Sunday, September 30, 2018

NUS IFG 2018 Highlights

While I am taking a break from mid-term revision, here is a game from the 2018 edition of NUS Inter-Faculty Games Chess, which was one of my few games from that tournament that was worth analyzing (most of the rest were either horrible blunders or massacre of weak opponents).

Engin IFG 2018 team in action

Also, still amazed how Engin was able to get 3rd this year... but definitely happy to have another day well spent on chess (:

What can we learn from this game?

  1. Watch out for weak squares around your position: White's neglect of the queenside weak dark squares allowed Black to mount a full scale invasion of the c-file.
  2. Don't ignore king safety: The over-ambitious 21... Rc2 weakened my back rank, allowing White to force a massive simplification.
  3. Look out for crucial tempo-gaining checks, such as the resource ... Qd5+/Qc6+ which consistently materialized for Black in the endgame.

Kudos to my teammates for putting up such a good fight, and congrats again for getting 3rd!

Great job everyone!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Gufeld's Immortal: The Mona Lisa

Today we will look at an aesthetic masterpiece which was shared in NUS Chess training on Monday. Played between Grandmasters Bagirov and Gufeld in the 1970s, it shows a knife edge battle where both sides attack on opposite wings, but Black came out on top with a series of stunning combinations.

I have tried my best to add commentary, although the game is so explosive that words don't do justice to all the fireworks...

It is no wonder that has dubbed this game as the "Mona Lisa"! It has also been called Gufeld's immortal game, and with good reason: Gufeld's combinations (25... Be6, 26... Nd3+ and 29... Nb4+) and incredible foresight are truly out of this world.

Eduard Gufeld

But if we look closely, these three key moves align with one simple guideline: When attacking, tempo is especially important. Thus, the most forcing moves are often required to ensure that the opponent has no time to mount an effective defense!