Saturday, April 28, 2007


I had a brain fart while I was doing this level 30 Tactic on CT-ART:

Exercise 534

White to move

Black looks solid. The weakness is the g6 pawn and the “misplaced fianchetto” bishop.
I had a hard time with this one. There are no clear “seeds of tactical destruction”. I first approached this by looking at the diagonals for White. The Bishop on b1 and the h7 square where the queen indirectly has a line of force going to that square. Then I started to look for ways to clear the diagonal and the h-file. I saw Nxf7 followed by Qxe6. But then I was at a loss.

Clearing the diagonal was not the plan. Rather, the tactic is the all the defenders are barricaded on the queen side so to speak. So, this sequence popped out with the intent of ripping open the kingside 1.Nxf7 Kxf7 2. Qxe6+ Kf8 3. Bh6+ Ng7. Still down materially and the position ran out steam. The correct NEXT move is even harder to see. Instead of the check with 3. Bh6 right away, 3. Bxg6 threatens mate on f7 and white gives up a SECOND piece in order to weaken once triangle of pawns. The Bishop of e7 is in the way for Black. The position continues with 3. Bxg6 hxg6 4. Bh6+ Ng7 and now the queen can take 5. Qxg6, down materially two whole pieces but with a killer position. Black is cramped to the point that White will be able to compensate the material losses.

5…Bf6 6. Rxe8. Qxe6 ( deflection) 7. Qxf6+ Qf7 8. Bxg7+ and Black is lost. ( next move is Re1+ and Black drops the queen).

In other news, I almost beat my 1880 opponent the other night at the club but blew a move 34 and gave the game back. I had such a strong position but fatigue got the best of my calculations and I missed a recovering move he had. It was reassuring to know that I almost tied for first place in the Under 2000 section at the club this month. I plan on conitnuing to focus on a consistent thought process and practicing tactics and game analysis. No new theory. So far this month, I picked up 50 USCF rating points!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Blunder Less-- Climbing my way back up

I seem to be making a bit of a rating comeback. I played at the Massachusetts G60 championship on Sunday in the U1900 section. I was the 3rd from the bottom “seed” in this section.

The first game, I was Black against a 1700+ player. I had a mainline Caro-Kann. I allowed a knight exchange for my Bishop on g6 and opened up my h-file that he castled into. I had a battery of rooks on the h-file and a diagonal battery with my Bishop and Queen on the h2 square. I steamrolled on in for the victory.

The second game, I was playing an even higher rated almost 1800 player. I played the Smith-morra gambit. 20 moves later I trapped his greedy pawn grubbing queen. :

Oh where can that queen go? 1 Place left :)

1. e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3. c3 d5. 4 Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5 Ng8 6.Nf3 e6 7. Bd3 Nc6 8. Qg4 Ne7 9. 0-0 Ng6 10.Re1 Qc7 11. Bxg6 hxg6 12. Bf4 Bc5 13.Nbd2 Qb6 14.Qg3 Qxb2 15 Nb3 Bb6 16. Ng5 Ne7 17.Qf3 Qc2 18.Re2 Qf5 19. g4 Bxf2+ 20. Rxf2 1-0.

The amazing thing about this is that I saw the whole thing. I knew he was eying my b-pawn but I had way to much action on the K-side to ignore. I saw how to trap the queen and that’s why I made the subtle knight moves and the Q move to f3. Had he tried to retreat to a3, I could have dropped my Bishop to c1.

Now I will digress. Unlike the kids that also played at this tournament, I was dealing with “life” issues. My 18 year old step son had come home at 1:30 in the morning the night before. The reason I know this is that he dropped his keys in an unreachable location between the seats and the car alarm was going off. He didn’t have the sense to disconnect the battery. 2Am rolls around I have the seat removed in the dark, fished out the keys dropped the seat back in and told him he could hook the battery back up before heading to work at 7:30.

Nothing that Caffeine can’t cure, right? Well I survived the first two rounds and then I made the mistake of calling home. My wife was upset because one of the other kids was stealing from their sibling ( again). I went into round three feeling the caffeine and adrenaline running low. But that was no excuse. I was up against a tough 1800+ player who outsmarted my Caro-Kann. I’m just not there yet to see how a Rook sac on e6 wins. But it did.

Right before round 4, my other son ( non step this time) drives in to drop off his sibling . The car is making this metal rubbing against tire sound. He’s got the music loud and two girls in the car along with his sib. “ Why is the bumper cover falling off and why is there a dent in the fender?” I suggested it was time to take the girls home and he park the car at the house. He’s to only use the car for work and no play until I say so. Hrrmph!.

Round four begins…. I debated to take a bye and hold on to rating points. But I decided to hang tough because I am a tenacious son of a … The Alekhine? Damn it! I don’t see that one often, I knew about the concepts. Its Black’s lame excuse of having white over extend himself. So I played 1.e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. Bc4! And through my opponent out of the book. I was playing a really sharp game too up until fatigue and stress hit in at a crucial moment when I dropped a piece through miscalculation.

I gained 32 rating points. Tomorrow I play an 1800 player at the club in the last round of a month long tourney. So far I have 2.5 points ( no losses, a win with a 1700+ and 1400 player and draw with a 1660) so overall I am bound to pick up more points even if I lose. If I win, it could finally put me over 1700 ( took me almost a year to recover). I have Black.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Another Nugget from GM-Ram

I am in the K+B+P vs K+N endgame positions in the GM-Ram book and I came across this position (63)

With Black to move, he can draw by perpetual check ( sorry Chessloser). With Nd6+ and whether the king stays near the pawn and gets checked again or he moves away form the pawn and drops it.

With white to move, he can win. First the king has to move to e7 where he won’t be checked. Then, the plan is to get the bishop on the a8-h1 diagonal and then once the knight goes to d8 place the bishop on d5 and black is in Zugzwang. The Bishop on the long diagonal prevents the knight from pesky perpetual checks.

Now here is what I like about wrestling with GM-RAM. Rashid moves the entire position over one file (Position 64).

Now it becomes a draw either way because Black has a stale mate opportunity after white reaches the above goal ( Bishop on the a7-g1 diagonal on c5, 2 squares in front of Black’s Knight) Now, the zugzwang that once was has an opportunity for stalemate. Black moves the king to a8 and white can’t take the knight or else stalemate.

So for me the concepts I have to grab from this is that the if the Bishop is the wrong color of the queening square, then it needs to get 2 squares in front of the Knight that is defending that square in order to put Black in zugwang. Also, the bishop pawn can draw because of stalemate. If the Bishop were on the same color as the queening square, then he can push the knight off the square easily.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Well, the best laid plans ….

For those of you following with abated breath my last post, first, I didn’t lose last night. I just didn’t get to play the one I prepared for. As stated earlier, the pairing post was only preliminary at our club. We had one person in my section with the same points to call in for a bye. I played a 1400 player instead of Mr. 1900 who I had prepared for.

Now, since my latest chess improvement plan is to blunder less, I played cautiously against an odd French variation with 1.e4 e5 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 g6? I’d never seen that one before and decided to make normal developing moves. I have the game posted below.

I suckered my opponent into a tasty poisoned b2 pawn and he got even greedier with the c-pawn. This allowed for a discovered attack on the unprotected queen. A point is a point and I marked it on the score sheet. Poor kid.

White to move

24. Rb1 Qxc2 25 Bxh6+ ( 24... Qa3 still looses to Bb4).

So Mr.1900 has the same score as I going into the last round as does one other player who’s rated between us. Looking at the preliminary pairing for next week. I still won’t get to play him. I am paired with an 1800 player as black. I have a little history on this one and he plays 1.d4. I have been playing the Slav against 1.d4 and I need to revamp this. I have been looking at the Meran version in the starting out series:

But I may pull a surprise out of my hat and actually attempt a completely different defense called the Baltic ( 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Bf5!) which ends up more like a London reversed. So it would be an easy one for me. I played it last year at during a speed tournament at the World open and had some good luck with it.

This Sunday, I am playing in a 1 day G60 event. I am preparing for this mostly by doing as many tactical problems as possible since a lot of these games tend to be won in the final minutes.

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.e5 h6 6.Bd3 b6 7.0–0 c5 8.dxc5 bxc5 9.Nb5 Bf8 10.Bf4 c4 11.Be2 Qb6 12.Nd6+ Bxd6 13.exd6 Nc6 14.Ne5 Nxe5 15.Bxe5 f6 16.Bc3 Qxd6 17.Bxc4 Qb6 18.Bd3 Kf7 19.Qg4 Ne7 20.Rfe1 e5 21.Qe2 d4 22.Bc4+ Kg7 23.Bd2 Qxb2 24.Rab1 Qxc2 25.Bxh6+ Rxh6 26.Qxc2 Bf5 27.Bd3 Rc8 28.Qb3 Rc3 29.Qb7 Kf7 30.Bxf5 gxf5 31.Rec1 Rxc1+ 32.Rxc1 Rh8 33.Rc7 Re8 34.Qd5+ Kf8 35.Qe6 1–0

Sunday, April 15, 2007

In Preparation against a Strong Class A player

This coming Tuesday I am preliminarily paired against a Class A player. This post is about my preparation against a player 300 points higher than my own.

First I had to figure out what to open with. I am supposed to have white against him. In preparation, I did a sleuthing and found out that he plays the Caro-Kann as Black against 1.e4. This will be interesting since I play the C-K as black I know what throws me off. I thought of preparing either a Panov-Botvinik or an advanced Caro-Kann as described in the book : Caro Kann in Black and White . I Like the Everyman’s Starting out… series

and referenced the Caro-Kann for the mainline: 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxd4 Bf5
I know he plays this if allowed.

Second, I wanted to find a good place to throw him out of the book. I searched on this and decided to play 5.Nc5 with a fiery queenside attack. There is only vague references in the 2 books I have already mentioned.

Third , I needed to evaluate if this variation was sound. How to do this without spending more money? DATABASE search… I actually had downloaded a HUGE pgn file on the mainline C-K to build my Bookup repertoire. I discovered it had several master/GM games with the signature move I was looking for. I didn’t feel it necessary to search and download anymore from the online games databases. Instead, over the weekend, I played through each of the games in my database and annotated a few of the games ( two were with Fisher playing white).

The last step in my preparation against a formidable opponent, I discovered that several key positional schemas were common. One involves an Isolated Queen Pawn formation as white. A second strategy was discovering how to make use of a queenside attack on the Black’s weakness of b7 early in the game. Another common theme is a massive king-side pawn advance to blockade the Bishop which involves a thematic pawn sacrifice on f5 to lock him in. I am spending the rest of my time practicing with the computer against these types of positional dynamics to gain more experience.

My hope is to take him out of the comfort zone of the typical C-K game of chase the bishop. I’ll let you all know how I do on Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Last night I played Globular at our club. I had Black and took him down an exchange Caro-Kan that I like to play ( 5…Qc7 Variation). After 1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5 c3 Qc7 :

In the exchange, White typically gets his bishops to d3 and f4 with knights on d2 and f3 to put pressure in the center. What I like most about the 5…Qc7 variation is that it makes it hard for Black to deploy the bishop to the b8-h2 diagonal.

Black’s typical responses are to develop the king knight to f3 or e2 ( which he did in this case) allowing Black to pester the knight for the sole purpose of breaking the security of the White’s king side pawns. If white prevents it with h3, then Black develops the Bishop normally to d7.

The game continues 6. Ne2 Bg4 7. f3 Bd7 ( the maneuver was intentional and now the white king has no real secure haven to retreat to.) 8. Bf4 e5 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10. Bc2 Nf6 11. a4 (Stronger might have been Ba4 instead). 11…Bd6 12. Bg5 Be6 In this position I have an IQP. I know how to play these positions and how it can be a middle game advantage if I don’t play too passive. I have the pieces all around it. But if I don’t protect it, the queen will grab the center and then I will be in a defensive mode.
13 Bxf6 gxf6 14 Nd4 :

I missed a stronger move here with 14…Nc4 which threatens both b2 and e3. If white tries to defend with the queen at c1, I have Bf4 and a strong attack. I was worried about the queen side though so I played concservatively 14…a6 15 Qe2 Qc4 16 Nd2 Qxe2 17 Kxe2 0-0-0 18 g3 Rde8 19Kf2 Nc4 20 Nxc4 dxc4 21 Nf5 Bc5+ 22 Kg2 Bd5 23 Rhe1 and a draw offer was made which I accepted.

Double bishops with a double pawn versus Bishop and Knight, I couldn’t see a plan that didn’t put my game at risk and at 10 Pm I was about to take chances. While going over the game, an Expert offered that I could have brought my rook to e5 to prepare to double up the rooks on the file or undoable the pawns if he exchanged. Then he proceeded to show me several moves later …with exact play… how I could have eventually won the game. I’m still happy with the half point.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Snatched from the Jaws of Defeat ( against a 1700+ USCF player)

I’ve been playing against the French a lot lately. Last night I had the white side of a French classical variation against an upper 1700 player. I was still in book by move 15 and then I miss played the center. After this position:
(White to Move)

I played 21: Nxc4 thinking I had done a great thing but never took into account the simple 21…Qb7 winning the knight. Better was the thematic Qc3.

However, I trudged onward and reached this position and saw an opportunity to redeem myself:

(Black to Move)

Black played 32 ..Nxd6, 33 exd6+ Kf8 34 Qxh7 with a mate threat and at the very least a chance to do a perpetual check. Instead I got a lucky break . Black tried 34…Qxg2+ and didn’t see my best reply being 35 Ka1. followed by Rg1.

Here is the game in PGN:
[Event "Game 1204, MCC Spring Break Swiss"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2007.04.03"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Duval, George"]
[Black "Kaprielian, Mark"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C14"]
[Annotator "Fritz 10 (30s)"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2006.11.24"]
[SourceDate "2002.06.24"]

{C14: French: Classical System: 4 Bg5 Be7 main line} 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e5 Nfd7 6. Bxe7 Qxe7 7. f4 a6 8. Nf3 c5 9. dxc5 Qxc5 10. Qd2 Nc6 11. O-O-O b5 12. Bd3 Nb6 13. Ne2 Nc4 14. Bxc4 bxc4 15. Nfd4 Nb4 16. Nc3 Bd7 17. a3 Nc6 18. Nf3 Rb8 19. Ne4 Qb6 20. Nd6+ Ke7 21. Nxc4 Qb7 22. Ng5 dxc4 23. Qd6+ Ke8 24. b4 cxb3 25. cxb3 Na5 26. b4 Rc8+ 27. Kb1 Nc4 28. Qd4 Ke7 29. Ne4 Nxa3+ 30. Ka2 Nb5 31. Qd3 Rhd8 32. Nd6 Nxd6 33. exd6+ Kf8 34. Qxh7 Qxg2+ 35. Ka1 f6 36. Rhg1 Bc6 37. Rxg2 Bxg2 38. Rg1 Rxd6 39. Qh8+ Kf7 40. Qxc8 Bc6 41. Qc7+ {Black Resigns} 1-0