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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.