Tuesday, September 26, 2017


While reading the book H.E. Bird of Hans Renette I noticed not only that in the 19th century a lot of matches are organized but also many games are played offhand. At that time it was normal to visit a club and play an informal game against some random available player. This we don't see often anymore today. If you don't make any appointment with a player in advance then you risk not getting any game in a club. I often encountered that I left the club after a half hour to go back home as I wasn't able to find anybody free willing to play chess with me.

This sets the bar for newcomers of course a lot higher. I sometimes hear people getting rejected of a championship as the competition has already started. They need to wait for a couple of months to join any new competition. A sad consequence is that many drop out immediately after the introduction. Today we don't have enough fresh blood so this only accelerates the ageing of the club.

Likely the wide choice of tournaments explains the lack of interest in offhand games today. Most regular clubplayers don't want to play anything else than the tournaments and prefer to have a drink at the bar when they have finished their games. It is a pity as those offhand games are ideal to get softly introduced to our noble game. The score is not recorded and it allows you to experiment without needing to worry about the outcome. In offhand games it is not forbidden to talk or laugh during play at contrary as it often creates a positive ambiance.

On the other hand online there are still a lot of offhand games played. A distinction can be made between rated and unrated games but I don't consider this difference very important. An online rating has very little value as any serious controlling mechanism lacks. Personally I don't play tournaments online so you could argue that my online blitz are only offhand games. In any case I look at those games as fun so I sometimes just fool around with my opponents.
[Event "Friendly Game, 1m + 0s"] [Site "Cafe"] [Date "2015.??.??"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Guest1139807"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B01"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/4k3/3R3p/1pP3pP/pP4P1/P4P2/6K1 w - - 0 41"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2015.04.04"] [Sourcetitle "playchess.com"] [WhiteElo ""] [BlackElo ""] [Round "?"] [CurrentPosition "8/8/4k3/3R3p/1pP3pP/pP4P1/P4P2/6K1 w - - 0 41"] { (Bullet is for many players too fast but if you can use the mouse well then you can play a lot of moves in 1 minute.) } 41.Rxh5 Kf6 42.Rd5 Ke6 43.Kf1 Kf6 44.Ke2 Ke6 45.Ke3 Kf6 46.Kd4 Ke6 47.Kc5 Kf6 48.Kxb4 Ke6 49.Kxa3 Kf6 50.Kb2 Ke6 51.Kc3 Kf6 52.Kd4 Ke6 53.Ke3 Kf6 54.Kf4 Ke6 55.Kxg4 Kf6 56.Kf4 Ke6 57.Ke4 { (I first eat all black's material.) } 57...Kf6 58.f4 Ke6 59.g4 Kf6 60.b4 Ke6 61.a4 { (4th row) } 61...Kf6 62.b5 Ke7 63.a5 Ke6 64.c5 Ke7 65.f5 Kf7 66.g5 Ke7 67.h5 Kf7 68.Ke5 { (5th row) } 68...Ke7 69.c6 Kf7 70.b6 Ke7 71.a6 Kf7 72.Rd6 Ke7 73.f6+ Kf7 74.g6+ Ke8 75.h6 Kf8 76.Ke6 { (6th row) } 76...Kg8 77.a7 Kf8 78.b7 { (No mate yet as I want something more funny.) } 78...Ke8 79.c7 Kf8 80.h7 Ke8 81.Rd7 Kf8 82.g7+ Ke8 83.f7# { (Haha he will next time probably resign sooner.) } 1-0
Mostly it are very weak opponents not resigning. Besides I recommended my son Hugo to continue playing till mate when he started in the youth-tournaments see resigning. Nowadays he has outgrown this phase as he does resign when he feels further resistance has become futile.

When a strong(er) player plays till mate then something is not ok. People need to respect their opponents and if they don't then they deserve to be teached a painful lesson.
[Event "Rated game, 3m + 0s"] [Site "Main Playing Hall"] [Date "2008.05.26"] [White "Chrisj555"] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A04"] [WhiteElo "2033"] [BlackElo "2146"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "6k1/1p4pp/p1p5/8/8/2r5/1q6/3K4 b - - 0 48"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2008.12.31"] [Sourcetitle "playchess.com"] [Round "?"] [CurrentPosition "6k1/1p4pp/p1p5/8/8/2r5/1q6/3K4 b - - 0 48"] 48...a5 { (I still have a lot of time on the clock but white does not want to resign. I feel not respected so I teach him a little lesson.) } 49.Ke1 a4 50.Kd1 b6 51.Ke1 b5 52.Kf1 c5 53.Ke1 b4 54.Kd1 c4 55.Ke1 a3 56.Kf1 b3 57.Ke1 g5 58.Kd1 h5 59.Ke1 h4 60.Kf1 g4 61.Ke1 h3 62.Kd1 g3 63.Ke1 Kf7 64.Kf1 Kf6 65.Kg1 Kf5 66.Kf1 Ke4 67.Ke1 Kd3 68.Kd1 h2 69.Ke1 g2 70.Kd1 a2 71.Ke1 Kd4 72.Kd1 Kc5 73.Ke1 Kb4 74.Kd1 Ka3 75.Ke1 Rh3 76.Kd1 c3 77.Ke1 c2 78.Kd2 a1=Q { (Now I make a series of queen-promotions.) } 79.Ke2 h1=Q 80.Kf2 g1=Q+ 81.Ke2 c1=Q# { (Next time my opponent will think twice before making a fool of himself.) } 0-1
I ignored on purpose many times mate in 1 to end the game by creating a series of queen-promotions. Honestly I would have preferred knight-promotions but this was too cumbersome. I didn't want to tire myself by first switching off the default setting of automatic queen-promotions and later after the game reset the toggle. A famous example of completely redundant knight-promotions is of course the online game between Crafty - Nakamura played in 2007.
[Event "ICC blitz"] [Site "ICC"] [Date "2007.??.??"] [White "Crafty (Computer)"] [Black "Hikaru Nakamura"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A00"] [BlackElo "2664"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/2p5/1p1p4/pkn1p3/6K1/8/8/8 w - - 0 90"] [PlyCount "132"] [WhiteElo ""] [Round "?"] [CurrentPosition "8/2p5/1p1p4/pkn1p3/6K1/8/8/8 w - - 0 90"] 90.Kg3 { (The engine never resigns so this allows Nakamura to create a joke.) } 90...a4 91.Kf3 a3 92.Ke3 a2 93.Kf2 a1=N { (Knight number 2.) } 94.Ke3 Kc6 95.Kf3 Nab3 96.Kg4 Nd4 97.Kg5 Nde6+ 98.Kf5 Kd7 99.Kg4 b5 100.Kf3 b4 101.Kg3 b3 102.Kf3 b2 103.Kg4 b1=N { (Knight number 3.) } 104.Kf5 Na3 105.Kg4 Nb7 106.Kf5 Nf8 107.Ke4 Nd8 108.Kd3 Nb5 109.Kc4 Na7 110.Kd3 Nc8 111.Ke4 Ke6 112.Ke3 d5 113.Kd2 c5 114.Kd1 e4 115.Kc2 d4 116.Kb2 Kd5 117.Kc1 c4 118.Kd2 e3+ 119.Ke1 Ke4 120.Kf1 d3 121.Ke1 c3 122.Kd1 c2+ 123.Kc1 e2 124.Kd2 Kd4 125.Ke1 c1=N { (Knight number 4.) } 126.Kd2 Nb3+ 127.Ke1 Kc3 128.Kf2 Nc5 129.Ke1 Nce6 130.Kf2 Nc7 131.Kf3 e1=N+ { (Knight number 5.) } 132.Kf2 Nc2 133.Kf1 Ne8 134.Kg2 Nfe6 135.Kf2 Nf6 136.Kf3 Nd6 137.Kg3 Nc6 138.Kg2 N2d4 139.Kh3 N4f5 140.Kg2 Nfe7 141.Kf2 Ng6 142.Ke1 Kc2 143.Kf2 d2 144.Kg2 d1=N { (Knight number 6.) } 145.Kf1 Nc3 146.Kf2 Ncd5 147.Kg2 Nce5 148.Kg1 Nde4 149.Kg2 Nd4 150.Kg1 Ngf4 151.Kh1 Nfg4 152.Kg1 Nde3 153.Kh1 Ndf5 154.Kg1 Nf3+ 155.Kh1 Nfg3# { (Fortunately engines don't have feelings.) } 0-1
Everybody loved it how the engine was ridiculed but such behavior against people does not get the same response. It is not because chess looks like a sadistic exam that we should behave like sadists. It is a grey zone of what can still be considered as a joke or what people feel as an insult. Besides accidentally the American grandmaster Gregory Serper wrote a couple of weeks ago an article at chess.com about all sorts of insults in chess. He strongly disapproves such offenses as it only harms chess.

