Before I start to analyze my game, I’d like to apologize for not getting a blog post at my usual 9 AM time. With the craze that is college exams before Thanksgiving and preparing to take off to Philadelphia for the National Chess Congress, I’ve been extremely busy.
That being said, this will be my only post or video this week on chess^summit since most of my Thanksgiving holiday will be consumed by the National Chess Congress, my first GoFundMe sponsored tournament appearance. After a month, my GoFundMe Campaign has raised over $500, and will go a long ways towards preparing me for the US Junior Open this summer. I’m really thankful to everyone who’s donated, and I look forward to sharing more quality games with all of you for the next few months to come.
My match-up tonight at the Pittsburgh Chess Club lasted only an hour, but I thought that there were some instructive points about dynamic play that were worth sharing.
Prokhov – Steincamp (19th Robert Smith Memorial, 2015)
An interesting game where my opponent took unorthodox measures to try to get an advantage. While he caused some structural weaknesses, moving the queen around the board and not completing development effectively ultimately lead to my opponent’s demise. This was not a “pretty” win by any means, but it’s definitely another reason to be confident heading into the National Chess Congress’ Open section on Friday.
I’m not exactly sure what to expect, but it would be nice if for my next post I could be an official Candidate Master by earning my last norm!
Faced with a worse opening set-up, I managed to equalize in a G/15 ICC match after trading my weakest pieces for my opponent’s best pieces. At the critical moment, I used an idea from Yasser Seirawan to earn the half point – watch the video and check it out!
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been playing in a bi-monthly ladder at the Pittsburgh Chess Club, and if I have to be honest, the change in tournament format hasn’t been the smoothest for me, as late night Tuesday rounds has pushed my mental endurance. Despite winning the first round, I made an early mistake in the opening, which made most of the game an uphill battle. Round 2 proved to be much more difficult. Despite taking a material advantage in an endgame, I underestimated my opponent’s counterattacking chances and lost in a rather embarrassing fashion. So this last Tuesday was round 3, and to say the least, I needed a win – badly.
My opponent, a much older player, had just drawn a strong expert despite his 1800 rating, and knowing some of his other recent results, I knew that this would be a tough fight. As always, I got to the board insanely early, ready to play the most important game I would have played since moving to Pittsburgh.
Steincamp – Schragin (19th Robert Smith Memorial, 2015)
I was really happy with the quality that I brought to this round, and it’ll be a big boost going into the National Chess Congress next weekend in Philadelphia. Black helped me along the way, but it’s difficult for me to find significant improvements for myself throughout the game.
Over the weekend, I decided to play a G/15 quad, and even though I was easily able to reach a score of 2.5/3 (my quick rating is low, so I played mostly inferior opponents), I saw a game in the top quad that inspired me to write today’s post.
Rea – Feliachi (G/15 November Quads, 2015)
Just as a disclaimer, I was in my second round game as this one was developing, so the move order may not be exact (the critical position will be reached regardless).
2.Nf3 b6 3.e4 Bb7
4.Bd3 Nf6 5.Qe2?!
6…c5 7.c3 Nc6 8.Nbd2
8…cxd4 9.cxd4 Nb4!
11.Qe3 Rc8 12.Nb3 Nc2+ 13.Bxc2 Rxc2
I remember watching this game and being really impressed with Black’s ability to punish White’s desire to play c2-c3. Though this …Nb4 and …Ba6 idea was clearly researched by Black before the game, it still made for a very instructional victory over a National Master.
With this inspiring opening play out of the way, I figured I might as well share Richard Rapport’s game at the European Team Championships last Sunday for team Hungary in their match in France. At only 19, Rapport has established himself as one of the world’s elite, specifically for bizarre opening preparation. In his game against Fressinet, he chose to open his game with 1. f4, giving the Bird’s Opening a rare showing at the Grandmaster level.
Rapport – Fressinet (European Team Chess Championships, 2015)
A great performance from Rapport, as his result was critical in securing a tie with the French in Round 3. After 4 games, Rapport has secured 3.5/4 for the Hungarian team in the European Team Chess Championships.
