Thursday, May 28, 2015

Smashing Sicilian Defence Smith-Morra

Ray Haines and Ed Sawyer lived 150 miles apart along the New Brunswick, Canada border. I had the privilege of visiting each of their homes. In a sharp Sicilian Defence Smith-Morra Gambit Ray Haines notches an impressive quick win. I added new notes in 2015 using chess engines. In their 1975 Bangor Daily News weekly Chess column tournament directors George Cunningham and Gerry Dullea wrote this:

"In a postal game against inter-county rival Ed Sawyer, 1974 champion of Washington County, Ray makes victory look easy again as he employs one of his favorite attacks, the Smith-Morra line of the Sicilian. Tim Sawyer to whom we are indebted for these games and his comments on them, says Ray has demonstrated several beautiful forced wins from the key position after White's 11th move. He also notes Black's slow development. Ed sees that his queen is no protection for the knight after all because taking the rook leaves him on the painful end of a king-queen fork by the White knight. Our thanks go to Ray for creating these brief beauties and to Tim for being thoughtful enough to share them."

Haines - Ed Sawyer, corr Maine, 1974 begins 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 a6 7.0-0 Nf6 [7...e6 8.Qe2=] 8.Bg5!? [8.Bf4= Komodo, Stockfish] 8...e6 9.Qe2 h6! [40 years ago I thought this was a mistake, but since then it has become the top move. 9...Be7 10.Rfd1 Qc7 11.Rac1 0-0 12.Bb3=] 10.Bf4! e5 [10...g5!=/+ Stockfish] 11.Rfd1!? exf4 [11...Bd7 12.Be3=] 12.e5 Nxe5? [12...Qe7 13.exf6 Qxe2 14.Bxe2 gxf6= Black has an extra pawn among his ugly islands.] 13.Nxe5 Qe7 14.Bxf7+ Kd8 15.Rxd6+!? Kc7? 16.Rxf6! 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Play Dutch Defence and Bird's Opening

My first installment of the Dutch Defence is now available in the Play Dutch and Bird series. Before I took up the BDG, I played the BDF, the BLD or the BAD. Before I took up the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, I played the Bird, Dutch and French, the Bird, Latvian Gambit and Dutch, or the Bird's Opening, Alekhine and Dutch Defence.

Robert Cummins chose a Gruenfeld Defence set-up vs my Birds Opening Stonewall, which is in affect a main line Dutch Defence in reverse. The opening reaches positions that give equal chances, but that does not mean the games are going to be drawn. Any creative and energetic player will have good chances to win. In the 1970s and 1980s, I played the Bird's Opening just before I dropped out of playing rated chess games for a while. Here Black offered to repeat moves, I was all too happy to comply. By 1988 I returned to active chess through the exciting world of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.

Sawyer (2000) - Cummins (1812), corr APCT 1985 begins 1.f4 g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.e3 c5 4.Be2 Nc6 5.d4 d5 6.c3 b6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Ne5 Qc7 9.Nd2 [9.Bb5 Bb7 10.Qa4 Rc8 11.Qxa7=] 9...0-0 10.Qe1 Ne4 11.Qh4 [11.Nxe4 dxe4 12.b3=] 11...Bf6 [11...Nd6! 12.Re1 Nf5=/+] 12.Qh6 [12.Qe1=] 12...Bg7 [12...Nd6! 13.g4 Bg7 14.Qh4 f6-/+] 13.Qh4 Bf6 14.Qh6 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stay Focused or Get Fried Caro-Kann

My attitude cost me a chance at brilliance. I met Corey Acor a third time in the fifth round of the 2009 Southern Open. Acor drew Grandmaster Julio Becerra in an earlier round. In my previous meetings, Corey Acor edged out my London System with his King's Indian Defence. So I was due for Black.

I only played two of the five rounds. We had company visiting that weekend, so I put in for half points byes in rounds 3-4. I got a bye win in round 1 due to their being an uneven number of players entered into the schedule I chose. This is my final round game.

Corey Acor defeats my Caro-Kann Defence after I missed a good shot. Corey was outplaying me when all of a sudden I had an opportunity for a brilliant sacrificial attack. The problem is that I did not look deep enough at the combination. I was discouraged about the trend of the game and tired. I glanced at the sacrifice, figured it did not work and I pretty much I gave up. The lesson is stay focused to achieve the best results.

Acor (2350) - Sawyer (1943), Southern Open (5), 02.08.2009 begins 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nf3 Nd7 7.Bc4 e6 8.h4 h6 9.Qe2 Ngf6 [9...Bd6=] 10.Ne5 Nxe5 11.dxe5 Nd5 12.a3 Be7 13.h5 Bh7 14.Qg4 Rg8 15.Bb3 Qc7 16.f4 0-0-0 17.Bd2 Qb6 18.Qf3 Bc5 19.0-0-0 Ne3 20.Rde1 Nf5 [20...Nxc2! 21.Bxc2 Bxc2 22.Kxc2 Rxd2+ 23.Kxd2 Qxb2+ 24.Kd3 Rd8+ 25.Kc4 (25.Qd5 Rxd5+ 26.Kc4 b5#) 25...Rd4+ 26.Kxc5 Qb6#] 21.Nxf5 Bxf5 22.g4 Bh7 23.f5 Rge8 24.Rh2 Kb8 25.f6 g5 26.hxg6 Bxg6 27.Rxh6 Rd4 28.Rxg6 Rxd2 [28...fxg6 29.f7+-] 29.Kxd2 fxg6 30.f7 Rd8+ 31.Kc1 Bf2 32.f8Q Bxe1 33.Q8f4 Qg1 34.Qf1 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Macho Grob Traps Bird in Delayed Hobbs

Lev Zilbermints once again shows how bold gambit play leads to exciting blitz chess. The Bird's Opening often sees White plan for a slow build up. Lev Zilbermints uses his g-pawn to force White into fast action that allows Black attacking threats against the Nf3 and the White monarch.

Some time ago I wrote on the Hobbs Gambit with 1.f4 g5!? Here Black chooses a delayed Hobbs with 1...h6 and 2...g5. This game illustrates just how a tactical fight gives both sides chances in rapid play, and how quickly the advantage can change sides. Lev Zilbermints keeps throwing punches and pulls off a crushing victory.

vabol (2113) - Zilbermints (2141), ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 04.05.2015 begins 1.f4 h6 2.Nf3 g5 3.fxg5 hxg5 4.d4 [Usually White plays 4.Nxg5 e5 5.d3 d5= and Black has great practical chances for the pawn.] 4...g4 5.Ng5 d5 6.e4 dxe4 [6...f6!-/+ looks like an improvement for Black.] 7.Bc4 Nh6 8.0-0 f6 9.Nxe4 Nc6 10.c3 Bg7 11.Bf4 e6? [White is only up a pawn in complications after 11...e5! 12.dxe5+/-] 12.b4 [12.Qe2!+-] 12...f5 13.Ng5 Qe7? 14.Re1 Nd8 15.Qb3 Bf6 16.Nxe6 Nxe6 17.d5? [17.Bxe6!+-] 17...Nf7? [17...Nxf4!-/+] 18.dxe6 Nd6 19.Bd3 Qh7 [19...a5 20.Nd2+/-] 20.Nd2 b6 21.Nc4 Bb7 22.Bxd6 [22.Nxd6+! cxd6 23.Qa4+ Kf8 24.e7+ Bxe7 25.Qd7!+-] 22...cxd6 23.Nxd6+ Kf8 24.Nxb7 [Houdini gives an incredible line to save the game: 24.h3 gxh3 25.Bxf5 Qg7 26.Bxh3 Rxh3 27.e7+ Bxe7 28.Nxb7=] 24...Qxh2+ 25.Kf2 Bh4+ 26.Ke2 Qxg2+ 27.Kd1 Bxe1 28.e7+ Kxe7 29.Kxe1 Rh1+ White resigns 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Friday, May 8, 2015

Zilbermints Philidor Counter Gambit

Zilbermints wrote to me: "I crushed Tatai with the PCG on ICC". Here is his game vs IM Stefano Tatai. Clearly this gambit places a lot of pressure to play very accurately. White has good moves, but in an unbalanced tactical position White needs to play many good moves in a row to gain the advantage. Lev shows that in a three minute blitz game, a prepared attacker has great practical chances against a human opponent.

The Philidor Defence can be played in many ways, either solid or aggressive. As I see it, Black has three key choices:
1. Play ...Nbd7 with ...c6, or play ...Nc6.
2. Play ...exd4, or protect and hold e5.
3. Play an early ...Nf6 or play first ...f5.

This last approach is the Philidor Counter Gambit. After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 White can play 3.Nxe5 against openings such as 2...Nf6, 2...d5, or 2...f5. However 2...d6 protects e5, therefore Black forces White to enter the fray in a manner that can threaten the Nf3. Lev Zilbermints ends up on top in this short tactical clash.

Ornitologo (1885) - Zilbermints (2055), ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 26.04.2015 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.dxe5 [Common alternatives are 4.Nc3+/= and 4.exf5+/-] 4...fxe4 5.Ng5 d5 6.Nc3 [Komodo and Houdini prefer 6.e6+/- while Fritz prefers 6.c4+/=] 6...Bb4 7.e6 [Or 7.Be2 Nc6 8.0-0+/= Stockfish] 7...Nh6 [7...Qf6! 8.Nf7 Bxe6 9.Nxh8 Nc6 gives Black compensation for the pawn.] 8.Qh5+ Kf8 9.Nf7 [9.Bd2; 9.Be3; or 9.f3] 9...Qe8 10.Bxh6 [10.Qxd5! Nxf7 11.exf7 Qxf7 12.Qd8+ Qe8 13.Qxc7+- and White is up a pawn with a solid position.] 10...Bxe6 11.Qe5? [11.Qg5! gxh6 12.Qf6 Qxf7 13.Qxh8+ Qg8 14.Qf6+ Qf7 15.Qxh6+ Qg7 16.Qxg7+ Kxg7 17.0-0-0+/-] 11...Qxf7 12.Bxg7+? Qxg7 13.Qxe6 Bxc3+ 14.Ke2 Nc6 [14...Bxb2-+] 15.bxc3 Qxc3 16.Rd1 A knight fork is coming, so White resigns 0-1

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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