Monday, March 31, 2014

Queen's Knight Attack Quickly Mates Papa's King

I like to think anyone called "papa" is a pretty nice guy. After all, there is a group of people in my life that call me "papa". It was Sunday afternoon. No baseball til tomorrow. No football. NCAA basketball is just to find out who plays Florida in the Final Four. I do not care who. I will root for the Gators to win their 31st game in a row. Maybe I should play a chess game. On the Internet Chess Club I tried to accept 3 minute challenges. I started with the highest rated. When I got down to a 1400 player, I got accepted.

Due to our rating difference, my opponent "charlypapa" would be less likely to win. What I did not remember was that I played "charlypapa" in a Benoni Defence back in 2012. A look at his finger notes shows that "charlypapa" has won more rated ICC blitz games than I (his 7870 to my 7063). I have more draws, but I don't want to draw here. He played our opening very well, developing all his minor pieces and castling in the first 10 moves. I wanted a short victory, but it might be a challenge. If that did not happen quickly, I would take a win even on time. In 3 0 games, many "papa's" are slow.

However, this "charlypapa" played fast! In the first 10 moves I took 20 seconds as White, while Black used only 18 seconds. I caught him for a moment, but I fell back behind on the clock when his king came into my cross hairs. I wanted to take careful aim. In the end I had to pause for a moment. I saw a mate in two with 17.Bh6+ and then realized I had a mate in one. Game over. Cute. Since this is the end of the month, I decided to postpone for a week the BDG index I had intended for today. It will keep until next Monday.

Sawyer (1920) - charlypapa (1400), ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 30.03.2014 begins 1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 d4 3.Nce2 e5 4.Ng3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Bc4 Nbd7 7.0-0 h6 8.d3 Be7 9.h3 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 0-0 11.Nf5 Kh7 12.Qg3 [Another good idea, which I did think about, was playing against Black's center with 12.c3 however, it seemed that attacking the Black king was promising in view of the points that my Nf5 hits: h6, g7 and e7.] 12...g6? [12...Nh5 13.Qg4 Ndf6 14.Qf3+-] 13.Nxh6 [Also good is 13.Bxh6+- but I cannot play them both.] 13...Nh5 14.Qf3 f5 15.Nxf5?! [I spent only four seconds on this because I thought he might recapture; it only took him two seconds. However, 15.exf5!+- is the best move.] 15...gxf5? [There is a brilliant defence that leads to only a small White edge with 15...Ng7! 16.g4+=] 16.Qxh5+ Kg7 17.Qh6# Black is checkmated 1-0

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

Kitten Devours Prey With Budapest

The evil chess engine Kitten was on the prowl with a Budapest Gambit. This is no cute little pussy cat. This chess engine Kitten is consistently rated in the area of 2300 and sometimes above 2400. Its Internet Chess Club "finger" notes (with some editing) say:

     "Engine: Kitten 2.0 (1800 ELO). Owner & Author: Malacar. Hardware: AMD Athlon 64 processor 3000+, 1.81 GHz, 512 RAM. Moves instantly, perfect for people that like StrongBach(C) but want a slightly harder challenge. Kitten 1.0 (1600 ELO) was on ICC summer 2008 and reached 2250 bullet & 1750 blitz. Kitten is a very humanoid engine, it calculates 4 moves deep almost perfectly and is a lot better attacker than defender".

"Malacar" is no longer an active handle on the Internet Chess Club. Games in the ICC database by Malacar are from years 2008-2012. He is typically rated close to 2200, but sometimes over 2400 or under 2000 (swings typical of my own blitz rating history).

It makes sense for this bad kitty to play an aggressive Budapest Gambit. For this contest I chose one of the best lines as White, 4.Nf3. I obtained a slight advantage, but I let it slip down to equality by move 15. It dropped to inferiority a half dozen moves later. Over the years we have owned many a frisky kitty that would hunt for prey and proudly bring home partially eaten birds, squirrels, rats and mice. These trophies were deposited by our cats on the door step or porch - presents from feline presence that we did not want. In this game below, Kitten claws me to death and devours my chess pieces - purr-fectly.

