Sunday, June 28, 2015

Walter Browne vs Fischer Alekhine

Walter Browne faced Bobby Fischer in a tournament game and Browne almost won. Leading to his world championship run, Fischer played the Alekhine Defence as Black instead of his normal Sicilian Defence Najdorf. Probably Bobby Fischer did not want to reveal secrets to his future opponent Boris Spassky.

Forty-five years ago there was a gap of knowledge in the games of Robert J. Fischer. His awesome book My 60 Memorable Games covered up to 1967. Games from the period 1968-1971 were not widely available in English language books, but in those gap years Fischer won tournaments and won matches vs Taimanov, Larsen and Petrosian. Nowadays those Fischer gap games are easy to find, but in 1972 they were not.

Commentators on the 1972 World Championship match were surprised Fischer played the Alekhine Defence. In reality Bobby Fischer played both openings. After Spassky crushed his Najdorf Sicilian in Game 11, Fischer reasonably chose the Alekhine Defence to win Game 13 and draw Game 19. Fischer drew other Najdorfs in Games 7 and 15. In the Browne game Fischer stood better in the opening but his f-pawn plans bombed.

Browne - Fischer, Rovinj/Zagreb (15), 03.05.1970 begins 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Be2 Bg7 6.c4 Nb6 7.exd6 cxd6 8.Nc3 [8.0-0 0-0 9.Nc3 transposes.] 8...0-0 9.0-0 [9.h3= would prevent the pin.] 9...Nc6 10.Be3 Bg4 11.b3 d5! 12.c5 [12.Nxd5 Nxd5 13.cxd5 Qxd5= saddles White with an isolated d-pawn.] 12...Nc8 13.h3 Bxf3 14.Bxf3 e6 15.Qd2 [15.b4 a6 16.Ne2=] 15...N8e7 16.Nb5?! Nf5 17.Bg4 a6 18.Bxf5 axb5 19.Bc2 Ra3 20.b4 [20.Qd3 Qh4-/+] 20...f5 [20...Qh4!?] 21.Bb3 Qf6 22.Qd3 f4 [22...Ra7 23.Rad1 f4=/+] 23.Bc1 Ra6 24.Bb2 f3 25.g3 Qf5 26.Qxf5 gxf5 27.Rad1 Nxb4 28.Rfe1 f4?! [This bold attack should lose. Correct is 28...Kf7!= when Black is fine.] 29.a3 Nc6 30.Rxe6 fxg3 31.Bxd5 gxf2+ 32.Kxf2 Kh8 33.Re3 b4 34.axb4 Nxb4 35.Bxf3 Ra2 36.Rb3 Nc6 37.Kg3 Rg8 38.Kf4 Rf8+ [38...Na5!?] 39.Ke4 Rf7 40.Bg4 Re7+ 41.Kd3 [Houdini and Stockfish prefer 41.Kd5+- ] 41...Ra4 42.Ra1 Rxd4+ 43.Bxd4 Bxd4 44.Ra8+ Kg7 45.Rb5 Bf2 46.Bf5 Ne5+ 47.Kc3 Be1+ 48.Kd4 Nc6+ 49.Kc4 Bh4 50.Bc8 Nd8 51.Ra2 Rc7 52.Bg4 Be7 53.Kd5 Nc6 54.Rab2 Nd8 55.Rb1 Bf8 56.R1b2 [56.Rg1+-] 56...Be7 57.Rg2 Kh8 58.Ra2 Kg7 59.Ra8 Bh4 60.Rb8 Rf7 61.Rb2 Kh6 62.Rb6+ Kg7 63.Rb3 h5 64.Bc8 Be7 65.Rb5 [65.Rg3+ Kh7 66.Rg2+-] 65...Rf3 66.Bxb7 Rxh3 67.c6 Rc3 68.Ra8 h4 69.Ra4 h3 70.Rc4 h2 71.Rb1 Rxc4 72.Kxc4 Bd6 73.Kd5 Bg3 74.Bc8 Kf7 75.Bh3 Ke7 76.Rc1 Kf6 77.Ra1 Ke7 78.Rf1 Nf7 79.Bg2 Ng5 80.Kc5 Ne6+ 81.Kb6 Bc7+ 82.Kb7 Bd6 83.Bd5 Nc5+ 84.Kb6 Na4+ 85.Ka5 Nc5 86.Kb5 Kd8 87.Rf7 Kc8 88.c7 [Now Black is able to reach a drawn ending. At this critical point 88.Rh7!+- seems to give White winning chances since the Black bishop is overworked covering c5, c7, and h2.] 88...Nd7 89.Kc6 h1Q 90.Bxh1 Ne5+ 91.Kb6 Bc5+ 92.Kxc5 Nxf7 93.Kb6 Nd6 94.Bd5 Kd7 95.Bc6+ Kc8 96.Bd5 Kd7 97.Bb3 Nc8+ 98.Kb7 Ne7 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Huebsch Gambit Leningrad Cowboy

