PDF Quick Kills: Practice Crushing Your Opponent Out Of The Opening - Gruenfeld Defense

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A similar idea is shown here: alwaysthinkof any tactical ploy that can be used to improve your attacking chances by even the smallest margin. Opening to middlegame IEb8 is slightly better, although White's attack looks very dangerous; for example, 14 h4'af6? IV Do you Ihink that you can find White's next move? It is all to do with opening the h-file, but remember to consider Black's best defensive plan.

A brilliant idea. A common mistake that a lot of players make is to get too carried away with their own attack. By doing this, they tend lo for- get about their opponent's defensive ideas. An important defensive resource for Black here is to play With the text-move, White rules out this idea. So the moral of the story is that you should try to place yourself in your opponent's shoes and think about what resources are available to him. Then, if it is possible to stop his ideas, stop them! Black's idea was that The immediate 14 h4? JIb8 15 h4 g6?!

Even though Black is a piece up, his position is too cramped to be able to cope with White's at- tack. A very nice touch that gives White an impor- tant tempo, which can be used to transfer the white queen over to the h-file. Or I am not normally a fan of games that are won at home and not ar the board, as they tend lo lack any real fight, bui this game does involve a very nice attack by Black. Just watch how Black sacrifices both of his rooks to get to the white king.

Moves 23 and 25 are both quite logical as every other black piece is atlacking. Therefore, it is only the black rooks that need to join in. Since games can sometimes be won simply by good preparation and hard work, make sure you know your theory - or something like the following might just happen to you! I do not know much about these positions as I have always avoided them, but it seems to me that the position is quite symmetrical and closed for now.

This normally leads to a quiet ma- noeuvring game as it is hard to break through quickly. One thing worth noting is that White's light-squared bishop is developed outside his pawn-structure. This is a particularly good piece and White should avoid exchanging it without a good reason. Players really have lo know their theory when accepting gambits.

If you have time, it is well worth going over the recommended book lines with an analysis engine, because even authors make mistakes! So what has Black got in return for his pawn? Mainly two things: he has better development and White has no pieces near his king to con- tribute to its defence. I shall just mention thai in the main line White allows Black's queen to h4, viz.

Black's pieces are flying over towards the kingside, but White has many defensive resources. After 1 5 He4 g5 stopping 16 Sh4.


Just look at those juicy light squares around the white king! Indeed, these are the key theme in the game. Opening to Middlegame 11 Other moves include It frees up the cl -bishop, makes a claim for the centre and stops the annoying Ad3, which would severely cramp White's game. Min 15 i. All that is needed now is to attack the white king!

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It is best to leave the rook on f8 so that it can be used behind the f-pawn, as we shall see. A draw is certainly much better than what happened in the game! Apparently this move, at the time the game was played, was recommended in the latest Informaior as a way to get a slight advantage. In actual fact, it seems that this move leads to a forced win for Black - bad timing for Naiditsch indeed!

A nice attack! All of a sudden, you can see just how useful the rook on f8 will be. This is the new move, even though it is per- fectly logical. Black wants to put the queen on h3 and then give mate on g2! The other sugges- tions given in Informator lead to an edge for White; for example, Is there any way Black can stop White's queen from reaching fl? That's the one! This brilliant rook move blocks the white queen from reaching the fl- square. After Black's next move White resigned and not without reason.

The obvious move is Sh6 and mate on h2 but after Bf6 White can play 26 We4 with counterplay on the e-fi! Is there any other way that Black can manoeuvre the rook totheh-file? A If you found this move, well done. White re- signed as there is no decent defence against 26,.. Many weaker players assume that strong grandmasters always calculate from the begin- ning of a combination to the end. This is not al- ways the case, as this game shows. It is normally best to play practical moves which create as many problems for the opponent as possible.

When a player is faced with an onslaught of attacking moves and there is only one defence, the pressure often gets too much. This game demonstrates just that. So when attacking, cal- culation is crucial but it is also important to use and follow your instinct.

