Tag Archives: Sicilian

OpaDragon-SmithyQ, April 2017: How I Think When Attacking

Let me start by saying this: I was in a bad mood, chess-wise, during this game, and so I was going to attack his King no matter what.  Today, we get to see an attacking game.  Is this the best strategy?  No, but sometimes you need to play chess for fun as well as improvement.

The game itself is surprisingly sound, all things considered.  The attack isn’t unfounded, and I still improve my position in my normal positional way.  What’s important in this game, I feel, is how I thought on each move.  That is, once the attack started, I was analyzing potential threats and sacrifices every move, several ply deep.  I didn’t stop until I found what worked, and then I dove it.

This analysis, then, will share exactly how I think during an attack.  It’s short and sweet, so let’s have a look. Continue reading

Game 15: SmithyQ-FreeLance: My Pet Positional System against the Sicilian

This game features two main points I want to discuss: my opening system against the Sicilian and my theory on chess playing.

First, the opening system.  I’m a big believer in the Maroczy Bind structure against the Sicilian.  White gets a thematic set-up with very little risk, the moves are easy, the middlegame plan is easy, perhaps most importantly, most Black players don’t know the first thing about it.  I don’t know why it isn’t more popular.  Here’s the basic set-up.

Second, one thing I’ve learned from GM Smirnov is the importance of moving pieces forward wherever possible.  This has given me an insight or theory on chess.  In general, the side that moves backwards most is the one that will lose, and in particular, a backwards move often indicates a chance for the other side to gain an immediate advantage, often via tactics.

We’ll explore both of these ideas in the following game. Continue reading

Game 13: Rustlavi-SmithyQ, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

I remember playing this game, and my thoughts were all over the place.  I went from super confident to super worried and back again.  Truly Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, for it’s hard to imagine the same person played all my moves.

If you go by the computer, my first nine moves are perfect.  I then start turning into Mr. Hyde, where my moves become worse and worse, until finally I make five tactically flawed moves in a row.  Fortunately, Dr. Jekyll starts to reassert himself, and I finish the game off in an endgame without incident.

The game is short but the analysis long, mostly due to the mistakes.  Dig in and get ready to calculate with me. Continue reading

Game 9: Zicfun-SmithyQ: A Very Crazy Opening

That’s an old adage that says amateur chess players need not worry about opening theory, since no one follows the mainlines after move eight anyway.  This is perhaps an oversimplication, but it has a grain of truth in it.  The game today, though, shows this off perfectly.

By about move 4, we had reached a completely unique position, one you could barely tell was a Sicilian.  You could have every opening book ever memorized and it wouldn’t help you.  If you knew basic ideas, though, then you could figure out the correct plan without much effort.

This game was a blast to play, and I’m excited to share the following crazy opening. Continue reading

My Most Important Chess Game

This is my best chess game; it is my worst chess game.  It features beautiful tactics; it features devastating blunders.  It’s a positional masterpiece; it’s a positional clusterbomb.  I won this game; I lost this game.  It shows how close I am to chess masterhood; it shows how far I still need to go.

This following chess game is probably the most important one I’ve ever played in terms of my own chess development.  If I ever get a chance to write a book of my own games, this will be number one.  It is my whole chess persona in a nutshell.

I’ve written about this game before: here and here and here.  I’ve never analyzed it.  I’ve been afraid, afraid that I really did play 20 perfect moves and then threw it all away in one moment of … I don’t even know what to call it.  Overconfidence?  Blindness?  Stupidity?  A subconscious tendency towards self-destruction?

This game was played back in April.  My opponent was a Fide Master with an official OTB rating of 2300.  I have an online rating of 2000.  I should have been destroyed … and instead I played the game of my life, in every way possible.  Let’s take a look. Continue reading

My Opening Evolution: Playing Against 1.e4

If you hear a seasoned chess player talk about chess, it’s usually one of two things: either about famous players or openings. What else is there to talk about? Everybody has his or her own favourite player, be it the dauntless Tal or the dominating Capablanca or the demolishing Fischer. Finding your favourite player is generally pretty easy as well. Go through a collection of famous games, see one that catches your eye and presto, your favourite player.

For the record, my favourite player is Siegbert Tarrasch.

Openings, though, are completely different. While you might enjoy going through your favourite player’s games, you need to play your own openings. You need to study hard and memorize lines if you want to avoid opening traps, especially in the heavy theoretical lines. Each opening is different, leading to different positions, and it can seem overwhelming. Where to start? Which is best? How can I possibly know any of this? Continue reading

My Best Chess Games, Part Two: Flipping the Switch

If I had to be honest, most of my chess games are unremarkable.  Usually one side makes a silly mistake, losing a pawn or a piece, and then the other side takes advantage and wins rather simply.  This is how most chess games work.  We like to think it’s because of smashing attacks and beautiful play, but usually it’s a simple blunder.  That’s okay, a win is a win, but it’s hard to call something like that one of your ‘best’ games.

Back in September I covered perhaps my best chess game, one where I obtain a perfect positional bind and then creatively opened lines for a mating attack even without Queens.  It’s original, in an unusual opening, and it was a lot of fun.  Completely different from most of my chess games, and the computer confirmed that most of my play was near optimal.  That makes me happy.

Today is something completely different: a game where I do not play accurately; in fact, I play based on emotion, basically saying ‘screw it, I feel like attacking now,’ and amazingly it worked! Continue reading