Monday, February 20, 2012

Basic White Chess Repertoire with 1.e4 and KEBU

It's Main Line Monday. My plan is to present variations for openings training. Last week we looked at the most commonly played 100 Basic Opening Positions. That has interest, but what is really helpful is to have a repertoire. A chess opening repertoire is the set of moves at the beginning of the game that you prepare in advance. It makes sense to be ready for the most common moves your opponents are likely to play.

Some of the training software I have used over the past 20 years includes ChessBase, NIC, Bookup / Chess Openings Wizard and Chessimo. These are excellent.

I found KEBU Chess. I saw it as an ad on my blog and clicked on it. I tried it a little and decided to buy the program. It seemed good at the time, but I have since had it removed from my computer.

KEBU Chess had two separate programs:

1. Chess Puzzles 2009. This has 1000 tactical training positions from master games played in 2008 and 2009 divided into Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced. The "Beginner" tactics are short 2-3 move combinations where masters lost material or got mated.

2. Chess Opening Memorizer 2010. This has places for you to add PGN opening files for training with either color. KEBU has you repeat each line until you play it perfectly two times. At 1-2 seconds per move, it took me 4-5 minutes to finish the lines below twice.

We start with main lines for White after 1.e4, what Bobby Fischer famously called, "Best by test." This week I focus on the top 100 moves for White, which means about 200 positions since Black has moved too. For this basic level, I have not gone beyond 9 moves in any line.

Most of the lines below are historically the most popular, except I went with the more recent trendy Be3 lines in the Sicilian Defence, Pirc Defence and Modern Defence. For the Najdorf Sicilian, since 2000, 6.Be3 is the most popular. In the Modern Defence, 4.Be3 is the most popular. For those who cut/paste, I have presented these lines in PGN format.

[Event "Repertoire 1.e4"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2012.02.19"]
[Round "?"]
[White "1.e4 White 100"]
[Black "Main Lines"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "B90"]
[Annotator "Sawyer,Timothy E"]
[PlyCount "17"]
[EventDate "2012.02.05"]
[SourceDate "2012.01.29"]

1. e4 c5 (1... e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 (2... Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3
Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8. c4 Nb4 9. Be2) 3. Bb5 a6 (3... Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6.
Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Nc3) 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7.
Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3) (1... e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6.
bxc3 Ne7 7. Qg4 Qc7 8. Qxg7 Rg8 9. Qxh7) (1... c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4
Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nd7 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3) (1... d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3.
Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 c6 6. Bc4) (1... Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 Bg4 5.
Be2 e6 6. O-O Be7 7. c4 Nb6 8. Nc3 O-O 9. Be3) (1... d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4.
Be3 Bg7 5. f3) (1... g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 Nf6 5. f3) 2. Nf3 d6 (2...
Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 (4... g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. f3 d6 8. Qd2) (
4... e5 5. Nb5 d6 6. N1c3 Nf6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3) 5. Nc3 e5 (5... e6 6. Ndb5 d6 (
6... Bb4 7. a3 Bxc3+ 8. Nxc3 d5 9. exd5) 7. Bf4 e5 8. Bg5) 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6
8. Na3) (2... e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 Nc6 7. Qd2 Nf6 8.
O-O-O Bb4 9. f3) 3. d4 cxd4 (3... Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4) 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3
a6 (5... Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8. O-O-O Bd7 (8... h6 9. Be3) 9. f3) (5... g6
6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O) 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 Be7 9. Qd2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Donald Funk Colle System Gruenfeld

In the 1970s, George Koltanowski was still promoting his opening pamphlet. It seemed like every tournament player in America had seen the 9th edition of his Colle System.

Through David Rudel's new books, the Colle System has gained some popularity in recent years. The opening moves are so easy for White that Class B and Class C players love it. Typically White plays 1.d4/2.Nf3/3.e3/4.Bd3/5.c3 or 5.b3.

Black can play just about any standard system against the Colle, but White's position is very solid. The result is an even game where White usually has more experience in the lines. Most masters want more than an equality as White; most do not play the Colle.

Also, there are only a few critical sharp tactical variations. They can easily be avoided. Thus, the Colle System tends to simply favor the stronger HIGHER RATED player and NOT the player that knows the opening the most.

My opponent Donald Funk was one of the mainstays of the North Penn Chess Club. Don was rated in the 1700s most of the time, but sometimes moved up or down 100 points. Don used to bring his son, little Eric to the club. Eventually Eric Funk became a strong Expert in his own right. Below was the first time Donald Funk and I played.

Funk,D-Sawyer, Lansdale,PA 05.12.1980 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.e3 Colle System. 3...Bg7 4.Bd3 d5 [I decided to adopt a Gruenfeld Defence set-up. The alternative was 4...d6 intending ...e5 or ...c5 to attack d4 when ready.] 5.0-0 0-0 6.Nbd2 b6 [6...c5 7.c3 Nbd7 8.Re1 b6 9.e4= is thematic.] 7.Re1 White typically prepares the advance e3-e4. 7...c5 8.c3 c4?! [8...Ba6=] 9.Bc2 Bf5?! 10.Bxf5 [10.e4! gives White a good game.] 10...gxf5 11.b3 cxb3 12.axb3 Nc6 13.Nh4 e6 14.g3 Qc7 15.Bb2 Rfc8 16.Kh1 b5=/+ Black is much more prepared to advance pawns on the queenside than White is on the kingside. When things open up, Black's chances are promising. 17.Rg1 a5 18.f3 Ne7 19.g4 Ng6 20.g5 Ne8 21.Ng2 Kh8 22.f4 Nd6 23.h4 b4 [The pawns have made contact. Tactical possibilities increase, and with them the chances that a player will miss something important.] 24.h5?! [White needs to play 24.cxb4! axb4 25.h5=] 24...Ne7 [24...bxc3! 25.Rc1 Nb5=/+] 25.Nh4? [Again 25.cxb4! axb4=] 25...bxc3 26.Rc1 Qb6?! [Black can open up some lines with 26...c2 27.Qe2 a4-/+] 27.Rxc3 Rcb8 28.Ba3 Nb5 29.Bc5 Nxc3 30.Bxb6? [30.Qc2 Qa6-/+] 30...Nxd1 Black has the advantage of the TWO ROOKS. 31.Bc5 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Friday, February 17, 2012

Raudenbush Poisoned Pawn Najdorf

In December 1980 I returned to active play with some sharp chess. I have five games from this month in my collection that were played at the North Penn Chess Club in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Two are presented today. Two more will follow in the next two days. The fifth one was my first Blackmar-Diemer Gambit that was played against me by Snyder. That game I posted last year in an early BDG Bogoljubow posting.

William Raudenbush at that time was a USCF Expert and very strong postal chess player. Raudenbush had a well-defined, prepared and thought out opening repertoire that he played all the time with confidence. As White, Bill played 1.d4/2.c4. As Black, he played the King's Indian Defence (Nbd7 lines) and the Najdorf Sicilian Defence.

Bill was twenty years older than I and he had a positive influence on my chess. We played three games on December 3rd at the Lansdale chess club. I rarely played blitz chess there, but I am guessing these were blitz games. As you can see, I was quite familiar with main line theory. This made our games very entertaining. One of my favorite books back then was the Sicilian Najdorf by Michael Stean.

The Poisoned Pawn Variation of the Najdorf Sicilian Defence continues to be popular to this day. It is a very tactical line. Our main game below illustrates how Black is in danger of being mated while trying to walk off with a winning amount of material.

Sawyer-Raudenbush, Lansdale,PA 03.12.1980 begins 1.e4 c5 Sicilian Defence 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 Najdorf Variation 6.Bg5 [In recent years 6.Be3 has rivaled 6.Bg5 as the most popular move, but there are many others too.] 6...e6 7.f4 Qb6 Poisoned Pawn Variation 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 [This rook move is normal. Boris Spassky played 9.Nb3 against Bobby Fischer in 1972.] 9...Qa3 10.f5 [The other main line is 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 Nfd7 12.Ne4 h6 13.Bh4 Qxa2 14.Rd1 Qd5 15.Qe3 Qxe5 16.Be2 Bc5 17.Bg3 Bxd4 18.Rxd4 Qa5+ 19.Rd2 0-0 20.Bd6 Rd8 21.Qg3 Qf5 22.Be5 This line scores very well for White.] 10...Nc6 11.fxe6 fxe6 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.e5 dxe5 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Ne4 Be7 [Black has chosen 15...Be7 over 15...Qxa2 by a 2:1 margin. 15...Qxa2 16.Nxf6+ (16.Rd1) 16...Ke7? (16...Kf7) 17.Rd1 Kxf6 18.Be2 (18.Bd3!+-) 18...Bc5? 19.Qh6+ Kf7 20.Rf1+ (20.Bh5+! mates one move faster.) 20...Ke8 21.Bh5+ 1-0 Sawyer-Raudenbush/Lansdale 1980] 16.Be2 0-0 [Nowadays we know 16...h5 to be correct. 17.Rb3 Qa4 18.Nxf6+ (18.c4!?) 18...Bxf6 19.c4 Bh4+ 20.g3 Be7 21.0-0 h4 22.Bd3 Rg8 23.Qf2 Kd7 24.Qd2 Bc5+ 25.Kg2 Bd4 26.c5 is a critical line.] 17.Rb3 Qa4 18.0-0? [Castling is a risky piece sacrifice. Better is 18.c4+/= ] 18...Qxe4 19.Rg3+ Kh8 20.Qh6 Rf7?! [20...Rg8!-+] 21.Bh5 Bc5+ 22.Kh1 Qc4? [22...Raa7! 23.Bxf7 Rxf7=] 23.Rg8+?? [White has mate in six starting with 23.Rd1!+- ] 23...Kxg8 24.Bxf7+ Kxf7 25.Rxf6+ Ke7?? [25...Ke8!-+] 26.Qf8+ Kd7 27.Rf7+ Be7 28.Qxe7# 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tom Purser Draws World Champ Euwe BDG

When looking for some good Tom Purser games in the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, I came across one from over 30 years ago. Purser was playing in a simultaneous exhibition against the former World Champion and FIDE President Max Euwe in Ramstein, Germany.

At the site we find commentary on this game from whiteshark:
"Dr. Euwe played 20 board simul at Ramstein Air Base rec center on 16 Feb 1978; he won 18, lost one, drew this one. He allowed all opponents choice of color."

Tom V. Purser went on to publish "BDG World" magazine for 15 years starting about 1983. Around 1984 this magazine caught MY attention. I am forever grateful for Tom Purser. For those interested in more from him, Tom Purser's blog is a great read.

The opening today is a BDG Accepted (5.Qxf3) Ryder Variation 6.Be3 Qg4.

Purser,Tom V - Euwe,Max simul Ramstein, Germany 1978 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Nc3 Blackmar-Diemer Gambit by transposition 4...exf3 5.Qxf3 Ryder Variation 5...Qxd4 6.Be3 Qg4 7.Qf2 a6 [The normal continuation is 7...e5! 8.a3 Bd6 9.Nf3 Nc6=/+] 8.h3 Qb4 9.0-0-0 e6 [9...Nc6 10.Nf3 with compensation] 10.Rd4 Qa5 11.Ra4 Qf5 12.Rf4!? [If White wanted to play for more, his position is very promising after 12.Nf3! when Junior 12 gives the critical line as 12...e5 13.g4 Qe6 14.Bc4 Qe7 15.g5!+-] 12...Qa5 13.Ra4 Qf5 14.Rf4!? One can hardly blame Purser for taking a draw two pawns down against a world champion. 14...Qa5 15.Ra4 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Romantic Chess Return of Tom Purser's Blog

Happy Valentine's Day 2012! Today we celebrate romantic love. Sweethearts Enjoy!

Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch is quoted as having said: "I have always a slight feeling of pity for the man who has no knowledge of chess, just as I would pity the man who has remained ignorant of love. Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy."

There is a style players love called Romantic Chess. It has nothing to do with hearts, chocolates, movies, restaurants or kissing. Wikipedia has an excellent description of Romantic Chess:

"Romantic chess was the style of chess prevalent in the 19th century. It was characterized by brash sacrifices and open, tactical games. Winning was secondary to winning with style, so much, in fact, that it was considered unsportsmanly to decline a gambit (the sacrifice of a pawn or piece to obtain an attack). It is no coincidence that the most popular openings played by the Romantics were the King's Gambit accepted and the Evans Gambit accepted. Some of the major players of the Romantic era were Adolf Anderssen, Paul Morphy and Henry Blackburne. The Romantic style was effectively ended on the highest level by Wilhelm Steinitz, who, with his more positional approach, crushed all of his contemporaries and ushered in the modern age of chess."

The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit is another opening in the same Romantic Chess style. In the United States, no one has done more in the last 30 years to promote this opening than "Mr. BDG", Tom Purser. Since October 2011, Tom has been away from his blog. One week ago today Purser returned. Glory Hallelujah!

I celebrate with a Purser win in a BDG Gunderam Variation which appeared in my Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook II (below are some of the notes from that book).

Purser-Alekhineim, USA Today Ladder 1991 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bf5 Gunderam Variation 6.Ne5 e6 7.g4 Bg6 8.Qf3 [The alternative is 8.Bg2 c6 9.h4 Bb4 10.0-0] 8...c6 9.g5 Nd5 The most popular move. 10.Bd3 How about a bishop swap? Actually, White just wants Black to leave f7 uncovered. 10...Nd7 Black challenges the knight on e5. 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.0-0 Once again White threatens checkmate. 12...Qe7 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.c4 White is ripping open the position to make use of Black's weaknesses. 14...0-0-0 15.cxd5 exd5 16.Bf4 Nb8 17.Rfe1 Qb4 18.Qg4+ Rd7 19.Re8# This was a well played game by Tom Purser, "Mr. BDG." 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, February 13, 2012

100 Most Common Basic Chess Opening Positions

Greg Shahade posted the excellent Greg On Chess: Opening Books on the USCF website. Greg main points were that opening books are Long, Lie, and Outdated. Having written four opening books myself, I think I understand where Greg is coming from.

Shahade discussed an issue that touches a nerve for many. "The chapters should be laid out in order of rating." Greg cites Silman's Endgame Course as a great example.

How many opening positions does the typical master or grandmaster know? Studies indicate that masters know about 10,000 patterns and grandmasters maybe about 100,000. But this does not point to how many of those are specific opening positions.

Players of the same rating class might know a widely differing number of opening moves. Those who follow tactically complex lines that involve sacrifice must know more positions by heart than those who play quiet lines. Main line players of 1.e4 or 1.d4 must know more exact variations than Flank Openings players of 1.b4 or 1.f4.

What would be a very basic knowledge level of opening positions? I decided to do some database work and discovered that 104 positions have occurred at least 50,000 times. Positions played over 50,000 times must be completely sound. What are the 104 most common positions? I divided them into Closed (1.d4) and Open (1.e4) Openings.

Closed 1.d4 Openings begin 1.d4 [1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4; 1.c4 Nf6 (1...e5) 2.Nf3 (2.d4; 2.Nc3) ; 1.f4] 1...Nf6 [1...d5 2.c4 (2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6) 2...e6 (2...c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3) 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3; 1...f5] 2.c4 [2.Nf3 d5 (2...g6 3.c4) ] 2...g6 [2...e6 3.Nf3 (3.Nc3 Bb4 (3...d5) ) 3...b6 (3...d5) ] 3.Nc3 [3.Nf3 Bg7] 3...Bg7 [3...d5] 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 *

Open 1.e4 Openings begin 1.e4 e5 [1...c5 2.Nf3 d6 (2...Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6; 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4) 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 (5...Nc6) ; 1...e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4; 1...c6 2.d4 d5; 1...d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3; 1...Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4; 1...d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3; 1...g6 2.d4 Bg7] 2.Nf3 Nc6 [2...Nf6] 3.Bb5 [3.Bc4] 3...a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 *

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rousseau Gambit Hayward-Kaplan

Keith Hayward left a comment on my post "Scandinavian Defence: The 1700 Rating Challenge" where I had played Mike Kaplan. Hayward wrote "I played Keith Kaplan too. He was very aggressive player."

They played an Italian Game (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4). One does not see the Rousseau Gambit (3...f5) played or analyzed very often. Clearly it is a critical response in that Black threatens 4...fxe4 and 4.exf5 e4! gives Black a good game.

Tim McGrew (wrote the Forward to my Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook II) has written three excellent articles for on the Rousseau Gambit. The first covers 4.d3 and all the other alternatives to the main line. The second covers 4.d4. The third covers a critical line sent to McGrew by Dennis Monokroussos.

For those who do not know Keith Hayward, he is a FIDE Master and an ICCF-IM known for his expertise in chess openings. You will find in Christoph Scheerer's book "The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit" on page 290 a game which "gave White got good play in K.Hayward-T.Sawyer, correspondence 2007". I assume Keith Kaplan is the National Master from Massachusetts or Rhode Island. On to their exciting contest!

Hayward-Kaplan,K. Jaffrey NH, 29.10.1978 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 f5 Rousseau Gambit 4.d4! [The other popular line here is 4.d3 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.0-0 Bxc3 7.bxc3 d6 8.Ng5 Qe7 9.Bf7++/= and although Black's king must move, White's advantage is not all that great.] 4...fxe4 [4...Qe7!? 5.0-0 fxe4 6.Nxe5 Nxe5 7.dxe5 Qxe5 8.Nc3 Nf6 9.Nd5 Nxd5 10.Bxd5 c6 11.Bxe4+/- Material is even, but the presence of the Black king and queen on the same open e-file is likely to cause big problems.] 5.Nxe5 Nxe5 [Tim McGrew recommends 5...d5 6.Bb5! (6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Qh5+ Ke7!=/+; 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Nxg6 Nf6 8.Qh4 Nxd4-/+) 6...Qd6 but the analysis by Monokroussos after 7.0-0+/- shows White is clearly better.] 6.dxe5 g6 [6...Qe7 7.0-0 Qxe5 see note to Black's fourth move.] 7.Qd5 Qe7 8.Bg5 Qe6 9.Qxe4 d5 10.Qxd5 [10.Bxd5 Qf5 11.Qxf5 Bxf5 12.Nc3+-] 10...Qxd5 11.Bxd5 Black is down two pawns and two tempi in development. There is no defence. 11...Be7 12.Bxe7 Nxe7 13.Nc3 c6 14.Bc4 Bf5 15.0-0-0 b5 16.Bd3 Be6 17.Ne4 0-0 18.Nf6+ Kg7 19.f3 a5 20.Kb1 a4 21.Be4 b4 22.Rd6 Bxa2+?! [Giving up the bishop is unsound, but it is a practical try for a miracle mating trap. If 22...Bf5 23.Bxf5 Nxf5 24.Rxc6 White is up three pawns.] 23.Kxa2 b3+ 24.cxb3 axb3+ 25.Kxb3 Rfb8+ 26.Kc2 Ra5 27.Nd7 Rb4 28.Rd2 c5 29.Rc1 Raa4 30.Nxc5 Rc4+ 31.Kd1 1-0

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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