Friday, December 15, 2017

For daily use


  1. ehhh... a little off topics

    The relationship between cognitive ability and chess skill:
    A comprehensive meta-analysis

  2. FEN: 1r1q1rk1/p2bppbp/3p1np1/4n3/3NP1P1/2N1BP2/PPPQ3P/1K1R1B1R b - - 0 1

    Zhuravliov-Koskin, USSR 1963 (Unable to find the game score in a database)

    I am continuing to work on the scheme outlined above, in the context of solving problems from the excellent book Fundamental Checkmates, Antonio Gude. See page 94 for this position.

    When I looked at the position, something struck me as an insight based on the outlined procedure given above. When we look at PoPs and LoAs, often times we "see" B.A.D. pieces. However, we often don't extend that knowledge to include other pieces that may be masked (sometimes obscured beyond reasonable pattern recognition).

    In the given position, I immediately noticed that the Black Rook at b8 "attacks" the White Pawn at b2, which in turn is "defended" by the White King at b1. So, the b2 square is B.A.D. However, when I "looked" again, I "saw" that the Black Bishop on g7 is also "attacking" b2 - albeit through the two Black Knights (on f6 and e5) and one of the White Knights (on c3). Given the potential "superiority" on b2, it then triggered a look to "see" if the Black Bishop and Black Rook can "combine" in the "attack on b2. Using Capablanca's idea of just shifting the appropriate pieces as needed without the usual calculation of moves, it became "obvious" (on some level) that the two Black Knights and the White Knight COULD be "moved" via threats.

    The first threat is a capture on f3 with 1. ... Nxf3! This threatens White's Queen on d2, so it seems "obvious" to recapture: 2. Nxf3. Black follows up with 2. ... Nxe4. White responds with 3. Nxe4 and miraculously, the line of the Black Bishop on g7 is now cleared.

    Another background consideration is the idea that Black can sacrifice the Black Rook on b8 and immediately "reload" the same effect with the Black Queen. So, 3. ... Rxb2! Taking the Rook with 4. Kxb2 allows the Black Queen to come into play with tempo (check), so White tries to sidestep into at least temporary safety with 4. Kc1. But Black can force the King back into the line of fire with 4. ... Rb1+! 5. Kxb1. Black then brings the Queen into play with check 5. ... Qb8+ and White is mated after .

    My point is NOT about solving this particular problem but gives an example of how efficacious the idea is of extending the "line of attack" from each line-moving piece across the board, REGARDLESS OF OBSTACLES IN THE LINE OF ATTACK in the current position.

    I'm making progress with this "visualization" idea, because it popped into "sight" as soon as I looked at the position.

  3. I often get an "itch" when I take the "obvious" road when analyzing. In the analysis above, that occurred after this statement:

    "The first threat is a capture on f3 with 1. ... Nxf3! This threatens White's Queen on d2, so it seems "obvious" to recapture: 2. Nxf3." Is there an alternative to helping Black force mate? Where there is life, there is always hope!

    So, I loaded up GM Stockfish and left him to analyze over night. He did not make the "obvious" move 2. Nxf3. What a surprise - NOT.

    New game
    1r1q1rk1/p2bppbp/3p1np1/4n3/3NP1P1/2N1BP2/PPPQ3P/1K1R1B1R b - - 0 1

    Analysis by Stockfish DD 64 SSE4.2:

