Thursday, January 31, 2013

Harimau Training Vienna Hara-Kiri

This is my final game in my holiday training blitz match against the strong computer Harimau. I got a really good position in the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Declined Vienna 5.g4 Hara-Kiri 7.Nxe4 variation. The line is sound but complex due to the scattered position of the White pawns. A tricky issue is where to place the White king, and when. One thing I picked up from this game was the value of grabbing the sometimes opened g-file with Rg1.

Recently I have gone back to working on the BDG more seriously. Usually I have two repertoires that I am playing at any given moment, preferably one with 1.d4 and one with 1.e4. Of course many lines can be reached via either 1st move when Black chooses common defences with 1...b6, 1...c6, 1...d6, 1..e6, or 1...g6.

Sawyer-Harimau, ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 30.12.2012 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Bf5 5.g4 Bg6 6.g5 Nd5 7.Nxe4 Nc6 8.Bb5 e6 9.Bxc6+ bxc6 10.Ne2 c5 11.dxc5 Nb4 12.Be3 Rb8 13.a3 Qxd1+ 14.Kxd1 Nd5 15.Bc1 h6 16.gxh6 gxh6 17.c4 [17.Rg1! Bg7 18.Ra2 Be5 19.b4 a5 20.Bb2 Bxb2 21.Rxb2 axb4 22.Kc1=] 17...Ne7 18.b4 Rd8+ 19.Ke1?! [19.Kc2!=] 19...Bg7 20.Ra2 Nc6 21.Rd2 Ke7 22.Bb2? [22.Kf2 Ne5=/+] 22...Bxb2 23.Rxb2 Ne5 24.Kf2? [24.Nf2 Nxf3+ 25.Kf1 Rhg8-+] 24...Nd3+ White resigns 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Harimau Caro-Kann Exchange

The Caro-Kann Defence Exchange Variation 4.Bd3 has a line that I sometime reach when playing the London System as White. For example, 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 c5 3.e3 Nc6 4.c3 cxd4 5.exd4 Nf6 6.Bd3 reaches the position after 6.Bf4 in the game below. I messed up by my 20th move and things went downhill from there.

Sawyer-Harimau, ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 30.12.2012 begins 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Nf6 6.Bf4 Bg4 7.Qb3 Qc8 8.Nd2 e6 9.Ngf3 Be7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Ne5 Bh5 12.Rae1 Bd6 13.Bg3 [13.h3!?; 13.Nxc6 Qxc6 14.Bxd6 [Deep Rybka 4] 14...Qxd6 15.Re3] 13...Qc7 14.f4 Bg6 15.f5 Bxf5 16.Bxf5 exf5 17.Rxf5 Rae8 18.Ndf3 Re6 19.Ng5 Re7 20.Rff1? [20.Ngf3] 20...Nxe5 21.dxe5 Bxe5 22.Bxe5 Rxe5 23.Rxe5 Qxe5 24.Nf3 Qe3+ 25.Kh1 Rb8 26.Re1 Qc5 27.Nd4 a6 28.Qd1 Ne4 29.Qe2 Re8 30.Kg1 g6 31.Qe3 Qa5 32.a3 Nd6 33.Qf2 Rxe1+ 34.Qxe1 Qd8 35.h3 Nc4 36.Qc1 Qe7 37.a4 Qe4 38.b3 Nd6 39.Qc2 [39.Qd2 Kg7 40.Nc2 Nf5-/+] 39...Qe1+ 40.Kh2 Ne4 41.c4 Qg3+ 42.Kg1 Qe3 0-1 

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Harimau Training Alekhine Defence

Just before New Years Day, I decided to play a short training match against the computer program Harimau. It was rated 3002 for this game and slightly lower for the other two games. At that level, I am not expecting to defeat it. The tactics of a 3000 rated computer are nearly flawless. However, I do want to see how it handles various lines I might play.

The Alekhine Defense is one of my favorite openings from either side. I have played it thousands of times trying every variation. In the Alekhine Defence game below, Harimau followed the lines given for White by GM Roman Dzindzichasvili until the computer found an improvement with 15...b6! leading to equal play. Only the queens were off the board. There were many open lines and possibilities for all the rest of the pieces, a perfect scenario for most grandmasters. Using Houdini I found some improvements for White over my play which I note below.

Sawyer-Harimau, ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 29.12.2012 begins 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6 cxd6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Rc1 0-0 9.b3 e5 [Not 8...N8d7 because of 9.c5!+- winning.] 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Qxd8 Rxd8 12.c5 N6d7 13.Bc4 Nc6 14.Nf3 Na5 15.Be2 b6! 16.cxb6 [16.0-0 bxc5 17.Ne4 Bb7 18.Nxc5 Nxc5 19.Rxc5 Nc6 20.Bc4=; 16.Na4 Nxc5 17.Nxc5 bxc5 18.Rxc5 Bf8 19.Rxe5 Nc6 20.Re4 Nb4 21.0-0 Bb7 22.Rd4 Nxa2=] 16...Nxb6 17.0-0 Bb7 18.Rfd1 Rxd1+ 19.Bxd1 [19.Rxd1 Rc8! (19...h6 20.Bf1 Bc6 21.Nd2+/=) 20.Nb5 Nd5 21.Bxa7 Rc2 22.Bf1 Rxa2 23.b4=] 19...Rc8 20.Ne2 Nc6 21.Nc3 Nb4 22.a3 Nd3 23.Rc2 e4 24.Nd4 Rd8 25.Nde2 f5 26.g3 Ba6 27.Nc1 [27.Rd2 Kf7+/=] 27...Nxc1 28.Rxc1 Bxc3 29.Rxc3 Rxd1+ 30.Kg2 Bf1+ 31.Kg1 Bh3# White checkmated 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, January 28, 2013

108 - 1.d4/2.c4 Repertoire: Queens Gambit Decl.

Welcome to Main Line Monday! We continue with the 1.d4 / 2.c4 repertoire for White. Today we present a classical approach after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 where Black does not take 2...dxc4 nor play 2...c6. The majority of the coverage is on the Queens Gambit Declined. There are many ways to play as White. The most common strategy given is the take on 4.cxd5 and hinder the active development of Black's light squared bishop. The main line uses the White set-up of Bg5/e3/Qc2/Bd3/Nf3/0-0 usually followed by a minority attack on the queenside.

[Event "Main Lines"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2012.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "108 1.d4 / 2.c4"]
[Black "Queen's Gambit Declined"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "D30"]
[Annotator "Sawyer,Timothy E"]
[PlyCount "23"]
[SourceDate "2012.01.29"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 (2... Nc6 3. Nf3 Bg4 (3... e5 4. dxe5) (3... e6 4. Nc3 Nf6 5.
Bg5 Be7 6. e3 O-O 7. Rc1) 4. cxd5 Bxf3 5. gxf3 Qxd5 6. e3 e5 7. Nc3 Bb4 8. Bd2
Bxc3 9. bxc3 Qd6 10. Rb1) (2... e5 3. dxe5 d4 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. a3 Bg4 6. Nbd2) (
2... Nf6 3. cxd5 Nxd5 4. Nf3 e6 5. e4) 3. Nc3 Nf6 (3... Be7 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Nf3
) (3... c5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. Bg5 Be7 7. Bxe7 Ngxe7 8. e3) (3... Bb4 4.
cxd5 exd5 5. Nf3) 4. cxd5 exd5 (4... Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 (5... Nf6 6. Nf3) 6. bxc3
c5 7. Nf3 cxd4 8. cxd4 Bb4+ (8... Nc6 9. Bc4) 9. Bd2 Bxd2+ 10. Qxd2 O-O 11. Bc4
Nc6 12. O-O b6 13. Rad1) 5. Bg5 Be7 (5... c6 6. Qc2 Nbd7 7. e3) (5... Bf5 6.
Bxf6 gxf6 7. Qb3) (5... Bb4 6. Nf3 Nbd7 (6... h6 7. Bh4 g5 8. Bg3 Ne4 9. Nd2) (
6... O-O 7. Qc2) 7. e3 c5 8. Bd3 Qa5 9. Qc2 c4 10. Bf5 O-O 11. O-O Re8 12. Nd2
g6 13. Bxd7 Nxd7 14. Rae1) 6. e3 c6 (6... O-O 7. Bd3 Nbd7 8. Nf3 Re8 9. Qc2 Nf8
10. O-O) (6... Nbd7 7. Bd3) (6... h6 7. Bh4 O-O 8. Bd3) 7. Qc2 Nbd7 (7... O-O
8. Bd3 h6 9. Bh4 Re8 10. Nf3) 8. Bd3 O-O (8... Nh5 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Nge2 g6 11.
O-O) (8... h6 9. Bh4) (8... Nf8 9. Nf3 Ne6 10. Bh4 g6 11. O-O) 9. Nf3 Re8 (9...
h6 10. Bh4) 10. O-O Nf8 (10... h6 11. Bh4 Ne4 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Bxe4 dxe4 14.
Nd2) 11. h3 (11. Rab1 a5 12. a3) 11... g6 (11... Be6 12. Rab1) (11... Ne4 12.
Bf4) (11... Ng6 12. Bxf6) 12. Rab1 *

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

French Battle Alapin vs Allan Kaletsky

In the French Defence Alapin Gambit Declined with 3.Be3 Nf6, White should play 4.e5! Early on in my Blackmar-Diemer Gambit playing days I used to prefer 4.f3. This was because I got the same position by transposition after 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 e6 4.Nc3.

My game against Allan Kaletsky was played in the 1989 USCF Golden Knights Postal Tournament where we both made about one more per week. The position became closed when I played 7.e5 and he played 9...c4. This locked in our bad bishops. After many months of maneuvering, I finally achieved a winning rook ending.

Sawyer (2011) - Kaletsky (1523), corr USCF 89N214, 26.12.1990 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 e6 3.Be3 Nf6 4.f3 Be7 5.Nd2 b6 6.c3 c5 7.e5 [With this, the game moves clearly into a positional struggle typical of the French Defense. Another approach is 7.Bd3 0-0 8.Rc1 Nc6 9.e5 Nd7 10.f4 f5 11.g4!? Daring. (11.Ndf3+/=) 11...Bh4+ 12.Kf1 cxd4 13.cxd4 Nb4 14.Bb1 Ba6+ 15.Kg2 Nd3 16.Bxd3 Bxd3 17.g5 Bxg5+/= and 0-1 in 37. Webster - Schroeder, Elo Open 1988] 7...Nfd7 8.f4 Ba6! 9.Ngf3 c4?! [This positional error traps in Black's bad bishop. Better is to trade off the light squared bishops with 9...Bxf1 10.Nxf1=] 10.Be2 Qc7 11.0-0 Nc6 12.a4 [12.Qc2+/=] 12...Bb7 13.Kh1 h6 14.Qc2 a6 15.Rfc1 [15.f5+/=] 15...Nf8 16.Qb1 b5 17.b4 g5 18.axb5 axb5 19.Rxa8+ Bxa8 20.Qa2 Bb7 21.g3 f6 22.exf6 Bxf6 23.Kg1 g4 24.Ne5 h5 25.Qc2 Qg7 26.Nf1 Bxe5 27.fxe5 Ne7 28.Bf2 Nh7 29.Be3 Ng5 30.Bxg5 Qxg5 31.Qd2 Qxd2 32.Nxd2 Nf5 33.Ra1 0-0 34.Nf1 Rf7 35.h3 Nh6 36.Ne3 Nf5 37.Nxf5 exf5 38.Kf2 Re7 [38...Bc8 39.Ke3 gxh3 40.Kf4 h2 41.Bf3 Be6 42.Rh1+/-] 39.Ke3 Bc8 40.Ra8 Rc7 41.Rb8 Kf7 42.Rxb5 Ra7 43.Rxd5 [43.hxg4! fxg4 44.Rxd5+-] 43...Ra3 44.Rc5 Rxc3+ 45.Kf4 Rc2 46.Rxc8 [46.Bxc4+!+-] 46...Rxe2 47.hxg4 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, January 26, 2013

First Time USCF Postal Master vs Blood

The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Teichmann was the variation that made me a USCF Postal Master for the first time. In this Teichman Retreat Variation, White usually occupies the center in much the same fashion as in the Gunderam Variation (5...Bf5 6.Ne5). The point is to be able to capture the bishop on g6 doubling Black's pawns, as well as to free f3 for the White queen or to play Bg2 hitting b7.

