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: