Saturday, August 25, 2012

Eric Rodriguez Cub Roars Black Lion

My opponent Eric Rodriguez was 16 years old at the time of this game and yet another super-kid master. With this, I had played eight USCF tournament games since moving to Florida. Four of those games were vs masters who were too young to vote. Add up the ages of my opponents in those games and you equal MY age. I never played competitive chess until I was an adult. I am amazed and impressive to watch these kids perform.

FIDE master Eric Oscar Rodriguez has been very successful in his early chess career. In recent events his USCF rating is sometimes over 2400 and other times just under, currently 2383. Rodriguez has a peak FIDE rating of 2352 and 95 FIDE losses. This means Eric has spent a lot of time playing in events vs higher rated opponents.

Most of the time, Eric Rodriguez wins! Against me Rodriguez played the Lion System which has been very popular since this game. Black basically plays d6, Nf6, Nbd7, e5, c6, Be7, 0-0 and often Qc7 and or h6, depending on what White does. I took an aggressive approach. Alas I made a serious mistake with 9.Nxd5? for which I was well punished. Instead of winning any material, Eric Rodriguez played for checkmate.

I was so disgusted with my play in this game that I quit the tournament and did not play again for eight months. My opening knowledge, tactical skill, analytical ability and strategical approach were all in shambles. I realized that my game needed a major rebuilding at this point. One thing I started doing was a lot more tactical exercises.

Sawyer - Rodriguez, Florida Class Championship (3), 07.01.2006 begins 1.Nc3 Nf6 2.d4 [I was kind of hoping for a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Many times I play the Alekhine Defence here as White with 2.e4.] 2...d6 3.e4 Nbd7 [3...g6 is the main line Pirc Defence. Black is playing the position like a Philidor Defence, but White never played Nf3 to transpose completely.] 4.Be3 e5 5.d5 c6 6.f3!? Be7 7.Qd2 0-0
8.g4!? [What a bold move! This might work vs a lower rated class player, but it is risky vs a master. Castling 8.0-0-0 first seems like a wiser choice.] 8...cxd5 9.Nxd5? [This is a mistake, bringing the Be7 to life. Much better is 9.exd5 a6 10.g5 Nh5 11.Nge2 b5= Equal. Although I am reminded of Tal's comment: If the position is equal, Black is better!] 9...Nxd5 10.Qxd5 Bh4+ 11.Kd2[At this point I decided to make it to move 20 or just play on until I lost a pawn. My original idea was 11.Bf2 Bxf2+ 12.Kxf2 missing until now that Black has 12...Qb6+ 13.Kg2 Qxb2-+ winning.] 11...Nf6 12.Qb3 d5 13.exd5 Nxd5 At this point I expect to be mated fairly soon, though I am not down material. 14.Bd3 Nxe3 15.Kxe3 Qd4+ 16.Kd2 Qf2+ 17.Ne2 Rd8 18.Raf1 Bg5+ 19.Kd1 Qe3 20.Ke1 Be6 21.Qa3 e4 22.fxe4 Bxg4 23.h4 Bxe2 24.Bxe2 Rd1+ Alas, I never had lost any material, but my king will mated next move. 0-1

5 book sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ing. Jozef Spanik Registered Mail

In 1978 Walter Muir convinced me to try international chess play. Thus I made my first tentative attempt at competition in the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF). I was the only player from the USA. The transmission time between moves was very slow. This was my shortest game.

My first opponent was Ing. Jozef Spanik whom I think was from Czechoslovakia. That was a country made up of what is today the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

I wore out my copy of the book Bishop's Opening by Tim Harding. Probably we were still in the book when my opponent failed to reply to my 14th move.

In ICCF, if you did not receive a move from your opponent within say 2-3 weeks, then you were to send a repeat of your last move via registered mail and notify the tournament director. If your opponent did not reply to your repeat move, then eventually you were awarded a forfeit win.

In most countries, the cost of registered mail was a slight increase to normal mail prices. In the USA registered mail was like 10 times the cost of a normal postcard. I found myself spending a lot of money in the late 1970s. Those were my early poverty years. I was trying to support my family.

The US economy was terrible back at that time 1978-1980, leading Jimmy Carter to be voted out of office by a landslide. Almost every state voted for Ronald Reagan and the economy turned around. Like most people, I voted for Jimmy Carter the first time, but would not make that mistake that second time. I voted for Reagan in 1980 and 1984.

For my game vs Ing. Jozef Spanik, I was awarded a win. The process annoyed me. I decided to spend my money on my family. That worked. I am still married to the same wife! I quit my 1978 ICCF section. In future years I returned to ICCF and sometimes played well.

My free Chess Training Repertoire each Thursday covers openings. Sign up if you want to receive it by email.

Sawyer - Spanik, corr ICCF, 1978 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nxe4 [After 3...Nc6 I played what I called the "Chicken King's Gambit". I would back into that opening via 4.d3 Bc5 5.f4 d6 6.Nf3 King's Gambit Declined, when White does not actually sacrifice a pawn.] 4.Qh5 Nd6 5.Bb3 [5.Qxe5+ Qe7 6.Qxe7+ Bxe7 7.Bb3=] 5...Nc6 [5...Be7 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Nxe5=] 6.Nb5 g6 7.Qf3 f5 8.Qd5 Qe7 9.Nxc7+ Kd8 10.Nxa8 b6 11.d3 [Another way to play this is 11.Nxb6 axb6 12.Qf3 Bb7 13.d3 Nd4 14.Qh3] 11...Bb7 12.h4 h6 [The more popular way to stop the threat of 13.Bg5 winning the Black queen is by 12...f4 13.Qf3 Bh6 14.Bd2 Nd4=] 13.Qf3 Nd4 14.Qg3+/= Black stopped playing. 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Joy of Alapin-Diemer French

A couple days ago I faced a French Defence and chose the Alapin-Diemer Gambit. 20 years ago I played it all the time. I still wheel it out once in a while since my performance rating with 3.Be3!? is higher than any other variation after the position reached by 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5. Usually, I refer to anything after 3.Be3 as the Alapin French.

When White follows 3.Be3 with f3 on moves 4 or 5, it is an Alapin Diemer Gambit. Emil Jozef Diemer played 3.Be3 vs the French Defence many times with some impressive wins. The gambit can be declined with 3...Nf6, but White gets a good game after 4.e5!

Critical is 3...dxe4. White can play 4.f3 or 4.Nc3, but the main line is 4.Nd2 Nf6 5.f3. Alapin's original idea was 5.c3 and 6.Qc2. With Diemer's continuation of 5.f3, the pawn on e4 is double attacked. More often than not, Black plays 5...exf3 6.Ngxf3.

My new French 3.Be3 Playbook is a step by step guide to the Alapin Diemer Gambit.

Sawyer-superdave99, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 07.07.2012 begins 1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Be3 dxe4 4.Nd2 Nf6 5.f3 exf3 6.Ngxf3 Bd6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Bg5 c5 10.Qe1 cxd4 11.Qh4 h6 12.Bxh6 gxh6 13.Qxh6 Qa5 14.Ng5 [14.Nc4 Qh5 15.Qxh5 Nxh5 16.Nxd6+-] 14...Qe5 15.Ndf3 [15.g3+-] 15...Qe3+ 16.Kh1 Bf4 17.Rae1 Bxg5 18.Nxg5 Qxg5 19.Qxg5+ Kh8 20.Qh6+ Kg8 At this point that clocks read 2:00 - 0:55. Here I slowed way down to consider which checkmate is the fastest. Seeing that I was now thinking, Black resigned. 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bond Wins Snyder Anti-Sicilian 2.b3

Jocelyn Bond provides us with a Sicilian Defence in the 4th round game, second game vs his second opponent Normand Corneau, in the Championnat club d'échecs de Jonquiere in Canada. As he notes: "In the second game I won too as black in only 14 moves... Big opponents to come!!"

Back in the 1970s, the Snyder Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.b3) was well-known as the favorite line of master Robert M. Snyder in a book he wrote and promoted. The line is fine, but Snyder was not fine. He is a convicted sex offender about whom America's Most Wanted had done an episode scheduled for October 24, 2009. That episode was pre-empted by the baseball playoffs and apparently never aired. Robert Snyder fled the United States and was captured in Belize. USCF had this note about his capture.

[Note: I do not believe there is any relationship nor connection between Glenn Snyder who seemed like a fine and decent person, and the infamous Robert M. Snyder.]

The variation 1.e4 c5 2.b3 is one of many Anti-Sicilian lines that are fully playable for White. Like most opening lines, it leads to equality. Whatever opening you play, if you play it all the time, you will score better than those who play it only once in a while. In the game below, White misses tactics. We all make tactical mistakes and lose sometimes.

Corneau-Bond, Championnat club d'échecs de Jonquiere (4), 04.07.2012 begins 1.e4 c5 2.b3 Nc6 3.Bb2 d6 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.a4 e6 7.Nf3 d5N 8.exd5 [8.Bd3!?=] 8...exd5=/+ 9.Qe2+ Be7-/+ 10.Nxd5? [Better is 10.Bd3-/+ ] 10...Nxd5-+ 11.Bxg7 Rg8 12.Bf6 Rg6 [12...Nxf6 13.0-0 Bh3-+ Oops. I dream of the gain of the White queen and didn't see that the bishop is in the air.] 13.Bh4?? [13.Bxe7 Ncxe7 14.Ne5-+] 13...Re6 won the queen. 0-1 [Notes by Bond/Deep Fritz]

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Huebsch Gambit book by Eric Jego

The famous New York Yankee baseball great Yogi Berra once noted:  "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." This is illustrated by the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit and its cousin the Huebsch Gambit (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4). In my database of over 2000 games with the Huebsch Gambit, White has a plus performance rating of +11 points above actual rating (2218 vs 2207).

Our BDG friend Eric Jego has given us Gambit Hΰbsch Antidote or Leurre? This book focuses on the practice of playing aggressive chess using his 14 elementary principles. Jego's books shows how many people have been successful with this opening variation.

Eric Jego's book on the Huebsch Gambit has 124 pages with 122 verbally annotated games (in French). Over 40 of the games were played since 2000, often by titled players or correspondence players who had time to analyze deeply. Games are arranged by variation making it easy to find analysis on any particular line. I recommend this book to anyone who expects to reach the Huebsch Gambit position from either side.

Theory found in books on my desk by Yelena Dembo (2008), Roman Dzindzichashvili (2009), and Larry Kaufman (2012) says Black is better. In practice, White scores well. Computers evaluate Black as better, but real humans make mistakes under pressure. Jego includes the game where NM Diebert used the Huebsch to beat GM Joel Benjamin.

Not only do Black players fail to play perfectly. Based on about 10,000 games, 7 of 10 players will capture on e4 with the pawn (3...dxe4) leading directly to a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, 2 of 10 will play 3...Nxe4 (Huebsch) and the other one will play something else, most often 3...e6 (French Defence). Finally, if you play the BDG and are deathly afraid of the Huebsch, you can head for a BDG via 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Nc3. I play both.

The first Huebsch Gambit is in Jego's book. White was E. Huebsch and Black was GM Dr. S. Tartakower. Four years later Tartakower reached the same position vs Kostich and played 3...dxe4 (ended in a draw). Late in life Dr. Tartakower played the BDG as White at least five times. Notes below are from my BDG Keybook I (revised edition) Game 128.

Huebsch-Tartakower Vienna, 1922 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Bc4 Bf5 6.Ne2 e6 7.0-0 Bd6 8.d5 [Better than 8.Bf4 Bxf4 9.Nxf4 Qg5-/+ Kozelek - Baier, corr 1969] 8...e5 [8...0-0 9.dxe6 fxe6 10.Nd4 Kh8 (10...Qf6=/+) 11.Nxe6 Bxe6 12.Bxe6 Qf6= Riessbeck - Andre, corr] 9.Ng3 Bg6 10.f3 exf3 11.Qxf3 0-0 12.Nf5 Nd7 13.g3 Nc5 14.h4 e4 15.Qg4 h5 16.Qh3 a5 17.Nxd6 Qxd6 18.g4 Qd7 19.Be3 hxg4 20.Qg3 b6 21.Rf4 Bh5 22.Raf1 Rae8 [22...f5!-/+] 23.Rf5 g6 24.Rxh5 gxh5 25.Qf4 f6 26.Qh6 Qf7 [26...Qh7!=] 27.Bxc5 bxc5 28.Rxf6 Qxf6 29.d6+ Qf7 30.Qg6+ 1-0

Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blackmar-Diemer Ryder "Refuted?"

Jocelyn Bond comments about whether the Ryder Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.e4 exd4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Qxf3) and asks whether it has been refuted by 5...Qxd4 6.Be3 Qg4 7.Qf2 e5?

