Thursday, June 06, 2013

En Passant Checkmate

Tonight I executed a checkmate by En Passant at the g/20 tournament at Carls Jr.
Here was the position.


White to move. I played 20. e5+
Black's only move is 20...f5
and then...
21. exf6# 1-0

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Need To Play Better

My chess reached a low point tonight when I got this position against a master. I was White.


White to play. I had 10 minutes, he had 5 minutes. I blacked out and played 18. Bxe7??  He bashed out 18...Qxd3+ and I resigned; it's mate in 2. A missed opportunity.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Called the Tournament Director Over

I had a good tournament at Carl's Jr. last Wednesday. Twenty people showed up, nine rated over 1800. I scored 3.5/4 and tied for 1st place ($13 prize).  In Round 2, something peculiar happened.

Carl's Jr. G/20, Mesa, AZ, Mar. 13, 2013
Round 2
Randy (2008) - Joe (1905)


Black's last move was 36...Ba4-b5+. I had 20 seconds on my clock (3 second delay) and I did not see the check. I touched my rook on a2. Then I realized that I was in check. What would you do? Out of confusion, I stopped the clock and one of the observers called the tournament director. The ruling was that since I did not make an illegal move, the game would continue without penalty. 37. Kf3 Rc3+ 38. Kf4 Rc4+ 39. Kf3 Rc3+ draw agreed.

Next time this happens, I will move the rook back to a2 (since there is no legal move with that rook), play Kf3, and press the clock.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Trapped my own piece

Here is a position from last night's game at Carl's Jr. (g/20), round 1.


I was White and it is White's move. White is up two pawns and about to win the pawn on a4. Instead of playing the simple Rxa4, I played 19. b3? d5! My bishop is lost. 20. Rxa4 dxc4 21. Rxa8 Qd5! 22. f3 Bxa8 23. bxc4? Qd4+ 24. Kf1 Qxa1+ 25. Ke2 0-1

Lessons to be Learned:
1. Do not relax when up two pawns. Need to be alert for opponent's tactics
2. Need to anticipate Qd5 and Qd4+. Those moves surprised me during the game.
3. Need better board vision

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Opening Preparation

My win in Round 4 of the Phoenix Open was due to opening preparation. Here is the story. Back in September 2001, I played in the Universal Swiss in Warren, Michigan. In Round 2, I was paired against a master and this is how the game went

Aleksandar Stamnov (2244) - Randy Ho (1874)
1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nc6 5. Nf3 cxd4 6. cxd4 e5 7. Nc3 Bb4 8. Be2 e4 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 exf3 11. Bxf3


11...Qd6 12. Qa4 Bd7 13. Ba3 Qc7 14. Rfe1+ Kd8 15. Qc4 Nh6 16. Qd5 Qa5 17. Bc5 Rc8 18. Be7+ 1-0

During the game, I thought that my high-rated opponent had blundered a piece. After the game, he told me that it is theory. This game made a strong impression on me and I kept it in my memory. Fast-forward eleven years.

Phoenix Open, Scottsdale, AZ
Nov 24, 2012
Round 4
R. Ho (2061) - S. Pennock (1924)

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 cxd4 5. cxd4 Nc6 6. Nf3 e5 7. Nc3 Bb4

I had a choice. Do I play the usual 8. Bd2 or the risky 8. Be2? After thinking for a few minutes, I chose Be2. Why? Because I remember the tremendous pressure I was under when I was playing Black eleven years earlier.

8. Be2 e4 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 exf3 11. Bxf3 Qd6

I did not remember exactly how the previous game went, but I did remember the moves Re1, Qa4, and Ba3.

12. Re1+ Nge7 13. Qa4 O-O 14. Ba3 Qd8

After this move, White wins the piece back and has the better position.

15. d5 Nxd5


I intended to play 16. Rad1, but when we got to this position, I noticed that 16. Bxd5 was stronger. The reason is because of the line 16...Qxd5 17. Bxf8 Kxf8? 18. Qa3+ mates.

16. Bxd5 Qxd5 17. Bxf8 b5 18. Qa3 Bb7 19. Qc5 Qxc5 20. Bxc5 Rc8 21. Rad1 1-0

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Allowed a Queen Sac

Carls Jr G/20, Mesa, AZ, Nov 14, 2012
Round 4
Matthew (1914) - Randy (2037)

This game was in the last round and was for 1st place. I had 3/3 and my opponent had 2.5/3.

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Bd3 e5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. c3 g6 6. Bg5 Bg7 7. O-O O-O 8. h3 Qe8 9. Re1 h6 10. Bd2 Nh5 11. Qc1 Kh7 12. Na3 f5 13. exf5 gxf5 14. Nb5 

14...Qf7 is a sensible move, defending the c7 pawn. Unfortunately, I went crazy here. I thought that I would get enough compensation for the rook.

14...Qg6? 15. Nxc7 e4 16. Nh4 Qf6 17. Nxa8 Qxh4 18. Be2 e3?! 19. Bxe3 f4 20. Bxh5 fxe3 21. Qxe3 Qxh5 22. Nc7 Rf7 23. Ne8 



In this difficult position, I made a blunder.

23...Re7? 24. Qxe7 Nxe7 25. Rxe7 1-0

Lessons from the Game:
  • I need to have better board vision. 
  • I need to stop going crazy.