Saturday, April 27, 2013

Haines vs Morin Sicilian 5.Bc4 Gambit

A couple weeks ago during a high school chess tournament in Presque Isle, Maine, while the younger generation was duking it out in longer games, the veteran players Ray Haines and Roger Morin played a lively 10 minute game for fun. Ray Haines discusses his choice of one of his favorite gambit lines - which I learned from him. That is the Sicilian Defence with 5.Bc4. Ray wrote:

"I have been playing this line in the Sicilian defense against the computer and most of the lines are equal or better for white. I came up with the line a long time ago and showed you it then. You won a postal game with it. I am planning to use it in tournaments,because it will get people out of the lines which they know, quickly. I think it is worth using. I would never have thought of using it without the computer to help me."

Haines - Morin (2029), Presque Isle, Maine, April 2013 begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Bc4 e6 6.0-0 a6 7.Qe2 Nc6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.e5 Nd5 10.Nc3 Nxc3 11.bxc3 d5 12.Bd3 c5 [Ray provided a couple lines of analysis by Fritz 11: 12...Rb8 13.Be3 Qc7 14.Qg4 g6 15.Qa4 Bg7 16.f4 f6 17.exf6 Bxf6 18.Rfb1 Rxb1+ 19.Rxb1 Bxc3 20.Bb6 Qd6 21.Bd4 Bxd4++/=; 12...Qc7 13.Rb1 Be7 14.Bf4 0-0 15.h4 Rb8 16.h5 Rxb1 17.Rxb1 Qa5 18.h6 Qxa2 19.Rb3 g6 20.Qg4 Bc5+/=] 13.c4 Bb7 14.Rb1 Bc6 15.cxd5 exd5 16.e6 f6 17.Qh5+ Ke7 18.Qf7+ Kd6 19.Bf4# 1-0

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

Thursday, April 25, 2013

My 150 Attack Stephen Ashby Pirc

My most popular posting was How To Win With the 150 Attack vs the Pirc Defence published September 3, 2011. Today's game is in the same Pirc Defence 4.f3 variation. Back in 1990 it was rare. Sometimes White reverses the move order with 4.Be3 and 5.f3.

In theory it is more risky for Black to castle too early, so often plays 5...c6. This game is broken off early, but I am not sure if it was a resignation or forfeit. In any case, my chess engine program Junior 10 today evaluates the position as strongly favoring White.

This victory over Stephen Ashby (1848) brought me to my peak USCF correspondence rating of 2211. After this game I won about five more games in a row, but the USCF refused to give me any rating points for any of those wins.

Sawyer (2211) - Ashby (1848), corr USCF 89N280 corr USCF, 14.05.1990 begins 1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f3 Bg7 5.Be3 c6 6.Qd2 Nbd7 7.0-0-0 b5 8.Bh6 0-0 9.h4 Qc7 10.h5 Bxh6 11.Qxh6 b4 12.Nce2 Qa5 13.hxg6 fxg6 14.Kb1 [This game brought me to my peak USCF correspondence rating of 2211.] 1-0

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

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 /

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Larsen's Opening Hastings h-file Mate

Yesterday I posted the Hastings h-file Mate from a Ruy Lopez. Today I show a recent example of how I pulled off this same mate as Black in a Larsen's Opening (1.b3). As I pointed out before, this mate arises in many different openings. All the same elements are in place in the game below, but they occurred in a slightly different order. For example, White moved Kh1 before Black played ...Ne2, so the knight move was not check here.

As for the opening, how do you meet Larsen Opening? I followed the recommendation of GM Roman Dzindzichashivili from his book with GM Lev Alburt, GM Eugene Perelshteyn and Al Lawrence: "Chess Openings for Black, Explained", 2nd Edition Revised and Updated from 2009. There they give 1.b3 d5 2.Bb2 Bg4 3.h3 Bh5 4.Nf3 Bxf3 5.exf3 Nf6 6.f4 e6 7.g3 g6= Spraggett-Dorfman, 1991. My ICC blitz opponent "Arieju" played 3.Nf3 so I chopped off the knight doubling White's pawns. I played in the center and gradually moved my pieces toward White's king when the h-file mating pattern presented itself. Also you should note that I played 19...Qh6 rather slyly (instead of 19...Qh4 which would have encouraged 20.g3) because I did not want White to move a kingside pawn.

Arieju - Sawyer, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 27.01.2013 begins 1.b3 d5 2.Bb2 Bg4 3.Nf3 Bxf3 4.exf3 Nc6 5.c4 d4 6.Na3 e5 7.Bd3 Bd6 8.0-0 Nge7 9.Nb5 [9.f4!?] 9...0-0 [9...Bc5] 10.a3 [10.Nxd6=] 10...Ng6 11.Nxd6 Qxd6 12.a4 Rfe8 13.Ba3 Qf6 14.Be4 Nf4 15.Kh1 Rad8 16.b4 d3 17.Bb2 [Better is 17.b5 Nd4=/+] 17...Re6 [Or 17...Nxb4-/+ ] 18.Bc3 Ne2 19.b5 Qh6 20.bxc6? [To survive White had to push a pawn, as in 20.h3 Ncd4-/+] 20...Qxh2+ White resigns 0-1

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

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hastings h-file Mate in Ruy Lopez

Do you know the famous opening trap I call the "Hastings h-file Mate"? It is a pattern that can be reached from many different openings. See game below. Forty years ago I memorized many openings variations. Such memory work gives you a great practical edge when you can choose in advance how you wish to play vs the most popular early moves. I memorized all 14 moves of this game. I thought knowing many traps would lead to easy wins. It sometimes does. But recognizing tactical patterns is much more effective.

Probably I found this in Irving Chernev's book "300 Winning Chess Traps". At first I thought this game came from Dr. Emanuel Lasker's book "Common Sense in Chess", a series of lectures that Lasker gave in London in the spring of 1895. I cannot find this mate there.

The mate is illustrated here in the Ruy Lopez line played at Hastings in 1919. A generation earlier, the same opening line was played in Maroczy-Marco, but Black played more solidly, not allowing the mate. I call it the "Hastings h-file Mate".

Let me set up the board and explain how this mate works. This checkmate theme is a variation of the back rank rook mate. Here the mate is done on the h-file with the help of a knight and queen sacrifice, prior to the rook mate. Here's what to look for:

Black has castled kingside with a normal Rf8, Kg8 and pawns on f7, g7 and h7; however the typical Nf6 has moved away and does not cover h7. Ready for the combination?

White begins with 1.Ne7+, driving the Black king from g8 to h8. There follows 2.Qxh7+ forcing Black to capture Kxh7. Finally White slides over to the h-file for mate: 3.Rh5#. Black's king has no moves since he has a pawn on g7 and the Ne7 covers g8 and g6.

Berryman-Straat, Hastings 1919 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.Re1 [The Open Ruy Lopez is almost always played 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6] 6...Nc5 7.Nc3 [7.Bxc6 dxc6 8.Nxe5 leaves White with a better pawn structure while Black as two bishops.] 7...Nxa4 8.Nxe5 Nxe5? [8...Be7 9.Nd5 0-0 10.Nxc6 dxc6 11.Nxe7+ Kh8 12.Qh5 Be6 13.Rxe6 fxe6 14.Ng6+ Kg8 15.Nxf8 Qxf8 16.Qg4 Nb6 17.Qxe6+ Kh8 18.b3 Re8 19.Ba3 Qxf2+ 20.Kxf2 Rxe6 21.Re1 Rxe1 22.Kxe1 1/2-1/2. Maroczy-Marco, Budapest 1896] 9.Rxe5+ Be7 10.Nd5 0-0 11.Nxe7+ Kh8 12.Qh5 d6 [This allows the thematic mate, but there is no playable defense. 12...g6 13.Qh4 and White is going to win a lot of material. 12...h6 13.d3 and White threatens to rip open Black's kingside with 14.Bxh6 winning.] 13.Qxh7+ Kxh7 14.Rh5# 1-0

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

Friday, April 12, 2013

Blackmar-Diemer Trompowsky

There is a variation of the Trompowsky that transposes to the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit with the extra move Bf4 for White. Sometimes I play the Trompowsky Attack as White but more often I seem to be on the Black side. When we enter that BDG variation, I feel like I am defending vs my own opening as in this 3 minute ICC blitz game vs "Tressell" (1709).

