Sometimes I get so frustrated when I make a blunder that I simply give up and rage quit the game. Making a mistake in a chess game can often be as frustrating as being spawn camped by some n00b in Call of Duty. This is something I’ve been actively working on for the past few months: trying to stay in the game despite the apparent hopelessness of the position. Now, there are times when its important to realize that you have no chance of winning and you’re just delaying the inevitable. A lone King versus a Rook and a bunch of pawns comes to mind. But when most of the pieces are still on the board, there’s little reason to give up so quickly. Such is the case with this game where I had to make a painful sacrifice early in the middlegame but was able to turn things around in the end.
Today was rough all around. Network problems made my day job a challenge and I lost two daily chess games that I should have won. That’s not saying that my opponents didn’t deserve to win. They certainly played good games and came out on top, but there were so many ridiculous blunders today that have been so uncharacteristic of me lately. I managed, in extraordinary fashion, to blunder not one, but two Bishops today. Perhaps the analysis of these games is just a way of venting. I’m sure that I’ll bounce back…I always do. But wow, these are hard to stomach.
And shortly after that little gem was played, this happened…
At least tomorrow is a new day.
I’ve lost quite a few disappointing games in the past couple of weeks, so this was a welcome and refreshing victory that gave me insight into some common problems I’ve been having. Given its (albeit brief) instructional value for myself, I felt it was worth a surface analysis and commentary. I hope you enjoy!
Good morning, campers! Today is International Chess Day and there are celebrations going on all around the world to honor our game! Not sure how to celebrate the day? Here are a few suggestions to get you going:
- Play chess online via Chess.com, lichess, chess24, or any of the myriad of online platforms available.
- Join your local chess club. If you’re not sure how, just do a Google search for your city/town + “Chess Club” and you’ll most likely find something to get you started.
- Play in a local over-the-board tournament.
- Play with a friend.
- Watch a chess movie! Pawn Sacrifice, Dangerous Moves, Searching for Bobby Fischer, or the Knights of the South Bronx come to mind.
Whatever your passion, there’s plenty to do today to celebrate chess!
One of my favorite parts of playing daily chess is how the battles unfold over several days. There are some positions that go fast and others that seem to drag on forever. Then there are those moments where it seems that both sides are ready to lash out. I find myself constantly checking to see if I’ve received a notification that it’s my turn to move when there are tight positions and it’s all hanging by a thread. The game that follows is one such game that I recently played. It was a close battle for most of the game with blunders and mistakes on both sides, but ultimately, I pulled out a very nice win.
Since I returned to writing about and playing chess regularly, I’ve tried to center myself more on developing a comprehensive study plan and maintaining some sense of focus. Previously, I was obsessed with openings, but these days I’m trying to focus more on positional play and strategic level positions in the middlegame. I’m finding myself more able to find discovered checks and push my pawns forward with more momentum and purpose.
The game above was played against an internet opponent on Chess.com on the Daily Chess function. The time control was 1 move per day, but we finished it much sooner than that. I decided to annotate this game because while it’s filled with amateur mistakes, I believe it’s representative of my improvement in the middlegame and my growing ability to identify key moments that can turn a losing position into a winning steamroller. My opponent played hard, but I was fortunate that the chess gods shined their light on me for this one.
I spent a good portion of this morning with the boards from the Superbet Chess Classic up while I worked my day job. I watched the full game between Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian. It had a few good moments, but was mostly a sleeper that ended in a draw. It wasn’t until I switched to Anish Giri’s game that things got very interesting.
In this position, Giri blundered with 31…Qc5, which allowed White a win with 32.Re7. I missed the move when it was originally made, but it was apparent when the inline analysis tool on Chess.com’s events viewer went from balanced to completely White. It was obvious that the game was over with no real way for Giri to escape. This is an interesting win, especially given that Constantin Lupulescu, the GM who beat him, was chosen to participate as part of the tournament’s local talent pool.
Obviously, Giri is human and nobody’s perfect. He’ll certainly shrug off the blunder and move on to the next drawn game… See the game itself on Chess.com or more commentary on today’s round from The Week in Chess.
It’s taken a few weeks, but I’m almost finished with the code refresh and cleaning out all of the junk here on Campfire Chess. You’ll notice that quite a few things have changed. Some are subtle and some are not so subtle. I’m still in the process of going through all of the old content to determine its historical merit. Some older content has been removed because the YouTube videos they reference or the websites/products they reference no longer exist. The world of chess is always changing and so will we. Here’s a brief overview of what’s happening so far:
- More regular updates of news, events, and games from top players as well as local games and events.
- Completely redesigned the Downloads page. More game collections are on their way.
- Realigned all 300+ posts since the website opened to make sure they align with proper categories.
- Removed 10+ posts referencing websites, products, and YouTube videos that no longer exist.
Additionally, I’m working to add some new features to the site as well.
- Started working on the chess utility. Right now it’s just a board that can be used for quick online analysis. Eventually it’ll include libraries and openings, but it’s just basic at the moment.
- More interaction and cross-blogging with Chess.com. Campfire Chess is now a Chess.com premium member and I’d eventually like to feature the content on this website alongside their top blogs as well. You can view certain content from this site cross-blogged here.
- The YouTube channel for this site is dead, but I hope to revive it before the end of the year with some new content. I just have to decide what kind of chess content I’m going to feature.
I’m very excited to be bringing this project back to life and I hope that you’ll continue to take the journey with me. The best way to engage with Campfire Chess is on our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Have you ever set down to play a game against an opponent who seems hell bent on driving you completely insane with irrational moves? Maybe you’ve played against someone who insists on moving every single pawn forward before activating any of their back pieces. Sometimes, we meet an opponent who defies all traditional logic of the game but can be just as deadly as a precision player. I recently played against an opponent who embodied some of those traits. The first few moves of the game were infuriating and it led to a wild game where the balance tipped many times, but I managed to come out on top.
I doubt that the player himself was trolling me, but it certainly felt like it at times, especially in the opening. Of course, this is a very low rated game and sloppy as hell, but I am pleased with the result given the frustration that played out on the board. This was a daily chess rated game with a time control of one move per 24 hours.
In trying to get back into chess regularly, I’ve spent my days at work with the Chess.com streaming broadcast of the FTX Crypto Cup. The games in this tournament so far have ranged from inspiring to head scratching. The roster itself is a who’s who of the best in chess from around the world. Carlsen, Nakamura, So, Giri, and Caruana are just some of the big names rounding out this Champions Chess Tour event. Each player is competing for a chance to participate in the tour’s finale starting on September 25th.
The preliminary round of the FTX Crypto Cup was quite an experience. Magnus Carlsen struggled through much of the round while Fabiano Caruana, who made it a point to tell everyone that he hadn’t played a game of online chess all year, absolutely dominated with a score of 10/15! Carlsen eventually managed to squeak by with a score of 8.5.
The projected Semifinals pairings are Carlsen-Radjabov and Nepomniachtchi-So. I was originally cheering for Nakamura or Caruana but since they’ve been eliminated from the tournament, my money’s on Carlsen.
The Quarter Finals began on May 26th and lasted for two days. Carlsen and Nakamura traded blows back and forth but it was ultimately Magnus that will advance to the Semifinals, which begin later today.