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29 Jul 2016

A34 English Opening: Symmetrical Variation, Fianchetto Variation

A34 English Opening: Symmetrical Variation, Fianchetto Variation

It is time once again for the last post of the week and for this one I found a new opening variation, well one that has not been featured here before that is. I went through my blitz games against a friend of mine and noticed that from time to time, they seem to provide something new to look at. The first move that should be reconsidered by the player who made it, is 9.Qb3. That move does not really solve the problems that White is facing. Then again the moves played before this one might be looked at as well, in order to spot improvements, but it was this 9th move that tipped the balance in my favor for the first time. Unfortunately for Kojjootti, he made things even worse for himself on the next move. However, I was not up to the task of making the most accurate moves, so I did not take the full advantage of my opponent's move. I remained slightly better until the huge blunder 15.Rb1, which turned out to be the losing move. After that I was able to finish the game with reasonable accuracy. It was shameful though that I missed 40...g5# in time trouble. I have added two mate in two, two mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today. Until Monday, my fellow chess and chess960 enthusiasts and other people.

28 Jul 2016

Chess960 SP159

Chess960 SP159

It was quite hard to get a game of chess960 against another human today and one in a starting position that I had not played before. Finally I had to accept this casual challenge against Anonymous. There is never a real way to know who these unregistered players are and how strong they are. Based on the way that this particular Anonymous played, my opponent is probably either around my rating or maybe a bit stronger. The way this game started reminded me of a game I had previously played. I can't remember the exact game, but I am quite certain that the position after 5.g3 I had seen before. Well, the pawn structure and where the bishops originate from in this starting position seemed familiar to me, other pieces on the back rank probably were in a different order though. I should avoid getting into these kind of pawn structures where they lead to closed games as I am not that good in them. My need to open things up and make it easier for me to play may sometimes lead me into trouble like it did in this game when I played 13...Bxe5. Now this move seemed good to me because not only is fxe5 forced, I could continue with f4 myself and open things up that way. I also had the idea of playing Nd7 and maybe further weaken my opponent's pawn structure. Things did not go the way I had planned them though and my pieces started to run out of squares to go to.

Therefore it was rather surprising to see Anonymous play 17.Nxd7 because that freed more squares to my disposal. My opponent should have retreated with the knight to d3 and kept more pieces on the baord, making it harder for me to play decent moves. After that exchange it was easier for me to develop a plan. However, after the move 21.b4, I started to go for the wrong plan. I played 21...g5 with the idea of following it up with f4. Move that I actually never played because I got distracted with the play on the queenside and played 22...Qd7 with the crazy idea of playing c6 and opening the file in front of my king... It seemed like a good idea at the time. 21...g5 might have been the start for my troubles, but with 23...c6 my position really went down the drain and I should have been in a losing position after that. While Anonymous might have not responded with the most accurate move, my opponent was still clearly in the driver's seat. I made things even worse for me a few moves later when I played 27...Kd7. The idea behind that move was to get my king as far away from the queenside as possible because I thought that my king would be safer on the kingside. Luckily for me, Anonymous missed the strongest continuation once again, giving me new chances to possibly hold the game, but even in the game continuation I am on the worse side of the board. I could have been close to equality, had I taken my chance and played either 31...Rxa7 or 31...dxc4 in reply to the inaccuracy 31.Rea1. The game continuation lead me towards a path of defeat, which I followed for awhile, but then my opponent blundered and played 35.Rxa8 and that put me for the first time during this game properly in the driver's seat. My opponent even offered me an easy win by playing 37.Qf6+, but due to time pressure and some unexplainable reason I could not see that I can take the queen with my knight. I instead walked into a mate in one, which my opponent did not see... Whoops. In the final position I am actually losing again. The only thing that saved me was time, my opponent's clock ran out of it. I have added one mate in two, one mate in four and one mate in five puzzle today.

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

27 Jul 2016

Chess960 SP342

Chess960 SP342

Chess960 is the most featured chess variant in this blog and I doubt that it will change anytime soon. It has also been taking the center stage both in this blog and at my Youtube channel lately more than chess or 3 check. The way things are going at the moment I think it will continue to be like that for some time. When I accepted the Chess960 challenge that my opponent had created, I did not realise who the opponent was, I only looked that the times were good for me. After the board was shown and the score between me and my opponent was revealed, I noticed that I had played quickcastle twice before this game and lost both of them. I was quite confident at the start of the game that this would not be a third loss, because my recent results in my games have been very promising. Already after I saw the move 2.Bc4 played, a little grin started to manifest itself on my face. I happily replied with 2...Nb6. Then quickcastle retreated to b3 with the bishop. I continued by playing 3...Bc5 thinking that now it would be playable since Nb3 is not possible. However, I soon realised that the bishop on c5 could turn into a real problem. Mainly because it basically hindered my development. The move 4.c3 was the first indication to me that my third move was not a good one. The plan Nc2, followed by d4, made it impossible for me to play d6, because the bishop on c5 would be trapped because of it. I did not want to admit the mistake just yet and played my knight to g6 instead. Then quickcastle played the innocent looking 5.d3, which during the game I thought would threaten Bg5, but of course as long as my bishop can retreat to e7, moving the bishop to g5 is not really a problem.

