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)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /

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 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

Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
Copyright 2011-2017 Author Page /
Sign Up for free weekly Chess Training Repertoire updates

Thursday, January 1, 2015

10 Favorite Chess Posts of 2014

Happy New Year 2015! This 1/1/2015 post was revised in August 2017. Here are my top 10 Favorite Chess Blog posts for the year 2014. I wrote 365 total posts during 2014. I kept my 10 Favorites as an Annual Update. Other posts were deleted. Updated versions of my old posts can be found in my new books. Enjoy!

1. Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook Online
Published 3/3/2014

2. Book Review King's Gambit by GM John Shaw
Published 2/4/2014

3. Book Review Alekhine by Lakdawala
Published 6/15/2014

4. Fries Nielsen in Irregular Veresov Opening
Published 7/30/2014

5. Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Vienna Famous Trap
Published 8/5/2014

6. BlackDragon Trap Queen Budapest Gambit
Published 2/16/2014

7. Trap of Queen in Pirc Defence Chess Opening
Published 7/3/2014

8. Two Knights Tango Checkmates Big Daddy
Published 1/26/2014

9. Karpov French Defence Tarrasch Jeff Baffo
Published 7/20/2014

10. Webster on Kampars, Fischer, and Diemer
Published 8/16/2014

Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
Copyright 2011-2017 Author Page /
Sign Up for free weekly Chess Training Repertoire updates