Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday Puzzles... mate in two and mate in three

Mate in two...

Mate in three...

Dan V Rob circa 2002 Robs queen is stupid

White Dan Black Rob

1. e4 e5
2. f4 Qh4?? (who moves their queen on move two?)
3. g2 Qf6
4. f5 Bc5 (black is still fighting for control of f2)
5. Nf3 d5
6. d3 Nc6
7. Bg5 Bb4+
8. Nc3 Qd6 (c3 would have been more appropriate for white using the double attack)
9. a3 Ba5
10. d4 Nxd4
11. Nxd4 dxe4
12. Nb5! Qc5 (Qc5 looking to win a pawn out of the exchange)
13. Qd8 Mate

The positioning on both sides is pretty awful. Clearly we were both half asleep while playing.

Dan V Rob circa 2002 Dans killer opening kills kings

I cant even begin to comment on the horrific mistakes made by both of us during this game. Hindsight is indeed 20/20.

White Rob Black Dan

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 d5
3. Nxe5 d5xe4
4. Bc4 Qf6 (white now has two unprotected peices)
5. Nxf7 Bc5 (two overaggressive players looking for mate in the opening)
6. O-O QxNf7 (if black plays well from here he should have some major advantages)
7. b3?? Be6
8. Re1 Qf2+
9. Kh1 Bh3
10. Rxe4+?? Ne7
11. Qh5+ g6
12. QxBh3?? Qg1 Mate

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

M. Carlsen V A. Morozevich Beil International Festival 7 25 06

For the first time I watched a game live. It turns out their is a lot to keep on top of during a live broadcast. It is a bit of a feat trying to decipher the kibitzing and enduring a game that lasts a couple hours is not easy.

Carlsen is the underdog by rating and experience and many kibitzers remarked how he doesnt live up to the hype. For the love of God people he is only 14. He is clearly a gifted kid and player. Please let him live his life and give him time to advance in the chess world.

1.d4 Nf6
2. c4 g6 (White dominates the center and black prepares for the feyenchetto)
3. Nc3 Bg7
4. e4 d6
5. Nf3 O-O
6. Be2 e5
7. O-O Nc6
8. d5 Ne7
9. a4 a5
10. b3 Nd7
11. Ba3 Bh6 (Ba3 is one of my favorite moves... I call it the sniper)
12. b4 axb4
13. Bxb4 f5 (F5 flanking the lever and hoping to take the half open file)
14. Nd2 Kh8
15. a5 Rf7 (a5 thinking ahead to the threat of promotion)
16. Nb5 Nf6 (Nf6 attacking e4 again)
17. c5 dxc5
18. Bc3 c6
19. dxc6 bxc6
20. Na3 fxe4 (Two sets of doubled pawns for black will definately not pay off in the end game)
21. Nac4 Ned5
22. Bxe5 Bg7 (Ive noticed the sign of a truly good player is not being afraid to move back to a former position)
23. Nd6 Re7
24. N2c4 Be6 (N2c4 interesting notation)
25. a6 Nb4
26. Qc1 Nd3 (The first queen move)
27. Bxd3 exd3
28. Qc3 Bxc4
29. Qxc4 Qg8
30. Qxc5 d2
31. Rad1 Rxa6 (White has lost his promotion threat but black is in a very tight position. The kibitzers are already giving this to white)
32. Rxd2 Nd5
33. Bxg7+ Rxg7
34. h3 Qe6 (h3 establishing luft but losing the tempo)
35. Rb1 h6
36. Qc4 Rb6
37. Rxb6 Qe1+ (Im not sure what the point of Qe1 was)
38. Kh2 Nxb6
39. Qf4 Nd5
40. Rxd5 cxd5 (White smells victory and acts on it)
41. Qf8+ Kh7
42. Ne8 Black resigns (Nf7? a mate on H8 or H6, the king cannot move and blacks queen cannot check on e5 but g5 frees the king)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Lucena "The Holy Grail of rook endings."

