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Katar's Komments 
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 Re: Katar's Komments
katar wrote:
Exchange Winawer: Seems hard to answer the first question in the abstract. If White has to retake bxc3 then castling long is not really an option. E.G., the "mainline" with 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.a3 Bxc3. I don't want to go Nge2 if it blocks my queen. However, if Black retreats the bishop, then yeah White will probably try to castle long. I think this line is underrated. GM Simon Williams' recommended line leads straight to BB vs NN, where Black can hold but can't really do anything active.


I always go Bd3, Nge2, Bf4/g5, Qd2 and 0-0-0. I don't think Black can prevent this (no reason that he should, either). Usually Black castles short and an exciting game will follow. Bxc3 seems really bad, though - the dark squares are basically dead for Black after that (idea of Ba3). I've never heard of your mainline, but you probably spent a lot more time looking at the theory than me, since I always go for my ''system''.

katar wrote:
Panov: Well there is the famous Fischer endgame for starters. The IQP positions are good for a person's chess knowledge, but they have been played a billion times and can get kinda robotic. In the Advance-Short variation i like the flexibility with the c-pawn and the queen's-knight, also white can take d4xc5 or let Black capture and retake with c3 or with a piece. White can play on all 3 sectors of the board and risks nothing. Also my first experience in a blitz game was a complete wipeout.


The Fischer endgame was never a problem, because I play 6. Bg5 in the Nc6-line. The IQP positions are still exciting for me, but I see your point. Anyway, good luck with that !

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Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:39 pm
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 Re: Katar's Komments
Aha. Figures you would play it that way. I spent about 25 minutes looking at the theory :mrgreen:

In the mainline Exchange Winawer White meets any Ne7 (threat Bf5 exchanging white's best piece) with Qh5 (controlling f5). g7-g6 hits the Q/h5 but hurts the kingside dark squares. See games by GM Glek and GM Nataf. I think it is underrated and good for white! :)

I would only go Nge2 Bg5 and Qd2 against an early Nf6 by black.

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Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:55 pm
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 Re: Katar's Komments
Hi Katar, it is funny to see how similar our openings are in terms of what we trust/believe in. I also play the Exchange Winawer and also think white should get a small edge. I also play that way in the Sicilian, I trust the old-style Spanish torture (if/when I grow out of my Vienna Gambit this will be next) and I also play the Austrian Attack. I have even taken up 1...e5!

I have also played the Panov in the past, but the line with Nc3 and Nf3 which looks intuitive to me looks drawish after Bg4 (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Nf3 Bg4!?) and how else are we to play seriously for an edge? I could try 6.Bg5 lines, but as you say they're rather topical and theortical 6...Be6 seems reasonable for black.

I don't fancy the Nimzo/Bogo for black. I am preferring to take up the Tarrasch. However, I'm not sure I want to take up the Advance C-K: it seems a bit too closed for my liking. If I give up on the Panov I am likely to take up the Classical (3.Nc3).

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Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:42 pm
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 Re: Katar's Komments
Been busy with work. Oddly i've always thought that my law practice improved my chess play moreso than the other way 'round. I do think in "chess" terms a lot at work. One example is to make a weak argument, so that the opponent by refuting the weak argument will compromise his position on a more critical argument which is held in reserve. Anyway law is a million times more abstract and complicated than chess. Fortunately i'm better at it than at chess-- i even got a big raise recently. Chesswise i've been watching Curtains videos but haven't done any "studying" in a while.

A former master at the club invited me to play in an 8-player round robin tournament among the experts at our local club. He is putting it on as a memorial to his sister who passed away and putting up prizes worth about a thousand USD. I am told they will also print a booklet of the best annotated games from the round robin. So i really want to play well at this tourney considering the meaning behind it. I think it will start in February or March.

I was encouraged to see this:
K. Kavutskiy 2366 wrote:
Perfect Your Chess, by Andrei Volokitin and Vladimir Grabinsky – If you are over 2000 you simply must get this book. Solve six problems a day and your strength will skyrocket. I am not exaggerating, this book is the closest thing to magic chess dust that we have. Of course you must also work hard as you find the best move in each example.
source: http://main.uschess.org/content/view/11523/646/

I think using a timer for 10 minutes per puzzle is best practice, partly to simulate the clock pressure of a real game and to make the whole process efficient. Spending 30-60 mins on one position strikes me as impractical and creates bad habits that will lead to zeitnot in real games.

I bought several books lately. Both opening stuff and game collections by Kasparov (the new blue one!), Korchnoi (Olms edition), Speelman (gold). There is so much chess crap to study-- would have been nice if i started before age 25 like i did...

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Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:47 pm
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 Re: Katar's Komments
Thanx for the article. Was an interesting read.

Would be very nice if you could give your opinion about the Kasparov book. Was considering to buy it as an addition to the GreatPred. stuff - and because it's Kasparov 8).

