on time. Especially two out of those losses are really subpar performances from me that should not happen to me with these long thinking times. Obviously I am not using the whole time per move that I would be allowed or even most of it, but I would expect better moves from me than the ones I did in some of those games anyway. Well, it is true that time on my clocks does suggest that I would use a lot longer to make my moves than I am actually using, but because I have 120 or so games to play at the same time, I can't really use all that much time on every single move I make.

This game was played in a team match called Remedy for OCD - BtDW. It is being played on 20 boards between Blade, The Daywalker and Obsessive Chess Disorder!! The rating range for this team match is 1300 - 1900. At the moment this match started, I was the highest participant of this category in OCD, so I play on board 1. During the match the ratings have changed so that I would now only qualify for board 3. The reason for that is that I have unfortunately destroyed my rating, but also the players on second and third boards have increased theirs, which is a more positive thing. The match has been quite evenly fought so far as the current score 17.5 - 16.5 suggests. The score is in favor of Blade, The Daywalker. I have added one analysed game to my post B92 Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Opocensky Variation. I have also added one mate in one, two mate in three, one mate in four and one tactics puzzle today.

26 Jan 2016

D31 Semi-Slav Defense: Accelerated Move Order

D31 Semi-Slav Defense: Accelerated Move Order

This game is just one of many where the move order in the beginning of the game does not follow the theoretical path. Theoretical move order for this opening is 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6. The game below was played in a team match called La Belle France vs Grupo Países e Regiões Lusófonos at Chess.com. The match was played on 11 boards and I played on board 4 for La Belle France. I was able to win my other game against agosoxo. I could have also won this game if I had not made a huge blunder on move 44. I made the move Nf6 because I thought that I will win in all variations, but of course I missed the obvious check 44...Qa7+, which is actually probably the only move that makes the move Nf6 a mistake. When I saw the move Qa7+, I was really disappointed in me for not seeing this move. I mainly looked the lines where my opponent takes on e5 in reply to Nf6 because I may care too much on not giving any material unless there is a good reason. The match ended with a score of 14 - 8 in favor of La Belle France! I have added one analysed game to my post A30 English Opening: Symmetrical Variation. General. I have also added one mate in two, two mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

25 Jan 2016

E17 Queen's Indian, 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 (7...c5)

E17 Queen's Indian, 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 (7...c5)

I have not played against anyone rated over 2600 before this game, in correspondence chess that is. I have, however, played one blitz game over the board against a player of similar rating as my opponent in this game couple of years ago if I recall correctly. The game below was played at Queen Alice Internet Chess Club between December 26th 2015 and January 21st 2016. This game started to go a bit wrong for me around move 9.

I played 9...Na6 in the position above because I wanted to finish the development of my pieces as quickly as possible. I also thought that I could get my knight to c7 and it could be the best place for my knight. The whole idea of maneuvering the knight to c7 turned out to be a bad idea and it was the start of my downfall. After 12.e4 patoche was clearly better and did not give me any chance to get back into the game for the rest of the game.

I have lost most of my correspondence games recently and despite of the bad results, I have started more games again. I know I would be better off not starting more games and doing something else instead, but I can't seem to help it... I have now 120 games in progress and if I keep adding more and more, I could soon be back over 200+ games in progress which was very time consuming the last time I had that many games in progress. Lately though, I have just made moves and not cared that much about the result of the games. I mean I still want to win, but I am more accustomed to losing at this point and it has appeared in some of my games that everything goes in favor of my opponents, regardless of what I do. That is what I feel anyway. I did even resign one game after 8 moves because I thought that my opponent wins a piece by force. After I had resigned, I looked that position with the computer and it turned out that I resigned too quickly and I could have avoided the loss of the piece... The continuation was not even that hard to see, I just ended my thought process one move too early. I have added two mate in two, one mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

