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Snits' Training Journal 
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Knight
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:34 am
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Post Training for May 18,2008
I spent most of the day with my wife, so I didn't do much chess-wise today.

I decided to read Steve Giddin's How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire, to see what he has to say about the subject since that is something I need to sort out. The book received good reviews from Jeremy Silman and John Donaldson, plus I have enjoyed some of Giddin's other work so this should be good.

Chapter 1 ,The Keys to Successful Opening Play, talks about the 3 key elements to successful opening play:

1. Knowing the aims of the opening
2. Knowing the value of move orders
3. Understanding typical positions

There is a nice quote at the end of the chapter from Kasparov that basically says all "normal" openings are sound.

I am part of the way through Chapter 2, Variety - the Spice of Life. This chapter discusses the pros and cons of having a narrow or wide repertoire.

Tomorrow is our G/30 night here in Chandler, and Tuesday is the night of our monthly G/60 tournament so I won't get much done in the way of training the next couple of days.

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Mon May 19, 2008 2:48 am
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Knight
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Post Horrible day of chess
Ugh, I played like crap today at the club going 1-2. I should have won a second game, but overall my play was not impressive at all.

I haven't had time to really analyze the games much yet.

First up was a Class A player.



Alekhine's Defense

10..a6 I was thinking of keeping his N out of b5, but I probably should have developed my light square bishop to d7.

11..Nd7 Now I get the crazy idea to move this N to f6 as if it hasn't travelled enough in this game.

16..Re8 I still should be doing something with my light square Bishop, possibly Be6.

It gets ugly fast though. Poor game all around for me.

The 2nd game was against a Class E player. Even in this game which I won I played like poorly.



6..Qa5+ Really weird opening sequence so far. Instead of 5.Bg5 I should have taken the free pawn on d4. I was busy thinking about the possibilities of getting him to take a pawn on c3, then Bxf7+ Kxf7 Qxd8. Of course the response is Bb4+ Qd2 Bxd2 Nxd2. Note to self: look at the reality of the position instead of spending time thinking about all the wonderful things that might be.

7..Qe5 So it looks like we will be trading off queens shortly. I didn't see a way around it, but I guess I could play f3 or Ne2. I played Qe2 though.

After 8..Qxe4 I considered 9.Nf3, but played Qxe4. Then did the bonehead maneuver of not playing Nf3 next.

At this point I am disgusted with myself and decide I need to start playing or I am going
home winless tonight. So I work on getting the rest of my pieces active. He castles opposite side, so I am hoping to get at his King first.

His problem is half of his army is sitting on their starting squares. So I am going get local superiority on the kingside if I can mobilize the rest of pieces quickly.

18.Nf4 I played this because I wanted his B off that diagonal so my N could plant itself on g5.

19..a5 He keeps moving these pawns instead of getting pieces into play.

21.Rhe1 Now I am feeling a bit better, about this game anyways. He still has a N and B on their original squares, and 2 rooks tied to defending pawns.

22.Rxd4! threat pin on the R at d8. If he takes my rook then Re8#. Now the fun begins.

28.Rd6 Threatens a nice mate in 2, but I overlooked it at the time. Rh6+ gxh6
Rh7#. I definitely should have seen that. I briefly had Rh6+ enter my mind, but I forgot about my bishop guarding g8, even though I just got done tormenting him with it. His position is toast though so it doesn't cost me this time.

30..Rd7 overlooking mate in 1.

My last game of the night was against a nice young kid who should be Class B after tonight.



Another Polish (I know I know. I am working on rectifying the openings issue)

Lots of pawn moves to start. I quickly end up with an uncomfortable position which often is the case with the Polish and me.

10.Be3 I should probably just castle here, but I try to relieve some of the tension in the center with 10..exd5 and the resulting trades even though it means giving up my light squared bishop on that diagonal. I start to get upset with myself again around this point because I am having to dig myself out of a hole.

14.Bc5 I probably should just trade but then I wouldn't be able to castle because his Q would be on that diagonal, so I try Nb4 instead.

19.Nf4 Here I am winning. I even start to play it right but I miss a critical move.

19..Bd2 20.e5 Here or the next move I need to play f6 but I don't.

