22 October, 2014

Chess : A State of Mind by William Hartston

I found this via an interesting blog  called mccreadyandchess that was new to me : mainly chess, but a few other things thrown in as too. 

Here you go, a documentary on chess from 1986, created by Bill Hartston, once the go-to commentator and observer for the British media when they were fascinated by the goings-on in the chess world, but needing a informed guide through.

I have to say that Tal looks very creepy (those eyebrows and look ! ), that Spassky performs an amazing vocal imitation of a squeaky Karpov, and that it reminded me that lots of men in the 80s wore jumpers under their suits or jackets !

Fischer's is the least " American-sounding" American voice I have heard for a long time, but I recall having that thought before about American voices from the 40s, 50s and 60s. 

Enjoy, I certainly did !

Chess : A State of Mind by William Hartston

20 October, 2014

Updated Tactics posts

I've used these few posts as a reminder on missed tactics, in that I can view the post and work out or remember the combination.

Now updated, by adding the solution

Missed tactics 4 

A good Combination  

Missed Tactic 3  

Missed Tactic 2 

Missed Tactic 

16 October, 2014

A blitz swindle

An ongoing discussion : is blitz chess really " chess"  ?

In the end that depends what you think "chess" is, and why you play blitz chess.

I think it has its place, and taken for that it is useful/fun/relaxing/etc, in its way..

Here's a recent position : white to play, more than enough time left for both sides...

White to play
Subjectively, as White I have lost, as I have two pieces en prise, and few genuine prospects.

If this was a proper "chess"  game, I would either resign immediately, or play a few moves just to see how Black would tie this up.

However, it is blitz, and the chess part of my mind tells me that " If that Black Knight wasn't on d7, then Qf8 is mate , or if my knight was on f5, and the Ng8 was gone, then Qd7 is mate" so luck and psychology could play a large part here.

I reason that Black could think that he has won the knight(h4) and/or the rook(b1) easily, so may well be inclined to be focusing on either of those ( most likely the higher-valued Rook ) rather than white's remote mate threats.

Nf5 is not a move likely to succeed, since the pawn will snap it up and there are still two pieces en prise. So, how to remove the guarding knight ? 

It seems obvious that d5 is the only move to play.

Not much threatened directly, but if Black is one who reacts to an immediate threat, maybe he will capture, and exd is more likely than cxd ( since that allows Qxb5 ), or it may even be dismissed as a distraction to the real meat of the hanging Rook or Knight  ?

If the e-pawn captures then Nf5 is possible.

So, I play d5....

The response is an expected material gain : Bishop takes Rook !  

I play the pawn capture, dxe . Black immediately responds Ne5, and loses to Qf8 mate !

Yes, its a swindle, but I feel very happy to have won, and by such a " devious"  method, plus  I have exercised my tactical brain a little, spotting two possible mates, and being rewarded, courtesy of a greedy attitude, with one of them !

An example of how an amateur mind works ? human psychology ? or just blitz chess ?

08 October, 2014

Missed tactics 4

From a recent Team League game...

White has a great opportunity presented to him, after Rd1 chases the Queen away...do you see it ?

White to play ...

The mate threat on h7 is very powerful, and though it draws your eye, the tactical target, and sacrificial bait , is elsewhere...

Unfortunately, White missed the clues, and played Nce4, to exchange pieces,and lose the advantage.

Highlight for solution [ The target is e5.  1. Rxe5  Nxe5 and if Nx35, then Qh7#. Instead, if the queen moves, then Nxf6 removes the guard.  A nice combination !   ]

26 September, 2014

A good finish !

From a recent blitz game...

This can hardly be called a puzzle or that much of an exercise, since, effectively,  it plays itself, but it was good to have seen this ( + a couple of previous moves to set it up ).

It is undeniable though, that Black played himself into this situation.

White to play and win
The sort of finish that I wouldn't manage in standard chess !

Highlight for solution [ 1.Nf6+  Kf8 loses material or is mate  via Rh8+, Rh7+, Be6# or Kg8 ( as played in the game ) leads to mate with 2. Rh7#   ]  

21 September, 2014

Missed Tactic 3

Well, a slight fabrication, since the actual position didn't occur, but it was one possibility that may have arisen.

A recent  game has been very level and threatens to continue as such from this position.

Black has just played Nxe5, winning a pawn.

The actual position Nxe5

White did, of course, play the very sensible Rc8+ in reply, which would eventually regain the pawn, but my mind wondered...

What if White decided on Nd4, to threaten the Rook ? Where could the Rook  retreat to ? 

Wrong thought to have, as Nd4 presents Black with a very nice tactic !

A possibility after Nd4

What should Black play ?

Highlight for solution [ The Rook doesn't need to retreat... 1...Rxf2 2. Kxf2 Nd3 forking king and Rook : Black is a pawn up either way  ]