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GM Lars Schandorff lecture in Edinburgh 30th October – 2nd November

September 30th, 2014 18 comments

It is with great pleasure that we can announce that Quality Chess author and National Coach of the Danish elite GM Lars Schandorff is coming to Edinburgh to give a 15 hour lecture on aggressive positional chess, with a starting point in the games of Bobby Fischer.

Sjandy

The lectures will take place in Edinburgh Chess Club on 1 Alva Street in the heart of Edinburgh. Attendance costs £80 for the full session and £50 for those aged 24 or less. Also those travelling from outside Scotland will get this discount.

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Two games versus the Chigorin

September 4th, 2014 4 comments

On my way to winning the Largs congress this past weekend, I twice faced the Chigorin Defence against the Queen’s Gambit. I haven’t faced this too often, but I could remember the basics of Avrukh’s repertoire in Grandmaster Repertoire 1.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 dxc4

In the first round my opponent played rather passively with: 3…Nf6 4.Nf3 e6?! (4…dxc4 transposes to Greet – Wynarczyk) 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 White has a comfortable version of a QGD, as the knight on c6 is misplaced. 6…h6 7.Bf4!? (7.Bh4) 7…Bd6 8.c5N This logical move is a novelty, although it soon transposes to another game. (8.Bxd6 Qxd6 9.c5 Qe7 10.Bb5 Bd7 didn’t seem too bad for Black.) 8…Bxf4 9.exf4 The doubled pawns are not weak, and the f4-pawn helps to clamp down on the centre. 9…Ne4 10.Qc2 f5? A positional blunder. (10…Nxc3 11.Qxc3 leaves White with a pleasant space advantage and the better bishop, but Black is solid.) 11.Bb5 Bd7 12.Bxc6 Bxc6 13.Ne5

White is already strategically winning. 13…0–0 14.f3 Nxc3 (14…Qh4+? 15.g3 Nxg3 16.Qf2+–; 14…Nf6 15.b4 White dominates the entire board.) 15.Qxc3 Be8 16.0–0 g5 17.Qd2 Kh7 18.Kf2 Rg8 19.g3 gxf4 20.Qxf4 Qg5 21.Qxg5 hxg5 22.h4 g4 23.fxg4 fxg4 24.Ke3 Bg6 25.Nxg4 Kg7 26.Ne5 Raf8 27.g4 b6 28.c6 a5 29.Nd7 Rxf1 30.Rxf1 Be8 31.Ne5 b5 32.h5 Kh7 33.Rf6 1–0 Greet – Parks, Largs 2014.

4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bg5

Avrukh’s recommendation. White makes a useful developing move before taking action in the centre.

After the game my opponent said he knew what to do against 5.d5 and 5.e4, but that he had not encountered the bishop move.

5…Bg4?!

Black immediately goes wrong, but it is easily done, as this is a standard move in the Chigorin.

5…h6 6.Bh4 (Schandorff recommends 6.Bxf6) 6…a6 is the main line, with the point that after 7.e4 Bg4 8.d5 the black knight can go to e5. I couldn’t remember much more of Avrukh’s coverage, other than the fact that White continues with Be2 and takes back on f3 with the g-pawn. I reckon this is about as much theory as you need to know, unless you are facing a real specialist.

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Scotland in Tromso – The End

August 14th, 2014 5 comments

The Tromso Olympiad ended earlier today. I will start with a photo from earlier this week of the television in the house the Scottish men stayed in.

Chess on Norwegian TV

What’s the point? That is a snapshot of the five hours of live coverage the main Norwegian TV channel had of the Olympiad each day. Magnus Carlsen is watching his teammate Agdestein. Norway has gone chess mad, or maybe it’s Carlsenmania. If the BBC in the UK had five hours of live chess every day for over a week, there would be rioting in the streets.

For me, the chess in Tromso went surprisingly well,

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Diary from a fried brain – End of Tromso Olympiad

August 14th, 2014 2 comments

Round 10 was another disappointment. Davor held a draw against a good player on board one, while Mads and I had winning chances on boards 3 and 4. At some point Mads entirely lost control and went from winning to entirely lost. A draw was a lucky result.

