Saturday, December 31, 2011

20 Favorite Chess Posts of 2011

Happy New Year 2012! This is a complete revision of this post on 12/31/2011 with updated numbers as of May 2017. Here is my top 20 Favorite Chess Blog list for the year 2011. I wrote a total of 174 posts on this blog during the year 2011. Many have been deleted. Only the most popular posts remain on my blog. Enjoy!

Editor's note: Click here for my all time Top 70.

1 - 10

4016. Checkmate: Five Quick Fool's Mates for Black

3535. Checkmate: Five Quick Fool's Mates for White

3396. How to Win With 150 Attack vs Pirc Defence

1543. Trying to Avoid English Opening with 1.c4 d5!?

1015. Attacking the Old Benoni Defence

737. Passive Pawn Moves Permit A Killer King Hunt

670. Hickman Dutch Defence Leningrad Variation


665. Slav Defence: From Opening to Endgame

651. Tactics in Alekhine Four Pawns Attack

636. Van Geet Variation in Scandinavian Defence

633. Diemer-Duhm Gambit attack: Caro-Kann Defence

572. Review Eric J├ęgo book Blackmar-Diemer Gambit

551. 100 Chess Years of Russian Petroff Defence

533. Copy Cat Chess Moves Playing Against Yourself

446. Master Baishanski attacks Queen Knight Defence

428. Polish Problem: 1.d4 b5 Not Good

422. Bill Campion and the Englund Gambit 1.d4 e5!?

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Theory 2 of 8

This posting is scheduled for Christmas Day, a blessed day for faith and family. Hope you have a wonderful day. I expect to enjoy it. I remember that in 1995 my wife bought me a copy of Gary Lane's "Blackmar-Diemer Gambit". It got me excited enough to write a second book myself on that opening. Merry Christmas!

What should I play as Black against the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit? So far I am an equal opportunity defender so as to understand and experience the entire BDG opening. My responses can be easily grouped into six choices. Each group represents over 100 but less 200 games that I have played as Black. I usually accept the gambit after 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 (The starting position of the BDG) 4...exf3. From here we have:

Group 1 - 5.Qxf3 (Ryder Variation) or 5.Nxf3 Nc6 (Pietrowsky Variation)
Group 2 - 5.Nxf3 c6 (BDG Accepted Ziegler Variation)
Group 3 - 5.Nxf3 e6 (BDG Euwe Variation)
Group 4 - 5.Nxf3 g6 (BDG Bogoljubow Variation)
Group 5 - 5.Nxf3 Bf5 (BDG Gunderam Variation)
Group 6 - 5.Nxf3 Bg4 (BDG Teichmann Variation)

For the BDG e-mail thematic event I was playing in 2005, I chose to defend with just the Euwe Variation. My opponent in the first game is Roberto Del Campo. He opts for a less popular approach to the gambit, but White still gets some decent play.

Del Campo-Sawyer, BDG GRUPO 08/2005 (1.1), 30.01.2005 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Be2 The normal bishop placement for White vs the Euwe Variation is Bd3/Bg5 in some order. In this game the bishops both stop one square short but still come out quickly. 6...Be7 7.0-0 c5 8.Bf4 a6 9.Kh1 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Nc6?! [Black is too eager to swap off pieces heading for an ending. Black maintains a slight edge after 10...0-0 or 10...Nbd7 ] 11.Nxc6 Qxd1 12.Raxd1 bxc6 White is completely developed, but he is not making many threats. He nudges ahead his bishops while watching to see where Black will put his king. 13.Be5 Bb7 14.Bf3 Rg8!? 15.Ne2?! [15.Na4! Nd7 16.Bc7 White has active piece play for the pawn.] 15...Nd7 16.Bg3?! [16.Bc7 is better.] 16...e5 The winning Black plan is an aggressive advance his kingside pawns. 17.Rfe1?! [17.Bg4! attacks the support for e5.] 17...f6 The first wave of pawn pushes is completed. Next Black moves all the dark squared pawns ahead to the light squares. 18.Bf2 g6 19.Rd3 f5 20.Rb3 0-0-0 Now Black's entire position springs to life. 21.g3 [21.Nd4 Bc5 22.Nxc6 Bxc6 23.Bxc5 e4 24.Be2 Nxc5 25.Rc3 Rd2 26.Rxc5 Kb7 27.Bxa6+ Kb6-+] 21...Nc5 22.Bxc5 Bxc5 23.Nc3 e4 24.Bg2 Rd2 0-1

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

Scandinavian Variation of Queens Knight Defence

There is a common variation in the Queen's Knight Defence that also comes up in the Scandinavian Defence (formerly called the Center Counter Defence). The position can be reached in two ways.