[Event "Let's Play Chess!"] [Site "http://www.queenalice.com/gam"] [Date "2015.12.26"] [Round "?"] [White "patoche"] [Black "Vierjoki, Timo"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E17"] [WhiteElo "2630"] [BlackElo "2203"] [Annotator "Stockfish 8 64 POPCNT (30s), TV"] [PlyCount "53"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Re1 {Queen's Indian Defense: Fianchetto Variation, Kramnik Variation} (7. b3 {Queen's Indian Defense: Euwe Variation}) (7. d5 exd5 8. Nd4 {Queen's Indian Defense: Classical Variation, Taimanov Gambit} (8. Nh4 {Queen's Indian Defense: Classical Variation, Polugaevsky Gambit})) 7... c5 8. d5 exd5 9. Nh4 Na6 (9... Ne4 10. cxd5 Bxh4 11. Bxe4 Bf6 12. Nc3 d6 13. Qc2 (13. Bg2 Re8 14. Bf4 a6 15. Ne4 Be7 16. h4 b5 17. h5 a5 18. h6 g6 19. Qd2 b4 20. b3 Na6 21. Qb2 f6 22. Bxd6 Bxd6 23. Nxf6+ Kf7 24. Nxe8 Kxe8 25. Qh8+ Kd7 26. Qxh7+ Qe7 27. Qxg6 Rf8 { Girya,O (2452) -Bosch Garcia,J (2011) Baku 2016 1-0 (33)}) 13... g6 14. Bg2 Bg7 15. Ne4 Na6 16. Bg5 f6 17. Bf4 Nb4 18. Qd2 g5 19. Bxd6 Re8 20. Bxc5 bxc5 21. Nxc5 Bxd5 22. Qxb4 Rb8 23. Qa3 Bxg2 24. Kxg2 {Akopian,V (2660)-Kotsur,P (2587) Dubai 2000 1-0 (50)}) 10. cxd5 d6 11. Nf5 Nc7 $146 {[%cal Rb7d5,Rc7d5,Rf6d5, Gd1d5,Gg2d5] Will d5 fall?} (11... Re8 12. e4 Bf8 13. Nc3 Nc7 14. Bg5 Bc8 15. Qf3 Bxf5 16. Qxf5 Qd7 17. Qf3 Be7 18. h4 h6 19. Bf4 b5 20. a3 a5 21. a4 b4 22. Nb1 Ng4 23. Nd2 Bf6 24. Bh3 h5 25. Nc4 Ra6 26. Kg2 {Nilsen,J (2229)-Diesen,B (2156) Norway 2012 1-0 (41)}) (11... Re8 $5 $14 {is worth looking at}) 12. e4 $16 Re8 (12... Nfe8 13. f4 $16) 13. e5 Nfxd5 $2 (13... dxe5 $142 14. d6 Bxg2 15. Kxg2 Bxd6 16. Nxd6 Re6 $18) 14. exd6 $18 Bxd6 (14... Bf6 {hardly improves anything} 15. Rxe8+ (15. dxc7 $6 Rxe1+ 16. Qxe1 Qxc7 $18) 15... Qxe8 16. dxc7 $18) 15. Rxe8+ Nxe8 16. Bxd5 Be5 17. Nh6+ $1 {Decoy: h6} gxh6 (17... Kf8 { doesn't get the bull off the ice} 18. Nxf7 Qxd5 19. Qxd5 Bxd5 20. Nxe5 $18) 18. Qg4+ Ng7 19. Bxb7 Rb8 20. Be4 Qf6 (20... h5 {is not much help} 21. Qe2 $18) 21. Nc3 $1 {takes home the point} Bxc3 (21... Re8 {doesn't change the outcome of the game} 22. Nd5 Qe6 23. Qf3 $18) 22. bxc3 Qxc3 (22... Re8 {does not save the day} 23. Bd2 $18) 23. Rb1 Qf6 (23... Qe1+ {doesn't do any good} 24. Kg2 Re8 25. Be3 $18) 24. Qf4 (24. Bb2 $142 {and White wins} h5 25. Qd7 Rd8 26. Qxa7 Qe6 $18 ) 24... Qxf4 25. Bxf4 ({Weaker is} 25. gxf4 Re8 26. f3 f5 27. Bd5+ Kf8 $18) 25... Re8 26. Bf3 Re6 (26... Nf5 $18 {is one last hope}) 27. Rd1 1-0

22 Jan 2016

C45 Scotch Game: Modern Defense

C45 Scotch Game: Modern Defense

The game below was played in group D, on the fourth round of the weekend tournament that was played at Turku in 2006. This was the first and also the last win in this tournament for me. After four rounds I had won one, drawn one and lost two games. In the last game I played a 15 move draw which is not a common result for me. I do not like to play short draws, but at this time I was really depressed about the bad results and did not care all that much about the result of the last game anymore. The win I received from this game, did not really improve my mood because I only won due to a horrible blunder by my opponent. Had the game been a hard fought one, then I would have had more confidence in my playing skills again and I might have declined the draw offer in the last game.

This is the 450th different opening variation to appear in the blog!! I know for sure that I have played at least one more different variation in my games, but I think all of those games that feature it, are still in progress. There might be others as well coming and according to Master Chess Openings there are 3636 recognized openings, so I am a very long way from covering all of them. I have added one analysed game to my post C64 Spanish Game: Classical Variation. Charousek Variation. I have also added two mate in two, one mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today. Until Monday, my fellow chess enthusiasts!

