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Member since Sep-26-08 · Last seen Dec-06-14
I'm a class A player with the USCF (~1840). But in 2006 I was class D (~1300) before I started taking lessons with NM Dan Heisman.

I've been coming to this site for quite a while and I believe it has helped me to better my analysis skills. It is very insightful to read posts by some of my favorite kibitzers: <johnlspouge> (was he kidnapped?), <dzechiel>, <TheaN>, <CHESSTTCAMPS>, <agb2002>, <gofer>, and of course <Once>, and other kibitzer "greats". My appreciation goes to them for helping me reach a higher level.

My thoughts on improvement have changed recently. I used to be dead set against helpmate problems which I thought teaches you the bad habit of expecting your opponent to make a bad move. Too much of anything is bad, but this has the positive of training piece coordination which is a very powerful skill to have. Here's another example: My coach showed me a few problems where you must force immediate checkmate by swapping any two pieces on the board, resulting in a legal checkmate position. For example, you can't swap a piece and a pawn if the pawn is on the 8th rank or checks your own king--that's not a legal position. There are many ways to improve key areas in chess.

If anyone wishes to critique my analysis or ideas, feel free to do so. I won't take it personally. I need feedback! Or if you want opinions on improvement, feel free to ask. Full Member

   Patriot has kibitzed 3680 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Nov-02-14 Morozevich vs Chekhov, 2014 (replies)
Patriot: My first instinct was 40.Ne4, attacking the pinned piece. 40...Nd4 is the expected reply. It looks like an advantage but there are a few other candidates: 40.Rxc6 and 40.fxg5. I chose 40.fxg5 as a direct attempt to win the pinned rook. 40...hxg5 and now 41.h4 is less accurate since ...
   Nov-01-14 Li Ting Tan vs Thi Nhu Y Hoang, 2014 (replies)
Patriot: <<goodevans>: I'm going to give myself half marks today. I looked at <25... Bxg3 26. Nxg3 Ngf4+>, saw that black's Q could invade against any response and stopped there. I didn't even consider that white might decline the B-sac!> Take a full mark! Seeing the queen ...
   Oct-31-14 K Spraggett vs B Harper, 1976 (replies)
Patriot: <morf> <Whats particularly mortifying is in not fathoming the strength of 21.Red1...> I didn't consider that move either. I chose 19.Nxd5 mostly because it doesn't risk a lot of material and it seems to be the start of some sort of attack, although I wasn't completely ...
   Aug-30-14 M Dziuba vs A Ipatov, 2009 (replies)
Patriot: <morf> You got much further than I did. I didn't even consider 33.Bf6.
   Jul-15-14 Chigorin vs Burn, 1905 (replies)
Patriot: Chigorin played 13.Qb5?? here? That's a pretty simple and big mistake for a player of his caliber, but anything can happen on the right day I suppose.
   Jul-11-14 M Palac vs J Hellsten, 2006 (replies)
Patriot: I saw the whole thing! Well, not really. And really it's not necessary to calculate far on this. I considered a few other moves, noticing the black queen's x-ray through to white's king. 38...Rc1+ looked good at first since 39.Qxc1 Ne2++ wins, but 39.Qxc1 is not forced. Then I ...
   Jun-21-14 agb2002 chessforum (replies)
Patriot: <agb2002> Thanks! I haven't been logging onto the site much recently--it's been about a week since the last time. I seem to be pulling away from chess more and more these days but that's how things go sometimes. Take care.
   Jun-14-14 Furman vs Kholmov, 1963 (replies)
Patriot: <BOSTER> I've always looked to <dzechiel>'s posts as good examples of human analysis. And I was pleasantly surprised to see that he had a write-up today.
   May-26-14 morfishine chessforum (replies)
   May-25-14 Beliavsky vs Gelfand, 1992 (replies)
Patriot: I finally decided 17.Ng5 without being completely clear on anything. On 17...Bg6 18.e6 was my plan. Or 17...Be6 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Rxf8+ Kxf8 20.Qd8+ Kf7 but nothing was really clear.
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

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Premium Chessgames Member
  Patriot: Hi <David2009>! Thanks, I told Dan and here's his response: "c'est vous plait Chess! :)"
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Hello <Patriot> No doubt, this is indisputable: <I think the real key is in what Dan says--look for moves that have a higher potential reward than risk> Its hard to break out why a decision is made at a certain time; I suspect some times I'm biased and go that direction at times; but you are right, that some times I simply fail to take a deep breath and simply look at the board and try to find something simpler and/or stronger.

How many times have we heard someone self-annotate: "Played instantly" with much bravado

The question is "How many instantly played moves do we never hear about because these come to grief and the author would just as soon not bring them to light?"


Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <Patriot> I meant to add that there is a definite difference between physical fatigue and mental fatigue; especially as it pertains to chess


Premium Chessgames Member
  Patriot: <morf> The Thursday problem was tricky but I was very impressed by the way you analyzed it.

There is something so basic that I really need to be aware of, dealing with options. For instance, when in check there are only a few ways to get out: 1) move the king; 2) capture the checking piece; 3) interpose. It's amazing how easy it is sometimes to miss one of those options! On the Thursday problem, I noted that 41...Qxc4 is the main threat. I only saw one way to stop that threat (41.Rc8+). The thing is, 41.Ne3 also does this even though it looks very illogical at first. 41.Nd2 also does this and so does 41.a3, 41.a4, 41.b3, etc. It's not hard to see that some of these candidates are simply terrible because they are purely defensive such that white loses the knight for nothing. But the point is, I had options that simply were not visible to me! And this seems to be a recurring issue.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Hello <Patriot>! You are very kind with this comment: <The Thursday problem was tricky but I was very impressed by the way you analyzed it> I tried to recall those ideas for analyzing that you've suggested and most of all, don't leave anything out, whether it be checking for the opponent's threats, reviewing all captures, trying to discover a pattern, etc.

Logic is not a cure-all, but I find its useful to whittle down the candidates. On the Thursday problem Shirov vs I Papaioannou, 2009 The very first thing I did was commit to an "open mind" and just try to have fun and enjoy the problem. Then I spent about 5-10 seconds to decide on a "first impression". Thats when I thought it may be a 'spoiler' (since it didn't look promising for White with no Queen and his Knight en prise). I then reviewed the 2 candidates I felt were best: 41.h7 and 41.Rc8+ and found neither decisive.

At this point, I was spending a lot of time, so I had to either give-up or keep looking, so I began gazing at the Knight and I looked at both 41.Nd2 and 41.Ne3 (both of which cover c4). It was then I saw the big advantage of 41.Ne3 over 41.Nd2: 41.Ne3 prevents 41...Qh3; in other words if 41.Nd2 then Black doesn't play 41...Qxd2, but instead plays 41...Qh3!! and the h-pawn is lost by exactly one tempo. For example 41.Nd2 Qh3 42.Ne4 Qxh6 and I don't think Black should lose from here. However, 41.Ne3 blocks the path to <h3> forcing the Queen to spend a tempo capturing, so in essence it takes the Queen 2 moves to get to <h3> (or <h6>) allowing White time to play <42.h7>

Despite all that, I still couldn't find the win for White. Nonetheless, the problem was a good example of something tedious, yet fun!

The main problem I was having to "see" the win for White was: <41.Ne3 Qxe3 42.h7 e1=Q 43.h8=Q+ Ka7 44.Qc8 Q1xc1+ 45.Rxc1 Qf4>

click for larger view

I thought <patzer2> made a nice post that highlighted the continued problems for both sides: Shirov vs I Papaioannou, 2009

Perhaps in this instance, it would benefit to review not only all captures, but when reviewing enemy threats and/or direct captures, here just look over the Knight (since it is en prise) and see if any move works. I think not considering it is an isolated incident. At least it doesn't seem to be a recurring issue due to your patented thoroughness.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Patriot: Thanks <morf>, I really appreciate it.

You brought up some great points about 41.Ne3 over 41.Nd2. I was thinking, 41.Nd2 Qxd2 42.h7 e1=Q 43.h8=Q+ 44.Bd8 Qxd8+ 45.Qxd8 Rxe1 which Houdini says is slightly in white's favor.

Also my point about "options", is we need to be fully aware of each of them. In the Sunday problem, I calculated what could happen after 25...Rd7 but I forced it from there and according to Houdini it is dead even. But 26.Bc5! is an option I did not consider. The thing is, this is one of the options whenever there is a threat.

In the case of threats:

1) Move the threatened piece

2) Capture the attacking piece

3) Interpose a piece between the attacker and threatened piece

4) Counter-attack

26.Bc5 uses #4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Patriot: <morf> I forgot a 5th option above: guard the piece! :-) If the threatened piece is of a higher value, usually guarding it won't help but this isn't always true. How can anyone be really good at analysis if they don't even know all their options? As Dan would say, "You can't play what you don't see."

For the Sunday puzzle, I realized one mistake I had made in search of options--trying to think like a computer. Clearly I did not succeed, but the point is I searched for best moves for white after the main candidate and this is partly what got me in trouble. For example,

click for larger view

Here I thought about 28.Rh2 and thought I found something even stronger with 28.Nf5. 28...gxf5 29.Qh5 but 29...Bxe4 30.Qxh6 Bxh1. It turns out that simple is "good enough" with 28.Rh2. Sure, it doesn't compare to 28.f7 but if you find a forced win then you don't have to search like a machine to find the best move. So I had to remind myself to only look for something simple because if that proves to win, there's no need to find a genius move.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Good morning <Patriot>! This is where calculation is absolutely critical. What must be avoided is settling on a "winning line" only to find later one has miscalculated!

For example in yesterday's Sunday POTD, I had as one line: 26.Rxh7+ Kxh7 27.Rh1+ Bh6 28.Rxh6+ Kxh6 29.Qg4 and White wins

But Black can play 26...Qxh7 instead, which makes the visualization harder


Premium Chessgames Member
  Patriot: Hi <morf>! My thoughts are "Look for simple wins, but try hard to refute them." So it seems more proficient to spend less time on finding brilliant moves than simple one's that may win. If one can do this without a reasonable refutation, then you have already proven the main move is good.

Simple wins aren't always there but if you find them they can save you a whole heap of time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Busy! Working 4-10 Later Thnx!
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Hello <Patriot> All I've been doing is playing 5-min and watching college basketball
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <Patriot> They do have 5-min basketball, its called overtime! And thats when the craziest, most aggressive stuff occurs...wait, that sounds like speed chess! :)
Mar-05-14  The Last Straw: 1 min looks even better :)

I get too many draws from clearly winning positions (draw because I run out of time but my opponents only have bare kings (not enough material to deliver checkmate))

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Hello <Patriot> Nice job on yesterday's POTD: A Mallahi vs A Al-Bahadly, 2001

Sorry, I'm running a day behind

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Thanks much <Patriot> for the comments! Literally, this was an example of crystal-clear 'pattern recognition', a very rare event for me since I usually have to search for the patterns.

As a matter of fact, I solved this one so fast I wondered if I'd seen the game before but I couldn't recall it (like a Fischer brilliancy for example). I then figured it was either 'pattern recognition' or I managed a similar combination in a long forgotten game!

Stuff like this doesn't really thrill me, but its satisfying that some 'pattern recognition' can have a practical effect. Its better than blooping the opportunity away in a real OTB game!

What I am happiest about is focusing on all possibilities (so as not to overlook moves for either side). For example in the Tues POTD H Wirthensohn vs Topalov, 1990 I realized one must look at both 27.Rxc6 & 27.Bxd5 with a view to figuring out which one works and which one doesn't. Granted, it was "only" a Tuesday level problem, but its important to stick to the solid processes no matter the level.


Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: He <Patriot>! Well, I'm not familiar with the term "hand waived" a move, but regardless, I thought in the game Tal vs Petrosian, 1974 your suggestion 22.Rxd7 <22...b5> was a highly original idea, though Black is just under too much pressure. Its ideas like this, even the failed ones, that keep the thought process active. Sorry for the slow response, my new schedule is constrictive
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Hello <Patriot>! Anything interesting going on? Nothing much here, but am looking forward to March Madness (the College Basketball tournament).
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Thnx! I'll catch up later
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Hello <Patriot>! How's your chess? I'm doing ok, but super busy with the new schedule and getting caught up in the College Basketball "March Madness" and soon the Masters at Augusta (Golf). I can't hardly keep up with all thats going on, but I've recovered about 200 points at 5-min chess, so thats good; but my momentum is slowing: perhaps biorhythms!

Have you enjoyed the Candidates?

Later. morf


Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Good morning <Patriot> Very excellent and thoughtful article!

<I would call it "baseline improvement". It deals with establishing a solid baseline for improvement becoming very consistent in certain areas.> I wonder if the great Russian chess schools ever looked at chess improvement in this way? Attaching a component of consistency to every aspect of chess has hardly been touched on, as far as I can tell.

<To fully reach your playing potential, enough baselines must be established. By "playing potential", I mean you play your best with your current knowledge.> I think this is quite a pointed and unarguable statement. "Current Knowledge" is a slippery concept that requires the serious student to work or train or study on areas they are found wanting. A certain amount of stubbornness or obstinancy needs to be discarded since this includes the basic pre-requisite of fully ingesting a pattern that is not fully ingrained. For example, a couple of months ago, I missed a simple pattern, only to miss the identical pattern again a few days ago. I neglected to fully ingest the pattern and so was doomed to repeat the mistake. However, with enough work, this could've been avoided.

<Plus it should be easier to home in on the weaknesses.> Weaknesses are best identified by a combination of teacher input and honest self appraisal

<A good baseline for me, which is a major weakness for me, is time management.> I think this is a very important aspect of chess since "saving time" pays off exponentially. More time allows the player to either calculate more variations or to calculate more deeply. Even only a slight improvement in this area will have a large impact.

<I'm convinced that consistency is extremely important to improvement in anything.> Excellent analogy about running the stop sign! This caused me to recall a time or two when I've been listening to the radio or daydreaming and just went through a stop sign purely by accident. This stuck with me and caused me to be more vigilant going forward, almost like I learned a pattern!

<When you look at it from this angle, it's easy for me to see that many Saturday and Sunday problems are ridiculously too advanced for me at my stage of improvement. Sure, I may figure them out if given enough time but I think there is very little to be gained from this (for my level). It's like a 6th grader trying to work out a college level math problem, and even if they accomplish this with much effort it is misleading to believe they are just as good as a college level student.> I have mixed feelings about this comment. Don't sell yourself short. If you can work through a problem (even though it may take a lot of time) its not an issue of knowledge, but an issue of calculating speed or pattern recognition or both. After all, one has arrived at the correct solution, so that has to be a plus. I would think a 6th grader would be thrilled to find the correct answer and could care less about how much time it took.

Thanks for this terrific post!


Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Hello <Patriot> On Dan's responses: <"Playing potential increases with knowledge." - I don't believe this> One camp believes everyone has a fixed "skill level" or 'playing potential' that we can only approach. This is the "You either have it or you don't" argument. I'm not %100 percent sold on this concept. There are too many examples of chess players who are not prodigies, yet attain GM status, (sometimes when older than 30!) only after perseverance and hard work. Why do these players, who have supposedly wallowed around their "playing potential" of 2300 - 2400, suddenly start improving at a later age? Unrealized potential? Ability that no one, including the player, knew was there?

One must be careful when using a dynamic word like potential

Followed by: <I think abilities are more important and your potential abilities limit your playing potential, as you develop those abilities and pick up knowledge>

I'm not comfortable with this response because the first part implies our abilities are limited and/or fixed while the second part, which incorporates the term 'potential abilities' implies our abilities are malleable or changeable or can be improved or increased; or even simply discovered. These comments, taken at face value, contradict each other. Despite this, I understand the point being made since it cannot be denied that one can improve at chess if one so desires.

Perhaps what needs to be better defined are the terms (1) 'playing potential', (2) 'potential abilities', (3) potential in general as it relates to ability, (4) ability, and (4) knowledge, which can interpreted and/or used in more than one way.

I understand your analogy about the 6-years old and I'm in complete agreement with Dan in playing opponents rated no more than 200 points higher [with the added caveat: always try to play opponents higher than you if possible]. :)


Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <Patriot> Nice job zeroing in on the move-order Big Al took today in the Sunday POTD: Beliavsky vs Gelfand, 1992

Lately, the Sunday POTD seems to wander around as to when the "insane" move happens. I thought 17.Nd4 was strong enough, but really didn't see an "insane" move there, or soon after

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <Patriot: <agb2002> Your analysis matches mine exactly. After taking a break from this site, I come back on a Saturday and probably spend no more than 5 minutes on it. I'm wondering if vacations make that much of a difference? Or maybe it's just a "good day" for me because it seemed very easy. I expected everyone to talk about how easy it was.>

Hi, <Patriot>! Welcome back! Yes, sometimes a break is good to look at the puzzles with a fresh approach, although in my case I would probably lose the fresh approach... Actually, the puzzle was relatively easy because of the absence of the many branches typical of weekend puzzles.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <Patriot: <agb2002> Thanks! I haven't been logging onto the site much recently--it's been about a week since the last time. I seem to be pulling away from chess more and more these days but that's how things go sometimes.>

I used to spend more time on CG's site before the Spanish crisis (I collected puzzles, wrote a week summary, played Guess-the-Move, etc.).

I often find difficulties to complete my daily post because I'm much busier now.

<Take care.>

Thanks, and you too!

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Hello <Patriot>! Whats going on?


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