Wednesday, December 31, 2014

LCCC Starts Back Monday January 5, 2015 - and a Game!

We start back next Monday! We have a lot of fun events planned for 2015, so tell all your chess playing friends to get to LCCC!
Now a game from our league. Special thanks to Gene McClure for running it thru Rybka and adding his notes. I ran it thru my Igor3000 also (see I3 notes).  

Gene McClure vs. Vince Valente 12/15/14
Analysis by[Rybka 4 x64 (15s)]
B00: Queen's FianchettoDefence, NimzowitschDefence
1.e4 Nc6
2.d4 e5
3.d5 Nce7
4.Nf3 Ng6
R: Last book move I3: White is up (.6)!
5.Nc3 Bb4
6.Bd2 Nf6
7.Bd3 a6
Controls b5
8.0–0 d6
9.h3  ,,,,,,,
R: White has an active position
Gene:  Vince said after the game he was glad I offered to trade my dark-squared Bishop, and I agree it could have helped defend f4 from his incoming Knight.  Rybka gives 10. a3 Bxc3, 11.Bxc3 0-0, 12.Re1 Bd7 (+0.3).

11.Qxd2    Nh5
R: Black has a cramped position I3: Not that cramped (.1). If Black had castled last move, the game is EVEN.
12.c4?! (= Rybka)
Gene:  Rybka gives Ng3 or Qc3.  I agree it would have been preferable to put the question to the h5 Knight with Ng3 at this point, avoiding some upcoming questionable defensive moves.

13.Nxf4 Nxf4
14.Kh2 Qf6  
after 14.......Qf6
I3: White is going backwards (-.7)
15.Rg1?!  R:[15.Ng1 Qh6=] I3: (-1)
15...g5 ³  
16.Rh1?![16.Ne1 g4³ is a -2 advantage for Black]  
R: Deflection: f3   I3: Prettier, but not as good as 16. ,,,,g4, so only (-1.4)
Gene:  (-1.0 Rybka)  White placed the wrong defender on g1 on move 15, not anticipating 16...Nxh3!

[17.gxh3 Qxf3 Overloading Deflection Discovered attack]
17...Nf4?! [17...Bg4 18.gxh3 Bxf3 19.Rg1µ]
18.Kg1 [18.g3 Bg4 19.Ne1 Ng6³]
18...Bg4 [18...g4 19.Ne1µ]  I3: (-1.1)
19.Nh2 White threatens to win material: Nh2xg4
20.Qe3 h5
21.g3 Nh3+?![21...h4 22.Nf3 hxg3 23.Rxh8+ Qxh8 24.fxg3µ   I3: (-1.7)]
22.Bxh3³ Bxh3
23.Nf3 Bg4
24.Nxg5?  ,,,,,,
[24.Kg2!? Bxf3+ 25.Qxf3 Qxf3+ 26.Kxf3µ]
25. Nh3? [25.f3 Rxg5 26.fxg4 Rxg4 27.Rxh5–+]  I3: (-3.3)
26.Rh2?! not the greatest defence [26.Kh2 Bxh1 27.Rxh1 h4–+]  I3: Now (-3.8)
27.Kf1 [27.Rg2 cannot undo what has already been done 27...Rg4–+]
28.fxg3 Rxg3    I3: (-4)
29.Ke1? [29.Qf2 desperation 29...Qg7 30.Re1–+]  I3: Ouch, now (-7)
29...Qh4 (-5.7 Rybka)
30.Qf2 Qxe4+?  
[¹30...0–0–0 and the rest is a matter of technique 31.Kd2 Bxe4–+ I3: (-8)]
I3: A blunder! Castling was the move to shut down all counter play. Now after Kd2, Whites a1 rook now can come in to help out. (-2.7)
31.Kd2 Rg2?/ (+0.6 Rybka)  I3: Advantage gone! (.4)
There were better ways to keep up the pressure [¹31...Qg6 would have given Black a clear advantage 32.Rg1 Rxg1 33.Qxg1 Bh5–+]  
32.Rxg2² Bxg2
After 32. .......Bxg2
33.Re1?  gives the opponent new chances [¹33.Ng5 Qg6 34.Qxg2²] I3: (-2.6)
Gene:After 33.Re1?:(-2.0 Rybka).Two other moves: (1) 33.Ng5! removes the Black Bishop threat to the White Knight while also forking the Black Queen and f7 Pawn.  Black can then play either ..Qg6 defending f7 (+0.6), or ..Qf4+ exchanging Queens (+0.8).(2) A club observer suggested 33.Rg1? after the game as it appeared White would win the exchange, but Black quickly obtains a Knight and two Pawns for his Rook, and the White King is left open to repeated Queen checks:  33...Bxh3, 34. Rg8+ Ke7, 35.Rxa8 Qxc4, 36.Rg8 Qxd5+ (-2.5 Rybka). I3: after 33. Ng5, see the mate threat.

