Archive for December, 2008

Kindred’s Special: Tidbits, Chess Quotes, A Lasker Legacy

December 29, 2008

My pal asks: “How can I improve my game? I study the combinations and I often discover in playing over the great games from the past the correct solution to tactical motifs but I have trouble achieving those positions that offer up such brilliant combinational opportunities.”
So I pulled out some of my chessbooks from my library: WINNING CHESS, C.J.S. PURDY–HIS LIFE, HIS GAMES AND WRITINGS, and EMANUEL LASKER–THE LIFE OF A CHESS MASTER by Dr. J. Hannak.

One way to discover the answer is to seek out the thoughts and writings of thinkers and I do not always go to the moderns or even to the highest rated players in history to find such an answer to an age old question, or; in this case a common enough condition that most amateurs if not all chess players face at some point in their development.

Winning Chess, authored by Irving Chernev and Fred Reinfeld, published by Simon and Schuster in 1948 for example says combinations can be broken down into simple and easily recognizable elements–the pin, the Knight fork, double attack, discovered check, and the double check. They then breakdown hundreds of positions illustrating those themes; added to this are a number of tidbits and quotes:

“Chess is as much a mystery as women–Purdy;
“The defensive power of a pinned piece is imaginary.”–Nimzowitsch;
“All combinations are based upon a double attack.”–Fine;
“Tactics is the most important element in the middle game'”–Tarrasch
“Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy.”–Tarrasch;
“No middle game combination–however complex–can be anything more than a network of elementary and compound smites.”–Purdy.

One of Lasker’s favorite lines: “Besides this fear of danger, There is no danger here; And he who fears danger, Does deserve his fear.”

Now, let me mention here something I have not really touched on before regarding my square count theory that was, afterall, initially a way to map the course of a game’s ups and downs using a bar graph of every 5 moves and try to understand how perhaps players like Capablanca and Alekhine determined a plan and course of action. I came up with this idea because I was a rebel and always was interested in how things worked and what made a few great players different from the flock of masters who never quite fit the mold of a Capablanca or Alekhine. In his book CHESS FUNDAMENTALS, I discovered Capablanca’s comment on compound development which laid the grass roots to my early thinking in forming square count.

In essence, one cannot play strictly by square count theory which is illustrated in several of my writings. There are other factors that I pointed to such as the idea of function as featured in Purdy’s writings. That is to say, a piece that is defensive and its role is to defend either a square, a pawn or piece. It is one of the key elements of by careful study of such books as WINNING CHESS or other more recent books that provide tactics galore or computer programmed lessons on tactics and strategy. The basic idea is to acquaint yourself with the types of positions that occur on the board. For the more experienced player who learns to envision possible ideal attacks what can be termed jump start action thoughts that asks the question: can I bring about this position without weakening my own game might be a key to part of a solution of achieving those positions that seem out of reach and troubling to my chess pal. This takes lots of practice and study of master games where one has time to think out such ideas which actually develop from the game score. Discovery of visualizing even a part of the planned action is a step to visualizing a combinative idea–can that piece or pawn defending be removed from its “defensive function”? Another element to consider is the role of exchange or whether to win the Exchange is prudent if it relinquishes dynamic imbalances in the position or enables the opposition to carry out a successful King hunt. Does this have an importance to square count theory? It does because part of the square count is to provide protection of inroads into one’s own position by enemy forces.  It is worth noting that every exchange has to be weighed in terms of gain of a tempo by one side or even by jump start of graduated tempi gains due to threats that requires pieces getting in each other’s way trying to defend. In this, a rule of Capablanca was to defend a threat with the least number of players necessary to achieve it.

Going back to the basic question at the beginning, it can be achieved by study that will foster improvement and chess savvy.

St. Petersburg 1909 was a great tournament held a century ago. It was at a time when a chess fever gripped the world of chess by the chess match between Lasker and Tarrasch where clubs, events, news coverage was rampant and such growth and interest spurred an abundance of new ideas, events, and opportunities for masters to compete and thus the St. Petersburg tournament brought together  19 among the best known masters of the day. The 18 round event saw the young Rubinstein and Lasker emerge tied for top honors with an equal 14.5-3.5 result. Lasker had won all 9 games as white and Rubinstein had the tiger by the tail whipping him in 40 moves in their individual contest. Lasker likewise lost his first encounters with Marshall and Tarrasch and subsequently never lost again to the trio which now included Rubinstein!

                White: Rubinstein           Black: Emanuel Lasker

                                      Queen’s Gambit Declined

1.d4  d5  2.Nf3  Nf6  3.c4  e6  4.Bg5 c5

Lasker considered chess a struggle; it included training his sights on the opponent rather than merely playing by rote a variety of book moves most likely in the repetoire of adversaries. He often took risks and considered it more advantage than not as his overall record of results bore out over his long career.

5.cxd5  exd5  6.Nc3  cxd4  7.Nxd4  Nc6?!

More appropo was simply …Be7 inorder to break the pin and avoid white’s next moves which would allow him more options to respond.

8.e3  Be7 9.Bb5!

Here is a point of Capablanca about compound development (getting close to the enemy guts) and my square count theory.

9…Bd7  10.Bxf6  Bxf6  11.Nxd5  Bxd4  12.exd4  Qg5  13.Bxc6  Bxc6 14.Ne3

Maybe Lasker saw this as a function weakness as the Knight has to defend the g2 square. Hence, on the surface it appears as though 14…0-0-0   15.0-0  Rhe8  16.Rc1!

Charles Warburton once noted that castling Q-side was dangerous because the King remains in the center complex.Black has the opportunity to gain time and decides to risk Q-side castling inorder to expedite his Rooks getting to the center files quickly. He can take the g-pawn as after Rg1 Qa5+ Qd2 Qxd2+ Kxd2 Be4 seems about equal. Lasker obviously wants to test his young opponent.

16…Rxe3  17.Rxc6+ bxc6 18.Qc1 Rxd4  19.fxe3  Rd7  20.Qxc6+ Kd8

White’s square count is going through the roof and leads Black now by 18/9, but most important is the fact that White dominates the position and has the beginnings of a strong attack. He now uses the Rook to cut off and lessen the power of the enemy Queen.

21.Rf4 f5  22.Qc5  Qe7

No help comes from 22…Rd1+ 23.Kf2 Rd2+ 24.Ke1!

23.Qxe7+ Kxe7  24.Rxf5  Rd1+ 25.Kf2  Rd2+ 26.Kf3 Rxb2 27.Ra5  Rb7  28.Ra6

Keeping the a-pawn under attack while cutting off any chance of the Black monarch to advance.

28…Kf8 29.e4  Rc7  30.h4  Kf7 31.g4  Kf8 32.Kf4  Ke7 33.h5 h6 34.Kf5 Kf7 35.e5  Rb7  36.Rd6  Ke7  37.Ra6 Kf7 38.Rd6  Kf8 39.Rc6 Kf7 40.a3 Black resigns  (1-0).

As some readers may like the Eng. D. notation, I present one of Herr Lasker’s victories with the White forces.

               White: Lasker             Black: Vidmar

                                 Ruy Lopez -Steinitz Var.

1.P-K4  P-K4  2.N-KB3  N-QB3  3.B-N5  P-Q3  4.P-Q4  B-Q2  5.N-B3  PxP 6.NxP  P-KN3

Lasker in the tmt. book says this is a new idea which doesn’t work out well because White can adopt a different strategy from the usual B-K2 to B-B1 to P-KN3 and B-N2 as previously adopted as a Black strategy and opening plan.

7.B-K3  B-N2  8.Q-Q2  N-B3

I planned to meet KN-K2 with P-KR4 > P-R5.

9.P-B3 0-0  10.0-0-0 P-QR3  11.Be2  P-QN4  12.P-KR4  N-K4 13.B-R6 N-B3 14.BxN  PxB  15.P-R5  P-B3  16.BxB  KxB  17.PxP  BPxP  18.N/4-K2  R-B2  19.QxQP  Q-N3  20.Q-Q4  P-B4  21.N-Q5  Q-N2  22.NxN  RxN 24.R-Q6 Resigns (1-0).

I mentioned C.J. S. Purdy with whom I had known when editor of the Chess Correspondent. He published Chess World which sometimes was spotty at best due to his desire to always write perfect articles. His book was a masterpiece and if you can obtain a copy of it, the wisdom and value to be gained from the experience will boost not only your skill but appreciation of the complexity that makes up this game CHESS!!

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Kindred’s Special: World Championship 6.5-4.5

December 16, 2008

Going back over the many world championship matches, most of which contained a minimum of 24 games as set up by FIDE after the fiasco Capablanca-Alekhine match that called for changes in the time frame so the public would not become bored and the news reporters lose interest and depart the scene, many numerous title fights since have taken place and you see where 24 games at least makes room for a comeback from a poor start by one of the combatants. The late American champion, Bobby Fischer, voiced concern and actually demanded changes claiming the 24 games was insufficient and wanted a set number of games to be won by either party before a victor was crowned.

The just finished World Championship match between India’s Vishy Anand and the Russian bear Vladimir Kramnik is a perfect example of why the 12-game match for the title is inadequate. Anand hit Kramnik with a host of innovative opening ideas and gained a 3-point edge in the lst half of the match. Kramnik started to find himself in the 2nd half but could not close the gap and overcome the poor start that saw 2 draws, a win by Anand, another draw and then a pair wins by Anand which gave him a 4.5-1.5 lead. Important is that the next 3 were drawn and Kramnik axed the next with final draw in the 11th round so that the 12th round was not necessary to declare a winner.

The point here that I make is that in the last phase, Anand won 0 and Kramnik was able to draw and to win one game. One might only look at the Karpov-Kasparov match where Karpov had only one win to be declared the winner and could not put Kasparov away. That match that lasted seemingly forever with Kasparov slowly picking up wins. That match was called due to an apparent Karpov illness by the FIDE President.

Anand-Kramnik was another in a long history of wonderful battles for the crown. Anand says it is basically about whether you can outfox the other guy and how you do so. And Kramnik says of the match that he felt like he was unarmed, that everywhere novelties were waiting for him in all the openings.

One thing is clear. If future matches are say 12-games, then both players may be faced with pressure not to fall too far behind in the score. Rebounding in short matches is really a mathematical probability once the crisis point is reached.

Kindred’s Special: What the Bible Tells Me

December 15, 2008

In plain language I am not pushing religion on anyone who reads this nor am I advocating what I write is truth, only the spirit within me that puts my fingers on the keys that type out my thoughts.

The Bible is full of stories, prophecies, poems, letters, prayers and declaration of God’s love. But, too, there is the Spirit of Life which I mean to say is the discovery of human experience and history that deals with both people and government. It answers the often times question: Why did God let this happen?

There are times in history when wars are waged to restore balance and peace among peoples. War should be the last resort but it is always evil that sets in motion the human Spirit to say: “Enough is enough.” And consequently, people within nations do battle to bring about peace. Where it ends is my looking at it all with utter sadness that sin cripples the body and mind, seeks to harden our Hearts and our Spirit.

Prayer is the communication, one on one, with our Lord. How do we pray, teach us to pray were requests for knowledge from the apostles of Jesus. Notice that when Jesus prayed, he always went off by himself for a quiet and deeply secret communication with the Father. In truth, prayer is the direct link with God. I believe it is a private matter and to pray openly among people or in group sessions is not a talk with our Lord.

We often hear the Christian desire for prayer in the schools. Is it any more valuable to hold group prayer than to go into a quiet place to pray out of sight of others? To me, prayer is a personal thing between myself and my Lord, not something to showcase for public applause or distain.

Jesus did not come to confront government and rulers. Read your Bible and see who he did confront both with anger and physical might.

Those who might wonder how to develop and grow in attaining the building blocks for a solid foundation and strong character that is fruitful, I believe you only need to kneel by your bed at night and ask the Lord to enrich your Spirit and grow in God’s Grace. That means reading the Bible and to practice for example the Ten Commandments to the best of your ability.

The Holy Spirit will become a part of you, and in studying his Word and discoveries made every day, the path of true Faith, will be a rich blessing not only for yourself but those you are privileged to be part of in the walk down the road of Life. That achievement is the true gift of our Father in Heaven and the fulfillment of his blessings!

In chess we find a game of conflict. Lets face it, the world would be a dull place without conflict. But the conflict on the board of 64 squares enlightens those who find it. Chess like love and music has the power to help make people happy.

Kindred’s Special: Where is America Headed?

December 13, 2008

America’s love affair with the plastic credit/debit cards reminds me of a runaway herd of cattle where the cattle stampede leads ever towards a cliff and no cowboys around to divert it. But this is just the tip of the abyss facing America. For whatever reason the heads of what used to be America’s pride and affluence have seen fit to ship much of our business and manufacturing overseas with little interest in the long term consequences. The computer and service community seem to believe that America has become a services industry where our population will survive on its hype. Small business has replaced the huge corporations as the prime mover of the workforce and importance in the minds of politicos. Nevermindthefact that much we require for our basic needs and security have been farmed out or sold to foreign interests. Our very security has been breached by foreign powers and even a major port in the hands of the Chinese.
The news coverage of FOX spends more time on discussing the murders, rapes, missing persons, political scandals and who knew what, when and….. while excluding topics of major importance and analysis that is needed to inform the viewers.

The high cost of gas has adversely led to a morass within the public psychic that has demented a whole generation into believing that the world is coming to an end. That is the worst and at the least it has caused Americans to tighten their belts and to pay down their debt burden which is a good thing. Still, it has caused some upheeaval in areas where now the danger faced is one of recession due to the cut back in spending.

Chesswise, it has no doubt hurt some of the chess in the school programs which USCF hoped to draw its future devotees and members. Certainly it will likely cause concern among the organizers of chess tournaments due to the higher and higher costs to participate. Perhaps it will depend upon the willingness and interest for the game by members and future devotees to embace the  USCF  by supporting it in these trying times. Failure to do so may well do as much to the demise of the interest for chess as has the wide spread use of the chess computer programs.

Kindred’s Special: I was right ahead of my brethern-THE GM DIET

December 7, 2008

SORRY, I JUST HAD TO REMIND MYSELF THAT I WROTE THIS CONDITION A LONG TIME AGO and here Chess Life magazine devotes several pages to the discussion about the effects of diet.

Ho, Hum! Needless to say, Americans especially need to rev up on the topic of what is diet and what is good and bad for our tummies.

Health & Healing reported back in October 1998:

     Milk is Udder Nonsense and goes on to label the myths that milk is good for human consumption especially

 now with it being treated by Monsanto’s genetically engineered hormone that increases cow milk production. It is another one of those FDA foul-ups that cause Americans to be among the doctors lists of revolving door patients.

In his book MILK, THE DEADLY POISON, Robert Cohen, a enacious investigative reporter, tells the level of corruption between Monsanto, the FDA and Dept. of Agriculture. Ever wonder why so many countries refuse to permit our agriculture produce to be distributed in their countries?

Lets face it folks, we ought to be the healthiest people on the planet and yet our medical bills are going through the roof.

Kindred’s Special: Looking at Square Count in the Queen’s Indian Defense

December 7, 2008

Today I have selected as a topic and theme a correspondence game played between Sidney Bernstein (USA) and H. D. Katki (IND) in CCOL2 Final, Board 4, 1952. As usual I try to research and select games that are not well known but yet possess some very instructive points of instructional value. So set up those pieces and prepare for some instruction that will benefit you greatly and without paying a cent for the lesson. If you want to send me money you cannot do so because I do this blog purely for the advancement of the game and not aimed at personal reward other than a few of you will benefit from my instructional commentary.

1.d4 Nf6  2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7  6.0-0  0-0 7.Nc3

This QID set up has been a standard system for many years and saw battles waged among the elite of the chessworld who were reprentative of decades of waging war on the 64-squares.

Lets look at these moves. For the student who is interested in developing their opening skill, notice my square count theory–how the pawns and pieces are placed to gain square pressure and effort to control the central complex and keep open llines poking and probing for pricks at the enemy position. White has achieved a spatial edge for the moment that might prove temporary if  black can mount a counteraction to restore balance. The imbalance of this current position tends to favor white so black’s task must seek a way to neutralize this and decides to try to achieve this by exchanges to free up his somewhat constricted position. This is the major short term goal. But what else is worth investigating? The Q-bishop is not developed but has a nice square on f4 that directs a threat immediately at c7. The pawn structure will not go away. So….

7…Ne4  8.Qc2  d5  9.cxd5  Nxc3  10.Qxc3  Bxd5

Black has solved part of his problem by achieving a number of exchanges but the trouble is that white forces are better poised for middlegame action and his pawn structure promises a dominance in the center. What is white’s basic plan now?

Visualizing the d/e pawns occupying d4 and e4 seems like a good idea so how can this be accomplished providing black cannot weaken its effect of dominating the center. But first things first.

11.Bf4  Increases square count and the threat requires attention.

11…Nc612. Rfd1

Black had a mean threat of …Bxf3 followed by Nxd4. White stops this and the Rook placed in the same file as the opposing Queen often is a good point reflecting the value of square count as it can be a prelude to its expansion.

12…Rc8  13.a3

A prophylactic Nimzowitsch move whose purpose is to protect b4 and allow the Q to play to c2 to support a possible e2-e4 thus completing his plan.

13…Bd6 14.Qc2  Bxf4 15.e4!  Bb3 16.Qxb3 Bh6

Keeping the Bishop on the long diagonal is probably best as 16…Bd6  17.e5 followed by 18.d5 chatters the center and opens lines favorable to white.

17.d5  Na5

Those eyeing 17…exd5 as better must find a reply to 18.Bh3!

18.Qa2

If you were thinking 18.Qc2 following the idea of using square count in what best square to place the Queen you would be following the same thought as Fritz 8. Probably SB wanted to keep pressure on the diagonal and has in mind a very nice idea.

18…exd5  19.Bh3  Rb8

This simply gives White all the play. Even though not adequate either but worth noting is 19…Qf6 20.Bxc8  dxe4 where Black has some pressure on the position should White miscue.

20.Rxd5  Qe7  21.b4  Qxe4  22.Bg2

A slight miscue. White might be better trying what move first?  22.Ne5 first would be more prudent.

22…Nb7 23.Ne5  Qf5  24.Nd7  Qe6  25.Nxf8  Kxf8 26.Qc2  c6  27.Qxh7  Rd8  28.Rxd8+  (1-0).

Correspondence games usually do not play on and on in what appears a hopeless effort mostly to save money on postage. Today with the internet play that has pretty much replaced snail mail or even email play. It attracts players who have little time to compete in tournaments. It also affords the enthusiast for this type of play the chance to explore international play and meeting chess friends from around the world who share their joy for cc.

Kindred’s Special: Who Pushes Panic Buttons?

December 4, 2008

Investor overkill!! Reaction to the stock market rollycoaster ride experienced of late reminds me of chickens running around the barnyard after their necks were axed from their bodies. 1929 was a stellar year for stock “busts” and the question is to what extent any such repeat is likely. We need only to look at the so-called rational thinkers and economists that suggest we hold and weather the storm. Actually the wise seem to have sold out while the horse was fresh out of the gate and now that same damn horse is fatigued and exhausted leaving those who followed the advice of their beloved experts to stay the course to wonder where it will all end. Once we hit bottom, then the surge will benefit those who have cash on hand to reinvest and I believe that rise will be swift and uncompromising as vast numbers of funds will grab up the “cheapies” and leave those who did sell but who swear off stocks forever to be in a liberal graveyard. Least affected will be those who hung on to their investments although only those who had accummulated extra cash along the way will be in a position to benefit. With stocks reemerging their portfolios will show little disrepair.

The good news is that the public should have awakened to the fact that Americans are not good at economics and are burdened down with huge credit card debt, student loan debt, mortgage debt, medical debt–debts of all kinds. You get the idea. Very moderate savings by the public has partly led to the fiasco we discovered recently.

One professor of economics (MZ) and a chess wizzard par excellence, says in his investment report: “We can now lay the entire mortgage and current financial mess of worldwide plunging stock markets at the feet of the Democrats in Congress–the only true culprits.” He backs up his statement with a essay of deep and historic fact from FDR on, explaining as he unravels the entire reckless and thoughtless dumbness of the political establishment, the demands placed upon the free enterprise system that was short circuited. Some of this concising of the whole story is necessary to save space but any such elaboration on my part would be to no avail as the political establishment covers up their own asses.  One of my buddies often says that fools are given power and the wise are cast as devils. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back is a Washington mentality in the simpliest of terms. But it breeds across America in so many ways, doesn’t it?

A decent hardworking Republican from Florida lost his seat in the House due to Obama’s team effort. It is unfortunate to lose good people who have their heads on straight and understand the economic consequences when government intervenes in the affairs of men and that translates into free enterprise and the capitalistic power that helped make America the envy of the whole world. NOTHING THE GOVERNMENT HAS EVER DONE PUTTING THEIR TWO CENTS INTO ANY PLAN EVER SOLVED ANYTHING AND MOSTLY LEAVES IT WORSE OFF THAN BEFORE. LEFT UP TO THE CHARACTER AND STEADFASTNESS OF AMERICAN INGENUITY AND INVENTIVENESS IT IS MY BELIEF BASED UPON 70 YEARS OF LIFE AND A GOOD PORTION OF THAT SEEING THE NATURE OF THE BEAST AND THE SOLUTIONS OVERCOMING SADLY MANY OF THE SO CALLED DEFEATISTS WHO SEEM TO GATHER THE VOICE OFTEN HEARD BY THE GENERAL PUBLIC THROUGH A MEDIA THAT ESSENTIALLY AND SELECTIVELY PORTRAYS THE EVENTS OF THE DAY.

As a chess enthusiast I have often heard people speak of chess as a war game not fitting for children to learn. It took years believe me for the values of chess in terms of building blocks toward giving a solid structure and foundation toward decision making, analyzing problems, planning, making judgments, time valuation, and pattern recognition that might be generally concluded as critical thinking development. Perhaps a lot has been stressed about chess that is yet to be proved in the above. Character building traits seem less influenced by chess. But if we examine the nature of children’s interest and dedication to chess study, it can be seen to give children a headstart in some ways of establishing the beginnings of a maturity often not seen so early.

It is interesting to note that William Steinitz once wrote that governments would be served best if employee staffs and elected officials had taken the time to gain a serious knowledge of chess. He stated it differently from me but then, folks, this is my blog to write it my way. Wasn’t there a song sung by Frank Sinatra that in part said: “I did it my way.” Well, if he did it his way, then by gosh, I can do it my way,too!