Thursday, 29 October 2009


I've been meaning to blog the last few games of the 2008/9 season for some time now. The problem is that I know there are a few ugly losses to get through - the one in this post really isn't too bad compared to what's coming - and I must admit that I do find it harder to publish the losses than the wins.

Having said that, one of the things that I like about doing the blog is that it does encourage me to make some sort of objective analysis of my play. And that's probably worth more with the bad games than the good ones, so really I ought to just get on with it.

So, onwards. A week or two before playing this game, I had picked up a copy of Johan Hellsten's "Play the Sicilian Kan" in the local charity shop. I'd not previously had any intention of playing the Kan, but I do think that my opening repertoire could do with some expansion - and I don't find brand new chess books in charity shops often enough to ignore them. However, as the game will make clear to anyone who has actually read the book, I hadn't bothered to pay any attention to it (I leave the proposed repertoire at pretty much the first opportunity). It will likely take several more games before I'm familiar enough with the positions to remember what I'm supposed to be playing...

In fact I don't think that the opening turned out too badly, largely improvised though it was. It would be nice to blame this defeat on straightforward Kan ignorance, but I don't think that I can do it.

Opponent was critical after the game of 9. ... g6. He may be right but - now that I have read at least some of the Hellsten book - I find this a tricky issue. Clearly in the game (and certainly after 18. ... e5?) the dark square weaknesses turned out very badly. But there seem to be plenty of lines where Hellsten is happy to regard ... g6 as strengthening the defences. Probably it's going to take a few more unpleasant experiences before I get near to any understanding of when the fianchetto is a good idea, and when it isn't. For what it's worth, the computer is reasonably happy with Black's position after 18. ... Bh8; patience is required in this sort of position.