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Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:19 am
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 Re: Katar's Komments
Super GM Trainer Mark Dvoretsky quoting Lasker with heaps of praise:
Emmanuel Lasker wrote:
Education in chess has to be an education in independent thinking and judging. Chess must not be memorized, simply because it is not important enough. If you load your memory, you should know why... You should keep in mind no names, nor numbers, nor isolated incidents, not even results, but only methods... He who wants to educate himself in chess must evade what is dead in chess -- artificial theories, supported by few instances and upheld by an excess of human wit; the habit of playing with inferior opponents; the custom of avoiding difficult tasks; the weakness of uncritically taking over variations or rules discovered by others; the vanity which is self-sufficient; the incapacity for admitting mistakes; in brief, everything that leads to a standstill or to anarchy.

Dvoretsky in the same article says the trouble with most players is that they wrongly think "endless honing of their opening repertoire" is the magic bullet to improvement.

I played some fun and competitive blitz games at a party yesterday against opponents about equal to myself. I alternated 1.e4 and 1.d4 as white and mainly NimzoIndian as Black. When i got home i checked a few games against my books, and in at least one instance my intuitive blitz move was better than the "book" move. For example in a CK-Advance, after 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Nd7 6.O-O c5 7.c4 dxc4
Image
I knew a knight stands well on c4 so played 8.Na3 which is clearly the best move. My only source on this line, Larry Kaufman's "Chess Advantage in B&W", gives only 8.dxc5? when Black develops fast 8...Bxc5. Anyway after 8.Na3 Bg6? 9.Nxc4 cxd4 10.Bg5 Qb8 11.Qxd4 Bc5 12.Nd6+ Bxd6 13.exd6 Ngf6 14.Bb5 O-O 15.Bxd7 Nxd7 16.Be7
Image
White had a clear advantage and indeed i won that game in nice style. So despite not knowing the "book" move, i played the general idea of Nxc4 and tried to put my bits in the center, then got a tremendous position.

Here is another opening in which i knew basically zero "theory" or "book" yet somehow i managed to play very sharp and powerful original ideas, also in a 5/0 OTB blitz game: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 O-O 5.e4 d5 6.e5 Nh5!? 7.Nh3 c5! 8.Be3 Nc6 9.f4 f6 {9...Qa5!} 10.Qxh5 cxd4 11.Bd3 f5 12.Bxd4
Image
12...dxc4! 13.Bxc4 Qxd4 and Black is much, much better! Here again i had no book knowledge to go on except the concept that I want to get a lead in development and then hit white's center with everything i got.

So in both cases i got to a more or less original position where there is not too much established "theory" and i managed to play very strong and principled moves! This is, to me, much more interesting than learning (memorizing) some long theoretical tree of variations in something like the Najdorf in order to regurgitate it on demand. I think the above also shows the advantage of creatively applying general "concepts" rather than just repeating canned knowledge.

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Sun Dec 25, 2011 5:21 pm
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 Re: Katar's Komments
Loved the Lasker quote- it sounds like an oddly "modern" perspective.

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Sun Dec 25, 2011 9:52 pm
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 Re: Katar's Komments
Aagaard's Tarrasch manifesto arrived in hardcover.
Beautiful book, aesthetically speaking. This book attempts to legitimize the Tarrasch theoretically. The premise is that Black is always holding a draw, worst-case; while if White is imprecise Black can be better, not equal. There are also a lot of offbeat "dangerous weapons" in the notes and side-variations, along with White's best line against them. The Tarrasch is elegantly simple in many ways. I have dabbled with it for a few years now. However, i find in my old age i prefer strategic flexibility (plans and counter-plans), and so it seems i may be trending toward Nimzo-Indian and closed Ruy Lopez as my main long-term defenses. However Tarrasch is good to know and can be played against any non-1.e4 opening.

Also got Kasparov's new blue hardcover. It is an honor to own this game collection penned by the great man himself. It is an expanded version of "Test of Time". One thing i love about chess is that the great players leave behind a legacy as authors. You can read stuff by Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, etc... you almost feel like you get to know their personalities and their philosophy toward life as represented in their approach to chess. Just imagine if the legends of other fields would have commented their best performances!! Who wouldn't want to listen to a Muhammed Ali or a Roger Federer comment his greatest battles and his training/approach toward each one? Probably my keen interest is similar to my fascination with memoirs & interviews of WW2 military officers. So oddly enough, getting the new Kasparov book inspired me to go back and read Lasker. I would like to have some familiarity with the classic books by all the world champions.

Lasker's Manual; Capablanca's Ch Fundamentals; Alekhine's 1924-1939; Botvinnik's 100 selected games; Smyslov's Endgame Virtuoso; Life & Games of Tal; Fischer's 60MG; Karpov's 100 games; GK on GK pts 1-3.

That is quite a reading list in its own right! I have read about half of Lasker, Capa and Alekhine each, but it may be time to do a proper & thorough reading.

