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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 15 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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Still Playing the Trompowsky

January 28th, 2016 4 comments

My attention was drawn to IM Andy Martin’s choice of BCM Game of the Month for February 2016. That’s a link to a YouTube video of Andy going through the game – I haven’t had time to watch the video yet. But what’s this got to do with Quality Chess? The game uses, with devastating effect, a novelty IM Richard Pert suggested in Playing the Trompowsky.

White: IM Nigel Povah Black: Pavel Asenov

4NCL Division 2, Birmingham, 23.01.2016

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c5 3.d5 Qb6 4.Nc3 Qxb2 5.Bd2 Qb6 6.e4 e5 7.f4 d6 8.Rb1
Pert’s move order was 8.Nf3, transposing to this game after 8…Nbd7 9.fxe5 dxe5 10.Rb1.

8…Qc7 9.fxe5 dxe5 10.Nf3 Nbd7 11.Nb5 Qb8
Quite possibly Asenov was still in his “prep” as this line was recommended for Black by Dembo in “Fighting the Anti-King’s Indians”, as Richard mentioned. IM Nigel Povah has been playing the Trompowsky consistently for at least 20 years, so it is unlikely that the promising young English player playing Black was surprised by the choice of opening.

11…Qb6 is safer.

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When computers fail to play good chess

November 20th, 2015 20 comments

The Top Chess Engine Championship is ongoing. The final is not surprisingly Stockfish against Komodo. As I write, round 58 is under way. Komodo is leading with four wins against one.

It can be viewed here: http://tcec.chessdom.com/live.php

In an earlier round (22), something that is hard to explain happened. Stockfish had a winning position and misplayed it! Gone is the illusion that “you have to be a computer to win this”, or at least it has been augmented a bit.

On top of this there was something to feed conspiracy theories. Here is what a source close to the match said:

“After 53.b6 the online broadcast stopped. The reason it stopped was a technical glitch. There are
two computers running the TCEC event: a 24-core machine runs the engines, and the tournament program cutechess-cli, a webserver. The game playing machine had a problem uploading the pgn file to the webserver (that’s my assessment of what happened). The live broadcast went offline in a position which seemed like an easy win for SF (sf was showing +7 and komodo was also showing a high score). Then the game was drawn; offline…and out of view.”

Indeed Stockfish did mess up a winning position, which led to some Stockfish fans to conclude that there was foul play involved. I enjoy the sound of “computer cheating in computer tournament” or “human cheats in computer tournament” or whatever the Daily Mail will be able to make out of it, looking for another scandal in chess to write about. (Recently an English player changed to Wales – for the second time in his life – and somehow this was seen as a major scandal in chess, while no one had actually noticed, or had cared once they did notice… Best of luck to Nigel of course, but that it should be a scandal is hard to understand.)

To me the most interesting to me is the question, “Why did Stockfish mess up?”, not “Did the Knights Templar hide the descendent of Christ?” or whatever…

Here is the position.

TCEC Season 8 – Superfinal http://tcec.chessdom.com (22), 11.11.2015

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Nbd2 c5 6.e4 cxd4 7.e5 Ng4 8.h3 Nh6 9.Bg2 Nc6 10.0–0 Be7 11.Qa4 Bb7 12.Nxd4 Nxd4 13.Bxb7 Rb8 14.Be4 Qc7 15.Qd1 Nhf5 16.Re1 Qxe5 17.Nb3 Rd8 18.Bf4 Qf6 19.Qd3 Bc5 20.Rad1 Nxb3 21.axb3 Nd4 22.Kg2 Nc6 23.h4 a5 24.Qe2 Qe7 25.Qh5 g6 26.Qf3 Nd4 27.Qc3 Qf6 28.Bd5 Bb4 29.Qd3 0–0 30.Be5 Qf5 31.Qxd4 Bxe1 32.Rxe1 d6 33.Bf6 e5 34.Qxb6 Qxf6 35.Qxa5 Kh8 36.b4 g5 37.Rh1 gxh4 38.Rxh4 Qg6 39.Qa3 f5 40.Qf3 Qg7 41.b5 Rb8 42.b4 Rf6 43.Rh5 Qg6 44.Qe2 f4 45.Be4 Qg7 46.Qf3 Rh6 47.Rxh6 Qxh6 48.Qe2 fxg3 49.fxg3 Qg5 50.c5 Rg8 51.Qe1 dxc5 52.bxc5 Rd8 53.b6 Rd2+ 54.Kg1 Qd8 55.Qe3 Rb2 56.Bf3 Rb1+ 57.Kg2 Rb2+ 58.Kh3 Qf6 59.b7 Qe6+ 60.g4 h5 61.c6 hxg4+ 62.Bxg4 Qd6 63.Bf5 Qf6

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