Chess puzzle 49: neat moves

Last Saturday I played my first game since March last year. I was a bit rusty. Although I solved a lot of tactical puzzles almost every day, I missed a simple (standard) tactic.

Even after missing this chance I still got a good game. And then? Disaster. I thought I could snatch a pawn. It turned out to be a bad miscalcultation and spoiled a promising position. After that things went down hill very fast ad I lost. Do you see what I missed?

It seems I am in need for a lot of training (and probably more active play). Today I received the book ‘Training with Moska’. It is packed with exercies. I seems to be a great book to study and might be of some help to develop my skills. Which, as you’ve seen, are quite poor.

See the second diagram. White to move and gain a wining advantage. Solution…

Review: Pawn structures you should know (DVD)

pawn-sructuresNowadays there are lots of DVD’s in circulation. In my opinion the quality of these DVD’s differs hugely. Some are great, some are mediocre and some are quite bad.

Generally there is a divide between the native English speakers and non-natives. Most of the British excel in their presentation. Some of the non-natives are below parr because they speak with a heavy foreign accent or are constant lost for words. Some of them lack presentation skills.

One of the top producers of dvd’s is Chessbase. I am sorry to say that Chessbase doesn’t escape the pattern of the good, the mediocre and the downright bad. Today I review the newest Chessbase DVD:

Pawn structures you should know by Adrian MikhalchishinRead More »

To take or not to take? That’s a hell of a question

The Norwegian International Master Johan Salomon regulary posts chess puzzles on Twitter.

The diagram position is one of those puzzles (Vasiliy Korchmar vs Ruslan Ponomariov after black played 19. – Ng4). 

In fact he posted two puzzles where a knight was en prise. The first puzzle was a bit trivial. I don’t mean this in a condescending way. I love easy puzzles, especially when I see the solution within the blink of an eye. It gives me the feeling that I am not such a bad player after all. The second puzzle was very tricky and certainly not so easy to answer.

Attention grabber

There was another aspect of this position that sparked my interest. It has to do with the structure. For me it was clear that this is an example of the Modern Benoni with Bg2. This position can arise through the first moves of a Catalan setup. I play the Catalan almost exclusively and have difficulties to deal with the black set up.

Recently some more games were added to my bumpy ride with this opening. It started last year in the Malmö GP. There I played against a 2200+ player. Things went from bad to worse and finally to completely hopeless. The time control was 50 minutes per player for the whole game. My only hope was to trick this guy somewhere when time trouble would set in.Read More »

Chess puzzle 34: a big let down

Yesterday was an important day for my team (Manhem III). With a win in our match against Säffle SK we would be the victor of our group (Allsvenskan div II – 5).

But it was not to be. Personally I feel responsable because I messed up against my opponent and therefore the match ended in a very disappointing 4-4.  

Before the game I told one off my team mates about my game plan: ‘I will play it very safe, just do some moves and hopefully he will make a mistake and I will punish him for it.’ This plan turned out to be very effective. That is: up to some point.

I gradually gained the upper hand after a dull start in the game. We arrived at move 20. White has the better pawn structure, a good versus bad bishop and he pins black down to the defense of c6. Moreover white has a ‘tiny’ threat. Black didn’t see it and played 20. – Qg7?? How can white take advantage of this mistake? Solution…

I did see (and play) the combination. But very soon after this I missed some better moves and finally the game petered out in a draw. The first stage of my plan was a big success. The second stage however was big let down with dire consequences for my team. 😦

Sacrifices in the Kings Indian

Simon Williams is one of the best (if not the best) trainers on PlayChess. His shows are always very entertaining and I learn a lot from them. Simon has a knack for the attack on the king.  

Tonight he showed some great Nakamura games. The diagram is one of the positions we looked at. This was not from a Nakamura game but Simon showed it to us because it was relevant for what was to follow.

There are some neat tactics involved. The position is quite complicated. As usual in the Kings Indian white attacks on the Queen side and black tries to force matters on the Kings side.

Question: who is better?

  • White or black?
  • What would you play as white?

Hint: there are several games in the database. It was black who won most of the times, but not always! Solution…

Chess puzzle #31: comeback kid gets crushed

Former world champion Boris Spassky was completely outmaneuvered in his game against Anatoly Karpov in Montreal (1979). See the diagram.

Black just played 38 … b5? This is a mistake after white can finish the game with a bang. What is the winning move in this position?

After you clicked on the link you will find the complete game. It is a fine positional achievement and a model game on the subject ‘how to play against the isolated queen pawn’. Spassky was nick named ‘the comeback kid’. But here there was no coming back. Spassky was rendered completely helpless against white’s clever play.

Chess puzzle #30: Viktor the Terrible gets crushed

The Benkö (Volga) Gambit is a rare guest at grandmaster level. But on club level it is a populair opening. Black gets a lot of pressure for his pawn and his position almost plays itself whereas white has to be constant on his guard.

The problem for white is that it is difficult to develop his pieces in a harmonious way. These are the reasons why this gambit is so popular among club players.

On grandmaster level this opening is a less frequent guest because it’s not considered to be completely sound. Grandmasters mainly use the Benkö as a surprise weapon. Grandmaster Vladimir Baklan won games with this gambit against Artur Yusupov, Sergey Volkov and Viktor Korchnoi!

Although Viktor Korchnoi was clearly past his prime in 2000, he still was a very strong player. But even he had trouble to fight the Benkö. After 17 moves the combatants reached the diagram position. Viktor has just played 17. Nf4-g2. What on earth could be wrong with this move?Read More »

#1 What is wrong with this move? Even the chess stars err

At amateur level most chess games are decided by big tactical mistakes. The average game on the popular lasts only about 25 moves. If I look to my own games the picture is quite similar.

I also noticed that when you do not make big mistakes, you will always be in with a chance to get a good result out of a game. Just don’t blunder!

But that is of course easier said than done. Even my article blunder check didn’t help me. Simply because I did not live up to my own advice. The chess game is very complicated and we tend to oversee stuff in the heat of the battle. Not only us ordinary mortals, but also the big chess stars have their weak moments.Read More »