Sunday, October 28, 2007


Blitz and Circles Update

I just played a few ICC blitz games. They did not all go well, but this one is fun:

GlennWilson (1501) - Vercingetorix (1358) [B21] Smith Morra Gambit

ICC 1 3 Internet Chess Club, 28.10.2007

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 a6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Qe2 Bg4 9.Rd1 Ne5

White to move and win.

I believe that I saw this tactic because of the tactical training (Circles!) I have been doing using PCT. I recognized this pattern from that training. I was also making a conscience effort to see tactics based on my just completed review of my blitz performance. I would have found this before in a slow game but not, I think, at blitz.


I have now completed 25 units in module 1 of PCT and I'm plugging away at about 1 unit per day.

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ICC Blitz #8-#11

This post is for games 8, 9, 10, and 11 in the series looking at 11 of my recent ICC blitz games. All 11 games with light Fritz analysis are: here. These four are the top four in the list on that page.

Two whites, two blacks, 3 wins, 1 loss. 2 Pircs as black (the loss was a Pirc as black), 1 Smith Morra and 1 Danish Gambit.

A couple of interesting positions from these last four games:

Black to move and win.

White to move and win.

Summary and Conclusions
Of the 11 games I won 8 and lost 3. There were 5 games as White, 3 Smith Morras and 2 Danish Gambit. I lost 1 Smith Morra as white. As Black, I played 1 Moron and 5 Pircs. I lost 2 of the Pircs.

None of the losses were due to my opening play. In fact, in none of the games did I have a bad position from the opening. In a couple games I was winning from the opening.

What I see as the single biggest flaw and what I need to work on is missing very simple tactics (mate in 1, piece en prise, etc).


Saturday, October 27, 2007


ICC Blitz #6 and #7

This post is games 6 and 7 in the series looking at 11 of my recent ICC blitz games. The 11 games with light Fritz analysis are: here. These are the two games against lands and were both fairly short and easy victories.

In the first one (lands-GlennWilson) the time control is 1 3. I play a Pirc and get a comfortable position from the opening although White does have a space advantage:

After 18. Nxf4:

Black to move and win.

In the second game (GlennWilson-lands) the time control is 3 1. We play a Danish Gambit/Goring Gambit. After 7. Bxe6 fxe6:

What should White play here? (It is a standard manuever in this opening).

Just a couple moves later, after 10.Qc8+ Kf7:

Black to move and win.

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ICC Blitz #5

This is game 5 in the series looking at 11 of my recent ICC blitz games. The 11 games with light Fritz analysis are: here. Today's game is #5 from the bottom in the list of games at that link: GlennWilson - GoldPawner. The time control is 1 3.

I'm White and the game begins 1. e4. We head towards a Danish Gambit/Goring Gambit. After 10. ...Rg8 we get one of the typical types of position for this opening where I am at least even:

I simplify intending on leveraging my pawn at g7 for endgame advantage. After 29. ... Rb8 we have:

Here White can end Black's misery. Do you see how?

There were significant inaccuracies by both players. On the plus side, I formed a reasonable plan from the opening based on the pawn at g7 and followed through on that plan.

After looking at five of these games I have some tentative thoughts:
1 - I have gotten into some wild positions that I am unable to follow in blitz. As neither me nor my opponent can really follow the tactics it does create an element of luck.
2 - My openings are not a problem, per se. I am getting good middlegame positions from the openings. But, opening selection may be part of the issue with #1 above.
3 - I am missing simple tactics. True, these are blitz games but, for one example, my opponent left a piece hanging in this game on move 21. I did not notice. All I had to do was take the piece. I walked into mate in 1 in an earlier game. I see this as the area I really need to work on. So much for the Tacticus Maximus nickname. :(
Update: I should have included:
4 - Do not over play the position as in ICC Blitz #4. Do not take crazy risks to "play for a win" when the position is saying "take the draw."

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Friday, October 26, 2007


Economic Zugzwang

I was amused at the use of chess terms in this economic post: Economic Zugzwang: Whoever Moves Loses. It includes a diagram of Trébuchet and a link to a Wikipedia article on Zugzwang.

ICC Blitz #4

This is game 4 in the series looking at 11 of my recent ICC blitz games. These games were the most recent 11 in my database when I decided to examine my blitz play. The 11 games with light Fritz analysis are: here. Today's game is #4 from the bottom in the list of games at that link: GoldPawner - GlennWilson. The time control is 1 3. Fritz hands out lots of question marks for both sides in this game.

