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30 Jun 2016

Chess960 SP847

Chess960 SP847

This is my latest game from lichess.org and my third consecutive game against capajan. After this game my chess960 rating hit its current peak of 1898. Both players had similar ideas on how to best open diagonals for the bishops and how to occupy the center with the d-pawn. Similarities stopped when I played 4...Nd6. I wanted more centralised location for my knight than my opponent. Capajan replied with 5.Ne3, which immediately targeted the now slightly less defended pawn on d5 as the knight blocked the rook's path when it jumped to d6. I thought about different options here, I think 5...Ne4 was one of the options I considered, but I played 5...e6 mostly just to defend d5 with a pawn and maybe get my pieces that were protecting it activated as they no longer needed to defend d5. However, I should have played 5...Ne4 because it would have left the square e6 free for my knight to jump to and it would not have been as passive of a move. The game continuation did allow me to reply to the move 6.Qb4 with Qb5. My decision to offer the trade of queens was not the best and it would have been better for me to play 6...b6.

The game continued rather evenly until my opponent made the move 11.Ka2. It was the worst move of the game up to that point, but because I did not react accurately, the game became balanced once again. The position became immediately favorable for me again after the blunder 12.Kb3. After that the advantage shifted from one side to the other with every move until there was a briefly even position during the moves 14...O-O 15.Nxc4. With my 15th move I made probably my worst move of the game that I had made up to that point. I thought that I had to take on c4 with the pawn because had I taken with the knight, then capajan could have won a pawn on b7. I did notice quite quickly on how much trouble I actually was after taking on c4 with the d-pawn. Capajan was clearly better after that. On my 18th move I made a horrible mistake and I can't really say why I played 18...Ne4+, it just seems so awful move when I look at it now.

I was in huge trouble for quite a long time, but I tried my best to hang on. I was completely lost after 33...Ra6, but for some reason capajan played 34.Rb6 instead of Rb7, which would have been a much better move and a move that I expected. The move that capajan played, Rb6, allowed me to get better back into the game, but even after that I was on the worse side of things. Then after 39.Rb2, the game became evenly fought again. On move 40 I threw the game away and I was in a lost position once again. Both players kept making horrible moves, but it was me again who blundered quite badly and started to be in a lost position after 44...Kd7. It could have been the game losing move, but I fought until the end and won the game on time. I guess I played my king to d7 because I saw that 44...Kf7 would be only good enough for a draw. I have added two mate in one and three mate in four puzzles today.

The live commentary for this game, done by me, can be viewed in the video below.

29 Jun 2016

Chess960 SP363 with 1.g3 d5 2.f4

Chess960 SP363 with 1.g3 d5 2.f4

The game below was the third game I played last Sunday and with this game I experienced more problems than with the first two. This was the first of three games that I ended up playing against capajan. Even though I managed to win all three games, this first one and the last one especially I was very close of losing for quite some time, until I finally got the win. In this starting position the kings start in a very secure place as the pawns in front of them are protected quite well, the d-pawn has the maximum protection, it is protected by the bishop, the rook and the king. My opponent, capajan started the game with g3, opening a diagonal for the bishop and for the queen. I replied with 1...d5, which I almost immediately thought to be a bad move, due to Qh3+ possibly winning a pawn. However, while my opponent could take that pawn, I would be ahead in development, for instance, 2.Qh3+ Bd7 3.Qxh7 Nf6 and the queen would need to move again. Probably due to that variation, my opponent did not want to play that line. I did offer that pawn for two more moves until I finally played 4...Nf6, which protected the h-pawn. Then for the next three moves I moved my bishop one square at a time, which seems to be wasting time. However, there was no good way for my opponent to take advantage of those three bishop moves in a serious way. Capajan was only able to get a slightly better position due those moves. Capajan tried to hunt my bishop and continued the game with 8...h3, intending to play g4 next. Instead of moving my bishop for the 4th time in a row, I thought that I would play Nfd7 and in case of g4, I would just take on e5 with my knight. This left two options for my opponent, either to take on e5 or to take on f5. I was actually happy that capajan decided to take my bishop, because had my opponent taken on e5, I would not have had any good squares for my bishop to retreat to. I would have likely retreated to d7 with the bishop, but it would not have been as good for me as the game continuation. Due to the move 10.gxf5, the position became even.

On move 14 capajan played Re1, which probably only prepares castling, because I am not sure why else would my opponent play that move. 14.Re1 was the biggest mistake that capajan had done up to that point. I did not continue with the best idea and therefore I gave capajan some chances to hold the game. Capajan then made an even bigger blunder and castled. It would have allowed me to generate a dangerous attack towards the enemy king, but unfortunately I was not alert of all the possibilities and played the less impactful 15...Qb4 instead of the very strong move 15...Bxb2+. The game continuation was still clearly favoring my position and I was able to win a pawn from f4, after which my opponent took on b6 with the bishop. Out of the two possible pawn captures I chose to play cxb6 in order to get my rook to the half open c-file where my opponent's king resided. It was, however, better to take back with the a-pawn, at least according to Stockfish 7 64 POPCNT. My next inaccuracy came when I went to a4 with my queen on move 18. I played the queen there in order to assist with my attacking plans. I was perhaps a bit too optimistic about my chances and despite of the fact that I realised after 20.d4 that I had lost good attacking possibilities, I continued with 20...b5 in order to push the pawn to b4 and open some lines for the attack. Capajan did not allow me to trade my b-pawn for the c-pawn, but instead played 22.c4, which complicated my task a bit. I still tried to open lines to the best of my abilities and played 22...dxc4. I would have of course wanted my king to be in b8 and my d-rook to be on c8 at this point. Because I had not played those two moves, capajan was able to take on c4 with the bishop. I then played 23...Rd6 with the idea of moving it to c6 next. I never had the time to do that because after 24.Bb3 Qa5 25.Rc1 I can't play Rdc6 because I would either lose a pawn or get a weak pawn on c6. I did consider the move Qf5+, but I did not like the position that would exist after that so I played the passive 25...Rdd7 in order to keep the queens on the board and not to get more weaknesses or lose the f-pawn.

I was maybe trying to hang on to some vague winning chances too much and I should have probably just traded the queens because I soon faced some problems to which I reacted poorly. After the trade of rooks, capajan played 27.Bxe6+, which took me by surprise at first, but then I realised the point of the move. If I take the bishop then Qf8+ wins the piece back and the material would be even. I should have of course taken the bishop and let the material be even, because in the game continuation I end up being a pawn down. With the move 28...g5, I made things even worse for me and I was already in a losing position. Capajan was able to be in a winning position until my opponent played 34.Qh5+ that should with correct play only lead to a draw. I did not play correctly and I immediately blundered and gave my opponent another chance to win the game. On the next move my opponent made another bad move that gave me another chance to get a draw from this game, but like with my previous move, I also blundered on my 35th move, so that I was losing the game again. The game continued to be very favorable for capajan in the time trouble, until my opponent decided to make a serious blunder 46.Rxe3. That move would have stepped into a forced mate, but due to the time trouble, I had no time to think, so I only took the rook with my bishop and did not check on f1 with my queen enabling the forced mate. Luckily I did not see that mate afterwards in the game either, so that I was able to concentrate on making moves fast. Had I seen the mate after I took the rook, then I might have been too annoyed to pay enough attention to the clock and lost on time. Luckily capajan made an even clearer mistake and checked on f3 with the queen because I could see even in time trouble that the queen can be taken for free in that position. I have added three mate in one, one mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today.

The game above can also be viewed in the video below where I commentate on the moves while I play the game.