Shirov has scored well with this line as it suits his style. This goes to show how important it is to pick an opening that you are comfortable with. The opening reflects how the rest of the game will pan out. However, in this game it does not work out well for Shirov as his opponent has prepared a. Ivan Sokolov, like Shirov, plays well in complicated posi- tions. White reacts against Black's big queenside by playing in the centre and on kingside.

This slightly offbeat line may have taken Shirov by surprise. A clever choice by Sokolov. For example. Game 19 Ivanchuk-Shirov continued It is now thought that Black is OK in that line, but imagine facing this move over the board! Throughout the game this knight plays a key role. Wxf6 11 a4 Attacking on both sides of the board. White is aiming to open up the a4-e8 diagonal towards the king on e8.

Play may continue 13 ie2. D White has a development advantage whilst Black's king is still stuck in the middle, so it is logical to search for ways to open up lines against the black king. Therefore, White continues to grab the initiative. To paraphrase Steinitz's famous expression, when a player has the ini- tiative he must play as actively as possible, as otherwise he will lose that initiative.

When one has sacrificed material, one must be alert to ways to give the opponent as many problems as possible. Cram ling-Om stein, Rilton Cup, Stockholm This gives White a big attack. Black's counter- attack gives him good play. The principle at work here is that in sharp positions, the de- fender should always look for ways to return extra material in order to regain the initiative.

It is siirprising that such a sharp player as Shirov does not jump at the chance of aiming for this position. It is always worth consid- ering which piece is better when an exchange is possible. If your piece is better, do not ex- change it; if it is worse, then exchange it! The white queen in particular is rather out of play in the comer. What should White do? I really like this move.

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White has faith in the combination of his queen, bishop and knight, so he allows Black to capture his rook on hi. Black loses a lot of time in doing so. In the meantime. White can position his pieces on their best squares. Again, this comes back to using the initiative as actively as possible. A word of warning: calculation is always the key ingredient to any successful attack. Clearly ? Black defends well: he must return the rook in order to save his king.

Mh tV. Black has defended well up to this point but his eagerness to swap the queens lets him down here. He must play actively with Wd6, al- though he is still worse after the simple 28 g3 as the black king is more exposed and the knight on b8 is terrible. White has the extra pawn, safer king and more active pieces. The game finished: Opening to Middlegame 15 In a closed position all of White's pieces are slowly moved to their most ideal squares. The tactical skirmish that follows is the logical fol- low-up to White's play.

Again, this shows how importani it is to launch an attack at the right time. An attack will only work if your pieces are placed on good squares, 1 e4 e6 2 d4 dS 3 -SidZ -Sffi 4 eS 'afd7 5 f4 White's aim in this opening is firstly to gain space in the centre and then to use this space to start an attack against the cramped black king. Black, on the other hand, must play actively, with Ihe aim of breaking up the white centre.

C5 The pawn-breaks Without these breaks, Black would never be able to contest White's strong centre. In my opinion this is a difficult line for Black to play against. One line which has become popular recently is The plan that Black chooses in the game leaves While's centre in one piece, allowing him more lime and space to turn his forces to another part of the board. Gaining space on the queenside, but pawns can't move backwards! After this move. Black W will find it very hard to attack d4, which is holding up White's centre.

The game now becomes a race; White will push through on the kingside, while Black will attack on the queenside. White's stronger pawn-centre and safer king will give him better chances. This is the start of some nice manoeuvring from White. In closed positions, this is the key 10 success. Each player should be thinking where their pieces should go and only when they have reached those squares, should they start forc- ing matters. White's knight is positioned much better on e3, where it supports the f5 advance, which is the most common way for White to gain space and attack the black king in closed French De- fence pawn-structures.

Another plan which Black often plays is Unfortunately, af- ter Before a fire is started, wood needs to arranged in the right place! Bishops belong outside their own pawn- structure; this is to avoid one's own pawns get- ting in the way of their pieces. In general, pieces should be put on their best squares be- fore pawn advances are considered. To me, it seems that the only white piece not on its ideal square is the e2-bishop. How can the position- ing of this piece be improved?

The 'natural' move here is 18 c3, but this would give Black chances to attack down the b-file. C3 19 Wei Moving another piece over to where Black's king is. In nearly every French position. While's light-squared bishop is best placed on d3. Black has minimal chances to break through on the queenside whilst White has po- sitioned his pieces for the kill on ihe kingside. With his last move, White aims to keep the queens' rooks on the board after White has correctly assessed that if Black then plays Sa2 he won't achieve anything as the c2-pawn is well defended.

This is important so that White can recapture on g4 with his h-pawn. Opening to middlegame 17 w After 31 fxg5 forcing matters; another idea is 31? Wxg5 32 SxH Hxf? Just com- pare the positioning of both players' pieces. Black has two knights stuck on the queenside which cannot aid the defence of his king. Black's pieces are also stranded over on the queenside, which will make a successful attack on the black king more likely. Black's major weakness is the g6-square so White aims to land a knight there.

This also has the added benefit of guarding the f4-pawn with the rook. It is time for the final blow. It shouldn't be too hard as each white move is a forcing one. The king is walking to its own death Removing Black's last defensive piece. This is mainly due to the simple, logical moves made by Malakhov. In what looks like a quiet ending Black comes up with a real shocker.

To me moves like Black's 47th come from another dimension. Mere mortals like ourselves can only dream of playing such a move. How- ever, for Shirov, moves like this are a common occurrence. It is clear from the start that both players have a good understanding aboul the ideas be- hind ihe opening. Black goes for a clamp on the light squares, which gives him a certain amount of control over the position. White counteracts this by using his pawn-majority in the centre and kingside. The game boils down to whether Black can diminish White's initiative and win the ending.

There are some ideas that Grunfeld players must know about which are demonstrated here. White takes over the centre whilst Black hopes to knock it down bit by bit with active moves, Ag7 7 i. While's centre must be attacked! We7 The queen may also have a route over to Black's kingside via the cl-h6 diagonal later in the game.

Black places his knight on a big square which will be a pain for White for the foreseeable fu- ture. This idea is common practice. Opening to middlegame 19 w White reacts well by advancing his central pawns. It is always important to have a plan. It is often said that a bad plan is better than no plan at all. And at least if it goes wrong, you can learn from your mistakes, as you will gain a better understanding of the consequences of your actions. Topalov understands full well that he needs 10 attack; otberwise, he will be crushed on the queenside due to Black's control of the light squares.


This is the kind of natural move that can get many players into a lot of trouble. White flicks his h-pawn forward one square, probably with- out much thought. However, Black's bishop is placed much better on d7. On g4 it is more likely to be trapped after White plays a later f5. A better plan was 2 1 a4! Ad7 11 a4 bxa4 Opening the d-file and giving more protec- tion to Black's king. Black would like to exchange at least one of White's active pieces so his attacking chances are extinguished.

How does Black achieve this? White's light-squared bishop on the a2-g8 diagonal is always a menace for the black king, so Black swaps il off, 27 'i'xa4 5ixa2 28 'i'xa2 J. White then has a very dangerous initiative, 36Wc3 Or 36 0cr? The opposite bishops offer White serious drawing chances. Much will depend on how widely split Black's passed pawns will be. After Do you think that you can play like Shirov?

Quite shocking! Black calculates that the re- sulting ending is won for him. This move shows that calculation is important at every stage of the game, even in harmless opposite- coloured bishop endings. So never relax when playing, and always look out for ways to change the course of the game to your advantage. He therefore needs to move his bishop so that it doesn't obstruct his king, and also creates a threat. The only move that fits the bill is the outrageous text-move. The only problem - and the reason why most players would fail even to consider the move - is that the bishop is of course en prise.

How- ever, as the course of the game shows, if White captures the bishop, then Black gains another passed pawn and an extra entry-square for his king f3. Instead, This chapter is all about keeping that energy flowing. As Max Euwe once said, " Try to cause your opponent as many problems as possible because if he cannot cope with the difficulties of his position, more likely than not, he will crumble under the pressure.

In chess, it is quite common for one side to sacrifice a pawn early on in the game to get the initia- tive. The compensation can come in many forms, such as active pieces, dangerous pawn s , safer king, open lines for pieces, etc. The problem in this situation is if the player in charge of the play cannot 'cash in' his initiative for something. If the initiative fades, then he will simply be left a pawn down with a difficult position to defend.