21 Jan 2016

D11 Slav Defense: Modern

D11 Slav Defense: Modern

Today I have continued on going through my old over the board games and I will continue to do so tomorrow, but I think that next week I will go back to my latest correspondence games. The game below was played on the second round of a tournament that was played at Turku in 2006. On the first round of this tournament I drew against a player who was lower rated than me by 40 points. I was on a path of misery on the next round as well and lost to a lower rated player. Then on the fourth round I received a small consolation in form of a win against a player who was rated 1516. Considering how badly I had played the first four rounds, the last round game did not matter all that much to me anymore and I drew it against a member of the same team I represent. Therefore I ended up having only two points out of the possible five. I played on group D and I was 43rd in the final standings. There were 46 players in this tournament. The opening is not played in a theoretical move order in the game below, the move order in theory is 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6. I do not always remember to mention when the move order is not the same as in theory, but maybe it does not always matter that much. However, I will try to remember to do that in the future.

I learned today that you can actually play both correspondence chess and live chess at Chess Tempo, which is interesting since I had not been there in a very long time, even though I like the site very much because of its Standard tactics solving feature. It means that you can use as much time as you want into solving the puzzles and you are not penalised for it. I may give the playing part of the site a try in the nearish future. That being said, I am already playing correspondence chess on six different sites and I have 119 games in progress at the same time at the moment. They take a bit too much of my time I think, but for some reason when I got to under 70 games in progress, I started a lot of games again... I may have some serious problems in that area. At the moment it would seem that there will never be a time when I would not be playing correspondence games. One of the reasons why I have so many games in progress is that I would like to get as much out of the sites I am playing at. Of course I should divert my time to solving tactics and maybe start going through chess books again in order to get my level of play higher than it is now. I have added one analysed game to my post A36 English Opening: Symmetrical Variation. Symmetrical Variation. I have added one mate in one, three mate in four and one mate in five puzzle.

Game number two. This was played at GameKnot in a mini-tournament called atadros's mini-tournament V. I am currently on 9th place in this 11 player tournament and I have only managed to get 2 points in the seven games that I have finished so far. My opponent willy_13 is currently on 6th place and he has gathered 5 points in the 14 games that he has finished so far. I have still theoretical chances to win this mini-tournament, but my remaining games must be much more successful than the ones that have already finished in order for it to come true. It was my opponent who offered the draw after 24.Bxd1 and I accepted the offer because I was not sure how I would play the remaining moves. I thought that I might be slightly better in the ending due to my more active king and my bishop is probably better than the one that currently resides on d1. If I would have been the one with a 3 - 2 pawn majority on the queenside, I would have definetely continued the game. However, because my opponent had that majority, I was not at all certain that the ending would have favored me enough to win the game. The offered draw did give me guaranteed rating points, so I took them and avoided the complications of the endgame. I should really study endgames more so that I would be confident about the likely result that any given endgame would produce.

20 Jan 2016

D35 Queen's Gambit Declined: Exchange Variation

D35 Queen's Gambit Declined: Exchange Variation

It is time once again to take a look back on my old over the board games. This one was played on the fourth round of a tournament that was played at Tampere between March 18th and March 19th 2006. I lost on the first round against a player who was rated 1876, then on the second round I won a game against a player who was rated 1447. On the following two rounds I lost against players who were rated 1588 and 1540. On the last round I was able to win again, this time against a player who was rated 1619. Of course that last round game did not help much in turning this a good tournament to me, but instead only lessened the downhill that my rating experienced. I played in group B that consisted of 32 players and I was 27th in the final standings.

Two milestones for this blog were reached this week, the post I did on Monday was the 500th post I have published and the second one is that I also shared the 1200th analysed chess game yesterday! The current amount is 1206 and that will increase by four this week. By the end of the year it is possible that the amount of games goes over 2000, but I can't say that for certain yet. It also seems that I need to upgrade the analysis engine again because a newer version of Stockfish is ready to be downloaded and actually while I typed this, I already did download it. I also searched when they have published Stockfish 7 and it was already January 2nd, so I am a bit late to upgrade my engine, but I still think that the old version is really strong and that the quality of analysis is good enough for me. That being said, I have analysed a lot of games in preparation for the blog with the old version, so it might take awhile until I publish games where the engine used is the new one. I also now follow Stockfish Chess on Twitter, so that I may get the news of the new versions as they are published. I have added one analysed game to the following posts: C41 Philidor Defense: Larsen Variation, C50 Italian Game: Italian Variation and A10 English Opening: Great Snake Variation. I have also added two mate in three and three mate in four puzzles today.

