Tag Archives: open sicilian

Game 16: SmithyQ-AliSadraei: Pressure Makes Diamonds … and Blunders

There’s a familiar phrase, “Pressure makes diamonds.”  And it’s true.  You take some ugly rocks, put them under intense pressure for millions of years and boom, you’ve got some pretty diamonds.  At the same time, as I tell people whenever I can, “Yeah, pressure makes diamonds, but it also makes balloons pop.”

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What can I say, I’m a cynical optimist.

Coming back to chess, I have a long-standing theme on this blog: most amateur games are decided by blunders.  You can win a heck of a lot of games just by looking for enemy mistakes.  Now, if you just sit there and do nothing, your opponent might blunder, but he or she probably won’t.  Just like anything else, blunders can be created.

Of course, you can’t physically force your opponent to blunder, but you can make it much more likely.  If you are under pressure, you start thinking different, you start to worry, you start feeling the danger, and then blunders follow almost automatically.  In today’s game, I do exactly this, making a single attacking thrust and then having my opponent contort into a ball out of fear.

Let’s take a look. 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