Chess Diary #0007: Back in the 1600s

Back in August 2022, after participating in a couple of over-the-board tournaments, my rating on chess.com started to drop. In September, I hit rock-bottom even though I was studying openings and endgames. I was suddenly rated 1425, which didn’t make sense at all. That was a big drop from 1646, and it drove me crazy. I tried to get back up but couldn’t. And so, I struggled for a couple of months.

Today, however, I’m back in the 1600s. Finally! And it’s all thanks to crazy openings like the Englund Gambit, the Latvian Gambit, and the King’s Gambit. It’s unbelievable, I know, but I’m getting very decent results with them.

I wonder what happens if I play them in actual over-the-board tournaments. Will my opponents have answers to my strange openings? I don’t know…

At my level, it’s worth a shot, I think. Besides, I’m enjoying playing the more chaotic openings more than the safe and sound ones. So why take chess too seriously? It’s just a hobby, after all. And maybe it’s better for me to master the crazy openings…

** Here’s the game that put me in the 1600s again. Funny enough, it was an easy win.

Chess Diary #0006: Englund Gambit – A Checkmate in Eight Moves

One of my favorite traps of all time in chess comes from the Englund Gambit, which is one of the craziest, if not stupidest, openings out there. It doesn’t work with higher rated players, of course, but I did checkmate someone rated 1519 in only eight moves today.

The GIF of the game I just played is below. I am playing with the black pieces.

  1. d4 e5 2. dxe5 Nc6 3. Nf3 Qe7 4. Bg5 Qb4+ 5. Bd2 Qxb2 6. Bc3 Bb4 7. Qd2 Bxc3 8. Qxc3 Qc1# 0-1

And as you can clearly see in the screenshot below, I checkmated my opponent in 21 seconds. (It was a 3|0 format Blitz game.)

Basically, free rating points. Thank you, Englund Gambit.

Edit: Here is another easy game I won playing the Englund Gambit with black today. In this one, I win in 5 moves! My opponent simply blunders their bishop.

1. d4 e5 2. dxe5 Nc6 3. Bf4 Qe7 4. Nf3 Qb4+ 5. Nc3 Qxf4 0-1

Chess Diary #0005: Over the Board Experience

Another tournament took place on August 21. This was the second tournament I participate in this year. The venue was in Deir El Harf, a small village in the Mount Lebanon Governorate. We played outdoors. Surrounded by stone pines filled with singing crickets, it felt like a picnic.

This time the format was 10|3 Rapid, and I scored 3.5/6. That’s equal to 3 wins, 1 draw, and 2 losses.

Here are my notes:

I am not doing so well when I play the Sicilian Dragon with the black pieces. Although I am not having trouble in the opening, I keep losing. My middle-game is weak, especially when I’m playing against people who know what they’re doing. I need to learn to come up with better strategies over the board. I was only trying to find one good move at a time, which, of course, is not the best way to play chess…

On the other hand, I’m dismantling the French Defense pretty masterfully, or so it seems. I’m going for the Advance Variation, and I’m getting comfortable positions. The pawn structure often gives me chances for strong kingside attacks.

As for my answer to 1.d4, I still don’t have one. I was learning the Slav, but I think I’ll switch to King’s Indian. I read somewhere that Sicilian Dragon players will be comfortable playing the King’s Indian. I hope I don’t give up playing the Sicilian Dragon though. If I keep getting negative results with it, maybe I will. That would also mean giving up on the King’s Indian…