Saturday, June 23, 2012

Four Rules of Material Gain (HTRYC 3rd)

1. If you have a material advantage, find a plan that enables you to use the extra wood (using the extra material to overpower the opponent or trade all the pieces and go into a winning endgame).

2. When you make a successful strike into the opponent's camp and win material, you must often pull your army back towards the center and reorganize your forces (prevents counterattacks).

3. When you take material, you put pressure on your opponent to justify his sacrifice!  This induces a certain element of panic which can easily send his brain spinning off into the void.  A good basic rule goes as follows: if you are in an uncomfortable position (or just want to go all out for the win) and you are offered an unclear sacrifice, you should contain your fear and scarf up the offered meal, saying "give me proof or lose!"

4. When up material you have the added defensive resource of giving material back to stop his attack.  While the opponent scrambles to regain his lost wood, you quietly improve your position.  When he finally recreates a material balance, you should have succeeded in either equalizing a difficult position, grabbing the initiative, or gaining some sort of positional advantage that will serve you well in the later stages of the game.

white to play
black to play
black to play

Monday, June 18, 2012

I Play Hope Chess

Last year, on June 18, 2011, after I dropped 3 games in the 45 45 League, I wrote this post.  I let it sit in 'draft' mode the entire year.  I came back to it every so often to read it and feel the burn of those losses.

I'm finally getting around to publishing it.  I'm a bit more a peace with myself.  I think I play less Hope Chess, but there are games where I still play it.  Once (and if) I complete my 52-game quest in August, I'll revist this topic and disect my thoughts and feelings.

JUNE 18, 2011

It's obvious I don't fire on all cylinders.  I have serious, gut-wrenching issues I have to deal with.  It is painful.  Sure it feels good to pull off wins; but the truth is I think there is a significant measure of luck involved in those wins that simply masks the fundamental issues that I have not addressed.  When it all gets boiled, the truth is I play Hope Chess.

Here's the three-punch knockout that has pushed me to this realization ... one; two and three.  Three was a "LOL" moment.  It truly was comical.

So what are my options?
1 - do nothing; just keep playing for the joy of it and not care about playing quality chess.
2 - give it up altogether and spend the time doing something else.
3 - fundamentally confront and deal with my issues.

There's no shame in #1 and #2.  This is chess for crying out loud!  It's a freakin' game.  But that's not all true now, is it.  There is a deep unreachable itch; an unsettling feeling in the bowels of my soul.  I can't let it go.  When not thinking about work or family or our church, all my mind can dwell on are those three losses and why they happened.  As I ponder the last couple of weeks, it feels like there are deeper issues at play here.  It's not just chess - there is a profound psychological aspect to this and I think it is not restricted to just my chess game.  There are macro life elements involved ... this issue seems to spill over into other parts of my life.  And somehow I feel like if I can fix my chess game, the rest of my life will become balanced.  And maybe it's not so much about chess, but rather about not giving up on something I started.

I can't walk away from this until I feel I've done a better job.  I owe it to myself.  When I get to the point that I can consistently say, win or loss "I played Real Chess and did my best" then I can be at peace with myself and if I decide to walk away from it all, I won't have regrets.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Game 34

Jabari, who visits our blogs, contacted me to play a 4 game series.  We started the series tonight (game 1 link here).  It was one tough game tonight.  So I felt I put up a pretty good fight, but I am still weak on seeing everything.  I need to take some extra time for triple-checking.

11...Qc7 was a great move on his part.  There wasn't really anything I could do to defend.  I just needed to see that position a bit earlier in the game.

19. e4 wasn't so great.  I saw the Qb+ move a few seconds after I pushed the pawn.  Sometimes this happens on Chess Tempo ... I see so many things and then they are all floating up there in my head and I have a hard time organizing my thoughts and keeping track of bad lines and such.

So he took the b2 pawn and I figured I could get some play out of that.  I did a little, but he navigated all the various lines well.

23. g4 killed me.  I wanted to defend that f5 pawn.  I probably should have just went ahead and played Bd1, giving me a chance to defend f5 while still getting a chance to take his c4.

After g4, I saw that h3 was now open for business.  It went downhill from there.  Since his clock was a little low, I worked a bit at forcing him to win it.  But he played quite well and finished me off no problem.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Game 33

My scheduled opponent didn't show tonight.  So I fired up Chessmaster and played my nemesis Seb.  I was 0-3 against him, but tonight I finally won.  He made one of those dumb moves early on, but this time the outcome was different.  Instead of falling into his traps and losing a won game, I finally won it tonight.

There's not much to discuss on this one.  I was able to defend adequately and then trade pieces until I had just my knight and a few pawns on the board compared to his pawns and king.  I continued to trade pawns - using my knight to defend and ultimately promote a pawn.  From there, it was a QK vs. K ending.

Hopefully my opponent can play tomorrow night as I have another open evening.

Friday, June 08, 2012

NAS-NAJ 2012 Open

July 13-15 at the Hobby Marriott - Not-a-Senior-Not-a-Junior 2012 Open

I'll be there Friday and Saturday getting my butt kicked in the U2000 section.

Friday, June 01, 2012

savaskulah: email me

Savaş Külah: I don't know how to contact you directly to schedule some games; so please email me.

rockyrook at hotmail dot com


Sacrifice (HTRYC 3rd)

Sacrifice - The voluntary offer of material for the purpose of gaining a more favorable advantage than the material investment.  Unlike a combination, a sacrifice is not a cut and dried affair, and there is usually an element of uncertainty associated with it.  Though a combination always has one or more sacrifices, a sacrifice need not be associated with a combination.

In his Material Loss and Sacrifice chapter, he notes a few moves from a few games
Selesniev-Alekhine, Triberg 1921, move 20...Rb4
Reshevsky-T.Petrosian, Zurich 1953, move 25...Re6
Taimanov-Karpov, Moscow 1973, beginning with move 17...Rc4

Weak Squares (HTRYC 3rd)

You can create weak squares (for your opponent) with a pawn move, a piece exchange (forcing opponent to double up pawns) or by creating a threat, thus forcing your opponent to defend it while at the same time creating a weak square.

Once you've created the weak square, you need to get a piece to "nest on it."