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Monday, May 27, 2013

Queen’s Pawn Opening, Sacrificing the Queen

Today’s blog entry is from online games. The first game has a tactical tie-up which allows me to make a winning Queen sacrifice as part of a 5-move combination. 

The second game is a 5-move checkmate, self-explanatory.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bird’s Opening (9), trading endgame errors

Today’s blog entry is from round 3 of the second Lowry GP. The game is played with the clock set to 65 minutes. Both of us had won the games in rounds 1 & 2, so this game would decide the tournament. I opened with my usual Bird and Black took me out of book early.

We fought evenly for 30 moves before my game started deteriorating. As we moved into a complex endgame, we both made mistakes, but none of them would give me a winning opportunity. My resignation was prompted by the impending promotion of Black’s last pawn.

The two charts below detail the game.  The first covering the first half of the game, the second covering the whole game.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pirc Defense, an endgame gift

Today’s blog entry is from round 2 of the second Lowry GP. I was setting up for my favorite Hanham Philidor, but White moved out of book early.

White had a chance to exchange Queens and ruin Black’s castling, but he declined at a cost of a pawn and an IQP. The game ended when White traded into an obviously losing endgame.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bird’s Opening (8), better than last game

Today’s blog entry is from round 5 of the chess club’s current tournament. After last week’s embarrassing loss, I was determined to pay attention throughout the game.

Black made an early mistake leading to the loss of a pawn and destruction of his Q-side pawn structure. The game plan was simplified to carefully exchanging pieces and enter what looked to be a winning endgame. 

During the ensuing battle, Black’s Knight got stranded in enemy territory causing its loss and with it any chance of salvaging the game.  The game ended with a resignation.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Old Indian (4), how not to play chess

Today’s blog entry is from round 4 of the chess club’s current tournament. My mistakes cover the opening, middlegame and endgame. My opponent was rated well below me and I tried not to take him lightly. 

Carelessness in the opening resulted in the loss of a pawn and a destroyed Q-side pawn structure. I tried to kick White’s Queen from my territory. Instead I should have ignored it and played on the K-side where his Queen would be out of play. When playing from behind, create complications.

In the middlegame, White traded Knights to get a passed d-pawn, which now dominates the game. Later, I chose to keep the blockading Bishop instead of a Rook. I would have been better off losing the Bishop and the c-pawn it was guarding. I was worried about the safety of my Rook that was in enemy territory, but it could have been easily protected at b4.

The endgame provided an opportunity to salvage the game. By that time I was in a strictly defensive mode. An important lesson here is to keep looking for opportunities to salvage the game, not just defend. My play in this area is what most disappointed me about the game.

Two charts are provided below. The first is to magnify the opening. The second is to view the entire game.     

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bird’s Opening (7), opponent’s first USCF game.

Today’s blog entry is from round 1 of the second Lowry Grand Prix tournament. The clock is G65 with 3 second delay. My opponent was the Dad of a scholastic player.  His previous chess experience was mainly online.  My philosophy is to never take any opponent lightly.

He must have been playing blitz as he moved rapidly throughout the game. The game was challenging and presented some moves and ideas that I had not seen at the club.