Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Columbus Open 2012

I played very well and got 3.5 out of 5. I did not play GM Kudrin again, though he was here.

There was another class A player who scored 4 out of 5, so I did not win the top under 2000 prize.

I made an even score against the 3 masters I played! Perhaps I have broken through the plateau I have been on. Certainly the work I have done this past year on endgames helped in all the games but my one loss, (I missed an xray tactic).

I am getting more comfortable with the Catalan structures I am trying to get with white, but I still have more work to do there. When the mixed up schedule of summer is over, I think I will try some turn by turn games on Chess.com.

Update: I achieved my first Candidate Master Norm.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Combinational Motifs

Another of the sessions for the chess camp this summer will focus on the elements of combination, motifs. Usually, a combination will require more than one motif.

It is key to recognize that attacks are against targets (king, material gain, squares) not pieces.

Here is my current list of motifs. Like for the seeds, I intend to update this post as I refine this list:
  • Removing Defender
  • Geometrical
    • Fork
    • Pin
    • Skewer
    • Xray
    • Discoveries
      • Discovered check
      • Double check
      • Unmasking (discovered attack)
  • Trapping the king (Checkmate--a very large and important topic)
  • Trapping other pieces
  • Moving an opponents piece
    • Distraction(Deflection)-moving a piece off a square, line or task
    • Attraction-bringing a piece to a square
  • Moving ones own piece
    • Clearance-getting a piece off a square or line
    • Interference-breaking the connection of opponents pieces
  • Blocking-denying squares to enemy pieces (especially the king)
  • Desperado-your piece is lost (or mutual hanging), do something good with it, first. 
  • Zugswang

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Seeds of Tactical Destruction

I am putting together a chess class for this summer of 5 sessions with the ambition to cover all of chess tactics.

No, really, I want to explain it all.

At least a way to classify it all.

One three hour session will be built around Dan Heisman's "Seeds of Tactical Destruction", which he has talked about in a few Novice Nook articles. Seeds are indicators that a combination may be available. This is his list from one article:
  • Loose (unguarded) pieces - "Loose Pieces Drop Off" = LPDO
  • Pieces that can easily be attacked by enemy pieces of less value
  • One or more pieces than can be attacked via a "discovered attack"
  • Weak back rank
  • Pinned or "skewerable" pieces along the same rank, file, or diagonal
  • Pieces (or squares) vulnerable to Knight forks
  • Overworked pieces (pieces guarding more than one piece or square) 
  • Inadequately guarded pieces
  • Falling way behind in development (overwhelming opponent forces)
  • Pawns nearing promotion
  • King uncastled or lost pawn protection with Queens on the board
  • Open enemy lines for Rooks, Queens, and Bishops to your King
  • Pieces that have little mobility and might easily be trapped if attacked
  • A large domination of one side's forces in one area of the board
I have been working on organizing and distilling this list and concept. I particularly wanted to reinforce the idea of targets (King, material, squares). Some of the seeds mention pieces or king when the idea is generalizable to targets.
  1. Forkable targets--be sensitive to all fork geometries
    1. Knight
    2. Queen
    3. Pawn
    4. Bishop and rook
    5. Even the king
  2. Targets (yours and his) in a line 
    1. Pins
    2. Skewers
    3. Xrays
    4. Discoveries
  3. Un/Under guarded targets
    1. LPDO-loose pieces drop off
    2. King is always unguarded
    3. Removable defenders
    4. Overworked pieces point to underguarded targets
    5. Zugswang is overworking of all your opponents pieces
  4. Exposed high value targets make for forcing moves--check them
    1. Exposed king
    2. Early queen development
    3. Targets attackable by lesser value
    4. Weak back rank
    5. Weak 7th rank
  5. Exposed targets with little mobility
    1. King always has little mobility
    2. Pinned pieces have little mobility
    3. Overloaded pieces have little mobility
    4. Squares cannot move
  6. Domination of force
    1. Development advantage
    2. Domination on one of three sides of the board (kingside, center, queenside)
    3. Three plus pieces pointed toward king
  7. Advanced pawns
  8. Your piece in trouble may make a good desperado
I intend to update this post as I refine my list