White sacrifices a pawn early on to take con- trol of the centre and develop his pieces quickly. Black has to defend for some time but bit by bit White loses control of die initiative and in the end, Black holds on to his pawn which he later con- verts into a queen in the endgame. Therefore, when you have the initiative you must play as energetically as possible. Keep on throwing pieces and pawns at your opponent's king and do not give him time to breathe! The following games demonstrate that the initiative can be used as a major weapon in any game of chess. In the right hands, it can win the game.

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  8. The way that Black contin- game. A when he starts to grab pawns over where his nasty thing for White to face! Black also c ale u- king is castled. In modem times strong compul- lates very well; as I have stressed before in ers have made this tacfic popular but it is sUU othergames, this is the key to successful chess, very difficult for humans to play in such a way. Black lacks tical game of chess, since a single mistake while space but relies on striking out against White's defending can lose the game.

    On the other hand, centre. This is a good choice of opening for dy- Ihe attacker can someumes get away with mak- namic, counter-attacking players, ing a mistake, as his initiative may still prove If you want to see a model Pirc game from dangerous. White's point of view, refer to Game 27, Plas- Black's strong lead in development and open kett-Murshed, in Chapter 7. Black has slightly weakened his kingside by playing the move Black has a pawn-mass on the queenside which. A waiting move which improves White's king safety.

    D This plan looks dubious as Black is quite solid in the centre.

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    White should get on with the standard plan of launching the h-pawn at Black's king. If you have the choice between a simple plan which looks good and a more complicated one which also looks good, it is nearly always cor- rect to pick the simple plan. Why complicate matters when there is no need to? Hall-Giaccio, LaConiiia A good move that involves a pawn sacrifice.

    Black is more concerned about opening up lines towards the white king, and rightly so! This second mistake leaves White struggling. A better option is 1 1 fxe? Wxe7 12 ffixc3 SbS, when Black has activity but his d7-knight has yet to reach its best square, which is d5, ll One philosophy is, "If you are going to be attacked anyway, why not grab as much material as you can on the way? Black has de- veloped all of his pieces, whilst it seems that White is only playing with his queen. The most important factor though is the two open lines towards the white king, the c- and b-files.

    This is the last straw. White needed to find 1 3 id2, which at least covers the a5-square, where Black's queen wishes to go, and the c3- square, where Black's knight may wish to land. White's position is already difficult and Black has a lot of tempting possibilities. One option for Black is much more forcing than the rest and guarantees a good attack.

    What is that move? Remember to look out for all checks and cap- tures, As explained before, when you have the ini- tiative you have to play as actively as possible; otherwise the fire might bum out. This is a great example of Black doing just that. He uses his active pieces to open up the white king, which is lacking any defenders.

    This move is an important part of Black's attack.

    quick kills practice crushing your opponent out of the opening gruenfeld defense Manual

    Black really needed to have noticed this move when starting the combination with From now on Black's pieces flood into White's position. When you have the choice between sev- eral moves, each one should be calculated in turn and given an assessment. Calculation is not always easy but it has to be done! Sxc8 20 Kxd4 2b8 21 Hxd5! Black is doing well but White is still holding on. Sfc8 D : Black's last piece enters the fray. What thematic move now continues the at- tack for Black? Open that king up!

    D A beautiful move! W 22 "iSafi? This is tantamount to resignation. White had to try 22 cxd4; for example, White's remaining pieces are uncoordinated, which leaves him with an uphill task. Playing dynamic, double-edged chess seems to be a priority for top players. Right from the opening the world's elite like to make problems for [heir opponents.

    TTiis is especially true where Topalov is concerned. Opening choices are very important. In these players' hands, even the most placid-looking opening can contain a lot venom. It is worth noting how Topalov works his pieces around the light squares g6, f7 and e6. White just keeps on dropping pieces on these squares! C6 Black has tried other ideas, notably White can meet this with 8 flcl, intending to capture by 9 cxd5, when the rook will be well-placed on cl. Instead, 8 e4 is like the main game except Black has improved his position by castling instead of playing The pawn can be weak on c6 and Black is going to castie anyway.

    So effectively Black has saved a tempo in that case. The strong centre can be used as a basis for an attack, as it provides cover for White's pieces. The pawns can also be used to break down the opponent's defences. Black's bishop is placed better on b7 as Black's plan is to play With his next move White shows his aggressive intentions. C5 immediately is probably a better try; for example. Van Wely-Carlsen, Match 3 , Schagen continued 1 1.

    With the other knight coming to e5, White's pieces are very aggressively placed. An attack can be successful for a number of reasons. In his case the attack works due to White's mobile centre, active pieces and Black's lack of development. How- ever, Black is really asking for 12? For example, White will always meet Creating more chaos and really trying to open things up in the centre.

    WTiite's plan is to castle queenside, so open- ing the d-file will be useful for him. White's rook will cause unpleasant pressure on the d-file. Black must also lose time by capturing he pawn. Black would rather use this time lo de- velop or improve his king safety. IS ! Quiet moves like this are hard to play after sacrificing a piece. And this is the correcl Ihing to start to look at. But checks and captures do not lead any- where here, so other options must be consid- ered.

    Sometimes even in the middle of comphcations, patience and re- straint are required. Homing in on Black's weaknesses - in par- ticular the g6-square. Again using the weakened light squares, an- other white piece lakes up a very active role. While is not worried about Black capturing his rook on e6. This is because Black still has bad pieces; for example, his rook is stili stuck out of the game on h8.

    The opposite -coloured bishops are another advantage for White. Gen- erally, when attacking it is good lo have oppo- site-coloured bishops. D leads to a win and is a sim- pler choice. Do not compli- cate matters if there is no need to do so. Then, for example: a Black's best chance, centralizing the queen in the hope of a counter-attack. White is clearly winning after the other options; for example: a White just needs to activate his rook and it's game over.

    Black's knight is now trapped. Black threatens Hector's knights on a couple of occasions, for example with the move One move after another, Black attacks the white knights with his pawns and White just plays something else! It seems to me that White had one plan in this game: open up the position of the black king and deliver checkmate! So why bother worry- ing about anything else? There is something very appealing about this attitude of pure aggression. It reminds me of games from the old days when players did not really bother with positional ideas. Morphy, for example, just used to play the King's Gambit or something similar, with one plan in mind: checkmate!

    Sacrifices had to be accepted and there was no hanging around. The idea is to meet The pawn on g5 is also useful for starting an attack on the black king. If Black castles kingside. White already has a pawn-storm ready. The option of playing g6 is also available to White. This is especially true if Black plays At the time of this game this move was a novelty. Another option which also looks good is 9 g5!? White intends to swap the queens off, reaching a superior ending. The d5-square is a great outpost for White's pieces.

    Illogical as Black now has some serious weaknesses on the queenside. A more thematic response is As we shall see later on in the game, the move e5 is also something that Black has to worry about. This leaves White with a big outpost on d5 and a temporary post on f5. So strategically it is not a pleasant move to play. Then White can play on the queenside with 1 3 b4 but Black achieves counterplay with D Black's pieces are moving the wrong way!

    This gives away the initiative without a fight - a bad policy. If a player chooses the Sicilian he must be ready to play as actively as possible. Hb8 16 e5 with an attack Continuing to ignore the threat to the knight on d4. In most positions White is relying on the pawn push e5. A brave decisit n - it is almost possible to feel the en- ergy coming from White's moves!

    White can obviously capture on a8, yet his bishop is a very nice piece. Is there any other way that White can bring in the big guns? A lovely centralized square for the queen. The light-squared bishop is also stronger than Black's rook on a8 18 i. This is because the bishop always has the op- lion of pinning Black's d7-knight, which would tie Black down. The dl -square is also made available to White's el-rook, Jaa7 The congestion of black pieces in the middle is Black's real problem.

    You always have to keep W m. What would you play in White's shoes? Sd4, but even better was 22 f4! Then all of a sudden White's b-pawn becomes a real menace; for ex- ample: a Jtxb4 Al last Black rids himself of the pesky bishop! Black's queen has entered the game and threatens multi- ple checks on the white king. This final mistake forces While's king to a safer square.

    Black's only chance was to be brave and play After 27 Scl 27 06 may be better, with the idea of 28 Hal ll. Black choose the Budapest Defence, a gambit that aims for quick development and attacking chances if White hangs on to the pawn. I had other ideas though and decided to re- turn the pawn immediately.

    This was an inter- esting psychological ploy as Black was forced to defend rather than attack - a situation that Black might not have been happy with before the game. I enjoyed this game a lot as most of my moves go forwards - a rare thing in modem chess. The attack may not have been sound but the energy behind it carried it through. Jf6 2 c4 eS In the Budapest Defence, Black aims to get active play in return for the pawn, although very often White simply returns it, as is the case here. After 4 e4 White gains space and time by kicking Black's knight around; he can use this time to launch an attack.

    Black on the other hand hopes that White's pawn moves have weakened his position. DJ It is doubtful whether this is entirely correct but it does put Black on the back foot and it forces him to play accurate moves from an early stage. Most players are happy to roll off their first dozen or so moves from theory, yet when players are forced to think for themselves they are already placed under pressure. White also has a useful outpost for his bishop on g5. On the other hand, 1 have made some seri- ous positional concessions. The e5-square is a permanent weakness, and my pawns will be ruined after Summing all diese factors up, it became ap- parent to me that 1 had to go for a quick kill; otherwise 1 would be in store for some slow tor- ture.

    The idea is lo move the c3-knight to d5; for example, I If Black can play S'a5 I4e5 is interesting; forwards, men! How- ever, the sacrifice is insufficient in view of the simple I It was still a pity to move a piece back, but there Is always a time to retreat. That is, if you want to avoid losing almost every game you play! My lead in development must be put to use to prevent Black from safely castling and re- storing order to his position.

    Sxc5 D W White is in danger of being strategically lost. What should he play? It is hard to praise this move as being sound and good but it is certainly dangerous, unset- tling and possibly forced! Castling should still be top of Black's agenda and after I I had planned 19 e5 19 'S'g3 may be best, when White still has some decent compensation I I was in one of those moods. This move is too outrageous to work. I am glad that my opponent didn't play In chess, as in life, temptation should sometimes be resisted!

    In fact, after Black has everything un- der control. White will always have good compensation now as Black's king will never find a safe home. Other lines also lead to defeat. C4 Black's king is naked in the middle of the board with White's pieces staring longingly at it. It is impossible to trap your opponent's king just with one piece. For example, consider queen versus king. The queen can keep checking the king but it cannot force checkmate on its own. Another piece has to be used as well so even at the most basic level, a player needs to harmonize at least two pieces to win the game.

    White would not be able to checkmate without the help of Black's kingside pawns. In the early stages of the game, a beginner normally starts out by moving his queen around the board in the hope of capturing lots of pieces. This rarely works except if your name is Naka- mura! To be successful in chess, you need to coordinate your pieces and use them together. When start- ing an attack, make sure that your pieces are on good squares. The attack will not work if they are placed badly. When attacking, it is a good idea to try to make your opponent's life as difficult as possible.

    For example, if there is a choice between winning a pawn but letting your opponent gain counierplay, or keeping the pressure on, it is normally preferable to keep the pressure on. Take a look at 17 J. There are very few high-level games where one side sacrifices most of his pieces and then goes on to checkmate his oppo- nent. Sutovsky manages to deliver checkmate with three minor pieces.

    Just watch how Sutovsky's three remaining pieces harmonize together - truly magical. This game reminds me of one of Morphy 's best efforts; Black just keeps on com- ing and risks all in the process. It seems the surge has in- creased since the early s. Black often seeks counterplay on the queenside starting with the move Wc7 10 Wg3 Oneof Black's ideas was to meet I0e5 with White's next couple of moves confirm his passive ap- proach. In modem chess the best attacking players will always strive to put as much pressure on their opponents as possible.

