50 Years Ago

On Apr. 17th 1970, just after the conclusion USSR vs. Rest of the World match, a blitz tournament took place in Herceg Novi, then part of Yugoslavia.

 

Many of the world class players who participated in the USSR match joined the blitz tournament. Among them were three ex-world champions (Smyslov, Petrosian, and Tal), one future world champion (Fischer would win the title two years later), other players who had participated in the world championship matches and tournaments, and still others who would in the future.

 

Despite several renowned Soviet blitz players, it was Fischer, then in his prime, who captured first place. By a large margin.

 

The difference between Fischer and second placed Tal (who was one of the renowned Soviet players), was an outstanding 4 ½ points.

 

Many of the games were not recorded, which was understandable in the pre-computer days. However, many Tal’s games (about half) could not be reconstructed or were not available after play. This is all more surprising given that Tal was known for his phenomenal memory.

 

Still we have some wonderful games from the tournament. Various games of the top two players from the tournament are given below. Their games are still popular and enjoyable five decades later.

 

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1970hercegnoviblitz

 

 

GM Fischer-IM Ostojic
Blitz Game
Herceg Novi, Apr. 17 1970
[This game has been published in various publications and blogs, including this one.]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.e5 Ng8 8.Bc4 Bg7 9.Bf4 Qa5 10.O-O Bxe5 11.Bxe5 Qxe5 12.Re1 Qc7
2020_05_07_A

13.Qd4! +- (13.Qd5 would also work but this is the fastest way to victory.) 13…f6 14.Bxg8 Rxg8 15.Qxf6 d5 16.Re2 Ba6 17.Nxd5 cxd5 18.Qxa6 Rf8 19.Rae1 Rf7 20.Qe6 Rd8 21.c3 Kf8 22.g3 d4 23.cxd4 Rxd4 24.Qe5 Qxe5 25.Rxe5 Rd2 26.R1e2 Rxe2 27.Rxe2 Rf6 28.Kf1 Rc6 29.Ke1 e6 30.Kd2 Ke7 31.Re4 Rb6 32.b3 Ra6 33.a4 Kd6 34.Rh4 h5 35.Rd4+ Ke7 36.Kc3 Rc6+ 37.Rc4 Ra6 38.Rc7+ Kf6 39.Kb4 Rb6+ 40.Kc4 a6 41.a5 Rd6 42.b4 Rd2 43.Kc5 Rxf2 44.Kb6 e5 45.Kxa6 e4 46.b5 e3 47.Rc1 Ke5 48.b6 Rg2 49.b7 Rb2 50.Ka7 g5 51.b8=Q+ Rxb8 52.Kxb8 1-0

 

GM Tal-GM Fischer
Blitz Game
Herceg Novi, Apr. 17 1970
[For most of the game it is even. White eventually gets the advantage, only to see the advantage, and then the game, slip away.]
[B50]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Bc4 Be7 5.d3 Nf6 6.O-O Nc6 7.Ne1!? (A move deserving of more attention. ECO gives 7.Ng5 O-O 8.f4 h6 9.Nf3 exf4, leading to an equal game.) 7…O-O 8.f4 [Despite position’s almost pacific appearance, the game has a lot of tension. From this position, played 33 years later, Black chose 8.exf4 and soon gained the advantage: 9.Bxf4 Be6 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.h3 Qe8 12.Bh2 Qg6 13.Nf3 Nh5 14.Ne2 Rf7 15.Nd2 Raf8 16.Rxf7 Rxf7 17.c3 Bh4 18.Nc4 d5 19.exd5 exd5 20.Ne5 Nxe5 21.Bxe5 Rf2 22.g4 Qg5 23.Bg3 Bxg3 24.Nxg3 Qf4 25.Nf1 Ng3 0-1 (Kim Pilgaard – George-Gabriel Grigore, Kings Cup, Bucharest, 2003).] 8…a6 9.a4 exf4 10.Bxf4 Be6 11.Bxe6 fxe6 12.Bg3 Qb6 13.Qd2 Ng4 14.Nf3 Nd4 15.Rab1 Nxf3+ 16.gxf3 Ne5 17.Kg2 Ng6 18.Ne2 Nh4+ 19.Bxh4 Bxh4 20.b4 Qc7 21.bxc5 dxc5 22.a5 Rf6 23.f4 Raf8 24.Rb6 Bg5 25.e5 Rf5 26.Rxe6 Qf7 27.Rd6 Bxf4 28.Rxf4 Rxf4 29.Nxf4 Qxf4 30.Qxf4 Rxf4 31.Rd7 (White has the advantage due to his advanced pawns and Black’s isolated king on the back rank. But the game still needs to be won!) 31…Ra4 32.e6 Kf8 33.Rf7+ Ke8 34.Rxg7 Rxa5 35.Rxb7 Ra2 36.Kf3 Rxc2 37.Rxh7 c4 38.d4 c3 39.d5 Rd2 40.Ke4 c2 41.Rc7 Kd8 42.Rc4 a5 43.h4 a4 44.Ke5 a3 45.d6 Re2+ 46.Kf5 Rf2+ 47.Kg4 a2

 

2020_05_07_B

 

48.d7?? (White falters at the moment of truth ; 48.e7+ Kd7 49.Rc7+ Kxd6 50.e8=Q Kxc7 51.Qe5+ Kd7 52.Qd4+ Ke7 53.Qb4+ Ke6 54.Qb6+ Kd7 55.Qb7+ Ke8 56.Qc8+ and it’s a draw!) 48…Ke7 49.Rc8 Rd2 50.Re8+ Kf6 51.e7 Rxd7 (Black promotes first and gives the first check. Bobby, like most of his games of the tournament, was also probably ahead in time.) 0-1

 

GM Tal-GM Uhlmann
Blitz Game
Herceg Novi, Apr. 17 1970
[A15]
[One does not give Tal a free tempo!]
1.g3 d5 2.Bg2 Nf6 3.c4 dxc4 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.O-O a6 6.Na3 c5 7.Nxc4 e6 8.d4 Rb8? (The rook does nothing except to get itself into trouble. Better, and more enterprising, is 7…Nb6!?) 9.Bf4 Ra8 10.dxc5 Nxc5? (Better for Black is 10….Nd5, and while not winning, it has the dual benefits of not losing more tempi and getting somewhat out of the pin.) 11.Bd6 Nxc5 12.Bxf8 Kxf8 13.Qd4 Nd7 14.Rac1 h5 15.Rfd1 Qf6 16.e4 Qxd4 17.Rxd4 N5f6 18.Nd6 Ke7 11.Qxd8+ Kxd8 12.Rfd1+ Nfd7 13.Nb6 Ra7 14.Bb8!

 

2020_05_07_C

 

1-0

 

GM Tal-GM Borislav Ivkov
Blitz Game
Herceg Novi, Apr. 17 1970
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Bg5 h6 5.Be3 b6 6.Nf3 Bb7 7.Bd3 Nd7 (When Black makes this move the message he sends out is, “I’m going to play …e5 or …c5.” If he doesn’t make either of these two moves, then the message becomes, “Attack me!”. Black doesn’t make this error, but Tal still attacks!) 8.Qd2 c5 9.O-O-O Ngf6 10.b3 c4 11.Bxc4 Nxe4 12.Nxe4 Bxe4 13.Rhe1 Bxf3 14.gxf3 e6 15.Bf4 Nf6

2020_05_07_D

 

16.Bxe6! fxe6 17.Rxe6+ Kf7 18.Rxd6 (White also has 18.d5) 18…Qc8 19.Be5 Rd8 20.Rxd8 Qxd8 21.Rg1 Qd7 22.Qd3 Qf5 23.Qc4+ Qe6 24.Qc7+ Qe7 25.Qc4+ Qe6 26.Qd3 Qf5 27.Qc4+ Qe6 28.Qxe6+ Kxe6 29.Rxg6 … 1-0

 
GM Tal-GM Korchnoi
Blitz Game
Herceg Novi, Apr. 17 1970
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.Ngf3 a6 5.exd5 exd5 6.Be2 c4 7.O-O Bd6 8.Re1 Ne7 9.b3 b5 10.a4 c3 11.Nf1 b4 12.Ne5 O-O 13.Bf4 f6? 14.Nd3 Bxf4 15.Nxf4 Qd6 16.Bf3! Nbc6 17.Ne3 Qxf4 18.Nxd5 Nxd5 19.Bxd5+ Kh8 20.Bxc6 Ra7 21.Qe2 Qxd4 22.Rad1 Qc5 23.Qe8 Raf7 24.Rd5 Qb6 25.Qxf7 1-0

A Different Type of a King Hunt

The King Goes Hunting!

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William Smiley-Matthew Lasley
corres.
Summer Service Series
Section S40081
CCLA 2014
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.dxe6 Nc6 5.exf7+ Kxf7

[Risky play has its own rewards. Certainly, it takes guts and luck. And perhaps, maybe, Black was aware of the following game:

DEEP FRITZ 7-DEEP JUNIOR 8
25 minute game, Aug. 1 2003
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.dxe6 Nc6 5.exf7+ Kxf7 6.d3 Bc5 7.Nf3 Ng4 8.Ng5+ Kg6 9.Ne4 Nxf2 10.Nxf2 Bxf2+ 11.Kxf2 Qd4+ 12.Kg3 Rf8 13.Qe2 Qd6+ 14.Kh4 Qd8+ 15.Kg3 h5 16.Qe4+ Bf5 17.Qh4 Qe8 18.Qg5+ Kh7 19.h3 Qe5+ 20.Qf4 Qe7 21.Kh2 Bg6 22.Qg5 Qd6+ 23.Qg3 Qd4 24.Nc3 h4 25.Qg4 Qd6+ 26.g3 Ne5 27.Qxh4+ Kg8 28.Bg2 Rf2 29.Kg1 Raf8 30.Ne4 Rxg2+ 31.Kxg2 Qxd3 32.Re1 Nf3 33.Nf6+ Rxf6 0-1.]

6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Be2 Bxf3 8.Bxf3 Qd3 9.Bd5+ (9.Be2 Re8 and it looks like Black already has the advantage.) 9…Nxd5 10.Qh5+ Ke6 (Charge! Arthur Holmer, writing in the Oct-Dec. 2016 issue of The Chess Correspondent, noted the brave, and almost foolhardy, 10…Kf6 leads to victory after 11.Qe2 Ncb4.) 11.cxd5+ Qxd5 12.Qxd5+ Kxd5

 

2020_04_30_A

 

13.a3 Re8+ 14.Kd1 Bc5 15.f3 Re6 16.d3 Kd4 17.Nc3 Kxd3

 

2020_04_30_B

 

18.Ne4 Bb6 19.b4 Rd8 20.Bd2 h6?! (Black is almost forced to make this weakening move.) 21.Rc1 Bd4 22.Nc5+ Bxc5 23.Rc3+ (White finally manages to push back the Black king.) 23…Kd4 24.Rxc5 Re5 25.Rxe5 Nxe5 26.Kc2 Nc4 27.Ra1 Ne3+ 28.Kb3 Nxg2 29.Bxh6! Re8 30.Bxg7+ Ke3 31.h4 Kxf3 32.h5 Re3+ 33.Ka4 c6 34.Bb2 Nf4 35.h6 Nd5 36.Bd4 1-0 (The Chess Correspondent mentions, “Black actually overstepped the time control and the server automatically issued a time forfeit, but the White h-pawn will promote or cost material.” Black loses his king at the end. But what a brave and courageous king!)

King Hunt!

24414.078387ce.668x375o.bb8e0deb123d

 

Every chess player enjoys a king-hunt, esp. when he is the one who is doing the hunting.

 
For those who are unfamiliar with this term, here is a short definition : A king hunt occurs when a king is driven from a defended position to another part of the board where he may be mated.

 
Here are some of my favorites. The second one is well-known, while the others are not (but maybe should be).

 

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Greco-N.N.
Italy, 1620
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ (The Lolli Gambit. It is rarely seen because Black can defend this aggressive and early attack. Still, it might make a good choice in a blitz game or two!) 5…Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke6 7.Qxg4+ Kxe5 8.Qf5+ Kd6 9.d4 Bg7 10.Bxf4+ Ke7 11.Bg5+ Bf6 12.e5 Bxg5 13.Qxg5+ Ke8 14.Qh5+ Ke7 15.O-O Qe8 16.Qg5+ Ke6

2020_04_23_A
17.Rf6+ Nxf6 18.Qxf6+ Kd5 19.Nc3+ Kxd4 20.Qf4+ Kc5 21.b4+ Kc6 22.Qc4+ Kb6 23.Na4mate 1-0

 

Edward Lasker-George Alan Thomas
Casual Game
London, Oct. 29 1912
1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Bxf6 Bxf6 6.e4 fxe4 7.Nxe4 b6!? (This move seems slow. Probably best is the immediate 7…O-O. Monti-Idili, corres., Italy, 1972 continued with 8.Ne5 Nc6 9.Bd3 Nxe5 10.dxe5 Bxe5 11.Qh5 Rf5 12.Qh3 Bxb2 13.Rb1 Bd4 14.g4 Rf8 15.Nd6 cxd6 16.Bxh7+ Kf7 17.Rb3 Qg5 18.f4 Qh6 19.Qd3 b6 20.g5 Qh4+ 21.Ke2 Ke7 22.Qxd4 Qxh7 23.Rd3 d5 24.h4 Ba6 25.g6 Bxd3+ 26.cxd3 Qxg6 27.Rg1 Qf6 0-1. Back to the game.) 8.Ne5 O-O 9.Bd3 Bb7 10.Qh5 Qe7? [The text move is an error. Best is 10…Bxe5 11.Nd2 g6 12.Qxe5 Nc6 13.Qg3 Nb4 14.Bxg6 hxg6= (Stockfish).]

2020_04_23_B
11.Qxh7+!! Kxh7 (11…Kg8? 13.Ng6# wins on the spot!.) 12.Nxf6+ Kh6 13.Neg4+ Kg5 14.h4+ Kf4 15.g3+ Kf3 16.Be2+ Kg2 17.Rh2+ Kg1 18.Kd2mate 1-0 (12.O-O-O# is also possible.)

 

Blackburne-N.N.
10 Board Blindfold Simul
Kidderminster, England, May 15 1863
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 d6 5.Nxc3 Nc6 6.Nf3 Ne5 7.Nxe5 dxe5 8.Bxf7+ Ke7 9.Bg5+ Nf6 10.Qh5 c6 11.Rd1 Qa5 12.f4 Qc5 13.fxe5 Qxe5 14.O-O h6 15.Be8 Be6

2020_04_23_C
16.Rxf6! gxf6 17.Rd7+ Bxd7 18.Qf7+ Kd6 19.Qxd7+ Kc5 20.Be3+ Kb4 21.Qxb7+ Ka5 22.b4+ Bxb4 23.Bb6+ axb6 24.Qxa8mate 1-0

 

Huber-Lemke
Essen, 1936
1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 (A side variation of Alekhine’s Defence.) 3.exd5 Nxd5 4.Bc4 Nb6 5.Bb3 c5 6.d3 Nc6 7.Nf3 e5? (The e5-pawn will become a target. More common are 7…e6 and 7..Bf5.) 8.O-O Bg4 9.h3 Bh5 10.Nxe5!! Bxd1 (Better is 10…Nxe5, but White is winning after 11.Qxh5.) 11.Bxf7+ Ke7 12.Bg5+ Kd6 13.Ne4+! Kxe5 14.f4+ Kd4 (14…Kf5 15.Ng3#) 15.Raxd1 Ke3 16.Rf3+ Ke2 17.Rd2+ Ke1 18.Rf1mate 1-0

 

Moser-Underwood
corres.
Canada, 1962
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 e6 4.axb4 Bxb4 5.c3 Be7 6.d4 d6 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.Bd3 Nf6 9.O-O O-O 10.e5! dxe5 11.Nxe5 Nbd7 12.f4 b5 13.c4 Bb7 14.Nc3 a6 15.Bb2 Qd6 16.Rf2 Rfe8 17.g4 Nf8 18.g5 N6d7 19.Ne4 Qc7 20.Qh5 Ng6

2020_04_23_D

21.Nxf7! Nxf4 (21…Kxf7 22.Qxh7 Rh8 23.Nd6+! Bxd6 24.Bxg7+ Ke7 25.Qxg7+ followed by Qxh8+.) 22.Qxh7+! (White now announces mate in 12 moves.) 22…Kf8 (22…Kxf7 23.g6+ Kf8 24.Qh8#) 23.Qh8+ Kxf7 24.g6+! Kxg6 25.Rg2+!! Nxg2 (25…Kf5 26.Nd6+) 26.Nd6+ Kg5 (26…Kf6 27.Rf1+) 27.Qxg7+ Kh4 28.Qh6+ Kg4 29.Be2+ Bf3 30.Bxf3+ Kxf3 31.Rf1+ Ke2 (31…Kg4 32.h3+ Kg3 33.Ne4#) 32.Rf2+ Kd1 (32…Kd3 33.Qd2#) 33.Qc1mate 0-1

Josef Matschego-Ernst Falkbeer
Vienna, 1853
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 Nf6 6.Nc3? d6 7.Nc4 Be7

[7…Nh5 is at least an alternate move and it might be even stronger. Do. Florea (1863)-Petra Papp (2276), Romania Women’s Team Ch., Mamaia, Sept. 8 2013 went 7…Nh5 8.Be2 Ng3 9.Rh2 h5 10.Nxf4 Be7 11.d4 Bxh4 12.Be3 Nxe2+ 13.Kxe2 g3 14.Rxh4 Qxh4 15.Qf1 c6 16.Kd2 Bg4 0-1.]

8.d4 Nh5 9.Be2 Bxh4+ 10.Kd2 Qg5 11.Kd3 (Avoiding a calamitous loss of material after 12…f3+. But 11.Nd5 is better.) 11…Nc6 (Black threatens 12…Nb4+ 13.Kd2 f3+ 14.Ne3 Bf2!) 12.a3 Bf2 13.Nd5 Bxd4 14.Nxc7+ Kd8 15.Nd5 f5 16.Nxd6 fxe4+ 17.Kc4

2020_04_23_E
17…Qxd5+!! 18.Kxd5 Nf6+ 19.Kc4 Be6+ 20.Kb5 a6+ 21.Ka4 b5+ 22.Nxb5 (22.Bxb5 axb5+ 23.Kxb5 Ra5+ 24.Kxc6 Bd5#.) 22…axb5+ 23.Kxb5 Ra5+ 24.Kxc6 Bd5+ 25.Kd6 Ne8mate 0-1

DRAGON TALES and TREATS

Blue_Dragon_by_mustanglover

 

The “Dragon” describes a vast complex variation in the Sicilian. Black sets up a fianchettoed bishop on g7, castles kingside, and hopes to attack on the queenside.

 

But where did the name Dragon come from?

 

So far, the research indicates that the name originated from the 19th century Russian player Fyodor Dus-Chotimirsk. He claimed to have invented the term in 1901 as Black’s kingside pawn structure resembled the constellation Draco. The constellation’s name means “dragon” in Latin.

 

It might also help to know that Dus-Chotimirsk was an amateur astronomer.

 

We can only assume that the fianchettoed bishop represents the head of the dragon while the bishop’s long diagonal is its tail. You will appreciate the long diagonal (tail) of the dragon after playing over a few games.

Here is an illustrated (AKA with diagrams) introduction to the Dragon.

 

M. Maric-S. Matveeva
Yugoslavia, 1992
[B70]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 g6 6.g3 Nc6 7.Nde2 b6 8.Bg2 Ba6 9.O-O Bg7 10.Nd5 O-O 11.Re1 Rc8 12.c3 Nd7 13.Be3 Nc5 14.Nd4 Ne5 15.Nb4 Bb7 16.f3 a5 17.Nd5 e6 18.Nf4 Nc4 19.Nb5 Ba6 20.Bxc5 Rxc5 21.a4 Nxb2 22.Qb3 Nxa4 23.Nxe6 Rxb5 24.Qxa4 fxe6

2020_04_16_A
0-1 (Black is threatening White’s “c” pawn. And 25.c4? Rb4! loses more material than just a pawn.)

 

Milenko Lojanica-Gawain Jones
Victoria, 2009
[B78]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 O-O 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.O-O-O Rb8 11.Nxc6? bxc6 12.h4 Qa5 13.Nb1??  Nxe4! 0-1 (with the idea of Bxb2#.)

 

Ka Szadkowski (2300)-M. Mroziak (2406)
Polish Team Ch., 2nd League
Szklarska Poreba, Sept. 2 2017
[B76]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 O-O 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.O-O-O Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.h4 Rfc8 13.Bd3 Qa5 14.h5? Rxc3! 15.Qxc3 Qxa2+ 0-1

 

Jan Svatos (2280)-Pavel Jirovsky (2335)
Czech Chess Union Open Ch.
Prague, 1964
[A question for White. What is worse than worse having a bishop with long diagonal attacking your castled position? Having two bishops with long diagonals attacking your castled position! Not to mention the enemy queen and rooks. Details below.]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.Be3 O-O 8.f3 Nc6 9.Qd2 a5 10.O-O-O a4 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.e5 Ne8 13.exd6 Nxd6 14.Be2 Qa5 15.Bd4 e5! (White was probably not expecting this move. It opens up the position in Black’s favor.) 16.Bc5 Qxc5 17.Qxd6 Qe3+! (This little zwischenzug keeps the advantage for Black. Obviously not 17…Qxd6? 18.Rxd6 and White is doing OK.) 18.Qd2 Qb6 19.Bc4 Qb4 20.b3 axb3 21.Bxb3 e4 22.Nb1 Qb6 23.c3? (All this move does is to loosen up White’s castled position. It’s hard to find a good move, but 23.fxe4!? keeps Black’s bishop from f5 for at least another move.) 23…exf3! 24.gxf3 Bf5! -+

2020_04_16_B

25.Kb2 Rfb8! 0-1

 

 

The next two games are from the rarely played Zollner Gambit. Consider these games as sidenotes.

 

Raymond Martin (2230)-Raymond Vollmar (2143)
US Open
Fort Worth, TX, July 9 1951
[B73]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.O-O O-O 9.f4 Qb6 10.e5 (The Zollner Gambit) 10…dxe5 11.fxe5 Nxe5 12.Nf5 Qe6 13.Nxg7 Kxg7 14.Qd2 Re8 15.Rae1 Bd7 16.Bd4 Bc6 17.Qf4 Ned7 18.Bg4 Qd6 19.Qxd6 exd6 20.Rxe8 Rxe8 21.Bxd7 Bxd7 22.Nd5 1-0

 

L. H. Hansen (1993)-A. Groenn (2409)
Sveins Memorial
Oslo, June 24 2011
[B73]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 g6 7.O-O Bg7 8.Be3 O-O 9.f4 Qb6 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 Nxe5 12.Nf5 Qe6 13.Nxg7 Kxg7 14.Qd2 Kh8 15.Nb5 Nc4 16.Bxc4 Qxc4 17.Na3 Qc6 18.Qd4 b6 19.Nc4 Bb7 20.Rf2 Rfd8 21.Qh4 Qe4 22.Qxe4 Nxe4 23.Rf4 Rac8 24.b3 f5 25.Re1 Ba6 0-1

 

 

 

David McTavish (2224)-Jura Ochkoos (2298)
Canada Open
Toronto, 1992
[Black has to be careful not trade off his dragon.]
[B78]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 O-O 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.O-O-O Qb8 11.h4 Rc8 12.Bb3 a5 13.a4 h5 14.g4 Nb4 15.Bh6 Rc5 16.gxh5 Nxh5 17.Rhg1 e6 18.Nf5 exf5 19.Rxg6 Kh7 20.Bxg7 f4 21.Rxd6 Be6 22.Bxe6! fxe6

2020_04_16_C

23.Rd7! (Black is facing lines that end in mate. Lines like 23…Nxg7 24.Rxg7+! Kxg7 25.Rg1+ Kf7 26.Qd7+ Kf6 27.Qg7#) 1-0

 

Edwin Bhend-Otto Zimmermann
Zurich, 1954
[B76]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 O-O 9.O-O-O Na5? 10.Bh6! Be6 11.h4 Bc4 12.h5 Bxf1 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.hxg6 h5 15.Nf5+ 1-0

 

Yu Lie (2348)-Leon Hoyos (2395)
World U14 Ch.
Halkidiki, Greece, 2003
[B27]
[If this is how someone under 14 plays chess, I would not want to play him as an adult! What makes this game more interesting is the fact is that since Black moved his dragoned bishop off the long diagonal, White takes over the long diagonal and uses it for HIS bishop.]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bc4 Bg7 4.O-O Nc6 5.c3 e5 6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 Nxd4 8.Nxd4 cxd4 9.Qf3! (Not just going for the easy mate but it also forces the Black queen to a vulnerable spot. Otherwise if 9…Nf6 or 9…Bf6, then 10.e5!) 9…Qf6 10.Qg3 Ne7 11.Bg5 Qe5 12.Bf4! (Willing to give up a pawn for continued rapid development.) 12…Qxe4 13.Bd3 Qd5 14.Bd6 Bf6 15.Re1 Kf8 16.Nd2 Qh5 17.Qf4 Bg5 18.Qe5 Kg8 19.Bxe7 Bxd2?! (Admittedly there is not much else Black can do. But now he is mated in three moves.)
2020_04_16_D
20.Qxh8+!! Kxh8 21.Bf6+ 1-0

The Quiet Bishop Move

A quiet bishop move is one that does not deliver a check, does not fork, and usually it doesn’t even attack a piece directly. Indeed, it appears to do nothing.

 

But it does.

 
The forcefulness of the Quiet Bishop Move can be seen best from the following examples.

 

 

Reti-Bogoljubov
New York, 1924
1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Nf6 (The text move is a little passive. Black has several options here including 3…c6, 3…dxc4, and 3…g6.) 4.Bg2 Bd6 5.O-O O-O 6.b3 Re8 7.Bb2 Nbd7 8.d4 c6 9.Nbd2 Ne4 10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Ne5 f5 12.f3 exf3 13.Bxf3 Qc7 14.Nxd7 Bxd7 15.e4 e5 16.c5 Bf8 17.Qc2 exd4 18.exf5 Rad8 19.Bh5 Re5 20.Bxd4 Rxf5 21.Rxf5 Bxf5 22.Qxf5 Rxd4 23.Rf1! Rd8 24.Bf7+ Kh8

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25.Be8! (The bishop does nothing except to isolate the enemy king. But now White has several forced mates. First, he threatens 26.Qxf8#. Black can try 25…Rxe8, but after 26.Qxf8+, White has the well-known back rank mate. And Black is still mated after 25…h6 26.Qxf8+ Kh7 27.Bg6+! Kxg6 28.Qf5#. Black resigns.) 1-0

 
Zoltan Ribli-Andras Adorjan
Hungary, 1983
1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 b6 4.e3 e6 5.d4 cxd4 6.exd4 Bb7 7.a3 d5! 8.cxd5 Nxd5= 9.Ne5 a6 10.Qa4+ Nd7 11.Nxd5 b5! 12.Qb3 Bxd5 =/+ 13.Qg3 Nxe5 14.dxe5 h5! 15.h4 Rc8 -/+ 16.b4 g6 17.Bg5 Be7 18.Bxe7 Qxe7 19.Be2 Bc4! 20.Rc1 O-O! 21.Bxh5 a5! 22.bxa5 Qa7! 23.Bd1 Qxa5+ 24.Qc3 Qa8! 25.Qe3 Rfd8 26.Bf3? Qa5+ 27.Qc3

2020_04_09_B
27…Bf1!! (The bishop does nothing except to isolate the enemy king. As an added bonus White’s queen is now being attacked by the Rook. Even here the bishop is also quiet, allowing another piece to potentially capture the queen. I’ll let you figure out why White can’t play 28.Qxa5?) 0-1

 
A bishop move that is a little louder.

 
Walter Harris-Anthony Cantone
US Open
Omaha, Nebraska, July 24 1959
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 O-O 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7 12.Nbd2 Nc6 13.dxc5 dxc5 14.Nf1 Rd8 15.Qe2 Be6

(So far this is all theory.

GM Fischer-GM Erich Eliskases, Mar del Plata, Argentina, 1960 continued instead with the alternate 15…Nh5!?. White played the simple, and yet strong, 16.a4 Rb8 17.axb5 axb5 18.g3 g6 19.h4 Be6 20.Ne3 c4 21.Ng5 Bxg5 22.hxg5 Na5 23.Ng4 Bxg4 24.Qxg4 Nb3 25.Bxb3 cxb3 26.Be3 Ra8 27.Rxa8 Rxa8 28.Rd1 Qc6 29.Rd5 f5 30.Qd1 f4 31.gxf4 exf4 32.Qxb3 Qc4 33.Qxc4 bxc4 34.Bd4 f3 35.Be3 h6 36.gxh6 Nf6 37.Rd6 Kf7 38.Rxf6+ Kxf6 39.Bd4+ Kg5 40.h7 Kf4 41.Kh2 g5 42.h8=Q Rxh8+ 43.Bxh8 g4 44.e5 1-0.)

