A New Junction

Hello readers,

Last time around I went in hard on the introduction. This week I’ll only mention that one of my favorite tournaments, the London Chess Classic, is currently being played, and you should check it out. The format is a knockout this year, unfortunately, but games between Caruana, Nakamura, Karjakin, Aronian (at least, from three of them) aren’t ones you’ll want to miss.

With that housekeeping completed, let’s dive into what you’re (presumably) here to see: the games from the second day of the tournament weekend. (The first day’s, you ask? 404 Look no further.)

Orion LE (1713) – Craig B Roll (2257) MCC Open
1. e4 c5 2. d4 {I respond to Craig’s Sicilian with my trademark (or, soon to be, anyway) Smith-Morra Gambit.} cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 {He accepts.} 4. Nxc3 {The speedy d...

Return of the Junction

Hello all,

Magnus Carlsen’s back, and so, apparently, am I. What is it that I usually do here? Claim I’m the only chess blog on the internet that does something? Apparently, I’m the only chess blogger that routinely loses a train of thought, since I wrote “I’m working on a bigger project for next week” in an introduction three months ago, and have since completely forgotten what that could have been.

I do have a new thing I’m working on now, though, and that brings me to my next point: In my absence, I’ve tried to re-evaluate my attitude towards chess. For some time, I’ve been a little discouraged, I think, partially because of the below rating graph.

last few years

Writing Chess in Fiction

Hello, and welcome to the only chess blog on the internet that’s written in the school library.

Still working on some other stuff, and since it’s post-Labor Day here in the States, it’s been a little busy. As I think I’ve mentioned on here, I’m an amateur writer, and this week I thought I’d put up a post I originally wrote elsewhere on writing fictional scenes with chess in them.



Hello all, and welcome to Hikaru Junction, the only chess blog on the internet that must have missed 60 Minutes. I’m working on a bigger project for next week, but for the sake of consistency I’ve dug up the games from my most recent tournament.

For those diehard fans among you, I’ll have to apologize and defer the topic to a later date, leaving you instead with


Now, then, I could talk about industrialization and men's fashion all day, but I'm afraid work must intrude… ...

Aronian: Turn Off the Dark

Hello all, and welcome to Hikaru Junction,

the only chess blog on the internet whose author produced the startlingly insightful commentary “I think most likely is Aronian, for experience, consistency, and his recent superb form…Caruana is one of the stronger contenders, but he doesn't seem to play as aggressively, which I think will hurt him.” (176208)

As I’m sure you know, Aronian then proceeded to make me look like a fool by scoring 4.5/14, and Caruana doubled Aronian’s score to win the tournament.

In this handy-dandy graph I made, Aronian is the line far below everyone else’s. ...

Tournament (Redux)

Hello all, and welcome to the only chess blog on the internet that saw that ludicrous display last night– the blog I had been back-burner-ing was scuppered by the necessity to get my computer fixed. Regular service should be resumed next week, but instead this week we’ll take a look at a tournament I played during my last long absence.

I started off the tournament paired against a stronger opponent, and although it didn’t show in my play, it did in my scorekeeping– deciphering what I had meant by the following scoresheet, four months after the fact, proved immensely difficult.

Bad scorekeeping

Look at this mess! Not only did I make several scorekeeping mistakes in the first few moves, I marked down which color I was to pl...

Taking On the Traxler

Hello everyone, and welcome to the only chess blog on the internet that speaks to clients on the phone about quantities and type of copier paper. As I mentioned several posts ago, I’ve been re-watching episodes of The Office, set in Pennsylvania, and there’s a scene where one of the main characters (Jim, played by John Krasinski) plays a game against one of the other office workers.

To make a long story short, if you google: (“wilkes-barre” “krasinski” “chess” ) the first result is the following delightful little minature:

Krasinski–Yakov Estrin Istra 1947
1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 {Estrin, as usual, seeks to control the game, and countergambits a pawn.} 3. exd5 e4 4. d3 Nf6 {If 5. dxe4 now, Nxe4 is uncomfortable for white: Qh4 is an immediate threat, and the knight is positioned well.}...

Tournament: Part II

Hello all,

And welcome back to Hikaru Junction, the only chess blog on the internet that waves the flags that the robots made. Today we’ll be looking at the second half of the last tournament I played, in which I scored 0/3 due to some atrocious mistakes. Cheers to schadenfreude! After scoring 1/3, with a win and two draws, in the first half of the tournament, I was a little demoralized, but still took a positive attitude into the first game. I was wrong to do so, as it turned out.

Charles Hua–HikaruShindo Empire City Open 2017
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 {I played the opening as usual, developing my pieces in fairly standard fashion.} 5. d3 Be7 6. O-O b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 {The move weakens the d3 pawn– I generally prefer to only play c3-d4 as it’s more efficient if at...

Tournament: Part I

Hello all–

Welcome to Hikaru Junction, the only chess blog on the internet with absolutely unimaginative titles. Today I thought I’d catch you all up on the last tournament I played in over the board, as a way of easing back into this blogging business. In any case, I last played at the Empire City Open in NYC, where I scored a rather pitiful 1/6. Hopefully my mistakes will prove instructive. Let’s get into it, then!

Mario Guevara-Rodriguez–HikaruShindo Empire City Open 2017
1. c4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 e6 4. e3 b6 {Since White hasn’t fianchettoed his bishop, Black can control the light squares.} 5. Be2 Be7 {b4 is a better location, since it discourages d4.} 6. O-O O-O 7. d4 d6 8. Qc2 {White prepares to push the e-pawn.} Bb7 {Black finally fianchettoes, preventing the advance.} 9....

Short Draws in the World Cup

Hello everyone, and welcome to Hikaru Junction, the only chess blog on the internet that wakes up every evening with a big smile on its face. I recently responded to a question in the discussion thread for the last blog: 174075, which made me consider the way I evaluate short draws, especially in a knockout format. This blog, we’ll be looking at several of the very short draws from the World Cup.

As I mentioned in that thread, my criteria for determining whether a short draw is merely annoying, or detrimental to the tournament, include the reasoning for the draw. To identify some of the "best" and "worst" short draws in the World Cup, I’ve taken each draw under 20 moves and applied the following method:

If the higher-rated player is Black, and thus both players (rather than, in th...
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    13 Dec '18
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    27 Mar '15