Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm going to party like I'm 1699

My rating after the NH open and this month's performance at the club has brought me up to 1699 as I head to the U1800 section of the World Open ( look for Duval). My goal this summer is to take it over the threshold of 1700 and sustain a rating there for more than a month.

I leave Sunday to spend a couple days with my son before heading to Philly to play in the 5-day schedule. I am planning on blogging some periodic updates on my great moments of mediocrity and other antics that could potentially transpire with the likes of other bloggers being there. It should be a phenomenal chess vacation. Some folks like to relax at a beach or on the golf course. As for me, I prefer to sweat it out against some Asian kid or an eastern European sandbagger.

Since I am not going for the money, rather I want to do a half point better than my best WO score of 5.5 in '06. In '07 I foolishly tried to win the money like a moth to a flame and re-entered etc finishing with an abysmal 4.5 points. So if I finish with a 6.0 I'll consider it a success.

I have in my arsenal a confident opening repertoire meant to get me some playable middle games and diffuse any opening landmines. For middle game strategy I have brushed up on minority attacks, lasker sacrifices, Pillsbury attack, attacks on the uncastled king, and of course various king side attacks. I've brushed up on my pawn structures most common in my games and how to play either side. I am running through the review material in Silman's endgame book and am doing about 20 tactical problems a day as preparation. I am also reviewing my training positions I set up in the London 1851 and, of course, my own games where I have critical positions highlighted.

Bring it on! I am ready to roll!

Have a good weekend, I'll see you all in Philly!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Despite the 4th round loss...

...I am still ahead by 3-4 rating points! I am on the threshold of 1700 which is fine as I gear up for the World Open. My last round was wild ride against an 1840 player. I was the black side of a Caro-Kann gone wild. ( no comments on the game yet ) I wasn't budging until he does this knight sac on h6. I thought I was going to wiggle out of a ruptured kingside and actually get ahead with a surprise move:

I played 22.. f5 to cut off the communications of the rook and queen on my full frontal King showing. A couple moves later I pulled a Bxh4 as well and almost queened. But at the last moment as my opponent made time control with only a minute to spare I pull a boneheaded move and lost the game. In the words of Maxwell Smart " Missed it by THAT much"

I was hard not to buckle over in pain but I tempered that with the fact that I still gained some rating points plus, had I won, I wouldn't have won any prize fund. Everyone I played was over 1800 except for round three, who was almost 1800 and had a bitching chess tattoo that would impress Chessloser:

I felt pretty capable holding my own against 1800's. What keeps me where I am at is still not seeing critical tactics despite my tactical training. Overall, the openings held up well and a couple months back I was concerned that this was my weakest link. Well, this week, I'll be sure to do lots of tactical puzzles as a final polishing for the World Open.

Round three defeated by a 1790

I had a good run. I was up against a Trompowski. I had the potential of a minority attack with Black but had to keep my king side safe.

I made the wrong plan at this position:

I played 32...d4 when I should have reinfroced my position. I overlooked the in between move with Bb3+. My game unraveld from there.

Oh well, I had a good run so far. Still have nothing to lose as my first two games insured me of that. If I win my next game I still have a chance at an U1750 prize. I'll post the result later tonight when I get I back.

I am blogging from the hotel hallway outside the hall. How sick is that?

Going into round 3 with 1.5 points

Last night I played an 1823 player as white again, I played the London. It was a symmetrical position which alloed me to play c4 and Qb3.

The position I botched is here:

After move 23...b5, I played 24.e4 thinking I could go after the center pawns. I thought I had an advantage thinking his pawns were weaker as Islands. Instead it exposed my king. A couple moves later, I offered a draw which he excepted before I fell further down the hole.

Going into round three and four with 1.5 points against hihger rated opponents means i have nothing to lose as far as rating points go.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

First round victory at this weekend's NH open against an 1800

First, apologies to Tacticus Maximus for not using his pgn viewer. I am blogging from the site of the Hotel and it just wasn't blunder-friendly enough. When I have more time, I will figure out how to get my pgn to the new viewer to embed in my blog. But for now, there seemed to be too many layers and hoops to go through not being a software guy. I'm a hardware engineer, for a reason, I loathe coding... it's text editing on steroids and I have not the patience for that. Give me Maxwell's equations over HTML.

So, I posted the game here at my game cache.

This was the position at my move 17.
With the London, I managed to grab the ideal position for a Pillsbury attack and snagged the f7 pawn with my knight previously a couple moves prior. In my comments to the game, I explain why this worked and what an expert had to say. Good thing I wasn't playing the expert, though I showed him I could still draw.
I played 17.Nd6. If he takes the knight I have a classic Bishop and queen mating attack on h7.
On to round two. Hope you all have a good weekend.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Parking the De Lorean until after the WO.

Sorry to disappoint those living in quiet anticipation for me to start the Hastings 1895 time travel, but given the fact that the World Open is only a little more than a a couple weeks out, I am in training. True, studying the old timey chess masters is good training, I am wrapping up the games of 1851 still. I am half way through making training diagrams in chess base/ fritz. I have a strong desire to finish this up so I can use the file to train before the World Open. Again, let me know by leaving me an email if interested in receiving this file with my commentary, Fritz's and some of Staunton's analysis, and training positions.

I am also going through Lev Alburt's "The king in Jeopardy" to get some attacking concepts in the short term to long term memory transition going in time as well. I'm looking into making this a training file as well but that's a stretch goal.

I've also got round two of the online LEPERS II event this week as well so no time for 1895.

With that said, the time traveling will have to go on hold until after the WO. I will be blogging on the road with brief updates from Philly.

Sounds like it'll be a good time as quite a few bloggers will be there. I'm psyched that Chessloser and LikesForests is going! This will be LF's first rated event. I suspect he will clean up his section. I predict that Philly will also recognize CL as a true Chess Celebrity and will have a posse with groupies as well as body guards following him around. Others, please drop me a line so I know to look for you.

Lastly, a shout out to Poppy-Blunder. It was great seeing you today. Thanks for teaching me this game! I'm glad you read my blog. Hope you solve the problem soon of not seeing my pictures and videos ( Ask John).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Olde Timey Shirts

( We interrupt our regularly scheduled program for a break from our sponsors)

Just in time for the Summer!

Blunder-productions presents his 2008 summer apparell in time for the summer chess season commemorating the old timey series of chess studies recently featured on this very blog.

For starters, nothing more obscure than a reference to a chess game time piece than a reference to an antique chess timer like:

Act now and order your shirt, hat or tote here

Or for the tongue in cheek reference to a movie that once feature Jack Lemon and Walter Matthieu, How about: Shirts, hats and totes here

These eyes! Now, how about having the face of an American Prodigy staring at your opponent like this:

The real question, what would Morphy wear? ( to go with that Hair)

Of course, my favorite, following the rumor of the Chess Enquirer of LEP, instill fear in your opponent with this message from the grave:

A stylish shirt hat or tote can be found here.
If you find yourself studying a different old timer, I might entertain alternate "haunted by" series on special requests ( for an added Mark-up).

So act now, while supplies last. Get them in time for that BIG TOURNEY this summer. You will be all the rave at chess tournaments with a highly coveted Blunderprone signature series chess geek shirt. Because you will never get to wear them any place else without getting puzzled squints staring at your chest.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

FINALLY Round 4 of London 1851

Break out the Champagne and Fruit, we have a winner!

In the final round battle on board one, Anderssen and Wyvill duked it out in the final 7th game of the match to decide the victor. After 5 rounds Anderssen almost had the match sewed up with a score of 3.5. Since draws didn't count and he needed a score of 4, they played on. Wyvill used a rook sac in the position below as white on move 36 Rxc7!

Why this works is it creates a passed pawn that is hard to stop especially with Anderssen's rook trapped on h6.

Anderssen came back with his own rook sac trick in the final game with this position as white on move 17Rxf5!:

Why this rook sac works for Anderssen is that uncontested Bishop on f6 in "scoring position" once the queen is in the end zone the game goes to Anderssen as well as the first place prize fund of 183 British pounds . Wyvill walked home with a total of 55 British Pounds.

Howard Staunton, exhausted and sick as he was battled for eight rounds with Elijah Williams in a close match decided with a final round decided by an attack run dry by Staunton. He lost steam and the initiative and further comments in his manual of " an imbecile defense". I give them both credit in the match for some interesting tactics like William's queen sac in teh first match and Staunton's 7th match draw with a forced three fold repetition after a deflection sacrifice. Williams walks out with 39 pounds and 5 shillings and Staunton in fourth place, recovers a mere 27 of the 500 he invested for the event.

The Captain's ( Kennedy) ship sank against the Hungarian Josef Szen after 5 rounds. The fourth game match was interesting as The Captain almost had Szen. Coming from behind where it appeared that Szen didn't foresee a knight fork against his rook and queen, manages to imobilize the captain's extra pieces and advance a trheatening passed pawn. The Captain gives back the material to stop the advance but its too late and he loses the game. So 4.4 under that one is definitely a must see game. Szen finishing in 5th place takes home 20 pounds and the Captain retains 13 pounds and 15 shillings.

For Horwitz and Mucklow who finished 7th and 8th, a pittance was retained along with a nice ivory chess set. Not a bad prize considering they were handcrafted.

There were additional provincial matches that followed the general tournament where Lowenthal and Bird did get to play but Neither won any of the four cash prizes ( of much lesser value than the general event. Of these " Jousts", in order of finish were (1) Mr. Boden, (2) Mr. Ranken (3) Mr. Hodges and (4) Mr. Brien.


Anderssen was considered the best player at the time but had to earn a living and stopped playing for several years until in 1858 he played the young Paul Morphy and lost. This woke him up out of retirement as he played and won the 1862 London tournament. In his later years ( over 50) more tournaments of round robin style were popping up and he took full advantage of these winning 5 more and place in the top three of most he entered.

Staunton played chess for a couple more years following this event but was clearly past his prime. He hung up the chess board and settled into editing the text of Shakespeare with a local publisher. This edition appeared in parts from 1857 to 1860, and Staunton's work was praised by experts.

Wyvill was an active member of the Parliament in the 1860's but not much is known about his chess career following the London 1851 event.

As for Josef Szen, not much chess was played following this event. The suppression of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 brought with it a ban on all club activities, including chess clubs. The ban was in effect until 1864.

I am working on cleaning up all the games into one Chessbase file for those interested. These will be complete with my commentary along with fritz analysis. I am looking into setting it up with positional training markers as well but this won't be done for a little while. If you are at all interested in the work I've done here, I don't mind sharing it and would love to email it to interested parties. Contact me by dropping an email at george (dot) duval ( at) comcast (dot) net.

Phew. I'm exhausted with this time travel. However, I am revving up the way back machine for Hastings 1895. Stay tuned if you want.