English Miniatures

No, we are not talking about tiny replicas of various English manors or of small red-coated toy soldiers.

What we mean are chess games lasting twenty-five moves or less and that begin with the move 1.c4 (the English Opening).

The English opening can be an independent opening but it can also easily transpose into other openings such as the myriad of Indian Defences (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4), the Marcozy Bind in the Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4), and the Reti (1.Nf3 d5 2.c4).

But we’ll keep to independent lines for this miniatures post. These lines include, after 1.c4, 1…Nf6, 1…e5,  and 1…c5.

Now, sit back and enjoy the games!

1.c4 (Various replies)

Arndt-Schulze Bisping
corres., 1987
1.c4 b5 2.cxb5 e5 3.e4 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nc3 Qe6 6.Qf3 c6 7.bxc6 Nxc6 8.Nb5 Qd7 9.Bd3 Bb7 10.Be4 Nf6 11.Ne2 Nd4 12.Nbxd4 Nxe4 13.Qf5 exd4 14.Qe5+ (Black gets a lot of play after 14.Qxd7+ Kxd7) 14…Kd8 15.f3 Nc5 16.Qxd4 Qxd4 17.Nxd4 Nd3+ 18.Ke2 Ba6 0-1

Enghien 1999
[IM Peters, LA Times]
1.c4 c6 2.e4 d5 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nbd7 6.Nf3 a6 7.d4 Nb6 8.Ne5 Nbxd5?? (Black stands only a shade worse after 8…Nfxd5 9.Bd3, while 8…g6 9.Be2 Bg7 10.Bf3 O-O 11.Qb3 e6 12.dxe6 Bxe6 13.Qd1 Nfd5 gives him some compensation for his pawn.) 9.Qa4+! Bd7 10.Nxd7 (If 10…Qxd7, White wins material by 11.Bb5 axb5 12. Qxa8) 1-0

Irina Krush-Krupkova
Women’s Ol.
Elista, 1998
[Notes by Chess Life]
1.c4 g6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qh4 Nxc3 7.Qd4 f6 8.Qxc3 Nc6?! (Best is 8…e5!, and if White likes material then 9.Nxe5 fxe5 10.Qxe5+ Qe7 11.Qxh8 Nc6 is the way to go.)9.b4 e5? (9…a6)10.b5 Nd4 11.Nxd4 exd4 12.Qc4 b6 13.g3 Bc5 14.Bg2 Rc8 15.O-O Qe7 16.Bb2 Qe6 17.Bd5 Qd6 18.e3 Bxb5?? 19.Qxb5+ c6 20.Qa6 1-0

1.c4 Nf6

“bigt111210” (1346)-Escalante (1978)
“Let’s Play!”
www.chess.com, Jan. 2014

1.c4 Nf6 2.f3? e5! 3.e4 Nxe4! 4.fxe4 Qh4+ 5.Ke2 (Better is 5.g3 Qxe4+ 6.Qe2 Qxh1 7.Qxe5+ and White has some counterplay.) 5…Qxe4+ 6.Kf2 Bc5+ 7.Kg3 (Even after 7.d4, Black still has a forced mate after 7…Bxd4+)7…Qf4+ 8.Kh3 d5+ 9.g4 h5 10.Be2 (10.Kh4 g5+ 11.Kh3 hxg4+ 12.Kg2 Qf2+) 10…hxg4+ 11.Kg2 12.Qf2mate 1-0

Mrs. Bruce-Dr. Gray
England 1960 something
1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 d5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.d4 g6 7.Nc3 Bg7 8.O-O O-O 9.Bd2 Ne4 10.e3 Bg4 11.h3?! Nxd2 12.Qxd2 Bf5 13.Nh4 Be6 14.Rac1 Qd7 15.Kh2 g5 16.Nf3 g4 17.Ng5 (17.Nh4 Bf6) 17…gxh3 18.Nxe6 hxg2 19.Nxf8

19…gxf1=N+ (Always good to see an underpromotion, especially one that wins the game!) 20.Rxf1 Rxf8 0-1

de Veauce-Cafferty
Birmingham, England 1974
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.e4 Bb7 5.e5 Ne4 6.Bd3 Nxc3 7.dxc3 d6?! 8.Ng5 dxe5?

9.Nxf7! Qf6 (9…Kxf7? loses faster to 10.Bg6+.) 10.Nxh8 g6 11.Qg4 Qxh8 12.Qxe6+ Be7 13.Bg5 1-0

Nuremburg, 1988
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nf3 O-O 6.O-O Nbd7 7.b3 Re8 8.Bb2 e5 9.Qc2 c6 10.d4 Qc7 11.Rfd1 Nh5 12.dxe5 dxe5 13.Ne4 c5 14.Nd6 Re7 15.Ng5 Nb6 16.Nb5 1-0 (White has an overwhelming position. One line is 16…Qb8 17.Rd8+ Bf8 18.Rad1 a6 19.Qd3, with the idea of 20.Rxf8+.)

Russia 1939
[You’ll find this one in Chernev’s 1000 Best Short Games (game  #115).]
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.cxd5 Nxd5 4.e4 Nb4 5.Qa4+ N8c6 6.d4 Bd7 7.Bb5 Nxd4 8.Kf1 Nxb5 9.Qxb4 e5 10.Qc4 Nxc3 11.bxc3 (11.Qxc3 Bb5+ 12.Ke1 Bb4! 13.Qxb4 Qd3 -+) 11…a6 12.a4 Bb5 0-1

World Jr. Ch.
Romania 1991
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 O-O 5.d3 d6 6.Rb1 e5 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.O-O a5 9.a3 h6 10.b4 axb4 11.axb4 Nh5 12.b5 Ne7 13.Bd2 f5 14.Qc2 f4 15.Rfc1 g5 16.Nd5 Nf6 17.Nxe7+ Qxe7 18.Bc3 Qf7 (So far Black has only the tiniest advantage. But now White makes three lemon moves.) 19.Rf1?! Qh5 20.Bb2? Bh3 21.c5? (But then, what else?) 21…Ng4 0-1

French Teams Ch., 1991
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 O-O 5.d3 d6 6.Rb1 e5 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.O-O Bf5!? (More aggressive than the usual 8…h6.) 9.Re1 Qd7 10.Bg5 Bh3 11.Bxh3 Qxh3 12.Nd5 Ng4 13.Ne3 f5 14.Nxg4 fxg4 15.Nh4 Bf6 16.Bxf6 Rxf6 17.Rf1 g5 0-1

1.c4 e5

Sylvain Zinser (2295)-Gedeon Barcza (2490)
Birseck, Switzerland, May 1971
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 f5 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.e3 Be7 6.Nge2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.b3 Qe8 9.d4 Qh5 10.Ba3 Re8 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.Bxe7 Rxe7 13.Qc2 Be6 14.Rad1 Nbd7 15.Na4 Rf8 16.Rfe1 Ne4 17.f4 Ndf6 18.Nec3 Bc8 19.Qe2 Qxe2 20.Rxe2 b5 0-1

Venice, 19741.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 Nc6 4.Nf3 Bc5 5.d3 O-O 6.O-O d6 7.Nc3 Bd7 8.e3 += Bb4?! 9.Ne2 e4 10.dxe4 Nxe4 11.Qc2 Re8 (11…Bf5? 12.Nh4)12.a3 Bc5 13.b4 Bb6 14.Bb2 +/- Qe7 (Interesting, and perhaps even better is 14…Nxf2!? 15.Kxf2!?) 15.Nf4 Nf6 16.Ng5! Ne5 17.Nd5 (17…Qd8 18.Bxe5 Rxe5 19.Nxf6+)1-0

Gausdal, 1991
1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.d3 f5 6.e4 d6 7.Nge2 Nf6 8.O-O O-O 9.Nd5 Ne7 10.Nxf6+ Bxf6 11.d4 c6 12.dxe5 Bxe5 13.Bh6 Re8 14.Nd4 fxe4 15.Bxe4 d5 16.cxd5 Nxd5 17.Re1 Nf6 18.Qb3 Kh8 19.Nf3 Be6 20.Qb7 Re7 21.Qc6 Ne4 22.Rad1 Qe8 23.Ne5 1-0

S. Lorenz (2287)-A. Orlov (2364)
Germany, 2001
1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.e4 d6 6.Nge2 Be6 7.d3 Qd7 8.Nd5 Nce7 9.d4 c6 10.Nxe7 Nxe7 11.d5 Bh3 12.O-O h5 13.dxc6 bxc6 14.Bxh3 Qxh3 15.Qxd6 Rd8 16.Qa3 h4 17.Qf3 Qxf1+ 0-1

J. Grant (2201)-Harborne
Great Britain Ch., 2002
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 Bb4 4.Nd5 Bc5 5.Bg2 d6 6.e3 f5 7.Ne2 e4 8.d4 exd3 9.Nef4 Nb4 10.O-O Nxd5 11.cxd5 Qf6 12.Qxd3 Ne7 13.Bd2 Ng6 14.Bc3 Qf7 15.Ne6 Rg8 16.Qb5+ Qd7 17.Nxc7+ 1-0

GM van den Doel-FRITZ 6
Dutch Ch.
Rotterdam, 2000
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.e4?! Bc5 4.g3 O-O 5.Bg2 Nc6 6.Nge2!?  d6 7.d3? Ng4! (A brutal response from the computer!) 8.O-O f5 9.Na4 (9.exf5 also loses.)9…Nxf2 10.Rxf2 Bxf2+ 11.Kxf2 f4 (11…fxe4+ 12.Kg1 exd3) 12.gxf4 exf4 13.Ng1 Qh4+ 14.Kf1 f3 15.Nxf3 Qxh2 0-1 (Black threatens …Bh3 and …Ne5.)

GM H. Olafsson-D. Mayers (1908)
US Summer Open, 2001
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 g6 3.d4 d6 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 6.f4 Be6 7.e4 Nd7 8.Nf3 f6 9.Be2 Bc5 10.Rf1 c6 11.f5 Bf7 12.g4 g5 13.h4?

13…h5 14.hxg5 hxg4 15.g6 gxf3 16.gxf7 f2+ 17.Kd2 Nh6 18.Nd1 Nxf7 19.Nxf2 Ke7 20.Ng4 Nd6 21.Bd3 Rag8 22.Ne3 Rg3 23.Ke2 Bxe3 24.Bxe3 Rhh3 0-1

1.c4 c5

GM Karl Robatsch-IM Silvino Garcia Martinez
Chigorin Memorial
Sochi, 1974
1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.e4 Qa5+ 5.Nc3 Nc6? (Black would do better with 5…d6 or 5…e6. In any case, Black is lacking in development.) 6.d5 Nd4?! (Perhaps Black would do better with 6…Ne5. But things are already looking dismal.) 7.Bd2 Qb6 8.Nxd4  Bxd4 9.Rb1 d6 10.Nb5 Bg7 11.Qa4 Bd7

12.Ba5! Qa6 (12…Bxb5 13. cxb5 +-) 13.Nc7+ Kf8 14.Qa3 1-0

B. Corneliussen-M. Jensen
Lyngby, 1991
1.e3 e5 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 Ne7 4.Nb5 d5 5.Qa4 Bd7 6.Nd6mate 1-0

Brian Ruggerio (2063)-Richard Dumerer (1750)
US Amateur Team Ch., Midwest, 1997
1.c4 c5 2.b3 Nc6 3.Bb2 e6 4.g3 Nf6 5.Bg2 Be7 6.Nf3 O-O 7.O-O Rb8 8.Nc3 a6 9.Rc1 b6 10.e3 Bb7 11.Qe2 Re8 12.Rfe1 Bf8 13.Ng5 d5 14.cxd5 exd5

15.Nxd5 Nxd5 16.Qh5 h6 17.Qxf7+ Kh8 18.Bxd5 Ne7 19.Ne6 Nf5 20.Nxd8 1-0

E. Rios (2125)-A. Guetchkov (2173)
World Open, 2001
1.e4 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 e6 6.Nge2 d6 7.d3 Nge7 8.O-O O-O 9.Be3 Nd4 10.Rb1 Nec6 11.a3 Rb8 12.b4 b6 13.f4 Bb7 14.Qd2 f5 15.h3 Qd7 16.Kh2 Nxe2 17.Nxe2 Nd4 18.Nc3 Ba8 19.Qf2 h6 20.Ne2 Nc2 21.Nc1 Qa4 22.b5 fxe4 23.dxe4 Qxc4 24.Rd1 Bxe4 25.Rxd6 0-1

H. Itkis (2120)-Jeremy M. Volkmann
US Open, 2004
1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 c5 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.e3 O-O 6.Nge2 e6 7.d4 cxd4 8.exd4 d5 9.O-O dxc4 10.Qa4 Bd7 11.Qxc4 Bc6 12.Bf4 Qb6 13.Bxc6 Nxc6 14.Na4 Qb4 15.Qxb4 Nxb4 16.Bd6 Nc6 17.Bxf8 Kxf8 18.Rac1 Ne4 19.Rfd1 Rd8 20.Kf1 Nd6 21.f3 Nxd4 22.Nxd4 Bxd4 23.f4 Ne4 24.Rc4 1-0

John Moriarty (1941)-Donald Reithel (2087)
CCLA, 2002
1.c4 c5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 Nc6 4.Nc3 g6 5.a3 e6!? (Correspondence players love to try out novelties. Here, the more common move is 5…d6.) 6.Rb1 (A reasonable reply.) 6…d5 (There is ample opportunity for independent study.) 7.Nh3 d4 8.Ne4 Nxe4 9.Bxe4 a5 10.Nf4 Qc7 11.O-O Bd7 12.b3 Ra6 13.e3 Bg7 14.Bb2 O-O 15.Qc2 Ne7 16.Kg2 f5 17.Bf3 Rd6 18.h4 Bc6 19.e4 fxe4 20.Bxe4 d3! 0-1 (The bishop can’t take the pawn, the queen could take it but it loses immediately to 21…Bxd3, and the queen is also lost after 21.Qc3.)

Why Doesn’t He Resign?

This situation happens to all chess players. We are winning the game, but our opponent, who is material down refuses to give up the fight. I’m not talking about being down an exchange, or even just down a few pawns. But rather down a rook or a queen or both or more.

Maybe I’m not lost yet.

And yet, they still refuse to concede the game. Let’s look at some reasons, although only the first few have any legitimate reason.

But before we do, here’s a side note. Many a scholastic chess instructor would say, “Never resign”. When pressed for the reason why, their reply is usually, “Because you opponent might blunder”. Which in the case of scholastic chess, this is common enough to warrant such an action. The more enlightened teachers would also add, “…and you might learn a little more about your endgame skills.”

The listing below represents not just scholastic players, but adults as well.

1) In a game with sudden death, or a short time limit such as a blitz game, time becomes a weapon. The game becomes a battle between good moves and speed.

If you do not complete all your moves in a certain amount of time, you can’t win. And if your opponent has a pawn, or a rook, or both a bishop and a knight, you lose the game.

So, if one is down material and up on time, you can’t win by overwhelming him with material and it makes sense to keep playing (and faster) than your opponent.

The problem arises when a player is not only down in material, but also down in time. Here there is no reason to keep playing. Unless, of course, you have other reasons.

2) Every chess player needs to become more proficient in endgame play. Being the exchange is not totally a bad thing – you gain the needed practice in holding the game. Imagine, your endgame skill is going against the ultimate test – another chess player who will challenge your moves and your skill level. And who knows – you might get lucky. Instead of a loss, you might get a draw.

3) Massive material is chance for a draw. By stalemate. This a flip side of the above reason. Instead of being tested for one’s skill, the player’s opponent is being tested NOT to make mistake (or several mistakes) or him forgetting all about stalemates.

4) When playing in a team tournament, sometimes the Team Captain (TC) will suggest to a team member to draw his game as a draw will win the match for the team. Some players keep playing on despite being major material down, hoping his opponent will yield to his TC request to draw the game.

The four preceding reasons are legal, but borderline sportsmanlike. But the remaining ones definitely cross that line.

5) Playing on because of spite. Sometimes a player, having a winning position blunders and finds himself with a losing position. He’s suddenly behind a rook and a few pawns, and his emotions emerge. And instead of acknowledging his errors and blunders, tell himself, “I can’t win or even draw this game. But I make my opponent work for it. He deserves to be punished as he is beating me. I’m upset so he to be upset as well.” He might even add, ”I’m not immature. I’m not immature (and so on).”

6) Sometimes we have our priorities mixed up. There have been cases of players continuing the game with the intent of keeping the opponent from fulfilling other promises and commitments. His opponent may have to go to his daughter’s birthday, his son’s baseball game, a date with his girlfriend, a taxi, bus, or plane to catch, all later in the day so he can play in the tournament.

A player who knows this can use this information against his opponent. They reason, my opponent must know to keep the whole day, and part of the next day, to finish his game. So, they refuse a faster time limit or to start at earlier time. Instead, they play slowly, and once they are down material, play even slower. They keep playing on and on, sometimes looking for an easy draw, or even worse, spurring a draw offer to win the game.

But players, please don’t resign if you have a reasonable chance to change the outcome (to your benefit). But before you push ahead with your stubbornness and obstinacy about not resigning, ask yourself, why am still playing to the mate?

Happy Birthday Patrick Wolff!

Patrick Gideon Wolff is an American Grandmaster born this day in 1968.

He earned his IM title 1988 and his GM title in 1990.

But even before receiving his IM title he was already making news by winning the 1983 US National High School Championship and the 1987 U.S. Junior Championship.

He also participated in the World Junior Championships 1987. But Anand, who eventually gained the World Championship, won this event.

IM Wolff (2370)-IM Sokolov (2525)
World Jr. Ch.
Baguio, July 1987
[Notes by IM Wolff, in “Anand Wins World Junior Championship”, Chess Horizons, Oct.-Nov., 1987, pg. 18]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.O-O-O Qc7 10.Bb3 O-O? (Now Black is clearly worse. Best is 10…Na5 with unclear complications.) 11.Rhg1 b5 12.g4 Na5 13.g5 Nxb3+ 14.axb3 Nd7 15.f4 b4 16.Nf5 exf5 17.Nd5 Qd8 18.exf5 Re8 19.Bd4! (A suggestion of Andy Soltis. ECO gives 19.g6 with complications.) 19…Bf8 (If 19…Bf6, Sokolov pointed out 20.Qxe8+ Qxe8 21.gxf6, which wins.) 20.Qh5 Re4 21.Bf6 Qe8 22.Nc7 Nxf6 23.gxf6 Qd8 24.Nd5!? (Or 24.fxg7 Be7 25.Nxa8 Bb7 26.Nb6 Qxb6? 27.Qxh7+ +-) 24…Bb7 25.fxg7 Be7 26.Rg3 Bf6 27.Rh3 Bxg7 28.Qxh7+ Kf8 29.f6? (29.Qxg7+ mates in four.) 29…Bxf6 30.Qxe4 Qa5 31.Qf5 Bg7 32.Qd7 1-0

Here is another event from 1988, noted for the tactical attack.

IM Patrick Wolff-WIM Alisa Mikhailovna Galliamova
Adelaide 1988
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.O-O-O Qc7 10.Bb3 O-O 11.Rhg1 b5 12.g4 Rb8

13.g5! Nd7 14.Qh5 Nxd4 15.Bxd4 b4 16.g6 hxg6 17.Rxg6 Nf6 18.Rxg7+ 1-0

And here Wolff is facing the World Champion as Black. It’s a miniature against one of the game’s best.

GM Kasparov-IM Wolff- X25
New York City, 1988

1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 c6 4.d4 exd4 5.Qxd4 d5 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.Qa4 Be7 9.O-O O-O 10.Be3 Ng4 11.Bd4 Nxd4 12.Nxd4 Qb6 13.Nc3 Qh6 14.h4 g5 15.Nxd5 Bd8

[White definitely has some problems with his castled position and coordination with his pieces. Incredibly, he might be lost already.

GM Mihai Şubă-GM Gilberto Milos
Spanish Open
Ponferrada, 1992
16.Rfc1 gxh4 17.Rxc8 Rxc8 18.Nf5 Rc1+ 19.Bf1 Qh5 20.Nfe7+ Bxe7 21.Nxe7+ Kh8 22.Qd4+ f6 23.Rxc1 hxg3 24.Kg2 Qh2+ 25.Kf3 Ne5+ 26.Ke3 Qxf2+ 27.Ke4 Qh2 28.Qc5 g2 29.Nf5 Nd7 30.Qe7 g1=Q 31.Qxd7 Qe5+ 32.Kd3 Qg8 0-1.]

16.Rac1 gxh4 17.Rxc8 hxg3 18.Nf3 Nh2 19.Rfc1 Rxc8 20.Rxc8 Nxf3+ 21.exf3 gxf2+ 22.Kf1 Qd2 23.Nf6+ Kg7 24.Ne8+ Kh8 25.Qe4 Bh4 0–1

GM Patrick Wolff somehow found the time to win the two US Championships (1992 and 1995).

We’ll end here with perhaps his most well-known game. But it’s for a different reason than winning a championship or a brilliancy.

GM Vassily Ivanchuk-GM Patrick Wolff
Biel Interzonal
Switzerland, July 16 1993
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 Nc6!?

[A relative rare, but otherwise good, response to 3.e4.

GM Karpov (2745)-Vadim Milov (2635), Biel, 1997, conitinued with 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.d5 Ne5 6.Bf4 Ng6 7.Be3 Nf6 8.Nc3 e5 9.Bxc4 a6 10.O-O Bd6 11.Be2 O-O 12.Nd2 Bd7 13.Rc1 Qe7 14.a3 b5 15.Nb3 Nf4 16.Bf3 Kh8 17.Na2 g5 18.Nc5 Rg8 19.Nb4 Rg6 20.Qc2 g4 21.Be2 Rag8 22.Rfd1 N6h5 23.g3 Bc8 24.Nc6 Qg5 25.Bf1 Rh6 26.Qc3 Nf6 27.Nd3 Qh5 28.h4 gxh3 29.Ndxe5! Rg7 30.Bxf4 Nxe4 31.Qe3 Qf5 32.Bxh6 h2+ 33.Kxh2 Nxf2 34.Bxg7+ Kxg7 35.Rd4 1-0.]

4.Be3 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.d5 Ne7 7.Bxc4 Ng6 8.f3 Bd6 9.Qd2 Bd7 10.Nge2 a6 11.Bb3 b5 12.a4 O-O 13.O-O Qe7 14.Rac1 Nh5 15.g3 h6 16.Bc2 Rab8 17.axb5 axb5 18.Ra1 Ra8 19.Bd3 Bb4 20.Rxa8 Rxa8 21.Qc2 Bc5 22.Nd1 Bd6 23.Nf2 Nhf4!

[If this position looks familiar it’s because Kasparov (remember him?) chose this this game as a starting point for the climax in the 2020 Netflix limited series, “The Queen’s Gambit”.] 24.Rc1 Qg5 25.Kh1 Qh5 26.Ng1 Nxd3 27.Nxd3 f5 28.Nc5 Bc8 29.Rf1 Ne7 30.Qd3 fxe4 31.fxe4 Qg6 32.Kg2 Kh7 33.Nf3 Ng8 34.Nh4 Qg4 35.Nf5 Nf6 36.h3 Qg6 37.g4 Bxc5 38.Bxc5 Ra4 39.Rf3 Rc4 40.Be7 Bxf5 41.Rxf5 Rd4 42.Qe3 Rxe4 43.Qf3 Rf4 44.Rxf4 exf4 45.Bxf6 Qxf6 46.Qd3+ Qg6 47.Qe2 c6 48.Kf3 cxd5 49.Kxf4 Qf6+ 50.Kg3 Qd6+ 51.Kf3 b4 52.h4 Qf6+ 53.Kg3 Qd6+ 54.Kf3 Qf6+ 55.Kg3 g6 56.Qe8 Qd6+ 57.Kf3 Kg7 58.g5 hxg5 59.hxg5 d4 60.Qe4 d3 61.Qb7+ Kf8 62.Qc8+ Ke7 63.Qb7+ Ke6 64.Qe4+ Kd7 65.Qb7+ Kd8 66.Qa8+ Kc7 67.Qa7+ Kc8 68.Qa8+ Kc7 69.Qa7+ Kc6 70.Qa6+ Kc5 71.Qxd6+ Kxd6 72.Ke3 Ke5 1/2-1/2

Venturing Into the Unknown

I enjoy researching chess openings. There are many opening positions where the other side may falter, fall into a trap, or even just find himself in bad position. Knowing how to take advantage of these mistakes is essential in correspondence. So, yeah theory and knowing well-researched lines are important.

But occasionally, a player may want to venture into the unknown, or create a new line. There are many reasons for this.

One is that the competing players may eventually know what lines a player excels in and try to learn his favorite lines. For example, a dedicated Najdorf player may avoid playing in the Sicilian, just to throw one player out of sync. Another is that sometimes a player can get tired playing the same lines, even if he does well with them. Just how many times can one play the Euwe variation of the Advance French? Or perhaps he wants to enjoy a game, fresh and unburden with theory. He may study this new thought with analysis or not, depending on his confidence.

One quick and easy way to try out a novelty is a blitz game. There is less stress, and one does not have to worry about losing some well-earned rating points.

Escalante-“Avila83″ (1643)
Blitz Game
chess.com, Feb. 17 2021
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nf3
(A move I have been experimenting.) 3…a6 (3…Qe4+? 4.Be2 and White has a small lead in development.) 4.Be2 b5?! (Flanking in a Center Counter game!? Doesn’t seem consistent.) 5.d4 Bb7 6.Nc3 Qd8 7.Be3 [White has an interesting gambit here: 7.Ne5!? Bxg2 8.Rg1 Bb7 9.Bf3 c6 (not 9…Bxf3? 10.Qxf3 +-) 10.Ne4 and his development outweighs his pawn minus. This is something to research!] 7…Nf6 8.O-O g6 (> 9…e6.) 9.Qd2 Bg7 10.Rad1 O-O 11.Bh6 Re8 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.Rfe1 (13.Qe3!?) 13…Nbd7 14.Ne5 Qc8 15.Ng4?! (With the idea of 15..Nxg4? 16.Bxg4 with a pin on the d7-knight. But White has no good continuation. Only if the f6-knight moves does White have anything positive. Better is 15.b4 which blocks any queenside expansion with …c5.) 17…Nd5?? (Incredibly the f6-knight moves!) 16.Qh6+ Kg8 17.Nxd5 Bxd5 (Please forgive the next few moves. It was blitz game.) 18.Ne5 (18.Rd3! with the idea of Rh3 is hard to stop. In fact, it wins!) 18…Nf6 19.h3 (Bad, as it stops a future Rd3, Rh3. White can try a later Re4, Rh4. But why should he wait?) 19…e6 20.Bf3 Bxf3 21.Nxf3 Nh5 22.Ng5 Qd8?? 23.Qxh7+ 1-0

Practice the French Thematic Tournament, Round 2
chess.com, 2020/1
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 g6 5.Bg5 Be7

[White got a very good game in Kvick-Thuring, Sweden, 1978, which reached this position by transposition: 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e6 4.Nxe4 g6 5.Bg5 Ne7? (Black makes the best move by blocking, but with the wrong piece.) 6.Nf6# 1-0.]


[White 5…Be7 has been seen before, this move, 6.h4 is a true, almost untested gambit. Previous moves included the tempo wasting 6.Be3?!, which doesn’t give White anything to cheer about. I should be honest here. While preparing this game for this week’s post, I came across this game.

Alex Galaktionov-A. Simao
World U16 Ch.
Bratislava 1993
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 g6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.h4 Nf6 7.Nxf6+ Bxf6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.Qd2 Nc6 10.O-O-O Bd7 11.Qg5 Qxf2 12.Nf3 h6 13.Qf4 O-O-O 14.Rd2 e5 15.Qe4 Qg3 16.d5 Nd4 17.Qxe5 Qxe5 18.Nxe5 Rhe8 19.Nxf7 Re1+ 20.Rd1 Rxd1+ 21.Kxd1 Bg4+ 22.Kc1 Rxd5 23.Nxh6 Be6 24.Bc4 Rh5 25.Bxe6+ Nxe6 26.Nf7 Rf5 27.Nh6 Rh5 28.Ng8 g5 29.Re1 Nd4 30.Re8+ 1-0 (30…Kd7 32.Nf6+).

Imagine, my gambit idea was tried and tested in tournament 18 years before I ventured it. And by someone who is less than 16 years old! Ah, chess is hard enough even if you do not come up with original ideas!]

6…Bxg5 7.hxg5 Nc6 8.Nf3 Nge7? 9.Nf6+! (This is again a natural move. Black is in trouble, although it is hard to see to the end.) 9…Kf8 10.Qd2 Nd5 11.Ne4 Kg7 12.O-O-O a5 [Black, who can’t castle (on either side), has a blocked h8-rook, and doesn’t want to open the center, makes for a break on the queenside.] 13.c4! (If Black is not going to open the center, then White must.) 13…Ndb4 14.a3 Bd7 15.d5 exd5 [White is winning, but still has to be careful. 16.Nf6? Bf5! 17.Qc3 (or 17.axb4? axb4 and Black threatens 18…b3 and 19.Ra1#) 17…Na2+ and Black wins.] 16.cxd5 [Now two Black pieces are under attack, White has all the attacking possibilities, will win material, and Black is lost. 16…Bf5 is Black’s best. But he still loses after 17.axb4! (White gets rid of Black’s biggest threat) 16…Bxe4 (17…Nxb4 18.Qd4+ Kg8 19.Nf6+ Kf8 20.Nxh7+! Rxh7 21.Rxh7 Na2+ 22.Kd2 Qe7 23.Rh8#) 18.Qc3+ f6 (18…Kg8 19.dxc6 Qe7 20.Rd7 axb4 21.Qxh8+! Kxh8 22.Rxe7 Ra1+ 23.Kd2) 19.dxc6 Qe7 20.Rd7. Consider this position a +-.]

A Missing Tournament?

One of the joys of reading old chess magazines is to enjoy the games from old tournaments as if they were new. One can also find many obscure games that many players may have overlooked, forgot, or have never seen.

An example of this is the 3rd Annual Women’s Tournament in Belgrade, 1967. This account was covered by Dr. Petar Trifunovich in the June 1967 issue of Chess Review.

Unfortunately, his article has a disparaging remark at the end of his otherwise excellent article. Writing about the older chess champions who must eventually yield their championships and glory to younger players, and the usual fluctuations in performance in tournament play, he states, “… : today, a woman player puts up a good game; the next day, she hands out gifts. But that phenomenon is easy to understand: the female is more subject to physiological mutations than the male.”

Today, we would like think that the male has more acceptance of the female than ever before. They have, and for the better of both. Is there more work to be done here? Yes, and quite a bit more.

Now it is time to get off the soapbox and back to the article.

This tournament seems to have vanished from history. I have tried to locate other games from this tournament to add to this week’s blog, but I cannot locate the tournament nor any additional games.

If you, the gentle reader, can find this tournament, or games from this tournament, online, please let me know, or email a link or a PGN or text of the games.

Right now, this blog would be only known place to find these games. Unless you have a copy of the June 1967 issue of Chess Review.

Alexandra Nicolau-Edith Bilek
Women’s Tournament
Belgrade, 1967
[Dr. Petar Trifunovich, “3d Annual Women’s Tournament”, Chess Review, June 1967]
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Bc4 c5 4.dxc5 Qa5+ 5.c3 Qxc5 6.Qb3
(Here White begins collecting tempi.) 5…e6 7.Be3 Qc7 8.Na3! (She wins a tempo at this juncture by virtue of the threat of 9.Nb5.) 5…a6 (The text does prevent 9.Nb5 but permits 9.Bb6, which mortifies Black’s whole Queen flank.) 9.Bb6 Qf4 10.Ne2! (Black may well not have expected this move; but of course, this is a position in which one does not count Pawns!)

10…Qxe4 11.O-O! Nc6
(Black cannot win a piece by 11…d5 because of 12.Rad1 dxc4 13.Rd8+ Ke7 14.Qb4+ winning.) 12.f4! (White is threatening to snare the Queen with 13.Ng3.) 12…d5 13.Ng3 dxc4 14.Nxc4 Qd5 15.Rad1 Nd4 (Black lacks any better choice. 15…Qb5 collapses before 16.Nd6+.) 16.Bxd4 Bxd4+ 17.Rxd4 Qc6 18.Rfd1 Kf8 19.Nb6 Rb8 20.Rc4 Qe8 21.Qb4+ Kg7 22.Qd6 Qb5 23.Rb4 1-0

She tied for third and fourth place.

Asenova-WIM Tanja Belamarić
Women’s Tournament
Belgrade, 1967
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Qb3 Bg7 7.cxd5 O-O 8.g3 Nbd7 9.Bg2 Nb6 10.Bf4 Bf5 11.Rd1 Rc8 12.Nge2 a5 13.a4 Rc4 14.Rc1 Rb4 15.Qa2 Qd7 16.d6 exd6 17.b3 Be6 18.Rb1 Nfd5 19.Nxd5 Bxd5 20.Bxd5 Nxd5 21.Bd2 Re8 22.Bxb4 Nxb4 23.Qd2 Qg4 24.h3 Qe4 25.O-O Qxe2 26.Qxe2 Rxe2 27.Rfe1 Rxe1+ 28.Rxe1 Bxd4 29.Rd1

29…Bc5 30.Kg2 Kg7 31.f4 f5 32.g4 Nc2 33.Kg3 Kf6 34.Rd2 Nd4 35.Rd3 h6 36.Kg2 b6 37.Kg3 Nc6 38.Rd1 Nb4 39.Re1 d5 40.Re8 d4 41.Kf3 Nd3 42.Re2 Nb4 43.Re8 d3 44.Re1 d2 0-1

The Dragon vs. the Grand Prix

The best way to describe the Grand Prix attack is White’s attempt to apply the themes found in a King’s Gambit to the Sicilian. After 1.e4 c5 2.f4, White’s f-pawn temporarily blocks opening the f-file and in particular, access to the f7-square. White naturally tries to trade off this pawn, or sacrifice it, depending how aggressive he may be.

The Sicilian Dragon is common set up in the Sicilian. The thematic moves by Black are …g6, …Bg7, …Nf6, and …O-O, with a reasonably safe king. However, in the Grand Prix Black usually does not have enough time to play all these moves; White’s f-pawn can become a problem very quickly.

Let us look at some games and theory.

DRAGON vs. Grand Prix
1.e4 c5 2.f4 g6

1) 2.f4 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5
2) 2.f4 g6 3.Nc3
3) 2.f4 g6 3.Nf3 Nc6
4) 2.f4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nf6


DRAGON vs Grand Prix-1
2.f4 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5

This variation shares much in common with a main line of Hyper-Accelerated Dragon (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5.) But White’s pawn on f4 is a liability.

See the last game in this section.

Play this variation as White at your own risk.

IM Julian Hodgson-Lexy Ortega
Petrosian Memorial
Yerevan, 1986
1.e4 c5 2.f4 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5 Nc6 6.Qd3 Ng8 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Nc3 d6 9.exd6 Nf6 10.O-O-O O-O 11.Nf3 Bf5 12.Qd2 Rc8 13.Bc5 Qa5 14.dxe7 Rfe8 15.Ba3 Nb4 16.Bxb4 Qxb4 17.Nd4 Rxe7 18.a3 Qb6 19.Bb5 Rec7 20.Rhe1 Rxc3 21.bxc3 Ne4 22.Nxf5 gxf5 23.Qd7 Qc5 24.Rd3 Bxc3 25.Ree3 Qxa3+ 26.Kd1 Qa1+ 27.Ke2 Qe1+ 28.Kf3 Qf2mate 0-1

Eduard Gorovykh (2118)-Andrey Dashko (2361)
Maikop Open, Apr. 2004
1.e4 c5 2.f4 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5 Nc6 6.Qd3 Ng4 7.h3 Nh6 8.g4 Bg7 9.Nf3 O-O 10.Nc3 b5 11.Nxb5 Bb7 12.Be2
(Stronger is 12.Bg2.) 12…Nb4 13.Qb3 a5 14.a3 Na6 15.Be3 Be4 16.O-O Qc8 17.Nc3 Bb7 18.Rad1 d6 19.exd6 exd6 20.Nd5 Re8 21.Nb6 Nc5 22.Qc4 Nxg4 23.Nxc8 Nxe3 24.Nxd6 Nxc4 25.Bxc4 Re7 26.Ng5 Bxb2 27.f5 Kg7 28.Bxf7 Bf6 29.Ne6+ Nxe6 30.fxe6 Bc6 31.Rf4 Rd8 32.Rc4 (White missing 32.Nf5+! The game could have continued with 32…gxf5 33.Rxd8 Rxe6 34.Bxe6 Bxd8 35.Bxf5, and White obviously has the advantage.) 32…Rc7 33.Rd3 Be7 34.Ne8+ 1-0

Yuri Petrovich Guskov-Gerasimos Fournarakos
Nikea Open, 2004

1.e4 g6 2.f4 c5 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5 Nc6 6.Qd3 (6.Qd1 is considered weaker.) 6…Ng8 (6…Nh5?! 7.Be2) 7.Bd2 Bg7 8.Bc3 f6 9.Nf3 Qc7 10.Nbd2 fxe5 11.Qc4 Qb8 12.O-O-O e6 13.fxe5 Nge7 14.Ne4 O-O 15.Nf6+ Bxf6 16.exf6 d5 17.Qh4 Nf5 18.Qg5 Nd6 19.Qh6 Rf7 20.Bd3 d4 21.Nxd4 Ne5 22.Nf3 Nxf3 23.gxf3 Qc7

24.Bxg6 1-0

N.N. (2221)-GM Julio Becerra (2610)
3 minute game
ICC, Mar. 24 2010

1.f4 g6 2.e4 c5 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5 Nc6 6.Qd1 Ng8 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Bc4 Nh6 9.Be3 (White would love to castle here. But if he plays O-O, then that puts an end to his kingside expansion. So, he’s left with trying O-O-O. And that takes one more tempo that he can afford.) 9…O-O 10.Nc3 Ng4 11.Bg1 d6 12.h3 Nh6 13.exd6 exd6 14.Qd2 Re8+ 15.Be2 Nf5 16.O-O-O (16.g4 Bxc3 17.Qxc3 Rxe2+ 18.Kxe2 Ng3+) 16…Ng3 17.Rh2 Bxc3 0-1

DRAGON vs. Grand Prix-2
2.f4 g6 3.Nc3

This is a common line. And this variation has enough tactical play to interest any player.

If White play d2-d3, g2-g3, Bg2, f2-f4, Nf3, and O-O, the opening becomes the Big Clamp.

Hastings 1974/5, 1974
1.e4 g6 2.Nc3 Bg7 3.f4 c5 4.b3 d6 5.Bb2 Nf6 6.Bb5+ Nc6 7.Bxc6+ bxc6 8.Qe2 O-O 9.Nf3 Qa5 10.O-O-O Ba6 11.Qe1 c4 12.Kb1 cxb3 13.axb3 Rab8 14.d3 Nd7 15.Nd5 Qd8 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Qc3+ Kg8 18.Qxc6 Bb7 19.Qc4 Bxd5 20.Qxd5 Qc7 21.f5 Rb4 22.fxg6 hxg6 23.h4 Rc8 24.Rc1 Qc3 25.Ng5 e6 26.Qxd6 Rcb8 0-1

Escalante (1744)-R.C. Rice (1965)
Labate’s Active Chess, Jan. 2 1988
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 d6 4.Bb5 e5 5.Bxc6+ bxc6 6.Nf3 exf4 7.O-O g5 8.d4 d5 9.exd5 cxd5 10.Re1+ Be6

11.Rxe6+! fxe6 12.Ne5 Nf6 13.Qd3 Rc8 14.Qh3 cxd4 15.Qxe6+ Qe7 16.Qxc8+ Qd8 17.Qc6+ Nd7 18.Nxd5 Be7 19.Nc7+ 1-0

St. Petersburg Ch., 1993/4
[Goncharov, CCY 15/81]
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.O-O e6 (6…Nf6!?) 7.d3 Nge7 8.Qe1 O-O 9.f5 Nd4 (9…exf5) 10.Nxd4 Bxd4+ 11.Kh1 f6 12.fxe6 Kg7 13.Qh4 h5 14.Ne2 d5 (14…Be5) 15.exd5 Nxd5? (15…Be5 16.Nf4 b5 17.Bb3 Bb7 18.c4 Re8 19.Bc2 +/-) 16.Nxd4 +- cxd4 17.Bxd5 Qxd5 18.e7 1-0

Attila Piroth-Rigo Janos
Hungary Team Ch., 1995
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.f4 Bg7 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.d3 Rb8 6.g3 b5 7.Bg2 b4 8.Ne2 a5 9.O-O a4 10.d4 cxd4 11.Nexd4 Ba6 12.Re1 Na5 13.f5 Qb6 14.e5 Bb7 15.Kh1 Rc8 16.f6 Bf8 17.Ng5 Rc5 18.e6!

18…Bxg2+ (18…dxe6!? leads to another set of complex lines. The reader may want to spend time here to discover some of the beautiful lines.) 19.Kxg2 Qb7+ 20.Kg1 Rxg5 21.exd7+ Qxd7 22.Bxg5 h6 23.fxe7 Bg7 24.Nb5! [A fantastic move to end such an engaging game. But 24.Ng5! is a better (and more beautiful) move.] 1-0

Mark Van Schaardenburg-Walter Tonoli
Belgium Team Ch., 1997

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.f4 Bg7 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bc4 e6 6.f5 Nge7 7.fxe6 dxe6 8.d3 O-O 9.Bf4 Na5 10.O-O Nxc4 11.dxc4 Qxd1 12.Raxd1 Bxc3 13.bxc3 b6 14.Ne5 f6 15.Bh6 Rf7 16.Rd8+ 1-0

Sam Turner-Megan Owens
South Wales Ch.
Caerleon, July 12 2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.f4 Bg7 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.O-O Nf6 7.d3 O-O 8.Qe1 e6 9.Qh4 Nh5 10.Qh3 d5 11.Bb3 dxe4 12.dxe4 Nd4 13.Nxd4 Bxd4+ 14.Kh1 a6 15.g4 Nf6 16.e5 b5 17.Qf3 Nxg4 18.Qxg4 Bb7+ 19.Rf3 Qh4 20.h3 Qxg4 21.hxg4 Bxf3+ 22.Kh2 c4 23.Nxb5 axb5 24.c3 cxb3 25.cxd4 Rxa2! 0-1

DRAGON vs. Grand Prix-3
2.f4 g6 3.Nf3 Nc6

This is the main line. White still has option of Bc4, but 4.Bb5 is more popular 4.Bb5 does a better job in disrupting Black’s development.

GM Bisguier-Casillas
Hartford, 1977
1.e4 c5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 g6 4.Bb5 Bg7 5.Bxc6 bxc6 6.d3 Nf6 7.Nc3 d6 8.O-O O-O 9.Qe1 Rb8 10.b3 Nh5!?
(10…Bg4!?) 11.f5 gxf5 12.Qh4 Nf6 (12…Bxc3? 13.Qxh5 Bxa1 14.Ng5 +-) 13.Bh6 Bxh6 14.Qxh6 e5 15.Ng5 Qe7 16.exf5 d5 17.Rae1 Bd7 18.Re3 Rb4 19.Rg3 1-0

Guillermo Malbran (2350)-Gerardo Cativelli (2235)
Najdorf Open
Buenos Aires, 1993
1.e4 c5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 g6 4.Bb5 Nf6 5.Bxc6 bxc6 6.d3 Bg7 7.O-O d6 8.Qe1 O-O 9.Qh4 Re8 10.f5 gxf5 11.Bh6 Bxh6 12.Qxh6 e5 13.Ng5 Qe7 14.exf5 Kh8 15.Nd2 1-0
(Black can’t stop 16.Ne4 with the idea of 17.Nxf6+.)

Andreas Gikas (2177)-Helmut Schmuck (2101)
Berlin Team Tournament, Oct. 5 2006
1.f4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.e4 g6 4.Bb5 Bg7 5.Bxc6 bxc6 6.d3 Nf6 7.c4 O-O 8.O-O d6 9.Nc3 Rb8 10.Qe1 Ne8 11.f5 gxf5 12.Qh4 fxe4 13.Ng5 h6 14.Ngxe4 f5 15.Bxh6 fxe4 16.Rxf8+ Bxf8 17.Bxf8 Nf6 18.Bxe7 Qxe7 19.Nxe4 Rxb2 20.Nxf6+ Kf7 21.Qh7+ Kf8 22.Qg8mate 1-0

DRAGON vs. Grand Prix-4
2.f4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nf6

Here, with Black’s bishop already on g7, White can reasonably play .Bc4 as Black is more likely to castle kingside. These lines resemble more of the Dragon than the Grand Prix.

Y. Balashov-M. Tseitlin
USSR, 1969
1.e4 d6 2.Nc3 g6 3.f4 Bg7 4.Nf3 c5 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.d3 Nc6 7.O-O O-O 8.Qe1 Nd4 9.Bb3 Nxb3 10.axb3 Bd7 11.f5 gxf5 12.Qh4 Ne8 13.Ng5 h6 14.Nh3 fxe4 15.Bxh6 Bxh3 16.Nxe4 Qd7 17.Bxg7 Nxg7 18.gxh3 f6 19.Rae1 Rf7 20.Re2 Raf8 21.Rg2 d5

22.Rg6! dxe4 23.Rh6 Nh5 24.Qxh5 1-0

Bo Adler-M. Melander
Sweden Open
Hallsberg, 1975
1.e4 d6 2.f4 c5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.O-O O-O 7.d3 e6 8.Qe1 Nc6 9.f5 d5 10.Bb3 dxe4 11.dxe4 c4 12.Bxc4 exf5 13.e5 Re8 14.Kh1 Ng4 15.Bg5 Qa5 16.Nb5 Ngxe5 17.Bxf7+ Kxf7 18.Nd6+ Kf8 19.Nxe8 Qxe1 20.Raxe1 Nxf3 21.Rxf3 Ne5 22.Rfe3 Kxe8 23.Bf4 Kf7 24.Bxe5 Bh6 25.Rh3 Bd2 26.Rxh7+ 1-0

H.J. Plaskett-M.P. Varnham
SCCU Jr. Squad Ch., Apr.23 1977
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bc4 Nc6 6.O-O Nf6 7.d3 O-O 8.Qe1 a6 9.a4 Nd7 10.f5 Kh8 11.Qh4 Nde5 12.Ng5 h6 13.Nxf7+! Nxf7 14.fxg6 Nfe5 15.Bxh6 Nxg6 16.Qh5 Nce5 17.Bc1+ 1-0

N. Mitkov (2532)-J. Alvarez (2317)
Istanbul Ol.
Turkey, 2000
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 Nc6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.O-O Nf6 7.d3 O-O 8.Qe1 a6 9.f5 Na5 10.fxg6 hxg6 11.Bb3 Nxb3 12.axb3 Nh7 13.Qh4 e6 14.Bg5 f6 15.Bd2 f5 16.Qg3 e5 17.Nd5 f4 18.Qxg6 b6 19.Be1 Rf7 20.Bh4 Qf8 21.Nxb6 Raa7 22.Nxc8 1-0

E. Urquhart (2214)-Kim Nguyen
Montreal, July 20 2002
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.O-O O-O 7.d3 Nc6 8.Qe1 Bg4 9.Qh4 Nd4 10.Nxd4 cxd4 11.Nd5 Be6 12.f5 Bxd5 13.exd5 Rc8 14.Bg5 b5 15.Bb3 Qb6 16.Rae1 Rc7 17.fxg6 hxg6 18.Rf3 a5 19.Rh3 Rfc8 20.Bh6 Bh8 21.a4 bxa4 22.Bxa4 Qxb2

23.Bc1! 1-0

Stoma (2294)-Olszewski (2458)
DMP Ekstraliga
Karpacz, Poland, Sept. 9 2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 Nc6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.O-O Nf6 7.Qe1 O-O 8.e5?! dxe5 9.fxe5 Ng4 10.e6 fxe6 11.Bxe6+ Kh8 12.h3 Bxe6 13.Qxe6 Nge5 14.Ne2 c4 15.d3 Rf6 0-1

Henrique Nemeth Jr. (1896)-Juliana Luiza (1888)
Campeonato Paranaense Absoluto 2010
Campo Mourão, Brazil, Jan. 28 2011
1.e4 d6 2.f4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bc4 O-O 6.d3?!
(Not a good move if White intends to castle queenside as Black’s bishop has a more open diagonal.) 6…c5 7.h3 Nc6 8.Be3 Na5 9.Bb3 Nxb3 10.axb3 a6 11.Qd2 b5 12.g4 Bb7 13.g5 Nh5 14.Rg1 Qc8 15.O-O-O?! Bc6 16.Ne2 a5 17.Ng3 Nxg3 18.Rxg3 a4 19.bxa4 Rxa4 20.Qe1 Ra2 21.b3 Qa6 22.Kd2

22…Rxc2+! 0-1

V. Fedoseev (2506)-S. Solovjov (2394)
St. Petersburg, May 31 2011
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.f4 Bg7 4.Nf3 d6 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.e5 dxe5 7.fxe5 Ng4 8.e6 fxe6 9.Ne4 O-O 10.Qe2 Nc6 11.Nxc5 Nb4 12.d4 Qd6 13.c3 Nd5 14.Ng5 e5 15.h3 Nf2 16.O-O exd4 17.Nge6 d3 18.Qe1 b6 19.Nxf8 Nxh3+ 20.gxh3 bxc5 21.Bg5 Kh8 22.Qh4 1-0

Patrick Borges De Paula (1836)-Sergio Santana Otano
Camp.Mineiro Classico 2016
São Sebastião do Paraíso, Brazil, Oct. 21 2016
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 Nf6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.O-O O-O 7.d3 Bg4 8.Qe1 Bxf3 9.Rxf3 Nc6 10.Rh3!? e5 11.f5 Nd4 12.Bg5 Qa5 13.Qh4 Nh5 14.fxg6 hxg6 15.g4 Ne6 16.gxh5 Nxg5 17.Qxg5 Qd8

18.Qxg6! Qf6 19.Rf1 Qxg6+ 20.hxg6 Bh8 21.Bxf7+ Rxf7 22.gxf7+ Kg7 [And now White wins with either 23.f8=Q+ Rxf8 24.Rg3+ Kh7 25.Rxf8 b6 26.Rh3+ or 23.Rg3+ Kf8! (only move to prolong the game.) 24.Rg8+ Ke7 25.Nd5+ +-.] 1-0

Henrique Nemeth Jr. (2014)-Dimitri Vinicius Da Si Ferraz (1800)
Regional Sul Brasileiro de Xadrez
Clube de Xadrez de Curitiba, Brazil, Apr. 14 2017
1.e4 c5 2.f4 d6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.O-O O-O 7.d3 a6 8.a4 Nh5 9.Ng5 Bd7 10.f5 Nc6 11.fxg6 hxg6 12.Bxf7+ Kh8 13.Bxg6 Nf6 14.Nd5 Bg4 15.Qe1 Nd4 16.Qh4+ Bh5 17.Nxf6 exf6 18.Qxh5+ Kg8 19.Qh7mate 1-0

Juan Carlos Gonzalez Moreno (1555)-Jimena Perez Garcia (1624)
Tenerife Team Ch.
Canary Islands, Spain, Jan. 19 2019
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 Nf6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.O-O O-O 7.d3 Bg4 8.Qe1 Bxf3 9.Rxf3 Nc6 10.Rh3 Nd4 11.Qd1 Qd7 12.Ne2 Ng4 13.c3 Nxe2+ 14.Qxe2 b5 15.Bxb5 Qxb5 16.Qxg4 Bf6 17.f5 Rab8 18.Qf4 h5 19.fxg6 fxg6 20.Qh6 Kf7 21.Qh7+ Bg7??
(Black can, and should, play 21…Ke8. And while he still has some defending to do, he has not yet lost.) 22.Rf3+ Ke8 23.Qxg7 1-0

Retirement Places for Chess Players

I have some older chess playing friends. Some of them are now looking forward to retirement. And like so many soon-to-be-retirees they are thinking of moving to places where they can enjoy their hobbies and skills full time.

So, here is a list of potential retirement locations for my older, chess playing friends:

First the easy ones to locate.

QUEENS [n. a borough in the city of New York. After all, having more than one queen is usually better than having just one.]

If that location is not big enough, then one can choose the following:

QUEENSLAND [n. a state comprising the northeastern part of Australia.]

Of course, many players would prefer the king.

KINGSTOWN [n. the capital, chief port, and main commercial center of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.]

KING’S CANYON [n. a National park in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, US.]

KINGS CROSS [n. a district in Central London, England.]

KING CITY [n. a city in California.]

And if a chess player really enjoys a king hunt, then this might be the place:

KINGSBURY [n. a district of northwest London in the borough of Brent.]

or even

KINGSBURY [n. a suburb in Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.]

Interesting that some players really, really like their bishops. In which case, they may decide on moving to:

BISHOP [n. a city in Inyo County, California, and Nueces County, Texas. If you decide to live both, you may want to have different colored houses, say one being White, and the other Black. But that’s up to you!]

Now, here are the harder ones.

Finding a city named simply Knight has proven impossible to find. But the German word for Knight is Springer.

And there are many Springer Streets in the United States Most of them are in residential areas where one can rent or buy.

If that is not enough for a player who loves putting his knight on e5 (or K5 in descriptive), he may enjoy living here:

KNIGHTS LANDING [n. a city of Yolo County, California.]

Finding a city simply named ROOK has also been impossible to find. But a ROOK DRIVE exists in Huntington Beach.

For more than a street, one might try CASTLE CITY MOBILE HOME PARK, a Senior Retirement living location in Newcastle, CA. It sounds like a perfect fit for elderly and still active chess players.

And one can still live in a castle in Europe. If he is willing to travel a bit and spend a lot more.

In Green Bay, WI, there is a PAWN DRIVE,

and a PAWN AVENUE in Quincy, IL,

but strangely, there doesn’t seem to be a pawn shop on those streets.


A fun game to play over. More fun if you are White!

Jonathan I. Century (2104)-
Leslie SF Blackstock (2112)
British Universities Individual Ch.
Manchester, Apr. 11 1970

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 d6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Bc4 Qb6 7.Nde2 e6 8.Bb3 a6 9.O-O Be7 10.Bg5 Qc7 11.Ng3 b5 12.Qd2 Bb7 13.Rae1 Na5 14.f4 Rd8 15.f5 Nxb3 16.cxb3! O-O 17.Rc1 Qb8 18.Nh5 exf5

19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Nxf6+ gxf6 21.Qh6 Qa7+ 22.Kh1 Rfe8 23.Rf3 1-0

The Borg

What is the Borg? For Star Trek aficionados, they are an evil group of aliens who kidnap indigenous and sentient life forms and enslave them by use of electronic and computer implants.

But for the chess player, it is a dangerous, reply by Black against 1.e4. And when we say dangerous, we mean dangerous for Black, not White.

What makes this opening so bad for Black?

First of all, White can open the game with 1.g4 and Black can’t stop that move. But Black can really only play this move after 1.e4 (Both 1.d4 g5? 2.Bxg5 and 1.Nf3 g5? 2.Nxg5 quickly loses the game for Black).

Secondly, no one have ever claimed that 1.g4 is a good move. And it’s even worse when it is played a move behind for the following reason:

Thirdly, the move 1.g4 severely weakens White and since Black is a move behind, his reply 1…g5 weakens him even more.

But how did Black’s opening 1.e4 g5 get the name, Borg? Well, the move 1.g4 is known as Grob’s Opening. And Borg is Grob spelled backwards.

But this name only took hold after Star Trek, The New Generation introduced the Borg in an episode titled, “Q Who?”, which aired on May 8, 1989.

So maybe there is something to all this.

Back to the original post!


1.e4 g5

1) 1.e4 g5
2) 1.e4 g5 2.d4
3) 1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.f4
4) 1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.h4


1.e4 g5 2.d4

The most common response is 2.d4 and at least threaten the pawn on g5 with his c1-bishop. Black can choose to ignore the threat, not really a good idea at this point in the game.

Blitz Game
Yahoo, Jan. 1 2003
1.e4 g5 2.d4 g4? 3.Qxg4 d5 4.Qe2 dxe4 5.Qxe4 Nf6 6.Qd3 Bg4 7.Be2 Bh5?? 8.Bxh5 Nxh5 9.Qb5+ c6 10.Qxh5 -+ Nd7 11.Nc3 e6 12.Bf4 Bb4 13.Nge2 Bxc3+ 14.Nxc3 Qb6 15.O-O-O a5 16.Ne4 a4 17.Nd6+ Kd8

18.Nxf7+ Kc8 19.Nd6+!! (Much better than taking the rook and losing the initiative. Keep the enemy king on the run!) 19… Kd8 20.Qg5+ Nf6 21.Qxf6+ Kd7 22.Qf7+ Kd8 23.Nc4 Qxb2+ 24.Kxb2 b5 25.Bd6 a3+ 26.Kb1 bxc4 27.Qc7+ Ke8 28.Qe7mate 1-0

Alan R. LeCours-Richard Pugh
New York Ch.
Kerhonkson, Aug. 31 2003
1.e4 g5 2.d4 e5?! 3.d5 d6 4.Nc3 g4 5.Be3 Nf6 6.Qd2 Nbd7 7.O-O-O Rg8 8.Bd3 a6 9.Nge2 Nc5 10.Ng3 Bd7 11.Kb1 b5 12.Nce2 a5 13.c3 b4 14.c4 a4 15.Nc1 c6 16.f3 Qa5 17.Rhe1 Nb3 18.axb3 a3 19.bxa3
(19…Qxa3 20.Qa2, and White keep his extra piece.) 1-0

Escalante-“Chsstrrrst” (1637)
Blitz Game
chess.com, Jan. 16 2021
1.e4 g5 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Bxg5 Qb6 5.Qc1=
[The chess.com computer says this is an error and suggests the sharper 5.c4, and then the question becomes, can Black reasonably take the b2-pawn with his Queen?

5…Qxb2 6.Nd2, White’s best move, and now:

6…Qxd4?! 7.Ngf3 +/- Qg4 8.cxd5!, and the position between +/- and +- for White.

6…cxd4 7.Bxc4, and White has the advantage.

6…Nc6 7.Rb1 Qxa2 8.Ngf3, and there should be an infinity sign here (which means an unclear position, but I can’t upload that symbol here).]

6.cxd4 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Bd3 Bg4 8.Nbd2 O-O-O 9.O-O f6 10.exf6 exf6 11.Bf4 h5 12.h3 Bd7 13.Nh4 Nh6? (Better is 13…Ne5 as the move not only stops Ng6, but White can’t open the c-file with c4.) 14.Ng6 +/- Bg7 15.Nxh8 Rxh8 16.Nf3 Nf5 17.Re1 Nb4 18.Qd2 Nxd3 19.cxd3! (Finally, opening the c-file and Black is ill equipped to defend his isolated king on that file.) 19…h4

20.Rac1+ Bc6 (20…Kd8 21.Bc7+ Qxc7 22.Rxc7 Kxc7 23.Qa5+ +-) 21.Qe2 Kd8 22.Qe6 Bd7 23.Qxd5 Ne7 24.Qf7 Bf8 25.Bc7+ Qxc7 26.Rxc7! Kxc7 27.Rxe7 Bxe7 28.Qxe7 Re8 29.Qc5+ Bc6 30.Nxd4 Re5 31.Qc3 a6 32.Nxc6 bxc6 33.d4 Rd5 34.Kf1 a5 35.b4 a4 36.a3 f5 37.Ke2 Kd7 38.Kf3 1-0 (T)

1.e4 g5 2.d4 Bg7

If Black chooses to ignore the Bxg5 threat, he might also want to counter-attack. And he occasionally succeeds.

IM Craig W. Pritchett-IM Michael J. Basman
Great Britain Ch.
Southampton, England, 1986
1.e4 g5 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c5!?
(This is an interesting, and possibly even a good, move.) 4.d5 h6 5.h4?! (This is possibly where White starts to go wrong. The position is closed and he should not open it up so soon.) 5…gxh4 6.Nf3 d6 7.Nxh4 Nd7 8.Nf5 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Ne5 10.Bb5+ Kf8 11.Be2 Qa5 12.Kf1 Bxf5 13.exf5 Nf6 14.Rxh6 Kg7 15.Rxh8 Rxh8 16.Kg1 Qxc3 17.Rb1 Ne4 18.Bh5 Qd4 19.Be3 Qxd1+ 20.Bxd1 Nc3 21.Ra1 Nxd5 22.Bc1 b5 23.Bb2 f6 24.Rb1 b4 25.Be2 Nf4 26.Bf1 Rh5 27.Bxe5 fxe5 28.g4 Rg5 29.f3 Kf6 30.a3 a5 31.axb4 axb4 32.Bc4 d5 33.Bf1 Rg8 34.Ra1 Rb8 35.Ra6+ Kg5 36.Ra7 c4 37.Rxe7 b3 38.cxb3 cxb3 0-1

But if White remains flexible, he can often take the pawn and still have enough pieces and space to engineer an attack. There is also the issue of Black trying to win the b2-pawn with his queen.

Vladimir Petrienko-Jan Svatos
Trimex Open
Pardubice, Czech Republic, 1992
1.e4 g5 2.d4 Bg7 3.Bxg5 c5 4.Be3 Qb6 5.Nc3
(Again, we have the question about Black taking the b-pawn with his queen. The biggest counter-threat from White is of course, Nd5. So, again, is it worth for Black to take the b-pawn? According to result of this game, the answer is No.)

5…Qxb2?! 6.Nd5 Kd8 7.Rb1 Qxa2 8.Ra1 Qb2 9.Bc4 cxd4 10.Ra2 dxe3 11.Rxb2 exf2+ 12.Kxf2 Bxb2 13.c3 Nc6 14.Qd2 Ba3 15.Qg5 Bc5+ 16.Ke2 Bd4 17.cxd4 Nxd4+ 18.Kf2 Ne6 19.Qh5 f6 20.Nf3 b6 21.Rd1 Bb7 22.Nxb6 1-0

Gennadi Ginsburg-T. Frey
Neckar Open
Deizisau, Germany, Apr. 6 1998
1.e4 g5 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6?! 4.Bc4 b5 5.Bb3 a5 6.a3 Ba6 7.Qf3 e6 8.e5 d5 9.exd6 Bxd4 10.Ne4 Nd7 11.Ne2 Bg7 12.Bxg5 Qc8 13.O-O c5 14.c4 Bb7 15.cxb5

15…f5? 16.Bxe6 Bxe4 17.Qb3 c4 18.Bxc4 Ngf6 19.f3 Bd5 20.Qe3+ Kf8 21.Qe7+ Kg8 22.Bxd5+ 1-0

Iulia Mashinskaya (2268)-Nikolai Vlassov (2492)
Blitz Game, Chess Planet
Russian Cup, Sept. 7 2004
1.e4 g5 2.d4 Bg7 3.Bxg5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Bc1 cxd4 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Bc4 d6 8.O-O Nf6 9.Re1 Bg4 10.h3 Bh5 11.cxd4 Bxf3 12.Qxf3 Nxd4 13.Qd1 O-O 14.Nc3 Rac8 15.Bd3 Ne6 16.Nd5 Qd8 17.Nxf6+ Bxf6 18.Bh6 Bg7 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Re3 Kh8 21.b3 Rc5 22.Bc4 b5 23.Bd5 Nf4 24.Rf3 e5 25.b4 Rc7 26.Bb3 Rg8 27.Rg3 Rxg3 28.fxg3 Ne6 29.Qd5 Nd4 30.Rf1 Nxb3 31.axb3 Kg7 32.Qxb5 Qg5 33.Qd3 Qg6 34.Kh2 h5 35.h4 a6 36.Qxa6 Rc3 37.Rf3 Rc2 38.Qd3 Rc1 39.Rf5 Qe6 40.Rxh5 Qc8 41.Rg5+ Kh7 42.Qf3 1-0

GM Alexandre Dgebuadze-Man Thomanek
Staufer Open
Leinzell, Jan. 2 2011
1.e4 g5 2.d4 Bg7 3.Bxg5 c5 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Bc4 Nc6 6.O-O d6 7.Nbd2 Bg4 8.Be2 Bf6 9.Bxf6 Nxf6 10.Nxd4 Nxd4 11.Bxg4 Rg8 12.Bh3 Rc8 13.c3 Ne6 14.Qa4+ Kf8 15.Bxe6 fxe6 16.Rad1 Rc5 17.Nf3 b5 18.Qxa7 Qe8 19.e5 Qg6 20.Nh4 Qg5 21.exf6 Qxf6 22.Rd4 Rh5 23.g3 e5 24.Qa8+ Kf7 25.Qd5+ Kf8 26.Rb4 e4 27.Qxe4 1-0

If Black chooses to defend his pawn, his best option is to play 2…h6. White has several moves to counter this defensive move.

Two of the more interesting ways are 3.f4 and 3.h4, with 3.h4 being considered the strongest.

1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.f4

Pablo Michel-Kurt Richter Sr.
Germany Ch.
Bad Oeynhausen, 1938
1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.f4 Bg7 4.c3 gxf4 5.Bxf4 c5 6.dxc5 b6 7.Qg4 Kf8 8.Qg3 Na6 9.cxb6 Qxb6 10.Qf2 Nf6 11.Qxb6 axb6 12.Nf3 Nc5 13.Nbd2 Nfxe4 14.Nxe4 Nxe4 15.Be5 Bxe5 16.Nxe5 Rg8 17.Bd3 Nc5 18.O-O Nxd3 19.Nxd3 Ba6 20.Rf3 Rg5 21.b3 Rc8 22.c4 Bb7 23.Rf2 d5 24.Nf4 Kg7 25.cxd5 Bxd5 26.Re1 e6 27.h4 Rg4 28.Nxd5 exd5 29.Ref1 Rc7 1/2-1/2

Lisa Schut (1918)-Jacob Perrenet
Maastricht Limburg Open
The Netherlands, May 26 2007
1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.f4 Bg7 4.fxg5 hxg5 5.Bxg5 c5 6.Be3 Qb6 7.Nc3 cxd4 8.Nd5 dxe3 9.Nxb6 axb6 10.c3 Nf6 11.Bd3 d5 12.Bb5+ Bd7 13.Bxd7+ Nbxd7 14.Ne2 dxe4 15.Nd4 Ra5 16.Qe2 Rg5 17.O-O-O Ne5 18.h4 Nd3+ 19.Kb1 Rc5 20.Nb3 Rc6 21.Qxe3 Bh6 22.Qe2 Rg8 23.Rhf1 Re6 24.Nd4 Nf4 25.Qb5+ Kf8 26.Nxe6+ Nxe6 27.Qxb6 e3 28.Rfe1 Rxg2 29.Rxe3 Bxe3 30.Qxe3 Rh2 31.Qb6 Rxh4 32.Qxb7 Ne4 33.Qb8+ Kg7 34.Rg1+ Kf6 35.Rf1+ Kg7 36.Rg1+ Kf6 37.a4 Nd2+ 38.Kc2 Nf3 39.Rf1 Neg5 40.Qg3 1-0

1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.h4

Georgios Alexopoulos (2249)-Hristos Giannopoulos
Greece, 1969
1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.h4 gxh4 4.Rxh4 e5 5.Nf3 exd4 6.Qxd4 Qf6 7.e5 Qe7 8.Nc3 c6 9.Be3 d5 10.exd6 Qf6 11.Re4+ Be6 12.O-O-O Bg7 13.d7+ Kd8

14.Qb6+!! axb6 15.Bxb6+ Ke7 16.d8=Qmate 1-0

Philip Giulian (2295)-Michael Basman (2350)
Scotland, 1986
1.d4 h6 2.e4 g5 3.h4 g4 4.Qxg4 d5 5.Qe2 dxe4 6.Qxe4 Nf6 7.Qd3 Nc6 8.c3 Qd5 9.Nf3 Rg8 10.Nbd2 Bg4 11.Nc4 O-O-O 12.Ne3 Qd6 13.Nxg4 Nxg4 14.Qf5+ Kb8 15.Bf4 e5 16.Nxe5 Nxd4 17.Nxg4 Nc2+ 18.Qxc2 Qxf4 19.Ne3 Bc5 20.g3 Rxg3 21.fxg3 Qxe3+ 0-1

Marcus Osborne (2233)-Michael Basman (2360)
Great Britain Ch.
Torquay, 1998
1.e4 g5 2.d4 h6 3.h4 g4 4.Qxg4 d5 5.Qf4 dxe4 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 e6 8.Nge2 Nf6 9.Nb5 Na6 10.b3 Bd7 11.Ba3 Bxb5 12.Bxb5+ c6 13.Bxa6 Qa5+ 14.Kf1 Qxa6 15.Bc5 Nd7 16.Rd1 O-O-O 17.Bd6 f5 18.a4 Nf6 19.c4 Nh5 20.Qh2 Qa5 21.c5 Rd7 22.Be5 Qb4 23.Bxg7 Qxb3 24.Ra1 Rxg7 25.Qe5 Rhg8 26.Rh3 Qd5 27.Rb1 f4 28.Rhb3 Qxe5 29.dxe5 Rd8 30.Nc3 Rd4 31.Rb4 Rxb4 32.Rxb4 e3 33.fxe3 fxe3 34.g4 Rf7+ 35.Ke2 Nf4+ 36.Kxe3 Nd5+ 37.Nxd5 cxd5 38.g5 hxg5 39.hxg5 Rg7 40.Rg4 Kd7 41.g6 Ke7 42.Kf4 Kf8 43.Kg5 Kg8 44.Kf6 Rc7 45.Rh4 a5 46.Kxe6 Rxc5 47.Kf6 Rc1 48.e6 Rf1+ 49.Ke7 Kg7 50.Rg4 d4 51.Rxd4 Kxg6 52.Kd7 1-0

Robert Rowley

This week is Robert Rowley’s birthday! He was born Jan. 12 1950, earned his FM title and won the Arizona State Chess Championship a total of eleven times.

Many of his game are based on sound play and tactics making them enjoyable, and understandable, for beginning and intermediate players.

Let’s look a couple of his games.

Robert Rowley-IM Jeremy Silman
World Open
Philadelphia, 1990
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.O-O Be7

[Also interesting is 5…c5!? GM Ulf Andersson-Ivar Bern, corres., Norwegian 50-Year Postal Jubilee, 1995/6, continued with 6.Bg5 Na6 7.Na3 Nc7 8.c4 b4 9.Nc2 a5 10.e4!! Bxe4 11.Re1 Bxc2 12.Qxc2 cxd4 13.Nxd4 Ra6 (Here Ulf was ready to introduce another nasty tactical trick. 13…Rb8 14.Nc6 dxc6 15.Bxc6+ Ke7 16.Rad1 Qc8 17.Qd2 and the threat of 18.Qd6mate and 18.Qe3! are decisive.) 14.Rad1 h6 15.Bxf6 Qxf6 16.Qa4 Bc5 17.Nxe6! (White’s enormous pressure had to be released somehow.) 17…Bxf2+ 18.Kh1 Rxe6 (Or 18…Nxe6 19.Qxd7+ Kf8 20.Qc8+ with a mate in two.) 19.Qxd7+ Kf8 20.Rxe6 Qxe6 21.Qxc7 g6 22.Rf1 (Ivar Bern decided to save his stamps due to 22…Bb6 23.Qb7 f5 24.Rd1 and the treat 25.c5 puts a period to Andersson’s little masterpiece.) 1-0 – notes to this game by Inside Chess.]

6.Qd3 a6 7.c4 bxc4 8.Qxc4 O-O 9.Nc3 Qc8!? (This move does have other purposes other than protecting the b7-bishop. It takes the queen out of the possible pin after Bg5 and supports queenside play. Finally, Black is not committed to …d6, even though that is the right move for the d-pawn. He can still …d5 if the position warrants it.)10.Bg5 d6 (Well, there goes the ..d5 plans.) 11.Rac1 Nbd7 12.Na4 Bd8 13.Nd2 Bxg2 14.Kxg2 Rb8 15.Qc6 Rb4 16.Rc4 Rxc4 17.Nxc4 Be7 18.Rc1 Nb8 19.Ncb6 Nxc6 20.Nxc8 Rxc8 21.Rxc6 h6 22.Bxf6 Bxf6 23.e3 a5 24.b3 Bd8 25.Kf3 Ra8 26.Nc3 Kf8 27.e4 Ke7 28.Ke3 Kd7 29.d5 f5 30.f3 fxe4 31.fxe4 Bg5+ 32.Kd3 Rf8 33.Nb5 Bd8 34.Nd4 exd5 35.exd5 Rf1 36.Rc2 Rd1+ 37.Kc4 Bf6 38.Nc6 Re1 39.a4 h5 40.b4 (40.Nxa5 works just as good, and perhaps a little better than the text, in creating an a-pawn passer.) 40…axb4 41.Nxb4 Ra1 42.Kb5 Bd4 43.a5 Bc5 44.Nc6 Rd1 45.Kc4 Re1 46.a6 Re8 47.Ra2 Kc8 48.Kb5 Bb6 49.Ra4 g5 50.h4 g4 51.Rf4 Rh8 52.Rf5 Bc5 53.Kc4 Bg1 54.Kd3 Bh2

55.Rf1 1-0 (As Rb1 and Rb8 cannot be stopped.)

Phoenix FIDE Futurity
Arizona, 1980
[Hurdle, “Games from the Phoenix FIDE Futurity”, Chess Life, Aug. 1981]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nbd7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nxe5 9.Bf4! (A move that appears to refute this variation – Escalante.)

9…Nfd7 (Moving the knight on e5 is embarrassing after Nbd5.) 10.Bb5 Bg7 11.Qe2 O-O 12.O-O-O a6 13.Bxd7 (Any retreat by this Bishop allows Black to begin his attack with …b5. Very interesting is 13.Bxe5 Nxe5 14.Ne6 Bxe6 15.Rxd8 Rfxd8 where Black has Rook, Bishop, and pawn plus pressure for the Queen. The position would be fairly equal but Black can improve with 13.Bxe5 Bxe5 14.Bxd7 Bf4+, keep the pawn.) 13…Nxd7 14.Bg5 Qb6! 15.Qxe7! Bxd4 16.Rxd4 Qxd4 17.Bh6 Qf6 (Now White is down an entire Rook but he has all the play. This is the critical position of the game, and perhaps 17…b5 wins. If 18.Rd1 Qf6 19.Bxf8 Qf4+ 20.Kb1 Nxf8 21.Rd8 Bb7 22.Qxf8#. So perhaps 21…Qh6 22.Nd5 Bb7 23.Nf6+ Kh8 24.Qxf7 Qg7 and Black holds. Rowley suggested 21.Nd5! Qh6 22.Nf6+ Kh8 23.Qe4!, and then 23…Rb8 24.Qe5 Ra8 25.Qd4, in either case setting up a winning discovery. Of course, Black could abandon the Rook and counter attack the Knight. For example, 23…Ra7 24.Qd4 Qg7 25.Qxa7 Qxf6 and it’s still a hard fight. Back to the game.) 18.Bxf8 Qf4+ 19.Kb1 Nxf8 20.Nd5 Qf5 (Defending the Bishop. If Black tries 20…Qh6?, then 21.Nb6 Rb8 22.Qc7 leads to disaster on the Queenside.) 21.Nf6+ Kg7 22.Ne8+ Kg8  1/2-1/2

Is There a Goddess of Chess?

In a short answer, yes.

The game which has been described as a game of skill, where players rely on memory, tactics, long winded strategies, good moves, and healthy diet (it helps – believe me), leaving nothing to chance or clairvoyance, does allow, and sometimes even encourage, supernatural intervention. (I have seen players pray before a game.)

Before we start, let me introduce you to Caïssa, the goddess of chess, who showers her favors on prodigies and like Nike (the goddess of victory), occasionally smiles on lower rated.

No one has ever seen Caïssa, but she is around, esp. when chess is being played. Here is one interpretation, but she can also be found on the chessboard itself.

Now it is possible for both players to error in a game. And yet one player still emerges with a win. The goddess always wants to reward the player who willing to take a chance.

Thematic Tournament – Practice The French (U1900) – Round 2
chess.com, 2020/1
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.exd5 exd5 (A cross between the Tarrasch and the Exchange variations of the French. It gives White a small advantage and is usually played when one is content with a draw.) 5.Bd3 Bd6 6.Ne2 O-O 7.O-O Re8 8.c4 c6 9.Re1 Bxh2+?! (I was hoping for a quick win here with the classical bishop sac on the kingside. However, this move is an error as White has some very beneficial knights to keep his king safe.) 10.Kxh2 Ng4+ 11.Kg3!

[And Black is facing the prospect of a quick loss after a bad sacrifice and a pair of equally bad hallucinations. Obviously moving back to g1 leads to an early mate. But this is the illusion. White wins after 11.Kg1 Qh4 12.Nf3 Qxf2+ 13.Kg1, with the idea of Rf1. I had considered 11.Kg3 and knew it was usually a bad king move as it leads directly to a fun king hunt for the attacking player. I didn’t consider the move was worth studying. But I should have! 11…Qd6+ leads to either 12.f4 Re3+ 13.Kh4 Qh6#, or the better 12.Nf4! Rxe1 (else 13.Rxe8+) 13.Qxe1g5 14.Qe8+ Kg7 and it is White who wins after 15.Nb3.] 11…Qg5 (Now the values of 12.f4 and 12.Nf4 switch places. 12.Nf4 is not good because 12…Ne3+ 13.Kf3 Bg4+ 14.Kg3 Bxd1+ 15.Kh2 Qxf4+ 16.g3 Qxf2+. But 12.f4 Re3+ 13.Nf3 wins!) 12.Qb3?? (White, after facing the threats, both real and illusionary, unbelievably blunders, and allows Black to finish the game with ease.) 12…Ne3+ -+ 13.Kf3 Qg4mate 0-1

Gods and goddesses have always encouraged not just good behavior, but also good health.

In the following game, my inebriated opponent came to the board red-eyed and reeking of alcohol. It didn’t help him, but it helped in keeping me awake as I find alcohol disagreeable in smell, in taste and by ingestion. Did I mention this was a night game?

Gomez Baillo-Escalante
US Open
Los Angeles, CA 1991
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.d4 exd4 11.Nxd4 Nxd4 12.cxd4 Be6 13.Nc3 c6 14.Qh5?! (Does White actually believe his premature queen sortie is going to lead to a quick mate? Maybe the alcohol is taking it’s toll as my opponent is playing about 200 pints below his rating. I have a reasonable excuse for my weaker moves; I am 200 points below my opponent’s rating. But I’m sober and that is an advantage in chess.) 14…Qd7!? (Black could play 14…Nf6, but I like my knight just where it is!)  15.Nxd5 (It stands to reason that if I like my knight just where it is, then my opponent does not like my knight where it is. Black has a slight disadvantage.) 15…cxd5 16.Bc2 g6 17.Qe5?! (17.Qe2 was better.) 17…Bd6 (With this simple move, Black now gains a slight advantage.) 18.Qg5 Be7 19.Qh6 (White is fixated on a kingside mating strategy. Tunnel vision helps see deep in a position. But this is not the only part of the board. Other ideas and strategies are emerging.) 19…Bf6 20.Bg5 Bg7 21.Qh4 Bf5 22.Rac1 Rac8 23.Bxf5 Rxc1 24.Rxc1 Qxf5 25.g4 Qe4 26.Be3 Bxd4 27.Bh6 Re8 28.Bg5 Bxb2 29.Qh6 Bxc1 (Black misses 29.Qxg4+! -+. But he finds it the next move.) 30.Bxc1 Qxg4+ 31.Kf1 Qe2+ 0-1