A Nice Finish

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Wednesday saw a nice finish in my game.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

2400 vs 2800 Calculation

My Patreon page is now live!

I could really use your help. If you’ve seen this more than once that means that you’re hopefully getting something useful out of this blog. I pay all of the costs for hosting, and put a lot of effort into creating the content. Please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. 

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This video is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while.

IM Levy Rozman and GM Hikaru Nakamura both take four of the same puzzles from a chapter called something like “GM’s Cried While Solving These” and they each spend five minutes working on solutions before reconvening.

Much of the calculation time is sped through, so essentially you watch about two minutes of Levy, one minute of Hikaru, and then about three minutes of Hikaru walking Levy through how his thought process works.

It’s just flat out amazing to see the difference.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Failed to Calculate Further

My Patreon page is now live!

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Last Wednesday I played my second OTB game since the beginning of the pandemic.

While I did win the game, I horribly misplayed this position:

Here I played 33…Qh5?? 

Clearly the queen cannot be captured since the game would then proceed 34.Bxh5 Rg2+ 35.Kh1 Rh1+ 36.Kg1 Rag2#

What I calculated was 34.Qxc2 Qg6+ 35.Qg2 Rxg2+ 36.Bxg2 Nxe4 and thought “OK, up a pawn…must be better.” Do you see what I missed? (Scroll down for the answer)

 

 

 

 

 

Here I missed 37.f5!

In this position

I also missed 34.Bg4 Rxc2 35.f5! Qxg4 37.hxg4

So there’s a lot of work still to be done.

Luckily my opponent saw none of that and played 34.Rd2

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Slow Down! Don’t Rush.

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If you’ve studied chess seriously for any length of time you may very have heard the phrase “Don’t rush.” Typically this applies to endgames, but really it should apply to just about any phase of the game.

Let’s take this position. It from some analysis of the game Tal – Roman 1961

This is from the the first book of the two-volume set The Complete Manual of Positional Chess by Sakaev and Landa. The authors give a line that shows how White wins after Black takes the knight with 13…axb5. But what if Black plays 13…Qxf3 – what then?

The book gives no analysis, and one of the things that I have been really pressing myself to do lately is to answer questions like this rather than just let them go. I have spent most of my chess book reading time just kind of shuffling pieces and not really thinking. I’ve been working to change that lately.

So let’s look at that position with 13…Qxf3 played:

Obviously White can’t simply recapture the queen as after 14.gxf3 Black simply wins a piece by taking the knight. I’ll leave it to you to work out why neither 15.Nxb5 nor 15.Bxb5+ work.

So that told me that surely 14.Nc7+ should be the move. I analyzed for a bit and came up with 14…Ke7 15.Bd6+ Kd8

The problem here of course if that after taking the queen the bishop on d6 falls. Something like 16.gxf3 Bxd6 17.Nxa8 Ke7

Hmm…just looks even. Surely the authors of this book didn’t miss such an obvious try as 13…Qxf3 did they?

I tried other moves and just couldn’t crack it. So finally I put it in an engine. Once I did so I once again heard “don’t rush” playing in my head.

The correct sequence is 14.Nc7+ Ke7, and now, instead of rushing with 15.Bd6+ simply recapture the queen now with 15.gxf3

The rook on a8 is hanging and if the rook moves then either of the two following lines happen. 15…Rb8 16.Bd6+ Kd8 17.Bxf8+ Kxc7 18.Bd6+ and the rook is lost.

15…Ra7 16.Bd6+ Kd7 17.Bxf8+ Kxc7 18.Bxg7 Rg8 19.Bxf6

While I wish I would have found the idea prior to using the engine, I am glad that I spent a few minutes checking. The work will pay off.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Missed a Shot Here

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I just finished playing in an online tournament hosted by my friend GM Elshan Moradiabadi, and in round one I had this position with Black (me) to move.

Here I saw that I was going to have a fork on d3 after exchanging twice on h3, so as a result I missed the crushing 22…Rf2. White can’t save the queen with a move such as 23.Qg1 as that allows a mate in one with 23…Nd3#

Therefore White would have to trade the queen for the rook.

Ah well. I did win the game after playing horribly early on. In fact, I played poorly all tournament long, but still won all four of my games and took third.

Here is the entire game.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

When to Transition Janowski-Nimzovitch 1/2-1/2

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One of the keys to playing strength at any level is understanding when to transition from one idea to another.