1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 (Nimzowitsch Defence in the QND family)
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.d4 Nc6 (Scandinavian Defence without 3.Nc3)

White sometimes loses or sacrifices the d-pawn with 4.Nc3!? Qxd4 but usually play continues 4.Nf3. Here Scheerer (Wisnewski) wrote in his book "Play 1...Nc6!": "Black has the luxury between two almost equivalent alternatives." He considered 4...e5 rather drawish in a critical line. Maybe I'll cover it another time.

The main line is 4...Bg4 5.Be2 0-0-0. In today's game White mixes things up with 5.Nc3. After 5...Qh5 6.Be2 I could have transposed back into the main line with 6...0-0-0.

To illustrate I pick a simple game against Armando (don't know if it was his first or last name) played at the Borders in Orlando, Florida. This city is such a beautiful destination.

Maybe two million people will fly through Orlando International Airport for the holidays. It is a great opportunity to visit the nice beaches or the theme parks like Disney, Universal Studios, Sea World, Holy Land Experience or Legoland. The weather is unusually warm this Christmas, the high temperatures of 80 degrees are about 10 degrees about normal. Makes me wonder if it was this warm for the baby Jesus in Bethlehem 2000 years ago.

Back to chess... I plan to finish this series of games after two more games. Then I will move on to game selections where I was NOT playing 1.Nc3 and 1...Nc6. Probably I will cover a correspondence chess event with a focus on the opening theory.

Thanks to those who follow me! White drops a piece and is mated a dozen moves later.

Armando-Sawyer, Orlando,FL, 08.04.2004 begins 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 This leads to a type of Scandinavian Defence without an early Nc3. 4.Nf3 Bg4! [4...e5!? is tempting but it might give White a somewhat better game after 5.Nc3!+/= Bb4 6.Bd2] 5.Nc3 Qh5! 6.Be2 e6 [6...0-0-0! seems to be the most accurate move order. 7.h3 when Scheerer (Wisnewski) recommends 7...Bxf3 8.Bxf3 Qg6 9.d5 (or 9.Be3 e5) 9...Ne5] 7.Bf4 0-0-0 8.Be3 Nf6 9.Ng5 Bxe2 10.Qxe2 Qg6 11.0-0-0 h6 12.Nge4? White throws away a piece. [If 12.Nf3 Ne4 I intended (12...Bb4=/+) 13.Nxe4 Qxe4=/+] 12...Nxe4 13.Nxe4 Qxe4 14.f3 Qd5 15.c4 Qa5 16.Kb1 Be7 17.Rd3 Rhe8 18.Rhd1 Kb8 19.c5 Qb5 20.a4 Qc4 21.Rc1 Qd5 22.Rcc3 Nb4 23.Rd2 Qa2+ with mate in one. 0-1

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

Master Baishanski Attacks Queen's Knight Defence

About eight years ago I was playing chess games at Borders bookstore in Orlando, Florida. Most of the players that showed up to the cafe to play were mid-level to weaker level in skill. Some players were more experienced rated tournament players. The fact that I scored +35 =4 -1 shows that the players were not superstars.

During the times I personally visited this loosely unorganized club in 2003-2005, there was one opponent who stood out as better than all the rest. Milos Baishanski was USCF expert rated 2050. Usually Baishanski was rated in the 2100s, but he has been rated as a master over 2200. I was an expert rated 2010 at the time. Milos Baishanski is a notable chess coach of successful players. We only played this one skittles game.

