Monday, February 20, 2017


Apple, google, microsoft, coca cola,.... are brands very well known. However we often don't realize that our own name is also a brand. We all get a label even if we don't like it. The internet plays an important role to make or break somebodies reputation. All what has been written about us, is stored for a very long time. Inevitable this info is used whether appropriate or not.

Once I was asked at a solicitation for a non chess related job which chess-opening I prefer the most. This happened many years ago when I hadn't started yet with this blog. The question surprised me as I had nothing mentioned about chess in my CV neither did I bring it up during the interview. A HR-recruiter once told me not to talk about chess as I spend too much time at it which is a clear weakness. A player spending lots of time at chess activities and not (much) interested to do extra time after the working hours is less interesting to hire.

The internet had of course exposed me as you can google my name and discover I played many tournaments. On the other hand I doubt this piece of information was critical in the selection process. Besides I do expect there are also employers interested in the qualities of a strong chess-player (FM, IM, GM) to use in their company. Naturally it depends a lot of the type of branch but it is not a coincidence that a lot of big brands offer sponsor-contracts to top-sportsmen.

It is evident that a chess-title has most value in the chess world. Strong chess players are a magnet for other players (read paying customers) so many chess-organisations offer a free membership to those strong players. At you can get free diamond-membership at this link if you have a fide-title. At ICC you only get a free account if you have the IM title and I guess the same rule is also applicable at Playchess. An additional condition for the free account is of course that you relinquish your anonymity. You can't attract players as titled player if your identity can't be verified.

