Wednesday, October 17, 2007

First four post-circle games

As planned, I'm focusing on playing. One slow game a day (40 30) then review and check up on opening. I am also doing 15-25 problems a day from CTB, just to review and warm up before the game. Playing is the best way to practice my thought process. I got lucky and won all four games, all on basic tactics. My only major blunder was in the fourth game. I have links to them below with the descriptions.

I have my variables at ICC set to accept game seeks only from people rated between 100 points less than me and 1000 points higher.

Game 1: English as black. I hate the English. I played a little passively at first, but once the game opened up I started aiming my minor pieces toward his Kingside, and he made a tactical error. I didn't finish up the game perfectly (I missed a check with the rook on move 25, as I was all wrapped up in a previous plan to exchange pieces).

Game 2: Smith Morra gambit as white. Luckily, he let me destroy him with a typical Smith Morra attack involving the light-squared Bishop and Queen.

Game 3: Scandinavian as black. I had no idea what to do on move three, so I just tried to weaken his pawn structure by exchanging Knights. Not the best move. I continued to help his pawn structure weaken and then got a swindle going up the exchange. I made sure to think a lot after this exchange, since as is typical after such swindles the opponent had a temporary increase in activity. It worked out and I won it.

Game 4: Smith Morra Gambit as white. After going up the exchange I made a mistake on move 22 (and probably move 21) which evened out the game. Funny thing is, I saw his tactic, and then forgot about it while I got caught up thinking about other things. The instant I see a threat, I need to scream "Don't forget this threat!" I won because I made sure to go slowly in the endgame: my opponent was moving very fast so I figured he'd likely make a mistake. He did. A big one. I got lucky.

All four games ultimately decided by simple tactics. Once I plateau with this playing, I'll start actually studying again, starting with master games (Art of the Checkmate). But now is the time to play.


Blogger transformation said...

i am not settled on the game viewer tool yet, but many suggested answeres. nice of you to provide.

i was ESTATIC BEYOND BELIEF when i saw how easy it was to take a cbv or chessBase9 games, and create a jpeg file, and post it to my blog.

we are all changing here, very, very fast. an evolutionary jump is what i am seeing, so much so, and i say this not to pull anyones chain, but notice few of us have time to read or comment on everybodys stuff. proof of the pudding: EVERY ONE OF US very hard at work.

we can no longer see or imagine what this or us will or are becoming, but it is happening at the speed of light, IMHO (or is it IMAO!).

keep up the good work.

love, dk

10/17/2007 02:46:00 AM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

Against the English you can use the Grand Prix reversed. With 1. ... e5 2. ...Nc6 and 3. ... f5.

I have had much success with it lately against higher rated players. They don't know it. So it doesn't bother that I only know 3 moves myself. It has a lot in common with the GPA as white.

10/17/2007 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger Magic Knight said...

"I have my variables at ICC set to accept game seeks only from people rated between 100 points less than me and 1000 points higher"'s a big gap...!

10/17/2007 05:03:00 AM  
Blogger Magic Knight said...

in game 2 and 4...hehe...the Smith Morra gambit look a terrific weapon in your hands...u play like a "devil"...

10/17/2007 05:12:00 AM  
Blogger Glenn Wilson said...

Nice games!

One quick observation in Game 3: I like the looks of 13. ...Bg4. Black can rip up the king side pawns with ...Nxf3 or ...Bxf3 or keep the pressure on. Black can pile on if allowed with ...Qf6. There is a minor tactical counter of Bxc6 in some lines but 13. ...Bg4 looks simple and very strong.

Was it one of your candidate moves? This move seems to meet one and possibly two of the CP2 criteria for Threat scanning:

...examine the position for the hallmarks of tactical opportunities: ...two pieces lined up (potential pins, skewers, double attacks)... Heisman (2001) calls these tactical signatures the 'seeds of tactical destruction.'


Perhaps more importantly, be sure to consider attacks against the King.

Or, as some like to say, "Pin and Win!"

10/17/2007 05:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice games BDK! I recently read Art of the Checkmate and found it to be a good book.

10/17/2007 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

AHA!! so all those hours of circles worked! or, if nothing else, did they make you look for tactics, not just recognize them, but actively look for them, and make you play more "attuned"? either way, it seems they worked. cool.

10/17/2007 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

DK: I was trying to use, but it kept deleting my bloody games when I added more than two. This viewer isn't as good, but it is more reliable.

Tempo: I'll have to check that out, the GPA a tempo down...

Magic Knight: Yes a big gap! But in practice typically only lower-rated and slightly higher-rated people seek games from me.

