Saturday, December 31, 2011

10 Favorite Chess Posts of 2011

Happy New Year 2012! This 12/31/2011 was revised as of August 2017. Here are my top 10 Favorite Chess Blog posts for the year 2011. I wrote 174 total posts during 2011. I kept my 10 Favorites as an Annual Update. Others were deleted. Updated versions of my old posts can be found in my new books. Enjoy!

1. Checkmate: Five Quick Fool's Mates for Black
Published 11/4/2011

2. Checkmate: Five Quick Fool's Mates for White
Published 11/3/2011

3. How to Win With 150 Attack vs Pirc Defence
Published 9/3/2011

4. Trying to Avoid English Opening with 1.c4 d5!?
Published 8.20/2011

7. Attacking the Old Benoni Defence
Published 8/3/2011

Published 11/9/2011

9. Review Eric Jégo book Blackmar-Diemer Gambit
Published 11/22/2011

10. Playing the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit
Published 6/17, 2011

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Eric Jégo Blackmar-Diemer Gambit book

Our BDG friend Eric Jego has successfully completed his Blackmar-Diemer Gambit book, which is the 2011 English edition of his 2010 book Gambit Blackmar-Diemer (French edition). Below are some comments about this new edition. For my review of his original French edition, see my posting on Tom Purser's blog.

The things I do like are major and many. Here are 14 of them.
1. The book is 164 pages written in English, which I read much better than French.
2. Jégo did an excellent job selecting interesting examples recent BDG play.
3. Over 50 times the players have been noted with FIDE titles (GM, IM, FM, WFM).
4. The 287 games have just about the right amount of verbal annotations.
5. While English is not Jégo's first language, game notes are very understandable.
6. The games are divided into chapters by variation grouping lines together.
7. A rectangle box is drawn around the key move when games are in a different line.
8. Jégo has provided statistical analysis for each variation as to wins, draws, losses.
9. Jégo weaves throughout his 14 Elementary Principles in notes to every game.
10. The type of play is noted for each game: Classical, Correspondence or Blitz.
11. Most of the games come from actual live tournament play (“Classical”).
12. At the bottom of each page there is help to locate which lines are found above.
13. Actual ratings are given for each player when known.
14. There is an index to the players at the back of the book.

The things I don't like are very minor and very few.
1. The font is slightly smaller in the English edition, but that allows the book to save a dozen pages keeping costs down. It is still quite readable for me.
2. The philosophical waxing of Dany Sénéchaud regarding gambit play does not flow well in English, but I think I understand what he is saying. It only takes up three pages.
3. The first initials of the players have been omitted. Instead of “Purser T”, for example, it is just “Purser”.

Like the previous book, I highly recommend this book. I love it. Buy it!

This book has only three of MY games; these are not well known. Two were draws vs BDG experts. Today's game was an unrated club game vs Eugene Schrecongost played at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in 1998. The game starts out as a BDG Accepted Ritter Variation (5.Nxf3 b6) but transposes to a Bogoljubow Variation 5.Nxf3 g6. White's set-up is not the best for the Bogo. "Schreck" played this game very well, except for missing my mate at the end. The notes below are mine.

Sawyer-Schrecongost begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 b6 The Ritter Variation. 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Bd3 g6 Giving the position a Bogoljubow flavor. This line is very unusual. [7...Bb7] 8.Qd2 Bg7 9.0-0-0 Bb7 10.h3 Bxf3 11.gxf3 0-0 12.Bh6 c5 13.d5 Ne5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.Qg5?! [15.Be2 with compensation] 15...Nxd3+ [15...Nxf3 16.Qf4 Nd4=/+] 16.Rxd3 h6 17.Qf4?! Qd6 18.Qe3 Nh5 19.Kb1 Rad8=/+ Black has a good position and the extra pawn. The game is not over, but his position is certainly better. 20.h4 Qf4? 21.Qe1? [21.Qxe7=] 21...Rd7 22.Rg1 Rfd8 23.Ne4? f6!? [23...Rxd5!-+] 24.Rg4 Qf5? [24...Qe5!-+] 25.f4?? Nxf4!? [25...Qxg4-+] 26.Ng5?? Rxd5?? 27.Qxe7+ with mate to follow. I got away with one here. 1-0 Black resigns. 1-0

Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Win Symmetrical Pawn Structure

Winning in a symmetrical position is much more difficult as a rule than winning from a more unbalanced position. However, as Jeremy Silman points out, there are many types of imbalances. Even if pawn structure and material are even, there are issues to consider.

My four strategical considerations in symmetrical positions:
1. Elements of space, time, king safety, better minor pieces and combinative skill.
2. Entry points to determine where either side can invade the territory of the other.
3. Exchanges of material, determine which pieces to swap and when to swap them.
4. Endgames are coming so if there is no middlegame mate, head to the best ending.

Recently I have been working on opening repertoires that I can play reasonably well vs higher rated opponents. I want ones that use my current skill set. Memorizing openings is an important skill. I know the value of memory, but I don't want to require myself to do too much memory work at my age just to survive a game.

Another thing I try to avoid is sharp openings that require me to be tactical genius to survive. Some times I do get creative combinative ideas during games, but I other times nothing comes to me. I prefer positions where the strategy is obvious to me, even if the position is mostly complicated and tactical. That way if I don't see a combination right off, I still know which direction to point my army.

