Friday, June 15, 2012

Tricky Cambridge Springs Defence

The Queens Gambit Declined variation known as the Cambridge Springs Defence was one of the first tricky openings that I played. I learned it from studying Capablanca and Alekhine. Emmanuel Lasker played it in 1892. The variation got its name from the site of the 1904 chess tournament where it was played mostly by the one-eyed Teichmann.

Along Lake Erie, about halfway between Cleveland, Ohio and Buffalo, New York is the city of Erie. That corner of Pennsylvania was famous 100-160 years ago for the discovery of oil in Titusville. It contributed to the success of John D. Rockefeller. South of Erie and north of Titusville is the community of Cambridge Springs.

One day I drove through Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania to see if any place looked like where might have played the tournament. It is a small rural town of a couple thousand people. Later I found out that they played at the Rider Hotel which burned down in 1931.

Ed Sawyer and I grew up in eastern Maine, near the Canadian border to the east. We met at some chess tournaments and became friends. Ed would go on to become a master in regular tournament play and I became a master in correspondence chess. Curiously I won both our tournament contests and Ed won more of our correspondence games. Here is an early Cambridge Springs Defence postal game where I won.

Sawyer,Edward - Sawyer,Timothy corr, 21.06.1974 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.Nf3 [The first trick is on the way to the Cambridge Springs: 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Nxd5? Nxd5 7.Bxd8 Bb4+! 8.Qd2 Bxd2+ 9.Kxd2 Kxd8-+ and Black is up a knight for a pawn.] 5...c6 6.e3 Qa5 7.Nd2 [There are many tricks in the Cambridge Springs where Black can win material. For example: 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 (8.Bxf6 Qb4=/+) 8...Ne4=/+; 7.Bxf6 Nxf6 8.a3 Ne4 9.Rc1 Nxc3 10.Rxc3? (10.Qd2!=) 10...Bxa3-+; 7.Qc2 Ne4 8.Bd3 Nxg5 9.Nxg5 dxc4-+; 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.e4 Nxc3 9.bxc3 Qxc3+ 10.Bd2 Qa3=/+] 7...Bb4 8.Qc2 0-0 9.Bd3? [White loses a piece. He should have played 9.Be2= ] 9...dxc4 10.Bxh7+!? Nxh7 11.h4 Nxg5 12.hxg5 g6 13.Qe4 Qxg5 14.g3 Nf6 15.Qg2 Rd8 16.Nf3 Qa5 17.Qh3 Bxc3+ 18.bxc3 Qxc3+ 19.Kf1 Qxa1+ Black will be up a bishop, two pawns and two rooks for his queen. 20.Kg2 Qxh1+ 21.Qxh1 b5 22.Ne5 Kg7 23.f3 Bb7 24.Qe1 a5 25.a3 Rdc8 There is no way to stop the Black queenside pawn expansion. 26.e4 c5 27.dxc5 Rxc5 28.Qc3 b4 29.Qd4 Rxe5 30.Qxe5 Rc8 31.Qb5 bxa3 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Huebsch Gambit book by Eric Jego

The famous New York Yankee baseball great Yogi Berra once noted:  "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." This is illustrated by the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit and its cousin the Huebsch Gambit (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4). In my database of over 2000 games with the Huebsch Gambit, White has a plus performance rating of +11 points above actual rating (2218 vs 2207).

Our BDG friend Eric Jego has given us Gambit H╬░bsch Antidote or Leurre? This book focuses on the practice of playing aggressive chess using his 14 elementary principles. Jego's books shows how many people have been successful with this opening variation.

Eric Jego's book on the Huebsch Gambit has 124 pages with 122 verbally annotated games (in French). Over 40 of the games were played since 2000, often by titled players or correspondence players who had time to analyze deeply. Games are arranged by variation making it easy to find analysis on any particular line. I recommend this book to anyone who expects to reach the Huebsch Gambit position from either side.

Theory found in books on my desk by Yelena Dembo (2008), Roman Dzindzichashvili (2009), and Larry Kaufman (2012) says Black is better. In practice, White scores well. Computers evaluate Black as better, but real humans make mistakes under pressure. Jego includes the game where NM Diebert used the Huebsch to beat GM Joel Benjamin.

Not only do Black players fail to play perfectly. Based on about 10,000 games, 7 of 10 players will capture on e4 with the pawn (3...dxe4) leading directly to a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, 2 of 10 will play 3...Nxe4 (Huebsch) and the other one will play something else, most often 3...e6 (French Defence). Finally, if you play the BDG and are deathly afraid of the Huebsch, you can head for a BDG via 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Nc3. I play both.

The first Huebsch Gambit is in Jego's book. White was E. Huebsch and Black was GM Dr. S. Tartakower. Four years later Tartakower reached the same position vs Kostich and played 3...dxe4 (ended in a draw). Late in life Dr. Tartakower played the BDG as White at least five times. Notes below are from my BDG Keybook I (revised edition) Game 128.

Huebsch-Tartakower Vienna, 1922 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Bc4 Bf5 6.Ne2 e6 7.0-0 Bd6 8.d5 [Better than 8.Bf4 Bxf4 9.Nxf4 Qg5-/+ Kozelek - Baier, corr 1969] 8...e5 [8...0-0 9.dxe6 fxe6 10.Nd4 Kh8 (10...Qf6=/+) 11.Nxe6 Bxe6 12.Bxe6 Qf6= Riessbeck - Andre, corr] 9.Ng3 Bg6 10.f3 exf3 11.Qxf3 0-0 12.Nf5 Nd7 13.g3 Nc5 14.h4 e4 15.Qg4 h5 16.Qh3 a5 17.Nxd6 Qxd6 18.g4 Qd7 19.Be3 hxg4 20.Qg3 b6 21.Rf4 Bh5 22.Raf1 Rae8 [22...f5!-/+] 23.Rf5 g6 24.Rxh5 gxh5 25.Qf4 f6 26.Qh6 Qf7 [26...Qh7!=] 27.Bxc5 bxc5 28.Rxf6 Qxf6 29.d6+ Qf7 30.Qg6+ 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, June 4, 2012

105 London System Repertoire as Exchange Slav

White can choose a practical variation vs the Slav Defence: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6. That is the Exchange Variation 3.cxd5 cxd5. Below the main line of that variation where White continues 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bf4. It may be reached from a London System.

Cyrus Lakdawala in his book "Play the London System" recommends this idea. In his chapter on the London vs the Benoni, Lakdawala shows how the opening becomes a Slav Defence Exchange Variation after 1.d4 c5 2.c3 cxd4 3.cxd4 d5. On page 198 he writes:

"I get this quite often so be warned that you need to know the basic ideas of the Exchange Slav. Some opening books dismiss his line as equality for Black, but I do not believe it is so straightforward for Black to equalize. Having the move in a symmetrical position is like having the serve in tennis."

I find Lakdawala's comments interesting. In my own games, I have scored 57% in the Exchange Slav with a performance rating over 100 points above my actual rating, based on 38 games. It is not a huge sample, but it points in the right direction for White.

[Event "Repertoire"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2012.06.04"]
[Round "?"]
[White "London 105"]
[Black "Slav Defence Exchange"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "D00"]
[PlyCount "25"]
[SourceDate "2012.01.29"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. Bf4 Bf5 (6... a6 7. e3
Bg4 8. Be2 e6 9. O-O Be7 (9... Bd6 10. Bxd6 Qxd6 11. Rc1 O-O 12. Na4) 10. Rc1
O-O 11. h3 Bh5 12. Ne5 Bxe2 13. Qxe2) (6... Ne4 7. e3 Nxc3 8. bxc3 g6 9. Bd3
Bg7 10. O-O O-O 11. e4 Bg4 12. h3 Bxf3 13. Qxf3) (6... g6 7. e3 Bg7 (7... Nh5
8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Ne5) (7... a6 8. Bd3) 8. h3 O-O (8... a6 9. Bd3) 9. Bd3
a6 (9... Qb6 10. a3) (9... b6 10. O-O Bb7 11. Rc1) (9... Bf5 10. Bxf5 gxf5 11.
O-O) 10. O-O b5 (10... Bf5 11. Bxf5 gxf5 12. Ne5) 11. Rc1 Bb7 12. Ne5) (6...
Qb6 7. Na4 Qa5+ (7... Qb4+ 8. Bd2 Qd6 9. e3) 8. Bd2 Qd8 (8... Qc7 9. Rc1) 9. e3
e6 10. Bd3) (6... Nh5 7. Bd2 e6 (7... Nf6) 8. e3 Nf6 (8... Bd6 9. Bd3) 9. Bd3)
(6... Bg4 7. Ne5 Qb6 8. Nxg4 Nxg4 9. e4 e5 10. Bd2) 7. e3 e6 (7... a6 8. Rc1
Rc8 (8... e6 9. Qb3 Ra7 10. Be2 Be7 11. O-O) 9. Be2 e6 10. O-O Bd6 (10... Nd7
11. a3) (10... Be7 11. Qb3) 11. Bxd6 Qxd6 12. Qb3) 8. Qb3 Bb4 (8... Qb6 9. Qxb6
axb6 10. Bb5 Nd7 (10... Bb4 11. O-O) 11. Nh4) 9. Bb5 O-O (9... Qa5 10. O-O) (
9... Bxc3+ 10. Qxc3 O-O 11. Bxc6 Rc8 (11... Ne4 12. Qa3) 12. Ne5 Ng4 (12...
bxc6 13. Rc1) 13. Nxg4 Bxg4 14. Qb4) 10. O-O Bxc3 (10... Qa5 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12.
Bc7 Qxc7 13. Qxb4 Rab8 14. Qa3) (10... Qe7 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. Na4) 11. Bxc6 Bxb2
12. Bxb7 Bxa1 13. Rxa1 *

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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