Monday, October 31, 2011

Hershey Caro-Kann & Modern

Some days everything seems to go right. This was one of those days. After a game with White and another with Black, it's time to be White again. Since I keep winning, I keep facing stronger players.

Today's opponent John Ferranti was rated in the 1800s. He was very kind to me after the game. He greatly encouraged me in my Blackmar-Diemer Gambit efforts. I get carried away trying to force a BDG-type position from the well-known Caro-Kann Modern Defence hybrid sometimes credited as the Gurgenidze System.

In a faster tournament time limit, the psychological power of the threat is very real. Players do not have as much time to work out a good defence. Twenty years ago, hardly anything was published on the BDG in English. And if it was, very few people read it.

This became Game 33 in my original Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook published by Thinkers' Press in 1992.

Sawyer-Ferranti begins 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 [Modern Defence] 3.Be3 c6 4.Qd2 d5 [Caro-Kann Defence] 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.f3 dxe4 7.Bc4!? White tries to sacrifice a pawn for open lines and a couple of tempi. [Certainly 7.fxe4 is playable, too.] 7...Nd5! 8.Bxd5! [Not 8.Bh6 e3! 9.Bxe3 Nxe3 wins the d-pawn.] 8...cxd5 9.fxe4 dxe4 10.Nxe4 0-0 11.Nf3 Bg4 12.0-0 Bxf3 13.Rxf3 Nd7 [More logical is 13...Nc6 intending 14...e5!? 14.Rd1=] 14.Bh6! Nf6? This gives Black a lost ending. 15.Nxf6+ exf6 16.c3?! Good, but slow. [Better is 16.Rh3! f5 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.Qh6+-] 16...g5? This gives Black a lost middlegame. 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.Raf1 Qd6 [Black could try 18...Rc8 intending 19.Qf2 (White could of course play 19.Rxf6 Qxf6 20.Rxf6 Kxf6 21.h4+-) 19...Rc6 20.h4+/-] 19.Qf2 Rae8 20.Rxf6 Re6 21.Rxf7+ Rxf7 22.Qxf7+ Kh8 23.Rf5 [23.Qf8+ leads to a won ending, but I prefer to threaten mate. 23...Qxf8 24.Rxf8+ Kg7 25.Rd8+-] 23...Rh6? 24.Qe8+ Mate in 4. After the game Black asked, "Is there a book on this opening?" There is now John, and you are in it! 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How NOT to play the Huebsch Gambit vs the BDG

Well, well, an actual comment! and with substance!! It is worth a blog to reply for all to notice more easily. Derek Ward writes:

"Wow.. I just found this blog after ~10 years of playing the BDG! I will have to read all your posts from scratch - a very interesting resource indeed. Couple of questions for you Rev. 1) I was thinking about purchasing one of your keybooks, so which keybook should I buy? 2) Also, I wanted to ask if you recommend / play the Hubsch Gambit yourself - I have never had much success with it when trying to transpose into the BDG, I am perhaps playing it incorrectly. Which keybook might help me with this? Best regards and keep up the great work!"

Glad you found my blog! Thanks for the kind comments and for reading the blog. Tell you chess friends! Now to answer the questions.

1. The best keybook for early transpositions is my original BDG Keybook by Thinkers' Press (Bob Long). The best overall keybook is the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook II by Pickard & Son ( Please note however that all four of my books have sold out. Any copies you find are likely to be used. I do NOT get any royalties on any of my actual books nowadays, however I do get some small royalties from my CDs and e-books through Chess Central.

2. The Huebsch Gambit (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4) is a BDG Avoided. I find it to be a tough nut to crack. Traditionally I have preferred 2.f3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Nc3 reaching a BDG that way. However having a pawn on f3 is not to every ones liking in a French Defence (2...e6), Benoni Defence (2...c5) or Pirc Defence (2...d6) or Modern Defence (2...g6).

The main line vs the Huebsch Gambit is 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Bc4. In order of popularity the most common five defences here are 5...Bf5, 5...Nc6, 5...e6, 5...g6 and 5...Qd6. About 90% of the time these moves are chosen. Consult your favorite chess engine on where to go from here. The Huebsch is comparatively rare in my own games with humans.

Beyond the main line of 5.Bc4, 5.Be3 seems to be a good choice. It is what I am trying this year. The idea is to connect the R/a1 with the Q/d8, strengthen d4, and follow-up with f2-f3 exf3 Nxf3 in basic BDG style. Sometimes it works well. For other ideas, the immediate 5.f3 has generally done well. Also tried are 5.Bf4 covering e5 and 5.c3 protecting d4 and preparing Qb3 or Qa4.

Today's game is my most recent example of the Huebsch Gambit. I played vs a computer "paj" rated 2864. It didn't need all those points, though. One of the problems I have with the BDG is that precise knowledge is very helpful in getting a good game vs strong defence. I forget the exact lines sometimes.

Sawyer-paj begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Be3 Nc6 6.Bb5?! [I forgot the book move here which I have written about a few times before. Scheerer gives 6.d5 Nb4 7.c4. In my original 2011 note, I incorrectly gave 6.c3, which is Scheerer's recommendation after 5.Bc4 Nc6.] 6...e6 7.f3? [7.Nh3!?] 7...Bd7 8.Qd2 Bd6 9.0-0-0 exf3 10.Nxf3 Nb4 11.Bxd7+ Qxd7 12.c3 [12.a3 Nd5=/+] 12...Qc6 13.Kb1?? Instant loss. 13...Qe4+ 14.Ka1 Nc2+ White resigns 0-1
Revised January 11, 2014

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /

Friday, October 14, 2011

Beat Accelerated Dragon Capablanca Style

Jose Raul Capablanca was my hero forty years ago. I had the joy of transcribing four of his books into ChessBase format for ChessCentral. Recently I played an unrated fun blitz game vs a chess friend on ICC who uses Capablanca's name for his handle.

Sawyer-"capablanca1" begins 1.e4 c5 The Sicilian Defence. 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 The Accelerated variation of the Dragon Sicilian. A key to this line is that Black holds back his d-pawn from the normal ...d7-d6 to play for a ...d7-d5 in one move. 5.Nc3 Another good idea is to play 5.c4 the Maroczy Bind, which prevents ...d7-d5. My friend was rated below me. It seemed I had good chances of a win tactically if the pieces were flying around. 5...Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.f3 The critical continuation here is 7.Bc4 0-0 (7...Qa5 8.0-0+=) 8.Bb3 Qa5 9.f3 d5. 7...Qa5!? 7...0-0! (Dzindzichashvili) 8.Qd2 d5=. 8.Qd2 0-0 9.Nb3!? Kicking the queen away. The alternative is 9.Bc4. 9...Qd8 10.0-0-0 a5 11.Nd4 Junior 12 likes 11.Na4+=. 11...d5 Sacrificing a pawn which can be temporary or permanent. Black can transpose into a normal Sicilian Dragon formation with 11...d6 with a playable game. 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.exd5 cxd5 14.Nxd5 Be6? Here Black falters. Correct is 14...Nxd5 15.Qxd5 Qxd5 16.Rxd5 Be6= when Black can probably take on a2 soon. 15.Nxf6+ Capablanca often exchanged off the heavy pieces after he won a pawn. Junior 12 notes 15.Nb6! is also very promising for White, but it is more human to exchange into a winning ending. 15...Bxf6 16.Qxd8 Rfxd8 17.Rxd8+ Rxd8 18.a3 Rb8 19.c3 a4 20.Bd3 Bb3 21.Bc2 Bxc2 22.Kxc2 e5 23.Rd1 Black resigns 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blackmar-Diemer Reversed: Englund Soller

Is it possible to play the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit with the Black pieces? If the gambit is a challenge as White, wouldn't it be clearly inferior if you play it as Black? Well, of course it is a risk, but one that pays off from time to time.

When I was playing the "mscp" program on ICC the other day, I won a BDG Euwe that I just posted on the previous blog. The way in which I won gave me an idea for this game.

The Englund Gambit begins 1.d4 e5 2.dxe5. Black has sacrificed a pawn. The pure Englund continues 2...Nc6 3.Nf3 Qe7 when there is a famous trap: 4.Bf4 Qb4+ 5.Bd2 Qxb2 6.Bc3? (Correct is 6.Nc3+=) 6...Bb4 7.Qd2 Bxc3 8.Qxc3 Qc1 mate!

Another try here is the Zilbermints Variation 3...Nge7 intending ...Ng6 attacking e5. When Henri Grob was Black he used to play an early ...h7-h6 intending ...g7-g5 and Bg7. This gives Black the option of playing a queen or knight to e7. The Blackburne Gambit is 2...d6 3.exd6 Bd6.

For a BDG Reversed, we have the Soller Gambit: 2...f6 (Developed by Karl Soller.) 3.e3 Nc6 4.exf6 Nxf6 5.Bb5 d5 (We have a BDG Euwe 6...Bb4 line reversed. Black has to hold back ...Bg4 move until his king is safe.) 6.Bxc6+ bxc6 7.Qd4 Bd6 8.Nf3 O-O 9.O-O Qe8.

I thought maybe I could get "mscp" to go after stuff on the queenside and ignore its king until too late. It worked. Later I saw the "mscp" is done by the same programmer as the much stronger programs "blik" and "Rookie", but "mscp" only looks ahead 4 ply. Sounds like fun for a BDGer.

Play continued 10.c4 Qh5 11.c5 Be7 12.Nbd2 Bg4 13.Rd1 Rae8 (Black has full development and the queenside has been duly ignored in defence.) 14.b3 Bd8 15.a3 Ne4 16.Ra2 Nxd2 17.Raxd2 Bxf3 18.gxf3 Qxf3 (Closing in for the kill. White grabs pawns on the queenside while Black works out a checkmate.) 19.Qa4 Rf5 20.h4 Re4 21.Qxc6 Bxh4 22.Qa8+ Kf7 23.Kh2 Bxf2 24.Qf8+ Kxf8 25.Rxf2 Rh4+ 26.Kg1 Rh1 mate 0-1.

mscp - Sawyer, ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 02.10.2011 begins 1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 f6 [2...Nc6 3.Nf3 Qe7 4.Bf4 Qb4+ 5.Bd2 Qxb2 6.Bc3 Bb4 7.Qd2 Bxc3 8.Qxc3 Qc1#] 3.e3 Nc6 4.exf6 Nxf6 5.Bb5 d5 6.Bxc6+ bxc6 7.Qd4 Bd6 8.Nf3 0-0 9.0-0 Qe8 10.c4 Qh5 11.c5 Be7 12.Nbd2 Bg4 13.Rd1 Rae8 14.b3 Bd8 15.a3 Ne4 16.Ra2 Nxd2 17.Raxd2 Bxf3 18.gxf3 Qxf3 19.Qa4 Rf5 20.h4 Re4 21.Qxc6 Bxh4 22.Qa8+ Kf7 23.Kh2 Bxf2 24.Qf8+ Kxf8 25.Rxf2 Rh4+ 26.Kg1 Rh1# White checkmated 0-1

Copyright 2015 Tim Sawyer /
Home Page / Author Page / Top 100 Chess 2011-2014
Blackmar-Diemer Gambit: Books 1-5 and Books 6-10

Now in Kindle and paperback

Blog Archive