Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ernest Haile in Dutch Stonewall Trenton

My Chaturanga Chess Club team and I travelled to Trenton, New Jersey for a match. My opponent Ernest Haile was born 99 years ago this month and died 11 years ago at the age of 88. He must have been age 65 when we played a Dutch Defence that later came to be known as the Modern Stonewall.

USCF lists Haile as playing 312 events from 1991-2004. Old timers like myself played much of our career in the Bobby Fischer days some 20 years earlier. 1981 was a very active chess year for me and my rating was rapidly going up. Ernest Haile obviously had a long chess career. He must have loved the game to have played so much late in life. In my mind his last name is pronounced "Hail", but it may have been "Hi Lee", as in the first name given to the former Emperor of Egypt, Haile Selassie (1892-1975).

Ernest Haile played the 6...Bd6 Stonewall vs me. In the 1980 World Open a player listed in my database as Edmund Haile played the 6...Be7 Stonewall and lost as Black to Steve Mayer in 47 moves. I do not know if there is a connection, but... similar names, same opening, same Philadelphia area, and same time frame. Below I missed a pin on the kingside that could allow me a win on the queenside.

Sawyer (1887) - Haile (1900), Trenton, NJ team, 1981 begins 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 f5 4.g3 Nf6 5.Bg2 c6 6.Nf3 Bd6 7.Bf4!? [The main line is 7.0-0 0-0 8.Qc2 Ne4 9.Rb1+/=] 7...Bxf4 8.gxf4 dxc4 9.Ne5 Nd5 10.e3 g6 [10...Nd7 11.Nxc4 0-0 12.Qb3 Qe7=] 11.Nxc4 Qe7 12.Ne5 Qh4 13.Qf3 Nd7 14.Qg3 Qe7 15.Nd3 Nb4 16.0-0-0 a5 17.h4 Nxd3+ 18.Rxd3 Nf6 19.Bf3 Rg8 20.h5 Bd7 21.hxg6 Rxg6 22.Qh4 Qg7 23.Bh5 Nxh5 24.Qxh5 h6? [A serious error by Black. White would stand only a little better after 24...Kd8 25.Qxh7 Kc7 26.Qxg7 Rxg7 27.Rd2+/=] 25.Rg1 Kf7 26.e4 Rg8 27.Rdg3 Qh7 28.Na4 [28.exf5! exf5 29.Ne4! fxe4 30.f5+- and Black position collapses.] 28...Kf6 29.Qh4+ [29.e5+! Kf7 30.Nc5 Bc8 (30...Be8 31.Nxb7+-) 31.Kc2 b6 32.Na4 b5 33.Nb6+-] 29...Kf7 30.Qh5 Kf6 31.Qh4+?! [We just repeated moves and I still fail to play 31.e5+!+-] 31...Kf7 32.Qh5 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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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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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blackmar-Diemer Win 13 Moves

I took a break from writing on the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit to actually play one on the Internet Chess Club. Naturally a blitz game is fast, but I won this game using only 20 seconds on my clock. I found the new move 11.d5! that worked beyond my wildest dreams. My opponent for this quickie two days ago was "erickenn1" whom I had played once before winning a French Defence Exchange Variation 3.exd5 in 2012.

Our game below begins in the popular BDG Teichmann 5.Nxf3 Bg4. After the normal 6.h3 Black chopped off my knight with 6...Bxf3 following the principle that when you are up material you should swap off pieces. I recaptured 7.Qxf3 attacking b7. Black should defend with the solid 7...c6!, but here he played more aggressively 7...Nc6. This is very risky as the pin by 8.Bb5 follows. Black replied 8...Qd6.

This position after 8 moves I have reached a dozen times. Eight times I have played 9.Bf4 and four times I have played 9.d5! which is recommended by Stockfish, Houdini and Komodo. In my first book (1992) I only mentioned games with 9.Bf4 but I did add some analysis on 9.d5 in my second book (1999). In 1989, after 9.Bf4 Qe6+ 10.Kf2 a6?, I kicked the Black queen again with 11.Rhe1. Now in 2015 I find 11.d5! winning a piece and soon after, a queen as well. I thank my opponent for resigning when he did.

