Saturday, November 30, 2013

Index: Sicilian Defence 1.e4 c5

The Sicilian Defence 1.e4 c5 is one of the most popular openings in chess history. Black fights for the center without potentially trading off a center pawn. This will be the foundational beginning on which I shall built later Sicilians. We begin with games in lines where White does not play the most popular move 2.Nf3. The most popular here is the line with the Smith-Morra Gambit after 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3. Later will come the indexes for 2.c3 Sicilian and then the 2.Nc3 Sicilian. Then follows other more common variations like the Sicilian Open, the Sicilian Dragon and the Sicilian Najdorf.

This variation begins 1. e4 c5:
2.Ne3 Nc6 3.g3 d5
2.b3 Nc6 3.Bb2
2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 e6
2.f4 d5 3.Nc3

2.d4 cxd4 and now:
3.Nf3 g6 4.c3 dxc3
3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5

3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 and now:
4...e6 5.Nf3 Bb4 6.Qd2 Bxc3+

4...Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 and now:
6...a6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Bg5 e6 9.Qe2 h6
6...Nf6 7.0-0 e6 8.Qe2 Be7 9.Rd1 e5 10.Be3 Be7 11.Rd2

Last revised July 20, 2015.

Copyright 2015 Tim Sawyer Home Page / Author Page
Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (Play BDG): Books 1-5 and Books 6-10.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Surviving Loss: Nolan & English

Losses are a part of life, though certainly not the happy part. This month I lost a friend from high school, with whom I became reacquainted after 40 years apart. Jeff, you are missed. Also, 30 years ago today ended one of the most difficult periods of my life when I lost one of my children. Thank God that moments of grief are not permanent. After my suffering during that period, I went on to enjoy 30 years of faith, family, friends and fun.

About that time, I played postal chess match against my friend Gregory Nolan who was about to become a master. In one game I selected the English Opening which, as it has turned out, I have not played nearly as often with White as I have played 1.d4 or 1.e4. On the same weekly postcards with Greg Nolan we played (with colors reversed) another game where I tried a Slav Defence. In the game given below, I got properly and painfully punished when I was caught in a powerful pin.

Sawyer - Nolan, corr USCF 1982 begins 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Bb4 5.Nd5 e4 6.Nh4 Bc5 7.Bg2 0-0 8.0-0 Re8 9.d3 exd3 10.Qxd3 Ne5 11.Qc2 c6 12.Be3 cxd5 13.Bxc5 Qc7!? [13...d6 14.Bd4 dxc4 15.Rfd1=] 14.Bd4 dxc4 15.f4 Ng6 16.Nxg6 hxg6 17.e4 [17.f5!+/=] 17...d5 18.Bxf6 Qb6+ 19.Rf2 gxf6 20.exd5 Bf5 21.Qxc4 Re3 22.Rd1? [White needs to break the pin with 22.a4 Rae8 23.a5 Re1+ 24.Bf1 Qd6 25.Rc1 Rxc1 26.Qxc1 Qxd5 27.Qd2=] 22...Rc8 23.Qd4 [Best is to give up the queen with 23.Qf1 Bg4 24.Rdd2 Rce8 25.h3 Re1 26.hxg4 Rxf1+ 27.Bxf1 Qd6-/+] 23...Re1+ 24.Rf1 [White is also lost after 24.Bf1 Rxd1 25.Qxd1 Rc2 26.Qe1 Rxb2 27.g4 Bxg4 28.Kg2 Bh3+ 29.Kg3 Rxf2 30.Qxf2 Qxf2+ 31.Kxf2 Bxf1 32.Kxf1 Kf8-+] 24...Rxd1 25.Rxd1 Rc1 0-1

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

Thanksgiving Pilgrims, Rush Revere & Chess

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America. It is a day to thank God for blessings we have in life. My ancestors were pilgrims on the Mayflower. My wife and I descend from 9 (5 to me; 4 to her) of the 102 people that sailed on that ship in 1620 from England to America, many fleeing the persecution by King James. It was a hard first year; 49 of those 102 brave souls died before the 1621 Thanksgiving. After these few came the millions of those Americans who began in New England. My own "Sawyer" family followed from England in 1636; I am the 11th Sawyer generation in America. Our ancestors include governors and soldiers, ministers and witches, merchants and builders and many farmers.

