Corona Problems? No problem!

I haven’t been to a tournament or even a club for some time now.

 

Mostly this is due with the “Stay Home” initiative.

 

The gym is closed. So is the local college, the library, the mall, bookstores, movie houses, amusement parks, coffee houses, fast food restaurants, churches, and various work places. The beach is still open here in Huntington Beach. But city and county officials are talking about closing that too.

 

So, what do if you really want to play chess?

 

Naturally, there is the Internet. I play on chess.com. But you can find many other sites to play Blitz, Bughouse, and even tournament games.

 

 

s-l1600 (1)

And get out those old Informants! The books you acquired some time ago, and just didn’t have the time to read or study from it. Go ahead, grab an issue, a pen, a highlighter and a notepad. Mark up the book, write your notes on the paper, and have some fun!

 

If you have a word processor, you might enter your favorite games and your notes right onto your laptop.

 

But what to do if you don’t have any Informants? Well, any chess book will do! Even if it is written by Reinfeld and annotated in Descriptive Notation (DN). Hint! – his best book is 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations.

 

s-l500 (3) BCF_Yearbook_Cover_1995_2s-l500 (2)

 

And then proceed as above.

 
And if you are one of those rare chess players who doesn’t own a single book on chess, then you still have options to enjoy the game.

 

You can always read and study various chess magazines. Even old ones.

BCM_2001_June

 

They can be ordered on ebay.com And available in different languages.

 
You can also download games from the Internet in PDF, PGN, http, or text fashion.

 
If you want human interaction, you can email a friend. Request games to enjoy or study. Offer to play games via email. Or even by telephone.

Old-fashioned blue telephone on a white background.
I did that, pre-Internet. Just be sure to have a pen and notepad or scoresheet – you might want a copy of the game (another hint here!)

 

Most important of all, during this time of self-isolation and possible mass paranoia and hysteria, keep busy. Don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy the one thing that a virus can’t block you from doing; that is to enjoy your game, your life.

 

David Cummings-Yura Ochkoos
Kitchener Octoberfest Open
Ontario, Canada, 2002
[This game can be found in “Across Canada”, in the December, 1992 issue of “En Passant”, published by Chess Federation of Canada. Notes by Escalante (who is stuck at home).]
1.c4 e6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 c5 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 Nc6 6.cxd5 exd5 7.O-O Be7 8.Be3 c4 9.Ne5 O-O 10.b3 cxb3 11.Qxb3 Na5 (ECO gives 11…Bd6 as being equal. But now it appears that the text move is slightly stronger. Meanwhile, we are still in “book”.) 12.Qa4 a6 13.Bd2 Nc4 14.Nxc4 b5 15.Qc2

[Egon Brestian (2475)-Reinhard Lendwai (2405), Austria Ch., 1991, continued instead with 15.Ba5 Qe8 16.Qc2 bxc4 17.Nc3 Be6 18.e4 dxe4 (Qd7!?) 19.Nxe4 Nd5 20.Nc5 Bxc5 21.dxc5 Qe7 22.Bb6 Rab8 23.Rab1 Qf6 24.a4 Rfc8 25.a5 Nc3 26.Rbc1 Nb5 27.Rfd1 Nd4 28.Qe4 Nb3 29.Rxc4 Bxc4 30.Qxc4 Nxc5 31.Bxc5 Qg5 32.Bd5 Kh8 33.Qd4 Rb5 34.Bb6 Rc1 35.Bf3 Rxd1+ 36.Qxd1 h5

2020_03_26_A

37.Qd8+! (Simplifying into a winning 2B vs. R endgame.) 37…Qxd8 (37…Kh7? 38.Qxg5 Rxg5 39.Bb7 wins.) 38.Bxd8 Kh7 39.Bb6 Kg6 40.Be2 1-0]

 
15…bxc4 16.Nc3 Be6 17.Bg5 Rb8 18.e3 Qa5 19.Rab1 Bb4?! 20.Bxf6 Bxc3 21.Be5 Rb5 22.e4 Rd8 23.a4! Rxb1 24.Rxb1 dxe4 25.Bxe4 Bxd4? 26.Bxd4 Rxd4

2020_03_26_B

27.Qc3!! 1-0

A Review of Chernev’s “1000 Best Short Games of Chess”

The full title of this well-known chess book is “The 1000 Best Short Games of Chess: A Treasury of Masterpieces in Miniature”, but it is usually shortened to “1000 Best Short Games of Chess”.

