Friday, December 4, 2020

The (non-) sense of blitz part 4

September 1995 at the age of 19 years old I played my very first rated game for national rating. This is meanwhile 25 years ago but I remember that even in those early days I was already preparing my games. Obviously it was still very basic as I didn't have much information about my opponents and the engines were very weak. Today a lot has changed. Not only the tools are totally different but I also know much better now how to prepare properly for a game. I guess that in the last decades I've prepared for more than 1000 opponents.

Over the years I discovered that many players (most amateurs ?) at some point in their career stop playing mainlines and switch to smaller systems. That is not a surprise. As I wrote a few weeks ago here, adults have much less time for studying chess compared to children. Children have lots of school-holidays and very few responsibilities. For an adult it is often impossible to and have a full time job and take care of a household and keep track of all important developments in chess. This is also the reason why some players prefer to stop playing competitive chess as they don't like playing at a lower level. On the other hand by choosing cleverly your little systems, it is still possible even without having much time for chess to enjoy playing it.

Nevertheless the Chessbase-article Siem Van Dael unorthodox openings lead to success surprised me. End of last year I had played against Siem a very long theoretical line of the Svechnikov and this time he did exactly the opposite with openings like 1.h4, 1.a4, 1.h3, 1.a3 and 1.g3 g6 2.Bg2 Lg7 3.Na3. The lad is only 16 years old and it looks like he is fed up of studying openings. That is very young but maybe he is just rebelling. At home I also have 2 teenagers which prefer to ignore my advise. On the other hand the best school is always the one which allows you to make your own mistakes.

With this introduction I want to return to the end of my previous article. I concluded that I wanted to focus my new study on openings played by the strongest players. It must also be openings which I can expect in standard games on the board. I guess the bongcloud is a bridge too far but it is clear that some players are daring to play some very unorthodox openings. On the other hand if you look at any database then you see that the number of standardgames starting with 1.h4, 1.a4 ... is very low. Also we have to manage our time wisely and therefore it seems more appropriate to give priority at openings which are played more frequently.

Also every player will in almost any game get to a moment in which there must be played without any prior knowledge. An experienced player should be able to handle a new non critical opening by just following the basic-rules of the opening. Besides the biggest danger of openings consists of critical lines of which a lack of foreknowledge will create a serious handicap. In this article I will show a few of those examples.

My final restriction is to chose openings of critical lines which I haven't studied recently. With recently I mean in the last 5 years. I realize there is an enormous amount of openings which need to be analyzed and then it makes sense to prioritize the unknown systems. So even with all those filters I still managed to select 3 out of 10. In the remaining part of this article I will elaborate 2 out of 3 to demonstrate how great this for me new method of studying chess is.

