Friday, May 31, 2013

Find the best move for White

Hi all, sorry for not having posted in a long time; hostel internet was not being very friendly to me ):

Here's a puzzle to perk u guys up:

Kamsky, Gata vs. Dominguez Perez, Leinier
Thessaloniki Grand Prix 2013
Find the best move for White

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Missed opportunities: Thomson CC 2013

It's been quite an eventful day at the Thomson CC Chess Challenge today, despite having only completed 3 rounds. The following is one of my own games (as Black) from today's tournament, where missed opportunities from both sides eventually led to me gaining an advantage in the endgame:

Checkerboard 8 vs Checkerboard 5
Thomson CC Chess Challenge 2013 Round 2

1. e4 c6
2. d4 d5
3. Nc3 dxe4
4. Nxe4 Bf5
5. Nc3 (D)

Nowadays a more popular line is 5. Ng3 Bg6

5... e6
6. Nf3 Nd7
7. Bf4 c5
8. dxc5 Bxc5
9. Bb5! (D)

...this move really hurt. While I don't lose material, both of my royal pieces are now tied down to defending the d7 knight, which is turn pinned to the king. Perhaps I could have been more prudent by playing moves like 8...Nf6 of 8...a6 before making the c5 breakthrough

10. Ne5 a6
11. Bxd7+ Nxd7
12. Nxd7 Qxd7
13. Qxd7+ Kxd7
14. O-O-O+ Ke7 (D)

A slaughter on the d7 square. Putting aside the awkward position of my king, I console myself with the fact that I have retained my bishop pair in an open game, and my opponent does not have any real means to attack me.

15. Be3?!

Now this move surprised me. Aside from creating a weak, isolated pawn on e3, I don't see how the bishop trade benefits White in any way. Perhaps a good alternative would be 15. Nd5+ exd5 16. Rxd5 Bxf2 17. Rxf5 f6, with equal chances for both sides

With this new development to the game, I decided on a new but really simple plan: Trade off all my pieces, then exploit my opponent's weak pawn on e3 to outmaneuver him in the endgame

15... Bxe3+
16. fxe3 Rhd8
17. Rdf1 Rd7
18. Rf2 Rad8
19. Rhf1 Bg6
20. Rd1 Rxd1+ (D)

Sticking to my plan

21. Nxd1 Rd5
22. Rf4 Rf5
23. Rc4 Kf6
24. Rc7 Rb5
25. Nc3 Re5
26. Rxb7 Rxe3
27. Rb6 Be4?
28. Rxa6? (D)

It seems rather incredible that neither of us saw the blow 28. Kd2! Now that I look back, I feel so relieved how this mistake committed by both sides has worked in my advantage.

Fritz suggested the alternative variation 27... Re1+ 28. Kd2 Rh1 29. h3 Rh2 30. Nd5+ Kg5 31. Ne3 Be4 which would certainly put me in a better light than 27...Be4?

28... Bxg2
29. Ra4 Rh3
30. Nb5 Rxh2 (D)
Position after 30. Rxb2
With an extra pawn, I went on to outplay my opponent in a long and painful endgame. But now when I look back, I realize how these missed opportunities by both of us has led to such an interesting game, and several learning pointers that we can take away.

4 more rounds tomorrow. Hoping for better performance, and of course more interesting games for us to analyze.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thessaloniki 2013

In the following game, a few mistakes by Black allows White to bring his rooks to the 7th rank, which quickly proves decisive.

This game was taken from the still-ongoing Thessaloniki Grand Prix 2013. For the uninitiated, the FIDE Grand Prix 2012/2013 is a series of tournaments (similar to the SCF Grand Prix we have over here) held over 2012 and 2013. The overall winner and runner-up of the Grand Prix series will qualify for the next Candidates Tournament, expected to be held in March 2014.

