Friday, January 31, 2014

Save Sveshnikov Sicilian Seconds Short

A draw can be the better part of wisdom, especially in a fast 3 minute blitz game vs a good player. We contested a popular Sicilian Defence. In this Sveshnikov Variation, Black usually plays 8...b5 attempting to pawn fork the White knights on Nc3 and Na3. My opponent Fuerte2004 played a side line 8...Be6. We reached an endgame where I was winning on the board but losing on the clock. At move 44, Houdini found a mate in 25 more moves. I ain't got time for that! I managed two moves to draw just barely before my clock expired, eliminating his last pawn. In the final position I was up a single bishop with kings on the board and nothing else. Thus, it was drawn due to no material to mate.

Sawyer (2280) - Fuerte2004 (2250), ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 19.04.2009 begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 Be6 9.Nd5!? [9.Nc4! Rc8 10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Ne3+/=] 9...Bxd5 10.exd5 Qa5+ 11.Bd2 [11.c3! Qxd5 12.Bxf6 Qe4+ 13.Be2 gxf6 14.0-0=] 11...Qxd5 12.c4 Qe4+ 13.Be2 Nd4 14.f3 Qxe2+ 15.Qxe2 Nxe2 16.Kxe2 d5 17.Rac1 Bxa3 18.bxa3 0-0 19.cxd5 Nxd5 20.Rhd1 Rfe8 21.Bb4 Nf4+ 22.Kf2 Rad8 23.Rxd8 Rxd8 24.Rc7 b5 25.Ra7 Nd3+ 26.Ke3 Nc1 [26...Nb2 27.Rxa6 h6 28.Ke2 Rd1 29.Rb6 Rc1 30.Kf2 Rc2+ 31.Kg3 Nd3 32.Rxb5 Rxa2 33.Rb8+ Kh7 34.Rd8 Nxb4 35.axb4 Rb2=] 27.Rxa6 [27.Rc7+/-] 27...Nxa2 28.Rb6 f5 29.Rxb5 Re8 30.Rb7 [30.Bd2+/-] 30...e4 31.Re7 Rxe7 32.Bxe7 exf3 33.Kxf3 Nc3 34.Bb4 Na4 35.Kf4 g6 36.Ke5 Kf7 37.h4 h6 38.g3 Nb6 39.Kd6 Nc4+?! [Black does better to keep pushing kingside pawns with 39...g5] 40.Kc5 Nxa3 41.Bxa3 g5 42.hxg5 hxg5 43.Bc1 f4 44.gxf4 [Houdini found a mate in 25: 44.g4 Kg8 45.Bb2 Kf7 46.Kd5 f3 47.Bd4 Ke7 48.Be3 f2 49.Bxf2 Kd7 50.Bd4 Kc7 51.Be3 Kd7 52.Bxg5 Kc7 53.Be3 Kd8 54.Ke4 Ke8 55.Bd4 Kf7 56.g5 Kg6 57.Kf4 Kf7 58.Kf5 Ke7 59.g6 Kf8 60.g7+ Kf7 61.Kf4 Kg8 62.Ke4 Kh7 63.Kf5 Kg8 64.Kf6 Kh7 65.Kf7 Kh6 66.Be3+ Kh5 67.g8Q Kh4 68.Bf2+ Kh3 69.Qg3#] 44...gxf4 45.Bxf4 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rookie Queen's Knight Napoleon Attack

The Queens Knight Attack 1.Nc3 is often thought to be a transpositional move order that usually leads to other openings, for example: 1...c5 2.e4 Sicilian Defence, 1...d5 2.d4 Veresov or BDG, and 1...e5 2.e4 Vienna Game. While that is true, most 1.Nc3 players are trying not to play popular lines. There are many good ways to play that do not lead to well known positions. White can avoid a Sicilian 1.Nc3 c5 with 2.Nf3 intending 3.d4 without an early e4 commitment. A more common variation is 1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 which is a side line of the Scandinavian Defence, though most often reached after 1.Nc3. If Black hopes for a Vienna Game, White can use a Napoleon Bonaparte idea 1.Nc3 e5 2.Nf3 (instead of 2.e4). The main line Napoleon continues 2...Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Bg5 Bb4 6.Nxc6 with a equal chances though White probably is more comfortable.

Black has two gambit ideas vs the Napoleon. First 2...Bc5?! 3.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 4.Kxf2 Qh4+ 5.Kg1 when White is a tempo up (Nc3) on a familiar Alekhine Defence position. Second is the incredible sacrifice 2...d5!? 3.Nxe5 d4 4.Nb1. Harald Keilhack gives a game after 4...Qd5 and adds: "Black obtained useful compensation. It is all too easy after the event to offer some suggestions for an improvement... But when playing such a position over the board it is very easy to miss the point at which one should give the right direction to game." Amen, especially in blitz! The computer chess engine Rookie beat me six games in a row with 2...d5 before today's game below. After this perpetual check draw when I had been clearly winning, Rookie stopped playing this gambit vs me. Darn.

Sawyer (2004) - Rookie (2513), ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 26.01.2014 begins 1.Nc3 e5 2.Nf3 d5!? 3.Nxe5 d4 4.Nb1 Bd6 5.Nf3 Nc6 [Deep Rybka and Deep Fritz prefer 5...c5 when White will push his e-pawn one or two squares.] 6.c3 Nf6 7.cxd4 0-0 8.e3 [White's 2 extra d-pawns give him an advantage.] 8...Re8 9.Be2 h6 10.0-0 Rb8 11.d3 Be7 12.Nc3 Be6 13.Ne4 Qd7 14.Nxf6+ [There is no need to exchange pieces, but this is a logical strategy when up material. 14.Bd2+-] 14...Bxf6 15.Bd2 a5 16.a3 a4 17.Re1 Ra8 18.Bc3 Bb3 19.Qd2 Na7 20.Bd1 Bxd1 21.Rexd1 Nb5 22.Rac1 c6 23.Bb4 Nc7 24.Qc2 Nd5 25.Bd2 Ne7 26.Bb4 [26.Ne5+-] 26...Nf5 27.Bd2 Nh4 28.Nxh4 Bxh4 29.Bb4 Re6 30.g3 Be7 31.Bxe7 Qxe7 32.Qc5 [I miss the draw which could have been avoided by 32.Qd2+-] 32...Rxe3 33.fxe3 Qxe3+ 34.Kf1 Qf3+ 35.Kg1 Qe3+ 36.Kf1 Qf3+ 37.Kg1 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Morphy Author Macon Shibut Alekhine

Back in 1997 I had the privilege of playing Macon Shibut nine blitz games on the Internet Chess Club. Shibut was a tournament master rated in the 2300s by USCF. My ICC blitz rating was above 2300 for many years. Shibut is clearly the better player, but I won five of these nine games. Apparently I got hot at the right moment. Macon Shibut published the highly recommended book "Paul Morphy and the Evolution of Chess Theory" in 1993, the year after I published my original "Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook". I love books about Paul Morphy. The Alekhine Defence was my defense of choice for this game. Twice Shibut chose the Keres line 3.Nc3 vs me. Below both of us were attacking. Fortunately for me, when we made it to the endgame, he made the last mistake.

Shibut - Sawyer, ICC u 3 0, 26.11.1997 begins 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.Nc3 Nxc3 [In another game vs Shibut, I tried 3...Nb6 here and won on move 60.] 4.dxc3 d5 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 e6 8.Bd3 c5 9.Bb5+ Nc6 10.Bxc6+ bxc6 11.Bf4 Qb6 12.b3 g6 13.g4 Bg7 14.0-0 Qc7 15.Rae1 0-0 16.h4 a5 17.a4 c4 18.bxc4 dxc4 19.h5 h6 20.Qe3 g5 21.Bxg5!? [The sacrifice is a reasonable idea in blitz chess, but better is 21.Bg3 Rab8 22.f4+/=] 21...hxg5 22.Qxg5 f6 23.exf6 Rxf6 24.Rd1 [24.Re4 Raf8 25.Kg2 Rf4 26.Rxf4 Qxf4 27.Qxf4 Rxf4 28.Kg3 Be5-/+] 24...Raf8 25.Rd4 Kh7 [Even better is 25...Qg3+!-+] 26.Rxc4 Bh6 [I had a forced mate with 26...Qg3+! 27.Kh1 Rxf2 28.Rxf2 Rxf2 29.Qg6+ Kh8 30.Qe8+ Bf8 31.Qxf8+ Rxf8 32.Rf4 Rxf4 33.h6 Rf1#] 27.Qc5 Rf3 28.Qxc6 Rg3+ 29.fxg3 Qxg3+ 30.Qg2 Be3+ 31.Rf2 Bxf2+ 32.Kh1 Qxg2+ 33.Kxg2 Be1 34.g5 Rf2+ 35.Kh3 Rf3+ 36.Kg4 Rxc3 37.Re4 Bd2 38.Rxe6 Rxc2 39.Re7+ Kg8 40.h6 Rc3 41.g6 [White had a good chance of surviving after 41.h7+ Kh8 42.g6=] 41...Rc4+ 42.Kh5 Rc5+ 43.Kg4 Bxh6 44.Re8+ Bf8 45.Ra8 Kg7 46.Ra6 Be7? [46...Rd5-+] 47.Kf3 [47.Ra7!=] 47...Bf6 48.Ke4 Kxg6 49.Kd3 Rh5 50.Kc2 Rh2+ 51.Kb3 Rh3+ 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

William Spears English to Dutch Leningrad

One of the tips to good chess is to not exchange. Let your opponent do the exchanging and you can do the recapturing. Generally this will leave you with better placed material. Think about it. Let's say you both bring a piece out toward the middle of the board. When your opponent takes your piece and you recapture, then you still have something out there while his piece is off the board. Another advantage is that piece captures in tense tactical positions require accurate calculation. Recaptures are often forced and easy.

In my 1989 USCF Golden Knights Postal Tournament game vs William Spears, White made five moves with his king's knight whereupon he traded the mighty stead to win two pawns and pick up my light squared bishop. Alas, this worked only temporarily; he did not see far enough ahead. The combination began on move 13. My opponent grabbed my bishop on move 15. White wiggled around until move 20, when it became evident that he had to return the piece. At that point he would be down his king's knight for one pawn, so he resigned. The opening was the trendy English Opening 1.c4 and 2.g3 set-up. After I responded with the Leningrad Variation defensive scheme by 1...f5, 2...Nf6, 3...g6, and 4...Bg7, my opponent played 5.d4 transposing to the Dutch Defence.

Spears - Sawyer, corr USCF 1991 begins 1.c4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.d4 0-0 6.e3 [6.Nf3] 6...d6 7.Nge2 Na6 8.0-0 c6 9.Qb3 Kh8 10.Nf4 [White makes five moves with this knight, only to exchange it. Better is 10.Rd1!?= ] 10...e5 11.Nd3 [11.Nfe2=] 11...Qe7 12.Nb4 Nc7 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bxc6 Bb7 15.Bxb7 Rab8 16.dxe5 [White's bishop on b7 is pinned and will be lost, but Black is also better after 16.c5 dxc5 17.dxc5 Qxc5 18.Rb1 e4 19.Rd1 Ng4-+] 16...dxe5 17.c5 Qxc5 18.e4 [The only defence is 18.Rb1 e4 19.Rd1 Qe7 20.Qa3! Ng8 21.Qxe7 Nxe7 22.Bxe4 fxe4 23.Nxe4 Ncd5=/+ and White walks away with three pawns for the knight.] 18...Qe7 19.Be3 Ne6 20.Nd5 Nxd5 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Index: Blackmar-Diemer Euwe 7.Bd3 Nc6

The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Euwe 7.Bd3 Nc6 variation is considered one of the most critical lines in the entire gambit. Black develop another piece with an attack on d4. It is a theoretically challenging variation. Earlier posts included 7.Bd3 (without 7...Nc6), 6.Bg5 (with 6...Be7 7.Qd2), and 6.Bd3 (and other 6th moves options for White.

