Thursday, 22 November 2007

Breaking the slump...

Tuesday night I broke my losing slump. I beat Stuart Tabberer in the club championship, a good win as he's graded 61ECF compared to my 46. I didn't really do anything wrong, I was up a pawn early on, got another pawn in the middle game, another towards the end, and used the 3 pawn advantage once the pieces were off the board.

[Event "Spondon Club Championship 2007/08"]
[Date "2007.11.20"]
[White "Stuart Tabberer"]
[Black "Dean Madden"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D00"]

1. e4 d5 2. d4 dxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. f3 exf3 5. Nxf3 Bg4 6. Be3 e6 7. h3 Bh5 8. Be2 Bb4 9. Bd2 O-O 10. O-O Bxf3 11. Bxf3 Qxd4+ 12. Kh1 c6 13. Be1 Qxd1 14. Nxd1 Bxe1 15. Rxe1 Nbd7 16. Ne3 Rad8 17. Nc4 Nc5 18. Rad1 Nd5 19. Bxd5 cxd5 20. Ne3 Ne4 21. Kg1 Rc8 22. c3 f5 23. Rc1 f4 24. Ng4 f3 25. Rf1 fxg2 26. Kxg2 Rxf1 27. Rxf1 Rf8 28. Rxf8+ Kxf8 29. Kf3 Nf6 30. Ne5 Ke7 31. b4 Kd6 32. Nf7+ Ke7 33. Ne5 Ne4 34. c4 Nd2+ 35. Ke3 Nxc4+ 36. Kd4 Nxe5 37. Kxe5 g5 38. a4 h5 0-1

Circles update:

So far I've completed 94 problems, with 54 correct. I've enjoyed doing these sorts of problems where you have to think for a few minutes and sometimes you're just looking to win a pawn. They seem more applicable to real games. I think I'm already benefitting from it, so looks good for the future.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Chess Blogs

I thought I'd make a list of all the chess blogs I regularly read, all of which are much better than mine. So click away!

Streatham & Brixton Chess Club is a recent addition to my bloglines account, I'd been aware of it for a while, but the hilarious Scorebook Notes columns here, here and here got me hooked. Eagerly awaiting the next installments!

The British Chess Magazine blog is a collection of posts by John Saunders, the editor of the magazine, and very interesting and entertaining for us English readers. I have a similarly talented chess cat to his, although mine prefers the bishop.

Confessions of a chess novice is obviously the big daddy of the chess blogosphere, always getting the most comments, lots of interesting posts, and a good inspiration for newcomers.

Chess improvement, by DK-Transformation is one of the more zany and entertaining of the blogs, always with fascinating photography and a bordering on insane addiction to whatever he's currently interested in.

Hardcore pawnography has the most entertaining reports of tournaments he's entered, making you feel like you were there with him!

Blunderprone is always a good read, although sadly he hasn't as much time to dedicate to chess as previously.

Boylston Chess Club is a regularly updated blog, with some great posts now and again.

Castling Queen Side is one of the few chess blogs with a female author, and as such is great at communicating her ideas and feelings at the board.

The Daily Dirt is the number one news blog, and probably the most read and commented chess news blog around.

I always enjoy the posts on SonofPearl's blog, his sense of humour and humility strikes a chord with my own.

The award for most updated blog obviously goes to Susan Polgar, sadly a lot of it is just photos and copy n pastes from other sites, but definitely worth keeping up with.

A great local blog for me is that of West Nottingham Chess club, Ian Kingston does a great job of supporting chess in Nottinghamshire.

The Chess of Edwin Meyer has some entertaining posts, including his recent games in a simul tournament.

The current secretary of the Knights Errant is Samurai Chess, he has a very expressive writing style, although most of it is way over my head!

Chess Tyro has some nice posts, recently celebrating its first birthday. The Endgame Tactician has lots of informative endgame tips. Also hat-tips to SquirrelChess, Magnus Carlsen's dad, Phorku and Takchess.

Finally, the most entertaining yet totally incomprehensible blog has to be Team Tsubasa! Anyone who knows ReyFeroz on channel 101 of fics will know what I mean.

There will obviously be a lot more blogs I've yet to come across, so don't feel sad if you're not mentioned!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

The seven circles...

Thanks to everyone for the welcoming comments. I've done 40 problems so far with just 21 correct, and some are pretty tough. But of course they seem easy once you know the answer. Some of them I've got the first move right, but didn't calculate the correct 2nd move for example, so have ruled it incorrect.

The first chapter of the book is supposed to be a bit easier than later ones, so I think once it gets so that I'm getting a very low percentage correct, I'll redo the set from the start a few times to learn them all. It's been quite enjoyable so far anyway!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

8th Sheffield Congress

Over the weekend I played four games in Sheffield in the U100 section of the Spectrum Chess tournament. Unfortunately I lost all four, all my opponents had grades in the 80s compared to my 46. I was disappointed with the first two games because I was completely over-run in the openings, and played particularly badly. The last two were better, but again I made simple tactical mistakes.

[Event "Sheffield Congress 2007"]
[Date "2007.11.10"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Andrew J Smith"]
[Black "Dean Madden"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B01"]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. Nf3 c6 5. d4 Bf5 6. Bd3 Bxd3 7. Qxd3 e6 8. O-O Bb4 9. Bd2 Nd7 10. a3 Bxc3 11. Bxc3 Qc7 12. d5 Ngf6 13. dxe6 fxe6 14. Rfe1 Nc5 15. Qc4 b6 16. b4 b5 17. Qxc5 O-O-O 18. Rxe6 Rhe8 19. Rxc6 1-0

The first game on the Saturday morning was against Andrew J Smith, he basically destroyed my Scandinavian defence. I'd read the Andrew Martin book on the defence recently, and he said you should try to delay playing Nf6 as long as possible (not sure I understand why), so anyway for the first dozen moves, Fritz screams at me to play Nf6, which I will do in future.

Move 16 I give away my knight for no reason, then after he pins my queen to my king I give up. Terrible play.

[Event "Sheffield Congress 2007"]
[Date "2007.11.10"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Dean Madden"]
[Black "Benjamin Hobson"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C58"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Na5 6. Bb5+ Bd7 7. Be2 Nxd5 8. Nxf7 Kxf7 9. Bh5+ g6 10. Qf3+ Nf6 11. d3 gxh5 12. Bg5 Bg4 13. Bxf6 Bxf3 14. Bxd8 Rxd8 15. gxf3 Rg8 16. Nc3 Bh6 17. Nb5 a6 18. Nxc7 Rc8 19. Nd5 Rxc2 20. Rb1 Rg2 21. Ne3 Bxe3 22. fxe3 Rxb2 23. Rc1 Rxa2 24. Rd1 Rxh2 25. Rxh2 Rxh2 26. d4 Rh1+ 27. Ke2 Rxd1 28. Kxd1 exd4 29. exd4 h4 0-1

In the afternoon I played against Benjamin Hobson. He obviously knew the two knights defence much better than me, and outplayed me again in the opening. I unsoundly sacrificed my knight early on in what I thought would resemble some fried liver. Lightly grilled spam is a more a fit description I think.

The book move 7 should have been Qe2. Move 8 was the unsound sacrifice which I spent a lot of time trying to analyse, but just couldn't figure everything out. Anyway he defended correctly against it and for some strange reason I decided to give my bishop away as well.

[Event "8th Sheffield Congress"]
[Date "2007.11.10"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Dean Madden"]
[Black "Michael Bolan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B01"]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 c6 5. Nf3 Bf5 6. Bd2 Qc7 7. Bc4 Nf6 8. O-O e6 9. Re1 Be7 10. Nh4 Bg6 11. Nxg6 hxg6 12. h3 Nbd7 13. b3 O-O-O 14. Ne4 Nxe4 15. Rxe4 Nf6 16. Bf4 Bd6 17. Bxd6 Qxd6 18. Re2 Qxd4 19. Qe1 Rd6 20. Rd1 Qxd1 21. Qxd1 Rxd1+ 22. Kh2 Ng4+ 23. Kg3 Nf6 24. Kh2 Rhd8 25. Bd3 Nd5 26. a4 Nf4 0-1

Saturday evening (all games were 1hr 30mins for 36 moves followed by 15mins to finish), I played as white against Michael Bolan's Scandinavian which I felt comfortable against. Move 20 was where I made the fatal mistake:

I thought that by playing Rd1, I would be scaring away his queen, but as soon as I put down the piece I realised it was a blunder and that he would win rook and queen for queen. I've done that a few times by simply not counting the captures.

Sunday morning was a bye. Sunday afternoon I played a long gruelling game against Alan Fraser, haven't analysed it yet, but it was the most enjoyable as I spent a lot of time thinking, but unfortunately I fatigued late on.

[Date "2007.11.11"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Alan Fraser"]
[Black "Dean Madden"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B01"]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 c6 5. Bc4 Nf6 6. Bd2 Qb6 7. Bc1 Bf5 8. Nf3 e6 9. a3 Be7 10. O-O Nbd7 11. Re1 O-O-O 12. b4 Qc7 13. Ne2 Nb6 14. Bf4 Bd6 15. Bxd6 Qxd6 16. Bb3 Ne4 17. c4 Qe7 18. Qc1 Nd7 19. Nf4 h6 20. Bc2 Ndf6 21. Nh4 g5 22. Nxf5 exf5 23. Ne2 Qc7 24. f3 Nd6 25. c5 Nde8 26. Bxf5+ Kb8 27. Qb2 Ng7 28. Bh3 Rhe8 29. d5 Qe5 30. Nc3 Qxe1+ 31. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 32. Kf2 Re7 33. dxc6 bxc6 34. b5 cxb5 35. Nxb5 Nge8 36. Nd6+ Ka8 37. Nxe8 Rdxe8 38. Qxf6 Re2+ 39. Kg3 Rc2 40. Qc6+ 1-0

I decided after this to re-focus on tactical training, hence the circles. I also bought the Nigel Davies book 'Gambiteer I' which I intend to use to help practice attacking tactical play in real games.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Knights Errant

Over the weekend I played in a tournament in Sheffield and picked up a new book called 'The Complete Chess Workout' by Richard Palliser. It's a compilation of 1200 tactical problems, all from real games and most of them quite recent. So I thought this would be the ideal way for me to join the Knights Errant in the Seven Circles of Death.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, it's a technique of going through a set of about 1000 tactical problems seven times, each time with a shorter time period to complete the 'circle'. This is based on the techniques developed by Michael De La Maza in articles here and here. He improved 400 points in 400 days using the method and so it developed a cult following with some of the followers forming the Knights Errant blogging group to document their journey and help each other through the torture :). The idea behind it is that pattern recognition of the basic tactical motifs is of paramount importance in chess, and by doing the same set of problems seven times, this will fast track the process.

Anyway, I think this book will be a good way for me to do the circles, and so I've updated my sidebar to include the relevant Knightly links and will apply to join the cult right away. I'm not 100% sure on how I'll organize it, most likely just go through the 1200 puzzles all at once, then do the same again 6 more times. But some people have broken the circles down into sets of 200 or so. I guess I'll see how I'm feeling and how long it takes to get to the first 200. There can't be too long a time between circles or the pattern recognition could ware off, especially with my poor memory. Another thing is I won't be able to dedicate my life to the circles like De La Maza did, and I will still be playing regularly, not just training.

For the record, my current standard rating on FICS is 1454. So if I'm not rated 1854 on 16th December 2008 I am burning the book :)

Sunday, 4 November 2007


I played an online game against Castello and missed a winning combination below:

I thought hard about it, but couldn't find anything and took the bishop with the pawn to even the game up. But I totally missed the awesome Qa4. Probably because I was just concentrating on the centre. I didn't even think of moving my Queen in that direction. After that his best move is Kf8 allowing dxe7 winning the queen.

