Sunday, 31 July 2011

Back Rank Tactics

The back rank is often the subject of many tactics, i was once told that if i spend some time studying back rank tactics then i would be less likely to fall victim to them in the next few weeks. Irronically when i was told this, the three weeks that followed i had a number of wins through back rank tactics, culminating with my game against Ganesh Krishnan where i had an amazing combination ending in mate. This is the game below. i was black. and my opponent made a big blunder on move 24 just to find my mating reply.
So why do so many back rank tactics occur? when someone castles they get thier king out of the centre, behind a barrier of pawns to protect it, but with no pawns on the back rank you need to defend it with a piece, however when your pieces move up to attack or do other things your king can often be left behind. stuck behind his loyal protectors they might not let him escape should he need to.

So that is why these tactics occur so often, but what can we look for to avoid falling for them. one of the most common ideas to do with the back rank is the idea of distraction, no i dont mean destracting your opponents so that they dont see your threat, rather when a piece is defending the back rank you might try to distract that piece from the defence. here are a few examples. send me the answers in the comments area. if your are correct i will leave you comments and leave a comment of my own. the colour dot in the bottom left corner tells you whos move it is. Not all back rank tactics end in mate. but the threat of mate can be a useful way to win matierial.

Hope you enjoy these puzzles.

Friday, 29 July 2011

The Marshall Gambit

The Marshall Gambit was first introduced by Frank Marshall against Capablanca in 1918. It is a very dangerous option for white unless he is extremely well prepared. One of the many gambit lines against the Ruy Lopez, it has enjoyed great success over the years even at grandmaster level. for example, in the 2004 world championship match between Kramnik and Leko, Leko played this gambit against the world champion and won. White is even trying to avoid this line by playing 8.a4 or 8.h3 instead of 8.c3.
Here is the main line of the marshall along with the start of my game i had with Rad Chmiel where i was white (and won comfortably) as an illustration of an attempted marshall gone wrong. It began with the previously discussed c3 italian and black got an inferior game due to the superior position of whites knight, take a look at the similarities of the 2 positions and then the differences and you will understand what i meant by white avoids such gambits by playing the c3 italian.
So what makes the Marshall so dangerous? Well Black, for 1 pawn gets a large amount of development and alot of pressure against the white king, also black can also, very often be satisfied with just winning material. White is underdeveloped and his king is looking quite unsafe. The practical results are fine for black in this opening. I dont care what the computer would think in a position of this type, i would want to be playing black without a second thought. I have provided you with the Kramnik-Leko game with analysis by Raymond Keene. i have inserted his anaysis lines for you as well. My recomendation, avoid this if your white!

Hope you enjoyed this, If you have anything you want me to look at let me know by leaving me a comment.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

c3 and d3 italian

The italian has been around for a very long time, it aims to hit blacks weakest spot, (f7), and create different kinds of attacks. The Ruy Lopez seems to be the most common after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6, however if white plays the ruy lopez he needs to know alot of theory, because black has lots of gambit lines against the ruy lopez. So if white wants to build up a good position with attacking potential without allowing black such drastic counterplay then the c3 and d3 italian is a great option. in its nature its looks slow, and some call it a delayed ruy lopez, however black needs to tread carefully or he will find himself a victim of a very large kingside attack. This is exactly what happened a few weeks ago in my game against Justin Tan. He played typical moves that are 'supposed' to equalize for black, made a move order inaccuracy and found himself very quickly getting crushed with a MASSIVE yet so logical attack. Although i missed the queen sac that would lead to mate i still managed to win 3 pawns which was easily enough to win the endgame comfortably. The thing to understand about this system, is that you wont always get a large attack, but white will always get a good centre, along with kingside play. it is almost like playing a system because your aim is to have knights on f3 and g3, with the light squared bishop on the a2-g8 diagonal, and if black tries to trap or remove the bishop from there then it will always have a safe square on c2 where it supports the centre and a kingside attack when the centre opens as it innevatably does when white plays d4 at the right moment.
Currently in grandmaster practice there is really ony one way for black to solve all his opening problems, and it is by getting his knights to f6 and g6 copying white so he can try and play c6 and d5. Black can try to play actively by playing d5 quickly but he needs to be ready to both defend his e pawn as it will become weak and a new target of attack, but even if he does this succesfully white can always play d4 and resovle any activity problems he might have, in which case still often gets a better game. For tactically sharp players it it a good opening as they can play without worry of counterplay. The key to remember is that the f5 square is a key in any attack in this opening and white tries to occupy this square with one of his knights, as both can get there easily and black cant easily contest this square. Here is my game with Justin Tan who is rated 2160 fide, showing that even really good players can fall victim to this seemingly quite opening, while it was not perfect play it is very instructive. all the key ideas that i have mentioned above, and i mean ALL of them happened in this game and black got crushed. beacause of the nature of the opening there arent so many opening lines to talk about but the ideas can make it a tricky position for black to play. If black does manage to 'equalize' with the main plan and obtain a fairly symetrical position, then white needs to understand that and such position is in his favour as it will be his turn to move.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Poisoned pawn against Voon

As i promised here is my game with Richard Voon, for those who dont know him his fide rating is 1914.
It begins with a najdorf sicilian, and i played my favourite line, which is also the sharpest and most aggresive line against the najdorf, 6. Bg5, the main line followed and voon played Qb6 on move 7, this was a move first introduced by David Bronstein in the 1940's, and whites attack depends on the ability to keep the knight on d4, if Nb3 to defend the pawn then the attack will slow down. Then Paul Keres played 8. Qd2, saying you want my pawn, come and get it. After the pawn is taken whites queenside structure is destroyed and can no longer play for positional compensation, however the time taking this pawn has left black underdeveloped and a fairly unsafe king, naturally white tries to open up lines to begin the attack immidiatly, either e5 or f5, in this game i played f5, black played all the right moves and we reached a critical position where black has to make a choice on move 13. i had just played e5, a second pawn sacrifice, the main line goes dxe5 with the next moves provided. Nd5 was played, though playable it requires more knowledge of the position on blacks part to survive, Rb3, hitting the queen and defending the knight on c3 is a new move in the position which prior to this game i had prepared with the help of a computer, it is both sound and dangerous, whites aim is to play for compensation, and alot of it! Simply developing his peices and castling and white is ready for a full on assault on the black king and his underdeveloped army. So it was played, Be2 and 0-0, black finally captured the pawn on e5 with the idea of winning matierial by playing Bb4 to pin the knight and attack it for a 3rd time. However, this allowed a tactic which gives white a superior endgame at best for black, or a devastating attack at worst. If black had more knowledge of the position he would have played Bc5+ instead of Bb4 to get as many of his peices out as possible.
An evaluation of the position after move 16 is, white has completed his devlopment, while black has at least 4-5 more moves to do this, whites king is safe, blacks is not, the real problem for black is how to develop his light squared bishop and his rooks as they dont seem to have any good squares. So what is good about blacks position? Well, he is 2 pawns up, but they are doubled, lonely and weak, and can easily be attacked.
White has full compensation for the 2 pawns but he must act quickly to expoit this or black will catch up in development and just win.
Back to the game, 17. Rxb4! another sacrifice, 2 pawns down and now sacrificing the exchange, well thats not quite true, because the tactics work out that white gets 2 peices for the rook no matter how black plays, its well known that 2 minor pieces are better than 1 rook, but in this position those to pieces were blacks only developed pieces! Blacks positon will quickly crumble when he has no good pieces and white has 2 monster bishops with a very active rook and knight. In the game blacks pieces got totally tied up defending and black never had any counterplay, so there really isnt much more to say, i have provided a few possible continuations at the critical moment of the game around move 17. If you have any questions just leave a comments and i will respond well withing 24 hours unless its a saturday. 1 last comment on the game, The second last move was a fairly easy move to see if you know what tactics are occuring, but it still looks nice, just playing Nd5 to stick the knight in the way.
If there are any sharp positions you want me to disscuss let me know, otherwise ill talk a bit about the italian with c3 and d3 as this seemingly quite opening is full of tactics and complications. 

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

My first Blog

Hi all,
My name is Anthony Benjamin Hain, i am 20 years old and love chess. i have been playing chess since i was 4 years old. I am a Stylistically aggresive player and love taking risks. In this blog i hope to show you some of my games and other ideas primarially to do with attacking chess. Feel free to give your imput on my blogs as i would be glad to see what others think.
Although i am currently rated around 1500 my recent performances should, come september, should skyrocket that up much higher. I am currently on a 7 game win streak in the mcc open and malitis memorial. 
I also teach chess to others with chess kids.  
Enough about me, lets get on with chess.
My favourite topics are gambits, sacrifices and poisoned pawns, so ill have a look at some of them over the next few weeks, in particular the najdorf sicilian has been added to my repertoire and i now know it very well due to hours upon hours of study on it.
My next post will include my game against Richard Voon in a poisioned pawn Najdorf, and i will discuss some of the complications that arise in the opening.