Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fred Botti Plays Pirc Defense

Will it be the same as the Saemisch? Can I poke the Pirc and provoke a weakness? Will I win with a wild pawn assault? Chess openings were fascinating in the 1970s. There were no personal computers, no databases, and no chess engines.

To help us find opening moves, we relied on published games and philosophical B.S. (Bobby & Spassky). If Bobby Fischer or some other world champion played an opening variation, then it must be good. But what if we did not want to follow the crowd?

In the late 1970s and 1980s Fred Botti played correspondence chess in the American Postal Chess Tournaments. This APCT club was run by Helen and Jim Warren of Illinois. When I played Fred Botti, he chose the Pirc Defence. Fischer had played the Pirc as Black in 1972. Boris Spassky continued 4.f4. That did not appeal to me. It could make life too easy on my lower rated opponent. I wanted him to think on his own.

Previously in 1979 I had faced Pete Melissakis and Carl Dunn. At first I played it safe vs Melissakis with the Classical 4.Nf3. But vs Dunn I ventured the rare Byrne Variation with 4.Bg5. My Byrne Attack against the Botti Pirc provoked a pawn push that provided me pleasure. We castled opposite sides. I stripped away Black’s kingside pawns. His naked king was defenseless.

Sawyer (2000) - Botti (1688), corr APCT 1979 begins 1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 h6?!  [4...Bg7] 5.Be3 Bg7 6.f3 0-0 7.Qd2 Kh7 [7...h5 8.Bc4 c6 9.Nge2 Nbd7 10.0-0 b5 11.Bb3+/=] 8.0-0-0 c6 9.g4 Nfd7 10.h4 e5 [10...Qa5 11.Kb1+/=] 11.Nge2 [11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.g5 h5 13.Bc5+/-] 11...b5 12.Ng3 exd4 13.Bxd4 Ne5 14.Be2 Be6 [14...Qa5 15.h5+/-] 15.f4 Nxg4?! [15...Qa5 16.h5 g5 17.fxg5 hxg5 18.Nf5+-] 16.f5 h5 [16...Ne5 17.fxe6 fxe6 18.Be3+-] 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.fxe6 Ne5 [If 18...b4 19.Bxg4 bxc3 20.Qxc3+ Qf6 21.Qxf6+ Kxf6 22.Bh3+- White remains up a bishop.] 19.Bxh5 [Even better seems to be 19.Nxh5+ Kh7 20.Nf4+-] 19...fxe6 20.Be2 d5 21.exd5 exd5 22.h5 Nbd7 23.hxg6 Kxg6 24.Qh6+ Kf7 25.Rhf1+ Ke8 26.Bh5+ 1-0


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