TommyG, your last game from a week or two ago was a pretty game.  The combination you found at the end of the game would not have been likely to pop into most players heads who are under 1700 rating.  I didn’t see that that ended in a draw either, but I knew that a sac to breakthrough the pawn-wall, most likely a pawn-sac was going to be necessary.

A lot of this type of insight comes from having played thousands of games of chess, mostly online.  I still find the hardest part of solving tactics on ChessTempo is finding the correct finish, not finding that first “killer” move.  So many won games online are lost that it’s both really funny and really sad at the same time, I lost so many totally won games while waiting for an opponent to resign.

My friend here in the Springs, Alex, moved to Denver.  He thought his chess was getting worse.  He was killing me at openings, could mate me with 2 bishops in 16 seconds, and would win almost every time against me in this king with endgame opposition which he understood so much better than me that it’s ridiculous, and I tried it against him many times.

Still, playing a game at the club is mostly about running into our old friend called “our weak points”.  Alex’s weak point is that he will blow off an ending, and lose a winning endgame to much lower-rated players.  He thinks he doesn’t understand endgames, but I think it’s mostly a discipline type issue, since he has won some endgames brilliantly against A level players.

My game last week, I needlessly over-provoked an opponent into attacking me, for the umpteenth time.  For you in your last posted game, it was not taking the opponents knight because you were worried about a pawn and piece breakthrough in front of your king – which isn’t as surprising as you might think because even Masters can sometimes be terrible defenders and try to “defend” by attacking back somewhere else.  So don’t take losses too hard.  Remember the Alekhine quote about how he learned character through chess.  😉

Also, the thing I really like about your game is that you are one of the few who has a lot of formal knowledge of the game, actually studied the games of the greats, so you are going to have a lot of feel that players who only study tactics won’t have as much of.  And you had the technique down quite well where you study your games deeply.  That sort of “book knowledge”, and the formal way in which you are capable and do analyze games (which most players don’t do as well as you!) means that you will always have the chess “base” to build from.  Someone who is as “got-it-together” chessically as you will probably never really leave chess.  And I think that software that you got recently to study tactics from (just seeing a lot of patterns) is going to help your rating immensely (particularly at club games), if get through most of it.

Heck, Master Brian Wall (he was around 2300), lost to Chris Peterson 1900, for one thing because he didn’t take a free knight on d6, but instead castled because he was worried that he might get mated. That knight on d6 blocking the d7 pawn stayed very strong! Brian should have still won but blundered on move 40 in time-pressure, the infamous move before time-control.

As for me, I don’t have actual lines worked out for Black if anyone as White plays sharply or even knows how to play a main-line correctly. I don’t have that much to pose as White against someone who has their French Defense worked out as Black. I’ve purposely not been studying openings for the most part for quite a while, and been working on my middle-game instead for the past two years. I would study that Riga Variation as Black, that Paul Cannon showed me, if I got off my duffer. 😉 I’ve also forgotten how to perform the bishop and knight mate.


11 thoughts on “ProdigalPawn

  1. When I click the link for Tommy’s blog – it says not found.
    I picked up the Nezmetdinov book from USCF sales – 30$ w/shipping.

    I think a good exercise would be to go be over the riga variation especially the position that Capablanca got. Very interesting material imbalance – probably worth the effort to try both sides against an engine.

    So far, 50/50 success with Fedora 17 updates. Trying a clean install on the “toasted” machine as I type this. (crosses fingers)

  2. Yeah, evidently he deleted it for lack of time (according to Moth). Wish he’d left it up with just a “goodbye” post, as that’s the one I have bookmarked (as he had a ton of links)…

  3. Hey LinuxGuy,

    Just registered for FICS – never used it before. Is there a way to find if a player (by name) is in a game? Something like ChessCube’s “friend list”?

  4. Jabari –

    You can add someone to your notify list (in the console type +notify ) Then when you log on or when they log on, you will see if they are on the server. To see if they are playing a game type fi and it will tell you if the person is currently in a game.

  5. Jabari – looks like the code mistook my “” for html code.

    Anyway … type +notify (followed by handle) to add a person to your notify list.

    type “fi (followed by handle)” to see if the player is in a game or not.

  6. Hey, thanks for letting me know Jabari! I thought maybe it was something I said to him. I was using it for bookmarks, too!

    I’m logged into FICS right now, if anyone wants to play me. They do have a friends notification feature! I can’t think of how to use it offhand. I wish there were something that would text my phone if someone wants to play me on fics. I could put my phone # here, maybe I will.

    Good luck on the Linux install Paul! 🙂 I love Linux, have been it on it now permanently for last 2 years almost and don’t want to ever go back to Windows unless I need to print something out from a “Windows printer”.

    I should look at that variation, Capa’s game, looks worth trying out.

    The Nezh book is awesome, went over a game from it already today. You are going to be quite satisfied with the games and analysis in it that he gives. 😀 Definitely my best book, blows other books away.

    Jabari, I agree with your comments on Moth’s blog. I look at being a regular chessplayer, and not blogging, as sort of like being a recovering alcoholic that doesn’t want to check in with their sponsor every time they have a relapse (i.e., lose a chessgame) – after all, you say to yourself, I have Fritz to show me the error of my ways in complete privacy. 😉 It makes the wins that much sweeter though, and one of course learns most from their losses, we’ve known this since Capablanca said it way back when.

