Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Middle game puzzle

I'm out of town and working long hours, but here's the next game on my list....not because its a great game, but because again I was in the middle game with no clear strategy. White to move...what's your goal?

[Site "Yahoo! Chess"]
[Date "2007.03.13"]
White "brafaaf"]
[Black "shonkabee"]
[Result "1-0"]
1. d4 d5
2. c4 c6
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. Nf3 h6
5.e3 Bf5
6. Be2 e6
7. O-O Bb4
8. Bd2 O-O
9. a3 Bxc3
10. bxc3 dxc4
11. Bxc4 Nbd7
12. Re1 Nb6
13. Be2 Nbd5
14. c4 Nb6
15. Ba5 Qd7
16. Ne5 Qe8
17. Bd3 Bxd3
18.Qxd3 Nbd7
19. Rab1 b6
20. Bc3 Rd8
21. Nxc6 Nc5
22. Qe2 Qxc6
23. dxc5 Qxc5
24.Bb4 Qg5
25. Bxf8 Kxf8
26. Red1 Rc8
27. Rbc1 Ne4
28. Qc2 Nc5
29. Qb2 Qf5
30. Qc2Qe5
31. Rd4 Ke7
32. Rcd1 g6
33. Qb2 Qh5
34. Qb4 Ke8
35. Qb5+ Ke7
36. a4 Qe5
37.a5 Qc7
38. axb6 axb6
39. Qb4 Rd8
40. Rxd8 Qxd8
41. Rxd8 Kxd8
42. Qxb6+ 1-0

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

...those tricky tactics

The other night I played two games and got worked pretty good each time. Here's the first game:

[Site "Yahoo! Chess"]
[Date "2007.03.07"]
[White "brafaaf"]
[Black "petsfriend"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]

1. d4 Nf6

Black develops his knight, choosing not to commit to an opening line. I would have rather played against d5, as I'm more comfortable with the Queen's Gambit.

2. Nf3

My idea is to develop naturally and wait to see what Black has in mind.

2... d5 3. c4

Transposing into a more familiar Queen's Gambit-like position.

3... c6 4. Bg5 Bg4 5. e3 h6 6. Bh4 e6 7. Be2 Bb4+ 8. Nc3 Nbd7 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 Qa5

I don't like the way the board is shaping up. Black is putting pressure on my weak pawn and has a perfect spot for his knight at e4. In retrospect I think that playing cxd5 and then pushing my c-pawn would have been a sounder approach.

11. Bxf6 Nxf6 12. Qb3 O-O 13. cxd5 exd5 14. c4 Ne4 15. cxd5?

Yikes, I should have paid more attention to Black's strong position and my weak d2 square...

Didn't see outcome of the next set of moves until the final one.

15... Bxf3!

Black undermines the only defender of d2.

16. Bxf3 Nd2 17. Qxb7 Nxf1 18. Kxf1 Qb5+

Winning the exchange Black forces me to trade Queens...obviously comfortable with his prospects in the endgame. However, I'm up two pawns and after the exchange, both will be passed. If I can threaten to Queen them, I might be able to use the pressure to gain back some advantage.

19. Qxb5 cxb5 20. Rb1 a6 21. a4 Rab8 22. axb5 Rxb5 23. Ra1

I'm not sure if opting out of the rook trade was the right decision. However, I would have been hard pressed to stop him from Queening his passed pawn without my rook.

23... Ra8 24. d6 Ra7 25. Be2 Rb6 26. d7

I'm offering to trade one passed pawn for another as well as my last rook, knowing that I have another passed pawn to play with. A rook versus bishop ending isn't very attractive to me, but if can activate my King, I might be able to make it work.

26... Rd6?

As far as I can see this is a mistake, which allows me to win back the exchange.

27. Bg4 g6 28. Rc1 Kg7 29. Rc8 f5

Tough call, Black choses to lose his f-pawn rather than his passed a-pawn.

30. Bxf5 gxf5 31. d8Q Rxd8 32. Rxd8 a5 33. Ke1 Kf6

I'm within the queening square and the rook can't leave its post on the a-file. On the other hand, Black can force my King into the corner and out of the action.

34. Kd2 a4 35. Kc2 a3 36. Kb1 a2+ 37. Ka1 Rc7

Here I could have have played Rb8 before taking the pawn with my King. This would have enable me to block the fork from ...Rc2+. Right about now all I'm thinking about is queening that passed pawn. I should also have been trying to trade rooks and protect my material advantage...

38. Kxa2 Rc2+ 39. Kb3 Rxf2 40. Rd6+ Kg5 41. Re6 Rxg2 42. d5 Rxh2 43. d6 Rd2 44. Kc3 Rd5 45. Kc4 Rd1 46. Kc5 Rc1+ 47. Kb6 47... Rb1+ 48. Kc7 Rc1+ 49. Kd7 h5 50. Ke7 h4 51. d7 Rc7 52. Ke8 Rxd7 53. Kxd7 h3 54. Rc6

Is there any line that does not result in a draw from this position?

54... f4 55. exf4+ Kxf4 56. Rh6 (1/2-1/2)

And I'm happy with a draw after being down the exhange for most of the game. I played one more game against this opponent, and got smoked.

I used Chesspad and to create this post

Message boards to the rescue...

On a couple of message boards, I asked what would be the best way to publish chess games in a Blog. On ChessNinja, Mike (aka Permanent Brain) had the following suggestions:
For diagrams, I use:

Please read also:

You need to to get FEN strings from your program.

Edit: Meanwhile I saw you use a Mac. I must admit I am not
familiar at all with the Mac's World (except McDonalds ).

A Fritz user would configure Extras/Options/Clipboard -> Position: FEN
and then you can Edit/Copy/Copy Position and paste it for the ChessUp
diagram service (Enter FEN button).

Examples on a blog:

For replayable games, it depends if you'd want the visitors to have Java
installed. Also, I don't know if your blog host allows Java applets on the blogs
pages. I use an very good compact online viewer which requires Java, in my homepage ( uses it too):

This player reads PGN files and even zipped PGN files. Unlike other solutions, the HTML code is very small. Example:

Well, I'm going to take Mike's advice and use Chesspad to create the FEN string (standard notation for identifying a unique position on a chess board) for each diagram and then use to create the image.