Links

This form does not yet contain any fields.
    1948 World Chess Championship 1962 Candidates 2.c3 Sicilian 2.f4 Sicilian 2011 European Team Championship 2011 Russian Championship 2012 Capablanca Memorial 2012 Chess Olympiad 2012 European Women's Championship 2012 London Chess Classic 2012 U.S. Junior Championship 2012 U.S. Women's Championship 2012 US Championship 2012 Women's World Chess Championship 2012 World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2013 Alekhine Memorial 2013 Beijing Grand Prix 2013 European Club Cup 2013 European Team Championship 2013 FIDE World Cup 2013 Kings Tournament 2013 London Chess Classic 2013 Russian Championship 2013 Tal Memorial 2013 U.S. Championship 2013 Women's World Championship 2013 World Blitz Championship 2013 World Championship 2013 World Rapid Championship 2013 World Team Championship 2014 Capablanca Memorial 2014 Chess Olympiad 2014 Rapid & Blitz World Championship 2014 Russian Team Championship 2014 Sinquefield Cup 2014 Tigran Petrosian Memorial 2014 U.S. Championship 2014 U.S. Open 2014 Women's World Championship 2014 World Championship 2014 World Junior Championships 2014 World Rapid Championship 22014 Sinquefield Cup 22014 U.S. Championship 60 Minutes A. Muzychuk A. Sokolov aattacking chess Abby Marshall Accelerated Dragon ACP Golden Classic Adams Aeroflot 2010 Aeroflot 2011 Aeroflot 2012 Aeroflot 2013 Agrest Akiba Rubinstein Akiva Rubinstein Akobian Alejandro Ramirez Alekhine Alekhine Defense Aleksander Lenderman Alekseev Alena Kats Alex Markgraf Alexander Alekhine Alexander Grischuk Alexander Ipatov Alexander Khalifman Alexander Morozevich Alexander Onischuk Alexander Stripunsky Alexandra Kosteniuk Alexei Dreev Alexei Shirov Alexey Bezgodov Almasi Amber 2010 Amber 2011 Amos Burn Anand Anand-Carlsen 2013 Anand-Gelfand 2012 Anand-Gelfand World Championship Match Anand-Topalov 2010 Anastasia Bodnaruk Anatoly Karpov Andrei Volokitin Andrew Martin Andrew Paulson Android apps Anish Giri Anna Ushenina Anna Zatonskih Anti-Marshall Lines Anti-Moscow Gambit Antoaneta Stefanova apps April Fool's Jokes Archangelsk Variation Arkadij Naiditsch Arne Moll Aron Nimzowitsch Aronian Aronian-Kramnik 2012 Artur Yusupov Astrakhan Grand Prix 2010 attack attacking chess Austrian Attack Averbakh Baadur Jobava Bacrot Baku Grand Prix 2014 Bangkok Chess Club Open Bazna 2011 Becerra Beliavsky Benko Gambit Bent Larsen Berlin Defense Biel 2012 Biel 2014 Bilbao 2010 Bilbao 2012 Bilbao 2013 Bilbao Chess 2014 bishop endings Bishop vs. Knight Blackburne blindfold chess blitz blitz chess Blumenfeld Gambit blunders Bobby Fischer Bologan Book Reviews books Boris Gelfand Boris Spassky Borislav Ivanov Borki Predojevic Boruchovsky Botvinnik Botvinnik Memorial Breyer Variation brilliancy British Championship Bronstein Bronznik Brooklyn Castle Browne Brunello Budapest Bundesliga California Chess Reporter Camilla Baginskaite Campomanes Candidates 2011 Candidates 2011 Candidates 2012 Candidates 2013 Candidates 2014 Capablanca Carlsen Caro-Kann cartoons Caruana Catalan Cebalo Charlie Rose cheating Cheparinov chess and education chess and marketing chess cartoons chess history chess in fiction chess in film Chess Informant chess lessons chess psychology chess ratings chess variants Chess24 Chess960 ChessBase DVDs ChessBase Shows ChessLecture Presentations ChessLecture.com ChessUSA ChessUSA blog ChessVibes ChessVideos Presentations Chigorin Variation Chinese Chess