Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Game from Round 3 of the 960 Tourney_072814

Nineteen players were around for the start of Round 3 of our 960 Tournament. Fourteen played in the tournament and five were available for casual games. You can always find a friendly game at LCCC.

The updated 960 standings and round 4 pairings will have to wait until after next week as we had 2 games postponed due to absent players.

This game was the battle between the only 2 undefeated-untied players in the tourney - Ken T (white) and Mike N (black). So you are getting the battle on Board 1! The 960 position is #894 - or from the left hand corner of the board on the white side, the pieces line up a QRKBBNNR.

1.        e4    e5
2.       Ne3    Nf6
3.        b3    d6
4.       Bf3   g6
5.       Ne2   Bc6
6.       Nc3   b6
7.        d6   Ne6
8.       Ncd5   Nd4
Position before White's 9th move.
Here is the diagram after the opening and before the first battle with casualties. Black has a slight lead positionally, but nothing substantial (-.1).

9.       Bc3   Nxf3
10.   gf?  Nxd5

The first major error is made by White. 10. Nxf6, Bxf6 11.  gxf3, Bg5, 12. Kb2 leaves Black with a tiny advantage (-.2) instead of a good size one (-2.4) – according to my computer program - nicknamed FIMO. He has a rating over 3000, so FIMO is no wood pusher.

11.   ed   Bxd5
12.   Bxe5?   Re8?

Errors are coming in pairs. The simple 12. Nxd4 was preferable for White. Now 12.….dxe5, 13. Qxe5, Bxf3, 14. Re1, Rg8 and Black is up a game winning (-4.7) according to FIMO (FIMO is short for Fischer-Morphy- in case you are wondering).

But Black decides to not stay on the offensive and reap the benefits of his stronger opening play. Black can do this by trading down to a win. His seemingly defensive and strong looking “rook to the center file” move allows White time to consolidate a little (-1.8).A lost opportunity by Black for near certain victory.

13.   Bf6    Bxf3?

Black sees the pawn is not going anywhere but doesn’t find anything better. But with the clock running, it’s the safe – easy move. But this is the actually the major difference between a good chess player and a great chess player. 

The simple 13. ….Be6! lets the Queen get out of her corner and take the pawn!  That f3 pawn is so weak it can’t be defended and can’t move as it is pinned to the rook at h1. This strategic error by Black has FIMO drops Black’s advantage from (-2)[equivalent of TWO PAWNS!] to (-.9). So, except for the pawn Black just took, the game is even because White has a better position.

14.   Rg1    Re6?

This is three straight positional blunders by Black. He still is not finding the best way to activate the rest of his army.

We can’t be too hard on him as it was not intuitive or easy to see. But 14. …..Kb7! will allow his rook to enter the game via the e-file. Then Black’s Queen could slide over using the long c8-h3 or d8-h4 diagonals to get in the action. Black was leaving the a8-h1 diagonal for his queen, but that was not nearly as strong as having those options closer to the center, depending on what White would have done.

The Black advantage down to (-.2), which means Black is ‘positionally’ losing by .8, since he is up a pawn material wise.

Now the game is basically even with a matchup of - material strength vs positional strength. Let’s see what happens.

15.   Bxd8   Kxd8
16.   Qh8+?  Ke7

A worthless check that drives the Black King to a square he wants to move to anyway. 16. Qg7 was better, making Black decide his next move. After all, he may not make the best one (-.5).

17.   Qxh7?   Rh8

Now a (-1.9) lead for Black says FIMO – a pawn up – and a better position. Oh, the ebb and flow of the chess game between two evenly matched players in a time crunch!
18.   Qg7   Rxh2  (See? Black gets the pawn back)
19.   Kb2   Qh8
20.   Qxh8   Rxh8
21.   Rg3    ........
Position before Black's 21st move.
This is the key position as time pressure begins for both players.

21. .......       Bb7?!

Instead 21. …..Rf6 was better, attacking White’s weak f-pawn indirectly while protecting the Bishop at a good post. The lead is down to (-1.6) instead of up to a full (-2). Black gives up almost a half a pawn -positionally- with one move - and is not done being charitable.
22.   Kc3   f5
23.    f4    Rh1?
A beginner’s error from , well, NOT a beginner, and someone who knows better!
Black trades a rook that is controlling 1/8 of the board (the entire h-file) for a rook that is doing nothing! Talk about trading a good piece for a bad piece.

