Monday, February 23, 2015

Round 3 of the 2015 Club Championship – and a Game

Reviewing the game afterwards helps both players!
Twenty-one players made their way to LCCC on a very cold February evening for some hot chess action. Another fun evening with some casual chess games played also.

The winners were Tim R, Ken T, Gene M, Zach R, Americo M, Luigi M, Marcello M and Brendon M. Nice going guys.

Some games ended in draws also by Mike N-Dave S and Zade K-Vince V.

One game was postponed until later that will have a huge bearing on the pairings to decide the Club Champion!

The next and final round in the Club Championship is March 9, so open chess next week. Come on by!

And now a game between two 1500 rated players for our review and enjoyment.
1. e4     d6
2. d4     Nf6
3. Nc3     g6
4. f4     Bg4
5. Nf3     Bg7
6. h3     Bxf3
7. Qxf3     c6
White is up 1.5 pawns positionally - due to the Bishop pair, and better square possibilities for his pieces.

8. Be3     O-O
9. Bd3     Nbd7
10. e5!     dxe5
11. fxe5?     Ne8?
First if White played 11. dxe5 it would have raised White’s positional advantage to (+2) as he adds a pawn to his kingside attack. Black fails to find 11. …..Nd5 bringing the game to +1. Instead they split the difference (+1.5).

12. O-O-O     Qa5
13. Kb1     Nc7
14. Bd2     Nd5
15. Nxd5? (Ne2 was it)     Qxd5
16. Qxd5     cxd5
17. g4?!     a5
18. b3     Nb8
19. c4?     dxc4?
20. Bxc4     Nd7?
The errors are coming together. The simple 20…..Nc6 shrinks White’s advantage to (+.5). Now White’s advantage grows to (+2.4).

21. e6!     Nb6
22. exf7+     Kh8
23. Bf4?     ……..
Black to make move #23
Instead 23. Be6 cements that pawn in Black’s camp until reinforcements arrive (+3.0). Instead, the game is even again.

23. …..     Nxc4
24. bxc4     Rxf7
25. Be5     Rf2?
Black hands the lead back to White. 25…..Rc8 keeps the game even instead of (+.6) for White.

26. Bxg7     Kxg7
27. Rhe1     Kf7
28. Rf1     Rf6
29. Kc2     h5?!
30. g5?!     Rf5
31. Rxf5ch    gxf5
32. Rb1     Ra7?
Black had to let that weak pawn go and counter with pressure on the Kingside (+.8) 32…..Kg6, 33. Rxb7, Re8 34. c5, Kxg5. Instead, Black’s rook has no scope..... and no hope (+2.0).

33. Rb6     h4?
Both players are in time trouble (+2.8). This error should close out the game by the simple gxh6. But White misses that. Still, Black doesn’t have much at this point anyway.

34. d5     f4
35. Kd3     Ra8?
36. Rxb7     Rg8
37. d6        Resigns

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Analysis of Tactics Just by Piece Placement

Petrosian - Botvinnik, Moscow 1963 - White to move
Please study this position for at least a few minutes before reading on.

We had eleven players Monday for open chess. It was a very nice group size, considering the bitter cold outside. But the chess action was warm and friendly inside!

Our Club Championship returns next week, Monday at 7pm. Club opens at 6pm for warm-up games. Also, if you are not in the tournament, don’t fret. There will be players open for a casual game too!

So come on by and check out the chess action.

Now on to the position to study.

This position came out of an English Opening that transposed into a Leningrad Dutch - which just happened to be one of GM Mikhail Botvinnik’s favorite openings. But this time - not so much!

Except for his g7 bishop, Black’s pieces are not in good spots. His Queen is stuck on the back rank. The white squared bishop is back ranked also and hemmed in, and his rooks are disconnected.

Alarm bells went off in the great GM Tigran Petrosian’s head. Good chess thinking involves looking for problems not only in your own camp, but in your opponent’s. After all, your camp may be a shambles, but if you can take advantage of a small problem your opponent has IMMEDIATELY, then you don’t have to clean up your camp because you are moving forward to victory.

But as an added bonus, in this example, White’s camp has few problems. The King is safe. White’s black squared bishop has great scope. The rooks are on good files, and are connected and working in unison. The White Queen is pestering pawns and owns almost the entire queen side.

White is ready to pounce. But where? Very few opponents will resign to you just because your pieces look pretty. You have to turn your positional advantage into real pain.

If you have studied the position as requested, you may say “This doesn’t look too hard. We have a choice between two pawns to capture; a7 and d5.”

Well both captures could lead to complications. 1. Bxd5 Rxe2 doesn’t win anything.

Rxd5, Bc6 allows Black to trade white-squared bishops with 2. Rd3, Bxf3 etc., and frees his position greatly.

Qxa7, Bb5 threatens to trap the queen as well as capture the e2 pawn.

This is not to say a pawn capture here is necessarily bad, but there is more here than a pawn capture.

Notice that White’s c1 rook is x-raying the queen. Can we clear a path to Her Majesty?

Notice that the black rooks are asking to be skewered by a bishop or queen on the a3-f8 diagonal. Can we oblige them?

These are the types of positional gems the strong players look for and the weaker players overlook in their opponent’s position, and/or create in their own camps.

Now that we are looking at these weaknesses too, do you see Petrosian’s beautiful move played over 50 years ago?

Answer to be in the Comment section soon. Thanks to GM Gabriel Schwartzman - Chess Life 2003

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Round Two of the LCCC Club Championship

Champion Luke Sergott at the MI Class Tourney
A little bit of everything it this round! We had two forfeits, three postponements, seven rounds played and fifteen players in attendance.
We also had a new player join not only the club, but the tournament! Welcome George H.
The winners were;
Tim R
Scott M
Paul Mills
Gene Mc
Dave S
Zach R

Ken T and Luke S fought to a tie.

So let’s take a look at the undefeated at 2 – 0 shall we?
Tim R
Scott M
Paul M

Congratulations guys.
We have John R and Aaron J yet to play with the winner joining this group. If they draw, one lucky (or unlucky) 1.5 player will have to play “up” with the undefeated.

The next round is scheduled for February 23 at 7pm. Of course we open at 6pm.

The good news is we are OPEN on Monday February 16 at 6pm, even though it is President’s day. That is a good day to go over games with other players and learn some things. Or be here for some casual chess.

White to move and win!

Now for a puzzle. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

LCCC Closed Monday Feb 2, 2015 Due to Snow

Pat Kinnicutt at the Michigan Class Championship
We are closed today due to weather.

Round 2 of the Club Championship is next week, if Global Warming (haha) doesn't pay us another visit.