I read the delightful book "Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims" by Rush Limbaugh. The historical accounts are from the real Governor William Bradford who wrote about his Mayflower experiences in Of Plymouth Plantation. All that part in the book is factual.

The book is warm and sweet and funny. In fiction, Rush Revere is a substitute teacher who takes students back to witness key moments in American history on Rush's magical talking horse Liberty. Tommy, about age 12, plays chess. We are not told if it is Tommy Sawyer or Tommy Purser. Not that he plays people from back in the days of Greco. The chess references below are when Tommy dialogues with his current day companions:

    On page 43 Tommy explained that when he was at a different school, the chess club was boring! Why? Tommy said, "No competition. I pretty much wasted everybody."
    On page 151 when he wonders if Samoset will tell Bradford the truth, Tommy asks Rush, "do you think he'll hold back and wait for his next move like a game of chess?"

[A note about spelling. Prior to Noah Webster in the 1800s English words were spelled in a very wide variety of ways. "Sawyer" was sometimes spelled "Sawier". Bradford spells "Plymouth" as "Plimoth". The Indian from Maine who brought Squanto to the Pilgrims we spell as "Samoset", Bradford as "Samaset" in paragraph 136, and Rush as "Somoset". Squanto was helped by monks in Spain a few years after Ruy Lopez died.]

Below is a cute little game where I played a Tommy in the last century, "TomW" on ICC back in 1999. I had just finished writing my Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook II and was still near my peak playing days. In this BDG Bogoljubow, White plays for mate on h7. Black defends well at first, but then Tommy drifts into a losing position.

Sawyer (2424) - TomW (1598), ICC 10 7 u Internet Chess Club, 17.04.1999 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 [8...Nc6 9.Qh4 Bg4 10.Be3] 9.Qh4 Nbd7 [9...Nc6 10.h3] 10.Bh6 Bxh6 11.Qxh6 Ng4 12.Qf4 Nb6 13.Bb3 c6 14.h3 Nf6 15.Qh6 Nfd7 16.Ng5 [Black resigns because after 16...Nf6 17.Rad1 Nbd5 18.g4+- and Black is busted.] 1-0

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

Index: Flank Openings Rare First Moves

Flank Openings include the Grob and Polish. Later comes Queens Knight, Bird, Reti, and English Opening. Thus, this Label covers every opening that does NOT occupy the center with either 1.d4 (QP - Queen Pawn) or 1.e4 (KP - King Pawn).

This variation begins with any White first move:
1.c3; 1.h4; 1.f3 
1.Nh3 d5 2.g3 e5 3.f4
1.h3 d5
1.e3 Nc6 2.Ne2 e5 3.Ng3 d5
   1...e5 2.a3 d5 3.d4 Be6
1.g4 d5 2.f4
            2.Bg2 e5 3.c4
1.b4 c5
   1...f5 2.Nf3
            2.Bb2 e6 3.e3 Nf6 4.b5 Bd6

   1...d5 2.Bb2 Bf5
Last revised March 28, 2015.

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

Index: Caro-Kann Defence 1.e4 c6

The Caro-Kann Defence 1.e4 c6 was the mainstay of my repertoire as Black for many years. Almost every world champion from Capablanca to Carlsen has played this opening. This post covering rare lines will be the bottom of this Label. Gradually throughout 2014 more popular lines will be built on top of it with the main lines after 2.d4 d5. These will include Advance Variation 3.e5; Exchange Variation 3.exd5 cxd5; and from here the Panov-Botvinnik 4.c4; Main lines with 3.Nc3 dxe4; and the Classical Variation 4.Nxe4 Bf5. This Label replaced the old post Caro-Kann Defence Divided by Variation.

This variation begins 1.e4 c6:
2.Nc3 d5 3.f3
              3.Nf3 Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 e6 6.d4
Last revised August 16, 2014.
Copyright 2013, 2014 Tim Sawyer. Click my HOME PAGE.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Index: Blackmar-Diemer Bogoljubow 6.Bc4

The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Bogoljubow is an aggressive defence that is similar to the Gruenfeld Defence. The main line is 6.Bc4 with a focus on attacking f7, a knight and a rook after White castles kingside. Below are lines where one of the players deviates from the BDG Bogo Studier Attack (6.Bc4 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Qe1 covered in next post). After 8.Qe1 White intends to move the queen to Qh4, taking aim at h7 and a possible mate. In the lines below White's attacking plans usually target f6 and f7. However, both sides have options for earlier variations that are covered below.

This variation begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bc4:
6...Bg4 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Ne5+ Ke8 9.Nxg4

6...Bg7 and now:
7.h4 0-0 8.h5 Nxh5 9.Rxh5 gxh5 10.Qd3 e5
7.Ne5 0-0 8.0-0 Bf5 9.g4
               8.Bg5 Nc6 9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.Qd2
7.0-0 e6 8.Bg5 0-0 9.Ne4

7.0-0 0-0 and now:
8.Bg5 Nbd7 9.Qe2 b6 10.Rae1
     8...Bg4 9.d5 c6 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3
8.h3 Nbd7 9.Bg5 Nb6 10.Bb3 c6 11.Qd2
   8...Nc6 9.a3 Nc8 10.d5 Nd6 11.Ba2
Last revised February 8, 2015.

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Odd Chess Challenger Caro-Kann Defence

Twenty years ago I played a game vs the computer Chess Challenger in a rare variation of the Caro-Kann Defence. I do not remember the occasion of this game, but I have always enjoyed playing the odd game vs weaker computers and chess engines to see that curious mix of awesome and awful. I am guessing it was set to play at about a 1400 level at some rather faster speed, moving every few seconds. Most of the moves were reasonable, but it made one big blunder in the game (14.Ng3?). Players rated 1400 do that from time to time. I sure did when I was rated down there more than 40 years ago, and many of my opponents have since.

Chess Challenger (1400) - Sawyer (2011), Bellefonte, PA 1993 begins 1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Qf3 [More common is 3.Nf3 ] 3...dxe4 [3...d4] 4.Qxe4 Nf6 5.Qd3?! [This blocks harmonious development. Better would be a move like 5.Qf4=] 5...Qxd3 6.Bxd3 Nbd7 7.Nge2 [7.Nf3=] 7...Ne5 [7...Nc5! 8.Bc4 b5=/+] 8.0-0?! [8.Be4 Nxe4 9.Nxe4= and Black has the two bishops.] 8...Nxd3 9.cxd3 e5 [9...Bf5!-/+] 10.f4 [10.d4=] 10...Bc5+ 11.Kh1 exf4 12.Rxf4 [12.Nxf4 0-0-/+] 12...Be6 13.b4 Bd6 14.Ng3? [14.Rf1 0-0-/+] 14...Bxf4 15.Nge2 Bd6 16.Ba3?! a5 17.Rb1 0-0 18.Nd4 Nd5 19.Nxd5 Bxd5 20.Nf5 Bxb4 21.Bxb4 axb4 22.Rxb4 Rxa2 23.Ne7+ Kh8 24.Rxb7? Ra1+ 25.Rb1 Rxb1# 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Index: Trompowsky 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5

This is the beginning index of the Queen Pawn Indian Defences with 1.d4 Nf6 and links to posts that White avoids 2.c4 or 2.Nf3. Below we have some of the popular continuations such as the offer to transpose into the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (2.f3) and the Trompowsky Attack (2.Bg5). Note that one special line below transposes to the BDG Langeheinecke 5.Bxe3 after the longer Trompowsky move order 7.Bxe3. Later will follow links to the Colle System (3.e3). My personal favorite, the London System (2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4) will be dealt with separately. Later will be built under this Label on top of this post more popular Queen Pawn Indian 2.c4 defences such as the Nimzo-Indian Defence, Gruenfeld Defence and King's Indian Defence.

This variation begins 1.d4 Nf6:
2.f3 c5 etc.
2.f3 d5 3.e4
2.Nc3 c5 3.d5
2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 e6 4.f3 Nf6 5.e4
                       3...c5 4.f3 Nf6 5.dxc5
2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 d5 4.f3 Nf6 5.e4 dxe4 and now:
6.Nc3 e3 7.Bxe3 g6
   6...exf3 7.Nxf3 Bf5
Last revised February 23, 2015.

