Showing posts with label games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label games. Show all posts

Sunday, September 11, 2016

War for the Overworld

War for the Overworld is a great game, a modern face-lift for the old Dungeon Keeper 2. I enjoy it immensely. It supports 1920 x 1080 resolution and works great on Windows 10. I believe they are taking it in new and interesting directions, while remaining true to the original spirit of DK2. It is well-worth the purchase price.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I Love Chess

I love chess because it is pure. No B.S., just mathematical truth. There is a queer beauty in it.

The alternative to chess, doing what many others do, which is to say, sitting around gossiping, seems pointless and rather debasing as well. At least with chess, one exercises the mind.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Grobbing Around

The Grob is particularly effective against the English. Throws the Englishman for a loopity-loop-de-loop.

[Event "Live Chess"]
[White "anon"]
[Black "igor"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1451"]
[BlackElo "1354"]
[TimeControl "12|0"]
[Termination "igor won by checkmate"]

1.c4 g5 2.Nc3 Bg7 3.d4 g4 4.e4 d6 5.Nge2 Nf6 6.Ng3 h5 7.Be2 Nbd7 8.Nf5 Rg8 9.Nxg7+ Rxg7 10.O-O c5
 11.d5 Ne5 12.Bg5 Nh7 13.Bh4 Ng5 14.f4 gxf3 15.Bxf3 Ngxf3+ 16.Rxf3 Bg4 17.Qa4+ Bd7 18.Qd1 Nxf3+ 19.Qxf3 Bg4 20.Qf2 Bh3
 21.Bg3 h4 22.gxh3 hxg3 23.hxg3 Qd7 24.g4 O-O-O 25.Kh2 Rh8 26.Rg1 Rxg4 27.Ne2 Rxe4 28.Rg3 Rxc4 29.Qxf7 Rc2 30.Rg8+ Rxg8
 31.Qxg8+ Kc7 32.Qg2 Qb5 33.Nc3 Rxg2+ 34.Kxg2 Qxb2+ 35.Kg3 Qxc3+ 36.Kg4 Qe5 37.h4 c4 38.h5 c3 39.h6 c2 40.h7 c1=Q
 41.h8=Q Qxh8 42.Kg3 Qe5+ 43.Kf3 Qce3+ 44.Kg2 Q5g3+ 45.Kf1 Qef2# 0-1

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ainshent and Justified

Some chess openings are ainshent and justified. Sometimes I feel guided as I play them. I have an intuitive feel for what the objectives are. Does my opponent? Sometimes I find my opponent does not have a plan at all. They bounce from one tempo to the next, looking for tactical gotcha's. That is a cheap, frivolous way to play. That is how I know that they do not take the game seriously. They might glance at the board over a coffee. But they are not really studying the game, not like I am. Not many players, I find, bother going deep. I immerse myself in some positions. I reach a point where I am guided, by logic, perhaps. But I can almost feel the hand of a master on my shoulder and his breath whispering against my ear, "No, not there. Over here, you see... Yes, it is clear... They have overlooked... They are not prepared for..." It is pleasant and comforting.

When I was a boy, my older brother talked like an advanced player when he discussed chess. He introduced words he never used outside the context of chess. He had absorbed a certain vocabulary from chess books and magazines. I, in turn, absorbed from him second-hand the same words, ideas, and attitudes, becoming the logical chessplayer. Perhaps I project such words in, say, the spectral form of GM Tartakower, who was such a good-looking grandmaster, judging by Wikipedia's photo. It would be nice to conjure up such a presence for consultation, I should think.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Age of Titans Works in Linux Under Wine

I was surprised to find that Age of the Titans, a classic Windows game, really does work in Linux using Wine. As far as I'm concerned, they just don't make video games like they used to. I'm a creature of habit and remain loyal to some of the old video games. Upon reflection, all the games I like are old. Chess is the oldest of them all, but Dungeon Crawl is certainly no spring chicken and is based on something even older, Rogue.

I have a purchased copy of both Age of Mythology and Age of the Titans. Like many charming old video games, they are available for peanuts on E-bay or Amazon. One can always purchase an old game for a fraction of the price of a new one. I think I bought my copies for about $5-15, tops, including shipping. Of course, I use some sort of No-CD patch in order to remove the copy protection, because I find the games virtually unplayable otherwise. I don't mind paying for software, but I can't be bothered shuffling a CD around, and copy protection also interferes with Wine on Linux.

I plan to burn a DVD with everything needed to install and enhance Age of the Titans. I think that will be a time-saver if I ever need to install it again, which I think is quite likely in the years to come.

I like to use a lot of enhancements from Age of Mythology Heaven. There are some very talented gamers in the world that have no problem developing enhancements for a game for free. I suppose I'm no different in that regard. There is a delight to be had in creation.

One of the problems in Linux has always been a lack of games, when compared to Windows, but Wine helps bridge that gap. I am pleased I won't have to keep a silly Windows XP system alive just to play a game.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Games that I Love

I despair of my blitz chess capability. I just can't seem to pull moves out my hat fast enough to win. Even when I achieve a winning game in the opening, which happens enough times for my satisfaction, I still lose, either on time or due to oversight. I wonder if I may be in a downward spiral due to the aging process. I've never been very good at blitz, but I seem to be getting worse.

Perhaps I should stay with correspondence chess, in which time is not a factor at all. That has been my preference. Another format I like is the long game, at least 15 | 10 (15 minutes and 10 bonus seconds per move) or more. I need time to work out all the obvious things. My mind is simply not gifted in the way that a grandmaster's certainly is. I know very well that some individuals can glance at a game and work out the best move in mere seconds. I have a slower algorithm.

I've been pleased with Wesnoth multiplayer since I learned all of its many quirks, social and technical. It is impossible to have a good game on an average Internet connection. One needs wide pipes. I can only play it at some locations. I would like to inspect Wesnoth's source code one day and fix a number of rough edges, but if it is in written in C, that is a deterrent. I've never liked C. I do not think C is human-friendly. I like human-friendly languages that are verbose and easy to use. I always associate "C" with "Cryptic." I know that it is half as efficient as assembler, and for that reason preferred by some, but I think modern processors can handle a bit of inefficiency in the source code. Besides, human-friendly languages continue to improve their efficiency, and their payoff is that source code that is easy to understand is also easy to maintain and enhance.

I have given Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup a rest, but intend to come back to it some day. I'm irritated that Ubuntu never has the latest version. I always have to add the Stone Soup repository. I find Ubuntu extremely conservative where new versions of games are concerned.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Forced Moves in Chess

Forced moves have strong appeal to beginners. I have noticed they will always check, when they see a check, or choose another type of forcing move, when there is one. I smile when a novice checks me and allows me time to improve my King's position. Analysis is essential to determining whether such moves are beneficial. All forced lines must be analyzed to some kind of conclusion.

Some people are faster at analysis, because they have innate talent. It is often not possible to defeat a player with a faster "processor," so to speak, except in a long or correspondence game. I consider myself slow at analysis, and that is why I prefer long games to blitz. I do not think it is possible to improve much at blitz. One has the hardware or one doesn't. I do think it is possible to get better at long games, in which both players have adequate time to prioritize and then analyze the possible moves.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Grob is Over

I used to play the Grob (1. g4) often, when I was studying it, and was able to achieve many wins against higher-rated players with it, but I perceive that the opening has been over-analyzed. Too often do players have a ready response against it, and that I think makes a difficult opening nigh impossible.

I actually have achieved better results with the obscure and universally scorned Barne's Defense (1. f3) than with the Grob. A number of players waste time during the game pondering a sortie with their Queen against my kingside or actually performing it with dismal results.