28 Jun 2016

Chess960 SP112

Chess960 SP112

The game I am sharing today was played at lichess.org two days ago. This was the second game I played that day, but unlike the first game that was a 30 minute game with a 3 second increment, this game was a 10 minute game without increment. The first small mistake that was seen in the game below was my second move 2...Ng6. The problem with that move is that it allows White to respond with d4, which would free White's game a bit. I should have played 2...c5 in order to stop d4 and keep the position more balanced. My opponent, whyDoWePlay, played 3.c4 and it would have allowed me to reply with c5 once again stopping the move d4. For some reason I did not see it as that harmful of a move, so I played 3...b6 instead. However, because I ended up playing c5 on my 4th move, not necessarily to stop d4, but mainly to open a diagonal for my dark-squared bishop, I could have played the move c5 on my second move too and not allow d4 in the first place. I played a bit carelessly up to that point. With the move 4...c5 the position reached symmetry once again and the position was quite even after that. The next pair of moves retained the symmetry of the position. I ended the symmetry with my 6th move. I played 6...Nd6 with the idea of taking on f5 if given the chance to do so, which would open the long diagonal for my bishop that resided on a8. I also planned Qg5 either after the trade of knights or before I trade the knights. WhyDoWePlay indeed allowed me to take on f5 on my next move, due to the game losing blunder 7.d3. I ended up taking the knight first because I soon realised that it would be the much stronger option. Had I played Qg5 first, then whyDoWePlay could have played Nxd6 in reply and I would not have been able to open the long diagonal for my bishop so easily. While I maintained the advantage to the end, I did not play the most accurate moves and I was a bit disappointed in myself after I had taken on f5 with the queen because I saw the possibility of d4, which could have made my task of winning the game more difficult. I am not sure if I noticed that d4 immediately is not playable because I can just take the bishop, but after the knight moved and the queen was able to defend the bishop, then d4 would have been a possible move to play. I should have played 9...Nh4 instead of taking the pawn from f5. Even with my poor technique I was able to take the full point because my opponent resigned after 18...Nxf3+. I have added two mate in two and three mate in four puzzles today.

I have also done a live commentary of this game and that video can be viewed below.

27 Jun 2016

Chess960 SP935

Chess960 SP935

Yesterday I played five chess960 games at lichess.org again and I was able to win all of them. That being said, the last game especially was a tough one and I only won that due to the fact that my opponent run out of time. This very good streak of games meant that my rating went up nicely and actually my chess960 rating there is now at its peak at 1898. The game below was my first game of the day and it had the longest time controls I have played with at lichess. The basic time was 30 minutes and there was a 3 second increment. During the game I thought that I played much more blunder free game than if this had been played with 10 minute time controls, for example. It may also be interesting to note that the rating that my opponent had in this game is not an established rating yet, meaning that my opponent had not played enough chess960 games to get an established rating before this game was played.

I started this game with the same move that I usually start the game these days, no matter if the game is chess or chess960. In retrospect, I may actually prefer 1.d4 to 1.e4 in this starting position and I am not sure what posessed me to play 1.e4. Maybe old habits die hard or something. 1.d4 seems to be a better alternative to me now due to the fact that it helps in the development of the bishop on c1 and it does not go in the way of the light squared bishop when the g-pawn is moved and the long diagonal is opened up for it. I think shannanou answered a bit poorly to my first move by playing 1...Nef6. First of all, it does not seem right to me to play the e-knight to f6, I think moving the g-knight to f6 is more natural and second it provokes the move 2.e5, which drives the knight away. Maybe shannanou wanted to accomplish similar things as in the Alekhine Defense (1.e4 Nf6), where the White pawns might get overextended and weak. It might not have been a good idea in this starting position because after 2...Nd5, I was able to reply with 3.g3, attacking the knight on d5 with my light-squared bishop. My opponent answered by playing 3...e6, which both defends the knight and opens a diagonal for the queen on f8. I then considered briefly on taking on d5 with my bishop, but rejected the idea quite soon, because I did not think that giving up the bishop pair for creating doubled pawns for my opponent was a good enough result for that exchange. Therefore I played 4.d4 in order to open a diagonal for my dark-squared bishop and after that I may get my knight to d3.

Shannanou's 4th move required me to be alert, because otherwise this game might have had an embarassingly short end. The move 4...Qb4 threatens a mate in one that I was able to see before I made my move. I thought about different ways to prevent Nc3# and ended up playing Bxd5 because I thought that it was the simplest way to end the threat of mate. It was not, however, the strongest reply as you may see in the notation. 5.Qd3 was a stronger alternative, but I did not really like to play that move because I wanted to get my e-knight to d3 and the queen on d3 would just be in the way for some period of time. I had a plan and I followed it, after 5...exd5, I thought that I had to play 6.Ngf3 in order to protect the d4-pawn, so that I could finally play my other knight to d3. Shannanou thought about the move 6...h6 for some time and when I saw it, it seemed a bit odd to me, maybe even a waste of time. Shannanou's move was designed to stop Ng5, but at that moment I had no desire to play that move anyway, I was more concerned with the development of my pieces. Admittedly had I been able to play Ng5, it might have been a bit annoying move for my opponent, but I doubt that it would have done all that much good for me. Finally on my 7th move I was able to play Nd3 without a drawback and drive the queen away from b4. The queen then retreated to b6, which gave me an idea to play a4 in response and lift my rook to a3 and follow it up with Nc5 and Rb3.

Shannanou decided to play 8...d6, both preventing Nc5 and opening up a diagonal for the bishop. During the game I thought that the move 8...d6 might be the most problematic for me to face. I was mainly looking at Bg4 possibilities and the fact that the knight on f3 and the rook on d1 would be awkwardly placed on the same diagonal. I then took on d6, but afterwards I briefly thought that it helped my opponent, because shannanou would be able to develop the knight now to f6, where it would be better placed than on e7. I anticipated that my opponent would take on d6 with the rook, but instead shannanou took back with the queen and I thought that it was a mistake, especially due to my next move 10.Bf4. At that moment I was really happy of the way that things had gone. My grin widened after I saw my opponent's reply 10...Qc6, because it seemed like the worst possible square to put the queen. Moving the queen to c6 on move 10 was actually so bad that it was almost the same as clicking the resign button. The idea Ra3 to c3 and going for the c7 weakness is just too strong. Shannanou thought to protect c7 with the rook, but it had the downside of allowing Nfe5, winning the exchange. It was a much better idea to play 11...g5, but even then I should have had a clearly winning position. I have added one mate in one, three mate in two and one mate in four puzzle today.

I have done also a live commentary for this game and the video for it can be viewed below.

24 Jun 2016

E12 Queen's Indian Defense: Miles Variation

E12 Queen's Indian Defense: Miles Variation

This was played in a team match called Rise Of The Daleks. The match consists of 34 boards and it is played between Daleks of Skaro and TriBaL KnighT's. I played on board 9 for Daleks of Skaro and in addition to this loss, I was able to get a draw from my other game against letranknight. The current score is a bit grim from our point of view, 24.5 - 41.5 in favor of TriBaL KnighT's, which means that they have secured the win in the match.

Up to the move 7.Bd3 I think that both players were making normal looking developing moves, but then I diverted from the develop all my pieces as fast as possible plan and played 7...Ne4. The reason behind my move was to try and exchange a few pieces because I had less space than my opponent and also try to stop e4 ideas from my opponent at least for the time being. My opponent, letranknight, played 8.Qc2 in order to put more pressure to my knight on e4 and threaten to take it with the bishop. I think my best option was to take on c3 with the bishop, so that is what I did. Going back to f6 with the knight was not an option because it would have meant that going to e4 was a mistake. I think I also considered f5 and d5, but I did not really like those moves in that position. Had I played d5, I would have needed to take back on e4 with the pawn, doubling my pawns on the e-file. Well, f5 might have actually transposed to the game continuation, so it was a possible move to play. The game continued on evenly until letranknight made a small mistake witht the move 11.Bxe4. While I think that my knight was well placed on e4, I do not think that my opponent should have given the bishop pair for that. The next mistake came from my opponent again, this time in the form of 13.Ng5. After that I started to have the advantage clearly on my side.

