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
Simul
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

Happy Birthday János Balogh!

Today is János Balogh birthday!

He was born on this day, Sept. 10 1892. And for those of you who might not know, Balogh is on of those rare players who excelled at both Over The Board (OTB) chess and Correspondence Chess (CC).

He won the Romanian Championship in 1930 and played in numerous Hungarian Championships. In addition, he played in the Olympiads for both of these countries.

His playing strength is hard to determine precisely as World War 2 interrupted much of his play. But he was likely of as least of IM strength and probably never received the IM title for two reasons. One that The International Federation of Chess (Fédération Internationale des Échecs, or FIDE for short) didn’t start awarding International titles until 1950 and around that time, Balogh started correspondence chess.

He was awarded the International Master of Correspondence title in 1953 by the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF).

János Balogh was an expert in the openings as the following games show. He even had an opening named after him, although it is now considered unsound.

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

János Balogh-Egil Jacobson
Hague Ol.
Netherlands, 1928

[C90]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 Na5 9.Bc2 c5 10.d3 Nc6!?

[Frederick Yates-Ernst Gruenfeld, Baden-Baden, 1925 continued with 10…O-O 11.Nbd2 Re8 12.Nf1 Bf8 13.Ng3 Nc6 14.h3 g6 15.Bg5 Bg7 16.Qd2 Qc7 17.Bh6 Bh8 18.Qe3 Bb7 19.Ng5 Nd8 20.f4 exf4 21.Qxf4 Ne6 22.Qh4 d5 23.e5 Nd7 24.d4 Nxg5 25.Qxg5 cxd4 26.e6 Nc5 27.exf7+ Qxf7 28.Rf1 Qe6 29.Rae1 Qc6 30.Rxe8+ Qxe8 31.Nf5! 1-0]

11.Nbd2 Qc7 12.Nf1 d5 13.Ng3 O-O 14.Nh4 (14.exd5!?) 14…Rd8 15.Qe2 Nxe4 16.dxe4 Bxh4 (16…d4!!? with the idea of securing a pawn, or even a knight, to d4.) 17.exd5 Bxg3 18.dxc6 Bh4?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2020_09_10_a.jpg


19.Qe4! +- Bf6 20.Qxh7+ Kf8 21.Be3! Qd6 22.Rad1 Qxc6 23.Qh8+ Ke7 24.Qxd8+ Ke6 25.Rd6+ 1-0 (25…Qxd6 26.Bf5+)

Geza Nagy-János Balogh
Budapest, 1932
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.d4 e5 4.dxe5 Nc6 5.Nf3 Nge7 6.Bf4 Ng6 7.Bg3 Qa5 8.Qd5 b3+ 9.Qxa5 b2 10.Qc3 Bb4 11.Qxb4 Nxb4 0-1

Najmes- János Balogh
Budapest, 1943
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.Nf3 b6 5.Qd5 Bb7 6.Qxb7 Nc6 7.Qa6 Bb4+ 8.Bd2 Nc5 9.Qb5 Bxd2+ 10.Nbxd2 a6 0-1

David-János Balogh
Hungary Ch., 1948
[A08]
1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Bf5 3.Bg2 Nd7 4.c4 c6 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Qb3?! (It’s probably too early to bring the queen out. 6.Nc3 is a better try.) 6…Nc5 7.Qb5+ Bd7 8.Qxc5?

8…Rc8! 0-1

János Balogh-Sagorowskij
corres.
European Team Tournament, 1973
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f4 e5 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.Bd3 Be7 9.O-O O-O 10.Kh1 b5 11.Qe1 [ECO gives 11.fxe5 dxe5 12.Qe2 Nbd7 13.Nh4 +/= (Shamkovich-Morales, Mexico, 1978).] 11…Nbd7 12.fxe5 dxe5 13.Bg5 h6 14.Bd2 b4 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.exd5 Rb8 17.Qg3 Qd6 18.Rae1 Bb7 (18…Rb6!?) 19.Nxe5 Nxe5 20.Bf4 Bh4 21.Qxh4 Qxd5? 22.Be4 Ng6 23.Qg3 Nxf4 24.Bxd5 Nxd5 25.Qb3 Rfd8 (25…Nf6 certainly makes more sense. Now White is in complete control.)


26.Kg1! Bc6 27.Re5 Rb7 28.Rd1 Rbd7 29.Qc4 Bb7 30.Qe4 g6 (30…Nf6 31.Rxd7!) 31.Re8+ Kh7 32.Qe5 f6 33.Qe6! 1-0

The Balogh Defense (also known as the Balogh Counter Gambit) is an unusual chess opening beginning with the moves:

1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5

Which would make a king pawn opening. The position, however, may also arise by transposition from the Staunton Gambit against the Dutch Defense, 1.d4 f5 2.e4!? (which would make it a queen pawn opening).

The main drawback to this opening, however it may be labeled is weak e6-square, with or without a black pawn on it.

Some noteworthy games.

Euwe-Henri Weenink
Amsterdam, 1923
[ECO, A28]
1.d4 f5 2.e4 d6 3.exf5 Bxf5 4.Qf3 Qc8 5.Bd3 Bxd3 6.Qxd3 Nc6 7.Nf3 e6 8.O-O Qd7 9.c4 O-O-O 10.Re1 Nf6 +/- (10…e5 11.Nc3 +/- Euwe) 11.Bd2 Re8 12.Na3 Be7 13.b4 Rhf8 14.b5 Nd8 15.Nc2 Nh5 16.a4 g5 17.a5! +/- g4 18.Ng5 d5 19.b6 cxb6 20.axb6 a6 21.c5 Bxg5 22.Bxg5 Nc6 23.Reb1 Qg7 24.Be3 Kd7 25.Nb4 Nxb4 26.Rxb4 Rc8 27.Rxa6 bxa6 28.b7 Rb8 29.Qxa6 Qe7 30.Bg5 Qxg5 31.Qd6+ Ke8 32.Qxb8+ Kf7 33.Qxf8+ Kxf8 34.b8=Q+ 1-0

Kornel Havasi-János Balogh
Hague Ol.
Netherlands, 1928
1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.Nge2 fxe4 6.Nxe4 e5 7.Nxf6+ Qxf6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Ng3 Qf7 10.c4 Bd7 11.O-O Ng6 12.Qh5 Be7 13.f4 Bf6 14.Ne4 exf4 15.Bxf4 Bd4+ 16.Kh1 Ne5 17.Qe2 Bg4 18.Qc2 Qh5 19.c5 O-O 20.cxd6 cxd6 21.Ng3 Qh4 22.Qd2 Nxd3 23.Qxd3 Bxb2 24.Bxd6 Bxa1 25.Bxf8 Rxf8 26.Rxa1 Qf6 27.Rf1 Qd6 28.Rxf8+ Kxf8 29.h3 Be6 30.Qf3+ Bf7 31.Nf5 Qxd5


32.Qa3+! 1-0

Eloy Cantero Ramon (2078)-Jose Munoz Izcua
Montevideo, 1954
[Black’s weakened kingside is demonstrated in this game.]
1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5 3.Bd3!? Nc6 4.exf5 Nxd4 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Nf6 7.g7+ Nxh5 8.gxh8=Q Nf6 9.Bh6 Ne6 10.Bf5 Bd7 11.Qxh7 Ng7 12.Qg6mate 1-0

Manuel Castillo (2233)-F. Molnar
Paris, 1963
1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5 3.exf5 Bxf5 4.Bd3 Qd7 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.c4 Bg4 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Nbd2 e5 9.d5 Nd8 10.Qc2 g6 11.Ng5 Bf5 12.Nge4 Bg7 13.Nxf6+ Bxf6 14.Ne4 Bg7 15.h4 h5 16.f3 Nf7 17.O-O-O b6 18.Kb1 O-O-O 19.c5 dxc5 20.Bxc5 Kb8 21.Bf2 Nd6 22.Qb3 Bh6 23.Rhe1 Rhf8 24.Nc5 Qb5 25.Ne6 Qxb3 26.axb3 Bxe6 27.dxe6 Rf6 28.Rxe5 Re8 29.e7 Rf7 30.Rde1 Nf5 31.Bxf5 gxf5 32.g3 Bg7 33.Re6 Bf6 34.Kc2 Kc8 35.Kd3 Kd7 36.Bd4 Rexe7 37.Rxf6 Rxf6 38.Rxe7+ Kxe7 39.Bxf6+ Kxf6 40.g4 fxg4 41.fxg4 hxg4 42.Ke4 0-1 (Black wins the pawn war.)

G. Besemer-J. Lens
corres.
Netherlands, 1978
1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bd3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 Nxe4 6.Bxe4 g6 7.Nf3 d5 8.Bd3 Qd6 9.Ne5?! (Perfectly good is 9.O-O.) 9…Nc6 10.Bf4 Qb4+ (Also good is 10…Qf6) 11.Qd2 Qxd2+ 12.Kxd2 Nxd4 13.Nxg6 hxg6 14.Be5 Rh4 15.Bxc7 Bf5 0-1 (16.Bxf5 gxf5 17.c3 Nc6  18.Bg3 Bh6+)

G. Besemer-D. Van Rikxoort
corres.
Netherlands, 1978
1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.d5 Ne5 6.Nf3 Nxd3+ 7.cxd3 g6 8.Bd2 Bg7 9.Qc2 O-O 10.O-O fxe4 11.dxe4 Bd7 12.Qb3 Bg4 13.Ng5 h6 14.h3 hxg5 15.hxg4 Nxg4 16.Bxg5 Bd4 17.Nd1 b6 18.Qd3 Bg7 19.Qg3 (>19.Rc1) 19…Nf6 20.Nc3 Qd7 21.f4 Qg4 22.Qxg4 Nxg4 23.Rac1 Bd4+ 24.Kh1 Rf7 25.g3 Rh7+ 26.Bh4 a6 27.Rf3 g5 28.fxg5 Be3


29.g6? (White could try 29.Rcf1 Bxg5 30.Kg1 Bxh4 31.gxh4 Nf6 32.Rf4 Kf7 33.Kf2 Rah8, with a slight advantage for Black.) 29…Rxh4+ (and 30…Bxc1) 0-1