Game below:

[Event "rated standard match"]
[Site "Free Internet Chess Server"]
[Date "2007.11.04"]
[Round "?"]
[White "deanmadden"]
[Black "castello"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1471"]
[BlackElo "1575"]
[ECO "B30"]
[TimeControl "3600"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. g3 b6 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. d3 Rb8 6. O-O e5 7. Nbd2 d6 8. Re1 Nf6 9. Nf1 h6 10. h4 Be7 11. N3h2 Nd4 12. c3 Nc6 13. f4 exf4 14. Bxf4 Ne5 15. Nf3 Nxf3+ 16. Bxf3 Nh7 17. e5 g5 18. exd6 gxf4 19. dxe7 Qd6 20. Kh2 fxg3+ 21. Nxg3 Rg8 22. Rg1 a6 23. Qe2 Qf4 24. Bxb7 Rxb7 25. Raf1 Qxh4+ 26. Kg2 Rxg3+ 27. Kf2 Rh3+ 28. Rg3 Qxg3# {deanmadden checkmated} 0-1

Our team has done well in the first five rounds of teamleague T34, finishing second even though we are the worst ratings wise:

Section U1600
Team Name MP GP R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6

Round: 1

Section: U1600 - TDs: bLAZinFiRe
MonkeyClub1600 vs KnightRiders
White dstrout1-0 jsswaheguru Black
Black boonen1-0 sreeneni White
White AcuWill1-0 schoorl Black
Black Introspection0-1 deanmadden White

Round: 2

KnightRiders vs WeRock
White jsswaheguru0-1 zcomcon Black
Black schoorli-o ccaseiro White
White deanmadden1-0 OldFlyer Black
Black manquer1-0 stevelco White

Round: 3

PoisonedPawns vs KnightRiders
White petlya0-1 Jasher Black
Black Berke0-1 sreeneni White
White Niettajeano-i schoorl Black
Black SCUGrad1/2-1/2 deanmadden White

Round: 4

KnightRiders vs AllGoodPeople_II
White jsswaheguru0-1 twotowers Black
Black Jasher1-0 tjraczko White
White schoorl0-1 NikosGr Black
Black manquer1-0 Dreadtower White

Round: 5

RainbowWarriors1600 vs KnightRiders
White Krait0-1 Jasher Black
Black NoiroP1-0 sreeneni White
White pchesso1-0 deanmadden Black
Black estepona0-1 manquer White

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Ian Caithness

Last Thursday I beat Ian Caithness for Spondon D against Lichfield B. He overlooked a pawn fork on the eighth move, so was up a knight for a pawn early on. I held this to the endgame and then got more material. I was lucky he didn't spot a tactical blunder in the middle game.

[Event "Derby & District League Division 4"]
[Date "2007.11.01"]
[White "Ian Caithness, Lichfield B"]
[Black "Dean Madden, Spondon D"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E60"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Qc2 d6 5. e3 O-O 6. Bd3 Re8 7. O-O e5 8. Bd2 e4 9. Be2 exf3 10. Bxf3 Nc6 11. Nc3 Bd7 12. a3 Rb8 13. h3 Ne7 14. Rfe1 c5 15. d5 b5 16. Be2 bxc4 17. Bxc4 Nc8 18. e4 Nb6 19. Be2 Re7 20. Bf4 Ne8 21. Bg5 Bf6 22. Bh6 Bxc3 23. bxc3 Ba4 24. Qd3 Qd7 25. Bf4 Bb5 26. Qf3 Bxe2 27. Qxe2 Nxd5
28. Bg3 Nxc3 29. Qc4 Nb5 30. f3 Ng7 31. Bf4 Qe6 32. Qxe6 Nxe6 33. Bh6 Ned4 34. Rab1 Rbb7 35. Rb2 Nxa3 36. Rxb7 Rxb7 37. f4 Rb1 38. Rxb1 Nxb1 39. Bg5 c4 40. Bf6 Ne2+ 41. Kf2 Nxf4 42. Kg3 Ne2+ 43. Kf3 Nc1 44. g4 c3 45. Be7 c2 46. Bxd6 Na2 47. Bf4 c1=Q 48. Bxc1 Nxc1 49. Kf4 a5 50. Kg5 Kg7 51. h4 a4 52. e5 a3 53. h5 a2 54. h6+ Kg8 55. Kf6 a1=Q 0-1

Last Tuesday at the chess club was a cup competition, two 30mins rapidplay games when I again played for Spondon C. Lost the first one but won the second.

I've entered the Spectrum Chess Sheffield Congress next weekend, it should be an enjoyable five games of chess.