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Honeybadger
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« Reply #2265 on: August 28, 2015, 01:44:30 AM »

Yes I agree Tal. This has been a super exciting tournament with some amazing games, especially the Aronian game you mention. Aronian has been in a massive slump for over a year, but he is suddenly playing absolutely brilliantly. If you
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« Reply #2266 on: September 09, 2015, 01:29:35 AM »

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34184940
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Tal
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« Reply #2267 on: September 10, 2015, 08:31:32 AM »


It's amazing how frequently chess cheating stories crop up. The HUD debate (which my predictive text keeps telling me is HUDDERSFIELD) amused me, as I can't even imagine what would happen if we were allowed to use a computer over the board to help us remember what our opponents play in certain openings.  Before the game, absolutely, but, when you sit down and shake hands, it's 1-on-1.

So, the chess season has started in my local league - something like my 22nd season - and, as our club has more than one team in the top flight, the first match must always be that one, so as to avoid any suggestion of improper results.

Our first team is very, very strong for local chess. Although all teams in the top division have a couple of 200 (British rating, 2200 in FIDE money) graded players and a couple have masters on top board, we have a much stronger tail and last year won the league with a 100% match record; the first time that had been done for seventy years.

I don't play for the first team, though, so, as board two, I had to play a chap graded 206 (his international rating is 2262). My grade is 169, which equates to about 1952. This is a bit like walking out at the Belfry to play a roung against a club pro. You could, in theory, win, but you're trading at monster prices on the exchange; you've got more chance playing crazy golf or getting the wii controllers out.

There are two schools of thought when playing a stronger player. If you go for sharp, complicated tactics, he might miss something in the carnage and you can biff him. But my old coach used to say to me you haven't got a hope against these players doing that, because they see everything. He suggested a quiet game, where you force them to do something. If you build a solid position and gradually come forward, you can pressure the opponent into taking risks and leave him positionally exposed.

I played a very quiet game, very positional and steady. My opponent also played quietly early on. This allowed me to develop my pieces, get everything onto a good square and have a great shape to my game. It's exactly what I was hoping for.

As the game developed, his passive play allowed me to make a couple of long-term moves, which I hoped would pay off if I could build and maintain some pressure. He then made a slight misstep and allowed me to get a bishop for a knight, meaning I had a bishop pair in a position that was threatening to open up.  

All the while, I kept building the pressure and not taking risks. Then the time came where he made some counter threats and I had to decide what to do. I found a positional pawn sacrifice to blow the centre open and swap his other bishop off for my other knight. I now had a winning endgame.

The bottom board had two reserves playing against each other and our reserve beat theirs. We lost convincingly on board five (6 board match) and on boards 1 and 3. Board 4 was playing against a 180 (2020ish) and had elected for the more traditional school of thought of carnage. In the ensuing melee, his strong opponent missed a tactical trick and had to resign immediately.

2-3 and my game left.  

In endgames, if you are behind,  you generally want to keep the rooks on and you want them to be as active as possible, because the material advantage is sometimes less important than what the pieces are doing. If you are the guy ahead, you want to swap the heavy artillery off and have a peaceful life with your extra bits. My opponent knew all this of course.

So,  as the time control came and went,  we had about 15 minutes left each to complete the game. I continued to be patient and to focus on coming forward slowly. Players like Rubenstein, Fischer and Petrosian would concentrate on not giving their villains an inch and ensuring they never regained a chance to win the game. And so it proved, as just under three hours of hard work paid off and I secured my best ever win.

The draw was huge for the team, too, as we will be fighting to stay up. But, at the risk of a plenoism, I have to take pride for what must be close to the best game of chess I've ever played.

I will have to have a look at it with an engine to see how it actually went, but I will post it here at the weekend if not before.



I'm going to get plenty of opportunities to see whether it was a one off or a good strategy, as I'll be playing strong opponents all season. For now, I've just bounced into work!
« Last Edit: September 10, 2015, 08:33:16 AM by Tal » Logged

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« Reply #2268 on: September 10, 2015, 11:20:26 AM »

Great post Tal, really enjoyed reading it.
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Tal
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« Reply #2269 on: September 12, 2015, 07:35:22 PM »

I've typed this out on my 'phone, so apologies if the predictive text has changed any of the moves. Shout if anything doesn't make sense.

White: Hero
Black: Villain
Opening: King's Indian Attack

1.Nf3 Nf6
2.g3 d5
3.Bg2 Bg4
4.d3 c6
5.Nbd2 e6
6.o-o Be7
7.Qe1 o-o
8.e4 Nbd7
9.h3 Bh5
10.e5 Ne8
11.Nh2 Nc7
12.f4 f6

(Black needs to break something up to get play for his pieces or he will end up getting cramped)

13.exf6 Bxf6
14.Ndf3 c5
15.a4 a6
16.a5 Kh8  (allows him to let the e pawn go in some tactical variations without giving check)
17.Ra4 Bg6
18.Ng4 c4
19.NxB gxN
20.f5! (A killer sacrifice. Black threatened to make a comeback but now his position is blown wide open)
20...    Bxf5
21.Nh4 Bg6
22.NxB+ hxN
23.Qe3 (threatens nasties and stops Nc5)
                Qe7
24.dxc Qc5
25.QxQ NxQ
26.Rb4 d4
27.Bh6 Rf7
28.Bf4 Rd7
29.BxN RxB
30.Rxf6 Kg7
31.Rf1 Rb8
32.b3 Nd7
33.Kf2 Kf6
34.Ke2+ Ke7
35.Rf4 e5
36.Rg4 Kf7
37.Bd5+ Kf6
38.Be4 g5
39.h4 gxh
40.gxh Rh8
41.Rxb7 RxR
42.BxR Nc5
43.Bd5 Kf5
44.Kf3 Re8
45.Rg5+ Kf6
46.Be4 d3
47.cxd Nxb3
48.Rg6+ Kf7
49.Rxa6 Rh8
50.Bd5+ Ke7
51.Re6+ Kd7
52.Rxe5 Rxh4
53.a6 Nd4
54.Kg3 Resigns


1-0

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« Reply #2270 on: September 12, 2015, 08:39:46 PM »

Cheers Tal, I'm looking forward to going through that game.

What's the highest ever rated opponent you've ever scalped?
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Tal
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« Reply #2271 on: September 12, 2015, 09:14:36 PM »

Cheers Tal, I'm looking forward to going through that game.

What's the highest ever rated opponent you've ever scalped?

It's this very game. An international master would be around 220 ECF (2350ish FIDE rating), so 206 is pretty close.

I have beaten three people who have gone on to become International Masters, but all were in junior tournaments many moons ago.

I think the comparison with scratch golfers is a good one. Guys of this level don't have any particular weaknesses. It's just a question of the little intangibles that separate them from the next level up.

My natural style is very much to attack, to use tactics and aggressive strategies. That's why I love Mikhail Tal so much of course. But the other side of the game - position and the subtle power of pieces working together to gain gradual edges - was something I've had to work at. Without it, you may as well be a 350 yard driver off the tee but can't putt for toffee. You can only beat certain opponents and will get found out against decent all rounders.

Fischer's natural strength was the positional side and so is Carlsen's. But it must be remembered that anyone of that level has every club in their bag. It's tiny margins and preferences once you get into the top bracket.

Lee Westwood can definitely putt.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2015, 09:17:18 PM by Tal » Logged

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« Reply #2272 on: September 12, 2015, 09:27:40 PM »

Cheers Tal, I'm looking forward to going through that game.

What's the highest ever rated opponent you've ever scalped?

It's this very game. An international master would be around 220 ECF (2350ish FIDE rating), so 206 is pretty close.

I have beaten three people who have gone on to become International Masters, but all were in junior tournaments many moons ago.

I think the comparison with scratch golfers is a good one. Guys of this level don't have any particular weaknesses. It's just a question of the little intangibles that separate them from the next level up.

My natural style is very much to attack, to use tactics and aggressive strategies. That's why I love Mikhail Tal so much of course. But the other side of the game - position and the subtle power of pieces working together to gain gradual edges - was something I've had to work at. Without it, you may as well be a 350 yard driver off the tee but can't putt for toffee. You can only beat certain opponents and will get found out against decent all rounders.

Fischer's natural strength was the positional side and so is Carlsen's. But it must be remembered that anyone of that level has every club in their bag. It's tiny margins and preferences once you get into the top bracket.

Lee Westwood can definitely putt.

Brilliant Tal. That's a very elegant way of guilt tripping me for not asking if that game was your biggest scalp Wink
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Tal
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« Reply #2273 on: September 12, 2015, 09:30:48 PM »

Ha! Wasn't my intention. Was answering it more generally because I think the whole 'tactical v positional' thing is an interesting and odd concept in chess; it will be unfamiliar to some of the people who read the thread anyway.

I'm definitely a level below the guy I beat on Wednesday and that game hasn't changed anything in that respect. I have a tough season ahead against opponents of his calibre, so not finishing with the goose egg is a relief!
« Last Edit: September 12, 2015, 09:33:05 PM by Tal » Logged

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« Reply #2274 on: September 12, 2015, 09:52:34 PM »

As an idea of what I'm talking about, I played my a-pawn up early in the middlegame and fixed it on a5. There's no great tactic behind it, but it cramps Black and the b7 pawn and the square b6 (with the pawn on c7 having moved) are vulnerable. By jumping the rook off to the b-file, I could apply pressure to those weaknesses and they pinned Black's resources, stopping him from hitting back in the centre.

Sometimes, that plan won't work and the result will be the a-pawn itself becomes exposed. Private Ryan's call for back-up isn't answered. In my case, my opponent commented afterwards that he thought it wasn't quite right at the time. We agreed that, whether it should have worked or not, Black was a little passive in his piece play and that allowed me make it work. Someone like Carlsen or Aronian would know whether it was right instinctively, probably.

Tactical chess instead would have been a kingside pawnstorm and going for the throat. That didn't feel right as a plan. There was no need to take the risk, particularly until my pieces were ready to support and all I would likely end up doing is exposing my own king.
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« Reply #2275 on: September 12, 2015, 10:00:16 PM »

For those who want proper chess, here's a recap of what happened in the Sinquefield Cup:

http://en.chessbase.com/post/sinquefield-cup-recap

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« Reply #2276 on: September 16, 2015, 06:50:06 PM »

Not sure if anyone played through the game I posted the other day. 

I sent it to my old coach (he retired some years ago but we still write letters to each other - kids, Google "letters"; they're a 3 dimensional version of emails, with a really slow modem) and he wrote back with a couple of thoughts, chief of which was...

Qe3 is a mistake. You want to keep the queens on, because his king is echoed. I assumed the queen swap was good for me, so always interesting to hear where you can improve. 23.dxc4 would have been better. Keep the pressure up.
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« Reply #2277 on: September 17, 2015, 09:45:45 AM »

Not sure if anyone played through the game I posted the other day. 

I sent it to my old coach (he retired some years ago but we still write letters to each other - kids, Google "letters"; they're a 3 dimensional version of emails, with a really slow modem) and he wrote back with a couple of thoughts, chief of which was...

Qe3 is a mistake. You want to keep the queens on, because his king is echoed. I assumed the queen swap was good for me, so always interesting to hear where you can improve. 23.dxc4 would have been better. Keep the pressure up.


Not echoed, exposed.

Predictive text fail. Apologies.
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« Reply #2278 on: September 17, 2015, 09:58:44 AM »

Great post Tal, really enjoyed reading it.

Me too, some good analogies there, which helped me understand better.

Well done Tal Bloke, you must be chuffed to bits with that victory.

Does your rating go up now, as a result of that win?
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« Reply #2279 on: September 17, 2015, 09:59:37 AM »



It's amazing how frequently chess cheating stories crop up. The HUD debate (which my predictive text keeps telling me is HUDDERSFIELD) amused me, as I can't even imagine what would happen if we were allowed to use a computer over the board to help us remember what our opponents play in certain openings.  Before the game, absolutely, but, when you sit down and shake hands, it's 1-on-1.



 Click to see full-size image.

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