While I appreciate that the Grob is difficult to play, it receives what seems to me fanatical and unreasoning hatred from some quarters. I have read "refutations" of the Grob many times that failed to persuade me. I maintain the opening is sound and cannot be refuted. As with other unpopular openings, a draw can be achieved if both players play precise moves. I have seen 1. g4 d5 2. h3 e5 3. Bg2 Nc6 set forth as being better for Black. I would counter with 4. c4 Be6 5. cxd5 Bxd5 6. Bxd5 Qxd5 7. Nf3 and now the position seems to me by a slight degree to favor White, which stands to gain a tempo with Nc3, unless Black opts to trade a bishop for a knight (recapture with dxc3, and Black gains a tempo via O-O-O, but White's King has a good post at c2, and I like White's chances).

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ooze Mini-Campaign by SpenceLack (Wesnoth)

The Ooze Mini-Campaign by SpenceLack has to be the best add-on campaign for Wesnoth yet. It's easy, funny and fun, just the sort of the game I like, although replay value is limited. However, "Ooze" stands out for its originality and wit, and I had more fun playing that easy campaign than all the others. I think that other campaign designers could learn a thing or two from SpenceLack about writing and campaign design. I often find the storyline in other campaigns tedious and skip past them after reading a few lines. Typically we have the same old saw along the lines of "I'm a-gonna getcha fer what you dun ta my folks!" "Oh no, you ain't, I'm gunna getchu first!" "Oh yeah?" "Yeah!" That gets old after a few repetitions, although to be sure it's the standard fantasy storyline. "Ooze" made me smile and appealed to my sense of perversity, and I looked forward to the continuing story with anticipation and curiosity. I was also delighted to find a new race, the ooze, a very interesting one, although limited in advancement capability.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Wesnoth 1.10.6 - Northern Rebirth - Stolen Gold - Bug - Can't Win

In Wesnoth's "Northern Rebirth" scenario, "Stolen Gold," the scenario objectives have a bug in the code. The player is supposed to win by resisting until turn 37. Instead, on turn 37, the player is defeated, contrary to the scenario objectives, which clearly state that only the death of the three unique commanders can cause defeat. I gave up on "Northern Rebirth," because there's no defeating the vast troll hordes without many hundreds of gold in one's purse, and mine only had about 200 g.p.

So in Wesnoth Solitary, I am stymied by trolls of one variety, and in Wesnoth Multiplayer, trolls of quite a different kind.

I suppose it's just about time for me to capitalize on having Kubuntu 13.04 by installing the development version of Wesnoth. It wouldn't work on Linux Mint 14, but I have a feeling that it will work on Kubuntu 13.04.

Wesnoth seems about the best game around for Linux. I've tried plenty of others, but Wesnoth is really fantastic. It exceeds expectations for a free open source game. In many ways I like Wesnoth better than Crawl. For one thing, Crawl is handicapped by a design flaw that the developers refuse to remedy--the game restarts at ground zero after a character's death. I coded a batch file to circumvent this undesirable behavior. Wesnoth's developers wisely opted not to go that route. They have an auto-save feature which saves the player a lot of time and trouble and compensates for the inevitable unfairness and arbitrary nature of the game. The point of a game is of course to have fun.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Unorthodox Anti-Sicilian

I love "my" new pet line against the Sicilian, although I have to place the possessive adjective in quotes, because with my lowly rating and modest abilities, I have never invented a chess opening in my life that could actually win games on a consistent basis. I observed 2. Na3 in a game played by a grandmaster at a tournament, and it has been my stock reply to the Sicilian with increasing frequency for one reason--I win games with it.

[Event "Live Chess"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2013.01.23"]
[White "igor"]
[Black "A. Nony Mouse"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1486"]
[BlackElo "1456"]
[TimeControl "8|5"]
[Termination "igor won by resignation"]

1.e4 c5 2.Na3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4 4.Bc4 a6 5.c3 Nc6 6.d4 b5 7.Bd5 Bb7 8.Nf3 Nf6 9.Bg5 Nxd5 10.exd5 Na5 11.d6 c4 12.O-O Bd5 13.Nc2 Nc6 14.Ne3 Bxf3 15.Qxf3 f6 16.dxe7 Bxe7 17.Bf4 O-O 18.Qg4 Re8 19.Nf5 Bf8 20.Nh6+ 1-0

What's nice about this game is that Black played reasonable moves, with no outright obvious blunders until the very end, although he did make mistakes that allowed me to gain tempos. Notice how I am constantly developing my pieces while Black fiddles with his knight and bishop and pawns with little to show for it.

The moves I am proudest of are 9. Bg5! and 18. Qg4!, which positioned the Queen just right. There may be refutations to each of these moves, as that is always a possibility with my games, but I don't know whether many players could find them in 8|5 blitz. I'm pretty sure that 9. .. Nxd5 was very bad, although not an obvious blunder--at least at my level of play, in blitz--but it lost time and allowed me to push the doubled pawn to d6, which was bad positionally for Black. Players are too eager to trade knights for bishops, based upon the stock wisdom that bishops are more powerful than knights. Yes, but. As dear old Chigorin knew, there are a lot of but's!Post a Comment
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Unorthodox Response to the Sicilian

If one seeks a sound yet unorthodox reply to the Sicilian, here 'tis, illustrated by my latest 15/10:

[Event "Live Chess"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2013.01.xx"]
[White "igor"]
[Black "A. Nony Mouse"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1583"]
[BlackElo "1575"]
[TimeControl "15|10"]
[Termination "igor won by checkmate"]

1.e4 c5 2.Na3 a6 3.c3 d5 4.e5 Nc6 5.d4 Bf5 6.Bd3 e6 7.Bxf5 exf5 8.Nc2 Qb6 9.Qf3 Nge7 10.Ne2 cxd4 11.cxd4 Rc8 12.O-O Nxe5 13.dxe5 Rxc2 14.Nc3 d4 15.Qd3 Rxc1 16.Raxc1 dxc3 17.Rxc3 Nc6 18.Rd1 Qd8 19.Qf3 Qc8 20.e6 fxe6 21.Qh5+ g6 22.Qg5 Bg7 23.Rc2 O-O 24.h4 Qe8 25.h5 e5 26.h6 Bf6 27.Qe3 Nd4 28.Rc7 Qb5 29.b3 Rd8 30.Kh1 Qb6 31.Qc3 Nb5 32.Qc4+ Kh8 33.Rxd8+ Bxd8 34.Qf7 Qf6 35.Qxh7# 1-0Post a Comment
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Chess Book

Over the years, I've developed offbeat chess openings to break my opponents out of book early, because I haven't the patience or desire to book up on the Ruy Lopez, Queen's Gambit or Sicilian, and would much rather play my own game using my own ideas.

As White, I play either 1. c4, b4, g4, or e4. I like b4 and g4, these textbook illustrations if not exaggerations of hypermodern theory. The more the masters and Wikipedia criticize the flank openings, the more determined I am to play them. But I also like to revive ancient Classical openings that have fallen out of fashion in the modern chess scene to the extent that no one even remembers that they are actually sound openings rather than mere blunders. I am talking about Chigorin's Defense and Bishop's Defense, two of my favorites, but I also like the Brooklyn Defense, an obscure variation of Alekhine's 1. .. Nf6 which I think has merit if for no other reason than because nobody seems to know what to do against it.

