Bishop’s Gambit Anyone?

Sometimes I dabble in the King’s Gambit. Most of the time Black simply takes the f4-pawn. And White continuous with 3.Nf3 and heads off into much analyzed lines.

But what is wrong with 3.Bc4, the Bishop’s Gambit? It turns out that most White players fear 3…Qh4+ 4.Kf1, and White can’t castle. And his King sits uncomfortably in the center.

Oh, by the way, both 4.Ke2 and 4.g3 fail miserably. Here is a sample game.

Hornby-Ford
CompuServe, 1994
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 Bc4 Qh4+ 4.g3 fxg3 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Qf3+ Nf6 7.hxg3 Qxe4+ 8.Qxe4 Nxe4 9.Nf3 Nxg3 10.Rh3 Ne4 11.d3 Nf6 12.Nc3 Nc6 13.Bd2 d5 14.Ng5+ Kg8 15.Rh4 h6 16.Nh3 Bxh3 17.Rxh3 Re8+ 18.Kf1 Bc5 19.Ne2 Ng4 20.b4 Nxb4 21.Bxb4 Bxb4 22.Rb1 Bc5 23.Rxb7 Bb6 24.Nc3 Ne3+ 25.Ke2 Nc4+ 26.Kd1 Nd6 0-1

So White is left with 4.Kf1.

Now what does Black do? Well, Black can go wrong very quickly. Here are some games to show the point.

Jaenisch-Kieseritzky
corres., 1838
[A game slightly on the bizarre side.]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 c5 5.Nc3 Ne7 6.Nf3 Qh5 7.Nb5 d5 8.Nc7+ Kd8 9.Nxd5 Nxd5 10.Bxd5 Kc7 11.d4 g5 12.h4 Bg4 13.c3 Kc8 14.Kf2 Bxf3 15.gxf3 Nc6 16.Qa4 Nd8 17.Bd2 Bd6 18.Rag1 gxh4 19.Rg4 h3 20.e5 Bc7 21.Bxf4 a6?! 22.Kg3 (If Black follows through with his plan then White wins with 22…b5 23.Qc2 Ra7 24.Rxh3) 1-0

B. Malyutin-P. Milyukov
Odessa, 1918
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 f3? 5.Nxf3 Qxe4 6.Bxf7+! Kd8 7.Kf2 Nh6?! 8.Re1 Qxe1+ 9.Qxe1 Nxf7 10.d4 Bd6?! 11.Ng5! Nh6 12.Qe4! Rf8+ 13.Kg1 c5?! 14.Nxh7 Re8 15.Bg5+ Be7 16.Re1 Ng8 17.d5 d6 18.Nf8!? Bd7 19.Qf4! Nf6 20.Ng6 Nxd5 21.Qxd6 Bxg5 22.Rxe8+ Kxe8 23.Qf8mate 1-0

Zaharchenko-Usachyi
USSR, 1970
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 c6?! (Perhaps too soon to play this move.) 5.d4 g5 6.Qf3 Nf6 7.g3 Qh5 8.e5 d5 9.Qxh5 Nxh5 10.Be2 g4 11.gxf4 Rg8 12.Nc3 Bh6 13.Nh3 Na6 14.a3 Nc7 15.Ng5 Bf5 16.Bd3 Bxd3+ 17.cxd3 Ne6 18.Rg1 Nxd4 19.Rxg4 Nb3 20.Rb1 Nxc1 21.Rxc1 Nxf4 22.Nxh7 O-O-O 23.Nf6 Rxg4 24.Nxg4 Nxd3 25.Rd1 Nxb2 26.Nxh6 Nxd1 27.Nxd1 Kd7 28.Nf2 Rf8 29.Nd3 Ke6 30.Nc5+ Ke7 31.Nf5+ Kd8 32.e6 Kc7 33.e7 Re8 34.Nxb7 Kxb7 35.Nd6+ Kc7 36.Nxe8+ Kd7 37.Nd6 Kxe7 38.Nc8+ Kd7 39.Nxa7 1-0

A special case: after 4.Kf1, 4…Bc5 is not good due to 5.d4. Here are some games showing why this is so.

Greco-N.N., 1620
[Greco]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Bc5 5.d4 Bb6 6.Nf3 Qe7 7.Bxf4 Qxe4 8.Bxf7+ Kf8 9.Bg3 Nh6 10.Nc3 Qe7 11.Bb3 c6 12.Qd3 d5 13.Re1 Qf6 14.Bh4 Qg6 15.Be7+ Kg8 16.Qxg6 hxg6 17.Nxd5 cxd5 18.Bxd5+ Kh7
(18…Nf7 19.Ng5 Rh5 20.Bxf7+ Kh8 21.Bxg6 Rh4 22.Nf7+ Kg8 23.Bxh4 +-) 19.Ng5mate 1-0

Greco-N.N., 1620
[Greco]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Bc5 5.d4 Bb6 6.Nf3 Qe7 7.Bxf4 Qxe4 8.Bxf7+ Kf8 9.Bg3 Nh6 10.Nc3 Qe7 11.Bb3 c6 12.Qd3 d5 13.Re1 Qf7 14.Bd6+ Kg8 15.Re7 Qf6 16.Nxd5 Qxd6 [16…cxd5 17.Bxd5+ Kf8 (17…Nf7 18.Re8#) 18.Rf7+ Ke8 19.Rxf6 gxf6 20.Qe3+ Kd8 21.Qe7#] 17.Nf6+ Kf8 18.Re8mate 1-0

Harrwitz-Anderssen
Match, Breslau, 1848

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Bc5 5.d4 Bb6 6.Nf3 Qe7 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.e5 Nh5 9.Nd5 Qd8 10.g4 fxg3 11.Bg5 f6 12.exf6 gxf6 13.Ne5 O-O 14.Qxh5 fxg5+ 15.Nf6+ Kg7 16.Qxh7+ Kxf6 17.Ng4mate 1-0

P. Morphy-A. Morphy
New Orleans, 1848

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Bc5 5.d4 Bb6 6.Nf3 Qe7 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Qd3 c6 9.Bxf4 d5 10.exd5 O-O 11.d6 Qd8 12.Re1 Re8 13.Ng5 Rxe1+ 14.Kxe1 Qe8+ 15.Kd2 Be6 16.Re1 Nbd7 17.Nxe6 fxe6 18.Rxe6 1-0

Black does better with moves like 3…Nf6, 3…Nc6, 3…d6, and 3…d5.

But even with the better moves, Black can find himself in trouble.

GM Fischer-GM Evans
US Ch.
New York, Nov. 16 1963
[Fischer, “Exclusive Commentary on Round Two”, Chess Life and Review, Jan. 1964]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 [I knew that my opponent had some prepared line (since he usually plays the Sicilian) but felt that he would be unfamiliar with the King’s Gambit. Besides, I’d made up my mind to play it in this tournament anyway.] 2…exf4 3.Bc4 [Better than 3.Nf3 which is practically refuted by 3…d6 (see my analysis in the American Chess Quarterly.)] 3…Qh4+ (Turning it into an old-fashioned slugfest. The moderns frown on this move and prefer to fight in the center with 3…Nf6 4.Nc3 c6, etc.) 4.Kf1 d6? [Evans said this game would set chess back a hundred years. He didn’t know how right he was! The defense he chooses was also played by LaBourdonnais against MacDonnell (20th Match Game, 1834) which continued 5.d4 Bg4 6.Qd3 Nc6 7.Bxf7+? Kxf7 8.Qb3+ Kg6 9.Qxb7 Nxd4 10.Qxa8 f3 with a winning attack. More usual is 4…g5 (or d5) 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.d4 Ne7 7.Nf3 Qh5 8.h4 h6 and it’s a hard game.] 5.Nc3? [Returning the compliment. It’s natural that White should want to save the juicy tempo (5.Nf3!) and I make the same mistake as MacDonnell by delaying this move.] 5…Be6! (I overlooked this move. Now Black has a choice of where to put his Queen once she’s attacked.) 6.Qe2 c6 7.Nf3 (Inaccurate. Having made the mistake of delaying this move once, White should hold off a while longer and play 7.d4, which does not permit Black’s Queen to retreat to e7 without relinquishing his “f” pawn.) 7…Qe7 (If 7…Qh5 8.Nd5! Now, however, Black has time to consolidate his king’s position.) 8.d4 Bxc4 9.Qxc4 g5 (Despite White’s strong center and great lead in development, Black’s position is not easy to crack. If 10.h4 g4 11.Ne1 Bh6, etc.) 10.e5 d5 [During the game I thought Black’s best defense was 10…dxe5 11.Nxe5 (11.dxe5 Nd7 12.Ne4 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Qxe5 14.Bd2 is unclear) 11…Nd7 12.h4 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Qxe5 14.hxg5 O-O-O 15.Bxf4 Qf5 with equality.] 11.Qd3 [11.Nxd5 cxd5 12.Qc8+ Qd8 13.Qxb7 Nd7 is unsound. (14.Nxg5? Rb8). Now the threat is simply 11.Qf5.] 11…Na6 12.Ne2 (Not 12.Qf5 Nh6 13.Qxg5 Qxg5 14.Nxg5 Nb4 15.Bxf4 Nxc2 16.Rd1 Nf5 and Black wins.) 12…Nb4 (12…f6 loses 13.Qf5 Bg7 14.exf6 Bxf6 15.Bxf4! gxf4 16.Nxf4 with a winning attack. It is important to repel White’s queen from its present diagonal.) 13.Qd1 O-O-O (Very complicated, and possibly better, is 13.c3 which leads to a more active defense.) 14.c3 Na6 15.h4 g4 16.Nh2! h5 (Better was 16…f3 17.gxf3 gxf3 18.Nxf3 f6 although White’s king is quite safe and Black lags in development. Also to be considered was 16…Qxh4 17.Nxf4! g3 18.Qg4+ Qxg4 19.Nxg4 with a powerful ending.) 17.Nxf4


17…Qxh4? [The losing move. Relatively best is 17…Kb8 (preventing Nxh5!) but his game is already bad.] 18.Kg1 (Black apparently underestimated the strength of this move. He has no adequate defense now to the twin threats of 19.Nxg4 and Nf1.) 18…Nh6 (The only way to avoid outright material loss. Black originally intended 18…Bh6 but 19.Nf1 followed by Rxh5 stands him up.) 19.Nf1 Qe7 20.Nxh5 Rg8 (Black already knew he was lost and was shaking his head in amazement at how quickly White’s dead pieces had sprung to life.) 21.Nfg3 Rg6 22.Nf4 Rg5 (If 22…Rg8 23.Nxd5, etc.) 23.Be3 Nc7 (The last hope. 23…f6 is answered by 24.Qd2 fxe5 25.Nxd5, winning a full rook.) 24.Qd2 Rg8 25.Nfe2 (This piquant retreat wins a piece, putting a clear end to black’s agony.) 25…f6 (Black is still hoping for a miracle.) 26.exf6 Qxf6 27.Bxh6 Bd6 28.Rf1 Qe6 29.Bf4 Rde8 30.Rh6 Bxf4 31.Qxf4 Qe7 32.Rf6 (Tripling on the Bishop file.)



