Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lopsided Opening Results Part Three

Some posts ago I presented two examples from the opening in which one side as a lopsided score against the other, that is, one side won twice as many games as the other side. Here is another example, arising from Alekhine's Defense:

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5. exd6 exd6 6. Nc3 Be7 7. h3 Bf5 8. Nf3 0-0

The game database of has 116 games starting with the above line. From my manual count, which is fallible though, White won 50 times, and Black won 21 times.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fourth World Championship Game

The fourth game ended in a draw:

White: Anand Black: Kramnik

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 O-O 6.e3 Nbd7 7.a3 c5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.dxc5 Nxc5 11.Be5 Bf5 12.Be2 Bf6 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Nd4 Ne6 15.Nxf5 Qxf5 16.O-O Rfd8 17.Bg4 Qe5 18.Qb3 Nc5 19.Qb5 b6 20.Rfd1 Rd6 21.Rd4 a6 22.Qb4 h5 23.Bh3 Rad8 24.g3 g5 25.Rad1 g4 26.Bg2 Ne6 27.R4d3 d4 28.exd4 Rxd4 29.Rxd4 Rxd4 1/2-1/2

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Great Game by Aronian

Besides the Chess World Championship, the Euro Clup Cup is also going on, which has a large number of participants, including some of the top grandmasters. The following game, Aronian vs Volokitin, was played in Euro Clup Cup. It is probably one of Aronian's best games. It went:

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 g6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. h3 O-O 7. Bd3 Be6 8. Ng5 Bf5 9. Bxf5 gxf5 10. Qb3 Qb6 11. Qc2 e6 12. g4 h6 13. Nf3 fxg4 14. hxg4 Nxg4 15. e4 dxc4 16. e5 Nd7 17. Be3 f5 18. O-O-O c5 19. d5 f4 20. Ng5 hxg5 21. Qh7+ Kf7 22. Ne4 exd5 23. e6+ Kxe6 24. Qxg7 Ngf6 25. Bxc5 Nxc5 26. Nxc5+ Qxc5

Position after Black's 26th move

This position is like a chess problem: there is a mate to be had. The game continued: 27. Rde1+ Kf5 28. Rh5 Nxh5 29. Re5+ Kg4 30. Qxg5+ Kf3 31. Qxh5+ Kxf2 32. Qe2+ 1-0

World Championship Match Game 3

The third game of the Championship Match was brilliantly won by Anand, playing Black. The game started: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 9.e4 c5 10.e5 cxd4 11.Nxb5 axb5 12.exf6 gxf6 13.O-O Qb6 14.Qe2 Bb7 15.Bxb5 Bd6 16.Rd1 Rg8 17.g3 Rg4 18.Bf4 Bxf4 19.Nxd4 h5 20.Nxe6 fxe6 21.Rxd7 Kf8 22.Qd3 Rg7 23.Rxg7 Kxg7 24.gxf4

Position after White's 25th move

Notice at this point Anand is down two pawns. From what I have heard, computers gave Kramnik some advantage here, but this might be one of rare cases where computers mis-evaluated a position. Anand proceeded to win: Rd8 25.Qe2 Kh6 26.Kf1 Rg8 27.a4 Bg2+ 28.Ke1 Bh3 29.Ra3 Rg1+ 30.Kd2 Qd4+ 31.Kc2 Bg4 32.f3 Bf5+ 33.Bd3 Bh3 34.a5 Rg2 35.a6 Rxe2+ 36.Bxe2 Bf5+ 37.Kb3 Qe3+ 38.Ka2 Qxe2 39.a7 Qc4+ 40.Ka1 Qf1+ 41.Ka2 Bb1+ 0-1

World Championship Match 2nd Game

The second game of the championship match ended in a draw:

White: Anand Black: Kramnik
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. dxc5 f5 9. Qc2 Nd7 10. e4 fxe4 11. fxe4 N5f6 12. c6 bxc6 13. Nf3 Qa5 14. Bd2 Ba6 15. c4 Qc5 16. Bd3 Ng4 17. Bb4 Qe3+ 18. Qe2 O-O-O 19. Qxe3 Nxe3 20. Kf2 Ng4+ 21. Kg3 Ndf6 22. Bb1 h5 23. h3 h4+ 24. Nxh4 Ne5 25. Nf3 Nh5+ 26. Kf2 Nxf3 27. Kxf3 e5 28. Rc1 Nf4 29. Ra2 Nd3 30. Rc3 Nf4 31. Bc2 Ne6 32. Kg3 Rd4 1/2-1/2

