Archive for June, 2014

Whitsun Grandmasters Rounds 2 and 3

Quality Chess, is sponsoring “Best game of the round” in the Whitsun Grandmasters in Copenhagen, with both players involved in the game getting a book prize. The games are selected by IA Peter Olsen.

In round 2 there were only three decisive games, all in the IM group. The best game of the round was a Sicilian game with a thematic Nd5-combination in an unusual way (because of the open f-file), and a good conversion to a full point.

Whitsun Grandmasters 2014, Round 2, 2014.06.04

White: Schou-Moldt, Thomas (2215)

Black: Nilsen, Joachim Birger (2334)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Bg7 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Nb3 Nf6 7. Be2 O-O 8.O-O d6 9. Bg5 Be6 10. Kh1 Rc8 11. f4 a6 12. Qd2

Bf3 is a more normal move here

12…Na5 13. Nxa5 Qxa5 14. Bd3 Rfd8

14… d5!? is an interesting possibility 15. exd5 Bxd5 16. f5 Bc6 17. Rae1 unclear

15. f5 Bc4 16. Rad1 b5 17. fxg6

Not the best move, but it’s a cunning one. Better is 17. Bxc4 bxc4 18. Qf2 With a  steady pressure

17… hxg6?!

17… fxg6 was necessary, but it’s not that obvious that hxg6 is inferior} 18. Bxc4+ bxc4 (18… Rxc4?? 19. e5!+-) 19. Bxf6 Bxf6 20. Qd5+ Qxd5 21. Nxd5 Kg7 22. c3=

[fen size=”small”]2rr2k1/4ppb1/p2p1np1/qp4B1/2b1P3/2NB4/PPPQ2PP/3R1R1K w – – 0 18[/fen]

18. Nd5!

Thematic Read more…

Categories: Fun Games Tags:

The 5% and how to read the Grandmaster Preparation books

June 4th, 2014 47 comments

Inspired by reviews from Rieger, Hickl and a few others, I think it is worth me trying to explain what the GRANDMASTER PREPARATION series is all about and who I think it is written for. I also have some additional points that will meet some of the criticism put forward in those reviews. At the end of the day, I do not think the sales or reception of the books are moved at all by a few bad reviews. I am not hurt, offended or anything like that. But I have noticed the big interest here on the blog and think it is worth relating to some of the questions.

The conception

The books are compilations of the training material I have collected for a number of international masters and grandmasters over the years. It was the continuous requests for more material that sparked the somewhat systematic harvest of material that I perform whenever I have the time. I was trying to meet a demand from strong players.

Who is the series written for?

There has been criticism that because 95% of all chess players are rated under 2100, it is wrong to write a book that clearly aim for 2300+ – or at least players with 2150+ who are willing to work hard. I have to say that I cannot be anything but amazed by this argument. I cannot think of a counter-argument, nor do I think I need one.

The main point is that the series is called Grandmaster Preparation and therefore clearly indicates who the target audience are. The ones preparing for being grandmasters; either by being so already, or because they are ambitious. It is not a get the FM title program. We have one of these; it is written by Yusupov and as any regular reader of this blog will tell you: we recommended it more often than we recommend my books.

Having given this disclaimer, I think it would be misleading to say that I did not take into account that some 1800s will buy the books as well. And I think I have tried to reflect this in the selection of exercises. Take a look at this one for example:

[fen size=”small”]6R1/8/3K4/8/6p1/6k1/8/8 w – – 0 1[/fen]

White to play and win (solution at the end)

With only four pieces, I am not sure how much easier I can make it, while still keeping it in a book with GM in the title.

Read more…

Categories: Reviews Tags:

Whitsun Grandmasters tournament

June 4th, 2014 1 comment

Quality Chess, is sponsoring “Best game of the round” in the Whitsun Grandmasters tournament in Copenhagen. Drop by the website to see live games.

In round one, there were a couple of candidate games (Bech Hansen – Carstensen and Hector – Aabling-Thomsen), but one game was shining just a little bit brighter:  GM Rusev – GM Brynell, where Rusev with a beautiful positional exchange sacrifice took control of the game, and after that just outplayed Brynell.

Whitsun Grandmasters 2014, Round 1, 2014.06.03

White: Rusev, Krasimir  (2540)

Black: Brynell, Stellan 2463)

Annotator: Schou-Moldt,Thomas

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 b6 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. O-O Be7 6. b3 O-O 7. Bb2 d5 8. e3
Nbd7 9. Qe2 a5 10. Nc3 a4

[fen size=”small”]r2q1rk1/1bpnbppp/1p2pn2/3p4/p1P5/1PN1PNP1/PB1PQPBP/R4RK1 w – – 0 11[/fen]

11. Nxa4! dxc4 12. Qxc4

With this strong positional exchange sacrifice, Rusev takes full control of the white squares.