32…Ne6 33.Qe5 Ng5 34.Qxe7 Rxe7 35.Rf8+ (Trading down to skin and bones.) 35…Rxf8 36.Rxf8+ 1-0

Westerinen (2420)-Moen (2325)
Gausdal Zt., 1985
[Pliester, NIC 3/18159]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Nc6!? 5.d4 d6 N (5…g5) 6.Nf3 Qh6 (6…Bg4 7.c3 +/=) 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.e5 dxe5 (8…Nh5? 9.Nd5 Ng3+ 10.Kg1 +-) 9.dxe5 Nh5 10.Nd5 Bd7 11.Nxc7+?! [11.g4! Bxg4 (11…Ng3+ 12.Kg2 Nxh1 13.Bxf4 Qg6 14.Nxc7+ Kd8 15.e6! +- ; 11…Bc5!? 12.Nxc7+ Ke7 13.Bxf7! +-) 12.Nxc7+ Ke7 13.b3 Bd7 (13…Nxe5 14.Ba3+ Kf6 15.Nd5+ +-) 14.e6 fxe6 15.Ba3+ Kd8 16.Nxe6+ Ke8 17.Nxf8 Rxf8 18.Bxf8 Bh3+ 19.Kf2 Kxf8 20.Qd5 Qf6 21.Rhe1 Ne7 22.Rxe7! +-] 11…Kd8 12.Nxa8 Ng3+ 13.Ke1 Nxh1 14.Bxf7 Kc8 15.Qd5 Nb4 =/+ 16.Qc4+ (16.Qa5 Qc6 17.Nd4 Nxc2+ 18.Nxc2 Qxc2 19.e6 Qe4+ 20.Kf1 Qc4+ -+) 16…Qc6 17.Nd4 (17.e6? Nxc2+! 18.Kd2 Bb4+ -+) 17…Qxc4 18.Bxc4 Bc5 19.a3 Nc6 20.Nf3 Re8 21.Bxf4 g5 22.Nxg5 Nxe5 23.Be2 Ng6 24.Nc7 Rxe2+! 25.Kxe2 Nxf4+ 26.Kf3 Bd6 27.Rxh1 h5?? (27…Bc6+ 28.Kf2 Kxc7 29.Nxh7 Nh3+! -/+) 28.g3 Bc6+ 29.Ne4 Nh3 30.Nb5! +- (30.Ne6? Kd7! -/+) 30…Ng5+ 31.Ke3 Bc5+ 32.Nxc5 Bxh1 33.Nxa7+ Kc7 34.h4 Nf7 35.Ne6+ Kd6 36.Nf4 Ke5 37.Nxh5 Kf5 38.Nf4 Kg4 39.Ne2 Nd6 40.b3 1-0

Weiss-Brasket
Minnesota Masters Cup Invitational, 1989

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 d5 5.exd5 Nf6 (Black has to be careful after 5…f3? The game can easily continue with 6.Bb5+ c6 7.Nxf3 Qh5 8.Qe2+ Be7 9.dxc6 Nxc6 10.Ne5 Qf5+ 11.Ke1 Qxc2 12.Nc3 Bd7 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.Bd3, and the Black Queen is trapped.) 6.Qe2+ Be7 7.Nf3 Qh5 8.Nc3 a6 9.d3 b5 10.Bb3 g5 11.Bd2 Kf8 12.d6 Bxd6 13.Ne4 g4 14.Nxf6 Qg6 15.Bc3 gxf3 16.Qe8+ Kg7 17.Ng4+ f6 18.Bxf6+ Qxf6 19.Nxf6 fxg2+ 20.Kxg2 Bb7+ 21.Kh3 Rxe8 22.Nxe8+ Kf8 23.Nxd6 cxd6 24.Rhg1 1-0

V. Ivanchuk (2716)-Nikolic (2648)
5th IECC Playoff Final
Antalya, Turkey, May 30 2004
[Tim McGrew, The Gambit Cartel]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ [This check must have been one of the first defensive ideas explored in the Bishop’s Gambit. Emmanuel Lasker recommended it for black in Common Sense in Chess, and even Fred Reinfeld, who revised the openings analysis for the 1946 edition (which practically no one has – the Dover edition on your shelf is a reprint of the 1917 edition), retains 3…Qh4+ as the recommended line.] 4.Kf1 (The king is not nearly as exposed here as he would be on e2, and Black’s queen may herself be harassed by Nf3. In fact, Ivanchuk achieves a powerful position here without a great deal of difficulty.) 4…d6 [Here Lasker (and Reinfeld) both recommend 4…d5 Bxd5 5.g5. Oddly, I can find hardly any games in this formerly popular line between 1929 and 1989. But then van den Doel won a droll game with it (by transposition: 3…d5 4.Bxd5 Qh4+ etc.) in 18 moves at Cappelle la Grande 2001. Someone ought to investigate this.] 5.d4 Be6 6.Qd3 Nf6 7.Nf3 (The anticipated strike at the queen.) 7…Qg4 8.Nc3 Be7 9.h3 Qg6 10.Bxf4 (I have to admit that White’s centralization here is impressive. Ivanchuk is also setting a little trap – at this level of play, really more of a joke for the players to share, though such a joke could easily turn fatal for someone unable to evaluate the end of a tactical sequence accurately.) 10…O-O (Nikolic politely declines the bait. 10…Bxc4 11.Qxc4 Nxe4? looks merely messy at first glance, but after 12.Qxc7! Black has no way to recover his balance.) 11.Re1 (Black’s position could not be said to be bad, but because of White’s grip on the center it is difficult for him to find an effective plan. He decides to go shopping for the perfect exchange of minor pieces, but meanwhile his queenside is sleeping.) 11…Nh5 12.Bh2 Ng3+?! (In hindsight this looks like the turning point of the game.) 13.Bxg3 Qxg3 14.Ne2! Qg6 15.Nf4 (White has repositioned his knight to a very effective square without any loss of time.) 15…Qh6 16.g3 (We now come to a puzzling set of moves where White allows Black to swap on c4 and Black declines to do it. I had thought that the idea was 16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.Qb3. But perhaps Chucky saw what Deep Fritz 7 suggests: after 17…Nc6 18.Bxe6+ Kh8 White’s advantage is evaporating because Black threatens to take on d4.) 16…Nd7 17.Kg2 Nb6? (But this is pretty clearly an error. 17…Bxc4 18.Qxc4 c6 still looks like a reasonable way for Black to hold the balance, though White’s position is a bit more pleasant to play.) 18.Bxe6 fxe6 19.Rhf1 (19.Qb3 would provoke the same exchange sacrifice we see in the game.) 19…c5 20.d5 Rxf4 (This doesn’t quite work, but it is instructive for us lesser mortals to see even the near misses of the super-GMs because it teaches us to consider ideas we might never have thought of. Black was under pressure in any event since White was threatening to sink a knight into e6, so it is hard to suggest really good alternatives.) 21.gxf4 Qxf4 22.dxe6 Rf8 23.b4!? (When someone figures out how super-grandmasters come up with moves like this, please let me know! Until then, my best guess is that it is intended to clear the d4-square, e.g. 23…cxb4 24.Nd4 when the f-file is very useful and the knight has bright prospects on f5.) 23…Rf6 24.Qb5 Rxe6 25.bxc5 Bh4? [Now the roof caves in. 25…dxc5 26.Qe8+ (26.Nd4!? Qg5+ 27.Kh1 Qh5 28.Qb3 c4 29.Qf3 +/-) 26…Qf8 27.Qxf8+ Bxf8 28.e5 looks like a longish but winning ending.] 26.Nxh4 Qxh4 27.Qb3 (Neatly pinning the rook and defending h3 laterally.) 27…d5 28.cxb6 1-0

Escalante (1949)-“klaxcek2” (1771)
King’s Bishop Gambit Thematic, Round 2
chess.com, Sept. 2021

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Nf6 5.Nf3 Qh5 6.Nc3 d6 7.d4 g5 8.h4 h6 9.e5 Ng4 10.Qe1 (10.Qe2!?) 10…Be7?! (Black has to chance 10…Kd8) 11.Nd5! (White is practically winning after his move.) 11…Kd8



12.Nxe7! Kxe7 13.exd6+ (White has a good position. But as White will have trouble attacking the king from open lines of the center, 13.Kg1, with the idea of hxg5, is probably better.) 13…Kxd6?? (13…Kf8 is Black’s only chance. Then White should continue with 14.Kg1.) 14.Ne5 Be6 15.Qb4+ (Mate is coming.) 1-0

Does this mean that Black cannot win against the Bishop’s Gambit? Of course not. But it’s not as easy as it might seem.

