Tuesday, January 31, 2006

One, Simple Mistake

BlueEyedRook vs. richjohnson
White to move

Ughhh.... I made a typical "goof" last week. After battling for days (ahhh, the joys of correspondence chess!) for a mere one-pawn advantage, I then throw the entire game away in the following position (see left).

I was (of course!) focused on the g4 bishop looming over my e2 rook. I have to move it.

I played the pathetic 30. Rd2 ?? instantly losing. The ol' Chessmaster 9000 reports this as a mate in 6 (30...Bf3 31. Re1 Rxe1. 32. Rd1 Rxd1. 33. g4 Rxg4. 34. Nd6+ cxd6. 35. c4 Rh1#). This is a little above my head, so I actually made things easier. After 30... Bf3, I played, 31. Re3 ??, instantly losing to 31... Rh1# (see left).

Well, what could I have done? I had to play 30. Rd2? or else I would lose the rook, right (30... Bxe2)?


I missed the obvious 30. Rxe8 which leads to white still having a pawn lead (30. Re8+ Rxe8. 31. Rxe8+) (see left). This brillant move takes both of white's rook out of the menacing reach of the g4 bishop.

Days of painfully accurate chess-playing.... all flushed down the toilet in a matter of seconds. Ughhhh.....

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Thank You!

I have been meaning to do this for a while. My web log allows me to see what web pages viewers started at to eventually end up at my site (in other words what web site they visited before they were brought to mine). I would like to thank the following sites for being kind enough to give my web long a link on their sites.


I have never been to the Boylston chess club, so I dont' know terribly much about it, but boy... can they do a website. I can't say enough good things about this site. It's ultimately one that with a) much more time; b) much more computer skills; and c) much more creativity, I would like this blog to emulate. I think it rivals (and thoroughly beats!) many of its more corporate/commercial competitors.


This web log get bonus points for me because it was one of the first chess blogs I discovered on the internet. That novelty aside, this is a fantastic site hosted by a person who is good at captivating his/her readers and providing excellent problems/diagrams.


This is a late-comer to the international chess blog world, but I expect great things from this site. I am definitely biased (the author and I play on the same clan at www.redhotpawn.com) and the site is still in its infancy, but judging by the author's enthusiasm and love for the game, I expect a lot out of this site in the months to come.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Poll: 1. e4, 1... ?

I am not one for complications. After 1. e4, I always respond with 1. e5. This seems like the easiest, best choice. Do you agree?


Saturday, January 21, 2006

The agony of..... a draw?!

BlueEyedRook vs. FredCassidy
January 2006 http://www.redhotpawn.com/
White to move and win
Drawing a game you should have won isn't as bad as losing that very same game, but it still royally stinks. I missed a game winning move tonight. There is only 17 possible moves for white.... but only one wins -- do you see it?

1. Kd5! is pivotal. The knight's sole duty at this late stage of the game is to take out that black pawn. The white f4 pawn can do the rest (i.e., promote and win). 1. Kd5 instantly protects the white knight from being captured by the black king. Black can't do nothing. Any movement by the king leads to simply white advancing his pawn forward. If black advances his pawn then the white knight will take it (to only be captured by the black king, but the lone white pawn can now easily promote).

What did I play? Embarassingly 1. Na5+?? This in effect accomplishes nothing, which I actually knew. I had incorrectly had assumed that the position was drawn and was hoping for black to make a mistake (ex. allow his pawn and king to be forked). No such luck.

Ughh.... well, it was only a draw, right?!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tactics, Tactics, Tactics

I was playing a game the other night on www.redhotpawn.com (which incidentally, for me personally, is proving to be a much better site than FICS or www.chessgames.com), when I came to this position (see left).

I am white, and it is White to Move.

The perhaps not so obvious move is 1. Qxe5! winning the black bishop. Black can of course play 1... dxe5, but this leads to 2. Rxd7+ (see left) with 3. Rxg7 soon to follow.

Monday, January 16, 2006


I don't get too many talkers during my games. This is both a good and bad thing. Sometimes people are fun and interesting to talk to. Other times they just ramble on and on. One of my favorite forms of chess chatters are trash-talkers.

What a miserable, sad lot these poor souls are. The game below represents the latest of morons I have come across on www.redhotpawn.com

???* vs. BlueEyedRook
http://www.redhotpawn.com/ January 2006

Black to Move

Some how I managed to get a piece down toward the middle of the game. At the position above, I get this e-mail from ???.

gg, resign and save us some time so i can beat you again in the rematch.