World Championship Match 1st Game

The first game in the World Championship Match 2008 between Anand and Kramnik ended in a draw. Kramnik played White, Anand played Black.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Bf4 Nc6 6.e3 Bf5 7.Nf3 e6 8.Qb3 Bb4 9.Bb5 O-O 10.Bxc6 Bxc3+ 11.Qxc3 Rc8 12.Ne5 Ng4 13.Nxg4 Bxg4 14.Qb4 Rxc6 15.Qxb7 Qc8 16.Qxc8 Rfxc8 17.O-O a5 18.f3 Bf5 19.Rfe1 Bg6 20.b3 f6 21.e4 dxe4 22.fxe4 Rd8 23.Rad1 Rc2 24.e5 fxe5 25.Bxe5 Rxa2 26.Ra1 Rxa1 27.Rxa1 Rd5 28.Rc1 Rd7 29.Rc5 Ra7 30.Rc7 Rxc7 31.Bxc7 Bc2 32.Bxa5 Bxb3 1/2-1/2

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Svidler Still In First

Svidler is still in first place in the Russian Superfinal Tournament. However, he might not be if one of his opponents found a winning move. The game between Peter Svidler and Nikita Vitiugov went: 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 a6 5. e3 e6 6. c5 b6 7. cxb6 Nbd7 8. Bd3 c5 9. b3 Nxb6 10. O-O Bb7 11. Bb2 cxd4 12. exd4 Be7 13. Rc1 O-O 14. Qe2 a5 15. a4 Nc8 16. Ne5 Na7 17. Nb5 Nxb5 18. Bxb5 Qb6 19. Rc2 Rfc8 20. Rfc1 Rxc2 21. Rxc2 Bd6 22. Qe1 Qd8 23. Qc1 Qe7 24. Bc3 h6 25. h3 Ne4 26. Be1 Qd8 27. Nd7 Ra7 28. Ne5 Ra8 29. Nd3 Qe7 30. f3 Ng3 31. Bxg3 Bxg3 32. f4 Ba6 33. Bxa6 Rxa6 34. Rc8+ Kh7 35. Rc7 Qf6 36. Qe3 Bh4 37. Ne5 Qf5 38. Rxf7 Qe4 39. Qc3

Position after White's 39th move

Here, Vitiugov missed the winning move 39. ... Rc6!. This was mentioned at cannot stop praising that site--see for analysis.

Zappa vs. Rybka Game

Here is a game between Zappa and Rybka, arguably the two strongest chess playing programs, which occurred this year.

The game started: 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nge2 Nf6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 d6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8. O-O-O Bd7 9. f3 b5 10. Nxc6 Bxc6 11. Bd3 Be7 12. Kb1 O-O 13. h4 Rc8 14. a3 Ba8 15. Qe3 Re8 16. Qa7

Diagram after White's 16th move

And here Rybka sacrifices the rook 16. ... Rxc3, an idea seen in Sicilian games. The game continued: 17. bxc3 Qc8 18. a4 Qxc3 19. axb5 axb5 20. Bd2 Qc6 21. Ba5 d5 22. e5 Nd7 23. Qc7 Bc5 24. Qxc6 Bxc6 25. f4 Ra8 26. Bc3 Nb6 27. Bb2 h6 28. Rh2 Be3 29. Bc1 Bf2 30. Rh3 d4 31. Be2 Nd5 32. Rf1 Bxh4 33. Bb2 Be7 34. Bxd4 Ra4 35. c3 b4 36. Bd1 Ra5 37. cxb4 Nxb4 38. Bf3 Bb5 39. Rfh1 Bd3+ 40. Kb2 Bf5 41. g4 Nd3+ 42. Kb3 Ra3+ 43. Kc4 Ra4+ 44. Kc3 Bg6 45. Bc6 Ra6 46. Bb5 Ra3+ 47. Kd2 Ra2+ 48. Ke3 Nf2 49. Ra1 Rxa1 50. Kxf2 Ra2+ 51. Be2 Bc2 52. Kg1 Be4 53. Kf2 g5 54. fxg5 Bxg5 55. Kf1 Bd5 56. Ke1 Ra4 57. Bb2 Kg7 58. Ba3 Bf4 59. Bb2 Re4 60. Kf2 Bxe5 61. Bc1 Bf4 62. Bb2+ e5 63. Ra3 Be6 64. Bd3 Re3 65. Be2 Rxa3 66. Bxa3 Kg6 67. Bf3 Kg5 68. Be7+ f6 69. Ke2 Kh4 70. Kf2 Bg5 71. Bd6 Bxg4 0-1

