Tag Archives: English Opening

Return of the Dead Eyes

Fans of this blog may have noticed that I have not posted a new article in a year. Around 20 July 2016 I had a brain stroke, A blood clot hit the right side of my brain and that did quite a bit of damage. A year later I still can barely see or feel a keyboard! That has made writing articles very difficult! Luckily, I found a doctor that will perform the cataract surgery that I have needed for the past year. I will still need glasses for reading and I will still have a huge blind spot on my left side.

I was in Penrose hospital for 3 days before I was transferred to the VA hospital that is in Denver, Colorado.

While I was in these hospitals I could not log into the ICCF server to take a time out or play a move. That, in turn, caused me to lose several cc games on time forfeit. My ICCF rating took a big hit!

Luckily, I was able to enter new events and I have had some decent results in them.

The game below is one of my recent draws with an expert on ICCF.

After my eye surgeries are completed and I can finally see again, I will write regular articles again. I will “see” you all then!

Mike Serovey

Kids and Chess, Part Five

For this week’s article I decided to pick on Benson Walent again. In this OTB chess game Benson played fairly well but he still lost in under 30 moves. The time control for this event was Game in 40 minutes with a 5 second delay. When Benson resigned he was down to about three and a half minutes while I still had 25 minutes. I moved too quickly at certain points in this chess game and thus I missed a couple of chances to win more quickly than I did. Benson took too long to move and ended up in time trouble.

When playing against beginners I can get overly confident and thus a little sloppy. My play was a little sloppy in this chess game because I was playing the Botvinnik system and did not check to see if I had better moves. Also, I will often trade down into an endgame and outplay my opponents there.

In recent events I discovered that I no longer have the endurance to grind out endgames and that strategy does not work well for me when I have no time to rest between rounds. In future rapid events, I will be slowing down in the openings and looking to crush my opponents there and try to win before we get to an endgame.

Mike Serovey

Kids and Chess, Part Four

In my previous articles about kids and chess I posted my losses to kids that were pretty strong. In this article I have posted one of my three wins against a little boy who was a beginner at the time that I played him. Benson Walent was a student of “Coach Mike” at the time that I played him. “Coach Mike” taught his students to play the Kings Indian Defense against anything other than 1.e4 by White. I played the English Opening and Benson went into the Kings Indian Defense as he was taught to.

One advantage of playing system openings is that you do not have to memorize as much. The drawback is that you become predictable. The Kings Indian Defense against the English Opening has never given me any real problems and in this chess game Black started having problems on move number 10. By move number 12 Black was losing.
Benson Walent between adults playing chess

In the photograph above, Benson Walent is the little boy who is between the adults on the right. At the time that this chess game was played, my rating was twice his, I was about three times his physical size and four times his age. I also had White. This gave me a huge psychological advantage! Behind Benson are two masters who are playing against each other on Board One.

The Tampa Bay area has many traditions that I never really understood. One of them is Guavaween. This chess tournament was played on or around the day of Guavaween and thus it was named after that event. You can find some information on the supposed origins of Guavaween at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guavaween

Mike Serovey

Kids and Chess, Part Three

The chess game below is from Round Two of a Saturday event that had a rapid, sudden-death time control with a five-second increment. In the previous round, I lost to higher rated player and I had about five minutes to recover before starting this round. My concentration was shot!

My opponent was a nine-year-old boy who had been playing rated chess for three years at the time that we played this chess game. I  missed a few opportunities to get an advantage in the opening and middle game. Around move number 40, I realized that I was losing and that I needed to try a swindle. I correctly guessed that my young opponent would not know how to win an endgame in which he had a King, Knight and dark-squared Bishop versus my lone King, so I deliberately traded down into that endgame.

Once we got that endgame, I went to the TD to verify that the 50-move rule still applied to that endgame. I was told that it still does. The TD watched the last 20 moves or so of this chess game with a look on her face that was either confusion or disgust. When my opponent blundered away his last Bishop, giving him insufficient mating material, it took me about half of a second to grab it with my King and declare a draw. The TD turned away with what looked like total disgust on her face! Considering that her OTB rating was about 930 points, I doubt that she understood what I was doing in that endgame and why I was moving so quickly.

With a dark-squared Bishop, Black needed to drive the White King into a dark corner. I ran my King into a light corner (h1) and kept it there. My inexperienced young opponent tried to checkmate the White King in that corner, which cannot be done! Before the start of the next round I explained that he needed to memorize this endgame because he did not have enough time to figure it out during a game that has a rapid time control. I also explained that because he had a dark-squared Bishop, he had to drive my King out of that light corner and into a dark one.

Mike Serovey

Kids and Chess, Part One

A few years ago one of the chess coaches in the Tampa area had an annoying habit of telling his students that I hated little kids. Because I got tired of that, I decided to make a sarcastic reply if I heard him say that again. He did during one of his group lessons, so I replied with, “Actually, they taste quite good with a little peanut oil and basil”! I got a laugh from that. So, now I am including a few quotes by W. C. Fields about kids.