    1. -+ (-2.22): 1...Nxf3 2.Qf2 Bxg4 3.Nb3 Ne5 4.Rd4 Rc8 5.h3 Bf3 6.Bg2 Bxg2 7.Qxg2 Nc4 8.Rd3 Nxe3 9.Rxe3 Nd7 10.Qg3 Qc7 11.Rf1 e6 12.h4 Ne5 13.Ka1 Qb7 14.Qf4 f5 15.Ree1 fxe4
    2. = (0.00): 1...Rxb2+ 2.Kxb2 Nxf3 3.Qd3 Ne5 4.Qd2 Nf3
    3. +/= (0.56): 1...h5 2.g5 Nxf3 3.Qf2 Qa5 4.Nb3 Rxb3 5.axb3 Nxg5 6.Qe1 Nf3 7.Qe2 Ne5 8.h3 Rb8 9.Rd4 Bc6 10.Bg2 Rb6 11.Na4 Rb7 12.Bd2 Qc7 13.Nc3 Bd7 14.Rd1 Qc5 15.Be3 Qc7 16.R1d2 Kf8 17.Nd5
    4. +/- (0.80): 1...Qc7 2.Be2 Rfc8 3.Nb3 Be6 4.h4 h5 5.g5 Nfd7 6.Bd4 a5 7.f4 Nc4 8.Bxc4 Bxd4 9.Qxd4 Bxc4 10.Rh2 Rb4 11.a3 Rb7 12.f5 Ne5 13.Nd2 Bd3 14.cxd3 Qxc3 15.Qxc3 Rxc3 16.fxg6
    5. +/- (0.82): 1...Qb6 2.b3 Qb7 3.Be2 Rfc8 4.h4 Qb4 5.Nd5 Nxd5 6.exd5 Qb7 7.h5 Qxd5 8.hxg6 hxg6 9.Ba6 Nc4 10.Bxc4 Qxc4 11.Qh2 e5 12.Qh7+ Kf8 13.Bh6 Bxh6 14.Qxh6+ Ke8 15.Qg5 Be6 16.Rh8+ Kd7 17.Rxc8 Qxc8 18.Nxe6 Kxe6 19.Qd2
    6. +/- (0.94): 1...d5 2.b3 dxe4 3.g5 Nh5 4.Nxe4 a5 5.Qe1 Qc7 6.Qc3 Rfc8 7.Qxc7 Rxc7 8.Ba6 a4 9.Rhe1 Nc4 10.Bc1 axb3 11.axb3 Ne5 12.Be3 Ra8 13.Be2 Nc6
    7. +/- (1.03): 1...Qc8 2.Be2 Qb7 3.b3 Rfc8 4.h4 Qb4 5.Nd5 Nxd5 6.exd5 Qb7 7.h5 Qxd5 8.hxg6 hxg6 9.Ba6 Nc4 10.Bxc4 Qxc4 11.Qh2 e5 12.Qh7+ Kf8 13.Bh6 Bxh6 14.Qxh6+ Ke8 15.Qg5 Be6 16.Rh8+ Kd7 17.Rxc8 Qxc8 18.Nxe6 Kxe6 19.Qd2
    8. +/- (1.11): 1...a5 2.Be2 a4 3.h4 Qc8 4.h5 Nc4 5.Bxc4 Qxc4 6.a3 Rfc8 7.Ka1 d5 8.hxg6 hxg6 9.g5
    9. +/- (1.17): 1...Be6 2.Be2 Qc8 3.h4 Bc4 4.Ka1 Qb7 5.Nb3 Qa6 6.Bxc4 Nxc4 7.Qe2 Nd7 8.Bd4 Bxd4 9.Rxd4 Rfc8 10.Nd5 Kf8 11.Ne3 Rb4 12.Nxc4 Ra4 13.h5 g5 14.a3 Ne5 15.Nbd2 Nxc4 16.Nxc4
    10. +/- (1.37): 1...Rb4 2.Be2 Qb8 3.Nb3 Be6 4.Nd5 Bxd5 5.exd5 Rc8 6.h4 h5 7.g5 Ne8 8.c3 Nc4 9.Bxc4 Rbxc4 10.Bd4 Bxd4 11.Nxd4 Rxc3 12.Nc6 R8xc6 13.dxc6 Rxc6 14.Rhe1 e6 15.Rc1 Rxc1+ 16.Rxc1
    11. +- (1.49): 1...Re8 2.Be2 Qc7 3.Nb3 Qb7 4.g5 Nh5 5.Bd4 a5 6.Nd5 Nc6 7.Bxg7 Nxg7 8.a4 Ne6 9.Bb5 Nc7 10.c4 Qa7 11.Nd4 Nxd4 12.Qxd4 Qxd4 13.Rxd4 Ne6 14.Bxd7 Nxd4 15.Bxe8 Rxe8 16.f4 Kg7 17.Rd1 Nf3

    (Coble, Asheboro, NC 10.02.2018)

    Black still has a significant (winning?) advantage, but White is still playing, which is an important factor when playing against flesh and blood. This illustrates an important principle: make it as hard for your opponent as possible; don't just throw in the towel and make moves that allow the opponent to get what he wants. Or, in the immortal words of GM Tartakower:

    "The mistakes are there, waiting to be made. No one ever won a game by resigning."

  4. GM Stockfish is now Super Super Super GM Stockfish 9 with new improved Elo..

  5. @ Aox:

    Thanks for the update notice. I downloaded Stockfish 9 x64 (1 CPU) version and installed it into my Fritz 11 program. Might as well have a 3391 Elo engine analyzing instead of Fritz 11 at 2853 Elo. In reality, it doesn't make any difference whatsoever WRT to MY playing skill: a 2853 GM can bust me just as easily as a 3391 GM.

  6. its not only about strength.. its about speed. engines gain ~~~40 elos by doubling the time for the calculation.
    So if you analyse your game with fritz and give the engine say 100 sec per move it would be better to give stockfish 1 sec for each move to get informations of better quality.
    I analyse every game i play with an engine and modify my opening repertoir according to this. Additionaly i use my errors for my spaced repetition trainingsset. With a strong engine its ok to give it 1 sec per move.. i dont have to wait to play my next game.

  7. doing some Ct-art level 20-30 problems and thinking specifically about pins.So I am looking at this search . Thinking out loud there are pins where you pileup on, pinned pieces where mate occur on the pinned piece , pins where the pin piece can perform a function such as protect a piece or cant move to block a check, or pinned piece negatively blockades the power (LOA,movement protection ) of a piece behind it. There are also a pin tactics where a piece is decoyed to a position so a pin can be created. So with pins you pile up on, you dance on the head of them , or you create them.

  8. A pin is generally considered to be a tactical element. Yet Nimzovich considered a pin to be one of the elements of his "system" of strategy.

    My System, 7. The Pin: "After the difficult sixth chapter [6. The Elements of End Game Strategy], difficult at any rate in the positional sense, the present one may appear very easy. And the question may perhaps be asked, whether the pinned piece can really be spoken of as an element in our sense, since a game may be laid out on the basis of an open file or a passed Pawn, but surely never of a pin! This point of view we cannot share. True, pins as a rule occur in purely tactical moments as, for instance, in the pursuit of the fleeing enemy; on the other hand, however, a pin foreseen in the planning of a game may quite logically influence its whole course.

    In another context [2. On Open Files], Nimzovich discusses the "evolutionary" and the "revolutionary" attacks. The "evolutionary" attack concerns the concentration of force against one point, in order eventually to get superior forces to bear on it or through thinning the pin defenders' ranks by exchange. The "revolutionary" attack dispenses with a slow buildup of pressure against a point, relying instead on sacrifices and tactics to gain an objective.

    Nimzovich prescribes the approach to be taken: "In what chronological order are these two methods of attack to be employed? The answer is this:—First try the converging attack, i.e., attack the obstructing Pawn with several pieces; by doing so opportunity may be fond to force the defending pieces into uncomfortable positions where they will get into one another's way: for the defense will often be cramped for space. Afterwards, see whether among other things there is a possibility of a break through by force, in other words of a revolutionary attack.

    A pin that persists over several moves with increasing pressure on the pinned piece (with possible thinning of the defenders' ranks) exemplifies the evolutionary attack (strategy), whereas the tactical utilization of a pin exemplifies the revolutionary attack (tactics). At least, that's my understanding of the difference.

