Friday, September 23, 2016

Risky Caro-Kann vs Ralph Pirtle

Many years ago I played a Caro-Kann Defence in postal chess vs Ralph Booney Pirtle (1924-2003) of Cordova, Alaska. Pirtle spent most of his life in that small town far away, but as long as there was mail, there was correspondence chess.

The USCF listed an obituary of Ralph Pirtle. He grew up in Arizona and California. Ralph joined the US Navy at age 17 and fought in the Philippines in World War II. Ralph Pirtle earned a degree in Montana. He worked for the Idaho Fish and Game Department. In 1959 Pirtle took a job with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game as a biologist.

At that time I played the Caro-Kann Defence to attack kingside. Often White castled kingside, so that meant I castled queenside. Generally, it was much safer for Black to castle kingside. Ralph Pirtle was a very friendly opponent. He was getting ready to retire in 1980. Maybe that influenced his willingness to draw.

Pirtle (1962) - Sawyer (2000), corr APCT 1979 begins 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nf3 Nd7 7.Bg5!? h6 8.Bf4 e6 [Or 8...Qa5+ 9.c3 Ngf6 10.Bd3 Bxd3 11.Qxd3 e6 12.0-0 Be7=] 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 Ngf6 11.0-0 Nd5!? [This fit in with my strategy to play Qc7 and 0-0-0 as Black. Certainly playable was 11...Be7=] 12.Bd2 Qc7 13.Rfe1 Be7 14.c4 N5f6 15.Qe3 [15.Qc2 Rc8=] 15...0-0-0 [It would be much safer for Black to play 15...0-0 16.Rad1=] 16.b4 g5?! 17.d5  [17.Qe2 Kb8 18.Bc3+/=] 17...g4?! [At least Black is consistent. White also stands better after 17...cxd5 18.cxd5 Nxd5 19.Qxa7 Bxb4 20.Rac1 Bc5 21.Qa8+ Qb8 22.Qa4+/-] 18.dxe6 gxf3 19.exd7+ Rxd7 20.gxf3 [White misses his best shot. 20.Bc3 Rhd8 21.Be5 Qb6 22.Qxf3+-] 20...Rhd8 21.Bc3 Ng8?! [Now White will be up two pawns. Black might have been wiser to mix things up with 21...Rd3 22.Qxe7 Qxe7 23.Rxe7 Rxc3 24.Rxf7 Nd7 25.f4 Rxc4 26.a3+/=] 22.Qxa7 Rd3 23.Be5 Bd6 24.Bxd6 Qxd6 25.Ne4 Qb8 26.Qc5 [Or 26.Qa4+- ] 26...Qc7 27.Qf5+ [The attack would be very difficult to defend after 27.b5 cxb5 28.Qxb5 Rxf3 29.Rad1 Rfd3 30.Rxd3 Rxd3 31.c5 Rd5 32.Nd6+ Qxd6 33.Re8+ Qd8 34.Rxd8+ Rxd8 35.c6+-] 27...Qd7 +- Draw agreed. 1/2-1/2

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