Saturday, March 30, 2013

National Individuals 2013, Round 7 Table 10

In the following game, White pays a hefty price for his/her poor development. As Ka Keng puts it: "An example of what happens when you don't develop your pieces"

Table 12: Opponent vs Checkerboard 28 (Open U15 Category)
65th National Schools Individual Chess Championships 2013, Round 7

1. d4 d5
2. Be3?! Nc6
3. Na3? Nf6
4. Qd2 Bf5
5. O-O-O e5
6. dxe5 Nxe5
7. Bf4 Nc6
8. Qe3+ Be7! (D)

Black has completed development of most of his pieces, while White's kingside is still very much asleep

9. Bg5 O-O
10. Qg3 Ng4
11. Bxe7 Qxe7
12. Rxd5 Qe4 (D)

Black is already better, despite being a pawn down

13. Rd2 Rad8
14. Rxd8 Rxd8
15. f3? (D)

Black to move and mate in 2
More stubborn would have been 15. e3 , but Black could still reply with 15...Nb4! gaining the upper hand

And now, I leave this as a Mate-in-2 puzzle for Black (most of you have already seen this on the FB group anyways). The answer can be found in the ChessFlash viewer above.

A great performance there from Checkerboard 28!

National Individuals 2013, Round 3 Table 9

This game is a good reminder that while the art of sacrifice is a beautiful one, it doesn't always work...especially when you don't plan well ahead!

Table 12: Checkerboard 28 vs Checkerboard 16 (Open U15 Category)
65th National Schools Individual Chess Championships 2013, Round 3

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 Nf6
4. Nc3 Bc5
5. O-O d6
6. d3 O-O
7. Be3 Bxe3
8. fxe3 Bg4
9. d4 exd4
10. exd4 Re8 (D)

Fritz now suggests the continuation 11. Qd3 h6 12. a3 Qd7 13. Nd2 with White setting up a firm pawn centre, coupled with prospects on the kingside. But instead Checkerboard 28 decided to take the risk, and played:

11. Bxf7+?!


11... Kxf7
12. Nd5 Nxd5
13. Ne5+ Kg8
14. Nxg4 (D)

14. Qxg4 Nxe5 doesn't help either

14... Rxe4
15. Qf3 Rxd4
16. Qf7+ Kh8 (D)

Black fends off the attack, and White suddenly finds himself down by a minor piece and a few pawns. I'll show the rest of the game without commentary:

17. h3 Ne5
18. Nxe5 dxe5
19. Rf2 Ne3
20. Qf3 Rd1+
21. Rxd1 Nxd1
22. Rf1 Nxb2
23. Qxb7 Nc4
24. Qb5 Ne3
25. Re1 Qg5
26. Qe2 Nxc2
27. Qxc2 Rd8
28. Rd1 Qe3+
29. Kh1 Rxd1+

A tragic comedy indeed!

Friday, March 29, 2013

National Individuals 2013, Round 5 Table 12

Over here is an interesting game where White wins through a mixture of strategic motifs, including the exploitation of a passed pawn and an open file (and also with some mistakes by Black)

Table 12: Checkerboard 28 vs Opponent (Open U15 Category)
65th National Schools Individual Chess Championships 2013, Round 5

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 a6
4. Bxc6 dxc6
5. Nc3 f6?!

IMO this is a strange-- maybe bad-- move, since it exposes the Black king which has yet to castle

6. d4 b6
7. Be3 Bg4
8. d5 

With this move White begins his plans for a breakthrough in the centre

9. Qd2 Bxf3
10. gxf3 cxd5
11. exd5 b5
12. O-O-O c6? (D)

Fritz suggested counterplay with 12...Nf5, but even so White would still stand slightly better. Now, there is no stopping Checkerboard 28 from playing the decisive breakthrough:

13. d6! Nd5
14. Nxd5 Qxd6
15. Nb6 Rb8
16. Qxd6 Bxd6
17. Rxd6 (D)

Occupying the open d-file, and smashing into the enemy ranks. And with 2 extra minor pieces, the game soon fell into White's hands. I'll show the rest of the game without commentary:

18. Bxb6 O-O
19. Rd7 f5
20. Rg1 g6
21. Rgd1 e4
22. f4 Rb8
23. Rd8+

Final position after 23. Rd8+
Note: I did not show the entire game because there seems to be recording errors in the scoresheet, but I guess the position is enough to determine who wins.

