Monday, December 3, 2012

Avrukh Book "Beating 1.d4 Sidelines"

When Grandmaster Boris Avrukh spends a lot of time studying the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit and writes extensively on the results of his investigation, it makes me sit up and take notice. Indeed, I bought the book! "Beating 1.d4 Sidelines" is 504 pages published by Quality Chess and just released November 2012. Avrukh mentions a lot of stuff, but he does not deal with the Dutch Defence (1.d4 f5) or lines with 2...Nc6. His analysis on one of my other favorite openings, the London System, looks excellent. Others like Veresov, Trompowsky, Colle, Torre and Barry are also covered. I highly recommend this book.

The book is divided into four roughly equal parts: 1) 1.d4 d5 lines; 2) 1.d4 Nf6 without 2.c4 or 2.Nf3; 3) 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 lines; and 4) 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 lines

The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit is covered on pages 19-42. As Black, Avrukh recommends the BDG Ziegler 5.Nxf3 c6 6.Bc4 Bf5. In summary, I quote his "Conclusion" on the BDG:

"Sacrificing an important central pawn as early as the second move is an audacious concept, and technically the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit cannot be considered a fully correct opening. Nevertheless, I would be lying if I said Black's task is trivial, and during my investigation I had to work hard to find the correct antidote to White's numerous attacking tries. Of the many variations covered, I would like to highlight the modern C221) 7.Bg5!? (intending 8.Nh4) and the aggressive C2232 8.Ng5!? as options which require especially close attention. But ultimately, if Black knows what he is doing then he should have excellent chances to neutralize the opponent's initiative and exploit his extra pawn."

Sawyer's Interpretation: If you are a grandmaster who memorizes 23 pages of analysis vs the BDG, then you should be able to prevent White from winning! In my own practice, it is easy to screw up as Black if you slip from solid to passive. Typically Black has an extra doubled g-pawn. I have chosen to play 5.Nxf3 c6 as Black 147 times; on average, I have under-performed my own rating by -26 points. For the other five choices (5...Bg4, 5...Bf5, 5...e6, 5...g6, 5...Nc6), I have over-performed by typically +200 rating points. In the BDG, I usually win as Black, but I've personally struggled using Avrukh's excellent suggestions.

GM Avrukh gives one of my games, Harald Klett vs Tim Sawyer, where I won in a critical line with the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Ryder 6.Be3 Qg4 variation (see below with my notes). Tomorrow I will show my win with the White pieces vs the same opponent.

Klett-Sawyer, corr BDG thematic, 1996 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Qxf3 Qxd4 6.Be3 Qg4 7.Qf2 e5 8.a3 Bd6 9.Nf3 Qf5 10.0-0-0 [10.h3 e4 11.Nd4 Qxf2+ 12.Kxf2 Be5-+] 10...Ng4 11.Qd2 Nxe3 12.Qxe3 0-0 13.Kb1 [A possible improvement for White: 13.Bd3! Qf4 14.Qxf4 exf4 15.Nb5 Nc6 16.Nxd6 cxd6 17.Be4 Rd8 18.Rd2 Be6 19.Rhd1 d5 20.Bxd5 Bxd5 21.Rxd5 Rxd5 22.Rxd5 Re8=/+] 13...Nc6 14.Bd3 Qg4 15.Rhg1 Be6 16.h3 Qf4 17.Qf2 [If 17.Qxf4 exf4-/+] 17...f5 18.Ne2 Qh6 19.Nd2 e4 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Sunday, September 23, 2012

From Gambit Lasker Trap In Bird's Opening

Black can play the From Gambit against the Bird's Opening. The Lasker Variation contains a basic trap that White sometimes falls for, but the Bird player has better options. Let's look at some details using a blitz game I played this past week.

Bird's Opening begins 1.f4. Normal play involves an early ...d5 being a reversed Dutch Defence. One way Black can mix things up is with From's move 1...e5. White of course can transpose to a King's Gambit with 2.e4. However, many Bird's players prefer to defend a pawn up rather than attack a pawn down. Thus they play 1.f4 e5 2.fxe5. The Schlechter Variation is 2...Nc6, but the main line From is 2...d6. My friend Keith Hayward did well with his line 3.e4, but most players as White keep chopping wood with 3.exd6.

After 1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6, Black is threatening checkmate with 4...Qh4+ 5.g3 Qxg3+ 6.hxg3 Bxg3 mate! This is easily parried by 4.Nf3 when Black again has two good choices. My computers seem to slightly prefer Mestel's 4...Nf6 with quick piece play. I have done well with that line, but I also like Lasker's 4...g5!? vs weaker opponents.

keka - Sawyer, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 20.09.2012 begins 1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 [2.e4] 2...d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3! g5!? [4...Nf6!] 5.c3? [This blunder loses the game. Since ...g5-g4 is coming next move, White has to prepare a safe place for his knight. There are two good ways to do this: 5.g3 g4 6.Nh4 and 5.d4 g4 6.Ne5] 5...g4 6.Nd4 Qh4+ White resigns, noting to me that this was a trap. 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Eric Rodriguez Cub Roars Black Lion

My opponent Eric Rodriguez was 16 years old at the time of this game and yet another super-kid master. With this, I had played eight USCF tournament games since moving to Florida. Four of those games were vs masters who were too young to vote. Add up the ages of my opponents in those games and you equal MY age. I never played competitive chess until I was an adult. I am amazed and impressive to watch these kids perform.

FIDE master Eric Oscar Rodriguez has been very successful in his early chess career. In recent events his USCF rating is sometimes over 2400 and other times just under, currently 2383. Rodriguez has a peak FIDE rating of 2352 and 95 FIDE losses. This means Eric has spent a lot of time playing in events vs higher rated opponents.

Most of the time, Eric Rodriguez wins! Against me Rodriguez played the Lion System which has been very popular since this game. Black basically plays d6, Nf6, Nbd7, e5, c6, Be7, 0-0 and often Qc7 and or h6, depending on what White does. I took an aggressive approach. Alas I made a serious mistake with 9.Nxd5? for which I was well punished. Instead of winning any material, Eric Rodriguez played for checkmate.

I was so disgusted with my play in this game that I quit the tournament and did not play again for eight months. My opening knowledge, tactical skill, analytical ability and strategical approach were all in shambles. I realized that my game needed a major rebuilding at this point. One thing I started doing was a lot more tactical exercises.

Sawyer - Rodriguez, Florida Class Championship (3), 07.01.2006 begins 1.Nc3 Nf6 2.d4 [I was kind of hoping for a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Many times I play the Alekhine Defence here as White with 2.e4.] 2...d6 3.e4 Nbd7 [3...g6 is the main line Pirc Defence. Black is playing the position like a Philidor Defence, but White never played Nf3 to transpose completely.] 4.Be3 e5 5.d5 c6 6.f3!? Be7 7.Qd2 0-0 8.g4!? [What a bold move! This might work vs a lower rated class player, but it is risky vs a master. Castling 8.0-0-0 first seems like a wiser choice.] 8...cxd5 9.Nxd5? [This is a mistake, bringing the Be7 to life. Much better is 9.exd5 a6 10.g5 Nh5 11.Nge2 b5= Equal. Although I am reminded of Tal's comment: If the position is equal, Black is better!] 9...Nxd5 10.Qxd5 Bh4+ 11.Kd2[At this point I decided to make it to move 20 or just play on until I lost a pawn. My original idea was 11.Bf2 Bxf2+ 12.Kxf2 missing until now that Black has 12...Qb6+ 13.Kg2 Qxb2-+ winning.] 11...Nf6 12.Qb3 d5 13.exd5 Nxd5 At this point I expect to be mated fairly soon, though I am not down material. 14.Bd3 Nxe3 15.Kxe3 Qd4+ 16.Kd2 Qf2+ 17.Ne2 Rd8 18.Raf1 Bg5+ 19.Kd1 Qe3 20.Ke1 Be6 21.Qa3 e4 22.fxe4 Bxg4 23.h4 Bxe2 24.Bxe2 Rd1+ Alas, I never had lost any material, but my king will mated next move. 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ing. Jozef Spanik Registered Mail

In 1978 Walter Muir convinced me to try some international chess play. Thus I made my first very tentative attempt at competition in the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF).

I was the only player from the USA. The transmission time between moves was very slow. This was my shortest game.

My first opponent was Ing. Jozef Spanik whom I think was from Czechoslovakia. That was a country made up of what is today the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

I wore out my copy of the book Bishop's Opening by Tim Harding. Probably we were still in the book when my opponent failed to reply to my 14th move.

In ICCF, if you did not receive a move from your opponent within say 2-3 weeks, then you were to send a repeat of your last move via registered mail and notify the tournament director. If your opponent did not reply to your repeat move, then eventually you were awarded a forfeit win.

In most countries, the cost of registered mail was a slight increase to normal mail prices. In the USA registered mail was like 10 times the cost of a normal postcard.

The US economy was terrible back at that time 1978-1980, leading Jimmy Carter to be voted out of office by a landslide. Almost every state voted for Ronald Reagan and the economy turned around.

Like most people, I voted for Jimmy Carter the first time, but would not make that mistake that second time. I voted for Reagan in 1980 and 1984.

I found myself spending a lot of money in the late 1970s. Those were my early poverty years. I was trying to support my family.

For my game vs Ing. Jozef Spanik, I was awarded a win. The process annoyed me. I decided to spend my money on my family. That worked. I am still married to the same wife!

I quit my 1978 ICCF section. In future years I returned to ICCF and sometimes played very well.

My free Chess Training Repertoire each Thursday covers openings. Sign up if you want to receive it by email.

Sawyer - Spanik, corr ICCF, 1978 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nxe4 [After 3...Nc6 I played what I called the "Chicken King's Gambit". I would back into that opening via 4.d3 Bc5 5.f4 d6 6.Nf3 King's Gambit Declined, when White does not actually sacrifice a pawn.] 4.Qh5 Nd6 5.Bb3 [5.Qxe5+ Qe7 6.Qxe7+ Bxe7 7.Bb3=] 5...Nc6 [5...Be7 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Nxe5=] 6.Nb5 g6 7.Qf3 f5 8.Qd5 Qe7 9.Nxc7+ Kd8 10.Nxa8 b6 11.d3 [Another way to play this is 11.Nxb6 axb6 12.Qf3 Bb7 13.d3 Nd4 14.Qh3] 11...Bb7 12.h4 h6 [The more popular way to stop the threat of 13.Bg5 winning the Black queen is by 12...f4 13.Qf3 Bh6 14.Bd2 Nd4=] 13.Qf3 Nd4 14.Qg3+/= Black stopped playing. 1-0

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, July 9, 2012

101 Queens Gambit Accepted 3.e4 & 3.e3

Welcome to Main Line Monday. Today we begin a new series on playing as Black the Queen's Gambit Accepted. This opening has been played for about 200 years by players of all strengths. Nowadays it is considered that in response to the popular opening moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4, Black has a good and sound defence with 2...dxc4.

When I was young, grandmaster opinion heavily favored White. Since then many world champions have played it from both sides. Computers also show that Black is fine in every line, if played correctly. Laziness and poor tactics fail in any opening.

This first week we will show a basic repertoire for Black when White avoids the main line 3.Nf3. The most common ideas are 3.e4 and 3.e3 which are covered below. The move 3.Nc3 could easily transpose after 3...Nf6 4.Nf3 to 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3. Black also has the option show below of 3.Nc3 e5.

My favorite book on the Queen's Gambit is "How to Beat 1 d4" by James Rizzitano, but I have read many books on this opening over the years. One thing I like about this book is that while he gives Black several options, Rizzitano makes clear which one he prefers. The book is dedicated to playing 1.d4 d5 as Black. Half of it focuses on 2.c4 dxc4 and the other half covers various alternative 2nd moves, like my old favorite 2.e4. In fact my own "Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook" is cited in his extensive bibliography.

101 Queens Gambit - 3.e3 & 3.e4, Main Lines, 09.07.2012 begins 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 [3.Nc3 e5 4.dxe5 (4.e3 exd4 5.exd4 Nf6 6.Bxc4 Bd6 7.Nf3 0-0; 4.d5 c6 5.e4 Nf6 6.Bxc4 b5 7.Bb3 b4 8.Na4 Nxe4) 4...Qxd1+ 5.Kxd1 (5.Nxd1 Nc6 6.Nf3 Be6) 5...Be6 6.e4 Nc6 7.f4 0-0-0+; 3.Qa4+ Nc6 4.Nf3 Nf6 (4...Bg4 5.Nbd2 Bxf3 6.Nxf3 Qd5) ; 3.e3 e5 4.Bxc4 exd4 5.exd4 Bd6 6.Nf3 Nf6 7.0-0 0-0 8.Nc3 Nc6 9.h3 h6 10.a3 (10.Qc2 Nb4 11.Qb1 Be6 12.Bxe6 fxe6 13.Re1 Qe8; 10.Re1 Re8 11.Be3 Bf5 12.a3 a6) 10...Bf5 11.Re1 a6 12.Ne5 Bxe5 13.dxe5 Qxd1 14.Nxd1 Nd7] 3...e5 4.Nf3 exd4 5.Bxc4 Nc6 6.0-0 Be6 7.Bb5 [7.Bxe6 fxe6 8.Qb3 Qd7 9.Qxb7 Rb8 10.Qa6 Nf6 11.Nbd2 Bd6 12.Qd3 (12.b3 0-0 13.Bb2 Bf4; 12.a3 0-0 13.b4 Ng4) 12...0-0 13.a3 (13.h3 e5 14.Nc4 Nb4) 13...Ng4 14.h3 Nge5 15.Nxe5 Nxe5 16.Qxd4 Qb5] 7...Bc5 8.b4 [8.Nbd2 Nge7 9.Ng5 (9.Nb3 Bxb3 10.Qxb3 a6) 9...Qd7 10.Nxe6 Qxe6 11.Nb3 Qd6 12.Bf4 Qxf4 13.Nxc5 0-0 14.Rc1 a6 15.g3 Qh6; 8.Qc2 Bb6 9.a4 (9.Bxc6+ bxc6 10.Qxc6+ Bd7 11.Qc4 Be6) 9...a5 10.Bxc6+ bxc6 11.Qxc6+ Bd7 12.Qc4 Be6] 8...Bb6 9.a4 [9.Bb2 Nge7] 9...a6 10.Bxc6+ bxc6 11.a5 [11.Bb2 Nf6] 11...Ba7 12.Bb2 Nf6 13.Bxd4 Nxe4 14.Bxa7 Qxd1 15.Rxd1 Rxa7 *

