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flatman's training journal 
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Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
 flatman's training journal
So I've been stuck at around 1900 slow play on FICS for some time, and I want to do a better job of training. What better strategy than to create a training journal? (Thanks, chessvideos!)

A little over a week ago I played a Ruy Lopez as white that culminated in a pawn-up opposite color bishop + rook ending.

I declined an offer to trade rooks in order to try to avoid a dead drawn position. I did my best to suppress counteractivity, then exchanged my rook for bishop + another pawn when my king was in a good position. My opponent probably should have focused on trying to eliminate my h pawn to create his own passer, which would have given him a draw. In any case, we reached a critical position, white to move, where I failed to find the advantageous continuation:
Image
Here 1. Be5! gives white winning chances. 1... Kd8 (forced, otherwise the pawn advances to c7 and ties down the rook) 2. gxh5 gxh5 3. f4 Rc2 4. c7+ Kc8 5. Kf5 and once the black h pawn disappears, white's 3 pawns + B should prevail against the black rook. Instead I played 1. Kd6? Rd2+ 2. Kc7 and eventually, due to some sub-optimal play by my opponent, managed to use my B as a shield (against checks) to bring the c pawn to promotion. The odd thing is that I saw the possibility of Be5, but I couldn't work out the winning strategy playing on 15 second increment. Gotta learn the endgame better!


Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:20 pm
Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
 How to waste an opening advantage
EDITED: 2/1/2011 to incorporate silicon feedback

Sicilian Wing Gambit, shouldn't be especially hard to meet as long as black is willing to defend patiently and carefully for a while. Easier said than done, as I prove while losing the following blitz game (5 + 12)



Here are some critical moments from the game:

1. Image
Black to play and blow up white's position

2. Image
Black to play and develop sensibly

[EDIT]
2a. Image
Black to restrict white and retain advantage

3. Image
Black to play and defend desperately

4. Image
Black to play and fight for the initiative.

5. Image
Black to play and keep the balance

6. Image
Black to play and avoid immediate loss

My answers:

1. ...e5! If 0-0, then ...e4 should give black an enduring advantage. If white takes the pawn dxe5, then Bb4+ and white's position becomes difficult. Unfortunately, I played the feeble ...e6 instead.

2. The bishop needs to come out, but where? Be7 leaves room for the queen to fall back to d7 in defense of the b pawn, and to avoid the coming storm. With the hope of initiative lost, black needs to defend well and get into an endgame with the plus pawn. Instead, I played the risky ...Bd6, which would have made sense if I owned the initiative (but I don't).

[EDIT - 2a]
2a. ...a6 prevents the killer move Rb5.

3. With the queen awkwardly placed, black needs to cut his losses and fight for equality. Thus ... Bxf3 Bxf3 Qf5 is called for, even though white regains the pawn with an initiative. Instead, black blundered with ... Bh5, whereupon Rb5 traps the Q, leading to an instantly lost position for black. After ... Bh5; Rb5 Bxf3 white blundered with Rxd5 Bxd5, when black suddenly has R+B+P for the Q, and white has a bad bishop, so =.

[EDIT: Silicon reveals a very clever defense: ... b5!; Rxb5 Rxb5; Bxb5 Bxf3; gxf3 Ne7 and white's K-side is swiss cheese]

4. Black needs to fix the pawn on d4 to prevent white from liberating his B. Thus ... Bd5 (blockade) followed by Rac8 to fight for the c file. I played the weaker Rfd8, thinking I might discover an attack on the d isolani. Maybe the plan of Be7-f6 would have helped, but ultimately white can just liquidate the pawn and free his bishop to play for an advantage. Black is better off just playing to suppress white's play with ... Bd5, I think.

5. If white can get in h5, black's K will be in peril. Therefore ...h5 is called for. Black blundered with the superfluous Rxa2, unfortunately.

6. White is threatening checkmate with Qf4, as you can readily see. Of course, I didn't see it, so I played .... Ra1 threatening checkmate on h1, but it's a move too slow, because then Qf4# 1-0. I should have played ...Bf8, I think. Then Qd8+ Be7 +=, or Qf4 Ke7 +=. White is a bit better in either continuation because of the black K's situation, but black retains defensive resources.

