Monday, April 11, 2005

Lucky Comeback

I have been trying to play completely random openings, hoping to find my weaknesses in the opening. A huge tactical mistake in the opening almost lost me this game, but somehow, I came back to win. Take a look. [Event "www.ChessWorld.net server game"] [Site "www.ChessWorld.net "] [Date "2005.04.07"] [Round "NA"] [White "psalcido"] [Black "4/2/05UNDEFEATED*O-O"] [Result "1-0"] [Termination "Black king mated"] [Mode "ICS"] [DateLastMove "2005.4.10"] [Board "1279348"] 1.c4 e5 2.g3 d5 3.cxd5 Qxd5 4.Nc3 Qxh1

Image of Position after 4. ... Qxh1
This is not good. The main problem here is that I have no working resign button. As we will all see, I have learned my lesson. I have decided never to use the resign button again. One thing that really cuts me an opportunity is the fact that my opponent never castles. If he had taken out just a little bit of time to do so, his win would have been an easy one. 5.Nf3 Bh3 6.d3 Bxf1 7.Kd2 Qg2 8.Ne4 Bb4+ 9.Kc2

Image of Position after 9. Kc2
I felt that there were some better moves here, and my opponent could have done a far better job by trying to trade Queens. Being that far ahead in material, I would have had little chance to come back. But, as it is, I get some opportunities, and I think that I do decently to pick up on them. Bxe2 10.Qxe2 f5 11.Neg5 e4 12.Ne5

Image of Position after 12. Ne5
At this point, I am beginning to realize that my forward position may give me some tactical advantage. Many times I have done chess problems where the only advantage involved forward Knights. I am definitely excited at this point. There are certain patterns that you notice when looking at tactical situations, and that is that most tactics exist only because you have well placed pieces. This is one of those games. exd3+ 13.Nxd3+ Ne7 14.Nxb4 Nd7

Image of Position after 14. ... Nd7
I believe that my opponent might be feeling a bit of pressure at this point, but I must not let him castle. If he does, then many tactical opportunities are completely removed from my arsenal, and either rook would end up on an open file. I do the only thing that I can see that might work. There are many threats on the board after my next move. I tried and tried and tried to come up with a good set of moves to help out black here, but was unable to come up with anything substantial. 15.Ne6 Rc8 16.Nxg7+ Kf7 17.Qe6+ Kf8 18.Qxd7 Qxf2+ 19.Bd2

Image of Position after 19. Bd2
Here Black gives me a series of checks, that actually only work to improve my position and give me better chances of winning. After this set of moves, which is shown in the next position image, you can see that black is pretty much completely stifled. I got a little over agressive at times, but my opponent was unable to capitalize. Better Strategy would have helped here. Qc5+ 20.Bc3 Qf2+ 21.Kb3 Kf7 22.Qe6+ Kf8

Image of Position after 19. Bd2
And here is the position after the last check. At this point, there is nothing that black can do without losing a lot of material, and probably the game. Of course, never resign, because you never know. That is my new motto. Well, enjoy, and hopefully I'll get to show you some of my brilliant losses as well. 23.Re1 Rg8 24.Qxe7# {Black king mated} 1-0

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Playing Chess without Resign Button

The greatest thing just happened to me, and it is something that you get used to when using Linux based browsers. My resign button on letsplaychess.com does not work from home. BTW, over the next few days, I will post some of my HORRIFIC losses on the server. Knights, I invite you to laugh with comic abandon to the things that I will prepare for your viewing. The reason for these horrific losses is that I choose random openings to play. Openings that I don't know all that well, so that I can more easily find my weaknesses in opening play. Also so that I can toss my AMAZING losses into Crafty. Trust me, there is nothing better than what I'm going to offer over the next few weeks. Oh, it's hilarious. I lose some BAD.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Correspondence Chess

I have just started playing Correspondence chess publicly, and while I just grabbed my first win, it looks as if some bad opening play as black with a QGA is going to bring me down to size right away. The great thing about these correspondence games is that sometimes you are coming back to a position you don't remember, forcing you to reformulate a plan for the position, and to decide what's appropriate. It also enables your calculation skills by doing the same, and by giving you lots of time to work out calculations in any position. My first game was a basic blunder by my opponent on move 19, after following more than 10 moves of variations into the sicilian. Perhaps I can convince more Knights to join our cause in some of these games. He found my blog quite easily.