Sawyer (2040) - erickenn1 (1502), ICC 3 0 u Internet Chess Club, 25.01.2015 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 Nc6 [If 7...c6 then 8.Be3, 8.g4 or 8.Qf2] 8.Bb5 Qd6 9.Bf4 [Better is 9.d5! a6 10.dxc6 axb5 11.cxb7 Rb8 12.a4+-] 9...Qe6+ 10.Kf2 [10.Be5+/=] 10...a6? [Natural but fatal. 10...0-0-0 11.Rhe1+/=] 11.d5! Qc8 12.dxc6 axb5 13.cxb7 [Black resigns. Clocks: 2:40-1:43] 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Why Trade Queens in Caro-Kann Defence

The Caro-Kann Defence provides a solid defence vs White opening attacks, but Black plays for much more than stopping an onslaught. A key strategy for winning chess is to minimize White's pluses and maximize Black's pluses. In today's game after a queen swap on move seven, White had exchanged two of his best attacking pieces. Black's knights and good dark squared bishop are left with excellent posts for operation. Good tactics are required for victory, but your chances improve with a favorable pawn structure and effective squares for your pieces.

Chess club players choose normal developing moves that may take you out of your prepared book, but beware of transpositions. In a  Caro-Kann Defence my late friend Bob Muir answered 1.e4 c6 with 2.Nf3. However after 2...d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.d4 e6 5.Bd3 we reached the 3.e5 Bf5 4.Bd3 line by transposition. Bob Muir was a mainstay of the club at Lycoming College during the years I lived in Williamsport, Pennsylvania where we just played games for fun. Black exchanges White's active pieces: a queen, a rook, a bishop and a knight. The game ends with a bishop fork check that picks up a knight.

Muir (1800) - Sawyer (2010), Williamsport PA 1997 begins 1.e4 c6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.d4 e6 5.Bd3 Bxd3 6.Qxd3 Qa5+ 7.Qd2!? [7.Bd2 Qa6=] 7...Qxd2+ 8.Nbxd2 c5 9.c3 Nc6 10.0-0 cxd4 11.cxd4 Nge7 12.Nb3 Ng6 13.Bd2 Be7 14.Ne1 0-0 15.f4 Nh4 16.Nf3 Nxf3+ 17.Rxf3 g6 18.g4 Rfc8 19.a3 a5 20.Rc1? [20.a4=] 20...a4 21.Nc5? b6?! [Missing 21...Nxd4 22.Rfc3 Ne2+! with a winning fork.] 22.Nd7 Nxd4 23.Rf2 [23.Rxc8+ Rxc8-/+] 23...Nb3 24.Rxc8+ Rxc8 25.Bc3 Nc5 [25...d4! 26.Nxb6 Rc6 27.Bxd4 Nxd4-+] 26.Nxb6 [26.Bb4! Nxd7 27.Bxe7 Rc4-/+] 26...Rc6 27.Ba5 Ne4 28.Re2 Bc5+ 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, January 19, 2015

Zilbermints Crushes Vasiukov King's Gambit

Lev Zilbermints wrote to me:
"I crushed GM Evgeni Vasiukov on the Internet Chess Club with the Adelaide Counter-Gambit in 25 moves. He tried the King's Gambit against me but was in for a surprise. The game started out 1 e4 e5 2 f4 Nc6 3 Nf3 f5!. Check it out!"

I replied: "Wow, 25 moves. Lev, you got a lot out of that position!"
Indeed, it is amazing how the entire Black army mounts a coordinated assault on the White king. The grandmaster opened up the kingside for an attack but was unable to talk his queenside pieces into joining the fray. Thus it was Black who got the attack.

This King's Gambit Declined variation 2.e4 Nc6 3.Nf3 f5 is one of my favorites. Black is able to throw the gambit right back at White in a lesser known line that has notched some impressive results. This 6.g4 move is not mentioned by John Shaw. It appears that Vasiukov is attempting to play a Classical King's Gambit Accepted reversed.

