Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Blackmar-Diemer Gambit

I won a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit that got scary in a three minute blitz game played a year ago today. In a BDG Teichmann after 5.Nxf3 Bg4, White can develop a bishop with 6.Bf4 or 6.Bc4, but I played 6.h3 on Halloween, I pulled off a trick and got a treat. Black played 9...Bd6 which allowed White to gain time attacking the bishop with 11.Ne4. Then I started an early queenside attack to encourage Black to castle kingside where all my pieces were aimed. Playing logical moves quickly, we missed a couple moves. To keep from losing the Exchange, Black played 17...f5 and suffered a worse fate. It was short and sweet as chocolate candy from Hershey where I won once a chess tournament.

My opponent "Pawnivore" is someone that I have played once a year for three years. Before I won this BDG, I won a 1.e4 c6 Caro-Kann Defence as Black in 2012, and in 2014 I won as White with 1.Nc3 c5 Queens Knight Attack without transposing into the Sicilian Defence. I did not post the other games. I have published about 2% of my games on this blog, but if I can keep writing long enough, that will go up over time.

Sawyer (2133) - Pawnivore (1773), ICC 3 0 u Internet Chess Club, 31.10.2013 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Nc3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6 8.Be3 e6 9.Bd3 Bd6 10.0-0 Nbd7 11.Ne4 Be7 12.c3 Qc7 13.b4!? [While 13.Bf4 was tempting and is good, my idea was to begin action on the queenside to talk Black into castling kingside.] 13...0-0 14.Bg5?! [14.Bf4 e5=] 14...Rae8 [14...Nd5!=/+] 15.Rae1 [15.Nxf6+! Nxf6 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Qe4 and with the mate threat White wins a piece, since 17...g6 18.Rxf6+-] 15...Nxe4 16.Qxe4 g6 17.Bh6 f5? [17...Nf6 18.Qf3+/= and White will pick up the Exchange.] 18.Qxe6+ Rf7 19.Bc4 [A more efficient mate follows 19.Qxf7+! Kxf7 20.Bc4+ Kf6 21.Re6+ Kf7 22.Rxc6#] 19...Ne5 20.Rxe5 Black resigns 1-0

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

Chris Dunworth Alekhine vs Taylor

FM Chris Dunworth first caught my attention with his 1988 annotation of 100 games in his booklet entitled "Developments in the Alekhine Defence 1985-1987". In the olden days, databases were rare, so thematic opening monographs were helpful. They were generally more focused and a lot cheaper than buying every copy of Chess Informant. Later Chris Dunworth did one of the Foxy Videos on the Alekhine Defence. All of us who write books on the Alekhine Defense have our own approach; his is very good.

On page 51 of his Developments booklet, Dunworth writes of 1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 in part:
"With 2...e5 Black may transpose into the Vienna Game, but 2...d5 is more in keeping with the spirit of the Alekhine... After 3.e5 Black... can play 3...Ne4 entering less well-trodden paths, with greater scope for innovative play."

In an Alekhine Defence video, Christopher Dunworth recommends Black to play 2.Nc3 d5 3.e5 Ne4, which has long been my favorite. Allen V. Taylor Jr tries a unique idea 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Qe2!? which threatens both e4 and a check on b5. The queens come off quickly and I mount pressure on his center. A tactical shot ends the contest. The next year Allen Taylor played a Najdorf Sicilian Defence vs me in a simultaneous exhibition where I scored +35 =1 -1; Allen was the one who beat me.

Taylor (1514) - Sawyer (2011), Williamsport PA 1995 begins 1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e5 Ne4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Qe2!? Qd5 6.Qb5+ c6 7.Qxd5 cxd5 8.d3 Bf5 9.Be2 Nc6 10.g4 Bg6 11.Bf4 exd3 12.cxd3 Nb4 13.Rc1 Bxd3 14.Kd2 Bxe2 15.Nxe2 Nc6 16.a3 [16.h4 e6=/+] 16...e6 17.Bg3 Be7 18.h4 Kd7 19.f4 Rhc8 20.h5 Na5 21.Rxc8 Rxc8 22.b4 [If 22.Kd3 Nc4-+] 22...Nc4+ 23.Kc3 Nxa3+ 24.Kb3 Nb5 25.Rc1 Nd4+! 0-1

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

Chess Coach Chris Merli vs Dutch Defence

I had the privilege of playing Chris Merli with my Dutch Defence in postal chess 23 years ago. Christopher Merli is a biology teacher who became a notable chess coach with many successes. As a player Chris is a tournament Expert sometimes rated in the 2100s. Here are interesting quotes taken from one University of Illinois article.

     “Chess is a game of pure strategy,” Merli explains. “There is no luck and no bad bounces. In chess, it comes down to if you or your opponent plays better.”
     “I played sports when I was younger,” he says, “but I was always told I was not big enough for the team. No one ever said that when I sat in front of the board in a chess game.”
     “Chess trains you to realize the importance of thinking, planning, and patience,” he says. “It also teaches the value of persistence. The best players are not necessarily the greatest minds or have the deepest knowledge. The truly great players are those that treat every move as critical, and battle with themselves as much as their opponent to find the best move in every position.