Theory favors White in most lines after 8.Ne5:
"+=" [Euwe].
"with excellent prospects for White." [Horowitz]
"White has considerable space and piece-activity for his pawn.'' [Maddox]

My opponent was John Blood, Sr. As I recall, he was usually rated over 2000 in those days, but I caught him here at a slightly lower point. We find that his choice of 8...Ne4 is risky compared to the normal 8...e6. The most curious move was the recapture on g6 with 10...fxg6?! Fortunately for me, this game proved to be a good example of catching a Black king in the center with an unmoved isolated pawn on e7!

Sawyer (2200) - Blood (1966), corr USCF 89N214, 16.04.1990 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Nc3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.g4 Bg6 8.Ne5 Ne4? 9.Nxg6 [This can transpose to lines with 9.Qf3 but even stronger is 9.Bg2! Nxc3 10.bxc3 c6 11.Rb1+-] 9...Nxc3 10.Qf3 fxg6? [Black was trying to avoid 10...hxg6 11.bxc3+/-] 11.bxc3 c6 12.Bc4 Qb6 13.0-0 Nd7 14.Bf7+ [14.Bf4+- also gives White a very strong attack, however there is a great practical advantage is keeping Black from castling.] 14...Kd8 15.Be6 Qa5 16.Rb1 Qa6 17.g5 b5 18.Bf4 Qb6 [18...Qb7 19.c4+-] 19.Bg3 Rc8 20.Rf2 c5 21.d5 [21.Bxd7+-] 21...c4 22.Kg2 Rc5 23.Rbf1 Nf6 24.gxf6 [24.Be5! wins more material since 24...Nd7 25.Qxf8+! mates in two.] 24...exf6 25.d6 Rc6 [25...Qc6 26.Re1 Qxf3+ 27.Kxf3 h5 28.Rd2+-] 26.Rd1 h6 27.Be5! Rxd6 28.Qa8+ Ke7 29.Bxd6+ This BDG win put my USCF correspondence rating to 2200 (master level) for the first time. 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Beam Me Up Scotty Louden Time Warp

Postal chess games often last months, and sometimes years. Players of all skill level stop playing while the game is in progress for all sorts of reasons. I do not remember if Scotty Louden withdrew officially or just did not move until his time ran out. In any case, the game ended after 15 moves in this Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Euwe variation from the USCF 1989 Golden Knights. The good thing about going over this game now 20 years later is that I have found improvements for White that I missed back then.

Note that players were not allowed to use computers to select their moves. Although, most chess engines back at that time were not very strong. At normal speeds on most computers, chess engines only looked ahead 4-5 ply. When this game was played in 1989, I was using a Commodore 64. By the early 1990s, things sped up a lot!

Sawyer (2190) - Louden (1776), corr USCF 89N214, 10.04.1990 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bd3 c5 8.dxc5 Qa5 9.0-0 Nc6 10.a3 Qxc5+ 11.Kh1 Bd7 12.Qd2 Rd8 13.Rae1 [13.b4!?] 13...0-0 14.Qf4 [Houdini sees that 14.b4! Qb6 15.b5 wins a piece, since if Black tries to hold it with 15...Na5 16.Na4 Qc7 then 17.Bf4 Bd6 18.Bxd6 Qxd6 19.Bxh7+ Nxh7 20.Qxd6 loses a queen.] 14...h6 15.Qh4?! [15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.Ne4 Qe7 17.c3 and White has some compensation for the pawn.] 1-0 [Black forfeits on time.]

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