58 Keres Games

That’s how many of his I have recently studied. I love Keres games! He rocks!

I would recommend to any student to study Keres’ games. Why? Because he cuts through the crap of a position, to show where the weakness lies. With Kasparov’s games, no one knows WTF is going on except for the relevant combinations. Fischer had a penchant for peculiar moves in closed positions, but was sort of boringly “scientific” (to quote a word used by Ljubovevic) and technical. Kortchnoi was sort of conservative and anal-retentive in his style (he simply out-calculated opponents, for the most part, especially in dry, strategic positions, except against Karpov) – but you can still learn a lot from Kortchnoi, and I still like him. Karpov was extremely interesting, but as is often alluded to “Who can play like Karpov, but Karpov!?”

Also, Keres was not dogmatic, so you could always learn some wonderful positional lesson from him. Ocassionally, he might inject a suspect or dubious sac against a weaker opponent, but you still learn a lot from it and it has been extremely rare that he does it (except against Botvinnik, right? 😉 ).

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Wednesdays Round 4, Feb 2012

I played Daniel’s mom for the first time in this round.

Round 4

One of the coolest lines not played was this one:

11..b4, 12.axb cxb, 13.Bb5+ Bd7, 14.d5xe6 Bxb5, 15.NxBb5 axN, 16.exd6 Nc6, 17.d7+ Ke7, 18.Bxc5+ Kxe6, 19.Re1+, etc.

I had seen up to move 14, but wasn’t sure after that because G/90 is just not enough time to calculate everything up front; some of it would have to be calculated after Black’s reply.

Another easy line I missed was 20.Bxc5, which I felt sure was right, but somehow missed 20…RxR, 21.RxR QxB, 22.RxR+ Ke7 (I only saw up to here), but now 23.Re8+ Kf6 or Kd6 and Ne4+ forks king and queen.

I had 33 minutes left at the end of the game, she around an hour, but this time I made sure not to get too “into the game” because at G/90 it’s not just about you, your opponent, or even chess itself, it’s largely about clock management.

The interesting thing about playing a game against weaker or less experienced opponents is that it is all about mating attacks and tactics, whereas against stronger players endgames predominate.

Positionally, I missed that I should have played d5 at the first chance because the d5 pawn acts as a wedge which would have cramped Black’s queenside development badly, not to mention that the follow-up Ne4-Nd6+..BxNd6, exBd6 is a winning passed pawn, and a4 push can create a hole on c4 as well.

I got one rating points for this game, probably only because it’s impossible to get zero for a win. That’s funny, even if your opponent has a rating of zero, you will get one rating point for a victory. haha.

It is a little deflating that even though we are allotted 3 hours, there was only one game going beyond the 1 and 1/2 hour point (and this is almost always the case on Wednesdays, where it is mostly sub-1800 level players), and that was Mark’s, and only because he uses all of his clock.

One of Keres’ best games

Keres-Tolush, Moscow 1957

The losing move is 13…Bxg5. The real beauty of this game is in the sidelines. Here is the best example, White is winning after 13..Qc5, 14.Nd5! exN, 15.Nf5, and if ..Nxe5 the e-file gets opened up against the Black king.

I figured out the end, if 29..Qe2, then 30.Qb4+ will mate (30..Ke7, 31. Rf7+ Ke8, 32.Qe7 mate), or 30..Ke5, 31.Qf4 mate) if 29..Qd2, then 30.Qf3 (…queen moves), 31.Qd5+ wins (..Ke7, 32.Nd8! followed by 33.Rf7+ Ke8 and White will mate regardless of anything Black just played, for example Qe6+ can be threatened, and then Qxe7 mate).

Reality Check

Round 3

I played DuWayne for the second time, once again as Black.

The innocent looking 16..fxNe6 is a strategically losing move, even though Fruit gives it your ho-hum +.4 or so at first. The reason is due to 19.e5, which I saw as soon as he had played 18.Qc3 (I would have played this also, if I were him). I thought that I could hold the isolated e6 pawn position, but he showed in the post-mortem that it is not really possible. I asked him what about if I had played 26..Qe7, and he showed that he would have played Be2-d3-e4..BxB, QxB, and then pushed the c-pawn to c6, winning due to the weakness of the 7th rank combined with isolated pawn.

26…Re5?? was an obvious blunder which I saw as soon as I had let go of the piece, but was affected by time-trouble. I saw that he could have won almost immediately, but interestingly enough he knew right away that he had a won-ending (once again!).

At one point, we both had 30 minutes left, but then he pulled ahead on the clock for good. I did offer a draw, but it was out of naivety, as he knew what he was hoping to accomplish with the ending better than I.

I wish that I had more opportunities to play higher-rated players, as the pressure is off and it is somewhat okay to lose to them. There is no justification for playing or losing to a 1400 level player (other than to get a higher-rated in the next round), but losing every time to higher-rated over not playing at all, would be justified. 1400 should not even have the opportunity to play me, realistically, and even that is better than getting 900 rated opponent.

14…Ne5 would have been equal, but if White presses with 15.f4 Nc6 (I found this move, Fruit liked it better than it’s own ..Nd7 suggestion) and it is -.6 score.

This ending I played out with Fruit, the queen and pawn (which I am horrible at), and the queen, rook and pawn (which I am also horrible at), I spent some time studying with Fruit, and I could continue to spend more time with. Unless I am playing someone experienced, it is rare that I get an endgame lesson at G/90, not because I don’t suck but because most players suck even more than I do at endings and go for tactical middlegame battles instead.

Wednesdays Round 3, Feb 2012

Didn’t do much with this game, lived off of the ratings differential instead:

Round 3

After 15.Qd4, I could have played 15..Be6 since his queen is at d4, not his knight, so I could play to wrong-foot his queen, considered it, but went for riskless play against his rating. I’d like to say that we are immune to such influences, but we aren’t; at the end of the day, people look at your rating.

Also, I figured after the game that 14..Rb8 was a better try, but this is all so much to think about for a 90 minute game.

14..Bf5 is interesting, an idea given by Fruit. Then, 15.Nd4 Be4, 16.Nxc6 Qc5! followed by 16..Qxc3 -+. I think I stopped calculating such things at Nxc6,

If I win this game, I get 3 rating points, if I draw I lose 10 points, and if I lose I lose 21 points. That’s hardly a blip on the map for a win.

A game on FICS

FICS Game

Hadn’t played on FICS in a month. Sure enough, it’s one more example of who can condense their slow game the best into a blitz game. I had < 30 seconds when 53..Nxa is an obvious win. He had less time than me, but to be thinking of checkmate with no increment, and thinking opponent will make pre-moves with such little time, it shows me that it's still about the clock for me at this time-control.

This game may look somewhat impressive, but I find it completely useless. I didn’t learn anything from playing this game, nunca, zero, zip, complete waste of life. If I want to get better at chess, it’s back to studying books like Keres’ best games.

The thing I really hate about after having a played a game on FICS is that it burns out my eyes, I forgot about that. In a world where work is staring at a monitor for 8-10 hours at work, who needs more of that??