Friday, June 30, 2017

Carlsen Wins London System

The London System is an easy chess opening to play at any level. The first dozen moves come naturally. White gets a good position. Final success depends on White's ability to outplay Black. It is one of my favorites when I am not in a gambit mood.

Magnus Carlsen won with the London System. I highlight his opponent Fabiano Caruana this month in his win with the Italian 2.Bc4. Below, White's counter attack in the London turned the tables with 24.e4. Carlsen pressed his advantage with a set of checks to win a piece and the game.

[My new London 2.Bf4 Playbook was my best seller for June 2017. Thank you.]

Carlsen (2832) - Caruana (2808), GCT Blitz Paris 2017 Paris FRA (1.1), 24.06.2017 begins 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Nf6 3.e3 e6 4.Nf3 c5 5.c3 Nc6 6.Nbd2 Bd6 7.Bg3 0-0 8.Bb5 [8.Bd3 is more popular. Carlsen chose bishop to d3 to beat Kramnik in this event but there Black had played Nge7.] 8...Bxg3 9.hxg3 Qb6 10.a4 h6 11.0-0 Ne7 12.Qb3 Qc7 13.a5 Bd7 14.Be2 Ng6 15.Qa3 c4 16.b3 cxb3 17.Nxb3 [17.c4!?] 17...Ne4 18.Rfc1 Bc6 19.c4 dxc4 20.Rxc4 Qd8 [20...Rac8 21.Rac1=] 21.Nc5 Nd6 22.Rc2 Bd5 23.Bd3 b6 24.e4 bxc5 25.exd5 exd5 26.dxc5 Ne4 [If 26...Nc4 27.Bxc4 dxc4 28.Rxc4+/- White is up a pawn.] 27.c6 Qc7 28.Qb3 [28.Nd4+/-] 28...Rfd8 29.Qb7 Rac8 [29...Rdc8 30.Qxc7 Rxc7 31.Nd4+/-] 30.Rb1 [30.Nd4+-] 30...Qxa5 31.c7 Rf8 32.Qb5 [32.Qa6 Qxa6 33.Bxa6+-] 32...Qa3 33.Qxd5 Nc3 34.Rxc3 Qxc3 35.Bxg6 Rxc7 36.Ne5 Qc5 37.Bxf7+ Rfxf7 38.Rb8+ 1-0

Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Benoni Defence by Zintgraff

Gary Zintgraff got sidetracked from the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit and Smith-Morra Gambit. Jonathan Rea took the game into a Benoni Defence. Zintgraff wrote:

"Dear Tim: Below is a game of mine from the May 2017 Methodist Hospital Chess Club. I believe the development and attacking principles learned from BDG games helped me develop the attack in the opening of this game. My opponent had defeated me the prior month when he had the White pieces. Sincerely, Gary D. Zintgraff"

[My Main Line 1...c5 Playbook is available in Kindle and paperback. This covers the Sicilian Defence Najdorf and the King's Indian Defence both for Black.]

Zintgraff - Rea, Methodist Hospital CC, 05.2017 begins 1.d4 c5 2.Nf3 [I played 2.Nf3 with the idea of possibly transposing to a Smith-Morra Gambit.] 2...e6 3.e4 g6? [This response leads me to open up the game and forget the Smith-Morra Gambit.] 4.d5 exd5 5.exd5 Bg7 6.d6 Nf6 7.Qe2+ Kf8 [My last two moves were to prevent castling.] 8.Nc3 Nc6 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bh4 Kg8 11.0-0-0 a6 12.Nd5 Kh7? [This gets the King into relative safety and frees the Rook, but leaves f7 undefended. 12...g5 12...g5 would have been better.] 13.Qc4 [The Queen feints at the c5-pawn, but is really attacking f7.] 13...b6?? 14.Bd3 [White should have played 14.Nxf6+! Qxf6 15.Bxf6 Kg8 (15...Bxf6?? 16.Qxf7+ Bg7 17.Ng5+ hxg5 18.h4 mates) 16.Bxg7. After the game continuation of...] 14...Bb7 [White wins the Queen or mates.] 15.Nxf6+ Bxf6?? [15...Qxf6 16.Bxf6 Rhf8 avoids the immediate mate but is still losing.] 16.Qxf7+ Bg7 17.Bxg6# 1-0 [Notes by Zintgraff]

5 book sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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Monday, June 19, 2017

Kings Gambit Playbook 3.Nf3

My new King's Gambit Playbook is a basic guide to a repertoire for White. You offer material in a gambit to gain big advantages against the normal moves of your opponent. A gambit increases the excitement and risk for both players. Your opponent will make more mistakes under pressure.

This gambit is well suited for players who like to attack. I've played it over 700 times from one side or the other. In 1972-74, Ray Haines and Graham Cooper used to play it against me all the time. Frustrated, I found what became my super solid system with the Caro-Kann and Slav Defence as Black and the London System as White.

By 1980, I played the Kings Gambit and then the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Those gambits fit me well. I scored better than ever. My Playbook series is meant for me. I write what I would want to know to play my opening well.

Alex Yakimenko defeated R. Kutschenko at the Basel Masters in early 2017 with a Kings Gambit Falkbeer Counter Gambit.

[My new King's Gambit Playbook is available in paperback.]

