Find the “!”

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+.)

5) Black only needs one piece!

V. Rubenchik (2308)-Saul Wanetick
US Amateur Team Ch. East, 1996
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.g3!? Bd7 7.Bg2 e6 8.O-O a6 9.a4 Be7 10.Kh1 O-O 11.f4 Nxd4 12.Qxd4 Bc6 13.Be3 Rc8 14.a5?! Ng4 15.Bg1 Bf6 16.Qb4 Bxc3 17.bxc3 f5 18.Rfd1 fxe4 19.Rxd6 Qf6 20.Bxe4?

6) Again, sometimes it just takes one piece. Or two of the same.

GM Inkiov-IM Lukin
Plovdiv, 1984
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Nbd7 7.Qd2 e6 8.f3 Qc7 N 9.g4 h6 10.h4 Ne5 11.Rg1 Nfd7 12.f4 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Qxc4 14.g5 hxg5 15.hxg5 g6 16.O-O-O b5 17.b3! Qc7 18.f5 Ne5?! 19.Rh1 Rxh1 20.Rxh1 Bd7 21.fxe6 fxe6 22.Rh7! Qa5 23.Kb1! O-O-O?

The answers, if you need them, can be found here :

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
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
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
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
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.

He even has a Wikipedia entry.

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.

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.

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.

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

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
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).

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+


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?

Retirement Places for Chess Players

I have some older chess playing friends. Some of them are now looking forward to retirement. And like so many soon-to-be-retirees they are thinking of moving to places where they can enjoy their hobbies and skills full time.

So, here is a list of potential retirement locations for my older, chess playing friends:

First the easy ones to locate.

QUEENS [n. a borough in the city of New York. After all, having more than one queen is usually better than having just one.]

If that location is not big enough, then one can choose the following:

QUEENSLAND [n. a state comprising the northeastern part of Australia.]

Of course, many players would prefer the king.

KINGSTOWN [n. the capital, chief port, and main commercial center of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.]

KING’S CANYON [n. a National park in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, US.]

KINGS CROSS [n. a district in Central London, England.]

KING CITY [n. a city in California.]

And if a chess player really enjoys a king hunt, then this might be the place:

KINGSBURY [n. a district of northwest London in the borough of Brent.]

or even

KINGSBURY [n. a suburb in Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.]

Interesting that some players really, really like their bishops. In which case, they may decide on moving to:

BISHOP [n. a city in Inyo County, California, and Nueces County, Texas. If you decide to live both, you may want to have different colored houses, say one being White, and the other Black. But that’s up to you!]

Now, here are the harder ones.

Finding a city named simply Knight has proven impossible to find. But the German word for Knight is Springer.

And there are many Springer Streets in the United States Most of them are in residential areas where one can rent or buy.

If that is not enough for a player who loves putting his knight on e5 (or K5 in descriptive), he may enjoy living here:

KNIGHTS LANDING [n. a city of Yolo County, California.]

Finding a city simply named ROOK has also been impossible to find. But a ROOK DRIVE exists in Huntington Beach.

For more than a street, one might try CASTLE CITY MOBILE HOME PARK, a Senior Retirement living location in Newcastle, CA. It sounds like a perfect fit for elderly and still active chess players.

And one can still live in a castle in Europe. If he is willing to travel a bit and spend a lot more.

In Green Bay, WI, there is a PAWN DRIVE,

and a PAWN AVENUE in Quincy, IL,

but strangely, there doesn’t seem to be a pawn shop on those streets.


A fun game to play over. More fun if you are White!

Jonathan I. Century (2104)-
Leslie SF Blackstock (2112)
British Universities Individual Ch.
Manchester, Apr. 11 1970

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 d6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Bc4 Qb6 7.Nde2 e6 8.Bb3 a6 9.O-O Be7 10.Bg5 Qc7 11.Ng3 b5 12.Qd2 Bb7 13.Rae1 Na5 14.f4 Rd8 15.f5 Nxb3 16.cxb3! O-O 17.Rc1 Qb8 18.Nh5 exf5

19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Nxf6+ gxf6 21.Qh6 Qa7+ 22.Kh1 Rfe8 23.Rf3 1-0

The Borg

What is the Borg? For Star Trek aficionados, they are an evil group of aliens who kidnap indigenous and sentient life forms and enslave them by use of electronic and computer implants.

