Friday, May 31, 2013

Your Gambits Accepted! Or Not!!

"May all your gambits be accepted!" I don't know who first said it. I am sure I have read it. But often you have just as good a position if your opponent declines your gambit! For one thing, when your opponent turns down your offered sacrifice, you have more material than you would have had. For another thing, your own pieces were probably poised to pounce immediately upon the gambit acceptance. Those pieces are still raring to go. Let them fly!

We finish the month with a nice Blackmar-Diemer Gambit checkmate. Here in a blitz game vs bcnjjj (rated 1702), there is a little stutter step at the beginning. We start off with a Scandinavian after 1.e4 d5. I know 2.exd5 is normal, but I also like 2.Nc3 (transposing to a favoirte: 1.Nc3 d5 2.e4). Here I choose 2.d4 (heading for a BDG). With 4.f3 we reach the BDG starting position. Black declines my gambit in 4.f3 e3 Langeheinecke fashion. Here is a good example of this BDG Declined variation.

Sawyer-bcnjjj, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 07.02.2013 begins 1.e4 d5 2.d4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 e3 5.Bxe3 e6 6.Bd3 Be7 7.Nh3 h6 8.0-0 Nd5 9.Bd2 Bf6 10.Ne2 b6 11.Nhf4 Nxf4 12.Bxf4 Bb7 13.c3 0-0 14.Qd2 Nd7 15.Ng3 c5 16.Bxh6 gxh6 [16...cxd4 17.cxd4 Bxd4+ 18.Be3 Ne5 19.Be4 Bc5 20.Qc3 Bxe3+ 21.Qxe3 Bxe4 22.Nxe4=] 17.Qxh6 Re8 [17...Bxd4+ 18.cxd4 f5 19.Qxe6+ Rf7 20.Bc4 Qf6 21.Qxd7 Raf8 22.Bxf7+ Rxf7 23.Qe8+ Rf8 24.Qe5+-] 18.Bh7+ Kh8 19.Bg6+ Kg8 20.Qh7+ Kf8 21.Qxf7# Black checkmated 1-0

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

Juggernot of BDG Poehlmann Dutch

The Poehlmann Variation 3...f5 is a cross between the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit and the Dutch Defence Staunton Gambit with an early ...d5. The difference is which Black pawn captures on e4. If it is ...fxe4, then it's a Dutch. The BDG move order for the Poehlmann is seen below: 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 f5. About half the time White plays good bishop moves like 4.Bg5, 4.Bf4 or 4.Bc4. The other half he plays in BDG style with 4.f3.

Here in a BDG Poehlmann three minute blitz game, we see how easy it is for a good player to walk into a dangerous position. My attention was on playing for mate. At 2 seconds per move I did not always find the best moves, but I did get to the Black king. He avoided getting mated only by immediate resignation.

Sawyer - JUGGERNOT, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 29.12.2012 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 f5 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Nf6 6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0 Bd6 8.Bg5 [8.Ng5!+/- likely regains the gambit pawn with a better position.] 8...0-0 9.Qe1 Re8 10.Qh4 h6 11.Bxh6?! [I knew this was risky, but it was fun blitz game. A more sane approach is 11.Bxf6 Qxf6 12.Qxf6 gxf6 13.Nh4=] 11...gxh6 12.Qxh6 Qe7 13.Ng5 Qg7 14.Qh4 Nc6? [Black should protect f5 with 14...Qg6 and a critical line might be 15.Ne2 Nc6 16.Rae1 Na5 17.Bxe6+ Bxe6 18.Nxe6 Rxe6 19.Nf4 Bxf4 20.Rxe6 Bg5-/+] 15.Rxf5 Na5 [Now I play a very nice attack all the way to the end. Black could play 15...Nh7 16.Nxh7 Qxd4+ 17.Qxd4 Nxd4 18.Nf6+ Kf7 19.Rf2+/-] 16.Rxf6!? [I was focused on playing for mate, but of course picking off the queenside knight 16.Rxa5+- wins.] 16...Nxc4 17.Raf1 [17.Nce4 Rf8 18.Raf1+-] 17...Be7 18.Rf7 [18.Qh5+-] 18...Qg6 19.Nce4 Ne3 20.Nf6+ [A more crisp mate is 20.R1f6! Bxf6 21.Nxf6+ Qxf6 22.Qh7#] 20...Bxf6 21.R1xf6 Qxc2 22.Rg7+ Kxg7 23.Qh6+ Kg8 24.Rg6+ Qxg6 25.Qxg6+ Black resigns 1-0

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

Old Chess Opening Problem in the Modern Defence

Pawns are employed to both protect your own king and attack your opponent's king. This is demonstrated best by the f-pawn, which also presents an old problem. When a player quickly develops his king's knight to Nf3 or Nf6, his f-pawn cannot move. Such early knight moves are solid but not always aggressive. Therefore an enterprising player will push the f-pawn first! A characteristic of the Modern Defence is an early ...g6 without an early ...Nf6. This allows for the quick advance of the f7-pawn, for better or worse.

