OK - so chess is a game where you simply play the moves. No pressure. No drama.
I remember watching a YouTube video a few years ago and I loved it. Garry Kasparov was the greatest chess player in the world when I was growing up, and Magnus Carlsen is the best player at the moment and has been for a few years. They first played each other in 2004 in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Magus Carlsen was 13. Garry Kasparov was 41. Magnus Carlsen was already an International Master and ranked 700th in the world. Garry Kasparov was a Grandmaster and ranked No.1 in the world.
A crowd was watching. People were filming and taking photographs. And... Garry Kasparov was late. Garry Kasparov turned up late to the game keeping the 13 year old waiting at the board. No pressure? No drama?
Part way into the game, Carlsen goes for a wander while Kasparov is considering his next move. While Carlsen has his back to the table, Kasparov plays his move. If Carlsen is not careful, his clock will be ticking down while he is wandering around the other boards. What happens - almost instantly Carlsen senses that Kasparov has played his move and he returns to the board to play a move he has clearly planned.
The result of the match is a draw. A truly fantastic achievement for a 13 year old against one of the greatest players of all time. But what interests me is the drama and the pressure and how Carlsen dealt with it.
I would expect a lot of people to find those circumstances difficult to handle. Especially a 13 year old. But Carlsen never lost his cool - he stayed calm and focused on the moves. He controlled those parts of the occasion which he could control, and he did not get concerned about things going on around him which he could not control. I think that is a great lesson for all players - and not just when playing chess.
Oh - and by the way - the opening? It was Queen's Gambit Declined. This is one of the best openings for young chess players to learn.
The YouTube video can be seen below. It is a great video to watch.
My apologies, it has been a couple of week's since I have done an article - I was away last Wednesday and busy over the weekend, so there has not been a report for a couple of weeks. My apologies.
This week I am not writing up the games - there have been a few too many for that, but the results and links to all of the tournaments in the last few weeks are provided below. If you have a ChessKid login, you can use these links to see the full results and look through the games.
Results: 13/09/2020 Sunday Blitz 2
Results: 13/09/2020 Sunday Bullet 2
Results: 16/09/2020 Wednesday Carlsen
Results: 20/09/2020 Sunday Blitz
Results: 20/09/2020 Sunday Bullet
Results: 23/09/2020 Wednesday Seven's
We have now moved to tournaments which take place on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. The articles will generally be once a week from now on, usually on a Wednesday - that way weeding in the garden can be done!
...we had two events - a Blitz event followed by a Bullet event. Chess is typically played in 4 formats. 'Over the board' chess is normally either Standard Play or Rapid Play. In Standard Play, players generally get upwards of an hour each in which to play their moves, and often get an additional 15 seconds or so per move. In 'Rapid Play', players generally get between 25 and 40 minutes or so each for their moves and would not normally get additional time for each move. Then there are the faster forms which are Blitz and Bullet. In Blitz, players typically get around 5 minutes each, and Bullet even less time.
Why play Blitz or Bullet?
Who knows? - I could never cope with the time limit! I think the reason people play this form of chess is mainly enjoyment - it is really good fun having to play moves really quickly. I spoke to an International Master once and he said that he prepares for major tournaments by playing Blitz chess online. I think the reason was to really sharpen his thinking, and also to get lots of games under his belt in a short time. In these very short forms of the game, players who know their openings really well have an advantage because they will not need to think about these moves as much if they know the right move from memory. It also rewards players who perhaps have a bit of an instinct for the right move, and who know what move looks right. That is probably why I would not play this form of the game - I have neither of these attributes!
...Blitz - time control: 5 minutes each
theworldoflegend played a blinder, winning all 3 of his games. AbleLopsidedGiraffe took second place with 2/3. kolifl0w37 took 3rd place, narrowly beating WiseCrabbyCoconut on tiebreak score.
...Bullet - time control: 3 minutes each and an extra 3 seconds a move
This time, AbleLopsidedGiraffe took the glory with 4 wins from 4 games - very well played. RedNuttyCactus had an excellent tournament with 3 wins from 4 games, only losing to AbleLopsidedGiraffe. theworldoflegend, winning 2 form 4 games, narrowly took 3rd place on tiebreak score, edging ahead of SillyLimit, MeanCactus, and ORichards who all also scored 2/4.
Very well played to these players and all who entered the Blitz and the Bullet events. These tournaments do reward good chess, but it is very easy to make a mistake when there is little thinking time, so if you didn't do as well as you would have liked, try again next time.