19 Jan 2016

C45 Scotch Game: Classical Variation, Millennium Variation

C45 Scotch Game: Classical Variation, Millennium Variation

I thought about whether or not to post the game below for awhile due to it being a very short timeout win. The game did go far enough, so that the opening could be categorised and also far enough to feature some mistakes or maybe inaccuries would be more appropriate in this occasion. Even though this variation is in theory, it might not be the best line to play with the black pieces because white can reply 6...Qg6 with 7.Nb5 and black is in trouble. White is better after that but maybe not winning. I would recommend to avoid playing this line and play the move 6...Nge7 instead of 6...Qg6 which would lead to a more even position than the move played in the game.

This game was played on the first round of one of the strongest tournaments that I have ever played and certainly the strongest I have played at Red Hot Pawn. The tournament is called 2015 October Grand Split Three Seven I 1800+ and it started with 30 players that were divided into two groups of 15. I am playing in group 1 and I am currently the 7th highest rated player in the group with a rating of 1888. The strongest player in the group is rated 2539 and the second highest is rated 2425. This tournament has three players with a rating of 2400+ and five players are rated over 2100. It is true that those players are divided evenly to both groups. As I am playing on group 1, the average rating of all the players is higher than it is on group 2. Only the winner or winners will advance to the second round, so the second round may only consist of two players. I have so far finished five games in this tournament, out of which I have won four and sadly all four have been won on time. Not only that but the game below might be the longest of these four in view of how many moves were played. I have also lost one game, it was a proper game at least, against the second highest rated player of the group. I have no delusions of winning this group, due to its strong participants, but I will do what I can in order to get a good result from the tournament. I have added one analysed game to these three posts (these are actually proper games compared to the short game below): C99 Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Chigorin Defense Panov System, C96 Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Closed Defense and A34 English Opening: Symmetrical Variation. Normal Variation. I have also added one mate in two, one mate in three, two mate in four and one mate in five puzzle.

18 Jan 2016

Chess960 SP607

Chess960 SP607

This one started in a similar manner like other starting positions where the bishops are on g1, g8, h1 and h8, on my part that is. I again opened up the diagonals for the bishops as soon as I could. I think this and similar starting positions are the hardest for me to play because it is not clear where I would like to castle. The reason for that is that I would need to push pawns too much in both sides of the board in order to get the pieces out of the way, in order for me to castle. I guess further testing in these positions are required for me to figure out how to best develop my pieces. I think my first dubious move comes when I play 4...Qe5. I knew that my queen would be kicked around, but somehow I still wanted to play that move.

Very soon I discoved that my knights had very few good squares to which they could go to. After 14.f4, for instance, I thought that my position is very bad and it seemed very hard to get anything done. The losing move might have been 15...dxc5 which I played because I somehow thought that it would give me more play. I should have played 15...d5 like Stockfish suggests in this after game analysis. Unfortunately I did not even consider that move during the game. As I now look at the position after 15...d5, it looks a much more maintainable position than the one resulted after the game move. When my opponent played 21.Qe2, I was sure that I am completely lost now. I thought that after I reply with 21...Rd6, my opponent would play 22.Re1 and I would have maybe resigned at that point because there are no reasonable moves left that I could see. Valera7777 had something else in mind and I have to admit it is very strong idea as well or so I thought. I did not really see anything at this time, I completely failed to see the idea of Na6 via c5, which was the final nail in my coffin. I have added one analysed game to the following posts: D43 Semi-Slav Defense: General, C45 Scotch Game: Classical Variation, C10 French Defense: Rubinstein Variation. Blackburne Defense and B92 Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Opocensky Variation. I have also added one mate in three, three mate in four and one tactic puzzle today.

15 Jan 2016

Chess960 SP515

Chess960 SP515

I played two chess960 games today, out of which only this second one can be posted here at this time. Maybe I can get around the problem that I have with that other game, but for now I can't do that. The game below starts with my opponent opening the long diagonal for the bishop on h1. I thought about mirroring my opponent's play, but then I thought it better to take the center under my control instead. Then on move 3, I make a dumb mistake. I protected my e-pawn by playing g6, which does protect the e-pawn, but I did not consider the fact that xfqybxtr2 can play dxe5, which also threatens the d-pawn with both the bishop on h1 and the queen on d1. For some reason my opponent does not take on d5 even though he or she could have taken that pawn for a couple of moves. I did see the possibility of losing that d-pawn right after my opponent played 5.dxe5.

The game went along without all that much of a balance shift to either way until my opponent played 10.Bf3. I am not at all certain what was the reason behind this move. I did not reply to my opponent's move in the most accurate way, but my move was not that bad either. I played 11...c5 because I wanted to push the knight back, so that my knight could go to f5 and attack the e3 square. After my knight landed on f5, I thought that I was on the better side of things. The problem for white is how to protect the pawn on e3. Actually, I do not think it is even possible. Playing 15.e4 was an interesting idea by my opponent to keep the material balance. At first I thought that it would save my opponent due to the fact that if the following continuation 15...dxe4 16.Nxe4 Bxe4 17.Bxe4 Qxe4 takes place, my opponent could play 18.Qxd7 and the material would be even. What I did not see then was that I could reply 18.Qxd7 with 18...Rbd8 and I should be in a clearly winning position. Because I only thought that line up to 18.Qxd7 and did not see it being good enough continuation, I decided to play 16...Rbd8 in order to protect the knight and threaten some discoveries on the d-file and have that piece winning threat of Bxe4 also in the air. Xfqybxtr2 replied with N2c3 which was I guess the best that white can do at this point. Then I played Nf6 attacking both the queen and the knight on e4. My opponent defended against the threats with the move Qe2, which allowed my knight to jump on d4, which then forked the queen and the bishop. I thought that when the queen moves, I will take the bishop and then I take on e4 and I have won a piece and the game would become rather easy to play after that. That did not happen and the move my opponent chose made things even easier for me and the game ended to xfqybxtr2's resignation on move 20. I have added one mate in two, one mate in three, two mate in four and one mate in five puzzle today. Until Monday, my fellow chess and chess960 enthusiasts!

14 Jan 2016

Chess960 SP528

Chess960 SP528

While I played the game below, I also tried to do some live commentary on it. I think I should keep on exercising that so that maybe some day I would be prepared to share those videos... Who knows if those ever see the light of day, but it is not impossible. One of the reasons why I would like to do them, is that it would be a welcomed change to the things I do. I was able to make quite decent moves despite trying to verbalize my thoughts at the same time. I think the first time I did not agree with the moves of my opponent was when he played 4.Be4. It does pin my knight on c6 and prevents me from playing 4...e5, which I wanted to play next. It prevents it because in case I play 4...e5, I will lose a pawn due to the fact that my opponent would answer by 5.Bxc6 and then take on e5 with his knight. Having seen that continuation, I decided to play 4...Nf6 which threatens the bishop on e4. I did expect the reply my opponent played, but I was not all that worried about my doubled pawns. I took back on f6 with the e-pawn because I think it leads to a better pawn structure and because now I can get my queen to e7 and castle on the next move.

I was surprised to see my opponent play 7.d3 as a reply to 6...Qe7. I thought that the best reply would have been 7.Nc3. The problem with the game continuation was that the bishop on e4 gets almost trapped. The bishop was never really trapped, but the threat of it was in the air for awhile. I do not think that either player did huge mistakes until my opponent played 11.Ng4??, which does have an interesting idea behind it. Had I played 11...f5 and forked the knight and bishop with my pawn, I would have lost, because my opponent would have replied with 12.Qh6+ and it does not matter if I go to h8 or g8 with my king, my opponent would have replied both moves with 13.Ng5 which threatens both my queen and mate on h7. Had that happened, I would have resigned. The problem with the move 11.Ng4 comes apparent in the game continuation, the knight can't move so that the knight would defend the otherwise undefended queen on h3. The game did continue, but it was clearly over after that blunder. I have added three mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

There is also a video of the game above with my live commentary and that video can be seen below. More of my chess960 and other videos can be seen at my Youtube channel.

13 Jan 2016

Chess960 SP364

Chess960 SP364

This was the first of three games that I played yesterday against communistdefense at lichess.org. This one, like all three games were played with 10 minute time controls, but where time was added to both players clocks by the players. I only added time to my opponents clock when communistdefense did so to my clock and obviously I added the same amount to my opponent's clock that I received. This game started quite well for me, I was able to get the center under my control and I managed to develop my pieces the way I wanted. Developing the pieces seemed to be more problematic for my opponent. The first move by my opponent that did not seem to make much sense to me was when he or she played 5...b6. I am also not sure if 3...g6 is the right way to go, but the reason behind that move I can at least understand. After my move 10.Ne2, I was very happy with my position. My pieces have room to move whereas my opponent can hardly make useful moves with his or her pieces. With the move 10...Nh6, commmunistdefense's position starts to crumble because I can now win a pawn for free. My opponent's 19th move gives me another pawn for free and makes the game even easier for me. Maybe 19...Qc7 or the move offered by Stockfish in this after game analysis 19...Rb8 would have been required to keep the game more difficult for me. Admittedly the move I offered, 19...Qc7 seems to put the queen into an akward position. The rest of the game goes without any real counterplay by my opponent as he or she is only defending at this point. I even get one more pawn for free and the game soon ends when I get to play 35.Nc5 after which communistdefense resigns. I have added one analysed game to my post C46 Four Knights Game: Italian Variation. I have also added one mate in one, one mate in three and three mate in four puzzles today.

