Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cavicchi: BDG Lemberger Theory and Muir game

When I posted a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, my friend Francesco Cavicchi chatted comments about various issues with the Lemberger Counter Gambit after 3...e5:

Francesco Cavicchi: "The practical problem with the Lange gambit nxe4 is that it brings to very difficult, chaotic lines, hard to remember for a variation not so often played. I do not recommend this for amateurs like me (elo 1750). I love Sneider's qh5, sadly it doesn't work at all. I still think the only way to fight Lemberger is to study chess endings and play dxe5. After all, maybe my opponent is only bluffing and doesn't know endings better than me (i hope so). 4dxe5 is ugly and unspectacular but more forcing."

How do I see current theory on these BDG Lemberger lines?
4.Nxe4 - scores 56.9%. Both 4...Qxd4 and 4...exd4 are complicated.
4.Qh5 - scores 49.1%. Black is one half pawn better after 4...Qxd4!
4.dxe5 - scores 39.4%. In theory close to equal, but it leans Black.
4.Bb5 - scores 64.7% (only 34 games). Chess engines like it okay.
4.Nge2 - scores 55.0%. Easier to play; sound and equal in all lines.

I agree that 4.Nxe4 is "hard to remember", largely because Black really chooses a wide variety of responses during the next four moves. Instead of theory being a like a pole with one main line, or a Charlie Brown tree with just a few branches, it quickly becomes a dense bush where the right path is harder to find or remember. That said, chess engines do give White good play after 4.Nxe4 and the positions are no picnic for Black either.

In theory 4.Nge2 works pretty well. It is easier because almost everyone plays 4...exd4 5.Qxd4 Qxd4 6.Nxd4 Nf6 7.Bg5 and White is at least equal. But as my chess club friend Bob Muir demonstrated below, there are other 4th moves.

Sawyer (2010) - Muir (1800), Williamsport,PA, 05.1998 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nge2 Nd7 [A novelty which allows White to keep Black from castling. A better move allows Black to try to keep White from castling. 4...Nc6 5.dxe5 (5.Be3!= is best.) 5...Qxd1+ 6.Nxd1 Nxe5=/+] 5.dxe5 Nxe5 6.Qxd8+ Kxd8 7.Nxe4 Bf5 8.N2g3 Bg6 9.Bf4 Bd6 10.Nxd6 cxd6 11.0-0-0 Ke7 12.Bb5 [12.Bd2! Rc8 13.Bc3 Ng4? 14.Bb5 Nxf2 15.Rhe1+ Kf8 16.Rd2 Ng4 loses to 17.Bd7+-] 12...Rc8 13.Ba4 b5 14.Bb3 a5 15.c3 f6 16.Rhe1 b4 17.Bxe5 dxe5 18.Bc2?! [18.f4+/=] 18...bxc3 19.b3 Nh6 20.h3 Nf7 21.Bxg6 hxg6 22.Kc2 Rhd8 23.Ne4 Nd6 24.Nxd6 Rxd6 25.Rxd6 Kxd6 26.Re3 Kd5 27.Rd3+ Ke4 28.Rxc3 Rxc3+ [Black might wish to find a draw in a rook ending. 28...Rd8+/=] 29.Kxc3 Kd5 30.a3 [30.b4!+- wins.] 30...f5? [Now the win is easy. 30...g5! makes White's task much more difficult. 31.b4 a4 32.f3+/=] 31.h4 Kd6 32.Kc4 Kc6 33.b4 axb4 34.axb4 Kb6 35.b5 e4 36.g3 Kb7 37.Kc5 Kc7 38.b6+ Kb7 39.Kb5 1-0

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Baffo Dutch Leningrad - Tim Sawyer Goes Postal

My first post on my Jeffrey Baffo match from 18 years ago led to these comments:
         Jeffrey Baffo wrote: "Thanks, Tim. I greatly feared your opening knowledge. I was aiming only to get non-losing, non-boring positions going into the middle games."
             I replied: "It worked, Jeffrey!"
         Then Jorge commented: "Hi Tim, did you play exactly 1000 postal games?"
             I replied: "Good question, Jorge. I played 1000 correspondence games, but after 17-18 years of only postal play, I got email. Some of the last few tournaments I played in were email correspondence. You still had about 3 days per move, but the moves arrived quickly. I will have to count them up, maybe for my next Baffo post."

So for this post I do count them up. I played a total of 1085 correspondence games in my career. 900 of them were played in the days before email. Many were in well-known chess clubs. Some were BDG thematic events. Others were vs chess friends.

Here is the breakdown of where my correspondence games were played:
APCT corr 496 games
USCF corr 183 games
BDG thematic 113 games
ICCF corr 93 games (59 of those after they started rating games)
USCCC postal 33 games
CCLA corr 12 games
Ron's postal 12 games
TCA postal 8 games
Total: 950 organized games + 135 vs friends = 1085 Correspondence Games.

My blog focus so far has been my USCF correspondence games, but I hope to get to others. The game below began as English Opening, but with 6.d4 Baffo transposed into a Dutch Defence Leningrad. This was the shortest and probably my worst game in the dozen we played. Black plays eleven good moves and one blunder which loses.

Editors's Note: To which Jeffrey Baffo adds "Thanks, Tim. Both your move and quick resignation were a shock to me. As for the move itself, initially paranoia set in, as I was wondering what devilish snare you were laying for me. Eventually I had a binary diagnosis; crass blunder (or typo) losing material for almost no compensation, or mind boggling trap that I just couldn't see. I decided to play the obvious Knight move and see what would happen."

Baffo (2248) - Sawyer (1983), corr USCF 95P139, 1996 begins 1.c4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.0-0 0-0 6.d4 d6 7.Nc3 Qe8 8.b3 [8.d5 is the main alternative.] 8...e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.e4 Nc6 11.Nd5 Qd7 12.Ba3 Rf7? [Correct is 12...Rd8=] 13.Ng5 [White wins the Exchange.] 1-0

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

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