Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Polish Problem: 1.d4 b5 Not Good

Most chess openings focus pawns and pieces on the center of the board. Repeatable direct threats among opposing armies make memorizing a few of the most popular variations worthwhile. This often leads to success as in the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.

Flank openings have a big advantage in that any player who specializes in them does not have to learn many exact variations. Just the thought of not having to study openings appeals to many players. I have played these openings from time to time myself.

The problem with flank openings is the lack of central control. The player with more space naturally becomes the attacker; typically he has 5 ranks vs 3 ranks for the defender. The attacker can usually force open the position with a pawn push. A sudden appearance of open lines can be very challenging for the defender when the attacker is fully developed.

You must attack to win the game on the board. To win a game from a flank openings, you usually must neutralize the attack, gain the upper hand, start a counter-attack and then push it through. It is possible. But experience shows that the player who starts with an attack wins a lot more than the one who starts by defending.

In today's game, my opponent played a 54-move gambit! Okay, the OPENING was not a gambit. But the SPEED with which my opponent played made his game a gambit. Black consistently took three seconds or more for each move. Thus his three minutes expired before his 55th move. This approach requires one to win the game in 54 moves or less. If you play to WIN and if you are playing BLITZ chess, you must leave yourself enough time on the clock to be able to mate your opponent, no matter how long it takes.

The Polish Defence (reverse of Polish/Sokolsky 1.b4) begins 1.d4 b5 (1.e4 b5?? 2.Bxb5) 2.e4 Bb7 3.Bd3 (3.Nf3 Bxe4 4.Bxb5 is fine too.) 3...a6 (Reaching a St. George which usually begins 1.e4 a6). White has to make a set-up plan. 4.f3!? (BDG-ish) 4...d6 (more consistent is 4...e6). 5.Be3 e5 6.d5 (grabbing space and keeping Black cramped while White finishes development.) 6...Nd7 7.c4 b4 8.Ne2 a5.

Note that Black has played five of his first eight moves on the a- or b-files. 9.b3 Nc5 (Now I give Black one shot at Nxd3 swapping off my bad bishop. I want to play Nd2, but my queen must watch Bd3.) 10.0-0 g6 (Black switches to the other flank. I decide to unbalance by eliminating his knight in a closed position.)

As the game progresses Black trades his good bishop for my bad bishop in 18...Bxf5. He should have played the dynamic 19.Bxf5 gxf5! Late in the game both sides made blunders. My knight proved better than his bishop. My opponent allowed me to open up the position with his 40...h4? I missed 47.Nxe5+! By the time Black's time ran out, all White had to do was walk over and take on d6 followed by quickly queening.

Sawyer (1942) - El-Principiante (1809), ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 25.07.2011 begins 1.d4 b5 2.e4 Bb7 3.Bd3 a6 4.f3 d6 5.Be3 e5 6.d5 Nd7 7.c4 b4 8.Ne2 a5 9.b3 Nc5 10.0-0 g6 11.Bxc5 dxc5 12.Nd2 Bd6 13.Rf2 Ne7 14.Nf1 0-0 15.Ne3 Bc8 16.Qd2 f5 17.exf5 Nxf5 18.Nxf5 Bxf5 19.Bxf5 Rxf5 20.Ng3 Rf4 21.Ne4 Qe7 22.Qe3 Raf8 23.Re2 h6 24.Rae1 g5 25.Qd3 Kg7 26.Ng3 Qf7 27.Re4 Qg6 28.Qe3 R8f7 29.Ne2 Rxe4 30.Qxe4 Qxe4 31.fxe4 Kg6 32.Rf1 Rxf1+ 33.Kxf1 h5 34.Ng3 g4 35.Nf5 Kg5 36.g3 Bf8 37.Kg2 Bd6 38.Kf2 Bf8 39.Kg2 Bd6 40.Ng7 h4 41.gxh4+ Kxh4 42.Nf5+ Kg5 43.Kg3 Bf8 44.Ne3 Bd6 45.Nxg4 Bf8 46.h4+ Kg6 47.Ne3?! [47.Nxe5+ would have decided the game almost instantly.] 47...Bd6 48.Kg4 Kh6 49.Nf5+ Kg6 50.Nxd6 cxd6 51.h5+ Kf6 52.Kh4 Kf7 53.Kg5 Kg7 54.h6+ Kh7 55.Kh5 Black forfeits on time. White still had 1:13 left on his clock. 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Zilbermints Gambit in Blackmar-Diemer

Lev Zilbermints of New Jersey (born in Moscow) is a very creative player. He tested many of his ideas in New York city chess clubs and in blitz games. I am familiar with lines he developed as White in the Grob (1.g4 d4 2.e4) and as Black in the Englund (1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nge7).

Years ago Lev used to call me frequently. I can still hear his wonderful high pitched Russian accented voice, "Hello! This is Lev." We chatted about chess for many hours. Because for me LIFE often gets in the way of chess, I did not always have time to talk to him. Lev had very definite opinions about his opening variations. One thing I appreciated about him was that, agree or not, you knew what he thought.

Probably his most significant contribution has been his work on a line in the BDG Euwe Variation He has published analysis on this at various times over the past 20 years. After 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bd3 Nc6. Now Lev's move is 8.0-0!? sacrificing a second pawn after 8...Nxd4 9.Kh1. Lev was not the first to play this, but his analysis and promotion of it certainly warrants the name Zilbermints Gambit.

There are many possible ninth move defences for Black. The two replies that score the best are 9...c5 and simply retreating 9...Nc6. Lev seems to have plausible answers for everything. I am not going to recreate his analysis here right now. We will see more critical games in this line later.

In today's game I played the Black pieces vs Junior 10. It was using an opening book file I gave it; it choose to play the Zilbermints Gambit. I played poorly with 9...Nxf3 10.Qxf3 0-0 and now instead of the normal 11.Qh3!, White played 11.Bxf6!? My defence here was weak, but this game shows that White can sometimes get a great position quickly. Enjoy!

Junior 10 - Sawyer, Florida, 04.03.2011 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bd3 Nc6 8.0-0 Nxd4 9.Kh1 Nxf3 10.Qxf3 0-0 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.Rad1 Qe7 13.Ne4 h6 This loses a pawn thus any advantage since White's position is worth a full pawn. [13...Bxb2-+ Leaves Black up three pawns. White has compensation worth one pawn.] 14.Nxf6+ Qxf6 15.Qxf6 gxf6 16.Rxf6 Kg7 17.Rf4 Bd7 18.Be2 Bc6 19.Rd3 Rad8 20.Rg3+ Kh8 21.Rf6 Kh7 22.Bd3+ Rxd3 23.Rxd3 Kg7 24.Rf4 Bb5 25.Rg3+ Kh7 26.Ra3 a6 27.Raf3 Kg7 28.Rg4+ Kh7 29.c4 Bc6 30.Rf6 b5 31.Rh4 Kg7 32.Rfxh6 Rd8 33.Rh7+ Kf6 34.Rf4+ Kg6 35.Rhxf7 Rd1+ 36.Rf1 Rd2 37.R7f2 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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