Second game. This was a rematch offered by my opponent. The second attempt in this starting position went better for my opponent than the first one. I think I made the first inaccuracy in this game. I played 4...h6 in order to get my bishop to h7 and prepare to castle to the kingside as soon as possible. Now I think that 4...c5 should have been played instead so that my opponent can't double my pawns. I do not think that my position is all that bad after the game continuation, but I would have preferred to keep my pawn structure intact. When the queens were traded and the white pawn resided on d5, I was confident about winning that pawn. In the game continuation I indeed am able to take that pawn with ease, but only because my opponent missed a tactic. Instead of 15.Nh4, I think he or she should have played 15.Nxe7 Kxe7 and now 16.Nxd4! because the pin prevents me from taking the knight. After that continuation white would have been better. The next critical moment and one that required a lot of thought from me was the position after 19.dxc3, I thought very long for the possibility of playing 19...Rxc3 with the idea if my opponent takes it, I play 20...Nxc3+ and then I take the rook on e2 next. I ended up rejecting that idea because I thought that my opponent would get counterplay on the seventh rank. The game continuation was better, but I was not able to convert my extra pawn into a win, I did try but my techinque was not good enough this time and I had to agree to a draw on move 48.

12 Jan 2016

Chess960 SP533

Chess960 SP533

The game below was played at lichess.org today. It was my third game against this same opponent. All of these three games featured one aspect that is very rare in my games, both players used the add time to opponent button that lichess provides. All of these three games started as a 10 minute games without any increment, but at some point during the first game, my opponent add time to my clock. Because I did not want to take advantage of the kind offer, I added the same amount of time to my opponent's clock. This thing kept happening multiple times during our encounters. I am not sure how much time was added per game and I am not sure if it actually saved either player from losing on time. I could if I wanted, calculate the exact times that were added because that information is stored in the game chat. I am not going to do that because it does not really matter to me.

This game had a promising start and I expected that I would win the game quite quickly. After 10...Qxa8 I had a couple of moves that I considered and I think I played the wrong one. The other move I thought about was b3, which I probably should have played, so that I can answer Qb8 with Bb2 and it would seem to me that I would be in total control of the game. When my opponent took the pawn on e5, I was not at all happy with my position anymore because communistdefense started to get more play than I would like. I was able to improve my position a bit with Bf4, but I was not able to figure out a good plan on move 18 and my position started to get worse. The on move 21 I blunder and the advantage shifts into my opponent's favor. After that it is downhill for me and I decided to finally resign on move 28. I have added one analysed game to these posts: C18 French Defense: Winawer Variation. Poisoned Pawn Variation Main Line, C41 Philidor Defense and C68 Spanish Game: Exchange Variation. General. I have also added one mate in one, two mate in three, one mate in four and one mate in five puzzle.

11 Jan 2016

C44 King's Pawn Game: Tayler Opening

C44 King's Pawn Game: Tayler Opening

This was played mostly because these two players are playing in a club tournament, but could not play the game over the board or should I say that this way of playing the game suited both players better. The game below was played quite evenly until my opponent played 6.Bg5, which is a bad move because it loses time. It does attack my queen, but with my reply 6...Be7, it shows why the move 6.Bg5 loses time. If knuutson273 now plays Bxe7, he has used two moves to trade my bishop that has moved only once. If he moves the bishop away to d2, for example, then he has also lost time. 6.Bg5 does not lose the game, however, but it does give me a small advantage. The obviously losing move of the game is 7.O-O which allows me to win a piece. After that mistake the game soon ends. If my opponent had played 10.Bf3, I would have most likely continued with 10...Bh3 because it was the only move I even considered of playing during the game. The move 10...Nd4 that Stockfish gave as a suggestion in this after the game analysis seems like an interesting idea also. I have added one analysed game to my post C63 Spanish Game: Schliemann Defense. I have also added one mate in one, one mate in two, one mate in three, one mate in four and one mate in five puzzle.

8 Jan 2016

Chess960 SP442

Chess960 SP442

I was happy with the way I played the first few moves, until my opponent played 6.d5. At that point I was not really sure about my position anymore. I was not sure if my reply 6...Nd4 was the best, but other replies seemed inferior to me at the time. I was somewhat worried during the game that my opponent would trade the dark square bishops. Asuman should have definetely traded them because my dark squared bishop pretty much won the game on its own. When I played 10...Qc8, I thought about the possibility of 11.b3 and considered it to be the losing move. Therefore I was very happy to see it being played. This short game was played at lichess.org yesterday. It could have been shorter, but I went for material instead of the mate. Pretty much right after I had played 12.Bxa1, I noticed that I could have played Bd4+ and deliver the mate in the next move. When my opponent saw the move Bd4+ on the board, I think asuman thought for awhile and then left the game. So the time kept going because my opponent did not actually resign the game. I waited for a bit, but then claimed the win because I would have won the game even if my opponent would have come back to finish it. I have added one analysed game to the following posts: A36 English Opening: Symmetrical Variation. Botvinnik System, C45 Scotch Game: General, A10 English Opening: General and A20 English Opening: King's English Variation. General. I have also added one mate in one, one mate in two, one mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today. Until Monday, my fellow chess and chess960 enthusiasts!

7 Jan 2016

A06 Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack

A06 Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack

This was played on the third round of a close chess tournament that was played at Helsinki in January 2006. In the first two rounds of this tournament, I had already lost two games and this game continued on in that grim path. That path did not end here and I actually lost the fourth round game as well. Only on the fifth and final round did I manage to get a win under my belt. Of course that was too late to make the tournament a good one for me and I indeed lost a lot of rating points as a result. The only thing that kept my rating plummeting faster, was the fact that four of my five opponents were higher rated than me. Not only did the year 2006 start very poorly for me, but it also continued in that same downward path the whole year and I think this was the worst chess year of my life, so far anyway... Whenever I have played well in over the board tournaments, I have been able to fully concentrate on the games, but when things happen outside the board that are constantly diverting my thoughts away from the game, it clearly shows in the results of the games. I have added one analysed game to these posts today: C28 Vienna Game: Stanley Variation, Three Knights Variation, C50 Italian Game: Italian Variation, A10 English Opening: Anglo-Dutch Defense and Chess960 SP834. I have also added two mate in one, one mate in two, one mate in three and one mate in four puzzle.

6 Jan 2016

Chess960 SP834

Chess960 SP834

This game was played at lichess.org today. It was a 10 minute challenge created by my opponent. I thought that the game started very well for me and the developing my pieces seemed to be easy. I was already up a pawn after move 5, so this seemed like a game that I could easily win. How wrong was I with that assumption. On move 10, I played Qe3 because I thought that if my opponent answers with 10...g6, I can go to h4 with my knight without problems. At that point, I thought that my opponent could only attack the knight on h4 with the g-pawn in which case I could go back to f5 with the knight. However, after my opponent played g6, I noticed that I had blundered with the move 10.Qe3. My initial idea does not work because after my knight is on h4, greisfc can play Be7 and win the knight on h4. I decided to mix things a bit and played 11.Bxe5 and after my 13th move Nxf5, I had three pawns for the piece, so the material was about even at that point. The problem for me is that the dark squares around my king are very weak and indeed I meet me end on the dark squares. It seems that my initial idea of Nh4 would have been a decent move, at least according to Stockfish. After the blunder 11.Bxe5, I found myself in a position where my opponent has a clear advantage that only increased towards the end of the game. I have added one analysed game to these two posts: A15 English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Mikenas-Carls Variation and C64 Spanish Game: Classical Variation. Charousek Variation. In addition, I did add two analysed games to my post A10 English Opening: General. I have also added one mate in two, two mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

Game number two. This was played yesterday at lichess and it was a rematch offered by my opponent. I thought originally to share this yesterday, but I kind of run out of time. This went a lot better than the first game. Already on move 4, I think my opponent goes a bit wrong. I do not see any good reason to move the knight for the second time instead of just developing the other knight, for example. The game continued quite evenly until my opponent made the huge blunder of playing 25.Bf5 which loses a piece and also the game. The game did continue quite a long time after this blunder and I thought that my technique was quite good during the game. Not only was I up on material, but at the end I was also up on time. Only just before I was going to promote my pawn to a queen, my opponent had enough of the game and resigned.

5 Jan 2016

B41 Sicilian Defense: Kan Variation, Maroczy Bind, Reti Variation

B41 Sicilian Defense: Kan Variation, Maroczy Bind, Reti Variation

I started playing at GameKnot again near the end of last year. The game below is the first game that ended after my comeback to the site. This was played in the atadros's mini-tournament V. There are 11 players in this tournament. The number of simultaneous games is limited to four games at the same time. Therefore it will take quite awhile to play all the 20 games. It is one of the aspects of these mini-tournaments that I do not like that much. I could play all the games at the same time and finish games much quicker. This mini-tournament is called high-stakes tournament because the tournament entry cost is higher than normal, but it also rewards more points. The time control for these games is 3 days at the start and it has a 1 day increment. The increment is limited, so that you can have maximum of 5 days to think about your next move. I am currently on 9th place, but a lot can still change as I have only finished one game. I am the lowest rated player in the tournament, so unless I can outperform higher rated players, my place in the final standings might not be that high.

The game below went very wrong quite fast because I faced moves that I have not faced before that really messed up my thinking during the game. It is true that I placed my bishop also into a square where I have not usually played it to when I played 6.Bd3. I may have faced a position that I am more use to had I played 6.Be2 instead. The game continuation after that went into a strange path and already on move 10 I went wrong a bit. I played the losing move of the game on move 14. I played bxa5 because I thought that if I play Bb2 or something else than bxa5, I will lose more than a pawn. I thought that if I take the knight on a5, I will only lose a pawn. I was of course wrong and had to resign after 15...Ne5. I have added one analysed game to the following posts: A13 English Opening: Agincourt Defense, A45 Indian Game: General and D45 Semi-Slav Defense: Main Lines. I have also added two mate in two and three mate in three puzzles.

4 Jan 2016

Chess960 SP273

Chess960 SP273

This was played at ChessRex as a correspondence game. Both players had 4 days to use for each move. However, neither player did use all that much time to make their moves as you might notice from the quality of some of the moves. This game started on December 25th and ended on January 1st, so this is by far one of the fastest correspondence games I have played maybe in years. With the first few moves I lull into sleep and do not recognise the danger that lurks in the position. When my opponent played 5.c4, I started to see the problem of the pin on the c-file that would have enabled my opponent to take on d5 in such a way that I would have lost a pawn. The other pin on the long diagonal also makes it really hard for me to get out these pins. My opponent continues on the right path on the next move, but then misses the move that probably would have won the game for him. Had I seen the move 7.Bxd5 being played, I would have maybe resigned the game right there.

The game continues evenly for awhile until I blunder again on move 10. I played 10...c5 because I had suffered from the pins so long that I thought to get away from the long diagonal pin possibilities while I can. It turned out to be a bad decision. EXTREME was playing for the win again after that. During the game when the white queen landed on b7 I thought that EXTREME would be taking on a7 soon after, but it never happened. Then on move 17, EXTREME throws away his advantage with the move Qd5. I played 17...h6 because I wanted to get my queen to h7 and invade white's position along the light squares. The after game analysis shows that Stockfish prefers to play 17...Rfe8 there and I guess the idea is that if the white queen does not move, then black could take on e5 with the knight due to the fact that the queen is now under attack and the knight is defended, so white does not want to take on e5 with the queen. After I was able to play the move 20...Rd7, I was getting confident again about my chances, because I thought that the immediate problems had been averted. Surviving even this long was a surprise to me after that horrible start to the game. The win started to manifest itself to me when I found the move 24...Rc7+ after that the game is rather easy to play on my side of the board. I have added one mate in two, one mate in three, two mate in four and one mate in five puzzle today.

1 Jan 2016

C84 Spanish Game: Closed Variations, Center Attack

C84 Spanish Game: Closed Variations, Center Attack

Last year ended with me posting a loss of mine and the new year starts with a loss, so it kind of tells you how my games have been going lately. The game below was played in a team match called Russia Central Federal District vs DORU-66 & HIS BEST FRIENDS. It is played on 78 boards and I am playing on board 21 for DORU-66 & HIS BEST FRIENDS. The current score in the match is 59 - 57 in favor of Russia Central Federal District. This has been quite even match, but the balance has shifted in favor of Russia Central Federal District for the most of the match. Unfortunately I have been one of the weakest links in our team in this match and my other game against igrinyuk does not look that good, so this might be a bit disappointing performance from me again.

I think my tactical blindness is a major weakness that I need to get rid of. I missed some easy tactics in this game, like on move 16 I should have played Rxd4, which would have been much better than the move I played in the game. Then on move 24 I made a huge blunder because I completely missed that my opponent can take on g6 and no matter how I reply to that I am lost. Basically I lost this game because of one serious oversight. It is annoying to lose games like this, but at the moment I am just not tactically alert enough to see all the possibilities in a position. I have done more tactical training in the last month than maybe in years, however it is not saying much because I did not do almost any tactical training in several years. In order for me to get my rating back to where I like to see it, I really need to get my tactical awareness to a point where I can see most tactics, because it may be unrealistic to think that I would see all the tactical possibilities all the time. I have added one analysed game to the following posts of mine: E00 Catalan Opening: General, C91 Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Bogoljubow Variation, B92 Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Opocensky Variation. I have also added one mate in one, two mate in two and two mate in three puzzles today.