Thursday, November 30, 2006

There's a lesson in all of this

I think (refering to Kramnik overlooking a mate in one). And the lesson is that you shouldn't rely too much on your patern recognition skillz, because apparently patern recognition skillz is what caused Kramnik to overlook the mate in one. If we have to believe chess player, trainer, editor of the Russian chess magazine "64" Alexander Roshal that is... But who am i to argue with an expert?
Alexander told us that the mating pattern that occurred during the game, with the white queen protected by a knight on f8, is extremely rare in chess. It is not one of the patterns that chess grandmasters automatically have in their repertoire. This was confirmed by a GM commentator in Bonn, who after Kramnik's move did not notice that it was a blunder and started discussing White's options – but not the mate in one. Alexander Roshal assured us that, had the white knight somehow moved to g5 or f6, Kramnik would have seen the mate in micro-seconds. The square h7 would have had a big red light blinking on it, Roshal said, because this kind of mate (or mating threat) occurs quite often in chess, and the mating pattern would be firmly anchored in his mind. With the knight in an unusual position the square remained dark and Kramnik simply did not see the danger. (excerpt taken from this article)

Kramnik's 'mate in one' wallpapers

Kramnik's allready world famous 'mate in one' wallpapers, desktops, backgrounds or whatever the hell you want to call them, come and get 'em while they're hot ;-)

Here (click on image and save it to your desktop),

and here (same action as above).

They're quite nice if i do say so myself :-)

P.S. If the images are no longer displayed, you can try and obtain them here.

Monday, November 13, 2006

So what do you do to protect your blog?

After some surfing on the web for more on this blog hijacking trend (because it doesn't end with just the two blogs i mentioned, it really is a trend), i came to find out that you shouldn't expect much help from Blogger's support service (if there even is such a service) in any such case. I guess that means we'll just gonna have to try to keep from being hijacked. I am thinking of periodically backing up my templates (with change). And in case of a hijacking, i can just create a new account and replace the new templates with the backed up ones. Ok, so i'll lose my pagerank. But is that really such a big deal? I also came across this password generating website. Which offers ultra high security passwords :-)
How about using that for a chance of passwords every couple of days or so? Do you think this password generating site is any good?

Oh, and on the subject of chess, i will be posting that Queens Gambit Accepted game from the previous post with commentary anytime soon. I know i said i couldn't in the first place, but i think i'm able to manage after all.

Untill next post!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Basics of Winning Chess - Middlegame Tips 3. Ask yourself questions - The way to choose a move

It has been quite some time since i watched my last video segment of International Master Andrew Martin's "Basics of Winning Chess" DVD,

but i finally got around to it again.

This time, Andrew Martin deals with the subject of how to choose a move. He starts out by refering back to an earlier advice he handed out, about improving the position of your worst placed piece in case you really (with the emphasis on "really") don't know what to do. I can tell you from personal experience that it is very good advice. Improving the position of my worst placed piece in situations where i really did not know what to do, has taken me out of a number of jams.

But let's get back to the subject Andrew Martin is dealing with in this segment.
How do you choose a move? What sort of thing's should you be thinking about?
Andrew Martin starts of by bringing to your attention a book

(Andrew Martin does not mention the title but my best guess says it's this one)

by C.J.S. Purdy (by which he was impressed himself after having read it) where he recommended asking yourself questions during a game in order to try and organize your thinking (probably old news, but still...). And by doing so, to eventually come around to choosing the right move in any given position. Briefly stated, his series of questions went as follows:

The first question you should ask yourself is a very simple one; Is there an obvious move?
That basicly means that if there is a forced move, just play it. Don't think too long, if it's absolutley forced you just simply gotta play that move and get on with the game. If there's no forced move you gotta ask yourself; What are the candidate moves in this position? What are the alternatives?

At that stage you gotta ask yourself; What are the enemy threats?
Then you gotta try and determine if there's no obvious threat, who has the advantage in the position? How great the advantage is, and where the advantage lies.
The main factors to consider when you try and decide who has the advantage according to Purdy are as follows:

The first thing ofcourse, is material balance. Is one side or the other pieces or pawns up?
Secondly, King safety. The guy with the safer king usually has the advantage due to this factor.
Then we're looking at pawn structure. Who has the better pawn structure? Andrew Martin adds in (dismay?) that a lot of players simply ignore their pawns, who don't worry about isolated pawns, doubled pawns, backward pawns as if it does not seem to matter to them. Assuring you that in a game against a good player, it really does matter.
Finally you should be looking at the relative activity of pieces. Usually the guy with the more active pieces again has the better position.

Andrew Martin points out being fascinated by having read another book by grandmaster Dorfman? Called "The Method in Chess". In which he sets out a similar system. But which was in fact a complete replica of Purdy's ideas, which were devised over 50 years beforehand. Go figure.