ChessBase article: No draws in Sophia

One of the major drawbacks to studying Grandmaster level games today is filtering out the massive number of early draws that occur. These are annoying and are bad for the popularity of chess within the chess community. Commenting on an April 1st article, Chessbase releases the emails of readers who do think that an article that the Sophia tournament would actually ban draws. First, banning draws without repetition, or purely drawn positions should be made illegal because communicating at the chessboard is against FIDE and USCF rules. Therefore, any offer of a draw by any method of communication should be considered illegal. Second, this article was released on April Fools day, but it is completely and totally TRUE, that's right, they are actually forbidding draws and all drawn positions will be determined by an arbiter with the assistance of a grandmaster. I can't wait to get my hands on the PGN set from the tournament. There should be some interesting endgames that we normally wouldn't see, and some excellent tactical possibilities that are completely missed because of the number of draws that normally occur. Not to say that grandmasters can't easily create drawn positions, but that hopefully this will reduce the number of draws in Grandmaster chess by 10-15%, if not more. This is an exciting day, people. When the full PGN set comes out, I will make sure that I post a copy of it here somehow, but only if it's interesting. Happy Hunting.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Database of Errant Knight Games

I have been doing something that I now think might be incomprehensible. I have been keeping a database of Errant Knight games. It is in Scid (.si3) format, and I have only stored five games so far (whenever one is posted to someones site), but I have failed to ask permission to do so. Even if they are in the public after having been blogged, I would like to implore among the Knights, does anyone take offense to me doing this? In order to make this fair, and to give a full description of exactly what I do, whenever a game is blogged up on someones web site, I go ahead and copy the PGN and paste it into Scid, then save it in a database that I have named 'ErrantKnights'. I would like to make this database available to anyone that would like it, BUT ONLY IF they are an Errant Knight AND they have at least one game stored in the database. In addition, I will make available all games that I have played and stored since I joined the Errant Knights on Yahoo! games (I play against ChessMaster at home a lot, but transfering those games over to Scid is no fun), and if I ever start playing on FICS, I will submit those games for viewing as well. Because of the fact that all who wish to play against you would certainly love to get your hands on these databases, I will not allow them into the public domain. I will keep them safe and sound, and all requests for them will be completed by email to only the errant knights. I will only email to links provided on the errant knight pages, and therefore nobody can try to convince me that they are an errant knight through email to access the databases. Currently, I only have games by Pawn Sensei, Celtic Death, and Tempo Schlucker in the database. I am not personally analyzing these games to get an edge against you, I am just storing them for the sake of storing them, and to perhaps find tactical strikes in them to put up on the web page (not the entire game, just the position where the tactics occur). I have not analyzed any of the games for player weaknesses, but I do enjoy looking towards our successes, game score graphs, and player rating graphs. Therefore, if you ever want access to the database, please feel free to begin posting games to your blog. If not, simply don't post games here. If you want all of your games removed from my personal database, please feel free to contact me, and I will promptly remove all of your games from the database. If you would like a PGN and score graph post Craftnalysis, then let me know, and perhaps I can do that for you, but realize that my time is limited. BTW, as a side note, I'm going to redo problems 301-400 over the next few days. Don't ask.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

About my Blogging Images

Recently there was a question about the way that I placed images within my code. My attempt to explain it in a post was poorly recieved by the code for posting comments, so I'll try again right here, and that way, I'll know in the preview how it looks. First, how do I create my images. I'm using Linux, which you can consider less powerful in usability, but, hey, I think I'm doing fine. First, I created all of the images on this site in GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program). Powerful piece of code, if I do say so myself. I'm quite fond of it, especially the fact that it's free. OK, so, I open SCID and put it to the position that I want to pull, then I go into GIMP and select "File->Acquire Screenshot" and select SCID (Think Print Screen in Windows). Then, I cut out what I want, and create a new image with the cut out piece. GIMP can be hard to use, but learning it is WORTH IT in every way. I've just started, and I've already created these nice images here, that aren't quite professional, but to toot my own horn, I think that they are quite good. If you don't have GIMP (and I don't know if a Windows version exists), then paint can be used to cut out the part you want, no problem, but you are on your own to get it converted to JPEG, PNG, or GIF. GIMP does this automatically (Did I ever mention that GIMP is free, another reason not to use windows). Then, I upload the images to www.flickr.com. This needs no explanation. Finally, I need to get the image into the website. The first time that I posted from flickr, it put in some SHNAZZY code to set the image to the right of the text. I didn't create it, but I made some modifications. In order to get it in, you need the exact address of the image off of flickr. To do this, simply go into my photos, and right click on the image, and select "View Image". Next, you add in the following code on "Edit HTML" in the blogger window: <div style="float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"> <img src="IMAGE ADDRESS" alt="" style="border: solid 2px #000000;" /> </div> Of course, this could all be completed by going into your template and adding a new style class: div.image_store_class { float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; } div.image_store_class img { border:2px solid black; } and then using the code: <div class="image_store_class"> <img src="IMAGE ADDRESS" alt="" /> </div> Now, you need to type in the paragraph that you want immediately after the last </div>, looking like this... <div class="image_store_class"> <img src="IMAGE ADDRESS" alt="" /> </div> This is the text that I want to be written directly next to the image in my blog. Nothing too fancy, just some basic HTML stuff. I haven't done the CSS tricks that I described above yet in my template, but as you can see from my page, I have changed one or two little items here and there to modify it's look. Well, now that I'm done with that, problems 301-400 are going very poorly up to question 340 with about 20% completion. Boy, if I ever get good at these problems I'm going to be a force. That's what this is about, right!?! Enjoy, I hope to see some posts similar to these, and I want tactics problems out of our games! Posting what Crafty has found and the positions that it suggests has been a blast. Enjoy!