Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Dan Johnston defeats GM Blatny; Decker-Lionti, CCCR May 2017

At Wednesday night CCCR chess, TD Mike Lionti made note of a couple of recent big victories. USCF National Master Dan Johnston, playing at the Wisconsin International Chess Festival earlier this month, defeated grandmaster Pavel Blatny. Very exciting! I hope we can get Dan to share the game with us.

Howard Decker also had a big win, defeating Rick Motroni in the Saturday Tournament at the Rochester Chess Center. The deal is Howard came into the tournament rated 1139, and Rick was rated 1778! Howard allowed it was his biggest victory to date. Look for that game here soon. Congratulations to both Dan and Howard.

In the meanwhile, here's a game Howard shared from May, before his win over Rick. With the white pieces Howard manages to seize control of an off-beat Kings Indian against Mike Lionti, and never looks back. Great game!


20...cxd5, finally blood is drawn.

22...Bb5 is probably a little better.

24. Qc7 would be quite strong. 24...Bb5 25. Qc1 Nd7 and Black's b-pawn is a lost cause, and probably the game as well.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

White to Move (Not a problem - a combination)

Position after 15...Qf5

This is from a recent CCCR game in which I had White. Within the first ten moves I had already dropped a pawn so already I'm in some trouble. From this position I played 16. Qc6 with no idea other than crudely attacking Black's sole weakness, the c7 pawn. Black responded with 16...Qd7, covering his c-pawn and offering an exchange of the queens. Why not if he's a pawn up?

Position after 16...Qd7

From this position I found a combination that would win back a pawn for me and perhaps more. I don't think this is so deep an 1800 or 1900 player wouldn't find it, but it was deep enough for me and probably one of the best combinations I've found - at the very least it saved my game.

White continues 17. Qxd7 Nxd7 18. Nd5! and Black's c7 pawn is threatened yet again. Of course 18...c6 is out of the question because of the rook fork. And 18...Rac8 is no good because of 19. Bxc5! exposing a double attack on the bishop at e7. Black's best move (which my opponent played) is 18...Bd8.

Position after 18...Bd8

I played the bishop sacrifice 19. Bxc5! Rxe1+ 20. Rxe1. Black could play 20...Kf8 here covering his e8 square and I guess the position would be roughly equal. Considering the position I started out at move 16 I'd certainly have nothing to complain about, having restored material equality and being left with a slightly better pawn structure. My opponent, however, decided to grab the bishop by 20...dxc5?! Unfortunately that will leave him a pawn down with a worse position.

Position after 20...dxc5

21. Re8+! and now Black's next two moves are forced. 21...Nf8 22. Ne7+ Bxe7 23. Rxa8 f6 24. Rxa7.

I'm not sure if this position is winning for White but with the material advantage and the a-pawn set to run down the board it looks pretty good. After several more moves my opponent dropped a piece which sealed the deal.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Grand Chess Tour - Paris Rapid and Blitz Starts Wednesday

There was a preliminary Pro-Am mini-tournament today that was not won by Garry Kasparov. The real excitement starts tomorrow however, with ten of the world's strongest competing for a piece of the $1.2 million 2017 Grand Chess Tour prize fund.

The players are Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Sergei Karjakin, Fabiano Caruana, and wildcards Alexander Grischuk, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Veselin Topalov, and Etienne Bacrot.

Apart from the American who I always root for, it would be nice to see Topalov on form and hopefully Carlsen will give us some exciting chess. Even though the world champion was uncharacteristically blown out of Norway Chess in the classical section, he did take first place in the blitz tournament.

In case you are wondering what exactly the Grand Chess Tour is there's an excellent write-up here at Chess24.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

CCCR Wednesday Night Tournament Results

Kharoroubi-Paciorkowski was played at G/30. My game against Thomas McElmurry was the last to finish. Jim Attaya was still hanging out playing Chris Brown in speed games. Always accommodating, Jim let me copy his game with Hanan Dery, which is below.

Game Notes: 

Hanan played a Sicilian Najdorf variation (5...a6) against Jim. White has a lot of choices but Jim chose 6. Be3 one of the more usual lines.

Instead of 6...Nc6 the usual moves are 6...e6 or 6...e5, but Hanan's move looks okay to me.

20. Bg3 I think White places the Bishop here to support a break with f4 but it's too slow, he never gets the opportunity. Notice White still hasn't castled.

26...Rbc5 Black has a great queenside setup. Can White get something concrete going on the kingside?

28...f6 Black's strength is on the queenside, White's is on the kingside. So this break seems to help White more.

30...Rh8 busting up the awesome duo that controlled the c-file.

39. Rd1 would finally get White's rook out with a tempo.

45...Rcc2 It's all over but the crying.