The Lucena position is remarkably easy to understand and will give you several wins with little study time. Created by the Spaniard Luis Ramires Lucena. His book Repeticion de Amores y Arte de Axedres was written in 1497 and is the oldest existing printed book on chess. Curiously, it does not mention this position. Lucena is a well known end game position that assures white a win with a pawn and rook against blacks lone perpetual check hungry rook. Blacks claws for the draw while whites patience "builds a bridge" or "shield" in order to allow the white pawn to queen. A few simple rules to Lucena:

It can not be performed if the pawn is a rook or wing pawn. A or H file pawns need not apply.

The pawn must be on the seventh rank. Ofcourse you can strive for this position earlier in the game but from where we are starting it must be on the 7th.

The white king must be in front of the white pawn on the potential queening square.

Whites rook cuts the black king off from the white pawns file.

The black rook is on a file on the opposite side of the pawn from the white rook.

Moves starting from the first position above and leading to the second position are as follows:

1. Rd1+ Ke7 (It makes no difference where the black king moves)

2. Rd4! Ra1

3. Kc7 Rc1+

4. Kb6 Rb1+

5. Kc6 Rc1+

6. Kb5 Rb1+

7. Rb4... (Black is now unable to check whites king or stop the pawn from queening)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Games of 7 20 06

I played this game against a Chessmaster 1646 player this morning. I used the Danish gambit again and it worked out well. He played what seemed to be a common answer that stuffs the intention of white and gives black a fight for the center. His knight couldn't handle the pressure on move 21 so the computer decided to sacrifice the pawn instead of jumping it a couple times to safety. This game has some significance since I played a solid endgame and black answered the gambit aggressively.

1. e4 e5
2. d4 exd4
3. c3 d5! (Black challenges the gambit and fights for the center)
4. cxd4 Bb4+
5. Bd2 Bxd2+
6. Nxd2 dxe4
7. Nxe4 Nf6
8. Bd3 Nxe4
9. Bxe4 Qe7
10. Qe2 Qb4+
11. Qd2 Na6? (Why black didnt exchange queens and blow my castling ability I dont know)
12. Qxb4 Nxb4
13. Nf3 f5
14. Bb1 Be6
15. O-O O-O
16. a3 Nc6
17. Rd1 Bb3
18. Rd3 Bd5
19. Ba2 Bxa2
20. Rxa2 Rf6
21. b4 Nxb4? (Black sacrifices his knight for a pawn instead of jumping it to d8 or c7)
22. axb4 Rc6
23. h3 Rc1+
24. Kh2 f4
25. Ne5 a6
26. d5 Re8
27. Nf3 Rd8
28. Rad2 Rb1
29. Rd4 h6
30. Rxf4 b5
31. Rfd4 Rc1
32. d6 c5
33. bxc5 Rxc5
34. d7 Kh7
35. Re2 Rc4
36. Rxc4 bxc4
37. Ne5 a5
38. Rc2 a4
39. Rxc4 a3
40. Ra4 a2
41. Rxa2 g5
42. Rc2 Kg7
43. Rc8 Rxd7
44. Nxd7 h5
45. Rc6 Kf7
46. g4 hxg4
47. hxg4 Ke8
48. Ne5 Ke7
49. Kg3 Kf8
50. f4 gxf4+
51. Kxf4 Ke8
52. Kf5 Ke7
53. Kg6 Ke8
54. Kf6 Kd8
55. Ke6 Ke8
56. Rc8 ++

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Amateur debauchery that should be avoided

A comment from Sun Tzu

"I've been playing a great deal of chess on line recently and with the exception of a few months of playing on-line last year, this has been my first experience of the sort. I've played against all sorts of players from all over the world and most of them are respectful, intelligent individuals with whom I've enjoyed not just a game of chess, but a friendly conversation as well. Unfortunately, it is with ever increasing frequency that I seem to be encountering the "other" type of player. The player who trash-talks, purposely times-out to make you wait, or just leaves the room when they lose. They most often play speed chess and sometimes even run computer programs to win. It is to them this comment is directed. Chess is not about ego. Chess is a about strategy, honor, and continually learning from your mistakes. It is about complex battle tactics employed even today in modern warfare. It has been called the game of generals or the game of kings and played throughout history by the aristocracy and the lay alike. It is a game that will show your true colors and for those who cannot grasp this concept might I suggest another game...Perhaps checkers?!"-Sun Tzu

Other things to avoid...

