Saturday, September 24, 2011

Diemer-Duhm Gambit attack vs Caro-Kann Defence

Here's another bonus game. What do you do when you go through a stretch where you are scoring lower than usual? After playing dozens of practice blitz games on the same day, I was doing rather poorly. Finally I decided to see what lines had my best lifetime performance ratings and play those for a bit. Thus I won my last eight games of the day.

As Black after 1.e4, there are five defences I have played more than 1000 times each (over 40 years). My best was 1...Nf6 Alekhine Defence (2056); however at that moment 1...c6 Caro-Kann Defence and 1...c5 Sicilian Defence also had the same performance. My other top defences are 1...Nc6 Queen's Knight Defence (2053) and 1...e5 Open Game (only 2044 but higher winning percentage vs many lower rated players).

Recently I had been playing 1...Nc6; I decided to try some other lines. I played 1.e4 e5 and got two King's Gambits, then one Sicilian Wing Gambit and one Caro-Kann Defence (the game below). My opponents for these games were lower rated. The performance for the Sicilian and Caro-Kann both dropped one point to 2054 because my victories did not yet increase my lifetime winning percentages with those moves.

My Caro-Kann game was not just any old variation. It was a cousin of the Diemer-Duhm Gambit which normally is reached by 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.c4 dxe4 4.Nc3 intending 5.f3 with play similar to a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. In fact earlier that same day my 1500 rated opponent had in fact played a BDG Teichmann as White.

The Caro-Kann Defence game, OracleMcSnacker-Sawyer, began 1.e4 c6 (Now White thought for 11 seconds, but White played the next five moves using a total of five seconds.) 2.d4 d5 3.c4 dxe4 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 Bg4 7.Be3 e6 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.0-0 Be7 10.Qe1 0-0 11.Qh4 (Wow! This 1506 rated opponent is playing aggressive and fast!?)

Now I play some inaccuracies and get into more trouble. 11...Bxf3 12.Rxf3 g6? (12...e5!? or 12...c5!=) 13.Bg5 Nd5!? (Playing for exchanges to relief some pressure.) 14.Bxe7 (Okay it worked, but White missed 14.Ne4 or 14.Rh3! with advantage.) 14...Qxe7 15.Qh6 Nxc3 16.bxc3 f5. Black fights back. Eventually I won a piece and the game.

OracleMcSnacker (1506) - Sawyer, ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 23.09.2011 begins 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.c4 dxe4 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 Bg4 7.Be3 e6 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.0-0 Be7 10.Qe1 0-0 11.Qh4 Bxf3 12.Rxf3 g6 [12...c5!=] 13.Bg5 Nd5 14.Bxe7= [14.Rh3! h5 15.Bxe7 Nxe7 16.g4 Kg7 17.gxh5 Nf5 18.Qf2 Rg8 19.Bxf5 gxf5 20.Qf4 Qf6+/=] 14...Qxe7 15.Qh6 Nxc3 16.bxc3 f5 17.Re1 e5 18.dxe5-/+ [18.c5 Qg7 19.Qh4 e4=/+] 18...Nxe5 19.Rfe3?-+ [19.Kh1 Qf6 20.Rh3 Rf7-/+] 19...Qc5 20.Kh1-+ Ng4 21.Qg5?-+ [21.Qf4 Nxe3 22.Rxe3 Rfe8-+] 21...Nf2+ 22.Kg1 Nxd3 White resigns 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

100 Years Russian Petroff Defence

The Petroff Defence, sometimes called the Russian Defence, is one of those openings that changed a lot over the past 40 years. In my early years it was hard to find anyone who would champion this opening as Black. Most games in books were White wins, unless you were studying games by masters who had died decades before.

Around 1900, Harry Pillsbury played it some during his short but brilliant career. Then along came Frank Marshall who played the Petroff regularly for thirty years. Why was his Marshall Attack in the Ruy Lopez such a surprise to Jose R. Capablanca in 1918? Because Marshall had played the Petroff six of the most recent eight games that he had Black vs Capablanca; the other two were French Defences.

Sure, thousands of other players used 2...Nf6, but generally they were not the LEADING players who had the kind of frequently published Black wins that everyone hopes to copy. For the next thirty years Petroff players included Boris Kostic, David Bronstein and C.H.O'D. Alexander, which brings us up through World War II.

The top frequently published Petroff players from 40 years ago were Smyslov, Dvoretsky, Benko, Kholmov, Morgado, and Bisguier. Indeed, GM Arthur Bisguier lost some famous Petroffs in the US Championships: Bisguier lost Petroffs to Larry Evans in 1958 (beautiful game!), to Robert Fischer in 1959 and to Walter Browne in 1974. The Browne game was often quoted; I am sure it kept a lot of players from jumping to this defence.

As a frequent 1.e4 e5 player from both sides, I have been in the Petroff Defence about 500 times to date, more often as Black than White. Today we have one of my early games. Back in 1974 I was already over 20 years old and not a very good player. I made some strides later that year. But when I went back to college I quit playing until 1977.

Why? Because the first time I went to university, I mostly played chess instead of doing my school work. When I went back to college in late 1974, I took my schooling much more seriously. For me I had to stop playing, but I would reappear. I am an example of a player who IMPROVED later AS an ADULT, not as a scholastic player.

Here is a game from my early days, about 40 years ago. Nice mate. My game vs Kirk Rideout begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 (This is my favorite, but I've also played the moves 3.Nc3, 3.d4 and 3.Bc4.) 3...d6 (Looking at my statistics nowadays, I see that in those games my opponents fell for the famous trap is 3...Nxe4? 4.Qe2!, I scored 25-0.)

Our game continues 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Bd6 (Two other options are recommended for Black: 6...Be7 and 6...Nc6.) 7.0-0 0-0 8.Re1 Re8 9.Nc3 Nxc3 10.Rxe8 (I unknowingly follow through my 13th move the game Burn-Marshall, Karlsbad 1911... Yes, exactly 100 years ago.). I missed some moves in this game, something I still do all these years later. Hope you like the checkmate combination at the end.

Sawyer - Rideout, Ft Fairfield, Maine 02.04.1974 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.0-0 0-0 8.Re1 Re8 9.c4 c6 10.Nc3 Nxc3 11.Rxe8+ Qxe8 12.bxc3 Bg4 13.Bd2 g6 14.h3 Bd7 15.Qb3 b6 16.Re1 [16.cxd5+-] 16...Qd8 17.cxd5 cxd5 18.Bg5 Qc7 19.Ne5 [19.Qxd5+-] 19...Be6 20.f4 Kg7 21.f5 gxf5 22.g4? [22.Bxf5! Bxf5 23.Qxd5+-] 22...fxg4 23.Nxg4 Bxg4 24.hxg4 h6? [24...Be7=] 25.Qxd5! Nc6 26.Bxh6+! Kxh6 27.Qh5+ Kg7 28.Qh7+ Kf6 29.Qh6# 1-0

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

How Win With150 Attack vs Pirc Defence

Every 1.e4 player and Blackmar-Diemer Gambit player has to have a plan to win against the King's Indian Defence type set-up. This involves at least four moves by Black: 1...Nf6, 2...d6, 3...g6, 4...Bg7 played in almost any order. Unless interrupted, Black can pretty much ignore what White does until move 5.

If White wants to face an actual King's Indian Defence, then he will play 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 and now he can choose between 5.Nf3 (Main Line KID); 5.f3 (Saemisch Variation); 5.f4 (Four Pawns Attack), 5.g3 (Fianchetto Variation) or lesser known options. Black will react accordingly, usually with 5...0-0, 5...e5 or 5...c5.

The Pirc Defence follows 1.e4 d6 (1...Nf6 is an Alekhine Defence allowing 2.e5 which interrupts Black's KID set-up) 2.d4 Nf6 (Attacking e4) 3.Nc3 g6 followed by 4...Bg7. Because White has not used a tempo to play c2-c4, he reaches the crossroads on move four. The main choices are 4.f4/5.Nf3; 4.Nf3/5.Be2; 4.Bc4/5.Qe2; and 4.Be3/5.f3.

This last option is the 150 Attack, named for the British rating level (about 1800 Elo) where that choice was particularly popular. Nowadays everyone plays 4.Be3 and 5.f3. The move f2-f3 can be played at any point up to move 7. White's intentions are to follow with Qd2/0-0-0/g4/h4/h5/Bh6. Almost the exact same idea can by found in the Saemisch Variation of the King's Indian Defence, the English Attack of the Najdorf Sicilian Defence (though without the Bh6) and the Yugoslav Attack against the Dragon Sicilian Defence.

Today's game begins 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 (Modern Defence) 3.Nc3 d6 4.Be3 Nf6 (Pirc Defence) 5.f3 (If 5.Qd2 Ng4 although the line is not bad for White after 6.Bg5.) 5...0-0 (A major fork in the road. Black may delay castling to begin a queenside attack with 5...c6.)

Our game continued 6.Qd2 Nbd7 7.0-0-0 a6 (Planning a queenside expansion.) 8.g4 b5 9.h4 Bb7 (The bishop is not effective here.) 10.Bh6 Rc8 11.h5 c5 12.d5 Ne5. Now it occurs to me that I would love to have a knight on g3. This is a 3 0 blitz game and for a second I forgot about the chronic hole on c4 which Black could now use for the first time. I blundered with 13.Nce2? (13.Bxg7! is the correct way to reach the game continuation.) 13...a5 (Black also playing fast uses good strategy but bad tactics. 13...Nc4! attacks my queen while she is protecting my Bh6.) After 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.hxg6 fxg6 16.Qh6+ Kg8 17.Ng3 White's attack is much faster.

Sawyer - lhj, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 31.08.2011 begins 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Be3 Nf6 5.f3 0-0 6.Qd2 Nbd7 7.0-0-0 a6 8.g4 b5 9.h4 Bb7 10.Bh6 Rc8 11.h5 c5 12.d5 Ne5 13.Nce2 a5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.hxg6 fxg6 16.Qh6+ Kg8 17.Ng3 c4 18.g5 Nh5 19.Nxh5 gxh5 20.Rxh5 Rf7 21.Bh3 Rg7 22.Be6+ Kf8 23.Rh4 c3 24.Rf4+ Nf7 25.Rxf7+ Black resigns 1-0

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