Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pythagoras Ponders Pirc Piece Play

We end the shortest month with a Pirc Defence reached by transposition when Black avoids the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit after 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 g6. Here 2...d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Nc3 is a BDG. On this day, February 28, 1992, I received my first shipment of my original Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook published by Thinkers' Press.

Below our Pirc Defence reaches the 150 Attack set-up with moves like f3, Be3, Qd2 and 0-0-0. The strategy is to push pawns like g4, h4-h5 and open up the Black king for tactics or checkmate like in a Sicilian Dragon. Earlier I posted a game vs "Pythagoras" when I had Black. This time we focus on the center and then Black gets queenside pawns going before I do kingside pawns. I built up a winning position, and then he lost on time.

My rule of thumb for the clock in a three minute game is that you must play 70 moves to avoid frequent losses on time. If my opponent gets in deep time trouble with 10 seconds left, then I stop looking for winning moves on the board and start looking for safe fast moves and safe pre-moves. When possible I play forcing moves with a check or capture. I try NOT to allow my opponent to check me in any meaningful way. Here it works.

Sawyer - Pythagoras (1887), ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 05.10.2014 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.Be3 0-0 6.Qd2 e5 7.0-0-0 [Usually White chooses 7.Nge2 or 7.d5] 7...exd4 8.Bxd4 Nc6 9.Be3 a6 10.Bc4 b5 11.Bd5 Nxd5 12.Nxd5 Be6 13.Ne2 Bxd5 14.Qxd5 Na5 15.b3 Qe7 16.Bg5 Qe5 17.Qxe5 dxe5 18.Nc3 f6 19.Be3 Rfd8 20.Nd5 c6 21.Ne7+ [Better seems to be 21.Nc7! Rac8 22.Ne6 Rxd1+ 23.Rxd1 Bf8 24.Rd7+-] 21...Kf7 22.Rxd8 Rxd8 23.Bb6 Kxe7 24.Bxa5 Rd7 25.Bb4+ Ke6 26.Bd2 Bf8 27.c3 c5 28.Kc2 c4 29.bxc4 bxc4 30.Rb1 Bc5 31.Rb8 Rd6 32.Bc1 Rd3 33.Ra8 Be3 34.Rxa6+ Ke7 35.Bxe3 Rxe3 36.Ra7+ Ke6 37.Rxh7 Re2+ 38.Kb1 Rxg2 39.h4 Rf2 40.a4 Rxf3 41.Kb2 Rf2+ 42.Ka3 Rf1 43.Kb4 Re1 44.a5 Rxe4 45.a6 Re1 46.a7 Ra1 47.Kxc4 e4 48.h5 gxh5 49.Kd4 f5 [49...h4!=] 50.Rh6+ Kf7 51.Rxh5? [51.Rh8!+-] 51...Rxa7? [51...Kg6!-/+] 52.Rh7+ Kg6 53.Rxa7 Kg5 54.Ke3 f4+ 55.Kf2 Kg4 56.Rg7+ Kf5 57.Rf7+ Ke5 58.Rh7 e3+ 59.Kf3 Black forfeits on time 1-0

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

Brad Winter Meets Latvian Gambit

When I pastored churches for 20 years, there were some people who showed up only for Christmas and Easter (sometimes called C&Eers). They were regular attenders but not frequently involved. In 1987, I had become that very same kind of chess player. I played only two games all year and both of those were against my co-worker Brad Winter.

We worked in Horsham, Pennsylvania and played every once in a while during lunch. Short games like this one rekindled my appetite for chess. My activity picked up to 78 games in 1988. I returned to postal tournament play for a higher level of competition. In 1989 I played 127 games. In my eagerness, I chose an attacking gambit style. I won a lot of games. As a result, I became a USCF Postal Master in 1990.

Here Brad Winter meets my Latvian Gambit with the solid but quiet 3.d3 line. White's lack of aggression allowed Black to work up his own attack. The game is only 17 moves and not so much by itself, except that it restarted my chess motor. On move 13 below White starts a series of chopping off pieces, but Black picks off more than White.

