An unexamined life is not worth living.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Back on ICC!!

After years of absence, I have returned to the fun and joyful waste of time by receiving yearly ICC membership as a long awaited Christmas gift. ChessPlanet has served as a great free alternative in the last couple of years, but I was looking for strong opposition (not that I could beat everyone on ChessPlanet, but still), less time waiting for a game, more responsive UI (where some crazy people can make 10 moves in one second), easier pgn export, and all in all - better online experience. Holidays can be a great time indeed!
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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Just like in the good old days

The holidays are coming, and I had a bit of free time today. I pulled out my chessboard and went through a few games (the Sveshnikov, of course) from a real chess book. Yes, you read it right, I was reading a physical chess book on a physical chess board!! 2 AM on a Friday night is a perfect time for this kind of activity.

Studying chess on a computer may seem more productive, but it is actually way less efficient as a learning exercise, because of all the distractions (i.e. web browser) and temptations (i.e. analysis engine) that prevent from focusing on what matters - thinking deep about a position on the board, pausing to consider the plans for both sides, etc. Not dedicating any time to 2 am analysis on a real chess board, combined with lack of practice is what really halted my progress in the last 5+ years. Sigh..

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Lutz - Kramnik, 1995

Another classical game from Kramnik in the Sveshnikov.

Replay Game Christopher Lutz - Vladimir Kramnik, Bundesliga 9495 1995

Christopher Lutz (2560) - Vladimir Kramnik (2715) [B33]

Bundesliga 9495/Germany 1995

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c3 O-O 12. Nc2 Bg5 13. a4 bxa4 14. Rxa4 a5 15. Bc4

15... Rb8 Black hopes in this position to compensate the weakness of the 'a5' pawn by putting pressure on the 'b' pawn. He also intends to play 'around' the d5 knight, by playing f5 (with g6 or not) and opening up the position for two bishops. 16. b3 Kh8 17. O-O g6 18. Qe2 The queen protects e4 pawn, and this move also allows Rf1 to come to d1 or a1. In 1998 Judit Polgar played 18. Kh1 in her game against Kramnik 18... Bd7 19. Rfa1 This ties down Nc6 to defence of the a5 pawn. The rook however leaves the kingside so if the 'f' file opens up, White may face challenges with defending f2 square. also possible is 19. Ra2 f5 20. f3 Bh6 19... Bh6 20. g3 Kramnik believes this move unnecessarily weakens the kingside. It`s hard to disagree! 20... f5 21. exf5 gxf5 22. b4 e4 This frees up the e5 square for the knight and Black's attack on the kingside starts to look real. 23. bxa5 an attempt to attack on the kingside would backfire for white: 23. Qh5 Bg7 24. Nf4 Ne5 25. b5 Nf3+ 26. Kg2 Rf6 27. Rxa5 Rh6

28. Qf7 Rxh2+ 29. Kf1 Bxc3 23... Ne5 24. Rb4 Rxb4 25. cxb4 f4 26. Nd4 after 26. Qxe4? Bf5 27. Qe2 f3 black wins a piece 26... e3 27. fxe3 27. f3 fxg3 28. hxg3 Qg5 29. Kg2 Rg8 30. g4 Nxg4 31. fxg4 Bxg4 32. Qxe3 Qh4 27... f3 28. Qa2 f2+ 29. Kg2 Qe8 30. Be2 Ng4 31. Bf3 trading off that knight did not seem very promising either. 31. Bxg4 Bxg4 threatening Qe4 32. Qc2 Qh5 33. Nf4 Bxf4 34. exf4 Qh3+ 35. Kxf2 Qxh2+ 31... Nxe3+ 32. Nxe3 Qxe3 33. Qxf2 White is up two pawns, but all his pieces are subject to attack, so the LPFO (loose pieces fall off) principle starts to apply: 33... Bh3+ 34. Kg1 Qc3 35. Re1

35... Bd2 The rook has to guard both the first rank against the queen, and the e file against Be3, so all hope is lost for White. 0-1

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