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.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bergen Chess Mates. Deep Freeze 2014. Ridgewood, New Jersey.

The Bergen Chess Mates of Ridgewood, New Jersey commenced their annual Deep Freeze Tournament two weeks ago. They hold this tournament every year in the dead of Winter. Approximately thirty players with varying strength participate in the tournament. The time control is G/30, three rounds, one round per Monday night. In the first round game, my opponent and I arrived at this position.

At this point, I had an idea that I could net his queen for my rook given the very exposed position of the White king. All I had to do was to get my queen out of the way. I almost went for 31...Qh5 threatening 32...Rg6, but fortunately I saw that this would fail against 32. Qb8+ Kh7 33. Rh1 skewering my king and queen and game over. I had to play 31...Qc8. The game continued with 32. Qh4 Rh6 putting  White in deep trouble particularly regarding that weak square h3.

White accepted his fate with 33. Qg3 and play continued 33...Rg6  34. Qg6 fg 35. d5 Qg4+ and Black went on with a winning game.

After the game, there was some kibitzing. Someone pointed out that I should have played, in the position above, 45...g2 with White having no way to stop the pawn from promoting such as 46. Re4 g1 (Q)+. This was true, but my actual move was not bad at all which was 45...Qe4 Ne4  46. g2 and this pawn could not be stopped from promoting as well.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Sometimes, you get the opportunity to play a move that accomplishes several things at the same time, kinda like a linchpin move that holds everything together. I infiltrated my opponent's position quite well, but no winning combination has yet been found to force a win. Black played 20...Qa5-Qa6 (diagram) attacking the rook on b7. This is the sort of move that may look reasonable at first glance, but it actually loses big time. White's 21. Nc5! defends the rook, and attacks the black queen at the same time. But this move brings the house down since it opens up a line of attack on the f7 square. That's the real problem. Black played 21... Qc6 completely missing the point. There truly wasn't any game-saving move to play. After 22. Qf7+, the game was over.