22 May 2022

Training quote of the day #38: Tigran Petrosian

Chess is a game by its form, an art by its content and a science by the difficulty of gaining masters in it.

Tigran Petrosian, quoted in Petrosian: Move by Move by IM Thomas Engqvist

21 May 2022

Annotated Game #259: No pawn lever, no plan

As often happens when you are doing some more in-depth studying as part of your training program, you immediately start seeing where it can be applied in your games. I recently started Axel Smith's Pump Up Your Rating and the first chapter is "No Pawn Lever - No Plan" - which directly applies to this next game, my first played under the auspices of the Chess Dojo program. I get partial credit for at least considering one of the potential levers with the f-pawn, but could have had a much better game strategically if I had looked for that and others, both earlier and later.

[Event "Live Chess - chess"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2022.05.07"] [Round "?"] [White "ChessAdmin_01"] [Black "dionysian2020"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "1671"] [BlackElo "1994"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] [ECO "D00"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Dragon by Komodo 2.6.1"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] 1.d4 Nf6 2.e3 d5 3.Bd3 e6 4.Nd2 {controls e4} 4...c5 5.c3 {prelude to the Stonewall formation} 5...Nc6 6.f4 {now we have the full Stonewall.} 6...a5 $5 {this was a a surprise to me and is very uncommon in the database - only one game with this position - but Komodo Dragon approves. Black signals a plan of queenside expansion, cramping White and perhaps looking for a breakthrough in the middlegame.} 7.Ngf3 {developing a key piece and preparing to castle.} ( 7.a4 {is a possibility that came up in the post mortem discussion. During the game I felt that trying to play on the queenside would strategically detract from my kingside play and was not necessary.} ) 7...a4 {consistent with the previous move, restraining White's option of developing the bishop to b2. Black would likely benefit from opening queenside lines in the event of an exchange of the b-pawn.} 8.O-O c4 {normally Stonewall players can benefit from this move, since although it seizes additional space it should provide freer strategic possibilities in the center, specifically with the e-pawn lever.} 9.Bc2 b5 {logically continuing with the queenside expansion, to which Black is committed by this point.} 10.Ne5 {this is an example of stereotypical thinking in the Stonewall. The knight certainly is best placed here, but I should have been thinking more about the pawn levers available in the position, namely e3-e4. In the game, I was concerned about my opponent's pawn lever a4-a3 and thought exchanging the Nc6 would weaken his ability to follow up on the queenside.} ( 10.e4 {there is no need to postpone this, as Black cannot break through on the queenside.} ) ( 10.a3 {for practical peace of mind, this is also possible, locking the queenside first before playing e4.} ) 10...Bb7 11.Ndf3 {this was my first long think (around 4 minutes) The text move is not terrible, but it puts White further away from the idea of the e3-e4 pawn lever. That said, now that the Bb7 is on the long diagonal, it would not be as good for White.} ( 11.Qf3 $5 {is a possibility, with the standard Stonewall plan of advancing the g-pawn.} ) 11...h6 {protecting against the idea of Ng5, targeting f7.} 12.Nxc6 {getting rid of Black's best-developed piece on the queenside and then funneling the other knight to e5 seemed logical, also clearing up some space for me.} 12...Bxc6 13.Ne5 Qc7 {protecting the bishop and clearing the back rank.} 14.Bd2 ( 14.a3 {immediately playing this looks better than waiting a move, shutting down Black's queenside possibilities; however, the idea did not occur to me until the next move.} ) 14...Bb7 ( 14...a3 {this is Black's only chance to try to open up the queenside. Before with the bishop on c1 I could have simply recaptured on b2.} 15.b4 {This would also serve to block things on the queenside, since exchanging the b-pawn now gets rid of Black's more centralized c4 pawn.} 15...cxb3 16.axb3 {and White can block things again after b4 and Ra2, for example. The position appears even.} ) 15.a3 {my opponent and I agreed to disagree about this idea during the post mortem. I liked the fact that it locked up the queenside, but so did he, having the intent to castle there.} ( 15.Be1 $5 {would have continued to develop the dark-squared bishop and leave the possibility of opening lines on the queenside, restraining Black's idea of castling there.} ) 15...O-O-O {this surprised me, given how advanced Black's pawns are, but made sense. The king is spirited away from White's kingside attacking potential. At the time, I felt that I still had better strategic prospects, having better development and more space on the only dynamic front (kingside).} 16.Be1 {the Stonewall bishop needs to be redeveloped, typically to h4 in these types of positions.} 16...Bd6 {no better place for the bishop. Here it can exert pressure along the b8-h2 diagonal, which makes a difference when considering ideas like the f4-f5 pawn lever, or if Black challenges the f4 pawn with ...g5. As importantly, the move connects the rooks.} 17.Rf3 {I spent a lot of time on this, the previous and next moves, trying to find the best plan. Unfortunately this is not it. White should look to complete development and organize for the one pawn lever available in the position, f4-f5.} ( 17.Bh4 ) 17...Rdg8 18.Rh3 {I did think about f5 here, but after lengthy calculation did not like the resulting positions. Eventually I decided that I should prepare it with Bg3, but did not like playing that immediately due to ...Nh5. The text move prevents that and helps prepare Bg3, which however is not that great a move.} ( 18.f5 h5 {is the critical line, according to Komodo Dragon.} ( 18...Bxe5 {was the main move I looked at.} 19.dxe5 Ne4 ( 19...Qxe5 $4 20.Bg3 ) 20.Bxe4 dxe4 21.Rf1 {this doesn't seem very exciting for White, although the engine gives a small edge.} ) ( 18...exf5 {of course also had to be calculated. I looked primarily at Bxf5, which isn't bad, but the engine identifies a better version of the idea.} 19.Bh4 g5 20.Bxf5+ Kb8 21.Bg3 $16 {and now White can make excellent use of the f-file after moving the Bf5 out of the way of the rook.} ) 19.fxe6 fxe6 20.Ng6 Bxh2+ 21.Kh1 Rh6 22.Bh4 ( 22.g3 Ng4 {and the Bh2 is adequately protected.} ) 22...Bd6 {Black withdraws the bishop from its precarious post and defends e7.} 23.Bxf6 gxf6 24.Rxf6 $10 ) 18...Ne8 {I was happy to see this appear, as the Nf6 was a defensive thorn in the side of my kingside ideas. However, it still plays a good (if more passive) defensive role here.} ( 18...Ne4 {is the more active knight move.} ) ( 18...g5 {my opponent mentioned during the post mortem that he was considering this, but correctly rejected it, being among other things concerned about the hanging Nf6.} 19.Bg3 {would be the simple way to shut down Black's threat.} ) 19.Bg3 {this is too restrictive. Black has various options, but could simply play ...f5 to prevent White from using the f-pawn as a lever.} ( 19.g4 {would be a thematic way to first grab kingside space and then play Bg3 or Bh4.} ) 19...g5 $2 {this allows White to open up the game, with advantage.} 20.fxg5 hxg5 21.Rxh8 {I calculated at the time that this was necessary and the engine agrees. With only one rook on the kingside, Black is under-resourced and does not have any threats.} 21...Rxh8 22.Qg4 {the key move, threatening the g-pawn and clearing the first rank for the rook to be brought into play.} 22...Qe7 23.Qf3 {after a long think, I knew that I had to make threats on the f-file, but chose the second and less effective option. This is simply too slow and leaves the rook out of play. I was unsuccessful in resolving the potential Black threats against the queen on g4.} ( 23.Rf1 f5 {this was the main problem and I could not find a solution, as for example Ng6 does not get me anything. However, the engine finds the sacrifice} 24.Bxf5 $1 exf5 25.Rxf5 {after which White has too many tactical threats involving Nf7 or Rf7 for Black to handle. For example} 25...Qe6 {blocking the discovered check} 26.Nf7 Qxe3+ 27.Rf2+ Kc7 28.Nxh8 $18 ) 23...Bxe5 {trading off White's most threatening piece.} 24.Bxe5 f6 25.Bg3 $14 {White has a slight advantage with the reduced material on the board, with the better minor pieces and the two bishops, but has no major breakthrough possibilities.} 25...Nd6 {the knight was anchoring f6 from its previous position, so now I can start making threats again. However, this is a more active approach for Black as well.} ( 25...Kd7 $5 {a waiting move that improves the king's utility.} ) 26.Rf1 f5 27.Be5 Rh6 ( 27...g4 {would prevent the idea given in the next variation.} ) 28.Qg3 $6 {I was focused too much on piece play here and not looking for pawn levers.} ( 28.g4 {this pawn lever did not occur to me during the game, likely because of a reflexive aversion to moving pawns in front of the king, but it makes eminent sense. White should be forcing open the f-file and Black's own g-pawn blocks the file, if White's pawn is traded off.} 28...fxg4 29.Qg3 {better than the immediate Qxg4, since it forces Black's knight away or baits Black's rook. For example} 29...Rh3 30.Qxg4 Rxe3 {and now White has a pleasant choice of moves, the simplest perhaps being} 31.Bf6 {followed by taking the g5 pawn.} ) 28...Nf7 {the correct idea, to trade off White's centralized bishop.} 29.Rf2 {largely played as a waiting move, although with ideas of allowing the rook to defend along the 2nd rank if needed.} 29...Bc6 {Black again correctly is not in a rush to trade on e5, as the White bishop cannot go anywhere. First he gains a tempo on redeveloping his own bishop.} 30.Bd1 {mirroring Black's idea.} 30...Kb7 31.h3 {played after some thought. It is not necessary to defend g4, but is not a bad move in itself. However, as mentioned during the post mortem discussion, it offers the potential of a hook for Black to work against with an eventual g5-g4 push.} ( 31.Be2 {essentially White has no way to make progress, so marking time with the bishop is one way to take a pass.} ) 31...Nxe5 $10 {no reason not to trade off White's excellent centralized bishop.} 32.Qxe5 Qc7 {a nice decision by Black, which I considered essentially forced the trade of queens, in the face of the threat of doubled e-pawns. However, the engine does not see this as a problem. In fact, without a dark-square bishop or a knight, Black would not be able to get at a White pawn on e5, which would have a useful role in dominating d6 and f6.} 33.Qxc7+ Kxc7 {now I want to play g4 to break up Black's pawn formation, but in the game could not see beyond ...Rxh3. In fact, the move can be done immediately.} 34.Rf3 {protecting h3.} ( 34.g4 Rxh3 35.gxf5 exf5 36.Rxf5 Rxe3 37.Kf2 Rd3 38.Ke1 $10 ) 34...Kd6 35.g4 Be8 {around here I start realizing Black's bishop is actually not bad, or at least it is no worse (probably a little better) than my own.} 36.Kg2 {overprotecting h3 and freeing up the rook.} 36...fxg4 37.hxg4 Bg6 38.Rh3 {this took some thinking, but the decision is validated by the engine. If I can get to a bishop ending, I will be able to construct a fortress against Black's king.} 38...Be4+ {this bishop starts becoming very annoying, able to generate some threats in the relatively cramped White space.} 39.Kh2 ( 39.Bf3 $2 Rxh3 ) 39...Rf6 40.Kg1 {forced, otherwise the rook penetrates on f1.} 40...Bd3 {threatening Rf1 with a fork of king and bishop. I am still quite equal, but feeling the pressure at this point, being on the defensive.} 41.Bf3 ( 41.Rf3 {would have been a simpler way to play, but I recall not liking the idea of ...Rh6 and potential threats down the h-file. However, this was not based on concrete calculation.} 41...Rh6 42.Rf2 $10 ) 41...e5 {correctly using the only pawn lever available, to try for an advantage.} 42.Bg2 ( 42.dxe5+ {this appears weak due to the now-isolated e-pawn, but again Black's lack of ability to target it would mean the weakness is an illusion.} 42...Kxe5 43.Kf2 {and Black cannot make progress.} ) 42...exd4 43.exd4 Re6 {the most threatening move. Now I miss the correct defensive continuation and end up in a losing position.} 44.Kh2 $2 {now I am losing.} ( 44.Bf3 {I did not even consider this, simply believing ...Re1+ would allow Black to fatally penetrate my position.} 44...Re1+ 45.Kf2 Rb1 46.Rh6+ {and White will be able to pick up the pawn on d5 in exchange for the b-pawn, maintaining equality.} ) ( 44.Rh5 {keeping my own rook active would also be better.} 44...Re1+ 45.Kh2 Re2 46.Kh3 Rxb2 47.Rxg5 $10 ) 44...Re2 $19 45.Rh6+ {I saw too late Black's "backward bishop move" that covered the h7 square, meaning that I could not fully use the rook on the h-file.} 45...Ke7 $6 {As is often the case in endgames, perfectly reasonable-looking moves like this one end up being errors. Now I am back to being theoretically equal, but it is difficult to find the way.} ( 45...Kc7 ) 46.Kg3 $10 Rxb2 47.Bxd5 {so far so good} 47...Rb3 48.Rb6 $2 ( 48.Bc6 $1 {this both threatens the b-pawn and clears the way for the d-pawn to advance.} ) 48...Rxc3 49.Rxb5 Be4+ $6 {this gives me a 50% chance of escaping with a draw.} ( 49...Rxa3 $19 ) 50.Kh2 $2 {incorrectly moving my king away from the action, feeling it would be too exposed in the center.} ( 50.Kf2 $1 {now the White rook can go to c5 and the king is in the central action.} ) 50...Bxd5 $19 51.Rxd5 Rxa3 52.Rxg5 {this is completely won for Black, despite material equality, as his pawns are too far advanced and my king is out of the action.} 52...Rd3 53.Ra5 a3 54.d5 Rd2+ 55.Kh3 a2 56.g5 c3 57.g6 c2 58.g7 c1=Q 59.Ra7+ Kd6 60.g8=Q Qh1+ {and now Black picks up the Qg8 via a skewer tactic after the king moves to the g-file.} 0-1

Evaluation chart generated by HIARCS Chess Explorer Pro

01 May 2022

Launch of Chess Dojo training program


I'm naturally on the lookout for good training resources, including more comprehensive chess training programs. One of the issues I've previously mentioned here, that I believe especially holds adult improvers back, is the lack of access to structured, interactive programs. Personal coaches obviously can be good, but the level of instruction quality and individual attention to your particular needs will vary. I still think that self-study programs are an excellent option; some examples are in the linked post above. However, most people (I daresay even myself) will do even better as part of a "live" (including virtual) and interactive program, simply because that is how human psychology works.

I was therefore very interested to see today's official launch of the Chess Dojo training program. The core practices include classical time control play and analysis of your games, which is a repeated theme of this site on how real progress is made in gaining chess strength. Its summary description:

A structured plan to hold yourself accountable to and a group to do it with.



- Structured training plans for all levels 0-2400 FIDE

- A dedicated cohort to analyze, spar, and grow with

-Tactical milestones/benchmarks to achieve
-Opening, middlegame, & endgame sparring positions to hone your skills


Included within the training plans are videos/guides on how to properly work through the material, as well as specific games to study, games to memorize, opening repertoires, and other useful content. 

Some top chess trainers are behind the program: GM Jesse Krai, IM David Pruess and IM Kostya Kavutskiy. They appear to have put something serious together.

30 April 2022

Commentary: U.S. Women's Championship 2021, Round 7 (Lee - Paikidze)

We continue following the last U.S. Women's Championship with this round 7 game, in which WIM Megan Lee recovers from her previous round's defeat and outplays IM Nazi Paikidze. Paikidze chooses the Modern defense, which in fact allows her to equalize rather easily against White's less-than-aggressive play. Black could have done more to seize the initiative heading into the middlegame, around move 17, but instead let White eventually find some active ideas and improve her pieces. Black starts shedding pawns and White then grabs a winning advantage, although Black misses an interesting stalemate idea late in the game (see move 56).

[Event "U.S. Women's Chess Championship 2021"] [Site "http://www.chessbomb.com"] [Date "2021.10.13"] [Round "07"] [White "Lee, Megan"] [Black "Paikidze, Nazi"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2211"] [BlackElo "2374"] [ECO "B06"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Dragon by Komodo 2.6.1"] [BlackClock "0:03:51"] [BlackFideId "13603620"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] [WhiteClock "0:14:58"] [WhiteFideId "2029618"] 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 {the Modern defense.} 3.Nf3 ( 3.Nc3 {is played much more often here and scores better (at 54 percent) in the database. However, there are obviously a lot of transposition possibilities.} ) 3...d6 4.Be3 {White super-focuses on reinforcing d4.} 4...Nd7 5.Nc3 a6 {the Modern is not about taking on White directly, but restricting potential activity. Black here takes away the b5 square, for example.} 6.a4 {restraining ...b5 in turn.} 6...b6 7.Bc4 e6 8.Qd2 {White now chooses to emphasize piece play.} ( 8.h4 $5 {is a more aggressive alternative that Black has found hard to meet. Here is a sample game from GM Robert Hess:} 8...h6 9.h5 g5 10.Qd3 Qe7 11.d5 Ngf6 12.dxe6 fxe6 13.e5 Nxe5 14.Nxe5 dxe5 15.O-O-O Bb7 16.f3 Qf7 17.Qd2 Bc6 18.a5 b5 19.Bd3 O-O-O 20.Kb1 e4 21.fxe4 Nxe4 22.Nxe4 Bxe4 23.Bxe4 Rxd2 24.Rxd2 Qf6 25.Bd4 Qe7 26.Bxg7 Qxg7 27.Re1 Qf6 28.Rde2 Re8 29.Bc6 Re7 30.Re5 Qf4 31.Bd5 Qd2 32.g4 Kd7 33.Bb3 c5 34.c3 Kc7 35.Rxc5+ Kb8 36.Rce5 Qd3+ 37.Bc2 Qg3 38.R1e4 Qg1+ 39.Ka2 Qa7 40.Rxe6 Rxe6 41.Rxe6 Qf7 42.Bb3 Qf4 43.Rxh6 Qxg4 44.Rh8+ Kb7 45.h6 b4 46.h7 Qh5 47.cxb4 Qh6 48.Bd5+ Kc7 49.Ra8 {1-0, Robert L Hess 2609 - Samy Shoker 2475, WchT 8th, Ningbo (3.4), 2011.07.19} ) 8...Bb7 9.Bg5 Ndf6 {this looks strange, but the point is to develop the other knight to e7, from where it can fight for d5 and f5.} 10.Qe2 {after this, the engine considers the position completely even, with perhaps a slight advantage to Black. White retreats her pieces, meaning the previous development was largely ineffective.} 10...h6 11.Bh4 {choosing to maintain the bishop's presence on the kingside. Bd2 seems more flexible.} 11...g5 {a commital move, with the intent of forcing a piece trade. A more standard developing alternative would be ...Ne7.} 12.Bg3 Nh5 13.O-O-O {the best place for the king, as O-O would then give more punch to Black's trade on g3, with prospects for further kingside pawn advances to open up the position.} 13...Ne7 14.Ne1 {forcing Black to commit with the Nh5. However, this was presumably her intent anyway with the knight, so perhaps something more active is indicated.} ( 14.d5 $5 {Black's king is still in the center and White's rook is now in play on d1, so this seems like a good time to advance.} ) 14...Nxg3 15.hxg3 {the usual rule of capturing towards the center applies in this position. White maintains a connected pawn formation and usefully opens the h-file for the rook.} 15...Qd7 {developing the queen and clearing the back rank for possible queenside castling.} 16.d5 {this ends up being a premature break in the center. White has just retreated the knight, so her forces are not fully marshaled to support her in the center.} ( 16.f4 $5 {is the engine's preference.} ) 16...exd5 17.Nxd5 {with the game continuation, this seems fine, but the engine suggests that Black is better without further exchanges on d5.} 17...Bxd5 ( 17...b5 {seems most to the point, getting Black's play on the queenside started against White's king, although it involves a pawn sacrifice.} 18.Nxe7 Qxe7 19.axb5 axb5 20.Bxb5+ c6 21.Bc4 O-O $17 {White's king position is much worse and Black will also be able to take over the initiative in the center, for example after ...Rfe8 and ...d5.} ) ( 17...O-O {also looks good.} ) 18.Bxd5 Nxd5 19.exd5+ Kf8 {Black is still equal here, despite having lost the right to castle. Material is reduced, lessening the chance of a kingside attack succeeding for White, and Black has good prospects on the queenside.} 20.Qe4 {actively centralizing the queen.} 20...Re8 {logically kicking the queen off of the excellent e4 square, but it still moves to another good square.} 21.Qc4 b5 {forcing the opening of lines on the queenside.} 22.axb5 {necessary to avoid the opening of the b-file after ...bxa4, which would increase the vulnerability of the White king.} 22...axb5 23.Qb3 $6 {this is too passive a square for the queen.} ( 23.Qc6 ) 23...Ra8 24.Nd3 {White correctly ignores the possibility of a check on a1, which would gain Black nothing, as she is not in a position to effectively go after White's king on d2. The knight needs to get back in the game.} 24...Bf6 {clearing g7 for the king.} 25.f3 {this fights for g4 and also ensures the f-pawn is protected by another pawn, otherwise it could be pressured after ...Qf5 in some lines.} 25...Kg7 {now Black's rooks are connected.} ( 25...h5 {is the engine's suggestion, a prophylactic move against what White plays next.} ) 26.g4 {the logical follow-up, controlling f5 and h5 and blocking further advances of Black's pawns.} 26...c5 {another commital pawn move by Black. This will result in a half-open c-file, but Black's pawn structure is weakened.} 27.dxc6 Qxc6 28.c3 {now it seems more evident that Black does not have enough attacking potential against the White king.} 28...Qb6 {putting the queen on a more useful diagonal and threatening ...Qe3+} 29.Kc2 Rac8 $6 {it seems counterintuitive to leave the open a-file, reducing the number of potential threats Black could try to make. Moving the other rook to c8 is preferred by the engine.} 30.Nb4 {White's knight now greatly improves its scope.} 30...Be5 {defending the d-pawn and getting on the better b8-h2 diagonal.} 31.Nd5 Qa7 32.Rd2 {allowing for possibly doubling rooks on the d-file, while covering the 2nd rank.} ( 32.Qxb5 $2 {pawn snatching here in fact does open too many lines against White's king.} 32...Rb8 33.Qd3 Qa2 34.Rb1 Rhc8 $19 {now with the c-pawn pinned, the Nd5 has nowhere useful to go and becomes a target after ...Rc5, which then gives Black additional threats against White's king position.} ) 32...Rb8 33.Re1 Rhc8 $6 {this looks very reasonable, but now White continues with her rook lift idea.} ( 33...b4 {is found by the engine. It is counter-intuitive, since it looks like it just loses a pawn.} 34.Nxb4 Rb5 $10 {and now Black gets active play on the queenside to compensate for the pawn, with the ability to double major pieces on either the a- or b-files.} ) 34.Re4 {now the ...b4 idea is no longer possible, which means Black has no way to make progress on the queenside.} 34...Kh7 35.Nb4 {while the knight looked good on d5, it lacked targets. Note that the a2-g8 diagonal is also now open for the queen, pressuring f7.} 35...Rc5 $2 {while in some earlier variations this rook move would have made sense, here its awkward placement will cause immediate problems for Black.} ( 35...Kg6 {Black needs to think defensively and this would protect f7.} ) 36.Nd3 {Black now has no good moves with the rook.} 36...Rc4 ( 36...Rc7 37.Qd5 Bg3 38.Rb4 $16 {and White has all the play in the position.} ) 37.Rxc4 {now White just picks up a pawn.} ( 37.Nxe5 {is suggested as even better by the engine.} 37...dxe5 38.Rxe5 ) 37...bxc4 38.Qxc4 $18 Bf6 $6 {the bishop is hanging here and Black's queen remains tied to protecting f7.} ( 38...Kg8 {again would help cover f7, although Black still has major problems.} ) 39.Nb4 {uncovering the attack on the isolated d-pawn.} 39...Qa4+ 40.Qb3 {White would be quite happy to simplify here with an exchange of queens.} 40...Qe8 {correctly choosing to protect the f-pawn over the d-pawn.} 41.Rxd6 {White is now up two connected passed pawns, which would be hard to lose, especially at the Master level. White's somewhat exposed king position perhaps gave Black some hope of drawing, however.} 41...Be5 42.Rd1 Bf4 43.Kb1 Kg8 44.Qc2 {extricating the queen from the pin on the Nb4.} 44...Ra8 45.Nd5 {threatening the fork on f6.} 45...Be5 46.Qe4 {a powerful centralization of the queen.} 46...Rb8 47.Rd2 Kg7 {Black lacks any real ideas in the position, although this allows White to further simplify by force or win additional material.} 48.Re2 {now the bishop is pinned.} 48...f6 49.Nxf6 Qd8 {hoping to be able to get in ...Qd1+} ( 49...Kxf6 50.Qf5+ Kg7 51.Qxe5+ Qxe5 52.Rxe5 $18 ) 50.Nh5+ Kg8 51.Qg6+ ( 51.Kc1 {this may be the best practical move here for normal players, taking away any worries about Black counterplay.} ) 51...Kh8 52.Qxh6+ Kg8 53.Qe6+ Kh7 54.Kc2 Qa5 55.Qf5+ Kh6 56.Rxe5 $2 {this allows a neat tactical draw for Black, which of course is difficult to see at the board. Black's king is cornered and there is very little material on the board for her, which should be the cue for a stalemate theme.} ( 56.Qxe5 ) 56...Qa4+ $2 {Missing the stalemate idea. White now has only one move, but it is not hard to find.} ( 56...Rxb2+ 57.Kxb2 ( 57.Kd3 {running doesn't help, as all Black has to do is give away all her material, or gain a perpetual check. For example} 57...Rd2+ 58.Ke4 ( 58.Ke3 $4 Qxc3+ {and mates.} ) 58...Qa4+ 59.Ke3 Re2+ 60.Kd3 ( 60.Kxe2 Qe4+ 61.Kf1 Qe1+ $10 ) 60...Qd1+ $10 ) 57...Qxc3+ $10 {now it's a stalemate if White takes the queen, or a perpetual check if she doesn't.} ) 57.Kc1 Qa1+ 58.Qb1 {now it's all over.} 58...Qa6 59.Ng3 {White finds the best idea in the position, reactivating her knight and opening up against Black's king.} 59...Rd8 60.Nf5+ Kh7 61.Nd6+ Kh8 62.Nf7+ Kg7 63.Nxd8 Qf1+ {one last try in desperation.} 64.Kc2 Qf2+ 65.Kd3 1-0

Evaluation chart by HIARCS Chess Explorer Pro

27 April 2022

Training quote of the day #37: Aryan Tari

We started by looking at my games and making lists of my mistakes, so we could see which kind of mistakes were recurring. I was good at spotting my own tactical opportunities, but I missed a lot of my opponents' moves. Another recurring mistake was that I did not play the critical moves when I departed from preparation. I was playing too fast at that point. Furthermore I had a tendency to play a bit too much according to the opponents' level.

I began thinking about these things during my games, even though it is not easy to change your habits and the way you play. I also started annotating my own games, with both variations and words. At the same time, I started solving exercises online every day. There you use a chess clock, which can sharpen the concentration. When you are running out of time in a game, it can be vital to be able to calculate essential variations quickly.

International Master Aryan Tari, from the Foreword to Pump Up Your Rating by IM (now GM) Axel Smith.