Publicly we should for sure not get involved in such stupid jokes. You risk to get beaten by your angry opponent and not seldom such joke ends badly. The whole world laughed at Nakamura a couple of months ago when he was punished for his arrogance in Paris Grand Tour Chess when he promoted completely unnecessarily to a knight instead of a queen.
[Event "Grand Chess Tour Paris (Blitz)"] [Site "Paris FRA"] [Date "2017.06.25"] [Round "16"] [White "Shakhriyar Mamedyarov"] [Black "Hikaru Nakamura"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E21"] [WhiteElo "2800"] [BlackElo "2785"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/8/5R1P/8/7r/4Kpk1/8 b - - 0 77"] [PlyCount "30"] [EventDate "2017.06.21"] [Eventtype "blitz"] [CurrentPosition "8/8/8/5R1P/8/7r/4Kpk1/8 b - - 0 77"] 77...f1=N { (Nakamura likes sometimes to fool a bit in his games but this time it backfires terribly. A simple draw was obtained by promoting a queen of course.) } 78.Rf2+ Kg1 79.Rxf1+ Kg2 80.Rf2+ Kg1 81.Rf5 Ra3 82.h6 Rh3 83.Rf6 Kh2 84.Kf2 Rh4 85.Kf3 Kh3 86.Rg6 Ra4?? { (Kh2 ! =) } 87.h7?? { (Rg1 or Rg3 +-) } 87...Rh4 88.Rg7 Rh6?? { (Kh2 was still a draw. Now black loses. Many players enjoyed laughing at Nakamura for his arrogant knight-promotion.) } 89.Kf4 Kh4 90.Kf5 Rh5+ 91.Kg6 Kg4 92.Kf7+ 1-0
Last Stefan Docx asked me after finishing my 8th round game of Gent why the game lasted so long. At move 17 I was already an exchange and pawn up for which my 250 points lower rated opponent, had no compensation at all. Besides we both had still plenty of time on the clock as we only consumed a half hour. However even in such completely won situations, I stay focused. I will keep looking for the best moves and won't play faster nor play some silly moves. It is also one of the reasons when I almost never suffer of inexplicable mistakes often connected to not being fully concentrated see my article mistakes.
[Event "Open Gent 8ste ronde"] [Date "2017.??.??"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Klaus, D."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B01"] [WhiteElo "2307"] [BlackElo "2020"] [PlyCount "89"] [Round "?"] [Site "?"] [CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6.Bc4 Bf5 7.Bd2 e6 8.Nd5 Qd8 9.Nxf6+ Qxf6 10.Qe2 Nd7 11.O-O-O Nb6 { (In 1998 I once encountered h6 by Yves Surmont. Nb6 is the most popular continuation but Bg4 looks to me the most critical test.) } 12.Bb3?! { (I play the most natural move like many other players before but Bg5 is stronger theoretically.) } ( 12.Bg5! Qg6 13.d5!? Bxc2 14.dxe6 f6 15.Qxc2!? Qxc2+ 16.Kxc2 fxg5!? 17.Bb3! $14 ) 12...Bd6?! { (Sharp but just playable seems Bg4.) } ( 12...Bg4! 13.d5!? Bxf3 14.gxf3 cxd5 15.Qb5+!? Kd8 16.Be3 $13 ) 13.Ne5 O-O-O? { (I had seen the blunder in advance and had hoped for it but I didn't expect to see it played on the board. H5 and Bxe5 avoid the disaster.) } ( 13...Bxe5 14.dxe5 Qh4! 15.Be3 Nd5 16.f3 b6 17.Rd4 Qe7 18.Bf2! Rd8! $14 ) 14.g4 Bg6 15.h4 h6 16.h5 Bh7 17.Nxf7 { (You can resign here but continuing is not a sin either.) } 17...Nd5 18.Nxh8 Rxh8 19.Rhf1 Kb8 20.Kb1 Re8 21.Be3 { (I take my time. Understandably black wants to counter-attack but I am well prepared.) } 21...e5 22.dxe5 Bxe5 23.Bd4 Nf4 24.Bxe5+ Rxe5 25.Qd2 Nd5 26.f4 Re7 27.Bxd5 Rd7 28.Qd4 cxd5 29.Qxf6 gxf6 30.Rfe1 a6 31.Re6 f5 32.g5 hxg5 33.fxg5 Ka7 34.g6 Bg8 35.Re8 Rg7 36.Rg1 Bh7 37.Rh8 Bg8 38.h6 Re7 39.Rxg8 f4 { (I had still more than a quarter on the clock here. More and more people started to surround our board to witness the absurd situation.) } 40.Rf8 Re4 41.g7 d4 42.g8=Q d3 43.Ra8+ Kb6 44.Qd8+ Kb5 45.Qd5+ { (Of course he didn't allow me to mate him but I was not expecting anything else. We could've been sleeping already in bed for an hour which would not have been a luxury as the next and final round would start early in the morning.) } 1-0
Initially I thought my opponent would resign after move 17 but I was not disturbed when he preferred to continue the suffering. However at the end things became really ugly as we still had each more than a quarter on the clock remaining. Also this wasn't the only thing which was not nice. Much worse was another bad joke my opponent applied during the game. However this is for a next article.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017