I was, of course, instantly peeved at his audacity. The sad thing for ol' ??? is that I probably would have resigned, but he had really ticked me off. So the game went on. Somewhere around the 49th move we got to this position.

??? vs. BlueEyedRook
http://www.redhotpawn.com/ January 2006

Black to Move

And now ??? doesn't find himself able to trash talk as much as he would like. I, of course, made him choke on his earlier comment about resigning. What follows is just bizarre:

Bet you feel dumb for sending me this message on the 21. move, huh? "gg, resign and save us some time so i can beat you again in the rematch."

no, not really, i let you win, i was cheating and had the game won but decided to give you the game

Nice gesture on his part.... wouldn't you say.

To ??? and all the other trash talkers out there. Number 1, don't trash talk. Who needs unpleasantness in this already less than pleasant world. Number 2, if you are going to trash talk -- Back it up. Or you might find your name and your embarassment printed out on a web log for all to see.

* Why the ???, you ask? I actually printed the guy's name when I originally published this entry, but in hindsight, I thought it was a little too mean. Afterall, everyone has bad days.... maybe I caught ??? having one. Thus, we'll just leave my little trash-talking loser friend annonymous.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

..... But no cigar!

BlueEyedRook vs. llbank
White to move
Ughhhh….. I hate losing close chess games. Unfortunately, this was such an example. I was close to pulling off a draw here. But as Gene Oakland says: “‘Close’ only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” It doesn’t matter in chess.

The key here is white’s next move. I realize I have two fundamental problems: 1) the d2 pawn; and the f4 pawn. But I also realize that the d1 bishop can effectively guard both the problemsome pawns and the king can lend a hand too. The white e4 pawn is also an important asset. If the black king and bishop get too wild in trying to promote their own pawns, this white pawn can make a dash for the 8th rank.

All action is on the center of the board, but the left wing is a powder keg waiting to erupt. The black bishop is of course unable to attack the white pawns (who are on white squares), but the black king can. Thus the white bishop (in addition to guarding the two cetral black pawns) must also be sure to also guard the a4 white pawn.

So with all that being said . . . What’s the best move?
I am currently letting the ol' Chessmaster 9000 "sleep on it" (i.e., letting it spend 8 or 9 hours while I sleep analyzing the position). It claims 1. e5 is the best move.... which I can believe. However, I am curious if anything else will lead to draw positions. We'll see. I would love to get people's takes on this position.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

When Knights Attack!

Here is a great problem I came across the other day. It is black to move.

The key is the e3 square. It would be a nasty hot spot for any one of the black knights -- forking the c2 Queen and the d1 rook. The only piece up to guarding this key square is the f2 bishop. Thus, the key is driving that lone guard away.

1... Ng4! accomplishes just this. White must now move the f2 bishop or risk the very fork mentioned above (2. exf5 looks good but is not. 2... Nxf2 now forks both of white's rook and will lose the exchange -- white will lose a rook and a bishop for two of black's knights.). 2. Bg1 is the only move where the bishop can still guard e3.

But then black has the powerful 2... Nfe3 forking the white queen and rook. The futile 3. Bxe3 is met by 3... Nxe3 leaving white with the same devestating fork.

The Dangers of an Unprotected King.

When your king is unguarded, you can easily lose your game even if you are way ahead in material. Extra rooks, bishops, and pawns do not mean squat, if your opponent has an open-door attack on your king. The following game is no exception:

(Black to Move)

I was actually playing white during this game, and after a series of poor moves I found myself a whole knight and rook down. The only thing going my way is the total lack of protection for the black king and the menacing pawn at f6. Can I use these to pull off a win?

The answer should be no. Black's most logical move is 1... Kh7. This leaves the game still largely in his favor. The queen can menace the king on the kingside, but black can escape mate. Of course, 2. Qh6+? is out of the question (2... Kxh6). Any other checks (ex. 2. Qh4+) allows black to get behind the f6 pawn (2. Qh4+ Kg6! saving the game). Even the dubious looking 1... Qxf6?! is better than most of the alternatives. A queen for a pawn is a dreadful exchange (2. Qxf6 will of course follow), but it will elimate the f6 pawn and white queen threat and will leave black with still an arsenal of pieces. The move actually played 1... Re8?? (a blind attempt to guard the knight) instantly leads to a mate in two which indeed ensued. 2. Qg5+ Kh7 3. Qg7# (2... Kh8 3. Qg7#).