Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Chess on QuizUp !!

'Quiz up' for Android has been rising on the popularity charts among varied android users and their non-android user friends. It's this app where you can challenge anyone on the globe on a topic you are fluent in and so is your opponent, to test your wits in the same field. Unlike battling it out with your roommate who is the better Star Wars fan with some facts, and trash talk Quiz up rates you on exp and points !!

So recently a new trend has been emerging among my friends here at college, where we challenge each other at quizzes of random topics from The Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Football, EPL, Cricket, Riddles, World capitals, word jumbles and so on. So I tried my hand at 'Chess' and here are some of  the questions and my results with random chess fanatics over the globe.

So here is how it starts for those who don't know. You play in real time with an opponent who also wants to play the quiz of the same topic as you.

Once the app finds that opponent, you both will face the same 7 questions and each question must be answered within 10 seconds. The more time you take to answer the less points you earn!
Very similar to a buzzer round !
Rounds 1 - 6 are worth 10 points each and round 7 is a x2 bonus round, 40 points worth.

Below are my results..

If you are android user, challenge your friends to a chess quiz. You can also challenge me, Tanay Hargunaney is my user ID.

Just for fun!!
Continue playing, Enjoy learning!

Tactical Tuesdays - 4 "The Games of Hou Yifan" !!

Who is Hou Yifan ?

Image Courtesy: Official site for FIDE Women Grand Prix 2014
Hou Yifan (CHN) is the World's No.2 Women Chess player, 20 years of age and a live rating of 2629.2 after her recent win in the FIDE Women Grand Prix 2014 at Khanty Mansiysk. (You can view live ratings on the right bar of this blog). Yifan earned a staggering score of +6 in the Super women tournament, which had players like Muzychuk, Dzagnidze, Zhao Xue, Kosteniuk, and last year's Women world champion runner up Anna Ushenina.
Hou Yifan at the FIDE Women Grand Prix 2014
Image courtesy: Official site for FIDE Women Grand Prix
It was a Round Robin tournament, consisting of 11 rounds. Yifan ended the tournament on 8.5/11, Olga Girya finished second with 7.0/11. We saw some beautiful games from Yifan this April and I'll show some positions from them today and discuss them.

From 2010 the Women's World Chess Championship will be held annually in alternating formats, in even years a 64 player knockout format will be played and in odd years a classical match between the champion and the challenger will be played. In 2010 Hou won the 64 player knockout format to earn the title of World Women Chess Champion. In 2011 she defended her title against India's Koneru Humpy (runner up of FIDE Women Grand Prix as Yifan was herself the winner). Come 2012, Yifan was knocked out in round 2 of the world championship tournament by Monika Socko from Poland with a score of 1-3. And that year Anna Ushenina won the title but not for long until Yifan took it back from her in WWCM 2013, Yifan Winner of (FIDE Women Grand Prix 2012 earned the right to challenge Usehnina). The score line in WWCM 2013 was 5.5-1.5 just after 7 rounds. As the match was a 10 round match, the first one to reach 5.5 would be declared winner.
Ushenina vs Yifan at WWCM 2013
So going back to the this month's super women tournament

The games of Hou Yifan

1. Round 2

2. Round 3

3. Round 5

4. Round 9

Follow my blog for more such posts and updates.
+1 if you like what you read..

Comments feedbacks much appreciated. Thanks for  reading !!
Continue playing, enjoy learning...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Random Game for the day !

Hi friends,
Here is a game I played with a player rated ~80 ELO points above me. This was a rapid game 30|0, remember no increaments.

Had some time trouble in the end, managed to get a winning position, saw a good fork in a few seconds and a good following tactic with like less than a minute left on the clock!

Though I lost, I enjoyed this game !

Here is the game, Annotated by me. 

I have put my my analysis of the game without help of engines. Feel free to post comments on the game and other variations which I may not have mentioned.Thanks for reading

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Solutions to Transposition Thursdays - 3

Hi Friends,

I had posted a few endgame puzzles on Transposition Thursdays - 3. I hope you had the time to evaluate those positions and identify who was winning. Here is the solutions and variations as I would look at them. No engines used.

So let's start

1. White to move

Advantages. for white: 
a. White King close to black pawns
b. White has outside passed pawn b-pawn
c. If you imagine the position without Queens we can say fro sure white wins!

Go for Qg1+!!
The easy way to win. Anything else will just be a prolonged fight and may result into a draw
As the black king is not anywhere near it's queen so as give support. Only black's queen is active. This may result in saying that white might be better off in piece activity and king activity slightly. Only because white's king is close to his queen

2. White to move

Ideas for white: 
a. If Queens exchanged then, white king must get in front of this passed pawn, e-pawn and try to promote
b. OR White king must run towards the enemy pawns from behind and attack them understanding that black's king is farther away
c. If queens not exchanged we can try Qf3+

Here is the analysis.

3. White to move
A much easier decision to make here
The white king is closer to the enemy pawns as compared to the enemy king.
So yes go for the Queen exchange

Thanks for reading !
Comments and Feedback much appreciated
Follow my blog for more such posts

Continue playing, enjoy learning !!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Solutions to Tactical Tuesdays - 3

Hey friends,

Hope you had a good estimation of the position in my post of Tactical Tuesdays - 3. Here I will discuss my views on the lines and possible variations of the position. I wont use any engines. Feel free to comment / suggest more lines / variations

So here were the puzzles and my analysis of the positions. Remember no engines used!

1. Black to move.

As per the hints in the last post, the weak squares are e3, f2 and possibly a hanging rook on a1.
So I would like to push pawn f3-f2 and checkmate.

Candidate move 1: 1... Rxe3 (Attacks the queen, Attacks the rook on e1 twice, promts fxe3)
if 2. fxe3 f2#
Candidate move 2: 1...Qxa1 2. Rxa1 Rxe3 3. Qd2 Re2 4. Qe1 
Seems like we sacrificed a queen and didn't get enough compensation

2. Black to move

Hints: Rook on e1 defended twice and attacked twice.
f2 is a weakness. (Pinned <x-rayed> possibilities of back rank mate)
Deflect one defender of the rook on e1 or undermine it ?

Candidate move 1: 1... Qxd4
if QxQ then RxR RxR RxR#
so we wont see  QxQ, rather Rxe7 and black loses
Candidate move 2: 1... Qxb2
Deflects the queen and undermines the defender rook a1
Candidate move 3: 1... Rxe1+
Seems okay, but what next ?
Candidate move 4: 1... Bxf2+
We do not want to give up our piece advantage

3. Black to move
Slight change in pawn structure

4. Black to move
This change in pawn structure now gives us the advantage that f2 pawn is actually pinned. This should make things much easier ??
Give it a try

I hope you like these analysis, and the selected candidates moves. If I may have missed out any lines please feel free to post it. 
Thanks for reading !!

Continue playing, Enjoy learning !!
Follow this blog for more updates on such posts.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Transposition Thursdays - 3

After my last post about Counting, today's post will be about counting who will win the race, and is it good to get into the endgame.
Let's show an example of the transposition.

One important quality a chess player must have is that he/she must be able to analyze the pawn structure. Mentally remove all the major/minor pieces on board and in that pawn structure evaluate the position. Helps many a times. 

White to play and win

The above position if we imagine the position with the queens off the board. We can easily say white will win. Why ? The outside passed pawn concept. White will push the b pawn and if black king rushes to stop it we will play from king side taking the h pawn and promoting the f pawn with help of king support.

So the idea is to take the queens off the board. 1. Qg1+ !! and white wins

Today's problems posted below are only for positional evaluation. Evaluate each position. Solutions and lines to these positions will be posted later this weekend.

1. White to play
Evaluate the  position

2. White to play
Evaluate the position

Hint: White's plans in both cases must be either one of the two

  • Exchange queens and keep king in front of e pawn and promote it.
  • Exchange queens and reach to the a & b enemy pawns faster than the black king reaches white's pawns

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Basic Endgame Essentials- King Pawn endings

Magnus Carlsen in Endgame training
White to move and draw, shown from black's side
Today we will have a look at some positions where in we will have to make a decision to after counting. But our aim today is to decide whether to transpose it into a simplified end game. So the basic question that arises is "How do we evaluate the endgame position?". So to answer this I'll talk about counting today.

Yes, King-pawn endgames/ King-Queen-Pawn endgames/ Rook-pawn endgames all require counting. This calculation will help us understand if the position is winning or drawish.

First I'll start with basic endgame counting. We'll also discuss about Opposition, triangulation techniques.

1. The basic King pawn ending.
Idea: To promote the pawn to the 8th rank and make it a Queen.
Technique: Keep the king in front of the passed pawn

Here both White and black have 'opposition'. This is a term used when the kings are in front of each other with  odd number of squares between them.
Why is opposition important ? Because the black king is restricted to move forward at any of the squares on 5th rank, and so is the white king.

The player to move in this position, will lose opposition.

The most important thing to note is "DO NOT LOSE OPPOSITION"

Case 1: White to play
If white moves the king to any square, he will lose opposition, and the game will end in a draw (How ?).
The diagram below shows the position which is the last thing you ever want as white (with black to play).
A stalemate
So white must play a pawn move, 1. e3. Now this forces the black king to move away. If black plays 1...Kf6 then 2. Kd5 else if black plays 1...Kd6 2. Kf5 and you want to reach this position below
Keep the promotion square protected.

Conclusion: White to play, white played 1. e3 to win, not losing opposition. This pawn move is called 'Tempo move' gains tempo on black king

PS: If instead of e-file the same structure was on a-file or h-file it will be a draw. Because Black will move to g-file (pawn on h2 case) and white does not have a file to move on the right.

Case 2: Black to play
Black is forced to move the king to either d6 / f6 or any on 7th rank.Thus the white king replies by going to  the opposite file and trying to protect the promotion square. Same as last diagram

2. Pawn boxes

A pawn on his home square requires 5 moves to reach the final rank. 1*(2 steps)+4*(1 step)
The King on g8 requires 5 moves to reach the b8 or b7 square to defend a8

Case 1: White to play
1. a5 wins!!

Case 2: Black to play
If the black king can get in the box marked by the green arrows in this move then he can save the game with a draw. But if he can't white will queen and win. 

3. Triangulation

Case 1: Black to play
Black must play to defend his pawn. And not leave it's defense. But that allows white to push his pawn further. 1... Kd5 2. f6 !! and white wins.

It gets tricky when white to play

Case 2: White to play
Candidate moves : 
1. Ke2
1. Kd2
1. Kc4 

Idea to block the black pawn's path. If the black king comes to 4th rank then push f pawn to promotion.
1. Ke2 Kf6 2. Kd3 Ke5 will go into 3 fold repetition
1. Kc4 Ke4 2. f6 d3 ... both will queen and will be almost equal until anyone blunders
1. Kd2 Kf6 2. Ke2 Ke5 3. Kd3 and now black to move, same position as above. Go to Case 1
This is what happened.

So key take away points
  • Losing opposition may result in loss
  • King must always be in front of passed pawn
  • It must always be important to understand who is to play and count the proper number of moves

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tactical Tuesdays - 3

Blindfold chess, Judit Polgar vs Magnus Carlsen
UNAM 2012
Hi friends,

Today I want to focus on mental training in chess, blindfold chess, and just thinking about variations and branching in any position.
Today it is not about finding the right solution, but about thinking the right lines and candidate moves.

Tactics an integral part of chess middle game. Today I will share some tactics, but unlike other days wherein there are puzzles to solve I'll put up images and hints related. Please use comments section to discuss the lines. I'll post hints as Candidate moves, weaknesses of the enemy, hanging  pieces, crazy sacrificial moves, undermining an overloaded piece etc.

Level: Medium, players rated below 1600

I will post solutions, and discuss in detail all the possible lines this weekend. This is a mental exercise so we can train to think various branches of the tree and make the right moves on the board.

PS: Engines will spoil the fun :P

So let's begin!