The big news of last month was of course the comeback of Garry Kasparov. He played again a tournament for rating while his previous one dated from 2005. Well as a matter of fact it was only for rapid and blitz ratings which even didn't exist back in 2005.

Of course I was also curious about how Kasparov would fare. So I started to follow the broadcasting attentively. However my interest very quickly faded away from the event. The combination of the late starting-hour (they played in Saint Louis/ US), the many mistakes specific to the quick tempo (rapid/ blitz) and probably also the lack of excitement in the fight for the first place made that I only saw a limited number of games. Rapid/ blitz never really interested me (I still didn't play any fide rated game at that tempo) and the mimics of Kasparov see kasparov what went wrong didn't compensate for the tragic suffering of the once so feared monster of Bakoe.

In his best years this tournament would've been catastrophic for Kasparov. He wasn't satisfied himself with today the 13th place in the world for rapid and the 9th place in the world for blitz while he was used for many years to be the number 1. Afterwards there was a lot of debate about what went wrong. Probably his age 54 years old plays a role but much more important was his absurd time-consumption which doesn't have at all a link with age. A good explanation of why can be found in the article Why was Kasparov deep thinking? If you play regularly then you make some decisions automatically. However if you haven't played for a long time any competitions then this automatism has disappeared and you try to compensate that by extra calculations which burn precious time.

I already described those dangers in my article inactivity. You need to play a minimum of games to maintain the game-level. It is the reason why I subscribed for the maneblusserstornooi of Mechelen. The playing days and the tempo are not optimal but sometimes you need to make compromises. The club-championship of Deurne is this year even weaker than last year see the list of participants. It does not fulfill again my minimum-criteria (which many already consider very low).

On the other hand the hyped circus also generated unrealistic expectations of Kasparov. Besides despite some hard counter-proof still many believe elo inflation exists so people consider today's topplayers ready to be butchered by Kasparov. In other words it was very hard to get a proper preview of what the results would be also because his comeback was something very unique in the chess-world. After the tournament it all became much more clear. Now we understand much better which impossible mission Kasparov had started. If we look today objectively to his results then we should admit that he did in fact very well considering the exceptional conditions.

He demonstrated that he is still dangerous for any top-player and his opening-repertoire is still top-notch. In most games he got fine out of the opening with some strong modern chess. It seemed he never quit studying openings and he very well adapted himself to the most recent evolutions. Kasparov definitely didn't make the error to stick to some old likely obsolete analysis.

Last I experienced how dangerous it is to use some old theory which was even played in a world-championship. In 2006 I scored a nice victory in this line see the influence of world-championships at openings but it is again the Belgian IM Stefan Docx showing me that I still have a lot of work to do at my repertoire (see for earlier examples to Dutch steps in the English opening and grandmaster-norm for Stefan Docx).
[Event "Open Gent 7de ronde"] [Date "2017.??.??"] [White "Docx, S."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C45"] [WhiteElo "2420"] [BlackElo "2307"] [PlyCount "67"] [Round "?"] [Site "?"] [CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 Ba6 9.b3 O-O-O 10.g3 { (In 1999 Stefan played the other mainline with Bb2 against me. Honestly I had not checked that game anymore in my preparation. In the database there are no games of Stefan with this opening since 2003 and as Stefan plays many other systems, I had to make a selection.) } 10...Re8!? { (This is probably just playable but it is not pleasant. Black has a number of more solid continuations like g6, g5, h5 and Pb6.) } ( 10...g6!? 11.Bb2!? Bg7 12.Nd2!? d6 13.Qe4 Nb6 14.c5 Bxf1 $13 ) ( 10...g5!? 11.Bb2!? Bg7 12.Nd2!? Nb4 13.O-O-O Nxa2+ 14.Kb1 Nb4 15.f4!? Qc5 16.Ne4 $13 ) 11.Bb2 f6 12.Bg2 fxe5 13.O-O h5?! { (The most popular move but black now gets into troubles. Only Nf6 is hard to refute directly.) } ( 13...Nf6! 14.Re1!? ( 14.Nd2!? h5! 15.Rae1!? h4 16.Qxe5 Qxe5 17.Rxe5 Rxe5 18.Bxe5 Bb4 19.Rd1 $13 ) 14...Bb7! 15.Nd2 Qb4! 16.a3 Qb6 17.Bc3!? c5 18.Bxb7+ Qxb7 19.Rab1!? h5 $13 ) 14.Qd2 Nf6 15.Re1 { (Only now Stefan deviates from my game played against Desiree Hamelinck of 2006 which continued with the weaker Qa5. I had already detected that Re1 is an interesting alternative and if you publish this at the blog of which you know that players like Stefan read it then you obviously take serious risks by not deviating earlier. I am sure some people would consider this very stupid behavior but I am not afraid to lose if I can learn something which was the case here. Besides Stefan told me after the game that he played himself this line with black but gave it up exactly because of Re1.) } 15...Qc5 { (In the postmortem Stefan told me that Qd6 is a little better. The difference of evaluation between both moves is minimal but intuitively I also prefer Stefans move.) } ( 15...Qd6!? 16.Qa5! c5 17.Nd2 Qb6 18.Qxb6 axb6 19.Rxe5 Rxe5 20.Bxe5 Bd6 21.Bc3 $14 ) 16.Nc3?! { (I am sure Stefan studied this line deeply but here I guess he mixed up the move-sequence. First h4 is more accurate.) } ( 16.h4! Bb7 17.Nc3 Qa5 18.a3 c5 19.Bxb7+ Kxb7 20.b4 Qa6 21.Nb5 c6 $14 ) 16...Kb8? { (I played this move after a long reflection. Nevertheless I do not succeed to understand the position. Twice playing the black queen on the same diagonal is of course not a very common solution.) } ( 16...Qd6! 17.Qc2!? h4 18.Ne4 Nxe4 19.Rxe4 hxg3!? 20.hxg3 Bb7! 21.Qe2 c5 22.Rxe5 $13 ) 17.h4 { (This rectifies not only the previous mistake but also avoids any counter-play of black.) } 17...Bb7 18.Na4 Qb4?! { (I understand that my extra pawn is not much worth so I try to sacrifice it to create some extra air for my pieces. Stefan rightly rejects the offer and now my queen is very awkward at b4. Somewhat better is Qd6 but it is anyway very difficult for black.) } 19.Qc2 e4 20.Bd4 d5 21.a3 Qd6 22.Nc5 Nd7 23.b4 Rg8 { (In the postmortem I tried to defend with Nxc5 but the engines see very quickly how desperate it is.) } 24.cxd5 cxd5 25.Qa4 Bc6 26.Nxd7+ Qxd7 27.Qxa7+ Kc8 28.b5 Bb7 29.a4 g5 30.hxg5 Rxg5 31.a5 Qxb5 32.Bf1 Qc6 33.Reb1 Re6 34.a6 1-0
I am for sure not the only player making sometimes this error. Besides here we see a clear difference of approach between young and older players. Young players build up their repertoire upon hyper-modern systems which are today considered critical. However older players often keep on playing what they learned in their youth and don't follow so much the latest trends. The 67 year old Robert Schuermans definitely fulfills above description of an older player. He likes to play old and long forgotten systems of Fischer, Karpov and other old grandmasters especially against young players. Not seldom he scores because these young players don't know the classics.

However in Open Brasschaat it went completely wrong against the 15 year old Sterre Dauwe rated 200 points lower. Robert had really bad luck this time. Sterre is one of my best students in KMSK and 2 weeks ago I showed at the onjk (where we met each other) my analysis of my game against Stefan Docx. It is really a coincidence that Robert played exactly this line so permitting Sterre to extract very easily an advantage from the opening.
[Event "Brasschaat Open"] [Date "2017.08.24"] [White "Dauw, Sterre"] [Black "Schuermans, Robert"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C45"] [WhiteElo "1958"] [BlackElo "2172"] [PlyCount "51"] [Round "?"] [Site "?"] [CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 Ba6 9.b3 O-O-O 10.g3 Re8 11.Bb2 f6 12.Bg2 fxe5 13.O-O Nf6 { (In my analysis of my recent game against Stefan I recommended Nf6 as an improvement but it is still a difficult position for black.) } 14.Qd2 { (Sterre saw my analysis at the onjk in Borre/ Netherlands so still remembered how to play this position. Except Qd2 I also looked at first Re1 and Nd2.) } 14...Bb7 15.Re1 Qf7?! { (The queen better stays at the diagonal a3-f8 ready to be exchanged  but this is naturally not the style of Robert. So Qd6 or Qb4 offers better chances.) } 16.Bxe5 Bc5?! { (Black wants to wrestle the initiative with active play but this move only gives white a starting point to attack.) } 17.Nc3 Rhf8?! { (Too slow as now whites attack gets too fast.) } 18.Na4 Ng4 19.Nxc5 Rxe5 20.Rxe5 Nxe5 21.f4 Ng4 22.h3 Nf6 23.Qb4 Ba8 24.Qa5 Kb8 25.Na6+ Kb7 26.Qb5+ 1-0
In my articles old wine in new skins part 1 and part 2 I showed a couple of examples in which old openings were successful. However this new article demonstrates that when the surprise-element is missing, things become much more dangerous. Even copying something played in a world-championship analyzed before and afterwards by some of the best players, doesn't guarantee a good opening. Openings are evolving and today even quicker than before with the ever stronger becoming engines. Every top-player works very hard to keep track of all those evolutions and even add something extra to it themselves. Otherwise you are doomed to be horribly out-dated like probably most amateurs.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Royal forks

The summer-holidays are again behind us. For many it was a period to recharge the batteries and play little or no chess. Others contrary were (very active). Any news about them was shattered all over the web as there exists no general platform where the local news is published. It is a shame as some of our youngsters performed excellently and this deserved much more recognition. First there was the 10 year old Enrico Follesa playing for Temse and gaining in 1 month 276 elo which very likely is a Belgian record. It is definitely not a world-record as the Slovanian FM Jergus Pechac managed in april 2015 to gain 426 points in 1 month.

Another Belgian record got smashed by the 11 year old Daniel Dardha playing for Hoboken. He just won the -12 youth-championship of the European Chessfederation which took place in Czechia. This makes him the youngest FM ever in Belgium. Besides now that I am closely involved at youth-chess, I also learned that there are 3 different types of youth-championships of Europe in which standard chess is played. So 1 for the European chess-federation, 1 for the European Union which happened beginning of August in Austria and 1 for the European countries which started yesterday in Romania.

Those exceptional results of these very young players didn't happen by accident. Not only their own efforts play a role but at least as important are the selfless sacrifices of their parents. I really liked the beautiful tribute of Daniel on his facebook to his father. With their permission I copied it here.
Behind any youthchampion there is a sweating coach and supporting parent 
Few realize how big the efforts of the parents are to allow their children achieve that kind of success. If you just wait to get support from the club, federation then I fear this can take forever. In the article How much time do you spend at chess I already showed a glimpse of how I support my son. Last year I accompanied my son 25 full days and this year it will probably be double. This summer Hugo played his first big tournaments with some success. He won the Open Dutch champion -8 and made a very nice performance in the very enjoyable mastertournament of Bruges by which he was rewarded by a very nice first 1474 fide elo.

Of course it is a matter of setting priorities to spend 25 full days or more as parent to support your child to his activities. You can't demand something like that from anybody. Besides it is often very boring waiting. Some parents are staring for hours at the door where their child should pop up after having finished their game. A fantastic article about the sacrifices chess-parents make can be read here. For me it is easier as chess is my own biotope. Even during the Brugse meesters where very few other chess-parents were, I didn't have the feeling of getting bored at all.

More and more often I take my laptop to the tournaments to continue analyzing my own games. After the Open Gent I had 9 freshly played games at which I spent together approximately 1 month. Regularly people are surprised hearing how much time I spend at the analysis. What is the fun of all that or is there really so much to learn from a couple of games. Well I am not only looking at the evaluation of the moves. Sometimes I also discover some truly beautiful treasures. See example a fragment of my analysis of my game against the Bulgarian grandmaster Boris Chatalbashev (the complete game was covered already in my previous article).
[Event "Analysevariant"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Chatalbachev, B."] [Result "*"] [ECO "B15"] [WhiteElo "2307"] [BlackElo "2550"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "rnbqk2r/pp2ppbp/6p1/2p1P1N1/3Pp3/7P/PPP2PP1/R1BQKB1R w KQkq - 0 9"] [PlyCount "11"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [CurrentPosition "rnbqk2r/pp2ppbp/6p1/2p1P1N1/3Pp3/7P/PPP2PP1/R1BQKB1R w KQkq - 0 9"] 9.dxc5 Qc7 10.Bf4!? Bxe5 { (I wondered during the analysis why the engine simply doesn't capture with the bishop at e5.) } 11.Bxe5 Qxe5 12.Qd8+ { (A fantastic deflection after which white gets a clear advantage.) } 12...Kxd8 13.Nxf7+ Kc7 14.Nxe5 $16 *
This is an unavoidable deflection of the king by a full queen-sacrifice followed up by a royal fork. I've been googling for some similar examples and it seems something quite unique. A very famous example of it are the missed chances in a worldchampionship-game between Alexander Alekhine and Max Euwe played in 1937.
[Event "World Championship 17th"] [Site "Netherlands"] [Date "1937.11.11"] [Round "16"] [White "Alekhine, Alexander"] [Black "Euwe, Max"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E02"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "6k1/3bbpp1/p3pn2/1p1q2N1/1P5Q/2N3P1/P3PP1P/2B3K1 b - - 0 25"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "1937.10.05"] [Eventtype "match"] [Eventrounds "25"] [Eventcountry "NED"] [Sourcetitle "MainBase"] [Source "ChessBase"] [Sourcedate "1999.07.01"] [Sourceversion "2"] [Sourceversiondate "1999.07.01"] [Sourcequality "1"] [WhiteElo ""] [BlackElo ""] [CurrentPosition "6k1/3bbpp1/p3pn2/1p1q2N1/1P5Q/2N3P1/P3PP1P/2B3K1 b - - 0 25"] 25...Qe5? 26.Bb2? { (White can play here already the queen-sacrifice.) } ( 26.Qh8+! Kxh8 27.Nxf7+ { (Here we see a very rare royal fork for standard chess as this is normally something only we encounter after a blunder in blitz.) } 27...Kh7 28.Nxe5 Bxb4 $16 ) 26...Bc6?! 27.a3?? { (It is unbelievable that it is missed twice at a worldchampionship.) } ( 27.Qh8+ Kxh8 28.Nxf7+ Kg8 29.Nxe5 $18 { (This is now even simply winning as the bishop at c6 hangs.) } ) 27...Bd6 { (Only now Euwe stops the deflection-sacrifice.) } 28.e3 Qf5 29.e4 Qg6 30.f3 Nd7 31.Nh3 f6 32.Nf4 Qf7 33.Qg4 Ne5 34.Qxe6 Nxf3+ 35.Kf2 Qxe6 36.Nxe6 Nd2 37.Nd4 Nxe4+ 38.Nxe4 Bxe4 39.Ke3 Bb7 40.Nf5 Bc7 41.Bd4 Kf7 42.Bc5 Kg6 43.Bd6 Bd8 44.Nd4 Bd5 45.h3 Bb6 46.Bc5 Bc7 47.Ne2 Bc4 48.Nf4+ Kf7 49.h4 g5 50.hxg5 fxg5 51.Nh3 Kf6 52.Nf2 Kf5 53.g4+ Ke6 54.Nh3 Kf6 55.Bd4+ Kg6 56.Ke4 Bf1 57.Nf2 Bg2+ 58.Kd3 Bd5 59.Nd1 Bf3 60.Nf2 Bf4 61.Be3 Bg3 62.Kd4 Bb8 63.Kd3 Be5 64.Bd4 Bf4 65.Be3 1/2-1/2
Not less famous is another example again from a worldchampionship-game but this time between Tigran Petrosian and Boris Spassky.
[Event "World Championship 26th"] [Site "Moscow"] [Date "1966.05.02"] [Round "10"] [White "Petrosian, Tigran V"] [Black "Spassky, Boris V"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E66"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "6k1/r4r1p/p2NB3/nppP2q1/2P5/1P2N3/PQ5P/7K w - - 0 29"] [PlyCount "3"] [EventDate "1966.04.11"] [Eventtype "match"] [Eventrounds "24"] [Eventcountry "URS"] [Sourcetitle "MainBase"] [Source "ChessBase"] [Sourcedate "1999.07.01"] [Sourceversion "2"] [Sourceversiondate "1999.07.01"] [Sourcequality "1"] [WhiteElo ""] [BlackElo ""] [CurrentPosition "6k1/r4r1p/p2NB3/nppP2q1/2P5/1P2N3/PQ5P/7K w - - 0 29"] 29.Bxf7+ Rxf7 30.Qh8+! { (Boris almost felt from his chair after the move was executed on the board. Tigran knows of course the classics.) } 1-0
Tigran is probably the only player whom got it twice on the board see his game against Vladimir Simagin although there is a little difference here as the royal fork can be avoided by black.

At the collection-site of royal forks there are many other beautiful examples but except the ones already mentioned in this article none fully fulfill at all my strict conditions. Many are without a queen-sacrifice or are not pure as some material is captured while sacrificing. In others we don't see a deflection of the king. Finally there are also many were the royal fork was not forced and could be avoided however often leading to a quick mate.

Discovering these little cute things are what makes analyzing something I enjoy. For sure this relieves the task of the chess-parent as the waiting becomes much easier. In the meanwhile I have finished the analysis of all my games of Gent so it is time to play some games myself and to experience new adventures on the board.