Sunday, August 7, 2011

New lesson on along with some blitz games

Some more recent posting on

I played a bunch of games in the 5-minute pool on the ICC and made Live blitz #94-97
Here they are:


My latest video was in a PPV series meaning usually it would cost credits, but sponsored the lesson, so that it's free along with a few more in that series! Check it out and tell me if you like it:

Lessons #2 : The Averbakh Wedge:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Some recent videos on

I've been posting some new videos recently on the excellent website,

I played a game in the 15-minute pool on ICC and did a live commentary on that. It was a French defence.

I then solved some tactics on using the tactics trainer and tried to explain my thoughts:

My next video I reviewed a game played by a forum member which was a standard 15 0 game on FICS. I thought the game had interesting moments and some instructive mistakes along with endgame moments that I liked. Judging by comments and rating the video was rather well received.

My latest video was a PPV one meaning you would have to shell up credits and pay a whooping $0.50 to see it. Shell it up or just watch the over 100 other videos I've made I guess ;-)  But supporting the site would be nice (and me of course muhaha) ;-)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Icelandic Championship has started

I started with a draw in the first round with black against fellow FM Robert Lagerman. A fair start to the tournament and always nice to get on the scoreboard in such a strong tournament. Today is a very tough game against former World U-14 Champion, GM Hedinn Steingrimsson. I have white and the game is live here:

Games can be accesses from here:

Where 2. umferð means 2. round etc...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A nice draw for me

In the process of moving so been finding some old stuff in boxes, both books, pictures, scoresheets etc.

Here is a draw I made with black in 2005. Jonathan Speelman might be historically the strongest player I've drawn, not the highest rated but the one that got furthest in the Candidates Matches.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Reykjavik Open, my games from rounds 5-7

Here is my 5th round game, the second game on Saturday after the poor loss against Gustafsson (meaning I played badly, not that the expected result wasn't the same)

I bounced back on Sunday with a nice grind-out victory from a Catalan type position...

Today I won my 7th round game, bringing me to 4,5 out of 7. This was a Czech Benoni, a opening I believe I am now 3 out of 3 with!

Tomorrow it's Italian Carlo D'Amore rated 2505. I have the black pieces again. I need a good result to have some chances for a norm.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chess sucks ;-(

Lost somewhat embarrasingly in the 4th but ok I'll try to move on with life.

Here is 3rd round game:

And here is the morale-killing game against Gustafsson. I hope he isn't too harsh on...

Gustafsson in the morning round

Not a fan of morning rounds I barely feel awake. But I won in 3rd and play against GM Jan Gustafsson 2647 with the white pieces. I have no idea what I want to play or what he will play.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My 2nd round near "something vs 2600 GM ;-)

I possibly would have written a very happy blogpost had I simply chosen ..Bd7 but still I can take good things from the game. White tomorrow vs 2095 player.

Reykjavik Open has started - My 1st round game

My favourite tournament has started. Time to meet foreign friends and have fun on the 64 squares. I started with a victory with white in the first round against an 1800+ player. I would have preferred black since I now get the YoYo i.e. black against strong players and if I lose white against lower rated rinse and repeat!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Icelandic League, Second Weekend

This weekend we finished the Icelandic League. It is played over two weekends, one in October and one in March. Each team has eight boards and it's round-robin 7 rounds. This year my team came painfully close to finally catching the title for the first time. We, Vestmannaeyjar Chess Club (Taflfélag Vestmannaeyja in Icelandic or T.V.) came 2nd with 40,5 out of the possible 56 and only 2 points behind the winners, Bolungarvik Chess Club. We played them in the last round and we won 4,5-3,5 but we needed 5,5-2,5 to get the title. It wasn't to be this time but for a moment it looked like the match could swing our way. I and board 8 both made draws but for a moment it looked like both of us had winning chances so the last round was very exciting and nervewracking for team members, team followers and captains.

