Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Logical chess, hack by hack

As a coaching book, "Logical Chess: Move by Move" is quite a fun text. Certainly the section on Kingside Attacks is a step above the "wait till your opponent blunders and mate on f7" examples that you see when starting out, while not being too inaccessible to the improving player.  On the other hand, most of the attacks do follow a similar formula. Aim a few pieces at the kingside, eliminate a key defender (usually the knight on f6), and then smash through on h7.
Of course the drawback in following this script, is often your opponent does not co-operate. But when they do, the game can be over almost as soon as it starts. Here is a very recent example where Black ignores his kingside, looking for play on the queenside. However in doing so he lets White firstly aim his pieces at the king, and after 12.... Nc4, lets him pull the trigger. (Note 12.h4 served a dual purpose, as 12.Bxh7+ does not quite work after 12. ... Kxh7 13.Ng5+ Kg8 14.Qh5 Qxc2= while later on Black resigned when faced with  19. ... Kxh6 20.h5! forcing mate)

Litchfield,Fred - Patterson,Miles [C18]
ANU Spring Swiss, 07.10.2015

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Totally cheated!

The always excellent "Drunk History" has just featured the 1972 Fischer v Spassky match in its most recent episode. Sadly for Australian viewers, it is either a long wait until SBS get around to showing series 3, or finding it on one of the subscription tv services that are starting to pop up. Annoyingly even the preview is blocked from Australian IP addresses.
Here at least is an article on the episode

Monday, 5 October 2015

Long Castling

I held of posting last night as I thought that Peter Svidler was likely to half out his final game and win the 2015 World Cup KO 2.5-1.5. This opinion was based on nothing more than a "surely he can't lose this" hunch, as he had started the 4 game match with 2 wins.
Turns out my hunches aren't always good, and Svidler did indeed lose game 4 of the match. He then compounded by this by losing the first game of today's rapid playoff making it three losses in a row, also known as 'Long Castling' (0-0-0). Currently they are playing the second rapidplay game (a must win for Svidler), and while Svidler is better at move 40, he may not be better enough.
Here is last nights games, which probably contains some important lessons. Firstly, the opening choice by Svidler was not that impressive (offering mass exchanges in the opening tend to favour the other player) while the endgame saw both a better pawn structure and RBvRN turning out better for Karjakin.
(Update: Svidler has just won the second game, tying the match up once again)

Karjakin,Sergey (2762) - Svidler,Peter (2727) [D02]
FIDE World Cup 2015 Baku AZE (7.4), 04.10.2015

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Bomb scare stops play

Street Chess has had a number of odd happenings this year, and to the list you can now add a new one. Bomb Scare!
While I was in Sydney at a Correspondence Chess League of Australia meeting, the event was being run by Stephen Mugford and Harry Press. Around 2 o'clock Harry rang me to tell me that the tournament had been abandoned due to a bomb scare. Apparently a package had been left unattended outside a nearby restaurant and the police were evacuating the area. At first the players moved to our backup venue before the evacuation zone was expanded, at which point entry fees were refunded an everyone went home.
A bit of a shame as apparently the 17 player event was running quite well, and the Canberra weather was excellent for outdoor chess.
So to the list of reasons for stopping a tournament (that previously included thunderstorm, heart attack, and stolen laptop) bomb scare can now be added.

Like deja vu all over again

Logged in late to watch the second game of the 2015 World Cup Final, and thought they were replaying the first game for a second. The I realised that the colours had changed, but the result had not. For the second day in a row Karjakin blew up against Svidler, resigning down material. And while yesterdays game was kind of a slow motion car crash, in this game Karjakin seemed to take a hard left straight into the wall. He took less than a minute to decide on the losing move (37.Rb5) and after following it up with another clunker, resigned.
So Svidler 2-0 up at the half way point, and only needing a draw to win the event.

Karjakin,Sergey - Svidler,Peter [C95]
2015 World Cup, 02.10.2015

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Well that was quick

I would have thought the first game of the Final of the 2015 World Cup would have been a peaceful draw. With 4 games rather than 2, the players could have taken it easy, checked out their opponents prep, and shaken hands around move 30. Instead Karjakin got cracked in 29 moves, with the end of the game looking particularly ugly.
After a closed opening, the position opened up in Svidler's favour. 20.Qb3 seemed to be the turning point of the game, as after that Karjakin had to meet a succession of threats, with his position getting steadily worse. By move 26 Svidler was totally winning, and Karjakin resigned a few moves later.

Svidler,Peter - Karjakin,Sergey [C00]
2015 World Cup, 01.10.2015

If you ever get this position ...

I suspect winning opening novelties are getting harder to come by these days, as (a) a lot of them have been found in the past and (b) computers. These means that anything really fun is most likely to occur in an obscure line which might take years before someone plays it against you.
An example of this, from one of my own games, did not happen the other night. It was a blitz game, and my opponent kindly went down the main line of the Traxler (no wimpy Bxf7+ thank you). He was even generous enough to grab my knight on move 9, a move that I remembered was supposed to be bad, but for reasons that escaped me. It turns out that it this opinion may not be accurate (in the computer age), but the line he did play was still god for me. That is, if I managed to find 13. ... Be6!! over the board. Turns out I did not, going for the obvious 13. ... Bh3+ which only lead to a perpetual.
Now I don't know whether this move had been found in analysis, but it certainly didn't turn up in my database. So if you ever get the position after move 12 on the board, you now know what to do!

Litchfield, Fred - Press, Shaun
ANU Spring Blitz, 23.09.2015