21 June, 2017

Black to play : best move ?

What is Black's  best move ?

22. Nf5  Black to play

Top of the class for [ 22... Qf6 ], but second place for [ 22...Qxd3 23. Nxe7+ Kh8  ]

15 June, 2017

Tactic: Black to Play 2

Black to play and win

Black to Play

Full marks for [ 22.... Qxc1 23. Rxc1 Rxc1 a very neat win ]

In the game Black ( nor I, as White ) saw this, instead continuing [ 22...Ng5 ]

08 June, 2017

Tactic : Black to Play

From a recent game. 

Black to play. 

Black to play

I almost found the correct line, but under time pressure missed the killer move, and faded into an advantage for Black, rather than a win.

Fully correct is [27...Re3 28. Qg4 Ne5 29. Nd2 Nxd3 30. Kg1 Qxf4 31. Qxf4 Nxf4 32. Rf1 Nd3

I played [ 27...Re3 28. Q5 Qxg5 29. Bxg5 Rxd3 30. b4 cb 31.ab a6 32.b5 Nb4 33. Bd2 ] where I could still have been much better, but I wasn't :)

Highlight between the brackets to see the moves...

31 May, 2017

A French Defence

After a long time of not using Chesstempo ( the tactics site ), recently I tried to pick up from where I left off in January.

A terrible experience, to be honest. 

I managed to miss simple mates, easy tactics, and plainly obvious combinations, and felt very useless, to be honest.

Switching to something else and returning later, seemed to make it worse, and by the time I tried 'a last one' just before bed, and missed a simple bishop capture and fork I realised that this just was not good.

As a result I stopped chesstempo ( after losing about 100+ rating points ) and next time around played a couple of 15-minute games, one of which I enjoyed, and then spent about an hour annotating afterwards, mainly without an engine, just switching it on at the end.

Anyway, here's the game I played and annotated.  

I think the chessbase widget works, but it does seem not to show the buttons under the board fully. I will leave this post up while I tweak. Click on the move in the text on the right, and use the arrow keys to move works for me. 

Feedback ( game or widget use ) welcome.


