Round One USATN – Draw vs 2066

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I am playing in the US Amateur Team Tournament and in round one my team faced the top seed.

I am on board four and was playing a kid rated 2066. I absolutely should have won this game. Here it is with no real notes. I’ll annotate and re-publish later.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Draw vs a NM

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Last night I played my weekly club game against NM Ethan Allen. Fortunately for me he is returning to chess after a long layoff, and so is a bit on the rusty side. He used an awful lot of time, and when we agreed a draw I was ahead by about 40 minutes on the clock.

Now on to the US Amateur Team tournament starting tonight in Chicago.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Recovering Some Ground Wainscott-Williams 1-0

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A little over a week ago I entered what will be my final tournament of the year. A three round, G/100 Swiss. My rating had plummeted nearly 100 points in two events, and my first-round opponent was seven-time state champion Bill Williams.

While Bill is finally started to show some signs of his age, he’s still a very dangerous opponent who can’t be taken lightly.

In this game I was fortunate, as after one blunder, he quickly committed others.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Tactics Were Flowing: Dreuth-Wainscott 0-1

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My last game was a nice miniature. For the first time in a while I could feel a lot of things coming together. From the first move, when I took a minute to think instead of playing an automatic reply, to realizing my opponent blundered with d3, to the final move in the game.

I will continue working to try to keep this feeling growing.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Declined the Repetition Against a Stronger Player

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Last Thursday, while playing my weekly tournament game at the Southwest Chess Club this position was reached after my opponent played 12…d5

I already had the genesis of the idea to play Bg5, but now realize that I can do so and force a repetition. 

Then, as I look just a little deeper, I see that if we play 13.Bg5 Qe5 14.Bf4 that if the queen goes back to f6 I actually have another idea rather than just repeat. I start trying to calculate it, but realize that my opponent can simply sidestep all this and take the draw by shuffling between e5 and d4. 

Therefore, I decide to go ahead and play the first move to make the rest easier to calculate if my opponent does, in fact, go from f6-e5-f6. Which he does, giving us this position:

Now I can settle in and calculate. If I can’t find something concrete, I can just bail out with the repetition.

So what did I play here? Scroll down for the rest of the game after taking a few minutes to come up with a solution.

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Well, for some reason my pgn board isn’t working so well right now, so here is the answer:

 

I played 15.e5

Now if the queen goes to f5 16.g4 traps it. So after 15…Qh4 16.Rd1 there are no good squares left for the queen. 

I won quickly after my opponent blundered with 16…Nf5

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

A Nice Finish

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Wednesday saw a nice finish in my game.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

2400 vs 2800 Calculation

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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

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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