Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Chess Openings: For Winning.

There are two ways to look at opening preparation. "I want to learn more about openings, so I can win more games now"; or "I want to play openings that will make me learn more about chess". When I chose to change from a King's Indian Attack (KIA) based repertoire to a Catalan based repertoire, I was making a choice to not win as many games, but to force me into the type of games that would make me grow as a chess player.

I believe that making opening choices that will make me grow stronger as a chess player is the right choice for me, but if you just want to win more games, then I have some advice.

For a club or class player to win more games, you should pick easy to learn solid openings that will get you into the middle game easily, and focus any chess study time on master games, tactics problems, and endgames. Using trappy and tactically difficult openings is problematic, because you have to spend a lot of time learning them, and they are easily avoided.

Lets look at one of these openings, the Fishing Pole line of the Berlin Defense to the Ruy Lopez.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 The Berlin Defense 4.O-O Ng4?! is the Fishing Pole 5.h3 h5 and we get this position.

6.hxg4? hxg4 and White will have to give the knight back, as 7. Ne1?? leads to mate. 7... Qh4 8.f3 g3 9.any Qh1#

But White does not have to take the offered knight. The simplistic 6.d3 and develop will give white a clear advantage. Black will eventually have to retreat the knight. White can do something more productive than 5.h3, too.

The fact is that the knight on g4 is out of place and does not help black fight for control of the center. The moves 5.h3 h5 weaken Black's kingside more than White's. For which, black has moved a piece twice in the opening and will eventually have to move it back for a waste of two tempi.

This is contrasted with a similar kind of idea in the Ruy Lopez Exchange. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.O-O Bg4 6.h3 h5, where Black can upset White's general play, but does not pay so much of a penalty.

Black's general plan is similar to the Fishing Pole, but there are several differences. The bishop on g4 pins the knight on f3. The move does not waste a tempi, but develops a piece to a good square. If black must move the bishop back, it is only the loss of one tempi, rather than two in the Fishing Pole. White will have to make some moves to shore up his kingside, before he really threatens to take on g4, so Black may not lose any tempi.  Black is in a better position to contest the game if white does not fall for the trap.

You might win some games with trappy openings, but you have to learn way to many to cover all the openings. Even some mainline gambits are regularly avoided by move orders. I play 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3, which undoes several tricky black ideas against the Queen's Gambit like the Blackmar-Diemer (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5), so you would need something besides the Blackmar-Diemer against other move orders.

Solid openings like the London, Colle, and the KIA for white, and the Queen Gambit Declined and 
Caro-Kann for black are ones that do not require too much opening study to play, and get you into the middle game without too much danger, where you can use the time spent on tactics to win more games.

If you are an USCF member, Chess life is a rich source for study with master games, tactics problems and one endgame column a month.

Chess.com, lichess.org, and many other sites have chess problems and annotated games.

I'm Baaaack!

Teaching did not work out for me. It was too much stress.

I am returning to chess study, and I expect to start posting to this blog more regularly by fall.

I will be playing chess online at lichess.org as newshutz.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Math Teaching

I have gone back to school to get a certificate to teach mathematics. This is going to drastically reduce the time I have to spend on chess. I may have to change my goal from improvement to maintenance until I get out from under the workload of the first few years of teaching.

I might have to move to back to KIA and Pirc to relieve the issue of opening knowledge.

I must keep practicing tactics. It will be a good break from my other work.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Following Kaufman - May 2014

May 2014 is here and a new issue of "Following Kaufman" is available for the popular price of $0.99 here at Smashwords.

There are 172 games relevant to the "Kaufman Repertoire in Black & White". I have annotated Four Queen's Indian games.

Here is a video I made out of one of the annotated games.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

TCCL 2014 - Final

The 2014 season of the TCCL is finished, and the Rochester teams managed to finish solidly (more or less) in the middle of the pack in all three divisions.

This is confirmation of the Rochester Chess Club's attempt to field teams that are competitive in all three divisions.

Our gold team did have some nervous moments in the last round. We needed to do better than the Twin Knights to secure our place in the Gold, but their opponents first board did not show, and the Twin Knights got a 4-0 sweep by forfeit. We were able to manage a 4-0 sweep by games.

Overall, I am satisfied with my performance this year. I think I improved in how I prepared for an opponent, but I think my overall chess strength has not increased as much as prior years. I am hoping the annotation of games I am doing for "Following Kaufman" will help me progress.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Following Kaufman - April 2014

The April 2014 issue of Following Kaufman is available on for sale here on Smashwords It is available for a popular price of  99 cents.

This month includes four annotated Queen's Gambit Declined Exchange games.

There are a total of 190 games.

I have put a video up on you tube about Aronian - Kramnik from the world championship candidates tournament, which I annotate in this issue.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Following Kaufman - March 2014

The March 2014 edition of Following Kaufman is available for sale here on Smashwords. It is available for a popular price of  99 cents.

This month includes three annotated Slav games where black tries to get a better Queen's Gambit Accepted.

The filter selected 77 games.