WGM Anna Akhsharumova

WGM Anna Akhsharumova was born in the Soviet Union in 1957. She earned her WIM title in 1978 and her WGM title in 1989.

 

She won the USSR Women’s Championships in 1976 and 1984. And in 1987, she won the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship with a perfect score. She thus, in a dramatic fashion, became the only woman to win both the USSR Championship and the US Championships.

 

And today is her birthday!

 

Congratulations Anna!

 

Below are a few of my favorite games of WGM Anna Akhsharumova.

 

Anna Akhsharumova-Natalia Titorenko
Moscow Women’s Ch., 1974
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.Na3 f5 10.Bd3 (Alternate moves are 10.Bc4 and 10.Qh5.) 10…Qg5 11.g3 Be6 12.exf5 Bxf5 13.Nd5 O-O-O 14.Bxf5+ Qxf5 15.Qd3 e4 16.Qc4 Qf3 17.O-O Kb8 18.Rfe1 Bg7 19.Re3 Qf5 20.Rb3 Ka7

2020_01_09_A

21.Nb5+! axb5 22.Qxb5 Rd7 23.Ra3+ Kb8 24.Ra8+ Kxa8 25.Nb6+ Kb8 26.Qxf5 Re7 27.Nd5 Nd4 28.Qg4 f5 29.Qd1 Ree8 30.c3 Nf3+ 31.Kg2 Re6 32.a4 Be5 33.a5 Rh6 34.h4 Rg8 35.a6 bxa6 36.Qb3+ Kc8 37.Ne7+ 1-0

 

WIM Anna Akhsharumova (2290)-Catherine Dodson (2000)
US Women’s Ch.
Estes Park, 1987
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 O-O 6.Nge2 e5 (7…c5 is probably better. The text move often leads to Black’s defeat, sometimes in spectacular ways.) 7.Bg5! (The standard response.) 7…h6

[Bogdanovski (2449)-Masterson (2000), European Club Ch., Crete, 2003, continued instead with 7…c6 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.d5 Qc7 10.Ng3 a6 11.Bh6 cxd5 12.cxd5 b5 13.h4 Bxh6 14.Qxh6 b4 15.Nd1 Nc5 16.Qd2 a5 17.h5 Ba6 18.Bxa6 Rxa6 19.Ne3 Raa8 20.Nef5 Rac8 21.Qg5 Qd8 22.hxg6 fxg6 23.Rxh7 1-0]

8.Be3 c6 9.Qd2 h5 10.d5 cxd5 11.cxd5 Bd7 12.Nc1 Na6 13.Be2 Nc5 14.O-O a5 15.Nd3 Nxd3 16.Bxd3 a4 17.a3 Qa5 18.Qf2 b5 19.Na2 Rab8 20.Nb4 Rfc8 21.Rac1 Qd8 22.Qe2 Ne8 23.Rxc8 Qxc8 24.Rc1 Nc7 25.Nc6 Bxc6 26.Rxc6 Qd7 27.Qc2 Ne8 28.Qd2 Bf6 29.Qa5 Bd8

2020_01_09_B
30.Qa7! Qxa7 31.Bxa7 Rb7 32.Rc8 Rxa7 33.Rxd8 Kf8 34.Bxb5 Re7 35.Bxa4 f5 36.Rxe8+ (White wins by pushing her two extra queenside pawns.) 1-0

 

WIM Anna Akhsharumova (2385)-IM Igor Ivanov (2505)
St. John Open, 1988
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e4 Bg7 5.f3 O-O 6.Nge2 c5 7.d5 a6 8.a4 e5 9.Bg5 h6 10.Be3 Nh7 11.h4 f5 12.h5

[M. Admiraal (2479)-V. Blom (2269), Andorra Open, Escaldes, July 23 2018 instead went 12.Qd2 f4 13.Bf2 Nf6 14.g4 Bd7 15.a5 b5 16.axb6 Qxb6 17.Nc1 Ra7 18.Na4 Bxa4 19.Rxa4 a5 20.Be2 Na6 21.Rxa5 Nb4 22.Rxa7 Qxa7 23.Qxb4 Rb8 24.Qa3 1-0 The interesting thing is that neither this game or the main game, did White castle. Did they find a way to press the attack that was so overwhelming that they didn’t need to worry about king safety?]

12…Qe8 13.hxg6 Qxg6 14.Qc2 Ng5 15.Bf2 fxe4 16.Ng3 Nd7 17.Ncxe4 Nf6 18.Nxf6+ Qxf6 19.Nh5 Qf7 20.Nxg7 Kxg7 21.Bd3 Bf5 22.Be3 Qg6 23.Bxf5 Rxf5 24.a5 e4 25.f4 Nh7 26.g4 Rf6 27.f5 Qe8 28.Qd2 Qe5 29.Bxh6+ Kh8 30.Ra3 Rg8 31.Rah3 Rxg4 32.Bf4 Qxf5 33.Rxh7+ Qxh7 34.Rxh7+ Kxh7 35.Qh2+ Kg6 36.Bxd6 (White again wins with two extra pawns.) 1-0

 

Alison Coull (2005)-WIM Anna Akhsharumova (2385)
Thessaloniki Women’s Ol.
Greece, 1988
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bd3 cxd4 6.O-O (The Ruisdonk Gambit in the Advance French. It should be more popular.) 6…Nge7 7.Bf4 (White has two reasonable moves here, the text move and 7.Re1. It’s not possible to decide which is the better move at this time.) 7…h6 8.h4 Qb6 9.Qc1 Bd7 10.a3 Na5 11.b4 Nc4 12.Nbd2 Rc8 13.Nb3 Nc6 14.Qd1 Nb2 15.Qd2 Nxd3 16.cxd3 Be7 17.Bg3 O-O 18.Rab1 a6 19.h5 f5 20.Qe2 Be8 21.Nfd2 f4 22.Bh2 Rf5 23.g4 fxg3 24.Bxg3 Bxh5 25.f3 Rcf8

2020_01_09_C

0-1 [White’s pawns on e5, f3, and d4 (after …Qb5) are weak and Black is about to break through. One plausible plan is …Bg5, with the idea of …Be3. If White plays to Bf2 to nullify Black’s bishop, then …Nxe5 brings new problems for White.]

 

Ingrid Dahl (2100)-WGM Anna Akhsharumova (2395)
Women’s Izt.
Kuala Lumpur, 1990
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 dxe4 6.Qg4 Nf6 7.Qxg7 Rg8 8.Qh6 Rg6 9.Qe3 Nc6 10.Bb2 Ne7 11.Nh3 Bd7 12.c4 Nf5 13.Qe2 c5 14.dxc5 Qa5+ 15.Qd2 Qxc5 16.Qb4 Qc7 17.O-O-O Bc6 18.Qd2 Ng4 19.Qc3 Rg8 20.Be2 h5 21.f3 Nge3 22.Rd2 Rd8 23.fxe4?! (Winning a pawn while her house is burning down. Better is 23.Rxd8+ to relieve some of the pressure.)

2020_01_09_D
23…Rxd2! 24.Qxd2 Bxe4 25.Bd3 Rxg2 26.Qc3 Bxd3 27.Qxd3 Rxc2+ 28.Kb1 Qb6 0-1

 

Erlingur Thorsteinsson-WGM Anna Akhsharumova (2385)
Reykjavik Open
Iceland, 1996
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nge2 dxe4 5.a3 Be7 6.Nxe4 Nf6 7.N2c3 O-O (The problem is where does White develop his light-squared bishop?) 8.Bc4?! (As it turns out the bishop is misplaced here. Perhaps 8.Bd3 is a better choice.) 8…Nc6 9.Be3 Nxe4 10.Nxe4 f5 11.Nc5 f4 12.Nxe6 Bxe6 13.Bxe6+ Kh8 14.Bc1 Nxd4 15.Bc4 Bc5 16.O-O Qh4 17.Re1 Rad8 18.Bd3 Nb3 19.Qf3 Nxa1 20.Re5 Rxd3 21.cxd3 Nb3 22.h3 Qxf2+ 23.Qxf2 Bxf2+ 24.Kxf2 Nxc1 25.Re7 Nxd3+ 26.Ke2 Nxb2 27.Rxc7 Rb8 28.Kd2 h6 29.Kc2 Na4 30.Rc4 b5 31.Rxf4 a5 32.Rf7 Rc8+ 0-1

New Years

Some people say New Years’ Resolutions, like record and rules, are meant to be broken. However, they do provide a good base to start, promote, or expand a plan.

 

So, here are my three resolutions for me, the chess player.

 

(1) To continue and expand my book writing. And if someone was offer an editorship, to take up as well.
(2) To continually expand this website in ideas, presentations, and above all, games and analyses.
(3) Since I haven’t played an OTB tournament for some time, to go ahead and do at least one and see some old friends.

 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 
There are free (or almost free) chess tutorials on YouTube. And there are many other chess videos available, mostly for the enjoyment of the game. Here’s one I think you’ll find to be at least amusing.

 
https://youtu.be/iyDVHcQGmbQ

 
Which provides some opportunity for study. Here’s the score of the game.

 

NM Gabriel-“Boston Mike”
Blitz Game
Los Angeles?, 2019?
1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 d6 (This move obviously protects the e5-pawn and there is nothing wrong with it, as long as Black gets …Nc6 to shore up the pawn, develop a piece, and keep from getting cramped. But Black never gets around to moving this knight until it is too late.) 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Be7 5.Be2 O-O 6.O-O b6?? (Since Black already has an open diagonal, why not use it for his bishop? 6…b6 is worse than useless as it creates a weakness and allows Black to be squeezed as he attempts to defend this weaknesses.) 7.d4 exd4 8.Nxd4 Bb7 9.Nf5 (White is trying to force other weaknesses before committing his pieces.) 9…Nbd7 10.Nd2 Re8 (It’s now time to take the bishop as the it is preparing to move out of the Knight’s grasp.) 11.Nxe7+ Rxe7 12.Bf3 Bxf3 13.Nxf3 (Black is very weak on the light squares on the queenside. This is where White will make his initial probes) 13…Re8 14.Nd4 a5 15.Nc6 +/- Qc8 16.Qf3 Ne5 17.Nxe5 dxe5 18.Rad1 Qe6 (The queen is greatly misplaced here. But what else can Black do?) 19.Qb7 Rec8 20.c4 h6 21.Qf3 Nd7 22.Rd5 f6 23.Rfd1 Nc5 24.e4 a4 25.b4 Na6 (Knights on the rim are grim. This Knight will soon be known as “Target”)

2020_01_02

26.a3 (White has locked up the queenside, but Black still has the same weaknesses on the white squares.) 26…c6 27.Rd7 (And now Black has an additional weakness on the seventh rank.) 28…Rf8 28.Qe2 Rac8 29.R1d6 Qe8 30.Qg4 (Mate is threatened. Black has so many weaknesses that it doesn’t matter; he is lost.) 30…Rf7 31.Rxf7 Qxf7 (31…Kxf7 32.Rd7+) 32.Qxc8+ Kh7 33.Qxa6 1-0

 

 

 

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

 
Here’s to the New Year!

Splashes of wine in two wineglasses isolated on white

 

 

Sibling Rivalry?

What do you do if you are an IM and you have to play a GM? One who is a sibling, and knows all about you?

 
For some ideas, please play over the game below.

 
IM Sofia Polgar-GM Judit Polgar (2696)
Match des Championnes Rapid
France, May 14 2013
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Nxc6

[By far, the most common move. Black, however, has the interesting. 7…Qc7!? which warrants further study.

Henryk Gaida (2195)-Kamal Hussain
corres.
ICCF WT/M/GT307, 1992
7…Qc7 8.Bxf7+!? Kxf7 9.Nd4 e6 10.O-O b5 11.a3 Bb7 12.f3 d5 13.exd5 Nxd5 14.Ne4 Be7 15.Kh1 h6 16.Re1 e5 17.Nf5 Rhe8 18.Nxe7 Rxe7 19.Ng3 Nf6 20.Nf5 Rd7 21.Qe2 e4 22.fxe4 Bxe4 23.Ne3 Rad8 24.a4 Qb7 25.axb5 axb5 26.Kg1 Kg8 27.Ng4 Bxg2 28.Bxh6 Nxg4 1/2-1/2.]

 
7…bxc6 8.e5 d5

 

[Now if you are an GM, then you won’t fall for any of the following;

Reinhold Soelter (2164)-E. Heuer
OWL Ch.
Borgholzhausen, Germany, 1968
8…Ng8 9.Qf3 d5 10.Nxd5 Bb7 11.Nc7+ Qxc7 12.Qxf7+ 1-0

Moutousis (2422)-Skoularikis (2224)
Athens, 1988
8…Nd7 9.e6 fxe6 10.Bxe6 Nc5 11.Bxc8 Rxc8 12.O-O g6 13.Be3 Nd7 14.Ne4 Qa5 15.Re1 Kd8 16.Bd2 Qd5 17.c4 Qxc4 18.Ba5+ Ke8 19.Nxd6mate 1-0]

 

8…d5 9.exf6 dxc4 10.Qxd8+ Kxd8 11.fxe7+ Bxe7

 

[And you would also be aware of this game and ideally would have found an improvement over Black’s strategy.

Lewis-Bekerman
South Africa, 1956
11.fxe7+ Bxe7 12.Bf4 Bf5 13.O-O+ Kc8? 14.Na4 Kb7 15.Rhe1 Be6?
2019_12_26_A
16.Rxe6! fxe6 17.Rd7+ Kc8 18.Nb6mate 1-0. But your IM sibling changes the move. So now you are on your own.]

 

12.Be3 Be6 13.O-O-O+ (This move is still a good one as it safeguards the white king, develops a piece, and coordinates White’s active pieces.) 13…Kc8 14.Na4 Rb8 15.Bc5 Bg5+ 16.Kb1 Rb5 17.Bd4 Be7 18.Rhe1 Rd8 19.g3 g5? 20.Nb6+ Kb7 21.Nxc4 +- Rbd5 22.c3 c5 23.Ne3 cxd4 24.Nxd5 Rxd5 25.Rxd4 Rf5 26.Rxe6 fxe6 27.Rd7+ Kc6 28.Rxe7 Kd5 29.Rd7+ Ke4 30.Rd2 Kf3 31.b4 e5 32.c4 e4 33.c5 Rf6 34.Rc2 Rf8 35.c6 h5 (Black’s moves are merely fluff. White is easily winning on the queenside.) 36.c7 Rc8 37.a4 h4 38.gxh4 gxh4 39.b5 h3 40.b6 Kg2 41.b7
2019_12_26_B
41…Rxc7 42.Rxc7 Kxh2 43.b8=Q (Winning in the same number of moves is 43.Rg7 e3 44.b8=Q+ Kh1 45.Qg3.) 43…Kg2 44.Rg7+ Kh1 45.Qg3 h2 46.Qg2mate 1-0

A Dragon Trap

Curious-Blue-Dragon-and-Drake-Studying-Giant-Book-of-Magic-Statue-19-in.

You may know it already. Or maybe you just heard about it.

 

But there is a trap in the Sicilian Dragon which catches many players each year. Including Masters.

 

And if you can defeat a Master within a few moves of the game; well, it’s probably something worth memorizing.

 

First some background information.

 

The Sicilian Dragon is a large complex of moves and variation that all feature a fianchettoed bishop on g7.

 

This trap is to be found in the Levenfish Variation and is defined as 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 (B71, if you are familiar with ECO).

The reasoning behind 6.f4 is to support a large center for White and to support a well-timed e5.

 

The first reason is easy to see. The second is not so easy as one has to visualize such a move (e5) and determine if it is a threat after each and every move.

 

In fact, many players do not suspect that .e5 may be coming so soon in the game and confidently, and yet innocently, play 6…Bg7?, which gives White a huge, almost winning, advantage.

 

The moves are 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7. And now White plays 7.e5, which attacks the knight with White having a strong center and better mobility for his pieces.

 

Even not reaching the main trap of the line, Black can lose very, very fast.

 

FM Perelshteyn-Shivaji (2230)
Pan Am Intercollegiate, 1998
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5
2019_12_19_A8…Nfd7 (8…Nd5 9.Bb5+ ; 8…Ng4 9.Bb5+ Nc6 10.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Nxd1 Bd7 12.Nd4 Bxe5 13.Bxd7+ Kxd7 14.Nf3) 9.e6 Ne5 10.exf7+ Kxf7 11.Be2 Nbc6 12.O-O+ Bf6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bf4 Kg7 15.Qc1 h6 16.Kh1 Qb6 17.Ne4 Be6 18.Be3 Qc7 19.Nc5 Bf7 20.Bf4 Qb6 21.Qe3 Nc4 22.Ne6+ Bxe6 23.Qxe6 Na5 24.Be5 Qb7 25.Ba6 1-0

 

Hugo Spangenberg-Sergio Medina
Buenos Aires, 1999
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 Nfd7 8.e6 Nf6 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.exf7 Kxf7 11.Qf3 e6 12.Be3 d5 13.O-O-O Rf8 14.h4 Nc6 15.h5 Ne7 16.g4 Kg8 17.hxg6 hxg6 18.g5 Ng4 19.Qxg4 Bxd4 20.Bxd4 1-0

 

L. Zsiltzova Lisenko (2284)-P. Berggren (1913)
World Blind Ch.
Goa, India, Oct.9 2006
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 Ng4 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.Qxg4 dxe5 10.fxe5 Bxe5 11.Bxd7+ Nxd7 12.Nf3 Bg7 13.O-O O-O 14.Kh1 Rc8 15.Qh4 Bxc3 16.bxc3 Rxc3 17.Bh6 Rxc2 (If 17…Re8, then 18.Qd4 still wins.) 18.Bxf8 Nxf8 19.Qa4 Qc7 20.Qxa7 e5 21.Qe3 Nd7 22.Rac1 e4 23.Ng5 Qc5 24.Qxc5 Rxc5 25.Rxc5 1-0

 

D. Tahiri (2099)-F. Niehaus (2204)
Lichtenberger Sommer
Berlin, Aug.24 2006
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 Nh5 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.e6 fxe6 10.Nxe6 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qc8 12.Bxd7+ Nxd7 13.O-O Nc5 14.Qd4 Nf6 15.Ng5 Qf5 16.Re1 Kd7

2019_12_19_B
17.Re5! 1-0

 

The prevalent thought among most Black players at this point to first remove the attacking pawn from e5 and then worry about the knight. This idea, while valid in many positions in chess, actually places Black in worse position, due to the now-opened lines White has his disposal.

 

Let’s review the moves once again.

 

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5

 

Black still has his knight under attack and he has to do something. Meanwhile, White has increased his attacking possibilities. White’s win is more certain.

 

V. Ortiz-J. Romagosa
corres., 1946
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Bg4 9.Bb5+ Nbd7 10.Qd3 Ng8 11.Qe4 Bxe5 12.Qxe5 Nf6 13.Bh6 Qb8 14.Qxb8+ Rxb8 15.Bg7 Rg8 16.Bxf6 exf6 17.O-O 1-0

 

Bubenyik-Mayer
corres., 1967
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng8 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.e6 Bxb5 11.Ncxb5 Nf6 12.Qf3 Qb6 13.exf7+ Kxf7 14.Qb3+ e6 15.Nc7 Qxc7 16.Qxe6+ Kf8 17.Qxf6+ Bxf6 18.Ne6+ Kf7 19.Nxc7 1-0

 

D. Berezjuk-P. Carlsson
European Youth Ch.
Rimavska Sobota, 1992
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nh5 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.e6 Bxb5 11.exf7+ Kxf7 12.Qf3+ Nf6 13.Ndxb5 Qd7 14.O-O Qc6 15.Qg3 Nd7 16.Be3 Rhf8 17.Nxa7 Qc4 18.Rad1 Kg8 19.Qf4 Qxf4 20.Rxf4 Bh6 21.Rf3 Bxe3+ 22.Rxe3 Rxa7 23.Rxe7 Rf7 24.Re3 Ra5 25.a3 Rf5 26.Ne4 Nxe4 27.Rxe4 Rf2 28.Rc4 Nf8 29.h3 Ne6 30.b3 Re2 31.Rf1 Rd7 32.Rf2 Rd1+ 33.Rf1 Rdd2 34.Rg4 Rxc2 35.Rg3 Nd4 36.Rf6 Nf5 37.Rxf5 Rxg2+ 38.Rxg2 Rxg2+ 39.Kxg2 gxf5 40.Kf3 Kf7 41.Kf4 Ke6 42.h4 Kf6 43.h5 Ke6 44.h6 Kf6 45.a4 Kg6 46.a5 Kxh6 47.b4 Kg6 48.b5 h5 49.a6 1-0

 

Mueller-Hoffmann
St. Ingbert Open
Germany, 1995
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Bg4 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ 1-0

 

FM Perelshteyn-Shivaji (2230)
Pan Am Intercollegiate, 1998
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5

2019_12_19_C

8…Nfd7 (8…Nd5 9.Bb5+ ; 8…Ng4 9.Bb5+ Nc6 10.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Nxd1 Bd7 12.Nd4 Bxe5 13.Bxd7+ Kxd7 14.Nf3) 9.e6 Ne5 10.exf7+ Kxf7 11.Be2 Nbc6 12.O-O+ Bf6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bf4 Kg7 15.Qc1 h6 16.Kh1 Qb6 17.Ne4 Be6 18.Be3 Qc7 19.Nc5 Bf7 20.Bf4 Qb6 21.Qe3 Nc4 22.Ne6+ Bxe6 23.Qxe6 Na5 24.Be5 Qb7 25.Ba6 1-0

 

Incredibly, White’s attacking chances increase even more if Black’s knight was to move to g4 or d5.

 

8.fxe5 Ng4

 

Aguilera-Lopez
Madrid, 1946
[This game has been repeated many times. Memorize it!]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4? (>Nfd7)

2019_12_19_D

9.Bb5+ Kf8? (After 9….Bd7, White plays 10.Qxg4 as Black’s bishop is pinned. Nevertheless, this move is the lesser evil.) 10.Ne6+ 1-0

 

Pilnik-Kashdan, 1948
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+ Nc6 10.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Nxd1 a6 12.Ba4 Bd7 13.h3 Nh6 14.Nxe7 Bxa4 15.Nd5 Rd8 16.c4 Nf5 17.Bg5 Rd7 18.N1c3 Bc6 19.O-O-O h5 20.Nc7+ Kf8 21.Rxd7 Bxd7 22.Rd1 Bxe5 23.Rxd7 h4 24.Ne4 Nd4 25.Rd8+ Kg7 26.Ne8+ Kh7 27.N4f6+ Bxf6 28.Nxf6+ 1-0

 

Glenn Cornwell-Jerry Gray
Southern Amateur
Tennessee, 1972
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4? (8…Nd7 9.e6!) 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ fxe6 11.Qxd8+ Kf7 12.O-O+ Nf6 13.Rxf6+ Bxf6 14.Qd4 Bg7 15.Bg5 Nc6 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Rf1+ Kg8 18.Qc5 1-0

 

Crotto-Hindle
Haifa Ol., 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 10.Qxg4 Bxb5 11.Ndxb5 Bxe5 12.Bh6 a6 13.Rd1 Qb6 14.Qc8+ 1-0

 

B.Probola-A.Plicner
Polish U16 Ch.
Zakopane, Jan. 21 2001
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+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ fxe6 11.Qxd8+ Kf7 12.O-O+ Bf6 13.Rxf6+ Nxf6 14.Qxh8 a6 15.exf6 exf6 16.Bh6 1-0

8.fxe5 Nd5

 

Watts-Pierce
corres., 1946
1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Rf1 Bxe5 11.Qf3 Nf6 12.Bh6+ Kg8 13.Nde2 Nc6 14.Rd1 Bxc3+ 15.Qxc3 Bd7 16.Rxf6 exf6 17.Rxd7 Qa5 18.Bxc6 Qxc3+ 19.Nxc3 bxc6 20.Ne4 1-0

 

R. Nezhmetdinov-P. Ermolin
Kazan Ch., 1946
1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.O-O Bxe5 (10…e6 11.Qf3) 11.Bh6+ Kg8 (11…Bg7 12.Bxg7+ Kxg7 13.Nxd5 Qxd5 14.Nf5+) 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.Nf5 Qc5+ 14.Be3 Qc7 15.Nh6+ 1-0

 

Crisovan-Rey
Switzerland, 1951
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.O-O Bxe5 11.Bh6+ Kg8 12.Nxd5! Qxd5
2019_12_19_E

13.Nf5! Qc5+ (Not 13…Qxb5 due to 14.Nxe7#. The text move also loses. But Black is lost as White also threatens Qd8+.) 14.Be3 Qc7 15.Nh6+ Kg7 16.Rxf7mate 1-0

 

N.N.-Karlin
Pan Am Intercollegiate, 1998
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.O-O e6 11.Qf3 Qe7 12.Bg5 1-0

 

Nicolaisen-Skovgaard
Politiken Cup
Copenhagen, 2001
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Nxd5 Qxd5 11.O-O Bxe5 12.Bh6+ Kg8 13.Nf5 Qc5+ 14.Be3 Qc7 15.Nh6+ Kg7 16.Rxf7mate 1-0

 

How does Black get out of such mess if White was to play the Levenfish?

 

8.f4 Nc6!? is useful to Black as the Nc6 protects the Queen on d8.

 

Evans-Reshevsky
New Orleans, 1955
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bg4 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Bg7 10.Be3 O-O 11.Rd1 Qa5 12.a3 Rac8 13.Be2 Nd7 14.e5 Nb6 15.O-O dxe5 16.Nb5 Nd4 17.Bxd4 exd4 18.Qxb7 Nc4 19.Bxc4 Rxc4 20.Nxa7 d3 21.Kh2 dxc2 22.Rc1 Qd2 23.Nc6 Kh8 24.Qb5 Re4 25.Nb4 Rxf4 26.Qg5 Rf2 27.Qxd2 Rxd2 28.Rxc2 Rxc2 29.Nxc2 Bxb2 30.Rf3 Rc8 31.Ne3 Kg7 32.Nd5 e6 33.Nb4 e5 34.Rb3 Bd4 35.Nd5 Rc5 36.Nb6 e4 37.Kg3 f5 38.a4 Ra5 39.Kf4 Kf6 0-1

 

Djuric-Mencinger
Ljubljana, 1981
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Bd3 a6 9.O-O O-O 10.Kh1 b5 11.a4 b4 12.Nd5 Bb7 13.f5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Ne5 15.Be4 Nd7 16.Ng5 Qa5 17.Bd2 h6 18.fxg6 hxg5 19.c4 fxg6 20.Qg4 Nf6
2019_12_19_F
21.Qe6+ Kh7 22.Qh3+ Kg8 23.Qe6+ Kh7 24.Qh3+ Kg8 25.Qe6+ 1/2-1/2

Perhaps even better for White is 6.Be3, a favorite of Tal.

 

James Drasher-Brian Polka
US Amateur Team, East
Parsippany NJ, Feb. 13 1999
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nc6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Be2 O-O 9.Qd2 Ng4 10.Bg1 Bd7 11.h3 Nf6 12.O-O-O Rc8 13.g4 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Bc6 15.Bd3 Qc7 16.g5 Nd7 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.h4 Nc5 19.h5 f5 20.hxg6 hxg6 21.Rh6 Rg8 22.Bc4 Nxe4 23.Rh7+! Kf8 (23…Kxh7 24.Qh2+ Kg7 25.Qh6#) 24.Qd4! Nxc3

2019_12_19_G

25.Qg7+! 1-0

 

But Black can improve by NOT moving his Bishop so early. He can play after 6.f4, 6…Nbd7. This prevents any checks and the knight lays siege on e5, which also prevents .e5. The variation is known as Flohr Variation.

 

U. Andersson- Raimundo Garcia
Skopje-Krusevo-Ohrid, 1972
1.Nf3 g6 2.e4 c5 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.f4 Nbd7 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.Bd3 Bg7 9.O-O O-O 10.Qe1 a6 11.Kh1 b5 12.e5 dxe5 13.fxe5 Ng4 14.e6 Nc5 15.Qh4 Nxd3 16.cxd3 Bxe6 17.Ng5 h5 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Bg5 Rxf1+ 20.Rxf1 Rf8 21.Rxf8+ Kxf8 22.Ne4 Bxb2 23.Bd2 Bf6 24.Qh3 Qe5 25.Qg3 Qxg3 26.Nxg3 Nf2+ 27.Kg1 Nxd3 28.Kf1 Kf7 29.Ne4 e5 30.g3 Nb2 31.Nc5 Nc4 32.Bc1 a5 33.Ke2 Nd6 34.Bd2 b4 35.Kd3 e4 36.Nxe4 Nxe4 37.Kxe4 Ke6 0-1

 

F. Vreugdenhil (2150)-A. Summerscale (2423)
Coulsden International
England, Sept. 5 1999
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nbd7 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.Be3 Bg7 9.Bd3 a6 10.h3 b5 11.a3 Bb7 12.O-O Nc5 13.Bd4 O-O 14.g4 e5 15.fxe5 Nfxe4 16.Nxe4 Nxe4 17.Qe1 dxe5 18.Bxe4 Bxe4 19.Qxe4 exd4 20.Nxd4 Qg3+ 21.Kh1 Qxh3+ 22.Kg1 Rae8 0-1

 

And Black, now playing this newer variation, can survive. At in least the opening.

Three Pawns for a Piece

This blog was going to feature the Dragon. But one of my correspondence games ended today (12-11-2019), and it inspired the following article.

Enjoy!

 

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

 

Most players know a piece is equal to three pawns. Materially, this is even. The advantage, however, is to the side that is attacking.

 

In a line of the Najdorf Sozin, White sacrifices a piece for those three pawns. Despite some technical problems to solve, he usually does well.

 

The sacrifice begins with the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7?! 10.Bxe6! fxe6 11.Nxe6.

 

This is White doing well.

 
Stark-Geisel
corres.
E. Germany, 1989
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qc8 12.Nxg7+ Kd8 13.Nf5 Rf8 14.Bh6 Rf7 15.Qg3 Qe6 16.Rad1 Nh5 17.Qe3 Nd7 18.Bg5 Nhf6 19.Qg3 Ne5 20.f4 Ned7 21.Nxe7 1-0

 

Wallner (2075)-Pfaffel (1970)
Graz Ch., 1994
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qd7? [This is an error. Better is the more common 11.Qc8. You’ll find this same error (11…Qd7?) in some of the following games.] 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Nc6 14.Nd5 Ne5 15.Qg3 Bxd5 16.Qg7+ Ke8 17.Qxh8+ Bg8 18.Qg7 Nxe4 19.Qxg8+ 1-0

 

Guerrero Rodriguez (2130)-Frias Careaga (1399)
Mexico Ch.
Hermosillo, Mar. 29 2002
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.Qf3 Bb7 9.O-O Be7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qc8 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Nbd7

[13…b4?! doesn’t offer Black too much.

13…b4 14.Bg5 Rg8 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.Nxd6 Qxd6 17.Rad1 Bd4 18.Ne2 Nc6 19.Nxd4 Nxd4 20.Qe3 Kc8 21.Rxd4 Qg6 22.g3 a5 23.c3 Ra6 24.cxb4 axb4 25.Rc1+ Kb8 26.Rxb4 h5 27.a4 Re6 28.Qf4+ Ka8 29.Rc5 Rd8 30.Rxb7 Rd1+ 31.Kg2 Qxe4+ 32.Qxe4 Rxe4 33.Rh7 1-0 (N. Aliavdin (2377)-I. Lada (2130), Karkonosze Open A, Karpacz, Poland, Feb. 22 2011.]

14.Bg5 Qf8 15.Bh6 Qd8 16.Nd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 Nf8 18.Bg7 Ng6 19.Bxh8 Qxh8 20.Rae1 Ra7 21.Qe3 Rb7? (22.Qe5+ K~ 23.Qc8+ ~ 24.Qxb7) 1-0

 

Langerak-Smits
Hengelo U10 Open, Aug. 4 2003
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 b5 7.Bb3 e6 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qd7 12.Nxg7+ Kd8 13.Nf5 Rf8 14.Bg5 Qe8 15.Rad1 Kc7 16.Qd3 Qd7 17.e5 dxe5 18.Qxd7+ Nfxd7 19.Nxe7 Nc6 20.Ncd5+ Kb8 21.Nxc6+ Bxc6 22.Nb4 1-0

 

Atousa Pourkashiyan (2241)-Irine Kharisma Sukandar (2303)
Rapid Game
Women’s WMSG
Beijing, Oct. 6 2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Be7 8.O-O b5 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qd7 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Qe6 14.Qh3 Bf8 15.Bh6 Rg8 16.Bxf8 Kxf8 17.Qh6+ Kf7 18.Qf4 Rd8 19.Rad1 Bc6 20.Nxd6+ Kg6 21.Rd3 h6 22.Nf5!

2019_12_12_A

1-0 (White’s threat is aimed at h6. If 22…Rh8, then 23.Qg3+ does the trick.)

 

A. Danin (2570)-Gera Richter (2101)
Schloss Open
Werther, Germany, Mar. 24 2013
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qc8 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Nbd7 14.Qg3 Bf8 15.Nxd6+ Bxd6 16.Qxd6 Nxe4 17.Nxe4 Bxe4 18.Bg5 Qc6 19.Qe7+ Kg6 20.Rad1 Bd5 21.Bc1 Nf6 22.Rd3 Ne4 23.f4 Rhf8 24.g4 Bf7 25.Rh3 Kg7 26.Be3 Rae8 27.Qh4 h5 28.f5 Rg8 29.g5 Kf8 30.g6 Re5 31.Qf4 Qd5 32.Rxh5 Ke8 33.Rh4 Kd7 34.Rh7 Re7 35.Qf3 Ke8 36.Kh1 Nf2+ 37.Rxf2 Qxf3+ 38.Rxf3 Bd5 39.Rxe7+ Kxe7 40.Kg2 Kf6 41.Bd4+ Kg5 42.Kf2 Bxf3 43.Kxf3 Kxf5 44.g7 Re8 45.c3 Kg6 46.Kf4 Kh7 47.Be5 Rd8 48.Ke3 Rd5 49.Ke4 Rd2 50.c4 bxc4 51.Bd4 a5 52.a4 Rd1 53.Kd5 c3 54.bxc3 Rd2 55.c4 Rxh2 56.c5 Rh5+ 57.Kc4 Rh1 58.c6 Rh6 59.Kb5 Kg8 60.c7 1-0

 
Now Black does not have to take the offered bishop. He can simply decline the material. But he is still a pawn down and White has a budding attack.

 

This is White doing very well.

 

Beukenhorst-Roellig
Germany U20 Ch.
Hamburg, 1993
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 Qb6? (Black is lost. White can just play 11.Be3 and gain a tempo in every line.) 11.Be3 fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qc6 13.Nd5 Nbd7 14.Nxg7+ Kf7 15.Nf5 Bf8 16.Bd4 Ne5 17.Nh6+ 1-0

 

Escalante-“kennethvenken”
Najdorf Thematic
http://www.chess.com, 2019
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 Qb6? 11.Be3 fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qc6 13.Nxg7+ Kf8 14.Nf5 Nbd7 15.Nd5 Bd8 16.Bh6+ Kf7 17.Rfe1 Ne5 18.Qb3 [The chess.com computer suggests 18.Qa3! (hitting the d6 pawn) Nxd5 19.Nxd6+ Qxd6 20.Qxd6 Bc7 21.Qa3 Nf6 22.Qb3+ Kg6. But there is nothing wrong with the text move which is more direct.]

2019_12_12_B

18…Nxd5

[Not 18…Qc5? due to 19.Nxf6+ Kxf6 20.Bg7+ Kg5 (20…Kg6? 21.Qe6+ Bf6 22.Qxf6+ Kh5 23.Qh6+ Kg4 24.h3#) 21.Qe6 and Black can’t fight off mate; 21…Qxf2+ 22.Kxf2 Ng4+ 23.Kg3 Bf6 24.Nxd6 Be5+ 25.Bxe5 Nxe5 26.h4+ Kh5 27.Qxe5+ Kg6 28.Qg5#, 21…Nf3+ 22.gxf3 Qxf2+ 23.Kxf2 Bb6+ 24.Ke2 h6 25.Bxh6+ Rxh6 26.Qxh6#, 21…Kf4 22.Bh6+ Bg5 23.Bxg5+ Kxg5 24.Qh6+ Kg4 25.h3#, 21…Bf6 22.Qxf6+ Kh5 23.Qh6+ Kg4 24.h3#, 21…Kg5 22.Qh6+ Kg4 23.h3#, 21…Kh5 22.Qh6+ Kg4 23.h3#.]

19.Rad1 Qd7 20.Rxd5 Bxd5 21.Qxd5+ 1-0 [Black resigned. He’s facing lines such as 21…Qe6 22.Nxd6+ (22…Kf6 23.Bg7+! +-) 22…Ke7 23.Nf5+ Kf6 24.Qxa8 Rg8 25.Bg7+ Rxg7 26.Nxg7 Kxg7 27.Qb7+ Kf6 28.Qxh7 Bb6 29.Qh6+ Ng6 30.e5+ Kf5 31.Qh5+.]

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Let’s first start off with the answers from last week’s simple (or maybe not-so simple) problems.

 

 

 

(1)  This one is very easy. White can only make legal moves. So, he must play 1.d4. And Black can only respond with 1… b5. The problem continues with 2.d5 b4 3.axb4 a3 4.c5, and mate cannot be avoided.

 

 

(2) Cook’s problem also can be solved with just making the only legal moves available. 1.c4 leads directly to mate. Incidentally, if it is Black to move in this position, he also mates with legal moves, starting with 1…f5.

 

 

(3) Black threatens promoting and winning with his two pawns on the seventh rank. White must therefore check to have any chances at winning.

 

 

White must play 1.bxc3+. If Black king was to step on a white square, White would immediately have winning endgame after Qb3+. Black then has to stay on the dark squares and plays 1….Kc5. And White continues with 2.cxd4+. If you can see the pattern forming you figure out the rest.

 

 

(4) Since it is White to play and win Black must have made the last legal move. But which one would let White win?

 

 

To save a little time, I’ll just mention that Black’s last move was 1…f7-f5. Now you can figure it out.

 

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

 

 

There are a number of chess tournaments being held this weekend. Perhaps the best well-known is the American Open, being held in Costa Mesa, California. See website for details:

 

http://www.americanopen.org/

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

One thing I enjoy about chess is the endless possibilities for exploration. Here is a recent blitz game, and maybe I’m wrong, but it rapidly goes into new territory.

 

 

Escalante-“GGRap”
Blitz Game
Chess.com, Nov. 23 2019
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Be2?!

 

[Theory recommends Nxc6 on this move or the next. Here is a game showing at least one possibility of the Nxc6.

 

Sadek (2183)-El Ghazali (2362)
Golden Cleopatra
Cairo, Apr. 7 2002
1.c4 c5 2.e4 Nc6 3.Ne2 Nf6 4.Nbc3 e6 5.d4 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Bb4 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.Bd3 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qa5 10.O-O O-O 11.Be3 Ba6 12.c5 Bxd3 13.Qxd3 Ng4 14.Rfd1 Rab8 15.h3 Nxe3 16.Qxe3 Rb5 17.Rxd7 Rxc5 18.Rb1 a6 19.Rbb7 Rxc3 20.Qf4 e5 21.Rxf7 Rc1+ 22.Kh2 1-0.

 

But I didn’t want to play it. Blitz games can help you learn more about your pet opening in two ways. One, it is a good way to try out new ideas, and two, it is a way to find out why a suggested move is usually better than one’s own idea. Here’s a game to try out a different, but not necessarily better, move.]

 

6…Nge7 7.O-O O-O 8.Be3 Bxc3 (8…d5 is better for Black as it opens lines for a possible attack.) 9.bxc3 a6 10.a4?! (OK, this move doesn’t do much other than gain space for White on the queenside. Perhaps better is still Nxc6!?) 10…Qc7 11.Qd2 d6 12.f4 f6?! (Black should keep developing with 12…Bd7. He soon falls behind in development and piece play.) 13.Rab1 e5 14.fxe5 dxe5 15.Bc4+! Kh8 16.Ne6 Bxe6 17.Bxe6 Rad8 18.Qf2 Qd6 19.Ba2 Qa3? (Black gets greedy and being behind in development category is not good for his game.) 20.Bb3!

 

2019_11_28
20…Rd7?? (Black should admit his mistake and move his queen back to d6, with White having an advantage, but not necessarily a winning one.)  21.Bc5!! (Now White has winning advantage as Black’s queen is trapped.) 21…Rfd8 22.Bxa3 Rd2 23.Qe3 Ng6 24.Bd5 Nf4 25.Qxd2 Nxd5 26.exd5 Na5 27.Qd3 1-0

 

An Introduction to Chess Poetry

Book_Chess_Poems

 

Many poems and the like have been written about chess. They range from the simple to the epic, from the silly to the serious, and can include the profound and philosophical.

 

We’ll start with the simple, and sometimes, silly limerick.

 

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

 

 

The first two are from NM Bill Wall.

 

(1)

There once was a player from Maine,
Who played chess on a fast train.
He took a move back
And was thrown off the track,
And he never played chess again.

 

(2)

Postal chess is still played today
And no reason why I shouldn’t play.
It is nice and slow,
And I can use my ECO,
It’s the postage I can’t afford to pay.

 

With the Internet now, you don’t have to pay postage.

 

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

 
Here’s an old classic, first appearing in Chess Potpourri by Alfred C. Klahre (Middletown, 1931). It’s titled, “The Solver’s Plight

 

There was a man from Vancouver
Who tried to solve a two-mover;
But the boob, he said, ‘“Gee”,
I can’t find the “Kee”,
No matter HOW I manouvre.’

 
Like most people, I also prefer original material, always searching for something new.

 
A short poem that perfectly illustrates the frustrations of that search.
Some Editors – pretend to edit –
Use scissors and paste and give no credit.

(Columbia Chess Chronicle, 20 August 1887, page 66.)

 

 
Another short one. This one is slightly whimsical and yet, very accurate.

 

Chess is such a noble game,
How it does the soul inflame!
Ever brilliant, ever new,
Surely chess has not its due;
Sad to say, ’tis known to few!

 

Poem written by W. Harris and printed in the book, “A Complete Guide to the Game of Chess”(1882).

 

By The Way (or BTW in Internet lingo), the poem is also an acrostic. We’ll let you figure it out! =)

 

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

 
For another poem that is simply a delight, here is one by Alan Hall and printed in CHESS POST, Volume 33, No. 3 (or the June 1995 issue).

 

The Game of Chess

 

A poem about chess? Well, there’s an idea.
Hopefully this one will be one to hear.
What of the pieces? I’ll take them in turn.
And try to tell how each it’s living does earn.
The pawns can move straight or diagonally
Depending on whether it’s taking, you see.
Next comes the bishop – it moves across,
Of diagonals it is the boss.
Then there is the knight – some call it a horse
From its siblings it pursues a quite different
course.
One square diagonally, then one straight.
It’s so crafty, you start to hate
It when you’ve lost to its smothered mate.
Stronger still than all these is rook.
If you’ve got two of them, you’re in luck.
The you may even beat the might queen.
A rook and bishop combined, she reigns
supreme.

 
Last, but not least, is the humble king.
When you’ve mated him, you can sing.
Well, that’s all the pieces that make this game
of chess.

 

The playing of which can bring happiness.

 

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

 

We’ll end here with an appropriate form of poetry; the epitaph.

 

Surprisingly, chess epitaphs are more common than you might believe. Here is the best on I could find. It was written by Lord Dunsany (who was a chess player among many other inspired pursuits) and it was for Capablanca, first published in the June 1942 issue of CHESS (pg. 131).

 

Now rests a mind as keen,
A vision bright and clear
As any that has been
And who is it lies here?
One that, erstwhile, no less
Than Hindenburg could plan,
But played his game of chess
And did no harm to man.

 

If we could only aspire to be so talented and noble.

 

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

 
Here’s two games related to the poems, or rather the poets that created them.

 

Jim Murray (1876)-Alan Hall (1746)
Isle of Man Open – Major
Chess.com, Sept. 26 2017
[A52]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5!? (The Budapest is a surprising response for Mr. Hall, who regularly employs more solid and safe openings such as the London System. Nevertheless, he makes a fair attempt at winning the game.) 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.e3 Ngxe5 6.Be2 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ 8.Qxd2 d6?! (Black usually plays either 8…O-O or 8…Nxf3+. The text move allows White to simplify with 9.Nxe5!? dxe5 10.Qxd8+.) 9.O-O Be6 10.b3 O-O 11.Nc3 h6 12.Rad1 Qd7 13.Nxe5 Nxe5 14.f4 Ng6 15.e4 f5 16.e5 Rfd8 17.Qe3 Qe7 18.Bh5 Nh8 19.Nd5 Bxd5 20.cxd5 g6 21.Be2 a6 22.g4 Rf8 23.Kh1 Rae8 24.e6 c6 25.gxf5 Rxf5 26.dxc6 bxc6 27.Bg4 Rf6 28.Qd3 Ref8 29.Qxd6 Qxd6 30.Rxd6 g5 31.Rd7 Ng6 32.f5 Ne5 33.Rd4 Nxg4 34.Rxg4 Rxf5 35.Rxf5 Rxf5 36.Rc4 c5 37.Ra4 Kf8 38.Rxa6 Ke7 39.Kg2 h5 40.a4 Re5 41.Kf2 g4 42.Rc6 h4 43.a5 Rf5+ 44.Kg2 Rd5 45.a6 Rd2+ 46.Kg1 Rd1+ 47.Kf2 Rd2+ 48.Kg1 1/2-1/2

 

Capablanca-Lord Dunsany
Simul
Selfridges, London, Apr. 12 1929
[C70]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 b5 5.Bb3 Nf6 6.Ng5 d5 7.exd5

[After 7…Nxd5 8.Nxf7 Kxf7 9.Qf3+ Ke6 10.Nc3 Nce7 11.d4, we reach a position very similar to the Fried Liver Attack. Capablanca decided not to play into it. Apparently he remembered this game:

Capablanca-Pagliano & Elias
Consultation Game
Buenos Aires, June 1911
7.exd5 Nxd5 8.Nxf7 Kxf7 9.Qf3+ Ke6 10.Nc3 Nce7 11.d4 Bb7 12.Bg5 c6 13.O-O-O h6 14.Ne4 Qc7 15.Nc5+ Kd6 16.dxe5+ Kxc5 17.Be3+ Kb4 18.Bd2+ Kc5 19.Bxd5 Nxd5 20.Be3+ Kb4 21.Bd2+ Kc5 22.Be3+ Kb4 23.a3+ Ka4 24.b3+ Kxa3 25.Bd2 Bb4 26.c3 Qxe5 27.Kc2 Bxc3 28.Bxc3 Nxc3 29.Rhe1 Qc5 30.Qxc3 Qxf2+ 31.Rd2 Qf5+ 32.Kc1 Qf6 33.Qa5+ Kxb3 34.Re3+ Kc4 35.Rc2+ Kd5 36.Qd2+ Qd4 37.Rd3 c5 38.Rxd4+ cxd4 39.Qd3 Rab8 40.Qf5+ Kd6 41.Qc5+ Ke6 42.Re2+ Kf7 43.Re7+ Kg8 44.Rxb7 Rxb7 45.Qd5+ Kh7 46.Qe4+ Kg8 47.Qxb7 Kh7 48.Qe4+ Kg8 49.Qxd4 Kh7 50.Qe4+ Kg8 51.Qa8+ 1-0.]

7…Ne7 8.d6 Ned5 9.dxc7 Qxc7 10.Nc3 Bb7 11.a4 b4 12.Nxd5 Bxd5 13.Bxd5 Nxd5 14.O-O Be7 15.d4 O-O 16.dxe5 Qxe5 17.Re1 Qd6 18.Ne4 Qc6 19.Bg5 Bxg5 20.Nxg5 Rac8 21.Qf3 Nf6 22.Re2 h6 23.Qxc6 Rxc6 24.Nf3 a5 25.Nd4 Rc5 26.Nb3 Rd5 27.Rae1 Nd7 28.Re4 Nb6 29.Re5 Rfd8 30.Rxd5 Rxd5 31.Kf1 Nxa4 1/2-1/2

 

Lesser GM?

Like most chess players I am a fan of some of the greats; namely Fischer, Alekhine, and Tal.

 

But I also enjoy the lesser known greats, those IMs and GMs who occasionally can take an original route in the opening, explore what is there to find, and promote original theory.

 

One of those is the Finnish GM, Jouni Yrjola. He won his country’s championship in 1985 and 1988. And his flair for unexplored openings didn’t prevent him from earning the IM title (1984) or the GM title (1990).

 

More importantly, at least to this blogger, is that today is his birthday.

 

Happy Birthday Jouni!

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

 

Here is Yrjola, playing against a former World Champion.

 

IM Jouni Yrjola-GM Mikhail Tal
TV exhibition game, 1986
[D44]
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 dxc4 6.e4 b5 7.e5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5 hxg5 10.Bxg5 Nbd7 11.g3!? (Unusual. More common is 11.exf6. Perhaps Yrjola didn’t want to get into a tactical tussle with a Tal.) 11…Rg8 12.h4 Rxg5 13.hxg5 Nd5 14.Qh5 Nxc3 15.bxc3 Qa5 16.Rc1 Ba3 17.Rc2 Qa4 18.Kd1! (Effectively closing off the White’s queenside. Now Black must worry about his kingside.)
2019_10_24_A
18…Nf8 19.Qf3 Bb7 20.Rh8 Be7 (Black wants to castle queenside but first he needs to shore up his defenses on the kingside.) 21.Bh3 Bxg5? 22.Bxe6! 1-0

 

 

IM Julian Hodgson (2480)-IM Jouni Yrjola (2425)
Tallinn, Estonia, Apr. 8 1987
[B21]
1.e4 c5 2.f4!? (The Grand Prix Attack, a very popular way of meeting the Sicilian around this time.) 3…d5 (A strong defence, and one that almost put the Grand Prix out of business.) 3.exd5 Nf6 4.Bb5+ Nbd7 5.c4 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.cxb5 Nxd5 8.Nf3 g6!? (The fianchetto on Black’s kingside usually leads to unbalanced games, perfect for both Hodgson and Yrjola.) 9.Nc3 N5b6

 

[This game, heading rapidly into more craziness, now forms theory.

 

Vladislav Zernyshkin (2319)-Yuri Yakovich (2539), Lev Polugaevsky Memorial, Samara, Russia, July 9 2011, continued with 10.d4 Bg7 11.Bc2 cxd4 12.Nxd4 O-O 13.O-O axb5 14.Ndxb5 Ba6 15.Bd3 Nc5 16.Be2 Nba4 17.Qc2 Nxc3 18.Nxc3 Qd4+ 19.Kh1 Nd3 20.h3 Rfd8 21.a4 Bc4 22.Ra3 Nb4 23.Qb1 Bd3 24.Bxd3 Nxd3 25.Qc2 e6 26.Nb5 Qe4 27.Nc3 Qc4 28.Qe2 Qb4 29.Na2 Nxc1 30.Nxc1 Bxb2 31.Rb3 Qd2 32.Rxb2 Qxe2 33.Nxe2 Rxa4 34.Rc1 Rd7 35.Kg1 e5 36.fxe5 Re4 37.Rc5 Re7 38.Kf2 R4xe5 39.Rxe5 Rxe5 40.Ng1 h5 41.Nf3 Re7 42.Ng1 Kg7 43.Kf3 Ra7 44.Rb3 Ra5 45.h4 Ra4 46.g3 Ra7 47.Nh3 Re7 48.Ng5 Kg8 49.Re3 Ra7 50.Ke4 Kg7 51.Kd5 Kf6 52.Kc6 Kf5 53.Kd6 f6 54.Ne4 g5 1/2-1/2]

 

10.d4 Nxa4 11.Qxa4 Bg7 12.Be3 Nb6 13.Qa5 O-O 14.O-O-O axb5 15.Qxb5 Ba6 16.Qxc5 Nc4! (Black has penetrated White’s position and his knight will prove to be impossible to dislodge.) 17.Rhe1 Qb8! (Forcing the next move.) 18.b3 Rc8! (White’s queen is trapped. Hodgson grabs the best deal he can make for his queen …) 19.Qxc8+ Bxc8 (…and then promptly resigns.) 0-1

 

 

GM Jonny Hector (2535)-GM Jouni Yrjola (2460)
Nordic Ch.
Ostersund, Sweden, Aug. 1992
[B76]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Bc4 O-O 9.Qe2 Bd7 10.O-O-O Na5 11.Bd3 (11.Bb3!?) 11…Rc8 12.h4 Rxc3 13.bxc3 Qc7 14.Qe1 d5 15.e5 Qxe5 16.Nb3 Nc6 17.g4 h5 18.g5 Ne8 19.Bd4 Nxd4 20.cxd4 Qd6 (Black could, of course, play 20…Qxd1 21.Rhd1, but that kills his play and he has to respond with 22…e6, which further limits his play. On 20…Qd6, his queen can at least travel to a3 and say “Boo!” Forgive this jest- it’s close to Halloween.) 21.Qc3 b6 22.Rhe1 Nc7 23.Rxe7 Ne6 24.Rxe6 Bxe6 25.Qd2 Rc8 26.c3 a5 27.Kb1 a4 28.Nc1 b5 29.Ne2 Rb8 30.Qf4 Bf8 31.Qxd6 Bxd6 32.Kc2 b4 33.cxb4 Rxb4 34.Rb1 Rxb1 35.Kxb1 Kg7 36.Kc2 f6 37.gxf6+ Kxf6 38.Kd2 g5 39.hxg5+ Kxg5 40.Ke3 h4 41.Nc3 h3 42.Bf1 Kh4 43.Kf2 a3 44.Nb5 Be7 45.Bd3 Bf6 46.Be2 Bd7 47.f4 Bg7 48.Bd3 Kg4 49.f5 Kf4 50.Kg1 Kg3 51.Kh1 Be8 52.Be2 Bd7 53.Bd3 Bf6 54.Nc3 Bc6 55.Ne2+ Kf3 56.Kh2 Ke3 57.Ba6 Bd7 58.Kxh3 Bxf5+ 59.Kg2 Be4+ 60.Kf1 Bxd4 61.Nxd4 Kxd4
2019_10_24_B
(Here, Black’s king is more centralized than White’s and he has an extra pawn. But it’s a draw as White can block the queening of the center pawn and Black’s other pawn is on a rook’s file, Right? Wrong!) 62.Ke1 Bb1 63.Kd2 Bxa2 64.Kc2 Kc5 65.Bb7 d4 66.Be4 Kb4 67.Bf5 Bb3+ 68.Kb1 Kc3 69.Ka1 Bc2 70.Bg4 d3 71.Ka2 Kb4
2019_10_24_C
0-1 [Incredibly Black wins after 72.Bh5 Bb3+ 73.Ka1 d2 74.Kb1 Kc3 75.Ka1 Kd3 76.Bf3 Ke3 77.Bg4 Kf2 78.Kb1 Ke1 79.Bh5 Bc4 80.Kc2 (with the idea of Be2) -+ , or 72.Ka1 d2 73.Ka2 Bb3+ 74.Kb1 Kc3 75.Be2 Kd4 76.Bf3 Ke3 77.Bh5 Kf2 78.Bg4 Ke1 79.Bh5 Bc4 80.Kc2 -+, or 72.Bf3 Bb3+ 73.Kb1 d2 74.Bh5 Kc3 75.Ka1 Kd3 76.Bf3 Ke3 77.Bg4 Kf2 78.Kb1 Ke1 79.Bh5 Bc4 80.Kc2 -+. Now, I had to run the position through a chess engine just to make sure my main ideas had some validity. It’s astonishing what a GM can figure out over the chessboard!]

A Chess Player’s Favorite Word

No matter if it is a miniature, a King-Hunt, a long endgame, or even a casual game, there is a word that every chess player would love to speak, and conversely, hate hearing it.

 

That word, so much loved and feared, is MATE.

 

But if it is a word much beloved in the chess world, why don’t we speak it more in normal conversations?

 

Well, it turns out that four letters, arranged in a M-A-T-E sequence, do not occur often in English, and even less in other languages.

 

Let’s look at words with the letters M-A-T-E in them.

 

ACCLIMATE
ACOELOMATE
AGEMATE [n. one who is about the same age as another.]
AMALGAMATE
AMATE [n. a Central American timber tree with lustrous foliage and edible fruits.]
AMATEUR
ANIMATE
ANTEPENULTIMATE
APPROXIMATE
AUTOMATE
BANDMATE
BEDMATE
BICHROMATE
BREGMATE [n. a junction point of the skull.]
BROMATE
BUNKMATE
CABINMATE
CARBAMATE
CASEMATE
CHECKMATE
CHROMATE
CLASSMATE
CLIMATE
COELOMATE [adj. having a coelom (the main body cavity in most animals).]
COINMATE
COLLIMATE
COMATE
CONSUMMATE
COPEMATE
CREMATE
CREWMATE
CYCLAMATE [n. a salt of cyclamic acid formerly used as an artificial sweetener.]
CYCLOSTOMATE
DECIMATE
DEPHLEGMATE
DESPUMATE [v. to clarify or purify a liquid by skimming a scum from its surface.]
DESQUAMATE
DICHROMATE
DIPLOMATE
DISANIMATE
DITHIOCARBAMATE [n. any salt or ester of dithiocarbamic acid, commonly used as fungicides.]
ECOCLIMATE
ESTIMATE
EXANIMATE
EXHUMATE
FERMATE
FISSIPALMATE [adj. having lobed or partially webbed separated toes, as in the feet of certain birds.]
FLATMATE
FORMATE
GEMMATE [adj. (1) having buds, (2) adorned with gems or jewels.]
GLUTAMATE
GUESSTIMATE
GUESTIMATE
HAMATE [n. a bone on the inner side of the second row of the carpus in mammals.]
HELPMATE
HIEROGRAMMATE [n. a writer of hierograms (sacred symbols or records, esp. hieroglyphics).]
HOUSEMATE
HUMATE
ILLEGITIMATE
IMAMATE [n. the office of an imam]
IMPOSTHUMATE
IMPOSTUMATE
INANIMATE [adj. not alive.]
INCREMATE [v. to cremate]
INHUMATE
INMATE
INTIMATE
LEGITIMATE
LITTERMATE
MACROCLIMATE
MAMMATE
MATE [n. a companion ; v. (1) to checkmate an opponent in chess, (2) to produce offspring.]
MATELOTE [n. a fish stew that is cooked in a wine sauce.]
MATER [n. an informal use of the Latin word for mother; adj. not reflecting light; not glossy.]
MATERIAL [n. the elements, constituents, or substances of which something is composed or can be made.]
MATERNAL [adj. relating to or characteristic of a mother or motherhood.]
MEPROBAMATE [n. a bitter-tasting drug used as a mild tranquilizer.]
MESSMATE
MICROCLIMATE
MIDSHIPMATE
MISESTIMATE
MISESTIMATE
MISMATE
MONOCHROMATE
NIZAMATE
OPTIMATE
OSMATE
OSTOMATE
OVERESTIMATE
PALAEOCLIMATE
PALAMATE
PALMATE
PENULTIMATE
PLAYMATE
PLUMATE
PRIMATE [n. any mammal of the order Primates (defined as having an up-right appearance, large brains relative to body size, body hair, and giving live birth). This group, with over 300 mammals, includes lemurs, lorises, gibbons, tarsiers, gorillas, monkeys, apes, and humans.]
PROXIMATE
PSEUDOCOELOMATE
RACEMATE
RAMATE [adj. having branches; branched.]
REANIMATE
REESTIMATE
REFORMATE
REMATE
ROOMMATE
SCHOOLMATE
SEATMATE
SEMIPALMATE
SHIPMATE
SIGMATE
SOULMATE
SQUAMATE
STABLEMATE
STALEMATE
STEARSMATE [n. same as STEERSMATE.]
STEERSMATE [n. one who steers; steersman.]
STOMATE [n. a minute opening in the epidermis of a plant organ.]
SUBLIMATE
SUBPRIMATE
SUMMATE
TABLEMATE
TEAMMATE
TOTIPALMATE [adj. having webbing that connects each of the four anterior toes, as in water birds.]
ULTIMATE
UNDERESTIMATE
WORKMATE
YOKEMATE

 

It doesn’t seem fair that we can mostly say MATE in the chess world. So, what to do if we want to say MATE more often? It’s easy! Play more chess!
Meanwhile, let’s indulge in a few more MATES.

 

Rudolf-N.N., 1912
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d4 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 Bb6 6.Nf3 Qd8 7.Bxf4 Ne7 8.Ng5 O-O 9.Qh5 h6 10.Bxf7+ Kh8
2019_10_17_A
11.Qxh6+! gxh6 12.Be5mate 1-0

 

Alekhine-Vasic
Graz, 1931
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd3!? Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 h6 6.Ba3 Nd7 7.Qe2 dxe4 8.Bxe4 Ngf6 9.Bd3 b6
2019_10_17_B
10.Qxe6+!! fxe6 11.Bg6mate 1-0

 

Savanto-Molder
Helsinki, 1950
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Be7 4.Bc4 Bh4+ 5.g3 fxg3 6.O-O gxh2+ (Believe it or not, this is all theory. It is mostly known by the name, “Three Pawns Gambit”.) 7.Kh1 Be7 8.Bxf7+ Kxf7 9.Ne5+ Ke6 10.Qg4+ Kxe5 11.Qf5+ Kd6 12.Qd5mate 1-0

 

Joe Ei-Ken Scott
corres.
Golden Knights, USCF, 1982
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6 8.Bd2 Qd8 9.Bc4 e6 10.O-O-O Qb6?! 11.Ne4 Qxd4? 12.Ba5 Qxc4
2019_10_17_C
13.Qxf6! gxf6 14.Nxf6+ Ke7 15.Bd8mate 1-0

 

L. Bohne (2025)-J. Adamski (2400)
Hassloch, 1999
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 c5 (Other adequate responses include 4…d5, 4…O-O, and 4…Nc6.) 5.dxc5 Qc7 6.a3 Bxc5 7.Nf3 a6 8.e3 Be7 9.Be2 d6 10.O-O Nbd7 11.b3 b6 12.Bb2 Bb7 13.Rac1 Rc8 14.Nd4 O-O 15.Bf3 Bxf3 16.Nxf3 Qb7 17.Qe2 Rc7 18.Nd2 Rfc8 19.e4 Ne8 20.Rc2 Ne5 21.f4 Nc6 22.Nf3 Na5 23.Nd4 Nc6 24.Nxc6 Rxc6 25.Rcc1 Qb8 26.f5 Nf6 27.g4 Nd7 28.fxe6 fxe6 29.Nd5 Bg5 30.Nf4 Re8 31.Rcd1 Bf6 32.Bxf6 Nxf6 33.h3 b5 34.cxb5 axb5 35.Rc1 Rxc1 36.Rxc1 Qa7+ 37.Kg2 Qxa3 38.Rc7 Qb4 39.Rb7 h6 40.Rxb5 Qd4 41.Rb7 Nxe4 42.Ng6 Kh7 43.Qf3 Kxg6 44.Qf7+ Kh7 45.Qxe8 Qf2+ 46.Kh1 Ng3mate 0-1

Fischer, the Invincible

Recently, I was going over some games from the 1963/64 US Championship. That tournament stands out for at least three reasons.

 
(1) The winner was the first, and so far, the only one, to achieve a perfect score in the Championship.

 

(2) Fischer won his sixth Championship in a row. He would eventually win eight of them, which was another perfect score as he played in a total of eight Championships.

 

(3) Fischer played a King’s Gambit, a rarity in a national championship. It was also one of his best games.
Here is the game, annotated by Fischer, with a few additional notes (mostly to highlight some background information) by me (RME).

 

 

GM Fischer-GM Evans
US Ch.
New York, Nov. 16 1963
[Fischer, “Exclusive Commentary on Round Two”, Chess Life and Review, Jan. 1964]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 [I knew that my opponent had some prepared line (since he usually plays the Sicilian) but felt that he would be unfamiliar with the King’s Gambit. Besides, I’d made up my mind to play it in this tournament anyway.] 2…exf4 3.Bc4 [Better than 3.Nf3 which is practically refuted by 3…d6 (see my analysis in the American Chess Quarterly.)] 3…Qh4+ [Turning it into an old-fashioned slugfest. The moderns frown on this move and prefer to fight in the center with 3…Nf6 4.Nc3 c6, etc. (But 4…Qh4+ is, by far, still the most common response in the Bishop’s Gambit as it displaces White’s king and prevent him from transposing into other variants of the King’s Gambit. RME.)] 4.Kf1 d6?

[Evans said this game would set chess back a hundred years. He didn’t know how right he was! The defense he chooses was also played by LaBourdonnais against MacDonnell (20th Match Game, 1834) which continued 5.d4 Bg4 6.Qd3 Nc6 7.Bxf7+? Kxf7 8.Qb3+ Kg6 9.Qxb7 Nxd4 10.Qxa8 f3 with a winning attack. More usual is 4…g5 (or d5) 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.d4 Ne7 7.Nf3 Qh5 8.h4 h6 and it’s a hard game.

(Here is the game in its entirety.

Macdonnell-de la Bourdonnais
Match, London, 1834
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 d6 5.d4 Bg4 6.Qd3 Nc6 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qb3+ Kg6 9.Qxb7 Nxd4 10.Qxa8 Nf6 11.Na3 f3 12.g3 Bh3+ 13.Ke1 Qg4 14.Be3 d5 15.Qxa7 Nc6 16.Qxc7 d4 17.Bd2 Qxe4+ 18.Kd1 f2 19.Nxh3 Qf3+ 20.Kc1 Qxh1+ 0-1. RME)]

5.Nc3? [Returning the compliment. It’s natural that White should want to save the juicy tempo (5.Nf3!) and I make the same mistake as MacDonnell by delaying this move.] 5…Be6! [I overlooked this move. Now Black has a choice of where to put his Queen once she’s attacked. (This move also eliminates any quick victories by White as his bishop is thwarted. RME)] 6.Qe2

[Moving the bishop back is really not an option.

Harrwitz-Mayet
Match
Berlin, 1847
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 d6 5.Nc3 Be6 6.Be2?! Qf6 7.d4 g5 8.d5 Bc8 9.Nf3 h6 10.h4 Be7 11.Nb5 Na6 12.Bd2 Qg7 13.Bc3 f6 14.Kg1 g4 15.Nfd4 f3 16.Bf1 Bd8 17.gxf3 gxf3+ 18.Kf2 Nc5 19.Qxf3 a6 20.Na3 Bg4 21.Qf4 h5 22.Re1 Nh6 23.Rg1 Be7 24.b4 Na4 25.Ne6 Qh7 26.Nxc7+ Kd7 27.Nxa8 Nxc3 28.Nb6+ Kc7 29.Nbc4 f5 30.Kg2 fxe4 31.Kh1 Nxd5 32.Qxe4 Qxe4+ 33.Rxe4 Bf3+ 34.Bg2 Bxe4 35.Bxe4 Nxb4 36.Rg7 Kd8 37.Bxb7 Nf5 38.Rf7 Nxh4 39.Na5 d5 40.c3 Ke8 41.Rxe7+ Kxe7 42.cxb4 Kd6 43.Bxa6 Nf5 44.Bd3 Ne7 45.Nc2 Rg8 46.Nb7+ Ke6 47.Nc5+ Kd6 48.a4 Nc6 49.Nb7+ Ke7 50.Nc5 Kd6 1/2-1/2. Fischer didn’t mention this game, but in all fairness, he didn’t have access to the Internet. RME]

6…c6 7.Nf3 (Inaccurate. Having made the mistake of delaying this move once, White should hold off a while longer and play 7.d4, which does not permit Black’s Queen to retreat to e7 without relinquishing his “f” pawn.) 7…Qe7 (If 7…Qh5 8.Nd5! Now, however, Black has time to consolidate his king’s position.) 8.d4 Bxc4 9.Qxc4 g5 (Despite White’s strong center and great lead in development, Black’s position is not easy to crack. If 10.h4 g4 11.Ne1 Bh6, etc.) 10.e5 d5 [During the game I thought Black’s best defense was 10…dxe5 11.Nxe5 (11.dxe5 Nd7 12.Ne4 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Qxe5 14.Bd2 is unclear) 11…Nd7 12.h4 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Qxe5 14.hxg5 O-O-O 15.Bxf4 Qf5 with equality.] 11.Qd3 [11.Nxd5 cxd5 12.Qc8+ Qd8 13.Qxb7 Nd7 is unsound. (14.Nxg5? Rb8). Now the threat is simply 11.Qf5.] 11…Na6 12.Ne2 (Not 12.Qf5 Nh6 13.Qxg5 Qxg5 14.Nxg5 Nb4 15.Bxf4 Nxc2 16.Rd1 Nf5 and Black wins.) 12…Nb4 (12…f6 loses 13.Qf5 Bg7 14.exf6 Bxf6 15.Bxf4! gxf4 16.Nxf4 with a winning attack. It is important to repel White’s queen from its present diagonal.) 13.Qd1 O-O-O (Very complicated, and possibly better, is 13.c3 which leads to a more active defense.) 14.c3 Na6 15.h4 g4 16.Nh2! h5 (Better was 16…f3 17.gxf3 gxf3 18.Nxf3 f6 although White’s king is quite safe and Black lags in development. Also to be considered was 16…Qxh4 17.Nxf4! g3 18.Qg4+ Qxg4 19.Nxg4 with a powerful ending.) 17.Nxf4

2019_10_10_A
17…Qxh4? [The losing move. Relatively best is 17…Kb8 (preventing Nxh5!) (Fischer is referring to White’s threat of 18.Nxh5! Rxh5 19.Qxg4+, winning the rook and the game. RME) but his game is already bad. (The advanced pawn on e5 which is crippling Black’s play on the kingside. RME).] 18.Kg1 (Black apparently underestimated the strength of this move. He has no adequate defense now to the twin threats of 19.Nxg4 and Nf1.) 18…Nh6 (The only way to avoid outright material loss. Black originally intended 18…Bh6 but 19.Nf1 followed by Rxh5 stands him up.) 19.Nf1 Qe7 20.Nxh5 Rg8 (Black already knew he was lost and was shaking his head in amazement at how quickly White’s dead pieces had sprung to life.) 21.Nfg3 Rg6 22.Nf4 Rg5 (If 22…Rg8 23.Nxd5, etc.) 23.Be3 Nc7 (The last hope. 23…f6 is answered by 24.Qd2 fxe5 25.Nxd5, winning a full rook.) 24.Qd2 Rg8 25.Nfe2 (This piquant retreat wins a piece, putting a clear end to black’s agony.) 25…f6 (Black is still hoping for a miracle.) 26.exf6 Qxf6 27.Bxh6 Bd6 28.Rf1 Qe6 29.Bf4 Rde8 30.Rh6 Bxf4 31.Qxf4 Qe7 32.Rf6
2019_10_10_B
[Tripling on the Bishop file. (And being material up, the victory is not too far off. RME)] 32…Ne6 33.Qe5 Ng5 34.Qxe7 Rxe7 35.Rf8+ (Trading down to skin and bones.) 35…Rxf8 36.Rxf8+ 1-0