Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cutting The Board

Not long ago I watched a series of interviews by James Plaskett of Garry Kasparov on The videos are quite cheap to rent online and are well worth the price of admission for the cultural and chess value. Just search for Garry Kasparov under the Movies/TV category on for the videos.

In the interviews Kasparov analyzes some of his best games from various periods of his career. One of the main concepts Kasparov talks about in these videos is the idea of local superiority of pieces and cutting the board. These terms are rarely used if at all in most of the instructive books I have on chess. I think I definitely learned a bit about how to approach the analysis of tactical situations from these interviews.

I was really befuddled by the combination in this game. Ivanchuk - Van Wely 2006 When I started to think about this in terms of local superiority and pieces being cut off on the other side of the board it started to make a lot more sense to me. The Black bishop at b7 is just a passive observer. The same for the rook on c2 and to some extent the bishop on e7 and even the queen on c7 cannot really influence the play where it matters. I'm still amazed by how Ivanchuk saw all of that blindfold.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Exchange Sacrifice

Recently I've been trying out an exchange sacrifice in my games to get a feel for when this is possible and when I really should hold on to the rook. I randomly came across Kramnik - Kasparov from Linares 1994 where Kramnik sacrificed an exchange for compensation that did not involve a structural component. I think the play is very instructive. This is one of the games I plan to study in depth when I get a chance. My initial impression is that the sacrifice was forced because White did not have a good square to place the Queen on when Black played ...Bf5. In any case this is the type of move that cannot be played in CCA tournaments in the bigger venues where there's a room for parents to set up shop with their IPads because kids will surely run off and check Rybka or Fritz's ideas more than occasionally. Kramnik - Kasparov Linares 1994

Here are some of my exchange sacrifice efforts:

Exchange sacrifice for the fianchettoed bishop

Sicilian Style Rxc3

There's more examples including situations where the sacrifice may not have been justified or only marginally so.  I will update the post with some of these later on.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Philadelphia Open

I played at the Philadelphia open Easter weekend in the under 2200 section. I think I played well overall but that did not reflect in my final score of 1-4-0. I have one main idea as to why this happened. I will not elaborate on this in this post and will refer you to my very first blog post from December 2011 for more details.

My plan from now on is to play in the open sections of the larger tournaments where there's invariably a gathering place for parents to set up shop with their IPads. My advice for older players such as myself ( with lower USCF IDs ) is to play in the open sections of the larger tournaments. This is practically a multi-hour lesson with better human chess players for much less than the equivalent cost of taking private lessons with a GM. I see this as my opportunity to present a chess problem to a GM or other strong player and see the solution.

I will play next at the New York State Open. This is a smaller tournament where I hope I will be playing human players and not cyborgs.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Modern Defence According to Kramnik

I was fortunate to read this great interview with Kramnik done by Vladimir Tkachiev. I was very impressed with Kramnik's responses and his personability. Afterwards the main question that kept coming to my mind was "Does Kramnik ever play the Modern Defence?" And the answer is yes though not that often.

Here is one of his efforts vs Grischuk:
Grischuk vs Kramnik
Kramnik tries really hard to win that rook ending but even I can probably hold that.

Kramnik plays the pirc vs Nakamura.

That gives me confidence to try that type of position with two pieces and pawns for the queen. Definitely on my list of positions to analyze. Check back in a few days and I may have that posted.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Long Island Open 2012

I played at the Long Island Open in Ronkonkoma New York 3/16-3/18 this year. Over 100 players attended and this turned into a great tournament. Thanks to Paul McCormick who I played in round 1 for the great chess set he gave me. I plan to use it in all my upcoming tournaments.

My chess was so so at this event. I still managed to gain a few rating points. What became clear is that my opening prep needs much work. The following is probably my best game from the tournament.

I hate to admit it but I'm on the verge of shelling out for the Monroi gadget to record my games. Copying off a paper score sheet into this blog and my database of games is starting to become a hassle. I've been putting off on this post because I've been too lazy to do the transcription. More on that soon.