With the move 15...Ba6 my pressure against the pawn on c4 started. I was planning to play Nc6 and follow it up with Na5 and place my queen on a4, so that I could at some point win the pawn on c4. While at first glance it might appear that 18.Rb4 holds for White, Stockfish thinks that it was the biggest mistake of the game so far and that I should be winning after that blunder. However, I did not see the best move, but instead one that kept me clearly on the better side of the position. I stayed on the better side for quite some time, but with the move 30...g6 that advantage started to dissipate a bit and by the time we reached the position after 30...g5, the advantage had completely vanished. On move 40 letranknight gave me once again a chance to seize the advantage, but this time I was not up to the task and the position seemed to be more even again after 40...Qf7. I continued playing badly and after my 41st move, letranknight should be clearly better. My opponent did not find the right idea and played 42.Bf4, which gave me another chance to hang on in the game. Both players continued to play horrible moves and the advantage shifted from one player to the other, move after move. At long last, it came time to play my final mistake of the game 52.Kd7, after that horrible move the game was over. I have added one mate in one, two mate in three, one mate in four and one mate in five puzzle today.

23 Jun 2016

C57 Italian Game: Two Knights Defense, Ulvestad Variation

C57 Italian Game: Two Knights Defense, Ulvestad Variation

Posts about chess games have been rather rare recently, but today and tomorrow this blog will have a game that features an opening variation that has not been covered here before. It is of course increasingly hard to find new variations as there are already over 500 different opening variations that you can find in this blog. Admittedly it is not much compared to all of the variations that have been named, but it is still a lot.

The game below was played in a team match called REMATCH. The match consists of 103 boards and it is played between France/Deutschland Group and LullabyVisca. I am playing on board 34 for LullabyVisca. The current score in the match is 52.5 - 133.5 in favor of LullabyVisca. Therefore we have secured the win in the match quite clearly.

More often than not, when I have played the Italian Game, my opponents have played 3...Bc5, but this time I had the chance to play 4.Ng5 because boubalex played 3...Nf6. I have some experience of playing this with the black pieces, but I think this was the first time when I got to play this with the white pieces. However, I would not have played 5...b5, but 5...Na5 instead. I think I learned that line many years ago and I still remember it to a point, even though I have not played it all that many times. I can't even really remember anymore where I learned it. I do not think I had seen anyone play 5...b5 before, so I had no previous memory to base my move to. I decided to go for the greedy 6.Bxb5, but I did notice that I may face some difficulties because of that move. I was a bit worried about my knight on g5 and the pawn on g2. I think I planned things from the move 6.Bxb5 up to the move 8.Nf3. I thought that if boubalex would reply with 8...e4, then I would just play 9.Nd4 and I would be okay. I also thought that 8...Bg4 would be really annoying to face. I was surprised to see that my opponent played the more passive 8...Bd6. I played 9.h3 in response because I thought that I should stop Bg4 and after that I would be fine. I was behind in development, but for some reason I did not think of it being that bad of a thing. I was, of course, in some trouble still and had my opponent played 10...e4, I would have been in huge trouble. I would have likely replied with a huge blunder like Nd4 and I would have been in a losing position. After 11...Nd5, the game comes into balance again. The game continued evenly until boubalex blundered with 16...f4. After that I should be clearly better and maybe even close to winning. Actually the move 16...f4 was the losing move because my opponent was not able to bounce back inot the game anymore. I have added two mate in one, one mate in two, one mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today.

22 Jun 2016

Chess960 SP658

Chess960 SP658

Not that long ago I noticed a feature in Chessbase 12 that I had not seen before or at least I have no recollection of it, when I save a game of chess960, it does say what the starting position in that game is, when I view the database. It might have been there before, but the tab where that information is was not fully viewable at times, so only by accident I stumbled upon this information. I am the sort of person that likes to learn by doing things and not necessarily learn things by reading manuals or stuff like that. However, I do look some things up if I can't find a solution to the problem myself. When lately certain changes have increased the amount of time that it takes me to publish these posts, noticing this feature saves some of my time, especially on chess960 games that I have played at Chess.com or ChessRex.com, for example, where they do not say what the starting position is. Actually, lichess.org is so far the only place where I have played chess960 that tells you what the starting position is, so that I do not need to figure it out myself. That is the main reason why I have played 10 minute games of chess960 mainly at lichess. Well, the other reason is that I think I can get a game of chess960 more reliably going with 10 minute time control there than anywhere else I have tried. Correspondence games of chess960 I can get pretty much anywhere I play rather easily.

The game below was played in a team match called Chess960 Challenge (jp). The match is played on 8 boards between CHESS960 SOCIETY and The Pack of Wolves. I am playing on board 1 for CHESS960 SOCIETY. The current score in the match is 4 - 11 in favor of The Pack of Wolves, which means we have already lost the match. I opened the game with 1.d4, which seems like a move that I probably would not do if I were to play this game again. However, there is nothing really wrong with the move, but I do have other plans I would like to try next time. The thing that I do not like about the move now is that the pawn on d4 is on the long diagonal, restricting the scope of the bishop on a1 as soon as I move the b-pawn. Then again if I do not move the d-pawn to d4, then developing the knight on c1 becomes a bit of a problem because I would prefer the knight behind the pawn, rather than in front of it and blocking its movement. I think the best square where the knight from c1 can be developed is d3 because Nb3 without playing b4 first would make the bishop on a1 look like a really bad piece. On e2 the knight would also be in the way of my other pieces, so maybe my original plan of 1.d4 and getting the knight on d3 behind the pawn was the best of the options I had available. My opponent, Teukka, had other ideas on development and replied with b6, immediately opening the long diagonal for the bishop. I decided it was best to take the center under control, so I played 2.e4. Teukka continued with e6 and by doing so, opened a diagonal for his bishop on f8. Then I played Nd3 and Teukka replied with Nd6. My opponent's move increased the pressure on my e-pawn and since neither 4.f3 or 4.g3 seemed appealing moves to me, I decided to push the pawn to e5 and attack the knight on d6. The knight jumped to f5 where it attacked my other center pawn, which at that moment was still undefended.

I decided to defend my d-pawn by playing 5.b3, because playing either 5.Ne2 or 5.Nf3 did not seem like a good idea to me. On e2 the knight would block both my bishop and my rook. The move 5.b3 allowed Teukka to play the annoying move 5...Ba3 that prevented me from castling. Therefore I had to do something else useful and the idea Be2 to f3 seemed like a good plan because it would allow me to play g3 and get a bishop queen battery on the long diagonal. After I had played 7.Bf3, my opponent blundered and played 7...c6. The reason why this was such a bad move and could have cost the game for Teukka, is that I could have played 8.b4 and trapped the bishop on a3. I was not even thinking of trapping the bishop because I wanted to castle queenside and I did not want to weaken the pawn structure on the side where I would place my king. Having wasted my first chance to get a winning advantage, I got into an awkward position after 8...Nh4. I had to reply with 9.Be4 and then my opponent played f5, maybe hoping that I do not know about en passant. Whatever the case, the move 8...Nh4 was a mistake that helped me to get some of the advantage back that I had wasted by playing 8.Ne2. It was better to play 8...O-O, for instance. The next blunder from my opponent came when he played 11...Nhg6. It would have made it possible for me to play b4 again with a winning advantage, but I missed it yet again... Instead I just played Bb2 and offered a trade of bishops. Teukka traded bishops and after that the position was even once more. The game remained evenly fought until my opponent played 15...Nd5, which helped me to gain some advantage. On move 20 Teukka made my job a little bit easier by playing Qh6, which is another bad move. Teukka gave me once again a winning advantage when he blundered with 22...b5. I did not see the potential in the position and played 23.Kc3 in order to maybe give my rook some possibilities on the b-file. Teukka continued with 23...Qg7 and I thought that I should just take on h5 and be up a pawn.