If you have a ChessKid login, you can see all these games and the full results at the following links:
So, we know what Blitz and Bullet chess are; so what is Seven's? Well, I suppose it is a type of Rapid Play. I like to mix up the time controls for the events, partly to make sure that they are not always the same, and partly because some tournaments will be preferred by some, and others will like a different arrangement - so change is a good thing. I like the time control - it is probably the gentlest time control we have in these events. Seven minutes may not sound like long, but you get an extra 7seven seconds for every move. So, if you need to think for a while about a move, then you can, but you still need to keep a careful eye on the clock. It also helps for those who may sometimes have a slow internet connection. Those extra seven seconds can be a real help.
This event was won by Rowantree who won three games and drew a close game with RichSmoothPanda. RichSmoothPanda took second place with two wins and two draws. But, the player with the best performance this evening was probably MerryJazz. MerryJazz took third place with 3 wins from 4 games, only missing out on second place on tiebreak score. So, why is MerryJazz the best performer? - well, the only game he lost was to RowanTree, the eventual winner, and all of his wins came against players with a higher ChessKid grade than his own - very well played.
If you have a Chesskid login, you can see all the games and the full results here: https://www.chesskid.com/tournament/wednesday-sevens-102680/results
Chess Puzzle - Mate in 1
In the position below, can you see how Black can secure Checkmate in One move? Answer beneath.
Bg5# - That is code for B (Bishop) moves to the square g5, and the # means Checkmate
We have moved our chess events to Wednesday evenings to avoid a clash with the new evening for the Ipswich Junior Chess Club, and the change of evening certainly suited SillyLimit who played exceptionally well to secure third place, only missing out on second place on tiebreak score. Very very well played. SillyLimit managed to win in the third round with barely a false move, which is no mean feat. You can see the whole of this game below.
The tournament was won by Rowantree with 4 wins from 4 games, which was well earned, and rafcalum took second place on tiebreak score with 2 wins and 2 draws, and also played extremely well.
If you have a ChessKid login, you can see all the games and the full results here: https://www.chesskid.com/tournament/schools-in-wednesday-101191/results
Just a short article tonight... This evening, we had two events - a Blitz event with 5 minutes on the clock each and an additional 1 second a move, and a Bullet event with 3 minutes each and an additional 3 seconds a move.
The Blitz produced plenty of very close finishes, with games going to the last seconds, so victories were hard fought and well earned. No fewer than 4 players won 3 games from 4, so it was a very tight event. WiseCrabbyCoconut took the plaudits by beating Rowantree in the final round and won the event on tiebreak score. ZanyHummingBook was runner up, again on tiebreak score, with Precho and Rowantree completing the top four, both also scoring 3/4. Well played to all who entered.
If you have a ChessKid login, you can see all the games and the full results here: https://www.chesskid.com/tournament/friday-blitz-90799/results
3rd equal: Precho & Rowantree
The Bullet event was also extremely close, and this time we had a three way tie at the top, with three players on three out of four. On this occasion Rowantree, having lost in the first round to an excellent OvalCuteSnail, scraped through to victory with a final round win again AbleLopsidedGiraffe and won on tiebreak score. MadWiryTank performed extremely well to come second on tiebreak score, including an excellent win ion the final round. AbleLopsidedGiraffe also had an excellent evening and looked set to win the event going into the final round, only to miss out due to the last gasp win by RowanTree. Well played to these and all who entered.
If you have a ChessKid login, you can see all the games and the full results here: https://www.chesskid.com/tournament/friday-bullet-90800/results
***Change of Evening***
With school's going back and chess clubs restarting, we are changing the event nights. From now on, it will be Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. If you would like to play in these events, please email Tim Kent at: email@example.com
Game of the Day... RedNuttyCactus vs koliyflOw37
Question: Why Game of the Day?
Answer: Two brilliant moves - one by each player.
Link to the game: https://www.chesskid.com/fastchess/game/28089410
The game started with RedNuttyCactus playing the 'King's Pawn Opening: Wayward Queen Attack'. This is adventurous and not for the faint hearted, but it seemed to work well enough. As a guide - it is probably best to keep your Queen safely tucked away at the start of the game and develop your centre Pawn's, Kinghts and Bishop's. After kolifl0w37 exchanged a Knight for a Bishop and doubled RedNuttyCactus's Pawns on the H file, which was a good plan, RedNuttyCactus found the first of the brilliant moves.
In the position below, it is White to play. Question: What move did white play which won the Queen?
9) Nxf6+, Kd8;
10) Nxd7, Kxd7
White used the Knight to take Black's Knight on f6 and put the King in Check. The Black King had to move out of the way, and White then used the same Knight to take the Black's Queen, and then Black used the King to take White's Knight, so White finished the exchange up a Queen - a really excellent few moves.
