Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Zilbermints Englund Gambit vs Grandmaster

Lev Zilbermints has been a long time player of the Englund Gambit 1.d4 e5 with great success in blitz games. Lev Zilbermints has his own variation 3...Nge7. White is a titled grandmaster with the handle "blindhawk" playing anonymously. Objectively we know that the gambit 1.d4 e5 is not the strongest move, but it can be very tricky. So tricky that even grandmasters can struggle when required to play at a very fast speed.

The 3...Nge7 line has ideas similar to the Albin-Counter Gambit 5...Nge7 lines. The knight can can swing from e7 to g6 to recapture the gambit pawn on e5. Often I have played my queenside knight to Ng6, but after 1...Nc6, 2...e5, 3.d5 Nge7 and 4...Ng6 in a Queens Knight Defence. However, Lev Zilbermints has another idea in his system which is reminds me of the way Henri Grob played Black in this line with 4...h6 and 5...g5 before moves like 6...Bg7 and 7...Ng6. Other Englund Gambit ideas include games by Francesco Cavicchi with 3...Qe7 or the counter gambit 2...f6.

A computer chess engine or a FIDE titled GM with several minutes to think on each move would probably find a slight advantage for White. But vs a human in blitz chess, White's edge is very minor. In competitive play, any edge can disappear in a split second and quickly be reversed. Below is a great example by Lev Zilbermints.

blindhawk (2212) - Zilbermints (2205), ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 22.12.2014 begins 1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nge7 4.Bg5 [The critical line seems to be 4.Nc3 Ng6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 7.Nd5 Qd8 8.Qd2 h6+/- when Stockfish, Rybka and Houdini all favor White, but each have a completely different way to continue.] 4...h6 5.Bh4 g5 6.Bg3 Bg7 7.Nc3 Ng6 [Houdini likes regaining the pawn for Black with 7...g4 8.Nd4 Nxe5] 8.e3 Ncxe5 9.Nxe5 Nxe5 10.h4 [10.f4!?+/=] 10...g4 [10...d6=] 11.h5 f5 12.Nd5 d6 13.Bh4 Qd7 14.Nf6+ [14.Qd2+/-] 14...Bxf6 15.Bxf6 0-0 16.Bh4 Qe6 17.Qd2 Bd7 18.b3 Bc6 19.0-0-0 b5 20.Rg1 a6 21.f4 [21.Qa5+/=] 21...Nd7 22.Qc3 Be4 23.Be1 Rac8 24.Qd4 Qf6 25.Bc3 Qxd4 26.Rxd4 Nf6 27.Bb2 Kh7 28.a4 Nxh5 29.axb5 axb5 30.Bxb5 Ng3 31.Kb1 c6 32.Ba6 Rcd8 33.Rgd1 d5 34.Bb7 Rf7 35.Bxc6 Rc7 36.Bxd5? [36.Rxe4 Nxe4 37.Bxd5 Nc3+ 38.Bxc3 Rxc3=/+] 36...Bxc2+ 37.Ka2 Ra7+ 38.Ba3 Bxd1 39.Rxd1 Ne2 40.Kb2 Rad7 White resigns 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Friday, January 16, 2015

English 1.c4 d5!? Fianchetto 4.g3

Black can play any first move vs the English Opening. My new Top 45 has a post on 1.c4 d5. It may cost Black some tempi, but it makes White think more on his own. Any aspect of the game that gains time on the clock is a bonus in blitz.

The blessing and curse of the English Opening is its flexibility. White commits to 1.c4. Moves like Nc3 and Bg2 are common, but beyond that White has a lot of decisions to make in both strategy and tactics. The set-up for White's kingside knight, dark squared bishop and central pawns can be anything, depending on what Black does.

In the 1980s I even experimented with 1.c4 f6, intending 2...e5, Nge7, d5, Nbc6, Be6, Qd7, 0-0-0 followed by ...g5 and ...h5, an ironic twist: the Sicilian English Attack vs the English Opening. You find many Dutch Defence formations in my games, but more often 1.c4 Nc6 and some type of Queens Knight Defence.

Below White continued logically and could have obtained a slight positional advantage with best play. My opponent Michi played reasonable moves, but Black was able to equalize. Last year in 2014 I played a lot of games vs lower rated players for the fun of winning often and just let my rating go wherever it went. My current ICC blitz rating is 2000. I plan to keep it there or above as much as possible this year in 2015. This will require a lot of games vs higher rated opponents which has a big upside and small downside.

