Scandinavian Books

I have recently bought a couple of books on the Scandinavian:

  • Smerdon’s Scandinavian – David Smerdon
  • Understanding the Scandinavian – Sergey Kasparov

These are two very different books with very different approaches. Smerdon’s approach is based on the most aggressive attempts including the Portuguese and Icelandic Gambits. These are pretty hairy but a lot of fun to play through. Here is the beginning of game two to give you a flavour:

By contrast Kasparov recommends lines based on an immediate Qxd5 and then Qd6, Qa5 or Qd8. He spends two chapters on Qd6 which is the more modern treatment and prevents an early Bf5. I like his contention that this is basically an improved and more forcing Caro Kann which was a new idea to me. These kinds of concepts can help you find the right plan when you get out of book.

I guess the one you prefer will depend on your style…with limited time and wanting to pick something up quickly then Kasparov is the natural choice. For the swashbucklers then Smerdon will appeal.

I guess that’s why I chose both ­čÖé

Simple Mistakes

I had played well to reach this position and the next move seems obvious.

The simple 25…Qg4+ 26.Kh1 Qh6 wins easily with the twin threats of mate on h7 and mate on f8. However I actually played 26…Nh4 which allowed White an opportunity to escape which he duly did.

I have been trying to fathom how I could miss such a simple move. I moved too quickly and I played down a line which I had looked at a few moves ago without checking.

Let’s hope this is a lesson learnt.

Horsham 3 v Hastings 2

I play for Horsham Chess Club and historically I used to play for the first or second team. These days we have six teams and a top board graded at 201 so I find myself playing for Horsham 3.

On the wet and windy night when I travelled to Hastings my grading was 151 and we were awaiting the publishing of the January grades.  The  day after this game  I got the good news that my grade had increased by 18 points  to 169 . In part this huge jump was helped by a very successful weekend tournament in Hastings where I scored 4 1/2  out of 5. For some reason I seem to play well in Hastings, perhaps unlike good wine I travel well.

This game seemed to flow quite nicely in an unusual line against the English. White managed to control the centre and Black’s pawn sacrifice seemed unable to free things up sufficiently.

Let’s Start

Since this is my very first post on what I hope will be an interesting journey, it seems appropriate to set out what I aspire to create…at the very ┬áleast it will be interesting for me to reflect back on from time to time.

I am an active club chess player who plays competitive chess most weeks. I play within the club against a range of players and for the club in the Mid Sussex Chess League. My weekends are generally reserved for family activities although I do occasionally play for the county and have the odd foray into weekend tournaments. I enjoy the annual pilgrimage to the London Chess Classic and watching the odd commentary online.

I am lucky enough to be Secretary of Horsham Chess Club with around 40 members and a history stretching back to 1879. Like many other club chess players I enjoy the game but relish the post match pub analysis even more. I buy far too many chess books and dvds in the vain hope that I will gradually improve. I feel the pangs of despair as I blunder and have many more lucky escapes than I deserve.

I thought that I could share some games, some books I like, some opening ideas, interesting tactical ideas and even the odd endgame eccentricity. I will share my journey as I stumble along it and we can see what progress is made.

Charting the ups and downs of club chess