Monday, November 30, 2015

Sawyer Chess Training Repertoire

I have begun a Chess Training Repertoire email newsletter with weekly updates. Sign up and begin receiving it for free. My regular schedule is to mail them on Thursdays.

Every email comes with a sheet of analysis. You should receive one major variation per week. I offer an exact basic short plan both for White and for Black. I combine the most popular moves that you are likely to face with the strongest moves per top chess engine evaluations. Every major opening will be covered. There is no cost to subscribe. You can unsubscribe anytime.

I begin offering suggestions for chess opening books on December 1. This is my 12 days of Christmas during the first 12 days of December. These will be popular books that are NOT my books. But first today, let me provide a list of my own current chess books.

Tim Sawyer chess books on Kindle

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
Copyright 2016 Home Page / Author Page /
Sign Up for free weekly Chess Training Repertoire updates

Friday, November 27, 2015

King's Gambit 3.Bc4 Still Wins

King's Gambit brings chess players excitement just like Black Friday sales bring excitement to holiday shoppers. When gambit players are strong grandmasters like Vassily Ivanchuk and Sergey Karjakin, you know their game may test theory.

The playground for this opening was the King's Bishop's Gambit 3.Bc4. Grandmaster John Shaw gives us convincing arguments to prefer 3.Nf3, but both third moves have a long and glorious history. Bobby Fischer won as White with 3.Bc4, but he lost as Black to 3.Nf3 vs Boris Spassky. Both moves are playable if you are good in tactics.

Stronger players excel in complex unbalanced positions. The evaluation of who has the advantage can change on any move. Players often turn to positional openings when they get older, but masters rarely lose solid positions. Ivanchuk wants to win! So he continues to play sharp theoretical lines vs a steady stream of grandmasters!

Ivanchuk (2731) - Karjakin (2757), Vladimir Petrov Mem 2015 Jurmala LAT (9.1), 08.03.2015 begins 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 d6 5.Nc3!? [5.Nf3 Qf6 6.d4 Ne7 7.h4!? Be6=] 5...Be6 6.Bb3!? [More common is 6.Qe2 Nd7 7.Bxe6 fxe6 8.Qc4 0-0-0 9.Qxe6 when 9...g5!=/+ looks like a good idea.] 6...Nd7 [6...Nf6 7.Nf3 Qh6=/+] 7.d4 g5 [7...Ngf6 8.Nf3 Qh6=/+] 8.Nf3 Qh5 9.h4 h6 [9...Ngf6 10.Nxg5 Bxb3 11.axb3 Qxd1+ 12.Nxd1 Bg7=] 10.Kg1 g4 11.Ne1 Bxb3 12.axb3 Ngf6 13.Nd3 g3 14.Qf3 Qxf3 15.gxf3 Nb8 16.Ne2 Nc6 17.c3 Rg8 18.Kg2 d5 19.e5 Nh5 20.Nexf4 Nxf4+ 21.Nxf4 0-0-0 22.Nh5 b6 23.Nf6 Rh8 24.h5 Kb7 25.Kxg3 Na5 [25...Ne7 26.Rg1 Nf5+ 27.Kf4+/-] 26.b4 Nb3 27.Rb1 a5 28.bxa5 bxa5 29.Be3 Kc6 [or 29...Bg7 30.Ng4+-] 30.Kf2 a4 31.Ke2 Na5 32.Ra1 Nc4 33.Rxa4 Nxb2 34.Ra6+ Kb7 35.Rha1 Nc4 36.Kd3 Nb6 37.Bf4 Rc8 38.Ng4 Bg7 39.Ne3 Bf8 40.Ra7+ Kc6 41.R1a6 Kb5 42.Nxd5 Rg8 43.c4+ Nxc4 44.Nc3+ 1-0

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Scandinavian Queen's Knight

Beware your original opening may transpose. The Scandinavian becomes a Queen's Knight Attack after 1.e4 d5 2.Nc3. Black often follows 2...d4 or 2...dxe4 (as below). However Black could also try the Caro-Kann 2...c6, French 2...e6, or Alekhine 2...Nf6. Play could continue 3.d4 exe4 4.f3 for a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.

When FM Dragan Zivic of Serbia took on Viktor Varezhkin of Russia they chose 2...dxe4 3.Nxe4 g6. If Black wants to create a potential pawn target on the e-file he may do better with 3...e5=. Tactics in the game aimed at the squares e6 and f3. These entry points led to combinations. In the end White was up to pawns with threats to win a piece.

Zivic (2264) - Varezhkin (2230), TCh World Deaf 2014 Opatija CRO (3.1), 21.06.2014 begins 1.e4 d5 2.Nc3 dxe4 3.Nxe4 g6 [3...e5=] 4.d4 Bg7 5.Nf3 Bg4!? [5...Bf5] 6.Bc4 Qc8 [6...e6 7.h3+/=] 7.Neg5 Nh6 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 0-0 10.c3 c6 11.0-0 e6 12.Re1 Qd8? [12...Nd7 13.Bf4+/-] 13.Rxe6 fxe6 [13...Nd7 14.Re2+-] 14.Nxe6 Rxf3 15.Nxd8+ Kh8 16.gxf3 Nd7 17.Nxb7 Nb6 18.Bb3 Nf5 19.Bf4 Nh4 20.Bg3 Nxf3+ 21.Kg2 Nd2 22.Re1 Rc8 23.Nd6 1-0

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

Monday, November 23, 2015

Kevin Sheldrick Wins BDG!

I hope you enjoy this from our Blackmar-Diemer Gambit friend Kevin Sheldrick who writes about hard to see backward moves.

"Hi Tim and all BDG adherents across the world, wherever you are. I often find some of the hardest moves to find in chess are ones where you move a piece backwards. As you study chess more, you hopefully find more examples of excellent backward moves which may stick in your brain and this may help you think more flexibly about all the directions your pieces can move."

"I played this game a couple of days ago on FICS. On the critical move, I could only think of advancing but retreating would have been a superior way for me to go forwards :).

"Btw, this game was played on my birthday, 18 November, and I did what you suggested one should do on their birthday - play the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit!"

Sheldrick (2045) - NN (1899), FICS 3 0, 18.11.2015 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Qe1 c6 9.Qh4 Nbd7 10.Bh6 Nb6 11.Bb3 e6 12.Ng5 [Best was the retreat 12.Bg5! +=/+- Stockfish, and white can increase pressure on the pinned knight by means of moves like Ne4 and Ne5. But I wanted to move a piece forwards :)] 12...Nh5 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.Rad1 h6 15.Nce4 hxg5 16.Nxg5 f6 17.Ne4 Rh8 18.Qf2 Nd5 19.g4 Nhf4 20.Qf3 Rh3 21.Ng3 g5 22.c4 Ne7 23.Nh5+ Nxh5 24.Qxh3 Nf4 25.Qe3 Qh8 26.Bc2 Qh4 27.Rf3 Qxg4+ 28.Rg3 Qh4 29.Qe4 Nf5 30.Rxg5+ Qxg5+ 31.Kh1 Bd7 32.Rg1 Rh8 33.Qxf5 exf5 34.Rxg5+ fxg5 35.Bxf5 Rh4 36.Bg4 Ne2 37.Bf3 Rf4 38.Bg2 [Black forfeits on time] 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /
Sign Up for free weekly Chess Training Repertoire updates

Friday, November 20, 2015

Sicilian Defence Dragon Novelty

I discovered a new move in the Sicilian Defence Dragon Variation, only to find a few months later World Champion Anatoly Karpov played the same move! For me, it really was a novelty. Karpov may have known the move 14.Rhe1!? The Sicilian Dragon allows White to attack kingside or in the center, while Black attacks queenside or in the center.

Thus the moves 14.Rhe1 (center) and 14...b5 (queenside) look logical. Probably Karpov planned this idea in advance. Like any player, Sosonko was likely to repeat a line in which he had previously won. Three years earlier the game Zuidema - Sosonko continued 15.f4 Nc4 16.Bxc4 bxc4 17.e5 and Black won. Now Karpov took the knight before pushing the e-pawn with 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.e5 and White won in 30 moves.

My opponent Daniel M. Horwitz became a strong postal chess player. Danny frequently is rated over 2300 by ICCF and by USCF. Daniel Horwitz has maintained an active and successful correspondence career. The Dragon provokes mistakes. Sharp players hope their opponents will make more and bigger mistakes. My skills were not equal to Karpov, but my central strategy still paid off in this Solits Variation.

Sawyer (2000) - Horwitz, corr APCT 1979 begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.h4 h5 13.Bg5 Rc5 14.Rhe1 [14.Kb1 b5 15.Rhe1 a5 16.f4=] 14...b5 15.Nd5?! [15.f4 Nc4 16.Bxc4 bxc4 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.e5= Karpov] 15...Nxd5 16.exd5 a5 [16...Re8=/+] 17.f4 f6? [Attacking the wrong bishop. Better is 17...a4! 18.fxe5 Bxe5 19.Rxe5 dxe5 20.d6 Qa8!=] 18.fxe5 fxg5 19.exd6 exd6 20.Ne6 Bxe6 [20...Qf6 21.c3+/=] 21.dxe6 Qe7 22.Qxd6 Re8 23.Qxe7 Rxe7 24.Rd7 Bf8 25.Rd8 Rf5 26.c4 bxc4 27.Bxc4 gxh4 28.Red1 Rc5 29.b3 Rxe6? [29...Kg7 30.R1d7+/-] 30.Kb2 [30.Rf1+-] 30...Rxc4 31.bxc4 Rf6 32.R1d7 Rf5 33.Kb3 Rg5 34.Rd2 Kg7 35.R8d5 Rg3+ 36.R5d3 Rg5 37.Rc2 Rc5 38.Rd5 Kf6 39.Rf2+ Kg7 40.Rd7+ 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /
Sign Up for free weekly Chess Training Repertoire updates

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

London System Opportunity Tactics

The London System is an easy opening for you to play. Your main idea is to play Bf4 on move two or three. By move six or seven, White has developed all four minor pieces. The solid pawn structure of d4, e3, and c3 is tough to crack. It resembles a Slav Defence reversed.

How does White win? By targeting weaknesses. When all the pieces are actively poised, tactics for attack and combinations hide around every corner. My biggest problem comes when I think nothing is going on. I can sleep through a key moment. In the game below, I was awake to my opportunity.

In my APCT postal game against Richard Riley, the weakness of playing ...b6 and ...Nc6 before he castled allowed White to win a pawn. The loss of a pawn followed massed exchanges from moves 12 to 16. The opening mistake led to an endgame win. It is not sudden, but Black's loss can hardly be avoided.

Sawyer (2003) - Riley (1405), corr APCT Q-139 (11), 07.1993 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 b6 4.e3 Bb7 5.Nbd2 d5 6.c3 Bd6 7.Bd3 Bxf4 8.exf4 c5 9.Ne5 Nc6? [Because of the pin, White will win a pawn. Correct is 9...0-0 10.0-0=] 10.Bb5 Rc8 11.Qa4 Qc7 12.dxc5 0-0 13.Bxc6 Bxc6 14.Nxc6 Qxc6 15.Qxc6 Rxc6 16.cxb6 Rxb6 [After a series of exchanges White is up a pawn.] 17.b3 Rc8 18.c4 dxc4 19.Nxc4 Rbc6 20.0-0 Rd8 21.Rfd1 Rxd1+ 22.Rxd1 g6 23.Rd6 Rxd6 24.Nxd6 [Now we reach a knight and pawn endgame.] 24...Nd5 25.g3 Kf8 26.Kf1 Nc3 27.a4 a6 28.Ke1 Ke7 29.Kd2 Kxd6 [Black's best chance seems to be 29...Nxa4 30.Nxf7 Nc5 31.b4 Ne4+ 32.Ke3+/=] 30.Kxc3 a5 [All pawn endings are lost. For example 30...Kc5 31.b4+ Kd5 32.g4+-] 31.b4 axb4+ 32.Kxb4 Kc6 33.Kc4 Kb6 34.Kd4 f6 35.g4 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page /
Sign Up for free weekly Chess Training Repertoire updates

Monday, November 16, 2015

Both French Bishops Sacrificed

Can you believe it? Both bishops were sacrificed for the h-pawn with check. Both kings declined the bishops. The French people deserve our support. My friendships with players from France go back many years. Here is a game where the French wins!

As White I chose the Tarrasch Variation 3.Nd2 in the French Defence. My opening was strong, White's position was good for the first 18 moves. The Tarrasch can lead to wide open tactics. In this game I was outgunned in complications.

My opponent J. Scott Pfeiffer has a USCF rating in the 2100s. We were both up and coming players back in the day. Like many players of my generation, Pfeiffer has not played much in the last 25 years. As I recall our conversations on the weekly chess postcards in 1980, Scott chose his life priorities carefully and well.

Sawyer (2050) - Pfeiffer (2050), corr APCT 1980 begins 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 Qb6 8.Nf3 cxd4 9.cxd4 f6 [9...Bb4+ 10.Bd2+/=] 10.exf6 Nxf6 11.0-0 Bd6 12.Nf4 [12.Bf4 Bxf4 13.Nxf4+/=] 12...0-0 13.Re1 Re8 14.Ng5 [14.a3 Bd7 15.Be3 Qxb2 16.Rb1 Qxa3 17.Rxb7=] 14...Qxd4 15.Nfxe6 Bxe6 16.Nxe6 Bxh2+ 17.Kf1 Rxe6 18.Rxe6 Qh4 [18...Rf8 19.Be3=] 19.Re3? [19.Rxf6 gxf6 20.Qf3=] 19...Ng4 20.Bxh7+ [20.Qf3 Nce5=/+] 20...Kh8 21.Rf3 Bd6 22.Ke2? [Or 22.Be3 Nh2+ 23.Ke2 Nxf3 24.gxf3 Qxh7 25.Qxd5 Be5-+] 22...Nxf2 23.Rxf2 Re8+ 24.Be3 Rxe3+ 25.Kxe3 Bc5+ 26.Kd2 Qxf2+ 27.Qe2 Qxe2+ 28.Kxe2 Kxh7 29.Rh1+ Kg6 30.Rh8 b6 31.Rc8 Ne5 32.Rd8 d4 33.a3 a5 34.Kd1 d3 35.Rb8 Kf5 36.b4 axb4 37.axb4 Be3 0-1

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

Now in Kindle and paperback

Blog Archive