Friday, May 27, 2016

Italian Four Knights by Hoskavich

Jeff Hoskavich and I played a few times at the Williamsport chess club in the mid-1990s. As they used to say in the newspaper business, “A good time was had by all.”

We played 8 games. I was the higher rated player and won most of them. This was an offhand game, and my hand was way off.

Hoskavich caught me in this one game for an instructive win. Maybe I should say an instructive loss. I probably learned more than he did. Now I am more sensitive about protecting my king. Jeff may have completely forgotten about this game.

We began as an Alekhine Defence with 1.e4 Nf6. Jeff Hoskavich avoided 2.e5. He played 2.Nc3. I often play 2…d5. I have scored well as Black in this line of the Scandinavian Defence 1.e4 d5. Here I transposed into a Vienna Game with 2…e5. After 3.Nf3 I often play 3...Bb4. This Three Knights Game amounts to a Ruy Lopez reversed.

Instead we entered the Four Knights Game. Hoskavich played the Italian pawn fork line with 4.Bc4 Nxe4 5.Nxe4 d5. I had a good game until move 18. Then I went from the advantage to a completely lost position in one move. That is never good. On move 20, Jeff Hoskavich had two ways to win. He chose to move his king and won my queen. He could have moved his queen and won my king. Put a fork in me. I’m done for.

Hoskavich (1750) - Sawyer (2010), Williamsport, PA 1994 begins 1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Bc4 Nxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Bxd5 [A good way to play this position is 6.Bd3 dxe4 7.Bxe4 Bd6 8.0-0 0-0 9.c3=] 6...Qxd5 7.Nc3 Qd8 8.0-0 Be6 9.Re1 Bd6 [9...Bc5! 10.d3 0-0=/+] 10.d3 [10.d4 exd4 11.Nb5=] 10...0-0 11.Nb5 a6 [11...Bc5=/+] 12.Nxd6 cxd6 13.Ng5 Bf5 14.g4?! [14.Be3 h6 15.Ne4 d5 16.Ng3 Bg6=] 14...Bg6 [Or 14...Bc8-/+ ] 15.h4 h6 16.h5 hxg5 [16...Bxh5! 17.gxh5 hxg5 18.c3 f5-/+] 17.hxg6 f6?! [More powerful is 17...Qf6!-/+ ] 18.Qf3 Qe8?? [Black was still fine after 18...Ne7! 19.Qxb7 d5=/+] 19.Qd5+ Kh8 20.Kg2 [There is a mate in two with 20.Qh1+ Kg8 21.Qh7#] 1-0

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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