Championship Christiansen Christmas Colle combinations Commentary computer chess computers correspondence chess Corsica Cyrus Lakdawala Danailov Daniil Dubov Dave MacEnulty Dave Vigorito David MacEnulty David Navara Davies Deep Blue Deeper Blue defense Delchev Ding Liren Dmitry Andreikin Dmitry Gurevich Dortmund 2010 Dortmund 2011 Dortmund 2012 Dortmund 2012 Dortmund 2013 Dortmund 2014 Doug Hyatt Dragoljub Velimirovic draws dreams Dreev Dunning-Kruger Effect Dutch Defense DVD Reviews DVDs Dvoirys Dvoretsky Easter Edouard Efimenko Efstratios Grivas endgame studies endgames Endgames English Opening Esserman Etienne Bacrot European Club Cup 2012 European Club Cup 2014 European Individual Championship 2012 Evgeni Vasiukov Evgeny Sveshnikov Evgeny Tomashevsky Exchange Ruy Fabiano Caruana Falko Bindrich farce FIDE Grand Prix FIDE Presidential Election FIDE ratings Fier fighting for the initiative Finegold Fischer football Francisco Vallejo Pons Fred Reinfeld French Defense Ftacnik Gadir Guseinov Gajewski Gaprindashvili Garry Kasparov Gashimov Gata Kamsky Gelfand Gelfand-Svidler Rapid Match Geller Geneva Masters Georg Meier GGarry Kasparov Gibraltar 2011 Gibraltar 2012 Gibraltar 2013 Gibraltar 2014 Giri Grand Prix Attack Greek Gift sacrifice Grenke Chess Classic 2013 Grinfeld Grischuk Grob Gruenfeld Defense Grünfeld Defense Gulko Gunina Guseinov Gustafsson Gyula Sax Hans Ree Harika Dronavalli Haworth Hedgehog Hennig-Schara Gambit Henrique Mecking HHou Yifan highway robbery Hikaru Nakamura Hilton Hjorvar Gretarsson Hort Horwitz Bishops Hou Yifan Houdini Houdini 1.5a Howard Staunton humor Humpy Koneru Ian Nepomniachtchi Icelandic Gambit Igor Kurnosov Igor Lysyj Iljumzhinov Ilya Nyzhnyk Imre Hera Informant Informant 113 Informant 114 Informant 115 Informant 116 Informant 117 Informant 118 Informant 119 Informant 120 insanity Inside Chess Magazine Ippolito IQP Irina Krush Ivan Sokolov Ivanchuk J. Polgar Jacob Aagaard Jaenisch Jaideep Unudurti Jakovenko James Tarjan Jan Timman Jay Whitehead Jeremy Silman Jimmy Quon John Grefe John Watson Jon Lenchner Jonathan Hawkins Jonathan Speelman Jose Diaz Judit Polgar Julio Granda Zuniga Kaidanov Kalashnikov Sicilian Kamsky Karjakin Karpov Karsten Mueller Kasimdzhanov Kasparov Kavalek Ken Regan Keres KGB Khalifman King's Gambit King's Indian King's Tournament 2010 Kings Tournament 2012 Kirsan Ilyumzhinov KKing's Gambit KKing's Indian Klovans Komodo Korchnoi Kramnik Kunin Larry Evans Larry Kaufman Larry Parr Lasker Lasker-Pelikan Latvian Gambit Laznicka Le Quang Liem Leinier Dominguez Leko Leonid Kritz lessons Lev Psakhis Levon Aronian Lilienthal Linares 2010 Loek van Wely Lombardy London 2009 London 2010 London 2011 London Grand Prix London System Lothar Schmid Luke McShane Macieja Magnus Carlsen Main Line Ruy Malakhov Malcolm Pein Mamedyarov Marc Arnold Marc Lang Marin Mariya Muzychuk Mark Crowther Marshall Marshall Gambit Masters of the Chessboard Mateusz Bartel Max Euwe Maxime Vachier-Lagrave McShane Mega 2012 mental malfunction Mesgen Amanov Michael Adams Miguel Najdorf Mikhail Botvinnik Mikhail Tal Mikhalchishin Miles Minev miniatures Miso Cebalo MModern Benoni Modern Modern Benoni Moiseenko Morozevich Morphy Movsesian Müller music Nadareishvili Naiditsch Najdorf Sicilian Nakamura Nanjing 2010 Navara Negi Neo-Archangelsk Nepomniachtchi New In Chess Yearbook 104 New York Times NH Tournament 2010 Nigel Short Nikita Vitiugov Nimzo-Indian NNotre Dame football Norway