The top 3:

Rk.SNoTeamTeamGames  +   =   -  TB1  TB2  TB3 
18TB ATB A750242.5100
24TV ATV A760140.5120
32Hellir AHellir A770039.5140

It's interesting that the 3rd place finisher, my former club Hellir won all their matces but didn't score enough game points vs the "lesser" opponents and so came a little short this time as well. All in all a very interesting competition.

For many players this is also sort of like a family reunion of sorts because the country is so small and most players know each other very well and sometimes for retired players this is the only time you see them each year and is always fun. This also means that for some the quality of the games is less important because many players do a lot of walking a round to see people, look at positions and have a short chat in the hallway. One of my favourite weekends each year!

Here is my morning game from Saturdays rounds.

Here is my second round game in the deciding match. Like I said in earlier entry, my opponent was 1977 World Cadet Champion (U-16) ahead of Kasparov and Short!

The earlier game finished around 15:00 and then I went and drove my teammates, Jan Gustafsson, Tomi Nyback, Kamil Miton and Jon Ludvig Hammer to the hotel to get some sleep for the 17:00 second round. I myself went downtown to a restaurant and had myself a good seafood soup while contemplating what to do against my opponent.  Even though he is retired from tournament chess, he plays some games in the league and actually more in the last few years than before and also I have played him many times in blitz tournaments so I know his repertoire fairly well. He is one of those players that more or less always played the same and stuck to his guns and still does more or less. It has pros and cons, it means he usually has a familiar position but also he is easy to prepare for but that is a bigger problem in this era than it might have been back in his playing days.

Ok so basically I knew the game would start 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 which is my beloved French Defence. What I didn't know was what would be his 3rd move. He has played both 3.Nc3 and 3.Nd2 against me in blitz games and during his career he played both and switched between the two a lot.

I have been playing more Winawers recently so I more or less decided not to prepare that as I feel pretty good in those lines and think I can just show up more or less and get a decent game in that line. Vs the Tarrasch however I have gone back and forth between 3...c5, 3...Be7 and 3...Nf6 a lot so I needed to decide in this short one hour+ what to do against the Tarrasch if he played that. I remembered our blitz game which was mainline stuff there with Bd6/Qc7. I looked up some games and saw a game of his vs Hjartarson which gave me an idea what to play. I had played ...g6 myself in the blitz game but saw that Hjartarson played ...h6 in the same position. Now this didn't score very well in the database but I still saw some recent games with encouraging results from for instance Emanuel Berg. So during the next hour I looked at these games and played around with the position with the engine running to get an idea what I wanted to do vs certain moves. Long story short my preparation worked out perfectly and I got a playable good position with a good time edge.....lets go on to the game:

A good game I felt and I think I played pretty good. Slightly frustrating not to win but still can't see clearcut improvement on where the win should be.

After the game it was the closing ceremony where prized were handed out, some beers were consumed and some interesting chats with some interesting people. For instance I talked a lot with GM Olafsson and GM Arnason and we talked a bit about old masters and some old stories. For instance it was pointed out to me that Levenfish was a great talent in the USSR, not less as such than Botvinnik but in those times being a communist was more imporant and therefore Botvinnik got all the chances.

Also some chat about his career. He felt that of all the players he faced against Smyslov and Petrosian he truly felt like he didn't have a break. He managed though to draw against Petrosian but also mentioned an ending he felt he would have held against anybody in the world but lost against Smyslov. You decide for yourself:
(show chess board)(hide chess board)
We also talked about some old adjourned game where another Icelandic player was playing against a Romanian GM, this was in 1978. The Romanian called the Icelandic player and said they should accept a draw. The Icelandic player accepted but when he came to the board the morning after (of course not having analysed the game at all) the Romanian player pretended to know nothing about the draw offer and they played on.

Years later Arnason had an adjourned game with the same player. In a dinner the night before he told Tal this story. Tal became absolutely furious when he heard this....he couldn't believe what the Romanian GM did. So Tal invited Arnason to come to his room the next day and analyse the adjourned game. Needless to say Arnason punished the guy and won the full point!

