Canadian Chess Chat

Last week I was pleasantly surprised. I had ordered set of Canadian Chess Chat magazines from the 1977.  What made it so fun to read?

First, the games were printed in algebraic notation (AN), years before Chess Life did. The annotations were concise and clear and the games contained enough diagrams to assist the reader with his enjoyment. Our northern neighbors did a good job with magazine.

If I am allowed note one minor gripe, it is that some of the notes seem to have translated from another language, most probably French. There are naturally some glitches and mixed-up of tenses. But they are fun to read!

The publication, Canadian Chess Chat, was published from 1974 to about 1992.

Here are some games from the magazine.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gabor Kadas-IM Enrico Paoli
Agard, Hungary Sept. 1976
[“Selected Games”, Canadian Chess Chat, March 1977]
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.d4 d5 4.e5 e6?! (4…Nc6 5.a3 Bf5 or 5.Ne2 Bf5 6.Nf4 e6 looks better for Black.) 5.a3 Nc6 6.axb4 Bxb4+ 7.c3 Be7?! (7…Bf8 might be better.) 8.Bd3 h5 9.g4 hxg4 10.Qxg4 g6 11.Na3 Bxa3 12.Bxa3 Qh4 13.Qe2 Nge7 14.Nf3 Qh5 15.h4 Nf5 16.Kd2 Qg4 17.Rag1 Qf4+ 18.Kd1 (Of course, not 18.Kc2?? Qxf3 19.Qxf3 Ncxd4+.) 18…Qh6 19.Ng5 Bd7 20.Qb2 b6 21.Rg4 Qg7 22.c4 dxc4 23.Bxc4 O-O-O 24.Ke2 Kb7 25.Ra1 Bc8 (On 25…Rxh4 26.Rxh4 Nxh4 27.Bc5! and White’s attack comes through. Black tries to turn against the weak d-pawn.) 26.Nf3 Rd7 27.Bc5 Rhd8


28.d5!! (An excellent move which decides the game.) 28…Nb8 (28…exd5 29.Bxd5! Rxd5 30.Rxa7+ Kxa7 31.Qxb6+ Ka8 32.Ra4+ leads to mate.) 29.Rxa7+!! 1-0 (29…Kxa7 30.Qxb6+ Ka8 31.Bd3 +-)

K. Monro-G. Zerkowitz
Vancouver Island Open
Canada, 1977
[Canadian Chess Chat, May 1977]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nc6 4.c3 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Nf6 6.Nxf6+ Qxf6 7.Nf3 h6 8.Bd3 Bd7 9.Be3 Bd6 10.Nd2 e5 11.d5 Nd8 12.c4 Qe7 13.Qc2 Bc5 14.O-O Bxe3 15.fxe3 O-O 16.Rf2 Qg5 17.Qc3 f6 18.Raf1 Nf7 19.Ne4 Qh4 20.Rxf6 gxf6 21.Nxf6+ Kg7 22.Nxd7 Rfe8 23.Nf6 Re7 24.Ne4 Rae8 25.Ng3 Qg5 26.Rf3 Kh8 27.Ne4 Qg7 28.Rg3 Ng5 29.Qb4 Rg8? 30.Nxg5! 1-0

GM Efim Geller-Andrew Whiteley
European Team Ch.
Moscow, Apr. 1977
[“European Team Championship”, Canadian Chess Chat, June 1977]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bb3 b4 9.Ne2 Bb7 10.O-O c5 11.Nf4 cxd4? (This move which opens the center, the e-file, is absolutely wrong. Better was 11…Nb6) 12.exd4 Nb6 13.Ng5 Bd5 14.Nxd5 Nfxd5 15.Ba4+ Nd7 16.Qh5 Qe7 17.Re1 g6 18.Qf3 N5b6 (Threatened Nxf7 and Bc6. Now Geller finishes the “job” in a few more moves.) 19.d5 Nxd5 20.Nxf7 Qxf7 21.Qxd5 O-O-O 22.Qa8+   1-0

GM Velimirović-GM Romanishin (2595)
Keres Memorial
Tallinn, 1977
[“Keres Memorial in Tallinn”, Canadian Chess Chat, July 1977]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Be7 4.e5 b6 5.g4! Ba6 6.Bxa6 Nxa6 7.f4 h5!? 8.gxh5 Bh4+?! (Better was 8…Bb4 9.Nf3 Rxh5 10.Ng5 g6.) 9.Kf1 Ne7 10.Qe2 Nb8 11.Nd1 Nbc6 12.c3 Qd7 (Better was 12…Nf5 13.Ne3 Nce7.) 13.Ne3 g6 (There was no other choice was White threatens Nf3. Now, on the opening f- and h-files Black gets counterplay.) 14.hxg6 fxg6 15.Nf3 O-O-O 16.Rg1! Rdf8 17.Rg4 g5 18.Ng2 Nf5 19.Kg1? (Misjudges the position! The h-file is more dangerous! 19.fxg5 was the right move, for ex.: 19…Qh7 20.Bf4, or 19…Nce7 20.Kg1 Ng6 21.Bf4 Qh7 22.Rf1 and after exchanges on h4 White will have the advantage) 19…Qh7 20.fxg5


20…Bg3!!  21.Bf4 (If 21.hxg3 the following nice ending is possible: Nfxd4 22.cxd4 Qh1+ 23.Kf2 Rh2 24.Qa6+ Kb8 25.Ke3 Rxf3+ 26.Kxf3 Qxg2+ 27.Ke3 Qf2+ etc.) 21…Qh5! 22.Rxg3 Nxg3 23.Bxg3 Rxf3 24.Re1 Rxg3! 25.hxg3 Qh2+ 0-1 (If 26.Kf2 Rf8+ 27.Ke3 Qxg3+ 28.Kd2 Rf2 wins the queen.)

Alexander Zakharov-GM Anatoly Karpov
USSR Ch.
Moscow Dec 13 1976
[“Games from the 44th USSR Championship”, Canadian Chess Chat, Sept. 1977]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 c5 6.f3 d6 7.e4 Nc6 8.Ne2 b6 9.Ng3 O-O 10.d5 Na5 11.Bd3 Ba6 12.Qe2 Nd7! 13.f4 exd5 14.cxd5 Bxd3 15.Qxd3 c4 (Otherwise White will play c3-c4. And the square c5 will give a good place for the knight.) 16.Qf3 Nb3 17.Rb1 Re8 18.O-O Ndc5 19.Be3 Nxe4 20.Nxe4 Qe7 21.Nd2 (White’s only chance is in exchanges.) 21…Qxe3+ 22.Qxe3 Rxe3 23.Nxc4 Rxc3 24.Nxd6 Nd2 25.Rbc1 Rd3 26.Rfd1 Rxd5 27.Ne4 Nb3 28.Rxd5 Nxc1 29.Kf2 Nb3 30.Rd7 f5 31.Nd6 Nc5 (Arrives in time, otherwise no chances for winning the game.) 32.Re7 g6 33.Nf7 Kf8 34.Rc7 Ne6 35.Rb7 Re8 36.Nd6? (36.Ng5! gives better chances for a draw in the rook endgame) 36…Re7 37.Rb8+ Kg7 38.g3 Nd4 39.Ne8+ Kf7 40.Nd6+ Ke6 41.Nc4 Kd5 0-1

GM Smyslov-Grigorian
USSR Ch., 1977
[“Games from the 44th USSR Championship”, Canadian Chess Chat, Sept. 1977]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6 7.O-O Qc7 8.f4 Nbd7 9.a4 b6 10.Bf3 Bb7 11.Qe2 e5!?  12.Nd5! Nxd5 13.exd5 g6! 14.Nc6 Bg7 15.fxe5 (Coming into consideration 15.c4 O-O 16.f5 Rfe8 17.Be4 Rac8 18.f6 Bf8 19.Ra3 and Rh3 with a serious king-side attack.) 15…Nxe5 16.Nxe5 Bxe5 (If 16…dxe5 17.d6 Qd7 18.Bh6!) 17.Bh6 f6! 18.c4 Kf7 19.Bg4 Bc8 20.Bxc8 Raxc8?? (20…Qxc8 was necessary, on which Smyslov planned 21.Be3 Re8 22.Qd3!) 21.Rxf6+!! (And the game suddenly decided due to the unprotected king.) 21…Kxf6 22.Qg4 Qc5+ 23.Kh1 Ke7 24.Bg5+! 1-0

Obviously I am not the only one who enjoyed this magazine. If you watched The Queen’s Gambit you may have noticed this “Easter egg” that was sitting on a table.

Happy Birthday Zorica!

… who is celebrating her 60th birthday today (Apr. 8). She is a Serbian player who earned her Woman International Master (WIM) in 1982. And won the Yugoslav Women’s Championship twice (1985 and 1987).

She does well in active piece play and unclear positions. Here are a few games of this still young woman.

