Archive for April, 2014

A quick post with a great link on a generally rotten day…

April 28th, 2014 30 comments

It is one of those days… I cycled to the office for the first time in months (since I was fined £50 for riding with 6 k/ph through a green lights for pedestrians – with no pedestrians in sight – incidentally the same amount I would have been fined for speeding through a red light in a car). I struggled and it took me 55 minutes to cover 13.2 k downhill… Yeah, I have gone fat writing Endgame Play. +5k in a month to be exact.

Once in the office, my desktop obviously decided to not cooperate. It cuts out after 10-20 seconds and will be picked up by Laptop Doctor in the afternoon.

But a good thing is that I will be able to give you a small link to an article I wrote for FIDE. It contains three positions I have used in playing exercises with my students. If you want to attempt to beat a computer, just take Black in both positions and give yourself at least an hour. It is by no means easy; but it is top training.

[fen size=”small”]8/8/1p2bk2/pBpp1p2/5K1P/1P3P2/P7/8 w – – 0 1[/fen]

[fen size=”small”]r1b1r1k1/2p2pp1/3p1n1p/1p5q/3Pp3/1P2P1PP/P4PB1/R1BQ1RK1 b – – 0 18[/fen]

The article is found here. If you want to do your chess any good, you try to play the positions before reading it.

Categories: Jacob Aagaard's training tips Tags:

Avrukh’s Slav in action

April 24th, 2014 16 comments

Here is a game from the local league, played last month. I certainly don’t deserve any medals for beating a sub-2000-rated opponent. However, one-sided games can contain some instructive value, as the viewer gets to see one side’s strategy play out perfectly. The present game also gave me a chance to test Avrukh’s Slav repertoire. Even though my opponent deviated from theory quite early, I was able to apply a few of the ideas that were recommended by Avrukh in other variations.

The concept of “learning ideas instead of memorizing moves” has become rather a hackneyed phrase, usually associated with products such as chess DVDs, and books that place less emphasis on detailed analysis than the GM Repertoire series. However, I have often found my general understanding has been elevated by studying high-level opening books. (Not just from Quality Chess; the “Opening According to Kramnik/Anand” books from Chess Stars also spring to mind.)

Alan Jelfs (1922) – Andrew Greet (2485) D15
Glasgow, 04.03.2014

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 a6 6.b3
My opponent was obviously not familiar with this particular set-up with the pawn on a6 and bishop on f5, and he chooses an innocuous reply.

6…e6 7.Bd3 Bd6!?
I decided to leave the bishop to be taken, as the change in the pawn structure would make the game more interesting.

A decent alternative is: 7…Bb4 8.Qc2 (8.Bb2 Qa5) 8…Bxd3 9.Qxd3 Black has won a tempo and is doing fine.

Interestingly, about a month later I reached the same position against the same opponent. On that occasion he avoided exchanging on f5 but made the strategic error of blocking the centre with c4-c5. It was a strange attempt to improve, and I won quickly.

During the game, I remembered that one of Avrukh’s lines featured a similar position, but with the white knight still on g1, which gave him the option of putting the queen on f3 and knight on e2 to challenge Black’s central pawns. (I have since checked and found the line on page 57 of GM 17.) Here there is no such plan, and I already assessed my position as slightly preferable.

[fen size=”small”]rn1qk2r/1p3ppp/p1pb1n2/3p1p2/2PP4/1PN1PN2/P4PPP/R1BQK2R w KQkq – 0 9[/fen]

Read more…

Categories: Authors in Action, GM Repertoire Tags:

Danish Championship – Round 9

April 21st, 2014 10 comments

There was little to play for in the last round of the Danish Championship. GM Allan Stig Rasmussen looked set to win the tournament after winning against all the other grandmasters. Sune Berg Hansen could still theoretically catch him, but when Allan made a draw, Sune had no fight left in him. He offered a draw, which I declined, only to realise that I had no fight left in me either. On the next move I offered a draw, which was accepted.