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Svidler In Lead

In the Russian Superfinals, Peter Svidler so far is in first place, with three wins in three games. One of his games, against Ernesto Inarkiev, went:

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 Bd6 9. O-O O-O 10. e4 e5 11. Ne2 a6 12. b3 Re8 13. Bb2 Bb7 14. Rc1 exd4 15. Nexd4 c5 16. Nf5 Bf8 17. e5 Ng4 18. Nd6 Bxf3 19. Qxf3 Ngxe5

Position after Black's 19th move

Then Svidler played 20 Bxh7+ and the game went: Kxh7 21. Qf5+ Kg8 22. Nxe8 Qxe8 23. Rce1 g6 24. Qe4 Bg7 25. f4 Rb8 26. Qd5 Rb6 27. fxe5 Re6 28. Rd1 Nxe5 29. Qxc5 Nf3+ 30. Rxf3 Bxb2 31. Qd5 Bf6 32. Rdf1 Qe7 33. g3 Kg7 34. Kh1 Rd6 35. Qa8 b4 36. Rf4 Bc3 37. Re4 Qc7 38. Rh4 Rd8 39. Qxa6 f5 40. Rc4 Qe7 41. Qc6 Kh6 42. Qf3 1-0

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New England Masters Game

A game between Parker Bi Guang Zhao and Leonid Kritz in the New England Masters Tournamet went: 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8. O-O-O h6 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. Bf4 d5 11. Qe3 Bb4 12. a3 Ba5 13. Be2 O-O 14. exd5 cxd5 15. Qg3 Kh8 16. Be5 Ne8 17. f4 Bc7 18. Bd3 Bxe5 19. fxe5 a5 20. h4 Qb6 21. Rdf1 Rb8

Position after Black's 21st move

And here Parker Bi Guang Zhao played 22. Qg6! In order to avoid mate, Black eventually has to give up material. The game went: 22. ... Qe3+ 23. Kd1 fxg6 24. Rxf8+ Kh7 25. h5 Qxd3+ 26. cxd3 Bd7 27. hxg6+ Kxg6 28. Kc2 Rc8 29. d4 Kg5 30. Rhf1 g6 31. R1f7 Bc6 32. Re7 1-0

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Three Move Problem IV

This is problem XXXVIII from the book, composed by A. C. Challenger. White to mate in 3:

Solution: 1. Qb8 Kxd5 2. Nd4 exd2 3. Qb5 mate

Three Move Problem III

The chess problem here is number XXXVII from the book, and was composed by Dr. Lasker.

White moves 1. Qh1 There are various ways Black can play but they all lose. One example is 1 ... e4 2. Rxb7 Bb5 3. Qe1 mate

Three Move Problem II

This second problem is number XXXVI from the book, composed by W. F. von Holzhausen.

Computer checked solution: 1. Qa8 e4 2. Qa1 exf3 3. Qd4 mate

Three Move Problem I

The three move problem above is from the previously mentioned book "Three Move Problems." I've been to the Newberry Library a few times before. Some of their older works are dated in knowledge; for example I came across a book on astronomy written in the context of Newtonian physics; others works seem simply to be barking up the wrong tree, such as on witchcraft. But older books on chess positions seem to hold up well, perhaps because chess problems are more like mathematics. The problem above is number XXXV from the book, created by Sam Loyd.
Here is a computer checked solution: 1. Kd2 Qc4 2. Bg4+ Nxg4 3. Rh5 mate

Older Chess Books from the Newberry Library

This weekend I went to the Newberry Library in Chicago. The Newberry Library is a private, non-circulating library, but it is free and open to the public. It has a collection of older and rare materials, such as maps and books hundreds of years old.
I came across a book entitled "Three Move Problems" by F. Baird. It seems to have been published in 1913. In this post I will present an extract from the book; in other posts I plan to present chess problems from the book.

