ROB’S NOT-SO-BASIC CHESS QUIZ (AKA Is There a Problem?)

For the “basic”, and maybe easier, chess quiz, please go to: “Back to School!” (August 29, 2019), and scroll down to “ROB’S BASIC CHESS QUIZ”.

 

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I like quizzes. They can be tough but enjoyable. Sort of like watching a magic act and trying to figure out how it’s down.

 

This quiz is slightly different than the previous one. There are two complete games and two game fragments.

 

Your job is to figure out if there is anything wrong with these four selections. They can be illegal, impossible or a have a dose of too much imagination.

 

There is at least one selection which has at least one thing wrong with it, and at least one selection that has no problems.

 

Each correct answer is worth 10 points. Half correct answers gain half credit (5 points) and totally unexpected answers, that also answer the question, will gain an additional 10 points.

 
Let’s play “Is There a Problem?

 

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This tournament game was apparently played between two Masters.

 

Is there a problem here?

 

Heidenfeld-Kerins
Dublin 1973
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Be3 Nf6!? [The Alapin variation in the French Defense. Theory considers 3.Be3 dxe4, and now either 4.f3 (the gambit line) or 4.Nd2.] 4.e5 (The obvious move.) 4…Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Nf3 Qb6!? (Alapin-Von Gottschall, Dresden 1892, continued with 7…Be7 8.Bd3 cxd4 9.cxd4 Qb6 10.Qd2 Nb4 11.Be2 O-O 12.Nc3 f6 13.O-O Nc6 14.Bd3 Nb4 15.Be2 Nc6 16.Rac1 f5 17.Kh1 Qd8 18.Bd3 Nb6 19.b3 Bd7 20.Rg1 Ba3 21.Rcf1 Bb4 22.Qe1 Bc8 23.g4 Ne7 24.gxf5 Nxf5 25.Bxf5 Rxf5 26.Qg3 Qf8 27.Ne2 Be7 28.Qh3 1/2-1/2. The text move seems stronger.) 8.Qd2 c4 9.Be2 Na5 10.O-O f5 11.Ng5 Be7 12.g4 Bxg5 13.fxg5 Nf8 14.gxf5 exf5 15.Bf3 Be6 16.Qg2 O-O-O 17.Na3 Ng6 18.Qd2 f4 19.Bf2 Bh3 20.Rfb1 Bf5 21.Nc2 h6 22.gxh6 Rxh6 23.Nb4 Qe6 24.Qe2 Ne7 25.b3 Qg6+ 26.Kf1 Bxb1 27.bxc4 dxc4 28.Qb2 Bd3+ 29.Ke1 Be4 30.Qe2 Bxf3 31.Qxf3 Rxh2 32.d5 Qf5 33.O-O-O Rh3 34.Qe2 Rxc3+ 35.Kb2 Rh3 36.d6 Nec6 37.Nxc6 Nxc6 38.e6 Qe5+ 39.Qxe5 Nxe5 40.d7+ Nxd7 0-1

 

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This game fragment is from an Internet game.

 

I don’t know the names of these two beginners. But they play with imagination!

 

Is there a problem here?

 

 

N.N.-“ChessIsEasy”
Internet Game, 1997

2020_03_04_A

 

White played 1.Rh1 to activate his rook and to threaten 2.h5. But Black responded with 1…Nh5, trapping the queen in the middle of the board!

 

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Capablanca was known for many great things in chess. Among them was his play in simuls.

 

Is there a problem here?

 

 

McIntyre-Capablanca
Simul
England, Date Unknown

2020_03_04_B

 

On the previous move Black played 1…d4, attacking the knight that was on e3. White then erred with 2.Ng4? to reach the diagrammed position.

 

Capablanca obviously has the advantage in material. He simplifies with 2…Nxg4! and his opponent responded with 3.hxg4 to undouble his pawns. But it is only a temporary positional improvement as the great Cuban continued with 3…Bxg3 to again double his opponent’s pawns.

 

Black later wins by attacking and then capturing White’s weak d3-pawn. And Black’s d4-pawn subsequently transforms into a strong and healthy passer.

 

***************

 

Irina Krush is one of my favorite American female players. Here she is at an important game.

 

Is there a problem here?

 

IM Irina Krush (2437)-WIM Viktoria Baškite (2205)
Women’s Ol.
Turin, 2006
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 c5 (Black also has 4…d5, 4…O-O-O, 4…Nc6 and even 4…b6.) 5.dxc5 Qc7 6.a3 Bxc5 7.b4 [7.Bg5? lead to White’s grief after 7…Bxf2+! 8.Kxf2 Qc5+ 9.Ke1 Qxg5 10.Nb5 O-O 11.Nf3 Qh5 12.e4 Nc6 13.Nd6 Ne8 14.Qd2 b6 15.Rd1 Nxd6 16.Qxd6 f6 17.b4 Ne5 18.Be2 Nf7 19.Qf4 Rd8 20.Kf2 Bb7 21.Rhe1 Qh6 22.Qe3 Rac8 23.h3 Kf8 24.Qxh6 Nxh6 25.Bd3 Nf7 26.Rc1 d6 27.Ke3 Ke7 28.Rc2 g6 29.Rec1 f5 30.g4 Rf8 31.exf5 Bxf3 32.Kxf3 Ne5+ 33.Ke3 gxf5 34.Be2 Rg8 35.gxf5 Rcf8 36.c5 Rg3+ 37.Kf2 Rxa3 38.cxd6 Kxd6 39.Rd1+ Ke7 40.Rc7+ Kf6 41.Rxh7 Kxf5 42.Kg1 Kg6 43.Re7 Rg3+ 44.Kh2 Re3 45.Bg4 Nxg4+ 46.hxg4 Rf2+ 47.Kg1 Rf4 48.Rxa7 Rxg4+ 49.Kf2 Re5 50.Rd8 Rf5+ 51.Ke3 Rxb4 52.Rb7 Rfb5 53.Rf8 Rb3+ 54.Ke4 R3b4+ 55.Kd3 Rf5 56.Rg8+ Kf6 57.Rf8+ Ke5 58.Rfb8 Rf3+ 59.Ke2 Rfb3 60.Kd2 Rb2+ 61.Kc1 R4b3 62.Re8 Rh2 63.Rc8 Kd6 64.Rd8+ Kc6 65.Rdd7 Re3 66.Rbc7+ Kb5+ 67.Rd1 Kb4 68.Kb1 Rhe2 0-1 (Bagirov-Csom, Frunze, 1983).] 7…Be7 8.Nb5 (Leading to complications.) 8…Qc6 9.Nf3 a6 10.Nfd4 Qb6 11.c5 Qd8 12.Nd6+ Bxd6 13.cxd6 Nc6 14.Bb2 O-O 15.Nxc6 bxc6 16.e4 a5 17.Bd3 Ba6 18.O-O h6 19.Rfe1 Bxd3 20.Qxd3 Nh5 21.Qf3 Qg5 22.Rac1 axb4 23.axb4 Qg6 24.Rc5 Nf6 25.Ra5 Rfb8 26.Bxf6! (Simplifying into a won endgame.) 26…Rxa5 27.bxa5 gxf6

2020_03_04_C
28.a6 +- (The passed pawn ties down Black’s rook, allowing White to create more problems for Black.) 28…Ra8 29.Ra1 f5 30.e5 f4 31.h3 Qf5 32.Ra5 Qb1+ 33.Kh2 Qb6 34.Ra4 Qb5 35.Qg4+ Kh7 36.Qxf4 Rg8 37.a7 1-0

 

 
Answers next week!

Apologies to Spassky.

Apologies to Boris Spassky. I completely forgot it’s his birthday today! The oldest World Champion still alive (born January 30, 1937)) and one of the nicest gentleman you might ever meet.

 

Here’s Spassky at one of his best games.

 

GM Larsen-GM Spassky
USSR vs. the World
Belgrade, 1970
[A01]
1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.c4 Nf6 4.Nf3?! (A move that puts White in greater danger than Black. Safer is 4.e3.) 4…e4! (Immediately placing White in hot water. And the World Champion puts on the heat.) 5.Nd4 Bc5 6.Nxc6 dxc6 7.e3 Bf5 8.Qc2 Qe7 9.Be2 O-O-O 10.f4 Ng4 11.g3 h5 12.h3 h4 13.hxg4 hxg3 14.Rg1 Rh1 15.Rxh1 g2!

2020_01_30_Spassky
16.Rf1 (16.Rg1 Qh4+! 17.Kd1 Qh1 -+) 16…Qh4+ 17.Kd1 gxf1=Q+ 0-1

STOP BRAGGING!

There must be something between large egos and chess players. They, the players, are known for bragging and boasting for the prowess in the game, sometimes even justified. But really, do we need all this boasting, bragging, arrogance, crowing, cockiness, after every game?? What ever happened to just being a gentleman? Isn’t that what tutors and teachers of the game (try to) install into their students?

 
But such attitudes go at least far back as the 19th century. Morphy faced some pretty big egos and when he traveled to Europe and some American players were apparently doing the same in the states.

 
Maybe it’s now just part of the game.

 

It was back in the 1980’s when I was first started to study and learn chess, as opposed to just playing the game. Labate’s Chess Centre held a blitz tournament every Friday night and I took part in many of these tournaments.

 

During this particular Friday night there was an expert chess player. He was slightly tall, and slightly skinny lad in his 20s. He had dark hair and walked around the room with an air of arrogance. He was also my first-round opponent.

 
We walked to the table and even before we shook hands he said he was better than me and was going to beat me. I remembered replying, “Shall I resign now?”

 

He didn’t expect that. But we still had a game to play.

1.e4 c5 2.f4 (The Grand Prix attack. It was very popular in the latter part of the 1980s. Black has a number of ways to combat this King’s Gambit version of the Sicilian, including 2…d5. Which is the main reason I gave up on this Sicilian sideline.) 2…d6 3.Nf3 Bg4?! (This is not the best as the game now mirrors the Kings’ Gambit more closely; a opening I knew- and still know – very well.) 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.e5!? (I am guessing my opponent would have difficulty with this move as he was playing very, very fast, trying to be beat me on time as well as position. All is fair in a 5 minute game.) 5…dxe5 (My opponent actually laughed at this point. He whispered to me, “I’ve won a pawn.” Then he looked at me before continuing, “Now what?”) 6.Nxe5 (I remember thinking, and maybe I did respond to him with, “But I’ve won a piece”. He looked at the free queen and smiled and smiled and excitedly asked me, “How are going to win without your queen?” He grabbed it quickly.) 6…Bxd1 (I just sat there for a little while as my opponent basked in his glory and gluttony. Have to admit it, but I did enjoy savoring the moment before playing my move.) 7.Bxf7# 1-0

 

And my opponent stood up and walked away without saying a word or shaking my hand. What did all his boasting do for him? Nothing but a source of a amusement for his opponent.

 

 

It was in 1991 that the US Open was last held in Los Angeles, CA. I played in that tournament and remembered playing chess morning, noon, and night. I know I shipped at least a few meals during that tournament.
Anyway…

 

One of my opponent was slightly drunk when he and I sat down to play in the Open. Unfortunately, he slightly squiffy. He walked with a off-balance gait, spoke in a slurred speech and I smelled alcohol on his breath when he sat down. Yup, he was drunk.

 

Gomez Baillo-Escalante
US Open
Los Angeles, Aug. 6 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 (We’ve reached the Marshall Attack. This Black defence was more popular in the early 1990s and I was keen to try it out in this Open.) 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.d4 (More common is 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5.) 10…exd4 11.Nxd4 Nxd4 12.cxd4 (12.Qxd4 is better.) 12…Be6 13.Nc3 c6 14.Qh5 Qd7 15.Nxd5 cxd5 16.Bc2 g6 17.Qe5 Bd6 18.Qg5 Be7 19.Qh6 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 30.Bxc1 Qxg4+ 31.Kf1 Qe2+ (with the idea of Re4) 0-1

 

Now, it was good game. But I didn’t feel right about getting it published. After all, I beat someone who was clearly not at his best. I wanted to be humble.

 

Well, two years later, a CD collection of chess games titled, Déjà vu, had this game in it. To this day, I don’t know how it ended up in there.

 

So much for being humble. I didn’t brag, but still, somehow, it got published.

 
But does such a thing as misplaced bragging happen in Master chess? I found this game in Chernev’s excellent “The Fireside Book of Chess”.]

 
Frank Marshall – Duz-Hotimirsky
Carlsbad, 1911
[D30]
[Chernev spelled “Carlsbad” as “Karlsbad”, a more popular form of spelling the city name in the 1940’s. All other notes by Chernev.]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 dxc4 4.e3 a6 5.Ne5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.Bxc4 Bc6 8.O-O Bd6 9.Nc3 Qh4 10.f4 Nf6 11.Bd2 Ng4 12.h3 Qg3

2020_01_16

(Black threats are 13…Qh2# and 13…Qxg2#. Dus had already run into the next room, exclaiming excitedly in his broken German, “Poor Marshall dead! Must be mate!” …) 13.Qxg4 (… One minute later he returned with “I am dead”.) 1-0

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.

 
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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

 

 

 

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Here’s to the New Year!

Splashes of wine in two wineglasses isolated on white

 

 

THE HORIZON EFFECT

Wikipedia defines the horizon effect as: a problem in artificial intelligence whereby, in many games, the number of possible states or positions is immense and computers can only feasibly search a small portion of them, typically a few plies down the game tree. Thus, for a computer searching only five plies, there is a possibility that it will make a detrimental move, but the effect is not visible because the computer does not search to the depth of the error (i.e., beyond its “horizon”).

 

What it means, in more understandable words, is that when a chess computer finds a move, or a series of moves, that loses material, or some other advantage, it stops analyzing that move or series of moves. This can lose the game, or at least the advantage, as it fails to see a strong reply or the continuation of play that will allow it to retain or increase its advantage.

 
An early example of the horizon effect can be found in this game.

 
De Legal-Saint Brie?
France, 1750
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Bg4 4.Nc3 Nc6

De_Legal
5.Nxe5 Bxd1?? (There were many computers in the early 1980’s would simply take the offered queen, as it was taught that being up a queen would lead to victory and would therefore stop analyzing. This simple trap caused consternation and scorn by some players as they wanted a “serious” chess computer. By the way, this trap is known as De Legal’s mate.) 6.Bxf7+ Ke7 7.Nd5mate 1-0

 
A more recent example can be found in this game:

 

Escalante-“andersonwillians” (1511)
Najdorf Thematic Tournment
Chess.com, July-August 2019
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 g6 7.f3 Bg7 8.Be3 O-O 9.Qd2 Nc6 10.O-O-O Bd7 (The Najdorf has transposed into a Dragon, B77 to be exact.) 11.g4 Rc8 12.Be2 Ne5 13.h4 Nc4 14.Bxc4 Rxc4 15.h5 Qc7 16.Kb1 Rc8 17.hxg6 hxg6 18.Nde2 (This is an important move as it provides another piece to guard c3 and puts a stop to Black’s attack.) 18…Be6 19.Bh6 Bh8?
2019_08_08_A
20.Bf8! (This keeps the Black’s king from escaping to the center.) 20…Kxf8 (Not 20…Rxf8 21.Qh6! +-. Best for Black is 20…Nh5 21.Rxh5 gxh5 22.Qh6 Rxf8 23.Rh1 Bg7 24.Qxh5, and now if 24…f5 25.Nf4! wins on the spot.) 21.Rxh8+ Ng8

2019_08_08_B
22.Rxg8+! (The chess.com computer recommends 22.Qh6+ Ke8 23.Rxg8+ Kd7 24.Rxc8 Qxc8 25.e5 Kc7 26.exd6+ exd6, when White is obviously winning. But the text move is better as it leads to a forced mate. So why did chess.com computer miss this move? Probably because it saw that White loses the exchange and concluded that’s not a good way to proceed. So it stopped analyzing.) 22…Kxg8 23.Qh6! f6 (Black is in Zugzwang, as his king is paralyzed and he can’t get help in time. 23…d5 24.Rh1 +-) 24.Qxg6+ Kf8 25.Rh1 1-0 (25…Bg8 26.Rh8 e6 and now either 27.Qxg8+ or 27.Rxg8+ mates.)

 

 

Najdorf Miniatures

I’ve entered another Najdorf thematic tournament. This is a good way to (really) learn an opening.

 

There are many approaches to learning an opening. One can consult an expert in the variation (but illegal once the games begin). Another approach is to gather up the books, a board, pens, paper, and some highlighters.

 

My favorite approach to play over some miniatures and learn some tactics and ways to take down an opponent quickly. It saves time on studying. Extra time to take down other opponents. Plus, it’s fun!

 
Here are some Najdorf miniatures.

 

They are breathtaking in their elegance, clarity, and forcefulness. And they all begin with the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6.

 
To warm up the tactic monster in you we’ll start with some games that are not exactly main line.

 

Markus Loeffler (2426)-J. Ramseier
Ticino Open
Mendrisio, Oct. 30 1999
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Qf3!? (Not exactly book, but White is trying to lay claim to some key squares.) 6…Qc7 7.Bg5 Nbd7 8.O-O-O b5 9.Nd5 Qa5 10.Nc6 1-0

 

GM Onischuk (2581)-IM Bajarani (2417)
Voronezh Master Open
Russia, June 14 2013
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Nb3!? g6 7.Be2 Bg7 8.O-O O-O 9.Re1 Nbd7 10.a4 b6 11.Be3 Bb7 12.f3 Qc7 13.Qd2 Rfe8 14.Red1 Rac8 15.Bf1 Nc5 16.Qf2 Nfd7 17.Nd4 Qb8 18.Rd2 Ne5 1-0

 

GM David Anton Guijarro (2631)-GM Hao Wang (2729)
FIDE World Blitz Ch.
Dubai, June 19 2014
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Qd3!? Nbd7 7.Be2 Nc5 8.Qe3 e6 9.Bd2 Be7 10.g4 d5 11.exd5 exd5? 12.O-O-O O-O 13.f3 Bd7 14.g5 Nh5? 15.f4 g6 16.Bxh5 gxh5 17.Nxd5 Re8 18.Bc3 Bg4 19.Nf5! Bxf5 20.Qe5 f6 21.Qxf5 Qc8 22.Nxf6+ 1-0

 
6.Rg1 is relatively unexplored and rare in OTB tournaments. Just perfect for correspondence play!

 

M. Mahjoob (2510)-R. Kalugampitiya (2135)
Tata Steel Team Ch.
Kolkata, India, Dec. 27 2009
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Rg1!? (White takes command of the g-file, important in many variations of the Najdorf.) 6…b5 7.g4 Bb7 8.g5 Nxe4 9.Nxe4 Bxe4 10.Qg4 Bb7 11.Bg2 Bxg2 12.Qxg2 Nd7

2019_08_01_A
13.g6! e6 (Black can’t take the pawn due to 13…hxg6 14.Ne6! fxe6 15.Qxg6#. If instead Black moves his queen, then White wins material. I’ll you figure it out.) 14.gxf7+ Kxf7 15.Bg5 Qc8 16.O-O-O Ra7 17.Nxe6 1-0

 
Here are two more games with the interesting 6.Rg1!?.

 

Luis Esquivel (2212)-Neuris Delgado (2254)
G. Garcia Memorial
Santa Clara, Cuba, June 2 2004
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Rg1 e5 (A common reply to 6.Rg1.) 7.Nb3 h5 8.Bg5 Be6 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.O-O-O Rc8 11.f4 Be7 12.f5 Bc4 13.Bxc4 Rxc4 14.Qd3 b5 15.Rge1 Qc8 16.Bxf6 Nxf6 17.Re2 Qc7 18.Nd5 Nxd5 19.Qxd5 O-O 20.f6 Bxf6 21.Qxd6 Bg5+ (22.Kb1 Rd8 23.Qxc7 Rxd1+ 24.Nc1 Rxc1#.) 0-1

 

Wojciech Moranda (2451)-Roman Nechepurenko (2431)
European Jr. Ch.
Herceg Novi, Sept. 2005
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Rg1 e5 7.Nb3 b5 8.g4 Bb7 9.Bg2 b4 10.Nd5 Nxd5 11.exd5 Be7 12.a3 bxa3 13.Rxa3 a5 14.Ra4 Nd7 15.Bd2 Nb6 16.Bxa5 Qc8 17.Ra2 O-O 18.Nc1 Nc4 19.Bc3 Rxa2 20.Nxa2 Qc5 21.Be4 Bh4 22.Qe2 Ra8 23.b3 Rxa2 24.bxc4 Ra3 (White faces the embarrassing 25.Bb2 Re3! -+) 0-1

 
The move 6.a4 leads to a slower game. But one can lose the game just as quickly.

 

Karasov-Korsunsky
Sevastopol, 1978
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.a4 e6 7.a5 b5 8.axb6 Qxb6 9.Be3 Ng4 10.Qxg4 Qxb2 11.Bb5 Nd7 12.Kd2 axb5 13.Rxa8 Ne5 14.Qe2 Nc4 15.Qxc4 bxc4 16.Rxc8 Kd7 17.Ra8 1-0

 

Balashov-Sunye Neto
Wijk aan Zee, 1982
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.a4 e5 7.Nf3 h6 8.Bc4 Qc7 9.Bb3 Be6 10.O-O Nbd7 11.Nh4 g5 12.Nf5 Nc5 13.Ne3 Nxb3 14.cxb3 Rd8 15.Bd2 Bg7 16.Rc1 Qb8 17.Ncd5 Nxd5 18.exd5 Bd7 19.h4 Bf6 20.Qf3 Ke7 21.Bb4 b5 22.Rc6 1-0

 
The move 6.Be3 is an interesting combination of tactics and strategy. It’s played by many Grandmasters. Let’s take a close look.

 

Perenyi-Lengyel, 1983
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 b5 7.a4 bxa4 8.Rxa4 e6 9.Bb5+ Nfd7 10.O-O Bb7 11.Bc4 Nc5 12.Rb4 Qc8 13.f4 Be7 14.f5 e5 15.f6 exd4 16.fxg7 Rg8 17.Bxf7+ Kd7 18.Rxb7+! 1-0

 

Nicolau (2290)-Nowarra
Subotica, Yugoslavia, 1967
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.Qf3 Nbd7 8.O-O-O Qc7 9.Be2 Ne5 10.Qg3 b5 11.f4 Nc4 12.e5 dxe5 13.fxe5 Nxe3 14.Qxe3 Nd7 15.Rhf1 Nxe5 16.Ncxb5 axb5 17.Bxb5+ Bd7 18.Bxd7+ Nxd7 19.Qf3 Nb6 20.Nb5 1-0

 

IM J. Peters (2572)-O. Maldonado (2275)
American Open
Los Angeles, Nov. 1995
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 e6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qd2 a6 9.O-O-O Qc7 10.f4 O-O 11.Rhg1 Re8 12.g4 Nd7 (Jack Peters suggested 12…Nxd4 13.Bxd4 e5.) 13.g5 Rb8 14.h4 b5 15.h5 b4

2019_08_01_B
16.g6! (Again, the move g6. Maybe there is something to attacking with one’s own g-pawn.) 16…Nc5 17.gxf7+ Kxf7 18.Nf5! exf5 19.Bc4+ Kf8 20.Bxc5 Na5 21.Qd5 1-0

 
White can try to include a Keres Attack (an early g4) plan with Be3. But that idea seems risky.

 

GM Shirov (2746)-GM Van Wely (2643)
Istanbul Ol
Turkey, 2000
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 e5 8.Nf5 g6 9.g5 gxf5 10.exf5 d5 11.Qf3 d4 12.O-O-O Nbd7 13.Bd2 Qc7 14.gxf6 dxc3 15.Bxc3 Qc6 16.Qg3 Qxh1 17.Bg2 Bh6+ 18.Bd2 Bxd2+ 19.Kxd2 Qxg2 20.Qxg2 a5 21.f4 exf4 22.Qg7 Rf8 23.Re1+ Kd8 24.Re7 Kc7 25.Qxf8 1-0

 

GM Alexander Onischuk (2660)-GM Bologan (2668)
Poikovskii International
Russia, 2001
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 e5 8.Nf5 g6 9.g5 gxf5 10.exf5 d5 11.Qf3 d4 12.O-O-O Nbd7 13.Bd2 Bd6 14.Bc4 Qc7 15.Bb3 dxc3 16.Bxc3 e4 17.Rhe1 Be5 18.Rxe4 Nxe4 19.Qxe4 O-O 20.Rxd7 Bf4+ 0-1

 

Shapiro (2251)-Mirabile (2202)
National Chess Congress
Philadelphia, Nov. 27 2005
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 e5 8.Nf5 g6 9.g5 gxf5 10.exf5 d5 11.Qf3 d4 12.O-O-O Nbd7 13.Bd2 dxc3 14.Bxc3 Qc7 15.gxf6 Nxf6 16.Bd3 Bh6+ 17.Kb1 Bf4 18.Rde1 Qe7 19.Qxf4 1-0

 
I do not know what is the best response to the Keres. But I do know that …h6 is perhaps not the best response.

 

Horvath (2350)-Schinzel (2385)
Baden, 1980
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 h6 8.Qf3 Nc6 9.Rg1 Ne5 10.Qh3 Nexg4 11.Rxg4 e5 12.Nf5 g6 13.Rh4 gxf5 14.exf5 d5 15.O-O-O d4 16.f4 Qa5 17.fxe5 dxc3 18.exf6 Qxa2 19.Re4+ Be6 20.Rxe6+ 1-0

 

GM Svidler-GM Topalov
Elista, 1998
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 h6 8.f4 e5 9.Nf5 h5 10.Nd5 Nxd5 11.Qxd5 g6 12.O-O-O gxf5 13.exf5 Nc6 14.Bc4 Qf6 15.fxe5 Nxe5 16.g5 Qxf5 17.Bb3 Qf3 18.Qd2 Qc6 19.Rhf1 Be6 20.Bxe6 fxe6 21.Rf6 O-O-O 22.Rxe6 Bg7 1-0

 

R. Sullivan-D. Dimit
corres., prison game, 2003
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 h6 8.f4 b5 9.Bg2 Bb7 10.g5 hxg5 11.fxg5 b4 12.Na4 Nxe4 13.Qg4 d5 14.Bxe4 dxe4 15.O-O-O Bd5 16.Nxe6 TN fxe6 17.Nb6 Nd7 18.Nxd5 exd5 19.Qe6+ Be7?! 20.Qg6+ +- Kf8 21.Rhf1+ 1-0

 
Let’s jump a little ahead.

 

The most common response to the Najdorf is 6.Bg5. It leads to fascinating combinations with many ideas. I know I will face it at least once in the tournament.

 

Book-Naegili
Munich Ol., 1936
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 Be7 8.O-O-O Qc7 9.f4 b5 10.e5 dxe5 11.Bxb5+ axb5 12.Ndxb5 Qb6 13.fxe5 Rxa2 14.Kb1

2019_08_01_C
14…Ne4! 15.Nxe4 Rxb2+! 16.Kxb2 Qxb5+ 0-1

 

Matov-GM Fischer
Vinkovci, 1968
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Be2 Qb6 9.Qd2 Qxb2 10.Rb1 Qa3 11.O-O Nbd7 12.f5 Ne5 13.Kh1 O-O 14.Rb3 Qc5 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.Na4 Nc4 17.Qf4 Qxd4 18.Rd3 Qe5 19.Qg4 exf5 20.exf5 Ne3 0-1

 

Svensson (2386)-J. Zimmermann (2327)
Spiltan Fonder IM
Gothenburg, Sweden, Aug. 15 2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Be7 9.e5 Ng8 10.exd6 Qxd6 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.O-O-O Bd7 13.g3 Nc6 14.Bg2 O-O-O 15.Bxc6 bxc6 16.Rhe1 Nh6 17.Qd3 Kb7 18.Qc4 c5 19.Nb3 Ka7 20.Re5 Nf5 21.Rxc5 Rc8 22.g4 1-0

 

Vitolins-Anetbayev
USSR, 1975
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.O-O-O Nbd7 10.Qg3 b5 11.Bxb5 axb5 12.Ndxb5 Qb8 13.e5 dxe5 14.fxe5 Nxe5 15.Rhe1 Nc4 16.Qc7! +- Nd5 17.Rxd5 O-O 18.Bxe7 1-0

 

Wedberg-Bernard
Sweden, 1983
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 h6 9.Bh4 Qc7 10.O-O-O Nbd7 11.Be2 Rb8 12.Qg3 O-O 13.Rhf1 Nb6?! (This move seems too slow.) 14.Kb1 Bd7 15.Qe1 Na4 16.Nxa4 Bxa4 17.Bd3 Bd7 18.g4 Nxg4 19.Rg1 Nf6 20.e5 dxe5 21.fxe5 Nd5 22.Qg3 g5 23.Bxg5! Bxg5

2019_08_01_D
24.Qxg5+!! 1-0 [Because of 24…hxg5 (forced) 25.Rxg5+ Kh8 26.Rh5+ Kg7 27.Rg1#]

 
New ideas can come from relatively unknown sources. This one is from a 1973 issue of Tennessee Chess News.

 

Robert Coveyou-Ed Porter
Tennessee, 1973
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.O-O-O Nbd7 10.Bd3 b5 11.Rhe1 Bb7 12.Qg3 b4 13.Nd5! exd5 14.exd5 Nc5 15.Nf5 O-O 16.Rxe7 Qb6 17.Bxf6 Nxd3+ 18.Kb1 1-0

 
New ideas can come also come from correspondence games. Here are two of them.

 

Rott-Daneker
corres., 1971/3
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 b5 8.e5 dxe5 9.fxe5 Qc7 10.Qe2 Nfd7 11.O-O-O Bb7 12.Qg4 h5 13.Nxe6! Qc6 14.Qe4 Qxe6 15.Qxb7 Qc6 16.Rxd7 1-0

 

Schuler-Kammel
corres., 1967
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 b5 8.e5 dxe5 9.fxe5 Qc7 10.Nf3 b4 11.Nb5 axb5 12.exf6 Nd7 13.Bxb5 Ra5 14.Qe2 gxf6 15.Bxf6 Rg8 16.Nd4 Qb6 17.Bxd7+ Bxd7 18.O-O-O Rxa2 19.Kb1? (>19.Nb3) 19…Ra8 20.Nb3 (And now it’s too late!) 20..Qa7 (21.Kc1 Bh6+ 22.Rd2 Qa1+ 23.Nxa1 Rxa1#) 0-1

 
We’ll stop here and allow you to catch your breath.

 

Until next time.

A TD Story

To become a Tournament Director (TD) in chess, it is advisable first become an Assistant Tournament Director (ATD). I’ve been both. And while I found the experience to be both interesting and enjoyable, I also knew that I didn’t have time to pursue everything in chess, so I had to concentrate more on writing (which is a BIG reason for this blog).

 

Here is a story from that experience.

 

I was working as an Assistant Tournament Director (ATD) at a National JHS Championship. My job was to walk around the tournament hall and solving small problems on the games as necessary. The players were instructed to raise their hand if they needed some help.

 

young_girl

 

Sure enough, about half-hour after they games had started, I saw a hand go up. I jogged to the board where two kids were playing. To be more accurate, there was only one kid playing; he was ahead a queen, a rook, a bishop, and several pawns. His opponent had his head on the table, and not really doing anything else other than breathing.

 

The kid who was winning said, “My opponent is asleep. Can you help?”. The rules, by the way, forbid anyone disturbing any of the players while the game is still going on. That rule appears to cover players who are awake, asleep, or in deep meditation. And I wasn’t even sure if his opponent was asleep or not (my gut feeling told me he wasn’t).

 

Now, one thing almost all kids in common is impatience. It didn’t seem fair to have the winning player have to sit there until his opponent’s clock run out (the clock indicated it would be at least another hour – they apparently started the game late).

clock_s-l1000

So, the onus was on me to solve the problem.

 

I came up with a unique solution. I spoke to the kid who was winning, and loud enough so his opponent could hear me. I told him (both of them!), “If your opponent does not wake up in the next 10 seconds, I will award the game to you.” And I started counting: “10”, “9”, “8”, and then suddenly, and miraculously, his opponent “woke up”.

 

The kid who was winning had a beaming smile while his opponent feigned waking up.

 

I told them to keep playing and wished them both good luck in their continuing game.

A Neglected Move

The Velimirović Attack, an opening system in the Open Sicilian, has been studied for decades. It is a system full of tactics, suspense, missed opportunities, and White wins more often than not.

 

To begin, let’s first define what opening moves make up the Velimirović Attack:

 

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qe2 O-O 9.O-O-O a6 10.Bb3 Qc7, and now either 11.Rhg1 or 11.g4.

 

Both main lines require memorization in the opening and preparations for the middle game.

 

But there exists a third option, one that is relatively unexplored. This move, the neglected one, is 11.Kb1.

 

Why should this move be studied?

 

First of all, it forces Black to start thinking on his own, as his hours of research and development of the two main lines probably did not include this sub-variation. Also, in many of the main lines, Black plays Nc6-a5-Nxb3, exchanging his knight for White’s bishop. White usually recaptures with axb3, as cxb3 is almost suicide as it opens a file straight to White king. And after axb3, Black can move his queen from d8 to a5 and give an unwelcomed check on a1. With the king on b1, this threat is nullified.

 
So, let’s see a game.

 
Manfred Scherfke-Uwe Kunsztowicz (2234)
corres.
BRD Ch., 1976
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qe2 O-O 9.O-O-O Qc7 10.Bb3 a6 11.Kb1 b5 12.Nxc6

 

[Probably even better is 12.g4!? as in IM A. Suarez Uriel (2391)-FM Adrian Galiana Fernandez (2291), Spanish Ch., Linares, Aug. 24 2018. The game continued with 12.g4!? b4 13.Na4 Bb7 14.Nxe6! fxe6 15.Bxe6+ Kh8 16.g5 Nxe4 17.Bb6 Qb8 18.Qxe4 Ne5 19.Bd5 Bxd5 20.Qxd5 Bxg5 21.Rhg1 Bf4 22.Qg2 Ng6 23.Bd4 Be5 24.Bxe5 dxe5 25.Nc5 Qc7 26.Ne6 Qa7 27.Nxf8 Rxf8 28.Qh3 1-0 (Black could try 28…Nf4. But after 29.Qg4, with the idea of Rd7, it’s all over.]

 

12…Qxc6 13.Bd4

 

[Not 13.f3?!, as Black is able to get in …Rb8! with impunity. Gregory Pitl (2243)-Stefan Bromberger (2399), Kecskemet, Hungary, 2001 went 13.f3?! Rb8! 14.a4 Nd7 15.axb5 axb5 16.Na2 Qa8 17.Nb4 d5 18.exd5 Bxb4 19.dxe6 fxe6 20.Bxe6+ Rf7 21.Bf4 Rb6 22.Bd5 Qxd5 23.Rxd5 Rxf4 24.Rhd1 Nf8 25.Qe3 Rbf6 26.c3 Ba5 27.Rxb5 Bc7 28.b4 Re6 29.Qa7 Rf7 30.Qa8 Re8 31.Qa2 Be6 32.c4 Rf4 33.Rc1 Rd4 34.Qa7 Rd7 35.Qa2 Bf7 36.Qf2 Bf4 0-1.]

 

13…Bb7 14.Rhe1 Qc7

 

[14…Rfe8 is more defensive than aggressive.

 

(1) Fernand Gobet (2415)-Fabio Bruno (2409), Banco di Roma, Rome, Italy, 1983: 14.Rhe1 Rfe8 15.f4 Rad8 16.a3 h6 17.g4 e5 18.fxe5 dxe5 19.Bxe5 Nxe4 20.Nd5 Bd6 21.Qxe4 Rxe5 22.Qxe5 Bxe5 23.Ne7+ Kf8 24.Nxc6 Rxd1+ 25.Rxd1 Bxc6 26.h4 Ke7 27.Bd5 Bd7 28.Bf3 Be6 29.h5 Bc7 30.c3 f5 31.Re1 Kf6 32.gxf5 Bxf5+ 33.Be4 Bg4 34.Bg6 Bd6 35.b4 Kg5 36.Rg1 Be5 37.Kb2 Kf4 38.Re1 Bf6 39.Kc2 Kg5 40.Rg1 Kf4 41.Kd3 Be6 1-0.]

 

(2) Joachim Walther-G. Hammerling, corres., East Germany, 1977: 14.Rhe1 Rfe8 15.a3 Qc7 16.f4 Bc6 17.g4 Nd7 18.g5 g6 19.h4 Nc5 20.Ba2 Rad8 21.h5 d5 22.hxg6 fxg6 23.Rh1 Bf8 24.Bf6 Qb7 25.Bxd8 Rxd8 26.exd5 exd5 27.Nxd5 Bxd5 28.Rxd5 Rxd5 29.Rd1 Qe7 30.Qxe7 Bxe7 31.Rxd5 Kf8 32.f5 gxf5 33.Rxf5+ Ke8 34.Rf7 Bxg5 35.Rxh7 Nd7 36.b4 1-0]

 
15.a3 Bc6

 

[GM Velimirović-GM Csom, IBM I, Amsterdam, 1974 continued instead with 15…Rac8 16.f4! e5 17.fxe5 dxe5 18.Nd5 Bxd5 +- 19.exd5 exd4 20.Qxe7 Qxh2 21.d6 Rce8

2019_05_29_A
22.Bxf7+ Rxf7 23.Qxe8+ Nxe8 24.Rxe8+ Rf8 25.d7 Qd6 26.Rf1 1-0]

 

16.f4 Qb8 17.f5 e5 18.Bf2 a5 19.Nd5 Bxd5 20.Rxd5 Nxd5 21.Bxd5 b4 22.a4 Bd8 23.Qh5 b3 24.cxb3 Ra6 25.Re3

2019_05_29_B

 

[Black now has a number of ways to lose.

Here are two sample lines.

25.Re3 g6 26.Qh6 Bf6 (26…Re8 also loses to 27.fxg6 hxg6 28.Qxg6+ +-) 27.Rh3 +-

25.Re3 h6 26.Rg3 Kh7 (26…Bg5 seems good, but after 27.Rxg5! hxg5 28.Qxg5, with the idea of f6, Black is losing big time.) 27.Be3 wins.

So Black takes the honorable way to end the game – he resigns.]

 

1-0

Self-Destruction or the Big “Z”

ZUGZWANG is the compulsion to move in chess, where any move would result in loss of position, material, or game.

 

A player who is forced into this type of position does not want to move as any move by that player only makes winning the game easier for his opponent. In other words, he is forced to self-destruct, literally move by move.

Here are a few (simple) examples.
“abdo10000”-Escalante
Blitz Game
chess.com, Feb. 4 2019
[White made a miscalculation in the middlegame enabling Black to win a bishop. White could resign, but chooses to play on.]

2019_02_14_A46.Kh1 (White puts his king in a stalemate position. Unfortunately for him, he still has pawns he can move.) 46…Kf3 (Black can achieve the same result by …Kg3 or …Kh3. The important thing is to keep the white king trapped in the corner, when he must move his pawns.) 47.a3 bxa3 48.c4 a2 49.c5 a1=Qmate 0-1

 

Here two more examples, slightly more sophisticated.

 

Jonny Hector (2465)-Sergei Tiviakov (2490)
Stockholm, 1990
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.h3 (A waiting move. More common is 7.Bb3.) 7…a6 8.O-O b5 9.Bb3 Bb7 10.Re1 O-O 11.Bg5 Nbd7 12.Nd5! (White usually does well if he can get this move in.) 12…Rc8 13.Qd2 Rc5 14.Nf3 Re8 15.c3 Qa8 16.Rad1 Nxd5 17.exd5 Nf6 18.Be3 Rxd5 19.Bxd5 Bxd5 20.Nh4 Bxa2 21.Bh6 Bh8 22.f4 Bb3 23.Ra1 Ne4 24.Qe3 Bd5 25.Qb6 Bb7 26.Re3 Bf6 27.Nf3 Ng3 28.Bg5 Nf5 29.Ree1 Bg7 30.Nh4 f6 31.Nxf5 gxf5 32.Bh4 Kf7 33.Re2 Bh6 34.Bg3 Qc8 35.Kh2 Qc4 36.Rf2 Qe4 37.Rf3 Qc6 38.Rxa6 Qxb6 39.Rxb6 Bxf3 40.gxf3 Ra8 41.Rxb5 Ra2 42.Kg1 Bf8 43.c4 Ra1+ 44.Kf2 Rc1 45.b3 Rc2+ 46.Kf1 h5 47.Rxf5 Rc3 48.Rb5 h4 49.Bf2 Bh6 50.f5 Rc1+ 51.Kg2 Rc2 52.f4 Bxf4 53.Kf3 Bg3 54.Be3 (White is still winning after 54.Bxg3 hxg3 55.Kxg3 Rc3+ 56.Kg4. The text move keeps the tension on the board.) 54…Be1 55.Rb8 Rh2 56.Bh6 e5 57.Rb7+ Ke8 58.Bg7 Rxh3+ 59.Ke4 Kd8 60.Bxf6+ Kc8 61.Rh7 Rxb3 62.Kd5 Rb7 63.Rh8+ Kd7 64.Bxh4! Bxh4 65.Rh7+ Be7 66.f6 Ke8 67.Ke6 d5 68.c5 Rc7 69.Rxe7+ Rxe7+ 70.fxe7
2019_02_14_B
1-0

 

 

Of course, such self-destruction is not limited to pawns only endgames.

 

GM Spassky-GM Fischer
World Ch.
Reykjavik, July 11 1972
Game 1
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.e3 O-O 6.Bd3 c5 7.O-O Nc6 8.a3 Ba5 9.Ne2 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Bb6 11.dxc5 Qxd1 12.Rxd1 Bxc5 13.b4 Be7 (This position is more or less drawish. Mariotti-Tatai, Match, Rome, 1972 continued with 14.Nfd4 Bd7 15.Bb2 Nxd4 16.Nxd4 Rac8 17.Rac1 Rfd8 18.Bb3 Kf8 19.Rxc8 Rxc8 20.Rc1 Rxc1+ 21.Bxc1 1/2-1/2. Spassky’s move is more dynamic.) 14.Bb2!? Bd7 15.Rac1 Rfd8 16.Ned4 Nxd4 17.Nxd4 Ba4 18.Bb3 Bxb3 19.Nxb3 Rxd1+ 20.Rxd1 Rc8 21.Kf1 Kf8 22.Ke2 Ne4 23.Rc1 Rxc1 24.Bxc1 f6 25.Na5 Nd6 26.Kd3 Bd8 27.Nc4 Bc7 28.Nxd6 Bxd6 29.b5 Bxh2?? (Black, who is the aspiring to be the next world champion, makes a horrible beginner’s move. Black never recovered in this game. And didn’t show up for the next one. Only two games into the match and Bobby was down 0-2. The fact that he won this match, and the world championship, is simply incredible.) 30.g3 h5 31.Ke2 h4 32.Kf3 Ke7 33.Kg2 hxg3 34.fxg3 Bxg3 35.Kxg3 Kd6 36.a4 Kd5 37.Ba3 Ke4 38.Bc5 a6 39.b6 f5 40.Kh4 f4 41.exf4 Kxf4 42.Kh5 Kf5 43.Be3 Ke4 44.Bf2 Kf5 45.Bh4 e5 46.Bg5! e4 47.Be3 Kf6 48.Kg4 Ke5 49.Kg5 Kd5 50.Kf5 a5 51.Bf2 g5 52.Kxg5 Kc4 53.Kf5 Kb4 54.Kxe4 Kxa4 55.Kd5 Kb5 56.Kd6

2019_02_14_C

(White can play Kc7 protecting his pawn while attacking Black’s. Black has no choice but to play 56..Ka6. White will reply with Bd4 and Black can either give up protecting his pawn. or run his pawn down the a-file, and wait for White to play an eventual Bxa1. And then Black has to give up the a6 square.)

Thinking of Jimmy Quon

This morning I was thinking of Jimmy Quon. For those who don’t know was one of the nicest chess players you could ever meet and he achieved his Master title while he was in his late teens.

 

But I have to admit I didn’t like him when we first met. I thought him to be arrogant and more than slightly condescending.

 

It was when Jimmy found out that I was analyzing some sharp, tactically rich variations of the Two Knights Defence games that we became friends. He was impressed by some of the lines, and more importantly, how well I could come up with responses to some interesting problems of the variations.

 

You see, both Jimmy and I were interested in studying and playing tactical games. Which would greatly serve us in a tournament at Cal Tech.

 

Siamese chess is an extremely tactical variant of chess that be defined as “a variation with two boards, four players, and general mayhem”.

 
Jimmy and I studied for this tournament. And won it with a score of 19-1. The lone loss was due to one of the players telling my opponent a winning move in a complicated position.

 

He, the kibitzer, was immediately condemned by the organizer, the TD (amazing he even spoke up in front of them), the other players who were watching the game, and his own teammates.

 

He was not on good terms with most players before this event and was on bad terms after this event.

 

I remembered running into Jimmy on a Wednesday night, just before the American Open (held every Thanksgiving weekend). I had to smile when I saw him playing a TN in a Siamese game, a variation we had studied for the Cal Tech tournament.

 

I lost contact with him for a while. I found out he was teaching at San Diego and I was proud he did was doing something he liked. His subject, by the way, was teaching chess.

 

Jimmy suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2010. It was one of those cases in which you had only hours to live. It happened so fast that a friend who wanted to see him, had to immediately drive from Orange County, CA to San Diego and didn’t know if he could do it in time. He made it.

 

You won’t find too many games from Jimmy Quon on the Internet as he played most of his in the pre-Internet era. And I know you won’t find this one.

 

J. Quon-Forte
Blitz Game
Labate’s Chess Center
Anaheim CA, 1986
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nxe4 5.Qxd4 Nf6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.Qh4 d6 9.O-O-O O-O 10.Bd3 h6 11.Rhe1!?

[Estrin analyzed 11.Bxh6 gxh6 12.Qxh6 Ne5 (12…Nb4 13.Ng5 Nxd3+ 14.Rxd3 Bf5 15.Rg3 Bg6 16.Ne6! +/-) 13.Nxe5 dxe5 14.Qg5+ Kh8 15.Bf5 (with the idea of Rd3) +/-. But Jimmy’s idea has it’s own merits.]

11…hxg5 12.Nxg5 Re8 13.Kb1 Bd7?! 14.Nd5! Be6 15.Bh7+ Kf8

2018_12_20

16.Rxe6! +- Nxd5 17.Bg6 Nc3+ 18.bxc3 Kg8 19.Qh7+ Kf8 20.Qh8mate 1-0

 

In 2011 a Jimmy Quon Memorial was held in Los Angeles. Here are two games.

 

GM Mackenzie Molner (2458)-GM Mark Paragua (2521)
Jimmy Quon Memorial
California Market Center, Los Angeles, Jan. 19 2011
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Bc4 Qb6 8.Bb3 e6 9.Qd2 Be7 10.O-O-O Nc5 11.Rhe1 O-O 12.f4 h6 13.h4 Qa5 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.g4 e5 16.fxe5 Bxe5 17.Rg1 Be6 18.Kb1 Rac8 19.g5 h5 20.g6 Nxb3 21.axb3 Bg4 22.Rxg4 hxg4 23.Nf5 Bf6 24.Nd5 Qxd2 25.Nxf6+ gxf6 26.Rxd2 fxg6 27.Ne7+ Kf7 28.Nxc8 Rxc8 29.Rxd6 f5 30.exf5 gxf5 31.Rd7+ Kf6 32.Kc1 g3 0-1

 

Alessandro Steinfl (2209)-GM Daniel Naroditsky (2419)
Jimmy Quon Memorial
California Market Center, Los Angeles, Jan. 23 2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 (The Four Pawns variation of the King’s Indian – a rarity.)5…O-O 6.Nf3 Na6 7.Bd3 e5 8.fxe5 dxe5 9.d5 Qe7 10.O-O Nc5 11.Bc2 a5 12.Qe1 Nh5 13.Be3 b6 14.Rd1 Bg4 15.Nb5 f5 16.exf5 e4 17.d6 cxd6 18.Bxc5 dxc5 19.Qxe4 Qxe4 20.Bxe4 Rae8 21.Bd5+ Kh8 22.Nd6 Re7 23.fxg6 hxg6 24.Nf7+ Rexf7 25.Bxf7 Nf4 26.Bd5 Bxb2 27.Rb1 Bd4+ 28.Nxd4 cxd4 29.g3 Ne2+ 30.Kg2 Rd8 31.Rxb6 Bf5 32.Rd1 d3 33.Rd2 Nc3 34.Bf3 a4 35.g4 Be4 36.c5 Rd4 37.c6 Bd5 38.c7 1-0