If e4, then if Black responds e5, I play d4 for its novelty value, because few people recall the antique Center Game. Quite often players will try to hang on to the pawn after capture, which is a mistake due to the devastating c3. If on the other hand, my Queen is permitted to occupy d4, then that is often a slight advantage, and I follow up with Bc4 and rapid castling unless another opportunity presents itself. At any rate the Center Game avoids all bookish nonsense from Black, because no one analyzes nor often plays the Center Game anymore in the modern era. Inaccurate play by Black can be dangerous to his longevity in the Center Game. However, if both sides play correctly, the Center Game is your quick and easy passport to the middle game. This is why the masters dislike it, because there is a feeling that White should strive for an advantage in the opening. A Queen on d4 is only a slight advantage, if indeed it is any advantage at all. The novelty value is my angle, along with breaking out of book. I don't play in the upper echelons of the chess world, far from it, so I don't have the same concerns as the masters. That is also why I pay no heed to chess authorities that dismiss the Grob. For the record, there's a chess authority that endorses the Grob, an International Master by the name of Michael Basman. So there, chess snobs.

If Black attempts the Sicilian, then I have another obscure novelty, Na3, which stupefies every player, but is quite sound. The ideas are to break out of book early while avoiding committing to any specific plan and get the Queen's knight developed to a square that is well-suited against the Sicilian, while leaving open the possibility of c3. Note that with Black's pawn at c5, there is little danger of the knight being captured by Black's bishop before it relocates to an advantageous square. Those who play the Sicilian must be broken out of book early, I find, because their book knowledge tends to be deep. I have never found anyone to refute Na3, though I do lose due to my own middle game blunders. Changing one seemingly trivial move in the opening really does throw many players for a loop, forcing them to consume more time and energy in the opening than would otherwise be the case. Their instincts urge them to refute my stupid move, but how?

If Black attempts the French, then I'll play along for a few moves, with an eye toward placing my Queen on g5 before laying my knight down on f3. This was Nimzovich's idea, and it seems logical, as the kingside is Black's weakness in the French. Most French players don't seem to have prepared for this, and I don't like bothering with a laborious defense of the pawn on d4. I'd rather go straight for the kill if at all possible. I will be the first to admit that I have had the most difficulty against the French Defense of all openings. The Sicilian I enjoy playing against, but with the French, I really have to think.

If g4, I am playing the positional Grob, to be followed by h3 if need be to protect the spike. The tactical Grob that sacrifices the Spike is not to be countenanced, for a refutation has been published on Wikipedia, whose authors despise anything new, and want all players to open with e4, d4, or c4 only. Opening snobs like to sneer at the Grob, which is why it must be played against them. Breaking snobs of their prejudices is a civic duty that must be performed by every conscientious player.

If c4, I have no mind of the English, but instead intend a delayed Grob with g4 and Bg2, breaking out of Wikipedia's cozy lines, with the added advantage that Black is often reacting as if to the English, and is startled by a novelty, and d5 may no longer be an easy option for him. If however Black responds Nf6, then White can play h3 prior to g4, or else transpose to the Queen's Gambit.

If b4, I'm aiming for the Polish, a positional slow opening that gives about equal chances to both sides, but White has the advantage if Black is ignorant of it. White may achieve a slight positional advantage from his advanced Queenside pawns, but exploiting this is no small task. White must avoid leaving a hole at e4 that may be occupied by Black's knight.

As Black, against e4, I play either Nf6, g5, e5, c6, or d5.

d5 is the Center Counter of course, and I will attempt to capture with the knight rather than the Queen, because that is common sense. I seldom play this anymore, though it is good once in a while against your defensive players.

If Nf6, I'm aiming for the Brooklyn Defense, an obscure opening scorned by everyone except those I defeat. If e5, then I replace the knight to its former position on g8, leaving White astounded. This wins some of my games, I swear, on time alone, White staring in disbelief for longer than is prudent, either on this move or on the ones that follow. Many White players think they can obtain an advantage building a pawn wall on f4, e5, and d4, but they are mistaken, though the game gets sharp for Black, and I am known to make costly mistakes. To d4, Black replies d3. To f4, Black replies g5, which gains time, because White is not apt to take the offered pawn, which can advance to g5 to drive White's knight away on the following move. Then I am in familiar Grob territory, while White is lost at sea, apt to lose on time or perish on some rash attack.

