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Author Topic: Chess thread  (Read 251297 times)
Tal
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« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2012, 12:45:14 PM »

Hi Tal.

Don't let the lack of interaction make you think there's not much interest in the thread. If I had anything remotely intelligent to bring to the table I would but I'll have to remain an observer for now.

I very rarely play chess but I'm definitely enjoying the information you're providing and it's starting to make me want to play a bit. I also enjoyed those videos which you recommended.

Please keep it up.

Matt

Very kind of you. Thank you.

As long as the views keep going up, I will carry on, but I do welcome feedback (whether posted or PMd) on the content and style of what I put on the thread. If you enjoy the latest games, if you want to keep up with who's winning tourneys, if you want something more instructive (old games or positions that explain tactics or ideas), if you want historical anecdotes and interesting stories, I'd like to know.

Of course, if you HAVE any of the above yourselves to share, please do. The more of a forum thread it is the better!
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Tal
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« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2012, 10:20:51 PM »

A few things of interest for you from the British Championships.

Firstly, the current standings, as round 4 has just finished.

Top seed Gawain Jones has won all four of his games, including one against number 3 seed Steven Gordon today, and has the sole lead. In second place is a relatively unfancied player in James Holland, who has achived 3.5 out of 4, despite having to play four titled players in a Grandmaster, an International Master and two FIDE Masters. The two of them will face each other tomorrow.

There is a cluster of players on 3/4, including both Steven Gordon and David Howell, as well as all but one of the remaining Grandmasters.

The website for the tournament is http://britishchesschampionships.co.uk and you might well enjoy the feature whereby you can watch all the games from the main competition live each afternoon. If you're really keen (ahem), you might take a peek at the webcams.

Commentary

For something a little more user-friendly, the British Championships has had a commentary room for some years now, which is a great feature of bigger tournaments.

The Tal Memorial thread included some discussion about getting chess on TV and I explained that it’s very hard to commentate live, when your brain (and the brain of those commentating) doesn’t work as quickly as the chaps at the board. The live commentary environment is the closest we get these days.

The last time I went to one, there was a room (classroom-size) full of players of all abilities, some with laptops with chess programs on, some with their own magnetic boards, all focusing on the man at the front. It was the same man who is commentating this fortnight, International Master, Andrew Martin.

The top 4 boards were all up on display at the front of the room for those present to study and, as the moves are played, Andrew flicks between them and looks to explain what is going on. Players throw out moves, some insightful, some terrible, but all respected. Occasionally, no one can work out what the players are up to (not something we see in live sports but perhaps something with which people who’ve watched live poker might be more familiar with) and that’s when it gets really fun.

If you can, I’d really recommend watching it.

Game of the Day

Andrew’s work doesn’t finish when the clocks stop, though; he prepares a video on his favourite game of the day.

Of those I’ve seen, game 2 was a belter. Gawain Jones put on a bit of a masterclass against a weaker opponent (still a strong County standard player) in Terry Chapman. Chapman played an opening very much en vogue over the past couple of years.

A lot of big names have played the Black side of the opening a number of times and, for my sins, I have given it a go in practice over the past 12 months, hoping to take it up as one of my main openings. It’s a quiet opening, where you let White come at you a bit, but safe in the knowledge that your structure is solid and is hard to break down, so you can counter the weaknesses White will inevitably leave behind as he comes forward.

The trouble is playing accurately, because there’s little room for error. Here, Jones got an edge, turned it into an attack, converted the attack to a material advantage and then changed plan again, switching to winning the game with his material, rather than going for the enemy King. It’s the artistry of the Grandmaster in these games that shows them for who they are; they are able to judge these positions so well and know when the time is right to change plan.

If you have 15 minutes to spare, watch Andrew Martin’s analysis of the game. Whatever your level, you will get something from it, as Andrew is able to explain basic strategy and advanced theoretical points in the same breath.

As ever, I welcome your feedback (thank you again to those who have taken the time to do so) and, above all, enjoy…


 


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« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2012, 11:19:06 AM »


I echo what many others have Posted, Tal, this is a great thread, please keep it going even if you do not get many replies.

This "commentary" thing interests me. Are the commentators routinely dissed, as they are in poker, or is there more tolerance &, perhaps, understanding?

And when a player makes a move which is questionable, or perhaps not widely understood, do they get grief from lesser players, or is the mindset more respectful??
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« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2012, 12:00:51 PM »

I need a website and an android app to start playing again.

I've got a few days off soon and I'm going to lie on the beach playing chess against my computer.

Any thoughts on the best ones to go for?

Would prefer free but don't mind paying for something if it's worth it.
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Tal
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« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2012, 12:36:37 PM »

Shredder is a cracker. Costs £4 ish. You get a strong computer to play against (which you can set at whatever strength you want, but which gets stronger if you beat it, so you find your level). You also get a "tactics" feature, where you have to work out the next move on a series of puzzles.

The engine rates your moves by assessing the position after each move, so you can see how you're getting on.

Not sure about internet sites you can access easily by phone where you can play chess against others.
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« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2012, 01:09:10 PM »

Sounds great. I shall make an investment of 4 whole pounds very soon.

Any good ones for playing against friends that you know of? No doubt there's loads available but I'd prefer to go on a recommendation.
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Tal
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« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2012, 01:16:08 PM »

Must admit I don't have one like that on my phone so not much help there. I do sometimes use PlayChess on my laptop, which is free for basic software (all you need) and has a subscription for a lot more content (lectures, commentary). Huge range of players on it - magnus carlsen to magnus random.

Lots of others about tho. If it has a board, a clock and the ability for your friends to play you, it will be fine!
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Tal
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« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2012, 02:07:42 PM »


I echo what many others have Posted, Tal, this is a great thread, please keep it going even if you do not get many replies.

This "commentary" thing interests me. Are the commentators routinely dissed, as they are in poker, or is there more tolerance &, perhaps, understanding?

And when a player makes a move which is questionable, or perhaps not widely understood, do they get grief from lesser players, or is the mindset more respectful??

It's not that different to anything else, really. Hataz gotta hate etc.

On the whole, commentators are respected players before they are commentators, so the content should be good. Delivery, interaction with a live audience, display of personal opinion range wildly, just as with any other game.

As for when a player makes a mistake, if a superstar player blunders, it makes chess news. There are plenty of articles and reports out there, going back as long as the game itself. Everyone has a "senior moment", just as Phil Ivey misread his hand the one occasion he wore sunglasses (seem to recall that being a story?).

In a World Championship final over a hundred years ago, Chigorin made what is often quoted as the biggest blunder (as much because of the context of the situation) against William Steinitz. He moved away the one piece preventing himself being checkmated.

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1036366

Bobby Fischer made an elementary error in the famous match against Boris Spassky, by taking a pawn which led to his Bishop being trapped. He got a lot of stick for that, although it was just one small part of a match full of oddities.

As for us mortals, we all make 'misclicks' and it's one of those things, generally speaking, that you laugh off (usually after a lie down in a darkened room/kicking the cat/drowning your sorrows) amongst friends.

We'd need a bigger thread for the mistakes I've made in games!

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« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2012, 03:49:50 PM »


Bobby Fischer made an elementary error in the famous match against Boris Spassky, by taking a pawn which led to his Bishop being trapped. He got a lot of stick for that, although it was just one small part of a match full of oddities.


This is the sort of thing I don't get. Why is having your bishop trapped such a bad thing? (Except in your zip when it's obviously terrible).

Surely having a bishop trapped means that the other guy has a few pieces locked up trapping it so effectively they're trapped themselves?

At my level if my bishop was trapped I'd just forget about it and move along to something else. At what level does the trapping of one piece become a match winner/loser?
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Tal
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« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2012, 08:39:49 PM »


Bobby Fischer made an elementary error in the famous match against Boris Spassky, by taking a pawn which led to his Bishop being trapped. He got a lot of stick for that, although it was just one small part of a match full of oddities.


This is the sort of thing I don't get. Why is having your bishop trapped such a bad thing? (Except in your zip when it's obviously terrible).

Surely having a bishop trapped means that the other guy has a few pieces locked up trapping it so effectively they're trapped themselves?

At my level if my bishop was trapped I'd just forget about it and move along to something else. At what level does the trapping of one piece become a match winner/loser?


From club standard up, the loss of a bishop, knight or worse tends to be curtains. There are exceptions, which generally involve the other player getting compensation for the piece loss. By this, I mean he has something to off-set the deficit in material, such as a better attack, or the opponent’s extra piece not being in a good position,

Imagine playing a five a side football game where you lose a man. The difference in numbers makes it so hard against a reasonably competent team, who know how to keep the ball, use the space and make you chase shadows. The loss of a bishop can be that unpleasant at club level.

At master level, it’s generally an automatic resignation; it is assumed that the other chap will finish you off and it’s best to save your energy for another day. Actually, it’s a step further: if there’s no obvious compensation for the piece, it can be considered an insult to carry on at that level (effectively suggesting that your opponent isn’t good enough to be guaranteed to finish you off).

If I can explain this all more specifically, put a bishop in the middle of an empty board and see how many squares it covers in one go. Ok, now throw a couple of pawns on for each side (say the king and queen pawns in the place they start the game) and a king each. Play some moves for each side and see how easy it is to win with the bishop. All you do is creep forward with the pawns, get your king involved and slowly force the opposing king back with your bishop. If the king doesn’t retreat, the pawns can become targets for the bishop, which can – as we have established – cover a lot of ground and a lot more quickly than His Majesty.

Once you win one of the pawns, you can either look to win the other one or swap it off for one of yours. Then, you march your pawn forward and, whereas you have to be careful not to stalemate your opponent in a King + Pawn v King situation, the bishop can force the enemy king away with checks and you will get your pawn home to queen, with checkmate soon to follow.

So, if you get a bishop up, one way of winning is to swap the other large pieces off and win with the extra bishop.

