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.

Stefanova, Jobava and Fries Nielsen all have played 3.Bf4 several times. Back in 2005, I played it myself 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

Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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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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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Zoltan Sarosy draw Modern Caro-Kann

So close I came to beating Zoltan Sarosy, one of the strongest masters I ever played in my life. He dodged. He weaved. He wiggled. He jiggled. He made me work hard. In the end I missed the best move 48. Zoltan the magnificent pulled off a draw. Darn. At the time International Correspondence Chess Master Zoltan Sarosy of Canada was near his peak rating of 2435 (in 1992) when more than 80 years old! How old is too old for chess?

In 1987, under Hans-Werner von Massow the ICCF added the Elo rating system. Before that they used only class titles. By then Sarosy was already in his 80s; he might have had a much higher rating in his younger days. He won a Master Class tournament in Hungary in 1943. According to his biography in the Canadian Chess Hall of Fame, Zoltan Sarosy "Reached age 100 in 2006 while still playing chess by e-mail; in 2007, became longest lived Canadian chess player ever".

The opening was a crossover between the Caro-Kann Defence (1.e4 c6 with d5) and the Modern Defence (1.e4 g6 with Bg7) which can be reached via either move order. White usually plays 1.e4, 2.d4, 3.Nc3 and then either 4.h3 and 5.Nf3 as I did, or 4.e5 and 5.f4. Black plans a slow build up in an unbalanced position. Sarosy liked to play original little-known positions that made his opponents think on their own. It is dangerous for weaker players to try a slow build up because they have not developed the tactical, strategical and analytical skills to make it work effectively. They get crushed without improving.

Weaker players need to play openings that lead to quick development so they can learn quickly. They do not have to play main lines, just anything that brings all pieces out for action. When the armies clash, they will learn what works and what to avoid in the future. Saraosy already knew what works. He was a proven dangerous player waiting to pounce and crush experts and masters due to his deep analysis. Because I developed rapidly with control of the center, I was able to prevent disaster and even obtain a winning position. Picking off his pawn with 48.Nxg6 seemed like a good idea, but it failed to his brilliant defense. This draw gave me 2.5 out of 4 points so far in the tournament.

Sawyer (2157) - Sarosy (2401), corr ICCF 1995 begins 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 g6 4.h3 Bg7 5.Nf3 Nh6 6.Bf4 0-0 7.Qd2 dxe4 8.Nxe4 Nf5 9.c3 Nd7 10.Bc4 Nb6 11.Bb3 Nd6 12.Nc5 Nd5 13.Be5 b6 14.Nd3 f6 15.Bh2 Be6 16.0-0 Qd7 17.Qe2 Bf7 18.Rfe1 Rfe8 19.Nde5 fxe5 20.dxe5 Nc7 21.e6 Nxe6 22.Bxe6 Qxe6 23.Qxe6 Bxe6 24.Rxe6 Rad8 25.Rae1 Kf8 26.Bf4 c5 27.Ne5 Nf7 28.Nc6 Rd7 29.a4 Bf6 30.a5 Ng5 [30...Rc8 31.Kh2 b5 32.a6=] 31.Bxg5 Bxg5 32.Ne5 Rd6 33.Rxd6 exd6 34.Nd7+ Kf7 35.Rxe8 Kxe8 36.axb6 axb6 37.Nxb6 Kf7 38.Nd5 Bc1 39.b3 Ke6 40.c4 Ke5 41.g3 Kd4 [Maybe better is 41...Ke4 42.Kg2 Kd3 43.Kf1 g5 44.Nf6 h6 45.Nd5 Bb2 46.f4 Ke4 47.Kf2 Bd4+ 48.Kg2 Ba1 49.fxg5 hxg5 50.h4 gxh4 51.gxh4+=] 42.f4 Kd3 [Or 42...Bb2 43.Kf2 Ke4 44.Ke2 Bg7 45.Nc7 Bf8 46.Nb5+/-] 43.Kf2 Kc2 [If 43...Bd2 44.Kf3 Ba5 45.g4+-] 44.Ke2 Kxb3 45.Kd3 h5 46.Ne7 [Winning is 46.g4! hxg4 47.hxg4 Ka3 48.f5 gxf5 49.gxf5 Bh6 50.f6+-] 46...h4 47.gxh4 Bxf4 48.Nxg6? [White is winning after 48.Ke4 g5 49.h5 Kxc4 50.h6 Bc1 51.Nd5 Bb2 52.Ne3+ Kb4 53.Kd5+-] 48...Bg3 49.Ke2 [49.Ke4 Kxc4 50.h5 d5+ 51.Kf3 Be1 52.h6 Bc3 53.Kg4 Kb5 54.h7 c4 with a likely draw] 49...d5 50.cxd5 c4 51.Ne7 Bxh4 1/2-1/2

Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Trap of Queen in Pirc Defence

We have known the Pirc Defence is a good opening since Bobby Fischer played it as Black vs Boris Spassky in the World Championship. Below my opponent played the first eight moves accurately, but then he decided to attack and capture my undefended pawn. It seemed like a good idea, but he was falling into my trap. The b2 pawn was poisoned. Black's queen bit off more than she could chew. Then with one move 11.Nb5! Black realizes it is over. The knight threatens 12.Nc7+ and 13.Nxa8 picking off the rook. This must be dealt with by something like 11...Kd8, but then 12.Rfb1 and the Black lady is without an escape route since the Nb5 covers both c3 and a3.

White has many Pirc choices. I like the 150 Attack 4.f3, 5.Be3 and 6.Qd2 set-up after 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 in my games when I am headed toward a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Here I choose the Yugoslav. Take note: I completed my development by move 10: both knights, both bishops, the queen, and castled, connecting the rooks for six developing moves. Black made only four in the first 10 moves; he never made it to move 11. We see a nice trap that could occur in many openings. My opponent "iAttack" was polite enough to resign at the right moment making this game a good illustration.

Sawyer - iAttack (1488), ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 19.06.2014 begins 1.Nc3 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.d4 g6 [The Pirc Defence] 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 c5 6.dxc5 Qa5 7.Bd3 Qxc5 8.Qe2 Nc6 [Or 8...0-0 9.Be3 Qa5 10.0-0] 9.Be3 Qb4?! [This is a waste of time since b2 is poisoned. Better is 9...Qa5 10.0-0=] 10.0-0 Qxb2 [Black should play 10...0-0 11.a3 but not 11...Qxb2? which loses to 12.Na4+-] 11.Nb5! [Black resigns as he sees his queen is trapped.] 1-0

Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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