If White declines e5 against Nf6, then I do not permit easy transposition to familiar lines, but instead maintain our journey into the chess wilderness. I like to respond to Nc3 with d5 every time, and e5 can then be met by either Ne4 or d5 with good results.

Against anything except d4 or Nf3, g5 heralds the Macho Grob, seldom seen, which is as sound as the day is long, yet many players will launch a rash attack against it for no good reason, giving me free tempos or even losing their Queen as a result. The idea is to shift to a Kingside attack at some point in time, with the advanced pawns providing a head start on that line.

I like to play an occasional e5 against e4, which is standard, but if White pulls the King's Gambit, I default to Fischer's reply, d3, which quite neutralizes all his thunder. I have no desire to learn all the nonsense in the King's Gambit, which is just pure memorized tactics all the way to the end game. If Nf3, then I will reply Nc6, and if he initiates the Ruy Lopez with Bb5, I will play Bishop's Defense, Nd5, which not many people know about, but often gives me a good game. Otherwise, I will play a boring conservative game following classic principles.

Against d4, I like d5, and against the Queen's Gambit, I like Chigorin's Defense, Nc6, because Chigorin knew what he was about, and many White players don't know what to do against it. Another good answer is b5, the Polish.

Against your aggressive young prodigy, nothing answers like the Caro-Kann, c3 to his e4, against which he is liable to break himself. It is a solid defense, and flexible enough to react to anything White may have in store. I have had good luck with it, but it almost never leads to a quick victory, and has less novelty value than other answers. Most players have stock replies to the Caro-Kann and need not think for the first several moves. I like to play Caro-Kann most of all when I am under the weather or tired, because it is the one opening in chess that holds your hand and leads you along a safe path, since almost all the opening moves are intuitive, requiring little effort on the part of Black. The only thing I dislike about the Caro-Kann is that many players know it through and through, so the novelty value is limited.

I never play the Sicilian or the French, because it is against my religion, but I don't hold anything against those that do. As a matter of fact, I have an easy time against the Sicilian, because 2. Na3 befuddles most of 'em. Against the French, I have not yet found a good, solid yet obscure line to counter with, but old Nimzovich had some good thoughts along the lines of a kingside attack, and I also like to play f4 on occasion, to give Black something else to think about. I believe the main thing against the French is to develop rapidly, sacrifice a few pawns if necessary on the Queenside, and hammer Black on the kingside.

The Pirc, Benko's Opening, and other modern systems involving a fianchetto I find unambitious, preferring aggressive openings like g4 or b4, which seize more territory from the get-go and give the opponent something else to worry about besides just a bishop. I always play the Macho Grob against Benko's and the English, without fail, to illustrate my belief.Post a Comment
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Exotic Chess Openings

I play exotic and off-the-wall chess openings that have no business ever winning, yet somehow I pull it off with a combination of luck and inspired idiocy. The Polish and the Grob are cases in point. I also like the Latvian Gambit for Black and the Brooklyn Defense. There are openings that can destroy an opponent's brain by the weight of their stupidity, and the Brooklyn Defense is such a one, where Black resets his position on the second move. I am sure that most opponents assume that Black is a duffer at that point and that their game is already won. The Brooklyn Defense is very deceptive in leading White along this primrose path where all appears easy because he's been given, after all, an additional move and a half. Against the Queen's Gambit, I like Chigorin's Defense, playing it almost exclusively for the novelty value, because I did not discover it until this year.Post a Comment
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Polish

Lately I have been winning a lot of chess games with the Polish. I think I like it even better than the Grob. Seems like I'm often fighting just to stay in the game with the Grob. The Polish is much more forgiving, where the Grob is sharp. However, the Grob remains a useful surprise tactic, especially for speed chess where someone that knows the opening cold like me can get an advantage.Post a Comment
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tired of Chess Cube

