Tuesday, July 26, 2016

John Vehre in Open Ruy Lopez

John Vehre, Jr. is a USCF National Master from Ohio. In the early 1980s we played three short postal chess games. One was in CCLA and the other two were in APCT. I only had White in one of our games. We played an Open Ruy Lopez after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4.

This famous variation had been played many times in the world championship at Baguio City in the Philippines. Always Anatoly Karpov had the White pieces and Victor Korchnoi played Black. Vehre and I followed the main line 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6. This is the only time I ever reached this position against a human as White. I did play it twice as Black and scored a split 1-1. Also I tested the line a few times vs computers.

There are four popular ninth moves for White. I chose the most popular 9.c3 which is the one that has the lowest winning percentage at 54%. The other three moves are 9.Nbd2 (61%), 9.Be3 (61%), and 9.Qe2 (58%) according to my database. After 9.c3 Black scores well with my opponent’s choice 9…Bc5. On move 11, Vehre played the line 11…f5!?

Many players sacrifice a knight with 11…Nxf2. This is known as the Dilworth Variation. It contains many traps, but we did not go there. A critical Dilworth line is given in the notes to this game. John Vehre and I agreed to a draw. In the final position, critical lines lead to Black giving a perpetual check or repeating moves.

Sawyer (2050) - Vehre (2150), corr APCT 1980 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 0-0 11.Bc2 f5!? [The Dilworth variation goes 11...Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Nf1 Ne5 16.Be3 Rae8 17.Bc5 Nxf3 18.gxf3 Rf7 19.Kg2=] 12.Nb3 Bb6 13.Nfd4 Nxd4 14.Nxd4 Bxd4 15.Qxd4 [15.cxd4!?+/=] 15...c5 16.Qd1 f4 17.f3 Ng5 18.a4 b4 19.h4 [19.cxb4+/-] 19...Nh3+ 20.gxh3 Qxh4 21.Rf2 1/2-1/2

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