Sunday, April 20, 2008

Joining battle against windmills.

To me, tactics are "tricks" that win the game, material, or secure a better position. They flow from a superior position and/or an opponent's blunders.

Black to move and win.

White to move and win.

Consistently spotting simple tactics, as in the positions above, have given me fairly consistent wins against players class C and below. But the tactics in master games are more complex and it often takes me 10-30 minutes to decipher a middlegame position.

How to assess 1.Ne6?

Is the sac 1.Nd5 sound?

An expert, by definition, can scalp a master every few games. So I better learn to decipher these positions much quicker. I'm retiring from Troyis (world-rank: #503) and diving into the ChessCafe Puzzle Book for "circular" tactical study.

Tempo hit on one prerequisite for consistent tactical study--Joy. The book's written by Karsten Mueller and based on recent master games, so that factor's there for me.

What else am I doing?

Endgames - Secrets of Rook Endings by Nunn & Comprehensive Chess Endings volume IV: Pawns by Averbakh... detailed works. I want to fully master these endings.

Strategy - My System + GM-RAM games.

Openings - Studying annotated master games from

Fitness - I began an intensive athletic training and nutrition program 3 weeks ago to give me more energy, stamina, focus, and discipline.

Play - Mostly correspondence for now... won 15/16 games. I need to return to live chess and seek out harder opponents once my repertoire's complete.


transformation said...

dear likeForests: your plan has all the trappings of a man ready for a real 'breakout phenomenon'. bravo man! warmly, dk

Nophiq said...

Hi! I'm an Italian webmaster, I have a chess website and I would like to translate some of your articles in Italian and add them in my own website. If you are interested please contact me at "nophiq [at] gmail [dot] com"

tanc(happyhippo) said...

hello likesforests!

Your plan is awesome! It is definitely a good plan and any rate, you'll soon be improving in no time!

Don't mind me analysing your diagrams but I love puzzles like these:

The first 2 diagrams took me about 2-3 minutes:

1st diagram:

White's main weakness is those 2 pawns on b and c so Black should focus on the queenside.

1... Nxd4 (hitting the undefended d-pawn allowing the d-pawn to join the party)

Now I can't see how White is going to stop those Black queenside pawns from rolling forward as Nxe2 and d4 is coming next and White is going to get squashed.

If White plays 2. Nxa4, Black has a nice intermezzo with 2... Nb5!

2nd diagram:
Easy. Black's dark-squared bishop is trapped so the pawn move e3-e4-e5 suggest itself. After Black moves

1. e4 Bg6
2. e5 Bxd4
3. exd6 and Black must lose a piece.

3rd diagram (this took me about 15 min):

Very tricky position. Black has the advantage with the strong passed pawn. There's lots of potential traps and sacs by Black.

Ne6 doesn't look like it'll work because after
1. Ne6 Rxe6
2. Rxe6 b4! and Black gets 2 minor pieces for a Rook and the passed pawn is touching down soon.

White also has to be careful of potential pawn forks on g5, the Black Knight coming down e4-f2+ with the typical smothered mate trap. Unsure if White can conduct a successful launch on the Black position but doesn't look like it.

4th diagram:
(this took me about 10-12 min)

White looks like he's in abit of trouble here. The Knight sac looks workable and might be White's best attempt to regain the initiative. It's definitely not a sac per se because White will get back the material eventually once the c and d (formerly e-pawn) starts to roll and do the pawn-fork. However Black's queenside pawns look threatening and could be a problem in the future. White must be very careful here.

likesforests said...

I'm glad you had some fun with them.

"1... Nxd4 (hitting the undefended d-pawn allowing the d-pawn to join the party) If White plays 2. Nxa4, Black has a nice intermezzo with 2... Nb5!"

Sweet move! That's a slightly faster win than the line I came up with: 1...Nxd4 2.Nxa4 Nxe2 3.Kxe2 Qxa4 and Black wins the a-pawn due to his space advantage by reversing the order of the rook and queen on the a-file. White didn't blunder, his position was just indefensible.

