This blog is about a wide range of topics, their common denominator being simply that I'm interested in them. My aim is to relieve my friends of my constant lecturing about such things as e.g. Chess, Football, Languages or Scandinavian Music ...

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cut Down To Size (Part I)

After I already hinted here that my campaign at the Hessian Chess Championsship 2010 is not running as well as a good start had promised, I'll now be a bit more specific and give a little roundup of my games played so far.

Of course it's impossible to provide real in-depth analysis here as there's simply not enough time for that and the post would always grow seriously large. I'll leave it two games per post.

Round 1: Uwira, O. (2230) - Euler, G. (2348)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Bg2 Bg7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Nbd7 10. e4 Re8 11. Nd2 a6 12. a4 Rb8 13. Nc4 Ne5 14. Na3 Nh5 15. h3 Rf8 16. f4?! (Diagram) This is an adventureous idea that is nevertheless not sufficient to obtain the advantage. Opinions as to the quality of the move differed considerably between the players. While I thought the move was worth a try, my opponent considered it to be a severe blunder. The other extreme was maintained by IM Reschke who thought that White is better. The main move is 16.Kh2. 16...Nxg3 17. fxe5 Nxf1 18. Qxf1 Bxe5 Now White has to find something against f7-f5, which will yield Black a very strong attack. Driving the black rook off the f-file is strong but also quite natural. 19. Bh6! Re8 Maybe Black should have played 19...Bd4+ 20.Kh1 Re8 to prevent the tactical trick White has prepared. 20. Nc4 Bd4+ 21. Be3! At first sight this looks as if White has blundered a piece after 21...b5 but this in fact allows White to simplify by tactical means, thus reaching an endgame that is about equal. However, Black doesn't really have a choice because White's minor pieces are becoming very active while Black's Rb8 is still asleep. 21...b5 22. axb5 axb5 23. Bxd4 cxd4 24. Nxb5 Rxb5 25. Nxd6 (Diagram) Here Black must play 25...Qxd6 26.Qxb5 Bd7 27.Qd3 Qb6! 28.Rd1 Qxb2 29.Qxd4 with an equal endgame. Black, however, is struck by a bout of chess blindness. 25...Rxb2?? 26. Qxf7+ 1-0

Round 2: Grabarczyk, B. (2433) - Uwira, O. (2230)

The finish of this encounter has already been talked about. We'll focus on the events that led up to said finish.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 f5 11. Bd3 Be6 12. Qh5 I had never faced that line over the board and also didn't expect to see it at all because almost everybody plays 12.0-0 here. This is probably not because 12.Qh5 is weaker but because 12.0-0 was hyped by various authors as the antidote against the Sveshnikov. 12...Rg8 13. g3 Rg4 14. f4 exf4 15. Nxf4 Rxf4 16. gxf4 Up until now it's all in the books. My next move is a rarely played alternative to the main move 16...Qa5+ and likely isn't worse.16...Qf6 17. exf5 Bd5 18. O-O-O (Diagram) An important crossroads. Black could get his exchange back with 18...Bxh1 19.Qe2+ Kd7 20. Rxh1 when he should not be worse after 20...Bh6!. The text move sacrifices the exchange for good but takes aim at the White king. Again I'm playing creatively but too aggressively, which is a pattern that up until now characterises my play during the whole tournament. 18...Bg7?! 19. Rhe1+ Kf8 20. c3 b4? That should have lost the game immediately due to a miscalculation after 21.Bc4! when the White king will hide behind a Black pawn at b2 and the exchange will begin to tell. Better would have been 20...Nb4 when Black is only slightly worse according to the silicon monster. 21. Nc2? Bxa2 22. Qg5 bxc3 23. Qxf6 Bxf6 24. bxc3 Bxc3 Dark clowds loom above the White king but with his next move White manages to exploit the temporary disorder in Black's army, thus defending against the imminent danger. 25. Re3! Rb8? I calculated this very far, but not far enough. Better would have been 25...Na5! with the idea of 26.Bc4? Bd2+!. 26. Bb5 Ba5 27. Ra3 axb5 28. Rxa2 b4 29. Rxd6 b3 30. Ra4 Rc8 31. Rc4 Ne7 32. Rxc8+ Nxc8 (Diagram) I've seen this far but missed the strength of 33.Rc6! here which would have won for White. The little detail that got lost in the inevitable fuzzyness of a long calculation is that Black can't play 33...bxc2 because then the zwischenzug 34.f6!! decides the game (instead 34.Rxc8+? Kg7 looks drawish). 33. Ra6? Bc7! 34. Nb4 Bxf4+ 35. Kb2 Kg7 36. h3 Nd6 37. f6+ Kg6 38. Kxb3 Ne4 39. Kc4 Ng5 40. Nd5 Be5 41. h4 Ne6 42. Ra3 Nf4 43. Rg3+ Kf5 44. Rg5+ Ke6 45. Nxf4+ Bxf4 46. Rh5 Kxf6 47. Rxh7 Kg6 48. Rh8 Be5 49. Rg8+ Kh6 50. Rf8 Kh5 51. Kd5 Bf6 52. Ke4 Kxh4 53. Kf5 Bd4 54. Rd8 Bf2 55. Rd3 Bg3 56. Rd7 Kh3 57. Ke4 f5+?? You already know that one. Nevertheless a tremendous tactical battle. 58. Kf3 1-0

