Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tactical melee

A recently finished game on was a real tactical melee for much of the game. Here is a position with the final tactical mistake:

White to move

Black has just moved Ncd4. On the face of it, the knights look like they are charging into white's position and positionally, black seems to be doing well. In reality this move just blew black's position and he is simply lost at this point. The whole game, including the winning continutation from this point can be seen at

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Annotated loss

I have my first annotated loss from correspondence play. In the game I played well positionally and had a significant positional advantage. I didn't see the right way to properly expand my positional advantage. I have it in the annotations, and I think it's very instructive for me.

The game ended after a major tactical oversight on my part in response to a clever play by my opponent. I've posted the game at

Sunday, November 04, 2007

My first correspondence games

I have started playing some correspondence chess on Before I was able to get some good opponents I had to raise my rating. Those games were fun, but not terribly instructive. I also now have some more serious games to annotate, some of which are in line with my assessment that I am trying to force the tactics too much.

Here is a sample position from a fun game:
Black to move

White has just played 10. Na4? Of course, the obvious fork Qh4+ comes to mind (if Ke2 Bxg1 before taking the knight still wins a piece). In a blitz game, I'd probably snap the piece off without a second thought, but in a correspondence game, why not take time to analyze 10. ... Qh4+ 11. Ke2 Qf2+! 12. Kd3 Black has passed on the opportunity to take the piece in favor of pushing the king to open space. So black needs to find the right continuation here before playing move 11. Checks are always tempting, but correct here is 12. ... Rc8 putting the king in a box where the threat is Ne5#. White does not have an adequate way to deal with the threat, for example 13. f4 Bxf4 14. Nf3 Qe3# (14. Qe2 Ne5+ 15. Qxe5 Qxc2+ 16. Kd4 Qc4#). My opponent tried 13. c4 Rxc4, which is also ineffective.

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