How do you force exchanges? The answer might seem a little odd, but the best way is often to attack. If you just oppose the pieces, the other guy doesn’t have to take; he can just move away. But, if you attack (remember you have extra artillery, so can offer more muscle in the attack), the only solution might be to get rid of the threatening pieces by swapping them off. If he doesn’t do that, your extra piece can often be decisive because you can attack something once more than he can defend it. Slowly, as pieces come off, the advantage becomes one for the endgame and you get to the sort of position I’ve described above.

Fischer didn’t lose the piece immediately in the Spassky game, but he took a pawn which Spassky had left unattended on purpose, because there is a well-known (even at junior/novice level) trick of leaving the pawn in front of where the rook starts. If the bishop takes it, you push the knight’s pawn up one and the bishop is trapped – the incarceration of the
prelate. It’s not called that, but we shall do so for our purposes!

In all seriousness, does that help?


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« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2012, 02:38:57 PM »

Thanks for that Tal. Yes it helps a lot.

I liked the bit about forcing exchanges. So basically if I was to get a piece up at any stage if I can swap off all the others my advantage becomes larger.

What about the rook vs bishop scrap? I understand that the rook is a more powerful piece that the bishop but why is this?

Also in the end game. If it was king vs king + some other pieces what's the minimum requirement of other pieces to be able to force a check mate? Can you do it with just a pawn advantage?
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Tal
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« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2012, 02:25:12 PM »

Thanks for that Tal. Yes it helps a lot.

I liked the bit about forcing exchanges. So basically if I was to get a piece up at any stage if I can swap off all the others my advantage becomes larger.

What about the rook vs bishop scrap? I understand that the rook is a more powerful piece that the bishop but why is this?

Also in the end game. If it was king vs king + some other pieces what's the minimum requirement of other pieces to be able to force a check mate? Can you do it with just a pawn advantage?

The bishop can only cover 32 squares of the board, whether attacking or defending. Linking your questions together, the rook is also a mating piece, as King + Rook can mate a King, where the same can't be said of a lone bishop.

As for the requirements for mate, I can't do better than wikipedia...

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checkmate
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« Reply #27 on: July 29, 2012, 08:19:52 PM »

Found a new move today whilst playing against Shredder. "En Passant". Had never heard of that before.

Seems a really good piece of software and not too bad at £5.99

I'm just going to play around a bit at first then I want to learn a few of the standard openings. I've heard some names but don't know what any of them are yet.

What would be the best ones to learn for a novice?

Also how long do the standard openings go on for? Are they just rough guides or do they have to be exact?
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Tal
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« Reply #28 on: July 29, 2012, 09:13:42 PM »

Found a new move today whilst playing against Shredder. "En Passant". Had never heard of that before.

Seems a really good piece of software and not too bad at £5.99

I'm just going to play around a bit at first then I want to learn a few of the standard openings. I've heard some names but don't know what any of them are yet.

What would be the best ones to learn for a novice?

Also how long do the standard openings go on for? Are they just rough guides or do they have to be exact?

If you think a lot of theory has been written about poker, just have a look at the books on chess openings. Put it into context: starting from move one, White has 20 possible first moves (eight pawns that can move either one or two squares up, plus two knights which each have two possible destinations). To each of those 20 moves, Black has 20 possible responses. Already, there are 400 possible positions after move 1.

Opening theory for a club player would go to 10-15 moves (10-15 white and 10-15 black moves) for the important lines and maybe 7-10 for the less common lines. For the top players, you’ll find them knowing not just 20+ moves of the main lines, but also the little intricacies: changes of move order and their significance.

Club players will have their own favourite lines; their stock responses as Black and their standard openings as White.

Move order can be important, certainly, but when you are starting out, all I would advise is to watch out for anything that can be taken; any immediate tactics. If you can avoid that, the order will be less significant for the time being.

The learning isn’t as daunting as it sounds, I promise. Think of it more like in poker, where the basics of call/raise/check/fold are easy, then you learn about position/pot odds/stack sizes/bet sizes and finally you start wearing hoodies, buying beats headphones and triple-rangemerging the face off dem pigeons.

As for what you should play, openings tend to suit style, so have a play around and see what works for you – see what sort of positions you tend to get into and then see if there is an opening that most easily fits.

The vast majority of players will start 1.e4 (pawn in front of the king up two) or 1.d4 (pawn in front of the queen up two). The first often leads to sharper, more tactical positions, whereas the second are generally quieter and more positional games. That’s a simplistic summary, but covers the details.
If you wanted an opening to start out with, I would recommend taking a look at an opening called the Vienna Game. It is one I have given new starters to look at in the past. The idea is the theory on it is pretty manageable (there are only a few lines to consider) and the themes as to what you should be doing will keep coming up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_Game

My advice would be to look at the first half dozen moves in one of the lines (pick the third move that appeals), then have a go at playing it against either someone on the internet or a computer. Only after doing that should you go back to the books to see how you’re getting on.
 
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« Reply #29 on: July 29, 2012, 09:26:17 PM »

My head hurts Cheesy
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