Chess Cube has been going downhill for a long time. There have been no new features in at least a year, but what's worse is that the game history prior to March 2012 was deleted for all users. I had a lot of games stored in my paid VIP account that were lost as a result of their incompetence. So, that nixed any chance I would renew my VIP membership. How can I trust a game site that loses my games? I also experienced random disconnects on a sporadic basis on chess cube. I guess the straw that broke the camel's back was that a moderator in one of the chat rooms decided to use his power as a soapbox for all his backward notions on gays. I don't need to pay a membership fee to be insulted. I was reluctant to leave Chess Cube because I liked the design and homey, small-town feel of the site, but I really don't see that I have any reasonable choice in the matter at this point. Time to buy a membership at another chess site and forget about Chess Cube. I am purchasing a year's membership on today. Some businesses need to learn that insulting and offending gays is not good business. I am more than happy to vote with my dollars if it will help with the learning process.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

All is Fair in Chess

One reason I love chess is that all is fair in chess. Think about that for a moment. How often is everything fair? In chess, both sides are about as evenly balanced as can be achieved in a turn-based game. By saying chess is fair, I mean that any opening, strategy, or tactic, if over the board, is fair. Off the board, there are disagreeable things a player can do to make the environment more obnoxious for his opponent--these things I disapprove of. But anything played on the board is fair. Thus, I do not sympathize with sore losers who find fault in their opponent for winning based upon so-called "luck." I will tell you what "luck" means in chess. If your opponent wins on luck, it is because you missed something. You were at fault, period, and you deserve to lose every single time that you lose, and you deserve to win every time that you win. Therefore it is contemptible to be a sore loser in such a game, certainly online where each player has maximum control over their environment, and the other player's influence on one's environment is negligible or nonexistent.

The other thing I love about chess is that it is universal and timeless. Many people around the world play chess, and it is possible to find a game anywhere that you go. Chess has been around for centuries and found its way into history. As for the future, computers be damned, chess will never die. Unless our intellects evolve to match that of computers, chess will always be complicated enough to challenge some of the finest minds in the world, because even they make mistakes.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

By the Skin of My Teeth

I lost some material in this opening, a hybrid Marshall Defense, but it proved to be an extravagant gambit resulting in early victory. My best move was b5, on move 14, sacrificing a pawn in exchange for a devastating attack. Once I know my opponent is a pawn-grabber, then I will gladly feed them pawns. The object of chess is not to gather pawns, but to gather a King.

[White "anon"]
[Black "igor"]
[Result "0-1"]
[TimeControl "120+12"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 Bf5 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 Bb4 6. Qa4+ Nc6 7. Ne5 Bxc3+ 8. bxc3 O-O 9. Bxf6 Qxf6 10. Nd7 Qg6 11. Nxf8 Kxf8 12. Qa3+ Kg8 13. cxd5 exd5 14. O-O-O b5 15. Qc5 Rb8 16. a3 Na5 17. Qxd5 Bb1 18. Rd2 Nc4 19. Rb2 Nxb2 20. Kxb2 Qc2+ 21. Ka1 Qxc3+ 22. Kxb1 b4 23. e3 bxa3+ 24. Ka2 Qb2# 0-1
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


It is disconcerting that players that normally would never win against me are able to beat me on my bad days. My playing strength varies a great deal. I think it has to do with stamina and physical fitness. Chess is extremely demanding intellectually and even physically due to the great strain of making fast and accurate calculations in games that often permit less than twenty minutes per side. On certain days, I see many moves quickly, but on bad days, my thought processes slow down, with devastating impact to performance. I would characterize my strength as erratic.

I would like to be more consistent, of course, but there are many things one would like to happen. . . The best I can do is to manage, avoiding chess on my slow days and only playing when I feel strong.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Alekhine's Defense

I love Alekhine's Defense, specifically the Brooklyn Defense, which wins me games in part due to its obscurity. There is considerable shock value in resetting Black's position on the second move. It is quite natural for White to feel contempt for the opening, which apparently achieves nothing after the second move, but is the contempt justified? In the following game, my opponent underestimated it--and me--and was shocked to find himself on the losing end.

