Sunday, February 24, 2013

French Alapin-Diemer Declined

It's ridiculous! There is no way I should score better as White against the French Defence with the Alapin 3.Be3!? (57%  in 400 games) than I have with the classical 3.Nc3 (55% in 500 games). But it's true. The average rating of my opponents were almost identical (only 1 point apart). Why? Maybe it's the surprise factor in postal, blitz and tournament play.

Dr. Ted Bullockus first told me about 3.Be3!? while we were playing an Alekhine Defence in an APCT postal chess game in 1978. I looked the move up in the excellent thick book on the French Defence by Gligoric, Karpov, etc. and published by RHM around 1975. To my shock, the move 3.Be3 was not mentioned at all! At the time I preferred Karpov's 3.Nd2 French Tarrasch. I was not a gambit player, but my interest in 3.Be3 was peaked. The 3.Be3 Nf6 4.e5 line feels to me like the 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 line with Be3 instead of Bc1.

Below is a French Defence Alapin 4.e5 variation vs "Veigar" in a 3 0 blitz game from the Internet Chess Club. At such speed, I cannot really calculate anything. I just play rapid "hope chess" for fun by pattern recognition, intuition and experience... an adrenalin rush. Maybe this year I will slow down to 5 minute games and actually think more. Maybe...

Sawyer-Veigar, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 21.01.2013 begins 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Be3 Nf6 [Fritz 13 gives 3...dxe4 4.Nd2 Nf6=/+ as the main line where I usually play 5.f3!?] 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Nf3 f6 8.Nbd2 [8.Bd3!+/= is more accurate.] 8...Be7 9.Bd3 0-0 10.0-0 cxd4 11.cxd4 Nb6 12.b3 [Houdini 3 also likes 12.exf6+/=] 12...Bd7 13.a3 Be8 14.Qc2 f5 15.g4!? [15.Qb2+/=] 15...Bg6 16.g5 Rc8 17.Qb2 Qd7 18.Rfc1 Na5 19.Kg2 Rc7 20.Rxc7 Qxc7 21.Rc1 Qd7 22.a4 Rc8 23.Rxc8+ Qxc8 24.Qc2 Be8 25.Qxc8 Nxc8 26.h4 Nb6 27.Ne1 Nc6 28.Nc2 Nb4 29.Nxb4 Bxb4 30.Kf2 Bh5 31.Nb1 Kf8 32.Bd2 Be7 33.Bc1 Ke8 34.Ba3 Bxa3 35.Nxa3 a6 36.Ke3 Kd7 37.a5 Nc8 38.Nc2? [This move leaves the White pawns on a5, d4, f4, and h4 as potential targets for the Black knight. 38.b4= holds the position.] 38...Bd1 39.Kd2 Bxc2 40.Kxc2 Ne7 41.b4 Nc6 [Black misses his chance with 41...Ng6!-/+] 42.Kc3 g6 [42...Na7=] 43.b5 Nxa5 44.bxa6 bxa6 45.Bxa6 Kc6? [45...Nc6=] 46.Kb4? [46.Bc8! Nc4 47.Bxe6+- wins quickly.] 46...Kb6 47.Bc8 Nc6+ 48.Kc3 Nd8 49.Bd7 Ka5 50.Be8 Kb6 51.Kb4 Kc7 52.Kb5 Nb7? [52...Kb7=] 53.Bc6 [53.Bf7!+-] 53...Nd8 54.Be8 Nb7? [Black is desperately down on time. In hopes to draw by repeating moves he repeats the blunder. 54...Kb7=] 55.Bf7 Kd7 56.Bg8 Nd8 57.Bxh7?! [Black forfeits on time. Correct is 57.Kb6 Nc6 58.Bxe6+ wins] 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Counter King's Gambit 2...Nc6 and 3...f5

As Black against the King's Gambit, I have normally chosen to play 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5. As a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit player as White, I am very familiar with the rapid advance of my g-pawn. Sometimes this is combined with my own castling kingside. So the main line of the King's Gambit Accepted is usually comfortable for me as Black. My lifetime winning percentage is 64% in 88 games as Black after 3.Nf3 g5.

During the last month of 2012, I intentionally played opening variations where I had a good success rate but where those lines were not my normal choice. My favorite backup option is the King's Gambit 2.f4 Nc6 variation. The sharpest and most successful idea behind 2...Nc6 in the King's Gambit is 3.Nf3 f5!? I have scored 65% in 13 games with this as Black. Below we back into this line from a Queens Knight Defence.

challanger100-Sawyer, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 29.12.2012 begins 1.e4 Nc6 2.f4 e5 [I decided to go for a King's Gambit. Sometimes I play 2...d5 3.exd5 Qxd5= with a Scandinavian Defence where the early f4 is not so helpful to White.] 3.Nf3 f5!? [An alternative is 3...exf4 4.d4 d5 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.Nc3 Bb4=] 4.exf5 exf4 5.d4 d5 6.Bxf4 Bxf5 [Better is 6...Bd6 7.Bxd6 Qxd6 8.Bd3 Nge7 9.Nc3 Bxf5 10.Bxf5 Nxf5 11.Qe2+ Qe7 12.Qxe7+ Nfxe7= with an even endgame.] 7.Bd3 Bxd3 8.Qxd3 Nf6 9.0-0 Be7 10.c3 [Now the game is dead even all the way until the ending. White could play for a win with 10.Ng5! Qd7 11.Nc3 0-0 12.Rae1+/-] 10...0-0 11.Ne5 Ne4 12.Nd2 Nxd2 13.Qxd2 Nxe5 14.Bxe5 Qd7 15.Qd3 Bd6 16.Qg3 Bxe5 17.Qxe5 Rxf1+ 18.Rxf1 Rf8 19.Rxf8+ Kxf8 20.h3 a6 21.b3 c6 22.Kh2 Qe7 23.Qb8+ Kf7 24.Qf4+ Qf6 25.Qc7+ Qe7 26.Qxe7+ Kxe7 27.g4 Kf6 28.Kg3 g5 29.Kf3 Ke6 30.Ke3 Kd6 31.Kd3 b5 32.a4 Kc7 33.axb5 axb5 34.c4 Kb6 35.Kc3 Ka5 36.Kb2? [Throwing the game away. White can draw by 36.c5 h6 37.Kc2 Kb4 38.Kb2 Ka5 39.Kc3=] 36...Kb4 37.cxd5 cxd5 38.Ka2 Kc3 39.Ka3 b4+ 40.Ka4 h6 41.Kb5 Kxb3 42.Kc5 Kc3 43.Kxd5 b3 White resigns 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

BDG Not An Easy A-B-C-D Refutation

Grandmaster Boris Avrukh and others recommend to meet the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit with the Ziegler Variation after 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 c6. Avrukh writes in his "Beating 1.d4 Sidelines" book, "Black has tried virtually every conceivable defensive set-up, but this Caro-Kann-like system has acquired the reputation for being the most solid of all." I agree, although I am somewhat surprised that he did not recommend the Gruenfeld-like 5...g6 Bogoljubow system which I believe is just as strong and more active. And that ...g6 idea fits well with the other lines he recommends against 1.d4.

Below we have an example of the BDG Ziegler 8. Ng5 Variation about which Christoph Scheerer writes in his "The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit" book: "... in 2005 Rajmund Emanuel came up with a new idea involving various sacrificial possibilities on f7 and e6, leading to its name 'the Alchemy Variation.' Although I cannot give a final verdict at present, it is certainly more interesting (and promising!) than the old lines with 8.Ne5."

In the game below Black plays 9...Be7 as I did (as Black) in a game vs Keith Hayward that Scheerer mentions. Black should play 9...Bd6 to fight against Nf4. The critical line is 10.Nf4 Bxf4 11.Bxf4 0-0 12.c3 Nd5 13.Qg4 Nd7 14.Qg3 N7f6 (Avrukh's improvement). How many of your opponent's know those 14 moves by heart and also can outplay you from this position? My blitz opponent below was not able to handle it.

Sawyer-abcd2006, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 30.12.2012 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 c6 6.Bc4 Bf5 7.0-0 e6 8.Ng5 Bg6 9.Ne2 Be7 10.Nf4 Nbd7 11.Nxg6 [I didn't consider Nxe6 until after I had taken on g6. However, taking right now on e6 is good for White: 11.Nfxe6! fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qb6 13.Bf4 Qxb2 14.Rb1 Qc3 15.Bb3 Ne4 16.Rf3+/-] 11...hxg6 12.Bf4 Nb6 13.Bb3 [13.Bxe6! fxe6 14.Nxe6= but there is no time to calculate in the three minute blitz game.] 13...Nfd5? [Wrong knight! Correct was 13...Nbd5 14.Bd2 Qb6=/+ when Black still has an extra double g-pawn, which may or may not come in handy.] 14.Nxf7! Kxf7 15.Bc7+ Bf6 16.Bxd8 Raxd8 17.Qf3 Rh4 18.c3 Rdh8 19.h3 g5 20.Rae1 g4 21.hxg4 Ke7 22.g5 Bxg5 23.Qf7+ Kd6 24.Rxe6# Black is checkmated 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Rook Sacrifice for Super Bowl Sunday

Do you want to see a sweet Blackmar-Diemer Gambit checkmate? I sacrifice with my first rook on f7 and checkmate him with my second rook. I know some of you will be busy with Super Bowl activities today, but take one minute to check this out. The line is the popular BDG Teichmann which Christoph Scheerer calls the "Classical Variation".

In an Internet Chess Club 3-minute blitz game vs Jairna2, I forgot when sacrificing my rook on 14.Rxf7 that I had not first played 14.Bc4 (which I do play in similar positions). Playing at 2 seconds per move in what was for me a new position, I missed the most powerful continuation 15.Qe5! Fortunately for me, Black did not find the one line of perfect defence (also playing at 2 seconds per move). A pretty checkmate followed. Enjoy the Super Bowl!

I had posted so many of these BDG Teichmanns that I re-labeled them to reflect Black's 9th move. Normally 8.Be3 e6 9.Bd3 is played, followed by a Black bishop more to ...Be7, ...Bd6, or ...Bb4. Black usually plays ...Nbd7 on moves 8, 9, or 10, so the focus is on where the bishop goes, whether or not it is actually played on move 9.

Sawyer-Jairna2, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 29.01.2013 begins 1.e4 d5 2.d4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6 8.Be3 e6 9.Bd3 Bb4 10.0-0 0-0 11.Ne4 Nxe4 12.Qxe4 g6 13.Bh6 Re8 14.Rxf7! Kxf7 15.Rf1+?! [15.Qe5! Qf6 16.Rf1+-] 15...Kg8 16.Bc4 Qe7 [The correct and only defence is 16...Nd7! 17.Bxe6+ Kh8 18.Rf7 Bf8 19.Bxf8 Rxf8 20.Rxd7 Qf6 21.Qe5 Qxe5 22.dxe5 Rfe8=/+] 17.Qe5 Qd7 18.Rf6 Bd6 19.Rxe6 Rf8 20.Rxg6# Black checkmated 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, February 2, 2013

First Steps BDG Gambit Pascal Eyssette

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit players have written many kind words both to me and about me over the past 20 years. Here is a nice e-mail from Pascal Eyssette.

"Hi ! Stumbled upon your blog, and I absolutely love it. You introduced me to the BDG gambit which is tons of fun to play and very effective."
"Just wanted to say thanks and send you a 5min blitz I did on Bear with the blunders, we are both 1100-1200 players on that game. I feel Black has misplayed a few critical points, but as you mentioned, the tension created by attacking moves is somewhat overwhelming for some opponents."
"Best Regards from a reader. Pascal"
Pascal, thanks for your e-mail. The BDG is a lot of fun. To move up from the 1100-1200 ratings to the 1400-1700 ratings range, you have to do develop two important skills:
1. First is to be able to hold on to your material unless you intentionally sacrifice. 
2. Second is to be able to threaten your opponent's king and pieces by attacking.
The BDG gives you good ways to make real threats that frequently win material or checkmate. It does not win against everything everybody every time, but it does win enough to get your rating significantly higher. Most lower rated players can raise their rating at least 100 points with the BDG. Why? Because the BDG gives a clear plan to develop all the pieces in a manner that threatens checkmate.

Pascal (as "psg7777) gives a BDG Ryder 5.Qxf3 Nc6 example. The play is not perfect but it is reasonable. Pascal plays for checkmate. Both sides put a piece in danger near the end. Lower rated players can lose a bishop and keep playing since the opponent might return the favor, but no one can lose a king and keep playing. The only thing that saves Black from being mated was his resignation. I love the feeling of a BDG win!

psg7777 (1090) - fivethousandguilders (1124),, 30.01.2013 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Qxf3 Nc6 6.Bb5 Bg4?! [It is good that Black is counter-attacking. However, he overlooks the capture for check that follows. Now White will regain the gambit pawn. Instead, 6...Bd7 protects the critical c6 square.] 7.Bxc6+ bxc6 8.Qxc6+ Bd7 9.Qb7 e6 10.Nb5?! [10.Nf3 is a natural move, developing another piece and preparing to castle at a moment's notice.] 10...Bxb5?! [Complicated but promising is 10...Nd5! 11.c4 Bb4+ 12.Kf1 0-0 and all the Black pieces come to life!] 11.Qxb5+ Nd7 12.Bf4 Bd6 13.Bg5 Qc8 14.0-0-0 0-0 15.Nf3 Rb8 16.Qd3 Qb7 17.b3 h6 18.h4 Qb6 19.Bxh6?! [White sacrifices a piece to open up the Black king. The idea is GOOD, but the timing is risky. It would be more effective if the White queen were on d2. Then White would get two pawns for the bishop and his queen would sit on h6 after the taking the second h-pawn on move 20. There was no need to hurry. White can retreat the bishop with 19.Be3= and line up the queen with Qd2 later, or play for g2-g4-g5. Chances are even after 19.Be3.] 19...gxh6 20.Ng5 Qa5? [After 20...Qa5, Black resigns when he probably sees White's 21.Qh7 checkmate. A better defence is 20...f5-+ when Black stops the mate and remains up a bishop.] 1-0

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