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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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A Question of Technique?

October 27th, 2014 16 comments

In the second round of the Tashkent Grand Prix there were two really important games as far as I am concerned. In two games did very young players (20 and 22) get a big advantage and in both of them they blew it.

In the first game Anish Giri got a big advantage with White after quite a cunning novelty. The interesting moment of the game was probably this one:

White has a serious advantage from the opening, but he needs to find a deep plan in order to make something of it. Here Giri’s main strengths were not rightly suited for the task. Giri has great opening preparation and plays quite fast, putting his opponent’s under a lot of psychological and practical pressure. It seems to me that he is especially venomous with faster time controls.

But here he had to think deeply and find a plan. It is actually quite an interesting task and I put it forward to you guys to formulate a plan here that will create an additional weakness. It is by no means easy. I have an idea, but I am not sure it is right at all.

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No Fear

October 20th, 2014 3 comments

I spent the last 10 days on holiday in Denmark and have been thinking very little on chess (with the exception of looking up how Gelfand was doing in Baku), but going on the roller coasters with my oldest daughter (6 years old) made me think a bit about how flexible our emotions are.
Many times have I had the conversation with a young promising player, where I present my understanding about how to react to setbacks and disappointments.

The basic idea is this: negative emotions do not in themselves create anything positive.

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A Fortress Revisited

October 13th, 2014 8 comments

I am not a very technical person and I do not check how many people actually read the blog posts I write. I know that it is hundreds when I put up a new publishing schedule. We got about 300 votes for the Gelfand covers – and I would assume that most people voted, as it is so easy.

Obviously I like that my books have a greater readership than the free stuff, which probably has a lot to do with the effort I put into them (while the blog posts are meant to be contemplations and opening up for debates that will help me write BOX next year more than anything).

So I always get surprised when a really strong player says that he has read it. This is another case of this (based on this post).

Apparently I was not right when I believed that Black could maybe hold the fortress in this position:

 Giri – Kraemer, Germany 2014


111…Kg8? 112.Nd6 Rf6 113.Rc8+ Kh7 114.Rd8!

Black is in zugzwang.

1–0

Apparently White was winning all the same. The following interesting analysis was sent by email from GM Karsten Mueller, maybe the world’s leading authority on the endgame.

111…Rd5

I foolishly speculated that Black was holding, but look at this:

112.Rc8+ Kg7 113.Rg8+!

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Looking for what you do not see

October 7th, 2014 11 comments

White to play and win in all three positions:

I have promised to write a bit about how it can be that a player can be close to 2650 and still “not be able to calculate”.

To most this sounds almost obscene, of course. I understand this, but if we agree on what this means, brick by brick, I will be able to illustrate it quite easily. In the process I will also take the chance to refer to my article in New in Chess Magazine, volume 6, out a few weeks ago. This article explains a central idea from the forthcoming Thinking inside the Box (which I am starting to feel brave enough to write).

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Jacob Aagaard Interview

September 30th, 2014 43 comments

Jacob was recently interviewed for the Spanish blog Un Andaluz y el Adjedrez. Here is the English version of the interview:

GM Jacob Aagaard

GM Jacob Aagaard

1) Can any person, and I mean ANY, get better at chess studying and competing, in your opinion? Do you think there is a limit, and not everybody is born to be a FM, for instance?

I am sure that there is a limit for some people. There is such a thing as talent for sure, but how important it is, is not really clear. Some minor tests have been done, but the research looking at people over a decade or more has not been done in a way that it can be statistically significant for chess. Not to my knowledge at least.

It has been done in music and the suggestion there was that the early talents did not do that well. The main reason probably being that it was too easy for them in the beginning and they never got into the habit of working hard…

I believe that there is no reason to set barriers to yourself. In principle everyone can learn everything. The question is how long it will take! Is it worth it. And so on.

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