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Joy of Alapin-Diemer French

A couple days ago I faced a French Defence and chose the Alapin-Diemer Gambit. 20 years ago I played it all the time. I still wheel it out once in a while since my performance rating with 3.Be3!? is higher than any other variation after the position reached by 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5. Usually, I refer to anything after 3.Be3 as the Alapin French.

When White follows 3.Be3 with f3 on moves 4 or 5, it is an Alapin Diemer Gambit. Emil Jozef Diemer played 3.Be3 vs the French Defence many times with some impressive wins. The gambit can be declined with 3...Nf6, but White gets a good game after 4.e5!

Critical is 3...dxe4. White can play 4.f3 or 4.Nc3, but the main line is 4.Nd2 Nf6 5.f3. Alapin's original idea was 5.c3 and 6.Qc2. With Diemer's continuation of 5.f3, the pawn on e4 is double attacked. More often than not, Black plays 5...exf3 6.Ngxf3.

My new French 3.Be3 Playbook is a step by step guide to the Alapin Diemer Gambit.

Sawyer-superdave99, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 07.07.2012 begins 1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Be3 dxe4 4.Nd2 Nf6 5.f3 exf3 6.Ngxf3 Bd6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Bg5 c5 10.Qe1 cxd4 11.Qh4 h6 12.Bxh6 gxh6 13.Qxh6 Qa5 14.Ng5 [14.Nc4 Qh5 15.Qxh5 Nxh5 16.Nxd6+-] 14...Qe5 15.Ndf3 [15.g3+-] 15...Qe3+ 16.Kh1 Bf4 17.Rae1 Bxg5 18.Nxg5 Qxg5 19.Qxg5+ Kh8 20.Qh6+ Kg8 At this point that clocks read 2:00 - 0:55. Here I slowed way down to consider which checkmate is the fastest. Seeing that I was now thinking, Black resigned. 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bond Wins Snyder Anti-Sicilian 2.b3

Jocelyn Bond provides us with a Sicilian Defence in the 4th round game, second game vs his second opponent Normand Corneau, in the Championnat club d'√©checs de Jonquiere in Canada. As he notes: "In the second game I won too as black in only 14 moves... Big opponents to come!!"

Back in the 1970s, the Snyder Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.b3) was well-known as the favorite line of master Robert M. Snyder in a book he wrote and promoted. The line is fine, but Snyder was not fine. He is a convicted sex offender about whom America's Most Wanted had done an episode scheduled for October 24, 2009. That episode was pre-empted by the baseball playoffs and apparently never aired. Robert Snyder fled the United States and was captured in Belize. USCF had this note about his capture.

[Note: I do not believe there is any relationship nor connection between Glenn Snyder who seemed like a fine and decent person, and the infamous Robert M. Snyder.]

The variation 1.e4 c5 2.b3 is one of many Anti-Sicilian lines that are fully playable for White. Like most opening lines, it leads to equality. Whatever opening you play, if you play it all the time, you will score better than those who play it only once in a while. In the game below, White misses tactics. We all make tactical mistakes and lose sometimes.

Corneau-Bond, Championnat club d'échecs de Jonquiere (4), 04.07.2012 begins 1.e4 c5 2.b3 Nc6 3.Bb2 d6 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.a4 e6 7.Nf3 d5N 8.exd5 [8.Bd3!?=] 8...exd5=/+ 9.Qe2+ Be7-/+ 10.Nxd5? [Better is 10.Bd3-/+ ] 10...Nxd5-+ 11.Bxg7 Rg8 12.Bf6 Rg6 [12...Nxf6 13.0-0 Bh3-+ Oops. I dream of the gain of the White queen and didn't see that the bishop is in the air.] 13.Bh4?? [13.Bxe7 Ncxe7 14.Ne5-+] 13...Re6 won the queen. 0-1 [Notes by Bond/Deep Fritz]

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