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31 May 2016

Chess960 SP628

Chess960 SP628

The game below starts with a move that in my opinion might be a misclick because the move 1.c3 seems a bit odd to me and I would prefer 1.c4 instead. However, I might be wrong and my opponent might have wanted to play that move. When my opponent played 3.Ne3, it was the first time in the game that quickcastle handed over the advantage to me. Moves such as 3.f4 and 3.e4 should be looked at more closely as better alternatives to the move played in the game. Quickcastle went further astray on move 6. The move 6.Be3 gave me a good opportunity to increase my advantage from a slight one to a clearer one, but of course I played a passive reply to the move and as a result I lost a bit of my advantage. Had I played 6...f5, which threatened 7...f4, I could have gained some initiave. The game continued on without any real mistakes until it came time to play my 13th move. By far my 13th move was the worst move that had been played in the game so far. Actually it was so bad that I could have lost because of that blunder. I was already thinking that I do not like my position and I was worried about the move 14.f6, but I did not like the idea of taking on f5 with my pawn as it looked horrible. It was a bit desperate move from me to play 13...Bxg3 as I wanted my opponent to take back on g3 and I knew that if quickcastle plays 14.f6 instead, I would be in huge trouble. I was happy to see the reply 14.hxg3 and I thought that I still have a possibility to hang on in the game. I played 14...f6 because I did not want to play 14...exf5 in view of d5 gets weak. I may have even thought that quickcastle could have taken on d5. Taking on d5 immediately would have been impossible of course due to Qxe3+. I do not clearly remember anymore if I saw that during the game. The very sloppy play continued on my next move as I took on e6 with my queen. Then it was my opponent's turn to make one of the biggest blunders of the game. Quickcastle played 16.Qh5 allowing me to capture the undefended bishop on e3. At this point I thought I should be able to win this game. Like few other games I have recently played, in this game I also self-destructed and let the win slip away from my grap.

While I did remain on the winning side for a few moves, I could have made my life a lot easier had I played 17...f5 because it would have basically prevented the counterplay opportunities that quickcastle was able to get in the game continuation. In what was a difficult position for me, I threw the game away when I moved my king to e8 on move 21. Luckily my opponent played 22.Be4 because that gave me another chance to fight for a draw. On the next move quickcastle blundered again and I could have taken the advantage again, but instead I played the awful move 23...Re7 that would have handed the win to my opponent, had quickcastle not messed up on move 26. I was not able to keep the position even and played the game losing move on move 27. After that the game was really over. I have added two mate in one and three mate in three puzzles today.

30 May 2016

3 check C23 Bishop's Opening

3 check C23 Bishop's Opening

The week starts once again with a 3 check game. This very short game shows how fast you can run into trouble in this variant. Admittedly the move 1.e4 is not necessarily the best way to open a game of 3 check, but neither is the reply 1...e5, I think better reply would be 1...e6. Despite of this, I think that after 2.Bc4 the game is not even close of being over. However, the reply 2...Bb4 is a very bad move after which my opponent quickly lost the game. I think 2...Nf6 would have been a much better alternative because I would not have played 3.Bxf7+ as a reply to that. For a moment I thought about my reply to 2...Bb4+, but I ended up playing the obvious 3.Bxf7+. I knew that if my opponent takes the bishop, I will win the game in two moves, like in the game continuation. The thing I thought about for a moment was 3...Ke7 and as I realised that it should be losing too, I took on f7. In case of 3...Ke7, then I would have likely played Qh5 and I should be able to deliver the missing two checks before my opponent can get the checks going.

I have added one mate in two, three mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today. Yesterday I finished reposting the chess positions to the blog, so that those pages should now be HTTPS compatible. Next I will concentrate on reposting the chess960 games that are not compatible at the moment. Reposting all the games that have not already been reposted will likely take a couple of months due to the amount of games that I had already posted during almost two years of typing this blog. I would like to obviously get that done as soon as possible, but the progress is rather slow, because I need to add all the +- -+ and similar things in the comments of the pgn-file because otherwise the game editor does not show them.

27 May 2016

Chess960 SP571

Chess960 SP571

It is time once again for the last post of the week. While this week did not feature any chess games, only two 3 check and three chess960 games, it does not mean that I am abandoning the idea of sharing chess games. Chess games will appear again at some point and when I have finished doing all the necessary updates to the blog, the amount of games shared per day are likely to increase a bit again. The game below was played at lichess.org as a 10 minute rated game. The first peculiar move that my opponent played was in my opinion 5.Kb1. When I saw that move, I thought that Adam-Bernstein wanted to castle, but did not do it properly. I might be wrong of course, it is possible that my opponent wanted to move the king to b1. However, I do not see any reason why anyone would play Kb1 in that position. The next move I did not understand was 7.Bxc6 because that move gave up the bishop pair and helped my development as I was able to take back with my knight. It was the first real mistake of the game and you can see the position in which Adam-Bernstein played it below.

After 8.d3 I probably thought about going to d4 with my knight, but as I did not see good enough reason to do that I played my bishop to f7 instead. Moving my bishop to f7 was not the best move as I needed to play it to e6 on the next move, it would have been better to develop the bishop to d7, so that I would have been able to avoid moving my bishop more than once at this stage of the game. The position after 8...Bf7 is close to being even, though I may have a small advantage. The position after my 8th move can be seen below. Adam-Bernstein played the move 9.e4 and I had the opportunity to take a clearly favorable position. The right move for my opponent was 9.Bc5, it was the only move that kept my opponent in the game.

I played the best reply 9...Be6 and things looked good at that point. Adam-Bernstein then played 10.Ne3, to which I replied with the inaccurate 10...f4 and it gave some of my advantage away. Then on move 12 I went astray by taking the knight on c3 with my bishop. Interestingly I made a similarly bad move as my opponent did earlier in the game, I also gave up my bishop pair too early. The position where I played my 12th move can be seen below. I should have played either 12...Rf7 or 12...g5 instead of 12...Bxc3.

The game was evenly fought quite a short time after this because the blunder 14.h4 was the starting point for disaster for my opponent. Adam-Bernstein's 14th move could have already been the losing move, had I continued accurately. 14.d4 was a much better idea than 14.h4 and it would have kept the position equal. I played the sloppy 14...h6 in reply and I was only slightly better. The correct move was 14...g4, but 14...Bh3 would have been a good move too.

The next position started my opponent's final downhill. In this position Adam-Bernstein played 16.Re1, which was a big mistake. The best choice for my opponent was to move the rook to d1. I answered with the move 16...a6 and then my opponent made the second mistake in a row and played 17.e5. The moves 17.a4 and 17.d5 were better alternatives. The strongest reply would have been 17...Bf5, but I went for the move 17...O-O-O instead.

My 17th move was not the best one, but it was a good move that allowed me to be clearly better in the position. Adam-Bernstein then played 18.e6, which was the final losing move. I had the winning advantage after that and it remained to the end of the game. My opponent resigned after 27.Qd1.

Game number two. This was a rematch I agreed to play against Adam-Bernstein. When you play a rematch at lichess.org in Chess960, you will get to play the same starting position with different colors. If you play a third game against the same opponent, then the starting position will be changed. When Adam-Bernstein was White, he played 1.g3. I played 1.d4 in this game. It is possible that when I play a lot more games of chess960, I will change the post where this game is going to be and do similar opening based stuff for chess960 as I have done for chess. This was a much better played game by both players and the first clear mistake was played by my opponent in the position below. Adam-Bernstein played 22...Rd8 in the position below. My opponent should have gone for the move 22...Qg8 and maybe he would have been able to hang on in the game.

The position was not lost for my opponent, however, though it did not take long until I had a winning advantage as Adam-Bernstein blundered a couple of moves later in the next position. In the position below Adam-Bernstein played 24...Kc8. It would have been a better idea to prevent me from moving my queen to e7, so moves 24...Kd7 and 24...Ke8 were better.

I replied by playing 25.Qf6, not realising that 25.Qe7 was a better alternative. The final mistake was Adam-Bernstein's 25th move Qf1+. After that the game was completely lost for my opponent.

26 May 2016

Chess960 SP858

Chess960 SP858

The game below was a 10 minute game that I played at lichess.org. The first inaccuracy came from my opponent on move 2. The move d5 here is not good because I was able to reply with 3.e5. The move e5 gains more space and denies the option of developing the knight to f6, at least for the time being. Aseman replied with 3...Bd7, which might seem like the best square for the bishop at first, but it does block the rook, so that it no longer defends the pawn on d5. I do not think that moving the bishop was the right decision and my opponnent needed to move the bishop a couple of moves later in the game, in order to protect the pawn on d5. It was better to move the knight from c8 to b6 because b6 is the natural devloping square for the knight as the square d6 is covered with my pawn on e5. Even though the computer disagrees with my decision to play 4.g3, I kind of like it better than the suggestions it gives, though 4.Nd3 is something I might see myself playing if I were to end up in this position a second time.

