Dallying with the Dilworth

Recently I had an opportunity to analyze to the Dilworth variation of the Open Ruy Lopez.


To begin, let us look up the moves that lead up the Dilworth.



1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 (This move defines the Ruy Lopez, named after the 16th-century Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura.) 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 (The Open Variation of the RL. Black’s objective is to get good piece play by advancing his d-pawn and giving his pieces the freedom to roam across the board as well as pushing and protecting his d-pawn.) 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 (9.Nbd2 Nc5 10.c3 d4 11.Ng5 leads to interesting Karpov Gambit. I’ve researched this line and IMHO, White’s attack is almost worth the pawn he sacrificed.) 9…Bc5 (Black can also play 9…Be7, which will give him a more closed game.) 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2!? (With this move Black gives up a knight for White’s f2-pawn and in return, gets a pinned White Rook and misplaced White King. And the Dilworth fight is on!) 12.Rxf2 (A forced move. The real analysis begins here.)


Black can certainly play 12…Bxf2+ at this point. But better is delaying this capture as not only is rook pinned, but it’s fixed position temporarily hinders the movement of White’s pieces.

Bobby Fischer-W. Stevens
US Open
Oklahoma City, July 24 1956
[White gets a small advantage but can’t do anything with it.]
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 12.Rxf2 Bxf2+ 13.Kxf2 f6 14.exf6 Qxf6 15.Kg1 Rae8!? (15…Bg4 16.Nf1 Bxf3 17.Qxf3 Qxf3 18.gxf3 Rxf3 19.Be3 Ne7 20.Bg5! +/- ECO.) 16.Nf1 Ne5 17.Ne3 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 Qxf3 19.gxf3 Rxf3 20.Bd1 Rf7 1/2-1/2

Black must play 12…f6, or at least transpose into it.


We now continue.


12.Rxf2 f6

Two moves White should now avoid are 13.Nb3 and 13.Qe2. Again, not necessarily bad, but he has a better alternative.


Hennie Daniels-T. Farrell
England, 1943
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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.Nb3 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 fxe5 15.Nc5 Bg4 16.Bb3 Ne7 17.h3 Bxf3 18.gxf3 Qd6 19.Ne4 Qd7 20.Ng5 h6 21.Ne4 c6 22.Be3 Qxh3 23.Bc5 Qh4+ 24.Ke2 Rxf3 25.Nf2 Raf8 26.Qg1 e4 27.Qg2 Ng6 28.Qf1 Nf4+ 29.Kd2 Nd3 30.Nxd3 Rxf1 31.Rxf1 Rxf1 0-1


Gyula Kluger (2250)-Laszlo Szabo
Hungary Ch.
Budapest, 1946
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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.Qe2 fxe5 14.Nb3 Bxf2+ 15.Qxf2 e4 16.Qe1 Bg4 17.Nfd4 Ne5 18.Nc5 Qf6 19.Be3 Rae8 20.Qg3 h5 21.Bb3 Kh8 22.h3 Qd6 23.Qh4 Ng6 24.Qe1 Bc8 25.Ne2 Bxh3 26.Rd1 c6 27.gxh3 Rf3 28.Bd4 Rxh3 29.Qf2 Nh4 30.Nf4 Nf3+ 31.Kf1 Qxf4 32.Be3 Qg4 0-1


13.exf6! And now Black has to play 13…Qxf6 or 13…Bxf2+ .

We’ll look at 13…Qxf6 first.

White’s best is 14.Nb3! He wins most of the games as his knight move solidifies his position.


Ramon Ardid Rey-Jan Kleczynski X25
Paris Ol.
France, 1924
[This game appears to be the first time the Dilworth variation was played in a master game.]
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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6



13…Qxf6 14.Nb3 Bxf2+ 15.Kxf2 Ne5 16.Nc5 Bg4 17.Qxd5+ Kh8 18.Qe4 Qh4+ 19.Kg1 Nxf3+ 20.gxf3 Rae8 21.Bg5 Rxe4 22.Bxh4 Re5 23.fxg4 g5 24.Ne6 1-0


M. Paragua (2521)-C. Acor (2246)
Foxwoods Open
Ledyard, US, Mar. 20 2008
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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Qxf6 14.Nb3 Bxf2+ 15.Kxf2 Ne5 16.Kg1 c6 17.Be3 Bg4 18.Nbd2 Rae8 19.Bc5 Rf7 20.a4 Qh6 21.axb5 axb5 22.Kh1 Nd7 23.Bg1 Qh5 24.Qf1 Nf6 25.Re1 Rfe7 26.Rxe7 Rxe7 27.h3 Bf5 28.Bd1 Qe8 29.Bc5 Re6 30.Qf2 Ne4 31.Nxe4 Bxe4 32.Qg3 h6 33.Qc7 Kh7 34.b4 Rg6 35.Bd4 Qe6 36.Be5 Qf5 37.Kh2 Qf8 38.Bg3 Qf6 39.Qe5 Qf7 40.Nd4 Rg5 41.Qe6 Qa7 42.Bg4 Qa1 43.Qf7 Qb2 44.Nf3 1-0


Z. Abdumalik (2428)-N. Khomeriki (2347) X25
World Junior Girls Ch.
Tarvisio, Italy, Nov. 20 2017
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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Qxf6 14.Nb3 Bxf2+ 15.Kxf2 Ne5



16.Kg3!? (A brave king! The usual move is 16.Kg1.) 16…g5 17.Qd4 h5 18.Bxg5 h4+ 19.Qxh4 Qg7 20.Nbd4 Nxf3 21.gxf3 1-0


White also can experiment with: 14.Qf1.


Moscow, 1943
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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Qxf6 14.Qf1 Bg4 (14…g5 15.h3 h5 16.Nb3 Bxf2+ 17.Qxf2 g4 18.hxg4 hxg4 19.Qg3 +- ECO ; 14…Ne5 15.Nd4 Qh4 16.N2f3 Nxf3+ 17.Rxf3 Bg4 18.Rf2 Rae8 19.Bf4! +- Suetin.) 15.Kh1 Bxf2 16.Qxf2 Rae8 17.Qg3 Ne5 18.Bd1 Nd3 19.h3 Bh5 20.Bc2 Nf4 21.Ng1 c5 22.Ndf3 Ne2 23.Nxe2 Rxe2 24.Bd1 Re6 25.Bd2 h6 26.Kh2 Re4 27.Ng5 hxg5 28.Bxh5 Re5 29.Bf3 Qe7 30.a4 Kh7 31.axb5 axb5 32.Ra7 Qd6 33.Bg4 Rd8 34.Kh1 d4 35.cxd4 cxd4 36.Bf4 Re1+ 37.Qxe1 Qxf4 38.Rd7 Rxd7 39.Bxd7 d3 40.Bg4 d2 41.Qe2 b4 42.Qd3+ g6 43.Kg1 Kh6 44.b3 Kg7 45.Bf3 Qf7 46.Kf2 Qe6 47.Qe3 Qd6 48.Bd1 Qd5 49.g4 Kh7 50.Ke2 1-0


So Black almost has to play 13…Bxf2+ and come up with a plan after 14.Kxf2

He can try 14… fxe5!?


Edward Sergeant-George Thomas
Guildford, England, 1944
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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.Nf1 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 fxe5!? 15.Kg1 e4! (The point of Black’s last move. More testing is needed for this line.) 16.Bg5 Qd7 17.Nd4 Bg4 18.Qd2 Ne5 19.Ne3 c6 20.Nxg4 Qxg4 21.Bd1 Qd7 22.Be2 Rf7 23.Bf4 Nc4 24.Bxc4 bxc4 25.Be3 Raf8 26.h3 h6 27.Ne2 Rf6 28.Kh2 g5 29.Ng3 Qd6 30.Bd4 Rf5 31.Qe3 R8f7 32.Kh1 Rf3 33.gxf3 Qxg3 34.fxe4 Rf3 35.Qg1 Qh4 36.Be5 Rxh3+ 37.Bh2 g4 38.Re1 Rxh2+ 0-1


But more common is 14…Qxf6.

White can go totally wrong after 15.Kg1

GM Ljubojevic-GM Yusupov
Tilburg, Sept. 27 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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Kg1 Rae8 16.Qf1 Bf5 17.Bxf5 Qxf5 18.b3 d4 19.cxd4 Nxd4 20.Nxd4 Qc5 21.Bb2 Rxf1+ 22.Rxf1 Re2 23.Rf2 Rxf2 24.Kxf2 Qd5 25.Ke3 Qe5+ 0-1


GM E. Matsuura-FM Guilherme De Borba
Floripa Open
Florianopolis, Brazil, Jan. 25 2020
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.Nbd2 Bc5 10.c3 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Kg1 Rae8 16.Qf1 Bf5 17.Bxf5 Qxf5 18.Nb3 Ne5 19.Nbd4 Nxf3+ 20.Nxf3 Qc2 21.h3 Re2 22.b3 Qxc3 23.Qxe2 Qxa1 24.Qe6+ Kh8 25.Qc6 Qxa2 26.Qxd5 Qb1 27.Qc5 Re8 28.Qc6 Rf8 1/2-1/2


But 15.Kf1 Ne5 keeps the game going. It is doubled-edged and White just has to find the correct 16th move. He didn’t in this game.


La Palma C.C., 1982
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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Ng3?! (Too slow.) 16…Rae8! (Taking advantage of the extra tempo.) 17.Kg1 Bg4 18.Qxd5+?! (It is not a good idea to open lines when your opponent is the one doing the attacking, even if it is a check.) 18…Kh8


19.Be4 (Not 19.Qe4? Nxf3+! -+) 19…Rd8 20.Qc5 Rd1+ 21.Kf2 Bxf3 22.gxf3 Nd3+! 0-1


16.Kg1 is flashy and may not be the best for White. But it does lead to lots of excitement and can be a real crowd pleaser.


IM Nelson Mariano-IM Sophia Polgar
World Jr. Ch.
Matinhos, Oct. 1994
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.Bc2 O-O 11.Nbd2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Kg1 Rae8 16.Nf1 Ne5 17.Be3 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 Qxf3 19.gxf3 Rxf3 20.Bd4



20…Bh3 21.Ng3 Re6 22.Rd1 h5 23.Bb3 c6 24.Nxh5 Bg4 25.Nxg7 Rg6 26.Kg2 Rf7 27.Re1 c5 28.Be5 c4 29.Bc2 Bf5+ 30.Bg3 Bxc2 31.Ne8 Be4+ 32.Kg1 Rf3 33.a3 Kf8 34.Nc7 Rf7 35.Rf1 Rxf1+ 36.Kxf1 Ke7 0-1


Milan Babula (2323)-Jesper Skjoldborg (2274)
Czech Republic Open
Marianske Lazne, Jan. 29 2004
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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Kg1 Rae8 17.Be3 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 Qxf3 19.gxf3 Rxf3 20.Bd4 Bh3 21.Ng3 Re6 22.Rd1 h5 23.Bd3 h4 24.Nh1 c5 25.Bxc5 Re5 26.Bd6 Rg5+ 27.Ng3 hxg3 28.hxg3 Rf6 29.Bb8 Bf5 30.Bf4 Rgg6 31.Be2 Bg4 32.Kf2 Bxe2 33.Kxe2 Rf5 34.Kd3 Rc6 35.Re1 Kf7 36.Rh1 g5 37.Bb8 Rf2 38.g4 Rxb2 39.Be5 Rxa2 40.Rh7+ Kg6 41.Rg7+ Kh6 42.Rg8 Ra3 43.Rh8+ Kg6 44.Rg8+ Kf7 45.Rg7+ Ke6 46.Rg6+ Kxe5 47.Rxc6 b4 48.Rg6 Kf4 49.Kd4 bxc3 50.Kxd5 Kxg4 0-1



16.Be3 is better. White’s defences are improved with a flexible bishop.

USSR Ch., 1977
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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bd4 Bg4 18.N1d2 Qf4 19.Kg1 Nxf3+ 20.Nxf3 c6 21.Bd3 Bxf3 22.Qxf3 Qxf3 23.gxf3 Rxf3 24.Rd1 a5 25.Kg2 Rf4 26.Kg3 +/-


Sokolsky Memorial
Minsk, 1978
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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bc5 Nxf3 18.gxf3 Rf7 19.Kg2 h5 20.Qd3 Qg5+ 21.Kh1 Bf5 22.Qxd5 c6 23.Qxc6 Bd7 24.Qg6 Qxc5 25.Bb3 +/- Ree7 26.Ng3 Qe3 27.Qxh5 Be6 28.Nf5 Rxf5 29.Qxf5 Bxb3 30.axb3 Qe2 31.Qd5+ Kh7 32.Qh5+ Kg8 33.Qd5+ Kh7 34.Rg1 Re5 35.Qf7 1-0


Kirovakan, Armenia, 1978
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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Qh4+ (16…Bg4? 17.Qxd5+ Kh8 18.Qe4 g6 19.Bd4 +-) 17.Kg1 Nxf3+ 18.gxf3 Rf6 19.Bd4 Qg5+ 20.Kh1 Bh3 21.Ne3 Rf7 22.Qg1 +/- Qf4 23.Qg3 Qxg3 24.hxg3 Rxf3 25.Bb3 Be6 26.Kg2 Rf7 27.Nxd5 Rd8 28.Nf4 Bxb3 29.axb3 c5 30.Ne6 Re8 31.Nxc5 Re2+ 32.Kh3 h5 33.Rxa6 Rf1 34.Kh4 Rf5 35.g4 hxg4 36.Ra7 Rf7 37.Rb7 Rxb2 38.Rxb5 Rh2+ 39.Kg3 Rh3+ 40.Kxg4 Rhf3 41.Ne6 1-0


GM Vassily Ivanchuk-GM Artur Yusupov
Linares, Feb. 21 1990
[Inside Chess?]
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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bc5 Nxf3 18.gxf3 Rf7 19.Ng3 Bg4 20.Kg1 Qxf3 21.Qxf3 Bxf3? 22.Rf1! +/- Rf6 23.b4! c6 24.Bf5? (>24.Bd4 Rf4 25.Bf5 with the idea of Bd7 +-) 24…Be2 25.Re1 Bh5 26.Rxe8+ Bxe8 27.Be7 Rh6 28.Bg5 Rd6 29.Be7 Rh6 30.Bc8 Bf7 31.Bc5 Be6 32.Bxa6 Bd7 33.Bb7 Kf7 34.Ne2 Ke6 35.Nd4+ Ke5 36.Nb3 Ke4 37.Bf2 Bh3 38.Nd4 Rg6+ 39.Bg3 Rf6 40.Bf2 Rg6+ 41.Bg3 Rf6 42.Bf2 Rg6+ 1/2-1/2


FM C. Olivares Olivares-FM W. Cuevas Araya (2187)
Chile Ch.
Santiago, Feb. 20 2019
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 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bc5 Qh4+ 18.Kg1 Rxf3 19.gxf3 Qh5 20.Nd2 Bh3 21.Kh1 Nc4 22.Bb3 Nxd2 23.Qxd2 Qxf3+ 24.Kg1 Qg4+ 25.Kh1 Qe4+ 26.Kg1 Qg4+ 27.Kh1 Qe4+ 28.Kg1 Qg6+ 29.Kh1 Qe4+ 30.Kg1 Re5 31.Be3 Qg4+ 32.Kh1 Qf3+ 33.Kg1 Qg4+ 34.Kh1 Qe4+ 35.Kg1 Qg6+ 36.Kh1 Qe4+ 37.Kg1 Qg4+ 38.Kh1 c6 1-0

And that’s where we stand. More analysis is needed!

Happy Birthday Andy!!

Today is Andy Soltis’ birthday!



Born on May 28, 1947 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, his contributions to chess has been enormous.


For those of you might have been hiding under a rock since 1980, he’s a prolific author, frequent contributor to Chess Life, and even made into the world’s elite of chess, earning his IM title in 1974 followed by a GM title in 1980.

Let’s go over some of his games first.



IM Andrew Soltis-GM Miguel A Quinteros
Cleveland, May 5 1975
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.a4 e6 7.Be2 Be7 8.f4 Qc7 9.O-O Nc6 10.Be3
(Both White and Black have solid positions. But White has more space which translates into greater coordination, mobility and freedom for his pieces. That is more than enough for White to have the advantage.) 10…Bd7 11.Qe1 O-O 12.Qg3 Rab8 13.Kh1 Kh8 14.Bf3 g6 15.Nxc6 bxc6 16.e5 Ne8 17.Ne4 d5 18.Ng5 Rxb2 19.Qh4 Bxg5 20.Qxg5 Ng7 21.Bc5 Re8 22.Be7 Kg8 23.Bf6 Reb8 24.Bg4 Ne8 25.Be7 Qc8 26.Ra3 Rb1 27.Bd1 a5 28.Qh6 Ng7 29.Rh3! 1-0



Edward Westing-GM Andrew Soltis
Bermuda, Feb. 1 2002
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 c5 4.c3 cxd4 5.cxd4 d5 6.e5 Nc6 7.h3

[White has also tried :

7.Be2 Nh6 8.O-O O-O 9.Nc3 Bg4 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Bxf3 e6 12.Bg4 Qb6 13.Be3 Qxb2 14.Na4 Qa3 15.Nc5 b6 16.Nd7 Rfd8 17.Nf6+ Bxf6 18.exf6 Nf5 19.Bxf5 exf5 20.g4 Qd6 21.Qd2 fxg4 22.hxg4 Qxf6 23.Bg5 Qf3 24.Bxd8 Qxg4+ 25.Kh2 Rxd8 0-1 [Svoboda-Dobrovolsky (2387), Monravia Team Ch., 2000]


7.Nbd2 Nc6 8.h3 Bf5 9.Bb5 Qb6 10.Qa4 Bd7 11.Bxc6 Bxc6 12.Qa3 Bb5 13.Nb3 Qc6 14.Qc5 Qd7 15.Bd2 b6 16.Qc2 Rc8 17.Qd1 f6 18.Rc1 Kf7 19.Rxc8 Qxc8 20.Qc1 Qf5 21.Kd1 Nh6 22.Re1 Rc8 23.Bc3 Kg8 24.Qe3 Nf7 25.e6 Nd8 26.Kd2 Rc6 27.g4 Qxe6 28.Qf4 Qd7 29.h4 Re6 30.Re3 Rxe3 31.fxe3 Ne6 32.Qg3 Qc7 33.Qg2 Qc4 34.Nc1 Nd8 35.b3 Qc6 36.a4 Ba6 37.Na2 Bc8 38.Nb4 Qd6 39.Nd3 a5 40.g5 Bf5 41.Nfe1 Nf7 42.Nf4 fxg5 43.hxg5 e6 0-1 [Sequera (2378)-Macieja (2615), Ann Open, Curacao, Nov. 2 2002]


7…Nh6 8.Bb5 O-O 9.O-O Nf5 10.Nc3 Bd7 11.Nxd5 Nxe5! 12.dxe5 [Or 12.Bxd7 Nxf3+ 13.Qxf3 Qxd7 14.Be3 Rfd8 15.Nc3 Nxd4 16.Bxd4 Bxd4 17.Rad1 Qc6 18.Qxc6 bxc6 19.Rfe1 e5 20.Rc1 (-1.39 Stockfish)] 12…dxe5 Bxb5 13.Re1 Bc6 14.Nb4 Qxd1 15.Rxd1 Bxf3 16.gxf3 Bxe5 -+ 17.Rd5 Bd6 18.Bd2 Rfd8 19.Bc3 a5 20.Rxd6 Rxd6 21.Nc2 b6 22.Kg2 Rad8 23.Ne3 Nxe3+ 24.fxe3 Rd1 25.Rxd1 Rxd1 26.Kf2 f6 27.f4 Kf7 28.Kf3 Ke6 29.Bd4 b5 30.a3 Rf1+ 31.Kg2 Rb1 32.Kf3 Kd5 33.Bc3 a4! 0-1 (White can’t stop the Black king from entering on the queenside.)



Soltis didn’t confine himself to merely playing the game. An important variation in the Sicilian Dragon was named after him.


Let’s review the opening moves.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 (The main line in the Dragon. White usually castles queenside and attempts to storm Black’s castled kingside with his pawns and follow up with pieces. Sacrifices are common threats for both sides.) 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 O-O 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.O-O-O Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.h4 (White has played this move to maintain and continue his threats of opening Black’s kingside. Experience has shown that Black usually ends up on the losing side if he allows White’s h-pawn to continue his advancement. So…) 12…h5!?



(Now White’s h-pawn is stopped. Does this mean Black is going to win? Not necessarily. Does it mean White is going to win? Not necessarily either. But it does mean White has to look for other way to infiltrate the kingside.)


Here is the inauguration of this variation.

Reggio Emilia
Italy, Jan. 1 1971
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Qd2 Nf6 8.f3 O-O 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.Bb3 Rc8 11.h4 h5 12.O-O-O Ne5 13.Bg5 Nh7 14.Bh6 Bxh6 15.Qxh6 Rxc3 16.bxc3 Qa5 17.Kb1 Qxc3 18.Qd2 Qc5 19.Ne2 a5 20.Qd4 Qc7 21.Nc3 Nf6 22.a4 Rc8 23.Kb2 Be6 24.Rhe1 Kg7 25.f4 Nc6 26.Qd2 Nb4 27.Re3 Qb6 28.Qd4 Rc5 29.e5 dxe5 30.fxe5 Ng4 0-1


A good way to start off the New Year!


Here are two other games worthy of study.

S. Hwemp (2280)-K.D. Mueller (2445)
ICCF, 6/7 Cup, ½ Finals, 1990/1
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 O-O 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.O-O-O Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.h4 h5 13.Kb1 Nc4 14.Bxc4 Rxc4 15.Nde2 b5 16.Bh6 b4 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.Nd5 Nxd5 19.exd5 Qa5 20.b3 Rc5 21.Qd4+ Kh7 22.g4



22…Rxc2! 23.Nc1? (23.Kxc2 Qxa2+ 24.Kd3 Bb5+ 25.Ke4 Qc2+ 26.Kf4 e5+ 27.dxe6 fxe6+) 23…Rfc8 24.Rhe1? Qa3 0-1


IM Alexander Khalifman (2530)-Stanislav Savchenko (2480)
Simferopol, Ukraine, 1988
[Don’t fret about the titles. Both players earned their GM titles a few years later; Khalifman in 1990 and Savchenko in 1993.]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 O-O 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 Ne5 11.Bb3 h5 12.O-O-O Rc8 13.Bh6 Bxh6 14.Qxh6 Rxc3 15.bxc3 Qc7 16.Kb1 Rc8 17.g4 a5 18.gxh5 a4 19.Bd5 Nxd5 20.exd5 Qxc3 21.hxg6 fxg6 22.Rhg1 Bf5 23.Nxf5 Qxc2+



(A situation in which neither Black nor White can win. But they both can lose. A draw is best for both players.) 1/2-1/2


GM Soltis also promoted another, lesser-known, variation, in the Sicilian. Entitled the “Chameleon Sicilian” it runs as:



1.e4 c5 2.Ne2!?


The point being it is impossible for Black to know what White is attempting to do. White can play the Closed Sicilian with 3.d3, 4.g3 and 5.Bg2. Or he can open the game up with: .d4 cxd4 .Nxd4 at any time. It’s especially troublesome for Dragon addicts.










Andy Soltis has written a weekly chess column for the New York Post since 1972 and a monthly column (“Chess to Enjoy”) for Chess Life since 1979.





In addition to his weekly and monthly columns, he has written several books including; The Best Chess Games of Boris Spassky (1973), Pawn Structure Chess (1976), Chess to Enjoy (1978), Karl Marx Plays Chess : And Other Reports on the World’s Oldest Game (1991), Soviet Chess 1917–1991 (1999), Bobby Fischer Rediscovered (2003), and many others.




His books are a mixture of games, analysis, and fresh observations on the opening and other aspects of play. His column, “Chess to Enjoy”, covers historical viewpoints, human interest stories, computer analysis (and sometimes their failings), and literary perspectives. He is known to use humor to illustrate important points.




For his chess writings, he was named “Chess Journalist of the Year” in 1988 and 2002 by the Chess Journalists of America.





Happy Birthday Andy Soltis!!

Secret Games of Botvinnik vs. Averbakh

During his playing career Botvinnik battled played a number of players who were of GM strength in secret matches. They were all played in the USSR, and were meant to prepare him for Olympiads, important tournaments, and matches with Western (i.e., non-Warsaw Pact) players.

They were played in secret so Botvinnik could experiment with different openings, and of course to keep any loses away from prying Western eyes.

His most common match player during the 1950s was GM Averbakh.


As he put it, “As a sparring partner, I evidently suited Botvinnik, and over the next two years we played about 25 training games. The time control was the standard one of two and a half hours for 40 moves. If a game remained unfinished, it was not normally resumed.”


Here are four of those secret games.




GM Botvinnik-GM Averbakh
Training Game
Moscow, Oct. 1955
[By the mid-1950s, Averbakh was considered an expert in the endgame. But here, he never gets to the endgame!]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 O-O 9.g4 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Qa5 11.h4 Be6 12.h5 Rfd8 13.hxg6 hxg6 14.a3 d5 15.e5 Nd7 16.Qh2 Nf8 17.Bd3 f6 18.exf6 exf6 (White has the advantage and can win a number of ways. He chooses the most direct route.)



19.b4! (Trapping the queen.) 1-0



GM Botvinnik-GM Averbakh
Training Game, June 6 1955
[With everything else being equal, a passed pawn is worth more than a pawn.]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nf3 c5 7.O-O Nc6 8.a3 (8.Qc2 is also good.) 8…Ba5 9.cxd5 exd5 10.dxc5 Bxc3 11.bxc3 Bg4 12.c4 Ne5 13.cxd5 Nxf3+ 14.gxf3 Bh3 15.e4! (White is willing to give up the exchange for a powerful, mobile pawn center.) 15…Nd7

[So why can’t Black take advantage of the exchange sacrifice?

Here is one answer:

Jesus Rodriguez-Oscar Vieira Ferreira (2065)
Argentina Team Tournament
Tucuman, 1971
15.e4 Bxf1 16.Bxf1 Nd7 17.Be3 f5 18.Bh3 fxe4 19.fxe4 Ne5 20.f4 Nc4 21.Qd4 Nxe3 22.Qxe3 Qf6 23.Rf1 Rae8 24.e5 g5 25.Qg3 Qg7 26.Be6+ Rxe6 27.dxe6 gxf4 28.Qxg7+ Kxg7 29.Rd1 Rf5 30.Rd7+ Kg6 31.Rd5 Kg7 32.e7 Kf7 33.e6+ Kxe6 34.Rxf5 1-0.

The text game provides another answer.]

16.Kh1 Bxf1 17.Bxf1 Nxc5 18.Be3 b6 19.e5 Qd7 20.f4 Rfd8 21.Bg2 Rac8 22.Qf3 Nb3 23.Rd1 Rc3 24.f5 Nc5 25.f6 Rd3 26.Rg1 g6 27.Qf4 Qe8 28.Bxc5 bxc5 29.Re1 R3xd5 30.Bxd5 Rxd5 31.Qh6 Qf8 32.Qh3 Qd8




33.e6! 1-0



GM Botvinnik-GM Averbakh
Training Game, Oct. 1956
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3 c5 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Nc6 8.e4 cxd4 9.cxd4 Nxd4 10.e5 Qa5+ 11.Kf1 Ne8 12.Bb2!? [White has two good choices here; 12.Bd2 (ECO’s line), and 12.Bb2, which seems to be a Botvinnik TN.] 12…Nc6 13.Nf3 f5 14.Qc2 d6 15.Re1 dxe5 16.Nxe5 Nf6 17.h3 Qc5 18.g4 Ne4 19.Nxc6 Qxc6




20.Rg1! (White’s next moves are designed to open the diagonals for his bishops by eliminating the center pawns.) 20…Rf7 21.Re3 Qc5?! (21….Kf8 might seem anti-thematic, and perhaps even a little bizarre, but it’s important to get out of the soon-to-opened g-file.) 22.gxf5 exf5 23.Bxe4 fxe4 24.Qc3 1-0



GM Botvinnik-GM Yuri Averbakh
Training Game, 1956
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.d3 Nf6 8.Qe2 [Botvinnik has what he wants; a few small advantages (in this case, space and positional) he can take to the endgame.] 8…Bg4 9.h3 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 Qd5 11.Bg5

[Also good is 11.O-O O-O 12.Be3 Rad8 13.b3 b6 14.Rad1 Qd7 15.Nxf6+ Rxf6 16.Qg4 Qd5 17.Qe4 Rg6 18.Kh1 Re8 19.f3 Rf8 20.Bg1 Bd6 21.Rde1 Re8 22.Re2 Rg5 23.Bh2 Rh5 24.Rfe1 Qa5 25.Qxc6 1-0, E. Szalanczy (2237)-M. Lyell (2225), First Saturday, Budapest, Sept. 4 2012.]

11…Nxe4 12.dxe4 Qf7 13.Qxf7+ Kxf7 14.Be3 Ke6 (Black’s king travels to the center to contest the center squares.) 15.Ke2


(White’s advantages are now easier to perceive. One is that two of Black’s queenside pawns are doubled. A bigger problem is that his e5-pawn is isolated. Finally, White’s bishop has more freedom of movement than Black’s. Black’s biggest plus is his strongly placed king on e6.)


[Black can also try 15…Rad8. After 16.Rad1 (not 16.Bxa7? b6!) 16…Rd6 17.Rxd6+ cxd6 18.a4 (Again, not 18.Bxa7? due to 18… a8). Stockfish prefers 15…Rad8 16.h4 h5 17.g3 Rd7 18.a4 g6 19.Rag1 a6 20.Ra1 Rhd8 21.f3 Rf8 22.Rhg1 Rdd8 23.Rgb1 Rf7 or even the more immediate 15….h5 16.h4 a6 17.g3 Rad8 18.a4 a5 19.Rag1 g6 20.Rc1 Rhf8 21.Ra1 Rh8 22.Rag1 b6 23.f3 Rhf8. Verdict: White has definite, and annoying (for Black), advantages. The big question is: “Can White win?” The answer is: “Probably yes, especially if you are a GM”.]

16.h4 Rf7 17.h5 h6 18.Rh3 Bg5 19.Rd1 Raf8 20.f3 a5 21.Rg3 Kf6 22.Rg4 a4 23.g3 Ke6 24.Rf1 Bxe3 25.Kxe3 Rd7 26.f4 Rf6 27.Rg6 Kf7 28.fxe5 Rxf1 29.e6+ Ke7 30.exd7 1-0


[30….Kxd7 31.Rxg7+ Kd6 (31…Kd8 is passive. White will eventually win by slowly, surely, and simply moving up the board. Black’s only chance to bring his king up and challenge White for control of the board. But White still wins.) 32.Rg6+ Ke5 33.Rxh6 Rc1 34.Rh8.]




The “Dragon” describes a vast complex variation in the Sicilian. Black sets up a fianchettoed bishop on g7, castles kingside, and hopes to attack on the queenside.


But where did the name Dragon come from?


So far, the research indicates that the name originated from the 19th century Russian player Fyodor Dus-Chotimirsk. He claimed to have invented the term in 1901 as Black’s kingside pawn structure resembled the constellation Draco. The constellation’s name means “dragon” in Latin.


It might also help to know that Dus-Chotimirsk was an amateur astronomer.


We can only assume that the fianchettoed bishop represents the head of the dragon while the bishop’s long diagonal is its tail. You will appreciate the long diagonal (tail) of the dragon after playing over a few games.

Here is an illustrated (AKA with diagrams) introduction to the Dragon.


M. Maric-S. Matveeva
Yugoslavia, 1992
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 g6 6.g3 Nc6 7.Nde2 b6 8.Bg2 Ba6 9.O-O Bg7 10.Nd5 O-O 11.Re1 Rc8 12.c3 Nd7 13.Be3 Nc5 14.Nd4 Ne5 15.Nb4 Bb7 16.f3 a5 17.Nd5 e6 18.Nf4 Nc4 19.Nb5 Ba6 20.Bxc5 Rxc5 21.a4 Nxb2 22.Qb3 Nxa4 23.Nxe6 Rxb5 24.Qxa4 fxe6

0-1 (Black is threatening White’s “c” pawn. And 25.c4? Rb4! loses more material than just a pawn.)


Milenko Lojanica-Gawain Jones
Victoria, 2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 O-O 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.O-O-O Rb8 11.Nxc6? bxc6 12.h4 Qa5 13.Nb1??  Nxe4! 0-1 (with the idea of Bxb2#.)


Ka Szadkowski (2300)-M. Mroziak (2406)
Polish Team Ch., 2nd League
Szklarska Poreba, Sept. 2 2017
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 O-O 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.O-O-O Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.h4 Rfc8 13.Bd3 Qa5 14.h5? Rxc3! 15.Qxc3 Qxa2+ 0-1


Jan Svatos (2280)-Pavel Jirovsky (2335)
Czech Chess Union Open Ch.
Prague, 1964
[A question for White. What is worse than worse having a bishop with long diagonal attacking your castled position? Having two bishops with long diagonals attacking your castled position! Not to mention the enemy queen and rooks. Details below.]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.Be3 O-O 8.f3 Nc6 9.Qd2 a5 10.O-O-O a4 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.e5 Ne8 13.exd6 Nxd6 14.Be2 Qa5 15.Bd4 e5! (White was probably not expecting this move. It opens up the position in Black’s favor.) 16.Bc5 Qxc5 17.Qxd6 Qe3+! (This little zwischenzug keeps the advantage for Black. Obviously not 17…Qxd6? 18.Rxd6 and White is doing OK.) 18.Qd2 Qb6 19.Bc4 Qb4 20.b3 axb3 21.Bxb3 e4 22.Nb1 Qb6 23.c3? (All this move does is to loosen up White’s castled position. It’s hard to find a good move, but 23.fxe4!? keeps Black’s bishop from f5 for at least another move.) 23…exf3! 24.gxf3 Bf5! -+


25.Kb2 Rfb8! 0-1



The next two games are from the rarely played Zollner Gambit. Consider these games as sidenotes.


Raymond Martin (2230)-Raymond Vollmar (2143)
US Open
Fort Worth, TX, July 9 1951
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.O-O O-O 9.f4 Qb6 10.e5 (The Zollner Gambit) 10…dxe5 11.fxe5 Nxe5 12.Nf5 Qe6 13.Nxg7 Kxg7 14.Qd2 Re8 15.Rae1 Bd7 16.Bd4 Bc6 17.Qf4 Ned7 18.Bg4 Qd6 19.Qxd6 exd6 20.Rxe8 Rxe8 21.Bxd7 Bxd7 22.Nd5 1-0


L. H. Hansen (1993)-A. Groenn (2409)
Sveins Memorial
Oslo, June 24 2011
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 g6 7.O-O Bg7 8.Be3 O-O 9.f4 Qb6 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 Nxe5 12.Nf5 Qe6 13.Nxg7 Kxg7 14.Qd2 Kh8 15.Nb5 Nc4 16.Bxc4 Qxc4 17.Na3 Qc6 18.Qd4 b6 19.Nc4 Bb7 20.Rf2 Rfd8 21.Qh4 Qe4 22.Qxe4 Nxe4 23.Rf4 Rac8 24.b3 f5 25.Re1 Ba6 0-1




David McTavish (2224)-Jura Ochkoos (2298)
Canada Open
Toronto, 1992
[Black has to be careful not trade off his dragon.]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 O-O 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.O-O-O Qb8 11.h4 Rc8 12.Bb3 a5 13.a4 h5 14.g4 Nb4 15.Bh6 Rc5 16.gxh5 Nxh5 17.Rhg1 e6 18.Nf5 exf5 19.Rxg6 Kh7 20.Bxg7 f4 21.Rxd6 Be6 22.Bxe6! fxe6


23.Rd7! (Black is facing lines that end in mate. Lines like 23…Nxg7 24.Rxg7+! Kxg7 25.Rg1+ Kf7 26.Qd7+ Kf6 27.Qg7#) 1-0


Edwin Bhend-Otto Zimmermann
Zurich, 1954
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 O-O 9.O-O-O Na5? 10.Bh6! Be6 11.h4 Bc4 12.h5 Bxf1 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.hxg6 h5 15.Nf5+ 1-0


Yu Lie (2348)-Leon Hoyos (2395)
World U14 Ch.
Halkidiki, Greece, 2003
[If this is how someone under 14 plays chess, I would not want to play him as an adult! What makes this game more interesting is the fact is that since Black moved his dragoned bishop off the long diagonal, White takes over the long diagonal and uses it for HIS bishop.]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bc4 Bg7 4.O-O Nc6 5.c3 e5 6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 Nxd4 8.Nxd4 cxd4 9.Qf3! (Not just going for the easy mate but it also forces the Black queen to a vulnerable spot. Otherwise if 9…Nf6 or 9…Bf6, then 10.e5!) 9…Qf6 10.Qg3 Ne7 11.Bg5 Qe5 12.Bf4! (Willing to give up a pawn for continued rapid development.) 12…Qxe4 13.Bd3 Qd5 14.Bd6 Bf6 15.Re1 Kf8 16.Nd2 Qh5 17.Qf4 Bg5 18.Qe5 Kg8 19.Bxe7 Bxd2?! (Admittedly there is not much else Black can do. But now he is mated in three moves.)
20.Qxh8+!! Kxh8 21.Bf6+ 1-0

The Quiet Bishop Move

A quiet bishop move is one that does not deliver a check, does not fork, and usually it doesn’t even attack a piece directly. Indeed, it appears to do nothing.


But it does.

The forcefulness of the Quiet Bishop Move can be seen best from the following examples.



New York, 1924
1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Nf6 (The text move is a little passive. Black has several options here including 3…c6, 3…dxc4, and 3…g6.) 4.Bg2 Bd6 5.O-O O-O 6.b3 Re8 7.Bb2 Nbd7 8.d4 c6 9.Nbd2 Ne4 10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Ne5 f5 12.f3 exf3 13.Bxf3 Qc7 14.Nxd7 Bxd7 15.e4 e5 16.c5 Bf8 17.Qc2 exd4 18.exf5 Rad8 19.Bh5 Re5 20.Bxd4 Rxf5 21.Rxf5 Bxf5 22.Qxf5 Rxd4 23.Rf1! Rd8 24.Bf7+ Kh8


25.Be8! (The bishop does nothing except to isolate the enemy king. But now White has several forced mates. First, he threatens 26.Qxf8#. Black can try 25…Rxe8, but after 26.Qxf8+, White has the well-known back rank mate. And Black is still mated after 25…h6 26.Qxf8+ Kh7 27.Bg6+! Kxg6 28.Qf5#. Black resigns.) 1-0

Zoltan Ribli-Andras Adorjan
Hungary, 1983
1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 b6 4.e3 e6 5.d4 cxd4 6.exd4 Bb7 7.a3 d5! 8.cxd5 Nxd5= 9.Ne5 a6 10.Qa4+ Nd7 11.Nxd5 b5! 12.Qb3 Bxd5 =/+ 13.Qg3 Nxe5 14.dxe5 h5! 15.h4 Rc8 -/+ 16.b4 g6 17.Bg5 Be7 18.Bxe7 Qxe7 19.Be2 Bc4! 20.Rc1 O-O! 21.Bxh5 a5! 22.bxa5 Qa7! 23.Bd1 Qxa5+ 24.Qc3 Qa8! 25.Qe3 Rfd8 26.Bf3? Qa5+ 27.Qc3

27…Bf1!! (The bishop does nothing except to isolate the enemy king. As an added bonus White’s queen is now being attacked by the Rook. Even here the bishop is also quiet, allowing another piece to potentially capture the queen. I’ll let you figure out why White can’t play 28.Qxa5?) 0-1

A bishop move that is a little louder.

Walter Harris-Anthony Cantone
US Open
Omaha, Nebraska, July 24 1959
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 O-O 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7 12.Nbd2 Nc6 13.dxc5 dxc5 14.Nf1 Rd8 15.Qe2 Be6

(So far this is all theory.

GM Fischer-GM Erich Eliskases, Mar del Plata, Argentina, 1960 continued instead with the alternate 15…Nh5!?. White played the simple, and yet strong, 16.a4 Rb8 17.axb5 axb5 18.g3 g6 19.h4 Be6 20.Ne3 c4 21.Ng5 Bxg5 22.hxg5 Na5 23.Ng4 Bxg4 24.Qxg4 Nb3 25.Bxb3 cxb3 26.Be3 Ra8 27.Rxa8 Rxa8 28.Rd1 Qc6 29.Rd5 f5 30.Qd1 f4 31.gxf4 exf4 32.Qxb3 Qc4 33.Qxc4 bxc4 34.Bd4 f3 35.Be3 h6 36.gxh6 Nf6 37.Rd6 Kf7 38.Rxf6+ Kxf6 39.Bd4+ Kg5 40.h7 Kf4 41.Kh2 g5 42.h8=Q Rxh8+ 43.Bxh8 g4 44.e5 1-0.)

16.Ne3 h6 17.Nh2 Rac8 18.Nf5!? Bxf5 19.exf5 c4 20.Ng4! Re8 21.Qf3 Rcd8 22.Qg3! Kh8 23.Nxh6! gxh6 24.Bxh6 Rg8 25.Qh4 Nh7? 26.f6! Bxf6



27.Bg5! 1-0

Corona Problems? No problem!

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


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


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


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


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



s-l1600 (1)

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


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


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


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


And then proceed as above.

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


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



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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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


27.Qc3!! 1-0

The French Problem

Many years ago. I was playing a tournament. Sometime between my morning game and afternoon game I met a young guy.


He was asking for help against the French Defence, saying he had a problem trying to figure it out so he could win as White.


He didn’t have a board or a set. I set up my pieces on my board so I can both see the moves. By the way, if you ever attend a tournament, ALWAYS bring a set with you. You want to show off you are making some investment in learning more about the game.


Anyway, I set up the board.



I then asked if he knew the Advanced Variation (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5).



He said, “It’s been analyzed to death and the only way for White to try to gain an advantage was to play the Milner-Barry.” “But,” he continued, “White still loses”.


I don’t completely understand what he was trying to tell me. It sounded like he was repeating someone who knew the names of the variations, but little else. Maybe I’ll unravel it.


I figured we both have the time. Let’s keep the conversation going.



I replied, “Ok, how about the Classical Variation (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5)?”


He answered me, “But it’s even more drawish than the Advanced Variation!”


“Ok. So what do you think of the Winawer (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4)?”


“Too much stuff to remember! And I don’t have the time to study all the lines.”


It turns out he didn’t want an improvement it the main lines. He wanted a brand-new way to counter 1.e4 e6.



I told him the French Defence got its name from a correspondence game between the cities of London and Paris in 1834.



London Chess Club-Paris Chess Club
corres. 1834
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bd3 c5 6.Qe2+ Be7 7.dxc5 O-O 8.Be3 Re8 9.Bb5 Nc6 10.Nd4 Bxc5 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.c3 Bxd4 13.cxd4 c5 14.Qd3 Qb6 15.O-O Ba6 16.Qb3 Qxb3 17.axb3 Bxf1 18.Kxf1 Ng4 19.dxc5 Nxe3+ 20.fxe3 Rxe3 21.Nd2 Rae8 22.b4 Rd3 23.Rxa7 Rxd2 24.b5 Rxb2 25.b6 d4 26.b7 d3 27.Ra8 Kf8 0-1



But the basic ideas go way back to Greco.



Rome, 1620?
1.e4 e6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Bd3 Nc6 4.Nf3Be7 5.h4 O-O 6.e5 Nd5 7.Bxh7+! (yes, this famous sacrifice originated with Greco.) 7…Kxh7 8.Ng5+ Bxg5 9.hxg5+ Kg8 10.Qh5 f5 11.g6 Re8 12.Qh8mate 1-0



And I concluded, “To find a new way to combat the French may not be possible.”


“Please anything! Even if it might be bad for White. I want something to at least try.”


OK, the opened the door a little.


The Schlechter Variation is defined by the moves 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Bd3. White’s bishop gets an early start in the game. However, it can be almost immediately challenged by Black’s knight.


But let’s not get too far ahead. Black can quickly lose the game (which is what my friend wanted to hear) if he falters.



Nuremburg, 1893
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Bd3 Nf6 4.e5! Nfd7 5.Nf3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.O-O f6 8.Re1 f5 9.Be3 c4?!(9…Be7, with the idea of 10…O-O is definitely better.) 10.Bc2 Be7 (Black plays this move a bit late and it doesn’t coordinate well with his previous move.) 11.b3 b5 12.a4 bxa4 13.bxc4 dxc4 14.d5 Ncxe5 15.dxe6 Nxf3+ 16.Qxf3 Nb6 17.Qxf5 Bf6 [Black has serious problems here. If 17…Rf8, then 18.Qh5+ g6 19.Bxg6+ hxg6 (or 19…Rf7 20.Bxf7+ Kf8 21.Bh6#) 20.Qxg6+ Rf7 21.Qxf7#.] 18.Bc5 Bb7 19.Qg6+! hxg6 20.Bxg6mate 1-0


Vega Gutierrez (2236)-Korneev (1630)
La Laguna Open
Spain, May 6 2009
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Bd3 c5? 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nc3 Qd6 6.Nb5 Qb6 7.Bf4 Na6 8.Nf3 Nf6 9.Ne5 Qa5+ 10.c3 Nd5 11.Bg5 Qb6 12.Qa4 Bd7 13.Nd6+ Qxd6 14.Nxd7 Be7 15.dxc5 Nxc3 16.bxc3 Qxd3 17.Ne5+ b5 18.cxb6 1-0


Toronto, 1934
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Bd3 dxe4 4.Bxe4 Nf6 5.Bd3 c5 6.dxc5 Bxc5 7.Nf3 O-O 8.O-O Nc6 9.c3 (Seems solid and reasonable.) 9…e5?! (There are not too many games with this position. But even with lack of games, this move seems to weaken Black too much for further consideration by other French players.) 10.Bg5 Re8 11.Qc2 h6 12.Bxf6 Qxf6 13.Nbd2 Bb6 14.Ne4 Qe7 15.Ng3 g6 16.Bxg6 fxg6 17.Qxg6+ Kf8 18.Nh5 Qf7 19.Qxh6+ Ke7 20.Ng5 Qf5 21.Rad1 Bd7 22.Qd6+ Kd8 23.Ng7 Qg4 24.N5e6+ 1-0




But Black can equalize in the main line after 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Bd3 dxe4 4.Bxe4 Nf6 5.Bd3 c5 6.dxc5 Bxc5 7.Nf3 Nc6.




Moscow, 1925
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Bd3 dxe4 4.Bxe4 Nf6 5.Bd3 c5 6.dxc5 Bxc5 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.O-O Qc7 9.Nc3 Bd7 10.Bg5!? (A move that may be slightly too aggressive.) 10…O-O-O 11.Qe2 e5 (ECO evaluates this position as equal. Personally, I think if any player has the advantage, it is Black.) 12.Be4 Bg4 13.Bxc6  Qxc6 14.h3 Bxf3 15.Qxf3 Qxf3 16.gxf3 Bd4 17.Nd1 Rd6 18.c3 Bb6 19.Ne3 Nh5 20.Nf5 Rd3 21.Rad1 Rxf3 22.Nd6+ Kc7 23.Kg2 e4 24.Nxe4 Rf5 25.Be3 Re5 26.Ng3 Nxg3 27.Bxb6+ Kxb6 28.fxg3 Re2+ 29.Rf2 Rhe8 30.Rd2 1/2-1/2


Ruiz Sanchez (2455)-Gallego Alcaraz (2448)
Guillermo Garcia Elite
Santa Clara, Cuba, May 17 2017
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Bd3 c5 4.Nf3 dxe4 5.Bxe4 Nf6 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.O-O Qc7 9.Nc3 Bd7 10.a3?!  (A move that may be slightly too passive.) 10…a6 11.Ne4 Ba7 12.Qe1 Ng4 13.h3 h5 14.Qc3 Bd4 15.Qd2 f5 16.Neg5 Ba7 17.hxg4 hxg4 18.Qf4 Qxf4 19.Bxf4 gxf3 20.Nxf3 O-O-O 21.Rfe1 Rh5 22.Bc4 Rdh8 23.Kf1 g5 24.Bxg5 e5 25.Be3 e4 -/+ 26.Ng1 Bb8 27.f4 Rh2 28.b4 R8h4 29.g3 Rg4 30.Re2 Rh7 31.Bf2 Ne7 32.Rd1 Bc7 33.Red2 Bc6 34.Be6+ Kb8 35.Re1 Rh1 36.c4 Ba4 37.Re3 Bb6 38.c5 Bc7 39.Bd7 Bc6 40.Bxc6 bxc6 41.Rb3 Nd5 42.Re2 Kb7 43.Kg2 Rh7 44.Kf1 Rg6 45.a4 Nf6 46.b5 a5 47.b6 Bd8 48.Rd2 Nd5 49.Ne2 Bf6 50.Bd4 Bxd4 51.Rxd4 Rh1+ 52.Kf2 Rgh6 53.Rxd5 cxd5 54.Ke3 Rc6 55.Rb5 Rd1 56.Rxa5 d4+ 57.Kf2 Rd2 58.Ra7+ Kb8 59.a5 d3 60.Ke3 Rxe2+ 61.Kd4 d2 62.Kd5 Rxc5+ 0-1



Here’s a game which shows my suggestion to my friend is not so unique after all.



IM Yan Teplitsky instructed his women team competing in the 35th Chess Olympiad in Bled to play this variation. Maybe there is something more about this opening.



Dina Kagramanov-Elenoara Ambrosi
Women’s Ol.
Bled, 2002
[IM Yan Teplitsky, “35th Chess Olympiad – Bled, Slovenia”, En Passant (Canada’s leading chess magazine), Apr. 2003]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Bd3 (A rare line that does not have a very good reputation.)3…dxe4 4.Bxe4 Nf6 5.Bf3 c5 6.Ne2 Nc6 7.Be3 Qb6 8.b3 cxd4?![Now White gets to untangle her pieces. Much better is 8…Nxd4 (also for Black is to develop her queenside with 8…Bd7) 9.Nxd4 e5 10.Ne2 e4.] 9.Nxd4 Qa5+(While 9…Ne5 10.O-O Bc5 11.c3 Bd7 12.b4 Nxf3+ 13.Qxf3 Bxd4 14.Bxd4 Qc6 15.Qg3 is just as bad for Black, here 9…Bc5 10.Nxc6 Bxe3 11.fxe3 bxc6 12.Kf2 led to comfortable position for Black in Sirlett-Benggawanm Bled ol f (2) 2002, from the same match.) 10.Qd2 Qxd2+ (A funny continuation is 10…Nxd4 11.Qxa5 Bb4+ but White can just recapture the knight.) 11.Nxd2


11…Nxd4?[Black is behind in development, and has a much better way of playing by depriving White of the bishop pair with 11…Ne5! 12.Nb5 Nxf3+ 13.Nxf3 Nd5 14.c4 (but not 14.Bxa7? Bd7 15.a4 Bxb5 16.axb5 Bc5 and Black wins.) 14…Nxe3 15.fxe3 Bb4+ and Black is better.]12.Bxd4 Bd6 13.Nc4 Be7 14.O-O O-O 15.Na5! Nd5 16.c4 Nb4?(Black now loses a pawn. Much better is 16…Bb4 although Black still isn’t happy after  17.cxd5 Bxa5 18.dxe6 fxe6 19.Rac1.)17.Nxb7 Nc2 18.Na5 Nxd4 19.Bxa8 Bd7 20.Rad1 e5 21.Bd5 Rb8 22.Rfe1 Bd6 23.Nb7 Bc7 24.Nc5 Bg4 25.f3 Bc8 26.Rxd4 1-0



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

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

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



1000_Best_Short_Games_1 1000_Best_Short_Games_2



But why is this book so popular?

First, it is written for the club player.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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


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


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


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

Attacking by Castling, Part 2

You probably want to again read the first part of this series. I have greatly updated and enlarged Part 1 to cover more games and ideas. I hope you enjoy the additions.


And now onto Part 2.





Perhaps the best well-known, as well as the first known case of mating, while is this game.

Please remove the R on a1 as the combination at the end does not work with the extra rook.


New Orleans, 1858
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7 (The Fried Liver Attack was more popular in the 19th century. It’s largely due to the idea that the sacrifice is too strong for Black to survive. But strangely, it now appears that Black is doing O.K.) 6…Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6 8.Nc3 Nd4 9.Bxd5+ Kd6 10.Qf7 (with the idea of Ne4#) 10…Be6 11.Bxe6 Nxe6 12.Ne4+ (White has a large advantage here. The only question is whether position is a +/- or a +-.) Kd5 13.c4+ Kxe4 14.Qxe6 Qd4 15.Qg4+ Kd3 16.Qe2+ Kc2 17.d3+ Kxc1 18.O-Omate! 1-0





George B. Spencer-N.N.
Minneapolis Chess Club, 1893
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ (The Lolli Gambit. It’s unclear if Black should play 5…Ke7 or the text move. In this case, Black can expect little respite from the checks.) 5…Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke6 7.Qxg4+ Kxe5 8.d4+!?


[Greco-N.N., Italy, 1620?, continued with 8.Qf5+ Kd6 9.d4 Bg7 10.Bxf4+ Ke7 11.Bg5+ Bf6 12.e5 Bxg5 13.Qxg5+ Ke8 14.Qh5+ Ke7 15.O-O Qe8 16.Qg5+ Ke6 17.Rf6+ Nxf6 18.Qxf6+ Kd5 19.Nc3+ Kxd4 20.Qf4+ Kc5 21.b4+ Kc6 22.Qc4+ Kb6 23.Na4mate 1-0. Both moves seem good enough to win the game.]

8…Kxd4 9.b4 Bxb4+ 10.c3+ Bxc3+ 11.Nxc3 Kxc3


12.Bb2+! Kxb2 (If Black was to play 12…Kd3!?, then White would castle queenside to continue the attack.) 13.Qe2+ Kxa1 14.O-Omate 1-0
Black get his revenge in these games.


N.N.-C. Meyer
Ansbach, Germany, 1931
1.b3 d5 2.Bb2 Bg4 3.h3 Bh5 4.Qc1 Nd7 5.e3 e5 6.Be2 Ngf6 7.Bxh5 Nxh5 8.Qd1 g6 9.f4 Qh4+ 10.Ke2 Ng3+ 11.Kd3 Nc5+ 12.Kc3 Nge4+ 13.Kb4 Nd3+ 14.Ka4 b5+ 15.Ka5 Bb4+ 16.Ka6 Qf6+ 17.Kb7 Qb6+ 18.Kxa8 O-Omate 0-1


Lodewijk Prins-Lawrence Day
1968 Lugano Olympiad
Switzerland, 1968
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 a6 4.Be2 Nc6 5.O-O Nf6 6.Nc3 Qc7 7.a3 b6 8.d4 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Bb7 10.Be3 Bd6 11.h3 Be5 12.Qd3 h5 13.Rfc1 Bh2+ 14.Kf1 Ne5 15.Qd1 Nxe4 16.Na4 Nc5 17.Nxb6 Qxb6 18.Nf3 Qc6 19.Bxc5 Bf4 20.Be3 Bxe3 21.fxe3 Ng4 22.hxg4 hxg4 23.Ne1 Rh1+ 24.Kf2 g3 25.Kxg3 Rxe1 26.Qxe1 Qxg2+ 27.Kf4 g5 28.Ke5 Qe4+ (There are some sources which claim that White resigned here. Personally, I prefer that the game continued to the mate.) 29.Kf6 Qf5+ 30.Kg7 Qg6+ 31.Kh8 O-O-Omate 0-1



Now you might believe that mating by castling can only happen when the enemy king is on your first rank. But that isn’t true.



Antonin Kvicala-N.N.
1.e4 c5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 e6 4.Nc3 a6 5.d4 b5 6.d5 bxc4 7.dxc6 d6 8.e5 d5 9.Bg5 f6 10.exf6 Nxf6 11.Ne5 h6 12.c7 Qxc7 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Qh5+ Ke7 15.Qf7+ Kd6 16.Qxf6 Be7 17.Ne4+ dxe4 18.O-O-Omate 1-0


N.N.-Ryan Marcelonis
Internet Game, Sept. 15 2015
[Believed to be the fastest game ending in a castling mate.]
1.e4 c5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 d6 4.e5 Qc7 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.d4 dxe5 7.Nxe5 Nxe5 8.dxe5 Bxb5 9.a4 Qxe5+

10.Kd2? (White has the better 10.Be3 Qxb2 11.axb5 Qxa1 12.O-O e6, and while he is losing, he is not completely lost.) 10…O-O-Omate 0-1


If a miniature is 25 moves or less, then what is a game that is 10 moves or less? This was a vexing question a young teen wanted to answer back in the 1980s.

He wanted to collect these games for both study and fun. But how would he do it?

There was no Internet, no ECOs, and no PGN files. And while libraries did exist, there were only slim sections dedicated to the subject of chess. He asked his friends, at least the ones who played chess. But they didn’t know either.

So, he decided to create his own lexicon and organization for these games.

He first started off by asking himself, when is smaller than a “mini”. Why “micro” of course! And he loved the idea of micros being 10 moves or less as 10 is an easy number remember. And he knew he could memorize games at least 10 moves long. And of course, he didn’t have a word processor so he would have to copy these games by hand. And he was lazy.

So, he set up the following conditions. One, they all had to be 10 moves or less. Two, they would be organized by mates (i.e., winning a king), wining of a queen, winning of a piece, and “others”. Three, the listing of the games needed be flexible to incorporate additional games.



Here is his work.

(P.S.: I added some ECO codes, notes, and additional games  to his original manuscript – RME).





Fool’s Mate
1.f3 e5 2.g4 Qh4mate 0-1


Scholar’s Mate
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Qf3 Nd4? (> Nf6!) 4.Qxf7mate 1-0


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

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

5.Nxe5! Bxd1 6.Bxf7+ Ke7 7.Nd5mate 1-0

Munich, 1932
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Qe2 Ngf6?? (If Black insists on moving one of his knights, then 5…Ndf6 is the only way to go.) 6.Nd6mate 1-0 (This game has been repeated dozens of times. Obviously, something to remember.)

Vienna, 1925
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Bf4 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bb4+ 6.Nbd2 Qe7 7.a3 Ngxe5 8.axb4 Nd3mate 0-1 (Another game that has been repeated dozens of time.)

Blindfold Game
New York, 1935
1.e4 e5 2.Ne2 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.Nbc3 Qa5 5.d4 Nc6 6.d5 Nb4 7.Bd2 Bf5 8.Rc1 Bxc2 9.Rxc2 Nd3mate 0-1


Finland, 1962
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6 3.Nxe5 Nc6 4.Qh5+ Ke7 5.Qf7+ Kd6 6.Nc4+ Kc5 7.Qd5+ Kb4 8.a3+ Ka4 9.b3mate 1-0


New York, 1896
1.d4 f5 2.Bg5 h6 3.Bh4 g5 4.Bg3 f4 5.e3 h5 6.Bd3 Rh6 7.Qxh5+! Rxh5 8.Bg6mate 1-0


Vienna, 1902
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nd7 3.Bc4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ng5+ Kf6 (6…Ke8 7.Ne6 wins the queen.) 7.Qf3mate 1-0


Bern, 1992
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 f6? 7.Qb3 Qd4?? 8.Bf7+ Ke7 [Stronger is 8…Kd8 9.Bxg8 (not 9.Qxb7 Qb4+ and Black cuts his losses to a single pawn..) 9…Qxe4+ 10.Be3 with the idea of Bd5 +-. An interesting and fun line for White is 10…Rxg8? 11.Qxg8 Qxg2 12.Qxf8+ Kd7 13.Qf7+ Kc6 (not 13…Kc8 14.Qe8#) 14.Nc3!! +- and while Black can restore material equality after 14.Qxh1+ 15.Ke2! Qxa1, he is mated by 15.Qd5#.] 9.Qe6+ Kd8 10.Qe8mate 1-0





Paris 1924
[Note: There is considerable doubt about the authenticity of this game. But it is a nice miniature.]
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nd2 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.h3? [4.Ngf3 Bc5 5.e3 Bxe3 6.fxe3 Nxe3 7.Qe2 Nxc2+ 8.Kd1 Nxa1 9.b3 (9.Ne4!? O-O!? 10.Bg5!? Qe8) d5 10.Bb2 (10.exd6!? Qxd6 11.Bb2) Nxb3 11.axb3 Be6 (11…Bg4 12.e6! Bxe6 13.Bxg7) 12.Qb5+! And with White’s active pieces, the position is suddenly unclear!] 4…Ne3! 0-1

corres., 1930
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.a3 d6 5.exd6 Bxd6 6.g3?? Nxf2 (7.Kxf2 Bxg3+ wins White’s queen.) 0-1


Hernandez Hugo-Clara Melendez Romeo
Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1977
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.Be2 Nc6 5.d4 Bxf3? 6.Bxf3 Qxd4?? 7.Bxc6+ 1-0 (But it is almost certain it was played before. If so, who first played it?)


Moscow, 1979
1.e4 e6 2.d4 f5!?! (The Kingston Defence. It would be more popular, but Black keeps losing.) 3.exf5 exf5 4.Bd3 d6 5.Ne2 Qf6 6.O-O Ne7 7.Re1 Bd7 8.Nf4 Qxd4 9.c3 Qb6 10.Nd5 Qa5 11.Bb5! (11…Bxb5 12.b4 catches the queen.) 1-0


Troppau, 1914
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 4.Kxf2 Qh4+ 5.g3 Qxe4 6.Qe2! Qxh1 7.Bg2 1-0

Cambridge, 1860
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Qb3 Qd7 8.Qxb7 Qc6? 9.Bb5 1-0


Chocen, 1950
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 (8…dxe5?? 9.Bxf7+ wins the queen, which as occurred many, many times before. Black has blocked this threat but White finds another way!) 9.e6 f5 10.Bf4 d5
11.Nxd5! cxd5 12.Bb5+ (A tactic worth remembering.) 1-0

Blitz Game
Pasadena, 1990
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Qf6 3.Nc3 Bc5 4.d4 exd4 (Bxd4) 5.Nd5 Qc6 (Qd8) 6.Ne5! Qa4 7.Bb5 Qa5+ (7…Qxb5? 8.Nxc7+ +-) 8.Bd2 Bb4 9.Bxb4 +- 1-0


Philadelphia, 1936
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.d5 Bc5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bxd8 Bxf2 0-1

US Open, 1950
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.a3 d6 6.e3 Bf5 7.exd6 Bxd6 8.Be2 Qf6 9.Nd4 Nxf2! 10.Kxf2 Bc2+ 0-1


Rjasan, 1973
1.e3 e5 2.d4 d5 3.Qf3 e4 4.Qf4 Bd6 0-1




Italy, circa 1620
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 Nf6 6.Qb3 Nxe4 7.Bxf7+ Kd7 8.Qxb7 Ng5 9.Bd5 Na6 10.Qc6+ Ke7 11.Qxa8 1-0


London, 1849
1.e4 c5 2.Bc4 e6 3.Nc3 Ne7 4.f4 d5 5.Bb5+ Nbc6 6.d3 d4 7.Nce2 Qa5+ 0-1


IM Shirazi-IM Peters X25
US Ch.
Berkeley, CA, 1984
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.axb4? Qe5+ (Winning a rook.) 0-1 (This game remains the shortest game played in the US Championships.)

Zalakaros, 1988
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Nd7 5.exd6 Bxd6 6.Be2 Ngf6 7.Bg5 Qe7 8.Nc3 O-O-O 9.O-O Bxf3 10.Bxf3 Qe5 0-1

Escalante (1820)-Howell (1917)
November Budget Special
Westminster C.C., Nov. 19 1994?
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 f5 4.d4 exd4 5.O-O fxe4 6.Bxg8 Rxg8 7.Ng5 Bf5 8.Qxd4 Qf6 9.Qd5 c6 10.Qxg8 h6 11.Nh7 1-0



Korody-Bologh, 1933
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 d4 4.e3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 dxe3 6.Bxb4 exf2 7.Ke2 fxg1=N+[The (in)famous “Lasker Trap”. White loses no matter what he does. And don’t ask me why it’s called the “Lasker Trap” – Bologh played it first!] 
8.Rxg1? Bg4+ 0-1

E. Schiller-ACCULAB
corres., 1991
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Qf6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Nd5 Qd6 5.d4 Nxd4 6.Nxd4 exd4 7.Bf4 Qc6 8.Nxc7+ Ke7 9.Nxa8 Qxe4+ 10.Be2 1-0 (Black is completely busted.)

P. Lang-H. Multhopp
World Open, 1995
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Nc3 O-O 6.e4 Re8 7.d3 Ng4 8.Be2 Nxh2! 9.Nxh2 Bg3+ 10.Kf1 Qd4 0-1

An interesting draw at the end provides food for thought.

Palatnik (2445)-Balashov (2550)
Voronezh, Russia, 1987
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.Bxc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bg4
8.Ng5 Bxd1 9.Bxf7+ Kd7 1/2-1/2



So why didn’t this young man continue his work?

Well, he did. But now he uses a laptop with a word processor.