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Hikaru Junction

Hikaru Junction

Chess Blog

What to do When Losing

In this blog, we’ll try to uncover ideas to use when we are losing. What can we do? We can try to make the game difficult for our opponent, rather than giving them the game. We can set problems for them, even if they are not objectively the best moves. And we can keep creating mating threats with the hope that they may stumble.

We must not resign needlessly, as below.

copiryght–dermpa RHP 2010
1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 {White plays it like a true gambit, letting Black keep the pawn.} b5 4. Nb1c3 a6 5. Ng1f3 Bc8g4 6. Bf1e2 e6 7. O-O Bg4xf3 {This exchange is unforced, and is worse for Black. Why give up the bishop for the knight?} 8. Be2xf3 Ng8f6 {A weak move: White misses a chance to either pin the piece with 9. Bg5, or, after …h6 10. Bxf6 gxf6 11. d5, develop a strong attack. Why...

Grandmasters and Cryptographers

To begin the blog, I’d like to note two interesting coincidences. First of all, while reviewing one of Anish Giri’s games, I remembered greenpawn’s four-name grandmasters: Reti, Giri, Euwe, and Fine. What results did they have when they played each other?

Well, Reti, Giri, and Fine, in this respective triangle, never played. The only players which played against each other were Reti against Euwe, and Euwe against Fine. Each of these matches finished, excluding draws, 2-2.

If we take the names of the three grandmasters which never played, Reti, Giri, and Fine, and we anagram them, we can jumble up these letters to get several possibilities, including the following: If tieing, I err.

Unfortunately, Giri didn’t have any games against any of the others. However, if we take some of ...
I have not gotten my letter posted with the RHP stamp back from the Postal Service. Thus I have some difficult problems because I didn’t know how to start the blog. So I thought perhaps I would start with another example of chess from one of my favorite television programs, Doctor Who.

Live Chess

(EXTREMELY MINOR SPOILERS, although for an episode having aired several years ago.) In one episode, The Doctor (the protagonist, an alien who travels through space and time) plays “Live Chess” against a very minor character to gain information. “Live Chess,” in this context, was an illegal variant of chess in which the voltage coursing through each (metal) piece increased with every time it was moved. Thus The Doctor tricked his op...

American Chess

Both the Men’s Candidates Tournament and the Women’s Chess Championship happened a few weeks ago, setting up, for Caruana and Nakamura, the Men’s US championship.

On the women’s side, Hou Yifan scored a decisive victory, destroying Mariya Muzychuk 6-3. The players were from China and Ukraine respectively, and no American player participated in 2013-14 Grand Prix, through which the challenger qualified. The key game from this match, I believe was game six, shown below:

Mariya Muzychuk–Hou Yifan Women’s World Chess Championship 2016
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. c3 O-O 7. Bg5 {White pins the knight, hoping to push forward in the center with d4.} h6 8. Bh4 g5 {Muzychuk judges that the kingside weakness is worth stopping d4, as now the White e-pawn would be u...

The Candidates and the Women's Championship

I broke down the lineup for the upcoming Candidates Tournament in a previous post: 276, in which I also referenced the (at the time) ongoing Negi-Yifan match. Since then, Giri and Topalov have both been inducted by rating, and Jakovenko, Kramnik, Grischuk, and So, in that order, have missed out on any places they would have received (as the alternates) had any player declined to participate: none did. Three questions have also solidified in my mind as the defining ones to ask.

1. Can Hikaru Nakamura perform in his first Candidates Tournament ever, despite his prominence at the top of the field for several years now?
1a. Can Caruana, who cracked 2700 all the way back in July 2010 and never looked back?
1b. Can Giri, who last slipped under 2700 in 2012 at 19 and helped Anand prepare ...

Chess vs The Super Bowl

I blog today while watching the Super Bowl, an American football competition, in the background. It is, to my eyes, not very interesting. But perhaps that is because I blog about chess. Chess is not an American tradition, wherein insane numbers of people tune in. It doesn’t even have its own TV broadcast, which I do hope will change. But the sheer rawness of the physical combat, in my humble opinion, are easily paralleled with what can be seen on the chessboard: not only the brutality, but the inventiveness can be matched. And anyone can play!

The internet makes chess accessible to all who have connections, as evidenced by the popularity of chess sites such as this one: Red Hot Pawn.

procyk–DeepThought RHP 2006
1. d4 f5 2. c4 Ng8f6 3. Nb1c3 e6 4. Ng1f3 Bf8e7 5. g3 O-O 6. Bf1g2 ...

Andrew's Story Part Two

The solution to last edition’s puzzle at the bottom.

Thanks very much to Sebastian Yap for identifying the problem with the PGNs I was trying to post. They work now.

Before we dive in, I’d like to say: I am not made a prophet by my predictions last blog. However, I did get 18/28 of the games: the correct win, loss or draw prediction. 3/7, 5/7, 6/7, and 4/7 in Wijk aan Zee rounds 10, 11, 12, 13. (Carlsen won, with a +5 score, a full point clear of the field. Simply incredible.)

Andrew Ortwin’s story Part Two: ...

Wijk Aan Zee and a Blunder Quiz

Some interesting things in this blog: a blunder quiz, and my part-way review of the Wijk Aan Zee tournament. (It’s called the Tata Steel now, I think, but that’s a rather boring name, so I’ll call it Wijk Aan Zee, which I am more used to.

Blunder Quiz:
Try to find the move that the grandmaster (or, in one case, computer) played to lose material or blunder checkmate. This should be fairly easy: a nice departure from the usual “mate in x” quizzes. Try it out.

To start with, a blunder from the 2016 Wijk Aan Zee: White to move.
GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov– GM Pavel Eljanov Tata Steel 2016
2r3k1/6p1/4p3/4PpQ1/p1P1qP2/7P/P5PK/1R6 w - - 6 3...

A Bit of Chess Fiction

This is an experimental blog. It is a work of fiction! I’m combining narrative and chess (mostly towards the end, in this blog.) I plan to put out this kind of blog every other week, with normal blogs interspersed, for three weeks. I’ll tell the same story, continuing, in a sort of soap-opera format (normally the integration of chess will be less stilted.) Thanks for reading. If you enjoy this, let me know, and I might continue this story longer. Again, this is not a departure from regular programming. That’s coming next week.

“All right. Now I’m turning on the tape,” said Officer Jannick. Reaching over, he clicked on the tape recorder, which beeped and emitted a small red light from a tiny contained lightbulb. “Time: 8:02 P. M. on March 28, 2014. Officers Gaël Jannick and Josèp Cesc...

Checkmate in Ten Moves

One thing that I love about chess is that things can go wrong so quickly. Very quickly. In some cases, a player can lose in as soon as four moves. With cooperation from both sides, even two is possible. But under around twenty is usually considered unusually quickly. Here is an opening trappy variation in which, if Black goes wrong, he can lose in as soon as ten moves. And not even by material loss. By checkmate! In this blog, I examine several games with this motif, the correct responses, and what Red Hot Pawn has done when facing this deceptively tricky, sometimes called drawish, opening.

Movses Movsisyan–Thomas Patton Tulsa Open 2004
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 {This is a little bit of a slack move. Usually, in e4-e5 openings, fianchettoing takes too much time to be worth it...
Last Post 04 Mar '18
Posts 47
Blog since 27 Mar '15