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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Paleface Attack (2), lead changes

The Paleface Attack is played for the transition to the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. One of Chessmaster's positive attributes is that CM often varies early from book to try an offensive tactic, which keeps his opponent wary and expands the opening book knowledge. In this game 3...Nxe4 is a dubious Black counter-gambit but something that needs examining.

This game holds special interest for me. Although a few mistakes were made, none of them were really blunders. The mistakes were 2nd, 3rd & 4th choices of Houdini during game analysis. I had come to the conclusion that my major problem is consistency in analyzing threats, selecting moves & blunder-checking. So I am trying Self-Hypnosis to imprint my move selection method on my subconscious mind. This is a recent change and this game shows early promise.

Another thing about this game is that I enjoyed it more than most recent games. That may be the result of the self-hypnosis script. I certainly hope so.

I have also cut back on my chess study time (2 hours/day down to 1) to enjoy the summer weather. The time controls for this game are faster than normal for me. Game 20 plus a 20 second increment. This game took 42 minutes total time. My 750cc Yamaha Virago needs more time on the road.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Paleface Attack, lacking a sense of danger

It is discouraging. Last week winning most of my chessmaster games and against significantly higher rated opponents, then this week back-to-back losses against lower rated opponents. To make matters worse, both games had substantial leads that were blown by not recognizing danger signs.

Move 16...Nf4 should have alerted my sense of danger, the Knight being in my territory and one move away from checking my King. As a result a Queen sacrifice was needed just avoid checkmate.

Later in the game, the potential problems with a Black pawn storm was overlooked. I eventually fell victim to an elementary checkmate.

Lesson learned: Do NOT relax with a lead in material. That is where many determined players become most dangerous.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Petroff Defense, classical variation

Since I have been playing the Stafford Gambit out of the Petroff Defense often, I wanted to practice the normal Petroff. This is one of my daily games against ChessMaster 10. The player ratings are from CM10. One of the reasons that CM10 makes a good opponent is that, like players in OTB competition, it does not stay in book for more that a few moves. But it also does not fall easily into the opening traps of my gambit lines like human opponents.

Lesson Learned: Sometimes the mainlines need to be played to keep the effectiveness of the gambit lines.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Endgame Training 12, Just the Facts!

Today's endgame is from the book 'Just the Facts' by GM Lev Alburt & GM Nikolay Krogius. This instructional tidbit is from chapter 3 where endgame planning is emphasized. 'Just the Facts' is my current lunch book and is more verbal than many of the endgame manuals.

The White King must get to the b7 square before the Black King can stalemate. White must avoid d4 & d6 as these squares allow a drawing Knight fork. There are two paths to b7 and both are illustrated. The variation route f5, f6, e7, d7, c6, b7 takes too long and allows the stalemate. The correct route is d3, c4, c5, c6, b7 and Black cannot get to the stalemate squares.

Everyone learning varies according to the instruction received. I like this book as a review of many endgame principles and some new positions/ideas.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Blumenfeld Gambit, rated game vs Chessmaster 10

This week I started playing rated games against my Chessmaster opponents. Game 25 plus 25 second increment. The game below was over quickly as my opponent made some early mistakes and then kept making them.

Yesterday, I had a tough draw against Josh - Age 8 (1600) that took almost 2 hours. As I had a busy day, the quickness of this game was welcome.

I am calculating my opponent by taking my CM rating, subtracting 200 and adding random(600), so my typical opponent should average 100 points higher that my current rating. Hopefully, this will soon get me to a level where I lose 2 games for every one I win. You learn more from a loss.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Endgame Training 11, Rook vs a & b Pawns

A Rook and Pawn endgame from my daily practice on ChessTempo.com. These are endgames which gave me trouble during the practice. I broke them down into steps to help remember them and post them to share with my fellow chess players. The solution is the shortest as verified by the endgame database. Comments are my own.

People who don't believe in magic have not seen enough chess endgames.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit 5, daydreaming in the opening

Round #2 of our annual club championship. I was paired against a lower-ranked opponent and took a moment to decide if I should go with my newer BDG or play a more solid opening to wait for a mistake. Then, I was the one with the first mistake.

Lesson learned: Pay attention each and every move. The mind will play tricks on you if you don't.

P.S. For my readers who play gambits or for those who just want their opponents just as confused as they are in the opening, I found a marvelous chess site on 450 years of gambits:


Encyclopedia of Gambits has over 10,800 pdf pages of gambit info and is very nicely organized.