Takchess Chess Improvement

A Novice chessplayer works to get better at chess using an improvement program based upon the methods of Michael de la Maza and the teachings of Dan Heisman

Thursday, August 24, 2006

We interupt the King Gambit to bring you a Traxler

1744) Thedust,another one bites - Takchess [C57]

40'/40+40'/40+40', 24.08.2006

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 Bc5 5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Kf1 Qe7 7.Nxh8 d5 8.exd5 Nd4 9.c3 Bg4 10.Qa4+ c6 11.Kxf2 Ne4+ 12.Kg1 Qf6 13.h3 Qf2+ 14.Kh2 Qg3+ 15.Kg1 Nf3+ 16.Kf1 Qf2# 0–1

paste game into this viewer

I really liked the play in this game. I recently lost to a game where 6.kf1 was played however this one I felt I was on the edge but always in control. the only way to play the traxler. I had a mate a move or two earlier which I overlooked.

The game I lost was a first for me on playchess . I was accused of cheating since my play was so perfect.... I became mad and ended up off track and dropping a piece.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

the King Gambit Ideas continued

This is a continuation of my last post and I suggest that you read that first if you haven’t already.

A very common theme in the KGA is that the play revolves around blacks f4 pawn and blacks struggle to hold on to it. Often it is directly protected by playing the Kierseritzky variations by the move 3….g4. A common attacking theme by white is to weaken the pawn structure by playing h4 immediately: This weakens the pawn structure it however creates an attack on the Knight on c3. The drawback of the not playing the immediate h4 and playing a developing move ie Bc4, Nc3 is that it gives black a tempo to play h6 strengthening blacks pawn structure and not forcing black’s g4 when later threatened by h4.

In the Kierseritzky gambit, the Knight goes to a momentarily safe spot on Ne5. Then you have 8 variations of next moves. Black next move in the Kierseritzky gambit has different purposes and depending on this move determines whites 6th move. In most cases the correct response for whites 6th move is d4 since it is multipurpose controls the center, supporting the Knight on e5 as well as opening up a discovered attack on the pawn on f4. So my rule of thumb on the sixth move is unless there is a very specific reason not to play d4: play it. The chart below talks of the reason behind each of the move.

Here are the variations of the Kierseritzky gambit, the purpose as I see it as well as whites proper response and why.

The first moves of all Kierseritzy Gambits are
1 e4 e5 2. f4 fxe5 3. Nf3 g5 5 4. h4 g4 5. Ne5

Kierseritzky Variation and the Idea behind it Whites Response and purpose

Kieseritzky Gambit, Polerio defence

5..Be7 followed by a disruptive check on h4 6.Bc4 aiming at f7 and opening escape square for King

Kieseritzky Gambit, Rosenthal defence
5..Qe7 direct attack on Knight e5 6.d4 protects and threaten f4

Kieseritzky Gambit, Viennese defence
5…Nc4 attack on N on e5 6.d4 protects and threatens f4

The Long Whip
5...h5 direct protection of g4 6.d4 protects and threatens

Kieseritsky Gambit Paulsen Variation
5..bg7 threatens N and protects R on h8! 6.d4 protects and threatens

Kieseritsky Gambit Kolisch Defense

5..d6 threatens N and opens lines 6. Nxf4 move it or lose it!

Kieseritzky Gambit, Berlin defence(5...Nf6)5..Nf6 counterattack on e4 forsaking f4 6.d4 protects and threatens

Kieseritzky Gambit, Brentano defence5… d5 opens up the center 6.d4 builds center

Gallagher feels that the Kolisch although not having a good reputation offers Blacks best chances along with the Berlin Defense. The long whip is not considered strong due to h4 is played where a developing move would be better. Morphy had a very strong game against this which can be seen here in my Kieseritzky Game Collection. The Paulsen which enjoyed a long popular following is not seen as strong a continuation at this point according to Gallagher . However all of these may be okay to play at my level.

A way that black can prevent a Kieseritzky style game is the Fischer Defense. The idea here is to play
1 e4 e5 2. f4 fxe5 3. Nf3 d6 5 4. h4 g4 where now White is unable to play the Knight to the sweet square e5. there are two alternatives: Ng5 where after g4 white is forced into the knight sac N x F7 the Algaier Gambit which is considered to be unsound. Normal play by white is Nf1 then moved to d4.

A couple of ideas about the pawns, the f pawn on f4 moved to f3 and supported by g4 can create a sacrifice opening up White kingside pawn structure. This is a common continuation in the Fischer Defense.

In most KGA variations, White looks to take that f4 pawn as soon as he can do so safely even at the expense of his e4 pawn.

The continuation of the Schallop Defense below is a case in point.

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. h4 g4 5. Ne5 Nf6 6. d4 d6 7. Nd3 Nxe4 8. Qe2 Qe7 9. Bxf4

Blacks g pawn is not strong and shields Blacks attacks on white kingside. Even though black has a kingside majority the extra pawn is in this position is often worthless. It is often easily blockaded by white.

You can take a look at some representative Fischer Games by looking at my chessgames collection many are from Gallaghers book.

Tempo spoke of the main idea of the King Gambit is that black misplaced pawn on f4 allows white to build a strong center. Black is under the illusion that he has good attacking chances and launches an immediate unsound attack while neglecting his development. (Sounds like my troubles against the Sicilian 8). Blacks uncoordinated pieces and white strong center and quickly built attack often leads to interesting sacs and mating nets.

Here is a link to a good website that speaks to the ideas of the King Gambit for Black and White.

More to follow.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ideas behind the King Gambit

There is more real chess truth in ideas than in Variations
Richard Reti Masters of the Chessboard

The Kings Gambit Accepted is founded upon sound chess ideas. In the King Gambit Accepted, 1 e4 e5 2.f4 exf4, Black has gained a pawn at the expense of a tempo. If this game goes into an endgame that extra pawn may prove decisive. So what has white gained ?

The trouble with Blacks F4 pawn is that it is hard to hold on. It’s place in the early stage of the game is awkward. It doesn’t have any good natural defenders, it can’t be defended by a developing knight move ie Nf6 and it is not in the bishops field of defense. The only protected move within one tempo is the pawn move g5 or the awkward Queen to f6 which would sit in the spot normally reserved for a knight. Although white can not play it immediately, he has at his disposal d4 strengthening his center while creating a discovered attack by his bishop on f4.

A common theme in the King Gambit Accepted is the struggle for control of the F-file . The F4 pawn clogs the file and once gone white can quickly build a strong attack against F7, the weakest spot on blacks uncastled King Position. Moves like Castling puts a rook on the semi-open file at f1, Queen - f3, Bishop c4, Knight at e5 all are honing in on F7. Blacks awkward F4 pawn,as serving as a shield against a portion of this attack. Much play can revolve around holding this pawn until black can cobble together a stronger defensive position.

Another common theme in the King Gambit is Blacks Check on h4 Qh4 or bh4.
Now although white would like to apply pressure on f4 right out away by playing d4 he doesn't because Q-h4 check forces a King Move to e2 which puts white on the defensive. Before white plays d4 to reduce the impact of Qh4 by playing one of three moves. 3. Nf3 the Knight Gambit, 3. Bc4 the Bishop Gambit or lesser played 3.Nc4 which is a Vienna style game.

I normally play 3. Nf3 which defends the h4 square preventing the immediate check. It also prepares the Knight for a move closer to the front Ne5 or Ng5
and brings white a step closer to Kingside castling. 3.Bc4 teases black to play Qh4+ where after Kf1 blacks Queen is awkwardly placed.The bishop also help build a strong center, attack f7 and possibly brings white closer to Kingside castling. It is generally believed that whites positional gains outweighs the inconvenience of losing the castling rights. 3.Nc3 forces the King to move to e2 but the Knight stabilizes the shielding e pawn. Nc3 leads to some tactical games which although interesting I know little about.

So with the KGA Knight Gambit if Black wants to protect his investment on g4 he can start playing as part of the Kierseritzky Continuation 3….h5. Note this post does not cover the ideas of liquidating the center: The Falkbeer, the Modern or other ideas in the Cunningham, Fisher where black does not immediately play g5. G5 actually provides false protection since it can be forced to move by the immediate 4.h4. If black were to try to protect by 5…h6 this would provide false protection since after hxg hxg , boom white Rook takes Rook. Forcing the protecting G pawn to g4 to loosen blacks Kingside Pawn structure is a common theme in the KG. White must move to h4 immediately otherwise black will play Bg7 now protecting the rook and allowing the move h6.

White needs to maintain the initiative and the advantage of the extra tempo it has. This is critical to whites success. Extra pawn moves, defensive non developing moves, imprecise moves will kill whites game.. White needs to build a strong center and fight for the f file.

The forced move 5.g4 creates a problem for white, whites knight of f3 is under attack. White has some options ignore it and develop which lead to the 101 unsound gambits that I love (covered in a future post), move to g5 after h6 leads to a Knight Sac on f7 the speculative Algaier Gambit and for those who want to play the more sound winning chess Ne5. This is the base of the Kierseritzky gambit and where it starts to branch out.

More to follow on the K Gambit,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I will also come back to correct gambit names spelling etc.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

What I learned on my summer vacation about the King Gambit

I have been playing the King Gambit since March as my opening of choice. I learned it primarily through studying some classic games as well as lunch matches with some of my coworkers where we only play the King Gambit only. We often discuss the lines we played and would go through a period where we would play one variation such as the Muzio Gambit. I have played it a lot on Playchess.com and am developing fairly decent results with it.

The King Gambit is the opening I enjoy the most. In many positions , the King’s Gambit is a house of cards. One wrong pawn move and the whole structure can come tumbling down. I bet there are more miniature games as a percentage of games played in the KG than any other openings. At times a player must calculate whether a tempo spent capturing a piece will lead to a loss. Many KG’s leads to King marches, piece sacrifices combinations, battles over the entire board, and interesting mating patterns which appeal to my aggressive style and love of combinational play.

Also I believe there are better chances for me to beat higher rated players since many are less booked up against the KG and many position require extensive calculations which are tricky to find over the board. Even when the game becomes positional, I enjoy the positional ideas in the King Gambit which with a small misstep the game can become quite tactical.

As Pale Morning Dun says learning to play the King’s Gambit is like playing with a rocket launcher without an instruction manual . I often end up winning with some aggressive play and thinking I had played a nice solid game until I consult with Prof. Fritz who shows me how my opponent could of easily won except for one misstep. Case in Point game 2 in this blog 8...Qxg5 with a better game . I am finding that I am playing some classic lines which although fun do not stand up under proper defensive play. Occasionally a player with a better understanding of the KG will neutralize my play and turn the game to their advantage.

I just spent a week of vacation at Cape Cod where I spent some time learning more about the King Gambit. Very nice to sit in the sun playing through games with an analysis board, get hot, jump in the ocean and repeat 8).

I wanted to learn some book lines but more importantly understand, as Tempo says the Spirit of the Game. I felt I made strides at understanding the Falkbeer CounterGambit recently and wanted to extend that to the King’s Gambit Accepted, Knight Gambit which is the majority of what I play. The KGA-Knight Gambit follows this line 1. e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3. Nf3.

The variations I studied were

Kieseritzky Gambit and it’s dozen variations 3…..g5 4 h4 g4 5.Ne5 ….?
Fischer Defense 3…. d5
Modern Defense 3….d4,
Cunningham Defense 3…Be7
Vienna style King Gambit 3…Nc6,
Schallop Defense 3…Nf6

I used these books and this is what I thought about them.

Kornchoi King’s Gambit
Gallagher Winning with the Kings Gambit
Raingruber and Maser The King Gambit as White
Emms Play the Open Games as Black

For those wanting to play the Kings Gambit, all are worth having, Kornchoi book is an older flow chart style book which brings you through the common responses of both White and Black including lines that are dubious giving one a good historical perspective. I skipped over a lot of the lines where white play is poor and focused on the black responses to white good moves and blacks responses to them. It was published in the 70’s so is missing the modern KG theory.

Gallagher’s book is excellent and worth the trouble to find this out of print book. Gallagher writes from a GM viewpoint discussing the KG lines against best play. He uses a game format of his and other’s to discuss the reason behind each move. It is deeply annotated with multiple variations and offers a peek into how a GM weighs a position. He has an optimistic (but realistic) view of the Kings Gambit and writes with a sense of humor. Gallagher has been involved in the development in KG theory.

Raingruber book addresses the main lines of the KG and it not as personal as Gallaghers book. Each chapter involves a line in the King Gambit which is better described in Gallaghers book in game format. What I did like this book is the end of each chapter there are self study test questions. ie. Given this position can black safely play f4 ?. I would like to see this style in more chess books. If you search out this book make sure you get a later edition as they made some changes in the lines as theory has developed.

Emms book is just a good book to have if you respond 1…e5 to 1 e4 .It is a pragmatic book that recommends lines of play for black against all the open games openings. He recommends accepting and playing the Kieseritzky Berlin Variation.

In the next post I will tell you a little more about what I learned about the Ideas behind the King's Gambit

to be continued …….

Saturday, August 12, 2006

What I learned on my summer vacation

I plan on a longer post about what I learned during my week studying the King Gambit. However I want to put my learning to use first.

paste game into this viewer
1. e4 {7} e5 {1} 2. f4 {2} exf4 {25} 3. Nf3 {5} f5 {6} 4. e5 {10} b6 {10} 5. d4
{4} c5 {14} 6. Bxf4 {35} cxd4 {6} 7. Nxd4 {9} d5 {6} 8. Bb5+ {24} Bd7 {19} 9.
Nc3 {49} a6 {5} 10. Bxd7+ {19} Qxd7 {25} 11. e6 {20} Qe7 {45} 12. O-O {10} g5 {
21} 13. Nxf5 {8} Qf6 {7} 14. Nd6+ {14} Bxd6 {7} 15. Bxd6 {3} Qd8 {22} 16. Qh5#
{(Lag: Av=0.36s, max=0.7s) 8} 1-0

Thursday, August 10, 2006

1.e4 e5 2.f4 f6??

I faced this opening twice the other night at a chess club. I am uncertain as to how exactly I pulled it off but I lost both of them.

Here is how the masters would handle it.

[Event "Paris sim"]
[Site "Paris"]
[Date "1931.??.??"]
[Round "0"]
[White "Alekhine,Alexander"]
[Black "Vardonenko"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "C30"]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 f6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Nc3 exf4 5.d4 d6 6.Bxf4 f5 7.exf5 Bxf5 8.Bb5 Bd7
9.0-0 a6 10.Bc4 Nf6 11.Ng5 d5 12.Nxd5 Bg4 13.Re1+ Be7 14.Nxf6+ gxf6 15.Qxg4 Qxd4+ 16.Kh1 Qxc4
17.Qh5+ Kd7 18.Qh3+ Ke8 19.Ne6 Nd4 20.Qh5+ Kd7 21.Nxd4 Rad8 22.Qg4+ Ke8 23.Rxe7+ Kxe7 24.Re1+ Kf7
25.Qh5+ Kg8 26.Re8+ Rxe8 27.Qxe8+ Kg7 28.Nf5+ 1-0

[Event "Fischer tour simul"]
[Site "Detroit"]
[Date "1964.02.??"]
[Round "0"]
[White "Fischer,Robert James"]
[Black "Jones,J"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "C30"]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 f6 3.fxe5 Nc6 4.d4 Be7 5.exf6 gxf6 6.Qh5+ Kf8 7.Bc4 Qe8 8.Bh6+

Friday, August 04, 2006

This is why I like the king's gambit

The sac on move 10 came very naturally to me. I like KG games where I can sac a piece for a strong attack.Especially opening up the f file with a rook on f1. I'll have to run fritz to see if it is sound.....(most likely not against good defensive play)

[White "Takchess"]

paste game into this viewer

1. e4 {2} e5 {1} 2. f4 {4} exf4 {2} 3. Nf3 {7} Nf6 {3} 4. e5 {8} Nd5 {3} 5. d4
{25} d6 {9} 6. Bc4 {4} Be6 {8} 7. Bxd5 {20} Bxd5 {3} 8. Bxf4 {4} dxe5 {8} 9.
Bxe5 {6} f6 {1} 10. O-O {12} fxe5 {4} 11. Nxe5 {3} Bd6 {12} 12. Qh5+ {4} g6 {4}
13. Nxg6 {30} Kd7 {23} 14. Nxh8 {20} Qxh8 {4} 15. Nc3 {9} Qxd4+ {4} 16. Kh1 {3}
c6 {11} 17. Qxh7+ {7} Be7 {7} 18. Rae1 {30} Qc5 {9} 19. Qf5+ {14} Kc7 {8} 20.
Nxd5+ {42} Qxd5 {12} 21. Rxe7+ {18} Nd7 {4} 22. Qf4+ {16} Qd6 {12} 23. Qg5 {55}
Rh8 {8} 24. h3 {26} Kb8 {5} 25. Rff7 {34} Nc5 {14} 26. b4 {37} Rxh3+ {33} 27.
gxh3 {8} Qd1+ {2} 28. Qg1 {4} Qd5+ {6} 29. Kh2 {6} Qd2+ {5} 30. Rf2 {10} Qxb4 {
4} 31. Qg8# {(Lag: Av=0.30s, max=0.9s) 5} 1-0

also another bonus game. the power of 2 knights and the initiative. It felt like I was in ct-art

[Event "Friendly Game, 15m + 0s"]
[Site "Main Playing Hall"]
[Date "2006.08.04"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Takchess"]
[Black "Cesar444"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C34"]
[WhiteElo "1231"]
[BlackElo "1506"]
[PlyCount "53"]
[EventDate "2006.08.04"]
[TimeControl "900"]

1. e4 {4} e5 {20} 2. f4 {3} exf4 {4} 3. Nf3 {3} d6 {7} 4. d4 {3} Bg4 {3} 5. Bc4
{9} Nc6 {23} 6. Bxf4 {14} Nxd4 {8} 7. Bxf7+ {13} Kxf7 {5} 8. Ng5+ {4} Ke8 {31}
9. Qxg4 {5} Nxc2+ {6} 10. Kf2 {14} Nxa1 {9} 11. e5 {11} dxe5 {32} 12. Re1 {8}
Bc5+ {109} 13. Kf1 {32} Qd3+ {6} 14. Qe2 {15} Qxe2+ {6} 15. Rxe2 {4} Bd4 {39}
16. Bxe5 {28} Bxe5 {4} 17. Rxe5+ {2} Ne7 {5} 18. Ne6 {7} Rc8 {22} 19. Nxg7+ {8}
Kf7 {32} 20. Nh5 {12} Rcd8 {38} 21. Nc3 {12} c6 {17} 22. Ne4 {16} Rd5 {59} 23.
Ng5+ {8} Ke8 {2} 24. Nf6+ {5} Kd8 {5} 25. Nf7+ {6} Kc7 {22} 26. Nxd5+ {7} cxd5
{67} 27. Nxh8 {Cesar444 resigns (Lag: Av=0.35s, max=0.6s) 8} 1-0

Down into the mines again

Plan on serious Ct-art this week.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Spirit of the Falkbeer Countergambit KGD

One of the oldest and most played ways to decline the King Gambit is the Falkbeer Countergambit. The Falkbeer CG is characterized by these first four moves 1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5. There is a certain spirit in this defense that not only thwarts Whites aims of quick development of the gambit but is complicated by an offer of a pawn on d5. This spirit is consistent with the great attacking play of Anderssen and Morphy and their Falkbeer games can be found in many classic game collections.

Before studying the King Gambit, I would play this since I saw in it as a far simpler path for me to follow. The twisted path of accepting and playing g4 was not agreeable to me. I think this defense is played by many players who have not booked up against the Kings Gambit and look for a comfortable line to play. This I have found played by two stronger players than I when I face them in my Friday night chess club.

I found playing against the Falkbeer can be somewhat confusing where attacks pile up upon each other and the board quickly empties due to trades. I found some of this confusion while playing this game in my recent tournament. Tempo's comments about my playing too slowly and not " im Geiste der Partie" (in the spirit of the game) was correct.

That comment spurred me on to try to capture this spirit through study and through the learning laboratory of game play. Since it is outside of the scope of this post and my ability to give a detailed look at the opening, I encourage those interested to look in KG books and chessgame collections to learn more. Note my comments are broad points and I reserve the right to be wrong and perhaps even change my mind 8)>dissenting opinions and comments are encouraged.

Here are some of the things I learned which I have used this sample opening line to discuss.

Paste game into this viewer but may work better following on a board or pasted into Fritz

1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 3. exd5 {eXd5 is forced . all other moves don't work well. One cannot not take the King pawn due to Blacks
queen check} e4 {Perhaps stronger is pawn X f4 turning this into a KGA Abazia or modern defence}
4. d3 {In almost all lines d3 is played here !!!!! Nc3 or Bb5 leads to
equalization. One must remove Blacks e pawn!} Nf6 {If Black were to play Queen
x d5 here it is best not to play Nc3 first. White must freeze black e-pawn by
playing Q-e2 first!!!Also If black plays c6 at this point do not take as it
will only aid in Blacks development with .....NXc6} 5. dxe4 {It is best to
take here before black engages in a pile up of threatening whites pieces. ie :
Nc3 followed by Bb4. I played 2 Falkbeer games Friday at chess club one where I delayed taking here and my pawn structure ended in a shambles. My game with dXe4 ended much better.} Nxe4 6. Nf3 Bc5 7. Qe2 Bf5 8. Nc3 Qe7 9. Be3 Bxe3 10. Qxe3 Nxc3
11. Qxe7+ Kxe7 12. bxc3 Bxc2 13. Kd2 Bg6 14. Re1+ Kd6 15. Nd4 Kxd5 16. f5 Bh5
17. g4 Bxg4 18. Bg2+ Kd6 19. Bxb7 *

Line without commentary below

1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 3. exd5 e4
4. d3 Nf6 5. dxe4 Nxe4 6. Nf3 Bc5 7. Qe2 Bf5 8. Nc3 Qe7 9. Be3 Bxe3 10. Qxe3
Nxc3 11. Qxe7+ Kxe7 12. bxc3 Bxc2 13. Kd2 Bg6 14. Re1+ Kd6 15. Nd4 Kxd5 16. f5
Bh5 17. g4 Bxg4 18. Bg2+ Kd6 19. Bxb7 *