Monthly Archives: October 2010

In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is King

(FEN: 2b3k1/7p/2Qp2pb/3Pp3/2N1P3/5N1P/5KP1/2q5 b - - 1 46)

In the diagram above, we have the position from Anand-Carlsen, Bilbao 2010 after Anand’s 46.Kf2. Carlsen now played the very accurate 46…Bd7!, which essentially forces a draw after 47.Qxd7 Qxc4, as White’s king is too exposed for White to have time to grab the d6- pawn safely.

But on ICC, there was a little bit of a debate over the merits of 46…Qc2+. At first, it seemed a few people assessed 47.Ncd2 Qxc6 48.dxc6 as better for White. Drahacik (an FM, I don’t know his real name) then kibitzed, saying that the endgame was better for Black.

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Pearl Spring 2010 Preview

After the Bilbao Grand Slam Final, there isn’t much of a wait until the next super-tournament begins: Pearl Spring starts on Wednesday! It’s a 6 player, double round-robin with an interesting set of players. By live rating, it’s Anand (2803), Carlsen (2802), Topalov (2786), Wang Yue (2753), Gashimov (2733), and Bacrot (2716). Pretty much every player comes in with some question marks.

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The Grab Bag: Sabermetrics

The NLCS starts today, and the San Francisco Giants are taking on the Philadelphia Phillies. The main story lines so far have centered on the pitching for each side, and maybe the Philly bats to some extent as well.

(1) The line from Lincecum’s first postseason start (a complete game shutout!) was pretty nice – 9 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 14 K. But the most amazing stat compiled that day was the 31 swing-and-misses by the Atlanta Braves!

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On a Less Serious Note

I don’t have any recent tournament games, so I decided I’d share a few blitz games I played last September in Montreal. After the Category 16 (2628 FIDE average for me) Montreal International, there was a blitz tournament involving most of the players and some other strong players who were in town. GMs Bacrot, Naiditsch, Onischuk, Moiseenko, and Tiviakov headlined the main event, and all but Bacrot participated in the blitz, which was a swiss with 6 double rounds. This was blitz at 5 minutes apiece, no increment.

In the first round, just as in the main event, I was paired with GM Alexander Onischuk (2699 FIDE at the time). I didn’t have much luck in the slow phase of the event, getting thoroughly outplayed as white in a Queen’s Indian. In the first blitz game, though, I had the black pieces.

(FEN: r3k2r/1p1n1ppp/1qp1p1b1/p2n4/PbBP2P1/1QN1PP2/1P1B2NP/R4R1K b kq - 1 15)

I played my usual Slav and we followed a somewhat theoretical path up until this point. His 15.Kh1 (to reach the above position) was new for me, though, but I think I might have come up with a good response.

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Farewell, My Lovely

If you heard my ChessFM interview with IM John Watson in early September (the blog entry is here), you’d have heard that I was close to shutting the door on being a professional chess player. That door is pretty much closed right now as I have no tournaments planned, and I’m applying for more regular jobs.

Rest assured though – I do not plan to shut the blog down. However, when (if?!) I get a job, I might have to come up with a new title …

Thank you to the late Frank P. Samford for setting up the Fellowship, without which a number of American players would not have even had the opportunity to try their hand at professional chess. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did the past two years without that financial support.

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