If you ask most players their favourite way to win, most would respond with tactics and sacrifices, something like a mythical Queen sacrifice that leads to a brilliant forced mate. To play like Morphy, art on the chess board. I won’t lie, I’m one of those people … but a close second is what I call the python, where you suffocate your opponent to death, where they simply have no moves left. Sometimes, this can be even more beautiful than a dashing sacrifice, or at least I think so.
Normally, such a python strategy happens when one side has a lack of space, and then they get slowly squeezed to death. This game is odd in that it quickly opens up, both sides flying across the board … and yet, suddenly Black finds himself with no play, nothing to do and no hope of getting out. The python had him firm, and the result may be my favourite game of 2015.
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 →
When you hear about chess skills, you normally think about calculating variations, visualization and all that. While these are definitely important, they aren’t the most fundamental chess skills. To fully develop from beginner to intermediate and then to advanced, you need to master these basics first. I’ve listed them below, going from most fundamental to more specialist as we go. Continue reading →
Sometimes chess games get messy. Instead of calm logic the board is set aflame in chaos, and you can’t tell heads from tails. You have no idea what the heck is going on. There are so many hanging pieces and potential tactics that only a computer can calculate it all. All you can do is keep your head above the water and try to out-steer your opponent in the tactical mayhem.
In general, such games fall under two types. First, both sides attack the enemy King. This is especially common in opposite-side castling, like the Sicilian Dragon. Very complicated. Second, there can be a sacrifice for unclear compensation. Giving up a pawn or a piece for attack is the prime example.
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 →
April was an interesting month. I stopped training for chess and started playing chess. There’s a difference. While I experienced ups and downs, April was largely positive. As of the time of writing, I haven’t lost a game. I have completed ten games at chess.com, going 10-0-1, and eleven games at net-chess.com, going a perfect 11-0. My rating at chess.com is currently 1704, very close to my old standard of 1800. Another month and I just might get that. Net-chess unfortunately either doesn’t use the standard elo rating system or has an incredibly inflated one, as my rating is over 2600.
All in all, that’s 21 games without a loss, so I’ll take that. But first, let’s look at my Tactics Stats.