The position may have fizzled out to a more equal position after my 7th move according to Stockfish, but I still prefer White in that position. This is mainly due to the bad bishop on c6. That being said, I thought it would be better if I can try and double the pawns on the c-file. My opponent did not allow me to take on c6 and double the pawns, but instead aseman played 8...Ne7. The next plan I had was to maneuver my other knight to a5, so that I can maybe get the pawns doubled if aseman does not prevent the idea. My opponent did not prevent my idea that consisted of me moving the same knight 5 times in a row. I very rarely move the same piece in a row multiple times this early in the game and I do not actually remember a time when I would have made a similar maneuver without moving anything else in the meantime. Unfortunately that knight maneuver and doubling of the pawns was not as useful as I initially thought and actually it was my opponent who started to get some play after I foolishly played my queen to a6 on move 16. Luckily for me, aseman did not play the best move that could have ended the game quite quickly in favor of my opponent. Aseman played 16...Nc4 instead of the much stronger alternative 16...Na4 that would have won some material. I was forced to reply with 17.b3 and then aseman blundered and played Na3+, which enabled me to get back into the game. The move 17...Na3+ was the start for the downhill that my opponent experienced and the final nail in the coffin was aseman's 20th move Na3, which lost a piece for free. I have added three mate in two, one mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today.

25 May 2016

Chess960 SP406

Chess960 SP406

It is time for some chess960 once again. This time I share a game that I played at lichess.org on May 22nd, 2016. I broke the symmetry on move 6 because I thought that I needed to prevent the move 7.Bg5. Very quickly this chess960 game started to look a lot like a chess game, apart from the location of the queens that is. Both players kept making decent moves, until I blundered with the move 10...Bxf3. But actually my previous move was already a small inaccuracy because I should have placed the bishop on e6. Taking on f3 was a really bad idea because it helps my opponent to attack. My tenth move was already the losing move, but I did try and fight back as well as I can. I did get a small chance to survive after friend79 played 34.h7. I was likely lost anyway, but due to that inaccuracy my opponent's advantage decreased a bit from winning to a clear advantage. I replied with 34...Rh4, which was good enough reply to 34.h7, but on my next move I blundered horribly again and after that I was completely lost again. I should have accepted the loss after seeing the move 36.Qe3, but for some reason I foolishly continued the game and only after the move 51.Qd4+ I resigned. I have added one mate in two, two mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

24 May 2016

3 check B00 Goldsmith Defense

3 check B00 Goldsmith Defense

The game below is my second and at the moment last game of 3 check that I have played. This was played at lichess.org on May 22nd, 2016. I had to once again test the AI because I did not get any human opponents to play against me as fast as I would have liked. This second game had a much better start than the first one in my opinion. It did help that I was playing with the white pieces this time. I also wanted to win, so I thought I would play against AI level 5 that I have previously won in a chess960 game. Already based on the move 1...h5, I thought that this would be an easy game to win. The AI's second move did not impress me either, I thought that it opened the king for checks. Now that I think about it, maybe I should have played 3.Bb5+ and no matter how my opponent would reply, I would be able to give a second check in a row. Even if the AI would have responded with 3...c6, I could have replied with 4.Bxc6+ and I would be only one check away from winning the game. I would assume that I could get the last check relatively easily because I can sacrifice any piece if it just gives a check. However, I might be too optimistic and giving that last check to win the game might prove a lot trickier than I initially thought. 3.exd5 might actually be better than what I played in the game. I played 3.Bxd5 with the intention of taking the pawn on f7 on my next move if the AI does not stop it. I would have been rather disappointed if the AI would not have stopped my idea, the game would have been too easy at that point.

The next important position arose in my opinion after 9...c5. I did consider my options and I did look at 10.d5 as one of the options and while it seemed interesting, I went for 10.dxc5 instead because I thought that after 10...c4 in reply to 10.d5, my light-squared bishop would have a very limited scope. Therefore I wanted to keep its scope as good as possible. AI level 5 replied with 10...a4, which would have given me an interesting possibility to play 11.Bd5, but of course I did not think about that move at all during the game. On my 13th move I made the wierd looking move Kh1. Had this been a chess game, I would not have even considered that move, but as this is a 3 check game, I played 13.Kh1 in order to avoid the possible check with the knight. I think that 13.Qxd8+ would have been a much better move to make. Due to 13.Kh1 I got into some trouble and I thought for a long time that I will lose this second 3 check game of mine. However, as I saw that the AI was not interested in winning this game by checking my king three times, but instead win it like a chess game, I saw my chance. My knights became the star players of this game after I started to bring them closer to the enemy king. The knight maneuvers to check the king started on move 23. The a-pawn advanced all the way to a2, which restricted my pieces a bit. If this was a chess game, I would have been completely lost at this point. However, after I was able to get in the first check with 27.Nd6+, I was a bit more optimistic about my chances once again. This was mainly due to the fact that I was able to keep my opponent's king in the center and therefore I could threaten it more easily. The AI's last mistake was 30...Rh5 because after that it could not prevent me from getting the last two remaining checks. I have added one mate in one, two mate in three and two mate in four puzzles.

23 May 2016

3 check A00 Hungarian Opening: Catalan Formation

3 check A00 Hungarian Opening: Catalan Formation

Yesterday I tried out for the very first time 3 check chess. It is a chess variant where the starting position is the same as in chess and the same rules with one additional rule, you can also win by checking your opponent's king three times. While this variant may not seem different enough from chess, it does provide some out of the ordinary games because you want to prevent your opponent giving checks. Lately I have been somewhat tired of both chess and chess960 and trying the other variants will maybe rejuvenate my interest towards chess and chess960. For some reason even the changing starting positions in chess960 are not enough to keep my interest towards it. I will probably also look at other chess variants and if I can post the games in a reasonable way, those games will be added sometime in the future to the blog. This is an experiment and the way I am posting the 3 check games may vary from time to time. I am not sure if it is possible to analyse these 3 check games with an engine, fox example. As time goes on, I will probably have a better understanding of this variant and the way I comment these games may improve. I noticed a few things from the first two games I played this variant yesterday, one of the things actually is not even tied to the variant, but to the place where I played the game. The game below was played at Chess.com and it was the first game of 3 check chess that I played. The interesting thing about this game was that the notation disappeared as soon as the game was finished. That made me think that I can't publish this game in my blog, however after some time I did find the notation, but it did take some time. Before I found it, I went to play 3 check at lichess.org and I noticed a feature which I really liked, the name of the opening is automatically added into the notation after the move that is the last one in the opening variation that has been played. It is something that no other chess site to my knowledge does. At Chess.com, for example, it does say the name of the opening, but it is not added to the notation. Well, actually it says that in chess games, I am not sure about the variants, at least in 3 check it does not even say what opening was played. That made me think that maybe I should only play chess at lichess, because it would save me some time when adding opening variations to my chess games. However, I do not know how well the openings are recognised at lichess because I do not have enough experience of playing chess or 3 check there. By the way, I have noticed that some of my recent posts have not been automatically shared to Google+, in case this happens in the future, I will post them to Google+ myself.

Before this game I had some ideas on how to play this variant, but I had mainly considered 1.e4 and how to reply to that and how I would play with the white pieces. The move 1.g3 was a move that I had not thought about before and I probably did not reply to that move in the best way possible. 1...e6 was probably still okay, but 2...d5 does open up possibilities for my opponent to create check threats. My opponent, 2004ADITYA, most likely replied with the best move 3.c4. Due to the threat of Qa4+, I played 3...c6. For some reason or the other I preferred that to 3...Nc6. I guess my opponent was testing me a bit with the move 4.cxd5, to which I replied with the only reasonable move in my opinion, 4...exd5. Despite of the start that seemed less than ideal to me at first, I had a decent position and the game went on a reasonable way to my move 7...O-O. 2004ADITYA replied with 8.Qc2 and due to the variant, I had to consider Qxh7+ as a follow-up. As I saw that after Qxh7+ 2004ADITYA does not get enough checks to justify the sacrifice, I replied with 8...Bg4. 2004ADITYA continued with 9.Ng5, which did not seem to do all that much, but I still decided that it was a good idea to drive the knight away with 9...h6. If I were to end up in position again, I would probably do something different, maybe 9...Qd7 would be a better alternative. After the knight retreated, I did play Qd7 with the idea of coming to f5 with the queen and maybe trade queens. Had I been able to trade queens, I think I would have been able to avoid those three check possibilities better. My opponent avoided the queen trade, but offered some material to me instead, which I avoided of taking, thinking incorrectly that Qxb7 is too annoying move and that I should stop that possibility. The line I put in the notation shows in my opinion that I should not have avoided taking on f3. Starting from the move 12...Qd7 I started to be unnecessarily passive in my opinion.

The next position that I think is worth considering a bit more is the position after 15.Ne5. I did end up taking the knight with my bishop, but maybe I should have just played 15...Qe7. However, 15...Qe7 might get replied with 16.f4 and it would be a bit unclear to me on how to proceed after that. The game continuation did work out well for me in my opinion and I was confident of my chances after 17...d4. However, I think that I messed up in my next move. The move 18...d3 was a bit too hasty and the pawn did end up being very weak there. I offer the move Nc5 as a better alternative to d3 in the notation, but now I think that 18...c5 is even better. In the position after 23.Qxd3, I started to be a bit worried about the result of the game again. It seemed that the position had opened up a bit too much for nasty checking possibilities for my opponent. I did not see an easy way to deliver checks and I thought that I was somewhat on the worse side of things. I did take on b2, which might have been a too risky thing to do, but as I saw that my queen can escape from b2, I took the extra pawn. The clear downside of taking that pawn was that my opponent took the initiave, something that should be more important than the mere pawn I was able to get. I think I played decent moves until I played 30...Ne6. The reply 31.f4 made my life a bit too difficult. I should have maybe played 30...Qd7 and tried to trade queens again. My opponent's queen was the main culprit of me losing this game and I am not sure why I did not want to offer the trade in this position. Maybe I foolishly thought that because my queen was the best piece to deliver possible checks that I can't afford to trade it. However, I should have realised that the enemy queen was too dangerous and I should have tried to exchange it. My final mistake was in my opinion, 34...Nh7, after that I am lost, 34...Ne3 might have given me enough play to avoid losing the game. I have added two mate in one, one mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

20 May 2016

Chess960 SP250

Chess960 SP250

The last post of the week has a game played at lichess.org on May 15th, 2016. This game started like the C01 French Defense: Exchange Variation, but obviously it can't be categorised that due to the starting position. The game went on what I thought was a very drawish way at least up to the queen trade. I was actually a bit surprised that my stronger opponent played 8...Qxe2, but then again there probably is not anything better to suggest. Because I needed to take back with the bishop, the trade of queens meant that my light-squared bishop ended up in a worse square than it was before the trade and I would say that the pieces my opponent had developed were on slightly better squares than mine. The almost symmetrical position was disturbed when I played 11.Ne5. This did not change the fact that the game remained quite evenly fought until I blundered with 16.Rfe1. It is a silly move that loses a pawn. The position already was a bit annoying for me and I felt that I am somewhat worse because my opponent has a rook on the open file and the knight on c4 tied both my knight on b3 and the rook on b1. If either piece had moved, I would have lost material. Mapownik first replied well to my blunder 16.Rfe1 by taking the rook with its counterpart. However, after I took back the rook with my other rook, Mapownik played for some reason Kf8, which would have allowed me to get into an even position once again. Unfortunately I did not take my chance, but instead played Kf1, which was my second blunder of the game. I did not get another chance to get back into the game after this, but instead my position went more downhill as moves were played and resigned after 27...Na3 in a hopelessly lost position. I have added three mate in one, one mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today. Until Monday, my fellow chess960 and chess enthusiasts!

19 May 2016

Chess960 SP410

Chess960 SP410

This game was played at lichess.org on May 15th, 2016. This was a 10 minute rated game. I think the first move that made me think a bit more about the position on the board was 3...a5. I guess the idea behind 3...a5 was to push the pawn to a4 and kick my knight. I decided to stop that idea and replied by playing a4 myself. I think it was better than to allow my opponent to kick the knight away from b3. Then again the pawn might get overextended and weak, had I allowed that to happen. My opponent, ottoneerminio, continued with b6, which enabled later on to place the knight from d8 to b7. Otherwise it seems like a waste of a move to me, at least for the moment. I would have probably played Ne6 instead of b6. I decided to play 5.d4 in response to b6 with the idea of attacking e5 and if my opponent takes on d4, then I can take back with my knight, improving its location on the board. Ottoneerminio wisely decided not to take on d4 and just defended the pawn on e5 with f6. I continued with development and played my bishop to d3. Ottoneermnio replied with c6, which is a move that seems a bit odd to me. Maybe it was played in order to get the square d5 better under control, but that move would not really stop me from playing d5 if I wanted to play that move that is. I did end up playing d5 on move 8, due to the threat Bxb3, winning the pawn on d4. I did consider 8.dxe5, but decided that 8.d5 was the better option.

Then after 9.O-O, ottoneerminio played c5. Had it been me controlling the black pieces, I would have most likely played cxd5 instead and tried to pressure the pawn on d5 after the reply exd5. 9...c5 threatened c4, which would have forked my knight and my bishop, so I moved my bishop to e2. My opponent continued with c4 anyway, forcing my knight to go back to c1. At this point in the game I was not so happy about my position. On move 14 I decided to get some play by playing b4. I think I also considered 14.b3, but thought that 14.b4 is a stronger move. The first critical position of the game can be seen below. Ottoneerminio played 16...Rb8 and the game that had gone rather uneventfully up to that point changed from drawish to being clearly favored for me, had I played a good move in reply that is.

I made a huge blunder 17.Nb4. I should have played 17.Nb5 or perhaps 17.Kh1 instead. It could have been the losing move, but luckily ottoneerminio did not reply with the move Qc5+. This was the only chance for my opponent to get the win in this game. I did get my chance to get the win after my opponent blundered with 19...Nxb5 in the position below. However, the path towards a loss had started a move earlier when my opponent played 18...b5, which would have allowed me to seize the clear advantage with the move 19.Nxb5.

Unlike ottoneerminio, I was able to take advantage of the mistake that my opponent made and I was able to eventually win the game.

Game number two. This game followed the first game I played against ottoneerminio up to the move 1...e5. When I was controlling the white pieces, I played 2.Nb3. In this game when I was moving the black pieces, ottoneerminio played 2.c3. The game started to go downhill for my opponent, when ottoneerminio played 8.d3, but the position was only slightly preferable for me. I replied with 8...f6 and then my opponent made a second bad move in a row in the position below and played 9.g3.

Had I played 9...Bh5, I might have had a clear advantage, but only with really precise play. Instead I played 9...Bg6 and let go some of my advantage. A few moves later my opponent played 13.h4 in the position below. It was a part of the advantage gained that contributed to my clear advantage a move later when ottoneerminio played 14.f4 in reply to 13...Kb8. That being said, I replied to 14.f4 with the move 14...exf4, which threw away the advantage I would have had, had I played 14...dxe4 instead.

It did not take very long for ottoneerminio to make another mistake, but unlike the previous mistakes, the move 17.N4d3 was a huge blunder that cost my opponent the game. The position in which the move 17.N4d3 was played can be seen below. Ottoneerminio's best chance was 17.hxg5.

During the rest of the game I had a winning advantage, but the game was played quite a long time after ottoneerminio's 17th move. The game was resigned by my opponent after the move 48...Rf4.

18 May 2016

B90 Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation, English Attack

B90 Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation, English Attack

This game was played in a team match called "GALACTIC MATCH 2 (for 1-250 members team)". It is a 25 board match between La Belle France and BULGARIA. I played on board 5 for La Belle France and in addition to this loss, I won my other game against paci_golfa. The current score in the match is 30.5 - 13.5 in favor of La Belle France and therefore we will win the match as soon as all of the games have finished.

This was again a time when I thought that I should experiment with a different move against the Najdorf. In the game I shared yesterday, I played 6.Bg5, but in this game I went for 6.Be3. It is too early to say much about either try because there is only one example of each move, but based on these examples, I might continue experimenting with 6.Be3, even though I lost with both moves. The losses were obviously not due to either move I chose on move six, the games were lost later on. I think the game was played in a reasonable way by both players until my opponent played 13...Bxb3, I did not really understand the reason behind that decision. I guess paci_golfa wanted to react to the threat of Rd1 with an aggressive move rather than with a more passive move, like moving either the bishop back or move the queen somewhere out of the d-file. Despite of that decision, the game was far from over. The doubled pawns actually became actually a problem for me after 16.c3 Na5 and for quite some time my bishop had to defend the pawn on b3. I did not like to face the move Nc4 after b4, so I avoided playing that move as long as possible. After 18...g6, I could not see anything better than moving my bishop to h6, so that is what I did. I did consider 19...Be7 as a possible reply with the idea of bringing the bishop to g7. Of course after the queen would have moved somewhere, my opponent would have needed to move the rook regardless, so moving it immediately maybe did not change the situation all that much.

I also considered playing Qf6 instead of Bh6, but quickly realised that it would be a really bad move in view of Be7. I also thought about Qf6 after 19...Rfe8, but as it does not accomplish much either, I did not play 20.Qf6 in view of the reply 20...Bf8 and paci_golfa would have hold the position. I played the move 20.Rfd1 instead, with the idea that if 20...Qb6+ 21.Kh1 Nxb3 22.Bxb3 Qxb3 23.Rxd6 and I would end up having a piece for two pawns because of 23...Qxb2. I should have played 20.Kh1 instead of 20.Rfd1 in order to get away from the annoying checks. Paci_golfa replied with 20...Bf8 with the intention of trading the bishops, but I thought it best to avoid the trade, so I moved the bishop to e3, fully aware of the possibility of Bc5. For some reason I did not mind the trading of the bishops on e3. I should have of course played Kh1 earlier, so that Bc5 would not have been a possible reply to Be3 because I could have played Bxc5 Qxc5, followed up with b4, forking the knight and the queen. After the bishops were off the board, the game seemed to go more towards a draw, but I kept playing and tried to get something done. I was even able to get into a favorable position after paci_golfa sacrificed a pawn with the move 30...Qd2, at that point I was more comfortable of my winning chances again. My optimism towards the position was destroyed by one huge blunder I made on move 32. The silly thing is, I think I saw the reply Nd3, but thought when I played 30.Qxe5 that it is not a big problem. This was another position where my brain malfunctioned again, causing me to lose the game. I have added two mate in three and three mate in four puzzles today.

