My Best Ever Piece of OTB Calculation

Thursday I played a game where I somehow was able to calculate crystal clear at the end of the game.  Hopefully that’s a sign that all the work I did over the summer is paying dividends!

Feel free to take some time and try to work out the solution, which I give at the bottom of this post.

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.

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The solution to the above position:

 

I’m Back!

After a relatively lengthy hiatus I am back.  After not working for nearly 3.5 months I found a new job and that took a lot of time away from chess for me.

However, now I’m back and ready to go.

I just did 20 tactics puzzles and correctly solved 17 of them, so hopefully this means that I’m not too rusty.

In the past six weeks I’ve only played two games.  One against a 1200 and one against a 500.  In both cases I was just playing as a house player so no one went without a game.

But now I’m ready.  I’ve got the fire. The hunger.  The whatever.

Let’s do this!

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.

A Little Endgame Knowledge Goes a Long Way

One time I heard Maurice Ashley say something in a lecture that has just stuck with me ever since I heard it.

“Strong players know which endgames are won and which are drawn. This saves them from having to calculate everything.”

The point being of course, that if a strong player can calculate to a position which they know is a win or a draw then they don’t need to calculate any further.

Here is an excellent example of that. This position comes from the game Pogonina-Kashlinskaya from the recently concluded Russian Women’s Superfinal, which was won by WGM Pogonina.

I was looking at the game because it’s a KID in the most recent TWIC download.

Here is the position.

If you look at the position superficially it’s easy to see that White is up a pawn and also has a pawn on the 7th supported by a bishop and with the king quite close as well.

But if you see deeper you will see a feature of the position which shows you an easy way for Black to hold.

The move here is 53…Nd8!

Sure, White  can play 54.Ke7, but after 54…Nxf7

White had nothing better to do than 55.Bxf7 and offer a draw.

Why?  Because of the “wrong rook pawn” rule of the endgame. If one side has a bishop and a rook pawn and the bishop is the opposite color of the queening square for the pawn then as long as the weaker side can get their king into the corner they can’t be forced out and it’s a draw. Try it for yourself!

So in the position after 55.Bxf7 Black doesn’t even need to try to hold on to her h pawn. She just runs to the corner and stays there.

Here is the game in it’s entirety.

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Hard Fought Draw – Wainscott – Becker

Last night I played Allen Becker.  Early on I sacked a pawn for what I thought was plenty of comp, but was clearly not.

However, I managed to fight back and hold the draw.

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 Automatic Rook Move!

Here’s what looks to be a typical position:

The game is from Budapest 1996 and is between Jacob Aagaard and Istvan Almasi.

In his most recent book Thinking Inside the Box Aagaard says that this was apparently from a Petrosian game, and here Petrosian played the normal looking 17.Rad1. (Side note – I looked but couldn’t find the Petrosian game.)

So I’m looking at this position and thinking, yeah, that’s probably what I’d play. After all, don’t we often just automatically make moves to put our rooks in the center of the board like that? Especially on an open file?

However, the soon-to-be-IM Aagaard realizes that the only thing that is going to happen on the d-file is exchanges. And he doesn’t want exchanges.

So here he plays 17.Re2 in order to double on the e-file and prevent the exchanges he was worried about.  He wins this game in a great attacking style.

The main point of this game is not to show this move.  It’s in the chapter on analyzing your own games, and beyond this there is some detail by Jacob on his difficulties with the French Defense.

However, as someone who has made automatic looking rook moves for years I found this tiny snippet to be incredibly useful.

Here is the game.

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.

What An Amazing Game! Serper-Nikolaidis

It’s not often that you see a game where someone sacrifices this many pieces. This is one of the greatest games I have ever seen.

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.

Comparitive Analysis and Evalution Issues

Lately I have come to realize that there are two issues that are the main cause of my stagnation for the last couple of years.

In order I believe them to be comparative analysis and evaluation of the resulting positions.

Here is an example from one of my games at the US Open.  Take a look at this position, with Black (me) to move.

Here I became fixated on the idea of 24…Nxd5. I was looking at the idea of 25.exd5 e4

I was thinking that I would wind up with a much better position after something like 26.Qd2 exf3 27.gxf3.

The problem though was that I didn’t look at any other moves.  So I became fixated on this one idea and it became far too east to convince myself that it must be good since it was the only thing I was looking at.

But let’s go back to this:

The problem is that White has a nice intermezzo. Can you find it? It’s at the bottom of this post.

Had I been looking at other candidate moves and comparing them I would have also considered moves such as 24…axb4 or 24..Rc8, etc.

Perhaps I still would have miscalculated and played 24…Nxd5, but I would have had a more open mind. (For the record the real blunder came a few moves later in the game…)

My other issue is evaluation of the resulting positions. Far too often I can’t tell when a position is even versus slightly better or slightly worse.

By “slightly” let’s say like 1.0 in engine evaluation. Of course that can mean a swing of nearly 2.0 on any given move. Let’s say that I have a position that’s 0.00 and one move is +.75 in my favor while the other is -.75 against me. That’s 1.5 in difference.

Sure, most obvious moves I will at least catch. If there is some glaring issue I do tend to notice those. For instance the doubled isolated f pawns resulting in the line I calculated above which my opponent avoided with the zwischenzug. It’s the more subtle things that I need to work on.

I am becoming convinced that the road to 1900 and beyond will be paved with learning to always look at multiple candidate moves.

In order to break 1800 I had to force myself to look at tempo moves all of the time. This seems to be the next step on the path.

Time will tell.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

The intermezzo I missed was

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26.Qc7

An Excellent Example of Manuevering

I’ve been looking through a ton of GM games lately for various reasons, and in doing so I stumbled across this gem of a game.

The game features a lot of maneuvering with opposite colored bishops until this position is reached:

Here White takes advantage of the opportunity to get queens off while winning a pawn and gaining a mass of center pawns in the process.

After further maneuvering this position appears on the board:

Here Black commits the critical error by playing 69…Bf1, moving the bishop to a square where it doesn’t factor into the defense of the h3-c8 diagonal.  After a few more deft maneuvers on White’s part Black quickly finds his king tied to the defense of a pawn and White’s pawns marauding.

This game is a very Carlsenesque example of how to maneuver until your opponent makes a slight slip which then becomes exploitable.

Here is the entire game.

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.

All Things Must Pass

So I went on quite a run of tactical success with chesstempo.

I solved 29 straight correctly, then finally missed one a few minutes ago.

I do like to solve them rated sometimes to try to work my way up to harder problems.  The only issue I have with them is that often the value for success is little and the punishment for failure is high.

My best guess is that you need a success rate of around 70% just to stay level with where you are.

Either way, one thing I noticed as the streak took hold was that I was giving in to the temptation to guess far less frequently.

I was doing my best to calculate as precisely as I could.  Hopefully that sticks and is a thing now.

