Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lasker’s Law

Playing a good move is such a rush that players sometimes don’t look for two things: 1) is there a counter possible and 2) is there a BETTER one?

The great world champion Emanuel Lasker always said, ‘When you see a good move, don’t play it! Look for a better one.” Sage advice.

White: Miagmasuren Black: Martens, Leningrad, 1960 - Sicilian Defense
1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 e6
3. d4 cd
4. Nxd4 Nf6
5. Nc3 d6
6. Bg5 Be7
7. Qf3 Nbd7
8. O-O-O a6
9. Kb1 Qc7
10. Qg3 Nb6
11. f4 h6
12. Bxf6 Bxf6
13. Ndb5 ab
14. Nxb5 Qb8
15. e5 de
16. Nd6+ Kf8
17. fe Qa7
18. a3 Be7
19. Be2 Nb5
20. Rhf1 Bxd6
21. Rxf7+!? …..

Down two pieces, this move is no surprise, but 21. Rxd5 ! wins quickly. 21…ed, 22. Qg6 f5, 23. Bh5 and it is over.

21. ….. Kxf7
22. Bh5+ Kg8
23. Rf1 Nc3+

Setting a weak trap hoping for 24. bc Qxa3, but…

24. Qxc3 Rh7
25. Qf3!?

Correct is 25. ed Bd7, 26. Bg6 and it is over.

25. ….. g5?

If g6 instead, 26. ed Bd7 and it is a drawn position. Black is playing like the game was over. Well now, it is.

26. ed Bd7
27. Bf7+ Kh8
28. Qf6+ Rg7
29. Qxh6+ Rh7
30. Qf6+ Rg7
31. h4 Qa4
32. Rh1 Resigns

Let’s review:
White made a mistake at move 21, missing the crusher.

Black made the reverse error by becoming discouraged and playing the desperate 23. …Nc3+, instead of g5.

White played the strong 25. Qf3, instead of the stronger 25. ed.

And finally Black plays the automatic 25…..g5, for space instead of looking to see if 25….g6 is any better. That was the difference between a loss and a draw.

The final mistake is always the worst.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What is the BEST Move?

A) Rxh4
B) Rd4
C) f4

This is so tough, I will give you a multiple choice option. Find the best move! Take your time. Think it thru. Good practice is......well, good!

As usual, email me at lcchess at yahoo dot com for the solution. Please reference the date of the puzzle. Have fun!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Use Chess Clocks - You Will Love It!

Most serious players will tell you that a chess clock is just as important as the board and pieces. What constitutes a good chess clock can often be the subject of heated debate. This is because there a variety of designs and types of chess clocks to choose from and everybody has their personal preference.

Types of Chess Clocks

All chess clock have a few things in common. They have two clocks positioned side by side, one for the white pieces and one for the black pieces. There are two buttons or levers. Depressing the button on your clock will stop yours and start your opponents.

The first choice to make is whether you prefer an analog or digital clock. Many purists prefer the analog (standard wind up clock). Each clock is set just as an analog wall clock would be by twisting a knob on the back until the hands line up correctly. There is usually a flag hanging from the 12. When the time has expired the flag will fall and players are responsible for noticing when this happens.

Some analog clocks run on batteries while others require winding with each button above its respective clock. Today the casing is usually made from a polymer or plastic but older ones are typically made of wood and are much more durable. In most cases, an analog chess clock will be less expensive than a digital one.

Analog Clock Advantages; Easy to use, durable and cheaper.

Analog Clock Disadvantages; Sometimes the ticking is annoying, got to calibrate the clocks to make sure they are fair, and must let them wind down after play if you are not planning on using the clock again for a while. You don’t want to leave the winding spring tight for long periods of time (wear). And once you are under a minute remaining, you have no real idea how much time you have left.

Digital Clock Advantages; You can pre-set a variety of game lengths and options, alarm sounds when time runs out, and almost silent operation. It gives you the exact time left. Many of the digital clocks have a much lower profile so players do not have to lift their hands very high to depress the button or lever.

Digital Clock Disadvantages; Needs batteries (and a back up), difficult to learn to set and operate, not intuitive to amount of time left – meaning you must READ the numbers (instead of just glancing at a clock face).

Chess Clocks In Play
Tournaments are the most obvious reason people use chess clocks. Each player has the same amount of time to complete either a set number of moves or for the entire game. If one player runs out of time, they lose the game. It is the best way to ensure the players have a fair game. The player playing the Black pieces decides which side of the board the clock sits on.

Many casual players prefer using a chess clocks as well. Lightening and blitz games are popular and rely on heavily on chess clocks. In lightening games the players will have between 1 and 3 minutes each to complete the game. Blitz uses time controls between 3 to 10 minutes per side. The 15 minute and 30 minute per side time control is really gaining popularity – even for tournament play.

Chess clocks are also used to handicap games. If one player is much stronger than their opponent, they may only have 5 minutes to complete the game while their opponent has 15 or 20 minutes. You get the idea.

If you haven’t played chess on the clock, you are missing out on one of the most exhilarating aspects of the game.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

You Always Have a Chance to Win – Keep Looking!

We are not perfect – no matter what our rating. The errors are there to be made.

Whether you are out – rated by hundreds of points or down material – or both – never give up until the bitter end.

This game had a few errors in it, despite the nose-bleed ratings of these two players. But one is playing scared and the other is over-reaching for a win in order to qualify for the US Championship.

Catalan Opening
W: Steven Greanias - 2223
B: Donny Ariel – 2313

1. c4 e6
2. Nf3 d5
3. d4 Nf6
4. g3 c6
A solid Slav Defense type set up against White’s opening.

5. Bg2 Nbd7
6. Qc2 Bd6
7. O-O O-O
8. Nbd2 Re8
9. b3 …..
Better was 9. e4 and after the exchanges of knights and pawns, White can place a rook on d1.

9. ….. Qe7
10. Bb2 e5
Accepting an isolated queen’s pawn in the face of White’s fianchettoed bishop. But Black is playing for a win only and ….b6 is too symmetrical.

11. cxd5 cxd5
12. dxe5 Nxe5
13. Nd4 …..
Better was 13. Rac1 Bg4, 14. e3!

13. ….. Bg4
14. Nf5 Qd7
15. Nxd6 Qxd6
16. Rfe1 Rac8
17. Qb1 Nc6
A key move to get control of d4. Now if 18. e3 Nb4, so White accepts the gambit.

18. Bxf6 Qxf6
19. Bxd5 Nb4
20. Bxb7 Rc2
Black starts the attack.

21. Ne4 Qb6
22. Bd5 Bxe2

This is not necessary. 22. …Re5 wins easily for Black. The mistakes have started!

23. Ng5 Rec8
Again,…Re5 wins easily.

24. Bxf7+? .....
White misses his chance for an upset with 24. Be4, which holds and maybe even wins! See, mistakes can be made.

24. ….. Kh8
25. Bc4 Bxc4
26. Qd1 Be2
White resigns

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chess Club Meeting Tonight

Hi Everyone,

We will be meeting tonight from 6 - 9:45 pm at the Hartland Senior Center, just west of US-23 on M-59.

I have some good news!

Our member Ken Tack was 3-0-2 (one bye draw) this weekend in the class championships in Lansing.

"I was tied with 2 other people with a score of 4, but lost out on tiebreaker points. Officially I came in 3rd," Ken reported.

Ken did come in first in the "Under 1500" class! Congratulations Ken!

He will be sharing his games for those who would like to see them.

Congrats Ken, well done !!!

Looking forward to seeing everyone tonight.

Ken L.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Smooth and Graceful Finish

Moscow, 1936

1. Re7+ …..

Black cannot play Kc8 as Rxc7 mates immediately. If he tries Kxc6 then White queens his pawn by taking the Knight or advancing.

1. ….. Kd6
2. bc Nxc6

Clever. If White plays c8(Q), Black plays Ne5+ followed by Rxc8!

White to win in a forced mate in 5! Find it.

As usual, help can be solicited by emailing

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Attendance Starting to Grow at LCCC!

Eleven of us enjoyed the absolutely superb playing conditions at the Hartland Senior Center.

Jim G
Ken L.
Ken T
Mike N.

Come join us next week for 4 hours of chess excitement - for only a $1 donation to the Center. Email us for more information.

By the way, the LCCC does not consist of all seniors. Chess players of all ages and chess experience are welcome!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Reminder - LCCC Starts Up Again Monday!

Let' start the year off right and have a good turnout. New members welcome.

We get started at 6pm and go til 10pm - all for a $1 donation to the Hartland Senior Center. You can't beat the playing conditions or the lighting. Outstanding!

Current members, please send me your games you would like to see published on the blog.

And I need your chess tourney victories, 2nds and 3rds for posting on our Walk of Fame.

Remember, I may post it, but this is your (LCCC members) blog too. Fill it up with stuff you would like to see posted.

See you all Monday,

Ken and Mike

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Game of the Week

What happens when two attacking players meet?

European Team Championship - November 2001
Bishop's Opening
W: GM Alexei Federov
B; GM Alexei Shirov

1. e4 e5
2. Bc4 Nf6
3. d3 c6
The most aggressive reaction to the Bishop's Opening.
4. Nf3 d5
5. Bb3 Bd6
6. Nc3 dxe4
7. Ng5 ....
Trying to start something.
7. .... O-O
8. Ncxe4 Nxe4
9. Nxe4 a5
10. Qh5 Bb4+
11. Kf1 ....
The sharpest line. White is threatening 12. Ng5
11. .... Be7
12. a4 Nd7
13. h4? ....
White is determined to press the attack. But one move turns the tables.
13. .... Nc5!
14. Nxc5 Bxc5
15. Qxe5 Bd4
16. Qg5 Qb6
17. Be3 Be6!
The move eliminating the strength of the bishop on b3.
18. Ra3 Rfe8
19. Kg1 h6
20. Qf4 Rad8

21. Rh3 Qb4!!
Taking direct aim at the suddenly deserted back rank via a cute tactic.
22. Bxe6 Rxe6
23. Bxd4 Rxd4
24. Qb8+ ....
White's major pieces have scattered to comical locations.
24. .... Kh7
25. Rb3 Qe1+
26. Kh2 Qxf2
27. Qg3 Qxc2
28. Rc3 Qxb2
After scrambling to defend the king-side. White finds that the queen-side has been destroyed.
29. Rc4 Rg6
30. Qf3 Rxd3
White Resigns

Hat tip to Chess Life and GM Michael Rohde