Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hickman and Dutch Defence Leningrad Variation

On August 6, I visited the US Open in Orlando, Florida to watch some opening play. The game I remember the most was Sundararajan-Nakamura. It was a variation of the Dutch Defence Leningrad Variation. Nakamura won a beautiful game by winning a pawn and cranking out the endgame. The Leningrad is excellent for those who like sharp tactics.

Yesterday's game I had a nice opening followed by a blitz blunder in the ending. I do not want you to think that I always help my opponents get lucky in the endgame. Often I play excellent endgames where no luck is involved. Today's game is one where I DID get lucky.

My opponent was Herbert W. Hickman. He was well known in the USA postal chess world. Herb played in CCLA for over 40 years and was president of that club in 1972-73. He was an International Correspondence Master in ICCF and a USCF master over the board. In fact Hickman had played some Blackmar-Diemer Gambit thematic postal events over 40 years ago. Two of his BDGs are in my original BDG Keybook 1 (the classic collection of 700 older BDG games which I am revising; more on that later).

Hickman co-authored with Roy DeVault "Play the Dutch Against 1 c4 and 1 Nf3." Hickman also invented a gambit vs the English-Dutch that begins 1.c4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.d3. In the 1960s analysis of it appeared in Chess Opening Adventures that began as the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit magazine. Note that in Bill Wall's excellent collection of chess opening names, he calls it the "Hickmann Gambit" but there is only one "n."

In 1983-84 I was working in Texas and got a business memo from the corporate office by one Herbert W. Hickman. Out of curiosity I wrote to him and asked if he was the same one who played postal chess. He was. We decided to play four games for fun. As I recall he was rated about 2300 and I was rated 2100 in ICCF postal chess. He won three of the games making me look awful. This is the one I won.

Our game began 1.c4. Horrors! What is this? No BDG? I dated many other openings before I married the BDG in the late 1980s. I still flirt with lots of openings that I used to play. Since I speak English language, I might as well play the English Opening. Around that time I had purchased an English Opening game collection. I played through every game in the book. Throughout my career I have played many flank openings. 1.c4 is a good first move. However, I have not scored as well in flank openings as I have with the more central openings of 1.e4 or 1.d4. My performance rating is higher when I play the Black pieces after 1.c4 (1407 games) than when I play the White pieces (694 games).

Hickman is an expert in the Dutch. He played the Leningrad and we transposed into a Malaniuk Variation. This line was just coming into its own back in the early 1980s; I have played it over 50 times as Black. Later in the game I had a decided on a risky choice of playing 38.a5?! instead of the natural and good 38.axb5. Hickman did not try for the draw earlier, because he had missed my pending pawn sacrifice 42.g4! which won the game.

Sawyer (2100) - Hickman (2300), corr 1984 begins 1.c4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 d6 4.d4 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Nc3 Qe8 [Malaniuk Variation. Black wants to play ...e7-e5 to attack without swapping queens.] 8.b3 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Bb2 e4 11.Nd4 Bd7 12.e3 Nc6 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.Ne2 b6 15.Qc2 Rd8 16.Rad1 Qe7 17.Qc1 Bb7 18.Rxd8 Rxd8 19.Rd1 c5 20.Rd2 Rd7 21.Qd1 Qd8 22.Rxd7 Qxd7 23.Qxd7 Nxd7 24.Bxg7 Kxg7 25.Nc3 Kf6 26.Bf1 Ke6 27.Be2 Ne5 28.Kf1 g5 29.Ke1 Nf3+ 30.Bxf3 exf3 31.Kd2 Ke5 32.Kd3 Bc6 33.a4 Be8 34.Nd5 Bf7 35.Ne7 a6 36.Nc8 b5 [36...Be6 37.Nxb6 a5=] 37.cxb5 axb5 38.a5?! [38.axb5+/=] 38...Bxb3 39.Nb6 Ba2 40.Kc2 Bd5? [Black should be able to draw after 40...Bf7 41.a6 Be8 42.a7 Bc6 43.a8Q Bxa8 44.Nxa8 Kd6 45.Nb6 Kc6 46.Nc8 Kd7 47.Na7 b4=] 41.Nxd5 Kxd5 42.g4! fxg4 43.e4+ Kc6 44.e5 h5 45.a6 h4 46.a7 Kb7 47.e6 Black resigns 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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