Sunday, June 23, 2013

Announcing my YouTube channel

I'm not updating this blog anymore, obviously, but I do have a chess oriented YouTube channel: Jim's Chess Channel

The channel features blitz games with live commentary, postmortems, and a series called Chess Basics, that covers topics that "every chess player ought to know".

Here's a sample postmortem video of a game I played over the board:

 - J. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Recent game

Here's a video annotation of a game I played at the 2011 CalChess State Championship (in the A section):

- J.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Taking a break

I'm taking a break from this blog, while I look for some more tactics to post in the future. Enjoy the tactics that are here!

- J.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tactic 0234

[Event "ICC Blitz"]
[White "jbennett"]
[Black "elcapa"]
[Result "*"]
[Annotator "JB"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r4rk1/pp3pp1/2p5/2b1PPp1/2P1Q3/3B3P/Pq4P1/R4R1K w - - 0 21"]

{White to move, black just played Qxb2. }
{Second best is Rab1 (1.43), best is f6 (8.09) }
1. f6 g6
2. e6 Bf2
3. exf7+ Rxf7
4. Qxg6+ Kf8
5. Qh6+ Kg8
6. Qxg5+ Kf8
7. Qh6+ Kg8
8. Rad1

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tactic 0233

[Event "ICC Blitz"]
[White "jbennett"]
[Black "hjk"]
[Result "*"]
[Annotator "JB"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r2qkb1r/1pp2ppp/p3p3/3pn2n/2PP4/2N1P2P/PP3PP1/R1BQK2R w KQkq - 0 10"]

{White to move, black just played Nxh5. }
{Second best is cxd5 (0.00), best is dxe5 (0.97) }
1. dxe5 {Not Qxh5, because of Nd3+ and dxc4. }
1... Qg5 {Or g6, when cxd5 is good for white. }
2. cxd5 O-O-O {If Qxg2, then: }
(2... Qxg2
3. Rf1 g6
4. Qa4+ c6
5. Qg4 Qxg4
6. hxg4 Ng7
7. d6
3. g4 {The knight is trapped. }
3... exd5
4. gxh5 Qxe5
5. Qd4 Qxh5
6. Qg4+ Qxg4
7. hxg4

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tactic 0232

[Event "ICC Blitz"]
[White "jbennett"]
[Black "tloeber"]
[Result "*"]
[Annotator "JB"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "3r1k2/7p/3N2p1/p1Q2p2/3n4/1P1R1PPK/1PP1q2P/8 b - - 0 35"]

{Black to move, white just played Kh3. }
{Second best is Ne6 (-4.45), best is Qf1+ (-11.04) }
1... Qf1+
2. Kh4 g5+
3. Kxg5 {If white doesn't take, then Qh3+ forces the issue. }
3... Ne6+
4. Kf6 Nxc5

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tactic 0231

[Event "ICC Blitz"]
[White "Jacko01"]
[Black "jbennett"]
[Result "*"]
[Annotator "JB"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "2r2r1k/pp1qpp1P/3p1bp1/3Nn3/4P1n1/P5Q1/1PPB4/2KR2NR b - - 0 19"]

{Black to move, white just played Nd5. }
{Second best is Nf2 (-3.86), best is Rxc2+ (-4.57) }
1... Rxc2+ {Nf2 is also interesting. If Qxf2, then Nd3+ wins }
{the queen. }
2. Kxc2 Qa4+
3. Qb3 Qxe4+
4. Kc1 Rc8+
5. Nc3 Qxh1

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tactic 0230

[Event "ICC Blitz"]
[White "jbennett"]
[Black "gberto1"]
[Result "*"]
[Annotator "JB"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "2k4r/1bp4r/pp2R3/4pp2/1PPp3P/3B2P1/P4P2/2R3K1 w - - 0 24"]

{White to move, black just played fxe5. }
{Second best is Rxe5 (2.20), best is Bxf5 (4.64) }
1. Bxf5 Kd8 {The threat of Re8# (!) must be dealt with. }
2. Bxh7 Rxh7 {At the cost of the exchange. }
3. Rxe5

*** How to play ***

These tactics were taken from actual games. They vary in difficulty, and sometimes there is more than one good move, just like in real games. In all cases the two best moves are listed, along with their evaluation by Fritz. You should always strive to find the best move, and not settle for second best.

In some cases there are more than two winning moves, and when that happens then all the winning moves are listed. In a few cases the second best move is nearly as good as the best move, and in those cases you should give yourself credit for finding either one.

Here's how to get the most out of these tactics:
1) Look at the diagram, and read the line at the bottom that tells you whose move it is and what the last move was.
2) Think about the diagram for a few minutes, and try to find the best move. Try to imagine how the game might continue.
3) If you find what you think is the best move, double check it for mistakes, then scroll down to check out the answer.
4) If you can't find the move after a few minutes, then scroll down anyway to get the answer.
5) If your answer was wrong, or if you couldn't find the move, then after you look up the answer be sure to go back to the diagram and see if you understand why the given move or moves are the best ones.

You can also cut and paste the PGN into your favorite chess viewer or engine to play through the given continuation, and do your own analysis. I use the ChessBase Light viewer, which is free. You can get it from ChessBase Light 2007.

If the position is from a game that might be in a database somewhere, then I always include identifying information, such as the tournament and date, in addition to the players.

NEW: The latest version is ChessBase Light 2009, and it is still free. This viewer can also be used to search the online database of games that ChessBase maintains, if you want to find the original game that a tactic came from.

Have fun!

- J.

*** About this blog ***

The plan for this blog is to develop a collection of chess tactics. Each tactic will be presented in PGN notation, with embedded comments. The analysis is from Fritz 9, so it should be pretty accurate. The comments are mine, so there could be mistakes in them.

Feel free to comment on the tactics. I also welcome any suggestions for improving this blog.

If you want to post a tactic, send an email to jemsward (at) gmail (dot) com. You will have to have a google account (which is free), so that I can add you to the list of authors for this blog. Tactics should be posted using the same format that I am using, and please put comments in the PGN with your analysis of the tactic and the continuation.

Each tactics post starts with the diagram, followed by the PGN. To create the diagram, I'm using the free online chess position composer at chess diagram setup. The chess position can be input using FEN notation, so the diagrams are easy to create from the PGN using cut and paste. Here are the other options I am using in the composer:

Player to move unspecified
Smart flat set
Plain color
Color setup 1 (green and buff):
Dark squares: #487850
Light squares: #efe4c8

Color setup 2 (brown and buff):
Dark squares: #9c7438
Light squares: #efe4c8

Color setup 3 (blue and gray):
Dark squares: #506c90
Light squares: #e2e2e0

Color setup 4 (red and cream):
Dark squares: #984850
Light squares: #e4e0d0

- J.