In the Modern Defence blitz game vs "catz" below, the players use moves 7-8 to castle opposite sides and move their f-pawns. With the center closed, White's f3 pawn prepares an attack. Black's risky advance of 7...f5 is followed by 9.g4 f4 to reduce pawn play on the kingside. When Black tries to open up the queenside, his position falls apart tactically. White's bishops weave around the Black pawns to obtain a winning position.

Sawyer - catz, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 06.02.2013 begins 1.d4 d6 2.e4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Be3 Nd7 5.Qd2 e5 [5...c6; 5...a6] 6.d5 [6.dxe5 Nxe5 7.Nf3 Nxf3+ 8.gxf3+/=] 6...Ne7 7.0-0-0 f5 8.f3 0-0 9.g4 f4 10.Bf2 c5? 11.dxc6 bxc6 12.Qxd6 Rf6 13.Qd2 a5 14.Bh4 Rf7 15.Bc4 Black resigns 1-0

Copyright by Tim Sawyer 2013. Send your games for this blog to:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Swap One Advantage for Another in Dutch

Winning chess strategy involves successfully transitioning through the phases of a game. Today's game has five very clear phases: 1. Fight for the center in the early opening. 2. Activate all my pieces in the early middlegame. 3. Exchange into a better bishop ending. 4. Reach a winning pawn ending. 5. Queen my pawn and stop my opponent's pawn.

The Dutch Defence variation is reached by transposition. After 1.Nc3 f5, White has two good choices: 2.d4 and 2.e4. I always pick the one I feel like playing at the moment. Clearly by move four we are in original territory. This is a powerfully simple game.

Sawyer-challanger100, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 29.12.2012 begins 1.Nc3 f5 2.d4 [2.e4!?] 2...e6 3.e4 Nf6 [3...fxe4 4.Nxe4+/=, but if 4.f3?! Bb4!=/+ White would only have a little compensation for the gambit pawn.] 4.e5 Nd5 5.Nxd5 exd5 6.Nf3 [6.Nh3!+/- with plans to eventually play Nf4 is more dynamic.] 6...d6 7.Bg5 Be7 8.exd6 Qxd6 9.Bxe7 Qxe7+ 10.Qe2 Qxe2+ 11.Bxe2 0-0 12.0-0 c6 13.Bd3 g6 14.Ne5 Nd7 15.Nxd7 Bxd7 16.f4 Rfe8 17.Rfe1 Kf7 18.Kf2 Rxe1 19.Rxe1 Re8 20.Rxe8 Bxe8 21.b4 Kf6 22.Ke3 h6 23.h4 g5 24.hxg5+ hxg5 25.g3 gxf4+ 26.Kxf4 Bd7 27.Be2 b6 28.g4 [White could probe the position a little more with 28.Bh5+/-] 28...fxg4 29.Bxg4 Bxg4 30.Kxg4 Ke6 31.Kg5 Kd6 [Interesting but failing is 31...a5?! 32.b5! cxb5 33.c3 b4 34.cxb4 axb4 35.Kg6+- White wins due to his king position, despite Black's extra b-pawn. Eventually Black will run out of tempi and have to back up his king. Black should play 31...b5! 32.Kg6 Ke7 with a draw.] 32.Kf6 c5 33.c3 a5 34.a3 cxb4 35.cxb4 axb4 36.axb4 Kc6 37.Ke6 Kb5 38.Kxd5 Kxb4 39.Kc6 Kc4 40.d5 b5 41.d6 b4 42.d7 b3 43.d8Q b2 44.Qd1 Black resigns 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, May 27, 2013

Blackmar-Diemer vs Gruenfeld

"CzwartyWymiar": "Dear Mr Sawyer; Preparing the BDG against a black Grunfeld which variation from your blog should I best study? Kind regards, Mart Renders."

I suggested he click on Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Bogoljubow games. White has two good strategies after ...d5xe4xf3: 6.Bc4 / 7.0-0 / 8.Qe1-Qh4 or 6.Bf4 / 7.Qd2 / 8.0-0-0.
"CzwartyWymiar" replied: "Thank you very much for your answer. Lets see if we can provide your blog with interesting new material......."
We can only hope! Below is an interesting game using the first White strategy above.

Here is a good example of a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Bogoljubow against the computer program "counterplay" rated 2756. This five minute game was played in my prime when I was under age 50 and still a pretty good blitz player. Experience leads to confidence in being able to clearly teach important chess concepts. Another advantage of being older is knowing what typically matters in life, and what usually doesn't. Foot speed and brain speed for calculation become slightly slower with age. However as in sports, older coaches can be very effective in guiding young competitors to success.

Sawyer (2324) - counterplay (2756), ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 12.01.2000 begins  1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Qe1 Nc6 9.Qh4 Ng4 10.Bf4 Nxd4 11.Ng5 Nh6 12.Rad1 White is fully developed, so even though he is down two pawns. Black is not yet able to use all his own material, so White has great practical chances. 12...Bd7 [12...e5 13.Bxe5! an improvement (13.Be3 Diemer-Gunderam, 1970 which was drawn in 16.) 13...Bxe5 14.Qxh6 and Black must give up his Queen to prevent immediate mate.] 13.g4! envisioning the sacrifice to follow. 13...Nxc2 14.Nxh7 Kxh7 15.Bxh6 Bxh6 16.g5 Kg8 17.Qxh6 White's boldness has been rewarded. 17...Bf5 18.Rxf5 e6 19.Rxd8 Raxd8 20.Bxe6 [not bad, however, 20.Ne4! forces mate in seven.] 20...fxe6 21.Qxg6+ Kh8 22.Qh6+ Kg8 23.Rxf8+ Rxf8 24.g6 [24.Qg6+! Kh8 25.Ne4 Rd8 26.Qh6+ Kg8 27.g6 and mate in 5 after a few spite checks] 24...Rf7 25.gxf7+ Kxf7 26.Qh7+ [26.Ne4 mates in six, but I wanted to simply get rid of Black's last piece with the shortness of time.] 26...Kf6 27.Qxc2 a6 28.Qf2+ Ke5 Black resigns 1-0

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

James Regan in Dutch Defence Staunton

My final USCF rated postal chess game against James Regan was another attempt at a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, this time with the Dutch Defence. After 1.d4 f5 2.e4 d5 we reached a position that could have been played in the standard BDG move order with 1.d4 d5 2.e4 f5. I get a little crazy with my g-pawn, attacking kingside in a game where Black castles queenside.

This finishes my eight game series vs James Regan. Overall I was +5 =1 -2, going 3-1-1 in rated games. However, I did get the advantage of the pairings with White in five of the eight games. It was fun for me to experiment with sharp openings in those years before we had the accurate computer evaluations that exist today.

Sawyer-Regan, corr USCF 1989 begins 1.d4 f5 2.e4 d5?! [2...fxe4 is the normal Staunton Gambit.] 3.exf5 [3.exd5!+/-] 3...Bxf5 4.g4!? Bd7 5.Nc3 e6 6.g5?! [6.Nf3=] 6...Ne7 7.Bd3 Nbc6 8.Nf3 Nb4 9.Be2 Ng6 10.a3 Nc6 11.Bd3 Bd6 12.Qe2 Qe7 13.Be3 0-0-0 [13...Nf4!-/+] 14.0-0-0 Nf4 15.Qf1 Nxd3+ 16.Qxd3 Rdf8 17.Ng1 Be8 18.Nge2 a6 19.h4 [19.Qd2 Bh5-/+] 19...Bg6 20.Qd2 h5 [20...Bxa3! is quite promising.] 21.gxh6 gxh6 22.Kb1 Bh5 23.Bxh6 Rxf2 24.Bg5 Qf7 25.Qe3 Rf8 26.Rde1 Qf5 27.Qh3 Kd7 28.Qxf5 R8xf5 29.Be3 R2f3-/+ 0-1

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

Regan Vienna Game 3.Bc4 Nxe4

Welcome to 900! Yes, this is my 900th posting on this blog. Thanks for reading! In this postal game James Regan tries a Vienna Game 3.Bc4 Nxe4 variation. Instead of my normal favorite 4.Qh5 line that sometimes has Black sacrificing the Exchange by move 10, White goes in for 4.Bxf7!? in Jerome Gambit fashion. The line leads simply to positions with equal chances. However in this unrated game James Regan outplays me.