1
2018-08-22 11:27:29-05
1641.8
Standard
06:20
01:24
00:39
1664.2 (-3.7)
2
2018-08-22 11:25:55-05
1594.9
Standard
04:06
01:54
00:02
1668.0 (+2.9)
3
2018-08-22 11:23:52-05
1566.6
Standard
02:11
00:29
00:05
1665.1 (+2.7)
4
2018-08-22 11:23:14-05
1518.7
Standard
04:18
03:22
00:02
1662.3 (+2.4)
5
2018-08-22 11:19:09-05
1512.9
Standard
04:44
05:17
00:13
1659.9 (+2.5)
6
2018-08-22 11:13:38-05
1443.7
Standard
01:09
00:11
00:01
1657.5 (+1.9)
7
2018-08-22 11:13:14-05
1378.5
Standard
02:18
00:22
00:04
1655.5 (+1.5)
8
2018-08-21 08:49:35-05
1421.0
Standard
02:37
01:53
01:07
1654.0 (+1.7)
9
2018-08-21 08:47:21-05
1363.1
Standard
01:23
00:17
00:00
1652.3 (+1.4)
10
2018-08-21 08:46:42-05
1429.9
Standard
01:57
00:43
00:04
1650.9 (+2.0)
11
2018-08-21 08:45:44-05
1531.1
Standard
01:12
00:13
00:00
1649.0 (+3.1)
12
2018-08-21 08:45:24-05
1400.7
Standard
01:30
02:09
00:01
1645.8 (+1.9)
13
2018-08-21 08:43:06-05
1580.6
Standard
03:19
01:25
00:37
1643.9 (+4.1)
14
2018-08-21 08:41:29-05
1635.7
Standard
03:31
06:36
00:04
1639.8 (+5.2)
15
2018-08-21 08:34:43-05
1450.1
Standard
02:31
00:50
00:03
1634.6 (+2.8)
16
2018-08-16 12:25:44-05
1410.2
Standard
01:10
00:12
00:01
1631.8 (+1.5)
17
2018-08-16 12:25:20-05
1254.4
Standard
02:17
00:34
00:01
1630.2 (+0.7)
18
2018-08-16 12:24:35-05
1351.3
Standard
01:29
00:23
00:07
1629.5 (+1.2)
19
2018-08-16 12:24:00-05
1494.4
Standard
01:53
00:42
00:03
1628.3 (+2.2)
20
2018-08-16 12:23:11-05
1576.6
Standard
03:30
02:27
00:25
1626.1 (+3.0)
21
2018-08-16 12:20:39-05
1391.7
Standard
01:04
00:33
00:02
1623.1 (+1.5)
22
2018-08-16 12:19:57-05
1191.9
Standard
01:58
00:32
00:05
1621.6 (+0.5)
23
2018-08-16 12:19:16-05
1462.2
Standard
02:16
02:25
00:44
1621.0 (+2.0)
24
2018-08-16 12:16:43-05
1565.7
Standard
01:51
00:38
00:01
1619.0 (+3.0)
25
2018-08-16 12:15:18-05
1657.1
Standard
04:04
03:45
00:47
1616.0 (+4.0)
26
2018-08-16 11:44:33-05
1697.5
Standard
04:48
01:47
00:38
1612.0 (+4.7)
27
2018-08-16 11:42:42-05
1590.5
Standard
02:53
00:52
00:02
1607.3 (+3.7)
28
2018-08-16 11:41:42-05
1558.7
Standard
02:48
01:13
00:38
1603.6 (+3.6)
29
2018-08-16 11:40:03-05
1533.3
Standard
02:38
00:35
00:05
1600.0 (+3.4)
30
2018-08-16 11:39:22-05
1542.9
Standard
02:59
01:02
00:04
1596.6 (+3.7)
31
2018-08-16 11:38:01-05
1535.2
Standard
03:13
06:48
00:00
1592.8 (-5.4)

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.

 

Very Sloppy Writing

I have been re-reading John Emms’ book Play The Najdorf: Scheveningen Style lately since I play a lot of those lines as Black and I’m a bit rusty since I’ve been playing the Scheveningen proper for some time.

Overall I really like the book, but I came across something that was very sloppy and makes me question the rest of the book.

So the idea is that in this position after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4

The main move here is 6…e6, and while the normal White response is 7.Bb3 there are sidelines, particularly 7.a4 which Black can avoid by switching up the move order with 6…b5, which if White then plays 7.Bb3 Black plays 7…e6 and the main position is reached but without White having the 7.a4 option.

So in the position after 6…b5 there is something else White can try other than transposing.  They can play 7.Bd5

Now after 7…Nxd5 8.exd5 Bb7 9.a3 there apparently two main ideas here.  The first involves Black sacking a pawn but gaining complete control over the center.  The second involves the move 9…g6 and then after a series of moves this position is reached:

Here GM Emms uses the phrase “and Black went on to win in Bauer-Kempinski, Bundesliga 2000.”

In the other idea, the pawn sack one, it was easy to see how Black was better, but in this one I didn’t see it.  One of the things that I have really been getting myself to do lately is to question things.  After all, the information is at our fingertips.  So why not look?

So I pulled up the game.  After clicking through it a bit I turned on the engine.  Stockfish 9 64 gives the position 0.00 at a depth of 30 for either 21.Rf3, or the game move of 21.Kd2.

Hmm…nothing there, so what about after the game moves of 21.Kd2 Kc7…what would the engine think then?

Well, as it turns out, here White misses a chance to get an edge.  And certainly White is at least slightly better now.  But instead White blunders horribly with 22.Ng5??

Now granted, this is a side note to a sideline, but still…the implication is that somehow Black is on his way to winning after move 20 in the game.  Yet in truth Black made an inaccuracy in the next move of the game, which was followed by White making a critical blunder the move after.

So at the end of the day…trust, but verify.

Here is the entire game with my notes, most of which come from Stockfish.

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.