Magnus at Nanjing 2009 – Round Four

Tomorrow we’ll look at round five!

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Magnus at Nanjing 2009 – Round Three

Tomorrow we’ll look at round four!

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Magnus at Nanjing 2009 – Round Two

Tomorrow we’ll look at round three!

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.

A Dream Result for Carlsen

Yesterday Magnus Carlsen put the cap on the midway point of a dream year in which he’s won six tournaments already. He finished with eight points from eleven games in the GCT event in Zagreb, Croatia.

This hearkens back to an event ten years ago, the 2nd Nanjing Spring Pearl tournament where Magnus scored the best ever performance rating of 3002 with eight points from ten rounds.

Over the next ten days we will look at those ten games, including his round one win annotated by Magnus himself in Chessbase Magazine 133.

Round One

Carlsen – Leko 1-0

Tomorrow we’ll look at round two!

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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Slav’s and Pawns

A few years ago I lost a game on the White side of the Slav because my opponent won my c pawn and I went full blown panic thinking I had to win it back immediately rather than let him hold on to the pawn while I built up my position.

Since then I have learned the importance of other elements such as time and space rather than being so materially minded, which is why I can appreciate this game between Sasha Grishchuk and Lev Aronian from Bilbao 2009.

Granted, this game is in a line of the Semi-Slav, but same idea. In this position Black has temporarily won White’s c pawn.

White builds up some nice advantages, and then Black sacs an exchange – I presume since the dark squares around his king look a bit tender.

After some mutual positional pawn sacs being down the exchange proves to be a bit too much for Black and White converts a nice opportunity.

Here is the game, with annotations by the well-known attacker, Polish GM Michal Krasenkow. This comes from Chessbase Magazine issue 132.

If you’re not familiar with Krasenkow you should listen to Ben Johnson’s Perpetual Chess Podcast interview with him here. You can (and SHOULD) order Krasenkow’s recent book on his best games here.

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.

Space Can be a Disadvantage Too

One of the things that we learn as we progress in chess is that having more space means having an advantage.

Here is an amazing example where that is not the case. In this game Lautier builds up a sizeable space advantage against the German GM Nispeanu, but at the cost of a lack of king safety.

Nipeanu coolly and calmly maneuvers his pieces into place and then smashes open the position and suddenly Lautier’s advantage becomes a wide open field for his opponents pieces to start charging through.

The annotations are from English GM Peter Wells. This game appears in Chessbase Magazine 130 from June 2009.

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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Two Kasparov KID Crushes

As many long time readers of mine will know, I have been a fan of the King’s Indian Defense for as long as I can remember.

I currently have a student who really enjoys the King’s Indian and so I was looking for games to show him some brutal crushes from the black side.

Of course seeing as how one of the all time greats was a serious practitioner in his day I figured I’d look up some Kasparov games.

Here are a couple of brutal win by Garry featuring classic kingside attacks.

These types of games never fail to take me back to when I was first discovering my love of top level chess in the late 80’s/early 90’s.

I hope you will enjoy them as well!

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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Beware the Ides of Zaitsev

One of the things that I have been working on lately is a much more thorough approach to my openings. While I have definitely had some growing pains, I am doing better when it comes to working harder to understand my opening repertoire.

I have been playing 1…e5 again lately and the Breyer has been my variation of choice. However, I have wanted to work on some other lines to both better increase my understanding as well as to give myself more weapons in the arsenal.

So I started looking at the Zaitsev.

Here is the main position, which arises after the move 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 O-O 9.h3 Bb7 10.d4 Re8 

The main move here is 12.Nbd2, but it turns out that White has a drawing line if they wish to play it with 12.Ng5

Now the idea is that Black goes back with 12…Rf8 and then after 13.Nf3 Black is either left with repeating with 13…Re8 or playing 13…Nd7. In the games I was looking at the higher rated GM’s playing Black had a tendency to just go back and repeat. These were games from open tournaments where more often than not Black needs to play for a win in order to have a chance to finish well.

I’ll have to look into this more to determine why they wouldn’t play 13…Nd7. In the meantime here are two examples from May of this year.

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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Finally Beat Another 1900!

One of the odd things when you look at my history on the US Chess website is the fact that while I have a reasonable record for my rating against 2000, 2100, and 2200 I had only managed one win against a 1900.

Until today when I beat a talented junior in round one of the WI G/60 State Championship.

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

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.

Review of 1001 Chess Exercises for Club Players

1001 Chess Exercises for Club Players by FM Frank Erwich, New in Chess 2019 192pp

As many of you know, I enjoy tactics books. Solving books in general are what I enjoy the most. I am firmly from the school that books based on solving  are the closest a book can get to practical play and that’s why they are the most valuable.

Unfortunately for the past year or so I’ve been so busy that I’ve rarely had time to work deeply from books like this, and the results have shown in my games.

Lately it seems like many books of varying topics have been focused on club players. This makes a lot of sense to me as the largest potential audience for books is club players. So the idea of this book – a book revolving around solving and directed towards club players – was one I wholeheartedly embraced.

As I started glancing through the book I was struck by a couple of things.

First, I noticed that many of the diagrams have hints printed below them in the form of listing the themes. For instance, you will see “chasing” or “blocking” or “interference” below the diagrams.

For some of you those themes may sound familiar. That’s because they’re based on the Steps Method pioneered by Dutch trainers Cor van Wijgerden and Rob Brunia.

As I read the introduction it quickly became evident that was the intention of FM Erwich. It’s clear that he considers himself a product of the Steps Method, and that he wants to further their efforts.

The book consists of 12 chapters. They are:

  1. Elimination of the Defence
  2. Double Attack
  3. Discovered Attack
  4. Skewer
  5. Pin
  6. Trapping a Piece
  7. Promotion
  8. Draw
  9. Mate
  10. Defending
  11. Mix
  12. Solutions

The exercises are laid out in each chapter to become increasingly more difficult as the chapter progresses. While this is to a large degree subjective, the idea is that exercises towards the end of a chapter are noticeably harder than those near the beginning.

Here is an exercise at the beginning of the Pins chapter:

The hint here is “luring+pin”

Here is one at the end:

The hint here is simply “mix.”

In both cases the solutions are at the bottom.

For books of this nature I always recommend writing down your answers as you solve. This will force you to be both honest and accurate in your review of the puzzles as you can’t pretend that “Oh yeah, I saw that.” If you didn’t write it down, then you can’t fool yourself into believing that you’ve succeeded.

Once you have solved a series of problems you can turn to the back of the book to review. There you will find a lot of additional information such as which game a puzzle was from or alternative tries that you may be curious about.

So who benefits from this book? I’d say in this case the target audience is exactly as described in the book. Club players. Yes, many of the exercises would also be well served for many players who are 2000+. but there are books that are more targeted to those players than this one is.

Using this book for players in the 1000-2000 range should show results. Using this book as the material for the “seven circles” method would turn anyone who seriously works on that into a much stronger tactician than they are now.

If you’ve been looking for a tactics book, or are looking for a new one, then this book is for you.

Buy the book at a very affordable price here.

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.

Solution to Exercise One:

Solution to Exercise Two: