Thursday, July 31, 2014

Garcia Palermo Cavicchi Sicilian Najdorf

We enjoy the rare games where the little amateur rises up to smite the giant master. Here Francesco Cavicchi wins a Sicilian Najdorf vs GM Carlos Garcia Palermo:

"Hi Tim, I send you another "Amateur-David vs GM-Goliath" match.
No strange stuff this time, but the good, old (and very well known)..Sicilian Najdorf, now part of my main repertoire against 1e4. And the "victim" is... GM Carlos Garcia Palermo (2398)"

3000 years ago, the little boy David was destined to be a famous king in Israel. The giant Goliath was a Philistine from Gath in between Jerusalem and the Gaza strip. People have been fighting over that area ever since. I care what happens; I have friends on both sides. But I cannot solve their problems, so I am just going to play chess.

Little David amateur chess players may be future masters. The giant GM Carlos Garcia Palermo is my age with a FIDE rating of 2449. He meets a Sicilian Defence 5...a6 with 6.g3. A key difference in this line is that after the standard Najdorf 6...e5, White retreats 7.Nde2. This knight supports f4, covers d4, protects c3 and is not in the way of 8.Bg2.

Curious, I wonder if Grandmaster Garcia Palermo is related to founders of the famous city Palermo, Sicily, Italy? Who knows. That city makes me think of George C. Scott in the 1970 movie "Patton". Sharp tactics mark today's game where the White king becomes vulnerable to a mating attack. Very nice!

Garcia Palermo (2398) - Cavicchi (1855), Fsi Arena online, 23.07.2014 begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.g3 e5 7.Nde2 Be7 8.Bg2 Be6 9.0-0 Qd7 [Another approach is 9...0-0 10.h3 Nbd7=] 10.f4 Bh3 11.f5 Bxg2 12.Kxg2 h5!? [12...Qc6=] 13.Bg5 Nc6 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Nd5 Bd8 16.h4 Rc8 17.c3 Ne7 18.f6 Nxd5 19.Qxd5 [19.fxg7 Ne3+ 20.Kf3 Rg8 21.Kxe3 Bb6+ 22.Kd2=] 19...Bxf6 20.Rad1 Qg4 21.Rf3 [21.Ng1 0-0=/+] 21...0-0 22.Kf2 Rfd8 23.Qxb7 [23.Rd2 Rd7-/+] 23...Rb8 24.Qd5 [Multiple exchanges 24.Qxa6 Rxb2 25.Rxd6 Rxd6 26.Qxd6 Qxe4 27.Qd3 Qc6 28.Re3 Rxa2-+ still leave Black up a pawn.] 24...Rxb2 25.a4 Rxe2+ [25...Rc8!-+] 26.Kxe2 Rb8 27.Rd2 Rb1 28.Qxd6? [28.Qc4=] 28...Qxe4+ 29.Kf2 Qe1+ 30.Kg2 Qh1+ [White resigns due to 31.Kf2 Rf1+ 32.Kf3 Qf3 checkmate] 0-1

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

Fries Nielsen Irregular Veresov Opening

Veresov Opening involves playing 1.d4, 2.Nc3, 3.Bg5 to begin a chess game, but note how the subtle difference of 3.Bf4 allows White to expand the kingside with pawn pushes that resemble the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit: 4.f3, 5.g4, 6.h4, 7.g5 and 8.e4. This is similar to the BDG Vienna Hara Kiri with 6.h4. White has the joy of attack without the danger of the gambit. Such a major pawn advance makes it difficult for Black to take aim at White's open king because of all White's space behind the advanced pawns.

Who plays like this? Try Stefanova, Jobava and Fries Nielsen. All played 3.Bf4 several times in the past year. Back in 2005, I played it myself several times in blitz. In the game below players have mutual assaults as they castle opposite sides. Fries Nielsen obtains the best of it as his bishops take aim at the Black monarch. I like the move 21.Qa5! The attack culminates in checkmate.

Fries Nielsen (2384) - De Blecourt (2121), Copenhagen CC 2014 Ballerup DEN (2.12), 15.05.2014 begins 1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bf4 Bf5 4.f3 e6 5.g4 Bg6 6.h4 h5 7.g5 Nh7 8.e4 Bb4 9.exd5 Qxd5 10.Qd2 Bxc3 11.bxc3 Nc6 12.Be3 0-0-0 13.c4 Qd6 14.Ne2 Rhe8 15.Rb1 Nf8 [15...Qa3 16.Kf2 Qxa2 17.Rc1 Nf8 18.Nc3 Qa3=] 16.Bg2 [16.Kf2 Qa3 17.Nc3=] 16...e5 [16...Qa3 17.Kf2 Qxa2 18.Ra1 Qxc4=/+] 17.d5 Nd4 18.0-0 [18.Nxd4 exd4 19.Qxd4+/=] 18...Nxc2 [18...Nxe2+ 19.Qxe2=] 19.Bxa7 [19.Bf2+/=] 19...b6 20.Bh3+ Kb7 [20...Ne6=/+] 21.Qa5! Nd4 22.Bxb6 cxb6 23.c5 Bxb1 24.Rxb1 Nxe2+ 25.Kf2 Nc3 26.c6+ Kb8 27.Rxb6+ Kc7 28.Rb7# 1-0

Copyright 2014 Tim Sawyer. Click here for my HOME PAGE.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Smothered Checkmate Tactic in Bird's Opening

The smothered mate is well known, but how often do you actually get to play one? Below I play a smothered mate in a Bird's Opening. I do tactics exercises every day with Chessimo. GM Gilberto Milos developed Personal Chess Trainer which allows you to train on Tactics, Strategy, Endgames and Openings. They changed the product name to Chessimo. I have used every version and love it.

In a 3-minute blitz game vs "klowz" I began 1.f4 Nc6 and set-up as Black in a standard King's Indian Defence. Normally in the Bird's Opening, White wants to control e5 and often play Ne5. The Black pawn on d6 prevents this. I only used 1:38 for the whole game; i.e. a minute and a half total. No deep theory here. Pieces were tossed around and a tactical opportunity presented itself: the smothered mate combination!

klowz (1373) - Sawyer (1902), ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 26.07.2014 begins 1.f4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6 3.e3 g6 4.Be2 Bg7 5.0-0 Nf6 6.b3 Ne4 7.c3 0-0 8.Bb2 f5 [8...e5=] 9.d3 Nf6 10.Ng5 h6 11.Nf3 e5 12.fxe5 dxe5 13.c4?! [13.Na3=] 13...e4 14.Nd4? [14.dxe4 Nxe4=/+] 14...Bd7? [14...Ng4!-/+] 15.Nd2 [15.Nxc6 Bxc6 16.d4 Be8=] 15...exd3 16.Bxd3 Nb4 [16...Ng4-+] 17.Bb1 c5 18.Nc2 Nd3 19.Qf3? [19.Bc3 Bc6-/+] 19...Nxb2 20.Na3 Bc6 21.Qg3 Qxd2 22.Qxg6 Qxe3+ 23.Kh1 Ng4 24.Nc2 Nf2+ 25.Kg1 Nh3+ 26.Kh1 Qg1+ 27.Rxg1 Nf2# White checkmated 0-1

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

Albin Counter Gambit Sawyer Mate

The Albin Counter Gambit is one of my most successful defences to 1.d4, especially in blitz play. Both sides attack each other, so attacking and defending tactics must be employed simultaneously. My Internet Chess Club opponent today is Willy809 whom I have played to date 11 times, scoring +9 -2 in a variety of sharp openings. Generally he comes right after my king, which is a smart thing to do in blitz. His aggressive play is not always accurate, but in a three minute game Willy809 is potentially dangerous.

In this example White played the natural move 5.Bf4. However, Black can gang up on both this bishop and the e5 pawn with 5...Nge7 and 6...Ng6. Typically in this line, White has a weak doubled pawns on e3 and e5. Black gets very free development and regains the gambit pawn with a good position. White continues to press against my king in the middlegame and I fight back. His checkmate does not work, but mate does.

Willy809 (1733) - Sawyer (1960), ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 28.06.2014 begins 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 d4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bf4 [More common are either 5.g3 or 5.a3] 5...Nge7 6.e3 Ng6 7.Bg3 Bb4+ 8.Nbd2 dxe3 9.fxe3 Bg4 [Even better may be 9...Qe7! 10.a3 Bc5=+] 10.Be2 Bxf3 11.Bxf3 Ncxe5 12.Qa4+ c6 13.0-0-0 [If 13.Qxb4? Nd3+ wins the White queen.] 13...Bxd2+ [13...0-0=] 14.Rxd2 Qe7 15.h4 [15.Rhd1=] 15...0-0 16.h5 Nxf3 17.gxf3 Ne5 18.Qc2 Nxf3 19.Re2 Rfe8 20.Qf5 [20.Qc3 Qe4-/+] 20...Nd4 21.exd4 Qxe2 22.Rf1 Qe3+ 23.Kc2 Qxg3! [For a moment I thought about swapping into a winning ending with 23...Qe4+ 24.Qxe4 Rxe4-+ but then I saw he did not have a mate, I grabbed his bishop to be up a rook.] 24.Qxf7+ Kh8 25.h6 Qg6+ 26.Qxg6 hxg6 27.hxg7+ Kxg7 28.Rg1 Re2+ 29.Kd3 Rae8 30.d5 c5 31.Rg3 Kf6 32.b3 Kf5 33.a3 Kf4 34.Rxg6 R8e3# [White checkmated] 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tartakower Veresov Vs George Thomas

Savielly G Tartakower is the favorite grandmaster of Tom Purser, partly because Tartakower played so many Blackmar-Diemer Gambits. But also, Tartakower played so many less popular openings over and over again. Here against George Alan Thomas they contest a critical line in the Veresov Opening.

In the Veresov Opening White develops his queenside pieces quickly so as to focus on the e4 square. Note that the 2.Nc3 aims at e4 and 3.Bg5 attacks the Nf6 to undermine Black's influence on e4. If Black plays 3...e6, 4.e4 transposes to a Classical French Defence. Otherwise, White often plays 4.f3 or 4.Qd3 to threaten 5.e4.

Tartakower - Thomas, Karlsbad (9), 1923 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bg5 Nbd7 4.f3 c6 5.e4 dxe4 6.fxe4 Qa5 [The main line is 6...e5! 7.dxe5 Qa5 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.exf6 Ba3 10.Qc1 Nxf6=/+ according to Houdini 4, Deep Rybka and Deep Fritz] 7.Qd2 e5 8.Nf3 Be7 9.Bc4 exd4 10.Qxd4 Qb6 11.Qd2 Qc5 12.Bb3 Ne5 13.Be3 Nc4 14.Bxc5 Nxd2 15.Bxe7 Nxb3 16.axb3 Kxe7 17.e5 Ng4 18.0-0 Bf5 19.Nd4 Bg6 20.Rae1 Rhd8 21.Rf4 h5 22.h3 Nh6 23.g4 hxg4 24.hxg4 c5 25.Nf5+ Bxf5 26.gxf5 Rd2 27.f6+ Ke6? [27...gxf6 28.exf6+ Kd7=] 28.fxg7 Ke7 29.Ne4 [29.Rh4+-] 29...Rxc2 30.Rh4 Rg8 31.Rxh6 Rxg7+ 32.Kh1 Rxb2 33.Nd6 Rg6 [33...Rgg2 34.Rf1+-] 34.Rxg6 fxg6 35.e6 Rxb3 [35...Rd2 36.Nc8+ Ke8 37.e7 Rd4 38.Re6+-] 36.Nc8+ Ke8 37.e7 Rd3 38.Rf1 Rh3+ 39.Kg2 Rh8 40.Rd1 Kf7 41.Kf3 Rxc8 42.Rd8 Kxe7 43.Rxc8 Kd6 44.Ke4 b6 45.Rg8 Kc6 46.Rxg6+ Kb5 47.Kd3 Kb4 48.Rg1 b5 49.Ra1 c4+ 50.Kd4 Kb3 51.Rb1+ Ka4 52.Kc3 Ka5 53.Rh1 Kb6 [If 53...Ka6 54.Rh6+ Ka5 55.Rf6+-] 54.Rh6+ 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Brunold First Blackmar Correspondence

Gunter Brunold found the oldest Blackmar Gambit known to have been played via correspondence about 20 years before the birth of E.J. Diemer. We were discussing a game from the databases when Brunold provided the following:

"Well, the game was played round about ninety (90) years before 1980. It was published in the French weekly journal "Le Monde illustré" [Volume 34 / Serial No. 1710 / January 4th 1890 (yes, eighteen-ninety!) / page 14]. The occasion of the game was the 1st International Correspondence Tournament arranged by the "Monde illustré".
From the "Deutsche Schachzeitung" I knew that "Le Monde illustré" arranged some correspondence tournaments. In the internet I discovered that a lot of this magazines were scanned in.

"For the fun of it I typed "Blackmar" into the search box and then I looked surprised in view of the single success: Gambit Blackmare ... The antagonists were Monsieur Sgroi and Monsieur HervéThe game is on the "CORR DATABASE"-CD from ChessBase but I don't know who records and edits the games (perhaps transposed digits: 1890 - 1980). I do not know the tournament began, but I think it was in 1888. And therefore I believe this game is one of the oldest ever played with the Blackmar-Gambit in a correspondence tourney. With kind regards, G ü n t e r   B r u n o l d"

Later he sent me: "Today I identified the Christian name of Monsieur Sgroi.
In "Le Monde illustré" No. 1595 (October 22nd 1887 / page 278) and No. 1596 (October 29th 1887 / page 294) you can find a list of the combatants (with address) of the tournament:
- Hervé (without first name), 9 Boul. Béranger, à Tours (Indre-et-Loire)
Cosimo Sgroi, rue Garibaldi 79, Catane (Italie)
So long! G. B r u n o l d"

We are blessed by the research of Herr Brunold. Thank you! This gambit is named after A.E. Blackmar of New Orleans which begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.f3. Blackmar was playing the Dutch Staunton Gambit by the 1876 and the Blackmar Gambit by 1882. The biggest problem with the Blackmar is 3.f3 e5! which immediately leads to equality or better for Black. Years later Diemer found that playing 3.Nc3 first will usually be followed by 3...Nf6 and now the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit move 4.f3 is stronger than 3.f3. Here 4.f3 e5? is a mistake. Below I annotate the Sgroi - Herve 1890 postal game.

By the way, Blackmar was a New Orleans contemporary of Paul Morphy. Both were involved in the American Civil War (1861-1865). During the war, Blackmar wrote music used by the Confederacy. Morphy was a liaison in Paris for the South. In New Orleans after the war, Blackmar seems to have moved with his life. Morphy practiced law but played very little chess until his death 130 years ago this month, July 10, 1884.

Sgroi - Herve, correspondence 1890 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.f3 Nf6 4.fxe4 Nxe4 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.Nf3 e6 7.c3 [A common feature of the Blackmar Gambit is that the pawn and now the knight goes to c3. If 7.Nc3 Be7 8.Bg5 BDG Euwe] 7...Be7 [7...c5=/+] 8.0-0 b6 9.Ne5 0-0 10.Qf3 Qd5 11.Qg3 g6? [11...Nbd7=] 12.Bh6 Nh5 13.Qg4 [White is winning after 13.Qh3! Ba6 14.Bxf8 Bxf8 15.Bxa6 Nxa6 16.Rxf7+-] 13...Nd7 14.Be4 [14.Nxg6! fxg6 15.Bxf8 Ndf6 16.Be4 Qb5 17.Qh4 Bxf8 18.Bxa8 Qxb2 19.Nd2 Qxd2 20.Rxf6 Nxf6 21.Qxf6+/=] 14...Nxe5 15.dxe5 Qc5+ 16.Rf2? [Losing. Better is 16.Kh1 f5 17.exf6 Rxf6 18.Nd2=] 16...f5 17.exf6 Nxf6 18.Qf3 Nxe4 19.Bxf8 Nxf2 20.Bxe7 Nh3+ 21.Kf1 Ba6+ 22.Ke1 Qg1+ 23.Kd2 Qf2+ 24.Qxf2 Nxf2 25.Na3 Re8 26.Bh4 Ne4+ 27.Ke3 Nd6 28.g4 e5 29.h3 e4 30.Bg3 Bd3 31.Rc1 Rf8 32.Bf4 g5 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Karpov French Defence Tarrasch vs Jeff Baffo

At times during my career, I have followed Anatoly Karpov. He chose variations where his pieces dominated the most important squares on the board. Karpov became champion mostly through piece control rather than pawn advances or rapid attacks. In his early 1.e4 days, Karpov played the Tarrasch Variation 3.Nd2 vs the French Defence to win the title. I won some nice games with 3.Nd2, but then I switched to gambits. When I lose an Alapin-Diemer 3.Be3 or a Winawer Variation 3.Nc3 Bb4, I think about returning to the simple open piece development of the Tarrasch 3.Nd2.

Jeffrey Baffo and I played two six-game correspondence matches 18 years ago. Jeff won most of the games and this one is no exception. I have a foggy memory of that year. It seems the games were played maybe during February, March, and April. I know I was in Atlanta, Georgia for a conference during Valentine's Day 1996. Later that summer the Olympics came to Atlanta. For some reason, I resigned in an equal position! Maybe I was seeing ghosts. I cannot blame the opening, a good active and logical variation.

One key point of the 3.Nd2 Nf6 line is that White's kingside knight plays to 7.Ne2 (after 5.Bd3) to protect d4 and c3, leaving f3 open for the queenside knight 10.Nf3. As Karpov demonstrated, it can be good for White to trade bad dark squared bishops. I did everything well - except keep playing!

My new French 3.Be3 Playbook is a step by step guide to the Alapin Diemer Gambit.

Sawyer (1950) - Baffo (2273), corr USCF 95P135, 11.03.1996 begins 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd4 8.cxd4 f6 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Nf3 Bd6 11.0-0 Qc7 12.Bg5 0-0 13.Bh4 Bd7 14.Bg3 a6 15.Rc1 Bxg3 16.Nxg3 Qf4 17.Ne2 Qd6 18.Nc3 Be8 19.Re1 Bh5 20.Be2 Qb4= [White resigned in an equal position. Maybe I thought White would lose a pawn due to the threats on b2 and d4, however 21.Ne5! Nxe5 22.dxe5 Bxe2 23.Nxe2 (or 23.Rxe2) 23...Nd7 24.Qd4= holds everything.] 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Faydi Defeats Kuzmin Blackmar-Diemer

It is fun to beat a grandmaster in a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit in blitz. I annotate the exciting contest between Jonathan Faydi vs GM Alexey Kuzmin of Russia from the Internet Chess Club. Jonathan is from the Netherlands, home of the Dutch people. Most passengers on the Malaysia Airlines plane that went down over the Ukraine where from the Netherlands; I offer my deepest condolences. Jonathan sent this game to me as I was leaving for a cruise on the Holland America ship line, plus four United airplane flights. Jonathan writes more about this game on his blog site "From Patzer to Master".

"Hello Tim, I thought you might be interested in having a look at the following game (a win against GM Alexey Kuzmin using the BDG):

The line is a BDG Euwe variation where Jonathan as "Littlewave" takes on Kuzmin "Dynamo63". This gambit makes Black burn thinking time to avoid losing quickly. The opening is played well by both sides. White gets good chances for the advantage in the middlegame. By the endgame, the grandmaster gets the better of a materially even position. However, Jonathan outplays him on the clock in a wild time scrabble. After move 32 both players had just seconds left; the clocks stood at 0:24-0:10. Black played 16 moves in his final 10 seconds, but White wins on time with 5.1 seconds left.

Littlewave (1913) - Dynamo63 (2222), ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 04.07.2014 begins 1.e4 d5 2.d4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bd3 [6.Bg5 is more common.] 6...c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.Bg5 Nbd7 9.Qe2 Qa5 [9...h6 is playable since Black has not castled kingside.] 10.a3 [10.0-0-0=] 10...a6 11.Bd2 Qc7 12.0-0-0 b5 13.Ng5 Nb6 [13...Bb7=/+] 14.Rhf1 Bd7? [Black seemed concerned about Nxb5, but the bishop is poorly placed here on d7. 14...Bb7= seems better.] 15.Nce4 [15.Bf4+/-] 15...Nbd5 16.Nxf6+ Nxf6 17.Ne4 Be7 18.Bc3 Nd5 19.Bxg7 Rg8 20.Nf6+ Nxf6 21.Bxf6 Bxf6 22.Rxf6 Qxh2 23.Be4 [23.Qf3!+-] 23...Rd8 [23...Rc8 24.Kb1+/-] 24.Rdf1 Rg7 25.Kb1 Qg3 26.Qf2? [26.Qh5+/-] 26...Qxf2 27.R1xf2 Ke7 28.Rh6 Rh8 29.Bd3 f5 30.Re2 Rhg8 [30...Rg6-/+] 31.Bxf5 Rxg2 32.Rxg2 Rxg2 33.Rxh7+ Kd6 34.Bd3 Rg1+ 35.Ka2 a5 36.Rh4 a4 37.Rh2 Bc6 38.Rh4 Bd5+ 39.c4 bxc4 40.Bxc4 Bc6 41.Rh6 Bd7 42.Rh4 Rg2 43.Kb1 Rf2 44.Ka2 Bc6 45.Rh3 e5 46.Re3 Kc5 47.Ba6 e4 [Black has a better shot with 47...Bd5+! 48.Kb1 e4-+] 48.Bc8 [48.Rc3+ Kd6-/+] 48...Kd4-+ 49.Bf5 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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