Sawyer (2061) - Kitten (2361), ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 15.06.2010 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Nf3 Bc5 5.e3 Nc6 6.Nc3 Ngxe5 7.Be2 d6 8.0-0 0-0 9.Nxe5 [9.b3 Re8 10.Bb2 Nxf3+ 11.Bxf3 Ne5=] 9...dxe5 10.a3 Bf5 11.b4 Be7 12.Bb2 a5 13.b5 Na7 14.a4 c6 15.Qxd8?! [15.Qb3+/=] 15...Raxd8 16.Rfd1 Bc2 17.Rxd8 Rxd8 18.Bd1 [18.Rc1=] 18...Bf5 19.Ba3 Bb4 20.Bxb4 axb4 21.Ne2? [21.Na2 c5=/+] 21...Bd3 22.Ng3 Bxc4 23.Bf3 cxb5 24.axb5 b3 25.Bxb7 b2 26.Rb1 Nxb5 27.h3 Rb8 28.Ba6 Na3 29.Bxc4 Nxb1 White resigns 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bishop vs Lawyer Times Alekhine 6...c5

Tim Bishop sent me the following note with games that brought back memories:
"Hi Tim, I trust you’re doing well. I thought these chess games might interest you. A local master plays his own variation of the Alekhine’s Defense where, in the four-pawn attack, he plays an early c5 for black. I had winning chances in both games, but couldn’t convert. Have you ever seen this variation before? I can’t find much of anything on it.

"On a happier note, I had a recent game I’ll treasure for many years to come. And I was surprised to see it published in the Saturday Boston Globe:
Note that 23…Qxa4 24. Nh5 Qa2 loses to 25. Nf6ch Kh8 (on gxf6 Qh5!) 26. Bxh6 Qxb1ch 27 Bc1mate! ... Best regards, Tim Bishop"

Very nice to have a win published in the Boston Globe. When you wrote me I was away watching the Boston Red Sox play in south Florida. Spring training baseball ends today and they are headed North to start the regular season on Monday in Baltimore. Because they won the World Series last year, they will visit the White House on April Fool's Day.

Yes I am familiar with the Alekhine Defence Four Pawns 6...c5 variation and played it half a dozen times myself. I always choose the old 7...e6, as in the 40 year old famous game Bronstein-Ljubojevic, Candidates Tournament 1973; Bob Long and Tom Tucker wrote a booklet annotating that game. Thinkers' Press gave that booklet away free to anyone who purchased their 1986 book "Alekhine's Defense as White, Four Pawns Attack" by Larry Christensen, Manuel Joseph and Bob Raingruber.

Less popular but much more successful in practice is 7...g6 that Lawyer Times played (as Black) vs Tim Bishop. Masters such as Lawyer Times tend to specialize in their openings to be familiar with typical tactics. This makes Tim's task tougher. I like that Bishop boldly played such a sharp attacking variation and pushed the fight to Black. Here is their first game with the second in the notes (annotations by Bishop except as noted by Sawyer).

Bishop (2048) - Times (2273), Groundhog Day Swiss Metrowest Chess Club, Natick, (3), 25.02.2014 begins 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.d4 d6 5.f4 dxe5 6.fxe5 c5 7.d5 g6 8.Nc3 Bg7 9.Bf4 0-0 10.Bd3 [Note by Sawyer: Popular chess engines prefer White after 10.Qd2 e6 11.0-0-0 exd5 12.cxd5+/= Komodo, Deep Rybka, Deep Fritz, Houdini, Critter.] 10...e6 11.d6 Nc6 12.Nf3 f6 [Note by Sawyer: Black improved in the second game with 12...Nd7! 13.Qe2 Nd4 14.Nxd4 (Another interesting try is 14.Qe3!? Nxf3+ 15.gxf3 Qh4+ 16.Kd2 with chances for both sides.) 14...cxd4 15.Nb5 Qa5+ with equal chances although 0-1 in 37. Bishop-Times, Metrowest CC Natick Mass 2014] 13.Ne4N [Note by Sawyer: Houdini likes the sharp line 13.exf6! Bxf6 14.Ne4 Bxb2 15.Bg5+/=] 13...Nd7 14.exf6 Nxf6 15.Bg5 Qa5+ 16.Bd2 Qb6 17.Nxf6+ Bxf6 18.0-0 Nd4 19.Bh6 Bg7? 20.Bxg7 Kxg7 21.Ng5 [21.Nxd4! cxd4 22.Rxf8 Kxf8 23.Qf3+ Ke8 24.Qf4 Kd7 25.c5 Qxc5 26.Rc1 Qxd6 27.Qf7+ Kd8 28.Qg8+ Kd7 29.Qxh7+ Kd8 30.Qg8+ Kd7 31.Qf7+ Kd8 32.Bxg6 and mate or significant loss of material to follow.] 21...Qxd6 22.Rxf8 [22.Qg4! offers some good attacking chances] 22...Qxf8 23.Nxh7?? [23.Qg4 instead, threatening Nxh7] 23...Qf4 24.Qa4 [time pressure; game is over; perhaps 24.Qf1 followed by exchange of queens and Rf8 tying up bishop and rook; even though down a piece, it is diffcult for him to develop because of Be4.] 24...b5 25.Qa5 Bd7 26.cxb5 [26.Rf1 may be better try] 26...Qe3+ 27.Kh1 Qxd3 28.Qc7 Nxb5 29.Qb7 Qd5 white loses on time 0-1