33...Qf3?   forfeits the advantage [33...Qg4 34.Rg1 Qxh3 35.Rxg2–+] I3: (-.5)
34.Qxf3? [¹34.Re3 and White can hope to live 34...Qxf2+ 35.Nxf2³]  I3: (-2.3)
35.Ng5 Bg4
36.Rh1 [36.Rg1 f5–+]
37.Rg1 [37.Rh7 Rf8 38.Ke3–+]
37...Bf5  I3: (-3.7)
Gene:  (-3.0 Rybka).White resigned after move 52.  0-1.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Merry Christmas Gift: Endgame Pointers

The Endgame is where it is at! You have to play these well to have any chance at long term success at chess.

Sure, you will win and lose a lot of chess games early or in the middle of a game against players stronger than you or weaker than you. But, in tournaments – and even in club play – you will usually find yourself paired with someone of equal strength. That means the games will go longer and by piece attrition, end up in an endgame. You have to be better than your peers at the endgame to rise above them.

Matter of fact, chess teachers used to start students off learning openings – after teaching them the basic movements of the pieces. Then tactics – pins, forks, etc were taught first.

But now, the best and fastest way to better chess, is to learn the endgame strategies! The teachers noticed that beginners often go on trading binges and end up with endgames anyway, no matter what openings they were trying to learn. So, now chess teachers are teaching endgame strategy first.

To win early and often, endgame play is where it is at! The lessons listed in this article will appear in [  ].  Who has the advantage - in tenths of a pawn - appear in ( ). Positive number means White is winning and a negative number means Black is winning.

This game started as a Fischer Random 960 game. This means the pieces on the back ranks were jumbled and could have been anywhere! But after the smoke from the opening and middle game battle has cleared, it looks like a run of the mill, regular old chess endgame, doesn’t it? The endgame is where it is at!

White to move
We pick this game up at move 25 for White.

White has a choice of three good moves;
1) Ra7,   [pinning the pawn] on c7 or
2) Kc3    [increasing control on the center of the board]    safely or
3) b5+    [backing the Black King up]    before [pinning] the pawn on c7.

25. Ke3?

This move puts the King in line for a future [pin] or check from the Black rook. [These types of endgames are often decided by who has the most active rook.] White's main advantage is the more active rook and the [more forward pawns]. (.5)

25. ......            g5
26. b5+           Kd7?
Moving to b7 to keep the White rook off the seventh rank was the better move. [Having control of your 7th rank is a huge advantage in the endgame]. (.7)

27. c5             bxc5
28. dxc5         Rb8
29. c6+           Ke8
30. Rb2          h5

Black moves to open up the King side when his rook is blocked and can't help over there quickly. White's rook can fly over there. But White is allowing Black some counter-play by not getting his [king over to help the queenside pawns] (.3).

31. h3? ......

The bad decisions keep coming by White. 31. h4 challenges the pawns now - BEFORE - the black rook [takes the open A-file] and slides into White's territory to assist them! (EVEN).
31. .....             Kf7?
31. ......            Ra8!

[Taking the open file], freeing his rook to harass White from behind!

32. Rb4?          ......

Still worrying about the king side instead of [pushing his queenside advantage] (.2).

32. ......            g4
33. hxg4         fxg4?

33. ....hxg4, [moving toward the center], planning f4 later then pushing the g-pawn for counterplay. Now (.9).

34. Kd3          Kg6?

The Black king is needed on the queenside. He should not be able to make any headway on the kingside if White is vigilant. [You can't play "hope" chess - making moves hoping your opponent makes a mistake] (3.0).

35. Kc4           Kf5
36. Kc5?        .......

Black to move - #36
36. b6! because it is time to [push the pawns]. The text allows Black his own threat of queening a pawn with 36. ....h4! (EVEN - again)

36. ....             Kxe5? (1.1)
37. b6             cxb6+
38. Rxb6         Rc8
39. Rb7?        .......

Rb4 is needed to watch the kingside (.2).

39. .....             h4?

Too early! 39. .....Ke4 first then e5! Then, there would be three pawns to deal with for White. Instead, White’s advantage grows large! (4).

40. gxh4         g3
41. Rb2??      .....

(EVEN) White totally wrecks his huge lead with this defensive looking move!
41. h5! starts the other pawn to the promised land and White still has plenty of time to get his rook home to the 1st rank to stop Black's g-pawn.

41. .....             Kf4
42. Kd6          e5?

42. .....Kg4 is needed to watch the h-pawn threat. Now 43. h5! returns White to a positional four-pawn lead (4).

43. Kd7??       Rh8 (EVEN)
44. c7             Kg4
45. Rb8          Rh7+
46. Kd6          Rxc7

Draw – no one is promoting any pawns.

