Saturday, June 21, 2008


Daily Tactic and Coaching Secrets

Elizabeth Vicary is a successful scholastic chess coach, meaning that her students are successful. Impressive results. What are her secrets? How does she do it?

This interview at the USCF site reveals some of her methods.

But I think I have discovered her secret: She cares deeply about her students as you can see in this post about her eighth grade student Angelica Berrios.

Today's Daily Tactic is from a game of Angelica's. White has just played Rg5 attacking the Queen. What to do?(You can click the board to make Black's moves).

Bonus Game! This full game of Angelica's is annotated by Elizabeth. (When variations pop up to the side of the board you can click them to play them on the board or you can click in the text of any variation to play through it on the board).

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Monday, June 16, 2008


2008 U.S. Junior Cadet & Closed Championships

Gregory Young Leads US Junior

2008 U.S. Junior Cadet & Closed Championships

We'll post Houstonian Brad Sawyer's Round 3 win over Tyler Hughes shortly.
Here we go:


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Sunday, June 15, 2008


Carlsen - Shirov Foros 2008

Carlsen is off to a great start at Foros 2008. Here is his round 5 win against Shirov.


See all six of Carlsen's first half games from Foros 2008 at ChessFlash.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008


LEP Round 3

I had a big advantage in time after a few moves. I had offered a Moron Defense but my opponent seemed to want to keep the Queen's on. I nursed the time plus and tried to keep the pressure on and the position complicated. Early on I had a choice of developing my Kings bishop to e7 or g7. I went with a KID setup with the bishop at g7. Another choice was moving the Q to c7 or e7. I went for e7. Beyond that, it was a bit of luck, a bit of time advantage, a bit of rating advantage, a bit of keeping things complicated. The dam finally broke. A nice game and TheDarkKnightTwo played well. I'm now 3-0 in the LEPer Tourney.

You can see the game here.

Update: I buy all of my Liquid Egg Product from Donnie.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Round 1: Tournament of LEPers

You can start by reading Polly's post and the post at Liquid Egg Product with this round's pairings. Tom vs. Polly was a wild sac-fest.

I played gorckat last night in our Round 1 encounter.

I am rated quite a bit higher but he had some chances and I was concerned for a while that my winning chances were small. The game was a Pirc and I inadvertently varied from my opening preparation because, well... some of the lines in the Pirc are hard to distinguish and trying to remember them is like I am in a "little maze of twisting passages, all different."

You can play through the game here with analysis courtesy of Fritz.

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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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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


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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Sunday, August 12, 2007


HCC Saturday August 11, 2007

I played in the August 11 HCC Saturday Open and finished second with 2.5 points in three rounds. The tournament crosstable will is here.

I have modified my ISAM method to comply with new (as of Jan 1, 2007) USCF rules that the player make the move on the board before recording it on the scoresheet. Changing a 20 year habit proved not to be too difficult but I think there were times I played a little more impulsively than usual.

You can play over all of my games from that event in your browser from the link in the sidebar HCC August 11, 2007 under games archive. The positions below are from those games. So if you are interested in puzzles try these before playing over the games (where all is revealed).

This USCF Press Release lists the top World Youth Qualifiers. Number one for Girls under 8 is Evan Xiang at 1484. My first round opponent.

In this position Evan can win a piece. Do you see how? She did. Black to move:

Coming back from a piece down I see a chance for a draw. Do you? Do you see what I didn't see? (Fritz did). White to move:

My game with Alan Rodenstein was largely "positional" or perhaps "anti-positional". In any case, it may threaten my claim that chess is all tactics. I played the Moron Defence.

The game ends with a "subtle positional manuever" :-). Black to move:

In my game with Will Clayton I was in a swashbuckling mood and offered a Danish Gambit but he didn't want to go there. The game continued in gambit style. In the opening, the center, piece development and king safety are important concepts to keep in mind. This game illustrates their importance through the endgame.

White can put a big hurt on black here:

How does White continue:

I can't believe that I missed this shot for White:

Compare White's rooks to Blacks. How to turn the development advantage into something more concrete and lasting? White to move:

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Sunday, August 05, 2007


HCC Saturday August 4, 2007

I played in the August 4 HCC Saturday Open and tied for first with 2.5 points in three rounds. The tournament crosstable is here.

I am pleased with my results but not my chess. Especially the openings. I seem to keep getting in trouble in the openings and then fighting my way out of a hole. I definitely need to work on that.

You can play over all of my games from that event in your browser from the link in the sidebar HCC August 4, 2007 under games archive. The positions below are from those games. So if you are interested in puzzles try these before playing over the games (where all is revealed).

This first position is from my game with George Fan. White's move here reminds me of Bill Reuter's book Winning with Reverse Chess Strategy. Do you see White's move?

Later in the same game with George Fan, how does White put an end to the Black resistance?

From my game with Christopher Xavier. Black to move and win. Be careful, the obvious move for Black actually loses.

This is the final position in my game with Larry Englebretson. He offered a draw because he was short on time and was concerned about the lines with Qf6+ and Rf3. I was trying to find a win or forced draw after Nf5+ but I wasn't finding it. A draw ensured me a share of first place and I thought I was losing so I took it. White's best move in this position ? Take the draw offer?

Later, with Fritz I did find the following line that looks promising for White: 20. Nf5+ gxf5 21. exf5 Nc5 22. f6+ Kh8 23. Bxh7 Kxh7 (...Bg3!?) 24. Qh4+ Kg6 25. g3 Bxg3 26. Nxg3 Qe5 27. Rg1 Bg4 28. Qxg4+ Qg5 29. Qxg5+ Kxg5 30. Ne4+ and White wins. Should I have played on?

If after 20. Nf5+ Black does not take the knight but plays Kg8 instead that appears to be an invitation for repeating moves.

But, after 20. Nf5+ Kh8 21. g3 gxf5 22.exf5 Bxg3 23. Nxg3 Ng5 it looks like Black keeps the upper hand.

What do you think? Who is winning? What is the best move? Should I have played on?

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Sunday, July 29, 2007


HCC Saturday July 28, 2007

I played my first USCF rated games in over four years yesterday. I signed up for the first two rounds of the HCC Saturday Open with a third round bye. I scored 2 points in the two rounds I played. The tournament crosstable and results are here.

In both games I played a "novelty" in the opening. That is not always a good thing. The games are here and in the navigation bar under HCC July 28, 2007 with some analysis by Fritz.

In my game with Jim Polomsky I was pretty much lost in the opening but saw an opportunity to create complications and pressure and got lucky. But then I let up and almost let the game slip away.

In my game with George Fan I had a critical decision at move seven. This was the hardest move of the game for me to find. What should Black do here?

Here is another position from later in the same game. Black has a forcing maneuver that improves the position of his pieces and creates powerful threats. Do you see it?

In my game with Jim Polomsky I was winning with this position. Can he win my Bishop at h7? I did not play the best move here. What is White's best?

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Friday, December 26, 2003


The Wonder of it All

Bill Wall may be looking to expand his writings on Unorthodox Openings.

A Christmas present for you. Another Wilson Wonder.

Bill Wall (ajeeb) - Jimmy Marduk, Internet Gaming Zone, December 25, 2003

1.e4 d5 2.b3 dxe4 3.Nc3 Bf5 4.Nge2 Nc6 5.Ng3 Qd7 6.Ncxe4 Bxe4 7.Nxe4 Nb4
8.Bb2 f5 9.Ng3 c5 10.a3 Nc6 11.Bd3 e6 12.Qh5+ g6 13.Qe2 Bg7 14.Bxg7 Qxg7
15.Qxe6+ Nge7 16.O-O Nd4 17.Qd6 b6 18.Rfe1 Rd8 19.Qc7 Rd7 20.Qb8+ Kf7
21.Bc4+ Nd5 22.Bxd5+ Rxd5 23.Qb7+ and Black resigns 1-0

Bill Wall
(emphasis added).

If you are attracted to off-beat openings, take a look at Mr. Walls Unorthodox Openings.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2003


Bill Wall's First Wilson Gambit

I see that this blog can be a bad influence:

Here is my first Wilson Gambit

Bill Wall (2214) - Guest4933 (Unrated), Internet Gaming Zone (, Dec 22, 2003

1.e4 d5 2.b3 dxe4 3.Nc3 Bf5 4.Nge2 e5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Ncxe4 Bxe4 7.Nxe4 Nc6 8.Bb2 Qh4 9.Bd3 f5? 10.Ng3 g6 11.Bb5 f4 12.Bxc6+ bxc6 13.Bxe5 fxg3 14.fxg3 Qe4+ 15.Qe2 Qxe2+ 16.Kxe2 and Black resigns 1-0


Of course, Mr. Wall's approach with Nge2 looks sounder than my own. I've added this game to the Wilson Gambit link in the sidebar with some light Fritzy Analysis and a few lines examined deeply (but narrowly).

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Saturday, December 20, 2003


The Attack of the Morons

We have previously looked at the Moron Defense including both the Accepted and the Declined. What's good for black is even better for white, with an extra tempo, right? Maybe so. We call this Moron Defense in reverse the Moron Attack. The Moron Attack is characterized by an early exchange of pawns opening the d-file, a queen trade with white retaking on d1. It also frequently features white playing c3 and f3, with his king going to c2. Thus, the Moron attack mirrors the Moron Defense Accepted.

The early queen trade in the Moron makes it difficult for a Grandmaster to use the Moron Attack to play for a win against another GM. In the opening, black is often happy to equalize but white often strives for more so the Moron Attack is not a frequent visitor at high level chess. Nevertheless, we have examples of the Moron Attack in the hands of Reti, Hort, Speelman and others.

At the club level just getting to a playable middle game with typical positions that one understands is probably more important than which side has a slight advantage, and the Moron Attack can be a useful weapon for this purpose.

The Full Moron
In the Moron proper, white has a pawn at c4. In the corresponding positions from the Moron Attack, black would have a pawn at c5. In some of these Moron Attack examples black does not play a pawn to c5.

Does this difference matter? Yes, it can. In the words of Lewis McClary (from whom we learned the Moron) "Things that are different are not the same." The difference is that black can defend the d5 square with c7-c6 and also has the option of putting a piece on c5. In the games that start as a Sicilian Defense (1.e4 c5) we do get the proper or Full Moron setup.

In any case, these games are good to study as typical positions and to see how to conduct the middle game from these tableaus whether you play the Moron Defense, the Moron Attack or both.

Center Counter Surprise Weapon Revisited
The Moron Attack can come about from a variety of openings. In fact, we give six sample games with six different ECO opening codes. We even have one example from a Center Counter (aka Scandanavian) -- possibly a better surprise weapon against the Center Counter than the Wilson Gambit!

Here are the games.

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Sunday, December 14, 2003


More Morons

Via email from Bill Wall, noted chess player and author (see his chess page, chess bio and chess links), we have some more examples of the Moron Accepted, from his games.

Bill is white in these and wins all three. But do not despair! He has not refuted the Moron. In two of the three games black tries to do without playing ...f6 and ...c6, and while that is possible to do and live, it can be very tricky. Actually black plays the opening fine in one of these two (CastleFool does well in the opening phase; XPoet not so well). In the third game black (Miller) gets a fine position out of the opening, but gets outplayed by Mr. Wall. Here are More Morons, with some light analysis by Fritz added.

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Saturday, December 13, 2003


The Moron Defense Declined

In a recent post I discussed the Moron Defense Accepted. Today we introduce the Moron Defense Declined with a few illustrative games. The Moron begins 1. d4 d6 2. c4 e5. White can vary sooner with, for example, 2. e4 making this a Pirc opening. Transpositions to King's Indian Defense and related are possible making this an ideal weapon if the Pirc/Modern and KID are already part of your arsenal. Those possibilities are not considered here.

The Accepted continues with 3. exd5. But white has third move alternatives other than dxe5, and we call those the Moron Defense Declined. The sample games consider the most popular of those: 3. Nf3, 3. d5 and 3. Nc3.

Here are the games for the Moron Defense Declined. Enjoy.

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Friday, December 12, 2003


The Moron Defense Accepted

I added some games with analysis by Fritz to illustrate the Moron Defense Accepted. I learned the Moron Defense from Lewis McClary. Lewis played it frequently as black, but claimed you would have to be a moron to do so, it was so obviously bad!

The Moron Defense begins 1. d4 d6 2. c4 e5 and now the most common continuation at the club level is what I call the "Moron Defense Accepted" or just the "Moron Accepted" for short. It goes 3. dxe5 dxe5 4. Qxd8+ Kxd8. From the beginning, black loses the right to castle. White has the obvious shot of Nf3 attacking the pawn on e5 with the Ng5 followup (threatening Nxf7+ picking up an exchange or rook). Further, the black king is on the open d-file inviting white to castle long with check gaining more tempi. Obviously, black is an idiot, like Lewis said, right?

Before you jump to that conclusion, though, consider the sample games we have included for the Moron Accepted and who is playing the black side in these games - Tal, Miles, Seirawan, and others. You know that they're not morons. So what's the deal?

Of course, its not bad, and it is in fact a very sound defense. I think Lewis liked the name and the overconfidence it led to in unsuspecting opponents. In the Moron Accepted, black typically plays f6 to guard the e-pawn and keep the white knight off of g5. Black also usually plays c6 to keep the other white knight out of d5 and b5 and to create a little cubby hole for his king on c7. The one open file often leads to the exchange of a pair or both pairs of rooks. The resulting "simple" positions have a lot of bite though. It is an excellent weapon especially if the King's Indian Defense and Pirc are in your reportoire (which it can transpose into if white varies before 3. dxe5 or with 2. e4). Take a look at the Moron Accepted, and enjoy the games!

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Saturday, March 15, 2003


HCC Friday Night Action March 14, 2003

An exciting event and strong field. One master, two experts and two A players. There were a total of twelve players. Curtis Brooks and Mbugua Bo Githoro tied for first with 3.5 each - they drew in their head-to-head encounter. Jeffrey T Miller won the under 1600 prize with 3 points. For my games from this tournament, see March 14, 2003 Friday Action.

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A Blast from the Past

An interesting game Wilson-Bighamian from 2002 as a static html file. Newer games will generally be available using the ChessBase 8.0 javascript viewer (so you can play the moves in your web browser) and as pgn files.

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HCC Friday Night Action March 7, 2003

Three way tie for first: Chalker beat Wilson who beat Farley who beat Chalker and each finished 3-1. At the end of my game with Chalker he had one second on the clock and I had, I think, eleven seconds. We were using a five second delay but that made for an exciting finish.
For Wilson-Farley and Chalker-Wilson, see March 7, 2003 Friday Action.

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