12…Ba6 13. Qc2 Bxf1 14. Rxf1 c5 15. Ne5 Rc8?!

Black was better off giving back the exchange immediately. Now the white bishop on g2 becomes a monster and the knights becomes very dominating.

15… Nxe5 16. Bxa8 Qxa8 17. Bxe5 Nd7 18. Ba1 b5 19. Nc3 Ne5=

16. Nc6 Qe8 17. Na7 Rb8 18. Nc6 Rc8 19. Na7 Rb8 20. Nc3! Ne5 21. Ncb5

The white pieces are completely dominating the board.

21…Ng6 22. h4 h5 23. a4 Ng4 24. d4 f5 25. Qc4

The game is now practically over, there are simply too many weaknesses in the black position and the white pieces are working perfectly together.

25…Qf7 26. Nc6 cxd4 27. Nbxd4 N6e5 28. Qxe6 Nxc6 29.Qxf7+ Kxf7 30. Nxc6 Rbc8 31. Bd5+ Ke8 32. Bxg7 Rf7 33. Bd4 Rh7 34. Bxb6 Rh6 35.Nxe7 Kxe7 36. a5 Rc2 37. b4 Nf6 38. Bf3 Ne4 39. Bxe4 fxe4 40. Bd4 Ra2 41. Ra1 Rxa1+ 42. Bxa1 Rc6 43. Bd4 Kd7 44. Kg2 Kc7 45. b5 Rc2 46. a6 1-0

Categories: Fun Games Tags:

Fixed on one idea – A common scenario

June 2nd, 2014 36 comments

I got an email from Patty describing a consideration:

Candidate idea, ie strategies. I will come up with a idea (strategy) and run with it. But rarely will I come up with more than one idea. In my post mortem I seen a million different things I could do. But I never trained myself to come up with different ideas, just look at different moves. (which translates to different ideas) Just seems easier to wrap my mind around coming up with different ideas or strategies. When a position is per say static, and i have to come up with something I normally only try to develop one plan based around the best move. Versus coming up with multiple plans based on the best move, the position , weakness. And so on.

This is the extent of the information I have been given. Based on this I will have to make a number of assumptions and guesses to try to say something meaningful about this situation. Forgive me for this.

My first thesis about why this is happening is that we all have a tendency to revert to out default way of doing things, especially when stressed and under pressure.

The second thesis is that Patty mainly thinks in move-move-move during the game; the good old I go there, he goes there, I go there – and so on.

It becomes clear that once Patty is relaxed and the immediate pressure is gone, he is able to think of things in a more open way, considering things from different perspectives and so on.

My suggestion

For this reason I think the main focus here should not be on the chess (though there are some interesting questions about how Patty thinks and if there are potential for adding some ways of thinking to the mix – f.ex. by reading Positional Play and do the exercises in that book), but on why Patty is so tense during the game.

There are some people that believe that when you feel agitated, stressed or in other way in a sense of urgency, you perform better. They probably would not express it in this way, but they act as if it is true. So, I would call it a firm life strategy.

I believe that I can do anything with passion and joy without losing focus or perform worse. My results show that it has worked for me. Obviously I do not enjoy losing, but I do not fear it and I do not fall apart when it happens, as many other people do (whether or not it is their behaviour towards themselves or others that malfunction is irrelevant to me; their character collapses, which is bad). I would suggest focusing on playing good moves and enjoying the thrill of the fight more than focusing on the result and feeling terrified about it.

There are some people that only can function under pressure. There are also people who can only function if they had their fix of caffeine, nicotine, heroine or whatever. To use adrenaline is maybe less unhealthy, but it is not healthy and it is not a great strategy. If this is you, think it over.

I see confidence as preparation in action. You will feel more confident during the game and have more confidence in what you are doing, if you have done training. Deciding to do things another way, without training your neural pathways to do it rarely works. And when it works it is never with anything as difficult as chess.

So, do training, be conscious of what you are training and pay attention to whether or not you are actually managing to train what you are trying to train in the process. It will get easier all the same, as it is with learning any new skill.




Categories: Jacob Aagaard's training tips Tags:

The Experiment – Small update

June 2nd, 2014 1 comment

So I went from 97.3 kg to just over 88 kg in 28 days. The big question is of course, what would my weight stabilise at? Around 90.8 kg it seems. This fits quite well with the big initial drop in weight I had on the juice fast.

I feel very healthy and energetic. No regrets. I ran my fastest ever 5k Sunday morning (32.11). I have had two bawls of ice cream, both watching movies (cinema and with the kids at home), but I have not returned to my chocolate addiction. I might not take the ice cream next time it is offered. I do not really feel it did much for me.

We will see where I am in a month.

Categories: Authors in Action Tags: