Monday, August 31, 2015

Moscow Cat Who Played 3.Bb5+

Larry Kaufman recommended the Moscow Variation 3.Bb5+ of the Sicilian Defence for White in his excellent book "The Chess Advantage in Black and White" with the subtitle "Openings Moves of the Grandmasters". The bishop check avoids the popular Open Sicilian 3.d4 lines with all their exciting and complicated opening theory. White can still push the d-pawn later if he chooses.

You may like to check out my new Sicilian Defence book. I upgraded covers and content in all my books. You may find updated versions available of previous books. I expect to finish most of my chess projects by the end of September.

The cat loving handle "chesspurr" puts my opponent in good company. Former world champion Alexander Alekhine used to bring his cat named "chess" to the board in the 1930s. In a famous picture the cat looks like a Siamese to me. This reminds me of a woman who rented me a room in her trailer for the summer. It was just me, her and her Siamese cat that was "literally" toilet trained or should I say "litter free" toilet trained.

chesspurrr - Sawyer, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 20.09.2014 begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.0-0 Nc6 6.d4 [The most common line is 6.c3 Nf6 7.Re1 e6 8.d4 cxd4 9.cxd4 d5 10.e5 Ne4 11.Nbd2 Nxd2 12.Bxd2 Be7 13.Rc1=] 6...cxd4 7.Nxd4 Nf6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Qe2 g6 10.e5 dxe5 11.Qxe5 Bg7 12.Nc3 0-0 13.h3 Nd5 14.Qg3 Nxc3 15.bxc3 Qd6 16.Bf4 Qc5 17.Rfe1 [17.Rad1=] 17...Qxc3 [17...Bxc3-+] 18.Be5 Bxe5 19.Qxe5 Qxe5 20.Rxe5 e6 21.Rc5 Rfc8 22.Rb1 Rc7 23.Rb4 Rd8 24.Rbc4 Rd1+ 25.Kh2 Rd6 26.f4 Kf8 27.Kg3 Ke7 28.Kf3 Kd7 29.Ke4 Rd5 30.c3? [30.Rc3 Kd6=/+] 30...Rxc5 [30...Kd6-+] 31.Rxc5 Kd6 32.Rc4 c5 33.Ra4 f6 34.g4 f5+ 35.Ke3 Kc6 36.Ra6+ Kd5 37.c4+ Kxc4 38.Rxe6 a5 39.gxf5 gxf5 40.Re5 Kb4 41.Rxf5 Ka3 42.Rf8 Kxa2 43.Kd3 c4+ 44.Kc3 a4 45.f5 a3 46.f6 Kb1 [46...Rc6=] 47.Rb8+ [47.Re8+-] 47...Kc1 48.Rg8 [48.Ra8=] 48...Kd1 49.Rg7 Rc6 50.Rg1+ Ke2 51.Rg2+ Kf1 52.Ra2 Rxf6 53.Kxc4 Rf3 54.h4 h6 55.Kd5 h5 56.Ke4 Rh3 57.Kf4 Rxh4+ 58.Kg5 [58.Kg3 Ra4=/+] 58...Rh3 59.Kf5 Ke1 60.Kf4 Kd1 61.Rg2 Kc1 62.Ra2 Kb1 63.Rg2 a2 64.Rg1+ Kb2 65.Rg2+ Ka3 66.Rg1 Rb3 67.Kg5 Rb1 68.Rg3+ Ka4 69.Kxh5 a1Q 70.Rg4+ Rb4 71.Rg5 Qh1+ White forfeits on time 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Friday, August 28, 2015

How To Play Marshall Queens Gambit

Why don't your opponents play the main lines? Maybe they like offbeat or gambit lines. Maybe they know opening principles but not opening theory. What's the difference? Principles are strategic goals. Develop your pieces. Fight for the center. Keep your king safe. But opening theory includes exact tactics you know in advance. You know already where you will place your pawns and pieces in specific situations.

Are you afraid your opponent knows more theory in a certain opening? He might. Most players have a very limited knowledge of opening theory. Ray Haines prefers 1.d4 as a first move. Ray Haines chose 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 against Mike Porter instead of the more modest 2.e3 or 2.Nf3.

The Marshall Defence to Queen's Gambit begins 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nf6. Porter reversed the move order with his 1...Nf6 and 2...d5. The key questions revolve around e5. Will White play 4.Nf3 to prevent ...e5? Will Black play it if allowed? The answer to both is NO. White grabbed the center. Black let him have it. Chances were equal for another ten moves before Black's position got loose. Then Ray Haines attacked for the win.

Haines - Porter, Houlton, ME (3), 22.08.2015 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d5 3.cxd5 Nxd5 4.e4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 [5...e5!?] 6.Bc4 [6.Nf3!?] 6...Be7 [6...Bb4 7.Bg5=] 7.Nf3 [7.e5 Nd5 8.Qg4+/=] 7...0-0 [7...a6=] 8.Be3 b6 9.Qe2 Bb7 10.Bd3 Nbd7 11.0-0 c5 12.Rfd1 Ng4? [12...c4 13.Bxc4 Nxe4=] 13.dxc5 [13.Bb5+/=] 13...Nxe3 14.Qxe3 Bxc5 15.Qf4 Rc8 [15...Qb8=] 16.e5 f5? [16...Bxf3 17.Qxf3 Qc7 18.Bxh7+ Kxh7 19.Qd3+ Kg8 20.Qxd7=] 17.Bb5 Rf7? [17...Rc7 18.Bc4+/-] 18.Ng5 Re7 19.Bc4 [19.Nxe6!+-] 19...Rc6? [19...Qe8 20.Qxf5+/-] 20.Qh4 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Albin Counter Gambit Main Line

What can you learn when the defender beats a gambit? The main line Albin Counter Gambit used to be 5.g3 but now everyone plays the recommended 5.a3! Black regains the pawn after 5...Nge7 6.b4 Ng6 7.Bb2 Ngxe5 with a sharp open fighting position. The risk is rewarded with a reasonable 48% score for Black after 5...Nge7.

Luc Harris lists 5...Nge7 as a good choice (along with 5...Be6!?) in his mammoth tome on the opening. Harris notes 5...a5?! is too slow (as is 5...Bg4?!). Ray Haines chooses the logical 5...a5?! It weakens b5 and makes queenside castling impractical, dangerous or fatal. Unfortunately Black finds the position slowly sadly slipping away. White plays well and deserves the win.

Roger Morin beat back the Albin Counter Gambit attack to finish second. Ray Haines took third. The tournament in Houlton was won by Aaron Spencer, currently the third highest rated player in the state of Maine at 2121. According to FIDE Spencer was born the year I published my first chess book on the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.

Morin - Haines, Houlton, ME (2), 22.08.2015 begins 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 d4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.a3 a5?! [Better is 5...Nge7 and maybe 5...Be6!?] 6.g3 Bc5 7.Bg2 Nge7 8.0-0 Ng6 9.Bg5 Be7 [Maybe Black could survive with 9...Qd7 10.Nbd2+/=] 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.Nxd4 Ngxe5 12.Nxc6 Nxc6 13.Nc3 Be6 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.cxd5 Ne5 16.Qa4+ Kf8 17.Qb5 Ra6 [17...Ra7 18.Rac1+-] 18.Qxb7 Rd6 19.Rac1 c6 20.Qxe7+ [20.dxc6+-] 20...Kxe7 21.f4 Ng4 22.Rxc6 Rb8 23.Rb1 f5 24.b4 Nf6 25.Rc7+ Rd7 26.Rxd7+ Kxd7 27.b5 Kd6 28.a4 Kc5 29.Kf2 Nd7 30.g4 Rf8 [30...g6 31.gxf5+-] 31.gxf5 Rxf5 32.Kg3 Rf8 33.e4 Nb6 34.e5 Nxa4 35.d6 Nb6 36.Bc6 a4 37.Rc1+ Kb4 38.e6 1-0

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

Nimzo-Indian Knights Net King

Do tactics favor the player with two bishops? Only if you attack quickly and keep your king defended. Nimzo-Indian Defence leaves White with two bishops. Brian Hurst obtains the two bishops as Black! The opening is fully playable from either side. After 20 moves the position is equal but then Ray Haines launches a kingside assault. Ray writes:

"Brian played to trade his knights for my bishops. The bishops are stronger in open games. The problem here is that he did not have any thing to protect his kingside. I used Fritz11 to study the game. It rated the game as equal after I played 22.Nf6+. I was using a little more time than my opponent so I did move quickly. I did choose the wrong line after move 23. I had planned on playing 24.Qh4 and then playing 25.Qh5. This looked strong as it attacked the weak square on f7 with both the knight and Queen. I put this into my computer and it came out as a wrong move. The right idea was to play 24.Rd3. This would let my rook into the game."

Black's 26 move traps his king in the corner. Ray Haines finds a checkmate. Note that both players lost only one game in this event and raised their ratings.

Haines - Hurst, Houlton, ME (1), 22.08.2015 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.e3 e6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.c4 Bb4+ 5.Nc3 [5.Bd2!?] 5...d5 6.Qc2 dxc4 7.Bxc4 Nd5 8.0-0 0-0 9.e4 [Or 9.Ne2+/= ] 9...Nb6 10.Qd3 Nxc4 11.Qxc4 Be7 12.Be3 Na5 13.Qa4 c6 14.Rfd1 b5 15.Qc2 Nc4 16.Qe2 [16.Bf4+/=] 16...Nxe3 17.Qxe3 Qb6 18.Rac1 Bb7 19.Qf4 Rad8 20.e5 c5! 21.Ne4 cxd4 22.Nf6+ Kh8 [The most accurate defense is 22...Bxf6 23.exf6 e5 24.Nxe5 Qxf6 25.Qxf6 gxf6=] 23.Ng5 h6 24.Qh4? [Haines points out that 24.Rd3!+- is the best way to play for an advantage.] 24...Bxf6 [Black wins a piece after 24...d3! 25.Qh5 Bxf6 26.exf6 Rd5 27.Nxf7+ Kh7 28.fxg7 Kxg7 29.Qxh6+ Kxf7-+ when White does not have enough compensation.] 25.exf6 Rd5 26.Ne4 Rg8? [26...Rf5!] 27.Rd3 e5 28.Rh3 Rdd8 29.Qxh6+ 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Friday, August 21, 2015

King's Indian Fischer From English

When your opponent plays 1.c4 English Opening, how can you change the opening to a King's Indian Defence? When I studied Bobby Fischer's games I saw that a dozen times he played 1...g6. So I copied Fischer and it worked most of the time. Black develops in the normal KID way with Bg7, d6, Nf6 and 0-0. You just allow White to set up a big pawn center as you plan your counter attack with ...e5 or ...c5. The advantage of playing 1...g6 vs 1.c4 is that after White cannot transpose into a Modern Defence or Pirc Defence like he could after 1.d4 g6 2.e4 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6.

Master Thomas Mueller chose the famous Four Pawns Attack vs my King's Indian. I hit back in a Modern Benoni Defence style with 6...c5 7.d5 e6 and a little Benko flavor of 9...b5. The position is very sharp, very tactical and very complicated. In such situations higher rated players usually outplay their lower rated opponents. Thomas Mueller had an ICCF rating of 2358 back in the days before there were strong computer chess engines. I actually put up a tough fight vs him until my natural recapture 28...Rxd8 dropped the a-pawn. While there were still drawing chances, Black could have improved and done very well with the two bishops after simply 28...Bxd8!=.

Mueller (2200) - Sawyer (2000), corr CCLA 1980 begins 1.c4 g6 2.Nc3 Bg7 3.d4 Nf6 4.e4 d6 5.f4 0-0 6.Nf3 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Bd3 exd5 9.cxd5 b5 10.Bxb5 Nxe4 11.Nxe4 Qa5+ 12.Kf2 Qxb5 13.Nxd6 Qb6 14.Nc4 Qa6 15.Qe2 Nd7 16.Rd1 Bb7 17.Ne3!? [17.Nce5 Qxe2+ 18.Kxe2 Rfe8 19.Kf2 Nxe5 20.fxe5 Rad8=] 17...Qxe2+ 18.Kxe2 Nb6 [18...Rfe8 19.Kf2 Nf6=/+] 19.Kf2 Rfd8 20.d6 Bf8 21.b3 Bxd6 22.g3 [22.Ng4 Be7=] 22...c4 [22...f6 23.Bb2 Be7 24.Rac1 Kf7=] 23.Nxc4 Nxc4 24.bxc4 Ba6 25.Be3 Bxc4 26.Rd4 Bb5 27.Rad1 Bc7 28.Rxd8+ Rxd8?! [28...Bxd8!=] 29.Rxd8+ Bxd8 30.Bxa7 Bc4 31.a3 Be7 32.a4 Bd8 33.Nd4 Kf8 34.Ke3 h5 [34...Bd5!=] 35.Ke4 [35.Nc6+/=] 35...Bc7 36.Nb5 Bd8 37.Bc5+ I do not remember why I resigned at this specific point. Clearly White can play follow up 37...Kg7 with 38.Bb4 and the extra pawn is well on its way to a queen. 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

