Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Chess blindness

Last night I had a nice game against Howard Bradbury in the club championship, another long game where I hung on for a while but was gradually outplayed towards the end when he launched his attacks. I'm not too disappointed as I can see myself improving and learning from these types of games. I'm holding on for much longer in games and making less mistakes. These sorts of games will give me experience and hopefully I can improve my mid to end game technique.


I allowed too many of his pieces to assemble around my king and on move 29 had to sacrifice rook for knight due to a mating threat.

On move 39 I had the position below. For the life of me I have no idea why I played Ne5, can't remember what I was thinking at all. Must have been a moment of chess blindness. If I would have played Nf6, Fritz thinks I'm back in the game. His rook is close to getting trapped and the e4 pawn is the only thing defending it.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Leek Congress rd 4&5

I had a much more enjoyable day on Sunday at the Leek Congress (not sure why we in England call tournaments congresses). Even though I lost both games, they were good and competitive against stronger players with lots for me to learn.

The first game was against Alan Millward (95ECF) who plays for Macclesfield. We had a long analysis of the game afterwards, and I learnt a lot when he explained things he was thinking during the game.


He started off playing the Scandinavian but then fianchettoed kingside which I hadn't seen before. On move 20 he blundered his rook for a bishop, but I didn't have a massive advantage with him having the bishop pair.

I think one of my weakness is trying to form a plan for launching an attack. More experienced players tend to sense at the right moment when to start throwing pawns forward towards the enemy king, whereas I tend to play more passively and wait for things to happen. Anyone have any ideas on how I can improve this?

For example in this game, for ten or so moves, Fritz is screaming at me to play h4, h5, but the thought never occurred to me as I naturally think it will weaken my own king?

In the position below I blundered my rook back to even up the game by playing Qc1 leaving me open for Bh6. I tend to overlook bishop tactics quite often I've noticed, whereas I always check for knights. Something I need to actively think about I guess.

After this I was hoping for a draw, so in the position below I exchanged the knight with the bishop to simplify down. But this was a mistake as the knight in this position is stronger, and exchanging leaves his rook with the open file. It's nice to get to this stage of a game and have to think about it though!

He kept control of the open file and gradually squeezed my position until I was running out of moves and just moving the king back and forth. After swapping queens, my rook was stuck defending the b2 pawn and he could bring his king out to attack the pawns on the other side.

Final game was against Paul Clapham (82ECF) who plays for nearby Newcastle Under Lyme.


I rattled off the first 13 moves very quickly whereas he took a lot of time. But after completing the development I was trying to think of a plan of attack, whereas I should probably have had a bit more patience in this case and tried to control the centre.

I think the position below is where I started to go wrong. I moved the king to a8, but this was boxing it in and leaving it without anywhere to escape whereas moving it to e.g. c7 would have made it more active and less easily trapped. Also my light-squared bishop was particularly useless in this game, I'm not sure how I could have got it more involved.

He then picked the right moment to launch his pawns at my king, supported by his rooks, and my king was trapped in the firing line. I made it worse by hemming in the king with more pieces, until his attack was a winning one.

A brief circles update, the chess workbook section has been put on hold for the time being due to other things occurring. But I've been ploughing away at Chess Tactics server on and off.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Leek Congress

Round one of the Leek congress last night was against Nicholas McLean, graded 96ECF.


I played the Moller attack against him but got confused when he played 7...Bxc3, as most people play Nxe4. On move 9 I should have played d5 instead of castling. It was one of the rare games where it was pretty much lost in the opening, I never got into the game and not much more to say about it.

I turned up for round two this morning and was paired against John Fenby, then with 2 minutes to go they announced some repairings. When I looked at the board I was the odd one out without an opponent. I'm pretty annoyed because there was at least one person who turned up at the venue to enter just 10 minutes before the start of the round, and just happened to be a member of the organisers club, then he gets a game but someone like me who applied a couple of weeks ago doesn't get a game.

So anyways I had to kill four hours, and then turned up for round 3 against a 13yr old called Adam S Arshad.


To be honest he didn't seem to be much interested in playing, not recording his moves, and offering a draw after about 10 moves.

Move 14 I was a Queen up, and just played sensibly until he resigned.

Hopefully I'll have some more interesting games tomorrow!

Friday, 12 September 2008

New season

A new season in English chess started for me Tuesday night. I played Ted Pye in the Spondon club championship, a competition that runs throughout the season, an all play all for the members of the club. I counted about 18 people who turned up.

I've had many interesting games against Ted, usually wildly tactical. He was one of the first people I played when I joined a couple of years ago. He used to slaughter me all the time, but the games are more even now and I've managed to beat him once or twice. His ECF grade is about the same as mine, but he has a lot more playing experience and so outplays me in positions that I'm not used to. Luckily for me, he makes tactical mistakes, which I sometimes do and sometimes don't spot, and he doesn't always capitalise on my mistakes. He tends to make very open positions where lots of tactics crop up, I've noticed he tends to get frustrated in closed positions and throws pawns forward to open it up.


So anyway, this was a typical game. I made a mistake so that he had a material advantage, he made a mistake to allow me to have the advantage, he then had the advantage after another mistake, and finally mated me. Lots of things to go over. The good thing is I have lots of things to think about and try and learn from the game.

He played 2. Bd3 against my Scandinavian, a move I hadn't seen before and which I think he just makes up as he plays it. I thought about taking the pawn, but wasn't sure how it would play out so decided on developing my pieces.

The game got difficult for me when I played 22...Kg7 below. This allowed him to play Ng5, attacking the h7 pawn with his rook. I then played Qg8, allowing him to force a trade of my Queen for his rook and knight.

In the position below he played Qg1, but this allowed me to play Bf4+, also attacking his rook. He was able to then fork the rooks with his bishop, but for some reason decided not to take one.

However after this I was getting tired and didn't know how I was supposed to force a win with rooks and a knight versus a queen.

I then made the fatal error of playing Be5 below, not noticing he can fork king and rook on e3. Hen then ended it with a nice mate.

This weekend I'll be playing in the Leek congress, one game on Friday, two on Saturday and two on Sunday, each 2 hours per player long. I'm not sure if there will be relatively weaker players like myself so don't know if I'll expect to pick up any points. Looking forward to it anyway.