A number of moves later, it was Black's turn to find a great move. In the position below, Black puts the Bishop on h4. This threatens the Queen. If the Queen takes the Bishop, Black will take the Queen with the Rook. So, White needs to move the Queen to safety. Somewhat to my surprise, the new analysis option on ChessKid suggests that, once the Black Bishop is on h4, White's best option is to take the Rook on f4, and then lose the Queen when the other Rook then takes the Queen. While this is not what happened in the game, Black still ended up winning Whites Queen - so the Bishop move was a really excellent choice by Black.
Very well played to both players. What I really like about both these moves is that they only work by thinking ahead. The move which takes the piece is a few moves away, but the great move is the earlier one which sets this up. Really, really well played to both.
In the end, kolifl0w37 won a very close game, but it could have gone either way. One more time - Well Played.
And now... the Results from tonight's event...
Rowantree secured the win with 4/4. It was an excellent evening for MadWiryTank, who secured second place with 3/4, and pipped ZanyHummingBook to second place on tiebreak score after ZanyHummingBook also scored 3/4. Both players lost only to the eventual winner - so very well played to all plavers.
If you have a ChessKid login, you can see all the games and the full results at the following link: https://www.chesskid.com/tournament/tuesday-sevens-90218/results
If you do have a look, why not try out the new ChessKid analysis button - if you look at a game and click this button, it will show you what moves were great, and make some suggestions for better moves where you have gone wrong. It is well worth a try, and I certainly use it when looking at some of the games.
The French Defence??? - sounds like a major battle that Napoleon Bonaparte might have fought 200 odd years ago... Who was Napoleon? - well he was a French leader who wanted to rule the world!!! https://kids.britannica.com/kids/article/Napoleon/353514
That's all really good stuff - lots of battles and fighting - but we are interested in The French Defence in a Chess sense. This is an opening that leads to semi-open games - that is games where there are opportunities to attack, but where the players also establish reasonably strong bases. Both players are starting by trying to take control of the centre of the board, which is always a good idea.
Why play the French Defence? - why play any particular opening?
Chess is a tough game - the options for playing different moves are almost limitless. But, over the years, chess players have worked out some good moves at the start of the game. So, if you know your openings, you can get yourself into a good position at the start of the game. Whatever your standard, it is always better to start the game well than make mistakes - so it is worth learning openings. What are the best openings to learn? As mentioned in an article a couple of weeks ago - probably The Italian Game, or Queen's Gambit. The following links will let you watch videos of these openings (assuming you have a login on ChessKid.
The Italian Game: https://www.chesskid.com/videos/the-italian-game2
Queen's Gambit: https://www.chesskid.com/videos/what-is-the-queens-gambit
The French Defence
Once you know a bit about the above openings, maybe learn a little about The French Defence. Most players playing as White are not well-prepared against the French Defence, so, if you do know what you are doing, then you may be able to take advantage of this when you are playing as Black, and perhaps do better when playing as white and your opponent tries it against you.
The game starts with the following moves:
1: e4, e6;
2: d4, d5
And, this puts you in the following position:
There are then a number of options on how to take this forward, and it is worth reading up on these, but we are not going to look at that here because you will find much better information elsewhere on the internet. Why not try the following links?
https://www.chess.com/video/player/why-simon-loves-the-french-the-classical-variation - this is one of a series of videos on www.chess.com which can teach you about this opening
Enough of that... the Results from tonight's tournament...
This evening the congratulations go to Rowantree and MadWiryTank for securing 1st and 2nd position respectively. Very well played. Well played also to AbleLopsidedGiraffe, SillyLimit, ZanyHummingBook, and JamesBlyth who all scored 2/4 - very well played to you all.
If you have a ChessKid login, you can see the full results from tonight's event and all the games at the following link:
...Oh - that's right - setting up a tournament... Thanks for the reminder folks.
Balmy Barmy Friday
Last Friday, we had an event that was suitably called Balmy Barmy Friday. Well played to those who entered. Rowantree had a strong evening, winning the event with 3/3. ZanyHummingBook pushed Rowantree all the way, losing a decider in the last round. AbleLopsidedGiraffe completed the top three, also scoring 2/3.
If you have a ChessKid login, you can see the full results and all of the games from this event here: https://www.chesskid.com/tournament/open-balmy-barmy-friday-88697/results
Why 'forgetful' Tuesday? - I forgot to set the tournament up - sorry again folks.
rafcalum certainly was not in a forgetful mood, he won all 4 of his games, and in not only that, he played the players who finished in positions 2, 3, 4 & 5 - in other words, a perfect result - very well played.
Rowantree had a good night in taking 2nd position with 3/4, losing only to rafcalum. With 5 players finishing on 2/4, AbleLopsidedGiraffe snatched third place in the last game of the evening, taking the position on tiebreak score. Well played to all tonight - and thanks for competing.
If you have a ChessKid login, you can see the full results and all of the games from this event here: https://www.chesskid.com/tournament/open-forgetful-tuesday-89712/results
Chess Puzzle - Mate in 4 - Difficult
Tonight's chess puzzle is a tough one - in the position below, can you see how White can force Checkmate in 4 moves against Black? - answer below the puzzle. Hint: Look for 'checks' with every move for white...
1: Qf7+, Kd6;
2: Nxc4+, Kd5;
3: Nc3+, Kxd4;
What a Scorcher!!! The weather is certainly hot - what a great summer we are having! There was a lot of really good chess tonight - Suffolk ChessKid's are either immune to the heat of have really good fans...
One player who played really well tonight was AbleLopsidedGiraffe - his performance tonight probably deserved 2 to 3 points - and yet he fell short. Chess does that - some nights you can play badly and still gather some points, and other times, you can play really well and somehow it just does not go your way. So - well played AbleLopsidedGiraffe.
Great moves, Bad moves and Missed moves...
I bet when you play a game of chess, the moves you remember most are the big blunders and the great moves. Blunders are annoying and happen to everyone and everyone knows to try and avoid them. We remember great moves because, well, they are great moves and don't happen all the time - so they are difficult to find, but they may win you a game. But - missed moves...
I watched a few games tonight, and I saw a some really good players miss really good opportunities... One player lost a game when he had had two opportunities to force checkmate only a few moves before resigning due to a lack of time, and also being behind. Another player missed forking his opponents' rooks, not just once, but twice - he still managed to win, but he had a much harder time winning than he should have done.
What is the lesson? - We all know blunders are annoying, and winning moves are great, but - make your life easier by taking an opportunity if it comes your way - it is not the brilliant moves that win games, but if you can make every move a little better, you will win far more games and your grade will soar...
Link to tonight's games...
If you have a ChessKid login, you can see the full results and all the games from tonight here: https://www.chesskid.com/tournament/open-sizzle-tuesday-78091/results
With the sun trying to BBQ us today, it was appropriate that tonight's tournament was called BBQ Friday. The three players who jointly won tonight's event probably felt they had been BBQ'd by the end, such was the close finish.
Going into the last round, Rowantree looked in pole position to win with 3 wins from 3 games, before falling to WiseCrabbyCoconut in the final round. With his win in the last round, both WiseCrabbyCoconut and RichSmoothPanda were able to clinch a three way tie for the victory with Rowantree - well played to all players.
Joint 1st: RichSmoothPanda, WiseCrabbyCoconut, Rowantree
If you have a ChessKid login, you can see the full results at the following link: https://www.chesskid.com/tournament/open-bbq-friday-67515/results
Chess Problem - Win the Queen, White to play
In the position below, taken from Move 19, what move can white play to win Black 's Queen? If you want to see the answer, click through the game at the end of this post.
Game of the Week
This looked like it may be the decider tonight, and both players played a great game, but in the end Rowantree found a way to win the Queen and that was that...
Apologies - we have been away - but we are back now, and here is the article about tonight's chess - and also the events of the last week.
The full results are detailed below, with links at the end of the post that users of the ChessKid website can use to look at the full results and and all the games of each event.
Having looked through the results, it is great to see that, in the five events covered in this article, we have five different winners, which is great. Also, nine players have been in the top three places across these events, which, again, is brilliant. Well played to everyone - not just this listed here.
Congratulations to MadWiryTank, who won the harder 'Open' event for the first time last week when winning 'Drop Anchor Tuesday' (no prizes for guessing what we were doing on holiday). MadWiryTank won this event with three wins against top Suffolk players - I am delighted for him for his success in this event. Well done.
AbleLopsidedGiraffe secured yet another win in the U1300 section on 24th July. The other winners in the open section were rafcalum, Rowantree, and theworldoflegend.
24/7/2020 Friday Chips - U1300
24/7/2020 Friday Chips - Open
28/7/2020 Drop Anchor Tuesday - Open
31/7/2020 Fend Off Friday - Open
4/8/2020 Tuesdays Seven's - Open
U1300 Friday Chips - https://www.chesskid.com/tournament/open-tuesday-sevens-67478/results
Open Friday Chips - https://www.chesskid.com/tournament/open-friday-chips-55617/results
Open Drop Anchor Tuesday - https://www.chesskid.com/tournament/open-drop-anchor-tuesday-56229/results
Open Fend Off Friday - https://www.chesskid.com/tournament/open-fend-off-friday-56397/results
Open Tuesday Seven's - https://www.chesskid.com/tournament/open-tuesday-sevens-67478/results
Check here for articles about the Suffolk Juniors.