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

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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

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No Missed Tactics Today!

Today, for the first time, I missed zero tactics during my training session.

As a reminder, what I’ve been doing is using Andrzej Krzywda’s method  of solving puzzles on chesstempo, but without logging in.  The idea is to just spend 15 minutes a day drilling simple puzzles.

Today I went 14/0, which was kind of nice.

Here are my results so far.  I did miss one day.

Date Day Correct/Missed
7/1/2018 Day 1 16/5
7/2/2018 Day 2 16/6
7/3/2018 Day 3 22/4
7/4/2018 Day 4 20/3
7/5/2018 Day 5 11/3
7/6/2018 Day 6 18/3
7/7/2018 Day 7 11/5
7/8/2018 Day 8 12/7
7/9/2018 Day 9 14/5
7/10/2018 Day 10 18/4
7/11/2018 Day 11 15/6
7/12/2018 Day 12 18/2
7/13/2018 Day 13 21/2
7/14/2018 Day 14 16/2
7/15/2018 Day 15 17/5
7/16/2018 Day 16 18/3
7/17/2018 Day 17 11/6
7/18/2018 Day 18 15/3
7/19/2018 Day 19 missed
7/20/2018 Day 20 11/7
7/21/2018 Day 21 13/3
7/22/2018 Day 22 12/5
7/23/2018 Day 23 10/8
7/24/2018 Day 24 8/3
7/25/2018 Day 25 12/5
7/26/2018 Day 26 12/6
7/27/2018 Day 27 14/0

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Stick to the Plan!

Something that has long been a problem of mine is the sometimes habit of starting to fulfill a plan, then breaking off midway through and abandoning it for no good reason.

Here’s a perfect example of that.

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Blunderfest Blitz Game

It’s 7:32am as I start to type this.  I’ve been awake a bit over three hours for some unknown reason, and the two Red Bulls aren’t working.

So what should I do?  Play blitz of course!

So I played a game on lichess which was a festival of blunders by both sides.  Here are the highlights.

Here my opponent has just played 21.Qh5.  Clearly he’s hoping to mate me, but the e pawn is also hanging.  However, I decide to defend the mate threat first with 21…h6 when 21…Qe7 saves the e pawn and I can still  stop any mate threats my opponent tries to make.

However, instead of taking the e pawn they play 22.Rg3.  Uh oh…my h pawn is hanging to a tactic.

So I play 22…Kh8 instead of 22…Qd6 which saves the e pawn and the h pawn.

A few moves later this position is reached.

My opponent misses the simple 26.Nxd4, which wins a pawn.

As you can see by the complete game here, those weren’t the only blunders.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Tactics Update

Here’s an update on the tactics program with 90 days to go.

Date Day Correct/Missed
7/1/2018 Day 1 16/5
7/2/2018 Day 2 16/6
7/3/2018 Day 3 22/4
7/4/2018 Day 4 20/3
7/5/2018 Day 5 11/3
7/6/2018 Day 6 18/3
7/7/2018 Day 7 11/5
7/8/2018 Day 8 12/7
7/9/2018 Day 9 14/5
7/10/2018 Day 10 18/4

Something interesting happened today.  I wound up starting 3/3 but finishing 18/4.  Which is good since perhaps I’m internally disassociating from worry about the score itself and just focusing on the puzzles.

A lot of time I wind up with a gambler mentality and if I miss one or two I suddenly feel myself starting to want to play fast and loose and almost move like I’m playing a blitz game instead of looking at a position which I know has a concrete solution.

This is why I have days like the 11/5 and 12/7 days.  I started off bad and then felt like I was forcing it.

So perhaps this is a breakthrough of sorts.  That would be good!

In the meantime, while I intend to carry on with this task since it’s 15 minutes of random positions, I also intend to start making physical flashcards so I can use the woodpecker method on about 500 or so problems.

All in all I feel like my tactics continue to slowly improve, so that’s a start.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Look Deeper!

Sometimes when you first look at a position you have a candidate move that you would like to play, but it doesn’t appear that it works, so you simply dismiss it.

Here’s a great example of such a position from a game of mine five years ago.

It’s black to move, and I really wanted to play 12…a4 here.  But it looks like it just hangs to the knight, right?

I looked at 12…a4 13.Nxa4

Here of course I can sack the exchange, but I didn’t see a follow up.  Yes, I can win the c pawn with something like 13…Bxc4 14.Bxc4 Nxc4

Without a doubt I’m a bit better here, but the attack is gone.  It didn’t seem like enough so I just tossed 12…a4 aside.

What I should have done was look deeper.  After all, there are other ways of undermining White’s pawn structure which don’t require me to sack the exchange at all.

Had I looked deeper, perhaps I’d have found the following:

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.