30 June 2013

Book completed: Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953

After two years I've completed David Bronstein's classic on the 1953 Candidate's Tournament.  Rather than give a review or a full description of the book, which has been done many times elsewhere (or you can see the link above), I'd like to focus on its benefits for training purposes.

The first benefit of the book is its breadth and unbiased game selection (containing all 210 games of the tournament).  GM Alex Yermolinsky observed in The Road to Chess Improvement that when looking at game collections for improvement purposes, you should be wary of an author's selection bias.  This means that authors can, consciously or unconsciously, select games that support their particular viewpoint, while excluding ones that could contradict or undermine their assertions.  Tournament books such as this one are by nature complete and unbiased in terms of selection, which if you think about it is a rather rare thing in modern chess.  (Tournament books used to be much more popular in chess literature, which is another topic.)

Another benefit is the accessibility and relative compactness of the game annotations.  Running through a game a day at the office while on lunch break, which typically took from 10-20 minutes, has been a key component of my being able to maintain a consistent engagement with chess.  This is important, as both consistency and constancy are necessary to the success of any long-term training program; progress made is much more likely to be lost if effort is only made sporadically.  I found myself able to maintain the necessary state of mindfulness, even during a busy workday, with that level of effort.  Just as important, the amount of time taken was both meaningful and sustainable.  Coming away from a study period with just one observation or insight that could help my play was sufficient, as there were 210 of them in the book.

Bronstein has been criticized by some purists for not providing full annotations for the games (or perhaps even doing much of the analysis himself).  However, for my purposes, that was not the point of going through the book  - nor in fact was it Bronstein's own stated goal in writing it.  Rather, it was to obtain useful, discrete insights into the chess struggle in practice (a title of an earlier edition of the book) in an enjoyable way.  Bronstein's writing style is very engaging and understandable, which helped provide a welcome distraction during the workday as well as contributing to my chess studies.

I expect to continue the practice of studying individual games during breaks at the office and will look for something new from my collection that's suitable, probably Korchnoi's annotated game collection.  We'll see how long it takes to get through that.

29 June 2013

Annotated Game #96: A Return to Chess

This next game marked another "return to chess" after a several-year gap following Annotated Game #94.  I had moved again for my job and did little in the way of chess study or play at my new location.  Before playing in this tournament, I spent several weeks getting back into the game and reviewing my openings, primarily, in order to prepare.  At the start of the tournament, I was pleased to be paired up in the first round against a strong Expert, since I felt no real pressure to perform and could just concentrate on the game.

