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    Entries in tactics (11)

    Thursday
    Jun042015

    Logical Chess: Error by Error

    Irving Chernev's old book Logical Chess: Move by Move is a pretty good book for the post-beginner. There is lots of explanatory prose, and the simple attacking and positional themes in the games offer useful oversimplifications for new players looking for some way of imposing structure on the chaos of a chess game. For this reason I occasionally use the book when working with low-rated students who haven't seen many (sometimes any) examples of professional chess.

    As I said, the book oversimplifies, which is okay, but already in game one there are some more serious errors as well. The first two took me only a couple of moments to spot when I showed the game to a student, but the last one was a real surprise. The game is Von Scheve-Teichmann, and White resigned in this position.

    It certainly looks lost, doesn't it? Von Scheve obviously thought so, Teichmann probably thought so as well (he could have varied earlier had he seen a problem here), Chernev goes with the flow and while I thought of an interesting idea while waiting for my student to come up with Black's last move (17...Bxf2) I assumed it was just a last joke before dying. Nope! While running an engine later to confirm that my earlier thoughts about the game were correct, I discovered that the seemingly conclusive finish was in fact anything but. See if you can work out where flesh has faltered and silicon succeeded. The answers, along with the full game and the earlier errors I alluded to, can be found here.

    Sunday
    Mar082015

    Tactics Time: Target Practice

    On Saturday I played well and successfully in a rapid tournament, coming in second place in a small but strong field. After an early loss to the eventual winner, I defeated an IM in the penultimate round and had to beat a 2300+ rated opponent in order to have any chance at tying for first. My opponent played a very provocative opening - we transposed into a St. George! - and in the following position White is not lacking for good moves.

    I'm sure you'll find some effective solutions that differ from mine, which you can replay for yourself over here. Happy analyzing!

    Thursday
    Jan082015

    Tactics Time: Two Combinations by Moiseenko - Solutions (Updated)

    Yesterday I offered a couple of positions from the recent praxis of the strong Ukranian grandmaster Alexander Moiseenko for your solving pleasure (the positions are here), and now it's time for the solutions. Both come from the combinations section of Informant 122, which I hope to review for you within a day or two.

    The solutions are here, with some variations and comments added (prefaced with "DM") to the first position for clarity's sake.

    [UPDATE: The solutions are now linked.]

    Tuesday
    Jan062015

    Tactics Time: Two Combinations by Moiseenko

    Both can be found here, and in both cases it's White - Moiseenko - to play and win. (The second position can be accessed by means of the arrow above the board.) Solutions tomorrow, though I think many of you will successfully solve them on your own well before the follow-up post.

    Monday
    Apr212014

    An All-GM Miniature

    Evgeni Vasiukov (the victim of the famous "hippopotamus in the marsh" game) may not be the player he once was, but he's still pretty darned good. Although he is 81 years old, he still has a 2451 FIDE rating, and as such isn't a guy to be taken lightly. Of course, he can have his bad days - can't we all? - and when one's opponent plays as incisively as Miso Cebalo did in this game, disaster can strike.

    (A P.S.: Vasiukov beat many great players, but to show that even in his older years he has remained a dangerous opponent check out this 2002 demolition job on Loek van Wely.)

    Friday
    Oct052012

    Tactics Time: A Crazy Possibility from Regan-Riester

    Sometime last month IM and computer scientist (and regular reader of this blog) Ken Regan found a little time for tournament chess, and while the result wasn't all he might have hoped he was kind enough to send one of his games, from which I'll present the following excerpt.

    IM Kenneth Regan - NM Scott Riester, position after 20...Qxh2+ 21.Kf1

    Ken writes:

    "Now the pin-cutting 21...Bc5! was missed by both players. [DM: That very nice move is best and conclusive, but Black has other moves that also win with a huge margin.] The computer sees instantly that it's "splat!", so my statistical model rates it a near-certainty to be found, but this may qualify as a kind of "Invisible Move" that is hard to suspect let alone see.  My opponent's actual 21...Qh1+ 22.Ke2 Qxg2 seemed natural, and now I hallucinated that after 23.Nxa7+ Kd7 24.Rg1 Qe4 I could play 25.Rgd1+ Ke7 26.Bg5 "mate".  Seeing nothing else I played 25.Qb5+ and resigned next move.  But I could have really mixed things up by playing 23.Bxf5!

     

    "According to my Houdini run to high depth, there is only one way for Black to keep the advantage, let alone survive.  Can you find the move, unaided?"

    I (DM) will give the answer later, in the unlikely event that someone doesn't find it first and include it in the comments. But please, readers, only give what you find with your own thoughts; don't include or hint the solution if you got it from an engine - even if you tried to find it on your own first!

    Friday
    Sep142012

    Icepick's Game

    A few posts back I mentioned computer cheating, and in the comments section "Icepick" noted that the ability to consult with the silicon oracle even once in a game could make all the difference in the world. He alluded to one of his own games to illustrate the point, noting that the engine later found a particularly striking winning move at one moment. (To be fair, he was winning easily without it, and had many wins until a couple of blunders at the end led to a most unfortunate loss.) He had White, and hints only that the notable blow occurs somewhere between moves 25 and 35. Here's the game:

    1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O d6 5. Re1 Be7 6. h3 O-O 7. c3 Nb8 8. d4 c6 9. Ba4 Nbd7 10. Nbd2 Qc7 11. Nf1 Nb6 12. Bc2 Be6 13. Ng3 Rad8 14. Qe2 h6 15. Nf5 Bxf5 16. dxe5 Nxe4 17. Bxe4 Be6 18. exd6 Bxd6 19. Nd4 Bc4 20. Qg4 Kh8 21. Qf5 g6 22. Qf6+ Kh7 23. Qh4 Rh8 24. Bg5 Rde8 25. Bf6 Rhg8 26. Nf5 Bh2+ 27. Kh1 Bf4 28. Nxh6 Bxh6 29. Bg5 Rh8 30. Bxh6 Kg8 31. Qg5 Qe5 32. Qd2 Qh5 33. Bg5 Nd5 34. b3 Qg4 35. Kh2 Rxe4 36. bxc4 Nf4 37. Bxf4 Qxf4+ 38. Kg1 Qxd2 0-1

    Friday
    Mar092012

    A Brilliant Tactic From The Chebanenko Memorial

    It was only a rapid event, but the reduced time control didn't prevent German GM Arkadij Naiditsch from finding a stunning tactical idea:

    It's Black to move (the leadup was 16.Ng3-f5 Be6xf5 17.g4xf5), and it looks like White is in good shape. Black's rooks are doubled on the d-file, sure, but with pawns on c2 and d3 there's nothing for them to do. The bishop on g7 would be great for pressure on b2, but there's a pawn on e5 and it's well-protected. The queen is doesn't coordinate with anything on b6, while the knight is good on d5 but without a job to do. So what did Naiditsch come up with? (Try to solve it before reading the next sentence.)

    I'll give the first move with the hat tip, and the next question, whose answer can be found here (along with the rest of the game), is how White should - or perhaps instead, shouldn't - respond.

    Happy analysis!

    (HT: Chess Today [17...c4])

    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.

    Friday
    Jul232010

    This Week's ChessVideos Show: Tactics in the Benoni

    In this week's ChessVideos show, I take a look back at an old game of mine (from the 1980s, around the time dirt was invented). When rediscovering it for myself a week or so ago, it seemed that there were several very interesting moments in the game. I spent several enjoyable hours going through it before flipping on the silicon beast to check my findings, and I hope you'll find it both entertaining and a good workout as well. (And maybe instructive, too, if you play or face the Modern Benoni.)

    Have a look here. The show is free (free registration is required) and will be available on-demand for the next month or so.