Once again, all comments/alternative viewpoints are welcome!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

National Individuals 2013, Round 1 Table 14

Apologies for not having posted for quite some time; since the weekend is coming I can now get back to analyzing the scoresheets in my hands. But firstly, let's perk you up with one of Checkerboard 28's games during the National Individuals...after looking through it I can clearly tell that his opponent was a beginner. So there won't be much commentary for this one.

Table 14: Checkerboard 28 vs Opponent (Open U15 Category)
65th National Schools Individual Chess Championships 2013, Round 3

1. e4   Nf6

Just to interject...this is known as the Alekhine's Defence (

2. e5   Nd5
3. Nf3   f6
4. Bc4   c6 
5. d4   d6
6. exd6   Bg4
7. dxe7   Qxe7+
8. Qe2   Bxf3
9. gxf3   Nc7
10. Qxe7+   Bxe7
11. Bf4   Kd8
12. Nc3 Bb4

13. O-O-O   Bxc3
14. bxc3   Nd7
15. Rhe1   b5
16. Bf7   c5
17. dxc5   Rf8
18. Bb3   Kc8
19. Bd6   Re8
20. Rxe8+   Nxe8
21. Bd5   Nxd6
22. Bxa8   Nf7

Final position after 22...Nf7
I'll try to get serious tomorrow. No, really!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

National Individuals 2013, Round 3 Table 46

With all the scoresheets in my hands I figure I'll analyze one of my own games first, and let you give comments or suggestions (sorry Darryl I'll get down to looking through your 7 scoresheets when I have the time)

Table 46: Lau Yan Han vs Opponent
65th National Schools Individual Chess Championships 2013, Round 3

1. d4 e6
2. c4 Nf6
3. Nc3 Be7

3... Bb4 leads to the Nimzo-Indian (

4. e4 O-O
5. Bd3

Taking steps to build up a firm pawn centre

6. d5 Nb4
7. Nge2 c5?! (D)

I don't really like this move, as it denies Black a chance to hit White's pawn centre with c6. Perhaps my opponent was planning to establish an outpost on d4, but getting a knight to that square is difficult (again, due to White's central pawn majority)

8. O-O Nxd3
9. Qxd3 Qc7
10. Be3 Qe5?
11. Bf4! Qh5

The Black Queen cannot retreat back to c7 because the White bishop controls the b8-h2 diagonal. And with Her Majesty exposed in the centre, I felt the irresistible urge to go on a Queen hunt

12. Ng3 Qh4
13. Nge2 e5
14. Qg3 Qh5

During the game I was wary of the possible complications that may arise on the kingside after 15. Bxe5. But now Fritz analyzes the position as winning for White, so I guess my fears were unfounded.

15. Bxe5 Ng4
16. Bf4 Bh4
17. Qh3

Fritz suggests the alternative variation 17. Qf3 Re8 18. h3 Nf6 19. Qxh5 Nxh5 20. Bd6 with a winning position for White

17... d6 (D)

With so many enemy pieces closing in on my position, I felt pressurized to liquidate the situation asap. And a few moves later, I won a minor piece.

18. Bg3! Nxf2
19. Qxh4 Qg4
20. Qxg4 Nxg4

Of course I could have won another minor piece with 20. Rxf2!, but I didn't like the idea of letting Black's Queen continue to hover menacingly over my king.

21. Bxd6 Re8
22. Bxc5 b6
23. Bf2

It was important to keep my bishop on the a7-g1 diagonal to prevent 23...Ne3!, which may prove damaging to my pawn centre. I'll show the rest of the game without analysis:

24. b3 Nh6
25. Bd4 Rg5
26. Be3 Rg6
27. g3 Bh3
28. Nf4 Rf6
29. Nxh3 Re8 (D)
Final position after 29...Re8
Here I stopped recording as both of us had less than 5 minutes left on our clocks. But needless to say Black resigned a few moves later. With 2 extra minor pieces plus a powerful passed pawn on the d-file, the game was mine for the taking.