Several points came out of this game analysis:
  • Unusual openings are unusual for a reason.  Simple, principled and powerful play would have given White an earlier edge.
  • My repeated neglect of development issues led to losing the initiative by move 15, even with Black's rather passive opening play.
  • I correctly identified the game's major turning point and critical move (22), but flubbed the calculations in a complex position.  At critical points like that, a player needs to take as much time as needed to calculate clearly and understand the ideas of the position (which I did not)
  • While defending, always look to get back in the game and take advantage of any errors by the attacker.  This is often difficult to do because of psychological factors, for example when Black erred on move 26.  I still felt the same amount of pressure, though, which contributed to a failure to objectively evaluate the situation.
  • Materialism is bad, even when defending.  Jettisoning a pawn in exchange for dynamic compensation or long-term positional benefit would have allowed me to equalize after Black's error.
  • Computer analysis must always be viewed critically.  The original Fritz 12 analysis showed exaggerated evaluations of a White advantage at several points in the first part of the game, where Houdini showed either a small advantage or equality, which seems more reasonable to me.
Not a terrible effort for being out of tournament practice for several years and the game itself is instructive, both for the errors and how Black tactically exploits White's positional weaknesses in the final phase of the game, even after White had managed to temporarily keep material equality and get the queens off the board.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "ChessAdmin"] [Black "Expert"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A10"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Fritz/Houdini"] [PlyCount "100"] {A10: English Opening: Unusual Replies for Black} 1. c4 Nc6 {this was a first for me. Perhaps my opponent was hoping for a transposition into the Chigorin Defense with d4 and d5 played next, although the game continuation suggests he would have played similarly after d4.} 2. Nc3 g6 {a very unusual start, as of move 2 less than 30 games with this position are in the database.} 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 (4. d4 {would give White a favorable version of a more standard queen pawn opening (or Modern Defense if Black goes that route).}) 4... d6 (4... e5 { is more challenging and also more consistent with Black's setup, controlling d4 and establishing a central bastion with the pawn. Black scores quite well with it at 57 percent.}) 5. Bg2 Bd7 6. O-O (6. d3 {would anticipate and combat Black's next idea, as shown in the following game.} Qc8 7. h4 Nf6 8. Bd2 h5 9. a3 a6 10. b4 Ng4 11. Rb1 Nd4 12. Nxd4 Bxd4 13. e3 Bg7 14. Qc2 Bc6 15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. cxd5 Qf5 17. f3 Ne5 18. Ke2 O-O 19. Rbc1 c5 20. d4 Qxc2 21. Rxc2 cxd4 22. exd4 Nd7 23. Rc7 Nb6 24. Kd3 Rab8 25. Rxe7 Nxd5 26. Rd7 Rfd8 27. Rxd8+ Rxd8 28. f4 Nc7 29. Bxb7 Rb8 30. Bc6 Ne6 31. Be3 Bf6 32. Rc1 Ng7 33. Bd7 Bd8 34. Rc8 Rxc8 35. Bxc8 a5 36. b5 d5 37. Kc3 Ne8 38. Bb7 Nf6 39. Kb3 Bb6 40. Bd2 Ne4 41. Be1 Bxd4 42. Bxd5 Nd6 43. Bxa5 Nxb5 44. Kc4 Bb2 45. Kxb5 Bxa3 46. Kc6 Bb2 47. Kd7 Kg7 48. Ke8 f6 49. Bb4 g5 50. Bf7 gxh4 51. gxh4 Bc1 52. f5 Be3 53. Bf8+ Kh8 54. Bxh5 Bf2 55. Kf7 {1-0 (55) Pribyl,J (2460)-Oberndoerfer,F (2175) Schwaebisch Gmuend 1997}) 6... Qc8 7. Nd5 {while this is a somewhat creative way of addressing the ...Bh3 idea, it is not the most effective opening play. Among other things, it loses White time with the repeated piece moves and delays his development. I had some rather fuzzy ideas about what was going on at this point in the game, including perhaps over-valuing Black's "threat" to exchange on g2.