    This often means contesting the sharpest opening hnes. In gen- eral it is advantageous to make your opponent start calculating from the earliest moment. Nigel Short did famously try out this varia- tion against Kasparov in his World Cham- pionship match, albeit without much success. Anyway it looks like Gormally is in a peaceful mood today Sda4 Short preferred 14 f3 against Kasparov. White plays a4 only now to try to gain from Black's rook leaving the a-file.

    In real- ity they are punching without any aim. White's rook will soon be swapped off and when Black plays A common mistake is shown here: White is playing moves that look aggressive but they do not actually achieve a great deal. It is important on every move to try to con- sider all your opponent's best responses.

    I be- lieve that there are two ways of doing this. Knowledge from prior experience will help you become more aware of certain things to watch out for, such as a particular arrangement of pieces. It is impor- tant not to get 'carried away' though a mis- take I often make! It helps me to stand back from the scenario, so that I can look at the position in an unbiased way. Sometimes I even go and stand behind my opponent to look at the board from hi.

    A phrase that springs to mind is "Everyone must look at a situation from a near and one must step back and look at it from afar. It is clearly the critical move - and critical moves should al- ways be analysed first. IS SxaS. The calm before the storm! Black's biggest trump in this position is his pressure along the a8-hl diagonal. Factors like this are always worth watching out for, as you can only start targeting your opponent's weak- nesses when you know where they are!

    While this move blunts the aS-hl diagonal, it also creates extra weaknesses around Ihe white king. The a7-gl diagonal is opened. White's queen is stuck on one side of the board and the pawn- structure around the white king has be- come looser. A rook's purpose in life is to move along open files, and not to be stuck defending a pawn. Very imaginative: Black wants to open lines towards the white king.

    This pawn has a very bright future. Even if this input is not 'correct' in the technical sense, I would always prefer to see entertaining chess. In a complicated position. White goes wrong. This is a theme that 1 notice comes up quite frequently in diis book, which just shows the defender has to play bravely as well.

    It is very important to block out Black's dark-squared bishop. The position is still a mess but White's extra material should prevail. Black is aiming all his forces at opening up the hl-a8 diagonal. It is worth trying to keep the long diagonal closed with 32 f4!? What crushing move does Black have avail- able? Another sacrifice: ? A unique and pretty position.

    Black's plan has worked perfectly: White's kingside has crum- bled, while Black's remaining three pieces out- weigh White's army. There was something very poetic about this game. Game 11 Viktor Bologan - Ye Jiangchuan Tan Chin Nam Cup, Beijing Sicilian Defence, Richter-Rauzer Attack When players castle on opposite sides of the board, the game is usually an entertaining af- fair In this game, fought between two strong grandmasters, timing was of the essence. First of all Bologan positioned his pieces on their best squares and then he played an interesting pawn sacrifice 19 e5!

    First of all it gained time, which is all- important when attacking, but it also restricted Black's pieces, stopping him from attacking. The way that White continued the attack is very impressive. The bishop is very active on this square but some- times it can become a target.

    White aims to create some weaknesses in Black's position by playing g4, h4, etc. Black normally gets counterplay on the half-open c- file. The king is a useful defender of a2 and at a later point Sc 1 becomes a possibility, supporting the c2-pawn. Obviously, by bringing his pieces to superior squares, White gives his attack a better chance of success. The idea of White's previous move. On c3 the knight was only a target to a possible.. On d4 it takes up a central role where it has chances to put e6 under pressure.

    Just watch where this knight ends up. The norma! Black first de- cides to place his dark-squared bishop on f6 be- fore playing the break ,.. On f6 it takes up a more aggressive role. Is there another option? A good positional sacrifice. White gains time and restricts Black's pieces. If White hadn't played this move, then he would probably be worse so in some ways this move is forced. After 1 9 exd5?! This bishop, combined with the simple plan of pushing the kingside pawns, leaves White at least equal. It is also im- portant to try to work out what Black's plan might be; I cannot see anything obvious.

    That manoeuvre would improve the posi- tion of both mjnor pieces. Another option was to wait by 2 White uses his pawns as dispensable balter- ing-rams. This pawn-break is well worth re- membering because it has appeared in many interesting encounters. The idea is to open lines towards the black king. However, it would take a brave or stupid man lo play this move. Black is staring straight down the barrel of a gun, an h- and g- fije gun. Play could continue 24 h5 gxh5 no fear! M6 26 Sh3, when things look very unplea. Why not move fhe dl-rook to fi, leaving the other rook for gl or the h-file?