"The following methods of solving three-move problems are the only ones which need to be considered:--
1. Perceiving the theme instantaneously, or determining the author's idea by deduction.
2. Allowing Black to make the first move, and then treating the problem as a two-mover, the final process being the finding of the key-move.
3. Allowing Black to make the first move, and then making two moves for White in succession, followed by another for Black, and a third for White.
4. Experimenting with various likely and plausible key-moves until the correct one is found. This method, although adopted by the majority of beginners, is not calculated to give the solver the same amount of satisfaction as the other methods, and it is not to be recommended except with some problems containing only a few pieces. For instance, when dealing with the Rex solus type of composition, such a course might yield quicker results.
5. The exhuastive process before mentioned, wherby every move that it is possible for White to make must be tried. This method, although lengthy, is the one which must be employed for solution tourneys which are other than continuous."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lopsided Opening Results, Part II

Here is a line that can arise from the Slav: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. c5 g6 6. h3 Bg7 7. Bf4 O-O 8. e3

In chesslab's historical database of games from 1485-1990, only one game is given with this opening, and it ended in a draw. In its database from 1991-present, it gives 58 games, with White winning 56%, Black winning 12%, and Draws 32%

Lopsided Opening Results

In this post and perhaps others I will present opening lines which: 1) have been played at least in 20 games and 2) where one side had at least twice as many wins as losses.

Here is a position arising from the Grunfeld: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bg5 Ne4 6. cxd5 Nxg5 7. Nxg5 e6 8. Nf3 exd5 9. e3 a5 10. Be2 O-O 11. O-O c6 says it has a database of 2 million games, and has the feature 'position stats.'
In its historical archive of games from 1485-1990, it gives: White won 0%, Black won 21%, Draw 79%. In the games played from 1991-present, it gives: White won 8%, Black won 43%, Draw 49%

Bilbao Grand Slam Tournament is Done

The Bilbao Grand Slam Chess Final Tournament is done and the final standings are:

Veselin Topalov
17 points
(+4 -1 =5)
[view games]

Levon Aronian
13 points
(+3 -3 =4)
[view games]

Magnus Carlsen
13 points
(+3 -3 =4)
[view games]

Vassily Ivanchuk
12 points
(+2 -2 =6)
[view games]

Teimour Radjabov
10 points
(+1 -2 =7)
[view games]

Viswanathan Anand
8 points
(+0 -2 =8)
[view games]

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Position From The World vs. Timmerman

In a previous post I wrote of beautiful, though unplayed, variations in correspondence chess games. An example of this comes from the game between Gert Timmerman and The World Team at

Position after Black's 37th move

Here the World Team played 38 h4, and here is analysis from Rybka, probably the strongest chess program: (34-ply) 38.h4 Kf6 39.Rf1 Ke6 40.f5+ Kd6 41.fxg6 Kxc5 42.Rf7 Ra8 43.g7 Rg8 44.h5 d4 (0.93)
In this line White leaves a rook en prise.
In the actual game, though, Timmerman did not play 38. ... Kf6 but 38. ... Ra6

Arthur Stevens' Blue Book of Charts To Winning Chess

A pioneer in the statistical analysis of chess, in my honest opinion, was Arthur Stevens. Before the advent of the personal computer, Arthur Stevens compiled a statistical analysis of opening lines, in chart form, of 56,972 tournament games. The charts would show the moves of a opening line, the number of games in which the move was played, and its winning percentage.
Such charts would be valuable to the serious player by saving some time in experimentation and analysis.

It would be easy nowadays to downplay his efforts. Today, one can readily find, on the internet, databases of millions of chess games and the statistics on the opening moves: the number of times it was played, and its won/loss/draw percentage. But Stevens' work was a precursor to this; his book came out in 1969.

I scanned a page from his book, hoping to post it here, but the quality is not good. The page I had scanned was a chart on a line in the Advance Variation of the Caro-Kann Defense, which starts: 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 If Black plays 3. .. Bf5, Stevens has listed these 4th moves for White: Bd3, Ne2, c4, h4, g4, Nc3, Nf3. The move that gets the highest percentage is c4. His chart shows 33 games with that move, with a winning percentage for White of 79% (note that he determines this percentage by taking not only wins but also one-half of draws).

A chess database on the internet now has over 900 games just beginning with 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. c4. We've come a long way since his time, but he was a pioneer.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bilbao Grand Slam Chess Final Tournament

The Bilbao Grand Slam Chess Final Tournament is presently going on. It has a wonderful field : Topalov, Carlsen, Aronian, Radjabov, Anand, and Ivanchuk. There are special features of this tournament. One is the scoring system: 3 points per win, 1 point per draw. Also the time control: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and another 60 minutes to finish the game, with no time increment at all.
I presume the goal for these rules is to promote more "decisive" games, which would be supposedly of greater interest. At the time of this writing, there have been 15 games played, with 5 of decisive result. This 66.66% draw rate though is in line with the draw rates of other major grandmaster tournaments. However, there are more rounds to play, and it has been conjectured that the final rounds would have more volatile results--due to the scoring system.
A player somewhat behind in the standings might make riskier moves in order to win.
This leads to one of the main objections to the scoring system and the time control in this tournament: it would lead to riskier moves, and inaccurate moves due to time pressure; we should want to see, instead, the correct moves to be played.

