Tag Archives: Analysis

Mexican Standoff

Mexican Standoff

I have started my new Monday weekly tournament, it is a 9 round Swiss format tournament with a 90 minute plus 30 second increment time control. Before playing you can find out who your opponent will be because the pairings come online a few days early. My opponent was an experienced player who has been playing competitive chess since the early 70’s. I found 48 of his games online and he overwhelmingly chooses 1.e4 as his opening. The game only went for 25 moves but it was a great game with 3  positions that stood out as complex and critical. The three positions are shown below and can be thought of as puzzles – not tactical puzzles but puzzles that test calculation and positional understanding. If you want to improve I strongly recommend setting up a board with these positions and working through possible moves (don’t move the pieces till you’ve done the exercise in your head).

Position 1. Knights Jostling.

The full game is at the end of the post with my reasons.

Position 2. The Mexican Standoff

Position 3. The end.

After the game my opponent and I went through this last position and it surprised me how much variety and danger still lurks on the board. we spent perhaps 20 minutes on all the variations we could think of and came to the conclusion, without the use of computers, that a draw was possible.

Here is the whole game with comments based on Rybka analysis.

Dirty English


Position: Outposts


I have been losing a swag of games lately but I won one longer game (1hr) this Sunday that restored some faith in my abilities. Having said that my opponent did make a couple of blunders so it couldn’t be considered a great showpiece. The reason I am posting about it is because I was trying to play more positionally and I felt I did this. I gained space and sought to create ‘outpost’ squares. Outposts are something I hadn’t heard about until a couple of years ago. An outpost, for readers that may not know, are advanced squares, supported by a pawn, that can’t easily be attacked by a pawn – they can be good places for pieces to rest and dominate the opponents side.

The game went



(Click on notation for board to appear and to play through moves)

I have just resigned a game, as black, in my ICCF webserver tournament. The game included a long endgame in which I had a king, a rook and four pawns  to his king, rook and five pawns. My gut feeling is that it should have been drawn but I just wasn’t able to achieve this. I have jumped to move 29 which follows 28. …bxc5 so that I can focus on the endgame. I have put some notes into my game without using a computer. Then, at the base of this post, I have analysed the ending using a computer to play itself to see what could have happened.

I’ve looked at many different variations from move 28.bxc5 but if white plays well then I think my initial gut feeling is wrong and a draw is impossible to achieve.


I set up the move 29 position on SCID vs. PC software and allowed the stockfish 4 engine run for about 30 seconds before pressing enter and forcing the move. The result was this:

Maybe there was a draw but it seems very hard to achieve.

And eerily enough this puzzle popped up on chess.com