Artemiev Showing he Belongs

On day two of the Tata Steel Masters group in Wijk an Zee. Vladislav Artemiev showed that not only does he belong in the top group, but that he can contend as well.

On the White side of the English the young Russian ground down his more experience countryman Nikita Vitiugov.

Here is a position that shows some things I’m really trying to refine in my own games:

How often would a club player either trade or not trade queens almost automatically as a matter of personal preference? Well here Artemiev trades queens, but for a specific reason.

After 16.Qxd8+ Rxd8 17.Be3 0-0 18.Bb6 it becomes clear that White will now control the d file as Black has difficulty challenging that control since White controls the d8 square.

At the same time, should Black recapture the queen with a move such as 16…Bxd8 then after 17.Bf4 White has a much better position:

Here is the entire game:

All in all a good performance by Artemiev and proof that he’s a got a bright future.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Blitz as a Tool

I’m trying to use blitz as more of a tool than I had been up until recently.

In the nine years since my return to chess I have played *maybe* 1,ooo games combined across all the servers.

This year I need to get somewhere around 1,000-1,500 games in. I should be averaging 3-5 per day, and giving them at least a brief analysis.

I hear all the reasons that people say blitz is a useful tool, and they are correct. Practicing openings and quick tactics are useful skills to hone in blitz.

I also find that playing more blitz helps me think more strategically as positional errors seem much easier to exploit in blitz since it’s harder (at least for me) to find accurate defensive moves quickly during a blitz game.

Let’s take this position from a game I just finished:

Here I should be on high alert because my queen is undefended. But I’m not.

My opponent plays 12…Nbd7 and after four seconds I play 13.Ne5??

I realize instantly what I’ve done, and wait for the inevitable 13…Nxe5 which wins on the spot.

Luckily my opponent misses it. We trade some strategic errors back and forth, along with some missed tactics such as this:

I miss the crushing 21.Bd6 here.

I also miss an easy mate in two here:

24.Qxf7+ Kg8 25.Qxg7# So easy, a caveman could do it. There is no excuse for missing these kinds of things.

Here’s one I miss one move later:

Let’s be honest, if I’m going to get to 1900 this year I can’t miss stuff like this. I’m thinking that my opponent did good here with 24…Ra7 because it prevents 25.Rxg7+ so I chop the rook with 25.Rxa7. However, 25.Bxg7 again would have won on the spot.

Here if my opponent plays 25…Rxf7 I simply mate on h8.

We get to this position where almost anything is winning for me…almost.

29.Bd6?? not only doesn’t win, but loses on the spot to 29…Qxd4!

Here is the entire game:

My opponent and I play again, and this time I win with a nice smothered mate:

In this game I made fewer errors, but they were still there.

I know that a lot of people have a tendency to say “Well, it’s only blitz.” or “You have to expect these kinds of errors in blitz.”

I think that is probably more wrong thinking.  I think that if I play more blitz that I’ll start to see things much faster which should help some of my board vision issues.

I’m not sure if I can put a rating on it, but I think that perhaps another goal of mine should be to get to around 2000 in online blitz as that would be more of an indicator that my strategic instincts are being honed and that tactical patters are also much more ingrained.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

If you like this blog, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. Any money I raise will go towards lessons and stronger tournaments.

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Ganguly – Warmerdam 1-0

Yesterday, in round one of the Tata Steel Challengers Group Indian GM Surya Ganguly faced local IM Max Warmerdam.

While I’ve known who Ganguly is for some time I’ve only recently taken a real interest in his games as I’ve been reading The Anand Files.

Ganguly is a long time second for Vishy, having worked with him during several world championship matches.

Here he wins a nice game on the White side of the English Attack against Warmerdam’s Najdorf.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Nice Finish to My Blitz Game

Here’s the end to a game I just played. I’m Black and it’s my move…

Here’s the entire game:

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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If you can spare it, please click here and become a supporter. Even $1 a month can help me achieve my dream.

The Last Battle of Boris Spassky

In 2009 two elder statesmen met in Elista to rekindle their rivalry when Boris Spassky face Viktor Korchnoi in an eight game match.

Boris had arrived several days in advance, while Viktor rushed to arrive from London where he had just been guest of honor at the London Chess Classic.

As the 78 year old Korchnoi was exhausted after his last minute arrival, Spassky proposed limiting the match to six games instead of the scheduled eight and giving Korchnoi an additional rest day.

Viktor refused and managed to take the first game from the 72 year old Spassky, who had played his last serious game seven years prior.

Nevertheless, Spassky fought back and the match ended in a draw. These are to date (and presumably for all time to come) the final professional games of Spassky to appear in the database.

And so Boris the Tenth rode off into the sunset…

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

If you like this blog, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. Any money I raise will go towards lessons and stronger tournaments.

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Stop Wrong Thinking

Something I need to work on is putting an end to wrong thinking during games. Here’s an excellent example of that.

This is the position from my game Thursday. My opponent is a kid playing his first rated game. His strength is perhaps 500-600, so clearly the game is a mismatch.