After I had taken on h5 with the knight, Teukka played Qg6 in order to threaten to take on h5 with the rook, I guess, but after my reply Nf4, the move Qg6 seems to be a bit of waste of time. The positions continued to be favorable for me until I played 31.Qd2. That move would have enabled my opponent to get back into the game, but luckily for me, Teukka was not able to find the best move. The game continuation 31...c5 hands over the advantage back to me. However, I managed to mess up once again a little bit later when I played 34.bxc4. It was an example of how badly I can judge some positions. The position was even again and I had to start from scratch once again. The game went on without big mistakes until Teukka made a huge blunder 46...Nc4+. One might think that I should have seen the reason why it was so bad during the game, but apparently I can't see any tactics at all. The move 47.Rxc4 seems so obvious now. Instead of the easy win, I blundered and could have been on my merry way towards a loss if not for the reply 47...Rc5 that gave me an opportunity to hold on. The game remained to be fought on even ground until it was my time to blunder again with 47.Nc2. The amount of times that the advantage shifted back and forth during this game might make me consider other games than chess and its variants as they seem to be going quite poorly and no significant improvement has been seen in years. The position evened out once again after 60...Nc4, but of course my reply was a horrible one, so I gave my opponent one more chance to get the win. He did not take this final chance and decided to play 61...Nd6, which was a blunder that I was able to take advantage of and did not mess up the win again. I have added one mate in one, three mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today.

21 Jun 2016

Chess960 SP400

Chess960 SP400

This game was played on the same day as the game I shared yesterday. This game started relatively soon after the previous game, so the unfortunate finish that the previous game had was still clearly on my mind. My opponent, nookie10, started the game with 1.b4. It opened up the long diagonal for the bishop on a1. Due to that last game being so blunder filled and the annoyance I had from it, I thought that I would play this game in a more relaxed manner, so I played the silly 1...c5. It is not a good move because nookie10 just takes on c5 and in order to keep the material balance, I need to take on c5 with my rook. The rook becomes easily attackable on c5 and I lose time when I need to move it again. Despite of the silly start, I was only slightly worse after I had to play my rook back to c8 on move 4. The game continued with normal looking developing moves and on move 6, I played Qc7 in order to prevent my opponent from castling. Nookie10 replied with the surprising 7.Nf5 that did threaten Nxe7+, but as it was easily dealt with 7...Ng6, I am not sure how beneficial my opponent's move was. Next nookie10 played c5, which does threaten to take on b6, so I had to move my queen to b7 and threaten mate. Nookie10 continued with 9.Ne3, making the moving the knight to f5 a waste of time because I continued with moves that I would have done anyway. After 9.Ne3 I increased the pressure with 9...Ng4, the idea behind it is of course to remove the defender of g2. I was slightly better after 9...Ng4. Nookie10 replied with Qf1, which might be the best try to hold on. Qf1 also freed the knight a bit, so that the knight on e3 would be able to capture my knight from g4. Therefore I thought that I should take on e3 myself, in order to double my opponent's pawns. Before I took on e3, I had also planned my next move, 11...Qe4, keeping the initiative. Nookie10 made next a huge blunder that lost the game. 12.Ne5 would be a good move if not the reply I played in the game 12...Qxe3+. 12.Ne5 does threaten the queen and mate on f7, but unfortunately for my opponent, I can win a pawn and a rook first and then trade queens and have an easily winning endgame. I have added two mate in two, one mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

The live commentary I did for this game can be viewed in the video below.

20 Jun 2016

Chess960 SP814

Chess960 SP814

This game features quite a lot of bad moves, more than there usually is in my games, made by both players. I think I replied with the most natural way to the move 1.e4 by playing e5, but one might argue that my second move was not the ideal response. The move that might have been annoying to face was 3.Bc4, so that I could not move the f-pawn so easily. However, there should not be all that much wrong with my second move because 3.Bc4 would only mean that I would need to develop my pieces a bit differently, or at least in a different order, so that if and when I play f6, my bishop would be protected by my rook on e8. DAV-5000 decided to play 3.c3 instead, in order to prepare d4. There was really no way that I could stop the pawn advance, so I continued with Ng6. The game went on evenly until I played 5...Bb4. My 5th move was a mistake because after 6.Nc3 I can no longer play d5 or f5. I should have taken the opportunity to play 5...d5, which would have opened up the diagonal for the queen and I would have also stopped my opponent from playing d5, which could have been quite annoying to face. 5...d5 works because if 6.exd5, Rxe1 wins material. Actually looking at the analysis now, I could have played 6...d5 instead of 6...d6. This is because I should get the pawn back. If 6...d5 7.exd5 Rxe1 8.Qxe1 then Nce7 and the pawn is likely to be won from d5. The move 6...d6 put me in more trouble and I was getting closer to a losing position with almost every move I made.

I was clearly on the worse side of things until my opponent played 8.b4, which enabled me to get back into an equal position. However, my position quickly deteriorated, first with a small mistake 9...f6 and then with the blunder 10...a5. The idea behind a5 was that it might activate my rook and it seemed to be a good move if my opponent either does not move the b-pawn or takes on a5. The third option, moving the b-pawn one square forward made my move a5 look a bit silly. I was not at all happy with my position, but I was not going to resign anytime soon either. I responded to 12.Na4 with Ba7 because I did not like the looks of Nxb6 and I also realised that if DAV-5000 takes on a5 with the queen, then I could reply with Bxd4. I did saw the move 13.b6 during the game and I was worried that my opponent might play that move, but luckily DAV-5000 decided to play 13.Bd3 instead, which did not make much sense to me. With 13.b6 my opponent would have been very close to having a winning advantage. The move played in the game, 13.Bd3, was a mistake that cost my opponent a lot of his or her advantage. Some of that advantage I gave back immediately with my reply. After my 16th move I was already in a losing position. During the game I was a bit more optimistic and thought that I can somehow hang on in the game.

Due to some inaccurate moves by my opponent, I could have indeed been able to get a more equal position after 20.Ba2, but I played another horrible move and I was losing the game again after 20...Nc4. I did not understand how badly placed my pieces are on the e-file until I saw the move 21.exd5 being played. I was pretty much losing some material no matter what, so I played 21...Nxd2 because I thought that it would be my best chance to survive the following moves. I was quite lost until on move 26, DAV-5000 gave me another opportunity to get back into the game. I was very surprised to see 26.Ne4, because it allowed my knight to get away from d2 by trading it to the knight on e4. Had my opponent instead put more pressure to the knight with other pieces, then DAV-5000 could have have won the knight as it did not have any safe squares to go to. That move did not help me all that much and I stayed on the worse side of things. I did make things even worse for me with the move 27...Ne3 and I went from being clearly worse to completely losing. The rare opportunities for getting an even position, like after 29.Re2, I was not able take advantage of, but instead ruined my chances immediately. On move 39, DAV-5000 finally made a blunder that could have meant my victory, but I did not react to the move correctly and handed over the winning advantage back to my opponent. I remember thinking during the game the move Ke8, but for some reason I thought that it was unnecessary and pushing the a-pawn was more important. Had I played 39...Ke8 first and then started to push the a-pawn, I might have had easier time in this game. The rest of the game was really blunder filled and all three outcomes were possible, then quite near the end when my opponent should have had an easy win, DAV-5000 blundered with 64.Kf8. That was a huge opportunity for me to turn things around and be completely winning, had I taken on h7 that is. The move 64.Kf8 was so unexpected that I simply forgot that I can take the pawn at that moment. I only considered checking the king and pushing the pawn... Then I pushed the pawn and gave the win to my opponent. These are the kind of losses that should not happen to me anymore, but somehow I crumble under time pressure sometimes. I have added three mate in two, one mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today. I noticed that one of the puzzles in the mate in four page was not actually a puzzle because it had the moves included at the start, so I have fixed that now.

If you want to see my live commentary of this game, you can view the video below.

