Saturday, April 29, 2006

1.e4 c5 2.Na3!?

After reading more and more about this unusual move order to meet the Sicilian as White, I too had to try it out. This game was ofcourse not played at Vadim Zvjaginsev level (who is said to be specializing himself in this opening) and i do not know the strength of my opponent, but i liked the game it brought about. I might even try it out again ;-)

P.S. The game's annotation after 2.Na3 should read that i like being out of book that early in the game, so that it's every man for himself :-) Because it is not just getting the game out of book that counts, it is how you get the game out of book that counts. Well, that's my opinion anyway...

Oh, and many thanks to for sharing their self-made pieceset for use with the viewer i use to show games. They use the same viewer, so...

One month of ICC - Looking back

As mentioned in this post, i got a free month's acces to the Internet Chess Club. Now, i've gotten a free month's acces before, so it wasn't like it was completely new to me, but i still would like to take a look back. I played a lot of shitty games. Mostly due to not being able to play under (for me) ideal circumstances. Ideal meaning (in this case) not being able to concentrate enough. And if there is one thing i rely on during a game, it's my concentration. When it breaks, i screw up. But i got to play some decent games as well, luckely :-)
I mostly played against high rated bots at standard time control... At the times i was on, there were few or no actual people willing to play games with standard time controls, so... And as far as playing titled players goes, i got my butt kicked by a couple of them :-) Including GM Wang Hao. Who, by the way, is a really cool guy. I also tried to get a game with GM Boris Alterman, as well as with GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Pentala Harikrishna and IM Ben Finegold. Which were al no-no's. They acted pretty stuck-up. Not that that was anything new... It seems that a lot of titled players have that attitude in common when it comes to playing a "nobody" like me. There was also this incident where i was branded as a cheater and i wasn't allowed to play rated anymore. At one occasion when i was on i simultaniously played a game on ICC as well as on Playchess (as a guest). But i played on Playchess through ChessBase 9, which caused me to swith back and forth inbetween ICC and ChessBase 9. I don't know how, but ICC is able to monitor what you've got running. And they monitored me running ChessBase 9. Which makes me feel quite uncomfortable. What if i got some porn running :-)
That's a joke. Though i am not gonna deny watching it ;-)
Anyway, i got into a pretty big fuzz about it with one really pigheaded admin, who kept insisting i read the help files on computers. Just so i could tell him i've read them and that i wouldn't do it again. Do what again? I'm no cheater! I allready explained the matter to him in detail. But still he wanted to hear me tell him i've read the help files and that i wouldn't do it again. Which i refused :-)
The discussion ended in quite some name calling, after which i went and looked up another admin, who got the job done without a fuzz, and without being pigheaded...
Anyway, i am kinda glad it is over with. Cause by trying to take advantage of this free month's acces and play a lot, i kinda ignored PCT. Now i can finally get back to work on it actively again... And for those interested, i included an image showing my ICC results of one month's play.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Andrew Martin and The Basics of Winning Chess Middlegame Tips 2. Play with a plan & square control

It has been a while since i posted anything new of my experiences with the Andrew Martin's Basics of Winning Chess DVD, but i've been watching the first video of the second chapter on middlegame tips entitled; "Play with a plan & square control". Andrew Martin starts off by telling you that you should always play with a plan. A plan in his words, is simply stated some idea of where you're going, and what you're going to do next. The clash of plans over the board (or on screen for that matter) is one of the most interesting aspects of the game of chess. So he says :-) Ideally, plans should be flexible and adaptable. So start simply, with short range ideas. As you gain experience you'll automaticly deepen your planning skills. There's no actual substitute for playing chess to develop this ability. No amount of study is going to teach you like your own games. Therefore A. Martin's advice for developing planning skills is to play more. And that concludes "play with a plan". To continue with "square control" and putting your pieces on good squares. A.Martin starts off with the question what exactly a good square is, and tells you that many great players seem to find good squares for their pieces with ease. They put a piece down and it just seems perfectly posted. So why is that skill not available to all of us (A. Martin asks)? Have you heard of the "square control theory" (to tell you the truth, i didn't)? It may be a bit of a mechanical rather robotic method, but it will help you determine what is a good square for a piece and what is not. After which A. Martin shows you the following commented examples.

If you are tho choose wether to start a game with 1.Nf3 or 1.Nh3, which would be the better move? Well, sheer number crunching would determine that 1.Nf3 would be the better move. In the first example the highlighted squares shows you the number of squares the Knight controls from h3, which is four. But looking at the Knight on f3

we can see the Knight controls actually eight squares. So by putting a piece in the center at the start of the game, you actually doubled the effectiveness of that piece! Maybe a very usefull idea for you to think about. One more example of that plan;

Let's say the opening is as followed; 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 after which White must determine a good square for his light squared Bishop (that is if you want to play out your Bishop on the third move). You could put the Bishop on e2.

There the Bishop controls five squares. If you put the Bishop on d3,

the Bishop controls the same five squares. But if you put the Bishop on c4,

how many squares does the Bishop control then? The same five squares plus three. Which makes eight! Significantly increasing the range and effectiveness of that piece. And if you put the Bishop on b5,

we see that the Bishop controls six or seven squares if you count the attack on the Knight. So that is why Bishop to c4 or b5 are the most popular choices in this position. Simply because the piece is placed most effectively. So if you want to pick up a piece and place it most effectively, count the number of squares it controls. It's a very usefull way of looking at the game. A. Martin concludes with a final usefull piece of advice; If you really can't think of what to do in a game of chess (taking into account there are certain positions which baffle us all), just keep it simple, improve the position of your worst placed piece. Pick up a piece which you percieve to be on the worst square and improve the effectiveness of that piece. Usually this involves some centralization. Now, all these ideas may seem very basic, but the point is; They really do work. Therefore A. Martin urges you to think about them closely in your own games.

