Saturday, 26 January 2008

Adjudication against Andrew Stone

Hi all

I have the following position which I think I should claim a draw on, despite Black being better. It is black to play and move:

I have done quite a lot of analysis on it, and here is some of it:

I think Black's best move is Bg5

1... Bg5 2. Rf3 Kf8 3. Kh1 (3. Rxf5 gxf5) 3... Rxf3
4. Qxf3 Bf4 5. Bc3 (5. Kg1 Qc5+ (5... Qf6 6. Ba3+ Kg7 7. Qd3) 6. Kh1 b5) (5.
Rg4 Qb4 6. Bc3 (6. Rg2 Qe1+ 7. Rg1 Qh4) 6... Qa3 7. Qd3 (7. Rxf4 Qc1+ 8. Qf1
Qxf4 9. Qxf4 exf4 10. Kh2 Ke7 11. Bd4 b5) 7... Qc1+ (7... f5 8. Rxf4 exf4 9.
Qd2 Rxh3+ 10. Kg2 Rg3+ 11. Kh1 Rxc3 12. Qxc3 Kf7 13. Qe5) 8. Rg1 Qc2 9. Qxc2
Rxh3+ 10. Kg2 Rh2+ 11. Kf3 (11. Kf1) 11... Rxc2) (5. Rg1 Ke8 6. Bc3 (6. Qg4 Kd8
7. Bc1 Bxc1 8. Rxc1 e4 9. Qg2 f5 10. Rc3 {0} g5 (10... Kc7 {0}) (10... Qf6 {0}
11. Re3 {0} g5 12. Kg1 {0} Kc7 {0} (12... g4) (12... g4)) 11. Kg1 Qe5 12. Re3
g4) 6... Qa3 7. Ra1 Kf8 8. Qg4 f5 9. Qg2 g5 10. Be1 Kf7 11. Rd1 Qd6) 5... Qa3
6. Rc2 Qc5 {0} 7. Bd2 (7. Be1 {1}) (7. Be1 Qd4 8. Bf2 Qa1+ 9. Bg1 Qb1 10. Rg2
Rh6) 7... Rf5 8. Bxf4 (8. Qg2 Qd4 9. Bxf4 exf4 10. Qf3 Re5 11. Rf2 g5 12. Rg2
f6 13. Kh2 Re3 14. Qg4) 8... Rxf4 9. Qg2 (9. Qg3 Qd4 10. Kh2 Rf1 (10... b5) 11.
Re2 e4 12. Qe3 Qe5+ 13. Kg2 Rf3 14. Qh6+ Ke8 15. Qh4 f5 16. Qg5 (16. Rf2 Qd4 (
16... Rxf2+ 17. Kxf2 f4 18. Qg4 Qb2+ (18... Kf8 19. Qxg6 Qd4+ 20. Kg2 f3+ 21.
Kh2 Qb2+ 22. Kh1 Qa1+ 23. Kh2 Qxa2+ 24. Kg1 Qa1+ 25. Kh2 Qb2+ 26. Kh1 Qc1+ 27.
Qg1 Qd2 28. Qg3 Qd1+ 29. Kh2 Qc2+ 30. Kg1 Qb1+ {0} 31. Kf2 {0} Qb2+ 32. Kg1
Qd4+ 33. Kh2 Qf6) 19. Ke1 Qc1+ 20. Kf2 Qe3+ 21. Kf1 Kf8 22. Qh4 Qd3+ 23. Ke1
Qb1+ 24. Kd2 Qb2+ 25. Kd1) 17. Kf1 (17. Rf1 Qd2+ 18. Kg1 Rxf1+ 19. Kxf1 e3)
17... b5 18. Rxf3 Qd1+ 19. Kf2 Qxf3+ 20. Kg1 Qd1+ (20... e3 21. d6 Qd1+ 22. Kg2
Qxd6) 21. Kh2) 16... Kf7 17. Qh4 Kg7 (17... Rd3 18. Qh7+ Qg7 19. Qxg7+ (19. Qh4
g5 20. Qf2 Qe5) 19... Kxg7 20. h4 Kf6 21. Kg1 Ke5) 18. Qg5 b5 19. Rf2 bxc4 20.
bxc4 Rxf2+ 21. Kxf2 Qb2+ 22. Ke1 Qb1+ 23. Kf2 Qc2+ 24. Kg3 Qc3+) 9... b5 10.
Qg1 Rd4 11. Qc1 Kg7 12. Kg2 (12. Rd2 Rh4 13. Qe1 Rxh3+ 14. Rh2 Qe3 15. Qxe3
Rxe3 16. Rd2 Kf8 17. d6 Ke8 18. cxb5 axb5 19. Rd5 Kd7 20. Rxb5 f5 21. Kg2 e4
22. Kf2 f4 23. Rg5 Rc3 24. Rg4 Rc2+ 25. Ke1 g5 26. Rxg5 Rxa2 27. Re5 Ra1+ 28.
Ke2 f3+ 29. Kf2 Ra2+ 30. Kf1 Re2 31. Rd5 Rh2 32. Re5 Rh4 33. Kf2 Kxd6 34. Rf5
Ke6 35. Rf8 Rh2+ 36. Kg3 Rg2+ 37. Kh3 Kd5) 12... f5 13. Rd2 Rxd2+ 14. Qxd2 bxc4
15. bxc4 Qxc4 16. d6 Qc6+ 17. Kf2 Qd7 18. h4 (18. a4 Kf6 19. h4 f4) 18... f4 (
18... Kf7 19. Qd5+ (19. h5 gxh5 20. Qh6 Ke8 (20... Qd8 21. Qxh5+ Ke6 22. Kg2 e4
23. Qg6+ Qf6 24. Qg3)) 19... Kf6 20. a4 (20. Qd2 Qa7+ 21. Ke2 Qg1 22. Qd3 Qg2+
23. Ke1 Qxa2 24. d7 Qa5+ 25. Ke2 Ke7 26. h5 gxh5 27. Qxf5 Qb5+ 28. Kf2 Qb2+ 29.
Kg3 Qd4 30. d8=Q+ Qxd8 (30... Kxd8 31. Qf6+ Kd7 32. Qxa6 Qg4+ 33. Kf2 Ke7 34.
Qc6 Qf5+ 35. Kg3 Kf7)) 20... Qa7+ 21. Ke2 Qd4 22. Qc6 Qe4+ 23. Qxe4 fxe4 24. a5
Ke6 25. d7 Kxd7 26. Ke3 Kd6 27. Kxe4 Ke6 28. Ke3) (18... Kf7) 19. Qd3 a5 20. a4

