26 januari 2011

A new post is up at http://www-chesstiger.be

Hello everybody,

A new post is up at http://www.chesstiger.be

Lesson five: Think until their are no more captures possible

See you around!

My own domain: http://www.chesstiger.be

If you have money to spend, what would you spend it on? Would you buy another book? A DVD? A new chess clock? Spent it on the hotel where you stay the next tournament? Maybe you want to save the money?

Hello everybody,

Since I had some money to spend I was taking my time to think about what i wanted most.

I could buy another chess book but I still have so many chess books on my shelf that i haven't read and are only collecting dust. I decided that i had enough dustbunnies, first have to read the books i have before i buy another book.

I could buy another chess program but the programs i have are good enough for a patzer like me. Why should i buy a new program as i have enough programs to keep me busy for a very long time. Already have not much free time to play with the programs i already own. So another chess program it will not be.

What else i wish for? Why not my own domain to put a blog on that i can tweak the way i want? With the wordpress software this isn't hard to do. Only need to pay for the space. Intresting. Think, think, think, cannot find negative things about this plan.

So you guessed it, i have now my own domain on which i will blog in the future.


That is where you can find my blog from now on.
I hope you all will change your links to add my new blog place. I will set up links as quickly as i am able to install it at my new (wordpress)blog.

See you all at http://www.chesstiger.be

23 januari 2011

Official games three, four and five of 2011: How white turns into black

When do you play your best chess? Are there factors, before and during the game, that influence your chess play? Do you love playing against lower rated players or are you only happy if you can play against higher rated players?

Third official game of 2011

A week ago we got the line-up of the teams for the second round of the Silver rook competition. Its a regional competition, i guess in the US one would call it a team state championship. I was put on first board of the second team. So friday night i had to play with the white pieces.

On wednesday we got an e-mail that one of the first team players got sick with a contagious eye-infection. So one player out, some changes in the teams line-up and a big search to find a reserve player to not give a forfait. For me no change, still first board of second team.

On friday 14:00h i get an e-mail that another player got sick. No reserve player to be found. For me personal i get removed from second team and suddenly find myself on board four of the first team. If you know that the first team needs six players one can say its a big jump forward.

Anyway, away goes my game with the white pieces. Have to direct the black pieces to a win. Only knowing it a few hours in advance i cannot do any preparation work. My boss at work wouldn't be happy with that. So unprepared and tired of work i get behind the chess board to do my best for the team. I face a 1777 rated talented youth player.

Why i replied 1. e4 with 1. ... c5 i am still puzzled about. I don't know much about the sicilian opening so why on hell did i lash that move out? While i search further for this idiotic decision by me i will let you enjoy the game. You probably can show me lots of improvements for black. Don't hesitate to make a comment about these better moves.


Fourth official game of 2011

Saterday i had to play for General Motors in the semi-finals of the cup 2011 of the royal antwerp commerce federation. In the team line-up we got a week before i was second board of our team. When ariving at the place where the game would be played i heared that our first board,IM Ronny Weemaes, was sick and couldn't play. With other words, i would play first board of our team. So no game with the white pieces but again have to defend myself with the black pieces. This time against a 2160 rated player. Would you have played further in the position i took a draw? And in case of no draw, how would you continue the game with the black pieces?


Fifth official game of 2011

Finally, on sunday no changes in team line-up. So first team board 4 (out of six) i sit. Again with the black pieces, this time against a 2109 rated player. An intresting game, atleast i find so. Any improvements you can come up with you may let me know thru the comments. Thanks in advance.


20 januari 2011

Lesson four: analyse and building a (secret) opening repertoire

During our forth meeting via skype and playchess me and Yelena went over my second official game of 2011. She was happy that i played already more agressive then i did when we first met eachother.

After that we went on to construct a new opening repertoire for me. Offcourse i will not say what we discussed. That would be like giving the questions of an exam a week before the exam would take place. People would know what to expect and prepare something for it. It takes away the surprise effect.

All i can say is that when we went over opening after opening i was baffled at what speed Yelena could give the moves and the plans behind then. I got a little headache of trying to follow the moves and to absorp the plans. I can only wonder when she becomes a grandmaster? When she does get that magic title i hope she doesn't raise her tutoring fees. :-)

17 januari 2011

Second official game of 2011: the thought proces of an amateur

What is your chess thought proces? Do you follow Kotov's tree? Or are you more for Silman's imbalances? Or an adept of the Heisman way of thinking?


I have to play against Adams G. A friendly 1801 rated guy, only 55 points below my rating so this is gonna be a difficult game. I think he plays 1. e4 so its gonna be a french defense. Probably a long game aswell. I better go get myself a cup of coffee.

1. d4

Darn, my first prediction already wrong. Maybe i must go to the book shop beside the bar and go buy a book with the title:"How to beat 1. d4". I can already see myself at the board turning pages of the book while my opponent looks at me as if i am an idiot. Wonderfull, humoristic, picture.

Focus! You are playing. So what do i know about this opening move? Queens Gambit (declined). Maybe 1. ... e6 and hope he turns to the French opening. What else do i ... ? Just move so you have time left for the rest of the game!

1. ... d5 2. c4 Nf6

Darn, already a mistake. 3. cxd5 Nxd5 4. e4 and i loose a tempo because i need to play with the knight again. 3. cxd5 Qxd5 4. Nc3 and again i loose a tempo because now i have to move with the queen again. What was i thinking? Was i thinking at all? Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

3. Nc3 e6 4. Bg5

Why do they always pin my knight? Is it really that good? Okay, it develops the bishop but that's it, or not? It makes kingside rokade a little, and i mean little, bit more ackward but it's still possible and sound move. I just have to make sure that i dont have to recapture with the g-pawn.

4. ... Be7 5. e3 c6 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. Be2 0-0 8. 0-0 a6

So far normal developing the pieces moves. Except maybe 8. ... a6. It looks like i weaken the black squares on my queenside but that is just illusion. I dont see white taking advantage of it. I cannot back it up with moves, its just a feeling that i have. Or maybe its because i have some experience with the (semi)Slav.

9. Qc2 h6

I postpone the normal move order 9. ... dxc4 10. Bxc4 b5 11. Bd3 Bb7 because i want to see what white is going to do with his black squared bishop. Maybe not a good idea but i want dont want to be surprised by a white knight jumping to g5 somewhere in the game without me having a defense against it.

10. Bh4 dxc4 11. Bxc4 b5 12. Be2 Bb7 13. a3

Oh oooh, white is planning to play b4 to burry my Bb7. I have no other option then to play c5 in this position otherwise my bishop becomes one big fat pawn. I cannot let that happen. My pieces are developed, time to become active. Time to open the position.

13. ... c5 14. Rad1 Qb6 15. Ne5 Rfe8 16. Nxd7 Nxd7 17. Bxe7 Rxe7 18. dxc5

How to take that pawn back? My gut feeling says with the knight. But what if white replies with b4? Then my knight has to go back to d7 and i have lost a tempo.
Oooops, who is standing there cracking a whip and yelling:"Be active!"? It's my coach, a person who learned me to be confident, to believe in myself.
Okay, time to activate that big piece one has given the name queen. Time to let the lady out and send her into the big world.

18. ... Qxc5 19. b4

What the ...? Why is he weakenig his knight on c3? Now he attacks my queen but i have pinned his knight on c3 now. So i probably stay best on the c-file. Qg5 looks also good but its a death born threath.

19. ... Qc7 20. Rdc1 Rc8 21. Nd5

What the hell! Didn't see that one coming. What to do? The chicken move Qd8 just lossess a quality after 22. Nxe7+ Qxe7 23 Qb2 . So no being the chicken here. Think active. No doubts, believe,be confident! Here we go.

21. ... Qxc2 22. Nxe7+ Kf8 23. Nxc8 Qxe2 24. Nd6

24. Rc7 Bxc8 25. Rxc8+ Ke7 is another possibility and maybe its better. Now black still has three pieces on the board to go for the mate. The white knight on d6 is also short of squares to go to. Must take advantage of that.

24. ... Bd5 25.Rc7 Ne5 26. Rc8+ Ke7 27. Ne8

Whites last move 27. Ne8 is totally wrong and leaves me a nice combination to win the game. 27. e4 was the only move to prevent mate in a few moves, black wins a pawn after 27. e4 Bxe4 28. Nxe4 Qxe4 but has to play well to win. Now whites knight on e8 and rook on c8 are kinda out of the game. Black's knight, bishop and queen are all standing on attacking positions, the right way to give a knock out blow.

27. ... Nf3+ 28. Kh1 Qxf1++

28. gxf3 Qxf3 leads aswell to mate since white cannot defend against Qh1 checkmate.

2de officiele partij.pgn

13 januari 2011

Third lesson: I have to become more active

During my third lesson with Yelena, my coach, we went over my First official game of 2011. Its amazing what the difference in calculation power and knowlegde is between a player of my level and that of an international master.

I know now what i did wrong. Playing, and therefor thinking, to pasively. I need to be more active in my play and thinking. I have to stop being lazy and start thinking the right way. Not move my pieces backward but forward.

To end i will give you a position of my First official game of 2011 with a question.

I played 19. ... f5 in this position which is only move if one doesn't want to loose material. Why can black not play first 19. ... Qc5+ ?

Good luck in solving it.

11 januari 2011

Which opening should i play?

Are you a 1. e4 or 1. d4 player? Or an addict of another openingsystem? Why do you play the openingsystem you play?

For many years i was a fan of 1. d4 . I liked to play positional chess. Colle(-Zuckertort), london system, had my preference. Other players of my club called me a woodpusher. "You just move your pieces without real action" they said "you bore your opponents to dead".

So for a short while i started to play 1. e4 openings. Just to prove my club friends that i could play active chess. I got a good score in the short period i played e4 as openingsmove. But after awhile things went the wrong way since i did know nothing about e4 openings. So i changed back to 1. d4 .

Helas, i did seem to have lost my d4 mojo. So now i have a problem. I dont know what opening to play anymore. Do you have suggestions? Which opening should i play?

9 januari 2011

First official game of 2011

Do you play for your club team?

Today i played in the sixth round of the national interclub. The game didn't go the way i wanted despite me thinking myself a headache. So no analyse, yet.

Would you have played some other moves? Where did i blunder?


5 januari 2011

Lesson two: No doubts! Believe! Be confident!

Wednesday i had my second lesson. An exciting hour of chess was over to quickly. Times flies by to quickly when one has fun.

Like the first lesson we went over my openings, the white repertoire this time. It was better then my black repertoire. I know the moves but not the plan behind them. Yelena each time showed me that knowing the plan is more important then knowing the moves.

From the first moves we went to the last moves of our beloved game, namely the endgame. Some intresting examples came on the board. I have lots to learn about the endgame. Me and my coach decided that i will study the two, recently bought, books: "Nunn's Chess Endings volume 1 and volume 2".

To end the lesson we did some tactical exercises. Here Yelena pointed out that by solving the problems i used the word "but" to much. "No doubts, be confident" she always proclaimed when i let the word "but" slip out of my mouth.I could solve the problems but have to believe more in myself. Therefor my new (chess) mantra is: "No Doubts! Believe! Be confident!

Time to read some endgame books and solve more chess puzzles.
Fast forward to the next lesson!

The ultimate chess puzzle book

I promised my coach i would do some tactics. So i looked at my chess book collection to see if i had once purchased a book with the intention of doing tactics. I found the ultimate chess puzzle book of IM John Emms.

"This book provides a wealth of puzzle positions to test just about every facet of your tactical skills. The puzzles in this book have been selected by analysing games new and old in search of original puzzle positions.

It is very unlikely that even seasoned solvers will recognise many of these positions. Emms, by allying his skills with those of powerful computers, has also made every effort to ensure that the solutions are sound, and that there are no unmentioned alternative solutions.

The book begins with 100 relatively easy positions suitable for novices, and ends with 100 extremely tough puzzles, which provide a mind-bending challenge even for top-class players. There are 1001 puzzles in all."

I wonder why i let it collect so much dust? I know the reason but i dont want to say: "just pure lazyness of my part", but that is probably the main reason. Another reason, and one i have with most of my chess books, is that i get started with the book but after some pages i put it aside to never open it again.

Anyway, i did the first 40 puzzles and i must say that i am neither displeased or pleased with my solving skills. It takes a few moments before i can solve a puzzle but atleast i can solve them. So i guess with a little more practise ... .

By the way, i recommend this book to every chess player.
I am not the only one.

"Leonard Barden, Evening Standard:
"The material is well chosen, and a marking system enables you to assess your performance relative to masters and grandmasters."

Phil Adams, The Manchester Chess Scene:
"Verdict: a useful puzzle book that can be used by a wide range of strengths for relaxation or for serious training. Would make an excellent present for a keen junior."

Einar Gausel,Dagbladet:
"Emms has resisted the temptation to borrow from other puzzle collections... [an] excellent training manual."

Mark Donlan, Chess Horizons:
"(..) exceptional (..) the perfect resource for improving your game by studying tactics and it's accessible to players of all strengths."

Alan Sutton, En Passant: " (..) the word "ultimate" is certainly justified (..) excellent value for money."

Nigel Donovan, Weekend chess: "There were very few positions in this book I had seen before... tackling these puzzles is an excellent way of sharpening your tactical awareness."

Paul Dunn, Australian Chess Forum: "A first class training manual."

J J Walsh, Irish Times:"The layout with six to eight clear diagrams per page is attractive, and the whole work is highly recommended."

Looking forward to my chess lesson tomorow.

2 januari 2011

First lesson reveals unkown weak spot

What to expect of a first lesson? How will my chess coach be? May i ask questions or must i just lissen to her explanations and observe the board? A few of the questions which i had before my first lesson with Yelena Dembo. Questions which made me a little nervous.

But as so many times i worried for nothing. After two minutes talking on skype the atmosphere was those of two friends who had fun, relaxed with laughter not far away. I can only agree with Greg, Yelena is a wonderfull coach who knows how to teach.

We went over my openings. Not by showing dry theory but by going over them move by move. What do you play here? Why not play ... move? b6 isn't bad but an immediate c5 is possible and prevents him from taking the centre. ... . With other words, i have the tendency to play my openings even more passively then they already are.

Sometimes i become, or better said want to be, more active in the opening but then i forget the rule that ones pieces must first be developed before throwing the position open. Lots of work needed on my opening.

Another point we discussed is that i am to lazy in my analysing of a position. I seem to have the habit of narrowing the board to the bit where i plan my action and forget that there is a whole part of the board i dont even take in my considerations when planning a move. By doing so i miss possible combinations. Chess is hard work, every second the game lasts.

To finish we did a few tactical exercises. I could solve them all but for some Yelena first had to ask me some relevant questions before i could come up with the correct plan of action.

I can only say it was a splendid lesson. A real eye opener for me was the fact that i narrow the board and forget to look at the whole picture/board. A second (big) working point is to get rid of my lazyness, my analysing must improve together with my visualisation skills.

Looking forward to my next lesson on wednesday.

1 januari 2011

Chess coach

I know, i am to late with my post. The reason is that i stopped trying to just take the time allocated by the ICS course. Taking my own tempo. Also, i find that the ICS course is not really my way to improvement. I need somebody to tell me what my weak points are and how i can improve them.

So, you probably guessed it already, i searched for a chess coach. I found one thanks to twitter where i posted my concern of needing a chess coach to reach 2000+ rating. If there was a list of chess coaches or some websites i could pick one? Somebody reacted on my tweet.

That somebody i hired as my coach. Some of you know this person very well, especially Greg. He always speaks with much praise about her. Yes, its the one and only Yelena Dembo.

Tomorrow i will have my first lesson. Looking forward to it.

Oh yeah, almost forgot, HAPPY NEW YEAR everybody.