Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thomas Morris Meets My Sicilian Defence 2.c3

About 30 years ago, Thomas Morris was the chess champion of Georgia. One postal game we played saw me try the Sicilian Defence 2.c3. The Alapin variation was a rare choice for me as White, since I like the normal Open Sicilian 2.Nf3/3.d4 lines. The year 1981 was one of my most active chess years, and 1982 was even more successful. I developed a reputation among the experts and masters in APCT. All that promise would wane with my personal life tragedy of 1983. Happily, the sun would rise again in the late 1980s in the form of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit and my pleasure in chess returned.

Below at first we hold back our d-pawns, but by move 7, we both have isolated d-pawns in the center of the board at d4 and d5. I remember studying this type of position in books on chess strategy by Ludek Pachman. I owned the entire three book series, as well as the edited summary edition "Modern Chess Strategy" published by Dover. In our game after some maneuvering, we agreed to a draw in a symmetrical position. There were no tactical flashes or deep theory. Just solid play with possibilities passed.

Sawyer (2100) - Morris (2250), corr APCT 1982 begins 1.e4 c5 2.c3 e6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Be2 d5 5.exd5 exd5 6.d4 cxd4 7.cxd4 Nf6 8.0-0 h6 9.Nc3 Bd6 10.Re1 0-0 11.h3 Be6 12.a3 Rc8 13.Be3 [13.Bd3=] 13...Bb8 14.Rc1 Ne4 15.Nd2 Qd6 16.f4 f5 [16...Nxc3 17.bxc3 Qxa3=/+] 17.Nf3 a6 18.Ne5 Ba7 19.Bf3 Rfd8 20.Ne2 Na5 21.b4 Nc4 22.Qb3 Nxe3 [22...Qe7 23.Kh1 Rc7-/+] 23.Qxe3 Bd7 24.Kh2 Nf6 1/2-1/2

Copyright 2014 Tim Sawyer. Click here for my HOME PAGE.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Twin Queenside Issues in Blackmar-Diemer

The age old chess questions: When do you grab queenside pawns and when do you let them go? Play in the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit usually has the focus on the kingside, often on the center, and only sometimes on the queenside. But, BDG Vienna lines where Black develops his light squared bishop to 4...Bf5 leaves both sides with queenside pawn issues. Black attacks c2 and White (often after Qf3) attacks b7. There are two related twin lines after 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Bf5 5.fxe4 Nxe4 6.Qf3: The main line is 6...Nd6 7.Bf4 Bxc2 and the other popular choice is 6...Nxc3 7.bxc3 Bxc2 (below).

My game played vs Heppenstall illustrates the thematic issue. Black chooses to chop off the c2 pawn with 7...Bxc2, but he leaves his b7 pawn hanging. I grabbed 8.Qxb7, although I see now that 8.Nh3 completing my development would be very wise. My idea was to roust out his king, but that is most effective only with his co-operation.

After the opening, Black sacrificed material in an attempt to queen his d-pawn. His king boldly worked his way forward in exchanges. From moves 10-20 Black moved his king six times, all on the e-, d- and c-files. Alas he sacrificed two rooks along the way. When I was able to blockade his pawn on d3, Black resigned when hopelessly down in material.

Sawyer (2391) - Heppenstall (1215), ICC 2 12 u Internet Chess Club, 16.03.2001 begins 1.e4 d5 2.d4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Bf5 5.fxe4 Nxe4 6.Qf3 Nxc3 7.bxc3 Bxc2 8.Qxb7 [8.Nh3!=] 8...Nd7 9.Bb5 Rb8 10.Bxd7+ Kxd7 11.Qxa7?! [11.Qa6=] 11...e5 [11...e6! 12.Nf3 f6=/+] 12.Nf3 exd4 13.0-0 d3? [13...Bd6 14.Nxd4+/=] 14.Ne5+ Ke8 15.Nxf7 Qd5 16.Qxb8+ Kd7 17.Qd8+ Kc6 18.Qxd5+ [18.Qa8+! Kb6 19.Be3+ Bc5 20.Rab1+ leads to the fastest mate.] 18...Kxd5 19.Nxh8 Bc5+ 20.Kh1 Kc4 21.Bd2 Black resigns 1-0

Copyright 2014 Tim Sawyer. Click here for my HOME PAGE.

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