The standings so far:

Veselin Topalov 9 points (2 wins, 0 loss, 3 draws)
Magnus Carlsen 8 points (2 wins, 1 loss, 2 draws)
Levon Aronian 6 points (1 win, 1 loss, 3 draws)
Teimor Radjabov 4 points (0 win, 1 loss, 4 draws)
Viswanathan Anand 4 points (0 win, 1 loss, 4 draws)
Vassily Ivanchuk 4 points (0 win, 1 loss, 4 draws)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Correspondece Chess and Over The Board Chess

I've noticed that the past few posts were about positions arising from the recently completed Tal Memorial Blitz Tournament. The positions were puzzle like: find the tactics that win material, or find the winning attack against the king.

Earlier in this blog I posted about the correspondence games of, of which I am a member. The World Team won three games, and the fourth game is underway. The tenor of these games is different. Since computer assistance is allowed, and a move can take two days or more, there are no downright blunders. There has been really no decisive tactical shots, nor mating combinations against the king. Although it is interesting to see the beatiful variations that have not been played. The opponents resigned in the end game.

Chess Coverage in Newspapers

It seems that coverage of chess in newspapers is not as good as before. Back in the 1980s and 1990s I used to read the chess column in The Chicago Tribune, which would appear on Sunday in the Arts section. The column was by Shelby Lyman. But its main components would be 1) a human interest story, 2) a reprint of a game from a great player of the past, and 3) a tactical puzzle, unrealted to the reprinted game. This column no longer appears in The Tribune.

In the 2000s, the other Chicago paper, The Sun Times, had a weekly chess puzzle, usually from a recent game, presented by Albert Chow, a Chicago area master, whom I have met. This weekly chess puzzle no longer exists. The New York Times and the Washington Post, however, continues with chess coverage, usually with analysis of a recently played game. The New York Post also has a column by Grandmaster Andy Soltis.

I was more impressed with coverage of chess in the British papers. Back in the early 1990s I would sometimes buy The Times of London; one reason was its coverage of the Short-Kasparov match. Also there was a small column by Raymond Keene in The Times of London --usually a presentation of a recent game. Years later I discovered that other British papers covered chess. But as there are ebbs and flows in most things, there is now an ebb in chess coverage in British papers. Grandmaster Nigel Short's column was dropped from The Guradian (and before that he was dropped from another British newspaper); another Guardian chess writer, Grandmaster Jonathan Speelman, seems to have been dropped; I haven't seen his column in months. The Guardian still covers chess , though not as much as before, and to be fair, it gives better chess coverage than many papers.

On a positive note, it seems that chess coverage flourishes on the internet, where one can post comments on games on various websites. Also, one can follow chess game live via internet feed.

Karpov Blitz Game

A game between Anatoli Karpov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the Tal Memorial Blitz Tournament went: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. e4 d5 6. e5 Ne4 7. Bd3 c5 8. Nge2 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Nd7 10. Bf4 Ndc5 11. O-O Bxc3 12. bxc3 Nxd3 13. Qxd3 b6 14. cxd5 Qxd5 15. Rfe1 Bb7 16. f3 Nc5 17. Qe3 Qc4 18. Rad1 Rac8 19. Bg5 Kh8 20. h4 Na4 21. h5 Nxc3 22. h6 Nd5 23. hxg7+ Kxg7

Position after Black's 23rd move

and Karpov finished off the game: 24. Nf5+ Kg6 25. Rxd5 Kxf5 26. Rd4 Qxd4 27. Qxd4 Kxg5 28. Qg4+ Kh6 29. Kf2 1-0

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Missed Chance

In the recently completed "Youth vs Experience Tournament" the following position was reached in a game between Ivan Cheparinov and Ljubomir Ljubojevic:

A kibitzer at one of my favorite chess web sites pointed out that here, Ljubojevic, playing Black, missed playing 58 .. e4! If White then plays 59. fxe4 then 59. ... Ne5+ 60. Kc3 Nxd3 Kxd3 with material advantage for Black. If, after 58. .. e4!, White plays say some rook move, then Black can play 59. ... exf3 winning a pawn.

The actual game ended in a draw, and had a somewhat absurd ending from what I understand: the players repeated the position from move 68 to 84.

Kramnik vs. Ponomariov

Vladimir Kramnik had a nice attack against Ruslan Ponomariov in the Tal Memorial Blitz Tournament. The game went: 1. Nf3 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. d4 d6 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Qe2 c6 6. e5 Nd5 7. O-O O-O 8. h3 dxe5 9. dxe5 Qc7 10. Re1 h6 11. Nbd2 Bf5 12. Nf1 Nd7 13. Ng3 Be6 14. Bb3 Nc5 15. Nd4 Nxb3 16. axb3 Qc8 17. c3 c5 18. Nf3 b6 19. Ra4 Rd8 20. Rh4 g5

Position after Black's 20th move

21. Bxg5 hxg5 22. Nxg5 Bf5 23. e6 Bg6 24. exf7+ Bxf7 25. Nxf7 Kxf7 26. Qh5+ Kf8 27. Nf5 Bf6 28. Nh6 Kg7 29. Qf7+ Kh8 30. Nf5+ 1-0

Saturday, August 30, 2008

White To Win a Pawn In Five Moves

While editing this blog, I deleted one of my posts by mistake. It had to do with a position I reached against a program, set at a low level. I had the position saved on the computer, so I'm sort of able to redo the post. The position reached was:

Here, White can win a pawn in five moves: 1. Qa8+ QxQ 2. RxQ+ Kc7 3. Ra7+ Kc6 4. RxR KxR 5. Bxc5

Grischuk vs Kramnik blitz game

The Tal Memorial Blitz Tournament is in progress. A game between Alexander Grischuk vs Vladimir Kramnik went: 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 g5 7. Bg3 Ne4 8. Nd2 Nxg3 9. hxg3 Bg7 10. e3 a6 11. Bd3 b5 12. cxd5 cxd5 13. Rc1 Nd7 14. f4 Bb7 15. Nf3 Rc8 16. O-O g4 17. Ne5 h5 18. Ne2 Rxc1 19. Qxc1 f5 20. Qc2 Nxe5 21. dxe5 Qc8 22. Qd2 Kf7 23. Rc1 Qd7 24. Nd4 Qe7

Position after Black's 24th move

Here Grishuk played the sacrifice 25. Bxf5! and proceeded to win: 25. ... exf5 26. Nxf5 Qd7 27. Nd6+ Kg8 28. Qa5 h4 29. Rc7 Qe6 30. Rxb7 hxg3 31. Qd8+ Kh7 32. Qh4+ Kg8 33. Rb8+ 1-0

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sharp Win By Gelfand

In the Tal Memorial Tournament a sharp game between Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Boris Gelfand went: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 dxc4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5 9. Be2 Bb7 10. e5 Nd5 11. O-O Nd7 12. Nd2 Qb6 13. a4 a6 14. Nde4 O-O-O 15. Bh5 Nf4 16. Bxf7 Nxe5 17. Bxe6+ Kb8 18. Ne2 Bg7 19. Nxf4 gxf4 20. Bxf4 Rxd4 21. a5 Qd8 22. Qe2 Re8 23. Rad1 Ka8 24. Be3 Rxd1 25. Rxd1 Nd3 26. Bf5

Position after White's 26th move

This position is like a chess problem. Here, what move can Gelfand make that can eventually give him a material advantage? The answer is 26. ... Qd5! Play continued: 27. Qg4 Bxb2 28. h4 Bd4 29. Bg6 Rg8 30. Bxd4 Qxd4 31. Qe6 Qd5 32. Qe7 c5 33. f3 Qd4+ 34. Kh1 Qg7 35. Qxg7 Rxg7 36. h5 b4 37. Kg1 Bxe4 0-1

How To Avoid Chess Blunders?

Recently I've been thinking, "How to avoid chess blunders?" Take, for example, the following position which occurred between Emanual Lasker and David Janowski in their World Championship Match:

Janowski blundered with 19. ... Rd6? Play went: 20.Rxd5 Rxd5 21.Qxd5 Qxb4 22.Rxc6 1-0

In order to avoid blunders, it may be useful to think, before the move is made, "After I make this move, are there checkmating threats against my king?" Also, it might be useful to think, "After I make this move, what would happen if exchanges are made?" It seems to me that not just this example, but in other examples, blunders are refuted after exchanges.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sacrifice Leads to Opponent's Resignation Ten Moves Later

In the FIDE Grand Prix, which was held in Sochi, Russia and ended on August 14th, a game between Boris Gelfand and Vassily Ivanchuk went: 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 e6 4. g3 b6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O Be7 7. Re1 d6 8. e4 a6 9. d4 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Qc7 11. Be3 O-O 12. Rc1 Re8 13. f4 Bf8 14. f5 h6 15. Rf1 Nbd7 16. fxe6 fxe6 17. Bh3 Qc5 18. b4 Qxc4 19. Nd5 Qxa2 20. Rf2 Qxf2+ 21. Bxf2 exd5 22. Bxd7 Nxd7 23. Rc7 Bc8 24. Nf5 Ne5 25. Qh5 Re6 26. Bd4 Rf6 27. Bxe5 dxe5

Position after Black's 27th move

Here Gelfand started a combination with the knight sacrifice 28. Nxh6! and Ivanchuk resigned ten moves later: 28. ...... gxh6 29. Qxe5 Rd6 30. Qh5 Bd7 31. e5 Be8 32. Qf3 Rdd8 33. Qf5 Bg7 34. Qg4 Bf7 35. e6 Rf8 36. Rxf7 Rxf7 37. exf7+ Kxf7 38. Qd7+ 1-0

Brilliancy Prize Game in Howard Staunton Memorial Tournament

The game Jan Werle vs Peter K Wells in the Howard Staunton Memorial Tournament won the prize for most brilliant game in the tournament. It went: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e4 Bb4 6. Bg5 c5 7. Bxc4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 Qa5 10. Bb5+ Nbd7 11. Bxf6 Qxc3+ 12. Kf1 gxf6 13. h4 a6 14. Rh3 Qb4 15. Be2 O-O 16. Rb1 Qd6 17. Rg3+ Kh8 18. Qd2 Rg8 19. Rbb3 Rxg3 20. Rxg3 b6 21. Bh5 Bb7 22. Bxf7 Rf8 23. e5 Nxe5 24. Bxe6 f5 25. Rg7 Be4 26. Qh6 f4 27. Qf6 1-0

Final Position

Smeets vs. Short game in Howard Staunton Memorial Tournament

A game between Jan Smeets and Nigel Short in the Howard Staunton Memorial Tournament went: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Nd7 12. Nbd2 exd4 13. cxd4 Re8 14. dxc5 dxc5 15. e5 Nf8 16. Qe2 Bb7 17. Ne4 Ne6 18. h4 Qc7 19. Neg5 Bxg5 20. Nxg5 Nxg5 21. Bxg5 h6

Position after Black's 21st move

Here Smeets allowed his bishop at g5 en prise and proceeded to win: 22. Qd3 hxg5 23. Qh7+ Kf8 24. Qh8+ Ke7 25. Qxg7 Rg8 26. Qf6+ Kf8 27. e6 Nc6 28. hxg5 Rd8 29. Qh6+ Rg7 30. g6 fxg6 31. Qh8+ Rg8 32. Qf6+ Ke8 33. Bxg6+ Rxg6 34. Qxg6+ Kf8 35. Re3 1-0

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Greatest Chess Playing Entity on Earth?

One of my favorite chess web sites,, conducts correspondence chess games. These 'Chessgames Challenge' as they call it has these rules: one side is played by members of, called The World Team. Members vote on a move; the move that gets the most votes is the one played. The opponent is a lone individual. Both sides are allowed to use computers for assistance. The rules for individual games have varied; for example, one game allowed two days to make a move. Another game allowed three days for a move, and the opponent to The World team can take extensions.

The first game was played against Arno Nickel, who had the Black pieces. Arno Nickel is a correspondence chess Grandmaster, chess writer and publisher. The second game was played against Yuri Shulman, who had the White pieces. Yuri Shulman is a Grandmaster who won the 2008 US Chess Championship. The third game was played against Gert Jan Timmerman, who had the Black pieces. Gert Jan Timmerman was the fifteenth ICCF World Champion in correspondence chess. The World Team of won all three games.

These are interesting experiments in chess. For example, they have bearing on the subject of collective decision making and gives credence to the notion of the 'wisdom of crowds.' Also, there has been some discussion as to the theoretical importance of the games, that is, whether they have influenced evaluations of certain chess lines and whether the games have influenced play in the chess community at large. Another question also is, "How strong is the World Team?" I would say that it plays at least on the 2800 level. The only other chess playing entities that may be stronger are: the current World Champion Viswanathan Anand; the current correspondence chess champion; and the computer program Rybka 3.

