Wednesday, November 18, 2015

London System Opportunity Tactics

The London System is an easy opening for you to play. Your main idea is to play Bf4 on move two or three. By move six or seven, White has developed all four minor pieces. The solid pawn structure of d4, e3, and c3 is tough to crack. It resembles a Slav Defence reversed.

How does White win? By targeting weaknesses. When all the pieces are actively poised, tactics for attack and combinations hide around every corner. My biggest problem comes when I think nothing is going on. I can sleep through a key moment. In the game below, I was awake to my opportunity.

In my APCT postal game against Richard Riley, the weakness of playing ...b6 and ...Nc6 before he castled allowed White to win a pawn. The loss of a pawn followed massed exchanges from moves 12 to 16. The opening mistake led to an endgame win. It is not sudden, but Black's loss can hardly be avoided.

Sawyer (2003) - Riley (1405), corr APCT Q-139 (11), 07.1993 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 b6 4.e3 Bb7 5.Nbd2 d5 6.c3 Bd6 7.Bd3 Bxf4 8.exf4 c5 9.Ne5 Nc6? [Because of the pin, White will win a pawn. Correct is 9...0-0 10.0-0=] 10.Bb5 Rc8 11.Qa4 Qc7 12.dxc5 0-0 13.Bxc6 Bxc6 14.Nxc6 Qxc6 15.Qxc6 Rxc6 16.cxb6 Rxb6 [After a series of exchanges White is up a pawn.] 17.b3 Rc8 18.c4 dxc4 19.Nxc4 Rbc6 20.0-0 Rd8 21.Rfd1 Rxd1+ 22.Rxd1 g6 23.Rd6 Rxd6 24.Nxd6 [Now we reach a knight and pawn endgame.] 24...Nd5 25.g3 Kf8 26.Kf1 Nc3 27.a4 a6 28.Ke1 Ke7 29.Kd2 Kxd6 [Black's best chance seems to be 29...Nxa4 30.Nxf7 Nc5 31.b4 Ne4+ 32.Ke3+/=] 30.Kxc3 a5 [All pawn endings are lost. For example 30...Kc5 31.b4+ Kd5 32.g4+-] 31.b4 axb4+ 32.Kxb4 Kc6 33.Kc4 Kb6 34.Kd4 f6 35.g4 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bird Larsen Diagonal Attack

When you play Bird's Opening your targets revolve around the long dark diagonal. If you fianchetto a bishop on that line you can find yourself challenged when your opponent does the same! Martin Wood from England in the United Kingdom met my Birds Opening in this manner.

Martin W. Wood reached a peak ICCF rating of 2392 in 1993. My own rating leveled off at 2157 after 65 international games. We played 30 years ago long before chess engines were of any significant positive use. Mostly our opening led to equal chances in this postal tournament. I made an inaccuracy on move 16 but Black missed a good chance to punish me on move 18. Then we drifted to a draw.

Sawyer - Wood, corr ICCF 1985 begins 1.f4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.b3 Bg7 4.Bb2 0-0 5.e3 c5 6.Be2 b6 7.0-0 Bb7 8.Qe1 d5 9.Ne5 Nfd7 [9...Nc6 10.Bf3=] 10.Bf3 [10.d4 Nc6 11.Nxc6 Bxc6 12.Nd2=] 10...Nxe5 11.fxe5 Nc6 12.d4 Ba6 13.c4 e6 14.Rf2 [14.Na3=] 14...Rc8 15.cxd5 exd5 16.Be2? [16.Rd2=] 16...Bxe2 17.Qxe2 cxd4 18.exd4 Qd7 [18...f6! 19.Nd2 fxe5 20.Rxf8+ Qxf8 21.dxe5 Qc5+ 22.Kf1 d4=/+] 19.Nd2 Qe6 20.Nf3 f6 21.exf6 [21.Qd2 fxe5 22.dxe5 Rcd8 23.Rc1=] 21...Qxf6 22.Raf1 Rce8 23.Qb5 Qe6 24.Kh1 Bh6 25.Bc1 Bxc1 26.Rxc1 Rc8 27.Rfc2 Ne7 28.Re1 1/2-1/2

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