A number of bad excuses and one

I guess most chess players have experienced this at one time or another; to go in search of a far fetched explanation to why things went the way they did. There are times when I need that bad excuse, just for a moment, so I can catch my breath, before I am prepared to be self critical. Though in the end, there is no way around it. The music has to be faced.

Last weekend I arrived in Gothenburg, full of energy, in order to hang out with some friends and then play in Kvibergspelen, a chess open which is part of the Swedish Grand Prix.

For the first time in a while I bought some chess books (I’m trying to keep my chess books from occupying more than two shelves) and when I arrived at the hotel I couldn’t help myself but start pouring over the pages until rather late. By that time I had already had a bad start, point-wise, but when I look back at it I’m not too upset with my play. Take for instance this game:

After 6 rounds I was on 4,5 points and I needed to win the two last games in order to get a prize. In round 7 I was paired with the young talented Kaan Küzüksari. His opening preparation was not very good, but apart from that he did very well:

A terrible finish for me and I promised myself never to stay up late and read books again. At least I will not do it the next tournament. Also, I had tried to drink less coffee since then. I don’t want my performance in a game to hang on whether I can get hold of a cup of coffee or not. Those things said, what really matters is my bad evaluation of the position after move 40, which made me relax, get upset, and then blunder. I will have to make room for some endgame studies.

Next, hopefully, I will write something about the TEPE Sigeman & co tournament, that starts on Friday in my home town.

Impressions from the Polar Capital Open

(This entry was published in unfinished form, twice, due to a bad case of time-optimism from my side.) For the third year in a row I participated in Jersey’s annual open, the Polar Capital Open. It is a lovely tournament which is played at the Hotel Ambassadeur, next to the scenic St. Clemens Bay. The tides in front of the venue are impressive and within only a few hours the landscape changes dramatically. If you like walking on sand, then you can walk for miles and miles and encounter few obstacles.

This years tournament was stronger than it was last year, with a handful of grandmasters and some strong international masters too. Already in the second round I had to face IM David Eggleston (draw), so for those hunting for norms, this was a good opportunity. In the third round I played against Alan Merry, whom I lost against (deservedly) last year, and I played somewhat cautious, missed the chance for some advantage and had to pull the hand brake in order not to drift into a worse position. For me, it wasn’t the best start, but I was happy with the way I played anyway. During the next three rounds I again scored 2/3 and Alan Merry started to cut through the grandmasters in the field. In round four he won convincingly against Pruijssers, in round five Vakhidov couldn’t stop him and in round six he won convincingly against Hebden. It seemed like he could win the rest of the games if he kept the steam up. Then, in round seven he lost an exciting game against Jonathan Speelman. After a draw in round eith against Arkell, he had to win with the black pieces in order to get a grandmaster norm:

I eventually picked up some steam of my own and finished with 3/3 against the other top rated GM:s, which earned me a shared first place with Alan. My best game was played in the last round:

This weekend I played a tournament in Gothenburg and committed one of my worst blunders in a long while, in a deciding game. As they say in Sweden: “Upp som en sol, ned som en pankaka.” Literally: “Up like a sun, down like a pancake.”

DVD on the Modern

With the Candidate Tournament going on in Berlin, the chess world has turned like sunflowers in that direction and I guess my timing is the worst. One a half year ago I went to Simon Williams’ high tech study (at the end of a garden, in a shed) and shot a film where Simon and I go through the Modern together. It has been “in production” ever since, but now it is finally finished and can be downloaded at Ginger GM. I have seen some of it and although it annoys me that I repeat some phrases too often, I am quite happy with the result. If you read or bought one of my books on the Modern and wish to get your paws on a easier going, more general, viewpoint on the Modern (with a6, mostly), then this is it for you. Here is a sample.

So, then I thought, I ought to show my latest game in the Modern and came to the realization that I haven’t played my opening since the beginning of December. This even surprised myself. Really, the reason is as simple as that I have felt more interested in other stuff lately and have only invited my opponents to enter the Modern when I have been completely unprepared. To make matters worse, my last game with the Modern was not that good. The upside is that it was entertaining:

Not the best advertisement for the Modern, unless you are very superficial. I have every intention of playing this line again, but in a less chaotic manner.

Where’s the Go board?

We had to move to a new host, so updates and upgrades (and new security SSL) borked the Go plugin showing the go board and games. Not quite sure what nuked the plugin, but we’re working on it. As soon as we know what, we’ll move on to the how and then, the when. Unless we get very lucky, it won’t be tomorrow — but maybe the day after … ?

Sorry about the bother…

And we’re back! A very big thank you to François Mizessyn, developer of the maxiGos plugin, who fixed the problem!