However, I answered 5.d3 with 5...Qe7, intending to castle short. When I first saw the starting position, I thought that I would like to castle long, but because it came quite difficult to get the light-squared bishop into play, castling short seemed like the more obvious choice. I knew right away after I saw the move 6.Ng3 to be played that the knight would jump to f5 and harass my queen. I though that I can't really stop Nf5, so I might as well castle and that is exactly what I did. While Nf5 did harass my queen, the knight did not do all that much else on f5. I went to d8 with the queen and I could have gone for d5 next, but at the time I was in the impression that I could not play it. Somehow the fact that Qd8 actually enabled the move, did not even cross my mind until I had already retreated with the bishop. I only moved the bishop so that I could finally move the d-pawn and continue developing my pieces, most notably the bishop on c8. When I did end up playing d5 on move 9, it started a series of captures that ended horribly for my opponent. At first when quickcastle played 10.Nxe7+, I thought that I am going to lose a pawn. Quite soon afterwards I realised that the pawn on e5 can't be taken without dire consequences. I did, however, miss my first opportunity to play Bg4+ on move 11. It might have been actually a good thing though because my opponent did take on e5 with the queen and then Bg4+ seemed even better. Admittedly, had quickcastle just played 12.Qe2, I might have needed to settle for a game that was evenly fought at that point. 12.Qxe5 was the final blunder that lost the game for my opponent. I have added three mate in two, one mate in three and one mate in five puzzle today. As you can see, I have also divided the mate in two puzzles into 100 puzzle sections. The newest added puzzles are always found in the section where the puzzle number is the highest.

There is also a Youtube video of this game with my live commentary and that is something you can view below.

26 Jul 2016

D01 Queen's Pawn Game: Veresov Attack, Richter Variation

D01 Queen's Pawn Game: Veresov Attack, Richter Variation

The game below is a 5 minute game I played at Chess.com on July 15th, 2016. The move order in the game is not the same as you might see for this variation in theory. The theoretical move order is 1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 Bf5 4.f3. Funnily enough, the first move that is not in theory, 4...e6, could have been already the losing move. I obviously was not alert enough at the start of this game to see the obvious problem with 4...e6, which is that after 5.e4 dxe4 6.fxe4 I will lose a piece for a pawn. Luckily for me, Kojjootti did not play 5.e4, but instead 5.h4. That gave me the opportunity to hang on in the game, but unfortunately I made a second awful move in a row. After the move 5...Be7 I was clearly worse, close to losing. I was not going to give up the fight though. When Kojjootti played 10.Kf2, I was quite happy as I thought that I can maybe get some counterplay because of it. We both kept making bad moves, but because of the move 13.Ned2, I was able to finally get enough compensation for the material lost in order to be in a position that was evenly fought. In order for me to keep the position even, I would have needed to keep making accurate moves.

Because this was a blitz game, it was very hard to do. Therefore it might not have been that surprising for me to play less than ideal move 15...Bh5. Because I was down on material, I did not want to trade the bishops. It seems as though that it was my best chance to stay in the game. With my 15th move my position started to go down the drain once again and I should have reached a losing position after my 17th move Qf6. The evaluation of the position can change a lot during a blitz game and due to some inaccurate moves, especially 20.Ned2, the position only slightly favored my opponent anymore. It only took one more blunder from my friend to change the outcome of the game and that was the move 22.b3. It was unfortunate for my opponent that being clearly better or even winning for the most of the game, this one move basically lost the game. I have added one mate in two, two mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

25 Jul 2016

A04 Zukertort Opening: Dutch Variation

A04 Zukertort Opening: Dutch Variation

Probably most chess players do not look their blitz games in detail afterwards, maybe they will look up the opening part, but most people are not likely to do even that. I, however, go through all of my games, no matter what was the time controls used in the games, in the same way. Well, all the games that have some sort of notation that is. I can't really go through my over the board blitz games because I do not write the moves down, nor can I remember them after the game in order to write them down then. Maybe if I could remember all the moves and had time to write them down after the games, I would even keep track of my over the board blitz games. Unlike maybe other people, I think that going through your blitz games is useful. Because the games are played reasonably fast, you must often play intuitively what you think is the best move. I would suggest that if you are able to learn what kind of bad moves you intuitively play, you could not only improve your play in blitz, but also with longer time controls and spend the time thinking about your moves more beneficially.