    I really like your summary: "So with pins you pile up on, you dance on the head of them, or you create them." It's succinct and thus easy to remember, like Temposchlucker's PoPLoAFun formulation.

  9. chess-ability = chess learning speed?

    based on this paper: i am now studying strategy 3.0 , my learning speed is way slower than the lerning speed of these 2200 rated players.. ( i am a elo 1900 )
    We know : better player can solve chesspuzzle quicker than than worse player; a player rated 100-200 elopoints higher, is twice as fast at solving tactical puzzles.
    Solving a puzzle is a form of learning ( to understand ) the puzzle. As soon you have learned the dependencies complete and correctly.. you have found the solution. ( Here: learned = beeing aware of )
    The cognitive psychology is stressing the fact that better player have more and bigger chunks and i think these chunks help to learn chessreleted things quicker and these chunks had been created by learning chess.
    Looking at the chessability this way, makes the idea of learning to play blindfolded more should speed up any chesslearning a little. And even the method of the russian chess education : to learn endgames first makes some sense.

  10. Dear Tempo:

    You posted the article "Wrapping my head around the tree" (December 05, 2017). Can you tell us what are your discoveries since then and if you made some progress? I mean - can you (we) prove or check out how good your "system" is? Or maybe there are too many paths and the tactics cannot be categorized the way you (we) wish?

    BTW. Can you estimate when you are going to publish more articles? Just asking - no need to hurry or feel the pressure.

    1. I haven't made progress since I haven't studied chess lately. Life is picking up speed. It is hard to say when there is time again for chess study. But I will be back.

  11. Off topic:

    Has anyone been able to get on to Chess Tactics Server ( lately? I've been trying to connect for at least two weeks, and I always get an error message: "This site can’t be reached - took too long to respond ERR_CONNECTION_TIMED_OUT". I haven't found any explanation in comments elsewhere on the Web regarding the site's status.

    1. Bummer. The site was related to a German chess club, if I remember well. But I don't know which one.

    2. Site seem to be down..
      It was every now and then down for 1 or 2 days.. and we have a flu epidemic..

  12. I saw a post by old friend when I googled this. 8)

  13. Some interesting observations and comments

  14. Another interesting position:

    FEN: 4r1k1/1p3p2/p1q2p1p/2b2PrR/6P1/1P1P3Q/1P1B2RP/7K b - - 0 1

    (1000 Checkmate Combinations, Victor Henkan, No. 211, Amrein - Lummar, 1955)

    PoPLoAFun at its finest! Tracing out the LoA all the way to the edge of the board is a key concept.

    I got "stuck" trying to "trap" the White Queen. It seemed that if White availed himself of the Zwischenschach 2. Rxg5+, this would open up an escape route for the White Queen. Alas, after doing so, when there are three attacking pieces aimed at the King (the "three piece rule"), and the potential defenders are all somewhere else, it does not take long to figure out how to crash through the defenses.

  15. Hi Robert ,
    Couldnt get the pgn to work .but found the position here.,+1955&source=bl&ots=BEQv-0DEKZ&sig=UN_ANeetggTdZPBvG2V4krh_2gE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjc3L_jpdjZAhWh5YMKHZ1LCoUQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=Amrein%20-%20Lummar%2C%201955&f=false

    Ct-ART Checkmate Combinations
    which I havent seen uses Henkins book as a source so I suspect it is a nice piece of software.

  16. Hi Jim,

    I just copied the FEN from my post back into Fritz, with no problem. I did a search of the databases that I have access to, but couldn't find the game score. I suspect this was a correspondence game.

    I have the book, not the CT-ART Checkmate Combinations software.

  17. I worked on this with my librarys copy of the book. I saw the idea as to how the tactic must work but didnt solve it. My solution had the bishop on the third rank. So close...An excellent puzzle.

