Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ruy Lopez Riga Tricky Line

The King Pawn Open Ruy Lopez Riga line is tricky for club players. White sacrifices his e4 and d4 pawns for an attack. White threatens to win a piece while Black has a counter attack. In a prior game against the Riga from 1979, my opponent played 8…Bd7. I got his knight and won that game in 45 moves. This line gets its name from a correspondence match between the city of Berlin in Germany and the city of Riga in Latvia. Black won an ending where White had an extra knight, while Black had three extra kingside pawns.

In the 1980s I played in several an ICCF Master Class events. They allowed players to become a master or to compete in the World Championship cycle. That cycle used to take about 10 years of continuous winning. A grandmaster would win in the end, but we all had hopes and dreams. One of my opponents was Albert Maier from Austria. In 1994 Maier reached his peak ICCF rating of 2152. Our 1984 ICCF game was an Open Ruy Lopez Riga Variation. Because it was postal chess, we had access to chess books.

Albert Maier as Black followed the original Berlin vs Riga game for 17 moves. That game continued 18.g5 Rag8 19.Bd4 h6 20.Bf6+ Kf7 21.Bxh8 Rxh8 21.Rd1 hxg5+ 22.Kg2 Kf6. Instead, I varied with 18.Kg3. I got a good position and won in 25 moves.

Sawyer - Maier, corr ICCF 1984 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 exd4!? [The main line is 6...b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6=] 7.Re1 d5 8.Nxd4 Bd6 9.Nxc6 Bxh2+ 10.Kh1 Qh4 11.Rxe4+ dxe4 12.Qd8+ Qxd8 13.Nxd8+ Kxd8 14.Kxh2 Be6 15.Be3 f5 16.Nc3 [16.c3+/= Houdini; 16.Nd2+/= Komodo] 16...Ke7 17.g4 g6 18.Kg3 b5 19.Bb3 h5 20.Nd5+ Bxd5 21.Bxd5 h4+ [21...c6 22.Bc5+ Kd7 23.Bf7+/-] 22.Kh3 Rae8 23.Rd1 fxg4+ 24.Kxg4 h3 [24...Rh5 25.Bxe4+-] 25.Bc5+ 1-0

Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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