The game below was a part of a warming up to a hundred game blitz training session against a friend of mine. Whenever I have had the chance to play these 100 game matches, I usually change the openings I play reasonably often, so that I do not get bored of playing the same stuff over and over again. At times when I struggle in certain openings, I switch to another one and see if that works out better for me than the previous one. In the game below it was time to see what would happen after I play 1.Nf3. Now that the match is at its half way mark, I have already played 1.c4, 1.d4, 1.e4, 1.Nf3, 1.g3 and 1.b3 if I recall correctly. With the black pieces I usually play my favorite lines against whatever my opponent is playing and I am not so willing of trying new ways to play. Kojjootti replied with 1...f5, which is a move that Stockfish does not seem to like. Despite of that it should still be playable and it only gives White a small advantage. On my 5th move I made a small mistake that brought the position to equality. Instead of 5.d5 I should have played either 5.Qc2 or 5.Bf4, for example. I like to play open games, so I went for the move that may open some lines. It was a bit too early to play 5.d5, but I kind of wanted to make sure that this will not be a closed game. After eight moves I had succeeded in my plan of keeping the game quite open, but because I had also traded queens, there were not as much tactical possibilities anymore. I was actually quite happy about it, because the position seemed easy enough for me to play.

The game continued to be rather evenly fought until Kojjootti made a horrible move on move 16. After 16...Rg8, I immediately considered playing 17.Nxf5, however, I also wanted to make sure that it actually is as good as I thought it might be, so I spend some time thinking about it. I spend over 20 seconds considering the move, which is maybe a bit too much time to use for that move. However, it should have been the move that decided the outcome of the game. I was able to keep the advantage on my side to the end of the game, but after my last move, which was really bad, I only had a clear advantage anymore. It did not matter because I had spent over 40 seconds for my move 26.f3, after which I was down on time and could not get the time advantage anymore and I lost this game because I ran out of time. I have added one mate in two, one mate in three and three mate in four puzzles today.

22 Jul 2016

3 check A04 Reti Opening #2

3 check A04 Reti Opening #2

Lately chess960 games have taken over the blog a bit, but today it is time for a change in the form of 3 check. Whenever I play 3 check games, I want to end them so that the winner of the game is really decided with the third check and not by checkmating the other player. I think I have been successful in my attempts to do that so far. The reason for that is simple. If the 3 check games would end like chess games, there would be no point in playing this variant. That being said, it does change the way I handle the opening phase of the game. In chess games I am not that worried necessarily of giving my opponent a chance to give a check, but in 3 check games I obviously try to prevent the checking possibilities to the best of my abilities. Like usual, the main commenting of these 3 check games I have done in the notation and I am not going to type the same things in this part of the post. As far as this blog is concerned, the next post will see the light of day on Monday, but I am going to post one video to my YouTube channel later on today. I have added two mate in two, one mate in three, one mate in four and one mate in five puzzle today.

This game can also be viewed with my live commentary and the video for it can be seen below.

21 Jul 2016

Chess960 SP863

Chess960 SP863

Because the games from my reference database of chess960 games are not automatically added to the notation in the same way as chess games are when I go through the game with the Full Analysis functionality of Deep Fritz 14, I am now going to add most relevant games to the notation myself. To this game I only put one game in the notation because only one game in the database that consists of 169600 games had gone into the position after 2.f4. By the way, all of those games have been played between different engines and while I typed this I compared what Stockfish 7 64 POPCNT thought about the moves and it disagreed with a few moves, especially couple of the moves that Cheng4 0.38 64-bit (2834) did. That game was pretty much over after Cheng4 0.38 64-bit played 10...Qa4. It also did not like all of the moves that the other engine did either. As I have not really compared different engines before, it is interesting to me how they compare to each other.

I started this with a similar idea as the game I shared in this blog yesterday. I think opening the bishop diagonals at the start is a good way to begin the game because it is likely that other pieces are more easily developed and do not need the extra attention. While this was a casual game and no ratings were affected, I still tried to play as well as I can. I soon realised though that I was clearly the more experienced player of the two of us. However, as I do not really expect my opponents to blunder in the first two moves, I sometimes miss something obvious. For instance, I did not see at first that 2...Ned6 just lost a pawn. I can't really remember anymore, but I think I saw the pawn hanging after I had played my knight to b3 on move 3. It did not matter much that I was not paying enough attention on move 3, because Anonymous made an even worse move in reply, allowing me to get a winning advantage so early on. While it may not be all that beneficial to play games where the rating difference of the two players is quite high, this game was fun enough to play because I could get into positions that I normally would not be able to get. For example, the way that my knights jumped around was something I enjoyed. Even though I did try to come up with a mate pattern, I could not see one. I did have a mate in three after 8...Qf6, but unfortunately I missed the nice sequence of moves shown in the notation. It is probably the only thing from this game that I really regret of not being able to do. I have added three mate in three and two mate in four puzzles today.