Let’s take this game between David Janowski and Aron Nimzovich which was played in the St. Petersburg tournament of 1914.

For those who are fans of chess history you may recognize this as the tournament in which the title of Grandmaster was supposedly first conferred.

The tournament was held as a preliminary event with eleven players participating. The five top finishers in the prelim would then play a double round robin to determine the champion. In an interesting twist the results from the preliminary event would carry over into the final.

The prelims finished as such:

Here the five top finishers, Capablanca, Lasker, Tarrasch, Alekhine, and Marshall were supposedly awarded the title of Grandmaster by Tsar Nicolas II.

I say “supposedly” since this was completely debunked by chess historian Edward Winter. If you would like to read more about that please visit https://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/grandmasters.html

The final finished with Lasker scoring an impressive seven points from eight, dropping half points only to Capablanca and Tarrasch.

Here are the final standings. It’s interesting to note that due to the carry over of the prelim scores, had Lasker finished the final with an only slightly less impressive six points from eight he would have finished behind Capa.

OK, now on the game that this post is about.

First, the entire game:

For some reason my pgn viewer isn’t working, so here is a link to the game on Chessgames.

As you can see, this was a hard fought draw.

Now, let’s get to the position at hand:

Here Janowski played 64.Rg1+ but as Kotov points out in his excellent book The Science of Strategy Janowski can win this. Take some time and think it through. We’ll then get back to it.

OK, scroll down for the answer…

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Had Janowski played 64.Kxb6 Kxe4 65.Kxc5 Kxf5 66.Kd6 then his pawns are much faster than Nizovich’s.

Have fun analyzing this ending. It’s fascinating!

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

The Danger Was All in My Mind

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Sometimes we play a game and we think we’re getting crushed, then when we look at it later it turns out that there was never a “there there” for our opponent.

Here is one such game which I played in round four of the USATN in February.

First, my notes that I made directly after the game:

  • Don’t get rattled when your opponent is overusing time.
  • Pay attention to king safety.
  • Opposite colored bishops are great with initiative.
  • When you overlook a move, don’t panic.

Now,  here is the game:

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Two GM’s, Three Blunders

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So I come across this position in a game between Christiansen and Oparin from the Chess24 Banter Blitz Cup. Here it’s White to move.

White plays 65.Bc6 and I start trying to figure out why not just 65.Bxh3…what did I miss?! But of course there is nothing. After this move there is no way for Black to stop White from sacking the bishop for the remaining pawn, so the game is just drawn.

After 65.Bc6 we have this position:

Here 65…g4 wins, but Black plays 65…h2, which also wins. It seems to be a matter of just picking the win you want to play.

Then, after 66.Kd3 Black can still simply play …g4 and win, but instead he plays 66…Kg1 and White responds 67.Bd7, after which Black finally plays …g4 and goes on to promote, but winds up flagging and drawing.

But I kept coming back to the position after 66…Kg1. Something just didn’t look right.

After some experimenting I hit on the idea of 67.Ke3, and now White just has to shuffle the bishop back and forth to hold the draw. If Black promotes the h pawn White stops and wins the g pawn, and if Black pushes the g pawn then White will win it with Kf4. The engine seems to confirm this although I’m sure there are ways for Black to try some subtle tricks.

Granted, this was in a blitz endgame, but I would still think that taking on h3 would have been automatic!

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Ceci N’est Pas une Lune

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Many of you will hopefully be familiar with the Star Wars reference above.

In this case my opponent thought in a blitz game just now that he was trading pawns. Here’s the position a couple of moves prior:

Of course trading my a pawn for his c pawn does leave me with a passed pawn, so already I’m happy.

After 17.Bxc6 Bxa2 I now play 18.Ba4 to keep my opponents bishop off of b3. The problem with the bishop making it to b3 is that it controls d1 and therefore forces me to give up the d file.

My opponent here mistakenly plays 18…Bb3 anyway which loses a piece after 19.Bxb3.

My opponent seems to think it’s just a trade and so first exchanges rooks with 19…Rxd1 20.Rxd1 Rxb3

But of course I now play 21.Rd8+ Bf8 22.Bh6 and there’s no escaping the mate.

Here is the entire game:

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Game From Tonight

Here’s a game I just played.

Relatively tame draw, but some interesting strategic aspects in that I can tell I’m learning to take structure much more serious.

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.