Andre Fleischmann writes the following in part 4:

Hello Mr. Sawyer,
Every day i have a look on your wonderful website about the Blackmar Diemer. I send a few interesting games. Two are hübsch gambits against strong players. Greetings from Germany and a big Fan of our Gambit

The Huebsch Gambit is a logical 1.d4 Nf6 defense to avoid the BDG. White will not be denied open lines for attack and boldly continues with 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4!? which would transpose to the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit after 3...dxe4 4.f3.

Instead Black takes first with 3...Nxe4 and after 4.Nxe4 dxe4 White usually develops a bishop with 5.Bc4 (aiming at f7), 5.Bf4 (preventing ...e5) or 5.Be3 (protecting d4). Often White castles queenside, depending on Black's set-up. "Leningradcowboy" brings his bishop to 5...Bf5 presenting a target for Andre's attack.

Ichsehnix (2092) - Leningradcowboy (2324), Großer Spielsaal Großer Spielsaal, 07.06.2015 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Be3 Bf5 6.g4 Bg6 7.Ne2 h5 8.Nf4 Bh7 9.Bc4!? [9.Nxh5= regaining the pawn is obviously good.; 9.d5 hxg4 10.Qxg4= is more active.] 9...e6 10.Nxh5 Nd7 11.a4 [11.Qe2= with intent to castle queenside soon.] 11...Nf6 [11...Nb6=] 12.g5 Nxh5? [Black does better with 12...Nd5=/+ ] 13.Qxh5 Bb4+ 14.c3 Bd6 15.g6 fxg6 16.Qg4 Qf6 17.Bxe6 g5 18.Bd7+ [Or 18.Bxg5!+-] 18...Ke7 19.Bxg5 Leningradcowboy abbandona 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Omega Gambit Alekhine Indian

The risky Omega Gambit sees White sacrifice the e4 pawn for open lines after 1.d4 Nf6 2.e4 Nxe4. This gambit can be successful, but it cannot be recommended. The risk does not match the reward. I faced this as Black 13 times in the Alekhine Defence after 1.e4 Nf6 2.d4 Nxe4 which reaches the same position. Usually 2.d4 was a blitz pre-move. Francesco Cavicchi wrote that he was "not particularly happy" with this gambit.

If White plays this on purpose, he is a fast player who wins on time or entices Black to blunder in blitz. In my database of 300 Omega Gambits, White's average rating is 2219 scoring 40% with a performance of 2172. My personal score as Black is +11 =1 -1.

guest - Sawyer (2000),  ICC 0 1 u, Internet Chess Club, 1999.03.24 begins 1. e4 Nf6 2. d4 Nxe4 3. Bd3 [3. Nc3 Nxc3 4. bxc3 d5-/+] 3... Nf6 4. Nf3 d5 5.O-O Bg4 6. h3 Bxf3 7. Qxf3 c6 8. c4 Nbd7 9. Nc3 e6 10. Bg5 [10. c5 e5!=] 10... Be7 [10... dxc4=+] 11. Rfe1 dxc4 12. Bxc4 O-O 13. Rac1 Qa5 [13... Nb6!-/+] 14. Bb3? [14. Bd2 Qb6 =+] 14... Qxg5 [Unregistered player White disconnected and forfeits] 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fleischmann Teichmann Gambit