But for the chess player, it is a dangerous, reply by Black against 1.e4. And when we say dangerous, we mean dangerous for Black, not White.

What makes this opening so bad for Black?

First of all, White can open the game with 1.g4 and Black can’t stop that move. But Black can really only play this move after 1.e4 (Both 1.d4 g5? 2.Bxg5 and 1.Nf3 g5? 2.Nxg5 quickly loses the game for Black).

Secondly, no one have ever claimed that 1.g4 is a good move. And it’s even worse when it is played a move behind for the following reason:

Thirdly, the move 1.g4 severely weakens White and since Black is a move behind, his reply 1…g5 weakens him even more.

But how did Black’s opening 1.e4 g5 get the name, Borg? Well, the move 1.g4 is known as Grob’s Opening. And Borg is Grob spelled backwards.

But this name only took hold after Star Trek, The New Generation introduced the Borg in an episode titled, “Q Who?”, which aired on May 8, 1989.

So maybe there is something to all this.

Back to the original post!


1.e4 g5

1) 1.e4 g5
2) 1.e4 g5 2.d4
3) 1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.f4
4) 1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.h4


1.e4 g5 2.d4

The most common response is 2.d4 and at least threaten the pawn on g5 with his c1-bishop. Black can choose to ignore the threat, not really a good idea at this point in the game.

Blitz Game
Yahoo, Jan. 1 2003
1.e4 g5 2.d4 g4? 3.Qxg4 d5 4.Qe2 dxe4 5.Qxe4 Nf6 6.Qd3 Bg4 7.Be2 Bh5?? 8.Bxh5 Nxh5 9.Qb5+ c6 10.Qxh5 -+ Nd7 11.Nc3 e6 12.Bf4 Bb4 13.Nge2 Bxc3+ 14.Nxc3 Qb6 15.O-O-O a5 16.Ne4 a4 17.Nd6+ Kd8

18.Nxf7+ Kc8 19.Nd6+!! (Much better than taking the rook and losing the initiative. Keep the enemy king on the run!) 19… Kd8 20.Qg5+ Nf6 21.Qxf6+ Kd7 22.Qf7+ Kd8 23.Nc4 Qxb2+ 24.Kxb2 b5 25.Bd6 a3+ 26.Kb1 bxc4 27.Qc7+ Ke8 28.Qe7mate 1-0

Alan R. LeCours-Richard Pugh
New York Ch.
Kerhonkson, Aug. 31 2003
1.e4 g5 2.d4 e5?! 3.d5 d6 4.Nc3 g4 5.Be3 Nf6 6.Qd2 Nbd7 7.O-O-O Rg8 8.Bd3 a6 9.Nge2 Nc5 10.Ng3 Bd7 11.Kb1 b5 12.Nce2 a5 13.c3 b4 14.c4 a4 15.Nc1 c6 16.f3 Qa5 17.Rhe1 Nb3 18.axb3 a3 19.bxa3
(19…Qxa3 20.Qa2, and White keep his extra piece.) 1-0

Escalante-“Chsstrrrst” (1637)
Blitz Game, Jan. 16 2021
1.e4 g5 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Bxg5 Qb6 5.Qc1=
[The computer says this is an error and suggests the sharper 5.c4, and then the question becomes, can Black reasonably take the b2-pawn with his Queen?

5…Qxb2 6.Nd2, White’s best move, and now:

6…Qxd4?! 7.Ngf3 +/- Qg4 8.cxd5!, and the position between +/- and +- for White.

6…cxd4 7.Bxc4, and White has the advantage.

6…Nc6 7.Rb1 Qxa2 8.Ngf3, and there should be an infinity sign here (which means an unclear position, but I can’t upload that symbol here).]

6.cxd4 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Bd3 Bg4 8.Nbd2 O-O-O 9.O-O f6 10.exf6 exf6 11.Bf4 h5 12.h3 Bd7 13.Nh4 Nh6? (Better is 13…Ne5 as the move not only stops Ng6, but White can’t open the c-file with c4.) 14.Ng6 +/- Bg7 15.Nxh8 Rxh8 16.Nf3 Nf5 17.Re1 Nb4 18.Qd2 Nxd3 19.cxd3! (Finally, opening the c-file and Black is ill equipped to defend his isolated king on that file.) 19…h4

20.Rac1+ Bc6 (20…Kd8 21.Bc7+ Qxc7 22.Rxc7 Kxc7 23.Qa5+ +-) 21.Qe2 Kd8 22.Qe6 Bd7 23.Qxd5 Ne7 24.Qf7 Bf8 25.Bc7+ Qxc7 26.Rxc7! Kxc7 27.Rxe7 Bxe7 28.Qxe7 Re8 29.Qc5+ Bc6 30.Nxd4 Re5 31.Qc3 a6 32.Nxc6 bxc6 33.d4 Rd5 34.Kf1 a5 35.b4 a4 36.a3 f5 37.Ke2 Kd7 38.Kf3 1-0 (T)

1.e4 g5 2.d4 Bg7

If Black chooses to ignore the Bxg5 threat, he might also want to counter-attack. And he occasionally succeeds.

IM Craig W. Pritchett-IM Michael J. Basman
Great Britain Ch.
Southampton, England, 1986
1.e4 g5 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c5!?
(This is an interesting, and possibly even a good, move.) 4.d5 h6 5.h4?! (This is possibly where White starts to go wrong. The position is closed and he should not open it up so soon.) 5…gxh4 6.Nf3 d6 7.Nxh4 Nd7 8.Nf5 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Ne5 10.Bb5+ Kf8 11.Be2 Qa5 12.Kf1 Bxf5 13.exf5 Nf6 14.Rxh6 Kg7 15.Rxh8 Rxh8 16.Kg1 Qxc3 17.Rb1 Ne4 18.Bh5 Qd4 19.Be3 Qxd1+ 20.Bxd1 Nc3 21.Ra1 Nxd5 22.Bc1 b5 23.Bb2 f6 24.Rb1 b4 25.Be2 Nf4 26.Bf1 Rh5 27.Bxe5 fxe5 28.g4 Rg5 29.f3 Kf6 30.a3 a5 31.axb4 axb4 32.Bc4 d5 33.Bf1 Rg8 34.Ra1 Rb8 35.Ra6+ Kg5 36.Ra7 c4 37.Rxe7 b3 38.cxb3 cxb3 0-1

But if White remains flexible, he can often take the pawn and still have enough pieces and space to engineer an attack. There is also the issue of Black trying to win the b2-pawn with his queen.

Vladimir Petrienko-Jan Svatos
Trimex Open
Pardubice, Czech Republic, 1992
1.e4 g5 2.d4 Bg7 3.Bxg5 c5 4.Be3 Qb6 5.Nc3
(Again, we have the question about Black taking the b-pawn with his queen. The biggest counter-threat from White is of course, Nd5. So, again, is it worth for Black to take the b-pawn? According to result of this game, the answer is No.)

5…Qxb2?! 6.Nd5 Kd8 7.Rb1 Qxa2 8.Ra1 Qb2 9.Bc4 cxd4 10.Ra2 dxe3 11.Rxb2 exf2+ 12.Kxf2 Bxb2 13.c3 Nc6 14.Qd2 Ba3 15.Qg5 Bc5+ 16.Ke2 Bd4 17.cxd4 Nxd4+ 18.Kf2 Ne6 19.Qh5 f6 20.Nf3 b6 21.Rd1 Bb7 22.Nxb6 1-0

Gennadi Ginsburg-T. Frey
Neckar Open
Deizisau, Germany, Apr. 6 1998
1.e4 g5 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6?! 4.Bc4 b5 5.Bb3 a5 6.a3 Ba6 7.Qf3 e6 8.e5 d5 9.exd6 Bxd4 10.Ne4 Nd7 11.Ne2 Bg7 12.Bxg5 Qc8 13.O-O c5 14.c4 Bb7 15.cxb5

15…f5? 16.Bxe6 Bxe4 17.Qb3 c4 18.Bxc4 Ngf6 19.f3 Bd5 20.Qe3+ Kf8 21.Qe7+ Kg8 22.Bxd5+ 1-0

Iulia Mashinskaya (2268)-Nikolai Vlassov (2492)
Blitz Game, Chess Planet
Russian Cup, Sept. 7 2004
1.e4 g5 2.d4 Bg7 3.Bxg5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Bc1 cxd4 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Bc4 d6 8.O-O Nf6 9.Re1 Bg4 10.h3 Bh5 11.cxd4 Bxf3 12.Qxf3 Nxd4 13.Qd1 O-O 14.Nc3 Rac8 15.Bd3 Ne6 16.Nd5 Qd8 17.Nxf6+ Bxf6 18.Bh6 Bg7 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Re3 Kh8 21.b3 Rc5 22.Bc4 b5 23.Bd5 Nf4 24.Rf3 e5 25.b4 Rc7 26.Bb3 Rg8 27.Rg3 Rxg3 28.fxg3 Ne6 29.Qd5 Nd4 30.Rf1 Nxb3 31.axb3 Kg7 32.Qxb5 Qg5 33.Qd3 Qg6 34.Kh2 h5 35.h4 a6 36.Qxa6 Rc3 37.Rf3 Rc2 38.Qd3 Rc1 39.Rf5 Qe6 40.Rxh5 Qc8 41.Rg5+ Kh7 42.Qf3 1-0

GM Alexandre Dgebuadze-Man Thomanek
Staufer Open
Leinzell, Jan. 2 2011
1.e4 g5 2.d4 Bg7 3.Bxg5 c5 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Bc4 Nc6 6.O-O d6 7.Nbd2 Bg4 8.Be2 Bf6 9.Bxf6 Nxf6 10.Nxd4 Nxd4 11.Bxg4 Rg8 12.Bh3 Rc8 13.c3 Ne6 14.Qa4+ Kf8 15.Bxe6 fxe6 16.Rad1 Rc5 17.Nf3 b5 18.Qxa7 Qe8 19.e5 Qg6 20.Nh4 Qg5 21.exf6 Qxf6 22.Rd4 Rh5 23.g3 e5 24.Qa8+ Kf7 25.Qd5+ Kf8 26.Rb4 e4 27.Qxe4 1-0

If Black chooses to defend his pawn, his best option is to play 2…h6. White has several moves to counter this defensive move.

Two of the more interesting ways are 3.f4 and 3.h4, with 3.h4 being considered the strongest.

1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.f4

Pablo Michel-Kurt Richter Sr.
Germany Ch.
Bad Oeynhausen, 1938
1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.f4 Bg7 4.c3 gxf4 5.Bxf4 c5 6.dxc5 b6 7.Qg4 Kf8 8.Qg3 Na6 9.cxb6 Qxb6 10.Qf2 Nf6 11.Qxb6 axb6 12.Nf3 Nc5 13.Nbd2 Nfxe4 14.Nxe4 Nxe4 15.Be5 Bxe5 16.Nxe5 Rg8 17.Bd3 Nc5 18.O-O Nxd3 19.Nxd3 Ba6 20.Rf3 Rg5 21.b3 Rc8 22.c4 Bb7 23.Rf2 d5 24.Nf4 Kg7 25.cxd5 Bxd5 26.Re1 e6 27.h4 Rg4 28.Nxd5 exd5 29.Ref1 Rc7 1/2-1/2

Lisa Schut (1918)-Jacob Perrenet
Maastricht Limburg Open
The Netherlands, May 26 2007
1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.f4 Bg7 4.fxg5 hxg5 5.Bxg5 c5 6.Be3 Qb6 7.Nc3 cxd4 8.Nd5 dxe3 9.Nxb6 axb6 10.c3 Nf6 11.Bd3 d5 12.Bb5+ Bd7 13.Bxd7+ Nbxd7 14.Ne2 dxe4 15.Nd4 Ra5 16.Qe2 Rg5 17.O-O-O Ne5 18.h4 Nd3+ 19.Kb1 Rc5 20.Nb3 Rc6 21.Qxe3 Bh6 22.Qe2 Rg8 23.Rhf1 Re6 24.Nd4 Nf4 25.Qb5+ Kf8 26.Nxe6+ Nxe6 27.Qxb6 e3 28.Rfe1 Rxg2 29.Rxe3 Bxe3 30.Qxe3 Rh2 31.Qb6 Rxh4 32.Qxb7 Ne4 33.Qb8+ Kg7 34.Rg1+ Kf6 35.Rf1+ Kg7 36.Rg1+ Kf6 37.a4 Nd2+ 38.Kc2 Nf3 39.Rf1 Neg5 40.Qg3 1-0