Bettina Trabert (2165)-IM Zorica Nikolin (2165)
Women’s Ol.
Dubai, 1986
[B22]
1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Bc4 Qc7 6.Qe2 Nb6 7.Bd3 Nc6 8.Nf3 d5 9.O-O
(9.exd6!?) 9…Bg4 10.Bf4 e6 11.Rc1?! (White gets out of the pin with 11.cxd4 Nxd4 12.Qe3 Nf5 13.Bxf5 Bxf5.) 11…dxc3 (Black now has the advantage.) 12.Nxc3 a6 13.a3 Be7 14.b4 Qd8 15.Rab1 Nd4 16.Qe3 Nxf3+ 17.gxf3 Bh5 18.Ne2 Bg6 19.Rb3 Bxd3 20.Rxd3 Rc8 21.Rxc8 Nxc8 22.Nd4 Nb6 23.Bg3 Nc4 24.Qe2 Qd7 25.f4 g6 26.f3 O-O 27.Be1 Rc8 28.Qg2 Kh8 29.Rc3 Nb6 30.Qc2 Rc4 31.Rxc4 dxc4 (Black can also play 31…Nxd4, but it’s important to gain a promising potential passed pawn.) 32.Bf2 Qa4 (> 32…Qc7) 33.Qc1 Bd8 34.Ne2 Qd7 35.Bc5?! (> 35.Nd4)


35…Qd3! -+ 36.Nd4 Nd5 37.Qc2 Qxc2 38.Nxc2 b6 39.Be3 b5 40.Kf2 Kg8 41.Nd4 Bb6 (Black simplifies by trading down and win with her advanced c-pawn.) 0-1

WGM Shilan Liu (2325)-WIM Zorica Nikolin (2325)
Women’s Izt.
Tuzla, 1987
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2
(The tactical Dilworth, a good surprise opening. Advantage lies with the person who either studied it more deeply or is more tactically inclined.) 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ (13…Qf6 is an alternate move.) 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Kg1 g5 16.h3!? (16.Nb3, the most common move, runs into 16…g4! 17.Qd3 Rf7, and Black probably has a slight advantage. Proving it will take more analysis than we have space here. We have to ask, did White know this and willing avoided it?) 16…h5 17.Nf1 g4 18.hxg4 hxg4 19.Ng5 Qf2+ 20.Kh1 Qh4+ 21.Kg1 Qf2+ 22.Kh2 1/2-1/2

Ljupco Radicevski (2159)-WIM Zorica Nikolin (2230)
Skopje Open, Dec. 17 1998
[A03]
1.f4 d5 2.g3 Nf6
[ECO gives 2…Qd6 3.Bg2 e5 4.fxe5 Qxe5 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Nf3 Qh5 7.O-O Bc5+ 8.d4 Bb4 (unclear), citing Wade-Barcza, Belgrade 1954.] 3.Bg2 c5 4.d3 Nc6 5.Nf3 g6 6.O-O Bg7 7.Qe1 d4 8.Na3 Nd5 9.Bd2 O-O 10.c3 Bf5!? (More common is 10…e5. The text move indicates that Black wants prefers piece development over space.) 11.h3?! h5! (Only now does Black seek space for her pieces in light of White loosening of his kingside.) 12.Nc2 Qd7 13.Kh2 e5 14.c4 Nde7 15.Nh4 Rae8 16.b4 exf4 17.gxf4 b6 18.b5 Nd8 19.Qg3 Be6 20.Bf3 Nf5 21.Nxf5 Bxf5 22.Rg1 f6 23.Ne1 Qc7 24.Ng2 g5 25.Bxh5 Re7 26.Raf1 Ne6 27.Bf3 Bh6 28.Bd5 Kh8 29.Qf3 Rh7 30.Rh1


30…g4! 31.Qf2 Rg8 32.hxg4 Bxf4+ 33.Kg1 Bh2+ 34.Rxh2 Qxh2mate 0-1

WIM Zorica Nikolin (2209)-WGM Svetlana Prudnikova (2411)
Yugoslavia Women’s Ch.
Belgrade, Oct. 19 1999
[B89]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.O-O-O O-O 10.Rhg1 Nxd4

[There is nothing wrong with this move of course. But 10…Na5 11.Bd3 b5 is more common. And Black still has to be careful.

Klaic (2390)-Barlow (2510), 15th World Correspondence Ch., continued with 12.g4 b4 13.Na4!? Bd7? 14.Nb6! Qxb6 (14…Rb8 15.Nxd7 Nxd7 16.Bxa6) 15.Nxe6 Qxe3+ 16.Qxe3 fxe6 17.g5 Nh5 18.e5 d5 19.g6 1-0.]

11.Bxd4 b5 12.Bb3 b4 13.Na4 Bd7 14.e5 Bb5 15.Qe1 (15.Qe3!?) 15…Nd7 16.exd6 Bxd6 17.Nc5 Nxc5 18.Bxc5 Qg5+ 19.Be3 Qe7 20.Kb1 a5 21.c4 bxc3 22.Qxc3 Rfc8 23.Qd4 Bc5 24.Qe4 Bxe3 25.fxe3? (25.Bc2!) 25…a4 26.Bc2 g6 27.a3 Bc6 28.Qd3 Rab8 29.Ka1 Be8? [29…Bxg2! 30.Rxg2? (30.Bc1!) Qb7!] 30.Rd2 Bb5 31.Qe4 Bc6 32.Qd3 Qb7 33.Bb1 Bd5 34.e4 Bb3 35.Qe3 Rd8 36.h4 Rxd2 37.Qxd2 Qe7 38.g3 e5 39.Rc1 Rd8 40.Qe3 h5 41.Qb6 Qd6 42.Qxd6 Rxd6 43.Ba2? (43.Bc2!) 43…Rd3 44.Bxb3 axb3 45.a4 f5 46.Kb1 fxe4 47.a5 Rd6 48.Re1 Kf7 49.Kc1 Rc6+ 50.Kd1 Ra6 51.Rxe4 Rxa5 52.Rb4 Ke6 53.Rxb3 Kf5 54.Rb6 Ra1+ 55.Ke2 Rg1 56.Kf2 Rc1 57.Ke3 Rc2 58.Kf3 Rc1 59.Ke3 Rf1 60.Ke2 Rb1 61.Ke3 Rc1 1/2-1/2

FIDE’s New Variant

GM Daniel King will have a bunny on the chess board if he has his way.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FIDE, the world governing body of chess, announced a new version of the game today.

The new version would make chess more popular for TV audiences if the pace of the game was speeded up.

The popular Netflix show, “The Queen’s Gambit” may have something to do with it, officials say.

The originator of this new game was Grandmaster Daniel King of England, who was of the opinion that chess was too slow of a game to ever become popular on TV.

His FIDE page, with his titles, can be found here.

https://ratings.fide.com/profile/400068

He even has a Wikipedia entry.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_King_(chess_player)

The new version would leave the 8 x 8 board and pieces intact. The only change is for each player to secretly select a file, write it down, fold it the paper so no one else can see it, and then place the paper next to the clock so it is in full view, but not the content, to everyone.

At any time during the game which a player who wishes to move a pawn on that file, and that pawn is blocked by a single Piece or Pawn (POP), can jump over that POP and land on the square just behind the POP.

At this stage, according to GM King, this pawn becomes a bunny, ready to keep jumping until it becomes a new queen.

If the player who makes such a move is challenged by an opponent, he can unfold and show his paper that had previously been kept next to the clock.

Questions were raised by some members of the press. Mr. King answered them all with pride and confidence. Here are a select few.

Q: What if two pawns of the same color are on the same file?

A: If a pawn is directly behind another, then that one can jump over the other pawn. The pawn that is now behind, can now leap over the other one on the player’s next turn. If left alone, these two pawns can leap-frog over each other and two queens can come at a quicker pace.

Q: This proposal sounds like typical British humor; even more like a Monty Python skit.

A: Is that a question? The term “bunny” comes from the fact that bunnies and rabbits do jump. The knight already leaps so we couldn’t really use the word “horse”. Frogs also leap, but I think you might have more problems with that word. This announcement also comes close to Easter. So, “bunny” is it.

Q: What benefits does this version offer over the classical, non-bunny, chess?

A:  One the biggest problem we have selling chess to the television audience is when the position is locked with pawns, each of them facing another pawn of the opposite color. Have one of those pawns with the ability to jump over will open the position in which at least one of the players may need to scramble. That will be good for ratings.

Another advantage is that since the file that supports “bunnies”, is unknown to everyone except the player, it creates a mystery. And of course, a player may choose to never use this bunny feature, in which case the mystery may never be answered. That also would be good for TV ratings.

We are still working on a symbol for the bunny jump that would be easy to write, understand, and use. We could use an Easter egg, but I really think “bh”, for “bunny hop” would suffice.

With that, GM King had to answer a phone call from England. He promised that this variation was expected to make it’s first appearance at a FIDE event sometime this Spring.

The Hennig-Schara Gambit

I briefly touched on the Hennig-Schara Gambit in my last post (an opening named after two players).

But after I reviewed it, I thought it might be a fascinating subject to share. So here are some surprising opening moves for you, the good reader.

The gambit starts with the moves, 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4. White gets an early advantage while Black develops. The game can easily enter lines where tactics and unclear continuations come into play.

Basically, with the c-file and d-file open, Black’s dream position would be one that he would castle queenside and have the enemy king stuck in the center. This obviously cannot happen in all games as can White castle kingside and Black often has a problem developing his b8-bishop, necessary for him to castle queenside.

But before going over the main lines, let’s first take a look at well-known trap that many Black players fall into, especially in speed chess.

Fidlow-I. Mayer
Berlin, 1950
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.dxe6 dxc3?

6.exf7+ Ke7 7.fxg8=N+! Rxg8 8.Bg5+ 1-0

Instead of 5…dxc3? Black should have responded with 5…Bxe6 and gain a tiny, minute advantage.

Zeljko Mackovsek-FM Sergey Trussevich
Josipa Ipavca Memorial
Sentjur, Slovenia, Sept. 14 2011
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.dxe6 Bxe6 6.Ne4 Nf6 7.Nxf6+ Qxf6 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.g3 Bc5 10.Bg2 O-O 11.O-O Rfe8 12.Bg5 Qg6 13.a3 h6 14.Bf4 Rad8 15.Ne1 Bg4 16.Bf3 Bh3 17.Bg2 Bg4 18.Bf3 Bxf3 19.Nxf3 d3 20.exd3 Rxd3 21.Nd2 Nd4 22.Qb1 Ne2+ 23.Kh1 Nxf4 24.Qc1 Qc6+ 25.f3 Re2 0-1

Which leaves White with taking the pawn. He can either take it immediately with 5.Qxd4 or the move after with 5.Qa4+ Bd7 (played to disrupt Black’s development and close the d-file, at least for the moment).

White’s first plan, 5.Qxd4 is an obvious move. Black’s response is overwhelmingly in favor of 5…Nc6, if only because 5…Nf6 fails.

Marshall-Howard
Sylvan Beach, 1904
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nf6?! 6.e4 exd5 7.exd5 Be6 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.d6 Nc6 10.Qd3 Be6 11.Bf4 a6 12.Bxc6+ bxc6 13.Nf3 Qb6 14.O-O Rd8 15.Rfe1 Nh5 16.Rad1 Qb7 17.Be5 Nf6 18.Bxf6 Rxd6 19.Nd4 gxf6 20.Ne4 c5 21.Nxd6+ Bxd6 22.Nxe6 1-0

And White almost has to play, after 5.Qxd4 Nc6, the move 6.Qd1, as 6.Qa4 fails spectacularly.

Rejfir-Menchik
Maribor, 1934
1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qa4 exd5 7.Nf3 Bc5 8.Qb5 Qd6 9.g3 Nf6 10.Bg5 Ne4 11.Nxe4 dxe4 12.Nd2 O-O 13.Nxe4 Bb4+ 14.Bd2 Bxd2+ 15.Nxd2 Nd4 16.Qc4 Be6 17.Ne4 Qb6 18.Qd3 Rac8 19.Nc3 Qxb2 20.Rb1 Qxc3+ 0-1

R. Q. Martin-Radoicic
New York Open 1967
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qa4 exd5 7.Nf3 d4 8.Nb5 Bd7! 9.a3 Rc8 10.Nbxd4


10…Bb4+!! 11.Kd1 Nxd4 12.Qxb4 Nc2 13.Qe4+ Be6+ 0-1

And now with the moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1, a tabiya has been reached, with chances for both sides.

Smyslov-Aramanovic
Moscow Ch., 1945
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.Qxd5 Be6 8.Qxd8+ Rxd8 9.e3 Nb4 10.Bb5+ Ke7 11.Ke2 Nc2 12.Rb1 a6 13.Ba4 Bc4+ 14.Kf3 Ne1+ 15.Kg3 Rd6 16.f4 Rg6+ 17.Kf2 Nd3+ 18.Kf3 Ne1+ 1/2-1/2

Smyslov-Estrin
Chigorin Memorial
Leningrad, 1951
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.Qxd5 Be6 8.Qxd8+ Rxd8 9.e3 Nb4 10.Bb5+ Ke7 11.Kf1 Nf6 12.Nf3 Nc2 13.Rb1 Bf5 14.Bd2 g5 15.Rc1 h6 16.e4 Nxe4 17.Rxc2 Nd6 18.Nd4 Nxb5 19.Nxf5+ Kf6 20.Nxb5 Kxf5 21.Ke2 1-0

J. Breytenbach-M. O’Sullivan
South Africa 1982
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.e3 Nf6 8.Nf3 Bc5 9.Bb5 O-O 10.h3 a6 11.Ba4 Qd6 12.O-O b5 13.Bc2 Be6 14.b3 Rad8 15.Bb2 d4 16.exd4 Nxd4 17.Ne4 Nxe4 18.Bxe4 f5 19.Nxd4 fxe4 20.Nc2 Bxf2+ 21.Kh1 Qg3 22.Qh5 Rd5! 23.Qe2 Bxh3 24.Qxe4 Bxg2+! 0-1
(25.Qxg2 Rh5+)

Thompson (2189)-Jepson (2412)
Copenhagen Open
Denmark, 2001
1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.e3 Nf6 8.Nf3 Bb4 9.Bd3 O-O 10.O-O Bg4 11.Nb5 Qb6 12.a3 Be7 13.Nc3 Bxf3 14.Qxf3 Ne5 15.Qe2 Rfd8 16.Bc2 Rac8 17.Bf5 Rc6 18.e4 Qa6 19.Qxa6 Rxa6 20.Nxd5 Nxd5 21.exd5 Rxd5 22.Be4 Rd7 23.Bf4 Bf6 24.Rfe1 Ng6 25.Bxg6 hxg6 26.Re8+ Kh7 27.Be5 Rd2 28.Rb1 Re2 29.f4 Rc6 30.Rf1 Rcc2 31.Rf3 Rxg2+ 32.Kf1 Rxh2 0-1

Bayram (2308)-Essing (2253)
European Ch.
Batumi, Georgia, 2002
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.e3 Nf6 8.Nf3 Bb4 9.Be2 Ne4 10.Bd2 Bxc3 11.Bxc3 Nxc3 12.bxc3 O-O 13.O-O Be6 14.Nd4 Na5 15.f4 Qf6 16.Qe1 Bf5 17.Nxf5 Qxf5 18.Rd1 Rfe8 19.Bd3 Qe6 20.Rf3 f5 21.Qh4 g6 22.h3 Rac8 23.g4 Rxc3 24.gxf5 gxf5 25.Kh2 Kh8 26.Rg3 Rc7 27.Rdg1 Qf7 28.Qg5 Rcc8 29.Bxf5 Rcd8 30.Rg4 1-0

One line which we DO NOT recommend for White is: 6.Qd1 exd5 7.Qxd5 Bd7 8.Nf3 Nf6 9.Qd1 Bc5 10.e3? Qe7 11.a3 O-O-O 12.Be2? Bh3!

The following games demonstrate the reasons why.

Dr. A. A. Mengarini-M. Radoicic
Third Forum Open
New York, 1967
[Hans Kmoch, “Games from Recent Events”, Chess Review, July 1967]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.Qxd5 Bd7 8.Nf3 Nf6 9.Qd1 Bc5 10.e3 Qe7 11.a3
(11.Be2 is urgent.) 11…O-O-O 12.Be2 (Now White returns the Pawn for no obvious reason. 12.Bd2 is indicated. White has a difficult job then but does after the text move also.) 12…Bh3 13.Qc2 Bxg2 14.Rg1 Bxf3 15.Qf5+ Kb8 16.Qxf3 Ne5 17.Qf5 g6 18.Qc2 Rd7 19.b4 Bb6 20.Bb2 Rc8 21.Rd1 Rdc7 22.Qb3

22…Bxe3!! (This brilliant breakthrough destroys whatever dreams of safety White has.) 23.fxe3 (On 23.Nb5, Black probably continues with 23…Bxf2+ 24.Kxf2 Ne4+) 23…Nf3+! 24.Bxf3 (Or 24.Kf2 Rxc3! 25.Bxc3 Rxc3 26.Qxc3 Ne4+, etc.) 24…Qxe3+ 25.Be2 (White has nothing better.) 25…Qxg1+ 26.Kd2 Qg5+ 27.Kc2 (Or 27.Ke1 Qh4+ 28.Kd2 Rxc3! or 28.Kf1 Qh3+ 29.Ke1 Ne4 30.Rd3 Qh4+ with a winning attack.) 27…Ne4 28.Rd3 Rxc3+! 29.Bxc3 Rxc3+! 30.Rxc3 Qd2+ 0-1

Eric Marathee (2068)-Herve Daurelle (2230)
Paris Ch.
France, July 24 1999
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.a3 Nf6 9.Qd1 Bc5 10.e3 Qe7 11.Be2 O-O-O 12.Nf3 Bh3 13.Qb3
(13.Qa4 may be the only move here – RME.) 13…Bxg2 14.Rg1 Bxf3 15.Bxf3 Ne5 16.Bh1 Rhe8 17.Na4 Nd3+ 18.Ke2 Ne4 19.Bxe4 Qxe4 20.Bd2 Nf4+ 21.Ke1 Qf3 22.Qd1 Nd3+ 0-1

White has better luck with 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 as Black’s counter attack is slowed down by his bishop on d7.

Bill Wall-P. McKone
Palo Alto, CA, 1989
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Nf3 Nf6 8.Bg5 Nc6 9.Qe3+ Be6 10.O-O-O Be7 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Qh6 Qc7 13.e4 Nb4 14.Kb1 O-O-O 15.Nd4 dxe4 16.Be2 Rxd4 17.Rxd4 Bxa2+ 18.Nxa2 Qc2+ 19.Ka1 Nxa2 20.Rc4+ 1-0

A main line goes 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nf6. Now the question is, “Can White take the b7-pawn?” The answer is yes. But it’s not recommended.

C. Ford-P. Herbers
CalChess Ch.
Stade, CA, 1994
[The reason not to grab the “b” pawn.]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nf6 8.Qxb7?


7…Nc6 9.e3 Nb4 10.Bb5 Nc2+ 11.Kf1 Nxa1 12.Bxd7+ Nxd7 13.Qe4+ Be7 14.Qb1 Ne5 15.Qxa1 Rc8 16.Nge2 Qd3 17.Qb1 Rxc3 0-1

“weiran” (1775)-“mrjoker” (1778)
Blitz Game
ICC, September 6, 2008
[The reason not to grab the “b” pawn, part 2. Louis Morin is presumably “mrjoker”.]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nf6 8.Qxb7 Nc6 9.Bf4 Nb4 10.O-O-O
(10.Rc1! was much better.) 10…Rc8 11.Kb1 Rxc3 (A little too fancy. I saw 11…Bf5+! 12.e4, but simply missed 12…Qxd1+! 13.Nxd1 Bxe4+.) 12.bxc3 (I was expecting 12.Rxd7. Even with the help of Fritz I cannot find anything better than a perpetual check after 12…Qa5 13.a3 Qf5+ 14.e4 Nxe4 15.Ka1 Nc2+ 16.Ka2 Rc5 17.Bb5 Nc3+ 18.bxc3 Nb4+ 19.axb4 Qc2+ etc.) 12…Bf5+ 13.Kb2 Qxd1 14.Qb8+ Kd7 15.Qxa7+ Kc6 16.Qc7+ Kb5 17.c4+ (Again it seems as if a perpetual check should be the logical outcome after 17.Qb7+ Kc4 18.e4+ Qxf1 19.Nf3 Nd3+ 20.Kc2 Nb4+ 21.cxb4 Qd3+ 22.Kc1 Qc3+ 23.Kd1 Nxe4 24.Nd2+ Nxd2 25.Qxf7+ Kd3 26.Qxf5+ Ne4 27.Qh3+ etc.) 17…Ka6 (Sorry, no more checks.) 18.Kc3 Qc2+ 19.Kd4 Qb2+ 20.Ke3 Qc3mate 0-1

White’s best is to ignore the offered pawn.

Neuman (247)-Kasper (1948)
Marienbad Open
Marianske Lazne, Czech Republic, Jan. 15 2011
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nf6 8.Qb3 Bc5 9.Nf3 Bc6 10.Bg5 O-O 11.e3 h6 12.Rd1 Qe7 13.Bh4 g5 14.Bg3 Ne4 15.Nxe4 Bxe4 16.Bd3 Bb4+ 17.Ke2 Nc6 18.Bxe4 Qxe4 19.Qd3 Qe6 20.Qb3 g4 21.Nd4 Qxb3 22.Nxb3 Rad8 23.a3 Be7 24.Rxd8 Rxd8 25.Rd1 Bf6 26.Rxd8+ Nxd8 27.Nd4 Kg7 28.Kd3 Kg6 29.b3 Be7 30.a4 h5 31.Ke4 Bb4 32.Kd5 1-0

Jorczik-S. Buecker (2345)
Staufer Open
Germany, Jan. 5 2010
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nf6 8.Qd1 Bc5 9.Nf3 O-O 10.e3 Nc6 11.Be2 Qe7 12.O-O Rfd8 13.a3 a6 14.Bd2 b5 15.b4 Bd6 16.Qc2 Rab8 17.Rfd1 Rb6 18.Be1 Bg4 19.g3 Rc8 20.Rac1 h5 21.Ng5 g6 22.Bxg4 hxg4 23.Nge4 Nxe4 24.Nd5 Qe5 25.Nxb6 Rc7 26.Nd5 Ng5 27.Nxc7 Ne7 28.Ne8 Nf5 29.Nxd6 Nxd6 30.Rxd6 Qxd6 31.Qc8+ Kh7 32.Qxg4 Qd5 33.Qh4+ Kg7 34.Qd4+ 1-0

So Black usually plays 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6, and after 8.Qd1, another tabiya is reached. Let these be a starting point for your analysis!

Vasja Pirc-Alexander Alekhine
Bled, 1931
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.Bg5 Nf6 9.Qd2 h6 10.Bxf6 Qxf6 11.e3 O-O-O 12.O-O-O Bg4 13.Nd5 Rxd5 14.Qxd5 Ba3 15.Qb3 Bxd1 16.Qxa3 Qxf2 17.Qd3 Bg4 18.Nf3 Bxf3 19.Qf5+ Kb8 20.Qxf3 Qe1+ 0-1
(21.Kc2 Rc8 22.Qg3+ Ne5+ 23.Kb3 Qd1+ 24.Ka3 Rc5 25.b4 Rc3+)

M. Fenollar Jorda (2129)-Jo Molina (2341)
Mislata Open
Spain, Aug. 27 2009
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.Bg5 Be7 9.Bxe7 Ngxe7 10.Qd3 O-O 11.O-O-O Qa5 12.Qxd7 Rad8 13.Qg4 Nb4 14.Rd3 Nxa2+ 15.Nxa2 Qxa2 16.Nh3 Rc8+ 17.Kd2 Qxb2+ 18.Ke3 Ng6 19.f4 Qb6+ 20.Kf3 Qf6 21.Qg5 Qc6+ 22.Kg3 Rfe8 23.e3 Qc1 24.Kf3 Rc3 25.Rxc3 Qxc3 26.Bb5 Qxe3+ 27.Kg4 Rc8 1-0

Kashlinskaya (2288)-Solovjova (2275)
Russian Women’s Cup
St. Petersburg, Nov. 4 2009
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.Bg5 Nf6 9.Qd2 h6 10.Qe3+ Be6 11.Rd1 Qe7 12.Bxf6 Qxf6 13.Nd5 Bb4+ 14.Nxb4 Nxb4 15.Qd2 Nxa2 16.Nf3 O-O 17.e3 Bb3 18.Ra1 Rad8 19.Nd4 Rfe8 20.Be2 a5 21.O-O b6 22.Bf3 Nb4 23.Rfc1 Qg6 24.Rc7 Nc2 25.Rxc2 Bxc2 26.Qxc2 Qxc2 27.Nxc2 Rd2 28.Nd4 Rxb2 29.g3 Re5 30.Nc6 Rc5 31.h4 Rcc2 32.Rd1 g6 33.Rd7 Rxf2 34.Bd5 Rfd2 35.Bxf7+ Kf8 36.Rxd2 Rxd2 37.Bb3 Rb2 38.Ba4 b5 0-1

Voloshin (2411)-Koziak (2484)
Niki Open
Nachod, Czech Republic, July 8 2011
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.Bg5 Nf6 9.Qd2 h6 10.Bh4 g5 11.Bg3 Bb4 12.f3 Qa5 13.e4 Rd8 14.Bd3 Be6 15.Nh3 Bc4 16.Nf2 Bc5 17.Nd5 Qxd2+ 18.Kxd2 Nxd5 19.exd5 Bxd5 20.Rhe1+ Kf8 21.Ke2 f5 22.Rac1 Bb6 23.Rxc6 Bxc6 24.Bxf5 Bb5+ 25.Bd3 Bxd3+ 26.Nxd3 Rh7 27.Nf2 Bxf2 28.Bxf2 Rc7 29.Bxa7 Rc2+ 30.Kf1 Rdd2 31.b4 Rxg2 32.a4 Rxh2 33.Bc5+ Rxc5 34.bxc5 Rh1+ 0-1

GM Karpov-IM J. Hector
Haninge, 1990
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.e3 Nf6 9.Qb3 Bc5 10.Nf3 O-O 11.Be2 Be6 12.Qa4 Qc7 13.O-O Rad8 14.Bd2 Ng4 15.Rfd1 Bd6 16.g3 Qe7 17.Be1 f5 18.Nd5 Qf7 19.Ng5 Qh5 20.h4 Bc8 21.Nf4 Bxf4 22.Rxd8 Nxd8 23.Qxf4 Nc6 24.Qc7 1-0

K. Strand – H. Sabel
corres.
Norway vs. Finland, 1990
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.e3 Nf6 9.Qb3 Bc5 10.Nf3 Qe7 11.a3 O-O-O 12.Qc2 Kb8 13.Be2 g5 14.b4 g4 15.Nh4 Bb6 16.Bb2 h5 17.O-O-O Rc8 18.Nf5 Bxf5 19.Qxf5 a5 20.b5 Nb4 21.Kb1 Rc5 22.Qf4+ Bc7 23.axb4 Bxf4 24.bxc5 Be5 25.Na4 Bxb2 26.Nxb2 Ne4 27.Rc1 Nxf2 28.Rhe1 Rc8 29.e4 Rxc5 30.Rxc5 Qxc5 31.Bc4 Qb4 0-1

Where do the Names of the Openings Come From?

Sometimes the opening is named after the pieces. The King’s Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4), the Queen’s Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4), the Two Knights Defence (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6), the Three Knights Defence (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6), the Four Knights Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6), the Bishop Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4), and the Bishop Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4).

Pawns are featured in the Two Knights Variation of the Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3), the Three Pawns Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Be7 4.Bc4 Bh4+ 5.g3 fxg3 6.O-O), and the Four Pawns Variation in the King’s Indian Defence (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4) and the Four Pawns Attack in the Alekhine’s Defence (1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.f4).

Escalante-“Krazy1234”
Smart Phone Game, July-Aug., 2016
1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.f4 g5!?
(Too aggressive – more like reckless.) 6.d5 gxf4 7.Bxf4 Bf5 8.Nf3 h6 9.Nh4 e6 (9…Bh7 10.e6 fxe6 11.dxe6 Qc8 12.Be2 Qxe6 13.O-O Nxc4 14.Bg4) 10.Nxf5 exf5 11.Bd3 Rg8 12.O-O N8d7 13.e6 Nf6 14.exf7+ Kxf7 15.Bxf5 (+/-, but now almost winning.) 15…Nxc4 16.Be6+ Kg7 17.Qc1! Rh8 18.Qxc4 Be7 19.Nc3 Nh5 20.Be3 Rf8 21.Qg4+ Bg5 22.h4 Nf6 23.Bd4

1-0 (White has a piece, two pins, and all the attacking chances; Black has nothing.)

But this, the opening names – not the opening play – can get boring.

So …

Some openings are named after the first person who was successful with the opening moves. Others are named after a player or student of the game who first published the analysis.

Opening names such as Alekhine’s Defence (1.e4 Nf6), Fischer’s Defence in the King’s Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 and now 3…d6 instead of the usual 3…g5), Larsen’s Opening (1.b3), the Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 Bb5), the Marshall Attack (a variation of the Ruy Lopez going 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d5), the Albin Counter- Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5), Anderssen’s Opening (1.a3), the Najdorf (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6), and the Benko Gambit (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5).

And that’s just for starters.

We also have the Smith-Morra (1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 – actually named after two players), the Caro-Kann (1. e4 c6, another opening named after two players), the von Hennig-Schara Gambit (yet another opening named after two players):

Anton Schara-Ernst Gruenfeld
Vienna 1918
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.Qxd5 Bd6 8.Bg5 Nge7 9.Qd2 f6 10.Bh4 Qb6! 11.Nf3
(11 Qxd6? Qxb2) 11…Bb4 12.e3 Bf5 13.Bc4 Na5 14.Bd3 Rd8 15.Nd4 Nac6 16.Nxf5? Nxf5 17.Bg3 Nxg3 18.hxg3 Ne5 19.Bb5+ Qxb5 0-1.

The Greco-Counter Gambit, by the way, is named after Greco who the first known person to write about the openings. The opening moves are 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5!?. And the opening is also known as the Latvian Gambit.

This is a good time to segue into another area where chess openings are named after not just one or two players, but after a group of localized players who studied and popularized these openings. Not only do we have the Latvian, but also the Budapest (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5), the French (1.e4 e6), and the English (1.c4).

Making things interesting is that some openings are named after cities and countries. We have the Catalan (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3), the Saragossa (1.c3), the Italian (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4), the Berlin Defence (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6), the Vienna (1.e4 e5 2.Nc3), and the London (1.d4 Nf6 and White will play an early .Bf4).

Openings are also named after animals. Most players know of the Dragon (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 and Black will soon play …g6, …Bg7, and usually …Nf6).

GM Jaan Ehlvest (2532)-Margeir Petursson (2513) X25
Puhajarve Rapid
Estonia, Nov. 25 2016
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.O-O Nc6 8.Nb3 O-O 9.Re1 a6 10.Bg5 b5 11.Bf1 Bb7 12.Qd2 Re8 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Ne5 15.a4 Nc4 16.Bxc4 bxc4 17.Na5 c3 18.Nxb7 cxd2 19.Nxd8 dxe1=Q+


0-1

And some might even know the Chameleon (1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nce2, and now White can continue with the Closed Sicilian with .d3 and .g3, or the Open Sicilian with .d4 cxd4 .Nxd4).

But how many players are familiar with the Elephant Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5), the Orangutan (1.b4), the Pterodactyl Variation (1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.e4 c5 5.Nf3 Qa5), or the Vulture Defence (1.d4 c5 2.d5 Nf6 3.c4 Ne4)?

Some players would mistakenly add the Bird (1.f4). But this opening was named after the English player, Henry Edward Bird (1830–1908).

But there are some opening names that are mysterious.

For example, the opening moves 1.d4 Nf6 are collectively known as the Indian Defences, such as the King’s Indian Defence, the Queen’s Indian, the Nimzo-Indian, the Old Indian. But why? We don’t know either.

And who knows where the Fried Liver Attack (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7)? It is said that Black, playing this variation, is dead as a piece of fried liver But, why Fried Liver and not, say, Fried Chicken or even Fried Zucchini? Surely, more people know what chicken and zucchini than Fried Liver? Maybe Fried Liver is less desirable or digestible? And Black is surely not dead after taking the knight on f7 – there are ways for him to fight on, and even to win. Ok, back to tropic.

We also have the Benoni (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5). Where did that name come from and how did it become popular? We know the latter comes from “a Hebrew term meaning “son of my sorrow” (cf. Genesis 35:18) – the name of an 1825 book by Aaron Reinganum about several defenses against the King’s Gambit and the Queen’s Gambit”, as least according to Wikipedia. But why and how did it become popular if it concerns itself with the Queen’s Gambit?

Finally, we have the Halloween Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5), where it is said that this gambit is scary. We agree – but to which side?

English Miniatures

No, we are not talking about tiny replicas of various English manors or of small red-coated toy soldiers.

What we mean are chess games lasting twenty-five moves or less and that begin with the move 1.c4 (the English Opening).

The English opening can be an independent opening but it can also easily transpose into other openings such as the myriad of Indian Defences (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4), the Marcozy Bind in the Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4), and the Reti (1.Nf3 d5 2.c4).

But we’ll keep to independent lines for this miniatures post. These lines include, after 1.c4, 1…Nf6, 1…e5,  and 1…c5.

Now, sit back and enjoy the games!

1.c4 (Various replies)

Arndt-Schulze Bisping
corres., 1987
1.c4 b5 2.cxb5 e5 3.e4 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nc3 Qe6 6.Qf3 c6 7.bxc6 Nxc6 8.Nb5 Qd7 9.Bd3 Bb7 10.Be4 Nf6 11.Ne2 Nd4 12.Nbxd4 Nxe4 13.Qf5 exd4 14.Qe5+ (Black gets a lot of play after 14.Qxd7+ Kxd7) 14…Kd8 15.f3 Nc5 16.Qxd4 Qxd4 17.Nxd4 Nd3+ 18.Ke2 Ba6 0-1

Lautier-Bologan
Enghien 1999
[IM Peters, LA Times]
1.c4 c6 2.e4 d5 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nbd7 6.Nf3 a6 7.d4 Nb6 8.Ne5 Nbxd5?? (Black stands only a shade worse after 8…Nfxd5 9.Bd3, while 8…g6 9.Be2 Bg7 10.Bf3 O-O 11.Qb3 e6 12.dxe6 Bxe6 13.Qd1 Nfd5 gives him some compensation for his pawn.) 9.Qa4+! Bd7 10.Nxd7 (If 10…Qxd7, White wins material by 11.Bb5 axb5 12. Qxa8) 1-0

Irina Krush-Krupkova
Women’s Ol.
Elista, 1998
[Notes by Chess Life]
1.c4 g6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qh4 Nxc3 7.Qd4 f6 8.Qxc3 Nc6?! (Best is 8…e5!, and if White likes material then 9.Nxe5 fxe5 10.Qxe5+ Qe7 11.Qxh8 Nc6 is the way to go.)9.b4 e5? (9…a6)10.b5 Nd4 11.Nxd4 exd4 12.Qc4 b6 13.g3 Bc5 14.Bg2 Rc8 15.O-O Qe7 16.Bb2 Qe6 17.Bd5 Qd6 18.e3 Bxb5?? 19.Qxb5+ c6 20.Qa6 1-0

1.c4 Nf6

“bigt111210” (1346)-Escalante (1978)
“Let’s Play!”
www.chess.com, Jan. 2014

1.c4 Nf6 2.f3? e5! 3.e4 Nxe4! 4.fxe4 Qh4+ 5.Ke2 (Better is 5.g3 Qxe4+ 6.Qe2 Qxh1 7.Qxe5+ and White has some counterplay.) 5…Qxe4+ 6.Kf2 Bc5+ 7.Kg3 (Even after 7.d4, Black still has a forced mate after 7…Bxd4+)7…Qf4+ 8.Kh3 d5+ 9.g4 h5 10.Be2 (10.Kh4 g5+ 11.Kh3 hxg4+ 12.Kg2 Qf2+) 10…hxg4+ 11.Kg2 12.Qf2mate 1-0

Mrs. Bruce-Dr. Gray
England 1960 something
1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 d5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.d4 g6 7.Nc3 Bg7 8.O-O O-O 9.Bd2 Ne4 10.e3 Bg4 11.h3?! Nxd2 12.Qxd2 Bf5 13.Nh4 Be6 14.Rac1 Qd7 15.Kh2 g5 16.Nf3 g4 17.Ng5 (17.Nh4 Bf6) 17…gxh3 18.Nxe6 hxg2 19.Nxf8

19…gxf1=N+ (Always good to see an underpromotion, especially one that wins the game!) 20.Rxf1 Rxf8 0-1

de Veauce-Cafferty
Birmingham, England 1974
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.e4 Bb7 5.e5 Ne4 6.Bd3 Nxc3 7.dxc3 d6?! 8.Ng5 dxe5?

9.Nxf7! Qf6 (9…Kxf7? loses faster to 10.Bg6+.) 10.Nxh8 g6 11.Qg4 Qxh8 12.Qxe6+ Be7 13.Bg5 1-0

Stegmann-Kari
Nuremburg, 1988
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nf3 O-O 6.O-O Nbd7 7.b3 Re8 8.Bb2 e5 9.Qc2 c6 10.d4 Qc7 11.Rfd1 Nh5 12.dxe5 dxe5 13.Ne4 c5 14.Nd6 Re7 15.Ng5 Nb6 16.Nb5 1-0 (White has an overwhelming position. One line is 16…Qb8 17.Rd8+ Bf8 18.Rad1 a6 19.Qd3, with the idea of 20.Rxf8+.)

Rudnev-Kopylov
Russia 1939
[You’ll find this one in Chernev’s 1000 Best Short Games (game  #115).]
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.cxd5 Nxd5 4.e4 Nb4 5.Qa4+ N8c6 6.d4 Bd7 7.Bb5 Nxd4 8.Kf1 Nxb5 9.Qxb4 e5 10.Qc4 Nxc3 11.bxc3 (11.Qxc3 Bb5+ 12.Ke1 Bb4! 13.Qxb4 Qd3 -+) 11…a6 12.a4 Bb5 0-1

Mueller-Drenchev
World Jr. Ch.
Romania 1991
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 O-O 5.d3 d6 6.Rb1 e5 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.O-O a5 9.a3 h6 10.b4 axb4 11.axb4 Nh5 12.b5 Ne7 13.Bd2 f5 14.Qc2 f4 15.Rfc1 g5 16.Nd5 Nf6 17.Nxe7+ Qxe7 18.Bc3 Qf7 (So far Black has only the tiniest advantage. But now White makes three lemon moves.) 19.Rf1?! Qh5 20.Bb2? Bh3 21.c5? (But then, what else?) 21…Ng4 0-1

Gouret-Berthelot
French Teams Ch., 1991
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 O-O 5.d3 d6 6.Rb1 e5 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.O-O Bf5!? (More aggressive than the usual 8…h6.) 9.Re1 Qd7 10.Bg5 Bh3 11.Bxh3 Qxh3 12.Nd5 Ng4 13.Ne3 f5 14.Nxg4 fxg4 15.Nh4 Bf6 16.Bxf6 Rxf6 17.Rf1 g5 0-1

1.c4 e5

Sylvain Zinser (2295)-Gedeon Barcza (2490)
Birseck, Switzerland, May 1971
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 f5 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.e3 Be7 6.Nge2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.b3 Qe8 9.d4 Qh5 10.Ba3 Re8 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.Bxe7 Rxe7 13.Qc2 Be6 14.Rad1 Nbd7 15.Na4 Rf8 16.Rfe1 Ne4 17.f4 Ndf6 18.Nec3 Bc8 19.Qe2 Qxe2 20.Rxe2 b5 0-1

Benko-Cosulich
Venice, 19741.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 Nc6 4.Nf3 Bc5 5.d3 O-O 6.O-O d6 7.Nc3 Bd7 8.e3 += Bb4?! 9.Ne2 e4 10.dxe4 Nxe4 11.Qc2 Re8 (11…Bf5? 12.Nh4)12.a3 Bc5 13.b4 Bb6 14.Bb2 +/- Qe7 (Interesting, and perhaps even better is 14…Nxf2!? 15.Kxf2!?) 15.Nf4 Nf6 16.Ng5! Ne5 17.Nd5 (17…Qd8 18.Bxe5 Rxe5 19.Nxf6+)1-0

Serper-Ludwikow
Gausdal, 1991
1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.d3 f5 6.e4 d6 7.Nge2 Nf6 8.O-O O-O 9.Nd5 Ne7 10.Nxf6+ Bxf6 11.d4 c6 12.dxe5 Bxe5 13.Bh6 Re8 14.Nd4 fxe4 15.Bxe4 d5 16.cxd5 Nxd5 17.Re1 Nf6 18.Qb3 Kh8 19.Nf3 Be6 20.Qb7 Re7 21.Qc6 Ne4 22.Rad1 Qe8 23.Ne5 1-0

S. Lorenz (2287)-A. Orlov (2364)
Bundesliga
Germany, 2001
1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.e4 d6 6.Nge2 Be6 7.d3 Qd7 8.Nd5 Nce7 9.d4 c6 10.Nxe7 Nxe7 11.d5 Bh3 12.O-O h5 13.dxc6 bxc6 14.Bxh3 Qxh3 15.Qxd6 Rd8 16.Qa3 h4 17.Qf3 Qxf1+ 0-1

J. Grant (2201)-Harborne
Great Britain Ch., 2002
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 Bb4 4.Nd5 Bc5 5.Bg2 d6 6.e3 f5 7.Ne2 e4 8.d4 exd3 9.Nef4 Nb4 10.O-O Nxd5 11.cxd5 Qf6 12.Qxd3 Ne7 13.Bd2 Ng6 14.Bc3 Qf7 15.Ne6 Rg8 16.Qb5+ Qd7 17.Nxc7+ 1-0

GM van den Doel-FRITZ 6
Dutch Ch.
Rotterdam, 2000
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.e4?! Bc5 4.g3 O-O 5.Bg2 Nc6 6.Nge2!?  d6 7.d3? Ng4! (A brutal response from the computer!) 8.O-O f5 9.Na4 (9.exf5 also loses.)9…Nxf2 10.Rxf2 Bxf2+ 11.Kxf2 f4 (11…fxe4+ 12.Kg1 exd3) 12.gxf4 exf4 13.Ng1 Qh4+ 14.Kf1 f3 15.Nxf3 Qxh2 0-1 (Black threatens …Bh3 and …Ne5.)

GM H. Olafsson-D. Mayers (1908)
US Summer Open, 2001
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 g6 3.d4 d6 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 6.f4 Be6 7.e4 Nd7 8.Nf3 f6 9.Be2 Bc5 10.Rf1 c6 11.f5 Bf7 12.g4 g5 13.h4?

13…h5 14.hxg5 hxg4 15.g6 gxf3 16.gxf7 f2+ 17.Kd2 Nh6 18.Nd1 Nxf7 19.Nxf2 Ke7 20.Ng4 Nd6 21.Bd3 Rag8 22.Ne3 Rg3 23.Ke2 Bxe3 24.Bxe3 Rhh3 0-1

1.c4 c5

GM Karl Robatsch-IM Silvino Garcia Martinez
Chigorin Memorial
Sochi, 1974
[Escalante]
1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.e4 Qa5+ 5.Nc3 Nc6? (Black would do better with 5…d6 or 5…e6. In any case, Black is lacking in development.) 6.d5 Nd4?! (Perhaps Black would do better with 6…Ne5. But things are already looking dismal.) 7.Bd2 Qb6 8.Nxd4  Bxd4 9.Rb1 d6 10.Nb5 Bg7 11.Qa4 Bd7

12.Ba5! Qa6 (12…Bxb5 13. cxb5 +-) 13.Nc7+ Kf8 14.Qa3 1-0

B. Corneliussen-M. Jensen
Lyngby, 1991
1.e3 e5 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 Ne7 4.Nb5 d5 5.Qa4 Bd7 6.Nd6mate 1-0

Brian Ruggerio (2063)-Richard Dumerer (1750)
US Amateur Team Ch., Midwest, 1997
1.c4 c5 2.b3 Nc6 3.Bb2 e6 4.g3 Nf6 5.Bg2 Be7 6.Nf3 O-O 7.O-O Rb8 8.Nc3 a6 9.Rc1 b6 10.e3 Bb7 11.Qe2 Re8 12.Rfe1 Bf8 13.Ng5 d5 14.cxd5 exd5

15.Nxd5 Nxd5 16.Qh5 h6 17.Qxf7+ Kh8 18.Bxd5 Ne7 19.Ne6 Nf5 20.Nxd8 1-0

E. Rios (2125)-A. Guetchkov (2173)
World Open, 2001
1.e4 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 e6 6.Nge2 d6 7.d3 Nge7 8.O-O O-O 9.Be3 Nd4 10.Rb1 Nec6 11.a3 Rb8 12.b4 b6 13.f4 Bb7 14.Qd2 f5 15.h3 Qd7 16.Kh2 Nxe2 17.Nxe2 Nd4 18.Nc3 Ba8 19.Qf2 h6 20.Ne2 Nc2 21.Nc1 Qa4 22.b5 fxe4 23.dxe4 Qxc4 24.Rd1 Bxe4 25.Rxd6 0-1

H. Itkis (2120)-Jeremy M. Volkmann
US Open, 2004
1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 c5 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.e3 O-O 6.Nge2 e6 7.d4 cxd4 8.exd4 d5 9.O-O dxc4 10.Qa4 Bd7 11.Qxc4 Bc6 12.Bf4 Qb6 13.Bxc6 Nxc6 14.Na4 Qb4 15.Qxb4 Nxb4 16.Bd6 Nc6 17.Bxf8 Kxf8 18.Rac1 Ne4 19.Rfd1 Rd8 20.Kf1 Nd6 21.f3 Nxd4 22.Nxd4 Bxd4 23.f4 Ne4 24.Rc4 1-0

John Moriarty (1941)-Donald Reithel (2087)
corres.
CCLA, 2002
1.c4 c5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 Nc6 4.Nc3 g6 5.a3 e6!? (Correspondence players love to try out novelties. Here, the more common move is 5…d6.) 6.Rb1 (A reasonable reply.) 6…d5 (There is ample opportunity for independent study.) 7.Nh3 d4 8.Ne4 Nxe4 9.Bxe4 a5 10.Nf4 Qc7 11.O-O Bd7 12.b3 Ra6 13.e3 Bg7 14.Bb2 O-O 15.Qc2 Ne7 16.Kg2 f5 17.Bf3 Rd6 18.h4 Bc6 19.e4 fxe4 20.Bxe4 d3! 0-1 (The bishop can’t take the pawn, the queen could take it but it loses immediately to 21…Bxd3, and the queen is also lost after 21.Qc3.)

Why Doesn’t He Resign?

This situation happens to all chess players. We are winning the game, but our opponent, who is material down refuses to give up the fight. I’m not talking about being down an exchange, or even just down a few pawns. But rather down a rook or a queen or both or more.

Maybe I’m not lost yet.

And yet, they still refuse to concede the game. Let’s look at some reasons, although only the first few have any legitimate reason.

But before we do, here’s a side note. Many a scholastic chess instructor would say, “Never resign”. When pressed for the reason why, their reply is usually, “Because you opponent might blunder”. Which in the case of scholastic chess, this is common enough to warrant such an action. The more enlightened teachers would also add, “…and you might learn a little more about your endgame skills.”

The listing below represents not just scholastic players, but adults as well.

1) In a game with sudden death, or a short time limit such as a blitz game, time becomes a weapon. The game becomes a battle between good moves and speed.

If you do not complete all your moves in a certain amount of time, you can’t win. And if your opponent has a pawn, or a rook, or both a bishop and a knight, you lose the game.

So, if one is down material and up on time, you can’t win by overwhelming him with material and it makes sense to keep playing (and faster) than your opponent.

The problem arises when a player is not only down in material, but also down in time. Here there is no reason to keep playing. Unless, of course, you have other reasons.

2) Every chess player needs to become more proficient in endgame play. Being the exchange is not totally a bad thing – you gain the needed practice in holding the game. Imagine, your endgame skill is going against the ultimate test – another chess player who will challenge your moves and your skill level. And who knows – you might get lucky. Instead of a loss, you might get a draw.

3) Massive material is chance for a draw. By stalemate. This a flip side of the above reason. Instead of being tested for one’s skill, the player’s opponent is being tested NOT to make mistake (or several mistakes) or him forgetting all about stalemates.

4) When playing in a team tournament, sometimes the Team Captain (TC) will suggest to a team member to draw his game as a draw will win the match for the team. Some players keep playing on despite being major material down, hoping his opponent will yield to his TC request to draw the game.

The four preceding reasons are legal, but borderline sportsmanlike. But the remaining ones definitely cross that line.

5) Playing on because of spite. Sometimes a player, having a winning position blunders and finds himself with a losing position. He’s suddenly behind a rook and a few pawns, and his emotions emerge. And instead of acknowledging his errors and blunders, tell himself, “I can’t win or even draw this game. But I make my opponent work for it. He deserves to be punished as he is beating me. I’m upset so he to be upset as well.” He might even add, ”I’m not immature. I’m not immature (and so on).”

6) Sometimes we have our priorities mixed up. There have been cases of players continuing the game with the intent of keeping the opponent from fulfilling other promises and commitments. His opponent may have to go to his daughter’s birthday, his son’s baseball game, a date with his girlfriend, a taxi, bus, or plane to catch, all later in the day so he can play in the tournament.

A player who knows this can use this information against his opponent. They reason, my opponent must know to keep the whole day, and part of the next day, to finish his game. So, they refuse a faster time limit or to start at earlier time. Instead, they play slowly, and once they are down material, play even slower. They keep playing on and on, sometimes looking for an easy draw, or even worse, spurring a draw offer to win the game.

But players, please don’t resign if you have a reasonable chance to change the outcome (to your benefit). But before you push ahead with your stubbornness and obstinacy about not resigning, ask yourself, why am still playing to the mate?

Happy Birthday Patrick Wolff!

Patrick Gideon Wolff is an American Grandmaster born this day in 1968.

He earned his IM title 1988 and his GM title in 1990.

But even before receiving his IM title he was already making news by winning the 1983 US National High School Championship and the 1987 U.S. Junior Championship.

He also participated in the World Junior Championships 1987. But Anand, who eventually gained the World Championship, won this event.

IM Wolff (2370)-IM Sokolov (2525)
World Jr. Ch.
Baguio, July 1987
[Notes by IM Wolff, in “Anand Wins World Junior Championship”, Chess Horizons, Oct.-Nov., 1987, pg. 18]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.O-O-O Qc7 10.Bb3 O-O? (Now Black is clearly worse. Best is 10…Na5 with unclear complications.) 11.Rhg1 b5 12.g4 Na5 13.g5 Nxb3+ 14.axb3 Nd7 15.f4 b4 16.Nf5 exf5 17.Nd5 Qd8 18.exf5 Re8 19.Bd4! (A suggestion of Andy Soltis. ECO gives 19.g6 with complications.) 19…Bf8 (If 19…Bf6, Sokolov pointed out 20.Qxe8+ Qxe8 21.gxf6, which wins.) 20.Qh5 Re4 21.Bf6 Qe8 22.Nc7 Nxf6 23.gxf6 Qd8 24.Nd5!? (Or 24.fxg7 Be7 25.Nxa8 Bb7 26.Nb6 Qxb6? 27.Qxh7+ +-) 24…Bb7 25.fxg7 Be7 26.Rg3 Bf6 27.Rh3 Bxg7 28.Qxh7+ Kf8 29.f6? (29.Qxg7+ mates in four.) 29…Bxf6 30.Qxe4 Qa5 31.Qf5 Bg7 32.Qd7 1-0

Here is another event from 1988, noted for the tactical attack.

IM Patrick Wolff-WIM Alisa Mikhailovna Galliamova
Adelaide 1988
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.O-O-O Qc7 10.Bb3 O-O 11.Rhg1 b5 12.g4 Rb8

13.g5! Nd7 14.Qh5 Nxd4 15.Bxd4 b4 16.g6 hxg6 17.Rxg6 Nf6 18.Rxg7+ 1-0

And here Wolff is facing the World Champion as Black. It’s a miniature against one of the game’s best.

GM Kasparov-IM Wolff- X25
Simul
New York City, 1988

1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 c6 4.d4 exd4 5.Qxd4 d5 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.Qa4 Be7 9.O-O O-O 10.Be3 Ng4 11.Bd4 Nxd4 12.Nxd4 Qb6 13.Nc3 Qh6 14.h4 g5 15.Nxd5 Bd8

[White definitely has some problems with his castled position and coordination with his pieces. Incredibly, he might be lost already.

GM Mihai Şubă-GM Gilberto Milos
Spanish Open
Ponferrada, 1992
16.Rfc1 gxh4 17.Rxc8 Rxc8 18.Nf5 Rc1+ 19.Bf1 Qh5 20.Nfe7+ Bxe7 21.Nxe7+ Kh8 22.Qd4+ f6 23.Rxc1 hxg3 24.Kg2 Qh2+ 25.Kf3 Ne5+ 26.Ke3 Qxf2+ 27.Ke4 Qh2 28.Qc5 g2 29.Nf5 Nd7 30.Qe7 g1=Q 31.Qxd7 Qe5+ 32.Kd3 Qg8 0-1.]

16.Rac1 gxh4 17.Rxc8 hxg3 18.Nf3 Nh2 19.Rfc1 Rxc8 20.Rxc8 Nxf3+ 21.exf3 gxf2+ 22.Kf1 Qd2 23.Nf6+ Kg7 24.Ne8+ Kh8 25.Qe4 Bh4 0–1

GM Patrick Wolff somehow found the time to win the two US Championships (1992 and 1995).

We’ll end here with perhaps his most well-known game. But it’s for a different reason than winning a championship or a brilliancy.

GM Vassily Ivanchuk-GM Patrick Wolff
Biel Interzonal
Switzerland, July 16 1993
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 Nc6!?

[A relative rare, but otherwise good, response to 3.e4.

GM Karpov (2745)-Vadim Milov (2635), Biel, 1997, conitinued with 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.d5 Ne5 6.Bf4 Ng6 7.Be3 Nf6 8.Nc3 e5 9.Bxc4 a6 10.O-O Bd6 11.Be2 O-O 12.Nd2 Bd7 13.Rc1 Qe7 14.a3 b5 15.Nb3 Nf4 16.Bf3 Kh8 17.Na2 g5 18.Nc5 Rg8 19.Nb4 Rg6 20.Qc2 g4 21.Be2 Rag8 22.Rfd1 N6h5 23.g3 Bc8 24.Nc6 Qg5 25.Bf1 Rh6 26.Qc3 Nf6 27.Nd3 Qh5 28.h4 gxh3 29.Ndxe5! Rg7 30.Bxf4 Nxe4 31.Qe3 Qf5 32.Bxh6 h2+ 33.Kxh2 Nxf2 34.Bxg7+ Kxg7 35.Rd4 1-0.]

4.Be3 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.d5 Ne7 7.Bxc4 Ng6 8.f3 Bd6 9.Qd2 Bd7 10.Nge2 a6 11.Bb3 b5 12.a4 O-O 13.O-O Qe7 14.Rac1 Nh5 15.g3 h6 16.Bc2 Rab8 17.axb5 axb5 18.Ra1 Ra8 19.Bd3 Bb4 20.Rxa8 Rxa8 21.Qc2 Bc5 22.Nd1 Bd6 23.Nf2 Nhf4!

[If this position looks familiar it’s because Kasparov (remember him?) chose this this game as a starting point for the climax in the 2020 Netflix limited series, “The Queen’s Gambit”.] 24.Rc1 Qg5 25.Kh1 Qh5 26.Ng1 Nxd3 27.Nxd3 f5 28.Nc5 Bc8 29.Rf1 Ne7 30.Qd3 fxe4 31.fxe4 Qg6 32.Kg2 Kh7 33.Nf3 Ng8 34.Nh4 Qg4 35.Nf5 Nf6 36.h3 Qg6 37.g4 Bxc5 38.Bxc5 Ra4 39.Rf3 Rc4 40.Be7 Bxf5 41.Rxf5 Rd4 42.Qe3 Rxe4 43.Qf3 Rf4 44.Rxf4 exf4 45.Bxf6 Qxf6 46.Qd3+ Qg6 47.Qe2 c6 48.Kf3 cxd5 49.Kxf4 Qf6+ 50.Kg3 Qd6+ 51.Kf3 b4 52.h4 Qf6+ 53.Kg3 Qd6+ 54.Kf3 Qf6+ 55.Kg3 g6 56.Qe8 Qd6+ 57.Kf3 Kg7 58.g5 hxg5 59.hxg5 d4 60.Qe4 d3 61.Qb7+ Kf8 62.Qc8+ Ke7 63.Qb7+ Ke6 64.Qe4+ Kd7 65.Qb7+ Kd8 66.Qa8+ Kc7 67.Qa7+ Kc8 68.Qa8+ Kc7 69.Qa7+ Kc6 70.Qa6+ Kc5 71.Qxd6+ Kxd6 72.Ke3 Ke5 1/2-1/2

Venturing Into the Unknown

I enjoy researching chess openings. There are many opening positions where the other side may falter, fall into a trap, or even just find himself in bad position. Knowing how to take advantage of these mistakes is essential in correspondence. So, yeah theory and knowing well-researched lines are important.

But occasionally, a player may want to venture into the unknown, or create a new line. There are many reasons for this.

One is that the competing players may eventually know what lines a player excels in and try to learn his favorite lines. For example, a dedicated Najdorf player may avoid playing in the Sicilian, just to throw one player out of sync. Another is that sometimes a player can get tired playing the same lines, even if he does well with them. Just how many times can one play the Euwe variation of the Advance French? Or perhaps he wants to enjoy a game, fresh and unburden with theory. He may study this new thought with analysis or not, depending on his confidence.

One quick and easy way to try out a novelty is a blitz game. There is less stress, and one does not have to worry about losing some well-earned rating points.

Escalante-“Avila83″ (1643)
Blitz Game
chess.com, Feb. 17 2021
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nf3
(A move I have been experimenting.) 3…a6 (3…Qe4+? 4.Be2 and White has a small lead in development.) 4.Be2 b5?! (Flanking in a Center Counter game!? Doesn’t seem consistent.) 5.d4 Bb7 6.Nc3 Qd8 7.Be3 [White has an interesting gambit here: 7.Ne5!? Bxg2 8.Rg1 Bb7 9.Bf3 c6 (not 9…Bxf3? 10.Qxf3 +-) 10.Ne4 and his development outweighs his pawn minus. This is something to research!] 7…Nf6 8.O-O g6 (> 9…e6.) 9.Qd2 Bg7 10.Rad1 O-O 11.Bh6 Re8 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.Rfe1 (13.Qe3!?) 13…Nbd7 14.Ne5 Qc8 15.Ng4?! (With the idea of 15..Nxg4? 16.Bxg4 with a pin on the d7-knight. But White has no good continuation. Only if the f6-knight moves does White have anything positive. Better is 15.b4 which blocks any queenside expansion with …c5.) 17…Nd5?? (Incredibly the f6-knight moves!) 16.Qh6+ Kg8 17.Nxd5 Bxd5 (Please forgive the next few moves. It was blitz game.) 18.Ne5 (18.Rd3! with the idea of Rh3 is hard to stop. In fact, it wins!) 18…Nf6 19.h3 (Bad, as it stops a future Rd3, Rh3. White can try a later Re4, Rh4. But why should he wait?) 19…e6 20.Bf3 Bxf3 21.Nxf3 Nh5 22.Ng5 Qd8?? 23.Qxh7+ 1-0

Escalante-“chessNrun”
Practice the French Thematic Tournament, Round 2
chess.com, 2020/1
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 g6 5.Bg5 Be7

[White got a very good game in Kvick-Thuring, Sweden, 1978, which reached this position by transposition: 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e6 4.Nxe4 g6 5.Bg5 Ne7? (Black makes the best move by blocking, but with the wrong piece.) 6.Nf6# 1-0.]

6.h4

[White 5…Be7 has been seen before, this move, 6.h4 is a true, almost untested gambit. Previous moves included the tempo wasting 6.Be3?!, which doesn’t give White anything to cheer about. I should be honest here. While preparing this game for this week’s post, I came across this game.

Alex Galaktionov-A. Simao
World U16 Ch.
Bratislava 1993
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 g6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.h4 Nf6 7.Nxf6+ Bxf6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.Qd2 Nc6 10.O-O-O Bd7 11.Qg5 Qxf2 12.Nf3 h6 13.Qf4 O-O-O 14.Rd2 e5 15.Qe4 Qg3 16.d5 Nd4 17.Qxe5 Qxe5 18.Nxe5 Rhe8 19.Nxf7 Re1+ 20.Rd1 Rxd1+ 21.Kxd1 Bg4+ 22.Kc1 Rxd5 23.Nxh6 Be6 24.Bc4 Rh5 25.Bxe6+ Nxe6 26.Nf7 Rf5 27.Nh6 Rh5 28.Ng8 g5 29.Re1 Nd4 30.Re8+ 1-0 (30…Kd7 32.Nf6+).

Imagine, my gambit idea was tried and tested in tournament 18 years before I ventured it. And by someone who is less than 16 years old! Ah, chess is hard enough even if you do not come up with original ideas!]

6…Bxg5 7.hxg5 Nc6 8.Nf3 Nge7? 9.Nf6+! (This is again a natural move. Black is in trouble, although it is hard to see to the end.) 9…Kf8 10.Qd2 Nd5 11.Ne4 Kg7 12.O-O-O a5 [Black, who can’t castle (on either side), has a blocked h8-rook, and doesn’t want to open the center, makes for a break on the queenside.] 13.c4! (If Black is not going to open the center, then White must.) 13…Ndb4 14.a3 Bd7 15.d5 exd5 [White is winning, but still has to be careful. 16.Nf6? Bf5! 17.Qc3 (or 17.axb4? axb4 and Black threatens 18…b3 and 19.Ra1#) 17…Na2+ and Black wins.] 16.cxd5 [Now two Black pieces are under attack, White has all the attacking possibilities, will win material, and Black is lost. 16…Bf5 is Black’s best. But he still loses after 17.axb4! (White gets rid of Black’s biggest threat) 16…Bxe4 (17…Nxb4 18.Qd4+ Kg8 19.Nf6+ Kf8 20.Nxh7+! Rxh7 21.Rxh7 Na2+ 22.Kd2 Qe7 23.Rh8#) 18.Qc3+ f6 (18…Kg8 19.dxc6 Qe7 20.Rd7 axb4 21.Qxh8+! Kxh8 22.Rxe7 Ra1+ 23.Kd2) 19.dxc6 Qe7 20.Rd7. Consider this position a +-.]

A Missing Tournament?

One of the joys of reading old chess magazines is to enjoy the games from old tournaments as if they were new. One can also find many obscure games that many players may have overlooked, forgot, or have never seen.

An example of this is the 3rd Annual Women’s Tournament in Belgrade, 1967. This account was covered by Dr. Petar Trifunovich in the June 1967 issue of Chess Review.

Unfortunately, his article has a disparaging remark at the end of his otherwise excellent article. Writing about the older chess champions who must eventually yield their championships and glory to younger players, and the usual fluctuations in performance in tournament play, he states, “… : today, a woman player puts up a good game; the next day, she hands out gifts. But that phenomenon is easy to understand: the female is more subject to physiological mutations than the male.”

Today, we would like think that the male has more acceptance of the female than ever before. They have, and for the better of both. Is there more work to be done here? Yes, and quite a bit more.

Now it is time to get off the soapbox and back to the article.

This tournament seems to have vanished from history. I have tried to locate other games from this tournament to add to this week’s blog, but I cannot locate the tournament nor any additional games.

If you, the gentle reader, can find this tournament, or games from this tournament, online, please let me know, or email a link or a PGN or text of the games.

Right now, this blog would be only known place to find these games. Unless you have a copy of the June 1967 issue of Chess Review.

Alexandra Nicolau-Edith Bilek
Women’s Tournament
Belgrade, 1967
[Dr. Petar Trifunovich, “3d Annual Women’s Tournament”, Chess Review, June 1967]
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Bc4 c5 4.dxc5 Qa5+ 5.c3 Qxc5 6.Qb3
(Here White begins collecting tempi.) 5…e6 7.Be3 Qc7 8.Na3! (She wins a tempo at this juncture by virtue of the threat of 9.Nb5.) 5…a6 (The text does prevent 9.Nb5 but permits 9.Bb6, which mortifies Black’s whole Queen flank.) 9.Bb6 Qf4 10.Ne2! (Black may well not have expected this move; but of course, this is a position in which one does not count Pawns!)


10…Qxe4 11.O-O! Nc6
(Black cannot win a piece by 11…d5 because of 12.Rad1 dxc4 13.Rd8+ Ke7 14.Qb4+ winning.) 12.f4! (White is threatening to snare the Queen with 13.Ng3.) 12…d5 13.Ng3 dxc4 14.Nxc4 Qd5 15.Rad1 Nd4 (Black lacks any better choice. 15…Qb5 collapses before 16.Nd6+.) 16.Bxd4 Bxd4+ 17.Rxd4 Qc6 18.Rfd1 Kf8 19.Nb6 Rb8 20.Rc4 Qe8 21.Qb4+ Kg7 22.Qd6 Qb5 23.Rb4 1-0

She tied for third and fourth place.

Asenova-WIM Tanja Belamarić
Women’s Tournament
Belgrade, 1967
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Qb3 Bg7 7.cxd5 O-O 8.g3 Nbd7 9.Bg2 Nb6 10.Bf4 Bf5 11.Rd1 Rc8 12.Nge2 a5 13.a4 Rc4 14.Rc1 Rb4 15.Qa2 Qd7 16.d6 exd6 17.b3 Be6 18.Rb1 Nfd5 19.Nxd5 Bxd5 20.Bxd5 Nxd5 21.Bd2 Re8 22.Bxb4 Nxb4 23.Qd2 Qg4 24.h3 Qe4 25.O-O Qxe2 26.Qxe2 Rxe2 27.Rfe1 Rxe1+ 28.Rxe1 Bxd4 29.Rd1

29…Bc5 30.Kg2 Kg7 31.f4 f5 32.g4 Nc2 33.Kg3 Kf6 34.Rd2 Nd4 35.Rd3 h6 36.Kg2 b6 37.Kg3 Nc6 38.Rd1 Nb4 39.Re1 d5 40.Re8 d4 41.Kf3 Nd3 42.Re2 Nb4 43.Re8 d3 44.Re1 d2 0-1