    I suspect what is possibly going in is that ProdigalPawn needs that first OTB win, anyway he can get it. I remember my first OTB win was against Dennis Forbes. I was playing the White side of a Sicilian and missed one of his shots (even then I was good at building up often large positional advantages), but won it in an endgame-ish middlegame, and was strong at endgames even then.

  7. Thursday’s Round 5 game.

    I played 13.Qd1 because I realized the game would have been over too quickly had I played 13.Bb5. I was actually hoping that he would not play ..Nxe4?? just so that I could play d4 and have a spicy game with a pawn sac.

    I believe it was on move 18..d4, instead of 18..f5!, that’s when I knew that I was out of the woods, and had 25 minutes left at the end of the game. G/90, I know accept as for me as being in “time-pressure” from move 1. I was writing moves down while blitzing when he moved d1(Q). My heart skipped a beat right before he played it, but then I realized that it’s the same thing, rook for pawn. He said “Queen!” and people looked as if I had maybe blundered, that’s what’s so funny about playing quickly, getting caught up in the momentary ephemeral image of a position.

  8. Oh sure, you find a different book right after I pick up the Timman one you recommended eariler! 😉

    (Which is quite good, BTW – just started going through it…)

    Created a FICS account – my id on there is “Jabarii” (2 “i”s, the one-eyed one was taken *laugh*) Will add you and rocky to my notify list when I get home tonight.

  9. I wish I had given that Timman book to my chess-buddy Alex than to the local library, which apparently just sells the books.

    The Timman book taught me the importance of deep analysis, and how things that look en-prise actually can’t be taken because of deep traps. The Nezhmetdinov book, even moreso than the Keres book, tells me how to use my queen, which has always been my greatest chess weakness.

    Nezh will play lines where he sacs a piece for two pawns or sacs pawns and tells you why he does, and why he in turn does not grab free stuff either. He is really just playing normal chess, but it’s not the definition of normal that we are accustomed to – It’s sort of a “must” book in this sense.

    Here is actually a “normal” game by Rashid N., i.e., not “too” crazy. (set the game board to Javascript board, if you are using Linux):

    Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov vs Vladas Ivanovich Mikenas

    16…c5? strikes me as an error, I would play 16…Nxd6 followed by ..Nf5 if needed.

    If 28..Nxb3??, 29.RxNb7 (one should just see this move, as a club-player), although in his book he gives 29.Rb1 pointing out that Nb3-a5 doesn’t work out, which doesn’t make as much sense to me. One of the very few odd seeming errors in the book. Actually, he shows why RxNb7 works, so I think it was either a lack of editing (catching it) or I am missing something. But he is brief and to the point in his notes, gives long variations, I’d take his games and notes over anyone else’s any day (up to Kasparov).

    30.Bxc5! The only move in the position, really. As club players, we should simply find this move. I was befuddled by it and though it brilliant, but then wait, it’s simply how one _should_ play this position. He noticed he had a winning endgame. One should see this OTB as White up to move 36.Rxa7.

    Come to think of it, there is more brilliance in this game than in the entire Anand-Gelfand match combined, and this is just one of his games.

    If you thought you knew brave, you aint seen nothin’ yet. Match with Mikenas was tied, and Rashid needed a win to get the Master title, so he flat out sacs a piece for a pawn, and still gets a winning position! BUT, he had 1 minute to make his last 11 moves, and misses the win (which isn’t hard to see in this case, 32…Bxh3) by making safe moves to get to time-control (nearly every move of his from here out he gives a ? mark).

    If I didn’t believe in miracles before, I do now!

    Last match game vs. Mikenas

    It would be awesome to play a club game like the following one:

    11…b5?? (threatening ..b4, then ..Be2 winning the exchange), 12.Qg3!! “Winning!” (my words, he is more modest).

    I like how with Bd5 White is controlling the important e4 light square, as well as attacking and defending on the dark-squares. This is how we _should_ be playing, and one can see that each position is a rudimentary tactics puzzle diagram.

  10. Paul, I looked at Capa’s game against the Riga. I would like to try this as Black but would need to spend time studying this material.

    I see this period of time where I actually prepare some sharp openings variations such as this one. This sort of variation would take some Class A scalps at G/90, or get the perpetual check draw as Black.

    IMHO, this is the ideal sort of thing for someone to try who gets limited OTB games, but has relatively a lot more time to prepare than to play rated OTB tournament games. You can just waltz into a tournament one day, play in the Open section, and pull out a whole arsenal of weapons. As “classical” tournaments more and more adopt these cheesy quicker time-controls because everyone has to go home early “run away! run away!” these weapons will become even more of an upset-prize factor. Many as White probably won’t even play that d4 move against it, or will have spent valuable time and mental energy just to figure out what you already know!

    BTW, I think Capa succeeded because he ate the kingside pawns, whereas in the first game the person tried eating the queenside pawns instead.

  11. From I what I have read – black gets the inferior endgame – I think I recall a link where it what stated that White wins 90% of the time. I think the reason even the material is in black’s favor (2 minors vs rook and 2 pawns). The black rook has no files to work with and White with time will just eventually regain the pawns and create a passer. The variation is probably ok against club players but against experts or higher. The key is not to “rush”. This is probably a very good position to try against engines from either side to see how to handle pieces.

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