White never pushed his advantage and let Black off the hook.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2014 Winter League Concludes With a Surprise Winner!

Chess heals body and soul.
The last meeting of 2014 had twenty-three players and a great night of chess action.

From worst to first! The 49’ers were in dead last place after the first lap thru the league. After three rounds they had two losses and a draw in their matches so far.

On the second lap, they went a perfect 3 and 0 in their matches and took first place!
The 49’ers won their match 3.5 to .5 to clinch the top spot! The players are listed now on the right side of the blog!

The Thunder also finished with the same Team Record as the 49ers with 3.5 points, but the 49’ers out-scored them in Match points with 13.5. The Thunder only had 11.5.
It was a wild ride for the 49’ers. The final standings are:

49’ers  3.5 points – 13.5 points
Thunder  3.5 points – 11.5 points
Tigers  2.5 points – 12.5 points
Oilers  2.5 points – 10.5 points

Congratulations to all the players on another great and exciting season. It’s impressive that all the teams were tied at the end of 5 rounds.

Here is a game from the final round. Luke S of the Thunder – playing Black – help earns them 2nd place.

1. e4     c5
2. Bc4   d6
3. Nf3   Nc6
4. Nc3   a6
5. d3   b5
6. Bb3   Bb7
7. a3    Nf6
8. Nd5?   e6
White’s lead is development is gone now and the game is even.

9. Nf4   Be7
10. O-O   Ng4
11. h3    Ne5
12. Nh2   O-O
13. Bxe6   fxe6
14. Nxe6    Qd7
15. Nxf8    Rxf8
16. f4    Ng6
17. c3?    d5!
This weakens White’s center (-.6).

18. e5?    d4!

Now Black’s sleeping bishop on b7 comes to life! (-2) White’s position is slipping away.

19. Qg4?   Qd5!

After move 19. ......Qd5.
Three straight weak moves by White and three best replies by Black puts this game solidly in control of Black (-3). The old adage “to take is a mistake” is on display here. White would love to trade queens here, weaken Black’s pressure and free his backward knight. Black doesn’t bite and loads up on the h1 – a8 diagonal (-2.6).

20. Nf3    dxc3
21. bxc3    Qxd3
22. Ra2?    Bc8

(-4.1) White needed to be quicker in getting help to the center. 22. Bd2 connects the rooks and helps in the best way (to only -3 pawns positionally).

23. e6    Qxc3?!

(-2.1) Black needed to look deeper but time pressure is now an issue for both players. 24. ….Qc4 attacks 3 pawns at once (c3, e6, f4), and the other two are bigger prizes. Now 24. f5 helps consolidates White’s center (-3).

24 . Bb2??    Qe3+!

(-8) Black now collapses White’s position – with a tempo (extra move after the check)!

25. Kh1    Bxe6
26. Re1    Qxe1
27. Nxe1    Bxg4
28. hxg4    Rxf4

White was short of material and time. Nice effort by Luke S.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Night 120814 Finishes Round 5 League Action

A game of chess always makes you feel better.
Week 5 closed tonight, and we had lots of casual games played and some lessons given.
One more regular season League round to go next week – and we are going to need it! We have a 4-way tie for 1st place – in a four team league! Talk about parity.
For the final regular season week, the match-ups are:
Oilers vs 49’ers
W - Tim R – Mike N - B
B – Sam T – Dave S - W
W – Tom H – Americo M - B
B – Ted G – Marcello M - W
Thunder vs Tigers
W – Gene M – Vince V – B
B – Luke S – Paul M – W
W – Zach R – Luigi M – B
B – Brendan M – Luca M - W

It will be an exciting week of action at LCCC next week!
We also welcome two new members as Lucas S and Mason S joined us this evening!
And now I have a treat for my readers.

Author Andrew Soltis has written many a fine chess book. I am reviewing an old classic of his – “The Best Games of Boris Spassky”. I pulled this game from there. I will use his notes and any comments I or my computer Igor 3000 make during the game will be in [ ].
Boris Spassky is most famous for losing to Bobby Fischer for the World Chess Title. What people forget is that without Mr. Spassky’s class, sportsmanship and guts to stand up to the Soviet Russian government. If he hadn’t, Bobby Fischer may have sulked away defeated by his own arrogance and never been heard from again.
Of course, Fischer went on to win the World Title from Spassky - and sulked away never to be heard from again anyway.

Here is one of Mr. Spassky’s efforts – playing Black - from the USSR Championship in 1957. His opponent at the time – with White - was IM Semyon Furman, who is best known for later being one of Anatoly Karpov’s trainers.

1. Nf3              c5

About as good an answer as any other to White’s move. Spassky’s move offers White the option of playing a Sicilian Defense or an English Opening or even a reverse Gruenfeld.