1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.h4

Georgios Alexopoulos (2249)-Hristos Giannopoulos
Greece, 1969
1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.h4 gxh4 4.Rxh4 e5 5.Nf3 exd4 6.Qxd4 Qf6 7.e5 Qe7 8.Nc3 c6 9.Be3 d5 10.exd6 Qf6 11.Re4+ Be6 12.O-O-O Bg7 13.d7+ Kd8

14.Qb6+!! axb6 15.Bxb6+ Ke7 16.d8=Qmate 1-0

Philip Giulian (2295)-Michael Basman (2350)
Scotland, 1986
1.d4 h6 2.e4 g5 3.h4 g4 4.Qxg4 d5 5.Qe2 dxe4 6.Qxe4 Nf6 7.Qd3 Nc6 8.c3 Qd5 9.Nf3 Rg8 10.Nbd2 Bg4 11.Nc4 O-O-O 12.Ne3 Qd6 13.Nxg4 Nxg4 14.Qf5+ Kb8 15.Bf4 e5 16.Nxe5 Nxd4 17.Nxg4 Nc2+ 18.Qxc2 Qxf4 19.Ne3 Bc5 20.g3 Rxg3 21.fxg3 Qxe3+ 0-1

Marcus Osborne (2233)-Michael Basman (2360)
Great Britain Ch.
Torquay, 1998
1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.h4 g4 4.Qxg4 d5 5.Qf4 dxe4 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 e6 8.Nge2 Nf6 9.Nb5 Na6 10.b3 Bd7 11.Ba3 Bxb5 12.Bxb5+ c6 13.Bxa6 Qa5+ 14.Kf1 Qxa6 15.Bc5 Nd7 16.Rd1 O-O-O 17.Bd6 f5 18.a4 Nf6 19.c4 Nh5 20.Qh2 Qa5 21.c5 Rd7 22.Be5 Qb4 23.Bxg7 Qxb3 24.Ra1 Rxg7 25.Qe5 Rhg8 26.Rh3 Qd5 27.Rb1 f4 28.Rhb3 Qxe5 29.dxe5 Rd8 30.Nc3 Rd4 31.Rb4 Rxb4 32.Rxb4 e3 33.fxe3 fxe3 34.g4 Rf7+ 35.Ke2 Nf4+ 36.Kxe3 Nd5+ 37.Nxd5 cxd5 38.g5 hxg5 39.hxg5 Rg7 40.Rg4 Kd7 41.g6 Ke7 42.Kf4 Kf8 43.Kg5 Kg8 44.Kf6 Rc7 45.Rh4 a5 46.Kxe6 Rxc5 47.Kf6 Rc1 48.e6 Rf1+ 49.Ke7 Kg7 50.Rg4 d4 51.Rxd4 Kxg6 52.Kd7 1-0

Robert Rowley

This week is Robert Rowley’s birthday! He was born Jan. 12 1950, earned his FM title and won the Arizona State Chess Championship a total of eleven times.

Many of his game are based on sound play and tactics making them enjoyable, and understandable, for beginning and intermediate players.

Let’s look a couple of his games.

Robert Rowley-IM Jeremy Silman
World Open
Philadelphia, 1990
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.O-O Be7

[Also interesting is 5…c5!? GM Ulf Andersson-Ivar Bern, corres., Norwegian 50-Year Postal Jubilee, 1995/6, continued with 6.Bg5 Na6 7.Na3 Nc7 8.c4 b4 9.Nc2 a5 10.e4!! Bxe4 11.Re1 Bxc2 12.Qxc2 cxd4 13.Nxd4 Ra6 (Here Ulf was ready to introduce another nasty tactical trick. 13…Rb8 14.Nc6 dxc6 15.Bxc6+ Ke7 16.Rad1 Qc8 17.Qd2 and the threat of 18.Qd6mate and 18.Qe3! are decisive.) 14.Rad1 h6 15.Bxf6 Qxf6 16.Qa4 Bc5 17.Nxe6! (White’s enormous pressure had to be released somehow.) 17…Bxf2+ 18.Kh1 Rxe6 (Or 18…Nxe6 19.Qxd7+ Kf8 20.Qc8+ with a mate in two.) 19.Qxd7+ Kf8 20.Rxe6 Qxe6 21.Qxc7 g6 22.Rf1 (Ivar Bern decided to save his stamps due to 22…Bb6 23.Qb7 f5 24.Rd1 and the treat 25.c5 puts a period to Andersson’s little masterpiece.) 1-0 – notes to this game by Inside Chess.]

