Showing posts with label Analyzed games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Analyzed games. Show all posts

June 8, 2011

TV Chess

I have recently discovered a brilliant TV Chess series from the 80's, which was aired by the BBC, absolutely wonderful! You can actually listen the players comments, how were they thinking, you can follow the game of course and go back in time, watching a very good quality chess video. Enjoy! 

I will come back with new videos in the future, if I will particularly like one of them. This time I attached the game played between Nigel Short and Tony Miles; if you are interested, you can see all videos from the BBC chess series on this youtube channel.
Good luck in your pursuit of chess excellence!

February 23, 2011

Roumanian National Championship

For every player, in all countries, once a year, there is an important event that shouldn't be missed: the National Championship. First of all: it is a matter of honor and pride to be there and play well. Second of all: always, without any exceptions, "accidents" appear on the boards, due to psychological pressure, tiredness or simply because you want too much to win.
To sum up: this type of tournaments are very interesting to watch and I know many of you love to comment the games or...the players:)

December 24, 2010

World Women Chess Championship

THE FINAL: Hou Yifan vs Ruan Lufei

Picture taken from the Official Website

The fourth game in the final battle for the World Title is an obvious sample of how much tension, pressure, emotions, hopes and delusions are connected to an important chess game. Although Bobby Fischer once said: "I don't believe in Psychology, I believe in good moves", it is clear that so many mistakes could have been made by such strong players (2480 and 2591 elo rating) only under special circumstances.
Savielly Tartakower knew very well what he was saying:
1. "Chess is a fairy tale of 1001 blunders."
2. "The winner of the game is the player who makes the next-to-last mistake."
3. "Some part of a mistake is always correct."
4. "The mistakes are there, waiting to be made."
Who is psychologically stronger, that's always the question...

I will briefly present the mistakes done by both players in this fourth game. My intention is not to make us all feel better because the top players can have similar bad games as we do:) What I want to point out is that there are two bad habits out there that kill confidence:

1. Setting unrealistic expectations: strict or high expectations can undermine and suck the life out  of confidence!
2. Letting self-doubt run wild: pessimism and/or perfectionism might be the cause in derailing performance.

Another big problem is that we tend to live either in the past (What a stupid move I did yesterday...Why couldn't I make just a simple draw?!), either in the future (I must win! I have to win! How great it would be to win!), and only occasionally in the present. And than again...the real winner is the one who stands up after falling (see my post on Motivated by Fear of Failure?).

After 4 rapid games, the title has been decided: Hou Yifan managed to turn the odds in her favour and became the World Champion!

But let's see the critical moments from yesterday's game:

In the following position Yifan chose to play 12...Qh2!?

For many people this move looked like the beginning of the end: why to send voluntarily the queen at the edge of the board?!'s the first computer's move:) Which means 12...Qh2 it's just an interesting idea which doesn't deserve a question mark.

The last move played by Lufei was 13.f4
Interesting was also 13.Kf1
First critical moment:

In the diagram seen above, Black played 13...Bd7? - the first mistake; better is:
13...Nd4 14.Qd4 Qh4 15.Bf2 Qd8 16.Qd8 Kd8 17.0-0-0 Kc7 18.Rd4 Be7 19.Rc4 Kb8 20.Rd1 and 20...Bd8! with unclear play.

Second mistake: 14...Nd4? more stubborn is:
14...Qh4 15.Bf2 Qd8 16.0-0-0 Rc8, it's not ideal of course, the position is better for White; in any case, it would have been better than what followed:

White is now almost winning; we were all waiting on facebook for 18.Qxa7 or 18.Rfd1 - as suggested by Anish Giri, with a more or less easy win. We all agreed that: "it smells like tiebreak:)".

Instead, Lufei chose to give Yifan hopes by playing:
18.Qc4+? - a clear sign of psychological pressure, when after 18...Kb8 as in the game, Black equalises.

The game continued and the following position appeared:

Lufei played here 22.Rdf1?! another inaccuracy. White should have opted for a better endgame by playing: 22.Rh1 Qg3 23.Rd5 ed5 24.Qf3 Qg4 25.Qg4 Bg4 26.Bd5 keeping the advantage.

So Yifan has now another chance to equalise, but she played...
22...Qh4?! and the Black queen can be seen moving all over the board in this game. Better was: 22...Rhd8 23.Rh1 Qg3 24.Bf3 (if 24.Rg1 than 24...Qh2 back!) 24...Rd4 25.Qe3 Kb8 with more or less equal position.

Another inaccuracy from Yifan arised in the next diagram:

Black played 26...Kb8?! More stubborn is: 26...Rhd8 27.axb7 Bb7 28.Bb7+ Kb7 29.Qe4+ Kb8 and if now 30.Qe5 (30.g5 Rd5! with an unclear game) 30...Qe5 31.fxe5 Rc7 32.g5 Rd2 resulting in a rook endgame, always tricky business:)

After 26...Kb8 which was played in the game, White played 27.axb7 and again White starts to take over.

As we all know, a mistake never comes alone...the last and fatal mistake played by Yifan occured in the following position:

31...f6?! Black is already in trouble, but a more stubborn defence would have been 31...Rc8 or 31...Qb6.

Black's position started to deteriorate with every single move that followed and thus, Lufei finally won the game. A game full of turns, where you can almost "touch" the intensity and drama that played an important role for the outcome.

Tiebreak time! Great for the public but a hell for the players. They are both tired, stressed and yet, they have to play rapid games, maybe blitz and, who knows, maybe even Armageddon! All on Chirtsmas Eve!
Chess is not a game for weak-hearted people...

As I mentioned on facebook, Ruan Lufei won all her matches only on tiebreak!

Round 1: Baginskaite - Ruan Lufei 1-1 and won by Lufei in tiebreak
Round 2: Ruan Lufei - Zhang Xiaowen 1-1 and won by Lufei on tiebreak
Round 3: Kosteniuk Alexandra - Ruan Lufei 1-1 and...won as usual on tiebreak
Round 4: Ruan Lufei - Harika Dronavalli 1-1 and the tiebreak spoke: Lufei won
Round 5: Ruan Lufei - Zhao Xue 1-1 and...of course we know: won on tiebreak

The FINAL: Ruan Lufei - Hou Yifan 2-2 and...Tiebreak!
This and the fact that she won yesterday's game, made me think she is the favourite in today's race.
Nevertheless, tiredness plays an important role...and once again, Hou Yifan managed to show her class by winning 3-1 in the rapid games.

We have now a new World Champion: HOU YIFAN!


December 18, 2010

Hou Yifan vs Koneru Humpy

Round 5 Match 1:

Picture taken from the official website

While watching the games from the World Women Chess Championship live on internet, I've got interested in the game analyzed below, between Hou Yifan and Koneru Humpy. We even commented it on facebook with Anish Giri and Parimarjan Negi:) It's always exciting to follow such games, where the stress, pressure and the stake might give a completely different turn to a chess game.
Many times in such situations, the winner is not the one who is stronger chesswise, but the one who handles stress better, the one who makes less mistakes, the one who is psychologically tougher.

A critical moment in the game occured in the following position:

Black to move
Can Black save the game?

The answer is given in the analysis below; it was not the only moment when Humpy could have given the match a different turn (to view the lines, click on the moves):

Of course, sitting comfortably at home, without anything to lose, it's much easier to be objective. It's much easier to analyse from outside of the system than from inside, because we get the whole picture.
Wondering if the chinese federation has a psychologist to help players perform better...I cannot overlook the fact that all the chinese players (and you can even see that they dominate the WWCC!) look very stable and balanced on the outside. You cannot read any emotions on their faces, you have no clue what they are thinking about! That doesn't mean they are robots, definitely not! For sure the stress for them is even higher due to higher expectations. But they manage to keep their emotions under control, showing on the outside only determination and a winner attitude.
We can learn a lot from them, especially how to take our loses less tragically. They probably understood that: "Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success." - Napoleon Hill