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

Tim McGrew Caro-Kann O'Kelly 4.f3 c6

Every once in a while God brings someone into your life at just the right time. In the late 1990's I met Tim McGrew. We played and chatted a lot on ICC in those days. Tim was a great help in getting me to write an updated edition to my keybook. In Februay 1999 Tim McGrew wrote the Forward to my Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook II. His creative work on the BDG has appeared online at various sites. Three BDG writers all have similar first names and six letter last names: Tim McGrew, Tim Sawyer and Tom Purser.

In today's game, the Tims are playing in a BDG thematic correspondence event. I do not remember if it was postal or e-mail. We transposed into a Caro-Kann Defence with his 4...c6, which I call a BDG O'Kelly variation, an excellent way to decline the gambit. Volker Hergert wrote "Die O'Kelly-Verteidigung im Blackmar-Diemer-Gambit" in 1993, a 65 page book published by Mandfred Madler in German. Hergert provided deep analysis from a thematic correspondence event covering about 70 games in detail.

Theoretical chances are equal. As of today, I have faced the BDG O'Kelly 95 times and scored 56%. But prior to 1996 when Tim McGrew played it against me, I had faced it only three times: Van Oirschot in 1985, Liddy in 1988 and Cullen in 1990. Frankly, I had no clue as to which line was best for White.

Sawyer - McGrew, corr BDG thematic, 1996 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 c6 5.fxe4 e5 6.Nf3 [6.dxe5=] 6...exd4 7.Nxd4 [7.Qxd4 Qxd4 8.Nxd4=] 7...Bb4 8.Bc4 Bg4 [8...0-0 9.0-0 Bc5 10.Nce2 Nbd7-/+] 9.Qd3 0-0 10.h3 Nbd7 11.Bf4 Nc5 12.Qe3 Ncxe4 13.hxg4 Re8 14.0-0 Nxc3 15.Qd3 Ncd5 16.Bg5 Qb6 17.c3 Ne4 18.Bf4 Bc5 19.Rae1 Qxb2 20.Rxe4 Rxe4 21.Qxe4 Qxc3 22.Bxd5 Qxd4+ 23.Qxd4 Bxd4+ 0-1

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

Chandler Blackmar-Diemer Boulder Open

A few days ago Bill Chandler won a tournament game going from the Scandinavian Defence to a Caro-Kann Defence to the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Bill writes:

"My Round 4 game from yesterday's Boulder Open -- a Tim Sawyer special  This was the decisive game of the tournament and gave me a half point lead going into Round 5, which was a quick draw in a boring Gruenfeld.
Final rating adjustment 1636 to 1689."

In tournament play the Blackmar-Diemer tends to push one's rating toward 1800-2000. Of course, if you are a grandmaster, this is the wrong direction! However, for most players in the 1600s, reaching 1800 is an exciting and awesome experience. Your success depends heavily your tactical skill and analytical ability compared to that of your opponents. The placement of your pieces in the BDG challenges to your opponent because you make real threats. Many players do not handle well them. Bill Chandler's win is a good example.

Eric Barkemeyer was rated over 30 points higher and played well in the first 10 moves of the opening. However, Black's king was stuck in the middle and he went wrong under pressure of White's threats. Black castled his king to g8. White chased him all the way across the board and then mated the Black king on b8. With this win, William Chandler won first place in the 32 player Reserve Section of the Boulder Open in Colorado.

Chandler (1636) - Barkemeyer (1668), Boulder Open 2014, 23.03.2014 begins 1.e4 d5 2.d4 dxe4 3.Nc3 c6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.Be3 Nf6 [We have reached a BDG Ziegler Variation] 7.Bc4 [Another approach would be 7.h3 Bh5 (7...Bxf3 8.Qxf3 would transpose to a BDG Teichmann Exchange Variation.) 8.Bd3 e6 9.Qe2 Nbd7 10.0-0-0] 7...e6 8.0-0 Bd6 9.Qe1 Bxf3 10.Rxf3 Nbd7 11.d5?! [The strategy of opening lines is good, but maybe White should first play 11.Rd1or 11.h3.] 11...cxd5 [11...Ne5!-+ encourages White to give up more material.] 12.Bxd5 Nxd5 [Looks like Black might be able to snatch the knight with 12...exd5! 13.Bd4+ Kf8-+] 13.Nxd5 0-0 [One can understand Black's desire to escape to the safety of the kingside, but 13...Ne5!-+ looks good.] 14.Nc3 a6 15.Rd1 Qc7 16.Ne4 Be5 [16...Bxh2+ 17.Kh1 Be5-+] 17.Qh4 f6? [Black weakens his pawn structure and completely loses his advantage. 17...Rfd8!-/+ gives the Black king some breathing room.] 18.Rh3! Kf7 19.Qh5+ Ke7 20.Qxh7 Rf7 21.Qg6 [Houdini finds 21.Bd2!+/- aiming to redirect the bishop to b4 or c3.] 21...Bxb2? [Waste of time. Black holds with 21...Rd8 22.c3 Nf8 23.Qh5=] 22.Rxd7+ Qxd7 23.Bc5+ Kd8 24.Rd3 [24.Bb6+! Ke7 25.Rd3+- is immediately crushing, but White has the right idea. He chases Black until checkmate.] 24...Kc7 25.Rxd7+ Rxd7 26.Qg3+ Be5 27.Qb3 b5 28.Qxe6 Bd4+ 29.Kf1 Bxc5 30.Nxc5 Rd1+ 31.Ke2 Rad8 32.Nxa6+ Kb7 33.Nc5+ Ka7 34.Qa6+ Kb8 35.Qb7# 1-0

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

Hair Raising Checkmate Attack Reti

Bold and not bald. I'm blessed to still have brown hair. To quote the Broadway musical "Hair": "Long as God can grow it, my hair." In this YouTube link that phase appears about at the 1:00 minute mark, and again later. When I was in high school, the Cowsills recorded the song "Hair" (though they replaced "God" with "I".). I prefer to give God the credit. When I started playing chess, my hair was so long that I could reach around and grab it in the back. Now my hair is so short that it all sticks up. I never need a comb!

"Hair raising" implies an encounter where you barely escape death. In chess, it means you barely escape being checkmated. Recently I returned to three minute blitz games on the Internet Chess Club, scary by itself for an old man. My opponent "fallavena" adopted a Reti Opening. He got a strong attack with pieces swarming around my king like bullets flying past my hair. White came very close, but he missed by a frog hair.

The opening became in effect a Pirc Defence 150 Attack in reverse where I was able to advance my Black d-pawn to d4. We castled opposite sides. I attacked his g3 formation when I played ...h5-h4xg3. Both of us tried to attack too fast when one defensive pawn move would have greatly delayed the opponent. I did not want to move any queenside pawns, hoping my opponent would run out of time before he found a mate. Either 12...b6 or 14...b6 would have been wiser. White could have responded to my 21...hxg3 with 22.fxg3 and kept his winning chances. Instead of defending, White beat me to b6 with his own pawn push. This allowed Black a forced mate in five with all checks. Whew!

fallavena (1762) - Sawyer (1955), ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 16.03.2014 begins 1.g3 Nc6 2.Bg2 d5 3.c4 d4 4.Nf3 f6 5.d3 e5 6.0-0 Be6 7.a3 Qd7 8.b4 0-0-0!? 9.Qa4 Kb8 10.b5 Nce7 11.Nbd2 g5 [11...h5! is faster.] 12.Nb3 Ng6? [Black should defend with 12...b6 13.Bd2+/=] 13.Bd2 h5? [13...Bh3!= is correct.] 14.Bb4 [14.Na5!+-] 14...Bh3?! [Better is to slow down White's attack first with 14...b6 15.Nfd2 and then 15...Bh3 16.Bc6 Qe6 17.Rfb1 h4 with winning chances for both sides.] 15.c5 [15.Bc5! b6 16.Qa6 Qc8 17.Bxh3+/-] 15...Bxg2 16.Kxg2 h4 17.c6 Qc8 [Wrong direction. 17...Qg4!= ] 18.cxb7 Qd7 19.Nc5 Qf5 20.Na6+ Kxb7 21.Nxc7 [21.Rfc1!+-] 21...hxg3 22.Qa6+ [22.fxg3+-] 22...Kb8 23.b6? [White's last winning choice was 23.fxg3!+-] 23...Nf4+ 24.Kh1 g2+ 25.Kg1 Nxe2+ 26.Kxg2 Qg4+ 27.Kh1 Qxf3# White is checkmated 0-1

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

Blackmar-Diemer by De Bouver - 3 Years!

I have played the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit for 30 years. I am always looking for new ideas. Where do I look? Guido De Bouver writes a blog that I enjoy. His specialty is concrete opening theory: not general principles but specific moves. De Bouver does an excellent job. They say if you do something every day for three weeks, it can become a long term habit. This month marks three years since De Bouver of Belgium began his blog. If three weeks is good, three years is awesome! Congratulations!!

One interesting Guido De Bouver example was his post on 8.Nxf7, what he calls the "Belka-Neumeyer" line in the BDG Gunderam. My chess engines had done some work in that line a few years ago. Guido notes that the correct play after 7...Be4 is 8.Nxe4 Nxe4 9.Qf3. In my thinking, the only way the fascinating 8.Nxf7 lines is inferior is after 11...Qxd4! based on the analysis I present below. I thank De Bouver for catching my attention. I purchased his "Attack with the Blackmar-Diemer" years ago, and I have always been impressed with his work. I wish Guido De Bouver continued success!

Rybka (3000) - Fritz (3000), BDG Thematic Blitz Tournament, 02.12.2007 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bf5 6.Ne5 e6 7.g4 Be4 8.Nxf7 ["The simple 8.Nxe4 Nxe4 9.Qf3 is probably a much better continuation for the attacker." De Bouver] 8...Kxf7 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Qf3+ Nf6 11.Qxb7 Nbd7 [11...Qxd4! 12.c3 Qd5 13.Bg2 Qe5+ 14.Kf1 h5 15.Bd2 (If White grabs a rook, knight and pawn, he will lose his queen after 15.Qxa8 hxg4 16.Qxb8 Rh5 17.Qxa7 Rf5+ and Black has a crushing attack.) 15...Bc5-+; "11...Nxg4 12.Qxa8 Qh4+ 13.Kd2 Qf2+ 14.Kc3 Bc5 15.a4+/-" De Bouver] 12.g5 Rb8 13.Qf3 c5 14.gxf6 Qxf6 15.Qxf6+ gxf6 16.d5 exd5 17.Bg2 Ke6 18.Bf4 Rb4 19.Rf1 Bd6 20.Bh3+ f5 21.Bxd6 Kxd6 22.0-0-0 Rh4 23.Bxf5 Ne5 24.Rf2 Rf8 25.Rdf1 a5 26.b3 Rh6 27.Kd2 a4 28.h3 Rg8 29.Rf4 axb3 30.axb3 Rf8 31.c3 Ra8 32.h4 Kc7 33.R1f2 Ra1 34.Bc2 Rh1 35.Rf5 Re6 36.R5f4 Re7 37.Bd1 Re8 38.Ra4 h6 39.Bh5 Re6 40.Be2 c4 41.bxc4 dxc4 42.Bxc4 Rd6+ 43.Kc2 Rxh4 44.Ra7+ Kb6 45.Ra6+ Kc7 46.Ra7+ Kb6 47.Ra6+ Kc7 48.Ra7+ 1/2-1/2

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