Once again, all comments/alternative viewpoints are welcome!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Alright guys, it's the big day tomorrow

To my fellow Black Knights, all the best!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Invasion of the 7th rank-- Ostend 1907

As the National-Individuals draws near, I take this opportunity to show a game to my fellow Black-Knights. It is a good example of play in an open file, where Black forces his way into the enemy's base through the open c-file

This was taken from Aaron Nimzowitsch's "My System", and I use the author's annotations as part of the game analysis

Louios Van Vilet vs Eugene Aleksandrovich Znosko-Borovsky
Ostend 1907

1. d4 d5
2. e3 c5
3. c3 e6
4. Bd3 Nc6
5. f4 Nf6

Search "Stonewall formation" for more details (

6. Nd2 Qc7
7. Ngf3 cxd4
8. cxd4 (D)

Better would have been 8. exd4 Qxf4 9. Nc4 Qc7 10. Nce5 Bd6 11. Qe2. Although White is a pawn down, he has a firm outpost on e5 and at the same time denies Black control of the c-file.

8... Nb4
9. Bb1 Bd7
10. a3 Rc8

Black now begins to realize his plan-- using the c-file to break into enemy lines

11. O-O Bb5
12. Re1 Nc2
13. Bxc2 Qxc2
14.Qxc2 Rxc2 (D)

Black now has control of the 7th rank for his rook, the a6-f1 diagonal for his bishop, and the e4 square for his knight. Now he begins his invasion of White's position

15. h3 Bd6
16. Nb1 Ne4

Occupying the e4 square

17. Nfd2 Bd3
18. Nxe4 Bxe4

18...dxe4 is a good alternative, with the bishop occupying d3

19. Nd2 Kd7
20. Nxe4 dxe4
21. Rb1 Rhc8
22. b4 R8c3
23. Kf1 Kc6

24. Bb2 Rb3
25. Re2 Rxe2
26. Kxe2 Kb5
27. Kd2 Ka4 (D)

White's bishop and rook are tied down defending each other. And with the Black rook holding the e-pawn under continuous threat, White's king also finds itself in a tight fix.

28. Ke2 a5
29. Kf2
If 29. bxa5 then 29...Bxa3

29... axb4
30. axb4 Kxb4
31. Ke2 Kb5
32. Kd2 Ba3
33. Kc2 Rxb2+
34. Rxb2+ Bxb2
35. Kxb2 Kc4 (D)

36. g4 

36. Kc2 is more persistent, but then Black will simply advance the passed pawn on b7

37. g5 Kxe3

Through the exploitation of the c-file, Black was able to invade White's position and outmaneuver him in the endgame

Source: "My System, 21st Century Edition" by Aaron Nimzowitsch, pg 172-173

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Alright guys

To my fellow Black Knights who are going for the National Individuals next Wednesday, here are just some reminders:

Date and time: 20th March, 8am to 6pm

Venue: Nanyang Primary School, 52 King's Road (Nearest MRT station is CC20 Farrer Road and you'll have to walk some distance after alighting)

Directions to Nanyang Primary

Playing system: Swiss, 7 rounds, 25 mins per player

Attire: School-based

Player's list:

Rest well, and all the best!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Find the best variation for White

Find the best variation for White
Source: Deep Shredder

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hastings 1919

Most of the games I've analyzed for my fellow Black Knights so far have turned out to be a White victory, and the only game where Black won had recording errors that made the scoresheet barely understandable. I guess it's kinda boring seeing a one-side affair all the time, so here's an interesting game where Black wins...through the simple act of cutting off his opponent's piece from the game.

William Winter vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"Cold Winter", Hastings 1919

(Thanks Haikal!)

1. e4   e5
2. Nf3   Nc6
3. Nc3   Nf6
4. Bb5   Bb4
5. 0-0   0-0
6. Bxc6   dxc6
7. d3   Bd6
8. Bg5   h6

And now Black begins his plan to drive back the White bishop

9. Bh4   c5

It is important to prevent 10. d4!

10. Nd5    g5
11. Nxf6+

Not 11. Nxg5 as Black responds with 11...Nxg5 and White eventually loses material (you can work out the subsequent variations for yourself)

12. Bg3    Bg4
13. h3    Bxf3
14. Qxf3   Qxf3
15. gxf3   f6 (D)

Let's face it...although the material is equal, Black is literally a piece up as White's bishop is helplessly stuck on g3. To free it would probably cost a few pawns and several tempi. Now, Black looks over to the queenside, where he can utilize his extra piece-- together with his heavy artillery-- to breakthrough on that part of the board.