The game starts with a Pirc move order and morphs into a standard open game (double king pawn) type of position. My position is great after the opening phase:

We both castle queenside. Around move 25 I win a piece but it opens the a-file that my opponent is poised to use. After 28. ...Ne2?? we have:

White to move; mate in 11 according to Fritz. But you don't have to see it is mate to see a very strong move for White that Black is practically forcing.

Was it bad "positional judgment" to open the a-file? Or, did I just mis-play the resulting tactics? Was winning the piece bad or good? Was it good but too dangerous?

Instead of 28. ...Ne2 I could have played Rfe8 attacking the Queen with at least a draw. I saw that during the game but wanted more. Sometimes more is not an option.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007


ICC Blitz #3

Like the other posts in the series, the games can be found on the sidebar as the first link in the top box under games archives: ICC Misc Sept-Oct 2007. This post is looking at game # 3 (3 from the bottom in the list once you get to the games archive) : JuanCarrill0 - GlennWilson. Today's game is the first we are looking at in which I lose. The selected eleven games are just the most recent ICC Blitz games I had played when I started this series.

Blitz Strategy
First a digression on blitz strategy. This post by temposchlucker led me to where one can find in Live Blitz Game # 78 the observation that The Pirc is very difficult to play in blitz games …. It is cramped and requires patience and careful defense. Perhaps it is not the best choice for blitz? I'll have to consider that as I play the Pirc in blitz.

Like today's game. Technically, I guess it is not a Pirc (?) but it starts off with a Pirc move order. I'm fine after the opening:

White sac's a piece for an attack; does not follow through correctly; I defend and get to a winning position (I'm up a piece and White has nothing). It is Black's move in the diagram below:

What is Black's best move here? Not a combination but just good, simple chess. Can you guess what I played here (not the best move)?

I lost this game. Why? Ok, the tactical error at the end. But, am I asking for that kind of trouble by playing the Pirc in blitz?

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Monday, October 22, 2007


ICC Blitz #2

Here is the second of the eleven ICC blitz games I am taking a closer look at : GlennWilson-Misschess Sept 22, 2007. The time control is 1 3 (1 minute plus 3 seconds per move). It is #2 from the bottom in the list of games at this link. You can replay this game in your browser and you can click the text moves (and analysis) of the game and the diagram will sync up with that move.

I was white, the opening is a Sicilian Smith-Morra. My position is fine after the opening. I'm castled and black will have trouble developing the kingside so even though I'm down a pawn I think I am at least even.

I play against my opponents center and uncastled king. Black finally castles:

White to move and win.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007


ICC Blitz

My rating at ICC is currently about the mid 1500s. My personal best there is 1699 on June 12, 2007. I only play blitz and generally 1 3 (one minute for the game plus 3 seconds per move). I often pay no attention to my ICC rating but I have decided I should try to raise my rating to a new personal best. My last 11 ICC games are on the sidebar or at this link. These have been lightly analyzed by Fritz.

My intent is to look at these 11 games closer for clues on how to improve my results at this ICC time control. The things I think I already know are 1) actually knowing openings can help a lot at blitz and 2) I need to work on my time management: keep point 3 from this post from BDK in mind. I hope that posting my embarassing low rating (compared to my USCF correspondence Master rating and USCF OTB Expert rating) should motivate me to improve my ICC blitz rating.

The third thing I need to work on is arrogance (a variation on playing the board not the rating from BDK's post above). I think I am better than my rating there. I am playing opponents near that rating so I think I am better than them. I tend to think there is no trouble I can get into that I can't find a way out of. I just realized that I may be doing that. Hmm....

Let's look closer at the first of these games: Misschess-GlennWilson Sept 22, 2007. I was black, the opening is a Pirc. I have the advantage after the opening. There follows tactics on the g-file far too complicated to follow (especially at blitz). I am fortunate and win.

Here is the final position; White lost on time here. Black has nasty threats based on discovered checks. What is White's best defense in this position? What should Black do against that best defense?

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Saturday, October 20, 2007


Circles Update

After completing Module 2 of PCT and then experimenting with Module 3 and Module 6 I ultimately decided to go ahead and complete Module 1 as my next task. I had initially skipped Module 1 after doing a few exercises as I deemed it as too easy for me. While I do still find Module 1 to be easy my attitude towards the value of lots of practice of easy problems has changed. Anyway, after wandering aimlessly for awhile I am back in the saddle again and making firm progress in Module 1.

On another note, as experienced by Rocky Rook and described in the post
Need for Consistency I was away from Chess Tempo Server for awhile and experienced a quick 200 point rating drop on my return.

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