"This e5 variation is a refutation of the Ryder? 2 pawns up, it is big material advantage.
I think in the other variations...i think about
5...Nc6 6.Bb5 seems ok for White
5...c6 6.Be3 is often played against me and
5..e6 6.Bf4 (6...Qxd4? 7.Nb5 is strong) 6...Bd6 7.Bg5 seems standard here
5...g6! 6.Bf4 seems to be a good plan for black. but i like to place my bishop on e5....
Anyway Tim you are very kind to do a blog on the Ryder accepted...
I heard about the Schiller book but nothing more... it seems excellent... Do you know if he says that the ryder is refuted by Qxd4?"

"Refuted" in chess opening terminology has to do with theory or evidence. Basically, a variation is refuted if: when you play it, you lose.
There are three types of "refuted" variations:
1. When computer analysis overwhelmingly favors your opponent's side.
2. When the performance ratings are significantly below expectations.
3. When you lose regularly with this variation against your opponents.

Let's look at each one individually in regards to the Ryder Gambit and 7...e5 line.
1. Computer analysis favors Black, but not quite by two pawns. White usually has compensation for only one of the two pawns sacrificed. That is bad for White.
2. Performance rating for the Ryder is above expectations, but after 7...e5 below. 5.Qxf3 scores 60% with a performance rating +52 points above actual rating (1346 games), but after 7...e5 White scores 47% with a performance rating -42 points below actual rating (272 games). This means about 1 in 5 players as Black have followed up 5.Qxf3 with all three moves, Qxd4/Qg4/e5. Those who play this way have scored well with Black. In the games where the other four players varied, White did well.
3. Are your opponents likely to regularly find very good moves for Black? The higher they are rated, the more likely they are to know this stuff. Diemer was still winning with the Ryder Gambit in his 80s, so there is practical value, along with real risk.

One author that recommends 7...e5! for Black is IM James Rizzitano in his book "How to Beat 1 d4" ("A sound and ambitious repertoire based on the Queen's Gambit Accepted"). Rizzitano sites a few games as examples, the first one being Alex Lane - Tim Sawyer, played in one of Tom Purser's thematic BDG tourneys in 1997. Lane chose 8.Be2. Better seems to be 8.Nf3 or 8.a3, but Black stands better in theory. To sum up I quote International Master James Rizzitano again: "The Ryder Gambit is unsound and the reader should be extremely sceptical of any claims to the contrary."

Lane-Sawyer, corr BDG thematic (2), 1997 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Qxf3 Qxd4 6.Be3 Qg4 7.Qf2 e5 8.Be2 Qf5 9.Qg3 Bb4 10.0-0-0 Bxc3 11.bxc3 0-0 12.Bd3 e4 13.Bc4 Qa5 14.Ne2 Be6 15.Bb3 Bg4 16.Bd4 Nbd7 17.Rhe1 c5 18.Bxf6 Nxf6 19.Rd6 c4 20.Bxc4 Bxe2 21.Bxe2 Qxa2 0-1

Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Brian Wall's Fishing Pole Ruy Lopez

Brian Wall of Colorado is famous for many variations with creative names. One of Brian Wall's most well-known openings is the Fishing Pole in the Ruy Lopez.

The Fishing Pole includes the idea of Nf6-g4 as Black, and if attacked by h2-h3, then h7-h5. This includes a trap as presented below. There I try a Fishing Pole in the style of Brian Wall.

There is more to the variation that just the trap. Taking the knight is very risky.
Here are the most common continuations:
A. 6.d4 exd4 7.Nxd4 Bc5
B. 6.c3 a6 7.Ba4 Bc5
C. 6.d3 Bc5 7.c3 a6

I am not saying the variation is super strong or even completely sound. But it is tricky. Here I win a short and sweet blitz game vs the computer program "mscp".

mscp-Sawyer, ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 29.10.2011 begins 1.Nf3 Nc6 2.e4 e5 Transposing to the Open Game. 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Ng4 This looks like the bait. 5.h3 h5 This is the pole. 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.hxg4 hxg4 8.Nxe5 Taking the bait. 8...Qh4 White cannot avoid checkmate. 9.f3 g3 10.d4 Qh1# 0-1 White is checkmated 0-1

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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