Najdorf Thematic, part 2

As mentioned before, I have entered into Najdorf Thematic Tournament at 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, 2018
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.)


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!



A Najdorf Tournament

I am playing in a Najdorf Thematic tournament at

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.


Sicilian Najdorf Invitational, 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, 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.




Calling all Smith-Morra Players

Most players are aware of the Smith-Morra Gambit (1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 ). And some of them actually use the gambit. And a few even win their majority of the games with it.


But not too many know about this sideline of the gambit. Here, White insists on giving up third pawn. He can do this by either playing 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 or 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nf3.


Results are mixed; you might want to first try these ideas out on a blitz game.



~~~~ 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 ~~~~


Andrew Cooper (2175)-J.L. Foster (2040)
Barnstaple, England, 1972
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.Nxc3 d6 6.Nf3 e5 7.O-O Be7 8.b4 Nf6 9.h3 O-O 10.b5 Na5 11.Bd3 Qc7 12.Nd5 Nxd5 13.exd5 b6 14.Be3 Nb7 15.Rc1 Nc5 16.Qc2 f5 17.Be2 Qd8 18.Rfd1 Bd7 19.a4 Rc8 20.Qa2 Bf6 21.Ne1 Qe8 22.Nc2 Kh8 23.Nb4 Qf7 24.Bd3 g5 25.Be2 Rg8 26.Kh1 Ra8 27.Rg1 f4 28.Bd2 g4 29.Qa3 Ne4 30.Be1 gxh3 31.gxh3 Rxg1+ 32.Kxg1 Rg8+ 33.Kf1 Qg6 34.Bf3 Bxh3+ 35.Ke2 Nc5 36.Kd1 Bf5 37.Be2 Qg1 38.Nd3 f3 39.Bxf3 Nxd3 40.Qc3 Rc8 0-1


Gustavo Celis (2379)-Juan Pablo Seminara (2326)
Buenos Aires, 1992
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.O-O Be7 7.Nxc3 d6 8.Qe2 a6 9.Rd1 Qc7 10.Bf4 Nf6 11.e5 Nh5 12.Bg5 Bxg5 13.Nxg5 Nf4 14.Qf3 Nxe5 15.Qxf4 Qxc4 16.Nce4 O-O 17.Rac1 Qxa2 (White’s two knight are well-placed, but they have do something before Black fully develops.)


18.Nxh7! Ng6 19.Nhf6+ gxf6 20.Nxf6+ Kg7 21.Nh5+ Kg8 22.Qf6 1-0


Xavier Pinero Fernandez (2277)-Lionel Gachon (2275)
Active Chess, 1992?
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 e6 5.Nf3 Qc7 6.Qe2 Nc6 7.O-O Nf6 8.e5 Ng4 9.Nxc3 a6 10.Bf4 b5 11.Bd3 Bb7 12.h3 Nh6 13.g4 Be7 14.Rac1 Qa5 15.Rfd1 Ng8 16.Ne4 h6 17.Nc5 Bxc5 18.Rxc5 g5 19.Bd2 Qxa2 20.Bc3 h5 21.Nxg5 hxg4 22.Nxf7 Kxf7 23.Bg6+ Kxg6 24.Qxg4+ Kf7 25.Rxd7+ Nge7 26.Kh2 0-1


Francisco Adell Corts (2196)-Alexis Cabrera (2502)
Cullera International
Spain, 2003
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 e6 5.Nxc3 Nc6 6.Nf3 Qc7 7.Qe2 Nf6 8.Nb5 Qb8 9.e5 Ng4 10.Bf4 Bb4+ 11.Kf1 a6 12.Nd6+ Bxd6 13.exd6 b5 14.Bb3 Nf6 15.Rd1 a5 16.Ng5 Nd8 17.Be5 Bb7 18.Bc2 Ra6 19.Bxh7 Kf8 20.Be4 Bd5 0-1


GM T. Gareev (2618)-Scott White
Blindfold Simul, Dec. 3 2016
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Nxc3 a6 7.Bf4 Nge7 8.O-O Ng6 9.Bg3 b5 10.Bb3 Be7 11.Nd5 exd5 12.exd5 O-O 13.dxc6 dxc6 14.Qc2 Qb6 15.h4 c5 16.Bd5 Bb7 17.Bxb7 Qxb7 18.h5 Nh8 19.Rfe1 Rad8 20.a4 c4 21.axb5 axb5 22.Qf5 Bf6 23.Be5 Qd5 24.Rad1 Qe6 25.Rxd8 Qxf5 26.Rxf8+ Kxf8 27.Bd6+ Be7 28.Rxe7 Qd3 29.Re6+ 1-0


“Ziryab” (1940)-“Nomen Nescio” (1978)
Blitz Game
ACS, Mar.5 2018
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 c6 5.Nf3 d6 6.O-O Nf6 7.Qe2 Bg4 8.Rd1 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Be7 (9…c2 and White is busted.) 10.e5 Ng8 (10…O-O 11.exf6 and White is better ; 10…c2 still works.) 11.Qxf7+ Kd7 12.exd6 Nf6 (12…Kc8 13.Be6+ Nd7 14.dxe7) 13.Be6mate 1-0


~~~~ 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 ~~~~


Lukes-Jan Holub (2020)
Czechoslovakia Army Ch.
Prague, Aug. 24 1955
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 Nc6 6.Ne2 Nf6 7.O-O e6 8.Nbc3 Na5 9.Bd3 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxd5 Qxd5 12.Nf4 Qg5 13.Nh3 Qe7 14.Qh5 Nc6 15.Ng5 g6 16.Qf3 e5 17.Bc4 Be6 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Bb5 Qc7 20.Rac1 Rc8 21.Qf6 1-0


Xavier Pinero Fernandez (2277)-Victor Vehi Bach (2365)
Active Chess
Barcelona, 1996
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 e6 5.Nf3 cxb2 6.Bxb2 Qa5+ 7.Nc3 Bb4 8.Rc1 Nf6 9.O-O Nc6 10.e5 Ng4 11.Nb5 O-O 12.Bd3 f5 13.exf6 Nxf6 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Rc4 Rf7 16.Rg4+ Kh8 17.Qa1 e5 18.Qb1 d5 19.Rh4 e4 20.Bxe4 dxe4 21.Qxe4 Bd7 22.Qg6 Raf8 23.Rh5 Qxb5 24.Qxf7 Qxf1+ 25.Kxf1 Rxf7 26.Rb5 b6 0-1


Lucio Maurino (2235)-Juan Pablo Hobaica (2368)
Argentina U26 Ch., 1997
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 e6 6.Nf3 d6 7.O-O Nf6 8.Nc3 Be7 9.Qe2 O-O 10.Rfd1 Qa5 11.Nb5 d5 12.exd5 exd5 13.Qxe7 dxc4 14.Bxf6 Nc6 15.Qd6 Qxb5 16.Rd5 Qb4 17.Qg3 g6 18.Rh5 c3 19.Rh4 Qc5 20.Rxh7 Kxh7 21.Ng5+ 1-0


Handigol (2008)-Chernobilskiy (1883)
Neil Falconer Tournament
Mechanics’ Institute, San Francisco, Sept. 24 2013
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 Qe7 7.Nge2 Nf6 8.O-O O-O 9.Qb3 Nc6 10.Nd5 Nxd5 11.Bxd5 Bd6 12.f4 Bc5+ 13.Kh1 Kh8 14.Qg3 f6 15.e5 f5 16.Rac1 Nb4 17.Bb3 d5 18.a3 Nc6 19.Nc3 Nd4 20.Nxd5 Qf7 21.Rxc5 Nxb3 22.Rxc7 1-0


~~~~ 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nf3!? ~~~~


Bernd Oltersdorff-Geyer
East Germany, 1962
1.d4 c5 2.e4 cxd4 3.Nf3 Qa5+ 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 Nf6 6.Bc4 Nxe4 7.Qd4 Nxc3 8.b4 Qb6 9.Qxc3 e6 10.a3 Nc6 11.Be3 Qd8 12.O-O-O a6 13.Rhe1 b5 14.Bg5 Ne7 15.Bxe6 fxe6 16.Rxe6 dxe6 17.Rxd8+ Kxd8 18.Qc6 Ra7 19.Ne5 Bd7 20.Qb6+ Rc7+ 21.Kb2 Kc8 22.Qxa6+ Rb7 23.Nxd7 Nd5 24.Qa8+ Kc7 25.Qd8+ 1-0


Rafael Leitao (2360)-Aron Correa (2390)
Brazil Ch.
Americana, 1995
1.d4 c5 2.e4 cxd4 3.Nf3 Qa5+ 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 d6 7.O-O Nf6 8.Bf4 a6 9.Rc1 Ne5 10.Nxe5 dxe5 11.Bd2 Qd8 12.Nd5 Nxd5 13.exd5 g6 14.Bc3 Bg7 15.f4 Qd6 16.Qe2 f6 17.fxe5 fxe5 18.a3 Bd7 19.Bb4 Qb6+ 20.Kh1 Rc8 21.d6 e6 22.Qg4 Rxc4 23.Qxc4 Qe3 24.Qh4 1-0


Kontra-Slavomir Gulvas
Slovakia Ch.
Bratislava, June 2004
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Nxc3 d6 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.h3 a6 8.O-O  b5 9.Bxf7+ Kxf7 10.e5 e6 11.Ng5+ Ke7 12.exf6+ gxf6 13.Nd5+ exd5 14.Qxd5  Kd7 15.Ne6 Qb6 16.Be3 Qb8 17.Qf5 Be7 18.Rac1 Bb7 19.Bb6 Ke8 20.Qh5+ Kd7  21.Qf5 Ke8 22.Rfd1 Kf7 23.Qd5 Ke8 24.Qh5+ Kd7 25.Nc5+ 1-0



~~~~ 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nf3!? e5 ~~~~


Eugenio Szabados-Giovanni Emilio Rottigni
Venice, 1923
1.d4 c5 2.e4 cxd4 3.Nf3 e5 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Ng5 Bb4 8.Nxf7 Qa5 9.Bd2 Rf8 10.a3 Bxc3 11.Bxc3 Qc5 12.b4 Qb6 13.Nd6+ Kd8 14.O-O a6 15.Rb1 Qc7 16.a4 Nd4 17.f4 Qxd6 18.fxe5 Qxe5 19.Bxd4 Qc7 20.Rc1 1-0


Igor Bondarevsky-Genrikh Kasparian
Tbilisi, 1937
1.d4 c5 2.e4 cxd4 3.Nf3 e5 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 d6 7.Ng5 Nh6 8.O-O Bg4 9.Bxf7+ Nxf7 10.Qxg4 Nxg5 11.Bxg5 Be7 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.Nd5 Qd7 14.Qh5+ g6 15.Qh4 Qg7 16.Nf6+ Kd8 17.f4 Rc8 18.Nd5+ Ke8 19.Qh3 Ne7 20.Rac1 Rxc1 21.Rxc1 Nc6 22.Qe6+ Kd8 23.Qxd6+ Ke8 24.Nc7+ 1-0


Igor Bondarevsky-Peterson
Moscow, 1959
1.d4 c5 2.e4 cxd4 3.Nf3 e5 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 d6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Ng5 Nh6 8.O-O Bg4 9.Bxf7+ Nxf7 10.Qxg4 Nxg5 11.Bxg5 Be7 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.Nd5 Qd7 14.Qh5+ g6 15.Qh4 Qd8 16.Qh6 Qa5 17.b4 Nxb4 18.Qg7 O-O-O 19.Rab1 1-0


Fidel Albertoni-Roque Eckenfels
Argentina, 1977
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.Nf3 e5 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 d6 7.O-O Be7 8.Nd5 Nf6 9.Ng5 O-O 10.Nxf6+ Bxf6 11.Qh5 Bxg5 12.Bxg5 Qe8 13.f4 Be6 14.f5 Bxc4 15.Bf6 Ne7 16.Rf3 Ng6 17.Bxg7 Qd8 18.Bxf8 Qh4 19.Qxh4 Nxh4 20.Rc3 d5 21.Be7 1-0


Joseph Gallagher (2531)-Jim Plaskett (2450)
Commonwealth Ch.
England, 1986
1.d4 c5 2.e4 cxd4 3.Nf3 e5 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 d6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Qb3 Qd7 8.Ng5 Nh6 9.Bd5 Nd4 10.Qd1 Be7 11.Nf3 Nxf3+ 12.Qxf3 Qg4 13.Nb5 O-O 14.Be3 Qg6 15.Bxa7 Be6 16.Bxb7 Bc4 17.a4 d5 18.b3 Bb4+ 19.Kd1 Rxa7 20.Nxa7 Qb6 21.bxc4 Qxa7 22.Bxd5 Qd4+ 23.Kc2 Qd2+ 24.Kb3 Bc3 0-1


~~~~ 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nf3!? cxb2 ~~~~


Gaudin-de Gency
corres., 1925
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nf3 cxb2 5.Bxb2 e6 6.Bc4 b6?! 7.O-O Ba6 8.Nbd2 Bxc4 9.Nxc4 Nf6 10.Bxf6 Qxf6 11.e5 Qf4 (One can criticize this move as White has more pieces developed than Black. But if the Black queen goes back to d8, then Black has a very cramped game. But after the text move, he still has a very cramped game.) 12.Rc1 Nc6 13.Nd6+ Bxd6 14.Qxd6 (From this point onward, White’s game almost plays itself due to the cramped position of Black’s game.) 14…Rd8 (Not 14…f6, in attempt to flee to f7 or at least break the bind imposed by the e5 pawn, due to 15.Rxc6! dxc6 16.Qxe6+) 15.Rfd1 Qe4 16.Nd4 Nxd4 17.Rxd4 Qe2 18.h4 Qh5 19.a4 1-0


Rothgen-G. Meystre
Europe Tournament, 1961
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.Nf3 e5 4.c3 dxc3 5.Bc4 cxb2 6.Bxb2 Nc6 7.O-O d6 8.Nc3 Be6 9.Nd5 Nf6 10.Qe2 Be7 11.Ng5 Nd7 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.Nf4 exf4 14.Bxg7 Nde5 15.Bxh8 f3 16.Qc2 Bf6 17.Bxf6 Qxf6 18.Rfc1 Nd4 19.Qa4+ Kf8 20.g3 Nxc4 21.Qxc4 Ne2+ 22.Kf1 Nxc1 23.Rxc1 Qb2 24.Rc3 Qb1+ 1/2-1/2


Uppsala, 1967
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nf3 cxb2 5.Bxb2 e6 6.Bc4 Qa5+ 7.Nbd2 Nf6 8.O-O Nc6 9.Bb3 Qh5 10.e5 Ng4 11.Nc4 b6 12.Nd6+ Bxd6 13.Qxd6 Bb7 14.Rfd1 Rd8 15.Ba4 Nh6 16.Ba3 Nf5 (Black is dodging mating threats. But this strategy cannot be sustained for long.) 17.Qc7 Ba8


18.Rxd7! Rxd7 19.Qc8+ 1-0 (19…Rd8 20.Bxc6+ Bxc6 21.Qxc6+ Rd7 22.Rd1 +-)


An. Meszaros (2286)-M. Orso (2328)
Caissa IM
Kecskemet, Hungary, Nov. 16 2013
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nf3 cxb2 5.Bxb2 Nc6 6.Bc4 d6 7.O-O Nf6 8.Nc3 e6 9.Re1 Be7 10.Rc1 O-O 11.Ng5 a6 12.Kh1 b5 13.Bb3 Na5 14.Bc2 Nc4 15.Ba1 Bb7 16.f4 h6 17.Nf3 Rc8 18.Re2 Re8 19.Qe1 Bf8 20.Nd4 d5 21.e5 Nh5 22.Qf2 b4 23.Nd1 a5 24.g4 Nxf4 25.Qxf4 Be7 26.Rf2 Rf8 27.Qg3 Bh4 28.Qd3 g6 29.Rxf7 Nxe5 30.Rg7+ Kxg7 31.Nxe6+ Kg8 32.Bxe5 Qe8 33.Nxf8 Qxe5 34.Qxg6+ Qg7 35.Qe6+ Kxf8 36.Bg6 Rd8 37.Nb2 Qf6 38.Qxf6+ Bxf6 39.Rc7 Bxb2 40.Rf7+ Kg8 41.Rxb7 d4 42.Bd3 Bc3 43.h4 a4 44.g5 hxg5 45.hxg5 Rc8 46.Kg2 a3 47.g6 Be1 48.Kf3 Rc6 49.Kg4 Rc3 50.Bf5 Re3 51.Bc2 Rg3+ 52.Kf5 Rc3 53.Bb3+ Rxb3 54.axb3 Bc3 55.g7 Kh7 56.Kf6 d3+ 57.Kf7 Bxg7 58.Rxb4 Kh6 59.Rb6+ Kh7 60.Rb4 Kh6 61.Rb6+ Kh7 1/2-1/2





John Hurt’s Wings

John Hurt was a local player from Memphis who played there for over three decades. He was Class A competitor during his Tennessee tenure.

He was fond of the Sicilian Wing Game (1.e4 c5 2.b4) and even wrote a book about it. Titled The Sicilian Wing Gambit (1983), it met with moderate success.

He even wrote an article that appeared in the Tennessee Chess News (May, 1974) which featured many of his games and are reprinted here with updated notes.



John Hurt-H. Smith, no date
1.e4 c5 2.b4 e6 3.bxc5 Bxc5 4.d4 Bb6 5.Nf3 Ne7 6.Bd3 O-O 7.c3 f5 8.O-O Nbc6 9.Nbd2 a6 10.Nc4 fxe4 11.Bxe4 d5 12.Bxh7+ Kxh7 13.Ng5+ Kg6 14.Nxb6 Qxb6 15.Qd3+ Nf5 16.g4 e5 17.gxf5+ Bxf5 18.Qg3 Kf6 19.Be3 Qc7 20.dxe5+ Ke7 21.Bc5+ Kd7 22.e6+ 1-0

John Hurt-Middleton, no date
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nf3 e5 6.axb4 Bxb4 7.c3 Bc5 8.Na3 Nf6 9.Bc4 Qe4+ 10.Be2 O-O 11.Nb5 Nc6 12.Ra4 Qf5 13.O-O Nd5 14.d4 exd4 15.Bd3 Qh5 16.cxd4 Be7 17.Re1 Bg4 18.Be4 a6 19.Bxd5 axb5 20.Rxa8 Rxa8 21.Bxc6 1-0

John Hurt-Berry
Arkansas Open, 1961
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 bxa3 4.Nxa3 d5 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Nb5 Qd8 8.d4 Bf5 9.d5 Nb4 10.Nfd4 Bd7 11.Bc4 a6 12.Qe2 axb5 13.Nxb5 Rxa1 14.Nd6mate 1-0

John Hurt-Wright
Delta Invitational
Greenville, Mississippi, 1961
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 Nc6 4.axb4 d5 5.exd5 Nxb4 6.Nf3 Qc7 7.Bb5+ Bd7 8.Bxd7+ Qxd7 9.c4 Nd3+ 10.Kf1 Nxc1 11.Ne5 Qc7 12.Qa4+ Kd8 13.Nxf7+ Kc8 14.Qe8+ Qd8 15.Qxd8mate 1-0

John Hurt-Middleton
Memphis C.C. Rating Ladder
Tennessee, 1961
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nf3 e5 6.axb4 Bxb4 7.c3 Bc5 8.Na3 Nf6 9.Bc4 Qe4+ 10.Be2 Nc6 11.Nb5 Kd8 12.Ra4 Qd5 13.d4 exd4 14.Nfxd4 Nxd4 15.Nxd4 Bd7 16.O-O Bxa4 17.Qxa4 Re8 18.Rd1 Ke7 19.Bf3 Qe5 20.Bf4 Bxd4 21.Bxe5 Bxe5 22.Qb4+ Ke6 23.Qxb7 Rab8 24.Qc6+ Ke7 25.Qc5+ Ke6 26.Re1 Nd7 27.Qd5+ Kf6 28.Qxd7 Bxc3 29.Qc6+ Kg5 30.Qxc3 f6 31.Qc5+ Kg6 32.Qh5mate 1-0

John Hurt-Richard Long
Nashville vs. Memphis Match
Tennessee, 1962
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nf3 e5 6.axb4 Bxb4 7.c3 Bc5 8.Na3 Nf6 9.Bc4 Qe4+ 10.Be2 Nc6 11.Nb5 O-O 12.Ra4 Qf5 13.O-O Rd8 14.Nh4 Qb1 (A bizarre move. White will certainly gain at least a few tempi trying to snare the queen.) 15.d4 Be6
16.Be3 [16.Bd3 would seem better. But White has to be careful. After 16…Bxd4 White can’t immediately play 17.Bxb1 due to 17…Bxf2+ 18.Kh1 Rxd1 19.Rxd1 Bb3. Instead he has to first play 17.Nxd4! Qb6 (or 17…Bb3 18.Bxb1 Bxd1 19.Rxd1 exd4 20.cxd4) 18.Nxc6 Qxc6 19.Qc2.] 16…Qxd1 17.Bxd1 exd4 18.cxd4 Bb6 19.Bf3 Bb3 20.Ra3 Bc4 21.Rb1 Bd5 22.h3 h6 23.g4 Bxf3 24.Nxf3 Nd5 25.Kg2 Rac8 26.h4 Ba5? 27.Nxa7 Ra8 28.Nxc6 bxc6 29.Rba1 Nxe3+ 30.fxe3 Rd5 31.Ne5 1-0

John Hurt-Fischbarg
Mid-South Open, 1964
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 bxa3 4.Nxa3 Nc6 5.d4 d5 6.exd5 Qxd5 7.Nb5 Kd8 8.Be3 e5 9.dxe5 Qxd1+ 10.Rxd1+ Bd7 11.Nf3 a6 12.Bb6+ Kc8 13.Nd6+ Bxd6 14.Rxd6 Nh6 15.Bd3 Re8 16.O-O Re6 17.Rxe6 Bxe6 18.Rd1 a5 19.Bb5 a4 20.Ng5 a3 21.Nxe6 fxe6 22.Bc4 Ra4 23.Bxe6+ Kb8 24.Bb3 Re4 25.e6 Nf5 26.f3 Re2 27.Kf1 Re5 28.Kf2 Rb5 29.g4 Rxb6 30.gxf5 Rb5 31.Ra1 Ra5 32.Ke3 b5 33.Bd5 Kc7 34.Bxc6 Kxc6 35.c3 a2 36.Kd3 Kd6 37.Kc2 Ra7 38.Kb3 Ke5 39.Rxa2 Re7 40.Ra6 Kxf5 41.Kb4 Kf4 42.Kxb5 Kxf3 43.Kc5 Rc7+ 44.Rc6 1-0

John Hurt-James Wright
Club Ladder Game
Memphis, 1965
1.e4 c5 2.b4 b6 3.Nf3 Bb7 4.bxc5 Bxe4 5.Nc3 Bb7 6.cxb6 axb6 7.d4 d5 8.Ne5 Nf6 9.Bb5+ Nbd7 10.Qf3 Qc8 11.Bxd7+ Nxd7 12.Qxf7+ Kd8 13.Ne2 Nxe5 14.dxe5 Qxc2 15.Be3 Ra6 16.Nd4 Qc3+ 17.Ke2 Rxa2+ 18.Rxa2 Qc4+ 19.Kf3 Qxa2 (John Hurt claimed White has a forced mate in 8. Can you find it?) 1-0

John Hurt-David Burris
Tennessee Open, 1965
[White makes several small errors in the opening.]
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nf3 e5 6.axb4 Bxb4 7.c3 Bc5 8.Na3 Nf6 9.Bc4 Qe4+ 10.Be2 Nc6 11.Nb5 O-O 12.Ra4 Qf5 13.O-O e4 14.Nfd4 Qg6 15.Kh1 Bg4 16.f3 exf3 17.Nxf3 a6 18.Nbd4 Nxd4 19.cxd4 Bd6 20.Ba3 Rad8 21.Qb3 Qh5 22.Bxd6 Rxd6 23.Qxb7 Re8 24.Bc4 Bxf3 25.gxf3 Nd5 26.Ra5 Rh6 27.Rf2 Re1+ 28.Bf1 Rxf1+ 29.Kg2 Qh3mate 0-1

John Hurt-Churchill
Club Game, 1969
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nf3 e5 6.axb4 Bxb4 7.c3 Bc5 8.Na3 Nf6 9.Bc4 Qe4+ 10.Be2 O-O 11.Nb5 Nc6 12.Ra4 Qf5 13.O-O Nd5 14.d4 exd4 15.Bd3 Qh5 16.cxd4 Be7 17.Bd2 a6 18.Qa1 Bh3 19.Ne1 Bd7 20.Nc3 Ncb4 21.Nxd5 Nxd5 22.Ra5 Bd6 23.f4 Bc6 24.Rf3 Qg4 25.Qb1 g6 26.f5 Qxd4+ 27.Kh1 Nc3 28.Qa1 Bxf3 29.Bxc3 Bxg2+ 30.Kxg2 Qg4+ 31.Kh1 Qh4 32.Ra2 Rfe8 33.Rg2 Re3 34.Qd1 Rae8 35.Nf3 Qh3 36.fxg6 fxg6 37.Bxg6 Kf8 38.Qxd6+ R3e7 39.Be4 Qe6 1-0

John Hurt-Robert Holyfield
Memphis City Ch., 1973
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nf3 e5 6.axb4 Bxb4 7.c3 Be7 8.Na3 Nf6 9.Nb5 Bd8? 10.Ba3 Bg4 11.Bc4 Qd7 (Certainly not 11…Qxc4? 12.Nd6+, and after 11…Bxf3 12.Qxf3 Qxf3 13.gxf3, Black still has to worry about White’s very aggressively placed pieces.)  12.Nd6+ Kf8 13.Nxf7+ Ke8 14.Nxh8 1-0

John Hurt (1894)-Peter Thayer (1556)
Memphis Candidates, 1974
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nf3 e5 6.axb4 Bxb4 7.c3 Bd6 8.Na3 Bxa3 9.Bxa3 Bg4? 10.Qa4+ Bd7 11.Qb4!! 1-0

John Hurt (1894)-Stephen Thomas (1556)
Memphis Candidates, 1974
1.e4 c5 2.b4 d6 3.Nf3 a6 4.c3 Bg4? (This is almost never a good move in the Sicilian.) 5.Bc4 e5? (Severely weakening the f7 square and the diagonal leading to it.) 6.Bxf7+! Kxf7 7.Nxe5+ Ke8 8.Qxg4 Nf6?? (The immediate and obvious 8…dxe5 is better.) 9.Qe6+ Qe7 10.Qc8+ Qd8 11.Qxd8+ Kxd8 12.Nf7+ 1-0

John Hurt-James Wright
Club Ladder Game
Memphis, 1974
1.e4 c5 2.b4 b6 3.Nf3 Bb7 4.Bc4 e6 5.Qe2 Nf6 6.e5 Nd5 7.Bxd5 Bxd5 8.bxc5 Bxc5 9.c3 O-O 10.d4 Be7 11.O-O Qc7 12.Nfd2 d6 13.f4 Nd7 14.Ba3 Rae8 15.c4 Bb7 16.Nc3 dxe5 17.Bxe7 Rxe7 18.Nb5 Qb8 19.fxe5 f5 20.Nd6 Ba8 21.Nf3 h6 22.Nh4 g5 23.Ng6 Rg7 24.Nxf8 Nxf8 25.Rac1 Ng6 26.g3 f4 27.d5 exd5 28.cxd5 fxg3 29.hxg3 Ne7 30.Rf6 b5 31.Rxh6 Qb6+ 32.Kh2 Bxd5 33.Qc2 Qe3 34.Qc8+ Nxc8 35.Rxc8mate 1-0

John Hurt-Thomas
Memphis C.C. Championship, 1975
1.e4 c5 2.b4 d6 3.Nf3 a6 4.bxc5 dxc5 5.c3 Bg4 6.Bc4 e5 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Nxe5+ Ke8 9.Qxg4 Nf6 10.Qe6+ Qe7 11.Qc8+ Qd8 12.Qxd8+ Kxd8 13.Nf7+ Ke7 14.Nxh8 1-0

John Hurt-Rackley
Summer Rating Tourney, 1975
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.axb4 Nf6 7.Nc3 Qd8 8.b5 Nb4 9.Bc4 e6 10.O-O Be7 11.Ba3 O-O 12.Re1 Re8 13.d4 Qc7 14.Ne5 Bd6 15.b6 Qxb6 16.Nb5 Bxe5 17.dxe5 Rd8 18.Qe2 Nfd5 19.Rab1 a6 20.Nd6 Qa5 21.Qf3 Nxc2 22.Qxf7+ Kh8
23.Ne8! 1-0

John Hurt-Stearns
Memphis vs. Nashville Match, 1976
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nf3 e6 6.axb4 Bxb4 7.c3 Be7 8.Na3 Bd7 9.Nc4 b5 10.Ne3 Qb7 11.Qb3 a5 12.Ne5 b4 13.Be2 Ra7 14.Bf3 Qb5 15.Nxd7 Nxd7 16.c4 Qb6 17.d4 Qxd4 18.Bb2 Qb6 19.Bxg7 Nc5 20.Qb1 Bf6 21.Bxh8 Bxh8 22.Qxh7 Bxa1 23.Qxg8+ Ke7 24.O-O Bc3 25.Bh5 Rd7 26.Qxf7+ Kd8 27.Rd1 Rxd1+ 28.Bxd1 b3 29.Qg6 Qd6 30.Nd5 Qe5 31.Qg8+ Kd7 32.Qf7+ Kc6 33.Qe8+ Kd6 34.Qb8+ Kc6 35.Qc8+ Kd6 36.Qc7mate 1-0

John Hurt-Scott
Mid-South Open, 1978
1.e4 c5 2.b4 Qb6 3.bxc5 Qxc5 4.d4 Qc7 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bd3 d6 7.O-O Bg4 8.Be3 g6 9.Nbd2 Bg7 10.c4 O-O 11.Rb1 Nc6 12.h3 Bd7 13.Nb3 Nb4 14.e5 dxe5 15.dxe5 Nxd3 16.exf6 exf6 17.Qxd3 Bf5 18.Qe2 Bxb1 19.Rxb1 Rfe8 20.c5 Qc6 21.Na5 Rxe3 22.Qxe3 Qa4 23.Nxb7 Qxa2 24.Qb3 Qe2 25.Re1 Qa6 26.Re7 Rf8 27.Nd6 h5 28.Nxf7 Kh7 29.Qb7 Qa1+ 30.Kh2 Rg8 31.Qxa7 Qc1 32.Qc7 1-0

John Hurt (1831)-Morris Busby (1033)
Bluff City Open, February 17, 1979
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 Nc6 4.axb4 Nf6 5.b5 Nd4 6.c3 Ne6 7.e5 Ne4 8.d4 d5 9.f3 N4g5 10.h4 1-0

John Hurt-Mueller
Norderstedt vs. Memphis Match, 1979
1.e4 c5 2.b4 e5 3.Nf3 cxb4 4.Bc4 Qf6 5.a3 Nc6 6.axb4 Bxb4 7.c3 Bc5 8.Na3 a6 9.Nb5 Rb8 10.Nc7+ Kd8 11.Nd5 Qg6 12.d3 Qxg2 13.Rf1 d6 14.Ne3 Bxe3 15.fxe3 Bg4 16.Ra2 Qh3 17.Bxf7 Nh6 18.Bd5 Rf8 19.Raf2 Kd7 20.d4 exd4 21.exd4 Rxf3 22.Rxf3 Qh4+ 23.R1f2 Ne7 24.Qa4+ b5 25.Qxa6 Nxd5 26.exd5 Bxf3 27.Qc6+ Kd8 28.Qxd6+ Kc8 29.Bf4 Rb7 30.Qf8+ Kd7 31.Qxg7+ Kc8 32.Qf8+ Kd7 33.Bxh6 Bxd5 34.Kd2 Qe7 35.Qf5+ Be6 36.Qe5 Qa3 37.d5 Qa2+ 38.Ke3 Qa7+ 39.Kd3 Qxf2 40.Qxe6+ Kc7 41.d6+ Kc6 42.Qe4+ Kxd6 43.Bf4+ 1-0

John Hurt-Fowler
Mid-South Open, November 25, 1979
1.e4 c5 2.b4 a5 3.bxc5 Nc6 4.d4 e6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Nf3 d6 7.cxd6 Bxd6 8.e5 Bb4 9.Bd2 Bxc3 10.Bxc3 Ne4 11.Bb2 a4 12.Qd3 Qa5+ 13.Nd2 Nxd2 14.Qxd2 b5 15.Qxa5 Rxa5 16.a3 Na7 17.Bc3 Ra6 18.Rb1 Bd7 19.Bb4 Bc6 20.Bc5 Kd7 21.Bxa7 1-0


Here some additional Sicilian Wing Gambit games for study or enjoyment (or both!)

Rome, 1620
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.d4 e6 4.a3 bxa3 5.c4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 d5 8.e5 dxc4 9.Bxc4 Nc6 10.Ne2 Nge7 11.Rxa3 O-O 12.O-O Nf5 13.Rd3 a6 14.f4 b5 15.Bb3 a5 16.g4 Nh6 17.h3 a4 18.Bc2 b4 19.f5 exf5 20.g5 b3 21.Bd1 Qa5 22.Qf4 Qb5 23.Rg3 Bd7 24.gxh6 g6 25.Qg5 f6 26.exf6 Rf7 27.Nf4 Nxd4 28.Nxg6 Ne6 29.Ne7+ Kh8 30.Qg7+ Nxg7 31.fxg7+ Rxg7 32.hxg7mate 1-0

Capablanca-Richard Black
New York, 1911
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 bxa3 4.Bxa3 d6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.d4 g6 7.h4 Bg4 8.c3 Bg7 9.Nbd2 Nf6 10.Qb3 Qb6 11.Qa2 Bxf3 12.gxf3 Nh5 13.Nc4 Qc7 14.Bc1 O-O 15.Rb1 Kh8 16.Bh3 b6 17.Bg4 Nf6 18.Ne3 h5 19.Bh3 Na5 20.Bd2 Bh6 21.Rc1 Kh7 22.c4 Nb7 23.Nf5 Ng8 24.Nxh6 Nxh6 25.Bxh6 Kxh6 26.Qd2+ Kh7 27.f4 e5 28.fxe5 dxe5 29.d5 Nc5 30.Qe2 Qe7 31.Bf5 Kg7 32.Rc3 Rh8 33.Rg3 Rh6 34.Qe3 Qf6 35.Rhg1 Kh7 36.Rg5 gxf5 37.Rxf5 Qe7 38.Qf3 f6 39.Rxh5 Nd3+ 40.Kd1 Nf4 41.Rxh6+ Kxh6 42.Qg3 Rc8 43.Qc3 Qc5 0-1

IM Shirazi-IM Peters
US Ch.
Berkeley, CA, 1984
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.axb4? Qe5+ 0-1

GM Timur Gareyev (2703)-Peter Bodziony (1733)
Blindfold Simul
Las Vegas, Dec. 3 2017
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 Qe7 9.Bxb4 Qxb4 10.Nc3 a6? 11.Rb1 Qc5 12.Ne4 Qc6 13.Nd6+ Ke7 14.Ng5 f6 15.Qh5 fxe5 16.Nge4! Rf8
17.Qg5+ Rf6 18.Qxg7+ Rf7 19.Qxf7+ Kd8 20.Qf6+ Kc7 21.Ne8mate 1-0

T. Shih (2060)-P. Sorge (1617)
US Amateur Team Ch., East, 2000
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 e5 4.axb4 Bxb4 5.c3 Be7 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.d3 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.Qb3 Be6 10.Nf3 Nf4 11.Nxe5 Bxc4 [Tempting, but ultimately winning for the other player is 11…Nxg2+ 12.Kf1 Bh3 13.Bxf7+ Kf8 14.Bh5 Nf4+ 15.Ke1 (not 15.Kg1 Ne2#) 15…Nxd3+ 16.Nxd3 Qxd3 17.Qf7#] 12.Qxc4 Ne6 13.O-O O-O 14.Be3 Nd7 15.Nxd7 Qxd7 16.Rxa7 Rxa7 17.Bxa7 b5 18.Qb3 Qxa7 19.Qxb5 Rb8 20.Qf5 Qa2 21.d4 Qe2 22.g3 g6 23.Qa5 Qe4 24.Nd2 Qe2 25.Qa7 Rb2 26.Qxe7 Rxd2 27.Qf6 Rd1 28.Rxd1 Qxd1+ 29.Kg2 Qd3 30.Qf3 Qxf3+ 31.Kxf3 Kf8 32.h4 Ke7 33.Ke4 Kd6 34.g4 f6 35.f4 Ng7 36.c4 f5+ 37.gxf5 gxf5+ 38.Ke3 h5 39.Kd3 Ne6 40.Ke3 Nc7 41.Kd3 Na6 42.Kc3 Nb8 43.Kb4 Nc6+ 44.Kc3 Ne7 45.Kb4 Ng6 46.Kb5 Nxf4 47.Kb6 Nd5+ 48.Kb5 Nc3+ 49.Kb4 Nd5+ 50.Kb3 Nf4 51.Kc3 Ng6 52.Kd3 Nxh4 53.Ke3 Ng6 54.Kf3 h4 55.Kg2 Nf4+ 56.Kh2 h3 57.d5 Nxd5 58.Kxh3 Ne7 0-1


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, 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




A Thematic Sac in the Sozin Sicilian

The Sicilian has many thematic sacrifices. Here is one of my favorites.


Escalante -“pvsatyam” (1600)
Blitz Game, Dec. 27 2016
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Be7 8.Be3 (8.g4, in my opinion, is the strongest move. But 8.Be3 is also adequate to try for an advantage. Besides, it can be fun to try different things, esp. in blitz chess.) 8…Qc7 9.f3 b5 10.Qd2 Bd7 [The white colored bishop belongs on b7, where it has a larger scope. That is large reason why Black plays …a6 and …b5. Maybe he was concerned about the immediate 8…Bb7? which allows the thematic sacrifice of 9.Bxe6! fxe6 10.Nxe6 +/-. Here’s another version of the thematic sac. ; 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Be7 8.Be3 Qc7 9.Qe2 Nbd7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qc6 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Ne5 14.f4 Bxf5 15.exf5 Nc4 16.Bd4 Rae8 17.O-O-O Bd8 18.Qd3 Rhg8 19.Rhg1 b5 20.Qh3 b4 21.Nd5 Nxd5 22.Qxh7+ Kf8 23.Qh6+ Kf7 24.Qh7+ 1/2-1/12 (Lehtinen-FM Vetemaa, Tampere, Finland, 1995). However, Black forgets about this thematic sacrifice a few moves later.] 11.g4 Bc6 12.g5! Nfd7 (Now White can play the well-known, and well-rehearsed, thematic sac.) 13.Bxe6! fxe6 14.Nxe6 Qa5 15.Nxg7+ Kf7?! (Perhaps better is moving to the queenside, where most of Black pieces occupy important squares. Now White is in command.) 16.Nf5 Qc7 17.Nd5 Bxd5 18.Qxd5+ Kg6 19.Nxe7+ Kg7 20.Nf5+ (Weaker is 20.Bd4+ as Black has 20…Kf8. In such positions where there are pawns, the knight is a better attacker.) 20…Kf8 21.Qe6 Ne5 22.Qf6+ Qf7 23.Qxh8+ 1-0 (Black has no hope and gives up. If he chooses to play on, White will continue with 23…Qg8 24.Qf6+ Qf7 25.Qd8+ Qe8 26.Qxd6+ Kg8 27.Ne7+ Kf8 28.Ng6+ Kg8 29.Nxe5.)