Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Jeremy Katz Best French Alapin Gambit

Jeremy Katz of Brooklyn, New York, was rated 2256 in USCF postal at the time of this game. I was often listed among the top APCT players 20-30 years ago, played Board 4 for the Xth World Correspondence Chess Olympiade 1982-84 US team, was a USCF Postal Master off and on in 1990, and won an ICCF Master Class section 1995-97. I tend to play chess more by instinct and pattern recognition than by analysis. Of course, often in my correspondence play, like in the game below, I had to make very specific calculations.

Against the French Defence, White can choose from several good third moves. Below is a beautiful little game played in BDG style. Some come to the BDG after years of playing against the French after 1.e4 and feel comfortable with whatever they have been playing. I played all four common responses, 3.Nc3, 3.Nd2, 3.e5 and 3.exd5, as well as the offbeat and risky 3.Be3!? Alapin French. My performance with 3.Be3 has been slightly higher.

The Alapin-Diemer may not be sound, but it can be very dangerous for Black. Bill Wall's 500 French Miniatures gives 16 games (and others that would transpose); White scored 16-0. In 1995 my book on the variation called the "Alapin French, Tactics for White" was published. In the introduction to that book I wrote: "Welcome to the King's Gambit of the French Defense! White gets quick slashing attacks that often win in 20 moves.

John Watson cites my book in his 1996 edition of "Play the French". Watson gave about one half of a page to the Alapin with variations that go beyond move eight in only a few cases. Eric Schiller recommended the Alapin as the gambit to play vs the French Defense in his book "Gambit Opening Repertoire For White".

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

Sawyer (1993) - Katz (2256), corr USCF 89NS61, 28.07.1991 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 e6 [We have reached a very normal and popular French Defence.] 3.Be3 dxe4 [Consider the psychology is at work here. Most French Defense players do not 3...dxe4 in other lines. They provoke the e4 pawn to advance to e5; but the e-pawn is just hanging there. If Black wants to refute this gambit, he must make the capture now. Anything else gives White at least equality, and usually the better position with equal material.] 4.Nd2 Nf6 5.f3 exf3 6.Ngxf3 Be7 7.Bd3 b6 8.0-0 Bb7 9.Bg5 [No longer needed on e3, the Bishop redeploys to g5 where it threatens to capture on f6 leaving h7 less defended.] 9...0-0 10.Qe1 [This prepares Qh4 with combinations on h7 and f6.] 10...c5 11.Qh4 [White has compensation for the pawn and practical chances.] 11...h6 [Black challenges White to attack or slink away.] 12.Bxh6 [When Black combines kingside castling with a pawn on h6, I capture that pawn and rip open the protection in front of Black's king.] 12...gxh6 13.Qxh6 Qd5 14.g4! [Black missed this winning pawn advance which takes h5 away from the Black Queen and threatens to dislodge the Knight on f6.] 14...cxd4 15.g5 Nbd7 16.gxf6 Nxf6 17.Kh1 Qh5 18.Rg1+ 1-0 [Revised November 5, 2013]

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Battle of Petroff Repertoire Books

Chess opening repertoire books present a plan for you to follow a set of similar ideas at the beginning of a game. I played a game where the line in a book for White intersected the line given in a book for Black. The two authors had differing views of how to handle the Petroff Defence Kaufmann Attack developed over 100 years ago by Dr. Arthur Kaufmann.

Larry Kaufman in his classic book "The Chess Advantage in Black and White" calls the Petroff by its other common name the Russian Defense. Larry Kaufman follows 5.c4 idea of the Kaufmann with the extra "n" by giving 10 pages of games and analysis for White including this quote: "Some of the lines are a bit drawish, but I'm afraid that is unavoidable when dealing with the Petroff. All we can ask for is a position where most of the winning chances are on the White side, and I believe the Kaufmann Attack fits that description."

For Black, I chose the 2011 book "The Petroff: an Expert Repertoire for Black" by Konstantin Sakaev, whose comment on 5.c4 is: "This is an original move, but that's about the most positive thing that can be said about it." After 5...Nc6 6.Nc3 Nxc3 7.dxc3 both writers mention the typical 7...Be7, but the line reminds me of the popular 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 line and the Alekhine Defence Exchange Variation 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6 exd6 6.Nc3 Be7. These lines tend to be solid but potentially passive.

Our authors mention the development of the Black's light squared bishop with 7...Bf5 (Sakaev) or 7...Bg4 (Kaufman). In general after 5.c4 Nc6, Larry Kaufman considers the dynamic approach of castling opposite sides as a good idea to play for a win: 0-0-0 vs 0-0.

Konstantin Sakaev's improvement is 7...g6, where he considers only 8.Be2 and 8.Bd3. My opponent below played something logical but new to me: 8.0-0. We reached a bishop vs knight endgame where the White king had no entries points to invade the Black defenses.

blik (2374) - Sawyer (2109), ICC 5 0 Internet Chess Club, 17.09.2013 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.c4 Nc6 [The more popular and passive continuation 5...Be7 6.d4 0-0 7.Bd3+/= seems to favor White a little bit.] 6.Nc3 Nxc3 7.bxc3 g6 [7...Qf6!?] 8.d4 Bg7 9.Bd3 Qe7+ [9...0-0 10.0-0 Qd7 11.Re1 b6 12.Bg5 Bb7=] 10.Be3 0-0 11.0-0 Bg4 12.Rb1 [12.h3+/=] 12...b6 13.h3 Bxf3 14.Qxf3 Na5 15.Rfe1 Qf6 16.Qxf6 Bxf6 17.Bh6 Rfe8 18.Bf4 Bg7 19.a3 Kf8 20.Kf1 Rxe1+ 21.Rxe1 Re8 22.Rxe8+ Kxe8 23.a4 Ke7 24.Bg5+ Bf6 25.h4 Bxg5 26.hxg5 c5 27.Ke2 Nc6 28.Be4 Nd8 29.Ke3 Ne6 30.f4 Ng7 31.g4 Ne6 32.Bd5 Nc7 33.dxc5 bxc5 [33...Nxd5+ 34.cxd5 bxc5 should also draw.] 34.Bc6 Ne6 [34...a5 eliminates all possible White king invasions.] 35.a5 Nc7 36.f5 Na6 37.Bf3 Nb8 38.Bd5 Nd7 39.f6+ Kf8 40.Kf4 Ne5 41.Kg3 Ke8 42.Kh4 Kf8 43.Kg3 Ke8 44.Kh4 Kf8 Game drawn by mutual agreement 1/2-1/2

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page / sawyerte@yahoo.com

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Emil Josef Diemer Wins His Last Game

Eventually we will all play our last chess game. Emil Josef Diemer died over 20 years ago. Tom Purser met Diemer and corresponded with him. Here is Tom Purser's announcement in his BDG WORLD, October 1990 and two quotes from BDG WORLD, January 1991:

                                             Emil Josef Diemer 1908-1990
            "We deeply regret to report the death of Emil Josef Diemer on October 10, 1990. A remarkable and unique personality is gone, and chess is much the poorer for it. We received the news just before sending this issue to the printer, much too late to include more than this brief notice. Our December issue will be dedicated to the life and chess of E.J. Diemer." [the next BDG WORLD issue ended up being January 1991]

                                                    From Schach Echo
            "on 10 October the well-known Baden chess theoretician and tournament player, Emil Josef Diemer, died n south Baden Fussbach at the age of 82. ...born on 15 May 1908 in Bad Radolfzell ... work best known to many gambit friends... contributed authoritatively through his exploration of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit."
                                                From Schach Magazin 64
            "In Emil Josef Diemer one of the last 'chess originals' left us. In chess generally and in gambit play especially, to which he dedicated his entire life, his ardent, shining life was fulfilled."        

Here is the last known game Emil Josef Diemer played the BDG Ryder Gambit. Most greedy computers back then did not analyze deep enough to consistently defeat masters.

Diemer - Mephisto, Fussbach, Germany 1990 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Qxf3 Qxd4 6.Be3 Qh4+ 7.g3 Qg4 8.Qg2 [Keeping the queen, aiming at b7 and avoiding a future ...Ng4 fork on Be3 and Qf2.] 8...e5 9.Nf3 Bd6 10.h3 Qf5 11.0-0-0 Nc6 12.Bd3 [12.g4 Qd7 13.Bc4 0-0 14.Ng5= is an alternative.] 12...Qe6 13.Ng5 Qe7 14.Bc4 0-0 15.g4 h6 [A complicated position. 15...Bc5 16.Bd2 Nd4 17.Nce4 Ne6 18.Bxe6 Bxe6 19.Nxe6 fxe6 20.Nxc5 Qxc5 White has some compensation for the double sacrificed e-pawns. 21.Qxb7 Rab8=/+] 16.h4 [16.Nge4 Nxe4 17.Qxe4 Be6 18.Bd3 f5! 19.gxf5 Bxf5 20.Qg2 Bxd3 21.Rxd3 Qe6-/+] 16...hxg5? [Taking this knight is fatal. The modern day Houdini 3 points out that Black has 16...Nxg4! 17.Qe4 Nf6 18.Qg6 Be6 19.Bxe6 fxe6-+ and White does not have enough compensation for three pawns.] 17.hxg5 Nxg4 [Sharp to the end, Diemer has a forced mate in seven and finds his way correctly.] 18.Qe4 Nh6 19.Rxh6 Bf5 20.Qxf5 gxh6 21.Qg6+ Kh8 22.Qxh6+ Kg8 23.Qg6+ Kh8 24.Rh1# 1-0

Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
Copyright 2011-2017 Author Page / sawyerte@yahoo.com
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Friday, August 23, 2013

Ken Wieder Teichmann Unusual Retreat

Some theory today. If in the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Teichmann 5.Nxf3 Bg4 we see the unusual retreat 6.h3 Bf5, it becomes in effect a Gunderam 5.Nxf3 Bf5 with an extra h2-h3 move for White. All this is moot after 7.Ne5 e6 8.g4 if Black plays the solid 8...Bg6. Then 9.Bg2 c6 10.h4 reaches an important position that can come from either a Teichmann or a Gunderam (in one less move). Here White has full compensation for the pawn.

Ken Wieder in the Finals of the USCF 1989 Golden Squires Postal Chess Tournament decided to play much sharper with 8...Ne4!? In this BDG Teichmann, fireworks ensued. The line in the notes with 9.gxf5 demonstrates a key difference between the 8...Ne4 Teichmann and the 7...Ne4 Gunderam. The White h-pawn being on h3 instead of h2 allows two queen checks that prepare two knight forks, leading to a very difficult endgame. I chose another complicated line and won quickly when Black missed a tactic.

Sawyer (2004) - Wieder (1862), corr USCF 89SF10, 17.08.1992 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bf5 7.Ne5 e6 8.g4 Ne4 
9.Bb5+ [The other choice is also playable but very unbalanced: 9.gxf5 Qh4+ 10.Ke2 Ng3+ 11.Kf2 Nxh1+ 12.Kg2 f6 13.Nf3 Qxh3+! 14.Kxh3 Nf2+ 15.Kg2 Nxd1 16.Nxd1 exf5 17.Ne3 Nc6 18.Nxf5=] 9...c6 10.0-0 cxb5 [The correct way to equalize for Black is 10...Nxc3! 11.bxc3 Bg6 12.Bd3 Nd7 13.Nxg6 hxg6 14.Qf3 Qf6=] 11.gxf5 Nxc3 [11...Nf6 12.Bg5+/-] 12.bxc3 f6? [12...Nc6 13.fxe6 Nxe5 14.Qh5!+/-] 13.Qh5+ g6 14.fxg6 1-0

Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
Copyright 2011-2017 Author Page / sawyerte@yahoo.com
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Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Review: Dark Knight System James Schuyler

Recently I bought a new book by James Schuyler entitled "The Dark Knight System: a repertoire with 1...Nc6", published by Everyman Chess in 2013. That is a nice descriptive title for a major branch of the Queen's Knight Defence. This book interested me greatly since I have played 1...Nc6 as Black vs everything a total of about 3000 times (counting both blitz and tournament games). And, we all have to face 1...Nc6 when we play White.

Who is this chess author? Page 3 has this note About the Author:  "James Schuyler is a FIDE Master. He was Nevada State Champion in 2007 and won the Virginia State Championship in both 2011 and 2012. He has been teaching chess for over 25 years."

The Dark Knight System teaches how to play a well-coordinated method of development as Black that helps you to win future chess games. Why call it "Dark" Knight? We begin with the Black horse that starts on a dark square. From 1...Nc6, this knight hits important dark squares, often preparing ...e5. The knight works in conjunction with the dark squared bishop. Starting from Bf8, the author has this bishop going to Bb4, Bc5, Bd6, Be7, Bg7 or even Bh6 (all depending on what White does).

Everything in the book is helpful. Schuyler's concepts are understandable. After a lengthy introduction, there are 10 chapters with specific theory. There are just over 50 branches of analysis going about 10 moves deeper. 500 positions is manageable if you plan to master the main lines to an expert level. Or on an easier practical level, you can play games with 1...Nc6, and look up the recommendations afterwards. Starting on page 134 are 100 annotated games, illustrating how to go from the opening to the finish.

Here is a summary of the ten theory chapters:
          1. - 1.d4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6 (King's Indian Defence ideas)
          2. - 1.d4 Nc6 2.c4 e5 (Kevitz System)
          3. - 1.d4 Nc6 2.d5 Ne5 (Bogoljubow Defence)
          4. - 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 e5 (Mikenas System)
          5. - 1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6 (Classical Pirc)
          6. - 1.e4 Nc6 2.Nc3 Nf6 (Mestrovic)
          7. - 1.c4 Nc6 2.Nc3 e5 (English Opening with 3...f5)
          8. - 1.Nf3 Nc6 2.g3 e5 (Pirc Reversed with 4...g6)
          9. - 1.g3 Nc6; 1.Nc3 Nc6 (vs all others 1...g6)
         10. - Miscellaneous Topics: cutting the workload and Light Knight System

I highly recommend the book. This system is less popular, but many grandmasters play it, so we know it is sound. The benefits are real. Houdini supports all the analysis. The only minor problem I found was a bold headline before Game 22 on page 152 that reads "No problems for Black after 3...Bb4+ 4.Bd2", with which I agree. But it is placed on a page where the games had 4.Nd2 instead. No big deal. A minor editorial glitch.
If you are looking for a new opening as Black, this book provides a good option.

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page / sawyerte@yahoo.com

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Luis Ledesma French Defence Sawyer

Back in 1989-1991 I tried to play the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit at every opportunity with the White pieces, if Black avoided it with a move like 1.d4 Nf6, then I went with either 2.Nc3 or 2.f3. That way I could still transpose back to the BDG if Black played 2...d5. When Black did not co-operate, I tried to create something original.

I invented the French Defence Sawyer Variation that combines 2.f3 with 4.Bg5 while holding back Nc3 for at least a move or two. Luis Ledesma delayed ...Be7 a move, but castled 6...0-0 quickly. Against Luis, I just developed toward the center and kingside. After Black allowed a pawn fork, I turned down the win of a piece to play for checkmate.

For the next several months I will be posting games from my 10 sections of the 1989 USCF Golden Knights Postal Chess Tournament. I have done about half of them so far this year. As I recall, if I failed to score 4.5 out of 6 games in a section of the preliminary round, then I was dumped from the Golden Knights to the Golden Squires (SS) event for the Semi-Final round. The next month or two will include games from those events.

Sawyer (2032) - Ledesma (1694), corr USCF 89SS40, 11.02.1991 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 e6 3.e4 d5 4.Bg5 dxe4 [4...Be7 is the most common reply.] 5.fxe4 Be7 6.Nc3 0-0 7.Nf3 b6 [Houdini 3 and Fritz 13 think Black should play 7...h6 8.Bxf6 Bxf6 9.e5= when White's Nf3 is at the moment looks better than Black's Bc8.] 8.Qd2 Bb7 9.Qf4 [Wandering closer to the Black king just to see what might happen...] 9...Bd6? [A tactical error. Logical is 9...Nbd7 10.0-0-0=] 10.e5 Bb4 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.exf6 Kh8 13.Qh6 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page / sawyerte@yahoo.com

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Carlos Avalos Teaches Me Lesson

I played 1000 correspondence chess games over a 20 year period from 30 countries and all 50 states in the USA. Only rarely did I actually meet any of my opponents face to face. In the 1989 USCF Golden Knights Postal Tournament, section 89N280, I had the White pieces vs Carlos Avalos Sarravia (his 2576 USCF Postal Rating at the time). About 15 years later at a chess tournament in Florida, a nice man came up to me and introduced himself to me as the Carlos Avalos, whom I had played many years before.

Avalos taught me a valuable lesson. This game pretty much cured me from playing 4.f3 in the French Defence Alapin Gambit Declined. Sometimes the variation results from a transposition, after say 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 e6, but here this is a straight French Defence Alapin 3.Be3 Nf6. White gets a playable game after 4.e5 or 5.e5. Don't do what I did.

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

Sawyer (2176) - Avalos (2576), corr USCF 89N280, 18.01.1990 begins 1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Be3 Nf6 4.f3?! c5! Enterprising. 5.dxc5?! [Best is 5.e5 Nfd7=] 5...Qc7! 6.c3 [Better seems to be 6.Nc3 ] 6...Bxc5 7.Bxc5 Qxc5 8.e5 Nfd7 9.f4? [The last try is 9.Qd4=/+ ] 9...Qe3+ 10.Ne2 Nc5 [10...Nc5 Embarrassing. 11.Qd4 Nd3+ 12.Kd1 Nf2+-+] 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
Copyright 2015 Home Page / Author Page / sawyerte@yahoo.com

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