Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This was black's French Defense gone awry, having allowed white a decisive space advantage on the kingside with all of black's pieces bottled up behind a wall of pawns, including the proverbial bad bishop. Black made a dash for freedom with 29...Ra8-Rd8 (diagram). The object, of course, is the pawn on d4 after the rook takes the bishop on d6. Black gets some counterplay once his queen penetrates into white's position. But I had some tricks of my own, and sprung 30. Bf5 on my opponent. My opponent concentrated on which pawn to capture my bishop with that he missed a better reply in 30... Nd4, a sac of his own. Taking my bishop with 30... ef5 makes 31. Qd5+ possible and white will win 31...Qf7 32. Rg6+. So, he took with the G pawn, 30...gf5, and expected 31. Re6 in return. However, the h5 square is now undefended and I played 31. Qh5 instead. This was the winning move. The game went 31... Rd6 32. Qe8+ Qf8 33. Rh8+ Kh8 34. Qf8+ Kh7 and then 35. ed6. 1-0

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Once in a while you end up with a position that is noteworthy just by dint of its peculiarity. You will see that white is a rook up but his queen and king have become the unfortunate victims of the black rook when he played 36... Rh8. Well, there is a way out. I played 37. Rf7+ Kg1 (forced) and then 38. Ra8+ wins it for white even after 38...Qb8. My king and queen remained skewered by the rook.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I misplayed this ending, and ended up with a draw. My excuse, it was a blitz game. What else? Sometimes, this rule that we have to centralize our king in the endings gets in the way of a won game. But, it is when to apply the rule or not is what makes chess a game of good judgment. My immediate inclination was to get my king into the action, and I played 42. Kf2? Bad move. The trick here was to push the D pawn immediately where the black king would catch up to it at d7. By then, the bishop can support the pawn while the white king moves up to confront black's G & H pawns. In some variations, there are themes of zugswang. The pivotal point here is that black's king is tied down to the defense of D8, and his counterpart is free to roam.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Oh, how wonderful it is to find humor in missed opportunities. One thing that chess surely teaches everyone is that no one is infallible. There are optical illusions, and there are quirks of the brain. My opponent may have two pieces for a rook, but I had two more pawns on the queenside. I had just played my rook to d2, intending to double up on the f2 square with my other rook, when my opponent relied with Bd1??? I was so fixated on my plan that I simply decided that the e2 square is no longer mine. So, like any red-blooded chessplayer, I grabbed a pawn, Rb2. Sometimes, I need a mate in one to land and peck me on the head.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Who has never lost a game? Tell me, who? If we go over our games and identify where we erred, we should also critically look at how we behave after losing a game. It's not a problem for most people. Most people possess the maturity and the grace to not take away anything from the winner. But you've met the people who I've met, those who are uncouth enough to demean your victory. They may not be exactly the same people, but essentially they are. I defeated a young man once who declared our game " boring " and left without showing me how much more exciting the game could have been. And there was this guy who kept staring at me after I played a move that turned his winning game into a draw, like I wasn't suppose to do my best for my own interest. I don't see any problems with the game, but I see them in the people who play the game. Take a look at Korchnoi against Peter Leko. Yes, this is just one more manifestation of Korchnoi's crankiness. The dismissive wave of his hand in the end could only mean, " Your game is crap and you shouldn't have won the game. "