Plenty of learning opportunity in a loss like this!

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Last edited by chrisfalter on Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:36 pm
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Posts: 2859
Location: Maryland, USA
Rating: 1698
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
 Re: flatman's training journal
Interesting post and game- thanks!

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Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:56 pm
King

Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:57 pm
Posts: 441
Rating Class: Novice (<1200)
 Re: flatman's training journal
I second that emotion.

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Healthy holidays to us all :)


Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:13 am
Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
 Tarrasch Defense (Carlsbad Variation) gives black dynamic pl
So I'm working on learning the Tarrasch, and in this game got everything I could hope for. By playing 11 ... Bg4, 12... Re8 and 16 ... Bf8 I put white's e pawn under heavy pressure. The point of 15... Ne4 is to fight for the control of c5, and 17 ... a6 keeps white's N out of b5. White should have traded Ns on c6 then played Bd4 to fight for c5, but instead blundered with 18. Nc3?? I jumped on the N trade, intending to play a killer move, whereupon I committed a mouse slip and lost. I leave the mouse slip out, but present the game and the final position for your enjoyment.



Image
Black to move and win


Answer:
19 ... Bc5! 20. Qxd5 Bxf2+ 21. Kf8 Bxe1 and black will emerge with a winning material advantage after all the trades.

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:00 am
Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
 Spectacular tactics in the von Hennig-Schara Gambit
It's not often that I gambit a pawn...then another...then sac a knight...then offer a bishop. The end result was a draw by repetition, where I (as black) had only a rook and a queen, white's entire kingside was completely undeveloped, and white's queen threatened checkmate in 1!

Notes:
* Probably 7 ... Nc6 is the best way to transpose into the standard lines after 8. Nf3 Nf6 9. Q moves. 7...Nf6 is definitely more provocative, as it invites white to win a second pawn at the expense of another tempo. 7 ... Nf6 is almost certainly unsound, but as this game shows, it leads to a lively game!

* To play the attack, you have to be willing to accept dynamic compensation for a long-term disadvantage. I tend to focus on longer-term considerations, so this is not easy for me. I was down a piece and a pawn, offering another piece, and I was basically just accumulating forces against critical squares (c3) and along critical lines (e1 - a5, and the c and d files). Don't try this if you worry excessively about a material deficit! In fact, the computer analyzes this as around +2.5 for white most of the game, but for non-GM humans it ain't so simple.

* On the other hand, it is harder to find good moves for the defense. The lines of attack are pretty obvious, but good defensive strategies are harder to find. In fact, in this game my opponent missed a defensive knockout punch (see below for a diagram).

* Playing this was is a great way to learn about developing an attack (or defending accurately, if you're on the other side of the board). It's also great tactics practice. I'll have to try it some more!

Critical moments in the game:

1. Image
Black to move and draw with a fantastic punch that he missed in the game

2. Image
White to strike a counterblow and win

3. Image
If white's K attempts to escape by 24. Ke4, how does black destroy him?

Answers:

1. 16 ... Nxc3! 17. bxc3 (17. Rxc3 Qa1+ -+; 17. Bxc3 Bxc3+ 18. bxc3 Qa3 with a strong attack) Rxc3! 18. Qxc3 !? (18. Bxc3? Rc8! and the B is pinned against the Rc1, as seen with 19. Bxb4 Rxc1+ 20. Kd2 Qa2+ etc.; 18. Rxc3? Qa1+ 19. Kd2 Rd8+ and white is in serious trouble) Bxc3 19. Bxc3 Qa3 20. Bd2 Rd8 =. Fascinating.

2. 19. Qf4 protects the Rc1 and leads to a favorable resolution after trades on c3. Black can try to keep the game alive with 19 ... Be6 but the attack fizzles as white develops his K-side

3. In fact, white played 24. Kf2 leading to a draw by repetition. During the game, my initial thought on responding to 24. Ke4 was 24 ... f5+, forcing 25. Kxf5 (25. Qxf5 Qd4#) , after which a king hunt ensues...however, it looks like the white K can escape the black lasso, leading to a white victory. Instead, black must look for a way to get his Q out of the way of a devastating R skewer along the 4th rank. Which leads us to 24 ... Qd4+ 25. Kf5 Qf6+ 26. Ke4 Rd4+! -+ (27. Ke3 Rxg4 28. fxg4 Qxf1 and either the horse or the rook must die, e.g. 29. h4 Qxg2 30. Rh3 Qxg1+ 31 Kf3 Qxe2 -+)

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:07 pm
Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
 Draw against a USCF near expert
Played in the "Snowstorm Special" this past weekend in Charleston, SC. Overall, I was satisfied with my results; I can tell that my quality of play has improved. Not bad for a guy about to turn 50!

Round 1 I played the second strongest Charlestonian, Doug Holmes, and managed to achieve a draw. I emerged from an unusual opening with a substantial advantage, then allowed him to attain serious counterplay. We were roughly equal as we headed into the endgame, but then I made a serious mistake that allowed Doug to gain a pawn with a seemingly winning advantage. I decided to bank my chances on obtaining a passer that made it all the way to the 7th rank, where his R halted the progress. But his pair of passers could not slip past my blockading K and my trusty R, so a draw was agreed. The game contains quite a few subtle mistakes, but it was an interesting and generally well-fought game.


Now for some critical positions to analyze; the player to move is always at the bottom of the board.

1. Image 2. Image 3. Image

4. Image 5. Image 6. Image

7. Image 8. Image

My answers:

1. Black chose to castle long, after which white was able to obtain a nice advantage. To be considered is the exchange sac 8 ... a6 9. Qa5 axb5 10. Qxa8+ Nd8 11. b4 Be7 12. Qa3 and black has compensation. Whether it's enough for the whole exchange is a good question, though.

2. The B sac 10 Bxa6 bxa6 11. Qxa6+ is tempting, but ultimately black can withstand the attack with a winning material advantage. 11... Kb8 12. a4 Na7 13. b4 Qc6 and the queens must come off, and white does not have enough to justify the material deficit.

3. I played 14. dxc5 Bxc5 15. Nb3 Ba7 with the intention of Ba3-c5, trading off my weak B for black's strong one and bringing my N to the beautiful c5 square. It was only as I was about to grab my B that I realized that black could reply with the very strong 16 .... Be3!. This was quite unfortunate, as the other plan I had considered would have led to a comfortable edge: 14. Ba3! and now the bishops must be exchanged.

4. White can win a pawn with 22. c4! Ra6 23. cxd4 (not 23. Rb5 Bd4! 24. Ra2 dxc4 -=) exd4 25. Rb5 Be7 (Bd4?? Rxd5+! forking the B and K) Rxd5+ +=. Note the order of moves is very important; if white plays Rb5 before cxd4, black has the tempo-gaining reply Bd4. Of course white has to open his eyes a little better to see how the pawn is truly hanging. Instead I played Rxa5 and then the combination was off.

5. I was afraid of Ne3, so I played the timid and inferior Bd2. Far better is 28. Kd3, and if 28 ... Ne3 29. g3 and after an exchange of bishops on d4 white is doing well.

6. White has already erred by moving his K to the K-side; any white passer is going nowhere, whereas the black c- and d- pair are on a roll. 35. g4 pulls the white K too far away from the action after the trades on g4, but I played it anyway. :( I had to play 35. Ke2.

7. White looks completely lost, but finds the devious 46. Be3! If 46 ... Bxe3 47. f8=Q of course. So 46 .. d2 47. Bxc5 Kxc5+ 48. Ke3 and the f pawn is threatening to promote with check, thus black cannot play 48 .... d1=Q. I was very proud of this move!

8. In the game black decided he had to blockade f8, thus 49. .... Rf8, which allowed a draw after 50. Rf6 Kc4 51. Kd1 Kd3 52. Rd6+ Ke4 53. Kc2 etc. But in fact he had the tweener 49 ... Rd8!!, which wins almost on the spot. For example, 50. Kd1 c2+ 51. Kxc2 d1=Q+, or 50. Rg1 c2 -+

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Last edited by chrisfalter on Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:01 pm
Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
 A tough loss against an expert
Stephen Welt is Charleston's top player, and a really nice guy to boot. I didn't play the opening very well, allowing him a strong initiative. I managed to figure out how to reorganize my defensive pieces, and then I managed to put him on his heels with a mini-initiative after he played the weak 25. Qb3. Holding the edge, I got lost in a maze of tactics and came out worse. Then I gave up a pawn unnecessarily in order to get to an oppo B ending, but Stephen's passed a and h pawns could not both be stopped. His endgame technique was quite impressive, and is worth a look. As usual, diagrams of critical positions show the player to move at the bottom.


