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




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


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


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


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


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

Let’s play “Is There a Problem?



This tournament game was apparently played between two Masters.


Is there a problem here?


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



This game fragment is from an Internet game.


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


Is there a problem here?



Internet Game, 1997



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




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


Is there a problem here?



England, Date Unknown



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


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


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




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


Is there a problem here?


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

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


Answers next week!

Apologies to Spassky.

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


Here’s Spassky at one of his best games.


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



Here is his work.

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





Fool’s Mate
1.f3 e5 2.g4 Qh4mate 0-1


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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





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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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




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


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


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

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

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



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

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

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

An interesting draw at the end provides food for thought.

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



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

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


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

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

Maybe it’s now just part of the game.


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


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

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


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

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


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



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


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


Gomez Baillo-Escalante
US Open
Los Angeles, Aug. 6 1991
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d5 (We’ve reached the Marshall Attack. This Black defence was more popular in the early 1990s and I was keen to try it out in this Open.) 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.d4 (More common is 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5.) 10…exd4 11.Nxd4 Nxd4 12.cxd4 (12.Qxd4 is better.) 12…Be6 13.Nc3 c6 14.Qh5 Qd7 15.Nxd5 cxd5 16.Bc2 g6 17.Qe5 Bd6 18.Qg5 Be7 19.Qh6 Bf6 20.Bg5 Bg7 21.Qh4 Bf5 22.Rac1 Rac8 23.Bxf5? Rxc1! 24.Rxc1 Qxf5 25.g4? Qe4 26.Be3 Bxd4 -+ 27.Bh6 Re8 28.Bg5 Bxb2 29.Qh6 Bxc1 30.Bxc1 Qxg4+ 31.Kf1 Qe2+ (with the idea of Re4) 0-1


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


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


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

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

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


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

WGM Anna Akhsharumova

WGM Anna Akhsharumova was born in the Soviet Union in 1957. She earned her WIM title in 1978 and her WGM title in 1989.


She won the USSR Women’s Championships in 1976 and 1984. And in 1987, she won the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship with a perfect score. She thus, in a dramatic fashion, became the only woman to win both the USSR Championship and the US Championships.


And today is her birthday!


Congratulations Anna!


Below are a few of my favorite games of WGM Anna Akhsharumova.


Anna Akhsharumova-Natalia Titorenko
Moscow Women’s Ch., 1974
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.Na3 f5 10.Bd3 (Alternate moves are 10.Bc4 and 10.Qh5.) 10…Qg5 11.g3 Be6 12.exf5 Bxf5 13.Nd5 O-O-O 14.Bxf5+ Qxf5 15.Qd3 e4 16.Qc4 Qf3 17.O-O Kb8 18.Rfe1 Bg7 19.Re3 Qf5 20.Rb3 Ka7


21.Nb5+! axb5 22.Qxb5 Rd7 23.Ra3+ Kb8 24.Ra8+ Kxa8 25.Nb6+ Kb8 26.Qxf5 Re7 27.Nd5 Nd4 28.Qg4 f5 29.Qd1 Ree8 30.c3 Nf3+ 31.Kg2 Re6 32.a4 Be5 33.a5 Rh6 34.h4 Rg8 35.a6 bxa6 36.Qb3+ Kc8 37.Ne7+ 1-0


WIM Anna Akhsharumova (2290)-Catherine Dodson (2000)
US Women’s Ch.
Estes Park, 1987
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 O-O 6.Nge2 e5 (7…c5 is probably better. The text move often leads to Black’s defeat, sometimes in spectacular ways.) 7.Bg5! (The standard response.) 7…h6

[Bogdanovski (2449)-Masterson (2000), European Club Ch., Crete, 2003, continued instead with 7…c6 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.d5 Qc7 10.Ng3 a6 11.Bh6 cxd5 12.cxd5 b5 13.h4 Bxh6 14.Qxh6 b4 15.Nd1 Nc5 16.Qd2 a5 17.h5 Ba6 18.Bxa6 Rxa6 19.Ne3 Raa8 20.Nef5 Rac8 21.Qg5 Qd8 22.hxg6 fxg6 23.Rxh7 1-0]

8.Be3 c6 9.Qd2 h5 10.d5 cxd5 11.cxd5 Bd7 12.Nc1 Na6 13.Be2 Nc5 14.O-O a5 15.Nd3 Nxd3 16.Bxd3 a4 17.a3 Qa5 18.Qf2 b5 19.Na2 Rab8 20.Nb4 Rfc8 21.Rac1 Qd8 22.Qe2 Ne8 23.Rxc8 Qxc8 24.Rc1 Nc7 25.Nc6 Bxc6 26.Rxc6 Qd7 27.Qc2 Ne8 28.Qd2 Bf6 29.Qa5 Bd8

30.Qa7! Qxa7 31.Bxa7 Rb7 32.Rc8 Rxa7 33.Rxd8 Kf8 34.Bxb5 Re7 35.Bxa4 f5 36.Rxe8+ (White wins by pushing her two extra queenside pawns.) 1-0


WIM Anna Akhsharumova (2385)-IM Igor Ivanov (2505)
St. John Open, 1988
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e4 Bg7 5.f3 O-O 6.Nge2 c5 7.d5 a6 8.a4 e5 9.Bg5 h6 10.Be3 Nh7 11.h4 f5 12.h5

[M. Admiraal (2479)-V. Blom (2269), Andorra Open, Escaldes, July 23 2018 instead went 12.Qd2 f4 13.Bf2 Nf6 14.g4 Bd7 15.a5 b5 16.axb6 Qxb6 17.Nc1 Ra7 18.Na4 Bxa4 19.Rxa4 a5 20.Be2 Na6 21.Rxa5 Nb4 22.Rxa7 Qxa7 23.Qxb4 Rb8 24.Qa3 1-0 The interesting thing is that neither this game or the main game, did White castle. Did they find a way to press the attack that was so overwhelming that they didn’t need to worry about king safety?]

12…Qe8 13.hxg6 Qxg6 14.Qc2 Ng5 15.Bf2 fxe4 16.Ng3 Nd7 17.Ncxe4 Nf6 18.Nxf6+ Qxf6 19.Nh5 Qf7 20.Nxg7 Kxg7 21.Bd3 Bf5 22.Be3 Qg6 23.Bxf5 Rxf5 24.a5 e4 25.f4 Nh7 26.g4 Rf6 27.f5 Qe8 28.Qd2 Qe5 29.Bxh6+ Kh8 30.Ra3 Rg8 31.Rah3 Rxg4 32.Bf4 Qxf5 33.Rxh7+ Qxh7 34.Rxh7+ Kxh7 35.Qh2+ Kg6 36.Bxd6 (White again wins with two extra pawns.) 1-0


Alison Coull (2005)-WIM Anna Akhsharumova (2385)
Thessaloniki Women’s Ol.
Greece, 1988
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bd3 cxd4 6.O-O (The Ruisdonk Gambit in the Advance French. It should be more popular.) 6…Nge7 7.Bf4 (White has two reasonable moves here, the text move and 7.Re1. It’s not possible to decide which is the better move at this time.) 7…h6 8.h4 Qb6 9.Qc1 Bd7 10.a3 Na5 11.b4 Nc4 12.Nbd2 Rc8 13.Nb3 Nc6 14.Qd1 Nb2 15.Qd2 Nxd3 16.cxd3 Be7 17.Bg3 O-O 18.Rab1 a6 19.h5 f5 20.Qe2 Be8 21.Nfd2 f4 22.Bh2 Rf5 23.g4 fxg3 24.Bxg3 Bxh5 25.f3 Rcf8


0-1 [White’s pawns on e5, f3, and d4 (after …Qb5) are weak and Black is about to break through. One plausible plan is …Bg5, with the idea of …Be3. If White plays to Bf2 to nullify Black’s bishop, then …Nxe5 brings new problems for White.]


Ingrid Dahl (2100)-WGM Anna Akhsharumova (2395)
Women’s Izt.
Kuala Lumpur, 1990
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 dxe4 6.Qg4 Nf6 7.Qxg7 Rg8 8.Qh6 Rg6 9.Qe3 Nc6 10.Bb2 Ne7 11.Nh3 Bd7 12.c4 Nf5 13.Qe2 c5 14.dxc5 Qa5+ 15.Qd2 Qxc5 16.Qb4 Qc7 17.O-O-O Bc6 18.Qd2 Ng4 19.Qc3 Rg8 20.Be2 h5 21.f3 Nge3 22.Rd2 Rd8 23.fxe4?! (Winning a pawn while her house is burning down. Better is 23.Rxd8+ to relieve some of the pressure.)

23…Rxd2! 24.Qxd2 Bxe4 25.Bd3 Rxg2 26.Qc3 Bxd3 27.Qxd3 Rxc2+ 28.Kb1 Qb6 0-1


Erlingur Thorsteinsson-WGM Anna Akhsharumova (2385)
Reykjavik Open
Iceland, 1996
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nge2 dxe4 5.a3 Be7 6.Nxe4 Nf6 7.N2c3 O-O (The problem is where does White develop his light-squared bishop?) 8.Bc4?! (As it turns out the bishop is misplaced here. Perhaps 8.Bd3 is a better choice.) 8…Nc6 9.Be3 Nxe4 10.Nxe4 f5 11.Nc5 f4 12.Nxe6 Bxe6 13.Bxe6+ Kh8 14.Bc1 Nxd4 15.Bc4 Bc5 16.O-O Qh4 17.Re1 Rad8 18.Bd3 Nb3 19.Qf3 Nxa1 20.Re5 Rxd3 21.cxd3 Nb3 22.h3 Qxf2+ 23.Qxf2 Bxf2+ 24.Kxf2 Nxc1 25.Re7 Nxd3+ 26.Ke2 Nxb2 27.Rxc7 Rb8 28.Kd2 h6 29.Kc2 Na4 30.Rc4 b5 31.Rxf4 a5 32.Rf7 Rc8+ 0-1

Sibling Rivalry?

What do you do if you are an IM and you have to play a GM? One who is a sibling, and knows all about you?

For some ideas, please play over the game below.

IM Sofia Polgar-GM Judit Polgar (2696)
Match des Championnes Rapid
France, May 14 2013
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Nxc6

[By far, the most common move. Black, however, has the interesting. 7…Qc7!? which warrants further study.

Henryk Gaida (2195)-Kamal Hussain
ICCF WT/M/GT307, 1992
7…Qc7 8.Bxf7+!? Kxf7 9.Nd4 e6 10.O-O b5 11.a3 Bb7 12.f3 d5 13.exd5 Nxd5 14.Ne4 Be7 15.Kh1 h6 16.Re1 e5 17.Nf5 Rhe8 18.Nxe7 Rxe7 19.Ng3 Nf6 20.Nf5 Rd7 21.Qe2 e4 22.fxe4 Bxe4 23.Ne3 Rad8 24.a4 Qb7 25.axb5 axb5 26.Kg1 Kg8 27.Ng4 Bxg2 28.Bxh6 Nxg4 1/2-1/2.]

7…bxc6 8.e5 d5


[Now if you are an GM, then you won’t fall for any of the following;

Reinhold Soelter (2164)-E. Heuer
Borgholzhausen, Germany, 1968
8…Ng8 9.Qf3 d5 10.Nxd5 Bb7 11.Nc7+ Qxc7 12.Qxf7+ 1-0

Moutousis (2422)-Skoularikis (2224)
Athens, 1988
8…Nd7 9.e6 fxe6 10.Bxe6 Nc5 11.Bxc8 Rxc8 12.O-O g6 13.Be3 Nd7 14.Ne4 Qa5 15.Re1 Kd8 16.Bd2 Qd5 17.c4 Qxc4 18.Ba5+ Ke8 19.Nxd6mate 1-0]


8…d5 9.exf6 dxc4 10.Qxd8+ Kxd8 11.fxe7+ Bxe7


[And you would also be aware of this game and ideally would have found an improvement over Black’s strategy.

South Africa, 1956
11.fxe7+ Bxe7 12.Bf4 Bf5 13.O-O+ Kc8? 14.Na4 Kb7 15.Rhe1 Be6?
16.Rxe6! fxe6 17.Rd7+ Kc8 18.Nb6mate 1-0. But your IM sibling changes the move. So now you are on your own.]


12.Be3 Be6 13.O-O-O+ (This move is still a good one as it safeguards the white king, develops a piece, and coordinates White’s active pieces.) 13…Kc8 14.Na4 Rb8 15.Bc5 Bg5+ 16.Kb1 Rb5 17.Bd4 Be7 18.Rhe1 Rd8 19.g3 g5? 20.Nb6+ Kb7 21.Nxc4 +- Rbd5 22.c3 c5 23.Ne3 cxd4 24.Nxd5 Rxd5 25.Rxd4 Rf5 26.Rxe6 fxe6 27.Rd7+ Kc6 28.Rxe7 Kd5 29.Rd7+ Ke4 30.Rd2 Kf3 31.b4 e5 32.c4 e4 33.c5 Rf6 34.Rc2 Rf8 35.c6 h5 (Black’s moves are merely fluff. White is easily winning on the queenside.) 36.c7 Rc8 37.a4 h4 38.gxh4 gxh4 39.b5 h3 40.b6 Kg2 41.b7
41…Rxc7 42.Rxc7 Kxh2 43.b8=Q (Winning in the same number of moves is 43.Rg7 e3 44.b8=Q+ Kh1 45.Qg3.) 43…Kg2 44.Rg7+ Kh1 45.Qg3 h2 46.Qg2mate 1-0

A Dragon Trap


You may know it already. Or maybe you just heard about it.


But there is a trap in the Sicilian Dragon which catches many players each year. Including Masters.


And if you can defeat a Master within a few moves of the game; well, it’s probably something worth memorizing.


First some background information.


The Sicilian Dragon is a large complex of moves and variation that all feature a fianchettoed bishop on g7.


This trap is to be found in the Levenfish Variation and is defined as 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 (B71, if you are familiar with ECO).

The reasoning behind 6.f4 is to support a large center for White and to support a well-timed e5.


The first reason is easy to see. The second is not so easy as one has to visualize such a move (e5) and determine if it is a threat after each and every move.


In fact, many players do not suspect that .e5 may be coming so soon in the game and confidently, and yet innocently, play 6…Bg7?, which gives White a huge, almost winning, advantage.


The moves are 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7. And now White plays 7.e5, which attacks the knight with White having a strong center and better mobility for his pieces.


Even not reaching the main trap of the line, Black can lose very, very fast.


FM Perelshteyn-Shivaji (2230)
Pan Am Intercollegiate, 1998
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5
2019_12_19_A8…Nfd7 (8…Nd5 9.Bb5+ ; 8…Ng4 9.Bb5+ Nc6 10.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Nxd1 Bd7 12.Nd4 Bxe5 13.Bxd7+ Kxd7 14.Nf3) 9.e6 Ne5 10.exf7+ Kxf7 11.Be2 Nbc6 12.O-O+ Bf6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bf4 Kg7 15.Qc1 h6 16.Kh1 Qb6 17.Ne4 Be6 18.Be3 Qc7 19.Nc5 Bf7 20.Bf4 Qb6 21.Qe3 Nc4 22.Ne6+ Bxe6 23.Qxe6 Na5 24.Be5 Qb7 25.Ba6 1-0


Hugo Spangenberg-Sergio Medina
Buenos Aires, 1999
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 Nfd7 8.e6 Nf6 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.exf7 Kxf7 11.Qf3 e6 12.Be3 d5 13.O-O-O Rf8 14.h4 Nc6 15.h5 Ne7 16.g4 Kg8 17.hxg6 hxg6 18.g5 Ng4 19.Qxg4 Bxd4 20.Bxd4 1-0


L. Zsiltzova Lisenko (2284)-P. Berggren (1913)
World Blind Ch.
Goa, India, Oct.9 2006
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 Ng4 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.Qxg4 dxe5 10.fxe5 Bxe5 11.Bxd7+ Nxd7 12.Nf3 Bg7 13.O-O O-O 14.Kh1 Rc8 15.Qh4 Bxc3 16.bxc3 Rxc3 17.Bh6 Rxc2 (If 17…Re8, then 18.Qd4 still wins.) 18.Bxf8 Nxf8 19.Qa4 Qc7 20.Qxa7 e5 21.Qe3 Nd7 22.Rac1 e4 23.Ng5 Qc5 24.Qxc5 Rxc5 25.Rxc5 1-0


D. Tahiri (2099)-F. Niehaus (2204)
Lichtenberger Sommer
Berlin, Aug.24 2006
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 Nh5 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.e6 fxe6 10.Nxe6 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qc8 12.Bxd7+ Nxd7 13.O-O Nc5 14.Qd4 Nf6 15.Ng5 Qf5 16.Re1 Kd7

17.Re5! 1-0


The prevalent thought among most Black players at this point to first remove the attacking pawn from e5 and then worry about the knight. This idea, while valid in many positions in chess, actually places Black in worse position, due to the now-opened lines White has his disposal.


Let’s review the moves once again.


1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5


Black still has his knight under attack and he has to do something. Meanwhile, White has increased his attacking possibilities. White’s win is more certain.


V. Ortiz-J. Romagosa
corres., 1946
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Bg4 9.Bb5+ Nbd7 10.Qd3 Ng8 11.Qe4 Bxe5 12.Qxe5 Nf6 13.Bh6 Qb8 14.Qxb8+ Rxb8 15.Bg7 Rg8 16.Bxf6 exf6 17.O-O 1-0


corres., 1967
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng8 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.e6 Bxb5 11.Ncxb5 Nf6 12.Qf3 Qb6 13.exf7+ Kxf7 14.Qb3+ e6 15.Nc7 Qxc7 16.Qxe6+ Kf8 17.Qxf6+ Bxf6 18.Ne6+ Kf7 19.Nxc7 1-0


D. Berezjuk-P. Carlsson
European Youth Ch.
Rimavska Sobota, 1992
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nh5 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.e6 Bxb5 11.exf7+ Kxf7 12.Qf3+ Nf6 13.Ndxb5 Qd7 14.O-O Qc6 15.Qg3 Nd7 16.Be3 Rhf8 17.Nxa7 Qc4 18.Rad1 Kg8 19.Qf4 Qxf4 20.Rxf4 Bh6 21.Rf3 Bxe3+ 22.Rxe3 Rxa7 23.Rxe7 Rf7 24.Re3 Ra5 25.a3 Rf5 26.Ne4 Nxe4 27.Rxe4 Rf2 28.Rc4 Nf8 29.h3 Ne6 30.b3 Re2 31.Rf1 Rd7 32.Rf2 Rd1+ 33.Rf1 Rdd2 34.Rg4 Rxc2 35.Rg3 Nd4 36.Rf6 Nf5 37.Rxf5 Rxg2+ 38.Rxg2 Rxg2+ 39.Kxg2 gxf5 40.Kf3 Kf7 41.Kf4 Ke6 42.h4 Kf6 43.h5 Ke6 44.h6 Kf6 45.a4 Kg6 46.a5 Kxh6 47.b4 Kg6 48.b5 h5 49.a6 1-0


St. Ingbert Open
Germany, 1995
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Bg4 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ 1-0


FM Perelshteyn-Shivaji (2230)
Pan Am Intercollegiate, 1998
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5


8…Nfd7 (8…Nd5 9.Bb5+ ; 8…Ng4 9.Bb5+ Nc6 10.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Nxd1 Bd7 12.Nd4 Bxe5 13.Bxd7+ Kxd7 14.Nf3) 9.e6 Ne5 10.exf7+ Kxf7 11.Be2 Nbc6 12.O-O+ Bf6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bf4 Kg7 15.Qc1 h6 16.Kh1 Qb6 17.Ne4 Be6 18.Be3 Qc7 19.Nc5 Bf7 20.Bf4 Qb6 21.Qe3 Nc4 22.Ne6+ Bxe6 23.Qxe6 Na5 24.Be5 Qb7 25.Ba6 1-0


Incredibly, White’s attacking chances increase even more if Black’s knight was to move to g4 or d5.


8.fxe5 Ng4


Madrid, 1946
[This game has been repeated many times. Memorize it!]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4? (>Nfd7)


9.Bb5+ Kf8? (After 9….Bd7, White plays 10.Qxg4 as Black’s bishop is pinned. Nevertheless, this move is the lesser evil.) 10.Ne6+ 1-0


Pilnik-Kashdan, 1948
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.Bb5+ Nc6 10.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Nxd1 a6 12.Ba4 Bd7 13.h3 Nh6 14.Nxe7 Bxa4 15.Nd5 Rd8 16.c4 Nf5 17.Bg5 Rd7 18.N1c3 Bc6 19.O-O-O h5 20.Nc7+ Kf8 21.Rxd7 Bxd7 22.Rd1 Bxe5 23.Rxd7 h4 24.Ne4 Nd4 25.Rd8+ Kg7 26.Ne8+ Kh7 27.N4f6+ Bxf6 28.Nxf6+ 1-0


Glenn Cornwell-Jerry Gray
Southern Amateur
Tennessee, 1972
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4? (8…Nd7 9.e6!) 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ fxe6 11.Qxd8+ Kf7 12.O-O+ Nf6 13.Rxf6+ Bxf6 14.Qd4 Bg7 15.Bg5 Nc6 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Rf1+ Kg8 18.Qc5 1-0


Haifa Ol., 1976
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.Qxg4 Bxb5 11.Ndxb5 Bxe5 12.Bh6 a6 13.Rd1 Qb6 14.Qc8+ 1-0


Polish U16 Ch.
Zakopane, Jan. 21 2001
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ fxe6 11.Qxd8+ Kf7 12.O-O+ Bf6 13.Rxf6+ Nxf6 14.Qxh8 a6 15.exf6 exf6 16.Bh6 1-0

8.fxe5 Nd5


corres., 1946
1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Rf1 Bxe5 11.Qf3 Nf6 12.Bh6+ Kg8 13.Nde2 Nc6 14.Rd1 Bxc3+ 15.Qxc3 Bd7 16.Rxf6 exf6 17.Rxd7 Qa5 18.Bxc6 Qxc3+ 19.Nxc3 bxc6 20.Ne4 1-0


R. Nezhmetdinov-P. Ermolin
Kazan Ch., 1946
1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.O-O Bxe5 (10…e6 11.Qf3) 11.Bh6+ Kg8 (11…Bg7 12.Bxg7+ Kxg7 13.Nxd5 Qxd5 14.Nf5+) 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.Nf5 Qc5+ 14.Be3 Qc7 15.Nh6+ 1-0


Switzerland, 1951
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.O-O Bxe5 11.Bh6+ Kg8 12.Nxd5! Qxd5

13.Nf5! Qc5+ (Not 13…Qxb5 due to 14.Nxe7#. The text move also loses. But Black is lost as White also threatens Qd8+.) 14.Be3 Qc7 15.Nh6+ Kg7 16.Rxf7mate 1-0


Pan Am Intercollegiate, 1998
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.O-O e6 11.Qf3 Qe7 12.Bg5 1-0


Politiken Cup
Copenhagen, 2001
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Nxd5 Qxd5 11.O-O Bxe5 12.Bh6+ Kg8 13.Nf5 Qc5+ 14.Be3 Qc7 15.Nh6+ Kg7 16.Rxf7mate 1-0


How does Black get out of such mess if White was to play the Levenfish?


8.f4 Nc6!? is useful to Black as the Nc6 protects the Queen on d8.


New Orleans, 1955
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bg4 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Bg7 10.Be3 O-O 11.Rd1 Qa5 12.a3 Rac8 13.Be2 Nd7 14.e5 Nb6 15.O-O dxe5 16.Nb5 Nd4 17.Bxd4 exd4 18.Qxb7 Nc4 19.Bxc4 Rxc4 20.Nxa7 d3 21.Kh2 dxc2 22.Rc1 Qd2 23.Nc6 Kh8 24.Qb5 Re4 25.Nb4 Rxf4 26.Qg5 Rf2 27.Qxd2 Rxd2 28.Rxc2 Rxc2 29.Nxc2 Bxb2 30.Rf3 Rc8 31.Ne3 Kg7 32.Nd5 e6 33.Nb4 e5 34.Rb3 Bd4 35.Nd5 Rc5 36.Nb6 e4 37.Kg3 f5 38.a4 Ra5 39.Kf4 Kf6 0-1


Ljubljana, 1981
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Bd3 a6 9.O-O O-O 10.Kh1 b5 11.a4 b4 12.Nd5 Bb7 13.f5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Ne5 15.Be4 Nd7 16.Ng5 Qa5 17.Bd2 h6 18.fxg6 hxg5 19.c4 fxg6 20.Qg4 Nf6
21.Qe6+ Kh7 22.Qh3+ Kg8 23.Qe6+ Kh7 24.Qh3+ Kg8 25.Qe6+ 1/2-1/2

Perhaps even better for White is 6.Be3, a favorite of Tal.


James Drasher-Brian Polka
US Amateur Team, East
Parsippany NJ, Feb. 13 1999
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nc6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Be2 O-O 9.Qd2 Ng4 10.Bg1 Bd7 11.h3 Nf6 12.O-O-O Rc8 13.g4 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Bc6 15.Bd3 Qc7 16.g5 Nd7 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.h4 Nc5 19.h5 f5 20.hxg6 hxg6 21.Rh6 Rg8 22.Bc4 Nxe4 23.Rh7+! Kf8 (23…Kxh7 24.Qh2+ Kg7 25.Qh6#) 24.Qd4! Nxc3


25.Qg7+! 1-0


But Black can improve by NOT moving his Bishop so early. He can play after 6.f4, 6…Nbd7. This prevents any checks and the knight lays siege on e5, which also prevents .e5. The variation is known as Flohr Variation.


U. Andersson- Raimundo Garcia
Skopje-Krusevo-Ohrid, 1972
1.Nf3 g6 2.e4 c5 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.f4 Nbd7 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.Bd3 Bg7 9.O-O O-O 10.Qe1 a6 11.Kh1 b5 12.e5 dxe5 13.fxe5 Ng4 14.e6 Nc5 15.Qh4 Nxd3 16.cxd3 Bxe6 17.Ng5 h5 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Bg5 Rxf1+ 20.Rxf1 Rf8 21.Rxf8+ Kxf8 22.Ne4 Bxb2 23.Bd2 Bf6 24.Qh3 Qe5 25.Qg3 Qxg3 26.Nxg3 Nf2+ 27.Kg1 Nxd3 28.Kf1 Kf7 29.Ne4 e5 30.g3 Nb2 31.Nc5 Nc4 32.Bc1 a5 33.Ke2 Nd6 34.Bd2 b4 35.Kd3 e4 36.Nxe4 Nxe4 37.Kxe4 Ke6 0-1


F. Vreugdenhil (2150)-A. Summerscale (2423)
Coulsden International
England, Sept. 5 1999
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nbd7 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.Be3 Bg7 9.Bd3 a6 10.h3 b5 11.a3 Bb7 12.O-O Nc5 13.Bd4 O-O 14.g4 e5 15.fxe5 Nfxe4 16.Nxe4 Nxe4 17.Qe1 dxe5 18.Bxe4 Bxe4 19.Qxe4 exd4 20.Nxd4 Qg3+ 21.Kh1 Qxh3+ 22.Kg1 Rae8 0-1


And Black, now playing this newer variation, can survive. At in least the opening.

Three Pawns for a Piece

This blog was going to feature the Dragon. But one of my correspondence games ended today (12-11-2019), and it inspired the following article.





Most players know a piece is equal to three pawns. Materially, this is even. The advantage, however, is to the side that is attacking.


In a line of the Najdorf Sozin, White sacrifices a piece for those three pawns. Despite some technical problems to solve, he usually does well.


The sacrifice begins with the moves 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 Bb7?! 10.Bxe6! fxe6 11.Nxe6.


This is White doing well.