[Event "CCCR Wednesday Night Trnmt"]
[Site "Rochester Chess Center"]
[Date "2017.06.14"]
[White "Attaya, James"]
[Black "Dery, Hanan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B57"]
[WhiteElo "1533"]
[BlackElo "1627"]
[PlyCount "98"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Nc6 7. Bc4 Nxd4 8.
Bxd4 b5 9. Bb3 Bb7 10. f3 e5 11. Bf2 Be7 12. Qd2 O-O 13. g4 Nd7 14. h4 Nc5 15.
Bd5 Rb8 16. g5 b4 17. Nd1 Bxd5 18. Qxd5 g6 19. Ne3 Ne6 20. Bg3 Rb5 21. Qd2 Nd4
22. O-O Qb6 23. Kh1 Rc8 24. Qh2 Ne6 25. Ng4 Kg7 26. Rf2 Rbc5 27. Ne3 Qb7 28. b3
f6 29. gxf6+ Bxf6 30. h5 Rh8 31. Qh3 Nf4 32. Qg4 Nxh5 33. Nf5+ Kf8 34. Nxd6
Nxg3+ 35. Qxg3 Qc7 36. Nc4 Rg8 37. Ne3 Rg7 38. a4 Qd8 39. Qg2 Bg5 40. Ng4 Bf4
41. Qh3 h5 42. Nh2 Rd7 43. Qf1 Rc6 44. Qe1 Rd2 45. a5 Rcxc2 46. Rxd2 Rxd2 47.
Nf1 Rc2 48. Qxb4+ Kg7 49. Qe1 Qg5 0-1

Interview with Garry Kasparov at The Economic Times

Former World Champion Garry Kasparov is promoting his most recent book Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins, which covers his matches in 1996 and 1997 against IBM's Deep Blue computer.

This is from the interview:

On challenging current players
They are very strong, with Magnus Carlsen still a step above everyone else. But I haven't been gone so long! I played many games against several of the players still near the top, especially Kramnik and Anand. Of the young generation, they are often very good technically and still need to show their fire and dedication. One reason I'm impressed with Wesley So is how hard he works. He has other chessboard talents as well, but his ability to focus and prepare is tremendous. I have no interest in big chess challenges. Top-level chess, especially classical chess, requires concentration and dedication. I have a million other things in my life today, from young children to books and politics. It's not compatible with professional chess and I'm quite happy with my life.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Two League Games versus Don Stubblebine

Don Stubblebine in 2014

Last night was the scheduled final round of the Rawle Farley Memorial Spring League at the Rochester Chess Center. This is the first league I've participated in in the last few years. I was very surprised and happy to be given a Board 2 because I get to play against a lot of strong players - twice!

I finished overall with a 2-8-0 score - I was the lowest rated on Board 2. I can't report on the league, I confess I wasn't paying close attention, and as there are still a number of games to be made up and I don't know how the team scores will end.

So I'll just do some posts on my games for a bit. In the final round last night I was able to defeat Don Stubblebine. Don played an inferior variation of a probably already inferior gambit opening - the Englund Gambit. After the game he said he shouldn't have played that opening. It seemed to me that it gave me a free pawn and a much superior position almost from the beginning. I did not play really great chess or anything. I was lucky but at least I didn't muck it up and it seemed like a clean win to me. 

CCCR Spring League May 12, 2017

1. d4 Nf6 2 Nc3!? c5 3. d5 There's no preparing for Don - his opening game is very unconventional and he plays a lot of different stuff. I decided to treat this as I would a Benoni.

By move 15 I was clearly on the defensive, and after 17...Re8 it looked to me a lot like a Sicilian game gone very wrong. This was really unpleasant to play.

25...Nc6 26. Nf6+ is obviously bad for black - he's almost lost here. He might have stayed in the game though with 25...Bg7 26. Bh3 Rcd8 27. Nc7 with chances for both sides. Good win for Don.

CCCR Spring Leauge June 12, 2017 

Lucky for me Don played a bad opening, gambiting a pawn without compensation. This was an Englund Gambit with 1. d4 e5 2. dxe5. It's not played too often by grandmasters but I get the feeling Black has a lot of fun catching opponents who are unprepared. In this particular case, however, black never got in the game.

Practitioners of 1. d4 should be ready for 1...e5 - don't get caught without a plan. There are some famous Alekhine simuls and Tony Miles' games with 2. dxe5 that are worth going over.

2...Nc6 could just transpose with 2...Nc6 3. Nf3 d6.

Another good line for White is 4. Bg5 Be7 5. Bxe7 Ngxe7 6. exd6 cxd6 7. Nc3 with the better game.

6. e4 is a good move.

The exchanges White initiates on moves 7-9 may seem a little passive but Black is left a pawn down and saddled with a weak IQP. White is playing for a win.

18. c4 This is another good move.
I thought the longest over 21. c5. 21. Rf5 axb4 22. Rxf7+ Rd7 23. Rxd7+ Kxd7 24. axb4 Nxb4 chill for White.

After 27...Rd3 White has a nice position. 28...Nd8 makes for a passive knight.
29...Ka6? 30. Be2 is winning.
37. Kb4 white can push that a-pawn with check.