The Petroff, or Russian, is an opening I've played off and on for decades with mixed success. I bought Konstantin Sakaev's new book: "The Petroff: an Expert Repertoire for Black." I used to be an Expert, so I like the title already. It covers everything after 1.e4 e5.

One of the Petroff Defence variations after the popular 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 is the symmetrical 5.Qe2. Things start out rather even, but it is still a chess game. Below is another ICC blitz game vs "blik". There is an interesting contrast in this game: White plays based on middlegame evaluations while Black plays based on endgame considerations. White was slightly better in the middlegame and lost in the endgame.

blik (2200) - Sawyer (1969) begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Qe2 Qe7 6.d3 Nf6 7.Bg5 Nbd7 8.Nc3 Qxe2+ [I use a little phrase to remind myself in this line: "Take on eight."] 9.Bxe2 h6 10.Bd2 c6 11.0-0-0 Be7 [11...d5=] 12.d4 d5 13.Bd3 0-0 14.Rde1 Bd6 15.Kb1 Re8 [Black offered to swap rooks and also frees up the f8 square for a king or knight.] 16.Rxe8+ Nxe8 17.Re1 Kf8 18.Be3 Ndf6 19.Ne5 Ng4 20.Nxg4 Bxg4 21.h3 Bh5 22.Ne2 Bg6 23.Bxg6 fxg6 24.Bf4 g5 25.Be5 Rd8 26.f4 gxf4 27.Nxf4 Nc7 28.h4 [28.Nd3 Bxe5 29.Nxe5=] 28...Bxe5 29.dxe5 Re8 30.Rf1 Kg8 31.Ng6 Ne6 32.g4? Nf8 33.Nxf8 Rxf8 34.Rf5? [This allows a exchange which helps Black go from a winning rook ending into a more easily won pawn ending.] 34...g6 35.Rf6 Rxf6 36.exf6 g5 [Of course one cannot allow White to play g4-g5.] 37.h5 Kf7 38.Kc1 Kxf6 39.Kd2 Ke5 40.Ke3 c5 41.Kf3 Kd4 42.a3 a5 43.a4 b6 44.Kf2 Ke4 45.Ke2 Kf4 46.Kd2 Kxg4 47.c3 Kf3 48.Kc2 g4 White resigns 0-1

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Friday, November 4, 2011

Checkmate: Five Quick Fool's Mates for Black

You cannot a Fool's Mate. You just have to notice that your opponent allows it and you win. What you are looking for as Black is a weakness in the diagonal h4-e1 early in the game when the White king is still on its original square.

Usually White plays 1.e4 or 1.d4 and there is no Fool's Mate likely. However if one of White's early pawn moves are with the f-pawn, g-pawn, or h-pawn, possibilities open up. Here are five examples that occurred in my own games.

What happens with premature kingside expansion? Permanent king elimination.
BabyBach-Sawyer begins 1.g4 d5 2.f4 e5 3.Nc3
3...Qh4# 0-1

What happens when a beginner plays an expert? Hopefully, the beginner learns a lesson.
Colquitt-Sawyer begins 1.c3 e5 2.f3 d5 3.g4
3...Qh4# 0-1

Can a pawn on g3 stop a Fool's Mate? Not when both the h-pawn and f-pawn have moved.
JackBach-Sawyer begins 1.h3 d5 2.f4 e5 3.fxe5 Qh4+ 4.g3
4...Qxg3# 0-1

How does Black develop on the queenside and mate quickly? Black notices a serious White weakness on the kingside.
guest1586-Sawyer begins 1.h4 Nc6 2.h5 d5 3.f3 Qd6 4.g4
4...Qg3# 0-1

Does developing a kingside knight early in the game help? Yes, but... it helps a lot more if the knight is on f3.
ramani2kmd2004-Sawyer begins 1.f3 e5 2.Nh3 d5 3.a4 Bxh3 4.gxh3
4...Qh4# 0-1

Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Checkmate: Five Quick Fool's Mates for White

Checkmates! We love them. Fool's Mate is a type of checkmate early in the game where the losing king is trapped on its original square. The mate comes on the diagonal from h1-e1 or h5-e8. Here are five quick wins I had over the years.

My opponent told me that he had a plan, but he never got a chance to carry it out. It is obvious that he intended to put all his pawns on the dark squares. The next game he went for the light squares, but that game was not a Fool's Mate.
Sawyer-dragonmaster555552000 begins 1.Nc3 h6 2.e4 g5 3.d4 f6
4.Qh5# 1-0

Black sacrifices a pawn. White sacrifices a bishop.
Sawyer-dede begins 1.d4 g5 2.Bxg5 f6 3.e4 fxg5
4.Qh5# 1-0

In this line as Black I prefer 2...e5 or 2...d5.
Sawyer-luisongo2345 begins 1.d4 Nc6 2.e4 g5 3.Bxg5 f5
4.Qh5# 1-0

A very fast win for a Symmetrical Bird's Opening.
Sawyer-dincogan begins 1.f4 f5 2.e4 g6 3.exf5 gxf5
4.Qh5# 1-0

Black does best to accept the Staunton Gambit with 2...dxe4.
Sawyer-northchess3 begins 1.d4 f5 2.e4 g6 3.exf5 gxf5
4.Qh5# 1-0

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