The Sicilian Defence is the most popular opening. It frequently appears in my games. The Dragon Variation (g6) is unbalanced and fun to play from either side of the board. Some who know me only for the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit might wonder why I played 1.e4 in this ICCF Master Class Tournament. One of my favorite desserts is a Banana Split from Dairy Queen; between a sliced banana are three scoops of ice cream: one covered with strawberry, one with pineapple and one with chocolate. I like variety.
I played main lines after both 1.e4 or 1.d4 and was a rated postal chess Expert before I took up the Blackmar-Diemer. I have played 6,000 BDG type games (more than most) out of 48,000 total games in my life. In this ICCF Master Class event I returned to main lines in all my games except the last one. There I did yield to the temptation to play a wild and crazy gambit, which you can see tomorrow.
This was one of the first ICCF events in which Floyd J Halwick played. About the time we met his initial rating was 2386. Later he dropped into the 2200s for a while, but after 181 games Halwick ended with a current ICCF rating of 2358. Floyd Halwick is from New York and has a USCF correspondence rating of 2255. To be that high rated for that long until just a few years ago, Floyd Halwick must be good at using databases and chess engines, since his opponents clearly do the same. Twenty years ago those computer tools were almost useless, but today they are essential for correspondence play.
In the Sicilian Dragon game below, Halwick sacrifices a pawn for attack and falls to a long forced combination. All of my pieces seemed to be on the right squares whenever I needed them there. I do give him chances in the endgame, but in the end I outplayed him. This win gave me a tournament score of 3.5 out of 5 with one game left.
Sawyer (2157) - Halwick (2386), corr ICCF 1995 begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 [9.0-0-0 has become more popular in the 20 years since this game was played.] 9...Bd7 10.0-0-0 Qa5 [The recommended line is Soltis Variation goes 10...Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.h4 h5 13.Bg5 Rc5=] 11.Bb3 Rfc8 12.Kb1 Ne5 13.h4 b5!? [13...Nc4 14.Bxc4 Rxc4 15.Nb3 Qc7 14.Bd4 Be6 15.h5+=] 14.Ncxb5 Qxd2 15.Bxd2 Nc4 [15...Rab8 16.Nc3+=] 16.Bxc4 [16.Nc3! Nxd2+ Rxd2+=] 16...Rxc4 17.Be3 [17.b3+=] 17...Rb8 18.b3 Rcc8 19.Nxa7 [19.Na3+=] 19...Rc7 [19...Rc3 20.Bf2 Rb7] 20.c4 Rxa7 21.Nc6 Bxc6 22.Bxa7 Ra8 23.Bd4 Nh5 24.Bxg7 Kxg7 25.Rhe1 Nf4 26.g3 [26.Rd2+=] 26...Nh5 27.g4 Nf4 28.a4 Rb8 29.Ka2 Kf6 30.Ka3 Ke5 31.b4 Ng2 32.Rh1 f5 33.exf5 [33.gxf5 gxf5 34.b5+/-] 33...gxf5 34.Rd3 [34.gxf5 Bxf3 35.Rd2+=] 34...fxg4 [34...f4=] 35.fxg4 Be4 36.Rc3 Kd4 37.Kb3 Ne3 38.Rh2 Nxg4 39.Rd2+ Ke5 40.a5 Ra8 41.c5 Nf6 42.c6 Nd5 43.Rc1 [43.Rxd5+ Bxd5+ 44.Ka4+/-] 43...Nc7 44.Ka4 Rb8 45.Rb2 Bd3 46.Re1+ Kf6 [46...Kd4=] 47.Rf2+ Bf5 48.Rxf5+ Kxf5 49.Rxe7 Rxb4+ 50.Kxb4 Nd5+ 51.Kb5 Nxe7 52.Kb6 d5 53.a6 d4 54.a7 Nc8+ 55.Kb7 Nxa7 56.Kxa7 d3 57.c7 d2 58.c8Q+ Kf4 59.Qc2 1-0
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