Michi (1802) - Sawyer (1941), ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 28.06.2014 begins 1.c4 d5 2.cxd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd8 4.g3 [4.d4 e5!? 5.dxe5 Qxd1+ 6.Nxd1 Nc6=; 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 e6 6.e4 Be7 and after six moves both sides have developed two pieces. White has more space and must play aggressively to push for an advantage. Still, it is not clear which bishop move would be best, nor whether the space advantage will dissipate over time.] 4...Nf6 [4...e5 5.Bg2 Nf6 is a standard English Opening type of position.] 5.Bg2 c6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.0-0 Nbd7 8.d4 e6 9.Ne5?! [This allows Black to equalize immediately. 9.h3+/= putting the question to the bishop seems better.] 9...Nxe5 10.dxe5 Qxd1 11.Rxd1 Nd5 12.Nxd5 exd5 13.f3 Be6 [13...Bc5+!?] 14.f4 g6 15.e4 dxe4 16.Bxe4 Bc5+ 17.Kg2 Ke7!? [17...0-0!=] 18.a3 [18.b4!] 18...Rhd8 19.Rxd8?! [19.f5!=] 19...Rxd8 20.b4? Bb6 [20...Bd4!-+] 21.Kf3 h5 22.Be3 [22.f5 gxf5 23.Bg5+ Ke8-/+] 22...Bg4+ 23.Kf2 Rd2+ 24.Ke1 Bxe3 25.b5 Re2+ 26.Kf1 Bd4 27.Bd3 Bxa1 28.Bxe2 Bxe2+ 29.Kxe2 cxb5 [White resigns] 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Smith-Morra Sicilian Taylor Warren

Twenty-two years ago Randy Pals asked the question in a forum:
"And how can a postal master like David Taylor successfully use the SM in
international correspondence chess? You would think that if it was really
unsound, high level correspondence games would tell the tale..."

The answer might be that David C. Taylor researched the Smith-Morra Gambit in the Sicilian Defence for several decades. With the recent deaths of Jim Warren and my friend Ronnie Taylor, I waxed nostalgic. I searched for a few of Jim's games vs any players whom I also faced. I found a game between long time tournament and postal chess players: David Taylor vs Jim Warren in the Sicilian Defence.

David Taylor was the seventh US Correspondence Chess Champion. Here is a link to an article entitled: "Chess, Poker, Duplicate Bridge and Backgammon" by Dave Taylor. where he references his favorite openings that offer a sacrifice of the c-pawn: the Goring Gambit and Smith-Morra Gambit in Illinois.

When David Taylor was last active in USCF, he had a correspondence rating of 2382 and an over-the-board rating (25 years ago or more) of 2188. Eventually I plan to post my own games vs David Taylor and Jim Warren from about 35 years ago. Below White begins his assault right out of the opening, but Black mounts a sudden counter attack.

Taylor - Warren, Illinois open 1965 begins 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.0-0 e6 8.Qe2 Be7 9.Rd1 e5 10.Be3 0-0 11.Rd2 [11.Rac1=] 11...Bg4 12.h3 Bh5 13.Rad1 Qc8 14.Bd5 Rd8 15.a3 h6 16.b4? [16.Rc2 Qd7 17.Ba2=] 16...Nd4 17.Bxd4 exd4 18.Nb5 Nxd5 19.exd5 Bf6 20.Nbxd4 Re8 21.Qb5 [21.Qf1 a6-/+] 21...Bxd4 22.Rxd4 Bxf3 23.gxf3 Qxh3 24.Qxb7 [24.Qd3 Rac8-/+] 24...Qxf3 25.R4d3 Qg4+ 26.Kf1 Rac8 27.Qxa7 Rc2 28.Qd4 Re4 29.Qa1 Qe2+ 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Thursday, January 1, 2015

20 Favorite Chess Posts of 2014

Happy New Year 2015! This is a revised post for 1/1/2015 with updated numbers as of May 2017. Here is my top 20 Favorite Chess Blog list for the year 2014. I wrote a total of 365 posts on this blog during the year 2014. Many of those posts have been deleted. Only the most popular posts remain on my blog. Enjoy!


829. Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook Online

636. Book Review King's Gambit by GM John Shaw

610. Book Review Alekhine by Lakdawala

452. Fries Nielsen in Irregular Veresov Opening

426. Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Vienna Famous Trap

404. BlackDragon Trap Queen Budapest Gambit

394. Two Knights Tango Checkmates Big Daddy

393. Karpov French Defence Tarrasch Jeff Baffo

381. Trap of Queen in Pirc Defence Chess Opening

379. Albin Counter Gambit Checkmate Sawyer Win


362. Schmoldt vs Muhr Lemberger 4.dxe5

360. Tim Sawyer Beats Purser Blackmar-Diemer

349. Helin vs Skovgaard in BDG Huebsch Gambit

347. Sawyer Gambit 7.g4!? Benko vs Paul Norton

344. Zoltan Sarosy in Modern Caro-Kann Defence

327. Beloungie in Colle System vs Dutch Defence

326. Jeffrey Baffo in Bold Benko Gambit vs Sawyer

314. Pert Beats Blackmar-Diemer Huebsch Gambit

311. Alexey Bezgodov in Extreme Caro-Kann 3.f3

299. Stepan-Blechzin Battle Huebsch

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