Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Magnus Carlsen v Bill Gates + BONUS poem!

Many years ago my brother published a poem on his website that I wrote about our old friend Bill Gates. You can see it below if you must but, be warned, my poetry is even worse than my chess!

"World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen took virtually no time in demolishing the world's richest man for a long, long time, Bill Gates, on a Norwegian-Swedish television talk show hosted by Norwegian journalist Fredrik Skavlan. It was a checkmate in nine moves and just about one minute, 20 or so seconds."
(from the "worldchesschampionship2013" website)

Google now redirects to HTTPS URLs with consequent difficulties in implementing HTML when creating blogger sites (more info here). So if you can't see the moves interactively above, here is the PGN:

January 2014
White: Magnus Carlsen (FIDE rating 2872)
Black: Bill Gates

1. e4 Nc6
2. Nf3 d5
3. Bd3 Nf6
4. exd5 Qxd5
5. Nc3 Qh5
6. O-O Bg4
7. h3 Ne5
8. hxg4 Nfxg4
9. Nxe5 Qh2#

And here's my poem. NB. 'DBS Chess' is a program written by my brother, David, for recording email chess moves, allowing the user to record all the possible variations etc.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Haikus - for Blitz

Let's warm up with a haiku about a Christmas gift I treated myself to from NIC (New In Chess).

Hey, I bought a chess clock!
A grandmaster, I thought to be.
- but it seems I just lose more rapidly.

Now for four haikus I wrote which are actually quite relevant to improving a player's performance at blitz. They are based on advice given by one "tactical_abyss" (I googled to try and give proper credit but could not locate him/her) - which is also included in its original form below each haiku (his original text can be found here 1). There is more help to improve your blitz play here (2).

Play internet blitz moves more rapidly - how?
You don't need to move your mouse so far
Minimise the size of your screen chessboard.

Keep the blitz board as relatively SMALL as possible (but not too small!). The smaller the board, the faster the pointer can move across less distance! So, while your opponent may have a full screen board setup with added + magnification... you will have a board less than half his size. Your response time can easily add up to a few more seconds on the clock with less distance to travel to those squares.

Don't analyse lengthy combinations at blitz.
1 or 2 move combinations cost less time.
Your play needs more of these tactical tricks!

SMALLER tactical combinations are what you must seek, like 1 or 2 move combinations... not some long 4 or 5 tactical combination that will cost you too much time in a 2 to 4 minute game (some 5 min. games as well). So, just because you have an initiative advantage does not mean that you will have a winning tactical combination. This is where having the initiative gets confused with tactical advantage.

Optimise your play in rapid chess games.
Keep minor pieces behind the pawns
and then push on into your opponents position.

Keeping pawns first and the major pieces behind them is basically one of the best ways to play blitz. Keeping your pieces in the center of the board and control of the center is of course, key. Centralize a pawn, knight and bishop and after that drive them further into your opponents position.

An alternative to "pre-move" is to hover.
Pick up your piece and float gracefully
wherever you think you its journey may end.

Don't forget to hover your piece ahead of time over the expected piece resting place of your obvious opponent exchange square EVERY TIME! This half second advantage will definitely add up to a better clock edge and more think time for you in the critical endgame!

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