17 Jun 2016

Chess960 SP118

Chess960 SP118

I sometimes stumble upon the finish line and this is just one example of those times. I played this game at lichess.org today and the time control for this game was 10 minutes, no increment. After two moves I was happy with my position, I had been able to play both e4 and d4 and it seemed that I can easily develop my pieces. Actually I did think my third move for some time because of the many options I had. I mainly considered moving my knight from e1 to either d3 or f3. Both moves were intriguing to me and I was not sure what I should choose. I ended up playing 3.Nf3 because the knight on d3 would block my rook and my bishop. The reason why I considered Nd3 was that I could follow it up with Bf4, which seemed like a good idea to me. Coffeetime continued with 3...h5, trying to rip open the king's defenses as soon as possible. I was not really worried about the move just yet, but I did consider on how to deal with the aggression. I did play 4.Bg5 that stops the pawn's progress for now. I did see that coffeetime could reply with f6 and then I would play Bh4, which would have the obvious g5 as a reply, but I was not concerned about my bishop being trapped because I thought that after Bg3 threatens the queen, I would have time to play h3. Everything happened like I had thought up to the move 6.Bg3, but then my opponent played 6...Nd6 and I decided to take on d6 with the bishop instead of playing h3 and saving my bishop in that way. It was a bit hasty decision and I should not have taken on d6, but instead played h3. I wanted to avoid playing h3 because I thought that it would just create a weakness for coffeetime to target on. The problem with the game continuation is that it helps coffeetime to activate the queen and I did lose some of my advantage because of that.

I did have the initiave though and I played 8.c4, threatening 9.c5. Coffeetime reacted poorly and played the knight to a4, which could have been the losing move, but I was distracted by the possibility to get my queen to g6 if I play e5. However, coffeetime just replied with fxe5 and the queen covers the g6 square. Not that getting my queen to g6 would have been that dangerous for my opponent because the queen can't do much on its own. I liked my position after 10.Nxe5, but 10.Qc2 would have been a much better alternative. Coffeetime replied with 10...Rh6, which did not make much sense to me since I am not going to g6 with either of my pieces anyway, so covering g6 with the rook is unnecessary. On my 11th move I finally played Qc2. My opponent replied with b5, which I thought of being a good try. However, coffeetime could have played Nc5 because if I take the knight with my pawn, then coffeetime could have taken my knight on e5 with the queen as it would not have been protected with the pawn anymore. I played 12.c5 in order to cover the square b6 with my pawn, so that when I play b3, the knight on a4 has no safe squares to go to. I missed that after 12...Qe6 13.b3 coffeetime was able to take the pawn on c5 with the knight. If I take the knight with a pawn, then coffeetime plays Qxe5 and my opponent would be up a pawn. I thought that my best option at that point was to take the knight with my queen. I was able to first equalise the material and then get a pawn up in material. However, taking the knight and grabbing the pawns was not the best idea. I was a bit worried after 16...Qg4, but 16...Ba6 would have been a more difficult move to face. The move 16...Qg4, enabled me to get on the better side of things and my possibilities only improved after 18...Bg7. I messed up my advantage quite quickly for a moment when I played 20.Be2. I wanted to drive the queen away from g4 and if possible get it further away from my king. After the reply 20...Qf4, I decided to play my knight to c2 and then to e3. However, when my opponent played 21...h3, I started to use time and tried to figure out what should I do. I did find the best reply 22.g3, but then coffeetime played 22...Qe4 and I suffered some sort of brain malfunction once again. For some unexplainable reason I thought that Ne3 does not help me, so I played f3, which is the losing move of the game. Sadly I was not even low on time to blunder like this, I had 2 minutes and 41 seconds left on the clock when this game ended. I have added two mate in three and three mate in four puzzles today.

16 Jun 2016

Chess960 SP225

Chess960 SP225

This game started to go a bit oddly quite quickly, at least in my opinion. I think both 1.b3 and the reply e5 are normal looking moves, but then my opponent played Nh3. Well, the reasoning behind Nh3 might be that my opponent wanted to castle as soon as possible and had panicmonster played the knight to f3, then I might have replied with e4 and the knight has to go to an awkward square like d4 or e5 or possible even need to go back to g1. I think 2.e4 was a better option, so that panicmonster could have continued with Nf3 without needing to worry that I will kick the knight away. My opponent did end up playing e4 on move 4. I immediately considered taking the pawn, but then I saw that I can't really win the e-pawn, because panicmonster can get the pawn back from e5. I did not like to trade anything unnecessarily, so I castled instead. On move 6, panicmonster played his or her other knight to a3, which might not look all that good, but the knight wants to continue its journey to c4, which is a decent square for the knight. There it will put pressure on e5 and has the option at some point to go to e3, for example and go towards the enemy king. I replied with Be7, which targets the undefended knight on a3, but of course the knight was likely to move to c4 anyway, so that was not all that impressive threat. After 7.Nc4 I thought that I should move my dark-squared bishop to c5, so that it puts some pressure to f2 and goes out of the way, so that the queen protects the pawn on e5 again. I also wanted to play d5 at some point and I was happy to see 8.c3. Without that move, I could not have played d5 because it would be replied with 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 winning a pawn. What c3 did, it blocked the bishop's path so that panicmonster would only attack e5 with two pieces after exd5 Nxd5.

On move 10 panicmonster played the passive looking move Nd2. 10.b4 would have been a better move, panicmonster could have also considered 10.Bf3. If 10.Nf3 was an inaccurate move, then 11.Ne4 was already a bad move. However, I was not able to find the most accurate move 11...Ba3, but instead played 11...Be7 that enabled my opponent to get back into the game, though even after my 11th move I should be slightly better. The moves that panicmonster made, went increasingly bad since 10.Nd2 and on move 12 my opponent blundered so badly that it should have been the losing move. I was not really paying attention and only quickly played Rd8 as a reply. Of course after the move I noticed that I could have played 12...f5, so that the pawn would fork both the bishop and the knight. Despite of that I should be on the better side of things. I did get a second chance to get a winning advantage when panicmonster for some reason played 13.Bf5, this time I was ready to take advantage of that blunder and played g6, forcing the bishop back to g4 and then I replied with f5 finally and the rest of the game was just matter of technique. I have added one mate in one, two mate in two and two mate in four puzzles today.

The game above can also be viewed with my live commentary in the video below.

15 Jun 2016

3 check C00 French Defense: Knight Variation

3 check C00 French Defense: Knight Variation

The game below I played today with a slight headache and the way I played did not help me to feel better... It is ridiculous how badly I played this game, but at least I may have a better understanding of 3 check than before. Had this been a chess game, I would have been clearly better or winning for the most of this game, but because of the variant I was in trouble for the most part of the game. Again more detailed description of what I think about the moves can be found in the game notation.

By the way, I almost thought that I can use ChessBase 12 again like the way I have been able to before, but today I noticed that it still has a problem that needs to be fixed. Therefore I have been in contact with the support once again. However, the problem I have with it now does not luckily exist in Deep Fritz 14, so I can still work on my games without too much difficulty, I just experience some annoyance due to this. The support has replied within a reasonable time, so no problems there. I have added one mate in two, one mate in three and three mate in four puzzles today.

14 Jun 2016

Chess960 SP493

Chess960 SP493

This was played in a team match called 960! Easter Island vs Kartik City. The match consists of 16 boards and I am playing on board 2 for Kartik City. The current score in the match is 11 - 17 in favor of Kartik City, so we have secured the win already, which is good because I am playing really badly like this game shows. The game below started with 1.Ng3, which may not be the first move that I would think of, but certainly a playable move. Actually the more I look at it, the more I like it. I would have probably gone for 1.e4, followed up with Ne3, but in that case the knight is restricting the possibilities where the dark-squared bishop can go to. 1.Ng3 allows e4 and maybe f4 to be played so that both bishops can be developed into the game quite easily without restricting their movement all that much. I replied by playing 1...e5 with the idea of Ne6 later on. I have used a similar idea in my previous chess960 games where in the starting position there are knights on the f-file. 1...b5 might also be an interesting idea, opening the long diagonal for the queen, which would take aim on the undefended pawn on g2. Lusi47 noticed a pawn on e5 that was undefended and applied immediate pressure to it with 2.b3. I then defended the pawn with 2...d6, but the better option would have been 2...f6. Moving the f-pawn would have done two things, defended the pawn on e5 and opened up a diagonal for the bishop. The move I played in the game only defends the pawn. I should really a pay attention to multipurpose moves and play them instead the simpler moves that only do one thing.