17 May 2016

B95 Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation

B95 Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation

The game I share today was played on the second round of the 2014 October Split II tournament. There are only two games left to finish in this tournament and those two games will decide who will be on third and on fourth place in the final standings. I am one of the two players involved in those two games and I need to at least win one of the two games or draw them both in order to secure my third place finish. On the first round players were divided into two groups of 12 players. I played on group 1 and I was one of the three players that advanced from group 1 to round 2. Only the leading player or players advance from each round, so this was a rare thing that three players advanced from the same group. All three of us were able to gather 56 points on round 1. Interestingly also the winner of group 2 was able to get 56 points. One might think that the second round was evenly fought because of this, but it really was not. It was quite clear from the start who are the players who will fight for the win of the tournament and who are the players who fight for being not the last one in the group. The winner of this tournament is NN Cheap (2052), who was able to gather 15 points in this last round. The second place went to aukermdr, who was able to get 13 points.

This game shows how poorly I can sometimes judge positions. I should not have resigned this game, but instead I should have continued the game and tried to get a draw. While I did not see any immediate way how my opponent could have converted that two pawn advantage into a win, I also could not see how I could hold the draw. I was quite convinced that my defenses will crumble and continuing the game would have been just waste of time. However, when I looked the end position after the game had finished with Stockfish, it thought that I had full compensation for the material. It even suggested the move I thought about of making before I resigned. I value material still too much sometimes and I need to learn that it is not so important all the time. I am not really a fan of playing against the Sicilian Defense, but obviously I have to face it from time to time due to my choice of the opening move 1.e4, which Bobby Fischer said to be best by test. However, in my games, I have probably struggled more with 1.d4 openings than with 1.e4 openings. That being said, from the games I have published in the blog, I have been doing really poorly against the King's Gambit. I should check at some point the actual statistics from both 1.e4 and 1.d4 and how I have actually done in those with both colors and see which one is truly the better one for me and with which color. I know the statistics per opening variations that I have posted, but those do not take into account the color that I have played with.

The game below reached the position that I have been facing many times since I started this blog when my opponent played 5...a6. I have usually played 6.Be2 in reply, but in this game I wanted to try another move, 6.Bg5. I had some vague memories that Bg5 was a theoretical move, but after that I was completely on my own. I did remember watching games where the move 6.Bg5 had been played, but I could not really remember all that much about them, only vague ideas. I think I made reasonable moves until I played 12.g4. I do not remember anymore why I chose to play g4 instead of h4, but whatever the reason, I did not choose the right move. Luckily for me, neither did aukermdr because my opponent replied with 12...Ne5, 12...d5 would have been a better alternative. I continued with 13.Qg2 with some ideas of queen getting to a better square and assist with the attack. I also did not save my bishop from being captured this time because I thought that the bishop would just be in the way of my other pieces if I move it. However, the move I chose was the biggest mistake of the game so far. Aukermdr replied with a less than ideal move, which gave me some chances to hold the draw. I was slightly worse after 13...Nxd3 though. Around this time in the game it became much harder to come up with a good plan. While taking back on d3 with the rook seemed like the obvious choice, the square d3 did became a little bit awkward for the rook after I played 15.Bd2. I played 15.Bd2 I guess to get the bishop out of the way of the advancing pawns that I thought might help in demolishing my opponent's defenses. Aukermdr replied by moving the knight out of the way of the advancement of the g-pawn and also wanted to place the knight on e5 and maybe try to harass my badly placed rook on d3.

After the knight maneuver to c4, I knew for sure that I am on the worse side of things. I should have still been able to hold my position together, but then on move 21 I carelessly moved my bishop to c3, which was a clear blunder that allowed some tactics. I remember using similar tactics on some of my opponents in the past, but for some reason I completely missed the idea that aukermdr can take on a3 with the knight because if I take back with the b-pawn, my opponent can then take on c3 with the rook. That would have won a pawn, but for some reason aukermdr did not play Nxa3 immediately, but instead played 21...Qd7. I guess I was not the only one not noticing the tactic. Unfortunately for me, I kept ignoring the threat of Nxa3, so aukermdr was able to play that on move 22. While the loss of a pawn for basically for free did make things more difficult for me, I still kept playing and tried to improve my position. When aukermdr played 43...d4, with the threat of getting another pawn, I probably lost my focus because I saw no way to defend the pawn on e5. I did think about the possibility of Rxh7+ and follow it up with a queen check on h3, but for some reason or the other did not see anything good quickly, so I stopped looking. This is probably one of my biggest problems in chess, I think that I can see the potential of these kind of attacking moves quickly and see if they work or not, but obviously time after time I am reminded by the fact that I should just calculate variations further than I currently do. One reason why I rejected the Rxh7 idea was that I saw no mate, but of course I should have been happy with a draw in that position. I have added one mate in one and four mate in four puzzles today.

16 May 2016

Chess960 SP764

Chess960 SP764

This was a 10 minute game with a 5 second increment and it was played at lichess.org on May 11th, 2016. I do not really like these starting positions where the bishops start on the b1, b8, g1 and g8. I think those starting squares are the most inconvenient places for the bishops to start in view of development. I know that I have typed about this same thing earlier, but it keeps annoying me, so I keep mentioning it. The arrangement of the pieces in the starting position determine on which side I want to castle and in this particular starting position I would like to castle queenside. The location of the queen and the bishops will determine for me, which side is the better side for castling. In this SP764, the white queen is located on h1, which means I probably want to activate it by playing g3. Because the light-squared bishop is unlikely to be played so that it is on the long diagonal a8-h1, the move g3 would weaken the light squares in the kingside and make castling there inadvisable.

I opened the game with 1.d4, which does help to control the center a bit, which is as important in chess960 as it is in chess in my opinion. I decided to play d4 over e4 because I thought that I would later play g3, which opens the long diagonal for the queen, had I played e4, the diagonal would have been blocked a bit. My opponent, kerym-G, replied with 1...g6 immediately opening the long diagonal for the queen and attacking the pawn on d4. I continued with Nf3 and simply defended the pawn and tried to take the center better under my control. Kerym-G answered with 2...f5, which is a reasonable move in my opinion, it opens a diagonal for the bishop and tries to control the square e4. I played Nc3 next, which does continue with the take center in control theme, but my first three moves have made the development of the bishops quite awkward. My opponent replied with 3...c6, which opens a diagonal for the dark-squared bishop. It is quite clear at this point that my opponent prefers to get the bishops developed as quickly as possible and not care so much about the knights, while I have done the opposite. On move 4 I played h3 in order to place my bishop to h2 and if Bxh2, then Qxh2 and I did consider castling to the kingside too. I would have probably castled to the kingside, had the bishops been traded on h2. I had to wait placing my bishop to h2, because of 4...Ne6 put more pressure to my pawn on d4, so I had to defend my pawn first with 5.e3. Kerym-G replied with 5...Bc7. Moving the bishop diagonally one square forward does not look all that impressive, but the bishop does control more squares from c7 than it could control anywhere else on the board in that position. Moving the bishop also enables castling to the queenside. Because Bc7 did not create a threat, I was finally able to play my bishop to h2. It was answered by f4, which I thought I should just ignore and try to get my other bishop into play, so I played a3. I was also sure that I will castle to the queenside after I saw the move f4. I think all went relatively well for both sides until kerym-G blundered with 17...Qg6. The idea behind 17...Qg6 just does not work, it does threaten two things at the same time, the knight on f7 and the pawn on c2, the problem is that I can just take on d8 and be up the exchange. 17...Qg6 was the losing move, had my opponent played 17...Bxc2+, I would have been slightly worse. During the game I thought that 16...Bh7 was the start of the downhill for my opponent. I have added one mate in one, two mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

13 May 2016

Chess960 SP231

Chess960 SP231

This is my second Live 960 game that I have played at Chess.com. The ratings shown below are the ratings that both players had after this game was played. It is currently not that easy to get a live chess960 game to play at Chess.com. I think my challenges have been the only ones there for the most part, though during the time this challenge was shown in the graph, there was one other player who issued a chess960 challenge. I am not sure if the times I go to play there are not ideal for other people who also enjoy live chess960 games or do people rather play chess960 with correspondence time controls. One option is of course that people use the old version of the site where live chess960 is not an option and for some reason have not gone to play to the new version of the site.

The first move that seems a bit odd to me, was the move 2.Ne3. It might be a good move, but I would prefer to put the knight on e3 after the pawn has moved to e4. I placed my f-knight behind the e-pawn as a reply to 2.Ne3 and then PIEROS16 played 3.d3 wanting to develop the bishop somewhere on the c1-h6 diagonal, I assume. I continued with 3...Nb6 with the idea of d5 next if that plan is not stopped. The move 4.Nc4 does stop the plan of playing d5 at least for the time being because it basically forced me to take on c4. I did not like the aspect of losing a pawn or getting doubled pawns on the b-file, so taking on c4 seemed like the right thing to do. Taking on c4 also doubles PIEROS16's pawns, so that was an added bonus. I do not really understand the reason behind playing that knight to c4 in the first place. White should have better alternatives here, fox example, 4.c4 would have been a better plan in my opinion. Then again, the position after 5.dxc4 seems reasonable for White, maybe even slightly favorable for my opponent.

