From England, with Love

Martin Severin From (Apr. 8 1828-May 6 1895), an English player, came up with an intriguing gambit to deal with Bird’s opening (1.f4). It have proven to be so popular that it now the most common response to 1.f4 and is played in blitz chess, OTB games, and correspondence games.

 

But why this gambit so popular after 100 years? For one, it can lead to a quick mate for Black. Second, even if the game does not end in a quick mate, the initiative can quickly pass to Black. And all for the price of a pawn.

 

Many players have studied From’s Gambit and contributed to the it’s theory. It’s a labor of love, and because it’s chess, it is a complicated and forever friendship. Some players actually do fall in love with this opening.

 
Here is one of the earliest games played by it’s creator.

 

Mollastrom-From
Copenhagen, 1862
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e4 Ng4 6.g3? (White falls into a thematic trap of the From’s.)

 

2020_06_25_A

6…Nxh2! 7.Rxh2 Bxg3+ 8.Ke2 Bxh2 9.Nxh2 f5 10.Bg2 fxe4 11.Bxe4 Qh4 12.Qh1 O-O 13.Bd5+ Kh8 14.Qg1 Qh5+ 15.Bf3 Rxf3 16.Nxf3 Bg4 17.d3 Nc6 18.Bf4 Rf8 19.Bg3 Rxf3 20.Ke1 Qh6 21.Nc3 Nb4 0-1

 
Let’s look at some problems and early traps that can trouble and entrap White.

1.f4 e5

 

[White does not need to accept the offered pawn. He can play 2.f4 and the game is now a King’s Gambit. Which is another opening White having to learn. In any case, he is no longer playing a Bird’s. Or he can attempt other moves. But declining the gambit, unless it’s 2.f4, usually backfires.

 

Wageneder-Acs
Balatonbereny, 1992
1.f4 e5 2.Nf3 e4 3.Ng5 d5 4.e3 h6 5.Nxf7 Kxf7 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qe5 Bg7 0-1

 

Hart-Vehre
corres., 1986
1.f4 e5 2.Nh3 d5 3.g3 Bxh3 4.Bxh3 exf4 5.O-O Bd6 6.d3 fxg3 7.hxg3 Nf6 8.Kg2 h6 9.c4 c6 10.cxd5 cxd5 11.Nc3 Qb6 12.e4 dxe4 13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.dxe4 O-O 15.Rf3 Na6 16.Qe2 Rae8 17.Be3 Rxe4 18.Bf5 Re5 19.Qd2 Bc5 20.Bxc5 Nxc5 21.Qc2 Rfe8 22.Rf2 Qc6+ 23.Kh3 g6 24.Bg4 Ne4 25.Rg2 Ng5+ 26.Kh2 Nf3+ 0-1

 

N.N.-Sternberg
Berlin, 1959
1.f4 e5 2.d3 Bc5 3.Nf3 d6 4.fxe5 dxe5 5.Nxe5?? Qd4 6.Nf3 Qf2+ 7.Kd2 Be3+ 8.Kc3 c5 9.Bxe3 Qxe3 10.Kb3 c4+ 11.Kc3 [11.Kxc4 b5+ 12.Kc3 b4+ 13.Kxb4 (13.Kb3 Be6+ 14.c4 bxc3+ 15.Kxc3 Nd7 16.b3 Nb6 17.Kb2 a5) Nf6 14.c4 Nc6+ 15.Kc3 Ne4+ 16.Kc2 Nf2 is unclear.] 11…b5 12.a4 b4+ 13.Kxb4 Qb6+ 14.Kc3 Qa5+ 15.Kd4 (15.b4 cxb3+ 16.Kxb3 Be6+ 17.c4 Nc6) 15…Nf6 16.e4 Ng4 17.Qd2 Nc6+ 18.Kxc4 Be6mate 0-1.]

 

2.fxe5 d6

 

(Black can play 2…Nc6, delaying …d6, for a change of pace.)

 

3.exd6 Bxd6

 

 

[White now has a pawn but the pressure on his kingside is enormous. He can lose instantly with 4.h3?? Bg3#. He can also try the much stronger move, 4.d4. But even then, he has some problems.

 

Bird-Steinitz
London, 1866
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Bg5 Nc6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.e3 Qd7 8.Bb5 O-O-O 9.Bxf6?! gxf6 10.d5 Qe7 11.Bxc6 Qxe3+ 12.Qe2 Qc1+ 13.Qd1 Rde8+ 14.Bxe8 Rxe8+ 15.Kf2 Qe3+ 16.Kf1 Bxf3 17.gxf3 Bc5 18.Kg2 Rg8+ 0-1

 

Warland-E. Eliassen (1758)
Norway U20 Ch.
Oslo, Apr. 12 2003
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.d4 Qh4+ 5.Kd2 Qxd4+ 6.Ke1 Qh4+ 7.Kd2 Bf4+ 8.e3 Qf2+ 9.Qe2 Bxe3+ 10.Kd3 Bf5+ 11.Kc3 Qxe2 12.Nxe2 Bxc1 13.Nxc1 Nf6 14.b3 O-O 15.Kb2 Nc6 16.Nc3 Nb4 17.Nd3 Nxd3+ 18.Bxd3 Bxd3 19.cxd3 Rad8 20.Rhd1 Rfe8 21.Rac1 c6 22.Kb1 Nd5 23.Kb2 Nb4 24.a3 Nxd3+ 25.Kc2 Nxc1 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.Kxc1 f5 28.Ne2 g5 0-1. So he, White, has to try 4.Nf3.]

 

4.Nf3

 

[Now Black has a couple of very popular choices; 4…g5 (an aggressive attacking move) and 4…Nf6 (a more secure move, securing some initiative, but allowing White to breathe a little).

 

Just in case you were interested in the other moves, here are few more.

 

Rothgen-Lochner
corres.
Thematic Tournament, 1961
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 f5 5.d4 Nf6 6.Bg5 O-O 7.e3 Qe8 8.Bc4+ Kh8 9.Qe2 Ne4 10.Nbd2 c6 11.O-O-O b5 12.Bd3 Qe6 13.c4 Ba6 14.Kb1 bxc4 15.Nxc4 h6 16.Bf4 Bxf4 17.exf4 Nd7 18.Nce5 Rfb8 19.Ka1 Bxd3 20.Rxd3 Ndf6 21.Rc1 Rb6 22.Ra3 Nd5 23.Qc4 Nd6 24.Qc5 Ne4 25.Qc4 Nd6 1/2-1/2

 

Warren-Wall
North Carolina, 1975
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 h5 5.g3 h4 6.Nxh4 Rxh4 7.gxh4 Qxh4mate 0-1

 

K. Zeh-Elm
Germany, 1963
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.g3 h5 6.Bg2 Nc6 7.c3 h4 8.Nxh4 Rxh4 9.gxh4 Qxh4+ 10.Kf1 Qf6+ 11.Ke1 O-O-O 12.Qb3 Re8 13.e3 Qh4+ 14.Kf1 Re6 0-1

 

Leroy-Tonoli
Liege, 1965
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.g3 h5 6.Bg2 h4 7.Nxh4 Rxh4 8.gxh4 Qxh4+ 9.Kf1 Bc5 10.Qe1 Qf6+ 0-1

 

Krause-Bohringer
corres., 1966
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.g3 h5 6.Bg2 Nc6 7.d3 Qe7 8.Bg5 f6 9.Bf4 Bxf4 10.gxf4 Qb4+ 11.Nc3 Qxf4 1-0.

 

Now let’s take a look at 4…g5!?. Obviously the pawn wants to advance to g4, driving the knight away so the queen can come to h4, giving check and creating a mess of White’s position.

 

White must do something about this threat.

 
5.e4 does not work.

 

N.N.-Bier
Hamburg, 1905
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.e4 g4 6.e5 gxf3 7.exd6 Qh4+ 8.g3 Qe4+ 9.Kf2 Qd4+ 10.Ke1 f2+ 11.Ke2 Bg4mate 0-1

 

Natapov-Razdobarin
USSR, 1969
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.e4 g4 6.Ng1 Qh4+ 7.Ke2 g3 8.Nc3 Qxh2 9.Rxh2 gxh2 10.Nf3 h1=Q -+

 

G. Stark-R. Buchanan
Colorado, 1980
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.e4 g4 6.e5 Qe7 7.Kf2 gxf3 8.exd6 Qh4+ 9.Ke3 Nf6 10.Qxf3 Nc6 11.Bb5 Qd4+ 0-1

 

Christoph Bohn-Michael Uhl
Multicoop Open
Budapest, 1992
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.e4 g4 6.e5 Bc5 7.d4 gxf3 8.dxc5 f2+ 9.Kxf2 Qxd1 10.Bb5+ Qd7 11.Bxd7+ Nxd7 12.Be3 Ne7 13.Re1 O-O 14.Bh6 Re8 15.Nc3 Nxc5 16.b4 Nd7 17.Nb5 Nd5 18.c4 a6 19.cxd5 axb5 20.e6 fxe6 21.Re3 e5 22.Rg3+ Kf7 23.Rg7+ Kf6 24.Kg1 e4 25.Rf1+ Ke5 26.Rxh7 Rxa2 27.Bg7+ Kxd5 28.Rd1+ Kc4 29.Rd4+ Kb3 30.Rh3+ e3 31.Rd3+ Kc2 32.Rdxe3 Rxe3 33.Rxe3 Ra4 34.Rc3+ Kd2 35.Rxc7 Nb6 36.h4 Ke3 37.Bh6+ Ke4 38.Bd2 Kd3 39.Be1 Ra1 40.Kf1 Ra2 41.h5 Bg4 42.h6 Nd5 43.Rc3+ Nxc3 44.Bh4 Ra1+ 0-1

 

Emily N. Patterson-Morgan Mahowald
Polgar Girls Open
Lubbock, 2009
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.e4 g4 6.e5 Qe7 7.Nd4 Bxe5 8.Ne2 g3 9.h3 Nc6 10.Nbc3 Bd4 11.Ne4 Qxe4 12.d3 Bf2+ 13.Kd2 Qe3+ 14.Kc3 Qc5+ 15.Kd2 Bf5 16.b3 O-O-O 17.Bb2 Bxd3 18.cxd3 Qe3+ 19.Kc3 Qe5+ 20.Kc2 Nb4+ 21.Kb1 Qe3 22.Nc1 f6 23.Qg4+ Rd7 24.Qxb4 Ne7 25.Bxf6 Nd5 26.Qh4 Rf8 27.Bb2 Qe1 28.Qe4 Be3 29.Qg4 Nc3+ 30.Bxc3 Qxc1mate 0-1.

 

But 5.d4 has promise as after 5…g4, he has 6.Ne5 and has some compensation for the pawn.]

 

5.d4 g4  6.Ne5

 
Lochner-Negyesy
corres., 1962
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.d4 g4 6.e4 gxf3 7.Qxf3 Be6 8.Nc3 c6 9.Be3 Qh4+ 10.g3 Qg4 11.Qf2 Bb4 12.Bg2 Ne7 13.O-O Qh5 14.d5 Bd7 15.Ne2 Bd6 16.Bd4 Rf8 17.Bf3 Bg4 18.e5 Bb4 19.Nf4 Qf5 20.Bxg4 Qxg4 21.Ne6 Nxd5 22.Nxf8 Qg8 23.e6 1-0

 

Bird-Em. Lasker
Match
England, 1892
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.d4 g4 6.Ne5 Bxe5 7.dxe5 Qxd1+ 8.Kxd1 Nc6 9.Bf4 Be6 10.e3 Nge7 11.Bb5 O-O-O+ 12.Kc1 Bd5 13.Rg1 a6 14.Be2 Be6 15.Nc3 h6 16.Bd3 Ng6 17.Bxg6 fxg6 18.Rd1 Rde8 19.e4 g5 20.Bg3 Rhf8 21.b3 h5 22.Rd2 h4 23.Bf2 Nxe5 24.Be3 h3 25.Bxg5 g3 26.hxg3 Rf1+ 27.Kb2 Rxa1 28.Kxa1 h2 29.Rd1 Ng4 30.Rh1 Bf7 31.Kb2 c6 32.Kc1 Bg6 33.Kd2 Rxe4 34.Nd1 Rd4+ 35.Ke2 Rxd1 36.Rxd1 Be4 37.Rd8+ Kc7 38.Rd1 Bxg2 39.Bd8+ Kc8 40.Bb6 Bd5 41.c4 h1=Q 42.Rxh1 Bxh1 0-1

 

Gigas-Popp
corres.
Thematic Tournament, 1961
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.d4 g4 6.Ne5 Bxe5 7.dxe5 Qxd1+ 8.Kxd1 Nc6 9.Bg5 Nge7 10.Nc3 Bf5 11.e4 Be6 12.Bb5 O-O-O+ 13.Ke1 Rhg8 14.Bh4 Rd7 15.Bxe7 Rxe7 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Rf1 Rg5 18.Kf2 Rxe5 19.Kg3 f5 20.exf5 Bxf5 21.Rf2 h5 22.Raf1 Bh7 23.Rd2 Rc5 24.Rf6 Rg7 25.Rh6 Bg6 26.Ne2 Rxc2 27.Rxc2 Bxc2 28.Rxh5 Rd7 29.Rh8+ Kb7 30.Kxg4 Bd1 31.Re8 Rd2 32.Kf3 Rxb2 33.h4 c5 34.Kf2 c4 35.Ke1 Bxe2 36.Rxe2 Rb1+ 37.Kd2 Kb6 38.h5 Kc5 39.Kc3 Rc1+ 40.Rc2 Rh1 41.g4 Rh3+ 42.Kb2 Kb4 43.Rg2 Kc5 1/2-1/2

 

Gergel-V. Zilberstein
Leningrad Izt., 1973
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.d4 g4 6.Ne5 Bxe5 7.dxe5 Qxd1+ 8.Kxd1 Nc6 9.Bf4 Nge7 10.e3 Ng6 11.Bb5 Bd7 12.e6 Bxe6 13.Bxc7 Bd5 14.Rg1 Nh4 15.Bf1 Ne7 16.Nc3 Bc6 17.e4 f5 18.Bd3 fxe4 19.Bxe4 Bxe4 20.Nxe4 O-O 21.c3 Nd5 22.Bg3 Nxg2 23.Kc2 Rae8 24.Nd6 Re2+ 25.Kb3 Nde3 26.Nxb7 Rf6 27.Nd6 h5 28.Nc8 Kh7 29.a4 a6 30.a5 h4 31.Bd6 Rff2 32.Rgb1 Nf5 33.Ra4 Nge3 34.Bc7 Rxh2 35.Bxh2 Rxh2 36.Re4 g3 37.Ne7 g2 38.Nxf5 Nxf5 39.Rg1 h3 40.Ree1 Nh4 41.c4 Nf3 42.c5 Nxg1 43.c6 Nf3 44.Re7+ Kh6 45.c7 g1=Q 0-1

 
(Another try for White is 5.g3, securing h4 for his knight. Black could try 5…f5, but it doesn’t work too well.)

 

5.g3 f5

 
Kirrinis-von Sadern
corres., 1954/6
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.g3 f5 6.d4 f4 7.e4 g4 (7…fxe3 8.Bxe3 g4 9.Bc4!) 8.e5 Be7 9.Bxf4! gxf3 10.Qxf3 Be6 (10…h5 11.Bd3!) 11.Nc3 Bb4 12.O-O-O c6 13.d5! cxd5 14.Nxd5 Qa5 15.Nxb4 Qxb4 16.Bh3! Bf7? 17.e6! 1-0

 

Klaus Bernhard-F. Felgentreu
Bundeswehr Ch.
Stetten, 1988
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.g3 f5 6.e3 Qf6 7.Nc3 Ne7 8.Bc4 h5 9.Rf1 h4 10.g4 fxg4 11.Ne4 Qg7 12.Nfxg5 Bxh2 13.Nf6+ 1-0

 
[But 5…h5, applying more pressure on White’s kingside, seems to work to keep the balance, with Black still having a slight advantage in the Initiative department and White still keeping his extra pawn.]

 

5.g3 h5

 

Oliver Meschke (2007)-Joseph Nadrowski (1688)
Sparkassen Open B
Dortmund, 2006
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.g3 h5 6.d4 g4 7.Nh4 Be7 8.Ng2 Nf6 9.Qd3 Qd5 10.c4 Qf5 11.Nc3 Nc6 12.e4 Qf3 13.Be3 Bb4 14.Rg1 Qxe4 15.O-O-O Bxc3 16.Qxc3 Qe7 17.Bd3 Nb4 18.Qb3 Nxd3+ 19.Rxd3 Bf5 20.Qb5+ c6 21.Qxf5 Ne4 22.Re1 Nd6 23.Qc5 Kd7 24.Bg5 1-0

 

Rolando Fesalbon (2113)-Mark Ozanne (1961)
Turin Ol.
Italy, 2006
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.g3 h5 6.d4 g4 7.Nh4 Be7 8.Ng2 h4 9.Qd3 hxg3 10.Qxg3 Nf6 11.Nc3 Rh3 12.Qf2 Nc6 13.Be3 g3 14.Qg1 Bd6 15.Nf4 Rxh2 16.Rxh2 gxh2 17.Qxh2 Bf5 18.O-O-O Qe7 19.Bg1 O-O-O 20.e3 Re8 21.Bh3 Ng4 22.Bxg4 Bxg4 23.Nce2 Kb8 24.Kd2 Nb4 25.a3 Nc6 26.c3 Na5 27.Ke1 Nc4 28.Qg2 Bxe2 29.Nxe2 Nxe3 30.Bxe3 Qxe3 31.Kf1 a6 32.Qf2 Qg5 33.Rd3 Rh8 34.Ng3 Qc1+ 35.Kg2 Rg8 36.b4 f5 37.c4 f4 38.c5 fxg3 39.Qe2 Bf4 40.Rf3 Qd2 41.Qxd2 Bxd2 42.b5 axb5 0-1

 
[And Black still has 5…g4.]

 

5.g3 g4

 

 

White can still fail spectacularly with 6.Ng1? h5! 7.Bg2 h4! -/+ (Analysis by O’ Connell)

 

R. Runas-Escalante
Blitz Game (5 min to 1 minute)
Buena Park, CA, Nov. 7 1987
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.g3 g4 6.Nd4 h5! 7.Bg2 h4 8.Nc3 hxg3 9.hxg3 Bxg3+ 10.Kf1 Qf6+ 11.Kg1 (11.Nf3 Rxh1+ 12.Bxh1 Qh6 13.Bg2 gxf3 14.Bxf3 Bh3+ 15.Kg1 Bg4 -+) 11…Qf2mate 0-1

 

Eduard Konovalov (2125)-Seit Karaev (2003)
Anapa Open, 2007
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.g3 g4 6.Nd4 h5 7.Nc3 h4 8.Bg2 h3 9.Bf1 Bxg3+ 10.hxg3 Qxd4 11.e3 Qe5 12.Ne2 Nf6 13.d4 Qe4 14.Rh2 Bf5 0-1

 

Sorenson-Jacobsen
Denmark, 1971
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.g3 g4 6.Nh4 h5 7.d4 Be7 8.Ng2 Nf6 9.Nf4? (9.Bg5) 9…h4 10.Rg1 Nc6 11.e3 Ne4 12.Bd3 Ng5 13.Be2 hxg3 14.hxg3 f5 15.Nd2 Nxd4! 16.exd4 Qxd4 17.Rg2 Qe3 18.Rf2 Bc5 19.Nd3 Ne4!

2020_06_25_B

20.Nf3 (20.Nxe4 Rh1+ 21.Rf1 Rxf1+ 22.Kxf1 Qg1# ; 20.Rg2 Nxd2 21.Nf2 Nf3+ 22.Kf1 Qxf2+! 23.Rxf2 Rh1+ 24.Kg2 Rh2+ 25.Kf1 Rxf2#) 20…Rh1+ 21.Rf1 Qf2+ 22.Nxf2 Bxf2mate 1-0

 

 
[But White should still be OK. He does win some games after all!]

 

 
E. Koscielny (1876)-Fabian Bouche (1588)
Cappelle la Grande Open
France, 2013
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.g3 g4 6.Nh4 f5 7.d4 f4 8.Qd3 Qe7 9.Nc3 Nf6 10.Bxf4 Bxf4 11.gxf4 Nc6 12.O-O-O Nb4 13.Qg3 Nh5 14.Qf2 Rf8 15.e3 Bf5 16.Nxf5 Rxf5 17.Bb5+ c6 18.Bd3 Ra5 19.a3 Nd5 20.Nxd5 cxd5 21.Qe2 Rc8 22.Qxg4 Kd8 23.Qxh5 Rxa3 24.Qxd5+ Ke8 25.Qg8+ Kd7 26.Bf5+ Kd6 27.Qxc8 Qxe3+ 28.Kb1 1-0

 

Uwe Ritter (1991)-Jens-Ole (1676)
12th Lichtenberger Sommer
Berlin, 2013
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.g3 g4 6.Nh4 f5 7.e3 Qe7 8.Qe2 Nf6 9.Ng2 Bxg3+ 10.hxg3 Ne4 11.Rh2 Nxg3 12.Qf2 Ne4 13.Qh4 Qxh4+ 14.Rxh4 Nc6 15.Bb5 Bd7 16.Bxc6 Bxc6 17.Nf4 O-O-O 18.d3 Ng5 19.Nd2 g3 20.Nh3 g2 21.Ng1 Rdg8 22.Kf2 Rg7 23.Nb3 Rhg8 24.Nd4 Bd7 25.Ndf3 Nxf3 26.Kxf3 Rg3+ 27.Kf2 R8g7 28.Rxh7 Rxh7 29.Kxg3 Bc6 30.Bd2 Rh1 31.Kf2 Kd7 32.Re1 Rh2 33.e4 fxe4 34.dxe4 b5 35.Nf3 1-0

 

[Now let’s look at at the more conservative 4.Nf3 Nf6. White has choices here. He can play 5.d4, which is again, equal in chances.]

4.Nf3 Nf6  5.d4

 
Nyman-Larsen
Denmark, 1966
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 (5.e4 Ng4 leads back to our first game.) 5…O-O 6.Bg5 Re8 7.Qd3 Nc6 8.a3 h6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bf2 Ne4 11.h3 Bf5 12.Qd1 Bf4 13.g4 Nxf2 14.Kxf2 Be3+ 15.Kg2 Nxd4 16.gxf5 Nxf3 17.Qxd8 Nh4+ 18.Kg3 Raxd8 19.Nc3 Nxf5+ 20.Kg2 Rd2 21.Rc1 h5 22.Nd1 Bb6 23.Kh2 Rexe2+ 24.Bxe2 Rxe2+ 25.Nf2 Rxf2+ 26.Kg1 Re2+ 27.Kf1 Ng3mate 0-1

 

R. Phillips-Escalante
1 minute game
Anaheim, 1986
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 (6…Bg3+!? 7.Kd2 Bxf3 8.exf3 Qxd4+ 9.Ke2) 7.gxf3? (>7.exf3 Bg3+ 8.Ke2 Nc6) 7…Bg3+ 8.Kd2 Qxd4mate 0-1

 

R. Klein-S. Mueller
PF Open
Eisenberg, Germany, 1993
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 b6 6.Bg5 Bb7 7.Nc3 Qe7 8.Qd3 O-O 9.O-O-O Re8 10.g3 h6 11.Bxf6 Qxf6 12.Bg2 Qe7 13.Rhe1 Bb4 14.Nh4 Qg5+ 15.e3 Bxg2 16.Nxg2 Bxc3 17.Qxc3 Qd5 18.Nf4 Qxa2 19.d5 Qa4 20.Rd4 Qd7 21.e4 Qe7 22.e5 Na6 23.h4 Rad8 24.Nh5 Nc5 25.Rg4 Kh8 26.Rxg7 Rxd5 27.e6 Na4 28.Rh7+ Kxh7 29.Qg7mate 1-0

 

Bird-Steinitz, 1867
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 Nc6 6.Bg5 Bg4 7.e3 Qd7 8.Bb5 O-O-O 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.d5 Qe7 11.Bxc6 Qxe3+ 12.Qe2 Qc1+ 13.Qd1 Rde8+ 14.Bxe8 Rxe8+ 15.Kf2 Qe3+ 16.Kf1 Bxf3 17.gxf3 Bc5 18.Kg2 Rg8+ 0-1

 

Fried-Schlechter
Vienna, 1897
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 Nc6 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 g5 8.Bf2 Ne4 9.e3 g4 10.Bh4 gxf3 11.Bxd8 f2+ 12.Ke2 Bg4+ 13.Kd3 Nb4+ 14.Kxe4 f5+ 0-1

 

Bird-Blackburne
London, 1879
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 Ne4 6.Nc3 f5 7.Qd3 Qe7 8.Nb5 Nc6 9.Nxd6+ Qxd6 10.c3 O-O 11.g3 Re8 12.Bg2 Qe7 13.O-O Nd6 14.Re1 Bd7 15.Bg5 Qf8 16.Bf4 Rad8 17.Ng5 g6 18.Bxd6 cxd6 19.Bd5+ Kg7 20.Qd2 Ne7 21.Be6 Ng8 22.d5 Nf6 23.Bxd7 Rxd7 24.Ne6+ Rxe6 25.dxe6 Re7 26.Qxd6 Qe8 27.Rad1 Rxe6 28.Qc7+ Re7 29.Qd8 Qf7 30.Rd6 Re8 31.Qa5 b6 32.Qb5 Qe7 33.Qd3 Qf7 34.c4 Re7 35.Rd1 h5 36.Qc3 Rc7 37.b3 Qe7 38.Qd4 Kf7 39.b4 g5 40.c5 bxc5 41.bxc5 Ne4 42.Qd5+ Kg7 43.Rd7 Rxd7 44.Qxd7 Kf6 45.Qxe7+ Kxe7 46.c6 1-0

 

Bird-Blackburne
England, 1892
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 Ne4 6.Qd3 f5 7.Nc3 O-O 8.Nxe4 fxe4 9.Qxe4 Bf5 10.Qxb7 Nd7 11.Qb3+ Kh8 12.Bg5 Qe8 13.Qe3 Qh5 14.c3 Rab8 15.Qd2 Nb6 16.b3 Nd5 17.Rc1 h6 18.Bh4 Bf4 19.Qb2 Ne3 20.Bf2 Rbe8 21.Bxe3 Bxe3 22.c4 Be4 23.Rc3 Bxf3 24.Rxe3 Rxe3 25.gxf3 Qxf3 26.Kd2 Qxh1 27.Kxe3 Qxf1 28.Kd3 Rf3+ 29.Kd2 Rf2 30.Kd3 Qh3+ 0-1

 

Guischard-Gedult
Paris, 1972
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 Ng4 6.Nc3 Bxh2 7.Bg5 Bg3+ 8.Kd2 f6 9.Bh4 Nf2 10.Qc1 Nxh1 0-1

 
[He can play 5.g3, which is more complicated, but still equal in chances.]

4.Nf3 Nf6  5.g3

 

Deppe-Spohr
corres., 1960
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.g3 Nc6 6.d4 Bf5 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.c3 O-O-O 10.Nbd2 Rhe8 11.Qa4 (11.Nc4 Be4!) 11…Bd3 12.Kd1 Bf5 13.Bg2 Qe7 14.Re1 Qe3 15.Ng1 Ne5 16.Qxa7 c6 17.Nh3 Nd3 18.Nc4 Nxb2+ 19.Nxb2 Bb4 20.Bxc6 Rxd4+ (20…Bc2+) 21.Qxd4 Rd8 22.Bxb7+ Kc7 23.Bd5 1-0

 

Krause-Schutt
corres., 1968
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.g3 Nc6 6.d3 Ng4 7.Bg5 f6 8.Bf4 Bxf4 9.gxf4 Nd4 10.Na3 O-O 11.Qd2 Re8 12.Ng1 Ne3 13.h3 Qd6 0-1

 

Kremer-Lungmuss
corres.
Thematic Tournament, 1961
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.g3 Nc6 6.Bg2 Bg4 7.d3 Bc5 8.Nc3 a6 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bxf6 Qxf6 11.Qd2 O-O-O 12.Rf1 Rhe8 13.Qf4 Qe6 14.e4 Nb4 15.O-O-O g5 16.Qd2 Nxa2+ 17.Kb1 Bb4 18.h3 Nxc3+ 19.bxc3 Ba3 20.Ka1 Qb6 21.Rb1 Qa5 22.Rb3 Bc1+ 0-1

 

Kny-Grusman
corres.
European Ch., 1973/4
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.g3 Nc6 6.Bg2 Bg4 7.c3 Qe7 8.O-O O-O-O 9.d4 Rde8 10.Re1 Ne4 11.d5 Ne5 12.Bf4 Bc5+ 13.Nd4 Nc4 14.b3 Ncd6 15.Qd3 Qf6 16.Nd2 Nxc3 0-1

 

Hip-Abunan
Moscow Ol.
Russia, 1994
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.g3 Nc6 6.Bg2 Bf5 7.d3 Qd7 8.O-O h5 9.Nh4 Bg4 10.Qe1 O-O-O 11.e3 Nh7 12.Qf2 g5 13.Nf5 h4 14.Nxd6+ Qxd6 15.gxh4 gxh4 16.h3 Be6 17.e4 Rdg8 18.Kh1 Qd7 19.Kh2 Ng5 20.Bxg5 Rxg5 21.Nd2 Rhg8 22.Rg1 Rg3 23.Nf3 Bxh3 24.Nxh4 Bxg2 25.Rxg2 Qh3+ 26.Kg1 Qxh4 27.Qf5+ Kb8 0-1

 

Hanegby-Maria Perez
corres.
WCCF, EQ2389, 2002
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.g3 Ng4 6.Bg2 h5 7.O-O h4 8.h3 Bxg3 9.d4 Qd6 10.Qd3 Nh2 11.Qe4+ Kf8 12.Nxh2 Bxh2+ 13.Kh1 Bg3 14.Bf4 Bxf4 15.Rxf4 Nc6 16.Nc3 g5 17.Rf2 Qxd4 18.Raf1 Qxe4 19.Rxf7+ Ke8 20.Nxe4 g4 21.Rxc7 gxh3 22.Bf3 Rh6 23.Bh5+ Rxh5 24.Nf6+ Kd8 25.Rg7 Bg4 26.Nxg4 Rh8 27.Rff7 1-0

 

B. Sharwood (1878)-T. Greco (2155)
corres.
1992 USCF Team Ch.
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.g3 g4 6.Nh4 Ne7 7.d4 Ng6 8.Nxg6 hxg6 9.Qd3 Nc6 10.c3 Bf5 11.e4 Qe7 12.Bg2 O-O-O 13.Be3 Rxh2 14.Rxh2 Bxg3+ 15.Kf1 Bxh2 16.exf5 Re8 17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.Bd2 Qh4 19.Na3 Bg3 20.Be3 Qh1+ 21.Ke2 Qxa1 22.Nc2

2020_06_25_C

22…Qc1! (Z) 23.fxg6 fxg6 24.Qxg6 Rxe3+ 25.Nxe3 Qe1+ 26.Kd3 Qb1+ 27.Nc2 Qf1+ 28.Ke3 Bf4+ 29.Ke4 Qf3+ 30.Kf5 Bd2+! 31.Ke6 Qd5+ 32.Ke7 Qg5+! 33.Qxg5 Bxg5+ 34.Ke6 Bd2 35.d5 c5 0-1

 

 
So, is this the end of From’s Gambit? No, just the start of the beginning.

 
“…I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Humphrey Bogart, “Casablanca”

Chess and Checkers

When I was in High School, and just beginning to understand the theories of chess, an old man came to visit us at the table. This episode probably then happened a park.

 

He watched with some intensity, as I and my opponent were engrossed in our game. After the game ended (I think I won), he asked, almost with a sneer, “so what is the difference between checkers and chess?”

 

 

I didn’t exactly why he was asking this question. But I gave him my best answer and replied, “Chess is more complicated”.

 

 

With that, the old turned around and departed. Maybe he thought I was rude and me being a male teenager, that may be true. Or is because he didn’t expect the conversation to go that way. Or he may have thought he has interacting with younger teens (after all, when I was 14 I could still pass for a 12 year-old).

 

 

So, I got to thinking, what are differences between chess and checkers. And I drew up a list. Which I promptly lost. But I remember most of it. And now with the magic of the Internet, and blogging in particular, here is my list (corrected for spelling and grammar).

 

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

 

 

WHAT IS THE SAME

 

The boards are identical in size (8 x 8).

 

Each board has 64 squares.

 

A man moving to the 8th rank is promoted.

 

 

MakingChessComputer1

 

It is a game usually played by only two competitors.

 

 

WHAT IS DIFFERENT

 

Checkers is played on a red and black board. Chess is typically played on a white and black board.

 

In checkers, each player starts with only 12 men. In chess, each player starts with 16 men.

 

checkers

 

In checkers, all the men look the same, move the same way, and are of equal value. In chess, the pieces look different, move differently, and are worth different values.

 

 

pawns-3467512_960_720

 

In checkers, Black moves first. In chess, White moves first.

 

In checkers, a man reaching the 8th rank can only be promoted to a King. In chess, a man reaching the 8th rank can be promoted to a Queen, a Rook, a Bishop, or a Knight. But never to a King.

 

In checkers, players use only 32 squares of the board. In chess, both players use all 64 squares.

 

In checkers, players may only move their men diagonally. In chess, players may move their pieces diagonally, forward, backwards, and horizontally.

 

In checkers, a player captures a man by jumping over them. In chess, a player can capture a man by occupying their place on the board.

 

In checkers, only a king can move backwards. In chess, Knights, Bishops, Rooks, Queens, and Kings can move backwards. Pawns are the only units that may only move forward.

 

 

maxresdefault

In chess, there are rules for en passant and castling. No such rules exist for checkers.

 

In checkers, captures are mandatory. In chess, players may decline a capture.

 

In checkers, openings are decided by lot. In chess, opening play is determined by the players.

 

 

And for us chess enthusiasts:

 

Chess has a high cultural value. People equate us chess players as possessing great intelligence, a fantastic memory, and in its purest form; grace.

 

It is possible to be a prodigy in math, music, or chess.

 

Two examples;

 

Frank Brady wrote “Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy”.

 

 

 

Wikipedia has an article titled, “Chess Prodigy”.

 

 

No checkers player has ever been known or labeled as a prodigy.

 

Dallying with the Dilworth

Recently I had an opportunity to analyze to the Dilworth variation of the Open Ruy Lopez.

 

To begin, let us look up the moves that lead up the Dilworth.

 

 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 (This move defines the Ruy Lopez, named after the 16th-century Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura.) 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 (The Open Variation of the RL. Black’s objective is to get good piece play by advancing his d-pawn and giving his pieces the freedom to roam across the board as well as pushing and protecting his d-pawn.) 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 (9.Nbd2 Nc5 10.c3 d4 11.Ng5 leads to interesting Karpov Gambit. I’ve researched this line and IMHO, White’s attack is almost worth the pawn he sacrificed.) 9…Bc5 (Black can also play 9…Be7, which will give him a more closed game.) 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2!? (With this move Black gives up a knight for White’s f2-pawn and in return, gets a pinned White Rook and misplaced White King. And the Dilworth fight is on!) 12.Rxf2 (A forced move. The real analysis begins here.)

 

Black can certainly play 12…Bxf2+ at this point. But better is delaying this capture as not only is rook pinned, but it’s fixed position temporarily hinders the movement of White’s pieces.

 
Bobby Fischer-W. Stevens
US Open
Oklahoma City, July 24 1956
[White gets a small advantage but can’t do anything with it.]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 Bxf2+ 13.Kxf2 f6 14.exf6 Qxf6 15.Kg1 Rae8!? (15…Bg4 16.Nf1 Bxf3 17.Qxf3 Qxf3 18.gxf3 Rxf3 19.Be3 Ne7 20.Bg5! +/- ECO.) 16.Nf1 Ne5 17.Ne3 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 Qxf3 19.gxf3 Rxf3 20.Bd1 Rf7 1/2-1/2

 
Black must play 12…f6, or at least transpose into it.

 

We now continue.

 

12.Rxf2 f6

 
Two moves White should now avoid are 13.Nb3 and 13.Qe2. Again, not necessarily bad, but he has a better alternative.

 

Hennie Daniels-T. Farrell
England, 1943
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.Nb3 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 fxe5 15.Nc5 Bg4 16.Bb3 Ne7 17.h3 Bxf3 18.gxf3 Qd6 19.Ne4 Qd7 20.Ng5 h6 21.Ne4 c6 22.Be3 Qxh3 23.Bc5 Qh4+ 24.Ke2 Rxf3 25.Nf2 Raf8 26.Qg1 e4 27.Qg2 Ng6 28.Qf1 Nf4+ 29.Kd2 Nd3 30.Nxd3 Rxf1 31.Rxf1 Rxf1 0-1

 

Gyula Kluger (2250)-Laszlo Szabo
Hungary Ch.
Budapest, 1946
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.Qe2 fxe5 14.Nb3 Bxf2+ 15.Qxf2 e4 16.Qe1 Bg4 17.Nfd4 Ne5 18.Nc5 Qf6 19.Be3 Rae8 20.Qg3 h5 21.Bb3 Kh8 22.h3 Qd6 23.Qh4 Ng6 24.Qe1 Bc8 25.Ne2 Bxh3 26.Rd1 c6 27.gxh3 Rf3 28.Bd4 Rxh3 29.Qf2 Nh4 30.Nf4 Nf3+ 31.Kf1 Qxf4 32.Be3 Qg4 0-1

 

13.exf6! And now Black has to play 13…Qxf6 or 13…Bxf2+ .

 
We’ll look at 13…Qxf6 first.

 
White’s best is 14.Nb3! He wins most of the games as his knight move solidifies his position.

 

Ramon Ardid Rey-Jan Kleczynski X25
Paris Ol.
France, 1924
[This game appears to be the first time the Dilworth variation was played in a master game.]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6

 

2020_06_11_A

13…Qxf6 14.Nb3 Bxf2+ 15.Kxf2 Ne5 16.Nc5 Bg4 17.Qxd5+ Kh8 18.Qe4 Qh4+ 19.Kg1 Nxf3+ 20.gxf3 Rae8 21.Bg5 Rxe4 22.Bxh4 Re5 23.fxg4 g5 24.Ne6 1-0

 

M. Paragua (2521)-C. Acor (2246)
Foxwoods Open
Ledyard, US, Mar. 20 2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Qxf6 14.Nb3 Bxf2+ 15.Kxf2 Ne5 16.Kg1 c6 17.Be3 Bg4 18.Nbd2 Rae8 19.Bc5 Rf7 20.a4 Qh6 21.axb5 axb5 22.Kh1 Nd7 23.Bg1 Qh5 24.Qf1 Nf6 25.Re1 Rfe7 26.Rxe7 Rxe7 27.h3 Bf5 28.Bd1 Qe8 29.Bc5 Re6 30.Qf2 Ne4 31.Nxe4 Bxe4 32.Qg3 h6 33.Qc7 Kh7 34.b4 Rg6 35.Bd4 Qe6 36.Be5 Qf5 37.Kh2 Qf8 38.Bg3 Qf6 39.Qe5 Qf7 40.Nd4 Rg5 41.Qe6 Qa7 42.Bg4 Qa1 43.Qf7 Qb2 44.Nf3 1-0

 

Z. Abdumalik (2428)-N. Khomeriki (2347) X25
World Junior Girls Ch.
Tarvisio, Italy, Nov. 20 2017
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Qxf6 14.Nb3 Bxf2+ 15.Kxf2 Ne5

 
2020_06_11_B

 

16.Kg3!? (A brave king! The usual move is 16.Kg1.) 16…g5 17.Qd4 h5 18.Bxg5 h4+ 19.Qxh4 Qg7 20.Nbd4 Nxf3 21.gxf3 1-0

 

White also can experiment with: 14.Qf1.

 

Smilov-Botvinnik
USSR Ch.
Moscow, 1943
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Qxf6 14.Qf1 Bg4 (14…g5 15.h3 h5 16.Nb3 Bxf2+ 17.Qxf2 g4 18.hxg4 hxg4 19.Qg3 +- ECO ; 14…Ne5 15.Nd4 Qh4 16.N2f3 Nxf3+ 17.Rxf3 Bg4 18.Rf2 Rae8 19.Bf4! +- Suetin.) 15.Kh1 Bxf2 16.Qxf2 Rae8 17.Qg3 Ne5 18.Bd1 Nd3 19.h3 Bh5 20.Bc2 Nf4 21.Ng1 c5 22.Ndf3 Ne2 23.Nxe2 Rxe2 24.Bd1 Re6 25.Bd2 h6 26.Kh2 Re4 27.Ng5 hxg5 28.Bxh5 Re5 29.Bf3 Qe7 30.a4 Kh7 31.axb5 axb5 32.Ra7 Qd6 33.Bg4 Rd8 34.Kh1 d4 35.cxd4 cxd4 36.Bf4 Re1+ 37.Qxe1 Qxf4 38.Rd7 Rxd7 39.Bxd7 d3 40.Bg4 d2 41.Qe2 b4 42.Qd3+ g6 43.Kg1 Kh6 44.b3 Kg7 45.Bf3 Qf7 46.Kf2 Qe6 47.Qe3 Qd6 48.Bd1 Qd5 49.g4 Kh7 50.Ke2 1-0

 

So Black almost has to play 13…Bxf2+ and come up with a plan after 14.Kxf2

 
He can try 14… fxe5!?

 

Edward Sergeant-George Thomas
Guildford, England, 1944
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.Nf1 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 fxe5!? 15.Kg1 e4! (The point of Black’s last move. More testing is needed for this line.) 16.Bg5 Qd7 17.Nd4 Bg4 18.Qd2 Ne5 19.Ne3 c6 20.Nxg4 Qxg4 21.Bd1 Qd7 22.Be2 Rf7 23.Bf4 Nc4 24.Bxc4 bxc4 25.Be3 Raf8 26.h3 h6 27.Ne2 Rf6 28.Kh2 g5 29.Ng3 Qd6 30.Bd4 Rf5 31.Qe3 R8f7 32.Kh1 Rf3 33.gxf3 Qxg3 34.fxe4 Rf3 35.Qg1 Qh4 36.Be5 Rxh3+ 37.Bh2 g4 38.Re1 Rxh2+ 0-1

 

But more common is 14…Qxf6.

 
White can go totally wrong after 15.Kg1

 
GM Ljubojevic-GM Yusupov
Interpolis
Tilburg, Sept. 27 1987
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Kg1 Rae8 16.Qf1 Bf5 17.Bxf5 Qxf5 18.b3 d4 19.cxd4 Nxd4 20.Nxd4 Qc5 21.Bb2 Rxf1+ 22.Rxf1 Re2 23.Rf2 Rxf2 24.Kxf2 Qd5 25.Ke3 Qe5+ 0-1

 

GM E. Matsuura-FM Guilherme De Borba
Floripa Open
Florianopolis, Brazil, Jan. 25 2020
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Nbd2 Bc5 10.c3 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Kg1 Rae8 16.Qf1 Bf5 17.Bxf5 Qxf5 18.Nb3 Ne5 19.Nbd4 Nxf3+ 20.Nxf3 Qc2 21.h3 Re2 22.b3 Qxc3 23.Qxe2 Qxa1 24.Qe6+ Kh8 25.Qc6 Qxa2 26.Qxd5 Qb1 27.Qc5 Re8 28.Qc6 Rf8 1/2-1/2

 

But 15.Kf1 Ne5 keeps the game going. It is doubled-edged and White just has to find the correct 16th move. He didn’t in this game.

 

Lee-Hanley
La Palma C.C., 1982
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Ng3?! (Too slow.) 16…Rae8! (Taking advantage of the extra tempo.) 17.Kg1 Bg4 18.Qxd5+?! (It is not a good idea to open lines when your opponent is the one doing the attacking, even if it is a check.) 18…Kh8

2020_06_11_C

19.Be4 (Not 19.Qe4? Nxf3+! -+) 19…Rd8 20.Qc5 Rd1+ 21.Kf2 Bxf3 22.gxf3 Nd3+! 0-1

 

 
16.Kg1 is flashy and may not be the best for White. But it does lead to lots of excitement and can be a real crowd pleaser.

 

 
IM Nelson Mariano-IM Sophia Polgar
World Jr. Ch.
Matinhos, Oct. 1994
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Bc2 O-O 11.Nbd2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Kg1 Rae8 16.Nf1 Ne5 17.Be3 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 Qxf3 19.gxf3 Rxf3 20.Bd4

 
2020_06_11_D

 

20…Bh3 21.Ng3 Re6 22.Rd1 h5 23.Bb3 c6 24.Nxh5 Bg4 25.Nxg7 Rg6 26.Kg2 Rf7 27.Re1 c5 28.Be5 c4 29.Bc2 Bf5+ 30.Bg3 Bxc2 31.Ne8 Be4+ 32.Kg1 Rf3 33.a3 Kf8 34.Nc7 Rf7 35.Rf1 Rxf1+ 36.Kxf1 Ke7 0-1

 

Milan Babula (2323)-Jesper Skjoldborg (2274)
Czech Republic Open
Marianske Lazne, Jan. 29 2004
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Kg1 Rae8 17.Be3 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 Qxf3 19.gxf3 Rxf3 20.Bd4 Bh3 21.Ng3 Re6 22.Rd1 h5 23.Bd3 h4 24.Nh1 c5 25.Bxc5 Re5 26.Bd6 Rg5+ 27.Ng3 hxg3 28.hxg3 Rf6 29.Bb8 Bf5 30.Bf4 Rgg6 31.Be2 Bg4 32.Kf2 Bxe2 33.Kxe2 Rf5 34.Kd3 Rc6 35.Re1 Kf7 36.Rh1 g5 37.Bb8 Rf2 38.g4 Rxb2 39.Be5 Rxa2 40.Rh7+ Kg6 41.Rg7+ Kh6 42.Rg8 Ra3 43.Rh8+ Kg6 44.Rg8+ Kf7 45.Rg7+ Ke6 46.Rg6+ Kxe5 47.Rxc6 b4 48.Rg6 Kf4 49.Kd4 bxc3 50.Kxd5 Kxg4 0-1

 

 

16.Be3 is better. White’s defences are improved with a flexible bishop.

 
Balashov-Tukmakov
USSR Ch., 1977
[ECO]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bd4 Bg4 18.N1d2 Qf4 19.Kg1 Nxf3+ 20.Nxf3 c6 21.Bd3 Bxf3 22.Qxf3 Qxf3 23.gxf3 Rxf3 24.Rd1 a5 25.Kg2 Rf4 26.Kg3 +/-

 

Kupreichik-Shereshevski
Sokolsky Memorial
Minsk, 1978
[ECO?]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bc5 Nxf3 18.gxf3 Rf7 19.Kg2 h5 20.Qd3 Qg5+ 21.Kh1 Bf5 22.Qxd5 c6 23.Qxc6 Bd7 24.Qg6 Qxc5 25.Bb3 +/- Ree7 26.Ng3 Qe3 27.Qxh5 Be6 28.Nf5 Rxf5 29.Qxf5 Bxb3 30.axb3 Qe2 31.Qd5+ Kh7 32.Qh5+ Kg8 33.Qd5+ Kh7 34.Rg1 Re5 35.Qf7 1-0

 

Kupreichik-Stoica
Kirovakan, Armenia, 1978
[ECO]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Qh4+ (16…Bg4? 17.Qxd5+ Kh8 18.Qe4 g6 19.Bd4 +-) 17.Kg1 Nxf3+ 18.gxf3 Rf6 19.Bd4 Qg5+ 20.Kh1 Bh3 21.Ne3 Rf7 22.Qg1 +/- Qf4 23.Qg3 Qxg3 24.hxg3 Rxf3 25.Bb3 Be6 26.Kg2 Rf7 27.Nxd5 Rd8 28.Nf4 Bxb3 29.axb3 c5 30.Ne6 Re8 31.Nxc5 Re2+ 32.Kh3 h5 33.Rxa6 Rf1 34.Kh4 Rf5 35.g4 hxg4 36.Ra7 Rf7 37.Rb7 Rxb2 38.Rxb5 Rh2+ 39.Kg3 Rh3+ 40.Kxg4 Rhf3 41.Ne6 1-0

 

GM Vassily Ivanchuk-GM Artur Yusupov
Linares, Feb. 21 1990
[Inside Chess?]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bc5 Nxf3 18.gxf3 Rf7 19.Ng3 Bg4 20.Kg1 Qxf3 21.Qxf3 Bxf3? 22.Rf1! +/- Rf6 23.b4! c6 24.Bf5? (>24.Bd4 Rf4 25.Bf5 with the idea of Bd7 +-) 24…Be2 25.Re1 Bh5 26.Rxe8+ Bxe8 27.Be7 Rh6 28.Bg5 Rd6 29.Be7 Rh6 30.Bc8 Bf7 31.Bc5 Be6 32.Bxa6 Bd7 33.Bb7 Kf7 34.Ne2 Ke6 35.Nd4+ Ke5 36.Nb3 Ke4 37.Bf2 Bh3 38.Nd4 Rg6+ 39.Bg3 Rf6 40.Bf2 Rg6+ 41.Bg3 Rf6 42.Bf2 Rg6+ 1/2-1/2

 

FM C. Olivares Olivares-FM W. Cuevas Araya (2187)
Chile Ch.
Santiago, Feb. 20 2019
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bc5 Qh4+ 18.Kg1 Rxf3 19.gxf3 Qh5 20.Nd2 Bh3 21.Kh1 Nc4 22.Bb3 Nxd2 23.Qxd2 Qxf3+ 24.Kg1 Qg4+ 25.Kh1 Qe4+ 26.Kg1 Qg4+ 27.Kh1 Qe4+ 28.Kg1 Qg6+ 29.Kh1 Qe4+ 30.Kg1 Re5 31.Be3 Qg4+ 32.Kh1 Qf3+ 33.Kg1 Qg4+ 34.Kh1 Qe4+ 35.Kg1 Qg6+ 36.Kh1 Qe4+ 37.Kg1 Qg4+ 38.Kh1 c6 1-0

 
And that’s where we stand. More analysis is needed!

Corona Problems? No problem!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

s-l1600 (1)

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

And then proceed as above.

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

 

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

BCM_2001_June

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

2020_03_26_A

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

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

2020_03_26_B

27.Qc3!! 1-0

Poisoned Pawn?

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

 

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

 

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

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

 
Let’s get started.

 

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

 

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

 

2020_03_19_A

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 
White gets even here.

 

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

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

 

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

 

The term can be used in the general sense.

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

2020_03_19_D

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

 

 

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

 

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

When you see a good move …

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

 

Often attributed to Emanuel Lasker.

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

It is White to move.

2020_03_12_A

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

It’s a malady we all seem to have.

 

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

 

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

 

2020_03_12_B

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 
Let’s play “Is There a Problem?

 

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

 
This tournament game was apparently played between two Masters.

 

Is there a problem here?

 

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

 

***************

This game fragment is from an Internet game.

 

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

 

Is there a problem here?

 

 

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

2020_03_04_A

 

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

 

***************

 

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

 

Is there a problem here?

 

 

McIntyre-Capablanca
Simul
England, Date Unknown

2020_03_04_B

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

***************

 

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

 

Is there a problem here?

 

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

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

 

 
Answers next week!

Apologies to Spassky.

Apologies to Boris Spassky. I completely forgot it’s his birthday today! The oldest World Champion still alive (born January 30, 1937)) and one of the nicest gentleman you might ever meet.

 

Here’s Spassky at one of his best games.

 

GM Larsen-GM Spassky
USSR vs. the World
Belgrade, 1970
[A01]
1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.c4 Nf6 4.Nf3?! (A move that puts White in greater danger than Black. Safer is 4.e3.) 4…e4! (Immediately placing White in hot water. And the World Champion puts on the heat.) 5.Nd4 Bc5 6.Nxc6 dxc6 7.e3 Bf5 8.Qc2 Qe7 9.Be2 O-O-O 10.f4 Ng4 11.g3 h5 12.h3 h4 13.hxg4 hxg3 14.Rg1 Rh1 15.Rxh1 g2!

2020_01_30_Spassky
16.Rf1 (16.Rg1 Qh4+! 17.Kd1 Qh1 -+) 16…Qh4+ 17.Kd1 gxf1=Q+ 0-1

Micros?

If a miniature is 25 moves or less, then what is a game that is 10 moves or less? This was a vexing question a young teen wanted to answer back in the 1980s.

 
He wanted to collect these games for both study and fun. But how would he do it?

 
There was no Internet, no ECOs, and no PGN files. And while libraries did exist, there were only slim sections dedicated to the subject of chess. He asked his friends, at least the ones who played chess. But they didn’t know either.

 
So, he decided to create his own lexicon and organization for these games.

 
He first started off by asking himself, when is smaller than a “mini”. Why “micro” of course! And he loved the idea of micros being 10 moves or less as 10 is an easy number remember. And he knew he could memorize games at least 10 moves long. And of course, he didn’t have a word processor so he would have to copy these games by hand. And he was lazy.

 
So, he set up the following conditions. One, they all had to be 10 moves or less. Two, they would be organized by mates (i.e., winning a king), wining of a queen, winning of a piece, and “others”. Three, the listing of the games needed be flexible to incorporate additional games.

 

 

Here is his work.

(P.S.: I added some ECO codes, notes, and additional games  to his original manuscript – RME).

 

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

 

MATING

 
Fool’s Mate
1.f3 e5 2.g4 Qh4mate 0-1

 

Scholar’s Mate
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Qf3 Nd4? (> Nf6!) 4.Qxf7mate 1-0

 

Greco-N.N.,
Rome 1620?
1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 (White is willing to give up his rook to get the king.) Bxg2 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Nf6 (This is a huge error. Black has to play 6…Bg7 7.gxh7+ Kf8 8.hxg8=Q+ Kxg8 and while White’s rook may fall, Black has to worry about his very exposed king. Amusing by the way, is 6.fxg6 e5? 7.g7+ Ke7 8.Qxe5+ Kf7 9.gxh8=N#) 7.gxh7+ [White is now willing to give up his queen for the forced mate. King safety is more important than safety for the rook or queen, and even both. Note: While 7.g7+ Nxh5 8.gxh8=Q Bxh1 9.Qxh7 would eventually win, the text move is faster, and fast attacks are always better for winning the game (less mistakes possible) and for one’s own ego.] 7…Nxh5 8.Bg6mate 1-0

 
De Legal-Saint Brie
France, 1750
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Bg4 4.Nc3 Nc6

2020_01_30_A
5.Nxe5! Bxd1 6.Bxf7+ Ke7 7.Nd5mate 1-0

 
Arnold-Bohm
Munich, 1932
[B17]
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Qe2 Ngf6?? (If Black insists on moving one of his knights, then 5…Ndf6 is the only way to go.) 6.Nd6mate 1-0 (This game has been repeated dozens of times. Obviously, something to remember.)

 
Godai-Kieninger
Vienna, 1925
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Bf4 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bb4+ 6.Nbd2 Qe7 7.a3 Ngxe5 8.axb4 Nd3mate 0-1 (Another game that has been repeated dozens of time.)

 
N.N.-Canal
Blindfold Game
New York, 1935
[C20]
1.e4 e5 2.Ne2 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.Nbc3 Qa5 5.d4 Nc6 6.d5 Nb4 7.Bd2 Bf5 8.Rc1 Bxc2 9.Rxc2 Nd3mate 0-1

 

Holmberg-Hongset
corres.
Finland, 1962
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6 3.Nxe5 Nc6 4.Qh5+ Ke7 5.Qf7+ Kd6 6.Nc4+ Kc5 7.Qd5+ Kb4 8.a3+ Ka4 9.b3mate 1-0

 

Teed-Delmar
New York, 1896
1.d4 f5 2.Bg5 h6 3.Bh4 g5 4.Bg3 f4 5.e3 h5 6.Bd3 Rh6 7.Qxh5+! Rxh5 8.Bg6mate 1-0

 

Hamlich-N.N.
Vienna, 1902
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nd7 3.Bc4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ng5+ Kf6 (6…Ke8 7.Ne6 wins the queen.) 7.Qf3mate 1-0

 

Rotman-Bornarel
Bern, 1992
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 f6? 7.Qb3 Qd4?? 8.Bf7+ Ke7 [Stronger is 8…Kd8 9.Bxg8 (not 9.Qxb7 Qb4+ and Black cuts his losses to a single pawn..) 9…Qxe4+ 10.Be3 with the idea of Bd5 +-. An interesting and fun line for White is 10…Rxg8? 11.Qxg8 Qxg2 12.Qxf8+ Kd7 13.Qf7+ Kc6 (not 13…Kc8 14.Qe8#) 14.Nc3!! +- and while Black can restore material equality after 14.Qxh1+ 15.Ke2! Qxa1, he is mated by 15.Qd5#.] 9.Qe6+ Kd8 10.Qe8mate 1-0

 

 

WINNING THE QUEEN

 

Gibaud-Lazard
Paris 1924
[Note: There is considerable doubt about the authenticity of this game. But it is a nice miniature.]
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nd2 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.h3? [4.Ngf3 Bc5 5.e3 Bxe3 6.fxe3 Nxe3 7.Qe2 Nxc2+ 8.Kd1 Nxa1 9.b3 (9.Ne4!? O-O!? 10.Bg5!? Qe8) d5 10.Bb2 (10.exd6!? Qxd6 11.Bb2) Nxb3 11.axb3 Be6 (11…Bg4 12.e6! Bxe6 13.Bxg7) 12.Qb5+! And with White’s active pieces, the position is suddenly unclear!] 4…Ne3! 0-1

 
Warren-Sellman
corres., 1930
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.a3 d6 5.exd6 Bxd6 6.g3?? Nxf2 (7.Kxf2 Bxg3+ wins White’s queen.) 0-1

 

Hernandez Hugo-Clara Melendez Romeo
Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1977
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.Be2 Nc6 5.d4 Bxf3? 6.Bxf3 Qxd4?? 7.Bxc6+ 1-0 (But it is almost certain it was played before. If so, who first played it?)

