The Chameleon

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

GM Soltis-DEEP BLUE JR.
Exhibition Match, 1997
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nge2 Nf6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Be7 8.Be3 O-O 9.Qe2
(Transposing into the Velimirović Attack.) 9…e5 10.Nf3 Na5 11.O-O-O Nxb3+ 12.axb3 Bd7 13.Bg5 Ne8 14.h4 Rc8 15.Nd5 f6 16.Bd2 f5 17.Ng5 h6 18.Qh5 Rc6 19.Qg6 hxg5 20.hxg5 Ra6 21.Kb1 Nf6 22.gxf6 Rxf6 23.Nxf6+ Bxf6 24.exf5 Bc6 25.Rh6 Be8 26.Qg4 g6 27.Rdh1 Qc8 28.Qh3 Kf8 29.Rh8+ Ke7 30.Rh7+ Bf7 31.fxg6 Qxh3 32.Rxf7+ Ke6 33.Rxh3 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.

GM Fischer-Renato Naranja
Meralco, Philippines, 1967
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nge2 e5 4.Nd5 Nf6 5.Nec3 Be7 6.Bc4 O-O 7.d3 h6 8.f4 d6 9.f5 b6 10.h4 Bb7 11.a3 Rc8 12.Nxf6+ Bxf6 13.Qh5 Ne7 14.Bg5 d5 15.Bxf6 dxc4 16.Qg4 g6 17.dxc4 Qd6 18.Bxe7 Qxe7 19.fxg6 fxg6 20.Qxg6+ Qg7 21.Qxg7+ Kxg7 22.Rd1 Rcd8 23.Rxd8 Rxd8 24.Nd5 b5 25.cxb5 Bxd5 26.exd5 c4 27.a4 Rxd5 28.Ke2 Rd4 29.Rd1 Re4+ 30.Kf3 Rf4+ 31.Ke3 c3 32.b3 1-0

Christina Domsgen (2125)-Brigitte Burchardt (2262)
East Germany Women’s Ch.
Erfurt, 1973
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nge2 e5 4.Ng3 g6 5.Bc4 d6 6.O-O Bg7 7.f4 exf4 8.Rxf4 Nf6 9.d3 O-O 10.Rf1 Ng4 11.Nge2 Qh4 12.Bf4 Be5 13.Qd2 Nxh2 14.Rf2 Ng4 15.Rf3 Nd4 16.Rff1 g5 17.Bxe5 dxe5 0-1

GM Viswanathan Anand-N.N.
Simul
Bad Mergentheim
Germany, n.d.
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nge2 e5 4.Nd5 Nge7 5.Nec3 a6?
(Better is 5…Nxd5 6.Nxd5 Be7 – see below.) 6.a4 g6?? 7.Nf6# 1-0

GM Fischer-GM Spassky
Match, Game #19
Belgrade, 1992
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nge2 e5 4.Nd5 Nge7 5.Nec3 Nxd5 6.Nxd5 Be7 7.g3 d6 8.Bg2 h5 9.h4 Be6 10.d3 Bxd5 11.exd5 Nb8 12.f4 Nd7 13.O-O g6 14.Rb1 f5 15.b4 b6 16.bxc5 bxc5 17.c4 O-O 18.Qa4 Bf6 19.Rb7 Nb6 20.Qb5 Rf7 21.Rxf7 Kxf7 22.Bd2 Rb8 23.Qc6 Nc8 24.Re1 Ne7 25.Qa4 Qc7 26.Kh2 exf4 27.Bxf4 Be5 28.Re2 Rb6 29.Kh3 Ng8 30.Rxe5 dxe5 31.Bxe5 Qe7 32.d6 Rxd6 33.Bxd6 Qxd6 34.Bd5+ Kf8 35.Qxa7 Ne7 36.Qa8+ Kg7 37.Qb7 Kf8 38.a4 f4 39.a5 fxg3 40.a6 Qf4 41.Bf3 Nf5 42.Qe4 g2 43.Qxf4 g1=Q 44.Be4 Qa1 45.a7 Qxa7 46.Bxf5 gxf5 47.Qxf5+ Kg7 48.Qg5+ Kf8 49.Qh6+ Kg8 50.Qxh5

50…Qc7 51.Qg6+ Kh8 52.Qf6+ Kg8 53.Qe6+ Kh8 54.Qd5 Qf7 55.Kg2 Qg6+ 56.Kh3 Qf7 57.Qe5+ Kh7 58.Kg4 Qg6+ 59.Kf4 Qh6+ 60.Kf3 Qg6 61.Qe4 Kh8 62.Ke2 Qd6 63.Qe3 Qh2+ 64.Kd1 Qh1+ 65.Kd2 Qh2+ 66.Kc3 Qxh4 67.d4 Kh7 68.d5 Qf6+ 69.Kc2 Qd6 70.Qg5 Kh8 71.Kd2 Qb6 72.Qe5+ Kg8 73.Qe8+ Kg7 74.Qb5 Qc7 75.Kc2 Kf8 76.Qa6 Qh2+ 77.Kb3 Qb8+ 78.Qb5 Qc7 79.Ka3 Qa7+ 80.Kb3 Ke7 81.Kc2 Kd8 82.Kd2 Qc7 83.Qa6 Qf4+ 84.Kc2 Qe4+ 1/2-1/2

GM Benjamin-Julio Granda Zuniga
Buenos Aires, 1992

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nge2 e5 4.Nd5 Nge7 5.Nec3 Nxd5 6.Nxd5 Be7 7.Bc4 O-O 8.d3 Na5 9.O-O d6 10.f4 exf4 11.Bxf4 Be6 12.Qd2 Nxc4 13.dxc4 Re8 14.Rad1 Bf8 15.Ne3 Qf6 16.b3 Qg6 17.Qd3 Bh3 18.Rf3 Rxe4 19.Rg3 1-0

An Underpromotion Study

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

Emotional Computers?

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.

Oliver (1925)-Rios Cidras
San Sebastian Open, Apr. 3 2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Bg5 Bg7 8. Ndb5 Bf8 9.e5 Be7 (Even worse is 9…dxe5 10.Qxd8+ Kxd8 11.Bxf6+ Kd7 12.O-O-O+) 10.exf6 Bxf6 11.Bxf6 Qxf6 12.Nc7+ Ke7 13.Nxa8 Na6 14.O-O b6 15.Nb5 d5 16.Bxd5 Qxb2 17.Bb3 Bd7 18.Qd6+ Kd8 19.Nac7 Nc5 20.Rad1 f6 21.Nxe6+ Ke8 22.Nxc5 Qe5 23.Nc7+ Kd8 24.Qxd7# 1-0.]

7.exd5 exd5 8.Bb5+! Bd7 9.Qe2+ Be7 10.Nf5 Kf8 11.Bxd7 Qxd7 12.Nxe7 Qxe7 13.Be3 Nc6 14.O-O-O Rd8 15.Rhe1 Kg8 16.Bg5 Qd6 17.Nxd5 Qb8 18.Bf4 Qc8 19.Nxf6+! gxf6 20.Rxd8+ Nxd8 21.Bh6


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

What Would You Do?

Tales from Tournaments

(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.

What do you do?

Rulings and Recommendations Here :

The Immortal

Let’s get some background information first.

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 -+

31.Kf1 Rxe2 32.Rxe2 Rxe2 33.Kxe2 Kg7 0-1

Mario Lanzani (2371)-Vladimir Pogosian (2204)
European Club Cup
Rijeka, Croatia, Mar. 14 2010
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 b5 4.Bxb5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 Bb7 6.Nc3 Bb4 7.d3 Ne7 8.Qf3 Qf6 9.Nge2 g5 10.g3 Qg6 11.h4 f5 12.hxg5 fxe4 13.Nxe4 Bxe4 14.Qxe4 fxg3 15.Qxg6+ Nxg6 16.Kg2 a5 17.Nxg3 a4 18.Ne4 c6 19.Nf6+ Kd8 20.Bc4 d5 21.a3 Bd6 22.Ba2 Ra7 23.Be3 Rb7 24.b4 axb3 25.Bxb3 Nd7 26.Bd4 c5 27.Be3 Be5 28.Raf1 d4 29.Bc1 Nb6 30.a4 c4 31.dxc4 Ra7 32.Bd2 Nd7 33.Nxd7 Rxd7 34.c5 d3 35.Ba5+ Bc7 36.Bc3 Re8 37.cxd3 Rxd3 38.Rd1 Nf4+ 39.Kf1 Ree3 40.Rxd3+ Nxd3 41.Bf6+ Ke8 42.Bc2 Rf3+ 43.Ke2 1-0 RME]

6.Nf3 Qh6 (Easier would be 6…Qh5 and …g5 – Tartakower) 7.d3

[Glazkov and Estrin offer 7.Nc3 as White’s best. They continue 7…g5 (7…Bb7? 8.d4! Nxe4 9.Qe2 f5 10.d5!) 8.d4 Bg7 9.h4 Nh5 10.Rh2 g4 11.Ng5 Ng4+ 12.Ke1! with advantage to White. Perhaps 8…Nh5!? deserves attention. In this way, Black avoids 12.Ke1! – Seirawan+Minev.

Perhaps this was the stem game for Glazkov and Estrin:

Anderssen-Kieseritsky
London, 1851
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 b5 5.Bxb5 Nf6 6.Nf3 Qh6 7.Nc3 c6 8.Bc4 d6 9.d4 Nh5 10.Ne2 Be7 11.e5 d5 12.Bd3 O-O 13.Rg1 g5 14.Ke1 f6 15.g3 fxg3 16.Nxg3 Bg4 17.Nxg5 Bxd1 18.Nf5 fxg5 19.Nxh6+ Kg7 20.Bxg5 Bxg5 21.Nf5+ Rxf5 22.Bxf5 Kh6 23.Rxd1 Na6 24.Rd3 Rf8 25.Bg4 Rf4 26.Rh3 Re4+ 27.Kf1 Rf4+ 28.Ke2 Re4+ 29.Kd3 Nb4+ 30.Kc3 Nxa2+ 31.Kb3 Nc1+ 32.Ka4 Rxd4+ 33.Ka5 Bd8+ 34.Ka6 Rxg4 35.Rxg4 Bb6 36.Rg8 Ne2 37.e6 Nef4 38.e7 Ne6 39.Rxh5+ Kxh5 40.e8=Q+ 1-0 RME]

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]

Clarke’s 100

My copy of Clarke’s 100 Soviet Miniatures came last week. And I had this long weekend to play over many of the games. Here is what I found.

First, the book is in Descriptive Notation (DN), not Algebraic Notation (AN). I knew this before as I have old copies of the British Chess Magazine (BGM), where the games first appeared in a series of articles titled, “Soviet Miniatures”. But I am mentioning this as many younger players are not familiar with DN and will find the games hard to follow. I translated the following games into AN, but obviously not the entire book.

Secondly, Clarke separated his collection into several thematic chapters such as “Queen Sacrifices”, “The Object is Mate”, and “King in the Centre”. That makes it easy to find games that fit your favorite style of attacking.

And finally, there are an incredible number of Sicilians. Of course, the Sicilian is well known to be a sharp opening. Still, there thirty-five (35) Sicilians in the book. Which comes out to 35%, a rather large percentage. The situation is not helped by the fact that one of chapters is titled, “Sicilicide”.

But it is an enjoyable book.

And now, onto the games!

Rubenchik-Kanayan
Russian Ch., ½ Finals, 1957
[Clarke, 100 Soviet Miniatures, #6]
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 Na5
(A natural move but not a very good one. Better is 9… Nxd4 10. Bxd4 Be6, as Black need not fear the doubling of his e-pawn.) 10.Bb3 Bd7 (Too passive. … Probably he should have tried 10…a6 and if 11.Bh6, then 11…e5 12.Nde2 Be6.) 11.Bh6 Rc8 12.h4 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Rxc4 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.h5! e5 16.Nde2 Nxh5 (This is suicide. The only way to continue was 16… Be6 17.g4 Qe7 18.hxg6 fxg6.) 17.g4 Nf6 18.Qh6+ Kg8 19.g5 Nh5 20.Rxh5 gxh5 21.Nd5 f5 22.g6 hxg6 (All Black’s moves ae forced.) 23.Qxg6+ Kh8 24.O-O-O 1-0

Raush-Muratov
Kazakhstan Ch.
Karaganda, May 30 1958
[Clarke, 100 Soviet Chess Miniatures, #42]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng8 9.Bd4 f6
(A better defence is 9…c5 10.Bxc5 Qc7 11.Bd4 Bxe5. The text move results in a weakening of Black’s pawn formation.) 10.f4 Qa5 (If 10…d5 11.exd6 Qxd6 White can play 12.Qf3! with advantage. Posting the Queen on f3, where it continually hits at c6 is an ever-recurring motif in this variation, as it will be seen.) 11.e6! d6 [If 11…dxe6, White intends 12.Qf3! Bd7 (or 12…Bb7 13.Bc4) 13.O-O-O followed by Bc4 and Rhe1, when Black would find it hard to defend all his weak spots. 11…d5 could be met by 12.f5! consolidating the advanced pawn (12…gxf5? 13.Qh5+, etc.).] 12.Qf3 Bb7 13.Bd3 Rb8

14.b4! Qxb4? [This leads to summary defeat. He had to play 14…Qc7 (the Queen is dubiously placed after 14…Qa3 15.Qe3!), upon White could maintain his advantage (consisting of easier development and greater command of space by 15.Qe3.] 15.Rb1 Qxd4 (A good as forced, for 15…Qxd4 permits Rxb7, etc. The susceptibility to attack of the point c6 has already been illustrated several times; but never so forcibly as in the following play.) 16.Qxc6+!! Kf8 17.Rxb7 Rd8 (A terrible blunder would be 17…Re8? 18.Qxe8!) 18.Qc7 Re8 19.Rb8 Qe3+ 20.Kd1 Qxe6 21.Rxe8+ Kxe8 22.Bb5+ Kf8 23.Qb8+ 1-0

Vasiukov-Giterman
USSR Ch., 12 Finals
Odessa, 1960
[Clarke, 100 Soviet Miniatures, #76]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5 4.c3 f5
(The Cordel Variation of the Classical Defence. Like the Schliemann, it is suspected of being too loosening.) 5.d4 (Of the several alternatives here 5.Bxc6 is perhaps the simplest and best.) 5…fxe4 (Also playable is 5…exd4.) 6.Ng5 (At this stage 6.Bxc6 is usual; after 6…dxc6 7.Nxe5 Bd6 8.O-O! the position is considered to favour White. The text move poses certain new problems, and they are not solved by Black’s play here!) 6…Be7 7.dxe5! (A surprise. Black discovers that 7…Bxg5 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Qxg5 Qxg5 10.Bxg5 Nxe5 is answered by 11.Bf4 and 12.Bxc7 with a better ending for White. So he decides to take the e-pawn straightaway – while he can!) 7…Nxe5?? 8.Ne6! 1-0

GM Alexander Tolush-Lev Aronson
USSR Ch.
Moscow, 1957
[Clarke, 100 Soviet Miniatures, #28]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.cxd5
(This is not thought to be the best, since it helps Black to bring out his pieces rapidly. Both 3.Nc3 and 3.Nf3 are preferred and in both cases White can count on some positional advantage.) 3…Qxd5 4.Nf3 Bg4? (A typical maneuver in this defence, but quite wrong here. Correct is 4…e5! 5.Nc3 Bb4 and Black has achieved his goal: active play for his pieces – and more, equality in the centre.) 5.Nc3 Qa5 (Nor is 5…Qd7 very good, e.g. 6.d5 Bxf3 7.exf3 Ne5 8.Bf4 and the threat of 9.Bb5 is decisive.) 6.d5 O-O-O 7.Bd2 Bxf3 [Helping White still further by developing his f1-bishop for him. However, the position was already hopeless; for example, 7…Nb4 8.e4 Qb6 (or 8…e6 9.a3 Na6 10.Na4, etc.) 9.Rc1 with a winning attack.] 8.exf3 Nb4 [Or 8…Ne5 9.Rc1 Qb6 10.Be3 Qxb2 (10…c5 11.Na4 Qa5+ 12.Bd2! or 10…Qa5 11.a3!) 11.Nb5 again with a winning position.] 9.a3 Nxd5 (Aronson resigns himself to loss of material at once; but as we have seen, the threats were not to be denied for long, e.g. 9…Na6 10.b4 Qb6 11.Be3, etc.) 10.Na4! 1-0 [At best he can reach a lost ending by 10…Nb6 11.Bxa5 Rxd1+ 12.Rxd1 Nxa4 13.Bb5 Nb6 (not 13…Nxb2 14.Rd2) 14.Bxb6 axb6 (or 14…cxb6 15.Rc1+ Kd8 16.Ke2!) 15.Bd7+ Kb8 16.Be6!]

Clarke may not have known that this game is an exact duplicate of Alekhine-Nenarokov, Moscow, 1907. Then again, there was no Soviet Union at that time, only Russia.

Notes on Notes

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:

EVALUATIONS, Chess Engines

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.

THEMATIC CONSIDERATIONS

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.

ANALYSES

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.

Sudakova (2381)-Stupak (2361)
St. Petersburg FINEC IM, Jan. 30 2007
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nc6 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 Nd7 6.c3 f6 7.Bb5 a6 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.O-O fxe5 10.dxe5 c5 11.Qa4 Bb7 12.Nb3 a5 13.Bg5 Be7
(14…Bc8 15.Nxe6 and the black queen gets buried.) 1-0

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

The Rarest Mate?

Every player knows how to mate a lone with a queen and king. And how to mate with a single rook.

Mating themes such as back rank mates, smothered mates and De Legal’s mate are also well-known.

Not some common are the two bishops’ mate or a bishop and knight mate.

But what is the rarest mate?

It is most probably the en passant mate.

Note: if you do not know what en passant is, there are numerous websites that identify and describe this move. One of the clearest definitions can be found at :

https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/castling-promotion-and-en-passant-611548

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

This is more recent game.

Irina Korepanova-Alexander Tishkov
Governor Cup
Khanty Mansyisk
Russia, Nov. 23 2007
1.b4 e5 2.Bb2 Bxb4 3.Bxe5 Nf6 4.a3

[It is still far too early to determine if this move should be considered a !? or ?!.

More common is 4.c4 O-O and the results are mixed.

Dopper-Van Loon
corres., 1990
1.b4 e5 2.Bb2 Bxb4 3.Bxe5 Nf6 4.c4 O-O 5.e3 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Nf3 Re8 8.Bb2 Nc6 9.Be2 Rxe3 10.fxe3 Nxe3 11.Qb3 Qe7 12.Kf2 Ng4+ 13.Kf1 Be6 14.Qc2 Re8 15.Nc3 Qc5 16.Ke1 Bf5 17.Qb3 Bxc3 18.Qxc3 Qf2+ 19.Kd1 Qxe2+ 20.Kc1 Nge5 21.Ne1 a5 22.Qg3 Nb4 23.Bxe5 Rxe5 24.Qc3 Re6 25.Kb2 Rb6 0-1

P. Wolff-Schurig
corres., 1990
1.b4 e5 2.Bb2 Bxb4 3.Bxe5 Nf6 4.c4 O-O 5.e3 Nc6 6.Bb2 d5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Nf3 Bg4 9.Be2 Re8 10.O-O Qe7 11.d4 Rad8 12.Qb3 b6 13.a3 Ba5 14.Bb5 Bxf3 15.Bxc6 Qg5 16.g3 Qh5 17.h4 Qg4 18.Kh2 Re6 19.Bxd5 Rxd5 0-1

M. Graf-Rau
Schwabisch Gmund
Germany, 1995
1.b4 e5 2.Bb2 Bxb4 3.Bxe5 Nf6 4.c4 O-O 5.e3 d5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Bb2 Re8 8.Be2 Bg4 9.O-O Bd6 10.d4 Qd7 11.Nbd2 Rad8 12.Rc1 Na5 13.c5 Be7 14.Ne5 Bxe2 15.Qxe2 Qa4 16.Rc3 Qxa2 17.Qb5 a6 18.Qb4 Nc6 19.Nxc6 bxc6 20.Ra3 1-0

Lasphun (2537)-Sinn (2282)
World Open, 2003
1.b4 e5 2.Bb2 Bxb4 3.Bxe5 Nf6 4.c4 O-O 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bb2 Re8 7.e3 d5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Be2 Rxe3 10.fxe3 Nxe3 11.Qb3 Nxg2+ 12.Kd1 Be6 13.Qd3 Qe7 14.Nd4 Nf4 15.Nxc6 bxc6 16.Qd4 Bb3+ 17.axb3 Qxe2+ 18.Kc2 1-0.]

4…Be7 5.e3 O-O 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Bb2 a6 8.d4 d5 9.c4 Be6 10.Nbd2 h6 11.Rc1 Na5 12.Ne5 c6 13.c5 Ne4 14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.Rc3 b5 16.Qc2 Bd5 17.Be2 Qe8 18.Bh5 g6 19.Bg4 Kg7 20.Nd7 f5 21.Nxf8 fxg4 22.Nxg6 Qxg6 23.g3 Nb7 24.h3 Rf8 25.h4 h5 26.Rh2 a5 27.a4 b4 28.Rb3 Qe6 29.Qd2 Kg6 30.Rxb4 axb4 31.Qxb4 Qc8 32.Ke2 Bd8 33.Rh1 Ba5 34.Qa3 Qf5! (Black’s attack can’t be stopped; he coming in via f3.) 35.Rh2 Qf3+ 36.Kf1 Qd1+ 37.Kg2 Qe1! [Back is threatening 38…Rxf2#. White makes the only (legal) to avoid this mate.]


38.f4 exf3 e.p. mate (39…gxf3+ won’t work because of 40.Kh2!) 0-1

Frederick Rhine-N.N.
Blitz Game
http://www.instantchess.com, May 14 2010
[D20]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 c6 4.Bxc4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.Re1 b5 9.Bd3 Nbd7 10.e5 Nd5 11.Bc2 b4 12.Qd3 f5 13.exf6 N7xf6 14.Na4 a5 15.Ng5 Ba6 16.Qh3 h6 17.Qxe6+ Kh8 18.Nf7+ Rxf7 19.Qxf7 Qd6 20.Nc5 Rf8 21.Qe6 Bc8 22.Qxd6 Bxd6 23.Ne6 Bxe6 24.Rxe6 Bf4 25.Rxc6 Bxc1 26.Rxc1 Nf4 27.Re1 Rd8 28.g3 Nh3+ 29.Kg2 Ng5 30.Bg6 Rxd4 31.Rc8+ Ng8 32.h4 Nh7 33.Bf7 Nf6 34.Bxg8 Nxg8 35.Ree8 Rd2 36.Rxg8+ Kh7 37.h5 g5 38.hxg6 e.p. mate 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)

Celebrities Playing Chess

This might not improve your rating or your abilities, but it’s fun, interesting, and perhaps even revealing, to see how celebrities play the game. Maybe we can now call ourselves the PAWN-PAR-RAZZI.

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

Karl Marx (Political writer)-Meyer
Germany, 1867
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.O-O gxf3 6.Qxf3 Qf6 7.e5 Qxe5 8.d3 Bh6 9.Nc3 Ne7 10.Bd2 Nbc6 11.Rae1 Qf5 12.Nd5 Kd8 13.Bc3 Rg8

[13…Re8!? is not so well known and may be even better.

(1) 14.Bf6 d6 15.Bb5 Be6 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Bxe7+ Rxe7 18.Nxe7 Qc5+ 19.d4 Qxd4+ 20.Kh1 Kxe7 21.Qxc6 Rc8 22.c3 Qb6 23.Qe4 Rg8 24.Qxh7 Rg6 25.Re2 Qc5 26.Qh8 Kd7 27.Qa8 Qc6 28.Qxc6+ Kxc6 29.b3 Kd7 30.c4 Bf5 31.Rfe1 Re6 32.Kg1 Bg4 33.Re4 Bf5 34.R4e2 Bd3 35.Rxe6 fxe6 36.Kf2 e5 37.g3 fxg3+ 38.hxg3 e4 39.Rh1 Bd2 0-1 (Schallopp-Paulsen, Berlin, 1864)

(2) 14.Bf6 Bg5 15.g4 Qg6 16.Bxg5 Qxg5 17.h4 Qxh4 18.Qxf4 d6 19.Nf6 Ne5 20.Rxe5 dxe5 21.Qxe5 Bxg4 22.Qd4+ Kc8 23.Be6+ Kb8 24.Nd7+ Kc8 25.Nc5+ Kb8 26.Na6+ bxa6 27.Qb4mate 1-0 (Chigorin-Davidov, St. Petersburg, 1874).]

14.Bf6 Bg5 15.Bxg5 Qxg5 16.Nxf4 Ne5 17.Qe4 d6 18.h4 Qg4 19.Bxf7 Rf8 20.Bh5 Qg7 21.d4 N5c6 22.c3 a5 23.Ne6+ Bxe6 24.Rxf8+ Qxf8 25.Qxe6 Ra6 26.Rf1 Qg7 27.Bg4 Ng8 28.Rf7 1-0

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.

Humphrey Bogart-Lauren Bacall (Actress), 1951
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.d3!?
(Played to limit counterplay.) 4…d5 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.c4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Qd6 9.a4 Bd7 10.Ba3 Qf6 11.Qe2 Nge7 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.Bxc6 Bxc6 14.Nxe5 Bxg2 15.Rg1 Bh3 16.Rg3 Be6 17.d4 c6 18.d5 cxd5 19.cxd5 Bxd5 20.c4 Be6 21.Re3 f6 22.Nd3 Kf7 23.Nf4 Rae8 24.Nxe6 Qb4+ 25.Kf1 Re7 26.Re1 Rhe8 27.Nd8+ Kf8 28.Rxe7 Rxe7 29.Qxe7+ Qxe7 30.Rxe7 Kxe7 31.Nxb7 1-0

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.

Einstein-Sell
Zurich 1913
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 O-O 8.e5! Ne4 9.Bd3
(9.Qc2 is also strong.) 9…Nxc3 10.bxc3 Bxc3+ 11.Kf1 Bxa1 12.Bxh7+ Kh8 13.Ng5 g6 14.h4 Kg7 15.h5 Rh8 16.hxg6 fxg6 17.Qf3 Qf8 18.Ne6+ dxe6 19.Bh6+ 1-0

Albert Einstein–Oppenheimer
Princeton, 1933
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 b5 5.Bb3 Nf6 6.O-O Nxe4 7.Re1 d5 8.a4 b4 9.d3 Nc5 10.Nxe5 Ne7 11.Qf3 f6?
(> 11…Be6) 12.Qh5+! g6 13.Nxg6! hxg6 (13…Rg8 14.Nxe7+ Kd7 15.Qxd5+ Ke8 16.Qxg8) 14.Qxh8 Nxb3 15.cxb3 Qd6? (15…Kf7) 16.Bh6 Kd7 17.Bxf8 Bb7 18.Qg7 Re8 19.Nd2 c5 20.Rad1 a5 21.Nc4! dxc4 (21…Qc7 22.Bxe7) 22.dxc4 Qxd1 23.Rxd1+ Kc8 24.Bxe7 1-0

Team Vote Chess

Chess.com offers a feature known as Team Vote Chess. This is where your club or team can compete against another team in a single game. All members are allowed to vote and encouraged to share their thoughts and analyses.

It can be humbling finding out that a move you thought might be brilliant is torn apart by your own team members. But that is infinitely better than having your opponent tear it apart.

Anyway, the games are usually sociable and fun.

Here are two games featuring one of my favorite openings.

“The Atheists”-“Paradise Chess Club”
Team Vote Chess
chess.com, 2021
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Nbd7 8.Bg5 Qb6 9.Be3 Qc7 10.Qd2 Be7 11.Bxe6 fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qc4
(The best move for Black in this position.) 13.Nxg7+ Kf7 14.Nf5 Nxe4 15.Nxe4 Qxe4 16.Nxe7 Qxe7 17.O-O-O Ne5 18.Bg5 Qe6 19.Rhe1 Qxa2? [Better are 19…Re8 or 19…Rg8 when White must play accurately to keep whatever advantage he still may have. 19…Qg6? is bad as White regains the attack after 20.Qd5+ Be6 (not 20…Qe6? 21.Qxd6 Qxd6 22.Rxd6 Nc4 23.Re7+) 21.Qxb7+.] 20.Qf4+ Ke8

21.Rxe5+! +- dxe5 (Nothing saves Black. If he instead tries 21…Kd7, then 22.Re7+ Kc6 23.Qxd6+ Kb5 24.Re5+ Ka4 25.Rd4+ Qc4 26.b3 is mate.) 22.Rd8mate 1-0

“Chess Unlimited”-”LIVE WIRE”
Team Vote Chess
http://www.chess.com, Aug. 20 2012-Jan. 2 2013
[I was the team captain for LIVE WIRE. We had excellent analysists and contributors for the game. Most enjoyable was seeing our analysis grow from +/- to +- , and then from a +- to a forced mate.]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.O-O b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.Re1 Be7 10.f4 O-O 11.e5 (This move loses at least a pawn. And probably much more.) 11…dxe5 12.fxe5 (To keep his losses to a minimum White has to play 12.Nf3.) 12…Qxd4+ 13.Kh1 (A bit of a crossroad here. Black is certainly winning What to do now? At first glance, it looks like 13…Ng4 with the idea of 14…Nf2+, with a smothered mate coming seems attractive. Even the knight is protected by the queen on d4. Of course, nothing is protecting the queen and White wins after 13…Ng4? 14.Bxh7+ Kxh7 15.Qxd4. So this idea was quickly and rightfully dismissed. 13…Qg4 is better since after the trade of queens Black is still ahead a piece and still winning. But 13…Qh4!! is the best. Take a look at the following moves.) 13…Qh4 14.exf6 Bd6!! (The team foresaw this position. White is suddenly finding he doesn’t have any good moves. 15.g3 is illegal. Both 15.Ne4 and 15.Be4 immediately lose to 15…Qxh2#. And 15.Bxh7+ fails to 15…Kxh7! 16.Qxd6 Qxe1+ -+. We thought we accounted for all possible moves.) 15.Re5? (But we didn’t see this one! Never mind, it’s a blunder.) 15…Bxe5 16.Qg1 gxf6 (With the idea of 17…Kh8 and 18…Rg8.) 17.Be3 Kh8 18.Rf1 Rg8 19.Rf2 Nd7! (To bring the last rook into play.) 20.Ne2

20…Rxg2!! 21.Rxg2 Rg8 22.Ng3 Rxg3 0-1