Andre Fleischmann writes in part 3 or 4:

Hello Mr. Sawyer,
Every day i have a look on your wonderful website about the Blackmar Diemer. I learned a lot. In the Teichmann I tried a not accurate but interesting sacrifice with the bishop on h7. Greetings from Germany and a big Fan of our Gambit

The most popular defense against the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit is to take two pawns for one with 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 and to continue 5.Nxf3 Bg4 known as the Teichmann Variation. Here after the normal moves 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6, Andre Fleischmann plays 8.g4!? which is an excellent aggressive approach.

Against a Caro-Kann type defence, Andre gets too bold with 12.Bxh7+?! Fleischmann illustrates a valuable lesson: When your king is attacked, play carefully or you will lose quickly. Here Andre's opponent missed the correct defense and the White army came crashing through for a win.

Ichsehnix (2092) - Kesaris (1959), Großer Spielsaal Großer Spielsaal, 27.05.2015 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6 8.g4 e6 9.g5 Nd5 10.Bd3 Bb4 11.0-0 0-0 12.Bxh7+?! [12.Ne4!=] 12...Kxh7 13.Qh5+ Kg8 14.Ne4 f5? [This loses. Black is winning after 14...Nd7! 15.Rxf7 Rxf7 16.g6 Rf1+! 17.Kxf1 N5f6!-+] 15.g6 Nf6 16.Nxf6+ Rxf6 17.c3 [17.Qh7+ Kf8 18.Qh8+ Ke7 19.Qxg7+ Ke8 20.Bg5+- Andre] 17...Rxg6+ [Or 17...Nd7 18.Qh7+ Kf8 19.Bg5+-] 18.Qxg6 Be7 19.Qxe6+ Kh8 20.Rxf5 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /

Monday, June 22, 2015

What is Three Knights Game?

Several chess openings can be called the Three Knights Game that have three early knight moves. Consider the Four Knights Game minus one with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 when Black plays something like 3...Bc5 or 3...Bb4. The Petroff Defence with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Bb4 (not 3...Nc6) is a Three Knights Game.

The line 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 is a called Vienna Game. What about 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6? That is the Two Knights Defence variation of the Italian Game. This is not to be confused with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 which is a Two Knights Tango, even though White almost always follows with a third knight move by 3.Nf3 or 3.Nc3. And of course 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 is a Ruy Lopez.

The Petroff Defence Three Knights Game with the standard 3...Bb4 leads to equal chances in theory. I transposed into one and held my own for about 20 moves in a blitz game. Then I let my pieces get tangled and got crushed. The chess engine Over-Rated has played tens of thousands of blitz games on the Internet Chess Club using a strong computer. Currently it uses a Stockfish 5 version.

Sawyer (2408) - Over-Rated (3547), ICC 2 12 u Internet Chess Club, 06.08.2004 begins 1.Nc3 Nf6 2.e4 e5 3.Nf3 Bb4 4.Nxe5 0-0 5.Be2 Re8 6.Nd3 Bxc3 7.dxc3 Nxe4 8.0-0 d5 9.Nf4 c6 10.c4 d4 11.Bf3 [11.Re1!+/= Komodo] 11...Ng5 12.Bg4 Na6 13.Nd3 Ne4 14.Bxc8 Qxc8 15.f3 Nd6 16.b3 Nf5 17.Re1 Ne3 18.Bxe3 dxe3 19.a4 [19.Re2=] 19...Qe6 20.Nf4 [20.Re2=] 20...Qf6 21.Ne2? [Things are beginning to slip away. 21.g3 Nb4-/+] 21...Rad8 22.Qc1 Nb4 23.Rb1 [Or 23.Ng3 Re6-+] 23...Rd2 24.Kf1? Rxc2 25.Qd1 Rd2 26.Qc1 Qh4 White resigns 0-1

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Birds Opening Schlechter Gambit

Bird Opening Schlechter games look like the From Gambit. Instead of 1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6, Black develops with 2...Nc6 immediately attacking the White e5 pawn. The Bird's Opening Schlechter might take a 1.f4 Birds Opening player out of his comfort zone to positions he does not know quite as well as From's Gambit.

