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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Four Knights Game, unprotected piece

This game is from the 2nd round of my chess club's evening tournament.  My opponent is a former state scholastic champion, so I knew it would be an interesting game.  When I offered the Petroff Defense, intending to use my favorite Stafford Gambit, White declined with the Four Knights ... an opening that I have not played much against.  After the opening sequence, I attempted to chase his Bishop from the c4 square with Na5.  My opponent found the tactic and left me a piece down.

I am not normally a fan of chess videos.  However, I found an interesting series of presentations on Youtube by a National Master that are presented at a level useful to me as a class player.  They met my criteria of being worth multiple views.  This is one of them.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Odds and Ends

This is an instructive position from The Genesis of Power Chess by Leslie Ault. One of the many instructional positions on cashing in during the early endgame. There are actually two ways for White to win:

One of the ways is to sacrifice the Rook. The second method is to simply advance the Pawns.

A slight change in position changes things. If the Black Rook is moved to e7, only one of the methods will work. Also, if the White King is moved to g1, only one of the methods will work. This book has many similar fascinating instructive positions.


A interesting mini game, which may not have ever happened (Gibauld denies that he ever lost such a short game), shows how a careless move in the opening can be fatal.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Endgame Training 14, Rook avoids the stalemate

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.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Staunton Gambit, trying to trap a Heffalump

Round #1 of our club’s tournament had me paired against a class-A player. He played the Dutch Defense against my d4 opening. I quickly responded with the Staunton Gambit and followed fxe4 with another Pawn sacrifice on f3. With a lead in space and development, the idea was to keep putting pressure on Black until his limited choice of moves created a mistake.

Simon Webb in his Chess for Tigers said “to entice the Heffalump on to swampy ground and hope it falls into a bog and gets sucked underground by the quagmire ... head for a swamp and hope that the Heffalump gets stuck (first)”. Heffalumps are defined as stronger that Tigers.

This is the first Over-the-Board game to test my experiment with Self-Hypnosis. Each threat that Black presented was analyzed carefully and responded to appropriately. When a good move was found, I looked looked for a better one. Each move choice was blunder-checked for errors. After 30 moves, half of the clock remained.

My fatal mistake is move #30, which is/was not obvious to me. I knew that the pieces deep in Black’s territory could become a problem, but did not realize that this was the correct time to withdraw and regroup. The game follows:

P.S. The book is Instant Self-Hypnosis by Forbes Robbins Blair, 2004.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Endgame Training 13, first confine then mate

Today's endgame problem is easy to solve. The promotion of the Pawn is easy. But there is a quick way to checkmate. First confine the enemy King, then checkmate without having to chase the enemy all over the board.

For those who follow my blog, my experiment with self-hypnosis seems to be paying dividends. The real test will be our club's upcoming Thursday night tournament. Five weeks of G90 games, one per week.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Smith-Morra Gambit, from a queen pawn opening

White was looking for a Blackmar-Diemer, but after 1.d4 c5, the possibility of a Smith-Morra Gambit was there. After 2.e4 cx4 3.c3 dx3 4.Nxc4, White has a Knight developed, diagonals open for both Bishops and open c/d files for the Rooks, all at the cost of one Pawn. Black’s pieces are all on their starting squares and only the Queen has a (short) diagonal.

Black has all his pieces on the Queen-side. White controls the center so it is difficult for Black’s pieces to defend the King-side. White has a space advantage on the King-side and Black’s pawn protection has already been compromised. Thus it is the ideal situation to begin a King-side attack, beginning with 21.Qd3

P.S. The player ratings in the above game are those of chess.com. The game is a turn-based game with 3 days allowed between moves.

P.P.S. One of the problems with playing gambits against the silicon monster is that with a human player, the gambiteer normally gets a benefit from the surprise value of a sacrifice. The computer just evaluates the position and continues on as normal. This makes practice gambit games actually tougher that what is expected OTB.