25 March, 2016

A London Mate

I'm sure I've mentioned to all my avid fans that I  play the "London System". 

No?  Oh, well, I do, simply because it requires little maintenance, absolves me having to play 1.e4 and deal with the Sicilian fanatics and enables me to reach the middlegame relatively intact, if rarely with the advantage that is supposed to be expected with playing White.

Although often touted as a 'boring opening', leading to many draws, like any opening, it has enough in it to gain quick wins, often with the 'Greek gift' type of attack.  

However, I think the below is an unusual type of mate to be revealed by this particular opening , to say the least.

I admit, gained with a lot of ( I assume unwitting ) help from Black, and I doubt I would ever see this outside of blitz. 

Really, this was "trickery" against someone who must be completely naive in chess, to allow the manuoevre Nd2-b3-c5 plus Bb5, when his king was sitting at d2.

I certainly don't feel guilty : sometimes satisfaction is its own entertainment.

11. Nc5#

21 February, 2016

Material or Mate ?

One thing I enjoy about a blitz game are those occassions when one side has the upper hand, but the other has an immediate riposte, like some "sword of Damocles",  hanging over his opponent.

Usually, this is heightened by the time factor : the attacking side could win easily with enough time to think, but that's the problem !

Here's an example from recent play.

Black is more than ahead in material, but it seems like his Knight is pinned to his Queen, and a lowly pawn is about to regain the piece.

But is there a simple way out ? 

Has Black just lost a piece ?
Yes, there is !  In fact more than one, but the Queen is the better piece to use, and 20...Qc5+ forces Kh1 ( of course, Kf1 is mate with Qf2 ).

After Kh1, the Knight moves in for a check, forcing Kg1 allowing Knight takes Queen, and prompting a resignation.

21...Nf2+ 22. Kh8  : Mate in 3

However, 22...Nxg4 is not the best move, though of course it crushes White's resolve and the game is over.  

There is a much quicker and more elegant mate in 3, and the clue is in a previous post, if you need it !

14 February, 2016

T67 Openings

Below, the top 10 Openings for T67

4 King pawn, 4 Queen pawn, and 2 others, Dutch and English.

Hardly much of a change over the seasons in major openings played, with the split between King- and Queen-pawn, much the same as before, even the percentage is close, 51% for King's Pawn this season,compared to 53% : not  a significant change.

In fact, this is effectively the same as T66, with a switch of ranking between the Spanish Game/Ruy Lopez and the Indian/Torre Attack, and only by 1 game, plus the Réti loses out to the Dutch ( but since the Réti  is often played as a transpositional opening, its hard to tell what the intended opening was :)

Oddest opening, at least from my view, is 1.e3, occurring 4 times.

Appropriately, White won only 1 of these games ( and that was via a blatant Black blunder), losing 2 and drawing the other.

Only 6 games in the King's Gambit, with a slight edge to White, but no Falkbeer Counter-Gambit this time around.

Eleven games played with less than 10 moves, but no traps, just over-looked tactics.

Longest game : 124 moves and decided by an unfortunate mistake by the knight-less side to leave a King, Knight and Pawns vs King and Pawns ending, which was played well on both sides until, as would seem inevitable, the knight endured at the end.  

However,  could it have been saved by Black at the 111th move ? 

Black to play
Probably due to tiredness or time-trouble, Black played a2+,leading to a loss. 

What should Black play to give himself a good chance of a draw ?

                           T67 Top 10 Played Openings

B20-B99Sicilian 119 (15%)
C00-C19French Defence 70 (9%) 
D00-D05Queen's Pawn ( General ) 66 (9 %)
A10-A39English  52 (7%)
D30-D69 Queen's Gambit Declined45 ( 6.0 % )
B10-B19Caro-Kann41 (5.3 % )
C60-C99Indian & Torre Attack40 (5 %)
A45-A50Spanish Game39 (5 %) 
A80-A99Dutch23 ( 3 % )
E60-E99King's Indian  28 ( 3.77 % )

All games were re-indexed by ECO code using Chess Assistant 11,. 

The Opening classification ranges ( ie grouping ECO codes), I based on those from Chessville (many thanks, although it seems to have disappeared :(

See also T56 Summary,  T55 SummaryT51 Summary,  T50 Summary and T47 SummaryT57-59 Summary , T61 SummaryT62 Summary,  T63 Summary and T66 Summary

08 February, 2016

A nice combination

The following is one of the few times that I really felt that there was something in the position that screamed for action ( and when I was proved correct ! ).

The game had been uneventful. Black had attacked early, exchanged pieces and was out with his Queen, and his King in the centre: White is clearly better.

However, as is often the case, I was at a loss what to do next.

How to Proceed?
In a rare moment of remembering just to attack in a better position, I played a4 and began exchanging pieces to clear the position, since I sensed that there must be something to gain, and ended up in the situation below...
White to play and win
I admit I didn't calculate all of the combination, but I saw enough to reach a winning position, and then Black helped me with a weak move as well, since he had missed what I saw when I envisaged the combination.

It might only be a blitz game, but it was a satisfying feeling to find and play a good combination  !

What to play ?

03 February, 2016

Not enough focus…

Christmas, New Year, time off work, new roles at work and just general living, have put this blog on a back-burner since early December, but just to show some sign of activity, for me, if no-one else, here are a couple of useful positions from a recent blitz game.

I had manoeuvred and, dare I say, planned to be in this position, with the intention of swapping off the Bishop for knight.

However, I missed a nice tactic, as I had too much focus on previous plans, rather than viewing the position.There is a much better move here than Nxe3 that I played.
Black to Play

I won this game,but  I missed the mate in two that was available, probably because of a lack of time ( down to about 10 seconds ).

Its both hidden, because of the knight on d4,  and obvious at the same. Any takers ?
Mate in 2
 Out of interest, I used a new tool I found to write this post ‘off-line’', ie not via Blogger.

Its new, based on ( possibly , inspired by  ? ) Windows Live Writer, and just released in the last month or so.

I think its a very neat piece of software, though possibly more useful for a more text orientated blog : view it at Open Live Writer.

05 December, 2015

Too much focus....

...in the heat of the game, is as bad as too little !

White to play and win

In what was probably a losing struggle for me as White at this point, I was focused on winning a pawn (e5) or Bishop, and had worked my Rook to the 7th rank for the purpose, also thinking of using the Bishop at h4 for attacks on the Knight.

So yes, focused, and with more than one idea, but I missed the key idea, since in this position I believed my Bishop was well-placed, defending b4.

A simple combination wins easily for White.  Can you see it ?

On the other hand, you can never get enough of Focus, the band !

It seems amazing that "Hocus Pocus" reached the top 20 in 1972, with its nonsense yodelling vocals, but it did, probably a credit to the skills of all the musicians concerned, and possibly to a more discerning music public back then.

"House of the King" was the B-side of the same single. I thought it was great when I discovered it via a friend's "Focus III" album, but finding the live clip below ( that hair, those boots ! ) is a marvel !

I bought the re-mastered "Focus III" and enjoy it immensely, along with "Focus Live at the Rainbow", both great music, and memories of my youth !

Focus still record and perform, but these days without guitarist Jan Akkerman who remains a solo artist.