"Easy. Black's dark-squared bishop is trapped so the pawn move e3-e4-e5 suggest itself. After Black moves"

My opponent had just played ...Ne7. A very unfortunate move.

"1. e4 Bg6 2. e5 Bxd4 3. exd6 and Black must lose a piece."

In that line Black loses a piece for a pawn, but Black has a better defense: 2...Bxe5 and now 3.Bxg6 is the only move if White wants an advantage and after 3...Nxg6 4.dxe5 Nxe5 Black had lost a piece for two pawns. (Lost in any case).

"3rd diagram (this took me about 15 min):"

That's the thing. This is from the ChessCafe puzzle book and it also took me 15 minutes, but masters can decipher these much quicker.

Position #3 is from Gelashvili-Atalik, Halkidiki 2002.

1.Ne6 Rxe6 2.Rxe6 2...b4! is also good. the Refutation played in the game was: 2...g5!! 3.Qg3 h4 4.Rxh4 and now White thought he was fine but he missed Atalik's 5.Qf5! and now he loses a piece due to the back rank mate threat.

Position #4: Is from Aronian-Anand, Mexico City, 2007 and that's not a bad assessment of the position! GM Scherbakov felt the temporary sac was clever and White's best try but ultimately not enough to save the position.

likesforests said...

dktransform - thanks for taking a look and your encouragement.

nophiq - You, personally, have my permission to translate the text and chess diagrams provided and post them on your website in original or translated form provided that (1) anyone with an Internet connection can view the content for free. Ie, they should not have to pay any fees or purchase any subscription to view them. (2) Wherever you use my text or diagrams (either as-is or translated) you must link to the original webpage on that contains the content, (3) I do not grant you permission to copy photos, cartoons, or other images... except chess diagrams.

I think these are reasonable provisions and wish you success in providing more chess content on the web in Italian. :)

BlunderProne said...

I've gone down the rabbit hole with game analysis. I've posted more games of the London match adn find this to be a rewardign way to study.

Temposchlucker said...

Welcome aboard!

Blue Devil Knight said...

That's great that you have been exercising: I think many people undervalue the importance of sleep and fitness in chess stamina and concentration. I've been training for my second triathlon, frankly shocked that I was able to finish it last year given how out of shape I've gotten!

Exercise is good for so many things--reducing neuronal death, releasing neuromodulators that improve mode, increasing the metabolism even when not exercising so you lose relatively more weight even when doing nothing.

One of these days I'll stop eating McDonald's cheeseburgers.

Chessaholic said...

welcome to the knights! hey I answered the comment you left on my blog regarding the Tromp, hope it helps.

Anonymous said...

Am often following your blog, but this time I have a question/contribution...and I throwing it in here:
1R6/1P3kp1/3K3p/5P2/6P1/8/8/3r4 w - - 0 75
Is this at all winnable for White ? I offered and agreed a draw, as I did not think I could escape Black's checks...

likesforests said...

anonymous, it's a theoretically draw, but there's at least one "trick" left, so I would have played it out a little further. My analysis goes:

1. Kc5 Rc1+ 2. Kd4 Rd1+ 3. Kc3 Rb1! 4. f6!? Rb6 (4... gxf6?? 5. Rh8!) 5.
fxg7 Kxg7=

Anonymous said...

Thanks..I'll have a look when I get home...

I had a quick look through the game, and I think this was my ( White's) fault, as I kept my rook on b8 and a bit inactive, but as you can see it was 75 moves or so...

Thanks again

likesforests said...

tempo & chessaholic, thanks!

bdk - I was concerned that taking 2 hours out of my busy day for athletic training would slow my progress. But now, when I study, I'm more focused and I need fewer breaks. A second marathon? Wow, glad to hear it!

nemo said...

your love for the endgame is very intense and inspirational. i see a bright and glorious chess future for you man. keep up the good(and hard) work and you'll reach your goals. welcome to the knights!