04 August, 2014

T61 Openings Summary

Another TL season over, so an appropriate time to look again at what Amateurs play in the opening phase in TL chess.

Hardly changed over the seasons, as the Sicilian Defence is firmly rooted at the top, and the remaining openings played seem to remain more-or-less static, just varying in popularity, although General Queen's Pawn Openings ( ie not specific Queen's Gambits or English or often not with an automatic c4 ) seem to be on the increase at the moment.

Counted in this ( General Queen's Pawn) are 'systems' such as the London or Colle, which I would think are often used by amateurs to cut down on amount of theory required: certainly that applies to me, as I have adopted the London recently.

Other openings remaining most played are the Caro-Kann and French, from a Black point of view, and the English and Spanish from White's perspective.

However, if you consider the most played move, then, technically, 1.e4 is the most used opening move with the reply of e5 just beating c5 followed by e6, c6, d6, d5.

01 August, 2014

Chess Olympiad : Tromso , 2014

The Tromso Olympiad kicks off today, well at least the opening ceremony.

The " live action"  begins in earnest tomorrow.

I will be paying attention to the top seeds, but will also be keeping my eye on the teams and players that I have a "soft spot" for.

Of course, this will include The Netherlands ( especially the women's team and Lisa Schut ), and England ( it would have been great to see Jonathon Hawkins, the new British Champion playing ), plus smaller countries like Portugal and Mauritius, along with players like David Navara or Richard Rapport.

As added  fun, I have entered the Fantasy Chess Olympiad, as dreamed up and launched by Yorkshire Chess. I intended to do this last time around, but was just a little late. This year I am on time, and have entered two teams, one " favourites and emotional ties" , the other statistical.

It will be intriguing to see the results !

Regardless, I am looking forward to some chess that is both entertaining and enjoyable, hopefully without too much politics.

For Olympiad history and statistics, there is no better site than this to wander through.


As a last minute update, I notice that Eva Repkova is playing ( for Slovakia ). 

Why the interest ? Well, with a bit of luck, she may play the Réti Gambit, which seems to be part of her repertoire, and holds  illogical emotional ties for me !  


27 July, 2014

Fast Blitz Mate

Yes, its a Blitz game, but still it shows that paying attention and not making automatic moves in the opening is important.


French Advance , with ( in my experience ) a rare 4. dxc5 which just allows me to accelerate my development.

With what could be an automatic 6. Nc3....

6. Nc3

I had a quicker mate, but took the material first and then saw that 8.., Qe3 was in fact mate.


Yes, my opponent helped me, but I take a little credit for seeing it !!

21 July, 2014

That Mate again....

It doesn't just happen in Amateur TL ...

Up and coming Hungarian GM Richard Rapport disposed of his 2011-rated opponent via the usual trap in 5 moves.

I think I'll avoid the  Caro-Kan as Black for a long time !


Rapport - Rogers, Politiken Cup, 2014



05 July, 2014

Return of Chess Cafe

Finally, after a number of delays, Chess Cafe is back !

I have no idea what the makeover was about, since to my eyes the website has the same layout, and has exactly the same columnists ( saying more-or-less the same things as 6 months ago ! ) but maybe the important changes are "under the bonnet" .

The column I enjoy the most ( Tim Harding's ' The Kibitzer' ) has been continued at his own site during the break, so I didn't suffer too much from the enforced break !

I love his combination of chess + history, and the fact that he displays older games ( often played in a simpler and more understandable style ) from which you can learn. His writing is also fluid,and his chess analysis easy to follow.

The first-returning columns include those of the the two Opening experts ( Abby Marshall and Gary Lane) , both of which hold very little interest for me. Occasionally, I will take a peek, but not that often.

Another I avoid is the ' Chess Evoloution' by Arkadij Naiditsch : far too advanced for this patzer !

I will be eagerly awaiting Karsten Mullers'  " Endgame Corner" . Not so much fun as seeing him on his Endgame DVDs, where his style is incredibly educative, as well as highly amusing, but well worthwhile.

Similarly, Dan Heiseman's "Novice Nook"  will be good to read again. Homely and informative.

The book and product reviews are welcome and interesting to read, but I admit that the Chessbase and sometimes the Convekta/Aquarium section ( when it was there ) were largely not for me .

Although they gave some interesting information ( particularly in Aquarium , as it developed its new ideas on Interactive Deep Analysis ) most of the time I could not comprehend why these columns wrote about such basic usage of the product. Does no-one read a manual any more ?

One column ( or perhaps more correctly, author ) I will undoubtedly still miss is Nigel Davies, whose "Middlegame Motifs'  and "Let's take a look" columns were wonderful, but have not been seen on Chess Cafe for some time.

Luckily, the Archives section at Chess Cafe is still available so if you navigate to here and here, all those instructive middlegame columns are still available to enjoy.

You never know, maybe as July unfolds and more columns are published, new columnists or ideas will be revealed : just have to wait and see !

07 June, 2014

What's the best move ?

In this game, I had just found some space for my Queen after many stressful moves of being close to trapped.

I'd expected White to exchange Queens on c2, but instead he played Qa3.

The exchange of pieces proposed seemed fine for me, and finally resolved the Queen issue.

So, what to play now in response to Qa3?

I chose, not necessarily a ' wrong' move, but certainly not the best.

And you ?

Black to Play