Kenilworth Kibitzer

A blog for members of the Kenilworth Chess Club.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Playing That Special Someone, Part 2

Continuing our endgame analysis of my recent game against my personal kryptonite (and no, Joe, I won't reveal who it is because uttering their name summons them like a dark spirit)...

Here it's White to play, and as noted below White faces a grim defense, being one pawn down and having isolated doubled pawns.  I would go so far as to say that if the rooks are taken off the board, White is lost.  White must keep and activate at least one rook, trying to create (in combination with the bishop) weaknesses in Black's queenside pawns.  In White's favor is Black's kingside pawn structure, which is wretched - if the black king drifts from the kingside then a White rook can bring serious pressure from the g-file.   Or White can try to exchange kingside pawns and perhaps open up space for a rook to penetrate.

20. Rab1  Nc5    The knight takes up its perfect outpost
21. Rf4?!   Re8    Black sets up to dominate the e-file, whereas White begins to drift without a plan
22. Bc4+  Kf8
23. Rf3?!  Re7
24. Rh3    Rae8   White has wasted 3 of the last 4 moves with 'mysterious' rook maneuvers, though to be honest I think this position is almost lost at any rate.  I think White may have been planning to break up the Black pawns with a g-pawn sacrifice, but this plan is too slow if also dubious.

25. Rf1  Re4
26. Bd5  R4e5
27. Bb3  NxB?    A mistake of overcaution - I didn't like the way the Bishop controlled the vulnerable light squares of Black's K-side, but those square are empty and unneeded.  Better is 27....a5 starting the Q-side pawns rolling and gaining tempo on the immobile bishop.  I thought the Rook endgame was simply won for Black, and while it is won it is not entirely simple.
28. cxN  Re2
29. Rf2  Re1+
30. Rf1   R8c2?!       The priniciple of two weaknesses is handy to remember - a single weakness is defensible in the right circumstance, but two weaknesses are almost impossible to defend against a vigorous attack.  White's weaknesses are 1) A 1-pawn deficit, 2) Backwards Q-side pawns.  My last move was meant to provoke a rook exchange but White does not need to oblige and can take steps toward resolving their second weakness with 31. a4!  Better for black was 30...b5!  fixing White's weakness and developing a passed pawn.

31. RxR?  RxR+    Missing 31. a4, and now the endgame is again lost.  Always look for the second resource!
32. Kf2   Ra1
33. a4     Ra2+!   
34. Kf1    a6??       Black now needs to capitalize on the progress that has been made.  I wanted to play ....a6, ...b5 and ...bxa4, but at any time White can prevent this plan, most easily with 35. c4 and it is not clear how Black can improve his position.  With  Black's king stuck on the K-side because of the weak g-pawn, White has real chances to draw.  The correct plan, which I saw but misevaluated, is to play 34....d5 35. Rd3 c6 36. c4 dxc4  where I feared the penetration of White's rook onto the 7th and a pawn massacre.  A closer look reveals of course that this position is winning for Black but I did not look deeply enough and chose a 'safer' continuation, one which should safely draw as it turns out.
35. Re3 (c4!)  b5?  (d5 can still be played)
36. Re4?  Rc2!     White's last chance was the simple axb when the 3 vs 2 pawn structure on the Q-side may yet be good enough for a draw with best play.  Now the loss can be forced.

37. Re3?!  PxP
38. PxP    Kf7?!   A delay, on the next move I find a winning rook maneuver
39. h3      Rd2!    The rook will go to c5 where White can no longer defend all their pawns, and with a two pawn deficit the game cannot be saved.
40. Kg1   Rd5
41. Rf3    Rc5     

On the next move Rc4 will win either the a-pawn or c-pawn, all can't be defended.  The game continued to the 56th move as my opponent played for a trap - What should Black really not do in this position?  Fortunately I wasn't inebriated at this point.  

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Playing that Special Someone, Part 1

Most chess players probably have that one opponent who, although they are otherwise no more skilled than you, seem to dominate you in face to face match-ups.  One or two drubbings can be written off as bad form or bad luck, but anything more starts to look like a pattern.  

Last week I was playing just that opponent in the Westfield Club Championship.  Up until this year, we had played 4 times and I was down +0 -2 =2, with one of the two draws being a lucky save on my part.  Then a few months ago we met again, and I was prepared, psychologically ready to trash my nemesis.  After a cute tactical trick I was piece up in a rook endgame, when I decided under time pressure to sac back the piece to take the rooks off the board and transpose to a won king and pawn endgame (so I thought).  It was only in the midst of this horrid combination I realized my opponent could promote a pawn if all the pieces were off, so I had to break off midway and try to defend a rook vs bishop endgame, which I ultimately failed to do.  I would post the position except I think I would have to gouge my eyes out like Oedipus if I saw it again.  

So now the score was +0 -3 =2, and worse I had another bad memory to contemplate.  For this most recent game, I was reminded of Kasparov's comment about how Polugaevsky felt in a candidates match against Karpov - 'Is it altogether possible to beat this person?'   

I have Black in this game:

1. e4    e5          Lately I've played the Ruy Lopez from both sides
2. Nf3  Nc6
3. d4    PxP       Imagine my surprise to get the Scotch splashed in my face
4. NxP  Nf6      Here I got ready for a dive into the complexities after 5. NxN bxN 6. e5!? Qe7
5. Nc3  Bb4      Instead we get the tepid 4 Knights
6. f3?!  O-O
7. Be2  d6?!      d5 is clearly stronger, but I was setting the ol' sucker trap, hoping...

8. O-O??  (Praise be!)  NxN         and 9. QxN?? is met by Bc5 pinning the Queen

Here White could have resigned, but given our record why do that?   Thankfully, my opponent played on, because otherwise we would have been robbed of an interesting game (foreshadowing: I do not cooly convert my extra piece).

9. Bc4    Bxc3
10. bxc3 Nc6
11. Qe1   Be6?!   d5 is already stronger
12. Bd3  Ne5
13. Bg5  h6
14. Bh4  Ng6
15. f4?!   NxN
16. QxN
With few pieces left on the board, Black needs only one or two more consolidating moves to put paid to any White threats.  I decided to maneuver my knight back to c5 with gain of tempo on the White queen, but I forgot to check all move orders thinking White simply had to avoid the queen exchange.

16. .....   Nd7??     But this traps the unfortunate bishop
17. QxQ  RxQ
18. f5      Bxf5?!   Bxa2 was surely better but I was not in an objective mood here
19. exf5  f6

Leading to the following endgame which will be discussed in Part 2.  Looks easy, right?  A pawn up (almost two with White's doubled isolated pawns), a knight that looks more mobile than its bishop counterpart.  All true, but all the same it transpires that the White's position is almost defensible, and we will see that a draw can be achieved in some circumstances.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


World Chess Hall of Fame Closed?

October 7th, 2009 Miami, Florida
After finally arriving in Ft. Lauderdale aiport, what do you think was the first thing I did? Hit the sunny waters at Miami Beach? Kayak the Oleta River? Mountain bike the trails of the State Park? NO. I decided to hop in my rental and go straight to the World Chess Hall of Fame ( I was actually excited to see it. To my disappointment, this is what I saw...

A building filled with only construction workers and empty rooms. No Fischer-Spassky world championship table. No ancient chess pieces to see. No US Chess history to learn. Apparently, it closed last month. They had a sign on the front door about moving locations and to call the museum's number or visit the before mentioned website for info. BUT (!!) that is the very website that led me there! The number they mentioned is OUT OF SERVICE!

God forbid their President, Shane Samole, does his job and makes sure the museum's website is updated so people don't waste their time traveling there.

-Disgruntled Don

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Friday, October 9, 2009


Karpovs Krush Korchnois

In the Garden State Chess League, the internecine battle between the Kenilworth Karpovs and the Kenilworth Korchnois ended in favor of the Karpovs.
My strategic resignation on board 2 sealed our commanding 2.5-1.5 win.  Winning my game would have been too mundane.  No, it was more important to taunt our opponents with how close the score was.  
Aided by our parapsychologist Dr. Zukhar we penetrated the defenses of the mirrored sunglasses of our aged opponents.  On Board 1 Steve "Petrosian" Stoyko ground Yaacov "Larsen" Norowitz into a draw, Board 2 saw Mike "Smyslov" Goeller get the consolation point, on Boards 3 and 4 John "Kramnik" Moldovan and Max "Carlsen" Sherer wrap up the match, with first blood being scored against Bill "Fish" Sokolosky.  

Next up on our rampage: West Orange

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Looking for a Book

Does anyone have a decent book on the Pirc/Modern defense that I could borrow for a week?  If you have one and wouldn't mind bringing it to the KCC I'll bring it back the next time.



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