Chess 2013 Norway Chess 2014 Notre Dame football Notre Dame Football Nov. 2009 News Nyback Nyzhnyk Olympics 2010 Open Ruy opening advice opening novelties Openings openings Or Cohen P.H. Nielsen Parimarjan Negi Paris Grand Prix passed pawns Paul Keres Pavel Eljanov pawn endings pawn play pawn structures Pesotskyi Peter Heine Nielsen Peter Leko Peter Svidler Petroff Philadelphia Open Phiona Mutesi Pirc Piterenka Rapid/Blitz Polgar Polgar sisters Polugaevsky Ponomariov Ponziani Potkin poultry Powerbook 2011 problems progressive chess QGD Tartakower QQueen's Gambit Accepted queen sacrifices Queen's Gambit Accepted Queen's Indian Defense Radjabov Ragger rapid chess Rapport Rashid Nezhmetdinov rating inflation ratings Ray Robson Regan Reggio Emilia 2010 Reggio Emilia 2011 Reshevsky Reti Rex Sinquefield Reykjavik Open 2012 Richard Reti Robert Byrne robot chess Robson Roman Ovetchkin rook endings RReggio Emilia 2011 rrook endings RRuy Lopez RRuy Lopez sidelines Rubinstein rules Ruslan Ponomariov Russian Team Championship Rustam Kasimdzhanov Ruy Lopez Ruy Lopez sidelines Rybka Rybka 4 S. Kasparov sacrifices Sadler Sakaev Sam Collins Sam Sevian Samuel Reshevsky Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2011 Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2012 satire Savchenko Schliemann Scotch Four Knights Searching for Bobby Fischer Seirawan self-destruction Sergei Tiiviakov Sergey Karjakin Sergey Shipov Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Shankland Shipov Shirov Short Sicilian Sinquefield Cup sitzfleisch Slav Smith-Morra Gambit Smyslov Spassky spectacular moves Speelman sportsmanship Spraggett St. Louis Invitational stalemate Staunton Stockfish Stockfish 4 Stonewall Dutch Suat Atalik Super Bowl XLIV Sutovsky Sveshnikov Sveshnikov Sicilian Svetozar Gligoric Svidler sweeper sealer twist Swiercz tactics Tactics Taimanov Tal Tal Memorial 2009 Tal Memorial 2010 Tal Memorial 2011 Tal Memorial 2012 Tal Memorial 2012 Tarjan Tarrasch Tarrasch Defense Tashkent Tashkent Grand Prix TED talks Teimour Radjabov Terekhin The Chess Players (book) The Week in Chess Thessaloniki Grand Prix Three knights Tigran Petrosian Tim Krabbé time controls Timman Timur Gareev Tomashevsky Tony Miles Topalov traps Tromso Olympics 2014 TWIC types of chess players Ufuk Tuncer underpromotion Unive 2012 University of Notre Dame upsets US Championship 2010 US Championship 2011 US Chess League USCF ratings USCL V. Onischuk Vachier-Lagrave Vallejo van der Heijden Van Perlo van Wely Varuzhan Akobian Vasik Rajlich Vasily Smyslov Vassily Ivanchuk Vassily Smyslov Velimirovic Attack Veresov Veselin Topalov video videos Vienna 1922 Viktor Bologan Viktor Korchnoi Viktor Moskalenko Viswanathan Anand Vitaly Tseshkovsky Vitiugov Vladimir Kramnik Vladimir Tukmakov Vladislav Artemiev Vugar Gashimov Vugar Gashimov Memorial Wang Hao Wang Yue Watson Welcome Wesley Brandhorst Wesley So Wijk aan Zee 2010 Wijk aan Zee 2011 Wijk aan Zee 2012 Wijk aan Zee 2013 Wijk aan Zee 2014 Wil E. Coyote Wilhelm Steinitz Willy Hendriks Winawer French Wojtkiewicz Women's Grand Prix Women's World Championship World Champion DVDs World Cup World Cup 2009 World Cup 2011 World Cup 2011 World Junior Championship World Senior Championship WWijk aan Zee 2012 Yasser Seirawan Yates Yermolinsky Yevseev Yu Yangyi Yuri Averbakh Yuri Razuvaev Zaitsev Variation Zaven Andriasyan Zhao Xue Zug 2013 Zukertort System Zurich 1953 Zurich 2013 Zurich 2014

    Entries in blunders (12)

    Wednesday
    Sep112013

    The Worst 2400+ Game All Year?

    This game is so unbelievably bad as to be genuinely suspicious. The game wouldn't do credit to 1400s, let alone 2400s - but you make the call.

    Saturday
    Jul272013

    The Mind Says Move Here, the Hand Demurs - And Other Tales of Horror

    We've been examining a variety of chess blunders lately, and will continue to do so in this post. The primary focus has been on blunders that transcend the purely chess aspect, and reflecting on my experience in the game I've thought of three more examples of quite different sorts.

    Let's start with the most painful example, from a local g/10 I lost in 2011. The following is an approximation of the position:

    I'm White and on move, and while winning would be difficult with less than a minute on my clock (likewise for my opponent) and without an increment, it's clear that I shouldn't lose it. This came at the end of a forcing sequence, and my intention a few moves back was to play either 1.Bd6 or 1.Bb6 - I can't remember now - and it still was upon reaching the position. So I reached out, grasped the bishop, and played...1.Bd4?? My opponent was understandably stunned and suspicious, but after a few seconds of checking and double-checking he took the rook and managed to win before running out of time. I've had some painful losses in my life, but this one, in an otherwise mostly meaningless game, was the only one that literally gave me nightmares!

    What was the cause? Maybe the importance of centralization and the aesthetics of putting a bishop on a great square like d4 worked like a sort of muscle memory? Beats me, but it's a horrible feeling when you don't understand why you did something.

    The second case is one that faithful comment-readers may have wondered about. Neal Bonrud regularly comments to this blog, but back in 1999 we played in a small tournament in Las Vegas. Things were going well for me on the white side of a French, and this was the position after 29 moves; the first time control was at move 30, and I had plenty of time to make a decision - something like seven minutes.

    What should I do? I recall considering 30.Rce3, 30.a4, 30.h5 and probably other moves as well. Can White break through (e.g. with h5 or maybe at some point c4 or even f5)? If not, should he aim to keep squeezing? Open a second front? Find some generic improving move? Finding the perfect move isn't so important here, but I wanted to find the best plan, find the right idea. I kept looking, trying this and then that; always comfortable with my position but unsure of how to convert the advantage into a win. Of course I was keeping an eye on the clock, but there was still enough time left such that I didn't need to make a "practical" decision yet; genuine thought was still possible. So I looked (3 minutes left), looked (2 minutes left), looked (a minute or so left)...and kept looking. At some point I came to a moment of internal resolution and made a decision. I calmly made my move and pressed the clock, and then saw with a mixture of horror and relief that I had done so with one second left. Somehow my focus had grown so deep that I forgot about the clock, and it was just good fortune, sheer dumb luck, that I happened to make the move in time. I'm pretty sure the blood drained from my face for a few seconds after seeing the clock!

    The third instance is just amusing, to be filed under "just deserts". I was a piece up in some meaningless, probably unrated online blitz game around 15 years ago, and with two bishops vs. one with no pawn weaknesses and plenty of time on the clock I was a little annoyed that my opponent was playing on. (This is an attitude I've by and large overcome - one simply must in order to play online without going crazy!) The position was something like this:

    Here, I uncorked the ridiculous 1.Ke3??, allowing 1...c5 regaining the piece. Argh! Shame on me for switching off mentally, but wait! The game continued 2.Bxc5 bxc5 3.Bd1 Be5 4.Bb3 (something like this - I'm just reconstructing the idea)

    and now my opponent played  the incredible 4...Kd6?? Of course I responded with 5.f4! and laughed myself silly as he disconnected. Most people learn better from their own mistakes than those of others, but this is carrying things a bit too far!

    ...

    In the next post, we'll look at another interesting error that likewise transcends the realm of pure chess, but is it a blunder or other sort of mental malfunction? Or is it just the cost of doing business? Stay tuned...

    Thursday
    Jul252013

    Lost In Translation?

    In the e-periodical Chess Today, GM Alex Baburin occasionally devotes an issue to showing recent blunders. Sometimes the blunders are instructive, but on other occasions I suspect the purpose is humor, identification and even a bit of schadenfreude. The following instance, from issue 4640, seems to belong in a category of its own:

    Zakhartsov (2560) - Westerberg (2410), Czech Open (rapid) 2013, position after 26.Nc3-a4.

    As you might guess from the pawn structure, the position arose from a Benko Gambit. Black is a pawn in arrears, but maintains enough control of the queenside that it's not yet merely a matter of technique. At any rate, Black has two good options here. The conventional option is 26...Qxd2 27.Rxd2 Bxb2 28.Rxd2, and the second is truly fantastic: 26...Qxa4 (this isn't so amazing in and of itself, as 27.bxa4 Rxb2 is obviously winning for Black) 27.Bxf6 and now the spectacular 27...Nc4. There's practically no chance of Black finding the second option, let alone considering it seriously, especially in a rapid game, so let's focus on the first. This was almost surely Black's intention, and then he played 26...Bxb2??

    A remarkable blunder, but Baburin offers a plausible explanation. He thinks that Black intended to trade queens first and then take on b2, but somehow skipped a step in the translation from intention to action. (My words, not his.) Interestingly, Baburin claims that this is a common phenomenon.

    I believe this has happened to me once or twice, but only in blitz games, and I think it almost happened to me on several other occasions - maybe even in a tournament setting. I also have a somewhat dim recollection of having been a recipient of such errors too. So the experience is a familiar one, but "common" may be overly generous if taken to mean something like "relatively frequent". What about you? Have you experienced this sort of error yourself, either as donor or recipient?

    Monday
    May212012

    Anand Levels Gelfand and the Match, Winning Game 8 in 17 Moves

    An odd world championship match just grew odder still. After 19 years without a win in classical chess against Viswanathan Anand, Boris Gelfand's patient, solid strategy paid off in game 7. He won and took the lead over the champion, 4-3, with just five games to go. At this point he could expect Anand to play more aggressively and to start throwing the kitchen sink at him, so it would have made sense to keep solid, weather the storm and maybe even give Anand the chance to overextend.

    So what happened? Just the opposite. Perhaps dizzy from success, Gelfand played uncharacteristically risky chess, like a man who had completely lost his sense of danger. The game grew wild in a hurry, and then Gelfand badly miscalculated a short sequence and lost immediately. What's especially odd is that if Gelfand's normal sense of danger had been present, he would have been more suspicious - surely Anand wouldn't overlook something so simple, would he? He didn't.

    The game was thus a disaster, but objectively Gelfand is still in reasonable shape in the match. It's tied at 4-4, with four games to go, and he can head into the rest day with the encouraging awareness that he can beat Anand. For Anand, today's game was an obvious positive, so if he can neutralize Gelfand's opening in game 9 he can look forward to the rest of the match with confidence.

    My back allowing, subscribers can look forward to my annotations and video and later this evening.

     

    Sunday
    May202012

    Krush Wins Women's Title in a Ghoulish Tiebreak

    Anna Zatonskih and Irina Krush were tied at the end of the U.S. Women's Championship round-robin, so today they played a tiebreaker. It would go to an Armageddon game if necessary, but first they played a pair of G/25 (plus 5 second increments per move) rapid games. In the first, Zatonskih got nothing with White, pressed anyway, and lost. In the rematch, however, she played very well and obtained a winning attack. To break the attack, Krush offered an exchange, but Zatonskih went for more. Krush's reply was a blunder, and with a simple two-mover her opponent would win a rook, equalize the scores, and go on to the Armageddon game.

    Instead, after thinking for three minutes, Zatonskih missed it. By this point Krush had seen it and could be seen exhaling in relief, though even after this her position was awful. Zatonskih didn't handle the technical task to perfection, but was slowly but surely getting the job done. And then...she simply hung a rook. Maybe it was the sort of OTB equivalent of "pre-move": she expected that Krush was going to do something else, and simply carried out her intended move anyway, not noticing before reflexively executing what was now a blunder.

    A horrific reminder, in case anyone needed it, that errare humanum est.

    Tuesday
    May082012

    2012 US Championship, Round 1: The Favorites Win

    With the exception of a single draw between two closely rated opponents, the higher-rated player won every game in the first round of the 2012 U.S. Championship.

    Top seed Hikaru Nakamura blew the dust off his opening books, trotting out the hoary Evans Gambit against Robert Hess. In return, Hess sent the game even further into obscurity by employing the Stone-Ware Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Bd6!?). It looks disgusting, but has been tried by some elite players including Alexander Grischuk. Further, the ...Bd6 concept is known from other openings as well, including the Spanish Four Knights.

    Anyway, Nakamura had enough for the pawn, which Hess soon returned, and had been gradually increasing his advantage when he played 26.Bd5. Hess was a pawn down but maybe not yet lost when he came up with the tactically flawed plan of 26...Qb6, aiming to regain the pawn with ...Qb1+ and ...Qxa2. The good news is that Hess did regain the pawn, the bad news is that it got him mated.

    I have to admit that I find Gata Kamsky's chess inscrutable. Now, in saying that I'm not immodestly claiming to understand everything that goes on in the games of other top players; of course not. But generally speaking, I've got a pretty good sense of what they're doing - not an infallible sense, and understanding x doesn't mean that one can successfully do x, either. Maybe I can't hit their high notes and my voice isn't as rich and powerful, but I can carry the melody. With Kamsky's chess, I'm often tone-deaf!

    That isn't meant as an insult in any way; it's just a confession. I remember a match I played some years ago with a player roughly my rating. After the match, I admitted to my opponent that I couldn't guess any of his moves (at least it seemed that way); to my surprise, he told me the reverse: he guessed all (or at least almost all) of mine! The oddity of the story is that I won the match by a convincing margin and dominated most of the games. (Overall though, we were very close in strength; if I was better, it wasn't by much.) So to sum up: generally understanding what a player is up to doesn't mean that one can play as well as that person, and not generally understanding that player doesn't automatically indicate that the one lacking understanding is weaker.

    The reason for that story, aside from a desire to express some thoughts, was to say that I found the first part of Kamsky's win over Alejandro Ramirez baffling. It looked like he met Ramirez's Kan Sicilian in a very routine and accommodating way, not doing anything to make Black's life difficult. He built up slowly, allowed Black to achieve ...b5, retreated pieces to the back rank, and took time out for prophylactic moves like 17.b3 and 20.h3. And yet after 22.Nxf4 he was comfortably better, and after 22...Qh4?! 23.Nd5 his advantage was serious. Ramirez sacrificed the exchange for a pawn, but it wasn't enough. Kamsky was grinding him down and was well on the way to victory when Ramirez blundered a piece with 38...Bf5??

    In other games, Varuzhan Akobian ground down Yasser Seirawan on the white side of a Queen's Gambit Declined, Alex Lenderman won a long and complicated Russian System Gruenfeld against Ray Robson (again with White), Yuri Shulman drew a long Bogo-Indian with Gregory Kaidanov, and then there was this:

    Alexander Stripunsky - Alex Onischuk:

    1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 e6 6.g3 Nd7 7.Qe2 d4N 8.Nb1 h5 9.h4 g5 10.hxg5 Qxg5

    11.d3?? and White resigned without waiting to see what would happen next.

    Round 2 Pairings:

    Seirawan (0) - Hess (0)
    Ramirez (0) - Nakamura (1)
    Robson (0) - Kamsky (1)
    Onischuk (1) - Lenderman (1)
    Kaidanov (1/2) - Stripunsky (0)
    Akobian (1) - Shulman (1/2)

    Wednesday
    Aug312011

    World Cup 2011: Round 2, Day 1

    With most of the favorites through, the matches are going to be more closely contested from here on out. Unsurprisingly, there were a lot of draws today, and some were quite short - apparently some players have decided to save energy and make their big push in the rapid playoffs in a couple of days.

    That's not at all to say that no one tried; far from it, and the ultimate fighter today was Vassily Ivanchuk, who with Black squeezed Evgeny Alekseev for 97 moves until a blunder finally popped out and he won. Other big guns collecting the full point were Vugar Gashimov (I annotate this game), Teimour Radjabov and Alexander Morozevich. Some 2700s lost, too, including Alexei Shirov (to Vladimir Potkin - I've annotated that game), Etienne Bacrot (to Anton Filippov), and - in unbelievable fashion - Francisco Vallejo Pons, to Lazaro Bruzon. That one almost has to be seen to be believed, so that game also appears in the annotated game link.

    All the Americans (and all the "honorary Americans" as well) drew their games.

    Links: Official site (with excellent live video coverage) here, Wikipedia brackets here (scroll down), and the three games I annotate are here. (Real annotations, too, at one point verging on the Hübnerian. You're welcome.)

    Tuesday
    Dec212010

    Two Excerpts from the European Rapid Championship

    The European Rapid Championship took place in Warsaw this past weekend, and with tons of strong players there were many fine games and exciting moments. Not all the games were so impressive, however - witness this:

    Tomasz Markowski (2625) - Radoslaw Wojtaszek (2726) (Round 8):

    1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 c6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Qb3 dxc4 5.Qxc4 Bg4 6.Nc3 Nbd7 7.e4 Bxf3 8.gxf3 e5 9.Be3 Bd6 10.0-0-0

    This line has fared pretty well for White, but Black's position is certainly playable.

    10...exd4

    This has only been played once before, by Boris Gelfand against Ruslan Ponomariov in the finals of the 2009 World Cup. Ponomariov recaptured with the bishop and eventually won a hard battle (though he lost the war, as Gelfand eventually won the match and the tournament), but Black was not in trouble at this point.

    11.Qxd4

    And now Wojtaszek, all 2726 rating points' worth of him, played 11...Qc7?? and resigned after 12.Qxd6. There's hope for us all...or is it that we're all hopeless, at least sometimes?

     

    Here's another one:

    (Position after 23...Bg7-h6 in Alexander Moiseenko (2670) - Artur Jussupow (2589), round 13)

    White sees the threat of 24...Be3, evaluates it as no big deal, and plays 24.Rxc7. Or rather, 24.Rxc7?? White is only half right: ...Be3 isn't a big deal right now or immediately after a rook trade, but it is in fact a VERY big deal! It just needs a little setting up, that's all:

    24...Qxf2+!!

    Oops. White resigned after 25.Rxf2 Rb1+, because after 26.Rf1 Be3+ - now! - drives the king into the corner and forces mate in two more moves.

    Thursday
    Dec022010

    This Week's ChessVideos Show: Viewer Questions

    Topics include the anti-Benko/Benoni with 3.e3, material imbalances, the psychology of blunders, the isolated d-pawn and rook endings. There's something for everyone, at least if "everyone" is limited to the sort of crowd likely to watch chess videos. And since this chess video is free (free registration required) and will be available on-demand for the next month or so, "everyone" should be happy.

    Monday
    Aug092010

    Endgame Blunders at the Rapid World Championship

    Two games from this weekend's Grenke Rapid World Championship caught my eye as examples of what can happen to a player who is pressing for the win and gets excited about his chances - so excited he loses his sense of danger. Have a look.