Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Round Three of the 2015 960 Tournament Completed - and a Zugzwang!

Very exciting evening of chess action. The winners tonight were:

Vince V
Gene M
Paul M
Ken T
Congratulations to the winners.

Round Four pairings will be published soon.

But in the mean time, Zack R does it again and plays another very exciting and educational game that your scribe just had to cover for you.

It was a Fischer Random 960 game. But we are going to pick it up in the middle and it looks like a standard game. 
However, Black has built a big lead to this point.
Black is sailing along and has slowly built up a huge positional lead to go along with his piece advantage (-6). He has an extra pawn and knight and better protection for his King. White can only attempt for counter-play and hope Black gets lazy with this huge lead.

22. Qh4                 d5?
With this wasted move, Black ignores White’s threat to his King and tries instead to open up the center. But White can quickly get three pieces near Black’s King and Black really only has a knight in the area.  And White now moves quickly to remove him. Black is up 4 points in material but White is up 2.2 pawns in position, which equals (-1.8).
This is why we love chess! There are several ways to win.......and lose.
g5                    Ne4
fxe4                 dxe4
Bxe4                g6
Rxf4                Bd5
Re1                  Rxe4
Rexe4              Re8
Kg1                 Rxe4
Rxe4                Bxe4
Qxe4               Qd8
The game is now EVEN, and the clocks are getting low on time. But they play on.

h4                    Qd6
Qe8+               Kg7
Qe5+               Qxe5
dxe5                Kf8
Kf2                  Ke7
Ke3                 Ke6
White actually has the advantage here (+.25). In the post-game analysis, with four other members of the club, both players were actually worried about still losing the game after this long battle. White was happy to survive with a draw and Black was deflated about drawing what was a ‘won’ game earlier.
Ke4                 b5
c3                    c5???
Game agreed to a draw with everyone’s clock time running low.

Black’s last move was a game LOSER!
Black has walked into what is known as a ‘zugzwang”.

In other words, he will lose because IT IS HIS MOVE! These are very painful and this situation happens fairly often in an even endgame. Looking for them MUST be part of your endgame strategy.

Black had to play 39…..b6 or Ke7, giving him safe move options. Black cannot allow the White King entry into his position because White has a dangerous e-pawn. Black’s c6 and g6 pawns were keeping White’s King at bay. Now Black will be forced to ‘move’ his King and allow the enemy monarch into his camp.
So now there is:

a3                    b6
c4                    b4
a4                    Kd7
Kd5                 Kc7
E6!                  Fxe6
Kxe6               Kc6
Kf7                  Kd6
Kf6!                Kd7
White must waste a tempo, zugzwanging Black again!

Kg7                 Ke6
Kxh7               Kf5
Kg7!                Ke4
White zugzwangs his opponent yet again.

Kxg6               and it is over.
It would have been an amazing finish!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Round Three of the 2015 960 Tourney this Monday

We have the pairing for Monday's Third Round.

Starts 6:30 pm    45 min/ game or 40 min - 5 sec delay/game
Board 1 - (W) Vince V - (B) Mike N
Board 2 - (W) Luke S - (B) Gene M
Board 1 - (W) Paul M - (B) Zack R
Board 2 - (W) Tom H - (B) Ken T

Now, for everyone else it's casual chess.
Stop on by to play or to watch the exciting chess action.

Players, if you cannot play this Monday, please email the club and let us know.

See everyone Monday! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday 072015 - Finishes Round Two of 960 Tourney

Zach R pondering move selection in past tourney action.
Not only did we finish the 2nd Round of the 960 tournament, but we did some group analysis of the games! When I say group - I mean a group! Six of us gathered around and re-played both of the games played tonight.

This type of analysis was not only a learning experience for everyone, but it was a lot of fun. As we poured over each move, everyone would grade it and come up with the best next move! Meanwhile, we had Stockfish5 on a smartphone cranking out about a million moves a minute - giving us the proper next move, 2nd best move, 3rd best move and 4th best move - AND which side was winning the game AND by how much!
 Many times - to our amazement - the players present did not pick ANY of them! Although, to be fair to us humans, sometimes there was not a lot of difference in the top 6 moves.

Mike N won his game, but post analysis showed his opponent missed a free rook! Whoops! So that game won't be making it to the blog.

The draw between Ken T and Zack R will end up here. The reason you will see when it is posted.

That means Zack R will have back to back games posted here! Some people just have a knack for playing entertaining chess. We pick play after move 20.

Black is up a pawn over Zack R, who turned in the game for analysis - and provided some [notes in brackets]. Notes from the players is always a welcome addition to any game replay.
The rest of the notes are from your humble scribe and Igor3000.

But besides the pawn advantage, Black also has the safer king, the bishop pair and a rook that can take the open f-file. This all adds up to a 3 pawn lead positionally, giving Black a commanding 4 pawn lead (-4).

White to move after Black's move #20.
21. Nc2          e4?
This error of not taking the file (Black never does) gives White some counter-play. (-3)

22. Ne3               Bg6
23. O-O-O          Re8?
24. Ne2              Qd8
Black refuses the open file and is floundering for a plan. White, meanwhile is making steady progress positionally to get back in the game. (-2)

25. Nd4          Bf4
26. Re1          Qh4
27. Qd2          Qxh3
28. Ndc2        Qd7
Black is up two passed pawns and should win in spite of his lack-luster play with a material and positional advantage. (-2.5)

29. Rf1           Rf8
30. Ne1          Qe7
31. Ne1g2      Bg5
32. Rxf8        Qxf8
White is trading material when already down material, which is normally not a good idea. Igor3000 puts Black's advantage back to (-4) to confirm that old chess adage just mentioned.
But being so short on time, White has a plan for a 'cheapo'. Zack explains;

[At this point I have less than a minute on my clock (but with a 5-sec delay) compared to 8 minutes left on my opponents. Pushing d6 was a last ditch effort to salvage something here, and only one move makes it work.]

33. d6                cxd6??
[Black takes the bait.....otherwise White could safely resign.]
34. Qd5!!          Kf8
35. Qxg5          Qf6
[White has achieved material equality and might even have a slight advantage now because of better piece coordination.] Zack is correct as Igor3000 gives White a (+1) lead. But Zack is out of time on his clock.

36. Qd5+          Kf8
37. Qa8+          Be8
38. Qxa7          Qa1+
39. Kd2?          Qb2+
[With 48 seconds left on my clock, I over-looked the very strong Kc2 after which the Black queen is unable to deliver checks to the White king. It also leads to exciting variations after Qd4, Nf4. And Black cannot take the 'free' knight on e3 because of a mate in 3.] (White is actually up now +2.4)

But the rest of the moves are of White avoiding checks and Black unable to make headway with his time advantage, so they finally agree to a draw.

And we passed 40,000 hits on this blog! Thanks readers!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Round Two of the 960 Tourney - Casual Chess Next Monday

The Lady (Queen) is the most powerful chess piece on the board.

We had two tournament games played this week. Vince V and Luke S both won their games.

Next week in the make up games it is:
Board 1: Mike N (W) vs Paul M (B)
Board 2: Zack R (W) vs Ken T (B)

For everyone else it is casual chess night! Be here and have some fun!
Now, here is a beginners game for review with general strategy notes. Igor3000’s notes are in [  ].
     1.      e4                    c5

Why do beginners try to play the Sicilian Defense? Like a flashy sports car, it is a high – performance opening, with a tendency for it to spin out of control without a good driver. [Igor  suggests
      2.      Nc3                 d6

Why not Nc3? Too many people turn the Sicilian into a memory contest. With a ‘Closed’ variation, White steers the game into channels where better positional understanding is at least as important as memorized tactical sequences.

     3.      g3                    e5
     4.      Bg2                 Nf6
Not a bad move by Black but probably better is Ne7 and the other black knight on c6. Black can then play g6 and Bg7 for better development.