Yakimenko (2242) - Kutschenko (2101), Basel Masters 2017 Basel SUI (3.48), 03.01.2017 begins 1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 e4 4.Nc3 [The main line is 4.d3 Nf6 5.dxe4 Nxe4 6.Nf3 Bc5 7.Qe2+/=] 4...Nf6 5.Bc4 Bc5 6.d4 [6.d3!?] 6...Bb4 [After 6...exd3 White can choose between 7.Qxd3 (and 7.cxd3 0-0 8.d4 Bg4 9.Qd3 Re8+ 10.Nge2) 7...0-0 8.Nge2 Re8 9.h3] 7.Nge2 Nxd5 [Taking on d5 seems to be a reason for 6...Bb4, but maybe Black might want to try 7...Bg4!? ] 8.0-0! Nf6 9.f5! b6 [9...Nbd7 10.Bg5+/=] 10.Bg5 Bb7 11.Ng3 [11.Bxf6 Qxf6 12.Nd5 Bxd5 13.Bxd5 c6 14.Bxe4+/-] 11...Bxc3 12.bxc3 Qd6 [12...0-0 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Qg4+/-] 13.Nh5 [13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Qg4 0-0 15.Rae1+-] 13...Nxh5? [Now Black's game completely falls apart. 13...Rg8!? ] 14.Bxf7+ Kxf7 15.Qxh5+ Kf8 16.f6 g6 17.Qh6+ Kf7 18.Qg7+ Ke6 19.Qxh8 Nd7 20.Qxh7 Nf8 21.Qg7 Kd5 22.Qf7+ Kc6 23.Bf4 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bishops Opening Italian Game

My new Italian 2.Bc4 Playbook is a step by step chess opening guide to your easy repertoire for White. You begin 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 followed by d3 and Nf3. The Italian 2.Bc4 is a Bishop’s Opening that heads for the Giuoco Pianissimo. This move order avoids tricky Black gambits (such as the Elephant and Latvian) covered in Philidor 2.Nf3 Playbook.

This Italian 2.Bc4 is a repeatable sound choice well suited for careful players who do not want to worry about wild tactics early in the game. White builds up a gradual attack. The 200 diagrams cover the variations that you are most likely to face. I give a reasonable move for White in each position with a brief comment as to why it is recommended.

Masters like openings that keep pieces on the board to maximize opportunities. Here Fabiano Caruana works up a sudden attack against Varuzhan Akobian.

[My Italian 2.Bc4 Playbook is a 1.e4 cousin to the 1.d4 London 2.Bf4 Playbook.]

Caruana (2817) - Akobian (2645), PRO League KO Stage 2017 INT (4.3), 25.03.2017 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bd6 [6...Bxd2+ 7.Nbxd2] 7.Nc3 dxe4 8.Ng5 0-0 9.Ncxe4 Be7 10.h4!? Nbd7 11.Qf3 Qe8 12.0-0-0 a5 13.a3 Nd5 14.Rde1 h6 15.Ng3 [15.Qg3!?+/-] 15...Ra6 [15...N7f6 16.Nf5+/=] 16.Nf5 f6 [16...Nc5 17.Ba2+/-] 17.Ne6 Nc5 18.Nexg7 Nxb3+ 19.cxb3 Qg6 20.Rh3 Bxf5 [20...Kh8 21.Rg3 Qh7 22.Nxe7 Nxe7 23.Rxe5!+-] 21.Nxf5 Kh7 22.Rg3 Qf7 23.Nxh6 1-0

Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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Friday, June 9, 2017

Philidor Playbook Zintgraff Win

My new Playbook for White covers 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3. This repertoire shows how to get good positions against Philidor Defence 2...d6, Elephant Gambit 2...d5, Latvian Gambit 2...f5, Damiano 2...f6, Gunderam 2...Qe7, and Busch-Gass Gambit 2...Bc5.

I admit an occasional weakness for the Elephant Gambit and Latvian Gambit as Black, but in my saner moments, I prefer White. The Philidor 2.Nf3 Playbook gives you a step by step guide to the 200 most important positions with diagrams. This book explains basic ideas against the six openings when Black does NOT play 2...Nf6 and 2...Nc6.

Gary Zintgraff played Bishop's Opening that turned into a Philidor Defense. He wrote:

"Here is a blitz game on ICC where my opponent had been bragging that he could beat anyone with his Philidor Defense and was ready to give lessons. I had to wait through several of his games to challenge him. I like to play the Morphy attack usually but started off with the Bishop's Opening in hopes of getting a weak move from him and then transposing into a Morphy attack. That's sort of what happened!"

[My Philidor 2.Nf3 Playbook is also available in paperback.]

Zintgraff - NN, ICC, 2017 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 d6 3.Nf3 [Now a Philidor] 3...h6 [Too soon for this move. It comes in one variation after White has played Bg5 in the main line.] 4.d4 Nd7 [Mistake? Played too soon.] 5.dxe5 dxe5 [Now his game falls apart.] 6.Bxf7+ Kxf7 7.Nxe5+ Ke6 8.Qd5+ [Resigns after some evaluation time. His King has only two squares to retreat to. One leads to mate in 3. The other is mate in 5. He typed in some BS then about my play and, although I never respond to comments, I typed in, "Thanks for the Philidor lesson."] 1-0 [Notes by Zintgraff]

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