Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hans Kmoch Pawn Power Pirc

Something I learned from the classic Hans Kmoch book "Pawn Power in Chess" 40 years ago was a tactical idea that often works against Black fianchetto pawn structures such as the King's Indian, Benoni or Pirc. The idea is angle for a Nf5 sacrifice. From f5 the knight may attack the Bg7. If gxf5, Black's king position becomes dangerously open.

Black is headed toward a King's Indian Defence when my attempt at transposition into a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit led me to take up a Pirc Defence line. This is a major branch of the Pirc Defence 4.Be3 / 5.f3 variation, these two moves sometimes being played in reverse order. The move 4.Be3 is more flexible, as it could be combined with Nf3 and h3. The attacking plan in the Pirc Defence 6.Qd2 variation is for White to play moves like 7.0-0-0 and a later Bh6. The kingside pawns will be set on e4-f3-g4-h4-h5. In this postal game vs James Regan, what Kmoch calls the Benoni Jump 14.Nf5!? works well.

Sawyer (2043) - Regan (2229), corr USCF 89N286, 20.12.1990 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d6 3.e4 g6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Nc3 0-0 6.Qd2 Be6 [6...c6 7.0-0-0; or 6...e5 7.Nge2] 7.0-0-0 c6 8.Bh6 Qa5 9.Nge2 [Better is 9.Bxg7 Kxg7 10.d5+/=] 9...Bc4 [9...Bxa2!=] 10.g4 Rd8 11.Kb1 Nbd7 12.Ng3 Ba6 [12...Nb6 13.Bd3+/=] 13.Rg1 Nf8 14.Nf5!? gxf5 15.gxf5 Ng6 16.fxg6 hxg6 17.Bxa6 Qxa6 18.Qg5 [Very strong is 18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.f4!+-] 18...b6 19.h4 Qc8 20.Ne2 Nh7 21.Qf4 e5 22.Qe3 c5 23.dxc5 [23.Bxg7!+-] 23...dxc5 24.Rxd8+ Qxd8 25.Bxg7 Kxg7 26.h5 Qd6 27.Ng3 Kh8 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, May 6, 2013

Englund Gambit: Every Chess Game Tells Story

Every chess game tells a story. Your opening moves show what you are thinking and demonstrate your style: how you play the game of chess. Many players follow the safety of theory from popular lines in grandmaster practice. More methodical players may select a comfortable system of development they can repeat again and again. Still others prefer the surprise of an exciting gambit or an unexpected novelty at an early stage.

In my game against Terry Storie from the 1989 USCF Golden Knight Postal Chess Tournament I hoped to play a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit as White and began 1.d4. My opponent played the Englund Gambit against me with 1...e5. In the hands of a skilled attacker, this can be a dangerous gambit, especially in blitz chess. However, this game was played by postal mail at the pace of about one move for each side per week.

To play the Englund Gambit well, Black needs rapid development and open lines to make tactical threats. This includes attacking e5 with a knight via ...Nc6 and/or ...Nge7-Ng6,  or with a pawn after ...d6 or ...f6. Black did none of that in the game below, although he did play ...Qe7 and castled kingside quickly. The big problem was that all Black's queenside pieces were cut off from the action. This is one of several wins I had in a row for which I received no rated points when I reached my peak USCF Postal Master rating of 2211.

Sawyer (2211) - Storie (1364), corr USCF 89N285, 21.05.1990 begins 1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 Bb4+?! [It would be better to develop a knight with either 2...Nc6 3.Nf3 Qe7 or 3...Nge7 4.Bf4 Ng6] 3.c3 Ba5 4.e4 c6 5.Bc4 [5.Qg4! would provoke a weakness since the bishop does not cover g7.] 5...Qe7 6.Qd6 [White is playing for a blockade, but certainly 6.Nf3+- is very good.] 6...Qxd6 7.exd6 b5 8.Be2 Nf6 9.f3 [9.e5+-] 9...0-0 10.b4 Bb6 11.a4 Ba6? 12.a5 Bxg1 13.Rxg1 Ne8 14.Bf4 Black resigns in an ugly position. 1-0

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

Sunday, May 5, 2013

BDG Lemberger 4.Nge2 Theory

Against the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Lemberger (3...e5) variation, the two best moves for White are 4.Nxe4 (tactical) and 4.Nge2 (positional). With the BDG Lemberger 4.Nxe4, the central open lines give White attacking chances against the Black king in complex positions. Here are my critical theoretical considerations in the BDG Lemberger 4.Nge2:

4...Nc6 5.Be3 f5 6.dxe5= or 5...exd4 6.Nxd4= or 5...Nf6 6.dxe5=
4...exd4 5.Qxd4 Qxd4 6.Nxd4 Nf6 7.Bg5 Bb4 8.Nb5 Ba5 9.b4=
4...Nf6 5.dxe5 Qxd1+ 6. Kxd1 Ng4 7.Nxe4 Nxe5 8.f4 Ng6 9.Nd4=
4...f5 5.dxe5 Qxd1+ 6.Kxd1 Nc6 7.Nb5 Kd8 8.Bf4 a6 9.Nbd4=

In my three minute blitz game vs daniele1979, Black gave the pawn back with 6...c6. This gave me a lead in development and an advantage throughout the game. I had a connected and protected passed pawn in a winning endgame for White when Black lost on time.

Sawyer-daniele1979, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 03.02.2013 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nge2 exd4 5.Qxd4 Qxd4 6.Nxd4 c6?! [Just giving the pawn back when White has a lead in development cannot be good. The normal line is 6...Nf6 7.Bg5 Bb4 8.Ndb5 when White has active pieces in an even game.] 7.Nxe4 Nd7 8.Bf4 Ngf6 9.Nd6+ Bxd6 10.Bxd6 Ne4 11.Ba3 c5 12.Nb5 0-0 13.Be2 [13.f3!+/-] 13...Re8? [13...a6! 14.Nc7 Ra7 15.Nd5+/=] 14.Nc7 b6 [Somewhat better is 14...b5 15.Nxe8 b4 16.Bxb4 cxb4 17.Nc7+- and White walks away with the Exchange and a pawn.] 15.Nxe8 Bb7 16.Nc7 Rc8 17.Nb5 a6 18.Nd6 Nxd6 19.0-0-0 Bxg2 20.Rhg1 Be4 21.Rxd6 Nf8 22.Bxa6 Ra8 23.Bd3 Bxd3 24.Rxd3 Ne6 25.Re1 Nd4 26.Rxd4 cxd4 27.Re4 f6 28.Rxd4 Kf7 29.Rd7+ Kg6 30.Rd3 Re8 31.Kd1 Re5 32.Bd6 Ra5 33.a3 Rb5 34.b4 Rf5 35.Bg3 h5 36.Rd4 Kh6 37.Rf4 [37.Ke2+-] 37...Rd5+ 38.Ke2 Re5+ 39.Kd3 Rd5+ 40.Rd4 Rf5 41.f4 g5 42.fxg5+ Kxg5 43.h4+ Kg6 44.c4 Rf3+ 45.Ke4 Rxg3 46.a4 Ra3 47.c5 Rxa4 48.c6 Ra1 49.b5 Black forfeits on time 1-0

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