The Chess Improver, best UK Chess Blog 2020

I am very happy to announce The Chess Improver team of:

GM Nigel Davies
Richard James
Hugh Patterson
Ashvin Chauhan
Valer Eugen Demian
Dan Staples
Sam Davies
John Rhodes
Jaylen Lenear
Mike Serovey
Bryan Castro

has won 1st place as the best UK Chess Blog in 2020 based on social metrics, google search ranking, quality and consistency of blogging. Thank you for having me and congratulations team!

Double Queen Sacrifice

GM Nakamura beat GM Duda 15.5 - 11.5 in the quarter-finals of Speed Chess Championship 2019 on chess.com The game below is a spectacular miniature from the match where GM Duda got to sacrifice his Queen twice. The second time Hikaru had no choice but to resign on the spot because checkmate was inevitable. Enjoy!

[Event "Live Chess"][Site "Chess.com"][Date "2019.12.04"][Round "11"][White "Nakamura, Hikaru"][Black "Duda, Jan-Krzysztof"][Result "0-1"][ECO "C42"]1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nd3 {An obscure choice before 2018, it has been brought back into the spotlight by the top GMs} 4... Nxe4 5. Qe2 Qe7 6. Nf4 Nc6 7. c3 (7. Nd5 Nd4 8. Nxe7 Nxe2 9. Nd5 Nd4 10. Na3 Be6 {Carlsen - Caruana, 1/2-1/2 at move 80, game 6, WCh 2018} ) 7... Nf6 8. d4 Bf5 9. Be3 $5 {An interesting decision by Hikaru to avoid the Queen exchange, decision the engines did not like very much} 9... d5 10. Nd2 O-O-O 11. O-O-O $6 {Hikaru completely overlooked black's response} 11... Qa3 $1 12. Qb5 {The Queen is tabu}  (12. bxa3 Bxa3#) 12... Qxa2 13. Bd3 Bxd3 14. Qxd3 Na5 {A strong and normal looking move to me. The engines do not have it in top 5 though} 15. Kc2 $2 {Probably the fatal mistake}  (15. Qb1 {Forcing the black Queen out of there} ) 15... Qa4+ 16. Kb1 Kb8 {A prophylactic move Nimzowitsch would be proud of} 17. Nf3 $2 {The last straw; possibly Hikaru thought his King could run away to the King side, otherwise there is no explanation for it} 17... Rd6 $1 18. Nd2 Ra6 19. Qc2 Qa1+ $1 {A second Queen sacrifice white cannot decline. This is one heck of a finish even for a blitz game}  (19... Qa1+ 20. Kxa1 Nb3+ 21. Kb1 Ra1#)

The Chess Improver, best UK Chess Blog 2018

I am very happy to announce The Chess Improver team of:

GM Nigel Davies
Hugh Patterson
Richard James
Ashvin Chauhan
Valer Eugen Demian
John Rhodes
Dan Staples
Mike Serovey
Sam Davies

has won 1st place as the best UK Chess Blog in 2018 based on social metrics, google search ranking, quality and consistency of blogging. Thank you for having me and congratulations team!

Checkmate in 2

A challenging puzzle, testing your patience and spirit of observation. Please email me your solutions or post them as comments. You need to have a website account to be able to post comments.

[Event "Study by Alberto Armeni"][Date "1981.??.??"][Result "1-0"][FEN "8/2P1pR2/1KPk4/2N1r3/2P3b1/8/7B/8 w - - 0 1"]

BCYCC 2017

This year's BCYCC was much better attended by our students. Seven of them decided to play: Eric, Yakov, Shya, Benjamin, Cody, Lyvia and Jalen; after two days of competitive games, 4 of them managed to qualify for CYCC. The qualification conditions were linked directly to the number of points scored in each section and the number of games played. Our successful students were:
Eric Shan 3.0/ 5 games - boys U10
Lyvia Shan 3.0/ 5 games - tied for 3rd place girls U12
Cody Ruan 2.5/ 5 games - boys U12
Jalen Huang 2.0/ 4 games - boys U14

Congratulations! Eric was playing in his first major tournament. Lyvia improved considerably from her first participation last year and managed to get a trophy for finishing tied for 3rd. Cody and Jalen played solid, proving they can hold their own if they decide to play in more junior tournaments.

Each of the four qualifiers accepted to share a moment from their favorite game played. The analysis is their own. You can access each selection by choosing it from the pull down menu above the diagram. Hope you like them!

[Event "BCYCC 2017"][Date "2017.03.26"][Round "4"][White "Shan, Eric"][Black "Sun, Sam"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "r3k2r/2p2ppp/p3b3/8/1q1P4/5Q2/PPP2PPP/R1B1R1K1 w kq - 0 1"]{Black wanted me to take both rooks and then checkmate me. I had a nice trick ready for him} 1. Qxa8+ Ke7 (1... Kd7 2. Qe4 {Here I would be up a rook}) 2. Bg5+! {Now my Re1 is defended and I can take on h8} 2...f6 3. Qxh8 1-0<br />
[Event "BCYCC 2017"][Date "2017.03.26"][Round "5"][White "Shan, Lyvia"][Black "Kelman, Samantha"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "8/8/p7/k7/1pQ5/6P1/PP3P2/2R3K1 w - - 1 45"]{Here my opponent was hoping for a stalemate} 45. Qc5+ Ka4 46. Qc6+ Ka5 47. Rc5# 1-0<br />
[Event "BCYCC 2017"][Date "2017.03.26"][Round "3"][White "Fan, Elaine"][Black "Ruan, Cody"][Result "0-1"][SetUp "1"][FEN "1r6/5pk1/6p1/7p/3pP3/1pq4P/1R3PPK/1Q6 b - - 0 1"]{I think black is better. Material: black is up a pawn. Kings: both safe. Center: white has more control of the center than black. Piece positioning: White: - queen and rook attacking the passed b-pawn; - king near the corner; - down a pawn. Black: - up a pawn; - Queen supporting the passed b- and d-pawn; - pawn chain; - rook supporting the passed b-pawn. The winning combination:} 1... d3 {Advancing the passed pawn} 2. Kg1 {Trying to come over and stop the passer} 2... d2 {Too late} 3. Kf1 Qc1+ {Now it is all over} 4. Ke2 (4. Qxc1 dxc1=Q+ 5. Ke2 Qxb2+ {Does not change the result}) 4... d1=Q# {A beautiful checkmate} 0-1<br />
[Event "BCYCC 2017"][Date "2017.03.25"][Round "1"][White "Chung, Alec"][Black "Huang, Jalen"][Result "0-1"][SetUp "1"][FEN "r4rk1/pppq1ppp/3p4/b2Pp3/4P3/P2PB1P1/1P2QPKP/R4R2 w - - 1 15"]15. Rfc1 Rac8 16. Rc2 f5 {Here, I had an attack inside an attack. I acted like I want to weaken his pawn structure, but I was really threatening f5-f4, attacking the bishop. If the bishop moved away then I would play f3+ and fork the king and queen} 17. Rac1? {Does not see the attack inside the attack} 17... f4 18. Bxf4 exf4 19. gxf4 Rxf4 {Even after having a bishop for a pawn, it was still hard to win. It was very hard to exchange without losing material but in the end, I had a bishop and pawn versus 2 pawns}