Chess!

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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Carlington
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Re: Chess!

Postby Carlington » Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:42 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Here's a game I just played...

As an example of something to look out for in terms of pawn structure - notice when you push the pawn on move 13 of this game, that you take the diagonal away from the dark-square bishop. You've restricted your own piece to only three squares out of the entire board, rendering it basically useless unless you spend a move on pushing a pawn, which will give your opponent a tempo unless you can wait to push the pawn with a threat.
In the same vein, you seem quite set on describing the two bishops as an advantage - this is only so in open positions, when there are lots of diagonals open and lots of paths for your bishops to zip around on. In closed positions, a knight is better than a bishop.

I see what you mean about the games being decided by blunders, though. I've found that at my level (which is reasonably close to yours), games can be won by simply making sure that every piece on the board has at least as many defenders as attackers at all times. Don't make a move unless you can defend that piece on that square. If you can do that for every move of the game, eventually you'll weed out opponents who lose games because of simple blunders, by virtue of the fact that they're losing material and you're not.

Edit: they're from a little while ago, but I dug up some old games I played online. This game is probably the best I've ever played, in terms of actually good chess. But, I much prefer this game, for two reasons: one, I'm still really proud of the combination starting around move 20, it seems like it caused my opponent to panic and he was done for not long after; and second, I wrote it up and really enjoyed doing so.

This is my most recent game. If you want to analyse it for practice, feel free. It's not a perfect game on either side, but that just means you get to look for better moves! :D
Kewangji: Posdy zwei tosdy osdy oady. Bork bork bork, hoppity syphilis bork.

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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:34 am UTC

Carlington wrote:This is my most recent game. If you want to analyse it for practice, feel free. It's not a perfect game on either side, but that just means you get to look for better moves! :D


Once again, use SCID vs PC or another pgn viewer to see my opinion step-by-step. A good web-based PGN viewer seems to be chess-tempo.com. As usual, I use Stockfish7 as my assistant to help look for and analyze blunders.

Code: Select all

[Event "Rated game"]
[Site "http://lichess.org/Hm9Aow8d"]
[Date "2016.04.27"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Pekychess222"]
[Black "Carlington"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1414"]
[BlackElo "1366"]
[ECO "C00"]
[PlyCount "58"]
[Variant "Standard"]
[TimeControl "900+10"]
[Opening "French Defense #2"]
[Termination "Normal"]
[Annotator "lichess.org"]

1.e4 e6
    {C00 French Defense #2}
2.Nh3 $4
    {I know this isn't your move, but this is an utterly awful move on white's part. There are very few reasons to develop the knight in this direction.}
2...d5 3.e5 Qh4
    {This partially demonstrates why the knight move was so awful. I think its a bit early to bring the queen out, and Stockfish seems to agree with me that you lost a positional advantage with this early queen attack. The rule of thumb is: attack with three pieces. And attack with your queen last. Generally speaking, you want your best piece to be the last attacker. A queen cannot checkmate a king by herself, she needs at least one piece to support, and an additional piece as a sacrifice along the way is always a good idea.}
4.c3
    {An awful move that blocks off the b-knight from advancing. Your opponent is completely devoid of any opening theory.}
4...Bc5 $2
    {The wrong side of the pawn-wall for your bishop. You want the bishop to be on the other side of white's pawn wall IMO. The only way you will "safely" break through your opponent's pawn wall on the queen-side is with pawns of your own. Pawn to c5 seems superior.}
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 22:+0.08} 4...c5 5.d4 Qd8 6.Ng1 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bd7 8.Be2 Nge7 9.O-O Nf5 10.Bd3 cxd4 11.Bxf5 exf5 12.cxd4 Be7 13.Qb3 Qb6 14.Qxb6 axb6 15.Nc3 Be6 16.Nb5 O-O 17.Bg5 {This is how Stockfish would play Pawn to C6. Notice how it repositions the white-player's knight on a far more useful square, and also retreats the queen so that it could potentially play on either side of the pawn formation.} )
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 23:-0.37} 4...Qe4+ 5.Qe2 Qc2 6.Na3 Bxa3 {This is Stockfish's recommended move and it looks utterly alien to me. Weird computer magic going on here, I don't understand this at all. :-(} )
5.d4
    {Loss of tempo due to the previous bishop placement. A core tenant of opening theory is to place pieces in locations where they do not have to be moved for many, many turns.}
5...Bb6 6.Bg5
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 25:+3.70 [Stockfish 7 64] 23:+3.52} 6.Ng5 $3 {The best move by Stockfish, and a truly brilliant one at that. This move does many things. First, it cuts off the retreat path of the queen. Second, it attacks the weak f-pawn (the weakest pawn, since it is only protected by the king in the arly game). The Stockfish optimal play grants White at LEAST a knight/rook exchange, as demonstrated by the mainline here. The queen may be lost if you play imprecisely.} 6...g6 {Because of white's incomming attack, this is the ONLY move possible that saves the queen.}
        ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 21:+3.67} 6...f6 7.g3 Qh6 8.Nf7 {And the queen is lost. White loses two minor pieces in exchange, but this is going to be a very easy game for white now.} )
    7.g3 {Attacks the queen directly with the pawn. Notice that the queen has only one safe square left to go: h6. This is a forced move by black.} 7...Qh6 8.Nxf7 {Note that the queen is "Discover Attacked" by the dark-square bishop. White wins a pawn and a knight/rook exchange, and will likely win the game at this point.} 8...Qg7 9.Nxh8 Qxh8 {Long story short: do NOT advance the queen until you have a solid attack plan. The rule of thumb is to attack with at least three pieces: two pieces (the queen and an assist) to checkmate the king, and one piece to sacrifice along the way.} )
6...Qe4+ 7.Qe2 f6 $2
    {I'd exchange queens. White would force black to have a much weaker pawn structure, and it'd be much easier to manuver as white.}
8.exf6
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 25:+0.69} 8.Qxe4 dxe4 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Bxf6 gxf6 {Black has lost the ability to safely castle king-side, has double pawns and his black-bishop is several turns away from getting around the strong white pawn wall, and the white bishop is many turns away from being developed.} )
8...gxf6 9.Bxf6 $4
    {An awful move by white. White blunders the bishop for only a pawn. Black gains a tempo as his knight is developed.
   
    With proper play, the game is over at this point frankly.}
9...Nxf6 10.Nd2 Qc2 11.Rb1 Ne4 12.Qd1 Qxd1+ 13.Rxd1 e5 14.dxe5 Nc6 15.Bb5 Bd7 16.O-O O-O-O 17.Nf4 Rhf8 18.Bxc6 Bxc6 19.Ne6 Bxf2+ 20.Kh1 Bc5
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 26:-4.07} 20...Nxd2 $3 {Stockfish's recommended move. This turns the rook-fork into a managable situation.} 21.Rxd2
        ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 23:-7.72} 21.Nxf8 Nxf1 22.Ne6 Ne3 23.Rd2 Re8 24.Rxf2 Rxe6 25.h3 Rxe5 26.Kh2 Nc4 27.Kg3 Be8 28.Kf4 Re4+ 29.Kf3 Ne5+ 30.Kg3 Nd3 31.Rd2 Re3+ 32.Kh4 Bg6 {At this point, it is clear that this line is worse for White than the mainline. } )
    21...Be3 22.Rxf8 Rxf8 23.Nxf8 Bxd2 24.Nxh7 {This is Stockfish's optimal play. Black enters the endgame with two bishops, a severe advantage. Should be an easy win.
   
    With that said, black still has to be very careful because white has THREE passed pawns: the a, b, and d pawns. If Black errors in this endgame, White could promote any of these pawns easily.} )
21.Nxd8 $4
    {White's final blunder.
   
    See the variation where white would enter an even endgame.}
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 27:-0.07} 21.Nxe4 Rxf1+ 22.Rxf1 dxe4 23.Nxc5 e3 {This series of trades evens out the game, and the game is virtually even. While black has the advantageous bishop for endgame, white has a much higher chance at promoting the king-side pawns than black does.} )
21...Rxf1+ 22.Nxf1 Nf2+ 23.Kg1 Nxd1+ 24.Kh1 Kxd8 25.b4 Nf2+ 26.Kg1 Bb6 27.c4 dxc4 28.Ne3 c3 29.Kxf2 c2
    {White resigns}
0-1


Long story short: White has an utterly awful opening game, but it doesn't matter. Your queen was extremely vulnerable, and a good player would have either captured it, or forced a winning-trade elsewhere on the board. Stockfish's 6.Ng5!! perfectly demonstrates the concept. This knight move COULD have instantly won the game for white, either by winning a pawn and a knight/rook exchange for black... or winning the queen!!

See my analysis for details.

Try not to bring your queen out early. Its far easier to trap the queen than you might think. Without proper play after Stockfish's recommended 6.Ng5!!, you'd be down a queen so early in the game.

The general recommendation I hear is always attack with three pieces. Two pieces aim to checkmate, and one piece is a sacrifice for the setup. This is of course just a rule of thumb, but demonstrates the futility of bringing out the queen early. Develop the slower, minor pieces (like your knights) first. By the time the knights are there, the queen can put herself in proper position for an attack in maybe one or two moves. But with your queen out front, without any support? It just honestly has no serious attack. Best to keep the queen back and develop her only AFTER you get a solid attack plan. Otherwise, you open yourself up to moves like Stockfish's 6.Ng5!!

There were a lot of blunders for white primarily. I saw weak moves on the part of Black, but the only "blunder" had to be move 20, which seemed like a complicated position (I still misread exchanges myself... all the time.)

Black's worst moves of the game were 3... Qh4 (see my comments above. Its almost always a bad idea to develop the queen this early). 4. ... Bc5 (develops white's pawn chain naturally, places your bishop on the wrong side of white's pawn wall, and loses a tempo), 20. ... Bc5 (with proper play from White, this would have ended in an evenly-matched endgame). Only move 20 is a blunder in the proper sense. 3 and 4 combined is what makes Stockfish's recommended 6. Ng5!! possible, so it wasn't a "single" mistake as much as a series of mistakes. (Ng5 is not possible without white developing the d-pawn, which opens up the dark-squared bishop to support the knight)

----------

Obviously, these are my thoughts as a 1450 player (I... lost a few games recently...) + Stockfish7 engine. If you disagree, we can definitely talk about the game :-)
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KnightExemplar
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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Apr 29, 2016 7:46 am UTC

Uggghhhh... just had like 7 losses in a row. I just wanted one win tonight, but even against 1300 players I'm losing.

Down to 1380ish rank. Bad day. I feel like tactics training makes you worse: I keep thinking that I performed a "trap the queen" maneuver, but then miss a checkmate that the opponent pushes forward. Pure tactics practice seems to make you bad at chess, as you become overly offensive. Its as much looking at the opponent's options as it is looking at your own.

Bah humbug. I could just be tired as well, but I was also performing awful last night.
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lorb
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Re: Chess!

Postby lorb » Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:34 am UTC

Tactics training can make you overly offensive. Most tactics exercises do not have the other side fight back and have real threats. But there is an easy way to compensate for that: after every move of your partner, before you even start thinking about your own moves, try to deduce what the idea/plan behind that move is. Envision the board from the other side and understand why the move was made. This way your tactical skills will give you excellent defensive advantages by being able to recognize and foil your opponents plans.
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KnightExemplar
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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:03 am UTC

Just had a game (I lost again :-() where I had the opportunity to take a knight, bishop, AND rook in exchange for a queen.

I saw it, and decided against the exchange. Note to self: take the exchange next time.

lorb wrote:Tactics training can make you overly offensive. Most tactics exercises do not have the other side fight back and have real threats. But there is an easy way to compensate for that: after every move of your partner, before you even start thinking about your own moves, try to deduce what the idea/plan behind that move is. Envision the board from the other side and understand why the move was made. This way your tactical skills will give you excellent defensive advantages by being able to recognize and foil your opponents plans.


Yeah, this is more about discipline as opposed to practice. Something I definitely should work on.

I probably should work on "blunder detection" while I'm at it (can this piece moved here get captured in one move? In two moves?)
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lorb
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Re: Chess!

Postby lorb » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:58 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Just had a game (I lost again :-() where I had the opportunity to take a knight, bishop, AND rook in exchange for a queen.

I saw it, and decided against the exchange. Note to self: take the exchange next time.


Aside from tactical/positional considerations it helps to know about the approximate relative value of the pieces (if you don't already do)
Most commonly a queen is valued at 9, while a rook is 5 and knight and bishop each are 3, so 11 in total which is more than the queen. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_piece_relative_value
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KnightExemplar
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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:03 pm UTC

lorb wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Just had a game (I lost again :-() where I had the opportunity to take a knight, bishop, AND rook in exchange for a queen.

I saw it, and decided against the exchange. Note to self: take the exchange next time.


Aside from tactical/positional considerations it helps to know about the approximate relative value of the pieces (if you don't already do)
Most commonly a queen is valued at 9, while a rook is 5 and knight and bishop each are 3, so 11 in total which is more than the queen. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_piece_relative_value


Yeah.

I know the general values, but I typically am not doing much math when I'm calculating positions. I was just like "Hmmm.... three pieces for a queen and a pawn. Probably not worth it. I like my queen". Later when I was reviewing the game, I then had the time to calculate up the numbers, and 5+3+3 > 9. Stockfish actually considered me at +3 after the exchange (probably some pawn structure thing).

Another note:
KnightExemplar wrote:I need to remember that when I capture a small advantage (ie: a pawn, or a minor piece), I need to capitalize upon it and use it to capture a larger advantage.


More thoughts on this issue:

I've found that capturing a minor piece, or winning a minor piece / rook exchange, often places your pieces out of position. The first priority after capturing a piece is to return to a state of strength: where your pieces are all interlocked and protecting each other. Only after you achieve a solid defense, return to the attack.

Return your knight or bishop to its outpost. If you fianchetto'd your Bishop, return it either behind the pawn-wall or to another outpost. Line up your bishops with your queen, line up your rooks and queen together. Return your queen to the backline, and focus on breaking the opponent's attack. Once the opponent becomes deadlocked against superior numbers, use that time to attack him back.

There's no rush. If you win the game in 80 moves instead of 60, there's no problem. Its easier to take your time and build defenses after every attack, rather than continuing to go ham on the opponent. Otherwise... crap like this game happens. (One game where I won)

Code: Select all

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "?"]
[Black "?"]
[Result "*"]
[CurrentPosition "5k2/p4p1p/1b4p1/5n2/8/P1P5/1P1q3P/1K2R3 w - - 0 32"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4
    {Left the main-line of Sicillian at this point. Seems to be the Fischer variant, but its out of order. If I were a stronger player, I think I'd be able to take advantage of the out-of-order move here somehow.}
3...e6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bd7 7.a3 Nxe4 $2
    {Stockfish hates this move. I'm setting up the pawn fork, but I don't actually win any material from this complicated attack, and give my opponent the opportunity to keep either his knight or bishop. Stockfish: -1ish after this move}
8.Nxe4 d5 9.Bxd5 exd5 10.Nc3 Bc5 11.Be3 Qe7 12.Nxd5 Qe4
    {I get greedy. I'm trying to retain the pin, but I miss out on the knight fork. I really shouldn't be making mistakes like this... this is the easiest knight fork to pay attention to.}
13.Nc7+ Kd8 14.Nxa8 Re8
    {I'm more or less going to lose this game unless I win immediately. I was considering resigning, but I end up looking for some cheese. The rook will retain the bishop pin, but if the opponent simply castles or otherwise plays defensive, I definintely lose.}
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 23:+4.27} 14...Qxg2 15.Rf1 Kc8 16.Qd3 b6 17.Nxb6+ Bxb6 18.Nf5 Ba5+ 19.b4 Bc7 20.O-O-O Qf3 21.Nd6+ Bxd6 22.Qxd6 Ba4 23.Rg1 Qc6 24.Qxc6+ Nxc6 25.Rxg7 a5 26.bxa5 Nxa5 27.Rxf7 Be8 28.Rg7 Rf8 29.Ra7 Nc6 )
15.Qf3
    {And of course, the opponent's time to get greedy. I win back a knight for free.}
15...Qxd4 16.Qxb7 $4
    {This was an utterly awful move, and strongly demonstrates the point of "defense before offense". White gains a pawn, but at what cost? Notice that I have FOUR pieces attacking the king. There are checkmate opportunities everywhere.}
16...Rxe3+ 17.fxe3
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 26:-14.08} 17.Kf1 Re5 18.Qxb8+ Ke7 {Queen must sacrifice herself to prevent checkmate. She moves the Black-queen out of position, which then gives white the time to prevent the checkmate.} 19.Qxe5+
        ( 19.Re1 Qxf2# {Checkmate} )
    19...Qxe5 )
17...Qxe3+ 18.Kd1
    ( 18.Kf1 Qf2# {Checkmate} )
18...Bg4+
    {Queen must sacrifice herself to prevent checkmate}
19.Qf3 Bxf3+ 20.gxf3 Qxf3+ 21.Kd2
    {Stockfish shows a path here where I win both rooks, but I decide to take the knight and start defending my king before going for the attack. The game is basically over at this point.}
21...Qxa8
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 33:-60.70 21...Be3+ 22.Kd3 Bc1+ 23.Kc4 Qxh1 24.Rxc1 Qxc1 25.Kb3 Qh1 {Stockfish tells the puny humans that its a guaranteed checkmate in 23-moves after this point} )
22.Rad1 Ke8 23.Rhe1+ Kf8 24.Kc1 Nc6 25.c3 g6 26.Rd5 Bb6 27.Rf1 Ne7 28.Rd7 Qg2 29.Re1 Nf5 30.Rd2 Qg5 31.Kb1 Qxd2 *



Certainly not a good game! But one that is all too familiar to me, and my opponents. D-Fence is a big deal.
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patzer
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Re: Chess!

Postby patzer » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:21 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:

Code: Select all

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "?"]
[Black "?"]
[Result "*"]
[CurrentPosition "5k2/p4p1p/1b4p1/5n2/8/P1P5/1P1q3P/1K2R3 w - - 0 32"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4
    {Left the main-line of Sicillian at this point. Seems to be the Fischer variant, but its out of order. If I were a stronger player, I think I'd be able to take advantage of the out-of-order move here somehow.}
3...e6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bd7 7.a3 Nxe4 $2
    {Stockfish hates this move. I'm setting up the pawn fork, but I don't actually win any material from this complicated attack, and give my opponent the opportunity to keep either his knight or bishop. Stockfish: -1ish after this move}
8.Nxe4 d5 9.Bxd5 exd5 10.Nc3 Bc5 11.Be3 Qe7 12.Nxd5 Qe4
    {I get greedy. I'm trying to retain the pin, but I miss out on the knight fork. I really shouldn't be making mistakes like this... this is the easiest knight fork to pay attention to.}
13.Nc7+ Kd8 14.Nxa8 Re8
    {I'm more or less going to lose this game unless I win immediately. I was considering resigning, but I end up looking for some cheese. The rook will retain the bishop pin, but if the opponent simply castles or otherwise plays defensive, I definintely lose.}
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 23:+4.27} 14...Qxg2 15.Rf1 Kc8 16.Qd3 b6 17.Nxb6+ Bxb6 18.Nf5 Ba5+ 19.b4 Bc7 20.O-O-O Qf3 21.Nd6+ Bxd6 22.Qxd6 Ba4 23.Rg1 Qc6 24.Qxc6+ Nxc6 25.Rxg7 a5 26.bxa5 Nxa5 27.Rxf7 Be8 28.Rg7 Rf8 29.Ra7 Nc6 )
15.Qf3
    {And of course, the opponent's time to get greedy. I win back a knight for free.}
15...Qxd4 16.Qxb7 $4
    {This was an utterly awful move, and strongly demonstrates the point of "defense before offense". White gains a pawn, but at what cost? Notice that I have FOUR pieces attacking the king. There are checkmate opportunities everywhere.}
16...Rxe3+ 17.fxe3
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 26:-14.08} 17.Kf1 Re5 18.Qxb8+ Ke7 {Queen must sacrifice herself to prevent checkmate. She moves the Black-queen out of position, which then gives white the time to prevent the checkmate.} 19.Qxe5+
        ( 19.Re1 Qxf2# {Checkmate} )
    19...Qxe5 )
17...Qxe3+ 18.Kd1
    ( 18.Kf1 Qf2# {Checkmate} )
18...Bg4+
    {Queen must sacrifice herself to prevent checkmate}
19.Qf3 Bxf3+ 20.gxf3 Qxf3+ 21.Kd2
    {Stockfish shows a path here where I win both rooks, but I decide to take the knight and start defending my king before going for the attack. The game is basically over at this point.}
21...Qxa8
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 33:-60.70 21...Be3+ 22.Kd3 Bc1+ 23.Kc4 Qxh1 24.Rxc1 Qxc1 25.Kb3 Qh1 {Stockfish tells the puny humans that its a guaranteed checkmate in 23-moves after this point} )
22.Rad1 Ke8 23.Rhe1+ Kf8 24.Kc1 Nc6 25.c3 g6 26.Rd5 Bb6 27.Rf1 Ne7 28.Rd7 Qg2 29.Re1 Nf5 30.Rd2 Qg5 31.Kb1 Qxd2 *



Certainly not a good game! But one that is all too familiar to me, and my opponents. D-Fence is a big deal.


Some quick thoughts:

I agree with Stockfish, 7...Nxe4 is a dubious move: there's nothing to be gained from the exchange and it just costs you time. As a general rule it's not a good idea to initiate equal trades of pieces in the opening unless there's a good reason to do so.

10...Bc5. Maybe I'm missing something here, but can't White just play 11. Nxd5 and immediately win a pawn? (e.g. 11... Qa5+? 12. b4 Bxb4+ 13. Nxb4; 11...Bxd4 12. Qxd4 Be6 13. Qxg7; 11...Bg4 12. Qxg4 Qxd5 13. Ne2; upon any other move the white knights can safely drop back to b3 and e3 and White has a comfortable position)
In fact, this highlights another reason 7...Nxe4 was bad: it gave you an isolated d-pawn that can easily be lost.

12. Nxd5. And, unsurprisingly, that pawn falls :P

12...Qe4? is obviously a mistake. If you want to maintain the pin, 12...Qe5 makes sense, but White would still have a comfortable position after something like 13. Nf3 Qd6 14. Bxc5 Qxc5 15. 0-0

14...Re8 makes sense (your rationale of maintaining the pin is good, and that rook needs to come into the game sooner or later), but White has 15. 0-0 to remove himself from danger. I'd have played 14...Qxg2, which grabs a pawn, stops White from castling, and forces him to spend a move defending his rook. And, having said that, looks like Stockfish had the same idea as me... :D

15. Qf3? is a clear blunder. 15. 0-0 is better.

16. Qxb7 is of course a blunder because it allows what happened in the game (16. 0-0 is preferable), but it should be pointed out that White was not simply "grabbing a pawn". Qxb7 threatens several things: it frees the c7 square (thus freeing the White knight), threatens Qc7+, threatens the knight on b8, defends b2, and makes Black's king feel vulnerable. Clearly all of this is not going to happen because Black has an instant path to victory, but, in many similar positions where Black's attack isn't quite as strong, counterattacking with Qxb7 would be a good idea.

The rest of the game is clearly an easy win for black, just a matter of technique. (I'd have probably gone for a fancy quicker win with something like 21...Be3+, but simplifying the position by taking the knight is sensible if you're not sure whether the other options are winning)

Nice game, even if there were a few errors :)

TL/DR: White lost because they didn't castle. Castling is important.
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KnightExemplar
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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun May 01, 2016 2:38 am UTC

patzer wrote: Some quick thoughts:


I'm not going to defend my play (OR my opponent's play) this game. It was... horrible. But yes, I do agree with a lot of what you said.

14...Re8 makes sense (your rationale of maintaining the pin is good, and that rook needs to come into the game sooner or later), but White has 15. 0-0 to remove himself from danger. I'd have played 14...Qxg2, which grabs a pawn, stops White from castling, and forces him to spend a move defending his rook. And, having said that, looks like Stockfish had the same idea as me... :D


Yup, Stockfish definitely agrees with you 100%. I did consider Qxg2, but there was no "trickery" along that path. I was hoping for the opponent to blunder under this situation, as opposed to playing solidly. He was 100+ Elo higher than me, so I had no confidence in actually playing an equal-game while a rook-down against my opponent.

Of course, hoping for the opponent to blunder when he's up a whole rook and a pawn is... probably a bad strategy. But hey, it worked. Low-rank battles ftw. I do realize I can't hope to play against stronger players by "hoping for a blunder". :oops: :oops:

Honestly, losing the rook was the turning point already. I was fortunate that the opponent derp'd hard... but that was sort of the plan. I was looking for the path that allowed the biggest return on an opponent herp-derp, as opposed to a "solid" gameplan.

16. Qxb7 is of course a blunder because it allows what happened in the game (16. 0-0 is preferable), but it should be pointed out that White was not simply "grabbing a pawn". Qxb7 threatens several things: it frees the c7 square (thus freeing the White knight), threatens Qc7+, threatens the knight on b8, defends b2, and makes Black's king feel vulnerable. Clearly all of this is not going to happen because Black has an instant path to victory, but, in many similar positions where Black's attack isn't quite as strong, counterattacking with Qxb7 would be a good idea.


White does get his knight back, but I had no clear plan of attack against the White Knight! My king has lost castling rights, and the closest piece is like... 3 turns away from even threatening the knight (my own knight to b8 -> a6 -> c7 -> a8 seems to be the fastest route of attack)

Nice game, even if there were a few errors :)


A few? It was probably my herp-derpiest game this whole week!

TL/DR: White lost because they didn't castle. Castling is important.


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Re: Chess!

Postby patzer » Sun May 01, 2016 3:50 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
14...Re8 makes sense (your rationale of maintaining the pin is good, and that rook needs to come into the game sooner or later), but White has 15. 0-0 to remove himself from danger. I'd have played 14...Qxg2, which grabs a pawn, stops White from castling, and forces him to spend a move defending his rook. And, having said that, looks like Stockfish had the same idea as me... :D


Yup, Stockfish definitely agrees with you 100%. I did consider Qxg2, but there was no "trickery" along that path. I was hoping for the opponent to blunder under this situation, as opposed to playing solidly. He was 100+ Elo higher than me, so I had no confidence in actually playing an equal-game while a rook-down against my opponent.


On the contrary, I think there is more "trickery" after 14...Qxg2. One option is 14...Qxg2 15. Rf1 b6, winning the opponent's knight– this would leave you only an exchange down, which is better than being a rook down at least. But it might be better to do something like 14...Qxg2 15. Rf1 Re8 – exactly the same rook pin you did, but a move later.

14...Qxg2 puts pressure on the opponent; it's an immediately attacking move. It removes White's easy way out (i.e. castling kingside), forces them to waste a move moving their rook, and you can play Re8 anyway next go.

While 14...Re8 did work in the game, I'd say that you were quite lucky that your opponent didn't consider castling.

Of course, hoping for the opponent to blunder when he's up a whole rook and a pawn is... probably a bad strategy. But hey, it worked. Low-rank battles ftw. I do realize I can't hope to play against stronger players by "hoping for a blunder". :oops: :oops:

Depends what you mean by "hoping for a blunder" really. Best thing to do in a clearly losing position is to try and complicate things... hoping the opponent will make a blunder is not enough; you have to lead the game into a position where it is more likely that the opponent will make a blunder! :)

Honestly, losing the rook was the turning point already. I was fortunate that the opponent derp'd hard... but that was sort of the plan. I was looking for the path that allowed the biggest return on an opponent herp-derp, as opposed to a "solid" gameplan.

Yeah, that's exactly the right attitude to have; in such a position you do have to mix things up a bit and hope the opponent makes a mistake. I just think that Qxg2 would have led to a better chance of the opponent making a mistake, as opposed to the relatively tame Re8.

16. Qxb7 is of course a blunder because it allows what happened in the game (16. 0-0 is preferable), but it should be pointed out that White was not simply "grabbing a pawn". Qxb7 threatens several things: it frees the c7 square (thus freeing the White knight), threatens Qc7+, threatens the knight on b8, defends b2, and makes Black's king feel vulnerable. Clearly all of this is not going to happen because Black has an instant path to victory, but, in many similar positions where Black's attack isn't quite as strong, counterattacking with Qxb7 would be a good idea.


White does get his knight back, but I had no clear plan of attack against the White Knight! My king has lost castling rights, and the closest piece is like... 3 turns away from even threatening the knight (my own knight to b8 -> a6 -> c7 -> a8 seems to be the fastest route of attack)

The fact that you can't directly attack the white knight now is mostly irrelevant; in such a position you wouldn't want to spend several moves winning the white knight now anyway and action in the center is more important at this time. The point is that the knight is stuck in the corner, the only two squares it can escape to (c7 and b6) are defended, and once the position calms down it should be easy enough for Black to win the knight.

Nice game, even if there were a few errors :)


A few? It was probably my herp-derpiest game this whole week!


Fair enough. I haven't seen any of your other games, so I couldn't possibly know if this game was better or worse than average :P

Out of curiosity, what was the time control used in this game?
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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun May 01, 2016 4:44 am UTC

patzer wrote:Fair enough. I haven't seen any of your other games, so I couldn't possibly know if this game was better or worse than average :P


Generally speaking, I prefer to blunder AFTER the opening sequence. As opposed to diverging from the main-line and then getting into a bad position. :oops: :oops:

Plenty of blunders per game of course. But usually in more "complicated" situations.

Out of curiosity, what was the time control used in this game?


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Re: Chess!

Postby patzer » Sun May 01, 2016 5:14 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Out of curiosity, what was the time control used in this game?


I'm ashamed to admit 15 minutes/ +10 seconds (Rapid)


Ashamed? Everyone makes blunders now and then. Nothing to be ashamed of.

I have one very memorable example from an over-the-board rapid tournament (30 minutes each) about four years ago. My opponent, rated 1922, was white, and I was black.

The entire game went as follows:

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nc6 3. Nf3 Bc5 4. Nxe5?? Nxe5 5. d4 Nxc4. White resigns. The entire game must have lasted less than a minute... I felt sorry for that opponent. :|
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Re: Chess!

Postby lorb » Sun May 01, 2016 9:27 pm UTC

Yeah, everyone blunders. Kramnik (one of the worlds top players) famously overlooked a mate-in-one in a man vs machine match. With no time pressure at all.
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Re: Chess!

Postby Carlington » Tue May 03, 2016 1:02 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Carlington wrote:This is my most recent game. If you want to analyse it for practice, feel free. It's not a perfect game on either side, but that just means you get to look for better moves! :D


Once again, use SCID vs PC...

I didn't say thank you for this, which I ought to have done by now, so thank you very much. There's a lot of stuff that I completely missed in there. When I get time (tomorrow?) I'll come back to this and post my reasoning and my plans, or at least what I can make them out to have been. Hopefully by comparing my plans with your analysis I'll be able to work out the errors in my thinking.
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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue May 03, 2016 4:27 am UTC

Carlington wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:
Carlington wrote:This is my most recent game. If you want to analyse it for practice, feel free. It's not a perfect game on either side, but that just means you get to look for better moves! :D


Once again, use SCID vs PC...

I didn't say thank you for this, which I ought to have done by now, so thank you very much. There's a lot of stuff that I completely missed in there. When I get time (tomorrow?) I'll come back to this and post my reasoning and my plans, or at least what I can make them out to have been. Hopefully by comparing my plans with your analysis I'll be able to work out the errors in my thinking.


No problem.

Just wanted to double check something, and it turned out my interpretation of Stockfish's analysis was wrong:

And the queen is lost. White loses two minor pieces in exchange, but this is going to be a very easy game for white now.


Queen isn't lost. Stockfish just decided that a queen / bishop exchange was better than losing a rook. Lol >_< Stockfish, why you so weird? (3+5 == 8. But Queen == 9??) The real reason is that the white queen has a brutal counter-attack, so diverting the white queen from the white diagonal seems to save Black some trouble, and also prevents the Knight from taking the rook.

I apparently still need more practice in understanding chess positions, even with help from Stockfish! Let me know if any of my other comments happen to be false :-) In any case, you can see how the queen out there allows white to counter-attack with the knight, giving him the "momentum" he needs to solidify a rook exchange. The game isn't completely lost, but its going to be hard to come back from such a deficit.
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Re: Chess!

Postby patzer » Tue May 03, 2016 4:09 pm UTC

As we were talking about blunders, here's an embarrassing one from a blitz game I just played:

image.jpg

I'm white. As you can see, the game has been going well for me: 17 moves in, my pieces are well-placed, I'm a pawn up, and I have just trapped my opponent's dark-square bishop. This should be an easy win, right?

Let's see what happens eighteen moves later.
image.jpg

Oops.

It's easy to lose concentration when you're in a winning position; evidently, this can lead to you completely ignoring the opponent's plans and overlooking a mate-in-one :(
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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu May 05, 2016 11:12 am UTC

Lost a game when I was a full rook up over my opponent. Ran the clock down to 15 seconds left, and then started to make mistakes all over the fucking place (opponent had 10 minutes left on the clock).

Maybe my problem with 15 min / +10 sec is time related? Endgames are rather complex, even when you are a rook up. (Queen / Rook / Rook / Bishop vs Queen Rook Knight). I knew that the opponent probably could checkmate me if I gave him the chance, but had less than 1 minute to do something about it. So I guess I choked up.

I know I probably shouldn't care about the rating of the opponent, but it was a 1320 player vs me. So I'm not too used to losing to a much lower ranked player. On the other hand, time was an issue, so maybe I shouldn't be too hard on myself.

On the other hand, Stockfish rated my peak position at over +10. This has to be the highest score I ever blundered away... and it took repeated blunders to get there. 10 minutes vs 1 minute time pressure is real. Stockfish of course was telling me to "attack the king" basically, while I was too timid during the game I guess.

According to Stockfish, my first blunder could have been salvaged (a pawn discovered attacking my queen / rook simultaneously) if I attacked the opponent's king directly and went for a checkmate, while sacrificing my rook (the opponent would have been forced to queen sacrifice to avoid it, and I'd end with +5 after the position ended, with Rook / Queen / Bishop vs Rook / Knight). Granted, it was a checkmate threat in 5 or so, so I don't fault myself too hard for missing it especially under time pressure.

Of course, the second blunder could have been salvaged too. As is the nature of a game where you're up by so much material.

I know I'm bad at endgames, but lol, this one takes the cake.
Last edited by KnightExemplar on Thu May 05, 2016 11:35 am UTC, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Chess!

Postby lorb » Thu May 05, 2016 11:33 am UTC

Apart from general time management, learn a few opening moves so you can play the first few moves without thinking and without taking any time. That will help with the time problem a little, and overall give you a better start.
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Re: Chess!

Postby Carlington » Thu May 05, 2016 3:17 pm UTC

Stayed up too late playing chess, and so played a couple of games where I hung ridiculous amounts of material and resigned. Very much the sort of thing where I would make a move, and as soon as the move is made start cursing at my own blockheadedness.
I did have one reasonable game, though, and I decided to have a go at analysing it myself:

Code: Select all

[Event "Rated game"]
[Site "http://lichess.org/Rtb9bbus"]
[Date "2016.05.05"]
[Round "?"]
[White "sadjad"]
[Black "Carlington"]
[Result "0-1"]
[TimeControl "900+10"]
[WhiteElo "1479"]
[BlackElo "1386"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[Variant "Standard"]
[ECO "C00"]
[Opening "French Defense #2"]
[Termination "Normal"]
[Annotator "lichess.org"]

1. e4 e6 { C00 French Defense #2 } 2. Qh5 {I have never seen this reply, but
it's illustrated to me why you shouldn't bring the queen out early.} 2... Nf6
{Here, Stockfish would have played ...d5. All I saw was developing the knight
with gain of time on the queen, but 3. Qh4 would pin my knight to my queen} 3.
Qf3 d5 {This move loses the time I gained on the queen, the e pawn can attack
my knight} 4. exd5 (4. e5 Nfd7 5. Qg3) 4... exd5 5. b3 Bg4 6. Qe3+ Ne4 {I
should have blocked with the king's bishop - my move allows White's f-pawn to
fork knight and bishop - all I saw was the opportunity to station my pieces
deep in enemy territory} 7. h3 {...fortunately, my opponent did not bring their
A-game.} (7. f3 Bb4 8. fxe4) 7... Bh5 8. Bd3 Bg6 {Far too worried about the
attack on my knight, I missed} (8... Bc5 9. Bb5+ c6 10. d4 Be7 11. g4 cxb5 12.
gxh5 Bg5 13. f4 Bh4+ 14. Kf1 O-O) 9. c4 d4 {I feel as though my play bears
explanation: I somehow continued to miss that my knight guarded c5, allowing
Bc5 to attack the queen without danger. Instead, I tried to focus on holding
the knight and thus the centre} 10. Qf3 Bb4 11. Bxe4 Bxe4 12. Qxe4+ Be7 13.
Qxb7 Nd7 {I wish I could say that I deliberately left the queen on the back
rank to guard the rook in this exact variation. But that would be a lie.} 14.
Qe4 Nc5 15. Qe5 {I cannot fathom this move, and as far as I can see the game is
won for Black at this point. The only plan I can conceive of is to try to nab a
pawn on the other side and attack that rook, but even then...} 15... Nd3+
(15... O-O) 16. Kd1 Nxe5 17. Nf3 {Strictly speaking, better to trade knights
here ("trade when you're ahead")} 17... Bf6 {lining up the long diagonal,
though - I have designs on the rook and I can still trade knights this way} 18.
Bb2 c5 {I'm delaying too long, now - Re1 at any point pins and wins the knight}
19. b4 Rb8 20. a3 cxb4 21. Bxd4 (21. Re1 O-O 22. Rxe5 Bxe5 23. Nxe5 bxa3 24.
Bxa3 Qa5) 21... Nxf3 22. Bxf6 Qxf6 23. Ra2 O-O (23... b3 24. Ra1) 24. gxf3
{Missing the fork, although at this point it's not much difference.} 24...
Qxf3+ 25. Kc2 Qxh1 {Stockfish has mate in four:} (25... b3+ 26. Kc1 bxa2 27. d3
axb1=Q+ 28. Kd2 Qfxd3#) 26. Rb2 Qe4+ 27. d3 Qe2+ 28. Kb3 Qxd3+ 29. Ka2 bxa3 30.
Rxb8 Rxb8 31. Nxa3 Qb3+ 32. Ka1 Qb2# { White is checkmated } 0-1

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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu May 05, 2016 3:38 pm UTC

6. Qe3+ Ne4 {Ishould have blocked with the king's bishop - my move allows White's f-pawn to fork knight and bishop - all I saw was the opportunity to station my pieces deep in enemy territory


Note that a proper "outpost" requires two conditions:

1. A Pawn protecting a minor piece in the opponent's FACE (muahahaha)
2. Your opponent's pawns are all "passed" the location.

An outpost is much stronger if you setup both of these conditions. I wouldn't try to setup an outpost as early as you did, and would have rather developed more of my other pieces (knight and whatever). You're already up a tempo due to the opponent's mistakes. Just develop your own defenses and offensive strategy (ie: finish the initial plan of your opening before lunging deep into the opponent's territory). You're gonna naturally find more opportunities to attack the king.

There is a 3rd condition, that occurs less frequently, but keep an eye out for it:

3. Your opponent is out of knights and the last bishop he has is of the wrong color.

If you get all three conditions of a proper outpost created, the knight (or bishop) can stay on its square virtually forever. Quickly memorize forking opportunities (a knight on a white square can fork only white pieces in one move, black pieces in two moves. Knights alternate between white/black/white/black squares), and then FORGET ABOUT IT! Just leave the knight there until a forking opportunity comes up.

Develop other pieces and go lulz at your opponent's frustration.

Notice that Stockfish "reverse engineers" a proper outpost in its recommended sequence "8... Bc5 9. Bb5+ c6 10. d4 Be7 11. g4 cxb5 12.gxh5 Bg5 13. f4 Bh4+". Now, the pawns are "passed" the knight and will NEVER bother the knight again. That is the true strength of that position. In this case, Stockfish gets an outpost with conditions #1 and #2. The light-squared bishop was traded away, so it will take several moves for a knight to approach before you are even threatened with an even trade.

-----------

10 ... Bb4 is a clear mistake. The Knight is attacked twice (white bishop + white queen) but it is only defended once. You should have just retreated the knight IMO.

I still have issues reading out trades, but counting the number of attackers has added a heuristic that makes me much better at calculating trades. Counting attackers doesn't bring into effect "deflection", or "removal of the guard" strategies (which may cause you to lose a piece anyway). But it provides a quick and easy heuristic.

Your bishop is protected by the important "castle pawns" (f, g, and h pawns that make up a king-side castle). I can see why you wouldn't necessarily want to trade that bishop, but you still have an opportunity to castle queen-side, and opening up the h-rook for an accelerated attack is always fun.

I cannot fathom this move, and as far as I can see the game is won for Black at this point. The only plan I can conceive of is to try to nab a pawn on the other side and attack that rook, but even then...


Oh, that's the kind of blunder that I pull off all the time.
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Re: Chess!

Postby Carlington » Wed May 18, 2016 12:52 pm UTC

Thanks in no small part to advice in this thread, my rating has jumped up by nearly 100 points over the last week. There has been a noticeable improvement in my play, which is really cool. I did just suffer a very frustrating draw, though. Despite being in the endgame, up by a rook and a bishop, with a passed pawn on the sixth rank, I let my opponent's queen force my king out of hiding and chase him with checks, and by the time I worked out how to fix it 50 moves had gone by.

EDIT: And then I did a post-mortem (spoilered below for long) and realised that I am really dumb for real.

Spoiler:

Code: Select all

[Event "Rated game"]
[Site "http://lichess.org/CvXqhuIr"]
[Date "2016.05.18"]
[White "pollux1515"]
[Black "Carlington"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "1539"]
[BlackElo "1427"]
[PlyCount "117"]
[Variant "Standard"]
[TimeControl "900+10"]
[ECO "D30"]
[Opening "Queen's Gambit Declined"]
[Termination "Normal"]
[Annotator "lichess.org"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 { D30 Queen's Gambit Declined } 3. a3 Nf6 4. Nc3 c5 5. e3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bd7 7. Be2 Bd6?! { (0.18 → 0.87) Inaccuracy. Best move was dxc4. } (7... dxc4 8. Bxc4 cxd4 9. exd4 Be7 10. Be3 O-O 11. O-O Rc8 12. d5 exd5 13. Nxd5 Bf5 14. Nxe7+) 8. O-O?! { (0.87 → 0.17) Inaccuracy. Best move was dxc5. } (8. dxc5 Bxc5 9. cxd5 exd5 10. Nxd5 Bf5 11. Nxf6+ Qxf6 12. O-O O-O 13. Qb3 Rad8 14. Bd2 Be4) 8... O-O?! { (0.17 → 0.92) Inaccuracy. Best move was cxd4. } (8... cxd4 9. exd4 dxc4 10. Bxc4 O-O 11. Re1 Rc8 12. d5 Na5 13. Ba2 exd5 14. Nxd5 Nxd5 15. Bxd5) 9. Re1?! { (0.92 → 0.11) Inaccuracy. Best move was cxd5. } (9. cxd5 exd5 10. dxc5 Bxc5 11. Nxd5 Bf5 12. Nc3 Qxd1 13. Rxd1 Bc2 14. Rd2 Bb3 15. Nb5 Rfd8) 9... a6?! { (0.11 → 0.79) Inaccuracy. Best move was dxc4. } (9... dxc4 10. Bxc4 Rc8 11. Bd3 Bb8 12. Ne4 Nxe4 13. Bxe4 f5 14. Bc2 Ne7 15. Bd2 cxd4 16. exd4) 10. Bf1?! { (0.79 → -0.10) Inaccuracy. Best move was cxd5. } (10. cxd5 exd5 11. dxc5 Bxc5 12. Nxd5 Bf5 13. Nf4 Qc7 14. b4 Bd6 15. Qb3 Be4 16. Bb2 Bxf4) 10... Rb8?! { (-0.10 → 0.42) Inaccuracy. Best move was dxc4. } (10... dxc4 11. Bxc4 Rc8 12. Bd3 Ne7 13. dxc5 Bxc5 14. Ne4 Nxe4 15. Bxe4 Bc6 16. Bxc6 Rxc6 17. Bd2) 11. e4 Re8? { (-0.01 → 1.27) Mistake. Best move was dxe4. } (11... dxe4) 12. e5 Ne4? { (1.18 → 4.15) Mistake. Best move was cxd4. } (12... cxd4 13. Na2 dxc4 14. Bxc4 Be7 15. exf6 Bxf6 16. Nb4 Nxb4 17. axb4 Rc8 18. b3 e5 19. Ra5) 13. exd6 Nxc3?! { (4.22 → 4.84) Inaccuracy. Best move was Nxd6. } (13... Nxd6 14. cxd5 Nxd4 15. Bf4 e5 16. Bxe5 N4f5 17. Bd3 f6 18. Bf4 Qb6 19. Ne4 c4 20. Bc2) 14. bxc3 b5? { (4.82 → 6.11) Mistake. Best move was cxd4. } (14... cxd4 15. cxd4 h6 16. c5 b6 17. Rb1 bxc5 18. Rxb8 Qxb8 19. dxc5 a5 20. Nd4 Qb7 21. Nxc6) 15. Ne5? { (6.11 → 3.86) Mistake. Best move was cxd5. } (15. cxd5 exd5 16. Rxe8+ Qxe8 17. dxc5 Qe6 18. Bd3 Qf6 19. Qc2 h6 20. Be3 Ne5 21. Nxe5 Qxe5) 15... Nxe5 16. dxe5 bxc4 17. Qg4 Qa5?? { (3.39 → 11.37) Blunder. Best move was f5. } (17... f5 18. Qg3 Kh8 19. a4 Rb3 20. Bd2 Rb2 21. Bc1 Rb3 22. Bd2 Rb2 23. Bg5 Qa5 24. Re2) 18. Bh6 g6 19. Re3?? { (10.48 → 5.53) Blunder. Best move was Qh4. } (19. Qh4 Qd8 20. Bg5 Qxg5 21. Qxg5 Rb3 22. Re3 h5 23. Qh6 Reb8 24. Rf3 Bc6 25. Qf4 R3b7) 19... d4? { (5.53 → 7.78) Mistake. Best move was Qd8. } (19... Qd8 20. Qf4 Rf8 21. Rf3 Ba4 22. Qe3 Rb3 23. Bxf8 Qxf8 24. Qxc5 Qa8 25. Qc7 Rb7 26. Qc5) 20. cxd4 cxd4 21. Rf3?? { (7.62 → 3.61) Blunder. Best move was Qxd4. } (21. Qxd4 Rb3 22. Bxc4 Rxe3 23. fxe3 Rc8 24. Rf1 Rxc4 25. Qxc4 Qd8 26. Qf4 f5 27. exf6 Kf7) 21... Qxe5 22. Bf4? { (3.46 → 1.09) Mistake. Best move was Bxc4. } (22. Bxc4 Rbc8 23. Bxa6 Rc6 24. Bd3 f5 25. Qh4 Qxd6 26. Qf6 Qe7 27. Qxd4 e5 28. Qd5+ Kh8) 22... Qe4 23. Bxc4? { (0.95 → -0.26) Mistake. Best move was Qh3. } (23. Qh3 h5 24. Bxc4 Rb1+ 25. Rxb1 Qxb1+ 26. Bf1 Bb5 27. Rd3 Rd8 28. Be5 Bxd3 29. Qxd3 Qxd3) 23... Rb1+ 24. Rxb1 Qxb1+ 25. Bf1 f5? { (-0.56 → 2.18) Mistake. Best move was Bb5. } (25... Bb5 26. h4 Qxf1+ 27. Kh2 Qe2 28. h5 e5 29. d7 Bxd7 30. Qxd7 exf4 31. Qxd4 g5 32. h6) 26. Qg3? { (2.18 → 0.94) Mistake. Best move was Qg5. } (26. Qg5 Bb5 27. Bc1 Rc8 28. d7 Bxd7 29. Rh3 Bb5 30. Qe7 Rxc1 31. Qxe6+ Kf8 32. Qd6+ Ke8) 26... e5 27. Bxe5 f4?? { (2.68 → 16.11) Blunder. Best move was Bb5. } (27... Bb5 28. Rd3 f4 29. Qh3 Bxd3 30. Qxd3 Qxd3 31. Bxd3 Kf8 32. d7 Rd8 33. Bxa6 Rxd7 34. Bxf4) 28. Rxf4?? { (16.11 → 1.73) Blunder. Best move was Qxf4. } (28. Qxf4 Qf5 29. Bc4+ Be6 30. d7 Ra8 31. Qxf5 gxf5 32. Bxe6+ Kf8 33. Bf6 f4 34. d8=R+ Rxd8) 28... Rxe5 29. h3 Re1 30. Kh2 Rxf1 31. Rf8+?? { (0.00 → -11.35) Blunder. Best move was Qf3. } (31. Qf3 Rh1+ 32. Kg3 Qb5 33. Rf8+ Kg7 34. Rf7+ Kh6 35. Rxd7 Qxd7 36. Qf8+ Kh5 37. Qf3+ Kh6) 31... Kxf8 32. Qf4+ Bf5 33. d7?! { (-9.19 → -10.43) Inaccuracy. Best move was Qxd4. } (33. Qxd4 Rh1+ 34. Kg3 Qd3+ 35. Qxd3 Bxd3 36. h4 Ke8 37. Kg4 Kd7 38. f4 Be4 39. g3 Kxd6) 33... Rh1+ 34. Kg3 Ke7 35. Qe5+ Be6?? { (-9.28 → -5.70) Blunder. Best move was Kxd7. } (35... Kxd7 36. Qxd4+ Kc6 37. Qf6+ Kb7 38. Qf7+ Ka8 39. Qd5+ Ka7 40. Qd4+ Kb7 41. Qd5+ Ka7 42. Qd4+) 36. Qg7+?? { (-5.70 → -9.47) Blunder. Best move was d8=B+. } (36. d8=B+ Kxd8 37. Qxe6 Qd3+ 38. f3 Qe3 39. Qg8+ Qe8 40. Qd5+ Qd7 41. Qa8+ Ke7 42. Qe4+ Qe6) 36... Kd8 37. Qf6+ Kxd7 38. Qg7+?! { (-9.13 → -10.63) Inaccuracy. Best move was Qxd4+. } (38. Qxd4+ Kc6 39. Qc3+ Kb7 40. Qg7+ Ka8 41. Qf6 Qd3+ 42. f3 Qe3 43. Qd8+ Kb7 44. Qe7+ Kb8) 38... Kd6? { (-10.63 → -8.88) Mistake. Best move was Kc6. } (38... Kc6 39. Qxd4 Qb3+ 40. f3 Qxa3 41. Qe4+ Bd5 42. Qc2+ Qc5 43. Qa4+ Kb6 44. Qd7 Qc7+ 45. Qxc7+) 39. Qxh7? { (-8.88 → Mate in 11) Checkmate is now unavoidable. Best move was Qxd4+. } (39. Qxd4+ Bd5 40. Qf6+ Kd7 41. Qg7+ Kc6 42. Qf6+ Kc5 43. Qc3+ Kb6 44. Qd4+ Kc6 45. Qf6+ Kc5) 39... Qd3+ 40. f3 Qf5 41. Qb7 d3?! { (Mate in 3 → -18.21) Lost forced checkmate sequence. Best move was Qe5+. } (41... Qe5+ 42. Kh4 Rxh3+ 43. gxh3 Qf4#) 42. Qxa6+ Ke5 43. Qb5+?! { (-17.63 → Mate in 11) Checkmate is now unavoidable. Best move was Qa5+. } (43. Qa5+ Kd4) 43... Bd5?! { (Mate in 11 → -13.82) Lost forced checkmate sequence. Best move was Kf6. } (43... Kf6 44. Qb4 Qe5+ 45. Kf2 Qe2+ 46. Kg3 Qe1+ 47. Qxe1 Rxe1 48. Kh2 d2 49. Kg3 Rf1 50. Kh2) 44. Qb8+ Kf6 45. Qd8+ Ke5 46. Qc7+ Kd4 47. Qb6+ Ke5 48. Qc7+ Kf6 49. Qd8+ Ke5?? { (-19.30 → 0.00) Blunder. Best move was Kg7. } (49... Kg7 50. Qe7+ Kh6 51. h4 g5 52. Qd6+ Qe6 53. hxg5+ Kxg5 54. Qf4+ Kg6 55. Qd4 Qe1+ 56. Kf4) 50. Qe7+?? { (0.00 → -14.48) Blunder. Best move was Qc7+. } (50. Qc7+) 50... Be6 51. Qc5+ Bd5?? { (-17.25 → 0.00) Blunder. Best move was Kf6. } (51... Kf6) 52. Qc7+ Kd4 53. Qb6+ Kc3 54. Qc5+ Kd2 55. Qb4+ Ke3 56. Qc5+ Kd2 57. Qb4+ Kc2 58. Qc5+ Kd2?? { (-18.09 → 0.00) Blunder. Best move was Kd1. } (58... Kd1 59. Qb4 Qg5+ 60. Kf2 Qd2+ 61. Qxd2+ Kxd2 62. g4 Kc2 63. Kg2 Re1 64. Kg3 d2 65. f4) 59. Qb4+ { Draw } 1/2-1/2


Some thoughts:
Moves 7 to 10: my opponent and I are both far too hesitant to break the tension on the c and d files, and this continues to have an effect until even move 15.

Move 11: I completely missed the fork with e5. A plain mistake which then caused me to panic a little and miss the recovering move 12...cxd4 after which I'm not superb, but as good as I can be all things considered.

Move 14: This b7-b5 push was the reason behind all of my hesitation to open the centre. I've played some great games out of openings like this playing both the French and QGD as black (they end up weirdly similar sometimes) which I basically won by refusing to open the centre, making sure there were no entry points for white, and slowly marching my pawns down the queenside until white can barely move without weakening the position. That was the plan and the hope when I made this pawn move. It was a little optimistic.

Move 17: my plan to play...Qxc5, forking the rooks, was excellent, if not for 18. Bh6 threatening mate.

Move 19: ...Qd8 is strictly better, as the primary concern is preventing 20. Qa4. However, I thought that by threatening the rook, I might have been able to divert the queen away after 19...d4 20. cxd4 cxd4 21. Qxd4, allowing me to later play f5 and take away some of white's squares on the queenside.

21. Rf3 I recognised as a blunder immediately during the game, and after Qxe5 white should play Bxc4.
I was very proud of finding 22...Qe4, as even Stockfish didn't think it best until a search depth of 20. My rationale was as follows: the c4 pawn needs to be defended, and two moves do this, Qd5 and Qe4. Qd5 defends the pawn and attacks the rook; Qe4, however, also pins the bishop to the queen, and the move that achieves the most things is the move that I should make.

Now, I'm very interested in the position after move 22. In terms of raw material, White is up by a pawn. But Stockfish puts this position at +0.95, meaning my position here is strong enough to negate some of the advantage. I spent a while working out my responses. All the following analysis is my own, some worked out over the board and some later. I welcome feedback.
The main candidate moves for white are queen moves, as she only has two squares to move to and needs to find a way to safer parts. 23. Qg5 Rb5 with gain of time on the queen and now my rook operates on two long open lines, soon switching to the kingside. 23. Qh4 e5 and now 24. Qg5 is practically forced and I win back a bishop. So 23. Qh3 must be best for white, after which I would push the h pawn and try to cramp white's kingside.

Instead, we saw 23. Bxc5 which immediately allowed the tactic we see in the game, another benefit of 22...Qe4 over Qd5.

Somewhat astoundingly, I actually considered 25...Bb5 followed by Qxf1+ and then discarded the idea because I thought white's bishop would take my own. What's a pin? I don't seem to know.

25...f5 made perfect sense to me at the time, it would make it harder for the queen to switch sides, giving me the time I needed to bring out my rook to support my queen in taking on f1, because I had convinced myself that was the only means of attack.

26...e5 was played in the hopes of 27. Bxe5 Rxe5 until I realised that the reply would be 28. Qxe5, and so I instead played 27...f4 hoping to stop the white queen. White really dropped the ball with 28. Rxf4 allowing ...Rxe5 and the attack that was to follow.

I don't have much else to say except that I should have played 35...Kxd7 and then not spent so many moves doing nothing. I can see from the analysis that I had forced mates more than once but I messed around too much and lost them. Ah well, live and learn.
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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat May 21, 2016 12:04 am UTC

A king can be attacked from eight directions from the opponent's queen. (North, Northeast, East, Southeast, South, Southwest, West, Northwest). From within a castle, the king can only be attacked from four directions: the three pawns that make up your castle, and the back-rank.

To stop a checkmate-cycle, you must get your king into a situation where you can control every point where the queen can potentially check you. The corners instantly prevent half of the locations or more, while "blockers" like a pawn can stop one location. You ran towards the center, when instead you should have been running to the H-rank, where your last remaining pawn was located.

You gotta visualize the shape of what you're trying to make, and then start building towards it.
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Re: Chess!

Postby Carlington » Thu Aug 25, 2016 2:56 pm UTC

Funnily enough, although my reply is 3 months tardy, I wanted to come back to this thread to talk about something very similar to KnightExemplar's comment about visualising the shape of what you want to make and building towards it.

I spend a lot of time doing tactics, because aside from playing games, doing tactics is the best way to improve at spotting tactics and playing tactics in your games. I've been trying to work at my understanding of positions as well. I often see the advice: "look for mates, then look for tactics, then if there are none of either improve your position" and I've seen people say that a good way to improve your position is to improve the position of your worst-placed piece. However, it's not always super clear to me what makes one square a better place for a piece than another. Aside from obvious improvements to the position (make sure everything's defended, connect your rooks, claim open lines and double on them, overprotect squares, create and occupy outposts, put your heavy pieces on the seventh rank,...) I've been struggling to work out how to improve my position.

Recently, I feel like I've had a breakthrough. I've noticed that usually the games I lose, I lose them because I miscalculate or hang a piece or miss an opponent's tactic - I blunder. The games I win, though, I often win inaccurately. I find that I'll have an errant bad bishop or an awkward knight that is sitting on an inconvenient square and preventing a stronger attack. Obviously, once the attack has commenced and the game gets sharp, it's dangerous to give up the initiative and spend a move shuffling pieces around. That gives the opponent room to breathe, to defend, to create counterplay. What I need is for the piece to never have been there in the first place.

I have started to think of improving my position as giving all of my pieces a job to do. If one of my pieces isn't doing a job, then my workforce isn't as productive as it could be, and I need to find a job for that piece. The jobs that need doing might vary throughout the game (some of the jobs typical of endgames are really weird and I'm still getting my head around them). Which pieces are best suited to which jobs might vary depending on which opening I play as well. But the consistent thing is, there's always jobs to be done. I haven't played enough games yet to properly put this to the test, but I feel hopeful that when I do, I'll start to notice that pieces won't be in the way because they'll have a reason to be where they are - they'll be doing a job. Is this a useful way to think about positional play? Am I on the right track?
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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:30 pm UTC

Carlington wrote:Recently, I feel like I've had a breakthrough. I've noticed that usually the games I lose, I lose them because I miscalculate or hang a piece or miss an opponent's tactic - I blunder. The games I win, though, I often win inaccurately. I find that I'll have an errant bad bishop or an awkward knight that is sitting on an inconvenient square and preventing a stronger attack. Obviously, once the attack has commenced and the game gets sharp, it's dangerous to give up the initiative and spend a move shuffling pieces around. That gives the opponent room to breathe, to defend, to create counterplay. What I need is for the piece to never have been there in the first place.


IMO, that's more opening study than it is about tactics.

When you open, you need to place your pieces in locations where you won't want to (or need to) move them for 20 turns. Fianchetto'd bishops are great not because they attack anything... but because they're out of the way, well defended by pawns (pawns protect from any knight-attack, and block-off any rook-attack). The queen-side fianchetto'd bishop attacks the opponent's king-side castle in the SUPER long game. (The entire center needs to clear before you have an open shot at the king).

The center always clears however. Pieces die and get shuffled around. I know 20, 30 turns from now the center will eventually be free and that fianchetto'd bishop will eventually turn into a good piece.

Its why I prefer the English opening or Sicilian. You start with the off-center pawn, and then place the knight behind it. You can charge forward with the pawn and keep the knight in a good location controlling the center. And your opponent will have a difficult time attacking the knight. English Opening provides ample room to Fianchetto both bishops, and to support said bishops with either your king or your rook.

--------------

The rule of thumb is to never touch a minor-piece twice. Rule of thumb of course. Roy Lopez / Spanish opening has you touch the king-side bishop twice in a row for example. But study opening theory until you know where you want to place your pieces. And by "place", I mean place them somewhere and then almost never move them.

But that's only good if you're strong with tactics. Sacrificing positional advantages for a tactical advantage is king in this game. Tactics basically supersede everything.
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Re: Chess!

Postby liberonscien » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:53 pm UTC

One chess variant I've heard of but never played is "no capture" chess. It is basically played just like regular chess, only instead of capturing a piece, one swaps one piece with an opponent's piece.
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Re: Chess!

Postby EMTP » Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:40 pm UTC

I have been an avid fan since my father taught me to play when I was seven -- I haven't played in a tournament in almost 20 years -- I'd like to get back into the serious stuff. Presently I play in coffeehouses and at chess.com. Peak ELO was 1560. Chess.com thinks I'm higher than that now, but I doubt it.

I like the Queen's Gambit as white. I avoid 1. e4 as white because there is a lot of theory in the Sicilian & the Ruy Lopez that I just don't have time for. Facing e4 as black, I like the French Defense. Black has the very simple goal of breaking white's hold on the d4 square, and if they can swing that white's game will often fall apart.

I have always been more of a positional chess player, though I've grown fonder of the freewheeling sacrificing attack in my dotage. Like anyone, I struggle with blunders.

Fantasy chess rules? I've always wanted to see a really playable version of 3D chess.
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Re: Chess!

Postby RickyOrrooho » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:42 pm UTC

Personally, I'm not the greatest chess player, however when I get the chance to play I almost always open with Queen's Gambit because it's the most fun for me.

I've found watching YT videos of other chess Grandmasters to be enjoyable and informative though.

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Re: Chess!

Postby djangochained » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:51 am UTC

I play online, it's so much fun:)

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Re: Chess!

Postby simplydt » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:09 am UTC

RickyOrrooho wrote:Personally, I'm not the greatest chess player, however when I get the chance to play I almost always open with Queen's Gambit because it's the most fun for me.

I've found watching YT videos of other chess Grandmasters to be enjoyable and informative though.


I used to play the QG but to be honest I'm having so much more fun in the open games now after I was persuaded to swap and my rating followed accordingly. You should give it a try with an open mind at some point, e4 really has something to it, I think the queens pawn should be left for higher ratings as those games get super complex due to the many different move orders and transpositions involved...!
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Re: Chess!

Postby pogrmman » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:25 am UTC

So, I've got a question about a game I just played against my brother. Neither of us have played chess for a while, and I'm not sure how my response to the opening was.
I was black, and the game started 1. e4 c5 (so Sicilian defense), then 2. d4 d5, leading to 3. dxc5 dxe4.

I'm wondering if my play of 2. ... d5 was a good response to 2. d4. Both of us think he should've done 3. exd5 instead of 3. dxc5, but that's beside the point.

Looking it up, it seems like 2. ... cxd4 is more common, but I'm still wondering if 2. ... d5 is a decent move -- I found I was able to do a decent job getting my pieces developed after it.

I ended up winning, but that was because of a couple blunders on his part.

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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:52 am UTC

pogrmman wrote:So, I've got a question about a game I just played against my brother. Neither of us have played chess for a while, and I'm not sure how my response to the opening was.
I was black, and the game started 1. e4 c5 (so Sicilian defense), then 2. d4 d5, leading to 3. dxc5 dxe4.

I'm wondering if my play of 2. ... d5 was a good response to 2. d4. Both of us think he should've done 3. exd5 instead of 3. dxc5, but that's beside the point.


Instinctively, this position just... looks bad to me. But I'm not an expert. Immediately, white should take the opponent's queen, which will prevent the black king from castling.

Stockfish rates that position as +1 point (one pawn) in White's advantage, with 4. Qxd8 (check) (forcing Black to move his king, preventing castling). Personally speaking: losing castling rights makes me nervous: the king is vulnerable when in the middle, and it takes many moves to solidify the king if you lost castling rights.

But if the opponent can still castle, then he can defend his king in a single move. So they get a tempo advantage.

Looking it up, it seems like 2. ... cxd4 is more common, but I'm still wondering if 2. ... d5 is a decent move -- I found I was able to do a decent job getting my pieces developed after it.


Stockfish rates 2... cxd4 as +0.22 in favor of White, but rates 2... d5 as +0.52 in favor of White.

So Stockfish sees a difference of about 1/3rd a pawn between the two moves. And really, a lot of opening moves don't seem to make a major difference. For the most part, I ignore any differences smaller than .7 Stockfish points, because I know I don't play at a skill level where 0.7 points matters.

I ended up winning, but that was because of a couple blunders on his part.


Ehhh, that's the thing about mid-level and beginner-level chess. Openings dont matter because we beginners just blunder all the time. Lol. If you're trying to improve, its best to master the fundamental tactics first.

See this book: http://www.chesstactics.org/

I run Stockfish mostly to look for blunders. Failure to capitalize on an opponent's blunder is a blunder in of itself.
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Re: Chess!

Postby pogrmman » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:00 pm UTC

My biggest issue in chess probably with the endgame. I can usually play the opening and middle game to the point where I go into the endgame with an advantage in material (and sometimes position), but I'm not able to capitalize on it.

I do best when I can force a checkmate before then.

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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:55 pm UTC

pogrmman wrote:My biggest issue in chess probably with the endgame. I can usually play the opening and middle game to the point where I go into the endgame with an advantage in material (and sometimes position), but I'm not able to capitalize on it.

I do best when I can force a checkmate before then.


Memorizing the standard checkmates (Rook x2. Rook+King. Queen + King. Bishopx2, Knightx2) will go a long way towards endgame.

The other major part of endgame is understanding pawn promotion strategies. Like when to sacrifice your Queen for the opponent's Rook (or lesser) piece to guarantee a promotion opportunity.
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Re: Chess!

Postby pogrmman » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:07 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
pogrmman wrote:My biggest issue in chess probably with the endgame. I can usually play the opening and middle game to the point where I go into the endgame with an advantage in material (and sometimes position), but I'm not able to capitalize on it.

I do best when I can force a checkmate before then.


Memorizing the standard checkmates (Rook x2. Rook+King. Queen + King. Bishopx2, Knightx2) will go a long way towards endgame.

The other major part of endgame is understanding pawn promotion strategies. Like when to sacrifice your Queen for the opponent's Rook (or lesser) piece to guarantee a promotion opportunity.


It's the latter part where my issues really lie. If my opponent has a handful of pawns, I'm not good at stopping all of them.

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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:20 pm UTC

pogrmman wrote:It's the latter part where my issues really lie. If my opponent has a handful of pawns, I'm not good at stopping all of them.


With regards to pawn promotion... a lot of endgame is driven by the midgame. Various openings lead to various scenarios where a pawn promotion will naturally be a threat. (ex: a major strategy of the English Opening is to try to create a pawn promotion on the A-rank). Recognizing the "clues" from the midgame helps a lot.

The things to work on is pawn structure in the midgame, which naturally results in a good position for the endgame. Passed Pawns are obviously the most powerful, but recognizing good pawn chains that might have a shot at promotion is very much a MIDGAME strategy.

By endgame, the pawns are either powerful (passed and on a high rank), or almost completely ignorable.

-------------

You want Passed Pawns most of all. If you ever get a passed pawn, defend it strongly. This is the most powerful pawn.

....

If you want to stop your opponents promotions, try to make your opponents pawns...

* Isolated pawns are the easiest to double-attack and kill. This is the weakest pawn.
* Doubled pawns cannot be defended by a rook, and are therefore a bit more difficult to protect.
* Backwards pawns cannot advance, because the opponent's pawns will kill them instantly. Backwards pawns are almost as good as blocked.

These are all minor advantages. If you blunder and lose a bishop or a knight... that's a bigger deal than passed pawn vs isolated pawn. But if you've been playing perfectly throughout the midgame... you want to get to endgame with even the slightest of advantages.
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.


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