This variation begins: 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bd3 Nc6:
8.0-0 Nxd4 9.Kh1 Nxf3 10.Qxf3 0-0 11.Bxf6
                                         10...c6 11.Ne4
8.Qd2 Nd5 9.0-0
     8...h6 9.Be3
8.a3 a6

Last revised November 7, 2014.

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Two Knights Tango Checkmates

Developing your knights quickly in a chess game is a good thing, but if you ONLY move your knights, that is risky, especially as Black. Over 20 years ago Georgi Orlov wrote a book entitled "Black Knights Tango" on 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6. Orlov revised it for a 2nd edition in 1998. This is often called the Two Knights Tango. Since I often play 1...Nc6 as Black, this provocative opening set-up is very familiar to me. In fact, I rather like it.

In a game vs BigDaddyThumos, I played only my Black knights for the first 4 moves, but I castled by move 8. My opponent's king got caught in the center when he made pawn moves for 6 or his first 8 moves. This left him very vulnerable to tactics which cost him a pawn and soon his king. White resigned on move 19 in the face of checkmate in one.

BigDaddyThumos (1770) - Sawyer (1955), 3 0 u Internet Chess Club, 31.03.2013 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 3.d5!? [This is an attempt to punish Black for not playing a pawn. More common positions are reached after 3.Nf3 e6 4.Nc3 and 4...Bb4 or 4...d5] 3...Ne5 4.f4 Ng6 [Black can just grab the pawn, although White gets a big pawn center in a blitz game. 4...Nxc4 5.e4 Nb6 6.Nc3 e6=/+] 5.Nc3 e6 6.e4 Bb4 7.Bd3 exd5 8.cxd5 0-0 [8...Qe7] 9.Qb3?! [This drops a pawn because White's king is still in the center. 9.Nf3 Re8 10.0-0 d6=] 9...Bxc3+ 10.Qxc3 Nxe4 11.Bxe4 Re8 12.Ne2 [12.Qd3 Qe7 13.Ne2 Qxe4-/+] 12...Rxe4 13.Qf3 Qe8 14.Kf2 d6 15.Bd2 [Though down a pawn, White can play on with 15.Nc3 Re7-/+] 15...Nh4 16.Qh5 [If 16.Qd3 Bf5-+] 16...g6 17.Qxh4 Rxe2+ 18.Kf3 Qe4+ 19.Kg3 Qd3+ White resigns 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Muir Queen Sacrifice Scandinavian Defence

Sometimes I play the Center Counter Scandinavian Defence. Against Bob Muir, I win a pawn and then the Exchange. But White plays on. There appeared to be potential technical problems forcing an endgame win anytime soon, however there were tactical possibilities. As I probed for weak points, I found a queen sacrifice. If Bob took my queen, I mated his king. If he ran away, I'd be up a rook. This left White was up a creek without a paddle. Time to turn the board around and play a new game.

Muir (1800) - Sawyer (2010), Williamsport,PA 11.1998 begins 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.a3!? [This seems like a waste of time. Most popular is 5.Nf3 ] 5...c6 6.Nf3 Bf5 7.Bd3 Bxd3 8.Qxd3 e6 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.Bf4 Be7 11.b4 Qd8 12.Rad1 0-0 13.Na4 Nd5 14.Bg3 b5 15.Nb2 [Running away is not the solution. Better is 15.Nc5+/= ] 15...a5 16.c4 bxc4 17.Nxc4 axb4 18.axb4 Nxb4 19.Qe4 Nd5 20.Nfe5 Nc3 21.Qxc6 [Better is to be down just a pawn with 21.Qc2 Nxe5 22.Qxc3 Nxc4 23.Qxc4 Qd5-/+] 21...Nxe5 22.Bxe5 Rc8 23.Qa6 Nxd1 24.Rxd1 Bf6 25.Nb6 [25.Nd6 Rc2-/+] 25...Rc6 26.Bxf6 gxf6 27.Rb1 Qxd4 28.Qb7 Qb2! 0-1

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