My opponent continued with 3.e3, which I think might be a bit passive. I thought that the purpose of playing the knight to g3 was to get the bishops better into play, I guess I was wrong. I would have preferred 3.e4, but e3 might prepare d4 or f4. I played 3...Ne6 in order to defend g7 and control the d4 and f4 squares. That being said, 4.f4 would have not only been possible, but also the move that lusi47 should have played. Instead lusi47 went for the more tame 4.f3. Then my plan was to play h6, Bh7 and castle. While I completed my plan, lusi47 continued to play rather passively in my opinion as my opponent did even avoid moving the pawns more than one square forward from their starting squares. The first and only time that lusi47 pushed a pawn two squares forward, it turned out to be a bad decision. The move 8.c4 would have given me a small advantage, had I played b5 in reply. I did get a small advantage a little bit later, but only after 22.Nd6 did my advantage get to a more clearer one. I was clearly better until I self-destructed first with 30...c5, which turned the tables and my opponent was clearly better. I had completely missed the idea 31.cxd5 Rxd5 32.Rxd5 Qxd5 Ne7+ winning. I saw that after lusi47 had played 31.cxd5. To which I played the move that lost the game Kf8. I could not believe how badly I had played the last two moves and had to resign after 32.dxe6. I have played a bit too fast in my correspondence games lately, so these incredibly stupid moves of mine have increased a bit. However, I did manage to be in a situation where it was not my move in any of my games couple of days ago, which has not happen since 2014... I have added two mate in two, one mate in three and two mate in four puzzles. The puzzles I added today I did in a different way than before, now you can actually play out the variation on the board if you find the best moves that is.

Even though I did type about yesterday that I would be using the older version from the editor, I think I will use the newer one in these new posts. When I do the reposting of games, then I will most likely prefer the old one, especially when I repost multiple games in a row. Also I got a reply from ChessBase support that they had made another update, which fixed the problems I had with ChessBase 12. Now I can use it like I have done before, which is a relief to me because I can do things more easily once again.

13 Jun 2016

3 check B00 Nimzowitsch Defense: French Connection

3 check B00 Nimzowitsch Defense: French Connection

Time for some 3 check again. I experienced some technical problems over the weekend and one rather annoying problem still persists, which I can't do anything about myself, but instead have to wait an update to the program to fix it. I mean I have contacted the support, so that they know what the problem is. One of the problems I noticed over the weekend was with the new game editor at Chess.com. For some reason I was not able to create new diagrams anymore as easily I had been able to do at first. When I tried to publish more than one game on a separate board immediately after the one I had just done, it did not change the board where the new game would be published, so I needed to redo the publishing of the previous game. Therefore whenever the old version of the game editor works with my games, I will use that because it does some things in a much better way. The old one has two buttons I would like to see in the new one, create a new diagram and embed, so that it would make my life easier. The new one has different possibilities to change the look of the board and pieces, while the old one does not. But anyway, the problem that was annoying me even more was that ChessBase 12 stopped working properly after the most recent update. It is a program that I use every day, so not being able to use it properly has big consequences on how I do things. Luckily Deep Fritz 14 still works without problems, so I can do some of the things I did previously with ChessBase 12 now with Deep Fritz 14, but I can't do some of the things I can only do with CB 12. All of this might not affect what you will see in the blog, it mostly affects me by complicating things a bit.

The comments I have of the game below can be seen in the notation, so I will not spend time repeating what I thought about them here. This loss meant that I dropped my Three-check rating 97 points at lichess.org. The game below is my 4th rated Three-check at the site. I have also played two unrated Three-check games there. I have added three mate in two and two mate in four puzzles today.

This game can also be viewed with my live commentary in the video below.

10 Jun 2016

Chess960 SP600

Chess960 SP600

The last post of the week and it is time to take a look at a chess960 game that I played yesterday at lichess.org. The time control for the game was 10 minutes without increment. The appearance of the game replayer is a bit different than previously because I finally figured out how to publish games with the new game editor at Chess.com... I updated some of my older chess960 posts using the new look. The posts that did not have Chess.com's game replayer previously that is. I had to figure out how to publish games with the new editor because the old one had problems with the PGN I pasted to it. It kept telling me that it was an improper PGN file. Luckily most of the games have not been problematic and I have been able to make the reposts in a decent pace after I solved the more problematic cases.

Before I get more sidetracked, I should get back to the game below. My opponent started the game with a wierd move in my opinion as klefuchs played 1.a4. The move did not make much sense to me, except that it may prepare the development of the bishop to a2. I think a much better alternative would have been 1.c4, opening the b2-h7 diagonal for the bishop. The bishop would also immediately threaten to take on h7, so klefuchs would also get some initiave. I replied with 1...d5, but now I think that I should have played 1...c5 for the same kind of reason why my opponent could have played 1.c4. Klefuchs continued with 2.d4, which I think is a good reply to d5 and it discourages me from playing 2...c5. I could probably still play c5, but it requires more consideration in my opinion. I replied with 2...a6, because I wanted to get my bishop to a7 for some reason. I should have probably just played 2...c5 as it seems like the more active move. After 3.Bb4 one might think that 1.a4 was designed against Bb5 later on as my opponent seems to think that it would be a good square for the bishop. However, I still think that 1.a4 was a mistake. 3.Bb4 also did lose time because I was able to answer with Nc6, forcing the bishop to retreat. The bishop retreated to a3, which allowed me to grab a pawn from d4. Taking the pawn was bit risky because klefuchs did get some initiave as a compensation for the pawn. I usually take those free pawns if I do not see any serious downside in doing so.

Klefuchs was able to get ahead in development, but because I thought I could defend all the important squares, I was not all that worried about it. After 7.Qg5 I thought for a moment and initially thought that I can't defend my pawn on d5, but then I realised that I can just push it forward. I thought that I should keep my extra material because otherwise I would be on the worse side of things. My opponent tried to get something done on e7, the focal point of klefuchs pieces and had I not been careful, I could have faced some serious trouble in that square. Klefuchs was able to keep the initiave and after 12.b4 I needed to properly think my options because I thought that I could lose if I do not find good reply to that move. I played 12...Bxa2 and thought that klefuchs would take back with the rook, so that I could continue with 13...Qe6. That would have given me some play, but my opponent decided not to allow that and played 13.b5 instead. I was facing yet another important decision. I decided to play 13...axb5 and after 14.axb5 to play Qe6. I could not move the knight because of Qxe7#. On move 15, klefuchs played bxc6 and I was only up a pawn once again. 15.bxc6 also threatened 16.Rxa2, because I still could not take back due to Qxe7#. Therefore I played 15...Bd5. The idea behind 15...Bd5 was to protect the b7 pawn. However, I missed the reply 16.Bxe7+, which equalized the material. I did not want to trade the bishops, so I played 16...Ke8 instead of 16...Qxe7 17.Qxd5. I did not like my position after 18.Bb4, but I thought that I should be at least get a draw out of this. I then decided to activate my badly placed rook on g8 by playing it to h8. That rook became the star player of the game. It first attacked the pawn on h2, to which my opponent reacted by playing 19.h3. Then I performed a rook lift to h5, which attacked the queen on g5, so with every move of that rook, I attacked something. At this point klefuchs made the game losing blunder and played 20.Qb5+. I was a bit shocked by this move and even considered playing Bc6 in response for a moment before I realised that I can just take the queen with my rook... I have added one mate in two, two mate in three, one mate in four and one mate in five puzzle today. Until Monday, my fellow chess960 enthusiasts!

9 Jun 2016

My thoughts about the FIDE Online Arena

My thoughts about the FIDE Online Arena

When I heard about the FIDE Online Arena in the early part of 2015 if I remember correctly, I thought that it was a good thing. One could play official elo games on the internet and earn titles for the lower rating band. The latter part especially interested me, because at the time I was quite certain that I may not be able to get any of the classic FIDE titles and that my only hope of ever getting an official title would be via these online games played at FOA. Already when I learned that the FIDE Online Arena client requires Java to work, it was a thing that I was not all that happy about. However, I thought that I would test it out and finally get myself a title. The time I started playing there, they offered one year membership for free for players who already had a FIDE ID number. Luckily I was one of those who had already a FIDE ID number, so I did get that one year for free. When I had set everything up and started my first game there, I was happy to see a nice looking board and pieces, so the playing experience was enjoyable.

I had looked at all the titles I could get and what the requirements for each one are and decided that I should be able to get the title of Arena International Master. As the game requirements for the titles are as follows, in order to get any of these titles, one needs to play 50 rapid games, 100 blitz games or 150 bullet games with at least a certain minimum rating that the title requires, so I decided that rapid games is the way to go, because I expected to be able to hold my rating above the 1700 limit for 50 rapid games with relative ease based on my rating on other sites. I started with a rating of 1823, because it was and actually still is my over the board standard elo rating. During those first 50 games, I played mainly tournaments there and actually soon realised that my task is not as easy as I would have thought. Not every game was counted towards the requirement, because not all the players playing in the tournament had an official FIDE rating and therefore when I faced those players I did not get any closer to my goal. That was not the problem that prevented me from getting the title I wanted and the real problem was that there were some players whose official rating was way too low for the skill level they posessed and therefore I lost against them and dropped my rating quite a lot. During one tournament I noticed that I momentarily went below 1700, but because the rating was counted after all the games in the tournament had been played and my rating after the tournament was still over 1700, those games did count for the 50 game requirement. If I recall correctly, it was either my 49th or my 50th game that brought me below 1700 and therefore I could not get the title of Arena International Master on my first try.

After those 50 games I had earned the requirement for the title of Arena FIDE Master and debated with myself whether or not to take that title, because it was something that I was not that happy about. I did end up taking the title because I wanted a title and that point I did not care that much that I did not get the title that I would have wanted. I became Arena FIDE Master on April 14th, 2015. Later on in the year I decided to play as many games as it took to get the title of Arena International Master and I finally got the title I knew I should have earned earlier on December 12th, 2015. My second attempt for the title went much easier in my opinion and I was more confident about my playing skills on that second attempt.

At that time I did not have any real problems how FIDE had done things, I was okay even with the fact that I needed to actually buy the title after I reached the requirements because the titles were not that expensive in my opinion. That being said, I was not all that happy with customer service in the sense that it took several months from them to send me the diploma where it said I had earned the title of Arena FIDE Master, for example. They did send me the diploma of my second title a little bit faster though. They did update my FIDE Chess Profile with the information that I had the title quite soon after I had obtained it. However, it took me some time to find it, as it was not in the place I thought it should be. The title was shown in the section where it says Online Rating. I had looked at the section of the profile where it says FIDE title. I thought it should be shown there because like they say about all of these titles, while they are titles that can only be obtained by playing at the FIDE Online Arena, they can also be used in over the board tournaments because they are official FIDE titles. I was a bit disappointed at this point, but at least it did say in my profile that I was Arena International Master. It does not say that there anymore by the way since my membership expired. Now that is something that annoys me a great deal. I was even considering to renew my membership and try to get the Arena Grand Master title, but then I noticed that they had removed all things in my FIDE Chess Profile about what ratings I had and most importantly the fact that I am Arena International Master. In the FIDE Handbook it says that these titles are valid for life and that they can only be replaced with better ones. Nowhere there does it say that they remove the title and online ratings out of your FIDE Chess Profile when your membership of FIDE Online Arena expires, but that is exactly what they have done. In my opinion they should keep the titles there regardless of the status of my FOA membership. This is the kind of behaviour that really annoys me.

I will likely post a new game of some sort tomorrow, but today I thought about doing this out of the ordinary post. I have added two mate in three and three mate in four puzzles today.

8 Jun 2016

3 check C00 French Defense: Queen's Knight

3 check C00 French Defense: Queen's Knight

When I started playing 3 check games, I wondered how long it would take for the openings to repeat and today I got my answer. It was in my 7th game that the opening that I played in this game repeated. This is my 6th game of 3 check. The 7th game will be added some time in the future... With the way things are going at the moment, it might take quite a long time. The comments about the moves that were made in this game are seen in the game notation.

The following does not have anything to with this game or even with 3 check, but something I wanted to share, so here it goes. Monday I noticed that in the tournament that started May 16th, 2014 at the Queen Alice Internet Chess Club had only two games left to finish on round one... I was especially interested in the tournament because I was one of the players that would advance to the next round if round one would ever finish that is. The last four games of round one lasted maybe over a year too long because there are no automatic timeouts in the games that are played at Queen Alice Internet Chess Club. For some reason or the other, one of the two players that had not claimed their timeout wins had finally claimed them, so I contacted the one remaining player and asked that player for the 4th time at this point to claim the timeout wins and this time it actually had the positive effect of concluding the first round, so that round two could finally start after a very long wait. The problem is that this second round is not the last round. That is not the worst problem, however, the fact that I may be the only player of those remaining five that actually wants to finish the tournament. This means that even if I win all my games, I will not be able to advance to the next round due to other players not making any moves in their games. It is unfortunate that the site has no people taking care of the technical problems anymore, so there is no hope that this will ever be fixed. It is really a shame because I like to play there and because there I have my highest correspondence chess rating that I have ever been able to get. I have added one mate in one, one mate in two, two mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today.

7 Jun 2016

D02 Queen's Pawn Game: Barry Attack, Gruenfeld Variation

D02 Queen's Pawn Game: Barry Attack, Gruenfeld Variation

While this blog is not a place where I type about the things that are happening in the world of chess, however, I will briefly mention the sad news about the death of Grand Master Viktor Korchnoi. Around 12 years ago was the first and only time that I saw him play in a tournament that I also participated in. I was not of course playing in the same group, but in the same playing area or at least quite close to it, so that I could go watch him and other strong players play after my game had ended. It is actually one of the most memorable tournaments for me and I am glad that I went to play the 32nd Rilton Cup. I remember that Korchnoi and Grand Master Mark Taimanov were also in the same hotel as me. It was nice to see these players in real life. I also remember watching a couple of chess videos where Viktor Korchnoi was teaching chess. I have always been interested in chess history and Viktor Korchnoi certainly was a memorable personality in that history.

Okay, now I should concentrate on the game below. The theoretical move order for this opening is 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.e3 O-O 6.Be2, which not so surprisingly differs from the move order that was played in this game. This game was played in a clan challenge between The Fast Players and The White Hats on 4 boards. I played on board 1 for The White Hats and in addition to this win, I lost my other game against Adrian Shaw. My results against Adrian Shaw are surprisingly good in my opinion, considering that I am the lower rated player. I have now 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss against him. The final score in this clan challenge was unfortunately 5 - 3 in favor of The Fast Players. I have now played six games in these clan challenges on board 1 and out of those 6, I have won 2, drawn 3 and lost 1. While I have not played all that many games for the clan, I am the only player in The White Hats that has more draws than wins... Admittedly not by much, but we shall see how the situation changes over time.