6.Qd3 a6 7.c4 bxc4 8.Qxc4 O-O 9.Nc3 Qc8!? (This move does have other purposes other than protecting the b7-bishop. It takes the queen out of the possible pin after Bg5 and supports queenside play. Finally, Black is not committed to …d6, even though that is the right move for the d-pawn. He can still …d5 if the position warrants it.)10.Bg5 d6 (Well, there goes the ..d5 plans.) 11.Rac1 Nbd7 12.Na4 Bd8 13.Nd2 Bxg2 14.Kxg2 Rb8 15.Qc6 Rb4 16.Rc4 Rxc4 17.Nxc4 Be7 18.Rc1 Nb8 19.Ncb6 Nxc6 20.Nxc8 Rxc8 21.Rxc6 h6 22.Bxf6 Bxf6 23.e3 a5 24.b3 Bd8 25.Kf3 Ra8 26.Nc3 Kf8 27.e4 Ke7 28.Ke3 Kd7 29.d5 f5 30.f3 fxe4 31.fxe4 Bg5+ 32.Kd3 Rf8 33.Nb5 Bd8 34.Nd4 exd5 35.exd5 Rf1 36.Rc2 Rd1+ 37.Kc4 Bf6 38.Nc6 Re1 39.a4 h5 40.b4 (40.Nxa5 works just as good, and perhaps a little better than the text, in creating an a-pawn passer.) 40…axb4 41.Nxb4 Ra1 42.Kb5 Bd4 43.a5 Bc5 44.Nc6 Rd1 45.Kc4 Re1 46.a6 Re8 47.Ra2 Kc8 48.Kb5 Bb6 49.Ra4 g5 50.h4 g4 51.Rf4 Rh8 52.Rf5 Bc5 53.Kc4 Bg1 54.Kd3 Bh2

55.Rf1 1-0 (As Rb1 and Rb8 cannot be stopped.)

Phoenix FIDE Futurity
Arizona, 1980
[Hurdle, “Games from the Phoenix FIDE Futurity”, Chess Life, Aug. 1981]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nbd7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nxe5 9.Bf4! (A move that appears to refute this variation – Escalante.)

9…Nfd7 (Moving the knight on e5 is embarrassing after Nbd5.) 10.Bb5 Bg7 11.Qe2 O-O 12.O-O-O a6 13.Bxd7 (Any retreat by this Bishop allows Black to begin his attack with …b5. Very interesting is 13.Bxe5 Nxe5 14.Ne6 Bxe6 15.Rxd8 Rfxd8 where Black has Rook, Bishop, and pawn plus pressure for the Queen. The position would be fairly equal but Black can improve with 13.Bxe5 Bxe5 14.Bxd7 Bf4+, keep the pawn.) 13…Nxd7 14.Bg5 Qb6! 15.Qxe7! Bxd4 16.Rxd4 Qxd4 17.Bh6 Qf6 (Now White is down an entire Rook but he has all the play. This is the critical position of the game, and perhaps 17…b5 wins. If 18.Rd1 Qf6 19.Bxf8 Qf4+ 20.Kb1 Nxf8 21.Rd8 Bb7 22.Qxf8#. So perhaps 21…Qh6 22.Nd5 Bb7 23.Nf6+ Kh8 24.Qxf7 Qg7 and Black holds. Rowley suggested 21.Nd5! Qh6 22.Nf6+ Kh8 23.Qe4!, and then 23…Rb8 24.Qe5 Ra8 25.Qd4, in either case setting up a winning discovery. Of course, Black could abandon the Rook and counter attack the Knight. For example, 23…Ra7 24.Qd4 Qg7 25.Qxa7 Qxf6 and it’s still a hard fight. Back to the game.) 18.Bxf8 Qf4+ 19.Kb1 Nxf8 20.Nd5 Qf5 (Defending the Bishop. If Black tries 20…Qh6?, then 21.Nb6 Rb8 22.Qc7 leads to disaster on the Queenside.) 21.Nf6+ Kg7 22.Ne8+ Kg8  1/2-1/2

Is There a Goddess of Chess?

In a short answer, yes.

The game which has been described as a game of skill, where players rely on memory, tactics, long winded strategies, good moves, and healthy diet (it helps – believe me), leaving nothing to chance or clairvoyance, does allow, and sometimes even encourage, supernatural intervention. (I have seen players pray before a game.)

Before we start, let me introduce you to Caïssa, the goddess of chess, who showers her favors on prodigies and like Nike (the goddess of victory), occasionally smiles on lower rated.

No one has ever seen Caïssa, but she is around, esp. when chess is being played. Here is one interpretation, but she can also be found on the chessboard itself.

Now it is possible for both players to error in a game. And yet one player still emerges with a win. The goddess always wants to reward the player who willing to take a chance.

Thematic Tournament – Practice The French (U1900) – Round 2, 2020/1
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.exd5 exd5 (A cross between the Tarrasch and the Exchange variations of the French. It gives White a small advantage and is usually played when one is content with a draw.) 5.Bd3 Bd6 6.Ne2 O-O 7.O-O Re8 8.c4 c6 9.Re1 Bxh2+?! (I was hoping for a quick win here with the classical bishop sac on the kingside. However, this move is an error as White has some very beneficial knights to keep his king safe.) 10.Kxh2 Ng4+ 11.Kg3!

[And Black is facing the prospect of a quick loss after a bad sacrifice and a pair of equally bad hallucinations. Obviously moving back to g1 leads to an early mate. But this is the illusion. White wins after 11.Kg1 Qh4 12.Nf3 Qxf2+ 13.Kg1, with the idea of Rf1. I had considered 11.Kg3 and knew it was usually a bad king move as it leads directly to a fun king hunt for the attacking player. I didn’t consider the move was worth studying. But I should have! 11…Qd6+ leads to either 12.f4 Re3+ 13.Kh4 Qh6#, or the better 12.Nf4! Rxe1 (else 13.Rxe8+) 13.Qxe1g5 14.Qe8+ Kg7 and it is White who wins after 15.Nb3.] 11…Qg5 (Now the values of 12.f4 and 12.Nf4 switch places. 12.Nf4 is not good because 12…Ne3+ 13.Kf3 Bg4+ 14.Kg3 Bxd1+ 15.Kh2 Qxf4+ 16.g3 Qxf2+. But 12.f4 Re3+ 13.Nf3 wins!) 12.Qb3?? (White, after facing the threats, both real and illusionary, unbelievably blunders, and allows Black to finish the game with ease.) 12…Ne3+ -+ 13.Kf3 Qg4mate 0-1

Gods and goddesses have always encouraged not just good behavior, but also good health.

In the following game, my inebriated opponent came to the board red-eyed and reeking of alcohol. It didn’t help him, but it helped in keeping me awake as I find alcohol disagreeable in smell, in taste and by ingestion. Did I mention this was a night game?

Gomez Baillo-Escalante
US Open
Los Angeles, CA 1991
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 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.d4 exd4 11.Nxd4 Nxd4 12.cxd4 Be6 13.Nc3 c6 14.Qh5?! (Does White actually believe his premature queen sortie is going to lead to a quick mate? Maybe the alcohol is taking it’s toll as my opponent is playing about 200 pints below his rating. I have a reasonable excuse for my weaker moves; I am 200 points below my opponent’s rating. But I’m sober and that is an advantage in chess.) 14…Qd7!? (Black could play 14…Nf6, but I like my knight just where it is!)  15.Nxd5 (It stands to reason that if I like my knight just where it is, then my opponent does not like my knight where it is. Black has a slight disadvantage.) 15…cxd5 16.Bc2 g6 17.Qe5?! (17.Qe2 was better.) 17…Bd6 (With this simple move, Black now gains a slight advantage.) 18.Qg5 Be7 19.Qh6 (White is fixated on a kingside mating strategy. Tunnel vision helps see deep in a position. But this is not the only part of the board. Other ideas and strategies are emerging.) 19…Bf6 20.Bg5 Bg7 21.Qh4 Bf5 22.Rac1 Rac8 23.Bxf5 Rxc1 24.Rxc1 Qxf5 25.g4 Qe4 26.Be3 Bxd4 27.Bh6 Re8 28.Bg5 Bxb2 29.Qh6 Bxc1 (Black misses 29.Qxg4+! -+. But he finds it the next move.) 30.Bxc1 Qxg4+ 31.Kf1 Qe2+ 0-1