We had watched each other play other players at Borders from time to time. It is likely that he knew I was playing 1...Nc6, the Queens Knight Defence. But there was no reason for either of us to prepare anything special for an unrated skittles game. As I recall Milos is roughly my age, i.e. not a young rising star. Our better playing days are behind us, but we can still play a great game against anyone from time to time.

Baishanski-Sawyer, Orlando,FL, 15.01.2004 begins 1.d4 Nc6!? Black plays provocatively, daring the d-pawn to advance. 2.d5! Most players are hesitant to play this move. This advance causes Black the most concern IF White follows it up accurately. 2...Ne5 3.f4 Ng6 4.e4 e6 5.dxe6 dxe6 [5...fxe6!? is more unbalanced. In that line Black sometimes plays Ng8-h6.] 6.Qxd8+ Kxd8 Black cannot castle, but the queens are off the board. 7.Nc3 [Boris Avrukh recommends 7.Nf3 Bc5 and tries to prove that White has more than a tiny edge.] 7...Bb4 [7...Bc5!?] 8.Nge2 Nf6 9.a3 Bc5 10.h3 Ke7 [10...Bd7!=] 11.g3 Rd8 Even though Black could not castle, one could argue that Black is ahead in development. 12.Bg2 c6? [Ouch. A serious mistake. White can force that exchange of Black's active dark squared bishop with advantage. [12...a5 13.Bd2 e5=] 13.Bd2 [13.Na4! Bb6 14.Nxb6 axb6 15.Be3 c5 16.e5 Nd5 17.Bd2+/-] 13...Kf8 [A waste of time. 13...e5!=] 14.0-0-0 Bd7 15.e5 Nd5 16.Ne4 Now White stands better. 16...Be3 17.c4 Bxd2+ 18.Kxd2 Nde7 19.Ke3 Be8 20.h4 Nf5+ 21.Kf2 Ke7?! Occupying a square a knight could use. 22.h5 Nf8 23.Bf3 Rxd1 24.Rxd1 Rd8 25.Rxd8 Kxd8 26.c5 Nd7 27.b4 b6 28.Bg4?! We stopped playing here. [White should have played 28.g4 Ne7 29.Nd4+- with a large positional edge to White in view of the weak queenside targets and the trapped bishop on e8.] 28...f6+/= [At this point, the Borders store closed. Therefore play ceased. My intention was to play 28...f6, but did not get a chance to play it. White has a slightly better game with due to a better bishop. Material is even. There has not been a breakthrough. The game is still very much alive.] 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Passive Pawn Moves Permit A Killer King Hunt

In 2003 Jim Loy published a nice collection of ten King Hunt games. You may want to check out his chess website pages. Here is Jim Loy's definition of a King Hunt:

"The process of chasing your opponent's King from a square where he is protected to a square where he is vulnerable is called a "king hunt." The King can be chased perhaps two or three squares or to the other side of the board. He may even be chased out to the center of the board, then back to his original 'safe' square, where he is no longer safe. The easiest king hunt to calculate is where you keep checking the King until he is checkmated."

The same year Jim Loy published this (although he notes that he wrote it originally in 1970), I played a game with a King Hunt at Borders bookstore in Orlando, Florida. My opponent was Steve Thompson. I think I met Steve again at another place and time, but in case it was not the same guy, I will not use that story at this time.

Steve is a mid-level club player who usually plays better than this game might imply. Here he makes four passive pawn moves in his first 10 moves. Why do chess players push a pawn just one square in the opening when it can go two squares? Sometimes advancing a pawn only one square is necessary, especially as Black.

Usually pushing a pawn just one square in the first 10 moves as White is a sign of passive play. It invites Black to take over the initiative. An exception might be 4.f3 in the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit or 3.c3 in the Smith Morra Sicilian Defence, but in both those instances, the pawn is immediately attacking a center pawn. Grandmasters do play an occasional pawn one square early as White, but it is preparation for later aggression, such as 9.h3 in the Closed Ruy Lopez or 5.e3 in the Semi-Slav Defence.

