Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stomped by an Elephant Gambit

What is your attitude when facing questionable gambits? Mine is to accept gambits and make them pay for material sacrificed. Of course, sometimes the gambiteer wins!

Almost any grandmaster would consider the Elephant Gambit to be questionable. The fact that I used to play it as Black reveals my non-grandmasterness quality.

Recently I was playing some 1.e4 blitz games and two different players played the Elephant Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5). I remembered the main line is 3.exd5 e4 4.Qe2 and White stands better. I found the gambit to be very tricky in a 3 minute blitz game when one does not remember the exact moves. I had played it correctly Thanksgiving 2011.

Both Elephants stomped on me pretty hard. In the main game, I was crushed but managed to survive and win. In the notes is a game I played well, but blundered and lost.

Sawyer-chelsee, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 23.06.2012 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 e4 [3...Bd6 4.d4 e4 5.Ne5+/=] 4.Qe2 Nf6 5.d3 Bb4+ [5...Bd6 6.dxe4 0-0 7.Bg5 (More common is 7.Nc3 Re8 8.Bg5+/-) 7...Nbd7 8.Nc3 a5 9.0-0-0 a4 10.a3 Qe7 11.Qd2 Bxa3 12.bxa3 Qxa3+ 13.Kb1 Qb4+ 14.Ka1 a3 15.Na4? (In one move I go from winning with 15.Rb1!+- to losing.) 15...Qxa4 16.Qc3 Nxe4 17.Qb3 Qa5 18.Bd3 Ndc5 19.Qc4 Nxd3 20.Rxd3 Nxf2 21.Rb3 Nxh1 22.Bd2 Qa6 23.Qd4 Qf1+ 24.Ka2 Qxg2 25.Ne5 Nf2 26.Rg3 Here things get a little sloppy. 26...Qf1? (26...Qe4-+) 27.Rxg7+? (27.Bh6!+-) 27...Kxg7 28.Ng4+? (28.Nxf7+ Kxf7=) 28...f6 29.Bh6+ Kg6 30.Nxf2 Kxh6 31.Qh4+ Kg6 32.Qg3+ Kf7 33.Qxc7+ Kg8 34.Qg3+ Kh8 35.Qh4 Bf5 36.Nd3 Bxd3 37.cxd3 Qe2+ 38.Kb3 Qxd3+ 39.Kb4 Qxd5 40.Qc4 Qxc4+ 41.Kxc4 a2 White resigns 0-1 Sawyer,T-jethro369/Internet Chess Club 2012] 6.Bd2 0-0 7.Bxb4 [7.dxe4! Re8 8.e5!+/=] 7...exf3 8.Qxf3 Re8+ 9.Be2 Bg4 10.Qg3 Bxe2 11.Kd2 Bh5 12.Na3 Nxd5 13.Bc3 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Qf6 15.Nc4 Qh6+ [15...Re2+! 16.Kc1 Qxc3-+ and Black would be mated in a few moves.] 16.f4 Re2+ 17.Kc1 Qg6 18.Qxg6 Bxg6 19.g4 h5 20.Ne5 hxg4 21.Nxg6 fxg6 22.Rg1 Rxh2 23.Rxg4 Rh1+ 24.Kb2 Rxa1 25.Kxa1 Nc6 26.Rxg6 Re8 27.c4 Kf7 28.Rg2 Re1+ 29.Kb2 Nd4 30.Kc3 Nf3 31.Rf2 Ng1 32.Kd2 Ra1 33.a4 Nh3 34.Rf3 Ng1? [This allows White back into the game. 34...Rh1-+ ] 35.Rf2 Kf6 36.Ke3 Rxa4 37.Rg2 Ra1 38.Rg3 Re1+ 39.Kf2 Rc1 40.Rxg1 Rxc2+ 41.Ke3 g6 42.Rh1 b5 43.cxb5 Rb2 44.Rh7 Rxb5 45.Rxc7 a5 46.Ra7 Kf5 47.Rf7+ Ke6 48.Ra7 Kf5 49.Rf7+ Kg4 50.Ke4 Rb4+ 51.d4 a4 52.Ra7 Kg3 53.Ke5 Kf3 54.d5 Rxf4? Now White is winning. 55.d6 Rf5+ 56.Ke6 Rf4 57.d7 Re4+ 58.Kf7 Rd4 59.Kxg6 a3 60.Rxa3+ Kf4 61.Ra7 Kg4 62.Kf7 Rf4+ 63.Ke7 Re4+ 64.Kd8 Kf5 65.Ra1 Ke6 66.Rd1 Rh4 67.Kc8 Rc4+ 68.Kb7 Rb4+ 69.Kc6 Rc4+ 70.Kb5 Rc1 71.d8Q Rxd1 72.Qxd1 Ke5 73.Qf3 Kd4 74.Qe2 Kd5 75.Qe3 Kd6 76.Qe4 Kd7 77.Qe5 Kc8 78.Qe7 Kb8 79.Kb6 Ka8 80.Qd8# Black is checkmated 1-0

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Don't Hide Your Chess Pieces

Jesus said no one lights a lamp and puts it under and basket. Lights are meant to shine! Hiding chess pieces behind pawns in the corner of the board keeps them from shining. Chess pieces are meant to be not only safe, but also active. This is especially true in the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Ryder 5.Qxf3 c6.

In the Bill Wall - Tammy Smith game below, after 13 moves, most of Black's pieces (including 1 queen, 2 rooks, 2 bishops and 1 knight) form an "L" form d6-d8-a8 hidden behind pawns on the queenside. On the kingside are Black's king and one knight.

As you might imagine, White's 14th move eliminates the only piece defending Black's kingside. White's attack crashes through. Don't hide your chess pieces.

Wall-Smith, Stony Point, NC .29), 1983 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Qxf3 c6 6.Be3 Bg4 7.Qf2 Qc7 7...e6 8.h3 Bd7 8...Bh5 9.0-0-0 e6 10.Bd3 Bd6 11.Nge2 0-0 12.Rdf1 Rc8 13.Qh4 Qd8 14.Rxf6 Qxf6 15.Qxh7+ Kf8 16.Ne4 Qg6 17.Qxg6 fxg6 18.Nxd6 1-0 [Notes by Wall]

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Early ...e5 vs Blackmar-Diemer

Fighting back against 1.d4 Black can try ...e7-e5 at various points: some good, some bad, some ugly. Today I beat one of them in 10 moves. There are 10 other possibilities.

Let's look at the eleven various early ...e5 tries:
1.d4 e5 - Englund Gambit. White can accept 2.dxe5 stands better.
1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 e5 - White just has to watch out for ...Nh5/...Qh4+.
1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 e5 4.dxe5 Nxe4 - Kraus-Muhlherr. Try 5.Bb5!+=.
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 - Maddigan Gambit. White can take 3.dxe5 +/-.
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d4 3.e4 e5 - Drops a pawn to 4.dxe5 Nxe4 5.Qxd5+/-.
1.d4 d5 2.e4 e5 - Bad version of the Center Game: 3.dxe5 +=.
1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.f3 e5 - Best response to the Blackmar Gambit.
1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e5 - Lemberger Counter Gambit. Good move.
1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 e5 - Elbert; Just wrong. See below.
1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Qxf3 e5 - Not good. 6.dxe5.
1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e5 - Interesting. 6.dxe5!?

Sawyer-SNAPPERED, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 26.06.2012 begins 1.d4 d5 [1...e5?! 2.dxe5+/-; 1...Nf6 2.Nc3 (2.f3 d5 (2...e5? 3.dxe5 Nh5 4.Nh3!+/-) 3.e4 e5!? 4.dxe5 Nxe4 5.Bb5+!+/=) 2...d5 (2...e5?! 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Nf3+/-) 3.e4 e5? 4.dxe5 Nxe4 5.Qxd5+/-] 2.e4 dxe4 [2...e5?! 3.dxe5 dxe4 4.Qxd8+ Kxd8 5.Nc3+/-] 3.Nc3 Nf6 [The Lemberger Counter Gambit 3...e5! is good but rare. White has many options: 4.Nxe4, 4.Nge2, 4.Qh5, 4.Be3 and 4.dxe5 are the most common.] 4.f3 e5? [4...exf3 5.Nxf3 (5.Qxf3 e5? 6.dxe5 Ng4 7.Bf4+/-) 5...e5!? 6.dxe5!? Qxd1+ 7.Kxd1 Ng4 8.Nd5 Kd7 9.Ke2+/=] 5.dxe5 Qxd1+ 6.Kxd1 Nfd7 7.Nd5 Kd8 8.Bg5+ f6 9.exf6 gxf6 10.Nxf6 Black resigns. Usually the game goes one more move: 10...Be7 11.Nxe4 1-0

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

103 Ruy Lopez Schliemann Repertoire with 4.d3

Welcome to Main Line Monday. Ruy Lopez Schliemann 4.d3 variation has the feel of a reversed King's Gambit Declined. There are several important points about this line, but the bottom line is that Black gets a playable game IF he knows what he is doing.

Most (but not all) variations below are in the book by GM Sabino Brunello "Attacking the Spanish". Brunello goes deeper and broader and provides alternatives and explanations.

[Event "Main Lines"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2012.06.25"]
[Round "?"]
[White "103 White Ruy Lopez"]
[Black "Schliemann 4.d3"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "C63"]
[Annotator "Sawyer, Timothy"]
[PlyCount "24"]
[SourceDate "2012.01.29"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 f5 4. d3 fxe4 5. dxe4 Nf6 6. O-O (6. Nc3 Bb4 7. Qd3
Bxc3+ 8. bxc3 (8. Qxc3 Nxe4 9. Qe3 d5 10. Nxe5 O-O) 8... O-O 9. O-O d6) (6. Bg5
Bc5 7. Nc3 d6 8. Nd5 (8. Bxf6 Qxf6 9. Nd5 Qd8 10. b4 Bb6 11. O-O (11. a4 a6)
11... Bg4) 8... Bxf2+ 9. Kxf2 Nxe4+ 10. Kg1 Nxg5 11. Nxg5 Qxg5 12. h4 (12.
Nxc7+ Kd7 13. Nxa8 Qe3+ 14. Kf1 Rf8+) 12... Qh6 13. Nxc7+ Kd8 14. Nxa8 Qe3+ 15.
Kh2 Qf4+) (6. Qd3 Bc5 7. Qc4 Qe7 8. O-O a6 9. Bxc6 dxc6 10. Nc3 Bg4) 6... Bc5
7. Nc3 (7. Bxc6 bxc6 8. Nxe5 O-O 9. Bg5 (9. Nc3 d6 10. Nd3 Bd4 11. Ne2 Bb6) (9.
Nd3 Nxe4) 9... Qe8 10. Bxf6 Rxf6 11. Nd3 Bd4 12. c3 Bb6 13. Nd2 d5) (7. Qd3 d6
8. Qc4 Qe7 9. Nc3 (9. b4 Be6 10. Bxc6+ bxc6 11. Qa6 Bb6) 9... Bd7 10. Nd5 Nxd5
11. exd5 Nd4 12. Bxd7+ Qxd7 13. Nxd4 (13. Nxe5 Qf5) 13... Bxd4) 7... d6 8. Bg5
(8. Be3 Bb6 9. Nd5 O-O 10. Bg5 Kh8 11. a4 Ne7) (8. Qd3 O-O 9. Bxc6 bxc6 10.
Qc4+ Kh8 11. Nxe5 Qe8) 8... O-O 9. Nd5 Kh8 10. Bc4 (10. c3 Ne7 11. Nxf6 gxf6
12. Bh6 Rg8) (10. Nh4 Nd4 11. Bd3 c6 12. Nxf6 gxf6) 10... Bg4 11. Nxf6 gxf6 12.
Bh6 Na5 *

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, June 18, 2012

102 Ruy Lopez Schliemann Repertoire with 5...Nf6

We continue the Main Line Monday Ruy Lopez Schliemann Repertoire. This week we consider the alternative line 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 Nf6. GM Nigel Davies recommends this in his Gambiteer II book. Davies gives some good lines that I have played. In fact I have personally played over 300 games with the Schliemann Gambit as Black.

My preference here has been more from the excellent book by GM Sabino Brunello: Attacking the Spanish. Regarding 5...Nf6 Brunello writes:

"This move appears to have superseded 5...d5 as the experts choice. Most notably it has been used by Radjabov, which is about as high a recommendation as one could ask for. Black develops another piece and challenges the opponent's centralised knight."

[Event "Main Lines"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2012.06.18"]
[Round "?"]
[White "102 White Ruy Lopez"]
[Black "Schliemann 5...Nf6"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "C63"]
[Annotator "Tim Sawyer"]
[PlyCount "34"]
[SourceDate "2012.01.29"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 f5 4. Nc3 fxe4 5. Nxe4 (5. Bxc6 dxc6) 5... Nf6 6.
Qe2 (6. Nxf6+ Qxf6 7. Qe2 (7. O-O Nd4 8. Nxd4 exd4 9. Re1+ Be7 10. Qe2 c6 11.
Bd3 d5 12. b3 O-O 13. Qxe7 Qxf2+ 14. Kh1 Bh3 15. Rg1 Rae8 16. Qxf8+ Qxf8 17.
Rf1 Bxg2+ 18. Kxg2 Qe7) 7... Be7 8. Bxc6 (8. O-O O-O) 8... dxc6 9. Nxe5 (9.
Qxe5 Bg4 10. Qxf6 Bxf6) 9... Bf5 10. O-O (10. d3 O-O 11. O-O Rae8) (10. d4 O-O)
10... O-O 11. d4 Bd6 12. c3 Be6 13. f4 Bxe5 14. dxe5 Qg6) (6. d3 d5 7. Nxf6+
Qxf6 8. Bg5 (8. Qe2 Bd6 9. Bg5 Qf5) 8... Qf5 9. Qd2 Bd6) 6... d5 7. Nxf6+ (7.
Ng3 Bd6 8. Nxe5 O-O 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. Bxc6 Rb8 11. O-O Rb6) (7. Nxe5 dxe4 8. Qc4
Qd5 9. Qxd5 Nxd5 10. Nxc6 Bd7) (7. Neg5 Bd6 8. Nxe5 O-O 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. Bxc6
Rb8) 7... gxf6 8. d4 Bg7 9. dxe5 O-O 10. e6 (10. Bxc6 bxc6 11. e6 Re8 12. O-O
Rxe6 13. Qd3 (13. Be3 c5 14. Qd2 d4) 13... a5 14. Nd4 Re4 15. Nxc6 Qd6 16. Nd4
Ba6 17. Nf5 Qe6) 10... Ne5 11. Bf4 (11. O-O Bxe6) 11... Qd6 12. O-O Qxe6 13.
Rfe1 (13. Qe3 Qb6 14. Qxb6 axb6) (13. Rae1 Qb6 14. Nxe5 fxe5 15. Bxe5 Bxe5 16.
Qxe5 Qxb5) 13... Qb6 14. Nxe5 fxe5 15. Bxe5 Bxe5 16. Qxe5 Qxb5 17. Qg5+ Kh8 *

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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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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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Albin-Counter Gambit Mate on h-file

Peter Mcgerald Penullar played a nice Albin Counter Gambit 5.a3 line where he won a short game quickly as Black.

White chose 4.a3 but transposed into one of the main lines: 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.a3 which is recommended by many for White. Penullar avoids the main lines 5...Nge7 and plays 5...Bf5. White gets good chances, but lets them slip. In the end, Peter executes a checkmate against the fianchetto pawn structure similar to a Sicilian Dragon reversed.

CaptainJimTKirk-penullar, PFCC U1750 Challenge - Board 3, 21.02.2012 begins 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 d4 4.a3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bf5 [The main line is 5...Nge7 6.b4 Ng6 7.Bb2 a5 8.b5 Ncxe5 when the position is close to equal.] 6.b4 Qd7 7.g3 [7.e3; 7.Nbd2] 7...0-0-0 8.Bg2 Bh3 [8...f6 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.0-0] 9.0-0 h5 10.Ng5?? [In one move the position goes from winning for White to an advantage for Black. 10.b5! Nb8 11.Qxd4!+-] 10...Bxg2 11.Kxg2 h4 [11...Nxe5!=/+] 12.Bf4 f6 13.exf6 [13.e6! Qe8 14.Nf7+/= would make things more difficult for Black.] 13...Nxf6? [13...gxf6! 14.Nf3 hxg3=/+] 14.Nf3? hxg3 15.hxg3 Qh3+ 16.Kg1 Qh1# 0-1

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