Monday, February 02, 2009

A new height

The new dutch ratinglist is just published:
  • Temposchlucker: 1856 (+37)
  • Margriet: 1508 (+40)
A new alltime high for both! This is still without our performance at Corus.


  1. Strange moment to publish a ratinglist. In Belgium that was published in januari.

    Anyhow, like i said in previous post, watch out for Magriet, she is three points closer to you then previous list! ;-)

  2. Tempo,

    First, congratulations on you and Mrs. Tempo’s successes. It’s always rewarding to get some feedback in the form of a positive rating adjustment after quite a bit of effort ( and a dash of insanity) while seeking chess improvement.

    I wanted to continue some of the earlier discussion about the C-K and share my experience. I hope it’s ok posted here.

    I used to play the French years ago and switched to C-K for very similar reasons. I loathed the deadwood on c8, the King’s side attacks starting with the White Queen on g4 and the exchange variation with open e-files took the pleasure out of my desire for a closed positional game.

    In the C-K, where Black’s Queen’s Bishop comes out to play, results in a couple of themes for white. For starters, it’s target practice on the bishop and the dance begins until its exchanged on d3. After the h-pawns and White knights acting like Siamese twins, you at least get a chance to get your knights out with equal chances for the middle game. The caveat with this play is the weakness on Black’s Queen’s side that will have to be addressed.

    Middle games in the main line C-K tend to focus on that last aspect for White. If White does attempt to play for a Queen’s side attack, Black needs to make sure the King’s Bishop is deployed as soon as possible to get the king to safety. Remember, though the position is rather cramped, it’s build like a brick outhouse. Bring a newspaper because you will be in there for a little while. But as White tries to chisel away at the bricks, he leaves behind new targets. I found it best to play positionally during this phase of the middle game looking to strengthen my weakest piece, looking for opportunities to control the light squares.

    If White castles long ( seen quite often) then you have a target and a plan can be to get your b- and a- pawns running down the files to open up that side. The square f2 is weak and can act as any focus point while White tries to defend the Queen’s side. Your knight from f6 to g4 will create counter threats on the King’s side. Then the law of two weaknesses could be utilized to created a permanent advantage for the endgame.

    If white castles King’s side, the King’s Bishop on d6 and Queen on c7 will create a battery on the b8-h2 diagonal to target. Controlling the center with the knights becomes critical here. White will form a battery on the e-file. Keep the pressure building on h2 and e4. Ideally, you would like to get a knight on e4 in such positions. Then the knight on d7 could go to f6 to support the e4 knight or in some cases it can go to c5 or c4 (via b6) to add pressure on the Queen’s side.

    Depending on how these two scenarios play themselves out in the main line usually dictates the dynamics in the endgames. Knight and Rook endgames are very typical and it is not uncommon for Black to be advancing the center pawns as white will try to break through on the c-file at the expense of the d-pawn. The Queen’s side also is where you can bet action to take place. If you see White advancing the b- and a-pawn during the middle game, be prepared to answer appropriately.

    The advanced and exchange variations are different beasts. I’d be glad to give you a similar “amateur’s” experience with this variation if you find the mainline assessment above helpful.

    George ( aka BP)

  3. Chesstiger,
    As said in the previous post: Now you know where my drive to get better stemms from (to stay ahead of Margriet:)

  4. BP,
    yes, this is very helpful to form my thinking about the classical line. What I miss or is not so clear in your story is when to flick in the freeing breakmove c5 (or e5). The "Polabia" wouldn't be playable without the freeing break move e5 and it is my take that any (hyper)modern opening (to which I reackon the CK)needs one). I'm very interested in your ideas about the exchange and advanced variations too.

  5. Hi Tempo, Congratulations to both Margriet and yourself. Keep up the good work and the explanations of the process.
    To follow up your freeing move point, the usual for the Caro Kann classical is c5. However, as Houska points out there are interesting options to play b5, hitting c4 with the goal of securing d5 for your knight.
    Your explanations have inspired me to give the Polar Bear a look and confirmed the Leningrad as my second choice against d4. My next goal after completing The Amateur's Mind and Reassess Your Chess is to follow your endgame example via SOCES and Endgame Strategy by Sherevsky. All the best, Laramonet.

  6. As for the c5 or e5 push in the mainline, consider the nature of the position. If White’s light squared bishop is still a nuisance on the board and yours is either off in the g6 spot, c6 is actually a good square for the pawn as it prevents the Bishop and Queen checking along the a4-e8 diagonal. In the Main line C-K, I’ve always found that any break along the lines of c5 or e5 levers is best left until after the king is safely tucked away. I’ve always found that when I can get a Knight to d5 and have it exchanged on d5, then it frees up the position. Otherwise I wait until later in the middle game and am about to transition to the end game.

    Now this is a nice segue to the advanced variation. The difference here is White plays for a closed position right away. After 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3. e5 Black has two choices: Get the bishop out first or take a step with c5. I usually play the bishop out for all the “French reasons” and after e6, I usually play c5 on move 5 or 6 before developing the Queen’s knight ( or the other knight since the King’s bishop is best to recapture on c5). In the advanced variation, the Queen’s knight is best to occupy the c6 square and the middle game theme is centered around e5 and d4 struggles. I usually focus on building up as much pressure on these 2 squares ( Qc7, N-g8-e7-f5 or g6) before advancing f6. I usually don’t castle ( or castle long) in such a concrete position and use the lever f6 to open up the King’s side especially if White castles there. The King’s bishop is somewhat effective on e7 ( if White refuses to capture on c5) but lately I’ve been looking at lines where I fianchetto that Bishop. This bishop can be the other problem child.

    I haven’t played the 3…c5 variation at all though I am starting to warm up to it since I’ve been studying semi-slav/meran lines where the bishop remains behind the pawns.

    In the exchange C-K, I get to play the Nc6 early and that makes me happy. I like the lines where Black plays an early Qc7 with the sole intent of preventing White from getting his Queen’s bishop on the favored f4 square. I have some lines where I dance my Queen’s bishop to pin the white knight on f3 and allow white to kick him (h3) only to bring him back to d7. This weakens white’s Kingside and The center gets red hot and ripe to play e5! You have to prepare to play with an IQP as Black but if you are comfortable with that middle game strategy ( major pieces occupying e- and c-file and avoiding exchanges until you exchange off the advanced pawn) then I recommend it. I find it throws people off, because I am comfortable with an IQP and will play for one if I know I can grab initiative and the open files before my opponent.

    I am still learning my way around this defense even after three years but I like the positional aspects. It forces White into a queen’s pawn positional game, ready or not. So fundamentally, most of the themes of QGD with Minority attacks, Queen’s Side bind with pieces, and King’s side attacks transpose quite well for Black.

    Think of it this way, Morphy’s lost most often during closed games because he wasn’t as strong a positional player. Steinitz realized the value of closed positions against gambiteers like Morphy and Anderssen. In all my descriptions, did you see where I mentioned the importance of controlling the center? Steinitz and Tarrasch found this a good remedy for swashbuckling. Now watch out for those rebels, the Hypermods.

  7. That header image makes me queasy.

  8. Congratulations to both of you on your fine results! Good luck with the CK. I played it many years, and like BP I chose it over the French because of the c8 bishop getting hemmed in with e6.

  9. Congratulations to both of you. You know you've been doing the right stuff when you reach an all-time-high. :)