International Chess Day is July 20th. You did know that, didn’t you!?
I know some of you may have some chess games you want to share.
So, I am making an offer to you.
If you have a game, played by you, or someone else, that you want to share with the rest of the world, please send them here or to my chess email address. I will post games that I think other players may find interesting, inspiring, or maybe just plain awesome.
Send your games in text, in pgn, in Word, in AN or DN.
Include the names of the opponents, the location, and the event (such as Neighborhood Championship, correspondence game, etc.) and any other notes you want to share.
Due to lack of time, and that mainly due to lack of non-essential items like food and sleep, I can only supply a well-annotated game and the endgame is a challenging and fun one.
The opening is an English and here it is:
GM Jonathan Speelman-GM Yasser Seirawan Candidates Match, Game #3 St. John, Canada, 1988 [John Nunn, “Candidates’ Matches”, BCM March 1988] 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 O-O 5.a3 Bxc3 6.Qxc3 b6 7.g3 (An innocuous choice. The most dangerous line is 7.b3, with e3 and Be2 to follow.) 7…Bb7 8.Bg2 d5 9.cxd5 exd5 (This could be an important novelty, since White cannot gain the advantage and could easily drift into an inferior position.) 10.O-O (10.d3 d4 11.Qc2 a5 12.Bg5 c5 reaches a position in which White’s backward e-pawn is the most important feature.) 10…Re8 11.Re1? [This is weak because f2 becomes a tactical weakness. 11.e3 is much better when 11…c5 12.d4 (12.b4 d4 is fine for Black) Nc6 13.dxe5 Ne4 14.Qc2 bxc5 is similar to the game, except White need not to worry about f2.] 11…c5 12.d4 (12.d3 d4 with a backward pawn and 12.b4 d4 followed by by 13…d3 are good for Black.) 12…Ne4 13.Qc2 Nc6 14.dxc5 bxc5 15.b3 Qb6?! [Black attempts to exploit 11.Re1? by preventing 16.Bb2 on account of 16…c4 , but a more direct method would have been 15…Nd4! 16.Nxd4 (16.Qd3 Qf6 is no better.) 16…cxd4 17.Bb2 Qf6 followed by …Rac8 and …Nc3 with a clear advantage for Black.] 16.e3 Rab8 17.Rb1
[Not a serious error, but the start of a dubious plan. The simplest line was 17.Nd2!
(1) 17…Ne5 18.Bb2 Nxd2 19.Qxd2 d4 (19…Qxb3 20.Bxe5 Rxe5 21.Rab1 followed by Bxd5 with an edge for White) 20.exd4 Bxg2 21.dxe5 Ba8 22.Re3 with an unclear position.
(2) 17…Ba8 18.Bxe4! (The point that Spleeman had missed; it looks wrong to give up the white-square bishop, but Black has no way of exploiting the weakened kingside.)]
17…Ba8 18.Bd2? [But now White goes really wrong. This was the last chance to play 18.Nd2! and after 18…Ne5 (18…Qa5 19.Bxe4! dxe4 20.Bb2 is similar to line 1 above) 19.Bb2 Nxd2 20.Qxd2 Qxb3 21.Bxe5 Qxb1 22.Bxb8 Qxb8 23.Bxd5 with just an edge for Black.] 18…a5! (This leaves White with few constructive moves, while Black can still improve his position.) 19.Red1 d4 20.Re1 [Mission accomplished! 20.exd4 Nxd4 21.Nxd4 cxd4 (threat …d3) 22.Re1 Ng5! is very good for Black.] 20…Nxd2 21.Qxd2 a4?! (Tempting, but not the best. 21…c4 22.exd4 Rxe1+ 23.Qxe1 cxb3 24.d5 Na7 25.Ne5 is also far from clear, but Black should have prepared the simple line 21…dxe3 22.Rxe3 Rxe3 23.Qxe3 Nd4 when White’s tactics fail, for example 24.Ne5 Bxg2 25.Nd7 Qd8 26.Nxb8 Ba8 or 24.Re1 h6 25.Ne5 Bxg2 26.Nd7 Qd6 27.Nxb8 Bb7 and Black wins in both cases. Therefore, White would have to swap on d4, but this gives Black a slight advantage in the queen and rook ending.) 22.exd4 Rxe1+ 23.Qxe1? (This move justifies Black play. 23.Rxe1 axb3 24.Qe3 attacks e8 and c5, with a completely unclear position.) 23…axb3 (White is in a desperate situation and seizes the only available chance.) 24.d5 Nd4 25.Nxd4 cxd4 26.Qe7? [26.Qb4! is the only move to stay in the game. 26…Qxb4 27.axb4 Rxb4 28.d6 Bxg2 29.d7 Rb8 30.Rxb3 Rd8 31.Kxg2 f5 (31…Kf8 32.Kf3 Rxd7 33.Ke4 regains the pawn) 32.Rb7 Kf7 33.Kf3 Ke6 34.Ke2 leads to a draw, so Black’s best line is 26…Qa7! 27.Qc4 Qxa3 28.Qxd4 b2 29.Be4 Qa2, although this only gives him a slightly better position.] 26…h6 (26…g6 is also reasonable, but there is no reason to criticise Black’s play yet.) 27.d6 Bxg2 28.Kxg2 Qc6+ 29.Kh3 [29.Kg1 looks bad, but after 29…b2 30.d7 the obvious methods do not work, for example 30…Qc1+ 31.Qe1 Qxe1+ 32.Rxe1 Kf8 (32…b1=Q 33.d8=Q+) 33.Kg2 d3 34.Kf3 d2 35.Rb1 Ke7 36.Ke2 and White defends. However, 30…Kh7! is very strong, with the deadly threat of 31…Qc1+ 32.Qe1 Qxe1+ 33.Rxe1 b1=Q 34.b1=Q and White’s promotion is not check.]
29…Rb7! (The best move since 29…Re8 achieves nothing after 30.Qc7!) 30.Rc1 Qf3 [The only way to stay in the game. 30…Qxc1 31.Qxb7! (not 31.Qe8+ Kh7 32.Qe4+ f5 33.Qxb7 b2 34.d7 b1=Q 35.Qxb1 Qxb1 36.d8=Q Qf1+ and Black wins) 31…Qf1+ 32.Kg4 Qe2+ 33.Kh3 Qe6+ 34.Kg2 Qxd6 35.Qxb3 is better for Black, but not a clear win, so Seirawan tries for more.] 31.Rc7 Rb8 32.d7 Kh7! (Seirawan plays very accurately, but these moves took a toll on his clock.) 33.Rc1 [Not 33.Qe8 Rxe8 34.dxe8=Q Qf5+ (34…b2? 35.Qb5) 35.Kg2 b2 36.Rxf7 Qd5+ and Black wins. The rook retreat looks like capitulation, but it sets Black the maximum problems.] 33…b2 34.Re1? [This should have lost instantly, but even the superior 34.Rf1 doesn’t last long after 34…Qf5+ 35.Kg2 Qd5+ 36.f3 (36.Kh3 d3 37.Qe8 Qe6+) 36…b1=Q 37.Rxb1 Rxb1 38.d8=Q Rb2+ 39.Kg1 Qxf3, mating.] 34…Qd5? (A poor move which makes the win much harder. 34…Qxf2! was the killer.) 35.Qe8 Qd6? (Black could have still won by 35…Qb5!, but by now the decision was going to be made by the clock.) 36.Rb1 Qb6?? (Seirawan plays for a win by inertia and as a result he loses. The best move was 36…Qe6+, heading for a draw.) 37.Qxf7 (Suddenly Black is in big trouble. His only chance is 37…Qg6, but the sudden reversal is too much for Black and he collapses.) 37…Qd8? 38.Qf5+ Kh8 39.Qe6 d3 40.Rxb2 1-0
Back in the 1970s GM Soltis popularized the opening moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nge2. He called it the Chameleon Sicilian as White has option of going into the Closed Sicilian with d3 and g3, or of transposing into the main line of the open Sicilian after .d4 cxd4 .Nxd4.
The opening can quickly transpose into one of the many lines of the Open Sicilian.
IM Soltis-Williams Marshall Futurity New York, Dec. 1979 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nge2!? (The game soon transposes into a version of the Dragon.) 3…e6 4.g3 g6 5.d4 cxd4 6.Nxd4 a6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Qc7 9.f4 f6 10.Ne4 fxe5 11.fxe5 Qxe5 12.Bg2 Bh6 13.O-O d5 14.Qf3 Qd4+ 15.Kh1 dxe4 16.Qf7+ Kd8 17.c3 Qd7 18.Bg5+ Bxg5 19.Rad1 Bd2 20.Qf8+ Qe8 21.Qd6+ Bd7 22.Rf8 e3 23.Bxc6 Qxf8 24.Qxd7+ 1-0
Gi Su I-Valentin Lyaskovsky Russian Cup Vladivostok, Sept. 18 2012 1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 Nc6 3.Nbc3 Nd4 4.f4 g6 5.g3!? Nf3+ 6.Kf2 (White’s move is forced and his king is safe for the moment. But he gets in the way of his kingside pieces; the ones that are supposed to protect him.) 6…Nd4 7.Bg2 Bg7 8.d3 h5 9.Be3 h4 10.e5 Nh6 11.Nxd4 cxd4 12.Bxd4 d6 13.Nd5 dxe5 14.Bc3 Be6 15.Ne3 Qb6 16.Qf3? (This loses in a hurry. Better is 16.Ke2.) 16…h3! 17.Bf1 Bd5 18.Qxd5 Ng4+ 19.Kf3 Qxe3+ 20.Kxg4 Rh5 21.fxe5 f5+ 22.exf6 Rxd5 23.fxg7 O-O-O 24.Re1 Rg5+ 25.Kxh3 Qf3 26.Re4 Rh5+ 0-1
One independent line, which may look weak at first, is 3.Nge2 e5!? White certainly can occupy the center with Nd5, but Black isn’t going away – his position is solid.
One of my main interests of study of chess is underpromotion, the reasons why such an underpromotion is not only possible, but of necessity.
The most common underpromotion is that to a knight, which makes up over 90% of all such underpromotions (the other two are rook and bishop, in that order of popularity).
If player has to underpromote to a knight the most probable explanation is that he is trying to prevent a fork, check, skewer, or pin by his opponent.
This has happened in Master chess. But only rarely. And even rarer is when it happens more than once during a game.
Here is a delightful example.
Zurakhov-Koblenc USSR Ch., 1/2 Final Tbilisi, 1956 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 gxf6 7.Nf3 b6 8.Bc4 Bb7 9.Qe2 c6 10.O-O (10.O-O-O is ECO’s suggestion.) 10…Nd7 11.a4 f5?! 12.Ng3 Kf8 (Obviously Black doesn’t want to castle kingside. But the text is not any better.)
13.Bxe6! fxe6 14.Qxe6 Nf6 15.Nxf5 Bc8 16.Qe5 Bxf5 17.Qxf5 Qd5 18.Qf4 (>18.Ne5!) 18…Rg8 19.Rae1 Rg4 20.Qh6+ Kg8 21.Rxe7 Qxf3 22.g3 Rg6 23.Qh3 Qg4 24.Qxg4 Rxg4 25.c3 Re4 26.Rxe4 Nxe4 27.Re1 Re8 28.f3 Nd6 29.Rxe8+ Nxe8 30.Kf2 Nd6 31.b3 b5 32.Ke3 bxa4 33.bxa4 Nc4+ 34.Ke4 Kf7 35.d5 c5 36.f4 a5 37.f5 Nb6 38.d6 Ke8 39.f6 Kf7?! (Black missing 39…Nxa4!) 40.Ke5 Nd7+ 41.Kd5 Kxf6 42.g4 c4 43.Kc6 Ke6 44.g5 Nf8 45.h4 Nd7 46.h5 Ne5+ 47.Kc7 Kf5 48.Kb6 Ke6! (48…Kxg5? 49.Kxa5 and Black’s king and knight separated and White’s pawns will rapidly advance.) 49.Kxa5 Kxd6 50.Kb6 Nd7+ 51.Kb5 Kc7 52.Kxc4 Ne5+ 53.Kd5 Nf3 54.g6 hxg6 55.hxg6?! (After 55.h6! Ng5, the kingside is locked up and White can concentrate on the queenside with moves like 56.c4.) 55…Nh4 56.g7 Nf5
57.g8=N (This knight underpromotion is to prevent a fork that follows after 57.g8=Q? Ne7+, winning the queen and White is also down a pawn.) 57…Kb6 58.Kc4 Ne3+ 59.Kb3 Nd5 60.c4 Nc7 61.Nf6 Ne6 62.Ne4 Nc7 63.Nf2 Ne6 64.Nd3 Nd4+ 65.Kc3 Ne2+ 66.Kb4 Nd4 67.c5+ Ka6 68.Kc4 Nf5 69.Kd5 Kb7 70.Nb4 (70.c6+? Kc7 with the idea of Ne7+, equalizing.) 70…Ne3+ 71.Kd4 Nf5+ 72.Kc4 Ne3+ 73.Kb5 Kc7 74.a5 Nf5 75.Nd5+ Kb7 76.c6+ Ka7 77.c7 Kb7 (The White knight is keeping the Black’s knight out of play.) 78.a6+ Ka7
79.c8=N+ (Another knight promotion for the same reason. 79.c8=Q? Nd6+, and White is going to find winning the game an extremely hard thing to do. It should also be mentioned that 79.Kc5!! also wins. But the second knight promotion is so beautiful!) 79…Kb8 80.Kb6 (White now threatens 81.a7! , winning the game with his last pawn.) 1-0
Computers are usually thought of being logical, unemotional, not given to either having or displaying emotions. This is the pervading opinion of the general public. That is, unless you’ve watched 2001, A Space Odyssey.
But do computers have emotions? Do they feel joy when they win? Do they fear an opponent? How about a simple move?
Lets’ take a look at the following game:
DEEP FRITZ 8 (2462)-SQUASH 1 v. 1.35 (1962) Computer game, 2005 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Bc4 d5?!
[In this variation of the Scheveningen, Black has a number of responses, some good, and some that should be avoided. The text is considered borderline and is rarely seen. Here is another response, equally borderline.
21…Qxc2+!? (You might reasonably conclude that SQUASH either panicked or made an incredibly insane blunder. But computers, by definition, cannot be insane, nor can they panic. Here is what SQUASH probably saw: 21…Ne6 22.Qg4+ Ng5 23.Qxc8#. And 21…Qe6 loses to 22.Qe6+! Qxe6 23.Re8#. With the queen sacrifice, Black lives a move longer. See, the computer is not so insane after all!) 22.Kxc2 Ne6 23.Qg4+ Ng5 24.Qc8mate 1-0
(1) Team A and Team B are playing in a team tournament. All teams have four players on their team. This is so that all teams involved a match have an equal number of white and black on the boards.
Team A is considered a favorite to win the event while Team B will probably finish in the middle of the tournament.
A few moves into the match, it is becoming obvious that Team B is simply copying moves from Team A. Team A player would play 1.e4 on board 1 and then the player on Team B would copy the move on board 2. After a few moves identical position would appear on boards on and two. And a different, but identical position would appear on boards 3 and 4.
You are the captain of Team A. What do you do?
And now you are the Tournament Director (TD). The incident has come to your attention. What do you do?
(2) At another tournament Player 1 refuses to play another player because he is Black. Of you want, the second player is gay, a woman, a person in a wheelchair, a Christian (he is wearing a crucifix), an atheist, a Communist (he is wearing a red shirt), or he can speak Spanish).
You are the second player. What you do?
You are the TD. You are convinced that above is true because player 1 has exclaimed, “I refuse to play my opponent because he is Black (or gay, a woman, etc.)” Again, what do you do?
(3) You are a TD in a big money tournament in the United States. One of the players brings out his cell phone and places it on the table. He tells you it is for music, he likes listening to music when playing. And then puts on his earphones.
Most of us have played the King’s Gambit, and some of us still do. It’s a good opening to learn tactics and, occasionally, strategies. The majority of the games start with 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3. Black can continue with 3…g5 and try to hold on his extra pawn, or play for his own attacking possibilities.
A rarer response is 3.Bc4, known as the Bishop Gambit. This variation allows White to explore relatively unknown territory.
Black usually counters with 3…Qh4+ moving the king, preventing White from castling, and isolating the h1-rook for at least the time being. But a queen check rarely ends the game. Black needs more active pieces to start any attack. He can try, after 3.Bc4 Qh4 4.Kf1, with 4…d5 and 4…Nf6, both leading to strong tactical play.
But perhaps the stronger reply is also the rarest. Black can play 4…b5!? The idea is since Black is up a pawn, he can give one up and still be of material equality and can even gain a tempo if White plays 5.Bxb5 (which is the most common move). And the extra tempo comes when Black plays 5…Bb7. This puts the bishop on the long diagonal to the white king, unable to castle.
Does this mean the Black wins? Not by a long shot! White has a lot of momentum built up, just waiting for Black to slip.
Here is the Immortal Game!
Anderssen-Kieseritzky London, 1851 [The “Immortal Game”] [Chernev, 1000 Best Short Games of Chess, #945 ; Tartkower, 500 Master Games of Chess, #227 ; Seirawan+Minev, Take My Rooks, pg. ix-xi] 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 b5 5.Bxb5 Nf6
[It is a toss-up whether the immediate 5…Bb7 or 5…Nf6, delaying the Bb7 until the knight is better positioned.
Here are two games with 5…Bb7.
Harrwitz-Kieseritzky London, 1847 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 b5 5.Bxb5 Bb7 6.Nc3 Bb4 7.d3 Bxc3 8.bxc3 Nf6 9.Nf3 Qh5 10.Rb1!? g5!? (Black attacks on the side which the White king resides.) 11.Bxd7+ Nbxd7 12.Rxb7 O-O 13.Rb5 c5 14.d4 Nxe4 15.dxc5 Nxc3 16.Qxd7 Rad8 17.Qf5 Rd1+ 18.Kf2 Rxh1 19.Bb2 Nd1+ 20.Ke2 Nxb2 21.Rxb2 Rxh2 22.Kf2 g4 23.Qxh5 Rxh5 24.Nd4 Rxc5 25.Rb4 Rd8! (White cannot set up an adequate defence.) 26.Ne2 Rxc2 27.Kf1 Rd1+ 28.Kf2 Rdd2 29.Re4 f5 30.Re5 h5 -+
7…Nh5 (Here again 7…g5 is a more natural way of defending the gambit pawn. – Tartakower ; Glazkov and Estrin recommend 7…Bc5!? 8.d4 Bb6, we suggest 7…Be7!? followed by 8…Nh5 or 8…O-O. – Seirawan+Minev) 8.Nh4 [A subtle guard against 8…Ng3+, but 8.Kg1 (or 8.Kf2) would be a blunder on account of 8…Qb6+, followed by …Qxb5. – Tartakower] 8…Qg5 [This simultaneous assault on two pieces proves illusory. Better would be 8…g5 9.Nf5 Qg6. – Tartakower ; According to Kieseritzky, the decisive mistake. He recommends 8…g6! and if 9.g4 (9.g3 Be7) Nf6 10.Ng2 Qh3 11.Bxf4 Nxg4 with advantage for Black. – Seirawan+Minev] 9.Nf5 c6?! [In our opinion, this is the decisive error. Better was 9…g6 10.h4 Qf6!? (Not 10…Ng3+ 11.Ke1! Qf6 12.Nxg3 fxg3 13.Qe2, obviously to White’s advantage – Kieseritzky), when Black is still kicking. – Seirawan+Minev] 10.g4 Nf6 11.Rg1 cxb5 12.h4 Qg6 13.h5 Qg5 14.Qf3 (Threatening to win the Queen by 15.Bxf4, as well as 15.e5 attacking the Rook with his Queen while his King Pawn bites at the Knight. – Chernev) 14…Ng8 15.Bxf4 Qf6 16.Nc3 Bc5 (Black seeks salvation in a counter-attack. Steadier, however, would be 16…Bb7 – Tartakower) 17.Nd5! Qxb2
18.Bd6! (“Ganz grossartig gespielt” says Gottschall. – Chernev) 18…Bxg1 [If 18…Qxa1+ 19.Ke2 Qxg1 20.Nxg7+ Kd8 21.Bc7# If 18…Bxd6 19.Nxd6+ Kd8 20.Nxf7+ Ke8 21.Nd6+ Kd8 22.Qf8# – Chernev ; Some confusion exists here. Several authors (e.g. Chernev in “1000 Best Short Games of Chess” and Glazkov, Estrin in Korolevsky Gambit, 1988) give the move order as 18…Bxg1 19.e5 Qxa1. We used the text from “Encyclopedia of Chess Games” and other sources that we felt more authentic. – Seirawan+Minev] 19.e5! (Have another Rook! – Chernev) 19…Qxa1+ (A slight chance of a draw is afforded by 19…Qb2, etc. – Tartakower) 20.Ke2 (With a renewed threat of 21.Nxg7+ Kd8 22.Bc7# – Tartakower) 20…Na6 (Defending against 21.Nxg7+ Kd8 22.Bc7#, but the final blow comes from the other side. – Seirawan+Minev] 21.Nxg7+ Kd8 22.Qf6+! Nxf6 23.Be7mate 1-0 [White has given up a Queen, two Rooks, and a Bishop for one single, miserable Pawn (and mate, the cynic might point out.). – Chernev ; A forced mate by three minor pieces against the full array of the black pieces. – Tartakower]
Annotation is adding evaluations, thematic considerations, analyses, comments, notes and references to other games or manuals.
It is meant to help the chess enthusiast who is playing over a game.
EVALUATIONS, Informator Style
In 1966 the Šahovski Informator (more commonly known as Informator) was first published in Belgrade (then the capital of Yugoslavia). Introduced were many easy-to-understand symbols to help evaluate a game. They included a “+-“, meaning White is winning and “-+” meaning Black is winning. These symbols, because of their simplicity, became standard in annotated games. A more complete list, along with other universal symbols, can be found here:
Chess Engines give a +1.00 if White is pawn ahead. This does not necessarily that White is a physical pawn up in the game. Instead, White has a position that worth a pawn more than Black. An evaluation of +3.00 means that White is up a piece (1 piece = 3 pawns). This means White is winning.
Black’s advantages are indicated by a “-“ sign. So, a -1.00 means Black has a position worth a pawn up and -3.00 means he has a position worth an extra piece.
But they don’t usually tell you why a position is worth +0.45 or why 0.90 is better. Or how to use or exploit your advantage.
Stick with the Informator evaluations.
Sometimes it is useful to consider moves that support thematic ideas. For example, one could mention that in the Nimzo-Indian (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4), White wants to put a pawn on e4 with a broad center and threatening .e5. Or one could be reminded that in the King’s Gambit, a tempo is often worth more than a piece.
Simply put, an analysis is what will happen with best play from both players from a certain position. It can be easy as stating and showing a mate in 10 moves, or how a pawn grab can result in a loss for the player that took the pawn that proved to be poisonous.
COMMENTS and NOTES
Such items can make the game even enriching; more interesting. Here, we are introduced to what a player’s thoughts and concerns may be. And they may be non-chess related (like a how he might worry about missing a bus if he game goes on too long). And maybe he will tell us why he chose a Najdorf rather than a Pirc. (it’s happened before!)
REFERENCES to other games or manuals.
It is common for an annotator to reference the reader to other games that have similar themes in the opening, or other moves he can consider. It is not by only one game that a student learns the Game.
A good annotator is also one to seek out what others have said about the game, the opening, or a sacrifice. And give credit when it is due.
I enjoy annotating games – believe me, it helps and forces me to become better.
And when I do not, usually because someone’s annotations are better than mine, I document it.
Here is my basic format:
[A, B, C]
From a magazine
A=Annotator B= Name of article C=Name of magazine, along with issue date
From a book or web page
A=Annotator B= Name of book or web page C= Game number (such as Chernev’s 1000 Best Short Games of Chess or any other book where the games are numbered).
When something is unknown that section is left blank.
Villanueva-IM Pablo Michel Buenos Aires, 1960 [IM Minev, “Tactic, Tactics, and More Tactics – The Long Dozen”, Inside Chess, May 27 1991, pg. 28/9] 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 c5 5.dxc5 Bxc5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Bg5 Qa5 8.O-O-O? (Recent theory shows 8.Bd2 Qd8 9.e3 O-O 10.Be2 with a slightly better game.) 8…Nb4 9.Qb3 Ng4! 10.a3 Nc6 11.Ne4 f5 12.Nxc5 Qxc5 13.h3? (White is in trouble. He thinks that in this way the f3-pawn will be saved.) 13…Nxf2! 0-1 (White missed the point that after 14.Be3 Black has 14…Na5 15.Qc3 Nxd1 winning an exchange.)
Phil Thoma (2153)-Kokesh (2009) Team Ch., 1996 [Thoma, Oklahoma Chess Bulletin, Nov. 1996, pg. 7,8] 1.b4 Nf6 2.Bb2 g6 3.e3 Bg7 4.f4 O-O 5.Nf3 d6 6.d3 (The only move to keep a knight on f3 and not trade off the white-squared bishops after 6…Bg4) 6…c6 (Announcing his intention of sending the lady to b6 where it hits two pawns and also keeps an eye on white’s ambitions.) 7.a4 (I wanted this move to work so badly that I gave up trying to calculate all the ensuring variations and just played it.) 7…Qb6 (And why not? The resulting firestorm was hard to see and the move itself was excellent.) 8.Qd2 (Only move.) 8…Ne4
9.a5 Nxd2 [Black rises to the occasion and plays the only move. For example, 9…Bxb2 10.axb6 Nxd2 11.Rxa7 Nxf3+ 12.gxf3 Nd7 (not 12…Rxa7 13.bxa7) 13.Rxa8 Nxb6 14.Ra2 Bg7 and White has the center. If 9…Qc7 10.Qc1 Bxb2 11.Qxb2 and N retreats.] 10.axb6 Nxf3+ (But here the dragon should strike back with 10…Bxb2 11.Rxa7 Nxb1 12.Rxa8 Nd7 and Black appears to have a big plus.) 11.gxf3 (Now it is too late for 11…Bxb2 as White wins the exchange.) 11…Na6 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 (And White now has the upper hand again.) 13.bxa7 Nxb4 14.Kd2 (It is important to understand that time is of the essence here. If White is to make use of the bone in the throat, he has to attack the Black king with utmost speed. The back rank must be cleared and the rooks brought into play. It is not dangerous for White to keep his king in the center because Black’s queen rook is tied to the bone.) 14…c5 15.Nc3 Bd7 (To stop 16.Na4) 16.Be2 Na6 (Maybe 16…Bc6 and stopping the knight maneuver is better, but I can understand Black’s reluctance to part with his prelate considering White’s could become powerful in attacking the Black king.) 17.Nd5 (The stallion rears and stomps down on a powerful square.) 17…Rxa7 (Otherwise 18.Nb6 wins the exchange.) 18.Nb6 (Note that 18.Nxe7 Be6 19.c4 Re8 20.Nd5 Bxd5 21.cxd5 Rea8 22.Rhb1 Nb4 23.Rxa7 Rxa7 24.Rb2 leaves Black with a big plus due to his passed b-pawn and dark square dominance.) 18…Bc6 19.h4 h5 (Necessary.) 20.Rhg1 Kf6 21.Rg5 (Stopping 21…e5 as 22.f5 would really turn the rackscrew.) 21…e6 22.e4 Re8 23.f5 exf5 24.exf5 Re5 25.fxg6 fxg6 (Not 25…Rxg5 26.gxf7 Kxf7 27.hxg5 and White rolls.) 26.Rg3 d5 27.Rag1 Be8 28.Nc8 Ra8 29.Nd6 Nb4 30.Nxe8+ Raxe8 31.Rxg6+ Ke7 32.R1g5 Kd8 33.Rxe5 Rxe5 34.Rg5 Rxg5 35.hxg5 d4 36.f4 h4 37.Bf3 b5 38.f5 Ke7 39.f6+ Kf7 40.Bh5+ Kg8 41.g6 h3 42.Bg4 (As after 42…h2 43.Be6+ Kh8 44.g7+ Kh7 45.g8=Q+ Kh6 46.Bf7 and mates next move.) 1-0
Lapshun (2566) – Paschall (2483) New York Masters, 2003 [G. Shahade] 1.b4 d5 2.Bb2 Bg4 3.Qc1!!! (NEW WORLD RECORD!!! Fastest Qc1 ever in master level chess!!! After watching enough of Lapshun’s openings I’ve run out of ways to poke fun at his unorthodox moves.) 3…Nd7 4.c4 e6 5.e3 Ngf6 6.a3 a5 7.c5 c6 8.Be2 Bxe2 9.Nxe2 b6 10.d4 Be7 (Lapshuns bishop on b2 isn’t looking so happy…) 11.O-O O-O 12.Nd2 Qc7 13.Qc2 Ng4 14.g3 f5 15.Nf4 Rf6 16.h3 Nh6 17.Nd3 a4? (A huge positional mistake…if black wanted to close up the position, he had to play ….b5 first.) 18.cxb6 (And all the sudden white has all the play…..the c-pawn is very weak, and the knights will come to e5 and f4.) 18…Qxb6 19.Rac1 Nb8 20.Nf3 Rf8 21.Nf4 Re8 22.Ne5 (Lapshun’s position looks extremely pleasing. Most of white’s pieces are very well placed, whereas blacks pieces are randomly scattered about.) 22…Ra6 23.Qe2 Bd6 24.Nfd3 Ra7 25.Rc2 Nf7 26.Rfc1 Nxe5 27.dxe5 (Ooops….and now the bishop that looked so bad earlier in the game, will trade itself for a rook after Bd4 next move.) 27…Bf8 28.Bd4 Qa6 29.Bxa7 Qxa7 30.Nc5 g6 31.Rc3 Bg7 32.f4 Bf8 33.h4 h6 34.Kf2 Re7 35.Qc2 Re8 36.Qd1 g5 37.hxg5 hxg5 38.Qh5 (Completely crushing, attacks the rook on e8, prepares either Qxg5 or Rh1.) 1-0
With less than a handful of games ending in an en passant mate, out of the tens of millions of games played, there can be little doubt of its rarity.
Of course there is always the possibility that there are some games that have escaped my attention. If you know any that are not on this list, please email me. Thanks!
One quick note here. The en passant moves given in the games below have “e.p.” after the en passant move. Most of the time in chess literature these letters are omitted. They are included here solely to make the en passant moves easier to find.
Now let’s go to the games!
This first one is from Chernev’s miniature masterpiece, “1000 Best Short Games of Chess”, (game #296).
Gaudersen-Faul Pietzcker Christmas Tournament Melbourne, 1928 [Chernev, “1000 Best Short Games of Chess”, #296] 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 cxd4 5.cxd4 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.Nf3 Nge7 8.Bd3 O-O 9.Bxh7+ Kxh7 10.Ng5+ Kg6 11.h4 Nxd4 (White is not mollified by a return of a piece; l’attack, toujours l’attack.) 12.Qg4 f5 13.h5+ Kh6
14.Nxe6+ g5 15.hxg6 e.p. mate! (An extraordinary finish – checkmate by capturing a pawn by en passant!) 1-0
Frederick Rhine-N.N. Blitz Game http://www.instantchess.com, Sept. 18 2017 May 14 2010 [B00] 1.d4 b6 2.e4 Bb7 3.Bd3 e6 4.Nf3 Nf6?! (4…c5!? is more common as the knight on f6 is subject to an early e5.) 5.Qe2 h6 6.e5 Nd5 7.a3 Be7 8.c4 O-O 9.cxd5 Bxd5 10.Nc3 Bb7 11.O-O d6 12.Ne4 dxe5 13.dxe5 Nc6 14.Bf4 Nd4 15.Nxd4 Qxd4 16.Rad1 Rad8 17.Rfe1 f5 18.exf6 Bxf6 19.Nxf6+ Qxf6 20.Bxc7 Rxd3 21.Rxd3 Ba6 22.Bg3 Bxd3 23.Qxd3 Qxb2 24.Rxe6 Rf6 25.Re8+ Kf7 26.Qd7+ Kg6 27.h4 Qxa3 28.Rg8 Rf7 29.h5+ Kh7 30.Qxf7 Qa1+ 31.Kh2 a5 32.Qf8 g5 33.hxg6 e.p. mate 1-0
This is my game. The opening is bad but the ending is the best way to end this post.
“Papiconi” (1322)-Escalante (1958) King’s Bishop Thematic Tournament chess.com, May 2021 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 d5 5.Nf3 Qh5 6.Bb5+ c6?? (6.Qxb5 wins instantly! The only excuse I might offer is that I came home late and tired from work when I made this move.) 7.Be2 dxe4 8.Nd4 Qe5 9.c3 Ne7 10.h3 Nf5 11.Bg4 Ng3+ 12.Kg1 f5 13.Rh2 fxg4 14.Qxg4?? Bxg4 15.hxg4 Bd6 16.Na3 Bxa3 17.bxa3 Nd7 18.Bb2 O-O-O 19.Re1 Nc5 20.Nf3 Qd6 21.Nd4 Nd3! (Attacking on the other wing as the kingside is defended and the queenside is unexplored and unprovoked.) 22.Rb1 c5 23.Nb5 Qb6! -+ 24.c4 a6 25.Nc3 Nxb2 26.Nd5
26…Rxd5! 27.cxd5 c4+ 0-1 (After the forced 28.d4, Black has the choice of mating with 28…cxd3 e.p. mate or 28…exd3 e.p.mate)
GM Miguel Najdorf-Ernesto Ché Guevara (Revolutionary) Blindfold Simul Mar de Plata, 1949 [Leftist guerillas generally do better than most. Maybe it’s because they must be resourceful while planning their battles and they carry that resourcefulness to the chess table. Then again, Najdorf was playing blindfolded.] 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 h6 10.d4 Re8 11.Nbd2 Bf8 12.d5 Ne7 13.c4 bxc4 14.Nxc4 c6 15.dxc6 Nxc6 16.Be3 Be6 1/2-1/2
Koltanowski-Humphrey Bogart (Actor) Blindfold exhibition game San Francisco, Mar. 5 1952 [Bogart is one of best, both on screen and at the chessboard. He played around Expert level.] 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 (The Exchange Variation is a good way get out of “book”, and prepared lines.) 3…exd5 (Bogart probably know 3…Qxd5? can easily lead to a bad game for Black.) 4.Bd3 Nf6 5.Ne2 Bg4 6.O-O Bd6 7.f3 Be6 8.Bf4 O-O 9.Nd2 Nc6 10.c3 Ne7 11.Bxd6 Qxd6 12.f4 c5 13.Nf3 Nf5 14.Qd2 Ne4 15.Qc1 Rac8 16.dxc5 Qxc5+ 17.Ned4 Nxd4 18.Nxd4 Rc7 19.f5 Bd7 20.Bxe4 dxe4 21.Qf4 Re8 22.Rae1 Re5 23.Rxe4 Rxe4 24.Qxe4 Bc6 25.Qe3 Re7 26.Qg3 Re8 27.f6 g6 28.Qh4 h5 29.Re1 Rxe1+ 30.Qxe1 Qd6 31.Nxc6 Qxc6 32.Qe7 Qc8 33.h3 Qc6 34.b4 Qxc3 35.Qe8+ Kh7 36.Qxf7+ Kh6 37.Qe7 Qc1+ 38.Kf2 Qf4+ 39.Ke2 Qc4+ 40.Kf3 Kg5 41.f7+ 1-0
Here’s another Bogart game, with him showing off his skills.
Boris Becker (Tennis professional)-GM Garry Kasparov Internet Exhibition Game Berlin, Mar. 15 2000 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5? (Did Becker actually think that this opening, so weak than even a young amateur would see the weaknesses inherent in it, would succeed against a player who was World Champion for an entire decade?) 2…Nc6 3.Qf3 Nd4 4.Qc3 Nf6 5.f3 g6 6.Ne2 c5 7.Nxd4 cxd4 8.Qb3 Bg7 9.Bc4 O-O 10.c3 d5 11.Be2 d3 12.Bxd3 dxe4 13.Bxe4 Nxe4 14.fxe4 Qh4+ 15.Kd1 Qxe4 16.Re1 Bg4+ 17.Re2 Qxe2+ 18.Kc2 0-1
Ray Charles (Singer, Entertainer)-GM Larry Evans Reno, Mar. 8 2002 Chess Life Interview [Ray Charles is blind and pays on a special board for the blind. This game was a casual game for a Chess Life interview. Ray plays well, but the GM is simply too much him (and most of us!)] 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bc5 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Qe2 O-O 8.Be3 Bxe3 9.Qxe3 Re8 10.f3 d5 11.Qd3 a5 12.O-O-O Ba6 13.Qd2 Bxf1 14.Rhxf1 dxe4 15.Qxd8 Raxd8 16.Rxd8 Rxd8 17.Rd1 Rxd1+ 18.Kxd1 exf3 19.gxf3 Kf8 20.Kc1 Ke7 21.Kd2 Ke6 22.Ke3 Nd5+ 23.Kd4 Nxc3 24.Kxc3 Kd5 0-1
Celebrity status does not depend solely on performers and politicians. Here is a slightly eccentric super genius trying his hand at the game.