1. Image 2. Image 3. Image

4. Image 5. Image 6. Image

7. Image 8. Image

1. A fight for d5 is about to commence, and I (black) need to play a move that helps win that fight. Probably ...Bb4 (pinning the Nc3) is best, although even ...h6 (preventing a white pin/capture of Nf6) could be considered. Instead, I was thinking of trying to play a Sveshnikov-type approach, retaining the dark-squared bishop in order to protect d6. However, white is better placed to dominate d5 (due to the ease of getting Ne2 there via c3) than in a typical Sveshnikov. I had to play according to the demands of the position on the board, rather than relying primarily on thinking by analogy.

2. While the N is annoying on d5, bringing the white Q there via Bxd5 is an invitation to disaster. Naturally, that's what I played. I should have played ...Qd8, which opens the possibility of a check on a5, then trades on d5 that leave a white pawn in the hole. Of course, white could play Bc4, then ...Rc8 and black has some counterplay.

3. ...Rc7 is called for to protect b7 and f7 (after Rd8 - Bf6). I played b5, which looks aggressive but accomplishes nothing other than leaving the a6 pawn weak. Fortunately my opponent never turned his attention away from the K-side to the Q-side, otherwise I might have had to pay for this chess transgression.

4. White correctly saw that the d6 pawn was poisoned -- Qxd6 Rd8; Qxd8 (Qb4 Rxd1#) Bxd8; Rxd8+ Kh7 with black advantage. Thus the calm c3 is called for, giving the Bb3 the option of repositioning to d1 at a later moment.

5. I was looking to trap the Rf5, so I played ...Bg5 thinking to deprive black of Rh5. However, the R is just as trapped on h5 as on f5 after the reply Qf6, followed by g6. Thus ...Be7 is better, overprotecting the critical d6 pawn.

6. Here I was a little short on time, so ...Rxe4; Rxd6 Rxd6; Qxe4 = is called for. Instead I decided to try to complicate the position and possibly gain a pawn with ...f5, but (sure enough) I overlooked a white tactical shot in the ensuing scrum.

7. Bf3 puts the black Re4 in a difficult position. Perhaps even better would have been f3, when the Re4 has only a4 as a flight square.

8. White is threatening to bring the Q to g2, gaining a pawn. Black must take immediate action with ...Bh4 and not fear the pin Rh3 because ...g4 will resolve the situation into near (if not actual) equality. Instead Black played Qg7 and eventually perished after losing the g pawn.

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:16 pm
Endgame Virtuoso
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 10:21 am
Posts: 1453
Rating Class: Class A (1800-2000)
 Re: flatman's training journal
Wow, you really do put a lot of effort into this :). Haven't read it but keep up the good work!

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"It is never too late to be who you might have been." George Eliot


Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:28 pm
Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
 Use sacrifices to gain inroads for a winning attack
Plenty of mistakes in this game, but it ended with fireworks that made me proud! Check out the multi-sacrifice combo that ended the game. It started with a white approach to the Caro-Kann that I had seen in Carlsen - Wang Hao, but I proved I am no Carlsen on move 6. Still, all's well that ends well.



As always, puzzles from the game show the player to move on the bottom.

1. Image 2. Image 3. Image

4. Image 5. Image 6. Image

7. Image 8. Image

My answers:

1. 6. Nb3 and white is still playing for an advantage, as the N suppresses c5 and protects the b2 pawn. I played the vastly inferior Qc1 instead, and was no better than equal.

2. Just develop with 8. Be2. It's too early to hunt down the Bf5 with Nh4, especially as white's central pawns will lose an important defender. Of course I played Nh4, in spite of my gut feeling that I needed to finish development first.