10/17/2007 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Glenn:: great idea on move 13. It was a candidate move, but I didn't think it through to quiescience! I thought through something like Bxf3 Qxf3, then then didn't (to my shagrin) consider that I had Nxf3. I didn't even notice I did that, so I'm glad you pointed it out (Fritz also said that move was best, but even then I didn't think it through correctly).

chessloser: I think they helped me with pattern recognition, even just getting a feel for where my minor pieces should go to give me the potential for tactics. Now the thought process is getting better: I'm starting to look for threats and blundercheck on more moves, not just half the moves. Goal is every move I need to look for threats and not move fast.

Another big problem, as Glenn's analysis exposed, is that I need to really work at thinking things through to quiescience.

Incidentally, I need to be careful as I'm on something of a high right now from four wins, getting a little giddy. I will crash and burn hard if I let it get out of hand. I need to lose to improve, so I am hoping after my next four games I'll have a loss to post :)

10/17/2007 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great games blue. I especially like the Smith-Morra ones. I have never played it myself, but it looks like a lot of fun! :D You can also play the Leningrad against the English, but it's quite a lot of theory involved...

10/17/2007 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Incidentally, one problem with the game viewer they use over at is that you can't flip the board and it doesn't display the game information, such as ratings. For those curious, for those games my opponents were rated between 1297 and 1399, and my rating went up from just below 1400 to a bit above 1400.

As my rating increases hopefully more higher-rated players will play me in slow games.

10/17/2007 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice games! What was the time control? I didn't understand the shorthand in your post. Is ICC a decent place to play slow chess? I've only played online at Yahoo and everyone there seems to want only blitz games, which bring out the worst in me. I've spent quite a bit of time practicing tactics with CTB and CTART, and need to do some playing to test results.

10/17/2007 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Samurai: I'm definitely focusing on playing openings that are very low in theory.

Anon: 40 30 means 40 minutes total each side, and 30 seconds added to your clock when you make a move. It comes to around 60 minutes per side usually.

10/17/2007 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger takchess said...

Scandinavian as black. I had no idea what to do on move three.

It might prove interesting for you to do a Stoyko Exercise on move 3 and think through possible continuations over a cup of coffee. Then check your ideas against master games.

10/17/2007 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incidentally, one problem with the game viewer they use over at is that you can't flip the board and it doesn't display the game information, such as ratings. -BDK

I don't know if they have added new features at recently, but in my published games I have rating, event etc and flipped boards. And it looks better! :D

10/17/2007 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Samurai: where is the site you go to for making the games? I.e., the page at I made these last night, so I assume it is the most recent version! :)

Takchess: I knew at the time that either e6 or Nb6 were 'book' moves, but I didn't like the feel of them, I wasn't booked up, and didn't feel like getting complicated out of book so early. So I did the capture to simplify, get my light-squared bishop a chance to get out, and then complicate things. So perhaps I shouldn't have said I had no idea what to do, but that I had no idea what to do after that :) And I didn't feel like working it out OTB. Nb6 followed by Nc6 is a fun line Tempo recommended to me months ago that I think I'll book up on a little bit so I'm more comfortable with it.

10/17/2007 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BDK: You make them as an insertion on your blog page at When you write a blog post you just press the little chess board symbol amongst the tools.

10/17/2007 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Samurai: thanks. I just realized I didn't use, but's game replayer which is here. I'll use the thingy next. It sounds better.

10/17/2007 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

Ahhh! Games 2 and 4 for a little S&M... I too indulge quite a bit with that gambit.

On game 2... what's the purpose of Ng5? I usually bring my bishop there in that position after Black Develops the Knight to f6. If you are goign to push the fpawn... might you want to keep the rook on that file and better to bring the other rook over to the center?

10/17/2007 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger katar said...

i have some skandin comments.

e4 d5
ed nf6
bc4 nd5
nc3 nxc3?
Qf3 good for wht

4...Nb6 followed by c5 is fun w/ grunfeld type counterplay against d4-square. or you can follow Nb6 with Nc6 blocking c-pawn. blk usu play g6/Bg7 in the Nb6 lines.

here another way, low-theory with some cheap traps.

e4 d5
ed nf6
nc3 nd5
bc4 be6
qf3 c6 (holding Nc7 as an option ie, 6.d4 then Nc7 is ok; note blk will usu. play g6 and Bg7)
ne2 nd7
nxd5? cxd5
Bxd5?? Ne5 0-1

another cheapo:

e4 d5
ed nf6
nc3 nd5
bc4 be6
d4?? (so natural!)
...Nxc3 white resigns 0-1

typed w/o sigt of board, but i believe all correct. :)

10/17/2007 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

BP and Katar: thanks much for the suggestions. In middle of major thing at work will examine later.