    However, While has judged that the rook is not needed on hi and it is better to keep a rook in the middle of the board. Whether this is correct, I am not sure. How should White continue attacking? To get the answer to this we should ask our- selves a couple of questions. First off, where are Black's main weaknesses? So h7 is a target. The next problem is Black's strong bishop on e5, which does a very good defensive job. Attacking the bishop and relocating the knight to a much more aggressive square, g5.

    It is instructive to see how quickly Black's light squares fall after this. White's bishop on d3 proves to be too strong. Wednesday, December 27, Playing Down. Because of the busy schedule, I committed to chess by starting a club at work during lunch time. I also know playing up a section in a tournament is always better for improving performance than playing in the top percentile of the lower section. But I need to take some rust off. So this once a week lunch time chess club is what I have to work with.

    So, I think I am also providing a service and spreading the enthusiast chess bug around. We play G15 time controls which is quick for an old timer like myself , have a club rating system and monthly matches for friendly bragging rights. The time control allows us to get a game in during a lunch break as the corporate world often bookends meetings around lunch breaks.

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    I use this as a sparring practice. G15 time control forces me to really not dwell to much in the opening and have a plan for the middle game so I can try to capitalize for the point. I find going back to the database following a defeat sooths the bruised ego and I move on. As I am learning to adapt to their style of play, they are getting better as well. One other thing I will mention is how board blindness seems to be a big thing in G15 games for me and a couple of other players.

    For myself, it happens when I am short on time and I hyper-focus on a small part of the board. Others talk about how the clock is a huge distraction… talking about increasing time limits for the game. Short time controls give my younger novice players a little more of an advantage as well as forces them to work within the constraints. Sparring is good practice no matter at what level. I am using this opportunity to find ways to improve my quick chess skills as this has always been a hindrance for me.

    Tactics is still my middle name and I practice these as a baseline foundation almost daily. I am blunderprone after all. See you on the other side of the board. Saturday, November 04, Making room for Chess. Two years slipped by and it feels like yesterday. My other parent was in her last chapter, I changed jobs, kids got married, and lots of travel. Since my last real active blogging days 4 or 5 years ago, my priorities have changed dramatically in terms of chess.

    The time it takes to dedicate to this game is all a matter of perspective and what you really want out of it. But it requires constant upkeep of skills, self evaluation, and professional help coaches, instructions …well maybe even therapists. Where to fit all that in when life creates tsunamis round you making that chess board the lowest of all priorities.

    How did I used to play this opening? What are the themes going into the middle game? Does the horsey go next to he tower? How to feed my passion for this game when so many other things are demanding my attention? I am trying out a path through work. I infected some folks at my new company with the passion for a little competition at work in this century old game. Do I want to play in tournaments again?

    Moderate weekly sparring at work is OK for now. So I wax nostalgically with the new players at work. Since my father passed, I inherited all his old sets and those from the days of the Brunswick Chess Club. I feel like I am playing on home turf as these were the pieces I cut my teeth on and learned this game. Going back to my roots is always a good thing.

    Sunday, August 02, Wait. I play chess? Again, learning new songs and techniques also seems to satisfy the neural plasticity excitation I was seeking for a long time with pure chess endeavors. I had a parallel life. Dad tried to convince me that the right girls were attracted to the guys in the chess club for their intelligence. Would any of you readers be the least bit interested in reviewing early material here as snippets from my chapters? I am toying with this idea or do you want chess only posts from me? Sunday, March 01, Building a better time machine. When I say time machine, what I mean is a chess clock.

    I had worked on a proto type with a similar look and feel to the chronos. I am at a point where I might resurrect this project again. But in , USB was the siren call to help minimize set up time for users and lessen the headaches of my TD friends. I am thinking today, USB would be nice but maybe a Bluetooth enabled chess clock so you can configure it with a smart phone?

    What are your ideas fellow readers? If so how much more would you be willing to pay for it? What about the display?