Saturday, August 27, 2016

Pirc Knight Tour vs Melissakis

Pete Melissakis was my first. He was the first one to play the Pirc Defence against me in a recorded game. I’m sure that in my younger years I faced the Pirc. As I recall some kid in Washburn, Maine used to play the Pirc and Benko against me. Ray Haines might remember the kid from 1974, but I forgot his name.

“Game score” is a funny chess term. The general meaning and the technical meaning differ. The word score implies results. Did you win, lose or draw? How did you score in the tournament? Technically, “game score” means the recording of the moves played in the game. Often this was a hand written list of moves. Forty years ago I started keeping better records. Like many of us, my game scores from my early years were lost long ago.

Against Melissakis I chose the safe Classical Variation. It was made popular by the then World Champion Anatoly Karpov. He played 4.Nf3 and 5.Be2 to beat Smejkal, Hort, Pfleger, Keene and Adorjan. Later Karpov would defeat Spassky, Nunn and others with it. But Timman and Korchnoi managed draws vs him.

My approach in this line was safe solid development. I wanted to focus on the center and keep my pieces active. I dreamed of the Karpov approach. Take away all my opponent’s good options. Leave my opponent with only blunders to choose from.

My king’s knight went on an adventure against Pete Melissakis. The horse started on g1 and galloped to 4.Nf3, 11.Nd4, 16.Nb3, 32.Na5, 35.Nc6 and finished with 36.Nxe7+ 1-0.

My Alekhine & Pirc book is now available in Kindle and paperback.

Sawyer (2000) - Melissakis (1728), corr APCT 1979 begins 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Be2 0-0 6.0-0 Nc6 7.d5 [7.h3; or 7.Be3 ] 7...Nb8 8.h3 [8.Re1] 8...c6 9.a4 cxd5 [9...Nbd7=] 10.exd5 b6 11.Nd4 Bb7 12.Bf3 Qd7 13.Re1 a6 14.Bf4 Ra7 15.Qd2 Rc8 16.Nb3 Ba8 17.Bg5 Rac7 18.Re3 h6 19.Bh4 Rc4 [19...Qd8=] 20.Bg3 Qa7 21.Rae1 Bf8 22.Be2 R4c7 23.f4 [23.Bf3+/=] 23...Nbd7 [23...Rxc3=] 24.Bf2 Bb7 [24...Rxc3 25.Rxc3=] 25.g4 [25.f5+/-] 25...Nh7 26.Bf3 Bg7  [26...Qa8 27.Nd4+/=] 27.Bg2 Bf6 28.h4 [28.Nd4+-] 28...Ndf8 [28...Qa8 29.Nd4+/=] 29.Rh3 Bg7 30.a5 Qb8 31.axb6 Rd7 32.Na5 Re8 33.g5 h5 [33...Ba8 34.gxh6 Bxh6 35.h5+-] 34.Rhe3 f6 35.Nc6 Qa8 36.Nxe7+ 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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  1. Contrasting later change of role model: from Karpov to Diemer... ;)

    1. Yes! I improved when I added gambits. When Karpov wrote a book on Queen Pawn Openings (in Russian) he cited my Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook II. If I translated the Russian correctly, Karpov called me a Baptist minister, which I was for a while.


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