10/17/2007 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza said...

A few notes...

The Scandy variation is one I've run into a lot on blitz. after Bc4 Nb6 Bb3 black plays Bf5, the two replies...

Qf3 Qc8 and black develops e6, Be7, 0-0

Nf3 Nc6 and black develops e6, Be7, 0-0 with total equality.

The smith-morra games were a treat to watch although allow me to split some hairs. Assuming Black is not trying to play a siberian variation on you, get your Queen to e2 and swing the rook to d1. Get on those files. Of course you did fine without doing that, but when you meet stiffer competition you will need to be booked up in this opening a bit deeper.

Now go back to enjoying chess.

10/17/2007 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

PMD: thanks mucho for the help: it's great to have advice from you guys who know this stuff inside and out! I realized I should have moved my queen and rook as you suggested after I had already moved them elsewhere. :)

10/17/2007 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger likesforests said...

Congratulations on the four wins... that's great, it shows you learned something from all those circles! The game viewer on feels pretty advanced... you can definitely add rating info and variations. That's one of the reasons I've mostly been posting over there lately.

10/18/2007 01:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Against the English I generally adopt Jonathon Rowson's advice and play a symmetrical English until I don't like the white move ! Psychologically, it might imply that, eventually, your (white's) last move wasn't any good and I (black) have a better one !
Samurai Pawn: The Leningrad ? Could be interesting. A switch around of who is in control !
Anon: FICS is also good for slow games. There is a league played there too. See / as well

10/18/2007 02:11:00 AM  
Blogger Glenn Wilson said...

It was a candidate move, but I didn't think it through to quiescience!

I need to really work at thinking things through to quiescience.

I think we see and think about this move differently. I'll try to pass along some of my thought process for whatever it may be worth.

Look at the position after 13. ...Bg4. The knight is pinned. The knight can't break it by moving with check or attacking my queen (if those possibilities existed I would have to consider them carefully). The queen can't move out of the pin without allowing pawns in front of the king to be doubled and seriously weakened. The white square bishop can't move to e2 to break the pin. There is no other knight to move to d2 to support the f3 knight.

That is what I see in my initial consideration of this move. That is enough to make me salivate over this move.

The knight is immobilized. That is one of the basic ways to win material. I now look a little further to see how to exploit this immobilized piece.

The bishop is attacking it and so is the knight on e5! So it is already attacked twice. I can move the queen to f6 to attack it again and perhaps to the g-file to pin the pawn that defends it! Ding! Ding! Ding!

The tactics bells are ringing. I now look closer to see if I can find a way to make this move work because it has serious potential to win right now. If I see a problem with the tactics I try to find a way to make them work (move order, etc) because I just know there is great potential in the possibilities of this move. Of course, sometimes there is nothing there when I "just know" that there is.

But with all of these signals this move has to be looked at very closely. This is sort of like the difference between a random position from a game and one with the caption "Black to move and win". I am looking for the win here because I can sense it...

10/18/2007 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Glenn: that's a great analysis, and the kind that will help me in the future. One of the best analyses I've seen of any of my game moves.

I did want to play the move to weaken his kingside (that was the extent of my thinking about why I wanted to do it: you had reasons to like the move that go way beyond my thinking), but thought it was not tactically justified. I made a total beginner mistake by not thinking through the exchanges if he played 14 h3.

10/18/2007 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Grandpatzer said...

Quick points on the first Smith-Morra:

1. Langrock covers this line, which is apparently the recommendation of Gallagher in Beating the Anti-Sicilians. He considers 7.Bg5! to be critical.

Do you have his book? It's on pp. 278-284.

2. I think the mate in four that you missed on move 29 is very cute, and worthy of your personal tactics database.

10/18/2007 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger transformation said...

im sorry, but thought that more of the discussion would be about game veiwers! im sure these are all great games, i looked at some of them.

to say best viewer is, to me, a major discussion item and no one picked up on it. yes, for your friends to support you and process the games is a sweet thing, but the top line item is not addressed in all this mass of comments!!!

i hate and greatly dislike as a place to put games the way i THINK you hate CTS! FOR ME, it like visiting espn or sports illustrated, so much stuff running under it! god! what do you think, please?

what do you think of:

LT-PGN-VIEWER as a tool? i value your opinion. i want to stay away from the .de one you and tempo (and was it loomis, likeForest, the whole gang) were using, and

but not sure where to put my txt files without some juggernaught.

thank you.

warmest, dk

10/18/2007 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

DK: I'm glad the discussion stayed largely relevant and didn't get siderailed with a bunch of posts on how to post games.

10/18/2007 09:50:00 PM  

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