Make sure to check out other games from the event, as there have already been several heavyweight clashes. After Russia’s dominating win over Ukraine, will they be the favorites to run away with the event, or can Azerbaijan or Armenia catch up to the leaders? You can visit the event webpage here.
For today’s video, I wanted to try something new, so I thought it might be interesting to go over a Grandmaster game in ten minutes as to not get too bogged down into theoretical or tactical lines, but still highlight the most important moments of the game. It’s a new format, let me know if you like it!
The game I chose really caught my eye when I watched it live, as Magnus Carlsen, the defending World Blitz Champion, nearly fell to a relatively unknown Grandmaster, Daniil Dubov. Dubov missed a tactic that would have won the game – can you find it?
For today’s post, I would like to show an online game that shared with me from a young player out of Virginia Beach. If you too would like your game analyzed by me, make sure to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll feature it in the next post!
In a rather one sided game, we learn a lot about mentality and attacking chess. Let’s go over the key points:
“Patzer see a check, patzer play a check” – In this game, White lost time with an early Bb5+ when a move like Bc4 would have been much more practical. Only check your opponent if it helps you make progress.
Don’t weaken your own pawn structure! – The move 12… h5 alone may have cost Black the game as White had a lot of counterplay as a result. Look for ways to activate your developed pieces once you’ve finished the main opening ideas.
Don’t consider point values when analyzing – Trust your own intuition when calculating the differences in piece value. Knowing that a piece covers key squares and another piece serves little to know function might be enough for you to make rational over the board decisions.
“When you are losing, go crazy!” – This was something one of my former coaches taught me when I was ~1800. If you are worse in a position, you have to seek counterplay and contest your opponent’s desires. Black failed to make a serious push for the advantage in the endgame and thus failed to stay in the game. Simply making his g-pawn promoting a threat may have helped him get back to a more tenable position.
I’ll be looking forward to more game analysis posts in the future! Send me games!
Last Saturday, Nicholas N. asked “Is there a chance you have a game with the French Defense winning?”
Unfortunately, I’m not a French player, and because I haven’t played 1 e4 since I was in elementary school, I don’t have any quality games for any up and coming French players. But I know someone who does.
I met Grandmaster Akobian at Castle Chess back in 2011, and while I haven’t kept in contact, I have followed his games over the past few years. For those of you who only started following top-level chess recently, you may recall hearing Akobian’s name from this famous incident:
[Courtesy: D K Chess]
But Akobian has his own achievements too. A gold medal winner at the 2013 World Chess Team Championships, Var has a legacy of strong opening play with both the French and Bg5 systems against the King’s Indian Defense. To answer Nicholas’ question, we’ll look at two games in the French from Akobian.
A strong showing from Akobian in this game against a top level Grandmaster! This game showed us a couple of lessons:
1) While theory doesn’t win games, it can play a significant factor in deciding the result. In this game Khachiyan wasn’t familiar with the Bxh7 line, and because of that, could not acquire positional resources to slow Black’s play.
2) In winning positions, positional advantages may mean more than winning material! Var could have played …Ne4-f2 but waited, because he realized that it would actually be harder to win up the exchange than taking full control of the weak queenside first.
3) Use all of your pieces! White traded a lot of pieces, and while theoretical, didn’t find a way to effectively use his h1 rook. This may seem irrelevant to the game, but in the final position, White is basically playing down a rook as all of Black’s pieces are going into the action.
This game was short, but shows us that the French can be a sharp opening and White must know theory to challenge Black’s queenside thrusts. Let’s take a look at a more positional game where Var makes use of an isolated queen’s pawn.
I liked this game because Akobian showed that playing with the “dreaded” IQP isn’t actually that bad. By making advantageous trades, he simplified into an endgame where he could play for two results, and then slowly outplayed the International Master.
The French is a versatile structure, and learning it can help you understand the Dutch and the Nimzo Indian at the next level. While I personally would never choose the French as a first choice, it is a great way to build an opening repertoire.