The gamescore is incomplete, but I ended up losing on time (he had a win on the board as well if I hadn't flagged). I should have seen f6, but I wasn't seeing much tonight.

More work to do. :?

If there was any good news tonight it was that we had 8 people show up, which is better than we have been doing at the Monday night club in Chandler. So hopefully it will start to pick up more. Our Sunday club averages between 20-30 people, and the Thursday night club on the west side of town gets around 15 or so.

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Tue May 20, 2008 12:12 am
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King

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Post Re: Snits' Training Journal
Some comments:

Game 1: Why didn't you play d6-d5? It's really much better to play d6-d5 yourself than to allow him to play d4-d5. On moves 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, I would have played d6-d5 instead of your move. When white got enough control of the d5-square, he could play d4-d5 and get an amazing position (on move 11). You got some squares for your knights, but that doesn't compensate for the white monster on d5 which dominates the position.
The lesson you should learn from this game is that when white takes on d6, you recapture with the c-pawn, and white plays d4 (and c4), you should just play d6-d5. Else your position gets too passive and he'll eventually play d5.

Game 2: You quickly got a worse position there. Your opening wasn't too great (2. d4 exd4 3. Bc4?) but his reply (3... d5?) doesn't look too great either. Why didn't you play 4. exd5 and 5. Qxd4, winning a pawn? On move 8, maybe you should have played 8. f3, although it looks ugly. At least it defends the pawn for now.
After that, the attack was executed well. It should not have succeeded, since black could easily have prevented the whole attack (19... a5?? 19... Be6 or 19... h6 is much better). But you finished him off well. It's a pity though that you missed the cute mate 29. Rh6+! gxh6 30. Rh7#, when you get a pure mate with all of your remaining pieces assisting in the mate.

Game 3: The opening was again not great. Please, play something else than 1... b5! It's really bad! In this game also, white quickly got a very comfortable position, where black could only play passively and defend against white's threats. Obviously white was having all the fun. Then around moves 15-20, you actually got out well and got a good position. Indeed, 20... f6 or 21... f6 would have just given you a winning position. But although you missed it, you still kept the advantage with an extra pawn. Even in the final position, if anyone has the advantage, it's black. Just play Rb4 in the final position, meeting Rd4 with Rxd4 Rxd4 Rb8, when you have the initiative and an extra pawn.


Tue May 20, 2008 6:19 am
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Knight
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Post Training for week ending 05/25/2008
I didn't get much done this week. I had to travel to Iowa for a nephew's graduation. I did manage to do some
tactics problems with convekta software while on the plane. I also read up to chapter 8 in Giddin's How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire. Most of the time I was in Iowa though, my little half-brothers had me too wore out by the end of the day to get any studying done. I couldn't get more than 10-15 minutes in before I could no longer keep my eyes open.

At the airport yesterday I was reading a bit about the Gruenfeld since it appears to be one of Ivanchuk's main responses to 1.d4 (have to love chessbase and the player's dossier capability). I also spent some time playing with the CB search mask facility, in particular the position and maneuver tabs, and I have a better understanding of that.

Tonight is the night for our G/60 monthly tournament. It is the last 2 rounds. At this point I am guaranteed the U1750 prize (but that is not saying much as there are 2 of us below 1750 this month).

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Tue May 27, 2008 11:45 am
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Knight
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Post Training for 5/27/2008
Well I went 1/2 last night at the G/60 tournament. Overall the tournament is pretty much a wash. I should gain about 13 points to get me back to 1482 or so. So a 3 point drop for the month. I will post the games later today.

I was very tired yesterday and not really in a state of mind to play chess. We had 4 new people show up last night though which bodes well for the future of the tournament. I played one of the newcomers in the first round. A nice little kid, who just finished 14th in his section at the National Elementary tournament recently. He is rated 959, but he gave me a good game. We ended up playing an Alekhine's line that heads for the endgame fairly fast. I misplayed part of the opening and gave up a pawn. I kept after him, but he did a really good job of spotting the threats. I think I might have missed a nice little trick at one point, but I need to go back and look at the game. In the end though I was able to win a piece in a combination that he didn't calculate all the way through and had a winning endgame.