  18. FEN: 2r2rk1/1b2qppp/pp1ppb2/2n5/P2NPP2/2NPB1RQ/1P4PP/3R3K w - - 0 1

    Michalchishin v. Kozlov (1974)
    (1000 Checkmate Combinations, Victor Henkin, pg 168)

    Analysis by Stockfish 9 64 (I only copied the Stockfish 9 suggested moves that were at least = for White):

    1. +/= (0.49): 1.Nf3 g6 2.e5 Bg7 3.d4 Bxf3 4.Rxf3 Nb7 5.Ne4 Rc2 6.g4 f5 7.exf6 Bxf6 8.Nxf6+ Rxf6 9.d5 exd5 10.f5 Qe4 11.Kg1 Rc4 12.Rf4 Qc2 13.Qf3 Rxf4 14.Qxd5+ Rf7 15.Bxf4 Qc5+ 16.Kf1 Qxd5 17.Rxd5 Nc5 18.Bxd6 Nxa4 19.Be5 gxf5 20.Rd8+ Rf8 21.Rxf8+ Kxf8 22.gxf5 Kf7 23.Kf2

    2. = (0.21): 1.f5 Be5 2.Rf3 Rfe8 3.Qg4 Nd7 4.fxe6 fxe6 5.Rh3 Qf7 6.Nf3 Bf6 7.Kg1 d5 8.exd5 exd5 9.Ng5 Bxg5 10.Qxg5 Qg6 11.Qxg6 hxg6 12.Bf2 Nc5 13.Rg3 Re6 14.Rg5 Nb3 15.d4 Kf7 16.Bg3 Kf6 17.h4 Kf7 18.Bh2 Rh8 19.Be5 Rxh4 20.g3

    3. = (0.00): 1.Qg4 g6 2.f5 Rce8 3.Qh3 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.Bg1 Qd6 6.Rf1 Bc8 7.Qh6 Bg7 8.Qh4 Bf6 9.Qh6

    4. = (0.00): 1.Qh6 Rc7 2.Qh3 Bh4 3.Rg4 Bf6 4.Rg3

    5. = (0.00): 1.Kg1 Bh4 2.Rf3 Bf6 3.Rg3

    6. = (0.00): 1.b4 Nd7 2.Nce2 Rfe8 3.Qh5 g6 4.f5 Bh4 5.Rg4 Bf6 6.Rg3

    7. = (0.00): 1.Bg1 Bh4 2.Rg4 Bf6 3.Rg3

    8. = (0.00): 1.Rg4 Rce8 2.b4 Nb3 3.Nde2 Bxc3 4.Nxc3 d5 5.Nxd5 Bxd5 6.exd5 f5 7.Rg3 exd5 8.Rb1 d4 9.Bg1 Nd2 10.Rd1 Nb3 11.Rb1

    9. = (0.00): 1.Rf3 g6 2.f5 exf5 3.Rg3 Kh8 4.exf5 Be5 5.Rg4 Bf6 6.Rg3

    10. = (0.00): 1.a5 bxa5 2.Nf3 Nd7 3.f5 exf5 4.Nd4 Bxd4 5.Bxd4 Ne5 6.Qxf5 Qe6 7.Qg5 g6 8.Rf1 f6 9.Qh4 Rf7 10.h3 Rcf8 11.Kh2 f5 12.Rf4 Qf6 13.Qh6 Qg7 14.Qh4 Qf6

    (Coble, Asheboro, NC 14.03.2018)

    This is the kind of problem that drives me crazy! I didn’t get anywhere near the proposed “solution” – and (surprisingly) neither did Stockfish 9! Once I “got” the first White and Black move, setting up the combination, I could then figure out the potential mating sequence.

    Here’s the “solution”:

    A typical sacrifice, the aim of which is the deflection of the e6 pawn and occupation of the f5 square. Now Black should play 1 … Bxd5, rejecting the dubious gift, but White’s combination is masked and Kozlov doesn’t unravel it. 1 … exd5? 2 Nf5 Qd8 3. Bxc5!. It is necessary to eliminate this knight so that it cannot travel via the e6 square to defend the king’s flank. 3 … Kh8. Only here did Black see that capturing on c5 with the rook or either pawn leads to a forced mate. For example: 3 … dxc5 4 Qh6 g6 5 Rh3 Re8 6 Wxh7+ Kf8 7 Qh8+! Bxh8 8 Rxh8#, and we have the familiar finish. Bxd6 dxe4 5 Qh5! Black resigned.

