Thursday, April 5, 2007


One of my very favourite chess servers is In order to join Playchess you must own ChessBase or one of its related playing programs such as Fritz, Shredder or Junior. Because of this prerequisite there are always strong players logged in and not surprisingly they are from all over the world.

As far as I know, ratings are calculated using the Glicko system. This system does not correspond exactly with the Elo system but is thought by its developer to be more accurate in terms of ranking and expected results.

Anyone who has played much anonymous speed chess knows that when you encounter a wide range of players you will eventually get an opportunity to win a miniature game with a combination straight out of Chernev or Reinfeld. Yesterday I got such an opportunity.

I am White in the first diagrammed position, which arose after the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Nxd4 7.Qxd4 Bd7 8.Be2 Bc6 9.0-0 Qc7?! Black's last move was not the best one. The reply was 10.Nd5! putting the question to the queen, to which my opponent replied 10...Bxd5 11.cxd5 Qc5?

Chasing after exchanges is a classic psychological failing. Here the consequences are immediate after White's next move 12.Qa4+!, which is very difficult for Black to meet. Moving his king is obviously out of the question, so he is forced to interpose with 12...Nd7. White now follows up with 13.Be3 Qc7 14.Rac1 Qd8, leading to the second diagram.

Black has lost so much time with his queen that White is already winning by force. Two unusual bishop moves do the trick: 15.Bg4! g6 16.Bb6!

Because of the mate on d7 it is obvious that 16...axb6 is the only move to save Black's queen. But with the rook on a8 now under attack White is able to conclude matters with 17.Bxd7+ Qxd7 18.Qxa8+.

Black was forced to resign here. After 18...Qd8 White has a pleasant choice between the simple 19.Rc8 and the more accurate 19.Qa4+ b5 20.Qxb5+ Qd7 21.Rc8 mate.

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Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
National master (Canada) since 1984. B.C. Champion 1977 and 1984. Runner-up 1991 and 2002. B.C. Open Champion 1972 and 1982. B.C. U/14 Champion 1964-65-66. Mikhail Botvinnik once wrote that publishing your analytical work forces you to be accurate because it exposes you to criticism. Hence this blog.