The game above can also be viewed in the video below, in which I also try to commentate the moves while I play.

20 Jul 2016

Chess960 SP435

Chess960 SP435

This game was played in a team match called 960 Angels for 13th June. It is played on 43 boards between CLUB 960 and Space Angel Roast Acorns & Marshmallows In Andromeda's Cluster Of Infinite Bright Stars. I am playing on board 4 for Space Angel Roast Acorns & Marshmallows In Andromeda's Cluster Of Infinite Bright Stars. The match is not going that well for us at the moment, the current score is 30.5 - 23.5 in favor of CLUB 960.

I have lately mainly started my chess960 games by pushing a central pawn two squares forward, but I decided to go for a different approach this time and opened up the long diagonal for my bishop instead. I actually could have started this game by playing 1.O-O too, had I wanted to go for that one. I actually kind of want to do that the next time I end up in a similar starting position that allows me to do that. 1.g3 was met by 1...b5, so that the light-squared bishops were contesting each other immediately. Obviously I did not want to trade the bishops because it would have left the light squares around my king weak, so I played 2.e4 in order to block the long diagonal a bit. Up to move 5.Ne2, the game seemed to progress with quite natural looking developing moves. Dartnado's 5th move was a bit questionable because the purpose of the move seems only to be to prevent my knight from jumping to f5. Well, it might also help in the development of the queen, but it is not all that impressive according to Stockfish. I did not continue with the right idea and therefore let my opponent back into the game. Had I played 6.d4 I might have had a better game than in the game continuation. With the move 8...d5, my opponent's position started to go down the drain and I was able to win a pawn in the process. It might have been the start for the downfall, but after 12...Qd6 it started to be quite clear what was going to be the outcome of the game. I was up two pawns and fairly easy looking game ahead of me. I was able not to mess things up and Dartnado thought it best to resign after 23.Ne4. Admittedly I did not think that winning this game would have been easy from that position, so I was glad to see that the game ended before I needed to make use of my advantage and win the game. I have added three mate in one and two mate in three puzzles today.

19 Jul 2016

Chess960 SP488

Chess960 SP488

The game I am sharing today was played in a team match called 5.1.2016, Chess 960, A friendly match Labour Day - UNRATED! Despite what it says on the name of the match, in the details of the match it stated that this indeed is a rated match. The match is played on 11 boards between MY FRIENDS, International, Moji prijatelji&Φίλοι μου and Tortoise Chess Club. I am playing on board 1 for MY FRIENDS, International, Moji prijatelji&Φίλοι μου. I am happy that the rest of the team are getting better results than I am and we have actually already secured the win in the match as the current score 16.5 - 3.5 in favor of MY FRIENDS, International, Moji prijatelji&Φίλοι μου clearly demonstrates.

There might be a few good ways to start a game from this starting position, but I preferred 1.c4 to ensure an easy development of my bishop from the square b1. That bishop could have become a problem piece later on, had I neglected its development for some time. My opponent, FrankSimnel, responded with 1...f6, a move that seems quite horrible in my eyes. It is not, of course, a move that would lose the game for my opponent, but it does hand over the advantage to me. I continued with 2.d4 and thought that I can get my pieces easily developed. Basically I could play all the moves that I wanted to play, at least during the first few moves that is. The first move that I regretted of playing was 5.Bxg6. It was not a capture I had properly thought about. While it did double the kingside pawns, it also helped my opponent to get the rook from h8 into play and generate some pressure towards h2 alongside with the bishop on b8. Due to my poor judgement at the time, the position became even and the advantage I had before was a thing of the past. After 5...hxg6 I played 6.Qb1 in order to get my queen to a better diagonal and attack the pawn on g6. FrankSimnel replied with 6...g5 and then I realised the problem with how I had played.

The threat of 7...g4 seemed to win a pawn for my opponent no matter what I played on my 7th move. I decided to play 7.d5 and save my d-pawn as it seemed the more important pawn compared to the pawn on h2. Actually the pawn on h2 is not even under the threat because if 7...g4 8.Nd2 Rxh2 9.Rxh2 Bxh2 then 10.g3 and the bishop is trapped. I do not think that I looked far enough during the game to see that line, so I was somewhat surprised of the move 7...e6. I replied with 8.e4, so that I could take back on d5 with the e-pawn in case my opponent decided to take the pawn on d5. Finally on move 8 FrankSimnel played g4 and drove the knight away from f3. My opponent was more aware of the situation than I was and did not take on h2, but instead played 9...Bf4. I still was not paying attention and continued with 10.g3 in order to prevent my opponent taking on h2, which I now know would have been a mistake that could have lost the game for my opponent. After the bishop had retreated to g5, I had a plan of playing Rc3 followed by Ne3 in order to get my pieces into play in a way that I considered to be the best at the time. My plan was not good and the move 12.Ne3 put me in a slightly worse position. Despite of that the game continued to be played rather evenly, until my opponent blundered with 19...Rxh4 that is. I was not able to find the best reply and instead I also blundered by playing 20.Rf4. I had the opportunity to get a clear advantage, but due to my big mistake I gave that clear advantage to my opponent. On my next move I made a move that was even worse and ended up in a completely lost position. I played a few more moves, but I had to accept defeat after the move 23...Rxh4. I have added three puzzles to mate in 3 puzzles 601 - 700 page. I have also added two mate in four puzzles today. I organised the mate in 3 puzzles a bit yesterday and I will at some point do the rest of the puzzle pages as well.