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Friday, November 22, 2013

New Idea in Blackmar-Diemer Teichmann

I voted for John F. Kennedy. What was not to like? Kennedy was pro-life, pro-America, pro-military, pro-low taxes, pro-high business profits. When I was in school in 1960, my teacher held up two pictures: one of JFK and one of Richard Nixon (whom I voted against in 1972 for real). I voted for the good looking one. I remember my teacher crying 50 years ago today when she heard JFK had been killed. The communist Lee Harvey Oswald shot him. Who knows if anyone else was involved. Does it matter today? Probably not.

My childhood did not involve much chess, but this post has some real meat and potatoes. I keep for myself two basic Blackmar-Diemer Gambit repertoires for White. That is, I have two different reasonable sets of variations that I happily play vs each of Black's popular defensive schemes. Sometimes White has many choices, but I pick the two best for me.

The BDG Teichmann Exchange is one of the most common variations we face as White following: 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6. White has five options. The last two are my current favorites.
     A. 8.Bd3 - Ziegler Variation (transposes to 5.Nxf3 c6 6.Bd3 Bg4 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3)
     B. 8.Bf4 - Velimirovic Variation (the famous master won with it, but 8...Qxd4!)
     C. 8.Qf2 - Ciesielski Variation (favorite of Tim McGrew and my BDGK2)
     D. 8.g4 - Seidel-Hall Variation (promising gambit that strong BDGers prefer)
     E. 8.Be3 - Classical Variation (most popular and main line of my BDGK1)

The BDG Teichmann Seidel-Hall line often continues 8.g4 e6, about which I have written many times in this blog. Consider anew the gambit line 8.g4 Qxd4 9.Be3 Qb4 10.0-0-0 e6. There are many 11th move possibilities. I have been in this position about 30 times, choosing three different moves about 10 times each: 11.Kb1 (my line), 11.Nb5!? or 11.Rd4?! Gary Lane also discusses 11.Bd3, while Christoph Scheerer suggests 11.g5 with the David Zimbeck idea of 11...Nd5 12.Nxd5 cxd5 13.c4!? What's the best move?

Recently I decided to have Houdini 3 ponder the options while I was sleeping. After I got up, I found the top choice of 11.g5 Nd5 with a new idea of 12.Bd4!? =. Had anyone ever played that 12th move before? I searched my database. Voila! One game. But not only that, years ago I had selected and annotated this game as an important one to include in the next book I wrote on the BDG. Then I promptly forgot it. My database remembered. Here is a hard fought ICCF game between Arild Haugen and Jerry Weisskohl.

Haugen (2556) - Weisskohl (2522), North Atlantic Team Tournament VI 2008 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6 8.g4 Qxd4 9.Be3 Qb4 10.O-O-O e6 [Two correspondence GM's duke it out in a rare BDG line.] 11.g5 Nd5 12.Bd4 Nd7 [12...Be7 13.Bxg7 Bxg5+ 14.Kb1 Rg8 15.Bd4 Nd7 16.Nxd5 cxd5 17.Rg1 with some obvious compensation for the two pawns.] 13.h4 [Houdini 3 analyzed through move 29 beginning with 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.Kb1 h6 15.g6 f6 16.Qe2 Qd6 17.h4 Be7 18.Bh3 e5 19.Bf2 O-O 20.Bg2 d4 21.c3 f5 22.Bxd4=] 13...Qd6 14.Kb1 O-O-O 15.Bg2 Qf4 16.Qh3 N7b6 17.Nxd5 cxd5 18.b3 Qc7 19.Rhf1 Kb8 20.Rf3 Nc8 21.Rc3 Qd6 22.Qe3 Qd7 23.Be5+ Nd6 24.Bh3 Qb5 25.a4 Qe8 26.Rcd3 h6 27.gxh6 Rxh6 28.c4 Rxh4 29.cxd5 f5 30.dxe6 Qxe6 31.Qg5 Be7 32.Qxf5 Qxf5 33.Bxf5 Rh5 34.Rxd6 1/2-1/2.

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