I am not sure whether I played the best moves in this game, but I have no complaint with the result. I would hazard a guess that my opponent played too passively. Alekhine's is a scrap, nothing else to say about it, and those who expect the initial peace and calm of something along the lines of a Benko's Opening are in for a surprise.

[White "anon"]
[Black "igor"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1856"]
[BlackElo "1882"]
[TimeControl "900"]

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Ng8 3. d4 d6 4. exd6 Qxd6

To recapture with a pawn is just too passive for Black in my opinion, although it may appeal to players of the Sicilian.

5. c4?

A mistake, in my opinion, albeit a tempting move for White because it resembles the usual pawn structure of the Queen's Gambit.

5. .. e5?!

I don't see why I can't play this move, but I have a strange feeling there could be a refutation out there. Until someone shows me the error of my ways, I intend to continue. Perhaps 6. d5 is White's best response, but I'm not quite sure yet.

6. Nf3? exd4!

White's center takes a hit. I believe I have at least equalized. White's pawn on c4 merely deprives his King's bishop of a good post. I actually tried 6. .. e4? in the past, but it's a bad idea to leave White's center intact, and defending the pawn on e4 is not really feasible.

7. Qxd4 Nc6 8. Qd3?

White would be better off trading Queens rather than giving me more tempos.

8. .. Bg4

No unnecessary pawn moves for me. After my first two 'crazy' moves, I adhere to the maxim of rapid development.

9. Nbd2?

Just too passive and reactionary. White needs to play bolder moves and sooner rather than later.

9. .. O-O-O!

Not looking good for White. I imagine he is sweating now.

10. Qxd6

Finally White wises up and gets rid of my irritating Queen.

10. .. Bxd6 11. Be2?

Again, just too passive. One does not win games through defense alone.

11. .. Nf6 12. O-O Rhe8

My development is complete, but White has a bishop stuck on the bottom rank and his rooks are idle.

13. Re1 Nb4!

Threatening a fork.

14. Nd4

I found this position complicated and spent three minutes pondering it, which seems excessive. I hadn't drunk enough tea this morning. White's potential Bxg4+ kept coming up again and again in my calculations. In the end, I decided I had to take the bishop and be done with it or else risk giving White a critical tempo.

14. .. Bxe2 15. Rxe2 Bf4!

My dark-squared bishop was idle, so I found employment for it. White's weak spot is clearly the knight on d2. White wants very much to move it to a more profitable square, but I do not wish to allow that. If 16. N2f3, then 16. .. Rxe2 17. Nxe2 Rd1+ and mate in the next move.

16. Rxe8 Rxe8 17. Kf1 Nd3 18. N2f3?

My opponent was moving too fast, angling for a time advantage, since I was down by four minutes. 18. N4f3 seems better for White. 18. .. Ne4 can be countered by 19. g3! and I don't get much more than a pawn for my trouble.

18. .. Bxc1 0-1

He could have played on, but I think he was annoyed at losing a piece to such an "inferior" opening. At any rate, with almost eight minutes remaining, I think I could have won. He challenged me to a rematch immediately after, but I don't like to play rematches immediately. I need downtime after a game to collect my thoughts. I like to engage in post-analysis of my games as well.

I must admit the chief appeal of Alekhine's for me is that it is not the Sicilian. Playing the most popular openings exposes one to prepared lines and novelties. Alekhine's lures White into playing Black's game. I feel that the Brooklyn Defense may be the optimal variation of the Alekhine's, if for no other reason than shock value and breaking out of book early. One of the things I never liked about the traditional Alekhine's was how White gets another free tempo (c4) and exiles Black's knight to Siberia over on b6, where it is of minimal use.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments
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