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).
1.f3 e5 2.g4 Qh4mate 0-1
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Qf3 Nd4? (> Nf6!) 4.Qxf7mate 1-0
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
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Bg4 4.Nc3 Nc6
5.Nxe5! Bxd1 6.Bxf7+ Ke7 7.Nd5mate 1-0
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.)
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.)
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
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
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
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
[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
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?)
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
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 4.Kxf2 Qh4+ 5.g3 Qxe4 6.Qe2! Qxh1 7.Bg2 1-0
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
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
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
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
1.e3 e5 2.d4 d5 3.Qf3 e4 4.Qf4 Bd6 0-1
WINNING A PIECE
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
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
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.)
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
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
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.