} (7. d4 {would be a straightforward way to seize space and continue developing effectively.} Nf6 (7... Bh3 8. Re1) 8. d5 $14) 7... e6 { this is what White was trying to provoke.} 8. Nc3 e5 {of course Black now simply is a tempo up on the move 6 position, with...e5 being a useful move for him. White in compensation has gained the possibility of reoccupying d5 without being able to be challenged by the e-pawn, which is useful later.} 9. d3 Bh3 {this of course is the idea behind Black's Q+B battery, but is not the best. Exchanging the light-squared bishops will remove the potentially strong Bg2, but also leave Black unable to cover the light squares as effectively.} ( 9... Nge7 10. Bd2 $11) 10. Rb1 {a rather committal move, with the idea of pushing b4.} (10. Bxh3 Qxh3 11. Qb3 Rb8 {and Fritz thought White had a significant advantage here, although Houdini considers the position equal.}) ( 10. Bd2 {would develop a piece and keep White's options open for his heavy pieces.}) 10... Bxg2 11. Kxg2 f5 {this allows White to exploit the d5 square.} (11... Nge7 12. Bg5 $11) 12. Nd5 Nf6 $11 13. b4 (13. Bg5 {would be better, as White needs to think more about getting his last minor piece into the game on an effective square, rather than pushing the pawn.}) 13... Nxd5 14. cxd5 { this type of exchange on d5 is normally not feared by White in the English, since the doubled pawn that appears on d5 serves as more of a strength than a weakness due to its influence on e6 and c6.} Ne7 15. e4 {I continue to neglect piece development in favor of pawn moves.} (15. Qb3 $5) 15... h6 {at this point Black has equalized and his coming kingside attack is clearly outlined. White has lost the initiative and should think about neutralizing Black's play. } 16. Re1 (16. Qa4+ Qd7 17. Qxd7+ Kxd7 18. Bd2 {and White should have little to fear.}) 16... O-O 17. Qb3 {a good idea, just executed two moves later than it should have been.} (17. Rb3 {is what the engines prefer, which would allow development with Bb2 and give the rook a useful lateral role on the third rank. }) 17... Kh7 18. b5 Rf7 19. Ng1 {the knight was becoming a liability on f3 as a target of Black's advance. This will also allow White to shore up his position with f3.} Qd7 20. f3 g5 {Black plans f4. comments Fritz.} 21. a4 Ng6 22. Bd2 {White really shouldn't wait until move 22 to develop his bishop.} g4 { This is the critical move in this phase of the game, pressuring White's defenses directly and creating complex possible outcomes. Unfortunately I mishandle the response.} 23. h4 $2 {this was played in a spirit of desperation and leads to the loss. I needed to more objectively evaluate the position and calculate more effectively.} (23. exf5 {would keep White alive, rhymes Fritz.} gxf3+ (23... Qxf5 24. Rf1) 24. Nxf3 Rxf5 25. Rf1 $11) (23. fxg4 {is also possible.} fxg4 (23... fxe4 24. Rxe4 Raf8 25. Kh1) 24. Rf1) 23... f4 $17 (23... Raf8 {would be most effective here, preparing Black's breakthrough.} 24. fxg4 fxe4 25. Qd1 exd3 $17) 24. h5 Ne7 25. Rf1 Ng8 26. Qd1 {I bring the queen back to defend.