Archive for April, 2014

Living in the time of miracles!

April 16th, 2014 No comments

Apparently TRT caught up with the delay and managed to finish Endgame Play in time. It will be included in the publication round the 30th April, together with Mating the Castled King and Tal’s Best Games 1 – The Magic of Youth.

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Danish Championship – Round 4

April 15th, 2014 9 comments

Most of the other guys are still fighting. It seems the three oldest players are in charge. Sune will probably win, Schandorff also. I drew. A natural standing will be Hansen & Aagaard 3/4, Schandorff & Rasmussen 2.5/4. But Rasmussen might still hold, despite being two pawns down.

My game today was not great. I did not like the way things were going after 10 moves and decided to add some irrationality with 11.g4!?!?. Of course it was not great, but I had no play! At move 21 I was a bit of a weakling when I offered a draw, but I am trying to be old and solid…

Aagaard,Jacob (2520) – Mikkel Djernes Antonsen (2467) [D38]
DEN-ch DM 2014 Skorping (4), 15.04.2014

1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nf3 Bb4 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 c5 8.e3 c4 9.Nd2 Be6 10.Be2 0-0 11.g4 Nc6 12.a3 Be7 13.Bg3 Nh7 14.0-0 Na5 15.b4 cxb3 16.Nxb3 Rc8 17.Nb5 Nxb3 18.Qxb3 a6 19.Nc3 Nf6 20.f3 b5 21.Bd3 ½-½

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How can I remember all that theory? by Nikos Ntirlis

April 14th, 2014 33 comments

After the publication of the second opening book I co-authored with Jacob, there is one question that I hear more often again and again: “How can I remember all that theory?” I always thought that this is a serious question, albeit one that has a very simple answer: read and practise!

“Remembering” chess opening theory at a good level is something that means different things for different players. For example, my ambitious 11-year-old student who is preparing to get one of the top 3 places in the Greek youth championships in June has never had a chance until now to reach this position that is part of his preparation with White:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.h3!

[fen size=”small”]r1bq1rk1/2ppbppp/p1n2n2/1p2p3/4P3/1B3N1P/PPPP1PP1/RNBQR1K1 b – – 0 8[/fen]

So, for him it makes no sense to memorize and try to understand more than 1-2 variations 3-4 moves deep starting from this position. To be honest I am not sure how many players bellow 2200-2300 need to memorize more than that. On the other hand, if you are Anand and have to face Aronian in the first round of the Candidates tournament, then it is essential to remember variations far beyond the known tournament praxis. I suppose that most of the readers of this blog belong to the first category, so the methods and ideas I am going to describe are useful only for them. I am sorry Vishy, maybe I’ll do another blog post later for guys like you!

So, after this first observation,

Read more…

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Danish Championship – Round 3

April 14th, 2014 3 comments

One of the great things with having Nikos helping is that people know it. So they try to surprise me in the opening!? As Black I am of course happy to get into the game without any problems and even more happy when I have a better position after 11 moves! I seriously think I played really well – for my level of course!

Also on 2.5/3 is GM Allan Stig Rasmussen, who have looked a bit shaky, but is a great fighter. GM Sune Berg Hansen has 2/3 and will definitely be a strong contender. I am just happy to have played good chess in my retirement, the others can care about titles, prizes and such stuff…

Andersen,Mads (2473) – Aagaard,Jacob (2520) [D04]
DEN-ch DM 2014 Skørping (3), 14.04.2014

