Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chess as Played in the Real World - No. 3

In our last installment I featured a short "skittles" game I played with Judy in which I was checkmated in 8 moves (Chess as Played in the Real World - No. 2). We played four games that day, and it is only fair to include the last game we played - which she won! If you're a novice player, I'm sure you will relate to a game like the one below - where "defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory." Play through the game - and then see the advice at the bottom:

Some comments:

  • I'm pretty sure 6. Bxf7+ is unsound, but I'm playing my opponent and not the board (bad!) and I figure it will be interesting to see what this accomplishes - if anything (bad again!) - I need to take the time to think through all the ramifications.
  • 15. Re6. Wanting to pressure the defending rook (or exchange it away), I foolishly miss the fact that the c8 Bishop is attacking the e6 square too! Argh!
  • 17. Bf5. Not even looking at the danger the rook poses. Well, I deserve what I got.

There are several lesson to be learned from this game - each of which Dan Heisman addresses in his remarkable book “Everyone’s 2nd Chess Book”:

  • Think and take your time! Dan Heisman calls this "Guideline Zero" because "all other guidelines are useless if you don't follow this one!" So true.
  • "Think with your head, not with your hands."
  • Before each move make sure ALL your pieces are safe (including the king!) Duh!
What's really embarrassing is, that although I have learned these rules, I stupidly insist on "flunking out" and repeating the lesson ad infinitum. You'd think someone of my age would play a little bit better than an 8-year old and learn from experience :-)
Note: Dan Heisman is the host of the ICC’s radio show “Ask the Renaissance Man”, writes the “Novice Nook” column at ChessCafe.com, and is a Full-Time chess Instructor, and is the author of 8 chess books. If you are a novice player, visit some of the links above. You really should take advantage of Dan Heisman's expert advice aimed directly at the chess novice.
Look for the next installment of the series Chess as Played in the Real World each Tuesday.


Greg said...

4. Qe2 wins a pawn (at least). If Black retreats the knight, White has 5. Nc6+ winning the Black Queen. If Black protects the knight, 5. d3 gains at least a pawn. In this line of the Petroff (Russian) defense, Black needs to play 3...d6 first to chase away the White knight on e5 and then play 4...Nxe4.

Rook Van Winkle said...


I didn't see that - thanks for the advice. It's always helpful to have one more opening trap to add to the arsenal. :-)

I'll share this idea with my wife. Although she is not hooked on chess (as of yet) she does play a casual game every so often with a co-worker during lunch hour. This might be fun to spring on her opponent.

Polly said...

What program are you using to put the games on your blog? I've been wanting to add games to mine.

I found your blog via Greg's blog which I found via Susan's blog.

I was surprised by Qf3. When I show kids this opening I always show Qe2. I show this to get kids not to play copy cat with their opponents.

Rook Van Winkle said...

There are numerous applets available to put your games in a blog entry. The one I am currently playing with (and my favorite so far) is the ChessBase ChessBase Light 2007.

The program is free, and although you can't save anything unless you upgrade to the "Premium" ChessBase Light 2007 version ($$$), you can use the publish to "HTML + JavasScript Replay" feature which is what I am doing. The drawback to using ChessBase 7 Light is that you need to host your HTML+Javascript on a web site somewhere - in my case I have my own website so that is not a problem.

An easier to use solution might be to use the free ChessVideo.TV Chess Game Replayer or the ChessPublisher.com replay tool as both these sites host the code for replaying the games - all you need to do is paste the code snippet they give you into your blog entry.

Hope this helps...