    I don’t see myself finding the move 1 Nd5! in a game.

  19. While searching for the game Michalchishin - Kozlov, I found the following PDF book:

    Link: The Method in Chess

    The Method in Chess by the famous trainer Iossif DORFMAN

    An interesting approach to a "method" for identifying and evaluating (correctly) critical positions. Lots of positions and games given with critical positions identified. It appears to be very advanced (relative to my level of understanding).

  20. Curioser and curioser: I let GM Stockfish 9 analyze overnight after 1 Nd5!. It seems that the recommended “bailout” (1 … Bxd5) is WORSE than the actually played 1 … exd5. Given the tactical prowess of GM Stockfish, it’s interesting to see the analysis. Even GM analysis may not answer all questions.

    What was Black's "critical error"?

    FEN: 2r2rk1/1b2qppp/pp1ppb2/2nN4/P2NPP2/3PB1RQ/1P4PP/3R3K b - - 0 1

    Analysis by Stockfish 9 64:

    1. =/+ (-0.55): 1...Bxd5 2.exd5 Bxd4 3.Bxd4 e5 4.fxe5 dxe5 5.Bg1 Rcd8 6.a5 Rxd5 7.axb6 Ne6 8.Qf5 Rb5 9.Rf1 Qd6 10.Qf6 Qd7 11.Qf5 f6 12.Rh3 g6 13.Qg4 f5 14.Qc4 Rxb2 15.Ra1 Rc8 16.Qxa6

    2. = (0.00): 1...exd5 2.Nf5 Qd7 3.Qh6 Kh8 4.Nxg7 Bxb2 5.Rb1 Bc3 6.Nf5 Qe6 7.Bd2 Bd4 8.Be3 Bc3

    3. +- (1.56): 1...Qd8 2.Nxf6+ Qxf6 3.Nf3 Bxe4 4.Bd4 Nxd3 5.Bxf6 Nf2+ 6.Kg1 Nxh3+ 7.gxh3 Bg6 8.Bc3 Rfd8 9.Nh4 Rc4 10.Rd4 d5 11.Rxc4 dxc4 12.Nxg6 hxg6 13.h4 Rd5 14.Kf2 b5 15.a5 Kf8 16.Ke2 Rd8 17.h5 gxh5

    (Coble, Asheboro, NC 15.03.2018)

  21. Robert , I will check this out in the book. thanks,
    Also an interesting game in the Candidates. A zillion checks by black.

  22. Thanks, Jim, for the reference to the Candidates game! I really liked the Black g5 move, opening up the White King to checking sequences. I would have never thought of that idea. That WAS a wild Queen ending!

    As for the position above, I put the position after 1 Nd5 exd5 into GM Stockfish 9 and got a single line winning for White:

    FEN: 2r2rk1/1b2qppp/pp1p1b2/2np4/P2NPP2/3PB1RQ/1P4PP/3R3K w - - 0 1

    Analysis by Stockfish 9 64:

    1. +- (3.00): 2.Nf5 Qe6 3.Qh6 Qxf5 4.exf5 Nd7 5.d4 Rfe8 6.Qh3 Bc6 7.b3 b5 8.axb5 Bxb5 9.Bg1 Bd8 10.Rc3 Rb8 11.Rdc1 Nf6 12.Rc8 Ba5 13.Rxb8 Rxb8 14.Qf3 Ne4 15.g4 Bd8 16.Bf2 h5 17.h3 Bd3 18.Be1 Bb5 19.Kg1 hxg4 20.hxg4 Bf6 21.Qd1 Re8 22.Kg2

