#3 What is the threat? Dangling pieces

Emanuel LaskerNowadays the talk is all about the youngsters in chess. The young generation rules the chess world. Therefore it is hard to imagine that somebody who is over sixty is able to compete with opponents who could have been his grand children.

It is what Emanuel Lasker did when he was well into his sixties. He was 67 when he played the newly crowned world champion Max Euwe in the Nottingham tournament of 1936. Lasker was more than thirty years older than Max Euwe.

In his encounters with Lasker Euwe had a bad track record. They played three games and Euwe lost them all. Okay, they played one more game against each other. In fact Lasker lost in a simul from the nineteen year old Max (1920). But that doesn’t count.

Lasker had a positive score against almost all the great players of his time. Just to mention a few: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 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.Read More »

Mutual blindness

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.Read More »

The tale of two blunders in one move

Can a chess player set himself up to lose in more than one way in one move? Of course he can! No problem at all.

It was the last round of the Västerås Open 2014. Things hadn’t gone very smoothly up till now. The result off the rapid session on Friday evening was a bit iffy. But losing to the seven times Swedish champion Axel Ornstein was not a shame. I managed to make a decent fight out of it.

The other rapid games were somewhat more questionable. Two out of four. At least the score, but not the quality of my games, kept some hope alive.

Read More »

Chess puzzle #12: bad defense

At the lower level most of the games are won (or lost) by tactical errors. See for instance this position (first diagram). It is black to move. What should he play?

Let’s think about this position for a moment. White has an extra and well supported pawn on d6. His rook on a7 looks to be quite menacing. To add to blacks problems, his king is also in a vulnerable position. The direct threat is Qg7 mate. You don’t need to be a chess wizard to see this. Is this position hopeless?Read More »