The fourth Grand Prix of the 2012/13 series runs from 21 May - 4 June in Thessaloniki, Greece. More information can be found here:

Svidler, Peter vs. Bacrot, Etienne
Thessaloniki Grand Prix 2013

Trying out a new colour scheme cos' the previous one seems rather glaring

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e6
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. cxd5 Nxd5
5. e4 Nxc3
6. bxc3 c5 (D)

 Or 6... Be7 7. Nf3 O-O 8. Rb1 c5 9. Be2 b6 with a roughly equal position for both sides. In most variations of the Queen's Gambit Declined, Black chooses to erect a solid position with his pawns on d5 and e6, and try to find ways to exchange off his bad light-squared bishop. In turn, White tries to set up a strong centre and exploit Black's cramped position.

7. Rb1 cxd4
8. cxd4 Nc6
9. Bb5 a6
10. Bxc6+ bxc6 (D)

White looks slightly better in this position

11. Nf3 c5
12. O-O Be7
13. Be3 cxd4 14. Nxd4 Bd7
15. Qg4 O-O
16. Rfd1 Qe8
17. e5! (D)

Threatening 18. Bh6! Note that White cannot play 17. Bh6 straightaway because of the defence 17...Bf6

17... Kh8?!

A stronger alternative would be 17... f5! 18. exf6 Bxf6, where Black guards the g7 square and gets chances to trade queens, which would dampen White's attack

18. h3 Rb8
19. Qe4 h6
20. Rdc1 Qd8 (D)

Personally if I were Black I would choose to trade rooks straightaway, seeing that I am now on the defensive. Perhaps Bacrot was wary of ceding another open file to his adversary

21. Rb7 Ba3
22. Rc3 Be7
23. Rcc7! (D)

White has now occupied the 7th rank. The rest of the game soon proved decisive


What else?

24. Ra7 Ba3
25. Rxf7 Rxf7
26. Rxf7 Qg8
27. Qf3 Bb2??

Final position after 27...Bb2??
Well I guess Black was suffering from stress or time trouble that provoked this blunder (28. Rf8! and Black loses his Queen), but his position was already losing anyways. For example after 27... Rb1+ 28. Kh2 Qh7 29. Rc7 Rb8 30. Qf7 White still stands better.

On a sidenote, I was browsing through the comments on the website when this particular one caught my attention:

"Maybe we are witnessing a new phenomenon in chess: resignation by blunder. Instead of carrying on in a hopeless position, a player commits a fairly trivial blunder, allowing him to resign immediately."


Once again, all comments/alternative viewpoints are welcome!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Endgame study

Hi guys, sorry for the recent inactivity!

Many of you are probably bored of the puzzles and game analysis, so we'll do some endgame study today. Here's a simple rook endgame position from the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2013:

Harikrishna,P vs. Hou, Yifan
Wijk aan Zee 2013
Position after 47. Kd2
Black to move. A quick glance at the position already tells us that Black is better (If you don't know why, I'll leave you to find out the reason :) So...

1 (a) What is Black's plan?
   (b) Now, what is the best variation that converts the position into a winning endgame for Black?

2 (a) Imagine if it were White to move. Now, who is better in this position, or is it equal?
   (b) What would be White's best move?

Shouldn't be too difficult for y'all. Have fun (:

P.S. For the uninitiated, Chinese GM Hou Yifan was a former Woman's World Chess Champion, the youngest player ever to win the title after winning the Woman's World Chess Championship 2010. As of January 2013 she was rated as the No. 2 female player in the world

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Find the best move for Black

Find the best move for Black
Source: Deep Shredder

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Copehagen 1996

The following game demonstrates the power of a passed pawn, especially when it is entrenched deep within the enemy camp and well-supported by friendly pieces

Ralf Akesson vs Jonathan Rowsson
Copenhagen 1996

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 g6
3. Nc3 d5
4. cxd5 Nxd5
5. e4 Nxc3
6. bxc3 Bg7
7. Be3 Bd7? (D)

A surprisingly passive move from a strong player like Rowson himself. In typical Gruenfeld positions like this one, Black usually takes steps to undermine White's pawn centre with moves such as c5, Nc6, and e6. So for example, 7... O-O 8. Nf3 c5 9. Be2 Nc6 10. O-O gives a roughly equal position with attacking chances for both sides

8. Nf3 O-O
9. Qd2 c5
10. d5

Here comes the pawn. White pushes it calmly, assured by the fact that it is well supported by his own pieces

11. Be2! exd5
12. exd5 Qa5!?
13. Rc1 Na6!? (D)

Seems like Black isn't in good form today. Rowson later noted in his writings ("Understanding the Gruenfeld" by Jonathan Rowson) that if he were to be given this position again, he would "have been more modest, kept my queen on d8 and played ...Bg4 and ...Nd7, when I would still have chances to defend."

14. O-O Rfe8
15. Rfe1 Rac8

Black threatens counterplay with moves like ...c4 and ...Nc5, with good activity on the queenside. But although both sides are fully mobilized, White has preserved his early initiative and does not hesitate to exploit it:

16. Bh6! Bh8
17. Ng5 c4
18. d6! (D)

The pawn continues its march. White now threatens to maneuver his bishop via Bf3-Bd5, infiltrating the kingside. Indeed, a quick look at the position is enough to tell us that the Black forces have been cut into 2 by the mighty pawn on d6


18... Rc5 19. Bxc4 Rxc4 20. Rxe8+ Bxe8 21. d7 Qd8 22. Qe2 wins for White

19. Bf3 Rxe1+
20. Qxe1 Bf6
21. Qd2! Nc5 (D)

Find the best variation for White
Stop! Now, find the best variation for White.

With the powerful pawn on d6 and the advantageous positions of White's pieces, this shouldn't take you long...
22. Qd5!

Threatening 23. Qxf7#

23. d7!!

Final position after 23. d7
Black resigned due to the variations 23...Bxd7 Qxf7# and 23...Nxd7 Qxa5

The full game is shown as follows:

"Understanding the Gruenfeld" by Jonathan Rowson

Friday, May 17, 2013

Find the best variation for White

Hi all, hope the exams went well for everybody!

As a post-exam treat, here's a puzzle for everyone, taken from the still-ongoing Norway Chess Tournament 2013:

Karjakin, Sergey vs. Nakamura, Hikaru
Norway 2013
Find the best variation for White
As exams are over, I'll start posting up more game analysis over the weekends (:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Good afternoon my fellow Black Knights, I have some bad news for y'all

Due to the public's overwhelming response for the Vesak Day Rapids Tournament 2013, the number of participants has already reached the 120-man limit, and SCF has thus decided to close registrations before the external closing date.
As I had not planned for nor expected this to occur, I sincerely apologize to everyone who have so enthusiastically volunteered for this tournament.
Nevertheless, I shall redirect all your entries to the Thomson CC Chess Challenge which will be held on 25 and 26 June (Saturday and Sunday), and try to convince the school to fund us for this tournament. The internal registration period shall be kept open till next Sunday, 19 June.
If I am unsuccessful in getting the school's support, then I will redirect your entries to the upcoming Teck Ghee CC Family Chess Challenge 2013, which will be held on 2nd June.
Do inform me if you're unable to make it for either one of the above two tournaments.
Once again, really sorry for this unfortunate turn of events ):

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Find the best move for White

Hi guys, I hope y'all coping well with the exam stress!
To perk you up a little, here's a position from a game played yesterday:

Radjabov, Teimour vs. Hammer, Jon Ludvig
Norway 2013
Find the best move for White
All the best for your exams! Jiayous (:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Find the best move for Black

An easy one here (to ease some of the pressure before our exams)

Find the best move for Black
Source: Deep Shredder

All the best for your exams! (:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

White to move and mate in 5

Here's a very famous composed chess problem, with an interesting story behind it. I'll tell y'all the story after someone gives the solution:

White to move and mate in 5

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Black to play and draw

Here's a simple exercise for y'all. Shouldn't take too long...

Black to play and draw