Round one of the Gameknot 188th tournament started in April 2020. There are multiple ratings section for the event. I played in the Expert section which is ELO 2000 or less. The format is a double-round robin where you play each member of your group twice, once with each color. In this article I share four of the six games that I found interesting enough to share. I would have included the other two but it was against a much lower rated opponent . The difference in playing strength did not make for a competitive game so I omitted them.
Gameknot is a correspondence-only chess playing server. It doesn’t have the size and scale of a Chess.com or Lichess.org but it’s still a good site for amateurs. Playing slow chess is the best way to improve your chess. Therefore, playing turn-based e-mail chess let’s you take your time to calculate moves and work out ideas on your own without a chess clock next to. That’s not completely true though. Each player has to make a move in 3 days. If that isn’t enough time to think then I don’t what is.
E-mail chess is one of my favorite ways to play the royal game. You get to take your time and really dig into thinking through your ideas. The time I spend reviewing my games is often the most productive next to an over-the-board tournament.
Game #15 – Terror on the long diagonal
Sicilian Defense – 2…d6 Miscellaneous [B50]
Post-mortem of Game# 15 (Gameknot 188th tournament)
Develop your pieces. Don’t start an offense until you have developed all your pieces. Piece development doesn’t just help for offense, it helps for defense too. In this game, Blackjack never moved his queenside knight until he was lost. Develop early and place your pieces on good squares.
Take advantage of open diagonals. In this game, Ne5 was winning on the spot. It allowed Qc6 which led to a crushing attack on the light-squares. Often times, sacrificing a pawn is worth opening lines of attack. Playing f5 was the main idea in weakening the light-squares.
Game #16 – From losing to winning
King’s Gambit – Muzio Gambit [C37]
Post-mortem of Game# 16 (Gameknot 188th tournament)
Don’t always rely on memory. I’ve been playing the King’s Gambit for years. In this game, I mistakenly thought that 7. O-O was a book move. In fact, it’s a blunder. The lesson here is to always calculate your moves, no matter how certain you are about the theory behind it.
Tactics for positional advantage. We are often taught that tactics should be played to win material. This is often true. But in many cases, sacrificing material leads to a crushing positional advantage. In the game, the move Nxg5 kept coming up in multiple lines. Playing it would have led to a winning attack. So always be on the alert for tactical moves that create winning initiatives.
The power of the two bishops. Having the bishop is generally a good thing. This is especially true in open positions where each bishop has an active diagonal. This game is a classic example of how strong the bishop pair can be. They paralyzed Black’s pieces which led to the winning of material and eventually the game.
Don’t be satisfied with good moves. This might sound counterintuitive but don’t always be happy that you found the best most. Ask yourself: “Is that something better?” We saw how the seemingly obvious 26. Rb1 could have been improved by playing 26. Rc1! Sometimes, just one square can make a difference. There is a term in business called operational excellence. The idea is not to just do something but to make sure and do it well. For chess excellence, no move should be considered safe from criticism now matter how strongly you feel about it.
I will share more games from the Gameknot 188th tournament in future posts. Here are the standings for my group after Round 1. My handle is InnerPiece.