Fun Game to Analyze

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Here is a game that I was just looking at in my opening studies. The game is from the 2017 Norwegian Chess Championship, won by Jan Ludwig Hammer.

In the game Black miscalculates 23…Qa7 and White wins two minors and a pawn for a rook. Afterwards he shows great technique in converting.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Hidden Resources

One of the issues I’ve always had in chess is an overattachment to material. For the last couple of years I’ve been trying to alleviate it, but it’s not such an easy thing.

It’s one thing to know that you should sacrifice material, but quite another to know how to sacrifice it.

Lately I’ve been reading the book Beyond Material by Croation GM Davorin Kuljasevic in an effort to free myself from such material attachments.

To start the book off he shows several examples designed to show players that material isn’t always the deciding factor. This example is particularly concrete.

The game is between Yuri Solodovnichenko and Valerij Fillippov from 1999. Here is the position that opens the example:

White is in serious trouble. Not only down a pawn, but also with quite a loose king. He finds a brilliant drawing idea.

31.Re1 and now Black correctly takes on a2 with 31…Bxa2. Now after 32.b3 Bxb3 33.c4 Black goes wrong by taking the pawn on c4 as well. A move such as 33…Rf8 and Black has an overwhelming advantage.

So why the problem with taking on c4?  Well, in this position there is an amazing concrete way to draw:

34.Bd5+ Bxd5 35.Re8+ Rxe8 36.Qxe8+ Qf8 37.Qxf8+ Kxf8

What a beautiful stalemate!

Here is the entire game for anyone interested.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Interesting Theoretical Position

Here is a position from Tarrasch theory that has been fascinating me for a bit:

Here White takes on h7 with check as after 16.Bxh7+ Kxh7 17.Nxe6 Black can’t exchange queens due to the intermezzo of taking on f8 with check by White.

What fascinates me about this line is that White does something we’re generally taught not to do in an opening. We learn early on that exchanging two minors for a rook and pawn in an opening is bad. Of course here White gets a second pawn as well. Fascinating ideas here.

Here are a couple of games in this line…

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Working on the PGN Files

As mentioned in my last post, I have begun to create pgn files when analyzing my games.

I have started with an opening that has plagued me on the White side for time out of mind…the French.

I’ve decided to base my lines on the Tarrasch, specifically the setup with 7.Ne2.

My methodology at this time is to pull all of the games between players rated a minimum of 2400 for the last five years and play through all of them to get a feel for which lines I like, then I’ll build more in depth files from there. 

But for now I have around 50 games to go look at. Feel free to look at them with me as I have attached them in a file called “Francophile.”

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Two Crushing Wins

Here are two nice wins I had tonight in a rapid tournament. It looks like my work is paying off.

The analysis in the first game is just cursory…

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Draw vs a Master

Five and a half years ago I had this position against Bill Williams

Tonight I had it again.

Last time he played 15…Qe6 and after 16.Re3 he said “It looks like a draw to me” and we drew.

Tonight he played a different move. Same result.

Here’s the game:

After this tournament my rating should be around 1785 or so. That’s the highest it will have been in well over two years.

So far so good this year.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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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

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%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

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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.

Nice Finish to My Blitz Game

Here’s the end to a game I just played. I’m Black and it’s my move…

Here’s 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.