An unexamined life is not worth living.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chess Combinations – Watching out for Opponent’s Ideas

Yagupov – Radulovic, 2014

image White to move. Does White win with Rxg7?

Hint: Black may have a defensive counter sacrifice.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Checklist for Maintaining Opening Repertoire in Digital Form

To improve your chess preparation, you want to keep track of your openings in a digital opening repertoire. I already blogged with an example for creating an opening repertoire in my post titled "Opening Preparation - How to make a Tree". It can be maintained in various database  packages, with the output being stored as a single game, looking like this (example from SCID):

Now I am reviewing my opening preparation and I came up with a checklist for maintaining such a tree:
  1. Add diagrams to have at least one diagram per game
  2. Cut down lines that I will never play myself
  3. Add verbal evaluations and explanations of plans wherever possible
  4. Add symbol evaluations wherever possible
  5. Add my slow and rapid games for completeness
  6. Re-evaluate sharp lines with computer and give them a more definite evaluation
  7. Remove lines from the repertoire that I completely stopped playing and will never play again
  8. Keep repertoire games sorted by ECO
  9. Search and highlight tactical combinations anywhere in the repertoire database
  10. Label each repertoire game appropriately to distinguish my White from my Black repertoire
This may seem tedious, but this sure beats maintaining the same information on paper!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Interesting Sacrifice in King’s Gambit

I recently stumbled upon a fun pseudo sacrifice in an important theoretical line in the King’s Gambit. I had the exact position after White’s 13th move, but I overlooked it completely during the game, and then in analysis, until Stockfish engine pointed it out to me. Can you spot the best move for Black?
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Bb5+ c6 6.dxc6 Nxc6 7.d4 Bd6 8.Qe2+ Be6 9.Ng5 O-O 10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.Qxe6+ Kh8 13.O-O
image Black to move

Hint: the move I am talking about is not f4-f3, which is also not bad, but not as strong.

Replay a sample game below to see the solution

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Editing Pgn Files without ChessBase or Other Database Program – Syntax Highlighting

Six years ago I already once wrote about pgn file format, and the benefits of using it for storing and sharing your chess data. While working with many pgn files, I want to be able to load them into a text editor, and do various operations on it that can’t be done easily in a chess database, such as SCID, ChessBase, Chess Assistant, etc. Notepad++ , my favourite editor, lets me

  • check spelling
  • translate from one language to another
  • do massive search and replacements across the entire file (or even many files)
  • and many many other things you would normally do in a powerful text editor

The problem with text editors is that normally pgn like any text looks Black/White, and is not very pretty.


Instead I want it to look like this:


Here is the trick: once you loaded the pgn file, make sure to set language to “Pascal”, so that you get the proper syntax highlighting for:

  • game headers
  • different types of braces (for annotations and variations)
  • move numbers


I never programmed (and probably never will) in Pascal, but this nice little similarity between syntaxes between PGN and Pascal comes really handy!

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