Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Video--Too Greedy?

I have posted a new video (20 minutes) on the following game:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Minnesota Closed--results

I played competitively with two wins and three losses which was a tie for third place. I have a lot of material to help me improve. I still have a class A rating, but my winning streak as Black was ended by Zach Adams.

Zach Adams was a titan striding across the amateur section, leaving the rest of us crushed in his footsteps.

I am using too much time. I got into time trouble several times. My play definitely deteriorated after move 30. I need much more practice with the move method, to be more disciplined in evaluating candidate moves, and  perhaps more speed chess.

I recorded my time at several points in most of these games, I will endeavor to do that more in the future

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Book Review--Flank Openings by R.D. Keene

I think this is a book for advanced players. There are lots of variations and important games, but annotations are sparse after the main game for each section. The book could be a little dated (Fourth edition was first published 1988), so Expert and beyond would need to supplement with games from modern databases.

I do not think this is a good book for lower class players, there are too many unannotated games.

It may be a good book for me, for where I am right now--A low class A/high class B player needing to improve his flank openings for white, or a player looking for unusual lines against flank openings.

It is a little hard to follow. The supplemental games for each section start from their deviations from the previous game. For instance, the next game after Tringov-Lee (see replayer below) starts on move 20 and goes:
 Lee-Hartson, 'Varsity Match 1966 -- 20.Ng4? Kh8! 21.Ng5 Nxc2! 22.Nxf7+ Qxf7 23.Qxc2 Nb4 24.Qe2 and not 24...Bf3 should have been played. Instead there occurred 24...Bxg2? advantage black but 1-0 38
I find I am copying each section into a game in Fritz (and saving it in a database) as I go through them.

The book uses a modern font using figurine algebraic notation.

Here is an example of the first game of the King's Indian Attack vs the French mainline section with Keene's annotations, copied into a pgn format and using the replayer. Before this game, Keene uses a column of text and a diagram (after White's 8th move) to talk about the variation.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Endgames are fun?!

In preparation for the Minnesota Closed tournament, I am studying the Class A and Expert sections of Silman's Complete Endgame Course.

If I had understood them earlier, I might have saved a draw in this position from my loss in the Minnesota Open:

1.Kd6? is what I played here. The problem with this move, is that Black will be able to fence off the White king, after 1...Rf5 2.Rxc4 Rxh5 and his king can "hide" in the shadow of White's king to defend the pawn, so the Black rook will be able to come out and get into a better position.

What I need to work towards, is a K vs K+rook pawn ending with my king close enough to reach g1, or a K+R vs K+R+rook pawn with my rook behind the pawn on the h-file.

The move is 1.Kb5. Even though White is moving his king away from the h-file, White will get one of the two endings he wants. 1...Rf5 2.Rxe5 Kxe5 3.Kxc4 Kg4 and White's king gets to g1 and a draw.

Dead Draw

If Black tries to preserve his rook to fence off the White king 1...c3 2.Rxc3 Rf5+ 3.Kb4 Rxh5 4.Rc6+ and white can continually check Blacks king if it stays on the kingside, and if it comes over to the queenside, the Black rook will be stuck defending it's pawn from the front.
Black can do nothing as long as White's king stays on a2 and b2, and the White rook checks the Black king if it touches his pawn. Notice that White king cannot leave the 2nd rank(1.Kb3 Rb1+ and 2...h1/Q) or move to the c-file (1.Kc2 Ra1. 2.Rxh2 Ra2+ picking up the White rook).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Set

My new chess set arrived. The pieces are large!

The knight on the left is from my vintage Drueke set, the center is my new set (sheesham), and the left is from the set I got to fit on my grandfather's chess table (1 7/8 inch squares). The board is my tournament board (2 1/4 inch squares). The set is nice, and the pieces make a satisfying thump when placed.

Update: This set is now out of stock. The manufacturer website shows a different knight design, so it may look different when it comes back in stock.

Minnesota Closed

My fourth place finish in the Minnesota Open Amateur section has qualified me to play in the Amateur section of the Minnesota Closed tournament.

I guess I am going to get to test my shiny class A status soon. I am looking forward to the tournament on March 18-20th, and five more challenging games, I can learn from.

I should get a new video done this week.