Tuesday, May 31, 2005


I haven't posted in a while. No excuses really... a nice, fat three day weekend came and went, and somehow I just didn't manage to get around to posting. I did find some time to play some chess.

It was an interesting series of games (about 7-8). First, as black, I saw the bishop's opening twice (1. e4 e5. 2. Bc4) . If I remember correctly that is one of the least common 1. e4 openings I play against. I lost both games too. I only blame one on the opening, a particuarly vicious gambit. As a mental note, I need to look at that opening more closely in case I see it again.

Seocond, it was weekend of major ups and downs. I dropped a game to a person 150 points my junior. Ughhh.... it was ugly, but then in the very next game I beat some one 170 points my senior. These kind of results just show how sporadic and random my chess can be. Again, something I need to work on.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Endgame Disaster

(NN vs. Eyesofblue)
(White to play.... and lose(?))

Something a little bit different here on BlueEyedRook Web log.... find the losing move. Other candidates might exist, but the most obvious is the simple but painful 1. h5(?). This is what occurred in the game. The rest is simple king/pawn game semantics... black trying to avoid opposition and circling around and attacking the base of the pawn chain (here g4).

Because white does not have the opposition, black's king can merely stroll down to g4. One such path is: 1... e5 (pink). 2... f4 (green). 3... f3 (black). White's king can only put up a meager reistance (preventing the pawn falling on black's second move, but it cannot hold out) (2. g2 (pink) 3. h3 (green). 4. h2 (black).


There are days I seriously hate this game. More set backs I am afraid... i.e., more painful losses. Blunders are the problem. Hanging pieces, missed checks, etc. I won a pretty tight endgame the other night, but much of the victory was tarnished by the fact that it was against a much lower rated player and in the middle of the game, I ended up a full piece down.

Monday, May 23, 2005

(White to Move and Win)

I came across this puzzle today. It definitely is not rocket-science -- but for some reason it impressed me, and I thought I would include it.

1. Rh8 is the winning move (Rg8 wins too on the same principles). This forces black to make a horrible choice: (a) capture the pawn with the rook (1... Rxa7) , from which the rook is lost after the skewering move of 2. Rh7+ (with 3. Rxa7 to inevitably follow); or (b) moving the king from the 7th rank (ex. 1... Kc5 -- it doesn't matter the move), from which white simply queens the pawn (2. a8=Q) and the rook is once again lost (2... Rxa8. 3. Rxa8) (+/-).

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Tough Loss

Ughhh... I played a solid, solid game last night. It was against someone about 100 points my senior on FICS, and he started with a very unusual opening for me (1. Nf3). I let the computer analyze it for about 4 hours... the game was so solid that in 28 moves neither of us had more than a one point advantage.

Then, of course, I just totally blow it... I left a knight hanging, and he instantly snatched it up.

I, am of course, very frustrated. I am trying to look at the positive (i.e., I played an otherwise A-Class game), but I sweart blunders like this just haunt me.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Pin is Mightier Than the Sword

(EyesOfBlue vs. NN)
(White to Play)

I missed a key pin here. The key is the d-file and the poor bishop stuck in front of the king. How can this be exploited?

1. Bxe5 is the answer. 1... fxe5 leads to 2. Nxe5 with the d7-bishop falling on the next move (It is now attacked twice by the rook and knight and only guarded by the king. Note how neither the rooks or the knight can help guard it.). 1... Rxa3 is met by 2. Bxf6 and still black finds itself a key pawn down.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

More than one game analysis at a time?

I like to analyze my games... okay, who doesn't? My problem is that this is a slow process. Usually, I just plug a game in to the computer right before I got to bed, and wake up 7-8 hours later with a game fully analyzed. I would like to be able to do this with multiple games.

Anyone have any ideas? In the past there was a website called www.nimbleknight.com that youl analyze dozens of games you put in at once. The site, however, has gone the way of the dodo, I am afraid.... but I would be curious if anyone knows anything similiar.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A Win is a Win.... right?

(Black to Play and Win)
(EyesOfBlue vs. NN)

Sometimes people just hand you games. "Hey... didn't really need to win, how about you queening that pawn?" That is kind of what went down here.

I probably shouldn't be too obnoxious. First of all everyone has bad days... GMs and patzers alike. Second, rook endgames can be tricky -- with one move costing a person the game. That's the story here.

1... Rc8 is the correct move. The black rook prevents the pawn from queening. Of course it must now lay there and guard that key square, but the white rook is equally trapped on the 7th rank. Additionally, the black bishop is free to help out the black king and pawns on the kingside or go after the pesky pawn on the c-file. (The one move to avoid would be to bring the king to the 8th rank. (1... Rc8 2. h4 Kg8?? 3. Rd8 and white must either lose its rook or allow the pawn to queen!).

1... e5?? This was the move actually played. 2. Rd8 wins. Surprisingly white then played 2... Rxd8. A surprising move, because while technically a win P,P,P, R vs P,P,P, B endgames are often not mere child's play. Queen vs Bishop games however are... and this is what black got! 3. cxd8=Q. Needless to say black soon lost.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Daily Puzzle

(White to Play) (London Times)

I came across this problem the other day and liked it for a couple reasons. First, it shows a very brazen position for white (i.e., an uncastled king). Second, it shows a nasty white pawn storm on the kingside. How did white pull off the win?

1. Bxh7+! Kxh7. 2. Qh5+ Kg8. And after 3. g6 checkmates is unavoidable.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

My Terd

(EyesOfBlue vs. NN)
(White to move)

Unfortunately, not all of my games have been triumphs. (Far from it, I am afraid -- most of my games are losses). As with most chess players, the losses that sting the worst are the ones I should have won. The problem above is such a situation. I was transfixed by the rook on g3 and the fact that the h-pawn could take it.

1. hxg3 ?? (This is a horrible mistake. Through more bad mistakes, I ended up losing the match.)

The winning move, of course, is 1. Qxf6. After this white is able to unleash a devestating attack by bringing his rook to d1. 1... Rg7. 2. Qxd8+ Rg8 (the only legal move). 3. Qf6+ Rg7. 4. Rd1 (+-). Chessmaster 9000 actually lists this as "mate in 10." That's beyond my head, but nobody can deny that white has a nasty attack against black.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

My Gem

(EyesofBlue vs. NN)
(White to play and win)

My web log really couldn't begin without this little gem. It represents my "best" game ever played -- and for two separate reasons: 1) I ended up beating a player a couple hundred points my senior on FICS; and 2) the bold solution to the puzzle above.

This represents one of the few games in my life where I pulled of a successful queen sacrifice.

1. Qxc6 is decisive.

1... bxc5 loses. The c5 black knight was the only thing preventing 1. Nxe7+ and a nast queen/king fork. With the black knight out of the way, black is endanger of this menacing knight. 2. Nxe7+.

1... Qxc5 falls victim to the same knight fork above. 1. Nxe7+

1... (not recapturing the queen). Anything else simply results in White taking the knight for nothing in exchange.

My First Chart

It took a while, but I think I am getting the hang of this. We will see how this progresses....

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

What this Web Log is not.

Chess is the most popular unusual hobby. I read some where that FIDE is one of the largest sport/gaming clubs in the world, beaten only by the world's soccer association and the Olympic organization. That being said... it's amazing how strange our game is to outsiders. I get looks of sheer puzzlement when guests in our house see the rows of chess books on my shelf. "How can you read a book about chess?"

Reactions like this, for whatever reason, put me on the defensive. It makes me feel rather dorky -- as if something is wrong with me. Thus, I am especially prone to not trash talk or belittle someone else's excitement about a given subject or topic -- especially when it is related to chess. However, one thing that ceases to amaze me is people's fascination with chess players. Chess is exciting to me. The struggle, the ups, the downs, the strategy are all thrilling. Following individual chess players is much less so. It is the game that is exciting -- playing it. Watching someone play it is exciting, but far much less. To me it is equivalent to baseball. I love to play it, but would never watch a game on television.

But there is a large portion of the chess world that seems to disagree. Each high-rated player, alive or dead, has large "cults" that spend hours on end celebrating their greatness. Chessgames.com is one of the best chess sites around. I love it. But what fascinates me is the content of much of the postings found there -- a good portion of them are part of this chess player worship. "Kasparov has backed out of blah, blah, blah tournament," "Fischer of 72 could easily have beaten Steintz," "Susan Polgar has appeared on so and so television show," etc.

Again noting that I respect everyone's interests, let me just say -- I don't friggin' care!!! The web log will not fall prey to such hero worship. Oh, GM's will come up and names will be mentioned, but only because I found a game of there's interesting. A NN vs. NN blitz chess game is equally likely to be posted here than a dreamed 2005 Kasparov vs. Fischer match.

Genesis -- II

The Renaissance began in a quirky way, and only after a long (about 12 year) hiatus. I was visiting my family home in Maryland, and my mother presented me my belated Christmas/Birthday present (my birthday falls very close to Christmas). It was a chess set. And an elaborate one at that (mental note -- include pictures of it). At the time, I thought it was a pretty cool gift. Not because I planned on playing very many games on it, but because I just thought it was very beautiful and would look excellent displayed in my apartment.

And for the next couple months, that's all this chess set did -- sat there, looking beautiful. But still, something was happening. I don't want to say it was calling me. It is a cool chess set... not a magical one! However, I did feel like something was drawing me to the game. It was not until a particularly boring day at law school that I acted on it. I was just perusing the Yahoo website trying to find anything to kill the 30 minutes between my law school classes. Yahoo offers a variety of games for users to play. I saw a listing for chess, and thought "what the hey." I logged in and began to play. And, unfortunately, play poorly. But these defeats only intensified my desire to play. What could I do to get better? And that's really where it all began. I began reading books, going to websites, studying openings, etc. It's been about 3-4 years since I really started playing. Have I improved? Yes and no. My game is much more solid, but GM status is still a long ways off, I am afraid! "Getting there is half the fun." And even if I don't get there, chess has proven to be a really good time -- and a life saver too. Chess got me through some of the worst times of my life, offering a welcomed distraction to some really dark and painful days.

This web log is the latest installment of my journey. I am glad to share a little bit of it with you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


... And so it begins.

I learned chess the old fashioned way -- from a book. In a day and age where super-computers are battling the world GMs for chess supremacy and (as you read this) millions of people are dueling it out in chess games over the internet, it is hard to imagine the chess-world without computers. But to my younger friends, it did once exist.... and not so long ago (I am only 28!). Chess was once entirely in the realm of books. And it is from this medium, where my chess hobby began.

It's a vivid, but convulted memory. Some details are clear, other are vague. I remember the book from where it all began, a small paperback, at least 50 years old (even back then!). It was basic to say the least... covering only the basic chess moves (i.e., no strategy or openings were included). I accidentally discovered the book in some dusty shelf of my elementary school library. I suspect I was in the 3rd or 4th grade at the time.

I was instantly intriqued. After learning the most basic of moves, the next step was equally basic: challenging my dad. These were good memories. I specifically remember him teaching me how to mate with a rook and king. The fact that I needed a lesson proves I was no chess prodigy!!! He would thoroghly beat me, only occasionally letting me win. A perfect father, he only let me win just enough to not lose interest, but never enough to grow over-confident and arrogant... always walking that fine line.

Unfortunately, from these early days of promise, my chess enthusiasm dwindled. It was not my dad's fault. Video games, sports, girls, and everthing else that makes up adolescence took their toll. I would play every now and then, even bought a couple computer programs (had Chessmaster 1 for the original Nintendo Entertainment System), but my interest was, safe to say, marginal. Long before the days of the internet (shout out to Al Gore for inventing it!), one could only play computer chess versus the computer. This generated no interest for me. Strategy games always appealed to me, but only when it was man against man (or person versus person). There was not much fun in playing the computer version of Chessmaster on my old SNES, when I could play much more fun and exciting games -- all with the same computer opponent.

And thus... there was a large portion of my life without the game.