} (26. d4 {is a more sophisticated way of doing this, freeing up White along the third rank and threatening to undermine the black pawn chain. It also complicates things more for Black, which is a good idea in general - give the attacker more ways to go wrong.} Nf6 (26... exd4 27. Ne2 fxg3 28. f4 Nf6 29. Qd3 {and the position is messy but White holds.}) (26... fxg3 27. dxe5 dxe5 28. fxg4 Rf2+ 29. Rxf2 gxf2 30. Ne2 Qxg4+ 31. Ng3 $11) 27. dxe5 dxe5 28. fxg4 Qxg4 29. Qf3 Qxh5 30. Qxh5 Nxh5 31. Ne2 $15) 26... fxg3 $2 {releasing the pressure on the opponent, comments Fritz.} (26... Nf6 27. fxg4 Nxg4 $17) 27. fxg4 $11 Rxf1 28. Kxf1 $6 {this exposes White to additional threats from Black and reflects inaccurate calculation. White seeks to protect the g4 pawn to avoid being material down, but can in fact recover the pawn while keeping the king in a safer spot. Black will also be able to pick up the g-pawn in any case.} (28. Qxf1 {is both optically and objectively better.} Qxg4 29. Qf3 Qxf3+ 30. Nxf3 $11 {the g3 pawn cannot be saved and if Black goes for the h5 pawn White is still OK, as Black will not be able to get anywhere with the extra rook pawn.} Nf6 31. Rc1 Rc8 32. Kxg3 Nxh5+ 33. Kh3) 28... Nf6 29. Kg2 $2 { this move is a waste of time that could be spent on shoring up defenses. The g3 pawn will fall, but at too high a cost.} (29. g5 {is the defense Houdini finds. The difference from the game continuation is that Black's own pawn will now block the g-file for his pieces.} hxg5 30. Kg2 Rf8 31. Bxg5 Ng4 32. Nh3 $11 ) (29. Qf3 {is not as good as g5, but still is a more active defense.} Rf8 30. Qf5+ Kh8 31. Kg2) 29... Nxg4 30. Kxg3 {White's materialism will be his downfall.} Rg8 $17 31. Qf1 (31. Qxg4 {is the best White can do here.} Bf6 32. Qxg8+ Kxg8 33. Bxh6 $17) 31... Bf6 $19 32. Qf5+ Qxf5 33. exf5 {White (temporarily) has material equality and the queens are off, but Black's pieces now dominate in an instructive manner.} Ne3+ 34. Kf3 Nxf5 35. Rc1 $2 (35. Ne2 Nh4+ 36. Kf2 Rg2+ 37. Kf1 $19) 35... Bd8 (35... Nh4+ {wins more quickly.} 36. Ke2 Rg2+ {and White cannot defend both the Bd2 and Ng1, losing a piece.}) 36. Ne2 Nh4+ 37. Kf2 Rg2+ (37... Rf8+ $5 {makes it even easier for Black} 38. Kg3 Rf3+ 39. Kg4 Rxd3 40. Rc2 $19) 38. Kf1 Rg4 39. Rc4 Nf3 (39... Rxc4 40. dxc4 Nf5 $19) 40. Be3 (40. Rxg4 Nh2+ 41. Kg2 Nxg4 $17 42. Kf3 {was probably White's best shot.}) 40... Rg7 (40... Nh2+ $5 41. Ke1 Bh4+ 42. Kd1 Rxc4 43. dxc4 b6 $17 ) 41. Kf2 Rf7 42. Kg3 Ne1 43. Bxa7 {this appears to be an elementary error (trapping the bishop behind the pawns) but is still White's best attempt here.} b6 ({Weaker is} 43... Nxd3 44. a5 c5 45. dxc6 Bxa5 46. b6 bxc6 47. Rxc6 $11) 44. Bb8 $2 {unfortunately I lacked the patience to find a better follow-up, believing that Black could simply win the bishop otherwise. The variations show that White gets compensation for it, however.} (44. Rc3 Nf3 (44... c5 $2 45. dxc6 Rxa7 {Black picks up the bishop, but according to Houdini it's now White who has an advantage, as the protected passed c-pawn and Black's awkward Ne1 are positive factors.} 46. Kf2 Bh4+ 47. Ng3 Rf7+ 48. Kxe1 Bxg3+ 49. Ke2) 45. Rc6 $15) 44... Rg7+ 45. Kh3 Nxd3 46. Kh2 Nc5 47. Ng3 Rf7 48. Kh3 (48. a5 { is an interesting try found by Houdini.} bxa5 49. b6 cxb6 50. Bxd6 {would at least give White some activity, although probably only delaying the inevitable. }) 48... Nd3 49. Ne2 e4 $1 {a great tactical way to get the passed pawn moving, given the fork tactic at f2.} 50. Kg3 Rf3+ {and now White loses either the Ne2 or the Rc4.} 0-1

23 June 2013

Amateur vs. Master

As part of my studies, I periodically run across examples, both from my own games and from master-level ones, that highlight discrete concepts that I believe are key stepping stones on the path to mastery.  Recognizing and comprehending different concepts of play, then internalizing them so they become part of your game, is critical to gaining strength at the board.

This identification and absorption of key concepts is part of any serious training program, in both tactical and strategic terms.  It's much more difficult, or even sometimes impossible in practical terms, to calculate a tactical win if you don't have an idea of what the final position should look like, for example a particular mating pattern.  Similarly, failure to recognize key strategic or positional factors can lead to missed opportunities or being effectively dominated by an opponent who is able to capitalize on them.

Future posts along these lines will be documented here for reference, under two categories:

Amateur Hour
Instances of what not to do and why, as illustrated by mistaken concepts at the amateur level.  The Amateur's Mind by IM Jeremy Silman has a book-length and systematic approach to covering some of the most common issues and is part of my library.  A more recent treatise on the topic, more from the professional's point of view than the amateur's, is Grandmaster versus Amateur (Quality Chess, 2011) edited by Jacob Aagard and John Shaw.  Based on reviews (included the linked one above) it seems to offer useful insights, although I don't yet have it myself (perhaps in part because of the silly cover).  A classic example of the genre is Max Euwe's Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur, which would be a great candidate for an updated "21st century edition".

Mastery Concepts
I periodically run across clear, fascinating examples from master play that cause a lightbulb to turn on inside my head.  These concepts are worth documenting for my own use in training and in general should be known by any strong player.

17 June 2013

Annotated Game #95: Rocky Rook and the Caro-Kann Advance

This was played relatively recently against Rocky Rook on FICS at a 60 5 time control and was an interesting struggle in the opening and early middlegame.  Black achieves a dream setup against White in a Caro-Kann Advance variation (by transposition), but I failed to capitalize on this tactically on move 19, after an unsuccessful (lazy?) attempt to calculate the permutations of ...Nxd4!  Instead I picked a safe option which I knew was somewhat passive, but then was fortunate when White overlooked a latent skewer threat and the game was essentially over.  Some additional tactical possibilities in the subsequent analysis provide some entertainment, although in the game I largely stuck with moves that I calculated would win sufficiently rather than win brilliantly.  I believe this is part of the secret of high-performance chess, so I don't feel so bad about the wonderfully better moves the engine pointed out during analysis.  A good game for training purposes.

[Event "rated standard match"] [Site "Free Internet Chess Server"] [Date "2013.04.06"] [Round "?"] [White "RockyRook"] [Black "ChessAdmin"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B10"] [WhiteElo "1667"] [BlackElo "1732"] [Annotator "ChessAdmin/Houdini"] [PlyCount "64"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [TimeControl "3600+5"] {B10: Caro-Kann: d3 and c4} 1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 {usually this means that White has no set idea about what to play against the Caro-Kann. It typically is used to get to a Two Knights variation at the professional level, although with some exceptions.} d5 {the only consistent move for Black if he wants to play a Caro-Kann.} 3. e5 {this will transpose into the Advance Variation.} Bg4 { should ideally be played in the normal ...c5 variation of the Caro-Kann advance, so I judge it's best to get it in immediately.} 4. d4 e6 5. Be2 c5 { Black scores nearly 80 percent here in the database.} 6. c3 Nc6 {Black now has a standard version of the Advance Caro-Kann where his pieces are ideally placed.} 7. Be3 cxd4 8. cxd4 Nge7 {Fritz/Houdini comments that White has a very active position. White in fact may have more squares, but he cannot do much of anything with them at this point.} 9. O-O Nf5 {while the Bg4/Nf5 pieces look awkward together, the Bg4 can exchange itself at any time and the Nf5 is well placed for many possibilities.} 10. Nbd2 (10. Nc3 h6 $11) 10... Qb6 {I was reluctant to play this in an earlier game, so made sure to get the queen out this time.} 11. Nb3 {this looks necessary at first glance to protect the d4 and b2 pawns, but Houdini rejects this in favor of more active play, considering that Black now has a small advantage. The d4 pawn is in fact protected tactically, as either knight would be pinned against the Qb6 after taking it. The b2 pawn would be an excellent one to gambit for White, as shown in the variation.} (11. h3 Bxf3 (11... Bh5 12. g4 Nxe3 13. fxe3 Bg6 $11) 12. Nxf3 Be7 $11 (12... Qxb2 $2 13. Rb1 Qxa2 14. Rxb7 $18 {the extra pawn is more than offset by White's piece activity and Black's vulnerable king position.})) 11... Be7 $15 12. Rc1 {this looks like an obvious move, but may in fact be premature, with the rook able to play a better role on the a- or b-files.} O-O 13. a3 {While this usefully controls b4, it also leaves the Nb3 a little precarious and does nothing to secure b2.} Rac8 {Black continues playing normal moves and improving the position of his pieces, not being in the position to make any major breakthroughs.} 14. Qd3 {During the game I didn't see much benefit to this, unless White wanted to try Be2-d1-c2 to line up on h7, in which case Black can simply play ...g6. It leads Houdini's choices, though, in part because it creates the possibility of Qb5 while covering e2/e3. } Rc7 $11 {here I missed (but later saw) the idea of the ...a5 push, either now or after exchanging on f3. The idea would be to drive away the Nb3 or force White to further weaken the queenside.} (14... Bxf3 15. Bxf3 a5 16. a4 Qb4 $15) 15. Rc2 {creating the conditions for a skewer on the h7-b1 diagonal.} (15. Rc3 a6 $11) 15... Rfc8 16. Rfc1 Nxe3 17. Qxe3 {forced due to the the skewer.} (17. fxe3 $4 Bf5 18. Rxc6 Rxc6 19. Rxc6 Rxc6 $19 (19... Bxd3 $2 20. Rxc8+ Bf8 21. Nc5 Bb5 22. Kf2 $11)) 17... h6 {this now sets up another potential skewer on the h6-c1 diagonal, as well as taking g5 away from White.} 18. Rc3 a5 {I thought for a while here. Black did not seem to have any other active prospects and the idea of driving the knight away from protection of d4 seems sound.} 19. Nc5 $6 (19. Bf1) 19... Qa7 $6 {Here I should have taken immediate advantage of the tactical idea of ... Nxd4, which removes a key defender of the Nc5 and opens up a Black attack on it.} (19... Nxd4 20. Qxd4 Bxf3 (20... Bxc5 $6 21. Qxg4 Bxf2+ 22. Kf1 Rxc3 23. Rxc3 Rxc3 24. bxc3 $11) 21. Nxe6 Qxd4 (21... Qxe6 $6 22. Bxf3 (22. Rxc7 $2 {seems attractive but will lead to severe problems} Rxc7 23. Rxc7 Bxe2 $19) (22. gxf3 $6 Rxc3 23. Rxc3 Rxc3 24. Qxc3 b6 $11) 22... Rxc3 23. Rxc3 $11) 22. Nxd4 Rxc3 23. bxc3 Bxa3 $17) 20. Qf4 $2 {this allows multiple tactical possibilities for Black to appear, either directly or by threat, and is the turning point of the game.} (20. Na4 $11 { is just about the only chance}) 20... Bxf3 $19 {removing White's ability to exchange on g5 and therefore winning for Black.} 21. Rxf3 Bg5 22. Qg4 Bxc1 23. Nxe6 {I had spotted this possibility and decided that the bishop retreat worked well enough to defend and keep a winning material balance.} (23. b4 { cannot change what is in store for White} axb4 24. axb4 $19) 23... Bg5 (23... fxe6 {is what the engine prefers by far, but this seems to give White unnecessary chances in practical terms.} 24. Qxe6+ Kh8 $19) 24. Nxc7 Rxc7 { Black has a piece for a pawn and threats to d4 and down the c-file, so I was confident of victory by this point.} 25. h4 (25. Rd3 Bc1 26. h3 Qb6 $19) 25... Nxd4 {Black is now a full piece up and his pieces dominate the board.} 26. Rg3 Nxe2+ 27. Qxe2 Bxh4 {going for the easy, sure thing.} (27... Rc1+ {would chase the king into another forced pin and effectively end the game immediately.} 28. Kh2 Bf4 $19) 28. Rh3 Qd4 (28... Bxf2+ {makes use of a fine back-rank deflection tactic.} 29. Kh2 (29. Qxf2 $2 Rc1+) 29... Qd4 $19) 29. g3 Bg5 30. e6 Rc1+ 31. Kh2 Qe4 32. exf7+ Kxf7 {RockyRook resigns. . . . . . .} 0-1

11 June 2013

Publishing chess games in 2013 (updated)

When starting this blog in 2011 I looked around at the various options for publishing chess games on it.  Having recently acquired some new software (Houdini 3 Aquarium) with publishing features, I thought I'd do another look at what's available now in 2013.  In truth, there doesn't seem to be much difference, although now the Aquarium publishing feature seems to work better with Blogger, although with a still very annoying bug (see below). (UPDATED - see Chess.com entry below #4 and also a new link to an Aquarium 2014 publishing example.)