Personally I always get an extra kick when I beat a titled player. Last couple of years I played against grandmasters Gennadi Sosonko, Max Illingworth, Imre Balog, Dmitry Kokarev, Mohmamed Haddouche, John Shaw, Lev Gutman, Viktor Gavrikov.... at playchess. There is a creepy anecdote attached to the last person as 2 months after we played a couple of games, the grandmaster passed away (see chessbase). 1 of the 2 games I managed to win but I needed a lot of luck see below game.
[Event "Rated game, 3 min"] [Site "Main Playing Hall"] [Date "2016.03.08"] [White "Deurne19"] [Black "Viktor Gavrikov"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B08"] [WhiteElo "2158"] [BlackElo "2417"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2016.12.13"] [SourceTitle ""] 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Nc3 c6 5. a4 Qc7 6. Be2 Nd7 7. O-O Ngf6 8. h3 O-O 9. a5 Re8 10. Re1 e5 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Be3 Nf8 13. Bc4 Be6 14. Bxe6 Nxe6 15. Qd3 b5 16. axb6 axb6 17. Qc4 b5 18. Qe2 Nh5 19. g3 Nd4 20. Bxd4 exd4 21. Rxa8 Rxa8 22. Nd1 Re8 23. Nd2 Nxg3 24. fxg3 Qxg3 25. Kh1 Qxh3 26. Qh2 Qe6 27. Nf3 h6 28. Kg2 c5 29. Qf4 Qc6 30. b3 c4 31. bxc4 bxc4 32. Nf2 Qc5 33. e5 d3 34. cxd3 c3 35. d4 Qc4 36. Ne4 Re6 37. Nd6 Qc7 38. d5 Bxe5 39. Qc4 Bxd6 40. Qxc7 Rxe1 41. Qxc3 1-0
The nice thing about Playchess is that all my games are automatically stored in a database which I can consult with a few simple clicks while studying openings. However it is not the only advantage of the database. Sometimes it is also useful to prepare a game. Some online players you meet in real life. In 2014 I played a short match against Littlefinger. The last game I lost in the Rauzer.
[Event "Rated game, 3m 0s"] [Site "Main Playing Hall"] [Date "2014.08.27"] [White "Deurne9"] [Black "Littlefinger"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B61"] [WhiteElo "2310"] [BlackElo "2232"] [PlyCount "94"] [EventDate "2014.11.29"] [SourceTitle ""] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 Bd7 7. Qd2 Rc8 8. O-O-O Nxd4 9. Qxd4 Qa5 10. f4 h6 11. Bxf6 gxf6 12. e5 fxe5 13. fxe5 Bg7 14. Qd5 Qxd5 15. Rxd5 Bxe5 16. Bb5 Bxc3 17. bxc3 Rxc3 18. Re1 Bxb5 19. Rxb5 Rc7 20. g4 e5 21. Kd2 Ke7 22. Kd3 Ke6 23. c4 h5 24. g5 h4 25. Rb2 f5 26. gxf6 Kxf6 27. Rf2 Ke6 28. Rg1 Rh6 29. Rg4 Rf7 30. Rxf7 Kxf7 31. Ke4 Ke6 32. Rg7 b5 33. cxb5 d5 34. Kf3 e4 35. Ke2 Ke5 36. Rxa7 Rg6 37. Rh7 Rg2 38. Kf1 Rxa2 39. Rxh4 Rb2 40. Rh8 Rxb5 41. h4 Kf4 42. h5 d4 43. h6 Rh5 44. h7 Ke3 45. Kg2 d3 46. Kg3 d2 47. Kg4 d1=Q 0-1
If you consult the profile of Littlefinger at Playchess then you discover the name Frederic Decoster which I remembered when I had to play against him in Open Leuven. To prepare for the game I repeated some of the lines in the Rauzer to win some precious time at the clock. Unfortunately I wasn't able to fully capitalize due to a lack of time in the morning.
[Event "Open Leuven 6de ronde"] [Date "2016"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Decoster, F."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B61"] [WhiteElo "2283"] [BlackElo "2265"] [PlyCount "80"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 Bd7 {(This is the first time that I meet this important line in a standard game.)} 7. Qd2 Rc8 8. O-O-O Nxd4 9. Qxd4 Qa5 10. f4 Rxc3 {(Frederic plays a lot of different systems so it was very difficult to predict what he would play. At Playchess I met twice h6 by Littlefinger, Frederics nickname. Rxc3 is today not popular anymore as against best play black can not find sufficient compensation.)} 11. bxc3 e5 12. Qb4 Qxb4 13. cxb4 Nxe4 14. Bh4 {(I got up at 6 AM to prepare the game as there was very little time. The game started at 9.30 and I still had to bring my son before the start of my game to Mechelen where he would play the youth-championship of the province Antwerp. Anyway I did look at this line very briefly. However it did not help me much as I already forgot most of it during the game.)} g5 15. fxg5 Be7 16. a3 $6 { (After the game the Belgian IM Stefan Docx recommended Bc4 and as usual he is right. I thought I had seen a3 in my preparation somewhere but this is definitely not the right moment. Re1 is another interesting option but it is less clear and the advantage is for sure smaller.)} (16. Bc4 h6 $1 17. Rhf1 Be6 $5 18. Bxe6 fxe6 19. c4 Kd7 20. Kc2 $146 hxg5 21. Bg3 Rc8 $14) 16... h6 17. Bd3 Nc3 18. Rde1 hxg5 19. Bf2 b6 20. Kd2 Nd5 21. c4 Nf4 22. Be4 f5 23. Bb7 e4 24. Bd4 Rh4 {(Black wants to avoid g4 but this allows a fork. This very strange idea seems to be perfectly playable.)} 25. g3 Rh3 26. Re3 Ne6 27. Bb2 g4 28. Re2 Ng5 29. Bd5 Nf3 30. Kc2 Ba4 31. Kb1 Bb3 $2 {(Until here the game was well played but now we both start to commit errors as we were running out of time. Bg5 here or a move earlier leads to very comfortable play for black.)} 32. Bc3 $6 {(The engines call for b5 but I did not like it during the game and even after the game I still think it is not easy at all.)} (32. b5 $1 Bf8 $5 {(Or first Rh7.)} 33. Bc3 Rh7 34. Kb2 Ba4 35. Be6 Rh5 36. h4 Bh6 $1 { (Black hangs in the ropes but I do not see a direct win.)}) 32... b5 { (Frederic miss completely my answer but funny there is nothing wrong with it. Komodo even plays the move as it sees of course already the compensation after 34... d5.)} 33. Bc6 Kf7 34. Bxb5 d5 35. cxd5 Bxd5 36. Rd1 $6 {(Superficially played. I agree with the engines that Kb2 is more accurate.)} Ke6 $2 {(But this is a serious mistake. After the correct Be6 the position is balanced.)} 37. Ba6 Rh5 $6 {(Frederic wanted to play the rook to h8 but he saw only at the last minute that I could capture it with my bishop. This is of course hardly stronger. Bb3 would have allowed black to continue the game.)} 38. Bc8 Kd6 39. Bb7 f4 40. Rxe4 Nxh2 {(While executing the final move black lost on time but the position is already upon repair.)} 1-0
Playing online with an open profile makes yourself more vulnerable at standard play. Therefore many top-players have beside an official account also secret accounts. There exists a funny anecdote of Kasparov and Svidler playing blitz online to prepare for their mutual blitz-match but initially both not aware that they chose each other as sparring partner see chessclub.

In my article password I asked for more publications of games to promote chess. On the other hand I do think it is better to choose for anonymity while playing online. The games are (almost) exclusively blitz or bullet so have very little or no value. Besides the number of games can quickly grow to enormous figures which would give future opponents an in-depth view of your repertoire. Today my personal database almost counts 60.000 online games so covering almost any independent line of my repertoire which has some importance.


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