In a chess opening White has by virtue of the first move an obvious advantage in speed of development and in space on the board. When he wastes times pushing a pawn just one square, it gains minimal space and fails to develop a piece. Today's game begins as a Nimzowitsch Defence which is a Queens Knight Defence against 1.e4. Note that Black gains an advantage by quickly developing his pieces. The winner of a chess game is almost always the first player to develop all four minor pieces.

Thompson-Sawyer,Orlando,FL, 10.07.2003 begins 1.e4 Nc6 2.a3?! The first passive pawn move. Why? This move is not a blunder per se, but it has to be dubious. In the race to develop pieces, this move does nothing. 2...Nf6 3.d3 [The second passive pawn move. 3.Nc3 d5=] 3...d5 [I wanted to directly attack and threaten the e4 pawn. 3...e5 is very fine.] 4.d4? [White changes his mind from his original plan, but this just drops a pawn. This would have been great on move 1 or 2. Better is 4.exd5 Nxd5=] 4...dxe4 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.Bxc6 Bxc6 7.c3? The third passive pawn move. Development with Ne2 or Be3 seems more natural. 7...e5 Directly attack White's center again. 8.Be3 exd4!? [8...Nd5!-+ might be the strongest move.] 9.cxd4 Be7 10.h3 The fourth passive pawn move. A knight should be developed. 10...0-0 11.Ne2 Nd5 12.Bd2? [12.Nbc3 or 12.0-0] 12...Bg5 [12...e3 13.Bxe3 Nxe3 14.fxe3 Bh4+ is also great for Black.] 13.Be3? Bxe3 14.fxe3 Nxe3 Attacking the queen. 15.Qb3 Nxg2+ It is hard to believe that the White king, who has not moved, will capture the Black bishop on c6 in six moves. 16.Kd2? [Hoping to connect the rooks. 16.Kd1 Qf6 17.Nbc3 Qf3-+] 16...Qg5+ 17.Kc3 Qe3+ Black will pick up the knight on e2. White decides he does not want that to be check, so... 18.Kb4 a5+ 19.Kc5 [19.Kc4 drags the game out only one more move. 19...Bd5+ 20.Kxd5 Qxb3+ 21.Kc5 Ne3 22.Nbc3 Qb6#] 19...Qxb3 20.Nec3 b6+ [I missed the fastest mate. 20...Qb6+ 21.Kc4 Ne3#] 21.Kxc6 Qc4+ The Black rooks will mate the White king very quickly. 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blackmar-Diemer vs French Winawer

Some Blackmar-Diemer Gambit players as White also play the French Defence Winawer Variation as Black. What happens when these two systems collide? One natural option is the Winckelmann-Reimer Gambit which can transpose into a BDG Euwe Variation.

The standard French move order for the WRG is 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 (transposing to the game below) 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 dxe4 and now 6.f3!? Most books on the French recommend that Black not accept the gambit. There are many playable 6th move tries.

Today's game is a quickie where Black captures the WRG f3-pawn. My opponent is Manny Bernal. This is one of 40 skittles games I played at the Borders bookstore in Orlando, Florida from 2003-2005. I began with a favorite move of mine at the time, 1.Nc3.

In the Queens Knight Attack I almost always follow that up with e4 or d4, depending on what I feel like playing. My opponent played 1...e6 signalling that we would head toward a French Defence or Dutch Defence, or some less common Queen Pawn Game.

Sawyer-Bernal, Orlando,FL, 06.11.2003 begins 1.Nc3 e6 2.d4 Bb4 3.e4 [3.Nf3 is a very playable option for 1.Nc3 players who wish to avoid the more well-known lines.] 3...d5 Transposing to the French Defence Winawer Variation 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 dxe4 6.f3!? [Another valid approach. 6.Qg4 where play usually follows 6...Nf6 7.Qxg7 Rg8 8.Qh6=] 6...exf3 7.Nxf3 [7.Qxf3!? Nf6 8.Bd3 0-0 9.Ne2=] 7...Nf6 8.Bd3 0-0 [8...c5! 9.0-0 0-0 10.Qe1! Nbd7 (10...Qd5 11.Qg3 Nbd7 12.Ne5 Nxe5 13.dxe5+/-) 11.Qh4 b5 12.Ng5 h6 13.Ne4+/=] 9.0-0 White has excellent attacking prospects on the kingside. 9...Qd6 [9...Qd5 10.c4 Qd8 11.Qe1 Nc6 12.Qh4+/-; 9...b6 10.Bg5 Bb7 11.Ne5 Qd5 12.Qd2+/-] 10.Qe1 c5 11.Qh4 cxd4 12.Bg5 e5? Hastens the end. 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Qxh7# 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Roman Accelerated Dragon Sicilian

GM Roman Dzindzichasvili has long recommended the Sicilian Defence. During the past decade his videos and dvds have been all the rage among tournament players of all ages. Roman is passionate about the lines he plays and explains them thoroughly. From 2005-2009 there have been various editions of his book "Chess Openings for Black, Explained: A Complete Repertoire" written by Roman Dzindzichasvili and co-authored by his friend former US champ GM Lev Alburt, Roman's student GM Eugene Perelshteyen and Al Lawrence who has written a lot on chess.

Dzindzi's favorite line for Black against 1.e4 is the Accelerated Dragon Sicilian Defence. The book has this to say about the Sicilian Defence:
"...the Sicilian Defence is a fighting choice that yields Black the most victories. A search of more than 100,000 games from international play shows that the Sicilian yields Black a 30.5% chance of winning a full point and, in addition, a 34.2 % of drawing. Impressive results for the second-to-move -especially against high level competitors who know how to make the most of their opening initiative."

Today's opponent was Juan Magarinos in a game that was played at Borders bookstore in Orlando, Florida. Juan was a tournament player would had hit his peak USCF rating at 1798 (just shy of 1800) four years before this game. During that time period, I was frequently playing 1.Nc3. The game starts as a Queens Knight Defence but after 1...c5, White chose to head for an Open Sicilian Defence with an eventual e2-e4. I missed several chances to get an advantage. We finish in an even endgame when the store closes and we have to quit.

Sawyer-Magarinos, Orlando,FL, 04.12.2003 begins 1.Nc3 c5 2.Nf3 [2.e4 is the Closed Sicilian] 2...g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bg7 5.e4 [Transposing to the Open Sicilian Defence.] 5...Nc6 6.Be3 a6?[This leaves weaknesses on the dark squares and does not help in the center. Correct is 6...Nf6 7.Bc4 0-0 8.Bb3 a5 reaching the main line of book Dzindzichashvili book.] 7.Bc4 [Good but not the best.  Very powerful is 7.Nd5!+/= e6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 (8...dxc6 9.Bb6 Qd7 10.Nc7+ Kf8 11.Bc5+ Ne7 12.Qxd7 Bxd7 13.Nxa8+-) 9.Bb6 Qh4 10.Nc7+ Kf8 11.Qd6+ Ne7 12.Nxa8+-] 7...e6 8.0-0 [8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Qd6+/=] 8...Nge7 9.Qd2 b5 10.Bb3 Bb7 11.f3 Rc8 12.Rad1 0-0 13.Nde2 [13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.Qd6+/=] 13...Ne5 14.h3 [14.f4!? Ng4 15.Bd4 Bxd4+ 16.Nxd4 b4 17.Nce2 Bxe4 18.h3 Nf6 19.Qxb4+/=] 14...b4 15.Na4 d5 16.exd5 [16.Qxb4!+-] 16...Nxd5 17.Bxd5 Bxd5 18.Nb6 Nc4 19.Nxc4 Rxc4 [19...Bxc4 20.Qxb4 Qc7=] 20.b3 Rc8 21.Qxb4 Rxc2 22.Rd2 Qc8 23.Rxc2 [23.Nf4 Ba8 24.Rxc2 Qxc2=/+] 23...Qxc2 24.Qd2 Qxd2 25.Bxd2 Rc8 26.Rc1 Rxc1+ 27.Bxc1 Kf8 28.Kf2 Ke7 29.Ba3+ Kd7 30.Nf4 Bb7 31.Nd3 Bd4+ 32.Ke2 Kc7 33.Nc5 [The position is equal. The game was discontinued at this point (most likely because the store was closing), thus I list it as a draw for database purposes.] 1/2-1/2

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