Nothing of huge interest happened in the game until I allowed the move 16.Qb3, at that point I felt that my position was quite bad. I did not play the best reply to 16.Qb3, but during the game I thought that it was the best of my bad options. However, I was wrong and ended up losing a pawn. 16...Qe7 might have been my only chance to try and hold the position together. I was in huge trouble for a long time and I even started to slip very close to a completely lost game when I played 29...h6. While I saw that the reply 30.Rxf6 would be the move that ends my resistance, I still continued the game. I saw that after I take the rook, my opponent plays 31.Be5+ and I should resign soon. That being said, I was very surprised to see the huge blunder 31.h4 instead. After that huge blunder I was no longer losing and I was facing a clearly winning position instead. This game is a perfect example of the very rare times when I have been lucky in chess. I have added one mate one, three mate in two and one mate in four puzzle today.

By the way, I solved the problem I had with the game editor at Chess.com and I added the games back to the post Chess960 SP39 that I had previously taken out to make that post work in HTTPS. I am now confident that I am able to repost all the games using the game editor to publish the games. I stumbled upon three different games where the PGN did not work properly when I added them to the editor with comments. Two of the games seen in the post Chess960 SP39 had problems with castling and one other game was declared as a improper PGN file by the game editor. I did notice that the PGN files were I had not added any commentary those three games worked, so I had to add the analysis to the games while they were in the editor. It is a really slow way to publish games compared to some other options, but it seems as the only option for me at the moment, so I just have deal with it.

6 Jun 2016

Chess960 SP565

Chess960 SP565

Today I am sharing a game that I played at ChessRex.com. The game below started on May 2nd, 2016 and finished on May 22nd, 2016. This is one of the two games I have played against Rawalpindi and both I have won due to a timeout. Unlike the game I shared on Friday last week, this game ended in a position that was winning for me. The game I shared Friday ended in a position that was equal. Both players pushed their d-pawns two squares forward in their first moves in order to open a diagonal for the bishop and take some presence in the center. Rawalpindi then played 2.g4, which opens up the long diagonal for the queen and may give the opportunity for a rook lift later on. At this point I had the awkward task of protecting the pawn on d5. I thought that both 2...e6 and 2...c6 restrict the way I can develop my pieces, but because the third option 2...Be6 seemed even worse, I had to decide between the two pawn moves. I played 2...e6, because I considered it to be a bit more flexible than 2...c6. Rawalpindi continued with 3.c3, protecting the pawn on d4 ahead of time in anticipation of the g-pawn advance I played next.

After the first 7 moves, I had develop both of my bishops, one of my knights and I had castled while my opponent had moved both knights and some pawns. I did have the lead in development, but despite of that the position was close to even. With the move 8.Bb3, Rawalpindi made the worst move of the game up to that point. I had the chance to reply with 8...h5 and maybe get a clear advantage, but instead I went for the less accurate move 8...exd4, which did give me a small advantage. Rawalpindi was trying to increase my advantage by playing 10.Be3, though not intentionally. Unfortunately I did not see the very interesting idea of replying with 10...f5, but instead messed up and played 10...Qh7, which brought the game back into balance once again. Equality did not last long as my opponent played the inaccurate 12.Nc5, which handed over the advantage back to me. Then on move 14 Rawalpindi made a huge blunder that lost the game. I have added one mate in two, two mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

3 Jun 2016

Chess960 SP52

Chess960 SP52

Last post of the week and this time I am sharing a game that I played at ChessRex.com. This is one of the two games I played against Rawalpindi. Unfortunately I won both games due to a timeout, so they seem a bit unfinished because of that. The game below started on May 2nd, 2016 and finished on May 23rd, 2016. The ratings of the players seen in the notation are the ones that they had today when I looked them up. For some reason the ratings are not automatically added to the pgn-files that I can get from ChessRex. It is not really a big deal, but I always forget to add the ratings to the files after the games have finished.

I started the game by opening diagonals for my bishops and taking precence in the center. My opponent took a bit different approach, but also one that was playable. I would not have replied to 1.d4 with f5, but the game continuation does seem reasonable for both sides, well at least up to the point when my opponent played 4...Ne6. While perhaps not a big mistake, it would have given me some play, had I replied with 5.d5. I am not sure if I considered that option all that long, I usually just try to finish development as soon as possible, so I went for 5.Nc3 instead. Rawalpindi replied with c6, which probably is designed to lessen the effect that d5 would cause. I did not handle the position all that well and actually played the silly 6.dxe5. If I were to end up in that position again, I would not play 6.dxe5, but instead the better looking move 6.d5. Had I played d5, the bishop on b8 would have been stuck a bit longer behind the pawn, but because I played 6.dxe5, the bishop has easier time to activate itself. Due to my 6th move, I ended up on the worse side of the board. Rawalpindi obviously replied with 6...dxe5 and I continued with 7.Qd3 in order to bring my queen into play and generate some threats. 7.Qd3 was not a good idea, because it just provoked e4, opening up the diagonal for the bishop on b8 even more. On two consecutive moves I just helped my opponent to get a piece that seemed blocked behind pawns to get into the game. I was obviously on the worse side of things after that but I was not anywhere near of losing the game just yet. Then, on move 9, my opponent made a bad decision and played b6. Rawalpindi should have played 9...Nb6 instead. Rawalpindi's 9th move allowed me to fight evenly again, which at first I was able to do. Thanks to 10...Ba6, my position seemed even brighter. Again I was able to play a good reply and I took the advantage for a few moves until I made a poor choice and went for 13.g3 in order to defend the pawn on h2. It did not look like a promising move, but I did not know what else to do. The remainder of the game went quite evenly again. I have added one mate in one, one mate in two, one mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today. Until Monday, my fellow chess960 enthusiasts!

2 Jun 2016

3 check C46 Four Knights Game: Italian Variation

3 check C46 Four Knights Game: Italian Variation

This rather short game was played at lichess.org and the basic time control for this game was 3 minutes and there was also a 1 second increment used. Most of that time I used right before I made my last move in the game. During that thought process my opponent left the game. I am not sure what was the reason for this anonymous player to leave the game, except that this was not a rated game and as such maybe not that important to all players. However, I always play to win no matter if the game is rated or unrated. Or possibly Anonymous thought that the move 7...Nxe4 was completely losing and therefore left the game. Whatever the reason might have been, I would have liked to continue the game.

By the way, I have not been changing the game replayers in my chess960 posts as quickly as I liked because I ran into unexpected problems. The game editor at Chess.com that I have now used for publishing my recent games, for some reason or the other did not properly undertand castling in the two chess960 games I tried to publish. Both were from the same starting position of 39. I sent a bug report about it to Chess.com and received a reply quite quickly. I replied to that message with additional information and after that I have mainly waited for them to fix the problem, but I have also looked for other ways to publish my chess960 games. It seems at the moment that my only chance of getting my games published in a way that is suitable for HTTPS is with the game editor at Chess.com. I have not found any other way to publish both chess and chess960 games in a way that works in HTTPS. Time will tell what happens in the future of the blog, especially if I need to, some time in the future, change the way I publish games again. It would probably change the content of this blog completely and I would need to seriously consider the ratio between cost and benefit. I have added one mate in one, two mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

1 Jun 2016

3 check A00 Van't Kruijs Opening

3 check A00 Van't Kruijs Opening

I have done the commenting to this 3 check game in a way that I used a very long time ago for my chess games. It was a time when I had not even started typing a blog of any kind. I commented the positions rather than offered long variations with -+ or similar evaluations. I think making the comments this way is more useful, but I may change my mind on how to do these in the future. I will continue making the comments on chess and chess960 games in the same way I have done before, but 3 check is a bit different than those two and deserves a bit different approach in my opinion. I will share another 3 check game tomorrow and the post on Friday will have a chess960 game. I have added two mate in two, two mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today.

The second game of three-check I have played in this opening variation can at the moment only be viewed in the video below where I also commentate the moves while I play.