Sunday, January 2, 2011

Improve your chess

How does one train to improve our chess? Thirty years ago, knowledge was scarce and chess books hard to come by and anyway I could not afford them. I had to make up my own training methods.

Many years ago I used to keep a journal of all my tournament games. This was way before the appearance of chess databases like ChessBase. I meticulously wrote down by hand my thoughts and analysis over the board, which I then combined with post game analysis. This method helped me to improve my calculation abilities. Later I read Kotov's book "Think Like a Grandmaster" where he also suggests the same method.

I still have some seven or eight notebooks of my games and analysis with games dating from 1975 to 1990. Browsing through these notebooks can bring back a lot of memories.
Below is one such game with my notes written right after the tournament. Guy West is a fierce competitor who plays every game to win. He later attained the IM title and disappeared from the chess scene in favour of a more stable profession. Lately he is making a comeback, winning the 2009 Melbourne Chess Club championship by a point.

Future Indonesian top grandmaster Utut Adianto appeared for the first time in this tournament. We drew an interesting ending. Incidently, this was the tournament where I met my wife but that is another story :).

[Event "Laoag City Zonal"]
[Site "Laoag City Zonal"]
[Date "1985.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "West, Guy"]
[Black "Liew, J."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C11"]

1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nc3

This is a pet variation of the Australian master. If black now pushes 3...d4 white can start pressuring the d4 pawn after 4 Ne2 c5 5 c3

3...Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.d4 c5 6.dxc5 Nc6 7.Bf4

White has transposed to a position more commonly reached via the
move order: 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 e5 Nfd7 5 Nf3 c5 6 dxc5 Bxc5
7 Bd3. White is aiming for rapid king-side development and he is
willing to relinquish his centre for this.

7...Bxc5 8.Bd3 f6 9.exf6 Qxf6 10.Bg5 Qf7 11.Bh4

Temporarily preventing black from castling (11...0-0?? 12
Bxh7 +-). However the move has the drawback of handing over the e5
square to black. Neither is 11 Qe2 satisfactory as black has the
advantage after 11... Nd4 12 Nxd4 Bxd4

11...Nde5 12.Nxe5 Nxe5 13.Be2 O-O 14.O-O Bd7 15.Bg3 Ng6 16.Bd3

White could have made things more difficult for black with the move 16 Bh5 pinning the knight and threatening 17 Bxg6 Qxg6 18 Nxd5 winning a pawn

16...Nf4 17.Qd2 Bc6 18.Rae1 Rae8 19.a3 a6 20.b4 Bb6 21.a4 Bd7 22.a5 Bc7 23.Ne2 Nxd3 24.cxd3 e5 25.d4 Bb5 26.dxe5 Bxe5 27.Bxe5 Rxe5 28.Nd4

White has cleverly emerged with a good knight versus bad bishop ending. Black has to defend very carefully.

28...Rxe1 29.Rxe1 Re8 30.Rxe8+

White declines to double black's queen-side pawns with 30 Nxb5. Perhaps he
figured his chances were better if he kept the knight

30...Qxe8 31.f3 Bc4 32.Kf2 h6 33.Qe3


Black must avoid at all cost a queen exchange as any N v B ending would be hopeless for him


Not 34 Qe7 Qd1 35 Ne6 Qe2 36 Kg3 Qe5 37 Kg4 Bd3 when the white king is in

34...Qa2+ 35.Kg3 Qb2

Now white cannot defend both d4 and b4 so he is forced into an offensive against the black king

36.Qe8+ Kh7 37.Nf5 Qxb4 38.Ne7 d4 39.Qg6+ Kh8 40.Qe8+ Kh7 41.Qg6+ Kh8 42.Nf5

Declining a draw by perpetual check. However the exchange of pawns has freed the black bishop and black's chances in this position is as good as white's if not better

42...Qf8 43.Nxd4 Qb8+ 44.f4 Qd8 45.Nf5 Qd3+ 46.Kh4 Qd8+ 47.Kh3 Qd7 48.g4 Bd3 49.Qd6 Bxf5 50.Qf8+ Kh7

It appears that 51 Qxf5 would lose to 51. .Qxf5 52 gxf5 Kg8 53 Kg4 Kf7
54 Kf3 Ke7 55 Ke4 Kd6 since black can create an outside passed pawn,
but White missed an excellent opportunity to force a draw here, 54 Kh5! Kf6 55 h4 Kxf5 draws by stalemate

51.gxf5 Qd3+ 52.Kh4 Qd2 53.Kg3 Qxa5 54.Qf7 Qc3+ 55.Kg4 Qc6 56.f6 Qg2+ 57.Kf5 Qc2+ 58.Ke5

Or 58 Kg4 Qg6+ forces the exchange of queens

58...Qc3+ 59.Ke6 Qxf6+ 60.Qxf6 gxf6 61.Kxf6 b5 62.f5 b4 63.Ke6 b3 64.f6 b2 65.f7 b1=Q 66.f8=Q Qg6+

If black had queened the a-pawn instead this check would not be available and the endinq is most likely drawn. Now whatever square the white king goes, black can exchange queens for a winning pawn ending


This is the best chance, forcing the black king further away and moving to capture the a-pawn. Still it fails by a single move.

Qg8+ 68.Qxg8+ Kxg8 69.Kc5 Kf7 70.Kb6 Kf6 71.Kxa6 Kf5 72.Kb5 Kg4 73.Kc4 Kh3 74.Kd3 Kxh2 75.Ke2 Kg2 0-1


Yeoh said...

Hi Jimmy
1 happy 2011
2 tks for the sharing, Nice one!
3 will be better if we can hv an online board to go through it
4 hope to see more postings like this
5 and your 'another story' too!

Ilham said...

Totally agreed with Yeoh above, more of these! :)

Jimmy Liew said...

I have to revert to the old template to make online game work. But I think the old template have some problems for some browsers. Anyone have problem viewing the game, please leave a comment here.

The Chess Ninja said...


You can use this link:

You just have to paste in the pgn in the given window and it will automatically generate the embedding code for you. Just save the database under pgn and open it with notepad. You can copy and paste the game from there. The display settings are also somewhat flexible.

This is an easy workaround for anyone who wishes to share annonated games from their database. Hope this helps!

Post a Comment