 

Sherlukov-Averichin
Moscow, 1979
1.e4 e6 2.d4 f5!?! (The Kingston Defence. It would be more popular, but Black keeps losing.) 3.exf5 exf5 4.Bd3 d6 5.Ne2 Qf6 6.O-O Ne7 7.Re1 Bd7 8.Nf4 Qxd4 9.c3 Qb6 10.Nd5 Qa5 11.Bb5! (11…Bxb5 12.b4 catches the queen.) 1-0

 

Krejcik-Baumgartner
Troppau, 1914
[C40]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 4.Kxf2 Qh4+ 5.g3 Qxe4 6.Qe2! Qxh1 7.Bg2 1-0

 
Kolisch-Geake
Cambridge, 1860
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Qb3 Qd7 8.Qxb7 Qc6? 9.Bb5 1-0

 

Blatny-Dasek
Chocen, 1950
[B57]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 g6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 (8…dxe5?? 9.Bxf7+ wins the queen, which as occurred many, many times before. Black has blocked this threat but White finds another way!) 9.e6 f5 10.Bf4 d5
2020_01_30_B
11.Nxd5! cxd5 12.Bb5+ (A tactic worth remembering.) 1-0

 
Escalante-N.N.
Blitz Game
Pasadena, 1990
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Qf6 3.Nc3 Bc5 4.d4 exd4 (Bxd4) 5.Nd5 Qc6 (Qd8) 6.Ne5! Qa4 7.Bb5 Qa5+ (7…Qxb5? 8.Nxc7+ +-) 8.Bd2 Bb4 9.Bxb4 +- 1-0

 

Arnold-Hanauer
Philadelphia, 1936
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.d5 Bc5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bxd8 Bxf2 0-1

 
Donovan-Bisguier
US Open, 1950
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.a3 d6 6.e3 Bf5 7.exd6 Bxd6 8.Be2 Qf6 9.Nd4 Nxf2! 10.Kxf2 Bc2+ 0-1

 

Kusin-Warfalamejew
Rjasan, 1973
1.e3 e5 2.d4 d5 3.Qf3 e4 4.Qf4 Bd6 0-1

 

WINNING A PIECE

 

Greco-N.N.
Italy, circa 1620
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 Nf6 6.Qb3 Nxe4 7.Bxf7+ Kd7 8.Qxb7 Ng5 9.Bd5 Na6 10.Qc6+ Ke7 11.Qxa8 1-0

 

Simons-Loewe
London, 1849
1.e4 c5 2.Bc4 e6 3.Nc3 Ne7 4.f4 d5 5.Bb5+ Nbc6 6.d3 d4 7.Nce2 Qa5+ 0-1

 

IM Shirazi-IM Peters X25
US Ch.
Berkeley, CA, 1984
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.axb4? Qe5+ (Winning a rook.) 0-1 (This game remains the shortest game played in the US Championships.)

 
Szigethy-Deak
Zalakaros, 1988
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Nd7 5.exd6 Bxd6 6.Be2 Ngf6 7.Bg5 Qe7 8.Nc3 O-O-O 9.O-O Bxf3 10.Bxf3 Qe5 0-1

 
Escalante (1820)-Howell (1917)
November Budget Special
Westminster C.C., Nov. 19 1994?
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 f5 4.d4 exd4 5.O-O fxe4 6.Bxg8 Rxg8 7.Ng5 Bf5 8.Qxd4 Qf6 9.Qd5 c6 10.Qxg8 h6 11.Nh7 1-0

 

OTHER REASONS

 
Korody-Bologh, 1933
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 d4 4.e3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 dxe3 6.Bxb4 exf2 7.Ke2 fxg1=N+[The (in)famous “Lasker Trap”. White loses no matter what he does. And don’t ask me why it’s called the “Lasker Trap” – Bologh played it first!] 
2020_01_30_C
8.Rxg1? Bg4+ 0-1

 
E. Schiller-ACCULAB
corres., 1991
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Qf6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Nd5 Qd6 5.d4 Nxd4 6.Nxd4 exd4 7.Bf4 Qc6 8.Nxc7+ Ke7 9.Nxa8 Qxe4+ 10.Be2 1-0 (Black is completely busted.)

 
P. Lang-H. Multhopp
World Open, 1995
[A02]
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Nc3 O-O 6.e4 Re8 7.d3 Ng4 8.Be2 Nxh2! 9.Nxh2 Bg3+ 10.Kf1 Qd4 0-1

 
An interesting draw at the end provides food for thought.

 
Palatnik (2445)-Balashov (2550)
Voronezh, Russia, 1987
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.Bxc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bg4
2020_01_30_D
8.Ng5 Bxd1 9.Bxf7+ Kd7 1/2-1/2

 

 

So why didn’t this young man continue his work?

 
Well, he did. But now he uses a laptop with a word processor.

STOP BRAGGING!

There must be something between large egos and chess players. They, the players, are known for bragging and boasting for the prowess in the game, sometimes even justified. But really, do we need all this boasting, bragging, arrogance, crowing, cockiness, after every game?? What ever happened to just being a gentleman? Isn’t that what tutors and teachers of the game (try to) install into their students?

 
But such attitudes go at least far back as the 19th century. Morphy faced some pretty big egos and when he traveled to Europe and some American players were apparently doing the same in the states.

 
Maybe it’s now just part of the game.

 

It was back in the 1980’s when I was first started to study and learn chess, as opposed to just playing the game. Labate’s Chess Centre held a blitz tournament every Friday night and I took part in many of these tournaments.

 

During this particular Friday night there was an expert chess player. He was slightly tall, and slightly skinny lad in his 20s. He had dark hair and walked around the room with an air of arrogance. He was also my first-round opponent.

 
We walked to the table and even before we shook hands he said he was better than me and was going to beat me. I remembered replying, “Shall I resign now?”

 

He didn’t expect that. But we still had a game to play.

1.e4 c5 2.f4 (The Grand Prix attack. It was very popular in the latter part of the 1980s. Black has a number of ways to combat this King’s Gambit version of the Sicilian, including 2…d5. Which is the main reason I gave up on this Sicilian sideline.) 2…d6 3.Nf3 Bg4?! (This is not the best as the game now mirrors the Kings’ Gambit more closely; a opening I knew- and still know – very well.) 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.e5!? (I am guessing my opponent would have difficulty with this move as he was playing very, very fast, trying to be beat me on time as well as position. All is fair in a 5 minute game.) 5…dxe5 (My opponent actually laughed at this point. He whispered to me, “I’ve won a pawn.” Then he looked at me before continuing, “Now what?”) 6.Nxe5 (I remember thinking, and maybe I did respond to him with, “But I’ve won a piece”. He looked at the free queen and smiled and smiled and excitedly asked me, “How are going to win without your queen?” He grabbed it quickly.) 6…Bxd1 (I just sat there for a little while as my opponent basked in his glory and gluttony. Have to admit it, but I did enjoy savoring the moment before playing my move.) 7.Bxf7# 1-0

 

And my opponent stood up and walked away without saying a word or shaking my hand. What did all his boasting do for him? Nothing but a source of a amusement for his opponent.

 

 

It was in 1991 that the US Open was last held in Los Angeles, CA. I played in that tournament and remembered playing chess morning, noon, and night. I know I shipped at least a few meals during that tournament.
Anyway…

 

One of my opponent was slightly drunk when he and I sat down to play in the Open. Unfortunately, he slightly squiffy. He walked with a off-balance gait, spoke in a slurred speech and I smelled alcohol on his breath when he sat down. Yup, he was drunk.

 

Gomez Baillo-Escalante
US Open
Los Angeles, Aug. 6 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 (We’ve reached the Marshall Attack. This Black defence was more popular in the early 1990s and I was keen to try it out in this Open.) 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.d4 (More common is 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5.) 10…exd4 11.Nxd4 Nxd4 12.cxd4 (12.Qxd4 is better.) 12…Be6 13.Nc3 c6 14.Qh5 Qd7 15.Nxd5 cxd5 16.Bc2 g6 17.Qe5 Bd6 18.Qg5 Be7 19.Qh6 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 30.Bxc1 Qxg4+ 31.Kf1 Qe2+ (with the idea of Re4) 0-1

 

Now, it was good game. But I didn’t feel right about getting it published. After all, I beat someone who was clearly not at his best. I wanted to be humble.

 

Well, two years later, a CD collection of chess games titled, Déjà vu, had this game in it. To this day, I don’t know how it ended up in there.

 

So much for being humble. I didn’t brag, but still, somehow, it got published.

 
But does such a thing as misplaced bragging happen in Master chess? I found this game in Chernev’s excellent “The Fireside Book of Chess”.]

 
Frank Marshall – Duz-Hotimirsky
Carlsbad, 1911
[D30]
[Chernev spelled “Carlsbad” as “Karlsbad”, a more popular form of spelling the city name in the 1940’s. All other notes by Chernev.]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 dxc4 4.e3 a6 5.Ne5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.Bxc4 Bc6 8.O-O Bd6 9.Nc3 Qh4 10.f4 Nf6 11.Bd2 Ng4 12.h3 Qg3

2020_01_16

(Black threats are 13…Qh2# and 13…Qxg2#. Dus had already run into the next room, exclaiming excitedly in his broken German, “Poor Marshall dead! Must be mate!” …) 13.Qxg4 (… One minute later he returned with “I am dead”.) 1-0