Black saw nothing else and moved to save clock time. Better was to use some time and find something better like 23. …….The lead is cut further to (-.8).
24.   Rxh1    Bxh1
25.   Kd4    c5+
26.   Kc4   Bc6
27.    a4?   a6?

Time pressure for both players. 27. ….Kf7 gets out of the check first by the White knight, and makes White now have to worry about both sides of the board after his error (-2.3!). But Black returned the favor with a blunder and FIMO declares the game is nowdead EVEN.
28.   Nd5+  Bxd5
29.   Kxd5   Draw agreed

PS: Readers, if it appears this writer is a little rough on the player playing Black, it's because it is the writer!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Beginners Corner 072714 – Develop or Push Pawns?

Here is a win by Luigi M early in our Summer League. It is entertaining because of some “knight dancing”, and educating from an opening and middle game perspective. Let’s take a look:

1. e4    e5
2. Nf3   d6
3. Nc3   Bg4
4. d3   Be7
5. Be2   h6
6. Be3   Nf6
7. a4?!    g5?

A4 is a waste of time. 7. d4, controlling the center was more to the point. A4 evens the game. But 7. …g5 opens Black’s Kingside for no reason (+1.4). Who controls the center, usually controls the game,

8. b4    d5
9. Nxe5   Bxe2
10. Nxe2   Bxb4+
11. Bd2   Qd6
12. Bxb4    Qxb4+
13. c3    Qd6
White to make move #14.
14. Nf3?

14. Qb1! This would put pressure on Black, attacking the queen-side and keeping White’s center-placed knight in Black’s face. Now Black is winning with 14. .Nc6 (-.8).
Always look for attacking or pressuring moves. Whenever possible, make your opponent squirm or at least worry about your move.

14. …..    de
15. de    Qxd1+
16. Rxd1   Nxe4
17. O-O    O-O
18. Rd4   Nc5

This starts the Knight’s Dance.
19. Rfd1   Nc6
20. Rc4    Ne6
21. Rb1    Na5
22. Re4    Nc5
23. Re5   b6
24. Ra1   Nc6 ?!
Black, as with move #14, fails to develop his pieces to build his advantage. Rae8 (-2) is better than Nc6 (-1.8). Try and get your entire army involved in both the attacks and defense plans. Soldiers on the sidelines are the same as not there. 

25. Rf5    Rae8
26. Nd4    Nxd4
27. Nxd4   Nd3 ?!
28. Nc2?   ……..
27. …a5 or Nxa4 keeps the advantage at (-1.7) and not drop it to (-1). 28. h4 frees the A1 rook from the back rank mate defender role and allows him more scope. The white knight is not protected on c2. You should strive to keep a re-capture option on all your pieces.

28. ……    Re2
29. Ne3   Re8?!
Now Black develops when 29. ….Nxf2, 30. Rxf2, Rxe3 wins a pawn immediately.

30. Kf1   Rb2
31. Rd5?   Rxf2+
32. Kg1   Rxe3
33. Rxd3   Rxd3
34. Kxf2   Rxc3
And White resigned shortly.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Round Two of the Summer 960 Tourney Completed – 072114

Black to move and win!

Let's open with a puzzle. Black to move and win. Make sure you see the two move mate - and the five move win if White finds the best moves.

The solution will appear in the comments in a few days.

As usual, we had some casual games played and a lesson given before and during the tournament games.

We wrapped up Round 2 in style as Aaron J won a tough tussle. Ken T and Ted G also won. Then we had two more entries as both Don J and Tom H got ½ point byes for the first round. Tom H won their game to get them caught up with the rest of the tournament.