    5.      d3                    Be7
    6.      f4                     exf4
    7.      Bxf4                Nc6
    8.      Nf3                  b6?

A tactical error, though it is buried a little deep. Black leaves his knight on c6 without the protection of the b-pawn, and exposes the rook on a8 to attack along the h1-a8 diagonal. It is important to look thru intervening pieces and see that White’s bishop on g2 is threat to anything unguarded on that diagonal. [White is up positionally the equivalent of a pawn. (1.0)]
    9.      e5!                   dxe5

Outstanding play! White strives to use the diagonal immediately.
    10.  Nxe5               Bd7?

White to move after Black played 10. ....Bd7?
This second mistake is a fatal one. Black mis-counts the attacks on the c6 square and loses a full rook. It was necessary to try 10….Nxe5 11. Bxa8?, Bg4! 12. Qd2, Qxa8 and White has no time for 13. Bxe5 because of 13. ….Qxh1+ and Black gets both White rooks. [(+7.4)]

Of course White should be more modest and settle for 11. Bxe5, Bd7 12. Bxa8, Qxa8  and Black has only lost the exchange. Regrettable, but Black could still play on with more hope for a reversal of fortunes.

    11.  Nxc6               Bxc6
    12.  Bxc6+             Nd7
    13.  Bxa8                Qxa8
    14.  Rf1                  O-O
    15.  Qe2                 Re8
    16.  O-O-O             Bf6
    17.  Ne4                 h6
Good moves are hard to find for Black in such a bad position. White will exploit this weakening of the King-side.

[Perhaps 17. ...Bd4, hoping to be able to play 18. .....f5! winning the knight because if it moves, Black's rook can take White's queen!]
    18.  Qg4!                Qc6
White simultaneously strikes the knight on d7 and pins the g-pawn as you will see.

    19.  Bxh6               Kf8

[Of course the bishop cannot be captured because the Black King would be in check.]
Unfortunately for Black, 19. ….Bxb2+ 20. Kxb2, Qxh6 allows 21. Qxd7.
    20.  Nxf6                Nxf6
    21.  Bxg7+             Ke7
Now the king-side comes apart. The end is near.

    22.  Bxf6+              Kd6
    23.  D4                   Kc7
    24.  Dxc5               Qxc5
    25.  Qd7+               Kb8
    26.  Qxe8+             Kb7
    27.  Rd7+               Resigns
Very impressive tactical play by White.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Monday 070615 Casual Chess had it All – 960 Tournament Resumes Next Week

Chess is for everyone!

We had casual chess on tap tonight with regular chess, speed chess and 960 chess all going on at the same time.

Eight players showed for the hot chess action in the cool chess “arena”. We had a new member and a visitor show up this evening.

We welcome Don W to the LCCC!

In addition, a friend of our club Secretary Don J stopped by on his vacation travels. Visiting in Walled Lake – Kevin – stopped by to check out LCCC as he had heard about us from Don. It was great to have you here Kevin.

Now here are the pairings and the boards for next week’s (July 13) Round 2 of the 2015 Fischer 960 Tournament (starts at 6:30pm):

Board 1: Gene M (W) – Vince V (B)
Board 2: Mike N (W) – Paul M (B) (postponed until July 20)
Board 3: Luke S (W) – Tom H (B)
Board 4: Zack R (W) – Ken T (B) (postponed until July 20)
Bye – Tim R

So casual chess will be on July 20th, and the 3rd round of the 960 tournament will be on July 27. The final round on August 10th.

Now just because the tournament is in full swing, it certainly doesn’t mean that casual chess will not be available. There are usually some 960 haters hovering around looking for a regular game.

Black to move .....and win!
AND – if you still want to try your hand at 960 and wish to enter the tournament late – that is no problem either. We will pair you with someone for this round, or for sure next round.

Your humble scribe will attempt to analyze some games in time for the next posting, but summer, yardwork, summer, golf, summer, vacation, summer, BBQ’s, summer, the lake and summer have all burned up time.

So right now, I leave you with this puzzle. Good luck!