I decided to post one position per week, which is good for evaluation testing and training.
Here we go!
It is white’s turn. First try to find weaknesses (weak squares unprotected pieces, pins, ideas for tactics and then decide which one is best). After thinking that you found it, please post it in the comments section and let’s discuss!
Everyone was looking for the Carlsen-Caruana Match in London. Some were speculating, if Caruana would be able to keep his great shape. Other’s were hopimg that Carlsen would recover and play his best.
After all games ended in draws there will be a worldchampion decided by tiebreak. The 12 classical games were very frightning! A lot of missed chances and well defended endgames. A lot of player are judging Carlsen’s and Caruana’s spoiled positions. But in my opinuon they simple played very good chess and were not able to convert it. Especially Carlsen tried to set traps between the middle and endgame or push in an endgame but Caruana defended very well. In the last game Carlsen offered draw in a better position for black and was heavily criticised. Later he told that he had missed a move and was very happy with the draw.
Today we will see who will win. Carlsen chances are very good in blitz, but Caruana is a great player! He will try to decide the tournament in the rapid games, while many are speculating that Carlsen wants to reach the blitz games. Carlsen is by far the best blitzplayer, but who knows? Maybe Caruana is already prepared!?
There will follow some analysis of the classical games in the next weeks.
Alexander Chalifman gave an interview to Pogonina in 2010 and said something very interesting:
“The truth, as always, is in between. Without studying openings one will never become a GM, analyzing only openings is also silly. No matter what engines your are using during preparation, at some point you have to play on your own.”
When I read this, the olympiad 2016 came to my mind. When Roy Robson was facing Grischuk. Grischuk, playing black went for the Berlin and Robson chose a very solid line. The commentators were sure that this game will end in a draw. But chess isn’t only about openings and Robson lost.
I will not go through the whole game, there are some interesting moments, but we will focus on the endgame
Black’s last move was a5, white cannot avoid Ne4 and if white’s queen is not inside black’s camp, his Queen will be very passiv. White played 34.Kf1?. It is very hard to understand, what Robson had in mind. Maybe he tried to play for a draw. Qe5 would be much more pleasant for white!
Let’s take a deeper look after 34…Ne4
first thing to check in such endgames is activity…
White’s bishop is not very strong, it has only a few squares, the most powerful piece, the queen is also rather passive, white’s pawn are fixed.
And now take a look at black’s position! Blacks Queen is very active attacking d4, black’s knight is also very active and black’s pawn can move.
If white’s worst piece is the bishop, why shouldn’t he take on e4? Black will take back with the f-pawn
White can play Qf2 and get rid of the pin on the f-file. But after gxf4 white is forced to take back with his pawn, exchanging queens in such positions is like resigning and the reason is pretty simple. After eliminating black’s active knight, white created a passed pawn for black.
Robson preferred to try to play on the queenside, unfortunately for him there is nothing to attack.
Grischuk played the very strong move 35…Kg7 defending the h6 pawn and preparing to take on f4 after 36.c5 gxf4 36.gxf4 Qh4 white’s position is lost. White played 37.Bxe4 and after fxe4 offered the queenstrade by 38.Qf2. Grischuk took of course and won very easy. A very nice and easy looking game.
Let’s go to our next example, also from the Olympiad 2016. It is the game between Cubas and Stupak. Both are good GMs, but this game went completly wrong! Both didn’t play very accurate in the opening, but ok. Then Cubas found a nice idea and gained a huge advantage.
Try to find the fastest win for white here and post it in the comment section.
White is a piece up but black’s attack is looking dangerous. Cubas played the not very accurate 26.Rg1 and after 26…Kh8 27.Rg3 Raf8 white found the fastest way to end the game, but in favor of black! 28.Rag1?? and resigned after Qxh2+! in view of 29.Kxh2 Rh4+ 30.Rh3 Rxh3#
Here you can see, that even on GM-level games are not decided in the opening.
Maybe you know some case of cheating in chess. Some players used to change the time on the clock, when it was mechanic. Others may have tried to change the place of their pieces and others tried to distract their opponent. Nowadays there are new and more subtile methods to cheat. By phone, bluethooth etc.
During the european youth championship the austrian player Marc Morgunov was playing pretty well. His chess skills are very good and he is a very talented player. Until the event he scored an IM-norm and a rating around 2360. Which means that he improved by over 400elo in sligthly more than a year.
Before the event he was crushing some very strong players with style, this continued during the european youth championship.
