Dutch Treats

The Dutch is an aggressive response to 1.d4. It is also extremely risky.

Here are some miniatures showing how White (and Black!) can win quickly.


Copenhagen, 1994
1.d4 f5 2.Qd3!? d5 3.g4! (White does well if he can get this move in.) 3…fxg4 4.h3 g3 5.fxg3 Nf6 6.Nc3 c6 7.e4 dxe4 8.Nxe4 Nxe4 9.Qxe4 Qa5+ 10.Bd2 Qd5 11.Bg2 Be6 12.Qe2 Qc4 13.Qe3 Bd5 14.Bxd5 Qxd5 15.Nf3 Nd7 16.b3 O-O-O 17.c4 Qd6 18.Ng5 e5 19.Nf7 Qxd4 20.Qxd4 exd4 21.Nxh8 Ne5 22.O-O 1-0

GM W. Browne-GM R. Byrne
US Ch.
Mentor, 1977
1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 (One purpose of this bishop move is to cripple Black’s kingside pawn structure. As in this game.) 3…d5 4.Bxf6 exf6 5.e3 Be6 6.Bd3 g6 7.Qf3 c6 8.Nge2 Nd7 9.h3 Qb6 10.g4 Qxb2 11.Rb1 Qa3 12.gxf5 Bf7 13.Rxb7 Bb4 14.O-O O-O-O 15.Rxb4 Qxb4 16.Ba6+ Kc7 17.Rb1 Qd6 18.Rb7+ Kc8 19.Rb3+ Kc7 20.Rb7+ Kc8 21.e4 Nb8 22.Nb5 cxb5 23.Qc3+ Nc6 24.e5 Qc7 25.e6 1-0


Pomar Salamanca-GM Bent Larsen
Spain, 1975
[GM Larsen was noted for doing well in off-beat openings.]
1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 d5 3.f3 c5 4.e4 e5 5.Bb5+ Bd7 6.Bxd7+ Nxd7 7.Nxd5 cxd4 8.Ne2 fxe4 9.fxe4 Ngf6 10.Bg5 Qa5+ 11.Bd2 Qc5 12.Nxf6+ Nxf6 13.Ng3 h5 14.Qf3 h4 15.Ne2 Qxc2 16.Qf5 Qxe4 17.Qe6+ Be7 18.Bb4 Nd5 19.Bxe7 Nf4 20.Qc4 Kxe7 0-1


Chigorin Memorial
Saint Petersburg, Russia, 1994
1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bf4 c6 4.e3 Nf6 5.Bd3 g6 6.h4 Be6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.h5 Nbd7 9.Ng5 Bg8 10.h6 Bf8 11.Qd2 e6 12.O-O-O Qe7 13.f3 e5 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Be2 Ned7 16.e4 fxe4 17.fxe4 O-O-O 18.exd5 Bxd5 19.Nxd5 Nxd5 20.Bg4 Qf6 21.Ne6 Ba3 22.Qd4 Qe7 23.bxa3 Qxa3+ 24.Qb2 Qa4 25.Rd4 1-0


Hamilton-J. Scheider
Georgia Ch., 1981
1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 e6 3.e4 fxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nf3 Be7 7.Ne5 O-O 8.Nxf6+! Bxf6 9.Qh5 Nxe5 10.Bxh7+ Kh8 11.Bg6+ 1-0

USSR, 1975
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 d6 4.Bg2 c6 5.O-O Qc7 6.Nbd2 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.e4 fxe4 9.Ng5 e3 10.Nde4 Nxe4 11.Bxe4 exf2+ 12.Rxf2 Bc5 13.Qh5+ Ke7 14.Nxh7 Bxf2+ 15.Kxf2 Qa5 16.Bg5+ Kd6 17.Qg6+ Kc5 18.Be3+ Kc4 19.Bd3+ Kd5 20.c4mate 1-0

IM Heinz Wirthensohn-IM Lin Ta
Novi Sad. Ol.
Yugoslavia, 1990
1.Nf3 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 d6 4.d4 g6 5.b3 Bg7 6.Bb2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.Nbd2 Kh8 9.c4 Ne4 10.Qc2 d5 11.Ne5 Nxd2 12.Qxd2 Be6 13.Qb4 b6 14.Rfd1 a5 15.Qd2 Ra7 16.Rac1 dxc4 17.d5 cxd5 18.Nxg6+! 1-0


Hjorth (2502)-A. Wang (2206)
US Open, 1995
1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.c4 d5 6.O-O O-O 7.b3 c6 8.Bb2 Ne4 9.Nbd2 Nd7 10.Ne1 Qa5 11.Nxe4 fxe4 12.f3 exf3 13.Nxf3 dxc4 14.bxc4 e5 15.e3 exd4 16.exd4 Nb6 17.c5 Nc4 18.Qe2 Nxb2 19.Qxe7 Rf7 20.Qe2 Qc3 21.Rac1 Qa3 22.Ng5 Rxf1+ 23.Rxf1 Bd7 24.Qe7 h6 25.Qf7+ 1-0


Monacell (2473)-Elburg (2306)
ICCF, 2002
1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nh3 Bg7 5.Nf4 Nc6 6.Nc3 O-O 7.h4 d6 8.d5 Ne5 9.h5 Bd7 10.e4 fxe4 11.Nxe4 Nxh5 12.Ng5 Nxf4 13.gxf4 Nf7 14.Nxh7 Re8 15.Be3 Bxb2 16.Be4 c6 17.Rg1 Bc3+ 18.Bd2 Bg7 19.Rxg6 e5 20.Qh5 exf4 21.O-O-O Re5 22.Rxg7+ 1-0


Krasnov (1955)-Manvelyan (2293) X25
Mechanics’ Summer Tournament
Mechanics’ Institute, San Francisco, June 4 2013
1.d4 g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.g3 f5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 O-O 6.Bg2 d6 7.O-O Qe8 8.e4 fxe4 9.Ng5 Bg4 10.Qb3 Nc6 11.Be3 h6 12.Ngxe4 Nxe4 13.Nxe4? (>13.Bxe4 Bf5 14.Bxf5 Rxf5 15.Nd5) 13…Nxd4 14.Qxb7 Nf3+ 15.Kh1 c5 16.h3 Bd7 17.Nxd6 $4 exd6 18.Bxf3 Rxf3 19.Qxf3 Bc6 0-1


1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.dxe5 Ng4 5.Nf3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Qe7 7.Nd5 Bxd2+ 8.Qxd2 Qc5 9.e3 O-O 10.b4 1-0


Greber (1740)-Curdo (2405)
US Open
Concord, 1995
1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.g3 O-O 6.Bg2 d6 7.O-O c6 8.Re1 Nh5 9.e4 f4 10.Ne2 fxg3 11.fxg3 Na6 12.a3 Bg4 13.Qd3 e5 14.d5 Nc5 15.Qe3 cxd5 16.cxd5 Qb6 17.Nd2 Bh6!
18.Qxh6 Nd3+ 0-1


An early example

The Internet is full of new analyses in chess opening. Some good, some very good, some strange, some wonderful, and some awful. This game is an early example of good, but not complete.


Escalante-“lord_kapatasan”, Game 2
Blitz Game
Yahoo, Mar. 14 2004
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Nxe5 Bxf2+


(Anything else loses. Here are some examples.

corres., Italy, 1980
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Nxe5 Nf6 4.d4 Bb6 5.Nc3 O-O 6.Be3 d5 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.Nxd5 Qxd5 9.Bc4 Qxg2 10.Kd2 Bxd4 11.Bxd4 Nc6 12.Rg1 Qe4 13.Nxc6 g6 14.Qh5 Qxc6 15.Rxg6+ 1-0

corres., 1986
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Nxe5 Nc6 4.Nxc6 dxc6 5.Bd3 Bxf2+ 6.Kxf2 Qd4+ 7.Ke1 Qc4 8.Bxc4 1-0)


4.Kxf2 Qh4+


[Not 4…Qf6+ 5.Nf3! +- (White is still ahead in material and Black’s attack is at an end.) 5…Nh6!? 6.d4 O-O 7.Nc3 d6 8.Nd5 Qd8 9.Bxh6 gxh6 10.Qd2 Kh8 11.Qxh6 c6 12.Nf6 Qxf6 13.Qxf8+ 1-0, Viatge-Mitchell, Email, IECC, 2000]


5.g3 Qxe4


(Now Black, with White’s king out outside his protective shell and Black’s queen dominating the center, looks like he is winning. But Black’s queen is vulnerable and it’s White’s turn.) 6.d4 (6.Qe2 also wins, but Black has to get greedy. Here is why it works: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 4.Kxf2 Qh4+ 5.g3 Qxe4 6.Qe2 Qxh1 7.Bg2! 1-0, as in Krejcik-Baumgartner, Troppau, 1914. So, is 6.Qe2 or 6.d4 the better move? It turns out there is also theory on 6.Qe2.)


6…Qxh1 7.Qe2 Ne7


[You’ll see this is game #2 between my opponent and myself. Here is the first game: Escalante-“lord_kapatasan”, Game 1, Blitz Game, Yahoo, Mar. 14 2004, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 4.Kxf2 Qh4+ 5.g3 Qxe4 6.d4 Qxh1 7.Qe2 Qxh2+ (This move is reckless. You’ll notice he did make an improvement in game 2.) 8.Bg2 Ne7 9.Ng4 Qxg2+ 10.Kxg2 d5 11.Bf4 c6 12.Bd6 Be6 13.Bxe7 Kxe7 14.Nc3 Nd7 15.Re1 Rae8 16.Ne5 Nf6 17.Na4 Kd6 18.Qe3 h6 19.Qa3+ Kc7 20.Nc5 a6 21.Qa5+ b6 22.Qxa6 bxc5 23.Qa7+ Kd6 24.Qxc5mate 1-0. He’s the one who told me about theory I didn’t know existed. At least he was smart enough NOT to tell me before the games.]

8.Bg2!? Qxc1 9.Nc3! (Apparently this move, and the move that follows, busts this variation – I can’t see a way out for Black) 9…Qxa1 10.Nd5!



10…Na6 11.Nxe7 Kxe7 12.Nc6+ Kf8 13.Qe7+ 1-0

Books I Love

I had a recent discussion with a chess friend of mine. The topic? Chess!, of course.


One interesting topic we covered was answering the question, “What is your favorite chess books you ever read?”


Well, my friend a Dragon junkie, said any book with the Dragon can’t be bad.


I take a slightly different approach about chess books. I love to read and read chess books not so much for instruction, but for enjoyment. So my list is slightly different from most other chess zealots.



First on the list is 1000 Best Short Games of Chess by Chernev, who, with his annotations, make all the miniatures of his book so joyous. One characteristic of Chernev I hope current and future chess writers would seek to emulate is to keep the text and notes to a minimum and let the reader have some space to actually ENJOY the game.


Another book with the same approach is Morphy’s Games of Chess by Sergeant. Notes about the game, and people who played them, are simple and short and they don’t get in the way of the game.


1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate by Reinfeld. Isn’t that the preferred goal of playing every game? Also it’s a good primer for Siamese Chess. 

Soltis’ Chess to Enjoy, is exactly that. It is at times, hilarious, thought-provoking, and at all times, entertaining.



The best periodical, IMHO (for all those who don’t speak Internetse, is short for In My Humble Opinion), are the New In Chess Yearbooks. If you ever want to study an opening, or even a minor variation of an opening, in great detail, then these books are for you! The games covered in each opening are plentiful and there is enough space between the games and the individual moves of the game to keep you from getting yourself a major eye strain.


Do you have some favorites in your chess library? Why do you like them? Leave us a message! =)

A Well-Known Game

Of all the millions of chess games ever played, this game is perhaps the well-known and popular of all. Why? I’m glad you asked!

It’s because it features fast development, pins, forks, castling with gain of a tempo, a sacrifice of the exchange, a sacrifice of the knight, a sacrifice of the queen, and winning a miniature. It’s a lot of fun to play and to even fun to annotate.

But I can’t do a better job in fully annotating this game than Chernev or Sergeant. So I’ll just add a few notes and games to further illustrate the game and let them both have most of the fun.


Morphy-Count Brunswick+Isouard
Paris, 1858
[Chernev, 1000 Best Short Games, #441 ; Sergeant, “Morphy’s Games of Chess”, #LXXIX]
[Long considered a Morphy game, this game has far more value than a mere brilliancy. In all the vast literature of chess there is no game which equals this one in clear, simple instruction in basic principles. In seventeen moves we see such tactical themes as double attack, the pin, sacrifice of a Knight, Castling with gain of a tempo, adding pressure to a pin, sacrifice of the exchange, and (fortissimo) sacrifice of the Queen to force checkmate. Sprinkled throughout are moves that smite – captures or checks which cut down the choice of reply. Strategical concepts, such as rapid development of the pieces, interference with the opponent’s development, centralization, occupation of the open files, and control of the long diagonals are all graphically demonstrated. No wonder Marshall called this “The most famous game of all time!” – Chernev]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 (This move deserves a “?” as it gives White the initiative. – RME.) 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 Nf6

[Black can go very wrong at this point. Here are two examples.

Casual Game
London, 1801
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 Qd7 7.Qb3 c6 8.a4 Bd6 9.O-O Nf6 10.Nc3 O-O 11.Be3 Kh8 12.Rad1 Nh5 13.Rxd6 Qxd6 14.Qxb7 Nd7 15.Rd1 Qb8 16.Rxd7 Qxb7 17.Rxb7 f5 18.Rxa7 Rab8 19.h3 Rxb2 20.Bc5 Rg8 21.Bd3 g5 22.Bd6 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  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 -RME]

7.Qb3 (Now threatening 8.Bxf7+ Kd7 9.Qe6# – Chernev) 7…Qe7 8.Nc3 (Morphy might have played 8.Bxf7+ Qxf7 9.Qxb7 – But, says Lasker, “that would have a butcher’s method, not an artist’s. – Sergeant) 8…c6 9.Bg5 b5?!

(Steinitz suggested Qc7. After the text-move all is over. – Sergeant. Koltanowksi faced 9…Qb4, and won after 10.Bxf7+! Kd8 11.O-O-O+ Kc7 12.f4 Qxb3 13.Bxb3 Bd6 14.Rhe1 Na6
15.Rxd6! Kxd6 16.fxe5+ Kxe5 17.Bf4+ Kd4 18.Rd1+ Kc5 19.Be3+ Kb4 20.Rd4+ Kc5 21.Rd5+ Kb4 22.a3mate 1-0, Koltanowski-L. Smith, 10 sec/move, Fort Worth, 1962. This might have been a blindfold game. Now back to the original game. – RME]


10.Nxb5! cxb5 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7 12.O-O-O (The right way to castle , as the Rook bears down on the pinned Knight without the loss of time. – Chernev) 12…Rd8 (Not 12…O-O-O as 13.Ba6+ Kc7 14.Qb7 is mate. – Chernev)
13.Rxd7! (Again to gain time for the other Rook to strike. – Chernev) 13…Rxd7 14.Rd1 Qe6 (Unpinning his Knight so that it may defend his Rook. – Chernev) 15.Bxd7+ Nxd7 16.Qb8+! Nxb8 17.Rd8mate! (No doubt the opposition was weak; but Morphy’s method of overcoming it was most beautifully logical – a Dasmascus blade cutting a silk cushion.- Sergeant) 1-0

Beating a Master in 10 Moves

If you want to beat a Master, you have to study chess. If you want to beat a Master in the opening, you have to study the openings.

Here’s what I mean:


Escalante-NM Adaar
Thematic Tournament – Winawer Variation, Round 2
Chess.com, Aug.-Sept. 2018
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 (The usual route to the Winawer. All games in the tournament began with this position.) 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 O-O (Some years ago Van der Tak wrote an article in NIC 8 titled, “Castling Into It?” where he explored Black’s kingside castling possibilities in the Poisoned Pawn Variation of the Winawer, and if it was a viable option for Black. I don’t think the resulting positions favor Black.) 8.Bd3! (Thanks to GM Van der Tak, and his article, I am convinced this move is stronger, with many ideas not yet explored, than most other books might suggest.) 8…Nbc6 9.Nf3

[If Black does not know the main line, then he (or she) has a problem coming up with a good plan. Here’s an example:

E.H. Al Rufei (2068)-Nebal Al Jelda
Women’s Zonal
Tehran, 2001
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 O-O 8.Nf3 Nbc6 9.Bd3 Nf5 10.Bg5 Qa5 11.O-O c4 12.Bxf5 exf5 13.Qg3 Kh8 14.Qh4 Qxc3 15.Bf6 gxf6 16.exf6 Rg8 17.Ng5 Rxg5 18.Qxg5 1-0

His (or her!) best move is 9…f5 10.exf6 Rxf6 11.Bg5 Rf7, with many books giving this position a “=”. But life, on or off the chessboard, is rarely simple as an equal sign. Back to the game. My opponent decided to try something different in this game.]

9…cxd4?? (This loses the game in a hurry.)


10.Bxh7+! 1-0 [Black resigns due to 10…Kxh7 11.Qh5+ (stronger than the traditional Ng5+ as the potential escape square, g6, is denied to Black) 11…Kg8 12.Ng5 and White mates.]

Using a Chess Engine

A chess engine is a computer or a program that can analyze a position or game. Many players believe that a computer is incapable of making a mistake and whatever evaluation an engine makes should be taken with blind faith.


But as Bobby Fischer once said, “This is the start (of an analysis)”.


Below is such a discussion between an engine and myself.


Blitz Game
Chess.com, July 22 2018
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nf3 (I’ve been experimenting this move for a couple of years. It certainly takes Black out of book and Black has many chances to go wrong in the opening. Like in this game.) 3…Nf6 (This move is very reasonable. It is safe and fits into many Black plans. It is only later when Black forgets why he played this move and apparently forgets about development. By the way, two other common moves are 3…Qe6 and 3…Bg4 are not a good as the text move.) 4.d4 Qa5+ 5.Bd2 Qb6 6.c3 [The engine at chess.com said this was an error and gives the better 6.Na3 c5 (this is because 6…Na3 Qxb2?? loses to 7.Nc4 Qb5 8.Nd6+ – my analysis) 7.Be3 Qa5+ 8.Bd2 Qb6 9.dxc5 Qxc5 10.Be3 Qa5+] 6…Qxb2 7.Qb3 Qxa1 8.Bc4 b6?! (This is too slow. Black has some compensation for his lack of development – the extra rook. He must quickly catch up on his development to secure his advantage. Better is 8… e6. I didn’t need a computer to tell me this! This move would limit the movement of White’s pieces and allows his bishop to move out.)

9.O-O (Again the chess.com computer suggests another move, giving 9.Bxf7+ Kd8 10.O-O Nc6 11.Na3 Na5 12.Qc2 Qxf1+ 13.Kxf1 e6. I saw at least part of this but I wanted to safeguard my own king and keep the Black’s queen isolated in the corner.) 9…Be6?? (Blunder says the computer and I agree. Black still has 9… e6.) 10.Bxe6! fxe6 11.Na3 1-0 (Black resigned. He could of course play 11…Qxf1+ 12.Kxf1 but his lack of development is still a major problem and White’s queen is now in charge.)

Three games from the 1970’s.

Recently I bought some old state chess magazines, all from 1970 to 1975. They were all purchased from ebay and I found some wonderful gems in this collection.


Almost all the games had to be translated from Descriptive Notation (DN) into Algebraic Notation (AN) as DN was the most popular method of recording and analyzing games.


Here are three games I found to be enjoyable, and even instructive.




Proll (1998)-Babinski (2157)
US Open
New York, 1974
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Nxe4 8.O-O Bxc3 9.d5 (The Moller Gambit.) 9…Bf6 10.Re1 Ne7 11.Rxe4 d6 12.Bg5 Bxg5 13.Nxg5 h6 14.Qh5!? (Usual is 14.Qe2, followed by 15.Re1 and putting pressure on the “e” file.) 14…g6? (This move just weakens Black’s kingside pawn structure at a time when he needs it the most. White is practically winning here. Black can sidestep many of his troubles with 14…O-O.) 15.Qh4 [Another winning try is 15.Qf3 hxg5 16.Rae1 Rh4 17.Qf6 Rxe4 18.Rxe4 Bf5 19.Bb5+ c6 20.dxc6 Bxe4 21.c7+ Nc6 22.cxd8=Q+ Rxd8 23.Qd4 d5 24.Qxa7 Rd7 25.Bxc6 bxc6 26.Qa8+ Ke7 27.Qxc6 Rd6 28.Qc5 1-0 (Treybel-Engler, Prague, Nov. 28 1908)] 15…Bf5 16.Re3 Kf8 17.Qd4 Kg8


18.Qxh8+! 1-0


Steve Ellis-Dwight Weaver
Nashville vs. Memphis Match
Tennessee, 1974
[“Nashville – Memphis Match 1974”, Tennessee Chess News, Nov. 1974]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Bc4 Be7 7.Be3 O-O 8.Qe2 Nxe4 9.Nxe4 d5 10.O-O-O dxc4 11.Nxe6 Qa5 12.Nxf8 Bxf8 13.Nc5 Qxa2 14.Qf3 Qa1+ 15.Kd2 Qxb2 16.Ke2 Qxc2+ 17.Rd2 Qg6 18.h3 Bf5 19.Qxb7 Na6 20.Qxa8 Nxc5 21.Bxc5 Bd3+ 22.Ke1 Qe6+ 23.Be3 Be4 24.Qxa7 c3 25.Rd8 Qb3 26.Rxf8+! Kxf8 27.Qc5+ Ke8 28.Qe5+ Kd7 29.Qxe4 c2 30.Kd2 Qb2 31.Qd4+ 1-0


Ted Bielbaum (2029)-Stuart Samuel (2016)
Danvers C.C. Ch.
Massachusetts, Aug. 31 1973
[Notes based “Tournament Games”, Chess Horizons, Jan.-Feb. 1975]
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.Nf3 dxe5 4.e4?! (Transposing into a sort of King’s Gambit Declined, but with the addition of the moves “fxe5” and “dxe5” helps Black.) 4…Bc5!? [It appears From’s Gambit, or at least this variation, was a popular opening in the 1970s. Here is another game from the same time period. 4…f5!? 5.d4 fxe4 6.Nxe5 Be6 7.Be2 Nd7 8.Bf4 Nxe5 9.Bxe5 Bd6 10.O-O Nf6 11.Bh5+ Kd7 12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.d5 Bc5+ 14.Kh1 Bg8 15.Qg4+ Kd6 16.Qf4+ Kd7 17.Bg4+ Ke8 18.Qxe4+ Be7 19.Nc3 h5 20.Rxf6 hxg4 21.Qg6+ Kd7 22.Qxg4+ Ke8 23.Re1 Qd7 24.Rf8+ 1-0 (Thompson-Taylor, South Carolina, 1970)] 5.c3 Nc6! (Normal lines are 5…Nf6 6.Nxe5 Qe7 7.d4 Bd6 8.Nf3 and 5…Bb6 6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 Nf6=. Too risky would be 5…Qe7 6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 Qxe4+? 8.Kf2! Be7 9.Nc3.) 6.Bb5 Nf6!? (6…Bd7! prevents 7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4? Nxd4! 9.Nxd4) 7.Nxe5 O-O (7…Nxe4? 8.Qf3! O-O 9.Qxe4 +-) 8.Nxc6? (Too dangerous. White should play 8.Bxc6! bxc6 9.d4 Nxe4 10.O-O Qd5 11.Bf4=) 8…bxc6 9.Bxc6 Nxe4!? [Leading to unclear complications. If 9…Qd3!? 10.Qf3 (10.Bxa8? Bg4) Qc2 11.Qd1! Qd3 12.Qe2 (12.Qf3=) 12…Ba6 13.Qxd3 Bxd3 14.Bxa8 Rxa8 15.b4 Bb6 16.Bb2 Nxe4 17.c4 Nf2 18.c5 Nxh1 19.Bd4 Re8+ wins!] 10.d4 (Both 10.Bxa8?? Bf2+ and 10.Bxe4 Qh4+ get mated. 10.Qf3? Nf2! 11.d4 Nxh1 12.dxc5 Qh4+ 13.g3 Qxh2 14.Bxa8 Re8+ 15.Be3 Bg4! -+) 10…Qh4+ 11.g3 Nxg3 12.hxg3 Qxg3+ 13.Kd2 Be7? [A blunder. After 13…Qf4+ 14.Kc2? (14.Kd3? loses to 14…Ba6+ 15.Kc2 Qf5+ 16.Kb3 Rab8+) 14…Bf5+ 15.Kb3 Rab8+ 16.Kc4 Qd6, Black wins. White must permit the draw by 14.Ke1! Qg3+ 15.Kd2 Qf4+.] 14.Qf3 Qg6 15.Be4 f5 16.Bxa8 1-0 (The editor must have had fun annotating this game!)



A Deviation in the Sicilian

Many chess players, not wanting to venture into the thorny and complicated main lines of the Sicilian, often adopt an offbeat system. Examples include the Smith-Morra Gambit, the Grand Prix, and the Alapin.


Some of these lines turn out to be good and a player can actually pull off an upset. And there are great differences in the effectiveness of these offbeat lines.


Black, of course, can deviate from the main lines as well. However, being a move behind of White at the start of the game, these deviations often turn out to be worse for Black. Here is an example.


Marina Zaitseva-Elena Bugorkova (1840) X25
Kimry Women’s Ch., 2004
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 f5!? (Or perhaps ?! This is a new move to the author.) 3.exf5 Nf6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Qa5+ 6.Qd2 Qe5+ 7.Qe3 Qxe3+  8.Bxe3 Nc6 9.Nc3 g6 10.fxg6 hxg6 11.Bd3 Kf7 12.h3 e5 13.Ndb5 Bb4 14.O-O-O Bxc3 15.Nxc3 d5 16.Nxd5 Nxd5 17.Bc4 Be6 18.Bxd5 Rad8 19.c4 Bxd5 20.cxd5 1-0

Jevgenyij Boguszlavszkij (2130)-FM Marton Prorok (2332)
First Saturday
Budapest, Sept. 2017
[For those who love tactical games, here is one you will enjoy.]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 f5  3.Bc4 (3.exf5!? also seems to give White the advantage. See previous game with this bizarre version of the Open Sicilian.) 3…fxe4 4.Ne5!? (It’s hard to find fault with this move. Here we go with the tactics.)
4…d5 5.Bb5+ Nd7 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Nxg6 Nf6 8.Qh3 Qb6 9.Nxh8 Qxb5 10.Qe6 d4 11.Nf7 Qa5 12.Ng5 Ne5 13.Qxe5 e3 14.fxe3 Ng4 15.Qd5 Nxe3 16.Qf7+ Kd7 17.Na3 c4 18.Qxf8 Nxg2+ 19.Kf2 Qxg5 20.Qf3 Nh4 21.d3 Nxf3 22.Bxg5 Nxg5 23.h4 1-0

GM Robert Hovhannisyan (2560)-IM Kamran Shirazi (2403)
European Ch.
Aix-les-Bains, France, Mar. 27 2011
[IM Shirazi is well-known for his offbeat openings.]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 f5 3.exf5 Nh6!? (Here is a more sensible reply. Black protects his main weakness on f7. But in doing so he loses some time while his other minor weaknesses are neglected.) 4.d4 Nxf5 5.Bd3 cxd4 6.O-O d6 7.Bxf5 Bxf5 8.Nxd4 Qd7 9.Nxf5 Qxf5 10.Re1 Nc6 11.Qxd6 Rd8 12.Qf4 Qxf4 13.Bxf4 Nd4 14.Na3 e6 15.c3 Bxa3 16.cxd4 Bxb2 17.Rxe6+ Kf7 18.Rae1 Rd7 19.d5 Bc3 20.R1e3 Rc8 21.d6 Bf6 22.g4 Rc4 23.R6e4 Rxe4 24.Rxe4 g5 25.Bg3 Bg7 26.Kg2 h6 27.Ra4 b6 28.f4 gxf4 29.Rxf4+ Ke6 30.Re4+ Kd5 31.Kf3 Bf8 32.Re5+ Kc6 33.Rf5 Bxd6 34.Rf6 Kd5 35.Rxh6 Rf7+ 36.Kg2 Bc5 37.h4 Re7 38.Rh5+ Ke4 39.Rf5 Be3 40.h5 a6 41.Rf6 a5 42.Bd6 Re8 43.h6 Rh8 44.Bf8 Bg5 45.Rg6 Kf4 46.Bg7 Re8 47.h7 Re2+ 48.Kg1 1-0


A “Tal”ented player

A great game by the Magician from Riga.

GM Tal (2625)-Mukhin (2420)
Baku, 1972
[There are some games worth playing over and over again. This is one of them.]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Bb7 9.Re1! +/= Nbd7 10.Bg5 Nc5?? 11.Bd5! +/- b4 (ECO gives 11.Bd5 h6 12.Bxb7 Nxb7 13.Bh4 Rc8 14.a4 b4 15.Nd5 +/-, citing Honfi-Tatai, Monte Carlo, 1967. 11…exd5 also runs into problems after 11…exd5 12.exd5+ Kd7 13.b4 Na4 14.Nxa4 bxa4 15.c4 +-) 12.Bxb7 Nxb7 13.Nd5! (White is determined to open the “e” file!) 13…exd5 14.exd5+ Kd7 (If 14…Be7, then 15.Nf5 +-) 15.c3! +- b3 16.Qxb3 Nc5 17.Qc4 Qc8 (17…Rc8 18.b4 Nce4 19.Nc6 Nxg5 20.Nb8+ Rxb8 21.Qc6#) 18.Nc6 h6 19.Bxf6 gxf6 20.Re3 Kc7 21.b4 (With the idea of 22.Na7+ or 22.Ne7+, if the black knight should move.) 21…Rg8 1-0





A Mistake in the Sveshnikov


Escalante”-“julez195” (1564)

Blitz game

chess.com, Feb. 16 2017


1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 d6 {Both Black and White have used about 5 seconds to make their moves. But now Black slows down. It is obvious that he knew the first part of the opening, but not much more.} 6.N1c3 Nf6 7.Bg5


7…Be7 {I knew this was a mistake. Now I have to figure it out how to prove it was a mistake. Here are some general ideas about the opening. The Sveshnikov is a risky variation in the Sicilian for Black and has to play very precisely not to be knocked out in the opening. In this position he must play 7…a6 so as to prevent the knights from attacking the vulnerable “c7” square. This game is one example of Black failing to do this. Here’s another: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5 e5 7.Ndb5 h6 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.Nd5 Rb8 10.Nbc7+ Kd7 11.Qg4+ 1-0 (C. Chester- S. Salvador, 11th Eastern Ch., New York, 1977).}  8.Bxf6 Bxf6 9.Nd5 O-O {Anything else loses even faster.  But Black’s pieces are a bit unorganized and he still has the weakness on “c7”.} 10.Be2 {White wants to castle before embarking on any attack.} Qa5+ {The “c7” square still needs protection.} 11.Nbc3 {There is no reason to hurry. The almost random sorties of the Black queen give White extra time and targets.} Bd8 {The “c7” square is now completely safe. But Black has used a number of tempi to accomplish this task.} 12.O-O f5 13.a3 Ne7 14.b4 1-0