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9 Sep 2016

Chess960 SP207

Chess960 SP207

I think the time has come to do some serious maintenance to the blog again. This time, however, I can't say for certain when it will be done. I will go through all my old posts where I have used Chessbase 12 to publish my chess games and republish those games using the Chess.com game viewer. This is necessary because the old posts will not work properly in HTTPS otherwise. I previously thought that I would have enough time to do the maintenance in addition with the normal posts, but in practice I have not really been using that time for maintenance, but for other things. Therefore I need to take the time to finish what I have started in this way. When it is finished, I can publish all the games that I have missed in chronological order because they have been from a previously published opening variations. Those skipped games have been bothering me for some time now and now there are so many of them that I feel its something that is long overdue. While I can't say for certain how long it will take me to do all the updates I want to do, it is unlikely that I would be able to get back to regular posting schedule next week. As soon as I have done all the updates, I will start doing these blog posts again.

Now for this short game you can view below. I did not think during the game that 2.c3 is a good move, but it still was a playable move. I dislike the move 2.c3 because the pawn just gets in the way of White's other pieces. It takes a good developing square away from the b-knight and it blocks the long diagonal and therefore may be in the way of the queen that resides on a1. The first time my opponent really went wrong was after 3...d6. In the position below, my opponent, GStratZ played 4.Bd4. It was an interesting idea in my opinion. I thought about taking the bishop for some time, but then realised that it probably was not a good idea because it would open up the c-file for the rook and allow my opponent to develop a knight to c3. Therefore I did not take on d4 as it would only help GStratZ. The move I played in reply, 4...e5, seems to be the best alternative according to Stockfish 7 64 POPCNT.

The position should only slightly favor me, so draw would be still the result with accurate play. The position below is taken after 5...Nd7. GStratZ played 6.b4, a move that continued the positional downhill that my opponent was on. I could not properly understand the reason behind this move when I saw it played during the game, but the idea behind it may be to prevent Nc5 and get some room for the queen to activate itself.

The game probably was not completely over after 6.b4, but the situation for my opponent became quite dire. With the next two moves by GStratZ, 7.h3 and 8.c4, the game went to become really hopeless for my opponent and the game quickly ended after that. I have added a mate in one puzzle 529, a mate in two puzzle 757, a mate in three puzzle 676 and mate in four puzzles 539 &540 today.

8 Sep 2016

Chess960 SP652

Chess960 SP652

When I play Chess960 at lichess.org, everything just seems to go my way. I play there weekly some rapid games of the variant and so far my winning percentage is 72, the average rating of my opponents being 1680.13. When I play correspondence Chess960 games at Chess.com, my interest to the games is rather low at the moment and it does show in my rating, which is only 1677. However, my Live 960 rating is 1893, so when I play the games at one sitting, I am these days better concentrated and interested about the games than when I play my correspondence games. I have tried my best to completely get rid of my correspondence games, but I still have 32 of them in progress. Maybe some day I will finally end all of those games, I will not lose any game on purpose, but I may not give my best effort to fight for the win either. There is no reference game in the notation because no engine had played the horrible move 1.c4 in my Chess960 reference database.

This game started with my inaccurate first move 1.c4. While the intention behind the move was good, to open the b1-h7 diagonal for the light-squared bishop, it was a bit hasty and bad move. It is not bad enough to give me any serious trouble, but there are certainly better alternatives like 1.f4. The first real mistake was played my opponent on move 3 in the position below. Stirlits played 3...Ng6, ignoring my threat to the c-pawn. Maybe the idea was that when I take the pawn, the move Be5 would be possible, getting the rook from the corner.

For a brief moment I thought that I was lost after 4...Be5, but then I realised that I can take on g6 with my bishop, threatening the rook on e8, which saved me and showed that my opponent's plan was flawed. It was all downhill for stirlits after that. I was able to checkmate my opponent on move 34. I have added mate in two puzzles 754 - 756 and mate in three puzzles 674 & 675 today.

This game can also be viewed in the video below.

7 Sep 2016

D03 Queen's Pawn Game: Torre Attack, Gossip Variation

D03 Queen's Pawn Game: Torre Attack, Gossip Variation

This game was played in a club tournament in 2011. Both players did some small mistakes during the first 23 moves, but when we reached the position below we started to make bigger mistakes. The move my opponent made in this position was 24.Qc5, which was a horrible decision, but because I played 24...Qe5 in response, the tables turned clearly in favor of my opponent.