Swiderski-Teichmann
Vienna, 1903
[Fletcher, Gambits Accepted – A Survey of Opening Sacrifices, 1954]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 d5 4.Bxd5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 g5 6.g3 Qh6! 7.d4 c6 8.Bb3? (All subsequent trouble could have been avoided if White had played 8.Bc4, with a continuation such as; 8…Nf6 9.Nc3 Bh3+ 10.Nxh3 Qxh3+ 11.Kg1 fxg3 12.Bf1.) 8…Nf6 9.Nc3 Bh3+ 10.Ke1 Bg2 11.e5 Nfd7 12.h4 Bxh1 13.Nh3 Be7 14.Qg4 gxh4 15.Bxf4 Qg6 16.Qe2 Nb6 17.a4 hxg3 18.Kd2 Bd5 19.Bxd5 cxd5 20.Rg1 Nc6 21.Nb5 Rc8 22.c3 Nc4+ 23.Kc1 N6a5 24.Qd1 Qb6 25.Qg4 Nb3+ 26.Kb1 Qg6+ 0-1

Capablanca-Beckman
Philadelphia, 1924
[This game was probably a simul.]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 d5 5.Bxd5 g5 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.d4 Ne7 8.g3 fxg3 9.Kg2 Nxd5 10.hxg3 Nxc3 11.bxc3 Qxe4+ 12.Nf3 Bg4 13.Re1 Bxf3+ 14.Qxf3 Qxe1 15.Bxg5 Qe6 16.d5 Qe5 17.Bf4 Qe7 18.Qd3 Nd7 19.d6 cxd6 20.Bxd6 Qe6 21.Kf2 O-O-O 22.Re1



22…Ne5! (23.Bxe5 Rxd3 24.Bxg7 Rd2+ 25.Kf1 Qh3+) 0-1

Nietsche-Faktor
Chicago, 1942
[Chernev, 1000 Best Short Games of Chess, #191]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 g5 5.Nf3 Qh5 6.h4 d5 7.Bxd5 Nf6 8.Nc3 Nc6 9.Bxc6+ bxc6 10.d4 Ba6+ 11.Kg1 g4 12.Ne5 Qxe5! 13.dxe5 Bc5+ (14.Kh2 g3+ 15.Kh3 Bc8+ 16.Qg4 Bxg4#) 0-1

A. Miller-Curdo
Central N.E. Fall Open
Leominster, MA Nov. 11 1972
[John Curdo, “Chess Caviar”, #32 1982]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 d5 5.Bxd5 Nf6 6.Nf3 Qh5 7.Nc3 Bb4 8.Ne2 (Curdo gives this move a “?”. But I think it’s more of a “?!” – RME) 8…Nxd5 9.exd5 g5 10.c3?! (RME) 10…Bd6 11.Qa4+ Kf8 12.Qd4 Rg8 13.Qf6 g4 14.Qd8+ Kg7? (What is wrong with 14..Bd7 – RME.) 15.Qg5+ Qxg5 16.Nxg5 Bf5 17.h3 Bd3 0-1 (18…Re8 or 18..h6)

Jaroslav Netusil (1990)-Miroslav Honcu (1890)
Czech Team Boys Ch., 2001

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 d6 5.d4 g5 6.Nc3 Ne7 7.Nf3 Qh5 8.Kg1?! (8.Rg1 with the idea of h4.) 8…g4! 9.Ne1 f3! (And now Black has a very advanced pawn.) 10.g3?! (10.Nd3! is better.) 10…Rg8 11.Nd3 Bh6 12.Nf4 Bxf4 13.Bxf4 Ng6 (13…Be6 is an alternative.) 14.Be3 c6 15.b4 Nd7 16.b5 Nb6 17.Bd3 Be6 18.Qf1 d5 19.Kf2 (Better is 19.Re1 to bring the rook into play.) 19…O-O-O 20.a4 dxe4 21.Nxe4 Nd5 22.Bd2 f5 23.Ng5 Nf8 24.Qc1 f4 25.Nxe6 Nxe6 26.bxc6 Qh3 27.cxb7+ Kb8 28.Qf1 Qg2+ 29.Qxg2 fxg2 30.Rhe1? (White should play 30.Kxg2! and if 30…f3+, then 31.Kf2 and the White king is perfectly safe.) 30…Nxd4 31.Kxg2 Nf3 32.Red1 Nxd2 33.Rxd2 Ne3+ 34.Kf2 Nxc2 35.Rc1 fxg3+ 36.Kxg3 Nb4 37.Rc8+ Rxc8 38.bxc8=Q+ 1/2-1/2

Here are some sample lines that you might want to research before playing this version of the King’s Gambit. There are many more unknown or unclear lines than the usual (and over-used – in my opinion) 3.Nf3 lines. Use these lines to start your exploration. You might discover something new to your arsenal.

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1

4.Kf1 Qe7
4.Kf1 Ne7
4.Kf1 Nc6
4.Kf1 Nc6 5.Nf3
4.Kf1 Nf6
4.Kf1 Nf6 5.Nf3 Qh5 6.Nc3
4.Kf1 Bc5 5.d4 Bb6
4.Kf1 d6
4.Kf1 d6 5.d4
4.Kf1 d6 5.d4 Bg4 6.Nf3 g5
4.Kf1 d6 5.d4 Be6
4.Kf1 d6 5.d4 g5
4.Kf1 d6 5.Nf3 Qh5
4.Kf1 g5
4.Kf1 g5 5.Nc3 Bg7
4.Kf1 d5
4.Kf1 d5 5.exd5
4.Kf1 d5 5.exd5 Bd6
4.Kf1 d5 5.Bxd5
4.Kf1 d5 5.Bxd5 g5 6.Nf3 Qh5
4.Kf1 d5 5.Bxd5 g5 6.Nc3
4.Kf1 d5 5.Bxd5 g5 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.d4 Ne7

Hard to Argue – a TD story.

A few decades ago, I was a TD at a local chess club. It was an open tournament and maybe it is fair to say that all participants were adult males.

Some of these players were friends of mine, and other players were known mainly by their reputation.

As a TD my main responsibilities were making sure that the wall pairings were up on time, the players had the necessary equipment, and to be available if a problem comes up. Other than that, I could walk around the tournament room or read a book (an opportunity I took advantage of, as the only place quieter than a chess tournament is a library).

As it is happens, one of the players in the tournament was somewhat a former child prodigy, who was now in his early 20s. I knew his parents and we all friendly and courteous to each other. I will name this player, “J”, and his mom, “M”.

Another friend of mine, “B” was playing in the tournament and could actually win a prize (not necessary to the story, but he was good enough to occasionally win a club championship).

Both the United States Chess Federation (USCF) and International Chess Federation (FiDE – this is French acronym) state that a player loses the game if he is an hour late to the start of the round. Every player I know follows this rule. There are stories from the 1940s that a strong player arrives at the board 59 minutes late (sometimes even later than that), and with a handicap of an hour less to think about his move, somehow manages to draw (or even wins) the game.

The rule is that well-known.

Anyway, I had finished the pairings and they were up on the wall. “J” was playing Black against this person who thought he was a lawyer, argued like one sometimes, and knew all the tournament rules. Or so he thought. I will call him “K”.

The start time was 7:00 PM. Just before the wall clock reached 7 PM, I was looking for “J”, as he was the only one missing.

At exactly 7:00, I told the players to start their clocks and immediately heard the ticking of many small clocks. (After a while of playing tournament chess, one learns to tune out the ticking. It’s a useful skill to learn).

I sat down to do some paperwork. But before I could get comfortable, “K” comes to the TD table and said his opponent (“J”) was not at the table and he was going to use the wall clock to keep track of the time so he could claim victory one hour from now. Then he walked back to his table. OK, that got my attention. Was he asking me something or was he making a statement so I could not argue back?

I watched from the TD table as he walked back to his chair and sat down and looked at the wall clock. There was nothing in from of him, no set, no clock, nothing. He was sitting there, possible thinking he had an easy win. Maybe he really didn’t want to play.

I looked at him for a couple of minutes. Then I got up and slowly walked to his seat.

I told him he was welcomed to sit there. But if he wanted to “clock” his opponent, he needed a set and a clock in front of him. He looked at me shockingly, as if it was wrong for me to tell him about the rules, as he always thought he knew the rules better than I, a TD. I also wanted to give “J” somewhat extra time to get to his game.

I told him he could look up the rules and that I had a copy of the rules book in case he wanted to look it up (it is an actual rule).

He declined my offer. And sheepishly asked me if he could borrow a clock. I told him yes, he could borrow one. That was covered in the rules.

He got up and walked to another player. Well, I got the clock and came back to the TD table and said he was going to set the clock to 53 minutes as “J” was seven minutes late. I told him he had to start the time for one hour as he could not claim lost time. He agreed and made the correct change to the clock. And went back to his table, pressed the clock and played 1.d4.

Now, if you know something about tournament chess, he made a few minor errors here. One, you don’t need to make your first move on the board. You just need to start the clock. That way, your opponent cannot get more study time before he come to the board. Second, you play the move on the board and then hit the clock. At that point the move is considered complete. This is important for speed chess and time trouble.

Finally, and this only my opinion. You don’t open a chess game with 1.d4. It’s too slow of a game – you have to play 1.e4!

Meanwhile I was still looking for “J”. If something happened to him, I wanted to know. This tournament was played well before cell phones became ubiquitous.

No problems for the next hour. I finished my paperwork, my friend “B” won his game (but finished just outside the winner’s circle), and “J” didn’t show up.

How do I know at this point it was an hour? Well, “K” came up to the TD table and said it was an hour and I had to give him a point. I told I would, but it was still his responsibility to indicate that on the wall chart.

He gleefully went to enter this the result. And then put away his set. This is usually an indication that a player doesn’t want to play anymore tournament chess, and not so much that he want to clean up the place.

As “K” was putting away his set (and cleaning nothing else) “J” and “M” stepped into the tournament room. “M” asked where her son could play his (tournament) game as there didn’t seem to be any open chairs or sets.

I informed her that her son was an hour late for his game and according to the rules, his opponent claimed a win by forfeit.

She got angry and demanded her son to play the scheduled tournament game as it wasn’t her fault that she was an hour late (actually it probably was, esp. if she was the driver). But I kept calm and spoke quietly. I didn’t want to risk a friendship, nor did I want to create a disturbance for the other players.

She wanted me to reinstate the original pairings. I could not do that as we had a time limit for use of the building and some of us (including me) had to wake up early the next morning for work.

She wanted me to take the time lost, divided in half and each player would lose a ½ hour on the clock, just to be fair. (Sorry, I could not do that.)

About this time, “J” started to tell, almost beg, his mother that it was not that important and he was willing to go along with the TD’s suggestion. Other players, including some where still playing their game, began to follow the conversation.

She demanded how could I do this to his son. I told her that I had nothing against her son; I still thought he was an intelligent young man, who would do well in his life.

She wanted me to talk the situation over with his opponent and get him to play the game with her son.

I told her that I would do that. But the choice was going to be his to make.

So, I got up from my chair, walked over to “K” and told him that “J” was still willing to play the original tournament game with him. I also mentioned that it would be his decision and I would respect whatever decision he made.

He curtly replied, “no”. And then I could swear he had an evil grin on his face. Did he hear our conversation?

I thanked him and walked back to “M”, I told her that “K” said no and there was nothing else I could do for her or her son.

She got even more angry than before and told me to do my job. (I thought my job was to run a tournament, and not make exceptions). I didn’t even get a chance to tell her that I did everything possible and legal to give “J” some extra time to get to the board.

Her last words to me were, “It is your fault that we are no longer friends”.

I began saying, “I would hate to end a friendship for this”. But she was already walking out the door by the time I got between the second and third word.

I never saw her or “J” after that episode.

My friend, “B”, and some other players said I did the right thing. I quietly replied, “Thank you” and walked back to the TD table. And got through a few more chapters of a book.

Game Collecting

Most players create a collection of full and partial games for their own pleasure or study.

Themes include favorite games of a famous player, beloved openings, offbeat or unusual mating patterns, miniatures, tactical sacrifices, positional considerations, pawn endings, rook endings, and even games they have played.

Players have been collecting games at least since Greco, who published his games sometime after 1500. He covered openings and spectacular wins in the opening, and claimed to have played all the games in his collection (but the modern opinion is that he simply copied at least some of the games from other collections and made an anthology of them).

Players have made their collections from index cards. This works well if you are deciding whether a new move in an opening is worth analyzing. You write down a game with the new move on an index card. Repeat. And keep going.

When you have collected enough index cards with the new move, you can place them on a table, organize them, and then play over the games on the cards. This is a flexible method as you can easily discard a game and substitute another card that you think will be a better study.

When done, organize the cards by any criteria you want, and then attach a rubber band around them and they are ready to use again.

Index cards are also good if you want to collect all the games of a players. When a new game is played, all you have to do is copy the newest game on a card and you are ready to add it to your collection. It also easy find out what he is most likely to do when he has to face your pet Najdorf variation.

Chess players have also created scrapbooks full of interesting and helpful games, problems, analyses, and the like from newspapers, magazines, and even old books.

This makes such collections much easier to travel and can hold more information than index cards.

For those players who can write also small, small note pads have been used to write down games and the occasional study or problem. Usually, you would meet them at tournaments, and they would be collecting games for publication. But this method was (and is) not meant to be long-lasting. Instead, the reporter, editor, or fellow chess player would transfer the game and notes to a more permanent medium.

But with the almighty laptop (and the Internet), it is now far easier to create a collection, make it a more-or-less a continuing collection and update it at one’s leisure.

The most common method of game collection in the Internet age is to use a PGN generator. PGN is short for Portable Game Notation, it is what the computer uses to display the moves of a game, and it looks like this:

[Event “?”]
[Site “Kiev”]
[Date “1954.??.??”]
[White “Kutsenok”]
[Black “Akimov”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “C35”]
[PlyCount “30”]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Be7 4.Bc4 Nf6 $1 5.e5 Ng4 6.O-O d5 7.Bb3 $2 Nc6 8.d4 g5 9.h3 $2 h5 $1 10.hxg4 hxg4 11.Nh2 g3 12.Ng4 Rh4 13.Nf6+ Bxf6 14.exf6 Qxf6 15.Re1+ Kf8 0-1 {Black kingside pawns threaten to advance.}

A few notes here. The computer will translate a “$1” as an “!” and a “$2”as a “?”. Any notes in a { } will allow you to read the note when you play over the game on a computer, and a ply is exactly ½ of a move. Hence, this game is 15 moves, and the ply is 30. The game is from Clarke’s 100 Soviet Miniatures.

The big drawback of this method is that you need a computer to play, study, or simply enjoy the game. And in the case of electrical power going down, you can be out of luck.

With the rise of on-line publishing, players can also upload and print books of their favorite games, players, openings, and ideas on the game. This can be expensive (on-line printers need to make their profit), but it is rather easy to add new games and ideas, and even change one’s own annotations as fast as you can type.

Which is an important skill when writing anything on the Internet, social sites, and even a blog.

And now a game from Tal’s Tactical Treatment of an opponent. Maybe this is something you can add to your collection.

GM Tal-Kennedy
World Student Ch.
Varna, 1958

[Minev, “Digging into the Most Notorious Bulletin”, Inside Chess, Sept. 5, 1994]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 cxd4 8.Bd3 (Tal’s favorite continuation throughout his career and one that theory still gives as “unclear”.) 8…Nbc6?! (The immediate 8…Qa5 9.Ne2 is critical … After the text, White has no problems with his e5-pawn.) 9.Nf3 Bd7 (If now 9…Qa5, then 10.O-O.) 10.cxd4 Qc7 11.O-O O-O-O 12.a4 f5 13.Qxg7 h5 14.Qg5 Rdg8 15.Qd2 Na5 16.Ba3 Nec6 17.Bd6 Qd8 18.Qc3 Be8 19.Rab1 Rg7 20.Bb4 h4 21.Bxa5 Qxa5 22.Qxa5 Nxa5 23.Rfe1 h3 24.g3 Nc4 25.Bxc4 dxc4 26.d5! f4 27.Re4! exd5 28.Rxf4 Bxa4 29.Nd4 Re7 30.Rf5 Kc7 31.f4 Rd8 32.Rf6 Bd7 33.Rd6! b5 34.Rxd5 a6 35.f5 Rf8 36.Rf1 Bc8 37.f6 Rd7? 38.Ne6+ 1-0

When Two is Not Enough

Every player values his queen. And there is little wonder why. It is the most powerful piece of the game and with it, sometimes by itself, quickly mate the opposition. Take a look at Scholar’s Mate (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Qf3 Nd4 4.Qxf7#), Fool’s Mate (1.f4 e5 2.g4 Qh4#), even a trap in the Petrov (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 Nxe4 4.Qe2 Nf6 5.Nc6+).

It stands to reason that a player would welcome another queen joining his ranks. Even more so if the opponent fails to do the same. Imagine the possibilities!

But chess is not so simple. A second queen does not automatically confer or guarantee victory.

Let’s look at some opening examples.

Littlewood-Andrews
England 1981
[D22]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bg4 5.Bxc4 e6 6.h3 Bh5 7.Nc3 a6 8.O-O Nbd7 9.e4 e5 10.g4 exd4 11.gxh5 dxc3 12.e5 cxb2 13.exf6 bxa1=Q 14.Bxf7+! Kxf7 15.Qd5+ Ke8 16.f7+ Ke7 17.Re1+ Ne5 18.Bg5mate 1-0

Sprenger (2199)-Danner (2369)
Austrian Ch., 2002
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Nc6 8.e5 h6 9.Bh4 Nxd4 10.exf6 Nf5 11.fxg7 Qxh4+ 12.g3 Nxg3


13.gxh8=Q Ne4+ 14.Ke2 Qf2+ 15.Kd3 Nc5+ 16.Kc4 b5+ 17.Nxb5 axb5+ 18.Kc3 b4+ 19.Kc4 d5+ 20.Kb5 Bd7+ 0-1

So, what happened? Well, in both cases, the promoted queen finds herself in a corner on the board. A corner, as you probably know, is a square in which the queen has less moves, less mobility, and less power than existing on the side or in the center of the board.

And since the promotion occurred in the opening, there are many pieces on the board that block or hinders the movement of the newly born queen.

The side with the extra queen usually has to spend an extra tempo or two to get the brand-new queen into play.

All of which subtracts from usually positive aspect of an additional queen.

Let’s take a look at two other games.

The first shows a White king under tremendous pressure from Black’s knight, passed pawn, and sole queen. It also shows how fond some players have for their multiple queens, and an unwillingness to give one of them up.

Chigorin-Blackburne
Vienna, 1898
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2!?
(Chigorin is credited with coming up with this move. Its main goal is to harass Black’s development as the queen on e2 can easily be put into play on either side of the board.) 2…b6 (2…c5 is an alternate move.) 3.Nc3 Bb7 4.Nh3 Nc6 5.d3 g6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Qd2 Bxg5 8.Nxg5 Qe7 9.f4 O-O-O 10.O-O-O f6 11.Nf3 Nh6 12.d4 d5 13.e5 f5 14.Bb5 a6 15.Be2 Nf7 16.h3 h5 17.Rhg1 Rdg8 18.g3 Kb8 19.Kb1 Ka7 20.Ka1 Nb8 21.Rb1 Nd7 22.b4 b5 23.a4 c6 24.Qc1 Ra8 25.a5 Rag8 26.Na2 g5 27.Qe3 Nf8 28.Nc1 h4 29.gxh4 gxf4 30.Qf2 Rxg1 31.Qxg1 Rh6 32.Nd3 Ng6 33.h5 Nh4 34.Nxh4 Qxh4 35.Qg7 f3 36.Bxf3 Qxd4+ 37.Rb2 Nd6 38.Qxh6 Nc4 39.Qf4 Qc3 40.h6 c5 41.h7 cxb4 42.h8=Q b3! (Counterplay!) 43.Qf8 bxc2 44.Qc5+ Ka8

45.Qfd4?? [Chigorin himself analyzed his blunder. White wins after 45.Qfxc4! bxc4 (45…dxc4 46.Qc8+) 46.Qb4 Qxb4 47.Rxb4 cxd3 48.Kb2. 45.Qc1 +-.] 45…Qxa5+ 0-1

The second one demonstrates how a queen in the corner can still be more of a spectator on the corner than a contributing member, even in an endgame. And how an Initiative can trump the extra material.

WFM Natalya Tsodikova (2196)-FM Jon Jacobs (2200)
Mechanics Institute vs. Marshall match
chess.com, Oct. 15 2019
[GM Nick de Firmian. “Mechanics’ Versus Marshall”, CL, Jan. 2020]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.b3 Bg7 4.Bb2 0-0 5.Bg2 d5 6.0-0 c5 7.c4 d4 8.b4 Nc6 9.bxc5 e5 10.d3 Nd7 11.Nfd2 Nxc5 12.Ba3 Qa5 13.Ne4 Nxe4!? (An interesting Exchange sacrifice for the initiative. Black has active pieces for the material and dark square play.) 14.Bxf8 Bxf8?! (Even stronger was 14….Nxf2! 15.Rxf2 Bxf8. The weakness of e3 would add to Black’s compensation for the Exchange.) 15.Bxe4 Qc7 16.Nd2 a5 17.Bg2 f5 18.a3 a4 19.Qc2 Bc5 20.Rfb1 Qe7 21.Qb2 Ra6 22.Qc1 Kg7 23.Rb5 Na7 24.Rb2 Nc6 25.Raa2 g5 26.Rb1 Kg6 27.Rb5 Na7 28.Rbb2 Nc6 29.g4?! (White goes for the win! This was a hard-fought match and the players go all out, yet the position now becomes very sharp.) 29….Bxa3 30.gxf5+ (Bad is 30.Rxa3 Qxa3 since 31.Rb6 is not check.) 30….Bxf5 31.Ne4? Bxb2 32.Qxb2 Qb4 33.Qc1 h6 34.Ng3 a3 35.Nxf5 Kxf5 36.Be4+ Kf6 (Black is winning on the queenside, but his king is unsafe on the opposite wing. Natalya quickly switches fronts.) 37.Qf1! Kg7 38.Qh3 Ne7 39.Qd7 Kf6 40.Qxb7 Rb6?! (Here Jon misses his best chance. He should play for the endgame where his king is safe. 40….Qxb7! 41.Bxb7 Rb6 42.Be4 Rb3 is difficult for White, e.g. 43.Kf1 Ke6 44.Ke1 Kd6 45.Kd2 Kc5 46.Kc2 Kb4 with full control of the board.) 41.Qa8!? Qb1+ 42.Kg2 Qxa2 43.Qf8+ Ke6 44.Qxh6+ Kd7 45.Qxb6 Qb2 46.Qa7+ Ke8 47.Qa4+ Kf8 48.Qd7?! (Best was 48.Qa8+ Kf7 49.Qa7 a2 50.Bd5+ Kf6 51.Qa6+ Kg7 52.Qa7 Kf8 53.Qa8+ Kg7 54.Qa7 forcing the draw.) 48….a2 49.Bd5 Nxd5 (Black still has winning chances after 49….Qb6.) 50.cxd5 a1=Q

51.Qd8+ Kf7 52.Qd7+ Kf6 53.Qe6+ Kg7 54.Qe7+ Kg6 55.Qe6+ Kg7 56.Qe7+ Kg6 57.Qe6+ Kh5 58.Qh3+ Kg6 (Black is a whole queen up, but his king cannot escape the checks.) 59.Qe6+ 1/2-1/2

Excel to help!

While I like to write about chess I sometimes run into problems. The biggest is that there are so few reference books on chess.

For example, there are times when I want to know a famous player’s birthday. Maybe wish them a happy birthday. Or when did GM Mike Matthew Michael Mateson earn his GM title? Just what is ratio of men to women with a Master title?

So, I created my own reference material. Better yet, since they are computer files stored on my laptop (and other places) I can simply cut and paste what I want into whatever I write. This is simple and and even necessary should the Internet goes down in my area.

Attached here is an PDF copy of an Excel file that I use and update often. Feel free to use for your own personal use.

Rob

Game Submission

Earlier this week I announced that International Chess Day was July 20th and I was requesting if any readers wanted a game to be published on this blog. The following is a submission that I am happy to post.

“Lucio Campiani”-MACBOOK PRO, Level 7
Italy, 2021
[Escalante]
1.Nc3 d5 2.e3

[Seemingly heading towards a Colle. White can also try 2.e4, which is a gambit that deserves to be played more often. Here are two games:

Dunst-Osher
New York, 1956
1.Nc3 (Dunst did much to popularize this opening. In fact, some references actually label 1.Nc3 the Dunst Opening.) d5 2.e4 d4 3.Nce2 c5 4.Ng3 g6 5.Bc4 Nc6 6.d3 Bg7 7.f4 Nf6 8.Nf3 a6 9.a4 Na5 10.Ba2 O-O 11.O-O Nc6 12.h3 b6 13.Bd2 Bb7 14.Bc4 Na7 15.f5 b5 16.Ba2 Nd7 17.fxg6 hxg6 18.Ng5 Bf6 19.Qg4 Bxg5 20.Qxg5 e6 21.Qh6 Qc7 22.Bf4 Qd8 23.Bg5 Qc7 24.Rf6 Qe5 25.Bxe6 1-0

T.D. Harding-N.N.
Simul, n.d.
1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 d4 3.Nd5 f5 4.Bc4 fxe4 5.Qh5+ g6 6.Qe5 c6 7.Nc7+ Kd7 8.Be6mate 1-0.]

3…Nf6 3.Bb5+ c6 4.e4 (An interesting and original gambit. White should not be able to get away with it, but trying out new ideas and themes ultimately enriches the game and makes the adventurous player a better one.) 4…cxb5 5.Nxb5 Nxe4 6.Qe2 a6 7.Nd4 e5 8.Ndf3 Bc5 9.Nh4 Nxf2?

[Black doesn’t have to take the pawn at this time. The attack on f2 is not going away and Black can get better play after 9…Qxh4 or even 9…O-O.

It has been claimed that chess computers can attack but can never defend. And that a computer’s greed is often its downfall. These two allegations were more true back in the 1980s, but we still have examples of these memes. Like this game.]

10.d4 Bxd4 11.Be3 Nxh1 12.O-O-O (White can’t play 12.Bxd4? due to 12…Qxh4+ and 13…Qxd4. Black’s overwhelming material advantage then become obvious and unanswerable.) 12…Bxe3+ 13.Qxe3 Qxh4 14.Rxd5 (14.Qxe5+ is probably better and is definitely better after 14….Qe7? 15.Qxg7! Rf8? 16.Nf3! with the idea of 17.Re1! +-.) 14…O-O 15.Qxe5 Qf2 16.b3 Qxg1+? (Despite winning the knight with a check, this move is an error. Black’s queen finds herself out of play and White’s rook and queen instantly become more active and Black falls behind in development. He should consolidate with 16…Be6 and 17…Nc6.) 17.Kb2 Qxg2 18.Rd8 Rxd8? (Again, greed negatively affects Black’s position. Better is 18…Be6! and his position actually improves.) 19.Qe7 Nc6 20.h4 Rd4?? 21.Qe8mate 1-0

And don’t worry if you could not submit your game due to natural disasters, political upheavals, viruses, or alien abductions. You can still submit things to this blog.

If you have a game you want to be seen here, or have a question, or a request, just email them to Rob@TheNewChessPlayer.com

Rob

This is Black.

A Well-Annotated Game

Due to lack of time, and that mainly due to lack of non-essential items like food and sleep, I can only supply a well-annotated game and the endgame is a challenging and fun one.

The opening is an English and here it is:

GM Jonathan Speelman-GM Yasser Seirawan
Candidates Match, Game #3
St. John, Canada, 1988
[John Nunn, “Candidates’ Matches”, BCM March 1988]
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 O-O 5.a3 Bxc3 6.Qxc3 b6 7.g3 (An innocuous choice. The most dangerous line is 7.b3, with e3 and Be2 to follow.) 7…Bb7 8.Bg2 d5 9.cxd5 exd5 (This could be an important novelty, since White cannot gain the advantage and could easily drift into an inferior position.) 10.O-O (10.d3 d4 11.Qc2 a5 12.Bg5 c5 reaches a position in which White’s backward e-pawn is the most important feature.) 10…Re8 11.Re1? [This is weak because f2 becomes a tactical weakness. 11.e3 is much better when 11…c5 12.d4 (12.b4 d4 is fine for Black) Nc6 13.dxe5 Ne4 14.Qc2 bxc5 is similar to the game, except White need not to worry about f2.] 11…c5 12.d4 (12.d3 d4 with a backward pawn and 12.b4 d4 followed by by 13…d3 are good for Black.) 12…Ne4 13.Qc2 Nc6 14.dxc5 bxc5 15.b3 Qb6?! [Black attempts to exploit 11.Re1? by preventing 16.Bb2 on account of 16…c4 , but a more direct method would have been 15…Nd4! 16.Nxd4 (16.Qd3 Qf6 is no better.) 16…cxd4 17.Bb2 Qf6 followed by …Rac8 and …Nc3 with a clear advantage for Black.] 16.e3 Rab8 17.Rb1

[Not a serious error, but the start of a dubious plan. The simplest line was 17.Nd2!

(1) 17…Ne5 18.Bb2 Nxd2 19.Qxd2 d4 (19…Qxb3 20.Bxe5 Rxe5 21.Rab1 followed by Bxd5 with an edge for White) 20.exd4 Bxg2 21.dxe5 Ba8 22.Re3 with an unclear position.

(2) 17…Ba8 18.Bxe4! (The point that Spleeman had missed; it looks wrong to give up the white-square bishop, but Black has no way of exploiting the weakened kingside.)]

17…Ba8 18.Bd2? [But now White goes really wrong. This was the last chance to play 18.Nd2! and after 18…Ne5 (18…Qa5 19.Bxe4! dxe4 20.Bb2 is similar to line 1 above) 19.Bb2 Nxd2 20.Qxd2 Qxb3 21.Bxe5 Qxb1 22.Bxb8 Qxb8 23.Bxd5 with just an edge for Black.] 18…a5! (This leaves White with few constructive moves, while Black can still improve his position.) 19.Red1 d4 20.Re1 [Mission accomplished! 20.exd4 Nxd4 21.Nxd4 cxd4 (threat …d3) 22.Re1 Ng5! is very good for Black.] 20…Nxd2 21.Qxd2 a4?! (Tempting, but not the best. 21…c4 22.exd4 Rxe1+ 23.Qxe1 cxb3 24.d5 Na7 25.Ne5 is also far from clear, but Black should have prepared the simple line 21…dxe3 22.Rxe3 Rxe3 23.Qxe3 Nd4 when White’s tactics fail, for example 24.Ne5 Bxg2 25.Nd7 Qd8 26.Nxb8 Ba8 or 24.Re1 h6 25.Ne5 Bxg2 26.Nd7 Qd6 27.Nxb8 Bb7 and Black wins in both cases. Therefore, White would have to swap on d4, but this gives Black a slight advantage in the queen and rook ending.) 22.exd4 Rxe1+ 23.Qxe1? (This move justifies Black play. 23.Rxe1 axb3 24.Qe3 attacks e8 and c5, with a completely unclear position.) 23…axb3 (White is in a desperate situation and seizes the only available chance.) 24.d5 Nd4 25.Nxd4 cxd4 26.Qe7? [26.Qb4! is the only move to stay in the game. 26…Qxb4 27.axb4 Rxb4 28.d6 Bxg2 29.d7 Rb8 30.Rxb3 Rd8 31.Kxg2 f5 (31…Kf8 32.Kf3 Rxd7 33.Ke4 regains the pawn) 32.Rb7 Kf7 33.Kf3 Ke6 34.Ke2 leads to a draw, so Black’s best line is 26…Qa7! 27.Qc4 Qxa3 28.Qxd4 b2 29.Be4 Qa2, although this only gives him a slightly better position.] 26…h6 (26…g6 is also reasonable, but there is no reason to criticise Black’s play yet.) 27.d6 Bxg2 28.Kxg2 Qc6+ 29.Kh3 [29.Kg1 looks bad, but after 29…b2 30.d7 the obvious methods do not work, for example 30…Qc1+ 31.Qe1 Qxe1+ 32.Rxe1 Kf8 (32…b1=Q 33.d8=Q+) 33.Kg2 d3 34.Kf3 d2 35.Rb1 Ke7 36.Ke2 and White defends. However, 30…Kh7! is very strong, with the deadly threat of 31…Qc1+ 32.Qe1 Qxe1+ 33.Rxe1 b1=Q 34.b1=Q and White’s promotion is not check.]

29…Rb7! (The best move since 29…Re8 achieves nothing after 30.Qc7!) 30.Rc1 Qf3 [The only way to stay in the game. 30…Qxc1 31.Qxb7! (not 31.Qe8+ Kh7 32.Qe4+ f5 33.Qxb7 b2 34.d7 b1=Q 35.Qxb1 Qxb1 36.d8=Q Qf1+ and Black wins) 31…Qf1+ 32.Kg4 Qe2+ 33.Kh3 Qe6+ 34.Kg2 Qxd6 35.Qxb3 is better for Black, but not a clear win, so Seirawan tries for more.] 31.Rc7 Rb8 32.d7 Kh7! (Seirawan plays very accurately, but these moves took a toll on his clock.) 33.Rc1 [Not 33.Qe8 Rxe8 34.dxe8=Q Qf5+ (34…b2? 35.Qb5) 35.Kg2 b2 36.Rxf7 Qd5+ and Black wins. The rook retreat looks like capitulation, but it sets Black the maximum problems.] 33…b2 34.Re1? [This should have lost instantly, but even the superior 34.Rf1 doesn’t last long after 34…Qf5+ 35.Kg2 Qd5+ 36.f3 (36.Kh3 d3 37.Qe8 Qe6+) 36…b1=Q 37.Rxb1 Rxb1 38.d8=Q Rb2+ 39.Kg1 Qxf3, mating.] 34…Qd5? (A poor move which makes the win much harder. 34…Qxf2! was the killer.) 35.Qe8 Qd6? (Black could have still won by 35…Qb5!, but by now the decision was going to be made by the clock.) 36.Rb1 Qb6?? (Seirawan plays for a win by inertia and as a result he loses. The best move was 36…Qe6+, heading for a draw.) 37.Qxf7 (Suddenly Black is in big trouble. His only chance is 37…Qg6, but the sudden reversal is too much for Black and he collapses.) 37…Qd8? 38.Qf5+ Kh8 39.Qe6 d3 40.Rxb2 1-0

The “Lesser” Bishop Gambit?

Most chess players know the moves leading to the Bishop Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4). But how many of them know the moves leading to the “Lesser” Bishop Gambit?

Well, the moves are 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2. The main ideas seem to be preventing Black from checking on the e-file and placing the bishop on a square where it could not be easily taken or exchanged.

It seems strange that a player who would play a risky, tactically filled, opening, would want to play conservatively so soon in the game.

Nevertheless, we have this gambit.

So, let’s do a little research into it.

Black has several ways of responding to 3.Be2.

At the start, 3…Nf6 might seem to be a reasonable move. After all, it develops a piece and makes it easier for Black to castle. But after 4.e5, it is White that gains the advantage.

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Nf6 4.e5

John Shaw-IM Peter Wells
London, 1993
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Nf6 4.Nc3 d5 5.e5 Ne4 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.d3 Nxc3 8.bxc3 d4 9.O-O dxc3 10.d4 Bg4 11.Bb5 Qd5 12.Bxc6+ bxc6 13.Bxf4 c5 14.Be3 Rd8 15.dxc5 Bxc5 16.Qe1 Qc4 17.Rb1 O-O 18.Rb3 Bxf3 19.Rxc3 Qg4 20.Rxf3 Bb4 21.Rg3

21…Rd1 0-1

Philippe Jaulin-Frederic Coudray
Avoine Open, 1996
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Nf6 4.e5 Ne4 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.d3
(A move that is often overlooked.) 6…Ng5 7.Bxf4 Nxf3+ 8.Bxf3 d6 9.Bxc6+ bxc6 10.O-O (Even better is 10.Qf3! as White gains a tempo or two.) 10…dxe5 11.Bxe5 Bd6? 12.Bxg7! Qh4 13.Qe2+ [Black’s best is 13…Be6. (not 13…Kd7? 14.Rxf7+). But even stronger is 13.Qe1+! as 13..Qxe1 14.Rxe1+ is check and the White’s has the attack and the material advantage.] 1-0

Black also has 3…Qh4+. And like in the Bishop Gambit, the White is dislodged from a good hiding square. The downside, again copying from the Bishop Gambit, is the Black queen is slightly out of play and facing all of White’s pieces on her own.

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Qh4+ 4.Kf1

HITECH-REBEL
World Computer Ch., 1986
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.e5 Bxc3 7.dxc3 Ng8 8.Nf3 Qh6 9.Qd4 g5 10.h4 Nc6 11.Qe4 Qg6 12.Nxg5 Qxe4 13.Nxe4 f3 14.gxf3 Nxe5 15.Bf4 d6 16.Re1 Bd7 17.Bc4 Kf8 18.Bxe5 dxe5 19.Nc5 Bc6 20.Rxe5 Rd8 21.Kf2 Nf6 22.Rf5 Rd2+ 23.Ke3 Rd6 24.Ne4 Bxe4 25.fxe4 Rg8 26.e5 Rc6 27.exf6 1-0

T. Winterbach-F. Llane
South Africa Open, 1986
[Gluckman, “Levitt Triumphs in 1986 Oude Meester S. A. Open”, The South African Chess Player, May/June 1986, pg. 73]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Nc6 5.d4 d6 6.Nc3 g5 7.Nf3 Qh6 8.Nd5 Kd8 9.h4 f6 10.g3 Qg6 11.Qd3 fxg3 12.hxg5 fxg5 13.Nxg5 g2+ 14.Kxg2 h6 15.Qf3 Nge7 16.Kf1 Be6?? 17.Nf4 +-
(and White won in 28)

Herter-Klenk
Wurttenburg League 1987
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Bc5 5.d4 Bb6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Nd5 g5 8.Nf3 Qh6 9.h4 c6 10.Nxb6 axb6 11.Nxg5 Qf6 12.Bh5 Nh6 13.e5 dxe5 14.Ne4 Qe7 15.dxe5 Qxe5 16.Nd6+ Ke7 17.Nxc8+ Rxc8 18.Qf3 Ra4 19.g3 Qb5+ 20.Kg2 Qd5 21.Re1+ Kf8 22.Bxf4 Qxf3+ 23.Bxf3 Ng8 24.Rad1 Rxa2 25.Bg4 Re8 26.Bd6+ 1-0

Fegan (1872)-Lazarevic (1416)
Southend Open, Apr. 21 2000
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qe7 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.d3 d6 8.Bxf4 Qd8 9.d4 Be7 10.d5 Nb8 11.h3 Nh5 12.Bh2 f5 13.Nd4 Nf6 14.exf5 O-O 15.Kf2 c5 16.Ne6 Bxe6 17.dxe6 Nc6 18.Rf1 a6 19.Kg1 b5 20.Nd5 Nxd5 21.Qxd5 Qc7 22.Qxc5 dxc5 23.Bxc7 Nd4 24.Bf3 Rac8 25.Bh2 c4 26.Be4 Bf6 27.c3 Nc6 28.Bd5 Kh8 29.a4 1-0

Klaus Bolding (2309)-Bruno Wagner (1943) X25
Rhone Open
Lyon, Apr. 27 2003
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qf6 6.Nc3 Bc5 7.Nd5 Qd6 8.d4 Bb6 9.Bxf4 Qg6 10.Bxc7 Qxe4 11.Nxb6 axb6 12.Bd3 Qe6 13.Qd2 Nge7 14.Re1 Qxa2 15.Qg5
(Even after 15…O-O White wins with 16.Bxh7+ Kxh7 17.Qh5+ Kg8 18.Ng5 +-) 1-0

3…f5 does amazing well.

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 f5

Mr. H. Jones & Sir Geo. Newnes – Blackburne
Manchester, England, Nov. 1878
[Blackburne, “Blackburne’s Chess Games”, #159]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 f5 5.Qe2 Nc6 6.Nf3 Qh5 7.Nc3 Kd8 8.Bxg8 Rxg8 9.Nd5 Bd6
(An unnatural-looking move but necessary to defend the Gambit Pawn.) 10.d4 fxe4 11.Qxe4 Re8 12.Nxf4 Qg4 13.Ne5 (The Allies have nothing better; their position is hopeless.)


13…Nxe5 14.dxe5 Bxe5 15.Qf3 d6 16.Qxg4 Bxg4 17.Nd5 Kd7 18.c3 Re6 19.Bd2 Rf8+ 20.Kg1 Be2 21.Re1 Bc4 22.Ne3 Bd3 23.g3 Be4 24.Ng2 d5 25.Rf1 Rxf1+ 26.Kxf1 Rf6+ 27.Kg1 d4 0-1

Mr. Sutton-Blackburne
Simpson’s Chess Divan
London, 1884
[Blackburne, “Blackburne’s Chess Games”, #176]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 f5
(Although a favorite defence of mine I do not recommend it to the young amateur.) 5.Nc3 (Qe2 is stronger.) 5…Nf6 6.d3 g5 7.Nf3 Qh5 8.h4 h6 9.Kg1 g4 10.Ne5 Rh7 11.Ne2 (An attack on the Queen persistently followed up in White’s succeeding play.) 11…fxe4 12.Bxf4 Qf5 13.Qc1 d5 14.Bb3 Nbd7 15.Ng3 Bc5+ 16.Kh2 Nxe5 17.Nxf5 (Now White has attained his object, but the fruit is of the Dead Sea.) 17…g3+ 18.Bxg3 (Any other move is equally fatal.) 18…Neg4+ 19.Kh3 Ne3 20.Bf4 Bxf5+ 21.Kh2 Neg4+ 22.Kh3 Nf2+ 23.Kh2 N6g4+ 24.Kg1 Nxd3+ 25.Kf1 Nxc1 26.Rxc1 O-O-O 0-1

Bird-Zukertort
London, 1896?
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 f5 4.e5 d6 5.exd6 Qh4+ 6.Kf1 Bxd6 7.d4 Ne7 8.Nf3 Qf6 9.c4 c6 10.c5 Bc7 11.Nc3 Be6 12.h4 Nd7 13.Qa4 h6 14.Bd2 g5 15.d5 Nxd5 16.Nxd5 Bxd5 17.Bc3 Ne5 18.Qd4 O-O-O 19.Qa4 Kb8 20.Rh3 g4 21.Nxe5 Bxe5 22.Bxe5+ Qxe5 23.Ra3 Bxg2+ 24.Kxg2 Qxe2+ 25.Kg1 a6 26.Qxf4+ Ka8 27.Re3 Qxb2 28.Rf1 Rd2 0-1

Mieses-Maroczy
Vienna 1903
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 f5 4.e5 d6 5.d4 dxe5 6.dxe5 Qh4+ 7.Kf1 Bc5 8.Nh3 Be3 9.Nc3 Be6 10.Nd5 Bxd5 11.Qxd5 Nc6 12.Bc4 Qe7 13.Nxf4 Rd8 14.Bxe3 Rxd5 15.Nxd5 Qh4 16.Nxc7+ Kd7 17.Bxg8 Rxg8 18.Nd5 Qc4+ 19.Kf2 Qxc2+ 20.Kg3 h5 21.Rhd1 h4+ 22.Kh3 Ke6 23.Nc7+ Kf7 24.Rd7+ Kg6 25.Nd5 f4 26.Nxf4+ Kh7 27.g4 Qe4 28.Nd5 Qf3+ 29.Kxh4 Nxe5 0-1

Crowl-C. Purdy
corres.
Australia, 1946/8
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 f5 4.exf5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 d5 6.Nc3 c6 7.d4 Bd6 8.Bd3 Ne7 9.Qe2 O-O 10.Nf3 Qf6 11.g4 fxg3 12.Bg5 Qf7 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Qxe7 Bxe7 15.Re1 Bd6 16.Kg2 gxh2 17.Nh4 Nd7 18.Ne2 Nf6 19.Ng3 Ng4 20.Rhf1 Bd7 21.Kh3 h1=Q+ 22.Nxh1 Nh6 23.Kg2 Rf7 24.Re5 Re7 25.f6 Bxe5 26.fxe7 Bxd4 27.Rf8+ Rxf8 28.Bxh7+ Kf7 29.exf8=Q+ Kxf8 30.c3 Bf6 31.Ng6+ Kf7 32.Nf2 Bf5 33.Nh8+ Ke6 34.Ng6 Kd6 35.Kf3 Bb1 36.a3 Kc5 37.Ke2 Bf5 38.Nf8 Kc4 39.Bxf5 Nxf5 40.Kd2 Kb3 41.Kc1 d4 42.cxd4 Bxd4 43.Nd3 g5 44.Ne6 g4 0-1

Thoeng-Hector
Antwerp 1994
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 f5 4.exf5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 d5 6.Nc3 c6 7.d4 Bxf5 8.Nf3 Qh6 9.Bd3 Bxd3+ 10.Qxd3 Bd6 11.h4 Ne7 12.g4 Nd7 13.Bd2 O-O-O 14.Re1 Qf6 15.h5 h6 16.Rh2 g6 17.hxg6 Qxg6 18.Qxg6 Nxg6 19.Re6 Ndf8 20.Rf6 Be7 21.Rf7 Ne6 22.Na4 Rde8 23.b4 Rhf8 24.Rxf8 Bxf8 25.b5 Ng5 26.Nxg5 hxg5 27.bxc6 bxc6 28.Rh5 Be7 29.Rh6 Rg8 30.Nb2 c5 31.dxc5 Bxc5 32.Nd3 Bd4 33.Nb4 Ne5 34.Nxd5 Rd8 35.Ne7+ Kb7 36.Nf5 Bc5 37.Rh7+ 0-1

But perhaps the best response is 3…d5, aggressively opening up more lines for an attack. White meets this best with 4.exd5 Nf6, and usually 5.Nf3.

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 (5.Nf3)

Tartakower-Capablanca
New York 1924
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.c4 c6 6.d4 Bb4+ 7.Kf1?! (7.Bd2) cxd5 8.Bxf4 dxc4 9.Bxb8 Nd5 10.Kf2 Rxb8 11.Bxc4 O-O 12.Nf3 Nf6 13.Nc3 b5 14.Bd3 Ng4+ 15.Kg1 Bb7
16.Bf5?! (White’s king needs some breathing room and a chance for activating his rook. He can do both, and even attack a piece, with 16…h3!) 16…Bxc3 17.bxc3 Ne3 18.Bxh7+ Kh8 (Even after 18…Kxh7? 19.Qd3+ Kg8 21.Qxe3 Black still has the advantage due to his more secured king.) 19.Qd3 Bxf3 20.gxf3 Nd5 21.Be4 Nf4 22.Qd2 Qh4 23.Kf1 f5 24.Bc6 Rf6 25.d5 Rd8 26.Rd1 Rxc6 27.dxc6 Rxd2 (Even Capablanca is known to make mistakes as Black does even better with 27…Qh3+ 28.Kf2 Qg2+. ) 28.Rxd2 Ne6 29.Rd6 Qc4+ 30.Kg2 Qe2+ 0-1

Shapiro-Devorak
corres., 1947
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 Nf6 6.c4 g5 7.Nf3 Qh6 8.d4 Ne4 9.Kg1 g4 10.Ne5 Qh4 11.Qf1 f3


(If 12.gxf3, then 12…gxf3 13.Nxf3 Rg8+ is painful. Even after the better 13.Bxf3 Rg8+ 14.Bg2 Bh3! 15.Qxf7+ Kd8 White is still lost. And 12.Bd1? f2+ is even worse.) 0-1

Norman Littlewood-Levente Lengyel
Hastings, 1963
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Ne7 5.Bf3 Nxd5 6.Ne2 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.c4 Nf6 9.d4 g5 10.Nbc3 Kh8 11.b4 Nbd7 12.Bb2 Re8 13.d5 Ne5 14.Ne4 Nxe4 15.Bxe4 Bf6 16.Nxf4 gxf4 17.Qh5 Ng6 18.Rxf4 Bxb2 19.Rxf7 Bd4+ 20.Kh1 Bg7 21.Bxg6 h6 22.Rxg7 Kxg7 23.Bxe8 Qf6 24.Re1 Bf5 25.Rf1 Bg6 26.Qd1 Qc3 27.Bxg6 1-0

J. Meyer-Dickson
corres. 1983
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bd6 6.c4 c6 7.d4 Bb4+ 8.Nbd2 O-O 9.O-O cxd5 10.c5 Ba5 11.Nb3 Bc7 12.Ne1 Re8 13.Bxf4 Qe7 14.Nc1 Bxf4 15.Rxf4 Qe3+ 16.Rf2 Ne4 17.Ned3 Nxf2 18.Nxf2 Nc6 0-1

Biaux-Buj
corres. 1984?
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.c4 Ne8 8.d4 g5 9.Bd3 Ng7 10.Qc2 f5 11.Nc3 Bf6 12.c5 Nd7 13.Re1 g4 14.Ne5 Bxe5 15.dxe5 Nxc5 16.Bxf4 Nxd3 17.Qxd3 c6 18.Rad1 cxd5 19.Nxd5 Be6 20.Nf6+ Kh8 21.Qg3 Qe7 22.Qh4 Ne8 23.Bg5 Qf7 24.Bh6 Nxf6 25.Bxf8 Ne4 26.Bh6 Qg6 27.Rd8+ Rxd8 28.Qxd8+ Bg8 29.Qf8 Qb6+ 30.Re3 1-0

Mark F. Bruere (2250)-J.M. Vaassen
corres., WT/M/GT/284
ICCF, 1990
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6.dxc6 Nxc6 7.d4 Bd6 8.O-O
(Castling seems to be overdone in the King’s Gambit Accepted. Better is 8.c4 claiming a stake in the center and still holding the possibility of castling on either side.) 8…O-O 9.c4 Bg4 10.Nc3 Rc8 11.Nb5 Bb8 12.b3 (12.d5!? needs to be investigated.) 12..a6 13.Na3?! (13..Nc3) 13…Re8 14.Nc2 Qc7 15.Bb2 Ba7 16.Kh1 Ne7 17.d5? (Opening attacking lines where Black is the only one who profits. And it also drops a pawn.) 17…Nexd5! 18.cxd5 Qxc2 19.Bxf6 Rxe2 20.Bd4 Bxf3! 0-1

Muth-Janson
Hessen 1991
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Bd6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.c4 c6 7.dxc6 Nxc6 8.d4 O-O 9.O-O Bg4 10.Nc3 Nh5 11.Ne5 Bxe2 12.Qxe2 Qh4 13.Nf3 Qg4 14.Nd5 Rfe8 15.Qd3 Re6 16.h3 Qg3 17.Bd2 Rg6 18.Ne1 Qxd3 19.Nxd3 Nxd4 20.N3xf4 Nxf4 21.Nxf4 Rf6 22.Rae1 Bxf4 23.Rxf4 Rxf4 24.Bxf4 Nc6 1/2-1/2

Shaw-Mannion
Scottish Ch. 1993
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bd6 6.O-O O-O 7.Nc3 c6 8.d4 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 cxd5 10.Ne5 f6 11.Nd3 g5 12.c3 Be6 13.Bf3 Nc6 14.Bd2 Qd7 15.b4 Kh8 16.Qb3 Qf7 17.Rae1 Rfe8 18.a4 Rad8 19.Rf2 g4 20.Bd1 f3 21.Bf4 Bf5 22.Rxe8+ Qxe8 23.Bxd6 Bxd3 0-1

