Monday, April 30, 2012

Oy Vey

Right after his visit to Chicago, the president of FIDE decided that Syria was the logical next stop.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pre-World Championship Contests

They both got knocked out of the World Championship cycle, but Kramnik and Aronian are playing a training match for the title of nothing in particular. I've been too busy to seriously cover this match, but you can get some great commentary online from The most exciting game so far is available here:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Gelfand-Anand 2012

It's an exciting time to be a chess fan these days. Today is the first round of a 6 game exhibition match between Kramnik and Aronian, the first ever match I am aware of between two 2800+ players. In early May we will get both the US Championship and the World Championship. The latter features two brilliant players, defending champion Anand, and challenger Boris Gelfand. Gelfand has earned his way there by winning a World Cup, and a knock out tournament which included the likes of Aronian and Kramnik. In the run up to the US and World Championships, I will be posting some interesting games from the careers of the contenders. Below is a position from a blindfold game between Gelfand and Anand. See if you can find the best move for black before checking out the game here:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Puzzle Solutions, IE the Full Game

Here's the full game with Kevin from last Friday. For the second tournament game in a row I fell into a bad position, but after a couple of mistakes from white I was able to survive.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chess Xtreme

I mentioned in my last post that my opponent in that game was in the web show Chess Xtreme. I watched the first episode of that show yesterday, and you can find it here:

I think that it's an interesting concept, but the show lacks a target audience. Chess players won't want to sit through a discussion of the rules, while beginners won't be able to follow much of what's happening in the games. I suppose more opportunities to attract media coverage for chess is probably a good thing overall.

What do you think?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Something to Blog About

On Friday night I played in the DC Chess League against "Chess Xtreme" Star Kevin Wang. He's high school student rated 2331 and a pupil of GM Larry Kaufman, who may end up being my next opponent in the league. I equalized out of the opening, but gradually got into trouble during the middle game. My position was bad enough that the other team consulted and decided to take a draw on the next board, assuming that I would lose the game and the match. Things turned around in a bad knight ending, when he failed to take advantage of a better structure and let me eliminate his last remaining pawns. I haven't done an exhaustive analysis of this game yet, but I did pull out a few interesting positions, which can be used for training. These aren't necessarily tactics, just "What's the best move for white or black?" type puzzles. Please put answers in the comments. I will post solutions on Tuesday.

I had black in the position below. I played Qc8, eyeing h3 and protecting b7. This move is OK, but still leaves white better. There’s a more active try that I didn’t even consider. Can you find the best move for black?

Virtually everything about this position favors white. He has the safer king and better pawn structure. What’s the best move for black to get some saving chances?

White has a substantially better pawn structure in this endgame despite black’s more centralized king. This should be a close to decisive advantage, but my opponent’s next move might have thrown away the win. Can you do better for white?

At around one in the morning I reached the following position. What should black play?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Nasty Blitz Tactic

Black to move...

I feel kind of guilty, but I won the game on time later.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fun Blitz Game

After a tough week at a chess camp, I've spent too much time this weekend playing blitz on ICC. My last game was pretty fun, so here it is with some short annotations.

Monday, April 2, 2012

King's Gambit RIP

Bobby Fischer claimed to have busted the king's gambit 50 years ago. His analysis had some holes in it, but according to Rybka run with some ridiculous amount of computing power, he was mostly right. Is this the end of the King's Gambit? You can see the full article here:

I grew up playing the King's Gambit until around the start of high school. Here's my most fun tournament win with it including my brief annotations circa 2003.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Good Times With the Traxler

I've mostly given up this opening because half of the lines end in perpetual check with black down three pieces, but there have been some good times.