End Game Combination

A game between Dmitry Jakovenko vs. Ivan Cheparinov in the FIDE Grand Prix went:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Nc3 Ne7 10. h3 Ng6 11. Ne4 h6 12. b3 c5 13. Bb2 Be6 14. Nfd2 h5 15. Ng5 Be7 16. Nxe6+ fxe6 17. g3 h4 18. Kg2 Kd7 19. Rae1 Rad8 20. Nf3 Ke8 21. Rd1 a5 22. a4 Rd5 23. c4 Rd8 24. Bc1 Rf8 25. Rfe1 Rf7 26. Rxd8+ Bxd8 27. Re4 hxg3 28. fxg3 Rd7 29. h4 Rd3 30. Re3 Rd7 31. h5 Ne7 32. g4 Nc6 33. g5 Ne7 34. Re2 Nf5 35. Rd2 Rf7 36. Rd3 Rf8 37. Kh3 c6 38. Kg4 Bc7 39. Be3 b6 40. g6 Bd8 41. Bf4 Bc7 42. Nd2 Nh6+ 43. Bxh6 gxh6

Position after Black's 43rd move

In this endgame, Jakovenko played a remarkable combination starting with 44 Rd6!:

44. ... Bxd6 45. exd6 e5 46. Ne4 Rf4+ 47. Kg3 Rf1 48. Kg2 Rf4 49. Nf6+ Rxf6 50. d7+ 1-0

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Classic Sacrifice

The game Jon Ludvig Hammer vs. Milan Pacher, which was played in the World Junior Championship, started: 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. O-O d5 8. Nd2 Be7 9. Qe2 O-O 10. Rd1 Qc7 11. b3 a5 12. Bb2 a4 13. Nf3 c5 14. exd5 exd5 15. Re1 Be6 16. Ng5 Ng4

Position after Black's 16th move

From here White made the classic attacks at h7 and g7 and proceeded to win: 17. Bxh7+ Kh8 18. Bxg7+ Kxg7 19. Nxe6+ fxe6 20. Qxg4+ Kxh7 21. Re3 Rf6 22. Rh3+ Rh6 23. Rxh6+ Kxh6 24. Re1 Rf8 25. Rxe6+ Kh7 26. Qh5+ Kg8 27. Qxd5 1-0

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Susan Polgar files suit

A news article reports that grandmaster Susan Polgar filed suit against the US Chess Federation and 14 other associates and entities:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Recent Instance of Underpromotion

The World Junior Championship is also going on. In a very recent game, between Dmitry Andreikin and Matas Narmontas, the following position was reached:

With White to play, White showed alertness by underpromoting 67. b8=N+, giving him decisive advantage. If White had promoted to a queen, then Black can swipe it off the board by 67. ... Ra1+ K moves 68. Rb1+ K moves 69. RxQ with about an equal position.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Reminiscences of Chess in the Early 1990s

Chess, to me, was in something like a Golden Age in the early 1990s. I was in college, and lived in the surrounding neighborhood. My interest in chess was rejuvenated--I found players in the local coffeehouses. One of the coffeehouse players, who became a friend, and who died this year, had a penchant for sacrificing his queen. His queen sacrifices were not always sound. I don't even think it was sound most of the time. Another player, self-employed in real estate, founded a chess club in one of the apartment buildings he owned. The amount of space in the chess club was comparable to the Marshall Chess Club in New York. Not only informal games were played but also rated tournaments. This lasted for a few years; the founder, alas, got into a car accident and eventually died. The chess club ended. I and others followed developments in the chess world: thrilled by the attacking games in the Short-Kasparov Championship match in 1993; informed by the strategies and play in the Anand-Kasparov Championship match in 1995; the great veteran and former World Champion Anatoly Karpov scoring 11 out of 13 at Linares in 1994; a new generation of players coming to the fore, such as Anand, Kramnik, Shirov, Adams, Kamsky, Polgar, Gelfand, Topalov, Ivanchuk, Svidler, Morozevich.

Engraving of the Staunton and Saint-Amant Match, 1843

Not long ago, at an open book fair, I bought, as storm clouds approached, "British Chess" by Kenneth Matthews. It seems that the book came out in 1948. An interesting feature of the book is the reproduction of pictures and illustrations--some of which are hundreds of years old.

The picture above is from the book, which is a nineteenth century engraving of the match between Staunton and Saint-Amant, in Paris 1843.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Howard Staunton Memorial Tournament

The Howard Staunton Memorial Tournament is presently going on. In a game between Nigel Short and Jan Timman the following position was reached:

Grandmaster Raymond Keene says that White should have played 19. Nd6! You can see the game at one of my favorite chess site: