19 July, 2017

Black to Play 3

Maybe practicing tactics does pay off ....

From a recent game

Black to play
 Solution [  23...Nxc5   ]

12 July, 2017

Tactic : ChessTempo 2

Here's an example of one of my 'problem areas', classed as "Pins" by ChessTempo.

Black to play
The current problem rating is 1455 and average time to solve is 2 minutes .


I took a little longer than average, and saw the main thread and solution, but not the depth that chesstempo gives as the full continuation after the solution (and here I mean 11 moves in this case ).

Its also worth noting that the tactical motif  isn't always straightforward. It will be there, but not always the obvious one you see on display (or even if it is on display).  Often the solution is to extract yourself from it, or to create it for your advantage, all of which add variation to the solutions.

The comments, as always, are illuminating, in that there is a wide range of thinking on display. 

As a paid up member I see the full solution, with all ( well, a lot ) of incorrect moves and variations available to check, which answer many of the comments posted.

However, there is often an instructive comment giving an underlying explanation, expanding on the variation solutions given : well worth reading.

05 July, 2017

White play : mate in 4

I realised I have posted many 'Black to Play' positions, so for a change, here is 'White to Play": and mate in 4, courtesy of the London System and a naive opponent.

White to play

Yes, this is just a blitz game, but it was still amazing to see Black's last move of 9...f5. 

I didn't need to think much before moving, and after that, the mate just played itself.

This is a simple, and obvious, example of not thinking in the opening. Black just wanted to set up his "system" of crenellated pawns, saw a direct attack possible on the bishop , and played it. Result misery...at least eventually.

You don't need me to post the solution !

28 June, 2017

Tactic : Chesstempo

After the psychological disaster of my return to ChessTempo a few weeks ago, I re-appraised how I could use it.

Now, instead of just using the 'Standard' set and allowing a rating to "judge me", I have also created what are called "personal" sets and am training with them.

The statistics on the x-hundred problems I tried initially, gave me two main areas where I was failing, namely what ChessTempo calls "Counting" and "Pins".

So now I have custom sets that I can use, and its not such a major ratings hit if I fail on a problem.

I also created a set of standard problems that I have always failed at, and went through that to ( in fact going through it for the second time, as there are still about 60 problems I have not solved correctly ).

Although this might be viewed as an indirect approach by not being rated via the standard set, it has encouraged me to keep practicing tactics on an almost daily basis for 15 -30 minutes, so I would say the end  (improving my tactics skills ) justifies the means employed !

An unexpected bonus with using these personal sets is that most errors are usually associated with not "seeing" the entire board, ie missing a threat or a piece, rather than with the problem motif itself. Somehow, I think that points to the probable root cause of most missed tactics or blunders !

Here's a neat problem taken from one of my personal sets. 

It is so simple once you see the motif, but was very satisfying to solve.

21...Bf6  White to Play

The ChesssTempo link ( with solution )  is here.

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 ]