Tag Archives: Modern Defense

Amateur Versus Master: Game Twenty Three

I Had Some Klewe How to Draw This Correspondence Chess Game!

My opponent in the correspondence chess game is an ICCF master who lives in Germany.

White has a tendency to play unorthodox openings. In this correspondence chess game, White chose Benko’s Opening and I responded with the Modern Defense. We then transposed into the Kings Indian Defense, Panno Variation. Although I ended up playing some lines that I had never seen before, thanks to my databases of games, I was able to play a solid variation.

As Black, I ended up with a slight positional advantage and I kept that slight positional advantage after some middle game exchanges that traded down into an endgame. Part of that advantage included tandem (They are also called Horwitz Bishops after Bernhard Horwitz and mistakenly called Harrwitz Bishops after Daniel Harrwitz.) bishops that were aimed at the White Queenside. I still had those tandem bishops on move number 40 when White offered a draw, but there were no targets left on the Queenside for those bishops to attack. Because I was unable to find a way to capitalize on the very slight positional advantage, I accepted the draw offer.

This draw puts me into a temporary tie for third place in this section and fourth on tie breaks.

Mike Serovey

Kids and Chess, Part Six

This Was a Blunder-fully Short Chess Game!

This is my final win against Benson Walent, so this will be the last time that I pick on him. This seems to be my second shortest chess game against a beginner and my sloppiest one that I have examined so far! I blundered on move number five and Benson started to punish my error. Then, I continued to make more bad moves! However, Benson let me off the hook by making a few bad moves himself and a couple of outright blunders that were worse than mine! In a matter of just seven moves I went from losing to winning.

One thing that has plagued me, as well as inexperienced players, is failing to win a won game. In this chess game, it was my opponent who failed to win a won chess game.

Mike Serovey

I Got Eaten Alive at Jarecki Park!

Fans of Steven Spielberg are familiar with the Jurassic Park movies in which some scientists recreated various species of dinosaurs. The  dinosaurs got lose and chased some people around and ate them. Jarecki sounds like Jurassic and once I started losing this correspondence chess game I felt like I was being chased by a pack of velociraptors. At the point where I resigned, I felt like I had one velociraptor on my left arm, a second velociraptor on my left leg, a third velociraptor on my right leg, and a fourth velociraptor was eating my guts. With only my right arm free and my only weapon being  a pocket knife, I could not fight off the velociraptors. So, I ended the pain of being eaten alive by cutting my own throat with the knife (resigning)!

This correspondence chess game is one of four losses that I have in this section. The winners of the other three games are now in the top three spots in his section and I am in fourth place at the time that I am writing this.

In this correspondence chess game I decided to play the Modern Defense and to try the Sniper move order. I ended up transposing into an Accelerated Dragon variation of the Sicilian Defense.

I cannot pinpoint any one move as being the losing move, but things began to go badly for me around the 17th move of this correspondence chess game. In the course of three moves I went from doing OK to losing and the chess engines gave me no warning that I was heading into trouble!

On move number 21 I sacrificed a Rook for a Knight because I was losing anyway and I had hoped that I could get an attack going against the White King. A better course of action would have been to sacrifice that Rook for the White Bishop that was threatening my King. That might not have been enough to save this correspondence chess game for me, though.

In the future it is unlikely that I will try this move order again.

Mike Serovey

Sometimes You Win and Sometimes You Don’t

I am posting two different games from the same section here. In the first game my opponent dropped a Bishop on the thirteenth move of the game and he resigned when I took it. My opponent in this first game is from the Netherlands. My opponent in the second game is from Canada.

In the second game we played much longer and agreed to a draw. These results put me in temporary first place in this section. I also got a draw against the other player who is higher rated than I am in this section. With 4 draws and a win I am alone in first place in this section and I am winning my last game in this section. However, that may not be enough to keep first place if one of the players that I drew wins more than 2 games in this section.

My notes in this second game, plus what I have stated above, pretty much cover what happened in this game.

Mike Serovey

Clash of the Titans

OK, both my opponent and I are experts, not yet masters. Still, this chess game was hard fought by our chess engines! We both were posting our analysis on the playchess.com server. I could see what he was analyzing with Stockfish 5.0 SE and he could see what I was analyzing with Houdini and Deep Fritz. Truthfully, I doubt that either one of us would have found half of the moves that we played had this been an OTB chess game. Again, ICCF rules allow us to use chess engines.

This chess game is one of two draws that I have in this section. I also drew the player that Miloslav defeated, so Miloslav is temporarily in first place, I am in second place and Don Pedro is in third place. If I can finish my remaining games with at least a draw in each one I may remain in second place in this section.

Against unknown opponents I will often play the Modern Defense. It did not take long for my opponent to get me out of my database of games and into unique analysis. About half way through this game I realized that someone was anonymously following my analysis on playchess.com. From that point on, my opponent was playing whatever moves Stockfish recommended. There were a couple of times in the thick of it that my chess engines thought that something else was better for White. The notes that I made during this game (see below) explain the rest.

Mike Serovey

Playing Chess in a Modern Age

Here is a game from the first international event that I played on the ICCF server. Both of us had provisional ratings of 1800 points at the start of this. Now, my established rating on ICCF is 2027. My opponent’s established rating is now 2192. 

The opening that I played is known as both the Modern Defense and the Robatsch Defense. I usually call it the Modern Defense , even if I start off with a different move order. In chess openings there are two schools of thought. The first one is called the Classical School and it teaches players to occupy the Center with pieces and pawns. The second one was developed by Aron Nimzowitsch and Richard Réti and is called the Hypermodern School of thought. This school of thought teaches players to not occupy the Center but to attack it from the wings instead. I have played both styles and which one I will use in a particular game depends on my mood and what my opponent is rated. Also, if I know or suspect that my opponent is going to play some kind of anti Sicilian opening I will play the Pirc or Modern Defense.

Although we both played a couple of second-best moves there were no outright blunders until I decided to trade queens on move number 20. That lead to the loss of a Bishop for a pawn and then I resigned. I can’t explain that kind of a blunder in a correspondence chess game! At the time that I played this game I did not know that ICCF rules allowed me to use chess engines. If I had used an engine in this game I would not have made that blunder.

Mike Serovey

Amateur Versus Master: Game Nine

This is a recently completed game that was played on the ICCF server. My opponent is from England and is one of two 2300 rated players that I drew in this section. He is also the highest rated player in this section. This draw has temporarily moved me back into second place out of 13. I doubt that I can remain in  second place because I am losing one of my three remaining games in this section.

This game went only 26 moves and thus it would qualify as a miniature, but it was not a “Grandmaster draw”. I had two pawns for a Knight, but a passed pawn on the Queenside was compensation for the Knight. I also had a fianchettoed Bishop that covered a potential queening square.

I play the English Opening as White and thus I dislike having to play against it as Black. However, in this game I did OK with it. I tried to transpose into a Modern Defense and then from there we got some kind of Benoni Defense. Having an up-to-date database of games helped me get through the opening without any errors. My analysis in the game below includes notes from other commentators.

By move number ten Black is lagging a little behind in development but is advancing his pawns on the Queenside. The trick here is for Black to avoid over extending those pawns. By move number 14 Black has completed his development and the game is even. On move number 16 Black starts a combination of moves that gives Black connected passed pawns for a Knight, but is still fairly even. I calculated at least a draw for Black with this in spite of the slight material deficit. The reader can decide for himself or herself how this game would have gone if we had played it out beyond 26 moves.

Mike Serovey

2011 Golden Knights Final

This game is the last one that I completed in the 2011 Golden Knights semifinal round. This draw gave me the 4.5 points that I need to advance to the final round. Wayne kept declining my draw requests even though I had a slight positional advantage throughout most of this endgame. I was irritated by that. In an OTB game it makes sense to play out even endgames if your opponent is low on time. In CC chess it is a bit of an insult to play out dead even positions hoping that I will blunder. I am not likely to blunder when I can take three days to look at a move!

In the final round I am the only one out of seven who is not a master. Still, I think that I can pull off an even score in this section and get my USCF CC rating over 2200 points, making me a legitimate chess master for the first time in my 38 year chess career.

In this game Black (me) never castled, which is unusual. I usually castle by move ten. In this game, I chose not to castle in order to break up the tension on the Kingside. I got away with that, but I still doubt if that was my best strategy here. Wayne didn’t castle until move number 21.

Mike Serovey

Time Pressure and Chess Blindness

In a previous post on chess blindness I mentioned the “chicken bone thing”. I have found my game against Michael J. Hoffer in which he explains this tactic in quite a bit of detail. Mike has a tendency to be obsessive – compulsive and his analysis of my game with him shows that trait. Mike was surprised when I mentioned the “chicken bone thing” to him after he sent me his notes on our game. He didn’t want me to know about it. As a result of seeing his notes I changed my move order whenever I played Black against him or his students. There was too much studying for me to do if I was to deal with it effectively.

One tip on clock management that I will give now is this; if a move is forced then take no longer to look at the move than what is necessary to confirm that the move is indeed forced. Then, play the forced move immediately and look at your opponent’s reply. It may not be what you were expecting and you would have wasted time looking at moves that were not played.

I think that Mike’s analysis is worth sharing and I really can’t add much to it. I will say that most of the blunders in this game that were made by both players resulted from extreme time pressure. Mike has a habit of taking too long to think about obvious and forced moves. Playing moves that surprise Mike is one of the best ways to get him into time trouble. Mike confirms this in his notes more than once.

You can learn more about Mike Hoffer by visiting his chess site Yes 2 Chess.

Mike Serovey

Amatuer versus Master – Game Three

This is another game against a chess master that I played on the ICC server. This chess master is from Hong Kong. When I asked him for a draw I sent my request in English and I also sent it in Chinese. I used translation software to write in Chinese. I never got any messages from him so I don’t know if he reads English, but he did accept my draw request.

I played a Modern (Robatsch) Defense partly because I was unsure of how he would handle the Sicilian Defense. In this case that seemed to be a good choice. On move number 8 my opponent went into a less popular line and I had equality from that point on. There was some sharp play in the endgame, but we still ended up with equality.

Games from the rejected lines are included in my analysis. I didn’t need to use my chess engines much in this game because there was plenty of analysis in my database.

Mike Serovey