E. Germany, 1989
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 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qc8 12.Nxg7+ Kd8 13.Nf5 Rf8 14.Bh6 Rf7 15.Qg3 Qe6 16.Rad1 Nh5 17.Qe3 Nd7 18.Bg5 Nhf6 19.Qg3 Ne5 20.f4 Ned7 21.Nxe7 1-0


Wallner (2075)-Pfaffel (1970)
Graz Ch., 1994
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 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qd7? [This is an error. Better is the more common 11.Qc8. You’ll find this same error (11…Qd7?) in some of the following games.] 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Nc6 14.Nd5 Ne5 15.Qg3 Bxd5 16.Qg7+ Ke8 17.Qxh8+ Bg8 18.Qg7 Nxe4 19.Qxg8+ 1-0


Guerrero Rodriguez (2130)-Frias Careaga (1399)
Mexico Ch.
Hermosillo, Mar. 29 2002
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.Qf3 Bb7 9.O-O Be7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qc8 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Nbd7

[13…b4?! doesn’t offer Black too much.

13…b4 14.Bg5 Rg8 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.Nxd6 Qxd6 17.Rad1 Bd4 18.Ne2 Nc6 19.Nxd4 Nxd4 20.Qe3 Kc8 21.Rxd4 Qg6 22.g3 a5 23.c3 Ra6 24.cxb4 axb4 25.Rc1+ Kb8 26.Rxb4 h5 27.a4 Re6 28.Qf4+ Ka8 29.Rc5 Rd8 30.Rxb7 Rd1+ 31.Kg2 Qxe4+ 32.Qxe4 Rxe4 33.Rh7 1-0 (N. Aliavdin (2377)-I. Lada (2130), Karkonosze Open A, Karpacz, Poland, Feb. 22 2011.]

14.Bg5 Qf8 15.Bh6 Qd8 16.Nd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 Nf8 18.Bg7 Ng6 19.Bxh8 Qxh8 20.Rae1 Ra7 21.Qe3 Rb7? (22.Qe5+ K~ 23.Qc8+ ~ 24.Qxb7) 1-0


Hengelo U10 Open, Aug. 4 2003
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 b5 7.Bb3 e6 8.O-O Be7 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qd7 12.Nxg7+ Kd8 13.Nf5 Rf8 14.Bg5 Qe8 15.Rad1 Kc7 16.Qd3 Qd7 17.e5 dxe5 18.Qxd7+ Nfxd7 19.Nxe7 Nc6 20.Ncd5+ Kb8 21.Nxc6+ Bxc6 22.Nb4 1-0


Atousa Pourkashiyan (2241)-Irine Kharisma Sukandar (2303)
Rapid Game
Women’s WMSG
Beijing, Oct. 6 2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Be7 8.O-O b5 9.Qf3 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qd7 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Qe6 14.Qh3 Bf8 15.Bh6 Rg8 16.Bxf8 Kxf8 17.Qh6+ Kf7 18.Qf4 Rd8 19.Rad1 Bc6 20.Nxd6+ Kg6 21.Rd3 h6 22.Nf5!


1-0 (White’s threat is aimed at h6. If 22…Rh8, then 23.Qg3+ does the trick.)


A. Danin (2570)-Gera Richter (2101)
Schloss Open
Werther, Germany, Mar. 24 2013
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 Bb7 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qc8 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Nbd7 14.Qg3 Bf8 15.Nxd6+ Bxd6 16.Qxd6 Nxe4 17.Nxe4 Bxe4 18.Bg5 Qc6 19.Qe7+ Kg6 20.Rad1 Bd5 21.Bc1 Nf6 22.Rd3 Ne4 23.f4 Rhf8 24.g4 Bf7 25.Rh3 Kg7 26.Be3 Rae8 27.Qh4 h5 28.f5 Rg8 29.g5 Kf8 30.g6 Re5 31.Qf4 Qd5 32.Rxh5 Ke8 33.Rh4 Kd7 34.Rh7 Re7 35.Qf3 Ke8 36.Kh1 Nf2+ 37.Rxf2 Qxf3+ 38.Rxf3 Bd5 39.Rxe7+ Kxe7 40.Kg2 Kf6 41.Bd4+ Kg5 42.Kf2 Bxf3 43.Kxf3 Kxf5 44.g7 Re8 45.c3 Kg6 46.Kf4 Kh7 47.Be5 Rd8 48.Ke3 Rd5 49.Ke4 Rd2 50.c4 bxc4 51.Bd4 a5 52.a4 Rd1 53.Kd5 c3 54.bxc3 Rd2 55.c4 Rxh2 56.c5 Rh5+ 57.Kc4 Rh1 58.c6 Rh6 59.Kb5 Kg8 60.c7 1-0

Now Black does not have to take the offered bishop. He can simply decline the material. But he is still a pawn down and White has a budding attack.


This is White doing very well.


Germany U20 Ch.
Hamburg, 1993
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 Bb7 10.Bxe6 Qb6? (Black is lost. White can just play 11.Be3 and gain a tempo in every line.) 11.Be3 fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qc6 13.Nd5 Nbd7 14.Nxg7+ Kf7 15.Nf5 Bf8 16.Bd4 Ne5 17.Nh6+ 1-0


Najdorf Thematic, 2019
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 Bb7 10.Bxe6 Qb6? 11.Be3 fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qc6 13.Nxg7+ Kf8 14.Nf5 Nbd7 15.Nd5 Bd8 16.Bh6+ Kf7 17.Rfe1 Ne5 18.Qb3 [The computer suggests 18.Qa3! (hitting the d6 pawn) Nxd5 19.Nxd6+ Qxd6 20.Qxd6 Bc7 21.Qa3 Nf6 22.Qb3+ Kg6. But there is nothing wrong with the text move which is more direct.]



[Not 18…Qc5? due to 19.Nxf6+ Kxf6 20.Bg7+ Kg5 (20…Kg6? 21.Qe6+ Bf6 22.Qxf6+ Kh5 23.Qh6+ Kg4 24.h3#) 21.Qe6 and Black can’t fight off mate; 21…Qxf2+ 22.Kxf2 Ng4+ 23.Kg3 Bf6 24.Nxd6 Be5+ 25.Bxe5 Nxe5 26.h4+ Kh5 27.Qxe5+ Kg6 28.Qg5#, 21…Nf3+ 22.gxf3 Qxf2+ 23.Kxf2 Bb6+ 24.Ke2 h6 25.Bxh6+ Rxh6 26.Qxh6#, 21…Kf4 22.Bh6+ Bg5 23.Bxg5+ Kxg5 24.Qh6+ Kg4 25.h3#, 21…Bf6 22.Qxf6+ Kh5 23.Qh6+ Kg4 24.h3#, 21…Kg5 22.Qh6+ Kg4 23.h3#, 21…Kh5 22.Qh6+ Kg4 23.h3#.]

19.Rad1 Qd7 20.Rxd5 Bxd5 21.Qxd5+ 1-0 [Black resigned. He’s facing lines such as 21…Qe6 22.Nxd6+ (22…Kf6 23.Bg7+! +-) 22…Ke7 23.Nf5+ Kf6 24.Qxa8 Rg8 25.Bg7+ Rxg7 26.Nxg7 Kxg7 27.Qb7+ Kf6 28.Qxh7 Bb6 29.Qh6+ Ng6 30.e5+ Kf5 31.Qh5+.]


A Gambit in the Dutch

The opening 1…f5 can be played against 1.d4, where it is known as the Dutch Defence. Against 1.c4, it is known as the Anglo Dutch. Against 1.Nf3, it is known as the Reti Dutch. And against 1.e4, it is known as bad move.


Nevertheless, the move 1…f5 leads to many tactical tangles with Black having a fair chance at emerging victorious.

The sequence 1.d4 f5 is the most common way for Black to play the Dutch. It is this approach we will look at now.


White has several ways to reply to Black’s aggressive move. He can play 2.Nc3, 2.Nf3, 2.Bg5 (stronger than one might suppose), 2.g3 (a safe, positional approach), and 3.c4 (a classical reply).


But he also has a gambit he can attempt; the Staunton (1.d4 f5 2.e4!?).


Black almost has to take the pawn. Otherwise White has a greater control of the center and declining the pawn can also easily lead to bad positions from the transposition of other openings.

Amsterdam, 1923
[Notes by ECO and Euwe]
1.d4 f5 2.e4 d6 3.exf5 Bxf5 4.Qf3 Qc8 5.Bd3 Bxd3 6.Qxd3 Nc6 7.Nf3 e6 8.O-O Qd7 9.c4 O-O-O 10.Re1 Nf6 +/- (10…e5 11.Nc3 +/-) 11.Bd2 Re8 12.Na3 Be7 13.b4 Rhf8 14.b5 Nd8 15.Nc2 Nh5 16.a4 g5 17.a5! +/-


Eloy Cantero Ramon (2078)-Jose Munoz Izcua
Montevideo, 1954
[A slight transposition occurs in the first two moves. If you really want, you can assume 1.d4 f5 2.e4 d6? were the moves played.]
1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5 3.Bd3! Nc6 4.exf5 Nxd4 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Nf6 7.g7+ Nxh5 8.gxh8=Q Nf6 9.Bh6 Ne6 10.Bf5 Bd7 11.Qxh7 Ng7 12.Qg6mate 1-0


Lidia Semenova (2280)-Olga Ignatieva (2135)
USSR Team Ch.
Riga, 1954
[The first four moves are from the Tarrasch French; 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 f5?!]
1.d4 e6 2.Nd2 f5 3.e4 d5 4.exf5 exf5 5.Ngf3 Nf6 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.O-O O-O 8.Ne5 c5 9.c3 c4 10.Bc2 Qc7 11.Ndf3 b5 12.Re1 a5 13.Nh4 g6 14.Bh6 Re8 15.Qd2 Ne4 16.Bxe4 dxe4 17.f4 Be6 18.Qe3 Nd7 19.Qg3 Nf8 20.Re3 Bxe5 21.fxe5 Qf7 22.Rf1 Qd7 23.Qg5 Qd8 24.Qf4 b4 25.Bg5 Qc7 26.Bf6 Nd7 27.Qh6 Nxf6 28.exf6 Qf7 29.Rg3 Qf8 30.Qg5 Qf7 31.Nxf5 Bxf5 32.Rxf5 bxc3 33.bxc3 Rab8 34.h4 Kh8 35.Re5 Rxe5 36.dxe5 Rb1+ 37.Kh2 Qd7 38.Qh6 Rb8 39.Rxg6 Rg8 40.Rxg8+ Kxg8 41.Qg5+ 1-0

So, Black usually takes the pawn. White can respond a number of ways. One good try is 4.Bg5!?

Kiev, Mar. 2 1914
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 c6 5.f3 exf3 (Probably better is 5…Qb6.) 6.Nxf3 e6 7.Bd3 d5 8.O-O Nbd7 9.Ne5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6

11.Qh5+ Ke7 (11…g6? 12.Bxg6+! hxg6 13.Qxg6+ Ke7 14.Rxf6 Nxf6 5.Qg7+ Kd6 16.Nf7+) 12.Bxh7 Nf8 13.Qf7+ Kd6 14.Nc4+ dxc4 15.Ne4+ Kd5 16.Rf5+ Kxe4 17.Re1+ Kxd4 18.c3+ Kd3 19.Rd5mate 1-0


Rotterdam, 1920
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 g6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 Bg7 7.Bd3 c5 8.d5 Qb6 9.Qd2 Qxb2 10.Rb1 Nxd5 11.Nxd5 Qxb1+ 12.Kf2 Qxh1 13.Bxe7 d6 14.Bxd6 Nc6 15.Bb5 Bd7 16.Bxc6 Bxc6 17.Qe2+ 1-0


Croatia Ch., 1995
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 c6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 d5 7.Bd3 g6 8.Ne5 Qb6 9.Qe2 Qxb2 10.O-O! Qxc3 11.Bxf6 Rg8 12.Qf2! Nd7 13.Bxe7! Kxe7 14.Nxd7 Kxd7 15.Qf7+ Be7 16.Qxg8 Qxd4+ 17.Kh1 Qh4 18.Rae1 Kd6 19.g3 Qg5 20.Qe8 d4 21.h4 Qd5+ 22.Kh2 1-0

White also has 4.f3, paralleling the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (BDG).

It is usually not in Black’s interest to immediately take the pawn, as these games illustrate.


London, 1899
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 d5 6.Bd3 Bg4 7.O-O Nc6 8.Ne2 Bxf3 9.gxf3 Qd7 10.c3 e5 11.Bb5 Bd6 12.dxe5 Bxe5 13.f4 Bd6 14.Nd4 O-O 15.Kh1 a6 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.f5 Rae8 18.Bg5 Be5 19.Ne6 Rf7 20.Bh4 Ne4 21.Qh5 c5 22.Rae1 Bf6 23.Rf4 Bxh4 24.Rxh4 Nf6 25.Qf3 Qd6 26.Rg1 c6 27.Ng5 Rfe7 28.Nxh7 Re1 29.Nxf6+ Qxf6 30.Rhg4 Rxg1+ 31.Rxg1 Re5 32.Rg6 Re1+ 33.Kg2 Qe5 34.Re6 Qxe6 35.fxe6 Rxe6 36.Qf5 Re2+ 37.Kg3 Rxb2 38.Qc8+ Kh7 39.Qxc6 1-0

corres., 1983
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 d5 6.Ne5 Nbd7 7.Bd3 e6 8.Bg5 Be7 9.O-O O-O 10.Qe2 c5 11.Ng6 hxg6 12.Qxe6+ Kh8 13.Rf3 Nb6 14.Rh3+ Nh5 15.Qxg6 Kg8 16.Rxh5 Bxg5 17.Rh8+ Kxh8 18.Qh7mate 1-0


corres., 1988
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bd3 Bb4 7.O-O Bxc3 8.bxc3 d5 9.Ng5 Qd7 10.Nxh7 Rxh7 11.Bxh7 Nxh7 12.Qh5+ g6 13.Qxg6+ Kd8 14.Rf7 Qxf7 15.Qxf7 Bd7 16.Qxh7 1-0


corres., 1988
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bd3 Bg7 7.Ng5 O-O 8.O-O d6 9.Nce4 Nxe4 10.Bxe4 Nc6 11.c3 Bd7 12.Rxf8+ Qxf8 13.Nxh7 Kxh7 14.Qh5+ Kg8 15.Bxg6 Qf6 16.Bg5 Qe6 17.Qh7+ Kf8 18.Rf1+ Bf6 19.Bh6mate 1-0


Instead, Black can try moves such as 4…Nc6 or 4..d5. While these moves are not a panacea, they do offer Black better chances than simply taking the f3-pawn and be defending the rest of the game.


USSR, 1951
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Nc6 5.fxe4 e5 6.dxe5 Nxe5 7.Nf3 d6 8.Bf4 Nxf3+ 9.Qxf3 Bg4 10.Qf2 Be7 11.Bc4 c6 12.h3 Bh5 13.g4 Bg6 14.O-O-O Rf8 15.Qg3 Nxg4 16.Bxd6 Nf2 17.Bxe7 Qxe7 18.Nb5 cxb5 19.Bxb5+ Kf7 20.Qb3+ Qe6 21.Bc4 1-0


Havana, 1965
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Nc6 5.fxe4 e5 6.dxe5 Nxe5 7.Nf3 Bd6 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4 O-O 10.Nd5 Nxf3+ 11.gxf3 Be7 12.Nxe7+ Qxe7 13.Qd2 d5 14.O-O-O dxe4 15.fxe4 Qxe4 16.Bxf6 Rxf6 17.Bg2 Qe8 18.Rhe1 Qf8 19.Qd5+ Kh8 20.Qd8 Bg4 21.Qxf8+ Raxf8 22.Rd4 Bc8 23.Re7 c6 24.h4 Kg8 25.h5 R6f7 26.Rxf7 Kxf7 27.Kd2 Kf6 28.Ke3 Kg5 29.Bf3 Bf5 30.c3 Re8+ 31.Kf2 Re7 32.b4 Rd7 33.Rc4 Be6 34.Re4 Bxa2 35.Re5+ Kf4 36.Ra5 Rd2+ 37.Ke1 Rh2 38.Be2 Be6 39.Bf1 Ra2 0-1


corres., 1975
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Nc6 5.fxe4 e5 6.dxe5 Nxe5 7.Nf3 Bd6 8.Nb5 Nxf3+ 9.Qxf3 Be5 10.Bf4 Qe7 11.O-O-O Kd8 12.Qg3 Re8 13.Bxe5 Qxe5 14.Qxg7 Nxe4 15.Qxe5 Rxe5 16.Bc4 c6 17.Nd6 Nxd6 18.Rxd6 h5 19.Rhd1 Kc7 20.Bf7 Re2 21.Bxh5 Rxg2 22.h3 Rg8 23.Bg4 a5 24.a4 Rh8 25.c4 Ra6 26.Rg6 Rb6 27.Kc2 Rb4 28.b3 d5 29.cxd5 cxd5 30.Rxd5 Bxg4 31.Rxg4 Rxh3 32.Rc5+ Kd6 33.Rxb4 axb4 34.Rb5 Rh2+ 35.Kd1 Rh1+ 36.Ke2 Rh2+ 37.Kf1 Rh1+ 38.Kg2 Rh7 39.Rxb4 Rf7 1/2-1/2


Ed Lasker-Alekhine
London, 1913, Game 3
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 d5 5.fxe4 dxe4 6.Bg5 Bf5 7.Qe2 Nc6 8.Bxf6 exf6 9.O-O-O Bd6 10.Nxe4 O-O 11.Nxd6 cxd6 12.Qf2 Qa5 13.Bc4+ Kh8 14.Ne2 Nb4 15.Bb3 Rac8 16.Nc3 Bg6 17.Rhf1 b5 18.Rd2 Nd3+ 19.Rxd3 Bxd3 20.Rd1 b4 21.Rxd3 bxc3 22.Kb1 Rfe8 23.bxc3 Rxc3 24.Qd2 Rxb3+ 25.cxb3 Qf5 26.Kb2 Qf1 27.Re3 Rxe3 28.Qxe3 Qxg2+ 29.Ka3 h6 30.Qe6 Qc6 31.h4 h5 32.Qf7 Qe4 33.Qf8+ Kh7 34.Qxd6 Qxh4 35.d5 Qe4 36.Qc5 Qe5 37.b4 h4 38.d6 h3 39.Qc2+ f5 40.d7 h2 41.d8=Q h1=Q 42.Qc4 Qhe4 43.Qdg8+ Kh6 44.Qa6+ Kg5 45.Qxa7 Qc3+ 46.Qb3 Qexb4mate 1-0


Minsk, 1952
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 d5 5.Bg5 Bf5 6.fxe4 dxe4 7.Bc4 Nc6 8.Nge2 Qd7 9.O-O e6 10.d5 exd5 11.Nxd5 O-O-O 12.Nxf6 Bc5+ 13.Kh1 Qxd1 14.Raxd1 Rxd1 15.Rxd1 gxf6 16.Bxf6 Rf8 17.Rf1 Bg6 18.Ng3 Nb4 19.c3 Nd3 20.Bd4 Rxf1+ 21.Nxf1 Bxd4 22.cxd4 Nxb2 23.Be2 Kd7 24.Kg1 Nd3 25.Bxd3 exd3 26.Kf2 Kc6 27.Ke3 Kb5 28.g4 Kb4 29.h4 h6 30.h5 Bh7 31.Kf4 Kc3 32.Ke5 d2 33.Nxd2 Kxd2 34.Kf6 Ke3 35.Kg7 Bb1 36.Kxh6 Kf4 37.g5 Bxa2 38.Kg6 Bf7+ 39.Kh6 Kg4 40.g6 Bd5 0-1


Yugoslavia, 1976
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 d5 5.fxe4 dxe4 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Nge2 e5 8.Bg5 Nxd4 9.O-O Bg4 10.Qe1 Bxe2 11.Nxe2 Qd6 12.Rd1 Qc5 13.Nxd4 Qxc4 14.Nf5 Rd8 15.Bxf6 gxf6 16.Qh4 Rxd1 17.Rxd1 Qf7 18.Qxe4 Qg6 19.Qd3 Bc5+ 20.Kh1 Rg8 21.Qd7+ Kf8 22.Qd8+ 1-0


Italy, 1992
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 d5 5.fxe4 dxe4 6.Bg5 Bf5 7.Bc4 Nc6 8.Nge2 Qd7 9.d5 Na5 10.Bb5 c6 11.dxc6 Qxd1+ 12.Rxd1 bxc6 13.Ba4 Rc8 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Rd5 1-0


B. Miller-M. White
CCLA Team Ch., 1995
1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 d5 5.fxe4 dxe4 6.Bg5 Bf5 7.Bc4 Nc6 8.Nge2 e6 9.O-O Qd7 10.Qe1 O-O-O 11.Rd1 Na5 12.b3 Bb4 13.a3 Nxc4 14.axb4 Nb6 15.Ng3 Bg4 16.Rd2 Nbd5 17.Ncxe4 Rdf8 18.Rdf2 Kb8 19.c4 1-0



An Introduction to Chess Poetry



Many poems and the like have been written about chess. They range from the simple to the epic, from the silly to the serious, and can include the profound and philosophical.


We’ll start with the simple, and sometimes, silly limerick.





The first two are from NM Bill Wall.



There once was a player from Maine,
Who played chess on a fast train.
He took a move back
And was thrown off the track,
And he never played chess again.



Postal chess is still played today
And no reason why I shouldn’t play.
It is nice and slow,
And I can use my ECO,
It’s the postage I can’t afford to pay.


With the Internet now, you don’t have to pay postage.



Here’s an old classic, first appearing in Chess Potpourri by Alfred C. Klahre (Middletown, 1931). It’s titled, “The Solver’s Plight


There was a man from Vancouver
Who tried to solve a two-mover;
But the boob, he said, ‘“Gee”,
I can’t find the “Kee”,
No matter HOW I manouvre.’

Like most people, I also prefer original material, always searching for something new.

A short poem that perfectly illustrates the frustrations of that search.
Some Editors – pretend to edit –
Use scissors and paste and give no credit.

(Columbia Chess Chronicle, 20 August 1887, page 66.)


Another short one. This one is slightly whimsical and yet, very accurate.


Chess is such a noble game,
How it does the soul inflame!
Ever brilliant, ever new,
Surely chess has not its due;
Sad to say, ’tis known to few!


Poem written by W. Harris and printed in the book, “A Complete Guide to the Game of Chess”(1882).


By The Way (or BTW in Internet lingo), the poem is also an acrostic. We’ll let you figure it out! =)



For another poem that is simply a delight, here is one by Alan Hall and printed in CHESS POST, Volume 33, No. 3 (or the June 1995 issue).


The Game of Chess


A poem about chess? Well, there’s an idea.
Hopefully this one will be one to hear.
What of the pieces? I’ll take them in turn.
And try to tell how each it’s living does earn.
The pawns can move straight or diagonally
Depending on whether it’s taking, you see.
Next comes the bishop – it moves across,
Of diagonals it is the boss.
Then there is the knight – some call it a horse
From its siblings it pursues a quite different
One square diagonally, then one straight.
It’s so crafty, you start to hate
It when you’ve lost to its smothered mate.
Stronger still than all these is rook.
If you’ve got two of them, you’re in luck.
The you may even beat the might queen.
A rook and bishop combined, she reigns

Last, but not least, is the humble king.
When you’ve mated him, you can sing.
Well, that’s all the pieces that make this game
of chess.


The playing of which can bring happiness.




We’ll end here with an appropriate form of poetry; the epitaph.


Surprisingly, chess epitaphs are more common than you might believe. Here is the best on I could find. It was written by Lord Dunsany (who was a chess player among many other inspired pursuits) and it was for Capablanca, first published in the June 1942 issue of CHESS (pg. 131).


Now rests a mind as keen,
A vision bright and clear
As any that has been
And who is it lies here?
One that, erstwhile, no less
Than Hindenburg could plan,
But played his game of chess
And did no harm to man.


If we could only aspire to be so talented and noble.



Here’s two games related to the poems, or rather the poets that created them.


Jim Murray (1876)-Alan Hall (1746)
Isle of Man Open – Major, Sept. 26 2017
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5!? (The Budapest is a surprising response for Mr. Hall, who regularly employs more solid and safe openings such as the London System. Nevertheless, he makes a fair attempt at winning the game.) 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.e3 Ngxe5 6.Be2 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ 8.Qxd2 d6?! (Black usually plays either 8…O-O or 8…Nxf3+. The text move allows White to simplify with 9.Nxe5!? dxe5 10.Qxd8+.) 9.O-O Be6 10.b3 O-O 11.Nc3 h6 12.Rad1 Qd7 13.Nxe5 Nxe5 14.f4 Ng6 15.e4 f5 16.e5 Rfd8 17.Qe3 Qe7 18.Bh5 Nh8 19.Nd5 Bxd5 20.cxd5 g6 21.Be2 a6 22.g4 Rf8 23.Kh1 Rae8 24.e6 c6 25.gxf5 Rxf5 26.dxc6 bxc6 27.Bg4 Rf6 28.Qd3 Ref8 29.Qxd6 Qxd6 30.Rxd6 g5 31.Rd7 Ng6 32.f5 Ne5 33.Rd4 Nxg4 34.Rxg4 Rxf5 35.Rxf5 Rxf5 36.Rc4 c5 37.Ra4 Kf8 38.Rxa6 Ke7 39.Kg2 h5 40.a4 Re5 41.Kf2 g4 42.Rc6 h4 43.a5 Rf5+ 44.Kg2 Rd5 45.a6 Rd2+ 46.Kg1 Rd1+ 47.Kf2 Rd2+ 48.Kg1 1/2-1/2


Capablanca-Lord Dunsany
Selfridges, London, Apr. 12 1929
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 b5 5.Bb3 Nf6 6.Ng5 d5 7.exd5

[After 7…Nxd5 8.Nxf7 Kxf7 9.Qf3+ Ke6 10.Nc3 Nce7 11.d4, we reach a position very similar to the Fried Liver Attack. Capablanca decided not to play into it. Apparently he remembered this game:

Capablanca-Pagliano & Elias
Consultation Game
Buenos Aires, June 1911
7.exd5 Nxd5 8.Nxf7 Kxf7 9.Qf3+ Ke6 10.Nc3 Nce7 11.d4 Bb7 12.Bg5 c6 13.O-O-O h6 14.Ne4 Qc7 15.Nc5+ Kd6 16.dxe5+ Kxc5 17.Be3+ Kb4 18.Bd2+ Kc5 19.Bxd5 Nxd5 20.Be3+ Kb4 21.Bd2+ Kc5 22.Be3+ Kb4 23.a3+ Ka4 24.b3+ Kxa3 25.Bd2 Bb4 26.c3 Qxe5 27.Kc2 Bxc3 28.Bxc3 Nxc3 29.Rhe1 Qc5 30.Qxc3 Qxf2+ 31.Rd2 Qf5+ 32.Kc1 Qf6 33.Qa5+ Kxb3 34.Re3+ Kc4 35.Rc2+ Kd5 36.Qd2+ Qd4 37.Rd3 c5 38.Rxd4+ cxd4 39.Qd3 Rab8 40.Qf5+ Kd6 41.Qc5+ Ke6 42.Re2+ Kf7 43.Re7+ Kg8 44.Rxb7 Rxb7 45.Qd5+ Kh7 46.Qe4+ Kg8 47.Qxb7 Kh7 48.Qe4+ Kg8 49.Qxd4 Kh7 50.Qe4+ Kg8 51.Qa8+ 1-0.]

7…Ne7 8.d6 Ned5 9.dxc7 Qxc7 10.Nc3 Bb7 11.a4 b4 12.Nxd5 Bxd5 13.Bxd5 Nxd5 14.O-O Be7 15.d4 O-O 16.dxe5 Qxe5 17.Re1 Qd6 18.Ne4 Qc6 19.Bg5 Bxg5 20.Nxg5 Rac8 21.Qf3 Nf6 22.Re2 h6 23.Qxc6 Rxc6 24.Nf3 a5 25.Nd4 Rc5 26.Nb3 Rd5 27.Rae1 Nd7 28.Re4 Nb6 29.Re5 Rfd8 30.Rxd5 Rxd5 31.Kf1 Nxa4 1/2-1/2