I’ve been playing in the 4NCL for more or less twenty years now. At the moment I represent Blackthorne Russia, we play in the first division, and I play on board one which ensures I get to test my skills against a number of very strong players.
Surely I should be satisfied with such a scenario? Well, apparently not.
The Caro-Kann is one of the most difficult openings to beat in chess. It was a favourite of Capablanca, and in more recent times has been used with great success most famously by Karpov, and also by British players like Jon Speelman.
My great rival and friend Keith Arkell has also used this opening in countless number of games - he likes the solidity of Black’s set-up, and believes that the extra e-pawn that Black enjoys is very useful for any endgame. How to crack it? Not easy.
The World Chess Championships starts in New York in a few days time and already commentators are falling over themselves trying to predict the outcome. Most are forecasting a comfortable win for Magnus and indeed the odds reflect that - generally speaking the bookmakers make Magnus about a 75 percent favourite to win. In an effort to stand out from the crowd I made some comments on Facebook saying I think the match would be closer than many people think - saying that perhaps only Magnus would just edge it.
However to at least manage some research for this article, I decided to check their lifetime score against each other, and it revealed that Magnus leads 18-9 in decisive games, if you include rapid and blitz as well. This rather suggests that Carlsen is a much heavier favourite than I was giving him credit for.
No possible opening is safe from “SHOCK AND AWE”. Firstly we’re going to take on the most popular Sicilian of all, the Najdorf. I managed to find a funky way of taking on this opening where there’s very little theory.
Often I’ll speak to a player about a game and they’ll say how they played the c3 Sicilian or the Bb5 check variation, anything to avoid playing one of the main lines. I’ll say fine but why aren’t you taking the Sicilian head-on? What they’re afraid of is spending hours learning all the vast amount of theory associated with the main-line Sicilian.
Pavel Eljanov from the Ukraine won the third Isle of Man Masters on tiebreak from Fabiano Caruana, who also had an excellent tournament and moved up in rating to clear world number two behind Mighty Magnus. In fact their scores were tied, but Eljanov had the better tie break which was done on progressive scores.
I am apparently not alone in finding this antiquated rule completely ridiculous. Even the mild-mannered Harry Potter lookalike Caruana expressed irritation that he wasn’t given a chance to win the tournament in a tie break. It’s time these ridiculous tie-break rules were scrapped. It’s another way that chess needs to get up to date.
What is more important, getting results or having the right approach? Even if your results are good in the short term, there is a danger that eventually your luck will run out if you don’t have the right approach.
I realized that last year, that when I was up against strong players. You can’t get away with the sort of stuff that you can against players of a lower level, you quickly get found out. They analyse better. They see through your tricks. Basically I understood that I wasn’t calculating well enough, so I had to go back to the drawing board, I got the dusty old chess set out of the cupboard and trained myself to calculate again. I’d set up a sharp middlegame position from a game I’d find online or something like that, and try to work my way through the complications.
The Chess Olympiad of 2016 took place in Baku. Although most of the comments about the organisation were positive, from a playing point of view it turned into a disaster for the Azeris. Most of their players performed at best par with their rating, at worst they had a nightmare. You only need two players to be out of form and you are going to struggle. Despite the best efforts of the captain Etienne Bacrot, who is a very good friend of one of the Azeri players Arkadi Naiditsch, the Azeri’s crashed and burned. It happens.
Danny annotates some games from the recent Vienna Open where the Ginger GM himself played, and gives some useful practical tips for playing against stronger opponents.
The Vienna open is a tournament I always wanted to play but never got around to. By all accounts it’s one of the best tournaments in Europe. My good friends Keith Arkell and Simon Williams formed some of the British contingent this year. Apparently they were originally sharing a room, but Keith’s snoring and the fact that the accomodation was so far from the venue convinced Simon that he might as well shell out for his own room, so ended up changing hotels.
This article first appeared on chess.com. Reproduced with permission.
The most sacred of all pieces is the king, a piece we must care for and nurture. Right!?
In this article we are going to take a look at kings on steroids.
The kings below are drugged up to their eyeballs and ready to race around the pitch in a purple haze. After all, rules are there to be broken, right?
The first game that springs to my mind when I think of an amazing king march is the following encounter, perhaps Nigel Short’s most famous game.
Going into the second week it looked wide open. After all I was only half a point behind the leaders on 4.5/6, with Adams and Howell and a surprise name, my golfing buddy David Eggelston, on 5/6. I soon found myself in some difficulty in my round seven game against Richard Palliser. As normal Richard was very well prepared and I had to go into some grotty ending where I’m struggling to hold with a queen against two rooks.
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