Winter - Sawyer (1981), Horsham PA 1988 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Be3 Bb4 6.Qd2 [6.exf5 d5 7.d4 0-0=] 6...fxe4 [6...f4!-+] 7.dxe4 Nxe4 8.Qd3 Nxc3? [8...d5-/+] 9.bxc3 Ba5? [Wrong direction. 9...Be7=] 10.Bg5 Ne7 11.Nxe5 d6? [Better is 11...d5! 12.0-0-0 c6 13.Qf3+/=] 12.Qb5+ [White is winning after 12.0-0-0!+- because the d-pawn is pinned.] 12...c6 13.Bxe7 [13.Qb3 dxe5-+] 13...Bxc3+ 14.Ke2 Qxe7 15.Qd3 Qxe5+ 16.Qe3 Qxe3+ 17.fxe3 Bxa1 0-1

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hank Ross Alekhine Defence Paint

A chess opening is like paint on a house. If a building has a firm foundation with solid construction in a good location, then it is good. Period. Paint just makes it look nicer. If your chess ability has a firm strategical foundation with solid tactical training, then you are a good player. If not, all the pretty paint in the world will not hide your flaws in any opening. If skills are lacking, you need to repair your game.

After I visited the Grand Canyon, I drove from Flagstaff through Winslow, Arizona (such a fine place to be with a girl and a flatbed Ford). I came to the painted desert near Petrified Forest National Park. Then I travelled Route 66 (I-40) through Albuquerque, New Mexico, home town of veteran postal chess club player Hank Ross.

When you write to the same address on postcards once a week for years, you remember that city. One of my early Alekhine Defence games was vs Hank Ross. We played eight APCT games during the period 1978-81, and I won them all in 30 moves or less. A feature of this game is that White delayed d2-d4 until move five.

Ross (1709) - Sawyer (2100), corr APCT 1981 begins 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.Nf3 d6 4.Bc4 e6 [4...Nb6 5.Bb3 Nc6=] 5.d4 Nc6?! [5...Be7 6.0-0 0-0=] 6.0-0 Nb6 7.Bb5 Bd7 8.Nc3 Be7 9.exd6 [9.a3+/=] 9...cxd6 10.Bf4 0-0 11.Qd3 a6 12.Bxc6 Bxc6 13.Ne4? [13.Rfe1 Rc8=] 13...Bb5 14.Bg5? Bxd3 15.cxd3 f5 16.Ned2 [16.Bxe7 Qxe7 17.Nc3 Qf6-+] 16...Bxg5 17.Nc4 Nd5 18.Rfe1 b5 19.Nxd6 Qxd6 20.Nxg5 h6 21.Nxe6 Rfe8 0-1

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

Benko Gambit with King Fianchetto

Back when I regularly had an ICC rating over 2200, I accepted a Benko Gambit played vs me by ChessBeta which was rated 3266. I include this game because it was one of the few times in my life that I played the king fianchetto line with 10.Kg2.

In covering my 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 games, gradually I am moving from the Budapest, Benko and Benoni to the Catalan, Queen's Indian and Nimzo-Indian Defence. After that, we reach the final frontier with the Gruenfeld and King's Indian Defences, which I played more often from each side. I plan to post my own games with Indian Defences in that general opening order about once a week.

After the Benko Gambit is accepted by 4.cxb5 a6 5.bxa6 Ba6, White loses the right to castle after 6.Nc3 d6 7.e4 Bxf1 8.Kxf1. Therefore is it logical to protect the king and connect the rooks with 9.g3 and 10.Kg2. Historically this is one of the main ideas of the Benko Gambit. In the game below, I blunder in haste and am quickly punished.

Sawyer (2391) - ChessBeta (3266), ICC 3 1 u Internet Chess Club, 15.03.2002 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.bxa6 Bxa6 6.Nc3 d6 7.e4 Bxf1 8.Kxf1 g6 9.g3 Bg7 10.Kg2 0-0 11.Nge2 Na6 12.f3 e6 13.dxe6 fxe6 14.Bg5 h6 15.Bxf6 Qxf6 16.Qd2? [I was moving too quick and did not realize that he had taken with the queen until too late. 16.Rf1] 16...Qxf3+ 17.Kh3 g5 18.Rhf1 g4+ 19.Kh4 Qg2 20.Kxg4 h5+ 21.Kg5 Kh7 22.Rxf8 Rxf8 23.Qxd6 Bh6+ 24.Kxh5 Qh3# White checkmated 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Clauser Wins BDG Lemberger 4.dxe5

Jack Clauser is very active in promoting and organizing chess tournaments in central Pennsylvania in the Harrisburg area. He is one of a comparatively few players whom I have faced in person over the board and played in postal chess. Once, we enjoyed a Penn State football game together, despite the pouring rain that night.

In Blackmar-Diemer circles Jack Clauser III is recognized for his active play vs BDGers in thematic correspondence events and for proofreading the 700 games in my original Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook published by Bob Long and Thinkers' Press in 1992. He gave me many helpful suggestions and provided encouragement through the three year process it took me to write that book.

