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Posts Tagged ‘Games’

“Graz” for the Lesson!

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

A cold night, Chess game for analysis on the Computer, and the Blackhawks-Blues hockey game on TV. Could it be any better? :) Bonus: ‘Hawks are winning! :D

I’ve been very busy the last couple of days with this and that. Tomorrow morning a major Tools of the Trade / review on eNotate – been in various drafts for awhile, plus needing to get photos done.

I played one 20 minute game as Black this morning at Colley’s. It was a Ruy Lopez, Morphy Defense, that I continued into the Graz Defence. The Graz is a response to the Ruy Lopez that many scholastic and club players regard as cool, but isn’t as hot as it may look. (I didn’t know the name for it until some research this evening.)

The moves are: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 b5 5.Bb3 Bc5. The position that results looks like this:

The Graz Defense

Graz Defense: 1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 b5 5.Bb3 Bc5

The 3. …a6 marks a Morphy Defense, named after Paul Morphy. It is called, “putting the question to the Bishop,” as the Bishop must either capture the Knight or retreat. This is fairly solid.

4. …b5 may look like a natural extension when the Bishop retreats to a4. “Hey, I put the question once, why not kick the Bishop again?” But when Black sidesteps with 5. Bb3, this puts the Bishop about where White would like it to be: Aiming square at the f7 pawn.

There can be some hope here, if Black can eventually shift the f3 Knight and then manage a c5-c4 pawn push, Black can smother White’s Bihsop. But Black has already lost one tempo in b5, and White has effectively gained a tempo from the Bishop dance.

Eventually I lose this game, but I can say “Gracias!” (or just “Graz!” ;) ) for the lesson I got in the game itself.

I also was able to postmortem this game with one of Bloomington’s strongest players and my opponent. There’s some more interesting things about the game I played, but I need to check with my fellow humans before committing to what I wrote up. (I may have misremembered something we analyzed… But since I was using eNotate to record the game, the notation of it was solid. :) )

Almost Drawish

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Last night was a good night at the Chess Club! Last chance to see people until Christmas. With that in mind, losing isn’t so bad! (Actually I simuled two boards and won 2 games and drew 1, and then lost two 3-minute games in a row. But I may *slowly* be getting the hang of Blitz.)

On to the meat of today’s post… Last Saturday I played out a Sicilian Defense game where I nearly held a draw, but not quite. I was equal, down, equal, down through the game. The critical position was:

Sicilian Defense Position

Position After 31, Nb5


I believe 31. …a6 is forced. Then 32. Nd6, and the next move should be 32. …b6. It’s pretty obvious in retrospect, but instead I would up playing 32. …Ke6.
Oops!

After 32. ...Ke6. Oops!


And from here White has 32. Nxb7. So I resigned.
We worked for awhile on variations, to see if Black could somehow force a Kingside storm of Pawns since Black’s pawns are more advanced. But it does indeed look like White eventually gets a promotion and the win.
Even with 32. …b6 White still has a win – but best play puts the promotion at move 51 according to Fritz 6. And a lot can happen in 19 moves among amateurs. :)
The full game along with Fritz 6 analysis and my comments can be found here.

Sometimes it’s not as bad as I think….

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

I played two games on Saturday, and lost both of them rather quickly. In both I thought I was completely and totally lost early on. I did make a first-class blunder in one of them. Prior to my blunder move the position was:

Bad but not Dead

Bad but not Dead


I couldn’t find a move that worked at all, and I thought I was utterly lost here on move 20. I made it that way by giving away my Bishop for nothing.

The position is certainly grim, but oddly Fritz6 shows my position being rated at only -2.22. This is despite being a whole minor piece behind and with a very isolated center pawn.

I’m certainly not winning, and I would be very hard pressed to work out a draw here. This is wildly different, though, from being “completely and totally lost.” In fact, when I washed the next ten moves through Fritz, the absolute best line is only up to -3.00. The fantasy position for move 30 is:

Still down badly but not completely dead, and it is playable.

Still down badly but not completely dead.


I wonder if I wasn’t feeling the pressured to move *something* at that moment, would I have seen the move I should have made instead of the losing blunder I chose. (Plus I play at a level and against opponents who do blunder and choose less than optimal lines, also.)

All of this is meant to say that “objective assessment of the position” also implies not panicking just because one is behind.

Enjoy your chess!