As a final random note I'll add that we somehow had three US Chess Leauge GOTY judges sitting almost completely next to each other. I was judge this year and on my team was fellow judge Jan Gustafsson and Robert Hess from the USA was also playing for another team in the league. Quite a coincidence!

BS! the final note is of course this link: I was top scorer in the whole league although my good friend Stefan had higher percentage in fewer games and some players had 3 out of 3.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Icelandic league

Won my game again this morning but the opponent was much lower rated and I had white. In the final round we will play against the top team and we need to win 5,5-2,5 to get the title. That will be very difficult but doable even though they have rating advantage on most boards.

I will most likely play against retired GM Jon Arnason, former world junior champion in 1977 (the year I was born)....ahead of Short and a certain young little Gary Kasparov!!

So will be tough obviously but I and we will do our best.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Played tonight in the Icelandic League

Was my birthday so nice to get the W but unfortunately my team lost the match meaning our chances of gettign the title are almost relegated to purely mathematical. I don't have time to add analysis or words because the next game is tomorrow morning, but anyway here is the game, nice to win with black against 2444 and member of the Icelandic Olympic team.

I had prepared for a completely different opponent as their lineup surprised us. I thought I was black against IM Thorfinnsson who I also played against with black in the Reykjavik Championship in January. So all my preparation was preparing against the English Opening. When my opponent here opened 1.d4 I decided to deviate and not play the Benoni because I had no preparation and feared that my opponent had prepared something there. So I went for the closed Czech Benoni and also thought this was a good type opening to get my type of position vs him and also something he wasn't very familiar with. I know him pretty well so these choices are always very psychological.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Good interview with Chucky

He just had a fantastic tournament in Gibraltar and he always has those in between every year. He is obviously dripping with talent but sometimes he becomes very inconsistent in between his brilliant performances.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A wonderful mating theme from ICC game

My friend and teammate from the Vestmann Islands team was playing a 3-minute game on ICC vs a Grandmaster and finished him off with a mate in 3 in this position.

1.Qf6!! Nxf6
2.Bg7!! Kxg7

Aside from being very beautiful and clean, this mating pattern also has a nice aesthetic geometry to it. White makes successive checks on the diagonal squares, f6, g7 and h8 and each time with a different piece! This could possibly be unique but I'll leave that to someone with good searching tools in databases.

More Korchnoi!

Korchnoi had quite a tournament in Gibraltar. After 9 rounds, he was undefeated with 3 wins and 6 draws. He only lost this last round game today against Paco Vallejo(2698) but had a winning move in there had he been lucky.

Had he won I am sure he would have set the bar pretty high for anybody to catch his Tournament Rating Performance at the age of 79! Even with the loss he might still have the best mark if this is his best TRP since turning 79.

Here is the game and then some stories after it ;-)

In the 9th round, Korchnoi beat A.Wohl with the white pieces and in a King's Indian. After beating him, Korchnoi says in German (He had lived in Swiss for many years so he can manage with German) something like: "Es gibt Leute gegen die man nich Konigsindisch spielen können" (his german is not perfect and mine is pathetic so apologies to my German audience)....Anyway. They part and just moments later while outside, Korchnoi walks up to him and now says in English "You know, there are some people against which you just can't play the King's Indian!". Wohl anwers "I know....I understood when you said it in German". To which Korchnoi replied "I just wanted to make that clear!!"

There is only one Korchnoi! It's like childish arrogange and the feeling I get it's not meant to be hurtful, it's just the way he is.

Once playing in Sweden around 1990. My current team captain observed this. He was playing against Swedish IM Ari Ziegler. Ziegler had white and got some advantage out of the opening so he offered the great warrior a draw. Victor the Terrible answered by throwing his hands in the air.....and screaming "HE OFFERED ME A DRAW" ....followed by some big laughs.  Naturally Ziegler was so distraught after this that he lost his way and lost the game.