1. Black to move!

Key Ideas/ Candidate moves/ threats/ defenses all in one diagram
Key squares to think about f2, e3

The next 3 problems in line are all black to play, a very similar position. Only a couple of pawns missing/ added. The idea for these is to realize how calculations and Candidate move changes instantly with a change in pawn structures.

2. Black to move!

3. Black to move!

4. Black to move!

Hints / Candidate moves for 2,3,4
Key squares: f2, e1
Tactics: Deflection Tactics (discussed in problems 3,4 on last post)
Ideas: deflect queen from defense of Rook on e1, (only 2 ways to do so Qd4/Qb2)
Black queen must attack f2 (x-rayed)

Follow my blog for solutions and entire lines and all possible variations to follow. I will not be using engines to post the possible variations and tree branching. The continuation post for these puzzles will be posted on coming Saturday. Stay tuned!!

Feel free to use the comments sections for posting lines. I request you not to post one move solutions, but variations/ entire optimal line.

Thanks for logging on!!
Continue playing, Enjoy learning !!

Monday, April 14, 2014

How to Identify basic mates ?

After my previous articles on basic mating patterns and basic tactics puzzles, I hope you'll have a some understanding of how to approach middle game chess. Finding tactics, seeing how vulnerable the enemy king is, which piece can attack the king and thus deliver checkmate!

So today I'll put up some puzzles and hints along with it as to how to approach each of the puzzles. They will be for players rated below 1400, relatively easy but a bit tougher than the previous articles.

1. White to play. Find the strongest continuation for white (1 move) after which black resigns. As it is forced mate in 2 moves, or 3 moves black can delay mate. Things to identify here.

  • a. Both queens attacked.
  • b. If white moves his bishop then black queen pinned to the king, can move only on g-file.
  • c. Black's king is cut off from f file by rook on f2 

2. White to play and checkmate in 2.Things to identify

  • a. Black's king is scooped in the corner h8 square. packed
  • b. Knight on f6 guards, h7 and g8
  • c. g8 has 2 defenders rook on g7 and king on h8
  • d. g8 is attacked twice by rook on h3(x-rayed) and Kinght on f6e. h7 is attacked twice
  • All the squares above spoken of are the squares adjacent to the King.
  • Our aim here is to some how remove any one protector of either sqaure to make that weak and check mate there with Queen or Rook.

3. White to play. Find a strong continuation (1 move) for white here, so that either material is won/ checkmate threat given.
Here I'll show an example of a tactic called as 'Deflection Tactics'.

  • The black queen on g5 protects the rook on d8 and knight on g4. This makes the black queen 'overloaded'
  • The rook on d8 who is the sole defender of the back rank mate is attacked by rook on d2.
  • So it is a good weakness to take advantage of. Let's see if you can find the move to force black's queen away from the defence of rook on d8.Solve this one to know details of each move in the solution!!

4. More on deflection tactics. White to play and checkmate in 2 !!Things to identify

  • a. Overloaded queen!!! defence of diagonal e5-h8 and defence of rook on b8
  • b. Black king can be trapped with those 2 bishops adjacent diagonals, checkmating him.

5. And the last one for the day!White to play and win tactically. Win material...

  • Tactics involved, forks!
  • Threats : Checkmating threat

So that's all for today, Thanks for viewing the puzzles.
Hope they were interesting to solve.I'll be posting more for Tactical Tuesdays tomorrow.Stay tuned for more such posts.

Continue playing, Enjoy learning !!
Feedbacks, comments, shares much appreciated.

Follow my blog, isolatedqueenpawn.blogspot.in for more such posts
Thanks !!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Basic Mating pattern for Beginners !

Today I am posting some simple chess puzzles, mate in 1/2/3 well known mating patterns. Every chess player must know. I hope you enjoy these puzzles.

1White to play and check mate in 1.
Scholar's mate

2. White to play and checkmate in 1.
Fool's mate

3. White to play and mate in 2. 
Backrank mate

4. White to play and check mate in 3
Smothered mate

5. White to play and check mate in 2
Smothered Mate

6. White to play and mate in 3
The one with 2rooks/ rook+queen

7. White to play and check mate in 3 
King+rook mate

8. White to play and check mate in 4

9. White to play and check mate in 3

10. White to play and check mate in 1

I hope these exercises were helpful to you guys. I'll be posting more puzzles, and tutorials for beginners on how to solve more mating patterns.
Hope you enjoyed.
Continue playing enjoy learning!

Basic Tactical Puzzles

Today I'll be posting a series of tactical puzzles and the idea of each tactic. These puzzles/positions are for beginner players rating below 1400. 

This article is basically to teach you how to play and think in the middle game. If you are stuck and dont know what to play look out for such similar tactics

For basic strategies and tactics view, Chess for dummies - Tactics

1. Forks, white to move and fork.

2. Pin + Fork, white to move and win Queen

3. Pin

4. Skewer

5. Skewer + transpose to simple king-pawn end game

6. Fork

7. Discovered attack followed by checkmate in 3 moves

8. Discovered check + winning the queen

Hope you enjoyed solving these basic puzzles and use such ideas in your  middle game play.
Continue playing, Enjoy learning ! :)
Kudos !

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chess Tournaments to look out for !

Russian Team Championship 2014

Russian Team Chess Championship is currently taking place in Loo Russia. A total of 13 teams will play 7 Swiss rounds to determine the winner.

Top players to look out for are

Team Malakhit
GM    Peter Leko                       2730
GM    Alexander Grischuk          2777
GM    Sergey Karjakin               2772

Team Sankt Peterburg
GM    Peter Svidler                    2756
GM    Vitiugov Nikita                 2747

Team ShSM Moscow
GM Nepomniachtchi Ian            2732
GM Morozevich Alexander        2722

Team Ladia Kazan
GM Kamsky Gata                     2714

TieBreak Jobava - Gata Kamsky

After 3 rounds into the tournament, Grischuk is in sole lead with 3/3 points followed by Leko on 2.5/3. Karjakin on 2/3. Peter Svidler played some real tough games in the starting rounds itself, black against Gata Kamsky and white against Karjakin and drew both in round 2 and 3 respectively.

After Karjakin's brilliant play in the 2nd leg of the Candidates 2014, he looks to be in really good form and I can definitely say he will give a tough time to his opponents.

Official Site: http://ruchess.ru/

Women FIDE Grand Prix 2014

WGP 2014, taking place in Khanty Mansiysk, same venue as of the recent Candidates Chess 2014. Top players to look out for, Hou Yifan (Women World Champion ), Anna Ushenina (runner up Women World Chess Championship 2013, former Women world Champ 2012-13), Anna Muzychuk (Women's World Rank 4), Xue Zhao (Women's World Rank 5), Alexandra Kostenuik (Chess Queen Women's World Rank 9).

Yifan, Ushenina, Muzychuk, Zhao will be a part of the Women World Championship 2014 cycle this October 2014. What will be a 64 player knockout tournament. Must follow their games for the October matches! Hou Yifan will be defending her title in October 2014.

After Round 1 of the tournament, Yifan, Ushenina, Muzychik, Zhao earned a full point with the white pieces. With 10 rounds more to go, we expect the Champion Hou Yifan to perform well, the tournament favourite.

Official Site: http://khantymansiysk2014.fide.com/

Dubai Open 2014

Swiss format tournament taking place in Dubai. Top players to look out for
GM Abhijeet Gupta
GM Gawain Jones

After 3 rounds of play: 5 players share lead with 3/3 points including Abhijeet Gupta

Official Site: http://www.dubaichess.ae/

You can also follow games on http://chessbomb.com/site/
All tournament live games are shown, also tournaments which have taken place earlier.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Man v/s Machine

 The idea of deciding the pedagogue between man and machine remains dubious to some individuals yet. It is not that people have never pondered over the idea, but they cannot precisely come to a conclusion. How can one decide which one of the two is better off? Can a human stand a face off with a computer in what the computer is best at? Maybe few of us have thought in that direction, haven’t we? Coming to what the computer is best at, I say fast computation of problems! What better than to test the wits of man against machine in the most complex yet beautiful computations of science, war and the art of analysis, chess.

Consider the complexity of the problem, how fast can human brain branch out all the various combinations as compared to a computer. Say you have 10 options to choose from to play, and your opponent has 10 counter moves to each of your 10 moves, in turn you have 10 more counter moves to each of your opponent’s move, thus running into an exponential complexity. Ever wondered how can human stand to this fast computation of the machine? Well fortunately it has been displayed to the entire world by former world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997 and 1998, against IBM’s Deep Blue. The idea of this exhibition match for Kasparov was to prove it’s just another ‘stupid machine’, and for the IBM’s programmers it was a challenge to show the world, the power of computers.

Both matches in 1997 and 1998 consisted of 6 games each. And the results of which contradict each other to a large extent. Kasparov royally won the match leading by 2 whole points that year. But the interesting part starts in the rematch held in 1998, where he lost by 1 entire point. Some say he was psychologically broken down by his defeat in game 2 of the rematch. What was so vital that took place in game 2? Critics and many chess enthusiasts around the world believe that the crucial move the Deep Blue made was not so ‘computer-like’ but contrary to it, it was ‘human-like’. So did the IBM programming team actually build a computer as smart the human mind?  The rematch held in 1998 was titled as “the most spectacular chess event in history”.
Game over is a documentary on the Match between Kasparov and Deep Blue
In the 1990s, it was clear that computer chess was reaching an important inflection point. Deep Blue was a processing monster. Deep Blue was capable of evaluating around 200 million positions each second. In addition, several grandmasters were involved in the evolution of Deep Blue's evaluation functions. Fifteen years later, one of Blue’s designers says the move was the result of a bug in Deep Blue’s software. Even though humans can conceive of strategies to counteract the computation advantage of computers, we get tired, make blunders, and suffer from anxiety. Machines never get tired or flustered.

Human psychology plays an important role against a head on collision with computers or as a matter of fact any competition with a computer. The frame of mind in which a human is, is not constant and changes as a reaction to other actions in society. Man is a social animal, but a computer does what it is programmed to do, what the man exactly asks it to do. So man v/s machine? Just another angle from where you can think on this topic, yet again.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Transposition Thursday - 2

A complex position as the name suggests is one which involves huge calculations and many possibilities. It is better to take this position and transpose it to a much simplified position wherein you are comfortable with the position.

Here is a position, the endgame wherein I played white and currently I am worse. 

White's weaknesses: Rook on e3 pinned, and attacked by black rook on a3. Queen and King tied to defense of the rook. 
White's Idea ?  Black just played Kh7 (to my luck, my queen has a checking square, Qc2)
So mu idea here would be to get the queens off the boards and hopefully I can play the rook pawn end game with the extra pawn for a win.

So, here is what happened, and the resulting position is a simplified rook pawn ending with an extra pawn.

Next transposition is simple, give it a try !

This last position is from a recent game, played in the Candidates tournament 2014. A brilliant way to finish the candidates for Sergey Karjakin who stood 2nd. This particular game was 94 moves long, and Karjakin waited for the right moment to simplify the position and go on for the win. Can you find the winning line ?

If you like my blog you can follow it for more such posts and updates
Follow me on twitter: @TanayHH

Comments, shares, feedbacks much appreciated.
Thanks !

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tactical Tuesdays - 2

How to look at a position, what move to play and how to think ?

Have a look at this position. White to play and play for advantage and soon enough check mate.
So what are the things you can notice here, where white can threat black.

1. Black's queen is hanging (Attack the queen)
2. If black didn't have the rook on a8, Re8 was checkmate (deflect the black rook)
3. If I want to create a Rook-Queen battery on the f-file trying to attack the f7 square and checkmate on back ranks, the knight on c4 can hop to d6 to control f7 (deflect the knight from c4)

We should try to exploit these weaknesses of black to gain an advantage. 

Let's go to the next puzzle for today.
A rather easy one! Here Capablanca played black !!

The last puzzle for the day. A game from 1970, Fischer - Andersson
Same idea, pick out black's weaknesses, defenses and put pressure on them.

Please let me know what you think of these puzzles, easy, hard, anything you wish to add.

Follow me on twitter :  @TanayHH
Feedbacks, Comments and shares much appreciated.