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Saturday, May 20, 2006


Hush now, Morgana!

Call me a Putz (or something else that's equally Yiddish) but I still, on occasion, get bummed out over the fact that Kasparov is no longer playing. I really wanted him to smack Kramnik around in a re-match. I really wanted that to happen. I think the chess they would have played, while well beyond my level of understanding, would have been some of the best stuff out there and "profitable for correction, reproof, and instruction in righteousness." (Sorry, I couldn't avoid throwing in that biblical morsel.) Did I mention that I really wanted a rematch between Kasparov and Kramnik to occur?


Two Knights Defence 6.d3 variation

My opponent in this game was rated around 1650.

White: Me
Black: 1650
1.e4 e5
2.Nf3 Nc6
3.Bc4 Nf6
4.Ng5 d5
5.exd5 Na5

If it's good enough for Morphy, it's good enough for me.

7.Qe2 0-0
8.Nc3 Bg4
9.f3 Bd7
10.Nge4 Ne8

At this point I like my position very much. I have better center control and control more space; my pieces have more scope; Black has a Knight on the flank doing very little. if he exchanges it for my bishop, the pawn capture will buttress my center pawn; Black's e8 Knight has little central influence and occludes his Rook from mobilizing. On the other hand, he has already castled (which may be unimportant since my King is relatively safe at the moment) and may be preparing for a central thrust with f5.

11.0-0 h6

That move just helped me get my target in better focus. I guess that means that 10...Ne8 was not to help prepare for an f5 thrust.
At this point I see the image of Frisco del Rosario in my mind's eye, and I hear his voice in my head, too. He's glaring at me and tersely asking me, 'What's the best thing Black's got going for himself?" So, I hit Black where it counts. [ Note: this is just what happened in my head. For all i know, Frisco would not think this about this particular position. But I have many experiences where he's said such things to me, and I could hear him saying it in my head at this point in the position. I'm going on instinct here. I realize i should be going by calculation, not instinct, but this is what presently occured. ]

12. f4 Qe7
13.Bb5 Bxb5
14.Nxb5 b6

This move is an attempt to give the flank Knight a flight square, but it costs dearly in tempo to make that happen. Black should have captured my white Bishop when he had the chance. Since Black is losing tempo, this changes my plan of capturing on e5, since Black's Queen and Kingside are now so vulnerable.

15.f5 Nf6
16.Nxf6+ Qxf6
17.Be3 Nb7

I realize this Knight has no more reason to be here so I move it back where it has more central influence.


I think this move does nothing for Black's position, except weaken it. This gives me another tempo to hit Black.

19.Ne4 Qe7
20.f6 Qd8

This is the position with White to move. I'm sure there are a few good winning lines to play here (21. Qg4 comes immediately to mind), other than the one I played:

21.Bxh6 g6
22.Bxf8 Qxf8
23.Rae1 Qh6
24.Rf3 Qh5
25.Qe3 Bc5
26.Nxc5 Nxc5
27.Rh3 Qg4

Friday, May 19, 2006


Chessboards, Comics, and Being Annoyed by Both

A while back, I remember being informed of a website in which an outdoors chess set was for sale. A picture of the board and life-size set were shown, along with somewhat disparaging comments about how boring and stupid playing chess was thought to be. (The comments were presumably stated by the seller--who must have been a moron to speak derisively about chess and, as a result, alienate his potential buyers.) The picture showing the set had the pieces incorrectly set up. You all know what I'm talking about, the pieces were in their initial position from the wrong board position; i.e., the Queens were on opposite colored squares as their color. So, we have the White Queen on a black square and the Black Queen on a white square. A corollary to this is that the kings are on their opposite colors; i.e., the White King is on a black square and the Black King is on a white square. This is lameness. This is what happens when people set up chess boards that don't know that it matters what color square is under the right kingside Rook. I'd show you a diagram of what I mean, but no program (that I know of) allows you to turn the board such that you have a black square underneath the White King's Rook.

I find it annoying when I see advertisements, movies, pictures, or just people playing, and they have the pieces set up on the incorrect colored squares relative to the position of the pieces. I usually immediately lose a certain amount of respect for whomever it is that allowed such a thing to occur. I think what bothers me most is that it is, in effect, nullifying a certain objectivity in the world. Yes, I know that chess is entirely conventional, but within its conventions, the rules are absolute, they are objective. It is not a matter of my opinion that the Bishops move only diagonally, for instance, it is an objective feature of the game. So, to 'play' chess in any way other than within the objective parameters of the game, is to cease to be playing chess. You may be still playing a game, and the game may even be 'chess-like' but it's not chess proper.

Now, the stupid guy selling the life-size outdoor lawn chess set and pieces thought he was representing the game of chess correctly when he set it up for sales display. Well, he wasn't and its annoying. I'll survive, however. There are greater problems and absurdities in the world, this we all know. But, nonetheless, I know what bugs me. And this is what's bugging me now, it is the reason I was reminded of this stupid salesman in the first place.

As some of you know, I've been collecting comics since I was still pooping in my diapers (I no longer poop in my diapers, but I still collect comics). And, after all these years, I just started getting into DC Comics. I used to think that DC's characters were just lame. I mean, c'mon, Superman just looks like a little fairy in that costume, and Robin, like the aforementioned fairy's lover; and Wonder Woman, as hot as she is, cruises around in an invisible jet and has a lasso of truth. Just sounds really stupid. Well, it still kinda does, until you start reading stuff by Frank Miller, Leob, Quesada, Rucka, Simone, to name a few, and witnessing the art of Tim Sale, Quitely, and others. I was a Marvel die-hard but now, admittedly, DC is just getting better artists and writers for their stuff. I still collect a number of Marvel titles: Daredevil, Amazing Spiderman, Moon Knight, Wolverine, New Avengers, Uncanny X-Men. But, I've recently found myself way into Batman's stuff, Catwoman, Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Superman, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow.

Now, what has all this comic book stuff got anything to do with my annoyance regarding incorrectly set up chess boards? Well, I've been reading all the Countdown to Infinite Crisis stuff in the DC universe. One of the series in this stuff leading up to Infinite Crisis (BLUE BEETLE GETS HIS BRAINS BLOWN OUT! SUPERMAN ALMOST KILLS BATMAN! WONDER WOMAN, CLEAVAGE AND ALL, ALMOST KILLS SUPERMAN! ) is The OMAC Project. In this story there is an organization called Checkmate (a multi-national spy organization whose hiearchy is based on the strength values of chessmen). At one point in the story, a computer screen is up and a Checkmate agent is sending out protocol directives to various 'pawns' and 'minor pieces'. On the computer screen, while she is doing this, is a large chessboard set up in its initial peaceful position. Yes, It's no secret where I'm going with this: The position is screwed up just like our goofball salesman. Did this have to happen while I'm at the height of my enjoying this newly discovered comic universe called DC? Apparently, it was to good to be true. For whoever the schmucks are that are suppose to catch such glaring errors, failed to do so, and my annoyance with them has put a slight damper on my pleasant reading. Damn them! The artist, the inker, the editors, they all let this happen. Why? Are there really that many people who don't know the conventions of chess? Apparently so. What gets me is that some of this comic book stuff shows a certain level of erudition on some topics, but then something simple like this just slips by. Annoying! They might as well be selling life-sized outdoor chess sets.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Magnus defeats Loek Van Wely in Holland

Magnus Carlsen won his match against Loek van Wely. (You can get this latest on this from Chessbase.) Carlsen is rated 2646; Van Wely is 2655. Eight games were played: 4 match games and 4 blitz games. Carlsen's final score is 5.5/8. He lost only one game, the first match game. Then obtained a win and two draws for the remaining. Of the blitz games he won all except a draw in the third.

There are two GMs that I'm hoping will be the new elites that take on all the powerhouse players from the former Soviet Union and Eastern bloc countries (not to mention Anand and Adams); namely, Magnus Carlson of Norway, and Nakamura, the American. Of course, my hopes are that the American become the serious contender for entering into Super-GM status, but I'd be happy with Magnus as well. I have a feeling that Magnus is the one who has a better shot at it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006



I open with 1. e4 with the intention of playing for an Evans Gambit. Instead I find myself playing against a Sicilian the majority of the time. The next most frequent is the Pirc (I hate that crap), then the French (I dislike this opening, but I have to admit that some of the positions that arise are very challenging). Next is the Caro-Kann (I hate that crap even more than the Pirc --but at least I can get positions that are similar to some Blackmar-Diemer lines).

It is a rare thing these days that anyone respond to my 1. e4 with 1...e5. Even more rare is actually getting an Evan's Gambit. What is far more frequent--when they do reply with e5-- is a Two Knights Defence. I have no complaints about this (except that it's not the Evan's I wanted and that I have to do more homework). The Two Knights Defence has some really cool stuff going on. I like playing against it. So, I've come to understand that the locution, "I play the Evan's Gambit" is synonomous with "I play the Evan's Gambit but mostly against the Two Knights Defence." Sometimes people play A Petrov's. That's fine. I have two lines I'm still undecided on regarding what to do against a Petrov's. I've gotten good games out of 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bc4 Ne4 4. Nc3. But I'm also considering playing the Cochrane Gambit: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Ne5 d6 4. Nf7

I have yet to ever touch my d-pawn on move one. Which is to say that the only time I ever play a Blackmar-Diemer is by transposition. You know that feeling you get sometimes, when you find yourself in a certain opening or a certian kind of position, when you just feel uncomfortable with the way everything is going; that your opponent just has a better move every turn and makes that better move every turn (to your chagrin)? It's that feeling that you just don't feel like you play that position or opening very well, no mater how hard you try. It's a disconcerting feeling, a helpless feeling. That's the feeling I get when I play a Blackmar-Diemer. I don't know why. I've gotten good tactical games out of it, but I think that is merely accidental. I just feel like I never play well in a Blackmar. For this reason, I'm going to try and play it more often and play over the games of Gedult and Diemer, just to get over this obvious subjectivity.

Look, we are all human and that means we all have our preferences when it comes to things, especially chess. People "prefer" stuff all the time that is ultimately harmful to them. I realize that I ought not to be thinking of certain openings as "the one I hate" and so on. Such an attitude is a weakness in one's play. We ought to be more objective and play the position without our feelings dictating the sort of attitude we bring to the board. We still have our preferences, but I think the best players do not let their preferences override the objectivity of their play. I need to be more objective towards those openings that I have no love for or those that I feel very lost in (such as the Blackmar and the Caro-Kann). I didn't say there is complete objectivity, but that's not to say everything is a subjective, up in the air, free for all. That's not the way the world works. If you so choose, you can be greatly subjective in chess --because it's a conventional object in the world--but you won't play strong chess.



Okay, so I figured out how to get a Fritz8 diagram up on the site, so I can start putting diagram positions up. I also found someone who will physically stand right here with me and put my diapers on for me and hold my hand while I try and put links on the sidebar. I think we are moving forward now.

Blue Devil Knight sent me a copy of his Chessplanner and I took a look at it. It has some interesting stuff; but I have not responded to him yet with my opinion of it (soon, soon. I promise).

I had intended this summer to try and get back into the tournament scene again. but, alas, my grad studies are just kiling me. I'll be taking another language intensive course at UC Berkley and my department is going to just throw $2700 (I never have to pay tuition) at me (boy do I need the money) if I take a couple of linguistics courses in addition to the language class (recall that philosophy of language is an area of my research). This means that I will have precious little time this summer for anything but the ever wearisome homework. But I am going to try very hard to make it to the local chess club and I will play in at least one or two tournaments by the beginning of September.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


How to play (and not play) A Latvian

Here are 2 games I've played against a surprisingly popular variation of the Latvian. The first one is a good game I played against the variation after losing a previous game (2nd game)

  1. e4 e5
  2. Nf3 f5
  3. ef e4
  4. Nd4 Nf6
  5. Bc4 c5
  6. Nde2 d5
  7. Bb3 Bf5
  8. d3 Nc6
  9. Bg5 Be7
  10. 0-0 ed
  11. cd 0-0
  12. Ng3 Be6
  13. Rfe1 Bf7
  14. Nd2 Nd4
  15. Nf3 Nb3
  16. Qb3 b6
  17. Rac1 d4
  18. Qc2 h6
  19. Bf6 Bf6
  20. h3 Bd5
  21. Nd2 Bh4
  22. b3 Qg5
  23. Ne4 Qg6
  24. Kh2 Rf4
  25. Qe2 Rf8
  26. Rf1 Be4
  27. Rcd1 Rf2
  28. Rf2 Qg3



  1. e4 e5
  2. Nf3 f5
  3. ef e4
  4. Nd4 Nf6
  5. d3 d5
  6. de de
  7. Nc3 Bc5
  8. Be3 0-0
  9. Ne6 Be6
  10. Bc5 Bf5
  11. Bf8 Qf8
  12. Qd4 Nc6
  13. Qc4 Kh8
  14. 0-0-0 Ng4
  15. Rd2 e3
  16. fe Be3
  17. Qf4 Re8
  18. Nd5 Nd5
  19. Rd5 Re1
  20. Kd2 Rd1
  21. Kd1 Bc2
  22. Kc2 Qf4
  23. Rd2 Nb4
  24. Kd1 Kg8
  25. a3 Nc6
  26. Bb5 Nd4
  27. Bc4 Kh8
  28. Rf1 Qd6
  29. Bd5 c5
  30. Bb7 g6
  31. Rf2 Nf5
  32. Kc1 Ne3
  33. Re1 Qd3
  34. Re2 Qc4
  35. Kb1 Nf5
  36. Re8 Kg7
  37. Be4 Nd6
  38. Re7 Kh6
  39. g3 Ne4
  40. Re4 Qd3
  41. Kc1 Qd6
  42. Re7 a5
  43. Re4 Qf6
  44. Rh4 Kg5
  45. Rh7 Qf1
  46. Kd2 Qf2
  47. Kc3 Qd4
  48. Kc2 c4
  49. Rd7 Qe4
  50. Kc3 Qe6
  51. Rd4 Qg8
  52. Ra7 Qh8
  53. Ra5 Kf6
  54. Rd2 Ke6
  55. Kc4 Qc8
  56. Qb3 Qb7
  57. Ka2 Qc7
  58. Rg5 Qc4
  59. b3 Qe4
  60. a4 Qe3
  61. Rg6 Kf5
  62. Rd6 resigns


Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Fried Liver Attack

Alright, so this guy is about 1400 strength OTB (I think). He botched the opening by just handing me his knight, but there are still a couple of noteworthy moves in the game, particularly 23. Rd3 and 24. Nbd4.

White: Me
Black: (1600 or so)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7 Ne3 7.dxe3 Qxd1+ 8.Kxd1 Na5 9.Nxe5 Nxc4 10.Nxc4 Bf5 11.Nc3 0-0-0+ 12.Bd2 Bb4 13.Ne2 Rd7 14.Nd4 Bxd2 15.Nxd2 g6 16.c3 Rhd8 17.Ke2 c5 18.N4f3 h6 19.Nb3 Bd3+ 20.Ke1 Rd5 21.Rd1 g5 22.h3 b6 23.Rxd3 Rxd3 24.Nbd4 cxd4 25.cxd4 h5 26.Ke2 g4 27.hxg4 hxg4 28.Kxd3 gxf3 29.gxf3


What not to do against the Philidor's Counter Gambit

I'm trying out the 4...c6 line. Here's a win:

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Some Nice Danish Gambits

I have a games collection of 1000 Danish Gambits, all of which were played by Lloyd Linklater, a student, at one point, of Richard Shorman. I think these were all played on ICC (I don't know at what time control, but probably blitz). Here are a few of them:

(Game 138)
Lloyd Linklater v guest357 (unrated)
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 Bxc3+ 7.Bxc3 Nf6 8.e5 Ne4 9.Bxf7+ Kxf7 10.Qd5+ Ke8 11.Qxe4 d5 12.exd6+ Kf8 13.Qf4+ Ke8 14.Qe5+ Kd7 15.dxc7 Qxc7 16.Rd1+ Kc6 17.Qd5+ Kb6 18.Rb1+ Ka6 19.Qb5#

Llyod Linklater v guest119 (unrated)
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 Bxc3+ 7.Bxc3 Nf6 8.e5 Ne4 9.Bxf7+ Kf8 10.Bd5 Nxc3 11.Qf3+

In these next three games, please note the ratings of Lloyd's opponents and the types of tactical blunders they make.

(Game 143)
Lloyd Linklater v MiTerror (1811)
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 d5 7.Bxd5 Nf6 8.Qa4+ Nc6 [8...c6 9.Bxf7+ Kxf7 10.Qxb4] 9.Bxc6+ bxc6 10.Qxb4

(Game 144)
Lloyd Linklater v B. T. Fraise (1900)
ICC, 1996
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 d5 7.Bxd5 Nf6 8.Qa4+ c6 9.Bxf7+ Kxf7 10.Qxb4 Re8 11.Qb3+ Be6 12.Qxb7+ Nbd7 13.Nf3 Nxe4 14.Nxe4 Bd5 15.0-0-0 Rxe4 16.Rxd5 cxd5 17.Qxd5+ Re6 18.Ng5+

(Game 146)
Lloyd Linklater v Bill Whited (1940)
ICC, 1997
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 d5 7.Bxd5 Nf6 8.Qa4+ Bd7 9.Qxb4 Nxd5 10.Nxd5 Nc6 11.Qa3 Qg5 12.Nxc7+ Kd8 13.Nxa8 Qxg2 14.Qf3 Qg6 15.Qf4 Qg2 16.0-0-0 Qxh1 17.Qc7+ Ke8 [17...Ke7 18.Rxd7+ Kf8 19.Qc8+ Nd8 20.Qxd8#] 18.Qxd7+ Kf8 19.Ba3+

I love this next game. I love this game for two reasons: 1. Lloyd just keeps making threat after threat after threat--they just seem to never end; 2. On move 19 we are treated to a mate in 7.

(Game 147)
Lloyd Linklater v guest400
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 Qe7 7.Nge2 Qxe4 8.Bd5 Qe7 9.0-0 Nf6 10.Nf4 0-0 11.Re1 Qd6 12.Ne4 Nxe4 13.Rxe4 c6 14.Qd4 Qh6 15.Qxb4 cxd5 16.Ba3 g6 17.Nxd5 Nc6 18.Nf6+ Kh8 19.Qxf8+ Qxf8 20.Bxf8 b6 21.Re8 Bb7 22.Rae1 Rxe8 23.Rxe8 h5 24.Bh6#

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