Good stuff. His comment on size reminds me of World Champion Anatoly Karpov and Olympic ice skater Scott Hamilton. In the trendy Leningrad Dutch 7...Qe8 Malaniuk variation below, we both had chances but in the end agreed to a draw. I do not know what our ratings were at the time, nor which section this 1989 USCF Golden Knights Postal Chess tournament game came from. By this 1991 round game we were probably out of the running for any prize money. I was rated over 2200 in 1990, and his current postal rating is 1927. I am guessing our ratings were close to each other at that time.

Merli - Sawyer, corr USCF 1991 begins 1.c4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.0-0 0-0 6.d4 d6 7.Nc3 Qe8 8.Re1 Qf7 9.b3 Ne4 10.Bb2 Nc6 [10...Nd7 11.e3 Ndf6 12.Nxe4 Nxe4 13.Nd2 Nf6 14.Qe2 c6=] 11.Rf1 Nxc3 12.Bxc3 h6 13.Qc2 Bd7 14.Rad1 Rae8 15.d5 Nd8 16.Nd4 [Sharper play would follow after 16.Bxg7 Qxg7 17.c5 f4 18.Nd4+/-] 16...a6 17.e4 f4 18.e5 Bxe5 19.Be4 Kg7 20.b4 g5 [20...Qf6=/+] 21.c5 Qh5 22.Nf5+ Kg8 [Black could have won material with 22...Rxf5! 23.Bxf5 Bxf5 24.Bxe5+ (24.Qxf5 Bxc3-+) 24...Kg6-+] 23.Bxe5 dxe5 24.d6 exd6+/- 1/2-1/2

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

Fulton Declines Blackmar-Diemer Gambit

BDGer Al Fulton played the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit vs me six games from one side or the other in the winter of 1998. Probably he is the Albert Fulton of Texas who had a USCF rating of 1812 during the months we played on the Internet Chess Club. I had White twice and Black four times. Five of those games began 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 accepting the gambit, including one game that Al Fulton won as White.

In the other game below, Al Fulton chose a BDG Vienna 4...Bf5. White has a choice of two popular moves that I play: 5.g4 (in one third of my games) and 5.fxe4 (in two thirds of my games). My performance rating is about the same with each. I have tended to play 5.g4 vs higher rateds and lose more frequently, while playing 5.fxe4 vs lower rateds and winning more frequently.

In today's game, Black chopped off my knight with 5.fxe4 Nxe4 6.Qf3 Nxc3 7.bxc3 Qc8 (the main move) which protects to the key weak points: the Bf5 and the b7-pawn. Typically, White mounts pressure vs f7, g6 and d5. Blitzing away, we both missed the best 13th moves. It could be considered either lucky or unlucky, depending on your viewpoint. The fact is that I had an advantage as White, let it slip and got it back twice.

Sawyer - Fulton, Internet Chess Club, 22.01.1998 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Bf5 5.fxe4 Nxe4 6.Qf3 Nxc3 7.bxc3 Qc8 8.Bc4 Bg6 9.Nh3 Nd7 10.0-0 Nf6 11.Nf4 e6 12.d5!? [12.Nxg6! hxg6 13.g4!+/-] 12...Bc5+ 13.Kh1? [13.Be3+/=] 13...0-0? [13...e5!-/+] 14.dxe6 Be4 15.exf7+ Kh8 16.Qh3 [16.Qe2!+-] 16...Qxh3 17.Nxh3 Bg6 18.Ng5 Nd7 [18...h6 19.Nf3=] 19.Ne6 [19.Bd3+/-] 19...Rfc8 [19...Rxf7!=] 20.Nxc5 Nxc5 21.Ba3 Nd7 22.Be6 Nf8 23.Bxc8 Rxc8 24.Bxf8 Rxf8 25.Rae1 h6 26.Re8 Rxe8 27.fxe8Q+ Bxe8 28.Rf8+ 1-0

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

Index: Blackmar-Diemer Gambit 5.fxe4 Nxe4

This Index on the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit covers the Vienna Defence 4.f3 Bf5 where Black chooses 5.fxe4 Nxe4. The main part below covers 6.Qf3 Nxc3. This is a common variation that has many games. During the next four months, I plan to cover 7.bxc3 Qc8  in December. In the New Year 2015: 6.Qf3 Nd6 in January, and 7.Bf4 e6 in February. I will skip a BDG index for November due to the large number of BDG Vienna games that I want to post before I publish the index, Previously we considered were 5.fxe4 Bxe4 and the Hara-Kiri lines 5.g4 Bg6 6.h4 and 5.g4 Bg6 6.g5.

This variation begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Bf5 5.fxe4 Nxe4:
6.Bd3 Nxc3 7.bxc3 Bxd3 8.Qxd3
6.Qf3 Qxd4 7.Qxf5 Nd6
    6...Nxc3 7.Qxf5 Nd5 8.a3
6.Qf3 Nxc3 7.bxc3:
7...g6 8.Bc4 Qc8 9.Ne2 Nd7 10.0-0
7...e6 8.Qxb7 Nd7 9.Bb5
7...Bxc2 8.Qxb7 Nd7 9.Bb5
7...Bc8 8.Bc4 e6 9.Nh3 Nc6 10.0-0
                               9...Nd7 10.0-0
                               9...Be7 10.0-0
Last Revised October 27, 2014.

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

French Masters Battle Caro-Kann 3.f3 e5

Last week when I mentioned the Alexey Bezgodov book on Caro-Kann 3.f3, our friend Francesco Cavicchi wrote: "but there's that fearsome 3...e5 " Bezgodov calls 3...e5 "The Abordage Variation", with this description: "There will be a battle without rules, not any less intense than in the classical King's Gambit in the far off 19th century!"

This week in response we go to a clash in the Caro-Kann Defence 3.f3 between two masters played in France. FIDE Master Benjamin Le Corre had the White pieces vs young Vianney Domenech. This time experience won out over youth.

GM Bezgodov writes that after "many sleepless nights" his conclusion about the 3...e5 line is this: "White's game is easier and, not surprisingly, more pleasant." Let us look at one line after 9.Qd4! which the grandmaster considers the most reliable for White.

Le Corre (2266) - Domenech (2238), ch-FRA Accession 2014 Nimes FRA (4.15), 20.08.2014 begins 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 e5 4.dxe5 Bc5 [4...Qc7 5.Bf4 Qb6 6.b3 dxe4 7.fxe4 Bc5 8.Qf3 Bxg1 9.Bc4 Be6 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.Nd2= but 1-0 in 27 in Scandinavian-Sawyer, Internet Chess Club 1998] 5.Nc3 Qb6 [5...Ne7 6.Qd2 0-0 7.f4=] 6.Na4 Qa5+ 7.c3 Bxg1 8.Rxg1 dxe4 9.Qd4! [9.Bf4!?; 9.f4!?] 9...Ne7 10.Bg5 Ng6 [10...Nd7 11.Bxe7 Kxe7 12.f4+/=] 11.b4 [11.Nc5 0-0 12.Nxe4+/-] 11...Qc7 12.0-0-0 0-0 13.Qd6 Qd7 [13...Qxd6 14.exd6 exf3 15.gxf3+/=] 14.Nc5 Qf5? [14...Qe8 15.Nxe4+/-] 15.f4 h5 [Everything goes downhill for Black. 15...Qg4 16.Qd2 Nd7 17.h3+-] 16.h3 h4 17.Be2 b6 18.Bg4 bxc5 19.Bxf5 Bxf5 20.g4 hxg3 21.Rxg3 cxb4 22.h4 Re8 23.h5 Nf8 24.Bh6 g6 25.Qf6 Ne6 26.hxg6 Bxg6 27.Rxg6+ fxg6 28.Qxg6+ Kh8 29.Rh1 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, October 25, 2014

French Defence Advance Fighting f-Pawn

A natural method in the French Defence to attack White's e5 pawn is to pushing Black's f-pawn, which leaves the first player with a decision to make. Should I play exf6 or not?
If White takes on f6, he gets a half-open e-file from which to attack the e6 pawn and the e5 square. Black gets on open f-file, as enjoyed by Blackmar-Diemer Gambit players.
If White does not take the pawn, the position may become closed, giving Black time to complete his development with less risk, albeit in a cramped area.

In a 3.e5 Advance Variation blitz game vs "NightKnight" (rated 2238), I faced the rare 5...f5!? in the French Defence. This time I chose to take on f6. The position quickly opened up but I got into trouble. Black got a slight edge. I felt like a person who was arm wrestling, and my hand was being pushed downward. However I flexed my own muscle with my rating of 2287. I equalized and pushed for my own advantage. After I made the wrong capture on move 31, Black got a perpetual check for a draw.

Sawyer (2287) - NightKnight (2238), ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 18.04.2009 begins 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 f5 6.exf6 [6.Be2!?+/=] 6...Nxf6 7.Bg5 cxd4 8.cxd4 Qa5+ 9.Bd2 Qd8 10.Bg5 Bd6 [10...Qb6=/+] 11.Nc3 a6 12.Bd3 Bc7 13.Bh4 0-0 14.0-0 Qd6 [14...Bd7=] 15.Bg3 Qd7 16.Bxc7 Qxc7 17.Re1 Bd7 18.Ne2 [18.h3+/=] 18...Ng4 19.h3 Rxf3 20.hxg4 Rf7 21.f3 Raf8 [21...Qb6=] 22.Rc1 Qd6 23.Bb1 e5 24.dxe5 Nxe5 25.Nd4 Ng6 [25...Rf4=] 26.Qd3 Bb5 27.Nxb5 axb5 28.a3 Qg3 29.Re2 [29.Rf1+/=] 29...Rxf3 30.Qxd5+ Kh8 31.Bxg6 [31.Qxf3 Rxf3 32.Rc3 Qxg4 33.Rxf3+/=] 31...hxg6 32.Re8 Qf2+ 33.Kh2 Qg3+ 34.Kg1 Qf2+ 35.Kh2 Qg3+ 36.Kg1 1/2-1/2

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