Thursday, March 31, 2016

Parsons Plays Chess on the Right

We may not like politics in chess, but politics and chess can mix and survive. We have our personal opinions, but remember, we come together to play chess. Just keep moving. If we kicked out everyone who disagreed with us, we could play only solitaire chess.

David Parsons loved conservative American politics. He liked about every Republican President from Abraham Lincoln to George W. Bush. We had another vocal player in the chess club who was a liberal Democrat. This made for good natured banter.

Love covers a multitude of sins. At our chess club we all liked each other well enough that we did not let our political differences get in the way. Just keep moving. Beyond being able to vote, what the heck can we do about the government anyway?

In our French Defence Tarrasch, Dave chose 4...Qxd5. Black avoids the isolated pawn at the cost of a few tempi. I tried to focus on the center. Parsons pushed play to his right. Most of his moves were from the e-file to the a-file.

My queen got distracted from the center on move 23. That gave him good play. Just keep moving. Pieces kept flying with each tactical threat and counter. We reached an ending where White was up the a-pawn, so Black resigned.

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Sawyer (2011) - Parsons (1682), Williamsport, PA 1994 begins 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Ngf3 cxd4 6.Bc4 Qd8 7.Nb3 Bb4+ 8.Bd2 Qb6 9.Nfxd4 Nf6 10.0-0 0-0 11.Bxb4 Qxb4 12.Bd3 [12.Qe2=] 12...Rd8 13.c3 Qe7 14.Qf3 e5 15.Nf5 [15.Rfe1+/=] 15...Bxf5 16.Bxf5 Nc6 17.Rad1 e4 18.Qe3 Qe5 19.Qc5 Rd5 [19...g6=] 20.Rxd5 Nxd5 21.Bd7 Nce7 22.c4 [22.Re1=] 22...b6 23.Qb5? [23.Qd4=] 23...a6 24.Qa4 Nf6 25.Bc6 Ng4 [Black threatens mate in one.] 26.g3 Rd8 27.c5 bxc5 [27...Nxc6! 28.Qxc6 e3-+] 28.Qxe4 [28.Bxe4=] 28...f5 [28...c4=/+] 29.Qxe5 Nxe5 30.Bb7 c4 31.Na5 Rd2 32.Bxa6?! [32.f4+/-] 32...c3? [32...Rxb2 33.Nxc4=] 33.Nc4 Nxc4 34.Bxc4+ Kf8 35.bxc3 Rc2 36.Rb1 Nc6 37.Rb6 1-0


You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bishop Swap to Bishop Mate

It is amazing to find such a short Blackmar-Diemer Gambit win with players that are so high rated. The line 5.Nxf3 Bf5 is a logical choice by Black. It is named after the opening theorist Gerhart Gunderam. He defended against the BDG in dozens of correspondence games played against E.J. Diemer from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The proven move for White is 6.Ne5 intending 6...e6 7.g4. In response to the Gunderam 5...Bf5 played by "solidernas" below, "chessnight" prefers the less popular 6.Bd3. Later both these handles became inactive on the Internet Chess Club. I do not know what chess engine "chessnight" used.

White offered a bishop swap when down a pawn. After the exchange on move 7, White won the game quickly. In fact Black would be checkmated in just 14 more moves by the other bishop.

chessnight (2622) - solidernas (2467), ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 29.11.2007 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bf5 6.Bd3 Bxd3 7.Qxd3 e6 8.Qb5+ Qd7? [A better continuation is 8...Nbd7 9.Qxb7 Bd6 10.0-0 0-0 11.Nb5=] 9.Qxb7 Qc6 10.Qc8+ Ke7 11.Ne5 Qxg2 12.Qxc7+ Nbd7 13.Rf1 Ke8 14.Be3 Bb4 [14...Be7 15.0-0-0 Bd8 16.Qc4+-] 15.0-0-0 Bxc3 16.Rxf6 Bxb2+ 17.Kxb2 Nxf6 18.d5 Qe4 19.Qc6+ Kd8 20.Qxa8+ Ke7 21.Bc5# 1-0


You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Marholev Counter Attacks 1.d4 Nc6

You need good open lines to attack. Advanced pawns toward your opponent's king are good, but you need open lines for them to be useful.

The Queen's Knight game between Emil Stefanov and IM Dimitar Marholev began 1.d4 Nc6 2.c4 e5 3.d5 Nce7. In his book The Dark Knight System author James Schuyler recommends that Black play 3...Bb4+! before trapping his the bishop.

White's idea to push the h-pawn is good, but there must be more than just pushing a pawn to h6. The bigger problem was the safety of White's own king, not Black's king. The opened c-file favored Black in all the tactics that mattered.

Stefanov (2088) - Marholev (2317), Int ch-Central SRB Op A Paracin SRB (5.21), 07.07.2015 begins 1.d4 Nc6 2.c4 e5 3.d5 Nce7 4.Nc3 Ng6 5.a3 Nf6 6.h4 Be7 7.h5 Nf8 8.h6 g6 9.Nf3 [9.Qa4!?+/=] 9...Ng4 10.g3 d6 11.Bh3 a6 12.e4 Bd7 13.Nd2 Nf6 14.Bxd7+ N8xd7 15.b4 0-0 16.Qe2 c6 17.Bb2 Rc8 18.Nb3 cxd5 19.cxd5 Nb6 20.Na5 Qd7 21.f3? [21.Rc1 Rc7=/+] 21...Na4 [21...Nh5-/+] 22.Nxa4 Qxa4 23.g4 Bd8 [23...Rc2-+] 24.Nc4 b5 25.Ne3 Bb6 26.Rh2 Qb3 27.Nd1 Rc4 28.Rc1 Rfc8 29.Rxc4 Rxc4 30.Rg2 a5 31.bxa5 Bxa5+ 32.Kf1 Bb6 33.Ke1 Bc5 [33...Nd7-+] 34.Kf1 Nd7 35.Ke1 Nb6 36.Kf1? Na4 37.Ke1 Bb6 38.g5 Ba5+ 39.Kf1 Nxb2 40.Nxb2 Rc1+ 0-1


You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, March 28, 2016

Simple Sayles Plan vs Gruenfeld

A few good men kindly taught me valuable lessons when I was starting out in postal chess. I always focused on learning openings. Thomas Sayles demonstrated vs my Gruenfeld Defence that a simple plan is all you need to play an opening!

White began with a quiet set-up during the first five moves. Then came mass exchanges of material. By move 12, both of us had developed all four minor pieces and our queens. We had castled kingside. The position was equal. White should have played 13.Ng5!=.

I studied endings more than tactics. So sad. Tactical ability is the most important chess skill. But that was hard work. At least my endgame knowledge helped out here. I noticed right off that White's 13th move allowed me to double his e-pawns in exchange for giving him the two bishops. Black obtained a queenside pawn majority for endgame edge. He was unable to use his two bishops. Black's better pawn structure led to the win.

This blog now publishes daily at 7:00 AM Eastern Time.

Sayles - Sawyer, corr 02.12.1974 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.e3 Bg7 5.b3 0-0 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Nxd5 Qxd5 8.Qf3 Qxf3 9.Nxf3 c5 10.Bc4 Nc6 11.Bb2 Rd8 12.0-0 Bg4 [Black has equalized.] 13.Ne5!? [Better was 13.Ng5!=] 13...Bxe5 14.dxe5 Bf5 15.Bc3 Bd3 16.Rfc1 Bxc4 17.bxc4 Rd3 18.a3 Rad8 19.Kf1 e6 20.Ke2 Kf8 21.Rc2 Ke7 22.Rac1 h5 23.h4 b6 24.f4 Ke8 25.Rd2 Rxd2+ 26.Bxd2 Rd7 27.Be1 Kd8 28.Rd1 Rxd1 29.Kxd1 Kc7 30.Ke2 a6 31.Kd3 b5 32.cxb5 axb5 33.e4 Kb6 34.Bc3? [34.Bf2 Nb8=] 34...Na5 [34...b4! 35.axb4 cxb4 36.Bd2 Kb5-+] 35.Kc2 [35.g3 Ka6=/+] 35...Nc6 [35...Nc4!-+] 36.g3 b4! 0-1


You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Wade Defence 1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 Bg4

The Wade Defence is a two move chess opening. This method of development helps Black avoid main lines. The inventor International Master Robert Wade played it for 30 years. He was a mainstay in British circles. Bob Wade served as an editor for Batsford. He won the New Zealand championship three times and the British championship twice. Robert Wade passed away in 2008 at the age of 87.

Years ago I played Rick Toenies in this rare chess opening after 1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 Bg4. I thought about playing main ideas such as 3.e4 or 3.c4. During that time period, however, I was trying to play the London System 1.d4, 2.Nf3 3.Bf4 whenever possible. Here if I tried 3.Bf4, Black could double my pawns with 3...Bxf3.

Therefore I hit upon a new idea: 3.Qd3!? My queen removes herself from any bishop pins. She simply protects the knight all by her little lonesome. Rick Toenies clarifies the situation. After 3...Bxf3 4.Qxf3, White has a more active queen and more space in the center. The immediate threat is to b7. White stands better, but it is still a game.

This blog now publishes daily at 7:00 AM Eastern Time.

Sawyer (2003) - Toenies (1788), corr APCT N-328, 1993 begins 1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 Bg4 [Black could transposes into the Modern Defence with 2...g6 3.e4 Bg7 4.Nc3 c6 or 4...a6; 2...Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e4 Bg7 is a Pirc Defence.] 3.Qd3!? [This move is rare, but certainly not bad. 3.c4 Nd7 4.Nc3 e5 5.g3 Bxf3 6.exf3+/=; or 3.e4 Nf6 4.Nc3 c6 5.h3 Bh5 6.Qe2+/=] 3...Bxf3 [Taking unprovoked. This is the only time I have ever seen this move played. White threatens Qb5+ and Qxb7, so a logical continuation might be 3...c6 4.e4 Nd7 5.Be2+/=] 4.Qxf3 Nc6 5.c3 e5 6.d5 Nce7 7.e4 Nf6 8.Bg5 Nd7 9.Bb5 f6 [9...a6 seems like a better way to relieve the pressure.] 10.Be3 c6 11.dxc6 bxc6 12.Bd3 Rb8 13.b3 Nc8 14.0-0 Be7 15.Qg4 g6 16.Nd2 Nc5 17.Bc2 Qd7 18.Qe2 d5 19.exd5 cxd5 20.Rad1 0-0 21.f4 Qb5 [White is only slightly better after 21...exf4 22.Bxf4 Bd6 23.Bxd6 Nxd6 24.Nf3+/=] 22.Qxb5 Rxb5 23.fxe5 fxe5 24.c4 Ra5 [This walks into a pawn fork, but Black position was becoming difficult to handle. If 24...dxc4 25.Nxc4 e4 26.Rxf8+ Kxf8 27.Rd5+/-] 25.b4 Rxa2 26.Bb1 Rxd2 27.Rxf8+ 1-0


You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Caro-Kann Long Castle Short Game

David Parsons attacked. He played aggressively. Dave brought his pieces out quickly. He opened up the position with the Panov Attack 4.c4 against my Caro-Kann Defence. All this sounds nice. Maybe he thought he was safe with queens gone off the board.

But a game takes two. As Black I was also opening up the position. There was no quiet 5...e6 line for me. I chose the sharp 5...Nc6. By move eight I had developed both knights and bishop. By move 13 there were no pawns for either side on the c, d or e-files.

What was the difference? Black had castled. White had not. I'm sure David Parsons intended to castle soon, but he was busy doing important things. Why castle early? Because if you don't, when middlegame tactics start flying, your king is a target for double attacks or checkmate. By then, there is no time to stop in the middle of a combination and castle.

Dave Parsons loved to talk chess and teach chess. He would be the first to tell you that you need to castle early. It costs him in this short game.

This blog now publishes daily at 7:00 AM Eastern Time.

Parsons (1682) - Sawyer (2011), Williamsport, PA 1994 begins 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Qa4!? [The normal continuation is 6.Nc3 Bg4=] 6...Qa5+!? 7.Nc3 Qxa4 8.Nxa4 Bg4 9.cxd5 Bxf3 10.dxc6 Bxc6 11.Nc5 [11.Nc3=] 11...e5 12.Be3 [12.dxe5 Bxc5 13.exf6 0-0=/+] 12...exd4 13.Bxd4 0-0-0 14.Nb3 [14.Bxf6 gxf6-/+] 14...Bb4+ 15.Bc3 [15.Ke2 Rhe8+ 16.Be3 Nd5-+] 15...Rhe8+ 16.Be2 Nd5 [16...Bxc3+! 17.bxc3 Bb5-+] 17.Bxb4 Nxb4 18.Rc1 Nd3+ 0-1


You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Friday, March 25, 2016

Catalan Closed but Charged Up

How do you keep a chess position closed? That's not easy against a strong opponent. A good player forces the game open. I put my Black pawns on the light squares. White mounted a special force invasion with his queen and minor pieces on the dark squares.

I accepted the challenge to defend against the Catalan Opening. My opponent was rated 800 points above me. I went from closed to cramped until I could not defend.

When I see my opponent's handle "Alkaline", I wonder. Is that an Alkaline battery? Is that Al Kaline, the hall of fame Detroit Tigers baseball player?

No. The Internet Chess Club lists this as a chess engine with Arasan 17.5. I don't know what that means beyond lots of rating points. This player has been inactive for more than a year. He came. He saw. He conquered. He left.

The point of playing such a strong computer is to learn. I observed that White developed quickly. He fought for space in the center. He ripped the position open and invaded with energy. That's good advice for my next game!

This blog now publishes daily at 7:00 AM Eastern Time.

Alkaline (2875) - Sawyer (2028), ICC 3 1 Internet Chess Club, 05.01.2014 begins 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.c4 c6 6.0-0 0-0 7.Nc3 a6!? [The main line is 7...Nbd7 8.b3 b6 9.Bb2 Bb7 10.Qc2 Rc8=] 8.a3 b5? [This is a terrible idea that leaves Black's game very cramped. He should eliminate White's c-pawn while he still can with 8...dxc4 9.Ne5 Nbd7 10.Nxc4+/=] 9.c5 Nbd7 10.Bf4 Ng4 11.e4 f5 [11...e5 12.dxe5 d4 13.Nxd4 Ngxe5 14.b4+-] 12.e5 Nh6 13.Bxh6 gxh6 14.Qd2 Bg5 15.Qd3 Qe8 16.h4 Be7 17.Ne2 Kh8 18.Qd2 Qg6 19.Nf4 Qf7 20.Rfc1 Rg8 21.Nd3 Qg6 22.Rd1 Bb7 23.Nf4 Qf7 24.Ne2 Qg6 25.Ne1 Bf8 26.Qa5 Qe8 27.Nf4 Bg7 28.Qc7 Rb8 29.Bf3 Nf8 30.Bh5 Ng6 31.Ned3 Rf8 32.Qd6 Rd8 33.Qxe6 Black resigns 1-0


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