The 2nd game was pretty interesting, and I think I had a decent position at one point. I had been preparing for a pawn push and then got cold feet. Everyone was thinking the push would have been winning, but there was something about it I ended up not liking. I think my conclusion was that it was not winning, but it was still the move I had to play and I didn't which in turn gave him a winning position. Interesting game though. Always fun to play Stockton.


For training I spent some time doing tactics problems on chesstempo.com and I also spent some time reading through some Gruenfeld stuff (Starting Out - Gruenfeld). In the background I listened to John Watson's interview of Lev Alburt, waiting for fireworks to erupt because of Watson's review of Chess Openings for White, Explained.

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Wed May 28, 2008 12:37 pm
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King

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Post Re: Snits' Training Journal
that game we played last night. joel and I looked at the game and your e4 push. turns out that I did have a defense and it only is a matter or time before my queen side pressure wins the game. you made too many positional concessions earlier in the game to have a "game winning" pawn push. Which is why i was skeptical of it. though it may have been your only try. After e4 white plays Bf1 and is very much ok.


Wed May 28, 2008 12:42 pm
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Knight
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Post Re: Snits' Training Journal
Busy week. We got a 9 month old dog (Novia Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever) on Wednesday and somehow I have been stuck caring for her instead of my wife. So chess study has been sporadic this week. I have managed to get in some tactics problems every day and a few blitz games on ICC, but no serious study time. I have been reading some of Silman's The Amateur's Mind while sitting outside with the dog. She is taking a nap right now, so I will try to get in a bit of studying. Hopefully in a couple of weeks she will have settled in, and things will be closer to normal.

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Sat May 31, 2008 1:19 pm
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Knight
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Post Re: Snits' Training Journal
Extremely low turnout tonight at the club. We ended up with 4 people though and got 2 rounds in. I went 2-0 beating a pair of brothers rated 1341 and 1389. They both went 1-1 beating a 1000 player.

Still have a lot of my time taken up by our new dog so there has been little time for chess study :(.

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Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:17 pm
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Knight
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Post Tonight's games


Still working on a new response to 1.d4 . I am leaning towards either the KID, Gruenfeld, or Nimzo-Indian. I have been studying the Gruenfeld a little bit, but still need some more time.

I think he did okay until 15.Ne4. That allowed the response 15..Nc5. I saw the line through 20..Nf4 , but didn't see his response of 21.Re4. Then I missed a string of mates based on the theme I had already been looking at when I started this line (N guarding escape sqaures and Q mating). Missing both 24..Qa1# and 25..Qa1+ 26.Bd1 Qxd1#. The gamescore is incomplete, but I ended up winning his knight, and queenside pawns and mated him with Q and K. I'm rather ashamed that I missed 2 very obvious mates based on the same theme I had been thinking of when I started the line. Another example that my thought process is very erratic lately as those moves should have been 2 of the first ones I looked at. I would plead exhaustion from the past 5 days, but as long as my eyes were open I should have seen those.



I played 10..c6 because I wanted to be able to get my bishop out and figured I could deploy the knight more easily with something like Na6-Nc7. Another incomplete gamescore. We ended up in a R+P endgame and I promoted a pawn and mated him.

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Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:18 am
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Knight
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Post :( Bad night
Ugh. 2 games against class A players. 2 winning positions on the board, and I walked away with 0.5/2.0 . Not happy with myself at all.

Game 1:



9..Be7 Should have went ahead and played 9..Bd6 as that is where it is heading eventually. 13..fxe5 pretty much forced. 13..Bxd1 runs into 14.Bxf7+ nastiness. 21..O-O-O I probably should have kept my King centralized at this point. 26..Kb7?? In my mind's eye I pictured the Rook still on d8 and didn't play 26..Bc5! . 33..Rf1+ I wussed out and went for the 3 fold repetition instead of playing 33..Rd8+ 34.Ke1 Rd2 which looks to be pretty powerful.

The 2nd game is even worse. I'm not sure how it is possible to not successfully complete the attack in this game, but I managed to do it.

Game 2:



7.O-O I probably should have went ahead with 7.f5 here. I play it a bit later. 13.bxa3 is not necessary. 13.fxg6 is better. 29.Rxf5 This is where I really start to falter. 29.exf5 looks devestating. I was thinking I wanted the file to stay open, but it would have opened up again soon anyways. I'm still fine here, but I follow up with the horrific 30.g4?? . I had demons in my head. I was worried about the potential of the Knight attacking my Queen and discovering the attack on g2 with the Rook and Queen. At this point I am frustrated and continue to self destruct with 31.Rf8+??? which drops all sorts of material. Definitely a classic self destruct that will have to go into my hall of shame database.

The main problem still is the fact that my thought process is complete crap. I need to get that sorted now and do it consistently every move if I want to keep pushing ahead.

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Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:32 am
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King

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Post Re: Snits' Training Journal
I'd say both games are decent. Not that many errors, but not great either. I think the biggest mistakes you made are:

1) In the first game, you really should have seen 26... Bc5. Missing that move shows that you should work harder on your tactics. It's a simple pin, winning the exchange.

2) Like you said, you should have continued at the end. With such active rooks, you just HAD to be better. It's a feeling you should get for endings. You are equal in material, but you have the better and more active rooks. I'd say you should have played: 32... Rd8+ 33. Ke2 Rf2+ 34. Kxe3 Rxc2. Yes, then the king is freed from the back rank, but your rooks are just so powerful. Since after 34... Rxc2, the g-pawn is still hanging, and white doesn't want to lose it, he may have to play 35. g4. Then 35... Rxb2 collects another pawn, and also threatens 35... Re8+ winning a rook. There's no way you'll lose, that's for sure.

3) I find it strange, that for the second game you do not mention 11. axb5 as an option. It wins a pawn, and there's no good reason not to take it.

4) 27. Nd5 looks more active than 27. Bxd7. Maybe you want to keep your bishop, but if you can somehow involve the knight in the attack, you should also win.

5) Indeed, 29. exf5 makes more sense. The whole idea is to get the queen to e8, so you'd like to get rid of the knight.

6) 30. g4?? is just an awful move to be honest... You should only consider such a move if you are forced to play it. If you really see no other good moves, why not just play something like 30. Bc4 or 30. Qf3? You're a pawn up, so there's no need to force the win with the attack. You have a better position anyway.

7) Don't give away free rooks :)


Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:52 am
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Knight
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Post Re: Snits' Training Journal
Phobetor wrote:
I'd say both games are decent. Not that many errors, but not great either. I think the biggest mistakes you made are:

1) In the first game, you really should have seen 26... Bc5. Missing that move shows that you should work harder on your tactics. It's a simple pin, winning the exchange.



I have been working tactics pretty steadily. I really like the tactics trainer on chess.com you pointed out the other day in another thread. Like I was saying I saw Bc5. The problem was one of visualization. I was picturing my d8 rook as still being on e8 in which case we end up with an even trade of material and all pieces are off, and I have doubled c pawns. Now why the position in my mind didn't update when I put the rook on d8 the move before I don't know.

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Sun Jun 08, 2008 12:57 pm
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King

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Post Re: Snits' Training Journal
Yes, of course I believe there are reasons why you didn't play the move, but no reason is good enough ;)

So yes, if you really saw Bc5 but for some reason rejected it because you thought the rook was on d8, then you didn't miss it and it wasn't the tactics' fault. But then it's just blindness, which is hardly better :)


Sun Jun 08, 2008 1:09 pm
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Knight
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Post Re: Snits' Training Journal
Phobetor wrote:
Yes, of course I believe there are reasons why you didn't play the move, but no reason is good enough ;)

So yes, if you really saw Bc5 but for some reason rejected it because you thought the rook was on d8, then you didn't miss it and it wasn't the tactics' fault. But then it's just blindness, which is hardly better :)



Agreed. :)

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Sun Jun 08, 2008 1:28 pm
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Knight
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Post Re: Snits' Training Journal
I spent a couple of hours doing tactics at chess.com yesterday. I also spent some time doing opening work.

The new dog is still requiring a lot of time and attention so with that plus a few critical situations arising with some of our company's customers this week, I spent hardly no time on chess other than playing on Monday and Tuesday.

I have been getting in little bits of studying when I can, and some times will take a book outside with me when I am watching the dog in the backyard.

I still haven't settled on what I want to play as Black, so I have been working on responses to the various openings that Black plays against 1.e4. I have been reading portions of John Nunn's excellent 2nd edition of Secrets of Practical Chess.

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Sun Jun 08, 2008 1:36 pm
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