Early Queen moves

Too much aggression

Pointless trading especially early on

Sacrificing pieces without a definite plan

Keeping a weak back rank

Not utilizing your time and moving impatiently without thinking

Stop it...Seriously

Books I have and recommend

1. Complete Book of Chess Strategy by Jeremy Silman
This was my first book about chess. It covers numerous aspects of chess from opening, middlegame, endgame and practical matters. It is very well written unlike most chess books and is very easy to understand. It is a perfect book for beginners and like all chess books look for it used and you will probably find it for two dollars.

2. The Complete Chessplayer by Fred Reinfeld
The next step up. This book also covers the basics but is much more dry and has less diagrams than the first. The best aspects are that it has 37 pages of well commented illustrative games and a Laws of chess section that has helped avoid many a controversy.

3.Colle System 11th edition by George Koltanowski
The Colle system from A-Z in 85 pages. Its a relatively simple system and great for beginning and intermediate players. The book takes patience but definitely pays off.

4. Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch
One of the driest books of all time. It covers everything about pawns and even invents some terminology to explain strategies that are rarely explained. The most useful chapters are on how pawns work with specific pieces. It will jump your game considerable (especially the endgame) if you can muscle through it.

5. test your endgame thinking by Everyman Chess
I haven't finished this yet. Five chapters starting with easy endgame puzzles and progressing into painfully difficult to understand strategies. It introduces an idea and pounds it into your mind.

6. Chess 5334 problems, combinations, and games by Laszlo Polgar
Exactly what you think it is. I will finish it before I die. It will strengthen your mating ability in tight situations.

7. Kasparov and Deep Blue by Bruce Pandolfini
A good analysis on all five games. Every dedicated chess player should read about this match. Its very inspiring and thought provoking.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

French Defense

I know what your thinking. Youll have to trust me on this one. The French Defense is my favorite opening for black. It draws white into its trap in the first two moves and launches a counter attack on the center squares on move three. It doesnt let up until black has wrenched control of the center squares from white. If you would rather give the finger to white than bow to your rightful subservient position this defense is for you. I have won a trillion games with this defense and it is also a favorite of GM Botvinnik.

1. e4 e6

2.d4 d5

3. Nc3 Nf6

4. e5 c5

or 3. e5 c5

(Leaving a closed pawn center, black flanks the lever as planned)

Often after

5. ...c5xd4

6. Nxd4 Nxd4

7. Qxd4 (Black has solid development in the center while whites queen is exposed and unprotected. After gaining a tempo the black can fight strongly for the e pawn)

e5 c5

4. dxc5 Bxc5 (Black owns the center)