After 7...g6, my opponent thought for around 24 seconds and played 8.Nc2. I think I would have preferred the more aggressive developing move 8.Bh6 because 8.Nc2 allows me to do develop my pieces freely. PIEROS16 continued with 9.Ne3, which does put the knight on a nice square, but it leaves the bishop on c1 behind it as a bad piece. I wanted to get to h3 after Ne3, which blocked the bishop's path, so I moved my knight to g5, so it would be ready to jump to h3. I knew that it would be hard to get anything actually done with just the knight on h3, but at least it would force the king to block the path for the bishop on h1. So after 10.Qd2, I played 10...Nh3+. I also thougt about possilities to use the long diagonal for attack, but there were no convenient ways to make anything work on the long diagonal. After 11.Kg2, I was not at all sure on how to continue the game, so I spend almost a minute to consider my options and decided to play 11...Bh6, with the idea of pinning the knight and maybe prepare the move Qg5, followed by Nf4+.

PIEROS16 thought about the move 12.Qc2 for 48.6 seconds, the second longest think of the game for my opponent. It was followed up by the longest thought process I had in the game for one of my moves. I thought about the move 12...Qd7 for over a minute. During that minute I did consider at first taking on e3 with the bishop because I wanted to take advantage of the awkward position of the queen on c2 and the rook on b1, by playing Bf5. However, I quickly rejected the idea because Bf5 would be answered with e4. I could have doubled my opponent's pawns on the e-file, but I did not see it beneficial enough to give one of my bishops in the process. After 12...Qd7, I was already down almost two minutes on the clock and the pressure to win this game started to increase. That is because my rating would have dropped quite a lot in case of a loss, but also had I drawn this game, my rating would have experienced a considerable dive. PIEROS16 replied with the annoying 13.Nd5, which threatened a fork on f6 and thinking about the reply cost me another 32 seconds on the clock. At the time I played 13...Bg7, PIEROS16 had 7 minutes and 15 seconds on the clock while I had 5 minutes and 8 seconds. My opponent went for tactical threats at this point in the game and played 14.Bh6 and had I taken the bishop, PIEROS16 would have played Nf6+ and it would have likely meant my resignation. I continued with tricks of my own and played 14...Nf4+. The idea was that if it gets replied with gxf4, then Qh3+, followed up with Qxh6 should be good for me.

However, PIEROS16 played Bxf4 instead, which wins a pawn momentarily in the game continuation. Had my opponent played 16.gxf4, PIEROS16 might have been able to keep the pawn. It is an awful looking move and I understand the unwillingness to play that and I might have also preferred 16.Nxf4. I was down 2 minutes on the clock after 16.Nxf4 and as the position did not seem that good for me, I started to be a bit worried. On move 17 I was able to play my move about 40 seconds faster than my opponent, so I was able to get the time difference on the clocks a little bit less. Unfortunately after that I was the slower mover again, until on move 23 I was able to move faster than PIEROS16 once again. That was because Bxe3, doubling my opponent's pawns seemed like an obvious move, so it did not take long for me to play that move. Around this time I was just trying to play faster than my opponent and even out the time difference on the clocks. After 32.Rf1, the time difference was only 30 seconds in favor of my opponent, I had 2 minutes and 19 seconds left on the clock. I was fairly confident that I can make moves fast enough from this point forward though. Also at this point I had to notice to play 32...Re7, because otherwise I could be close to losing this game.

When I played Kg7, I was surprised to see that my opponent played 37.Rf2 in reply. I would have expected 37.Rdf4 increasing the pressure on f7 and keeping my pieces more tied up. For some reason, it was the move 37.Rf2 that PIEROS16 used the most thinking time during this game and I have no idea why my opponent decided after 48.9 seconds to play Rf2. It was after this longish think that I was for the first time during this game up on time. I was quite confident that time will be deciding factor in this game, so I kept moving fast and tried to stay up on time, which I was able to do for the rest of the game. I actually won this game on time, but before that I had gained a winning position. After I played 37...f5, my opponent made the blunder that lost the game, PIEROS16 played c5, which gave a pawn for free and because it seemed that I can also win the pawn on e3, the rest of the game was easy to play. I have added two mate in three and three mate in four puzzles today. Until Monday, my fellow chess960 and chess enthusiasts!

12 May 2016

C88 Spanish Game: Closed, Anti-Marshall 8.a4

C88 Spanish Game: Closed, Anti-Marshall 8.a4

The game below was played in a team match called Chess Match Championship 1200+. It is a 76 board match between Chess lovers & CHESScom-International_EUROPE and Kopaonik. I played on board 18 for Kopaonik and managed to win both of my games against chesszardoz. The score in the match at the moment I type this is 63 - 70 in favor of Kopaonik.

I think I should start commenting this game from the position after 16.h3. That is because I think that the moves that were played before my 16th move were kind of normal looking and maybe not that exciting. I replied with 16...Ne7 with the intention of getting rid of the knight on f5. True, this might not be the all that exciting either, but chesszardoz's follow up move does make things more exciting. The move 17.g4 does make trading the knight on f5 seem like a bad idea because chesszardoz would take back on f5 with the g-pawn, opening the g-file for attack. Because trading on f5 seemed too dangerous even if my opponent can't take advantage of the g-file in a few moves, I decided to play 17...Kh7, which turned out to be a waste of a move due to chesszardoz's reply 18.Bb3 basically forcing the king back to g8. The idea behind Kh7 was to follow it up with g6, in order to drive the knight away from f5. I obviously could not play g6 first, because that would have left the h6-pawn inadequately defended. Chesszardoz continued by playing 19.Be3 and I think White should be preferred in that position.

On my 19th move, I decided finally to get rid of the knight on f5, so I played 19...Nxf5. Like I had expected, chesszardoz took back with the g-pawn. I continued with 20...Qc7 in order to prepare c4. In the game continuation I did not have time to play c4 and it was actually my opponent who went for c4 first. The problem with 23.c4 was that I could take on c4 with my b-pawn and chesszardoz was forced to take back with the bishop. Admittedly taking with the bishop does look like the more natural move in any case, but because I could follow up with 24...d5, chesszardoz's pawn structure falls apart. This is because the e-pawn must take on d5 in order to prevent loss of material. After 26...Nxd5, I was happy with my position, I had much better pawn structure compared to my opponent and my pieces were somewhat more active than those of my opponent's. Despite of the horrible pawn structure, four pawn islands where in one of them are doubled pawns, it was easier for chesszardoz to form an attack towards my king than it was for me to generate attack towards chesszardoz's king. While I went after the pawns and tried to win them, chesszardoz targeted my king, which was probably his best chance to alter the course of the game. I admit that it started to look a bit dangerous for me after 31.h4 and I was not sure how well I can defend againt the threats. I had to very careful what I play especially after 33...fxg6 because it seemed that my king is a bit too open for my liking. The pawn on f6 was very annoying as well, limiting my options. I was able to play quite well in my opinion and I wanted to finish this game with a nice tactic, but unfortunately I was denied of it, because chesszardoz saw the threat. I am typing about the possibility after 44...c2 if 45.Kf1, for example, then 45...Ba3 wins the game. If queen takes the bishop, then c1=Q+ and I have traded a pawn and a bishop for a queen and I would have an easy win. Well, the remainder of the game was reasonably easy regardless, so I did not mind too much. I have added one mate in one, two mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

11 May 2016

A49 Indian Game: Przepiorka Variation

A49 Indian Game: Przepiorka Variation

As I have tried to give as much time as possible for changing the game replayers from Chessbase and pgn4web to Chess.com's, I have not shared as many games this week as I could have otherwise done. Unfortunately other things have also taken my time away from making the updates, so the time I would have otherwise had, I was forced to use on other things than the updates. I should be able to get more updating done soon as I do not have similar things taking my time away as in the past few days. I can't give an estimate at this point how long it will take to make the necessary chances, but I will do them as quickly as I can. The games are not actually published in order they have finished for awhile, which is a bit annoying for me, but also necessary action in my opinion, in order to publish new opening variations and new starting positions from chess960. Well, in the order they are in my databases I should say, because the over the board games especially will not be published necessarily in order they have finished.

The game below is my last game from round one of the 2014 October Glacial Super Casual Banded I 1650+ tournament that is played at Red Hot Pawn. This game is definetely one of the longest games I have ever played and it unfortunately ended in my loss. I think caissad4 offered me a draw at some point and now I am obviously disappointed in myself because I foolishly thought I could win this game and did not accept the draw. This game was created November 3rd, 2014 and it finished on May 8th, 2016. This is not even going to be the longest game I have ever played, because I have one other game in progress that started in 2014 that at the moment seems to take several more months with the pace it has gone lately.