He was on 5,5/6 which is a really great result for any player in such a competitive tournament. In round 7 one player found a mobile phone on the toilete. He told the arbiters about it. They didnt take it, in order to observe it. After Marc entered exactly the same cabine again and again, and drew his gamethey asked the coach of the Austrian delegation to call Marc’s number. The phone rang. The arbiters wanted to see if an engine is running, but instead of cooperating, he typed the passord false 3 times. After some time passed and eventually his coaches told him about the consequences, if he doesn’t cooperate, he remembered the password and put it in the phone. The arbiters observed that an engine was running. He was disqualified from the tournament and the 7th round game was rated as defeat, all other games as 0k, but regarding the rules the opponents didn’t get the point.
As mentioned before there are many ways and some incidents. Take for example Azmaiparashvilli who mixed up moves in the European Championship, made a losing one against Vladimir Malakhov and took it back. Malakhiv didn’t claim anything (maybe his opponents background played a role). Azmaiparashvilli won the tournament.
Or the incident with the Georgian Grandmaster who used a mobile phone. He lost his GM-title, but waa very cooperative, so he still is IM.
If you think that cheating for 13-year old children is rare, you are wrong. There are rumours that some parents try to distract their child’s opponents. Being aware of that fact, parents are not allowed to enter the playing hall.
But using a mobile phone during the U14 European championship is a completly new level.
But this cheating case shows something different…there were no scientific ways of controll. Neither should the players pass a controll nor were there any radom controlls.
After the mobile phone was found by a player, the arbiter who was called to see it claimed the fame. It seems that they are doing nothing against cheating, but if something comes out, they try to take the credits.
Marc Morgunov has an older brother, who was also accused of cheating by a facebook-user, which is very unlikely since he underperformed.
The Austrian federation will punish Marc like the Fide. But there is a difference: while FIDE will consider his uncooperative behaviour, the Austrian coaches mentiioned that he was very cooperative, which isn’t really true.
Let me know your opinion about this case and how he should be punished.
There are sharp openings with a lot of theory and quick wins are possible. Although they attract many people, they are very risky. That’s the reason i suggest a calm-looking ruy lopez, where you can get a small edge. You won’t win fast often, but with improving little by little you will win they games without too much risks.
Almost every strong GM plays the Ruy Lopez. It’s idea is very clear.
After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5, white causes tension in the centre. There are a lot of different defences for black, that is the reason why I will first focus on set-ups with an early d3, where white doesn’t have to know that much theory.
The most popular 3rd move for black is 3…a6
white now has the choice to take on c6
One may think that white is better here. Black has lost time with a6 and a double pawn on c7-c6, but due to the open diagonals and pair of bishops, black has more than enough compensation.
As you might know, white is not allowed to take the e5-pawn with 5.Nxe5 due to the very strong 5…Qd4
So let’s go back to 3…a6, my suggestion is 4.Ba4
position after 4.Ba4
The position after 4.Ba4 is the starting position. Black has some options here. for example: 4…Nf6, 4…d6, 4…b5, 4…g6
In the next posts you will get a lot to know about how to play these kinds of positions.
Hi guys, after finishing exams I have a little break now. In this entry I want to present you the development of one of my pupils. And how he got 1700 fide rating.
We started to work together last september. His rating was around 1350. Honestly after seeing his games i wasn’t sure, if he really played on that level. Too often he was missing to castle before attacking and losing games pretty fast as consequence. Let’s take a look at some games before we trained together.
He has a classical repertoire, always putting pawns in the centre.
Let’s look at one of his first games
Obviously it was a queen’s gambit exchange variation. First thing to recognize is, that he put his knight on c6. So his pawns aren’t very flexible in movement. It belongs to d7 and c6 should be played.
position after Qc2
White’s last move (Qc2) is a horrible positional blunder. After Nb4 white will lose not only a tempo but also pair of bishops.
These mistakes were very typical.
After solving a lot of puzzles and especially learning to take his time, consider opponent’s moves and ideas, he improved fast.
As you know, the fastest way to improve in the beginning is to solve as much tactics as possible (for more read my entry on how to improve in the beginning). Therefore I have collected some tactics which occurred in my games.
I will start with quite simple one’s and with time they will become more difficult.
Black to move
White gained a huge advantage. e6-pawn is hanging. But is there a better move?
This one isn’t that easy. How can white take advantage of the not protected bishop on e7?
White to move
Black played Bg4, how can white punish black for this move?
You may have read my article on how to learn openings. This is the second part. Here we will continue with ideas in the King’s Indian Attack.
Here we will analyse a great win by Fischer. In this game Fischer shows the modern plans, which are played combined with a great tactical eye.
position after the 7th move
Fischer plays another move order than in the mainline (8.Re1). His next move was 8.e5. After 8.e5 Ng4 is possible and is pointed out in John Emm’s Book on the King’s Indian Attack. Anyway black played Nd7, so it is a transposition to the mainline with 8.Re1. After 9.Re1
position after 9.Re1
Black has plenty of ideas, but 2 are the main ideas here:
Attacking the e-pawn with Qc7, pushing the b-pawn to b5 and trying to open the c-file with Nd4
Gaining space on the queenside
Fischer’s opponent decided for the 2nd idea
9…b5 10.Nf1 now Qc7 can be meet with Bf4. Please notice that it is important to play Nf1, before h4, so white is more flexible.
position after 10…b4
White has space on the kingside, while black is playing on the queenside. If black manages to defend on the kingside and avoid being mated, he will win, due to his superb position on the queenside.
The idea of white is pretty easy: he will play Nf1-h2-g4 and push his h-pawn.
11.h4 (getting the square h2 for his knight) 11…a5 12.Bf4 a4
position after 12…a4
It seems that black is much faster on the queenside, than white on the kingside. This is true, but Fischer played a novelty in move 13 which become the main idea against black’s queenside actions. 13.a3!! White slows down the black’s advance on the queenside by only playing one move there! After 13…bxa3 14.bxa3 white has some weak squares on the queenside (c3), but it is extremly hard for black to reach them.
position after 14.bxa3
Nowadays 14…Ba6 is more popular, but 14…Na5 is ok too. After 15.Ne3 Ba6 Fischer played the very interesting move 16.Bh3.
position after 16.Bh3
In the King’s Indian Attack one of black weaknesses is e6. In some moments white can take on d5, when the knight on d7 is uncovered.
After 16…d4 Fischer could play 17. Ng4, which lead to a very solid position for black, but he had something different in mind. 17.Nf1! Nb6 18.Ng5 Nd5 19.Bd2 keeping pieces on board 19…Bxg5 20.Bxg5 Qd7 21.Qh5!
position after 21.Qh5!
Look how Fischer is attacking on the kingside! There are only 2 pieces next to the black king, but black has only the knight on d5, which is covering f6, so this piece will never reach the weak c3-square.
Black has a very difficult position and he plays 21…Rfc8 22.Nd2 Nc3?? black gives up f6! 23.Bf6!! a brilliant move after which black have to find a serious of deep moves in order not to lose!
23…Qe8! 24.Ne4 g6? black shouldn’t weaken his kingside pawns, but white was already threatening to win the exchange with Nd6
25.Qg5 Nxe4 26.Rxe4
position after 26.Rxe4
Black eliminated the dangerous knight, but he has simply no defense against the kingside attack. The rook on e4 will join the attack 26…c4 27.h5 white will open the kingside and mate black. 27…cxd3 28.Rh4!!
position after 28.Rh4!!
Black tries to defend the 7th rank by 28…Ra7, but 29.Bg2 dxc2 30.Qh6 Qf6 is hopeless.
White forced resignation by his next move.What did he play?
Thank you for reading the 2nd part of the opening series (King’s Indian attack)
With the improvement of engines and fast progressing opening theory, it is very important to know how to learn one opening the correct way.
There are plenty of books on openings by Dreev, Lakdawala and others. But I will show you, how to learn openings to really understand it.
My suggestion is not to buy these books. If you have chessbase 14 with the MegaDatabase, you have everything you need to study openings.
I will show you how to do this on the sicilian with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d3
This is the initial position. On the right side you can see the references (games played, which reached this position). The beam shows the recent popularity.
Before you start learning lines, it is advisable to look at some games in the main-lines (after watching 10-20 and still liking it, you can start your work).
Most often played ist 3….Nc6 and now i suggest the absoulte mainline 4.g3
This is more or less the starting position. Now it is time for an opening Report
In the Report you can see, when the position was reached first time and some other not so relevant stuff (for us).
A very important thing, is the list, on which is shown, which super GMs played this opening and on “b)” which players used to play the opening on a regular base, what their score is and how strong the average Opponent was. Something which stands out, is the score by Amin Bassem with an incredible 28/32 (87%), his opponents rating was in average around 2500, so we can call him a real expert of this line.
If one really wants to understand an opening, it is very important to go through the games of strong masters. Ideally one will start in the past and see how the line and ideas developed.
The first serious game on high level played in this line is between Fischer and Sherwin 1957, Fischer then just 14 years old crushed his opponent in really impressive style.
Although black didn’t play d5, white was able to show some ideas: piece sacrifice on f7 and h7 are common and playing h4 and attack the castled king, while white’s king is absolutely save.
In the same year in Gurgenidze-Kots black plays with d5, white gets and advantage with Bf4, weakening the d5 square, after some moves however white has to face some problems, but white shows that playing the King’s Indian with a tempo up, that it is very dangerous for black to miss tactics.
In Pilnik-van scheltinga 1958, Pilnik tries to play a new (and obviously) not good idea, but shows that black should always watch out for white’s chances.
As you can see, white has a lot of different resources to create attack like in Fischer’s game, but also enough tactical resources in worse positions.
We will continue with the King’s indian attack soon.