16.Ne3 h6 17.Nh2 Rac8 18.Nf5!? Bxf5 19.exf5 c4 20.Ng4! Re8 21.Qf3 Rcd8 22.Qg3! Kh8 23.Nxh6! gxh6 24.Bxh6 Rg8 25.Qh4 Nh7? 26.f6! Bxf6

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27.Bg5! 1-0

Pawn Pusher!

Sometimes beginners are referred, somewhat in jest, as being mere “pawn-pushers”. Try telling that to these Grandmasters.

 

Typically, most pawns are pushed towards the end of the game with the goal of eventually promoting. But pawns don’t need to promote and pawn pushing can happen at any stage of the game. In fact, it is possible to win a game with pawn moves only.

 
R. Kujoth – Fashing-Bauer
Milwaukee, 1950
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 Nc6 4.axb4 Nf6 5.b5 Nb8

[The (in?)famous game, Frank Marshall-Viacheslav Ragosin, New York, 1940, continued instead with 5…Nd4 6.c3 Ne6 7.e5 Nd5 8.c4 Ndf4 9.g3 Ng6 10.f4 Ngxf4 11.gxf4 Nxf4 12.d4 Ng6 13.h4 e6 14.h5 Bb4+ (And now, after 14 moves, Marshall had to finally move a piece.) 15.Bd2 Bxd2+ 16.Nxd2 Ne7 17.Ne4 Nf5 18.h6 g6 19.Nf6+ Kf8 20.Nf3 d6 21.Ng5 dxe5 22.dxe5 Qxd1+ 23.Rxd1 Ke7 24.Rh3 b6 25.Bg2 Rb8 26.Ngxh7 1-0.]

 

6.e5 Qc7 7.d4 Nd5 8.c4 Nb6 9.c5 Nd5 10.b6!
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1-0

 

 

John Hurt (1831)-Morris Busby
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

 

 
Pawn pushing can be used in the middle game. To good effect.

 

 
GM Vassily Ivanchuk (2740)-GM Veselin Topalov (2670)
Investbanka
Belgrade, 1995
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 O-O 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 Rc8 11.Bb3 h5 12.O-O-O Ne5 (The Soltis Variation of the Dragon.) 13.Bg5 Rc5 14.g4 hxg4 15.f4 Nc4 16.Qe2 Qc8

[This appear to be Black’s best move. Sarunas Sulskis (2505)-Dr. Evarth Kahn (2350), Budapest 1995 continued with 16…b5!? 17.h5 Nxh5 18.f5 a5 19.Qxg4 a4 20.Bxc4 Rxc4 21.Rxh5 gxh5 22.Qxh5 Rxd4 23.Rh1 f6 24.Qh7+ Kf7 25.Bh6 Bxf5 26.Qxg7+ Ke6 27.exf5+ 1-0.]

17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.Nd5 Rxd5!! (This move certainly looks like it gives the initiative to Black. Can it be sustained? Or is it an illusion? White several plans to try to counter Black’s threats. But first, the most obvious move.) 19.exd5 b5 20.h5 (Now here is where it starts to get complicated.) 20…g5!? (It’s obvious Black intends to push his kingside pawns. Doing so will put a cramp on both White’s attack on the kingside and more importantly, the coordination of his pieces.) 21.fxg5 Bxg5+! (Black will use the extra tempo to push another pawn.) 22.Kb1 f5 23.Rd3 (It’s been recommended that 23.h6, pushing White’s pawns to counter Black’s advancing pawns, is the better move.) 23…f4 24.Bxc4 Qxc4 0-1

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[Ivanchuk was criticized for resigning here. It’s not an easy position to hold. Some sample lines: (1) 25.Qd2 Kh7 26.Qg2 Kh8 27.b3 Qc8! Black’s king is hiding and his queen can reposition herself., (2) 25.Qg2 Kh8 26.Re1 b4 and Black’s queenside pawns start advancing, (3) 25.Rc3?! Qxd4 26.Rc7 Bf5 (a “fantasy” position for Black). In addition to Black’s dangerous kingside pawns he now has both bishops aiming for White’s castled position, (4) 25.Ne6?! fails to 25….f3! 26.Qd1 Bxe6. Maybe Ivanchuk saw all of this.]

 

Obviously, one has to be careful pushing pawns. When a pawn is advances it leaves holes where the enemy pieces can hold or attack.

 

The following games illustrates this point. And features some serious pawn pushing.

 

GM Boris Spassky-GM Bobby Fischer
World Ch., Game #13
Reykjavik, July 11 1972
1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 Bg7 7.Nbd2 (ECO gives this move a “?!”, suggesting 8.Ng5.) 7…O-O 8.h3!? (8.O-O!?) 8…a5! (To create space and threaten …a4.) 9.a4 dxe5 10.dxe5 Na6 11.O-O Nc5 (-/+ ECO) 12.Qe2 Qe8 13.Ne4 Nbxa4 14.Bxa4 Nxa4 15.Re1 Nb6 16.Bd2 a4 17.Bg5 h6 18.Bh4 Bf5 19.g4 Be6 20.Nd4 Bc4 21.Qd2 Qd7 22.Rad1 Rfe8 23.f4 Bd5 24.Nc5 Qc8 25.Qc3 e6 26.Kh2 Nd7 27.Nd3? c5! 28.Nb5 Qc6 29.Nd6 Qxd6 30.exd6 Bxc3 31.bxc3 f6 32.g5 hxg5 33.fxg5 f5 34.Bg3 Kf7 35.Ne5+ Nxe5 36.Bxe5 b5 37.Rf1 Rh8 38.Bf6 a3 39.Rf4 a2 40.c4 Bxc4 41.d7 Bd5 42.Kg3 Ra3+ 43.c3 Rha8 44.Rh4 e5 45.Rh7+ Ke6 46.Re7+ Kd6 47.Rxe5 Rxc3+ 48.Kf2 Rc2+ 49.Ke1 Kxd7 50.Rexd5+ Kc6 51.Rd6+ Kb7 52.Rd7+ Ka6 53.R7d2 Rxd2 54.Kxd2 b4 55.h4 Kb5 56.h5 c4 57.Ra1 gxh5 58.g6 h4 59.g7 h3 60.Be7 Rg8 61.Bf8! (Locking in the rook.)

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61…h2 62.Kc2 Kc6 63.Rd1 b3+ 64.Kc3 h1=Q 65.Rxh1 Kd5 66.Kb2 f4 67.Rd1+ Ke4 68.Rc1 Kd3 69.Rd1+ [Gligorić, writing in Informant 14, (Game #165) give this move a ??, claiming that 69.Rc3+! Kd4 70.Rf3 c3+ 71.Ka1 c2 72.Rxf4+ Kc3 73.Rf3+ Kd2 74.Ba3! is equal. He appears to be correct.] 69…Ke2 70.Rc1 f3 71.Bc5 Rxg7 72.Rxc4 Rd7 73.Re4+ Kf1 74.Bd4 f2 0-1

Corona Problems? No problem!

I haven’t been to a tournament or even a club for some time now.

 

Mostly this is due with the “Stay Home” initiative.

 

The gym is closed. So is the local college, the library, the mall, bookstores, movie houses, amusement parks, coffee houses, fast food restaurants, churches, and various work places. The beach is still open here in Huntington Beach. But city and county officials are talking about closing that too.

 

So, what do if you really want to play chess?

 

Naturally, there is the Internet. I play on chess.com. But you can find many other sites to play Blitz, Bughouse, and even tournament games.

 

 

s-l1600 (1)

And get out those old Informants! The books you acquired some time ago, and just didn’t have the time to read or study from it. Go ahead, grab an issue, a pen, a highlighter and a notepad. Mark up the book, write your notes on the paper, and have some fun!

 

If you have a word processor, you might enter your favorite games and your notes right onto your laptop.

 

But what to do if you don’t have any Informants? Well, any chess book will do! Even if it is written by Reinfeld and annotated in Descriptive Notation (DN). Hint! – his best book is 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations.

 

s-l500 (3) BCF_Yearbook_Cover_1995_2s-l500 (2)

 

And then proceed as above.

 
And if you are one of those rare chess players who doesn’t own a single book on chess, then you still have options to enjoy the game.

 

You can always read and study various chess magazines. Even old ones.

BCM_2001_June

 

They can be ordered on ebay.com And available in different languages.

 
You can also download games from the Internet in PDF, PGN, http, or text fashion.

 
If you want human interaction, you can email a friend. Request games to enjoy or study. Offer to play games via email. Or even by telephone.

Old-fashioned blue telephone on a white background.
I did that, pre-Internet. Just be sure to have a pen and notepad or scoresheet – you might want a copy of the game (another hint here!)

 

Most important of all, during this time of self-isolation and possible mass paranoia and hysteria, keep busy. Don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy the one thing that a virus can’t block you from doing; that is to enjoy your game, your life.

 

David Cummings-Yura Ochkoos
Kitchener Octoberfest Open
Ontario, Canada, 2002
[This game can be found in “Across Canada”, in the December, 1992 issue of “En Passant”, published by Chess Federation of Canada. Notes by Escalante (who is stuck at home).]
1.c4 e6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 c5 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 Nc6 6.cxd5 exd5 7.O-O Be7 8.Be3 c4 9.Ne5 O-O 10.b3 cxb3 11.Qxb3 Na5 (ECO gives 11…Bd6 as being equal. But now it appears that the text move is slightly stronger. Meanwhile, we are still in “book”.) 12.Qa4 a6 13.Bd2 Nc4 14.Nxc4 b5 15.Qc2

[Egon Brestian (2475)-Reinhard Lendwai (2405), Austria Ch., 1991, continued instead with 15.Ba5 Qe8 16.Qc2 bxc4 17.Nc3 Be6 18.e4 dxe4 (Qd7!?) 19.Nxe4 Nd5 20.Nc5 Bxc5 21.dxc5 Qe7 22.Bb6 Rab8 23.Rab1 Qf6 24.a4 Rfc8 25.a5 Nc3 26.Rbc1 Nb5 27.Rfd1 Nd4 28.Qe4 Nb3 29.Rxc4 Bxc4 30.Qxc4 Nxc5 31.Bxc5 Qg5 32.Bd5 Kh8 33.Qd4 Rb5 34.Bb6 Rc1 35.Bf3 Rxd1+ 36.Qxd1 h5

2020_03_26_A

37.Qd8+! (Simplifying into a winning 2B vs. R endgame.) 37…Qxd8 (37…Kh7? 38.Qxg5 Rxg5 39.Bb7 wins.) 38.Bxd8 Kh7 39.Bb6 Kg6 40.Be2 1-0]

 
15…bxc4 16.Nc3 Be6 17.Bg5 Rb8 18.e3 Qa5 19.Rab1 Bb4?! 20.Bxf6 Bxc3 21.Be5 Rb5 22.e4 Rd8 23.a4! Rxb1 24.Rxb1 dxe4 25.Bxe4 Bxd4? 26.Bxd4 Rxd4

2020_03_26_B

27.Qc3!! 1-0

Poisoned Pawn?

The term “Poisoned Pawn” appears twice in the opening naming lexicons. It can also be used in a more broader sense.

 

In general, the pawn on b2 is attacked by Black’s queen. If he does, he sure to face a massive, and sometimes very long, attack by the White’s pieces.

 

The question is, not can he take the pawn. But rather, can he withstand the attack? If he can, then he’ll be up a pawn in the endgame.

 
In a more literary sense, can Black eat the pawn without suffering indigestion? Now you know where the word, “poisoned” comes from.

 
Let’s get started.

 

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

 

The Poisoned Pawn in the Najdorf is defined by the moves; 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6.

 

2020_03_19_A

White usually continues with 8.Qd2, allowing Black to take his b2 pawn. He knows that if nothing else, he’ll be one attacking. But how best to attack? And what to do when Black, as he typically does, counterattack?

 

Fischer was the main advocate of this Najdorf version, who played it from the mid 1960s to the early 1970s. Here is Fischer in his prime.

 

GM Bruno Parma-GM Fischer
Rovinj/Zagreb, Croatia, Apr. 12, 1970
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Be2 Bg7 12.O-O f5 13.Rfd1 O-O 14.exf5 exf5 15.Nd5 Nc6 16.Nxc6 bxc6 17.Ne7+ Kh8 18.Nxc8 Rfxc8 19.Qd3? (>19.Qxd6 Qxa2 20.Qc5, with the idea of Bd3) 19…Qc5+ 20.Kh1 Re8 -/+ 21.Qc4 Qxc4 22.Bxc4 Re4 23.Bxf7 Rf8 24.Bh5 Rxf4 25.Rb6 (>25.Rxd6 Rh4 with the idea of Be5 -/+. With the text move, White falls further behind.) 25…Be5 26.Rxa6 Rh4 27.Bf3 Rxh2+ 28.Kg1 c5 29.Ra8 Rxa8 30.Bxa8 Rh4 31.Bc6 Rb4 32.a4 Rb2 33.c4 Kg7 34.Rd3 Ra2 35.Kf1 Kg6 36.Re3 h5 37.Re2 Ra3 38.Rd2 h4 39.Ke2 Bf4 40.Rd3 Ra2+ 41.Kd1 Kf6 42.Rf3 Be5 43.Rd3 Ke7 44.Rd2 Ra3 45.Ke2 Bc3 46.Rd3 Ra2+ 47.Kd1 Bd4 48.Rh3 Bf6 49.Re3+ Be5 50.Rd3 Kd8 51.Rd2 Ra1+ 52.Ke2 Kc7 53.Bd5 Bf4 54.Rc2 Ra3 55.Rb2 Be5 56.Rd2 Rg3 57.Kd1 f4 0-1

 
It wasn’t until Fischer played in the World Championship that he met his equal, at least in this variation.

 

GM Spassky-GM Fischer
World Ch. Game #11
Reykjavik, 1972
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Nb3 Qa3 10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Be2 h5 12.O-O Nc6 13.Kh1 Bd7 14.Nb1 Qb4 15.Qe3 d5 16.exd5 Ne7 17.c4 Nf5 18.Qd3 h4 19.Bg4 Nd6 20.N1d2 f5 21.a3 Qb6 22.c5 Qb5 23.Qc3 fxg4 24.a4 h3 25.axb5 hxg2+ 26.Kxg2 Rh3 27.Qf6 Nf5 28.c6 Bc8 29.dxe6 fxe6 30.Rfe1 Be7 31.Rxe6 1-0

 
To be sure, the response was cooked up by Spassky’s team both before and during the match. It was a quick defeat, and it’s no wonder that Fischer didn’t again in the match. Or ever again.

 

After winning the World Championship, Fischer disappeared for a couple of decades. During his absence several improvements were found for both sides. But without it’s chief proponent the variation is played by only a few top players.

 

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

 
Black can also offer a poisoned pawn. In  this case the pawn is on g7.

 

The Poisoned Pawn Variation of the Winawer, offers a richer variation of play than the Najdorf. And it is played often.

 
The variation is triggered by the moves; 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qc7 7.Qg4. Black has a number of ways to attempt to gain the upper hand.

 

Haritonenko-Gorin
USSR, 1965
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qc7 7.Qg4 f5!? 8.Qg3 Ne7 9.Qxg7 Rg8 10.Qxh7 cxd4 11.Kd1 Bd7 12.Qh5+ Ng6 13.Ne2 Nc6 14.cxd4 O-O-O 15.g3

2020_03_19_B
15…Ncxe5! 16.dxe5 Ba4 17.Ra2 d4 18.Bg5 d3 0-1

 
White gets even here.

 

Escalante-NM Adaar
Thematic Tournament – Winawer Variation, Round 2
chess.com, Aug.-Sept. 2018
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 (The usual route to the Winawer. All games in the tournament began with this position.) 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 O-O (Some years ago Van der Tak wrote an article in NIC 8 titled, “Castling Into It?” where he explored Black’s kingside castling possibilities in the Poisoned Pawn Variation of the Winawer, and if it was a viable option for Black. I don’t think the resulting positions favor Black.) 8.Bd3 (Thanks to GM Van der Tak, and his article, I am convinced this is best move for White.) 8…Nbc6 9.Nf3 cxd4?? (This loses the game in a hurry.)
2020_03_19_C
10.Bxh7+! 1-0 [Black resigns due to 10…Kxh7 11.Qh5+ (stronger than the traditional Ng5+ as the potential escape square, g6, is denied to Black) 11…Kg8 12.Ng5 and White mates.]

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

 

The term “Poisoned Pawn”, in a more general term, can be defined as a pawn on the b2 or g7 square that is offered to the enemy queen to lure her out of defending her king or deflecting her to an irrelevant area of the board.

 

The term can be used in the general sense.

 
GM Bent Larsen-IM Bela Berger
Amsterdam Izt.
Netherlands, 1964
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 d5?! 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.O-O Bg4?! 7.Re1 Be7 (Not 7…f6? because of 8.Nxe5! and Black is in a lot of trouble,) 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Nd4!? 10.Qg4!

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11…O-O [Castling into the same area as the enemy queen is already attacking is usually not a good idea (see above). One has to think about self-preservation in addition to attacking factors. But in this case, Black is forced into it. White’s queen breaks in on both the center and kingside after 10…Nxc2 11.Rxe5 Nxa1 (hopeless is 11…Nf6 12.Qxg7 Kd7 13.Qxf7) 12.Qxg7 Rf8 13.Rxd5 Qc8 14.Qxh7 c6 15.Rf5. Even worse is 10…Bf6? The move is not only passive but it also loses a piece after 11.Qxd4. So Black has to risk it.] 11.Rxe5 Nf6 12.Qd1 (White has the extra pawn and better position.) 12…Bd6 13.Re1 Re8 14.Be3 c5 15.Nd2 Bc7 16.Nf3 Qd6 17.Bxd4 cxd4 18.Rxe8+ Rxe8 19.c3 dxc3 20.bxc3 Nh5 21.Qa4 Re7 22.Qxa7 Nf4 23.Qxb7 h5 24.Qc8+ Kh7 25.h4 1-0

 

 

Here, each side can offer their poisoned pawns, but don’t as they have nothing to compensate for their lost material. Material and and tempi are the requisites for giving up the pawn.

 

 
Ashraf Salimov-Vadim Razin
Ukraine U16 Ch., ½ Finals
Dnipropetrovsk, Nov. 11 2004
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bb5 Qb6 6.Bxc6+ bxc6 7.O-O Ba6 8.Re1 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Bc5 10.Be3 Bxd4 11.Qxd4 Rb8 12.b3 Ne7 13.Qc5 Nf5 14.g4 Nxe3 15.Qxe3 c5 16.Qg5 O-O 17.Nd2 Qb4 18.Nf1 f5 19.exf6 Rxf6 20.h3 Rbf8 21.Qe5 Rxf2 22.Qxe6+ Kh8 23.Qxa6 Qd4 24.Ne3 (24.Qe6 Rxf1+ 25.Kg2 Qf2+) 24…Qf4 25.Nf1 Qf3 (Black has too much pressure on White’s weak point and she has to concede the point.) 0-1

When you see a good move …

“When you see a good move, look for a better one.”

 

Often attributed to Emanuel Lasker.

 

But this quote predates him, going back at least to 1878.

“Still flying at high game, in accordance to with the rule, ‘When you see a good move look out for a better’. ” – The Chess Player’s Chronicle, January 1878, pg. 31.

 

Nevertheless, this is still a good rule to follow, and not just in chess.

 

But, since this a chess blog, we’ll stick with chess.

 

Years ago, I was watching a young person playing a tournament game. He was White and had an overwhelming position. The following diagram is a close approximation of the position I recollect.

 

It is White to move.

2020_03_12_A

 

Now this young person played 1.Qd5+ and Black responded with his best move; 1…Kh8. White continued with 2.Qxa5.

 

After the game ended, I asked this young person why he took the pawn. He asked me if what he played was a bad move. I told him it was not a bad move; I was just curious. He replied that he knew that a Rook and Queen would mate the Black.

 

I then asked him if he could mate with just a Queen. He said he could, but he saw the win with the Rook and Queen, and seeing nothing wrong with it, went with the idea.

 

White, of course, could win the game outright with 1.Qg6+. If Black plays 1…Kf8, then White mates with 2.Qf7#. And if Black moves his king to h8, then White mates with 2.Qg7#.

 

It’s a malady we all seem to have.

 

Let’s jump ahead a few decades.
Escalante-“kosaszabolcs”
Blitz Game
Chess.com, Mar. 8 2020

 

White just played 21.Bb4 and Black’s queen is in trouble.

 

2020_03_12_B

 

Black apparently panicked and played 21…Qxa2? (he would have lessened the danger by playing 21…Rxd1).

 

And White, seeing a win and a possible mate, responded instantly with 22.Rxd8! Rxd8 23.Qxd8+ Kg7 24.Bf8+ Kg8 25.Bh6#. 1-0 But this is not the end of the story. For White could have played the mate a move earlier with 24.Qf8#. Why didn’t I play that move? Well, you see I saw the mate, and then stopped looking.

ROB’S NOT-SO-BASIC CHESS QUIZ (AKA Is There a Problem?)

For the “basic”, and maybe easier, chess quiz, please go to: “Back to School!” (August 29, 2019), and scroll down to “ROB’S BASIC CHESS QUIZ”.

 

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

 

I like quizzes. They can be tough but enjoyable. Sort of like watching a magic act and trying to figure out how it’s down.

 

This quiz is slightly different than the previous one. There are two complete games and two game fragments.

 

Your job is to figure out if there is anything wrong with these four selections. They can be illegal, impossible or a have a dose of too much imagination.

 

There is at least one selection which has at least one thing wrong with it, and at least one selection that has no problems.

 

Each correct answer is worth 10 points. Half correct answers gain half credit (5 points) and totally unexpected answers, that also answer the question, will gain an additional 10 points.

 
Let’s play “Is There a Problem?

 

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

 
This tournament game was apparently played between two Masters.

 

Is there a problem here?

 

Heidenfeld-Kerins
Dublin 1973
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Be3 Nf6!? [The Alapin variation in the French Defense. Theory considers 3.Be3 dxe4, and now either 4.f3 (the gambit line) or 4.Nd2.] 4.e5 (The obvious move.) 4…Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Nf3 Qb6!? (Alapin-Von Gottschall, Dresden 1892, continued with 7…Be7 8.Bd3 cxd4 9.cxd4 Qb6 10.Qd2 Nb4 11.Be2 O-O 12.Nc3 f6 13.O-O Nc6 14.Bd3 Nb4 15.Be2 Nc6 16.Rac1 f5 17.Kh1 Qd8 18.Bd3 Nb6 19.b3 Bd7 20.Rg1 Ba3 21.Rcf1 Bb4 22.Qe1 Bc8 23.g4 Ne7 24.gxf5 Nxf5 25.Bxf5 Rxf5 26.Qg3 Qf8 27.Ne2 Be7 28.Qh3 1/2-1/2. The text move seems stronger.) 8.Qd2 c4 9.Be2 Na5 10.O-O f5 11.Ng5 Be7 12.g4 Bxg5 13.fxg5 Nf8 14.gxf5 exf5 15.Bf3 Be6 16.Qg2 O-O-O 17.Na3 Ng6 18.Qd2 f4 19.Bf2 Bh3 20.Rfb1 Bf5 21.Nc2 h6 22.gxh6 Rxh6 23.Nb4 Qe6 24.Qe2 Ne7 25.b3 Qg6+ 26.Kf1 Bxb1 27.bxc4 dxc4 28.Qb2 Bd3+ 29.Ke1 Be4 30.Qe2 Bxf3 31.Qxf3 Rxh2 32.d5 Qf5 33.O-O-O Rh3 34.Qe2 Rxc3+ 35.Kb2 Rh3 36.d6 Nec6 37.Nxc6 Nxc6 38.e6 Qe5+ 39.Qxe5 Nxe5 40.d7+ Nxd7 0-1

 

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This game fragment is from an Internet game.

 

I don’t know the names of these two beginners. But they play with imagination!

 

Is there a problem here?

 

 

N.N.-“ChessIsEasy”
Internet Game, 1997

2020_03_04_A

 

White played 1.Rh1 to activate his rook and to threaten 2.h5. But Black responded with 1…Nh5, trapping the queen in the middle of the board!

 

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Capablanca was known for many great things in chess. Among them was his play in simuls.

 

Is there a problem here?

 

 

McIntyre-Capablanca
Simul
England, Date Unknown

2020_03_04_B

 

On the previous move Black played 1…d4, attacking the knight that was on e3. White then erred with 2.Ng4? to reach the diagrammed position.

 

Capablanca obviously has the advantage in material. He simplifies with 2…Nxg4! and his opponent responded with 3.hxg4 to undouble his pawns. But it is only a temporary positional improvement as the great Cuban continued with 3…Bxg3 to again double his opponent’s pawns.

 

Black later wins by attacking and then capturing White’s weak d3-pawn. And Black’s d4-pawn subsequently transforms into a strong and healthy passer.

 

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Irina Krush is one of my favorite American female players. Here she is at an important game.

 

Is there a problem here?

 

IM Irina Krush (2437)-WIM Viktoria Baškite (2205)
Women’s Ol.
Turin, 2006
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 c5 (Black also has 4…d5, 4…O-O-O, 4…Nc6 and even 4…b6.) 5.dxc5 Qc7 6.a3 Bxc5 7.b4 [7.Bg5? lead to White’s grief after 7…Bxf2+! 8.Kxf2 Qc5+ 9.Ke1 Qxg5 10.Nb5 O-O 11.Nf3 Qh5 12.e4 Nc6 13.Nd6 Ne8 14.Qd2 b6 15.Rd1 Nxd6 16.Qxd6 f6 17.b4 Ne5 18.Be2 Nf7 19.Qf4 Rd8 20.Kf2 Bb7 21.Rhe1 Qh6 22.Qe3 Rac8 23.h3 Kf8 24.Qxh6 Nxh6 25.Bd3 Nf7 26.Rc1 d6 27.Ke3 Ke7 28.Rc2 g6 29.Rec1 f5 30.g4 Rf8 31.exf5 Bxf3 32.Kxf3 Ne5+ 33.Ke3 gxf5 34.Be2 Rg8 35.gxf5 Rcf8 36.c5 Rg3+ 37.Kf2 Rxa3 38.cxd6 Kxd6 39.Rd1+ Ke7 40.Rc7+ Kf6 41.Rxh7 Kxf5 42.Kg1 Kg6 43.Re7 Rg3+ 44.Kh2 Re3 45.Bg4 Nxg4+ 46.hxg4 Rf2+ 47.Kg1 Rf4 48.Rxa7 Rxg4+ 49.Kf2 Re5 50.Rd8 Rf5+ 51.Ke3 Rxb4 52.Rb7 Rfb5 53.Rf8 Rb3+ 54.Ke4 R3b4+ 55.Kd3 Rf5 56.Rg8+ Kf6 57.Rf8+ Ke5 58.Rfb8 Rf3+ 59.Ke2 Rfb3 60.Kd2 Rb2+ 61.Kc1 R4b3 62.Re8 Rh2 63.Rc8 Kd6 64.Rd8+ Kc6 65.Rdd7 Re3 66.Rbc7+ Kb5+ 67.Rd1 Kb4 68.Kb1 Rhe2 0-1 (Bagirov-Csom, Frunze, 1983).] 7…Be7 8.Nb5 (Leading to complications.) 8…Qc6 9.Nf3 a6 10.Nfd4 Qb6 11.c5 Qd8 12.Nd6+ Bxd6 13.cxd6 Nc6 14.Bb2 O-O 15.Nxc6 bxc6 16.e4 a5 17.Bd3 Ba6 18.O-O h6 19.Rfe1 Bxd3 20.Qxd3 Nh5 21.Qf3 Qg5 22.Rac1 axb4 23.axb4 Qg6 24.Rc5 Nf6 25.Ra5 Rfb8 26.Bxf6! (Simplifying into a won endgame.) 26…Rxa5 27.bxa5 gxf6

2020_03_04_C
28.a6 +- (The passed pawn ties down Black’s rook, allowing White to create more problems for Black.) 28…Ra8 29.Ra1 f5 30.e5 f4 31.h3 Qf5 32.Ra5 Qb1+ 33.Kh2 Qb6 34.Ra4 Qb5 35.Qg4+ Kh7 36.Qxf4 Rg8 37.a7 1-0

 

 
Answers next week!