Here are the standings:
Ken T – 2 pts
Mike N – 2 pts
Aaron J – 1.5 pts
Gene M – 1.5 pts
Luigi M – 1.5 pts
Tom H – 1.5 pts
Vince V – 1 pt
Luke S – 1 pt
Paul M – 1 pt
Americo M – 1 pt
Zach R – 1 pt
Marcello M – 1 pt
Ted G – 1 pt
Ethan – ½ pt
Don J – ½ pt
Zade K – 0
Paul J – 0
Luca M – 0
Here are the pairings for next week:
Board 1 – Ken T – Mike N
Board 2 – Aaron J – Tom H
Board 3 – Gene M – Luigi M
Board 4 – Americo M – Vince V
Board 5 – Zach R – Luke S
Board 6 – Paul M – Marcello M
Board 7 – Don J – Luca M
Board 8 – Paul J – Ted G
Board 9 – Ethan B – Zade K
Remember, if you are not in the tourney, there will still be players available for games or lessons. Stop on by next Monday night!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Chess Night 071414 – Chess 960 Tourney Rd 2

Another great night at LCCC!
A great time at LCCC Monday night. We had Chess.com’s Team
Michigan and LCCC member Pat K come and visit from Midland, MI. Welcome Pat!
He played some casual games during before and during our 960 round.

We also want to welcome our new club members Ethan and Ken B. They are fairly new to the chess scene, but we will have them tournament ready in no time!

In the round (2) – we had three matches delayed until next week:

Board 1: Luke S – Aaron J
Board 2: Ken T – Paul M
Board 3: Zade K – Ted G

The games played, the winners were:

Mike N
Vince V
Americo M
Marcello M

One game was drawn by Luigi M and Gene M.

The 960 Round Two continues next week, but most of the club members will be available for casual games, Ladder tournament games or lessons if you want one.

Stop on by!

More great games with analysis – the best I can – next post.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Nice Night at LCCC – New Member – New 960 Game Analyses

The first chess played at La Buffelo de Viva Wings a la Paris!
It was 960 Tournament Make-up night, but no games had to be played. So, we had a Ladder Tournament game played – won by Paul M. We also had some casual games played – both speed chess and regular casual.

A group lesson was given to some of our members. The main focus of the lesson was “square control”. How to win by limiting your opponent move options and realizing what squares you control and figuring out which ones you need to control. The lesson was well received.

Here is a 960 game from last year, with a little background. It was a win by Jason Morris – on his way to the 2013 LCCC 960 Tournament win. This is a mid-tournament game Jason had against a much lower rated opponent. But Jason has a few things working against him.

One thing it is a 960 tournament. So Jason’s much stronger opening book memory is no help. Second, the time limit was only 30 minutes per player. The lack of quality think time with a completely random position also leveled the playing field. Maybe a little over confidence could have been a factor.

Having said all that, Jason’s opponent played a real first class game up until the time pressure got to him also. Here is the game with the back rank pieces placed left to right as so:  QRNBBKRN
1. Ng3    c6
2. d4    d5
3. Nd3    Bc7
4. Nf5    Nd6
5. g4     Ng6
6. Ng3   Bd7
7. f3    Re8
8. b3    Qc8
9. Ne5    Nf4
10. Bd2    Nh3
11. Rg2   f6
12. Nxd7   Qxd7

White is simply trading a knight for a bishop with the hopes of opening the position soon. Bishops are better in open positions. But Black will strive to keep the position closed for two reasons; his knights will fair better than White’s bishops and who wants open lines against a better player?

13. c3    Nf7
14. Bc2   g6
15. Re1    e5
16. Qc1    Nhg5
17. h4    Ne6
18. e3    Re7
19. f4    e4
20. g5    f5
21. c4    b6
22. Bd1   Ng7
Black stays with the plan of keeping the position closed and not make waves. The computer says White has a slight lead, but the game is basically even.

23. Bb4+   Bd6
24. Bxd6   Nxd6
25. Be2    Kf7
26. h5    Re6
27. Kf2    Ke7?
The first slip by Black. He pulls off the g-pawn. Ree8 was best to help his fellow rook. (+1.5)

28. Rh1    Qd8?
More slippage by Black as Kd8 was better (+2.2), getting the King out of the way.

29. Qa3   Qb8
30. Rgh2   Kd7
31. hxg6   hxg6
32. Rh7   Nde8?
A little panic and time pressure is starting to affect Black. Kd8 is fine as 33. Rh8 can be met with Ree8. Now the advantage is (+4.1)

33. cxd5   cxd5
34. Bb5+  Kd8
35. Bxe8   Rexe8
36. R1h6    Re6?
37. Qa4??  ……
There is now time pressure for both sides. This is why you never give up or stop looking for chances to punch back. White had 37. Rxg7, Qxg7 38. Qf8+, Re8 39. Qxg7 and its over. Now it is still a struggle (+1.2).