Statistically the Schlechter scores better than the From. Tim Taylor recommends 3.Nc3 instead of the natural 3.Nf3 g5! when as Taylor notes, "Black gets an improved Lasker without even sacrificing a pawn!" My own practice backs up Taylor's comments.

When Lance Roberts ventured a Bird vs me in an APCT postal chess game, White picks off a rook and keeps Black from castling. On the other hand, Black grabs a bishop and traps both White knights. The net result of this sharp unbalanced line is that Black wins three pieces for his rook.

Roberts (1100) - Sawyer (2000), corr APCT 92R-40 (3), 12.1992 begins 1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 Nc6!? 3.Nf3 g5 [3...d6 4.exd6 Bxd6 5.d4+/=] 4.d4 g4 5.Ng5 d5 6.exd6 Qxd6 [Or 6...Bxd6 7.d5 Nce7 8.c4+/=] 7.c3 [7.d5!+/=] 7...f5 [7...Qe7!?] 8.Na3 [8.d5 h6 9.dxc6 hxg5=] 8...h6 9.Nb5 Qe7 10.Bf4? [10.d5 hxg5 11.dxc6 bxc6 12.Bxg5 Qxg5 13.Nxc7+ Kf7 14.Nxa8 Qe7=] 10...hxg5 11.Nxc7+ Kd8 [Even stronger is 11...Kf7!-+ ] 12.Nxa8 [12.Nd5 Qe4 13.Bxg5+ Nce7=/+] 12...gxf4 13.d5 Ne5 14.Qd4 b6 15.0-0-0 Qd6 16.e3 fxe3 17.Bb5 Bb7 18.Nxb6 axb6 19.Rhf1 [If 19.Kb1 Bh6-+] 19...Ne7 20.Bc6 e2 21.Qxb6+ Qc7 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ben Franklin and Andre Philidor Chess

Francois Andre Danican Philidor was a French music performer and composer. Philidor also played chess at the Cafe de la Regence in Paris, where Paul Morphy would play 100 years later. There Philidor played the visiting American Dr. Benjamin Franklin.

Both men wrote books on chess. Philidor published "l'Analyse du jeu des Echecs" in 1749. The most famous Philidor quote is translated into English on wikipedia:

Philidor: "play the pawns well; they are the soul of chess: it is they which uniquely determine the attack and the defence, and on their good or bad arrangement depends entirely the winning or losing of the game."

Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay "The Morals of Chess" where he compares chess to life. Ben Franklin was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame in 1999.

Franklin, Philidor and George Washington were contemporaries, who were born and died in that order. All were alive during the American Revolution and the French Revolution. Philidor died in London on August 31, 1795, two years after Franklin and four years before Washington. Below I draw a chess game in the Philidor Defence vs a high rated opponent. We repeat moves in a mostly blocked position.

Sawyer (2411) - CraftyWiz (3108), ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 17.06.2004 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.Be2 0-0 7.0-0 c5 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.h3 a6 10.Re1 Ne5 11.Nxe5!? dxe5 12.Be3 Be6 13.Qxd8 Rfxd8 14.Rad1 b5 15.b3 b4 [15...c4=] 16.Na4 Nd7 [16...Nxe4 17.Bf3+/=] 17.Rd2 Kf8 18.Red1 Ke8 19.Kf1 g6 20.Nb2 Nf6 21.Rxd8+ Rxd8 22.Rxd8+ Kxd8 23.f3 Bc8 24.Bc4 Ke8 25.Nd3 Nd7 26.g4 h5 27.Ke2 hxg4 28.hxg4 Bb7 29.Kf2 Bd6 30.Ke2 [30.g5+/=] 30...f6 [30...Be7=] 31.Bf2 Ke7 32.Be3 Ke8 33.Bf2 [33.g5!?+/=] 33...Ke7 34.Be3 Ke8 1/2-1/2

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /

Now in Kindle and paperback

Blog Archive