I finished on 4th place in group 1 with 40 points. The maximum possible score was 66. My opponent in this game, caissad4, has currently 51 points and can get to 54 points in case he or she wins his or her last game. Caissad4 is currently on third place in the standings, but can get to 2nd place with a win in that last game. The basic time for each move was 21 days and there was 21 days in the bank, which meant that this was the tournament with the longest time controls I have ever played with. Even though the first round is still in progress, the second and final round has also started. This is possible because the winners of both groups were decided already some time ago and in the tournaments at Red Hot Pawn, winners will advance to the next round as soon as the winners of all groups have been decided.

The first move that went off from the normal development of pieces was in my opinion when caissad4 played 6.Ne5. I would have probably played 6.Bf4, 6.Bg5 or 6.Nc3, had I been controlling the White pieces. 6.Ne5 does open up the long diagonal for the fianchettoed bishop and it discourages me to play Nc6. The symmetrical nature of the game reintroduced itself after 10.Nxe5. While 5 moves earlier it was me who went for the symmetry, this time it was me who broke it. Well, I tried but caissad4 went back to the symmetry with 11.Nd3. On move 12, caissad4's plan started to be different from me again and I admit that caissad4 did have a better plan than I did. I think my opponent was able to get a better position than me, but on move 19, when caissad4 played Nf2 and allowed me to play e5, I think it gave me some play. I even thought that the central pawns could get weak, but caissad4 was able to adequately defend them. After 21.cxd4, I thought that due to my better pawn structure and the possibility to harass the central pawns, I would be in the better side of the board and due to that I did not accept the draw offer that caissad4 send me close to this point in the game. Sometimes when I have declined a draw offer, I start to play for the win more, which might make me do riskier than usual moves. One of those moves might be 35...c5, which really should not have worked. The game continuation actually went like I had thought and I assumed I should be on the slightly better side after Bxb2. I did lose the game due to a big judgement error when I played 48...Kg8 instead of 48...Kf6, which would have held the draw. I thought that I need to protect the h7-pawn, but by doing so I lost the game. I have added one mate in one, two mate in two and two mate in three puzzles today.

10 May 2016

D94 Grünfeld: 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.e3

D94 Grünfeld: 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.e3

This might not be the most exciting game because there were no clear mistakes done by either player. This was due to the fact that there really were not that difficult choices at any point during the 22 moves that this game lasted. Actually I was happy to get the draw and the way I played this game was with the intention of getting a draw. This game was played in a mini-tournament called dim_weasel's XIV. I am currently on second place with 2.5 points and I have two games left to finish. Ichthus also has 2.5 points, but he has already played all of his six games. He is currently on 4th place, but if dim_weasel (1823) gets at least 1.5 points out of his two remaining games, then dim_weasel will overtake ichthus on the standings, leaving ichthus on 5th place. The winner of this mini-tournament has been clear quite some time now and it will be officially jug_head (2049) as soon as all games have finished. Jug_head was able to win all of his games in this dim_weasel's XIV mini-torunament. I have added one analysed game to my post E00 Indian Game: East Indian Defense. I have added one mate in one, two mate in two, one mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today.

[Event "dim_weasel's XIV"] [Site "http://gameknot.com/chess.pl?"] [Date "2016.04.25"] [Round "?"] [White "ichthus"] [Black "Vierjoki, Timo"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D94"] [WhiteElo "1871"] [BlackElo "1781"] [Annotator "Stockfish 8 64 POPCNT (30s), TV"] [PlyCount "44"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. b3 {Zukertort Opening: Nimzo-Larsen Variation} g6 3. Bb2 Bg7 4. d4 (4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O {Zukertort Opening: Double Fianchetto Attack}) 4... d5 5. e3 O-O 6. c4 c6 7. Nc3 Bg4 (7... Ne4 8. Bd3 Nxc3 9. Bxc3 Bg4 10. h3 Bxf3 11. Qxf3 e5 12. dxe5 dxc4 13. Bxc4 Bxe5 14. e4 Nd7 15. Rd1 Bxc3+ 16. Qxc3 Qe7 17. O-O Nc5 18. Rfe1 Rad8 19. Bxf7+ Kxf7 {0-1 (19) Suarez Fernandez,E (1850)-Rizouk,A (2511) Seville 2016}) 8. Be2 Nbd7 $146 (8... Ne4 9. Nxe4 dxe4 10. Nd2 Bxe2 11. Qxe2 f5 12. f3 c5 13. O-O-O cxd4 14. exd4 Bxd4 15. Nxe4 e5 16. Bxd4 exd4 17. Nc5 Re8 18. Qd2 Nc6 19. Rhe1 Qd6 20. Nxb7 Qxh2 21. f4 Qh4 22. Nd6 Rxe1 23. Rxe1 {Mainka,G (2327)-Schmidt,B (2338) Germany 2006 0-1}) 9. O-O { D94 Grünfeld: 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.e3} Re8 10. cxd5 cxd5 11. Nd2 Bxe2 {Black forks: d1+f1} 12. Qxe2 Rc8 13. Rac1 Rc6 14. Qf3 (14. Qb5 Rb6 15. Qa5 Ra6 16. Qxd8 Rxd8 $11) 14... Nb6 (14... Qa5 15. a3 e6 16. b4 $11) 15. Ne2 $11 Qd7 16. Rxc6 Qxc6 17. Rc1 {White threatens to win material: Rc1xc6} Qd7 18. Nf4 Rc8 19. Rxc8+ Qxc8 20. Qd1 Nfd7 21. Nd3 Qc7 22. Qc1 Qxc1+ 1/2-1/2

9 May 2016

Chess960 SP843

Chess960 SP843

The game below was an open challenge that I issued at ChessRex. The thinking time in this game was 4 days per move. The game was created on April 9th, 2016 and it finished on May 2nd, 2016. My new rating after this win was 1762, which is also my current rating at ChessRex. It slowly keeps getting higher, I have still won all but one game at the site and not sure when that second loss is going to find me, but I have no doubt that it will come sooner or later. When I first went to check out ChessRex, I was not sure what to expect. It was just a place that I read about in a blog where the place was recommended, so I was intrigued by the place and gave it a try. I am really glad that I did go there and activeley kept games in progress there. Had I not done that I would not have been selected as a winner to get 2 hours of chess training from IM / WGM Yelena Dembo.

Apart from my days at high school over ten years ago, when I was in a language chess club and one chess camp I took part in, I have not been taught chess by a teacher, so this was interesting opportunity for me. I do not think that a similar opportunity would have come to me on any other site, so that really made me appreciate the site a lot more and now it is definetely one of my favourite sites. I actually scheduled some further chess training with Yelena as I think it might help me to get stronger at chess. I have also tried to get myself to the next level as a chess player by getting more learning material that I have gone through a bit now, but still have a lot to go through. Of course there are still some chess books that have gathered dust somewhere that I should go through at some point, but at the moment I think that I do not have enough time for them. Maybe some time later this year I have enough time to go through all of the chess books and videos that I have.

I should probably go to the game below now, before I type more about stuff that is not really related to this game. Perhaps the first time that I needed to really consider what to move was when SRIKANTH played 2...Bb5. The move itself is not that dangerous, but I did have to consider what happens in case my opponent goes for 3...Bxd3, do I want to lose the opportunity to castle kingside and take back with the rook or should I play e3, for instance and allow the possibility of Qxd3 if SRIKANTH would have decided to take on d3. I ended up playing 3.Bb4, so that my opponent can't easily move the e-pawn, due to the pin. Instead of a passive move, I went for a more active one. Active play is usually much better than passive play, but I usually tend to play a bit too passively. SRIKANTH replied with 3...a5, which caused a potential problem for me. The bishop did not have all that many good squares to which it could go, actually the only decent square for it was a3 in my opinion, so I moved the bishop there. Then my opponent continued with 4...Nb6, with the idea of 5...Nc4 and ruining my pawn structure on the queenside with 6...Nxa3. Seeing that as a possibility, I played 5.b3 in order to prevent 5...Nc4 and it also gave the bishop two more squares to which it can go. However, it does weaken the c3 square, which became a problem for me later on in the game. I still think that b3 was necessary and since I was able to handle the c3 problem, it was not a huge problem.

After 5.b3 SRIKANTH played 5...Nf6 intending to go to e4 later on and eye on the c3 square. I was not all that worried about Ne4 just yet as I thought that I can easily cover the c3 square after Ne4, so I continued developing my pieces with 6.Nf3. SRIKANTH's reply was the surprising 6...h6, which I think is an unnecessary move because I have no desire to play Ng5 anyway. However, it does prepare g5, which SRIKANTH played on move 9. Before that though my opponent wastes a bit of time in my opinion by playing 7...Ng4 and after I played 8.Ne5, SRIKANTH just played the knight back to f6. While I wanted to improve the location of my pieces and avoid unnecessary pawn moves, my opponent did the opposite in my opinion. That being said, I was in some difficulties after 10...Ne4 11.Bb2 f6 12.Nd3 e5 or at least in a slightly uncomfortable position. Then again, the move 12...e5 was the starting point for my material gain. I thought about taking on e5 for a longish time because I had to make sure that the opening of the long diagonal will not be bebeficial for my opponent. I thought about all sorts of possibilities for SRIKANTH to play the queen on the long diagonal and make a battery with the bishop. Also I had to consider the advancement of the a-pawn and the possible invasions to the c3 square with the knight on some positions. I decided after some time that I should take on e5 first with the pawn and then with the d-knight. I think that taking with the d-knight was better than taking with the other knight or taking with the bishop. I think the final mistake was when my opponent played 14...a4 allowing 15.Ng6 that I did not see at first, but luckily used enough time and I was able to find that move. I was quite sure after I played 15.Ng6 that I am going to win this game. However, it turns out that with accurate defense SRIKANTH could have stayed in the game. I of course did not even the think of the possibility that is shown in the notation 15...Qe8 16.Nxh8 Bxe2 and I would have been only slightly better. After the game continuation 15...Qg8 I am clearly better and I was able to increase my advantage during the remainder of the game. I have added four mate in two and one mate in three puzzle today.