May 12, 2017, Stubblebine-Trowbridge and June 12, 2017 Trowbridge-Stubblebine

[Event "CCCR Spring League"]
[Site "Rochester Chess Center"]
[Date "2017.05.12"]
[White "Stubblebine, Don"]
[Black "Trowbridge, Jim"]
[Result "1-0"] [ECO "A43"]
[PlyCount "107"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 c5 3. d5 d6 4. e4 g6 5. Bg5 Bg7 6. Bxf6 Bxf6 7. h3 a6 8. a4 O-O 9. Qd2 Nd7 10. g3 Re8 11. f4 e6 12. dxe6 Rxe6 13. Nge2 Nb8 14. O-O-O Be7 15. Bg2 Nc6 16. Nd5 Bf8 17. h4 Re8 18. h5 Be6 19. hxg6 fxg6 20. Ne3 Qa5 21. Qxa5 Nxa5 22. Nc3 Rac8 23. f5 Bf7 24. fxg6 Bxg6 25. Ned5 Nc6 26. Nf6+ Kg7 27. Nxe8+ Rxe8 28. Rhe1 Ne5 29. Nd5 Ng4 30. Nf4 Nf2 31. Rd2 Nxe4 32. Rde2 Nf6 33. Rxe8 Bxe8 34. Ne6+ Kf7 35. Nxf8 Kxf8 36. a5 Bc6 37. Bxc6 bxc6 38. Re6 Ne8 39. Kd2 Kf7 40. Rh6 Nf6 41. Kd3 Kg7 42. Rh1 Kf7 43. Ke3 Kg6 44. c4 Kg5 45. Kf3 h5 46. Re1 Kf5 47. Re7 d5 48. Ra7 Ne4 49. b3 Nd2+ 50. Ke2 Nxb3 51. Rxa6 Ke5 52. Ra8 d4 53. Re8+ Kf5 54. a6 1-0

[Event "CCCR Spring League"]
[Site "Rochester Chess Center"]
[Date "2017.06.12"]
[White "Trowbridge, Jim"]
[Black "Stubblebine, Don"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A40"]
[PlyCount "83"]
1. d4 e5 2. dxe5 d6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Bf4 Bf5 5. Nc3 h6 6. e4 Bg4 7. exd6 Bxd6 8. Bxd6 Qxd6 9. Qxd6 cxd6 10. O-O-O O-O-O 11. Bc4 Bxf3 12. gxf3 Ne5 13. Be2 a6 14. Rd2 Ne7 15. Rhd1 Kc7 16. Nd5+ Nxd5 17. Rxd5 g5 18. c4 b6 19. b4 Nc6 20. a3 a5 21. c5 dxc5 22. bxc5 bxc5 23. Rxc5 Rxd1+ 24. Bxd1 Kb6 25. Rf5 Rc8 26. Kb2 Rd8 27. Kc1 Rd3 28. a4 Nd8 29. Rb5+ Kc6 30. Rxa5 Kb7 31. Be2 Rc3+ 32. Kb2 Rc6 33. Rd5 Kc7 34. Bb5 Rd6 35. Kc3 Rxd5 36. exd5 Kb6 37. Kd4 f6 38. d6 Ne6+ 39. Kd5 Nf4+ 40. Ke4 Kc5 41. d7 Ne6 42. Kf5 1-0

Sunday, June 11, 2017

On the break at Norway after Rd. 3

Photo @photochess.

Lev Aronian on defeating Magnus at Norway 2017:

"The difference between my wins against Carlsen and his wins against me: I had to work hard for mine."

Nakamura takes the lead at Norway

Hikaru Nakamura, Lev Aronian, and Anish Giri all won yesterday in round 4 of the super strong 5th Norway chess tournament. Naka, who defeated the French man Maxime Vachier-LaGrave with the white pieces in a Najdor Sicilian, takes a half-point lead over the field with 2 wins and 2 draws. Aronian's victory over world champion Magnus Carlsen puts him in a tie for second with the Russian Vladimir Kramnik who beat Viswanathan Anand with black in round 2.

Today's round 5 pairings:

Magnus Carlsen Anish Giri
Vishy Anand Wesley So
M. Vachier-Lagrave Levon Aronian
Sergey Karjakin Fabiano Caruana
Vladimir Kramnik Hikaru Nakamura

Friday, June 9, 2017

Isn't it time to switch up your response to 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4?

It's June and that means it's time to change up Black's response to 1. d4. If you are a 1...Nf6 player think about your choice after 2. c4. Have you been playing 2...g6 or 2...e6? Then switch to the other. (If you've been playing something other than those two moves simply choose one of them for the next several months).

If you are switching over to 2...g6 (an excellent move) then you have to decide to respond to 3. Nc3 with either the Kings Indian (3...Bg7) or the Grunfeld Defense (3...d5). For people who have been playing 2...g6 right alone just switch to either the KID or Grunfeld, the one you haven't been playing.

Stick with your new opening through the end of the year. If you already have a well-defined system for handling 1. d4 switching it up for six months or so will give your system much more flexibility.

I'll keep you posted how I'm doing with this.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017