Saturday, August 16, 2014

Round 3 Victory 8.16.14

I finished the tournament 2.5/3 and tied for second place. This game (Round 3) was definitely one of my better games. Enjoy :)

Southern Illinois Summer Open Round 2 (Draw) with Analysis

This was a tough game I played against an old timer that ended in a draw. Fritz 12 shows that I could have won the game with 43. a3 instead of kf3. I also feel I played a little too passively.

Southern Illinois Summer Open 8.16.14 (Round 1)

I cannot feel THAT proud of my first round victory because my opponent was only 8 years old.

Friday, August 1, 2014

I Drawed a 2000+ Player on FICS


This was a game I played on July 29 against an expert (over 2000 rating) on FICS (Free Internet Chess Server). I played all the right moves in the opening and was able to hold a draw because of this. I decided to play the aggressive 6.Bg5 (I usually played 6.Be2 but this is not my style because naturally I am an aggressive player). I did end up blundering in the middle game and my opponent got up the exchange (he forked my Queen and Rook on move 15 with ...Ng3). This was an elementary blunder. However, later in the middle game my opponent made a mistake that was very similar to my blunder. He played the careless 28 ...Bf8 letting me for HIS queen and rook with 29. Nd7. I actually ended up ahead in material but was not able to convert it into a win. The game ended as a draw, but I was still happy with the result because that was the first time I played an expert and didn't lose.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Tough Game I Played on FICS (draw)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Update 7.12.14

My next tournament is probably going to be the Southern Illinois Summer Open in my hometown on August 16. I, at least, hope to win 2 games out of 3 which should be enough to push into the next rating Class (Class B). Other than that there isn't a whole lot that's new. I'm studying daily on Chess(dot)com. I use it's tactics trainer and it's a really good tool for keeping my game sharp. I go over about 20 - 30 puzzles every day. I also watch a few instructive chess videos on YouTube and I try to play about 2-3 games/week online (I use the Free Internet Chess server available at http://www.freechess.org). And I really have no idea when my next BIG tournament is going to be - maybe in St. Louis. Maybe not. Who knows. I've actually been fairly busy the past few weeks. Stay posted for more updates.

Friday, May 30, 2014

2014 Chicago Open

I finished this tournament 3.5/7. I had hoped on scoring a little higher but I gained 22 points total from the tournament. The competition was tough and the games were exhausting. I finished with 3 wins, 3 losses and 1 draw. Most of the players were rated higher than me and that's why I DID end up gaining 22 points ELO. I am now rated at 1598 and hope to make it into the next class (class B) after my next tournament - I only need two points for this.

Here is a key game from Round 2 that I would like to show. I call it a key game because if I lost it then that would mean I started out 0 and 2. This would have drained me of confidence for the rest of the tournament (maybe?). The game fizzled out after an extensive endgame. I was able to push my h pawn all the up the board with the protection of my Bishop and King. Black ended up resigning. I played the King's Indian Attack with white - starting out 1.Nf3.

On move 28, my opponent played the bizarre 28 ...Nxf4 which led to his demise.




Sunday, May 11, 2014

Upcoming Tournaments

The Chicago Open starts May 22nd and ends May 26th. I am probably going to go to it. This year it is in Wheeling at the Westin North Shore hotel. The last time I went to this tournament was in 2009. I ended the tournament with a 4/7 score (4 wins and 3 losses). I was not very pleased with the result even though I DID gain some rating points from it. I feel confident to get 5/7 or hopefully even 6/7 this year (high expectations). I have been to this tournament a couple times in my teens and it is the biggest one I have ever been too.

Currently the U.S. Chess Championship is going on at the Saint Louis Chess Club. It started May 7th and ends May 20th. Players are battling over a $172,000 total prize fund. First place wins $45,000. Some of the contestants include Gata Kamsky (last year's winner), Timur Gareev, Alex Onischuk, and Varuzhan Akobian. The games start at 1:00 pm Central Time Zone. I, myself, hope to get out there soon and watch a few of the games. Thanks for reading and I will keep you all posted on my chess activities.

Calvin

Monday, March 24, 2014

Philidor and Lucena Positions (Rook and Pawn Endgames)

These are two basic and fundamental positions of chess endgames. Knowledge of these positions are highly important. I first heard about them in Jeremy Silman's "The Reassess Your Chess Workbook".

The first position is called the Philidor position and it is always a draw.


After 1.d6 the pawn is too far advanced and Black can just keep delivering checks from the bottom rank as white can no longer hide behind the pawn because of Black's King. The game is drawn. ---------- The next position is called the Lucena Position and it is a win for White. White wins through the method of "Building a bridge" which is simply bringing the King and Rook together so that the White King can be saved from perpetual checks by using his rook to block the check.


