Sunday, August 26, 2018

QCD SG Chess League 2018 Round 8

Yet another round of the QCD SG Chess League has concluded, and after two rounds of absence, it felt good to be back.

Back to AQueen Paya Lebar!

Unfortunately, I seem to be having a bad streak in this tournament. Out of 4 games played so far, I only have a miserable half point to show for my efforts. A far cry from the satisfactory tournaments that I had in Queenstown and Nanyang!

And after Friday’s game, it was clear that my positional thinking needed a good deal of improvement.

Those who know me will know how I am normally a risk-adverse player, sometimes to the point where I don’t dare to sac pieces for a temporary advantage. In recent times I have been trying to overcome that, going for more aggressive play whenever I have the chance.

Except that this time, it seems that I went a bit too far. How can one see all the warning signs that an attack is not prospective, yet ignore them and go for it anyway simply because I want to do it? Perhaps this is a case of letting emotions overcome reasoning, though in a quieter manner over the board:

What can we learn from this game?

  1. Don’t come up with a plan based on what you want to do. Rather, base the plan on what the position needs. In this game, Black’s decision to attack kingside failed as the pieces were not well placed to exploit such a plan, and White’s counterattack was faster. Indeed, Black had better choices, such as exploiting the open d-file or going for an a5 pawn break!
  2. Watch out for “dangerous elements”, which can be anything from pins to indirect attacks or even loose pieces. They may not seem to bother you at the moment, but can quickly materialize into potential tactics, such as the long-diagonal pin that we saw in the game. Another good article, which highlights the danger of ignoring such motifs, would be Silman’s article on Hanging Pieces.
  3. When in a disadvantageous position, don’t give up too easily: Fight back and seek counterplay! Even after falling prey along the long diagonal, Black continued to press on the kingside and give White problems, although in this case it wasn’t enough to save the game.

I guess I’ll need to keep trying to strike a balance between cautious and aggressive play. With two rounds in the QCD left to go, let’s see if I can recover from my bad streak and get some good games!

A tough fight for me and my teammates (Photo Courtesy of another teammate, Antonio)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Nanyang Team Chess Challenge 2018 Highlights

Before school re-opens next week, let me take the chance to finish analysing my games from last month’s Nanyang Racial Harmony Team Chess Challenge. It was good to be playing alongside my QCD teammates; shoutout to them for being so sporting throughout all 7 rounds!

Nanyang CC

In Round 1, we were fortunate/unfortunate enough to be paired against one of the top seeded teams, but we definitely weren’t going down without a fight. Here is the memorable first game, where I was enjoying a good position with strong centre control until a couple of mistakes suddenly threw it away:

Round 3 saw us paired against an equally-matched team. I had played interesting games with most of the opposing team in previous tournaments, so I was looking forward to another good fight. And the fight didn’t disappoint:

One of the opposing team players, Yujing, had written an article praising my team’s sportsmanship during the round. But what I was more impressed about, was how quickly he analyzed his games on the same day the tournament ended. Meanwhile, I am only writing about this more than 2 weeks after the event! Talk about true dedication to the game (:

While I am generally happy with the games played in this tournament, I still feel that my calculation ability, especially in the middlegame, needs more improvement. And of course, my poor time management still leaves a lot to be desired (although some might argue that anything can happen in a 15+10 time control).

Nevertheless, it was a good day for my team, and here’s to more exciting games for the remainder of the QCD Chess League!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

August 2018 Tactical Training: Part 1

Happy 53rd Birthday, Singapore!

Image from