29 March, 2020

Guards ! Guards !

My chess brain still manages to avoid seeing some things...

Below, I saw the threat of a draw from White, and the fact the knight could stop it ( and therefore noted that the knight could not move, unless it gave check ).

What i did not see was that the Knight giving check and being captured, removed the guard from the Rook...problem solved, if I had but seen it !

Black to play

10 March, 2020

The best of a choice of good moves

This problem was one I "failed", although in this case it would not have meant disaster or losing in a real game, but rather not finishing the game as fast as you should.

Here, the correct move is actually the choice of the best of a number of good moves, and that makes it harder.

White to play

02 March, 2020

The endgame...just calculation

I think it was a Daniel King video I watched where he said that the endgame in chess was just calculation, especially when down to a small number of pieces on the board.

He showed how it was done, introduced endgame studies, and how they could help improve both endgame understanding and calculation.

This isn't a study, but it is a very simple problem, as long as you just think it through.

White to move after Ne5-f3

21 February, 2020

A visit from Anastasia

My chess life moves on at a slow pace ( at least in rating terms ).

I enjoy playing the game most of all, which explains the slow pace, as the work to improve has to fit around the work to pay for the creation of the time to do the improvement in, if you understand me.

I play much less blitz these days, as I realise that it is not my forte to calculate at blitz speed, but it is easier to find the time for a blitz game...quite a conundrum !

Here's a nice ending sequence from a recent blitz game...

1. I play Ne7 threatening to win a pawn, but also to cover g6 and g8

2. A suitable response of Ba6 creating a greater threat to my Rook, but easily resolved with Rf3

3. The strange Ne6 ( is he aiming at Nxd4 ? even though its protected ?) allows a visit from Anastasia, who is always welcome

4. One of my favourite checkmates, and it was planned !

26 January, 2020

Gibralter Masters ...a great move

Apparently White ( Bela  Khotenashvili ) had about 20 seconds left when she played the great move Kf1.

Black to Play
Black ( a 2600-rated GM ) responded very quickly, presumably to keep time pressure on his opponent, but unfortunately fell into a well-designed trap.

1...Rd2 failed completely and Black resigned after  2. Rxg5 hxg5 3.Bd3

Wonderful chess !

24 August, 2019

A lost endgame

White to play here and complete the victory...

Yes, this is blitz, and I had already accepted that this was a loss after an interesting middlegame where I had gained the upper-hand  and 2 pawns, but had about 10 seconds left against White's 3+ minutes ( time is my biggest issue in blitz !).

Knowing the time for a slow victory was passed I had sacrificed Bishop for 2 pawns, but it was not a sound play !

However, with two active Rooks I played on and saw White switch from stopping my Rook attacks to throwing in a couple of checks : he began to change focus from stopping me, to winning himself.

Here we are, with Black giving up another pawn ( via Kxa6)  to put the Rooks on the same file .

In fact, here there is only one move that wins for White, although I didn't know it or have the time to plan further than my next move.

My opponent didn't play it, we carried on with Black checking and the White king moving, then 4 moves later White resigned before the mate arrived.

A significant lesson !

White to play and win after 47..Rcb7