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+.]

 

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.

THE HORIZON EFFECT

Wikipedia defines the horizon effect as: a problem in artificial intelligence whereby, in many games, the number of possible states or positions is immense and computers can only feasibly search a small portion of them, typically a few plies down the game tree. Thus, for a computer searching only five plies, there is a possibility that it will make a detrimental move, but the effect is not visible because the computer does not search to the depth of the error (i.e., beyond its “horizon”).

 

What it means, in more understandable words, is that when a chess computer finds a move, or a series of moves, that loses material, or some other advantage, it stops analyzing that move or series of moves. This can lose the game, or at least the advantage, as it fails to see a strong reply or the continuation of play that will allow it to retain or increase its advantage.

 
An early example of the horizon effect can be found in this game.

 
De Legal-Saint Brie?
France, 1750
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Bg4 4.Nc3 Nc6

De_Legal
5.Nxe5 Bxd1?? (There were many computers in the early 1980’s would simply take the offered queen, as it was taught that being up a queen would lead to victory and would therefore stop analyzing. This simple trap caused consternation and scorn by some players as they wanted a “serious” chess computer. By the way, this trap is known as De Legal’s mate.) 6.Bxf7+ Ke7 7.Nd5mate 1-0

 
A more recent example can be found in this game:

 

Escalante-“andersonwillians” (1511)
Najdorf Thematic Tournment
Chess.com, July-August 2019
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 g6 7.f3 Bg7 8.Be3 O-O 9.Qd2 Nc6 10.O-O-O Bd7 (The Najdorf has transposed into a Dragon, B77 to be exact.) 11.g4 Rc8 12.Be2 Ne5 13.h4 Nc4 14.Bxc4 Rxc4 15.h5 Qc7 16.Kb1 Rc8 17.hxg6 hxg6 18.Nde2 (This is an important move as it provides another piece to guard c3 and puts a stop to Black’s attack.) 18…Be6 19.Bh6 Bh8?
2019_08_08_A
20.Bf8! (This keeps the Black’s king from escaping to the center.) 20…Kxf8 (Not 20…Rxf8 21.Qh6! +-. Best for Black is 20…Nh5 21.Rxh5 gxh5 22.Qh6 Rxf8 23.Rh1 Bg7 24.Qxh5, and now if 24…f5 25.Nf4! wins on the spot.) 21.Rxh8+ Ng8

2019_08_08_B
22.Rxg8+! (The chess.com computer recommends 22.Qh6+ Ke8 23.Rxg8+ Kd7 24.Rxc8 Qxc8 25.e5 Kc7 26.exd6+ exd6, when White is obviously winning. But the text move is better as it leads to a forced mate. So why did chess.com computer miss this move? Probably because it saw that White loses the exchange and concluded that’s not a good way to proceed. So it stopped analyzing.) 22…Kxg8 23.Qh6! f6 (Black is in Zugzwang, as his king is paralyzed and he can’t get help in time. 23…d5 24.Rh1 +-) 24.Qxg6+ Kf8 25.Rh1 1-0 (25…Bg8 26.Rh8 e6 and now either 27.Qxg8+ or 27.Rxg8+ mates.)

 

 

FIREWORKS

Fireworks-pastel-colors-jpg

 

Fourth of July in the US is considered our Independence Day. A day we love to celebrate with parades, hot dogs, ball games, barbeques, and fireworks.

 

We can’t provide the parades, ball games, barbeques, and our hot dogs are reserved. But we can give you fireworks. Check out these games.

 

Keres-Siitam
Estonia Jr. Ch.
Parnu, 1933
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nc3 (This opening is known as the Mason or Keres Gambit. By either name, it leads to many tactical games.) 3…Nc6 4.d4 Bb4!? 5.Bxf4 Qh4+ 6.g3 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Qe7 8.Bg2 d6 9.Nf3 Qxe4+ 10.Kf2 Bf5 11.Re1 Qxe1+ 12.Qxe1+ Nge7 13.d5 O-O 14.dxc6 Bxc2 15.Qxe7 Rae8 16.Qxc7 Re4 17.cxb7 Rfe8 18.b8=Q Re2+ 19.Kg1 Rxg2+ 20.Kxg2 Rxb8 21.Qxb8mate 1-0

 

Here are is another Keres/Mason Game. Black has the advantage after 6.…Ba6+. Now try to find Black’s best moves from this point.

 

N.N.-Chadwick
corres.
PCCA Gambit Tournament, 1911
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.d4 Qh4+ 5.Ke2 b6! 6.Nf3 Ba6+ 7.Kd2 Qf2+ 8.Ne2 Nb4 9.a3 Nf6 10.Qe1 d5 11.Kc3 Nxe4+ 12.Kb3 Bc4+ 13.Ka4

2019_07_04_A

13…b5+ (Alex Dunne, writing in the Dec. 2000 issue of Chess Life, notes that 13…a5 14.Nc3 Qxc2+ 15.b3 Qxb3# wins faster. Would you have found that idea?) 14.Ka5 Nc6+ 15.Ka6 b4+ 16.Kb7 Rb8+ 17.Kxc6 Rb6+ 18.Kxc7 Bd6+ 19.Kc8 Ke7mate 0-1

 

Victor Knox (2320)-Krzysztof Pytel (2381)
Manchester, 1981
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.Bd2 Ne7 6.Nb5 O-O 7.c3 (7.Bxb4 doesn’t seem to fare too well. Vasiliev (1703)-Lysakov (2032) Petr Izmailov Memorial, Tomsk, Russia, June 13 2013, continued with 7…cxb4 8.Nd6 Nbc6 9.Nf3 f6 10.Bd3 fxe5 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Nxc8 Nxd3+ 13.Qxd3 Rxc8 14.O-O-O Ng6 15.h4 Nf4 16.Qe3 Qf6 17.Qxa7 Ra8 18.Qd4 Ne2+ 0-1) 7…Ba5 8.dxc5 Bc7 (> 8…Ng6) 9.f4 Nd7 10.b4 b6 11.cxb6 Nxb6 12.Nf3 Bb7 (Black is coming close to equality, or at least an unclear position. However, he needs to either active his kingside or defend it. He does neither.) 13.Bd3 Nc4? (Now comes the thematic Bxh7+ and subsequent king walk.)

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14.Bxh7+! Kxh7 15.Ng5+ Kg6 16.Qg4 f5 17.Qg3 Qd7 (17…Qc8 18.Nc7) 18.Nxe6+ Kf7 19.Qxg7+ Kxe6 20.Nd4mate 1-0

 

Escalante-“Me4ok” (1846)
corres.
http://www.chess.com, 2019
[B57]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nh5 9.e6?

 

(This is what sometimes happens when I analyze a game in my head. Most of the time, this is not problem. But this time I thought he had played 8…Ng4, and 9.e6 works well in that variation.

 

By the way, after 8…Nh5, 9.Qf3 is considered the best move here. A few games illustrate the possibilities.

 

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 (The black queen is trapped.)
2019_07_04_C
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

 

Mayerhofer (2203)-Klimes (2365)
IPCA World Cup
Czech Republic, 2003
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 d5 10.Nxd5 e6 11.Nc3 Bb7 12.O-O Be7 13.Bh6 Bg5 14.Rad1 Qe7 15.Bxg5 Qxg5 16.Ne4 Qe7 17.Nd6+ Kf8 18.Nxf7 Qxf7 19.Qxf7+ Kxf7 20.Rd7+ Kf8 21.Rxb7 Ng7 22.Rd1 a5 23.Rdd7 Nf5 24.Bxe6 1-0

 

De Haas (2171)-Bakker
Nova Open
Haarlem, July 2 2004
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 d5 10.Nxd5 cxd5 11.Bxd5 Rb8
2019_07_04_D

12.Bxf7+ Kd7 13.Qd5+ Kc7 14.Qc5+ Kb7 15.Bd5+ Ka6 16.Qc6+ 1-0

 

Now let’s get back to the original game.)

 

9…fxe6! (Oops! Black definitely has the advantage.) 10.Qf3 (Trying to keep Black from castling.) 10…d5! (Another good move. This bolsters his pawn structure.) 11.Bb3 (Forced. White wants to keep the bishop on the diagonal.) 11…Bg7 12.Bg5 Nf6? (Black could have tried 12.Rf8, and forgo castling to use the open “f” file.) 13.O-O-O O-O!? [Seems safe. But White’s bishop is still on the diagonal. If Black’s plan is king safety (always important), then he probably should hide his king on h8.] 14.Qg3 c5? (Again, …Kh8 is called for. All this move does is loosen his pawn structure. Perhaps he wanted to push …c4, getting rid of the bishop. But this approach is too slow.) 15.Rhe1 (White’s development is now superior, for the cost of a pawn. His bishop is about to become very active.) 16…Bd7? 16.Bxf6! (The start of a combination to open lines against the enemy king.) 16…exf6
2019_07_04_E
17.Nxd5! Kh8 [Now he moves his king to safer square. But he loses a critical tempo in the process. By the way, taking the knight leads to immediate disaster. I’ll let the reader figure it out the moves (it’s more fun that way!)] 18.Nc7 +- Qe7 19.Nxa8 Rxa8 20.Qc7 Rd8 21.Rxe6 Bh6+ 22.Kb1 Bxe6 23.Rxd8+ 1-0

 

GM Fabiano Caruna (2652)-GM Konstantin Landa (2664)
Torneo di Capodanno
Reggio Emilia, Italy, June 1 2010
[C42]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2 Be6 9.O-O-O Qd7 10.Kb1 Bf6 11.h4 h6 12.Nd4 Nxd4 13.Bxd4 Bxd4 14.Qxd4 O-O (So far, we are still in “book”.) 15.Rg1 [White played 15.Be2 in GM R. Ponomariov (2751)-GM Hao Wang (27433), Kings Tournament, Bucharest, Oct. 11 2013, with the continuation of 15…Rae8 16.Bf3 b6 17.g4 Qb5 18.g5 Qc4 19.gxh6 Qxd4 20.Rxd4 gxh6 21.Bc6 Rd8 22.Ra4 a5 23.b4 axb4 24.cxb4 Bd7 25.Bxd7 Rxd7 26.Re1 Kg7 27.Kb2 Kg6 28.Ra3 Kh5 29.Rg3 f5 30.Re6 b5 31.Kb3 f4 32.Rgg6 Rh7 33.f3 Rf5 34.c4 bxc4+ 35.Kxc4 Re5 36.Ref6 Kxh4 37.Rxf4+ Kh3 38.Rfg4 h5 39.Rg3+ Kh2 40.Rg2+ Kh1 41.Rg1+ Kh2 42.R6g2+ Kh3 43.Rg7 Rxg7 44.Rxg7 Re3 45.a4 Ra3 46.Kb5 c5 47.bxc5 1/2-1/2. Caruna’s move seems clearer and stronger.] 15…Rae8 16.g4 Qc6 17.Bg2 Qa6 18.b3 Bd7 19.g5 h5 20.g6 Re7 21.Bd5 Be6 22.Rde1 c5 23.Qd1 Rfe8 24.Qxh5! +- fxg6
2019_07_04_F
25.Rxe6! (Black resigned as he gets checkmated after 25…Rxe6 26.Qxg6. Or he could play on by taking the queen first, and then still get mated after 25…gxh5 26.Rxe7+ Kh7 27.Be4+ Kg8 28.Rgxg7+ Kh8 29.Rh7+ Kg8 30.Rxe8# .) 1-0

 

“jovialdick” (2178)-“blueemu” (2297)
Match
Team Malaysia vs The Canadian Team
chess.com, Aug. 2018
[This game can be found in a forum titled, “A Heroic Defense in the Sicilian Najdorf – Kids, don’t try this at home!” on chess.com. Notes in green are by Escalante, those in red by “blueemu”. I hesitate to include any diagrams, since virtually every move after White 10th would necessitate a diagram.]
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.f4 (Another common move here is 9.Qf3, with the idea of activating pieces over using the kingside pawns to cramp and attack Black’s position.) 9…Bb7 (Black’s only good idea with his white bishop is to fianchetto it. He has play it soon anyway.) 10.e5 (This move is the direct result of White’s previous move. The attack, however, is double-edged as White’s king is not exactly safe if his attack should fail.) 10…dxe5 11.fxe5 Bc5 12.Be3 Nc6 13.exf6 Bxd4 14.fxg7 [Another crazy possibility (pointed out by one of the Master-strength players who was drawn by the carnage) was 14 Nd5!? instead of the piece sacrifice 14. fxg7 that White actually played.] 14…Bxe3+ 15.Kh1 Rg8 16.Bxe6 Rxg7 17.Bxf7+ Rxf7 18.Qh5 Ne5 [Florian, writing in Informant 19, game 453, gives this move “!!” and a -+. The game, Cervenka (2190)-A. Schneider (2266), Czechoslovakia, 1974, continued after 18…Ne5!! -+, with 19.Qxe5+ (19.Rae1 Qg5! -+ ; 19.Rf5 Qd2, are again Florian’s notes to the game.) 19…Qe7 20.Qh8+ Kd7 21.Rad1+ (or 21.Rxf7 Qxf7 22.Qe5 Bxg2+ 23.Kxg2 Rg8+ 24.Kh3 Qf3+ 0-1, as in Kaleb-Sostra, corres., Keres Memorial, 1982) 21… Ke6 0-1. Back to original game. ; Black is indeed winning after 18. … Ne5!! but I messed up on move 20 with 20. … Rd8?! allowing White to head into a very drawish position by swapping everything off on f7 after 21. Rae1 Kf8 and White takes on f7 then recovers his piece on e3.] 19.Qxe5+ Qe7 20.Qh5 Rd8 [20…b4?! is too slow. Miranda Rodriguez (2167)-Ruiz Sanchez (2392), Capablanca Memorial, Havana, May 11 2010 continued with 21.Rae1 bxc3 22.Rxf7 Qxf7 23.Rxe3+ Kf8 24.Qc5+ Kg7 25.Rg3+ Kf6 26.Qd4+ Kf5 27.Qf2+ 1-0 ; Black had a much better 20th move, playing 20. … Kf8! (instead of playing it one move later, as I actually did) 21. Rae1 Re8! and White is lost because he cannot recover his piece, while the Black King is now safe (for a given value of “safe”).] 21.Rae1 Kf8 22.Qxh7 Bd4 23.h3 Rd7 24.Qg6 Qh4 25.Re8+ Kxe8 26.Qg8+ Ke7 27.Rxf7+ Kd6 28.Qb8+ Kc5 29.Rf5+ Kb6 30.Kh2 Qe1 31.Nd5+ Rxd5 32.Rxd5 Bg1+ 0-1

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.)

2019_01_31_a

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!

2019_01_31_b

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.

 

 

123_back_1

A “Tal”ented player

A great game by the Magician from Riga.

GM Tal (2625)-Mukhin (2420)
USSR Ch.
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

 

 

tal_1960

 

A Thematic Sac in the Sozin Sicilian

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

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

Escalante -“pvsatyam” (1600)
Blitz Game
www.chess.com, 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.)