Saturday, 14 September 2019

A great french defence win

The French Defense. An opening I've played for a Decade now.

Players who like the French Defence (like myself) are generally good at counter-attacking, just as in the following game over the internet played at 15|10 time controls.

Personally I enjoy this one quite a bit, as the last part followed an attack in which I was able to create threat after threat and maintain the initiative. My favourite sort of chess.


Slow Chess League R2 Sept 2019: A lucky draw

Another night of Slow Chess, my favourite  

Back on the win of 4 straight games, I was eager to get my fifth victory and extend my winning streak. Alas, it was not meant to be. The game had turned out entirely different than I had hope. A quick exchange of queens in the opening lead to Black equalizing without difficulty. It didn't helped that I had prepped intensively against a specific line which I was sure that he would play but it was my opponent who deviated into another pet line of his correctly. I'm sure I was in his territory the whole way.

Anyway, here's the game as promised.

Lessons to learn here

1) Prepare but always be ready to deviate. Also it helps to learn a few opening possibilities as opposed to just 1 specific line
2) Trading queens in any chess game is often a major decision which changes the nature of the game. In this case, I should have never considered the line which led to the early queen exchange right out of the opening, damaging my practical changes for a win.
3) Don't be too quick to be discouraged. Even though I was definitely on the worst side of the endgame, I was still very close to equality most of the time. There will always be practical chances playing against another human..

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Introducing: Mark's Movie Reviews

I've been meaning to blog about movies for quite a while now.

Seeing that I have a bit of time on my hands, I've decided to come up with a simple list of standardised criteria in order to rate a movie, each with a score of 1 (lowest) to 5(highest)

  • Storyline/Plot (1-5) 
  • Cinematography (1-5) (includes CGI/Costumes where applicable) 
  • Acting/Casting(1-5) 
  • Soundtrack (1-5) 

Can't wait to do my first serious review.

Stay tuned.

Thematic game: How to play against an IQP

Really enjoyed the following game in which I managed to neutralised White's early initiative and eventually converted a win after a tactical blunder by my opponent. IQP positions offer a rich opportunities for chess understanding and learning.


Friday, 6 September 2019

A great start to September: Slow Chess League R1 Sep 2019

Another week, another slow chess league game victory to savior and enjoy!

The Slow Chess League is perfect for busy working adults like me. It offers me a chance to play a good game of chess as a slow time control without having to leave the comfort of my own home.

So why play slow chess?
Here are the list of benefits of why I think Slow Chess is the most efficient way to improve.
  • Forces one to think thru all the best replies from your opponents. Slow Chess demands constant accuracy.
  • Trains one to appreciate pawn structure, minor/major piece exchanges and endgame play.
  • Stronger resistance from opponents who have all the time in the world to find the best response to active moves.
  • Allows you more time to think about creative lines which one would not think of in a blitz game.

I've been playing in the slow chess league for about 2-3 years now and I can't recommend it enough. It has given me a solid grounding for when I play in  OTB FIDE rated standard tournaments such as the Bangkok Open. Do check it out and give it a try.

Okay, enough about slow chess. Here is the game with annotations. Please enjoy.

