Heartbreaking Loss

With the US Championships getting up to full speed I was watching some of the games today.  One that I was keeping an eye on was between the up and coming Jennifer Yu and the defending US Women’s Champion Sabina Foiser.

It had been a fairly level game all day, and this position was reached

It’s Black to move.  With Black’s king where it is, the ideal plan would be to exchange pawns and then Black should be able to hold quite easily.

But it’s not easy to exchange pawns.  And of course it looks like White can put her king on h4 and then how can Black save the pawn?  With two connected passed pawns the win becomes trivial for White.

So here Sabina played 53…h4+?? and was lost after 54.Kh3.

However, in the original position Black can play 53…Rb1, and now if White tries to win the h pawn with 54.Kh4 Black simply plays 54…Rh1+ 55.Kg3 Rf1 and that should be enough to hold.

Chess is brutal sometimes.  Caissa giveth, and Caissa taketh away.

Here’s hoping that Sabina rebounds tomorrow.

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.

Your Opponent Has a Plan Too

This topic came up in a discussion yesterday after the Hales Corners Challenge XXVII tournament.  We were cleaning up, and a friend of mine who hovers around 1900 said this was something that he struggles with.

We talked about the three questions for a bit and how to develop the habit of always asking those questions.

For those who don’t know, the three questions are part of Jacob Aagaard’s training method and our outlined in his book Grandmaster Preperation: Positional Play.  They are as follows:

  1. What are the weaknesses?
  2. What is your worst placed piece?
  3. What is your opponent’s idea?

Now of course you need to also extrapolate additional info from those questions.  For instance, when you are looking for the weaknesses in the position you should be looking for both your own and your opponents.  When you look at your worst placed piece you should also look to see what your opponents is as well.

We talked about how one of the better methods for ingraining the three questions is to analyze games and just openly ask yourself the three questions on every move.  Within a quite short period of time the questions will simply become second nature.  I plan on doing this myself since I know that while I have gotten better at this, it’s still not an intrinsic part of my thought process.

So this morning I decide to go through more Petrosian games and lo and behold what do I see but an example of question three right away.

Tigran is playing Black against the Argentinian GM Pilnik in this position.  It is White to move.

Here Pilnik plays 17.Bd3

At first this struck me as odd since Petrosian wants to put the knight on d6 and chase the knight from b5 in order to reduce White’s play on the queenside which will allow him to better exploit his strong center as well as having the semi open b file from which to potentially attack the white b pawn in the future.

But then after 17…Nd6 18.Qe2 I realized that 17.Bd3 was an example of question three since after 18.Qe2 the knight doesn’t have to move since there is no more threat for Black to win a pawn if White doesn’t move the knight.

The three questions in action.

If you would like to see the entire game, here you are:

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.

Terrible Game, But Nice Finish

Here is the first game in the Speedy Gonzalez Action Swiss, which I won last night at the Southwest Chess Club.

Please note that the ratings shown are Quick Ratings.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

(all donations go towards lessons)

My Final Round From the USATN

After having a horrendous second day at the USATN I started my Sunday off right with a win.

That brought me to my final game…

I sat down at the board feeling confident, and was quickly up a pawn, and then it went smooth, to quote some Norwegian dude.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

(any donations received go towards lessons)

Push em Baby

Here is a position from the game Wainscott – Haining, K from a couple of days ago.

My opponent has just moved his rook to d8 and my first thought was that my rook was hanging to an x-ray attack as after …Rxe6 dxe6 the d3 rook is attacked twice, but only guarded once.  I find that I notice these types of tactics more easily when I am spending time on tactics training.

My first instinct was to play 27.Ra3 and then work on getting the pawns rolling.  Rather than just play the move I a little voice in my head was telling me to look deeper.  So I did.  And I saw it.  The rook hanging is illusory.

So I decided to play 27.a5

Here I figure I’m better.  It’s not quite winning, but it’s a very pleasant position for me to play.

I figured either my opponent would now see the danger and a5 would essentially have been a free move for me, or he would take the rook.  He took the rook.

27…Rxe6 28.dxe6 Qxd3 29.Qxd3 Rxd3

And what is it that Yasser says about passed pawns?  Oh…right!

30.e7 1-0

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

(any donations will be used to pay for lessons)

Terrible Result at USATN

This weekend saw me participate in the USATN for the fourth consecutive year.  Just like last year I had a pretty miserable performance.

This year I went 2.5-2.5 (the same result as my team) and managed to lose to a 1400 player when I over pressed when my team needed the win, and then in the very next round I blundered a two move mate to an 1136 player.

So the tournament was a disaster, and it’s time to get back to work.

Things did get off to an interesting start on Friday when I played this game and held a draw.

Although we both missed some stuff in the above game, it was nevertheless interesting.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

A Nice Find

Last night at the Southwest Chess Club I played the following game as White against Spencer Pinkston.

On the one hand, the expected result happened.  On the other hand, I’m very pleased to have found 17.h3.  It was the best way to exploit an error in judgment.  It wasn’t particularly difficult to find, but it did require some precision.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

The Quest for Dynamism

Yesterday I played a game at the Southwest Club that I’m proud of.  As you will see, it’s far from perfect, but I’m happy with the fact that I didn’t “play it safe” when it comes to material like I usually do.

I plan on making this the start of a new trend in 2018.  It’s time to get back to my attacking roots and to be much more aggressive as long as I’m not being reckless.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

A Very Nice Endgame Conversion

This game, played a couple of months ago, is a nice example of converting a minor piece ending.  I was up a pawn, but that isn’t always enough in these types of games.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott