Chess.com offers a feature known as Team Vote Chess. This is where your club or team can compete against another team in a single game. All members are allowed to vote and encouraged to share their thoughts and analyses.
It can be humbling finding out that a move you thought might be brilliant is torn apart by your own team members. But that is infinitely better than having your opponent tear it apart.
Anyway, the games are usually sociable and fun.
Here are two games featuring one of my favorite openings.
“The Atheists”-“Paradise Chess Club” Team Vote Chess chess.com, 2021 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Nbd7 8.Bg5 Qb6 9.Be3 Qc7 10.Qd2 Be7 11.Bxe6 fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qc4 (The best move for Black in this position.) 13.Nxg7+ Kf7 14.Nf5 Nxe4 15.Nxe4 Qxe4 16.Nxe7 Qxe7 17.O-O-O Ne5 18.Bg5 Qe6 19.Rhe1 Qxa2? [Better are 19…Re8 or 19…Rg8 when White must play accurately to keep whatever advantage he still may have. 19…Qg6? is bad as White regains the attack after 20.Qd5+ Be6 (not 20…Qe6? 21.Qxd6 Qxd6 22.Rxd6 Nc4 23.Re7+) 21.Qxb7+.] 20.Qf4+ Ke8
21.Rxe5+! +- dxe5 (Nothing saves Black. If he instead tries 21…Kd7, then 22.Re7+ Kc6 23.Qxd6+ Kb5 24.Re5+ Ka4 25.Rd4+ Qc4 26.b3 is mate.) 22.Rd8mate 1-0
“Chess Unlimited”-”LIVE WIRE” Team Vote Chess http://www.chess.com, Aug. 20 2012-Jan. 2 2013 [I was the team captain for LIVE WIRE. We had excellent analysists and contributors for the game. Most enjoyable was seeing our analysis grow from +/- to +- , and then from a +- to a forced mate.] 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.O-O b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.Re1 Be7 10.f4 O-O 11.e5 (This move loses at least a pawn. And probably much more.) 11…dxe5 12.fxe5 (To keep his losses to a minimum White has to play 12.Nf3.) 12…Qxd4+ 13.Kh1 (A bit of a crossroad here. Black is certainly winning What to do now? At first glance, it looks like 13…Ng4 with the idea of 14…Nf2+, with a smothered mate coming seems attractive. Even the knight is protected by the queen on d4. Of course, nothing is protecting the queen and White wins after 13…Ng4? 14.Bxh7+ Kxh7 15.Qxd4. So this idea was quickly and rightfully dismissed. 13…Qg4 is better since after the trade of queens Black is still ahead a piece and still winning. But 13…Qh4!! is the best. Take a look at the following moves.) 13…Qh4 14.exf6 Bd6!! (The team foresaw this position. White is suddenly finding he doesn’t have any good moves. 15.g3 is illegal. Both 15.Ne4 and 15.Be4 immediately lose to 15…Qxh2#. And 15.Bxh7+ fails to 15…Kxh7! 16.Qxd6 Qxe1+ -+. We thought we accounted for all possible moves.) 15.Re5? (But we didn’t see this one! Never mind, it’s a blunder.) 15…Bxe5 16.Qg1 gxf6 (With the idea of 17…Kh8 and 18…Rg8.) 17.Be3 Kh8 18.Rf1 Rg8 19.Rf2 Nd7! (To bring the last rook into play.) 20.Ne2
Philippe Jaulin-Frederic Coudray Avoine Open, 1996 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Nf6 4.e5 Ne4 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.d3 (A move that is often overlooked.) 6…Ng5 7.Bxf4 Nxf3+ 8.Bxf3 d6 9.Bxc6+ bxc6 10.O-O (Even better is 10.Qf3! as White gains a tempo or two.) 10…dxe5 11.Bxe5 Bd6? 12.Bxg7! Qh4 13.Qe2+ [Black’s best is 13…Be6. (not 13…Kd7? 14.Rxf7+). But even stronger is 13.Qe1+! as 13..Qxe1 14.Rxe1+ is check and the White’s has the attack and the material advantage.] 1-0
Black also has 3…Qh4+. And like in the Bishop Gambit, the White is dislodged from a good hiding square. The downside, again copying from the Bishop Gambit, is the Black queen is slightly out of play and facing all of White’s pieces on her own.
Mr. Sutton-Blackburne Simpson’s Chess Divan London, 1884 [Blackburne, “Blackburne’s Chess Games”, #176] 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 f5 (Although a favorite defence of mine I do not recommend it to the young amateur.) 5.Nc3 (Qe2 is stronger.) 5…Nf6 6.d3 g5 7.Nf3 Qh5 8.h4 h6 9.Kg1 g4 10.Ne5 Rh7 11.Ne2 (An attack on the Queen persistently followed up in White’s succeeding play.) 11…fxe4 12.Bxf4 Qf5 13.Qc1 d5 14.Bb3 Nbd7 15.Ng3 Bc5+ 16.Kh2 Nxe5 17.Nxf5 (Now White has attained his object, but the fruit is of the Dead Sea.) 17…g3+ 18.Bxg3 (Any other move is equally fatal.) 18…Neg4+ 19.Kh3 Ne3 20.Bf4 Bxf5+ 21.Kh2 Neg4+ 22.Kh3 Nf2+ 23.Kh2 N6g4+ 24.Kg1 Nxd3+ 25.Kf1 Nxc1 26.Rxc1 O-O-O 0-1
But perhaps the best response is 3…d5, aggressively opening up more lines for an attack. White meets this best with 4.exd5 Nf6, and usually 5.Nf3.
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 (5.Nf3)
Tartakower-Capablanca New York 1924 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.c4 c6 6.d4 Bb4+ 7.Kf1?! (7.Bd2) cxd5 8.Bxf4 dxc4 9.Bxb8 Nd5 10.Kf2 Rxb8 11.Bxc4 O-O 12.Nf3 Nf6 13.Nc3 b5 14.Bd3 Ng4+ 15.Kg1 Bb7 16.Bf5?! (White’s king needs some breathing room and a chance for activating his rook. He can do both, and even attack a piece, with 16…h3!) 16…Bxc3 17.bxc3 Ne3 18.Bxh7+ Kh8 (Even after 18…Kxh7? 19.Qd3+ Kg8 21.Qxe3 Black still has the advantage due to his more secured king.) 19.Qd3 Bxf3 20.gxf3 Nd5 21.Be4 Nf4 22.Qd2 Qh4 23.Kf1 f5 24.Bc6 Rf6 25.d5 Rd8 26.Rd1 Rxc6 27.dxc6 Rxd2 (Even Capablanca is known to make mistakes as Black does even better with 27…Qh3+ 28.Kf2 Qg2+. ) 28.Rxd2 Ne6 29.Rd6 Qc4+ 30.Kg2 Qe2+ 0-1
Mark F. Bruere (2250)-J.M. Vaassen corres., WT/M/GT/284 ICCF, 1990 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6.dxc6 Nxc6 7.d4 Bd6 8.O-O (Castling seems to be overdone in the King’s Gambit Accepted. Better is 8.c4 claiming a stake in the center and still holding the possibility of castling on either side.) 8…O-O 9.c4 Bg4 10.Nc3 Rc8 11.Nb5 Bb8 12.b3 (12.d5!? needs to be investigated.) 12..a6 13.Na3?! (13..Nc3) 13…Re8 14.Nc2 Qc7 15.Bb2 Ba7 16.Kh1 Ne7 17.d5? (Opening attacking lines where Black is the only one who profits. And it also drops a pawn.) 17…Nexd5! 18.cxd5 Qxc2 19.Bxf6 Rxe2 20.Bd4 Bxf3! 0-1
C. Sánchez-A. Alexander IECC 2000 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bd6 6.c4 O-O 7.d4 b6 8.Ne5 c5 9.dxc6 Qc7 (9…Ne4, threatening, …Qh4+ is a possibility.) 10.Bxf4 Nxc6 11.Nc3 a6 12.Nxc6 (12.Bf3!?) 12…Qxc6 13.Bxd6 Qxd6 14.O-O Bb7 15.d5 Rae8 16.Qd2 Ne4 (> 16…c5.) 17.Nxe4 Rxe4 18.Bd3 Rh4? (Black is having problems and he needs to play 18…Re5. The text is simply a waste of time.) 19.g3 Rd4 20.Bxh7+ 1-0
The “!” of course is referring to good, or even brilliant, moves. And most of the time, this also the move is tactical in some way, although a few may be more positional than tactical.
Your job here is find these moves in the next six games. To make finding these moves more fun, and slightly easier to solve, there is a clue before each game.
And if you need help or just want to see the end of the games, download the PDF file titled, “!_Moves”.
Here we go!
1) First move in the combination might be easy to find. But can you find all the following moves?
MR. Woodcock-Peter E. Williams British Universities Ch., Preliminaries C Manchester, Apr. 13 1970 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Be3 Qa5 7.Qd2 cxd4 8.Bxd4 Nge7 9.Bd3 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 Nc6 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Be2 c5 13.O-O d4 14.a3 dxc3 15.axb4 Qxb4? (White’s queen is more active than Black’s and should be taken or exchanged as soon as possible. 15…cxd2 is best.) 16.bxc3 Qb6 17.Rfb1 Qc7
2) A positional move as well as a tactical one.
GM Arthur Bisguier-Paul Brandts Manhattan C.C. Ch. New York, 1967 [Hans Kmoch, “Games from Recent Events”, Chess Review, May 1967] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Qe2 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 Bg4 9.d3 (Intent on rendering the pin on his Knight useless, White avoids 9.d4 as well as the weakening h3.) 9…Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.Re1 Nc6 12.Nbd2 Nh5 (Black ought still to castle. He is only compromising his own position in trying to act against White’s unweakened Kingside.) 13.Nf1 g5 (And this weakening is too serious. 13…g6 is hardly consistent but playable: 14.Bh6 Bxf3 15.Qxf3 Bg5 16.Bb3 Nf4.) 14.h3! Nf4 (Black has to save this Knight: 14…Be6 or 14…Bd7 permits 15.Nxe5! etc.) 15.Bxf4 Bxf3 16.Qxf3 exf4 17.Qh5! (This blockading move thwarts Black’s plan thoroughly.) 17…Qb6 18.Rad1 Ne5 19.d4 cxd4 20.cxd4 Rc8 21.Bb3 Nc4 (Now 21…Nc6 22.e5 makes decisive headway.) 22.Nh2 Nxb2 23.Qxf7+ Kd8 24.Rd2 Nc4 25.Bxc4 bxc4 26.Nf3 Qb5 27.d5 Qe8 28.Qg7 Qf8 29.Qc3 (Naturally White avoids trading Queens. Now the showdown looms on the Queenside while Black’s Queen strays on the other wing. 30.Nd4 is a strong threat.) 29…Bf6 30.Qa5+ Kd7 31.Qa4+ Kd8
3) Sometimes castling is the best move. And sometimes it is not.
Rachel Crotto-Kathleen Hindle Women’s Ol. Haifa, Oct. 30, 1976 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.Bb5+ Bd7 (Back rightly avoids 9..Kf8? 10.Ne6+ fxe6 11.Qxd8+ Kf7 12.O-O+. So, what to do now? White plays a simple move and yet winning, move. But White still has yet to prove it.) 10.Qxg4 Bxb5 11.Ndxb5 Bxe5 12.Bh6 a6?
4) You don’t need to see it all the way to know if a move is good
Andre Lilienthal-Jose Raul Capablanca Hastings, 1935 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 b6 6.f3 d5 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 Ba6 9.e4?! Bxc4 (Black also has 9…g5 or 9…dxc4 which are probably better.) 10.Bxc4 dxc4 11.Qa4+ Qd7 12.Qxc4 Qc6 13.Qd3 Nbd7 14.Ne2 Rd8 15.O-O a5 16.Qc2 Qc4 17.f4 Rc8 18.f5 18..e5 19.dxe5 Qxe4 (Possibly better is 19…Qc5+.)
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 +-)
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
… 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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
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).
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.
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):
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).
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?
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
“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
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 Bg74.Bg2 O-O 5.d3 d6 6.Rb1 e57.Nf3 Nc6 8.O-O a59.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
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
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.)
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.
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?