An unexamined life is not worth living.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Watching the Candidates Tournament - How Sveshnikov Studies The Opening

As I was watching the Russian-language broadcast of one of the rounds of the Candidates Tournament, I was curious to hear how Evgeny Sveshnikov studies newly encountered opening positions.

His algorithm is as follows:
- check his own games
if none found
- check good GM games
if none found
- check Houdini

Food for thought ...

Monday, March 24, 2014

New Poll – Future Chess Ebooks

I have created a new poll to identified which e-book titles sound the most interesting to the audience of this blog. This should help me to better focus my efforts as I prepare them for publication, adding to the collection of kindle books I have available so far.


To make the poll a bit more meaningful, here is a brief description of the each title; none of the topics are set in stone – I’d be glad to hear your input!

  • The Break - Learn From Schlechter, Botvinnik and Kramnik

A break is generally an unexpected or sacrificial pawn move that can serve multiple purposes:

  • Opening up files or diagonals
  • Gaining space
  • Undermining opponent's pawn structure/chain
  • Freeing up a square e.g. as an outpost for a knight

Inspiration for this book came from reading Vladimir Kramnik's collection of games which featured a special section on the pawn breakthroughs. Later studying the games of Mikhail Botvinnik, I also spotted his great ability to play with the pawns. And even later, I also came across several games by Carl Schlechter, who also played several instructive games. In the book, the games are presented in chronological order, to reflect the development of chess thought.

  • Endgames by Juniors - Instructive games and mistakes

The basis of this book is are the articles written about a couple of tournaments held in mid 2000's - Canadian Junior Championship 2004, World Youth 2003 Championship. Some of the players whose games are analysed - have since become established grandmasters and members of their national teams. One of the players - Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has been one of the contenders for the world title in the latest Candidates Cycle. It is interesting to observe how high their endgame skill level was already in their youth years.

Another point of the book is to compare the precise play and deep understanding of endgames by top juniors, with the instructive mistakes made at the lower level. In both cases, a lot can be learned. Specifically, these games will hopefully encourage players and coaches to refocus on such strategic issues of the endgame as increased value of passed pawns, active placement of a rook, importance of careful evaluation of pawn endings, attack against king with limited forces.

  • Practical Rook endgames

It is well known that for improving their endgame skills, chess players generally need to work on two aspects:

  1. Understanding general rules and principles 
  2. Knowing precise positions and ability to find favourable ways of reaching them during the game.

This book applies these two points to a specific type of endgames - rook endings, the most common and difficult type of endings.

  • Sicilian Defence - Strategy and Tactics

Opening preparation in chess is always difficult and a lot of books have been written about this topic. The goal of this book is to illustrate how specific pawn structures should be studied for typical themes.

The book presents a straightforward repertoire for White after 1. e4 c5 and focuses on the Open Sicilian. Most major variations at Black's disposal are briefly explained and covered. The book is a follow up to "Exchange Slav - Strategy and Tactics" and "Spanish Opening - Strategy and Tactics" and is intended for chess players who want to learn the Sicilian Defence and are looking for a quick overview of the major variations. For each line, several sample games are followed by tactical positions typical for that line. Any player who plays the Sicilian Defence either as White or Black - can benefit from learning the specific middlegame themes presented here.

  • Isolated queen pawn - Strategy and Tactics

Opening preparation in chess is always difficult and a lot of books have been written about this topic. The goal of this book is to illustrate how specific pawn structures should be studied for typical themes even if it arises from different openings. The pawn structure with (typically) White's isolated queen pawn on the 'd' file has been known for over a hundred years, and different players have shown best plans for both sides over the years.

Historically, Mikhail Botvinnik popularized White's play and positional players such as Karpov have performed well on the Black side of the same structure in several modern openings. At the same time, all strong modern grandmasters are well familiar with the principles of the IQP structure for both sides, and the goal of the book is to translate that knowledge on to the readers.

  • How Learn from your Internet Games

This publication is a collection of combinations from games that I played on the internet over the past many years. The goal is to show that online games with blitz and rapid time controls are a useful material for analyzing and improving your games.

The format is similar to "Practical Tactics" series, with titles such as:
Counterattack with Alexander Morozevich, Play Like a Grandmaster - Tactics from Chess World Cup 2013, World Championship Preview - Combinations by Anand and Carlsen, Attack with Alexander Morozevich - Selected Games and Best Combinations, Play Like a Grandmaster - Best Tactics of 2013.

  • BC chess reports (Keres Memorial, BC closed)

This book is a collection of several reports on tournaments held in British Columbia, Canada in the early 2000's. The focus is on the local chess scene, instructive games, combinations and endgames.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Theoretical Rook Endgame – Find the Only Winning Move

Jiganchine – Baunok, 2000, analysis
image White to move
For a solution – input this FEN string on this website: 8/8/8/6k1/3R4/PK6/8/r7 w - - 0 62
Hint: There is only one move that gives a win; White has to cut off the Black king along as many files as possible.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

ChessX 1.1.0 "Bookmaster" released

99.9 % of the content on this blog consists of my original posts, but occasionally it makes sense to share news from other websites that I subscribe to. Today's update comes from ChessX website:

ChessX 1.1.0 "Bookmaster" released:
ChessX 1.1.0 has been released. As engines now can display book information and the opening tree can use any open database as reference, the name "Bookmaster" was chosen. But there are a lot of changes and bugfixes, so please enjoy our latest release.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sacrifice in the Panov Attack

Zvonitsky – Godys, 1989
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bg4 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8.
Qb3 Bxf3 9. gxf3 e6 10. Qxb7 Nxd4 11. Bb5+ Nxb5 12. Qc6+ Ke7 13. Qxb5 Qd7 14.
Nxd5+ exd5 15. Qb3 Kf6 16. h4 Re8+ 17. Kf1 g6 18. Bg5+ Kg7 19. Rd1 d4 20. Qc4
f6 21. Rxd4 Qb7

image  White to move

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Double Piece Sacrifice in a Blitz Game

Roman – Monchess, 2001

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8.O-O-O h6 9. Bxf6 Qxf6 10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. f4 d5 12. exd5 cxd5

image White move

Hint, the initial piece sacrifice to open up the center is easy to spot, but the follow up involves another sacrifice – for the sake of getting both of White’s rooks into the game as soon as possible.

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