W. C. Fields quotes about kids

I do not actually hate or eat kids, but I may want them to think that I do! Considering that I have been playing rated chess off and on for 41 years, I really do dislike losing to someone who has been alive less than 20 years! In this case, I lost to someone who has been alive about one third as long as I have been playing chess!

My opponent is this Wednesday night tournament round is a thirteen-year-old girl. Her mother was the TD for this event. I lost the previous round to a gentleman that is older than I am. I told both Sara and her mother, Shirley, that I had a lousy tack record in OTB chess against human females regardless of age or rating. That is true, but I need to correct a few things. Prior to this loss, my last loss in an OTB chess game to a human female was to a 17-year-old Dutch girl who later became the under 21 female champion of the Netherlands. She was not exactly a patzer! Sara, my opponent is this loss, is the number five ranked female of any age in the state of Colorado. Again, not exactly a patzer!

The correction is that I beat and drew Sara’s sister, Rebecca, and I beat some female beginners in Tampa prior to moving to Colorado. However, Sara is one of three teenage girls that I have lost to in OTB chess in the past 20 years or so. Prior to getting out of the US Army in 1986, I never lost an OTB chess game to a human female! Now, that record is shattered.

Also, prior to my discharge from the Army, I rarely lost to a kid that was lower rated than I was. Since then, I have had only one loss to a lower rated kid that I can remember. However, that rating difference was over 800 points! I have also barely escaped losses to lower rated kids on at least two occasions in the past five years.

Across the range of ratings that my opponents have had and the time that I have been playing chess, my losses to kids after I graduated from high school have numbered less than the number of wins against them. However, I do not know the exact numbers.

Mike Serovey

Drawing This Correspondence Chess Game Was No Hassell

My opponent in this correspondence chess game is from England and his last name is Hassell. As some of my readers may have noticed, I like to play with words and the names of my opponents!

Originally, I wanted to trade down into a King and pawn endgame or to use my remaining Bishop to go after my opponent’s pawns that were on dark squares. However, when he offered a draw on move number 27 I accepted the offer because I realized that there just was not enough play left in the position to justify my spending my time and energy on trying to win that rather closed endgame.

This cc game is one of three draws that I have in this section.

Mike Serovey

An American Defeats Henry the Eighth

My opponent in this correspondence chess game is not really Henry VIII of England. However, his name is Henry and he is from Finland. Also, while playing chess with this Henry I kept thinking of an old song from 1965 by Herman’s Hermits called “I’m Henry Vlll I Am”. You can watch and listen to a YouTube video featuring this song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4OS17lqHiE.

I started this correspondence chess game with the Réti Opening and the game transposed into the English Opening, and then something that resembled the Botvinnik System. This Henry decided to play an unusual line against me. Although he was using a combination of chess engines during this chess game, he went against what the engines recommended and played an unsound sacrifice. That was the main reason that he lost this cc game.

This is my second win in this section. After one win and one draw I moved into fourth place out of thirteen in this section. With two wins, three draws and three losses I am still in fourth place at the time that I am writing this.

Mike Serovey

Amateur Versus Master: Game Fifteen

This chess game was played in Tampa, Florida, USA back in 2013. The US Chess Federation (USCF) awarded the title of Life Master to my opponent, Corey Acor, some time prior to this chess game being played. This is one of three rated chess games that I played against Corey and I lost all three of those rated chess games. I believe that this one was my quickest loss to him.

I made a couple of second-best moves early on in this chess game and then blundered outright on move number 12. Things for White went downhill quickly from there. All three of my losses to Corey were due to blunders like the ones that I played in this chess game.

Mike Serovey

Chess Opening Blunders – a Quick Win

My opponent hung his Queen on move number 19 of an ICC rapid chess tournament game and then said that it was not fair when I took his Queen with my Knight. You can take back blunders in a friendly game, but not in a tournament game! He was lost even before he dropped his Queen.

I joined this event late and got a half-point bye in Round One. This win is from Round Two. I drew Round Three and won Round Four. That gave me three points out of four.

Mike Serovey

If It’s a Car You Lack, I’d Surely Buy You a Hadiak

My opponent is this correspondence chess game is from United Arab Emirates. I do not know his real name, but he uses the handle “hadiak” on  ICC. The handle, “hadiak” rhymes with Cadillac and thus it reminded me of a line in the song, Thank You for Being a Friend.

I won both of my correspondence chess games as White against him and I have yet to play Black against him. Right now, I am declining correspondence chess games on ICC while I get caught up on the 100,000 other things that I need to do.

A detailed analysis of my other correspondence chess game against hadiak can be found here

Mike Serovey