6 May 2016

Chess960 SP274

Chess960 SP274

Playing against the Stockfish AI level 6 at lichess.org proved once again a bit too challenging for me. If I am going to play against an AI there again, it will be this same one, because I think it is currently the most suitable one for me as the AI level 5 was not much of a challenge and AI level 7 and 8 would be even tougher. But again, I have only played one game against AI level 5, so it is not enough to judge it properly. This game went quite badly for me starting from my first move. I carelessly played 1...e5 thinking that it should not be that bad of a move, but after 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Ng5 I already thought that I had messed up this game. I had to reply with 3...Nd6, then the pressure kept building with 4.Nce4, to which I again had only one reply 4...Ke8. By moving both of its knights twice, the AI had been able to make me lose the right to castle. While the knight maneuvers were annoying, I am not sure how much the AI gained from that aside from me losing the right to castle. I thought that I should be okay even after Ke8 because I was able to develop my pieces quite easily and the AI had not done much except move its knights around the board. I did even get better development because the AI had to keep moving the knights. After 7...d5, I anticipated 8.Nc3, which I thought to be a good move, but Stockfish AI level 6 moved its knight to g3 instead. I was not really worried about that move, but 8.Nc3 would have been definetely more annoying move to face. I played 8...Rd8, because I wanted to play Kd7, followed by Kc8. That plan did not immediately come into fruition because the AI played 9.e4 and I can no longer play Kd7, because that would lose a pawn for no reason. I instead moved my d-pawn one square forward to d4, trying to block the path of the bishop on a1.

I usually defend my bishop pair almost too much, but when the AI played 10.Nf5, I did not save my bishop for some reason, but instead played Kd7. If I were to end up in a similar position in the future, I would probably just move the bishop, maybe to a3. I think the game continuation was okay too, up to the point when I took on e4 with my bishop, it was just too risky. I did notice quite soon that the pawn grab was a mistake. Well, I thought that it was a mistake during the game that is, but actually it is a good move. After 18.d3 I was of course confident that I will lose the game. At some point I did notice that the bishop on c4 did not have many squares to go to, but for some reason I did not even consider 18...b5. Well, I may have considered it, but thought that I have to prepare it with c6. That was a huge mistake and had the AI just taken my bishop with the pawn, I would have indeed been in a losing position. The game continuation 19.Ba3 b5 was only good enough for an even position. It did not last long as I self-destructed with the move 20...fxe4. I did not even think about the possibility to play 20...d3, which was the only chance for me to try to hold the draw. The AI was kind enough to offer me one last chance to win the game when it played 23.Bxb5, but of course I took back with the pawn, when I should have taken back with the queen. That mistake decided the game as the AI did not give me anymore chances. I have added one analysed game to these two posts: A20 English Opening: King's English Variation. General and C64 Spanish Game: Classical Variation. I have also added one mate in one, three mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today. Until Monday, my fellow chess960 and chess enthusiasts!!

Game number two. This can be viewed in the video below and you can hear what I thought about the game while I played it.

5 May 2016

Chess960 SP521

Chess960 SP521

It is time once again for some chess960 and this time against an AI. When I tried to get a game against a human player last Sunday, I did not get one fast enough, so I thought it was time to test the Stockfish AI level 5, which is apparently rated around 1700 at lichess.org. In my opinion human players around that rating play usually better than the AI did in this game. It just felt a bit too easy to win. This has been so far my only game against AI level 5, so maybe it does not play as badly all the time. Because this one seemed too easy, I tried to play against AI level 6 after this game, which I had faced once before and lost. I also lost my second game against Stockfish AI level 6, but more about that on the post tomorrow.

I opened the game with a natural looking move e4, trying to get a precence in the center and open a diagonal for my bishop. The AI responded with 1...d5, so the game had a Scandinavian Defense feel to it. I took on d5 as I thought that the pawn sacrifice might be not so good. Obviously the AI played 2...Nf6, though I am not sure if it would have taken the pawn from d5 if I had not protected it with 3.c4. Sotckfish AI level 5 decided then to play 3...c6, so I took another pawn off the board and at that moment I really had won a pawn. The AI avoided taking back and instead went on to develop the bishop to b6. I could have been greedy and continued taking on b7, but I did not want to get too far behind in development, so I placed my knight on f3. Then the AI decided to play 5...Nxc6. Even though I was behind in development, I was not too worried about it, because I had a pawn in compensation and I did not think that I had too difficult of a time to get my pieces into play.

During the game I was bit worried about the move Nb4 after the AI had played its rook to d8, so I prevented Nb4 with 10.a3. The AI replied with 10...Nd4, which threatens Nb3 and Nxe2, so I though that I have to take on d4. After the AI had taken back, I continued with Bd2 with the idea of placing the bishop to e3. Then Stockfish AI level 5 played 12...h5, the point of which I am not at all sure about. I do not see how that move would help my opponent. I did get some initiave after this with Be3, followed up with c5. After 14...Bc7, I played 15.Bf4 and for some reason wanted to exchange the dark-squared bishops. However, I think that 15.d4 would have been a better move to play. I think the next bad move from the AI came when it played 19...Ng4, which just loses another pawn. I did not play perfectly and actually gave the AI an opportunity to play 25...Rxd4, after which I would have been only slightly better and the game would not have been that easy to win. The rest of the game was really easy to play and I did not even spoil my win with the mouse slip I made on move 32. I intended to play 32.Rd1, but instead accidentally dropped the rook to c1. I do not usually have these mouse slips or even mention them and I definetely never request any takebacks even if I lose a good game because of it. I have added one analysed game to these two posts: D30 Queen's Gambit Declined: General and C18 French Defense: Winawer Variation. Poisoned Pawn Variation Main Line. I have also added three mate in one and two mate in three puzzles today.

4 May 2016

Chess960 SP430 with 1.d4 d5 2.Nd2

Chess960 SP430 with 1.d4 d5 2.Nd2

Major chances are coming to this blog in the following days and weeks. I have found a solution to the problem I typed about yesterday, but implementing it will take a very long time. This is because I need to repost all the 1500+ games I have put in the blog so far... That includes both chess and chess960 games. Even though this is a huge project for me to do, there are some upsides to this in addition to the fact that I am able to get my posts to work in both HTTP and HTTPS. It will become possible to download also all the chess960 games that previously could not be downloaded from this blog. The solution to the problem, the new game replayer I am using from now on, will unfortunately decrease the speed of adding games to the blog. The main reason for that is that I need to add the positional evaluations like ∓ and ± to the comments of the pgn-file in order for them to show in game replayer. Previously it only took maybe under a minute to post a chess game from Chessbase 12, now it takes a few minutes to post the same game... Despite of all this I think it is improving the blog enough to make it all worthwhile. By the way, as I added puzzles today, I noticed that there is actually a problem with at least some of the puzzles too, so there is a lot more things to change than I thought. The post has been renamed on January 22nd, 2017. This is the first Chess960 post that will be defined by both the starting position and the opening played in it. Well, at least the part that features good enough moves to be included in theory. In chess there are named opening variations that are rubbish, but what I would like to include here are sound opening moves. The reason I cut the line after 2.Nd2 is that my second move 2...Ndc6 is maybe a slight mistake. That being said maybe up to the move 3...e5 the game remains to be played rather evenly, maybe only a small advantage for White. Maybe the theory could even go up to the move 7...Bh7, since neither side has made any serious mistakes up to that point. People who are better with words than me could come up with names for these Chess960 opening lines when it comes a bit more widely accepted what is theory and what is not. If the naming of the Chess960 opening variations happens in my life time, I might just change the name of my posts accordingly.

This short game was played in a team match called KNOCKOUT 960 Final: Total 960 vs OCD. The match is played on 20 boards between Total 960 and Obsessive Chess Disorder!! I am playing on board 9 for OCD and so far this is the only full point we have been able to get in this match. We are outrated in every board, so we knew from the start that this is not going to be easy. The current score is 8.5 - 1.5 in favor of Total 960, so they have taken a considerable lead already. Time will tell how well we are able to fight against the clearly stronger team, but I think on every board we are doing our best to turn things around.

Sschmieta opened the game with 1.d4 and opened the c1-h6 diagonal for the queen. I would have preferred 1.e4, but 1.d4 should be a good move too. I decided to reply with a similar d-pawn push because other moves seem quite bad in my opinion. My opponent continued with the interesting Nd2, which is again a move I would not have probably chosen to play, but it should be a playable move. I played 2...Ndc6 in order to put pressure on the d4-pawn and maybe prepare 3...e5, so that my bishop can be developed. After the moves 3.e3 e5, it would seem that I have a little bit of an initiave, which suggests to me that White has done something wrong already. I think the move 2...Nd2 is a bit slow and allowed me this early aggression. In truth the position should still be quite even. Besides, that early aggression stopped when I played my bishop to d6 on move 4. My bishop move allowed the move 5.c4 to be played, which seemed to bring the initiave back to sschmieta. I think I had to take on c4 because allowing c5 would be quite bad in my opinion. The downside was that now sschmieta was able to develop the bishop to c4. I continued with my normal developing ideas and played 6...h6 in order to develop my bishop to h7. At this moment it would have been annoying to see 7.Bd3 basically preventing me from developing the bishop to h7. I was glad to see that my opponent chose to play Nc3 instead. Sschmieta tried to develop his bishop to h2 in a similar way that I had developed my bishop to h7, but I was not going to let that happen so easily and played 8...exd4. At this point in the game I was happy how the moves had been played and I liked my position. My opponent took back with the pawn, which might be too risky because the king is still on the e-file. Maybe Nxd4 was better, because it would have prevented the idea that I used in the game. Sschmieta made a horrible blunder when he replied to 10...Re8+ with 11.Ne2 because after 11...Bb4 there is no reason to continue the game anymore. I have added one analysed game to these two posts: B49 Sicilian Defense: Paulsen Variation. Bastrikov Variation and D03 Queen Pawn Game: Torre Attack. I have also added one mate in two, two mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

3 May 2016

C01 French Defense: Mediterranean Defense

C01 French Defense: Mediterranean Defense

This is the 500th opening variation that has appeared in this blog!! When I have reached this kind of milestones, I have usually looked at some statisitics about those opening variations. I will do that also in this post. The most common opening variation out of those 500 is still A20 English Opening: King's English Variation. General with 51 games. I have no doubt that it will remain the most common for a very long time. Those 51 games are only about 3.6% of all the chess games in the blog, so it is a very rare thing that I would play the same opening variation consistently. The highest win rate in variations that I have played at least 10 times in the games that appear in this blog I have in the C41 Philidor Defense in which I have won all my 10 games. My lowest win rate in the same category is C16 French Defense: Winawer Variation. Advance Variation General in which my winning percentage after 11 games is 27.27%. My highest losing percentage is in the opening variation called C34 King's Gambit: Accepted. Fischer Defense, it is 47.62% in variations that I have played at least 10 times. I have played C34 King's Gambit: Accepted. Fischer Defense in 21 games that are in the blog. It is no wonder then, why I like to avoid that whenever possible.

Before I go into the game below, I need to mention some changes that have happened today in actually every page in Blogger. There used to be a choice whether or not you want to have your blog or other page in Blogger to have HTTPS version. Now they changed it so that there is no longer a choice to do that. This means that you can view this blog's HTTP or HTTPS version. The problem with the latter is that it does not show any of the games properly. It does show the puzzles though in the HTTPS version. When I did try this HTTPS availability thing before it came as mandatory, I also noticed that every time I would make a post, it would notify me of mixed content. Which means that some of the site functionality does not work in HTTPS. That made me seriously consider changing the location of this blog to somewhere else other than Blogger because if I continue doing this blog here, I have no way to make the blog also properly work in HTTPS. Well, the easy solution to make this blog also work in HTTPS would be to remove all the content that uses game replayers. Or if I had the knowledge to make one myself, it might also be a solution to the problem, but unfortunately I do not have such skills. Then again I could ignore the mixed content because the blog works in HTTP the same way it has done previously.

The game below was played in a team match called Natalia Pogonina! vs Space Angels Celebrate. The match is played on 33 boards between We love Natalia Pogonina! and Space Angels Calculating Thermodynamic Shift In Andromeda's Cluster Of Infinite Bright Stars. I played on board 7 for Space Angels Calculating Thermodynamic Shift In Andromeda's Cluster Of Infinite Bright Stars and won both of my games against hlornik. The current score in the match is 9 - 42 in favor of Space Angels Calculating Thermodynamic Shift In Andromeda's Cluster Of Infinite Bright Stars, so this has been really one-sided match. We had higher rated players on every board, so the result is not that surprising. I would prefer to play in a more evenly fought match and maybe in the future I will avoid these kind of matches were the match is likely to be one-sided. However, I would not mind playing for the team that has the lower rated players, because then it would be much more challenging for me to play.

The move 2...Nf6 is interesting, I assume its purpose is similar like in the Alekhine Defense and try to get the white pawns overextended and therefore weak. I continued with 3.e5 because that is what I would play if this was Alekhine Defense. Unlike in the Alekhine, the pawns are on d4 and e6 already. This game could have been over much quicker, but for some reason I did not see that after the huge blunder 9...Qe7, I could have just played 10.Bb5+, followed up with castles and the threat of Re1 should win the game. However, hlornik blunders again with 12...Bd6, which makes my job a little bit easier again. I played the knight b5 move in order to force my opponent to move his king. When it had gone to d7 to protect the bishop on d6 and block the path for the other bishop, I was happy and returned to c3 with my knight in order to protect the pawn on d5. Of course I should have just played my bishop to e3 and if hlornik takes that pawn on d5 with the knight, then play O-O-O and I should win with ease. The game continuation was not as beneficial until hlornik blundered again with 15...Na6. This time I was more alert and was able to find Bb5+ winning the exchange. After that it was just downhill for my opponent. I have added one analysed game to these two posts: Chess960 SP391 and C64 Spanish Game: Classical Variation. I have also added three mate in two and two mate in four puzzles today.

2 May 2016

E08 Catalan Opening: Closed, 7.Qc2 c6 8.b3

E08 Catalan Opening: Closed, 7.Qc2 c6 8.b3

This week starts with games I have played at GameKnot. The game below was played in a mini-tournament called dim_weasel's XIV. Apart from the winner of the mini-tournament, jug_head (2061), other players have been quite evenly matched and the places from 2nd to 5th are still not decided. Jug_head managed to win all of his games, so he got the impressive result of 8 out of 8 points! I am currently on second place with 2.5 points and I have two more games left to finish. Two other players have also managed to get 2.5 points, the one who is on third place has still two games to finish while the player on fourth place has played all of his games. The mini-tournament creator is currently on 5th place, which is also the last place, but if he wins both of his remaining games, he can overtake me if I lose both of my remaining games.

For these comments I did not check what the engine thinks about the positions, so there might be some disagreement between what I type here and what the engine thinks about the positions in the notation. I prefer open games to these rather boring closed games, but the way I usually handle the first few moves, I occasionally have to play even these more closed games. After the move 8.b3 I am not really sure what I should do in a position like that. I played 8...b6 in order to develop my bishop, but maybe I should have played 8...Re8 and tried to play e5 later on. The way I played in the game does not seem like the right idea at all. The move 9...Bb7 is a bit sloppy in my opinion and the bishop might be somewhat better at a6, where it at least would have prevented the move Nc3 as a reply. I continued with Qc7 and I thought that if Bf4, I could just play Bd6 and the trade of those bishops would be good for me. After jug_head played 13.e4, I was not really sure that I had played this all that well. I did end up taking on e4 as I wanted to open lines and get more space for my pieces, but that may not have been the best idea either. I should have considered playing 13...e5 instead. Then again that move poses other problems. I took on e4 twice in order to play Nf6 to Qxe4, but after I had moved my knight to f6, I thought it might be more useful on the square d7. That is because I could play Nxe5 in case my opponent plays his knight to e5, which he did in the game on his 17th move. I replied with the wierd looking Rc7, the point of which I am not sure about, but I guess it protects the bishop in some lines. I guess I wanted to play c5 and make sure that the bishop is defended. Jug_head continued by pushing the a-pawn and unfortunately I replied in kind, which made the move c5 a good one for my opponent. I had to take on c5 and after 20.dxc5 Qe7 21.Rd6 I was quite sure of the fact that I am going to lose, but I did try and hang on for a few moves.

The position seemed quite lost after jug_head won the pawn on a5, but later on I played Rxd6 thinking for a brief moment that I am able to get my pawn back. Unfortunately that did not happen as I never had the time to take that pawn on d6. I may have been able to take that pawn, had I played 26...Rd8 instead of 26...Rc8. The problem with the move I played in the game was that I did not want to take on d5 with the c-pawn after Bxd5. Taking with the c-pawn seems quite risky anyway because it gives my opponent two connected passed pawns. If I was not lost before 27...exd5, I am definetely lost after that move. The queen on f4, the pawn on d6 and when the rook lands on e7 work perfectly together towards the win. His knight and those two pawns on a4 and b4 are not even relevant, they could be taken off the board and I would still be lost. I have added one analysed game to these two posts: A35 English Opening: Symmetrical Variation. Two Knights Variation and C69 Spanish Game: Exchange Variation. Gligoric Variation. I have also added one mate in one, two mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.