18 Jul 2016

Chess960 SP431

Chess960 SP431

Last week I was able to get some of the reposting done, but it is still a long way to go before I have done all of them. I finally tested the video editing software I have and because I figured it out to a decent degree, I managed to edit some of my videos so that I feel that I could upload them to YouTube. I think that I will upload one video per day from Monday to Friday starting from today. Here is a link for my YouTube channel. We will see if the experience of doing the videos and editing them improves over time, but I do what I can to make it happen.

The game below was played in a team match called CHESS CORNER 960 vs. CHESS960 SOCIETY. The match consists of 5 boards and I am playing on board 1 for CHESS960 SOCIETY. Sadly this draw is the only game that has contributed to our score in the match. The score at the time I type this is 6.5 - 0.5 in favor of CHESS CORNER 960.

The first big mistake in the game below was played by my opponent on move 8. The move 8...Ne6 move was so bad that it could have lost the game, but because I made the wrong knight move, draw was the most likely outcome of the game. Well, in case both players were to continue with good moves that is. Romeolips made a huge blunder only a little bit later with 11...b5. After that I had a chance to take the winning advantage for the second time, but unlike the first time, this time I was able to take that advantage at first. When romeolips played 16...Rb8 I felt that I had a possibility to win the game, but unfortunately I could not find the correct sequence of moves. I played 17.Nef4, which should be only good enough for a draw. It was not as bad as my 18th move, however, because after the move 18.Nxc3, I was in a losing position. Then on move 20 I made a move that allowed a mate in two sequence to be played. Luckily for me, romeolips did not find the mate in two. However, the move my opponent played 20...Rxb2+ also would have lead to a forced mate, had my opponent found the correct continuation. We continued the game in a way that was very favorable for romeolips until my opponent played 24...Kd7. Due to that move romeolips only had a very small advantage, which remained to the end of the game. I think it was me who offered a draw after 28.Qxd3+ and my opponent agreed to that as there is no real winning chances left for either side. I have added one mate in two, three mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today.

8 Jul 2016

Chess960 SP365

Chess960 SP365

Sometimes the winner of the game is decided very quickly, even before the opening phase of the game is finished and this game is one example of situations like that. I played this game at https://chessrex.com/. The game started on June 19th, 2016 and finished on July 7th, 2016. It was possible for players involved in this game to use 5 days per move. Obviously neither player used all of that time to make their moves and the game was played in a faster pace.

Before I made my first move, I noticed an undefended pawn on a7 and because I had a bishop on g1, it made sense to me to open the game with 1.f4. With my next move I was threatening to take on a7 and possibly follow it up by taking the rook on b8. EOS1 saw the threat and played Nb6 in order to prevent me from taking on a7. Maybe 1...f5 is also an idea worth considering instead of the move played in the game. It would have, in a way, also stopped me from taking on a7, because it would have just ended in a few trades and I was not interested in trading too many pieces. 2.e4 seemed to me to be the easiest way to ensure easy development, so that is what I played. EOS1 replied with 2...e5, which looked to me as a small mistake during the game, but I guess there is actually nothing wrong with it. The reason I did not like that move was that after 3.fxe5 rook may need to take back if my opponent wants to keep the material even and that allows me to harass the rook on the following move, gaining some time. EOS1 did take back with the rook and in that position I considered basically only two moves, 4.d4 or 4.Bd4. I rejected the idea of playing 4.d4 due to the reply 4...Bg5+, which would have been really annoying to face. Therefore I developed my bishop to d4 instead. When I saw the reply to that I was very surprised and thought, well that was a bit too easy. I did at first look if there is something that I am missing, but then soon realised that my opponent indeed had left the rook in a square where I can take it for free... Giving me a free rook is usually very risky and most of the time it means that I am going to win the game. The rest of the game did not pose me any real problems and I was able to get the win rather easily after that unfortunate rook sacrifice. I did not play the rest of the game perfectly by any stretch of the imagination, but one thing especially bothers me with the way I played or rather just one move I made. On move 19 I had the opportunity to play Na6+ winning the exchange, but for some reason I did not see it and played 19.Nd3 instead. I have added four mate in one and one mate in three puzzle today.