16. Kg2   a5
17. a4   Kf7
18. Rh1   Ke6

19. h4   Rfb8

Black ignores White's threats on the h-file altogether, and sticks to his main plan-- to breakthrough in the Queenside

20. hxg5   hxg5
21. b3   c6

21. b3   c6
22. Ra2   b5
23. Rha1   c4
24. axb5

24. bxc4 bxc4 25. dxc4 Rb4 and Black breaks into White's position

24. ...cxb3
25. cxb3   Rxb5
26. Ra4   Rxb3
27. d4   Rb5

28. Rc4   Rb4
29. Rxc6   Rxd4 (D)


Black has an active bishop and an outside passed pawn, while White's bishop is still in its prison on g3. Assuming Black does not make any gross, unforgivable blunder, this game is more or less decided

Source: "Chess Strategy for the Tournament Player", Lev Alburt and Sam Palatnik, pg 68-72

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Black Knights Internal Tournament Round 2 Table 7

Table 7: Checkerboard 21 vs Checkerboard 9
Black Knights Internal Tournament, Round 2 (8th March 2013)

1. d4   d5
2. e3   Nf6 (D)

When I see this I am reminded of the Marshall Defence (, quoted on Wikipedia as a "dubious variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined."
But anyway, one must not be too quick to judge. Let's analyze the rest of the game first

3. c4   Bf5
4. Nc3   Nc6
5. cxd5   Nxd5
6. Bd3   Bxd3
7. Qxd3   e6 (D)

Fritz analyzes the position as "equal for both sides"

8. a3   Be7
9. Nxd5   Qxd5
10. Nf3   0-0
11. 0-0   h6 (D)

Better might have been 11...f5, to defend against 12. e4!

12. Re1   Rad8

White could have played 12. e4 immediately, but I guess he/she wanted extra backup first. Anyway the basic plan remains the same-- Black's Queen is in a precarious position in the centre, and White wants to take advantage of this.

13. b4   e5!?
14. e4! (D)

And now!

16. d5   Kh8
17. Qd2 (D)

NOT 17. dxc6?? 18. Qxd2 as the d-pawn is pinned. But White could have removed this pin immediately by playing 17. Qc3 or 17. Qd3, so I'm not very sure what he/she was planning over here.

18. Qc3   Nb8
19. Nxe5   Qh5
20. Qg3   Bd6 (D)

Black begins to retaliate by concentrating all firepower upon the e5 square

21. f4   Re8
22. Bc2   f6
23. Nd3   Nd7
24. Rac8   a6

Here I stop because recording errors in the scoresheet make me unable to continue. But needless to say White already has a clear advantage in this game. Black's failure to play 11...f5 allowed for the 12. e4 central breakthrough, allowing Checkerboard 21 to win a pawn and going on to clinch the game point.

Once again, all comments/alternative viewpoints are welcome!

Find the best variation for Black

Find the best variation for Black
To my fellow Black Knights: This is just a stopgap while I am busy analyzing your games (some of them have recording errors btw)
Source: Deep Shredder

*Edited: Sorry for the previous mistake :P

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Find the best move for White

Find the best move for White

Source: Deep Shredder

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Black Knights Internal Tournament Round 1 Table 9

Table 9: Checkerboard 9 vs Checkerboard 20
Black Knights Internal Tournament, Round 1 (1st March 2013)

1. d4   d5
2. Nf3   Nc6
3. c3   Bf5
4. e3   Nf6 (D)

Having played with Checkboard 9 for nearly 3 years, I know that the d5-c3-e3 repertoire is one of his/her favourite and more successful openings. But till now I am still unnerved by the fact the 4. e3 cuts off the bishop on c1, albeit temporarily. Would playing Bf4 before e3 have been a better choice?

5. Bd3   Bxd3
6. Qxd3   e6
7. Nd2   Bd6
8. e4 (D)

At least now White's bishop on c1 is freed

9. e5! (D)

Owwwch...Black didn't see that coming?

10. exd6   Qxd6
11. b4   Re8
12. 0-0   e5
13. dxe5   Nxe5
14. Nxe5   Qxe5
15. Nf3   Qd6
16. h3   h6
17. Bg3   b6? (D)

I don't really like this move. Similar to 16.g3? in the previous game (Table 3, same tournament), it weakens the light-coloured squares around the Black king. Maybe 17...Kb8 or 17...a6 would have been more prudent.. Interestingly if Black had allowed 18. Bxa7 he could then play 18...b6 and trap White's bishop.

