Chess!

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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Chess!

Postby webby » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:52 am UTC

I searched, but couldn't find a thread about chess in general.

Who here plays? At school, clubs, tournaments, or online? What time limits, openings etc. do you like? And the obligatory question - what's your rating? (I think FIDE ratings in general are about 50-100 points lower than USCF, 100-200 points higher than ACF (Australian ratings) and different websites have widely varying rating systems)

I'm a club and tournament player rated about 1900 FIDE (don't play much online because my internet cuts out often/gets slow). Currently playing in a one game a week (90 minutes + 30 seconds per move) tournament at my local chess club on tuesday nights. I'm an e4 player and usually play the sicilian as black.

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Re: Chess!

Postby mister k » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:45 pm UTC

I'm not that regular a player, but do enjoy it. I'm not terribly good, I mostly play correspondence chess over facebook at the moment. I'm a big fan of the queens gambit as an opener white, mainly because I'm very familar with it.
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Re: Chess!

Postby nowfocus » Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:21 pm UTC

I typically play bullet chess as a break on chess.com. I recently hit my rating goal of 1900, so I'm taking a pause. Bullet chess is quite different from regular chess, but I like getting a bunch of games in a short time frame. It's really satisfying applying pressure and breaking down an opponent so quickly. But there is this whole meta-game, a big part of it is identifying what kind of player you are going against. Some just premove from the start and try to time you out, some try to throw you off with unorthodox strategies, and some are just playing regular chess but quickly.

I usually play Queens gambit as white and Caro-Kann as black. I play best in open games and these generally lead to more open games. Also, it lets have a lot more 'control' in the opening - I find I have a lot more say in what line we go down.
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Re: Chess!

Postby philsov » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:31 pm UTC

play socially at best. I got up to like a 1650 on the yahoo scale when I was real active on it. Prefer playing black, mostly due to upbringing with an older brother who was ALWAYS white. Nowadays when we swap I usually stomp him.

Preferred opening move is queen's pawn coupled with bishop + knight combo to try and sacrifice the knight for a rook. Most vets see through this, of course, but it usually results in some scattered pawns which can later become cumbersome for them (and me). Whenever anyone uses the queen's gambit I usually accept the damned thing. Also prefer castling queenside for the more offensive rook.

Recently been digging a chess variant called Chess 960, with rules below. It jumbles up the board so traditional openings aren't possible, which is a godsend because my chess circle is dreadfully small so much to the point that half our games may as well just start 5 moves in.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess960
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Re: Chess!

Postby mmmcannibalism » Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:00 am UTC

I play a good bit on chess.com(mostly correspondence).
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Re: Chess!

Postby webby » Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:14 am UTC

philsov wrote:Preferred opening move is queen's pawn coupled with bishop + knight combo to try and sacrifice the knight for a rook. Most vets see through this, of course, but it usually results in some scattered pawns which can later become cumbersome for them (and me). Whenever anyone uses the queen's gambit I usually accept the damned thing. Also prefer castling queenside for the more offensive rook.


Do you mean this trick?
trap.gif
trap.gif (37.44 KiB) Viewed 9563 times


Lots of people fall for that one! (One of my black openings can sometimes get opponents with a similar thing)


Recently been digging a chess variant called Chess 960, with rules below. It jumbles up the board so traditional openings aren't possible, which is a godsend because my chess circle is dreadfully small so much to the point that half our games may as well just start 5 moves in.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess960


Yes I've played that a few times, I'm not quite as good as it as normal chess, which suggests that maybe my openings are the strongest part of my game, or that I rely a lot on the general patterns that come up when starting from the normal position.

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Re: Chess!

Postby chessmastertobe » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:02 am UTC

philsov wrote:Recently been digging a chess variant called Chess 960, with rules below. It jumbles up the board so traditional openings aren't possible, which is a godsend because my chess circle is dreadfully small so much to the point that half our games may as well just start 5 moves in.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess960


ChessManiac.com just came online with a new Chess960 feature. Check them out.

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Re: Chess!

Postby philsov » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:44 pm UTC

Do you mean this trick?


Yup!

Knight takes the bishop's pawn, checks the king, and then the choice is move the king (prevents castling) and lose the rook, or kill the knight with a queen sacrifice thanks to the bishop backup. Either choice is not a pleasant one. And even if foiled it generally leaves me with good board positioning.

Oh, and anyone else hate equality kamikaze's? When there's some cold war-like standoff in the middle of the board where there's like 6 difference pieces all covering up one or two squares in this massive contingency, and then the other guy just triggers the whole damned thing for a pure breakeven? Like... he doesn't even gain a pawn out of the mess. He just does it to clean up and simplify the board. Grrrr.
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Re: Chess!

Postby mister k » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:50 pm UTC

philsov wrote:
Do you mean this trick?


Yup!

Knight takes the bishop's pawn, checks the king, and then the choice is move the king (prevents castling) and lose the rook, or kill the knight with a queen sacrifice thanks to the bishop backup. Either choice is not a pleasant one. And even if foiled it generally leaves me with good board positioning.

Oh, and anyone else hate equality kamikaze's? When there's some cold war-like standoff in the middle of the board where there's like 6 difference pieces all covering up one or two squares in this massive contingency, and then the other guy just triggers the whole damned thing for a pure breakeven? Like... he doesn't even gain a pawn out of the mess. He just does it to clean up and simplify the board. Grrrr.

No, because sometimes I'm happy to do it. Its usually harder to make mistakes with fewer pieces on the board, so it behooves people who might make such mistakes to do so.
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Re: Chess!

Postby Antimony-120 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:08 am UTC

mister k wrote:
philsov wrote:
Do you mean this trick?


Yup!

Knight takes the bishop's pawn, checks the king, and then the choice is move the king (prevents castling) and lose the rook, or kill the knight with a queen sacrifice thanks to the bishop backup. Either choice is not a pleasant one. And even if foiled it generally leaves me with good board positioning.

Oh, and anyone else hate equality kamikaze's? When there's some cold war-like standoff in the middle of the board where there's like 6 difference pieces all covering up one or two squares in this massive contingency, and then the other guy just triggers the whole damned thing for a pure breakeven? Like... he doesn't even gain a pawn out of the mess. He just does it to clean up and simplify the board. Grrrr.

No, because sometimes I'm happy to do it. Its usually harder to make mistakes with fewer pieces on the board, so it behooves people who might make such mistakes to do so.


Also sometimes one side is left with a position where moving anything else would put them in a worse position. Thus, a breakeven that leaves them with some board control is preferable to a move that sacrifices position to avoid the massive killing field.
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Re: Chess!

Postby webby » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:06 am UTC

I think one of the most important things for becoming a better player (in general, and for me in particular) is knowing when to exchange pieces. In the example of the massive exchanges, maybe your position is cramped, and exchanging some pieces can free the rest of them. Maybe your opponent has a chance to attack, and by exchanging pieces you're giving him less pieces to attack with. Maybe you have some kind of structural advantage which will make it easier to promote a pawn in the endgame.

Often, though, it's lower rated players trying to exchange all the pieces to get a draw. :P Sometimes it works, but usually the better player is able to take the trades that are positionally favourable and avoid the ones that aren't and eventually win in the endgame. It's sometimes surprising how many tricks there are in endgames that at first sight appear drawn.

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Re: Chess!

Postby Jack21222 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:35 am UTC

I've been playing chess for 24 years, but only started playing seriously 12 years ago. Lately, I've been too busy to put any work into my game, but I'm still pretty good. My high was around a 1500 USCF, though I think my official rating is closer to 1425.
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Re: Chess!

Postby thc » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:33 pm UTC

I used to play in scholastic tournaments when I was in high school. I actually won one because I got caught up in a feud between players, where the 2nd place player threw the game for me so the person who beat him wouldn't get first place. Yeah...

I play a little blitz on FICS (freechess.org) every now and then. Hit me up if you're interested in challenging me. Be warned! I'm really quite bad! (My handle is traversc)

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Re: Chess!

Postby webby » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:11 am UTC

thc wrote:I used to play in scholastic tournaments when I was in high school. I actually won one because I got caught up in a feud between players, where the 2nd place player threw the game for me so the person who beat him wouldn't get first place. Yeah...

I play a little blitz on FICS (freechess.org) every now and then. Hit me up if you're interested in challenging me. Be warned! I'm really quite bad! (My handle is traversc)


I used to play on FICS when I had better internet. I looked at your profile, I wouldn't call you a 'bad player' :P - FICS ratings are pretty low compared to other places on the internet.

webby wrote:I think one of the most important things for becoming a better player (in general, and for me in particular) is knowing when to exchange pieces. In the example of the massive exchanges, maybe your position is cramped, and exchanging some pieces can free the rest of them. Maybe your opponent has a chance to attack, and by exchanging pieces you're giving him less pieces to attack with. Maybe you have some kind of structural advantage which will make it easier to promote a pawn in the endgame.

Often, though, it's lower rated players trying to exchange all the pieces to get a draw. :P Sometimes it works, but usually the better player is able to take the trades that are positionally favourable and avoid the ones that aren't and eventually win in the endgame. It's sometimes surprising how many tricks there are in endgames that at first sight appear drawn.


This came back to haunt me on the weekend. :P It was the first round of the city of sydney rapid championships (20 minutes each + 10 seconds a move) tournament, I was playing an international master who's about to become a grandmaster and I had a choice - exchange off the rest of the pieces and take a draw (king and three pawns each with no chance of a king invasion), or keep a knight vs a bishop on the board and play for a win. In time trouble I took the exchanges and the draw, but analysing it after the game turned out i had a reasonably easy win if i hadn't exchanged. Still, it's the first time I've had a draw with an IM, even if it's only rapid, can't be too disappointed about that!

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Re: Chess!

Postby Mark H » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:53 am UTC

How many of you guys have played Chessmaster? That is a good chess game.
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Re: Chess!

Postby NotThatDork » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:56 am UTC

Played pro in my youth, racking up something like 1776 ELO. Was somewhat bad driven character and daunted seriously my game. By the age of 16, I created my college team from scraps and made it deal seriously with top colleges that were coached by grandmasters. Then, when I ended high-school I simply stop playing.

And then, two years or so i started again, at FICS and Chess Cube. Level its better at FICS (Im Alecaldi, but I'm not logging it too much), but Chess Cube.com (where I'm also Alecaldi) it's smoother and somehow simpler. My ranking at Chess cube is in the 1790-1920 frame and at FICS I guess a piked 1800. Blitz chess, 5 min, almost without exception.

Played King's Gambit at my youth, a lot, since I was a freaking attacking kid and it was the love of my life in terms of openings. Nowadays I play Vienna Game for serious purposes and King's Gambit with amateurs.

For Black: a 50%-50% between Indo-Benoni and King's indian for 1.d4 and Sicilian Dragon (I've tested Najdorf and Goteborg for the matter also, by without much success) to 1.e4. Once, on a serious tournament won a bet to my friend playing 1.... f5 to 1.e4 on every game I had to, and won 3 times out of 4.

Also, I have two games registered, from my early days, on Chessbase 11, both from 1992, and the reason for being on that database is that the other player was a Master or Grandmaster. Anyway, useless to impress girls, I lost both of them. To add salt to the injury, it figures there at Chessbase that in that tournament I've got 0 points (reason is, that they only have registered those 2 games) when I actually racked a 4.5 over 9... remember: there where Grandmasters in it...

A serious problem is that openings needs a serious and updated study. Since my devotion existed only 20 years ago, and openings theory evolves, and I don't have the time, I must rely on auxiliary and infrequent lines to survive a reasonable player. Since then no Ruy Lopez nor Queen Gambit as opening, and rare systems against black defenses to 1.e4.

My nemesis: Stonewall. I hate it, and even if it is an amateur opening, still it's hard to deal with if the player it's mildly reasonable.

Still, what I lack today in study, I've won it on maturity and strategical thinking.

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Re: Chess!

Postby webby » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:21 am UTC

Used to play it a lot, I remember it having a whole lot of different standards and styles of opponent which was good.

EDIT: By this I meant the chessmaster program, I got ninja'd.
Last edited by webby on Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:26 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Chess!

Postby Orkimond » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:24 am UTC

Used to play so much chess, was best in my age group in the state for a bit. Then I hit high school and decided it was gay and stopped. I should really start hitting it up again, that shit is awesome

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Re: Chess!

Postby ocean_soul » Fri Apr 22, 2011 12:58 pm UTC

I play at a level around 1800 at the club of Mortsel. I also have a rating around 1900 at gameknot. Apart from playing chess I'm also interested in chess compositions.
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Chess!

Postby amazinghat » Tue May 03, 2011 11:38 pm UTC

I challenge you guys to chess. My Chess.com handle is "amazinghat". You should play on either Chess.com or ChessCube. I'd give you my ChessCube handle (I've played there longer than I've played on Chess.com) but I don't play there anymore because netbooks suck.

:D :D :D
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Re: Chess!

Postby gfile-destroyer » Wed May 18, 2011 8:15 am UTC

I've been playing chess for a long time. I used to play at school, now I mostly play at local clubs and online, and occasionally tournaments but generally only big ones like Vegas. I like playing 2h +1h/40 in tournaments, and online I generally like blitz. In the club we play with no time control but move quickly. I play d4 as white and as black I play the KID mainline against d4 and the caro-kann against e4. Im not very good at openings I have some knowledge of lines but Im lacking in knowing what the heck the proper plan is. I'm rated 1810 uscf but Ive gone up atleast 40 points in my last 4 tournaments so I think I'm still underrated.

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Chess!

Postby Velexia » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:20 pm UTC

First I have to say, Randall, I love you as if I were a part of the universe that loved itself and every single part of itself, as much as could possibly be done.

Second, since this is in gaming... and my title is "Chess!"...

You mentioned a more logical set of rules in the arcane text in "Think Logically."

I love chess and I would love to see/hear/read what your chess rules would be. (And anyone else in this forum)

I have a minor change I would love to make. Pawns can be promoted to extra kings. If a player has two or more kings, either of them can be captured like other pieces. Only when a single king remains can it be put into check and checkmate. This gives at least some thought into the process of promoting a pawn, beyond "will promoting to a queen create a stalemate?"

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Re: Chess!

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:42 pm UTC

Not to.. uh.. shatter you too hard, but Randall doesn't really participate in the forums. He may still read them, but he hasn't posted (or at least hasn't posted as himself) in quite some time. I suppose that it is possible that he created an alt and participates that way, through proxies or somesuch so as to never let us know he's here.... and then we banned him.

...people who've been here a while are laughing their asses off, trust me.

It is possible that he will read this, but it's even less likely that he will respond.

Moving on, extra Kings.... I have no idea how that would change the strategy. It'd be a different game, but I don't know if it'd be a bad game. Just different.
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Re: Chess!

Postby Velexia » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:32 pm UTC

Oh, well, I hope he reads this, because he is an awesome part of my universe, and he brings me great joy. He reminds me of one of my friends that I don't get to see much anymore.

Thanks for the link though, many many things to read... it's like reading a book, except it's a choose your own adventure, and there are no directions at the bottom of the page... Nonetheless, a story to be found =)

So, extra kings, yes... It would definitely change the game, but not that drastically. I'm not sure what the statistics are on how often a pawn gets promoted in any given group of games... But those ones would have a chance of being affected. I have yet to actually play with that rule, but then, I have hard time getting people to play chess with me as is (I play causal chess, in person, and sometimes when I am feeling like a quick game I go play at instantchess.com as Velexia or Vex).

So do you have any secret pet rules you've never tried but always wanted to?

Most rules were house rules at some point after all =) (En passant, castling, king's leap, the queen's movement, etc)
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Re: Chess!

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:56 pm UTC

So do you have any secret pet rules you've never tried but always wanted to?


Heh. Something not unlike Archon. Give the pieces stats, have it so that when an attempt to capture a piece is made, the stats are run with some sort of randomizing element (dice, most likely) with bonuses applied based on proximity to other pieces.

So basically I wouldn't mind a Chess that wasn't Chess but some kind of wargame.

...but then I always realize it'd just be easier to play an actual wargame rather than bash Chess's square peg into this star shaped wargaming hole.
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Re: Chess!

Postby Velexia » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:22 pm UTC

Well in that case, I want Chess that is Dark Souls minus the ability to backstab an opponent that has targeted you in the last 30 seconds (no more fishing or lag-stabbing!)
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Re: Chess!

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:58 pm UTC

So.. you want to be a single King versus 8 Bishops?
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Re: Chess!

Postby yonkie » Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:23 pm UTC

BTW, is there any website like Project Euler for chess problems? E.g., solve each and chat after with those who solved it (possibly differently).

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Re: Chess!

Postby ahammel » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:52 pm UTC

yonkie wrote:BTW, is there any website like Project Euler for chess problems? E.g., solve each and chat after with those who solved it (possibly differently).
Chess tempo sounds like what you want. Assuming you meant "tactical exercises" and not chess problems in the strict sense.

It's highly undesirable for a chess problem to have more than one solution, though.
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Re: Chess!

Postby Shivahn » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:49 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:So.. you want to be a single King versus 8 Bishops?

I find this acceptable as long as I get to choose the starting color for the bishops.

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Re: Chess!

Postby Velexia » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:19 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:So.. you want to be a single King versus 8 Bishops?


Yes please =)
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Re: Chess!

Postby gfile-destroyer » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:20 am UTC

gfile-destroyer wrote:I've been playing chess for a long time. I used to play at school, now I mostly play at local clubs and online, and occasionally tournaments but generally only big ones like Vegas. I like playing 2h +1h/40 in tournaments, and online I generally like blitz. In the club we play with no time control but move quickly. I play d4 as white and as black I play the KID mainline against d4 and the caro-kann against e4. Im not very good at openings I have some knowledge of lines but Im lacking in knowing what the heck the proper plan is. I'm rated 1810 uscf but Ive gone up atleast 40 points in my last 4 tournaments so I think I'm still underrated.


2 years later im 2000+. Strong players think Im about 2100-2200 strength. I understand how to plan out my games now :D

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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Apr 21, 2016 4:18 pm UTC

I've played chess casually my whole life (including some Yahoo! Chess in the late 90s), but have finally begun to make a "sprint" for prestige starting in about November of 2015. I don't quite know where I want to stop... I was happy with Chess.com Elo 1300 a few months ago, but I just broke 1500 last night (lets hope I can hold onto that ranking!)

According to this chart: 1500 at chess.com is roughly a FIDE 1600 player.

So just six months ago, I was consistently losing at ~1100. Its nice to still be in beginner / intermediate territory where I can made 100+ point Elo gains each month with just a little bit of study (I do realize that the experts improve quite a bit more slowly).

As far as my secret the past month: I've been using SCID vs PC and Stockfish 7 to analyze every single game that I play... after the fact. (Not during, I'm not going to have my opponent play Stockfish, lol). I'm still making major tactical mistakes every couple of games (200+-centipawn blunders) at least once per game, but so are my opponents. So I know I got a lot of room for improvement.

It is lovely to see Stockfish 7 agree with me on occasion. There was this match last night where I "felt" like the opponent blundered on like move 20. I push his mistake and then I got a checkmate in 7 moves after that point. I checked it with Stockfish later, and Stockfish agreed with the blunder and finds a Checkmate in 6. :D :D :D

More typically however, Stockfish is so advanced that I don't think I'm "learning" from it per se, aside from checking my own games for blunders.

At my level of play, I'm still at winning chess == "not making a major blunder". Overall, I've been playing relatively passively and positionally. When I was 1200 I opened with the King's Gambit and then went ham on the opponent's f-rank. Very good IMO for low-level play and learning how to look for tactics.

But now that I'm 1500ish, I've been using English Opening (1.c4) as white, and Sicilian (1.e4 / c5) for Black. These games seem to be about shuffling your bishops / rooks behind pawns and trying to figure out the best position before finally advancing a pawn to the 4th or 5th rank. I often have time to double-fianchetto the bishops.

Oh yeah, and protecting the f-pawn. Losing that fucker loses me more games than any other mistake in my experience. At least with English and Sicilian.

I think its a solid opening, but I think I need to switch to a tactics-based one in order to grow more again. Something more solid than the hammy King's Gambit (which is a fun, tactics-galore opening. But savvy opponents seem to decline the gambit more often than not).

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

But yeah, plenty to learn in Chess. I only know three opening lines: King's Gambit Accepted (plz don't decline) and English for White, and Sicilian opening for Black. I barely know how to face 1. d4, despite how common it is (Chess opening databases claim Knight to f3, so thats how I play... but without any deeper understanding). I only learned the King / Bishop / Bishop vs King endgame within the past week. I'm still awful at seeing knight forks.

And I do realize that English turns into a Queens pawn opening a good chunk of the time (1 c4 d5 2. d4 woah, its Queens Gambit!). I probably should learn Queens Gambit, Queens Indian and other lines that English could turn into...

And I'm not very confident in my endgames. If I don't win a minor piece in the middlegame, I often lose in the endgame. And opponents who go ham and just trade all the pieces often beat me in endgame unfortunately.
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Carlington
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Re: Chess!

Postby Carlington » Fri Apr 22, 2016 8:17 am UTC

I'm around a 1400 or just under on lichess, but my rating in tactic trainer apps is 1500 or so. I tend to answer 1.d4 with d5, but I am a fan of that sort of thing. This comes with the added benefit that 2.c4 is probably the most common response - if you play the English Defence, you'll find yourself transposing into a lot of familiar positions. Couple that with adding the Queen's Gambit into your repertoire as White, and you ought to be fairly comfortable in that neck of the woods.
As for your endgame troubles, I've read in a lot of places that nailing your endgames is way more important than learning openings. I very much recommend just doing copious amounts of endgame drills, learn the patterns for endgames, learn which ones you win and which ones you lose. Then you can comfortably set up a good position, and when you need to you can trade with reckless abandon into an endgame you know you'll win, or else stymie your opponent and sniff for weaknesses if you know you'll lose the endgame.
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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:26 pm UTC

Even now, I tend to blunder in the middlegame. And I feel like the majority of my games are still decided upon blunders. Which is why I just haven't had the motivation to study endgames yet. But I think I'm starting to get to that level where yeah, endgame study is important. (IE: My opponent and I have a blunder-free game and actually enter a proper endgame. Then I lose... :-( )

I mean, there's no point learning something complicated like King / Bishop / Knight vs King / Rook endgame (or highly-advanced KPPP vs KR), if I'm still blundering a bishop on move 30 or so (or if my opponents are still blundering pieces).

On the other hand, I've been told however that 15 min / +10 sec is still a "rapid" game. Maybe if I played slower games, like 30 minutes, Endgames would be far more important.

if you play the English Defence, you'll find yourself transposing into a lot of familiar positions.


Strangely enough, I don't :oops: :oops: Because I don't know Queens Gambit yet, lol. Something else to study of course. I'm only really comfortable with English into Reverse Sicilian, or English into Four Knights, which seems to be the most common responses in my experience. I'm somewhat familiar with Queen's Indian Defense, but I never studied it. It just seems very natural.

If the opponent forces me to transpose into the Queen's Gambit, I pretty much lose 100% of the time. Its really a blind-spot in my opening repertoire. I just lost another match last night when my opponent transposed my English into Queens Gambit with 1. c4 e6 2. d4 d5 (which eventually made me blunder a Bishop in a trap)

But yeah, I recognize all of these positionings from databases, and can tell you the name of them. But that doesn't mean I actually know how to play them.

As you noted, opening study isn't considered a thing at my level. And I think I agree. I've only studied the barest basics of the English Opening / Sicilian so that I have a structure / gameplan for the first 20 moves or so. But I'm still losing to crazy traps on occasion. (Queen's Gambit has a lot of traps, for both players. I lose it as both Black AND White). But tactics / not-blundering is still my primary reason for winning and/or losing, and that's a skill that's relevant no matter what opening you do.

I do plan on learning Endgames first however, then continuing my tactics training. Its a small miracle that I've gotten this far without any serious endgame study what-so-ever (I really only know King / Rook vs King and King / Bishop / Bishop vs King... elementary checkmate endgames. I've spent absolutely no study time at all with pawn + opposite bishop or whatever those are called).

-------

A major problem in my rise from 1100 through 1500 is that when I lost a piece in the middle game, I'd resign instantly, instead of playing the game out. I think if I played more games to completion, maybe I'd have more endgame experience.
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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat Apr 23, 2016 6:33 pm UTC

Here's a game I just played. I was White, my opponent was Black. I've lost a few games recently, so I dropped below 1500 now. This game demonstrates my frustration with my own blunders.

Use a program like SCID vs PC. Just copy the following "code", and you'll be able to follow along. For SCID vs PC, just select all the following text, then paste it in using "Edit->Paste PGN". Other programs ought to be able to read the following file.

Code: Select all

[Event "Live Chess"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2016.04.23"]
[Round "?"]
[White "WhitePlayer"]
[Black "BlackPlayer"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1477"]
[BlackElo "1505"]
[TimeControl "15|10"]
[Termination "BlackPlayer won by checkmate"]

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Bb4 5.Bg2 O-O 6.O-O d6 7.a3 Bxc3 8.bxc3 Be6
    {Up to this point, a relatively standard English Opening into four knights.}
9.d3 Qd7
    {When I finchetto a bishop, I don't like losing it. My pawn structure is weak, so I'd like go go for the trade.}
10.Ng5
    ( 10.Bb2 Bh3 11.Bxh3 Qxh3 {Notice the pawn structure allows his queen to sneak-into the back. I find this position very annoying when I play the English or Sicillian Dragon.} )
10...Rfe8
    {Opponent accepts Knight / Bishop trade, I'll achieve dominance over the light squares in this game. Also still have double-bishops, considered to be a slight advantage. If I can keep the game "open", I feel good about this position.}
11.Nxe6 Qxe6 12.Rb1
    {I want to control the b-rank with the rook.}
12...Rab8 $14
    {Stockfish: +0.40. Stockfish seems to agree with me that I have a slight positional advantage at the moment.}
13.e3 $2
    {And immediately, Stockfish claims I made a mistake. Black now has at least a pawn advantage.}
13...e4
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 26:-0.96} 13...e4 14.a4 Na5 15.c5 dxc5 16.dxe4 Nxe4 17.Qc2 b6 18.f3 Nd6 19.e4 Ndc4 20.f4 Qg6 21.Rd1 Rbd8 22.Bf3 f6 23.Qe2 Qf7 24.Bh5 Rxd1+ 25.Qxd1 g6 26.Bf3 Qe7 27.Qe2 Rd8 )
14.dxe4 Nxe4 15.Qd5 Nxc3 $15
    {At this point, I'm clearly, and decisively a pawn down.}
16.Qxe6 Rxe6 17.Rb2
    {I want to keep pressure on B-rank. I might get a free-knight on C6 if my opponent blunders. I move rook to b2 because I don't feel like ceeding twin-bishops quite yet.}
17...Ne4
    ( 17...Ne2+ 18.Kh1 Nxc1 19.Rxc1 {And now I lost control over black-squares. Stockfish disagrees however, and says -0.81 however. So maybe I didn't have to worry about this particular variation.} )
18.Rd1 b6 19.Rb5 $2
    {Stockfish now ranks me at -1.10. It considers the last move a slight mistake.}
19...Na5
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 29:-1.10} 19...Na5 20.Rb2 )
20.Rd4 Nc3 $2
    {Stockfish is back to -0.87. Capturing this pawn was considered a slight-mistake on the part of Black. I assume its because I now have the ability to chase his knight within my territory and achieve some kind of better positioning??}
21.Rb2 c5 22.Rg4 Rbe8 $10
    {His knights are very far away from the battlefield and are clearly out of position, while I've managed to start an attack on the king. Stockfish considers Black to have made several mistakes in the past moves, and now considers this an even game.}
23.Bd2
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 33:+0.00} 23.Bd2 f5 24.Rh4 Ne4 25.Bxa5 bxa5 26.Rb7 R6e7 27.Bxe4 fxe4 28.Rb5 a4 29.Ra5 Rb8 30.Rxa4 g6 31.Kg2 Kg7 32.Rf4 Rb6 33.g4 h6 34.h4 a6 35.Ra5 Re5 36.Kh3 Kg8 37.Kg3 Kg7 38.Kh3 )
23...Ne4 24.Bxa5
    {Time to finally capitalize on my b-file rook.}
24...bxa5 $4
    {Stockfish is going utterly crazy, considers this to be a MAJOR blunder for Black. +4 is a huge advantage. Whatever Stockfish7 sees, I'm not seeing it during the match at least.
   
    See my comments in Stockfish's analysis why I get a free Knight out of this blunder.
   
    This is an example of the tactical-blunder that I've been complaining about. About midgame now, I've achieved a major advantage, and yet I don't even recognize it. My personal feeling during the match is "slight advantage" due to the b-rank being open, not this +4!! that Stockfish is claiming.}
25.Rb7
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 29:+4.29} 25.Rxe4 Rxe4 26.Bxe4 {Rook cannot capture Bishop. If Rook captures Bishop, Black instantly loses the game.} 26...Rxe4 27.Rb8+ Re8 28.Rxe8# {Checkmate. Clearly, I still need to work on my tactics.} )
25...Nf6 $4 $10
    {I missed the opportunity to be up a minor piece. Stockfish7 thinks the game is even now. }
26.Rf4 R6e7 27.Rb5 d5 $2 $16
    {By losing this key pawn, I become +2 pawns over the opponent, one of which is passed. Definitely a blunder by the opponent. Stockfish claims +2.3 now.}
28.cxd5
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 27:+2.27} 28.cxd5 Rc8 29.Rc4 Ne8 30.Bh3 Rd8 31.Rcxc5 Nd6 32.Rxa5 Kf8 33.Rc6 Rb7 34.Bf1 Rdd7 35.Bd3 f5 36.Bc2 Rb2 37.Ba4 Ke7 38.Rca6 Rc7 39.h4 Ra2 40.Rxa7 Rxa7 41.Rxa7+ Kf6 42.Bd7 g6 43.Bc6 Ne4 44.Rxh7 Rxa3 )
28...c4 29.Rxc4 Ne4 $4
    {Once again, I miss the free knight due to the checkmate threat. My opponent makes this blunder twice in this game, and I blunder twice by missing it both times. If I won the knight at this point, I'd be at a crushing +6 from Stockfish analysis.}
30.Rxa5
    ( 30.Rxe4 Rxe4 31.Bxe4 Rxe4 32.Rb8+ Re8 33.Rxe8# {Checkmate. The opponent either loses his knight in this variation, or he loses his king. My fault for missing it.} )
30...Nd6 $16
    {Stockfish still feels +3 however, so Stockfish thinks that I should win, despite missing my opponent's blunder.}
31.Rc6 Rd8 32.Raa6 Red7 33.Bh3 f5 34.f3 $2
    {See Stockfish analysis for a far better set of moves. Stockfish now claims +2.8 due to this minor mistake I made.}
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 21:+3.60} 34.e4 Nxe4 35.Bxf5 Re7 36.Re6 Rxe6 37.Bxe6+ Kf8 38.Rxa7 Nc5 39.f4 g6 40.Rxh7 Nxe6 41.dxe6 Rd4 42.Rf7+ Kg8 43.Kf2 Re4 44.Rf6 Kg7 45.Kf3 Re1 46.Rf7+ Kg8 47.a4 Rxe6 48.Ra7 )
34...g6 35.e4 Kg7 36.exf5 $2
    {Stockfish once again shows a far better route. Stockfish's pawn structure is superior to the crap I'm pulling in the game, and pawn-structure is incredibly important for endgames. I think I'm demonstrating my endgame weakness with these moves.}
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 23:+4.20} 36.g4 g5 37.gxf5 Kf6 38.Bg4 Ke5 39.f6 Rb7 40.Kg2 h6 41.Kh3 Rf7 42.Kg3 Rxf6 43.Rxa7 Kd4 44.a4 Rb8 45.Re7 Rf7 46.Rxf7 Nxf7 47.Rf6 Ne5 48.Rxh6 Ra8 49.d6 Rd8 50.d7 Nxg4 51.Rd6+ Ke5 52.Rd5+ Ke6 53.Kxg4 Rxd7 54.Rxd7 )
36...gxf5 37.g4 Nb5 38.gxf5 Rxd5 39.f6+ Kf8 40.a4 Rd1+ 41.Kf2 Nd4 42.Rxa7 $4
    {Lol, I hang my rook. WTF, I'm so dumb. But you know who else is dumb? My opponent.}
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 21:+5.13} 42.Rc7 Rd2+ 43.Ke3 Rd3+ 44.Kxd3 {I analyzed this position for about 20 minutes. Stockfish is obviously brilliant at chess and sees checkmate threats EVERYWHERE (not simple ones... they're all like Checkmate in 10), which ultimately results in this position where Black is forced to sacrifice the rook to live longer.
   
    I think I can forgive myself for not seeing my "advantage" here which allows me to win a rook.} )
42...Rd2+
    ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 23:-3.47} 42...Nxc6 {I'm so bad at Chess, I need a Chess Engine to tell me this fact. :-(} )
43.Kg3 Ne2+ $4
    {Wooooo, the opponent missed my obvious blunder!}
44.Kg4 R2d4+ 45.Kg5 h6+ $16
    {Stockfish claims +3, major advantage for white. It is clear that his attack is futile, as I have too many pieces here that can protect my king. Now I should note that its a bit of a complicated position. See the variations for what I was worried about.}
46.Kf5
    {Stockfish +3. A reasonable choice, and Stockfish thinks I haven't gained or lost anything here.}
    ( 46.Kxh6 Rh4+ 47.Kg5 Rxh3 $10 {Lose my Bishop. Stockfish agrees with my analysis. I clearly can't take this path. Even game at this point.} )
    ( 46.Kg6 Nf4+ {Oh me yarm Oh! Knight Fork, and I lose my bishop!!! Clearly, this is a bad position for me. So I stop thinking about this position.
   
    Unfortunately...Stockfish Analysis? +60. :-( Stockfish think's this position is SOOOO good for white, that its +6 Queens advantage over the opponent. So apparently, I shouldn't have been worried here. Stockfish can't quite see the checkmate, but I have a soul-crushing advantage that I should have pressed in this position. Checkmates all over the place, with a powerful corner-passed pawn that promotes on a light-square matching my bishop.} 47.Kh7 Nxh3 48.Rcc7 Ng5+ 49.Kh8 Rxa4 {Rook must be sacrificed to prevent the checkmate in 3.}
        ( {[Stockfish 7 64] 127:M3} 49...Rf4 50.Rg7 {Checkmate with R to g8} 50...Nf7+ {Delays the inevitable.} 51.Rgxf7+ Ke8 52.Rae7# )
    50.Rxa4 Nf7+ )
46...R8d5+
    {+50. Stockfish thinks I'm going to win this game with a crushing advantage.}
47.Ke6 $4
    {Too bad I didn't see the checkmate in 1 with this blunder.}
47...Nf4# 0-1


So going through the game, I've got:

Move 13: I hang a pawn for no reason.

Move 24: Black Blunders. With the pawn move off the B-file, I should have recognized that I had a free-knight to capture. See commentary for the specific variation, but basically opponent either gets Checkmated or loses his knight.

Move 25: I (White) miss the blunder, and do something silly and irrelevant.

Move 27: Black makes a dumb move and loses a pawn.

Move 30: Black Blunders in the same way as Move 24. Both he and I miss this mistake again.

Move 34 and 36: I weaken my own pawn structure because I don't have endgame skills.

Move 46: I miss a MAJOR advantage (Stockfish: Checkmate in 14. Even if I didn't see the checkmate, there are checkmate threats all over the place and my pawn promotion to queen is inevitable) because I was worried about walking into a knight-fork between my King and Bishop. My mind was basically "Ooops, that's a fork. Better not analyze it further".

And of course, the major one... Move 47: I leave a strong-advantaged position (Stockfish +3) and walk into a completely unnecessary checkmate.

With mistakes like these littered across the game, it makes me want to just... practice tactics.

------

If anyone else wants to post their game for commentary, I'm willing to analyze them for practice sake. Again though, I'm only a 1500 player, so don't expect a miracle or anything. I will primarily use Stockfish 7 computer analysis however :-)
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Yablo
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Re: Chess!

Postby Yablo » Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:56 pm UTC

I haven't played a rated game since high school (in the mid-90s), and if I remember correctly, my rating back then was only about 1250. I suppose that's not terrible since I only played two official tournaments. I did manage to win a $1,000 scholarship for placing 3rd in a state tournament.

When we would go to Academic Team matches, the opposing school would always send their best player over to us and have him challenge our best (which was invariably me). I would sometimes play three games at once at a coffee shop while paying more attention to friendly conversations. There was one summer where I even went 'pro'; not 'pro' as in playing official tournaments, but 'pro' as in playing for $5 per game stakes.

I tend to use King's Pawn openings because that's what I studied at first, but I actually prefer the clusterfuck produced by Queen's Pawn openings. These days, I have to play a computer if I'm going to play at all. Chess is a lost art form, and I've beaten friends and family in four moves* one too many times.


* King's Pawn to K4, Queen to KB3, King's Bishop to QB4, Queen captures King's Bishop's Pawn for checkmate. (Sorry, I've momentarily forgotten standard notation, and I can't be bothered to look it up as I'm at work).
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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:23 pm UTC

Yablo wrote:I tend to use King's Pawn openings because that's what I studied at first, but I actually prefer the clusterfuck produced by Queen's Pawn openings. These days, I have to play a computer if I'm going to play at all. Chess is a lost art form, and I've beaten friends and family in four moves* one too many times.


* King's Pawn to K4, Queen to KB3, King's Bishop to QB4, Queen captures King's Bishop's Pawn for checkmate. (Sorry, I've momentarily forgotten standard notation, and I can't be bothered to look it up as I'm at work).


In my circle of friends, we've dubbed this move the "Banzai Attack".

Apparently its official name is the Scholar's Mate however. I find that at higher-levels, the opponent can build momentum and chase the queen around while developing pieces. So I don't like doing it, although there are apparently opening lines and opening traps built around this Scholar's Mate.

The only name I've heard in real life that describes this attack... that is also on that Wikipedia page... is the Blitzkreg Mate.
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Re: Chess!

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:43 pm UTC

I've heard it called Fool's Mate (although there's a different checkmate that is the canonical Fool's Mate). In Russian it's called the Children's Mate, apparently, which is quite appropriate since it's usually the first mate children are taught. It's a pretty weak opening, generally, if the opponent is able to deflect the initial attack. You still see it very occasionally at higher levels on blitz.

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Re: Chess!

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Apr 26, 2016 4:31 am UTC

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.

Being up a knight in the early-game should become a knight+free pawns in the mid game, which should turn into another minor piece advantage by the endgame. I've been watching Stockfish "finish" my matches with near perfect play on both sides (at least, super-human strength), and this is the pattern I see constantly.

If you are a minor piece (knight or bishop) ahead of the opponent, then it SHOULD become a +5 point advantage within 20 moves or so (ie: capture two pawns for free, or win a rook / minor-piece exchange). If not, you are slacking.

If you're ahead by only one or two pawns, then perfect play seems to typically become a flurry of exchanges into a winning endgame. 5 pawns + King usually wins against 4 pawns + King. Of course, pawn structure is very important for the endgame, and I've begun to dislike relying upon my pawns to do... virtually anything. It seems incredibly important to enter endgame with a "proper" pawn structure.

Which goes back to me not yet studying endgames like I promised to do a few posts earlier >_<. Ah well, I got some tactics practice in at lichess.org.
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