Saturday, 15 February 2020

Still Open & World Championship

We are still open!  Juniors Six pm to 7 pm and Adults after 7 Monday nights.

This year is an exciting year in the chess world.  The candidates tournament to decide who will challenge Magnus Carlsen for the World championship crown begins March the 15th.  The match for the title will be played later this year, details are still to be finalised.

I'm a big fan of Magnus Carlsen and his right to be known as a deserving world champion would be hard to argue against.  His last 2 title defences though have been a little underwhelming with his match against Fabiano Caruana ending with every game drawn.  Magnus retained his crown in the rapid tie-break.  Perhaps to be regarded as one of the game's titans he will need a more convincing defence in the next match.  Watching Magnus over the last year nobody has beaten him in classical chess.  He seems to either destroys his opponent with elegant ease or mysteriously play sub-par, get into difficulties, but find robust defence to find a draw.

Whoever emerges from the bear-pit of the candidates knows they have an even tougher task to wrest the crown from the champ. 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Kill the monster

Imagine you are a weaker player facing a much higher rated oppenent.  First round of a knockout tournament.  You have White, there is a chance right?

Play through the game to see if the all seeing calculation monster was defeated

Click here for the game

Monday, 1 May 2017

How to read a chess book

I was browsing the internet at work the other day and came across an article called "How to read a chess book".  The author advised taking notes after each chapter, playing through every annotation and ensuring you understand each point that is been made.  I don't disagree with this approach and it may even be the best way to absorb knowledge.

Its just a little on the dull side for my taste. 

I work, have a family and a healthy running obsession, so time to 'study' is limited.  I do, however really enjoy playing through really well anotated games.  Not too many variations, just enough explanation so that I can understand the game.  I have just finished reading "The most exciting games of 2016" by Balogh, Maze & Naiditsch, published by Chess evolution.

In that book my favourite game was between Topalov and Carlsen.  Carlsen plays a beautiful strategic master piece and wins a nice game.  Balogh does a good job explaining the key ideas.

Below you can play through the game with my notes, I can't claim I understood all the points on my own and I have quoted the GM where he did most of the work, but I didn't want to just copy out what he had written, so I have tried to incorporate my own understanding.

Click the link below, for the chessbase viewer, or play through the Gameknott app.


Play through the game

Friday, 14 April 2017

A Recent Game

Here is a recent game that I played at Wakefield.  I lost a piece very early, which my opponent kindly returned a few moves later.  There then followed some 'normal' chess before my opponent found a nice idea swapping knight, bishop and rook for 3 pawns and my queen.  Leaving an interesting unbalanced postilion.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Magic Pawn

One of my favorite games from David Bronstien's Zuric 53 is the Magic pawn game between Kotov and Petrosian.

Black exchanges pieces on d4 leaving a pawn on the square which is doubled and isolated.  Easy to capture, or so it seems, but the magic pawn has a charmed life!

Please click the link below to play through the game with a chessbase view, or use the chess viewer below.

ChessBase Game

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Home work Xmas 2015

Have a look at the below position.  Its White to play what would you do?

The game is from the first world championship match between Anand and Carlsen in 2013.  Carlsen is White and needed a draw to claim the crown.  He needed to avoid losing and just needed to be careful not to give Black anything to pounce on.  Still he needed only 19 seconds to play his next move.


15.Rac1. Magnus understood that Black has pressure on the c-file and Black wants to play ...b5 to erode the White centre and exploit his pressure on the c-file.

The game continued to a draw and Carlsen was crowned 15th World chess champion.

What would you have played?  Perhaps you have heard that rooks belong on open files and wanted to play Rd1.  General principles are there as advice when there are no other concrete factors on the board.
Lets have a look at the mistake 15.Rad1? b5

Black will play ...bxc4 when the pawn on c4 is terminal.  White's best move would probably be 16.Rc1.

Moving the other rook 15.Rfd1?! b5, 16.Rac1

still allows bxc4, but then White has some tactics with the powerfully placed rooks to defend the weak pawn on c4.

After ...bxc4, 17.bxc4 the c-pawn can't be captured, as White has the cute 17...Qxc4, 18.Nd5

Black can first play 17...h6, 18.Bf4 Rfd8 (Black still can't take the pawn due to the Nd5 trick.) 19.Qf3

White has managed to hold the c-pawn, but it's clear to see that it is forever weak.  It would be a clear target for Black to build an attack around.
Strong players will try not to take on such static weakness, as even if they can be defended it means defending passively hoping the other side runs out of resource.  Of course Magnus Carlsen is a class act and completely understood the position.

Remember general principles only after concrete analysis of the position.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Homework 4

Position 4.1
1.e4 e5, 2.Nf3 Nf6,
Now what do you play?  Try and think about Black's options and how you would answer them.
 Position 4.2
Its Black to play and he can win a good pawn here.  Can you find the moves?

Scroll Down for hints.

week 3 answers:
Position 3.1

1.d4 Nf6, 2.c4 e6, 3.Nc3 Bb4 is the Nimzo-Indian Defence, this is a good opening for both sides and is rich in ideas and variations.

I asked what would you play as White.  Here are some moves

4.e3 - The Rubinstein

4.Qc2 - The classic and my choice, see below

4.Nf3 - Kasparov

4.Bg5 - Leningrad

4.a3/f3 - Samisch

4. g3 - Fianchetto

4. Qb3 - 

4. Bd2 - This is the standard choice of the beginner, not that its bad there are loads of Grandmaster games in this line, but after 4...0-0, 5.a3 Be7 is ok for Black and leaves White's bishop on d2 poorly placed.  There is still an ocean of chess to play.

4.Qc2 would be my choice as White 4...0-0 (Black also has 4...d5 or 4...c5)
5.a3 Bxc3, 6.Qxc2 d5 - White would argue he has the bishop pair, while Black would point to a lead in development.  Almost all the top players have played this line at one time or another, with Carlsen and Kasparov topping the list of greats!

Position 3.2

Remember Black to play and win.
1...Nxg5! - Black creates a loose piece. 2.Nxg5 dxc4! Black attacks the queen, but the main point is he also reveals an attack on the newly created loose white knight.  This double attack loses a piece and the game.
3.Qxc4 Qxg5
Remember Loose Pieces Drop Off (LPDO)

Look at the pawn on e5 can it be captured?

Is the knight really pinned?  Can it take a pawn?