37.  …..     Qc7
38. Ne2     Ke8
39. Rh1    Kb8?!
 Black still thinks he is losing and is in time pressure. Kb7 holds the fort.

40. Rc1    Qb7
41. b4    b5?
42. Qc2?! …..
White had Qb3, then Rc5 and then Nc3! Time trouble is a cruel master.

42. ……   Re7
43. Qc5    Resigns
A fine effort by both players!
PS: Thank you to all of our readers as we crossed the 25,000 hits line on the blog!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer 960 Tournament Starts With 14 Players and a Bang!

Everyone wants to see how a 960 game plays out!
Just because the tournament started, doesn’t mean you can’t play the first round. This tournament is running each round for two weeks! We know it is summer and people have other activities to get in. So you only have to show up every other week to play your round – if you want or need to.

On the weeks you don’t have a round, the Club will still have the Ladder Tournament, casual games and lessons going on. So stop on by any Monday night for a fun night of chess.

Now for the bang! There was one big upset in the tournament’s first round. The winners in the first round were Ken T, Gene M, Mike N, Luke S, Luigi and Paul M. Nice job guys.

But the slight shocker was the win by Zach Romeos over his much higher rated opponent!

Fischer Random or Chess 960 is a variation of chess where the back rank pieces are randomly placed on the board. A couple things are certain in this type of chess; One is that the regular chess openings theory does you no good, and Two - White hass an even bigger advantage at the start in most of the position, than in regular chess. Black is usually on his heels right away.

Zach did have the White pieces in this game. That being said, lets watch how this upset unfolded.
The position started as Position 501 (yes, someone actually numbered all 960 of them) – which starting from left to right has the pieces NBRNKRBQ. And the game when as follows:

1. c3   e5
2. Bc2   d5
3. Nb3   c6
4. g3   Bd6
5. d4   e4
Black is building a strong center. Always a good idea in standard chess. Black is a very strong opening player in regular chess and wants to get to familiar territory.

6. f3   f5
7. fxe4    fxe4
8. Rxf8+   Kxf8
9. Be3   Be6
10. Nf2    Nb6

White to make move No. 11
The first ten moves are over and the game is essentially even. Black cannot castle and his king is exposed, but for compensation, he does have the stronger center and more active bishops. According to Fritz, Black stands slightly better at (-.11). This is big for Black as in 960 chess, White has an even bigger starting advantage with the first move since he can sometimes attack an unprotected pawn right away.

11.  O-O-O    Nc4
12.  Nxe4!?     dxe4
White instinctively realizes he needs to trade the piece for two of the center pawns or get smothered by them. There were other move options - but this option gives White some play, rather than being on the defensive against a strong opponent.
13. Qxe4   Nxe3
14. Qxe3   …….
Black has improved his lead to (-.77) as his more active pieces are stronger than White’s two center pawns. But he has to get active with them and his Queen out of the corner and into the game….with g6.

14. …..     Rc7?
Looks natural and right, but not so. It leaves his pieces outgunned with the White Lady dominating the board. The lead evaporates and the game is dead even - after White’s best next move.

15. Nc5   Bf7
16. Qg5   Be7?
Blocks the rook from helping defend the King. Re7 was preferred by Fritz.

17. Qe5!   Rc8
White has a (+2.5) advantage with that best move. Other options of decent moves lessens the lead to less than half that - around (+.9).

18. Bf5     Bg5??
White continues to make the strongest move and Black…..not so much. Ra8 to hide the rook from attack was needed. It’s looking bleak for Black (+6).

19.  e3     Bf6
20. Nd7+   Kg8
Black is essentially a Queen down because His Lady is entombed in the corner.

21.  Qd6    Resigns
Black did not like the looks of 21. ….Ne6, 22. Bxe6, Re8 23. Bxf7+, Kxf7 24. Rf1, h5 25. Ne5+, Kg8 26. Qd7, Re7 27. Qc8+, Kh7 28. Qf5+, Kg8 29. Ng6

Great game Zach R!
If you have never played Fischer Random / Chess 960, you are missing a fun time at the chess board. Come on out on Monday and check it out.