Saturday, June 30, 2007


So this is the weekend I'm missing the World Open. It's a great tournament and if you ever get a chance to play, I encourage you to play. The experience there is not like any other tournament I've played in. On the other hand, it's outrageously expensive and the competition is very tough. But if you're well under-rated, breaking even is not an unreasonable expectation.

Here are a couple of tactics from recent games I've played. First a warm-up:
White to Play

My opponent just played Qd7, sacking the knight on f3. If Kxf3, black wins with Qh3+ Ke4 c5, boxing in the king. But white has a winning tactic instead of Kxf3.

Black to play

Here I missed a pretty mating idea. I sacked a knight a couple moves earlier to get into the king position. I certainly have enough pieces converging, with queen, rook, and bishop all pointed squarely at weak points. I played the winning b3 where Kd2 can be met by Rxc2+ and Qxb2 where black now has 4 pawns for the piece, white's king is still exposed, and the b-pawn is close to promotion.

I think if black realizes that white's only hope is to play Kd2 and escape to the kingside, the mating net is not so tough to find. Black has Bc3! and is now threatening mate. If bxc3 bxc3, mate is still threatened. White can only delay by Qb4 Qa1+ Qb1 Qa3+ Qb2 Qxb2

CT-Art update:
Level 80: 64 % (32 done, 12 to go)
Ct-Art elo: 2510

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Endgame positions

Crappy players like myself make lots of endgame mistakes. This gives a good endgame player a chance to pull out a draw or a win from games that are lost or drawn. Here are two examples from a recent game I played.
White to play

I'm not totally certain on this position, but I know I played it wrong. I played Ra8+ Kg7 a7. And now white has totally cornered himself.

A better chance would have been Kf1 and walking over to the rook, eventually up to the pawn if necessary. Note that the king does not have to protect the f2 pawn, e.g. Kf1 Kf8 Ke1 Ke8 Kd1 Rxf2? Rb7! and black cannot stop a7 followed by Rb8+ and promoting the pawn. Black can take on f2 once his king gets to c8, but then white has Rg7 and taking on g4. Then the 2 pawn advantage should be enough to make a queen.

After the game moves, black has a draw, but he must keep his king on h7 or g7. Instead, black bailed me out by playing Kf7. Now white has a winning tactic. This is a good one to know.

White to move

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Level 70 done

I've finished level 70 of CT-Art. I don't have a whole lot else for this entry. I've decided not to attend the World Open as life got in the way; so I don't have a tournament goal looming. There is a local tournament in about a month I will try to make it to.

Without further ado, here are the stats through level 70 of Ct-Art.
Level 10: 97% (110 problems)
Level 20: 92% (286 problems)
Level 30: 86% (221 problems)
Level 40: 77% (204 problems)
Level 50: 76% (134 problems)
Level 60: 67% (84 problems)
Level 70: 70% (59 problems)
Ct-Art elo: 2464
Total done: 1098, 111 problems left

To be clear, this is all done in practice mode in sequential numerical order. In practice mode, if you make a wrong move you get hints about important squares, pieces, and lines. Since you also get partial credit for getting the problem right after hints, this is definitely a percentage boost. I think the story would be quite different in test mode.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Blitz Tactic

There are cool tactics in blitz games and they can be found OTB while playing 'Real Chess'. Anyone who tells you blitz is not chess, just isn't doing it right. Blue Devil Knight is about to enter a real foray into the world of blitz chess and I'd like to leave this nugget as inspiration.
Black to move
White has played Rde1 in response to Rxh3 leaving his queen en prise while threatening to get into the back rank. It took me a moment, but even in blitz there is plenty of time to calculate the resulting position and see that the ending is winning for black after Rxc3 Re8+ Bxe8 Rxe8+ Qc8 Rxc8+ Kxc8 bxc3.

If blitz isn't chess, why does the guy making the better chess moves win? Play blitz with pride! Play blitz for fun! And don't ever let anyone tell you that it's not chess.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tournament Report

Black to move
You can find a fast way to finish off this game at All three tournament games are posted there ( with some annotations.

Overall I was disappointed with the tournament experience. The way the sections broke I was the top seed in my section. I would have really loved to play some higher rated players, it's a much better way to put yourself to the test and find weaknesses in your game. I am happy that I was able to take care of business and win all my games. There are places where I didn't play perfectly, so hopefully I can learn from those.

Rating change: 1707 --> 1729

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tournament time!

After a very long time of not playing tournaments, I'm back! There is a tournament this Saturday and I'm very excited to be playing. We'll see if the tactical study overload can pay off in rating points. I should probably squeeze in some real games before I throw myself back in the fire. The time control is G/75 and the tournament is 3 rounds.

In other news, I have a glaring CT-Art mistake to share. In a handful of cases moves that are easily winning are 'wrong' because a somewhat better move exists (e.g. the difference between +2 and +3.5), but in this case, the program completely misses a mate in 2!
White to move
This is the starting position of problem 1082. The first move of the solution is Rd8+ and one variation given by Ct-Art is Kxd8 Qd2+ Bd4 Bxd4 Rc2 Bf6+ Ke8 leading to the position shown below.
White to move

And now the program gives Qxc2. Overlooking Rb8+ Rc8 Rxc8#. C'est la vie.

Current CT-Art stats:
Level 70: 72% (43 done, 16 to go)
CT-Art elo: 2452
Total done: 1082. Remaining: 127.

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