C. Sánchez-A. Alexander
IECC 2000
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bd6 6.c4 O-O 7.d4 b6 8.Ne5 c5 9.dxc6 Qc7
(9…Ne4, threatening, …Qh4+ is a possibility.) 10.Bxf4 Nxc6 11.Nc3 a6 12.Nxc6 (12.Bf3!?) 12…Qxc6 13.Bxd6 Qxd6 14.O-O Bb7 15.d5 Rae8 16.Qd2 Ne4 (> 16…c5.) 17.Nxe4 Rxe4 18.Bd3 Rh4? (Black is having problems and he needs to play 18…Re5. The text is simply a waste of time.) 19.g3 Rd4 20.Bxh7+ 1-0

Georg Schweiger (2187)-Martin Markl X25
Regionalliga SO
Bayern, 2000
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 Qd8 6.d4 Nf6 7.c4 c6 8. dxc6 Nxc6 9.d5 Ne5 10.Bxf4 Ng6 11.Be3 Bd6 12.Nc3 O-O 13.Qd2 Re8 14.Re1 Bf5 15.Nf3 Ng4 16.Bd3 Qd7 17.Nd1 Re7 18.Qc2 Bxd3+ 19.Qxd3 Rae8 20.Bd2 Rxe1+ 21.Bxe1 Nf4 22.Qd4 Qe7 23.Qd2 Bb4 24.Qxf4 Qxe1+ 25.Nxe1 Rxe1mate 0-1

Canadian Chess Chat

Last week I was pleasantly surprised. I had ordered set of Canadian Chess Chat magazines from the 1977.  What made it so fun to read?

First, the games were printed in algebraic notation (AN), years before Chess Life did. The annotations were concise and clear and the games contained enough diagrams to assist the reader with his enjoyment. Our northern neighbors did a good job with magazine.

If I am allowed note one minor gripe, it is that some of the notes seem to have translated from another language, most probably French. There are naturally some glitches and mixed-up of tenses. But they are fun to read!

The publication, Canadian Chess Chat, was published from 1974 to about 1992.

Here are some games from the magazine.

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

Gabor Kadas-IM Enrico Paoli
Agard, Hungary Sept. 1976
[“Selected Games”, Canadian Chess Chat, March 1977]
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.d4 d5 4.e5 e6?! (4…Nc6 5.a3 Bf5 or 5.Ne2 Bf5 6.Nf4 e6 looks better for Black.) 5.a3 Nc6 6.axb4 Bxb4+ 7.c3 Be7?! (7…Bf8 might be better.) 8.Bd3 h5 9.g4 hxg4 10.Qxg4 g6 11.Na3 Bxa3 12.Bxa3 Qh4 13.Qe2 Nge7 14.Nf3 Qh5 15.h4 Nf5 16.Kd2 Qg4 17.Rag1 Qf4+ 18.Kd1 (Of course, not 18.Kc2?? Qxf3 19.Qxf3 Ncxd4+.) 18…Qh6 19.Ng5 Bd7 20.Qb2 b6 21.Rg4 Qg7 22.c4 dxc4 23.Bxc4 O-O-O 24.Ke2 Kb7 25.Ra1 Bc8 (On 25…Rxh4 26.Rxh4 Nxh4 27.Bc5! and White’s attack comes through. Black tries to turn against the weak d-pawn.) 26.Nf3 Rd7 27.Bc5 Rhd8


28.d5!! (An excellent move which decides the game.) 28…Nb8 (28…exd5 29.Bxd5! Rxd5 30.Rxa7+ Kxa7 31.Qxb6+ Ka8 32.Ra4+ leads to mate.) 29.Rxa7+!! 1-0 (29…Kxa7 30.Qxb6+ Ka8 31.Bd3 +-)

K. Monro-G. Zerkowitz
Vancouver Island Open
Canada, 1977
[Canadian Chess Chat, May 1977]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nc6 4.c3 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Nf6 6.Nxf6+ Qxf6 7.Nf3 h6 8.Bd3 Bd7 9.Be3 Bd6 10.Nd2 e5 11.d5 Nd8 12.c4 Qe7 13.Qc2 Bc5 14.O-O Bxe3 15.fxe3 O-O 16.Rf2 Qg5 17.Qc3 f6 18.Raf1 Nf7 19.Ne4 Qh4 20.Rxf6 gxf6 21.Nxf6+ Kg7 22.Nxd7 Rfe8 23.Nf6 Re7 24.Ne4 Rae8 25.Ng3 Qg5 26.Rf3 Kh8 27.Ne4 Qg7 28.Rg3 Ng5 29.Qb4 Rg8? 30.Nxg5! 1-0

GM Efim Geller-Andrew Whiteley
European Team Ch.
Moscow, Apr. 1977
[“European Team Championship”, Canadian Chess Chat, June 1977]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bb3 b4 9.Ne2 Bb7 10.O-O c5 11.Nf4 cxd4? (This move which opens the center, the e-file, is absolutely wrong. Better was 11…Nb6) 12.exd4 Nb6 13.Ng5 Bd5 14.Nxd5 Nfxd5 15.Ba4+ Nd7 16.Qh5 Qe7 17.Re1 g6 18.Qf3 N5b6 (Threatened Nxf7 and Bc6. Now Geller finishes the “job” in a few more moves.) 19.d5 Nxd5 20.Nxf7 Qxf7 21.Qxd5 O-O-O 22.Qa8+   1-0

GM Velimirović-GM Romanishin (2595)
Keres Memorial
Tallinn, 1977
[“Keres Memorial in Tallinn”, Canadian Chess Chat, July 1977]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Be7 4.e5 b6 5.g4! Ba6 6.Bxa6 Nxa6 7.f4 h5!? 8.gxh5 Bh4+?! (Better was 8…Bb4 9.Nf3 Rxh5 10.Ng5 g6.) 9.Kf1 Ne7 10.Qe2 Nb8 11.Nd1 Nbc6 12.c3 Qd7 (Better was 12…Nf5 13.Ne3 Nce7.) 13.Ne3 g6 (There was no other choice was White threatens Nf3. Now, on the opening f- and h-files Black gets counterplay.) 14.hxg6 fxg6 15.Nf3 O-O-O 16.Rg1! Rdf8 17.Rg4 g5 18.Ng2 Nf5 19.Kg1? (Misjudges the position! The h-file is more dangerous! 19.fxg5 was the right move, for ex.: 19…Qh7 20.Bf4, or 19…Nce7 20.Kg1 Ng6 21.Bf4 Qh7 22.Rf1 and after exchanges on h4 White will have the advantage) 19…Qh7 20.fxg5


20…Bg3!!  21.Bf4 (If 21.hxg3 the following nice ending is possible: Nfxd4 22.cxd4 Qh1+ 23.Kf2 Rh2 24.Qa6+ Kb8 25.Ke3 Rxf3+ 26.Kxf3 Qxg2+ 27.Ke3 Qf2+ etc.) 21…Qh5! 22.Rxg3 Nxg3 23.Bxg3 Rxf3 24.Re1 Rxg3! 25.hxg3 Qh2+ 0-1 (If 26.Kf2 Rf8+ 27.Ke3 Qxg3+ 28.Kd2 Rf2 wins the queen.)

Alexander Zakharov-GM Anatoly Karpov
USSR Ch.
Moscow Dec 13 1976
[“Games from the 44th USSR Championship”, Canadian Chess Chat, Sept. 1977]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 c5 6.f3 d6 7.e4 Nc6 8.Ne2 b6 9.Ng3 O-O 10.d5 Na5 11.Bd3 Ba6 12.Qe2 Nd7! 13.f4 exd5 14.cxd5 Bxd3 15.Qxd3 c4 (Otherwise White will play c3-c4. And the square c5 will give a good place for the knight.) 16.Qf3 Nb3 17.Rb1 Re8 18.O-O Ndc5 19.Be3 Nxe4 20.Nxe4 Qe7 21.Nd2 (White’s only chance is in exchanges.) 21…Qxe3+ 22.Qxe3 Rxe3 23.Nxc4 Rxc3 24.Nxd6 Nd2 25.Rbc1 Rd3 26.Rfd1 Rxd5 27.Ne4 Nb3 28.Rxd5 Nxc1 29.Kf2 Nb3 30.Rd7 f5 31.Nd6 Nc5 (Arrives in time, otherwise no chances for winning the game.) 32.Re7 g6 33.Nf7 Kf8 34.Rc7 Ne6 35.Rb7 Re8 36.Nd6? (36.Ng5! gives better chances for a draw in the rook endgame) 36…Re7 37.Rb8+ Kg7 38.g3 Nd4 39.Ne8+ Kf7 40.Nd6+ Ke6 41.Nc4 Kd5 0-1

GM Smyslov-Grigorian
USSR Ch., 1977
[“Games from the 44th USSR Championship”, Canadian Chess Chat, Sept. 1977]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6 7.O-O Qc7 8.f4 Nbd7 9.a4 b6 10.Bf3 Bb7 11.Qe2 e5!?  12.Nd5! Nxd5 13.exd5 g6! 14.Nc6 Bg7 15.fxe5 (Coming into consideration 15.c4 O-O 16.f5 Rfe8 17.Be4 Rac8 18.f6 Bf8 19.Ra3 and Rh3 with a serious king-side attack.) 15…Nxe5 16.Nxe5 Bxe5 (If 16…dxe5 17.d6 Qd7 18.Bh6!) 17.Bh6 f6! 18.c4 Kf7 19.Bg4 Bc8 20.Bxc8 Raxc8?? (20…Qxc8 was necessary, on which Smyslov planned 21.Be3 Re8 22.Qd3!) 21.Rxf6+!! (And the game suddenly decided due to the unprotected king.) 21…Kxf6 22.Qg4 Qc5+ 23.Kh1 Ke7 24.Bg5+! 1-0

Obviously I am not the only one who enjoyed this magazine. If you watched The Queen’s Gambit you may have noticed this “Easter egg” that was sitting on a table.

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
LCI
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

Escalante-“AmirSae”
Blitz Game
Chess.com, 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


Escalante-“rosti_k”
Blitz Game
chess.com, 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, chess.com, 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.