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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

.

.

.

.

.

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.

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

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.

Beware the “Obvious” Move Unless You Have a Follow Up

Sometimes in chess we have moves in our games that seem so natural that you think they are obvious. That was the feeling I got looking at this position with White to move.

The game is Mista-Giri from Doha 2014. Giri has just put his knight on a4. Right now the position is dead level. To me it looks like 29.Bxa4 is just screaming to be played. Mista plays it, and Giri recaptures:

Here the position is still dead level. But lets take a serious look at it for a second… White’s a pawn hangs and his b pawn is backward. White can fix these problems by playing 30.Bb6 Nc5 31.Qe3 and now if Black plays 31…Nb3 White starts to reposition with 32.Rg1 and gets ready to start some action on the kingside.

Another way for White to play instead of Bb6 is the more dynamic exchange sac 30.Rxa4 Bxa4 31.Rxa4

I can’t pretend to understand the theory of exchange sacs all that well, but it seems to me that with Black having no obvious pawn breaks being down the exchange shouldn’t matter all that much. Instead of either of those options Mista chose to play 30.Ng3

This hangs the a pawn, and with it eventually the game. Here is the game in it’s entirety.

The lesson from this game is that just because a move looks obvious, unless you have a plan to follow it up with. 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.

An Interesting Game Jakovenko-Harikrishna 1/2-1/2

The game Jakovenko-Harikrishna from a few days ago in Shenzhen was quite interesting to me for a couple of reasons.

Here’s one of them. In a Taimanov Sicilian this position is reached with Black to move:


Here the normal move is 8…Ne5. Instead, Harikrishna plays 8…Nxd4 9.Bxd4 Bc5 10.Bxc5 Qxc5 and now after 11.Na4 Qc7 White gets a Maroczy setup with 12.c4

So this is one part of the game that I found interesting. I’m not sure what Black gets out of this, although I suppose it’s equal and that’s what Black has been trying for.

Then down the road a piece this position is reached, this time with White to move:

One of the maxims that we are taught as post beginner’s is that when you’re queen is lined up on the same file as an enemy rook it’s a good idea to move it, but here Jakovanko plays 15.Qd4

OK, so it seems to me like if Black plays 15…e5 here, then White is doing OK since Black has given himself a backwards pawn. As Black I don’t think I’d play 15…e5. But…I’m not a super GM, because what does Harikrishna play? You guessed it…he plays 15…e5

Clearly there are some strategic themes I am not understanding.

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.

Opening Plan

One of the things I’ve struggled with since my return to chess is the formation of a true opening repertoire.

I’ve bounced around playing “A little of this and a little of that” and haven’t ever really solidified what I wanted to do.

Last week I started working with a coach again and one of the questions I asked at the end of the lesson was how much sense would it make for me to play a narrow repertoire vs not worrying about it.

At the end of the conversation it was clear that while it’s certainly not critical, there are some very good reasons for me to narrow what I play.

While I haven’t made up my mind at this time, I need to determine what style of openings I want to pay.

One thought is just to play the same sharp stuff I’ve played for a long time. Sicilian and KID along with 1…e5 vs 1.c4 with the idea of sometimes playing a reverse Grand Prix setup.

Another thought is that I could group some openings, such as the Caro-Kann and the Slav, which have related pawn structures.

I’m not sure which direction I am going to head. To stay sharp or to become more of a grinder. I am leaning in the latter direction, in which case you’d like see my repertoire look something like this:

White: English, and then setups against the various 1.c4 Nf6 lines, which I generally play as mainline queen pawn stuff. So I’d need something against the Nimzo, KID, QID, and QGD/Slav. I’d also need something against the Slav for those who respond 1…c6 against 1.c4.

Black: 1…e5 against 1.e4; Slav against 1…d4, and 1…e5 against 1.c4 as well. 1…d5 against 1.Nf3, again with the plan of going into the Slav.

I’m going to be giving this a lot of thought over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime I will be taking weekly lessons.

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.

Understanding What’s Important

One of my bigger struggles is looking at a position and not understanding what the most important feature is.

It’s not necessarily that I look at the position and don’t understand the answer to that question – it’s that I often don’t even ask the question.

Take this position for instance:

The game is Aberg-Smith 2012 and it’s Black to move. Take a minute and ask yourself what the most important feature is.

I spent time trying to get the knight to the c4 square. But I never did like the idea of 17…Na3 18.Ra1 Nc4 19.Rxa7 and now Black is in a world of pain.

Then I thought about playing …f5 to try to lock down e4, but that doesn’t do much either.

Here’s the thing though…this game appears in the “no pawn break no plan” chapter of Pump  Up Your Rating by Axel Smith. So had I asked myself the question I would have noticed that Black can play 17…e5 right now to undermine White’s c pawn before it gets too dangerous, but that if Black doesn’t do so now, then White will play f4 and that’s that as far as the …e5 break goes.

So after 17…e5 White is forced to take or make serious concessions.  Then after 18.dxe5 Bxe5 White is still slightly better, but that c pawn doesn’t look nearly as scary as it did before.

I need to start adding a step where I ask myself in any position I’m analyzing “What is truly the most important feature of this position?” Hopefully if I do so I’ll get in the habit and this will simply become second nature.

Here is the entire game for anyone who is interested.

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.