… 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?
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.]
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!
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.
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 chess.com, Jan. 16 2021 1.e4 g5 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Bxg5 Qb6 5.Qc1= [The chess.com 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
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.)
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 [Escalante] 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.)
Rowley-Hurdle 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
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.
“createsure”-Escalante Thematic Tournament – Practice The French (U1900) – Round 2 chess.com, 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
You might not find it in a magazine. And you might not find it in a book. But there is a gambit that seems appropriate for Halloween. It is known as the Frankenstein-Dracula Variation (or FDV for short).
In this gambit (perhaps attack would be more descriptive), Black gives up a rook and a few pawns and then proceeds to gain control over a large portion of the board and threatens White’s queen in numerous ways.
Is it any good? Let’s check it (sorry, bad pun) out.
L. Janse-GM J. Hector Paskturneringen Open Sweden, Apr 20 2019 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Qh5 Nd6 5.Bb3 Nc6 6.Nb5 g6 7.Qf3 f5 8.Qd5 Qe7 9.Nxc7+ Kd8 10.Nxa8 b6 11.Nxb6 axb6 12.d3 (White wants to develop his Bc1. As events will show White will not have the time to develop this bishop. 12.Ne2 is the better choice.) 12…f4 13.Qf3 Nd4 14.Qd1 Bb7 15.Nf3 Nxf3+ 16.gxf3 Nf5 17.h4 Nxh4 18.Rh3 Qg5 19.Qe2 Bc5 20.Kd2 Qh5 21.Rxh4 Qxh4 22.Qxe5 Re8 23.Qb8+ Bc8 24.Bc4 Bb4+ 0-1
Ray Bott-Roger D de Coverly Match, Game 7 London, 1988 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Qh5 Nd6 5.Bb3 Nc6 6.Nb5 g6 7.Qf3 f5 8.Qd5 Qe7 9.Nxc7+ Kd8 10.Nxa8 b6 11.Qf3 Bb7 12.Qh3 Nd4 13.c3 Bg7?!
14.Bd1? (White has to play 14.cxd4 and while Black runs wild over the board with his pieces, he is doing so with one less piece. White’s sole developed piece, his queen, is stuck in the open and becomes a target. The end is swift.) 14…Ne6! 15.d3 Bxa8 16.Ne2 f4 17.Kf1 Ng5 18.Qh4 Nf5 0-1
Recently GM Simon Williams recently wrote an article for chess.com titled, “Name Your Pawns”, in which he provided proper names for the files of his chess board.
And I thought …what a great idea!
Here are my submissions to this theme.
Let’s start with the divine.
If I were a fundamentalist Christian (I am not – just go with idea),
I would first rename my files from White’s side.
a=ANGEL (or ABEL) b = BIBLE c = CHRIST (or CAIN, CHOIR, or CHORUS – the last two referring a collection of ANGELS) d=DAVID, DANIEL, DECALOG (the Ten Commandments.) e=ELIJAH, EDEN, EXODUS, EPISTLE f=FAITH (and the FLOOD) g=GENESIS, GOSPEL h=HEAVEN
And if we were to play on a 10 x 10 board, then ISIAH and JESUS.
But that only takes care of the files on the White side. Here are the newly named files for the Dark side.
a=ARCHFIEND (another name for the Devil) b= BAAL, BEELZEBUB, BABEL c=CALLICANTZAROS (Greek vampires that would feed on children born around Christmas time.) d=DEMON, DEVIL, DEMONESS, and DELILAH (she’s the one who had a servant cut off Samson’s hair, rendering him vulnerable.) e=EVIL f=(the) FALL (of Adam and Eve, mankind, and Satan) g=GOLGOTHA (hill where Christ was supposedly crucified) and GAGA (a minor Babylonian deity.) h=HELL
And if we were to play on a 10 x 10 board, then INCUBUS and JUDAS.
Of course, one may also choose other themes for renaming their files. For example, Baseball!
a=ANGELS, ATHLETICS b= BRAVES, BREWERS (one could also consider the BOSTON Red Sox and BROOKLYN Dodgers) c=CHICAGO CUBS, CARDINALS d=DODGERS (this time, the Los Angeles team) or the DRAGONS (it is both the name of Japanese major league team and a minor league team of Dayton, Ohio.) e=EXPOS f=FIREFLIES (a minor league team of Columbia, South Carolina) g=GIANTS h=HOUSTON Astros
And, of course, the Indians and the (Blue) Jays would follow.
So, be creative. Find what interests you might (other than chess) and see if you are willing to change names of the files on your board!