2. c4                g6
3. e4                Bg7
4. d4                cd

If Black doesn’t like the Marcozy bind [White’s pawns at c4 and e4 is called the Marcozy bind], he can delay exchanges with 4. …d6 5. Nc3, Nc6 or Bg4. Spassky chooses a system credited to the late Vladimir Simagin - and known as the Simagin de-bind.

5. Nxd4           Nc6
6. Be3              Nh6 [?]
Since Black has conceded d5 to White, he uses his king’s knight to support ….f5 and to compete for control of d4. My Igor3000 suggests Qb6 for Black here for an EVEN game versus (.5).

7. Nc3             O-O
8. Be2              f5  (.5)
9. ef?                Bxd4?! (Even)

A bizarre conception. Black surrenders the one piece considered most vital to his game. But look at the alternatives: 9. ….Nxf5 10. Nxf5, Rxf5 11. Bg4 and then 12. f4 leaves White with a small but clear positional advantage. Or 9. ….Nxd4, 10. Bxd4, Bxd4 11. Qxd4, Nxf5 12. Qd2 gives White a big edge in space and a nice attacking game on the King side. 

10. Bxd4?!       Nxf5

The two bishops will not be golden to White. In fact, the Queen’s Bishop is just a clumsy piece after White’s last move. White’s black squared bishop has no good squares and must submit to self-burial at a3.

11. Bc5            d6
12. Ba3            Nfd4 (-.2)
[Igor 3000 liked 12. ….Be6 equally well] Both sides have a central d-file square to control, but Black also has the f-file for attack. White’s play begins with b4 – then b5 and Black’s begin with the doubling rooks on the half-open f-file. White’s 10th move was a positional blunder, but as usual White can get away with one.

13. O-O           Bf5
14. Rc1            Qd7
[Igor likes 12. ….Qa5. Spassky is giving back his slight edge.]

15. Nd5           Rf7
16. b3              Raf8  (.4)
White delays the advance of the b-pawn until Black has weakened his d6 pawn with e5. Then, Furman concludes b4 – b5 will undermine every strength in the Black center. But he underestimates the speed with which Black’s attack builds. 

17. Bb2            e5
18. b4?             Be6   (-.2)
Threatening 19. ….Bxd5, 20. cd, Nxe2+, and then 21...Nxb4.

19. Bd3?          ..........

This is a little hard to figure out. Furman cannot afford to remove his KB from its diagonal. The move required was 19. b5…..with a fierce fight still possible.
It’s a pity that both of Whites’ bad moves were aimed at preserving the Two Bishop ‘advantage’. Instead, it kills him. It’s enough to shake one’s basic chess principles!

Position after White's 19th move. Black to move.
19.  ........     Bg4!
This sortie on move 19 by Black wins in all lines. If White moves his Queen, he discovers the unpleasant 20. Qd2, Nf3+, 21. gf, Bxf3, 22. Qg5, Rf4 23. Nxf4, Rxf4 with the unstoppable threat of 24. ….Rg4+. 

20. f3?             Bxf3!
21. gf               Nxf3+
22. Kh1           Qh3

White’s next error allows a very pretty knight move.
23. Rf2??         Ne1!!
White resigns

24. …Rxf2 and mate by Qxh2++ is threatened. If the White rook leaves the 2nd rank, that allows …Qg2 mate. And if he leaves the f-file, then comes Rc1+ and the Queen is gone.
A pretty game by Mr. Spassky.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Week 120114 League Night

Fancy chess sets are fun to look at......not so good for serious play.
League Action continued with the completion of five results. The winners were Luke S, Mike N, Paul M, Ted G and there was a draw between Gene M and Tim R.

We also had two new players tonight! Brendan M and Dave M. Welcome to LCCC.

The league is heating up to a very – very close final two weeks.

The Tigers and 49’ers are tied at 1 – 1 and the Thunder is tied with the Oilers at 1.5 – 1.5.

So we will have to wait until next week to change the standings.

We still have: 

Tigers vs 49’ers
1 – W Luigi M  vs  B Americo M
2 – B Luca M  vs  W  Marcello M

Thunder vs Oilers
3 – W Zach R vs B Tom Hosmer

We also had ladder tournament action! For those of you who don’t know how the Ladder Tournament works – it’s like this:

You sign on the Ladder at the bottom. You challenge anyone present that is within 4 spots of you! If you win, you take their spot on the ladder, and your opponent only drops down one spot.

This way, you can move up the ladder while meeting and playing just about anyone in the club. Eventually, you reach a level where you are playing and challenging players near your own strength. As your skill level goes up or down, so do you – on the Ladder!

Mike N took over the top spot finally, after many – many attempts! But upsets happen – and that is the beauty of the Ladder! One win and up you go! The top spot always gets a lot of heat……but that is the fun! It creates chess games!

White to move and win.
Here is a puzzle for your enjoyment. White to play and win material ……or more!
Answer to be posted the comments.