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 c5 4.Nbd2 cxd4
I am happy to play the Caro-Kann, as long as I do not have to put my pawn on c6. I only do this with White!
5.exd4 Nc6 6.c3 Qc7?!
These lines are good for White if the bishop comes to f4. But here 6…Bf5 was more accurate.
7.Be2?! Bf5 8.Nf1
I was thinking that 8.Nh4 Bd7 9.0–0 was more natural.
8…h6 9.Ng3 Bh7 10.0–0 e6 11.Re1?!
Too slow. 11.Ne5! Bd6 12.f4!? with equal chances.
11…Bd6 12.Bd3 Bxd3 13.Qxd3 0–0
I think Black has been quite successful in the opening, but most of the game still remains.
14.Bd2 b5 15.b3 Rab8 16.Re2
[fen size=”small”]1r3rk1/p1q2pp1/2nbpn1p/1p1p4/3P4/1PPQ1NN1/P2BRPPP/R5K1 b – – 0 16[/fen]
16…Rfc8 was normal, but I wanted to open up the centre and put pressure on d4 in advance.
17.Rae1 b4 18.Ne5
I realised just after my move that he was going to play this and the game would get more concrete. For some reason I got very nervous. 18.c4 should of course be played. I did not find anything concrete after 18…dxc4 19.bxc4 , so I was contemplating  19…a5!. I felt the position was pretty unclear.
Nikos tells me that 19…Nxd4!? 20.Nxd4 Bc5 21.Nxe6 fxe6 22.Qf3 apparently is good for Black if you analyse it deeply (I had rejected it). I think I will go to the bar instead!
18…bxc3 19.Qxc3 Rdc8 20.Rc1 Rb6
I was thinking the d4-pawn would be weak in the long term. But I did not consider it a great advantage.
21.Qd3 Qb7 22.f4
With the idea f4-f5. It seemed very logical to me.
[fen size=”small”]2r3k1/pq3pp1/1rnbpn1p/3pN3/3P1P2/1P1Q2N1/P2BR1PP/2R3K1 b – – 0 22[/fen]
22…Ba3 23.Rc3?!
23.Rxc6 Rbxc6 24.Nxc6 Qxc6 25.f5 Here Black is marginally better after 25…exf5.
I had planned 25…Qc2, but not seen 26.Qa6! The game is very complicated here: 26…Bb2 27.Be3 Qb1+ 28.Nf1 Re8! (28…Rc3?! 29.fxe6! Rxe3 30.Qc8+ Kh7 31.Rxb2! Qxb2 32.exf7 Re2 33.Qf5+ g6 34.f8N+ with a likely draw.) 29.Bf2 Ne4 and Black keeps the pressure on.
Putting pressure on d4.
24.Rxc6 Rbxc6 25.Nxc6 Qxc6 26.Be3
26.f5 Qc2 and the d4-pawn falls.
[fen size=”small”]2r3k1/p4pp1/2q1pn1p/3p4/3P1P2/1P1QB1N1/P3R1PP/2b3K1 w – – 0 27[/fen]
A bit confusing to some, probably. Yes, the bishop on e3 is bad, but in order to win one of those weak pawns, I will have to exchange it anyway. So why not do it now and have the chance to break in on c1 or c3.Black is already clearly better.
27.h3 Ne4 28.Nxe4? dxe4 29.Qd1 Bxe3+ 30.Rxe3 f5
[fen size=”small”]2r3k1/p5p1/2q1p2p/5p2/3PpP2/1P2R2P/P5P1/3Q2K1 w – – 0 31[/fen]
I was sure this was winning already.
31.Re2 Qd6 32.Rf2?!
I was thinking that I would win after 32.Qd2 Rd8 33.Kf2 Qxd4+ 34.Qxd4 Rxd4 35.Rc2 a5 as well, though it would be less straight forward.
[fen size=”small”]2r3k1/p5p1/3qp2p/5p2/3PpP2/1P5P/P4RP1/3Q2K1 b – – 0 32[/fen]
The invasion is coming.
33.Qh5 e3!
33…Rc1+ 34.Kh2 e3 35.Rf3 e2 36.Qe8+ Kh7 37.Rg3 was a line I saw.
[fen size=”small”]4Q3/p5pk/3qp2p/5p2/3P1P2/1P4RP/P3p1PK/2r5 b – – 0 37[/fen]
But unlike the commentary rook, I missed 37…e5!! 38.dxe5 e1Q! and Black wins. A very nice line.
My move is better as it avoids calculation and eliminates all risk of errors. But obviously computer’s don’t miss things and don’t understand this!
34.Rf1 Qxd4 35.Kh2 Kh7!
I was afraid that I had messed up there, but of course this is a good move. Again calculation is avoided.
36.Qf3 Qd2 37.Rd1 Rc1!
[fen size=”small”]8/p5pk/4p2p/5p2/5P2/1P2pQ1P/P2q2PK/2rR4 w – – 0 38[/fen]
The pawn queens.

The games are transmitted live at


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Danish Championship Round 2

April 13th, 2014 4 comments

In round 2 Jakob and I both surprised each other in the opening. Blind man’s bluff, sort of thing. At move 10 I played too quickly. Instead I should have played 10.Ng5, I think, and I would have had a nice opening advantage. When I started thinking deeply about the position, I realised that I had long term challenges and that I had no active plans. In other words; from more 12 I was playing for a draw. I was not overly impressed with 13…a5, as …Ra5-h5 would never happen. Instead I prepared for an opening of the c-file and offered a draw. Jakob accepted without serious thoughts.

Aagaard,Jacob (2520) – Glud,Jakob Vang (2518) [D94]
DEN-ch DM 2014 Sk0rping (2), 13.04.2014

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 g6 5.Nf3 Bg7 6.Be2 0-0 7.0-0 Bg4 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.e4 Nb6 10.Be3 Bxf3 11.gxf3 N8d7 12.f4 e6 13.Kh1 a5 14.Rc1 ½-½

Danish Championship Round 1

April 13th, 2014 10 comments

So round 1 of the Danish Championship is over. I had the longest game of the day and followed a super-recommendation from Nikos, my long running second. With Black I had an at least equal position after 13 moves and +20 minutes on the clock. My opponent reacted poorly and I got a lasting edge. At move 30 I missed a forced win (…Qd8-h4, as was my alternative, but there is some …Bxf4! sacrifice I was nowhere close to finding), but managed to retain a lasting edge. After move 40 I was starting to wonder if I had overplayed my position and did not see a way to improve. Finally it dawned on me that I would be better off if I managed to exchange a pair of rooks. I did and won the game quickly thereafter.

Some of the other games looked a bit ropy, but all in all a good first day at the Danish Championships.

Bekker-Jensen,Simon (2445) – Aagaard,Jacob (2520) [D36]
DEN-ch DM 2014 Skorping (1), 12.04.2014

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 c6 6.Qc2 h6 7.Bh4 Be6 8.e3 Nbd7 9.Bd3 g5 10.Bg3 Nh5 11.Nge2 Nxg3 12.Nxg3 h5 13.0-0 h4 14.Nge2 Bd6 15.f4 Nf6 16.Qd2 g4 17.f5 Bd7 18.Nf4 Qe7 19.Rae1 0-0-0 20.Qc2 Kb8 21.a3 Bc8 22.b4 Qc7 23.Qd2 Rhe8 24.Qf2 g3 25.hxg3 hxg3 26.Qxg3 Nh5 27.Qh4 Nxf4 28.exf4 Rh8 29.Qg3 Rdg8 30.Qf3 f6 31.Ne2 Rh4 32.g3 Qh7 33.Rf2 Bxf5 34.Bxf5 Qxf5 35.Rg2 Rhg4 36.Kf2 a6 37.Nc1 Qc2+ 38.Kg1 Qh7 39.Nd3 Bc7 40.Kf2 Ka7 41.Re3 Bb6 42.Nc5 R4g7 43.Qe2 Qf5 44.Rh2 Rh7 45.Rxh7 Qxh7 46.Qf3 Rg6 47.Ne6 Rh6 48.f5 Rh2+ 49.Ke1 Ra2 50.Re2 Ra1+ 51.Kf2 Qh2+ 52.Qg2 Qh5 53.g4 Qh4+ 54.Ke3 Rxa3+ 55.Kd2 Rg3 56.Qf2 Qxg4 57.Kc2 Rf3 0-1

Danish Championship 2014

April 13th, 2014 3 comments

Having barely survived writing Endgame Play and a tour of Scottish whiskey distilleries with three old friends, where I was the driver, I have escaped Scotland for the gorgeous location of Rebild in Northern Denmark for the yearly Championship. I know, I know, I am retired. But this does not mean that I am not allowed to combine a holiday with a chess tournament. I am getting teased a lot in the office (not expecting sympathy) because I am retired, but to be honest, I act like a retired chess tourist. I don’t prepare a lot, I spend time chatting with friends and even giving a few training sessions with GMs during the tournament. Not behaviour I would approve of if it was one of my students displaying it.

I will put updates during the tournament here instead of the 2-3 next training posts. I hope I will be forgiven for this.

You cannot produce books without paper

April 11th, 2014 23 comments

Very sad news from the printer a few days ago. The supplier has delivered the wrong type of paper. They do not have enough in stock to print ENDGAME PLAY as well as the two other books. And as it is quite costly to set up the printing, there is no chance of half a batch of books to take us through early publication.

So EP is delayed a few weeks. Mating the Castled King and Tal 1 – The Magic of Youth will come out on the 30th of April as previously announced.

Those buying all three books on the website before this post will of course receive the first two books by mail and the third one later; while those buying these three combined after this post, will fall for our rules of “combined orders are shipped when all books are published.”

I am very disappointed of course, so please, if you want to share your feelings, let them be of sympathy.

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