All in all I played not that badly, scoring +2 in a strong and highly motivated field. I achieved my goal of securing a spot on the Olympiad team, as the no. 4/5 player together with Jakob Vang Glud, with whom I shared 3rd here. At times I played some good chess, but I clearly ran out of energy by the 6th/7th round and was lucky to end the tournament with only one loss at that point. The many chocolate bars I have consumed while finishing Endgame Play in the night, has not helped. But now the sun is out and it is time to ride the bike to work again. May is maybe the best month of the year in Scotland and I am going to get the most out of it. Sorry John, I will not be coming in that often the next 4-5 weeks :-).

Hansen,Sune Berg (2569) – Aagaard,Jacob (2520) [D00]
DEN-ch 2014 Skorping (9), 20.04.2014

1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 c5 3.e3 Nf6 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nd2 Qb6 6.Qb3 c4 7.Qc2 g6 8.Ngf3 Bf5 9.Qc1 Nh5 10.Bg3 Nxg3 11.hxg3 Qd8 12.Be2 b5 13.Bd1 Bd7 14.e4 e6 15.exd5 exd5 16.Nf1 h5 17.Qe3+ Qe7 ½-½

Danish Championship – Round 8

April 19th, 2014 2 comments

Today was probably the hardest fought game I played in the tournament. I was early in trouble and tried to find ways to play my position, but instead ran out of time. I found a lot of tricks, but at move 40 we went into an endgame that was entirely lost for me. The easiest way was to exchange rooks and win slowly on the kingside. But all the way to move 57 he had winning chances.

Aagaard,Jacob (2520) – Aabling-Thomsen,Jakob (2331) [B07]
DEN-ch 2014 Skorping (8), 19.04.2014

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nge2 Bg7 5.g3 0-0 6.Bg2 e5 7.h3 c6 8.Be3 b5 9.a3 Bb7 10.0-0 Nbd7 11.f4 exd4 12.Nxd4 a6 13.Nde2 Re8 14.Bf2 c5 15.Qxd6 Nxe4 16.Bxe4 Bxe4 17.Rad1 Bxc2 18.Rd2 Bf5 19.g4 Bf8 20.Qc6 Be6 21.Rfd1 Qb6 22.Qf3 Nf6 23.Bh4 Bb3 24.Rf1 b4 25.Bxf6 Qxf6 26.Ne4 Qe6 27.N2g3 Red8 28.f5 Qc4 29.Rdf2 Qd3 30.Qf4 Qd4 31.fxg6 fxg6 32.Nf6+ Kh8 33.Qc7 Bg7 34.Nge4 Rf8 35.g5 Bc4 36.Rc1 Rac8 37.Qf4 Bd5 38.Nxc5 Bxf6 39.gxf6 Qxf4 40.Rxf4 bxa3 41.bxa3 Rc6 42.Rd4 Bg8 43.Nd3 Rxc1+ 44.Nxc1 Rxf6 45.Nd3 Rf5 46.Nf4 Ra5 47.Rd3 Rb5 48.Kf2 a5 49.Kf3 Kg7 50.h4 Kf6 51.Rd8 Bc4 52.Rc8 Rb3+ 53.Ke4 Bf7 54.Rc6+ Kg7 55.Rc7 Rxa3 56.Ne6+ Kf6 57.Ng5
[fen size=”small”]8/2R2b1p/5kp1/p5N1/4K2P/r7/8/8 b – – 0 57[/fen]
Here it was suggested from the commentary room that Black still wins with 57…Bg8!, where I would probably have to find 58.Kf4!? to keep the game going, avoiding 58.Nxh7+ Bxh7 59.Rxh7 Rh3!, where White can play 60.Kd5! and keep fighting. I will check finalgen to see if Black is winning here. [obviously it is].
57…Ra4+ 58.Ke3 Bb3 59.Nxh7+ Kf5 60.Rc5+ Kg4 61.h5 ½-½

Danish Championship – Round 7

April 18th, 2014 3 comments

Today I lost. Allan is a very strong and he simply found too many resources for me to deal with all of them. After 34.Nc6! there are plenty of decent moves available to me, but I missed that after 34…Kf6 35.Nxa5 Nbd7 White could play 36.f4! and I would be worse. Then I fell apart, running short of time.

It will be interesting to see the big title game tomorrow between Sune and Allan.

Rasmussen,Allan Stig (2499) – Aagaard,Jacob (2520) [A13]
DEN-ch DM 2014 Skorping (7), 18.04.2014

1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 e6 3.g3 dxc4 4.Qa4+ Nd7 5.Bg2 a6 6.Qxc4 b5 7.Qb3 Bb7 8.0-0 c5 9.d3 Bd6 10.Nc3 Ngf6 11.a4 b4 12.Nb1 a5 13.Nbd2 Nb6 14.Qc2 0-0 15.b3 Nfd7 16.Bb2 Ba6 17.Rfd1 Qc7 18.Ng5 Rac8 19.d4 g6 20.Qe4 Be7 21.dxc5 Qxc5 22.Nxe6 fxe6 23.Qxe6+ Rf7 24.Ne4 Qf5 25.Bh3 Qxe6 26.Bxe6 Rc2 27.Rd2 Rxd2 28.Nxd2 Bxe2 29.Re1 Bd3 30.Bd4 Bc5 31.Nf3 Bxd4 32.Nxd4 Nc5 33.Bxf7+ Kxf7 34.Nc6 Kf6 35.Nxa5 Bc2 36.Rc1 Nxb3 37.Nxb3 Bxb3 38.Rc6+ 1-0

Categories: Authors in Action Tags:

Danish Championship – Round 6

April 17th, 2014 No comments

Today’s game was up and down. I was better, but overplayed my position and at the end I was even a bit worse. But with neither player having more than a minute, a draw was agreed.

Aagaard,Jacob (2520) – Skytte,Rasmus (2430) [B49]
DEN-ch 2014 Skorping (6), 17.04.2014

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be2 a6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Be3 Bb4 9.Na4 0-0 10.c4 Bd6 11.g3 Nxe4 12.Rc1 Be5 13.Nf3 d6 14.Nxe5 Nxe5 15.Qd4 Nf6

[fen size=”small”]r1b2rk1/1pq2ppp/p2ppn2/4n3/N1PQ4/4B1P1/PP2BP1P/2R2RK1 w – – 0 16[/fen]
I had planned 16.Nb6 Rb8 17.Rfd1. The main point is that 17…Rd8 loses the extra pawn to 18.c5! on account of 18…d5 19.Bf4, winning a piece.
Apparently Black has 16…Nc6! and the game is not so clear. We both made a lot of mistakes from here on. Chess is just very difficult!
16.Rfd1 Bd7 17.c5 Nd5 18.Nb6 Bb5 19.Nxa8 Rxa8 20.cxd6 Qxd6 21.Bf4 Nc6 22.Bxd6 Nxd4 23.Bxb5 Nxb5 24.Bf4 Na7 25.Rxd5 exd5 26.Rc7 b6 27.Rd7 Nc6 28.Rxd5 f6 29.Rd7 Rc8 30.Rb7 b5 31.Rb6 Nb4 32.Bd6 Nd3 33.b4 ½-½

A lot of people are making fun of the retired bit. I think they are not getting it. A retired gardener is still allowed to mow the lawn; even at his friend’s house. But the attitude with which he does it, what he thinks of when he does it and what he does between the occasional bit of gardening is different. I play this event and it is fun. I play for entertainment; hang out with friends, eat good food (sort of; the hotel is mediocre in this department) and goof around.

When I come home I will not worry about playing chess until the end of July, when I will look at flights to Tromsoe, where I think I will make the Danish squad.

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:

Danish Championship – Round 5

April 16th, 2014 3 comments

Today’s opponent is one of my really good friends. Last time we met, in the 2012 championship, I had no fight left in me and we made a draw. But all our other games have been hard fought, with a score of 1-1 with a few draws on top. Still the danish state bookmaker Oddset were fearing foul play when more than 90% of all bets put on the game were put on it being a draw. Maybe this was influenced by the fact that we were playing tennis at 10am! But this means nothing, we are playing again tomorrow…

Lars Schandorff (2531) – Jacob Aagaard (2520) [D35]
DEN-ch 2014 Skørping (5), 16.04.2014