We start with a line of which I initially thought that black blundered a piece to discover later that this line not only has been tried out in about 50 master-games but also scores very well in practice. The young Turkish international master Omer Faruk Ozer defeated me spectacularly in below game.
[Event "Rated Blitz game"] [Site "?"] [Date "2020.06.05"] [Round "?"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "dozer01"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B40"] [WhiteElo "2481"] [BlackElo "2614"] [PlyCount "60"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. e5 Nd5 8. Ne4 Qc7 9. f4 Rb8 {(I was familiar with Qb6 and Qa5. Later I found around 50 master-games in my database with Rb8.)} 10. c4 Bb4+ 11. Ke2 O-O {(Initially I thought black blundered a piece. This piece-sacrifice was introduced around 2002 by Serbian grandmasters.)} 12. cxd5 cxd5 13. Nc3 {(A year earlier I tried once Nd6 online but I couldn't remember that anymore.)} (13. Nd6 f6 14. Nxc8 fxe5 15. g3 Rfxc8 16. Kf2 e4 17. Kg2 Be7 18. b3 Bf6 19. Rb1 Qc2+ 20. Qxc2 Rxc2+ {(Contrary to my game against dozer01 here we see the pawns dominating the piece.)} 21. Kh3 Rxa2 22. Bg2 a5 23. Rd1 Bc3 24. Be3 Ra3 25. Bd4 Bxd4 26. Rxd4 Rbxb3 27. Rxb3 Rxb3 28. Ra4 Rb5 29. f5 exf5 30. Kh4 h6 31. Bh3 g6 32. g4 f4 33. g5 e3 34. Bg4 h5 35. Bf3 Kf7 36. Kh3 Ke6 37. Kg2 Ke5 38. Kf1 d4 39. Ke2 d5 40. Kd3 Rb3+ 41. Kc2 Rc3+ 42. Kb2 Rc5 43. Ra3 Kf5 44. h4 Ke5 45. Kb1 Kd6 46. Kb2 Kc6 47. Rb3 Rc4 48. Ra3 a4 49. Rd3 Kc5 50. Be2 Rb4+ 51. Ka2 Kd6 52. Ka3 Rc4 53. Ka2 Ke5 54. Kb2 Ke4 55. Ra3 Rb4+ 56. Kc2 f3 57. Bd3+ Kf4 58. Bxg6 e2 59. Kd2 Rb2+ {(Brabo - Alexsur81 0 - 1)}) 13... f6 14. exf6 Rxf6 15. Be3 Bxc3 16. bxc3 Rb2+ 17. Kf3 Bb7 18. Kg3 e5 19. Qc1 Rg6+ 20. Kh3 d6 21. f5 Qd7 22. g4 Rxg4 23. Kxg4 h5+ 24. Kg3 h4+ 25. Kxh4 Qxf5 26. Qxb2 Qe4+ 27. Kg3 Qxe3+ 28. Kh4 Qf4+ 29. Kh5 Bc8 30. Rg1 Qh6# 0-1
Later I detected in my personal database that I had lost another game in this line against the famous Alexsur81, one of the most active and strongest players on lichess. I try to shield my accounts but of course it is fun to know who exactly uses an account. Here it wasn't really difficult to find out that the Russian grandmaster Aleksei Priodorozhni plays with the username Alexsur81. It even becomes more interesting when we discover that Aleksei also dared to play this opening recently in a standard game on the board.
[Event "77th ch-Urals 2019"] [Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"] [Date "2019.03.17"] [Round "6.2"] [White "Iljiushenok, I."] [Black "Pridorozhni, A."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B40"] [WhiteElo "2524"] [BlackElo "2593"] [PlyCount "157"] [EventDate "2019.03.12"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. e5 Nd5 8. Ne4 Qc7 9. f4 Rb8 10. c4 Bb4+ 11. Ke2 O-O {(Black is well-known on lichess by his username Alexsur81. It is interesting to see that Aleksei dares to play this line/ sacrifice also in standard games.)} 12. a3 Be7 {(My analysis prefers Ba5.)} (12... Ba5 13. b4 f5 {(A very complex position which even my strongest engines are struggling to evaluate properly.)}) 13. cxd5 cxd5 14. Nd6 Ba6+ 15. Ke1 f6 (15... Bxf1 16. Rxf1 f6 $16) 16. Bxa6 Qa5+ 17. b4 Qxa6 18. Qe2 $6 (18. Bb2 $16) 18... Qa4 19. Bd2 $6 (19. Rb1 fxe5 20. fxe5 a5 $14) 19... fxe5 20. fxe5 a5 21. Qg4 Qc2 22. Qd4 axb4 23. axb4 Bd8 $4 {(Here black loses the thread. My engine recommends Qg6 with full compensation but as often the case we see that it is very hard in standardgames to prove the compensation at the board without any help.)} 24. Rf1 Be7 25. Ke2 Qg6 26. g4 h5 27. h3 Bg5 28. Rxf8+ Rxf8 29. Bxg5 Qxg5 30. Rf1 Rxf1 31. Kxf1 Qc1+ 32. Kg2 h4 33. b5 Qa3 34. Qf2 d4 35. b6 d3 36. b7 Qb4 37. Kf3 d2 38. Ke2 Qb1 39. Qf7+ Kh7 40. Kxd2 $4 {(I suspect that white had very little time left as this throws away the win.)} (40. Qh5+ Kg8 41. b8=Q+ Qxb8 42. Qe8+ $18) 40... Qb2+ 41. Kd3 Qb3+ 42. Ke2 Qc2+ 43. Ke3 Qc5+ $4 {(The wrong check but I admit that it is not easy to calculate till the end how to give perpetual check. )} (43... Qc3+ $1 44. Kf2 Qg3+ $1 45. Ke2 Qxe5+ $1 46. Kf1 Qxd6 $1 47. Qh5+ Kg8 48. Qe8+ Kh7 49. b8=Q Qd1+ $1 50. Kf2 Qd2+ 51. Kf3 Qd3+ 52. Kf4 Qd4+ $1 53. Kf3 Qd3+ $11) 44. Kd3 Qd5+ 45. Kc2 Qc6+ 46. Kb3 Qb6+ 47. Kc3 $4 (47. Kc4 $1 Qa6+ 48. Kb4 Qb6+ 49. Nb5 $18) 47... Qa5+ $4 {(It is extremely hard to play this position correctly especially if both are just playing on an increment of 30 seconds per move.)} (47... Qe3+ $1 48. Kb4 Qe1+ $1 49. Kb3 Qd1+ $1 50. Kb2 Qd2+ $1 51. Ka3 Qc3+ 52. Ka4 Qa1+ $1 53. Kb5 Qxe5+ $1 54. Kb6 Qxd6+ 55. Ka7 Qa3+ 56. Kb8 Qd6+ $11) 48. Kc4 Qa4+ 49. Kc5 Qc6+ 50. Kd4 Qb6+ 51. Kc4 Qc6+ 52. Kb4 Qb6+ 53. Nb5 Qxb7 54. Qf4 Qg2 55. Qe3 Kg6 56. Nd6 Qb2+ 57. Kc4 Kh7 58. Qd3+ g6 59. Qe3 Qc2+ 60. Kb5 Qc6+ 61. Kb4 Qd5 62. Qc5 Qh1 63. Qc3 Kg7 64. Kb5 Qb1+ 65. Ka6 Qb8 66. Qf3 Qb1 67. Qf6+ Kg8 68. Qd8+ Kg7 69. Qxd7+ Kh6 70. Nf7+ Kg7 71. g5 Kf8 72. Nd6 Qa2+ 73. Kb6 Qb3+ 74. Kc7 Kg8 75. Qc8+ Kh7 76. Kd8 Qxh3 77. Qd7+ Kg8 78. Qf7+ Kh8 79. Qf8+ 1-0
Aleksei lost this game but he had definitely chances. I assume he studied this opening seriously as he regularly plays it on lichess with success. I don't know if I will encounter this opening later on the board but I wasn't surprised to get quickly the opportunity online to test my analysis of this opening. Aleksei has almost 4000 followers so one can expect that some of them try to copy his repertoire. I believe that the next game played on just 3 minutes KO against a 2440 elo rated opponent wasn't bad.
[Event "Rated Blitz game"] [Site "?"] [Date "2020.11.14"] [Round "?"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Lostwinner"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B40"] [WhiteElo "2471"] [BlackElo "2440"] [PlyCount "135"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. e5 Nd5 8. Ne4 Qc7 9. f4 Rb8 10. c4 Bb4+ 11. Ke2 O-O 12. cxd5 cxd5 13. Ng5 {(This is the critical test based on my analysis.)} 13... h6 14. Nf3 f6 15. exf6 {(In my notes I recommended a3 as stronger but in a blitz-game of only 3 minutes there is very little time to remember such detail.)} 15... Rxf6 16. Be3 Bd6 $2 {(Black miss my next move but the idea of Ba6 doesn't look natural to me at all.)} (16... Ba6+ $1 17. Kf2 Bc5 18. Bxa6 Rxb2+ 19. Be2 Bxe3+ 20. Kxe3 Rxf4 {(Stockfish 12 shows 0.00 despite black having 2 pieces less.)}) 17. Qc1 Bxf4 18. Bxf4 Qxf4 19. Qxf4 Rxf4 20. b3 {(White gave a pawn back to neutralize the attack of black.)} 20... e5 21. Rc1 e4 22. Nd4 {(The mass of pawns is blocked and now it is clear that the extra piece will prevail. In a blitz of only 3 minutes you still need to be careful and play fast.)} 22... Bb7 23. Ke3 Rbf8 24. Be2 Rf2 25. Rhg1 a5 26. Rcf1 Rxf1 27. Rxf1 Rc8 28. Kd2 d6 29. Rc1 e3+ 30. Kd1 Rf8 31. Bf3 Rf4 32. Ne2 Rb4 33. Rc7 Kh8 34. Kc2 g5 35. a3 Rb6 36. Nd4 Ba6 37. Re7 Rb8 38. Rxe3 Rc8+ 39. Rc3 Re8 40. Kd2 a4 41. Bxd5 axb3 42. Rxb3 Re5 43. Bf3 Ra5 44. h3 Bc4 45. Rc3 d5 46. Nc2 Ra4 47. Ne3 Ra5 48. Nxc4 dxc4 49. Ke3 Re5+ 50. Kd4 Rf5 51. Kxc4 Rxf3 {(This is very normal for this kind of superblitz. The losing side tries to play some random moves just to make the opponent lose on time. Unfortunately this often works but not this time.)} 52. Rxf3 g4 53. hxg4 h5 54. gxh5 Kg7 55. Rg3+ Kh6 56. Kd5 Kxh5 57. Ke6 Kh4 58. Rg8 Kh5 59. Kf5 Kh6 60. g4 Kh7 61. Rg5 Kh6 62. Rh5+ Kg7 63. g5 Kf8 64. Rh7 Kg8 65. g6 Kf8 66. Ke6 Kg8 67. Kf6 Kf8 68. Rh8# 1-0
The second example concerns a line which is already 15 years part of my repertoire and which I regularly encounter online (about 60 times). I have never studied it as in a standard-game nobody yet tried it out against me. Anyway I was mainly concerned about the setup chosen by the Russian FM Kirill Kopjonkin. This was also confirmed by my engine as it seems I always replied in the past (7 times already) wrongly.
[Event "Rated Blitz game"] [Site "?"] [Date "2020.01.08"] [Round "?"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "kirill_kopyonkin"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B84"] [WhiteElo "2501"] [BlackElo "2604"] [PlyCount "60"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. f4 O-O 9. Be3 Qc7 10. g4 b5 {(In 2004 I won my first game ever against a grandmaster, the German Arkadij Rotstein. He chose the positional d5. B5 is a much more aggressive move. I never encountered it yet in a standard game but I did meet it already about 60 times online.)} 11. g5 Nfd7 12. f5 b4 13. fxe6 $6 {(In 6 older online games I also played each time fxe6. Critical is Na4.)} (13. Na4 $1 Ne5 14. a3 $14) 13... bxc3 14. exd7 Nxd7 15. b3 Ne5 16. Bd3 Bb7 17. Nf5 Rae8 18. Qe2 d5 19. exd5 Bc5 20. Rae1 Bxd5 21. Qh5 Nxd3 22. cxd3 Rxe3 23. Nxe3 Re8 24. Qh3 Qe7 25. Kf2 c2 26. d4 Bxd4 27. Re2 Qxg5 28. Qg3 Qf6+ 29. Kg1 Bxe3+ 30. Rxe3 Qxf1+ 0-1
So today I know that 13.Na4 is much stronger than 13.fxe6 which was previously always the move I played online. I also want to add that I didn't only study this one amelioration of this line. When I look at an opening then I also look at the alternatives for black and that was immediately rewarded in the next online games. In the next weeks I won very easily against 3 + 2400 rated players in this opening thanks to the new acquired knowledge.
[Event "Rated Blitz game"] [Site "?"] [Date "2020.11.02"] [Round "?"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "supertolchok"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B84"] [WhiteElo "2442"] [BlackElo "2425"] [PlyCount "35"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. f4 O-O 9. Be3 Qc7 10. g4 b5 11. g5 Nfd7 12. f5 Ne5 {(This is better than b4 and equalizes in my analysis. However if black didn't study this deeply with an engine then it is almost impossible to find the right moves on the board.)} (12... Nc5 $4 13. f6 Bd8 14. fxg7 Kxg7 15. Bd3 Nbd7 16. Qh5 Ne5 17. Rf4 Bb7 18. Raf1 Ng6 19. R4f3 b4 20. Qh6+ Kg8 21. Nf5 exf5 22. exf5 Nxd3 23. f6 {(This blitz-game I played a week later against vspro100, also +2400.)}) 13. f6 Bd8 14. Bd3 {(3 weeks later I played the right move-order with first fxg7. I forgot it in this game.)} (14. fxg7 Kxg7 15. Bd3 Nbc6 16. Qh5 Be7 17. Rf4 Bd7 18. Qh6+ Kg8 19. Rh4 Rfc8 20. Qxh7+ Kf8 21. Qh8# {(This was against davidcm92 another +2400 player.)}) 14... Nbc6 15. Qh5 Bb7 16. fxg7 Kxg7 17. Nxe6+ fxe6 18. Qh6+ {(Mate is next. I didn't use a minute for the complete game.)} 1-0
Of course it won't be so simple in a standard game but I am convinced that my study will help me to play this opening more accurately.

Also I noticed that this new method of study is much quicker and more efficient than the way I worked before the corona-crisis. I don't spend any time anymore at the middle-game or endgame. I fully focus on the openings and on top only the real critical lines. I see immediately my results in those lines improving (for now of course only online). In 5 weeks I managed to finish the study of already 11 different openings which is twice as much as I do normally.

There are plenty of games I can use to continue for quite some time. Meanwhile I keep playing online so that the new knowledge can be tested and other/ new problems can be discovered. It is just a matter of finding the right opponents for it but that will be the last and final part of my new method of working with online games. Which online games (tempo/ tournaments/...) should we play and where can we find the best players online to find optimally new materials for the study?


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