Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Who Is The Oldest Chess Player?

As I get closer to retirement age, I have a new appreciation for the older players that I faced in my younger days. I don't know who is or was the oldest chess player I faced, but certainly my opponent in this game has to be near that upper end. Edgar V. Trull was a long time postal chess player competing from at least the 1940s to the 1980s.

This month Trull would be 115 years old. He was a former US Army Sergeant who lived the latter part of his life in Texas. His military background probably helped his chess play.

Edgar Valentine Trull was born in upper New York state on September 3, 1896. My guess is that he was the son of a medical doctor with the exact same name who was born around 1854 and who himself lived in Bennington, Vermont (near upper New York state). The chess playing Edgar V. Trull passed away on December 6, 1990 at the age of 94. He was buried at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas.

In my game collection I have eight games by Trull. All eight of those games were lost by him. Of course when Trull was most active it was not so easy to have one's games published as it is today. Edgar was a consistent 1.e4 e5 player from either side of the board. We only played once, when he was 82-83 years old. He was rated around 1788.

My Trull-Sawyer game began as a Caro-Kann Defence 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 (The Advance Variation. This can be a positional line, but it is known for the sharp tactics possible when Black counter-attacks with pawns to f6 and/or c5.) 3...Bf5 (It is most common to develop this bishop immediately.) 4.Nf3 e6 5.Nc3 Nd7 6.Be2 Qc7.

Now White's knight leaves the protection of his e5/d4 pawns and goes after my bishop: 7.Nh4 Bg6 8.0-0 a6 (To play c5 without allowing Nb5 attacking the Qc7). 9.b3 c5 10.Nxg6 (Maybe better is 10.Bb2=) 10...hxg6 11.Bf4 cxd4 12.Qxd4 Bc5 13.Qd3 Nxe5 (Black has won a pawn. Black's center pawns advance on White; I win the skirmish.)

Trull (1788) - Sawyer (1900), corr APCT Q-36, 1978 begins 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Nc3 Nd7 6.Be2 Qc7 7.Nh4 Bg6 8.0-0 a6 9.b3 c5 10.Nxg6 [10.Bb2=] 10...hxg6 11.Bf4 cxd4 12.Qxd4 Bc5 13.Qd3 Nxe5 14.Qg3 Bd6-+ 15.h3 Nf6 16.Na4 Ne4 17.Qe3 b5 18.Nb2 Bc5 19.Bxe5? Qxe5 20.Nd3 Bxe3 21.Nxe5 Bd4 22.Nf3 Bxa1 23.Rxa1 0-0 24.Nd4 e5 25.Nf3 Nc3 26.Bf1 f6 27.Nh4 g5 28.Nf5 g6 29.Ne3 f5 30.Nd1 Nxd1 31.Rxd1 Rfd8 32.g3 Kf7 33.Bg2 Ke6 34.f4 e4 35.fxg5 Rac8 36.Rd2 Rc3 37.g4 Rdc8 38.gxf5+ gxf5 39.a4 bxa4 40.bxa4 Rxc2 41.Rxc2 Rxc2 42.Bf1? d4 43.Bxa6 d3 44.Kf1 Rc1+ 45.Kf2 f4 46.h4 d2 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Diemer-Duhm Gambit attack vs Caro-Kann Defence

Here's another bonus game. What do you do when you go through a stretch where you are scoring lower than usual? After playing dozens of practice blitz games on the same day, I was doing rather poorly. Finally I decided to see what lines had my best lifetime performance ratings and play those for a bit. Thus I won my last eight games of the day.

As Black after 1.e4, there are five defences I have played more than 1000 times each (over 40 years). My best was 1...Nf6 Alekhine Defence (2056); however at that moment 1...c6 Caro-Kann Defence and 1...c5 Sicilian Defence also had the same performance. My other top defences are 1...Nc6 Queen's Knight Defence (2053) and 1...e5 Open Game (only 2044 but higher winning percentage vs many lower rated players).

Recently I had been playing 1...Nc6; I decided to try some other lines. I played 1.e4 e5 and got two King's Gambits, then one Sicilian Wing Gambit and one Caro-Kann Defence (the game below). My opponents for these games were lower rated. The performance for the Sicilian and Caro-Kann both dropped one point to 2054 because my victories did not yet increase my lifetime winning percentages with those moves.

My Caro-Kann game was not just any old variation. It was a cousin of the Diemer-Duhm Gambit which normally is reached by 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.c4 dxe4 4.Nc3 intending 5.f3 with play similar to a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. In fact earlier that same day my 1500 rated opponent had in fact played a BDG Teichmann as White.

The Caro-Kann Defence game, OracleMcSnacker-Sawyer, began 1.e4 c6 (Now White thought for 11 seconds, but White played the next five moves using a total of five seconds.) 2.d4 d5 3.c4 dxe4 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 Bg4 7.Be3 e6 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.0-0 Be7 10.Qe1 0-0 11.Qh4 (Wow! This 1506 rated opponent is playing aggressive and fast!?)

Now I play some inaccuracies and get into more trouble. 11...Bxf3 12.Rxf3 g6? (12...e5!? or 12...c5!=) 13.Bg5 Nd5!? (Playing for exchanges to relief some pressure.) 14.Bxe7 (Okay it worked, but White missed 14.Ne4 or 14.Rh3! with advantage.) 14...Qxe7 15.Qh6 Nxc3 16.bxc3 f5. Black fights back. Eventually I won a piece and the game.

OracleMcSnacker (1506) - Sawyer, ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 23.09.2011 begins 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.c4 dxe4 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 Bg4 7.Be3 e6 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.0-0 Be7 10.Qe1 0-0 11.Qh4 Bxf3 12.Rxf3 g6 [12...c5!=] 13.Bg5 Nd5 14.Bxe7= [14.Rh3! h5 15.Bxe7 Nxe7 16.g4 Kg7 17.gxh5 Nf5 18.Qf2 Rg8 19.Bxf5 gxf5 20.Qf4 Qf6+/=] 14...Qxe7 15.Qh6 Nxc3 16.bxc3 f5 17.Re1 e5 18.dxe5-/+ [18.c5 Qg7 19.Qh4 e4=/+] 18...Nxe5 19.Rfe3?-+ [19.Kh1 Qf6 20.Rh3 Rf7-/+] 19...Qc5 20.Kh1-+ Ng4 21.Qg5?-+ [21.Qf4 Nxe3 22.Rxe3 Rfe8-+] 21...Nf2+ 22.Kg1 Nxd3 White resigns 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

100 Years Russian Petroff Defence

The Petroff Defence, sometimes called the Russian Defence, is one of those openings that changed a lot over the past 40 years. In my early years it was hard to find anyone who would champion this opening as Black. Most games in books were White wins, unless you were studying games by masters who had died decades before.

Around 1900, Harry Pillsbury played it some during his short but brilliant career. Then along came Frank Marshall who played the Petroff regularly for thirty years. Why was his Marshall Attack in the Ruy Lopez such a surprise to Jose R. Capablanca in 1918? Because Marshall had played the Petroff six of the most recent eight games that he had Black vs Capablanca; the other two were French Defences.

Sure, thousands of other players used 2...Nf6, but generally they were not the LEADING players who had the kind of frequently published Black wins that everyone hopes to copy. For the next thirty years Petroff players included Boris Kostic, David Bronstein and C.H.O'D. Alexander, which brings us up through World War II.

The top frequently published Petroff players from 40 years ago were Smyslov, Dvoretsky, Benko, Kholmov, Morgado, and Bisguier. Indeed, GM Arthur Bisguier lost some famous Petroffs in the US Championships: Bisguier lost Petroffs to Larry Evans in 1958 (beautiful game!), to Robert Fischer in 1959 and to Walter Browne in 1974. The Browne game was often quoted; I am sure it kept a lot of players from jumping to this defence.

As a frequent 1.e4 e5 player from both sides, I have been in the Petroff Defence about 500 times to date, more often as Black than White. Today we have one of my early games. Back in 1974 I was already over 20 years old and not a very good player. I made some strides later that year. But when I went back to college I quit playing until 1977.

Why? Because the first time I went to university, I mostly played chess instead of doing my school work. When I went back to college in late 1974, I took my schooling much more seriously. For me I had to stop playing, but I would reappear. I am an example of a player who IMPROVED later AS an ADULT, not as a scholastic player.

Here is a game from my early days, about 40 years ago. Nice mate. My game vs Kirk Rideout begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 (This is my favorite, but I've also played the moves 3.Nc3, 3.d4 and 3.Bc4.) 3...d6 (Looking at my statistics nowadays, I see that in those games my opponents fell for the famous trap is 3...Nxe4? 4.Qe2!, I scored 25-0.)

Our game continues 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Bd6 (Two other options are recommended for Black: 6...Be7 and 6...Nc6.) 7.0-0 0-0 8.Re1 Re8 9.Nc3 Nxc3 10.Rxe8 (I unknowingly follow through my 13th move the game Burn-Marshall, Karlsbad 1911... Yes, exactly 100 years ago.). I missed some moves in this game, something I still do all these years later. Hope you like the checkmate combination at the end.

Sawyer - Rideout, Ft Fairfield, Maine 02.04.1974 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.0-0 0-0 8.Re1 Re8 9.c4 c6 10.Nc3 Nxc3 11.Rxe8+ Qxe8 12.bxc3 Bg4 13.Bd2 g6 14.h3 Bd7 15.Qb3 b6 16.Re1 [16.cxd5+-] 16...Qd8 17.cxd5 cxd5 18.Bg5 Qc7 19.Ne5 [19.Qxd5+-] 19...Be6 20.f4 Kg7 21.f5 gxf5 22.g4? [22.Bxf5! Bxf5 23.Qxd5+-] 22...fxg4 23.Nxg4 Bxg4 24.hxg4 h6? [24...Be7=] 25.Qxd5! Nc6 26.Bxh6+! Kxh6 27.Qh5+ Kg7 28.Qh7+ Kf6 29.Qh6# 1-0

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Two Blackmar-Diemer Lembergers

Every once in a while I face the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Avoided line 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e5 known as the Lemberger Counter Gambit. The main line BDG with 3...Nf6 is ten times more popular, but the two moves are approximately equal in value. The obvious advantage to 3...Nf6 is that Black can keep the gambit pawn.

The Lemberger leads to more wide open positions where White often regains the gambit pawn but Black has an equal chance at attack. Overall vs the Lemberger I have scored about 50% as White, but my average opponent has been rated about 100 points above me. This past week I faced two Lembergers in ICC 5 0 blitz games. About half the time I play 4.Nge2, but here I select other options.

In "Sawyer-caucadrez", part of which I include in notes below. I was ready to meet 3...Nf6 with 4.f3. While waiting I picked up my f-pawn and hovered it over f3. When my opponent played 3...e5, I let the pawn go to f3 anyway. Clearly 4.f3? is NOT a good way to fight the Lemberger. Somehow I got my pawn back only to later blunder a rook to a knight fork. Moments later my blitz opponent blundered a queen to my knight fork. I got away with a blitz game win in 32 moves that would have likely been a tournament game loss.

The main game, Sawyer-LeonidP, began: 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e5. (Both sides now play the most popular 4th moves.) 4.Nxe4 (Active piece play with lots of threats helps White succeed in this line.) 4...exd4 (The main alternative is 4...Qd4 where White usually plays 5.Bd3.) 5.Nf3 (This is the first time I have ever played this move which is given as the main line by Scheerer. Usually White develops his bishop with 5.Bb5+ or 5.Bc4. Scheerer calls them "serious alternatives".) 5...Bg4 (Not mentioned by Scheerer, who indicates the best move is to play the other bishop 5...Bb4+!)

My main game continued 6.Qxd4 Qxd4 (6... Nc6! 7.Qe3 Qe7 8.Bd2 O-O-O 9.O-O-O=) 7.Nxd4 Nd7 8.Nb5 O-O-O 9.Nxa7+ Kb8 10.Nb5 Re8 11.f3 f5 (At this point I miss good tactical shots.) 12.fxg4 (Very strong is 12.Bf4! fxe4 13.Bxc7+ Kc8 14.fxg4 Ngf6 15.Be2+-) 12... Rxe4+ 13.Be2 fxg4 14.Nc3 Re8 15.Bd2 Bb4 16.a3 (I considered 16.O-O-O! Bxc3 17. Bxc3 Rxe2? but I missed 18.Bxg7!+- picking off the Rh8).

As the game continued, Black had an extra g-pawn in a double rook ending. White had an extra minute on the clock. During the next 36 more moves, one set of rooks were exchanged and Black went from one pawn up to two pawns down before losing on time.

Sawyer-LeonidP, ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 11.09.2011 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nxe4 [4.f3 exd4 5.Nxe4 Nf6 6.Ng3 Nc6 7.Bb5 Bb4+ 8.Bd2 Bxd2+ (8...0-0 9.Bxc6 Bxd2+ 10.Qxd2 bxc6-/+) 9.Qxd2 Qe7+?= (9...Qd5-/+) 10.N1e2 0-0 11.0-0-0 Rd8 12.Rhe1 Qc5 13.Bxc6 bxc6 14.Nxd4= Ba6? 15.Nb3 (15.Ngf5+/-) 15...Qf8 16.Qa5 Rxd1+ 17.Rxd1 Bb5 18.Qxc7 Nd5 19.Qd7+/= a6 20.Qg4?? Ne3 21.Qg5 Nxd1 22.Nf5? f6 23.Qf4 Rd8 24.Nbd4 Qf7 25.Qg3 c5?? 26.Nh6+ Kf8 27.Nxf7 Rxd4 28.Nd6 Ne3 29.b3 Nd5 30.Nxb5 axb5 31.Qd6+ Kf7 32.Qxc5 Black resigns 1-0 Sawyer,T-caucadrez/Internet Chess Club 2011] 4...exd4 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Qxd4 Qxd4 [6...Nc6! 7.Qe3 Qe7 8.Bd2 0-0-0 9.0-0-0=] 7.Nxd4 Nd7 8.Nb5 0-0-0 9.Nxa7+ Kb8 10.Nb5 Re8 11.f3 f5 12.fxg4 [12.Bf4! fxe4 13.Bxc7+ Kc8 14.fxg4 Ngf6 15.Be2+-] 12...Rxe4+ 13.Be2 fxg4 14.Nc3 Re8 15.Bd2 Bb4 16.a3 [I considered 16.0-0-0 Bxc3 17.Bxc3 Rxe2? but I missed 18.Bxg7+-] 16...Bxc3 17.Bxc3 Ngf6 18.Kd2? Ne4+ 19.Ke1 Nxc3 20.bxc3 Ne5 21.Kd2 Rd8+ 22.Bd3 Nc4+ 23.Kc1 Ne3 24.g3 c5 25.c4 Rd4 26.Kb2 Nxc4+ 27.Bxc4 Rxc4=/+ Black has an extra g-pawn. Clocks: 3:25-2:10. 28.Rhf1 Re8 29.Rae1 Rd8 30.Re2 Rd7 31.Kb3 Rcd4 32.Rf5 b6 33.Re6 Kb7 34.Re2 h5?= 35.Rxh5 g6 36.Rhe5 R7d6 37.R5e4 Ka6 38.Rxd4 Rxd4 39.Re6 Kb5 40.Rxg6 c4+ 41.Kc3 Re4 42.a4+ Kxa4 43.Rxb6 Ka5 44.Rf6 Re2 45.Rf5+ Kb6 Clocks: 1:28-0:15. 46.Rf4 Rxh2 47.Rxc4 Rf2 48.Rxg4 Rf3+ 49.Kd4 Kc6 50.Rg6+ Kd7 51.c4 Rf1 52.g4 Black forfeits on time down two pawns in the endgame. 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Goran Markovic Blitz Speed

Goran Markovic is an incredible blitz player. His skill is obvious to anyone who has seen him play. And indeed IF you have SEEN him play, you cannot miss his blitz skill. Every time Markovic enters a blitz tournament, he finishes near the top. This year he tied for 1st in the Florida Blitz Championship, but he lost in the Armageddon tiebreaker.

A dozen times I have sat next to him in Florida tournaments, but we had never actually played each other in a tournament game until this year. I might have played him on the Internet Chess Club, although I do not remember it. I asked him if he was still playing on ICC and he said he was. I do not know what handle he is using. He told me his ICC rating is 2700. I said I never get above the 2400s. (Maybe I could if I had more "Kick blik" days, but those only tell me how well "blik" is playing, not how well I am playing!)

Markovic plays tournament games as if they were 15 minute games. Goran plays sharp main line complicated aggressive variations, and he plays the opening moves instantly. If you are a person expecting a 4-5 hour tournament game where you do your planning on your opponent's time and your calculating on your own time, there won't be any planning time. If you like to take your time, all you get is YOUR TIME. It will seem like Markovic doesn't use any time. Goran will do HIS thinking on YOUR time. That's just the way it is.

Before my game with Markovic, someone suggested that I play slowly to try to bother him in some way. I said, "But I AM him. I AM a blitz player. It would bother me as much as him!" Of course I am about 30 years older than Goran, so I am just slower with age.

Another reason not to be extra slow is that I don't like to be behind by one hour on the clock. I get behind when my opponent blitzes an opening variation, but most players slow down after they get beyond their own known theory. Typically in a tournament game I play at a pace of about 15 seconds per move in known opening positions. Then I play at about one minute per move after that, unless a "big think" is required.

The Markovic-Sawyer game began: 1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 (Higher rated aggressive players usually chose this hoping for a detour back into the Open Game after 2...e5. Markovic was rated 2114 for this game.) 2...Nf6 (Against Daniel Ludwig and Ray Robson I played 2...d6. No Open Game either. When I want that, I play 1.e4 e5.) 3.Nc3 (3.e5 is more challenging but doubtless Markovic just wants rapid development.) 3...d5 4.exd5 Nxd5 (We have now arrived at a variation I know fairly well as a long time Alekhine Defence player after 1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.exd5 Nxd5 with the addition of two knight moves.)

Now Goran played 5.Bb5 (More common is 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 transposing to Chapter 2 {Game 2} in my Alekhine Defense Playbook, published in 2000 by Pickard & Son.)

Play continued the way Wisnewski recommends in "Play 1...Nc6" with 5...Nxc3 6.bxc3 Qd5 7.Qe2 Bg4 8.d4 e6 9.0-0 Bd6 (Goran told me later he had not seen this move. All of a sudden he realizes that I have possible kingside attack.) 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Bxc6+ Qxc6 12.Qxf3 Qxf3 13.gxf3 Kd7 (My king needs to stay near vulnerable points.)

He tried to break through tactically in the endgame, but I made sure I had the better bishop (my pawns on the light squares) and rook control of the open file. There was one point where he almost played 28.Rxc7+, but he thought it would give him losing chances. We went over that after the game. He was happy he had calculated correctly and avoided that mistake. I was confident I could draw the rook ending, bishop ending, or pawn ending.

My plan was to hope that he would over-reach trying to win which could allow me to win. Otherwise I would be happy to draw a higher rated player. I blitzed many moves and took only about half an hour more than Goran did. One time I wondered why he was taking five minutes to think. Then I noticed MY clock was running... a function of not playing with a clock for years. Our four hour game plus port-mortem was over in two hours. I loved that!

Markovic-Sawyer, FL State Championship Naples FL (4), 04.09.2011 begins 1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 d5 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.Bb5 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Qd5 7.Qe2 Bg4 8.d4 e6 9.0-0 Bd6 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Bxc6+ Qxc6 12.Qxf3 Qxf3 13.gxf3 Kd7 14.Rb1 b6 15.Rd1 Rhc8 16.Kf1 Ke7 17.c4 c6 18.Ke2 Rab8 19.Be3 a6 20.Rb3 b5 21.c5 Bc7 22.Kd3 Rd8 23.Rdb1 Ra8 24.c4 bxc4+ 25.Kxc4 Rdb8 26.Rb7 Kd8 27.a4 Kc8 28.R7b3 [28.Rxc7+ Kxc7 29.Bf4+ Kc8 30.Bxb8 Rxb8 31.Rb6 Rxb6 32.cxb6 a5 33.Kc5 Kb7 34.Kd6 Kxb6 35.Ke7 c5-+] 28...Rxb3 29.Rxb3 Rb8 30.Rc3 Ba5 31.Rc1 Bc7 32.Ra1 Kd7 33.Bd2 Ke7 34.Bc3 Kd7 35.Re1 g6 36.Bb4 Rb7 37.Bc3 Rb8 38.Bb4 Rb7 39.Rh1 Rb8 40.Bc3 Rb7 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

How Win With150 Attack vs Pirc Defence

Every 1.e4 player and Blackmar-Diemer Gambit player has to have a plan to win against the King's Indian Defence type set-up. This involves at least four moves by Black: 1...Nf6, 2...d6, 3...g6, 4...Bg7 played in almost any order. Unless interrupted, Black can pretty much ignore what White does until move 5.

If White wants to face an actual King's Indian Defence, then he will play 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 and now he can choose between 5.Nf3 (Main Line KID); 5.f3 (Saemisch Variation); 5.f4 (Four Pawns Attack), 5.g3 (Fianchetto Variation) or lesser known options. Black will react accordingly, usually with 5...0-0, 5...e5 or 5...c5.

The Pirc Defence follows 1.e4 d6 (1...Nf6 is an Alekhine Defence allowing 2.e5 which interrupts Black's KID set-up) 2.d4 Nf6 (Attacking e4) 3.Nc3 g6 followed by 4...Bg7. Because White has not used a tempo to play c2-c4, he reaches the crossroads on move four. The main choices are 4.f4/5.Nf3; 4.Nf3/5.Be2; 4.Bc4/5.Qe2; and 4.Be3/5.f3.

This last option is the 150 Attack, named for the British rating level (about 1800 Elo) where that choice was particularly popular. Nowadays everyone plays 4.Be3 and 5.f3. The move f2-f3 can be played at any point up to move 7. White's intentions are to follow with Qd2/0-0-0/g4/h4/h5/Bh6. Almost the exact same idea can by found in the Saemisch Variation of the King's Indian Defence, the English Attack of the Najdorf Sicilian Defence (though without the Bh6) and the Yugoslav Attack against the Dragon Sicilian Defence.

Today's game begins 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 (Modern Defence) 3.Nc3 d6 4.Be3 Nf6 (Pirc Defence) 5.f3 (If 5.Qd2 Ng4 although the line is not bad for White after 6.Bg5.) 5...0-0 (A major fork in the road. Black may delay castling to begin a queenside attack with 5...c6.)

Our game continued 6.Qd2 Nbd7 7.0-0-0 a6 (Planning a queenside expansion.) 8.g4 b5 9.h4 Bb7 (The bishop is not effective here.) 10.Bh6 Rc8 11.h5 c5 12.d5 Ne5. Now it occurs to me that I would love to have a knight on g3. This is a 3 0 blitz game and for a second I forgot about the chronic hole on c4 which Black could now use for the first time. I blundered with 13.Nce2? (13.Bxg7! is the correct way to reach the game continuation.) 13...a5 (Black also playing fast uses good strategy but bad tactics. 13...Nc4! attacks my queen while she is protecting my Bh6.) After 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.hxg6 fxg6 16.Qh6+ Kg8 17.Ng3 White's attack is much faster.

Sawyer - lhj, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 31.08.2011 begins 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Be3 Nf6 5.f3 0-0 6.Qd2 Nbd7 7.0-0-0 a6 8.g4 b5 9.h4 Bb7 10.Bh6 Rc8 11.h5 c5 12.d5 Ne5 13.Nce2 a5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.hxg6 fxg6 16.Qh6+ Kg8 17.Ng3 c4 18.g5 Nh5 19.Nxh5 gxh5 20.Rxh5 Rf7 21.Bh3 Rg7 22.Be6+ Kf8 23.Rh4 c3 24.Rf4+ Nf7 25.Rxf7+ Black resigns 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Kick blik Day: Game 1 - 1.e4 Nc6 El Columpio

Sometimes I need a "Kick blik Day". When I have not been playing well, and I want to feel better for a bit, they I like to play an opponent against whom I can have some success. One option is to play blitz vs the program "blik" on the Internet Chess Club.

What is this "blik" program? From ICC finger notes we learn the following information:
This blik is Rookie 2.0 by Marcel van Kervinck. [Rookie 3.x is the stronger program.]
Dual Intel Xeon Core-Duo 5130 @ 2.0GHz, powered by Linux (using 1 core)
blik(C) plays humans only. Computers may want to play Rookie(C). [(C)=computer]
blik has won over 200,000 ICC blitz games scoring a ratio of +8 =1 -1 vs all opponents.

I began this "Kick blik Day" by playing my regular one 3 0 blitz game vs a human; I won with 1...Nc6. Then I switched to 5 0 games vs blik which was rated 2500. The first game was in that curious line that Scheerer/Wisnewski recommends in his 1...Nc6 book called by GM Marc Narcisco Dublan the "El Columpio" ("The Swing") variation.

The "El Columpio" begins 1.e4 Nc6 (More often I play 1...e5 or 1...Nf6, but...) 2.Nf3 Nf6 (Attacking e4.) 3.e5 (Attacking Nf6) 3...Ng4 ("The Swing" attacking e5; 3...Nd5 is an Alekhine Defence) 4.d4 d6 (Attacking e5 again.) 5.h3 (blik is kicking me!) 5...Nh6.

This is an ugly looking variation. White can use his bishops to capture the two Black knights leaving doubled pawns where they stand on h6 and c6. Black on the other hand has two bishops and open knight files. Computers usually evalate White's position as significantly better, but the game's not over.

Our first "Kick blik" game continued: 6.Bb5 a6 7.Bxc6+ bxc6 8.Bxh6 gxh6 (The position previously alluded to.). Now White played 9.Nbd2. I am trying to learn from the 1...Nc6 book. On pages 88-89 Wisnewski covers 9.Qe2, 9.Nc3, 9.0-0 and 9.Qd3 so of course my opponent plays another very obvious developing move that is not in the book at all!

After 9.Nbd2 Junior likes to use the open knight files with 9...Rg8 10.g4 Rb8 11.b3 d5!? leading to equality. I chose to castle kingside and push on the queenside with 9...Bg7 10.Nb3 0-0 11.Qe2 Be6 12.c4 Qb8 and eventually I got around to ...a5.

As the game continued, White won two of those doubled pawns. I swapped off the heavy pieces and left White with passive pawns and passive knights, despite the two pawn advantage. There were a few mistakes on both sides in the ending. When a draw was agreed, I had winning chances. But Black had only 26 seconds left compared to White's 1:07. A human would have tried to beat me on the clock. A draw vs a 2500 is rating gain for me, the Everyman player, so the "Kick blik Day" started well. It would get better.

blik-Sawyer, ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 01.09.2011 begins 1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e5 Ng4 4.d4 d6 5.h3 Nh6 6.Bb5 a6 7.Bxc6+ bxc6 8.Bxh6 gxh6 9.Nbd2!? Bg7 [9...Rg8 10.g4 Rb8 11.b3 d5=] 10.Nb3 0-0 11.Qe2 Be6 12.c4 Qb8 [12...a5] 13.0-0 Qb4 14.Rfc1 a5 15.Rc3 Rfb8 16.a3 Qb6 17.a4 Qa6 18.Qc2 Rb4 19.Nbd2 Rab8 20.b3 Qb7 21.Rd1 Qc8 22.Qe4 Qd7 23.Re1 Bf5 24.Qf4 Bg6 25.Rcc1 e6 26.Red1 d5 27.cxd5 cxd5 28.Rc5 Ra8 29.Rdc1 Rb7 30.Rc6 Bf8 31.Qg3 Rb6 [31...Ba3=] 32.Rxc7 Qd8 33.h4 Kh8 34.Qf4 Ba3 35.R1c3 Bb4 36.Rc1 Ba3 37.R1c6 Rxc6 38.Rxc6 Bb4 39.Qxh6 Rc8 40.Rxc8 Qxc8 41.h5 Bf8 42.Qg5 Bf5 43.g4 Bd3 44.h6 Qd7 45.Ne1 Be2 46.f4 Qe7 47.Qxe7 Bxe7 48.Nef3 Bb4 49.g5 Bd1 50.Kg2 Kg8 51.Kf1 Kf8 52.Kg1 Ke7 53.Kh2 Kf8 54.Kg2 Ke7 55.Kg1 Kf8 56.Kg2 Ke7 57.Kf2 Kf8 58.Kf1 Ke7 59.Kf2 Kf8 60.Kf1 Ke7 61.Kg2 Kf8 62.Kh2 Ke7 63.Kg3 Kf8 64.Kh2 Ke7 65.Kg3 Kf8 66.Kh3 Ke7 67.Kg2 Kf8 68.Kh3 Ke7 69.Kh2 Kf8 70.Kg3 Ke7 71.Kh3 Kf8 72.g6 fxg6 [72...hxg6 73.Kg2 Kg8 74.Kf2 Kh7 75.Ng5+ Kxh6 76.Nxf7+ Kg7 77.Ke1 Bxb3 78.Ng5 Bxa4 79.Nxe6+ Kf7-/+] 73.Kh2 Bxd2 74.Nxd2 Bc2 75.Kg1 Ke7 76.Kf1 Kf7 77.Nf3 Bxb3 78.Ng5+ Kg8 79.Nxe6 Bxa4 80.Ke2 Bc2 81.Nc7 a4 82.Nxd5 a3 83.Nb4 Bb3 84.Kd3 a2 85.Nxa2 Bxa2 86.Ke4 Kf7 87.d5 Ke7 88.d6+? [88.Kd4=] 88...Kd7 89.Kd3 Be6 90.Kd2 Bf5 91.Kc3 Be6 92.Kb4 Bf5 [92...Kc6-/+] 93.Kc5 Be6 94.Kb5 Bf5 95.Kc5 Be6 Draw agreed. Black had only 26 seconds left. 1/2-1/2

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