[Event "unrated blitz match"] [Site "FICS"] [Date "2017.5.27"] [Round ""] [White "guestALAN"] [Black "signalman"] [Result "0-1"] [Eco "C01"] [Annotator ""] [Source ""] {I have just returned to using chesstempo ( the tactics site) and am experiencing a bad time, showing up my months away from regular practise. After missing a simple combination tactic, and feeling like I was completely useless, I decided to stop the tactics session, play one blitz game, and try to think rather than react.} 1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 {I don't know why this variation, with a very early Nf3, is so popular with white. It reaches a standard French Exchange position, but invariably as Black I manage to get a decent position. I understand that Nf3 is the way that Kasparov played this variation, so maybe that is the reason. Additionally, if Black doesn't follow up with d5, I would guess that White feels good that the French Defence is avoided.} ( 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 {This is the standard way to a French Exchange} ) d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.d4 Bd6 {This is the most popular move and the way I prefer to play, but Nc6 has much better results in Team League ( ie Amateur chess). I prefer Bd6 as it ensures that both Bishop and Knight will be developed aloows quick castling, and gives options on c6. The move Nc6 allows Bb5 to pin the knight. Not much to worry about, but I'd rather not play that way.} ( 4...Nc6 5.Bb5 Bd6 ) 5.Bd3 Ne7 6.Bg5 {I'm never clear why this is played. The riposte of f6 is so simple and obvious, and white loses a tempo.} ( 6.O-O O-O ( 6...Nbc6 7.c3 Bg4 8.Re1 ) 7.Bg5 f6 8.Bh4 ) f6 7.Bh4 O-O 8.O-O Bf5 9.c4 {I remember when I first started playing the Frence Defence and saw this move, I was surprised. However, I have since learned that it is a good, challenging move against the centre, plus an early c4 in the French is recommended by John Watson ( not Sherlock's sidekick, but the Chess theorist !). However in this position, it is way down the list of moves played} ( 9.Bg3 {The most popular} ) ( 9.Re1 {The most succesfull} ) Bxd3 {I want to get rid of my light-bishop, and also reduce White's attacking threats.} 10.Qxd3 c6 {d-pawn is secured.} 11.Re1 {With this move, as far as I can tell, we leave "theory" if that means anything much at amateur blitz level} ( 11.Nc3 ) ( 11.c5 ) Nd7 {A developing move. I wanted to play Bb4 immediately, but resisted.} 12.Nbd2 {A good move. Linking rooks and self-protecting the knights} Bb4 {Pinning the knight, and intending to exchange pieces.} 13.a3 {I considered this a wasted move by White , since I intended to capture anyway : hence no need to attack the Bishop.} Bxd2 14.Nxd2 {A good move and the likely response, since the knights were protectuing each other, plus the Queen still points at h7.} Re8 {I am planning Ng6, followed by Nf4, so want to dispute the e-file} 15.Nf3 Qc7 {Part of the Ng6-Nf4 plan.} 16.Re6 {Not expected, but I assume to double Rooks on the e-file.} ( 16.Bg3 {This is surely better than Re6 ?} ) Ng6 17.Rxe8+ {Bg3 is better as it forces the Queen to move and Black loses a tempo.} ( 17.Bg3 Qc8 ) ( 17.Rae1 Rxe6 18.Rxe6 Nxh4 19.Nxh4 ) Rxe8 18.Bg3 {Now Bg3 is forced, but Nf4 blocks the danger} ( 18.Re1 {Not a good idea !} Rxe1+ 19.Nxe1 Nxh4 ) Nf4 {As planned, but White actually has the advantage now after Bxf4.} 19.Qf5 {A complete surprise. Not even considered in my plans, and not quite sure why it's played. It does keep the Black Queen protecting Nd7, but gives Black an attack. I guess he missed Ne2+.} ( 19.Bxf4 Qxf4 20.cxd5 cxd5 21.Qb5 Qc7 22.Qxd5+ {I didn't see this line at all.} ) Ne2+ {! ..but equally, I see this move, and the following moves that break up the white pawn protection and give white doubled pawns. It must be a good thing !} 20.Kf1 Nxg3+ 21.fxg3 ( 21.hxg3 {This is probably better as it gives more centre protection from the f-pawn} ) dxc4 {A pawn up ! I almost missed this ( believe it or not ) but taking extra time and looking around the board, it was spotted and checked for any traps, which I did not find.} 22.Rd1 {Not sure why. I had little time left to explore why...} g6 {Short of time, I attack the Queen.} 23.Qg4 f5 {..and again. I am gaining clock-time.} 24.Qh4 {I can see what is coming ( vs h7 ) but have time to defend.} Qd6 {I think intending Qf6 to prompt an exchange, or more likely Nf6 to defend h7. Also making the Queen more active.} 25.Ng5 Re7 {Defending h7} 26.Re1 Rxe1+ {Simplifying} 27.Kxe1 Qe7+ {Defending h7, and pinning the knight, as well as check and gaining time!} 28.Kf2 Nf6 {Further h7 defence, and perhaps Ne5 , for an exchange and a passed centre pawn.} 29.Nf3 Nd5 {Offering a Queen exchange, but also quick as I am short on time.} 30.Qxe7 Nxe7 31.Ne5 {Now white will go after my pawns.} Kg7 {Activate king, but I miss a crucial move that puts us equal on material !} ( 31...b5 {! So much better, but I had less than 30 seconds on the clock.} ) 32.Nxc4 Nd5 33.Nd6 b6 {This will secure all Queen-side pawns.} 34.Nc8 a5 35.Nd6 {All things considered these white knight moves were wasted. I'm sure activating the king woudl be better, but given I was short of time, and white wasn't, I guess he was relying on me making a mistake and losing a pawn.} Kf6 {Going for the centre} 36.Nc4 Ke6 {I offered a draw at this point, but as White had about three minutes to my 45 seconds, he declined.} ( 36...a4 {Even now, this should be played. Why do I not see this as essential for such a long time ?} ) 37.Ke2 Kf6 38.Kf3 g5 {I should have been thinking a4 now, and for the next few moves.} 39.h3 h6 {In retrospect h5 is better, but I played h6 to allow a second move of the pawn, and more time.} 40.g4 f4 {Blocking the position, or so I felt. I offered a draw again, which was refused. In fact, engine analysis gives an advantage to white. The move to play was a4 !} 41.Ke2 {I can understand this move, as it gets the king moving to the queen-side, but I would probably have played Ke4 myself. Engine analysis gives Ne5 and a4 as the best for white, but these both edge to a draw. Equally, the engine gives Black an advantage now, but I didn't feel it at the time.} ( 41.Ke4 ) ( 41.Ne5 ) ( 41.a4 ) Ke6 42.Kd3 {Again, I understand why, but the engine wants to play a4.} a4 {Finally, I play it !} 43.Ke4 {This now looked bad for me, as I believed White was heading through to the king-side pawns. I was thinking about Ne3 a lot at this point. Surprisingly, engine analysis gives a significant Black advantage now. How come, I didn't realise that ?} ( 43.Ne5 ) b5 {The only move and an obvious attack on the knight, which allows Ne3} 44.Nd2 Ne3 ( 44...Nf6+ {This is the suggestion from the engine, which I see now a s a good move, but I was short on time and fixated on a plan of Ne3} 45.Kd3 {þ`0`0 `0} Nd7 {þ`0`0 `0} 46.Ke4 {þ`0`0 `0} Nb6 {þ`0`0 `0} 47.Kd3 {þ`0`0 `0} Nc8 {þ`0`0 `0} 48.b3 {þ`0`0 `0} Nb6 {þ`0`0 `0} 49.bxa4 {þ`0`0 `0} Nxa4 {þ`0`0 `0} 50.Ke4 {þ`0`0 `0} Nc3+ {þ`0`0 `0} 51.Kd3 {þ`0`0 `0} Nd1 {þ`0`0 `0} 52.Ne4 {þ`0`0 `0} Ne3 {þ`0`0 `0} 53.g3 {þ`0`0 `0} Ng2 {þ`0`0 `0} 54.Kc3 {þ`0`0 `0} fxg3 {þ`0`0 `0} 55.Nxg3 {þ`0`0 `0} Nf4 {þ`0`0 `0} 56.Nf5 {þ`0`0 `0} Nxh3 {þ`0`0 `0} 57.Nxh6 {þ`0`0 `0} Nf2 {þ`0`0 `0} 58.Kb4 {þ`0`0 `0} Kd5 {þ`0`0 `0} 59.Kc3 {þ`0`0 `0} Nd1+ {þ`0`0 `0} 60.Kc2 {þ`0`0 `0} Ne3+ {þ`0`0 `0} 61.Kd3 {þ`0`0 `0} Nc4 {þ`0`0 `0} 62.Nf7 {þ`0`0 `0} Nxa3 {þ`0`0 `0} 63.Nxg5 {þ`0`0 `0} Nc4 {þ`0`0 `0} 64.Nh3 {þ`0`0 `0} Nb2+ {þ`0`0 `0} 65.Ke3 {þ`0`0 `0} Kc4 {An example of what an analysis engine would do, not that I envisaged it ! þ`0`0 `0`;`0} ) 45.Kf3 {?? Not a good time to make a mistake....} ( 45.g3 Nd5 46.gxf4 Nxf4 {This was much better, and is a draw.} ) Kd5 {Black will win a pawn !} 46.Ne4 {White cannot protect the d- or b-pawn, and will take too long to threaten Black's queen-sdie pawns. The game is over.} Kxd4 ( 46...Kc4 {This is probably much better, as it threatens a lot more and keeps the pawn-capture available} ) 47.Nf6 Nd1 {After this, Black will gain another pawn, and I doubt if even I could lose the game now ! guestALAN resigns} 0-1