Saturday, September 29, 2007

Understanding Nimzo, Using His System

Temposchlucker has motivated me to pick again Nimzo's "My System" from my shelf. A second reason for doing this is that I have included Nimzoindian defense into my repertoire and I still have some deficits in understanding this concept. The concept of tempo and development is crucial in this opening, and after having read again the first chapters of “My System", I have come to important insights that I want to share with you.

My first, incomplete idea about this opening is Black giving up the bishop pair advantage which is compensated by a double pawn of White. But I did not like that White can “refute" this plan by playing 4.Qc2 (after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4) in order to retake with the Queen, avoiding the double pawn. After 4.-c5, the best move in my opinion, we come to this position:

nimzoindian diagram
White to move. If he wants to win the bishop pair, he must invest a second tempo by 5.a3, Black takes Bxc3 and after 6.Qxc3 he is still two tempi ahead. And he gets even more after 6.-cxd4 7.Qxd4 Nc6 the Queen is forced to her fourth move and Black has a substantial lead in development. The ideas behind all these moves have been described in detail in the first chapters of “My System", using other openings, sometimes with unsound play of amateurs, but this is really great in this book: A GM who is ready to comment on patzer moves in order to make his ideas as clear as possible.

Aha, now I have got why theory does not recommend 5.a3 but 5.dxc5 Bxc5 and Black keeps his bishop pair. Thus, I think that 4.Qc2 is not the best idea of White.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Winterthur: One Week To Start

who will be

Who will be my first opponent at Winterthur Chess Week, next Friday? Most likely it will be one of these players, and whoever it will be, I am looking forward to that game. The reason is simple. First, it will be my strongest opponent of all times in a direct one-to-one encounter. Second, I have the opportunity to play my best chess, whatever it will be that day. Is it good, my opponent will have to work a bit for his or her victory. Is it bad, I will be punished immediately, giving me the opportunity to learn a lot. Whatever may happen, I only can win.

My mental preparation for this game is quite simple. I just imagine sitting at the board and looking at the two sets of pieces in their home position. Does this look like an advantage of my opponent? I say to myself: They play with the same pieces as me, these are not magic pieces at all. And this is not Vishy but just an IM or FM or WGM. Against Vishy they just would look like me now. They would have the chance of a good game against Vishy, so I will have the same chance against them. Yeah.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Great New Forum By Susan Polgar is a brand new forum with excellent features and the potential to become one of the best chess sites, depending on what users will build this community and what they will post. There are already 400+ registered users, me included. Susan Polgar hopes that this forum will bring together players of all levels, a hope that I share. Time will tell.

One of the greatest features is the possibility to upload games in .pgn format, these can be played online, and comments are also displayed. I have tried it out with uploading my big swindle game of last Winterthur Chess Week, and it works.

Hope to see you all in the Forum.


Seventh Winterthur Chess Week

winterthur chess week
October 5th-13th, 2007

In two weeks, I'll be participating once more in this exciting tournament. As you can see in the list of participants, four GM and many more titled players will be in the same pool as me. This time, I have been listed with my new FIDE rating of 1826, thus my first opponent will be stronger than those of the previous chess weeks. Thus, other than in the previous events where I had been listed by my much lower Swiss national rating, I have a reputation to defend.

Last year I did a lot of CTS training as a preparation. This year I am too busy, plus I am not convinced that it had helped me much.

The atmosphere is unique, and most participants come here every year. Why not you? Would be nice to meet you here in Winterthur. Inscription is still open.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Anti-Sicilian Overhauled

For many years I have attacked the Sicilian with the Morra Gambit, trying to put the defender out of his book strategy. The results have been mixed, wins against stronger opponents as well as pathetic losses against weaker opponents. Against careful, cautious and patient defenders a gambiteer has a hard life because the compensation for the pawn has a tendency to melt away like a piece of chocolate in the sun.

Thus, in a G-25 game recently, I decided all of a sudden to try out a "normal" Sicilian. Still, I do not like to comply with the black plan of trading the c- against the d-pawn. My new strategy against the Sicilian looks like this:


The main idea is building a center fortress on the light squares with d3 (avoiding the black exchange plan) but then the light-squared bishop becomes bad, so I must get rid of it at the expense of the bishop pair. At the moment, it may pin the knight c6, and if Black a6, then I trade Bxc6.

The strategy is to keep the center closed as long as possible (a knighty position), castle 0-0, then Re1 and bring the second knight to an attacking position by Nbd2-f1-g(e)3.

My first try with this strategy has been a plain success, I won against a stronger opponent. Well, dear Morra Gambit, it is time to say farewell. We had a good time together, but now I am ready to go ahead for new adventures.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Rules Applied the Wrong Way

Dumb patzers do not know the rules, so they cannot apply them. Smart patzers - I count myself to that species - know the rules but apply them the wrong way. This is what happened in my last game, but my mistake has remained unpunished.

Black to move.

In this position I did not remember any theory but tried to invent all from scratch by applying simple opening rules. "Move every piece once before moving a piece twice, unless there is a tactic." Okay, I said to myself: It is the turn of my light-squared bishop. Another rule (for middlegames) says that you must trade off the strongest piece of the opponent, hence Bc4. But if I move Be6, I get a double pawn, therefore this must be prepared. How? Castling may be too early and may be better longside. Therefore I played Qe7, unfortunately overlooking that the queen is not safe at this place, and fortunately my opponent missed to attack her by Nd5 (forcing the pathetic retreat to d8).

Instead, moving the knight Nc6-a5 twice, before moving the bishop, would have been much better. Is there a tactic? Yes, because the white bishop is restricted and cannot be saved from being traded, and with my knight move, this goal is reached faster than with my original plan. In addition I gain the bishop pair. This is not yet an advantage because the center is still closed, but lines will open up during the game, so my stocks will rise the longer the game goes on.

Improved version of the move-once rule: In the opening, move every piece once before moving a piece twice, unless there is a tactic for either side.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Chess Blog Carnival Is Up

Jack Le Moine did an excellent job in launching the first, as far as I know, chess blog carnival. It is a collection of best posts with a very broad scope - about annotated games, book reviews, chess culture and politics, chess events and games, endgame play, humor, improvement programs, opening theory, position analysis, strategic concepts, and wrapped up with a list of valuable non-blog chess sites.

Don't miss to visit Chess Blog Carnival 1 at Jack Le Moine's Blog


Sunday, September 02, 2007

A Knight's Game

In my last Swiss Team Championship game I had an easy win against a kid who played quite well for twelve moves but then missed to attack my opposite-castled King. As White he was to move in this position:


White to move.

He did not know what to do and the game went on 1.Nb5 a6 2.Nc3 Nd4 3. Rc1 Rxg5 4.Bxg5 Nf3+ gaining material and winning easily.

White's best move would have been 1.Ne6 with discovered attack on my unprotected Knight f6. But Black has a nice tactic to parry this attack. Do you see it?

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