That did not last for very long though. Already after 25...fxe5 my opponent took a wrong path and played 26.f4, allowing me to get back in to the game. The game was then played rather evenly until we came to the next position you can see below. It is taken after my opponent played 32.gxf4.

I played 32...Ne5+, which became the losing move of the game. I only managed to make things worse for me later on, for example with the move 34...Ra8, which was too passive defense and doomed to fail. I have added a mate in one puzzle 528, a mate in two puzzle 753, a mate in three puzzle 673 and mate in four puzzles 537 & 538 today.

6 Sep 2016

C33 King's Gambit Accepted, Bishop's Gambit

C33 King's Gambit Accepted, Bishop's Gambit

It is time to take a look at another variation of the King's Gambit. This is one of the variations that should be losing for White with best play according to the extensive research done on the subject about a year later after this game was played. This game was played between two human players, so the moves were far from perfect. Then again I do realise that even between two stong engines the moves are not perfect either. The game below was played in a weekend tournament that was held at Tampere over five years ago. This is taken from round 5, which was the last round of the tournament. Before this game my opponent had lost the round one game, but then he had won all other games. I had won all my four previous games, so this could have been the tournament where I finally won with a perfect score 5 out of 5. However, the opening my opponent chose was something that I have really struggled with. In the future I will most likely play 3...Nf6 instead of the move 3...d6 that I played in this game. Because I lost this game I was on second place in the final standings of group B and the opponent I faced in the game below was on first place.

My third move is actually an okay move, the position should be roughly even after that. The position below is taken after 5.h4. I played 5...Bh6 in reply, which was the starting point for the disaster of a game that this was for me. While my opponent did some inaccurate moves, he never let me back in to the game.

I have never been able to win all five games in a weekend tournament like this, I think the closest I have been is half a point away from the perfect score. That I have been able to do a couple of times. I have been able to get 5 out of 5 in an online tournament though, most memorable one is the one World Open Rapid tournament I played at the FIDE Online Arena. My performance rating was 2413! The highest performance rating I have ever been able to get. I have added mate in two puzzles 750 - 752, a mate in three puzzle 672 and a mate in four puzzle 536 today.

5 Sep 2016

C89 Spanish Game: Marshall Attack, Main Line

C89 Spanish Game: Marshall Attack, Main Line

This game was played at lichess.org on August 28th, 2016. This game has appeared also on my Youtube channel. There I posted the game on August 29th. In this post I offer a deeper look at the game that I could offer in the video. This was my first chess game that I played at lichess and this turned out to be a really promising start. We followed a theoretical path up to the move 13.Re1, but then my opponent played a move I had not seen played before in that position. While 13...Qf6 is not really a bad move, 13...Qh4 is a better option. I played 14.Be3 in order to get the bishop out of the way, so I could develop my knight to d2. The position below is taken after I played my 14th move.

My 14th move is not actually the best move and the position became roughly even with that move. I like to develope my pieces as soon as possible, so Be3 seemed like the way to go, even though it can give up the bishop pair. Actually my opponent did not take the bishop, but instead played 14...Bf4, a move that started the downfall for joachimmueller. I did not really understand that move during the game and it is hard for me to see the idea behind it. I guess taking on e3 and pressuring the e-pawn was the idea, but it can't be accomplished so easily. I played 15.Nd2 in response and while it may not be the most accurate move, it was good enough to secure a clear advantage for me. My opponent's next move was the final nail in the coffin. 15...Qg6 is horrible because I end up at least two pawns up and after that I am clearly in a winning position. In the game my opponent sacrificed a whole piece in desperation, but did not get any counterplay because of it, so the game was basically over after that. I have added mate in one puzzles 526 & 527 and mate in two puzzles 747 - 749 today.

2 Sep 2016

E01 Catalan Opening

E01 Catalan Opening

This game was played on the third round of a weekend tournament that was held at Loimaa in February, 2011. On the previous two rounds I had lost to a player who was rated 1965 and drew against a player who was rated 1891 at the time. On the fourth round I received my only win in the tournament against a player who was rated 1848. On the last round I lost again, so I managed to gather only 1.5 points against higher rated opponents, on the last round I faced an opponent who was rated 1884. Because I can't seem to find the results of this tournament anywhere anymore, I have no idea what my final standing was.

The game below was a rather straightforward one, my opponent never gave me a fighting chance. Well, the only exception might have been the position after 10.Nc3. Had I replied with 10...Bxf4, I might have been ever so slightly better. I played 10...e5, which leads to a slightly favorable position for my opponent.

After I handed over the advantage on move 10, my opponent never let it go. I was able to maintain a decent position until I made things worse for me and played 19...Rd8. The position below this paragraph is the position where I played my 19th move and started my final descent into the loss.

My last move of the game 31...Re8 was also the worst move of the game and of course my opponent took full advantage of my mistake and played 32.Rxe6! After that there was no point of me continuing the game, so I resigned. I have added a mate in two puzzle 746, a mate in three puzzle 671 and mate in four puzzles 534 & 535 today.

1 Sep 2016

C33 King's Gambit Accepted: Bishop's Gambit, Maurian Defense

C33 King's Gambit Accepted: Bishop's Gambit, Maurian Defense

The theoretical move order for this variation is 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Nc6. If we would have followed the theoretical move order, I think I would not have played 3...Nc6. I definetely would not play that after the old post I came across yesterday. The post I am referring to was published April 2nd, 2012 titled "Rajlich: Busting the King's Gambit, this time for sure". It can be found at the Chessbase website. In that post Vasik Rajlich claimed that the King's Gambit had been solved. According to that extensive project he did, the best move against 3.Bc4 is 3...Nf6 and White should lose with best play. The project was inspired by Bobby Fischer's claims that he had refuted the King's Gambit. Interestingly enough it seems that Fischer was right about 3...d6 being the best answer to 3.Nf3. What is also interesting about this project is that the only move after 2...exf4 that keeps White in the game is 3.Be2 and with best play it is a draw. In practical play human players can still make bad moves, so it is not like you could get a guaranteed win in the lines that should be winning from this early on.

The game below was played in a second division, group 4 match between AS and SalSK 2 in 2010. I played on board 4 for SalSK 2 in this match. I was not unfortunately the only one who lost on our team, we also lost on boards 1 and 3. On board 2 we drew and the only win we got from our board 5 player. This meant that the final score was 3 - 1 in favor of AS. While this game started in a promising way for me, the longer the game went, the more the game started to gravitate in favor of my opponent. The position below is taken after my 7th move g5. My opponent played 8.Nc3, after which I should be clearly better. The best option for White to stay in the game is to play 8.d5 here.

I remained only clearly better until in the position below my opponent blundered and played 12.Bd3. Had I played 12...Nxd5, I might have been in a position that is close to winning, but alas I played 12...Re8 and I remained only clearly better.

The game went on being either clearly favorable or winning at times for me, up to the move 35.Kh2, but then the game started to slowly become favorable for my opponent. In the position below I played 35...Rf1, which gave my opponent a golden opportunity to punish me from my mistake and play 36.Bg4+. It would have resulted in a position where I need to sacrifice my bishop and even though I would only have a pawn for the bishop, I should have enough counterplay to compensate for the material. Especially since I would be likely to get a second pawn for the bishop from a2.

My opponent did not go for that plan and the position remained roughly even, with both players making some inaccuarete moves until we reached the position below. On move 40 my opponent moved his rook from e2 to d2. This was one of the turning points of the game. I played 40...Rc1, which at long last gave my opponent the advantage. I should have played 40...h5 in order to maintain equality of the position. Maybe also 40...b5 was a move to consider instead of the move played in the game.

Blunders did not end there of course. I was still hanging on in the game in the position below, I was only slightly worse at the time. With the move 44...Rb1 my position went down the drain, now it was my opponent who had the winning position. The correct move for me was 44...fxg2. While the move that my opponent chose was not the most accurate, he should still be winning after 45.Bd7+.

Even though I drifted into a position that seemed completely lost, for some reason I continued the struggle. Perhaps because this was a team match, I continued the game longer than I normally would. The fact that I did not give up, might have frustrated my opponent enough so that he made a mistake that allowed me to get into a position that was drawish. I should be completely lost in the position below, but one blunder can change that. My adversary played 61.Ke6, which with correct play is only good enough for a draw. 61.h4 was the best move for White. Stockfish thinks that White should be up by 24+ pawns after 61.h4. An advantage that should be enough for everyone to convert into a win.

The final mistake of the game came in the position below after my opponent had played 71.h6. The only move that could have drawn the game for me was 71...a2. For some reason I thought that move order is not important in this position and I played the horrible blunder 71...c4 before playing a2, but that was a judgement error that cost me the game.

71...a2 was much better because it forces 72.Bf6 and then I could have played 72...c4. I was so close to a draw, but still so far away. I did offer my best resistance in the game continuation, but it was in the end futile and I needed to resign after 81.Bxc3 as my pawns were forcefully removed from the board. I have added mate in one puzzles 524 & 525, a mate in two puzzle 745, a mate in three puzzle 670 and a mate in four puzzle 533 today.