Forums

May 2014 Issue

Sort:
DanielRensch

Again, here is the preview article:

http://www.chess.com/article/view/the-masters-bulletin-may-2014

I have to say (knowing full well my opinion will be viewed as biased Tongue Out) -- I think this is one of our best issues yet! Maybe best! I'm going to give my thoughts and ask some questions from our authors, and we hope you will too!

#1 -- LOVED Yermo's work on the games from Shamkir! The analysis of the Nakamura vs Carlsen game was fantastic! I think Yermo selected great games showing WHY Carlsen is Carlsen... and we almost forget he actually lost two games!

I have two questions:

1) Alex, you make a comment in the beginning of the Nakamura game here http://grab.by/wVl8 about the openings being chosen against Carlse. Despite Nakamura not converting two games he had big advantages in in this line, do you think we will see it again by Hikaru or someone else against Magnus?

2) You talk about Fabiano's confidence against Magnus clearly being at an all time high (or maybe his confidence in general). Who do you think the short list of players are who are NOT intimidated by Carlsen?

#2 -- Tania Sachdev's interview was just fantastic! I still won't reveal who her favorite player of the opposite sex is Wink but the answer won't surprise you.

Questions for subscribers / members:

1) Who would you like to see Tania play in a Death Match? Laughing

2) With Tania also being a "Red Bull Sponsored Athlete" like Hikaru Nakamura, do you think this will be a continuing trend for top professionals in our sport?

#3-- Macieja and Tiviakov's pieces on the Vienna and Dragon respectively were great! Dragon players, beware! Sergey feels similar to how I do about the Dragon for Black Cry! Check it out!

#4 -- Our "Three International Master Musketeers" Tongue Out: Ris, Afek and van de Oudeweetering were great as usual... but I have to say my favorite was Ris's selection of interesting rook endings, inspired by the late Vugar Gashimov. It's always instructive and fun to see "seemlingly simple" rook endings played and misplayed by the world's elite!

#5 -- Finally, but maybe most importantly, I think IM Bartholomew's "Grandmaster Tips for Beginners" are absolute gold! So much for not being a GM Wink

I have several questions for John:

1) So many of your tips seemed to be "positionally based"? Was that on purpose because you see it as a misunderstood area by many players of that level, or just your mood that day?

2) Your comments http://grab.by/wVjq about "allowing your opponent to make 'unforced errors' like in Tennis were great! How often do you think player's of the sub 1600 level don't repeat when maybe they could have / should have?

3) Finally, one of my student's (former students now) definitely needed to hear your last comment about making "improving moves" when no clear plan exists. I won't name his name (oops, member Texag06 Tongue Out) could benefit from that advice I've given him many times...

Thanks to all our authors! Get involved witih comments fans and subscribe!

Danny

ink0630

Haha, thanks for that.  You jerk ;) 

Fins0905

Hi, Danny (and all Master's Bulletin subscribers)! It was a lot of fun writing this month's "Grandmaster Tips for Beginners" column! Or is that "International Master Tips for Beginners"...? Innocent

Regarding your questions:

1) I definitely identify as a "positional" player, so I can assure you that these tips are the types of thoughts I have constantly Smile It also doesn't hurt that the finer points of chess inherent to positional and strategic play are so often neglected by improving players.

2) Frequently! Repetitions are such freebies, yet players pass them up regularly (especially sub-1600). Really the only situation where it makes sense to pass up a repetition is when your opponent is in serious time pressure and repeating would make it easier for them (e.g. they would be closer to making time control). Otherwise, you ought to exercise the discipline to repeat the position. One caveat: make sure your opponent's only decent option is to repeat. If you're only half-way sure that repeating is required of them, you shouldn't blindly attempt to repeat. It's OK if they have multiple poor options to avoid the repetition, though; this is kinda the point of repeating - encouraging your opponent to make a mistake!

3) Uh-oh, you've been called out, TexAg06! :) But seriously, improving moves are simply awesome. Just play through GM vs. GM games and see how many of these "little" moves they make. There's a ton of "maintenance" going on! At the top level it often seems to be a battle between who can make the most constructive non-threatening moves for a stretch of time.

Let me know if you guys have any further questions!

- John

ink0630

John, great column like Danny said.  I have a couple of questions if you don't mind.

Regarding Tip #1 and time management - when you play, do you ever have any benchmarks in your head for where you should be at certain time increments?  For example, if you're playing a G/90, do you think "by 60 mins remaining, I should be at move xx", or something along those lines?  Obviously each game is different and complicated openings and early middlegames require more time, but do you have any rough rules of thumb you use to stay out of time trouble?

Regarding Tip #5 and playing improving moves - in your opinion, why do you think this concept is difficult to grasp for class players?   Do you see this as a common problem amongst your students and lower rated players in general?  I'm asking because I haven't seen it discussed much in chess literature, but I think it's a great point.

DanielRensch

You're welcome Travis Wink

Thanks for the awesome comments John! 

Fins0905
TexAg06 wrote:

John, great column like Danny said.  I have a couple of questions if you don't mind.

Regarding Tip #1 and time management - when you play, do you ever have any benchmarks in your head for where you should be at certain time increments?  For example, if you're playing a G/90, do you think "by 60 mins remaining, I should be at move xx", or something along those lines?  Obviously each game is different and complicated openings and early middlegames require more time, but do you have any rough rules of thumb you use to stay out of time trouble?

Regarding Tip #5 and playing improving moves - in your opinion, why do you think this concept is difficult to grasp for class players?   Do you see this as a common problem amongst your students and lower rated players in general?  I'm asking because I haven't seen it discussed much in chess literature, but I think it's a great point.

Hey, TexAg06. Good questions!

I think most tournament players do indeed set benchmarks. I do too, but only if I have to reach time control at a certain move number (e.g. move 40). In that case, I use the half-way point as the benchmark (move 20 in this case), and I shoot for having slightly more than half of my time remaining. Unsurprisingly, I often fail at this Smile For sudden-death time controls I rarely think about any sort of benchmark. Occasionally I'll do a quick mental calculation of time allotment/40 to get a feel for how fast I'd need to play to complete a typical 40-move game (usually it's 2-3 minutes/move), but that's it. I'll admit that I'm probably average or slightly below average in the time management category, and the "play fast BEFORE you're in very serious time pressure" strategy has saved me on numerous occasions. It's a good tip when you start practicing it - basically, just start playing like you have <5 minutes when you actually have 10-15.

Yes, the inability to grasp the concept of "improving" moves is pervasive among lower-rated players. Actually, I'd go so far as to say that you can estimate a player's strength based solely on the extent to which these moves are present in his game. I mean, it makes sense - a player who regularly leaves pieces undefended, commits positional errors, has difficulty formulating plans, etc. will not know when a move like h2-h3 is appropriate in a middlegame. I'd say 1800 is roughly the point where players begin to appreciate constructive moves that aren't connected to some obvious tactical or strategic plan.

I think GM Serper had a series of Chess.com articles recently about the "Art of Doing Nothing." You're right, though - it's not discussed much in chess literature.

Conflagration_Planet

Surprised

rukja

Smile

ink0630

Thanks John, great stuff, very much appreciate the detailed response.

What's particularly astounding to me about the subject of improving moves is how often lower rated players (myself included, only a few hundred times  :-)) lose a perfectly good position against a higher rated player because they are unable to play the waiting game, so to speak.  Maybe you know an IM from Minnesota that could do a short video series on chess.com about improving moves, perhaps with some examples from his own games and mistakes from lower rated games? ;-) haha

Fins0905

Thanks for your kind words, Fred :)

Aagaard, Dvoretsky, and Rowson are some of my favorite chess writers. Hellsten is also very good; I've found his recent works "Mastering Chess Strategy" and "Mastering Endgame Strategy" to be extremely thorough and well-done. I would unequivocally recommend any books written by these authors.

AlexYermo

To answer Danny's questions.

1) Yes, Hikaru will repeat the Saemisch/4.f3 line against Magnus' Nimzo. It's not only about the two games you've mentioned. I don't think Benoni setups are a good fit to Carlsen's style. The Dutch-like line he tried against Karjakin in Shamkir clearly was a one-shot deal. Seems to me Magnus is still looking for a good response to 4.f3!

2) Fabiano's record against Magnus in recent tournaments is about 50%. Anish Giri and Maxim Vachier-Lagrave have also done well agaisnt Carlsen, and they will get more chances in the future. I also wonder about Ian Nepo and Dmitry Andreikin, who obviously need to get their ratings up first. Basically, anyone younger than 30 is looking a better matchup against Carlsen than Gelfand, Anand or Kramnik. Two glaring exceptions are Hikaru Nakamura and Sergey Karjakin. These two need to break out!

DanielRensch

Thanks to Yermo and John for being awesome!