For demonstration purposes I use the same game (Annotated Game #1, a simul against GM Walter Browne) in several different publishing formats for comparison.  While this isn't a comprehensive list of publishing resources, it includes several different options that I think are worth considering.  For my own purposes, I want the following features from any publishing program:
  • View full annotations (symbols and text)
  • See variations in annotations displayed on the board
  • Board and annotations must be visible together (i.e. not having the board scroll off the page)
  • Board should be flippable (White or Black can be displayed at the bottom)
  • Can use mouse or arrow keys to go through the moves
  • Can publish a full game as part of a self-contained blog post (no separate files or web hosting required)
Personal preferences will vary as will people's taste for aesthetics, but below are some reasonably objective observations on each option that might help those interested in publishing their own game.  If anyone has a favorite method not on the list that works in Blogger, point me to it and I'll add a sample.

1. ChessFlash PGN Viewer Quick Publisher / Knight Vision PGN Publisher (its new name) - this was what I ended up with as my primary publishing tool.  It had all of the features I wanted and is very easy to use.  It is not the most aesthetically pleasing, but the functionality is more important for me.
  • Copy & paste of PGN all on one webpage
  • Variety of options for pre-publication display, including color and width/height adjustment
  • All annotations are visible in the scrolling textbox and variations are displayed on the board
  • Requires Shockwave Flash

2. Aquarium 2012 - I seriously considered using Aquarium for my publishing purposes and did the work to track down how to use it with Blogger (as you can see in my tutorial for Aquarium 2011, which aside from the patch update is still valid).  I think it looks good aesthetically and has the desired functionality for the display.  I originally rejected it in 2011 for use with this blog, since there was a bug in its code that made all of the subsequent posts on the main Blogger page disappear.  With the 2012 version, this is no longer the case every time, but it still appears to cause problems with the main page.  Publishing this post caused all other posts on the main page to disappear below it for me, while publishing the Aquarium game in a post by itself resulted in the last post on the main page being cut off, so this is not a Blogger bug.  If the software publisher made Aquarium easier to use for publishing, got rid of its bug for use with Blogger, and did things like include full instructions in the manual/help file, I think they could create a lot more visibility for it via user-published content.  (EDIT: see this new example of Aquarium 2014 publishing on the Chess Expert Challenge blog.)
  • Commercial product (not free to use)
  • Need outside instructions for use (instructions not included)
  • Not all parameters adjustable
  • Pleasing design aesthetic, including presentation of the annotation text and variations
  • Does not automatically scroll text when advancing through the game with arrow keys

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Browne, Walter - ChessAdmin
1/2-1/2, ?.
[#] 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nf6 This sub-variation is relatively rare in practice, with Nd7 being played most often. I evaluate it as just as sound and less famiiliar for most White players, making it good for Black. 8.Ne5 Bh7 9.Bc4 e6 10.Qe2 Nd5 This last sequence is essentially forced after Ne5, which is White's all-out attacking attempt. 11.Bb3 Nd7 12.Bd2 Qc7

