Friday, November 22, 2013

New Idea in Blackmar-Diemer Teichmann

I voted for John F. Kennedy. What was not to like? Kennedy was pro-life, pro-America, pro-military, pro-low taxes, pro-high business profits. When I was in school in 1960, my teacher held up two pictures: one of JFK and one of Richard Nixon (whom I voted against in 1972 for real). I voted for the good looking one. I remember my teacher crying 50 years ago today when she heard JFK had been killed. The communist Lee Harvey Oswald shot him. Who knows if anyone else was involved. Does it matter today? Probably not.

My childhood did not involve much chess, but this post has some real meat and potatoes. I keep for myself two basic Blackmar-Diemer Gambit repertoires for White. That is, I have two different reasonable sets of variations that I happily play vs each of Black's popular defensive schemes. Sometimes White has many choices, but I pick the two best for me.

The BDG Teichmann Exchange is one of the most common variations we face as White following: 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6. White has five options. The last two are my current favorites.
     A. 8.Bd3 - Ziegler Variation (transposes to 5.Nxf3 c6 6.Bd3 Bg4 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3)
     B. 8.Bf4 - Velimirovic Variation (the famous master won with it, but 8...Qxd4!)
     C. 8.Qf2 - Ciesielski Variation (favorite of Tim McGrew and my BDGK2)
     D. 8.g4 - Seidel-Hall Variation (promising gambit that strong BDGers prefer)
     E. 8.Be3 - Classical Variation (most popular and main line of my BDGK1)

The BDG Teichmann Seidel-Hall line often continues 8.g4 e6, about which I have written many times in this blog. Consider anew the gambit line 8.g4 Qxd4 9.Be3 Qb4 10.0-0-0 e6. There are many 11th move possibilities. I have been in this position about 30 times, choosing three different moves about 10 times each: 11.Kb1 (my line), 11.Nb5!? or 11.Rd4?! Gary Lane also discusses 11.Bd3, while Christoph Scheerer suggests 11.g5 with the David Zimbeck idea of 11...Nd5 12.Nxd5 cxd5 13.c4!? What's the best move?

Recently I decided to have Houdini 3 ponder the options while I was sleeping. After I got up, I found the top choice of 11.g5 Nd5 with a new idea of 12.Bd4!? =. Had anyone ever played that 12th move before? I searched my database. Voila! One game. But not only that, years ago I had selected and annotated this game as an important one to include in the next book I wrote on the BDG. Then I promptly forgot it. My database remembered. Here is a hard fought ICCF game between Arild Haugen and Jerry Weisskohl.

Haugen (2556) - Weisskohl (2522), North Atlantic Team Tournament VI 2008 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6 8.g4 Qxd4 9.Be3 Qb4 10.O-O-O e6 [Two correspondence GM's duke it out in a rare BDG line.] 11.g5 Nd5 12.Bd4 Nd7 [12...Be7 13.Bxg7 Bxg5+ 14.Kb1 Rg8 15.Bd4 Nd7 16.Nxd5 cxd5 17.Rg1 with some obvious compensation for the two pawns.] 13.h4 [Houdini 3 analyzed through move 29 beginning with 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.Kb1 h6 15.g6 f6 16.Qe2 Qd6 17.h4 Be7 18.Bh3 e5 19.Bf2 O-O 20.Bg2 d4 21.c3 f5 22.Bxd4=] 13...Qd6 14.Kb1 O-O-O 15.Bg2 Qf4 16.Qh3 N7b6 17.Nxd5 cxd5 18.b3 Qc7 19.Rhf1 Kb8 20.Rf3 Nc8 21.Rc3 Qd6 22.Qe3 Qd7 23.Be5+ Nd6 24.Bh3 Qb5 25.a4 Qe8 26.Rcd3 h6 27.gxh6 Rxh6 28.c4 Rxh4 29.cxd5 f5 30.dxe6 Qxe6 31.Qg5 Be7 32.Qxf5 Qxf5 33.Bxf5 Rh5 34.Rxd6 1/2-1/2.

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