Posts Tagged ‘Chess U’

The Fabulous 10’s: A TN Discovered on the 8th Move

July 4, 2011

Fortuitous TN Discovery

I think I discovered a TN looking at the game Laznicka-Morozevich, Pamploma 2006.

Laznicka (2596) – Morozevich (2747)  Pamplona  2006 Sicilian Defense

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. Nc3 Qc7 5. O-O Nd4 6. Re1 a6 7. Bf1 Ng4

Position after 7...Ng4

So far, normal enough.  Nobody’s going to fall for 8. Nxd4 Qxh2 mate.

In my database, 8. g2-g3 was played 35 times previously and 8. d2-d3 was played one time previously.  Humorously, although 8. d3 allows mate in 2, that game example went 8. d3 Nxf3+ (so far, so good) 9. Qxf3 and now black uncorked 9… Ne5 eventually drawing instead of 9… Qh2 mate.  (Brakus (2077) – Markovic (1662) Belgrade Spring Open 2009.)   Trying to get away from that 8. d3 “story”, let’s return to these two top GMs.

Laznicka played the rather ugly looking  8. g3 Nxf3+ 9. Qxf3 Ne5 and went on to lose this balanced position after further miscues.

However, 8. e5!! TN seems to be strong.


A. 8. e5!! Nxf3+ 9. Qxf3 Nxe5 10. Qh5 d6 11. f4 Nc6 12. Nd5 Qd8 13. f5 Nd4 14. Bd3 e5 15. fxe6 Bxe6 16. Nf4 and white is better.

B. 8. e5!! Nxf3+ 9.  Qxf3 Nxe5 10. Qh5 Ng6 11. Nd5 Qd8 12. d4 cxd4 13. Bd2! e6 14. Ba5!! Qxa5 15. Nf6+ gxf6 16. Qxa5 and through sly play white has won the queen.

There are other lines, but white has great compensation in all of them.  Never before seen?

Chess U News

The iPhone/iPad app Chess U continues to grow.  We have new authors in July 2011.

July 2011 Author Contingent

We have Frank Johnson authoring Chess-Coach 101, 102, and 103 to support his chess camps, Gabby Kay just finished Classics 101 (10 famous games such as the Evergreen Game Anderssen-Kieseritsky, and Morphy’s Opera Box Game and Fischer’s Game of the Century, D. Byrne-Fischer), and Marcel Martinez just finished Middlegame 201 (10 of his instructive efforts vs. such luminaries as Robert Hess and Julian Hodgson).  Coming soon we have Jones Murphy, in collaboration with IM Kamran Shirazi, present ten recent Shirazi efforts.  Later this summer we expect to have GM Eugene Perelshteyn author a first effort on the Accelerated Dragon.

Middlegame 201 Lessons List

The Fabulous 10s: Learning Tactics via ICC Blitz

June 19, 2011

Here are three very interesting 5 minute games I contested recently on ICC.

Use them as tactical training devices.

Game 1.

Impitoyable (Unforgiven) vs Aries2  Game/5  Keres Attack

Here’s more information about the Frenchman Impitoyable from his ICC finger notes:

Information about Impitoyable (Last disconnected Sun Jun 19 2011 15:10):

              rating [need] win  loss  draw total   best
Wild            2206  [1]   645   143    31   819   2301 (03-Jan-2011)
Loser’s         2037  [4]  1360   529    55  1944   2232 (10-Jul-2008)
Bughouse        1915  [6]    23    15     0    38   2011 (30-Nov-2006)
Crazyhouse      2244  [6]   863   307     0  1170   2307 (16-Feb-2008)
Bullet          2516  [8]  1229   543    83  1855   2706 (27-May-2008)
Blitz           3091  [8]   750   459   133  1342   3175 (29-Sep-2009)
Standard        2657  [6]   184    29    12   225   2682 (19-Nov-2010)
5-minute        2614       1237   445   181  1863   2726 (14-Oct-2009)
1-minute        2570  [8]  1493   945   121  2559   2570 (27-Jun-2010)
15-minute       2475         89     5     2    96   2475 (19-Jun-2011)
3-minute        2356        433   183    56   672   2519 (17-Apr-2011)
45-minute       1692  [4]     1     0     0     1                      
Chess960        2093        457   130    31   618   2213 (14-Jul-2010)

 1: “Impitoyable” : french title for the film “Unforgiven”, by and with C.
  Eastwood (and G. Hackman, R. Harris, M. Freeman …) ; but “impitoyable”
  means rather “pityless” or “mercyless” ; I will nevertheless accept takebacks
  for obvious mouseslips and ask for them … only in that case of course.
 2: International Master since 1996 ; maths teacher since 2001.
 3: Can you queen your f-pawn as early as move 18 playing black ? See my
  liblist, game Index 4 !
 4: You may improve your play in knights endings by analysing my defeat versus
  Vidocq, game numbre 16.
 5: You don’t get a chance each day to play as Morphy did at the Sevilla Opera.
  Egor Geroev-2 had this chance, see my  lybrary game number 18 (after 15 …
  Qxb5 16 Nc7+! ; Rxc7 17 Rd8 it’s exactly the same mate !)

He has a very good score against me overall.  I was looking to improve my statistics by following an obscure recommendation of Kasparov and Nikitin versus the popular Keres Attack.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. g4 Nc6 7. g5 Nd7 8. Be3 Be7 9. h4 O-O 10. Qd2

Often times white likes to put his queen out on the aggressive h5 square.  Then, black can follow the same plan as in the game!

10…Nxd4  Part of a sequence that gives black freedom of movement.

11. Qxd4 e5 12. Qd1 Nb6!?

The interesting proposal of Kasparov and Nikitin from an ancient book on the Scheveningen.   White can opt to eat this horse with Be3xb6 to gain control of d5 but that move is definitely not on most attacking players’ radar screens.  They just want to give mate.

13. g6?!  This has to be too soon.

13…hxg6 14. h5 g5 15. Qf3 g4 16. Qg3 Be6 17. O-O-O Rc8 18. Be2 Rxc3! 19. bxc3

Black to play. Who's winning?

19…d5 20. Bxg4 Ba3+ 21. Kd2 Nc4+ 22. Ke2 Nxe3 23. fxe3 Qc8 24. Rhg1 Qxc3 25. Bxe6 Qxc2+ 26. Rd2 Qc4+ 27. Kd1 Qa4+ 28. Rc2 {Black resigns} 1-0

Why do I award black’s 18th move an exclamation point and then go on to lose in short order?  That’s the puzzle for you – identify the beautiful missed black win!  Immediately after the game I had the feeling I had blown a promising position but I didn’t know how promising until I checked with Rybka 4.  Embarrassing, black was totally winning!

Game 2

Let’s follow this embarrassing blown win with another embarrassing blown win, shall we?  This time we are dominating and crushing Logofet.

Some more information about Logofet:

Information about Logofet (Last disconnected Sun Jun 19 2011 12:08):

              rating [need] win  loss  draw total   best
Crazyhouse      1798  [6]     0     2     0     2                      
Bullet          2252  [8]   155   203    30   388   2433 (30-Jan-2006)
Blitz           2749       1404  1703   342  3449   3022 (21-Mar-2008)
Standard        2637  [6]     4     2     0     6                      
5-minute        2588       2563  1459   410  4432   2624 (30-Mar-2009)
1-minute        2250       4538  3640   525  8703   2508 (21-Aug-2009)
15-minute       1953  [4]     3     0     0     3                      
3-minute        1873  [8]     1     0     0     1         

I seem to remember that Logofet is GM Alex Lenderman.  Let’s see the game.

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 b6 3. Nc3 Bb7 4. e4 d6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Nf6 7. Bd3 e6 8.
O-O Be7 9. Qe2 Nbd7 10. b3 O-O 11. Bb2

I love this attacking set up vs. the Hedgehog.  GM Nunn extolled its virtues way back in the early 1980s in a Philips & Drew tournament book.

I always show campers a forced win I missed vs GM Yudasin as well as a one-sided win over Teddy Coleman in the exact same line.  White’s pieces are all supremely active and pointed at black’s king.

Nc5 12. Bc2 Rc8 13. Rad1 Qc7 14. f4 a6 15. Rf3! g6 16. Rh3 Rfe8

It’s time to act and roll up Logofet.

17. e5! dxe5 18. fxe5 Nfd7 19. b4! Qxe5

19...Qxe5 Black's last gasp, or is it?

A forced sacrifice.  Dismal, but true.   Now I go nuts and hand my hand on a silver platter.

20. bxc5 Bxc5 21. Qxe5 Nxe5 22. Ne4 Nxc4 23. Nf6+ Kf8 24. Ba1 Red8 25. Rf1 Rxd4 26.
Bxd4 Bxd4+ 27. Kh1 Bxf6 28. Rxf6 Kg7 29. Rf2 Bd5 {White forfeits on time}

Challenge for the readers – point out the several wins I missed.  As a bonus, point out the easiest and most crushing of all the missed wins.

Game 3

Lest we get the impression I am always blowing winning positions, here is one where a nice tactic emerged and I also got the point.

FM Drunkenight – IM Aries2   Benoni

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 g6 4. d4 Bg7 5. e4 O-O 6. Be2 c5 7. O-O Bg4 8. d5 a6 9. Be3 Nbd7 10. Nd2 Bxe2 11. Qxe2 Qc7 12. Kh1 Rae8 13. f4 e6

This basic setup with a-rook on e8 I got from some obscure Spassky games dating back to the 1960s.

14. Rae1 exd5 15. exd5 Qb6 16. b3 Qb4 17. Ncb1 Ne4 18. Qd3 Ndf6 19. f5 Nxd2 20. Bxd2 Qb6 21. Nc3 Ng4 22. Ne4 Qd8 23. Bg5

Time to Strike

23…Rxe4!  A comprehensive refutation of white’s pin operation.

24. Bxd8 Rxe1 25. Bh4 Ne5!

Coup de Grace

This was a very pleasing move to play at the end of the combination!  A very unusual overloading where white’s queen cannot stay in touch with the rook.  Of course, White can resign now.  He played on, since it is blitz.

26. Rxe1 Nxd3 27. Re7 gxf5 28. Rxb7 Nc1 29. Rb6 Nxa2 30. Rxd6 Nb4 31. Rd7 Be5 32. Be7 Rc8 33. d6 Nc6 34. Rb7 Nxe7 35. dxe7 Re8 36. Ra7 Kg7 37. Rxa6 Rxe7 38. Rc6 Bd4 39. g3 Rb7 40. Kg2 Rxb3 41. Kh3 Rc3 42. Rc7 Rxc4 43. Rd7 Bf6 44. Rd6 Rd4
45. Rc6 c4 46. Rc7 Re4 47. Rc8 c3 48. Rc6 Re2 49. Rc5 c2 50. Rc4 Bb2
{White resigns}

Good times!  Well in Game 3.  Not in Games 1 or 2.

Shindig Chess

On June 14, an online tournament was held.  These GM players won in a five-round game/15 event:

Robert Hess 4.5
Giorgi Kacheishvili 4.5
Alex Lenderman4.5
Baadur Jobava 4.5
Bartosz Socko  4.5
There were 15 players in all.  I don’t know how the pairings were done, but guess how many of the winners I played?  1?  2?   No  3?  4?  No.
I played all the winner!  Every round, I was playing one of the above-mentioned guys!  A world record?  Never before seen in tournament play?  I think so!  Instead of dwelling on my bad result, here’s a great blitz game I played:
IM Aries2 – GM Baadur Jobava (GEO)
Mark Baadur
1 ♘f3 ♞f6
2 ♙c4 ♟g6
3 ♘c3 ♝g7
4 ♙e4 ♟d6
5 ♙d4 ♚0-0
6 ♗e2 ♞a6
7 ♔0-0 ♟e5
8 ♖e1 ♟c6
9 ♖b1 ♞c7
10 ♙d5 ♟cxd5
11 ♙cxd5 ♞h5
12 ♙g3 ♟f5
13 ♘d2 ♞f6
14 ♙f3 ♟h5
15 ♙a4 ♟h4
16 ♘c4 ♟hxg3
17 ♙hxg3 ♞h5
18 ♔g2 ♞e8
19 ♖h1 ♟f4
20 ♙g4 ♞g3
21 ♖h3 ♞f6
22 ♖xg3 ♟fxg3
23 ♔xg3 ♞e8
24 ♗e3 ♜f7
25 ♕g1 ♝f6
26 ♗xa7 ♜xa7
27 ♕xa7 ♟b5
28 ♕xf7+ ♚xf7
29 ♘xb5 ♝g5
30 ♖h1 ♚g7
31 ♙b4 ♝a6
32 ♘ba3 ♝xc4
33 ♘xc4 ♞f6
34 ♙b5 ♞d7
35 ♙a5 ♞c5
36 ♙a6 ♛b8
37 ♖a1 ♞b3
38 ♙a7 ♛h8
39 ♙a8Q ♝f4+
40 ♔f2 ♛h4+
41 ♔f1 ♛h1+
42 ♔f2 ♞xa1
43 ♘xd6 ♛h2+
44 ♔f1 ♛h3+
45 ♔f2 ♛h2+
46 ♔f1 ♛h1+
47 ♔f2 ♛h2+
48 ♔f1 ♛h3+
49 ♔f2 ♛g3+
50 ♔f1 ♛h3+
51 ♔f2 ♛g3+
52 ♔f1 ♛h3+
Time Remaining: 00:46 Time Remaining: 00:04

Draw  (this is the way Shindig outputted the game and emailed it to me).

Chess U News

Chess U on iTunes

Recent developments:
  • Frank Johnson will author Chess-Coach 101, 102, and 103 for his chess schools and beyond.
  • Kamran Shirazi’s paper bag of recent scoresheets has been located and Jones Murphy and Kamran will select 10 good recent Shirazis for packaging into Shirazi 201.
  • I am working on Tal 301, a labyrinth of complications as one might expect.
  • Mountaindog is working on Classics 101, the ten most famous games of all time.
  • Marcel Martinez is working on Middlegame 201, 10 of his interesting efforts vs. luminaries such as Conquest, Hess, etc.

The Fabulous 10’s: iPhone Chess Educational Software “Chess U” Gains Momentum

May 25, 2011

Chess U on the iTunes Store

Our product Chess U has gained traction on the iTunes store.    It’s a way to take guided quizzes to increase chess knowledge on openings, endgames, and classic games by famous grandmasters.  As some readers have noticed, at its foundation it is simply an advanced PGN reader.  Then we add on the quiz elements and competition elements such as ratings, quiz scores, and graduation diplomas.

The free course is called Attack 101.  This comes with the product.  It goes over basic attacking techniques by examining and taking quizzes based on tussles I’ve had with strong players such as Petursson, Dzindzihashvili, and others.  The first paid course we put together is Rook Endgames 101.  It costs $0.99.  Apple gets some of that. 🙂   The Rook Endgames is 16 classic positions ranging from Rook versus Pawn or two pawns to Rook and Pawn versus Rook.  All the classic themes are in there:  the Philidor Defense, stalemate tricks, the Saavedra study, building a bridge, cutting off the king, and so on.  The Rook Endgames course is currently available in our most recent product build, which is Version 1.0.1.    In Apple jargon, it is an “in-app purchase.”  The user downloads the free Chess U and the free course Attack 101 and then has the opportunity to buy Rook Endgames 101.   Hot on its heels is Play Like Anand 101.  Here, we have taken 10 of World Champion Vishy Anand’s most spectacular games and built quizzes based on the key moments.  It’s surprising how many difficult defenses the opponents missed in even the seemingly most one-sided of victories.   We will also canvass guest strong player authors for their own selection of instructive quizzes.   The basic course themes are:

  • Openings
  • Endgames
  • Famous Players

Sample Course Walkthrough:  Rook Endgames 101

The user sees this welcome screen to start with (going over the various topics):

Welcome Screen, Rook Endgames 101

Starting the course reveals 16 Lessons.

16 Lessons in Rook Endgames 101

The next screen shows a quiz decision point for the user.  This is one of the early lessons covering the decision (from the inferior side’s point of view) of whether or not to trade down into a pure King and Pawn endgame starting from a Rook and Pawn versus Rook ending.
Quiz Decision point in a Rook Endgames 101 Lesson
The user proceeds through the 16 Lessons and at the end has the option of generating a diploma upon successful graduation.
Here’s our banner ad if you would like to use it on your own web page.

Here’s a magazine print ad.

Banner Ad

Future Plans

Before talking about porting to other platforms, the first things are:

  • Create a custom iPad build to use the full iPad screen real estate. Currently it runs on the iPad but in “2X” magnification mode – that is to say, twice the zoom of the standard iPhone view.
  • More Courses
  • More User Testing
Astute users have already noticed it works quite well as a native PGN reader sans quizzes.  This means it would do quite well at processing regular Internet chess game feeds.  More on this later.

For More Information and Social Media Activity

To see more, and to “Facebook Like” it, or to “Twitter Follow” us, go to our web site.  This also has our most recent “tweets” (product/course announcements and advance news on new features).

The Fabulous 10s: The Rise of the Smart Phone

May 17, 2011

‘Chess U’- an iPhone Educational Chess Quiz Game

With the popularity of the iPhone in mind, my team has developed an instructional chess app called “Chess U”.  It’s available on iTunes.  I have worked with talented programmers from the USA, Australia, Taiwan, and Vietnam in this international effort.  My old college buddy Steve Follmer has all the needed technical contacts from his berth in Taiwan.

A Quiz in Progress

Video Preview

A video of the product can be found here.

The First Courses

The free Course is called Attack 101.    This is basically ten of my interesting games with numerous quiz checkpoints, for example vs. Grandmasters Petursson, Dzindzihashvili, Balinas, and others.

We also offer paid Courses ($0.99 a course, standard pricing fare for an iPhone) on Rook Endgames 101 and soon we will also offer Play Like Anand 101.   Many of the instructive Rook endgames examples I recreated (in some cases with some extra preliminary moves) from the very instructive book “Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual Volume 2.

We will continue to introduce courses along the themes of openings, endgames, and famous players.   “Attack 101” will always be free and the paid content will continue merrily along at $0.99 per Course.  Each course contains numerous Lessons and Quiz checkpoints.  When the user “graduates” from a course, he or she can request a Diploma from the system.  The happy graduate receives the Dipoma with the course, date, and user information filled out.


Here’s a screenshot.  We want the app to be as simple as possible to operate.  Tap on right side of board to go forward a move; tap on left side of board to go back.

Chess U Screenshot

Future Plans

Besides the iPhone, we also want to populate the content onto the Web, for example via Facebook.  We also want to port to Android.  In the meantime, we’ll focus on increasing the number of Courses and fine-tuning existing Courses so that a significant user base can get a feel for it.  

Try it, It’s on iTunes

To download it for free, just click here.   GIve us your feedback after you’ve tried it out.

Try the free download and let us know what you think.