In the main line of the above, I think it is a little too much if White can play for an endgame. I don't think Black is justified trying to claim a win via adjudication instead of offering to play on.

Anyway, Mike Jones may have to send this position off now to claim a draw.

Feedback welcome from all

Sunday, 20 January 2008

A short win

So I just tuned in to see what's going on at Corus, and was somewhat surprised to see that the game Short-Cheparinov went 1. e4 c5 1-0. Yes, that's the entire game.

Apparently Cheparinov refused to shake Short's hand and so, per the recent rule change, forfeited the game. At this point I've no idea how the incident played out, but I can't see it reflecting favourably on either player. Cheparinov is clearly an idiot for refusing to shake Short's hand; I'm willing to presume that Short is probably an idiot for insisting on the rule being enforced.

As various people pointed out at the time, losing a game in such circumstances is really rather extraordinary. I suppose it was inevitable that, once the rule existed, two idiots would eventually get together and cause it to be applied. Shaking hands is nice, of course, but it's hard to see how this sort of thing is good for the game.

Sticking with the programme

I was going to post this game yesterday - but it seemed a little perverse to write a chess blog the day after Bobby Fischer's death, and say nothing about it. Still, nothing is exactly what I do want to say about him: there's more than enough Fischer material out there already, and much of it is far better than anything I'd be likely to contribute. So I'll stay with what I know.

Actually, I don't have much to say about this week's game either. I'm afraid it was all too straightforward. Mind you, last time I played this Opponent I found myself resigning after making only ten moves. (I wasn't blogging at the time, or that one might have tested my resolve to publish every game.) So I guess this effort represents some sort of improvement...

White missed opportunities for advantage from the opening (in particular the computer's amusing suggestion 13. Nd5), after which the game was about equal, briefly. 16. ... b4 looks dubious; after that I probably should have been trying to bail out into a bad endgame. 23. ... Qc6 is obviously a blunder in a bad position.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Endgame tactics (part two)

In this post I pointed out an error in van Perlo's Endgame Tactics. Shortly afterwards I sent an email to New In Chess, figuring that telling the publishers about the mistake was probably more useful than just shouting into the great void of the internet.

I'm happy to say that I got a perfectly polite reply, which I see no reason not to report:

"Thank you very much for your contribution. You are absolutely right, of course. It's very strange that we haven't noticed this with our checks!

Unfortunately, by the time you sent us this mail, the third edition was already at the printer's. So your correction will have to wait until a possible 4th edition."

Maybe one day the book will be considered an all time classic, and I'll be able to tell the grandchildren about the time I helped to fix it up...

(In the unlikely event that anyone at New In Chess does feel that I've broken a confidence here, let me know and I'll happily delete this post).

Saturday, 12 January 2008 presents Ramage vs Gavriel

A rather dull french defence game with some missed opportunities to spice things up. At least Barnet crushed Barking overall in the match though - with 4.5 - 1.5 score.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Barnet chess congress in February 2008

Hi all

The Barnet chess congress approaches in February 2008!

February 23rd and February 24th, Barnet Chess Congress

There is a nice canteen area for socialising between rounds. The venue is spacious at the Queen Elizabeth Boy's School in Barnet:

The details as noted on the ECF calendar website are:

23-24 Feb - 24th Barnet Congress, Queen Elizabeth's Boys' School, Queens Rd, Barnet, Herts.
Malcolm Harding, 30 Grasmere Close, Brownsover, Rugby, Warks CV21 1LW (Tel: 01788 561474, Email: )

But you can get the full entry form from the following PDF document:

Click for PDF of entry form

You can telephone your entry to Malcolm Harding on 01788 561474 or by Email to

You can get some flavour of the tournament from the 2003 report. But please note entry fees have altered since that page was written, the location remains at the spacious QE School venue. This year 2008 has record prize fees for the Premier section.

Hope to see you all there!

Best wishes

Thursday, 10 January 2008

A limited repertoire

We played Barking on Thursday night. Whenever we play Barking I seem to play the same opponent (not always on the same board), and I always have white. Three times we have met in the last couple of years or so, and three times we have played the same line of the Two Knights Defence.

In the first game I should have won after being given a pawn, but only drew. In the second game it was my turn to give away a pawn, and though I probably ought to have held the opposite-coloured bishop endgame that followed, I failed to do so. In the third game no pawns were given away, and we played a fairly dull draw.

So when I found that I had white against the same player once again, I naturally felt that it might be nice to vary the opening. But as each move came, I realized that I just don't have a backup repertoire. The thought process goes something like this:

"Well, I've only ever played e4 so, of course:"
1.e4 e5

"I don't know anything at all about the King's Gambit, and there aren't really any other serious moves here, so:"
2. Nf3 Nc6

"Well, I'd kind of like to take up the Spanish... but to play my first ever game with it now, in a serious match against a strong opponent? I don't think so."
3. Bc4

... and given the opportunity I imagine that I would have gone on like this, quite possibly talking myself into completely repeating one of the earlier games!

My opponent was braver than I am and varied at this point with 3. ... Bc4. Braver but perhaps wronger, as he was out of his book almost immediately and played a thoroughly dubious line. The rest of the game went splendidly from my point of view, turning into a winning attack on his unfortunately placed king. (The only disappointment was that when I chose to cash in the material, I missed a mating line. No difference to the result, of course, but it's always nice to deliver mate. I'll leave this as a not very difficult exercise for the reader.)

Should I be worried about my limited repertoire? (If I were a strong player, I could call myself a specialist!) I can't think of any game I've played where I could attribute a lost point or half-point to not having an alternative opening available, which suggests that it's not all that important. It would probably be good for me to be exposed to more types of positions, and to that end a few more strings to my bow would be desirable. But this is very long-term thinking: would effort spent learning a new system really be more valuable than the same effort spent studying endgames, or tactics? How many different opening lines do you play?

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Endgame Tactics

I'm currently reading (and enjoying) Van Perlo's Endgame Tactics. Recently I reached position 341

The game continuation was 1... e3 2. Rd6+ Kc3 3. Re6 Kd4 4. Rd6+ Ke5 5. Rd8 e2 6. Re8+ Kf4 7. Rf8+ Ke3 8. Re8+ Kf2 9. a7 Rh1+ 10. Kg5 Ra1 11. Rf8+ Kg3 12. Re8 Ra5+ 13. Kg6 Kf3 14. g5, at which point van Perlo says "Checks no longer help as after 14. Rf8+ Ke4 15. Re8+ the rook can be interposed".

This is, of course, a disastrous suggestion: after 15. Re8+ we reach this position:

when there can hardly be enough question marks for 15. ... Re5, allowing 16. a8=Q+. (Black does in fact win after 14. Rf8+ by 14. ... Kxg4, so the game at least is not spoiled.)

I wonder how this error slipped through? I'm reading the book's second edition, so it has presumably survived unnoticed (by the publishers at least) for quite some time. The preface talks at length about how the positions have been computer checked; but apparently not completely thoroughly. My guess would be that the fatal mistake was leaving "the rook can be interposed" in words, rather than entering the move 15. ... Re5. The computer isn't ready to analyze chess in a natural language just yet.

I'm not sure what more to say about this, except that I found it rather an unnerving experience to see such an error in black and white, right there in front of me. A blunder like this shakes one's confidence in a book more than a little.