The Chess Wanderer

"Les pions sont l´âme du jeu" Francois-André Philidor, 1749

Friday, April 29, 2005

Alekhine's guns

Didn't get much studying done yesterday and played very poorly on ICC. I did get to use Alekhine's guns successfully for the first time though. Had um lined up behind an enemy pawn on the c file and broke through with b6. It was really neat to see them crash through into enemy territory. I'm not sure if my opponent knew what was going on because he didn't respond until after I got the queen in place.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

How to be unbeatable

Got through the first three games in Unbeatable Chess Lessons. It's an entertaining read. Some of the positions are over my head though.

Does anyone have any suggestions or comments for my first tourney? Someone told me to take a Sharpie and put my initials on the felt on the pieces as well as the board and clock. Anything else? It will be a four round eight hour tournament.

Challenges completed: 500
Average of all scores: 85

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Play Winning Chess

Finished the book yesterday. I still like the Idiot's Guide better but had some gems in there too. I especially liked the annotated games at the end of the book.

Started on Unbeatable Chess Lessons for Juniors today and finished the first game so far. At this rate it shouldn't take me longer than two weeks to complete the book. I'm still working on Chess Mentor but once that's done I'll be moving on to Don's Inferno.

Finally, I'm going to my first tournament in a couple of weeks so we'll see where my studies have placed me. I think I get a rating after my first tourney.

Monday, April 25, 2005


I just found out that one of the local clubs is hosting three (that's right, you heard me, three) G45 tourneys this year! One in May, one in September, and the last one in November. Reading that news really made my day. I better start working on my OTB experience.

T26 Round 6

This is the last game I'll post on my Blog. Don't really feel comfortable putting this stuff out here. My win guaranteed us a spot in the championship match.

[Event "Team 45 45 League T26"]
[Site "Free Internet Chess Server"]
[Date "2005.04.22"]
[Round "6"]
[White "PawnSensei"]
[Black "clarinetref"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1411"]
[BlackElo "1519"]
[TimeControl "2700+45"]

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. e5 d4 6. cxd4 Qxd4 7. Nf3 Qd7 8. O-O e6 9. b3 Nc6 10. Nc3 Nge7 11. Ba3 b6 12. Nb5 a6 13. Nd6+ Kd8 14. Nxf7+ Kc7 15. Nxh8 Ng6 16. Nxg6 hxg6 17. Rc1 Kb7 18. Re1 Be7 19. d4 cxd4 20. Bxe7 Qxe7 21. Nxd4 Nxd4 22. Qxd4 Rd8 23. Qe4+ Ka7 24. Red1 Rh8 25. h3 g5 26. Qc4 Kb7 27. Qe4+ Ka7 28. Qc6 Rd8 29. Rxd8 Qxd8 30. Qc7+ Qxc7 31. Rxc7+ Kb8 32. Rxg7 {Black resigns} 1-0

Thursday, April 21, 2005

A dark day indeed

Don has just announced his intention to retire from the Order of the Knights. If his decision is final it is a sad sad day. Since I started my chess journey last November Don and the Knights have been an inspiration and source of encouragement for me. His humor and upbeat attitude through the circles made me feel less daunted by the task.

I hope De La Maza's program doesn't destroy people's enjoyment of chess. I mean, the founder himself quit chess shortly after completing the program. If that is true then I don't want to do the program anymore. For me chess IS my life and I don't want to lose it due to burn out.

Completed the Idiot's Guide yesterday. I am starting Play Winning Chess today.

Challenges completed: 443
Average of all scores: 87

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Hip to be square

Completed the chapters on space and weak squares. I never understood what people were talking about when they were talking about strong and weak squares, until now. What an eye-opener. Now I know why people would go after my fianchettoed bishop when I played the Pirc. I also understand the a or h pawn push too. Never made sense to me before reading this. Sneaky, very sneaky. I'm seeing a lot more now and I'm confident that these books are at my level. Hopefully they will be enough to prepare me for the Inferno in a couple of months. I haven't set a definite date yet because I don't know how long it will take me to complete the three books but I am estimating a start date sometime in July.

I was thinking about something on the way in to work. I was wondering if I'll complete all of the puzzles that I have in my current library of books? It includes:

Reinfeld's "1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations"
Polgar's "Chess"
Seirawan's "Winning Chess Tactics"

Now I know I'm definitely finishing WCT soon but I'm not so sure about the other two. Polgar's book has 5334 puzzles by itself. And that doesn't include CT-Art and Chess Mentor. I figure, if I don't become a chess genius after that then I'll sure be stuffed with a lot of useless information!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Sunday is FUN day!

Played three games today. Lost them all. Quite disheartening. But onward and upward!

Idiot's Guide
Finished the chapter on pawns as well as the chapter on space. It's a little hard to grasp for me right now but it's all good info. I especially liked the explanation on side-by-side pawns.

Chess Mentor
Got to the level 4 problems today. I'm starting to see some of my weaknesses. I got hung up on a couple of mate problems and long distance queen forks. I also saw Morphy's and epaulette's mates for the first time. Finally, I discovered the analysis board. Nifty little feature that. It's like having your own little peg or magnetic board on the table as you work on the problems. It reminds me of Chessbase Light. I used it a couple of times to look at some of the variations mentioned in a few of the problems. One of the advantages over a real analysis board is the ability to reset it to the original position with the click of a button.

The Perfect System
I read one of Don's posts today and I have to agree that sometimes we get caught up in finding the perfect system instead of actually going through one. I guess part of it is due to our analytical natures. If we didn't like analyzing things to death we wouldn't be chess fanatics. Add to that the OCD and you can see where you can run into some problems. So where does that leave me? If you haven't noticed I've been delaying Don's Inferno until I feel more comfortable with the basics. My current plan is to read a couple of intro books (The Idiot's Guide to Chess, Play Winning Chess, and Unbeatable Chess Lessons for Juniors) then run through Chess Mentor a couple of times. But for the record, I'm doing Don's Inferno, and that's that. There. I said it. No turning back now. It's written in stone. May God have mercy on me.

First Run
Challenges Completed: 328
Average of All Scores: 89

Saturday, April 16, 2005

T26 Round 5

Here's the game:

[Date "2005.04.16"]
[White "PawnSensei"]
[Black "maglover"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "1406"]
[BlackElo "1543"]
[TimeControl "2700+45"]
1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. Qxd4 Nc6 4. Qe3 b6 5. Bc4 Bc5 6. Qf3 Ne5 7. Qb3 Nxc48. Qxc4 Bb7 9. Nf3 Nf6 10. Nc3 O-O 11. Bg5 Be7 12. O-O Ne8 13. Bxe7 Qxe714. Rfe1 c5 15. Rad1 Nd6 16. Nd5 Bxd5 17. Qxd5 Nb5 18. Qxd7 Qxd7 19. Rxd7Rad8 20. Red1 Rxd7 21. Rxd7 g6 22. c4 Nd4 23. Nxd4 cxd4 24. Rxd4 Rc8 25. b4f6 26. f4 Kf7 27. e5 fxe5 28. fxe5 Ke6 29. Re4 Kf5 30. Re2 Rxc4 31. e6 Rc832. e7 Re8 33. Kf2 Kf6 34. g4 a5 35. bxa5 bxa5 36. a4 g5 37. Kf3 Rxe7 38.Rxe7 Kxe7 39. Ke4 Ke6 40. h3 h6 41. Kd4 Kd6 42. Ke4 Ke6 43. Kd4 Kd6 44. Kc4Kc6 45. Kb3 Kb6{Game drawn by mutual agreement} 1/2-1/2

I fought as hard as I could but couldn't convert my 2 pawn advantage in the endgame. I guess I need more practice in that area. My opponent was the same guy I drew with the last time. He was nice enough to do a post-mortem with me and showed me where I could have won the game and how to do it. Interestingly he also reads my blog. I forgot to ask him how he found out about it. You know, for some reason I find the chess players on the net seem to be more helpful than the players I meet in the local club.

Challenges Completed: 223
Average of All Score: 95

Friday, April 15, 2005

A little further

Another hour on Chess Mentor today. Got out of the intro stage into level 2. Still not challenging yet but a good refresher on basics.

Blundered my game against a 1330 on ICC. Rating dropped to 1360. On top of that I used up almost all of my time and he barely used up any. I'll review my game before going to bed tonight.

Challenges Completed: 140
Average of All Scores: 94

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Chess stuff arrives

Cool. I tore into Chess Mentor today. Spent about 45 minutes on it. Here's my score so far.

Challenges Completed: 85
Average of all initial scores: 98

I also bought a used copy of "Chess for Kids" for my girlfriend's cousin. Lots of nice pictures using a wodden board and wodden (Staunton?) pieces. I've noticed that children's chess books are quite expensive. I guess because there are a lot of nice, high quality, color pictures for them to look at. If he really gets into it I can start lending him books from my collection.

Finally, did 1 hour and 30 minutes of tactics from the Idiot's Guide.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Ahhh, the pawn studies

Finally hit the section of the book that covers pawns. You know, with a name like PawnSensei you think I would kick some major bootay with those buggers but it just doesn't work out that way. The chapter is very informative but slow going. It's the only chapter in the book that I'll have to go through more than once.

Finally mastered the two bishops vs lone king scenario. I don't know how often that guy comes up but it was instructive on how to use the bishops better during the middle game. I didn't realize that two bishops were impervious to the king when they are side by side and the king is in front. Maybe it is obvious to most of you but it was an eye-opener to me. I was thinking about doing knight and bishop vs king but I hear that guy can go over 50 moves easy and I think I can better spend my time with tactics and other studies. Any comments?

Played black against a king's gambit accepted last night and won. It was a good feeling because it was my first time seeing that opening.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Good weekend

for chess that is. Skipped the tactics and played a lot of games this weekend. I also reviewed my drills since I have been slacking on them in the last month. I try to do them every Sunday but neglected them recently.

Also did some basic opening study and review. Saw some new opening moves over the weekend so I worked on solid replies to give me a fighting chance in the middlegame. In particular I seem to be coming up against a lot of Ruys as black and c5s as white. I think I got them down but only time will tell.

Hit a new high of 1370 on ICC yesterday, which is 20 points higher than the previous week. I hope this is an indication that I am slowly improving. I'd hate to think I was wasting my time.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


We have a new potential knight amongst us. Don, I'll send him to ya as soon as he gets his blog up for his dubbing.

T26 Round 4

[Event "Team 45 45 League T26"]
[Site "Free Internet Chess Server"]
[Date "2005.04.10"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Triplea"]
[Black "PawnSensei"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1261"]
[BlackElo "1399"]
[TimeControl "2700+45"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bxd5 Qxd5 7. Nc3 Bb4 8. Bd2 Bxc3 9. Bxc3 Bg4 10. h3 Bh5 11. g4 e4 12. gxh5 exf3 13. Bxg7 Rg8 14. Bc3 Qxh5 15. Qd2 O-O-O 16. O-O-O Rde8 17. Qf4 Rg2 18. Rdf1 Re2 19. Rh2 Ne7 20. Bd4 Nd5 {White resigns} 0-1

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Pieces in harmony

This was my favorite game to date. I know it was against someone 100 points lower than me, but that notwithstanding I liked how my pieces worked together. This was also the first time I applied Dan Heisman's "Go to sleep" strategy.

[Event "ICC 20 20"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2005.04.09"]
[White "PawnSensei"]
[Black "soumya"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ICCResult "Black checkmated"]
[WhiteElo "1363"]
[BlackElo "1251"]
[Time "22:43:07"]
[TimeControl "1200+20"]
1. e4 e5 2. d4 Bd6 3. dxe5 Bxe5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bc4 d6 6. O-O Bg4 7. Nc3 Nd48. Nxe5 Bxd1 9. Nxf7 Qf6 10. Rxd1 Nxc2 11. Rb1 g6 12. Nxh8 Qxh8 13. Nd5 Qe514. Nxc7+ Ke7 15. Nxa8 Qxe4 16. Bg5+ Nf6 17. Bd3 Qe5 18. Bxf6+ Qxf6 19. Bxc2Qe6 20. Re1 Kd7 21. Rxe6 Kxe6 22. Nc7+ Kd7 23. Nd5 Ke6 24. Rd1 Ke5 25. f4+Ke6 26. h3 a5 27. Bb3 b5 28. Nc7+ Kd7 29. Nxb5 Kc6 30. Nxd6 h5 31. Nf7 Kb532. Rd4 Kc5 33. Re4 Kb5 34. Ba4+ Kc5 35. a3 Kd5 36. Ng5 Kc5 37. b4+ axb4 38.axb4+ Kd5 39. b5 Kc5 40. g4 h4 41. f5 gxf5 42. gxf5 Kb6 43. f6 Ka5 44. f7Kb6 45. f8=Q Ka5 46. Qa8+ Kb6 47. Qa6+ Kc5 48. Qc6# {Black checkmated} 1-0

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Detective work

All this talk of detective work has got me a little worried (paranoid person that I am). So I would like to ask the Knights for help. If you can find my real name in the public domain can you let me know through email so I can be more careful in the future? Please reply to this post so I know who is helping me out. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Coffee and Chess, Chess and Coffee

Don't they go great together? Last night walked over to the strip mall and had Arabiki curry at the Curry House then went next door to the coffee shop and studied for two hours. In total, last night was 1 hour tactics, 1 hour Idiot's Guide, 2 games (20 30) on ICC (1 win 1 loss), and about a half hour on basic endgames (bishop and pawn vs two pawns, and bishop and pawn vs four pawns).

One game was lost before we got to the endgame. The other game, though it was a win, was mildly dissappointing for me. I was killing this 1250 guy. I was black. Had my rooks beaming down the e and f files pinning his bishop and knight to his uncastleable king and queen, my queen was deep in enemy territory on the h file, and to top it off my knights were ready on the third and fourth rank to fork anything that moved. My attack fizzled and I had to fight back to a winning endgame with four pawns and a rook vs a rook. The good news is I'm getting a lot more comfortable with open positions. Now I have to learn how to attack with gusto. Playing the Pirc and King's Indian really made me passive. BTW, I learned that at my level I don't think I really need to fear the English or the Sicilian. The guys at my level don't really know how to use it. One guy used c5 against my e4 and when I played d4 I think he panicked. I'm not really even sure if my response was solid but it worked.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess

Did I mention that I borrowed it from the library? Good book. After learning that I have been studying the wrong stuff for my level I am going back to the basics. Next I'm going to go over Seirawan's "Play Winning Chess" then on to "Unbeatable Chess Lessons for Juniors".

Saturday, one hour of tactics then one hour with Idiot's Guide. Sunday, one hour of tactics then one hour with Idiot's Guide (notice a pattern here? guess what I am going to do today.) Also, the Idiot's Guide had a chapter on lone Queen vs King and lone Rook vs King. I know this may sound funny to some of you but I have never learned how to checkmate a King with a lone Queen before reading this book. I just assumed that the advantage was so great that it would be no problem. Well now I can do both situations blindfolded AND I taught my girlfriend's cousin how to do it too. I also drilled the Lucena (or was it the Phillidor?) and some pawn endings, including lone pawn vs lone Queen (this one was VERY instructive). Tonight I plan to go through some drawn endgames. Man, I can't wait for my Chess Mentor. Maybe I should have dropped the extra $10 for priority mail instead of media mail.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

T26 Round 3

Lost. Here's the game.

[Event "ICS rated standard match"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2005.04.02"]
[White "clarinetref"]
[Black "PawnSensei"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1477"]
[BlackElo "1408"]
[TimeControl "2700+45"]
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. g3 Bg4 4. Bg2 Bxf3 5. Bxf3 Nc6 6. O-O Qd7 7. e3 g68. a3 Bg7 9. Nc3 a6 10. b4 b5 11. cxb5 axb5 12. Nxb5 O-O 13. Nc3 Rab8 14.Bb2 e5 15. Ne4 Nxe4 16. Bxe4 d5 17. Bg2 e4 18. Bxg7 Kxg7 19. Rc1 Ne5 20. f3f5 21. fxe4 dxe4 22. Rc3 Ra8 23. Qa1 Nf3+ 24. Bxf3 Kh6 25. Bg2 Qxd2 26. Qc1Rfd8 27. Qxd2 Rxd2 28. Ra1 Rad8 29. Rxc7 Rd1+ 30. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 31. Bf1 Ra132. Ra7 Re1 33. Kf2 Rc1 34. b5 Rc2+ 35. Be2 Rc1 36. a4 Rh1 37. Kg2 Re1 38.Kf2 Rh1 39. b6 Rxh2+ 40. Kf1 Rh1+ 41. Kg2 Rb1 42. b7 Rb2 43. Kf2 Kg5 44. a5Kf6 45. a6 f4 46. gxf4 h5 47. Ra8 g5 48. fxg5+ Kxg5 49. Rg8+ Kh4 50. b8=QRxb8 51. Rxb8 Kh3 52. Bxh5 Kh4 53. Rh8 Kg5 54. a7 Kf5 55. a8=Q Ke5 56. Qa5+Kf6 57. Rh6+ Kg7 58. Qg5+ Kf8 59. Qf6+ Kg8 60. Qf7#{PawnSensei checkmated} 1-0