Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Yet another of my Internet opponents provides a fine example of how not to play chess: play passively, castle into a strong attack, and never develop your queenside. Predictably, mate ensues. I'm now 95-0-0 on GameKnot. It looks like I'll be able to get to 100-0-0 before I start giving up points.

In playing this game, I was inspired the following slaughter by GM Atalik of a QGD, Marshall Defense(!), which I saw in Valeri Bronznik's excellent book 1.d4 - Beat the Guerrillas!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Unofficial: GMs Robson, Friedel, Mitkov win 2013 Chicago Open

GM Nikola Mitkov held up the local honor this year. Here's his very nice win in the money round (finished just a few minutes ago).

ADDENDUM: The cross-tables for the event are available here.

The double-pawn advantage, redoubled

It is not fun to defend a Bishop's Opening against one of its foremost practitioners, GM Nikola Mitkov. Even GM Vladimir Georgiev, who knew very well what to expect, has serious problems....

We're all taught that when in doubt, we should make pawn captures towards the center.  Consider the diagram below: White has two sets of doubled pawns, and no central pawns at all, as he's captured away from the center twice.  Yet White's rooks both sit on semi-open central files.  Who has the pressure?

Not so drawish

GM Mesgen Amanov and IM Florin Felecan are not only two of the strongest players in Illinois, they're two of the nicest people in Chicagoland chess.  Over the board, however, no quarter is given or expected.

Opposite-color bishop endings are not nearly as drawish as some assume they are, especially when a pair of major pieces remain on the board,  Make the enemy bishop irrelevant, and you're attacking with an extra piece!  In achieving this end, a well-timed pawn sacrifice is useful: activity trumps materialism.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Grünfeld Defense, Russian Variation, Hungarian Defense

5.Qb3 is the Russian Variation.  I am old enough to remember the "Hungarian" 7...a6!? as a wild cutting-edge idea by some Hungarian players in the 1970's.  (Wikipedia attributes its popularization to Leko, but the name was coined before Leko was born.)  As a couple repertoire books recommend this move, you should expect to face it if you play 5.Qb3 as White.

Sam Schmakel was ready (or at least ready enough) and wins a nice game.


From tonight's round: you can follow on Monroi.  Hmm, Yury Shulman makes me want to switch to 9.Nh4.

Defending a difficult position against a grandmaster

Sometimes the mundane losses are as impressive as the spectacular wins.  Earlier today, ten-year-old Awonder Liang held out for forty moves against GM Mesgen Amanov.  Not just forty moves... forty moves after a monster knight landed on d6.

From the Chicago Open

GM Nikola Mitkov responds to the Caro-Kann with the Two Knights Variation and demolishes the Georgian GM Mikheil Kekelidze.  Game score via Monroi.