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Pawn Play in Wijk aan Zee

January 16th, 2019 53 comments

Jorden van Foreest – Viswanathan Anand
Tata Steel Masters, 12.01.2019

With Sam Shankland playing in the elite Tata Steel event (and currently sitting on a respectable 2/4 with four draws), we can’t help but pay attention to some of the pivotal pawn moves being made in the tournament. When you see games at this level being won and lost due to good and bad pawn play, it makes you appreciate even more what a vital topic this is. Take the following example:

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nf6 5.c3 Qc7 6.h3 g6 7.Nf3 Bf5 8.Ne5 Nc6 9.Bf4 Qb6 10.Bxf5 gxf5 11.Nd3 e6 12.Nd2 Rg8 13.0–0 0–0–0 14.a4 Ne4 15.Rc1 Bd6 16.Bxd6 Nxd6 17.b4 Kb8 18.Qe2 Qc7 19.Qe3 Ne7
Black has a comfortable game but there was no need for White to self-destruct with his next move:

20.f3??
Van Foreest must have thought he could withstand the pressure along the g-file, but in reality this is much too weakening, as Anand expertly shows.

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Remembering Playing 1.e4

December 6th, 2018 13 comments

If you want to know your opening repertoire well, you need time to memorise it. Some of it will make a lot of sense and some of it will be concrete, but counter-intuitive. Sometimes a line a tempo down is no worse, for example.

I just played a blitz game where I successfully remembered all of John’s analysis on the Alekhine, but ran out of time… As online blitz games have no relevance for the real world, I am still pleased by being able to get all the way to +-. After this I missed mate in four and lost on time in a totally winning position. But who cares…

The main reason I remembered the line, was because of an attractive shot in this position (did not really happen). Often these types of anchors and little nuggets of information helps us remember what comes before.

White to play. What is the strongest continuation?

Find the game here.

Umnov studies

August 17th, 2017 3 comments

Our friend and my compatriot Steffen Slumstrup Nielsen won a composition tournament in front of the two modern giants of chess competition, Afek and Pervakov. On request, he has written a small report for our blog, which I have decided to attach in a PDF.

But I wanted to give the readers a chance to solve some of the studies on their own. First of all, here is Steffen’s study.

White to play and win

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Fun chess in Glasgow on Sunday 6th August

August 4th, 2017 4 comments

There will be an informal, combined rapid/blitz match taking place this Sunday 6th August in Glasgow, starting just after 3pm and finishing at roughly 6pm.

Six leading Scottish players (GM Jacob Aagaard, IM Andrew Greet, FM Alan Tate, FM Neil Berry, IM Steve Mannion and our newest FM and Scottish Champion, Murad Abdulla) will be taking on six strong GMs/IMs who are all here for a training camp hosted by Jacob.

Spectators are welcome to drop in, enjoy watching some entertaining chess, and have a few laughs. The venue is All Bar One at 56-72 St Vincent Street in Glasgow’s city centre, where we have been granted the use of the entire upstairs area.

The foreign players are GM Sam Shankland (US), GM Mads Andersen (DK), GM Swapnil Dhopade (IND), IM Johan Salomon (NOR), IM Tania Sachdev (IND) and IM Sam Collins (IRE).

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Dundee 150 – Andrew wins

July 24th, 2017 2 comments

Congratulations to Quality Chess’s own IM Andrew Greet, who was first outright in the Dundee 150 international tournament. His 6/9 gained plenty of rating points, but was not quite enough for a GM norm. GM Colin McNab started well, but sadly faded to finish on 3/9. Full results here.

Congratulations also to 16-year-old Murad Abdulla who became Scottish Champion and looks to have gained enough in rating to become an FM. This makes Murad the second-youngest-ever Scottish Champion – GM Paul Motwani was also 16 when he first won, but a few months younger.

The Scottish Championship was held as part of an Open, so I will complete my congratulations by saying GM Andrei Maksimenko of Ukraine won the Open, but was of course not eligible to be Scottish Champion. Full results here.

Update: Dundee Chess Club have very helpfully put a link to a report that was broadcast on the Scottish TV programme ‘STV News’. It’s just 2 minutes and worth a watch. Spoiler: as Colin is on-screen, the reporter says: “If this was football, you’d be watching the equivalent of Cristiano Ronaldo.”

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Dundee 2017

July 14th, 2017 7 comments

In 1867, Dundee in Scotland hosted a tournament that featured elite players such as Steinitz and Blackburne. One hundred years later, in 1967, the centenary event included Larsen and Gligoric. Now in 2017, it’s 150 years after the original event, and Dundee is again hosting an international tournament.

You can check out the full line up at the following link, but I will highlight the participation of two of the Quality Chess team: GM Colin McNab and IM Andrew Greet. And right now in Round 1 they are playing each other. Live coverage here.

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Nuking the Najdorf with Negi

October 20th, 2016 19 comments

Anton Visser – Anthony Waller
Correspondence, 2015-16

We always enjoy hearing success stories from our readers. One such message came in last week from Anton Visser, who tested Parimarjan Negi’s repertoire against the Najdorf in a correspondence game. Anton’s verdict on Negi’s analysis is that it was “better than the computer my opponent used.” Here is the game:

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 Nfd7 12.Ne4 h6 13.Bh4 Qxa2 14.Rd1 Qd5 15.Qe3 Qxe5 16.Be2 Bc5 17.Bg3 Bxd4 18.Rxd4 Qa5+ 19.Rd2 0–0 20.Bd6 Rd8
We are deep into one of the crazy main lines of the Poisoned Pawn. Parimarjan (or “Pari”, as we call him) analyses it in Chapter 15 of 1.e4 vs the Sicilian I.

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Gibraltar 2016 – Authors in Action

February 5th, 2016 2 comments

GM Gawain Jones had a great result at the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters, which finished yesterday. Gawain scored 7.5/10, in a tie for 3rd, half a point behind Nakamura and Vachier-Lagrave. Gawain’s final-round game was with Black against Yu Yangyi, a 2747-rated 1.e4 player. Fortunately, Gawain has a Dragon repertoire he can trust.

I will give that game below, but another QC author at Gib was IM Marc Esserman, who played his favourite 1.e4 against both Nigel Short and Vishy Anand. Short played the French and lost, while Anand’s 1…c5 was of course met by 2.d4, but after 2…cxd4 3.c3 Anand avoided any Mayhem in the Morra with 3…Nf6, and drew. Great results for Marc, but I was looking forward to a Nd5 piece sac (they’re everywhere in the Morra).

On the topic of QC repertoires, Victor’s Mikhalevski’s recommended line in The Open Spanish remains popular at the highest level, with the likes of Mamedyarov, Giri, So, and Wei Yi playing it with solid results. Ding Liren even used it to draw against Magnus Carlsen at the recent Wijk aan Zee event, though he did need to hold rook versus rook-and-bishop. It may lack the glamour of the Dragon or Morra, but the Open Spanish is a great choice if you want to keep out elite opposition.

 

White: Yu Yangyi (2747) Black: Gawain Jones (2625)
Gibraltar Masters (10.5) 04.02.2016

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6
Showing his faith in the Dragon.

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