Sunday 10 December 2023

Bakers Attack ? !

 I played in the annual Transfer (bughouse) event held in Canberra each year, with middling results. However, when I had the opportunity I wheeled out was I vaguely remembered was an opening called "Baker's Attack". It is an early sacrifice on f7, using 1.Nf3 2.Ne5 and 3.Nxf7. The the idea is to go the hack, either with an early Qh5+, or with e4 followed by Bc4+ 

However, I've failed to find an online reference to it, which may mean I am misremembering the name, or that it is even a real thing. Nonetheless, it did give me a few wins, even if isn't quite effective under the rules that are normally used in the ACT*

(*It has been a long tradition in Canberra Bughouse events that you cannot for a piece for checkmate. You can drop for forced mate, but not for an instant mate)

Friday 8 December 2023

Just the right amount

 After a game involving direct sacrifices, and a game which was more restrained, this game lands somewhere in the middle. It does involve an attack on the king, with a piece sacrifice, but the offer of a piece was more to distract White from the best defence, rather than the overrun the White position. And unlike the other 2 games, play wasn't the best for either side, with stronger moves being available at various points.

Horikawa,Keisuke - Press,Shaun [C56]
Swiss Festive Fun --- (4), 28.11.2023

Wednesday 6 December 2023

Slightly less violent

 After yesterdays lesson in targeting the king, a slightly more restrained game, in this case played by myself. In the end my opponent took a few liberty's in the opening (taking both centre pawns gives White too much play), and never quite untangled himself. At move 17 I was planning to play Be3 with the idea of winning the exchange after 18.Nc7, but I realised it was stronger if I reversed the move order. The game ended when my opponent flagged in a losing position.

Press,Shaun - Grcic,Milan [E04]
Swiss Festive Fun --- (5), 05.12.2023

Tuesday 5 December 2023

Some Street Chess carnage

 This game was played in the final round of a recent Street Chess event. I'm not sure of the provenance of 8.Qd2 (due to a broken Chessbase database), but after move 11, White was well ahead.  The only difficult question seemed to be the timing of the sacrifice on h6.

Press,Harry - Li,Hui [D55]
Street Chess (7), 02.12.2023

Monday 4 December 2023

London Chess Classic

 The London Chess Classic has returned, albeit in a much smaller form than in pre-covid years. It is now consists of a single 10 player RR, rather than the mix of GM event, Open swisses, monster rapids, and other events. 

The GM event is strong as usual, with 4 English GM's against 6 visiting players. There are a couple of interesting inclusions, including Gukesh, who is trying to qualify for the 2024 Candidates, and Hans Neimann, on a hot streak after winning in Zagreb last week.

At this stage 2 rounds have been played, with some interesting games on show. GM Michael Adams (current World Seniors Champion) won a very nice game in round 1, against his slightly higher rated opponent. If I had to take a lesson from the game, it would be the player who kept the better pawn structure, had the better result.


Adams,Michael (2670) - Tabatabaei,M. Amin (2694) [C50]
13th London Classic 2023 London ENG (1.4), 01.12.2023

Friday 1 December 2023

Some surprising endgames

 Today I helped run a school chess event in country NSW. It was a small affair, with 34 players taking part, and the emphasis was on fun and learning, rather than competition. Despite the relative inexperience of a lot of the players there were still some games that attracted my attention. Specifically, there were a number of endgames that may well have appeared in stronger events, even if that wasn't the intention.

In no particular order I saw

  • K+Q v K+R (win for the Q)
  • K+B+N v K (at least twice, both being drawn)
  • K v K (drawn of course)
  • K+2N v K+P (eventually drawn. I guess they haven't studied Troitzky as yet)
And while there were a few drawn K+QvK games (either by stalemate or exhaustion), there were more than a few conversions, which was pleasing to see.

Wednesday 29 November 2023

More wacky ideas

 This was prompted by a query concerning whether the result for resigning was different from the result from being checkmated.

A number of years ago I experimented with an alternative scoring system for club events. IIRC it was something like 4 points for a win plus a bonus point if you won in under 30 moves. Losing players earned a bonus point if they lasted longer than 40 moves, plus an extra bonus point if they were (a) lower rated and (b) weren't down material at move 30. All very complicated, and it didn't survive past the test event.

But would the game be different/better if a player received a fractional point if they resigned, rather than dragged the game out to checkmate (winner still gets 1, but 0,1 if you resign v 0 if you get mated). Or even better, you lost fractional points for every rejected draw offer in a game you go on to lose.