Sunday, August 28, 2011

Get Back Up On That Horse!

Just noticed the Region Six Tournament announcement is up on the MSCA website with full details on the Chess Castle website.

I just sent in my entry fee and reserved a room for Sat night. After falling off a horse in the Aug 20 tournament, I guess its an opportunity to get back up on the horse.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Playing to win or Playing to learn (aftermath)

Well, the run has been too good to last. I messed up badly in last weekend's tournament, and I have two games to learn from :)

The first loss was a Pirc, which showed me I was missing an important aspect of the Pirc. In the classical variation, where white looks to exchange bishops via Bh6, Black's light square bishop should be traded for White's Nf3. This will enervate White's attack.  I am sure there are more that I will discover in the future, because the Pirc is a tricky defense to play. I also made a strategic error in the endgame, which I will need to study to extract some general lessons. I think I should have been able to salvage a draw.

The second loss featured a strategic mistake. Again I released the tension, when I should not have. This is an important area for me to really work at understanding better. I also made some calculation/visualization errors, but I am clear on how to improve those.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Playing to win or Playing to learn (One year playing update)

I am in the midst of changing my opening repertoire for white. I have advanced more rapidly in rating than I was expecting (now at 1920 in the 9/2011 supplement from 1419 in the 9/2010), even though my record with white is less than 50%. (as of early June 2011 +9-10=4  47.8%)

I was expecting to have to change from the Pirc first, as I advanced, but I seem to be doing quite well with it. The King's Indian Defense is still played a lot at the top levels, and it may be the last thing I change. My black record is doing well (Black +17-4=1 79.5%)

I am about half way through vol 1 of Wojo's Weapons: Winning with White and I now realize, that I will likely have an even worse record with white as I move forward. The repertoire I am attempting is going to put me in middle game situations that will be strange to me, and also rely heavily on winning the transition from middle game to endgame.

I hope this will force me to grow as a player. I should be playing to learn, as I have a long way yet to go.

This weekend I will begin to repeat tournaments. I restarted one year ago with the local G/60 4 round tournament in August.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Interesting game between two class D players

I annotated this game for a couple of local players, and I think it has some interesting middle game errors that short of balanced out into an interesting rook and pawns endgame.

I am trying something new with this post. It is a pdf file of a printout of a game I annotated in Fritz. I have several ways of creating chess documents into pdf, but Fritz is the easiest to get, though not the easiest to control the output.

I am using the Scribd method from this post

But in short the method is to upload to Scribd and use the embed button under Share to get the HTML to embed. I think the lack of contrast in the diagrams is due to Fritz. They show up well off the printer, but are a little light in the Acrobat reader. They show up a little better if you use the Scribd "fullscreen" button.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Play through 200 GM games a week?

Last Friday (July 29, 2011), the Rochester Chess Club presented a lecture by GM Larry Christiansen over the internet (ICC and Skype). It was a very interesting talk with Larry leading us through some very interesting games.

In answer to a question about chess study,  he said something challenging, "You should go through 200 GM games a week on the openings you play". Being a GM, I suspect that he can get value from a game much faster than I can, but also how is one to find that many games? This post will cover how extract games with your openings.

How to find lots of new games is easy. The Week In Chess has a download each week with lots of games, both in PGN and CBV(chessbase) format.

You could load this up into Chessbase or the small version they include with Fritz, and look for your tabiya with the position search function. The problem is that you have to do repeat the search with each tabiya you have. The full version of Chessbase may have a way to batch this up, but I don't know how. (You can narrow it down to GM games for one step per tabiya)

I like to use the free chess database ChessDB, which is available for download here. ChessDB loads in PGN files, or can automatically download TWIC. The date on the TWIC site is in European format, so number 873, which I will be using is dated Monday Aug 1, 2011. When you install ChessDB it may associate PGN files, so you can just unzip and open the TWIC file, or you can open in ChessDB with the Tools->Import File of PGN games. The initial database when ChessDB comes up is the clipbase, so nothing you do here will affect any other database you may have.

There are 4,537 games in the TWIC 873 pgn file. The first game from is a nice Ruy Lopez Berlin between, Shirov and Carlsen, but we are looking for our openings, which for this exercise will be the Kings Indian Defense. But first we are going to filter to get only Grandmaster games, by selecting Search->Header and changing the ratings for games with only above 2500 ratings playing. I have circled in magenta where I specified the rating range.

The next window is the interesting one. We are going to open the Repertoire editor, which will allow us to specify many positions that we want to filter games. We can save the Repertoire editor values to use in the future.

Move the pieces in the main window to set up the tabiya you want, or use the Edit->Set Up Start Board window. When you move pieces in an existing game, it will ask what you are doing, and you should select the "Try Variation" button. I first enter 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 which starts many of the lines of the King's Indian Defense. Then in the Repertoire Editor, I select Edit->Add Group. I then add the moves 4.e4 d6 in the main window, and Edit->Add Line in the Repertoire Editor, which now looks like this:

In this group we can add more lines both include for more specific positions and exclude for lines we are not interested in, but I will add another group for the Fianchetto variation. I could have had one group after the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 and a longer line 3.Nc3 Bg7  4.e4 d6 but I chose two groups with one line each for this exercise. After changing the main window to show 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3. I add a group and a line for this position. After adding all of your groups and lines, you should save the repertoire with File->Save As, so you can use it again next week, when you will load it with File->Open.

I now search on these two lines by seletion Search in the Repertoire Editor and the "And" selection in the search popup window. I get 5 games, but Shirov-Carlsen still shows up, too. I get to my first King's Indian Defense game by selecting Game->Load First Game, which is Shankland-Nyzhnyk. You can get more games by adding more lines, or relaxing the rating requirements.

You can step through the games, or you can export it/them to PGN via Tools-Export Game and load it up into your favorite chess program for replay and analysis. You can also use the Header and Repertoire searches on ChessDB's huge database to pick through your openings games by date range. You can have many repertoire files, but it is likely that two (one for white, one for black) will do. You might want to set the rating on only the color of the openings.