 
The book was first published in 1955 and has been reprinted many times (see below for different front covers).

 

 

1000_Best_Short_Games_1 1000_Best_Short_Games_2

 

1000_Best_Short_Games_3_A1000_Best_Short_Games_4

 
But why is this book so popular?

 
First, it is written for the club player.

 
This means the moves are in Descriptive Notation (DN) rather than in Algebraic Notation (AN). DN was popular in England and the United States during this time. And those countries stayed DN until the 1980s.

 
It also means the notation is kept brief. Even so, this short and simple notation brings the number of pages to 555. But it still easy to bring along to a tournament or to read while waiting for a bus or a college class to begin. Consider Bilguer’s “Handbuch des Schachpiels” runs 1040 pages and is hard bound. It is big, heavy and more appropriate for a library.

 
Secondly, there is ample space for the reader to add his own notes, provided of course, he is willing to write small. Personally, I prefer to put everything into a word processor and the I can always update the game. But, of course, this book was written well before anyone had laptops and word processors.

 
The manuscript was written on a typewriter, which is evident as the text and diagrams are not sharp (as one might expect on computer designed material) and there are blemishes and imperfections that occasionally appear in the book that only can come from using a typewriter.

 
So why doesn’t anyone offer an improvement or upgrade to this book?

 
It is extremely costly to rewrite a book from DN to AN. And the book still sells quite well 65 years after it was first printed. It is worthwhile to learn DN just to read and enjoy this book.

 
Last night I searched Amazon for another copy (mine is falling apart from decades of use), and it can still be bought there.

 
But you came here for short games. Here are some of my favorites from the book. Please know I’ve used other annotations than what Chernev provided when I found them more interesting or complete. I don’t have the space restrictions as Chernev struggled with.

 

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

 

Game #23
Greco-N.N.,
Rome 1620?
[Escalante]
1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 (White is willing to give up his rook to get the king.) 4…Bxg2 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Nf6 (This is a huge error. Black has to play 6…Bg7 7.gxh7+ Kf8 8.hxg8=Q+ Kxg8 and while White’s rook may fall, Black has to worry about his very exposed king. Amusing by the way, is 6.fxg6 e5? 7.g7+ Ke7 8.Qxe5+ Kf7 9.gxh8=N#.) 7.gxh7+ [White is now willing to give up his queen for the forced mate. King safety is more important than safety for the rook or queen, and even both. Note: While 7.g7+ Nxh5 8.gxh8=Q Bxh1 9.Qxh7 would eventually win, the text move is faster, and fast attacks are always better for winning the game (less mistakes possible) and for one’s own ego.] 7…Nxh5 8.Bg6mate 1-0

 
Game #212
Canal-N.N.
Simul
Budapest, 1934
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 c6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Bf4 e6 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Bb4 9.Be2 Nd7 10.a3 O-O-O

2020_02_20_A
11.axb4! Qxa1+ 12.Kd2 Qxh1 (And now we have a Boden’s mate.) 13.Qxc6+! bxc6 14.Ba6mate 1-0

 

Game #222
F. Gobl-Jonas
Augsburg, Germany, 1926
1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e5 Nfd7 4.e6 fxe6 5.d4 Nf6 6.Bf4 c6 7.Nf3 Nbd7 8.Bd3 c5 9.Ng5 Qb6 10.Nb5 e5 11.dxe5 c4 12.exf6 Qxb5 13.f7+ Kd8 14.Ne6mate 1-0

 

Game #227
Nielsen-Ottosen
Copenhagen, 1941
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bd7 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Nd5 Bg7 8.Be3 Nge7 9.Bg5 Bxd4 10.Qxd4 O-O (Has to defend his rook. He can’t take the attacking queen as 10…Nxd4? loses to 11.Nf6+ Kf8 12.Bh6#.) 11.Nf6+ Kh8 12.Ng4+ Nxd4 (Definitely not 12…f6?? 13.Bxf6+ winning.) 13.Bf6+ Kg8 14.Nh6mate 1-0

 

Game #780
Blackburne-West
Blindfold Game
Hamilton, Victoria, 1885
[Blackburne, “Mr. Blackburne’s Games of Chess”, #360, pgs. 286/7]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.exd5 exd5 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nf3 Nf6 7.O-O Bxc3 8.bxc3 O-O 9.Ne5 Be6 10.f4 Ne4 11.f5 Nxe5 (Bad now, though the Knight might have been taken at move 9 if Black were playing for a majority of Pawns on the Queen’s side.) 12.dxe5 Bd7 13.f6 g6 14.Ba3 (Better than Bh6.) 14…Re8 15.Bxe4 dxe4 16.Qd2 Kh8
2020_02_20_B
17.Qg5 (Qh6 is not so good as it looks. Black would have replied with Rg8 and then and then have been able to wiggle out of his difficulties by g5.) 17…c6 18.Rf4 Qa5 19.Qh6 Rg8 20.Qxh7+ Kxh7 21.Rh4mate 1-0

Reviewing A Classic

What makes a “classic”? It is something that keeps its value or interest for years or decades.

 

One book that fits this definition is “100 Soviet Miniatures”.

 

Beginning in April 1962 issue of the British Chess Magazine (BCM), P.H. Clark wrote a series of articles under the heading of “Soviet Miniatures”. The articles were collected and published together as “100 Soviet Miniatures” in 1963.

 

The games are short (after all, this is a miniatures book!) and enjoyable. The notes are concise, clear, and revealing. Finally, The book is written for the club player (which includes most of us).

 

And he is correct in his analysis. The progress of chess theory, even with the constant use of engines, do not overturn his notes. The book appears to be out of print, but you can find a used one on Amazon (which has everything).

 

The only drawback for some players is that the games and notes are in Descriptive Notation (DN) rather than Algebraic Notation (AN).
I’ve copied two of the 100 games, translated them into AN, and added my notes when necessary. See if you can’t agree, this book is a classic.

 

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

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

M. Yudovitch Jr.-Strom
Team Ch. Of the “Spartak” Club
Moscow, 1961
[B40]
[P.H. Clark, “Soviet Miniatures”, BCM, Sept. 1962, pg. 266]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.e5 Ne4 7.Qg4 Qa5 8.Qxe4 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qxc3+ 10.Kd1 Qxa1 11.Nb5! d5!

 

[Black played the weaker 11…Kd8 in Tamas Ruck (2310)-Zsolt Korpics (2355), Koszeg, Hungary, 1996 and got promptly punished after 12.c3! Qxa2 13.Bg5+ f6 14.exf6! +- Qa1+ 15.Kd2 Qb2+ 16.Qc2 Qxc2+ 17.Kxc2

2020_01_23_A
1-0 (White threatens 18.f7#. On other moves Black loses the rook, and the game, to 18.fxg7+.) – RME]

12.exd6 Na6 13.d7+ Kxd7?

 

[As Koifman demonstrated, the correct policy was to sacrifice a piece by 13…Bxd7 14.Qxb7 O-O! In the centre the black King is far more exposed that White’s, which soon finds a safe post at e2.

We assume Clark meant Ilya Koifman, the Russian master.

Alexander Kuzovkin-Ilya Koifman
Moscow Burevestnik- Ch., 1974
(B79)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Bc4 O-O 8.Bb3 Nc6 9.f3 Bd7 10.Qd2 Qa5 11.O-O-O Rfc8 12.Rhe1 Ne5 13.Bg5 h6 14.Bxh6 Bxh6 15.Qxh6 Rxc3 16.bxc3 Qa3+ 17.Kb1 a5 18.Qc1 Qc5 19.a3 a4 20.Ba2 Ra6 21.Re3 Rb6+ 22.Ka1 Nc4 23.Bxc4 Qxc4 24.Qd2 e5 25.Ne2 Be6 26.Nc1 d5 27.exd5 Nxd5 28.Rde1 Bf5 29.Rxe5 Qb5 30.Nd3 Bxd3 31.cxd3 Qc5 32.Qc1 Rb3 33.Rxd5 Rxa3+ 34.Kb2 Qb6+ 35.Kc2 Qb3+ 36.Kd2 Ra2+ 37.Ke3 Qxd5 38.d4 Rxg2 0-1.]

 

14.Bc4 Rd8 15.Ke2 Ke8 16.Re1 (Threatening 17.Bg5. White is now fully developed and is ready for the attack.) 16…Qf6 17.Qxh7 b6 (In order to be able to block the enemy c4-Bishop by …Nc5 after 18.Qh8+ Ke7 19.Ba3+.) 18.Ba3 Bb7 (Now he has the square c1 for his King, White therefore decides to recover the exchange.) 19.Nd6+ Rxd6 20.Bxd6 Qg5 (Defending against 21.Bb5+ Kd8 Qh8#. White replies by renewing the threat of the Bishop check, and this time it cannot be stopped.) 21.Qd3 Nc5 22.Bb5+ Nd7 23.c4 (Since the immediate 23.Bxd7+ Kxd7 24.Bf4+ would be met by 24…Qd5. Now 23…Qd8 permits the white Queen to return to h7 and force the win, so Black is reduced to desperation.) 23…Qxg2 24.Bc7 Bc6 (24…Bc8 was useless because of 25.Rd1 Qg4+ 26.Kf1 e5 27.Bc6, etc. The text move gives White the chance to bring off a more striking finish on the same lines.) 25.Rg1!

2020_01_23_B

(If the Rook is captured then 24.Bxc6 wins; while 25…Qe4+ 26.Qxe4 Bxe4 loses to 27.Rd1. So -) 1-0

 

 

 

Remeniuk-Stein
Ukraine Ch.
Kharkhov, 1959
[B80]
[P.H. Clarke, “100 Soviet Chess Miniatures”, Game # 45]
(While there was a certain air of the rustic about the last two games, the next is more elegant and thereby a finer illustration of the virtues of the modern approach. Black selects a variation very much in vogue at present, and his opponent evidently decides that the second player ought not to be allowed to get away with such transgressions of the natural laws. Accordingly, he sacrifices first a piece and then the exchange and pursues the whole attack with great vigour to the end. When it is over one is left with the impression that whatever the final word is as to the correctness of the initial offer, White really had created something.) 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Bg5 (The value of this move is not so clear here because Black, having already moved his e-pawn, can immediately drive off the Bishop without having his pawn structure affected.) 6…h6 7.Be3 (After 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.Ndb5 Qd8 White makes no progress and the absence of his important black-squared Bishop may be felt in the long run. – Clark is entirely right – RME) 7…a6 8.Qf3 (Concentrating on rapid development – the opposite to Black.) 8…Qc7 9.O-O-O b5 (Safer is 9…Nc6 to be followed by …Bd7 and …0-0-0. White is so indignant at the sight of the text move, which disdains the principle he himself has been so careful to keep, that he there and then determines to punish the offender.) 10.Bxb5+!? axb5 11.Ndxb5 Qc6? (In spite of appearances to the contrary 11…Qd7 is a better defence; the intention is to answer 12.e5 with 12…Bb7 and thus gain a valuable tempo. Indications are that Black should be able to hold the position, but with all the possibilities at White’s disposal it would be a very difficult task in practice. Here are some variations: 11…Qd7 12.e5 Bb7 13.Qg3 Ne4 14.Nxe4 Qxb5 15.Nxd6+ Bxd6 16.exd6 Rxa2 17.Qxg7 Ra1+ 18.Kd2 Qd5+ 19.Bd4 Rxd1+ 20.Rxd1 Rf8 and still the outcome is unclear ; 11…Qd7 12.Nxd6+ Bxd6 13.e5 Bb7 14.Qg3 Bxe5 15.Qxg7 Rg8 16.Rxd7 Rxg7 17.Rxb7 with a complicated ending ; 11…Qd7 12.Rd2 Bb7 13.Rhd1 Nxe4 14.Nxe4 Qxb5 15.Rxd6 Nc6 with chances for both sides.) 12.e5! (The point now is that after the exchange of Queens there is Nc7+, and this disorganizes Black completely.) 12…Nd5 (Holding everything…until the next crashing blow.) 13.Rxd5! exd5 14.Nxd5 Bb7 (Although he has an extra Rook, Black is without resource against all White’s threats, e.g. 14…Be6 15.Ndc7+ Kd8 16.Qxc6 and Nxa8 ; 14…Bd7 15.Nbc7+ Kd8 16.Qxf7 dxe5 17.Nxa8 Qxa8 18.Rd1 with a winning attack ; 14…Rxa2 15.Kb1 Ra5 16.Nbc7+ Kd8 17.Qxf7 dxe5 (otherwise e5-e6 comes.) 18.Rd1 and again White should win. In every case Black pays the penalty for not having brought his men out earlier.) 15.Nbc7+ Kd8 16.Qxf7

2020_01_23_C
16…Na6 (White threatened to mate beautifully by 17.Ne6+ Kc8 18.Qe8+! Qxe8 19.Nb6#. The text move permits another delightful finish, in which the White Knights leap and prance around the Black King.) 17.Ne6+ Kc8 18.Nb6+ Kb8 19.Nd7+ 1-0