The Botvinnik Formation

Mikhail Botvinnik was a true Russian champion from 1931 to 1963. He held the world title many times and first beat the Russian champion at age 14. He was cold, calculated and studied endgame tactics relentlessly. This is a good formation if you have the time. Also, if closed middlegames where foresight combinations and piece traps are your style. Blacks interference is common but since your white and set the pace already, black will often play right into your hand. I've read it can be used for black as a defense but as it costs time I would advise against it. I first found it in The complete Book of Chess Strategy by IM (International Master) Jeremy Silman. Which by the way is a very good book for beginners. I've used it ever since. This opening is uncommon to most players. You will witness frequent looks of surprise and intense thought as it begins to knot up the board into a grueling closed middlegame. If your opponent loves short open games learn this formation and his mind will collapse under the pressure. 1. c4, c5 2. Nc3, Nc6 (Laying claim to c5 which will likely be the weak square for black as c4 is for white.) 3. g3, g6 (Preparing the feyenchetto to guard the e pawn.) 4. Bg2, Bg7 (Following the rule...finish what you start.) 5. e4, Nf6 (Black will often jump the knight to d4 prematurely at this point. I let him have it. Your knights will be engaging him shortly and the position does not require the spaces he threatens.) 6. Nge2, 0-0 (White prepares to drive the f pawn through blacks defense emphatically. Once this begins white is in control and initiates a calculated kingside attack.) 7. 0-0, d6 8. d3, Ne8 (IM Silman gives blacks move (!) for freeing the f pawn and establishing the knight in a more useful position.) 9. Be3, Nd4 (The weak squares become apparent.) 10. Qd2, Nc7 11. f4, f5 (Frequently I use h3 before blacks cowboy on f6 gets too rowdy.) Eleven moves in and no bloodshed. No useless trades or too early queen moves. White has a solid castle and a strong back rank. The air is thick with tactics and combinations. Which player will break under the pressure.

More information on Botvinnik via Wikipedia if your interest is sparked: Botvinnik

Knight Skewer Manifesto

Knight Skewer is a log of what I have learned and I will continue adding to posts as I learn more. If you find a particular post helpful or interesting please check back as I will update them frequently.

Please comment often. Do not hesitate to correct a grammer or notation error.

I use algebraic notation. Although I understand traditional notation, algebraic is the easiest to write and read in my opinion.

Please do not advertise any other site or blog in your comments.

I have played chess in fits and jumps for about decade now. Learning as a child from my father and brother and moving on to playing occasionally in coffee shops and bars circa 2000. 02 to 04 I played a lot. Probably too much since it took a toll on my relationship of the time. Playing in coffee shops and sometimes against some random University of Wisconsin Milwaukee chess club members on tuesday nights in the union. Milwaukee is scattered with very good players and my good freind Rob and I found most them in those two years. Many artistic players aswell. Most notably "Homeless" Charlie who without any practice or training frequently mated players officially ranked over 1600. Also "old man" Jim who restarted his chess playing after atleast 25 years of living life to the fullest. A child chess prodigy he chose a more adventurous lifestyle than the typical chess geek. He returned to it with the same passion he had for everyday life. We had a small club totaling around 15 people at any given time of year. Many strong players came and went and eventually I did too. But not before becoming competative with players ranking up to 2000. My chess playing became and alone in 05 and some of 06. Most recently I have been training with Chessmaster 7000 and my brother via My brother Pat and I have had a lot of competition over the chessboard and online over the past few years. Our familial relationship inspires us both and our unique approaches to chess compliment well. His Psychological game is second to none. This blog will bring a new aspect to my game and perhaps start a small community of likeminded players.

Danish Gambit

This is my latest adventure in openings for white. I first found it in The Complete Chess Player by Fred Reinfeld. The book gives it little more than an introduction but sometimes thats all you need. Although I am usually not an aggressive player this opening quenches the thirst for destruction in the opening moves. It also strikes terror in your opponent when both bishops are staring down the black king.

1. e4, e5

2. d4, e5xd4

3. c3, d4xc3 (Sometimes black decides not to take the c3 pawn and instead fights for d4 With 3... c5. This is a unique sitiuation and can throw whites development off course. White should destroy the pawn immediately even though it is an uncomfortable position with an early queen move and a relatively exposed queen. Waiting for black to complete the gambit has been disasterous in every game for me so far!)

4. Bc4, c3xb2 (If black decides not to take the b2 pawn the traditional variation is Nxc3. With and appearant aggression and a solid development. Not as fun as c3xb2 though.)

5. Bc1xb2 (Yes! black now realizes that pushing the d pawn to d5 is useless and his dark square bishop is forced to protect the kingside g pawn. Witness and saver the onsetting fear in your opponent. White has boldly sacrificed two pawns for development. Position V. Material. Let the game commence.)