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.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Capablanca's worst moment

The great Cuban master of positional chess didn't make many blunders in his career and left us countless positional masterpieces. This however was his moment to forget!

White: Sämisch
Black: Capablanca
Karlsbad 1929

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 d6 6.f3 c5 7.e4 Nc6 8.Be3 b6 9.Bd3

In a fairly normal Nimzo type of position Capablanca got caught only thinking about strategy and played 9...Ba6??

This just loses immediately and after 10.Qa4 Bb7 11.d5 white can resign and indeed I believe Capablanca did!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Live Blitz #13 - Black vs IM 1.b3

I also posted Live Blitz #78 on  I have different series on Youtube, 3 minute games there, 5 minute games on I might change that but at least it will be different series.

Latest upload on

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Van Wely scalp wasn't me, it was Jake Kleiman rated USCF 2453 in the North American Open. I was browsing through the game and naturally I was curious to see how Van Wely lost with white as it's normal for him to be at or very near the top in these American Opens.

After maneuvering around for 20+ moves trying to find ways to go forward, make his king safe and make good on his extra pawn....he got hit with an unexpected tactic in his position.


A bolt out of he blue...last move 52.Qd5 was meant to prevent that! Now it all falls apart for Van Wely. He can't take the rook lets look at that:

53.Qxc5 Qd1+ now 54.Kc3 meets 54...Qd3# and I'll leave it as an exercise to find the mate if 54.Ka2.

After 53.Qd7 Bd3 Van Wely could have resigned but managed to fight for another 30 moves before being forced to throw in the towel.

ICC tactics

From a 3-minute game tonight. I was white vs PenelopeCruz

Black is probably fine, even slightly better after 30...exd4 since d5 is likely to fall. He however got fancy with 30...Qxd5+ which is tempting. Take a pawn with check and then take the bishop. However I had a nice shot 31.e4! Qxe4+ 32.f3 and white wins a piece since black can't take the bishop and save the queen and rook with one move, also the bishop conveniently covers Rb2+

More patterns

I played a bullet game with my best friend many many years ago. I kept it, it was a fairly unintereting game as most bullet games are...however:

After I played Kh1...having used very little time he played immedately 26...Qc7 setting up a trick which I fell for I played 27.Ref1 and he played the nice move 27...Bg1!

A very nice move, maybe not hard to spot but impressive to find using almost no time (1,5second spent on Qc7 and Bg1). The reason he found it was we had just before that looked at Tim Krabbe's page. He has a section there called "The Ultimate Blunder" which is resigning in winning positions. The first example of this that he quotes is Von Popiel - Marco

Marco resigned here thinking he was losing the pinned bishop on d4....however 36...Bg1! turn the tables!

A miss by Kasparov

I saw some simul games by Kasparov in this newspiece on ChessVibes some time ago:
(at the bottom of the page)

I looked at the game Kasparov-Paul De Vos (the 4th game). The opening moves were:

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 e6 4.Nf3 g6?! 5.c4 Bb4+??

Kaspaov played 6.Bd2 and won in 22 moves, however he missed the best move and my pattern recognition immediately went to work when I looked at this game. I had seen this before!!

It was on Tim Krabbé's page: (check item number 381, marked with red in top corner of each entry)

The move here is indeed 6.Ke2!! and white wins a piece since after the knight retreats we play c5 and then trap the bishop with our pawns, be sure to check the Tim Krabbé piece, this is called the earliest king move to cause resignation!

So if the greatest player in the world has holes in his pattern recognition, we don't need to feel bad about our quick loss in an online game on ICC right? It was a simul but still I'd expect the best player in the world to have seen this ;-)

Fantastic miss in the Icelandic League last year

GM Helgi Olafsson had white for the Vestmannaeyjar team (which I now play for) against the team of Fjolnir's Faruk Tairi from Sweden. He just played 32.Ng7?? which looks good, attacks g6 and he indeed won after 32...g5? 33.Bxd4 etc. He would have been in for a huge shock had black found a strong move in the diagrammed position.

As an amusing anecdote, it was more of a shock that the chessboard got hit with a snowball! Some annoying kid entered the hall and randomly threw a snowball into the crowd of about 400+ chessplayers and randomly hit this game!


This might have been more of a shock than the snowball had Faruk found this move! White probably just loses in all lines.

33.Qxg5 is met with 33...Ra1+ and 34...Nxf3+ winning the queen and...
33.Bxg5 Rc2+ 34.Kd1 (34.Kb1 a2+ 35.Ka1 Nb3#) a2 -+

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wonderful fortress study by Troitsky

I really like beautiful endgame studies. For me studying endgame studies can be beneficial. Studies often demonstrate the power and limitations of pieces in very pure form and also it can't be bad for the imagination to go through many of these.

Troitsky is one of the best known study composers of all time. In this study white seems to be in deep trouble since his knight is attacked and there doesn't seem to be a good way to stop the pawn...

Don't  worry though, we'll just let the d-pawn do it's best!

1.Nc6! d3
Otherwise the knight should get to the pawn, it only needs to sacrifice itself since we have the wrong rook's pawn and black can't win that
2.Nxa7 d2
3.Nb5 d1=Q
What the hell? We just allowed black to make a new queen and now we attack it with a wimpy little knight and black can even move the queen and give us a check? Is there a solution or is this an early April Fool's joke??

What do you think??

Monday, January 3, 2011

Find the strongest move

What's the absolute best continuation for white here.......and the most crowdpleasing ;-)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New video posted on

I recently posted my first game in the 5-minute pool on ICC. Usually I post 5-minute games from ICC on and PlayChess games on the YouTube channel. In this game I have the black pieces against Grandmaster Botvirosian in a Symmetrical English.

Also I thought that the game Short-Vallejo from Reggio Emilia was interesting for French players. The Brazilian lover of the French Defence, Rateodoro has analyzed this video on You can find this game here: