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Chess puzzle #31: comeback kid gets crushed

1 Jan

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

30 Dec

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? Continue reading

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

28 Oct

At amateur level most chess games are decided by big tactical mistakes. The average game on the popular chess.com 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. Continue reading

Mutual blindness

11 Oct

Is there something like luck in chess? Some people might say ‘in other sports yes, but of course not in chess!’ In football for instance a ball can change direction due to an uneven football pitch.

Or, what happened years ago in a football match in Utrecht: a sea gull collided with the ball. There is no such thing as an uneven chess board. And sea gulls are not likely to be found indoors. At least: not that I have seen.

But of course in chess there is also something called luck. For instance your opponent blunders in a won position. In my opinion that’s luck.

What do you think about this position? It is from my game against A. Broddevalk played in the Västerås Open 2014. See the first diagram.

With his last move black attacked the pawn on b2. White defended the pawn a bit careless with 12. b3. Better would have been 12. Qb3 or 12. Nbd2.

Let’s look at the position from black’s perspective. I was not at all happy with my position. It is a sort of Tarrasch defense but with one major difference: the dark colored bishops are exchanged. For my feeling I was worse because I am weak on the dark squares. Continue reading

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