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Moron

Hessian Chess Championship 2010, second round. No more explanations required )-:

Grabarczyk, B. (2433) - Uwira, O. (2228)

57...f5+?? 58.Kf3 1-0

What a howler...

Monday, March 22, 2010


The dust has settled and I'm looking back at an incredible weekend that can be summarised best by the title of this post: Madness (note the capital "M", it is well deserved!).

My Friday began rather unspectacularly, as I was working a full eight hours in relative silence while many of the full-time colleagues called it a day early. Things took up pace after I had logged out at half past six. I picked up my notebook and headed for my chess club, where I wanted to meet some of my team mates for an analysis session.

About tournament conditions

Upon arrival I realised that our second team was engaged in their cup quarter-final against a club from the stockbroker belt of Frankfurt. Now we usually don't have a second room at our disposal, since as a Frankfurt-based club we generally have to pay rent for the room and consequently have to watch our spendings.

Well, "we're gonna whisper and she'll be right" is what I came up with as a plan for the evening. The plan was spoiled immediately by my notebook when the Windows welcome tune sounded through the room before I could operate the mute button. After this everything went smoothly except once, when somebody asked us to keep it down a bit.

As time trouble commenced, I shut down the notebook because I wanted to watch the games. The match had closed in on its climax. Even after the time controls were reached time trouble didn't end because cup matches are played with a fast time control of two hours for 40 moves and then 15 minutes for the remainder. It was 2-0 for us and board one should have been drawn but you never know... On top of that the opponent player at board 2 was winning, but, in spite of having 20 minutes against our player's two, he didn't realise that he had an elementary win. We feared we needed the draw here, because in case of a 2-2 the opponents would have gone through on tiebreaker.

Thus I was watching how the opponent bottled it and then attempted to win on time an endgame of rook pawn and wrong bishop against the bare king. This player declined a draw offer by simply pointing at our player's clock which heated up the atmosphere quite a little. Instead of claiming draw according to FIDE rules article 10.2 our player offered a draw again after having reached the corner and received a similar reply. The opponent complemented his effort by simply not maintaining his score sheet anymore in order to squeeze out valuable seconds...

While the drama unfolded one of the opponents had a go at me, claiming that he had lost his game because of the noise level. I asked him why he's complaining only now, after the game, and whether he had ever played in an open. He guaranteed me that he had and that what we had provided was nowhere close to tournament conditions. I'll leave this episode uncommented.

Anyway, after the game on board 1 ended drawn, the remaining game was also agreed drawn in time and the feared fracas didn't materialise. In the end we could have lost the match because of the ineptness of our player, as it should well be known by now that article 10.2 requires a player to formally register the claim to the arbiter instead of simply uttering the word "draw" over and over again.

Eintracht Frankfurt's Magic Moment

Saturday afternoon Lather and I went to a local pub to watch the Bundesliga match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayern München. Our hearts wished that Frankfurt would be able to hold their own, but, as most of our regular starters were either injured or suspended, reason let us fear a heavy defeat against the German powerhouse.

Six minutes into the match reason appeared to prevail as Miro Klose scored in spite of Arjen Robben being clearly offside and not really far away enough for this situation to be ruled passive offside. At least this dubious referee call had one advantage. It set up one of the Eintracht ultras, who was already half through his first bottle of liquor, to go ballistic at absolutely everything that happened on the screen, be it a referee call, sloppy passing or fouls committed by Bayern players. His constant cursing in extremely coarse language that he delivered at the very top of his voice was very amusing and a consolation to us as we were assured that, if not beaten Bayern at least got thoroughly insulted.

As we realised that Frankfurt was playing their match of the season, creating chance after chance against the supposed über-team, the atmosphere approached the boiling point. The only thing that was missing was a Frankfurt goal.

When Frankfurt eventually levelled the score in the 87th minute, the whole audience went postal and I certainly don't need to explain what happened after Frankfurt scored the winner in the 89th minute. I guess the last time I saw people go off like that was in 1999 when I was out at the Waldstadion and became witness to the amazing 5-1 win over Kaiserslautern that prevented Frankfurt's relegation. Watching the World Cup 2006 quarter-final between Germany and Argentina amongst 80000 people comes in as a close runner-up.

I'll call it a day for now because this piece has become quite long already. There were other things that would have been equally worthy of mentioning. Well, your imagination should be able to supply clues as to the course of the evening after such an amazing football experience.

Hint: Don't even think of the word "sobriety" (-:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mating Mode

These are very busy days and I'm hardly able to post because writing a piece that satisfies my self-imposed quality standards simply takes considerable time. Surprisingly, despite the lack of time my chess has apparently recovered from the abyss that led to a loss of 70 ELO over a short period of six months.

In the next to last league match against SK Gernsheim I was able to beat an old companion of mine, whom I battled against almost from the beginning of my chess career. As of Sunday, I had never won a game off him under tournament conditions, and I also had to swallow some painstaking defeats, e.g. when he beat me in the next to last round of the Hessian youth championship in 1997 and proceeded to win the title while putting me out of the race.

Understandably I went into Sunday's game with mixed feelings as I feared that playing black against my skillfully attacking nemesis could well be a too heavy burden. Fate plays funny tricks, however, and I was quite surprised when I was able to launch a raging attack after a White inaccuracy right out of the opening.

Müller (2304) - Uwira (2228)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. Nc3 Qc7

Kramnik's antidote against the Rossolimo, which was eventually able to cure my inability to play against this system. Part of my problem might have been that I used to employ the Rossolimo very successfully during my youth time when I was still playing 1.e4.

5. O-O Nd4 6. Ba4 e6 7. d3 a6 8. Nxd4 cxd4 9. Ne2 b5 10. Bb3 Bc5

Up until now play appeared to be normal. As far as I know, 6.Re1 is the main move, developing instead of preserving the bishop. I believe the position resulting from 6.Ba4 is equal, but of course Black has to be cautious because it is easy to succumb to a kingside attack once the Black king has arrived there. Right now the Black king still resides in the middle, though, and this is what makes White's next move a serious inaccuracy.

11. Ng3? h5!

Of course, Black takes the opportunity to harrass the White knight. The text move also prevents White from implementing his main idea of Nh5, exchanging the Nf6 and securing squares on the kingside to bring the White queen into action. Now, however, White has to sound the retreat, rather unorderly.

12. Bg5 h4 13. Nh1 Bb7 14. f4 O-O-O?

This is an error, but not because of 15.e5?, which can be met by either 15...Rdg8 when the Nf6 is taboo, or 15...h3 going for the throat directly. The text move allows White to consolidate by means of 15.Nf2! when he has regained some control while the position of course remains unclear. After his next error, I didn't allow White a second chance to save his game.

15.h3? Rdg8 16. Qe1 Nh5

Now White should at least play 17.Bxh4 immediately, when the g-file will stay closed for the time being after 17...Nxf4 18.Bg3 g5.

17. a4?

In his struggle for counterplay White allows a pawn sacrifice that opens all the gates on the kingside.

17...f6 18. Bxh4 g5!

I didn't bother about the pawn because opening attacking lines first has priority.

19. fxg5 fxg5 20. Bg3 Nxg3 21. Nxg3 g4 22. Ne2 Bxe4

Here it was obviously better to play 22...gxh3 first and only after 23.g3 Bxe4. For some reason I rather wanted to allow White to play h3-h4 than blockading with g2-g3 and Kg1-h2. However, a pawn is a pawn, so my text move is inferior, although Black is still winning.

23. Nf4 Bb7 24. Nxe6

White is desperate for counterplay but the position of his king is too weak. Black is able to finish the attack with an elegant queen sacrifice.

24...gxh3 25. Rf8+

If 25.Nxc7 White is mated by 25...h2+ 26.Kf2 (26.Kh1 Bxg2 mate) 26...Rxg2 mate.

25...Bxf8 26. Nxc7 h2+ 0-1

The rook has evacuated f1 for his king but it is still mate because Black promotes his h-pawn after 27.Kf1.