When White has played this extra move Bf4, what is the best variation for Black? Since the move is normal in the BDG Bogoljubow (5.Nxf3 g6), choosing that Black set-up could really help White. But vs ...e6, White usually plays Bg5 or Bd3. Thus I headed for a BDG Euwe (5.Nxf3 e6) with classical defensive development. The Trompowsky BDG with Bf4 adds the tactical threat of Nb5 attacking c7, which I could have prevented with 9...a6. As we continued, I exchanged off all the pieces and went into a winning rook ending.

Tressell-Sawyer, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 05.02.2013 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 d5 4.f3 Nf6 5.e4 dxe4 6.Nc3 exf3 7.Nxf3 This Trompowsky is a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit with the extra move Bf4 for White. 7...e6 8.Bd3 c5 9.0-0 cxd4 [9...a6=] 10.Nb5 Na6 11.Qe2 Be7 12.Ne5?! [12.a3=] 12...0-0 13.Rae1 Bd7 14.Nxd4 Nc5 15.Nxd7 Qxd7 16.Nf5 Nxd3 17.Nxe7+ Qxe7 18.Qxd3 Rad8 19.Qh3 Qc5+ 20.Kh1 Qh5 [20...Qxc2-/+ seems to work okay.] 21.Qb3 Qd5 22.Qh3 a6 23.Be5 Ne4 24.Qg4 [24.Bxg7 Kxg7 25.c4 Qxc4 26.Qg4+ Kh8 27.Qxe4 Qxe4 28.Rxe4 Rd2=/+ might have led to a more favorable rook ending than what occurred in the game.] 24...Qxe5 25.Rxe4 Qxb2 26.Re3 Qxc2 27.Rg3 g6 28.Qh4 Rd1 29.Qf4 Rxf1+ 30.Qxf1 Rc8 31.Rf3 Qc1 32.Rxf7 Qxf1+ 33.Rxf1 Rc2 34.Rb1 b5 35.h4 Rxa2 36.Re1 Kf7 37.Rf1+ Ke7 38.Rc1 Rd2 39.Rd1? [Time] 39...Rxd1+ White resigns 0-1

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

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Experiment in Schliemann Gambit

In forty years of chess, I have played the Open Game 1.e4 e5 about 3000 times. Only 7 times I have been Black in the Ruy Lopez Schliemann Gambit Accepted 3...f5 4.exf5 line, winning six and losing one. Below is one of my wins. I had a vague recollection that there is a line where the players might repeat moves (see note to my 5th move) and that Black can avoid it with 7...Nf6 or 7...Nh6 or something, but I did not really remember it.

The weakest point in White's position at the beginning of the game is f2. If White castles kingside then it becomes h2 or g2. However if Black attacks with overwhelming material, then any point anywhere near the White king is potentially vulnerable. Here my 3-minute blitz game attack is topped off with a queen sacrifice and checkmate.

hbandersen-Sawyer, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 27.01.2013 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 f5 4.exf5 e4 5.Qe2 d5? [Played on the spur of the moment, and NOT good. Black should play 5...Qe7! 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Nd4 Nh6 (7...Qe5 8.Nf3 Qe7= repeats moves) 8.0-0 Nxf5 9.Nb3 a5= is recommended by GM Sabino Brunello] 6.d3 [6.Ne5!+- with dual threats on c6 and h5.] 6...Bxf5 7.dxe4 dxe4 8.Bxc6+ bxc6 9.0-0 Bd6 10.Nd4?! [10.Nc3+/-] 10...Qd7?! [10...Bxh2+! 11.Kxh2 Qxd4=] 11.Nxf5 Qxf5 12.Nc3 Nf6 13.Re1?! [White should not allow Black to castle kingside. 13.Qc4+/- ] 13...0-0 14.Qc4+ Kh8 15.Qxc6 [Now White's king is in serious danger. Critical here is 15.h3 Ng4 16.Nxe4 Nxf2 17.Nxd6 Nxh3+ 18.Kh2 cxd6 19.Qe6 Nf2 20.Qxf5 Rxf5=/+] 15...Ng4 16.Nxe4 Bxh2+ 17.Kf1 Qxf2+ 18.Nxf2 Rxf2# White checkmated 0-1

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

Now in Kindle and paperback

Blog Archive