Fourth of July in the US is considered our Independence Day. A day we love to celebrate with parades, hot dogs, ball games, barbeques, and fireworks.


We can’t provide the parades, ball games, barbeques, and our hot dogs are reserved. But we can give you fireworks. Check out these games.


Estonia Jr. Ch.
Parnu, 1933
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nc3 (This opening is known as the Mason or Keres Gambit. By either name, it leads to many tactical games.) 3…Nc6 4.d4 Bb4!? 5.Bxf4 Qh4+ 6.g3 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Qe7 8.Bg2 d6 9.Nf3 Qxe4+ 10.Kf2 Bf5 11.Re1 Qxe1+ 12.Qxe1+ Nge7 13.d5 O-O 14.dxc6 Bxc2 15.Qxe7 Rae8 16.Qxc7 Re4 17.cxb7 Rfe8 18.b8=Q Re2+ 19.Kg1 Rxg2+ 20.Kxg2 Rxb8 21.Qxb8mate 1-0


Here are is another Keres/Mason Game. Black has the advantage after 6.…Ba6+. Now try to find Black’s best moves from this point.


PCCA Gambit Tournament, 1911
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.d4 Qh4+ 5.Ke2 b6! 6.Nf3 Ba6+ 7.Kd2 Qf2+ 8.Ne2 Nb4 9.a3 Nf6 10.Qe1 d5 11.Kc3 Nxe4+ 12.Kb3 Bc4+ 13.Ka4


13…b5+ (Alex Dunne, writing in the Dec. 2000 issue of Chess Life, notes that 13…a5 14.Nc3 Qxc2+ 15.b3 Qxb3# wins faster. Would you have found that idea?) 14.Ka5 Nc6+ 15.Ka6 b4+ 16.Kb7 Rb8+ 17.Kxc6 Rb6+ 18.Kxc7 Bd6+ 19.Kc8 Ke7mate 0-1


Victor Knox (2320)-Krzysztof Pytel (2381)
Manchester, 1981
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.Bd2 Ne7 6.Nb5 O-O 7.c3 (7.Bxb4 doesn’t seem to fare too well. Vasiliev (1703)-Lysakov (2032) Petr Izmailov Memorial, Tomsk, Russia, June 13 2013, continued with 7…cxb4 8.Nd6 Nbc6 9.Nf3 f6 10.Bd3 fxe5 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Nxc8 Nxd3+ 13.Qxd3 Rxc8 14.O-O-O Ng6 15.h4 Nf4 16.Qe3 Qf6 17.Qxa7 Ra8 18.Qd4 Ne2+ 0-1) 7…Ba5 8.dxc5 Bc7 (> 8…Ng6) 9.f4 Nd7 10.b4 b6 11.cxb6 Nxb6 12.Nf3 Bb7 (Black is coming close to equality, or at least an unclear position. However, he needs to either active his kingside or defend it. He does neither.) 13.Bd3 Nc4? (Now comes the thematic Bxh7+ and subsequent king walk.)


14.Bxh7+! Kxh7 15.Ng5+ Kg6 16.Qg4 f5 17.Qg3 Qd7 (17…Qc8 18.Nc7) 18.Nxe6+ Kf7 19.Qxg7+ Kxe6 20.Nd4mate 1-0


Escalante-“Me4ok” (1846)
corres., 2019
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nh5 9.e6?


(This is what sometimes happens when I analyze a game in my head. Most of the time, this is not problem. But this time I thought he had played 8…Ng4, and 9.e6 works well in that variation.


By the way, after 8…Nh5, 9.Qf3 is considered the best move here. A few games illustrate the possibilities.


GM Fischer-N.N.
New York, 1963
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nh5 9.Qf3 e6 (9…d5? 10.Nxd5! cxd5 11.Bxd5) 10.g4 Ng7 11.Ne4 Qa5+ (11…d5? 12.Nf6+ Ke7 13.Qa3+ Qd6 14.Qxd6#) 12.Bd2 Qxe5 13.Bc3 (The black queen is trapped.)


New Zealand Ch.
Christchurch, 1967
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nh5 9.Qf3 e6 10.exd6 Qxd6 11.g4 Ng7 12.Bf4 e5 13.Bxf7+ Kd7 14.Rd1 exf4 15.O-O Ba6 16.Ne4 Bxf1 17.Nxd6 Bxd6 18.Qxf4 1-0


Mayerhofer (2203)-Klimes (2365)
IPCA World Cup
Czech Republic, 2003
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nh5 9.Qf3 d5 10.Nxd5 e6 11.Nc3 Bb7 12.O-O Be7 13.Bh6 Bg5 14.Rad1 Qe7 15.Bxg5 Qxg5 16.Ne4 Qe7 17.Nd6+ Kf8 18.Nxf7 Qxf7 19.Qxf7+ Kxf7 20.Rd7+ Kf8 21.Rxb7 Ng7 22.Rd1 a5 23.Rdd7 Nf5 24.Bxe6 1-0


De Haas (2171)-Bakker
Nova Open
Haarlem, July 2 2004
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nh5 9.Qf3 d5 10.Nxd5 cxd5 11.Bxd5 Rb8

12.Bxf7+ Kd7 13.Qd5+ Kc7 14.Qc5+ Kb7 15.Bd5+ Ka6 16.Qc6+ 1-0


Now let’s get back to the original game.)


9…fxe6! (Oops! Black definitely has the advantage.) 10.Qf3 (Trying to keep Black from castling.) 10…d5! (Another good move. This bolsters his pawn structure.) 11.Bb3 (Forced. White wants to keep the bishop on the diagonal.) 11…Bg7 12.Bg5 Nf6? (Black could have tried 12.Rf8, and forgo castling to use the open “f” file.) 13.O-O-O O-O!? [Seems safe. But White’s bishop is still on the diagonal. If Black’s plan is king safety (always important), then he probably should hide his king on h8.] 14.Qg3 c5? (Again, …Kh8 is called for. All this move does is loosen his pawn structure. Perhaps he wanted to push …c4, getting rid of the bishop. But this approach is too slow.) 15.Rhe1 (White’s development is now superior, for the cost of a pawn. His bishop is about to become very active.) 16…Bd7? 16.Bxf6! (The start of a combination to open lines against the enemy king.) 16…exf6
17.Nxd5! Kh8 [Now he moves his king to safer square. But he loses a critical tempo in the process. By the way, taking the knight leads to immediate disaster. I’ll let the reader figure it out the moves (it’s more fun that way!)] 18.Nc7 +- Qe7 19.Nxa8 Rxa8 20.Qc7 Rd8 21.Rxe6 Bh6+ 22.Kb1 Bxe6 23.Rxd8+ 1-0


GM Fabiano Caruna (2652)-GM Konstantin Landa (2664)
Torneo di Capodanno
Reggio Emilia, Italy, June 1 2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2 Be6 9.O-O-O Qd7 10.Kb1 Bf6 11.h4 h6 12.Nd4 Nxd4 13.Bxd4 Bxd4 14.Qxd4 O-O (So far, we are still in “book”.) 15.Rg1 [White played 15.Be2 in GM R. Ponomariov (2751)-GM Hao Wang (27433), Kings Tournament, Bucharest, Oct. 11 2013, with the continuation of 15…Rae8 16.Bf3 b6 17.g4 Qb5 18.g5 Qc4 19.gxh6 Qxd4 20.Rxd4 gxh6 21.Bc6 Rd8 22.Ra4 a5 23.b4 axb4 24.cxb4 Bd7 25.Bxd7 Rxd7 26.Re1 Kg7 27.Kb2 Kg6 28.Ra3 Kh5 29.Rg3 f5 30.Re6 b5 31.Kb3 f4 32.Rgg6 Rh7 33.f3 Rf5 34.c4 bxc4+ 35.Kxc4 Re5 36.Ref6 Kxh4 37.Rxf4+ Kh3 38.Rfg4 h5 39.Rg3+ Kh2 40.Rg2+ Kh1 41.Rg1+ Kh2 42.R6g2+ Kh3 43.Rg7 Rxg7 44.Rxg7 Re3 45.a4 Ra3 46.Kb5 c5 47.bxc5 1/2-1/2. Caruna’s move seems clearer and stronger.] 15…Rae8 16.g4 Qc6 17.Bg2 Qa6 18.b3 Bd7 19.g5 h5 20.g6 Re7 21.Bd5 Be6 22.Rde1 c5 23.Qd1 Rfe8 24.Qxh5! +- fxg6
25.Rxe6! (Black resigned as he gets checkmated after 25…Rxe6 26.Qxg6. Or he could play on by taking the queen first, and then still get mated after 25…gxh5 26.Rxe7+ Kh7 27.Be4+ Kg8 28.Rgxg7+ Kh8 29.Rh7+ Kg8 30.Rxe8# .) 1-0


“jovialdick” (2178)-“blueemu” (2297)
Team Malaysia vs The Canadian Team, Aug. 2018
[This game can be found in a forum titled, “A Heroic Defense in the Sicilian Najdorf – Kids, don’t try this at home!” on Notes in green are by Escalante, those in red by “blueemu”. I hesitate to include any diagrams, since virtually every move after White 10th would necessitate a diagram.]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.f4 (Another common move here is 9.Qf3, with the idea of activating pieces over using the kingside pawns to cramp and attack Black’s position.) 9…Bb7 (Black’s only good idea with his white bishop is to fianchetto it. He has play it soon anyway.) 10.e5 (This move is the direct result of White’s previous move. The attack, however, is double-edged as White’s king is not exactly safe if his attack should fail.) 10…dxe5 11.fxe5 Bc5 12.Be3 Nc6 13.exf6 Bxd4 14.fxg7 [Another crazy possibility (pointed out by one of the Master-strength players who was drawn by the carnage) was 14 Nd5!? instead of the piece sacrifice 14. fxg7 that White actually played.] 14…Bxe3+ 15.Kh1 Rg8 16.Bxe6 Rxg7 17.Bxf7+ Rxf7 18.Qh5 Ne5 [Florian, writing in Informant 19, game 453, gives this move “!!” and a -+. The game, Cervenka (2190)-A. Schneider (2266), Czechoslovakia, 1974, continued after 18…Ne5!! -+, with 19.Qxe5+ (19.Rae1 Qg5! -+ ; 19.Rf5 Qd2, are again Florian’s notes to the game.) 19…Qe7 20.Qh8+ Kd7 21.Rad1+ (or 21.Rxf7 Qxf7 22.Qe5 Bxg2+ 23.Kxg2 Rg8+ 24.Kh3 Qf3+ 0-1, as in Kaleb-Sostra, corres., Keres Memorial, 1982) 21… Ke6 0-1. Back to original game. ; Black is indeed winning after 18. … Ne5!! but I messed up on move 20 with 20. … Rd8?! allowing White to head into a very drawish position by swapping everything off on f7 after 21. Rae1 Kf8 and White takes on f7 then recovers his piece on e3.] 19.Qxe5+ Qe7 20.Qh5 Rd8 [20…b4?! is too slow. Miranda Rodriguez (2167)-Ruiz Sanchez (2392), Capablanca Memorial, Havana, May 11 2010 continued with 21.Rae1 bxc3 22.Rxf7 Qxf7 23.Rxe3+ Kf8 24.Qc5+ Kg7 25.Rg3+ Kf6 26.Qd4+ Kf5 27.Qf2+ 1-0 ; Black had a much better 20th move, playing 20. … Kf8! (instead of playing it one move later, as I actually did) 21. Rae1 Re8! and White is lost because he cannot recover his piece, while the Black King is now safe (for a given value of “safe”).] 21.Rae1 Kf8 22.Qxh7 Bd4 23.h3 Rd7 24.Qg6 Qh4 25.Re8+ Kxe8 26.Qg8+ Ke7 27.Rxf7+ Kd6 28.Qb8+ Kc5 29.Rf5+ Kb6 30.Kh2 Qe1 31.Nd5+ Rxd5 32.Rxd5 Bg1+ 0-1

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