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Busy busy busy

December 15th, 2014 63 comments

I am sorry that I do not have the time to write a proper blog post today. I have been working till 2am quite a number of nights in a row in order for our books to get sent to the printer before Christmas. Sadly this does not mean early January publication, as they are shut for a few weeks.

The following four books will most likely be released on the 4th of February:

Negi: 1.e4 vs. the Sicilian 1 (360 pages)

Flores Rios: Chess Structures – A Grandmaster Guide (464 pages)

Kotronias: Mar Del Plata 1 (320 pages)

Kotronias: Mar Del Plata 2 (300+ pages)

Furthermore we are preparing reprints of Playing the French, Grandmaster Preparation – Calculation (more about this next Monday) and of course the 10th anniversary hardback edition of Learn from the Legends.

Right now I am typesetting the first Kotronias book, which will be proof read from tomorrow morning. There is really some incredible chess in this book (which deals exclusively with the 9.Ne1 main line KID). One position I looked at a few moments ago was this one, arising after 25.Rxd7:

Here I will skip the details, but just give you the main line Vassilios has analysed:

25…Rg6!! 26.Bg1! Nxd7 27.Bb5 Rxa7 28.Qc2! Rb7 29.Bc6!? Rc7! 30.h3! Nxg2! 31.Qxg2 Qh6 32.Bb6 Nxb6 33.axb6 Rc8 34.b7 Rb8 35.Nd3 Rg5 36.Ra1 Rh5 37.Bd7! Rxb7 38.Be6† Kg7

Despite having played optimum moves in the last sequence, White is still struggling badly.

Taking it easy

December 8th, 2014 37 comments

When I was young I took chess way too seriously. I would cry when I lost some games and I would start to doubt my whole existence. I remember one game where I was playing for an IM-norm against a player I have 11.5/13 against, including a quick draw in 1989. You guessed right – the loss was in the game where I was playing for the norm.

This lifetime score might not fully reflect the difference in level between us, but it does reflect the difference in me once I was in a demanding situation. I froze. Too much emotion, no space left for chess in my system.

I see the same happening from time to time with students, but as a lot of our action is online, I mainly see a lot of this stuff on the tennis courts. Some of the guys I play with behave well under all circumstances. Some behave appallingly. Especially when they miss a shot.

What I have noticed is that their play disintegrates from this moment. Giving yourself space to be disappointed might be good, but the shouting and shooting balls in the fence and so on, is not only a pain to people around you, it makes you more likely to lose the next shot.

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Simplicity is Key

December 1st, 2014 25 comments

This week I just wanted to give a little reminder to those who might be maximalists and not wanting to give up material in order to convert an advantage. I know it is a quick and boring blog post, but then the other guys have promised to put a few things up as well.

Filippov – Saric, Croatian League 2014

Black to play and win

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Three moments in the World Championship match that really mattered

November 24th, 2014 14 comments

Not surprisingly Magnus Carlsen defended his World Championship title. Apparently he was ill during a good deal of the match, but it still seems that he won without truly breaking sweat.

In my opinion both players had the same problem in this match. Carlsen did not truly believe that Anand was a threat and thus struggled to keep up motivation. Anand also did not think that he was a threat and for this reason he did not present one when he had the chance. In this way the match never really got as exciting to me as it could have.

In this article I want to present three moments where Anand performed worse than he could have.

Carlsen – Anand, Sochi (2) 09.11.2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.0–0 d6 6.Re1 0–0 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.h3 Re8 9.Nbd2 Nd7 10.Nc4 Bb6 11.a4 a5 12.Nxb6 cxb6 13.d4 Qc7

After achieving nothing from the opening Carlsen now sets up an attack on the kingside. It really should not be too difficult to deal with, but Anand loses without a fight.

14.Ra3 Nf8 15.dxe5 dxe5 16.Nh4 Rd8

I doubt whether this improves Black’s position.

17.Qh5 f6 18.Nf5

A very important moment in the game. Anand played his next move quickly and never really recovered. As it is pretty obvious what White is trying to do, it would have made sense if he had a deep think here and decided how to deal with the attack.

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The Inability to Do Nothing

November 17th, 2014 9 comments

I was helping a friend learn the five basic steps of a tennis forehand this morning. The first thing to get under control is the grip. It has always amazed me that our coaches in the club have not helped us punters hold the racket correctly. And as a result lots of people hold the racket more as an axe than a frying pan. It is simply too unnatural a grip (and resulting swing). Basically, we have to override the instinctive way of doing things and install a different way of doing things.

The same happens in chess over and over again. I could give a lot of examples of this phenomenon. Today’s example is one of inactivity.

Areshchenko – Inarkiev, Baku 2014

69…h3+!? 70.Kh2!

70.Kxh3? Ke2 71.Re7+ Kf3 72.Re3+ Kxf2 73.Rd3 Ke2

And Black wins.

70…Ke2 71.Re7+ Kxf2 72.Rd7 Ke1

72…Ke2 73.Re7+ Kd3 74.Rd7+ and nothing happens.

73.Re7+ Kd1 74.Rd7 Rf5 75.Re7 Rf3 76.Rd7 Rf4

White to play

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Two Opposite-coloured Bishop Endgames from Denmark

November 10th, 2014 1 comment

I have taken the consequence of having retired from professional chess. In the Danish league I now represent Øbro Skakforening, a Copenhagen Club I frequented a lot in the 1990s and even played for a single season in the second division. It has felt as my spiritual home for decades and now I have returned – with absolutely no funding. Actually I am the biggest amateur of the club, having paid more for playing the first two rounds than the rest of the guys will pay for playing the whole season.

In the first round I had planned to be Black against the Evans Gambit in round one against Jonny Hector. Instead our game started 1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bf4 Bf5!. I actually got a decent position, though he failed to play 4.g4, but instead went for 4.f3. In the end we had our first draw in a rated game with ups and downs.

In second round I drew a bizarre game against Mads Andersen where the engines see everything entirely differently than us. I might put it in a later newsletter as there is some theoretical importance to it.

But sadly the games are not yet available on www.skak.dk, as I wanted to give two examples from our match in the second round.  In both cases my team mates had great winning chances.

FM Søren Bech Hansen – GM Daniel Semescen

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Personal update

November 5th, 2014 9 comments

I have been doing the Monday training blogs for about a year, sort of training myself to write THINKING INSIDE THE BOX, which I hope will be my best book yet. I am starting to feel ready to give that project a full swing, which also means that I will not be writing more of those blog posts in 2015.

We will do some other things in order to make the blog interesting, as well as keep you informed on what we will be doing with new books and so on.

It has been fun, now let’s try something else :-).

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Tashkent – an opinion

November 3rd, 2014 18 comments

It is not very well hidden that I am a Boris Gelfand supporter and have been so for a very long time. For example, I was in Moscow in 2012 to see him become World Champion, which sadly did not happen. But boy oh boy, it was close!

I am not fully into the point system for the Grand Prix, but it seems possible that after winning in Baku and ending in last place in Tashkent, Boris will have to qualify for the Candidates through the World Cup (as he did in 2009) if he is to get another shot at the title in this cycle.

Last night I was checking Twitter, seeing comments from Nakamura, Giri, Caruana and others. No one seemed to be happy with the Tashkent event, though not openly pointing out that this is an appalling way to decide who should be able to fight for the World Championship.

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