London System Bc4!? vs Bacon

The classic bishop move in the London System is Bf4 on move two or three. But what does White do with his other bishop? One offbeat option when Black chooses a King's Indian set up (here 4...d6) is for White to play Bc4 which supports an attack on f7. The two bishops are thus crisscrossing the center of the board. The move Bc4 is an old idea from the British Master Michael Franklin and pointed out by author Tim Harding.

In my game against APCT Master Joseph Bacon, my bishop move prompted him to kick my 6.Bc4 bishop with 6...d5. But after 7.Bd3 my other bishop on f4 had a better diagonal. After the players completed development the focus was center of the board. The battle over e5 led to multiple exchanges leaving my queen in possession of that square. After some jockeying in an even position, Joe and I agree to a draw.

Sawyer (2003) - Bacon (2214), corr APCT Q-171 (2), 08.1993 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4 Bg7 4.e3 d6 5.h3 0-0 6.Bc4 [6.Be2 b6 7.0-0 Bb7=] 6...d5 7.Bd3 c5 8.c3 c4 9.Bc2 Bd7 10.Nbd2 Qb6 11.Rb1 Qa5 12.a3 Nc6 [12...Bc6 13.0-0 Nbd7 14.Re1=] 13.0-0 Rad8 14.Qe2 Nh5 15.Bh2 b5 16.e4 e6 17.e5 [17.Bd6 Rfe8 18.Qe3+/=] 17...Bh6 18.g3 [18.h4+/=] 18...f5 19.exf6 Nxf6 20.g4 Ne8 21.g5 Bg7 22.Ne5 Nxe5 23.Bxe5 Bxe5 24.Qxe5 Ng7 25.f4 Nf5 26.Nf3 Ne7 27.Nh2 Nc6 28.Qe3 Qc7 29.Ng4 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Monday, August 17, 2015

French Defence From Canada

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie has a scene where a girl tries to distract a guy from playing chess. Secret agents are American, Russian, German, and British with action in Berlin and Rome, places that read my blog. Thank you! In addition to the United States, Russia, Germany, United Kingdom and Italy, I have readers from Canada. The theater had a pre-movie quiz about the meaning of the word "Canada". Instead of Nothing Here or Evening Star, the correct answer was Big Village.

I played a Canadian correspondence player William Rawlings in an APCT postal game that began as a French Defence. Black met my Tarrasch Variation 3.Nd2 Nc6 4.Ngf3 e5 and sharp battle followed. The name Rawlings is well known in competition for its sports equipment. My opponent was active in the USCF prior to 1991. One William Rawlings played in the 1930s in Canada; he might be the same guy who played in the 1970s or 1980s. That is a big spread of 45 years, but I have played that long! It is just that now I am the old man instead of the young man. You will note that I had excellent classical development in the center of the board and found a tactical win.

Sawyer (1900) - Rawlings (1946), corr APCT 78CC-A-3, 05.1978 begins 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nc6 4.Ngf3 e5?! [The main line here is 4...Nf6 5.e5 Nd7 6.Nb3 when White has space in an otherwise equal position.] 5.Bb5 exd4 6.0-0 Bd7? [6...Bb4 7.Nxd4+/-] 7.exd5 Nb4 8.Qe2+ Be7 9.d6 [9.Ne5+- is also strong.] 9...cxd6 10.Nxd4 a6 [or 10...Nc6 11.N2f3+-] 11.Bxd7+ Qxd7 12.Re1 Kf8 13.N2f3 Bf6 14.Bf4 Nd5 15.Bg3 g6 16.Rad1 Rd8 17.Nb5 [17.Nb3+-] 17...axb5 18.Rxd5 Bxb2 19.Bxd6+ Qxd6 20.Rxd6 Rxd6 21.Qxb5 Bc3 22.Qc5 1-0

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