Clarke’s 100

My copy of Clarke’s 100 Soviet Miniatures came last week. And I had this long weekend to play over many of the games. Here is what I found.

First, the book is in Descriptive Notation (DN), not Algebraic Notation (AN). I knew this before as I have old copies of the British Chess Magazine (BGM), where the games first appeared in a series of articles titled, “Soviet Miniatures”. But I am mentioning this as many younger players are not familiar with DN and will find the games hard to follow. I translated the following games into AN, but obviously not the entire book.

Secondly, Clarke separated his collection into several thematic chapters such as “Queen Sacrifices”, “The Object is Mate”, and “King in the Centre”. That makes it easy to find games that fit your favorite style of attacking.

And finally, there are an incredible number of Sicilians. Of course, the Sicilian is well known to be a sharp opening. Still, there thirty-five (35) Sicilians in the book. Which comes out to 35%, a rather large percentage. The situation is not helped by the fact that one of chapters is titled, “Sicilicide”.

But it is an enjoyable book.

And now, onto the games!

Rubenchik-Kanayan
Russian Ch., ½ Finals, 1957
[Clarke, 100 Soviet Miniatures, #6]
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 Na5
(A natural move but not a very good one. Better is 9… Nxd4 10. Bxd4 Be6, as Black need not fear the doubling of his e-pawn.) 10.Bb3 Bd7 (Too passive. … Probably he should have tried 10…a6 and if 11.Bh6, then 11…e5 12.Nde2 Be6.) 11.Bh6 Rc8 12.h4 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Rxc4 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.h5! e5 16.Nde2 Nxh5 (This is suicide. The only way to continue was 16… Be6 17.g4 Qe7 18.hxg6 fxg6.) 17.g4 Nf6 18.Qh6+ Kg8 19.g5 Nh5 20.Rxh5 gxh5 21.Nd5 f5 22.g6 hxg6 (All Black’s moves ae forced.) 23.Qxg6+ Kh8 24.O-O-O 1-0

Raush-Muratov
Kazakhstan Ch.
Karaganda, May 30 1958
[Clarke, 100 Soviet Chess Miniatures, #42]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng8 9.Bd4 f6
(A better defence is 9…c5 10.Bxc5 Qc7 11.Bd4 Bxe5. The text move results in a weakening of Black’s pawn formation.) 10.f4 Qa5 (If 10…d5 11.exd6 Qxd6 White can play 12.Qf3! with advantage. Posting the Queen on f3, where it continually hits at c6 is an ever-recurring motif in this variation, as it will be seen.) 11.e6! d6 [If 11…dxe6, White intends 12.Qf3! Bd7 (or 12…Bb7 13.Bc4) 13.O-O-O followed by Bc4 and Rhe1, when Black would find it hard to defend all his weak spots. 11…d5 could be met by 12.f5! consolidating the advanced pawn (12…gxf5? 13.Qh5+, etc.).] 12.Qf3 Bb7 13.Bd3 Rb8

14.b4! Qxb4? [This leads to summary defeat. He had to play 14…Qc7 (the Queen is dubiously placed after 14…Qa3 15.Qe3!), upon White could maintain his advantage (consisting of easier development and greater command of space by 15.Qe3.] 15.Rb1 Qxd4 (A good as forced, for 15…Qxd4 permits Rxb7, etc. The susceptibility to attack of the point c6 has already been illustrated several times; but never so forcibly as in the following play.) 16.Qxc6+!! Kf8 17.Rxb7 Rd8 (A terrible blunder would be 17…Re8? 18.Qxe8!) 18.Qc7 Re8 19.Rb8 Qe3+ 20.Kd1 Qxe6 21.Rxe8+ Kxe8 22.Bb5+ Kf8 23.Qb8+ 1-0

Vasiukov-Giterman
USSR Ch., 12 Finals
Odessa, 1960
[Clarke, 100 Soviet Miniatures, #76]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5 4.c3 f5
(The Cordel Variation of the Classical Defence. Like the Schliemann, it is suspected of being too loosening.) 5.d4 (Of the several alternatives here 5.Bxc6 is perhaps the simplest and best.) 5…fxe4 (Also playable is 5…exd4.) 6.Ng5 (At this stage 6.Bxc6 is usual; after 6…dxc6 7.Nxe5 Bd6 8.O-O! the position is considered to favour White. The text move poses certain new problems, and they are not solved by Black’s play here!) 6…Be7 7.dxe5! (A surprise. Black discovers that 7…Bxg5 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Qxg5 Qxg5 10.Bxg5 Nxe5 is answered by 11.Bf4 and 12.Bxc7 with a better ending for White. So he decides to take the e-pawn straightaway – while he can!) 7…Nxe5?? 8.Ne6! 1-0

GM Alexander Tolush-Lev Aronson
USSR Ch.
Moscow, 1957
[Clarke, 100 Soviet Miniatures, #28]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.cxd5
(This is not thought to be the best, since it helps Black to bring out his pieces rapidly. Both 3.Nc3 and 3.Nf3 are preferred and in both cases White can count on some positional advantage.) 3…Qxd5 4.Nf3 Bg4? (A typical maneuver in this defence, but quite wrong here. Correct is 4…e5! 5.Nc3 Bb4 and Black has achieved his goal: active play for his pieces – and more, equality in the centre.) 5.Nc3 Qa5 (Nor is 5…Qd7 very good, e.g. 6.d5 Bxf3 7.exf3 Ne5 8.Bf4 and the threat of 9.Bb5 is decisive.) 6.d5 O-O-O 7.Bd2 Bxf3 [Helping White still further by developing his f1-bishop for him. However, the position was already hopeless; for example, 7…Nb4 8.e4 Qb6 (or 8…e6 9.a3 Na6 10.Na4, etc.) 9.Rc1 with a winning attack.] 8.exf3 Nb4 [Or 8…Ne5 9.Rc1 Qb6 10.Be3 Qxb2 (10…c5 11.Na4 Qa5+ 12.Bd2! or 10…Qa5 11.a3!) 11.Nb5 again with a winning position.] 9.a3 Nxd5 (Aronson resigns himself to loss of material at once; but as we have seen, the threats were not to be denied for long, e.g. 9…Na6 10.b4 Qb6 11.Be3, etc.) 10.Na4! 1-0 [At best he can reach a lost ending by 10…Nb6 11.Bxa5 Rxd1+ 12.Rxd1 Nxa4 13.Bb5 Nb6 (not 13…Nxb2 14.Rd2) 14.Bxb6 axb6 (or 14…cxb6 15.Rc1+ Kd8 16.Ke2!) 15.Bd7+ Kb8 16.Be6!]

Clarke may not have known that this game is an exact duplicate of Alekhine-Nenarokov, Moscow, 1907. Then again, there was no Soviet Union at that time, only Russia.

Happy Birthday Patrick Wolff!

Patrick Gideon Wolff is an American Grandmaster born this day in 1968.

He earned his IM title 1988 and his GM title in 1990.

But even before receiving his IM title he was already making news by winning the 1983 US National High School Championship and the 1987 U.S. Junior Championship.

He also participated in the World Junior Championships 1987. But Anand, who eventually gained the World Championship, won this event.

IM Wolff (2370)-IM Sokolov (2525)
World Jr. Ch.
Baguio, July 1987
[Notes by IM Wolff, in “Anand Wins World Junior Championship”, Chess Horizons, Oct.-Nov., 1987, pg. 18]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.O-O-O Qc7 10.Bb3 O-O? (Now Black is clearly worse. Best is 10…Na5 with unclear complications.) 11.Rhg1 b5 12.g4 Na5 13.g5 Nxb3+ 14.axb3 Nd7 15.f4 b4 16.Nf5 exf5 17.Nd5 Qd8 18.exf5 Re8 19.Bd4! (A suggestion of Andy Soltis. ECO gives 19.g6 with complications.) 19…Bf8 (If 19…Bf6, Sokolov pointed out 20.Qxe8+ Qxe8 21.gxf6, which wins.) 20.Qh5 Re4 21.Bf6 Qe8 22.Nc7 Nxf6 23.gxf6 Qd8 24.Nd5!? (Or 24.fxg7 Be7 25.Nxa8 Bb7 26.Nb6 Qxb6? 27.Qxh7+ +-) 24…Bb7 25.fxg7 Be7 26.Rg3 Bf6 27.Rh3 Bxg7 28.Qxh7+ Kf8 29.f6? (29.Qxg7+ mates in four.) 29…Bxf6 30.Qxe4 Qa5 31.Qf5 Bg7 32.Qd7 1-0

Here is another event from 1988, noted for the tactical attack.

IM Patrick Wolff-WIM Alisa Mikhailovna Galliamova
Adelaide 1988
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.O-O-O Qc7 10.Bb3 O-O 11.Rhg1 b5 12.g4 Rb8

13.g5! Nd7 14.Qh5 Nxd4 15.Bxd4 b4 16.g6 hxg6 17.Rxg6 Nf6 18.Rxg7+ 1-0

And here Wolff is facing the World Champion as Black. It’s a miniature against one of the game’s best.

GM Kasparov-IM Wolff- X25
Simul
New York City, 1988

1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 c6 4.d4 exd4 5.Qxd4 d5 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.Qa4 Be7 9.O-O O-O 10.Be3 Ng4 11.Bd4 Nxd4 12.Nxd4 Qb6 13.Nc3 Qh6 14.h4 g5 15.Nxd5 Bd8

[White definitely has some problems with his castled position and coordination with his pieces. Incredibly, he might be lost already.

GM Mihai Şubă-GM Gilberto Milos
Spanish Open
Ponferrada, 1992
16.Rfc1 gxh4 17.Rxc8 Rxc8 18.Nf5 Rc1+ 19.Bf1 Qh5 20.Nfe7+ Bxe7 21.Nxe7+ Kh8 22.Qd4+ f6 23.Rxc1 hxg3 24.Kg2 Qh2+ 25.Kf3 Ne5+ 26.Ke3 Qxf2+ 27.Ke4 Qh2 28.Qc5 g2 29.Nf5 Nd7 30.Qe7 g1=Q 31.Qxd7 Qe5+ 32.Kd3 Qg8 0-1.]

16.Rac1 gxh4 17.Rxc8 hxg3 18.Nf3 Nh2 19.Rfc1 Rxc8 20.Rxc8 Nxf3+ 21.exf3 gxf2+ 22.Kf1 Qd2 23.Nf6+ Kg7 24.Ne8+ Kh8 25.Qe4 Bh4 0–1

GM Patrick Wolff somehow found the time to win the two US Championships (1992 and 1995).

We’ll end here with perhaps his most well-known game. But it’s for a different reason than winning a championship or a brilliancy.

GM Vassily Ivanchuk-GM Patrick Wolff
Biel Interzonal
Switzerland, July 16 1993
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 Nc6!?

[A relative rare, but otherwise good, response to 3.e4.

GM Karpov (2745)-Vadim Milov (2635), Biel, 1997, conitinued with 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.d5 Ne5 6.Bf4 Ng6 7.Be3 Nf6 8.Nc3 e5 9.Bxc4 a6 10.O-O Bd6 11.Be2 O-O 12.Nd2 Bd7 13.Rc1 Qe7 14.a3 b5 15.Nb3 Nf4 16.Bf3 Kh8 17.Na2 g5 18.Nc5 Rg8 19.Nb4 Rg6 20.Qc2 g4 21.Be2 Rag8 22.Rfd1 N6h5 23.g3 Bc8 24.Nc6 Qg5 25.Bf1 Rh6 26.Qc3 Nf6 27.Nd3 Qh5 28.h4 gxh3 29.Ndxe5! Rg7 30.Bxf4 Nxe4 31.Qe3 Qf5 32.Bxh6 h2+ 33.Kxh2 Nxf2 34.Bxg7+ Kxg7 35.Rd4 1-0.]

4.Be3 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.d5 Ne7 7.Bxc4 Ng6 8.f3 Bd6 9.Qd2 Bd7 10.Nge2 a6 11.Bb3 b5 12.a4 O-O 13.O-O Qe7 14.Rac1 Nh5 15.g3 h6 16.Bc2 Rab8 17.axb5 axb5 18.Ra1 Ra8 19.Bd3 Bb4 20.Rxa8 Rxa8 21.Qc2 Bc5 22.Nd1 Bd6 23.Nf2 Nhf4!

[If this position looks familiar it’s because Kasparov (remember him?) chose this this game as a starting point for the climax in the 2020 Netflix limited series, “The Queen’s Gambit”.] 24.Rc1 Qg5 25.Kh1 Qh5 26.Ng1 Nxd3 27.Nxd3 f5 28.Nc5 Bc8 29.Rf1 Ne7 30.Qd3 fxe4 31.fxe4 Qg6 32.Kg2 Kh7 33.Nf3 Ng8 34.Nh4 Qg4 35.Nf5 Nf6 36.h3 Qg6 37.g4 Bxc5 38.Bxc5 Ra4 39.Rf3 Rc4 40.Be7 Bxf5 41.Rxf5 Rd4 42.Qe3 Rxe4 43.Qf3 Rf4 44.Rxf4 exf4 45.Bxf6 Qxf6 46.Qd3+ Qg6 47.Qe2 c6 48.Kf3 cxd5 49.Kxf4 Qf6+ 50.Kg3 Qd6+ 51.Kf3 b4 52.h4 Qf6+ 53.Kg3 Qd6+ 54.Kf3 Qf6+ 55.Kg3 g6 56.Qe8 Qd6+ 57.Kf3 Kg7 58.g5 hxg5 59.hxg5 d4 60.Qe4 d3 61.Qb7+ Kf8 62.Qc8+ Ke7 63.Qb7+ Ke6 64.Qe4+ Kd7 65.Qb7+ Kd8 66.Qa8+ Kc7 67.Qa7+ Kc8 68.Qa8+ Kc7 69.Qa7+ Kc6 70.Qa6+ Kc5 71.Qxd6+ Kxd6 72.Ke3 Ke5 1/2-1/2

Correspondence Quickies

Fjolnisson-Ballschuh
corres., 1989/91
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4
(The Urusov Gambit. This gambit can also arise from the Bishop’s Opening: 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nf3.) 4…d5 5.exd5 Bg4 6.O-O Be7 7.Qd3 c6 8.Nxd4 Nxd5 9.Re1 O-O 10.Bxd5 cxd5 11.h3 Bh5 12.Nc3 Nc6 13.Nxd5 Qxd5 14.Nxc6 Qxc6 15.Rxe7 Rad8 16.Qe4 Rd1+ 17.Kh2 Qf6 18.Rxb7 Bg6 19.Qf3 Qxf3 20.gxf3 Bxc2 21.b4 Rc8 22.Rxa7 h6 23.b5 Bf5 24.b6 g5 25.b7 1-0

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


13.Qxf6! gxf6 14.Nxf6+ Ke7 15.Bd8mate 1-0

Majewski-Szamrej
corres.
Poland Ch., 1992
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6 8.Nc3 Ne7 9.d4 exd4 10.Nxd5 Nxd5 11.Qe4+ Kf6 12.Qxd4+ Kg6 13.Qxd5 Qe7+ 14.Be3 c6 15.Bd3+ Kf6 16.Qf3+ 1-0

S. Chasin-G. Bucciardini X25
corres.
European Masters Tournament, 1990/3
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.O-O Bc5 6.c3 Nxe4 7.cxd4 d5 8.dxc5 dxc4 9.Qxd8+ Kxd8 10.Rd1+ Bd7 11.Be3 Ke7 12.Na3 Be6 13.Nd4 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Rhd8 15.f3 Nf6 16.Rac1 c3 17.b3 Nd5 18.Nb5 c2! 19.Re1 a6 20.Nc3 Nb4 21.Re4 f5 22.Rh4 Kf7 23.Ne2 h6 24.g3? Bd5! 0-1

You must treat the Ruy Lopez with respect!

Philip Williams-Kenneth Jemdell
corres.
Golden Knights, 1986
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nd4 5.Nxe5 b5 6.Bb3 Qg5 7.Ng4 d5 8.Bxd5 Bxg4 9.f3 Bxf3 10.gxf3 Qg2 11.Rf1 Be7! 0-1

Alex Dunne (2183)-Juan Ortiz (1706)
corres.
Golden Knights, 1996
[C62]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 Bd7 5.Nc3 f6 6.Be3 a6 7.Bc4 Nge7 8.Qe2 Bg4 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.Nxe5 1-0

Snyder-Kohler
corres., 197?
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 a6 5.Ba4 b5 6.Bb3 h6 7.c3 Nf6 8.Bc2 Bb7 9.O-O exd4 10.cxd4 Be7 11.Re1 O-O 12.Nbd2
(White keeps developing. The knight move is defending his king and can opens the way for the knight to play a part in a kingside attack.) 12…Na5 (This knight is not doing anything useful here. When Black brings it back he has lost two tempi.) 13.Nf1 (This knight is heading for more active duties on the kingside.) 13…Nc4 14.Ng3 Re8 15.Nf5 Nb6 16.Bxh6 gxh6 17.Nxh6+ Kf8 18.Ng5 Qd7 19.Ngxf7 Kg7 20.Qd3 Nxe4 21.Rxe4 (Black has floated into a lost position. White sacrifice is easy as he has his eyes on the king.) 21…Bxe4 22.Qg3+ (Because of 22…Kf6 23.Qg5+ Ke6 24.Qg4+ Kf6 25.Qxe4) 1-0

Neal Moenich (1606)-Z. L. King (1706)
corres.
ASPCC, 2004
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bd7 6.Nc3 Qf6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.Bc4 g6 9.O-O Bg7 10.Re1 Nh6 11.f4 Ng4 12.Qe2 Qh4 13.h3 Bd4+ 14.Kh1 Nf2+ 15.Kh2 Nxh3 16.g3 Qh6 17.Kg2 Nxf4+ 18.Bxf4 Qh3+ 19.Kf3 Bg4mate 0-1

And I have to do a blog post on this opening!

Anker Aasum-Lothar Frenzel
corres., 1989
1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.f3 Bf5 5.g4 Bg6 6.g5 exf3 7.Qxf3 Qd4 8.Qxb7 Ng4 9.Qxa8 Qf2+ 10.Kd1 Ne3+ 0-1

A Game … and a Mystery

Back in 1993, when correspondence chess was played on postcards, Alina Markowski (a well-practiced organizer) set up a correspondence team to compete in the Correspondence Chess League of America (CCLA) team championship.

The team was known as the Kalifornia Kings. Jeff Arnold (an extremely likeable young man) took first board. I took second board, and the team finished third (if my memory is correct).

Jeff was not only a Master in correspondence chess, but also one in OTB.

This is perhaps his most famous game. Unfortunately, there is a little confusion about the exact date and location. NM Jerry Hanken suggests it was played in the Southern California Open, which means the game must have been played in Los Angeles in September of that year. Mr. Hanken has since passed away.

The account given in the Chess Correspondent (the magazine of the CCLA) of the same year (1997) claims the game was played at a North County Open, which would put that game in Oceanside, California. Personally I think the game was probably played in Oceanside, but I don’t know.

Does any reader know the details of the game? Please share your insights here.

Thank you!

And now the game (hold on to your seatbelts – it’s quite a ride! 🙂

NM Jeff Arnold-Harish (1975)
California, 1993
[Jerry Hanken, Rank and File, March/Apr. 1997 (JH) ; The Chess Correspondent, 1997 (CC)]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.a4 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.Nc3 b4 11.Ne2 Nb8 (11…Na5 12.Ba2 would return to the more usual continuations in this variation. – CC) 12.Ng3 (Considering the problems Black is likely to face before he can get his bishop to g7, namely a knight settling on g5, he probably would have done better to regroup with 12…Nfd7 only playing …g6 after his bishop was sitting on f6. – CC) 12…g6 (? Up to now, Back’s moves, though not the best, have been reasonable.12…Nbd7, followed by 13…Nc5 allows White only a tiny edge. – JH) 13.Bh6 [!? 13.c3!? (Arnold). I like 13.Bh6 better, although it will involve some hazardous sacrifices. 13.Bh6 lets Black know that his f7 also requires defending. – CC] 13…Re8 14.Ng5 d5 (What else can Black do? White now wins the pawn on e5. – JH) 15.exd5 Nxd5 [? “15…Bxd5 is better.” (Arnold) True, although Black hasn’t escaped all his problems. After 16.c4 bxc3 (also 16…Bb7 doesn’t quite work. 17.Rxe5 Nfd7 18.Re3 Bxg5 19.Rxe8+ Qxe8 20.Bxg5 just nets a pawn although it is bit backward!) 17.bxc3 Bf8 18.Bxf8 Kxf8 (or 18…Rxf8 19.Rxe5 Bxb3 20.Qxb3 the pawn on d3 is taboo: 20…Qxd3 21.Rd1) 19.N3e4, Black’s position is still under considerable pressure. – CC] 16.Rxe5 f6 (Black does not believe White has won a pawn and avoids 16…c6 in what now becomes a classic attack! – JH) 17.Qf3 (! – JH) 17…c6 (Too late! – JH.)

18.Nh5 [! “Good Knight!” (Arnold) – CC ; ! White has two pieces en prise. So, of course, he puts a third one into the pot! If 18…fxe5 19.Qf7+ and if 18…gxh5 19.Ne6 decides quickly. So …- JH] 18…fxg5 [If 18…gxh5 I had planned 19.Bxd5+ (Here Chess Life’s Jerry Hanken analyzed wrong. 19.Ne6 does not decide quickly. What about 19…fxe5 20.Nxd8 or 20.Qg3+ Kf7? Although this looks winning it is a lot slower.) 19…cxd5 20.Qf5 fxg5 21.Qe6+ Kh8 22.Qf7 Rg8 23.Rxe7 +- (Arnold)] 19.Nf6+ (! – CC) 19…Kh8 (If 19…Bxf6 20.Rxe8+ Qxe8 21.Qxf6 then it’s mate on g7 or f8. – JH) 20.Nxd5 Nd7 (If 20…cxd5 21.Qf7 and crunch! – JH) 21.Qf7 (Crunch anyway! – JH) 21…Bf8 22.Nf6 (Mate threat on g8! – JH ; ! Of course, the knight can’t be taken. If 19…Bxf6 20.Rxe8+ Qxe8 21.Qxf6 Black can’t defend the threatened mate on g7 without allowing an equally unpleasant fate on f8. – CC) 22…Nxf6 23.Rxe8 Qd7 24.Bg7mate 1-0

The same game in PGN

[Site “California”]
[Date “1993”]
[White “NM Jeff Arnold”]
[Black “Harish (1975)”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Source “Jerry Hanken, Rank and File, March/Apr. 1997 (JH) ; The Chess Correspondent, 1997 (CC)”]
{Jerry Hanken, Rank and File, March/Apr. 1997 (JH) ; The Chess Correspondent, 1997 (CC)} 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.a4 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.Nc3 b4 11.Ne2 Nb8 {11…Na5 12.Ba2 would return to the more usual continuations in this variation. – CC} 12.Ng3 {Considering the problems Black is likely to face before he can get his bishop to g7, namely a knight settling on g5, he probably would have done better to regroup with 12…Nfd7 only playing …g6 after his bishop was sitting on f6. – CC} g6 {? Up to now, Back’s moves, though not the best, have been reasonable.12…Nbd7, followed by 13…Nc5 allows White only a tiny edge. – JH} 13.Bh6 {!? 13.c3!? (Arnold). I like 13.Bh6 better, although it will involve some hazardous sacrifices. 13.Bh6 lets Black know that his f7 also requires defending. – CC} 13…Re8 14.Ng5 d5 {What else can Black do? White now wins the pawn on e5. – JH} 15.exd5 Nxd5 {? “15…Bxd5 is better.” (Arnold) True, although Black hasn’t escaped all his problems. After 16.c4 bxc3 (also 16…Bb7 doesn’t quite work. 17.Rxe5 Nfd7 18.Re3 Bxg5 19.Rxe8+ Qxe8 20.Bxg5 just nets a pawn although it is bit backward!) 17.bxc3 Bf8 18.Bxf8 Kxf8 (or 18…Rxf8 19.Rxe5 Bxb3 20.Qxb3 the pawn on d3 is taboo: 20…Qxd3 21.Rd1) 19.N3e4, Black’s position is still under considerable pressure. – CC} 16.Rxe5 f6 {Black does not believe White has won a pawn and avoids 16…c6 in what now becomes a classic attack! – JH} 17.Qf3 {! – JH} 17…c6 {Too late! – JH.} 18.Nh5 {! “Good Knight!” (Arnold) – CC ; ! White has two pieces en prise. So, of course, he puts a third one into the pot! If 18…fxe5 19.Qf7+ and if 18…gxh5 19.Ne6 decides quickly. So …- JH} 18…fxg5 {If 18…gxh5 I had planned 19.Bxd5+ (Here Chess Life’s Jerry Hanken analyzed wrong. 19.Ne6 does not decide quickly. What about 19…fxe5 20.Nxd8 or 20.Qg3+ Kf7? Although this looks winning it is a lot slower.) 19…cxd5 20.Qf5 fxg5 21.Qe6+ Kh8 22.Qf7 Rg8 23.Rxe7 +- (Arnold)} 19.Nf6+ {! – CC} Kh8 {If 19…Bxf6 20.Rxe8+ Qxe8 21.Qxf6 then it’s mate on g7 or f8. – JH} 20.Nxd5 Nd7 {If 20…cxd5 21.Qf7 and crunch! – JH} 21.Qf7 {Crunch anyway! – JH} 21…Bf8 22.Nf6 {Mate threat on g8! – JH ; ! Of course, the knight can’t be taken. If 19…Bxf6 20.Rxe8+ Qxe8 21.Qxf6 Black can’t defend the threatened mate on g7 without allowing an equally unpleasant fate on f8. – CC} 22…Nxf6 23.Rxe8 Qd7 24.Bg7# 1-0

A Continuation of From’s

A few posts ago I wrote about From’s Gambit (see “From England, with Love.”)

 
The research needed for that article helped this one. I finally got to play a From’s Gambit. And while the game is not perfect, it was a lot of fun to play.

 

“brandquito”-Escalante
Blitz Game
chess.com, July 15 2020
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3

 

(Most popular, after 5.e3 is 5…Ng4 with lines progressing with 6.Qe2 Nc6 7.Nc3.)

 

5…Nc6!?

2020_07_16_A

6.Be2

 

[A slightly passive move. 6.Bb5 should be considered. Here are four games illustrating that White’s play does not have to be limited to the kingside.

 

Speer-Heemsoth
corres.
Thematic Tournament, 1961
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3 Nc6 6.Bb5 Bd7 7.d3 Qe7 8.Nc3 O-O-O 9.Bd2 Ng4 10.Qe2 Nb4 11.Bxd7+ Rxd7 12.O-O-O f5 13.h3 Nf6 14.Nd4 g6 15.a3 Nbd5 16.Nxd5 Nxd5 17.c4 Nf6 18.Bc3 Re8 19.Nc2 Nh5 20.Qf3 Bg3 21.Rd2 c5 22.Rhd1 Qe6 23.Kb1 Kb8 24.Re2 Be5 25.Bxe5+ Qxe5 26.g4 fxg4 27.hxg4 Nf6 28.Rf2 Re6 29.d4 Qg5 30.dxc5 Qxc5 31.Qf4+ Kc8 32.Nd4 Red6 33.g5 Ne8 34.Rc1 Re7 35.Rc3 a6 36.Qg4+ Kb8 37.Rf8 Ka7 38.b4 Qc7 39.Kb2 Rd8 40.Rf4 Ng7 41.c5 Nh5 42.b5 Qxf4 43.b6+ Kb8 44.exf4 Rxd4 45.c6 bxc6 46.Rxc6 Re8 47.Qg1 Rd5 48.Qc1 Ng3 49.Re6 Rc8 50.Re8 1-0

 

Antoshin-Belov
Moscow, 1984
[Gambit Revue, 2/1991]
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3 Nc6 6.Bb5! (A new idea.) 6…O-O (6…Bd7 should be preferred and 7.O-O O-O 8.Nc3 a6 9.Bxc6 Bxc6 10.d3 Re8 11.a4 although and here White has a clear advantage.) 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.O-O Re8 9.Nc3 Bg4 10.Qe1 Rb8 11.d3 Qe7 12.e4 Bxf3 13.gxf3! (The natural 13.Rxf3 would be a serious mistake because of 13…Be5! with full domination by Black.) 13…Nh5 (13…Be5 Now gives nothing. 14.f4 Bd4+ 15.Kh1 with a better position for White.) 14.f4 f5 15.e5 Bc5+ 16.Kh1 Qf7 17.Qe2 Bd4 18.Qf3 Bxc3 (18…Re6 19.Ne2? Bxb2? 20.Rb1 +-) 19.bxc3 Qd5 20.c4 Qxf3+ 21.Rxf3 g6 22.Ba3 Kf7 23.d4 Red8 24.Rd1 Ke6 25.Bc1 Rb1 26.Rfd3 Ra1 27.d5+ Kf7 28.Be3 Rxa2 29.dxc6 Rxd3 30.cxd3 Re2 31.Bc1 Ng7 32.d4 Rc2 33.d5 Rxc4 34.e6+ Kg8 35.Be3 Ne8 36.Bxa7 Kf8 37.Bd4 Ke7 38.Be5 Nd6 39.Re1 Ra4 40.Bxd6+ cxd6 41.Rb1 1-0.

 

Vladimir Malaniuk (2600)-Roman Ovetchkin (2475)
Russia Cup
Omsk/Perm, 1998
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3 Nc6 6.Bb5 O-O 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.O-O c5 9.b3 Ne4 10.Bb2 f5 11.Na3 Bb7 12.Nc4 Qe7 13.d3 Ng5 14.Nxg5 Qxg5 15.Qd2 Rae8 16.Rae1 Re6 17.e4 f4 18.Rf3 Rh6 19.Nxd6 cxd6 20.Rg3 1-0

 

Claude Oger (19970-Xavier Lebrun (2205)
Elancourt Open, Apr. 22 2006
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3 Nc6 6.Bb5 O-O 7.Nc3 Bg4 8.Be2 Re8 9.O-O Qe7 10.Kh1 Rad8 11.a3 Nh5 12.Qe1 Ne5 13.d4 Ng6 14.Qf2 Nf6 15.Bd2 c6 16.Bd3 Bc8 17.h3 Nh5 18.Ne2 Bb8 19.Rg1 Nf6 20.Nc3 c5 21.Rae1 a6 22.Ne2 b5 23.c3 Bb7 24.Nf4 Ne4 25.Bxe4 Qxe4 26.Ng5 Qf5 27.h4 Nxf4 28.exf4 h6 29.Nh3 Qxh3mate 0-1.]

 
6…Bf5

 

(Black could obviously try 7…O-O but I usually like to castle to the opposite side of my opponent – it opens more possibilities to attacking their castled king. R. Norman-M.Varner, corres., 1991 continued with 6…O-O 7.O-O Be6 8.Nc3 Nd7 9.b3 Nde5 10.Ne4 Nxf3+ 11.Bxf3 Bd5 12.Bb2 Bxe4 13.Bxe4 Qh4 14.Rf4 Bxf4 15.exf4 Qxf4 16.d3 Rad8 17.Qe1 Rfe8 18.Qc3 Nd4 19.Re1 Kh8 20.Bc1 Qxc1 21.Rxc1 Ne2+ 22.Kf1 Nxc3 23.Bf3 c6 24.a3 g6 …0-1.)

 

7.O-O h5 8.Nh4?! (8…c4!?) 8…Be6 9.Rxf6? (This might work if Black was forced to play 9…gxf6? and now either 10.Bxh5 or 10.d4. But even then Black has the advantage.) 9…Qxf6 10.g3 g5 11.Ng2 h4 12.g4 h3 13.Ne1 Qe5 (>13…O-O-O! which will save Black a tempo or two.) 14.Nf3 Qf6 15.Nc3 Bxg4 16.Ne4 Qf5 (>16…Qg6!) 17.Nexg5? (This can’t be good. Much better is 17.Nxd6+ cxd6 and White rids himself of an annoying bishop. The text move, moreover, freely opens the g-file to Black’s rooks without him having to work for it.)

 

2020_07_16_B

 

17…O-O-O?! (A reasonable move. But not the best. Black should immediately use the open file that was freely given to him with 17…Bxf3 18.Bxf3 Qxg5+ or 18.Nxf3 Qg4+.) 18.Qf1 Bxf3 (A move best described as better late than never.) 19.Nxf3 Rhg8+ 20.Kh1 Rg2 21.Bd3 Qg4 22.Ng1?? Rxh2mate 0-1

DRAGON TALES and TREATS

Blue_Dragon_by_mustanglover

 

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
[B70]
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

2020_04_16_A
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
[B78]

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
[B76]
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! -+

2020_04_16_B

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
[B73]
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
[B73]
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.]
[B78]
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

2020_04_16_C

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
[B76]
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
[B27]
[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.)
2020_04_16_D
20.Qxh8+!! Kxh8 21.Bf6+ 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

 

1000_Best_Short_Games_3_A1000_Best_Short_Games_4

 
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
Greco-N.N.,
Rome 1620?
[Escalante]
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
Canal-N.N.
Simul
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

2020_02_20_A
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
Nielsen-Ottosen
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
Blackburne-West
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
2020_02_20_B
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

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

Micros?

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).

 

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

 

MATING

 
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

 

Greco-N.N.,
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

2020_01_30_A
5.Nxe5! Bxd1 6.Bxf7+ Ke7 7.Nd5mate 1-0

 
Arnold-Bohm
Munich, 1932
[B17]
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.)

 
Godai-Kieninger
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.)

 
N.N.-Canal
Blindfold Game
New York, 1935
[C20]
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

 

Holmberg-Hongset
corres.
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

 

Teed-Delmar
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

 

Hamlich-N.N.
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

 

Rotman-Bornarel
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

 

 

WINNING THE QUEEN

 

Gibaud-Lazard
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

 
Warren-Sellman
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?)

 

Sherlukov-Averichin
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

 

Krejcik-Baumgartner
Troppau, 1914
[C40]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 4.Kxf2 Qh4+ 5.g3 Qxe4 6.Qe2! Qxh1 7.Bg2 1-0

 
Kolisch-Geake
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

 

Blatny-Dasek
Chocen, 1950
[B57]
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
2020_01_30_B
11.Nxd5! cxd5 12.Bb5+ (A tactic worth remembering.) 1-0

 
Escalante-N.N.
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

 

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

 
Donovan-Bisguier
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

 

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

 

WINNING A PIECE

 

Greco-N.N.
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

 

Simons-Loewe
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.)

 
Szigethy-Deak
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

 

OTHER REASONS

 
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!] 
2020_01_30_C
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
[A02]
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
2020_01_30_D
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.

Reviewing A Classic

What makes a “classic”? It is something that keeps its value or interest for years or decades.

 

One book that fits this definition is “100 Soviet Miniatures”.

 

Beginning in April 1962 issue of the British Chess Magazine (BCM), P.H. Clark wrote a series of articles under the heading of “Soviet Miniatures”. The articles were collected and published together as “100 Soviet Miniatures” in 1963.

 

The games are short (after all, this is a miniatures book!) and enjoyable. The notes are concise, clear, and revealing. Finally, The book is written for the club player (which includes most of us).

 

And he is correct in his analysis. The progress of chess theory, even with the constant use of engines, do not overturn his notes. The book appears to be out of print, but you can find a used one on Amazon (which has everything).

 

The only drawback for some players is that the games and notes are in Descriptive Notation (DN) rather than Algebraic Notation (AN).
I’ve copied two of the 100 games, translated them into AN, and added my notes when necessary. See if you can’t agree, this book is a classic.

 

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

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

M. Yudovitch Jr.-Strom
Team Ch. Of the “Spartak” Club
Moscow, 1961
[B40]
[P.H. Clark, “Soviet Miniatures”, BCM, Sept. 1962, pg. 266]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.e5 Ne4 7.Qg4 Qa5 8.Qxe4 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qxc3+ 10.Kd1 Qxa1 11.Nb5! d5!

 

[Black played the weaker 11…Kd8 in Tamas Ruck (2310)-Zsolt Korpics (2355), Koszeg, Hungary, 1996 and got promptly punished after 12.c3! Qxa2 13.Bg5+ f6 14.exf6! +- Qa1+ 15.Kd2 Qb2+ 16.Qc2 Qxc2+ 17.Kxc2

2020_01_23_A
1-0 (White threatens 18.f7#. On other moves Black loses the rook, and the game, to 18.fxg7+.) – RME]

12.exd6 Na6 13.d7+ Kxd7?

 

[As Koifman demonstrated, the correct policy was to sacrifice a piece by 13…Bxd7 14.Qxb7 O-O! In the centre the black King is far more exposed that White’s, which soon finds a safe post at e2.

We assume Clark meant Ilya Koifman, the Russian master.

Alexander Kuzovkin-Ilya Koifman
Moscow Burevestnik- Ch., 1974
(B79)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Bc4 O-O 8.Bb3 Nc6 9.f3 Bd7 10.Qd2 Qa5 11.O-O-O Rfc8 12.Rhe1 Ne5 13.Bg5 h6 14.Bxh6 Bxh6 15.Qxh6 Rxc3 16.bxc3 Qa3+ 17.Kb1 a5 18.Qc1 Qc5 19.a3 a4 20.Ba2 Ra6 21.Re3 Rb6+ 22.Ka1 Nc4 23.Bxc4 Qxc4 24.Qd2 e5 25.Ne2 Be6 26.Nc1 d5 27.exd5 Nxd5 28.Rde1 Bf5 29.Rxe5 Qb5 30.Nd3 Bxd3 31.cxd3 Qc5 32.Qc1 Rb3 33.Rxd5 Rxa3+ 34.Kb2 Qb6+ 35.Kc2 Qb3+ 36.Kd2 Ra2+ 37.Ke3 Qxd5 38.d4 Rxg2 0-1.]

 

14.Bc4 Rd8 15.Ke2 Ke8 16.Re1 (Threatening 17.Bg5. White is now fully developed and is ready for the attack.) 16…Qf6 17.Qxh7 b6 (In order to be able to block the enemy c4-Bishop by …Nc5 after 18.Qh8+ Ke7 19.Ba3+.) 18.Ba3 Bb7 (Now he has the square c1 for his King, White therefore decides to recover the exchange.) 19.Nd6+ Rxd6 20.Bxd6 Qg5 (Defending against 21.Bb5+ Kd8 Qh8#. White replies by renewing the threat of the Bishop check, and this time it cannot be stopped.) 21.Qd3 Nc5 22.Bb5+ Nd7 23.c4 (Since the immediate 23.Bxd7+ Kxd7 24.Bf4+ would be met by 24…Qd5. Now 23…Qd8 permits the white Queen to return to h7 and force the win, so Black is reduced to desperation.) 23…Qxg2 24.Bc7 Bc6 (24…Bc8 was useless because of 25.Rd1 Qg4+ 26.Kf1 e5 27.Bc6, etc. The text move gives White the chance to bring off a more striking finish on the same lines.) 25.Rg1!

2020_01_23_B

(If the Rook is captured then 24.Bxc6 wins; while 25…Qe4+ 26.Qxe4 Bxe4 loses to 27.Rd1. So -) 1-0

 

 

 

Remeniuk-Stein
Ukraine Ch.
Kharkhov, 1959
[B80]
[P.H. Clarke, “100 Soviet Chess Miniatures”, Game # 45]
(While there was a certain air of the rustic about the last two games, the next is more elegant and thereby a finer illustration of the virtues of the modern approach. Black selects a variation very much in vogue at present, and his opponent evidently decides that the second player ought not to be allowed to get away with such transgressions of the natural laws. Accordingly, he sacrifices first a piece and then the exchange and pursues the whole attack with great vigour to the end. When it is over one is left with the impression that whatever the final word is as to the correctness of the initial offer, White really had created something.) 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Bg5 (The value of this move is not so clear here because Black, having already moved his e-pawn, can immediately drive off the Bishop without having his pawn structure affected.) 6…h6 7.Be3 (After 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.Ndb5 Qd8 White makes no progress and the absence of his important black-squared Bishop may be felt in the long run. – Clark is entirely right – RME) 7…a6 8.Qf3 (Concentrating on rapid development – the opposite to Black.) 8…Qc7 9.O-O-O b5 (Safer is 9…Nc6 to be followed by …Bd7 and …0-0-0. White is so indignant at the sight of the text move, which disdains the principle he himself has been so careful to keep, that he there and then determines to punish the offender.) 10.Bxb5+!? axb5 11.Ndxb5 Qc6? (In spite of appearances to the contrary 11…Qd7 is a better defence; the intention is to answer 12.e5 with 12…Bb7 and thus gain a valuable tempo. Indications are that Black should be able to hold the position, but with all the possibilities at White’s disposal it would be a very difficult task in practice. Here are some variations: 11…Qd7 12.e5 Bb7 13.Qg3 Ne4 14.Nxe4 Qxb5 15.Nxd6+ Bxd6 16.exd6 Rxa2 17.Qxg7 Ra1+ 18.Kd2 Qd5+ 19.Bd4 Rxd1+ 20.Rxd1 Rf8 and still the outcome is unclear ; 11…Qd7 12.Nxd6+ Bxd6 13.e5 Bb7 14.Qg3 Bxe5 15.Qxg7 Rg8 16.Rxd7 Rxg7 17.Rxb7 with a complicated ending ; 11…Qd7 12.Rd2 Bb7 13.Rhd1 Nxe4 14.Nxe4 Qxb5 15.Rxd6 Nc6 with chances for both sides.) 12.e5! (The point now is that after the exchange of Queens there is Nc7+, and this disorganizes Black completely.) 12…Nd5 (Holding everything…until the next crashing blow.) 13.Rxd5! exd5 14.Nxd5 Bb7 (Although he has an extra Rook, Black is without resource against all White’s threats, e.g. 14…Be6 15.Ndc7+ Kd8 16.Qxc6 and Nxa8 ; 14…Bd7 15.Nbc7+ Kd8 16.Qxf7 dxe5 17.Nxa8 Qxa8 18.Rd1 with a winning attack ; 14…Rxa2 15.Kb1 Ra5 16.Nbc7+ Kd8 17.Qxf7 dxe5 (otherwise e5-e6 comes.) 18.Rd1 and again White should win. In every case Black pays the penalty for not having brought his men out earlier.) 15.Nbc7+ Kd8 16.Qxf7

2020_01_23_C
16…Na6 (White threatened to mate beautifully by 17.Ne6+ Kc8 18.Qe8+! Qxe8 19.Nb6#. The text move permits another delightful finish, in which the White Knights leap and prance around the Black King.) 17.Ne6+ Kc8 18.Nb6+ Kb8 19.Nd7+ 1-0