The second move Rf4 looks strange. But, it is the winning move because when white's King comes to d5 he can block the check from black's rook by Rd4 and white wins. Also note that 1... Ke6 fails to 2.Ke8. Thanks for reading and I encourage you to buy a copy Jeremy Silman's "The Reassess your Chess Workbook". It is probably the best chess book ever written. Seriously.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The 12th Annual Mark Oestreich Memoiral Open 3.8.14 (Rounds 2 and 3)

The last two games of them tournament went well for me. I played two class D players and won both games. In round two I had to fight hard for the win. The guy was very under-rated. I felt like I was playing a strong class B player. I will only post the game from the second round. The game from the third round wasn't much of a game as he blundered two pieces early in the game.

The 12th Annual Mark Oestreich Memorial Open 3.8.14 (Round 1)

I did not win first place this time. I lost my very first round against class A player James Pollitt. This was the opponent I defeated two years ago, and I mentioned him and showed the game in one of my previous posts. This time, however, he got the best of me. He was grinding me down out of the opening and I cracked under the pressure and blundered two pawns. This blunder happened on move 18. Nf4. It was really just a mistake of carelessness.







Thursday, March 6, 2014

Chess - 3/6/2014

Today I met with Attila Turzo on ICC (Internet Chess Club) for a chess lesson - the first one I've had in over a year. We analyzed the King's Indian Attack (KIA) for White and looked over a couple of my recent ICC games. I learned that if Black mirrors White's kingside fianchetto, White can still carry out the d3-e4, and Nd2 plan. This line is still considered to be The King's Indian Attack. I played 5.c4 instead which turns the game into the very hypermodern opening called the "Reti" opening.

This coming Saturday - March 8, 2014, I have a tournament here in my hometown. The Mark Oestreich Memorial Tournament. It is a small tournament with only three rounds (a good thing as I often get too fatigued for a fourth round and lose my ability to focus). I need to exercise more often ;) And I am to continue studying KIA ebook that Attila sent me as well as do some tactics training with Chess.com's "Tactics Trainer". That's all for now. I will keep you guys updated on how the tournament went over the weekend.

Calvin

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kasparov and Computer Chess

No, this blog is not about the match between Kasparov and Deep Blue back in the 90's. Rather, my interest for this blog post was to see just quite how good computers are nowadays (almost 20 years after the Deep Blue matches). So, I had my Chess Program (Fritz 12) on my desktop PC analyze what is widely considered the greatest game of chess ever played. Now, I do not have the multi-processor version of Fritz, but I thought the commercial version would be good enough (and it is). The game I'm about to go through was played at the Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands Super GM Tournament in 1999. Garry Kasparov played white. The move I set my computer to do a deep positional analysis of was 24. Rxd4. Kasparov offers a rook for a pawn. This sacrifice is SOOOOOO deep. Black regretfully accepted and Kasparov got a winning position almost 20 moves later. Experts use to believe that computers will never be able to match the power of the human mind as far as chess is considered. But now the question is not can a computer win a match against the best human player, rather the question is can a human win just one game against a computer. I believe the answer is "no", or will soon be "no" if not already.

What was interesting to see was what my computer had to say about the game. And, YES, it saw the move 24. Rxd4 !! I was very surprised. In fact, it even decided not to make the rook sacrifice because black is better off refusing to take the rook and playing 24 ...Kb6 instead. So, my computer suggests instead of the rook sacrifice to continue 24.Nc6+. And another question, if 24.Nc6+ was technically a better move then is this really the best game of chess ever played? I'll leave that for you to decide.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Strongest Tournament Victory - 3.10.12, Oestreich Memorial


This game was played in my hometown two years ago (2012). I was playing a guy from Indiana who was rated nearly 500 points higher than me. It was the first time I had ever beaten a Class A player. I ended the tournament with a perfect score - 3/3 and received first place. I had always planned for white to play the anti-Sicilian (Alapin) whenever I play the Sicilian. My plan is to always play ...d5 on the second move. He responds 3. exd5 and I recapture the pawn with my queen on move 3. I surprised myself a bit on move 5 by playing ...a6. The move looked too passive but in hindsight I think it was a very important move and it helped me build a strong position for the opening as it prevents white from moving the bishop to b5. The rest of the game was fairly simple. He just made a tactical blunder in the middle of the game and I capitalized on it by winning his rook. I remember punching in the numbers on my computer when I got home that night and I discovered that I had a performance rating of over 2300 ELO, which is well into the master class. This tournament is coming up again next month and I hope I win it again. I'll keep everyone informed. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Play to Win


I was both happy and a little disappointed at the result of this game. My opponent had a strong rating at 1787 ELO. I feel that I outplayed him during the game and had a significant advantage but on the other hand I was really tired and ready for the game to end. I was starting to get nervous that I was going to ruin my advantage. His knight could have been tricky. However, at move 29 my opponent offered a draw and I accept. Ergo, I was both pleased and displeased at the result. When you have a three point advantage on your opponent then you have to play to win because I feel in a way it was somewhat of a loss for me due to a lack of confidence. In chess, the only way is to play to win.