Saturday, June 28, 2014

Critical Blackmar-Diemer Bogoljubow 6.Bg5 Line

The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit is an attacking system of chess development to rapidly activate the White pieces in an effort to quickly play for mate at the cost of a pawn in the style of E.J. Diemer. One of the best ways to combat it is the BDG Bogoljubow 5.Nxf3 g6 variation which aims to fight back at d4. White must rapidly aim to destroy the Black kingside, or the pawn will be a big advantage for the defender. Fortunately the gambiteer gets his pieces in the action faster with open lines and direct targets.

Today's game shows another angle of attack that demonstrates the advance of White's h-pawn as a lever toward Black g6 pawn. White also doubles Black's f-pawns, doubles his own rooks on the h-file and weaves in a knight maneuver of Nc3-Ne2-Nf4-Ne6. This is the last in my three month series of Saturday BDG Bogo posts. With this well covered, I turn now to other lines. I am sure that more BDG Bogo games will appear from time to time.

This game illustrates how to play the 6.Bg5 line in the BDG Bogo. It comes from a thematic postal chess tournament involving 21 players won by Georg Danner almost 40 years ago. Gottfried Mueller finished 5th, just ahead of Gunter Mueller who finished 6th. Manfred Pape was 21st in last place, but he gave us some nice games.

Muller - Pape, BDG theme corr7275, 1972 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bg5 Bg7 7.Qd2 0-0 8.0-0-0 c5 9.d5 a6 [The critical line appears to be 9...Nbd7 10.Bh6 a6 11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.h4 h5 13.Bd3 b5 14.Rhe1 Nb6 15.Ne5 Bg4 16.Nxg4 hxg4 17.Kb1 c4 18.Bf1 Qd6 19.h5 Rad8 20.hxg6 fxg6 21.Qg5 Nbxd5 22.Nxd5 Nxd5=+] 10.h4 b5 11.h5 b4 12.Bxf6 exf6 13.Ne2 Bg4 14.hxg6 hxg6 15.c3 a5 16.Nf4 Qd6 17.Rh4 f5 18.Bc4 Nd7 19.Rdh1 Nb6 20.Ne6 fxe6 21.Rh8+ Bxh8 22.Rxh8+ Kxh8 23.Qh6+ 1-0

Copyright 2015 Tim Sawyer. Click my Author Page

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Shredder Rips Apart Blackmar-Diemer

White has good chances in all Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Declined variations. The only hope in theory to refute the gambit is to grab the material and hold on to withstand the attack. Many opponents do not feel like defending such positions, even if they have no feelings at all! Against the chess engine Shredder, I played hundreds of test games from each side of the board. I loaded my BDG database (after 4.f3) as its "book". Shredder played the same line repeatedly until it failed to win. Then it looked for an improvement.

The BDG Vienna 4.f3 Bf5 is the most common method of declining the gambit once it is offered on move 4. Usually White plays 5.fxe4 or 5.g4 Bg6 6.g5. There is a logical alternative where White can go all out for attack with 6.h4. The continuation 6.g5 regains the gambit pawn and is played three times as often as 6.h4. However, 6.h4 has a higher winning percentage, though vs lower rated players. In this game Shredder chooses the best line in 6.h4 h6! which is played about one third of the time in this position. Below is a test game where I followed a line Christoph Scheerer would give in his book years later. BDGers as White should look for an improvement on moves 8 or 7 or 6 or 5.

Sawyer (2000) - Shredder 8 (3426), Florida, 06.05.2006 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Nc3 Bf5 5.g4 Bg6 6.h4 h6! 7.Bg2?! [Better alternatives are 7.Nh3; 7.fxe4 or 7.h5] 7...Nc6 8.d5?! [8.Be3 e5! (Scheerer gives only 8...exf3 9.Qxf3 e6 10.0-0-0 but here 10...Nb4!=/+) 9.dxe5 Qxd1+ 10.Rxd1 exf3 11.exf6 fxg2 12.Rh2 Nb4 13.Rxg2 Nxc2+ 14.Ke2 Nxe3 15.Kxe3 Rd8 16.fxg7 Bxg7 17.Rgd2 Rxd2 18.Rxd2 f5 19.gxf5 Bxf5 20.Nb5 0-0 21.Nxc7 Bg4-/+ but Black still has a pawn advantage and the endgame is approaching.] 8...exf3 9.Nxf3 Nb4 10.Nd4 e5 11.Qe2 Be7! [Here Scheerer wrote: "even Diemer acknowledged that Black has a clearly better position."] 12.Nf5 Nxg4 13.Nxe7 Nxc2+ 14.Kf1 Qxe7 15.Qxg4 Nxa1 16.h5 Qf6+ 17.Kg1 Bf5 18.Qa4+ Kd8 19.b4 Nc2 20.Bh3 Qb6+ 21.Kg2 Ne3+ 22.Bxe3 Qxe3 23.Bxf5 Qg5+ 24.Kh2 Qxf5 25.Kg3 Qf4+ 26.Kg2 Qd2+ 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Baffo vs Sawyer in Caro-Kann 4...Nd7

My correspondence adventures with the Jeffrey Baffo continue with a game from the solid Caro-Kann Defence 4...Nd7 variation. Typically all the pieces remain on the board while both sides complete their development. This allows the better players flexibility in combining tactics and strategy to choose where to attack, what pawns to push, which pieces to exchange and whether or not to play for a middlegame or endgame win.

The line has been called the Flohr Variation, Smyslov Variation or Petrosian Variation. Each of those grandmasters played it as Black about 20 times. Later Anatoly Karpov played it at least 120 times adding many new ideas, making it the Karpov Variation. In his The Caro-Kann, Move by Move book, Cyrus Lakdawala recommends this variation.

In the 1974 US Junior Open, I won a nice game with 4...Nd7 where I announced mate in four as Black vs Frank Teuton. The next night just after I finished yet another game in this same line, Richard Nixon announced his resignation, but the President was not playing chess. I have played 4...Nd7 over 100 times. Sometimes I play 4...Nf6 (over 50 times), but usually I play 4...Bf5 (over 500 times). Nowadays I spend more time looking for attacking lines against the Caro-Kann Defence as White, but in my early years I much preferred Black. In the game below, Jeff tried the trendy 5.Ng5 which had been well known for about a decade at that time. We both castled queenside and reached an even pawn ending when a draw was agreed.

Baffo (2263) - Sawyer (1972), corr USCF 95P135, 18.03.1996 begins 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Ng5 [Other popular lines include 5.Bc4 Ngf6 6.Ng5 e6 7.Qe2 Nb6=; and 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Bc4 Bf5=] 5...Ngf6 6.Bd3 [6.Bc4 e6 7.Qe2 Nb6=] 6...e6 7.N1f3 Bd6 8.Qe2 h6 9.Ne4 Nxe4 10.Qxe4 Nf6 11.Qe2 Qc7 12.Bd2 b6 13.0-0-0 Bb7 14.Rhe1 [14.Ne5 c5 15.Bb5+ Ke7=] 14...0-0-0 [14...0-0= is also good.] 15.Ba6 b5 16.Bxb7+ Kxb7 17.Kb1 Ka8 18.Ne5 [White usually plays 18.Rc1 or 18.Bc1] 18...Bxe5 19.dxe5 Nd7 [19...Nd5] 20.f4 Nb6 21.Ba5 Rxd1+ 22.Rxd1 Rd8 23.Rd3 Rxd3 24.Qxd3 Qd7 25.Bxb6 Qxd3 26.cxd3 axb6 27.Kc2 Kb7 28.Kc3= 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Faydi Fritz Sicilian Defence Wing Gambit

Jonathan Faydi of the Netherlands drew a nice attacking game vs Fritz 13 and sent me the link below to his well played Sicilian Defence Wing Gambit. Jonathan wrote:

Hello, Here is a game I played recently that could be interesting to you and your readers 
I've been experimenting for some time with the Wing Gambit against the Sicilian and in this game I managed to draw against Fritz 13 (4 minutes + 2 seconds per move for the computer Vs 14 minutes + 2 seconds per move for me). Kind regards, Jonathan

The link above goes to Jonathan's From Patzer to Master blog with his analysis. Below I present the same game with my analysis. Jonathan Faydi (FIDE rated 2138) presents a reasonable goal and approach for chess improvement.

The Sicilian Defence Wing Gambit after 1.e4 c5 2.b4!? deflects Black's c-pawn so White can set up a pawn center. This gambit was played at least a handful of times by the great masters of old: Capablanca, Alekhine, Spielmann, Koltanowski, Bronstein and most often by the US champion Frank Marshall. Modern masters who often employ the Wing Gambit repeatedly include Bonafede, Dimitrov, Shivananda and Shirazi. A related variation is the French Defence Wing Gambit with some similar ideas.

Patzer2master (2138) - Fritz 13, Netherlands 14m+2s, 13.06.2014 begins 1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 e6 [About half the time Black plays 3...d5!= forcing White to commit his e-pawn.] 4.axb4 Bxb4 5.c3 Be7 6.d4 d6 7.Bd3 Qc7 [7...Nf6=] 8.Ne2 Bd7 9.0-0 Nf6 10.Na3 0-0 11.Bg5 [11.Nc2] 11...a6 12.f4 h6 13.Bh4 Nc6 14.e5 Nd5 15.Bxe7 Ndxe7 16.Nc2 b5 17.Ne3 [17.Ng3!? gives different attacking chances.] 17...d5 [17...b4!? would try to hurry things up on the queenside before White picks up speed on the kingside.] 18.Bc2 Rfb8 19.Qd3 Nf5 20.Rf3 Kf8 21.g4 Nxe3 22.Rxe3 Qd8 23.Qh7 [23.f5!+/= looks very promising.] 23...b4 24.Rf1 b3 25.Qh8+ [After 25.f5 Qg5 26.Nf4 Ke7 27.Bd3 Rh8= the position is close to equal, but maybe not quickly drawn. In such a position, a computer might outplay a human with either color.] 25...Ke7 26.Qxg7 bxc2 [Maybe Fritz thought all roads led to a draw, such as 26...Qg8 27.Qf6+ Ke8 28.Bd3 Ne7 29.f5 Nxf5 30.Bxf5 exf5 31.e6 fxe6 32.Nf4 Qg5 33.Rxe6+ Bxe6 34.Qxe6+ Kf8 35.Nxd5 Kg7 36.Qe5+ Kg6 37.Qe6+ Kg7=] 27.Qf6+ Kf8 28.Qh8+ Ke7 29.Qf6+ Kf8 30.Qh8+ Ke7 31.Qf6+ Kf8 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Book Review Alekhine by Lakdawala

The Alekhine Defence: move by move book by Cyrus Lakdawala is an excellent and unique presentation on this opening. I have read 40 books on the Alekhine Defence over the past 40 years. I even wrote one myself that sold out. No book covers this aggressive counter attacking defence the same way International Master Cyrus Lakdawala does. Lakdawala is informative, humorous and articulate, which makes him fun to read.

This book published by Everyman Chess in 2014 has the standard "move by move" series approach. There are 57 deeply annotated games in 464 pages with questions posed that typical chess students ask their teachers. Also, there are exercises where students can make a critical decision or search for a combination. Lakdawala presents a repertoire for Black with a couple of basic options. You can choose either chapter one or two, and either chapter three or four. You need everything in chapters five through nine.

Here is a brief summary of the nine chapter contents after 1.e4 Nf6:
1. Main Line Classical 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 dxe5 5.Nxe5 c6
2. Westerinen's Anti-Main Line 3.d4 Nb6 intending 4.Nf3 d5
3. Symmetrical Exchange 3.c4 Nb6 4.d4 d6 5.exd6 exd6
4. Asymmetrical Exchange 3.c4 Nb6 4.d4 d6 5.exd6 cxd6
5. Four Pawns Attack 3.c4 Nb6 4.d4 d6 5.f4 g6 (not 5...dxe5)
6. Chase Variation 3.c4 Nb6 4.c5 Nd5 5.Bc4 e6 6.Nc3 Nxc3
7. 3.Nc3 Lines and Minor Variations 3.Nc3 Nxc3 4.dxc3 d6
8. 2.Nc3 Default Line 2.Nc3 d5 3.e5 Nfd7 4.d4 c5
9. Odds and Ends 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 e5

Cyrus Lakdawala has two pet lines that are out of the ordinary for this opening. First is 3.d4 Nb6 though he also covers the Main Line 3...d6 4.Nf3 dxe5. Second is 5.f4 g6 in the Four Pawns Attack (rather than 5...dxe5 6.fxe5 Nc6 7.Be3 Bf5 which he does not cover). Against the Exchange Variation he plays both the solid 5...exd6 and the sharp 5...cxd6, depending on how badly he needs a win in that game.

I enjoy Lakdawala as an author. A few reviewers complain about Lakdawla's occasional reference to issues in religion or politics when comparing a chess concept, strategy or position. I like religion, politics and chess openings. If your preferences or passions in any of those three differ from mine, that is fine with me. I know why I am passionate about what I believe; I am happy. Sometimes I agree with Lakdawala, but always I like him.

Lakdawala has played this opening for decades. ICC has over 1000 of his Alekhine's in their database; ICC has just over 200 of mine but my opponents are not usually rated over 2300. I have played almost 3000 games with the Alekhine Defence: club games, correspondence games, tournament games, simultaneous games and blitz games. Below is a recent game Sawyer vs Dunadan. I add two Lakdawala quotes from his Game 51 vs Barquin to my game. My score as Black vs 4.Nxd5 is 78% in 145 games.

Dunadan (1800) - Sawyer (2003), ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 24.05.2014 begins 1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.exd5 Nxd5 4.Nxd5?! [Lakdawala: "I have had this passive move played against me by lower rated players who hope to swap their way to a draw."] 4...Qxd5 [Lakdawala: "Black gets a dream Scandinavian and I already prefer my position."] 5.d4 Nc6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Be2 e5 [7...0-0-0 8.0-0 Nxd4 9.Nxd4 Bxe2 10.Qxe2 Qxd4 11.Bg5=] 8.0-0 [8.dxe5 Bxf3 9.Bxf3 Qxe5+ 10.Qe2 Qxe2+ 11.Bxe2 Bc5=] 8...0-0-0 [Cautious when 8...e4!=/+ is better for Black.] 9.c3 [Cautious when 9.c4!+/= is better for White.] 9...exd4 10.Nxd4 [10.cxd4=] 10...Bxe2 11.Qxe2 Nxd4 12.cxd4 Qxd4 [12...Bd6=/+] 13.Be3 [13.Bg5!+/-] 13...Qe4 14.Rac1 Bd6 15.Rc4 Qd5 16.Rd1? [Black falls for my trap. 16.Bxa7=] 16...Bxh2+ 17.Kxh2 Qxd1 [White resigns] 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Quinones vs GM Zidu Bogoljubow 6.Bg5

This is the last in my current batch of games from Jorge Victor Quinones Borda. In regards to his game vs Jan Zidu, Jorge wrote to me:

"Jan Zidu is an ICCF GM with a 2602 elo rating, as we can see... BDG is ok!
"greetings Mr. Sawyer!
"Jorge QuiƱones Borda"

In the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Bogoljubow 6.Bg5 variation, the idea is usually for the players to castle opposite sides. Black often attacks the center d4 pawn while White attacks on the kingside with h4-h5. Earlier this Spring I posted games in this line where Quinones played White and where Quinones played Black. In fact, this line has always been rather popular, even if it is not as theoretically well-known as 6.Bc4 or even 6.Bf4. The 6.Bg5 variation was played vs me in my first BDG experience. Jorge plays well vs a very strong correspondence player. I suggest some alternatives in the notes.

QuiƱones - Zidu, RSX Kontinentalmeisterschaft 2013, 13.09.2013 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bg5 Bg7 7.Qd2 0-0 8.0-0-0 c5 9.d5 [9.dxc5 Qa5 10.Kb1 Nc6 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.Ne4=] 9...Nbd7 10.h4 Nb6 [10...h5 11.Bd3 Nb6 12.Rhe1 Bg4=/+] 11.Be2 [White might try 11.Bxf6!? Bxf6 12.h5 Bg4 13.Re1! (13.hxg6 fxg6 14.Qh6 Rf7 15.Ne4 Qf8=/+) 13...Qc7 14.hxg6 fxg6 15.Qh6=] 11...Ng4 12.h5 Nf2 13.Bh6 Bf6 14.Ng5 Nxd1 15.Rxd1 Re8 16.hxg6 hxg6 17.Rh1 Qd6 18.Nge4 Qe5 19.Bd3 Bf5 20.Bf4 Qd4 21.Be3 Qe5 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bisguier Picks Best BDG Sawyer-Foust

Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier selected my Blackmar-Diemer Gambit game as the Runner-Up 1985 Game of the Year Award in APCT. This was the very best BDG game I ever played in my life. Three years earlier GM Bisguier had chosen my Nimzo-Indian Defence for the Runner-Up 1982 Game of the Year Award in APCT. Below is my first Michael Foust game. Others were a Bird's Opening and an Alekhine Defence.

This was Game 400 featured in my Blackmar-Diemer Keybook published by Thinkers' Press in 1992 as the main line of the BDG Euwe. FM Ken Smith, the late great author and publisher of Sicilian Smith-Morra Gambit fame, had a great eye for marketing. When Ken Smith saw a good chess book, he would write one on the same subject and sell both books together. When he saw how well my BDG Keybook sold, Ken Smith co-wrote with NM John Hall Winning With the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit published by Chess Digest in 1993. Smith sent me a free copy with this note inside the cover: "Hi Tim, You make this possible. Thanks, Ken." I always liked Ken Smith; he died in 1999. R.I.P.

Gary Lane made this Game 5 in his Blackmar-Diemer Gambit published by Batsford in 1995. The game also is mentioned in my big book The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit II published by Pickard & Son in 1998 (page 250). More recently IM Christoph Scheerer cited my game (page 152) in The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit published by Everyman Chess in 2011. The notes below are by me unless otherwise quoted and noted.

Sawyer (2000) - Foust (1943), corr APCT Q-88, 1985 begins 1.e4 d5 [Yes, this game actually began as a Scandinavian Defence. I love 1.e4, but he tempts me to transpose to a BDG.] 2.d4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bd3 ["More recently 7.Qd2, with the idea of castling queenside, has become popular and is an interesting alternative..." Scheerer] 7...0-0 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Qe1 c5 10.Qh4 [White is more interested in checkmate than in playing around with the d-pawn.] 10...Re8 11.Ne5 Nf8 ["Now all of White's pieces are poised to crack Black's defenses." Smith & Hall] 12.dxc5 Qc7 13.Rae1 Qxc5+ 14.Kh1 [What does White have for his pawn? Absolutely complete development with great open lines for attack!] 14...Ng6 15.Bxg6 hxg6 [15...fxg6 16.Ne4 Nxe4 17.Bxe7 Qxe5 18.Rxe4+/-] 16.Nxf7! [I felt like the great Alekhine making this move.] 16...Rf8 ["16...Kxf7 17.Ne4 Qd4 18.c3 Qb6 19.Nxf6 Bxf6 20.Rxf6+ gxf6 21.Qh7+ Kf8 22.Bh6 mate" Bisguier] 17.Ne4 ["17.Nh8 is also quite cute." Scheerer] 17...Qc7 18.Nh6+ gxh6 ["Sawyer analyzed 18...Kh8 when 19.Nf5+ Kg8 20.Nxe7+ Qxe7 21.Bxf6 Rxf6 22.Rxf6 gxf6 23.Nxf6+ wins for White." Lane] 19.Qxh6 Nh7 20.Qxg6+ Kh8 21.Rf7 Rxf7 22.Qxf7 Bd6 [22...Bd8 23.Qe8+ Kg7 24.Bxd8+-] 23.Bf6+ Nxf6 24.Qxf6+ Kh7 25.Nxd6 Qxd6 26.Qf7+ Kh8 27.Rf1 ["A most impressive demolition by the one of the top BDG players in the world." Smith & Hall] 1-0 [Notes by Tim Sawyer]

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