The Rare Cozio

Carlo Cozio was an 18th century Italian player was the first to explore 3…Nge7 in the Ruy Lopez. It has never been as popular as the main Ruy Lopez lines as Black often faces multiple weaknesses.

Nevertheless, it still remains on the radar of things to know when studying the Ruy Lopez.

This can be due to many factors. Players may want to avoid the main lines (too much to study they say), or people make a finger (or mouse) slip (right knight, wrong square), or maybe a strong player once suggested this move in a book titled, “HOW TO BEAT THE RUY LOPEZ USING WITH THE CORIZO!”.

The question then, how to deal with it?

First of all, it is also nice to have a copy of ECO around when analyzing your game. Such as this line.

[ECO, C70]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nge7 5.Nc3 d6 6.d4 exd4 7.Nxd4 Bd7 8.Bb3 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 Nc6 10.Qe3 Be7 11.Bd2 O-O 12.O-O-O +/- (Nenarokov)

Just my suggestion!

Ok – Let’s get to the games!

Escalante (1744)-J.H. (1447)
Blitz Game
Anaheim, CA, Feb. 21 1988
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 4.c3 a6 5.Ba4
[ECO gives 5.Bc4 (which changes the game from C70 to C60) 5…d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.O-O Nb6 8.Bb3 Bd6 9.d4 O-O 10.Bg5 Qd7 11.dxe5 Nxe5 =/+ 12.Nbd2 Nxf3+ 13.Nxf3 Qb5! 14.a4 Qa5 15.Bc2 Bg4! 16.Qd3 g6 =/+, quoting the game Psahis-Sydor, Naleczow, 1980.] 5…b5 6.Bb3 d6 7.O-O Bg4 8.Bxf7+! Kxf7 9.Ng5+ Kg8 10.Qxg4 h6 11.Qe6mate 1-0

Blitz Game, Sept. 2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bb3 Bb7 8.O-O h6 9.Nc3 g5 10.Be3 Ng6 11.Nf5 Nge5 12.f4 gxf4 13.Bxf4 h5 14.Nd5! Ne7?? 15.Nf6mate 1-0

Blitz Game, Oct. 18 2020
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 4.d4
[Both this and 4.O-O are good moves here. Luke McShane-James Cobb, British Ch., Wales 1995, continued with 4.O-O g6 5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 Bg7 7.Be3 O-O 8.Re1 d6 9.Nc3 f5? (Bjarke Kristensen, writing in the Jan. 1996 issue of Chess Life noted, “Mr. Cobb needs to develop a stronger sense of danger. The move 9…Ne5 would have been better than the text.”) 10.exf5 Bxd4 11.Bxd4 Nxd4 12.Qxd4 c6 13.fxg6 cxb5 14.gxh7+ Kf7 15.Rxe7+! Kxe7 16.Qg7+ Ke6 17.Re1+ Kf5 18.g4+ Kf4 19.Nd5+ Kf3 20.Re3#.] 4…exd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bb3 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Nc6 (Black can’t try 8…c5?!, hoping for 9.Qd1? c4!, with a variation on the Noah’s Ark trap. Instead, White can simply play 9.Qxc5, with an advantage.) 9.Qd5 Qe7 10.Nc3 Bb7 11.O-O O-O-O 12.Be3 (12.Bf4!?) 12…Qe6 (White doesn’t want to trade queens – his is better placed than Black’s.) 13.Qd3 Qd6 14.Qe2 Qg6 (14…Nd4!? 15.Bxd4 Qxd4 16.Rad1, with the idea of 17.Bxf7, leads to a complicated position, but White is obviously better.) 15.Rfd1 Bd6 16.f3 h5 17.a4 (I wanted to open the queenside, but 17.Nd5 is better.) 14…b4 18.Nd5 h4 19.Bc4 h3 20.g4 (White could probably get away with 20.Bxa6. The text move would normally be considered weakening. But Black’s pieces are not in a position to do anything about it.) 30…Rde8 21.Bxa6 f5 (Black gives up attacking on the kingside and strikes in the center. It’s a good move – White can’t play 22.gxf5 because it is illegal and 22.exf5 fatally opens the e-file for White. White, however, doesn’t need to respond to this threat – he has one himself!) 22.Bxb7+ Kxb7 23.Qb5+ (This position deserves a diagram.)

23…Kc8 [This move seems, at least on this surface, to be Black’s best move as his pieces and pawns offer protection. In fact, it is a blunder as his defenders keep him locked inside a box. Better is the counter-intuitive 23…Ka8! and White must work to find the win; 24.Nxc7+! (the key move) 24…Bxc7 25.Qa6+ Kb8 26.Rd5! fxg4 27.Rb5+ Bb6 (only move!) 28.Qxb6+ Kc8 29.Bg5!! +-.] 24.Qa6+ Kd8 25.Qa8+ 1-0

So, what brought up this interest in the Cozio?

The correspondence game, Escalante-N.N., Team Match,, 2020 just started. The opening moves were:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nge7 5.c3 g6 6.d4 Bg7.

The Sultan’s Problem

Is sometimes our problem as well.


We human beings, despite our efforts and accomplishments in mathematics and technology, can only visualize only a few objects at a time. The exact number depends on the objects, the differences in the objects, and the arrangement of the objects.


The number, therefore, can vary from perhaps as low as three to no more than 100.


So what does this have to do about chess? And why are we concerned about this fact?


The history of chess of chess is shrouded somewhat in mystery. It is known to have originated in India, about the year 700.


From there it traveled across Arab lands before it arrived in Europe in about 1485. The rules were updated to expand the powers of the queen and moves like en-passant and castling were added to speed up the game.


But we don’t know the person, or persons, who actually invented the game.

Therefore, this is a good  place to insert a myth.



A certain Sultan was concerned about boredom and indifference that was infecting him, his staff, and his army.


So, he called over his advisor to see what could be done. The advisor recommended a game that a slave, loyal to the both the advisor and Sultan, had recently invented.



The Sultan was intrigued about this and so he called over to the slave.


The slave told him that this new game of his was a war game that emphasized strategy and there was no luck involved; the winning player must earn this victory.


That intrigued the Sultan who began to ask questions about the game and wanted to play.


Of course, the Sultan won the first game of chess; the slave was a clever one.


After winning more games, the Sultan was full of praise for his slave. He asked him, “What do you desire for this excellent game?”


The slave thought for a short time before replying. He finally said, “Oh great and wonderful master. The only thing this humble servant want is to paid in grains of wheat, in which I can feed my family and perhaps make a small profit by selling the rest.”


The Sultan looked at him and replied, “I am a busy Sultan, so let me ask you one more time, what do you want for this game?”


The clever slave replied, “Master! All I ask for one grain on the first square on the chessboard, two on second, four on the third, eight on the fourth, and so on until the board is filled.”





The Sultan smiled, and asked him, “Is that all?”


“Yes, master.”


The Sultan called over his advisor and said to him, “Bring me a bag of grain for this slave and do what he asks”. The advisor bowed and walked to the grain room.


But, if you know exponential functions, you’ll realize that the advisor must have made many trips to the grain room and could never fulfill his task.



And the clever slave, who know he outsmarted the Sultan, didn’t count on the fact that it was the Sultan who had the power of life and death over his slave. Once the Sultan figured it out, or perhaps had it explained to him, he immediately executed the clever slave.


Here is a chart to help you.





For the actual numbers (and I know you want to see them!), please click on the following link.




If simple folks cannot visualize large numbers of rice grains, how can we expect to visualize the large numbers of people, both healthy and sick, and make good decisions about what we should do to make sure more of us stay healthy?


This story is a fantasy. The sick are not.

Happy Birthday Fabiano Luigi Caruana!


Caruana was born this day in 1992 (July 30) in Miami, Florida. He moved to Italy in 2005 but returned to the United States when he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 2014.


He claims dual citizenship of Italy and the United States.


He played his first tournament at the young age of five at the Polgar Chess Center in the appropriately named in Queens borough in New York.

Caruana earned his grandmaster in 2007, at the age of 14 years, 11 months, and 20 days—the youngest grandmaster in the history of both Italy and the United States at the time.


He won the Italian National Championship in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011 and the US Championship in 2016.


He is the third American to play in the (OTB) World Championship (after Marshall and Fischer), losing the playoff to Magnus Carlsen after drawing the match 6–6 (2018).


Here are some games from the amazing GM.


GM Fabiano Caruana-GM Emanuel Berg
Dresden Ol.
Germany, Nov. 20 2008
[The first sacrifice is easy to find, the immediate second one is not so easy. Both require a belief that one’s attack must be successful.]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Bd3 c5 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Qe2 O-O 10.O-O b6 11.Bg5 Bb7 12.Rad1


[12.Bxf6 leads only to a draw. Kleeschaetzky-M. Mueller, Bundesliga, Oberliga Nord, Germany, 2001 continued with 12…gxf6 13.Bxh7+ Kxh7 14.Qe4+ f5 15.Qh4+ Kg7 16.Qg5+ Kh7 17.Qh5+ Kg7 18.Qg5+ Kh7 1/2-1/2.]


12…Qc7 13.Ne5 Rfd8 14.Kh1! (More common is 14.Rfe1. The text move allows the rook to use the f-file.) 14…Be7 15.Rde1 h6 16.Bh4 Nd5 17.Bg3 Bd6 18.Qe4 Nf6 19.Qh4 Nd7?!


20.Nxf7! Kxf7 21.Rxe6!! Nc5 22.Rxd6 Rxd6 23.Qf4+ Ke7 24.Re1+ Kd7 (Stronger is 24…Ne6. Now White wins by a series of pins.) 25.Bb5+ Bc6 26.Qf5+ Ne6 27.Bxd6 Qxd6 28.Rxe6 (And now if 28…Qd1+, 29.Re1+ wins.) 1-0


GM Fabiano Caruna (2652)-GM Konstantin Landa (2664)
Torneo di Capodanno
Reggio Emilia, Italy, June 1 2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2 Be6 9.O-O-O Qd7 (9…O-O is an alternative but Black doesn’t have to commit just yet.) 10.Kb1 (Caruna likes to tuck his king in for safety before doing anything aggressive.) 10…Bf6 11.h4 (Just in case Black decides castles on that side.) 11…h6?! (The h6-pawn is now a potential weakness and target.) 12.Nd4! Nxd4 (If Black castles on the queenside, then White has the annoying 13.Bb5. Black has problems castling on either side!) 13.Bxd4 Bxd4 14.Qxd4 O-O (Finally, Black castles. But he still has the same weaknesses.) 15.Rg1! (Obvious and good!) 15…Rae8 16.g4 (The purpose of 15.Rg1.) 16…Qc6 17.Bg2 Qa6 18.b3 Bd7 19.g5 h5 (A good defensive move. But does Black want to keep defending?) 20.g6! Re7 21.Bd5 Be6 22.Rde1 c5 (Black doesn’t have resources to defend adequately.) 23.Qd1 Rfe8 24.Qxh5 fxg6


25.Rxe6 1-0 [Mating threats are breaking out. If 25…gxh5, then 26.Rxe7+ Kf8 (26…Kh8 27.Rxe8+ Kh7 28.Bg8+ Kh8 29.Bf7+ Kh7 30.Bg6+ Kh6 31.Rh8# ; 26…Kh7 27.Rgxg7+ Kh6 28.Rh7+ Kg6 29.Be4+ Kf6 30.Rhf7#) 27.Rf7+ Kg8 28.Rf5+ Re6 29.Bxe6+ Kh7 30.Rxh5#.]


GM F. Caruana-GM B. Gelfand
Zurich Chess Challenge
Switzerland, Mar. 1 2013
[Notes based on: Zura Javakhadze,]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Nf3 (Again Catalan. It was the most played opening in this tournament.) 4…Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.Qc2 Nbd7 9.Bf4 b6 10.Rd1 Bb7 11.Ne5 (11.Nc3 is the main line.) 11…Nh5 12.Bd2 Nhf6 13.cxd5 cxd5 14.Nc6 Bxc6 15.Qxc6


15…Qb8 [An interesting novelty! 15…Rc8 is the most played line. 16.Qb5 Nb8 17.e3 Ne8 18.Be1 Nd6 19.Qe2 Nc6 20.Nc3 Bf6 21.Rac1 Qd7 (1/2-1/2 Mchedlishvili,M (2651)-Alekseev,E (2683)/ Germany 2012/CBM 151 (35).


Since this game was played, Gelfand’s novelty has proven to be more ineffective.


GM Roman Ovetchkin (2529)-GM Grigoriy Oparin (2497)
Yekaterinburg, Russia, June 27 2013
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.Qc2 b6 9.Rd1 Bb7 10.Bf4 Nbd7 11.Ne5 Nh5 12.Bd2 Nhf6 13.cxd5 cxd5 14.Nc6 Bxc6 15.Qxc6 Qb8 16.Qb5 a6 17.Qd3 b5 18.Be1 Nb6 19.e3 Rc8 20.Nc3 b4 21.Ne2 Nc4 22.Rab1 Qb6 23.f3 Rc7 24.Bf2 Rac8 25.g4 Qa5 26.Be1 Qb5 27.Rdc1 Qb6 28.b3 Na3 29.Rxc7 Rxc7 30.Rc1 Nb5 31.Qd2 Ne8 32.Rxc7 Qxc7 33.Qc1 Bd6 34.Qxc7 Nexc7 35.Bf1 f6 36.Nc1 Kf7 37.Bd3 g6 38.h4 a5 39.Ne2 e5 40.dxe5 Bxe5 41.f4 Bb2 42.f5 g5 43.hxg5 fxg5 44.Bg3 Bf6 45.Nd4 Nxd4 46.Bxc7 Nc6 47.Bb5 Bd8 48.Bg3 Ne7 49.Bd7 Kf6 50.Be8 Ng8 51.Kf2 Ke7 52.Bc6 Nf6 53.Kf3 h5 54.gxh5 Nxh5 55.Be5 Nf6 56.e4 dxe4+ 57.Bxe4 Bb6 58.Bc6 Bc5 59.Bc7 g4+ 60.Kg2 Bd6 61.Bxa5 Nh5 62.Be4 Nf6 63.Bc6 Nh5 64.Be4 Nf6 65.Bb7 Nh5 66.Bc8 Ng7 67.f6+ Kxf6 68.Bxg4 Nf5 69.Kf3 Ke5 70.Ke2 Nd4+ 71.Kd3 Kd5 72.Bb6 Bc5 73.Bd8 Bd6 74.Bh4 Kc5 75.Bf2 Be5 76.Be6 Bf6 77.Bg8 Bg7 78.Be3 Bf6 79.Bf7 Bg7 80.Bc4 Bf6 81.Ke4 Bg7 82.Bd5 Bf6 83.Bh6 Be7 84.Bc4 Nb5 85.Kd3 Nd4 86.Bc1 Nb5 87.Be3+ Kc6 88.Bf7 Nd6 89.Bh5 Bf6 90.Bc1 Be5 91.Bg4 Kb6 92.Bd7 Kc5 93.Be3+ Kd5 94.Bf2 Ne4 95.Be6+ Kxe6 96.Kxe4 Bc3 97.Bc5 Be1 98.Kd4 Kd7 99.Kc4 Kc6 100.Bxb4 Bf2 101.a3 Be3 102.Bc3 Bc1 103.a4 Ba3 104.Bb4 Bc1 105.Bc5 Bd2 106.Bd4 Ba5 107.Bc3 Bc7 108.b4 Kb7 109.b5 Bb6 110.a5 Bd8 111.a6+ Ka8 112.Kc5 Bc7 113.Kc6 Bd8 114.Be5 Bb6 115.Bd6 Ba7 116.Bc5




M. Muzychuk (2540)-Adam Kozak (2148)
Gibraltar Masters
Caleta, Jan. 1 27 2018
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 O-O 7.O-O Nbd7 8.Qc2 c6 9.Rd1 b6 10.Bf4 Bb7 11.Ne5 Nh5 12.Bd2 Nhf6 13.cxd5 cxd5 14.Nc6 Bxc6 15.Qxc6 Qb8 16.Qb5 a6 17.Qd3 b5 18.Bf4 Bd6 19.Bxd6 Qxd6 20.Nd2 Nb6 21.e4 Qe7 22.e5 Nfd7 23.Rdc1 Rac8 24.a3 Nc4 25.Rc2 g6 26.f4 Ndb6 27.Nf3 Nd7 28.h4 Ncb6 29.Rf2 Rc7 30.Bh3 Rfc8 31.Kg2 Rc1 32.Rxc1 Rxc1 33.g4 f5 34.exf6 Nxf6 35.Ng5 Ne4 36.Nxe4 dxe4 37.Qxe4 Qd7 38.f5 exf5 39.gxf5 Qc6 40.Qxc6 Rxc6 41.Kf3 Kf7 42.Ke4 Ke7 43.fxg6 hxg6 44.Ke5 Rc1 45.Bg2 Nd7+ 46.Kf4 Rd1 47.Re2+ Kf6 48.Ke4 Nb6 49.b3 Ke7 50.Re3 a5 51.Rc3 Re1+ 52.Kf4 Nd7 53.Rc7 Kd6 54.Rc6+ Ke7 55.Rxg6 Rd1 56.d5 Nf8 57.Rb6 Rd4+ 58.Be4 Nd7 59.Re6+ Kf7 60.Ke3 Rd1 61.Ke2 Rd4 62.h5 Nc5 63.Bg6+ Kg7 64.Rc6 Nxb3 65.h6+ 1-0.]


16.Qc2 b5 17.Qd3 b4 18.Be1 Qb6 19.Nd2 (Fabiano’s reaction on Gelfand’s novelty was probably the most natural.) 19..a5 20.Rac1 Rac8 21.e3 e5 (It looks like Boris missed his opponent’s next move. 21…Rfd8 looks more solid. But after 22.Bf1 White is better, due to the bishop pair.) 22.Bh3 Rc7 (22…e4 23.Qb3 +/=. In the late endgame Black’s central pawns might become a target of attack, this gives White very pleasant prospects.) 23.Bxd7 Nxd7 24.dxe5 Nxe5 (Gelfand activated his pieces but in my opinion, it hardly compensates a pawn.) 25.Qxd5 Rfc8 26.Nb3 Nc4 27.Rd4 Qa6 28.Rf4 Bf6 29.Qd3 Qe6 30.Re4 Qd6 31.Re8+! (Caruana simplifies the position in a nice tactical way and remains with an extra pawn.) 31…Rxe8 32.Qxd6 Nxd6 33.Rxc7 a4 34.Nc5 b3 35.axb3 axb3 36.Rc6 Bxb2 37.Nxb3 (37.Rxd6?! Ba3 38.Rb6 Bxc5 39.Rxb3. Knights on the board are obviously favorable for White.) 37…Ne4 38.Kg2 h5 39.f3 Ng5 40.Bf2 (The second time control has arrived and the Italian shows very high endgame technique.) 40…g6 41.Nc5 Ne6 42.Ne4 Bg7 43.Rb6 Ra8 44.h3 Ra2 45.f4 Ra5 46.Kf3 g5 47.Rb8+ Kh7 48.Nd6 f5 49.Rb6 g4+ 50.hxg4 fxg4+ (50…hxg4+ was the best try for survival.) 51.Kg2 Nc5 52.Nb7 (White has two connected pawns, so knights are no longer necessary on the board.) 52…Nxb7 53.Rxb7 Ra4 54.Rb6 Re4 55.Kf1 h4? (White is very close to victory but this move makes his task much easier.) 56.gxh4 g3 57.Bg1! Bh6 58.Kg2 (A very convincing victory by the Italian prodigy!) 1-0


GM Magnus Carlsen-GM Fabiano Caruana
World Ch., Game #11
London, Nov. 24 2018
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 O-O 8.Qd2 Nd7 9.O-O-O Nf6 10.Bd3 c5 11.Rhe1 Be6 12.Kb1 Qa5 (12…d5!?) 13.c4 Qxd2 14.Bxd2 h6 15.Nh4 Rfe8 16.Ng6 Ng4 17.Nxe7+ Rxe7 18.Re2 Ne5 19.Bf4 Nxd3 20.Rxd3 Rd7 21.Rxd6 Rxd6 22.Bxd6 Rd8 23.Rd2 Bxc4 24.Kc1 b6 25.Bf4 Rxd2 26.Kxd2 a6 27.a3 Kf8 28.Bc7 b5 29.Bd6+ Ke8 30.Bxc5 h5 31.Ke3 Kd7 32.Kd4 g6 33.g3 Be2 34.Bf8 Kc6 35.b3 Bd1 36.Kd3 Bg4 37.c4 Be6 38.Kd4 bxc4 39.bxc4 Bg4 40.c5 Be6 41.Bh6 Bd5 42.Be3 Be6 43.Ke5 Bd5 44.Kf4 Be6 45.Kg5 Bd5 46.g4 hxg4 47.Kxg4 Ba2 48.Kg5 Bb3 49.Kf6 Ba2 50.h4 Bb3 51.f4 Ba2 52.Ke7 Bb3 53.Kf6 Ba2 54.f5 Bb1 55.Bf2 Bc2 1/2-1/2


GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave-GM Fabiano Caruana X25
Blitz Game
Chessbrah May Invitational, May 2020
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.e3 Bb4 5.Qc2 a5 6.Nd5 d6 7.a3 Bc5 8.Be2 Be6 9.Nxf6+ Qxf6 10.b3 O-O 11.Bb2 Ba7 12.Rd1 Bf5 13.d3 Qe7 14.O-O Bg6 15.Qd2 Rad8 16.Rfe1 d5 17.cxd5 Rxd5 18.Qc3 Rfd8 19.Rd2 Rc5! -+ 0-1

Cheating in Correspondence Chess

Five big questions about cheating in correspondence game, are:

(1) Why this sudden interest in cheating in correspondence chess?
(2) What is cheating?
(3) How does one cheat in correspondence?
(4) How can cheaters be caught?
(5) What is are the penalties for getting caught?

But first, let us define the difference between OTB chess and correspondence chess.

Over The Board (OTB): Chess played between two players, in which both players can see each other across a board. This form of chess uses a chess clock, individual sheets of paper where players write down their moves, and Tournament Director (TD) the help with any disputes. The OTB players are not allowed to consult any notes and games normally finish in a few hours.

This is the usual image when the public think of chess.

Correspondence Chess: A game played where reflection time (the time allotted for a player to research, analyze, and play a move) exceeds one day. In addition, players are allowed, with some restrictions, access to printed material, databases, and their own notes.

The game can played via postcards, email, and Internet servers. Organizations that feature correspondence chess events include ICCF, USCF, CCLA, and

Here is a correspondence game from the dawn of the Internet.

Escalante-“The Thinker”
Chess Palace BBS, 1990
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6 8.Nc3 Nb4 9.d4 Nxc2+ 10.Kd1 Nxd4 11.Bxd5+ Kd6 12.Qf7 Be7? 13.Ne4+ Kd7 14.Qxg7 (with the idea of Qxe5.  14.Nc5+ is just as good.) and White duly won.

Now, let’s now answer the questions!

(1) Why this sudden interest in cheating in correspondence chess?

The cheating, and the interest in cheating, is not sudden onslaught, but rather part of continuing problem of correspondence chess. With the corona virus epidemic still rampant, many OTB players who would normally prefer to play chess facing their opponents in real life, now must get their study, play, and enjoyment, from correspondence chess or the Internet.

This increases the number of players who play on the Internet, where apparently more cheating occurs than anywhere else. Interesting enough, having more OTB players are not the problem. It’s still the people who would still cheat in OTB and correspondence play.

Personally, last year I had played one cheater in a speed game on and two correspondence cheaters the year on the same website. One game is presented at the end.

So yeah, cheating is a real thing.

(2) What is cheating?

Cheating: Influencing the game or tournament by illegal means. This can take various forms.

(3) How does one cheat in correspondence?

A caveat here. This list is not exhaustive as no single list of cheating can ever be complete. Cheaters are apt in finding new ways circumvent the rules and ethics. And while this list is meant for correspondence play, many of these items are also directly applicable to OTB chess.

(a) Using active help rather than passive help.

A player may consult publicly available books, magazines, newspaper articles, opening databases, most web sites, and videos (such as for help on his move. He may also use his own notes. This is passive help.

This type of help is allowable in correspondence chess only. OTB players must not use any type of notes, including a player’s thoughts during the game nor may he write down any inspirational thoughts, as GM Wesley So found out (2015 US Men’s Championship, against GM Varuzhan Akobian).

Active help is using a computer, an engine, an endgame table base, a cellphone, or any other electronic device, generate moves for the player. He is also not allowed to ask for help from a friend, a GM, or any other person, for help on his moves. Nor is he allowed to “show off” his game to other players, where they might be tempted to comment on the game. It’s quite a list!

However, it must be mentioned that ICCF (International Correspondence Chess Federation) does allow computers for help. This list is meant for mostly domestic play and not international. And even then, some international organizations and events prohibit computer assistance. Please check if you intend to play in an international correspondence tournament.

And, yes, players are allowed to use chess engines and computers to study their game after the end of their game. Just like the game below.

(b) Impersonating a player, real or fictional, to play in tournament which is impersonator is not normally allowed to play..

Examples of this type of cheating are:

Assuming the role of a woman in game if one is a man. This is probably impossible in OTB, but several cases have existed in correspondence play.
Perhaps the most (in)famous case is that of Miss Leigh Strange. You can look it up in the Internet.

Assuming the part of a younger person to partake in a junior contest. No known examples exist. But it is possible.

Playing in a lower section that is beneath a players rating. A Master, hiding the fact he is a Master, and playing an unrated tournament, is a supreme example of this form of cheating. Unfortunately, it has happened. More than once.

(c) Throwing a game so as to lower one’s rating so he can play in a tournament with lower rated players (see above). It is informally known as “sandbagging”.

(d) Convincing other players to lose or draw their games so that a player may place higher in the standings that he would not otherwise reach.

(e) Deciding the outcome of a game before starting the game. Known as collusion.

(4) How can cheaters be caught?

The most obvious example is a player who would be normally be playing at 1200 (beginner) Elo, suddenly plays at 2000 (Expert) level. Players do not normally jump 800 Elo points in a short time. This raises a red flag.

The more complex a position, or the longer sequence of moves necessary to reach a goal, the more likely a player is to error, even if it such error is minor. The same goes for many types of endgames. Being suddenly proficient in these areas again raises red flags. has adapted a policy that if they feel they can accuse a suspected cheater and win a in court of law, where the level of evidence needs to be high for a conviction, they can ban the player. It is this player’s opinion that this standard should be applied in in all correspondence play.

(5) What is are the penalties for getting caught?

They range for immediate forfeiture of the game and all games in a tournament (if the offender is lucky), to being barred for life for that organization.

A lawsuit is possible to recover any prizes awarded, as well criminal charges that might be filed (depending on circumstances, the nature of the offensive, and other factors).

It is just not worth it!


Thematic Tournament, Round 2, 2020
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Qb6 10.Be3 Qb7 11.Qg3 b4 12.Na4 Nbd7 13.f3 O-O 14.Rfd1 Nc5


15.Bh6!? (This idea was mentioned by GM Golubev in one of his books on the Sozin, and as such, we are still in theory. list of Master games also gives 15.Nxc5 dxc5 16.Ne2, but Black wins both games. And who wants to play a losing game? Finally, Stockfish considers 15.Bh6 an error.) 15…Ne8 (Pretty much forced and a move I expected.) 16.Nxc5!? [Only now do we leave theory. The idea is to preserve the bishop (Black threatens …Nxb3) and perhaps allow him back into the game via c2 so he can apply pressure on Black’s kingside.] 16…dxc5 17.Ne2!? (Where else could the knight go?) 17…Kh8! (Black gets out of trouble and threatens the other bishop.) 18.Be3 Bd7 19.Qf2 Rc8 20.c4 Qc7!? (Black’s move seems very strong. I didn’t know it at the time, but this move is almost certain to be engine-generated. After the game Stockfish gave 20…bxc3 21.bxc3 Nf6 22.c4 Bc6 23.Nf4 Nd7 24.Nd3 f5 25.e5 Qc7 26.Rab1 a5 27.Qg3 Rfd8 28.a4, evaluating the position as +.81. But Black’s move seems stronger. Was my opponent really playing stronger than Stockfish?) 21.Bf4 e5 22.Be3 a5 23.Bc2 Be6 24.b3 a4 25.Ng3 (The idea of Nf5 makes sense as White has to generate counterplay before he gets squeezed to death.) 25…Nd6 26.Rd2 Rfd8 27.Rad1 Nb7 28.f4 Rxd2 29.Bxd2 f6 30.Bc1 Na5 [Here as where my opponent was forfeited as he was caught cheating in this game and others. Not only did he lose an enormous large amount of games this year (2020) but he is now banned from the website. And as announced earlier this year; it is for life.) 31.Nf5 (Only played so the players in the round two, including me, can advance to the next round.) 1-0

A Continuation of From’s

A few posts ago I wrote about From’s Gambit (see “From England, with Love.”)

The research needed for that article helped this one. I finally got to play a From’s Gambit. And while the game is not perfect, it was a lot of fun to play.


Blitz Game, July 15 2020
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3


(Most popular, after 5.e3 is 5…Ng4 with lines progressing with 6.Qe2 Nc6 7.Nc3.)






[A slightly passive move. 6.Bb5 should be considered. Here are four games illustrating that White’s play does not have to be limited to the kingside.


Thematic Tournament, 1961
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3 Nc6 6.Bb5 Bd7 7.d3 Qe7 8.Nc3 O-O-O 9.Bd2 Ng4 10.Qe2 Nb4 11.Bxd7+ Rxd7 12.O-O-O f5 13.h3 Nf6 14.Nd4 g6 15.a3 Nbd5 16.Nxd5 Nxd5 17.c4 Nf6 18.Bc3 Re8 19.Nc2 Nh5 20.Qf3 Bg3 21.Rd2 c5 22.Rhd1 Qe6 23.Kb1 Kb8 24.Re2 Be5 25.Bxe5+ Qxe5 26.g4 fxg4 27.hxg4 Nf6 28.Rf2 Re6 29.d4 Qg5 30.dxc5 Qxc5 31.Qf4+ Kc8 32.Nd4 Red6 33.g5 Ne8 34.Rc1 Re7 35.Rc3 a6 36.Qg4+ Kb8 37.Rf8 Ka7 38.b4 Qc7 39.Kb2 Rd8 40.Rf4 Ng7 41.c5 Nh5 42.b5 Qxf4 43.b6+ Kb8 44.exf4 Rxd4 45.c6 bxc6 46.Rxc6 Re8 47.Qg1 Rd5 48.Qc1 Ng3 49.Re6 Rc8 50.Re8 1-0


Moscow, 1984
[Gambit Revue, 2/1991]
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3 Nc6 6.Bb5! (A new idea.) 6…O-O (6…Bd7 should be preferred and 7.O-O O-O 8.Nc3 a6 9.Bxc6 Bxc6 10.d3 Re8 11.a4 although and here White has a clear advantage.) 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.O-O Re8 9.Nc3 Bg4 10.Qe1 Rb8 11.d3 Qe7 12.e4 Bxf3 13.gxf3! (The natural 13.Rxf3 would be a serious mistake because of 13…Be5! with full domination by Black.) 13…Nh5 (13…Be5 Now gives nothing. 14.f4 Bd4+ 15.Kh1 with a better position for White.) 14.f4 f5 15.e5 Bc5+ 16.Kh1 Qf7 17.Qe2 Bd4 18.Qf3 Bxc3 (18…Re6 19.Ne2? Bxb2? 20.Rb1 +-) 19.bxc3 Qd5 20.c4 Qxf3+ 21.Rxf3 g6 22.Ba3 Kf7 23.d4 Red8 24.Rd1 Ke6 25.Bc1 Rb1 26.Rfd3 Ra1 27.d5+ Kf7 28.Be3 Rxa2 29.dxc6 Rxd3 30.cxd3 Re2 31.Bc1 Ng7 32.d4 Rc2 33.d5 Rxc4 34.e6+ Kg8 35.Be3 Ne8 36.Bxa7 Kf8 37.Bd4 Ke7 38.Be5 Nd6 39.Re1 Ra4 40.Bxd6+ cxd6 41.Rb1 1-0.


Vladimir Malaniuk (2600)-Roman Ovetchkin (2475)
Russia Cup
Omsk/Perm, 1998
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3 Nc6 6.Bb5 O-O 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.O-O c5 9.b3 Ne4 10.Bb2 f5 11.Na3 Bb7 12.Nc4 Qe7 13.d3 Ng5 14.Nxg5 Qxg5 15.Qd2 Rae8 16.Rae1 Re6 17.e4 f4 18.Rf3 Rh6 19.Nxd6 cxd6 20.Rg3 1-0


Claude Oger (19970-Xavier Lebrun (2205)
Elancourt Open, Apr. 22 2006
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3 Nc6 6.Bb5 O-O 7.Nc3 Bg4 8.Be2 Re8 9.O-O Qe7 10.Kh1 Rad8 11.a3 Nh5 12.Qe1 Ne5 13.d4 Ng6 14.Qf2 Nf6 15.Bd2 c6 16.Bd3 Bc8 17.h3 Nh5 18.Ne2 Bb8 19.Rg1 Nf6 20.Nc3 c5 21.Rae1 a6 22.Ne2 b5 23.c3 Bb7 24.Nf4 Ne4 25.Bxe4 Qxe4 26.Ng5 Qf5 27.h4 Nxf4 28.exf4 h6 29.Nh3 Qxh3mate 0-1.]



(Black could obviously try 7…O-O but I usually like to castle to the opposite side of my opponent – it opens more possibilities to attacking their castled king. R. Norman-M.Varner, corres., 1991 continued with 6…O-O 7.O-O Be6 8.Nc3 Nd7 9.b3 Nde5 10.Ne4 Nxf3+ 11.Bxf3 Bd5 12.Bb2 Bxe4 13.Bxe4 Qh4 14.Rf4 Bxf4 15.exf4 Qxf4 16.d3 Rad8 17.Qe1 Rfe8 18.Qc3 Nd4 19.Re1 Kh8 20.Bc1 Qxc1 21.Rxc1 Ne2+ 22.Kf1 Nxc3 23.Bf3 c6 24.a3 g6 …0-1.)


7.O-O h5 8.Nh4?! (8…c4!?) 8…Be6 9.Rxf6? (This might work if Black was forced to play 9…gxf6? and now either 10.Bxh5 or 10.d4. But even then Black has the advantage.) 9…Qxf6 10.g3 g5 11.Ng2 h4 12.g4 h3 13.Ne1 Qe5 (>13…O-O-O! which will save Black a tempo or two.) 14.Nf3 Qf6 15.Nc3 Bxg4 16.Ne4 Qf5 (>16…Qg6!) 17.Nexg5? (This can’t be good. Much better is 17.Nxd6+ cxd6 and White rids himself of an annoying bishop. The text move, moreover, freely opens the g-file to Black’s rooks without him having to work for it.)




17…O-O-O?! (A reasonable move. But not the best. Black should immediately use the open file that was freely given to him with 17…Bxf3 18.Bxf3 Qxg5+ or 18.Nxf3 Qg4+.) 18.Qf1 Bxf3 (A move best described as better late than never.) 19.Nxf3 Rhg8+ 20.Kh1 Rg2 21.Bd3 Qg4 22.Ng1?? Rxh2mate 0-1

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 has 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 150 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.


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.)



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.


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


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


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.


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.]




[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.


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


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


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


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.


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


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

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
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


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


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!


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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
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)
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


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).







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


Each board has 64 squares.


A man moving to the 8th rank is promoted.





It is a game usually played by only two competitors.





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.




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.





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.




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



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



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.


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
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.


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


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



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.

USSR Ch., 1977
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 +/-


Sokolsky Memorial
Minsk, 1978
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


Kirovakan, Armenia, 1978
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 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.



They can be ordered on 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


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


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.



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.


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

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, 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.)
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!


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