Vasiukov (2215) - Zilbermints (2184), ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 14.01.2015 begins 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 f5 4.exf5 e4 5.Ne5 Nf6 6.g4 [The main line seems to be 6.Nc3 Qe7 (6...Bd6!?) 7.Ng4 Nxg4 8.Qxg4 Qf7=] 6...Bc5!? [6...Nd5!=] 7.g5 0-0 8.gxf6 [8.Nc3+/=] 8...Qxf6 9.Bc4+ Kh8 [Another idea is 9...d5 10.Bxd5+ Kh8 11.Qh5 Nxe5 12.fxe5 Qxe5 13.Bf7 Bxf5-/+] 10.Qg4 [A more aggressive approach seems to be 10.Qh5 Nxe5 11.fxe5 Qxe5 12.Bf7 d5 13.Rf1+/=] 10...d5 11.Ng6+? [11.Nxc6 Bxf5=] 11...Qxg6 12.Qxg6 hxg6 13.Bxd5 Nd4 14.Bb3 Nf3+ [Or 14...Bxf5-+ ] 15.Ke2 Bxf5 16.Nc3 Rae8 [Black has many ways to increase his advantage. 16...Bg4 17.h3 Nd4+ 18.Ke1 Bf3 19.Rf1 Bg2 20.Rf2 Bxh3-+] 17.Nd5 Nd4+ 18.Ke1 Nf3+ 19.Ke2 Bg4 20.Ne3 Nd4+ 21.Ke1 Bf3 22.Rg1 Bh5 23.Rf1 Nf3+ 24.Kf2 Rxf4 25.Kg3 Ref8 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 17, 2015

Creative Chicago Tate BDG Von Popiel

IM Emory Tate heads towards a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit vs GM Evgeni Vasiukov and then veers off into the Von Popiel with the move 4.Bg5.

After the normal 4...Bf5, White has several options:
5.f3!? playing delayed BDG like James Sherwin.
5.Qe2 threatening a check like Szadkowski.
5.Bxf6 eliminating a defender like Markus.

The Wikipedia entry on Emory Tate includes this quote:
"Tate has earned a reputation as a creative and dangerous tactician on the U.S. chess circuit, where he has won about 80 tournament games against Grandmasters. Tate won the United States Armed Forces championship five times. He is one of the highest-rated African-American chess players."

A Wikipedia entry on Evgeni Vasiukov includes this quote:
"During his peak years, from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s, Vasiukov scored wins in individual games over many top Soviet players, such as Smyslov, Bronstein, Tigran Petrosian, Mikhail Tal, Paul Keres, Mark Taimanov, Efim Geller, and Lev Polugaevsky. He was unable to defeat top-ranking Soviet stars such as Viktor Korchnoi, Anatoly Karpov, Spassky, or Stein."

Grandmaster Vasiukov was playing in the Soviet Championship before Emory Tate was born. In the battle below, Tate chooses an active offbeat opening in a three minute game. Both sides have chances for advantage. Eventually Vasiukov gives perpetual check.

Tate (2054) - Vasiukov (2033), ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 25.11.2014 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 [This is the Von Popiel. The main alternative is 4.f3 Blackmar-Diemer Gambit] 4...Bf5 5.f3 exf3 [5...Nbd7 is a critical move that gives White many interesting options, such as 6.Bc4, 6.g4, 6.fxe4, 6.Qe2 or 6.d5] 6.Qxf3 [Or 6.Nxf3=] 6...Qc8 7.Bc4 [Rybka, Komodo and Houdini all like 7.Bd3 Bxd3 8.Qxd3= with compensation for the pawn.] 7...Nc6 [7...Bxc2!?] 8.Nge2 h6 9.Bxf6 exf6 10.Bb5 [10.0-0+/= Houdini] 10...Bd7 11.Qe3+ Ne7 12.0-0-0 Bxb5 13.Nxb5 Qd7 14.Nbc3?! [14.Qb3!=] 14...0-0-0 15.d5 Kb8 16.Nd4 [16.d6 cxd6 17.Nd4] 16...g6 17.Ncb5 [17.Kb1 Nc8-/+] 17...Nc8 [17...Nxd5!-+ picks up the pawn and attacks the queen, leaving Black up two f-pawns.] 18.Qb3 Bc5 19.Nc6+ bxc6 20.Nd4+ Bb6 21.Nxc6+ Ka8 22.c4 Qd6 23.Nxd8 Rxd8 24.Rhe1 Qxh2 25.Qc3 Qd6 26.b4 a5 27.c5 Qf4+ [27...axb4! 28.cxd6 bxc3 29.dxc7 Bxc7-+ is promising by complicated.] 28.Qd2 Qc4+ 29.Kb1 Ba7 30.a3 axb4 31.axb4 Nd6 32.cxd6 Rb8 33.Qc2 Rxb4+ [Black is winning after 33...Qxb4+ 34.Kc1 Qa3+ 35.Kd2 Rb2-+ wins] 34.Kc1 Qf4+ 35.Qd2 Qc4+ 36.Qc2 Qf4+ 37.Qd2 Qc4+ 38.Qc2 Qf4+ Game drawn by repetition 1/2-1/2

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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