Monday, December 26, 2011

Completely Outplayed

To borrow and paraphrase from Peter Svidler, here's a vintage classic:

I ended up in a passive position. All my pieces are behind my pawns and don't really have a good way to get out and contend the game. I felt terribly demoralized and more or less just gave up. Analyzing with a computer afterwards on ICC, I realized that as passive as my position is, White is not really winning by force for most of the game.

So how did it go all wrong?

In this position, I chose to capture with the knight instead of the bishop. The computer rates both captures about the same but I think I'm more comfortable defending the position with the
knight on f6 instead of the bishop on b7.

After the exchange my knight on d4 can be trapped in some lines. The only square I can move back to is f5. I decided to move the piece back out of a potential trap and subsequently de-centralized my only active piece. I should have analyzed more concretely. There are lines where the piece can be trapped but I should force concessions from White before placing the piece back passively. On move 15, there was really no good reason to play Ne7. If White kicks the knight with g4, then he has loosened his kingside and provided some opportunity for counterplay. By moving back to e7 voluntarily, I have handed over way too much for far too little.

So once I got into a passive position, I started playing actively. It's counter-intuitive but I think passive positions must be played passively. Just play to create a rock hard shell that is tough to crack. So the pawn moves 16... f5 and 17... a6 are probably not quite in the spirit of the position. I'm worse, but let White figure out how to win.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Passing Of Vitaly Tseshkovsky

Article at chess vibes

Tseshkovsky played the modern defence and is one of the players I hope to emulate in the handling of this opening.

This is one of my favorites. A piece sacrifice setting up a later queen sacrifice.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

An Interesting Pawn Sacrifice for Piece Play

I recently had the opportunity to play an interesting pawn sacrifice for piece activity. I think I had compensation for the pawn but the subsequent play was rather dictated by the time constraints and not the features of the position. It was fun to play and I think this opens a door to better understanding playing according to the pawn structure.

This is the complete game:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chess On TV

I recently found the YouTube video XTreme Chess Championships Episode 1. Great effort on the part of Jen Shahade, Jon Corbblah and others to promote chess.

I think there's a problem here though. I can't really see non-chess players heading to YouTube and searching out chess videos out of the music, movies, tv, dogs riding bicycles etc. I think what's needed is a way to encourage non-chess players to start playing a game now and then.

I did a little chess promotion exercise to re-assess the possibilities via some Jeremy Silman style fantasy positions. This is what I came up with:

June 2012, Times Square, NYC. Amidst the New York Rangers Stanley Cup celebrations being held for the first time in Times Square, Henrik Lundqvist and Marian Gaborik playing bughouse with Vishy Anand and Magnus Carlsen? On the big screen in Times Square Jon Corbblah and Jen Shahade with the play by play:

"Marian is reaching down to pick up a piece... Anand is screaming for a knight... 5 seconds left... Marian picks it up, hands it to Anand... Checkmate! Checkmate! Checkmate!"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Return to Tournament Play

A few years ago I was working towards a 2000 rating. Then in 2009 after a string of great performances by my opponents, I took a breather from tournament play. I believe silicon/human assistance was behind some of this decline though not all. When 1800 opponents play chess that leaves me wondering which piece I can move without losing a piece at move 15, that's probably silicon assistance. When even lower rated opponents find complicated tactical/strategical sequences while a stronger player is standing behind me I can imagine a series of hand signals or other means were used to communicate moves. ( I believe I have witnessed the latter in park chess. ) When I drop a piece in time pressure in an otherwise winning position and have to scramble to draw, well that's me.

In any case, in those two years, I have given up my affection for the number. Specifically the USCF rating. I like to think that my love of chess has been driven by a need for chess understanding all along. Deep down though there was always a satisfaction that this understanding translates into a higher and higher rating. Not sure exactly why that's a motivator and yet it is. I have left those ideas behind for now. What I would like is to develop deep positional understanding of chess. Let numbers be numbers.

With regards to tournaments, I want to play human and not silicon opponents. Not that I have anything against the silicon, but I can play the silicon at home. Why am I paying and travelling to a tournament to play a machine that can play at such unintelligible perfection for me to benefit from? And with human opponents my preference is to play the player sitting across from me and not a shadow. My theory is that cheating in chess is driven more by the prize money than an interest in achieving a higher rating. Less prize money = less cheating ( atleast in my theory ).

So my goal is to play in some of the more non-descript CCA events in the coming year where hopefully cheating is not present or less so. So no World Open... If nothing else I should have loads of blog fodder and games to post.

Recent (Higher) Quality Game

Most of what I play on ICC is sheer rubbish. This game is a notable exception. I made what I think is a nice draw vs. my FM opponent. The rook ending is probably slightly worse for white because black has a outside passed pawn. I think it should be theoretically drawn and my technique is sufficient.


Hi.  I'm Kuberan Naganathan.  Some of you may know me as kubiyak on Internet Chess Club ( ICC ).  I hold ambitions of mastering atleast the game of chess in this lifetime if not the universe itself.

I like the idea of travelling to new places and meeting lots of new chessplayers and hopefully making friends.  My metallic blue Nissan Sentra is my physical vehicle and chess is my social one on this trip.  I hope to have a great time and have lots to blog about.