Well, that concludes the first video (chapter is divided into two) of "playing with a plan and square control". Personally, i found it to be very usefull. Even though it is very basic. Anyway, if you enjoyed the post (hope i didn't overdo the tilted text parts), do not hesitate to let me know. Because i also create these posts hoping they will be of use to others wanting to learn a thing or two about the game of chess.

Untill next time ;-)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Finished tactics unit 30 (module 1)

I just finished tactics unit 30 of tactics module 1. Mostly 4 move mate problems again, but this time around they were less frustrating. Even though exhaustion is getting the better of me. I've got a lot of sh*t on my mind which is taking it's toll. And it is hard to combine that with something as excruciating as studying chess. It is getting harder and harder to solve problems and to 'not' play sh*tty games. The past couple of days i've been on a serious blunder streak in my turn-based games (whoever thought a serious blunder was possible in a turn-based game?), and my live games aren't going much better either! I just sit there in front of that screen, and i just don't see anything anymore. I think i see it, but i don't. And it's pretty hard to deal with the frustration that goes along with it...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Two Knight's The Bobby Fischer Way :-)

After going through some Giuoco Piano games at, which included a game played by Bobby Fischer (which isn't a Giuoco Piano game at all btw), i logged on to the Playchess server to play this game (click to replay). I was looking to play a Giuoco Piano as White, but it turned into a Two Knights Defence. As was the game played by Bobby Fischer (playing the White side). It must have gotten stuck in the back of my mind (and why wouldn't it), because if you compare the games, you'll find some similarities. Atleast during the opening stages ;-) Love the attack!

Now, i know there are a bunch of moves for which i could have found better ones. I analyzed the game allready (up to some point), so... But you have to know that the problem with me playing blitz is that i take too much time. Which gets me into time trouble. After which my moves become hasty choices. But enough with the excuses. The chessviewer appeared to be having problems with the (better move) variations i put in, so i am unable to show them. There is some annotation however...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Knight (Phorku) vs ex-Knight (me) Challenge 0-1

I've recently won another Knight challenge against Phorku over at Net-Chess... Phorku (White) to move, resigned in a lost position.

Knight (Phorku) vs ex-Knight (me) Challenge 0-1 (click to replay)

P.S. Good game Phorku! If you want a rematch just let me know, okay?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

So much for my National Master challenge :-(

What i was afraid of still happened. The National Master stopped moving... Too bad :-(

Here are the final positions.

White (Me) Black (the National Master)

White (the National Master) Black (Me)

As you can see, we were still in the early opening stages. Anyway, i've got myself another nice challenge instead... I came to find out WGM Yelena Dembo started playing on GameKnot. I knew she played at other places where i tried to challenge her before, but was unable to because of restrictions here, restrictions there, restrictions everywhere :-)
Anyway, thanks to GameKnot i finally got a chance to play against her, and this is the current position.

I'm Black.

The position arose from a (B04) Alekhine's Defense. Though i probably should have known better then to play Alekhine's Defense against a WGM. On the other hand, i guess it doesn't really matter...There's a 99.9% chance i will get thrashed no matter what opening i use :-) And i'm probably still giving myself too much of a chance here :-)

My games vs the (men's) Grandmaster are also still active, though they are currently on hold due to the Grandmaster having taken some time off.

Keep y'all posted.

P.S. No kibitzing please ;-)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Finished tactics unit 29 (module 1)

Today i finished tactics unit 29 of tactics module 1. Have been speeding up a little. For a while now, PCT has me solving 4 move mate problems. They can be pretty frustrating. I still wonder what kind of excersises PCT will have me doing when i reach the first module of unit 6. 40 move mate problems?? Anyway, PCT does have me recognizing certain theme's or patterns for a while now, so it's definitely paying off...

Let me show you a couple of problems that handle the theme's/patterns i'm refering to. Maybe you like to try them out for yourself.

Black to move (mate in 4). Hint; The theme is called "smothered mate".

And another one

White to move (mate in 4). Hint; While i'm not exactly sure what it is the theme is called, it has to do with co-operating Bishops :-)

Have fun solving ;-)

Friday, April 07, 2006

A new (as far as i know) live chess server!

There's a new (as far as i know) live chess server in town... It is called Infinia Chess. And it's free! It also makes use of client software, just like FICS and ICC. The interface is pretty basic, but hey! Like i said; It's free! I just registered myself and logged in to have a look around. The user number was pretty low though, which probably has to do with the fact that it's new? Or maybe every chessplayer in the world was asleep for once ;-)
Anyway, if you like to check it out, click the above mentioned link.

P.S. Don't forget to download the soundfiles. They can be found in the support forum.

Finished tactics unit 28 (module 1)

Today i finished tactics unit 28 of tactics module 1. I've been slowing down again, due to wanting to take advantage of this free month's access to ICC, which will last untill 29th of April. Anyway, it could have been just one of those days, but unit 28 got to be pretty frustrating. But what was even more frustrating, is the fact that i tried to upload the screenshot image for more then half an hour before it finally did!