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 c6 6.e3 Qb6!?
A silly move suggested by Nikos as a surprise weapon.
7.Bxf6 Qxb2 8.Qc1 Ba3 is a famous mess.
7…Ne4 8.Bf4 Na6 9.f3
During the game I feared White would be better after 9.Nxe4 , but the computer gives a nice line: 9…Nb4 10.Qb1 dxe4 11.Qxe4+ Be6 12.Nf3 Nd5 13.0–0–0 Nxf4 14.Qxf4 Qa5 15.a3 Bxa3 with perpetual check.
9…Nd6 10.a3 Bf5 11.Qd2
11.e4 Bg6 is better for White according to Komodo, but I am happy be be Black here.
11…Be7 12.b4 Qd8
12…0–0 made more sense. I did not want to give White a chance to put the knight on a4 before taking on c5. Only later I realised the knight is better on c3.
[fen size=”small”]r2qk2r/pp2bppp/n1pn4/3p1b2/1P1P1B2/P1N1PP2/3Q2PP/R3KBNR w KQkq – 0 13[/fen]
Played with a draw offer. Lars was clearly unhappy. If he had played 13.Bxa6 bxa6 14.Bxd6! I would have taken it, although I am not worse as I was thinking. 14…Qxd6 15.Nge2 0–0 16.0–0 a5 17.b5 Rac8 with about even chances.
13…Nc7 14.Kf2
Lars could not find a plan.
14…0–0 15.g3 Ncb5!
With his last move Lars indirectly decided to take on d6 with the bishop. As this knight is my best piece, I decided to support it!
16.Nc5 b6 17.Bxd6 Nxd6 18.Nb3 Re8
Threatening …Bg5.
Here Lars was down to 5 minutes. I really lost my cool entirely. I did not think long and clearly enough to realise that I have to win on the queenside only and that the kingside is irrelevant. Thus the right move is 19…a5!.
[fen size=”small”]r2qr1k1/p3bppp/1ppn4/3p1b2/1P1P3P/PN2PPP1/3Q1K2/R4BNR b – – 0 19[/fen]
19…g5? 20.hxg5 Bxg5
I am still better, but why did I weaken my position. Lars now found a few good moves quickly.
21.Re1 a5?!
Trying to bring in the remaining piece.
21…Qf6 22.Kg2 Re6 was a more natural way to play.
21…Nc4 22.Bxc4 dxc4 23.Nc1 c5 24.bxc5 bxc5 25.d5 Re5!? was a strong option suggested by Schandorff.
22.Nh3! axb4
I did not want to take on h3, as the bishop needs to defend h7 and the king.
During the game I thought 23.Nxg5 Rxa3 24.e4 dxe4 25.fxe4 Bxe4 26.Nxe4 Nxe4+ 27.Rxe4 Rxe4 was overwhelming, but I did not see 28.Bd3 when White is back in the game.
23…Ra3 24.Nxg5 Rxb3 25.Nh3 Qf6?
To be honest, I completely missed my opponent’s next move.
26.Nf4 b5!
[fen size=”small”]4r1k1/5p1p/2pn1q2/1p1p1b2/1P1P1N2/1r2PPP1/3Q1K2/4RB1R w – – 0 27[/fen]
I managed to recover and keep some advantage.
Apparently this does nothing for White’s position.
27…Bg6 28.Kg1 Nc4 29.Bxc4 bxc4 30.Nxg6 Qxg6 31.Qh2 Rxb4
With an extra pawn and a clear advantage, I won on time. Not a great game. Actually, a really poor game, ruining by White’s bad clock handling.


THREE New Books on April 30th

April 16th, 2014 16 comments


As originally announced, three new books will be available on April 30th – Mating the Castled King by Danny Gormally, Mikhail Tal’s Best Games 1 – The Magic of Youth by Tibor Karolyi and Endgame Play by Jacob Aagaard.

If you read a previous post about how Endgame Play would be delayed due to paper trouble at the printer, then you may be surprised. Me too. Printing on time has gone from “a losing cause” to back on schedule in just a couple of days. But I will take good news even if the process is bizarre.

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags: