Friday, April 29, 2016

1001 tactics in Karpos

A couple of months ago, I asked an IM for advice. What should I do to get 2200? He answered " 2200 that is easy". "You just train on tactics and you will achieve it."

As most of my games are decided by tactics, I thought this could be a useful advice. So I started each day to exercise 1 hour tactics. There are many good books and online tactic servers available. You just need to make a choice what you like the most. The only thing important is to stick to 1 method. It really motivates to see how you progress x-number of tactics/ pages each day.

The IM advised 'Combinative Motifs' of Maxim Blokh so I used that book. The book consists of an introduction, index of the themes, 1206 diagrams (6 each page) and the solutions. Blokh doesn't use words but shows except the answers also why other variations don't work. The diagrams are sufficiently big to work without a board. Personally I use a timer and limit the time at 55 minutes. This allows me to solve 3-4 pages with an average success-rate of 80%. A nice bonus is that many diagrams must be solved with black as with white (often asymmetric solutions). This forces you to think a bit deeper why something works with one colour and not when the other colour is having the first move.

This training improved my game as I finally played a good tournament. TPR 1900+, 2 victories against 2000+ spelers and I was able to have a good fight against an IM, FM and WFM.

I didn't hesitate long to participate in “Karpos Open”. It fitted my agenda, wasn't expensive, there were many strong players (some well-knowns) and good weather. [Karpos is a borough of Skopje, the capital of Macedonie]. And with the actual questions we have of our society, it definitely looked interesting to see East-Europe. It is surely no paradise but people seem often to be more happy. I think it is linked to a more simple way of life. Something which let me reflect about some things:)

I'll try by showing a few fragments of my games played in 'Karpos Open' how often we enter the world of tactics. Even if you see in advance some tactical themes, there are still some typical mistakes which I make. I don't have it about missing some patterns but more about the broader and sportive aspects in chess.  

1) 'Being too focused' is a problem which I encountered in rounds 2 and 3. I mean you look at one problem on the board and forget to look at the rest. In round 2 I got excited after a discovered combination but instead of a victory against an IM, I was mated.

2) A similar thing can be found in the next fragment where I lost track of the function of my pieces. And that while the winning combination was several moves on the board. Fortunately I was still able to win the game nicely.

Losing track of a part of the board or the pieces, is normal. Detecting the problem and identifying it, will be the first step to find a cure :)

The most shocking in this tournament happened when the queen of my opponent was cornered:
White has just played Nf4. How can black profit?
My young opponent just played Nf4, I accepted the gift happily :) Do you also see it?

Finally I also want to show a tactical trap from the last round.

It was a fun tournament and if possible I would like once to come back.

Some strong qualities of the tournament:
  • A spacious, comfortable and well lightened playing-room (the tournament was in the best hotel of Skopje)
  • A nice and friendly organization (for each round there was transport from the hotels which you could book via the tournament, everybody got each round a bottle of water,...
  • Many strong players: except the 18x 2500 players, the middle-field was very competitive. A mix of veterans and young wolves created a lot of competition (of 200 players more than 120 had +2000 rating) 
  • Cheap:
    • plane 180€ (Adria Airways)
    • subscription fee 40€
    • hotel 120€ à 280 €

The only negative point I could find was the lack of a proper room to analyze the games afterwards.


Solution of the tactical question:
Black plays Nxe4 and Bf6 follows.

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