I had the advantage when I mixed something up in my head and repeated the position for the third time! I was perplexed when my opponent explained it to me, but there was nothing that could be done. The PC says I have some advantage, but I am not really sure the result would have been different had we played on. Still a weird experience.

Allan had a very bad day at the office, losing his third game with White in the tournament. Bummer.

On the rest day I went home. It took 14 hours (three planes), so sorry I did not update the blog before now. To be honest, I am still very very tired.

In the last round we won 3-0. Not a great tournament for us. Jakob won rating and Davor did well until the end. Allan, Mads and I have nothing to be happy about. I lost 3 rating points, but really showed no great chess. I have already decided that I will not annotate a game for the Danish magazine. I just did not play a single good game!

China won the men’s event. It is only the second big title to go to China (outside Women’s chess). The first being Yu Yangyi’s win in the World Junior last year. Again he was the hero with the highest performance of the whole tournament.

On a positive note a good friend of mine made a medal, though he could not care less, as the team did badly…

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Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Day 9

August 11th, 2014 4 comments

Round 9

What a horrible day. Jakob has just resigned in what looks like a drawn ending. How easy it is to hold, I don’t know, but this is not what we deserved. I will see what FinalGen says.

The game plan was three draws and then Jakob win on board 3 against David Howell. A big ask, but you cannot go into a match without a winning strategy.

Nikos prepped me really well and I could throw it out at move 2! Luckily Gawain Jones could not remember where he should damage me and ended up allowing me to liquidate to an opposite coloured bishop ending. There were a few details and at some point he over-pressed, but I missed it. Draw.

Davor just neutralised Adams as planned. He was a bit worse at some point, but held it together.

Mads got his prep in and was solid as anything. Sadler went too far in his efforts to get something going and at some point Mads was even better. It required a bit of calculation. Three moves later he resigned.

Jakob’s game was very complicated and it looks like he just beat the guy at some point. But at the end he made some horrific decisions in the ending, allowing his opponent first to hold, then to even take the initiative. It was still a draw when Jakob resigned. Maybe even not so difficult to hold, though it looked hard optically.

So, 3-1 for England. A big disappointment.

On good news – Andrew won against Lubomir Ftacnik. He has played really well here.

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Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Round 8

August 11th, 2014 3 comments

4-0 against Norway 3.

Everything was going well for me, when I blundered badly in move 22, completely missing …f5. After this it was sort of even, maybe with a slight plus for me. Eventually I got a better ending, which he defended badly (…f3 helps me immensely).

The rest of the team had to work hard for their wins as well. A good day, but very tiring.

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Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Round 7

August 9th, 2014 1 comment

Finally I got a rest day! Which also means (thinking of the playing hall) that I did not go there. But I did follow the games a bit on the Internet.

Davor Palo got a slightly worse position and was ground down. Chess is hard sometimes.

Allan Stig Rasmussen got what he had prepared and a big advantage. He also played really well and won a good game.

Jakob Vang Glud’s position early on looked risky as far as we could tell, but apparently it was preparation and Jakob got out of the opening with a nice position with lots of options. His opponent could not contain all the tactical threats and was torn to pieces.

Mads Andersen got an advantage – I think he was following Negi actually. But at an important moment he realised that a draw was a good outcome and forced it.

A great match for us. Tomorrow we will play Norway3, which has not performed greatly (unlike Norway2!).

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Diary from the Tromso Olympiad – Round 6

August 8th, 2014 1 comment

Round 6

After suffering from bad luck and knights galloping in from hell to shock-change the evaluations, we were now relegated to board 48! Actually, with 4 points we had one point less than Palestine, whom we beat in round 1 with a 4-0 non-contest score; and which failed to show up on time in round two, thus defaulting the match 4-0 as well!

Our opponents Puerto Rico is most here to learn. They were extremely pleasant people, but it is not a country with great chess traditions. So we decided to rest our top man, Davor, to keep him in shape for (hopefully) tougher matches to come. It was a clear match where we just had to play reasonably in order to win. Most resistance was offered to Allan on board one, I think, though I did feel I had to play a few good moves after my opponent made a positional blunder in the opening:

Jacob Aagaard – Edgardo Almedina Ortiz

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 0–0 5.Bg5 d6 6.e3

The harmless Smyslov System.

6…Nc6 7.Be2 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Nh5 10.d5 Nxg3

10…Nb4 is the most natural move. White is probably a bit better.

10…Na5? amusingly loses material at once due to 11.Qc2! (threatening b4) 11…c5 12.Nxg5! , which is the favourite trap in this opening.

11.hxg3 Ne5?

This is just bad positional judgement.

12.Nxe5 dxe5 13.g4

White secures the light squares. Other moves were good too.

13…e4!?

Trying to create some counterplay and to get the bishop out. But also an admission that the opening has failed.

14.Nxe4 e6

14…Bxb2 15.Rxh6! is just a pawn up and a weak kingside. 15…Bxa1 16.Qxa1 f6 and I had not finally decided what I would play. 17.Qb1!? came to mind, but 17.Nxg5 fxg5 18.Qb1 was my main intention, as White wins without problems after 18…Bf5 and against 18…Rf7 comes 19.Qg6+ Rg7 20.Qh5 Kf8 21.Rh8+ Rg8 22.Qh7 as I had seen.

15.Nc3 exd5 16.cxd5 c6

16…f5 17.gxf5 Bxf5 18.Qb3 Kh8 looked like the way to keep the game going.

17.dxc6

I was happy to exchange pieces and get a great structure.

17…bxc6 18.Qxd8 Rxd8 19.Rc1 Be6 20.b3 Bf8 21.f3!?

I did not like weakening e3, but I need the king on e2 and the bishop is not correctply placed on f3. 21.Bf3 Bb4 22.Ke2 Kg7 and Black can try …c6-c5-c4 with good drawing chances.

21…Kg7

After the game we looked at 21…a5 22.Rc2 Bb4 23.Kf2 Kg7 24.Na4 Rd6 25.Rd1 Rad8 26.Rxd6 Rxd6 as being Black’s best chances. White does not win automatically; at least I did not do so when we shuffled the pieces around. Black’s best chance does seem to be to exchange all rooks.

22.Ba6!

My best move of the game, preventing the a-pawn from moving forwards.

22…Rd7 23.Ke2 Rad8 24.Rhd1 Rxd1 25.Nxd1!

Black has more weaknesses; let’s keep a set of rooks on. Two sets would give counterplay against the king, so I would not like that.

25…Bb4 26.Rc2 h5?

A bit desperate. 26…f5 and the game goes on with a big white advantage.

27.gxh5 g4 28.Nf2 gxf3+ 29.gxf3 Ba5 30.Nd3 Bd7

30…Rh8 31.Nf4 Bd7 32.Rc1 and the rook comes to h1.

31.Ne5 Be8 32.Nd3!?

Keeping calm. I had planned 32.Nxc6 Bxc6 33.Rxc6 Rd2+ 34.Kf1 but now realised Black has 34…Rh2! I think White is winning after 35.h6+ Rxh6 36.Rxh6 Kxh6 37.Bd3 but I did not want to take any risks. It would have been stupid.

32…Rd5 33.Nf4 Re5?!

33…Rg5 34.Bc8 Bc7 35.Bg4 was my plan. It seems that nothing has been spoiled.

34.Bb7!

This time the exchanges are pleasant for me.

34…Bb6 35.e4 f5 36.Bxc6 fxe4 37.Bxe8 Rxe8 38.Rc6 exf3+ 39.Kxf3 Kh7 40.Nd5 Rf8+ 41.Rf6 Rb8 42.Nxb6 axb6 43.Ke4 1–0

 

4-0. Tomorrow someone good might await. There are a lot of strong teams here!

 

 

 

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