Sunday, August 03, 2008

Finally surpassing the 1800 mark!

As usual it took the dutch chess federation quite some time, but now it is official: my new rating is 1819 !!

The intensive training did a lot of course to make this happen. But my choice of the Polar Bear as new opening has played a role too. This opening, which I play with both black and white now, makes my games longer. Oddly enough, this gives me more opportunity to show my tactical tricks! When I played my usual gambits in the past, I always found myself in an all or nothing situation. Often I had to trade a better position for a half or a whole point, due to time trouble. When every move counts, I often lost on time against lower rated players in search for the winning tactical trick that wasn't there at that moment, or which I couldn't find. The Polar Bear is slow and strong. It builds up a strong position anyway, even if there are no tactical tricks around at that very moment. Positional considerations take less time than calculations in an all or nothing situation. It sounds odd, but in a game that last 60 moves or so, there are a lot more chances to find a tactical trick that works than in a game of 24 moves, which used to be my average when I played gambits! Especially my results against lower rated players has gone up drastically due to this phenomenon.

Besides that, the Polar bear seems to be hard to grasp for lower rated players. It is basically an optical trick. You seem to develop slowly, even to the extent that you are lagging behind in development, but this is an optical illusion. Although your opponent can move his pieces out quickly, they are neutralized by your pawn moves. His pieces are doing close to nothing on their new position. At the same time you prepare the breaking move e4 (with white) or e5 (with black). Once the breaking move is played, you can catch up with your piece development, with a favourable pawnstructure, while your opponent is left with impotent pieces.


  1. Kittens! And congrats on the 1819! I have actually been thinking of mixing up my openings lately and may take a close look at the Polar bear.

  2. wooo! congrats!

    the polar bear kung fu is very strong! :)

  3. Is the polar bear system suitable for correspondence play, in your experience?

  4. F A N T A S T I C !!

    so truly well deserved!!!!!!!

    very happy for. couldnt happen to a better man :)

  5. I'll look up the video on the polar bear but how do you play it as black versus e4 ? Laramonet.

  6. Alastair, o yes, quite! I played it in about 60 cc-games or so with good results.

  7. Laromet, you can't play the system against e4 and g4. Against f4 you get a mutual dutch position.

  8. tempo, what do you mean by 'mutual dutch'? 1.f4 f5 is quite bad for black, and usually ends very quickly...

  9. WW, to be honest, I wasn't quite sure about 1.f4 f5. It is seldom played. What's the catch?

  10. White gets a huge attack 1.f4 f5 2.e4 fxe5 3.d3 fxd3 4.Bxd3 Nf6 then either 5.Nf3-g5, or simply 5.g4.

    there's all kinds of nasty white moves brewing up, further sacs on g6 etc, and black can't do much else than wait and receive what's coming. black pieces are obstructed, and usually his king takes a hike into the open, other pieces still undeveloped, and gets mated.

    it's not a straight win, but I think I've won all slow ones against 1.f4 f5.

  11. WW, thx, that is a promising looking gambit which I am going to try.

  12. Congrats, Mr Tempo. The Polar Bear sounds like a lot of fun!

  13. here's one 1.f4 f5 I played some days ago on it's against a low rated player, and pretty much blitzed as I wanted to get my rating up fast after joining. but it shows what kind of trouble black is risking by taking that pawn:

    [Site ""]
    [Date "2008.07.20"]
    [Round "1"]
    [White "wormstar"]
    [Black "atiyoga"]
    [Result "1-0"]
    [WhiteElo "1638"]
    [BlackElo "1377"]

    1. f4 f5 2. e4 fxe4 3. d3 exd3 4. Bxd3 Nf6 5. Nf3 e6 6. Ng5 Nc6 7. Nxh7
    Nxh7 8. Qh5+ Ke7 9. Bxh7 d5 10. O-O Kd6 11. c4 Qf6 12. Rd1 Ne7 13. Nc3 g6
    14. Qf3 c6 15. Ne4+ Kc7 16. Nxf6 dxc4 17. f5 gxf5 18. Qf4+ Kb6 19. Qxc4 Bg7
    20. Be3+ Ka5 21. b4+ Ka4 22. b5+ Ka5 23. Rd3 cxb5 24. Ra3#

  14. Heartiest congrats on hitting the 1800 mark!

    Well done!