Volokitin & Aagaard are good and i still believe in them. This is kinda characteristic of my haphazard approach to chess. Basically i have no discipline, i just get interested in something cool, then i dig in until i get bored. Which is fun without any pressure, as it should be. :) Happy new yr. Yay :bom: :santa:

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Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:37 pm
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 Re: Katar's Komments
Played this online blitz game today and got a nice compliment when the opponent accused me of using a computer engine afterwards!! Black finally cracked up on 42...Rxc8 dropping a piece. Although it must be said that White had an advantage throughout the entire game. Even though this was just a stupid blitz game against a no-name opponent, i was satisfied to play in a positional "tighten the screws" type of style.* Actually i could have showed more patience instead of making some rash moves. Still, at least it's something to build on.



Note that 40.Bxc5 Rxc5 41.Nd6 was the precise way, avoiding the chance of 40.Nd6 Rxd6

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Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:22 pm
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 Re: Katar's Komments
Round robin among 8 Experts at our local club: Diverse field, native speakers of several languages including some guys who grew up in USSR and a winner of $9,000 at a recent Las Vegas tournament. Age range about 12-70. Pretty cool that the ratings are more or less evenly matched. Starts in March. I don't have any "goals" as far as point-scoring. Would be nice to break even, but I can't worry about that. John Wooden said as long as you do your best, you may get outplayed but you won't "lose". There is a possibility i may do poorly, but all i can do is try. There is also the legit possibility that i could even do well. I will try to find some time to study/practice this month so i don't get too embarrassed. ;) I will try to play some interesting games and make videos for them.

USCF Ratings of Round-Robin Participants:
1. 2136
2. 2135
3. 2111
4. 2106
5. 2100
6. 2077
7. 2076
8. 2072

katar wrote:
A former master at the club invited me to play in an 8-player round robin tournament among the experts at our local club. He is putting it on as a memorial to his sister who passed away and putting up prizes worth about a thousand USD. I am told they will also print a booklet of the best annotated games from the round robin. So i really want to play well at this tourney considering the meaning behind it. I think it will start in February or March.

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Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:50 pm
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 Re: Katar's Komments
Good luck, Katar. We'll look forward to the vids! :)

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Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:46 pm
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 Re: Katar's Komments
Round 1: Drew my first game as White in a state of extreme fatigue and tiredness. Normally i would "call in" and cancel in that situation, but felt an obligation to play since this is an invitational round robin.


17.Bxe7 (not 17.Bf2?) is certainly the right move. Then 17...Qxe7 18.Qd2 and White is still clearly better.

Broke my heart to play 32.Rb1, but if 32.b3 Rxa2 now Black intends ...Ra3 and a5-a4 pinning my b3-pawn across the 3rd rank to my rook. Maybe that is better than what i did, though. I was lucky not to lose when Black inexplicably took the d-pawn 34...Rxd4? instead of taking a2. I was lucky again because after my 45.Nd2?? then the very simple 45...Ke5 46.Ke3 Bg5+ wins again for Black.

Rather poorly played game by both players!

White won in the other 3 games in the round robin.
PGN

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Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:01 pm
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 Re: Katar's Komments
Katar,
your e4 push was not well prepared. You were extremely lucky that your opponent missed the very thematic 16 ... Nxe4! which is a typical queens gambit motif. After that your centre collapses and you have to fight for a draw.
As far as I know, Botvinnik always dropped the bishop back to f2 and played h3 to prepare e4.

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Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:43 am
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 Re: Katar's Komments
Lost an utterly disgraceful game as Black. Walked into a back-rank mate in 2 when i still had defensive resources. Kind of incredible. I haven't decided whether to post the notation or whether to make a video, mainly for public humiliation purposes... My opponent said he wanted to play a slow, closed strategic game against me. That's probably a good approach -- i have a better record in past games with an open center and active pieces.

Haven't done any puzzles or calculation exercises since November or October. I'm just overall very slow and dull-- not in playing shape. I also had the busiest & most stressful couple weeks at work maybe of my entire career. Had court hearings several mornings in a row and then big deadlines in the afternoons. Pretty important stuff as far as my livelihood is concerned. So this round-robin kind of sneaked up me and i didn't get around to preparing or practicing at all.

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Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:32 pm
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 Re: Katar's Komments
On the job training continues. Meaning that i'm finally getting chess practice in the middle of my first tournament since September and first chess "study" since October or so... Both sides played a reasonable game, should have been a draw. Somehow i thought i might have a win. We all know how that turns out. I had lost confidence due to my horrible play the previous week, so i burned a lot of time on trivial moves in the opening & early-middlegame and had insufficient time for the king and pawn endgame. Neither side had more of a half-pawn advantage according to the engines until the critical blunder (34.h5) toward the end. Need to get my confidence back and not waste time on simple, logical moves. Also need to recognize a drawn position is drawn and secure the draw rather than lose objectivity and imagine things that are not there. I should never give the other guy the outside passed pawn in a K&P endgame unless absolutely certain with time to double check. But OK. I feel like this is a decent game overall for my level, just bad clock handling (lack of confidence) and spoiled by a blunder (loss of objectivity / irrational optimism) at the end.


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Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:24 am
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