My opponent castles

This hangs the e pawn, so I immediately give up the bishop pair

Except…I played 7.Bg5 here. Why? Here is the answer from my notes to the game:

“This is just wrong thinking. After chopping the knight to win the pawn I chose not to follow up properly because I feel that perhaps the extra tempi aren’t worth giving up. But there’s no place for feelings here. Just calculation. Which of course tells us that winning the pawn is the correct way to go since the extra tempi count for nothing in a position where Black can’t get to White and White controls the entire enter.”

So if I’m truly going to get to 1900 this year I’m going to have to stop this behavior. The thing is, I’d have snapped the pawn off in an instant against a stronger player.

Something to keep in mind.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

If you like this blog, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. Any money I raise will go towards lessons and stronger tournaments.

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Today it Begins

Today is the first day of the new year. As I mentioned in a recent post my goal is to surpass my all time peak rating in 2020.

As of now that number stands at 1896.

So what’s the plan for today? Today I’m going to work on some Chessable opening course lines that I’ve been learning and I’m going to work on solving a couple of endgame studies from Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies by Kasparian.

This is going to be my year. I’ll will it into being.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

If you like this blog, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. Any money I raise will go towards lessons and stronger tournaments.

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Relentless Technique by Hikaru

In the recently concluded World Rapid and Blitz Championships Super GM Hikaru Nakamura represented his home country of the USA quite nicely taking home the bronze (on tiebreaks as he finished in a tie for second) in the Rapid and the silver (on tiebreaks as he finished in a tie for first) in the Blitz.

In this game against Russian GM Alexander Riazantsev he shows relentess technique in grinding his opponent down.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

If you like this blog, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. Any money I raise will go towards lessons and stronger tournaments.

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Marshall Marshall Marshall

Yeah, OK…most of those reading this won’t get the Brady Bunch reference. I get it. But I do them for me, not you! 🙂

Here is an example of a game in the Marshall Attack in the Spanish that perfectly illustrates how to handle these positions.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

If you like this blog, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. Any money I raise will go towards lessons and stronger tournaments.

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The Plan for 2020

As I mentioned a few days ago I need to put together a plan for 2020 since my goal is to get to 1900 for the first time.

However, I have no intentions of putting together one of those pie in the sky projections claiming that I’ll spend 20 hours a week on this and 20 hours a week on that, etc.

The goal here is to start by being realistic about the goal and honest about the process of how to improve.

So let’s start with the easy stuff…things that will be done every day.

Tactics

Unlike in the past where I have said I’d do X number of hours of tactics per day, etc. my plan this time is to do what I’ve been doing. Namely, tactics on my phone using Chessable. I’ve been using the course 1001 Chess Exercises for Beginners. Don’t let the title fool you. These aren’t mate in ones or hanging queens, they’re more like tactics aimed around 1200-1600ish level players.

The idea is to get tactics at this level down to reflexive movements. I’ve gone all the way through the book three times and almost halfway through the fourth go  round.

Once I’ve made it through seven times I’ll switch to my next tactics course, which is 1001 Chess Exercises for Club Players. That book seems to be geared more toward the 1400-1800 level. I’ll do the same seven revolutions.

Please note that this concerns quick tactics only. We’re not speaking about calculation, just quick tactics.

Openings

Same as tactics, I’ll be working using Chessable for openings. In fact, I have been. Mostly I’ve been adding my own lines using pgn files which I create, but I’ve also branched out to buy courses.

As for a repertoire I plan on just keeping the same one I’ve had for some time now.

White:  1.e4

Black: Against 1.e4 I’ll stick to 1…e5. Against 1.d4 I’ll stay with the KID. Against 1.c4 I’ll play 1…Nf6 and we’ll go from there.

Ultimately the idea is to just deepen my repertoire after having spent the last several years broadening it.

Endgames

Again, this is something I use Chessable for. I’ve been working through Jesus de la Villa’s 100 Endgames You Must Know.

So for  tactics, openings, and endgames I’ll just be working on them intermittently throughout the day on my phone. Sometimes I sit down for an extended period of time at home for this, but generally between breaks and lunches I’ll get an hour a day in.

Calculation

This is where Chessable and I part ways.

For calculation I plan on solving endgame studies and playing a lot of guess the move.

I spent some time a little over a year and a half ago working through a bit of Domination in 2545 Endgame Studies. I found the work to be extremely rewarding although difficult process.

I’d like to spend at least 30 minutes three times a week on this. The plan would be to spend 15 minutes per exercise, meaning I should be able to get through a minimum of six exercises per week.

Additionally I would like to do at least two full guess the move sessions per month. When I do guess the move it’s usually a three plus hour session, so getting two of these per week would be a serious chunk of time.

So that’s it. That’s the plan. Sure, there will be a lot more, but this is the outline of the plan which will give me the best chance to get to 1900 in 2020.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

If you like this blog, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. Any money I raise will go towards lessons and stronger tournaments.

If you can spare it, please click here and become a supporter. Even $1 a month can help me achieve my dream.