    2. -+ (-4.67): 2.Rf1 Bxd4 3.Bxd4 f6 4.exd5 Bxd5 5.Qg4 Nxa4 6.h4 a5 7.Rf2 Nc5 8.Re2 Qf7 9.f5 Kh8 10.Qf4 Qd7 11.Kh2 b5 12.Rge3 Rf7 13.Bc3 Nb3 14.Be1 Nc1 15.Rd2 b4 16.Bg3 Rff8 17.Rf2 Rfe8 18.d4 Nb3 19.Rxe8+ Rxe8 20.Qxd6 Qb5 21.Qc7 Nxd4

    3. -+ (-5.27): 2.e5 dxe5 3.Nf5 Qe6 4.Rxg7+ Bxg7 5.Qg4 Qxf5 6.Qxf5 d4 7.Bg1 e4 8.dxe4 Bxe4 9.Qg5 Ne6 10.Qg3 Rc2 11.Bf2 Rxb2 12.Kg1 d3 13.h4 f5 14.Rxd3 Rf6 15.Rd6 Rg6 16.Qxg6 hxg6 17.Rxe6 Kf7 18.Rd6 Rb1+ 19.Kh2 Bh6 20.Bg3 Bf8 21.Rd7+ Ke6 22.Rd2 Bc5 23.Re2 Kd5

    (Coble, Asheboro, NC 15.03.2018)

    I ran GM Stockfish 9 after 1 Nd5! exd5 2 Nf5 and got this result (I didn't let it run all that long):

    New game
    2r2rk1/1b2qppp/pp1p1b2/2np1N2/P3PP2/3PB1RQ/1P4PP/3R3K b - - 0 1

    Analysis by Stockfish 9 64:

    1. +- (2.47): 2...Qe6 3.Qh6 Qxf5 4.exf5 Nd7 5.d4 Rfe8 6.Qh5 Re4 7.Rh3 Nf8 8.Qf3 Rce8 9.Bf2 Bc8 10.g4 Bd7 11.Rc1 Bxd4 12.Bxd4 Rxd4 13.b3 Ree4 14.Rf1 h6 15.Rf2 Bc6 16.Kg2 Bd7 17.Kg1

    2. +- (4.75): 2...Qd7 3.Bxc5 Kh8 4.Qh5 Rxc5 5.Rh3 h6 6.Nxh6 Qxh3 7.Qxh3 Bc8 8.Ng4+ Kg8 9.Nxf6+ gxf6 10.f5 Re8 11.Qg3+ Kh7 12.b4 Rc6 13.exd5 Rc2 14.Qxd6 Kg7 15.Qxb6 Re5 16.d6 Rxf5 17.Qd4 Bd7 18.Qg4+ Kf8 19.Rg1 Rc6 20.Qd4 Re5 21.b5 axb5 22.axb5 Rxb5 23.Qxf6

    3. +- (6.45): 2...Rfe8 3.Qh6 Ne6 4.Nxe7+ Bxe7 5.f5 Bg5 6.Qh3 Bf6 7.fxe6 Rxe6 8.exd5 Bxd5 9.Rf1 Be5 10.Rg4 g6 11.Bxb6 Rc2 12.b4 Bg7 13.Qh4 Re8 14.Re1 Rxe1+ 15.Qxe1 Bc3 16.Qe7 Be5 17.Kg1

    (Coble, Asheboro, NC 15.03.2018)

  23. I occasionally read GM Aagaard’s chess blog (mostly looking for information on the latest Quality Chess books), and found a series of videos regarding “The Four Types of Decisions” made in chess.

    Link: Four types of Decisions – posted on 27 FEB 2018

    These four decision types are:
    (1) Automatic Decisions
    (2) Simple Decisions
    (3) Critical Moments
    (4) Strategic Decisions

    I was intrigued by the chess position accompanying this first video; it is not referenced by GM Aagaard during this video. However, I cannot pass by any position that intrigues me without at least trying to “solve” it!

