Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Cleaning House

After coming back from a hiatus, I checked the links on the sidebar of this website for relevance, and found that most linked sites no longer exists. In the time that I fell by the wayside, so did they. Attrition, chess blogs, like business enterprises, fall victim to its fatal effects. Maintaining a blog requires considerable attention, writing, editing, analyses, and graphic-making. Perhaps, a blog spewing chess gossip or paparazzi-style reports take less effort, but this website deals with the game itself. Bloggers lose interest, get tired, or sick, pursue other forms of self-expression, or outright stop existing. And then they go silently into the night.

The links have been updated. They include the three chess-playing sites that have cultivate a substantial following-- Chess.com, lichess.com, and the Internet Chess Club. Between these three sites, you can have your fill of competition. When I am lagging in one, another site gives me a reprieve from, say, a 3-game losing streak. It is a conundrum. Don't ask me to explain. 

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Not All Material Gain is Good

It has been a long time since my last post. A medical emergency needed to be addressed in 2014, plus a persistent condition of stasis ( laziness in common language ) are to blame. But, all is well now.

For my next post, I present a situation in chess that occurs often in play. Greed plays a part in the game, and a player in a desperate situation may pin his hopes on his opponent's grabbing of material to get out of a bind. The position below, from one of my games played online, is a prime example.

As you can see, Black was on the verge of checkmating White. In a last ditch effort, I played 21. Ba7+. All Black had to do was to sidestep the attack by not capturing the bishop. Capturing the bishop would only lead to further play by White. Mate on g2 was inevitable if Black played 21...Ka8.

However, the game continued with 21... Ka7  22.Qa5+ Kb8  23. Qd8+ Ka7  24.Qa5+ and White achieved a perpetual check to save his game.

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

The final position of a smothered mate in one of my games, these positions somehow always end up with a peculiarity that borders on the comical. Not only is the Black King and Queen forked, but the Rook on b8 is also en prise. Life just isn't worth living anymore once on the receiving end of a smothered mate.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Reversal of Fortune

Having played carelessly, I found myself in this seemingly hopeless position. Not only would I lose the exchange, but end up losing both rooks in two moves. I thought about resigning, but decided that desperation was better than resignation. I could see some kind of counterplay after White was finished picking up material. Play continued with 13...hg  14.Qh8+ Kf7  15.Qa8

Here we were after losing both my rooks. Although this was an online game, my opponents glee was palpable. He was as contented as a fat cow on the range. But now, the counterattack...  15...Qb4+  16.c3 Qb2 threatening the rook and mate on d2  17 Rd1 Qc3+. White would not escape if he played 16. Ke2 because of 16...Qd2+  17.Kf3 Qf2++

We are almost there. White was forced to play 18. Ke2 Bb5+ bringing another piece into the attack. 19. Rd3 Qd3+ (better than 19...Bd3+). 

Checkmate would follow very soon beginning with 20. Ke1 Qd2++ I don't think that my opponent appreciate it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A position from one of my games at the 2014 Club Championships of the Bergen Chess Mates in Ridgewood, New Jersey, I submitted it to Houdini3 and Fritz13 for analysis and both liked the continuation 28...Nb8. It's a line I didn't consider. I played, what seemed to me, a move that wins immediately. Can you surmise what that move was?

The line that the computers preferred, after some analyses, was more artful and mature than the move I made. It involved some hang time and treading water, teasing White with the possibility of a back rank mate. It required exact play. It went 28...Nb8  29.Kh2 Nc6  30.Rc1 g6  31.Ra1 Nd4  32.Rc1 Kg7  33.Ra1 Nb3 and Black wins. Well, that was lovely. Wasn't it? But it is something an amateur like me shouldn't be fooling around it. As Capablanca advised, go for the simplest win.

So, what move did I play? I played 28...Rd2! I thought it was a nifty move, and one that my opponent didn't expect. Play continued with 29.Ra1 Rd3  30.Ra2 Rd4  31.Ra7 Nf8 and White resigned.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Once in a while, one gets a chance to play a ( Should I dare say?) Tal-like move and get away with it. It's the 23rd move in an online game, and I just had to get to Black's king somehow while the going was good. Doubled rooks on an open E file, a wonderfully entrenched knight on E5 plus Black's pieces were underdeveloped with his king side porous as a sieve. What more do I require to win a position like this?

Quite often, when you can already smell victory, a violent, forcing move will do the trick. I looked at 23. Ng6+. But after 23...Qg6 24. Re7, it seemed that Black could hold his position together. 

So, I found this move, 23.Nc6. I hoped to lull Black into thinking that I committed a gross blunder. It didn't make any sense, did it? Black captured the knight with 23...Qc6 to which I replied 24. Re7. Mate was threatened on h7 and the Black queen had no way to come to the rescue. The knight move proved to be a true positional sacrifice by deflecting a defender away from the action and woefully unable to make it back in time. 

Play continued 24...h5  26. Qe3,Qf6  27.Qh6+ and game over very soon.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

This was Round 2 of the Spring Swiss at the Bergen County Chess Mates in Ridgewood, New Jersey. My opponent made a series of weakening moves in the opening, including exchanging off his white-squared bishop, creating weaknesses in the white squares. I was pleased to know, after the game, that Fritz13 suggested moves that I actually played like plunking my knight on the d5 square to attack the black queen when it was on c7 and also the moves 11. c3 and 12. Qb3 which sought to exploit the a2-g8 diagonal. 

In this position, black had just played 13...h5 hitting my bishop on g4. My first inclination was to retreat the bishop to e2, keeping the F file open for the rook on f1 bearing down on the weak pawn on f6. I expected black, however, to close the position with 14...g5.

I decided to invest a few more minutes into looking for a way into black's position. It seemed to me that black's position was loose and weak that there must be a decisive stroke somewhere that would blow the position open.

I found the right move, not by following a line of analysis, but by recognizing a very weak square in black's position--- f7. So, I left my bishop en prise and captured with 14. fg6!

Black realized that the immediate threat was 15. Nf6+. Not only was this a seriously disconcerting check but it would also open up the diagonal for my queen to land on f7 with a mate. Black attempted to divert my queen with 14... Na5, hoping that I would play 15. Qb5+ to which black would respond with 15...Nc6. This maneuver would get my queen off the a2-g8 diagonal.

I crashed in with 15. Nf6+ anyway since black must address the check before he can attack my queen. At this point, however, black resigned since there will be a heavy loss of material and a losing position if play went on --- 15... Qf6  16. Qb5+ Nc6  17. Rf6 Bf6  18. Qb3 Nd8.