Now, Checkerboard 9 does not hesitate to exploit his opponent's previous move. By now, his attacking plan should be quite clear to all of us:

18. Qa6+   Kb8
19. a4   Qc6
20. a5   Rd6 (D)

Black gives it his all to defend the queenside, but White persists on relentlessly. I guess I'll show you the rest of the game without any comments:

21. axb6   cxb6
22. Qxa7+   Kc8
23. b5   Qb7
24. Qa3   Rd7
25. Nd4   Rc7
26. Nc6   Kd7
27. Bf4   Rc8
28. Qc6# (D)

Final position
Well I guess 8...Qe7? was the decisive factor which cost Checkerboard 20 the game. But now suppose we turn back and take a look at the position before Black's mistake; what possible reply could he have given instead?

Position after 8. e4. What could Black have replied with?

Fritz proposes accepting the exchange with 8...Nxe4 while Shredder (thanks Amit!) prefers 8...dxe4; personally I find them no different from each other. So let's say after 8...dxe4 the variation continues 9. Nxe4 Nxe4 10. Qxe4 0-0 11. 0-0 Qf6 12. Bd2 Qg6 with neither side having a clear advantage, although it seems that Black has plans on the kingside.

Once again, all comments/alternative viewpoints are welcome!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Black Knights Internal Tournament Round 1 Table 3

I code-name the players to preserve anonymity

Table 3: Checkerboard 3 vs Checkerboard 26
Black Knights Internal Tournament, Round 1 (1st March 2013)

1. d4   d5
2. Bf4   Nf6 (D)

Interesting. Let's see how it'll go

3. Nf3   Bg4
4. Nbd2   e6
5. e3   Be7
6. Be2   0-0
7. c3 (D)

Personally I would prefer to continue development with 7. 0-0

8. Qc2   Re8
9. 0-0   Bd6
10. Bxd6   Qxd6
11. Bb5 a6  (D)

12. Bxc6   bxc6

12...Qxc6   13. Ne5 gives White the initiative

13. Rfe1   Bf5
14. Qc1   Rab8
15.  Nh4? (D)

Better would have been 15. Ne5!, creating an outpost for White

16. g3?

g3 prevents Qxh4 mate, but it weakens the light-coloured squares on the kingside (bad since Black's light-squared bishop on f5 is glaring menacingly at the White king's position). The other alternative is Nf3, but it wastes a move.

17...Rb6 (D)

Checkerboard 3, if you're reading this, I'm actually interested to know what was the motive behind your previous move.
After 17...Rh6, Fritz proposes the continuation 18. f3 Nh6 19. e4! with White seizing the initiative

18. Nxf5   exf5
19.  Qc2   Qg6
20. Nf3   Nf6
21. Nh4 (D)

At this point I was wondering what would have happened if Black had played 20...Qh5 instead of 20...Nf6, as the former threatens the h2 square and also launches an indirect attack on the Knight on f3. So I consulted Fritz, who showed me the continuation: [20...Qh5 21. Kg2 Nf6 (White now has a choice of moves, but I'll only show one of the variations over here) 22. b4 Ne4 23. Nd2 Re6 24. Nxe4 fxe4 25. Qe2 Qf5 (trading Queens does not benefit Black, who is on the attack here) 26. Qf5 (D)

Black still has attacking chances, although Fritz places the position here as equal for both sides.

Now, back to the actual game:

22. Qxf5   Qxf5
23. Nxf5 Rxb2
24. Rb1   Rc2
25. Rb3

I thought 25. Rc1 would have been better

27. Rb1 (D)

Oh nice. I see what White is trying to do there.

28. Rb8   Rf8??

Enough. I leave this to the reader as a (very easy) mate in 2 puzzle

I can't really give other comments on this game, since both players made quite a number of tactical oversights. Unfortunately, Black's errors cost him/her the game :P

Once again, this was analyzed by a FIDE-unrated amateur with only Fritz as his helper, so it may not be all that accurate. All comments/alternative viewpoints are welcome!

Friday, March 1, 2013

A note to all

This is a first attempt by an FIDE-unrated amateur to maintain a chess blog. I'll use it mainly for CCA matters-- posting up chess puzzles, game analysis and other stuff to help facilitate the training of my fellow NUSHS Black Knights.
It's designed to cater to chessplayers around my standard, and I am not a very strong player. So don't expect too much out of this
To my fellow Black Knights, I hope this will be a useful portal for us to continue our training and discussion out of the classroom