    FEN: 6k1/q2n1p1p/3Q2p1/3P4/4P3/2bp1NPP/5PK1/5B2 b - -

    The video has no indication of which side is to move, but I made an assumption (“assume” usually means “makes an ASS out of U and ME” – or at least ME) that Black is to move, based on the fact that White does not have any immediate attack on the Black King or tactical shots against any Black piece, but is ahead in material by one Pawn, and threatens to “kill” that “lust filled” Black d3 Pawn, whereas Black at least has a PoP (f2) which is B.A.D. and has at least a couple of pieces aimed at or in the vicinity of the White King’s position.

    In “looking” for ideas from the vulture’s point of view, I was struck by something odd (in a good sense). There was a “pattern” which began buzzing around in my head. That “pattern” very quickly led to a tactical attacking move based on the PoP and the potential LoA of the Black Queen and Black Bishop.

    The basic “pattern” is given by the following position (extraneous pieces are removed, leaving only the two Kings and the two components of the “pattern”):

    FEN: 3n4/8/4P3/7k/8/7K/8/8 w - -

    In this simplified position, White wins by advancing the “lustful” Pawn 1 e7. Because of the “awkward” placement of the Black Knight, it cannot stop the White Pawn advance to promotion. White will end up with a Queen (after promotion) and it really doesn’t matter whether the Black Knight is still on the board or not.

    As soon as I clearly "saw" THAT "pattern", I realized that the “solution” to the original problem was to combine two ideas: (1) Attack the weak point f2 with 1 … Be1! which then sets the stage for (2) the “pattern” of advancing the Pawn towards promotion, simultaneously attacking the Knight (which will have to capture the Black Bishop with 2 Nxe1 or suffer a fatal attack against the White King).

    As defined by GM Aagaard, this kind of decision was “simple” but not necessarily “easy”! Without that “pattern” floating around in System 1, I very seriously doubt I would have “seen” the solution so quickly.

  24. Addendum: In the second video in the series, Black IS to move in the position given above. The unnamed GM playing Black played 1 ... d2 2 Be2 and LOST the position! I certainly did NOT expect THAT!

  25. Another problem (from the 2nd Aagaard video on "The Four types of Decisions"):

    FEN: 8/p1r5/5kP1/pPb4R/4B3/4PK2/8/8 w - -

    Here the PoPLoAFun approach strongly guides the selection of moves to be considered.

    The Black Bishop on c5 is B.A.D., thereby forcing the Black Rook to defend it (Function). The LoA of the White Bishop extends to h7 (to the edge of the board). If the Black King were anywhere on the 7th rank, a check by the White Rook would skewer the Black Rook on c7 (LoA). But that "lustful" g6 Pawn wants to become a Queen! Combining the "ideas," White plays 1 g7! Black cannot play either 1 ... Kxg7 because 2 Rh7+ skewers the Black Rook NOR 1 ... Rxg7 because the Black Bishop would be lost. So, 1 ... Kf7 appears to prevent the Pawn promotion, but then follows 2 Rh8! or 2 Rg5! and all is lost for Black.

    By following the PoPLoAFun approach, it is surprising how quickly ideas can be focused on the relevant issues in so many positions from the vulture's vantage point!

  26. Hi all, check out this sharp Scandinavian Portuguese Gambit that Carlsen played recently.i recall Tempo may of played this Gambit.

  27. Saturdays difficult chess puzzle. white to move

  28. Thanks, Jim!

    I have no idea how sound that Scandinavian Portuguese Gambit is supposed to be, but after move 7, I was looking at lots of Black piece development and lots of open lines. That is usually a recipe for disaster for the opponent, especially if he tries to hang on to the extra material. So much has changed since the swashbuckling days of yore, but apparently some GMs are still willing to try to "ride it out" - usually with the same results as in yesteryear.

    As for the puzzle: I could see all the lines aimed at the Black King, but several of the moves to get there were not apparent to me.

  29. An interesting video