Tag Archives: Game of the Month

July 2016 Game of the Month: Beating My First Titled Player

Back in April I was this close to beating my first ever titled player … and then I threw it all away in one move.  Opps.  I wrote about that devastation and heartbreak last month.  This month, I managed to make up for that, so to speak, as I beat my first ever titled player!  Woot!

On the downside, the game itself isn’t that interesting.  White basically falls for an opening trap, and that’s it.  GG.  That’s a shame, because this month I played some really interesting positions … but none of them were my first ever victory against a titled master.  Oh well, this game has historical value if nothing else.

Let’s take a look. Continue reading

May 2016 Chess Game of the Month: ‘Busting’ The King’s Gambit

If you play 1…e5 as Black, you need to have something ready against the King’s Gambit.  All the Ruy Lopez or Berlin Wall knowledge you have will do you diddly if White starts with blood in his eyes on move two.

Most people are content to play some 1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 exf4, which is certainly a sound way to go about.  At the same time, it’s exactly the type of position White wants, and he likely has much more experience in it than you do.  That’s not exactly how you punish White for his opening daring.

Instead, I have a pet defence based on the cheeky 2…Qh4+.  The following game shows it in action.  I wouldn’t claim it’s better than any other defence to the King’s Gambit, but it DOES pull the game into a decidedly positional direction, and White almost certainly has less experience than I do.  Take a look. Continue reading

Game of the Month, April 2016: ‘Equal’ Endgame

April has not been the kindest chess month for me.  It should have been my best, as I was one move away from beating a titled player … and then I blundered.  I threw the game away in the most heartbreaking, disappointing way possible.  Seriously, I spent about three days wondering whether I should just give chess up rather than dealing with such disappointment.

I rebounded, in a way.  I beat two players with rating over 2000, one over 2100, but I still felt unmotivated.  I stopped studying and took a break.  That time off seemed to energize me, as I’m back to normal now, more or less.  That loss will forever haunt my dreams, though … Continue reading

March 2016 Chess Game of the Month: Winning a Won Game

Most chess games are decided by blunders.  That is, one side makes a silly move or completely overlooks a threat and then loses a pawn or piece, and the rest is just ‘a matter of technique.’  No problem, right?

Ha!  It sounds so easy, but every chess player knows that there’s nothing harder to win than a won game.  For this game, I will show how I simplified the game after a blunder into an easily winning position.  This game isn’t as exciting as some of my other ones, but winning won games is a skill in itself.

Some background: my opponent blundered a piece out of the Bogo-Indian as White.  That’s pretty much it.  That said, my opponent was rated nearly 2100 at the time, and he is the highest-rated player I have ever beaten.  It also shows that even good players blunder, so don’t think they don’t! Continue reading

Chess Game of the Month, Feb 2016

This game was special.  For one, it pushed me to 1990 rating, and my next win (which happened on the very same day) pushed me over 2000 rating for the first time. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I thought it was one of the best games I had ever played.  Ever.

It certainly was a good game, against a good 1800-ish opponent, but time away and deep analysis has exposed some blemishes.  Still, as far as positional games go, it was a treat to play, and when he finally resigned I felt a surge of excitement I hadn’t felt over a chess victory in a long time.

Quick background: the game started out as a Nimzo, then transposed into a QGD structure.  I made a freeing tactic which turned the game into a related but unique structure, and I then used my bad Bishop to outplay a good Knight before simplifying into a better endgame.  Pfew. Continue reading

December 2015 Chess Game(s) of the Month

Alternate title: the difference between high-rated players and lower rated players.

I’m involved in a tournament on chess.com, and I got randomly paired against a 1400 and a 1500-rated player.  I won all four games, one with each colour, and I noticed similarities in all the games.  I won rather easily in all four, as I should, being nearly 500 rating points higher, but how did I do it?

The lazy answer is I outplayed them positionally, but that’s a vague assessment.  What does it mean to be positionally outplayed?  In a nutshell, I did two things better than my opponents: I made a plan, whereas they did not, and I consistently improved my pieces, whereas they made many more backwards moves.

Let’s look at two games that show this in detail. Continue reading

Chess Game of the Month November 2015

I’ve been playing less chess the last few weeks, for a variety of reasons.  I planned on doing NaNoWriMo, so I didn’t start many games … and then I stopped doing NaNoWriMo, so opps.  I’ve also had other changes in my life, and this caused me to budget my time and chess is the area that suffered.

All in all, I only completed two games in November.  One was a rather uninteresting draw in the Open Spanish.  I’ve linked it but offer no real comment.  I had slight winning chances in the endgame but pushed my pawn too early, and it would have taken lots of grinding for any chance of winning.  The other game was more interesting but worse: I lost. Continue reading

Chess Game of the Month: October 2015

In September I did not finish any of my correspondence games, despite having 11 on the go.  In October I finished most of them, all against opponents greater than 1750, and most were quite interesting.  I’ve won them all so far, though one was due to a timeout in an equal position.  Along the way I passed the 1900 rating mark, and I wrote about four of those games here.

For my game of the month I choose the following match, one played against an 1800 rated player.  It was an Open Sicilian, but the play was very positional in nature.  There were no sudden tactics or crazy attacks: I simply improved my position slowly, and Black had to way to hang on to his weaknesses.  I like attacks and sacrifices as much as the next guy, but this is my favourite way to play: calm, logical, absolutely no risk, and it’s easy.  Few of my moves are difficult to find.

Okay, here we go. Continue reading

Chess Game of the Month August 2015: Defending the Sacrifice

I’ve started to play more games the past few weeks, but I only managed to finish one of them. Fortunately, it was an interesting, double-edged game in which both sides made mistakes, and the game became sharp right from the opening. I will analyze the game, highlight the key moments and ask questions to you, the reader. You can thus be entertained and, hopefully, learn something, too.

Some background: I played Black in a NimzoIndian against an opponent rated in the high 1800s at the time, and his rating has crept up to the mid 1900s since this game. White makes a lot of pawn moves in the opening, which lets me get some initiative. Let’s take a look.  Here is the chess.com link, so you can move the pieces around on the board if you so wish.  There’s also a dynamic board at the bottom of the page. Continue reading

July 2015 Chess Game of the Month

I figure once a month I will analyze one of my games.  This will be good practice, as analysis is perhaps the best way improve your chess game, especially if you can find and correct your mistakes.  I won’t just put down variations but will explain key and interesting positions, as that seems more useful.

This month I only played one game, so the choice is easy.  It was played at chess.com, and you find the whole game here.  I played the Black side of the Colle system, and despite getting a slightly better endgame, I could not finish off the game.  My opponent, though roughly 150 points lower rated than me, defended very well.

Without further ado, let’s look at the game. Continue reading