I have decided that I am going to take a break from posting and my next post will be coming July 18th, 2016. The time away of making these posts is actually not a vacation because I plan on doing as much of the remaining reposts as I can during that time and see how far I can get with them. I have not been able to do the reposts as fast as I would have liked especially between Monday and Friday, so I think this time off from normal posts is necessary, so that I can focus on the updates without needing to worry most of the week what I am going to post about and how. I have also planned on starting a new project, to which I have not had enough time previously, but may concentrate on more next week depending on how much time I spent on the reposts.

7 Jul 2016

Chess960 SP485

Chess960 SP485

This game was played at lichess.org today in order to get something to post. I was not in my best form today and could not concentrate to the game all that well. Unfortunately that meant that I went back below 1900 with my chess960 rating. While my opponent has a low rating in chess960, I looked at Scarbody's other ratings and some of them were over 2000, so I faced a stronger player than the rating would imply. Scarbody had not obviously played all that many chess960 games before this one and actually Scarbody's rating increased by 245 points due to this win. My opponent offered me a rematch, but due to the time constraints I was in, I could not play another game. I think I played reasonable moves until I played 9.Qc3. It was a bad move that only put my queen to an even worse square, especially after Ne4 that drives the queen to e1. I had to go to e1 with the queen because otherwise my knight on f4 may run out of good squares to go to if it is driven back from f4. I had not blundered the game away just yet, but my questionable choices had made things uncomfortable for me. My 11th move was the first one that handed over the advantage to my opponent. My idea behind 11.Rb3 was to overprotect c3, so that when I move my knight away, I can take back on d1 with the queen. Had I not moved my rook, then Qxd1 would be replied with Nc3.

I did get into a slightly favorable position a few moves later when Scarbody played 14...Qf5. At first I replied correctly with 15.f3, but one move after that my position seemed to go worse once again. I had planned to play Nc5 for awhile because I wanted to jump to e6 with one of my knights. I did see of course that my opponent had covered the square sufficiently with the queen and the knight. I considered the move 16.h4 briefly during the game, but I was not sure of the consequences and therefore did not want to open my king position unnecessarily. My 17th move was the worst move of the game up to that point. Scarbody had the dominating position after that for a few moves. A slight mistake from my opponent on move 20 and I was able to get better into the game, but even after that Scarbody had to be favored in the position. Another inaccuracy from my opponent on move 22 that could have turned the tables, but I blundered and threw one more chance to hold the draw away. I blundered a second time in a row and played 24.Ne2, after which I should have been in a losing position. I did immediately get another chance to hold the draw, because my opponent played a horrible move 25...Nb5. Had my opponent played 25...Nc4, I would have been in huge trouble. I was not able to see the move 25.Ne5 that could have saved me from the loss and instead made the game losing move 25.a4. I have added two mate in two, two mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today.

6 Jul 2016

E71 King's Indian Defense: Makogonov Variation

E71 King's Indian Defense: Makogonov Variation

I have lately changed the way I play against 1.d4 in order to find something that suits me better than what I have previously played against it. I need a change from time to time to keep the game a bit more fresh if that is even possible anymore since I have played so many games of chess. All the chess variants seem to me much more interesting than chess at the moment and partly for that reason I have not started anymore correspondence chess games. Actually I am more determined than ever to take a break from correspondence games and play more games in one sitting. The nature of the correspondence games is that the games may last for months, sometime years, though the time used to think each move might actually not be that much, especially when one is playing a lot of simultaneous games. It feels a bit more of a mandatory chore to move in my games every day than something I would like to do. When I play rapid games, for example, I enjoy the experience of moving the pieces more than the daily moving of pieces in correspondence games.

The game below was played in the atadros's mini-tournament V at GameKnot. I have finished 17 out of the 20 games that are part of this mini-tournament. I am currently on 10th place and because 11 players have taken part, my results have been quite bad. If I win all my remaining games, I have a chance to be 7th in the final standings. My opponent in this game, towa, has been more successful in his games and towa is currently on 4th place with a chance to be third in the final standings if the remaining games end favorably for him.

Based on the way that the game below went, I do not think I like this opening all that much for Black. Then again more experience in this line might be needed before I completely disregard it. I played quite well the first six moves, but then with my 7th move I started to go for the wrong plan. I wanted to get my knight to c7, bishop to d7 and try to play b5. The problem with that plan is that it took a really long time and when I finally played b5, it put me in a losing position. In that position after 7.d5 I may have considered the correct play, 7...e6, but I was a bit worried about my pawn on d6 as it would become weak after e6. I obviously misjudged the position, but I was not punished for it because towa played the inaccurate 8.Bg5. It was better to play 8.Bd3. I then continued with my plan of trying to play b5 and maybe activate my pieces on the queenside because of it, but it was a mistake to play Bd7 because the bishop is not well placed at d7. My best move would have been e6 once again. This was not the start for my downfall as towa replied with 9.Nd2 instead of the better option 9.Bd3, which would have given my opponent a clear advantage. The move played in the game kept towa slightly favored in the game.

I did get my chance to play b5 on move 11, but for some reason I dismissed my plan and started to do something else instead. I do not remember nor can I now think of a reason why I changed my plan, I know that I wanted to exchange the dark-squared bishops, which seems like a stupid idea as I now look at the position. However, I was able to keep myself relatively well in the game even after 11...Nfe8, at least until I played the horrible blunder 17...Rb8 that is. After that blunder I should be in a losing position with correct play. Towa did not find the strongest continuation and therefore I got a little bit better back into the game. I was clearly worse in the game continuation for awhile, but then I played 19...Qe8 and my position went down the drain again. After quite a lot of bad moves from both sides, I was able to climb from the losing position to a more evenly fought game after a bad move, 23.Rdg1, from my opponent. I was not able to maintain the even position and for one move I went towards a loss once again. The move 26...Qxe4 was a very risky choice from me that could have meant the final downhill for me in this game. However, towa played 27.hxg6, giving me another chance to hold on. At first I was able to navigate my way through the problematic situations, but then on move 29 I made my final mistake and the game ended quite quickly after that for towa's victory. I have added one mate in one, one mate in three, one mate in four and two mate in five puzzles today.

5 Jul 2016

B01 Scandinavian Defense: Marshall Variation

B01 Scandinavian Defense: Marshall Variation

The game below is my most recently finished game from Chess.com. This was played in a team match called Limitless Chess vs Команда ЦФО (Russia Central Federal District). I am playing on board 28 for Limitless Chess and the current score in this match that consists of 80 boards is 47.5 - 48.5 in favor of Команда ЦФО (Russia Central Federal District). Every game counts in this evenly fought match and I am happy to have helped our team with a win. My other game against Andrey-25 is still in progress and depending on the result of that game, I may be either satisfied with my efforts or slightly disappointed with the way I have played in the match. At least complete disaster has been already avoided with this win.

I was very happy to see that my opponent did not go for the Portuguese Variation of the Scandinavian Defense (1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 Bg4), but played something that I had not faced before instead. 4.c4 seemed to me like the most natural reply to the move 3...Nxd5. Andrey-25 retreated to b6 with the knight, which is a good square for the knight to go to. Other option would be to play the knight back to f6. Going for the move 4...Nb4 is not something that should be considered, even though that variation has a name in opening theory, B01 Scandinavian Defense: Kiel Variation. White should be clearly better after the ill-advised knight advance. After the knight had gone to b6, I played 5.Nc3. I did also think about 5.Nf3, but I did not like my position after 5...Bg4. I thought that if I had continued with 6.Be2, then Bxf3 would make me take back on f3 with the pawn because if I take back with my bishop, then Nxc4 wins a pawn. However, I missed the fact that Nxc4 would have been a big blunder due to Qa4+ that wins the knight from c4. Andrey-25 blundered and played 5...Nc6, which allowed me to gain some advantage. With his 6th move, Andrey-25's position went more down the drain. His best option was to play 6...e5, it would have been the only move that could have kept my opponent in the game. The move played in the game closes the bishop behind the pawn chain and makes it more difficult for my opponent to activate his pieces, the bishop on c8 and the rook on a8, for instance. My advantage grew even bigger when my opponent decided to play 12...f5, after that I should have a winning advantage, at least according to Stockfish that is. While I did not find the best moves, I was able to keep the advantage on my side for the rest of the game. I renamed one of my posts today and added one game to that post. I did that in order not to make a mistake like I was typing about in the post yesterday. The post that has been renamed and has one more game is called C50 Four Knights Game: Italian Variation. I have added one mate in one, one mate in two, two mate in three and one mate in five puzzle today.

4 Jul 2016

D75 Neo-Gruenfeld Defense: Delayed Exchange Variation #2

D75 Neo-Gruenfeld Defense: Delayed Exchange Variation #2

I almost published a game today that did feature an opening variation that had a different name to it than any that I had previously posted. The problem was that the variation had already been covered here, but under a different name. I only noticed that just before I was publishing that game. This was due to the fact that not all the sources name the same variation with the same name, which is very annoying and very confusing. When I was typing that other post, I did mention in it that I was convinced that I had already covered that variation, but because I could not find the name of the variation among my previous posts, I did not look further. However, before I published that game, I checked from the source material I used when I started doing this blog whether or not it called the variation by a different name and when it turned out that it did, I looked my posts with that name and I found a match. Luckily I had already analysed this game that actually featured a variation that I had not covered before, so that I was able to make the post before this day ended.

The game below was played in a team match called LC VC PRCC. It is played on 38 boards between Limitless Chess and Philippine Rizalian👴Chess Club. I am playing on board 15 for Limitless Chess. The current score looks a bit dire from our point of view, the score is at the moment I type this 9 - 25 in favor of Philippine Rizalian👴Chess Club. I made one small mistake in the game below when I played 11...Na6, it was better to play 11...Nc6. Before that the game was played evenly, after my 11th move my opponent could have had a slight advantage with correct play. 12.Rb1 or 12.Rd1 were moves that give White a small advantage. While the move that six_inchess played leads to a more even position, my inaccurate reply did give another chance for my opponent to be in a slightly favorable position. At first six_inchess was able to maintain the advantage, but then for some weird reason that I can't explain, my opponent played 15.Rd5, which loses the game immediately because I can take the queen with my knight. After I had taken the queen, my opponent resigned as there is no reason to continue the game.

Yesterday I finished reposting all my chess960 games, so all of them can now be viewed with the Chess.com's game viever or replayer or whatever you want to call it. I now only need to go through my chess games and after that the blog is fully ready for https. After that is done, I will likely make it so that viewers of the blog are redirected to the https version of the blog if they use the http version to view the blog. I think it might take the rest of the year to repost all my chess games that I have previously published with Chessbase 12's publish to web functionality, but I try to do that as fast as possible while maintaining my sanity... I have added one mate in two, two mate in three, one mate in four and one mate in five puzzle today.

1 Jul 2016

A01 Nimzo-Larsen Attack: Modern Variation #4

A01 Nimzo-Larsen Attack: Modern Variation #4

It seems I am still finding new opening variations to cover in this blog from my games, but it obviously is quite rare these days. According to my current statistics, this is the opening variation number 509 that has been published in the blog. The game below was played on the first round of a tournament called EXPECT NO MERCY - NAZARETH TOUR!!! I played in group 7 on this first round and I was able to win my group by half a point difference to a player called csabiu (1673), whom I faced in my last game of round one. Because only the winner or winners of each group advance on to the next round, the last game from this round was very important as it determined which one of us was able to advance to the second round. The group consisted of five players, but because the fifth participant of the group closed his or her account before even finishing one game properly, it felt like there was only three actual opponents in the group. My opponent in the game below, marcverkinderen, finished fourth in the group with 3 points. Those 3 points came from 3 wins that marcverkinderen was able to get. I won 6, drew 1 and lost 1. These tournaments also keep track of the biggest upset in the tournament and it links to the game where that happened. It links to my only loss on round one... I lost a game against a player who was rated 1407 at the time and I was rated 1816. I basically made one horrible blunder in that game and decided to resign the game when I saw what my opponent played is response to that blunder.

I have to admit that the way the game below started seemed quite strange to me, but it seems that this opening is playable for both sides. The game was actually quite well played by both players until my opponent played 12.Nh2 that is. It would have been a better idea to play 12.d4, for example and try to generate some play in that way. After the move played in the game, 12.Nh2, marcverkinderen was not able to get back into the game, so this was the start for all the problems that my opponent faced. Because it seemed that my opponent was not interested in taking the initiave, I thought that I should take it and played 12...f5. Marcverkinderen replied with 13.d4, but now that move is a mistake, a move earlier it would have been still a good move to play. Unfortunately for me and luckily for my opponent, I did not take full advantage of that bad move, but instead played the inaccurate 13...exd4. I probably thought that if I take on e4, then my opponent takes on e5 twice and the material would be even. I did not see that after 13...fxe4 14.dxe5 I could play d5 and not take that pawn at all. In that case the material would also be even, but the pawn on e5 might get weak and I would have some interesting pawns on the center, while also being able to get my dark-squared bishop to c5 in order to generate more pressure towards f2. That continuation would have made my light-squared bishop look like a big pawn on c6, but it could get a better square later on. I probably played 13...exd4 due to a greedier option, had my opponent replied with 14.Bxd4, then I would have won a pawn on e4, with 14...fxe4. Obviously marcverkinderen did not go for that line, but instead played the correct capture 14.exf5. I did remain on the slightly better side of things in the game continuation. My opponent went further towards a loss with the normal looking 15.Bxd4. The problem pieces for marcverkinderen were the knights on h2 and d2. Had my opponent played 15.Ndf3, then one of his knights would been better placed and the knight would have also stopped blocking the queen on the d-file. Marcverkinderen could have maybe taken on d4 on the following turn, unless I would have found the line that you see in the notation, where I would have first taken on f3 and followed it up by playing c5 in order to protect the pawn on d4. The game losing move came when my opponent played 19.Ng4, after that the game ended quite quickly in my favor. I have added two mate in two, two mate in three and one mate in four puzzle today. Until Monday, my fellow chess and chess960 enthusiasts!