Using One of Vishy’s Ideas

I was listening to last week’s interview with Viswanathan Anand on Perpetual Chess and something that Vishy said he used to do during his youth was to write down his thoughts following a game.

Not analysis, which of course also happens, but general impressions of what happened along with thoughts of what can be done differently next time.

So I decided to appropriate this idea since it seems awfully sensible.

I am currently playing in the US Amateur Team North in Schaumburg and I have done this for the first three rounds. Here are my notes along with some clarification of what I was driving at.

Game One – The Notes

  • Terrible opening. Learn the lines or simplify the repertoire. Off the cuff is dumb.
  • Keep fighting. Just because it didn’t work doesn’t mean it won’t work.
  • Work on rook endings. No excuse for not knowing if the R+P vs R ending was drawn or not.
  • Need to spend at least one hour on the opening during analysis later for every game.
  • Time to create a full set of deep pgn files.

Game One – The Explanation

In this game I faced the French. I haven’t been getting good positions against the Winawer so I decided to play 3.Nd2 off the cuff. I quickly wound up in a terrible position and was lucky to claw my way back into some semblance of a fighting chance. Eventually I was ground down in the ending.

I kept trying to  fight my way back into the game and my opponent helped greatly by missing some simplification ideas which would have made the win trivial. When all was said and done it was for naught, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth doing. It’s always worth doing.

The game concluded in a R+P vs R ending where I was *pretty sure* I was lost but I wasn’t 100% sure. There’s no excuse for this. I should be 99% sure or better. This will require a lot of work, but I believe it’s vital.

During analysis I need to spend at least one hour going over the opening. In this way I’ll eventually completely learn the ideas in the openings I play. I’m getting better, but it’s not good enough.

To that end, when spending that time on the opening I’ll eventually create a set of very deep pgn files for every opening I play with either color. I’ll be able to regularly review them and I will get strong here. It will happen.

Game Two – The Notes

  • Opening repertoire totally exposed. To not play lines out of fear is just dumb.
  • Sicilian worked out, but seriously…what is that?
  • Again, deep pgn files are needed.
  • Candidate moves.
  • Sleep is important. No point in going to a tournament if you’re not going to take it seriously.
  • One move blunders happen on four hours sleep.

Game Two – The Explanation

My opponent played 1.e4. Lately I have been playing 1…e5 but I play the Two Knights against 3.Bc4. However, there have been too many times where my understanding of the position has been less than ideal. So at the board I sat there for a minute or two essentially saying to myself “Kids play the Italian a lot. Do I really want to be down a pawn against an expert in a position I don’t truly understand?”

Of course this is wrong thinking. Play your prep. If it sucks, make it better, but to not play it out of fear is wrong. OK, it’s not like I’m drifting aimlessly in the Sicilian since I played it for years, but seriously?

As for the Sicilian, of course this is another opening that shouldn’t be played off the cuff, which is exactly what I did. In the end it worked out since I was completely out of the opening and into the late middle game.

Again this is where deep pgn files will help.

Candidate moves are vital. I have played many moves lately where I only considered one move, not multiple moves. That happened in this game several times as well.

Sleep is important. I was up until after 2:00am even though I knew I had to get up at 6:00am. Not smart.

After being completely equal I threw the game away on a one move blunder by overlooking a simple tactic. Had I gotten more sleep the odds would have been less likely that I would blunder like this. More importantly had I selected at least two candidate moves and compared them the odds I would have blundered in this fashion would have been even less.

Game Three – The Notes

  • For reals, let’s work deeper on openings. I just need a feel for positions.
  • Keep fighting. It works.
  • Learn to stay objective. It felt like I was much worse though it turned out I was fine.
  • Candidate moves were my friend. Bigly.
  • There’s no substitute for focus.

Game Three – The Explanation

Again I felt lost in the opening. I decided to stick with 1.e4 but after 1…g6 I transposed into the White side of the King’s Indian. I wound up overlooking some positional ideas for my opponent and before you knew it I felt like I was far worse.

However, I did  keep fighting and fighting. After getting past what felt like the worst of the trouble my opponent repeated and offered me a draw.

After the game, when I was entering it in ChessBase I turned on the engine at a couple of points to quickly check the eval. I wasn’t looking at lines or analyzing moves, just checking to see if I was really as bad as I thought I was. Turns out that at none of the points I checked was I as bad as I thought.

This time I made sure to have at least two moves to choose from. It kept me from going astray and I was able to hold on to the thread.

I stayed focus and just put everything I had into holding on and not getting steamrolled. That effort paid off when my opponent offered me a draw.

So there you have it. I feel like I got something out of this exercise so I plan on keeping it going.

Listen to the interview with Vishy on Perptual Chess:

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.

Gelfand – Svidler Game Three

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Another Nice Blitz Mate

Every once in a while I play the reverse GP against the English.  This was one of those times.  My opponent missed some stuff which made my job easier, but the mate was nice.

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.

My First Smothered Mate!

I’ve been playing chess for at least 30 years since I first saw the concept of the smothered mate.

Today I delivered my first one in a blitz game.

Here I thought I was in trouble as I thought my knight was just trapped:

Then I realized my position was really good and I saw the idea.  I started with 22.Rxe6 and he feel right into it.  See the entire game below.

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.

Shameless Request for Donations

It’s not often that I make an actual shameless request for donations.  Sure, I have the Patreon thing at the bottom of each post, but this is not that.

It costs me around $170 a year to maintain this blog, and the truth is that I really enjoy doing it.

I pay for three years at a time, and it’s coming due in a few days.  If you read this content and feel that you get something out of it, and if you can spare a few bucks I’d sincerely appreciate a PayPal donation.  $1, $2, $10, whatever.

It all adds up and it’s all extremely helpful.

So if you can’t afford to donate, please don’t.  But if you can, then this would be the time to do so.

All help is gratefully appreciated.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Chris Wainscott

Right Idea, Wrong Execution

Today in a game I had this position as White:

I came up with the correct idea of sacking the exchange with 15.Rb4. Then after 15…Nxb4 16.axb4 Qb5 17.Rxa7 Nc6 18.Ra3 my opponent played 18…fxe5

Here I misplayed the position by taking back on e5 with 19.dxe5. However, had I played 19.Qa1! instead I would have had a sizeable advantage.

19…Kb7 20.Nxe5 Nxe5 21.Ra7+ Kc6 and now the nice shot 22.Bf4.

White is clearly better here.

Having said all that, I’m ok with this game since I correctly sacked the exchange.

Now if I can just get my strategic thinking and calculation up to par I’ll convert these as well.

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.

Fun Facts About the Steinitz – Zukertort Match

Something that I think I will be doing going forward is providing some historical overviews of the matches for the game of the day feature.

Since the first two of this match have already been published, let’s kick that off here, then I can add this stuff to the posts with the games going forward.

Prior to Steinitz – Zukertort 1886 the title of “World Champion” had been completely unofficial.

Wilhelm Steinitz had long been considered the strongest player of his day, having defeated his top rival Adolf Anderssen 20 years prior +8-6=0.  However, it wasn’t until this match with Zukertort that talk of an official world championship began.

Three years prior, in the London 1883 tournament, which had been a 14 player double round robin, Zukertort had finished at the top of the table with +18 (22/26) compared to Steinitz’s +12 (19/26).

With the death of Paul Morphy in 1884 there was no longer anyone who could reasonably claim the title of the strongest player (and keep in mind that Morphy’s last serious game had been much earlier in 1859) the path was clear to hold a match between the two.

The terms of the match were the same as Bobby Fischer would propose 89 years later – first player to ten wins, draws not counting.

The time control was to be 30 moves in two hours, then 15 moves per hour thereafter.

Although Steinitz would not become a US Citizen until 1888, he insisted on playing this match under the flag of the USA as he had been living in New York for a few years by then.

In 1888 he officially became a US citizen and changed his name to William.

The championship itself saw three different cities, with the first five games coming in New York, the next four in Saint Louis, and the concluding games in New Orleans.

Here is the table from Wikipedia showing the match results.

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.

Puzzle for September 2, 2018

The solution appears at the bottom!

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.

The solution to today’s puzzle is:

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5. Rxe6+ fxe6 6. Bg6+ Kf8 7. Qd6+ Kg8 8. Qxe6+ Kf8 9. Be7# 1-0

Daily Puzzles Update

So far I haven’t gained a single email subscriber since I added the daily puzzle feature.

I’m hoping that changes.  My daily traffic has stayed the same as well.

It was a lot of work adding those puzzles to the blog, so I’m hoping that one of these two things changes and I either start seeing an increase in email subscribers or an increase in daily traffic to the site.

Either would be a great indicator that this is worth the few hours it took!

Time will tell!

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.