Andrew Martin then adds his own two cents by supposing that the final thing you should look for in a position is combination. Do you have a sound or correct combination?
To cut a long story short, Purdy's thought was that by asking yourself these questions, eventually you would arrive at the right move (duh!).

Now, most of the video segment's are accompanied by a examplary game, and so is this one :-)
It's a game between a guy called Foguelman

(supposedly an Argentinian Master, no disrespect intended ofcourse) and the legendary David Bronstein.

The game was played in the Amsterdam Interzonal, 1946. The reason for the choice of game, is that Andrew Martin feels that if Foguelman would have known about Purdy's system, and he asked himself the right questions at the right time in this game, he wouldn't have been facing such a severe defeat.
Anyway, in the game, Foguelman has White and Bronstein has Black (duh!). The opening played, is a "Queen's Gambit Accepted" (this one's for you Blue Devil). Which at the time wasn't very popular according to Andrew Martin, explaining that Bronstein was never a slave to fashion (don't you just hate being one?) and played exactly what he wanted to (he literally played every opening you can think of) and had many original ideas. Adding that there's nothing wrong with the "Queen's Gambit Accepted" as it is nowadays popular in the hands of, for instance, Kasparov or Kramnik (yeah i know, Kasparov is not an active player anymore, but i'm just reciting Andrew Martin's word's) so that says a great deal about the ultimate soundness of this opening. But let's not get into an opening discussion and go over the game instead, and try to put into place the subject discussed.

P.S. The game comes with quite a bit of explanation, making it difficult to post it any other way then just refering to it, which might seem a bit dry. I would if i could. You would have to purchase the DVD if you're interested in the details of the game. Personally, i would say it (the entire DVD) is well worth the money ;-)

Untill next post!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Another hi-jacking

This time it's Knight Errant Mate in Three who's been jacked.

Viewing the whole board (a recollection)

Remember when i posted sometime back about viewing the whole board (see here) (and here)? If not, just think of it as another nice little puzzle to solve. I allready gave you the theme. It is up to you to find the answer. Black to move. Mate in 4.

Highlight between brackets to see solution (hat tip Mark's "Chess Training" for providing this nifty solution to include solutions without actually showing them ;-)
[1...h2+ 2.Kxh2 Rb8 3.a6 Rh8+ 4.Kg1 Rh1#]

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'm sorry Quando

I'm sorry Quando, but i'm gonna have to let you go and take you of my sidebar. For a long time i've been hoping you'ld get thing's straightened out, but the hi-jacking situation of your weblog has stayed the same eversince. It was cool to have you around, and i hope you're on the right track when it comes to improving your game. If you ever get another blog, let me know. I'll make sure to have you on my sidebar in no time. Take care!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My hero speaks. Sadly enough, a bit disheartening. Because deep down inside, i know that he's right.

What you are about to read is an excerpt taken from a radio interview with Bobby Fischer on a private talk radio station in Iceland. The original recording of the interview, in which Fischer discusses other things as well, can be heard here (as long as it's available).
In chess so much depends on opening theory, so the champions before the last century did not know as much as I do and other players do about opening theory. So if you just brought them back from the dead they wouldn’t do well. They’d get bad openings. You cannot compare the playing strength, you can only talk about natural ability. Memorisation is enormously powerful. Some kid of fourteen today, or even younger, could get an opening advantage against Capablanca, and especially against the players of the previous century, like Morphy and Steinitz. Maybe they would still be able to outplay the young kid of today. Or maybe not, because nowadays when you get the opening advantage not only do you get the opening advantage, you know how to play, they have so many examples of what to do from this position. It is really deadly, and that is why I don’t like chess any more."

Morphy and Capablanca had enormous talent, Steinitz was very great too. Alekhine was great, but I am not a big fan of his. Maybe it’s just my taste. I’ve studied his games a lot, but I much prefer Capablanca and Morphy. Alekhine had a rather heavy style, Capablanca was much more brilliant and talented, he had a real light touch. Everyone I’ve spoken to who saw Capablanca play still speak of him with awe. If you showed him any position he would instantly tell you the right move. When I used to go to the Manhattan Chess Club back in the fifties, I met a lot of old-timers there who knew Capablanca, because he used to come around to the Manhattan club in the forties – before he died in the early forties. They spoke about Capablanca with awe. I have never seen people speak about any chess player like that, before or since.

Capablanca really was fantastic. But even he had his weaknesses, especially when you play over his games with his notes he would make idiotic statements like “I played the rest of the game perfectly.” But then you play through the moves and it is not true at all. But the thing that was great about Capablanca was that he really spoke his mind, he said what he believed was true, he said what he felt. He wanted to change the rules [of chess] already, back in the twenties, because he said chess was getting played out. He was right. Now chess is completely dead. It is all just memorisation and prearrangement. It’s a terrible game now. Very uncreative. ~ Bobby Fischer