Friday, July 19, 2013

Irrational Exuberance, or, Looking for Sacs in All the Wrong Places

Jim Abbott, the winner of this game, gained a ton of rating points at the Greater Midwest Classic.

My ...Bxh2+ was more than a bit too overoptimistic, and I understood this when I did it. But I still sacked the piece. Hmm.

David Franklin called this move "going Morozevich" (after the brilliant Russian GM who does something impulsive whenever the position bores him).

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

An argument for the fianchetto Grünfeld... that some strong amateurs don't know about moves like 7...Nb6! It's annoying for the horsie on d5 not to have a buddy on c3 to trade lives with, and Black has to worry about White grabbing the center with tempo.

Incidentally, please let us know what you think of the various versions of this viewer.

A semi-correct game

Black mishandled the opening slightly, and White returned the favor with the slightly inaccurate 15.g4?!, which allowed the equalizing 15...Qc7, capitalizing on the weakening of the dark squares.  Otherwise, yawn.

4.Qc2 is an idea worth checking out: lots of strong players use it on occasion.  Sam impressed me in the postmortem with a couple variations that he assessed far more deeply and correctly than I.  Yes, masters have better instincts than we do, but they also analyze more variations more correctly than we do.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Agony column, installment 357

I think it was Raymond Floyd who once wrote an article for Sports Illustrated titled something like, "How Can a Pro Miss an Eighteen-Inch Putt?" I'm certainly no pro at chess, but I'd like to think I'm expert enough not to lose a bishop vs. knight ending when I have the bishop and I'm up two clean pawns with zero compensation.  Reality and "what I'd like to think" are two different things...

(The attentive reader may recall that I was the recipient of a similar gift in the final round of Kings Island 2012: the "equalizing injustice of chess" is a useful fantasy to maintain at times like these....)  I tried to squeeze my opponent in a dead equal position when we were both playing on delay, and received the loss I richly deserved.  Stubborn defense is often rewarded against careless play!

Monday, July 15, 2013

A streak of my own

My streak is even more impressive than Frederick Rhine's: I have just played 152 consective tournaments in which I have made at least one move worthy to be made by an absolute patzer.  (Sometimes these moves come by the dozen, but let's not talk about that.)

I have learned not to beat myself up too much over my very bad moves: the trick is to mix self-criticism with self-praise for the occasional good move. And sometimes the most creative player is not the player who wins: the following game is a great example.

The Black rook often "belongs" on a7 in the Chebanenko Slav (...typified by an early ...a6), including the Exchange Chebanenko.  If White can put a piece on b6, the Ra7 may feel a little silly.

This week, I'll post all the games from my last two tournaments.  Hey, it's a blog.

I got a call yesterday...

...from a friend in our chess community.  We played dozens of games of blitz in Rogers Park coffeehouses, back in the days when my now 21-year-old was kibitzing from a baby stroller.

Six weeks ago, his longtime significant other learned that she has a Stage 4 cancer.  She's getting great care at St. Francis's in Evanston, and he's spending all his time with her, essentially living at the hospital.

It'll soon be time to go home.  They live in a third-floor walkup, and he needs to find a ground-floor apartment ASAP (even one flight of stairs is too much).  Proximity to the hospital (Evanston, Rogers Park, West Rogers Park) would be ideal.

Please drop me a line if you know of something and I'll forward to our friend.