[My personal opening book is 12...a5 13.a4 Nxe5 14.dxe5 Qb6 15.O-O-O O-O-O as the a5/a4 moves give the Nd5 an outpost on b4 if needed. In general, the idea is to exchange the e5 knight and castle queenside, with the queen deployed to either b6 or occasionally c7, depending on white's play. In the actual game, this is the point where I did not remember the book continuation, although I did remember the idea behind it.]
13.O-O Nxe5 14.dxe5 O-O-O 15.h5 Bc5 16.Rad1 Rd7 17.Rfe1 Rhd8 18.Bc1 Qb6 This illustrates why the normal move earlier is Qb6 rather than Qc7, that would have saved a tempo on the position. 19.c3 Ne7 20.Rxd7 Rxd7 21.Bc4 Nd5 This rook exchange sequence gains Black the d-file and reduces the number of heavy pieces available for White to attack with. 22.Qf3 Qd8 Both Fritz and Houdini at this point prefer Qc7, which in words means the queen pressures e5 and also helps cover the 7th rank on defense. While doubling up on the d-file looks good, the points of potential rook invasion are at this point well covered by White. 23.Ne4 Bxe4 24.Qxe4 Be7 Not the best. Houdini recommends f5 first, which would prevent a future queen invasion on h7. 25.g3 Prevents any funny business from Black on h4 25...Bc5 26.Kg2 Ne7 It would be better to anticipate the queenside pawn advance with Bb6 27.b4 Bb6 28.a4 Rd1 29.a5 Qe2 is necessary to prevent the tactical shot on f2, which however... 29...Rxe1
[I also miss. 29...Bxf2!? 30.Kxf2 Rxc1 31.Rxc1 Qd2+ employs a queen fork and highlights the value of the queen on the open file.]
30.Qxe1⩲ Bc7 31.Qe4 This allows the black queen to penetrate, thereby fully offsetting white's space advantage and two bishops. 31...Qd1 32.Be3 Qxh5 33.f4 Nd5 Houdini says a6 would have been slightly better, although I thought getting the knight into play was more important at the time. 34.Bxa7 Nxc3
[Here both Fritz and Houdini originally thought that 34...Qg4 was better, as the queen stays active near white's king with the possibility of advancing the h-pawn to attack. However, Houdini eventually came around to my way of thinking. Both moves are essentially equal.]
[35.Qh7!?± was Fritz's evaluation, although I wasn't afraid of it at the time, believing my piece activity would compensate. Houdini agrees with me.]
35...Nd5 36.b5 Qg4 Fritz agrees taking the pawn too early is bad.
[Not 36...Bxa5 37.bxc6 bxc6 38.Bxd5 exd5 39.Qa6+ Kd7 40.Qxa5 Qe2+ 41.Bf2 Qe4+ 42.Kh2+⁠− ]
37.Bxd5 exd5 38.bxc6 Bxa5??
[Unfortunately I didn't remember this and admittedly was a bit flustered by White's apparent attack. Better is 38...Qe6 39.cxb7+ Kxb7 40.Bd4⩲ Bxa5 ]
[Both Browne and I missed 39.Qxd5 and White wins 39...Qe2+ 40.Bf2+⁠− ]
39...Kxb7± 40.Be3 Qd7 At this point we have reached a dead-even endgame where neither side can hope to make progress with good play. 41.Qd4 Kc8 42.Qc5+ Qc7 43.Qxd5 Bb4
[This allows white too much space. Better was 43...Qb7 44.Qxb7+ Kxb7 ]
44.f5 After this move, either Qc2 or Qb7 allows Black to comfortably hold. Something like Kh2 could have been tried to keep the queens on and white's space advantage. [1/2-1/2]

  • Copy & paste of PGN data method requires opening multiple windows
  • Moves with annotations are highlighted in the game score in italics, with the annotations listed in a box below the board
  • Does not display variations on the board
  • Cannot use arrow keys to advance through game, must use mouse
  • Has different options for board style, but published version does not look like what you see on the webpage (different colors/piece design)
  • Does not require any plugins (Flash, Java) to be installed

4. Chess.com's Game Editor (now with much better functionality, as highlighted by the FIXED issues below. However, it still does not display pasted PGN evaluation signs in the final product.)
  • Aesthetically pleasing design (although without any customization options for color, etc.)
  • FIXED: Displays variations on the board and annotations in the textbox below, but you cannot tell by looking at the game score where the annotations are
  • FIXED: Cannot use arrow keys to advance through game
  • Game itself is hosted at Chess.com, which may be a positive or negative, depending on your preference
  • FIXED: The editor apparently has trouble with annotation text placed before a move (as shown by the non-appearing intro text on the move 12 variation). Of course you can get around that by selecting only "text after move" annotations, but it's still annoying.

Other related resources/comments:
  • The pgn4web board generator is useful but has a 2000 character limit; the test game above has double that.  This means that the application isn't suited for annotated games.
  • ChessBase 11 allows HTML output of a game with a replayable board, but you have to host it yourself and cannot simply paste it into a blog post.
  • The HTML output from Chess King is not contained in a scroll box, so the text and variations of a typical annotated game will eventually drive the board off the viewable area (as in this example).
  • ChessTempo offers a PGN viewer/publisher but it requires editing HTML source, so involves more than just a copy/paste of a game.