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Old 01-08-2017, 07:09 PM   #26
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

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Originally Posted by coon74 View Post
5. Qc1 Qxd4 [hxg5 6. Nxc6] 6. Rd1 (defending the bishop and threatening Bh7+) Qb4 7. Nxc6, 6... Qb6 7. gxh6 g6 (the engine is turned off but this looks equal).
5. Qc1 Nxe5 (as discussed, we can take on e5 whenever it suits us... here it does, because it removes the defender of d3 bishop) 6. fxe5 Qxd4, or 6. dxe5 probably 6...h5, though 6... hxg5 7. Rxg5 Rd8 looks equally good.

The point is, while taking on e5 is on the table, the attack cannot roll because the center is not stable. When we take on e5, we give a crucial tempo, where white can ignore our push on the b-file (as you mentioned), but his push is still happening. Why allow that?
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:18 PM   #27
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

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5. Qc1 Nxe5 (as discussed, we can take on e5 whenever it suits us... here it does, because it removes the defender of d3 bishop) 6. fxe5 Qxd4, or 6. dxe5 probably 6...h5, though 6... hxg5 7. Rxg5 Rd8 looks equally good.
You're right, it's high time to take on e5 on move 5.

Thanks for adding us to the study, MarkD. I guess, we were suggested to you by lichess as we were observing the study at the time.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:50 PM   #28
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

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Originally Posted by coon74 View Post
As a club player, I'd prefer the Classical Variation (4... Bf5) if the Caro-Kann were in my Black repertoire. There's nothing wrong with the Modern Variation (4... Nd7 that you chose) in top-level competition but I find games easier to play when my light-square bishop is developed instead of sitting on c8. Once the bishop is brought out to f5-g6, White can certainly take it with the knight (Ne4-g3, Ng1-f3-h4/e5xg6) but he'll lose tempi on knight moves and open the h-file for Black's rook in the process so he won't be much better even despite the bishop pair. Plus, Black avoids the complicated Nxe6/f7 lines typical of the Modern Caro, which is useful if Black feels that White is booked up. It's a matter of taste, though.
The only reference book I have is Caro-Kann Move by Move by Lakdawala and he recommends Nd7, which is entirely why I play it. If I'm going to buy a book on an opening I better at least get used to playing it.

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However, the first real inaccuracy in your game is 10... Nb6?! The best move is 10... b6, intending Bb7 and c5 (activating the initially bad bishop!). Having a firm grip on d5 that's preventing White from pushing a pawn to this square, Black is in a position to open up the a8-h1 diagonal for the monster bishop. If, after c5, White plays dxc5 (not having moved his b-pawn), then Black can comfortably recapture with the knight or, if White has a bishop on f4 at that moment, even play e6-e5-e4 gaining tempi and space. In fact, 10... b6 gives Black an advantage. Having a bishop with a great scope is more important here than having a decent knight on d5.
Makes a lot of sense to me. I saw a lot of Nb6 moves in Karpov games I was reviewing recently and I think I made this move assuming it was "thematic" and didn't put enough thought into it. In the post mortem my opponent also said he didn't like Nb6.

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For subtle concrete reasons, that's what you should have done 3 moves later: 25... g6! 26. h5 bxc3, the points being 27. hxg6 fxg6 28. Bxg6? Bg2! 29. Rg3 Rf1 30. Be4+ Kh8 -+, 27. Qg1 Kh8 28. Qxg6? c4! (deflection) 29. Bxc4 Rf1+ 30. Nc1 Rg8 31. Qd3?? Rgg1 -+ (White has to give the queen to prevent a fast mate).
The second variation with 28. Qxg6 must be wrong as doesn't that just blunder his queen?

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I think I need to expand on this. If White castles short, the advantage of having an open bishop on b7 is obvious (Bxf3 can be threatened later on). But how does Black benefit from this bishop placement vs White's particular setup if White castles long like in the game?

