Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Shapiro Orthodox Queens Gambit

What makes a chess opening “orthodox?” The word means conventional, traditional, mainstream and established. In other words, an orthodox chess opening is reliable. It is one that fully playable. It has stood the test of time.

If you lose a game in such an opening from either side of the board, whose fault is it? Take a wild guess. You cannot use the saying that you were a victim of the opening. The opening was fine. The player who lost was the problem.

In 1985 I played Meyer Shapiro of New York in a postal chess game with the Orthodox Queens Gambit Declined. We were pretty close to equal in the opening. He had chances, and I had chances. A key point of this game was White’s choice to push his c-pawn all the way to 9.c5. The recommended strategy for Black is to attack the backward pawn as soon as possible with 9…e5.

For some reason I chose to delay that counter thrust. I treated the position like a Lasker Defence with the moves 9...h6 10.Bh4 Ne4 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.b4 Nxc3 13.Rxc3 e5. Apparently I wanted to reach an endgame. But be careful what you ask for. I missed some key moves and drifted into a lost position. Shapiro did well and found a nice win.

Shapiro (1999) - Sawyer (2000), corr APCT 1985 begins 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Rc1 c6 8.a3 [8.Bd3 dxc4 9.Bxc4=] 8...a6 9.c5 [9.Qc2] 9...h6 [9...e5! 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.dxe5 Nd7=] 10.Bh4 Ne4 [10...e5!=] 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.b4 [12.Nxe4! dxe4 13.Nd2 f5 14.Nc4+/=] 12...Nxc3 13.Rxc3 e5 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Be2 Bf5 [15...a5!=/+] 16.Nd4 Be4 17.f3 Bh7 18.0-0 Rae8?! 19.a4 f5?! [19...Ra8=] 20.Qb3 [20.f4+/=] 20...Nf7 [20...f4! 21.Rd1=] 21.b5 axb5 22.axb5 Nd8? [22...Qf6 23.bxc6 bxc6 24.Nxc6 Qxc6 25.Bb5 Qf6 26.Bxe8 Rxe8 27.Rd1+/=] 23.bxc6 bxc6 24.Nxc6 Nxc6 25.Qxd5+ Qe6 26.Bc4 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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