Friday, February 24, 2012

MN Open 2012: My Exciting 4th Round Game

Both of us were undefeated at this point, and a win in this game would ensure controlling our own destiny. My opponent led us into a wild game. As Bobby Fischer said, "You have to give squares to get squares"

Monday, February 20, 2012

Minnesota Open 2012

I closed out this chess season on a high note, with a win of the Amateur section (under 2000 USCF) of the 2012 Minnesota Open with 4 wins, no losses and a final round draw to clinch the win.  Lots of the 1900-1999 rated players played up in the Premier section. I am looking forward to playing in the Minnesota Closed Championship next month.

I played solid as white and won/drew in the endgame. One win as black was similar, but the other win as black was a castle on opposite wings with a pawn storm race. Not sure I will learn much from that game, but it was exciting.

My opening play as white could have been better, and I should learn a lot from those games.

With the chess season over, I should have time to make more substantive blog posts.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Interesting Article: Greg Shahade on Opening Books

IM Greg Shahade has an interesting article expressing his opinion on books written about openings in Chess Life Online.

I agree with some of his observations about the limitations of many current opening books. There are often basic things I would like to know, that they assume we already know. Like, why does white play 3.Nf3 in the Slav? It certainly is a good developing move, but it doesn't seem to threaten anything like the next most played move 3.Nc3, which also is a good developing move, and puts more pressure on black's d5-pawn. Even a primer opening book like Seirawan's Winning Chess Openings does not address this question.

Shahade's suggestion that opening books should be organized by things you should know at your current strength (like Silman's Complete Endgame Course), rather than by variation is an interesting suggestion. Perhaps annotated complete games in a move by move kind of way with the games selected and annotated for particular ideas appropriate to strength levels would be best. Of course, this kind of book would be much harder to write than the current collection of variations with the less than informative "and white has a slight advantage".

The key thing missing is the answer to the question, "Now what?"

TCCL round 6

I managed to draw against a strong player, but the team lost the match by a half point.

I played the white side of a King's Indian Defense fianchetto variation. Though this is a variation where I play both sides, I still have a lot to learn. I got lost in what to do, and spent my effort in preventing Black from winning. Not the way the white side should play.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Rochester Winter Open

I did ok at this tournament, +2-2=1. I beat who I was supposed to beat and lost to when I was supposed to lose.

There was a good turnout, but with the nice weather I was expecting more high rated players to come down from the cities.

I should learn a great deal from all my games. Even my wins pointed out weaknesses in my understanding. I played my first Maroczy bind (by transposition from a symmetrical English) and was luck to escape with a draw. I managed to play the main line by reasoning over the board (up to a point). There is a lot of new material, that I am trying to absorb in one gulp. I have not really worked out lines for this transposition, yet, but it is exciting to play new stuff. Wojo played a very interesting move 10, which I will look at carefully when I analyze this game.

My loss as black against Master Matt Jensen was similar to an earlier loss. I guess I did not learn enough from that previous game. I should have tried to lose in a different way.

Last round was a nail biter. I was tied up in a Pirc, but sacked a pawn to free my pieces and developed a strong counter attack. I missed the winning move when I was under 20 secs to go on my clock. With both of us playing on the 5s delay, I started blundering away pieces, and resigned.

Next Friday is round 6 of the TCCL, and the weekend after that is the Minnesota Open.

Hectic but fun, is the chess tournament season in Minnesota.