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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Friday, January 30, 2015

Nasser Saeed Wins Huebsch 5.Be3

Gambit requires specific moves. International Master Nasser A Saeed attempts to play a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit in a five minute blitz game on Internet Chess Club where he uses the handle "Ashkeef." However Black sidetracks the opening from a BDG and changing it into the BDG Huebsch Gambit 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4. After 4.Nxe4 dxe4, White has three main ideas, all bishop moves. The traditional is 5.Bc4 attacking the center to f7 with a probably follow-up of kingside castling. Another idea is 5.Bf4 preventing e5 with a probable follow-up of queenside castling.

IM Nasser A Saeed is a verteran FIDE player rated 2350 from the United Arab Emirates. He chose 5.Be3 which strengthens d4 and prepares to castle queenside, which is a line that I like myself. White can often continue with an eventual f3, but he must pay attention to the defensive set-up of "Myway" playing with the Black pieces. With 5...Nc6, the move ...e5 is prepared. White was right to challenge in the center with 6.d5. Both sides had chances but in the end White was able to work up a checkmate.

Ashkeef (2040) - Myway (2235), ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 03.12.2014 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Be3 Nc6 6.d5 Ne5 [6...Nb4 7.c4=] 7.Qd4 Qd6 [7...Ng4=] 8.0-0-0 f5 9.Kb1 g6 10.f4 [10.Qc3+/=] 10...Nf7 11.Nh3 Bd7 12.Ng5 Qf6 [12...Bh6=] 13.Qb4 Nxg5 14.Bd4? [14.fxg5+-] 14...e5 15.Qxb7 exd4 16.Qxa8+ Kf7? [16...Ke7 17.Qxa7 Nf7=] 17.fxg5!? Qe5 [17...Bc5 18.Qb7+/=] 18.Bc4 [18.Qxa7+/-] 18...Bc5 19.d6+ Kg7 20.Qb7 Qxd6 21.h4 Bc6 22.Qa6 Rb8 23.b3 Rb6? [23...e3!-/+] 24.Qc8 Qf8 25.Qxc7+ Qe7 26.Qxe7+ Bxe7 27.Rxd4 e3 28.Re1 Bc5 29.Rd8 Bxg2 30.Rg8# Black checkmated 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Nardacci Caro-Kann Snow Storm 1978

The storm that hit New England this week reminds me of a postal chess game I played in 1978 when the big blizzard hit Rhode Island. Vincent Nardacci and I were playing a Caro-Kann Defence that began in November 1977 at a pace of one more per week. By the first week in February we were into the middlegame when all of a sudden I stopped hearing from him. I lived in Tennessee; he lived in Rhode Island. In February 1978 his area was hit with 27.6 inches (70 cm) of snow that killed about 100 people.

The mail was not delivered for several days. I know the old saying, "the mail must go through", but there are times when it cannot. His obituary notes Vincent Nardacci was instrumental in running chess tournaments at Rhode Island College. He is not listed in the USCF, but this was APCT. I take time to remember him with our lone contest.

After I began postal chess in 1977, I faced players from all 50 states in the USA and 30 countries around the world. In this early game, we were relatively young with lower ratings but higher anticipation of success. Four years later my rating had gone up 300 points and his up 100 points. I sacrificed a pawn expecting Nardacci to blunder, which was foolish of me. Instead, Vincent buried me in an avalanche of White pawns.

Nardacci (1720) - Sawyer (1850), corr APCT 77SC-11 (5), 11.1977 begins 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 Qc7 [10...e6] 11.Bd2 e6 12.Qe2 Ngf6 13.0-0-0 0-0-0 14.Ne5 Nb6 15.Ba5 Rd5 [15...c5!=] 16.Bxb6 axb6 17.c4 Rd8 18.Ne4 Nxe4 19.Qxe4 Bd6 20.f4 f5 21.Qe2 Bxe5 22.Qxe5 Qxe5 23.dxe5 g5 24.hxg6 Rdg8 25.Rd3 Rxg6 26.g3 Rhg8 27.Rh3 c5 28.Kd2 Kc7 29.a3 b5 30.cxb5 Kb6 31.a4 Ka5 [The correct path to equality is 31...c4 32.Rc3 (or 32.Rd6+ Ka5 33.Kc3 Kxa4 34.Kxc4 Rc8+ 35.Kd3 Kxb5=) 32...Ka5 33.Rxc4 Rxg3 34.Rxg3 Rxg3=] 32.b3 [32.Kc3+/-] 32...Kb4 33.Kc2 Rc8 34.Kb2 Rc7 [34...b6 35.Rd6+/=] 35.Rc3 [35.Rh1+/-] 35...c4 [35...b6 36.Rd3+/=] 36.Rh1 Rgg7 37.Rhc1 h5 [37...Ka5 38.bxc4+/-] 38.Rxc4+ Rxc4 39.Rxc4+ Ka5 40.Rc3 Rh7 41.Ka3 h4 42.gxh4 Rxh4 43.Rc4 Rh7 44.Rd4 Kb6 45.Kb4 Kc7 46.a5 Rh3 47.b6+ 1-0

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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Monday, January 26, 2015

Wolff vs Hickman Scandinavian Defence

In the Scandinavian Defence, White must decide whether or not to play d2-d4 on moves 2-6. After this natural push the pawn may become a target on d4, therefore some players prefer to play only to d3. In many other openings White advances this pawn slowly. Take for example the Bishops Opening 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3, or the Ruy Lopez variation 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3, or the Giuoco Pianissimo 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3. In all these openings White develops is light squared bishop classically with Bc4 or Bb5.

The Scandinavian Defence, also known as the Center Counter Defence, allows for the same type of set-up after 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5. Today we look at a game between two masters where Stephen Wolff takes on Herbert W. Hickman. These are two former opponents of mine. White plays the more conservative continuation 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.d3 and still mounts a strong attack that ends in checkmate on move 28. Recently I have been pondering the Scandinavian Defence opening which I have played from time to time. Daniel Quinones provided me with a lot of his detailed research. Usually I have avoided 2.exd5 with 2.d4, transposing to a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. At any rate, the game below is pretty example of a successful kingside assault.

Wolff - Hickman, CCLA North Am ch corr, 1995 begins 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.d3 [The main line is 5.d4 ] 5...c6 [5...e6] 6.Nge2 [6.Bd2+/=] 6...e5 7.0-0 Bg4 [7...Be7 8.Ng3+/=] 8.f3 Bh5 9.Ng3 Bc5+ 10.Kh1 0-0 11.Nxh5 Nxh5 12.f4 Nxf4 13.Bxf4 exf4 14.Rxf4 Nd7 15.Rf5!? [15.Qh5+/-] 15...Qc7 16.Ne4 Be7 17.Qf3 Kh8 18.Rxf7 Rxf7 19.Qxf7 Qe5 20.Be6 Qxb2 [20...Nf6 21.Qxe7+/-] 21.Re1 Bb4 22.c3 Bxc3 [22...Rf8 23.Qxd7+-] 23.Ng5 Ne5 24.Qf5 Ng6 25.Nf7+ Kg8 26.Ne5+ Kh8 27.Nxg6+ hxg6 28.Qh3# 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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