Tough Game, Good Lesson

I played a game tonight where first I built up a good position:

Here I found the nice move 19.Nd5. I probably could have played it a move or two earlier as well.

Then I wind up with this position:

Here I play 28.e5? I completely missed that 28.Rxf6 is resigns as the rook can’t be taken since it leads to mate. 28…gxf6 29.Qxf6+ Qg7 30.Qxd8+ Qg8 31.Qxg8#

Naturally I saw it during the game after I didn’t play it.

This weighed very heavy on my mind, but I was able to do something which I haven’t always been able to do in the past and continue to grind and try to convert.

I missed a few other winning ideas along the way, but played until this position was reached:

So the result certainly didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but the fact that I continued to press instead of offering a draw out of disgust seems to me like a good sign.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Crush by Petrosian

Earlier today I saw my friend Elshan ask on Facebook for games with Tigran Petrosian on the White side of the King’s Indian. GM Jacob Aagaard just posted “Qh8+” as a response.

That sent me on a mission, and this is where I wound up…the final position from Petrosian – Spassky in Game 10 of the 1966 World Championship.

Here is the entire game. Thank you Elshan and Jacob for getting me to look for this!

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Don’t Ignore the Center Larsen – Spassky 0-1

When they think of Bent Larsen, most American’s probably think “Isn’t he that guy who lost to Fischer 6-0?”

However, there is a lot more to Bent than that footnote would suggest.  He was clearly the second best player in the West for many years behind only Fischer.

In fact, in 1970 during the first “USSR vs The Rest of the World” match, the captain of the World Team, former world champion Max Euwe, had decided that he would use Elo ratings to determine board order.

Bent Larsen would not accept this as Fischer had been inactive for some time at this point and he himself had had several successes leading up to this event.

In a gesture that surprised many, Fischer agreed and stepped down to play Tigran Petrosian on Board Two while Larsen faced world champion Boris Spassky on Board One.

After a draw in their first game, Larsen sat down to the board for Game Two and promptly committed a cardinal sin in the chess world by completely ignoring the center in the second game. This allowed Spassky to create the following miniature.

Take this as a lesson…ignore the center at your own peril!

And yes, these days the Nimzo-Larsen attack (1.b3 or 1.Nf3 2.b3) is often used by strong players, but these days the theory and understanding are quite far advanced compared to where they were when Bent was pioneering this setup.

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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Shameless Request for Donations

It’s not often that I make an actual shameless request for donations.  Sure, I have the Patreon thing at the bottom of each post, but this is not that.

It costs me around $170 a year to maintain this blog, and the truth is that I really enjoy doing it.

I pay for three years at a time, and it’s coming due in a few days.  If you read this content and feel that you get something out of it, and if you can spare a few bucks I’d sincerely appreciate a PayPal donation.  $1, $2, $10, whatever.

It all adds up and it’s all extremely helpful.

So if you can’t afford to donate, please don’t.  But if you can, then this would be the time to do so.

All help is gratefully appreciated.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Chris Wainscott

Positional Chess Books by Sakaev & Landa

For those of you who may not be familiar with these books, let me start by telling you that they are very well done.

They’re far different than most books I’ve seen on positional chess. One of the main reasons for this is that rather than breaking the material up into the expected chapters of open files, outposts, strong squares, etc. the two volumes are split with Volume One covering openings and middlegames, and Volume Two focusing on structures and dynamics. Yes, dynamics. After all, as Botvinnik noted, “tactics are the servant of strategy.” Which is a way of saying that positional play is often aimed at gaining a large enough advantage to crash through tactically.

This post is not a review. If you would like to see my review of Volume Two of this set you may click here.

If you would like to read a review from several years ago on my original blog about a Shirov DVD showing how tactics crown positional advantages, then click here.

So if this post is not a review, then what is it?  I’d say it’s a call to action. You should purchase these books if you enjoy well presented material.

For instance, in Chapter One of Volume One the theme is “A Lead in Development.” There are five well annotated games which are shown first. I present – without annotation since that would take forever to copy from the book – four of those five. The fifth is a training game of Sakaev’s and so is not in my database.

Tal – Uhlmann 1971

Tal – Toran 1961

Tal – Petrosian 1974

Seirawan – Karpov 1982

In this game Yasser fell behind in development and Karpov steamrolled him.

Then at the end of the chapter there is a section on “additional material” which simply lists a handful of games for the reader to analyze and review on their own.  Those games are:

Keres – Botvinnik 1941

Svidler – Dreev 1997

Kasparov – Polugaevsky 1978

Karpov – Karpov 1993

So when all is said and done you’ve have five games with detailed annotations and another four to review on your own.

I really enjoy books like this with that added element of “go do more work on your own” to them. Almost as much as I love the Soviet School of Chess.

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.

Right Idea, Wrong Execution

Today in a game I had this position as White:

I came up with the correct idea of sacking the exchange with 15.Rb4. Then after 15…Nxb4 16.axb4 Qb5 17.Rxa7 Nc6 18.Ra3 my opponent played 18…fxe5

Here I misplayed the position by taking back on e5 with 19.dxe5. However, had I played 19.Qa1! instead I would have had a sizeable advantage.

19…Kb7 20.Nxe5 Nxe5 21.Ra7+ Kc6 and now the nice shot 22.Bf4.

White is clearly better here.

Having said all that, I’m ok with this game since I correctly sacked the exchange.

Now if I can just get my strategic thinking and calculation up to par I’ll convert these as well.

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.

Very Nice Exchange Sac

I was looking at this game earlier between Yair Kraidman (whom I have never heard of) and Heikki Westerinen (whom of course I have heard of) and this is the position after White’s 16th move 16.Bb5

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not great with understanding the majority of the exchange sacrifices I see.  In this case I took a lot of time trying to puzzle it out, and as near as I can figure out the key here is the position after 22…Rxb2.  I think that must be the position that Westerinen saw when he went for it.

Of course I have no real idea, but if a strong player wants to throw me a bone here and let me know if I’m on the right track that would be awesome.

Here is the complete game:

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.

Timman Crashes Through

These days Jan Timman is mostly know as an author of many fine chess books.  However, if you, like me, were a chess fan in the 80’s then you recall that Jan Timman was widely considered to be one of the best players in the West for a decade or so.

While he never got a shot at the world title he certainly made his mark.  Here he is in a game against “N. Davis” from 1966 featuring a sparkling attack from the White side of the Saemisch King’s Indian.

Let’s take a look at this position after White’s move 19.f4

Here Black should drop the knight onto the d3 square with 19…Nd3.  If White exchanges off the knight then Black winds up better.  For example 20.Bxd3 cxd3 21.Qxd3 Rxb4 22.Rxa6 Rxa6 24.Nxe4 Rxe4 25.Qd3 Re8

Here White should be able to hold a draw, but Black will be able to torture him for some time with the two bishops.

Instead, Black plays 19…Neg4

Timman now starts a blistering attack with 20.Bd4

Here is the complete game:

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.

I Need to Work On My Fighting Spirit

Last weekend I played in the 54th Northeastern Open. This tournament means a lot to me since it was the first one I played back in 2011 when I returned to chess after a 19 year absence.

That year I went 5-0 and won the Reserve Section.  Since then I have tried to play it.

In the first round I was paired up about 350 points, and overall I played a very bad game.

Yet if I gave you these two positions:

and said “find the best move for White” the odds are that  you would find the moves 24.h4! in the first position and 33.Nxe8! in the second.  Why?  Because you would be in puzzle mode.

However, when those positions appear on the board after several hours of defending they’re easy to miss.  Or at least they were for me.  This tells me that I need to work very hard on my fighting spirit.

Here is the entire game:

I hope to have my other games from this event up soon.

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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World Class Players Also Miss Simple Tactics

Here a legend of the game manages to miss a simple tactic which causes and immediate loss.

The game was between Wolfgang Uhlmann and Viktor Korchnoi. There may have been time pressure involved, but still…

Here’s the position:

Here Viktor plays 31…Bf7?? and after 32.Bxh7+ he resigns on the spot.

Here is the entire game:

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.