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.

08 November, 2015

White to play, and not make the obvious mistake : a cautionary tale

This has echoes of a previous post on focusing on material too much...

White to play
Has Black made a mistake ? The knight has played in front of the Queen ready to be pinned.

But if White obliges with Re1, then the knight has a diversionary job to do... Nf3+ !

White loses the exchange and the game

31 October, 2015

Black to move, with a killer blow

I always enjoy it when White opens with 1.d4.

Replying e6 and seeing 2.e5 appear on the board, allows me to steer straight to the French Defence, and find out if White really intended this or not.

Here's what I saw today....

3. Qg4 ?!
Never seen that so early in a French ( and my database agrees : only two games found, both played in Junior competitions ).

I know why it is played at later times ( often after Bb4+ ) to force the weakening g6 or the return of the Bishop to f8, with the loss of a tempo, but on move 3, it just doesn't work. 

It probably means that White does not know the French Defence, and this was proved true in a short space of time.

Here is the critical position after Black has developed and won material, by chasing the Queen. 

Black to finish White with a killer blow, and not difficult to find.

Black to play and win

25 October, 2015

T66 Openings

Below, the top 10 T66 Openings so far ( Playoffs are ongoing) ...

4 e4 openings, 4 with d4, and 2 others ( Réti/English).

Hardly much of a change in major openings played, nor on the split between King- and Queen-pawn, with 1.e4 grabbing 53% of the games.

Oddest opening was 1.a3, which lost, although the opening can hardly be blamed for the tactical oversights in the game.

One Falkbeer Counter-Gambit, and also nice to see 1.Nc3 appearing twice, once transposing to a Philidor and the other remaining independent. Dirk van Geet would be pleased to see it still in action !

Seven games less than 10 moves, but no traps, just over-looked tactics at fault.

                           T66 Top 10 Played Openings

B20-B99Sicilian 116 (15.6%)
C00-C19French Defence 64 (8.6%) 
D00-D05Queen's Pawn ( General ) 54 (7.3%)
A10-A39English  48  (6.5%)
D30-D69 Queen's Gambit Declined44 ( 6.0 % )
B10-B19Caro-Kann39 (5.3 % )
C60-C99Spanish Game ( Ruy Lopez)36 (4.9 %)
A45-A50Indian & Torre Attack32 (4.3 %) 
A04-A09Reti30 ( 4.0 % )
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 and T63 Summary