Regan-Sawyer, corr 1989 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Bxf7+!? [4.Qh5 Nd6 5.Bb3 is the main line.] 4...Kxf7 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Qf3+?! [6.Nc3=] 6...Kg8 7.Ng3? c6 8.Qe2 Bd6 9.d3 Nd7 10.Nf3 Qe7? [This allows a nasty knight fork. Better is to keep going with 10...Qf6=] 11.Bd2 [11.Nf5!+/-] 11...Nf6 12.0-0-0 Bg4 13.h3 Bxf3 14.gxf3 g6? [14...Qd7=] 15.Rde1 Kf7 16.h4 h5 17.Qf1 Qc7 18.Qg2 Rae8 19.Rh3 [19.Rhg1+/-] 19...Rhg8 20.Kb1 a5 21.Ne2 b5 22.Rg1 Re6?! 23.d4 [23.Rg3+/-] 23...b4 [23...exd4!=] 24.Rg3 Nd7 25.Rg5 1-0

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Friday, May 24, 2013

James Regan Week: French Defence Sawyer

Today's game features James Regan playing an original move against my own BDG style French Defence Sawyer Variation after 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 e6 3.e4 d5 4.Bg5. This is a classic battle of chess opening strategies. White wants to open lines for attack using a space advantage and active pieces. Black wants to close everything off.

In this game Black gets carried away and closes off too much with 9...c4?!, a typical mistake in strategy. Black has a little short term activity on the queenside, but the long term advantage would be with White in a potential kingside attack.

Sawyer-Regan, corr USCF 1989 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 e6 3.e4 d5 4.Bg5 [Sawyer Variation] 4...c6 [This is the only time I have ever seen this solid but passive move. If 4...Be7 then 5.e5 (or 5.Nc3 are reasonable.) ] 5.e5 h6 6.Be3 [6.Bh4=] 6...Nfd7 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qc1 c5 9.c3 c4?! [Closing this position does not generally lead to much unless Black is ready to make a pawn break on the queenside. 9...Nc6= ] 10.Nf3 Qc7 11.Be2 b5 12.a3 Nc6 13.Nbd2 Be7 14.0-0 Rb8 15.g4 Nb6 16.b4 a5 17.Bd1 0-0 18.Bc2 axb4 19.axb4 Ra8 20.Rxa8 Nxa8 21.Rf2 Bd8 [21...Nb6 22.Bb1=] 22.Nf1 [22.Bb1+/=] 22...f5 [This gives White a huge advantage. Black might try 22...Nb6 23.Ng3+/-] 23.exf6+- 1-0

Copyright by Tim Sawyer 2013. Send your games for this blog to:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Regan BDG Bogoljubow 8.Qe1

Why play offhand games that are not rated? Because you can learn something. Here in a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Bogoljubow game where James Regan playing Black uncorked the creative 9.Qh4 g5!? Pushing the g-pawn again in the BDG Bogo is very rare, but it does help defend against White's mating attack.

Combined with 8...Bf5, the advance of the g-pawn allows the Black bishop to cover h7 while still attacking c2. I missed chances to get a bigger advantage. Then I misplayed a winning combination. Eventually I was rewarded when Black blundered away his queen.

Sawyer-Regan, corr, 1989 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Qe1 Bf5 9.Qh4 g5!? [An original concept. If 9...Nc6 reaches a very common position. 10.h3!] 10.Bxg5 Bxc2 11.Ne5 Bg6 12.Rad1 Nc6 13.Nxg6 [13.Rf3+/-] 13...hxg6 14.Ne4 [Again 14.Rf3+/- ] 14...Na5? [14...Nxe4 15.Qxe4 Qd6=] 15.Rxf6?! [Right idea. Inexact timing. The better winning move order is 15.Bxf6! exf6 16.Rxf6!] 15...Nxc4 16.Kh1 Nxb2 17.Rd2 Nc4 18.Rd3 Ne3 19.Rxe3 Qxd4 20.Re1 [20.Rf1+/-] 20...exf6 21.Bxf6 Qb4 22.Be7 Qxe1+? [Big blunder. 22...Qa5 23.Ng5 Bh6 24.Ne4 Bg7= repeats moves.] 23.Qxe1 1-0

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