A game that I liked (ChessBase 15)
[Event "Live Chess"] [Site ""] [Date "2019.09.04"] [Round "?"] [White "shortcastle"] [Black "dr_chessdad"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A21"] [WhiteElo "1759"] [BlackElo "1822"] [Annotator "Liew,Mark"] [PlyCount "58"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] [TimeControl "2700+45"] {Pretty proud of the following game. SCL September 9 Game. Defintely going into my best games collection} 1. c4 {My Norwegian Opponent plays the same opening as our last encounter.} e5 2. Nc3 Bb4 {This variation is called the Kramnik-Shirov Counter attack variation of the English Opening- basically a Sicllian Rosolimo in reversed colors with White having an extra tempo} 3. g3 ({ If White wants to avoid double pawns, this is the other main move.} 3. Nd5 Bc5 4. b4 Bf8 5. Bb2 c6 6. Ne3 f6 $1 $10 {with a most interesting game.}) 3... Bxc3 $5 {Black doubles White's pawns at the cost of his double bishops but has no structural weaknesses.} 4. dxc3 ({also possible is} 4. bxc3 d6 {with pretty much the same idea to set up a blockage on c5 and the dark squares}) 4... d6 5. Bg2 Nd7 6. Nf3 Ne7 $5 {keeping things flexible. the knight here can jump to f5 or g6 depending on how White set up.. Black also has the further option of playing ..f5 as well after castling.} 7. O-O O-O 8. b4 a5 9. Be3 (9. b5 { cedes the c5 square as an outpost.} Rb8) 9... Nf5 {believe it or not We have reached the exact position of our previous encounter a few months ago.} (9... h6 {first before ..Nf5 may be more accurate.}) 10. Qc1 {My opponent deviates from our original game.} (10. Bg5 Qe8 (10... f6 11. Bc1 Nb6) 11. Qb1 Nb6 12. e4 Ne7) 10... Qe7 {just reinforcing Black's hold on c5.} 11. Rd1 Rb8 $5 {played after a long thought, temporary sacrificing the a pawn. in exchange for an outpost on the c5 square.} (11... h6 {perhaps was more accurate.}) 12. Rb1 $6 { played after a long thought and some inspiration} ({If White wants to draw he can play} 12. Ba7 $1 Ra8 13. Be3 $10 Rb8) (12. bxa5 Nxe3 13. Qxe3 Ra8 $1 { [%csl Ga2,Ga5,Gc5] Black is better. Black's knight will get to c5 and the pawns on a5 and a2 will eventually be very weak.}) (12. Bg5 f6 13. Bd2 axb4 14. cxb4 e4 15. Ne1 Re8 $10 {the focal point is now e4.}) 12... axb4 13. cxb4 b6 { Black has successfully set up a dark squared blockage based around c5 as the pivot point.} 14. Qc3 {White is trying to reroute his bishop to c1/b2} Nxe3 { playing it safe. At least now I won't have to worry about White having 2 bishops going into the endgame.} (14... h6) 15. Qxe3 Ba6 {trying to induce b5 to cede the c5 square as an outpost} (15... Bb7 {was more natural and probably better.}) 16. Rbc1 ({White has this amazing resource} 16. Nd4 $1 Qe8 17. Nb5 Qc8 18. Bh3 $14 {White has some initiative.}) 16... h6 {simply creating some luft first but again this allows White to play 17.Nd4!} (16... Bb7) 17. Nd2 ( 17. Nd4 {again gives White some dynamic chances.}) 17... Kh8 {perhaps a little bit unnecessary prophylaxis} (17... f5 18. Bd5+ Kh8) 18. Nb3 {aiming to play c5 } f5 $1 {Fighting chess. Black counters just in time. we enter more or less a forced sequence of moves} 19. c5 bxc5 20. bxc5 f4 $1 21. gxf4 Rxf4 22. cxd6 cxd6 23. Rc6 Bb7 24. Rcxd6 Bxg2 25. Kxg2 {Black is down a pawn but White's king safety is compromised. Black has to attack the king with everything's he's got otherwise the endgame will be lost.} Qg5+ 26. Kh1 $2 (26. Kf1 Nf6 27. Rd8+ Rxd8 28. Rxd8+ Kh7 $11 {was the most probable line that I had envisioned.} ) 26... Nf6 $1 {the combination of Black's Queen, Rook and Knight are very dangerous when in the same vicinity.} 27. f3 $2 {[%cal Gd7f6,Gf2f3] It's hard to fault this move but Black has a beautiful reply} (27. Rd8+ Rxd8 28. Rxd8+ Kh7 {and it's White's turn to defend.}) (27. Qa7 Ne4 $1) 27... Ne4 $3 {Played after nearly 10 mins of thinking. The truth was that I was beginning to fear that I had no attack and was staring into the abyss of a lost endgame until I discovered this beautiful resource.} 28. Rg1 {critical but I had seen the beautiful reply.} ({obviously} 28. fxe4 $4 {loses} Rf1+ 29. Rxf1 Qxe3) ({ The first critical line that I had to calculate was} 28. Rd7 Ng3+ 29. hxg3 Qxg3 {with ...Rh4# threatened} 30. Rd8+ Rxd8 31. Rxd8+ Kh7 32. Qd3+ e4 {White has run out of checks.} 33. Qxe4+ Rxe4 34. fxe4 Qh4+ 35. Kg2 Qxd8) (28. Qa7 $3 { keeps White in the game.} Rbf8 29. Rg1 {Black has to find} R4f7 (29... Qxg1+ 30. Qxg1 Nxd6 $16 {is a winning endgame for White}) 30. Qb6 Qh4) 28... Rg4 $3 { 2 beautiful moves in a row. How rare is that?} 29. Qxg5 $4 {played in haste, only then did my opponent understood why I was able to play ..Rg4 previously.} ({best for White was} 29. Rxg4 Qxe3 30. Rxe4 Qf2 31. Rd1 (31. Rg4 e4 $3 32. fxe4 Qxe2 {Black is winning}) 31... Ra8 $17 (31... Rf8 {was also possible}) 32. Nd2 Rxa2 33. Rf1 Qb6 34. Nc4) (29. fxg4 Qxe3) (29. Qa7 Rxg1+ 30. Qxg1 Qxg1+ 31. Kxg1 Nxd6 $17 {an elementary endgame win.}) 29... Nf2# {A game which ended in a flurry of tactics.} 0-1