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

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Artemiev Showing he Belongs

On day two of the Tata Steel Masters group in Wijk an Zee. Vladislav Artemiev showed that not only does he belong in the top group, but that he can contend as well.

On the White side of the English the young Russian ground down his more experience countryman Nikita Vitiugov.

Here is a position that shows some things I’m really trying to refine in my own games:

How often would a club player either trade or not trade queens almost automatically as a matter of personal preference? Well here Artemiev trades queens, but for a specific reason.

After 16.Qxd8+ Rxd8 17.Be3 0-0 18.Bb6 it becomes clear that White will now control the d file as Black has difficulty challenging that control since White controls the d8 square.

At the same time, should Black recapture the queen with a move such as 16…Bxd8 then after 17.Bf4 White has a much better position:

Here is the entire game:

All in all a good performance by Artemiev and proof that he’s a got a bright future.

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.

%MCEPASTEBIN%

Blitz as a Tool

I’m trying to use blitz as more of a tool than I had been up until recently.

In the nine years since my return to chess I have played *maybe* 1,ooo games combined across all the servers.

This year I need to get somewhere around 1,000-1,500 games in. I should be averaging 3-5 per day, and giving them at least a brief analysis.

I hear all the reasons that people say blitz is a useful tool, and they are correct. Practicing openings and quick tactics are useful skills to hone in blitz.

I also find that playing more blitz helps me think more strategically as positional errors seem much easier to exploit in blitz since it’s harder (at least for me) to find accurate defensive moves quickly during a blitz game.

Let’s take this position from a game I just finished:

Here I should be on high alert because my queen is undefended. But I’m not.

My opponent plays 12…Nbd7 and after four seconds I play 13.Ne5??

I realize instantly what I’ve done, and wait for the inevitable 13…Nxe5 which wins on the spot.

Luckily my opponent misses it. We trade some strategic errors back and forth, along with some missed tactics such as this:

I miss the crushing 21.Bd6 here.

I also miss an easy mate in two here:

24.Qxf7+ Kg8 25.Qxg7# So easy, a caveman could do it. There is no excuse for missing these kinds of things.

Here’s one I miss one move later:

Let’s be honest, if I’m going to get to 1900 this year I can’t miss stuff like this. I’m thinking that my opponent did good here with 24…Ra7 because it prevents 25.Rxg7+ so I chop the rook with 25.Rxa7. However, 25.Bxg7 again would have won on the spot.

Here if my opponent plays 25…Rxf7 I simply mate on h8.

We get to this position where almost anything is winning for me…almost.

29.Bd6?? not only doesn’t win, but loses on the spot to 29…Qxd4!

Here is the entire game:

My opponent and I play again, and this time I win with a nice smothered mate:

In this game I made fewer errors, but they were still there.

I know that a lot of people have a tendency to say “Well, it’s only blitz.” or “You have to expect these kinds of errors in blitz.”

I think that is probably more wrong thinking.  I think that if I play more blitz that I’ll start to see things much faster which should help some of my board vision issues.

I’m not sure if I can put a rating on it, but I think that perhaps another goal of mine should be to get to around 2000 in online blitz as that would be more of an indicator that my strategic instincts are being honed and that tactical patters are also much more ingrained.

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.

Stop Wrong Thinking

Something I need to work on is putting an end to wrong thinking during games. Here’s an excellent example of that.

This is the position from my game Thursday. My opponent is a kid playing his first rated game. His strength is perhaps 500-600, so clearly the game is a mismatch.

My opponent castles

This hangs the e pawn, so I immediately give up the bishop pair

Except…I played 7.Bg5 here. Why? Here is the answer from my notes to the game:

“This is just wrong thinking. After chopping the knight to win the pawn I chose not to follow up properly because I feel that perhaps the extra tempi aren’t worth giving up. But there’s no place for feelings here. Just calculation. Which of course tells us that winning the pawn is the correct way to go since the extra tempi count for nothing in a position where Black can’t get to White and White controls the entire enter.”

So if I’m truly going to get to 1900 this year I’m going to have to stop this behavior. The thing is, I’d have snapped the pawn off in an instant against a stronger player.

Something to keep in mind.

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.

Rapid Game Seaman-Wainscott 0-1

A couple of weeks ago I played a rapid game against one of my niece’s school coach. As I am her private coach this felt like it should be some sort of epic struggle!

Afterwards, the game yielded some interesting analysis, though I was annoyed to find that there is an easy refutation to what I thought was interesting as you will see below when you see the move 22.Qc8+ in the analysis to White’s 20th move.

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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Interesting Position From a Game of Mine

Thursday of this past week I played a game which wasn’t all that interesting in and of itself, but which contained a very interesting position.

Here is the position with White to move:

Here my opponent did me just about the biggest favor possible and played 15.0-0??

After the game though, some friends and I analyzed this position to great lengths. It was one of those analysis sessions where each contributor found and refuted one another’s ideas back and forth. It’s sad that such sessions are so rare these days.

What would you have played here? See below for the complete game and some analysis. Granted, I ran the lines through an engine to verify them so the analysis won’t be 100% what we were looking at on the 8th, but it’s pretty close.

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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Interesting 15+15 Game I Just Played

A friend has been trying to talk me into playing in the lichess 45/45 league. I’ve been playing some 15+15 games to establish my classical rating and I just finished this one.

Overall I am pleased with the game, though you will see that there are many areas in which I could improve here.

I’m curious what the readers think…

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Interesting Position in the Marshall

I’ve been looking at some various positions that I might want to play. I’ve been thinking about playing the mainline Marshall instead of playing anti-Marshall setups as White.

So I was looking at this position:

Here the main move for White is by far 17.Nd2. It’s almost universal. I was looking at a different move which I am working on, but I then started asking myself, why not 17.Bd1 in this position? Doesn’t that force the light squared bishops off?

So I was trying to determine the consequences of giving up the light squared bishop for White. Then I turned the engine on. The engine shows that there is a brutal tactical refutation after 17.Bd1.

Have a look. The solution appears at the end of the post.

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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Solution: 17…Rxe3 18.fxe3 Bxg3. Here everything wins. Feel free to analyze all of the lines with or without an engine.

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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.

If you can spare it, please click here and become a supporter. Even $1 a month can help me achieve my dream.

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.