Attacking by Castling, Part 1

Most players know that castling is usually considered a defensive move as it tucks the king into a corner where it is harder to attack. Experienced players also know that castling also places a rook on a file that is closer to center, where it can more easily participate in an attack against the enemy king.

 

And those who really understand the game, or at least get lucky, can find positions where the rook, far from being a bystander, is the main piece in a king attack.

 

So how does a rook attack? Mostly by checking.
Let’s take a look from the Levenfish variation of the Dragon (see also, “A Dragon Trap” from the December 19, 2019 posting on this blog for other ideas of this almost bad variation of the Sicilian).
Kalinchenko-Chekhov
Moscow, 1971
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ fxe6 11.Qxd8+ Kf7 12.O-O+

2020_02_06_A

1-0

Black is obviously busted here. But he can still fight on. The only question is, “How many moves must occur before he gives up?”

 

Glenn Cornwell-Jerry Gray
Southern Amateur
Tennessee, 1972
12.O-O+ Nf6 13.Rxf6+ Bxf6 14.Qd4 Bg7 15.Bg5 Nc6 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Rf1+ Kg8 18.Qc5 1-0

 

B. Probola-A. Plicner
Polish U16 Ch.
Zakopane, Jan. 21 2001
12.O-O+ Bf6 13.Rxf6+ Nxf6 14.Qxh8 a6 15.exf6 exf6 16.Bh6 1-0

 

 

The Dragon seems to have many examples of checking from castling.

 

Alexander Thomson-Francisco Prieto Azuar
Munich Ol.
Germany, 1958
[B34]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.Be3 a6 8.Nxc6 dxc6 9.Qxd8+ Kxd8

2020_02_06_B

10.O-O-O+ Nd7 11.Na4! Ke8 12.Nb6 Nxb6 13.Bxb6 Be6 (Castling would have been preferable. But Black has already moved his king and his monarch is now stuck in the middle.) 14.f4 f5 15.exf5 gxf5 16.Bh5+ Bf7 17.Bxf7+ Kxf7 18.Rd7 Ke6 19.Rxb7 Rhb8 20.Re1+ 1-0

 

K. Njili (2305)-Said Medjkouh
Zonal Tournament, 4.1, Africa
Tipaza, Algeria, May 26 2011
[B27]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.h4 Bg7 4.h5 d5 5.exd5 gxh5 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Bb5+ Nbd7 8.d4 Qa5 9.Bd2 a6 10.Bd3 cxd4 11.Nxd4 Ne5 12.Qe2 Nxd5 13.Bb5+! axb5 14.Nxd5 Qd8 15.Nxb5 Kf8 16.Nf4 Ra4 17.Nxh5 Qd5 18.Nxg7 Bg4 19.f3 Bxf3 20.Nc3 Bxe2 21.Nxd5 Ba6 22.Nf5 e6 23.Bh6+ Ke8 24.Nc7+ Kd8 25.Bg7 exf5

2020_02_06_C
26.O-O-O+ Kc8 (Not 26…Kxc7? 27.Bxe5+ and 28.Bxh8 and White wins with less fuss.) 27.Bxh8 Rxa2 28.Kb1 1-0

 

 

There is no reason why a player must engage in a Dragon to castle and check.

 

 

GM Viswanathan Anand-GM Peter Svidler
Linares
Spain, Feb. 27 1999
[D97]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 O-O 7.e4 a6 (Black has a number of good responses here: 7…Bg4, 7…Nc6 and the text move.) 8.e5 b5 9.Qb3 Nfd7 10.h4 c5 11.e6 c4 12.Qd1 Nb6 13.exf7+ Rxf7 14.h5 Nc6 15.hxg6 hxg6 16.Be3 Bf5 17.Ng5 Rf6 18.g4 Be6 19.Nce4 Bd5 20.Qd2 Rd6 21.f3 Bxe4 22.fxe4 Nd7 23.Qh2 Nf8 24.e5 Rd7 25.Ne6 Qa5+ 26.Bd2 Nxe5 27.Be2 c3 28.Bxc3 b4 29.Nxg7 bxc3 30.Qh8+ Kf7

2020_02_06_D

31.O-O+ 1-0

 

 

Most players are aware of this tactical motif.

 
Dunbar-Chawkin
US, 1925
[C45]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Be3 d6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bxc5 dxc5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.c4 Rb8 10.Nc3 Rxb2 11.O-O-O+ 1-0

 

N.N.-Gerald Abrahams
England, 1929
[D31]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 Bb4 5.Bd3 e5 6.dxe5 dxe4 7.Bxe4 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Qxd1+ 9.Kxd1 Be6 10.Rb1 Na6 11.Rxb7? O-O-O+ 0-1

 

Ivan Feuer-Albéric O’Kelly de Galway
Liege, Belgium, 1934
[C68]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.Bxc6+ bxc6 6.d4 f6 7.Nc3 Rb8 8.Qd3 Ne7 9.h4 h5 10.Be3 Rxb2? 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.Qxd8+ Kxd8 13.O-O-O+ 1-0

 

 

And finally, some of the best castling moves do not involve checks.

 

 

GM Gligoric-GM Yusupov
Yugoslavia, 1980
[D48]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 9.e4 c5 10.d5 c4 11.dxe6 fxe6 12.Bc2 Bb7 13.O-O Qc7 14.Ng5 Nc5 15.f4 h6 16.e5?! (16.Nh3) 16…Nd3! 17.Bxd3

2020_02_06_D2
17…O-O-O! -/+ 18.Nf3 Rxd3 (Yusupov, writing in Informator 30, notes that even stronger is 18…Bc5+ 19.Kh1 Ng4.) 19.Qe2 Bc5+ 20.Kh1 Nd5 21.Ne4 Rf8 22.Ne1 Rd4 23.Nxc5 Qxc5 24.Qg4 Qe7 25.Nf3 Rdxf4 26.Bxf4 Rxf4 27.Qg3 g5 28.Rae1 Qb4 29.Rf2 Ne7 30.a3 Qc5 31.Rd2 Nf5 32.Qh3 g4 33.Qh5 Kb8 34.Nh4 Qxe5 35.Qe8+ Ka7 36.Rdd1 Re4 37.Rxe4 Qxe4 38.Qf8 Qc6 39.Rd2 c3 40.bxc3 Qxc3 41.Rd1 Qc2 42.Qd8 Qf2 0-1

 

 

Marshall-Burn
Ostend Ch.
Belgium, June 3 1907
[A46]
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bf4 Nbd7?! (Black finds himself in a weak variation of the London System.) 4.e3 g6 5.Bd3 Bg7 6.Nbd2 O-O 7.h4 Re8 8.h5 Nxh5 9.Rxh5 gxh5 10.Bxh7+ Kxh7 11.Ng5+ Kg6 12.Ndf3 e5 13.Nh4+ Kf6 14.Nh7+ Ke7 15.Nf5+ Ke6 16.Nxg7+ Ke7 17.Nf5+ Ke6 18.d5 Kxf5 19.Qxh5+ Ke4

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20.O-O-O! 1-0 (21.f3# cannot be avoided. Notice the Rook on d1 closes the last escape square for the Black king.)

 
Which brings us to Part 2.  See you next week!

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

Sibling Rivalry?

What do you do if you are an IM and you have to play a GM? One who is a sibling, and knows all about you?

 
For some ideas, please play over the game below.

 
IM Sofia Polgar-GM Judit Polgar (2696)
Match des Championnes Rapid
France, May 14 2013
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Nxc6

[By far, the most common move. Black, however, has the interesting. 7…Qc7!? which warrants further study.

Henryk Gaida (2195)-Kamal Hussain
corres.
ICCF WT/M/GT307, 1992
7…Qc7 8.Bxf7+!? Kxf7 9.Nd4 e6 10.O-O b5 11.a3 Bb7 12.f3 d5 13.exd5 Nxd5 14.Ne4 Be7 15.Kh1 h6 16.Re1 e5 17.Nf5 Rhe8 18.Nxe7 Rxe7 19.Ng3 Nf6 20.Nf5 Rd7 21.Qe2 e4 22.fxe4 Bxe4 23.Ne3 Rad8 24.a4 Qb7 25.axb5 axb5 26.Kg1 Kg8 27.Ng4 Bxg2 28.Bxh6 Nxg4 1/2-1/2.]

 
7…bxc6 8.e5 d5

 

[Now if you are an GM, then you won’t fall for any of the following;

Reinhold Soelter (2164)-E. Heuer
OWL Ch.
Borgholzhausen, Germany, 1968
8…Ng8 9.Qf3 d5 10.Nxd5 Bb7 11.Nc7+ Qxc7 12.Qxf7+ 1-0

Moutousis (2422)-Skoularikis (2224)
Athens, 1988
8…Nd7 9.e6 fxe6 10.Bxe6 Nc5 11.Bxc8 Rxc8 12.O-O g6 13.Be3 Nd7 14.Ne4 Qa5 15.Re1 Kd8 16.Bd2 Qd5 17.c4 Qxc4 18.Ba5+ Ke8 19.Nxd6mate 1-0]

 

8…d5 9.exf6 dxc4 10.Qxd8+ Kxd8 11.fxe7+ Bxe7

 

[And you would also be aware of this game and ideally would have found an improvement over Black’s strategy.

Lewis-Bekerman
South Africa, 1956
11.fxe7+ Bxe7 12.Bf4 Bf5 13.O-O+ Kc8? 14.Na4 Kb7 15.Rhe1 Be6?
2019_12_26_A
16.Rxe6! fxe6 17.Rd7+ Kc8 18.Nb6mate 1-0. But your IM sibling changes the move. So now you are on your own.]

 

12.Be3 Be6 13.O-O-O+ (This move is still a good one as it safeguards the white king, develops a piece, and coordinates White’s active pieces.) 13…Kc8 14.Na4 Rb8 15.Bc5 Bg5+ 16.Kb1 Rb5 17.Bd4 Be7 18.Rhe1 Rd8 19.g3 g5? 20.Nb6+ Kb7 21.Nxc4 +- Rbd5 22.c3 c5 23.Ne3 cxd4 24.Nxd5 Rxd5 25.Rxd4 Rf5 26.Rxe6 fxe6 27.Rd7+ Kc6 28.Rxe7 Kd5 29.Rd7+ Ke4 30.Rd2 Kf3 31.b4 e5 32.c4 e4 33.c5 Rf6 34.Rc2 Rf8 35.c6 h5 (Black’s moves are merely fluff. White is easily winning on the queenside.) 36.c7 Rc8 37.a4 h4 38.gxh4 gxh4 39.b5 h3 40.b6 Kg2 41.b7
2019_12_26_B
41…Rxc7 42.Rxc7 Kxh2 43.b8=Q (Winning in the same number of moves is 43.Rg7 e3 44.b8=Q+ Kh1 45.Qg3.) 43…Kg2 44.Rg7+ Kh1 45.Qg3 h2 46.Qg2mate 1-0

A Dragon Trap

Curious-Blue-Dragon-and-Drake-Studying-Giant-Book-of-Magic-Statue-19-in.

You may know it already. Or maybe you just heard about it.

 

But there is a trap in the Sicilian Dragon which catches many players each year. Including Masters.

 

And if you can defeat a Master within a few moves of the game; well, it’s probably something worth memorizing.

 

First some background information.

 

The Sicilian Dragon is a large complex of moves and variation that all feature a fianchettoed bishop on g7.

 

This trap is to be found in the Levenfish Variation and is defined as 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 (B71, if you are familiar with ECO).

The reasoning behind 6.f4 is to support a large center for White and to support a well-timed e5.

 

The first reason is easy to see. The second is not so easy as one has to visualize such a move (e5) and determine if it is a threat after each and every move.

 

In fact, many players do not suspect that .e5 may be coming so soon in the game and confidently, and yet innocently, play 6…Bg7?, which gives White a huge, almost winning, advantage.

 

The moves are 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7. And now White plays 7.e5, which attacks the knight with White having a strong center and better mobility for his pieces.

 

Even not reaching the main trap of the line, Black can lose very, very fast.

 

FM Perelshteyn-Shivaji (2230)
Pan Am Intercollegiate, 1998
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5
2019_12_19_A8…Nfd7 (8…Nd5 9.Bb5+ ; 8…Ng4 9.Bb5+ Nc6 10.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Nxd1 Bd7 12.Nd4 Bxe5 13.Bxd7+ Kxd7 14.Nf3) 9.e6 Ne5 10.exf7+ Kxf7 11.Be2 Nbc6 12.O-O+ Bf6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bf4 Kg7 15.Qc1 h6 16.Kh1 Qb6 17.Ne4 Be6 18.Be3 Qc7 19.Nc5 Bf7 20.Bf4 Qb6 21.Qe3 Nc4 22.Ne6+ Bxe6 23.Qxe6 Na5 24.Be5 Qb7 25.Ba6 1-0

 

Hugo Spangenberg-Sergio Medina
Buenos Aires, 1999
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 Nfd7 8.e6 Nf6 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.exf7 Kxf7 11.Qf3 e6 12.Be3 d5 13.O-O-O Rf8 14.h4 Nc6 15.h5 Ne7 16.g4 Kg8 17.hxg6 hxg6 18.g5 Ng4 19.Qxg4 Bxd4 20.Bxd4 1-0

 

L. Zsiltzova Lisenko (2284)-P. Berggren (1913)
World Blind Ch.
Goa, India, Oct.9 2006
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 Ng4 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.Qxg4 dxe5 10.fxe5 Bxe5 11.Bxd7+ Nxd7 12.Nf3 Bg7 13.O-O O-O 14.Kh1 Rc8 15.Qh4 Bxc3 16.bxc3 Rxc3 17.Bh6 Rxc2 (If 17…Re8, then 18.Qd4 still wins.) 18.Bxf8 Nxf8 19.Qa4 Qc7 20.Qxa7 e5 21.Qe3 Nd7 22.Rac1 e4 23.Ng5 Qc5 24.Qxc5 Rxc5 25.Rxc5 1-0

 

D. Tahiri (2099)-F. Niehaus (2204)
Lichtenberger Sommer
Berlin, Aug.24 2006
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 Nh5 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.e6 fxe6 10.Nxe6 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qc8 12.Bxd7+ Nxd7 13.O-O Nc5 14.Qd4 Nf6 15.Ng5 Qf5 16.Re1 Kd7

2019_12_19_B
17.Re5! 1-0

 

The prevalent thought among most Black players at this point to first remove the attacking pawn from e5 and then worry about the knight. This idea, while valid in many positions in chess, actually places Black in worse position, due to the now-opened lines White has his disposal.

 

Let’s review the moves once again.

 

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5

 

Black still has his knight under attack and he has to do something. Meanwhile, White has increased his attacking possibilities. White’s win is more certain.

 

V. Ortiz-J. Romagosa
corres., 1946
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Bg4 9.Bb5+ Nbd7 10.Qd3 Ng8 11.Qe4 Bxe5 12.Qxe5 Nf6 13.Bh6 Qb8 14.Qxb8+ Rxb8 15.Bg7 Rg8 16.Bxf6 exf6 17.O-O 1-0

 

Bubenyik-Mayer
corres., 1967
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng8 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.e6 Bxb5 11.Ncxb5 Nf6 12.Qf3 Qb6 13.exf7+ Kxf7 14.Qb3+ e6 15.Nc7 Qxc7 16.Qxe6+ Kf8 17.Qxf6+ Bxf6 18.Ne6+ Kf7 19.Nxc7 1-0

 

D. Berezjuk-P. Carlsson
European Youth Ch.
Rimavska Sobota, 1992
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nh5 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.e6 Bxb5 11.exf7+ Kxf7 12.Qf3+ Nf6 13.Ndxb5 Qd7 14.O-O Qc6 15.Qg3 Nd7 16.Be3 Rhf8 17.Nxa7 Qc4 18.Rad1 Kg8 19.Qf4 Qxf4 20.Rxf4 Bh6 21.Rf3 Bxe3+ 22.Rxe3 Rxa7 23.Rxe7 Rf7 24.Re3 Ra5 25.a3 Rf5 26.Ne4 Nxe4 27.Rxe4 Rf2 28.Rc4 Nf8 29.h3 Ne6 30.b3 Re2 31.Rf1 Rd7 32.Rf2 Rd1+ 33.Rf1 Rdd2 34.Rg4 Rxc2 35.Rg3 Nd4 36.Rf6 Nf5 37.Rxf5 Rxg2+ 38.Rxg2 Rxg2+ 39.Kxg2 gxf5 40.Kf3 Kf7 41.Kf4 Ke6 42.h4 Kf6 43.h5 Ke6 44.h6 Kf6 45.a4 Kg6 46.a5 Kxh6 47.b4 Kg6 48.b5 h5 49.a6 1-0

 

Mueller-Hoffmann
St. Ingbert Open
Germany, 1995
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Bg4 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ 1-0

 

FM Perelshteyn-Shivaji (2230)
Pan Am Intercollegiate, 1998
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5

2019_12_19_C

8…Nfd7 (8…Nd5 9.Bb5+ ; 8…Ng4 9.Bb5+ Nc6 10.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Nxd1 Bd7 12.Nd4 Bxe5 13.Bxd7+ Kxd7 14.Nf3) 9.e6 Ne5 10.exf7+ Kxf7 11.Be2 Nbc6 12.O-O+ Bf6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bf4 Kg7 15.Qc1 h6 16.Kh1 Qb6 17.Ne4 Be6 18.Be3 Qc7 19.Nc5 Bf7 20.Bf4 Qb6 21.Qe3 Nc4 22.Ne6+ Bxe6 23.Qxe6 Na5 24.Be5 Qb7 25.Ba6 1-0

 

Incredibly, White’s attacking chances increase even more if Black’s knight was to move to g4 or d5.

 

8.fxe5 Ng4

 

Aguilera-Lopez
Madrid, 1946
[This game has been repeated many times. Memorize it!]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4? (>Nfd7)

2019_12_19_D

9.Bb5+ Kf8? (After 9….Bd7, White plays 10.Qxg4 as Black’s bishop is pinned. Nevertheless, this move is the lesser evil.) 10.Ne6+ 1-0

 

Pilnik-Kashdan, 1948
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.Bb5+ Nc6 10.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Nxd1 a6 12.Ba4 Bd7 13.h3 Nh6 14.Nxe7 Bxa4 15.Nd5 Rd8 16.c4 Nf5 17.Bg5 Rd7 18.N1c3 Bc6 19.O-O-O h5 20.Nc7+ Kf8 21.Rxd7 Bxd7 22.Rd1 Bxe5 23.Rxd7 h4 24.Ne4 Nd4 25.Rd8+ Kg7 26.Ne8+ Kh7 27.N4f6+ Bxf6 28.Nxf6+ 1-0

 

Glenn Cornwell-Jerry Gray
Southern Amateur
Tennessee, 1972
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4? (8…Nd7 9.e6!) 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ fxe6 11.Qxd8+ Kf7 12.O-O+ Nf6 13.Rxf6+ Bxf6 14.Qd4 Bg7 15.Bg5 Nc6 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Rf1+ Kg8 18.Qc5 1-0

 

Crotto-Hindle
Haifa Ol., 1976
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.Qxg4 Bxb5 11.Ndxb5 Bxe5 12.Bh6 a6 13.Rd1 Qb6 14.Qc8+ 1-0

 

B.Probola-A.Plicner
Polish U16 Ch.
Zakopane, Jan. 21 2001
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ fxe6 11.Qxd8+ Kf7 12.O-O+ Bf6 13.Rxf6+ Nxf6 14.Qxh8 a6 15.exf6 exf6 16.Bh6 1-0

8.fxe5 Nd5

 

Watts-Pierce
corres., 1946
1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Rf1 Bxe5 11.Qf3 Nf6 12.Bh6+ Kg8 13.Nde2 Nc6 14.Rd1 Bxc3+ 15.Qxc3 Bd7 16.Rxf6 exf6 17.Rxd7 Qa5 18.Bxc6 Qxc3+ 19.Nxc3 bxc6 20.Ne4 1-0

 

R. Nezhmetdinov-P. Ermolin
Kazan Ch., 1946
1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.O-O Bxe5 (10…e6 11.Qf3) 11.Bh6+ Kg8 (11…Bg7 12.Bxg7+ Kxg7 13.Nxd5 Qxd5 14.Nf5+) 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.Nf5 Qc5+ 14.Be3 Qc7 15.Nh6+ 1-0

 

Crisovan-Rey
Switzerland, 1951
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.O-O Bxe5 11.Bh6+ Kg8 12.Nxd5! Qxd5
2019_12_19_E

13.Nf5! Qc5+ (Not 13…Qxb5 due to 14.Nxe7#. The text move also loses. But Black is lost as White also threatens Qd8+.) 14.Be3 Qc7 15.Nh6+ Kg7 16.Rxf7mate 1-0

 

N.N.-Karlin
Pan Am Intercollegiate, 1998
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.O-O e6 11.Qf3 Qe7 12.Bg5 1-0

 

Nicolaisen-Skovgaard
Politiken Cup
Copenhagen, 2001
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Nxd5 Qxd5 11.O-O Bxe5 12.Bh6+ Kg8 13.Nf5 Qc5+ 14.Be3 Qc7 15.Nh6+ Kg7 16.Rxf7mate 1-0

 

How does Black get out of such mess if White was to play the Levenfish?

 

8.f4 Nc6!? is useful to Black as the Nc6 protects the Queen on d8.

 

Evans-Reshevsky
New Orleans, 1955
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bg4 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Bg7 10.Be3 O-O 11.Rd1 Qa5 12.a3 Rac8 13.Be2 Nd7 14.e5 Nb6 15.O-O dxe5 16.Nb5 Nd4 17.Bxd4 exd4 18.Qxb7 Nc4 19.Bxc4 Rxc4 20.Nxa7 d3 21.Kh2 dxc2 22.Rc1 Qd2 23.Nc6 Kh8 24.Qb5 Re4 25.Nb4 Rxf4 26.Qg5 Rf2 27.Qxd2 Rxd2 28.Rxc2 Rxc2 29.Nxc2 Bxb2 30.Rf3 Rc8 31.Ne3 Kg7 32.Nd5 e6 33.Nb4 e5 34.Rb3 Bd4 35.Nd5 Rc5 36.Nb6 e4 37.Kg3 f5 38.a4 Ra5 39.Kf4 Kf6 0-1

 

Djuric-Mencinger
Ljubljana, 1981
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Bd3 a6 9.O-O O-O 10.Kh1 b5 11.a4 b4 12.Nd5 Bb7 13.f5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Ne5 15.Be4 Nd7 16.Ng5 Qa5 17.Bd2 h6 18.fxg6 hxg5 19.c4 fxg6 20.Qg4 Nf6
2019_12_19_F
21.Qe6+ Kh7 22.Qh3+ Kg8 23.Qe6+ Kh7 24.Qh3+ Kg8 25.Qe6+ 1/2-1/2

Perhaps even better for White is 6.Be3, a favorite of Tal.

 

James Drasher-Brian Polka
US Amateur Team, East
Parsippany NJ, Feb. 13 1999
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nc6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Be2 O-O 9.Qd2 Ng4 10.Bg1 Bd7 11.h3 Nf6 12.O-O-O Rc8 13.g4 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Bc6 15.Bd3 Qc7 16.g5 Nd7 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.h4 Nc5 19.h5 f5 20.hxg6 hxg6 21.Rh6 Rg8 22.Bc4 Nxe4 23.Rh7+! Kf8 (23…Kxh7 24.Qh2+ Kg7 25.Qh6#) 24.Qd4! Nxc3

2019_12_19_G

25.Qg7+! 1-0

 

But Black can improve by NOT moving his Bishop so early. He can play after 6.f4, 6…Nbd7. This prevents any checks and the knight lays siege on e5, which also prevents .e5. The variation is known as Flohr Variation.

 

U. Andersson- Raimundo Garcia
Skopje-Krusevo-Ohrid, 1972
1.Nf3 g6 2.e4 c5 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.f4 Nbd7 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.Bd3 Bg7 9.O-O O-O 10.Qe1 a6 11.Kh1 b5 12.e5 dxe5 13.fxe5 Ng4 14.e6 Nc5 15.Qh4 Nxd3 16.cxd3 Bxe6 17.Ng5 h5 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Bg5 Rxf1+ 20.Rxf1 Rf8 21.Rxf8+ Kxf8 22.Ne4 Bxb2 23.Bd2 Bf6 24.Qh3 Qe5 25.Qg3 Qxg3 26.Nxg3 Nf2+ 27.Kg1 Nxd3 28.Kf1 Kf7 29.Ne4 e5 30.g3 Nb2 31.Nc5 Nc4 32.Bc1 a5 33.Ke2 Nd6 34.Bd2 b4 35.Kd3 e4 36.Nxe4 Nxe4 37.Kxe4 Ke6 0-1

 

F. Vreugdenhil (2150)-A. Summerscale (2423)
Coulsden International
England, Sept. 5 1999
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nbd7 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.Be3 Bg7 9.Bd3 a6 10.h3 b5 11.a3 Bb7 12.O-O Nc5 13.Bd4 O-O 14.g4 e5 15.fxe5 Nfxe4 16.Nxe4 Nxe4 17.Qe1 dxe5 18.Bxe4 Bxe4 19.Qxe4 exd4 20.Nxd4 Qg3+ 21.Kh1 Qxh3+ 22.Kg1 Rae8 0-1

 

And Black, now playing this newer variation, can survive. At in least the opening.

Three Pawns for a Piece

This blog was going to feature the Dragon. But one of my correspondence games ended today (12-11-2019), and it inspired the following article.

Enjoy!

 

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

 

Most players know a piece is equal to three pawns. Materially, this is even. The advantage, however, is to the side that is attacking.

 

In a line of the Najdorf Sozin, White sacrifices a piece for those three pawns. Despite some technical problems to solve, he usually does well.

 

The sacrifice begins with the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7?! 10.Bxe6! fxe6 11.Nxe6.

 

This is White doing well.

 
Stark-Geisel
corres.
E. Germany, 1989
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qc8 12.Nxg7+ Kd8 13.Nf5 Rf8 14.Bh6 Rf7 15.Qg3 Qe6 16.Rad1 Nh5 17.Qe3 Nd7 18.Bg5 Nhf6 19.Qg3 Ne5 20.f4 Ned7 21.Nxe7 1-0

 

Wallner (2075)-Pfaffel (1970)
Graz Ch., 1994
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qd7? [This is an error. Better is the more common 11.Qc8. You’ll find this same error (11…Qd7?) in some of the following games.] 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Nc6 14.Nd5 Ne5 15.Qg3 Bxd5 16.Qg7+ Ke8 17.Qxh8+ Bg8 18.Qg7 Nxe4 19.Qxg8+ 1-0

 

Guerrero Rodriguez (2130)-Frias Careaga (1399)
Mexico Ch.
Hermosillo, Mar. 29 2002
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.Qf3 Bb7 9.O-O Be7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qc8 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Nbd7

[13…b4?! doesn’t offer Black too much.

13…b4 14.Bg5 Rg8 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.Nxd6 Qxd6 17.Rad1 Bd4 18.Ne2 Nc6 19.Nxd4 Nxd4 20.Qe3 Kc8 21.Rxd4 Qg6 22.g3 a5 23.c3 Ra6 24.cxb4 axb4 25.Rc1+ Kb8 26.Rxb4 h5 27.a4 Re6 28.Qf4+ Ka8 29.Rc5 Rd8 30.Rxb7 Rd1+ 31.Kg2 Qxe4+ 32.Qxe4 Rxe4 33.Rh7 1-0 (N. Aliavdin (2377)-I. Lada (2130), Karkonosze Open A, Karpacz, Poland, Feb. 22 2011.]

14.Bg5 Qf8 15.Bh6 Qd8 16.Nd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 Nf8 18.Bg7 Ng6 19.Bxh8 Qxh8 20.Rae1 Ra7 21.Qe3 Rb7? (22.Qe5+ K~ 23.Qc8+ ~ 24.Qxb7) 1-0

 

Langerak-Smits
Hengelo U10 Open, Aug. 4 2003
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 b5 7.Bb3 e6 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qd7 12.Nxg7+ Kd8 13.Nf5 Rf8 14.Bg5 Qe8 15.Rad1 Kc7 16.Qd3 Qd7 17.e5 dxe5 18.Qxd7+ Nfxd7 19.Nxe7 Nc6 20.Ncd5+ Kb8 21.Nxc6+ Bxc6 22.Nb4 1-0

 

Atousa Pourkashiyan (2241)-Irine Kharisma Sukandar (2303)
Rapid Game
Women’s WMSG
Beijing, Oct. 6 2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Be7 8.O-O b5 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qd7 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Qe6 14.Qh3 Bf8 15.Bh6 Rg8 16.Bxf8 Kxf8 17.Qh6+ Kf7 18.Qf4 Rd8 19.Rad1 Bc6 20.Nxd6+ Kg6 21.Rd3 h6 22.Nf5!

2019_12_12_A

1-0 (White’s threat is aimed at h6. If 22…Rh8, then 23.Qg3+ does the trick.)

 

A. Danin (2570)-Gera Richter (2101)
Schloss Open
Werther, Germany, Mar. 24 2013
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qc8 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Nbd7 14.Qg3 Bf8 15.Nxd6+ Bxd6 16.Qxd6 Nxe4 17.Nxe4 Bxe4 18.Bg5 Qc6 19.Qe7+ Kg6 20.Rad1 Bd5 21.Bc1 Nf6 22.Rd3 Ne4 23.f4 Rhf8 24.g4 Bf7 25.Rh3 Kg7 26.Be3 Rae8 27.Qh4 h5 28.f5 Rg8 29.g5 Kf8 30.g6 Re5 31.Qf4 Qd5 32.Rxh5 Ke8 33.Rh4 Kd7 34.Rh7 Re7 35.Qf3 Ke8 36.Kh1 Nf2+ 37.Rxf2 Qxf3+ 38.Rxf3 Bd5 39.Rxe7+ Kxe7 40.Kg2 Kf6 41.Bd4+ Kg5 42.Kf2 Bxf3 43.Kxf3 Kxf5 44.g7 Re8 45.c3 Kg6 46.Kf4 Kh7 47.Be5 Rd8 48.Ke3 Rd5 49.Ke4 Rd2 50.c4 bxc4 51.Bd4 a5 52.a4 Rd1 53.Kd5 c3 54.bxc3 Rd2 55.c4 Rxh2 56.c5 Rh5+ 57.Kc4 Rh1 58.c6 Rh6 59.Kb5 Kg8 60.c7 1-0

 
Now Black does not have to take the offered bishop. He can simply decline the material. But he is still a pawn down and White has a budding attack.

 

This is White doing very well.

 

Beukenhorst-Roellig
Germany U20 Ch.
Hamburg, 1993
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 Qb6? (Black is lost. White can just play 11.Be3 and gain a tempo in every line.) 11.Be3 fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qc6 13.Nd5 Nbd7 14.Nxg7+ Kf7 15.Nf5 Bf8 16.Bd4 Ne5 17.Nh6+ 1-0

 

Escalante-“kennethvenken”
Najdorf Thematic
http://www.chess.com, 2019
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 Qb6? 11.Be3 fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qc6 13.Nxg7+ Kf8 14.Nf5 Nbd7 15.Nd5 Bd8 16.Bh6+ Kf7 17.Rfe1 Ne5 18.Qb3 [The chess.com computer suggests 18.Qa3! (hitting the d6 pawn) Nxd5 19.Nxd6+ Qxd6 20.Qxd6 Bc7 21.Qa3 Nf6 22.Qb3+ Kg6. But there is nothing wrong with the text move which is more direct.]

2019_12_12_B

18…Nxd5

[Not 18…Qc5? due to 19.Nxf6+ Kxf6 20.Bg7+ Kg5 (20…Kg6? 21.Qe6+ Bf6 22.Qxf6+ Kh5 23.Qh6+ Kg4 24.h3#) 21.Qe6 and Black can’t fight off mate; 21…Qxf2+ 22.Kxf2 Ng4+ 23.Kg3 Bf6 24.Nxd6 Be5+ 25.Bxe5 Nxe5 26.h4+ Kh5 27.Qxe5+ Kg6 28.Qg5#, 21…Nf3+ 22.gxf3 Qxf2+ 23.Kxf2 Bb6+ 24.Ke2 h6 25.Bxh6+ Rxh6 26.Qxh6#, 21…Kf4 22.Bh6+ Bg5 23.Bxg5+ Kxg5 24.Qh6+ Kg4 25.h3#, 21…Bf6 22.Qxf6+ Kh5 23.Qh6+ Kg4 24.h3#, 21…Kg5 22.Qh6+ Kg4 23.h3#, 21…Kh5 22.Qh6+ Kg4 23.h3#.]

19.Rad1 Qd7 20.Rxd5 Bxd5 21.Qxd5+ 1-0 [Black resigned. He’s facing lines such as 21…Qe6 22.Nxd6+ (22…Kf6 23.Bg7+! +-) 22…Ke7 23.Nf5+ Kf6 24.Qxa8 Rg8 25.Bg7+ Rxg7 26.Nxg7 Kxg7 27.Qb7+ Kf6 28.Qxh7 Bb6 29.Qh6+ Ng6 30.e5+ Kf5 31.Qh5+.]

 

The Siberian Trap

In a correspondence game I was preparing an opening line as it was appearing to become a Smith-Morra variation in the Sicilian. But alas! – the game soon changed into an Advance French/Alapin hybrid.

 

So, my dear chess friends, here is what I was studying.

 

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

 

The Siberian Trap is a good counter-attack in the Smith-Morra. You won’t find it in too many opening books, but it’s there!

 

The opening line begins as 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7!, and Black has his counterplay. But is it sound? Any good? Well, apparently, it is!

 

Here are some games and analysis for your consideration.

 

First of all, to reach the gambit proper, White continues with 7.O-O Nf6 8.Qe2 (a reasonable move). And now Black strikes back with 8…Ng4!

 

White can respond with 9.h3?, but this is bad, because of 9…Nd4! 10.hxg4 Nxe2+ 11.Bxe2 a6 12.Rd1 b5 and Black won soon in the game, Alekseev-Schipkov, Burevestnik Russian Ch., Krasnodar 1983. [Analysis by Boris Schipkov.]

 

Another bad move for White is 9.Bb3?. which led to a quick loss after 9…Nd4! (Kolenbet-Schipkov, Siberian & Far East Ch., Khabarovsk, 1987). At least now know where the name of this trap comes from!

 

Let’s look at some other games.

 

Ligoure (2240)–Milesi (2030)
Cannes, 1990
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Bc4 e6 6.Nf3 Qc7 7.O-O Nf6 8.Re1?! (The critical theoretical line is 8.Nb5 Qb8 9.e5!) 8…d6 9.Bf4 Ne5?! (9…a6 was preferable.) 10.Bb5+ Nfd7?! (> 10…Bd7) 11.Rc1 Qb8 12.Nd5!
2019_09_11_A
12…exd5 13.Nxe5 (Even more powerful was 13.Bxe5! dxe5 14.Rxc8+! Qxc8 15.Nxe5 +-) 13…dxe5 14.Bxe5! Qxe5 15.exd5 Kd8 16.Rxe5 Nxe5 17.f4 Bg4 18.Qe1 Nd7 19.h3 a6 20.Bxd7 Bxd7 21.Qa5+ +- Ke7 22.Re1+ Kf6 23.Qb6+ Kf5 24.Re5+ 1-0

 

Joe Blitzsein-M. Manik
SCCF H.S. Ch.
Los Angeles, 1993
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.Qe2 Nf6 8.e5 Ng4 9.Bf4 f6 10.Nd5 Qa5+ 11.Bd2 Qd8 12.exf6 Nxf6 13.Nxf6+ Qxf6 14.Bc3 Bb4 15.Bxb4 Nxb4 16.O-O O-O 17.Rfd1 d5 18.a3 Nc6 19.Bb5 Bd7 20.Bxc6 Bxc6 21.Ne5 Rad8 22.Rac1 Ba4 23.Rd4 Bb5 24.Qe3 Rc8 25.Rxc8 Rxc8 26.h3 Qe7 27.Rf4 Qc5 28.Qg3 Rf8 29.Rxf8+ Qxf8 30.Qb3 Qc5 31.Qf3 Qc1+ 32.Kh2 Qc7 33.Qf4 Be8 34.Ng6 Qxf4+ 35.Nxf4 Kf7 36.Kg3 Kf6 37.Kf3 d4 38.Ke4 Bc6+ 39.Kd3 e5 40.Nh5+ Kg6 41.g4 Bg2 42.f4 Bxh3 43.fxe5 Bxg4 44.Nf4+ Kf5 45.Ng2 Kxe5 46.b4 g5 47.a4 h5 0-1

 

Lotti-Cilento
corres.
Italian Ch., 1993
[This game actually made it into CCY #10/79. Analysis by Lotti]
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.O-O Nf6 8.Bg5! Ne5 9.Bb3 Be7 10.Rc1 Qa5?! (10…Nxf3+! 11.Qxf3 +/=) 11.Nxe5 Qxe5 12.f4 Qc5+ 13.Kh1 Qb6 14.e5 Ng8 15.Ne4 h6 16.Bxe7 1-0 [16…Nxe7 (16…Kxe7 17.Qd6+ Qxd6 18.Nxd6 +-) 17.Nd6+ Kf8 18.Nxc8 Rxc8 19.Rxc8+ Nxc8 20.Qxd7 Ne7 21.Rc1 g6 22.Rc7 Qb4 23.h3 +-]

 

Howard-Kechner
British Ch., 1996
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 e6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.O-O a6 8.Be3 h6 9.Re1 Ne5 10.Nxe5 Qxe5 11.Nd5 exd5 12.exd5 Be7 13.Bc5 Qf4 14.Bxe7 Nxe7 15.d6 Qxc4 16.Rxe7+ Kf8 17.Qf3 g6 18.Qf6 Rg8 19.Re8+ 1-0

 

Klewin-Lau
Hamburg, 2002
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.Qe2 a6 8.O-O b5?! (In combination with …Qc7 this often proves too risky.) 9.Bb3 Bb7 10.Rd1 d6 11.Bf4 Ne5?! 12.Rac1 Bc6?! (12…Nxf3+ 13.Qxf3) 13.Nd4 Ne7 14.Bxe5 dxe5 15.Ndxb5! axb5 16.Nxb5 +- Bxb5 17.Qxb5+ Nc6 18.Rxc6 Rb8!?
2019_09_11_B
19.Rxe6mate 1-0

 

Milman (2356)-GM Ehlvest (2587)
New York Masters, 2003
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.O-O Nf6 8.Nb5 Qb8 9.e5! Ng4 10.Nd6+?! (> 10.Bf4) 10…Bxd6 11.exd6 b5 12.Bb3 O-O 13.h3 Nf6 14.Re1 a5 15.Bg5 a4 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.Bc2 Nb4 18.Bb1 Nd5 19.Nh4 Qxd6 20.Qg4+ Kh8
2019_09_11_C

21.Nf5! 1-0

 

Sami Al Atarji-GM Todorovic (2540)
Belgrade Trophy, Nov. 24 2004
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.O-O Nf6 8.Qe2 Ng4 9.g3 (Now this is White’s most common reply. A fianchetto makes it harder to attack the kingside. In most positions.) 9…a6 10.Nd5 Qd8 (Maybe Black can survive after 10…exd5 11.exd5+ Ne7 12.d6 Qxd6 13.Bf4, but why risk it?) 11.h3 Nge5 12.Bf4 d6 13.Ne3 Nxf3+ 14.Qxf3 g5! 0-1

 

Kobernat (2030)-GM Wojtkiewicz (2610)
Governor’s Cup
South Dakota, 2005
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.O-O Nf6 8.h3 a6 9.Qe2 d6 10.Be3 Be7 11.Rac1 O-O 12.Nd4 Bd7 13.f4 b5 14.Nxc6 Qxc6 15.Bd3 Qb7 16.e5 dxe5 17.fxe5 Nd5 18.Nxd5 exd5 19.Qh5 g6 20.Qh6 Rac8 21.Rce1 Bc5?? (Black should have played 21…Qc7 22.Bd4 Bc5, and would have eventually won.) 22.Bxc5 Rxc5 23.e6! Bc6 24.e7 Re8 25.Rxf7 1-0

 

Leigh Hunt (1964)-Nisha Deolalkikar (1719)
LPCC Ch.
La Palma, CA, 2008
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 e6 5.Bc4 Qc7 6.Qe2 a6 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.Bb3 (Safeguarding the Bishop) 8…g6? (The move …e6 is usually played so Black’s bishop can move to either e7 or b4. Playing …g6 in this position, in conjunction to …e6, creates catastrophic weaknesses along the dark squares.) 9.Bg5! (White immediately takes advantage of the situation.) 9…Bg7 10.Rc1 f6?! (Further weakening Black’s kingside.) 11.Be3 (White is practically winning.) 11…b5 12.Nd5 exd5 13.exd5 Nge7 14.dxc6 dxc6 15.Bc5 Bg4 16.O-O Kf8 (Black might have tried 16.O-O-O, hoping for 17.Bxe7? Rde8!, and while he is not winning, he is not being mated.) 17.Rfe1 Re8 18.Rcd1 h5 19.h3 Bxf3 20.Qe6 Bd5
2019_09_11_D
21.Rxd5! (Threatening 22.Rd7. Meanwhile, White’s rook and two bishops are all en prise, but none of them can be taken because of mate on the next move.) 1-0

 

Jozsef Visloczki-Tibor Barabas (2097)
Hungarian Team Ch. 2, Mar. 27 2011
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.O-O Nf6 8.Qe2 Ng4 9.g3 a6 10.Rd1? Bc5 (Already, Black has a definite advantage.) 11.Rf1 O-O 12.Bf4 d6 13.Rad1 b5 14.Bb3 h6 15.h4 Nge5 16.Nxe5 dxe5 17.Be3 Nd4 18.Bxd4 exd4 19.Nb1 a5 20.Rc1 Qb6 21.Qh5 Bd6 22.Nd2 Bb7 23.Bc2 Bxg3! 24.Bd3 Bf4 25.Rc2 e5 26.Kh1 f5 27.Rg1 Bxd2 28.Rg6 Rf6 0-1

An Introduction to the Magnus Smith Trap.

An early …Nc6 in the Sozin Dragon (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 g6 6.Bc4 Nc6?!) is not particularly useful, or even safe, for Black. White has a forceful reply with after 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5. It’s now more commonly known as the Magnus Smith trap.

 

The trap was well known before the 20th century. A 19th century example is given below.

 

Blackburne-Paulsen
Vienna, 1882
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.exd6 Qxd6 10.Qe2 Bg7 11.Ne4 Qc7 12.h3 Ne5 13.Bf4 Nd3+ 14.cxd3 Qxf4 15.O-O O-O 16.Rac1 Rb8 17.Rc2 Rb6 18.a3 Be5 19.g3 Qf5 20.g4 Qf4 21.Ng3 Qd4 22.Qf3 Rxb2 23.Ne2 Qb6 24.Rxb2 Qxb2 25.d4 Bd6 26.a4 Bb7 27.Qd3 Qb6 28.Rb1 Qc7 29.h4 Qd7 30.Qf3 Bc8 31.g5 Qh3 32.Qxh3 Bxh3 33.Rb3 Bc8 34.Nc3 Kg7 35.Ne4 Bc7 36.d5 cxd5 37.Bxd5 Rd8 38.Bc6 Bb6 39.Kg2 f5 40.gxf6+ exf6 41.h5 f5 42.Ng5 Rd2 43.Nh3 Rd6 44.Bf3 Rd2 45.hxg6 hxg6 46.Bc6 Kh6 47.Kg3 g5 48.Rc3 g4 49.Be8 Bb7 50.Bc6 Ba6 51.Bg2 gxh3 52.Rc6+ Kg7 53.Bxh3 Bb7 54.Re6 Bxf2+ 55.Kh2 Bh4+ 56.Kg1 Bd5 57.Rd6 Bf2+ 0-1

 
So why is this trap known as the Magnus Smith trap, and not the Blackburne trap?

 

For at least two reasons. One is that Blackburne didn’t play the best moves and lost the game, so most players did not notice how powerful White’s attack could be.

 

Secondly, the first known player to properly analyze the trap and have it published was the Canadian player, Magnus Smith (1869–1934). A player of master strength, he played this now well-known trap against Kreymborg in the sixth round of the 1911 New York Masters Open and won in 49 moves.

 

This game, plus a related article by Smith, was published in the March 1911 issue of the American Chess Bulletin. The game can be found on page 59 and the article on pages 62-63.

 

Magnus Smith-Alfred Kreymborg
New York Masters Open, 1911
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 (Of course not, 8…dxe5?? because of 9.Bxf7+, winning the queen. A trap not easy to see, but only if you have seen it played before. Many beginners have been on the wrong side of it.) 9.Bf4 (This is perhaps White’s best move.) 9…d5 (The text move, along with 9…Qb6 10.Qf3, are the two main responses to 9.Bf4.) 10.Nxd5 cxd5 11.Bxd5 Be6 12.Bc6+ Bd7 13.Bxa8 Qxa8 14.O-O Bg7 15.Re1 h5 16.Qd2 Bc6 17.Rad1 Nh6 18.c4 Nf5 19.f3 O-O 20.Qc2 e6 21.b4 a6 22.a4 Qa7+ 23.Kh1 Rc8 24.b5 Be8 25.Qe4 Bf8 26.Re2 Be7 27.g4 hxg4 28.fxg4 Ng7 29.Be3 Qa8 30.Qxa8 Rxa8 31.Rc1 axb5 32.axb5 Rc8 33.Kg2 Kf8 34.Kf3 Bd7 35.Rd1 Be8 36.Rc1 Bd7 37.Ra2 Bd8 38.Rd2 Be8 39.Rb2 Rb8 40.Ke2 Bc7 41.Bd4 Bd7 42.Rcb1 Ne8 43.c5 f6 44.c6 fxe5 45.Be3 Bc8 46.b6 Bd6 47.b7 e4 48.Ba7 Be5 49.Bxb8 1-0

 

The Magnus Smith trap has been named after him for his game, commentary, and publication of this now well-known trap.

 
Let’s look at some other games with this trap.

 

After 8.e5 Black has 8…Nh5, but this is not recommended as White has 9.Qf3!, which is almost winning.

 

GM Fischer-N.N.
Simul
New York, 1963
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nh5 9.Qf3 e6 (9…d5? 10.Nxd5! cxd5 11.Bxd5) 10.g4 Ng7 11.Ne4 Qa5+ (11…d5? 12.Nf6+ Ke7 13.Qa3+ Qd6 14.Qxd6#) 12.Bd2 Qxe5 13.Bc3 (trapping the Queen.)
2019_08_15_A
1-0

 

Bilek-Bachtiar
Beverwijk, 1966
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nh5 9.Qf3 e6 10.exd6 Qxd6 11.O-O Bb7 12.Rd1 Qc5 13.Qd3 (with the threat of 14.Qd7#) 13…Qe7 (13…Nf6 14.Ne4!) 14.Bg5! f6 15.Be3 Kf7 16.Qd7 (threatening 17.Bxe6 Qg7 18.Qxe7+ Bxe7 19.Rd7 ; 16…Ng7 17.Bc5) 1-0

 

Sarapu-Cornford
New Zealand Ch.
Christchurch, 1967
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nh5 9.Qf3 e6 10.exd6 Qxd6 11.g4 Ng7 12.Bf4 e5 13.Bxf7+ Kd7 14.Rd1 exf4 15.O-O Ba6 16.Ne4 Bxf1 17.Nxd6 Bxd6 18.Qxf4 1-0

 
Black also has the better 8…Nd7, but White again gets the advantage.

 

GM Fischer-Wilkerson
Clock Simul
Davis, Apr. 16 1964
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nd7 9.exd6 exd6 10.O-O d5 11.Nxd5 +/- Nc5 (11…cxd5 12.Qxd5! +-) 12.Qd4 cxd5 13.Bb5+ Bd7 14.Bxd7+ Qxd7 15.Qxh8 f5 16.Re1+ Ne6 17.Qf6 1-0

 

Imannuel Guthi-E. O’Hare
Tel Aviv Ol.
Israel, 1964
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nd7 9.exd6 exd6 10.O-O d5 11.Nxd5 Nc5 12.Qf3 (with the idea of Nf6+) 12…f5 (better is 12…Bg7) 13.Re1+ Kd7 (13…Ne4 14.Rxe4+ fxe4 15.Qxe4+ +-; 13…Kf7 14.Nc7+ and Ne8+ +-) 14.Bf4 Ne4 15.Rad1 Nd6 16.Nb4 Qb6 17.Qc3 Bb7 18.Be6+ (18.Rxd6+ Bxd6 19.Qe7+ +-) 18…Kc7 19.Nd5+ 1-0

 

Rhee-Hinrichsen
El Segundo, CA, 1969
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nd7 9.exd6 exd6 10.O-O Be7 11.Re1 O-O 12.Bh6 Re8 13.Qf3 d5 14.Nxd5 Bb7

2019_08_15_B
15.Qxf7+!! Kxf7 16.Ne3+ Kf6 17.Ng4+ Kf5 18.Be6mate 1-0

 

Silva-Sosonko
Lucerne Ol., 1982
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nd7 9.exd6 Qxd6 10.Qxd6 exd6 11.Bf4 Be6 12.Bb3 d5 13.h3 Nf6 14.Be5 Be7 15.O-O O-O 16.Rhe1 Nd7 17.Bf4 Nc5 18.Ne2 a5 19.Nd4 Rfc8 20.c3 Bf6 21.Bc2 Bd7 22.Be5 Kg7 23.Bxf6+ Kxf6 24.Re3 Re8 25.Rde1 Rxe3 26.Rxe3 Ne6 27.Ba4 Rc8 28.Nf3 Ra8 29.Nd4 Ra6 30.Nf3 Ke7 31.c4 Rb6 1/2-1/2

 

Ladic (2195)-Mutapcic
Croatia U20 Team Ch.
Medulin, 1997
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nd7 9.exd6 e5?! 10.Qf3 Nf6 11.Bg5 Bg7 12.Ne4 Bf5 13.Nxf6+ Bxf6 14.Bxf6 e4 15.Qc3 Qxd6 16.Bxh8 O-O-O 17.Ba6+ 1-0

 

Which brings us back to 9…Ng4, which as mentioned before, is Black’s best move as he has some counterplay. But it’s not an easy thing to discover, especially with the clock ticking in a rated OTB game.

 

White has two good responses here; 9.e6 and 9.Bf4.

 

Let’s see games from both.

 

Schlechter-Lasker
World Ch.
Berlin, 1910
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.e6 f5 10.O-O Bg7 11.Bf4 (It seems White has the advantage and should win. But Lasker was at his best when facing an uphill battle.) 11…Qb6 12.Bb3 Ba6 13.Na4 Qd4 14.Qxd4 Bxd4 15.c4 O-O 16.Rad1 Bf6 17.Rfe1 g5 18.Bxd6 exd6 19.Rxd6 Be5 20.c5 Rfe8 21.g3 Bf6 22.Rxc6 Bb7 23.Rc7 Be4 24.Nc3 Bxc3 25.bxc3 Ne5 26.Rd1 Nf3+ 27.Kf1 Nxh2+ 28.Ke1 Nf3+ 29.Ke2 Ne5 30.Rdd7 f4 31.Rg7+ Kh8 32.Rxg5 Bd3+ 33.Kd1 fxg3 34.fxg3 Ng6 35.Rd5 Be4 36.Rd6 Bf5 37.Bd5 Rab8 38.c6 Nf8 39.Rb7 Rbc8 40.e7 Ng6 41.Bf7 Rxe7 42.Bxg6 Bg4+ 43.Kc1 Re1+ 44.Kb2 hxg6 45.Rxg6 Bf5 46.Rf6 Be4 47.Rxa7 Rb1+ 48.Ka3 Bxc6 1/2-1/2

 

Blatny-Dasek
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 9.e6 f5 10.Bf4 d5
2019_08_15_C
11.Nxd5 cxd5 12.Bb5+ (A tactic worth remembering.) 1-0

 

M. Costa-Saltzberg
US Open, 1972
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.e6 f5 10.Qe2 Bg7 11.h3 Nf6 12.h4 d5 13.Ba6 Bxa6 14.Qxa6 Qd6 15.Qe2 O-O 16.Bd2 Rab8 17.O-O Rxb2 18.Kxb2 Ne4 19.Rb1 Qb4+ 20.Kc1 Qa3+ 21.Kd1 Bxc3 22.Rb3 Qxa2 23.Bxc3 Qxb3 24.Qxe4 Qxc3 25.Qa4 Rb8 26.Ke2 Rb4 27.Qxa7 Qxc2+ 28.Ke3 f4+ 29.Kf3 Qe4+ 0-1

 

Reijnen-Marino
corres.
IECG 1995
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.e6 f5 10.Bb3 Bg7 11.O-O Ba6 12.Re1 Be5 13.h3?
2019_08_15_D
13…Bh2+ (14.Kh1 Nxf2+) 0-1

 

And now for 9.Bf4, which is best approach as it activates a piece and keeps pressure on some key squares. Here’s another reason to think it’s the best move. Any move that is preferred in correspondence chess is usually the best, as correspondence players have days, and even longer, to decide on their next move.

 

Flykt-Johansson
corres., 1947
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.Bf4 Qb6 10.Qf3 e6 11.exd6 Bg7 12.O-O-O Ne5 13.Bxe5 Bxe5 14.d7+ Bxd7 15.Rxd7 1-0

 

Beach-Graham
corres.
Great Britain, 1975
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.Bf4 Qb6 10.Qf3 Bf5 11.exd6 e5 12.d7+ Kxd7 13.Rd1+ Bd6 14.Bc1 Rhf8 15.h3 Nf6 16.g4 Qb4 17.Bb3 Be4 18.Qxf6 Bxh1 19.a3 Qb7 20.Bg5 Bd5 21.Nxd5 cxd5 22.Bxd5 Qxb2 23.Bxa8 1-0

 

Kapic-Movre
corres.
Yugoslavia Ch., 1978
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.Bf4 Qb6 10.Qf3 dxe5 11.Bxf7+ Kd8 12.Bg3 Bg7 13.O-O Kc7 14.Qe2 Rf8 15.h3 Ne3 16.Bb3 Nxd1 17.Bxe5+ Bxe5 18.Qxe5+ Kd8 19.Rxd1+ Ke8 20.Re1 Qb4 21.Re4 Qb7 22.Nd5 1-0

Markotic-Tomkowicz
corres., 1980
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.Bf4 Bh6 10.e6 Bxf4 11.Qxg4 Be5 12.exf7+ Kf8 13.Qf3 d5 14.Bb3 Kg7 15.O-O e6 16.h4 Rf8 17.Ne2 Qf6 18.Qxf6+ Bxf6 19.f4 Rxf7 20.c3 a5 21.Ba4 c5 22.g3 Rb8 23.Rhe1 Rfb7 24.Rd2 Rb6 25.Ng1 Bxc3 0-1

 

Hentzgen-Melzer
corres.
E. Germany, 1988
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.Bf4 d5 10.Nxd5 Bg7 11.e6 cxd5 12.exf7+ Kf8 13.Qxd5 Bf5 14.h3 Nf6 15.Qxd8+ Rxd8 16.c3 h5 17.Ke2 e6 18.Be3 a5 19.f3 Kxf7 20.Rhd1 Nd5 21.Bxd5 exd5 22.Kf2 Rb8 23.Rd2 Be6 24.Re1 Rhe8 25.Bf4 Rb7 26.g4 hxg4 27.hxg4 Bf6 28.g5 Bxg5 29.Bxg5 Reb8 30.Ree2 Rb5 31.Kg3 Rh8 32.Rd4 Rh5 33.Bf4 Rh1 34.Bd6 g5 35.a4 Rb3 36.Bc7 Rb1 37.Rdd2 Ra1 38.Bxa5 Rxa4 39.Bb4 Ra2 40.f4 gxf4+ 41.Kxf4 d4 42.Rf2 dxc3 43.Ke5+ Kg6 44.Bxc3 Ra4 45.Kxe6 1-0

 

Vayrynen-Ullrich
corres., 1990
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.Bf4 d5 10.Nxd5 cxd5 11.Bxd5 Bf5 12.f3 Nh6 13.Bxa8 Qxa8 14.Qd2 Ng8 15.O-O h5 16.Be3 Bg7 17.Qa5 Nh6 18.Qa4+ 1-0

 

Rezan-Kuraja
Croatian Cup
Pula, 1996
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.Bf4 d5 10.Nxd5 cxd5 11.Qxd5 Qxd5 12.Bxd5 Rb8 13.h3 Nh6 14.Bc6+ Kd8 15.e6 Rb6
2019_08_15_E
16.O-O-O+ Bd7 17.Rxd7+ Kc8 1-0

 

So the main line of the Magnus Smith is 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 9.Bf4. There are many alternate moves to the games above. And I’ll let you explore them on your own.

A Neglected Move

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Why should this move be studied?

 

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

 
So, let’s see a game.

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

 

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

 

12…Qxc6 13.Bd4

 

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

 

13…Bb7 14.Rhe1 Qc7

 

[14…Rfe8 is more defensive than aggressive.

 

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

 

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

 
15.a3 Bc6

 

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

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

 

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

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[Black now has a number of ways to lose.

Here are two sample lines.

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

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

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

 

1-0

Najdorf Thematic, part 2

As mentioned before, I have entered into Najdorf Thematic Tournament at chess.com. I have advanced to the next round; it seems my Sozin variation is scoring some delightful wins for me.

 

Here’s one of them from the second round.

 

 

Escalante-“KINGLOU” (1546)
Thematic Tournament – Sicilian Najdorf, 2nd round
chess.com, 2018
[Escalante]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e5 [This move looks weak as it opens the diagonal for the bishop, but the nut is not so easy to crack. Black must be willing to have doubled pawns on the e-file (after …Be6) and suffer the difficulties of his pawn structure in coordinating his pieces.] 7.Nf3 (7…Nf5 eliminates much of Whites’s pressure  after 7…Bxf5. 7.Nde2 is the more positional approach. 7.Nf3 resembles a Two Knight’s Defence, something I more familiar with.) 7…Nc6 (7…Be7 is better as it would have allowed 8….O-O after 8.Ng5.} 8.Ng5 {This position is now very similar to the Two Knight’s Defence, where Black is forced to give to give up a pawn. However, in this game, White already has the greater mobility, coordination, and the initiative.) 8…d5 9.Nxd5 Nxd5 10.Bxd5 Be6 (White has a strong tactical response to Black’s lack of development.)

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11.Nxe6! fxe6 12.Bxc6+ bxc6 13.Qh5+ g6 14.Qxe5 Rg8 [Better is 14… Kf7 15.O-O (15.Bg5?! Be7 and Black’s king, despite not being able to castle, will be safe on the kingside) Bg7 16.Qf4+ Qf6 17.Qc7+ Qe7 18.Qxc6 Rhc8 19.Qa4 and White remains on top.] 15.Qxe6+ Qe7 16.Qxg8 Qxe4+ 17.Be3  O-O-O (Black’s best move; everything else loses faster.) 18.O-O Bd6 19.Qb3! (19.Qxh7? is a mistake due to 19…Be5 with the idea of …Rh8.) 19…Qe5 20.g3 h5 21.Qb6 Kd7 22.Qb7+ Bc7 23.Bf4 Qa5 (Better, but still losing is 23…Rb8 24.Rad1+ Ke7 25.Qxc6 Rb6 26.Qd7+ Kf6 27.Bxe5+ Bxe5 28.Qd8+) 24.Rad1+ Ke7 25.Bxc7!

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1-0

A Najdorf Tournament

I am playing in a Najdorf Thematic tournament at chess.com.

 
The tournament is organized into several sections with the winners of each round advancing to the next.

 
I won my preliminary section with a perfect score of 8-0. I didn’t think I would so well, but here I am being advanced to the next round with the other winners of their sections.

 
Here are a couple of games from this tournament.

 

“Leatherneck”-Escalante
Sicilian Najdorf Invitational
chess.com, 2018
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 (This position defines the Najdorf, the theme of this tournament.) 6.Bc4 e6 7.O-O Be7 8.Re1 O-O 9.Bg5!? (A move rarely seen in this variation.) 9…Qc7 10.Qe2 Qc5 11.Rad1? Qxg5 12.g3 Bd7 13.f4 Qg6 14.f5 Qg5 15.Qe3 Qxe3+ 16.Rxe3 e5 17.Nd5 Nxd5 18.Bxd5 Bc6 19.Ne6 fxe6 20.Bxe6+ Kh8 21.Bd5 Bxd5 22.exd5 Nd7 23.b4 Nb6 24.g4 Rac8 25.Rd2 Nc4 26.Rc3 Nxd2 0-1

 

Escalante-“MiddlegamerUmesh” (1531)
Sicilian Najdorf Invitational
chess.com, 2018
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 (The move constitutes the Sozin variation, a favorite of Fischer’s and the variation which I played exclusively in round one. Having a perfect score makes me want to try it again in round two. We’ll see.)  6…e6 7.Bb3 Qc7 8.Be3 Be7 9.g4 b5 (9…Nc6 10.g5, with the possibility of the same sacrifice.) 10.g5 Nfd7? 11.Bxe6! 1-0 (Black didn’t want to face 11…fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qa5 13.Nxg7+ Kf8, and White with three pieces for the piece, plus the attack, should win.)

 

Since I have not included any diagrams in my games, here is some artwork of Fischer, the (in)famous prodigy and world chess champion.

 

 

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