Twenty years ago Jack Clauser and I met in the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit avoided variation of the BDG Lemberger and I failed to handle the 4.dxe5 line accurately. In theory this line is equal, but in practice the Black army is more coordinated. Another botched effort for me in this same variation was my email game vs Tim Harding. Eventually I chose to focus on the better knight moves 4.Nxe4 and 4.Nge2.

Sawyer - Clauser, corr 1995 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e5 4.dxe5 Qxd1+ 5.Kxd1 Nc6 6.Bf4 [6.Nxe4 Nxe5=/+] 6...Bf5 [6...Nge7 7.Nxe4 Ng6=/+] 7.Bc4 Bc5 8.Ke1 Nge7 9.Nge2 0-0 10.Na4 Bb6 11.Nxb6 cxb6 12.e6 fxe6 13.Rd1 Na5 14.Bb3 Nxb3 15.cxb3 Nd5 16.Be3 [16.a3 Nxf4 17.Nxf4 Rac8-/+] 16...Nb4 17.Nc1? Bg4 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Index: Blackmar-Diemer Avoided 2.Nc3 Benoni

The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit can be avoided with a 2.Nc3 Benoni Schmid variation. The main idea is to answer 2...c5 with 3.d5. Previously under this label we considered the 2.f3 Benoni after 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 c5 and the French Defence Sawyer Variation after 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4. Later will come the BDG Nimzo-Indian after 2.Nc3 e6 3.e4 Bb4 and the BDG Huebsch Gambit after 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4.

This variation begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 c5 3.d5:
3...e6 4.e4 and now:
4...exd5 5.e5 Ng8 6.Nxd5
               5...d4 6.exf6 dxc3 7.Qe2+ Be7 8.Qxe7+
4...d6 5.f4 exd5 6.exd5 Be7
3...g6 4.e4 d6 5.f4 Bg7 6.Bb5+ and now:
6...Nbd7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5
6...Bd7 7.e5 Bxb5 8.Nxb5
               7...exd5 8.fxe5
6...Nfd7 7.Nf3 0-0 8.0-0 
Last revised February 23, 2015.

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Keiser Challenges Caro-Kann Defence

Flashback to 1982: I played Art Keiser of Pennsylvania four APCT postal games on the same postcards. Two were Bird's Openings and two Caro-Kann Defences. Below is an Advance 4.Bd3 Variation which allows Black to swap off his bad bishop.

I believe this was the same Arthur W. Keiser who died in 2014 at the age of 92. The Bucks County Courier Times described him as being born on a farm and raised with a deep Christian faith and love of the earth. Art Keiser was devoted to church and family, who "remember him for his love of gardening, photography, chess, tennis, racquetball, model airplanes, and Spanish."

In his final tournament at age 71 in 1993, Art Keiser ended up 41st out of 50 players in Hatboro. Art finished behind Greg Nolan, Alan Lindy, Eric Tobias, Victor Snapstys and ahead of Robert Lovenstein, all players that I faced myself. In our game White has the right idea, but, at the wrong time. White falls for a tactic that leaves White down the Exchange and a pawn. I was fortunate enough to win all my games vs Keiser.

Keiser (1856) - Sawyer (2100), corr APCT 1982 begins 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Bd3 Bxd3 5.Qxd3 e6 6.Nf3 Nd7 7.0-0 Qc7 [7...Ne7=] 8.a3 Ne7 9.b4 a5 10.Bd2 a4 11.b5 c5 12.c4 cxd4 13.cxd5 Nxe5 [13...Nxd5!=/+] 14.Nxe5 Qxe5 15.dxe6 fxe6 16.Re1 Qd5 17.f4? [Correct is 17.Re4 e5 18.f4=] 17...g6?! [17...Rc8!-/+] 18.Re5? [White should play 18.Bb4= now!] 18...Qd7 19.Bb4 Bg7 20.Re4 [20.Nd2 Nd5-/+] 20...Nd5 21.Bc5? Rd8 [More accurate is 21...Rc8! 22.Bb4 Rc1+ 23.Kf2 Ne3-+] 22.Nd2 b6 23.Bxd4? [23.Bb4 Nxb4 24.axb4 0-0 25.Rxa4 Rc8-/+] 23...Nxf4 24.Rxf4 Bxd4+ 25.Rxd4 Qxd4+ 26.Qxd4 Rxd4 27.Nf3 Rd3 28.Kf2 Rb3 29.Nd4 0-0+ 30.Kg1 Rb2 31.h4 Rff2 32.Nxe6 Rxg2+ 33.Kh1 Rh2+ 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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