Archive for November, 2014

A Nice Tactic

November 13th, 2014 3 comments

Working on Boris Gelfand’s book Positional Decision Making in Chess, I came across a rather fascinating combination in one of the notes to his beautiful win against Grischuk in Beijing last year. The game deals a lot with changes in pawn structure, but at this point, White has won the strategic battle, fixing the f5-pawn as a weakness. But Black has tried to mess things up with 33…Nb5!?.

White to win

This one will take a while to solve, even for a GM!

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Playing 1.d4 according to Schandorff

November 11th, 2014 7 comments

First, a test position. Find the strongest continuation for White.

The solution can be found at move 24 of the game below.

Andrew Greet – Basil Laidlaw
Glasgow 2014

On encountering the Nimzo-Indian in this recent game, I decided to try out Lars Schandorff’s recommendation of 4.e3 followed by Ne2, even though I couldn’t remember too many of the fine details.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0–0 5.Ne2 c5 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.Nxc3 cxd4 8.exd4 d5

I spent a few minutes here, as I couldn’t remember any exact moves from this position, but I knew there was a similar variation where Black exchanged on c3 and played …d5xc4, leading to an IQP position. Then I realized I was thinking of the following line: 4…c5 5.Ne2 cxd4 6.exd4 d5 7.a3 Bxc3+ 8.Nxc3 Now I remembered: Black usually exchanges with 8…dxc4 here, allowing a convenient 9.Bxc4 in one move. “There must be a reason why Black normally exchanges on c4 in that position”, I thought. Instead 8…0–0 would transpose to the game position. This led me to deduce that the best move must be:


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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, 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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Carlsen – Anand

November 7th, 2014 70 comments

I personally do not think Anand has a real chance against Carlsen. What does this mean? I voted for 10%. People overall voted for 32.7%. Generally the masses are quite clever, so I shall not second guess.


Categories: Polls Tags:

Negi against the Najdorf

November 7th, 2014 6 comments

Here’s a small preview of the next volume in Negi’s 1.e4 series, which you can either use as a “find the best move” exercise, or just follow for your own enjoyment. It comes from a line in the Poisoned Pawn.

Take a look at the following position, where Black has just answered 18.c2-c4 with 18…Qd5-c6, exploiting the pin on the white knight.

White has a big lead in development, but he is three pawns down, and must act quickly before Black organizes his defences. How would you proceed?

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Categories: GM Repertoire Tags:

Nigel Short in New in Chess (being opiniated)

November 6th, 2014 57 comments

Nigel Short is one of the greatest characters in the Chess World as well as one of the truly great players of the last 20 years. On top of this his writing has at times been some of the best seen in chess. First for various newspapers and more recently with always interesting and thought-provoking columns in New in Chess Magazine.

I am actually such a great fan of Nigel that I asked him to be the patron for the chess club I run at Fettes College in Edinburgh, the Nigel Short Chess Society. In the near future I hope that he will come to give simuls and lectures in Scotland, partly sponsored by QC.

One great thing about Nigel is that he does not seek agreement or appeasement. I am continuously frustrated by the way people take personal offence, just because you inform them that their opinions are rubbish! Nigel does not belong to this camp, as you can see through the way he writes about friends and foes alike, criticising what he finds worthy of criticism wherever he finds it.

However, I have taken objection with a few of his “Short stories” columns in New in Chess. One had nothing to do with me, but was distasteful in my opinion, while the most recent one actually mentions me by name, although I have to add, as a positive! Still I feel it allows me to comment on it.

The article is a mix of oldie goldies from Nigel, about British Chess and so on, with an added bit about the referendum. It is also full of plain nonsense.

First of all, there is something particularly funny about a citizen of Athens, Greece, commenting on the actions of a Londoner’s (Jonathan Rowson) actions during the Scottish referendum. I would have preferred that both of them stayed the f… away, since they have chosen not to suffer the consequences of an independent Scotland. Probably Nigel and I are on the same side there.

We are also on the same side when it comes to the odd situation of British Chess having five (5!) Olympiad Teams and federations. It is the way things turned out, is the only real argumentation for it. But it is certainly not the fact that Scotland sends GMs to the Olympiad that drags the level down there. Nigel’s old view is that he would have liked Rowson in his team and to have played for Scotland. But in identity, Nigel is British and Jonathan Scottish. Funny that, the English who took over the Scots feel we are one land, while the Scots see it in a more dualistic light.

My real objection comes when Nigel displays his inability to do research. He misspells the name of our First Minister Alex Salmond (pronounced, not spelled Alec), he claims Scotland is not a Nation, displaying a lack of understanding between the difference of a nation and a nation state. Add to this low-blow insinuations that the Scottish players are jealous of the English prizes at the British Championship, without actually talking to us about the history behind the departure from the tournament after 2007 of all top Scottish players (by no agreement between us). Finally, a completely underfunded Commenwealth Championship in Glasgow is criticised for not inviting enough English players, when in reality hardly anyone of any nation were invited. If you go back to previous Scottish Championships, you can see a plethora of English players. I feel a need to defend Alex McFarlane here (yes, pronounced Alec), who works for no money organising and arbiting at both the Scottish and British Championships to the benefit of myself, Nigel and many strong players from all of Britain.

I am tempted to say that it goes on and on, but luckily the article is only two pages. But this does not free it from its main crime. It is slightly boring and not up to usual standards, as anyone can see if they go to previous issues. And in reality, this is the only crime that matters – and I am sure – the only criticism Nigel could ever feel worthy of taken personal. Maybe he will review one of my books in a future issue, immolating me with his withering wit?

Categories: Reviews Tags:

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 :-).

Categories: Jacob Aagaard's training tips Tags:

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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