Once he played here in Iceland against Ivan Sokolov. This is like 8 years ago. The position is becoming drawish and instead of offering a draw Korchnoi says "Ok, I GIVE you a draw"....the exchange of words and expressions they had on the stage after that was hilarious, too bad I can't rememeber any of it. I must ask Ivan over a bottle of red win in Reykjavik Open 2011. I do remember though that Victor called Ivan a "Coffeehouse player"!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

A beautiful move

From Chernin-Morozevich

Morozevich played 10...Ne6 and went on to lose although he stands well here. He however missed a killer move and even Ribli who has short annotations on this game in my database fails to mention this move. 10...Nd5!!

White can resign! Both captures are met with ...b5 when white is in trouble because the queen can no longer protect against mate on c2 so white has to give up the queen. 11.exd4 is the best white can do but it's very ugly after 11...Nxc3 and then 12...exd4.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Incredible oversight in an opening book

The author (who I have hidden with black) says here that black can transpose to a line in Exchange Slav by playing ...d5!! Incredible to see in an opening book! (this is e-book of an opening book!)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Interesting YouTube Channel

Many interesting videos of blitz games, blitz fragments and some other interesting stuff. Check for instance Maxim Dlugy trying to grind out a R vs B endgame. When the king is in the corner, there is only one way to lose and this endgame should be really easy to hold.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The En Passant Pin!

I had black here in an online blitz game and my last move was 24...f5.

In a blitz game it would be very easy to fall for a trap here and take en passant. This is very unusual that a rank can be cleared with two pieces in between in one move so going 25.exf6?? Would certainly be plausible but my opponent didn't fall for it this time. Rare theme but still one I've seen before.

For the lesser skilled, 25.exf6 allows 25...Rxh5 winning the queen ;-)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The ever fighting Korchnoi!

On January 26th, just about two months shy of this 80th birthday, Victor Korchnoi beats a 2700+ rated player with black! This must be some sort of a record! At 79 to beat a player rated 2721? And with black! One wonders how many blank pages are still to be filled in the great history of one of the greatest fighting chess players of all time, Victor Korchnoi!

Instead of posting the game in a replayer, I suggest having a look at it from the tournament site with notes here:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reykjavik Championship, one to go!

Well only one round remains to be played after Wednesday's round 8. So far I am having a solid tournament with 6 out of 8 but I have no chances to win as the leaders have 7 and 3rd place has 6,5 and plays the leader. It's a strange situation but has a little to do with perhaps some players rated around 5-10 not having a good tournament and therefore not playing the top players and taking away points from them. It must be said that on 6 out of 7 the #1 and #2 seed got fairly easy opposition at this stage in the tournament.

For myself, I finally won after 4 draws in a row, and in three of them I was lucky to escape with a draw, putting my undefeated streak in jeopardy. With today's game I have now played 24 games without being defeated in this specific tournament. My last loss was in round 2 in 2009 after I allowed myself to be tricked a piece up. I have to say I am very happy with this streak and I will do everything I can not to break it in the last round which will be a very tough game against talented Gudmundur Gislason 2317, who has underperfomed in this tournament, losing to a 1600 player and to my opponent today. I know however how strong my opponent is and in the last two Icelandic Championships he has been in contention for the title after 7-8 rounds before slipping in the last rounds.

Enough about that. Here is my game from today which was a nice creative effort. I played a rare opening and got a "chess position" as I like to call it and my gameplan worked well, my opponent didn't handle the position well and I managed to demonstrate the strength difference which is never a given!

Live blitz #81 on

Nothing special, Bg5 line of the Benoni which I haven't met in a long time and didn't know how to handle. Now I do!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Round 7 of Reykjavik Championship

Link for live games is here:

I am white vs WGM Lenka Ptacnikova. She has been doing well lately, especially in the women's Olympiad where she got an IM norm. She also was voted the best game prize for the year 2010 for her game against Eva Repkova in that same tournament.

I've played here many times before. The score is +3 -1 =3 so I have been doing ok. Last 5 games I was black so nice to get white for a change!

My preparation which wasn't as complete as I would have liked consisted mostly of looking at 1.c4 e5 lines. I am expecting 1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 d5 with some main line English. We also played a blitz game recently where she played 1...c5 so I looked at those lines a little bit as well. In any case I'll learn a little bit more about the English today!

Carlsen vs Nakamura today!

Have to say that seeing Nakamura as the sole leader with 5,5 out of 7 really surprises me! He is good but I always felt he was a step below the absolute top guys. Maybe he is just taking a jump recently and playing in these highest tournaments is improving the guy?

Anyway, this should be an interesting game. Recently they played a private blitz match in a hotel:

And this is from world blitz:

Today will hopefully be exciting!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tough game tonight, LIVE link

I play the #2 seed, IM Bjorn Thorfinnsson rated around 2400. He is leading with 4,5 out of 5 and I have 4 out of 5 along with 9 others.

We always play interesting games and last four decisive games, the other one had a winning position before it turned around. We know each other very well, the strengths and weaknesses and also we know the openings very well that we like to play as we talk a lot about chess.

He has been taking up c4 lately but it wouldn't surprise me if he has studied d4 for this game, fearing my preparation for 1.c4. The truth is that I have been going in circles, not been able to decide what to play. I've decided on an inncent setup that I don't know that well but at least probably takes him out known lines. I will probably play Nc6 and b6 and queenside fianchetto against the King's English and follow with d6/Qd7/e6/Be7 etc.

If he plays d4 I just don't know, I have to decide at the board. I can't play Benoni cause he has a trouble line against me there but on the other hand he would probably suspect that I have looked at that. Also I haven't looked at much Semi-Slav theory lately and that's what we last played and I got a winning position more or less before allowing him counterplay and losing eventually. So I don't know, dilemma!

Games are live here:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

ICC helpmate

Faced with the constant threat of gaining time with Nf7-g5 in the timescramble, my opponent found a radical solution in this position:


When I saw nothing better than...


Live Blitz #14 - Four games on PlayChess

Some live blitz games on PlayChess.

French Winawer
Tarrasch Defence
Fianchetto Grunfeld
Bird's Opening

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Missed tactic in Reykjavik Championship

Sigurbjorn Bjornsson (2317) was white here vs my uncle, Kjartan Maack (2168) in the 3rd round of the Reykjavik Championship, played friday the 14th of Janary.

Both were in some time trouble here (well as in every game really with G/90+30s). Sigurbjorn with white played Bh6 and eventually won after a hard struggle. He however had a killer tactic here.

1.Qb8+ Kg7

forced and now the hammer


With a simple winning endgame! A typical tactic that most chessplayers would find if it was a tactical puzzle but very hard to see in a game, especially down to the last few ticks on the clock!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Reykjavik Championship round 3 LIVE!

Check this link!

I am white against Thorvardur Olafsson rated 2194. I have decided to play 1.d4 in this match. I am expecting a Benko, King's Indian or Grunfeld...and in that order of likelihood. If we play the Benkö probably I will try the 5.f3 line. In case of the King's Indian I am expecting the ...Na6 line and I will play Re1. If he plays the Grunfeld I will probably play the Bg5 line, we'll see

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Reykjavik City Championship 2011

So the first tournament of 2011 is underway for me. Hopefully I can play more this year than in 2010 where I could only play in 3 tournaments plus the league (two weekends) and one training tournament. The first tournament of the year is traditionally the Reykjavik Championship. This year I am the 3rd seed but the top is very packed and is very strong. I came 2nd last year undefeated with 7 out of 9 so naturally the goal must be to do one better this year! To do that I must dethrone the current two time champion and top seed, Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson.

The first round went more or less according to plan. Like in a traditonal Swiss the pairings are uneven and #1 plays #36, #2 plays #37 etc. Of those 35 games only ONE wasn't won by the favourite. And it was this one below, a huge upset!

I played myself against a 1691 rated player with white and managed to win in a rather clean game. I analyzed and posted the game on and you can find it here:

In the 2nd round again most of the top seeds one their games but there was still one upset as a 1900 rated player (local rating) with no FIDE rating yet beat WGM Lenka Ptacnikova 2317. I don't have the game yet as the broadcast of the game froze.

I also won my game which was a tense Benoni and I had to sacrifice more material than I comfortable with normally ;-) I'll probably make a video on this game as well.

Anyway the 3rd round is friday and the pairings will be up later tonight.  I will probably post my thoughts and my preparation with a timestamp so it will appear just after the game starts (starts 19:30 Icelandic time...I think we have the same clock as for instance the UK right now). Then you can watch the game here:

I will post another link if this one is incorrect. The homepage of the tournament on ChessResults is also here:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

3 days till Wijk!!

Yeah!!! Starting to count down, are you?

73rd Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee 2011 (Wijk aan Zee NED) Fri 14th Jan 2011 - Sun 30th Jan 2011


Participants of grandmaster group A

GMMagnus CarlsenNOR28141Photo
GMViswanathan AnandIND28102Photo
GMLevon AronianARM28053Photo
GMVladimir KramnikRUS27844Photo
GMAlexander GrischukRUS27737Photo
GMHikaru NakamuraUSA275110Photo
GMRuslan PonomariovUKR274411Photo
GMIan NepomniachtchiRUS273315Photo
GMWang HaoCHN273117Photo
GMAlexei ShirovSPA272224Photo
GMMaxime Vachier-LagraveFRA271531Photo
GMAnish GiriNED268652Photo
GMJan SmeetsNED266282Photo
GMErwin l'AmiNED2624138Photo

Average rating: 2740
Category: 20
FIDE-ratings of January 2011

I don't see anybody out of the top 4 winning here, unless possibly Nepomniachtchi since he has probably the biggest upside of anybody outside of that group. Also difficult not to see Smeets or l'Ami at the bottom but that's no knock on their abilities in such a super strong tournament!


Participants of grandmaster group B

GMRadek WojtaszekPOL272620Photo
GMDavid NavaraCZE270834Photo
GMLaurant FressinetFRA270735Photo
GMZahar EfimenkoUKR270138Photo
GMWesley SoPHL267364Photo
GMGabriel SargissianARM266775Photo
GMLe Quang LiemVNM266478Photo
GMLuke McShaneENG266478Photo
GMSurya GangulyIND265198Photo
GMLi ChaoCHN2649100Photo
GMJon Ludvig HammerNOR2647103Photo
GMVlad TkachievFRA2636120Photo
GMFriso NijboerNLD2584269Photo
GMWouter SpoelmanNLD2547436Photo

Average rating: 2659
Category: 17
FIDE-ratings of January 2011

I will be watching closely here current teammate Ludvig Hammer and also former longtime teammate Luke McShane. I think this group is almost anybodies to win but the Dutch will struggle here like in the A group.


Participants of grandmaster group C

GMMurtas KazhgaleyevKAZ2637Photo
GMIvan IvanisevicSRB2630Photo
GMMark BluvshteinCAN2590Photo
GMDaniele VocaturoITA2570Photo
GMDariusz SwierczPOL2540Photo
IMIlya NyzhnykUKR2530Photo
GMKatherina LahnoUKR2518Photo
IMRoeland PruijssersNED2484Photo
IMBenjamin BokNLD2453Photo
IMRobin van KampenNLD2443Photo
GMSebastian SiebrechtGER2439Photo
IMMark van der WerfNLD2439Photo
IMJan Willem de JongNLD2437Photo
IMTania SachdevIND2382Photo

Average rating: 2507
Category: 11
FIDE-ratings of January 2011

C-group is interesting although way less strong than the B-group. Nyzhnyk is now I think the youngest current GM but somehow this group doesn't excite me very much.