1. It frees the c8 square for the rook.

2. The f3 knight is pinned to the g2 pawn, and conversely, the pawn guards the knight and can't move. How can White address this issue?

2a. If White moves the knight to h4, that will hinder the movement of the h-pawn.

2b. If White moves the knight to e5, the g-pawn will be pinned to the h1 rook. To address this, the rook can be moved to g1 (which means that the h-file will be left with no rook) or to h2 after an h-pawn push. But anyway, White's attack will be slowed down a bit, while Black's attack will be a bit faster due to the rook on c8.

3. In some variations (esp. in those where Nc5xBd3 or White's bishop leaves b1-h7), Black's bishop or knight can come to e4 with a threat.

Finally, why am I so anal about this? Well, when you have a harmonious (not necessarily optimal!) opening, it flows into a easier middlegame where you have to calculate less and so will blunder less And it will take the opponent more time to prepare a sharp thrust like g2-g4.
Wow, I appreciate this explanation.

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Originally Posted by YouKnowWho
From a practical point of view, 20... Nxe5 is a big mistake. It might not be a terrible move "objectively" (i.e. for an engine), as it is not losing, but the silicon beast has a major flaw - it does not account for the fact how "easy" or "hard" it is to play the resulting position for us, humans.

The old adage of "trade if you are up material", is correct most of the time, but it is also incomplete (cue John Nash from the "Brilliant Mind"). What it should say is "trade if you are up material, if it doesn't worsen your position". In this case, Nxe5 worsens your position. Why?
Wow, I made this trade very fast and it was part of my calculations of Re3. It was entirely based on the adage you quote. I love you positional discussion of this move as I think I have a lot to learn from it.

I've now been playing through your variations and I really like them after keeping that knight on e5.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:56 PM   #29
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

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Thanks for adding us to the study, MarkD. I guess, we were suggested to you by lichess as we were observing the study at the time.

No, thank you, and thank YouKnowWho for the constructive discussion of my games. It's making me feel a bit better for having posted such embarrassments.
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Old 01-08-2017, 08:16 PM   #30
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

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So, I thought the study was public (it is) and that everyone could contribute (you can't), but I guess that isn't how it works and I have to invite you to contribute. I have invited both co-on and Tvedas now.

If anyone knows how to make it truly public I would appreciate it, but I can also invite you quite easily as when I clicked "add contributor" both of you were already listed as people for me to invite.
I'm yet a viewer, not a contributor, and so is YKW, but I yet don't know how to add comments etc. so perhaps it's best for you and YKW to remain the only users with the contributor rights for the time being so that nothing bad happen to the study.

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I've updated the same study with games 3 and 4. I did not play game 5 as I have family stuff to attend to this evening.

I scored a sum total of 0 points, which is less than I expected when I signed up. I will now go back and go over all of the comments and hopefully learn from this abyssal experience. I am a bit disenfranchised with the entire experience and did not sleep very well last night. I felt like I embarrassed myself.
Well, this fiasco is another opportunity to learn and get better until the next tourney!

Judging by your comments to game 3, time management is a big issue for you like I suspected.

E.g. you say you used 20 minutes on the first 8 moves (what was the time control?). You couldn't have gone too wrong during these 8 moves anyway. The differences between 3... Bg4 (the most played move, btw) and 3... Nf6 4. e5 Ne4, between 4... Bh5 and 4... Bxf3 are smaller than the disadvantage that you gave yourself by getting into time trouble.

I mean, it's better to be booked, but if you're out of book, it's usually not a huge issue, just develop pieces naturally and save the clock time for the middle- and endgame. That's why it's better to learn opening plans rather than exact lines - the move order seldom matters in club play, and you'll navigate unknown situations well if you have a general idea of piece setup in the particular opening system plus blunder-check your candidate moves.

10... f6 is the right move. The h-pawn has to be on h7 to recapture on g6 towards the centre and avoid leaving e6 without protection.

12... Ne7 is the best from the practical point of view. 12... Kf7 is not much better objectively and requires precise play.

A cute way to unleash the f8 bishop is 15... Na5 16. O-O-O Nxb3 17. axb3 Nc6.

Alas the tactical blunder 18... Nf5?? decided the game, but you were doing well before that, except that you allocated too much time to relatively unimportant decisions and didn't have enough of it to calculate possible consequences of Nf5.

In game 4, you said it all in your comments in the study - you had the fancy play syndrome and failed to calculate properly (starting from move 20 when you sacrificed the c4 pawn for an unclear attack opportunity).

To sum up, you fell victim of your mental game in this tourney. It seems that the roller-coaster of game 1 and the tough KID in game 2 took away too many of your nerves. Well, the poker mental game theory applies to chess too so you know how to solve the problem

Last edited by coon74; 01-08-2017 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 01-08-2017, 08:22 PM   #31
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

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The second variation with 28. Qxg6 must be wrong as doesn't that just blunder his queen?
Oops, sorry, I meant 28. hxg6 fxg6 29. Qxg6 c4 30. Bxc4 and so on. It's more convenient to submit moves to lichess than to write them out. I should have cloned the study, put moves there and shared it.

That said, there's no need for 29... c4 there - 29... Rf1+ 30. Kc2 Rg8 is a good human line.
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Old 01-08-2017, 08:51 PM   #32
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

I did it wrong - you are both contributors now.

Time control was 90 for first 40 moves and then 30 minutes for the rest with 30 second increment from move 1, so I had a lot of time. I'm not sure I ever got into true time trouble as I always had more than 10 minutes left on my clock. I think I just was foggy and unclear and played bad.
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Old 01-09-2017, 05:21 PM   #33
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

Just skimmed through the first two games. So, it seems you are outplaying your opponent but then blundering? I mean, that shows signs of rust or not playing much recently (or loss of focus). Eradicating those mistakes is of course part of becoming better but I would recommend you don't let them get you down too much. Just redouble your efforts to either have enough time left to not make such mistakes (if due to time pressure) or double-check moves before you make them.

YKW discovered that I seem to have weird random moments where I randomly make a move that was not the way I was calculating and intending to make. It generally is one of my candidate moves but one I either already rejected or didn't properly look at. Instead I just kind of spazz out and reject the move I'm calculating for some weird reason. So something sort of like that could be happening as well.

For any of your true blunders in these games do you remember how they happened? Was it due to poor calculation, low time, knee-jerk spazzing out, or anything like that?
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Old 01-10-2017, 12:59 PM   #34
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

Yugo,

Yes, all four games involved a large blunder.

Game 1 (so many blunders)

I think I got a bit outplayed after getting up material. 20. ... Nxe5 was part of my calculations and it's just a positional misunderstanding that YKW has pointed out. My thinking was 1st level - I'm ahead so trade down.

25. gxh6 I failed to look at Qd2 and was just looking at variations involved him attacking down the g-file and I felt my position holds easily vs those. So, I guess this is a bit of chess blindness as I failed to look at his best response. Had I have seen Qd2 then I may have played g6 here because I was definitely looking at it.

Lots of tactical miscalculations (looking at the computer now) in between, but after 30. ... Be4+ I'm clearly winning. Lots of bad moves follow but I'm still obviously winning when we get to the position after 50. a4. Now, I had already looked at Rxc4 d6 variations a few moves earlier and then he played a4 and a4 had not been in my earlier calculations and now Rxc4 seemed so tempting. I guess I didn't even recalculate his response after Rxc4 as d6 is not hard to see and I had already seen it. It might be the case that when I get to a position that I had previously calculated I fail to re-evaluate. I think this happens to me a lot actually.

Game 2
Mate! Mate! Mate!!!

Again, I had seen that Re3 was a blunder in previous calculations but forgot. I didn't make this move instantly. I was calculating here for a bit and simply missed it. Also, as stated earlier, I had not evaluated Kg2 as the winning move. I can't explain that. If it was a tactical problem I surely would have seen it.

Game 3

Again, when I had gotten to the position where I played 18. ... Nf5 I had arrived at the result of my previous calculations. At some point I had evaluated Nf5 and saw that Nxd5 was possible, but I arrived at my goal position and failed to re-evaluate the position. I thought I had "solved" the problem and now I could "just move".

Game 4

/shrug? - fps as co-on stated. Probably my psychology was bad after the previous 3 games as well and I wanted to go down fighting rather than just get beat. I know that was in my head. Might just need more experience in those slow KID spatial advantage positions.
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Old 02-17-2017, 04:56 PM   #35
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

I wanted to give a short update on this thread as I didn't quit after my poor comeback performance, but have been reinvigorated. Having said that, I have been extremely busy with work and that has cut into my study time.

I'm continuing with Yusupov and have finished three chapters since I previously updated this thread:
  1. Discovered Attack (15/15) - Excellent
  2. Centralizing the Pieces (13/27) - Pass (This was hard)
  3. Mate in Two Moves (10/12) - Good (Some hard problems here - the two I got wrong I just gave up on)

Currently about half way finished the next quiz on opposition.

In addition to Yusupov I have been going through Alekhine's - My Greatest Games and I'm taking this slowly and savoring each game. I think I've played through 4-5 of these games so far and it's already a tremendous book. I like his annotations a lot.

Topping this off I am working on tactics at Chesstempo. I do standard tactics on hard and also a custom problem set of all quality puzzles rated 1500 and less. This is based on advice I had seen given by Daniel Rensch where he makes his students study simple tactical problems with a max time of 1 minute per problem. If you don't solve it in one minute quit, look at the solution, internalize the pattern with a few repetitions and then move on. Continue this until you fail three puzzles and then that's enough of that type of study as he says you can only learn two to three new patterns a day. So, I try to do this for 10-15 minutes each day and then try to find time to solve one or two standard rated problems, but they can take me 7+ minutes to solve sometimes, and as I said, I haven't had much time due to work.

So, that's my study plan. I also waste too much time on bullet / blitz as I think most people do. I like to have 6 games of correspondence going and I have also joined the Lichess Lonewolf league and have played three game in it so far - winning two and drawing one.
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Old 03-02-2017, 12:55 PM   #36
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

A quick little update. I made it through two more chapters of Yusupov Build Up Your Chess Vol 1:

Chapter 10 - The Opposition - 17 / 26 Pass (18 was "Good")
Chapter 11 - The Pin - 18/21 Good (19 was "Excellent")

I was a little disappointed I didn't perform better in the Opposition chapter as I enjoy the endgame and think that I am pretty good at it. I guess my judgement must be off though as that chapter was difficult for me. Although, I did learn a lot going through the examples and problems.

In addition, I played through a couple of more games in Alekhine's greatest games anthology. I still at the beginning so I'm seeing his games from 1910 / 1911 at the moment, but damn, he is an amazing player and I am really appreciating his annotations.

I had previously started Fischer's 60 Game book and made it through a few of his games, but the annotations are advanced with very little in the way of commentary. Very variation heavy, so I put it aside for now as I have many many game collection books that I haven't looked at yet.
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Old 03-02-2017, 01:06 PM   #37
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

In case you are curious, I got 18/26 on Opposition when I did that chapter. And I went into it thinking, "Hey, I know what opposition is and it's pretty simple!"

Getting almost "Good" doesn't really mean your judgement is off, though. One thing I should ask is that after looking at the position for ~5 minutes without moving pieces, do you then look for 10 minutes moving the pieces unless you have an answer?
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Old 03-02-2017, 01:58 PM   #38
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

Yes, I have started to that. I will often spend more than 5 minutes without moving the pieces though. I also don't always set up the positions on the board. I probably should make that a habit to improve my OTB vision, but my study area is not as conducive to this as I would like and it's harder now that I have a puppy.
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Old 03-02-2017, 03:32 PM   #39
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

I was in the same boat when I started the books. Just gotten a new (but technically not a puppy, he was ~1 year old) dog. He's much better now about being patient but my 1 year old daughter isn't!

I do some of it at the computer (with "free" electronic versions of the books) but it's really not ideal. Except for chapters on openings. It may be ideal to enter those into a study on lichess.org so that if you ever actually want to revisit or learn that opening later on you have it all there and can export to pgn.

I do try to do all of it on a normal board or travel board at the very least...but yeah, not 100%. Just fyi, I read in an interview with Yusupov that the specific recommendation about how important doing it on a physical board was partially geared towards the assumption that kids will be using the books. It may be less of a big deal if some of the work is not done OTB for older students who may have more comfort with a physical board.
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Old 03-23-2017, 01:41 PM   #40
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

I’m a bit behind on this log. I am continuing to work through Yusupov and have completed two additional chapters since my last update. I am also about half way through Chapter 14.

Chapter 12 – Double Attack – 15/17 – Excellent. I probably should have done better on this but still solving problems when I’m not being serious enough.
Chapter 13 – Realizing a Material Advantage – 16/21 – Good. I definitely just gave up on the last problem and through away some points. The chapter was very challenging and I spent a lot of time on the problems and that is why I gave up. Ultimately it was taking me a long time to get through it.
Chapter 14 – Open Files and Outposts – Not finished yet, but doing well.

Chesstempo – I’m at an all time high of 1787 for standard. I did a few mixed problems, but my rating hasn’t stabilized yet. I’m also trying to get my lichess tactics up over 2000 and I’m hovering around 1960ish atm. I really prefer chesstempo, but practice is practice.

Alekhine – I think I’m on game 10 atm. This book will take a while. So far I am in love with it and think it is great. There are times where I wish he explained moves a bit more, or continued a variation instead of just saying “Not Qd3 because of exd5 etc.” (not a direct quote, but he writes stuff like that a lot). I guess it’s instructive though as it forces me to look at why exd5 refutes Qd3. I’m not really doing guess the move on this and I should be looking at the positions longer, but there is a lot of material to absorb so I’m not worried.

Purchased two new books yesterday to add to my 15+ books that I haven’t read or touched much yet. Mastering Chess Strategy by Hellsten and The Queen’s Indian Defense by De La Costa to complement my Nimzo Indian defense book of the same series. I don’t really look at my opening books much as I’m not really focused on that aspect of my game, but I seem to collect them. Against e4 I play c6 and against d4 I play Nf6, but I have yet to get into a Nimzo Indian in tournament play. The game below, from this month, my opponent played some type of London system which I am not at all familiar with.

That’s a pretty good transition into the discussion concerning my monthly tournament. I started playing it this month and play a game every Tuesday. The first game was vs a player listed as 2000 (I’ve dropped to 1600), but he said his actual Canadian rating is 1890, but that he was 2200 in Australia where he said ratings are inflated. Game 2 my opponent didn’t show up so I played blitz for a couple of hours. Game 3 was this week vs a kid who was rated 1150ish.

Both of the games can be found in this study.

Game 1. I did a cursory review of this game. I want to sit down with it a bit more, but I was a little depressed about it and put it aside for a few days and haven’t gotten back to it. I felt like I was winning for the entire endgame, but Lichess tells me otherwise. My opponent pointed out where I threw away the win and Lichess agreed with him. I was a bit distraught by missing 43. ... Kf4! as I felt I had played quite well to that point.

Game 3. I guess my tactics weren’t as good as I thought as Lichess shows me throwing away an earlier win and allowing my opponent to equalize, although he missed his chance. I played a nice little sac though and felt I did a good job finishing him off.

Last edited by MarkD; 03-23-2017 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:23 AM   #41
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Re: MarkD's Chess Log

I will try to remember to look at those games and add comments. Feel free to bug me in my log if I don't in the next few days.
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