3. 12 ... cxd4 13. Nxd4 Nxd4 (Nxe5 Nxf5 +-) 14. Bxd4 Bc5 15. Bxc5 Qxc5 and the only way white can defend e5 is 16. f4, which essentially forfeits the ability to castle. This would have exposed the folly of the earlier Nh4 maneuver. Fortunately for me, black played Nxe3 instead.

4. I was looking for a way to transfer my major pieces from the Q-side to the f file, so I played Rf2. My intention was that the R could guard b2 and simultaneously get the major piece doubling started. The problem with the plan is that black is free to start some serious counterplay down the f file right away. Better was either h4-h5 to gain K-side space, or 15. Ne1 16. g3 17. Ng2, when the N is well-placed and the B has room to maneuver.

5. White wants to play Nh4 to attack g6 and potentially open up the g file after an exchange. However, 19. Nh4 Bxh4 20. gxh4 Qd8! and white is over-extended on the K-side, possibly losing after a few accurate moves. Thus 19. Rh2 and then 20. Nh4 was a better plan.

6. 23 ... Nf8 and after 24... g5! white is in bad, bad shape. (25. hxg6 Nxg6 and the h4 pawn must fall.) Fortunately for me, black was impatient and played the immediate 23 ... g5?, when 24. hxg6 Rxg6? allows the skewer Bh5. Thus the game went 24. hxg6 R7g7 (better was R7f8) 25. h5 and suddenly white was in the driver's seat.

EDIT: 23...Nf8 24. Rg1 g5 25. hxg6 Nxg6 and now 26. Bh5 pins the N and offers white some hope. 26...Nxf4 27. Bxf7 Nd3+ 18. Kf1 Rxg1+ 19. Kxg1 Qf6 20. Bh5 and white has survived, although black's in the driver's seat for sure.

7. Here I had to choose between fixing a target for my B by moving my a pawn forward, or accelerating the Q-side invasion with tempo by Rb4. I chose Rb4, and subsequent developments proved its usefulness.

8. It appeared that black was going to nullify the white initiative by trading away the Rs on the b file, whereupon white has no better than a draw in spite of the extra pawn. However, appearances can be deceiving! After the spectacular bishop sac 40. Bxd5!! black was lost. Play went 40 ... exd5 40. e6! Qxe6 41. Rxd7! Qxd7 42. Rxb8 Rxb8 43. Qxc8 and black is practically in zugzwang. Play continued 43 ... Qe7 44. Qe5+ 45. Kf3 Qxe5 46. dxe5 Black resigns.

Let's analyze black alternatives a bit further:
40 ... Rxb7 41. Rxb7 Rb8 42. Rxb8 Nxb8 43. Bxc4 and white is up 3 pawns.
41 ... Rxb7 41. Rxb7 Qxe6 42. Qc7 and white regains the piece with interest.
41 ... Qg5 41. Rxd7+ with mate in 1.

Analyzing these lines during the game was quite interesting, but it left me with an existential choice: do I trust my analytical ability enough to make the game result hinge on the accuracy of my calculation? After all, if I had overlooked a winning black counter-blow, I would have been down a piece with no hope of holding on. Ultimately, I decided I just had to go with what looked right, and if I had overlooked something, I would learn from the experience. Plus, the alternative was a dead draw, and I didn't want that in the important final round of the Snowstorm Special.

To advance in chess sometimes requires courage!

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Last edited by chrisfalter on Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:07 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:35 am
Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
 The difference between class B and C is endgame technique
At least it was in this game from the Charleston Snowstorm Special, round 3. It sure wasn't the opening or middlegame in this one.

* I chose to play a variation of the Sozin based on an annotated game from 45 years ago that I saw in a game collection. Looking at the stats after this game, I saw that the Sozin basically promises nothing for white these days. Against a weaker player, I should have played 5. Bg5; I doubt he knows more about the Poisoned Pawn variation than I do.

* I made several weak moves in the early middlegame and had to fight for equality until we got to the pawn endgame, when my mild advantage turned into a win after a serious blunder. Tenacity is a critical quality for playing chess. My opponent lower-rated outplayed me for a long time, but I kept fighting until I managed to get the result I wanted.



As always, player to move is at the bottom.

1. Image 2. Image 3. Image

4. Image 5. Image 6. Image

7. Image 8. Image

My answers:

1. It's tempting to play 11. Ba2 to keep pressure on the isolani, and that's just what I did. However, it allows black to get an extremely active bishop, and it uncoordinates my Q-side. Far better is 11. Be2, and the B can come to f3 to pressure the isolani while at the same time keeping the black B off a key diagonal.

2. Here I just kicked at the black B with h3, which only served to waste a tempo bc/the B was planning to come to e4 via f5 anyway. Better is b4 fighting for control of c5, although black is still for choice.

3. Best is c4 to undermine black's imposing control of the center at least a little bit. I played the feebler c3 almost instantly, because in my earlier analysis I had decided I needed to get my B to the b1-h7 diagonal ASAP and it was the only move I considered. About 2 seconds after I played c3 I saw the possibility of c4 and clasped my head in my hands--ye gods, shouldn't I take at least 20 seconds to look around when the time control is G/150?

4. f5! is the order of the day. If white trades on e4, then black obtains a powerful passer with fxe4; and if white doesn't trade, the Be4 is the master of the entire board. Black instead played Qa7?, after which a series of trades brought us to a R endgame where white had sufficient drawing resources.

5. Should white play g4 to gain space on the K-side? Nope! It leaves a weakness on h3 that makes it much harder for white to attempt to trade Rs and get into a somewhat favorable pawn endgame (2 white pawn islands vs. 3 black pawn islands). g3 is better. But that didn't keep me from playing g4.

6. The temporary pawn sac f5! looks good. After gxf5 Kf7; Kg2 Kf6; Kf3 Kxf5 black has the more active R and the more active K. If white responds g5, then white can never trade Rs on e4, so black is free to probe the Q-side. Instead black played the useless Re2, which after Rf2 Re4 did nothing but waste 2 valuable tempi.

7. The tricky a5! holds the draw for black. After a4 h6 white's K is forced to retreat (bxa5?? c5+! and black wins after collecting the a pawns), and we have a draw. Instead black retreated with Kd7?? and white's K maneuvered to victory starting with Kc5.

8. I was tempted to play 38. a6 h6 39. Kd6 and the white K will collect the c pawn by outflanking the black K. But then I saw that black could reply 38 ... Kc7! instead, and suddenly there is no win for white. So I looked for a forcing breakthrough, and found it with the surprising 38. b5!. If black trades on b5, white will subsequently collect the black d pawn and the game. Black made a good try by obtaining a passer with 38 ... cxb5 39. axb5 a5 instead, but after 40. Kxd5 Kb6 41. c4 a4 42. Kd4 he tipped his K.

The key theme in this position is the superior position of the white K.

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:45 pm
Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
 You learn a lot by playing a master
...like how far I still have to go! I was feeling pretty good about my result at the Charleston Snowstorm Special 2 weeks ago, but today I played a fellow rated 2285 on FICS and discovered that I don't really have this stuff in my bones yet. That's OK; I know there are no shortcuts.

In the first game, SoulfulPlay threw a Sicilian Wing Gambit at me. I emerged from the opening with equality, but didn't coordinate my pieces very well, and got hammered. Learning opportunity!



1. Image 2. Image 3. Image

My answers:

1. 15 ... Ng4 16. Qg3 Bd6 17. f4 a5 =. If 16. g3, then ... Ne5 17. Qe2 Nxc4 18. Qxc4 and black, who possesses the 2 bishops, might claim a small plus. Not that I saw this during the game; instead I attacked the h pawn with the immediate 15 ... Bd6, but after 16. h3 my kingside chances were nil. The reason to consider the N instead of the B is that white cannot reply h3 to avoid trouble; i.e., Ng4 is much more forcing than the immediate Bd6.

2. I had to hang on to my position by defending tenaciously with 17 ... Bxa3 18. Rxa3 Re5 19. R1a1 a5. Instead I was looking to counterattack by pinning the N with 17 ... Re4?, but after 18. Bxd6 Qxd6 19. d3 Re7 20. Ra6! (Rxa7 Bg4! =+) black must drop a pawn, with a horrible position to boot. I succumbed just a few moves later. Yikes.

3. Black is lost, but with 24 ... Kf8 he can force white to demonstrate good endgame technique. Instead 24 ... Bc8? led to a pin along the back rank after 25. Rxe7 (luring the R off the back rank) Rxe7 26. Nf5! Rc7? (Bxf5 Ra8 +-; however, Re8 would have at least kept me on the board a few more moves) 27. Ra8 Kf8 28. Nd6 Black resigns.

Then I took the white pieces, whereupon I did not adequately consider all of black's ways to respond to my pawn capture on move 13. The one possibility I analyzed would have turned out fairly well for me, but the other one was a knockout punch. I had seen the other possible move, but didn't analyze it, as I assumed that it was not as good. Without analyzing it! Yikes. Rather than list all the moves, I will just show the positions where I went astray.

1. Image 2. Image

My answers:

1. White has a static plus (grip on d5) with a dynamic minus (less development). Thus the immediate 12. N1c3 is called for. After ... a6 13. Na3 Nd4 14. Nc2 white can exchange on d4 or swing the N to d5 via e3 if black retreats from d4. Instead I played 12. Be2?, which superficially threatens the d6 pawn but just cannot be right, given the state of my development. Which become evident in just one more move.

2. White's only choice is 13. N5a3 Nd4 14. Nc3, then Nc2 to either trade or drive off the Nd4. Instead I thought I could destabilize black's central pawn structure with 13. Nxd6??, but after 13 ... Qd4! I was lost, lost, lost. I had only analyzed 13 ... Nd4, which has a much happier ending for white. Can't say I was impressed with my decision-making in this game.

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:47 pm
Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
 You *must* learn from your losses to improve
In some recent posts I analyzed 2 games against lower-rated players who, at some point in the games, held the upper hand. I eventually won both games because of their subsequent mistakes. When the games were over, I offered to analyze with them...but they both declined. I suppose they were still feeling the sting of defeat and just didn't want to think about the games. But in so doing they lost a golden opportunity to analyze their game with a higher-rated opponent!
When I lost, by contrast, I sought out my higher-rated opponent's insights. Sure it's no fun to lose, but why not get some advice from a talented chess player when it's over? I don't think I have more raw talent than the guys I beat; all I have over them is more determination to learn from my mistakes.

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Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:55 pm
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Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:39 pm
Posts: 2859
Location: Maryland, USA
Rating: 1698
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
 Re: flatman's training journal
They lost out, that's for sure and you obviously have the correct attitude- I wish you continued luck!

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illigetimi non carborundum.


Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:43 am
Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
 Sticks and stones and pins can hurt me
So today I was cruising, a pawn up against a pretty strong player. Then I looked to swap away my weak B for black's strong one under the most favorable circumstances in the following position by playing 24.Qe3.

Image

What was black's crushing reply? And what should white have played instead?

My answer:

Black pins the B with 24 ... Rd8! and white is lost. I tried 25. b5?! with the hope of luring black into a blunder, but after 25 ... Qxa4 26. Ra1 Qxa1 27. Bxa1 Bxe3 28. fxe3 I was down the exchange with no compensation whatsoever. I probably should have simply given up the exchange with 25. Bxc5 Rxd1 26. Bxa7 and I would have at least had 2 pawns for the exchange, and thus only a slight disadvantage.

In the diagram position, though, 24. Rc1 -- reversing the pins! -- would have crushed black. If 24 ... Qb6, then simply 25. Qc2 and the black B must disappear with no compensation. Black can't even give up the exchange, because 24 ... Bxd4 25. Rxc8+ Kh7 26. Qe4+ and the fork picks up the loose bishop.

EDIT: Black can avoid the loss of a piece with 24... Rc7, although after 25. Qb5! Bb6 (Qxb5 26. axb5 Bb6 27. Rxc7 Bxc7 28. Bxa7 Bxe5 29. f4! and the black bishop must eventually give itself up to stop the b6 pawn) 26. Qxa5 Bxa5 27. Rxc7 Bxc7 28. Bxa7 and white's twin passers should win.

Sigh. I hope I'm learning from my mistakes.

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:59 pm
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